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First Time Camping with Kids? 5 Tips!

It’s that time of year when parents with young children are beginning to plan that very first camp trip with their young child.  Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve read a ton of articles about camping with kids.  What can possible be added to the discussion?  I have a few extra tips for that very first overnight camp trip specific to camping with … Continue reading First Time Camping with Kids? 5 Tips!

Earthquake! And More… California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

For months, my son has been asking when the new Earthquake exhibit will be opening at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Well, it finally opened last weekend, so I took him on Tuesday. How was the exhibit? I thought it was great! First, visitors are shown a short movie about plate tectonics. Then we were moved into a room made to feel … Continue reading Earthquake! And More… California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Hiking and Playing, Coyote Hills, Fremont

If you read my post yesterday, you know we attended the Nectar Garden Fun Day at Coyote Hills Regional Park on Monday.  I invited friends from my Nature Time! playgroup to attend with us, and the kids had a great time running around and playing after they were done with the butterfly activities.  A favorite for kid-play is the large grass field in front of … Continue reading Hiking and Playing, Coyote Hills, Fremont

Nectar Garden Fun, Coyote Hills

Nectar Garden Fun Day As many of you already know, we’re in the process of creating a butterfly garden in our backyard.  So I couldn’t resist attending the Nectar Garden Fun Day with my son yesterday morning at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont.  This is one of my favorite parks in the East Bay, with a boardwalk through the marsh, hills to climb, hiking … Continue reading Nectar Garden Fun, Coyote Hills

Nature Time! Hike, Dublin Hills

We kicked off our Memorial Day weekend with a great hike with friends from our Nature Time! playgroup.  The kids had fun on the trail, playing in the tall grass, and stopping to check out insects (mostly stink bugs).  The weather  was breezy and cool, but the children didn’t seem to notice.  It makes me so happy to see a pack of kids running joyfully … Continue reading Nature Time! Hike, Dublin Hills

Readership Appreciation Award.. Thank You!

Thank you to FeyGirl at Serenity Spell, one of my absolute favorite blogs, for passing along the Readership Appreciation Award to me!  If you are interested in wildlife and photography, I highly recommend you check out Fey’s blog.  It’s gorgeous! Now, for the six blogs, each nature-inspired, that I’d like to pass the Readership Appreciation Award to… naturetime nature photography Nature Pics Blog seapunk2 L&L … Continue reading Readership Appreciation Award.. Thank You!

Backyard Wildlife… The Squirrel

We’ve had this one bird feeder in the backyard for almost two years now, without any problems with squirrels.  But that changed this week.  We now have a small red squirrel who visits us daily, cleans up the seeds dropped on the ground by the birds, and has, unfortunately, begun to raid the bird feeder itself.  He’s actually figured out how to raid both of … Continue reading Backyard Wildlife… The Squirrel

Great Climbing Structures, Creekside Park, San Ramon

A friend recommended that I check out this park, and we finally made it there a few weeks ago. Creekside Park in San Ramon is a fun little park, with two play areas; one for little kids, one for older kids. This is one of the few parks around that might actually be challenging for older (8+) kids to climb on.  The structure also has … Continue reading Great Climbing Structures, Creekside Park, San Ramon

Birding with Kids, Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton

Since the week my son turned three, we’ve been attending the East Bay Regional Parks Outdoor Discoveries program, a naturalist-led class designed specifically for three-five year-old children.  Each outing includes a hike and plenty of time for observation, exploration, and play.  To make the classes even more fun, I always invite friends from my Nature Time! playgroup to join us. Our class this morning was … Continue reading Birding with Kids, Shadow Cliffs, Pleasanton

Ten Fun East Bay Parks with Free Water Play Features

The weather is warming up, so  it’s time to find fun outdoor activities for the kids that incorporate water play.  Kids love to play in water… any kind of water!  The play areas I’ve included in this list are all free and are located within local community parks.  If the features aren’t already on in the park near you, they will be beginning this Memorial … Continue reading Ten Fun East Bay Parks with Free Water Play Features

The Little Brown Bird

This little bird is my son’s favorite visitor.  He says the bird has “cool creature powers,” as the bird can jump along vertically up our back fence.  I believe this is an oak titmouse.  All I know is it’s cute, and my son loves it. Also, I’m looking for some suggestions.  For bird identification, I’m currently using the 1988 version of the Western Birds Audubon … Continue reading The Little Brown Bird

“Awesome”… “Wow!”…

Quotes from my son while viewing the solar eclipse last evening at the Lawrence Hall of Science in the Berkeley hills… I figure he’ll be seventeen for the next solar eclipse… have to experience these moments while we can!! Related articles 40 Awesome Photos Of The Solar Eclipse (buzzfeed.com) Trans-Pacific ‘ring of fire’ eclipse wows sky-gazers – AsiaOne (asiaone.com) ‘Ring of Fire’ Eclipse Wows (newser.com) Continue reading “Awesome”… “Wow!”…

Learning About Bees: The Great Sunflower Project

We’ve been making progress in planting our butterfly garden, and now we’ve moved onto the next phase… bees! I’ve been researching citizen science programs that might be fun for me and my son to do together. I love the idea of being a citizen scientist, helping in our own way to assist real scientists by providing data collected from our own yard. The first one … Continue reading Learning About Bees: The Great Sunflower Project

