Category Archives: Art

A lot to be thankful for

It’s been ages since I wrote a post and I’d love to say that I’ll do a better job in the future, but it’s impossible to predict how busy life can be, especially with the holidays coming up. So what have I been up to these past few weeks? Months? I’ve mostly been working on expanding my career opportunities in the teaching field, by studying and taking several exams to work towards my teacher certification. My hard work has paid off since I passed my three exams with perfect or almost perfect scores and I can now get my foot back into the educational field. This is only the first step of a long process, during which there will be more studying and more tests to take, and even larger obstacles to overcome down the road, but I know it will be worth it in the end for my kids and myself.

Besides studying, I’ve spent more time on creative activities, including drawing and painting for myself, as well as teaching two art classes at my kids’ school as a volunteer. My goal is to create enough artwork and crafts to make them available for sale online sometime in early 2015. I’ve also recently created five new nature photography calendars for 2015 (the five themes are a year in Southern California, bees and other insectswater lilies, flowers and blooms, and water). The good news is that you can save 65% off on any of my calendars this weekend, so if you’re looking for a unique gift this holiday season, this is a great opportunity.

2015 photo calendar on San Diego

2015 photo calendar on San Diego

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Besides taking steps to realign my career goals with my personal aspirations, a lot of good things have happened (and a lot of bad things too, let’s be honest!). I have made new friends and strengthened existing friendships. I have made additional efforts to stay active and healthy. I have continued encouraging my kids to be curious and inquisitive about the world around them. I have challenged their thinking process and their academic abilities. I have taken them on an amazing vacation to the East coast, where they got to see and learn so much about US history with their own eyes. They enjoyed it so much, they can’t wait to go back and discover more. I also found great roommates, who ended up being way more than what I hoped for. It’s funny how life works sometimes. And of course, now that Thanksgiving is over, our favorite time of the year is coming! Today we’ll start decorating our house for Christmas, playing Christmas songs and reading more and more stories with a holiday theme. And I think our elf on the shelf will be back very soon too. All we need to feel more in the mood is for Mother Nature to turn down the thermostat so it’s not 85 degrees during the day anymore. I don’t think that’s much to ask.

When I say I have a lot to be thankful for, I’m not kidding. This is our jar of good things as it stands one month before the end of 2014. I can’t wait till my kids and I go through it to remember some of these great moments. What are you feeling thankful for this holiday season?

Jar of good things that happened in 2014

Jar of good things that happened in 2014

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Goofy Monday a la French, and some other unknown land…

Hey, look, it’s Monday! And I have a new Goofy Monday post for you. Don’t you feel lucky? Oh, is that Irish luck rubbing on you? Well, you’ll have to wait a week for that. Nope, it’s French luck. Check out the French connection in the first two conversations. My kids have French blood running through their veins and they know it!

The smell of freedom
Son #2 (getting out of the car at San Diego’s Balboa Park): “Aaaaahhh, smell that? It’s the smell of freedom.”
Son #1: “No it’s not. It smells like croissant.”
Incidentally there was a croissant in my bag, so I think Son #1 may have been correct. But I’ll give Son #2 an A for his figurative sense of smell.

What color is your rainbow?
Son #2 (drawing a rainbow): “Red first. Then orange…”
Me (looking at him drawing): “Isn’t the orange is supposed to go on top of the red, not below?”
Son #1: “Maybe in France it’s like that, but here the red is a the bottom of the rainbow.”
I’m so bad at drawing rainbows, I had to google the answer. And just so you know, French rainbows look the same as American rainbows. I obviously have no clue, but for my defense, I’d like to add that when you see a double rainbow, the lower rainbow displays the colors in reverse, since it’s a reflection of the other rainbow. Maybe that’s what I was thinking of…

The colors of the double rainbow

The colors of the double rainbow

What’s your Native American name?
Son #2: “In class, we’re picking Native American names. You have to pick a nature name and an animal name, and put them together. What do you want to be?”
Me: “Oh, I’d like to be something soft.”
Son #2: “How about… a porcupine?”
Me: “Uh, maybe something a little softer.”
Ouch, I wouldn’t want to cuddle with one of those. By the way, I ended up being Snow Bear.

You’re not welcome in my imaginary land
Son #2 is talking on a cell phone, pretending…
Me: “Who are you calling?”
Son #2: “I don’t have to tell you who I’m pretending to call.” (what can I say ? He’s practicing his teenage attitude…)
Son #2 continues to talk, and now I’m listening…
Son #2: “Hi, I’m calling from Metro Decor*. I’m trying to recover a dead sloth. I’m about to go on the bunny of terror.”
Wow, I know who to ask if I’m looking for storybook inspiration!
*Metro Decor is a furniture store that advertises on the radio.

