Our Adventure with the Toyota Kiwi Guardian Programme

“Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living.” - Zenobia Barlow

The moments we spend in the outdoors as children help shape our views on the world around us. A number of studies have shown the numerous benefits to getting kids outside and into nature, including improved mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being; but, perhaps the most important aspect of encouraging time in the outdoors is that a young child’s direct experiences with nature are critical to fostering a healthy conservation ethic and are the most influence on the development of life-long conservation values.

Toyota and the Department of Conservation have recognized the need for Kiwi Kids to get outside and enjoy direct experiences with nature and have teamed up to create The Toyota Kiwi Guardian Program, a plethora of free family-friendly, treasure hunt-like activities to encourage Kiwi kids and their families to adventure together in the hopes of creating the next generation of conservationists and future guardians of this unique and beautiful country we call home, New Zealand.

The fear of the unknown and the fear of failure are the biggest barrier for parents getting out and adventuring with kids. What should we do? Where should we go? What should we bring? What will we do when we get there? Will the kids have fun? Will I have fun? These are the questions that can stop parents from adventuring with their children...and that's where the Toyota Kiwi Guardian Programme comes in. With a number of sites all across New Zealand, it tells families where to go, what to look for, activities to do once there, and is guaranteed fun for the kids who have the added incentive of earning a medal upon finding the Kiwi Guardian signpost with the secret code word. You print a map, explore places you've never been before or perhaps have been but never explored before, and create a lifetime of memories.


We love exploring all of what New Zealand has to offer in our backyard and are always looking to try visit new places or explore familiar places and learn something new. We decided to go onto the Kiwi Guardian website and find a new adventure for the day. My boys had been wanting to snorkel so we chose Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (also known as Goat Island Marine Reserve) and invited some friends to join us.

We printed out maps at home and I passed them out to the boys upon our arrival.  Seeing the different points of interest on the map, some of which, like the kelp forest and the reef were hidden from plain eyesight, immediately turned our adventure into a treasure hunt with everyone running off in different directions to discover all the areas shown on the map.  The older boys swam out to swim amongst the seaweed and then swam over to the island to check out the colourful caves.  The younger boys used boogie boards to snorkel over the reef where they spotted lots of Snapper and two large stingrays and then went tidepooling along the rocky coast where they found lots of hermit crabs.  

When we arrived there was not a cloud in the sky, but after an hour or two of exploring, dark clouds appeared and rain began to pelt down in a heavy downpour. As thunder clapped across the sky, we sought shelter in the nooks and caves nestled into the rocky coastline and watched the rain fall onto the sea. When it slowed to a drizzle, the boys were right back in the sea and snorkeling again, noticing that life underwater didn’t change a bit with the differences in weather.

There was something for all ages.  Everyone found and saw new things, learning about different sea creatures and overcame fears (like swimming with giant stingrays and a scary looking horned fish) along the way. As we prepared to leave for home, we discussed the importance of marine reserves, the boys realizing how lucky they were to see just a varied and abundant marine life in just one place and just how special and unique places like this are in the world. The kids can’t wait to tick off the next Toyota Kiwi Guardian site and earn more medals!

It was the adventure of a lifetime and memories were made that will be remembered forever. This was our adventure with Kiwi Guardian Programme...what will yours be?



shopbop summer sale_belandbeau.jpg

Summer is almost here and you know what that means....it's time to stock up on all your favorite summer pieces! And guess what...Sale Alert! Today I have an amazing sale round up of my favorite goodies at Shopbop. You can now save up to 25% when you use the code EOTS17 at checkout.

While the Northern Hemisphere is going into Fall, we happen to be heading into spring and summer and since most online retailers are based in the Northern Hemisphere, it means we get to take FULL advantage of all of the summer sales going on! This is my favorite time of the year to splurge on new beach bag, a new pair of summer sandals, or a new summer accessory.  Click on the numbers to shop some of my favorite sale picks! Happy Shopping! xx

1. Straw Beach Tote (more options here) 2. Fringed Beach Tote (these are a few more of my favorites) 3. The Perfect Beach Clutch (similar here) 4. Beach Tote that Fits Everything (Similar styles here) 5. Perfect Day Tote (some other amazing similar options here) 6. Straw Crossbody Bag (similar styles here)

7. A Pair of Neutral Sandals (similar styles here) 8. Espradrilles (similar here)  9. Lace Flats (similar here

10. Cat-Eye Sunglasses (similar here) 11. White Straw Hat (similar here) 12. Rose Gold Watch (similar here

Munchkin, Inc. x Project Orca

Our boys have grown up by the ocean, spending almost every single of day of their lives on the beach. Holden, at age 6, is incredibly passionate about protecting our Earth, oceans, and all of the creatures in it, so he was beyond thrilled to partner with Munchkin, Inc. to support their efforts to help with The Whale Sanctuary Project

Holden came up with the idea and concept behind this video and asked me to film it for him so that he could share the information with other kids that might want to help Orcas, one of his favorite animals. We hope you like it :)

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Munchkin and Project Orca.  The goal for this post is to raise awareness to this wonderful cause that our family cares deeply about. All opinions are honest and our own.

Munchkin, Inc. is an innovative baby brand that creates products that are both modern, affordable, and long-lasting and has been a staple in our household since the boys were young. The team at Munchkin are bringing that same drive and determination that goes into making their products to a cause that is near and dear to their hearts: Project Orca. After 10 years of making a Toy Orca Whale, they’ve decided to put their principles before their profits and have removed the top-selling toy from their Sea Squirt lineup, because a bathtub isn’t big enough for an orca. As a response to the harmful practice of keeping orcas in captivity, a practice still in effect today, Munchkin has decided to kick-start a donation of $1,000,000 to develop the first sea side orca sanctuary in the United States via Project Orca. 

Through the end of this year, Munchkin will be matching donations up to $300,000. Click here to donate to The Whale Sanctuary Project



One of the wonderful things about New Zealand is that children are permitted to participate in almost any type of adventure, which meant that Holden and Gray (aged 5 and 18 months) were able to join us in getting a once in a lifetime bird's eye view and scenic tour of the Marlborough Sounds with Coast to Coast Helicopters.

Tips for Traveling Around New Zealand with Kids

Tips for Traveling Around New Zealand with Kids

Upon arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, our family packed up a 5-passenger station wagon and set off for an epic four week road trip around the entire country of New Zealand. Here's what we learned after traveling around New Zealand for a 6 weeks with two children under the age of five.