Products I Love… My North Face Thermoball Jacket!... Mini Product Review

North Face Thermoball Selfie... Getting ready to brave the elements!

Warm, warm, warm! And, ahem, stylish-ish, too. 

Light, comfy, sleek, form fitting. (It works with the curves, ladies.) A perfect layer for the freezing temps whilst braving the back country in Idaho's Sawtooths, looking for some freshies on your new teli-skis. 

Or for throwing on to bring the kids to school while juggling a dozen bake-sale cupcakes on one arm and your 6 year old's unwieldy Cain's Arcade cardboard project in your other.

In either situation, you're braving the elements. And staying warm.

I love mine. And Backpacker Magazine gave it a "2013 Snow Award" it loved it so much with it's new PrimaLoft "clusters" of down-like fibers. 

It squishes down to the size of a Florida grapefruit, so you might even be able to squash it into a Christmas stocking or two, next to the dental floss and socks that no one really wanted anyway. Make mama's day!

It comes in so many colors it looks like a Skittles factory exploded... And some classy neutrals, too. 

I wear mine for work and play. Upgrade to this jacket.

Namaste & Three Cheers - OM

For more hot info, look here:
Alert! I just found these on sale at Zappos...
Backpacker Magazine's 2013 Snow Review 
Other Products I Love…
Caine's Arcade Carboard Box Rule of Boredom


We Lost the Damn Elf on The Shelf. Motherhood Part Two.

Where could our elf be? Found straddling a wine bottle with an unsavory gnome next to the mini-martini glasses?

Blink. Blink.

My eight year old's eyes blinked at me as I looked back at her just as wide-eyed.

My little Cindy-Loo-Who with her floppy eyelashes and big blue orbs had just, blink-blink, reminded me that, "Mama, it's December 1st. Where's Jolly?"

Jolly is the name of the spaghetti-legged, holiday-good-time Elf on the Shelf that had moved in at Christmas a few years ago. His original purpose for arrival into our household was to "make sure the kids were behaving 'Nice'."... As our Jolly supposedly reports all naughty or nice kid-centric behavior back to Santa each night via either magical fairy dust or, most likely, WiFi and an iPad.

Blink. Blink.

Last year, Jolly, our Elf on the Shelf, had gotten into some trouble around here. No, not for assaulting the reindeer ornaments, but for not doing his job. The kids were NOT behaving (see last year's post) and he did some solitary confinement time in the junk drawer.

And by the time Christmas was over, off he was tucked into some special place somewhere where the kids would never find him. Which is why last night my husband and i were digging through every Christmas box and "secret hiding place" with flashlights and headlamps and excavation equipment to try and find his fuzzy arse. 

Where the hedge was Jolly?

On safari in Africa?

Parading through the streets of New Orleans?

Assaulting reindeer in the North Pole with a bottle o' EggNog and a dream?

Likely not. Likely, he's squashed in some unfortunate corner in some unfortunate box in some unfortunate hidey-spot in our house. 

After 30 minutes of Search and Hope for Rescue, we gave up and shared a melancholy nod of agreement that a trip to the Xmas store was in order tomorrow for a replacement… 

For as every parent knows, whether it's a dead hamster, a floating fish, or a lost Elf on the Shelf, the most important thing for family peace and harmony during the holidays is keeping the magic alive and majorly pulling the wool over your kids' eyes at every moment possible.

Namaste & Three Cheers -OM

For more on Elf on the Shelf & FUNNY!
Rant: Will our Banished Elf on the Shelf Redeem Himself in time for Christmas?
Skiing Elf on a Shelf
Hilarious Elf on a Shelf Photos


Bay Area Hikes: Hiking the Rock Spring Trail on Mt Tamalpais to the West Point Inn - Breathtaking Views & Easy on the Kids

Views from Rock Spring Trail of the San Francisco Bay and Marin Headlands

Hike: Rock Spring Trail in Mount Tamalpais State Park, California
Length: @ 2.8 miles round trip
Location: Mount Tamalpais State Park, near the Mountain Play Amphitheater, just over the bridge from SF
Difficulty: Gentle, rolling trail, great for energetic families.
Dogs: Welcome on leash!

Are you ready to have your breath taken away? 

This hike is a heart-stopping vista extravaganza. Our jaws drop each and every time our lucky feet plod plod plod along this trail.

