Winter Essentials For The Baby!

So I’ve been asked quite a bit lately by family and friends how we dress Fitz to “Bear The Elements” in the lovely Northern Michigan winter weather. And while I always start my response out with encouraging LAYERS… I do have to say that we have found some pretty cool things that help to keep Fitz nice and toasty on our outdoor adventures.

  1. Zutano Booties– These are an absolute MUST in my opinion. Fitz wears these booties/slippers everyday! They aren’t 100% baby-proof (ie. Fitz can sometimes still get them off her feet…) but they stay on so much better than just socks! Her feet stay so warm both chilling inside around the house, and also when we’re outside playing. I will say though that when we go on longer outdoor trips we double up with socks+these booties.
  2. Ergobaby Fleece Lined Winter Cover– A friend of mine showed me this, and man am I happy we got it! The cover straps right on to your Ergo baby carrier (not sure if/how it would work with other brands) and creates the most perfect cocoon of warmth for her to sit in while we are out and about.
  3. A Good SnowSuit- This might seem like common sense…but there are so many out there to pick from! We love our North Face, Patagonia and Snozu one. Yup, we have three. Anyone who has tried to buy baby clothes knows that EVERY BRAND’S SIZING IS SO DIFFERENT! We have three 3-6 month snowsuits and each of them is a completely different size. PLUS I can attest to this first hand, but having a backup snowsuit is never a bad thing!
  4. Little One Shop Co– I love this company’s clothes so much! They are super soft, stretchy and perfect for layering. You’ve probably seen Fitz wearing these outfits all the time…but I can’t help myself!
  5. Warm Fuzzy Hat and Gloves- Again, I feel like this is a no brainer. But sometimes people just gotta see it written out to remember(: We love our Patagonia, North Face and hats that we got from TJ MAXX or H&M!

People think we’re crazy for taking Fitz outside as much as we do…but gotta start them early, right?

What Are They Doing Out There….They’re CRAZY!

Michigan…what is up with these curveball winters lately!

Winter really started off hard; being dumped on by snow in December. Then the new year rolled around and we haven’t gotten much of anything….UGH.

As you all know, I use to dread winter when I was younger. But as I’ve gotten older (Lets be honest..since I met Kwin and he has challenged me to try new things) I’ve really started enjoying this season.

Our normal winter activities have kind of taken to the back burner, do to the lake of snow. BUT….with this recent weather that we have had lately (warm days+cold nights+rain/snow mixtures) the ice skating has been OFF THE HOOK!

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We are lucky to have friends who are just as crazy as us! Not many people would want to walk a ways away from shore to the perfect glassy ice.

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It was Kwin’s birthday, and what better way to celebrate this birthday boy than will some pond hockey out on East Bay.

Check out our friend Mark Goethel’s video [HERE] of our skating adventures!

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If you’re ever looking to tire your dogs out…just have them chase a ball on ice! Kanyon was having so much fun with the guys trying to get the hockey puck. She was at a little disadvantage when she couldn’t stop and would go sliding a couple hundred feet!

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We stayed out until sunset, because WHY NOT! I love February because by this time of year the Great Lakes are usually cold enough,  that when a front passes over cloud formation doesn’t happen. Blue skied winter days are the best! 

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DISCLAIMER: It’s always important to remember that being out on the ice is dangerous. NEVER DO IT ALONE! Pay attention to the weather, and don’t go out on ice when it’s been too warm. Too many people risk it and fall through and can be seriously injured!

January Thaw, NOW BRING ON THE SNOW STORMS!

Well, January in Michigan was NOTHING like a Michigan January should be. I think at least half of the month was 30+ degrees! SO NOT NORMAL. A little thaw was nice, but bring on the snowstorms!

While in New Zealand Kwin and I were so excited to getting home (to the 2 1/2 feet of snow) so we could do all the winter activities! That first week of being home we managed to Fat Bike at the Single Track VASA trail almost everyday! We were kicking ass with our 1 mile a day biking! 

Kanyon also got some new glasses to protect her eyes during our activities! 

We were also able to cross country ski a ton; It’s my favorite when there is a lot of snow on the ground! Trails are a little slower…which is definitely my preference 🙂

Would you just look at how beautiful these sunsets are! We were defiantly spoiled these past couple weeks! Sunset paddle boarding and hiking, a must do on nights like these.

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It just doesn’t feel like winter without snow…but one good thing that came out of the most recent warm episode was POND SKATING!

The combination of:

Rain+Wind+Below Freezing Temperatures at night= Perfectly Smooth Ponds!

