River's Edge Festival Preview

This weekend marks the return of summer music festivals to downtown St. Paul, MN.  For those of you not from around here, I apologize, but I am INSANELY pumped.  I live literally 2 miles from the venue, Harriett Island on the banks of the Mississippi River with the St. Paul skyline filling the background.  This site begs for this exact kind of event.

Normally when you think of a music festival, you think of a field in the middle of no-where, a sea of porta-johns and a tent village housing all of the attendees.  Not this time. Harriett Island is a beautifully maintained park just feet from the flowing Mississippi. There are 4 stages cranking out music from acts both national and local.  Food from some of the area's most popular restaurants and actual flushing toilets.  There is no camping, which may be a disappointment to some, but I can wander home in under 30 minutes, so I could care less.  

They have assembled quite a line-up for the inaugural River's Edge fest. Dave Matthew's Band and Tool are the headliners, but additions like Sublime w/ Rome and The Flaming Lips bring a variety of flavors.  Throw in local favorites like Polica and Motion City Soundtrack as well and I would expect to see a pretty diverse crowd.

A new (well to me at least) wristband technology will be utilized at the festival.  No tickets will be issued, you will get a wristband with a unique RFID (radio frequency ID) embedded in it.  This "high-tech" addition will let you come and go as you please as well as allowing you to "check-in" at sites throughout the venue on your favorite social media networks.  Wristbands are still available $65 for a single day or $110 for a 2-day. 

Anyone else going?  Holler at me if you are, I will be walking around with Paddle Junkie prizes to be given out at the show.

Naya's Quail Boot. Perfect for Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching and if you are still looking for a great gift for your favorite gal I have got it...Naya's Quail Boots! Living in Minnesota we simply cannot have too many pairs of boots, but now that boots are such a trend everywhere you don't need snow as an excuse. Everyone seems to have the same knee high basic boot so I really like to find some that are more original. For these I would have to say it is the leawood stacked wedge heel and the upper strap with buckle! The buckle adds a little extra flair as well as can be adjusted to give me more or less room at my calf depending on if I am going to rock the leg warmer trend. You can wear these boots with just about anything. Dress them down with some skinny jeans or throw them on with a skirt for a fancier evening out. The best news yet is that it is a 3+ inch heel boot and it is COMFORTABLE! I wore them out one night to see one of our favorite bands and I was a little nervous going in. I knew we would be on our feet all night and the heel is over 3 inches....this could be bad. Honestly, I never even thought about sitting down to give my feet a break in the 5 hours we spent on the dance floor. I often tend to be the girl who leaves the bar shoes in hand and trashed socks on my feet. Not the case with these boots! The boots have a back zipper and a side zipper which makes them a breeze to get on and off. Naya is also a environmentally responsible company so I feel good supporting them. These boots have a biodegradable foot bed and the heel is made out of recycled cork. Their dying methods are eco-friendly and conscious, as they use vegetable tanning processes that are much more gentle on the environment, bonus.

Get them now at Piperlime.com for 159.99

Winter Kicks for Kids

With our winter coats and pants all set, we moved on to the boots.  Boots in Minnesota need to be warm, waterproof, have good traction and, did I mention, warm.  Last year the number one reason my youngest wanted to come inside was cold tootsies.  I remember those days as a kid, we would come in from playing and put our soaking wet boot liners on the radiator to dry.  Our feet were frozen and all the hot chocolate in the world couldn't warm them up fast enough.  There are seriously few things worse than spending all that time bundling up the kids and yourself, dragging all the sleds to the top of the sledding hill, with the kids sitting in them of course, and then to have them go down one run and call it quits.  Awesome.  My mission is to prevent that this year and gosh darn it, I think we did it! 

Keen makes some very stylish, yet durable kids boots.  They are easy on and off so even my youngest can handle them thanks to Keen's cinch system (think drawstring).  I love the rubber toe bumper these boots have.  It saves their little toes when they inevitably kick into a big chunk of ice while trying to break up the snow pile.  

