Quick dinners


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.


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



Sit in front of a tree, not your tablet!

2018-03-13 10.28.37

A late Winter Challenge for adventurous families!

The days are still cold, but we are getting stronger and more resilient by enjoying the fresh air.  Join us by doing this checklist:

1. Find treasures under a log… hopefully some cool bugs and plants.  Don’t forget to put it back to how you have found it.

2. Look for mushrooms.  Collect a small variety to learn what they are when you get home.  We usually carry a box with us to put in interesting discoveries.

3. Make a simple bird feeder to help the birds make it through the winter.  Belle made a simple one.  She spread peanut butter on a stick and sprinkled bird seed on the peanut butter.  Then she put the stick as high as she could get it on a tree.

We came back the next day to see if birds had come to eat the seeds, but it was gone.  There was a lot of curiosity about whether a coyote had eaten the stick.

4. Find a bug.  We were gifted an amazing magnifying glass.  The kids have been enjoying checking out a variety of items with the magnifying glass.  Hands and fingers have been a favourite.  We are hoping to find a dead spider or bee to learn about the physical characteristics.

5. Climb a tree.  This is a challenge for us.  Our little neck of the woods is quite dense so the branches start quite high.  We have a decent climbing tree out front, but we will keep looking for one in the forest.

Post or msg me if you want to join in.  Complete the whole challenge, post about it and you can have a private sneak peak at how we spent our Spring break.  You may get some ideas.

Deadline for completion: March 21st 7pm EST.

Pooping in the forest

Forest School How-to guide


Forest School

“Oh no, you are not going to post about that!!!?”

When taking young children into the forest for longer periods of time, at some point, someone is going to have to poo, when you aren’t anywhere near a bathroom.

Honestly, hearing about forest kindergartens or forest schools, pooping in the forest was my very first big question…. I can’t be the only one!

My tips:

1. Everyone must go to the bathroom before we leave, whether or not you need to.

2. I aim for about 2 hours of forest play, before we head back in for bathrooms.

But inevitably someone will have to poop 10 minutes into your forest playtime.  So what are you to do?

3. Take the unfortunate child to as private a spot as possible… with the baby… So semi-private.  As far from the trail as you can, for etiquette’s sake.

4. Either find a good log for them to hang over, like a toilet.  But some kids hate sitting on a log because it might be wet, rough or cold,

So instead,

Spend a few minutes practicing a solid squat… you do not want to be using leaves to wipe up legs and pants because they fell over or got it everywhere.  Enough said?  I think so.

5. We use leaves to wipe… but feel free to use Kleenex… but be kind and take the tissues with you.

6. Some people bring a trowel and dig a hole, and cover it with dirt, because it may attract animals.


When we are hiking in forested, but mainly urban areas, I have them “go” close to a log or rock.  Sometimes urgency also dictates whether or not we have time to dig a hole.

6. Then put rocks or logs or leaves over and around it, so no one accidentally steps in it before it has a chance to decompose.

Parents, have courage.  Taking your kids into nature is worth the trouble of dealing with the occasional poop outside!

Forest kindergarten

How to start your own forest school

I have been reading everything I can get my hands on lately about forest kindergartens.

In our family, we try to get our kids outside as much as possible.  I took some outdoor education classes in University and grew up with an enviromentalist dad… so lots of hiking, provincial parks, overnight camp, enjoying nature… and of course learning about composting.

When I heard about forest kindergartens, I have been looking everywhere to see if there is an outdoor school option nearby…. there isn’t.

However, it is really great that there are so many resources available, books, videos and online.

Some of my favourite books so far are:

Richard Louv’s Last child in the woods – which discusses the real dangers of keeping your kids indoors, hint: nature deficit disorder.

Lenore Skenazy’s Free range kids, which puts danger into perspective for the worried parent.

Mike Lanza’s Playborhood, that has many fun ideas for your neighbourhood.

However, my most recent read, which sent me down my most recent rabbit hole of outdoor education and my discovery of forest kindergartens, is the book The Danish way of parenting.  This book struck me as the ideal way to raise children.  Filled with play, a mellow approach, closeness.  This is probably one of my favourite all time parenting reads, along with free range kids, which was really hard to top.

Today, it was beautiful here, so I took the oldest out of school and we had our own forest kindergarten.


How to start homeschooling



We spent just over 4 hours in the forest.  We learned about how trees grow, saw ladybugs, and investigated moss.  We climbed many logs, and jumped in lots of puddles.  The kids sang and worked together to build shelters.  We brought along lunch and took our time playing in a few great spots.  When it was time to move on, I warned them early, then clapped my hands twice, they responded with 2 claps. I then moved along and they followed along behind me, ahead of me, and sometimes stopping to check out the forest near me.