Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Toro Canyon Park

This park is a bit of a drive, but a fun park for toddlers. There is a small play structure with one slide and a climbing space as well as swings. It is located in Carpinteria off the Padero Exit via Via Real. Google map

This is great for the smallest park goers!
There are bathrooms.
There is a playground for bigger kids according to this.

The toddler structure would not be interesting for bigger kids for long.
It is off the beaten path (even for Carp/Summerland people). 

Toddler Play Structure

Toddler Play Structure (Back)

Toddler and Regular swings

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Franklin Park

Although this park shows up on maps, it is really the playground for Franklin School (there are community events here, however). There is a 5-12 play structure with 2 slides, 4 climbing sections and monkey bars. There are also swings. It is located on Soledad St between East Montecito St and Mason St. Google Map

There is a lot of climbing equipment.
It is clean and well looked after.
There is ample parking at the Eastside library with the playground entrance at the far end of the parking lot.

The bathrooms are locked after hours and the whole park can be locked on the weekends.
It is not designed for little kids since there are many climbing sections and no toddler swings. 

Franklin Park Overview
Climbing Structure

Soccer Field

Park Overview (Back)

Jesse Tree Ornament Day 3

 I recently participated in a Jesse Tree ornament exchange. There is a separate post on what this is and more ornaments, but here is my ornament. I ordered pomegranates from Amazon (these I think) as a starting point. I really didn't want to use an apple because we don't know what fruit it was (it is unlikely it was an apple) and because it is a pomegranate in the Jesus Storybook Bible. I intended to make a felt snake and using fishing line to create a loop at the top. It didn't look good. Plan B. (Thank you to my creative hubby.)

Plan B used the foam pomegranate and 1 foot of copper wire for materials.

Taking the pomegranates, I drilled a hole through each from the bottom out the top.

Tools needed: large metal mallet, chisel, metal punch, pliars and vice (surface to pound on).

I used pliers to bend the wire in half. The original part went through the pomegranate and the end was bent with the pliars into a hook. The other part was bent into squiggles and flattened for the snake shape.

I used a large metal mallet to flatten half of the copper wire. At the tip of the flat end, I flattened it even more to create the rounded head.

I discovered eventually that it is easier to bend it into the snake shape before you flatten it.

The chisel (flat metal tool) pounds a flat line to create the snake's mouth.

The metal punch creates an indentation to create the snake's eye.

Day 3: Original Sin in the Garden
Final Product!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Ideas

Last year we really wanted to do Christmas better, so I compiled a list of activities we might want to do, events in Santa Barbara and books to read. If you have other activities or books you love, please comment!

Santa Barbara Events:
Christmas Pickle Lighting at Westmont College, generally the first Wednesday in December
Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, generally the Friday one week after Thanksgiving
Snow Leopard Festival at the Santa Barbara Zoo, generally this first Sunday of December
Candy Cane Train at the South Coast Railroad Museum, generally the day after Thanksgiving through a few days after Christmas

Santa Barbara Wharf Parade of Lights, generally the first Sunday in December
Lights Tour: Trolley of Lights Tour, or Jump on the School Bus, generally December 10 to the day before Christmas eve (or tour yourself)
Check out the light show house on Ontare or Carslie, generally up by first weekend in December 
Lane Farms Christmas Tree Lot, generally the day after Thanksgiving to December 20th
* First United Methodist Living Nativity, generally December 21, 22, 23 5:30-7:30 
* Make Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes or buy a gift for toy donation *
Choosing toys to pass on to to other kids or for Santa to give to other kids
Make paper chain count down
Make ornaments, one possibility Cinnamon Ornaments
Make Christmas cards for family 
Make nuts or cookies for the neighbors, one possibility Peppermint Chex Mix
Gingerbread houses
* Christmas Eve Service 
Touring the Christmas lights (self tour or see Santa Barbara comments) 
Make hot cocoa and listen to Christmas music 
* Jesse tree ornaments and readings
* Books:
As a Christian, I am drawn to the more religious books and not the books with Santa. 
The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats  
This book illustrates the lyrics to the song The Little Drummer Boy.

