Getting outdoors ~ from a homemaker's perspective

Firstly, I just want to say how overwhelmed I was by all your comments in response to my last post. Your words encouraged me to appreciate the relationships I have, continue to seek out friendships, hold fast to my husband (no worries there) and enjoy the diversity we each have to offer. I was truly amazed with what you all contributed.  I do apologize that I cannot reply individually to each comment. I started out doing that but ran out of time to continue. Thank you, once again.

Something I've wanted to share for some time (in response to your questions) are some practical pointers for how our family makes time each week to be outdoors together. We aren't outdoors as much as some families who actually live in wild places and because of where we live (in a small city) we have to make a concentrated effort to make nature adventures happen.

Damien wrote a post entitled One Day a Week that explained a lot of our family philosophy and strategy in this regard. But now I've followed that up with my own post from a homemaker's perspective

Here's a little tidbit:

A couple years ago when Damien first suggested that we set aside one whole weekend day to pursue outdoor activities together as a family, preferably in the mountains an hour or so drive from our home, I was not entirely enthusiastic. I liked hiking and all but every weekend?....

I know things have been a bit outdoorsy here lately. I have been making soap and lotion and homeschooling my kiddos - just not writing about it, no time. But oh, you should see my notebook full of post ideas about these topics!

This outdoorsy flavor is a reflection of a not-so-subtle shift in our family goals which is influencing my personal goals as wife, mother, homemaker, photographer, gardener, blah, blah, blah... all the things I am and that I write about in this space.

Bear with me as I work through this change and figure out how to share the values that matter most to me in a way that is accessible and meaningful for other people to read.

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

« One Day a Week ~ A Homemaker's Perspective
The girls' room finished (And a boy's room too!) »
  • Earth Mama

    Earth Mama on March 24, 2010, 1:24 p.m.

    I think it's a great idea! I always find when we have the whole family out in the middle of no where it is very meditative and peaceful, a great way to spend quality together time. Of course with the younger ones there might be struggles that arrise, but this also gives you a wonderful opportunity to peacefully resolve any issues and bond. I'm sure taking three miles hikes with four kids ages 9 and under might sound like complete ludicrous to some, but that's us and we love it. I have the dream to hike part of the appalachian trail with my family once they are a bit older. It would be fantastic to do the whole thing, but they would all have to be teens to do that.



  • renee ~ heirloom seasons

    renee ~ heirloom seasons on March 25, 2010, 2:28 a.m.

    As a family we all have a great desire to be out in the forest as much as possible. Fortunately we have 500,000 acres of wilderness area nearly right in our backyard. Sadly though last year was our year of least hiking ever, but this season it will hopefully be back to weekly hikes and some good camping trips too! By the time my oldest was 5 she could hike 7 miles, and littlest one was quite happy to be carried in a pack the whole way... I do relate to much of what you shared in your last post... home-centered life, different diet, a homeschool co-op would most likely not be for us... and especially that need to head into the wilderness! Renee :)


    • renee

      renee on March 25, 2010, 4:02 p.m.

      Way to go 5 year old!  Let's go hiking together.  Brienne is barely breaking the age/mileage ratio but we hope to push that this summer with hiking more miles in one day than her age (7).  I think she can do it.  All of our hikes include elevation gains which makes it a bit trickier but we're still not hiking mountain ranges like found in the west.


  • Ellen

    Ellen on March 25, 2010, 3:10 a.m.

    I am so looking forward to "bearing with you" as you work through change. That's just a part of why I love to read what you and your family are up to, you are very honest about sharing that growing process. I think my poor husband dreams of the day when he doesn't feel like he's shoving me to get me outdoors! So it does me worlds of good to read how your family has embraced that.


  • Francesca

    Francesca on March 25, 2010, 12:26 p.m.

