XShot Pro Camera Extender (Selfie Stick)

selfie
XShot Pro Camera Extender

Recently we snagged up an XShot Pro Camera Extender (a selfie stick) GoPro Pole that we’ve really been enjoying.  We’ve had a few different cheaper models that have performed like CHEAP accessories. This is NOT the case with the XShot Pro. The quality of the knobs, telescoping arm and handle is top notch.

selfie stick
XShot Pro Camera Extender Package
selfie stick
XShot Pro Camera Extender package

The extender comes pretty much assembled straight out of the box, minus adding the adapter for either a GoPro or your regular handheld camera. One of the only drawbacks to this model is the need for an additional allen wrench (comes in the box) to change from one adapter to the other. This is not a big deal if you only plan on using one camera during your outings, but if you would like to go back and forth between a GoPro and a different camera, you’ll need the allen wrench handy to change them out. On a positive note, the knobs to tighten the camera in place are of great quality and are easy to utilize even with gloves on.

selfie stick
XShot Pro Camera Extender – adaptors
selfie stick
XShot Pro Camera Extender – allen wrench

Having a “camera extender” is not just about taking selfie shots (although it is handy for doing that). The camera extender allows you to take pictures from totally different angles than you were previously able. We also find that we get better video angles while chasing our toddler around when we have our camera on this extender. Capturing the moment via good photography and videography is all about changing the angles from which you can capture the shot.

Nikon selfie stick
XShot Pro Camera Extender
selfie stick
XShot Pro Camera Extender – wrist strap

I’m a firm believer that the quality of new gear is based on the performance, so check out some of the shots we took this week while snowshoeing outside of Boulder Colorado. If you are in the market for a new angle on your pics, follow this link and checkout the Xshot Pros ASAP.

 

selfie stick
XShot Pro Camera Extender
selfie stick
XShot Pro Camera Extender
selfie stick
XShot Pro Camera Extender

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Hiking at the Red Rocks

With the holiday season upon us, our life is packed full of parties and obligatory functions, keeping us close to home.

Today we craved some fresh air and time with our cameras, so we head over to the Red Rocks in Morrison Colorado.  We spent the day hiking, eating snacks in the van and shooting some great photography of the Red Rocks area.  Our toddler couldn’t get enough of the Xshot Selfie stick.  Enjoy our short video below and let us know what you are doing this time of year to get some fresh air.

 

Best Gifts for Outdoor Families

Best Gifts for Outdoor Families!

Do you have an outdoorsy family on your holiday list this year? Check out our Gear List for those active families! From Luci blow up solar lantern to Bar Mitts to an ENO Picnic Blanket, this list has it all!

Luci  strider chains bar mitts water bike bag geocachefat tire bikesrock climbingdown jacket coleman candle  bike helmethiking book  eno coffee

snowshoe  snow boots

 

What have been your go-to gear items this past year? Anything you are excited about in 2016? We have used all the items above and LOVE them! We recommend this gear for all families!

adventure family

 

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Mountain Biking in Fruita, CO for Thanksgiving

 

If you’ve followed us for any significant amount of time, you’ll notice that we don’t let stereotypical holidays drive what we do with our down time. We’ve spent Christmas in Nicaragua and last year we spent Thanksgiving in Florida on the beach. While we like to eat ourselves into a sleeping coma as much as the next person, we’ve adopted the habit of NOT spending all the time and effort to cook up a Thanksgiving feast and have instead chosen to eat out for the holiday.

 

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So this year, when selecting a cool place to spend our Thanksgiving vacation, we made sure there was a solid all you can eat buffet nearby! After considering a multitude of locations to spend our time, the desert, single track and hometown environment of Fruita, CO shot to the top of the list.   So we loaded up in the Dodge Sprinter with four bikes, three people, and lots of beer for a road trip out west.

 

If you’ve never been to Fruita, you need to stop what you are doing right now and load up your mountain bikes for some epic single track. Upon arrival to the area, we ripped through town and headed straight to a section called the “Book Cliff Area” out on Road 18. We crashed out at the camping area and started early the next morning. My wife and I both took our fatbikes for this adventure and a Surly Big Dummy with a Yepp seat for some additional gravel grinding and super chill single track with the toddler on the back. After a morning cup of coffee and a stunning view of the sunrise, I took off to ride Prime Cut and Joe’s Ridge.

 

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We spent the entire day alternating chasing our little girl on her Strider and individually knocking down all the trails in the Book Cliff area, to include Kessel Run, PBR, Chuttes & Ladders, Vegetarian and Down Uppity. The views from these trails are spectacular and the super narrow and swoopy single track is what this area is renowned for.

 

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Although the mountain biking played a major part of this weekend, you can’t spend a good Thanksgiving without friends and family. So we packed up and headed to a house we rented with a group of our friends in downtown Fruita. The house we rented off VRBO was the perfect size and location. Our friends arrived in town excited to rent bikes (they had never mountain biked before) and see what all the hype was about. The folks at Over The Edge Sports in Fruita hooked them up with a few super nice full suspension Trek bikes that spoiled our new riding companions.

