A Dino-tacular 5th Birthday!

So Ellie turned 5 this past weekend! Can you believe it?! I can’t. I just can’t believe my little monkey is such a big, beautiful girl now. She has been wanting a dinosaur party for quite awhile now. Often these interests fade quickly, but dinosaurs have stuck around for awhile now. She watched a documentary with her Dad maybe almost a year ago now and she was completely mesmerized. From that day on it’s been nothing but dinosaurs (with a few unicorns and some bugs thrown in as well). So a dinosaur 5th birthday it was! It was only going to be a few friends and mostly family, but it turned into something a little more, well, let’s just say, dino-tastic. We had a lot of kids and a lot of families and thankfully we chose to have the party at a nearby park instead of our house. I’m so glad we did and I really think it made the day even more special to be able to run around and enjoy the outdoors, as little dino children naturally should. My Youngest Sister and Mom painted faces and my middle Sister and her Fiance were hilarious and surprised everyone by wearing dino outfits. They were really the hit of the party! The kids loved them! Ellie had a blast, got way too many dino presents that she thought were “dino-rrific!” and we even ended the day with her favorite Ramen noodles downtown and an ice cream cone. It couldn’t have been more perfect for our little Elliesaurus.


Sunflower Study

“Why did Blake say
‘Sunflower weary of time’?
Every time I see them
they seem to say
Now! with a crash
of cymbals!
Very pleased
and positive
and absolutely delighting
in their own round brightness…”

excerpt from Elizabeth Smart’s Blake’s Sunflower

We decided to study Sunflowers ! It’s July now and hot and muggy and perfect for exploring this bright, tall flower! The girls got to each paint them after I read them a story about Van Gogh’s sunflowers. We talked about the colors we saw and the differences in the different varieties I had for them. We opened them up and explored the anatomy of the flowers as well. And then the girls proceeded to play in the flower garden nearby, finding caterpillars and using the sunflower petals as something special for their play. My home school club kids also surprised me with some belated birthday gifts (aren’t those water bottles the coolest?!) and we had sunflower cupcakes!


Portrait Project

Eloise: The happiest, dino-lovin’, almost 5 year-old there ever was!

portrait project
Eloise: The Fourth of July Push-me Pull-em Parade. We’ve gone every year since we’ve lived here. We ran a bit late this year but you caught up on your bike and we joined the crowd!

(years past in case you wanted to see cute Ellie photos… 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013

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).

portrait project
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.