Hi, my name is Sarah and my kids are more trendy than me.
I think we can all agree on what our kids’ favorite part of back to school is... THE CLOTHES! Thinking back to my childhood I was all about back to school shopping. It was so great getting to pick out all new clothing and a new style. We could start fresh and be whoever we wanted to be! Now fast forward 20 years and my kids are getting to do the same thing. They are not going to public school but I still thought it would be fun for them to pick out some new clothes to ring in the school year. We were so excited to partner with Gymboree and shop their all new styles. Just like my kids, Gymboree got a fresh new look and I have to say I am completely in love!! I kind of wish they had clothing in my size! One of my favorite things is that their clothes are very versatile so whatever my kids pick out for the day will look good together. We know we have all been in the situation of seeing what our kids come up with and just cringing. Luckily that wont happen anymore! It’s really a win win.
Something else that Gymboree has launched is their Made You Smile app. It can connect to their Made You Smile line of graphic tees and make them come to life through augmented reality. My kids couldn’t stop laughing when playing with this app. Best of all though is through the app you are enter the Surprize Surprize Sweepstakes and each time you chose at their store you are guaranteed to win a prize! I’m not the only one that gets pumped about this stuff right?! In school I was never the kid that won BINGO (that was totally rigged right?!) so I love that they have given each person a win with every purchase!
So now the big question is, each year when school started and you were able to go back to school shopping did you like to reinvent yourself or did your style stay pretty much the same? Secondly, what style do you remember most from school?? I remember choker necklaces and the first time I saw someone wear holes in their jeans. Oh! And the messy bun, how was it that some people just knew how to pull off the most perfect messy bun? Well, jokes on you 15 year old cool girl at school, I rock the messy bun every day like it’s my job
Camping is one of my girls’ favorite things to do but, in the past, when it came to bed time, we struggled. Thanks to Coleman we have a completely new outlook on camping. So many of their products are amazing but I cannot rave enough about their SunDome 6 person tent. It really is a game changer! In Alaska the sun hardly sets in the summer which means endless fun but also endless light to try and sleep through. When we first got this tent and read that it blocks out 90% of light I was hesitant to believe it. We popped it up in our backyard, in the middle of the day, to test it out and holy cow was I shocked!! It was DARK inside!! I am not talking “wow, that pretty dark for a tent” I’m talking “dark as my kids’ rooms with blackout curtains” dark! It’s a little weird to admit but I was instantly as giddy as the kids and couldn’t stop thinking about all the places we were going to travel because of this tent. Not only that but we will be able to go on longer caping trip because we wont get burned out from exhaustion! It’s a huge blessing!! The girls and I slept out in the yard the first night we received the tent and, no kidding, we slept until 8:00 am!!! The only reason we woke up then was because our neighbor was using a chainsaw to cut some trees down. Convenient huh?? Haha.
After trying out the tent in the back yard we couldn’t wait to take it out on a real trip! I had to laugh, one of my favorite things to do when we are camping is lay in the tent and read books, when we had the tent completely zipped up it was too dark to read. I have never had that issue before! Luckily there are multiple windows you can open to let some light in.
I have to admit, this was by far the fanciest camping trip I have been on. We not only had a tent that let us sleep peacefully but we have a huge cooler, and a stand up grill to cook our meals on. I think this is the closest to Glamping I have ever been and I was more than okay with it!! We are typically roughing it more or less when we go camping. All our meals are simple and shelf stable. Having a big cooler on the trip was such a great bonus! We were able to bring tons of fresh fruit and veggies. Wyatt’s favorite by far was the watermelon!
Our family has been planning on doing a big road trip around Alaska and camping in a few different towns but we kind of put that goal on hold this summer because Wyatt wasn’t doing the best sleeping in light conditions. We were scared that the whole trip would just kind of explode. I can’t even express how excited I am that these products from Coleman have put up back on track. It is going to be so wonderful to show our girls as much of Alaska as possible but even more wonderful to be able to do it in a really comfortable way! The 85 QT Supper Cooler can hold ice for 7 days and is plenty big to hold a good about of groceries. This means that we will be able to bring all the fruits and veggies our heart desires! I also think having the RoadTrip Grill will help the girls get less burned out on camping food. Haha. I mean, I love foil dinners but it gets a little old after the first couple nights. I really cant wait to update y’all once that trip happens!!
