Bike-In-Coffee along the Bosque Trail in Albuquerque

My favorite place to bike in Albuquerque is the Bosque Trail along the river Rio Grande, as it is the ONLY flat trail around here. 16 miles right by the river. I must add here, you don’t always get a good view of the river, because the area has been left natural and parts of it are wildlife sanctuaries. It is very family friendly, no cars in sight. Though the trail can get packed on the weekend with cyclists, runners, and the occasional inline skater.

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What makes this trail even better is the fact that there is a Bike-in-Coffee easily accessible, near the southern end of the trail (Montoya st.) Bike in Coffee is a little trailer that sits on Old Town Farm. Old Town Farm also operates as a horse facility and a produce farm. You can see the stalls behind my husband and the bikes.

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I’d like to add here that the food coming out of this little trailer is superb. Items on the menu are made with freshly picked ingredients from the farm. We tried the mini quiche and their and the scones, and we kept coming back for more. It was packed with flavor, melt in your mouth kind of food. I read on their website that they offer lunches, too. I can’t even imagine…IMG_0708 IMG_0699

Here is a pump and repair station for your bikes. How cool is that?IMG_1101

There are several places to sit and eat. We sat near the vegetable garden and then later realized that there was a beautiful shaded area.IMG_0704 IMG_1100

 

Bike in Coffee is open on the weekends and can only be accessed by bicyclist or hikers.  I highly recommend this place for your next bike ride.

Have a great day,

Sofija

 

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Bike-In-Coffee along the Bosque Trail in Albuquerque

Tent Rocks: Family Hike

Friends,

Tent Rocks is one of our family’s favorite places. It has all the right elements to make it a fun family outing: a 1.2 mile hike through a beautiful, otherworldly canyon, a challenging climb, and rewarding views at the top. We have gone with our kids ranging from baby to teenager and it was always very doable. For instance I typically carry the baby or toddler (whatever we had at the time) on my back, and my husband would assist/carry the second youngest. I would say kids aged 4 and older can pretty much most of the hike with some assistance. Be sure to bring lots of water especially between May and October (it gets hot once you are out of the canyon).

Here are some pictures I took when we went with friends last year.

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We went in March. It was cool at the bottom of the trail, but once we were in the canyon it got warmer. So we left some of our jackets and hid them behind some trees. Below is our friend Jenna at the beginning of the trail. You don’t need special shoes, comfortable walking shoes will do.

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Our older children typically run ahead and get to the top way ahead of us. The trail is pretty easy to follow, not many opportunities to get lost. However the last part is steep, so I suggest having kids 10 years or younger with an adult or a teenager.
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My two oldest making a rare appearance on the blog…IMG_5930 IMG_5955

The canyon is pretty narrow in places, so strollers don’t work.
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Here is the top with miles and miles of views…IMG_6019 IMG_6025

Our friends, Craig and Jenna. Love the pose…
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David with Tasha on his back hiking down. I’m not sure if there is a loop. We always come back down the same way we go up.

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Lucille was 4 years old when we did this hike. She needed some assistance at times but did pretty well overall.

IMG_6038Tent Rocks is about 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe. You can find updated weather conditions and more info here.

Have a great day,

Sofija

Tent Rocks: Family Hike

Flipside Camp

flipside campI have been wanting to share this with you because it has been inspiring me for some time. A friend of ours, who we know from our time in Chicago, moved his family to Norway. His wife is from there. Winters are long in Norway, so when his oldest son got interested in skate boarding, his outdoor opportunities were limited. At the time there was no indoor facility for his son to skate in the winter. Mike decided to create a space for kids to be active all year long. With help from local government and business owners he was able to built an indoor park. The facility is being used by skaters, scooters, bmx-ers, and more. What intrigues me the most about this, is that his vision is so much larger than to just have a place for kids to hang out and “contain” them. Once a year the facility hosts a camp, called Flipside, that invites kids from all over Norway and Scandinavia and has professionals inspiring and mentoring the kids. The camp is there not only for skaters but also for kids interested in gymnastics, music, film making, and the arts. He created a community for young people to be inspired, engaged, and empowered. Isn’t that something we all want for our kids? Wouldn’t it be great if our youth groups, after school programs were like that??  For kids to have interaction and mentorship with professionals in their fields of interest…to have a safe center of creativity and inspiration.

My husband and I try to do that on a small scale in our home. We have had adults over and talk about what they do that range from search and rescuers, police officers, helicopter pilots, musicians, artists, photographers, missionaries, to scientists. We don’t always do it in a formal setting. What is important is that we want our kids to embrace the big world we live in.

How about you, does this inspire you? Have you been empowered by professionals in your field before? Do you engage young kids?

Here is Mike’s Ted talk. I promise you, it is inspiring:

Have a great day,

Sofija

Flipside Camp

Stars Soccer League

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Friends,

I made an exiting discovery. There is a soccer league that doesn’t take over your entire week with several practices and games on Saturday. Stars is a recreational league that only meets on Saturdays for coaching and games. It is for ages 4-12. Sure it won’t make your child into a future super star soccer player. But if you are like us and you just want your child exposed to the sport and learn the basics, this is a good option. Here are several reasons why I like the idea of Saturday only sports. Family dinners are very important to us. Being hospitable and entertaining is important to us. Doing sports together as a family is also high on our priority list.  But I have always resisted the pressure to sign my kids up to every sport imaginable and to shuttle them around every weeknight from an early age on. I just cannot reconcile with the notion of being a taxi driver and cheer leader all week long. It’s probably because I didn’t grow up playing organized sports. I played some volleyball in high-school but I was never good at it. My husband was on a soccer team and did pretty well. But even he doesn’t think that team sports enriched his life that much. What enriched him were backpacking trips, being out in nature.