Map of Rock Springs Trail
A few Sundays ago, we grabbed the kids and headed up, up, up the monolith of green Mount Tamalpais towering over the Bay, and into Mount Tamalpais State Park, just minutes away from Mill Valley and the gateway of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Parking next to the entrance to the Mountain Play Amphitheater - look for parking lots above and below if the tiny lot is full - we head into the amphitheater for the first incredible vista of the hike where there are convenient "real" bathrooms at the base of the amphitheater.

The kids leap up and down the hundreds of rock seats and catch a few tiny lizards as we head east into the single track of the Rock Spring Trail.
Kid Friendly Hike!

Following it along, we are rewarded with - Hey, Mom, it's Serpentine! - a giant, 10+foot vein of California's green state rock that we tromp over and admire. Cool.

We stop to take photo op after photo op of the Bay below and the San Francisco skyline and bend around the corner to see the famous West Point Inn tucked into the rolling hills ahead of us. Smells of BBQ chicken from their giant grill waft up to us, drawing us faster and faster to our destination. (It's a members only work-day, chicken's not for us - dang!)

Approximately 1.4 miles in, excited kids and we land at our destination - "welcome for the public to use" picnic tables in front of the private Inn. Where we snack on final-season apples from our backyard, some cheesy cheese, and we relax and enjoy the view while the girls pick acorns to crush and make a Miwok Mash (not for eating).

A half hour later, we turn around and head back along the same trail. Spotting different views now headed west along the same ridge.

Manageable with smaller kids or kids in backpacks. A fantastic family hike or hike to get a quick, easy, gorgeous taste of the Bay Area.

Get out and enjoy!

Namaste & Three Cheers - OM

For more information, check out these links:
Mount Tamalpais State Park
More @ West Point Inn
Map of Mt Tam State Park
More Bay Area Hikes


50 Shades of Grey Wolf & the Big Bad Sexy Wolf Halloween Costume

Big Bad Sexy Wolf? The New 50 Shades of Grey Fairy Tale...

In honor of October 31st's ghoulish and girlish and ridiculous costumes, today I re-post an old gem originally posted a year ago - one of my most popular blogs to date.... read here to see why! Boo!

I’d just read that they’ve taken the Wolf off of the Endangered Species act in Wyoming.

So when I was at the pop-up Halloween extravaganza store yesterday scanning the aisles and costumes with my kiddos amongst the Naughty Dora the Explor-oh-yeah-baby! and Ally Catraz Prisoner handkerchief sized costumes for “big-girls”, the BIG BAD SEXY WOLF costume jumped out at me.

First of all, it’s a whole rewrite of the “3 Little Pigs” story. Tell me how that story would go now with the Big Bad Sexy Wolf showing up instead….. “And I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll……..”  Ahem, YOU fill in the blank. Pigs high -fiving all over the place, texting their pig-friends at this 50 Shades of Grey Wolf porno about to be acted out….

But, secondly, and to the point of this piece, the grey wolf in Wyoming may be sexy and may be big, but apparently it’s the furthest thing from being bad. In fact, in another almost ridiculous 50 Shades word-play moment, it’s been great for the beavers. The beavers in Wyoming are thriving from the increase in population of the wolves. Which is why I almost titled this article: WHY THE BIG BAD SEXY WOLF IS GREAT FOR OUR BEAVERS. Ahem.

And wolves are not only good for our beavers, but they also “have a powerful effect on the well-being of the ecosystems around them – from the survival of the trees and riverbank vegetation to, perhaps surprisingly, the health of the populations of their prey,” according to the Op-Ed piece “Why the Beaver Should Thank the Wolf” by Mary Ellen Hannibal in this Sunday’s New York Times.

And this is why a group of non-profits are challenging the federal government’s decision to remove the Big Bad Sexy Wolf from the Endangered Species Act.

We need to protect our sexy wolves.

And the Three Little Pigs.... and even a Little-Red-Riding-Hood Gone Wild…. just might agree.

Namaste & Three Cheers- a

For more info:


Bay Area Hikes: Hiking the The Johnstone Trail in Tomales Bay State Park, California. Grab Your Hiking Boots, We'll See You There!

View from the Johnstone Trail in Tomales Bay State Park

Hike:       Johnstone Trail in Tomales Bay State Park, California
Length:   @ 8 miles round trip
Location: Tomales Bay State Park near Point Reyes National Seashore - Northwest of SF
Difficulty: Gentle trail, minimal elevation, minor switchbacks

Fall screams - HIKING WEATHER! - to me. I just can't stay inside with the crisp mornings and apple-picking sunshine days. So "Off!" I turned the computer. "Yank!" I grabbed a few fun friends. And "Zoom!" - we headed out for our adventures...

