Tag Archives: get outside

Our forest school to-go faves

best kids outdoor gear sustainable and zero-waste

In one of our earlier posts I shared that last year my family has started a forest school in our area. It’s been a lot of fun and of course a lot of hard work. But we all have been really enjoying having a community of outdoor loving kids exploring together on a regular basis each week. And having my kids spend 4 to 8 hours 3 days each week year around in nature with their friends has been incredible!

best kids outdoor gear sustainable and zero-waste
best kids outdoor gear sustainable and zero-waste

Here in this post I wanted to share the outdoor gear and accessories they have been using and enjoying during their forest school time. In the past I have shared our favorite winter gear, as well as our favorites for the wet and muddy season. For summers they simply wear white shirts made from organic muslin fabric and shorts, all sewn by my mom for them. Summer hiking shoes is the only area where our search for the best gear still continues, as we are yet to find something I could recommend. We have tried Wildlings barefoot shoes for children, but sadly it has not been a positive experience (see here a review of the Wildlings Shoes in this post). I just ordered Tadeevo barefoot kids shoes and will let you know how they work out for us in later posts.

And in this post I wanted to share some of the accessories we’ve been using on our hikes. As always, the products are sustainable and ethically made and their mention here is not sponsored.

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Wildlings barefoot shoes review

Wildlings barefoot shoes review

I never thought I’d do a negative review, mostly because it just felt ‘negative’ to me personally. But as we are now on a second pair of our Wildlings Shoes (more on how we happen to own 2 pairs is later in this post) and they are completely falling apart after just 2-3 months of use, just like our first pair, I felt it’d be a disservice to other parents willing to invest into best outdoor gear for their kids not to post this. And hopefully the owners of Wildlings Shoes come to hear of these issues and make much needed changes both with quality of craftsmanship and their customer service, as these shoes have all the potential to be amazing.

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Fjallraven Re-Kanken Mini backpack review

Fjallraven Re-Kanken Mini backpack review

Before I get into my review of Kanken Mini backpack, I want to quickly share with you 3 facts that stood out for me as I did a bit of research about this company prior to buying the backpacks.

  1. The fox isn’t just for the logo.

    Fjällräven actually means arctic fox in Swedish. Sadly, these beautiful animals are at the brink of extinction as a result of fur industry and now climate change. Fjällräven is involved in Arctic Fox recovery program in Sweden through co-funding as well as supplying field equipment. I think that is just amazing!

  2. Keeping plastic bottles out of the oceans

    The Re-Kanken backpacks are made from 11 used plastic bottles each, with lesser use of water and energy in the production process as well!

  3. On-going research into sustainability practices

    The company has a comprehensive set of sustainability values and appears to do an on-going research in this area to keep on improving its operations so it leaves lesser and lesser impact on our planet.

Ok, now that I shared these cool facts with you, here comes my review. 🙂

Fjallraven Re-Kanken Mini backpack review

This Spring as boys were turning 3 and 5 years old I wanted to get them new backpacks. Their old backpacks made by my mom from some upcycled old garments were adorable and very loved by both of them, but they outgrew them. And as we didn’t have any old fabric or garments around which were suitable for new backpack sewing I decided to go ahead and buy them their new backpacks.

I was hoping to find kids backpacks made of canvas, with no synthetic materials. I didn’t find anything of that sort in children’s size (not to say it isn’t somewhere out there), but I quickly discovered Fjallraven brand and was impressed with their sustainability values. I now discovered that it is apparently a very trendy brand as well and if you want to get likes on Instagram just wear a Kanken backpack :))) . But the reason why I chose these backpacks for the boys is because of the company’s sustainability values, great craftsmanship, functionality and perfect size for young children.

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What we are wearing in wet and muddy season

As always, this is not a sponsored post. The reason for the post is to merely share with other mamas brands that are sustainable and make great things for our little wildlings to help them be comfortable, healthy and spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Here in Colorado’s front range the Spring has arrived early this year. At least it seems so to me 🙂 It is still middle of March, but the snow is melting away in most places, our daffodils and tulips started caming out and I see first cautious signs of Spring on our walks in the forest as well.

As it’s been wet and muddy I put away our winter shoes and snow suits, and switched to wool-lined rubber boots and mud pants which I don’t know how we would do without. Especially with Eleon who loves mud with passion! 🙂 The moment we dig a whole in a garden he climbs right into it and just lounges there watching us work or pondering about life.

Over the years I found few great brands that make high quality, beautiful, toxin-free and sustainable outdoor gear for the children. So I wanted to make a post featuring all our favorites for this time of year when some days are still cold and some already warm, but you can always count on it being wet and muddy.

