Read Outside!

This is my favorite time of the year, at least when it pertains to getting the kids outside easily. I am sure as soon as I hit publish the weather will change and I’ll be eating my words, but for a while we are living in this glorious sweet spot of get-outside-weather.

Read Outside!

It’s not too hot, not too cold and the skies are clear and the air crisp. I’m enamored by the robust colors and an invitation to slow down and enjoy it. And we all appreciate a season of being able to fudge sun hats, sun screen and winter snow suits.

It’s also a perfect time to combine relaxation and outdoor activity. We pack up a pile of outdoor/fall books and a hammock and hike to a place where we can at least imagine we are on our own.

Read Outside!

Sometimes the actual hike is a couple miles, and sometimes it is literally only a few hundred yards. But, it allows the wiggles to move themselves out of our bodies, and gives us a chance to find clarity of mind in the fresh air.

And then we pile in the hammock and read.

Ideally they snuggle around me and listen intently as dive into stories.

In reality, someone is still wiggling, someone is fussing and after a few minutes they’re done and ready to go play.

And that’s ok.

Read Outside!

We go back and forth between resting and page-turning and exploring and dreaming. Because stories breathe creativity into play too.

When we’re reading about a windy day, it’s so much more real as we sway in real wind through the trees.

We can imagine growing up in a little house in the woods or pressing apples for cider.

Because outdoor adventures aren’t limited to hikes and skis and camping. It’s finding ways to bring the inside, OUT, and the outside in. And books are my favorite way to do both!

Read Outside!

***Pssttttt – that’s a Grand Trunk Hammock we’re reading in…and it is AWESOME. Great straps for the trees, super light and comfortable. Two thumbs up from us!**

Our Current Favorite Outdoor Books

The following is a list of books we love for encouraging an outdoor life, especially in the fall season. Picture books are for all ages, but this has a specific focus on kids aged 5-8. While we are always proponents of using your local library, if you do decide to purchase, some of the following are affiliate links. Thanks so much for clicking through them – it doesn’t cost you a dime and helps us out just a tiny bit!


Outdoor Books from Barefoot Books

I have to admit I have a great fondness for books from Barefoot books. They are always beyond gorgeous and keep my kids (and, let’s be honest, me) coming back again and again. Something about the colors in these make reading them outside all the more fantastic. You can purchase all of the Barefoot Books here on their site.

The Barefoot Book of Children

This one isn’t necessarily an outdoor book, but it is so so SOOO good. It’s perfect for help kids celebrate children from all over the world. And it sparks tons of conversations.

Read Outside!

The Beeman

I have read this one 200 times in the past 2 weeks….or close to it. It’s educational AND entertaining…and I learned something too. Another great school book.

Read Outside!

Outdoor Opposites

My kids love the Barefoot books that have songs included the best. This one comes with a CD to sing along with and you can find videos online that are great for singing along with also. It’s also a fun one to sing AS you hike…. I particularly appreciate the fact that they are learning opposites OUTSIDE!

Read Outside!

Millie’s Chickens

Again, super educational as they learn about chickens throughout the story with enrichment at the end.

Read Outside!



This book is brand new this fall and absolutely fabulous as we study trees for homeschool. Great photos, easy to understand language and relatable material for ALL kids! My second grader is using it as his text book, but we all join in the fun. And now when we hike, we talk a lot about tree specifics (types of leaf, bark and those tree nuts….). Since not all of the trees obviously grow locally, we sure do appreciate the great photos too!

Read Outside!


Who Pooped in Central Park

We have been fans of the “Who Pooped in the Park” series for years now. It’s a great way to teach kids about tracks and scat! Gary Robson’s newest book, Who Pooped in Central Park, helps connect kids to a more urban environment. The book features the long list of animals: muskrat, Norway rat, eastern gray squirrel, coyote, domestic dog, red-tailed hawk, horse, Canada goose, raccoon, laughing gull, groundhog, red-bellied woodpecker, eastern screech owl, tai-colored bat, pigeon and diamondback terrapin. As silly as it may sound, I love that the book shows kids how much wildlife there are in urban areas too! Be sure to check out Who Pooped in Yellowstone National Park (and the entire series) too!)



And others we love…..



Read Outside!

© 2016, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

Introducing STRIPES!

I have had my eye on Stripes Gear for literally years now. I am SO excited to tell you about them now…and use them this winter for the whole family. This post is your introduction. Watch for their appearance on our Instagram especially as the weather cools and we all start wearing base layers around the clock.