We discovered this gentle, lush hike during the Government Shutdown a few weeks ago. A last minute "You've got to be kidding me!", when our original hiking plans were derailed with the closure of all National Parks, made us re-boot and look for other, less obvious options. 

The road less traveled led us to the Johnstone Trail in Tomales Bay State Park, located between the Point Reyes National Seashore and Tomales Bay, now well known for it's oysters and freshy food and kayaking adventures.

Map of Tomales Bay State Park
Arriving at Heart's Desire Beach early - the key for parking, as once the lot is full, they won't let you in - we hit the trail at 9am and followed it up a gentle slope, through a mossy forest of curling and curiously otherworldly oaks and bays, as if transported to and earthy world of storybook creatures. 

Following the trail up to it's peak through the vegetation, we found a tree-framed view of Tomales Bay poking out to the East. And a little further along, a sweeping view of Point Reyes National Seashore to our West. 

Manageable switchbacks swooped us down, down to the peaceful Shell Beach, where we pulled out our squished PB&Js - or our organic, grass-fed, kale sandwiches - and enjoyed a quiet moment of "we made it!" and watched a group of kayakers out in the bay paddle along in their crayon-orange line of boats.

On the way home, we took the "Jepson Trail" half-way through to explore new territory. And returned to our starting point at Heart's Desire Beach, which was now completely full of picnicking families and paddling kayakers and kids splashing and BBQ smells galore. 

Note: that this trail is not about broad scenic vistas. It is mostly in the trees and offers a gentle hike in fresh air with little pop-out rest spots on beaches along the bay.


Namaste & Three Cheers - OM

For more detailed information, check out these links:
Tomales Bay State Park
Bay Area Hiker 
The Johnstone Trail 
Tomales Bay Oyster Company


National Parks Re-Open Today. Thank you rational people in Congress!

Yosemite's Half-Dome happy to see park lovers again...

p.s. yes, i'm still on vacation climbing mountains, but had to send a quick post celebrating the great news.


Woo Hoo! Check it Out HERE, the Trailer for Warren Miller's "Ticket To Ride" Movie To Get Us Pumped for Ski Season!

Psyched for ski season? Me too! ........ While I take a break to climb some mountains before the snow sets in, ENJOY Warren Miller's "Ticket2Ride" Trailer to get us all pumped for another awesome ski, shred, jump off of cliffs like a maniac ski season! Woo hoo!

Namaste & Three Cheers! -OM


Gorgeous Vermont Leaf-Peeping: Autumn is a second Spring. When every leaf is a flower.

Leaf-peeping colors from the top of Snake Mountain, Vermont
Photo credit: Anne Truslow

"Autumn is a second Spring. When every leaf is a flower." 
-Albert Camus

Thanks to reader AT for sending in her photo of the changing colors from the top of Snake Mountain, Vermont. 

The gorgeous reds, the burning oranges speckled-in with evergreens make for a calico of Fall-foliage artwork. 

I smell the apple cider, cider donuts and maple syrup calling me home. 


Namaste & Three Cheers - OM


Parking Area for our Local GGNRA Hikes Closed? What the? Dang You, Shutdown!!!

Parking area for our local access to GGNRA closed. What the???
Well, well, well. Reading all about the Shutdown on Twitter and Yahoo and yappity yap radio programs is all well and good, but when it affects me and my neighborhood hiking -- there's hell to pay!!!

This is the sign that greeted me today at the trailhead of the GGNRA hike that starts just miles from our house. Luckily, on further, close inspection and confirmation from a savvy friend, it's only the parking lot that's been closed. The trails are still open for use. 

Whew. I was really nervous for those Congressmen for a minute.

But, seriously, businesses all over the country are getting throttled by the Parks' closures and OutdoorsyMama is no exception. As a fun, new adventure, I am experimenting with some trial group hikes for any and all who live in the Bay Area to come join the fun. 

But, with snags like crappy, nonexistent parking and ticketing Rangers (apparently the one thing they have not shutdown is PAYING the man-hours for Rangers to ticket the cars of people who are trying to still enjoy the trails who are parked in wonky spots along the road en route to the closed parking lot.) Head spinning? Mine too!

Let me try this again... With snags like crappy, nonexistent  parking and ticketing Rangers, I'm going to hold off on the group invite and just subject some local guinea-pig, outdoorsy friends to try some hikes out under the OutdoorsyMama leadership and my lucky partners, and see how it goes. 

