A Littel Girl’s Wishes Are Granted

Nothing makes me happier when I see a spark in the eyes of a child who loves to be outdoors. Even at a young age you can tell if you have one of these children or not. I have a family that I offer childcare to that has one of these children. She is just shy of three years old and often tells us that she wants to do the things we do, such as kayak, standup paddle, hike and go fishing. She helps me pack supplies every Friday for whatever it is that we have planned for our weekends and every single Friday she says she’s going to come too. I knew this past Saturday we were going to have a pretty low key day at the beach so our son could give paddling a try so I asked her parents if we could borrow her for the day. They happily granted us this request which meant her little wish was was going to come true. She was finally going to get to kayak, standup paddle and go to the beach with us.

We packed up our supplies as usual adding her water shoes, suit, towel and PFD right along side of our gear. We talked about what we were all going to pack for a picnic, who would all be coming along and so on. We made a list for her mommy and daddy of all the supplies she would need to bring Saturday morning. And, I also added, that she needed to go to bed like a good girl and sleep a long time because Saturday would be her big day.

She showed up Saturday morning and we all packed into the truck and off we headed…to the beach. Upon arrival, she could not change into her suit fast enough. We hauled all our gear to the edge of the beach, laid down some safety rules (no entering the water without a life jacket on) and then it was play time.

Her first wish was to try kayaking. We did bring our recreational kayaks for her to ride with one of us in but my husband was the first one in his whitewater kayak. She immediately ran to him and he just sat her on top of his kayak skirt and she was all smiles.

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We eventually got her to get into a recreational kayak with me and we paddled the lake for a bit before she said it was time for the standup paddle board. She wasted no time hopping on but was a little more unsure about this ride than the kayak. I think she expected sides on the board and obviously there are no sides to hold you in.

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Her biggest wish was to paddle by herself. She is three and it’s all about independence so my husband granted this wish but dropped down to his knees because she was not brave enough to stand.

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She was one happy little girl, doing all these big girl sports. After some time though, the little kid came back out in her, my husband and my son. They all joined her in building a sand castle together.

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We called this Addie’s Island and it even had a waterfall!!!!

About two hours into our day her little belly started to get hungry so it was picnic time. I knew exactly what she all asked for and most of it was granted along with a few of her favorites, like green peppers and hummus.

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We really all had the best time. She was a complete angel the entire day. She enjoyed playing in the sand, getting to ride alone in my husband’s kayak while we spun her in circles and even using her big muscles to paddle with me really fast to beat my son back to shore for our picnic. It was a wonderful day!

I should point out, this is typically not part of what I do for my daycare families. I don’t often see this spark in a child anymore and it is quite heartbreaking that many kids will never get to experience things like this in their lifetime. This is the same child that requested to come hiking with us one day and we also granted her this wish back in Spring. Since then, her parents have followed along and have taken her camping for the first time and also on a few hikes. I am so proud they are encouraging and granting her the opportunity of an active lifestyle in the outdoors.

I am also very thankful they granted us the opportunity to have this day with their daughter. The big hug, kiss and thank you I received when I went to put her into her car seat before leaving the beach for home made me so proud. I am quite sure she will remember this trip for a long time.

A big Thank You goes out to her mommy and daddy:)

 

While On Dry Land We….

This was a water free weekend for us and I can assure you we do not hope for many of these. Even though we did have some fun this weekend, it just did not happen in a body of water anywhere.

After planning all week to finally get our son to a beach and let him see if he was able to paddle a recreational kayak (not his whitewater kayak quite yet) mother nature seemed to have a better idea for us. He has not touched a paddle since his accident and misses kayaking so much. However, with storms predicted mid afternoon, cloudy conditions  and wind on Saturday…this all meant the beach was not a good idea. That was ok, but then Sunday mother nature thought it would be funny to predict a high of 72 degrees (which it never reached) in the middle of August….which also meant the beach was off limits. I would have froze. And in our home, when mom is not happy no one is happy.

Instead we made a trip to our favorite veggie market Saturday.

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Stocked up on cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, corn, zucchini and one peach for my hubby. Then we came home and started cooking. First we made fire roasted salsa,

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then refrigerator pickles,

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and I used a wonderful idea from Jen and decorated a store brand hummus for a get together we had planned for Saturday night. I also plan to make our favorite zucchini bread this week with my daycare kiddos. They love to do cooking activities.

While we are on the topic of food, let’s talk about our dinner plans that happened Saturday. We invited our neighbor over for some taste sampling before our camping trip we will be taking together for the first time in the near future. She had never had a freeze dried meal and we have an entire case for emergency purposes. You know, in case I have a bad day and feel the need to hike up a cliff away from it all….not the natural disaster type of emergencies, we are not that organized here:) Anyways, we picked out three of our favorites and prepared them at home for dinner and we each had a little of all of them. Along with the meals, I also served that jazzed up hummus, salsa, chips, veggies, and spinach dip.

