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#StokkeScoot Event



This looks like a great, lightweight stroller to get you rollin' through town! Never heard of one? Learn now! Covet one for yourself? Win now! It's a pretty neat ride for you urban mamas!

Welcome to the Stokke Scoot Giveaway hosted by Viva Veltoro and Thrifty Nifty Mommy and generously sponsored by Stokke North America.

The Stokke Scoot is taking compact and lightweight to new heights with "best in class" features rolled into one lightweight, compact, and easy to fold stroller. The Stokke Scoot offers higher seating that's both parent and outward facing. With 4 seating positions, including active and rest modes, your baby will stroll in comfort. The Scoot features a large, water repellent canopy that has a hidden ventilation window and an attached sun visor for extra protection.




photos adapted from Stokke
Suitable from birth to 45 pounds, the Stokke Scoot is the ideal solution for travel, navigating busy streets or public transit. It's lightweight and easy to push. It also features an intuitive one-handed compact fold.




photo courtesy of Stokke
Ruth from Viva Veltoro recently had the opportunity to review the fabulous Stokke Scoot.
You can check out her full review HERE.

The lovely people at Stokke want to give one lucky person the chance to win 
a Stokke Scoot in their choice of color, valued at $599!

photos adapted from Stokke
Open to the US and Canada, ages 18 and up.
Ends 11/15/13 at 11:59 PM EST.

Disclosure: This blog did not receive any compensation for hosting this giveaway and is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Please contact vivaveltoro{at}gmail.com with any questions.

The One with the Parenting Fail

Well, not a total fail, but I had some serious mom guilt going on during my FAVORITE (silly to even say that word here, since I just love holidays and festivities in general!) but anyway, it's one of the best times of the year and I started big and then blew it.

Case Study #1

Halloween Festivities at the Zoo

The first 'real' event for Halloween that our kiddo has gone to, other than community center parties, that is. I took plenty of pictures, sure, but none of them were even mediocre quality. Worse, I would have a tiger coming into the shot, get impatient or worried that if I didn't take the photo RIGHT THEN, that I would miss it. So I'd take photo after bad photo. Then, my already hard to photograph child would be sick of posing after about 3-5 takes. So, in reviewing our wonderful family outing, we have no real quality photos to commemorate. Thankfully, we do have the memories that we made.


Case Study #2

Halloween at ECFE Class

We are one of the lucky places in the world that have a TON of early childhood programming, and we love our little group of about a dozen moms and kiddos that we meet with each week. Well, we had missed two sessions in a row due to illness and doctors' visits. I was determined to make it. We also live 25 miles away from the school. I remembered that it was the last class before Halloween, but last year, my son was the ONLY kiddo that dressed up. Well, this year, he was the only kiddo that DID NOT dress up. He didn't seem to notice but it broke my heart. In two. Crushed. I felt like such a bad mom for not remembering before we were 15 miles into our trip and only just on time. If we turned around, we'd miss most of class. To make matters worse and really rub salt in good, after class we loaded up and I opened the hatch of the car to put a few things away and saw a spotted shell poking out...we had the costume all along, from the Zoo excursion. Then, as I moved things around, I saw we had not only ONE costume, but the other costume as well. Epic fail. 

So, with today being the ACTUAL Halloween day, and considering the events leading up to All Hallow's Eve, I am really hoping to knock it out of the park. Step it up, mom! We are planning to trick-or-treat in a new community and we've been researching the local activities. I hope to report good things, but this year is really getting ghoulishly hard to hack. Wish me luck with the last attempt at being Supermom--the one day of the year when you REALLY can be!

Yep, that makes a dozen! Recap + Recipe DIY

Well, we've been raising chickens. From little fuzzy chicks, through some mysterious deaths, into chicken adolescence and now into the ripe ol' egg-laying bonanza! Well done, family!

Here, though many are "pullets" is our first DOZEN eggs, sourced from OUR OWN chickens in our little BACKYARD coop. We've been making an EGG-stravaganza out of the collection lately, and I figured I'd do a little re-cap and share a favorite recipe with you all!


Those eggs turn into these Egg & Ham Muffin Cups


And they are SO good!


Our goal is to raise some pigs for next year, so the ham will be from our own farm too!


Here's where two nest boxes are, where we get about half the eggs. The ladder used to be attached to our boat for swimming. #Upcycle!


When they were fuzzy and new!


This white one is "Plain Jane" and...


"Fancy" turned out to be a boy! He's the one that rules the roost these days!


Way back in May....


Okay, now for the Recipe for the Egg & Ham Muffin Cups:

  • Grease or line cups in a cupcake pan
  • Preheat oven 350 degrees
  • Add one small dinner biscuit to the bottom of each of the cups, press to make a divet
  • fill with a pinch of cheese and sprinkle on some ham
  • pour in scrambled egg mix (eggs + milk + seasoning, beaten)
  • Bake about 25 mins or until eggs is cooked!

ENJOY!

2nd Annual Hunter's Hop Giveaway #HuntersGvawy2





Welcome to the Second Annual Hunters Giveaway hosted by Andersons Angels & Joy of Momma Joyner. This event features everything you could want or need for Hunting! Each blog has gathered up a unique Prize Package of $20 or more so be sure to visit each blog from the linky below and enter for your chance to win some really amazing prizes! This event will end on October 28th at 11:59pm EST. 

Enter the Adventures of Mommyhood Prize Package on the Rafflecopter form (or link to it) below. Then, follow the linky at the bottom of the page to enter the other participating blogs' prize packages! 



