5 Must-Have Items When Hiking with Toddlers

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Ralph (we’re on a first name basis) encapsulates so much of my life as an adult through his words, but more importantly on the experiences I establish for my kids. We, as humans, have this inherent need to be outside coursing through our veins. This is particularly true when it comes to my kids. The sentiment of “stay wild my child” appropriately fits the mold of my boys. When we have the opportunity to be in nature, we seize it!


You’ll often find us at a local park or hiking through a trail. While my kids LOVE to be outside, we have to be prepared for the storm that is a {TODDLER}. It can hit at any moment and rain on our outdoor parade. Being equipped to tackle the beast of their emotions can keep one’s time in nature a harmonious experience.


I’ve learned from experience, as most parents do, on what I need to take to keep my kids moving and grooving when enjoying the work of Mother Earth. Here are the 5 must-have items you need when hiking with a toddler.


  1. Hello Bello Organic Bug Spray – How many times do I hear “there’s a bug on me!” “Help! It’s eating me!” “I don’t like squitos!” or my favorite “EWWWWW!” With two gingers, their skin is super sensitive, and it has been an actual journey to find a safe and effective bug spray that’s not going to destroy their skin. The Hello Bello Organic Bug Spray is 100% USDA Certified Organic, hypoallergenic, non-irritating, and lab-tested to repel mosquitoes, flies, ticks, and more. I feel comfortable using this on my kids and they have a more pleasant experience exploring the beauty of nature. This helps cut out the toddler drama (parents, you know what I’m talking about).


  1. Squeasy Gear Squeasy Snacker – My boys LOVE water! Keeping them hydrated is not only important while outdoors, but it keeps them happy and satisfied. We actually use Squeasy Snacker, the silicone pouch, to keep the kids water cool. It’s easy to store in our backpack, clip to our belts, or carry around in the woods. It’s such a versatile product – water, apple sauce, yogurt, etc. you can take your favorite snack and drink with you wherever you go!


  1. My Super Cookies – In our house snack time is 24/7. What’s the saying? “They’ll eat you out of house and home.” My boys already eat us out of house and home and they are only 2 and 4!! With this said, they obviously want a snack (or two) while we are hiking or on the nature trail. My Super Cookies organic whole grain cookies are the perfect go-to snack for the boys. Like I mentioned, they are whole grain as well as 100% nut free and made with coconut oil and chia seeds. It’s a healthy options and gives them the boost of energy they need.


  1. Bumkins Reusable Snack Bags – As you may or may not know about me, I am pretty big on sustainability and living an environmentally conscious life. Bumkins Reusable Snack bags are perfect for storing, well of course snacks, but also first aid needs, IDs and cash, as well as lollipops! You may be asking – “why lollipops?” Well, here’s the thing; lollipops keep my kids focused and on task. I do not need them wandering all over God’s green earth. It also gives them a sugar boost to keep their energy up and going. For myself, I constantly need to be doing something on top of the thing I am already doing, and unfortunately for my children, they are the same. Lollipops are my trick to keep the experience a happy one.


  1. Crckt Backpack – When we hike or explore a local trail, we always use our Crckt blue and green camo frog backpack. Yes, it stores all of our exploration necessities, but it’s also a fun distraction for the kids. If my husband and I are wearing it, the kids know to keep their eye on the frogs. If my oldest wants to wear it, which he often does, it helps us keep an eye on him (he’s my wanderer…but he gets it legally from me). It’s important to keep all of your necessities in one place, and we have found this backpack is the perfect option for our family on so many levels.


Of course there are more items to consider when going on a hike, but these are the 5 I make sure are on person at all times. What would you add to your must-have item list for hiking? Let me know in the comments below.


“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” – Henry David Thoreau


All of the items mentioned in the blog are linked above.


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Kids Night In Box – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I am often plagued with the thought of “what are we going to do?” (cue dramatic music) when it rains all weekend long. We are currently in the times of technology, but that doesn’t mean I want my kids glued to the T.V. or their tablets while we hunker down inside from the storms brewing outside. I want to keep their minds moving and grooving even outside of school.

Well, let me tell you what turned our wet April weekend around – Kids Night In Box! My fellow parents, this subscription box service is a GAME-CHANGER (lots of emphasis on game-changer). Filled with activities, treats, and books, this box has everything you could need for a fun and educational night in with the kids.

If you know me, I LOVE Earth Day (April 22nd!), and this month’s Kids Night In Box is appropriately themed Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. As an advocate for Mother Earth, I am constantly introducing my boys to ways to support the environment. Instead of listening to me repeat the same mantra over and over again, they got a taste of what it means to positively give back to Earth through engaging activities.

