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Rhode Island Summers


Rhode Island Summers

My husband’s parents have a house in Westerly. We’ve spent every summer there since my oldest daughter was born. I love it there for so many reasons, but the biggest reason of all is the time my kids get to spend with their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. It’s a week where they don’t fight with each other because they are too busy running into the ocean waves with their cousins, or playing massive games of whiffle ball, or scheming about how to get one more morning of donuts for breakfast. On cloudy days we go to the water slides in Misquamicut, on rainy days we go bowling and out to our fave pizza place. Mystic Seaport is half an hour away…a place where you can go back in time and make candles, or visit the aquarium and see the cutest sea lions.

A walk down the beach brings us to the best climbing rocks, and a walk across the parking lot gets us to the big pond where the water is still like glass, and warm. If the boat is working, we can go tubing, or just park it in the middle of the pond and jump off the sides. Watch Hill is a 15 minute drive. We go here sometimes for a little shopping, to check out the beautiful homes (Taylor Swift’s place is pretty amazing), and to visit their favorite candy shop. The Ocean House just got rated one of the top five hotels in the country. Someday I want to spend a night there!

Rhode Island holds years of memories for all of us. My oldest said to me on this last trip that she loves it so much she never wants to go on any other vacation ever again. Only Rhode Island. It feels like home, she said.

These photos are from my Instagram feed. Follow me and say hello!

xo Bar

 

Our Trip to LA LA Land


Our Trip to LA LA Land

I recently took my daughters on a cross-country trip to LA. It was something I had been planning for a long time as a surprise…just us girls. It was such an incredible trip in so many ways!! First of all, LA has the best weather…duh. It’s absolutely perfect. Coolish in the mornings and at night so you can wear a sweater, warm during the day for sandals and shorts. I could seriously live in that temperature every day of my life. Secondly, LA is a city with mountains! We loved taking hikes, especially because there was always a reward at the top. The views were breathtaking. Thirdly, LA has the BEST FOOD! One of my daughters has all these allergies, but it was no problem in LA. They always had vegan options or almond milk. WE LOVE CALIFORNIA!! Here are some of our fave places that we visited.

runyon canyon :: hiking in LA

runyon canyon :: hiking in LA

Runyon Canyon for a hike. Steep climb but so worth it. This was my girls’ favorite hike because you could see the Hollywood sign in the distance. I love this shot of my middle with her phone…sort of epitomizes her phase in life. Those two are attached at the hip. Literally.

novel cafe in westwood :: our trip to LA

Novel Café in Westwood. We loved this spot to eat. We sat upstairs where they have a library and found a book on limericks (which turned out to be useful because making up limericks is a perfect pastime while sitting in LA traffic. Grrr.)

el matador in malibu :: our trip to LA

el_matador1

el matador in malibu :: our trip to LA

El Matador beach in Malibu. Our favorite beach by far, wished the whole time that the boys could be with us.

melrose place :: our trip to LA

Alfred Coffee on Melrose Place. Best iced coffee and blueberry muffins ever! And they sell jam and chocolate made in LA.

universal hollywood tour :: our trip to LA

Universal Studios tour. Seriously cool…especially driving by The Voice sound stage!!

santa monica pier :: our trip to LA

The Santa Monica pier. We loved the view from the ferris wheel, and riding bikes along the pier to Venice Beach was SUPER fun. We stopped and ate at The Figtree Cafe…yummy and great people watching.

urbanic on abbot kinney :: our trip to LA

Urbanic on Abbot Kinney. The hippest shopping area down in Venice, and the most beautiful paper store where we bought our one piece of LA art.

inspiration loop at roy rogers park :: our trip to LA

Inspiration Loop was a really great hike at Roy Rogers State Park. It was a bit cooler and cloudy that day which was actually perfect hiking weather…and nobody was on the trail. It was incredibly peaceful, just the three of us. The view of LA spanned all the way to the Pacific. Even in the haze it was gorgeous.

the getty museum :: our trip to LA

The Getty Museum was just stunning. We napped and ate on the lawn, saw Jackson Pollock and Ansel Adams, and gazed at the beautiful architecture. Worth the drive.

our trip to LA :: visiting @mericherry

our trip to LA :: visiting @mericherry

our trip to LA :: visiting @mericherry

I had a very exciting date with Meri from Meri Cherry and Ana from Babble Dabble Do, two fellow bloggers whom I had never met (but we share a Pinterest board called Rockin’ Art Moms). It was soooo much fun meeting face to face! We gabbed for hours. Insta-friends. Then the next day, our last and most favorite day of all, we went to Meri’s house and met her two beautiful little girls. Our families immediately clicked and it was like being with old friends… so cool when that happens. Meri has art playgroups at her house every Friday. Picture lots of babies and toddlers painting, splashing, licking (Meri’s paint was made from yogurt!), and just generally having the most amazing, messy, tactile experience of their lives. It was ridiculous! We loved every minute.

view from the hotel :: our trip to LA

This last shot is the view from our hotel in Universal City. The  mountains! I wish I could wake up to this view every day.