Enter the other giveaways on the list here!!! Happy Hunting!!



**Disclaimer: Andersons Angels, Joy of Momma Joyner, Adventures of Mommyhood, and the Hunters Giveaway 2 bloggers are not responsible for sponsors that fail to fulfill their prizes.**

**Disclosure: Adventures of Mommyhood received samples and review materials to complete sponsor spotlights. There was no other type of compensation received. All opinions are 100% original and honest.**

Yovation Hola Fruita Event!

Yum!!!

Welcome to the Yovation & Hola Fruita $75 Party Prize Pack Giveaway Extravaganza! 
Pierre's Ice Cream


Pierre's Ice Cream Company is home to many different frozen treats, including, but not limited to Yovation's frozen yogurt and Hola Fruita's all natural, pure fruit, sherbet! Deliciousness in a pint!

We all absolutely loved out pint samples, even Dan who does not like yogurt or frozen yogurt and is very picky even on ice cream enjoyed Yovation's frozen yogurt as well as Hola Fruita's sherbet.


I LOVE winning treats. When you can eat 'em it's even better! So, starting today, "I scream! You scream!..." Well, you all now how THAT ones goes. Good luck. I hope you are screaming because you've won some delicious ice cream!

 
One luck reader will win a prize pack including: 
- 10 pints 
- Party Supplies: serving spoons, spoons, scoops & napkins
- Twenty-Five $0.55 OFF Coupons


Open to Cont. US residents whom are at least 18 years of age. 

Giveaway dates: October 27th through November 10th at 11:59pm CST.

 Enter to win this great prize pack of delicious and healthy frozen treats through the Giveaway Tools entry form below. There is only 1 mandatory entry and all others are optional.One winner will be chosen at random via the entry form. This winner will be notified via email, in which they will have 48 hours to respond to or a new winner will be chosen. Winner's entry will be verified. 

Good Luck! 


Disclosure: Adventures of Mommyhood is not responsible for the fulfillment of this prize nor did I receive any form of compensation for this publication. Pierre's Ice Cream is responsible for the fulfillment of the above prize. If you have any questions, concerns or would like to see your product(s) in a similar promote please contact Sarh at mamis3littlemonkeys@yahoo.com.

Babymoov Multi-function Food Processor Event


Welcome to the Babymoov Multi-Function Baby Food Processor Giveaway
and graciously sponsored by Babymoov.  

How would you like to make your little one's baby food?  Well, I tried. But that was with a manual grinder and well, this mama just didn't have enough time for that. I only WISH I could have won a Babymoov Food Processor! Seriously...I would have devoted a lot more effort to the cause with one of these babies! Just one machine can help you do that and so much more!

Allow us to introduce you to Babymoov's Bebedelice Multi-Function Baby Food Processor!

The Bebedelice:

  • heats and reheats bottles and small jars
  • sterilizes bottles
  • cooks fresh food without losing its vitamin content, even fish, poultry and meat!
  • blends
  • defrosts and preserves.
  • Easy to use with its 2 control buttons 
  • Stops automatically and alerts you via its 2 alarms (visual and sound)
  • Includes graduated measuring cup and a set of tongs
  • BPA-free
Mamas Baby Cupcakes had the opportunity to review the Bebedelice, 
check out Michelle's full review HERE.


The Bebedelice retails for $119.99, but you can purchase one for as low as $80 on Amazon.  

Just click HERE to view this great sale!




One lucky person will win a Babymoov Bebedelice in their choice of Red or Blue! 

Open to the US and Canada.  Ends 11/11/13 at 11:59 PM EST.
Enter using the Giveaway Tools form below.  Good Luck!

Disclosure: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Prize fulfillment is solely the responsibility of Cariboo and not the participating bloggers. Giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada, age 18 and up.  If you have any additional questions, feel free to send an email to thriftyniftymommy {at} yahoo.com. If you're interested in having your company or products featured with a giveaway like this, please contact thriftyniftymommy{at}yahoo.com.

Moving...it's an Adventure, right?

My husband is taking a four-month promotional opportunity to cover for a position that is currently vacant within his company. That means, we'll be traveling a lot between our home and our temporary dwelling for four months. Thankfully, they are only are two hours apart... BUT....

It has me researching, since the position IS open, we could take a job there if we like it. It's nice to "test the waters" as I know a lot of people that move around do it blindly and hope for the best. The community education courses are about a half dozen, few apply to me. I come from an area with a 40 page pamphlet of choices for all ages + lots of Early Childhood Family Education courses and library programing for kiddos. We have been very blessed in the community involvement of the area.

On the other hand, there are more choices for sports and extracurriculars and I think a better overall school system where we are headed. Less violent crime but more sex offenders... There are trade offs and I am a list maker, so I've been looking into so many facets of a move, hoping to find what will fit for us.

The point is...how have YOU known what to do? Have you moved a lot? What do you consider? Do you jump in with both feet or constantly second guess?

Thanks Mama ErgoBaby Carrier Event


Well, it's never any surprise, I'm always an advocate of babywearing. It's saved us dozens of times, whether I needed to do the dishes or go grocery shopping in the frigid winter, wearing my son has made life easier. The other benefit, that may be the one I love most is that my son is always close! Bonding!

I am excited to bring to you this opportunity to win an ERGObaby Carrier from Thanks Mama natural parenting store, I think you'll love it!



