So Much to Celebrate! Voted Top 3 Outdoorsy Mom Blogger, Over 12,500 Page Views, Viral on Pinterest, Best Fan Base EVER!!!!

Boom! Celebrating Top 3 Outdoorsy Mom Blogger

Yippee! There is so much to celebrate around here!

1st   THANK YOU so much to all of you voting for Top Outdoorsy Mom in the USA (the Universe???)  We made #3 – that’s a BRONZE MEDAL in the Outdoorsy Mom Blog Olympics representing 50 blogs!!! What does this mean? Well, I don’t know…. but stay tuned…. There’s an interview and some other cool stuff coming up…..

2nd   Lots of excited, curious, laughing & clicking going-on out there. Our numbers are climbing and we’re over 12,500 page views. Not bad for a girl with a computer, a stinky Keen, and a dream whilst driving for carpool….

3rd   Thank you Pinterest people… we love you! A few of my blogs went viral and we watched a wild ride as Pinterst Pin-ers pinned and “liked” and went to town on Outdoorsy ideas. Woo hoo!

And, finally, we're celebrating the best base of fans, friends, family, other fun bloggers, Outdoorsy folk, some City folk ever -- Boom!

Namaste & Three Cheers to You! –Outdoorsy Mama


The Secret to a Happy Family? Outdoorsy, Nutty Duck Dynasty Just May Have It – Beards, Uncle Si & All!

“If you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.” 
– Bruce Felier, “The Stories That Bind Us," NYTimes.com

If I were a single lady, I’d be running, fast, in my Camouflage running sneaks and cute, little, ducky top, to Somewhere, Louisiana to go hang out with the hilarious, giant-bearded, loveable Robertson family...... And I’d hope to grab one of the fuzzy, family-member bachelors on the reality-TV-show-set and call him my own. 

Let the breeding begin!

If you don’t know these guys, you should. Go, quickly, to the A&E channel and flip, flip around until you find the burly, bushy group of guys with their hands in their beards and their hearts on their sleeves.

This is reality TV at it’s head scratching best (are they REALLY this funny?) about an outdoorsy family from the back-woods turned millionaires, all from the patent of a little, old duck-call.

After reading a recent NYTimes article about the common theme of happy, successful families and children, - thank you reader DS for sending it my way! - what stood out was that when parents defined a strong family narrative about the ups and downs of their family history with their kids, children had a stronger sense of control in their lives, higher self-esteem, and the more they felt their own family functioned well overall.

Which is what Duck Dynasty expresses so successfully. It’s all about the Ups and Downs of their family, with stories from founder Grandpa Phil about the first duck-call he ever made whilst living in near-poverty, to the ‘Nam stories from the most unbelievable star of the show Uncle Si, to the next generation of kids coming up the ladder, who eschew the usual Dyansty daily Camo uniform for designer jeans and fancy hair-cuts (ie: short.)

Their entire family history and daily highs and lows of life is being re-told on a reality-TV-show in a positive, heartwarming way. So at the end of each episode, when the Robertson family of all generations sits down for their mish-mosh family dinner and says grace, you forgive them their foibles of deer-hunting and beaver dam shooting and fishing illegally on Judge’s property then getting arrested, and you think: where can I get me one of those bearded guys for myself.

Namaste & Three Cheers, Everyone! -OM

For more info @ happy families: Bruce Felier's recently published book, "The Secrets of Happy Families: How to Improve Your Morning, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smart, Go Out and Play, and Much More."


Spring is Here! Motivational Hiking Mug to Start Your Day: "Take A Hike" from Golden Gate National Rec Area

My Morning Mug Reminds Me to GET my fanny OUTSIDE! :)

New spring, website design. Big, bold photo. Tulips bursting out of our breakfast scene. 

Yippee! Spring is here!!! 

Fun Outdoorsy, Springtime Goodie as a Gift or a Treat for You! We love this giant mug. Smartly marketed by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Conservancy, it whets our appetite every time we pull it out for a steaming cup o' coffee or gentle baptism of tea. 

On it are all of our favorite, local stomping, tromping and clomping spots: Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, Lands End....etc. All depicted by the crisp, cool artist Michael Schwab. 

There's a fun assortment and they're only $12 each! Click here for more info:  GGNRA Park Store. Plus, you're supporting our parks. Is there any better reason than that? ;)

So, now that we've had our cup o' joe together, are you ready to get out there? We are! Time to get lost in Ma Nature.

So get your backpacks on..... and see you out there!