 

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Riding the excited wave of renting these new bikes, we went out to test the new riders’ skills on Rustler’s Loop at the Kokopelli trail area. We plopped our daughter on the back of the Surly Big Dummy in her Yepp seat and took off for an easy introductory ride. The views encountered on this trail cannot be properly described or captured by a camera. The trail is perfect for beginners or folks looking for a nice easy 3.6-mile ride. We had a blast, finishing just before sunset.

 

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True to our style, we started Thanksgiving morning with some miles on the mountain bikes back out at the Book Cliff area. The wife and I took turns ripping down trails with our friends and hanging out with our 3 year old. To my surprise, our daughter was really tearing up the trails on her Strider.   She constantly yells out “who doesn’t love single track!” I think Santa is going to bring her an Isla bike this year for Christmas.

 

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So it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without TONS of food and afternoon naps, so don’t worry, we didn’t completely forget about that obligation. After getting our fill of miles on the bikes, we loaded up and headed to “The Feedlot” in Fruita for some fantastic grub. After much deserved afternoon naps, we spent the evening playing games, having a few beers and exaggerating our epic cycling prowess.

 

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The next day we woke up to SNOW in Fruita! It’s ok, we had knocked down some serious miles already and needed to drive over the Colorado Monument into Grand Junction anyways. After a relaxing day we rolled by the Copper Club brewery in Fruita on the Surly Big Dummy and snagged up a few growlers of beer for the evening. What a cool brewery! They have some great beers and a very down-home atmosphere. Riding the Big Dummy with beer in the bags always brings a smile to my face, even in cold sleet.

 

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What a great few days with friends in a really cool area. Fruita Colorado should be on your shortlist of adventure towns to hit. Drop in on The Edge Sports for info/guidebooks on the area, tear up some single track and then head back over to the Copper Club for a beer to chat about your endeavors!

 

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Strider Bike – Strider Life

strider bikeWhen our little girl was 20 months old Santa brought her a Strider bike. You know the little tiny bike that doesn’t have any pedals. Where the kid just sits on the seat and “strides” along pushing their little feet while the bikes coast down the sidewalk. All the while they are learning how to balance. Amazing right!?

strider bike

Well she didn’t quiet take to it like we had hoped she would. She would walk over it and not sit on the seat. She would look at it and tip it over. Needless to say we were pretty discouraged by her lack of interest in this bike.

Especially since we bike as a family ALL THE TIME!

strider bike

xmas strider

So this past October we loaded her Strider Bike up in the Sprinter and headed to Vail, CO. (I received a Pugsly Fat Tire Bike for my birthday and we were on our way to pick it up!!) With 2 fat tire bikes and a push bike in the adventure van we headed to Frisco Bike Park. The Perfect Pump Track for our little girl to get some practice on!

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We took turns spending time with her while the other got to ride their respective fat bike. She did alright since she had hardly been on the push bike in nearly 2 years. We posted this video of her on Instagram. We got a comment that her seat was too high. So we took the friendly advice and lowered it….low and behold it made a WORLD of difference.

strider bike

Now our little dare devil is concurring all types of trails, skate parks and pump tracks. She LOVES single track and yells out “WHO DOESN’T LOVE SINGLE TRACK?!” while she is bombing down the trail!

strider bike

Its hard to keep her off the bike now.

We ride it nearly every day including trips to the mailbox and around the block in the snow.

This year if she is good Santa may bring her a pedal bike… we will see.

strider bike

strider bike

 

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Rails to Trails with your Family

Rail to Trails

Have you ever been interested in a rails to trails with your family? This summer we completed the midsection of the Katy Trail in Missouri.

 

We only had 3 days of vacation time so we chose the most scenic section and dominated it!

 

We started with an incomplete train ride (a train derailment up the line led to a 5 hour late bus ride). The delay caused us to arrive into our starting point at midnight. MUCH later then we had anticipated. Plus with a toddler who was anxious to ride a train (let down #1) and 5 hours past her bedtime (let down #2) we were doomed for disaster.

Waiting for the bus
Waiting for the bus

When we arrived in Sedalia at midnight, we unloaded the bikes, dawned our helmets and were about to set out on the 1/2 mile ride to our hotel when we noticed the toddler had one shoe on. She has fallen asleep on the bus ride and when I picked her up to disembark I must have knocked it off. This wouldn’t have been a huge deal if we had another pair of shoes for her.

One Shoe

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Day 1 started with a quick stop at the local Piggly Wiggly and then off to the trail head! Before we even stout on the trail we encountered snake #1 (of 10 on the whole trip).

Notice the socks....
Notice the socks….

We were under the impression that our first day on the trail would be long but steady. Not too grueling but mostly open and sunny. Half of this was true. It was HOT and SUNNY. Only a little shade cover but actually 200 foot decent, although it felt like we were headed uphill the whole way.

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After 50+ miles we stopped at the Katy Trail Bed and Breakfast in Rochefort, Missouri. The sleepy little town was very quiet at 430pm. After showers and some relaxing time in the AC, we headed out into “town” and found an AMAZING foode. Abigail’s Restaurant was perfect! locally grown organic food was perfectly made. They have different meals each day and the menu is on a whiteboard they bring to your table. It was a divine meal! Perfect ending to the first day!

