Fall Leaf Fun – Jumping & Sorting

This post is sponsored by HI-TEC

One of the big selling points for me when we bought our home was the many trees on the property. But whenever fall rolls around they dump their lush branches of leaves everywhere! It’s a full days work getting the front and back yards cleaned up.

kids raking leaves

So I decided to make it a family affair and borrowed rakes from the neighbors so we’d each have our own. We managed to rake everything to the center of the yard but then my calculated plan of having the leaves loaded into the trailer became a nonstop party of run…jump…wipeout…repeat.

leaf jump 3

The work quickly became quite entertaining.

jump in leaf pile

Later we took some time to talk about different types of trees and how they each have a unique leaf pattern. Our preschooler sorted some by shape and then by color.

leaf sorting for pre-schoolers

Then we talked about how a single tree can have similar looking leaves but if you look closely even they have different characteristics. It was a fun way to point out how our family and each member in it plays a unique roll and has unique gifts and talents to share with the rest of us.

My daughter and I were both wearing our Hi-Tec boots during this leaf extravaganza. It was a “me & mini me” moment.

hi-tec boots mom and daughter

 She was wearing the Sierra Lite Wooly Jr. boots that we introduced to you here. My boots are the Thomas Boot 200. Both of these boots have matching uppers that remind me of a poncho blanket. Seriously cute! A mom and daughter must!

Hi-Tec womes boots

The Sierra Lite Wooly Jr. boots are on sale and qualify for free shipping right now! I think I’ll be buying a similar version for my youngest son.

The cold weather this winter will be a breeze with the Thomas Boot and its’ Thinsulate insulation. They also have a moisture wicking fleece liner and a ruggedly cute outsole. I’m not going to dread it when the snow begins to fly.

Thank you for stopping by! And have fun with those falling leaves. There’s more to do than just rake them. Happy Fall Y’all!


7 Outdoor Spooktacular Halloween Activities

Can I just tell you how much I LOVE Halloween!? Too much to accurately depict it in this blog post. The ghosts, goblins, the smell of Autumn in the air, and the family togetherness are all reasons I love this season. Over the years, I have found that the more activities we’ve done as a family prior to the holiday, the more fun Halloween day is! So with that in mind, I created a list of seven family-filled Halloween warm-ups to get you screamin’ for the Holiday!

1. Visit a Ghost Town
Living in “Coal Country”, we are surrounded on all sides by abandoned mining towns. In fact, just 10 minutes from my home is the abandoned town of Spring Canyon where, to this day, the infamous White Lady haunts the ruins there. IMG_8532IMG_8510If you live near Utah, “The Historical Guide to Utah Ghost Towns” by Stephen L. Carr.  is a great resource to read with lots of good info on each town.

2. Run a Halloween 5k/Half Marathon
This is on my Definitely-Need-To-Do list. I love to run, so running dressed up in a wacky costume = you betcha! My kiddos LOVE joining me on my runs, (especially if they get to dress up and ride in the stroller)! I recently got online and checked out local races near us, and found 4 great options just by doing a quick google search for Halloween 5k Races. You can always check out Running in The USA and see if they have anything listed near you.

3. Visit a cave or go spelunking
What could be more creepy than exploring a dark, cold, confined, cave? Maybe, telling ghost stories in one! Spelunking oftentimes requires gear and prior experience, however if you plan early enough, and depending on where you live, you can oftentimes find a guided cave tour that is open throughout most of September. I like guided tours because they are safe for my little munchkins, are educational, and are toddler-friendly! If you live up my way, check out this family favorite!

4. Find a “Ghost” Geocache (aka a virtual geocache) OR a Traditional Geocache in a Cemetery.

This is one that my family did a couple years back that got us addicted to geocaching. Geocaching is much like treasure hunting and our kids LOVE it. It has taught them how to use coordinates on a GPS to find the “loot.” A ghost geocache (aka a virtual geocache) is about discovering a location rather than a container, (so no loot at these sites), however , virtual caches are oftentimes jam-packed with awesome information about the history of the area and can be just as fun to find. IMG_8545If collecting a prize is more your style, then try finding a traditional cache near a cemetery. Just make sure to bring an item to trade!