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Her reaction to the meals before preparing them were amusing but when she was served a sampling of each she was even more skeptical of the outcome. Much to our surprise each meal passed her approval.

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She is even talking about trying a few of her own now that she has a little experience with this form of food.

Switching the topic from food to camping brings me to my wonderful buy of the weekend. Since our last camping trip at Copperfalls State Park, my husband and I decided to invest in two self inflating sleeping mats. I think we are either getting old or the ground is getting harder, either way we needed something to make us feel more mobile in the morning. Well, I am proud to say, I came across a spectacular buy and could not believe it when I found them. We shopped around locally testing out various mats and had our minds set on Therm-A-Rest  Basecamp mats.

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Although, at our local sporting goods store they were quite costly coming in at $109.00 each, so I came home to research how cheap I could find them online. The best I could do online was $98.00 for the size we wanted and that was still to much for my frugal mind to spend. Then I just happen to drive past another store near the grocery store I needed to go to on Saturday. I thought, what the heck, it does not hurt to check, right? In I went, found the correct size right away and saw a red sale sticker for $69.99 and could not believe my eyes. I even had the sales associate do a price check and he happily came back and said, yes that is correct….SOLD I took two immediately. So of course we had to do a trial run and see if they would be comfy all night on hard ground. So hubby and I camped out on the floor Saturday night and could not have been happier. No hip or back pain at all. I was thrilled:)

As for Sunday, we decided to take a drive to one of our favorite disc golf courses. It’s a little bit of a drive but worth it. I will share all the good information later this week regarding the course and how we did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July Goals

I feel as if summer is just flying by so quickly. Which is why I decided to make a list of goals for July. My hope is to make sure I get at least some of these things accomplished before this month is over.

Not a single thing on my list is related to work, home improvement, or honestly a chore. It’s all mainly fun things, health related things or things that just need to be done before we run out of summer. The way I see it, I can do work, home improvements and chores all winter long.

My July Goals:

1. Get out on my SUP as much as possible

In the past summers we have either kayaked more or had vehicle issues that I was not able to spend as much time as I would have preferred on my SUP. Not this year….we made a car top carrier purchase back in March and it was the best buy we made this year. Now I can go with either vehicle whenever I wish.

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2. Get rid of the tan line that circles around my ankles from my kayaking shoes!!!!

Normally this would not bother me in the least bit, BUT, some friends of ours are getting married in a few weeks and it is not going to look so nice in the sandals I plan to wear. So I figure I better at least try and even this out somewhat before then.

3. Have a Mom’s Day Off 🙂

Since my own son is 19 yrs old I don’t consider myself a full time mom anymore. I hold more of a part time status in this matter. So really this is just a day off of being a mom, wife and a childcare provider. I already have it planned, our destination is chosen, and the women I plan to go with is also arranged. Now we all just have to not let life happen and have it be cancelled for some reason or another. Here’s to hoping and we have a great time.

4. Date night with my husband

What can I say, we spend a lot of time together but never really on a date. We should make this a priority but we don’t. After 20 years of marriage, date nights are kind of over rated. However, it is my turn to plan our date night and what I want to do on this particular night is super exciting and I can’t wait to try it. He was the one that got to plan the last date night and it ended with me riding a roller coaster which I will never do again.  Now we just need to pick a night and make it happen.

5. Try 2 new recipes

Summer time is the worse time of year for me to cook. If I had a backyard outdoor kitchen it may be different but I don’t. So this goal will be hard to do but may be possible if it rains two days in the month of July.

6. Defunk our kayak equipment

I know I said no chores but this one is really super easy and will only take a few minutes. If you are a kayaker you will know what I mean by DEFUNK! Kayaking gear can get pretty smelly and it literally takes seconds to fill up a tub with enzyme solution, dip each piece of equipment and hang to dry. I try and do this at least once or twice during the summer and then a final time before storing the equipment for the winter.

7. Try a new restaurant

We have a few new restaurants in the area and we always seem to venture back to our normal favorites. We really need to broaden our horizons and try some new places.

So there is the list. Nothing too elaborate or difficult to achieve. Ha, I say that now but I know I will struggle with a few of these. I am hoping that by making a list it will help me feel a little more accountable. We’ll see….either way, let’s all hope for a great, bright, and sunny month of July and have some fun 🙂

What is one goal you hope to achieve in the month of July?

