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Some people love the beach. My husband and I prefer the mountains: fresh air, the view atop a mountain, tall trees, birds twittering. I’m sorry beach lovers, but nothing can beat this. Though in the end, what matters most is to get back to nature.
Coming from a legacy of hikers (both my husband and I grew up hiking with our families), we want to pass this tradition on to our own kids. We decided to take the boys to the Smoky Mountains this summer for 9 days of outdoor adventure. We chose this national park because it offers a wide range of experiences, from short and easy hikes for families with young kids like ours, to rather long and difficult ones for experienced hikers. It doesn’t mean that, despite going for the easy hikes, our days in the mountains weren’t spread with whining and requests to be held and carried. Still, ever since getting back home, the boys have kept asking us to go again to the Smoky. I couldn’t be happier because our family summer bucket list has tons of outdoor adventures. Mountain hiking was one. Camping is another and it’s coming up pretty soon.
When you live covered in snow 6 or 7 months per year you appreciate summer a ton more. Besides, I feel like the boys are old enough now to make the most of our summer as a family. We spend a lot of time outdoors from sports playing to dining. Dinner is definitely more relaxed and enjoyable when taken on the patio, though it requires more energy and imagination to keep the kids at the table.
One day, inspired by these silicon coloring placemats and the adorable coloring frame wallpaper, I made a couple of DIY doodle placemats for kids.
They are extremely easy to make and require nothing but white craft paper and a black marker. Cut out your paper in a rectangular shape and use the marker to create a few frames. My frames came with a theme: My Family.
For some reason frames encourage the kids’ creativity more than a blank sheet of paper and if they have to draw mom, dad, siblings as well as themselves, you got yourself a giggling drawing experience.
Once my boys finished drawing their family members, I fed their creativity with noodles. (They used them to decorate the hair.)
While kids were busy with their placemats, mama prepared macaroni and cheese. Who would say no to this?
Back to Nature makes delicious macaroni and cheese dinners and I love that they are made with organic pasta. I’m a big fan of organic products and although I can’t get everything on my grocery list to be organic I do try to keep a good balance between organic and non-organic fruits, veggies, snacks, pasta and more.
Make sure to get Back to Nature Made with Organic Pasta Macaroni & Cheese and White Cheddar Spirals Macaroni & Cheese Dinner – these were my kids’ favorites.
Fun fact. Did you know that July 14th was Mac & Cheese day and that June was Get Outdoors month? What better time for a Back to Nature Mac & Cheese? What will you have for dinner tonight?