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Organic cotton and wool socks for kids

organic socks for children knee high socks wool socks for children

This year the winter has flew by fast. As we are heading into Spring with its ever changing weather, mud and puddles I wanted to share a quick post about recent addition to boys’s outdoor gear. On one side something like socks seem insignificant, but they can make all the difference in keeping little feet warm and comfortable, while roaming the outdoors.

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Mud pants — wet and muddy season’s essential

mud pants for children
mud pants for children
mud pants for children

When it comes to wet and muddy time of year I don’t know what we would do without mud pants also called rain pants! It is probably one of the best inventions, next to the rubber boots to help keeping kids happy and moms sane. :). Truly.

rain pants for children

They are very roomy and made of thin waterproof material, so could be used on a warm day just over shorts, or on a colder day over wool tights. I think some people even use them as their winter waterproof layer over thick wool pants. I love that they have strong elastic and a strap at the bottom so that you can pull them over the rain boots. This way when the boys very energetically stump in the puddles nothing gets into the rain boots. The other great feature is that they go up to armpit level covering the sweater or jacket, thus keeping them also protected during splashing or if kids sit around in mud. 🙂

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The reason I’ve been gone from the blog — we started a forest school!

Wow, I can’t believe it’s being that long since my last blog post — almost 6 months! A lot has happened since then. We had our first vacation in many years and spent some time to Puerto Rico, which was so amazing! Visiting the Caribbean was a dream of mine for years. The boys still talk about wanting to go back there almost daily. And today as I’m writing this post we are sitting out in self-isolation as COVID-19 continues to spread through Colorado and the world in general.

Otherwise our lives have been going the usual ways — we still have been trying to reduce the use of plastic anywhere we can, buy things consciously, tend to our garden, and find other ways to leave lesser foot print on the planet. I’ve discovered some new wonderful plastic-free and non-toxic products that I’ve been wanting to post about. I also have been wanting to share some really incredible books I read. But I just haven’t had time. The thing is, over a year ago my husband and I have decided to open our own forest school. It has fully consumed most of my time. But it has been a really wonderful and rewarding experience, and I am happy to finally having a moment to share a little bit about it with you.

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Gardening in Colorado’s Front Range: fruit trees

 colorado front range gardening growing fruit trees and berries

Hi folks, this post is region specific to share some of the things what we’ve learned in the 7 years of living and gardening in Colorado’s Front Range. Although we come from a family of gardeners and have had lush gardens in our home country, gardening at this altitude (6,975 ft or 2126 meters) has given us a lot of challenges. But gradually we found what seem to do well and give good results with least effort. And while it does take work and often comes with many heartbreaks (those late Spring 2 foot snowfalls) it is so worth it!

Whether or not you live in Colorado or at another high-altitude (and not very garden-friendly) place on Earth I hope you find this post helpful to you as well.

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Best summer sandals for the little feet

pololo children leather sandals nontoxic children footwear

With the long awaited summer being upon us I wanted to do this little post about children’s sandals that are so loved in our family. One of the main reasons for this blog was to share the products for children that are non-toxic, comfortable and sustainably made. I found such items hard to find in US, unfortunately. I think it is sad that craftsmen and boutiques have hard time staying in business due to competition with big corporations that flood the market with cheap, low quality merchandise which is often toxic and was produced at great cost to our environment and people making them. So when I find yet another brand, store, maker who offers us a different choice — I’m particularly excited to get it for my children and to share it with others.

This is not a sponsored post in any way. Just sharing the good things, since they aren’t easy to find in the ocean of the internet.

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Natural rubber rain boots for children

natural rubber rain shoes for children

As always, this is not a sponsored post. The reason for the post is to merely share with other mamas brands that are sustainable and make great things for our little wildlings to help them be comfortable, healthy and spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Jumping in puddles is one of the biggest joys of childhood as I remember it. 🙂 Another one is being able to get really dirty or stump around in wet, slushy, dirty mud. Recently we got both boys their first pair of wellies (rain boots) so they could do exactly that — stump through mud, jump in puddles and any combination of these two beloved activities. 🙂 And they have been a priceless addition to their outdoor gear both in cold and warm weather, in the forest as well as in the garden.

