Jellyfish Painting

Have you ever watched the Live Jelly Cam from the Monterey Bay Aquarium? It's really relaxing. Spend some time watching, then paint your own peaceful jellyfish scene. Jellyfish come in a huge variety of colors and sizes, with varying tentacle lengths. They can move in any direction by pushing jets of water from their bodies to propel forward. So no matter how your painted jellyfish look, they're perfect. 

Jellyfish Painting


  • watercolor paper
  • acrylic paint (blue, white, orange, red, yellow)
  • toothpick 


Paint the paper blue and let it dry completely. Then paint white blobs where you want the jellyfish to be. Let the paint dry. 

Layer orange paint over the white to make the jellyfish bodies. While the paint is still wet, add a stroke of red to each body. Then mix a small amount of yellow with the orange and use it to drag tentacles from the body. 

Add definition to the tentacles with a toothpick or skinny dowel. 


Fall ScOutings

Today's layout has photos from three separate Scout outings ("ScOutings") Trevor enjoyed last fall. The first was a quick overnight at the local regional park in September, the second was a hike to the summit of Mt. Diablo in October (which ended in an early morning evacuation due to wind/fire), and the third was a fishing and crabbing trip along the Russian River/Bodega in November. 

Fall ScOutings (affiliate link)
It's now been over seven months since the last Scout outing. For a troop that is used to doing a campout at least once a month, this is a huge change. The boys are doing their best to keep Scouting fun via online activities, but it's just not the same. Fortunately, everyone understands that the Scouts' safety is what matters most. But that doesn't stop us from hoping that we can start planning trips again.


Cream of Zucchini Soup

We've had a bumper crop of zucchini this year, with no signs of it slowing down. I've made all of my favorite zucchini recipes multiple times and we still have plenty. It's the best kind of problem to have! This soup uses a decent amount of zucchini and it's creamy and comforting without being too heavy for September. 

Cream of Zucchini Soup

                                                        1 T. olive oil                                           1 tsp. seasoned salt
                                                        1/2 white onion, chopped                  2 T. butter
                                                        2 cloves garlic, minced                        2 T. flour
                                                        3 large zucchini, chopped                   1 1/2 c. milk
                                                        1 can veggie broth                               Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onions for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another three minutes. Add the zucchini, broth, and seasoning salt and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender. Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. 

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to make a roux. Cook until golden, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk until it is smooth. Add the roux to the pureed zucchini mixture and combine thoroughly. 

Serve with a garnish of Parmesan cheese. 


Paper Plate Garter Snake

I like snakes. More accurately, I like harmless snakes in nature where they belong. It's always a thrill to see a garter snake or a gopher snake in the backyard, where I know they are helping to keep the rodent population down. While technically it is a thrill to see a rattlesnake, I can live without ever having that thrill again. Fortunately, it is easy to tell the difference between dangerous and harmless snakes here in Northern California. As long as it doesn't have a triangular head and a rattle on its tail, it's welcome to visit my backyard. 

Today's project is a moveable garter snake, made from a paper plate. Both Massachusetts and Virginia have named the garter snake as their state reptile. Give this easy project a try! Affiliate links below. 

Paper Plate Garter Snake



Cut the rim of the paper plate away from the center. Use the center to cut the snake's head. Cut the rim into four sections that are approximately the same size. 

Paint the head and each of the sections brown. When the paint is dry, add a Camel stripe down the center of each body section and along the edges. 

Line up two body parts so that they overlap slightly, use the craft pick to poke a hole, and connect the two pieces with a brad. Continue until all four body pieces are connected. Then connect the head to one end of the body. 

Use the scissors to round off the tail end of the snake. 

Draw a pupil on the enamel dots, then stick the dots to the snake's face. (I drew them vertical, but it appears they should be round. There is a lot of conflicting information about snake pupils.) Draw on two nostrils. 

I positioned my snake in the dirt to take photos. For a paper plate, I think it looks pretty convincing! 


16th Anniversary

Steve and I typically celebrate our anniversary by picking a semi-local city to explore. We usually stay two nights in a cute inn or B&B while Trevor spends the weekend with his grandparents. We always have a wonderful time. 

Unfortunately, COVID-19 ruined our 2020 anniversary travel plans. Our weekend trip for two became a day at home for three. Trevor had an online Scout event all day, so while he was occupied, Steve and I took a long walk together and found some geocaches. We picked up our produce box and took the scenic route home. We played games and watched movies. Since early March, we had not eaten anything that we didn't prepare at home, so we decided to get contactless curbside pickup to make our anniversary feel a bit more special. They messed up our order in more ways than you'd think possible, but we did our best not to let it ruin our special day.   

16th Anniversary (affiliate link)

Check out the patterned paper I used for the background of this layout. I remember exactly when and where I got it... in 2008. I was doing design work for the local scrapbook store and had the option of being paid in cash or twice as much in store credit. I always chose the store credit. I had saved up quite a bit of credit when the owners announced that their family was moving and their successful store would be closing abruptly. Between the employee discount and the clearance prices, I brought home a LOT of awesome product. I used most of it back then, but there are still a few of those papers remaining in my stash. This paper brought me right back to 2008 and my very first job in the scrapbook industry. 
2008 Cindy would be so happy to see where that first job has taken 2020 Cindy. And newly married 2004 Cindy would be thrilled that 2020 Cindy celebrated 16 wonderful years with Steve, even if the celebration wasn't quite what they expected.