I am so glad that Strong is the New Skinny because after having 5 kids I can easily say that I am strong! Skinny however, might not be a term I ever use to describe myself again, but I am okay with that. I hope that you have been following along with the amazing ladies that have been sharing their inspiring stories,tutorials and tips. As a busy wife, mother, and person I find little time to fit official ‘workouts’ into my day. Yet, I try everyday to make sure that I make decisions that are physical and encourage movement. This is how I have come to find a happy balance in my stage of life, aka Crazytown! This is why I am so excited to be on this tour hosted by Becca from Free Notion and to share with you one of my families favorite activities – Hiking; or as we call it Finding Bigfoot. We live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and so there are plenty of amazing hiking trails through the hills and mountains that surround our city. Most weekend we are out exploring a new waterfall, lake, or just hiking a new trail. I think that hiking is such an amazing family activity. It keeps my family strong in so many different ways!
The first, is the reason for this tour – being active! My family loves sports. We love to play sports, listen to baseball games on the radio, watch our local Blazers or Winter Hawks do their thing, and we even like to sit on the couch and watch football. We could easily cozy up in our backroom and watch games while the kids play Legos and I sew the day away. Truth be told there are many a wintry Saturdays spent like this. Down time is good, but we also love to be active! When there was only one kid to chase after, I could workout, dance, and still have time for other daily tasks. As we have added children, jobs, homes, animals and ‘things’ to our lives we have had to prioritize. Individual ‘workouts’ did not really make the cut…as of now. So, my husband and I decided that we would find something we enjoyed that was active and we could do as a family. Walking around local parks turned into hour long and then day long hikes and weekend adventures!
The second is unity! Hiking gives my family the chance to not only be physically active but also allows us the opportunity to work together to achieve a goal. We take turns picking new places to explore. We keep a book filled with different birds, animals, and plants that we come across. Hiking gives our children the experience of using binoculars, compasses (even if they are from the Dollar Store), walking sticks, maps, and trail guides.
As we hike we also have the opportunity to talk to each other. There are seven of us and so our positions in the line shift and change as one child gets tired, two run off to case snakes, and another wants a picture of yet another banana slug. All these little things help us build trust, unity, and nice leg muscles!
The third way hiking keeps my family strong is spiritually! We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What this mean for us is that we believe in God and we believe that He created this world for us. We believe that we have a responsibility to not only respect and take care of the earth, but to also find beauty and joy in it. When we go out and hike we learn about the animals, plants, and functions of the physical world. We are able to take a 2-3 mile hike, that takes our little family a good portion of the day, up 700 ft to the top of a waterfall. There is something truly magical about resting at the top and looking out at the world around you and the family sitting next to you. Even if you are not religious, the experience of removing yourself from the busy world and enjoying the beauty that surrounds you will be worth every step!
While hiking is a great activity to get you out into the world and to get your muscles moving (aka aching), it can also be a dangerous activity if you are not prepared and or experienced. I want to share with you some of the things we have done to allow our young family to enjoy this activity and still be cautious and safe. As I said, we have 5 children. Our oldest is 11 and the baby just turned 3, so there are a few precautions that we take when we go out.
We stick together! We tell someone where we are going, we carry our phones, and we take a backpack. In our backpack we carry a few basic survival supplies, water & food, whistles, and clothing depending on the season.
This means that either my husband or I have to tote the backpack around as well as occasionally holding a tired child. Now that our youngest is 3, and we are in our mid 30’s, we are ready to divvy out the supplies a bit more. This is also because our children are now comfortable hiking and so they are getting a bit more adventurous and exploring further away from the security of our hands. If one of them were to get lost we want to know that they would have a few supplies on hand that will increase their survival rates. Just as a side note: I have lost my children in the grocery store more times than I have ever been out of my sight while hiking, yet being prepared is essential to survival IF we were to be separated.
Being a crafty mom who loves to sew, I decided to bring back the fanny pack – Phat Quarter style of course. I am making one of these for each of our children. They each will have an emergency blanket, a balaclava, a whistle, water, a flashlight, some snacks, a glow stick, and room for trail treasures (aka rocks, a snail or two, and perhaps a flower).
These are not survival kits, but a way for each child to have a bit more responsibility and help share the load. I have created a basic pattern & tutorial in case you would like to make one for your little ones and go take a hike! You can find the link to the tutorial here: Little Explorer Fanny Pack.
You will want to use some heavier more durable materials for the Fanny Pack. I choose to use Duck Cloth and Art Gallery’s new Textured Denim (available in our SHOP soon!). Even though it is winter for us we still love a good hike and so I wanted to make my kids the Balaclava from Greenstyle.
I thought it would be a great thing to have in the Little Explorer Fanny Pack. The balaclava was such a fast and easy sew! I think it took me maybe 20 minutes from printing the pattern to finishing the mask. You lose tons of body heat from your head, so in the winter time (or if you were to get lost overnight) having a balaclava on would a life saver and worth the time and energy to make! Greenstyle’s pattern gives you three different sizes so it can be used to create one for each person in your family!
I also needed a new pair of pants to wear this winter while hiking. I normally wear some athletic leggins under a pair of jeans in the winter, but sometimes I get pretty warm. I wanted something that I could wear that would dry fast, was lightweight but warm, and easy to sew. I found all this by using french terry and some organic knit from Birch fabrics new line Wildland, to make Greenstyles Brassie Joggers. It was a very easy pattern to follow and I like how they turned out. These are a slim fit pant that are perfect for stretch fabrics.
I would love to hear from you all about what family activities you do to stay healthy and active while in the trenches of motherhood & fatherhood. We are always looking for something new to try. I also hope that you have been inspired, not only by my stop on The Strong is the New Skinny tour but, also by the other amazing women who have opened up and shared their stories with you.
I feel silly even needing to state this disclaimer, but “better safe than sorry,” they say. The talented women participating in this tour are NOT trained physicians (unless they state otherwise). I hope you find their testimony encouraging and motivating – but they are NOT adequate substitutes for the advice of your own doctor, trainer, or other health professional. Please consult an expert before adjusting or creating your own fitness regimen.