Monday, December 28, 2020

Nature Walks and Kid-Friendly Hikes

Carpinteria Bluff Preserve

I was asked to share over on Instagram for Santa Barbara Community Children's Ministry a couple times this year about focusing on what we can do, a conversation with my kids I had recently and this week, nature walks and kid friendly hikes. Here is the list of nature walks and hikes I mentioned there. 

Toddler Hikes (Nature Walks) 
Tucker's Grove (trail behind the playground)

Simple Hikes 
San Antonio Creek Trail at Tucker's Grove

Hikes for Older Kids (our To Do list)
Inspiration Point (off Tunnel Trail)

Monday, December 14, 2020

Snapshot Fall 2020


It has been such a weird year and I hope y'all are hanging in there. It is time for the fall snapshot! 

Favorite New Product: In place of the new product I love, these are a few of my favorite things....... (some are affiliate links but I only recommend what I love). 

Leaf Necklace
Tassel Necklace

Riding Boots

For me: Feeling frumpy at home, I have been trying to add accessories to my outfits. This tassel necklace is a favorite and so are these leaf necklaces. These riding boots were my favorite Christmas present from last year. 

For kids: Being at home means that we have had a few pajama days and days where hair brushing was skipped. Yikes. This combing cream is our favorite for taking care of tangles. We also upgraded the kids skateboards and scooters. It was totally worth the money. 

Combing Creme



Balanced Life

For me: I have subscribed to the Balanced Life Pilates with Robin Long since 2017 and have done Pilates almost every day since school shut down. It is simple to find 15 minutes a day to spend time on my mat. 

Ipsy December Bag

Make Up Selections from November 2020

For me: In this strange year, I started to get the monthly Ispy bags which include makeup and beauty products to try. The products get better month by month as you review previous products.

Kids Cook Real Food

For the kids: This summer my kids learned cooking skill with Kids Cook Real Food . We will continue on over winter break. She also launched Kids Cook Solo designed for older kids to do almost entirely on their own! 

Life Hack: The research on gratitude indicates that it is good for physical and mental health as well as self esteem and even sleep. I have been trying to be more intentional about daily gratitude and hope to get a gratitude journal (like this one) off my wishlist for Christmas.  

Last Book I Finished: Circe is a story based on the Greek myth about the goddess Circe, daughter of Helios. She learns to use herbs and potions as a witch, getting herself exiled to an island for her work. Gods and people come and go through the generations. This time drags on (as it would if one were immortal, I suppose). Her life changes when Odysseus visits her island and changes the course of her life. I spent most of the story feeling like is was 2 stars with an unlikable character I had trouble caring about (although beautifully written). The story ends better than it stars though and I even came to like the character in the end. 

What we are eating today: BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad! Thanks to my friend Hillary for introducing me to this one. Now we eat all kinds of quinoa salad and I version of this Mediterranean Salad is one of my kids favorite meal (truth--I wouldn't even try to convince you).

Related Links:

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Holiday 2020

Of course many activities have been cancelled this year, but there are many things still happening! 

In place of the Snow Leopard Festival (at the Santa Barbara Zoo), the zoo will be decorated for all of December with places for holiday photos. Seasonal treats available for purchase. (Zoo temporarily closed 12/7)
While there is no Candy Cane train this year at the South Coast Railroad Museum, the train recently reopened and is doing rides from 12-4 on Saturday and Sunday. (SCRM is closed as of 12/11)

Lights Tour: the Trolley of Lights Tour is different this year, but still happening from December 8 to 21. The Rockstar Trolley is also doing tours from December 5 to 24 (12/9 no change on the website.) Create your own lights tour yourself)Check out the light show house on Carslie, generally up by first weekend in December. 
Lane Farms Christmas Tree Lot has farm animals, tractors and a corn mazeNovember 27 to December 20th 10am-8pm (12/9 no change on the website.)
Snow will fall at Paseo Nuevo daily every half hour from 5pm-7:30 (November 27-December 31, except Christmas) (12/9 no change on the website.) 
By Date:
(12/9 no change on the website.)