So stay tuned everyone. More announcements to follow and possibly some cool, new adventures with rockin', fun, interesting, meaningful peeps for you to meet up with!

Namaste & Three Cheers! -OM

Sick of the Shutdown? Me too. Read this:
5 Ways to End the Shutdown

Mine/Thine Homework? 
Have a voice in the shutdown. Make some noise! 


Products I Love.... My Nike Free 5.0+ Running Shoes! Mini Product Review

"Nike Free 5.0+" -- Products I Love
No more clomp, clomp.

These sneaks make my feet feel like i've slipped on a pair of comfy, barefoot slippers while I trail run, boot the soccer ball with the kids, wander thru the Whole Foods aisles seeking gluten-free goodies, and tromp the incessant hallways of blogger conventions.

All in snazzy, "retro" neon-pink that remind me of my pimply years in high school. Gag-me!

They've seen everything over the last 4 months. Doggie poo, bear poop, gum gloop, rain storms, wet trails, Vermont trails, Cali trails, pavement and tacky carpets.

And are still a favorite.

Namaste & Three Cheers! -OM

For more techy details & reviews:
Foot Locker Reviews
Video Review - who knew!


Does the Government Need a Mom to Come In and Tell Them To WORK IT OUT? Consequences, Quiet Time, and Hugging-It-Out for the Toddler Behavior in Congress. A 5 Step Solution. MOTHERHOOD PART TWO

As a mom of 3 kids within 3 years of each other, much of my time is spent in the area of conflict resolution. “Yes, yes, I know he touched you with his pinky nail on your right, outside elbow hair... but that doesn’t mean you can whap him with your giraffe.” And “Guys, stop wrestling over the bag of Cheesy Puffs, there’s enough for everyone/

But the worst is when they’re squabbling over something that is pretty darn clearly brought on by one of them digging in their heels. The “My Way or the Highway” he or she-devil that surfaces in one of the kids from time to time.

And here’s the perfect segue to the shutdown in DC right now. And who better than the hilarious and point-on Jon Stewart to explain what the hedge has happened here and why we are in this predicament.

WATCH THIS video, and then read on: Jon Stewart's Rockin' Shutdown Eve VIDEO - Watch Now! 

Ahem. WHILE OUR BELOVED NATIONAL PARKS ARE NOW CLOSED and families are now not being paid - while the very loud, very shiny-teethed people in Congress who created this whole mess are still collecting a paycheck - something’s gotta be done.

So here’s what we do in our household when this happens – MOM TAKING CHARGE and cutting the bull-hoogie.

1st step – Deep breath – Realize we’re witnessing: Toddler Behavior – It’s all about ME. And I’ll hold you hostage with a giant tantrum until I get what I want.

2nd step – Remove the Toddler from the limelight. No more interviews. No more speeches. No more meltdowns at the supermarket. Cut all stimulation that gives an audience for the bad behavior. Enforce quiet time.

3rd step -- Start applying Consequences.

#1 Consequence – Take away their toys -  No Angry Birds, no Minecraft, no Candy Crush Saga for the kids. No twitter, no Facebook, no CNN or FOXy news outlets for Congress.

#2 Consequence – Hit ‘em where it really hurts - No playdates for the kids...... No pay for congress. NO PAY FOR CONGRESS. This is the ultimate, “Noooo, Mommmy!!!” consequence. Use it.

4th Step – Hugging it Out – If the above steps haven’t created a shift in behavior, I then release my secret weapon #1. The dreaded “Hugging it Out” solution to which my children react as if being thrown into a torture chamber.

Grab your least favorite sibling or Democrat and hug. Hug for ½ hour. Not in a gross way, you perverts, but in a connecting way. Feel the anger start flowing away after about 10 or so minutes, and feel the silliness come in. Realize that your “worst enemy” is a warm-blooded human being and that you can calm your inner-boil and move forward with humor and civility and work it out.

Hug until you feel the flexibility move in. A smile creep on your face. And a reminder that there are bigger problems in the world than your Toddler, ego-centric view on taking care of people. And there can be resolution for the greater good here. Movement.

And only if Steps #1-4 don’t work, then we head to Step #5. Which is a “Moms’ Only” Top Secret. Only to be applied, used, unleashed in the dire situation that Steps 1-4 still haven’t shaken the Toddler behavior out of reasonable folks.

