A Dandy Day

We’ve decided to concentrate on herbs and flowers for the duration of the summer for our home school days. The girls have all been really into making “fairy soup” and “flower brews” and I thought it would be a fun way to introduce local flora into our days as well as show them how some flowers and herbs can produce beautiful colors on fabric through dyeing and real edible concoctions too. We started with an easy herb- the Dandelion.
We learned about the parts of the Dandelion, sang a song, read a story about Dandelions and went out foraging for them in the neighborhood. The girls really enjoyed finding them all over neighbors yards and in cracks in the sidewalk. The foraged dandelions we used as sketching tools and then for use in our Dandelion solar dye. I bought edible (non-pesticide) dandelion greens for the girls to try. Most of them did not like the bitterness, but some didn’t mind when it was dipped in salad dressing. We also all had Dandelion tea and all the girls seemed to enjoy that. We sketched and painted the dandelions and then when all of us were ready to go home, we took Dandelion crown photos just for fun. (Some of the girls continued on with their dandelion study at home- Ellie spent some time really focused on painting a dandelion. Tyler wanted to re-create her dandelion crown with felt). It was a really nice morning of dandelion fun. (We’re going to let our solar dandelion brew sit for a week and then we will come back to it next week to finish the dye process).



Portrait Project

Eloise: Helping Dada put up the camping tent.
“When are we going camping again Mama?” – Ellie says a few minutes after we get into the car to head back home.

Eloise: Looking fine and Dandy, my silly, sweet girl.

“The 52 project, a photo of Ellie, once a week, every week in 2017”

A Weekend of Camping

We spent the weekend camping up in the Santa Barbara mountains with friends. It was a hot weekend, but a fun one. Watching Ellie play all day long with her very best friends is so worth all the camping woes. She had a blast and since this time, I wasn’t camping alone with Ellie (like last time- my very first camping experience), it went much smoother. We played in the river, caught tiny frogs, made “flower potions” and the kids rode their bikes non stop while the parents tried to keep mosquitoes at bay and enjoyed a few adult beverages.

Painting Flowers


Home school club this week was devoted to painting flowers. Some of the girls have been interested in flowers and herbs and so I thought the best introduction to a couple weeks of learning about flowers would be to paint them. I brought some flowers from my Mothers Day bouquets and Ellie and I collected some wildflowers that were in the park to create some lovely still life models. The girls were busy riding bikes and playing on the playground but each of them, stopped in to sketch or paint some flowers. Our oldest girl even came back around to work on her piece. It’s a joy for me to get to watch these girls paint, even if its just for small increments of time in between their play. Looking forward to learning more about our local flora in the weeks ahead.

My Mothers Day at the Gardens

Saturday I spent with my Mom and family, but Sunday I got a whole day with just Jeff and Ellie. And it was such a lovely day. Flowers and ice cream and a whole lotta love from my two favorite people.
I woke up to a sweet drawing of a “sprout” that Ellie made me all on her own.
And flowers and cards that Jeff and Ellie got for me.

We went to the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens in the morning and walked around enjoying the beautiful weather and scenery. Then we took a quick pit stop for local ice cream and went home to finish up chores and to let Mama paint a little bit. A pretty perfect Mothers Day if I do say so myself.
mothers day 3

Hoping you all had a lovely Mothers Day too!!

Portrait Project

eloise: making fairy soup! Yum!

eloise: Mothers Day 2017, you crawled out of bed all by yourself and went downstairs and drew me a picture of a “sprout”. You cuddled me up in bed and told me lovely, sweet things. Those first few minutes of Mothers Day, made my whole day. Thank you for making me a Mother.

“The 52 Project. A photo of Ellie, once a week, every week, in 2017.”