It’s an all Angry Birds birthday!

A few weeks ago, I asked my youngest what theme he would like for his 6th birthday. His answer was instant: Angry Birds! He also decided he didn’t want a big birthday party with other kids, and instead he opted for a small birthday celebration at home, a fun outing around his birthday date, and party favors for all the kids in his class.

So we started the birthday preparations by buying a few Angry Birds birthday wall decorations, along with Angry Birds birthday plates and napkins.

Angry Birds birthday plates and napkins

Angry Birds birthday plates and napkins

When it came to gifts, my little man asked for a couple of Angry Birds Jenga knockdown games, but he had no further inspiration. The kid is always hard to shop for because he rarely finds a toy he falls in love with, and his wish list is often a bunch of maybes.

While shopping by myself at Target one day, I spotted a couple of Angry Birds items on the shelf, including an Angry Birds plush throw blanket and an Angry Birds lunch box. Suddenly, it clicked. How about making this an all Angry Birds birthday? And so the fun began. We started with an Angry Birds birthday countdown on our white board right after Valentine’s Day.

Angry Birds birthday countdown on our white board

Angry Birds birthday countdown on our white board

I gathered a number of Angry Birds funny gifts, including those Angry Birds Jenga knockdown games. I asked other people to contribute to the list. My sister gave him Angry Birds Star Wars pajamas. My mom gave him a nice collection of the National Geographic for Kids Angry birds books, and an Angry Birds puzzle.

National Geographic for Kids Angry Birds books

National Geographic for Kids Angry Birds books

Angry Birds Jenga knockdown and Angry Birds puzzle

Angry Birds Jenga knockdown and Angry Birds puzzle

Yesterday was the big day and we had the three blue birds from Angry Birds wish him a happy birthday (the kids drew the balloon and many confetti to make my drawing more festive). Note: I erased my son’s name in Photoshop.

Angry Birds blue birds

Angry Birds blue birds

I made my son a birthday card with his favorite Angry Bird character, the Mighty Eagle.

Angry Birds Mighty Eagle birthday card

Angry Birds Mighty Eagle birthday card

In the morning before school and then again in the afternoon, my son unwrapped one Angry Birds gift one after the other. I think the biggest surprise is the one I put on his bed while he was at school: an Angry Birds bed set! You should have seen the look on his face when he first saw his new bed.

Angry Birds bed sheet set and Angry Birds blanket

Angry Birds bed sheet set and Angry Birds blanket

Of course you can’t have a birthday celebration without a birthday cake. My son picked the perfect picture to have on his cake, and yes, it was as delicious as it looks on this picture.

Angry Birds birthday cake

Angry Birds birthday cake

In the end this birthday didn’t have a huge party or a lot of big presents but I have to say it must be the one birthday we’ve had the most fun preparing for. My oldest did a great job at keeping the many surprises secret.

Our outing consisted of a fun trip to Legoland and a visit of the original movie set used for the new Lego movie. This reminds me I want to tell you a bit about this Lego movie, especially if you haven’t seen it yet. But that’s for another post. After all, this one is all about Angry Birds. Take that, pigs!

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

Today I’m participating in the WordPress weekly photo challenge and this week’s theme is “treasure”. Today is Valentine’s Day and I thought it was a great coincidence for this theme.

Love and a loving relationship with the people who are closest to you is something you treasure. At our house, we’ve been anticipating Valentine’s Day for about a week, the time when we hand made Valentine cards for one another. I didn’t glance at what my boys were working on but my youngest couldn’t resist looking. Do you know how hard it is to draw and color when you have to cover your artwork with one hand? My kids worked on their card together and they created the biggest Valentine card I’ve ever received.

Wordpress Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure - huge Valentine card

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure – huge Valentine card

On my end, I made the same Valentine card for both kids. Nothing says love better than squirrels and nuts, doesn’t it? I complemented the cards with Toblerone chocolate and a couple of cute little monkeys with Velcro hands so the boys can hang them around the house. I think they were a hit.

I'm nuts about you squirrel Valentine card

I’m nuts about you squirrel Valentine card

And now I’ll be treasuring these Valentine cards by storing them in our “special boxes” for the memories.

Happy Valentine’s Day!