As a family we left everything behind (and believe me, that “everything” is a lot right now!), unplugged and spent some quality time just making memories and being a family. We found a Forest Service cabin in the Big Horn Mountains that was easily accessible and had plenty of winter fun possibilities. In fact, we had planned on skiing in the ~200 yards to get to the cabin from the road (totally do-able in any weather) but were pleasantly surprised to find that a lack of snow right around the cabin allowed us to drive right to it. We felt like we were cheating a bit, but when you have a toddler and an infant you’ll take “shortcuts” like that
I highly recommend taking this route. The cabins are are available all over the country and are a cheaper alternative to big lodges, hotels, etc. We spent $40 a night, but Muddy Guard is definitely on the “luxury” end of Forest Service cabins with electric lights and stove. (We spent our honeymoon almost 4 years ago in a similar cabin without electricity and spent $15 a night.)
We spent the time playing, laughing, reading and catching up on sleep (Husband and I were struggling to stay awake to put the kids to bed.)
|PeaPods were awesome for staying warm in the cabin for the kids|
Incredible cross country skiing was nearby and we bundled the kids up in the sub-zero temps in the Chariot to get on the (slightly groomed) trails.
Our conversations were about how thankful we were to get out there as a family, how thankful we were for warm and quality gear and how time in the woods like that is just good for the soul!
The time we were at Muddy Guard also coincided with the feast day of St. Nicholas. This is our first year celebrating it and we spent a lot of time talking to J about putting his shoes out and who St. Nicholas really was. (and yep, we will celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus too but we are talking a lot about how Santa carries on the tradition St. Nicholas started.) He was pretty excited (which could have contributed to a delayed bedtime that night!) I love celebrating holidays in simple surroundings and this was perfect.
Both boys received toys that we were given to review (ahem, St. Nicholas worked with us on this…) and I wanted to take this opportunity to share them with you (because I truly believe both are great options for Christmas.)
J was given the Dr. Doctor kit from B. Toys. He was thrilled. It was the only toy we had with us that was his (because when we are out like that, less is certainly more!) He literally spent any free time we had in the cabin doctoring anyone we could (the dog, his brother, his stuffed zebra, Husband and I.) A lot of the tools were new to him so it was a fun way to explain how they work (Husband pulled out his medical training knowledge from Fire Dept, work and Ski Patrol.) The toys are definitely of high quality and resembled the actual tools well. He loved how the blood pressure gauge goes “around and around” and the stethoscope makes a “heart beat” sound when you push a button on it. It also comes with a beeper which has a light and makes (very annoying) sounds. I would recommend just keeping the batteries out of that one. Over all, we are super impressed yet again with B. You Toys. See another review I did here to learn a little more about the company.
P was given a school bus from Green Toys. Green Toys boasts having authentic, USA-made, quality toys made from 100% recycled plastic. They are basic (which I like since I think it encourages imaginative play) but great. J was obviously the one who helped P check out his gift, but he let P hold it a bit anyway. He spent a lot of time playing with it, but was a bit disappointed no doors opened (the kid is obsessed with opening doors.) However, you can fit “guys” in the top of the bus to sit on the seats (PlayMobil-size people fit well.) He drove it over snow and dirt and it handled great!
Green toys also makes Tableware for kids, along with other “vehicles”, play food, outdoor play items and stacking toys. They also make kits for kid gardening (which I can’t wait to try out with J this spring!) Love that this California-based company has really taken recycling to a new level.
B. You toys and Green Toys both provided us toys to review. However, as always the opinions expressed here are honestly our own. We receive no compensation for good reviews and will only suggest those items we really love!