Letter to my Mother on Mothers Day

I carried my big, sleepy four year old out of the car and up the stairs to my bedroom. “Mama, can I sleep in your room tonight?” She says in a whisper. “Okay my love.”
I lay her down on my bed and cuddle up to her. I rub her back and start singing her favorite bedtime song, “Goodnight my Someone.” The only song I’m “allowed” to sing at night time. She falls asleep quickly and easily. Something that she was never very good at. I smile at the sight of her slow and steady breathing, and head downstairs.
Almost five years of being a Mother. It doesn’t sound like very much saying it out loud, but I can’t remember my life before becoming a mom.

Today I spent the day with my mom and the rest of my family. We had lunch, we chatted about motherhood, we walked and talked about life and marriage with kids. It was a really nice day. Nothing special or extraordinary, but a day to treasure. I am so very lucky to be able to drive a few miles and be at my parents house. Spend these precious moments with them. A friend of mine had recently told me about her mother and how she lost her to cancer many years ago. She never even got to meet her first born daughter. My Mom has had cancer twice as well as heart issues. I know how precious time with your loved ones is. And I know I am so very lucky to have the relationship I do with my mom. She is my best friend, my confidant, my inspiration, my guide, my mentor. When I see her with Ellie, I am in awe at how amazing she is with her. She gave her everything to us as kids, putting a career aside to be home with us, caring, gentle, fun and always there for us and now here she is, giving her everything to her grand daughter too.
I can only hope that one day Ellie will feel the same way about me.

To my dear Mother, on Mothers Day,
You inspire me daily with your strength
and your love, your patience and joy.
Thank you for all you’ve given me and my daughter.
Happy Mothers Day. I love you Mom.




A Project Based Approach

So Ellie will be 5 in August. We have been dabbling in Home schooling but haven’t really set an approach in stone for her “kindergarten” year. With my back ground in early education, I tend to pull from all sorts of approaches. We have a little bit of Reggio, Montessori, Waldorf  and even Charlotte Mason in our home right now.
Lately, I have been working along side one of my Mama friends, reading The Project Based Approach by Lori Pickert and have really been inspired to create a different learning environment for Ellie. We may not be going full throttle into Project Approach learning but I definitely would like for the approach to be part of our days. After changing her learning spaces around a bit, I’ve been giving her afternoons to really work on child led “project work”. In the past, shes been working on a dinosaur story that she’s writing herself and illustrating slowly. But the other night after I read a May Day story, she popped up and exclaimed that she wanted to make her own skirt for May Day. It would be her project.
The next day I set out a pad of paper and the story, to hopefully remind her of her “idea” and to get started. unfortunately, it did not motivate her. She said she wanted to do it with Gramma instead of on her own.
The next day when we had some “project work” time, I asked her if she would like to look in my fabric scrap drawer and use my drawing model to make a mini skirt (something she could show Gramma to help). This got her excited and she went to work. I stayed available to her, but she really did the whole thing, cutting a pattern that she drew (“just like Gramma does”) and attaching the skirt to the drawing model. She used the book to help her with picking colors and fabrics and then the following afternoon, we took all her photos of her work previous, and brought it up to my parents house, to show Gramma. The two of them, cut out a larger pattern and sewed the skirt together. Now, I know project work generally doesn’t have such a cut and dry beginning and end, but it was neat to see her measuring, and using pins on her own and really getting into her project. It made me feel good about the choices we’re making for her education.

A May Day Celebration


What a beautiful May Day we had! As a child, I have lovely memories of living in Hawaii and having a May Day parade and getting dressed up in long skirts and singing May Day is Lei Day songs. I really wanted Ellie to have some of those memories as well, so I decided it would be fun to celebrate in our own way.
We began the day with making May Day flower baskets and delivering them to our unsuspecting neighbors. Ellie loved being the flower sprite, going from house to house hanging flower baskets. We took our show on the road and headed out to have a little impromtu May Day fest with friends. After reading some May Day books and singing some May Day songs, the kiddos danced around the “May Eucalyptus tree”. Hoping next year we will have an actual pole. But the tree seemed to work just fine. The girls delivered their baskets to friends and then spent the afternoon enjoying each others company and riding bikes. A lovely end to this beautiful first day of May!