Friday, June 22, 2018

Crab Camp

In May, Trevor's Boy Scout troop camped at Bodega Bay, where they dug for clams and fished for crabs. They referred to the trip affectionately as Crab Camp. Crab Camp was a great success... as long as you measure success by the boys having a great time and not by how much they brought back for dinner! The Scouts successfully dug up dozens of clams, but they were not safe to eat. The group caught exactly one crab that was legal sized, which is not quite enough to feed a group of hungry boys and leaders. Some dads saved the day by buying crabs to supplement the catch. And, of course, the Scouts always practice their motto of "Be Prepared" and had brought plenty of other food along. 

When I chose the photos to use, I knew I wanted to include a group shot, photos of Trevor digging and fishing, a picture of the campsite, and the photo Steve got of the group hiking toward Bodega Head. I added a shot of three of the Scouts, Trevor huddled behind his tent (which was acting as a much-needed wind break), and a picture of the reason why the boys' bait kept disappearing (aka the California sea lion). 

Crab Camp (affiliate link)

I put together my block of photos, leaving space at the top for the title. I thought I'd be able to squeeze in my journaling to the right of the title, but it wasn't enough space. So I split a journaling card and allowed the writing to spill from the card to the white space next to the title. I've never done that before and I'm not sure I love it aesthetically, but it's more important to me to get the details down that to have everything look perfect. I used the second half of the card to add the who, when and where, which serves the double purpose of bringing the eye to the photo of Trevor. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018


Our family loves to visit museums when we travel, yet there are quite a few museums close to home that we've never visited. When my friend Kirsten of Twenty Stitches offered up guest passes to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, I happily accepted! We'd never been there and this was just the incentive we needed to plan a visit. 

We invited Steve's parents to join us at SF MOMA. Here they are with Trevor and me, sitting at an ingenious table. The table stair-steps across the entire length of the room (seating maybe 20) with each tabletop and chair slightly larger than the next. No matter how tall or small you are, there's a spot that is just your size. 

There's a spider that's just your size, too. Different artist, equally cool, somewhat less utilitarian. 

The special exhibit, which runs through October 28, features the later works of surrealist painter Rene Magritte

Surrealism is not my favorite, but I still thoroughly enjoyed looking at his artwork. This gallery was particularly fun. When you looked at a particular 'window' or 'door,' you might see yourself projected back in a different location, or you might see somebody standing elsewhere in the building. We enjoyed trying to figure it all out.

I can't believe Trevor is already 12 years old!

We had only gotten through 2 of the 7 floors before lunchtime. We ate at the delicious, albeit somewhat pricy, Cafe 5. Everything was fantastic. You can choose to eat indoors, which we did....

... or you can eat in the sculpture garden. I didn't realize SF MOMA has one of Robert Indiana's famous LOVE sculptures. (Turns out there are 23 in the United States and more worldwide.) 

We recognized the work of Tom Otterness right away. We first discovered his artwork in Phoenix while doing the Urban Adventure Quest

I love taking pictures of Steve taking pictures of Trevor. I should make a layout with all of them one of these days. 

This artwork was very interesting. It's a collection of all the ways you can arrange three or more adjacent sides of a cube, arranged by number of sides. The wall has diagrams of all the combinations. The picture only shows a small portion of them. 

This piece by Chuck Close was one of my favorites from SF MOMA because it was just so interesting how the viewer's perspective made such a difference. Up close, you see colorful diamonds filled with circles, triangles, and irregular shapes. 

Back up, and those shapes have meaning. 

Keep backing up and you see the whole face.

Here's another portrait by Chuck Close but done in greyscale. When you back up far enough, the huge painting looks like a grainy photo.

Move closer in, and you see the many shapes that create the face.

Stand close enough, and it's hard to see anything but the shapes and the shades of browns and greys. 

We passed on the bunny light in the gift shop, but I can't say it wasn't tempting.

Huge thanks to Kirsten for the tickets! We thoroughly enjoyed our day.

Because admission to SF MOMA is always free for kids, we only used four of the six tickets Kirsten gave me. Which means I have two tickets to give away to one of you! There is no expiration date on them, but I would like for them to go to someone who will actually use them. If you're local to San Francisco (or will be visiting in the next year or so) and would like free tickets to SF MOMA, leave a comment and I'll pick one of you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Exploring New Hampshire Through Little Passports

Our next virtual trip through Little Passports taught Trevor and me all about New Hampshire. I hadn't realized New Hampshire has some of the highest peaks on the East Coast. Nor did I know that Mt. Washington in New Hampshire was the site of the fastest measured wind gust in history (231 mph).... until 2010! (The story of how they lost that title is pretty interesting.) To learn more about how wind is measured, Trevor followed the directions to build a model of an anemometer using straws and paper cups.

While this anemometer can't measure wind speed in miles per hour, you can use it to measure revolutions per minute. Trevor achieved some pretty decent speeds by blowing on it! 