Below I have added easy to find links for each of the products we use so y’all can grab them for yourselves! I really hope this helps give ‘all the push you might be needing to get out and camp with your kids!!
“Back to school”. It is a phrase we have all heard our entire lives. When I was a kid I remember it being filled with both excitement and nerves. Now as a mom it is filled with a different kind of excitement and nerves. For some it means sending their little kids out the door bright and early and wishing them luck for the rest of the day. Not only hoping they had a wonderful day at school but also hoping that they got to their bus or carpool safe and sound.
As moms we get that there are a million plates we are trying to spin at once, I am so grateful that Logitech is taking over one of those plates. Thanks to the Circle 2 I can have eyes and ears on the girls and they go to and from our house even if I am in the middle of doing dishes, putting Wyatt down for a nap, or helping my 3 year old find that toy she just has to have right that minute. The Circle 2 easily connects to my phone so all I have to do is open an app and I can virtually make sure they get out of the house safely and wait for them to get home from school.
As a lot of you know I am going to be homeschooling so my back to school routine looks a little different. I am not only using my Circle 2 as eyes and ears on my front door but I am also using one downstairs in our “school room” I just love how versatile it is and I’m so excited to be able to have peace of mind both inside and outside my house!
To top it off in the most Alaskan way I know how, we just got word that we have a pack of wolves living close to our house so this will just be another level of wonderful protection from all the wildlife that surrounds us.
Thank you so much Logitech for helping us get Beck to School safe and sound.
There is a hike close to our house called Mount Baldy. It is a pretty frequently hiked trail and one that our family really loves. We normally hike the back side of the mountain because it is not as steep, but this time our kids had other plans. We got to this little pond where we normally turn right and make our way up the switch backs but this time my girls looked across the pond at a neighboring moutain and said they wanted to go straight up there. Honestly, for a second my husband and I just stared at each other trying to decide if it would be a good idea but then we just went for it. I kind of feel like if they are excited about it (and it isn’t dangerous) than we might as well go for it!
Luckily enough there was a little trail that is probably only used in berry picking season for part of the way up. It led us by watermelon berries, crow berries, blueberries, and all the fireweed we could ever imagine. Seriously it was a harvesters paradise!! We will have to go back with tubs to fill!! I couldn’t stop laughing because Kate was shorter than a lot of the vegetation around her but it didn’t freak her out of crush her spirits. She just kept hiking upwards like a champ! I was a little nervous that she was going to have to be held the whole way which would have been really difficult! I only had to hold her on my shoulders a couple times to get though really steep parts. (And yeah, my legs were screaming!)
Once we got above the tree line it was easier in the fact that there wasn’t a narrow trail to follows. It was still incredibly steep but we could go wherever we wanted. An added perk of this hike that was literally every time we stopped to rest we could reach down and gather a handful of blueberries. I am not sure I have ever been anywhere that was this covered in berries, it was so wonderful! I really hope little things like this the girls can remember when they are older. Or at least remember when they see pictures of it. I am trying my best to document life in Alaska through photos and videos but I am sure that I am lacking in some departments! The higher we went the better the views got and the more excited the girls became. I think it was a mix of being able to see how far they had come and seeing how close the top was. Although, if you have hiked a mountain before you know that the summit is ever changing and constantly seeming to get father and father away! Haha!
I can’t lie and say it was all rainbows and butterflies, quite honestly this hike almost didn’t even happen. There was so.much.whining before the hike even started! We almost threw the towel in. Then again before we were even out of the parking area Kate was complaining about her legs being tired. I knew it was going to happen, she is by far the least seasoned hiker and doesn’t even like walking around the neighborhood haha. There was a LOT of coaxing and bribing with food but you know what, she made it and that is all that counts! There were a lot of talks about how it’s not a bad thing to have tired legs, it just means your legs are getting stronger, and conversations about how the next time we go hiking it will feel even easier because she is working so hard this time. Then of course she road on our shoulders some of the times and that’s okay. She doesn’t have to be a pro hiker, she just has to give it her best effort!
Once we got to the top we stopped to have food and just relax for a bit before wandering around more then heading back down. This is one of my favorite parts of our hikes. I love sitting there with the kids after they have worked so hard to get to the top, and looking out on what we accomplished. Talk about immediate gratification!!!