Something exciting that happened this January:

Stand Up For Great Lakes ‘Crossing Lake Huron’ documentary (by Corey Adkins) was the feature film in the Thunder Bay International Film Festival! It was so awesome watching the documentary and getting all the emotional feelings from the crossing again! Not only that…but seeing Kwin, and all the other team members get a standing ovation for their tremendous efforts brought a couple tears to the eyes again.

If you’ve never been to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary museum in Alpena,MI it’s definitely somewhere to check out! Learning about the history of “Shipwreck Ally” in Lake Huron is awesome!

January- Goals Check In

Kwin and I love being active and preach living a happy and healthy life! This includes setting goals and challenging yourself  to be a better person everyday!

This month, my challenge was:

  • NO MEAT: To some people this would be extremely challenging, and to others it would be extremely easy! Growing up I ate meat at almost every meal, but after much research I’ve slowly started to cut back. I don’t think I will ever completely get rid of meat (because I believe everything in moderation)…but I wanted to see how I could do. Honestly, it was easy and I really enjoyed it! It challenged me to get creative with other foods: Tempeh, Lentils, Quiona, etc.

Goals for the 2018 year:

  • Reading everyday before bed: I did OKAY on this…definitely something I need to continue getting better at! I still tend to browse through my phone and social media a little too much. So February to be more successful at this I will plug my phone in somewhere else NOT NEXT TO MY BED!
  • Yoga 3x per week: Man, this was definitely a great goal to set! Yoga has helped me physically and mentally in SO MANY WAYS.
  • Being more Green: This is A LOT harder than expected! Especially being that it’s the middle of winter, and it gets dark so early (which means lights on in the house more.) I love my new reusable produce bags [I got theses] that I’ve been using at the grocery store, and switched over to reusable laundry lint balls too [Got mine form Woolzies]! Making small steps, but better than nothing. This month I want to get better at unplugging outlets that I am not using!
  • Blogging more: Still struggling with this one. I feel like what I want to blog about would not be very relevant to people…but I need to get past my fear and JUST DO IT!
  • Biking: Kwin and I have a goal of getting better at biking this year, so we have either been fat biking outside…or using the new Bike trainer in the basement. Getting 1 mile a day has been pretty easy (with a .5mile penalty for every day missed). I’m really hoping that all this biking helps (M22…inspiration point…you are my motivation!)

My monthly goal for February is to cook 1-2 NEW MEALS every week! I tend to get into a slump at times…especially with cooking! Thank goodness for Pinterest though, I’ve already got a lot of new recipes on the list! If any of you have must try recipes though I would love to hear them!

Puppy snuggles are the absolute best! Thankful that my mother-in-law (Chocklabs.com) breeds the cutest pups ever!

I hope that everyone’s 2018 started off great and January was a success! Now, lets make February a huge hit too!

Sunny and 23 degrees..Winter is here!

Is anyone else as excited as I am for snow finally? 

As a child, I really did not like the winter months. I lived in the city, and there are only so many times you can go sledding down the same hill, build a snowman and have a snowball fight with your neighbors before it gets kinda old. Winter in the Detroit area is cold…and I mean cold…but is lacking one major part of winter, SNOW! Don’t get me wrong, they do get some snow…but nothing like Lake effect snow up here. Lastly, but being cold cold is almost painful to me ( I have the lovely disease Raynaud’s!)

With all that being said, now at the age of 23 I absolutely love winter! After moving to northern Michigan three years ago Kwin really exposed to the beauty and all the fun things you can do during this time of year.

Snowshoeing– Kwin and I absolutely love snowshoeing. Whether it be in the back woods behind out house, on a wine tour with friends, or just leisurely at a state park we love it.

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Fat Tire Biking– This one Kwin got me into last winter. Due to my lack of confidence in biking, and extreme fear of losing control…biking in the winter is defiantly a challenge for me. However, I do really enjoy it! Being out in nature, riding through the snow-covered words is pretty amazing.

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Cross Country Skiing– This my friends is a heck of a workout! Since running is pretty tough to do on the wintery, snow covered roads you should give this sport a try! It’s tough, and does take some practice (like Fat Tire Biking, I hate losing control of things) but is super fun.

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Downhill Skiing– Growing up I can count on one hand the times I went skiing. I always wanted to learn, but never got the opportunity.  Like most the sports I listed above, I am defiantly still learning and gaining confidence with this sport too, but it’s fun and something to do with a group of friends on a winter day!

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Sauna Ice Bath– The combination of heat from the sauna, and cold from the ice bath has some incredible health benefits! Improving circulation, healing injured/damaged tissue, and increasing hormone levels to fight against depression are only a few! There really isn’t a way to describe how amazing a sauna/ice bath session is on a cold winter day feels.

