make-believe: sledding.

December 14, 2016

sleddingIn a one-bedroom apartment, at the tippy top of the stairs of an old brownstone, smack in the middle of a very large city, a sled is not a very practical thing to keep around. Alas, alack, because I really love a good run down a sledding hill, cheeks all flushed, pants all wet, heart all jumpy from the reckless careening. Last year we fashioned a temporary sled for Faye out of a cardboard box and pulled her around our snowy neighborhood and I’m hopeful this winter might give us a few good blizzards to tromp around in.

Here, a few festive supplies for a sledding adventure:

A Flexible Flyer because it’s my very favorite kind of sled and they’re still made in the USA. (Stubs of candle wax for greasing up those runners not included.)

A colorful pom bonnet lest I lose a little guy in a sea of white.

Matching striped sweaters for mama and kiddo because a good sled run calls for a good woolly turtleneck.

Merino long johns for keeping a tiny body warm and toasty.

A copy of The Polar Bear (Amazon/IndieBound), because it’s up to us to teach our kids about the vulnerability of our planet.

Toddler-sized snow boots for tiny feet and an adult-sized pair for her faithful guardian.

A sledding scarf, because with a name like that, how could you resist?


Action Items:
In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are four things we can do today to help the planet and each other:

For a planet that’s warming: If you haven’t already, make a switch to renewable energy. We do this through ConEdison Solutions, which uses 100% wind power. If you’re not sure where to begin, try searching the Green-e Certified List to find local clean energy sources. (If you’re confused about how buying clean energy works, watching this short video on Renewable Energy Certificates helps demystify the process.) 

For water protectors in the snow: The reality, of course, is that snow days are not always full of cocoa and pleasantly rosy cheeks. In North Dakota water protectors are facing increasingly inclement weather as they protect their land. You can support them financially here and you can lend your voice by signing this petition to encourage President Obama to permanently stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

For kids who need coats: Forget frolicking in beautiful knits in the snow, lots of kids lack even a basic winter coat. Use this map to find a local coat drive near you where you can bring clean and gently used coats (or send along a donation).

For heroic adults: Donate to the Syrian rescue workers risking their lives to save the people of Aleppo.

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  • Reply Kim R December 14, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I really love the action items. You are smart, opinionated, and diligent. This is why I keep reading. Thank you!

    • Reply Alix December 14, 2016 at 10:27 am

      I agree 100%!

      • Reply Jessica December 14, 2016 at 10:48 am

        Also agreed!

    • Reply Celia December 14, 2016 at 11:50 am

      Yes. agreed. Love + so grateful you keep spreading ideas on this.

    • Reply Erin Boyle December 14, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words. Thank *you*!

  • Reply Erin December 14, 2016 at 9:25 am

    This aesthetic reminds me of the looooong winters I spent at undergrad in way up northern Vermont and how we bundled up to keep warm. Brrrr!

    Totally wish they made that Pom Bonnet in grown up sizes.

  • Reply Anna Lee December 14, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Thank you for the action items! Petition signed.

  • Reply Lynn @ The Not Dead Yet Blog December 14, 2016 at 10:16 am

    The sled is beautiful, but mine is sitting unused until my girls get bigger. Actually, I think my oldest one can manage it now, so hopefully we’ll get decent snow and can try it out! The four year old will probably still fall off–although this isn’t necessarily true of all four year olds. Mine is somewhat clumsy.

  • Reply Mary Kate December 14, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Thanks for the continued activism! Petition signed. I’ve also set up a monthly donation to Doctors Without Borders in the hopes that somehow helps Syria.
    Also on the sled question — get one and keep it at your parents? When I was little we had a sled at my grandma’s because she lived in mountainy North Jersey while we lived at the shore where the nearest hill was 3 feet high 🙂

    • Reply Erin Boyle December 14, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Ah, yes! There’s still quite a collection of vintage Flexible Flyers (and even a toboggan!) at my mom and dad’s house! Now we just have to time our next visit with a blizzard!

  • Reply Lucia Tran December 14, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I love what you curated, and I also love the ACTION ITEMS. Thanks for including the White Helmets in a time like this. Seriously a refreshing gift guide. And for those who love camping/traveling, LuminAID is a great gift that gives back. I recently just ordered their ‘give’ program so they can allocate a light pack where needed. <3

    • Reply Erin Boyle December 14, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      Thanks so much, Lucia. And thanks for the LuminAID recommendation!