Thanks Mama online baby store features a selection of twelve baby carrier brands, among them the popular ERGObaby Carrier. This particular brand was the one that started it all and revolutionized babywearing to be truly comfortable and suitable for every day life. The ergonomic design of this carrier supports the correct sitting position for baby and also balances baby's weight on the parent's hips and shoulders. 


Our Favorite Features of the ERGObaby Carrier: 
  • Reinforced stitching between fabric intersections make a safer carrier
  • Padded waist belt supports the lumbar area
  • Can be worn on the front, back, or hip
  • Attached sleeping hood that can be tucked away
  • Thick, comfortable foam straps
  • Fits babies from 7 to 45 pounds (with infant insert)

Our Favorite Features of the Thanks Mama Store
  • Large selection of 28 brands of cloth diapers
  • Over 15 options of reusable potty training pants
  • Eco-friendly and non-toxic baby care solutions
  • Classic and modern wooden toys
  • Non-toxic mattresses for the whole family
  • Eco-friendly furniture for baby and kids made of rubberwood
  • Free shipping on all U.S. orders over $60 and Worldwide shipping rates available
  • Earn rewards dollars with every purchase
Purchase: You can purchase the ERGObaby carrier at Thanks Mama. Use code CARRIER for 15% off!



Win It! Thanks Mama is generously giving away the Zebra print ERGObaby Carrier to one winner.



Special thanks to AnaB Social for hosting this giveaway. Huge thanks to Thanks Mama and all participating bloggers as well! Giveaway ends November 21st at 11:59 pm, open WORLDWIDE, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below (see directions on how to enter here). Thank you!




Disclaimer: AnaB Social, Eco-Babyz, and all participating event bloggers are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. 

Little Pim Language Learning DVD Event

Welcome to the Little Pim Language Learning DVD Set Giveaway


Win a great way to teach your kiddos (and probably yourself) a new language!

Hosted by: Savory Savings

Sponsored by: Little Pim


little-pim-logo



With our ever-changing world and commerce, it is more important than ever to speak more than one language.  The earlier we start a second (or maybe third?) language, the easier it is to grasp, so many people recommend starting with children from birth with hearing two languages to improve the integration of the language and over all comprehension.  Krista over at Savory Savings speaks Spanish fluently, while her husband does not know a perro from pero (dog from “but” – the conjunction people, not the other one!) She shared her thoughts on the Little Pim Language Learning DVD series over on her site and you can see how this DVD series, aimed at the 0-6 crowd can help build vocabulary in both languages and promote language confidence!  By immersing children in language during entertainment, they hardly notice they are learning and suddenly are using phrases in other languages!


Little Pim is currently available in the following languages:
Little_Pim_Spanish
  • Spanish
  • French

  • Chinese

  • Italian

  • German

  • Japanese

  • Arabic

  • Hebrew

  • Russian

  • English

  • Portuguese

You can pick up a Little Pim language discovery set (4 DVD’s and a Little Pim Panda plush!) right now for under $35!  During the holiday season, Little Pim is offering 20% off with coupon code LPHOLIDAY!  If you can’t wait for online shipping, Little Pim in Spanish, French and Chinese languages can be found at your local Toys R Us!


Would you like to engage your little one in a new language?  Or perhaps you know a child that this would make the perfect gift?  Enter this giveaway to win a 3-pack of Little Pim in the language of your choice now!  This giveaway is open to US residents, ages 18 and older.  It will run from October 23, 2013 through November 6, 2013.


Savory Savings and all promoting blogs are not responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with any social media outlet.

Hot Off the Lathe ~ Handcrafted Calls, Brushes, Pens and More

I must admit that I had to look up with a lathe was. I knew it had to do with wood working. I even have a colleague who does "spring pole lathe" designs that were common circa 1900. BUT...I just didn't really have a grasp on it. Now I know a lathe is what you use to get those cool designs, to turn wood for things like furniture, handles and so many more products...including HUNTING CALLS!



Hot off the Lathe is an Etsy shop that contains so many handcrafted and FUNCTIONAL works of art! 

Since deer season has not opened for ME, (my husband has been out already, for archery,) I have not personally used this call for a hunt. I did take it outside and play around with it in the deer stand, but since the deer are more sparse this year and have different forces driving them this time of year (food) I did not see any of the gregarious crepuscular ungulates this time around.

Hot off the Lathe is a husband and wife shop that is obviously owned by some pretty talented woodworkers! I love the use of color and different shapes in their work. If you browse the selection currently available in the shop, you can see that no two items are ever alike!

This shop looks like an extraordinary place to complete your holiday shopping for those hard-to-please recipients OR just to give something totally unique! I think my husband would LOVE a call and I know my MIL who is a hair stylist would love a pretty brush in some pink hues to set at her styling stall! 

But...some things that I REALLY like about the call are:

  • gorgeous!!! 
  • durable
  • sounds appropriate based on real deer sounds I've heard and store bought calls and grunts I've use in the past
  • I LOVE that it is not only US made but hand made
Not a hunter? Not a problem! Hot off the Lathe has other options for you:

  

Hennessy Hammock Expedition - Great Alternative to the Tradition Tent-Camping Experience

Some would call it crazy. Well, most would in fact. But, we were so excited to get into our Hennessy Hammock that a little snow didn't stop us. Now normally, we'd have shown lovely summer weather photos along a lake or river--not so this year. We wanted to test out our "Survivor" skills. So, we bundled up and set it up, just to see what it was going to be like in cold weather. And, if we didn't have the little guy, we'd probably have tried our hand at "winter" camping in October with the hammock (at least my husband would) just to see if he could hack it! We haven't really mastered enjoyable winter camping with him yet, but give us a winter or so more and we'll have it down! But, it was more of a daytime play activity.




