Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thankful for Families 2015 (Instagram Contest)

I am thrilled to be participating in the second annual "Thankful for Families" Instagram Contest that begins today!! If you are not on Instagram (yet,) you just might want to create an account for this one! If you don't believe me, scroll down to see the list of prizes you can win. I am thankful for my family, and my group of outdoor family bloggers has worked super hard to put this contest together for you. Have fun with it and we can't wait to see your photos that you share with us.

Contest Details

Enter to win the #ThankfulForFamilies #OutdoorFamilies giveaway!
Steps  to Enter:
  1. Post a NEW photo of your outdoor family on Instagram making sure to include both #ThankfulForFamilies AND #OutdoorFamilies and tell us why you love your family!
  2. Follow ALL of our awesome participating hosts to win! To begin, Tap on MY photo (@MountainMomYYC)  to see where to go (who to follow) next. Follow that host, and find THEIR awesome prize in their feed. Tap on their photo to see where to go next. Repeat until you have come full circle and have followed all of us participating in the contest.
  3.  Check out ALL the awesome giveaways and make a comment (one per photo) on the prize(s) you want to win!

Giveaway entry rules:

  • Contest will run from November 19-30, 2015.
  • Entrants must be a resident of US or Canada
  • Entrants’ Instagram account must be a public account.
  • Entrants must post a new, original, and taken by you photo (a re-posted photo or tagging an old photo will disqualify you) to Instagam of their family, or members of their family, outdoors.
  • All photos entered in the contest must be tagged with BOTH #OutdoorFamilies AND #ThankfulForFamilies.
  • Entrants must comment on Instagram on the specific prize they are entering to win. Photographs of prizes will be distributed among all the hosts’ Instagram feeds. Entrants need to only comment ONCE per prize. Additional comments DO NOT equal additional entries.
  • Entrants may post a photo once per day to their Instagram feeds for additional entries, up to  12 entries total. All photos must use the two contest hashtags.
  • All photo entries must be submitted by 10 pm MST on November 30th.
  • All winners will be chosen randomly from all submitted entries at the end of the week and announced on each of the blogs after December 1st. Notifying comments will also be left on the winning photos on Instagram.
  • Hosts will do their best to contact winners. If prizes are not claimed within 48 hours of notification, the prize will go to the next winner.
This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.

What you can win:
**PLEASE note prizes have various shipping capabilities which are described below**

Participating Bloggers (who worked hard to round up these great prizes!):

*Make sure you check out all of these great blogs!*

  1. The Adventures in Parenthood Project:
  2. Outdoor Families Magazine:
  3. Currently Wandering:
  4. The Mommy Hiker:
  5. Rockies Family Adventures:
  6. The Kid Project:
  7. Rockieschick’s Adventures:
  8. Play Outside Guide:
  9. Tales of a Mountain Mama:
  10. Val In Real Life:
  11. Colorado Mountain Mom:
  12. Mountain Mom and Tots:
  13. Active Kids Club:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide for Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing (With GIVEAWAYS)

The holiday season is quickly approaching and it's time to share a new Christmas Gift Guide with you once again.  This year, I have decided to focus on gifts that you and your children can enjoy while hiking and snowshoeing this winter. 

Check out my top ten gift ideas for winter hiking and snowshoeing, and make sure you go to the bottom to enter the giveaways! (There are LOTS.)

1. Snowshoes for the family

For pure cuteness, the new Louis Garneau Felix II Snowshoes for kids have my vote for this year's Christmas list. They have cute animal critters on them and can carry a child weighing 30-80 pounds so you won't be buying a new pair each year.

For ladies, I am personally partial to the Atlas Elektra snowshoes because I like to wear snowshoes specific to a women's gait. My top pick this Christmas is the Women's Rendezvous Elektra Snowshoes. I compared several models of Elektra snowshoes and these are the lightest and most affordable. (I actually chose them for my own Christmas present this year to replace my old snowshoes.)

Unfortunately I don't have much experience with men's snowshoes since my husband prefers skiing, but I was just at Campers Village and they have a huge selection of men's snowshoes to choose from. You can also find a great variety at other outdoor stores across Alberta.

