Keen Shoes: What we love about this reliable footwear brand

Keen shoes are seen everywhere now - in stores, on feet, on social media, in adventure races... no doubt, you've seen them if not owned a few pair! We love the durability of Keen shoes - our kids don't wear through them in a season, and second hand use is a real possibility - plus, adult shoes easily last through tons of adventures. Keen's commitment to sustainability is clear and they are constantly learning - a trait we really admire!


May 2019 coupon code for Keen below! Please note links may be affliate links - if you use our link, we get a little bit back and your cost stays the same!

Here are some of our favorites:

For tots and young kids: Keen Seacamp - this lighter weight version of the best known Keen sandal is a bit more flexible with a bit thinner sole, giving little feet more flexibility. These shoes are perfect for in and out of water and mud, they stay on the foot and don't mind getting dirty. They wash up easily, though we usually just take a romp in the river or spray with a hose to wash up during the heavy use summer months!

For the inbetweens: we love the Waterproof Kootenay for keeping feet dry and warm in the 4-7 ages. Perfect for kids that like cushy, comfy shoes but also want to romp through whatever they find out there - these boots have one big velcro close so they're super easy to get on and off, but they stay on well and provide lots of waterproof cushion.



For bigger kids:
For kids who don't love the feel of sandals or don't like dirt and sand coming into the shoe, a waterproof hiking shoe may be a good answer! Keep in mind for serious, long distance hiking, waterproof shoes may be a poor choice as they also tend to keep moisture in more than a non-waterproof shoe... but for the casual or mid distance hiker or everyday fun, we love the Keen Terradora or Chandler WP shoes.
For the classic Keen protection in sandal form, you can't beat the Newport! It's sturdy with a thick, durable sole and hard working uppers to outlast whatever you can throw at it. 



For adults: 
Mom's favorites:
Newport - the classic hard working sandal - plus, the kids love when we match on adventures!
Targhee Vent - stability and super grip treads with the added bonus of vents for warmer conditions. Perfect for long hikes or playground chases. The stability of a full hiking shoe is a plus especially when babywearing or toddlerwearing on trails.
Terradora Waterproof Mid - extra cusion in a waterproof shoe!

 

Take $10 off your next order from KEEN with promo code MAY10DOLLARS. Save now! Coupon Code: MAY10DOLLARS

motherhood: a series of goodbyes

Motherhood is a series of goodbyes.
Goodbye to the growth of bulbous self, goodbye to dry tops and the schedule you thought was human norm,
Then goodbye to nursing bras and bottle parts and special pillows and worries about first steps
Goodbye to diapers, goodbye to the teething drops once stored in duplicates in every cabinet and the glove box and each bag that might leave the house, suddenly forgotten and no longer needed, goodbye to one size shoe and then another, even the ones so laughably big they'd never grow into
Goodbye the screeching stage and the clinging stage and the early bedtimes and the scribbled indiscernible pictures full of heartfelt meaning that you must not throw away
Goodbye to first days and first goodbyes, to teeth and to temper tantrums over silly things that make you puff your checks and raise your eyebrows with futile attempts to curb a laugh
Goodbye to carseats and stools to reach the faucet and constant requests for help with bread and jam.
Motherhood is a serious of goodbyes unspoken, already overtaken by the next moment which seems to never end

Toddler Hiking Inspiration: Helping Little Ones Enjoy the Trail

Toddler Hiking Inspiration: Helping Little Ones Enjoy the Trail

Being two or three years old on hikes is tough - those little legs can't keep up with adults or even big kids and they tire easily. Looking for ways to help your toddler engage in hiking and have fun on the trail? Here is some inspiration from our own hikes and forest time:

  • Bring a Toy
  • Pack Snacks
  • Make small goals
  • Allow for Discovery

child flying a toy car in the woods

Familiar toys bring an element of comfort to new places. Kids also learn to look at their toys in new ways, and to play out of the box, creatively.

Although toting around something extra may surely end in another thing for you to carry, it's worth it to build responsibility - just remember, it happens slowly! Shared responsibility means when you are their caretaker you help them care for their things. Don't leave their toy in the woods because they set it down and wondered away. They'll learn to care for it as you do.

One of our favorites for toddler hikers:
candylab cars (minis are the perfect size for their pockets, and the full size cars are still light enough to be carried in a small pack - though we've found they don't leave hands until our little ones are tired out! These wooden cars will ride just fine in on fallen trees and hard dirt, though we recommend keeping them out of the muck.