 

Weekend Highlights: A Visit With Friends at Clark Lake

This weekend we made our way to Clark Lake to visit some friends and spend some time on the water. For awhile now we have been talking about checking out this lake and Saturday seemed to be perfect. Hot, humid and sunny in Green Bay meant my hubby would be miserable so we headed to Door County where it was sure to be cooler.

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We arrived and it was 10 degrees cooler, no humidity and quite windy which meant my hopes for a nice time on the water quickly faded. I was bummed to say the least. We arrived at their cabin and not long after that the sun decided to come out. (I was getting happier) We decided to drive the short distance to the other side of the lake where the small beach area was and to my surprise it was much calmer and gorgeous. (I was now very happy again)

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We had a great time with the kayak and SUP we brought and really enjoyed chatting on the beach. Both my friend and her husband tried out kayaking for the first time and one even got brave and tried the SUP. However, kayaking seemed to be her preferred paddled watercraft of choice.

After a few hours at the beach we loaded everything back up, had a nice lunch at their cabin and then they took us for a tour of the lake on their pontoon.

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It was a wonderful end to a gorgeous Saturday with friends. I know we will be returning again to play on this lake in the near future and hopefully spend some more time together away from the big city we live in.

We are very grateful to have had such a wonderful day at a cozy cabin on a wonderful lake.

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Get Up and Move Challenge Update- June

Hey everyone how’s it going? Are you still moving? Did you decide to participate in the get up and move challenge?

We are so in summer mode here at our house that 30 minutes of active movement is never an issue. Even though my gym time has been cut way back from what I do in the winter months, I know I am burning more calories now. My days are packed with outside play with all my daycare children and my nights are packed with anything and everything you can think of. I really try and make it to the gym at least twice a week and the remaining nights we walk, play disc golf, or hike.

Our weekends are spent mainly paddling either our kayaks or my SUP. Two totally different animals but both are great workouts. My SUP offers me a full body (especially a core) workout where kayaking for me is mostly upper body. Once in a great while I will squeeze in some time at the gym on a Sunday if the sun is not shining or the weather is unfavorable for anything else outside.

Regardless, I still have my home gym workout happening every single day Monday-Friday. I can’t go far during the day when the kids are napping so having a home gym is perfect, all I have to do is go downstairs and it’s right there.

As for my husband, he is also still going to the gym on a much more regular basis than I am. His job is much less physical than mine on most days. He works more with his brain than his body and gets done much earlier than I do. So sometimes he will stop on his way home, workout and still make it home for dinner and then go for a walk or hike with me at night.

Ultimately, we are moving, moving, moving right along.

Tell me what you are finding for active fun in these wonderful summer months.

Have you tried anything new?

 

Weekend Highlights: Rhubarb Jam and Getting Reunited With My Standup Paddle Board

What a spectacular weekend we had. It all started Friday night. We had the great pleasure of being invited to clear out an entire patch of rhubarb from one of my daycare families yard. I was beyond thrilled with this offer from them. Immediately the wheels started turning in my head. The cookbooks were out and I started adding to my grocery list the ingredients needed to make jam and rhubarb bread.

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Thankfully, after cutting a ton of stalks, my husband offered to do all the cleaning and chopping so I could get the rest of the grocery shopping done Friday night. I returned home to find it all chopped and packaged in the frig waiting for me to prepare. Although, this would all have to wait until Sunday.

Saturday was our day of play which really turned into a day of pure relaxation. I finally got reunited with my standup paddle board after many, many months of it hanging on the wall. We loaded it up on our new Thule roof rack system we purchased back in March and headed to a new lake we were told to check out from a friend.

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Let me just say, I was in HEAVEN! The lake was calm, quiet, and not a weed in sight.

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Weeds are always a big fear of mine especially if I fall into a patch of them…ewwww! However, no one fell in this time. I paddled for quite a few hours. My husband fished from one of our recreational kayaks while I simply enjoyed the calm lake. At one point I decided to lay back on the board, take in some sun and actually dozed off awakening to find that I had drifted into the lily pads on the edge of the lake. Now that is relaxed, I guess I needed some down time. Thankfully, I fell asleep with my PFD still on :/

Sunday brought the day to put all that rhubarb to good use. I made rhubarb sauce for pancake topping or it’s also great on ice cream. I also made rhubarb bread, mini muffins, and jam.

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I still have about three gallons of chopped rhubarb to use up  but I ran out of time. After all that cooking it was time to get a gym workout in before the stormy weather hit Sunday night.

I could not have asked for a better weekend. I hope you all enjoyed your as much as I did.

 

 

 

 

Kayaking With A Newbie- A Guide’s Checklist

It’s almost time to start thinking about dusting off our kayaks and going for a paddle. I thought I would give you all some good information we have learned over the years about taking a newbie kayaking with you. I remember clearly all my fears as a newbie and think this could benefit many others.