While there are many rain shoes on Amazon and possibly department stores I learned not all are of equal impact on the environment, some are considered toxic and of course there is quality of craftsmanship to take into account. So I wanted to share with you here the shoes we love and recommend; other brands we tried and what we didn’t like about them; some of the information on the natural rubber rain shoes vs PVC ones. Basically all that I learned and discovered so far on the topic of rain shoes to help you find the best ones for your little wild creature at home 🙂

Bisgaard rain shoes review
kids natural rubber rain shoes review
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Bisgaard — real winter shoes for kids

Bisgaard winter shoes for kids in America

Hello, friends! It’s been long time since I got a chance to get to my blog to share with you some of our latest finds for the little ones and our ways to make our home and lifestyle more sustainable and healthy. We have new and very exciting project in the making here that has been taking all of our free time for the past couple months. I’m looking forward to share it with you very soon, but if you follow me on Instagram you probably already know what it is 😉

So, here is a very short post to share with you my latest find that I’m very excited about — the real winter shoes for children. Having warm and comfortable winter shoes for the winter is so essential to getting the kids out no matter the weather, but strangely finding shoes that are really warm (like, actually warm!), flexible and comfortable has been a real challenge here in America, at least in my experience. Last winter I found these shoes from Bogs which are great and this year we bought another pair of those shoes. We still use those shoes most of the days as it hasn’t been that cold here in Colorado yet and we had very little snow. So I still highly recommend the Bogs shoes for not very cold weather. But when the temperature drops to -10C/14F and below these are the shoes to keep little feet warm — the Bisgaard Tex boot.

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Children’s snow suits:
non-toxic + made from recycled plastic bottles

non-toxic children snowsuits design fashion slow fashion children brands

I wanted to share with you a quick post about these beautiful snow suits I got for both boys from our beloved Lea and Jojo. You might have seen this blog post on a rain jacket we have that is made from recycled plastic bottles. And just like their wonderful rain jackets the snowsuits are also made from 100% recycled plastic bottles as well as being certified non-tofus, thus free of formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals.

I highly recommend their products, and here few reasons what makes them so special.

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Learning about butterflies with children

children books about butterflies insects

I originally intended to post all of our insect books (see the Learning About Ants post) throughout the summer. But keeping things according to a plan while being a parent to two little toddlers has not been my strength 🙂 . Fortunately for me, September is a great month for the butterfly study and thus this post, as Monarch butterfly migration happens around mid-September, at least here in Colorado. So instead of completely missing the right time to post this, I happened to accidentally wrap it up at a perfect time to discuss these fascinating natural aviators!

Interesting butterfly facts:

  • If a human baby grew as fast as a caterpillar, it would weigh about 8 tons when it was only two weeks old.
  • Their eyes are made of 6,000 lenses and can see ultraviolet light.
  • Many adult butterflies never excrete waste — they use up all they eat for energy.
  • Butterfly wings move in a figure “8” motion.
  • Monarch butterflies journey from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of about 2,000 miles, and return to the north again in the spring.
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Our favorite to-go ware for kids (and ourselves)

stainless steal to-go ware container non-toxic food container

Few years ago we got this container from To-Go Ware. I was attracted to it for being stainless steel rather than plastic, and also being an upright container. Over these few years it’s been such great and integral part of our outings with the boys, so I wanted to share it with you.

One thing that has always been a bit of an inconvinience for me with regular rectangular broad-base containers is that when placed in a bag they pretty much always end up getting on their side and the contents are at risk of leaking some liquid out into the bag. And that is if the lid doesn’t come ajar from all the shaking and rattling in the bag. And when they do stay put the way you had them they always take up more room than I wished.

This container is made in the style of Indian tiffins — Indian style lunch container. They have been around for ever in India, but are apparently a cool new thing in our cutting edge Western world 😉

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Tips for co-exisitng with coyotes in your area

[Coyote photo by: unsplash-logoBan Yido ]

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name
– Colors of the Wind song

Recently I saw a post on the NextDoor about a coyote sighting in the area. Some people were scared for their pets, others argued whether or not hunting and trapping was legal within city limit. It is always very sad to see these discussions. Surely we can do better than that. Especially considering that it is us who came to their turf and destroyed their habitat, in which they’ve lived for thousands of years, to build our homes.

Most of us living in urban areas are rather detached from wildlife, knowing very little about it. And to make things worse the news channels only love airing things that are shocking and terrifying (ideally both) while Hollywood specilizes in creating ridiculous and most unscientific concoctions about wildlife such as ‘The Grey’. In all of these the wildlife is always presented as a canning beasts always searching for its next victim and eating anything that moves or breathes, humans included. [Big sigh…]

As a result of these misconception peddled from the TV screens people are scared and seek the ‘removal’ of the wildlife to safeguard their beloved pets. Co-existence doesn’t seem an option. And at the end of the day the coyote, one of the most native animals of America, is killed in astronomical numbers. It is estimated that about 500,000 of these animals are killed annually. A half a million of beautiful native sentient creatures who lived here and served this land well long before us.

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