Sensory Explorations

Ellie’s Nana and Papa got her a sandbox for her birthday that she is pretty smitten with. Every day she crawls over to it, climbs inside and swirls her little legs around, grabbing handfuls of sand and flinging them everywhere. She’s actively exploring with all of her senses these days and so I thought it was high time we got around to doing more sensory types of play. I put on my preschool teacher hat and surfed pinterest for some inspiration and thought we would start simply with rice. A different texture and look than sand but similar in how you play with it.

rice play

I put just a little bit in a plastic storage tub and she immediately went right over, climbed in and helped herself to sensory exploration!


a cup to scoop

I wanted her to first experience the rice with just her hands but then gave her a measuring cup. She used that pincher grasp and was picking up bunches of rice and placing them into her cup! Then she would dump the cup haphazardly and start over again.


We had a playdate with some of my wonderful Mama friends and their little ones and we thought we would start these sensory playdates once a week, allowing the children to explore a new material. This week we introduced them to homemade playdoh. They weren’t too impressed (we thought they may be too young for playdoh but wanted to try anyway).

lanas playdoh


sharing is caring

oh well

The adults seemed to enjoy squishing the playdoh far more than our littles did, but that was okay, because I happened to also bring the bin of rice. This turned out to be a bigger hit.

the big hit

I colored half of it with food dye to give it a more “pinteresty” look.  Ellie and her friends enjoyed exploring the rice for quite some time.

rice play

throwing rice

scoop it up


so much fun

cute baby feet

All in all, I would say a very successful sensory play date! We’ll bring that playdoh out when they’re a bit older.




goofy kids

art upside down


rag art

light art

lemon art

childrens art

string art

writing a name

eloise card

making art

art show

chalk eyes

street art

scuba steve

drawing shoes


high class

art show on the wharf

art show sunday

It was an artsy weekend!  The weather was dreary again in Ventura so we headed north looking for some sun and found it in Santa Barbara. We decided to spend a morning at the Museum of Art since Ellie had done so well at the Natural History Museum. And once again, she seemed to enjoy every bit of the museum experience. We didn’t get to take too many pictures in this museum (museum rules) but she would point to different pieces of art, “neighed” at the sculptures of horses and looked on, wide eyed at the strange modern and installation pieces. We even got to add her name to a children’s sculpture in the children’s art exploration area (and no, there is no 5 in Eloise. I stamped the wrong stamp).

We also enjoyed a nice afternoon at a local art walk (plus the sun was out in our neck of the woods finally)! There were all types of artists working on chalk sidewalk art, live music and other art vendors.   A nice ending to our artsy weekend. How about you? How was your weekend?

-joining Amanda for weekending!

Around Here

It’s been a touch and go kind of week around here. My twelve-month old is getting close to walking and therefore has decided she doesn’t like to nap or sleep at night and I think two new teeth are making their appearance which isn’t helping the sleep department either.



sand play


the library


the wagon


This tired mama has been making lots of quick and easy dinners (like these great black-bean chullupas, recipe courtesy of Ellie’s Great-Grandma). We’ve also been spending lots of time playing and exploring in Ellie’s new sandbox (thank you Nana and Papa!). I took Ellie to visit the local library for the first time (she loved it and continuously signed “books” while we were there). And there have been lots of evening walks in the wagon with “pink baby” and the doggies.

Tin Lights For A Summer Evening

We have this deck in our backyard that was probably previously used for a hot tub. I’ve been dreaming up ways to spiff it up ever since we moved to this house. Right before Ellie’s birthday party, with the help of my husband and father-in-law, we turned the space into a lovely summer time gathering area.

our patio


What really makes it fun though are the tin can lights. I wanted them as soon as I saw the inspiration on this blog. We did our’s a little differently but they turned out adorable and are so much fun when it’s dark out. I decided to put LED tea lights inside of them so I didn’t have to worry about the fire aspect and they work just as well, even flickering like the real thing.

tin can in day


with led lights


I took a sharpie and drew designs on each can (Jeff got fancy and looked up constellations for some of them and copied the design). After each can was sharpied-up, Jeff took a nail and a hammer and hammered holes where the sharpie dots were. My father-in-law helped get them all hung up on the bamboo rods and twine and we were all set.

more tin cans


high up


A cozy space to sip wine, watch the baby play in the grass and chat with friends into the night-time hours was created. I’m liking it so far!

the whole shebang!








mammal hall

bears oh my!

lookiin at spiders

through the screen



tinkertoy fun



in the garden

walking and idleing

playing in the creek


i found a rock!

on a log

goodbye museum!

We had a wonderful weekend and spent a very special Sunday down in Santa Barbara at the Museum of Natural History. We had never been and found a real treasure! It was very child-friendly and Ellie seemed to just devour every new room we brought her into. There were areas for her to crawl around within the museum and there were children’s books about certain subjects (like insects) in many of the rooms as well. We got to see mammals of North America, birds, giant squid, minerals, real live insects and Ellie explored their tinker-toy lab which she thoroughly enjoyed. There was an amazing outdoor area with rocks to climb on and sticks to build with and even a little stream with buckets for children to fill water and rocks with. It was a lovely place to visit and I’m certain we will return.

*joining Amanda for Weekending!