Around here

old books


paintings and such




birdie mail


new stories


climber monkey


carrot ginger soup


1. Just finished library book: Mary Poppins (I surprisingly did not love it).  2. Happy Mail, made with love and sent out on its journey. 3. Nature from far and near. 4. Happy birdie mail 5. Cup of mid-afternoon coffee and new reading material 6. A climber monkey 7. Home made Carrot ginger soup and corn muffins for meatless Monday.

A Very Thoughtful Gift (a blogger swap update)

This past weekend I received an incredible package in the mail. My blogger swap package!

I was so excited to see what I had received and from whom. I was so delighted when I opened up the box and found a menagerie of lovely handmade, incredibly beautiful gifts from this wonderful blogger. In fact, I was touched by the genuine thoughtfulness of the whole package.


She sent a lovely handwritten card, two beautifully made wash cloths, two bars of soap, peppermint honey lip balm (which I’ve used every day since, it’s wonderful!), an incredibly lovely shawl for cooler days and my two favorite articles, the nature bags. There’s the beautiful oatmeal colored one for Mama and the darling sherbet colored one for Ellie! It was so fun presenting Ellie with her very own nature bag. We took them both down to the beach for a bit of nature collecting right away!

trying on her new bag

ellies beach bag

carry it with me

This bag will surely be treasured for years to come. As you can see, it’s already become one of her favorite things. (We even brought it to the library yesterday morning). We also received some artifacts of nature from across the country to add to our collection. I’ve never gotten anything like that before and it’s an extra special kind of gift to receive.

chinese lanterns

My goodness, I was surprised by how generous my blogger swap partner was. This whole swap filled my heart with gladness and joy. It’s made me want to really start sending mail to friends and family, something I long got away from doing. I’m trying my best to keep up this simple joy and pass it on to others who may need a bit of cheering up or even a little note to remind them of how much they mean to me. I’m thankful I participated in this lovely blogger swap. Thank you Amanda for hosting and ten million thank you’s to my swap partner! It’s as if we’ve been friends for a long time. Your handmade treasures will be well-loved in this home.

I am hoping the recipient of my handmade items enjoys them as much as I enjoyed my things. Before sending my package off (it should have already arrived or arrive this week, I hope), I ended up making a couple more things. I found a recipe for citrus salts a while back and wanted to send something “Californian” her way. So, I plucked one of our backyard lemons and made her some Lemony Salt to rub on meat or sprinkle on top of salad or a baked potato. I also added a hand-drawn beach stone into the mix as well. I’ve never made one before, but it was so much fun and turned out lovely I think. I hope it added a bit of the beach to the gift.

lemon salt

beach stone


Just Write: Let’s Play

My toddler is starting to play. Just the other day I noticed her take one of her little Ostheimer animals and move it up the little treehouse play-stand I have set up on her table. Then she took the other animals and set them on top of one of her playsilks, all of them lying down as if they were sleeping. She moved several more animals up and down the ladder of the play-stand and made a little sing-song as she worked, dadadaa-dadadaa. She was actually playing. It was a neat thing to watch. My baby was turning into a playful child right before my eyes. Of course she has been “playing” for quite some time,wrapping her Pink Baby in blankets, pushing her stroller around, moving stuffed animals from place to place; but it’s never truly looked like “imaginary play” before this week. I get a little giddy thinking about play. I’ve spent so many of my adult years studying play in young children and watching many children play in many different early childhood settings. I love what play, especially what imaginary play can bring to a child. The joy, the excitement, the drama, the understanding of the world around them. I can vividly remember playing myself, as a child. reenacting stories I read about early settlers or Native Americans. Pretending to be sea lions or dogs or Mothers or witches or horses. Nothing was off-limits and my play would continue on and on throughout the days and evenings.

The importance of play has stuck with me after my own experiences as a child, my experiences as a preschool teacher and my graduate studies in early education. I want Ellie to have a rich childhood full of imaginary play. I want her to have a passion for life and learning and I really think that staying playful and allowing her the chance to really play will keep her excited about learning and the world around her. Seeing the small glimpses of real “play” makes me excited for the fairy tales we will read and the puppet shows we may have, the hundreds of songs that she may make up for her imaginary scenarios and the stories she may tell me when she’s deeply invested in her own playful worlds. I hear Plato’s words ringing in my ears, “Life must be lived as PLAY”. My daughter has just begun her playful journey reminding me to play more in everyday life too.

– Joining Heather for Just Write: an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. 