Pack some snacks to help keep up blood sugar, energy, and motivation! Just like most grown ups ("if I get out early, I'lll have time to grab coffee") toddlers are very food motivated. That's okay! Nutrition is important and staying fed on the trail (when you're busy burning calories) can be fun!
Make your own - nuts, trail mix, carrots and celery are all great, easy trail food - or check out our list of prepackaged trail and trip favorites! 



Make small goals.
It's okay if you aren't hiking as far as you can. Or even as far as they can. Sometimes our goal needs to be visable for little ones - and that's quite short! As they grow and gain experience on the trail and in the outdoors, they will not only be able to walk for longer but they will just take off! You'll know when they are ready. 

Allow for Discovery
Small goals help them grow and also allow room for discovering their world. When reaching for a new and maybe difficult goal, put a reward at the end - a walk to the river means a place to toss small stones, you like tossing stones, remember? A hike over the bridge will bring us back to our car, but we will stop at the bridge and watch leaf boats go under. I love watching leaf boats with you. 
Speak the love of the outdoors into their adventures and they will copy.

See you out there!

Fall to Spring Forest School Gear: What Do I Really Need?

Confused by what to purchase for your child's forest school or outdoor preschool? Nature based play and all weather programs are a wonderful education - we'll help you get geared up to make their days easy and fun!


dress for all weather play: layering guide

Layering: 1-2-3
A classic layering system works well for most climates. Winter layering is the most complex, with all accessories needed. But the same gear can be used for much if not all of the year, depending on your local weather and your child's needs. Our free printable dressing guide makes it easy to help kids dress themselves for winter.

What's in Stock
Our needs differ slightly from those of our European and Scandinavian friends, and with the additional time for international shipping to us (and then to you) we sometimes have periods of low stock. Not to worry, we are constantly restocking! You can join our email list or facebook group to stay up to date on what's new and restocked, or contact us for help.

polysport baselayer wicking for kids
Layer 1: Base Layers

Polysport (shown here), bamboo/merino mix, or merino wool base layers help maintain proper body temperatures and keep kids from both overheating and getting too cold. They wick moisture away from the body and are quick drying and easy to care for at the end of long days. Wool and bamboo can be worn even in warm weather.
Shop Base Layers here.

Layer 2: Mid Insulating Layers

Comfy fleece or lightweight, dirt resistant Quilted Thermals are great insulators for colder days and comfy for cuddling up at home after play. We currently carry two kinds of fleece: basic light weight fleece and heavier, knit Pile Fleece.
Shop Fleece and Thermals here.

Layer 3. Waterproof Outers

For all round play, waterproof outers are critical. Used in both wet and dry conditions, they protect clothing and keep kids comfortable and at play for extended time periods in variable weather. We offer options in both uninsulated (shell) and insulated (winter) waterproof gear in both separates and one piece sets.
Shop Classic Waterproof Sets here.

bibbed pants sizing
Need help with sizing? Check out our sizing guide - one of our most read posts of all time!

Celavi Classic suits from Denmark - PVC and Yuck Free, for the best play. 

 

12 Natural Christmas Decorations to Make with Your Kids

12 Natural Christmas Decorations to Make with Your Kids

A Dozen Natural Christmas Decorations to Make with Your Kids

Nothing says cozy Christmas like decorations made from nature. If you are looking to make decorations with things from your yard or collected on hikes with your children, here are lots of ideas for crafting with sticks, pinecones, and other natural treasures. Best of all, these are so easy to make, the kids can help too.

  1. This modern twig Christmas tree will finally give you something to do with the branches kids always seem to collect.

  2. Bring some hygge home with these wheat ornament ideas.
  1. Pinecone elves add a little whimsy to the tree.

  1. Preserve vacation memories with some seashell decorations.

  2. Do you remember making applesauce ornaments as a kid? Make some new memories this year.

  1. This tiny terrarium is as cute as can be.

  1. Pinecone garland is so simple and yet so beautiful.

  1. Do you have a green thumb? Why not try making rosemary topiaries?

  1. Dried fruit ornaments will have your home smelling amazing.

  1. Brighten up the family table with a natural centerpiece.

  1. You probably already have some supplies on hand to get started on these adorable reindeer.
  1. This string art ornament project is perfect for kids who love to use tools. Check out our small bucksaw for slicing the wood and this child’s hammer for pounding nails.


Do you have a favorite decoration you bring out each year? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

Women Don't Fly Airplanes: The Shocking Statistics and A Future Hope

mom and daughter in a jet plane

50.8% of the U.S. population is female. Only 6% of all pilots in the U.S. are female. EAA targets this divide with an incredible Women in Aviation program. It starts at 9th grade. It starts too late.

