Paradise Valley: Into the woods we go...

Milo and Brody have so much energy most days, that my first thought after breakfast is "What are we doing today?" specifically to wear them out, get outside, run off some energy, find something interesting to explore. 

They are pretty bored of the usual choices, so we've had to get more creative with our outings. 

The Paradise Valley Conservation is perfect for kids, small and big. The first portion of the hike is a circle, which is a great way to gauge how far you can hike before your child is tired. The first time we came here, we did the circle 3 or 4 times and that helped me decide that we could definitely go on a longer hike. This is definitely a struggle to figure out with two kids because if they stop walking I can't physically carry them both out anymore.  

The great thing about Paradise Valley is that it's HUGE. You could make many day trips out of it. There are 13 miles of mostly flat trails. It's a great mostly flat hike.

They also have future plans to add a farmstead, which will be another reason to visit the conservation area. I would love to take the kids. 

Mushrooms growing out of logs at Paradise Valley Conservation.

We found lots of tiny mushrooms on our hike. The boys loved touching them and looking closely at their lines and colors.

Natures architechture... or "Bendy Tree."

We saw this pretty tree that had fallen between another set of trees. Making an awesome archway, like natures architecture. 

This huge rock, was a big hit for climbing and exploring. It was also a great spot to stop for a little water and snack break.

Milo and Brody ran most of the time we were on the trail. We got an excellent 4-mile hike in and the sun was beaming through the canopy and clearings. It was the perfect morning adventure.

If you're looking for something to do outdoors with or without kids, this is a great place that most haven't heard of. When you're done you can catch a bite to eat for lunch at Maltby Cafe!

Happy Light for SAD weather!

Every morning I wake up and I sit in front of my "fake sun" for 20-30 minutes. Give or take depending how long my 3-year-olds agree to allow me to sit still. 

For years, I had been so reluctant to buy an expensive light for the crummy Washington weather. I have now been using my SAD light for about three months and it's single handedly the best purchase I've ever made. 

I bought a Verilux HappyLight because it gives off 10,000 Lux, the recommended amount for a SAD light.

 

However, it also has a nice feature, a comfort lens, which reduces it to 7,500 Lux. This is sometimes important because at first the light can be a bit overwhelming and some people may not like immediately starting out with the higher Lux. 

I purchased one that was on the more affordable end to see if it helped at all, but if I have to replace it I will be looking into standing lamps with more coverage area. The Verilux HappyLight is small and compact, which is exactly what I needed. As I've read more, it is my understanding that a larger lamp can be more effective and be used for shorter periods of time.

Tons of friends have asked how I like it, as well what it does. I love it. It's changed my life. I wake up tired after even the best nights sleep. Before using the light I would feel groggy and as though I would prefer to just stay in bed a few more hours - who wouldnt? I wake up, give my kids breakfast and sit in front of my light. It makes the biggest difference not only in my energy level, but also with my mood. I don't wake up so often feeling grumpy and sleepy in the morning. I am able to survive our endlessly rainy weather here in the Pacific Northwest. On rainy days, I don't feel gloomy or down, as long as I use my light.

As the days get nicer I will use it for less time. In the winter it seems ideal to use it up to 30 minutes (at 7,500 Lux) or 15-20 (at 10,000 Lux), but in the summer I will likely use it for 10-15 minutes in the morning, since we spend tons of time outdoors and I won't need my faux sun.  This light has helped me survive the gloomy Seattle winters that bring about sluggish feelings and constant coffee drinking.

Handspun Yarn: Cosmic Galaxy or Unicorn Hair?

I'm siitting here tonight spinning up some Malabrigo 100% Merino in "Nube".

When i first began to unravel the roving It reminded me of a Cosmic Galaxy. 

Malabrigo 100% Merino in "Nube".

By the time I had finished spinning I thought it looked like Unicorn Hair.

Handspun on a Cascade drop spindle. 

What do you think?

This yarn is going to be a part of something fun I have envisioned for a weaving project. Creating the yarn from fiber and adding it into a handmade item is incredibly rewarding. You truly see the process from beginning (almost. I didn't sheer any sheep!)

Stay tuned for that weaving. It's my next WIP! I am on my newest loom to arrive from The Unusual Pear on Etsy. Turns out packages from Austrailia to the United States take forever. My mailman is sick of me, I'm sure! 

Early Morning Beach Exploration

This morning not long after we woke up we took Milo and Brody to the beach. It was so much fun taking them to the beach early in the morning. 

The tide was high and coming in.

Jon walked out to the edge of these washed up trees. Wonder where they came from? 

I'm always trying to hit low tide for the best treasure hunting. But we found plenty of exploring to be had today!

I think we have topped all potential future beach treasure finds because....

 

WE FOUD A SHARK washed up on the beach. It was dead - no sharks were harmed by us!

Moments later we found this whole crab.

It was so BIG!!

I'm used to finding pieces of crabs strewn along the shore, but I haven't found an entire crab. 

Milo and Brody picked a few select shells and rocks that seemed to stick out to them as tokens of our outing. We always love looking at our finds.

There is definitely no better way to start your day than with some fresh ocean air. It lifts your mood and gets your mind ready for the day.

Someday it's the only place you will find me!