Outdoor Fashion Friday: Kavu Styles for Women

Our (almost) weekly segment featuring our favorite  styles for the season. Everything I share are pieces that can be worn all day long and stand up to the “use and abuse” of serious adventures. While I am far from a “fashionista”, I appreciate clothing that is worth my hard-earned money. It’s what I wear and love!

Kavu as been around for a very long time – over twenty years now. Based out of Seattle, Washington, their clothing is a standard in the outdoor industry. However, for me personally, they hit some years where I wasn’t all too impressed with anything new coming out. I sort of wrote them off as a “have-been” and looked elsewhere for my clothing.

This year, however, I decided to look again and was pleasantly surprised with some new styles that have become standards in my wardrobe. Their look is still funky and functional, but I love their new designs, patterns and styles.  And, as always, you can rely on the pieces to hold up for adventure after adventure (and wash, after wash). Here’s a few of my top-picks.

Kavu-groupie? Shout it out on Facebook and share your photos! We want to see your styles holding up for years and years!


Outdoor Fashion Friday: Kavu Styles for Women


I love the pattern on this hoody and that it’s just a good neutral color. Polyester so it holds its shape and adds some form-fitted warmth. A sweatshirt you can wear year-round.

Outdoor Fashion Friday: Kavu Styles for Women

In charcoal color



Desolate Zip

I have this one in “winter” and wear it at least weekly with a skirt. Again, great design, good feel and comfortable fit. I have washed it literally almost 15 times and it looks as good as new. That’s what happens when you have little kids around and my clothes need to be able to keep up!

Outdoor Fashion Friday: Kavu Styles for Women


Ladies Leggings

I LOVE the pattern on these. They are a little lower rise than I usually prefer, but most people like that. Not as much stretch as the Tara Tight (see below), but great weight for winter wear.

Outdoor Fashion Friday: Kavu Styles for Women


Tara Tight

Super comfortable, great supportive waistband and fit, work well under almost any skirt (or with a tunic).

Outdoor Fashion Friday: Kavu Styles for Women


Penny Skirt

A good classic skirt that goes with anything, wears well, hangs well, and is stretchy enough to do anything you want to in it. And a little pocket for keeping a few essentials in it (though not big enough for a smart phone….)

Outdoor Fashion Friday: Kavu Styles for Women


Outdoor Fashion Friday: Kavu Styles for Women

Kavu Paloma Hoody

© 2015, 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.

Teaching Outdoor Kids about Weather

Today I welcome my family friend, Erica to the blog. She hails from Kodiak (yep, the island known for the “Kodiak bear”) where she lives with her husband and two children. While my experience with Kodiak was only swim meets a couple different years in high school (was best traveling fun ever because we got to fly), I have always been fascinated with the town, the island and my home state of Alaska, of course.

I invited Erica to do a monthly series of the blog connected outdoor kids to fantastic books. She is an eductator, a former homeschooling mom and a gal deeply concerned about her kids’ eduction and quenching their thirsting for knowledge. After loving the books for years, she recently became an Usborne Books consultant and knows these books well. Known for their non-fiction titles, Erica and I both think they hold great value for kids and parents everywhere. Please give Erica a warm welcome – I’m so excited to have her here!

At the end of the post we’ll be letting you know how you can win $50 in Usborne books for your family to help YOUR outdoor kids learn even more about the world around them!


This winter’s weather has been strange! Having been born in the Midwest and raised in Alaska, I know what winter is “supposed” to be like, and what we’re experiencing this year isn’t winter. The weather this winter is unseasonably – unbelievably – warm! There isn’t any snow in the surrounding mountains, there are patches of green grass on our lawn, new green buds are emerging on the trees and shrubs, and we’ve been admiring the still-growing cabbages in our outdoor garden. I’m wouldn’t be surprised if the tulips start to sprout any day now.

Teaching Outdoor Kids about Weather

Typically our Alaskan winter days are filled with tromps through the snow, sledding, skiing, snow machining, ice-skating, kick-sledding, and ice climbing (even with the kids).  We’ve done NONE of these activities things this year, and it is not because we’re unmotivated or uninterested. It is only because winter STILL hasn’t arrived. Instead of snow and ice, we’re having torrential downpours of rain (imagine if all of that precipitation was snow!!) and temperatures in the 40s! As the autumn months have turned to the “winter” months, we’ve persisted with some of our autumn activities; hiking, biking, freshwater fishing, tide pooling, and then more hiking. On Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, as the sun peeked through the clouds and the rain held off for a couple of hours, we ventured into the mountains for a quick hike with the kids. Most people looking at the picture below would never guess that it was taken in the middle of an Alaskan winter! (Note my daughter on the right wearing a skirt and a tee shirt!)


