Winter Camping Survival Guide

Winter camping…it started as a love hate relationship. While I LOVE camping, the cold not so much. I lived in Saskatchewan(a very very cold place) for many years but still dreaded the cold.

So when I met my adoring boyfriend who suggested we go WINTER camping, I said yes and had to live with the consequences. Dear. Jesus. Christ. Lord. My Savior. PLEASE SAVE ME, my toes…my nose…everything is frozen! My first trip was a nightmare, and by the last morning I had shut myself in the truck…my boyfriend brought me breakfast and I didn’t get out until we were back home.

I waited for another year until I had forgotten how cold it was. This year I gave winter camping a go and it turned out I loved it and I f

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ound ways around the cold.
Step 1: MOVE!
It’s not rocket science, move your butt and you will warm up! I started by collecting rocks to build a wall around the fire. Then I began chopping wood. Later in the day(and after a few drinks) I decided I wanted to get out to a rock in the middle of the river. I decided I needed a huge branch which took 25 minutes of pulling to get free from the river bank. In the end it fell into the river, luckily I did not. Anyway I was quite warm after this drunk adventure!
Step 2: Dress smartly:
Yes I’m absolutely sure your Instagram photos will look cuter if you wear a small, revealing jacket and jeans but you won’t look so cute with frost bite. Don’t be stupid, the winter is real and where I live it is damn cold. Being out in the forest, in nature, in the winter is no joke. It can go from kind-of-cold to REAL FREAKING COLD in a matter of minutes. I guess it’s up to you, I tried my North Face down jacket(expensive) and I tried my big puffy old ski jacket with layers underneath. Both work however I found the thick jacket to be better. The big thing is wear merino wool…wool…just not cotton. I wear a toque, a long sleeve shirt, a fleece sweater, then my jacket. On the bottom I wear regular leggings(currently these are cotton) and then snow pants over top.

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Step 3: Eat warm foods:
This is always fun. Eating! That’s right. We eat quite well when we camp, perhaps better than at home. We cook salmon, rice, veggies, all sorts of things. I find that eating warm food instantly makes me feel warmer(and happier!)
Ste p 4: Fire!
Build a fire, a big, bold, raging fire and sit by it for hours. Cook your food with this fire and then be sure to put it out before you leave your camping spot. Don’t start a forest fire!

Pretty simple if you ask me! I am happy to answer any questions about camping or hiking, this is a hobby I adore. I’m curious to know if YOU have ever camped or gone winter camping. What do you bring? What would you need to get you through a trip like this?

Backpacking MUST haves

I just completed another overnight backpacking trip here in Western Canada and once again I’ve revamped my ‘must have’ list for what I carry up the mountain. I’m not going to tell you the specific place that we hiked to as it’s sad seeing SO many people out in the back country who do not take care of the land, habitats, etc. With that being said if you are curious about doing this hike, get in touch with me and I’m happy to tell you all about where it is.

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There are so many resources about backpacking, hiking and what you need to have in your pack. My most important piece of advice is think about what YOU personally need to survive and be comfortable. For example my partner requires a flask of whiskey, whereas I really need a bar of chocolate once I make it to the top. Everyone is different and you really need to consider what makes you happy and comfortable. Besides the obvious, a tent, a way to cook food, food itself, I have compiled a list of what I pack when I go on overnight camping and hiking trips. Enjoy!

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After 15km, almost to camp!
  1. Baby wipes/toilet paper – just do it. Please. I use these magic guys for just about everything. Oh darn, I was eating and food fell down my chest. Oh man, these dehydrated meals made me need to poo, well good thing I have something to wipe with! There are no toilets in the back-country, so let’s just say you will thank me later.
  2. A chair/pad to rest your bum – I don’t need a chair, but it’s nice to have a pad of sorts to sit on especially when camp is rocky or snowy!
  3. Warm clothes! Regardless of the time of year you hike in, it gets cold in the back-country. Think about this- it was 33 degrees C when we left for the hike. By the time we got to camp it was 14 degrees and windy. For every 100m you climb, you lose 1 degree of temperature.
  4. A camera -For me this is something I want as taking photos as I hike motivates me to get to the top. There’s nothing like keeping your head down, walking, climbing and finally getting to the top only to realize you have NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT besides sore muscles. This may be OK for others but I love taking photos so this one is important for me. It can even be the camera on your phone – but I think it’s worth the weight to hike a good camera to the top. I use my Nikon D3000.
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    Sun is going down

5. A book – easy peasy, no brainer! I love to read, therefore there is nothing more lovely than reading when I arrive at camp. I usually pre download an e-book onto my phone rather than lug a full book up to the top. But again, it’s all up to personal preference.

6. A pillow – let me be clear, when you roll your sweater up into a ball it’s just not the same. I own this guy

7. SHOES! Seems like a strange idea, right? I did not bring an extra pair of shoes on my first overnight trip and regretted it. Imagine you have to go pee, but you are stuck on your tent pad, the rest of the world covered in snow and you have to put your boots back on. No. After 11+ hours of hiking, you want those boots OFF your feet and into some slippers, running shoes, sandals, you name it! Anything but boots.

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These 7 things get me by when I’m sore, tired and cranky at the top of a mountain. Let me say it again, these 7 things will likely be different for you, but perhaps it’ll get you started on thinking about personal comforts 🙂 Now I want to hear from YOU! What do you take up the mountain? Have you ever done an overnight backpacking trip? Should I answer more questions regarding my trips? I cannot wait to hear from you all! Xox

Child care principles

Being a nanny for twin boys, almost 2 years old sounded tough when I began the job over a year ago. At the time they were learning to walk and talk. Fast forward 13 months and these “babies” are now scheming, back talking, smart little guys.

How…how did these sweet babies turn into hell raisers? Of course I love them, I spend 40hours a week with them. But at the same time, after a year, it becomes tedious, draining and you start to wonder if you’re making a difference at all. Is this normal for any job?

My beliefs on childcare are fairly simple after safety and love:

1) outside time is vital. Being outdoors, exploring and learning about your surrounding is so important when you’re a child. Learning to control your body while you climb, interact with other people, understand how nature works to some degree. Bonus, it usually tuckers the kids out…longer naps = win!

2) independence. Kids should learn on their own, fail, try it out another way, adapt, etc. I find a lot of parents and care givers baby their children through everything which of course we want to do…who wants to see those we love fall on their face in failure? But this is part of growing up and becoming a self sustaining person. It’s tough! Last week one of the twins I work with couldn’t climb the play structure while his brother was racing up it, I mean that’s no fun! But I stood beside him and encouraged him up, was there to catch him if need be…and 20 minutes later, he did it! You should’ve seen the look on his face. There’s a time and a place for this of course, but independence in children is so important!

3) books! Reading! I can’t stress this enough. My mom is a librarian, so yes I’m likely bias but books books books! They’re fun, they have life lessons, fun pictures, and the things you learn from books is endless.

Yes, it’s SO tedious when the child wants to read freaking Curious George 89 times in a row but oh well, at least they’re interested. I find that so many of my educated friends don’t make time for pleasure reading anymore. (Pleasure reading = what YOU want to read, rather than textbooks). I challenge you people to find 1 book that you are genuinely interested in and read it, you’ll feel so grounded. As we get older I find we read less and less books.

What are your child care principles? What am I missing?

Happy Saturday:)