  • Reply Moran December 14, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    thank you so much for raising help for Syria. as a former Israeli, I’m appalled by the horror happening just a few hours away from my mother’s house.

    here are some more links to great organizations that help in Syria. the white helmets are blessed, but they are also well funded by european sources. – works in syria and helps refugees out of it as well. focuses on helping children – operates hospitals in syria and neighboring countries – a medical org’ operating in syria and training doctors to operate there – a british-syrian org’ with various projects in syria, giving humanitarian aid

    and on a selfish, make-believe related note: living in Germany, I do have much use for snow-boots and it’s a very hard task to find elegant ones. those you pinned are wonderful, but the link takes me to a similar, yet not identical model… could you please share the model name?

    • Reply Erin Boyle December 14, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Thanks so much for these additions. Many ways to help, for sure. And thanks for your note about the boots link! Totally my mistake (the ones originally linked to are the ones I own, but I found this made-in-th-us option and swapped them out!) These are Bean Boots lined in shearling; fixed the link!

  • Reply Steph December 14, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Erin, thank you so much for using your platform to inspire action. It would be really easy for you to continue blogging about sustainability, fashion, etc. and keep quiet about your politics. I really appreciate that you are not only focusing on it regularly, but are sharing how we can all do something to help. I know it takes work to seek these things out and share them, so again – thank you!

    • Reply Erin Boyle December 14, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      At this point is all feels so beyond politics, doesn’t it? Thanks so much for reading and for sending such an encouraging note.

      • Reply Bryony December 16, 2016 at 4:24 pm

        Totally agree with Steph! I make it a point now to support those blogs whose owners stick their necks out for global justice and peace in this time of uncertainty.

  • Reply Laura December 14, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Would you mind linking to the boots? Love the fleece lining!

    • Reply Erin Boyle December 14, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      They’re linked! (Accidentally had the wrong link up there earlier, but it’s all fixed.)

  • Reply Bridget December 14, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    The action items are wonderful and SO GLAD you put the link to donate to the White Helmets.

  • Reply Trish O December 14, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    As you have linked to llbean, check out there sled options. We have some small sleds from there that we hang in the closet when not in use. They are not a flexible flyer but are wicked fun and my boys can carry them on the walk to the hill all by themselves.

  • Reply Trish O December 14, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    That is “their” options. So sorry, did not catch the autocorrect that incorrectly corrected

    Anyway, I wanted to say how inspirational I find your action items.

  • Reply Sarah December 14, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    What a sweet collection, we’re so grateful to have our long johns be a part of it. But more importantly, thank you for these action items. It’s easy to get lost in our own comfortable worlds, and I am grateful to be inspired to make change through your ideas. I am happy to share that as of last week, we have committed to operating our business on a carbon neutral basis by purchasing carbon offsets. We are truly lucky to live in such a beautiful place, and need to do our best to protect it! We are grateful for you inspiring so many.

  • Reply shannon December 14, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    The action items are such a nice addition, Erin. A great reminder that while it’s fun to play make believe and dream about snow days with artisan knits, this is an absolute luxury not afforded to many in our world.

    On a shallower note, I have those boots and can recommend them! They are waterproof (not technically according to llbean but in reality nary a snowdrop gets in) and so warm! Unless it is freezing or below, I don’t wear them as they get too warm.

  • Reply Alexis December 14, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    I love and appreciate the direction you are going with this space. It is helpful, inspiring and important! Thank you.

  • Reply Genevieve December 15, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks so much Erin. I just made a donation to the American Refugee Committee, inspired by your post.

    Like Shannon, on a shallower note, I have the same boots (only in a beautiful “cranberry” that is sadly not available online anymore) and I couldn’t love them more. Because my boyfriend amasses LL Bean coupons to beat the band, I was able to buy them for $9(!!!! deal of the century) but I think they would be worth full price too, for anyone considering the splurge.

  • Reply Ellen December 16, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Thank you, Erin, for helping me stay accountable. Petition signed, and donation to the White Helmets made.

    On a lighter note, if you keep linking to those beautiful babaa sweaters, I’m going to have to buy one!!

  • Reply Alexandra December 16, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Another great source for children’s wool clothing is Ella’s Wool, based in Brooklyn

    I stumbled on them when my toddler was an infant and I chanced upon a Scandinavian-brand merino wool bodysuit in a thrift store. I promptly fell in love with how warm and soft the merino was, and I frantically searched for options available closer to home and found this company. Two years later, I still dress him in both his merino wool under layers and his Ella’s Wool “tubes” pants nearly every day from autumn to early spring. Finding this company changed my life as a parent – we are outside playing happily no matter how cold it gets – yes, even this week!

    • Reply Erin Boyle December 16, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Lovely! The name and label look familiar, but I’m not sure I’d ever seen the site! So glad to know about it, thanks for sharing!


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