                                                       Even with cold hands, it went up easy. 



You just need a few larger trees and a rather open spot on the ground. I did once set mine up over some Devil's Club in Alaska. Not the best way to wake up folks! So, if you are in the desert, or any area that has some kind of vicious foliage, err on the side of caution and clear a spot or move on!


Above is the stalk of Devil's Club. Just a little tidbit of info: the underside of the giant leaves have thorny pokers too. They break off and are left to fester out of your skin, sometimes taking their sweet time. This was my preferred method of sleeping while out on the trails in Southeast Alaska. [in the hammock that is, NOT over Devil's Club!]


The mesh allows you to see your surroundings and even star gaze, without allowing bugs to feast.


Here, next to our little snowy fire pit is the hammock and the rain fly. And lots of snow.


Make sure you read these handy printed on the carry-sack instructions. No better way to have printed them -- and no paper to lose or blow away! LOVE this idea!


This is a bit of an action shot. You see, you enter the hammock through the bottom. Some super heavy duty velcro secures the opening once you are in (or out.) You can shake and stomp your boots before entry, or just leave them directly below you and they will stay relatively dry and out of the elements (without mussing your sleeping quarters!) 


Adding a second person to the mix? They make hammocks with larger weight allowances (this model holds up to 250 lbs. and up to a six-footer in height) so you can bring the tyke in the hammock too! It's the ultimate in co-sleeping, that's for sure! Just make sure your partner in crime doesn't snore! 

This is a photo through the mesh top. It's super easy to see though, making your experience just as good (if not better) than in a tent. I like that you don't freeze from lying on the cool ground, there is no threat of water getting into low spots, and even creepy crawlies seem to have a harder time finding you when you are in the hammock. It's not difficult to find a place with a few large trees, so finding or making a little tent pad is no longer going to take up valuable time in your backpacking trip. It's also lightweight (under three pounds) and very pack-able. 

We are really excited to take the Expedition kayaking and on a few weekender hikes--sans snow next time!

**Thanks to the folks over at Hennessy Hammocks for the complimentary hammock to test out and enjoy. My opinions are my own and are honest. We were not compensated in any other way for the post.**

In ONE WEEK Curious George: A Halloween Boo fest

We couldn't be more excited. We LOVE "specials" on television--well, I do anyway! I cannot really say whether my toddler does, because that concept is still tough to untangle for him. BUT, I do know that he loves Curious George and ALL of the programming on PBS. This is the FIRST EVER Curious George Halloween special! Your kids will love it and if you're like me, you won't want to miss it either! When the Curious George Swings Into Spring Special came out last April, I actually marked it on my phone calendar so we'd be sure to watch!


We are going to be making sure that we tune in! George is a little like my son and a little like me. Like George, I start thinking about the perfect costume--like in March. Really. I love Halloween!

CURIOUS GEORGE: A HALLOWEEN BOO FEST 

premieres October 28, repeats October 31



Will you be tuning in? 

Do you and yours love George and the 

Man in the Yellow Hat?

Don't miss this one! 

Giveaway Sign-ups OPEN for It's Christmas! Event


It’s Christmas Event

Organized by: Mom Powered Media



Grand Prize: $500 Sears Gift Card
Event dates: 11/11 - 12/2
Open to US
Referral prize: $50 Amazon E-Code or Paypal Cash

Make sure to say "Adventures of Mommyhood" referred you, when you sign up. Thank you!


Bloggers: Sign Up HERE

Meet My Green Turtle

My husband loves Thanksgiving, and I adore him for that. I however, LOVE Halloween! I like it more as an adult than I probably ever did as a child. It's a night when you can be creative and silly, spooky or humorous. It's fun for the whole family. It's also one of the only nights of the year that even the most down trodden couch potato is out walking around!

What makes it so fun? Well, the decorations are great, but for me it's the costumes! We have been having a ball dressing up our son and we found some really neat costumes at Fright Catalog. What we settled on this year, since Finding Nemo seems to be a favorite in our household was a Green Turtle...Duuuude!

Here is the packaging, made by "Underwraps" company and shipped to us from Fright Catalog.



Fright Catalog has a great selection of infant and toddler costumes--check it out! There are 13 days left to shop until the ghouls and the gremlins are expected out for Halloween!



We got the 2T-4T size (2.5 year old kiddo, normally wears a 2T) and it fits perfectly. Now, this is something to consider if you have an average sized 3 or 4 year old; go to the next size if you need to layer for cold weather.



  • We really love that the hands and head are separate and that there are little boot stirrups at the end of the legs, to help hold the costume in place.



  • We didn't love this costume's giant shell for the car seat--it's ADORABLE, don't get me wrong, but it's NOT a costume for travel.


So, if there were a detachable shell, it would make this costume ROCK. The material was super soft and moved and breathed really well, key points for keeping a toddler IN the costume. The headpiece acts like a thin hat, so even if it's cold or windy, the kiddos' ears stay protected! It would also be neat if the shell had some reflective tape or surfaces for visibility. Those are the only aspects we'd change or improve on this costume. It's a great kids' costume and would be paired well with Nemo and Dori costumes (though this turtle is NOT Disney branded, it's a close match to "Dude Crush."

**I received a complimentary costume for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated in any other way. My opinions are 100% my own and are honest.**

Little G Birthday Event

Since I haven't had very many fun collective giveaways lately, I thought I'd share this one with you all--for the parents of little ones' out there, this is a fun one! Read on to see how you can be one of THIRTEEN winners!

