Messy Fun

It’s been very hot here this week. We’ve been spending lots of time in wading pools and running around in mini sprinklers. We have also been trying out new sensory experiences. Surprisingly, my twelve plus years of working with young children never led me to cloud dough. I had heard of it but until this week, never tried making it. It was super simple to make.


Cloud Dough
About 4 cups of flour mixed with about a cup of baby oil.

It creates a lovely crumbling, soft texture that can be molded like silky wet sand or scooped and poured like dry, silky sand. Ellie loved it. We’ve been playing with it out back all week now (stored in a large, plastic tub). It does get a bit messy though. I think it’s definitely an outside experience. We will continue to enjoy it this week, I’m sure.
cloud dough



ta da!

another mold


A Little This, A Little That (and a whole lotta birthday)

This week we celebrated my Mom’s birthday and Jeff’s Mom’s birthday. They are a day apart! There will be much more celebrating I’m sure this weekend as well for my SIL and her husband will be flying in to stay. Ellie and I had been working hard on some special pieces of art for both of them (sadly, I didn’t get a chance to photograph the piece I did for Nana).

ellie paints for gparents

Ellie is now telling me which color paint she wants and where she wants me to place the glob of paint. I love it that she already is directing so much of the art process.

rainbow art

rainbows haning

We’ve been playing a lot with Ellie’s wooden rainbow toy and while she was painting she pointed to her rainbow toy on the table. I’m thinking these works of art have a very rainbow quality to them, don’t you think? Since Ellie is enjoying painting so much these days we are thinking of getting her an easel some time soon. Any recommendations for one that will grow with her welcome!

my painting

My painting for my Mom. A spring wreath. Lot’s of pink with a handmade quilt tucked in the middle. I thought it would be a nice addition to her sewing room.

the product

I also got some Happy Mail this week!! Nothing makes you feel better than happy mail!
happy mail

After Cory announced her sale in her Etsy shop on her blog, I had to snatch up that butterfly dress I had my eyes on for weeks for Ellie. She is so speedy that the package arrived the very next day (and with an adorable bib to boot)! Thank you Cory!

I also received the most lovely of Thank you notes from a friend from up north. Not only does she send a Thank you card but chocolate for me, special tea and stickers for Ellie! Plus, she jazzes up her envelopes with meditations and quotes to pass on her joy and peaceful ways. Thank you Lizzie! You made my day!

Besides birthdays and happy mail, we had a bit of a tough evening the other night when Ellie got into what we think were the dry prickles of an asparagus fern. Her poor little bare feet were covered in prickles and a very late evening was spent picking them out one by one with tweezers. Not a very fun night. Not a very happy toddler and a very tired Mama and Dada. After a trip to the doctor however (to make sure the prickles or splinters were all out of her feet and not getting infected) and a couple soakings in the tub, she seems to be doing just fine. No more barefoot butterfly girls around here.

little fairy

An Afternoon Beach Jaunt

(Thank you for all the uplifting words from my weekending post. It’s hard to let go of some things when you have a vision of how you want things to be. Your words helped me take a step back and instead, breathe in all the good that’s surrounding me). 

When you are feeling overwhelmed and out of sorts and like nothing is going quite like you want it to, it’s so nice to have the beach at sunset to retreat too. Ellie and I did just that this afternoon, before dinner. We snuck away and walked together down the beach. It truly filled my heart with joy, watching this little girl explore the sand between her toes, find mangled seaweed washed onto shore and run (as best as this 16 month old can) down the beach and up and down the dunes. We left all the holiday projects behind. We left the sad, yellowing Christmas tree and the half-finished cards still waiting to be sent out and we walked down the beach. I chased my sweet, active baby girl and drew her name in the sand and showed her shells and pointed out the waves and the gulls and the beautiful sun lowering into the sea. It was a glorious afternoon. A glorious Christmas-time memory I will hold dear.



pure joy




look what i found


the sun




pink hues


eloise sand




back shadow




walking away


a feather


pink hues




playing in the sand


a bunch of sea something




top of the hill




all quiet


birds at sunset




A Budding Friendship

It’s neat to watch the start of a friendship. The eyes light up when I mention the friend’s name. The smiles when we meet up. The slow but steady interactions between two little girls discovering the world around them, together. One following the other. And a wave goodbye at the end of the day. The beginning of friends.