We left LA with lots of new clothes (thanks to a shopping spree at The Grove), dirt filled sneakers, many miles clocked in the car, three new friends for life, and a profound need to return to California some day. Next time we will go as a whole family.

What’s your favorite spot in LA?

xo Bar

 

Art for Littles


Art for Littles

Good morning! Today I am sharing yet another killer collection of simple art & play ideas for your little ones.

From top left: Spin art sun catchers from Meri Cherry // Rainbow color mixing from Simple as That // Credit card art from Housing a Forest // Hole punch art by Learn with Play at Home // Monster blow paintings from Raising Sparks // Styrofoam sculptures from The Artful Parent // Play with fabric scraps from Paint on the Ceiling // Easy weave bracelets by Willow Day // Clothespin caterpillars from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom // Scrap paper collage from Art Bar // Watercolor art from Blog Me Mom // Kandinsky egg carton art from Whatever

Have a great week! xo, Bar

 

Invitation to Paint


Invitation to Paint

Ever since my kids were very little, I have always put materials out in hopes that they would walk by, sit down, and get inspired. I just never knew until recently that there is a name for this philosophy! It’s called an “Invitation to Play”. I love this! It’s a term that is rooted in the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching and is used often with Early Childhood educators. Now that mine are older, I still do this but less with toys and more with art.

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

This latest invitation was simple. I just taped a small piece of watercolor paper to the table with some green painter’s tape. I put out a little still life, some watercolors and some colored pencils.

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

invitation to paint ~ still lives and open-ended paint exploring

invitation to paint ~ open-ended art exploration

invitation to paint ~ open-ended art exploration

This littlest artist decided to use some glitter glue and hearts that she found on the shelf to create her own abstract work of art. I like her thinking!

There are so many ways to create an invitation to play. Read this post by The Imagination Tree to get started, or search Pinterest where you will surely find one million ideas! One great Pinterest board is the Rockin’ Art Moms board that I happen to be part of. The other 11 members are well-versed in the Reggio language and they have a plethora of brilliant ideas.

xo, Bar

 

Martha’s Vineyard {family holiday}


Martha’s Vineyard {family holiday}

This summer we explored the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard. Lying just 6 miles off the southern coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, The Vineyard was once inhabited by the Wompanoag tribe and is now known for it’s gorgeous beaches, laid back style, and occasional vacationing president. Here are photos of some of our favorite spots and memories.

We rented a house through VRBO about three weeks before our trip. Since we had just canceled our big, much researched California coastal vacation (no time to explain, but picture a lot of moping) we wanted to stay somewhere “adventurous”. We chose the town of Aquinnah on the southern most tip of the island, a 35 minute drive from the ferry. Aquinnah is the last place on the island where Wompanoag still live. The beaches are untouched and breathtaking. Gayhead beach is known for its dramatic clay cliffs (and nudie bathers…make sure to warn your 7-yr old boy so they don’t point and giggle). Our favorite beach was Moshup, which is a 10-minute walk from the car down a cleared path, and adjoins Gayhead beach. There are rocks of all colors and boulders that look sculpted, along with the softest sand. The waves break further out so the kids could walk on the sandbar and body surf.

We visited all of the Vineyard towns. Some were sleepy places with just a general store and a post office. Others were destination spots with restaurants, inns, shopping and lots and lots of ice cream and candy! My kids were in heaven. Our favorite was the old whaling port of Edgartown. Full of pretty shingle style houses built by whaling captains, a walk down Water Street along the harbor is dazzling. Edgartown is also home to the island’s most popular beach, South Beach. We loved this beach, too (but with it’s crashing surf it is not the best beach for little kids). Our favorite shop was Portobello Road. They sell eclectic paintings, books, signs and all sorts of cool collectibles. Another lucky find was Chilmark Pottery (in Chilmark, of course) which sells the most beautiful hand made wares. Master potter Geoffrey was so nice to let us watch him work. We eat from his bowls every morning now!

Lighthouses abound on The Vineyard. We visited lots of them. Our favorite was the Aquinna lighthouse, probably because it was at our doorstep, but also because they are making a big effort to raise money to move it because it is falling into the ocean as it sits right on top of the red clay cliffs of Gayhead beach. We took a tour and climbed the stairs to the top and looked at some of the old photos of when there used to be a lighthouse keeper. It was pretty cool for the kids to make a connection with the past and also help problem solve for the future. (On a side note, speaking of lighthouse keepers, have your read The Light Between the Oceans? A heartbreaking story, but a good summer read.)

We also found some calm lakes, like that of Long Point Reserve, which was a beautiful day for all of us. It gave the kids a break from the pounding waves and they were able to just swim in the water for hours. The fishing village of Menemsha offered us a casual place to eat at The Galley, and was one of the spots where they filmed Jaws (my kids became a little obsessed with this fact). Menemsha also has a quieter beach where you can climb the rocks, and has the best sunsets on the island.

We loved our vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. We hope some day to go back and explore the island some more on bike (but first we will have to teach 7-yr old mr. stubborn to ride). Sorry for all the photos, I just couldn’t narrow down anymore. There were just too many pretty spots to show you!

xo, Bar