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Let me just add, I would like to thank Kwin for have such patience with me regarding any winter sport!

As I mentioned about, I have the lovely disease Raynaud’s..which to those who don’t know is a circulation disease. Basically, whenever I am cold (yes, this can even be walking down the freezer section at Meijer) all the circulation to my hands and feet stop,leaving them white or purple in color! Not only this, but they HURT and feel like I’m being stabbed constantly. So as you all can imagine, I hate being cold and try to avoid it as much as possible! Knowing this and how much I love doing outside activities, Kwin found me some heated gloves- and let me tell you THEY’RE AN ABSOLUTE LIFESAVER!

Check them out HERE : Outdoor Research Stormtrack Heated Gloves!

Winter is just beginning, and I could not be anymore excited! Let all the fun activities begin.

I hope you all enjoyed this blog and as always, get outside and enjoy this beautiful world we live in!

Winter Weekend in Marquette!

 As we cross the Mackinaw Bridge from Mackinaw City to St.Ignace there is an instant feeling that you’re in a whole new world. Something about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that separates it from anywhere else I have ever been. Picture this: Virgin White Pine forests along one side of the road with a view of Lake Michigan on the other. Traffic is nonexistent. No billboards advertising the nearest McDonalds or skyscrapers in site. Now at this time of year add about 3 feet of snow plowed up along side the road and you’re set.

Northern Michigan in the winter can be pretty brutal: you get the intense lake effect snow from Lake Michigan. The brutally cold winter days and nights, barley getting above freezing; and the majority of the days are cloudy with a peak of sun occasionally. So why do I love it so much up there? Well that’s because the snow, coldness and peaks of sun are what make winter beautiful. When I think of winter I don’t think of 75 and sunny. In fact, weather like this makes me enjoy the other seasons so much more because I appreciate them so much.

Growing up I use to hate winter. I felt like all I could do was stay inside and do nothing. Well I sure was wrong! As I’ve gotten older I have started to expand my horizons (thanks to my wonderful Fiancé, Kwin) and gotten out to enjoy the beauty of winter. I look forward to snowshoeing, skiing, fat tire biking and all the other activities there are to do.

This past weekend in Marquette, MI was possibly one of the best winter weekends I can think of. It was one of those random sunny weekends (and lets be honest sun makes everything a little bit better). Kwin and I do not like to waste a second in a day, so here is a little rundown of what we did this weekend.

Saturday: 

  • Woke up before sunrise to get to one of our favorite hikes, Sugar Loaf Mountain, and were able to hike the beach and mountain to catch a beautiful sunrise.

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  • Went fat tire biking at the Marquette groomed winter trails. This was quite a challenge for me. See, I am still new at this Fat tire biking stuff and the beginning of the corse was NOT EASY! However, I never give up to a challenge and kept going. It ended up being such a beautiful, relaxing and fun ride too!
  • Went Skiing at Mount Marquette. This ski resort was absolutely breath taking. At the top of most of the hills you had this amazing overlook of Lake Superior, plus the skiing conditions were absolutely perfect!

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  • Took our dog,Kanyon, for a hike along the pathway that goes for miles along Lake Superior.  We love this pathway for many reasons: It’s perfect for biking and walking along, you’ve got a great view of sunrises and sunsets, and it’s right along Lake Superior!
  • We ended our day by going to one of our favorite restaurants in Marquette, Sol Azteca (this place is a must!)

Sunday: 

  • Woke up, again before sunrise, and drove to Pictured Rocks to catch the sunrise there.

-Our plan here took a little bit of a twist. We thought that the road was plowed all the way to the coast line, however when driving down there we soon found out that it was a season road (meaning not plowed!) This did not stop us, instead we hopped on out Fat Tire bikes and rode the remaining three miles back.

  • Our first stop was Miners Castle. This was absolutely beautiful with the sunrise hitting the colorful rocks and the crystal blue water.

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  • Second, we rode an additional one mile to the Miners Falls. This is a waterfall hidden in the Pictured Rocks National forest. This was my favorite stop of the weekend. The waterfall was breathtaking. 80% of it was frozen solid, but being how massive it is there was still some flowing water. When we got there the sun was hitting it so perfectly!

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  • We then finished our Fat Tire bike back and started our voyage home.

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Marquette and Pictured Rocks are two of my favorite places in the Upper Peninsula, and maybe even Michigan in general. The rustic, wooded, outdoor feel that you get when you’re in the Upper Peninsula is something you can’t get anywhere else. If you are willing to endure the cold temperatures and snowy terrain, I would highly suggest going up there for a winter adventure!