Friday, December 17, 2021

Snapshot Fall 2021


Favorite New Product:  Pura D'Or Apple Cider Vinegar Thin2Thick Clarifying & Detoxing Shampoo & Conditioner I switched to this in January for my scalp health since it has been getting drier as I get older. When I had my hair cut months later, the stylist asked, "What have you been DOING with your hair? It looks amazing!"  My scalp is healthier, I go longer between hair cuts and I have more good hair days (and y'all, I have curly hair....sometimes it has a mind of its own).  As a side note, I have a wheat allergy and this year is the first time it occurred to me that the wheat additives in shampoo/conditioner could impact me topically.  

Life Hack: The Pomodoro Technique is a method of time blocking where you focus on one task for 25-30 minutes, then break for 2-5 minutes. I can set my time tracking app Toggl to do it automatically through the mobile app (but not the web interface). 

Last Book I Finished: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker (This link is to his Ted Talk)

Walker presents a compelling case for sleep as a the misunderstood aspect of our health, both physical and mental. With lots of data, he manages to make sleep studies and effects interesting. He covers most aspects of human health and how sleep is crucial to health in all areas. Most Americans are shortening their lives from disease or accident by getting too little sleep. I particularly enjoyed the sections on Alzheimer’s, hormones, cancer and aging.

This is a dense book and it took me awhile to get through it. (I checked in out of my library twice before buying it on Audible.) But I am glad I read it and it has made me prioritize sleep more.

Life Project: Still working on my Master's of Education in Instructional Design at Western Governor's University. I love the flexibility of working at my own pace and demonstrating my competence in an area to move on. I have finished about 2 classes a month of a 13 class program and am half way through my program! 

What we are eating today: Cauliflower Corn Chowder  I make it with GF flour and roast the cauliflower ahead. Yum. 
Related Links:

Monday, November 29, 2021

Santa Barbara Holiday Events 2021

Kerrwood Hall Courtesy Westmont College

Santa Barbara Holiday Events

**This is a strange season of more normal, but not-quite-normal. I am posting this knowing some things will not be happening this year and knowing every family has to choose what feels safe and wise to them. Be well, Goleta (and Santa Barbara) parents. **

Other ideas about the Christmas season with kids are in the original 2015 post.

Letters to Santa Station at Paseo Nuevo 11/26-12/24 10/11am-7/8pm 
Visits with Santa at Paseo Nuevo included with a photo package $10 and up 11/26-12/24 Hours increase as the month goes on, check website.

Visits with Santa at La Cumbre Plaza from 12/2 until 12/24 (Weekdays 2-7pm 10 or 11am - 7 or 8pm check websites for specifics) Visits are free, Photo package.
*Sensory Friendly Photos December 5th. 

Snowfall at Paseo Nuevo 5:30pm and 6:30pm 11/26-12/31

Lane Tree Christmas Lot
 has tree for sale, but also a corn maze, hayride and farm animals to visit. 10am - 8pm 11/26 until 12/20.

The Trolley of Lights is already sold out, but you can find space on the Rockstar Trolley 12/5-12/24 or you can make your own tours using these directions.  A house on Carlisle in Goleta has a longer light shows with music (tune in on the radio).

By Date: State Street and Milpas Parade are not happening 2021.

Photos with Santa at Westmont College for Alumni Tuesday November 30th 4-6pm

La Arcada Walk Photos with Santa, Christmas goodies and carolers Wednesday December 1st 5-8pm

Silent Night, Silent Disco at Paseo Nuevo with World of Dance* December 2nd 5:30-7:30pm *5:45pm

Rudolph (Gustafson Dance) at the Lobero Saturday December 4th 2pm, 6pm
Carpinteria Holiday Spirit Parade and Roses and Rods (10am-2pm) Satuday December 4 at 4pm

Christmas in Narnia at El Montecito Presbyterian Church Saturday December 11 10am- 2pm 

Old Town Goleta Parade Saturday December 11 6-8pm

Holiday at the Depot Lite at the South Coast Railroad Museum Saturday December 11 11am-4pm  (this seems to replace the candy cane train this year) $2.50 per train ride

