Heat and Kindness

Kindmilesmatte

Everybody told me I would die out there.

A horrible, painful, melting death.

We here in North Idaho are not accustomed to day after day of 100+ degree temperatures, especially in June, when a freak snow flurry wouldn’t surprise most people.

There was no denying that it was unusually, blisteringly hot. But my family didn’t let the fear of spontaneous combustion stop us from going outside, because we had a promise to keep.

And miles to go to keep that promise.

We had agreed to walk, bike, run, or hike as many miles as we possibly could over a two-week period. For each mile that my family traveled together, KIND Healthy Snacks would donate one box of their delicious snack bars to our favorite charity, the Community Action Food Bank of Kootenai County.

KIND has always encouraged families to get moving and spend quality time together, whether it’s a long hike through the woods, splashing in the lake, or a short bike ride around the neighborhood. I’ve been a fan of their products for a long time, and this challenge was one my family was really excited about.

And then the record-breaking heat wave hit.

But we didn’t care, as we set out on our first neighborhood walk of 5 miles. The next day, another 4 miles. Followed on the third day with a bike ride of 6 miles.

Spending quality time on the go with your family is not about getting from Point A to Point B. Rather, it’s a journey that you must savor all along the way. Walking, hiking, and biking are great times to connect with your spouse or busy teenagers. We made our time a chance to talk and joke and share in the moments.khgb-pbb-b

We always took a supply of KIND bars to fuel us on our trips. Made from wholesome and nutritious ingredients, KIND bars are the perfect snack to keep you going mile after mile. Everyone in my family has their favorites. I love the STRONG & KIND Thai Sweet Chili, while my son enjoys the Healthy Grains Peanut Butter Berry bar. We eat KIND bars for two reasons: They’re the tastiest snack bar I’ve ever had, and the company has a stated mission to spread and celebrate kindness in any form.

For two weeks, we braved the heat to build up those miles. You might ask, “Why didn’t you walk or bike in the morning when it was cooler?” Ah, good question. My son was spreading kindness of his own as a volunteer at our local hospital. His shift was from 8am to noon each day. Since I’ve always struggled with mornings, the only time we could even think about our KIND mission was after my son was finished at the hospital.

So, we walked on pavement when it was 100 degrees.

We rode our bikes around the park when it was 99 degrees.

And, one memorable weekend, we hiked 9 miles along a lakeside trail in temperatures that reached 104.

Mostly we just walked the numerous nature trails that criss-cross the prairie and forest near our house.

Day after day, the weather gurus warned us of record heat, that we should stay inside and limit our outdoor activities. And day after day, we filled our water bottles, stuffed KIND bars into our backpacks, stepped outside, and had awesome family time in the great Idaho outdoors.

We tracked all of our miles with the RunKeeper app on my smartphone. It was fun to watch the miles add up. It will be even more fun to deliver 45 boxes of KIND Healthy Snack Bars to the food bank. That’s how many miles we totaled over those two weeks.

As part of this journey, KIND has partnered with Target, which has a unique program called Made To Matter that offers consumers better-for-you and better-for-the-world products from companies like Babyganics, Annie’s, and Seventh Generation. You can find a great selection of KIND’s six different snack lines at Target. I highly recommend their Healthy Grains line of crunchy and chewy granola bars.

I will also recommend that you take advantage of the rest of summer to spend some quality time with your family. Take an evening stroll around the neighborhood, plan a hike in the mountains, or visit your local disc golf course. Get outside, reconnect, snack smart, and feel good.

Oh, and be KIND to each other.

kindmilesmatter

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and KIND for this promotion.

Family Vacation to Maui

Snorkeling in Maui

On our recent family vacation to Maui, I knew there was one thing I had to do for the very first time: Snorkel.

I had promised my kids, and myself, that this would be the year I finally get over my irrational fear of the ocean (thanks to repeated viewings of “Jaws”) by donning a mask, fins and a snorkel, and swimming right out into that deep blue water.