Happy Birthday Little G!
Little Giraffe's favorite plush toy giraffe, Little G is turning 2 and we're throwing a big party to celebrate! There will be 13 winners in this HUGE giveaway hosted by A Mama Collective and Viva Veltoro.
Little G Birthday Image
"Little Giraffe is LOVE." is this great company's slogan - and that couldn't be more true. They believe in the finer things in life, the finest being LOVE. Known and loved by parents everywhere, Little Giraffe prides itself on making the softest, most luxurious products around.

While staying practical (machine-washable and ultra plush), Little Giraffe has managed to please the toughest of clients - moms and dads. From the softest blankets, bibs, pillows, towels, clothes, and more, Little Giraffe outshines the rest.

Stroller G

To start off the birthday celebration, Little Giraffe is giving away a Stroller G Activity Plush Toy to 10 lucky winners! This plush toy does the whole Shake + Rattle + Roll that you could ask for! It latches easily onto any stroller or carseat, and is just the toy to keep baby entertained when on-the-go.

Little G

Then for three more lucky winners, we have the cutest ever Little G Plush Toy. This is the "world's most sought after stuffed giraffe toy," and is loved by any kiddo that loves anything soft and cuddly - which is EVERY kid, right?!
So, are you ready to enter to WIN one of 13 adorable plush toys for your little one?
Just enter using the Giveaway Tools form below!
Little Giraffe Giveaway image
Be sure to connect with Little Giraffe:
This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm EST on Monday, 10/28/13.
It is open to US residents, 18+ only.

Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for hosting this giveaway. The participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment.

The Untrained Housewife Guide to Getting Prepared ~ A Review

"Prepping" has become trendy it seems. But, in recent hard economic times, what to the masses is prepping is just being frugal and resourceful for my family. However, all the buzz has me looking into ways to become a more efficient family, both in planning and preparing for everything from the annual snowstorm to a global crisis. This book is a GREAT resource for it all!

The Untrained Housewife's Guide to Getting Prepared


I love that there are so many great resources within this great resource!! There are charts, recipes, lists... It's REALLY the perfect guide for a beginner's preparing efforts! Even if you are a seasoned homesteader or prepper, it's a fun and easy read. So, here's my challenge for you -- even if you aren't prepping at all, take ONE small step to change that. Be proactive, curb the trendiness of this effort and do something to provide for yourself in a time you might need it. At the very least, prepare yourself with some knowledge!



The only thing that I saw was lacking in my opinion was the clothing section. I would have loved to have seen a focus on materials that were truly GOOD for survival. Though tee-shirts are versatile and ARE good to keep on hand, I would tell people the importance of wool and natural fibers. Wool is better for fire situations, awesome for being soaked to the bone and remaining warm, and great for retaining body heat, much moreso than cotton. Also, there is value in good ol' polypropylene. I worked in a rain forest and fleece was something that was worth it's weight in, well, fleece! Long underwear that is some kind of poly synthetic (in my humble opinion) is generally better than cotton--unless you are prone to yeast infection or in a particularly wet environment, then cotton may be the better choice (for breathing) or wool for breathing + warmth.

All in all, this is the place for the best all-encompassing information. Build a solid foundation with this resource. And really, it is a SUPER fun read for being non-fiction. I love Harry Potter as much as the next person, but this read kept me flipping the pages almost as excitedly as reading about Hogwarts. So, I urge you, consider purchasing the book, reading an e-reader version, and just re-vamping some aspects of your life to be better prepared. Small steps cover great distances over time!

***Disclosure - I was provided a complimentary copy of this guide to complete my review. I was compensated in no other way. All opinions are 100% my own.***

Family Adventure in Western South Dakota - Top Places to Play, Eat, and Stay

We do not boast any "14ers" or ocean breezes here, but what the middle of the country can still provide just a well as other areas (and sometimes better) is a great venue for family escapades! Want to know our faves? Here are the top places to eat, stay, sleep and play for adults and kids alike as a family looking for fun in Western South Dakota! [These are tried and true, we took our two year-old this summer!]

*Tip* Save a whole week to explore if you can! There is SO MUCH to see and do that a few days does not allow you time to enjoy everything without rushing.

PLAY

10. Mt. Rushmore
9. Main Street Square in Rapid City (FREE!!!)
8. Storybook Island in Rapid City (FREE!!!)
7. Watiki Indoor Waterpark in Rapid City
6. Flintstone's Bedrock City - Custer
5. Fort Hays Chuckwagon & Dinner Show near Rapid City
4. Bear Country U.S.A. near Rapid City
3. Old MacDonald's Farm near Rapid City
2. Reptile Gardens near Rapid City
1. Custer State Park - Custer

EAT

5. Flintstone's Bedrock City Drive-In (Custer)
4. Sliders Bar and Grill (attached to Watiki Indoor Waterpark in Rapid City)
3. Bobkat's Purple Pie Place (Custer)
2. Arnold's Classic 50's Diner (Rapid City)
1. Black Hills Burger & Bun (Custer

STAY

5. Mitchell KOA - Mitchell
4. Holiday Inn Express - Custer
3. Comfort Suites - Rapid City
2. Lake Pelican State Park - Watertown
1. Palmer Gulch KOA - Custer

Interview with Haley Vines, designer of Haley Vines Outdoor Collection

Women often share the same views about hunting clothing---we're sick of wearing our husband/brother's too-big clothing. Even if they are smaller than we are, the seams are not made to fit women and we're often left with a bulky look and feel that is all but stealthy (or cute) for the hunt.