You can reserve a spot to visit Santa at La Cumbre Plaza and take socially distanced pictures December 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 and 24 (11am-7/8pm except Christmas eve). (12/16 website--Santa Reservations happening.)
Santa will come to Hollister Village on December 12 from 11am-2pm and will take socially distanced photos (photos are free and printed onsite). There will also be carolers and an opportunity to write Santa. (12/9 no change on the website.)
Santa will also be at Paseo Nuevo on November 28 and 29 as well as December 19 and 20 from 12pm-6pm. Santa reads virtually to kids on Thursday at 11am (12/9 no change on the website.) 
Did I miss anything? What are you favorite local holiday traditions? Please feel free to message me through Facebook, Instagram or on the blog! 
Other Activity Ideas:
Choose toys to pass on to other kids 
Toys for Tots
Make a paper chain Christmas countdown
Make ornaments, maybe this one
Make Christmas cards for family 
Make nuts or cookies for the neighbors, one possibility Persimmon Bread 
Gingerbread houses 
Jesse tree ornaments and readings
Make hot cocoa and listen to Christmas music
Christmas movies (Elf, Muppets Christmas movie, It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, Creature Comforts Christmas Special, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Nutcracker, Charlie Brown Christmas)
What are your favorite Christmas activities? Tell us in the comments here or on Facebook or Instagram

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Veteran's and Memorial Day Activities CO-VID Style

When I mentioned the other day the Veteran's Day was coming up, my 7 year old asked if we could go to that walk with the plates with names of people. I was surprised that she remembered it so vividly!  There are 2 spots that I take my kids on Memorial Day and/or Veteran's Day to remember local service people. 

I covered the Eling's Park Veterans Memorial Walk on a different post, but in summary . There are plaques for the different wars and those from Santa Barbara County who lost their lives. It is a level path less than a mile with plaques for each year of the Vietnam War and then plaques for every war. 

All Wars Memorial

Walking Path

Veteran's Plaque

A second quicker option is a drive to the World War II Memorial by the airport.  The memorial is dedicated to the aviators who trained at the Santa Barbara Airport. The turn off for the memorial is just before long term parking (they also refer to it as the cell phone lot). You can watch planes take off and land here. We once brought a picnic and caused airport security to sit in their truck just over the fence from us. A little known fact is that many of the streets around here are named after these aviators: David Love, William Moffett and James Fowler, for example. 

Turn at the Sign and Park

WWII Memorial

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Election Resources

Today I found a 2018 post on Facebook where people shared their favorite election resources. While it is too late for 2020, I wanted to create a post so these resources are here in the future! These were gathered from my Facebook friends, so if you see your favorite one missing, please let me know! 

Friday, October 9, 2020

Parks with Monkey Bars

 My kids are so excited about the playgrounds reopening. My 7 year old is especially excited about the monkey bars. She has been asking for monkey bars for months. For this list, I counted things that are monkey bar like including rings but not the sliding bars.

As a reminder, to use the playgrounds, children older than 2 should wear a face mask and there should be 6 feet in-between households. Each playground has a maximum limit on visitors and visits are expected to be limited to 30 minutes.

Santa Barbara 

Santa Barbara County
Tucker's Grove (Noleta)

Goleta (including Isla Vista)
Tecolote Park 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Summer 2020 Snapshot


Life Hack: I started to feel like I wasn't accomplishing anything during the pandemic. Because we have a member of our household with a compromised immune system, we are very isolated and I am with my kids all the time. 3 things on my to do lists a day. But I am allowing myself lots of grace for this if it doesn't get done. 

New Product I Love: I have been trying to up my skin care game for the last couple of months and I love Olay Retinol 24. It makes my skin feel smooth and well moisturized every night. (This is an Amazon Associates link, but I will only recommend what I love!)

Last Book I Finished: Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Last year we discovered Shannon Hale's Princess Academy series which was a hit with both my princess loving and NOT princess loving child (what can I say. All kids are wired differently). This story takes the fairy tale by the same name and brings it to life! Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee is the crown princess of Kilendree until her mother passes her over and announces that her younger brother will become king. She has been secretely betrothed to the prince of the country Bayern. Her brother has "people speak" and Ani can speak to the birds. As she travels to Bayern to marry the prince, her lady-in-waiting convinces most of the caravan to mutiny and set her up as the princess to marry the prince. She becomes the goose girl to the Bayern king's geese while she decides what to do next and discovers she has gifts that she never knew that will help her chart her course. The best part of Hale's books is that her princesses and heroines are strong characters once they find their gifts and never wait around for someone to save them (although they do always need the help of friends). 

Life Project: Still educating myself in being Anti-Racist

What we are eating today: Slow Cooker Chicken Tikki Masala!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Summer of the Beaches II Reflections

It was fun to have a quest (go to our list of beaches) this summer even when so many things were different. We loved finding new treasures in our community and discovered we really liked Sands and Campus Point Beaches as well as Mesa Lane and Hammonds Beaches. This was one of our best blogging summers because we spent a lot of time at the beach. Also the summer season began (in some ways) when everyone got sent home from school in March. We spent so much time at the beach I just put a new beach bag on my wish list (the old one needs to go in the trash)!