Boxing Day Hike


This unusual weather is getting to some and bringing them down. In a recent conversation with a friend, she relayed that this unusual weather is throwing off their winter family rhythm, which is affecting each of them individually and leaving them feeling unbalanced. Normally, we don’t take issue with bundling up in rain gear for some exercise and adventure, but enveloping ourselves day after day in full-body rain gear to protect ourselves from the driving rain is getting a bit old. The grey skies are gloomy and days are dark. When you don’t have snow you realize, in our limited Arctic daylight, just how much the snow reflects the sunlight and brightens the days. I have a friend, born and raised in Kodiak, who is very tired of the weather and grey days so she’s planned an early-February vacation to –wait for it – Portland, Oregon; a city well-known for its grey, rainy winters, which I think says a lot about our winter this year.


While we lumber through grey, rainy winter, others in the U.S. are experiencing unusual weather as well. On New Year’s Eve, national headlines highlighted snow falling in southern California! And, this week, record lows are being blanketing most of the continental US. How is it that Alaska is experiencing one of the mildest winters on record, and the rest of the U.S. is experiencing one of the coldest?


Between our outside ventures into the rain, we’re snuggling inside with cups of tea and hot chocolate to ward off the dampness. In an attempt to understand the weather and put some reason to our unusual winter, we’ve pulled all of our weather-related books from our bookshelves and are paging through each one of them.


We’re finding answers in a number of books but most within books published by Usborne Books and More. (This isn’t surprising because they’re such wonderful books that are full of fantastic, well-researched information and gorgeous illustrations!) As we investigate weather patterns, everyone in our family is enjoying looking into the science of weather in the lift-the-flap information book, “See Inside Weather and Climate”. Not only is this book is filled with rigorous facts about what drives weather – from how hurricanes and floods happen to how global warming is affecting the Earth’s climates – but it also provides Usborne-vetted internet links for further consideration. As we explore and discus weather patterns, we were left wondering if our unusual winter weather is related to global warming, or if something else is at play.


See Inside Weather and Climate

Inside See Inside Weather and Climate 2


We are finding additional answers about what drives weather in the books titled, “Weather”, “Storms and Hurricanes”, and “The Usborne Geography Encyclopedia with Complete World Atlas”. The first two books are Level 2 readers, meaning that they are simply written to introduce young readers to common weather events using vocabulary and sentence structure that easy for early readers to understand. And, despite presenting information this way, my husband and I both commented on how we both learned interesting weather-facts while reading these books. Our son, aged 10, is spending a lot of time with the Geography book, perusing the weather and oceans chapters. Together we’re discussing this as a family and piecing together why we’re experiencing such an unusually warm winter.


Weather Cover

Storms Hurricanes Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 9.39.21 PM

We’re learning that ocean currents are the main control over the in the world’s weather patterns. Right now we’re experiencing a shift in the ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean from north to a bit more south. The Pacific Ocean’s north-south movements happen on a fairly regular 20-year cycle. For Alaska this means that ocean currents are pulling some of the warm, moist Hawaiian weather up to Alaska. (How come the palm trees, sunshine, and sandy beaches don’t come with it?) Then, as the weather moves across Alaska and over the Arctic, it quickly cools and then sinks south traveling over Canada and down into the continental U.S., which explains why the continental U.S. is experiencing record-breaking cold weather.


However, this new-found knowledge isn’t satisfying our family’s desire for snow. To help with that, we’ve also been reading stories about snow. “Crow in the Snow” is a phonics reader that our 7-year-old daughter is enjoying. Our son is really getting a kick out of the “Mythical 9th Series”, a hilarious collection of four books about three yetis who’ve asked to investigate the strange weather that’s bringing blizzards and ice storms to the Welsh mountains in the summer.


Crow in the Snow Cover

Mythical 9th


I must say, however, that the snow-laden summer presented in the Mythical 9th Series does cause me a bit of concern. I am holding onto hope that our seasons haven’t switched. Could you imagine getting ice and snow in the summer?!