Finally, a woman has revolutionized the hunting industry for women. Comfort, quality, function and yeah, the clothes are even cute, which appeals to the ladies too! Meet Haley Vines. Her outdoor collection for women will allow you to not only stay warm (or cool) while having a blast enjoying your hobby, the clothes are made by women, for women. So, they know your needs!

Haley Vines Outdoor Collection!!

I had a moment and was able to connect with Haley to learn some insider tidbits about HVOC. You see, I've had a chance to try some of the gear and I am loving it. I think my husband is even a little jealous that I've found something that fits so well! Read on lady hunters, and fellas -- this is a great gift idea for those ladies in your lives that like to enjoy the outdoors!

Do you remember the moment when you had your 'last straw' with the available hunting clothing on the market?
"My best friend called to ask if she could borrow some camouflage clothing that would make her look really good. Her boyfriend invited her hunting and she had been trying (to no avail) to shop for cute hunting clothing. I just laughed and told her that I wore my Dad's or brother's clothes. She was shocked! She scolded me, saying that I had hunted all over the world and that if anyone should have cute hunting clothes it should be me. That night my mother and I sat around the campfire wondering why we tolerate cold, wet feet and baggy apparel. We decided to take a stand and provide women with the same option that men receive everyday. Somehow we exceeded our own expectations and now my husband is jealous because he likes my hunting clothing better than his own."
You've said that you do not get as much time to hunt now that you have the clothing line (which we ALL thank you for your sacrifice! Way to take one for the team!) So, do you have any 'annual' girls trips or time that you set aside to get out there?
"We are a very family oriented group, so we take special time out, at least once a year, to have a friends and family trip. We keep things simple and fun. Each year is different, but always so much fun. My mom and I also enjoy popping in on events such as the DIVAS or BOW."
What has been your favorite hunt, to date?
"I have two... My mom and I spent an entire day stalking a massive, old six point whitetail with stark white antlers. A really neat deer, with lots of character. We were crouched under a bush, so I slowly rose to glass the deer we were stalking which, at this point, were about 50 yards away. When I brought my binoculars up all I could see was antlers... Only antlers... Because the deer was chewing on the bush we were hiding in! I inched back down and tried to signal just how close the deer was. My mom kept shaking her head and pointing out. And I was shaking my head trying to say, no... Right here. But she didn't understand. She inched up, saw the buck eating our bush and ducked back down. He was a huge buck, too young too consider, and definitely had us pinned. So we sat in the bush, while he snacked on it until dark. We didn't get a deer, but it was an amazing hunt."
"My next favorite involved a first deer (which are always my favorite.) Some very close friends (Brett and Kristel) of mine brought their daughter (Kiley) were hunting with us. This was her first hunt ever. She had been practicing relentlessly for months. I assumed that we would go for a doe or a spike, but there was one management buck who had been skirting around my trail cam. He was a twelve point; three brow tines on each side. So a six point with six more brow tines. He was a very cool deer. But he had never come out of the brush, so I had never seem him in the flesh; only on the camera. First day of the hunt at 7 a.m. a buck comes tearing out of the brush, storming into our East Texas oat patch. I couldn't believe it! It was the 12 point. Kiley aimed out of the stand, sitting on her father's lap. I expected her to be nervous. She didn't shake or even question it. The buck turned swiftly to leave. Within half a second, she pulled the trigger and the buck dropped dead in his tracks. I screamed, her dad screamed. We were all high-fiving. It was so exciting and tears just start streaming down her little face. Brett hugs her, laughing and apologizing for scarring her. But she just smiled with big tears streaming down her face and said, "I'm not crying because I'm sad, I'm crying because I'm so happy!" I have never met any child as excited as Kiley that early morning. And I have no idea what compelled that buck to charge into the oat patch that day. Maybe God just wanted to see her smile that morning."
What are the plans for the future of Haley Vines? Kids line? Footwear? Casual wear? Adding colors or blaze orange?
"We would love to add apparel for children. We would also love to add a plus size collection. However, we need women putting pressure on the big box stores to support these additions. As far as I am concerned (as the designer) the sky's the limit. We have so many ideas, it's just a matter of having support from the market. So get out there and let your local Bass Pro, Cabela's, Dick's Academy, etc. know that you want to see the latest from HVOC!"

Checking out the brush situation of my shooting lanes in the deer 'grandstand' -- it's desert camo, but I have been living in this comfortable camo shirt! Loving how it actually FITS me...

I'd like to thank Haley for taking the time to answer my questions and for being the woman behind the brand that has finally given us a true fit for women. I'm incredibly excited to be working with her brand and sharing the clothing line with all of you!


Dan Arjes ~ The Antler Artisan

Every hunter has a side that wants to look good, right? Well, maybe not every hunter, but this one does! I LOVE sporting handmade, nature-inspired jewelry. Since I am an avid hunter, mixing my hobby and love of the outdoors with my feminine side and my love of earrings collided when I saw an Etsy shop that is run by the Antler Artisan himself, Dan Arjes.

Dan is the man behind the antlers, so to speak. What's really cool about Dan is that he seems to love sharing his passion, his art, and really creating an awesome niche in the jewelry world. I am happy to be sharing his shop and his work with all of you! The selection and creativity of his work are pretty endless! The prices are incredibly reasonable and you will be able to own and wear a work of art and a piece of nature. LOVE!!