I always tease my girls and say things like, "I wonder if girls can drive tractor trailers." Sometimes they say no. Sometimes they hesitate.

They're 5 and 8. Already, many times, I've fought to correct things they've learned: motorbikes are for boys. Girls are better with babies. Girls don't like trucks. Blue tshirts are boys' tshirts.

I'm 35. No one ever really told me girls couldn't fly airplanes. No one ever really said it was a guy thing.

But, I went through aircraft maintenance school with 60 guys. They had to dedicate one of the bathrooms just for me. I was young. I had no idea how the year would go nevermind the rest of my life.

Like my guy friends, my worries revolved around paying for school, the next maintenance test, and beating everyone else at whatever might be the weekend sport of choice.

But unlike them, I constantly answered this question from strangers, friends, and school leaders... "Will you get married? Will you have kids?"

They asked not just out of fear for high risk bush pilot life, even those who knew nothing of those plans would ask. I got so used to it that I began to answer with confidence with the "right" answer. Nope, no kids, no problem. And I heard it so many times that I no longer knew what I really wanted. I began to see only one option.

Do you know why they asked me this?, I asked Lily today. No, she didn't. She's eight. I told her.

They asked because children need their mother, and a mother has a really important job, and flying, especially bush flying, can be a very intense and demanding and extremely high risk job.

And to that my child said, "But don't kids need their Dads too?"

And yes, but it's not just that child. There is a wall that need not exist.

We must not draw lines based on all the imaginary what ifs. And what if? What if I had gone on to fly in a remote area and then had you, child. What would I do? I would adapt as I did in every other aspect, the way that fit best for us.

The truth is, even the companies that claimed I had to think this far ahead to work for them have a incredibly high turnover rate. I didn't need to think ahead to forever. I didn't need to commit to forever.

But I felt it strongly: the choice, that single, binding choice. And like the restroom relabeled to womens all because I had upset the balance, I also knew that I did not truly belong.

It became one choice: to be truly female, or to give that up to fly.

This is the choice we present. This is the choice our girls already see in grade school.

I haven't sat at the controls of an aircraft for ages. I haven't climbed in a dozen or more years. I long ago stopped logging on to my once favorite computer games.

It has been ages since I played ice hockey or rode rails on my snowboard and carved through beautiful layers of powder.

I haven't hiked solo in years, but I haven't desired to either. I once drove a 98 Civic with a blue short throw shifter. I spent time driving just to drive. I got my hands dirty helping repair all kinds of engines.

None of that, none of that did I regretfully give up to raise a child.

None of that did I happily give up to raise a child.

All of that was just part of a life that flexed with each passing moment, mostly unpredictable.

I worked on computers. I wrote stories. I took road trips with little planning and lots of All American Rejects on repeat. I learned photography. I did my own car maintenance. I ran 10ks and half marathons. I started a business.

And all of that I did as a mother too.

Life has changed, and I don't fly or skin my knuckles in engines anymore. But some day I will again, and you can bet these girls will be right there by my side. And I will let them know over and over again: this is what you were made to do.

You can start. You can quit. You can take this trail wherever it leads. And indeed you should. Fly the plane, kid. Ride the bike. Land the deal. Take the job. Quit the job. Drive the truck. Scrape some knuckles.

These opportunities, girls, are for you. Take them all.

 

10 SMORES ideas that will ROCK your SUMMER

10 SMORES ideas that will ROCK your SUMMER

Ten new family fun s'more making ideas that will rock your summertime!
What They Love: Tick Free Summer Forest Play with Claudine Mossberg

What They Love: Tick Free Summer Forest Play with Claudine Mossberg

Read tips for dressing for forest play and avoiding ticks from unschooler and Forest Play advocate Claudine Mossberg. At Biddle and Bop you'll find all kinds of gear to keep kids at play, no matter the weather. Join Forest School for All or find a school near you. Shop Claudine's favorites or start at our menu above and gear up for play!

What They Love: Mary Clair of NJ's South Mountain Nature School

Meet Mary Clair, founder of New Jersey's South Mountain Nature School. Here, find her favorite recommended gear from Biddle and Bop. Then, get outside and connect with nature in all weather, just like the kids at South Mountain Nature School!
Blogger Favs: Anna of Raising Little Wilds

Blogger Favs: Anna of Raising Little Wilds

Favorite Biddle and Bop products compiled by outdoor mom blogger Anna of Raising Little Wilds