If we need to dig out Step #5, find me, and I’ll give you the secret password which sounds something like: “Big Old Twap to the Bottom”

But just this one time, people, as a last resort! And, darn it if some of those Congress people just might enjoy that. Urp.

Namaste & Three Cheers! & Enough of this Silliness, Congress - OM

PS. I have never, ever used a “Twap to the Bottom” as a consequence, but it was just such a perfectly cheeky ending to the piece that I couldn’t help myself. I don’t condone this sort of solution. But in the spirit of keeping this light, it’s funny to say it with a Jon Stewart wink. 

For more information:


Same color as my beloved but illegal Cheetos but SO MUCH BETTER than Cheetos! Vine-ripe, end of summer, sweet Sun-Sugar Tomatoes to pop in your mouth for a healthy snack!

Yup. Same orange color as Cheetos, but better healthy choice.
Grab a handful. Ripe now!

Thanks to LC for sharing the love. Our homework? Seek and find and hoard and eat! 

(And maybe share with the kids.)

Namaste & Three Cheers -OM

For more:
Sun Sugar Tomatoes yum yum

P.S. Why is the jar half empty? Because we couldn't stop eating during the photoshoot... & we're adding the rest to our end of summer dinner menu. Num.


Cool, Portable, Solar iPhone Charger for Your Hiking, Backpacking, Outdoor Adventure! Product Review: StrongVolt 7W Solar Charger

Charging my phone during PB&J lunch break...

Ok, so let’s face the facts that we all – well, most of us – are packing our screens, our phones which are also our still and video cameras, with us on our adventures these days. The occasional, healthy: I’M LEAVING IT AT HOME happens sometimes. But, really, the phones are coming with us.

So here’s a cool, portable way to get a re-charge for our phones courtesy of the sun rays of Mother Nature as we’re eating our bologna or PB&J sandwich from the top of the peak we’ve climbed that morning. 

A 11.5 ounce solar charger complete with grommet holes so we can hang it from any willing backpack or tent or tree to get to that sun and re-charge the batteries so we can have enough power to catch the video of the giant bear chasing us down the hill to be posted on YouTube and get a million hits the next day…

So I took my charger for a test-spin yesterday with a completely de-charged iPhone and it took @ 4.5 hours to charge fully with me needing to re-plug it in a few times to get the charge going again as it stopped a few times. This was with the new iOS 7 software. I tested it again again with my son’s iTouch and it also took @ 4.5 hours with a few re-plugs in with the old Apple software. Their site say it should take @ 2.5 hours, and no doubt they've done more exact testing as it's important to note i was definitely not noticing right-away that the charge had stopped -- i am a busy mama! -- so very likely 10s and 10s of minutes were added to the actual charge time that i got. But, note, if you're not sitting next to it, it can stop charging and needs a re-plug.

I did notice that the charging starts immediately, as soon as i even just walked into sunlight i got a "bweep!" from my phone, so even a quick lunch break in the sun will give us more juice.

Overall, I am impressed and LOVE that Ma Nature is powering this thing. And i LOVE that I can get a re-charge in the middle of a canoe trip down the Colorado river, on a camel’s back on the Sahara, or from the top of Everest if I ever get there. (Ok, slight exaggeration maybe on the last two, but are they???)

They’re $59.99 at StrongVolt. Easy to use. Relatively light and compact - the 4 solar panels fold up like a long wallet. Check it out, do your homework, avid adventurers, & think green!

Nope, I was not paid for this post but I was provided the product by the retailer free of cost for the purpose of review & product testing. Any opinions expressed are my own & follow the taste and spirit of Outdoorsy Mama completely. Cheers!

Namaste & Three Cheers! – OM

For more info, check out:


Welcome our new Outdoorsy Puppy! Heart Achingly Adorable. Fuzzy, Four-Footed Bundle of Energy & Love.

ready to tackle the trails! or take a snooze...

Oh, yes, we've been busy over the last few days. No, not climbing Mt Everest. But, rather, adopting a new, leetle pound-puppy.

Welcoming our fuzzy-headed, four-legged girl into our busy, fun, chaotic, active, loving, family life. 

After trying out a few names, her combo of traditional, outdoorsy, and adorableness-ness helped us find and finally stick her new name: Aspen Wiggle-Bottom the Third. (More on this later...)

Welcome, little Aspen Wiggle-Bottom, to our family! 

And get ready for some awesome family adventures as our new bloggy-doggie...

Namaste & Three Cheers! - OM