So for us a Saturday only sport is an option to consider. This week is registration week. Not sure if we will do it, but I am glad to know the option is there.

Have a great weekend!

-Sofija

Stars Soccer League

Family Sport: Horseback Trail Riding

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Friends,

How was your weekend? Mine turned out to be a little more adventurous than I planned for. My 11 year old daughter’s friend stayed with us. She has been taking riding lessons for a few month. My daughter used to ride but stopped a while ago. Recently she has shown a renewed interest in riding, so as a Birthday present I arranged for the two to go trail riding in the Cibola National Forest east of Albuquerque. I wasn’t going to ride since I had not been feeling so well. However when I checked the girls in there was an extra saddled horse waiting for me. I jumped on the chance and went with them. We rode for over an hour through national forest. It was pretty steep going up and down, but the views were rewarding.

Here are the girls getting safety instructions by our horse guide. My 11 year old is wearing the turquoise jacket.

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My daughter’s friend is saddling up.

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And we are on the trail.

IMG_1497 IMG_1500 IMG_1501 A wish I had captured the view better. It was quite windy, and I am not adapt to taking pictures while holding the rains…

IMG_1502Here we are an hour and a half later back at the stable with me to the right.

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This would be a fun adventure for a family with kids ages 8 and older.

I paid $30 per person plus tax for an hour ride. I would recommend starting with one hour if you are not used to riding (I’m pretty sore today). However Cedar Crest Stables also does 2, 4, and 6 hour rides. Click on the link for more info. If you ride in the mountains bring an extra jacket, it is often colder up there.

Have a great day,

Sofija

 

 

 

Family Sport: Horseback Trail Riding

Family Sport: Indoor Rock Climbing

Hi there,

Back in the fall I started a new series on family sports. The idea behind is to find sports that families can do together and that suits several age groups. Rather than one family member doing a sport, and everybody else sitting in on a bench watching, I like to see the whole family being active together.

When my nephew was here visiting I took him and my kids (except the baby) to an indoor rock climbing gym. A one time visit is a bit pricey (it was $11.95 per person between noon and 3pm); if we went regularly I would buy a family pass. We brought our own tennis shoes and only rented harnesses.

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Here is the group I took (sans my 8 year old who was hiding behind my back as usual).IMG_5519

Below is my 6 year old Ella with a full body harness. I recommend this harness for her age and younger as it makes them feel safe. IMG_5521

The gym had a variety of of equipment. There were rings and ropes hanging from the wall. Lots of bouldering walls, which are great for little ones. I wish I hadn’t paid for my 4 year old since she was too scared to climb on a rope and happy to just boulder. They also have exercise bikes there which we didn’t try.IMG_5532

Below is Esther. She climbed so fast it was hard keeping up with her trying to keep the rope tight while belaying.IMG_5536

My nephew did a great job evading my camera. Here he really couldn’t run away…Isn’t he cute? I love his plaid shirt.IMG_5542

Teenagers 14 years and older can be trained to belay, which really helps when you have bunch of kids. My oldest (below on the right) and I took turns belaying. It took us about 15 min to be trained in belaying, so factor that in the first time you come.IMG_5551

After fussing and complaining for a couple of hours my 8 year old finally started climbing and enjoying himself. He was allowed to climb without a rope up to a certain point. IMG_5563

This is a great sport for the winter time. My kids always ask to go. If you have never been give it a try. There are a lot of employees there ready to help.

The gym offers youth classes and classes for home-schoolers.

Have a great weekend, I’ll see you back here next week with an interview of the Hollands.

-Sofija

Family Sport: Indoor Rock Climbing

Family Mountain Biking Outside of Albuquerque

Friends,

We like to Mountain Bike. That is, my husband loves it and he is getting us slowly into it, as well. Last week we all piled up in the car and went to the East Mountains, outside of Albuquerque to go for a ride. It was a rather spontaneous thing, so I was surprised that our 6 kiddos could have fun without the usual snacks, gear, extra clothes, etc. Take a look:

We put as many bikes as we could fit on the bike rack (everyone except the baby had a bike), and the rest we piled in the trunk of our suburban.

David and I took the 4, 6, and 8 year old on the bike path. While my two oldest stayed back to watch the baby. The baby is almost 2 years old, but we call her the baby, and probably always will…My 4 year old can’t really ride yet, so we put her on a scoot, the kind of bike that does not have pedals.

She got tired pretty quickly going uphill on her scoot, so she decided to take a rest and do a pine cone dance.

Here is my man in action after the younger kids were done and heading back to the parking lot.

Natasha had a great time walking around the picnic area with no one stopping her.

Lucille taking a much needed rest after her 10 minute bike ride.

At the picnic area I wanted to shoot some action shots of my husband jumping off a ledge on his bike. This turned into everybody jumping off and having a really fun time.

I think we are on our way to becoming a mountain bike family. I so hoped we could find a sport that we can all enjoy on different levels, and this might be it.

So, if you are ever in the area, bring a bike!

Have a great day, I’ll see you back here soon with a kid’s fall fashion shoot I did with my friend. So exited to share it with you.

-Sofija

Family Mountain Biking Outside of Albuquerque