Here is a photo, from the Facebook gallery of Dan Arjes

As you might have noticed, Dan has a huge array of jewelry that he hand creates. He has rings, pendants, earrings, earrings with embellishments, bracelets and more. The other really neat thing about this guy is he is an Elementary Art teacher! I know as a kid (or a teenager...or college student) having a teacher that was this creative would have been really inspiring. I cannot imagine some of the fun assignments and lessons that these classes must get to venture into!


Above are the earrings that Dan kindly shared with me, so that I could share with all of you. They are antler hoops embellished with turquoise--one of my favorites! The fishhooks are good quality metal and as a person highly sensitive to metal afflictions, I've had no problems at all. As you can see, they look great with "hunter" blaze orange. I plan to wear them with my everyday outfits as well as with my Haley Vines Outdoor Collection hunting gear! Beautiful for every occasion! I think it would have been really neat to have these earrings (or something similar) for wedding jewelry. I've seen plenty of hunter-inspired wedding themes (Thank You, Duck Dynasty) this season, so why not add some gorgeous ivory colored earrings?

Dan's creations can be found in the South Dakota area, where he resides, so look for his booth at an artisan fair near you! South Dakota is one of my most favorite places to explore the outdoors, so it's only fitting that my new most favorite piece of jewelry hail from that area as well. 

I implore you, check out Dan's Facebook page, it is where you can see all the really amazing wearable art and jewelry that he's created. So many wonderful photos showcase his immense talent. To me, it is so much more fun and meaningful to wear jewelry with stories and real people behind them, rather than mass-produced big box store type stuff. I wish I had thought of this as a resource for my wedding rings, since deer and elk (and other animals) knock around their antlers during their breeding "rut" season, they are very hardy. Since my husband is tough on stuff, this would be an awesome option for guys like him! 

My ONLY tidbit that I'd like to recommend to readers and customers is that you use a plastic/wax/wood stopper on the back of the earring to keep them in place. The earrings are not overly heavy AT ALL which did surprise me, being that antlers are not light, but they are hoops, so there is not much material to carry about. It does make you feel for the deer though, thinking of so much more mass to tote about the forest! However, they do have a bit of forward pull, so to keep your wearable art on your ears, I'd recommend those "post-back holder thingys" as some added insurance.

Fun Facts (the "wildlifer" in me has to take advantage of this teachable moment...and it's interesting!)

In the spirit of the season, I've included Dan Arjes art in my hunting forays. I have no problem toting my weapon, in search of subsistence for my family while wearing something so beautiful. But, I also wear them when I go out to a movie or to coffee with friends. 

Antlers are a renewable resource (different than HORNS) and do not hurt the animal when they are harvested as "sheds." Shed-hunting is a hobby that many folks in the Midwest (and other areas with ungulates that are antler-bearing) enjoy. 

The antlers drop usually in the winter time and grow back each year, mostly on males, but some species have antlered females as well. 

**Disclosure - I was provided a complimentary pair of earrings to complete this post. Thank you for the generosity, Dan Arjes, I will treasure my earrings and share your art with all of those who ask! My opinions are of course 100% honest and my own. I was not compensated in any other way. **

ChaWel - a FIVE in one Travel Towel - Revolutionize your Packing!

I've come up with some unique and interesting gear this season. None surprised me in a more positive way than the ChaWel (pronounced "Chow-ell.") Now a lot of gear that says it is X amount of functions in one just does not impress me. I find that the extended uses are pretty generic. However, this one I LOVE!

Five Uses of the ChaWel:

1) TOWEL
2) NECK PILLOW
3) CHANGING ROOM
4) SLEEPING BAG LINER/SLEEPING BAG
5) BLANKET



There you have it. five uses. Now the blanket one is a BIT generic, but the hidden pocket that a ChaWel possesses has me sold. I was just having an email volley with a colleague about traveling abroad and bringing your camera to the beach. Some ideas were to bury your valuables and then cover the spot with a blanket (hard to do very discreetly and could be messy) and put things into a paper bag and have a gross piece of trash like a ketsup-sodden napkin atop it, making cons less likely to mess with your "trash." This little pocket is pretty well hidden, mesh-lined and is big enough to hold a point and shoot type camera, Iphone, passports, etc. Genius.

The other part of the ChaWel that is just AMAZING. I cannot even gush enough good things about the ease of use of the changing room. True Changing-Room Horror Story: I was a a waterpark in the family changing room with my husband and our small son. The stalls were roomy and secure, but open-air near the ceiling. Just as I have removed my top entirely, I look over and a very tall man is standing in the stall next to us. His entire head is above the stall wall. Eek! So, naturally, my noticing him leads him to look over and notice me. A ChaWel would have easily come to my rescue and saved me the embarrassment and saved that poor man from seeing me topless.

You just slip the ChaWel length-wise over your head and pop your head through the top hole. It's wearable and roomy and eliminates even the most modest individual from feeling self-conscious while changing. I LOVE this thing. For the beach, the gym, even hunting camp!! I bet you were all wondering when I was going to tie this magnificent piece of gear into field uses, right? 

Well, the ChaWel is awesome because it is multi-functional. Whether hunting or traveling (or sometimes traveling to hunt) it is essential to pack light. I now have (in fitting blaze orange, a color often used by hunters) a sleeping bag that is good enough warmth for a few nights in the cabin, a towel that dries quickly, and a changing room, since often times I'm the only girl in camp! This can even be used as a survival aid in a hunting pack for backcountry trips--imagine your packable space blanket being paired with this highly packable ChaWel and how warm you could stay if you needed to? You'd be high-vis as well!

