Thursday, October 5, 2023

La Colina Harvest Festival Recipes


Did you know La Colina Junior High is our only local junior high with a garden? Here are some recipes collected by our garden educators and PTSA volunteers. 😉 Students can opt to work in the garden two lunches a week and families can join after school one day a week. Classes work in the garden creating experiments, learning about native american gardening habits and more. Contact Maureen Granger or the PTSA Garden Representative for more info. Read more about the garden in the June 2023 article from the Independent here.

At the Festival:

Butter in a Jar:  

Classic Lemonade:

Fava Bean Hummus:


Fig Jam:

Cooking a whole Pumpkin:

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread:

Fig Bread:

Grape Bread:

Zucchini Bread by Paula Dean:

Ideas for the farmer's market produce:

Delicata Squash Ideas: 

Thai Butternut Squash Soup:

Heirloom tomatoes can be eaten straight (yum!), but here is a simple salad that might enhance the flavor!

More Info:

La Colina Junior High

Explore Ecology

Independent Article 

Friday, September 29, 2023

Summer 2023 Snapshot

This year I have been working more, volunteering more and blogging less. I would love to get back to into my blogging routine! 

Favorite New Product: My kids love these Pumpkin Spice Cookies from Trader Joe's! 

Life Hack:  Something that is working for me right now is audiobooks. Hoopla (available through my Goleta library card) has a tons of free books and I do have a silver Audible account where I get a credit every other month. I even checked out the Hamilton album from Hoopla before seeing the show in Chicago! 

Last Book I Finished: Dear Mr. Knightley was a fun Chicago based story for my Chicago trip. Foster kid Samantha Moore has aged out of the system when a mysterious benefactor offers to pay for her grad school. She loves writing, often hiding behind the witty lines of Austen characters. The condition of her schooling is that she write her benefactor letters about her life. So she begins to write, Dear Mr Knightley.... Soon she finds help in these letters which help her sort through who she was and who she wants to become. As she makes new friends at school and in her life, she must figure out who she can trust and who needs to be

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.


Life Project: We are rearranging the bedrooms in our house and it takes a lot of work. This room planning website is really helpful!

What we are eating today: We have a rotation of Fun Friday meals. Today is Hot Dogs and other weeks include Nachos, Tortilla Pizzas, Hamburgers and Charcuterie.
Related Links:

Winter 2022 Snapshot
Fall 2021 Snapshot
Summer 2021 Snapshot
Spring 2021 Snapshot
Winter 2021 Snapshot
Fall 2020 Snapshot
Summer 2020 Snapshot
Spring 2020 Snapshot
Winter 2020 Snapshot
Fall 2019 Snapshot
Summer 2019 Snapshot
Winter 2019 Snapshot
Fall 2018 Snapshot
Spring 2018 Snapshot

Monday, July 17, 2023

The Great American Melodrama

The Great American Melodrama is a treasure located in Oceano just south of Pismo Beach. It is a 90 minute drive, but totally reasonable to go there for the show and back in a day. The format is generally a two act show with and intermission in the middle, then a musical song and dance section for the third act. The actors also servers during the intermission, singing every time you tip! Is is campy? Absolutely. Is it totally fun? Yes! My kids love it. We often make a day of it visiting the Avila Valley Barn, visit the monarchs, or go tidepooling at Elmer Ross Beach/visit Dino Caves Park. We also almost always enjoy Five Guys in Arroyo Grande or BBQ at Ribline in Grover Beach or Mo's Smokehouse in Pismo.

Cost: $26 and up for kids, $30 and up for adults (this is a treat)
Hours: W 7pm, Th 7pm, F 7pm, Sat 2pm and 7pm, Sun 6pm (they do have breaks between shows, so check their calendar!)
Time: 2.5 hours
Drive Time: 90 minutes
More Information:
Nearby: Monarchs, Tidepooling and more (see links above)
Directions: Take the 101N, take exit 182 N Thompson Ave. Turn left onto N Thompson Ave and continue on Los Berros Rd. Turn left onto Valley Rd, then right onto highway 1. Continue about 2 miles. Melodrama is on the right. There is a small parking lot or street parking. 

Related Posts

Summer of the Day Trips (2018)

Choose Your Own Adventure (2023)

Monday, June 19, 2023

Riding a Surrey


We went on a surrey ride as a family recently and had a blast. Since my kids are big, we chose the double bench model that can seat 6 people (plus 2 tiny kids in a child seat). We did the super tourist option and biked along the bike path to the bird refuge, then back to Leadbetter Beach.

Why it is a favorite: It was an activity we all could be part of and it involved the beach! 
Location: Multiple locations. We used Wheel Fun Rentals.

Directions: Heading south on the 101, exit Garden St and take a right onto Garden St. Turn right again on Yanonali St. Turn left on to Anacapa St and right onto Mason St.

Time Spent: 2 hours

Cost: Single Surrey $50 for 2 hours, Double Surrey $60 for 2 hours

Hours:Year Round-- M-TH 9am-5pm; F-SUN 9am-6pm

Parking: Street Parking limited nearby

Monday, June 12, 2023

Cold Springs Loop

Cold Springs Loop is a moderate trail for older kids or kids who love hiking. This one was another birthday request at my house. All Trails info helped us choose the loop over the East or West trail out and back.

Directions: Take the 101S to Cabrillo Blvd. Turn left onto Cabrillo, then take Hot Springs Rd at the roundabout.  Turn left onto Sycamore Canyon Rd and right onto Cold Spring Rd. Turn right onto Mountain Dr. Park near the trailhead around 811 E Mountain Dr. 

