Monday, May 19, 2008

Nature For Kids

Nature For Kids is fully up and running now! A few items to come in the future are...parent forum and Nature For Kids merchandise. This summer I want to put together an outdoor activity program for kids that will take place once a week. Probably in the morning when it's still cool outside. We'll go on short hikes do nature crafts and other fun stuff. Comment here if you're interested in participating. It will be free and everyone is welcome! I'll probably start the first activity in June sometime, I'll keep you posted. - Shawna

Thursday, April 17, 2008

DDD has a new home!

Diapers, Dogs and Daypacks has a new home everyone! It's now called Nature For Kids . I'm just finishing up building the site. Let me know what you think. I'm so totally up for recommendations. The site will have a lot of the same posts I've done here but I'll get caught up soon and post some new stuff. If you have DDD linked on your blog or internet explorer favorites be sure to change the site address so you can keep checking in easily. Thanks for all your support so far everybody. I really appreciate it. Above all I hope DDD helps kids get outdoors more! Oh and DDD is not dead. I'll work it in somehow. People just don't search for diapers and dogs in the same sentence on the internet very much, you know what I mean. :)

Harmful Plastic

Just wanted to give you all a heads up on this study done on plastic. I heard about it on television and my friend Jennie just sent me this story. Here's the shortcut . And here's another one. I've talked alot about Nalgene water bottle on my blog. Unfortunately they are made of polycarbonate, the type of plastic that is the most harmful, according to this recent study. Check the bottom of your bottles, baby bottles included. if it has a small number 7 that means it's polycarbonate. Read what you want. I'm still drinking out of mine. I just don't put hot things inside it anymore. Later!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Outdoor Photography Tips

Part I
Outdoor Portraits

Okay I'll start out with the simple things I learned that are super effective!
*When taking a portrait shot (where your subject of the picture is a person) take the picture vertically instead of horizontally. This eliminates a lot of empty useless space from the picture.



*Photographers say there are two perfect times during the day to take a picture. They call it the "golden hours". They are the hour before the sun comes up and an hour before the sun goes down. The lighting is perfect during these times.
*When taking a portrait picture outside have your subject between you and the sun. Use an on-camera flash (which all cameras have) to brighten the subjects face so there are no shadows. Angle the camera so the sun is not in the picture but so that it's shining on the back of the subject, allowing a line of bright light to outline your subject. (Notice the line on the shoulders, top and side of head)

*Never take pictures during the middle of the day. Shadows are ugly and unflattering. The sun shines straight down casting shadows from brows, nose and chin.

Now if you think these were simple enough tips stay tuned for Part II. They are all really easy and will improve your photography skills ...allowing family and friends to actually enjoy looking at your vacation pictures!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Written Word To Recreation

I've always wanted to make a wolf suit for my boys. One like Max wears in the book "Where The Wild Things Are" written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. I know they would wear it out just like their super man, ninja and spiderman costumes. Unfortunately my sewing skills are lacking. I can handle mending things but the extent of my sewing skills ended at an apron I made in 4-H when I was like 10. "Where The Wild Things Are," has always been a favorite book of mine and now my children seem to enjoy it as much as me. The main character, Max, has a playful personality that becomes apparent on the very first page. "Max...made mischief of one kind and another." As does any little boy, including my own two. he's so mischievous his mother sends him to bed without eating anything. His playful personality isn't the only portion of his character that appeals to me. His imagination is what really makes the meat of the book. It takes him and the reader on an outdoor adventure where he finds himself in a forest, sails a boat, discovers wild things, does magic tricks, dances under the moonlight, hangs from trees and becomes a king. Max eventually becomes lonely and hungry however, two things that a mother and a home can remedy easily. So he decides to give up being a wild thing and returns home. The loving part I see in the story is that his mom has his dinner waiting for him when he returns..."and it's still hot". The pictures are delightful. I have some of the prints hanging in my boys' room. While you read and look at the illustrations it's easy to produce your own sound effects and wild rumpus music.

I believe books like these help inspire children to create their own journey. It's a spring board for adventure. Plus it's something for parents and children to share.

Other books my children love and I'd recommend:

"Clap Your Hands" by Lorinda Bryan Cauley.
Keeps their little bodies moving!

Through Usborne Books "Farmyard Tales"

"The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and THE BIG HUNGRY BEAR" written by Don and Audrey Wood.
By far Corbin's FAVORITE!

