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.
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 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.
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.
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!
Raising a kid is hard. I’m sure it has always been difficult, but with iPhones, electronic babysitters and more TV shows than one kid can handle, its hard to find balance. How do you teach a toddler empathy or compassion … by ringing the bell – Salvation Army style!
As parents we have been wanting to introduce our little one to community service. I saw a local volunteer opportunity and immediately signed us up. One hour in a heated ‘foyer’ of a big box store handing out candy and ringing a bell…PERFECT!
We each dawned our red aprons, filled our pockets with candies and started our shift. Our little 2 year old extrovert stole the show! She rang her bell and handed out candy to everyone.
After about 20 minutes she was exhausted. She sat on her little wooden stool and sang Christmas carols to people who donated.
At 2 years old she didn’t understand why we were there, the significance of what we were doing or who the donations will benefit, but she does learn from example. She smiled, sang songs and rang the bell that we have all come to recognize during the holiday season. Even at 2 years old she knows what its like to spread joy and love to others. That is what we wanted to teach our daughter.
With the holiday season upon us, lets take a moment to day dream. If I were to (HYPOTHETICALLY) give you $1,000 to spend on gear for ONLY YOU what would you spend it on? Here is my ultimate gear wish list!
So….. my list went a little LOT over my $1,000 hypothetical budget, but oh well. One can dream right!!
What would YOU get for $1,000? Peruse Amazon and let us know what you would put on YOUR wish list!
NOTE: I am NOT giving you $1,000 to spend on gear! This is just a nice way to day dream about what you would LOVE to have in your gear arsenal. Enjoy! Spend some time on you today, dreaming of YOUR ultimate gear wish list!
(I have not used all these specific items. I am NOT endorsing them. I have NO OPINION on how they work, how they fit or how they perform. I am merely DREAMING!)
Alabama has a renowned bouldering park called Horse Pens 40. North of Birmingham 30 minutes in Steele, AL rests an amazing bouldering park. Complete with RV and primitive camping, hot showers, water and electric hook-ups, a country restaurant and country store.
Historic Horse Pens 40 (HP40) is run by the “Shultz family and is located atop a mountain surrounded by serenity and clean air. Everyone is encouraged to explore the beautiful trails among the unique and amazing rock formations that give Horse Pens 40 their worldwide fame.” (HP40)
The weekend we arrived at HP40 they were hosting the CukoRakko Music and Arts Festival! We thought we would just boulder and camp. We almost turned back, but we are SO glad we didn’t!
An amazing weekend was had by all! 2 nights of camping, 3 days of exploring and bouldering, great live music and tons of local beer!
We rented a crash pad and a guidebook from the country store. We packed the little ones “rescue pack” and grabbed our climbing shoes. We headed to the rocks after breakfast. It took a minute to navigate the huge park, but once we had our baring, we hit the wall.
The little one watched, tried and pretended to have her toys climb as well. She enjoyed her snacks and dug in the dirt; picked flowers and grabbed sticks.
The weather was perfect, even a little chilly but nothing we weren’t prepared for. The concerts at night sang us to sleep, and the morning sun warmed the people doing yoga in the open field.
A few food trucks were on site, along with a beer truck complete with multiple taps on the outside of the truck. Hot coffee was served from another vendor, along with roasted corn!
Our campsite didn’t have access to a fire pit, so there were no smores for us, but we did enjoy the smell of campfires from the other sites near us. We hung our ENO hammock and at night before bed the little one would swing in it with her daddy and look at the stars while rocking to the music.
It was a perfect weekend. We are very glad we attended and will definitely be back throughout the year!
I spend a great deal of my time lost… I’m directionally challenged, as my wife likes to call it. But like many successful relationships having complementary skills makes a better team. Sarah is blessed with the sense of direction in our relationship.
Once, and only once… Sarah made the mistake of allowing me to navigate during one of our adventure races. Needless to say, we got lost.
I make up for my lack of navigational skills by having a motor that doesn’t stop and a seriously warped sense of what I call “fun”. A few weeks ago I was out on a very rare solo bike trip on my Surly Big Dummy. I had used the fancy “map my ride” app to draw up a nice 30-mile loop starting from my doorstep and heading out through the country (we just moved to a new state the week before so I was completely unfamiliar with the area).
