Tip{py} Tuesday: Tips on Hiking with Kids


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We are fortunate to live in a place where is about 365 days of summer. It’s amazing; if you are a outdoors person. We aren’t exactly that family, but we try.

When we first moved here we had grand ideas and multiple of to-do lists to check the boxes off on. We wanted to experience it all. However with our children having ASD, it can provide some challenges and limitations. But realizing to embrace life, and not the diagnosis, I have never let that stop us from experiencing life.

This past weekend was on of those life experiences and completed box. We went hiking. Not only did we go hiking- we went HIKING! Six miles, five hours, three kids under 6 and no tears (well maybe one). It was an incredible experience. Why? Hello! Did you just read those last sentences?

We had tried this particular hike two years ago. Bug was only 4, Diva was two and SB wasn’t even born (and I was 9 weeks pregnant with a baby we lost). We got about 500 feet down the trail when Bug feel and got a scraped knee, which to him felt like his leg was ripped off and spewing blood. It was a utter disaster.

Since then we have done a few more hikes. Most were miserable. However, we kept doing them. We hate that our kids are so attached to the boob tube and want them to have a childhood similar to ours when we spent hours outdoors. So we pressed on. Trying new hikes and new strategies to keep the kids moving. Somehow last weekend we found the right concoction of tricks to keep the kids moving (that or they were just delirious from a 6 mile hike they forgot to whine and complain).

Here is what we did:

Unlimited small snacks- We misjudged the length of the hike horribly. Disastrously. We thought it was 3 miles round trip; not three miles one way. Whoops. Luckily, I know my kids excuses. 1) I’m hungry 2) I have to go to the bathroom and 3) I’m tired/my legs hurt. So I decided to find answers for them.

I packed several small snacks (instead of large ones). Using small snacks helped them stay focused longer. We used applesauce, fruit snacks and gram crackers. We know for our kids it’s just a excuse. They weren’t starving. So no need for a massive snack where they would need to stop and sit to eat. We packed things that could be eaten on the to and be pieces out. The best was the crackers. I brought a whole sleeve of them. The kids would eat one and be great for about 30 min to a hour.

Next, we keep them active. I’m not talking physically active; mentally active. We of course did some geocaching along the way, pointed out the millions of caterpillars along the trail, stopped and watched jeeps play in the mud, sang songs, asked them questions about what we saw and we each made up a story (one of Divas favorite things to do). Keeping them mentally focused helped them from asking “are we there yet?” And telling us like a broken record their legs were tired. When they finally I said it was at that point I ask them if they wanted to carry SB in the pack.

Then the final excuse- I have to use the bathroom. Well, it’s a hike. There are no man built bathrooms. Pop a squat. I was amazed diva told me only once she has to go. When I told her what she needed to do; she no longer needed to go.

Overall it was a great experience. I think it worked for several reasons-

We hiked during winter, early in the morning (plus 5 hours), feed them regularly, kept them mentally entertained, zero elevation gain and a trail along the beach with a nice breeze always helps.

So get your kids away from the boob tube, and when the weather warms up- head out doors.

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Foodie Friday- Lime Cilantro Shrimp Kabobs


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We live in Hawaii and its hard to not eat seafood or fish. I have recently started embracing all the fresh ingredients we can get. However, for this recipe I cheated and bought frozen shrimp, but buy fresh! You can taste a difference.

I was able to whip up this recipe while Hubs was giving the spawn a shower. Super easy and fast! All I had to do was buy the shrimp and the rest I had in my cabinet.

Ingredients
Shrimp
Kabob skewers
Salt
Garlic (fresh or powder)
Cilantro (fresh or dried
Ground cumin
Limes

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Make sure you soak the kabobs in water prior to loading them up.

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I defrosted the shrimp then added the spices. It was mainly 1 and 1/4 of each. I would have used fresh cilantro if I had it on hand (I didn’t) and I used minced garlic I had in the fridge. I mixed it all and just made sure it had a good coating all over. I sliced the limes into thin slices that will be later used on the kabobs.

Next I skewed the shrimp and lime. For what I had on hand it ended up being three shrimp and three lime slices (folded in half) on each kabob. Make sure you start and end with the shrimp. It will help hold the limes on.

Time to cook! Over a medium heat grill throw them on for about 1-2 minutes on each side. They will be done when they are opaque. Remember you can eat shrimp raw, so it’s ok if it’s not cooked though out. You just don’t want to over cook.

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Stick a Fork in Me I’m Done: Why I Need a Vacation from my Vacation Planning


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Oh my gee! I can’t see straight because my contacts are glued to my eyes from staring at my computer screen for the last three days while trying to book a family vacation. With all the stress and anxiety it has caused me, I need a vacation from all this vacation planning. My nerves are shot and if Hubs refuses to answer one more call from me trying to verify answers; I will go through the phone and tightly wrap my hands around his cute little neck.

Why is planning a vacation so hard?! I think its because I over analyze everything. I can’t just make a simple decision. I have to feel that I have made the best choice after weighing all options. It’s decision overload. So what options did I look at?

