Not long after we first moved to Charlotte, we decided to put a firepit in one of the natural areas of our front yard. While the back yard might seem like a better spot at first glance, we enjoy having it in the front yard for the “social scene” it creates. You see, our neighborhood is pretty active in the evenings – joggers, dog-walkers, families with strollers, kids on bikes. And there’s just something about an open fire that just seems to draw people in! Sometimes it’s just the 3 of us, but more often than not we end up with a few visitors – some who just pop in to say hi, and others who pull up a chair and enjoy a roasted marshmallow or two.
That first year we started establishing a fall tradition of “Firepit Fridays.” If we were in town that weekend, we’d have an early Friday night dinner and then spend the rest of the evening by the fire. As time has gone on it’s morphed a bit – it’s not always on a Friday, and it’s not even always at nighttime (C and I have been known to spark a fire or two during the daytime on occasion!) Sometimes it’s planned – last year we got together with our next-door neighbor to plan a special New Year’s Eve bonfire – neighbors could drop by before or after their dinners/parties to enjoy a nightcap of cider, hot chocolate, and s’mores. Other times it’s rather impromptu, and decided upon as we’re cleaning up the kitchen from dinner.
But regardless of how our tradition has evolved over the years, it’s something I always look forward to once the days start getting shorter and the nights start getting chilly. This particular fall has been a busy one – it seems like every weekend we’ve either been off climbing, getting ready to go off climbing, or it’s been too wet. So we actually didn’t get to have our inaugural first firepit of the season until just a couple of weeks ago.
And the great part about it was that despite how long it had been, we seemed to pick up right where we’d left off. C remembered our “fire safety” rules, we got the fire started without any trouble, and true to form, 2 neighbors stopped by to say hello! And in addition to the new jumbo marshmallows we’d bought for the occasion, we had some other gear to try out too – C’s new outdoor booties from STONZ Outerwear.
While I hesitate to call them “booties” in front of C for fear he’ll associate them with the “baby things” he used to wear, these rugged outdoor slippers are just one of the many smart and snuggly innovations that came our way via an ambassadorship for STONZ, a kid’s outerwear company from British Columbia. (And don’t worry, we’ll tell you about all the other goodies too in the coming weeks!)
Designed to fit newborns all the way up to a US toddler size 10.5, these kicks are comfy enough to wear indoors, but durable enough for outdoor use. Two toggles ensure that they stay on, and the soft, skid-resistant soles protect little feet while still giving them plenty of flexibility to grow (for a related post on the importance of barefeet/minimalist shoes for developing young feet, check out this post.) But our favorite part is the removable liner (sold separately) that makes these booties versatile enough to use fall, winter, and spring. For milder weather, go without, but when the mercury plummets, drop in those liners for plenty of extra warmth! I’m sure that C’s new booties will be keeping his tootsies warm for many more firepits to come this winter, and I think they’ll be ideal to have around camp next spring while we cook breakfast on those crisp, chilly mornings.
But whether you like your fire-y traditions with or without snuggly footwear, I’d like to know what cold-weather traditions your family has in place. Bonfires, ski trips, building snowmen, or even just curling up indoors with a good movie and a mug of hot cocoa. When the weather turns cold, what old faithful traditions does your family turn to?