I will never forget the first time my husband begged me to try kayaking with a friend of his. I was not willing and said I never would be. So he took our son and the three of them went. Our son tipped over the first paddle stroke he took and they arrived home raving about the experience. I just shook my head in mom fashion and said I was glad they had a good time. End of discussion!

However, that was not the end of my husband trying to get me to go. It’s all I heard about, everyday, for days on end. Then one night he arrived home from work and waited patiently for my last child to be picked up and my work day to be over. He told me to go change, and get in the truck, we were going kayaking with his friend and he was not taking no for an answer. I spoke my mind, said I was not going and that was that. Well, about 20 minutes later I found myself in the truck, not speaking to my husband and very unhappy. I finally just gave in, because I figured it would just be easier. I assumed I would hate it and I would never have to hear about it again. Little did I know how wrong I was.

We bought our first two recreational kayaks that next weekend. One more a few weeks after that. One year after having those, we bought our first two whitewater kayaks and a year after that I purchased my whitewater kayak. Which left us with two recreational kayaks for friends to join us. And we sold the third recreational kayak to my brother.

We wasted no time learning the ropes of this sport. We took a rescue class in a pool setting during winter one year, we purchased all the proper gear and also made sure to read up on the rivers we wanted to kayak. We knew this would all be very important if we ever wanted to have friends join us. A great book we find very useful for our area is:

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Since then, we have taken friends and family along for some paddling fun. Many really have no idea what to expect and others are into trying everything the first time in a kayak. When you are the one guiding the trip of the day,  there are a few important rules you should follow. Like everything in life, their first time in a kayak can be whatever they wish it to be. It can be an adventure, a wild ride, a relaxing paddle, a way to connect to nature or quite the workout. However, it can also be a terrible, dangerous, miserable experience if they are not prepared for what could happen on a river in a kayak. That is where you, as the “guide” comes into play. A good guide can really make or break any trip. Here are some important pointers as a guide of a newbie:

#1 Check that everyone has the proper gear before leaving home. Examples:PFD, helmet, spare keys, water, sunscreen, portage shoes, snacks etc. Also, make sure their PFD fits them.

#2 Let someone (neighbor, friend, parent) know what river you are doing, from what point to what point and when you expect to return home. Just in case!

#3 Get the current weather forecast. If possible, try and take a newbie on a nice day. It’s not so cold and miserable when they decided to swim instead of paddle:)

#4 Give details of the river they will be paddling. Some of the most common questions for us when we are guiding a trip is: How do we portage? How many portages are there? Do I have to portage? Is there a place to change? What should I wear? (These last two are normally asked by females) Letting them know what to expect always seems to help.

#5 Stress proper hydration/nutrition throughout the day. Tell them to bring water and somehow secure it into their kayak. Remind them throughout the day to drink. You would be surprised how many people forget to drink. Also, ask them often how they feel. Would they like to stop for a snack? Are they comfortable?

#6 Assist them on paddle strokes and the feel of the kayak upon entering the water. Before you even start paddling, make sure they understand how to hold the paddle, what strokes do what, make sure their seat is adjusted correctly, and they are comfortable with their kayak. Making adjustments mid river is not always easy or possible for that matter.

#7Make sure you take them to a river you are familiar with. I cannot stress this enough!!! They are depending on you to know what is coming next. Especially with a river that has rapids. If they change their minds when they start to hear the rapid around the corner, you know where and how much time you have to get them out to portage before they are committed. Be a knowledgeable guide about the river you are on.

#8 Don’t push them too hard. Ask if they are tired and would like a break. Remember you paddle often, they do not. If they want to try something new, let them. On the other hand, if they need to think about it for awhile or watch someone else first, let them do so.

#9 Stress what to do in a roll over. This is usually the scariest thing for newbies, but let’s face it, it sometime happens. Tell them exactly what to do. Tell them in what position to float downriver, never to get between their overturned kayak and a rock and to swim to the rivers edge when possible. Explain to them how to wet exit their overturned kayak.  Remember it’s all about priorities. Rescue order should be people, boats, equipment.

#10 Bring First Aid. This is what dry bags are for. Accidents happen. You don’t need much, but when you need it, you will be glad you had it. We have used our first aid a couple times. From simple bandaids to gauze wrapped with duct tape. (Yes, duct tape! Holds great in water)

These are the basics for taking a newbie kayaking. Just keep in mind, a great guide can really make a great trip. If you want your family and friends to join you, show them you can be fun and knowledgeable all at the same time.

Safe and Happy Paddling Everyone!