Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Blue skies and deep powder

Every weekend the kids beg to go to the mountains. "Let's play in the snow!" they cheer. Or "we want to go sledding!"
And every weekend we oblige. Nothing is better for the heart and soul than fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. Raising these little people to agree with our brainwashing theories seems to be working.

This photo is straight off my camera. No adjusting saturation or levels. Nada. Sky was almost purple!
James's snowball maker is always close in hand. The Utah powder makes horrible snowballs (you can never seem to pack it tight enough to make a decent one) but he doesn't mind.
Juliet didn't want to walk far, not because she's anti walking, but because the "snow was so yummy" and she needed to sample it every second step.
The powder was deep. E and I agreed that we will get the kids snowshoes next winter.
Most of the day we were in the shade (which was fine because we still had blue skies!) but for a moment the sun broke behind the mountain, only to hide again minutes later. Nice face Juliet. ;)
James has "snowshoed" here a couple of times before. Once when he was two months old (yes, we were those parents!) and another time when he was a year.
Tips for taking your kiddos into the outdoors in the winter:

1. Invest in great clothes. Nice snow clothes are not inexpensive, so I try to make them last as long as possible. However, I don't buy name brand snow clothes, my kids don't need a North Face jacket that they will only fit in for two years.

  • I always buy coats two sizes too large in hopes that I'll get two winters out of them (both kids are wearing the same coats they did last year!). I always try to buy real down filled coats for the kids. The poly stuff is just not nearly as warm. Luckily, for the last two years Costco has sold real down coats for kids for only $25 (which is unheard of). They are the best coats they've ever owned. Brand is Snozu.
  • Hats and gloves can last more than one year, as long as they don't get lost. Always make sure you've got them when you leave. Obvious, I know, but sometimes when you've got crying kids a lost glove isn't a big deal. Always keep track of their gear. Our rule is not letting them take them off while we are out, unless we stop and stow into a pack. We got our kids' mittens at Costco and love them. Warm and easy to get on and off. 
  • Snowpants I always buy big. Once they have their boots on it doesn't matter if there is extra fabric at the bottom, again, try to make them last more than a year. And hand-me-downs are so easy. Juliet's never had new snow pants, they've all been hand-me-downs from James. 
  • Boots, I said above I don't buy name brand but for boots I do. I have found Sorel boots on eBay for 60% off what the stores sell them for. I buy gender neutral so Juliet can grow into James's outgrown boots. "Cheap" boots from Target or Walmart aren't that much cheaper than name brand Sorels if your willing to buy on eBay. 
2. Lots of snacks. We always get hungry when we are out and about and a handful of trail mix does wonders to everyone's attitude. Plus, an M&M bribe sometimes is the only thing that helps get a cranky kid to walk. Also water. Sometimes when it's cold you can't imagine you'll be thirsty, but we are always thirsty. Bring water for sure. 

3. Make it fun. We don't hike far with the kids. We mix it up with sledding, throwing snow and ice into the river, and letting them choose the path. It's all about exploring and being outside more than a set route. 

4. Leave before everyone melts down. Oftentimes we are having so much fun the kids don't want to leave. If we push past lunch time when everyone is hungry and cranky we leave with sobbing kids saying "I don't ever want to do that again" instead of happy kids that can't wait to go back. 

Anything I missed? What do you do to keep kids happy in the outdoors (especially in the winter)?


  1. What sweet goofy kids! It must be so fun adventuring with them. Do you have a favorite snowpants brand? I got old navy this year, and I've been happy with them. My mom found the cutest boots at a garage sale for $1. Probably not repeatable! What about gloves; do you have a favorite brand?

    Have a great weekend!!!!

  2. Snow pants have come from Target in the past. Seems to be fine. Gloves are from Costco. Not sure on the brand. Love that they have a zipper on the wrist.


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