The state journal was full of activities about New Hampshire's natural beauty, including the granite peaks, vibrant fall color, and peaceful lakes. The model was of a log cabin that you'd find in the woods or New Hampshire. 

We solved a crossword puzzle about the 5 major rivers that originate in New Hampshire. By unscrambling shaded boxes, we learned one of this state's nicknames: The Mother of Rivers. 

The next two activities were about New Hampshire's role in presidential elections. Since 1952, New Hampshire has been the first state to hold primaries. (It's written into state law: “The presidential primary election shall be held on the second Tuesday in March or on a date selected by the secretary of state which is seven days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election.”) The assignments asked us to create slogans and a campaign poster as if we were running for office. Instead, we imagined what Trouble's campaign slogans would be if he were running for president: "Happy rabbits are cage-free!"

We did a matching and searching activity about the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, solved a dot-to-dot about the black bears of New Hampshire, and then did the cooking project - hot apple cider. We made apple cider often so it wasn't something new... except for the recommendation to add a teaspoon of maple syrup to the cider. We'd never tried that and, not surprisingly, it was delicious!

Trevor and I had a lot of fun learning all about the Granite State and look forward to exploring it in person together some day.

Thanks to Little Passports for another fun and educational adventure!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Narwhal Party

This post contains affiliate links. 

Time to share all the fun details from Trevor's narwhal-themed birthday party

For the fourth year in a row, Trevor opted to have his party at the ice rink. It makes everything so easy for me, because all I have to do is bring the cake/cupcakes. They provide everything else. The kids skate, eat lunch, skate some more, eat cake, and skate some more. As long as they'd like, actually. Though after 3+ hours, they were exhausted!

Trevor worked with me to design the cupcakes. Through trial and error, we worked out a way to make cute and easy narwhals. We started by putting toothpicks into Zachary Fruit Slices. Then we dipped each Fruit Slice into a bowl of Candy Melts (10 black discs and 30 white discs mixed to make the perfect gray and enough for 18 narwhals). The toothpick made a very convenient handle that allowed for full narwhal coverage. After dipping each narwhal, we set them on waxed paper to dry, then added tiny black sprinkles for eyes.   

We frosted each cupcake with blue frosting, then nestled in a narwhal. We put our cupcakes directly into our 3-in-1 cupcake caddy (LOVE that thing). Here they are on the dessert table at the party, with Trevor's stuffed narwhal. It was a souvenir from when his Cub Scout pack spent the night 'sleeping with the sharks' at the Monterey Bay Aquarium a few years ago.

Rather than use a boring candle for Trevor's cupcake, I made a few changes to a store-bought whale candle pick and ended up with a narwhal. Here's the before and after:


Just use a fingernail to gently scrape the yellow star and the mouth off the candle. It flakes off easily. Glue a googly eye over the black eye, use a Sharpie to add a smile, and then gently twist a toothpick into the forehead. Remove the toothpick and break it in half. Put a drop of glue in the hole, then put the toothpick back in the hole, broken end first. 

Here's the birthday boy with the narwhal candle lit.

We added one other fun narwhal touch to the party. We started with a wooden dolphin shape and some wood dowels. We broke off the dorsal fin, then used sandpaper to smooth off the narwhal's back. We sanded off the bottlenose to make the rounded snout of the narwhal. Then, we painted it gray. When it was dry, we glued on a toothpick tusk, a googly eye, and a dowel.


The party guests could use the narwhal-topped dowels to create skewers of candy. 

We made one final narwhal item, but did not end up using it at the party. We slit an empty wrapping paper tube vertically, formed it into a tusk shape, then wrapped it with masking tape. It's now a cool ring toss game! 

As always, I loved working with Trevor to plan a fun party to match his theme idea. It turns out that narwhals make a pretty good party theme!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Pins, Roundups, and Graphics (Oh My..)

Keeping up with best practices for social media feels like a Sisyphean task. I only deal with Facebook and Pinterest professionally and I still can't keep up. Of course, that's only partially my fault because the 'best' is ever-changing.

These pins are all 600 x 1260, which was 'best' as recently as a few months ago.


Now, the 'best' pins are 600 x 900. So that's what I'm making.



I haven't noticed any difference between pins with text in a circle, like the ones above, versus stretching across the length of the pin, like the ones below. Until someone tells me otherwise, I'll keep mixing things up.


And, of course, the vertical format that is so important on Pinterest is terrible for Facebook. Here are the Facebook graphics I made for the May and June crafts. They're both 315 x 600, which as far as I know, is still 'best.'


I can't imagine trying to keep up with all the other platforms as well. Pinterest and Facebook are more than enough to keep me on my toes!

As always, I made all of the graphics using PicMonkey. They make dealing with the ever-changes sizes SO much easier. I love PicMonkey!