The Kora… Outdoor Music at the Farmer’s Market

We try to attend at least one of our many local farmer’s market weekly. While our primary reason for a visit to the market is to purchase fresh, seasonal, local fruits and vegetables, what my son likes the best is the music. Each of the markets seems to have a different musician or band playing each week. This week, at the Thursday San Ramon Farmer’s … Continue reading The Kora… Outdoor Music at the Farmer’s Market

Fossils, Flowers, and Fun! Dublin Hills

I thought we’d head to a museum today, but my son asked if we could go hiking instead.  Great!  When I asked him where he wanted to go hiking, he said, “Dublin Hills!”  I liked that answer, as the official trail head (Donlon Point Staging Area) is only a few miles from our home.  Easy! For those of you who may not know, I have … Continue reading Fossils, Flowers, and Fun! Dublin Hills

Paleontology Play! Dinosaur Digging

We’ve been staying home a lot this past week while my son’s been sick with a cold. One afternoon, he asked, “Can I dig for dinosaurs in the backyard?” We have a section of the yard that isn’t landscaped, so that was perfectly fine with me. Dinosaur digging can be done in a patch of dirt in your backyard, in a sandbox, at the beach, … Continue reading Paleontology Play! Dinosaur Digging

The Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz

For Mother’s Day, I wanted to explore someplace new with my husband and our son.  I reviewed my “to-see” list, considered outings in the Marin Headlands and San Francisco, and decided, instead, that it would be a great day for a visit to The Arboretum at the University of California Santa Cruz.   And I’m so glad we did! The collections at The Arboretum are … Continue reading The Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz

“Mommy, look! A deer on the hill!!”

Multiple times a day, ever since my four-year-old son could talk, he exclaims, “Mommy, look!  Mommy, look!  There’s a deer on the hill!!”  Of course, he won’t let up until I take a look.  Today,  his shouts were slightly different.  “Mommy, look! Mommy, look! A teenage boy deer on the hill!!”  Here’s what my son spotted Saturday morning, while we were sitting at the dining … Continue reading “Mommy, look! A deer on the hill!!”

Bring on the Butterflies…

After tons of research, I finally decided what to plant in our yard to attract butterflies.  As you may know, we’ve been creating a backyard wildlife habit, following the guidelines set forth by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). My first goal in creating our butterfly garden was to add plants to our yard that will provide nectar.  Several varieties of Salvia (commonly known as sage) … Continue reading Bring on the Butterflies…

The Hill Before Weed Abatement

The grasses on the hill behind our home are beginning to dry out. That means it’s weed abatement time. We live in fire country, and it’s required that all flammable and combustible growth within thirty feet of our home must be removed each spring. I completely understand the necessity of this requirement, but it makes me sad each year to see the grasses on the … Continue reading The Hill Before Weed Abatement

Spring Nature Activities!

I’m always on the lookout for fun things to do with my son. Today I came across the Spring 2012 Nature Rocks Spring Activity Guide, which is filled with tons of fun nature activities. Coincidentally, it includes a couple activities I recently recommended (take favorite toys outside and do messy art activities outside), but also includes the following (and much more): Ideas for exploring nature … Continue reading Spring Nature Activities!

Nature Play, Roberts Regional Park, Oakland

One of our favorite parks for play is Roberts Regional Park in the Oakland Hills.  This park, nestled in the redwoods, has something for everyone.  First, if you have a child, the play structure here is among the best in the Bay Area (and it’s barrier free / wheelchair accessible).  But other than that, the park has a variety of hiking trails, a baseball field, … Continue reading Nature Play, Roberts Regional Park, Oakland

Simple Outdoor Play: Take Inside Toys Outside

Simplest of outdoor play… let your child take their inside toys outside.  My only constraint?  I don’t allow toys with small pieces that can get lost (Lego‘s) or items that can roll under the deck (Marble Run, Hot Wheels).  When I was a kid, I loved to take my Barbies outside.  They would frequently go camping, swimming, rafting, and hiking. I wish I knew what … Continue reading Simple Outdoor Play: Take Inside Toys Outside

Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award.. Thank You!

Very cool!  Travel Lady with Baby has passed this award on to me.  Thank you!  I love your blog! *** The rules for this award are that you must answer the following ten questions and nominate ten blogs that you think deserve the award. 1. Describe yourself in seven words.  Caring, Loving, Earthy, Passionate, Observant, Kind, Reflective 2. What keeps you up at night? Everything! … Continue reading Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award.. Thank You!

Visit a Garden for Free! National Public Gardens Day 2012

This Friday, May 11th, is National Public Gardens Day!  Better Homes & Gardens and the American Public Garden Association have collaborated to provide free admission to gardens throughout the United States and Canada.  What a wonderful program to help people discover and learn about their local gardens! Interested in attending?  Sign up through the Better Homes & Gardens page (www.bhg.com/gardening/celebrate-national-public-gardens-day/) to receive your coupon.  You … Continue reading Visit a Garden for Free! National Public Gardens Day 2012

Gardening with Grandpa

Over the weekend, we went to Sacramento to help my parents plant their vegetable garden.  The garden has historically been my mom’s project.  However, as my parents have become older (they are now entering their 80’s), the yard work has become more difficult for them.  My mom uses a walker, and getting down to the garden, as well as bending down to do the work, … Continue reading Gardening with Grandpa