"Good Dog Carl" by Alexandra Day

"Blueberries For Sal" by Robert McCloskey

"Ferdinand The Bull" by Munro Leaf
My favorite as a kid.

As much as I'd hate to admit it, my boys love "Go Diego Go" books. They're not my favorite book's to read but they teach a lot about different animals and the outdoors. Plus Diego is the coolest kid I know. Seriously, how many little boys do you know get to explore the rain forest with no supervision and drive their own jeep?!

If you have a favorite children's book that encourages physical activity or outdoor play leave a comment! I'm always up for buying new books! (Becca I know you have a plethora of suggestions...I'm banking on you girl! So go to your book shelf and stretch out your typing fingers :))

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Infant Winter Wear

Here's some great, in depth information on winter wear for infants. I found it on a network on facebook. It talks about everything you'd need to know. I recommend that all mom's and dad's read it. Even though it's super long! I promise it will be worth it!

Layers: This is the most important principle for enthusiasts of any age. The colder the weather, the more layers needed. Your baby will generally need more layers than you will, since he or she is not as active, therefore not producing as much heat. Start with one-piece undershirts and work your way outward. Synthetics like fleece are better than cotton, which is deadly when wet. For really cold days, be sure the outermost layer is wind- and waterproof or water-resistant. A snowsuit with a nylon shell and a heat-generating inner layer like fleece or wool (stack layers so that itchy wool won't irritate your baby's skin) should do the trick. (See discussion board regarding choosing a baby snowsuit.)

Heads: Humans lose more heat through their heads than anywhere else. This is especially true for babies, who have proportionately bigger heads than adults. This translates into hats, hats, and more hats. Don't be afraid to use more than one hat, and hats inside hoods. For infants, always keep heads and faces protected, but be sure they can breathe! Cozy-fitting fleece hats with earflaps protect the head, ears, and much of the neck. Velcro straps at the bottom of the hat are always a help keeping them on. This sort of hat makes a great combo with a hooded snowsuit. The fleece provides a warmth layer while the snowsuit helps keep out any wind.

Hands, feet, and legs: All of these extremities are places where the body loses heat fast. For babies, use snowsuits and fleece coveralls that have coverings instead of openings for the hands and feet. Under the one-piece, use extra mittens, socks, tights, or long underwear in cold weather. You'll typically want something wind- and waterproof as the outermost layer, and remember that whatever you use, little boots aren't always warm and often come off easily.

Little legs: You and older children may feel great in a warm jacket, but babies and toddlers need extra layers on their legs since they don't move at all, or, in the case of toddlers, they don't move very fast. Don't forget to have extra layers on their legs, such as snowsuits, fleece, or wind pants. As part of the inner layering thick leotards or tights can help keep legs warm. Periodically check for any places where air might get to your baby, such as the face or hand or shoe openings of coats and pants. Make sure skin stays covered on cold days. Also keep track of runny noses, which can add to cold-weather discomfort.

Avoid the glare: Remember to protect your baby's eyes. Glare can be especially bad on snow, so consider a pair of sunglasses or UV-protective goggles for your tot.

Front packs: Front packs provide more of your own body heat and natural protection to your child than do backpacks. When using a front pack, it's easier to keep a baby's face protected from the wind, since he's facing you. Another advantage to using front packs is that you can actually see your child. If you do use a backpack it will be helpful to have another person present to check that your child is happy and warm.

Testing: It can often be tough. You can't ask a baby, after all, and you can't always depend on signals. Crying is helpful, of course, but cold babies don't always cry. Your child may even be sleeping through the cold. Periodically test your baby's warmth by touching his nose, cheeks, or fingers. Of course, to thoroughly check your child you sometimes need to expose him to the elements. How can you safely check on your child's foot or fingers for warmth if they're already well bundled up? You have to be very quick with your testing and minimize exposure, particularly if it's really cold or windy.

Always stay in familiar territory: The last thing you want to do is get lost with your infant on a cold day. And if your baby is fussy, turn back. This isn't the time to tough things out.

Keep outings short: The more you venture out and test layers in various temperatures, the better sense you'll have of your baby's cold-weather needs.

At the end of each adventure, as you unbundle your child in indoors warmth, immediately test his hands and feet, particularly to see if he's been dry and warm. This is the test of whether your outing has been successful and will give you clues to what may be needed on your next winter trip.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Taking Outdoor Pictures

I'm currently taking an outdoor photography class. When I'm finished I will be posting some tips and tricks that I've learned throughout this multi-week course. So keep an eye out for a new post in April on this subject!