I was also surprised to find a mesh carry sack and a fleece sleep mask--how cool! I love little add-ons that companies include to make their product and the customer experience just a little better!



Above are all of the PROS to the ChaWel. The ONLY few CONS that I have are below, and some are merely ideas on improvement. All in all, I absolutely LOVE this thing!

  • I LOVE that the ChaWel was designed in Canada, I just wish it were not made in China. I know that it's hard to get away from that, but I LOVE the quality of items manufactured in the US and Canada and find myself supporting them more.
  • Another or slightly larger pocket existing pocket would make the ChaWel even better (for a larger camera.)
  • More colors (to appeal to a larger crowd)
  • Maybe a wearable option (similar to a "Snuggie" to make a 6th use!)

**Disclosure: ChaWel sent me a complimentary towel to try and to facilitate this review. I was compensated in no other way and my opinions are 100% honest and are my own. Thanks ChaWel!**



Go-Motion Lighted Vest ~ Walk, Run, Hike, Go! Extend the Day!

I'd like to share with you today a great resource for SEVERAL activities. GoMotion produces awesome wearable lights for runners -- that's the main audience that they provide gear to. I have had the chance to walk, run and hike with the GoMotion Reactor Lightvest and I can say that it's great for MANY occasions!

For this particular test, I wanted to try it out for hunting. Now, those of you that found your way here because you are runners and not hunters, it might still benefit you to read on. I have done both road and trail races in the past, and I run along a pretty busy highway. I like to run early or late, as I am not much of a hot weather runner, and the bugs usually are not as bad. Tying back into hunting: dawn and dusk are when you hunt (usually) and that means being out BEFORE the sun and after DARK.

First, the new video that they have released is awesome. I highly recommend taking a peek, and getting a sense of what they are all about. (This is based on running now, mind you.)

Check out this new video!

After watching it, now the hunters out there in the reader pool think about those cold, dark mornings, walking out to your hunting spot. You have your gear, your weapon, and if you are like me, your coffee. Your hands are full. Enter: GoMotion Reactor Lightvest. Not only can you run or walk safely on roads used by vehicles and be seen, you can also utilize the (conveniently orange) vest as a hands-free option for getting into your favorite backcountry camping spot or hunting grounds.

It doesn't sound major, but if I don't have to direct my forehead at the section of trail that I want to light up, then being aware of my surroundings is that much easier. This is a benefit to runner and hunter safety as well as a good tool to have so you can enjoy your coffee while you hike in without wearing it!



Some of the things I REALLY like about the vest:

  • This is just a bonus to start---they INCLUDE batteries. That is nearly unheard of these days.
  • The vest uses AA batteries, which I prefer to AAA because they are more widely available in a pinch
  • Reflective surfaces are everywhere so others with you can follow you down the trail and vehicles can see you more easily
  • Small in size overall (talking like surface area--not fit) -- the fit is pretty universal, feeling good over minimal running clothing AND over a light field jacket
  • You are seen from front AND back
  • You can adjust the width of your beam AND the angle -- this one is great -- you can make the light go to the level you need (both in brightness and angle) which is something even wearing a headlamp on your noggin does not excel at! 
  • Handy hanging loop on the inside top of the vest for storage
  • Nothing to chaffe your underarm area on--BIG plus for running
  • pouch that houses part of the unit is big enough for a small snack and car keys
  • bungee cords and open stow pocket could hold certain types of water bottles (for this need, I'd pair a vest with a Waist Light Kit 100--holds a lot of water!)
  • LOVE all of the options that GoMotion carries in its' product line. 
  • No wayward bugs in the face (I've been beaned by a June Bug ... good thing I don't go very fast, or that would have been much worse!)
  • Not being a blinding beacon while trying to communicate with hunting partners or fellow runners (headlamps have a nasty habit of shortening conversations or giving that awkward feeling of staring to the side or below someone as they talk!)
  • The red lights in the back are great for visibility--they alert vehicles especially to your presence 


Some things that I didn't like AS much:
  • Made in China
  • A little hard to adjust at first, but then it was easy once I got the hang of it
  • Did not see where I could make it compatible with a drinking hose, which would be neat -- but I did see you can use a lighted waist belt that holds water. [However...there are new releases including the Synergy Hydration Lightvest that allow you to stay hydrated and have these built in features!!]

I can see GoMotion being an asset to a Ragnar or ultrarunning event. These two things are races and events that I will likely never get to test my Reactor Lightvest out on...I just cannot imagine being THAT hardcore, but it's fun to dream, right?

I do think based on some of the other products in the "product tour" from the site that a better fit for hunting would be the backcountry vest, which DOES have a hydration port and more storage space, eliminating the need for an additional pack. I'm sold on the company, the vest is good quality, and I will likely get myself a waist belt for jogging in the future. The only thing that would make these products better would be having safety yellow and orange an option in each piece of gear (which is what initially drew me to the Reactor Lightvest, since orange is a requirement in many areas for hunting) and I love wearing neon yellow while running. I would also think if there is an option to create more of the vest and accessories in the USA, I'd be that much more likely to support the company. In a nutshell, this is great gear for MANY activities for those of us that are a bit more crepuscular than others!


**Disclosure - GoMotion extended the day for me by providing me a Reactor Lightvest for this review. I was compensated in no other way. My opinions are honest and are my own. Thanks GoMotion!**