First thing I had to do, however, was find a good place for beginner snorkelers, where the water would be calm, clear and filled with ocean life.

====> Continue reading my article at TripAdvisor’s Family Vacation Critic blog.

Minions Giveaway!

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Minions are here!

The silly little yellow sidekicks from the two Despicable Me movies are starring in their very own hilarious adventure, and it hits theaters today.

The Minions movie imagines their quest to serve the most horrible villains in history, starting back in prehistoric times and moving up to the 20th century. Eventually, the minions arrive in 1960s London, where their latest master uses them in a crazy attempt to overthrow the Queen of England. Continue reading

Family Vacation to the Moon

craters of the moon

Inspired by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, one of my dreams of childhood was to walk on the moon. I didn’t want to be an astronaut. Rather, I wanted to romp around in low gravity as a tourist.

It wasn’t an unreasonable fantasy. I mean, not if you were a regular viewer of “The Jetsons.” We all thought there would be flying cars and robot maids in our future.

Vacations on the moon aren’t about to happen anytime soon, so I’ll just have to settle for a little imagination, and a road trip to Craters of the Moon National Monument, in southern Idaho.

====> Continue reading my article at TripAdvisor’s Family Vacation Critic blog

Family Vacation to the Olympic Beaches

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Washington’s Olympic National Park is an amazingly diverse place, with snowcapped mountain peaks, sandy ocean beaches, and a temperate rain forest all within easy driving distance of each other. One particular part of the park has twice been our base of operations for the ideal family vacation.

The Olympic Beaches stretch along the Pacific Coast for 73 miles. They range from the wide and sandy Kalaloch Beach to the rugged and rocky Rialto Beach. They all have their own unique characteristics, some with awesome tide pools and others with weird rock formations, and they are all close enough to each other to be explored in just a day or two.

====> Continue reading my article at TripAdvisor’s Family Vacation Critic blog

Modarri Toy Cars Review & Giveaway

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There’s a new car in town.

A toy car, as a matter of fact.

The award-winning Modarri, from Thoughtfull Toys, is the toy car reinvented, and the days of Matchbox and Hot Wheels may just be numbered.

The beauty of a Modarri car is that it feels real. It drives like a real one, with realistic suspension, tight turning radius, and finger sized bucket seat that has you feeling the road. Continue reading

Jellyfish Attack

When I was a kid, probably 7 or 8, my family spent a day at a Southern California beach, building sand castles, playing in the surf, and eating slightly sandy hot dogs.

I remember that day because I was viciously attacked by a jellyfish!

Okay, so it was a mild sting. Very mild, in fact. But I was at that age where everything is amplified tenfold because it’s new and strange. In my mind, the ocean was suddenly filled with millions of horrible little jellyfish reaching out with their long, poisonous tentacles.

If only I had known that jellyfish are beautiful creatures. They’re even kind of cute and cuddly. Most of all, they are quite useful. Continue reading

For the Love of Reading and Pickle-Chiffon Pie

When my son was born, we took great care to outfit our house with everything a baby might need. Soft blankets, colorful blocks, nutritious snacks. But there was one staple I went a little overboard with.

Books.

I wanted my child to be surrounded by books. I couldn’t enter a bookstore without browsing the children’s section. Garage sales and thrift shops would see me snapping up every baby book I could find for 10 cents or a quarter.

I’ve always loved books, and I wanted my kids to love them too. Continue reading

Protecting Our Kids From The Beatles

Ever since the Internet came along, there have been horror stories of children being lured away from their homes after developing an online relationship with someone. Whether it was through MySpace, Facebook, SnapChat, or any of the other social media that have popped up over the years, it has certainly been a cause for concern from the very beginning, and has been the main consideration in allowing our kids to freely access social web sites.

Yes, we all agree. There are plenty of dangers for kids on the Internet. But if you think any of this is new, then think again. Continue reading