To hike the loop, take the East Cold Spring Trail to where it meets the Ridge Trail and follow the Ridge Trail back to the start. The end is very steep coming down and some people prefer to do that at the beginning. I liked starting with the section in and around the creek.

Trail Rating: Difficult for toddlers and kids not used to hiking, Moderate for others
Distance: 2.6 miles round trip
Time: 1.5 - 2 hours round trip
Nearby attractions: Hot Springs Trail 

Related Posts: 

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Choose Your Own Adventure!


This blog recently turned 8 (what?!) years old! We have covered a lot of territory from parks to beaches (twice) to day trips to museums to nature trails to hikes to family vacations and even some recipes along the way. Traditionally we pick a theme and try to do a whole list of ideas on that theme. Last year my idea didn't fly. My kids are getting older (almost 13 and almost 10) and are less on board with my ideas (plus we have done a lot more camps post COVID days), so I am switching it up a bit. I have only blogged about things I do with my kids and I want to keep it that way. So for 2023 I am picking and choosing ideas from past years that we didn't get to. We did make it to all the parks as well as all the beaches from Haskell's to Miramar but most of the other's years lists had some things we missed. I am planning to let my kids take turns choosing from this long list this summer when we have time to adventure together. Or maybe they will choose things from the Kids Choice list in 2021. I may even ask my not-quite-13 year old to write a post.  I am holding this loosely, like a lot of things right now. 

Cold Springs Loop (From 2022 Hikes)

From 2017 Nature Walks
Wind Tunnels at Gaviota State Park
Cheltham/Westmont Trail
Allan Road Footpath
Ortega Hill Loop
Ennisbrook Trail

From 2018 Day Trips
Lake Casitas Water Park got a facelift! 
Canzelle Alpacas
Pump It Up (Ventura)
Marina Park (Ventura)
Ventura Aquatic Center
Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch (Santa Ynez)
La Purissima Mission

Seein Spots Farm

From 2019 Museums
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Rancho La Patera & Stow House
Santa Barbara Carriage and Western Arts Museum
Santa Barbara Historical Museum (El Presidio)
Ablitt House
Bellosguardo Estate
Casa del Herrero
Casa Dolores
Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
Reagan Ranch Center
Ridley Tree Museum of Art (Westmont College)
Santa Barbara Art Museum (UCSB)
Santa Barbara Surfing Museum
Santa Barbara Veterans Museum
Susan Quinlan's Doll & Teddy Bear Museum
UCSB Multicultural Center
Elveroj Museum of History and Art
Guadelupe-Nipomo Dunes Center
Guadelupe Cultural Arts Center
La Purissima Mission
Santa Maria Museum of Flight
Santa Maria Valley Historical Railway Museum
Wilding Art Museum

From 2020 Beaches Part 2
Rincon Beach
Sandyland Beach Adding
Padaro Beach  Adding
Loon Point Beach *  Adding
Finney Beach *Adding  
Summerland Beach Adding  
Gaviota Beach

From 2021 Kid's Choice
Lompoc Aquatic Center
Art from Scrap

From 2022 Hikes
Gaviota Wind Caves 
Lizards Mouth 
Tangerine Falls 
Lizards Mouth
Rattlesnake Canyon
Parma Park
San Ysidro falls
Seven Sisters
Skofield Park
Tunnel Trail
Related Posts

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Greatest Hits

 Based on the Blogger data, here are the greatest hits (most viewed posts), several with over 1000 views! 

* 1. Birthday Freebies A non-parent friend found this recently and told me, "you're famous!" 😂

2. Visiting Zion, Bryce, North Rim Grand Canyon was part of the National Park with Kids series! 

3. Park with Baby Swings is one of many lists of parks. Another summer favorite is Parks with Shade!

* 4. Where To Go First needs an update, but it is a good place to start.

5. Extensive Park List was the master list for Summer of the Parks  


6. Parks with 2-5 Year Play Structures is helpful as is the partner Parks with 5-12 Year Play Structures!

7. Summer of the Day Trips was our 2018 quest.

8. Hilda McIntyre Ray was the park that got my park idea going. I grew up less than a mile from here and did not know it was there! 

9. Santa Barbara Blueberries should be opening soon!

10. Kid Friendly Hikes and Nature Walks was a staple during COVID days. It was our quest in 2017 too.

11. Bella Vista was the first park I blogged about!

12. Truly Toddler Friendly Parks was so helpful when my littlest started walking, then immediately running.

13. Parks with Bathrooms is helpful for all you pregnant and potty training mamas.

14. Tierra Del Fortuna is an Isla Vista treasure and get in summer when parking is easier.

* 15. Other Goleta Parks has some out of the way suggestions, but the info on Winchester Parks is out of date.

* 16. Pool Options for Santa Barbara has some free or low cost pool options.

17. Nojoqui Falls is an easy hike and probably has a lot of water this year!

* 18. Summer Check List was an idea list for me when my kids were 7 and 4!

19. Upper Manning  Park has a toddler friendly area and Lower Manning has a great climbing space.

20. Hidden Valley was one of our toddler favorites that my kids have outgrown.

21. Scooter Parks list was helpful when my kids scootered and rode bike in the park!

22. Parks for Siblings is helpful if you have multiple kids. Mine were a and 6 when this was written.

23. Summer of the Beaches was our quest in 2016 and we visited more beaches in 2020!

24. Sunny Fields is a fun park for a day trip in Solvang!

25. Summer of the Parks was our first quest in 2015!

* This one needs an update which I hope to do soon!

Related Posts

Top Ten Posts So Far 2019

Indoor Play Areas 

Carpinteria Salt Marsh and Carpinteria Bluff Preserve

Pacific View Mall

San Miguel Open Space