swinging friends


climbing together


friends playing




hand by hand


big and little


a budding friendship









An Autumn Walk

Despite today’s heat, it’s slowly cooling down around these parts. By evening time, the temperature outside requires a jacket and warm hat. It’s dry, the Santa Ana’s come and go and the leaves on many of the trees have changed to reds and browns. Autumn is subtle around these parts, this I know, but there is a definite change in the season. The light of the sun dips down low very early these days. Our nightly walks with the dogs have been interrupted by the cold and the dark and Jeff now takes them on his own with a flashlight. Ellie and I however, have been taking our own end of the day walks around the neighborhood. Usually we make it to the park. Sometimes it’s collecting leaves and pokey acorn balls on a walk around the block. Today… today we discovered a wish flower, in all it’s autumn glory.

an autumn walk

crunch crunch

happy dance


with her bunny

off to see


half wish

lovey girl

the light shines through

light of love

on the ground

done w wish

back of dress


* the dress top is an adorable find from the local antique market! It reminded me of a little dress I wore when I was little. 

What We’re Reading

This kid of mine LOVES books! She sits and looks at books in the morning, she brings me books throughout the day and she sits and reads with Daddy every night. I didn’t even know children this young could be so interested in books.

So, since books are a favorite of Ellie’s and since we regularly visit the library these days, I thought I would start talking about what we read together at home. Being a preschool teacher for over twelve years before staying home with Ellie, I know a thing or two about children’s books. And if you know me personally, you will also know I, myself am an avid children’s book collector. Let’s just say, Ellie had a whole library of books waiting for her even before she was born.

octobers books

What we’re reading this month:

Ellie in The Fall by Egmont

Meeow and The Big Box by Sebastian Braun

Wuthering Heights : A Weather Primer by Jennifer Adams

Where Does The Brown bear Go? by Nicki Weiss

MoonBear by Frank Asch

Autumn by Gerda Mueller

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin by Karen Katz

What books are you reading with your little ones this month? (I’d love to hear books for older kids and even what you are reading too!)


* By the way, you can find me over at Anchor and Plume today as well, writing creatively. 

Spirited Child

The old man sat on the bench, watching us interact. Ellie walking quickly up and down the sidewalk, trying to figure out a way to launch herself into the water in front of us to be closer to those boats. Every time she got too close to the edge of the rocky slope that ran into the jetty, I would try to redirect her. But no chance. This girl wanted to be in the water with those big boats. I spoke to her calmly, “I know you want to be close to those boats, but you will get hurt if you try climbing down there. Let’s see if we can find some more birds instead.” She would throw her body back in frustration with her Mama not allowing her to take a swim with the boats and I would gently pick her up and try to move her along to safer areas. The old man in the red coat smiled at me as I passed him with my daughter flailing around in my arms. “She’s a spirited one. Knows exactly what she wants.” I smiled back at him and replied, “She’s always known exactly what she wants, that’s for sure.” I gave my spirited child a squeeze and asked her if she would like to visit the beach across the way.

run free



She stopped flailing and nodded enthusiastically. So we crossed over to the beach side and walked to the water. We discovered rocks and shells and dried up patches of seaweed, chased birds and climbed sand dunes.



one baby


up up up


The beach is good for your soul and good for the spirited child. We laughed as we toddled down the dunes, enjoying the chilly autumn beach air. We struggled when Mama had to pick Ellie up to cross the street, but then, after a silly game of finding Mama’s car we recaptured the hours we just shared to make the drive a little easier. Ellie listens intently and nods in serious agreement when I get to the part where she wanted to join the boats in the water but couldn’t. I can see her in the mirror. “Da Da”, she says, her way of saying, “yes, yes.” This girl of mine is quite something else. She’s smart, she’s strong and she’s spirited. And I couldn’t imagine her any other way.



my spirited child

While Mama’s in The Kitchen

It’s been more and more difficult to do anything in the kitchen these days with a little explorer under foot. The kitchen isn’t exactly set up for an almost 13 month old’s curious hands, but every day I find I need to get in there to do things. My solution was a kitchen basket. To keep Ellie busy and exploring, I loaded up a basket full of child-friendly kitchen utensils, empty containers, little dish ware and and anything else I think Ellie will find interesting and when Mama’s in the kitchen cooking and cleaning, Ellie is welcome to pull things out of her basket and go to town exploring.

fun things to explore

up angle

kitchen basket

yogurt containers

Empty yogurt containers are great fun these days. Ellie tries hard to put the lids on them and they are great for filling and dumping with. We have oatmeal containers for makeshift drums and wire whisks and wooden spoons and ladles. I try and change it up every so often to hold her interest. It certainly gives me a bit more time to prep for dinners or wash a few dishes and it gives her some time to independently play and explore her environment.