Holiday at the Ranch at Stow House Holiday crafts, caroling, hay rides and tours. Saturday December 11 9-4 pm $5/$2 Buy tickets in advance 

Nutcracker at the Arlington (Santa Barbara Festival Ballet) Saturday December 11 2:30pm and 7pm, Sunday December 12 2:30 

Santa Barbara Wharf Parade of Lights Sunday December 12 4pm, Boat parade at 5:30pm

Hollister Village Carolers Family friendly activities, balloon art, music and more  Saturday December 11&18 11-1

Nutcracker at the Granada (State Street Ballet) December 18 7:30pm and December 19 2pm

Snow Leopard Festival at the Santa Barbara Zoo is scheduled for January 23rd.

Did I miss anything? What are your favorite local holiday traditions?

Monday, November 22, 2021

Kids Choice Reflections

We had fun this summer on our Kid's Choice quest. Thanks to my friend Jessica for the original idea. One thing I found was that the kids preferences change even from summer to summer and especially over 2 years since I started keeping the list pre-COVID.  I loved re-exploring, but sometimes my kids were less thrilled this time around because they are now 8 and 11 years old.  

As with every year, we didn't make it to all the places like Zodos and the Surreys. Also some things were not happening like the concerts in the park and Tuesday Morning movies. Hopefully there will be time over another break or another summer when we can do these in the future. 

Riding a Surrey

Little Treasures:

Classic Favorites:
Goleta Beach
Hendry's Beach

Monday, October 4, 2021

Summer 2021 Snapshot

My seasonal check in is a bit late this year because life has been full (see life project below)!

Life Hack: I realized recently that multitasking is not helping me. So when I think of it I close all the tabs on my phone/computer to reset to just the things I need. I have also been creating blocks of time to work on different aspects of my life and then doing a brain dump when I start working on school/work/PTA stuff for the day (I keep track of school and work on Toggl). 

New Product I Love: I am not a pumpkin person and I don't love all the pumpkin options at this time of year, so no new favorite Trader Joe's products. I am however loving these tassel earrings and wooden earrings given to me for my birthday! 

Last Book I Finished: Raising Lions by Joe Newman 
Joe was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. Quickly put on medication, he felt like the world told him he was broken. As an adult, he has become a behavior therapist who come along schools to help them with the most difficult students. His no nonsense approach is designed to help these kids learn self control and boundaries so they can be successful in the school environment. I don't agree with everything he says, but I have implemented many of the strategies in my own home. 

Life Project: I started a Master's in Education through Western Governor's University. It is all online and fits well into my life right now. And I am working hard! You may not see me as much on the blog or on Facebook this year because of it. 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

East Beach Batting Cages

The batting cages are a fun past time for the physically active kids. The different cages have different speeds as well as baseball and softball pitches. We love to go bat a little, then eat tacos for dinner at East Beach Tacos (11am-6pm). You can also get dinner at the Habit next door (11am-9pm) or take a picnic to the nearby Cabrillo Ball Park that has the SB Chromatic Gate. If you are going, be sure to check out the Axxess deal: Buy one, get one the first time and buy 3, get 1 anytime!

Why it is a favorite: They loved being taught to hit by daddy. 

Location: On Milpas St near the railroad crossing

Directions: Heading south on the 101, exit first Milpas exit and take a right onto Milpas. The batting cages are about half a block down, just past Habit.  

Time Spent: 30 to 45 minutes plus taco time. 

Cost: $3 and up 

Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-8pm, Friday 11am-9pm, Saturday 10-9, Sunday 10-8

Parking: Parking in the lot next door is very limited at busy times. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Bike Paths

We are so blessed to have an abundance of bike paths and routes to explore our town. Depending on where you are starting, you may be able to bike with minimal time on shared spaces and just stick to the bike path.

By the beach, you can explore the downtown area on bike or simply stick to the waterfront along the Cabrillo Blvd Trail. From Goleta Beach, you can take the Obern Trail connecting to the Maria Ygnacio trail or to continue on it to Modoc Rd. Or you can explore your own neighborhood in routes provided by the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. 