So, what do you get when you mix 4 little kids and a hike straight up a moutain?
You get one of the most challenging, rewarding, growth invoking, awe inspiring days you can imagine! It is days like this that make my heart sing and my soul rejoice. I couldn’t love my family more and I am so grateful I get to share this beautiful world with them!!
If you have any questions about the gear we used, what we packed, or games we played along the way to keep their spirits up when they got tired leave a comment below and I will answer as soon as I can! ◡̈
I had to laugh the other day when the kids and I went on a picnic. Everything was set up so nicely, the girls had their snacks they packed themselves, the weather was perfect, there was a sailboat on the lake to watch, a float plane took off right in front of us, the girls had their awesome Regalo cots, and I... sat on the ground. How?! How in all my planning did I forget about myself. Isn’t that how it normally goes for us parents? A mom with 4 kids was sitting near us and we both just laughed at the kids’ comfort while I sat on the rocks. Honestly though, I am sure we have all been there and would agree that it is better that than forgetting something of the kids. We complain less, or at least we keep out complaining in our heads
Normally when I think about cots I picture camping or going to hotels but when we were packing up for this picnic my oldest suggested bringing them and she couldn’t have had a better idea! I mean really, it is pretty genius. They are portable beds so why not take then to the beach with you, it definitely beats laying a blanket out on the rocks! Now to just find an adult sized one. Haha.
Something that I absolutely love about these Regalo My Cot Portable Toddler Beds, is how easy they are to put up. Even my 3 year old is able to get her cot out of the bag, open it up and put the sheet on by herself! Not only is that wonderful for me but that has to feel so good for her! And lets face it, if there is one less thing for us as parents to do it a win for everyone.
A few weeks ago, okay, by now it was probably over a month ago, we went camping with them and I don’t think we have ever slept better! They have gone with us on a couple camping trips and I am sure they are the only way our girls are going to want to sleep now.
If you have been camping with kids you know that there normally isn’t really much sleeping, BUT, because they were up off the ground my girls some how slept longer than they do at home!! Maybe I just need to set up the tent and these Regalo cots in our backyard for the rest of summer...
Another game changer from Regalo was the My Play Yard we received for Wyatt! I have seen these in the past and kind of thought it was more for you to have ease from the craziness of a baby but after using it with Wyatt the first time I instantly saw how much safer HE was because of it! At home it keeps him from eating Legos and when we are out it keeps him safe from the water, or any other hazards that might be around. I am not totally sure why it took my so long to get on board with these but I am so glad that Regalo saved the day for us!!
Okay, so I know a few days ago I posted about this dream that I have been having. It isn’t an amazingly unique dream I don’t think but it is something that has been burning in my heart!
I really long to have more freedom to center our lives on each other. I want to travel and surround our lives in the best parts of living. I guess I don’t really have a tangible dream but I have a dream of what I want our lives to feel like. I want to be each other’s world, experience new things, be a unbreakable unit. Some ways I would love to do this are through travel, but not just flying to beautiful places, I want to have a small RV or camper and find hidden lakes and hike gorgeous mountains.
another big part of this though is our daily life. I don’t want to be full time traveling so I want our daily lives to reflect this less is more, unified feeling. I day dream about living in a small simple house on 5+ acres so my kids can roam free. I want to be stuck with each other. I want the kids to be best friends and embrace as much nature as I can. I want exploration to run through our veins. When I am 90 years old I want to be so full of precious memories that I know without a doubt nothing was left on the table.
To me there are few things that are truly precious in this life so I want to make sure that my life is filled to the brim with those things.
So what do I do about this dream of mine?
Honestly I don’t really know. Right now David has a really great job with people he enjoys being around. They have been so good to our family it is hard to think about actually moving on past that job. I am going to start small. I think naturally we start collecting things that we don’t need. There seems to be more toys in the house than what should ever actually be played with, clothing coming out of my ears, and spending money on stuff that is not lasting or fulfilling. Another big thing that will help get us in the right direction is watching our spending on going out to eat and other activities we do as a family. I think if we start really weighing the long term joy that things will bring us we will not only spend less but the things we spend money on will add to our life instead of detract from the end game.
