Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Storm Mountain Picnic Area- Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT

Location: Wasatch Range, 2.85 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Park either on the side of road or in the Storm Mountain Picnic area.

Cost: $7 day use only, if you park in the Picnic area.

What to expect: Fishing at the river, clean sites with fire pit, flushing bathrooms, and a playground for the kids.  Plus tons of climbing in and around!

This has become one of our favorite family climbing areas.  $7 is totally worth having a playground, shade and toilets for the kids, while you can climb some great routes.  And it is only 25 minutes from our front stoop!

Check it out on www. mountainproject.com for more details.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Bug Band - As good as it claims!

Contributor:  Christine Kieft
It sounds like a gimmick right?  Some stupid rubber bracelet that you strap on your kid and when you get home he's covered in bug bites.  I was pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness and scent of this product.  At one point the mosquitoes were swarming around my son's head like he'd been dropped in a pool full of piranhas, as soon as I put the bug band on they disappeared. We camped for 2 days and 2 nights and my son didn't get a single bite, while the rest using DEET and DEET Free bug spray weren't as lucky.  

The band is good for 120 hours of use. If you only use it for a few, put it back in it's case and save it for next time.  Because my son likes to put everything imaginable in his mouth I would either put it on his ankle, strap it to the back of his bib during meals, or hook it on the Beco Butterfly II (http://thekidproject.blogspot.com/2011/07/beco-ii-butterfly-must-have.html) while hiking.  We got ours at Baby's R Us for less than $3.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Families that play together, stay together.

My title is adapted from my parent's favorite marriage counsel- those that play together, stay together.  It is derived not from studies or stats but from years of experience.  Years of watching friends married, friends divorced and friends re-married. And over the years it has been drilled into my head too.  I was asked by an acquaintance why I never drank or did drugs or partied in high school.  Thinking back, it is sort of a miracle- as all my friends did.  But then I answered,  "I never had time too.  My family skied and camped religiously.  We were gone every weekend from Friday night to Sunday night."  And I cannot help but think that seemingly small thing kept me out of a ton of trouble.

Chris and I noticed something about a year ago.  The times we got "out and about" together as a family, no matter how hard it was to get out the door, we always returned home closer and more united.  And that is what has renewed our passion for the outdoors and in turn for this blog.   Our desire is for united families, that interact and enjoy each other.  That are experiencing, risking, and acting together.  That is the vision for our family.  And we believe strongly in it.

Maybe the outdoors don't do it for you.  Maybe a weekend camping is like a trip to the dentist, you hate the snow and have a fear of heights.  I get that.  But find out what makes you tick and do it TOGETHER.  It is about so much more than climbing or skiing or camping.

Everyone Find a Buddy!

My husband and I love climbing.  And after our second kid was born we got back into it- but climbed only indoors at the gym.  We had written off climbing outdoors for quite some time.  But since moving to Utah- where endless numbers of route are 20 minutes from our front stoop- we wanted to figure out how to make it happen.  This is where my title "Everyone find a buddy" comes in.

Now a buddy can mean a few things - either another family that wants to bring their kids along too, so you can switch out babysitters for climbers - or - a rare and hard to find single that wants to join you and doesn't mind watching a few kids while you climb too.

We have been blessed with another family that loves to climb, had a kid, and wants to bring her along as much as possible.  And we make quite a crew!  In fact, we have attracted quite the comments from other climbers we pass with our clan of 4 adults and 4 kids under age 5. Ranging anywhere from "you guys are committed" (ie. crazy) to "Do any of you have a sister?  Cause I'd love to find a woman that would be up for that when I have kids."
So, find a buddy!  It is fun for the kids and it is fun for you!