Introducing STRIPES!

Stripes Gear is a family-run company out of Canada specializing in these very fun, super warm Polypropylene base layers, manufactured on the south island of New Zealand. You hear me talk a lot about wearing wool on this blog, which we do and love, but this poly-pro is pretty amazing too. Plus, wool is NOT for everyone….and we love this alternative.

The garments are 20% warmer than wool and contains no harmful substances. For kids, they start at size 2-3 and go to an XL youth.


Here’s why poly-pro is great, according to Stripes (and we certainly agree!):

  • Non-allergenic, no itch
  • Polypropylene has the best thermal properties of any known fiber – natural or man made
  • Lowest moisture regain (minimal absorption) – hygienic, garments stay light ‘n’ dry, whereas Merino/wool (wicks & absorbs moisture) becomes wet, heavy, and clammy.
  • Floats in water (fabulous underneath wet suits)
  • Easy care (machine HOT washable), durable, color-fast, non staining
  • Dries super quickly


L (age 2.5) has been wearing her Stripes for pajamas for a few weeks now. It was the perfect way for us to get a first look on how they would perform with daily use…and in keeping her warm in what has become a very cool sleeping environment as the weather turns. She continues to be comfortable, they continue to wear very well and I have high hopes for the winter.

Introducing STRIPES!

Stripes Gear does have a considerable amount of stretch in them and a bit of a looser fit than more traditional base layers. My kids that aren’t particularly fond of tight-fitting clothes really like this. I’ll report back later this winter as to how they do being layered under other gear.

Their hats are all one-size-fits most…and that huge amount of stretch really helps make that true.


Plus, have you seriously seen anything cuter!?!? And my kids can NOT take a serious photo…maybe it’s the Stripes that make them even more goofy.

Introducing STRIPES!


Oh and Stripes Gear comes in adult sizes too! I’ll put off the photo of the whole family in them (minus the baby) until it’s colder out and we are out doing something super fun.

You can purchase Stripes Gear here.

**Note, these are machine washable, but must be air dried only!**

Introducing Stripes

Per our request, Stripes Gear generously provided us this gear in order to facilitate this review.  However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own. You can find my full disclosure here.  

© 2016, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

Celebrating World Animal Day

Sometimes I feel like we can’t get away from some population of animals around here….even if we wanted to. Elk and bison and ground squirrels and snakes and bears and big horn sheep….oh my!

But, while we easily take it for granted, I know where we live is incredibly unique in our country and even in our world in many places. These are the animals I know and can appreciate. But, there are so many more that I am very rarely encounter. Truth be told, I honestly hardly think of them (but am working on that!)

Celebrating World Animal Day

This year I am proud to be representing Dawn (yep, the dish soap!) as a Wildlife Ambassador. You’ll see more posts this year about wildlife, and, of course, what Dawn does to help especially marine wildlife. I grew up in Alaska and saw the tragic effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill….and the way Dawn came to the rescue.

They also do pretty neat rescues and re-introduction into wildlife like this:

The Dawn Dish soap itself has dozens of different uses, but bottom line – they help clean up well, especially when relating to oil/trash vs. animals.

Celebrating World Animal DayCelebrating World Animal Day

So why wildlife on this blog? Becuase part of the mission behind getting famillies outside is promoting a deep-rooted respect for our earth and nature in general. Wildlife certainly is part of that.

Celebrating World Animal Day

Celebrating World Animal Day

World Animal Day is October 4th

So what? What can you do? Basically bring awareness to kids (and, really, ourselves) about wildlife and animals and their importance. While there is certainly potential to do big projects at home and at school, we like to keep things simple around here. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Go watch wildlife. In their natural habitat or the zoo. If those aren’t an option, there are tons of videos online. Dawn has a whole collection of them here that are great.
  • Visit a wildlife sanctuary or animal shelter. Inquire about volunteering for an afternoon!
  • Draw a picture of animals. Simple, I know, but a great way to make a connection.
  • Head to your local library and bring home a pile of animal books
  • Celebrate your own pets! Go on a walk with them, pet them, talk about why they are important in your family
  • Go on a hike and oberseve the birds, squirrels, bugs, etc.

There are TONS more ideas here for kids broken up into age groups (and great ideas for schools!)

Education is so important. About nature, the resources of our earth, and wildlife/animals. What we know, we are much more apt to appreciate and respect.


This post is sponsored by Dawn. We are proud to represent them as Ambassadors this year!


© 2016, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

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