Namaste & Three Cheers! -OM


Nurturing Kids' Imaginations with a Little Help from Ma Nature. Mine/Thine Homework

What Forest Creature had their Hand in This?
Elves? Fairies? Cheeky Little Leprechauns?

There’d been some whining going-on on our hike that day. Mostly from the younger kids who were still managing that delicate shift from unpredictable, emotional toddler to more even-keel, elementary school kiddo.

As we, large and loud party of three adults and five young girls 8 and under, rounded the trail’s corner, there, tucked into the side of the trail on a small boulder was a big, surprising, smiley face. Made out of Mother Nature.

What’s this?

The kids’ eyes popped. The whining stopped.

An unbelievable discovery!

“Take a picture, Mommy!!!”

Their bewilderment turned into magical thinking. Could it have been the elves? Or possible Leprechauns left over from St. Patty's Day mischief. Did the fairies come down and magical-wand this? Or did Mother Nature herself have a hand in this… creating the space for the eyes and then the nose and then a big, giant smile.

We adults, meanwhile, stepped back and marveled at the brilliance of someone with a sharp stick. Someone who knew it would make a hiker’s day. Someone who mangled a beautiful, lace-work of moss – but we let that go.

Hearing the wheels of creative thought spin in our daughters’ heads was magical as well for us. The power of their imaginations and the subsequent conversations, all because of a happy, little moss-face discovered far-far away.

Beautiful. Have a wonderful weekend.

Namaste & Three Cheers! -OM


Hiking with Kids: Teaching Them What to Bring, What to Leave! Packing Their Backpacks & No More Mommy Sherpa

Happy, Hydrated, Independent Kiddos!

Last week the kids and I took a gorgeous day-hike down Tennessee Valley. A 4 mile round-trip, easy hike that’s perfect for beginners and little, yet sturdy legs. The reward is the turn-around point: a secluded beach touching the Pacific Ocean and snuggled into the walls of the glowing, green, towering Marin Headlands.

In a brilliant move this past Christmas, we coordinated with Grandma for the girls (age 7) to get the Camelback Mini-M.U.L.E. , which Camelback touts as perfect for bike riding, but I tout as a fantastic starter, day-hiking pack for the little ones.

For the first time, they’re responsible for carrying their own water and we can tuck a vital snack into the small pockets as well. (And there’s also space to tuck a few favorite rocks and leaves and treasures along the way…)

The big news here is teaching them not only the value of hydration but also the shocking news that mommy is no longer their Sherpa – it’s their pack, their water on their back, and not a hand-off to Mommy-The-Mule halfway down the trail.

The hike down to the beach that day was blustery. Cool, misty wind blowing up the valley from a distant fog bank out swimming with the fish. But once at the beach, the kids stripped down and ran-amok hiding and fort building and pirate treasuring for over an hour.

Which leads us to the tired hike home: still somewhat jolly and boostered by chocolate-chip granola bars, the girls and I walked hand-in-hand. Though I knew we were just moments from the “Are we there yet?” inevitability of stamina challenged little ones, so I came up with a game.

What to pack for a hike.

The girls took turns selecting items and I gently hinted when they got stuck. No doubt their list, if they’d been say, 5 years old, would have been more fantastical and filled with kitchen sinks and swing-sets and lots of Pirate Booty. Yet my girls kept it right on line, surprisingly practical and unbelievably thorough:

Food (what kind of food: nuts, raisins, granola bars, no Skittles)
First aid kit
Tissues (in a Ziplock)
Jacket (how do we dress for hikes, girls? in LAYERS, Mom!)
and, finally, Cameron Sense (which I finally figured out was “Common Sense”)

What a nice list! Things got goofy after this, as we moved into packing for an overnight and then car-camping vs. backpacking.

The one thing that made all the lists was: S'MORES, because “you always want Ssss…more, Mommy!” That was a real knee slapper in this crowd.

A gentle day outside with a gentle lesson involved. A treat to hear my girls developing Common Sense about taking care of themselves, becoming independent, thinking past Pirate Booty. A practical, simple list to share with you all, built from a lovely moment of togetherness in Ma Nature.

Namaste & Three Cheers! -OM

P.S. So worth doing the homework, we found the Camelback Mini-M.U.L.E. on sale. Check REI, LLBean (free shipping), and Google it!

For more fun info:
Bay Area Hikes: Wildflowers & Waterfalls - Cataract Falls
More Hikes: Rock Creek Trail with views of San Francisco city
3 Ways to get Your Kids up the Mountain... hiking with Kids