My daughters school does a six week after school program twice a year. Once in the Fall and once in the Spring. My daughter has done some pretty fun clubs such as arts and crafts, photography, dreamcatchers and legos. When the flyer went home this winter for the spring session they were asking for volunteers. My daughter said to me, “Mom they will let you do a hiking club, you should do it.” The first thing I thought was, that sounds like tons of fun, a way to get outside more and encourage the younger generation to love hiking as much as I do. Then I thought, ugh another thing added to my plate, because let’s not lie we all think that from time to time. After my internal struggle and my daughter begging me to do it I reminded myself that this is why I work less hours, so I can do more activities with my daughter. I reached out to a fellow teacher friend who agreed to do it with me.
Recently, I have been seeing many blog posts, studies and reading material about how kids are not getting enough time outside. I have seen the recommended time at a minimum of three hours up to six hours a day. This had me thinking, “we are an outdoorsy family, I’m sure we meet this requirement.” I thought about my nine year old daughters’ typical school day during this month of March. In the morning she goes to a before school program that focuses on kids being outside. She is usually outside 30 minutes prior to the bus picking her up. Then she goes to school. After lunch she has recess, which is about 30 minutes. I pick her up from school, she comes home and does her homework. If she does not have basketball then we go for a 30 minute walk. That is it for outside time. An average day she is outside for only about 90 minutes, which is way below the recommended time. I guess we aren’t as outdoorsy as I thought. Our weekends are different as we have more time and there is usually at least one outdoor activity a day planned that is a couple hours, but that is only two days out of the week.
We all have our reasons for hiking and being outdoors. I have talked about some of mine, such as it being a good family activity, it usually does not cost money and I love how I feel when I am out on the trail. There is another reason that I have mentioned a couple times, but do not talk about a lot. I hike because I am a Social Worker. I like to keep my personal and my professional life separate. With March being National Social Work Month I thought it would be a good time for me to break out of that shell.
I recently wrote a blog post about How the Outdoors has Helped Me Live a Simple Life. Not an easy post talking about our struggles, but an important lesson for us. I thought I should give my wonderful readers an example of a day trip or activities that we do to keep ourselves entertained without breaking the bank.
When having a child involved in extracurricular activities, sometimes your weekend time is taken up by their commitments. The last couple months our daughter has had basketball every Saturday. I love watching her and her friends on the court, but I was starting to itch for a day trip. We are in the process of saving money for a big trip in May so I am being overly cautious of our spending. With finally having a Saturday free and it being the start of vacation week I wanted to do something fun.
What if I live a simple life? Have you seen the various blogs posts or memes talking about wanting to live a minimalist lifestyle? Then you see ads about the next new car, the bigger house, what we should be wearing or doing. Basically how to keep up with Jones. The struggle is literally real between wanting a simple life and keeping up with the Jones.
Growing up I lived a comfortable life. We had a nice house and nice cars. Due to my parents work I was lucky enough to have a summer home and our main home. We traveled around the country frequently, had many adventures around New England and I was able to go to Spain in High School with my Spanish Club. My friends and I grew up boating, snowmobiling, spending time at various friends camps as well as participating in various activities.
I love winter. Before you start the hate mail, I know winter is not for everyone, but when you live in New England we are blessed with this season for at least four to five months so why not find ways to enjoy it. I love hiking in the winter, the cold provides a refreshing crispness to the air along with magnificent views you do not get during other seasons.
Parenthood is not easy, there are so many parenting books, websites, blogs, social media posts all telling us how we should and should not parent. Are they right or are they wrong? This is a question that will be asked forever as new scientific studies come out and opinions change over time. The one thing that is consistent is that we want to raise well rounded, happy children. How do you do that? If someone finds out please let me know.
2019 is coming up fast and a lot of people are thinking about their new years resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. Two years ago I changed my frame of mind around resolutions. There are always the same ones like, save more money, loose x amount of weight, go to the gym so many days a week, etc. There is nothing wrong with these resolutions, but I wanted something different.
At the beginning of the year I was looking for a new way to challenge myself. With the help of Hike Like a Woman I learned of the 365 Mile Challenge. When reading the requirements of this challenge I thought it would be easy to get in 365 miles within the year. I walk and hike a lot, and when we have snow I cross country ski. The requirements of the challenge is do to 365 self propelled miles either walking, hiking, running, bike riding, paddling, snowshoeing or cross country skiing. My daughter, eight at the time, wanted join the challenge with me. We printed off two of the tracking sheets and off we went.