    We are outdoors a lot. But our outdoors is low altitude woods, hills and beaches, and when I think of real outdoors I think of the Alps. We try to take a trip to the Alps twice a year, in winter and in summer, and we've always gone for little and not so little family hikes. I think there's a lot of value in teaching a child to appreciate the slow pace of hiking, and the effort it takes to reach something majestic and beautiful like a summit, a pristine place or a glacier ... I'll be interested in reading more about your perspective on getting outdoors.


    • renee

      renee on March 25, 2010, 3:47 p.m.

      Francesca, I/we write more about the outdoors on our family's adventure blog. I am trying to keep this space for home life - schooling, creating, make-it-yourself stuff, gardening and such. But as the great outdoors becomes more a part of my life it starts to infuse this space more.  It will be interesting to see where this leads me and what I write about. 


  • Rana

    Rana on March 25, 2010, 1:47 p.m.

    Oh Renee, I've said it before and I'll say it again. You inspire me. I'm working on getting our family outdoors more. I want us all as a family to learn about what God has given us on this wonderful earth that we live on and how to treat it with love and respect. You inspire me to eat healthier and show my children how to do the same. To be happy with what we have and that less is more. To share with others what we learn and how to help them achieve what they want. I'm looking forward to seeing your continuing changes for your family.



    • renee

      renee on March 25, 2010, 3:59 p.m.

      Thank you Rana. You are so kind and reading your comment makes me sigh and say quite honestly, Thank you God. I'm being rather open and honest here so get ready...

      My heartfelt's desire from the very beginning of taking this blog outside of our inner circle of family and friends has been to encourage mothers and homemakers (and myself on those days when I feel I'm not accomplishing much for the greater good). I don't talk about this much because it seems presumptuous of me to assume I have anything to share that people would want to read.  

      In addition, my deepest goal is to bring glory to God in everything I do and point people to Him. (I don't talk about that either because it sounds religious-y and I hate religious speak and I'm honestly not a "religious" person though I have a deep faith). Second goal is to love and care for my family. And thirdly (if there is such an order) to encourage mothers and homemakers in this beautiful calling God places in our hearts.  To show the beauty in everyday home life and encourage women to appreciate the beauty in their own. And then to encourage mothers/women/homeschoolers/whoever to enjoy and appreciate the simple-ness of life (not stuff) and the wonder of creation. 

      Your comment is a confirmation to me of what I am hoping to achieve. It's like getting a report card with an A or a good review from your boss - know what I mean?

      So, thank Rana for sharing your heart with me. Let's get together for tea someday k? Our kiddos can bounce on the trampoline together and we can talk life, mothering and God's goodness.


  • Rana

    Rana on March 25, 2010, 7:54 p.m.

    You have a lot to offer and I appreciate what you share with us. "The simpleness of life and the wonder of creation" that's what it's all about.

    I would love to come for tea! I have always wanted to visit Maine.



  • New Urban Habitat

    New Urban Habitat on March 26, 2010, 11:21 p.m.

    Renee, It's so interesting that you're writing about this right now, because I've been reflecting on my relationship with the wilderness for an essay I'm writing. I grew up in the Colorado mountains, and my family spent a lot of time outdoors. We camped for weeks during the summers. We hiked. We went cross-country skiing. And when my sister and I were older, we climbed mountains. Sadly getting out of the city to hike and explore hasn't been as much of a part of my life for awhile. While writing the essay I realized how desperately I miss it, and I've been thinking about ways to make it a bigger priority for our family. What a great time to read your inspiring post about how to make it work. Also I checked out a few of the photography books you recommend from the library, and I'm learning so much. So thanks!


    • renee

      renee on March 27, 2010, 11:25 p.m.

      That's awesome Abby.  I think this is a real challenge for us city dwellers to figure out.  Urban life has many small footprint living advantages (everyone I know who lives far from cities drives a lot)  but the challenge is figuring out how to get into the wilderness. To be refreshed and rejuvunated and especially for us - teach our children about the beauty of nature.


You can subscribe to comments on this article using this form.

If you have already commented on this article, you do not need to do this, as you were automatically subscribed.