We looked at going home at Christmas. Barf, $5000 just for plane tickets is to expensive for our blood. So we looked at Disneyland. The kids have been asking since we got back this past February and I agree. Disney! But Disney at Christmas is just high as ranked up there with realizing you are out of milk…on pay day. Nuf said. So we thought about a staycation. Sigh, living in paradise has it’s up and downs… we have experienced all there is to experience here.

I can’t take another Christmas 4000 miles away from family. Having already spent two holidays away from them, it might put me on Prozac to experience another. It’s just the quiet of it all. No grandparent’s gushing over their grandkids; no brothers playing football in the snow; and no turkey on the dinning room table. Staying here is not a option.

So off I went in search of a cheap, but fun alternative; and wouldn’t you know.? There is more than just one island in Hawaii?! Oh snap, say whaaaa? There are several. So why not. Has anyone every asked you if you have visited Hawaii? I always wonder if its a trick question. Yes, I have visited a few islands that make up the entire state of Hawaii. Have you? It’s sorta a pet peeve of mine. But whatevs.

We have already been to two islands. We want to get to the Big Island, but really only desire to see the volcanoes and no desire to spend hours and hours driving. So we decided to do a staycation on Kauai. But is it really a staycation then if we leave the island? Whatever it is, it will be fun. Today I booked the house from Vacation Rentals By Owner online. Several friends have recommended and used them. I’ll write up a review after we return.

I am so excited to go. The last step is to book our flight and rental car. We were trying to piece together our trip; booking everything separate. Which was still cheaper than the tickets alone back home, but way to expensive for the budget we had in mind. Then we tried bundling them on sites like expedia.com or priceline.com; but neither had a feature to only book a car and flight. They both wanted us to include the hotel. So ITR to the rescue!

If you have never used the ITR at your base – GO! Run Fast! They not only saved us over $1000, they were also to obtain a much desired mini van for our vacation. The only thing we are missing? A Christmas tree. Maybe we can ship one?

Mommy Moment Monday


Today is the day! My trifecta of happiness started. By some mere miracle, I was able to get Diva into a closer prek (she started today) which was right down the street from our house. So now I can easily walk Bug to school in the mornings and then on our way back home walk Diva to prek. Life is great! Everything has worked out the way I had hoped and the great thing is I have stopped trying to stress over the things I cant control (one small step for me!).

So what did I do with my extra time (I gained two extra hours a day by switching Diva to a closer school!)? I decided to finally update Bugs room. I wanted to surprise him with a big boy room when he got home from his first official first day of kindergarten.

Sadly, it was time for “The Hungry Caterpillar” room to go. It had served us well for the past 4 years. Like the room, Bug has started growing into a handsome butterfly and it was time his room reflected his transformation. But it wont be with out tears. The art in his “toddler” room was hand made by my mom, aunt and I. Of course I am going to keep it forever! I will never be able to part with it. Which is why it will either go in the playroom or the tote of Bugs items I am saving for him. Then it is his choice and I don’t have to be broken hearten with parting with it.

Many months ago I started this project. I knew it would take awhile for me to complete and decided to give myself this day as a deadline. I am happy to say that I did complete the major projects I had planned. His new bedding was ordered; now it is washed and already on his bed. Hubs painted his new art work; and its ready for Hubs to hang when he gets home from work. I also finally finished his new curtain holders. This was a labor of love. It was so much fun to do and I cant wait to show you the projects. But first let me show you the complete finished project!

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Wordy Wenesday- CYS


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It might not be morning anymore where your at, but here in a Hawaii it is. And it is a beautiful one. Only a small cloud cap on the mountain by base; so you can see the observation tower at the top as the clouds pass.

But I’m not writing to boast about my amazing life here; well sometimes {wink}. This morning I was planning on re-registering my three spawn with Child and Youth Services(CYS). Before now all three had expiration dates in three different months. Finally, I let SB’s lapse and I’m going to do Bugs early. Maybe we can finally get them on the same schedule?

So what is Child and Youth Service? (CYS)? For us here in Hawaii, and I think most military installations, CYS is under MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation). Under MWR you will find a lot of helpful programs from a Scream-Free Parenting course, New Baby Program and how to sign up for swim lessons. The most important department for me under MWR is Child and Youth Services (CYS).

At CYS, the one thing you need to do and know is this is where you go to register your children for sports, Parents Night Out (if your base supports this), after school programs, hourly care and more. Mainly if you want your child to participate in anything on base, they will need to be registered with CYS.

I probably picked the wrong month to have my children re-registered with CYS. This is a yearly re-registration you will have to do. Why is August a bad month? Well one of the requirements is a up to date physical and shots. Which means you will be battling all those parents (like I did yesterday) trying to get their children up to date for school enrollment. But to help limit the time I linked up the Hawaii CYS registration packet that can be found online. I am assuming that some of the forms are Army wide. If you plan on downloading please make sure you print off the ones that are relevant for you.

Hawaii CYS Registration Packet 

 

Have a beautiful day!