Portrait Project 24-26/52

Eloise: Yes, that’s a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach you are holding happily. You are quite the nature girl. No bug is too scary or yucky. “Mama, he’s just sitting on my hand. He’s kinda cute.” ( Mama backs away slowly).

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Eloise: You need glasses! I took you to the optometrist after you had been complaining of headaches. And sure enough, you need glasses for astigmatism and far sightedness. Of course, your Mama was a little sad by this news. It’s always weird to hear your child isn’t “perfect” in every way. 😉
But… I wear glasses (for nearsightedness and your Gramma and aunt and uncle wear glasses) …. so you are in definite good company. Plus, you look pretty darling in the glasses you picked out. Hoping there’s a whole new world out there for you to see.

Eloise: I know, I know… this isn’t quite a photo of just you…. but it’s still very much a portrait and a portrait with someone you love and who loves you so very much. It’s so neat seeing your relationship with your “Dada” grow and develop. You two have a special connection and I love watching you talk about ice skating and fossils and riding bikes and the dog park and so on and so forth… You are certainly one lucky girl to have a “dadasaurus rex” like yours.


A Mustard-y Kind of Morning

Home school club was spent painting the beautiful (and invasive), non-native black mustard that surrounds us along the coast of California. I used to munch on the flowers as a kid and never really knew much else about the plant other than it was edible. While researching for home school class, I found out that legend says, the missionaries from Europe planted the mustard seed, all along the El Camino Real to show the way to each Mission. Mustard plant is also mentioned in the bible and it’s pretty terrible after it goes to seed and browns, because it makes for perfect fire kindling (and that is not good living in dry and toasty California). However, its been a part of my life ever since I can remember and living so close to the ocean now, it’s beautiful yellow just blankets the hillsides in the spring and makes for some lovely photos. It’s now toward the end of  spring and the end of the lovely yellow mustard season, so we decided to get out to one of our favorite spots and paint it before it all browns.
The girls got to use acrylic this time on canvas’ and they really enjoyed the different medium. I read a sweet story called Miss Maple’s Seeds and we enjoyed painting and exploring for the morning.

Wild Explorers


Our other nature group has met up a few times this spring. We’ve been hiking all over the county and enjoying the end of our cool California spring. It’s definitely starting to heat up, so our hikes will most likely start to slow down or shorten. We did some sketching of the local (non-native) flowers in the area as well as went rock and fossil hunting. We spent some time in the creeks and discovered dead snakes and turkey vultures (who then ate the snake and left us the bones), galls and bugs we had never seen before (and no, I had it confirmed thankfully that is NOT a kissing bug- it’s a leaf-footed bug) and just enjoyed our time out in the wild with our friends.

Learning About Chamomile

Last week’s home school herb was Chamomile. We spent some time getting to know the herb, looking at it, talking about what it can do health-wise and we sang some songs and read an herb story. We sketched some and painted some and the girls were served chamomile tea and chamomile shortbread for a snack. We left the lesson with planting some of our own chamomile seeds. Short and sweet introduction to another herb.

Birthdays, Owl-ing and Fossils

We had a lovely couple of weekends recently. We spent a late afternoon with friends at a park in Ojai, sharing pizzas and then taking an early evening walk through the Ojai Meadow Preserve to find the Owls. We never did find them, but it was certainly a lovely afternoon with friends.
Jeff turned 36 at the end of May and we celebrated with a fun morning of presents and a little hike to find fossils. We had my family over to celebrate, eat steak and enjoy Birthday mint ice cream cake!


Portrait Project

Eloise: When you are out in the wilderness, you become quite the wild child; climbing trees, fearless and free. I love that you have such respect for the wild but are still so curious and excited when you get to spend time in it. Watching you build this relationship with nature makes my heart happy.

Eloise: We came home to find our praying mantis eggs had hatched and some how our mantids had escaped. Praying mantis’ were crawling all over the place and we had to hurry and catch them all and get them outside. You were thrilled about this mishap and helped me collect the little fellas and had a field day with them out in the garden.
“Mama, I’m going to be a Paleontologist, a Veterinarian AND a Entomologist!”
I bet you will be, my little nature girl!