One Night in Bethlehem by Jill Roman Lord 
This touch and feel book tells what one child would do if he were a shepherd, a wise man or another of the people at the birth of Jesus.
The Animals' Christmas Eve by Gail Wiersum  
The animals in this story tell of the birth in the stable from the animal point of view.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson 
Bear's friends want him to stay awake for Christmas and try everything to make the day special for him.
* More advent related!

The Jesse Tree

Every year I think about old and new Christmas traditions, I want to start or continue with my family. We have things we do every year (here), but this year I am excited about our new tradition with Jesse Tree ornaments. I participated recently in a Jesse Tree ornament exchange.

A Jesse Tree is a tool to tell the story of the Bible from creation to the Christmas story (or Easter). Each day has an ornament and a passage of scripture to read. The name itself comes from Isaiah: There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:1-4 (ESV)

Jesus is a descendant of Jesse (King David's father) and the tree represents new life in him. (Of course there is more than one way to explain it! Here is another.)

There are different sets of characters, stories and scriptures in each listing, but our coordinator, Amber, came up with a set using the Jesus Storybook Bible. I used Pintrest to look for ideas, but love the unique ideas from our group! I have listed the day, Jesus Storybook reading, the character/idea with symbol and the passage of scripture. I hope to post pictures of all of them here with brief comments on materials.

Day 1: The Story and the Song (God speaks to us through scripture and the world), Psalm 19: The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day 2: The Beginning: A Perfect Home (Earth/Creation), Genesis 1-2: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth

Day 2 Directions: I bought earth bouncy balls from Amazon. Then I bought a package of those hooks from the hardware store and spent about 5 minutes screwing them into each bouncy ball.

Day 3: Sin (created by Rhonda)
Day 3: The Terrible Lie (Sin in the Garden/Fruit & Snake), Genesis 3: So the Lord banished him from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.

Day 3 Materials: foam pomegranate, copper wire (Directions)

Day 4: A New Beginning (Noah/Rainbow), Genesis 6-9: But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

Day 5: A Giant Staircase to Heaven (Tower of Babel/Ladder), Genesis 11: Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

Day 6: Son of Laughter (Abraham and Issac/Lot of Stars), Genesis 12-2: He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your seed be.
Day 7: Abraham and Issac (created by Elissa)
Day 7: The Present (Abraham and Issac/Ram), Genesis 22: Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and gave it as a present instead of his son.

Day 7 Materials: wax mold of a ram, wax

Day 8: The Girl No One Wanted (Leah/Girl with Heart), Genesis 29-30: Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my broken heart. Surely my husband will love me now.”

Day 9: The Forgiving Prince (Joseph/Colorful Coat) Genesis 37-46: Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a colorful coat for him.
Day 10: The Burning Bush by Katie

Day 10: God to the Rescue (Moses/Burning Bush), Exodus 3-12: There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush.

Day 10 Materials and Process: I took a clean baby food jar, drew a tree with sharpee on the outside and baked in the oven for 40 minutes at 375. Then paint a layer of modge podge inside behind the tree. Sprinkle confetti of red, orange and yellow tissue paper into the sticky parts and coat with another layer of modge podge. For the hanger, I wound about 14 inches of 22 gauge wire around a marker, then twisted both ends with two pairs of needle nosed pliers. With another piece of about 5 inches of wire, I fed it through the two ends of the coiled length and did a single twist with pliers to hold it beneath the lip of the jar threads.

Day 11: God Makes a Way (Leaving Egypt/ Water Parting), Exodus 14-15: Moses stretched out his hand over the sea--. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

Day 12: Ten Ways to Be Perfect (Ten Commandments/Tablets), Exodus 16-17, 19-20: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

 Day 13: The Warrior Leader (Joshua/Brick Wall), Joshua 3 & 6: When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. 

Day 14: The Teeny-Weeny True King (David/Crown), 1 Samuel 16: I have chosen one of his sons to be king

Day 15: The Young Hero and the Terrible Giant (David and Goliath/Slingshot), 1 Samuel 17: So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine. 

Day 16: The Good Shepherd (Psalms/Sheep), Psalm 51, Psalm 23, 2 Samuel 7: The Lord is My Shepherd, I Shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Day 17: The Young Girl and Proud General (Namaan/Broken Heart), 2 Kings 5: I will put my law on their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people.