5. Organize a Halloween bike parade
It’s a tank, an air-plane, no wait- it’s a horse! Decorating a bike for a Halloween Parade could be a fun activity for the whole neighborhood! Ever since my 2 year old mastered his Strider Bike and now that my 4 year old no longer needs training wheels, my boys have been obsessed with riding their bikes, which is why this is another activity for my bucket list!

6. Create a Halloween pumpkin fire (Better Homes and Garden DIY)
This is an idea that I found on the Better Homes and Gardens website and I love it!  This idea appealed to the crafty side of me. How fun would it be to make this as a decoration, and use it to have a neighborhood get-together! A autumn-picnic around the fire sounds like a great way to spend the afternoon! Super easy, and super fun!

7. Make Dinner in a Pumpkin
This idea was given to me by a friend of mine, Dee Dee. She said that every Halloween her family makes dinner in a pumpkin. Being the (cough, cough) amazing cook that I am, (yes, I am being satirical), I didn’t realize that you COULD cook dinner inside of a pumpkin. So, I pinterested it, and here are a couple variations that I found. The first is from Maria from The Mother Huddle Blog, and the second is from Blog called Where Your Treasure Is. BOTH look divine and are a great way to use the extra pumpkins from the pumpkin patch!

Do YOU have some fun traditions that you would like to share with us at NFK? Leave a comment below! We would love to try them out!

DIY Fishing Pole Holder + Giveaway

diy fishing pole holder 9

With six people in our family our fishing gear was getting a bit tangled. That many poles equals awkward transportation and storage.

During a school outing with the DWR I came across this clever PVC pipe fishing pole holder.

pvc fishing pole holder tutorial

I took the above picture, later showed it to my kids and said, “figure out how to build this”. I also asked them to make some small changes, I wanted it to hold 6 poles rather than 8. They sat down excited for the challenge and drew a picture of each piece needed and counted up how many they would need. Then we headed to the hardware store…PVC pipe fishing pole holder

DIY fishing pole holder 8

The shopping list included:

16 – 1″ elbows

6 – 1″ cross pieces

1 – 1″ 10ft. pvc pipe (cut to size: 20 – 2 1/2″ & 2 – 29 1/2″)

1 bottle of PVC pipe glue

(*you may have to adjust the size according to your fishing poles. The handles should be able to fit inside the elbow piece. Moving up to a 1 1/2 ” pipe is an option.)

DIY fishing pole holder 5

Once the pieces were cut and ready the kids took turns gluing and sliding the pieces into place. They used the picture I took as a guide. The glue dried quickly so they had to move fast. diy fishing pole holder pvcdiy fishing pole holder 3diy fishing pole holder 2Once it was put together I helped them cut slits in the top elbow pieces to allow the tops of the fishing poles to set inside the pipe. I used a scroll saw but a hand saw or Dremel could do the trick.  DIY fishing pole holder 4

The DWR version had foam that held the poles snug in the top elbow pieces but we thought it would be easier to just use Velcro strips. I got this double sided wrapping Velcro from walmart in the fabric section.

fishing pole holder velcro


DIY fishing pole holder 10

DIY fishing pole holder 6Once we loaded the poles on the new holder we realized there was room for our tackle box to set at the bottom. We secured it with bungee cords that we tied to the PVC pipe. diy fishing pole holder 7

In all this project cost about $30. I’d say it’s a small price to pay for kids to practice using a little ingenuity.

We’re signing off today with an awesome giveaway from our friends over at Twin Territory. These twin boys love passing their passion for the outdoors and fishing on to other kids! Up for grabs is a Zebco fishing pole including a pocket tackle box full of gear!fishing pole giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fly Flishing Festival Tailored Towards Kids

Looking for something exciting and new to try with your kids next weekend?  Join NFK at the Heber Valley Fly Fishing Festival located at the Rivers Edge Campground and Resort  in Heber City Utah, hosted by Four Season Fly Fishers and organized by the ever-so-great Julie Zicha of Fall River Flyrods .

Because the festival was such a HUGE success last year they decided to extend it to a TWO DAY event this year!   It starts bright and early at 9 am next Friday, August 22nd and ends at 6:00pm on Saturday August 23rd (with entertainment going till 8).

kid fly fishing

Worried about bringing your kids?  They have tailored this event to kids in hopes to get them “hooked on fly fishing” (pun intended) by offering casting clinics on Friday, and the Provo River Fly Fishing Derby designed specifically for KIDS on Saturday from 10-3.  And can I just tell you that they give away some AWESOME prizes to the kids!?   Speaking of kids, my favorite outdoor-loving kiddos,   A.J., Jace and Cameron Garcia from Twin Territory will be there doing free fly fishing clinics for your munchkins on Friday and helping with the Derby Saturday!  They will also be trading in video games, for great outdoor equipment!  So bring your games and score some sweet outdoor swag!