About 5 miles into the ride I started really enjoying the scenery and was taking in all of the new sites, distracting me from the only item keeping me from cycling in the totally wrong direction and ending up in Mexico (my iPhone). Before I knew it, I had missed my turn and was down the road. This is not new for me! My wife would laugh and smile if you told her I got lost going anywhere.
When faced with the question of turning around or taking a new path, I had to take some time and remember what the goal for the day was. I simply wanted to get out and ride my bike. I had no time constraints or further obligations. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I wasn’t lost; I was doing exactly what I set out to do… Explore the area on my bike. I had self-imposed a route on myself that was randomly selected.
Once I was freed from the bonds of a set distance, route and time I really started enjoying the new surroundings. While on this free for all journey I came across Pike Road (a town also a road) and remembered someone had told me a CrossFit gym was in this area and had a really impressive facility/coaches. Without any assistance from my mobile navigation aid I stumbled upon the Pike Road Crossfit and have since locked in a membership and started training at the gym.
At one point in my cycling journey I was a go-getter triathlete, where every workout was important to me and distances/speed were recorded for evaluation. I don’t race like that anymore and sometimes need a reminder that I’m on my bike for more than just a workout. I’m out to take in the world around me from my bike. I realized on this day that my “curse” of being perpetually lost is my blessing. It helps me slow down and refocus on what is important.
I challenge you to take some time and just enjoy the ride. Any examples of when your wrong turn ended up being a new adventure?
I have been approached lately and asked “why are you writing a blog? What is considered Family Adventures?”
Great questions! Why do we spend our time writing, taking photographs, and creating video? Its simple. We think its critical to share with other parents how easy it can be to just “get out” and enjoy life outside the home and in the fresh air.
Its important to understand that you dont need a lot of money, a week of vacation time, or even a lot of experience or gear to enjoy an adventure with your family.
Here is a List of Simple Family Adventures you can enjoy any day of the week:
Picnic & Bubbles
Play at the playground
Walk in the Park
Hike at a local State Park
Visit local Animal Shelter
Walk the Dogs
Enjoy some popsicles outside
Run in a field
We put together a video from one of our weeknight adventures recently. The weather was amazing and its staying light out longer so we took the bikes to the local park and had a picnic.
We are avid CrossFitters and bring our little girl with us most days. She sits in her stroller and watches a kids show while we attend the WOD.
Today she picked up the door stopper for our sliding back door and started to do Snatches. Without being coached she just jumped right in! Seems like someone has been paying attention during the WODs.
The take away from this video is not that we are encouraging our 22 month old to learn olympic lifting, We are amazed at what children learn from their parents and people around them. We hope to teach our child to have an active lifestyle by embracing the world around her.
If you are anything like me, in between your planned and un-planned adventures, you are dreaming of future trips. It’s a blessing and a curse. We don’t have the ability to sit still and let the world pass us by. It’s ok! So in between those crazy outings, consider reading some of the below books I’ve found inspirational.
Very good book about how a vacation can turn into a life-changing event and how we should all look for opportunities to make the world a better place. Conor helps us realize the enormous possibilities in front of us, if we are just willing to try something different.
Great read about a family who jumped on a triplet bike and spent a year biking 9300 miles! I like books like these; it helps to put “crazy” ideas like this in perspective. Maybe my family will take off on a yearlong bike adventure and write a book someday.
This is a CLASSIC cycling story. Originally written in 1983, this book set the stage for many cycling stories to follow. The pictures of the gear they used are entertaining compared to current high-tech bags, bikes and shoes available now. Lesson learned from this book; you don’t need new fancy gear to do something awe inspiring.
Family cycling books are some of my favorite stories to read. It helps to read about how other families overcame difficulties and prevailed on trips nobody thought they could do. Mud, Sweat and Gears is written by Joe Kurmaski (author of Metal Cowboy and Riding Outside the Lines) and takes the same funny and well written stories he is known to produce and includes his family in the mix.
This book was one of the first books my wife and I read together as a couple. Gentlemen, you will enjoy the excitement of this mountaineering based story and your wife will appreciate the love story angle…. Everybody wins. Good read about a motivated couple.
I’ve shared a few of my favorite reads, please provide additional books for all of us to consider during future armchair traveling sessions.