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Mad Dog Mom

Freelance writer, mother of three, and author of new book, The Down & Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids, Helen Olsson blogs at Mad Dog Mom about outdoor adventures with kids (camp, ski, hike, bike, live). Readers call it laugh-out-loud funny.

What's your favorite affordable outdoor activity to do with your kids?

Camping! For the price of one night at a fancy hotel, you can spend a week in the woods with your kids and have a blast. Kids get immersed in nature, parents get a break from loads of laundry and piles of paper, and the whole family can bond over s'mores and campfires. It is the best. For more tips on camping with kids, check out my book, The Down & Dirty Guide to camping with Kids, which you can find at

What tips do you have for spending time outdoors when its cold?

Bundle up in high performance layering pieces. A good wicking long underwear as a first layer, fleece tops and vests, and a quality insulated jacket. Wear a warm hat (of course) and mittens are better than gloves if you're out playing in the snow. Hand warmer packets can be a godsend in winter. And make sure all your gear is well dried out overnight. Start with wet mittens and boots, and you will be cold! I just posted a two blogs on keeping hands and feet warm on Epic Moms. Here are the links: and

What's a great vacation destination for families that want to spend time outside?

We just spent part of our spring break in Vail, Colorado. We ski all year, but spring skiing is the best!!!! Blue skies, soft snow, and nice warm temps. And at a place like Vail, there's something for everyone from kid zones to cliff jumps on the mountain and spas and shopping for the nonskiers.