The traction proved to be great. The other day Mom slipped down a slope of ice while dragging her little one with her...thankfully the traction kept the munchkin upright.  This time when we put them to the test it was Mom who had the cold toes, the kids never even whimpered.  Looks like I need to invest in a pair for myself.  Check out a couple of styles we love below!

Make Some Colored "Glass"

Here is a fun and easy project for the kids.  All you need are balloons, neon food coloring and some water.  Put one drop of food coloring in each balloon, then fill with water, tie off and shake up.  Put the balloons outside in the cold, must be at freezing temps.,  the next day cut open the balloons and TA_DAH,  you have colored glass.   Be careful when filling and opening the balloons...food coloring does stain! 

Bundle Up, Winter is Here!

Well, winter is upon us and cabin fever is setting in.  In order to keep this Mama's sanity outside play is a MUST!  I have found the secret to outdoor play, and I am talking more than five minutes, is quality snow gear that provides extended warmth and dryness.  I have found it is well worth investing in good products that will not only hold up to the wear and tear of active little ones, but will also increase their time spent outside.  I swear by two winter brands for coats and pants.  Both North Face and Obermeyer have both the quality and style I love.  They both hold up with many, many wears and washings and can actually be passed down to other children without looking like they are wearing the leftovers.  More bang for the buck!  I love the designs and fun prints they offer, something other than those boring primary colored sets everyone seems to have, and honestly, make me cringe. 

North Face has an awesome boys jacket called the Vestamatic Triclimate Jacket.  What I love most is the vest which can be worn inside or outside the jacket, or alone.  My 7 year old often starts out with the whole jacket but quickly works up a sweat and ends up just wearing the vest.  This jacket also has all the fun extras such as the goggle cloth, glove clips and media pocket.  Perfect for your snowboarder in the making!

North Face Vestamatic Triclimate Jacket  MSRP $175

For my little girl I opted for the Karma Jacket by Obermeyer.  This jacket is the cutest thing with wishing stone zipper pulls and snaps and a little working compass that is the envy of all of her playmates.  Not only does it have the fun fashion extras, but it really is a smart, warm design.  From fleece earwarmers and chin guards to the alligator clips to hold onto those mittens they love to rip off.  I think the best feature of this jacket is the "I-Grow" system.  There are threads inside the coat you can clip when your child grows that will add a 1/2 inch to the cuffs!  Some of Obermeyer's snowpants have the same technology and can add up to 2 inches in length!  Cha-ching! 

Obermeyer Karma Jacket MSRP $129.50

Check out what we have been up to!

This is not your father's trailer

As I toured the Northwest Sportshow this spring, one thing caught my attention.  It was a sleek looking, covered cargo trailer that would be perfect for my family vacation up north.  I have a big family, and while we all fit comfortably in our van, it doesn't leave much room for storage.  To solve this problem last year, we bought a soft-sided cargo carrier that attaches to the top of our van.  Most of our clothes and other gear fit in the carrier and we put the rest of our things in my brother's boat.  Problem solved, right?  Wrong.  Halfway through our trip, the sky turned really dark. We frantically stopped at the nearest Walmart to find a tarp to put over the carrier because our clothes were getting soaked.  Needless to say, the carrier functions well and holds a lot, but it didn't do us much good.  That's why I was so excited when I saw what SPACE trailers had to offer. 
Northwest Sportshow

This lightweight covered cargo trailer was perfect.  It was easy to hook up and was a breeze to tow behind our car.   Most importantly, it was covered.  This trailer was the perfect size for my family of 7's gear.  We had so many compliments and inquiries about this trailer and I couldn't give it high enough praise.  Even when we stopped at a store, I noticed a guy circling the trailer in interest.  All in all, this trailer is good-looking, sturdy and highly functional.  So whether you are buying or renting, these trailers are reasonably priced and have many options like the basic uncovered, adjustable SPACE bars for hauling canoes, bikes or kayaks, and spare tires.  If you're taking a trip and need extra storage, check out SPACE trailers, you will not be disappointed.
All unloaded!