Snowshoes take you to places like this.

2. Ducksday Products to Keep the Kids Warm in the Snow

My son has been wearing his Ducksday rainsuit for many of our winter adventures over the last year and it's my favourite piece of outdoor clothing for children. It keeps him warm and dry when worn over proper layers, it keeps snow away from the skin since there's no pant/jacket gap, and he has great freedom to roll around in the snow without having to wear bulky outer layers.

Ducksday Rain and Ski Suits are Awesome for Winter Adventures!

Ducksday Products for the winter win!
My son is growing out of his rainsuit which maxes out at size110-116 (4-5y.) We've done well though because the sizing is generous and he's still able to wear the rain suit despite being a very tall 6 year old.

Fortunately, we have just received a Ducksday Skisuit in the same funky red pattern and it is sold in larger sizing up to116-122 cm (6-8 years.)

To WIN a Ducksday Rain or Snow Suit (or product of your choice) come back to my blog tomorrow on November 19th to find out the details on a giant Outdoor Bloggers Instagram Contest, #ThankfulforFamilies. If you aren't on Instagram yet, you'll want to create an account for this contest which is going to be BIG!

To order Ducksday products, visit the Ollie and Stella Outfitters website. And don't worry if you visit the online store and realize that you must be from the US. The company definitely ships to Canada!! Email the company directly to purchase your order at

My son wears Ducksday products all winter long

 3.  Stonz Wear Bootz and Mittz for the Kids

Stonz on the Hands and Feet
Stonz Wear items are worth their weight in gold for winter hiking and snowshoeing. Most of my friends have become converts too after witnessing my son's ability to snowshoe and hike in temperatures down to -30C for several hours without getting cold! The Stonz bootz also weigh less than any other pair of winter boots you will find (My son's weigh 1.3 pounds per pair!)

The mittz have also been a god send for our family and my son never gets snow inside his gloves thanks to their design. They fit over top of the child's jacket and cinch tightly at the wrists and elbows to ensure snow stays out where it belongs!

Both the bootz and mittz are waterproof and we've had wonderful winter adventures with Stonz Wear on our team.

To WIN a pair of Stonz Wear Bootz come back here to my blog tomorrow on November 19th to find out the details on a giant Outdoor Bloggers Instagram Contest, #Thankfulforfamilies

To order Stonz Wear Products for your family, visit the Stonz Wear website where you'll get free shipping on orders of $70+ across Canada and the US. 

Stonz Wear joins us on all of our winter adventures


4.   KEEN Winter Boots for Mom and Dad (with GIVEAWAY)

Now that the kids are warm, Mom and Dad need to be suitably clothed as well! Enter KEEN Footwear with a great collection of winter boots for the whole family.  And, Keen Canada has generously partnered with me as a sponsor for this year's gift guide!They would like to give one family a pair of boots or shoes to help with your winter adventures this year.  

Full contest details are at the bottom of this gift guide.

From my end, I have just ordered a pair of the  Revel III Women's Winter Boots and I tested them out on a short hike yesterday. My feet were toasty warm and I can see these boots going great places this winter.  I will also be testing out the Bern Baby Wide Calf Boots on my city outings this winter. Full reviews and photos to come soon.

To order KEEN boots for your family, visit the KEEN Canada website. Free shipping and returns is included on all orders within Canada.

This is where my KEEN boots will go this winter!

5.  Columbia Turbo Down for Mom

Mom's likely the one that's walking the kids to school in the morning, standing around the playground after school as the temperatures drop in the late afternoon, and the one who's taking the younger children outside to play during the day. Mom needs a warm but stylish jacket!

Fortunately, I've found the perfect jacket that blends warmth and style, AND that I'll be able to wear on my winter hikes or snowshoe adventures.

Warm and Stylish in my Columbia Barlow Pass 550 TurboDown Jacket

I've worn the all-new Barlow Pass 550 TurboDown Jacket hiking, snowshoeing and skating so far this month and have been toasty the whole time. I  wear it to school in the morning and it keeps my bum nice and warm without having to wear a longer parka. I suspect this will become my new go-to jacket for the 2015-16 winter season and I have nothing but praise for the new jacket.