We don’t have the ability to go out and buy an RV right now but we can take small weekend trips as often as possible. Something I am so bad about is not preparing. All week long I know I want to do something big on the weekend but I don’t get myself organized, then come Saturday morning my husband and I are left scratching our heads or completely rushing to get things together. We have all been there right?!
To be quite honest this is a big motivator in Homeschooling. This year was crazy with Jane in school. I knew life would change once kids went into school but I didn’t know just now consuming those changes would be. We would hurry to get her out the door in the morning then by the time she got home she was so cranky we were left with one emotional explosion after another. Every day she would come home telling me that just just wanted to be with our family. I am sure all of us parents get that to at least some extent with our kids but it was different with her, anyways, I guess some of those details should be saved for another day. I pray that with homeschooling we will not only be able to build up our family harmony again but we will have time to do stuff that is truly fulfilling.
It is kind of hard to put my dreams into words because so much of my dreams are about the feeling I want our lives to have. I guess I just really want to take back the reins to our life. Do you ever feel like you have just been going along down this path that everyone tells you is right, but in he back of your mind there is a nagging telling you that there is more out there, a more fulfilling path? There is so much good in this world, I feel like it is up to us to find our passions and goal for our family then do whatever we can to work towards that goal.
What do you get when you mix 4 little kids, snacks, and 8 hours in the car? A migraine.
To top it off we made a total rookie move and somehow forgot that Jane gets car sick. Don’t worry though, we drove on the most windy mountain road every built. Haha. Luckily there is a general store in McCarthy that had one pack of medicine for the drive home!
In all honestly bough it was such an incredible trip! The drive is constant beauty and wilderness. If we could somehow find a way to make a living out there I would move to Kenny Lake in a heartbeat. It was so amazing out here. We also got to see the Alyeska pipeline, Copper River, 100 beautiful lakes and about 1,000,000 Arctic Hares on the drive to McCarthy. If you are going to make this drive allow enough time to stop frequently along the way so that you can enjoy every bit of Alaska.
Kids are funny creatures though, my husband and I were in awe the entire time but my kids kept asking when we were going to get to the cabin. They could not stop talking about it and planning what they were going to do when we got there. I have to admit though, the cabin was much more than I was expecting. The cabin itself was fulling functioning (read: I can make all the meals at home instead of suffering through restaurants with crazy kids), had an awesome porch with mountain views an the kids favorite, a trampoline! We were in the middle of bush Alaska but thanks to Andy at Currant Ridge we felt like we were home sweet home.
It was so nice to be able to come back to the cabin and unwind after a long day exploring. I really can’t say enough good things about the owner Andy as well. He was so patient with the kids made sure they were happy and comfortable. He has chicken on his property and told the girls they could go out to watch them and check for eggs. Oh man, the look on their face when they saw an egg in the coop was one of the cutest things in the world. They were so pumped.
On each of the windows he has these pink strips hanging down to help the birds see them and because my kids are so young they were not able to just leave them alone. We had Abby take it to him and apologize for breaking one and not only was he so understanding but he took the time explain to her why they were there and why birds fly into windows. It’s the little things like this that really mean a lot to me.
Honestly I can’t say enough about Currant Ridge, everything about our stay was amazing and we can’t want to go back. If you are planning a trip to Alaska you have to add Kennicott Mine to your list with a stay at Currant Ridge! You will not be disappointed.
The other day I was looking through my old Instagram and Blog posts, they were full of beautiful scenery, amazing adventures, puddle splashing, and running free. To be honest for the past year I have been kind of living in the shadows, living in fear. I’d like to say my hesitation to get out was driven by my children, but in all reality it has all been me. I am the one that just hasn’t quiet gotten over what happened. I am the one that has been holding us back. I am the one that is keeping us in the shadows.
This blast from the past was a wonderful kick in the pants. It got me ready to take my life back. I want to run free, I want to see and do and be full of life again. I know that I will always be a little more guarded and I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but I want to gain the confidence again to get out with my children.
I decided to start small, we went to the Nature Center down the road from our house. It is not packed with people but I knew that I would see someone every 10 minutes or so. This used to be my happy place but I haven’t been for months because of my fear and anxiety.
I am SO glad we went! The weather was decent, mountains beautiful and most importantly the kids, and I, had such a great time! It as so nice to get out, hear the birds chirping and smell the fresh air.
