Toddlers in the forest

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Owen found his first ladybug.  He just about lost his mind with excitement.

Belle was very worried about the ladybug’s safety and kept trying to hide it under leaves.

… she was right to be worried.  Owen trued to eat it!  But I quickly re-homed our new friend a few feet away.

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Why I encourage messiness

Throwing your kids in the mud to make them smarter?

Forget sensory bins.  They only provide input to your child’s hands.  They will make a mess. Your kids may play for 5 minutes and get bored.  They can be time consuming and expensive to put together.  (Angela J. Hanscom)

Try a full immersion sensory experience instead!

At the end of a rainy day, we hiked over to a mountain biking trail.  There is a 10 foot drop for bikers.  Because it was rainy, it was deserted.

We turned it into a mudslide!

The kids had a blast throwing themselves down the muddy hill.  Making mud pies.  Rolling down the hill.  We lost some boots.  Kids used every ounce of their energy going up and down this hill.

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We returned home with about an extra 30 lbs of extra mud on each kid.

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Late Winter Challenge

This is the last day to complete our Winter challenge!

Post below that you have completed the whole challenge, what were the best and worst moments?  Leave your email address and I will send you a link to a short video of some highlights of our spring break.

Kids or Coyote snacks?

Coyote information to keep your kids safe when hiking or playing in the forest

Enjoying nature with your little ones can be wonderful.  Worrying they are going to be eaten by a coyote, not so wonderful.

How do you keep your kids from being a bite-sized coyote snack?

First, here is a short video on what is called Coyote Hazing, produced by our town.

We tend to stick to the same general area to play in the forest.  This allows the kids to leave bigger projects like building shelters or obstacles courses or bridges they can come back to another day.  In our familiar area of the forest we have never seen a coyote.  However, a mountain biker we see a few times a week, told me that another hiker had been surrounded by a few coyotes just up the trail from where we go.  Scary!

So we have taken a few steps to make sure the kids learn how to deal with coyotes.

  1. We have practiced putting your hands way over your head, (with a big stick is extra points) and yelling “GO AWAY!”
  2. We have played coyote many times, with the above, and making sure no one turns and runs, because apparently that can encourage coyotes to chase you.
  3. The two older kids, who occasionally go a little further than the younger kids, have very loud whistles.
  4. I have an air horn, which should scare off most animals.
  5. We are double checking any new areas we play in for brush or little shelters that could be used as coyote dens.

Has anyone come across a coyote in Oakville or otherwise?

This recent sighting makes me a little extra cautious, but it won’t stop us from enjoying the outdoors, and it seems to add to the adventure.  The kids are even enjoying our new “Coyote” game and have added it to their rotation.

 

 

Quick dinners

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Two 5 minute meals for a busy day outside!

 

Here is a secret from one mom to another: Nachos can be 80% veggies, and the kids will be thrilled they get nachos for dinner.  And Mom, you will be thrilled because it took less than five minutes to throw together.

I mix corn chips and sweet potato chips as the base.  For our brood, I fill 2 cookie sheets with a thin single layer of the chip mix.

Sprinkle grated cheese over top.

Saute whatever veggies, beans, and/or meat you have handy.  Throw on top.  Load the veggies on, if they fall off, kids will still eat them up.

Broil for two to four minutes.  Serve with salsa, guacamole or avocados and sour cream.

Our favourite combos:

Peppers, onion, chicken, olives

Ground beef, peppers, corn, onions, tomatoes

Black beans, corn, broccoli, peppers

It is really hard to go wrong.  And if you are all too hungry to wait to pre-cook the veggies, you can toss them on raw, just chop smaller and try cooking at a lower temp (like 350) for closer to 15 minutes.

Olive Chicken in the Slow Cooker

For our gang, I place a costco-size tray of organic chicken thighs into the slow-cooker.  Add 1/2 of a jar of manzanilla olives, with the brine.  I sprinkle some italian seasoning over it.  Turn on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Go out and play.

Serve with baby spinach salad, broccoli or baby carrots.

Enjoy.

Don’t let that dinner time crunch cut into your outside play time!