The jacket has a 550-fill TurboDown insulation and features an Omni-Heat reflective lining should there be any doubt that you'll be warm.

To see Columbia's full product line up, visit the Columbia website and go to the store locator to find an outlet near you selling Columbia clothing and gear.

Winter is meant to be embraced and loved!


6.  Kahtoola Micro Spikes (with GIVEAWAY)

We love winter hiking in canyons but there's no way I'd take my family on a slippery icy trail without some form of traction.Winter boots are great but they don't provide enough grip to prevent a potentially dangerous fall, and snowshoes feel cumbersome on ice. Thankfully, we've discovered the amazing Kahtoola micro spikes and the company makes an XS size for children who also need some sort of traction on slippery terrain.

Micro Spikes are invaluable when hiking in icy canyons

Thanks to my micro spikes, I can walk up frozen waterfalls, I can do winter scrambles on trails that are steep and treacherous, and I can enjoy winter to its fullest! This winter my son will also get his first pair of spikes (XS spikes fit a size 1-3 boot) and I can't wait to see how much more confident he becomes when walking on ice.

Campers Village also agrees that micro spikes are a great tool for getting families outside this winter and they have partnered with me as a sponsor for this gift guide. They would like to give one family a pair of Kahtoola Micro Spikes in the size of their choice. Hopefully you'll like them so much, you'll wrap up a pair for each member of your family under the tree this Christmas.

Full contest information can be found at the bottom of this gift guide.

Kahtoola Micro Spikes get you to amazing places!

7. Skin Protection with Buffs for the Family (with GIVEAWAY)

What is a Buff? Only the best invention ever designed for winter and safer than a traditional scarf for keeping your face warm. Scarves can get caught in chair lifts, on playground equipment, or on trees while hiking. Meanwhile, a Buff is a tubular piece of fabric that can be worn as a headband, a hat, a balaclava, a neck warmer, or a scarf. They come in various fabrics (including fleece) and are often just as warm as a tuque or knit hat when warn over the ears.

Buffs make awesome scarves and neck warmers (without getting caught on anything)

Every member of my family has at least one or two Buffs and we especially like to wear them under helmets. I also like to wear mine as a head band when camping to keep my crazy hair under control and my husband finds his to be a light weight alternative to tuques and hats.

To read more about this amazing product, visit the Buff Canada website.

And on to the exciting news - Kananaskis Outfitters, located at nearby Kananaskis Village, has agreed to be another sponsor for this year's gift guide and would like to give one lucky family their choice of Buff from their store's collection. The winner will have to take a trip out to the Village to pick up their Buff and I suspect you will find at least a few other gift ideas for your family while browsing through the fabulous clothing and outdoor gear in the Kananaskis Outfitters Store. (I bought a pair of amazing x-country ski pants while there this past week.)

Full contest information can be found at the bottom of this gift guide.

My Buff is an awesome headband

8. A Strider Sport Balance Bike with Ski Attachment (with GIVEAWAY)

Now that you're fully clothed and protected, it's time to focus on having FUN in the snow. And this is where the Strider balance bike comes in. Most families with toddlers or preschoolers will know about this 12" starter bike designed for kids aged 18 months to 5 years old. If you truly haven't heard of this pre-bike that's ridden without pedals, visit the Strider Canada website to take a look around.

While most children will outgrow their Strider bike well before they turn 5, my son still loves his little balance bike! He has definitely progressed to a regular bike but he still uses his Strider bike in winter because of the ski attachment we got to go with it.

Definitely not toddlers but they love their Strider Ski Bikes

Run Bikes YYC has graciously agreed to be one of my many sponsors for this gift guide and they would like to give one lucky family both a Strider Sport Balance Bike AND ski attachment to go with it.

Full contest information can be found at the end of this gift guide.

For those of you who don't win, I encourage you to contact Suzanne with Run Bikes YYC
and to grab a pair of skis for your child's Strider bike. It just might be the best present under the tree this Christmas.

