How is Your Balance, Joy & Play Meter?

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” ~ Dr. Seuss


Last month, I wrote a different type of New Year’s Resolution post — one that focused on more balance, joy and play rather than deprivation, which is the usual theme. 

What I’ve discovered over the years is that if I don’t check back in on what I wrote down, then the process of writing down goals or resolutions — new year’s or otherwise — doesn’t do a bit of good.

So, let’s have a check in, shall we? How are you doing in your quest for more balance, joy and play?

To refresh your memories, here is the list of items to pursue with abandon in this glorious year, 2012.

What should you Do More of in 2012:

  1. Laugh (to the verge if incontinence)
  2. Play (like your life depends on it)
  3. Dance (whether there is music or not)
  4. Hike
  5. Skip
  6. Hop
  7. Jump (for joy)
  8. Frolic
  9. Make time for your friends
  10. Garden
  11. Walk barefoot
  12. Sing
  13. Soak in a bubble bath
  14. Stargaze
  15. Camp
  16. Make s’mores
  17. Bike
  18. Cook
  19. Be kind
  20. Travel
  21. Try new things
  22. Trust yourself
  23. Shoot for the stars
  24. Be fearless
  25. Dust yourself off and begin again

What have you been doing to make sure you put some LIFE into living?! Please share.

I took a break from blogging for a few weeks to regain some balance. It was really important to give myself that time to have some fun and make time for friends and play. Definitely recharged my batteries.

Play on, my dear friends. Your life, as it turns out, depends on it.

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

Creative Commons License photo credit: wolleydog

Attention Humans: Summer is Almost Over…GO PLAY!

198/365: Refrescante
TGSG Note: I reminded you last year, and I promise to do it again in 2012. It’s that important.

The stark realization has hit: It’s almost the middle of August. And the incredible summer days and nights we dream of most of the year are quickly passing us by.

GASP. I know.

Even if you LOVE fall, you can’t wish summer away. It takes so long to get here!

So consider this a little Public Service Announcement from your friendly neighborhood Grass Stain Guru…


Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. No more excuses.

Get out there and…

  1. Catch fireflies
  2. Run through the sprinkler or have a wet sponge fight
  3. Roast the perfect marshmallow or challenge yourself to come up with a gourmet s’more recipe
  4. Head to a nearby fishing hole.  Take a child who has never had the opportunity and watch their eyes light up.
  5. Try geocaching
  6. Have a watermelon seed spitting contest
  7. Camp. Backyard, tree house or nearby county or state park — it doesn’t matter as long as you sleep outside
  8. Eat a popsicle under a shade tree and play The Cloud Game
  9. Find a nearby trail and hike when the sun is not too high — early in the morning or at dusk
  10. _________________ (Use your imagination and share in the comments section! What’s your #10?) :-)

When September comes and the kids head back to school and the summer light starts to fade, you will have such fond memories of time spent in the pursuit of play — and making the most of this gorgeous planet that we call home.

Trust me — this fact will make you happy. The end.

Don’t miss out. Mother Nature has something great waiting for you…

See ya outside! ~ The Grass Stain Guru

Creative Commons License photo credit: anieto2k

Chatting About Nature With Cheecker

TGSG Note: It’s not often that I have celebrities stop by The Guru, so I am beyond tickled that Cheecker took time out of his busy schedule to sit down and chat with me. As you can imagine, a spokes-squirrel has a lot on his plate.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I am a huge fan of Cheecker and the work that he does getting children and families outdoors. So enjoy the interview, then listen to the smartest squirrel I know — unplug and go play outdoors! :-) Bethe

1. Why do you think it is so important for children to connect with nature and explore the forests?

I live my whole life outside and I’m a better squirrel because of it.  I love climbing trees, running through the brush and playing with my forest friends, and it is really important for children to do the same thing because it gives them a greater appreciation for the environment.  Not to mention that it’s healthier for them! Studies show that kids who have more time to explore nature are generally healthier, more imaginative, less stressed and more respectful of themselves and others.

2. Speaking of children, what was your childhood like, Cheecker?

Funny you should ask, Bethe.  I have so many great memories of running through the forest with my brothers and sisters as a young squirrel.  Things weren’t so much different back then.  We still climb trees, hang out in our houses in the trees (we call them nests), gather nuts (acorns are my FAVORITE) and run around together.

In fact, I guess you could say that my childhood wasn’t too much different from a human childhood!  I see children running around, climbing rocks and exploring nature with their families in my forest all the time.


3. What tips do you have for parents to help get their kids unplugged and out into the forest?

Today, there are more cool video games and electronic gadgets for kids to play with than ever before, so it’s no wonder kids spend less time outside.  The best way for parents to get their kids unplugged is to show them early on how much fun the forest can be.

You don’t have to wait for your batteries to run out to go on a real-life adventure!  There are all sorts of awesome and exciting things to explore in the forest, and if parents can show that to their kids when they’re young, children will have a greater desire to discover nature as they grow.

Here are just a few activities parents can do with their kids to get them outside:

  1. Find a local creek or body of water to let out your fishing line, observe some marine life, or even go for a swim. Water provides a range of activities that will lure your kids away from their electronics and promote activity as a family.
  2. Read about plants native to your region and try to identify 10 different species on your hike. This is an excellent way to engage your kids and foster a family conversation about nature!
  3. Camping: This classic outdoor activity proves to be even more exciting when you leave the tent at home. Treat your family to the stars when nighttime falls!
  4. If your family is less experienced in the outdoors, pack a picnic and just relax in a meadow or field. Sometimes relaxing outside is the best way to unwind together.
  5. For those weekend wilderness warriors, this is a great occasion to learn how to do something new and create shared memories with your kids! Find a guide to teach you how to fly fish, repel or even rock climb.


4. You have a free hour.  What do you do?

I love following animal tracks.  If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a pretty friendly squirrel.  I love hanging out with all my forest neighbors, so I follow tracks to find my friends.  What I love most is finding a track I’ve never seen before.  It usually means I have a new neighbor!

By now, I know how to identify almost any track – bears, birds, humans – you name it, I’ve seen it.  I’m probably the best animal tracker in my forest, but I’ve seen some humans that know tracks almost as well as I do – that’s impressive.  There are some kids and their families who visit the forest who have animal tracking down to a science.  They even have books to help them identify what they see out in nature.  It is really neat!

Need more inspiration to unplug and get outdoors? Check out the great PSA from Cheecker and his friends at

Want to learn more about Eastern Gray Squirrels? Check out eNature to learn more –  and see what other wildlife you can spot near you!

Me & Cheecker will see ya outside!

~ The Grass Stain Guru

Guest Bio: Cheecker is the official spokes-squirrel of the U.S. Forest Service.  He is usually found in the forest playing and searching for nibbles and wants to teach everyone how to get outdoors and discover the forest. He shares his knowledge with his loyal Twitter followers at @Cheecker and can also be found on Facebook.

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