It is Christmas time which means we are looking for that perfect gift. The gift that won’t break a few hours after playing with it or won’t be thrown in the corner a couple days after Christmas. I am getting to the point that when I look for gifts for my daughter I want to try to make sure it is something that she will truly enjoy or use. Below are some of my daughter and my favorite kids gifts.
Fall is here, one of my favorite times to explore New England, with the crispness in the air and beautiful colors starting to pop, it is hard to resist a day drink. Even though we had a 1001 chores to do around the house, I did not want to pass up on the beautiful fall day. After soccer we jumped into the the truck and took a ride to Vermont. Our goal was to initially hit the larges corn maze in Vermont, but when we realized it was over two hours away we had to change direction.
Being in the outdoors has always come natural to me. When I was just a couple days old I went from the hospital in Presque Isle Maine, into the woods of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway where my parents worked. I live about 60 miles from town until it was time for me to start school. I was fortunate to spend 16 summers and a few winters on the Allagash. Here is where I learned to swim, canoe on lakes and white water, primitive camp, hike, read a compass, snowshoe, cross country ski, snowmobile, live in a cabin without electricy or the modern conveniences of home and overall survive in the wilderness.
Fall is upon us. I love fall for many reasons, the crispness in the air, the beautiful colors, the clear days, pumpkin everything and it’s my birthday season. It is also my favorite time to hike. The Monadnock Regions is a host to many wonderful trails that offer some great views in the fall. Below are some my favorite area hikes to enjoy the foliage.
This morning as I was laying in bed scrolling through Facebook, a memory popped up that a year ago today I announced that I was one of 22 women chosen to be an Ambassador for Hike Like a Woman (HLAW). At the time I was chosen I did not know what this meant other than I would get to connect with women who had the same passion I did, the great outdoors. Well this year has changed me in more ways than I could imagine.
As school and activities are winding down for the summer, it is time to focus on summer plans and bucket lists. I have had many people tell me that their kids want to hike this summer and have asked me about hikes in the area that are good with kids from babies up to Middle School age. This is very exciting to me. Even thought hiking with kids is not always fun, check out my blog post on that. It very beneficial so I have put together my list of favorites hikes for kids in the Monadnock Region. The hikes are in no particular order and I had input from my eight year old. Click on the trail name for a full description of each trail.
Have you ever struggled to do something and it’s bothered you so much that you felt you needed to face that challenge again. Well that recently happened to me, well it has happened multiple times, but the most recent was this past Sunday. The beginning of the spring I had some minor health issues, nothing too serious, but I had to put my hiking on hold for over a month to get myself better. After I was medically cleared to hike again. I did not jump back into hiking like I should have. I did a few easy hikes on short trails with minimal elevation. Due to my daughters activities, home improvement projects and lots of rainy weather, my hiking has been put on the back burner.
Every year my husband gets frustrated with me, as he always asks what I want for Mother's Day and I say nothing. I am not much of a materialistic person, I prefer experiences over objects. Of course I always love the homemade gifts and cards my daughter makes me every year, and I would not pass up a trip to the spa, but overall I do not want my husband spending money on items I may only use a couple times, if at all. I think this year, I finally got that I am more happy with experiences then material items.
When I started my online outdoor adventures I was not sure where it would head. It started out with my social media accounts, then onto my website and blog, then being honored as being an ambassador for Hike Like A Woman, where I have been able to pursue my passion of leading a women's outdoor hiking group and being able to encourage and empower more women to get outside and feeling more comfortable being there.
Anyone who has a public social media account knows that you run the risk of getting random people reaching out to you with various requests or opportunities. I ignore the majority of them, thinking they are spam. The beginning of this month I got a direct message from Adam at Wildish. There was something about this message that made me want to explore it further. Adam was reaching out to me after viewing my social media account and wanted me to be an Ambassador for his company. Curiosity got the best of me and I requested additional information.
Recently I checked something off my bucket list I have wanted to do for a while. Old Sturbridge Village located south of Worcester MA and near the Connecticut border, is a wonderful step back in time. My husband and I feel that we were born in the wrong era as the early 1800's seemed like a simpler time. You had to work hard and there was not the luxuries there are now, but you focused more on what mattered like family and building the life you want instead of the constant rush and demands to today's society.