My advice to you is if you are starting small like me, no matter the reason, don’t give up. Find your Learning Zone and take it one step at a time. I am so grateful to all of my old posts and experiences, I am grateful for the push they gave me to get back out with my kids. I pray that we continue to stay safe but that we also are able to build many more wonderful memories.
For a couple years now we have talked about getting some kind of off road vehicles but it just never has worked out. Until this year! The stars aligned and we were able to might the jump into the amazing world or ATVs!
We bought them with the thought of having this be our summer and so far it has worked out that way. The weather has been kind of weird the past few weekends but once we get all of our gear on we are plenty warm and don't even notice the wind.
The last two times we went out we took them to the Knik river. It is such a perfect place especially with kids! There is a lot of beach to ride on and explore but also forest with miles of trails to roam. We ended up letting the girls try steering the ATV this past weekend and they totally exceeded my expectations! They started out on the beach so that there weren't as many obstacles to dodge, this was great for building their confidence. After a while on the beach they were able to drive through the trails and honestly they handled it like pros. I'm so glad we let them drive, it not only made it more excited for them but it also helped build their confidence! Now they are sure they have to have their own ATVs haha. Maaaayyybe not yet!
We went back and forth for a long time trying to decide what we were going to buy. We looked at a Ranger Crew, two Rangers, two ATVs and just couldn't decide. After testing out a few options we decided going with a Ranger and an ATV would be best. It really has worked out perfect for us. Here is our pro list:
-two vehicles to drive in case one breaks down
-smaller trailer because it isn't two rangers
-with one Ranger we are able to put Wyatt's car seat in and Kate typically sits next to him buckled in (she also falls asleep just about every time we go out)
-ATV is a little more "extreme" of an experience for the girls
-Ranger has a bed for us to load up chairs, a cooler, kites etc. in.
-install a mountain grab bar on the ATV for the front kid to hold on to.
There are probably more but this is what I can think of right now!
This last weekend we took advantage of the fact that our Ranger has a bed. We took a big lunch, camping stove, kites and paints. It was so nice to be able to pull out the paints while we took a lunch break. The girls were so excited and entertained for the longest time! As an awesome perk I am going to collect them and store them in a big glass bowl/jar so that by the end of summer we have a beautiful colorful reminder of all the amazing things we did. I think it will be the perfect way to get through a long white winter.
I am so excited to share with y'all the new addition to our family. The Logitech Circle 2! This sleek home security camera really has it all and can be my eyes and ears either inside or outside. I am obsessed with it!
Every spring we Alaskans get to experience a unique aspect of life; moose will come into our yard and have babies. During this time we have to be very careful when we leave our house to avoid running into a protective mama and her calves. Thanks to Logitech I can safely check from my phone if they are in our yard before we walk out to the car. The Circle 2 has an amazing range of vision to capture the entire front yard and can even see at night. Connecting it to my phone was quick and simply, in about 5 minutes I had a live feed of everything Circle 2 could see or hear. This is going to be such a wonderful game changer for us.
The Circle 2 does not stop there though, it can also be hooked up in your house to be the eyes in the back of your head! We hooked ours up in the basement to check it out and were both surprised at the peace of mind it provided. While I was in the kitchen prepping dinner I could quickly check on the kids without having to leave what I was doing. Honestly, this was quite hilarious. My husband and I couldn't stop laughing while we watched them play and dance around. Right now Logitech is having a sale on the Circle 2 and I think I just might have to go grab another one to keep permanently down there.
In the picture on the right Kate is getting her work out on. Seriously, I have a feeling Circle 2 will provide hours of entertainment for me. These kids are so stinking funny!
In all seriousness though we will be homeschooling starting in the Fall and I can really see the Circle 2 being a great way to not only make sure they are being safe in the basement but that they are actually getting their work done. I know I will be down there with them most of the time I am teaching but as every busy mom knows we also have a million other things going on. While I run upstairs to put Wyatt down for a nap I can easily check on them to make sure they are making good decisions. But even if you are not a homeschooler, as parents, we all know there is no such thing as too safe. I am so grateful to be able to check in on the kids to make sure that everyone is safe and happy.
Don't forget to head back to my Instagram post and enter the giveaway or check out Logitech directly and pick up your very own Circle 2.