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!

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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.

Playing in Nature teaches cooperation


I am learning to cooperate!!

Building big forts, with big branches requires many small helping hands.  The kids will need to work on negotiating when they have a really big idea and need other people to get involved.  Caleb wanted to build a giant fort, but Elise started to build her own, and Belle was just exploring the bugs on her own.  Caleb had to figure out a way to get his sisters interested in his idea so he could have the manpower required to build his fort.

Seeing someone needing help, assisting them, and the feelings associated with helping others.  Mixing ages helps the younger kids be able to learn to advocate for their needs, and older kids develop a sense of responsibility for smaller children.

Some risky play, like wading into a creek gives the kids a chance to work as a unit.  They discover how far we can go, and communicate with each other about depth and water movement, trying to keep each other safe.


Nature allows kids to fully focus on tasks and each other.  There is no toy from a store that will encourage children to cooperate like a natural forest playscape will.