Win $50 in Usborne books for your Outdoor Kids (your choice of titles!)

Erica has very generously given the chance for one of you to win $50 in Usborne books for your family. Any order placed through her at The Scholar Ship between now and January 28th will be automatically entered into the drawing. Orders over $100 will be given a second entry. 

If you decide to make an order, I’d love to hear some of the books you chose for your family (because I always am looking for new ideas for mine!) Comment below and give the rest of us some ideas!

As usual, if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask!

Winner pays shipping costs ($6 for media mail or $10 for priority in the U.S.). Orders must be placed by the end of the day on 1.28.15


© 2015, 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.

Why My Kids Still Get Outside When They’re Sick

Why My Kids Still Get Outside When They're Sick

Mammoth Hot Springs (where we live) is often referred to as a “cesspool”.

Gross, I know, especially when you are imagining the majestic beauty of Yellowstone. But, let me explain: there are a LOT of people that are in and out of this little area. People from all over the world who travel in various ways to get here. They are in close contact with many, many people, and touch a lot of germs. While our family tends to stay out of the high traffic tourist areas, we aren’t immune to being infected by all the usual “stuff” that goes around. In fact, our first winter here was the sickest I have ever been in my life. We kept getting hit over and over by all the “new” germs and illnesses and it had us down and out. Thankfully, we’ve built up some good immunity to it since then.

BUT, it’s flu season. It’s “cold” season. It’s just that time of the year where you are constantly doing your best to dodge one illness or another. And it’s not just here. If you aren’t feeling it yourself, watch the news. It’s always a hot topic come wintertime (how’s that for irony??)

Here’s the trouble – when we are worn out and beaten down, it’s hard to continue getting outside and exercising, even just a little bit. For many, it’s the first thing that goes. As a culture, we expect those who are ill to stay home, to stay inside, and to not venture out while contagious. And for good reason! No one wants to catch your gunk. But, unless my kids are puking, pooping or close to death, they still go outside. 

It  may just be 15 minutes. It often just means some play in the backyard or a walk around the neighborhood (without touching anything, of course). It may be them just sitting in a stroller or wagon and breathing some fresh air while their Daddy or I push them. No matter how we make it happen, they’re out there, because we fully believe that fresh air and a little healthy exercise works wonders to heal a body AND keep healthy kids healthy.


Why bother making the extra effort to get out while sick:

  • Outdoor air is fresher compared to indoor air which is just recirculated, especially during the colder winter months
  • Increased Vitamin D from sunlight helps boost mood AND health, for you AND them
  • Light exercise while sick helps get the heart pumping and the body moving, which helps “clear the fog”
  • It gives everyone a chance to re-set and begin again. Having sick kids can be stressful on everyone – it’s ok to do it for you too!
  • Kids usually rest better after outside time
  • Outside time will not perpetuate illness (save for pollen-induced or respiratory illnesses effected by cold weather)
  • It’s a break from the couch/bed, even if it’s short-lived
  • In general, the outside time that is a part of our daily life keeps them from getting sick (usually) in the first place. And oh I totally just jinxed myself!


How does it work for your family? Do you get out or is it just too hard? Do your kids tend to get everything or do you manage to stay away from it all? Do you get sick while traveling/on vacation?


© 2015, 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.

Affordable Family Ski Gear with Level Nine Sports

Affordable Family Ski Gear with Level Nine Sports

In my opinion, we live close to one of the best kid-friendly ski areas in the west. Bridger Bowl is literally crawling with kids of all ages on the weekends. Babies are in packs and carriers everywhere. Young families are there making the most of their time on the ski hill.  Parents are taking turns […]

When Adventure (As We Know It) Just Isn't Working....

When Adventure (As We Know It) Just Isn’t Working….

Our family is not one to stay home on the weekends. I don’t do well even staying home during the week. We are go, go, go and that’s the way we like it. We’ve put an impressive amount of miles on our car this past year. We traveled and hiked and biked and skied and […]

Great Gear to Keep Kids Warm: 2014 - 2015 Edition

Great Gear to Keep Kids Warm: 2014 – 2015 Edition

We get questions all the time about what our kids are wearing and how we keep them warm. I’m always happy to share my thoughts on anything we put on our own kids, but try to reserve a final opinion until we’ve put it through some serious use, extreme temperatures and extended time outside. It’s […]