This sustainable box was jammed pack full of environmentally conscious goodies, like:

  • Recipes
  • Book
  • Arts and crafts
  • Snack
  • Eco-Friendly Pledge

We love a good book, especially a book that gives us an inside look on the impact recycling can have on the environment. Don’t Throw That Away! by Lara Bergen is a fun and interactive flap book which shows kids how to transform every day trash into something new and innovative. My four-year-old wants to turn our recently recycled milk jug into a bird house and I think we are definitely going to make that happen. Let’s not fail to mention the adorable illustrations are truly captivating.

After reading our new book, we created an upcycled bubble blower. Bubbles are a kid’s guilty pleasure. I’m pretty sure my two-year-old is sleeping with a jug of bubbles right now (I’m kidding…maybe). With just a cardboard craft tube (toilet paper roll), mesh material, craft tape, cupcake scented bubbles, and bowl, we created a “bubble-blowing machine.” The boys lost their minds! They were thrilled with the streams of bubbles that flowed from their new bubble blower. The Kids Night In Box comes with a list of four games you can do with your upcycled bubble blower and my kids loved them all.

After blowing bubbles on the front porch (cautiously separated from the rain), my oldest and I went to work on creating the most stunning newspaper flowers the world has ever seen! Early in the day we painted our blue water color (provided in the box) background, which dried during our bubble extravaganza, as the foundation of our newspaper flowers. With water colors, paper straws, stickers, and a lot of creative energy we went to town making a masterpiece. We took some creative liberties, but we are proud of our art. It’s currently taped to the front of my son’s closet door.

This is just a snapshot of our Earth Warrior themed day. We devoured our Nature’s Path Enviro Kidz Organic Crispy Chocolate Rice Bar (yum!). I’ve already started using the Bumkins reusable snack bag for the kid’s snacks.  We also signed the Eco Friendly Pledge found the back of our Kids Night In Box user guide. Every part of the Kids Night In Box is reusable and the box is recyclable! I mean, how amazing is that?!

You’re probably thinking, “how can I get my box?” No worries! Go to https://frstre.com/go/?a=19136-4863f8&s=456886-78ed66 You can also select from the Date Night In Box, Date Night In Box – Faith, and Kids Night In Box – Faith. All great options for you and your significant other or family.

What activity would you like to try? Let me know in the comments below.

#KNIReduceReuseRecycle #KidsNightInBox

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4 Reasons to Raise Your Kids in the South

For my entire life I’ve been told I don’t sound like I hail from the south. I used to take this sentiment as a compliment. If we are being honest, the media does not highlight the south in the best of lights. The south is often depicted as the land of severely conservative, backwoods folks, who all live on farms and raise 42 cows. I personally have never self-identified as this dramatized version of a southern, so when folks assumed I was from New England, I didn’t necessarily correct them.

As I’ve gotten older, I have realized the beauty of living in the south and have embraced my sweet tea roots, especially as the mother of two young boys. That’s right; this liberal mama loves raising her ginger babes in the Tar Heel state.

Here are four reasons why raising your kids in the south is a beautiful thing:

  1. Manners make the man – We can all agree manners are a must. I was raised to say, “yes ma’am/sir,” “no ma’am/sir,” please and thank you, etc. Having manners is not only polite, but they leave a positive and lasting impression. You’ll stand out in the crowd in the best way. To be in the south without manners is a sin (we are on the bible belt of course). If one forgets the proper greeting or response, there is a southern mama always there to glare the most intense evil eye in your direction. We learn very quickly to keep our manners in check.
  2. Wild child – Being in nature is something a southerner is born to do (well, most of us). I remember playing in the neighborhood creek, climbing trees, and venturing into the woods for an “adventure.” My boys LOVE to play outside. My oldest is a master bug hunter and collector of dirt. While I’m not a huge fan of the creepy crawlers, he has zero fear when it comes to facing a spider or earth worm; he wants to be their friend. He feels comfortable outside and that makes my tree-hugger heart happy.
  3. We’ve got spirit, yes, we do – College basketball…what more can I say? When you live in the south you are born on a side, the side of an ACC team. In North Carolina the trinity of college basketball falls within three points – UNC Tarheels, Duke Blue Devils, and NC State Wolfpack. We clearly bleed Carolina blue and cheer on our beloved Tar Heels to victory. This inherent need to be tethered to a team builds a sense of pride and commitment in an individual.
  4. Family values (the good ones) – This can be said for anybody, anywhere, but family values are so important in the south. Now, I don’t think all “family values” are, well, valuable, but I do think finding those naturally good qualities are important. We can learn a lot from of our family. My family has always projected strong social values like respect/courtesy, giving back, kindness, standing up for others, etc. I want and will carry these values into the lives of my children.

As someone who was born and raised in the south, I’ve worked my entire life to eliminate that stereotypical view of a southerner from my own mind. There is so much beauty to be found down south when raising children to be fully functioning and well-adjusted individuals. We are a wonderfully complex breed.

“Southerners know all too well that a basket of fried chicken can mean ‘I’m sorry,’ ‘I love you’ or ‘Welcome Home.’” (Johnathan Scott Barrett)