Katy Trail Bed and Breakfast
Katy Trail Bed and Breakfast
Abigails
Abigails
Abigails
Abigails

Donate Clean Drinking Water for Nicaraguan Families

Clean Water Filter System

Clean water filtration system Filtron Nicaragua

This September we are making another trip to the beautiful country of Nicaragua for some well-deserved relaxation and rejuvenation on the beach. While we are visiting the country, Nica Vida Surf Lodge has graciously put together a volunteer opportunity for us to help supply some local villages with water filters, improving the health and quality of living for the local population. Clean water filtration system Filtration Nicaragua

We look forward to showing our toddler the importance of helping others that are not as fortunate as we are here in the United States. Please consider donating to the cause and we’ll be sure to capture the moment and provide pictures of your charity in action.

Skip Starbucks and DONATE

Skip one day at Starbucks and donate $5 towards part of a water filter providing clean drinking water to Nicaraguan children.

Skip the week of Starbucks and purchase the entire filter for a mere $30! If nothing more, take a moment to realize how blessed we are in the United States to live the way we do.

 

Cheers!

Donald, Sarah and Abigail





Family Geocaching

Who doesn’t like to hunt for treasure! Recently we’ve been spending a ton of time #geocaching with our toddler. It is basically a worldwide treasure hunt utilizing GPS navigation to identify hidden items.

Geocaching

By either utilizing a handheld GPS unit or even better an app on your mobile device you can be hunting for treasure in no time!

The app can be downloaded. Additionally we suggest putting together a bag full of little trinkets to exchange when you find your first treasure.

Total cost is less than $30 for an infinite amount of outdoor fun… no excuses, get out and explore!

 

 

FAmily Geocaching

 

#WhatisGeocaching #ScavengerHunt #ScavengerHuntIdeas #TreasureHuntClues

Make Nicaragua Your Next Adventure

I have been delaying writing these few post about Nicaragua for about 5 months now. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe the reality of writing them and reflecting on the awesome trip we had, makes it final. And no one wants to see the end of an amazing trip.

 

Our first full day in Nicaragua started at 9:00 when our driver and tour guide picked us up; Enrique and Gerald (like Gerald Ford he told us). Gerald spoke limited English but had been told over the years that was how to say his name so Americans could understand it. It worked!

 

 

Our first stop was the Masaya Volcano. After a quick tour of the museum at the base of the volcano, we headed up to the top. With 5 Craters and 2 volcanos, “the Spanish baptized the active volcano “La Boca del Infierno” or “The Mouth of Hell”. They planted a cross, “La Cruz de Bobadilla” (named after Father Francisco Bobadilla), on the crater lip in the 16th century in order to exorcise the Devil.”

 

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Next it was lunch! We headed to the art market and had an hour to tool around and purchase souvenirs. We sat down at an outdoor snack stand and purchased a large fresh fruit ‘smoothie’, a water and a plate of watermelon for the little one. All for $3 US dollars. You wouldn’t have gotten away with that at Jamba Juice for less then $15.

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We strolled the market and purchased a hand crafted pair of leather sandals for the princess. They had flowers on then and she LOVED them. The mistake I made was not purchasing them in a size bigger and a non “thong” sandal; poor girl got blisters in between her toes.  At the market I met an older man who had been an expat in the country for nearly 10 years. He owned multiple homes in both Nicaragua and Coast Rica and couldn’t say enough amazing things about the area!

 

Our next stop was a little town over populated with tourists because of a beautiful overlook that looked out to a water filled crater. With a small band and locals selling their handmade goods, the streets were packed with people. We purchased a bunch of mini bananas for less the $1 and a handmade dress for the little one for  $7.

 

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Enrique was a pro at being a tourist and we shared with him that we love to see things that weren’t exactly on the beaten path. So he took us to a friend of his who owned a pottery school. The school and the pottery making is in  the side of the home, the shop was in the front and the family lived off the back. This was one of the best experiences we had in Nicaragua. We watched and learned how pottery was made; from spinning the wheel barefoot to etching in the designs with bicycle spokes. While we enjoyed the lesson, our little one danced and made friends with the little girl who lived there. Gerald attended as well and kept and eye on her for us.

 

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When it was time to leave, Enrique said the little girl looked very sad that we had to go. He told us that most Americans who come there, do not let their children play with these kids. The little girl who lived there was almost scared when she started to play with our princess. She had never touched or even interacted with a white child before.

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We found this was the reaction ALL the children had with our little girl. They didn’t know how to react when she would run up to them and want to dance and sing! It was great by us, but the local children were very cautious. Once they warmed up to her overflowing personality, they all seemed to have a wonderful time.

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When we returned to our villa that evening around 4…the little one was wore out! She fell asleep while carrying her to the corner market and didn’t want up until 7am the next day! I tried to wake her up twice so she wouldn’t be waking up at midnight ready to start the day, but sure enough she slept through the night. She was one tired cookie!

 

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