(and a little side thank you to Jenn at baby by the sea for inspiring me to write a little bit about the joys of play.


Saturday was a lovely breakfast/brunch with my oldest, dearest friends. Then off to Nana and Papa’s (with Gramma and Grandpa too) for a family barbecue. Sunday we took it easy, a bike ride in the morning to our favorite local butcher, some sewing and painting for me to wind down. And take-out lunch to the beach. We ended the day at the mini sea center/native gardens across from the beach. We took Daddy to all the places Ellie and I like to visit during the week. How was your weekend?

breakfast with the p's




two peas in a pod


play time


look daddy




bird statue






star fish


purple flower






morning glory






pinky flowers


-joining Amanda over at The Habit.

Making + Listening: Blogger Swap Edition

MAKING (or made): I’ve finished my blogger swap gift and will hopefully be sending it out tomorrow. I did a little snooping around her blog and discovered she liked the color purple as well as lavender and was a big coffee fan as well (I’m hoping all these clues do not give it away), so with those things in mind I set to work on some hand-sewn coasters, so that she may have a lovely resting spot for those cups of early morning coffee. I made her a card of lavender with pen and watercolor and I had to throw in a bag of Ventura’s best local coffee as well. I’m hoping she enjoys these things. I know I sure enjoyed making them for her.



coasters side view


lavender card


the whole shibang


inside view


As for LISTENING: We are still heavy in Elizabeth Mitchell music. Ellie loves having it on in the morning to dance to, snack to and play to. I have had on George Winston’s Winter Into Spring record playing in the afternoons. It helps to relax me and helps to set a calmer mood for the rest of the day.  And, I have to confess, life with a toddler has me quite out of the loop of musicals and movies (stuff before baby, I was very much current on). Well, I kept seeing all this talk about the new Disney movie Frozen on social media. I haven’t seen a movie, let alone a Disney movie in over 2 years, so I really had no clue this movie even existed. I know, I know. But, because of all the talk, I finally you tubed some clips and oh my goodness, I had no idea my favorite singer Idina Menzel was the vocal talent! And the music (that I’ve heard so far) is so very lovely. I may just have to sneak away sometime soon to see the movie for myself. And being a fan of Disney music like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, it will be fun to share some of my favorite songs and movies with Ellie one day.


-joining Dawn for her Make and Listen Along!

Flea Market Finds

Every Wednesday, you’ll find Ellie and I at the flea market. We spend the morning strolling through aisles of vendors peddling their antique or unwanted wares. We wait for the train to come by and wave at the commuters getting on and off and then head back into the marketplace to see if we can find any treasures. I look forward to Wednesday Flea Market day every week. I’m a sucker for garage sales and thrift stores and this is like one big thrifted garage sale rolled into one. Some days we leave with nothing and others we find fun little treasures for our home collections. We bring our treasures home, spiff them up and bring new life to them.

This week we found a few things:

Some lovely fabric scraps

vintage fabric


fabric bundle


Some New (old) records. I love George Winston and was excited to find his very appropriate Winter to Spring record as well as Autumn.

george winston finds


And we found this fun addition to our musical instrument collection for Ellie.



ellie likes it


Some decent Flea Market finds today!





Valentine Goodies

I never shared the little Valentine goodies I made for Jeff and Ellie, so I thought I’d pop in real quick with some photos.

ellies vday loot

I whipped up a little batch of felt shapes sewn onto flannel for Ellie. She’s been really interested in shapes (specifically hearts, triangles and ovals). She has a lovely book about shapes that she brings to Jeff to read every night and also has a new-found love for her shape sorter we got as a Christmas gift. I thought having some soft little shapes to go up on her board might be fun.


I also discovered this wonderful book, thanks to my online breastfeeding support community. A beautiful story about the joys of extended breastfeeding.

mamas milk

shapes on the board

shape sorter comes out

When Ellie realized what the shape felt pieces were, she ran to her board and placed them on and then went to find her sorter and got out all of those shapes relating the two. This girl is a smart cookie!

banjo quilt

For Jeff, I whipped up a little hand-sewn and embroidered banjo. I had been wanting to try my hand at embroidering a banjo for a while now and thought it would be a nice little gift for Valentines Day. He now has a banjo and a hop plant. I’m thinking about maybe putting these in a quilt for him one day. As for now, they’ll hang in his office or somewhere in the house and hopefully remind him of how much I love him. Here is the card I made for him too. Hope everyone out there had equally lovely Valentines Day’s. xoxo!!!

vday card