Don’t have any gear?  They’ve got you covered there too!  Twin Territory will be loaning out kid-specific gear for the little-ones, and other great vendors such as Four Seasons Fly Fishers, Allen Fly Fishing and Jason from Fall River Flyrods  will be there with a plethora of rods, reels and lines to try!  You will also find a number of the incredibly talented local area artisans and a variety of vendor booths that are all fly fishing related.

Don’t know what you are doing?  That’s the BEST part about this event!  I had NO clue what I was getting into when I attended this event last year.  Mark Forslund, owner of Four Seasons Fly Fishers gave me a one-on-one lesson last year that got me hooked!   Four Seasons expert guides , along with industry professionals from several of the hottest fly rod and reel lines in the country will be on-hand to personally answer your questions and offer up tips and pointers.  So no worries!  You will be in good hands no matter your ability!

Don’t have money?  Guess what!  The ENTIRE event is FREE!  AND there is even FREE live music on both nights from 4-8:00pm as well as FREE barbecue for the whole family.  I love it when things are educational, fun and free!  So come on down and meet some great people, score some awesome swag and learn to fly fish from the best in the business!

Sponsors of this event  include, Utah Trout Unlimited, High Country Fly Fishers , the Stonefly Society, The ORVIS Company, and Contour Cameras  (Just to name a few).

A Hiking U turn – The Dog Drank All Our Water

This post is sponsored by LifeStraw

We recently took the kids on a hike we’ve never done before. We decided to bring the dogs along too. We’d been given some details on the route from several people but really didn’t know what to expect.

hiking lifestraw 5

It was a hot day (upper 90s) but there was a nice breeze as we started to gain elevation. Everyone was going along nice and steady. But I noticed one of our dogs started to act a bit strange. He started whining and would turn back on the trail and act as if he was going back to the trail head.hiking lifestraw 6

He then started taking breaks in any and all shade he could find, digging in the ground trying to get down to the cool dirt. This was all strange to us because he’s usually our little trooper and hard to keep up with. hiking lifestraw 7

This whole time we were giving him water often (even pouring it on his fur)…and before we knew it our dogs had drunk a 1/3 of the water we brought with us and we were only halfway to our destination.

So we had to make a decision…if we didn’t find some type of water source soon we’d have to make a U turn back to the car. It was a great learning opportunity for the kids. We asked them what some signs of water would be. Here’s where our conversation led…

  • Look for areas where greenery is gathered.
  • Think about where rain would drain to.
  • Look for signs of wildlife.

We did those three things and eventually we found a little murky stream. It wasn’t much but it was enough for all of us to cheer. The dogs got a gut full and then rolled around a bit until they were as content as could be.

hiking lifestraw 11

These dragonflies were hanging around the watering hole like us.

We were able to go a little further but we didn’t end up making it to our destination that day. It wasn’t because of the lack of water though it was because the little legs around us were giving out.

We did however have an item in my pack that day that kept my mind comforted along the trail. It was a LIFE STRAW. It’s a water purifier that is backpacker friendly. It was nice to know that if we needed a drink out of that little stream we could get it without getting sick.

Here are some pictures of a prior hike we went on, where the LlifeStraw came in handy…hiking lifestraw

the LifeStraw Is literally a straw and can be used straight in the stream or if you need to keep moving you can just fill up a container and drink as needed along the way. It effectively filters up to 264 gallons of water.hiking lifestraw 3Regularly blowing through the LifeStraw water filter after drinking helps keep the filter clean and prevents clogging.

hiking lifestraw 4

We bought one for our 72-hour-kit and keep another with us on all our outdoor adventures.

We’ve teamed up with LifeStraw to do a giveaway today! So this is your opportunity to get your own!
Enter Here

This experience was a good reminder to our family that hydration is a key factor on unpredictable hikes. Fun can be cut short and quickly turn to an unsavory situation if you’re not prepared. So Keep it hydrated this weekend!


“The LifeStraw® product and information have been provided by

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