Renting Bikes in Santa Barbara:

Tourist Biking Sites:

South County Maps

Neighborhood Routes:

Out Most Artistic Bike Ride July 2016

Monday, August 9, 2021

SB Picnic Spots


Santa Barbara has so many beautiful spots. You could picnic in almost any park or beach location and have a great view. One tradition we have is having a picnic with the kids on our anniversary or anniversary of our first date. My kids love asking us questions about the first date/wedding/first kiss and since all those dates fall in the summer, it is a great time for a picnic. I also friend-sourced this one. 

1. The Mission Rose Garden is a classic choice. The view of the Mission and the Spanish architecture around is classic. 

Rose Garden with the Spanish Architecture on display

Rose Garden

2. The Courthouse is one of our favorite spots. Any spot in the block would be good, but we like the grass above the Sunken Gardens. 


Sunken Gardens

3. Alice Keck Park is picturesque with the pond and the gazebo. It is easy to spread a blanket on the grass or find a bench to picnic on.  


Duck Pond

4. Stow House is another of our favorites. The house and lawn create a beautiful spot. When there is music in the summer it is especially fun to linger.

5. You absolutely can't beat the view of Franchesci Park on the Riviera. On a clear day, you can see all the way down to the water.  

Picnic tables

Franchesci View 

6. Chase Palm Park is another great spot with a grassy field for picnic blankets. With the beach across the street, the view is wonderful. 

Chase Palm Park Pond

 What is your favorite spot for a picnic? I would love to hear below or on social media! 

Related Posts: 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

UCSB Labyrinth Trail

The labyrinth in the lagoon at UCSB was constructed over 2 months in 2011with decomposed granite and river rocks, but it took 5 years to plan and clear all the hurdles. Campus leaders want to create a space for students to have a "quiet place on campus to be alone just to think and sort things out." Labyrinths have been used in different faith traditions as a form of meditation or prayer. Unlike a maze where there are choices between paths, the labyrinth has one path in and retraces the path back out. Overall, the path and retracing are .6 miles total. (When it reopens, we hope to visit nearby REEF in their visitor hours.)

Why it is a favorite: it is a beautiful location with sea birds flying overhead and the ocean breeze blowing

Stone Labyrinth

Location: Lagoon Island at the UCSB Lagoon

Directions: We have accessed it in two ways: walking from Goleta Beach and from lot 6.
To Goleta Beach, take the 101 to the 217. Exit at Sandspit Rd and turn left. The first right will be Goleta Beach. At the T, turn right and park at the end of the parking lot. Walk on the bike path up toward Campus taking the left hand paths to lead down to Campus Point. At Campus Point, take the path that crosses over the lagoon and head up the steps to Lagoon Island. From there it is a short walk to to the labyrinth. Head toward the right after heading up the hill. 
To Campus Point, take the 101 to the 217 to its end. At the roundabout take the second exit to Lagoon Rd. At the sign indicating authorized cars only, turn left into lot 6. Park in a coastal access space and pay the hourly fee (see below). Take the path down to Campus Point. At Campus Point, take the path that crosses over the lagoon and head up the steps to Lagoon Island. From there it is a short walk to to the labyrinth. Head toward the right after heading up the hill. 

Path to the Labyrinth

Time Spent: 30 to 90 minutes depending on the path you take to get there.

Cost: Free
Entrance to Labyrinth

Hours: Daytime

Parking: Parking at Goleta Beach is free and plentiful except on very busy summer/weekend days. Lot 6 has coastal access for $3 for 1 hour, $5 for 2 hours , $7 for 3 hours.
Lagoon Path

Nearby: Goleta Beach, Goleta Beach Playground, Campus Point, and Depressions Beach 

More info: Directions, Labyrinths around the world, and UCSB News Release  

Kid Quotes: "It was cool, Mom." 11 year old

Steps to Lagoon Island


Related Posts: 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Oak Park Wading Pool

The Oak Park Wading Pool is a fun spot for the littles under 8. We recently took one last trip with my girl who will be 8 soon and had a great time. The pool is shallow, one side at one foot and the other 18 inches, with a water spot in the middle of the deeper end. There is always a life guard on duty (two the recent day we were there). Children need to be in a bathing suit and/or swim diaper and must be with a responsible person 18 years or older. Parents line up to enter on the hour and must exit 10 minutes before the hour for cleaning. You can get right back in line if it isn't busy. 