We originally thought we might go a little farther away to Rincon, Arroyo Hondo and Gaviota, but finding all the local beaches from Haskell's in the "north" (west) all the way to Miramar in the "South" (east) kept us quite busy. (We did visit a few beaches outside of this in 2016: El Capitan, Refugio, Padaro and Carpinteria City Beach.) We didn't venture to Rincon or Gaviota. (Some day after COVID I will go to Gaviota with you Monica!) 

We did try to visit Arroyo Hondo Beach. We followed the directions, but found the path down to the beach too steep for us to go down (also there is a train track crossing as well) so we turned back. It is a fun place to visit to see the old bridge on the southbound 101. 

Train Bridge

Path to the Beach

Arroyo Hondo Beach

Related Posts

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Hot Springs Trail

Hot Springs Trail in Montecito is a local secret (I was born here and just went earlier in the month for the first time). The spring was the source for a resort from 1850-1963 in many forms over the years. The most recent resort was destroyed in the 1964 Coyote Fire and ruins are in the Los Padres National Forest and the area around it is owned by the Santa Barbara Land Trust.  The trail isn't long, but it is quite steep for the littles. The trail is not well marked. Most people go with a local who has been before, but I will try to explain clearly how we went with help from other hikers. Park, hike and swim at your own risk of course.

Directions: Take the 101S to Olive Mill Road. Turn left onto Olive Mill Road which becomes Hot Springs Road. At Mountain Drive, turn left and park in the handful of spaces or safely along the road. 

Head up the path following the signs toward the springs. The trail takes you along Hot Springs Road and crosses the river once before coming to a cross road (sign below) about half a mile in. 

Take the left trail and follow it for about another half mile. You will cross the stream twice.

When you see this sign (below), head across the stream again (left)  and take the path up and around the nearby hill. It will take you away from this stream and to another one nearby. 

You get a lovely view of the ocean on a clear day.

After about .3 miles more, you will come to the hot springs. 

Trail Rating: Difficult for toddlers and kids not used to hiking, Moderate for others
Distance: 1.4 miles to the hot springs, 2.8 round trip 
Time: 1 hour up, 1/2 hour down and time to enjoy the springs
Nearby attractions: Butterfly Beach, Hammonds Beach and Upper Village Shopping and Restaurants

Related Posts:

Monday, August 24, 2020

Hope Ranch Beach

Hope Ranch Beach is a Santa Barbara Beach that is not easy to access unless you are a resident. For residents, it has storage lockers and kayak storage in and around the cabana as well as a lifeguard in summer. Anyone at the beach can use the snack shop, bathrooms and hoses for rinsing sand off. 

Directions: If you a resident of Hope Ranch, you can enter the main entrance on Las Olas. Take the 101S to the La Cumbre exit. Turn right onto Las Palmas Dr. Continue for over 2 miles, then turn right onto Las Olas Dr. 

Directions: For the rest of us, take the 101 to the Turnpike exit. Turn south toward the ocean. Turn left onto Hollister Ave and continue to Puente Dr. Park on Puente Dr at Mockingbird Lane. There is no parking on Mockingbird Lane, so walk up the hill to the More Mesa path. Head down the path straight from the end of Mockingbird Lane. The steps down to the beach are .8 miles from Puente Dr. and total about 1.2 miles to Hope Ranch Beach.

This is a clean beach and we saw very little tar.
There are amenities (shop with snacks--candy and chips type-- and bathrooms). 
While it was crowded near the entrance, it was easy to move down the beach for space. 

This beach is a trek for those of us who don't have access through the gate. We ended up walking about 2.5 miles.
The More Mesa steps are steep with a drop off nearby. It will make some people nervous and it isn't great for little kids. 
The More Mesa steps are narrow and it is not easy to socially distance. 
It doesn't seem like parking is easy, even for residents. There is a drop-off point, but no parking just off the beach. 
If you are walking from another beach, you need to check the tides. Hide tide may make the beach inaccessible. 

Hope Ranch to the East (Arroyo Burro)

Hope Ranch Beach to the West (More Mesa)

More Mesa Path

More Mesa Beach Entrance

More Mesa Steps

Hope Ranch Beach Bathrooms

Cabana and Bathrooms

Cabana Storage

Kayak Storage

Snack Shop