The coolest Christmas present to put under the tree

9. "Sliding in the Snow" by Melissa Dymock (with GIVEAWAY)

Continuing with the theme of having fun in the snow, I recently discovered this cool little book by Melissa Dymock that's full of games you can play as a family while out hiking and exploring this winter. The book is written with colorful photos the kids will enjoy and covers everything from safety in the snow to winter-themed science lessons, history lessons on the origins behind popular winter sports, and even includes some winter recipes at the end.

I've had a chance to preview the book and I'm very excited to try out a few of the games and activities this winter. I also know that my son will enjoy trying some of the science lessons and will like reading up on how some of his favourite sports became popular.

I've talked with the author and she would like to give away a copy of her book to one lucky family.

Full contest information can be found at the end of this gift guide.

The book can be purchased from and and would make a great Christmas present for children this year.

One of the games in Melissa's book - Snow Mazes (which is super fun!)

10. A New Sled

This goes on my Christmas gift guide every year because hiking is so much more fun if you bring a sled! It's easy to pull up the trail and can even carry some gear (usually snowshoes we end up not needing on packed trails.) Then on the way down, place one or two tired children in the sled and guide the sled safely down the trail. The kids have a blast and you'll get a great workout trying to keep up to the sled. (And helmets are really recommended despite the lack of one pictured in the photo below.)

Ready for a wild and fast descent

I have a few top picks for sleds that I've recently discovered:
Sleds are fun for all ages!

Whether you choose to bring a Strider bike with Skis, a sled, or a snow scooter, bring something and the kids will have a lot more fun hiking this winter.




Please read all conditions carefully before entering the draws. All contests close on November 27th.

KEEN Canada:  Enter to win one free pair of shoes from KEEN Canada. This contest is open to all Canadian Residents. The "free shoe" card will be mailed to the winner and you will order your pair of shoes from the KEEN Canada website with free shipping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kahtoola Microspikes from Campers Village: Enter to win one free pair of Kahtoola micro spikes in the size of your choice. The contest is open to all Alberta residents and you must be able to visit a Campers Village store in person to pick up your prize. The micro spikes must be picked up before Christmas or the winner will forfeit their prize. Stores are located in Edmonton and Calgary.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Buff from Kananaskis Outfitters: Enter to win a buff of your choice from Kananaskis Outfitters, located at Kananaskis Village in Alberta. The contest is open to all local residents near Calgary and you must be able to visit the Kananaskis Outfitters Store in person to choose and claim your prize. The Buff must be picked up before Christmas or the winner will forfeit their prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Strider Sport Balance Bike from Run Bikes YYC:   Enter to win a Strider Sport Balance bike with ski attachment from Run Bikes YYC. The contest is open to all Canadian residents. Free shipping will be provided for Alberta residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Sliding in the Snow"  by Melissa Dymock: Enter to win a copy of the book "Sliding in the Snow." The contest is open to all residents of Canada and the US. Free shipping is included.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The best Christmas gifts can be enjoyed outdoors

Outdoor Family Link Up  

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Outdoorsy Kid + Giveaways - Rain or Shine Mamma

Gift Guide for Outdoor Families 2015 + Giveaway - Tales of a Mountain Mama

2015 Gift Guide for Outdoor Families - Rockies Girl

A Gift Guide for the Outdoors Mom - Outdoors Mom

Outdoor Lovers Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway - Play Outside Guide

Holiday Guide for the Little Explorers - Rockies Chick

5 Gift Ideas for Outdoorsy and On-The-Go Toddlers - Adventurous Parents

The Big holiday Giveaway (26 days of giveaways) - Go Adventure Mom

2015 Holiday Gift Guide - Go Adventure Mom

2015 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Young Traveler and Outdoor Adventurer - Wild Tales of

Rad Gifts for Outdoorsy Kids - Nature for Kids

Holiday Gift Guide - Moms Who Hike

Holiday Gift  Guide - Hike Like A Woman

Best Gear of the Year + Links to Holiday Gift Guides - Mountain Mom and Tots

15 Things Your Outdoorsy Mama REALLY Wants for the Holidays! Gift Guide - Outdoorsy Mama

The 2015 BSM Holiday Gift Guide for Skiers and Snowboarders - Brave Ski Mom

Unique and Handmade Holiday Gifts for Your Little Nature Lover - Wilder Child