Deeper Side

Why it is a favorite: running under the water spout 

Location: Oak Park near the Junipero St side

Directions: Take the 101 to Mission St. Turn toward the mountains and get back onto the 101 going North. Take the next exit (Pueblo) and continue straight. Turn right onto Junipero St and park in the lot to your left. 

Time Spent: 1 hour

Cost: Free 

Hours: 12-5 daily in summer, closing August 13, 2021. 

Parking: Oak Park has a parking lot on West Junipero St. near Calle Real with limited spaces and there is some street parking.

Shallow Side

Kid Quotes: "Let's go again." 7 year old

Water Spout

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Creek Walks

I have fond memories from my childhood of exploring creeks in Santa Barbara: the Botanic Gardens, Rocky Nook Park, Tucker's Grove and Oak Park were all places we would poke around, look at bugs, find the best walking stick and get occasionally get wet. I know I have lost some of you and others are freaking out about poison oak (which I have never had), but I am a firm believer in nature play for kids. (This probably  fueled my love for nature as well as my pre-kids job as a science teacher.)  Disclaimer: only you know the conditions of any creek you may walk in. Beware of high water levels and excessive poison oak. 

My own kids love to take a creek walk or play in a park that let's them pick up rocks, sticks and examine bugs. They love the water when it is there, but they still love the dry creeks. My 7 year old especially would walk in the creek at least once a week. It isn't a power walk, but that is hardly the point. 

Why it is a favorite: I could write a thesis about this, but in short, kids need unstructured play and need the calming time in nature

Location: Many places listed in Best Parks with Outdoorsy Play Areas (Botanic GardensStevens ParkRocky Nook ParkTucker's Grove and Oak Park as well as a creek in your neighborhood. If you pay attention as you stroll near your creek, you can find access points. 

Directions: See posts above for the park directions 

Time Spent: an hour or more

Cost: Free 

Hours: Daylight

Parking: See posts above for the parking information

Nearby: Botanic GardensRocky Nook ParkStevens ParkTucker's Grove and Oak Park

More info: Creeks of SB County, Map of Major Creeks, Comprehensive Map

Kid Quotes: "Mama, when can we go on a creek walk?" 7 year old (at least once a week!)

Related Posts: 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Ice in Paradise

Ice in Paradise out only area ice rink opened in 2015 and recently reopened after the long COVID closure.  Hockey leagues recently resumed and the ice was reservable until recently. While the skating lessons have not resumed, the public skate hours are back!!  

Why it is a favorite: Kids feel like the graceful Olympic ice skaters. 

Location: Storke Road at Santa Felicia Dr next to Girsh Park

Directions: Take the 101 to the Glen Annie/Storke Rd exit. Turn toward the ocean (and Costco) onto Glen Annie which quickly becomes Storke Rd. After crossing Hollister Ave, pass the Camino Real Marketplace and turn right onto Santa Felicia Dr. Ice in Paradise will be on your left.   

Time Spent: up to 2 hours (or more if your kids don't tire out)

Cost: $15 on the Studio Rink, $10 on the NHL Rink

NHL Rink (Main)

Hours: Weekdays
8-11, 1:30-4:30, NHL Rink $20 for the session
7:30-9:30 Studio Rink $15 for the session

Saturday and Sunday 
1:30-4:30, NHL Rink $20 for the session
7-9 NHL Rink $20 for the session (Saturday Only) 

Studio Rink 

Parking: There is a large onsite lot for free parking. 

Nearby: Girsh Park, Ellwood Butterfly Preserve, and Sands Beach

More info: Ice in Paradise Website, Ice in Paradise on Instagram and Ice in Paradise FB page  

Kid Quotes: "I don't remember how to do this!" 11 year old (said with joy)

The connected Rinkside Cafe is open 3:30pm on weekdays and 8am on weekends. Current closing times below: 

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