Day 18: Operation No More Tears (Isaiah/Cross), Isaiah 9, 11, 40: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities.

Day 19: Daniel and the Scary Sleepover (Daniel/Lion), Daniel 6: My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions.

Day 20: Get Ready (Ezra/Nehemiah, Trumpet), Nehemiah 8-10, Malachi 1, 3, 5, Ezra 7: We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Day 21: He's Here (Bethlehem/Star), Luke 1-2: So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

Day 22: He's Here (Angel), Luke 1-2: The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy to all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Day 23: The Light of the Whole World (Candle), Luke 2: Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation the to Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.

Day 24: The King of All Kings (Star), Matthew 2: "Where is the one who has been born the King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."

Day 25: (Baby Jesus in the Manger) Luke 2:1-10: While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first born, a son.


Brief explanation of the Jesse Tree idea: http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/jessetrees.shtml
Jesse Tree Family Devotions: https://www.rca.org/resources/jesse-tree-family-devotions

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Santa Barbara Free Monthly Events

Franken-Pumpkin from OSH
Recently I took my kids to a free event decorating Franken-pumpkins in Goleta. I started wondering about free events in town and how to find them. Here is list I found (feel free to comment if I missed one):

Home Depot has a kids event the first Saturday morning of each month.

Michaels has events about once a month for kids. 

Orchard Supply Hardware has events for kids that they announce through their emails and Facebook.

Parent Click hosts a free event every 2nd and 4th Thursday from 10-11 at Paseo Nuevo. They also have links to all the kids events and classes (free or not).

Santa Barbara Museum of Art has a free time on Thursday evenings (5-8pm).

Santa Barbara Natural History Museum is free on the 3rd Sunday (except May-August)

Santa Barbara Public Library has event throughout the month and especially in summer.

South Coast Rail Museum has free train rides every Friday from 1-4.

Zodos has a free summer bowling program through Kids Bowl Free. it includes 2 free games a day (you need to rent shoes, however.)

If you happen to live elsewhere, here are some other stores with events:

Barnes and Noble has story time on Saturday mornings at 11 am

Lowes has biweekly Saturday morning events.

Pottery Barn Kids free weekly story time and other monthly events

The museum days were listed on an old post:

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Summer of the Parks Reflections

Creek Walking at Los Robles Park
Reflections on Summer of the Parks:

Parks visited? 45. Small neighborhood parks? 7. Parks without playgrounds? 52 (some just a drive by) "Summer" months: May-September.

So the summer of the parks has ended. What did we learn from this quest?

It was fun to have a goal for the summer. Although we started thinking about this before reading this blog, we were definitely encouraged to make it a "quest" after reading it: MOPS Make 2015 the Summer of Something.

There are places to discover everywhere. Every time I thought we were almost done with the list someone mentioned a new park or playground I had not found yet! We are still visiting some of the other nearby parks and open spaces.

This has expanded our sense of adventure and our willingness to set off with a couple balls and a blanket for a picnic. My girls look out for parks and little open spaces now, yelling "Park!" when they see one. When asked her favorite part of the day, my 2 year old now says either "pawk" or "paygown" whether we have been to one or not!

I needed this. It was an intense summer of parenting and having a goal to work towards made it better.

When I asked my 5 year old why it was good, she thought and thought, then said, "we got a lot of exercise?"

So what is next summer's quest? Some ideas that have been percolating in my brain...
* Day trips from SB including some we did this summer.
* Visiting all the beaches
* SB area Museums (probably a quest for a few years from now) 
* Crafts (this is almost comical since I am SO not crafty, but I have months to prepare)

We are taking suggestions. :)

Parks with Bathrooms

Oak Park
Parks with Bathrooms

Santa Barbara
Alemeda Park (Kid's World)

Santa Barbara County
Manning Park (Montecito)
Lookout Park (Summerland)
Tucker's Grove (Noleta)

Goleta (incluing Isla Vista)
Evergreen Open Space (portapotty)

Santa Barbara City Parks and Open Spaces

Our quest to find new parks took us to many beautiful open spaces and parks without playgrounds! These are the names and locations as best we could tell (some parks have different names/locations depending on the list you are looking at). We did not include beach parks in the list.

Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens
Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens (otherwise know as Alice Keck Park Park) is a lovely lanscaped park with open spaces, walking paths as well as a pond with fish, turtles and the occasional piranha. This is one of our favorite places to feed ducks.

Ambassador Park
 Ambassador Park is an open, grassy area off Cabrillo Blvd. in between 2 hotels. It is located between Bath St and Chapala St.

Andree Clark Bird Refuge
Andree Clark Bird Refuge is a salt marsh that attracts dozens of bird species and occasionally has algal blooms that make it stinky and colorful. It is located along Cabrillo Blvd. at Los Patos Way.

Calle Puerto Vallarte/Cabrillo Park
Calle Puerto Vallarte has a park with a grassy open space off Cabrillo Blvd. at Calle Puerto Vallarte.

Courthouse Gardens
The Courthouse has grassy open areas, paths and beautiful landscaping surrounding the historical building. It is located between Santa Barbara St and Anacapa St at Anapamu St and Figueroa St.

The Douglas Family Preserve is located on the Mesa above Arroyo Burro Beach. It had walking trails and open space with lovely views of the ocean and mountains. Entrances are on Borden Dr and Mesa School Lane.

Equestrian Circle

Equestrian Circle is an open riding rink adjacent to the Santa Barbara Tennis Club (2375 Foothill Rd in Sycamore Canyon).

View from Franchesci Park
Paths and Picnic area at Franchesci Park
Franchesci Park has many paths and a lovely view of the city with the ocean. The dilapidated old house has an interesting history. It is located off Mission Ridge Rd by way of Mountain Dr (off E Los Olivos/Mission Canyon near the Natural History Museum.

Gould Park
Gould Park is an open space that includes Cold Spring Trail. It is on E. Mountain Drive off Cold Springs Rd in Montecito.

Honda Valley Park is a series of trails located on the Mesa off Carrillo St at Miramonte Dr.

 La Coronilla is a future park site on the Mesa on Dolores Dr.

Laurel Canyon is an open space for dog walking at the end of Laurel Canyon Rd (not Calle Laureles). Laurel Canyon Road does not have a sign and is off Foothill Road opposite Calle Palo Colorado.

Los Robles Park
Los Robles Park has a path and open grassy area for friendly dog owners. It is located on Via Diego near Via Rosa off La Colina Rd.

Mission Gardens
There is an open grassy field across from the Mission with paths and a rose garden. It is located at E Los Olivos St. and Laguna St.

Orpet Park
Orpet Park runs along both side of Alameda Padre Serra above the Mission. It has lovely walking paths, landscaped areas and grassy areas for dog running.

Parma Park is located on 192 in the Sycamore Canyon area (Mission Canyon to Foothill to Mountain to Mission Ridge) and is a series of trails.
Pershing Park
Pershing Park is several baseball fields used by Santa Barbara City College. It is located next to Plaza del Mar off Cabrillo Bld and Castillo St.

De La Guerra Plaza
Plaza de la Guerra is a grassy open area downtown next to Santa Barbara City Hall and the Santa Barbara Newspress building.

Plaza del Mar
Plaza del Mar is a park with an open grassy area and an amphitheater located across from Los Baños del Mar at Cabrillo Bld and Castillo St. It is located next to Pershing Park.

Rattlesnake Canyon Park can be reached by Rattlesnake Canyon Trail (from Skofield Park). It is a 5 mile round trip hike. There is another branch of the trail off Gibraltar Rd. It is 1/2 to the main trail.

San Roque Park
San Roque Park is an open grassy trianlge on Cannon Dr near Chuparosa Dr.

Sheffield Open Space is off 192 at Stanwood in the Sycamore Canyon area (Mission Canyon to Foothill to Mountain to Mission Ridge). It has paved paths and a fire-scape garden.

Skofield Park
Skofield Park is a wooded park with benches and trails leading off the main park to Rattlesnake Canyon. It is located on either side of Las Conoas Rd, just past the bridge. Las Canoas Rd is off Mission Canyone Rd (via Foothill Rd).

View from Sylvan Park

Sylvan Park
Sylvan Park is off APS at Dover is naturally landscaped and has a beautiful view of the city with the ocean.