Preschool Hikes: Learning and Exploring at Squak Mountain State Park

What would you do if you were stuck between a Cougar and a Tiger?

…SQUAK!

A little joke that gets tossed around in the outdoor world as an answer for why Squak Mountain has such a name since it is situated between Cougar Mountain (to the West), and Tiger Mountain (to the East).

I don’t exactly know the real reason for the name–I believe it has to do with the native people of the region–but we did go on a sweet little hike here this past weekend and found our time to be a perfectly pleasant family adventure.

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New Year’s Ferry Boat Ride: Seattle to Bainbridge Island, WA

Just for the fun of it, to make New Year’s eve a little bit more eventful and exciting for a couple of exhausted parents of a newborn, we took a ferry boat ride.

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Wild Tales of…2014 Travel and Adventure Highlights

Happy 2015! We hope your new year is off to a great start. Here in Seattle we enjoyed a quiet celebration with all four of us sleeping soundly when the clock officially struck midnight.  Not to worry though: Two of us were up soon after though as someone was in search of another meal.

With a fresh start and a brand-new addition to the family, I’ve found myself reflecting often on the past year because let’s face it: Things will never be the same! Growing from 3 family members to 4 is a big change and babies create a whole new dynamic of family life.  Routines, sleep habits, and the way we go about doing life are all shifting, so I’ve actually found it fascinating to look back at 2014’s adventures.

In order to get a complete look at our year, I decided to take it month by month.  Some months were busier than others making it hard to choose just one highlight, so here you’ll find our most memorable and significant explorations.

January-Cle Elum, Washington

In search of quick cold weather getaway, we traveled just an hour and a half or so to the small central Washington town of Cle Elum.  Instead of mounds of snow, we found sheets of ice creating difficult hiking conditions, but we enjoyed the escape and chance to unplug (no phone service or internet access!) nonetheless.

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Easy Backyard Activity: Pine Cone Bird Feeders

Late last week after a busy morning of running around and getting errands and chores accomplished, I realized that we were in need of some creative time.  We’d collected pine cones earlier in the week and they were ready and waiting to be a little bit more useful than just a lazy “center piece” decoration.

I’ve loved working through our fall bucket list just as much as our end-of-summer list! It feels so much easier when all your ideas and aspirations are already documented.  This way, when the time is right, I can consult the list and know just what to do.  Pine Cone Bird Feeders are on our fall list, and even though they are super easy to execute, I’d been putting them off in favor of more active adventures that had us leaving the house.

I read about the simple idea in one of our favorite outdoor activity references, The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book, and knew the feeders were something we would be able to not only accomplish successfully, but also enjoy!

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Sun Safe on Oahu’s Beaches +Block Island Sunscreen Giveaway

Doesn’t feel so seasonal to be writing about sun protection as fall (in the northern hemisphere) has started, the clouds are beginning to roll in, and the daylight hours are getting shorter and shorter.  Especially here in the Pacific Northwest, I have to admit, I start to get a little less anxious (okay, A LOT less anxious) about the possibility of the sun burning my family in the fall and winter months.

Still…

I apply a sunscreen each morning via my daily moisturizer.   No matter the season or weather forecast.  Admittedly, my skin is the fairest of fair, freckled, and just asking to be burned.  I get sunburned just thinking about the sun.  Not really, but I have been burned indoors.  You just never know.  It’s important to take a few sun safety steps no matter the season.

The other reason to be thinking about sun safety and protection this time of year? Travel.

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Savoring the Season with a Fall Bucket List

When I took the time to sit down to compile our end-of-summer bucket list, I wasn’t sure if it would actually work for us.  To be honest, I thought we might get around to a few things here and there, but ultimately would be left with some disappointment.

Not the case!

Maybe my doubts helped to drive the force of accomplishing or rather getting to enjoy each of our items, but I’d also like to think that creating the plan gave us a road map to navigate our way out of summer. Choosing items with each family member in mind also gave us some guidance on those occasions where we may have been stuck with the question, “What should be do this morning, afternoon, evening, etc..?”

A  quick wrap-up post will come soon so you can catch a glimpse of all the end-of-summer fun, but in the meantime, since our first “go-round” went so well, we’ve created a fall bucket list! Included in the list are nature and outdoor focused activities that we would like to get to this season.

With our great Pacific Northwest region in mind and with the help of the Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book, for a little more inspiration, we came up with 10 things that we think will allow us to completely savor fall.  You’ll also hopefully notice that they all involve getting outdoors in some way or another.  We want to make sure that the inevitable rains don’t keep us from taking advantage the beauty and goodness of fall in the Seattle area.

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Picture Books to Excite and Inspire Fall Outdoor Play

One of my favorite ways to prepare for a new season is to just immerse myself in all the wonderful things the time of year has to offer.  A huge stack of library books does the trick.

Books not only give us ideas for how to best enjoy ourselves outside in honor of the changing weather and foliage, but they also ensure that we don’t miss a thing during this special transition.  I hope this list gives you a starting point, or building point if you’ve already started, to form your own collection of favorite fall inspired stories!

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