Saturday, December 22, 2012

October Art

Our themes for this month were Colors, Fall, Outer Space, Dinosaurs and Halloween. Here are some of the fun art projects that we did! Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of a lot of our art work for this month :( Some of the missing art is a color combinations craft, colored hands craft, blow paint aliens, puffy paint moons, dinosaur feet craft, paper plate dinosaurs, paper jack-o-lanterns and marble paint bats.

sensory - paint in a bag

handprint tree

paper plate owl

tissue paper pumpkin

handprint corn

handprint spider

handprint bat

footprint rocket ship

carved and painted pumpkin

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Whirlwind

These last few months have been a whirlwind and seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye. I can't believe November is gone, and Christmas is less than three weeks away. I also can't believe that it's almost a new year. It feels as if this year has just begun, and yet it's nearly over. Time certainly does fly by. I remember this time last year: decorating our house in Menifee for Christmas, stressing out over my demanding job, and wishing the months until we moved to Palomar would fly by. And fly by they did. It's amazing to look back at our life a year ago, to remember what I felt and worried over, and to see where our lives are now. We're living on our beautiful mountain, I work part-time from home, and we're enjoying the country aspect of life. Sometimes I forget how incredibly blessed we are.

Our house is coming along, slowly, inch by marginal inch. It's difficult to find time since Wes works most Saturdays, and we have such a busy social calendar on weekends. We haven't worked on any major renovations in a couple of months, but we've made some small cosmetic updates. We changed out the bedroom ceiling lights, hung up pictures, and bought a few house decorations. We still have tons more work to do. We don't have closet doors, are missing light switch and outlet covers, the kitchen tile is half done, we're missing one upper cabinet, and I'm still waiting on my island and stovetop. This is just a small list of the work that we still need to do. I left out details about the dining room, laundry room, powder room, basement, breezeway and backyard that all need work. This renovation is turning into a very long project.

I feel as if I've adjusted pretty well to mountain living. I love the space, open air, and smell of the fresh trees. I don't mind the long drive into town, and usually can make it up or down the windy mountain roads without getting car sick anymore. I've gotten use to wearing long-sleeve shirts instead of tank tops during the winter months, and have even established a regular habit of adding wood to the fire. It's still colder than I'd like inside the house sometimes, so I find myself bundled up in a jacket or throw blanket. I love the smell and ambience of the wood burning in the fireplace. I love being home, even when I'm working. I have so much more time at home that I've been better at maintaining a clean, and clutter-free house. I love the smell of food cooking in the slow-cooker, and cookies baking in the oven. I love the smell of the rain, and the woodsy wet trees. Over all, I love my new life on Palomar. I miss small things about city living, such as a garbage disposal, good electric wiring, natural gas BBQ hookups, and NO MICE. I'd have to say, the mice are my absolute least favorite part of mountain living. It's been worse for us because our house was abandoned for 10 years, so the mice took over, and now they won't leave. I'm tired of finding mouse poop in places that I've already cleaned (including kitchen drawers and my car), of finding pet food hidden all over the house, and having kitchen food and spices stored in boxes all around the kitchen because the mice are getting into my pantry! Once the mice are gone, or their numbers severely eliminated, I'll be much happier. Who would have thought a rodent problem could be this frustrating.

October was fun and busy. During October we discovered that a mountain lion and her three cubs live somewhere nearby between our neighboring properties. I haven't wandered very far on the property since I found that out. I dressed up as an Indian Princess and helped Cowboy Wes and Chris with the horse rides at a church event on Halloween. The children had so much fun, but I was exhausted and sore the next day from lifting so many children on and off the horses.

Thanksgiving was a small and simple affair, but very enjoyable. Wes and I went camping in our new trailer with my in-laws in Borrego Springs. We made quite a Thanksgiving feast for just the four of us. We had turkey and gravy, buns, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, broccoli stuffing casserole, pear and walnut salad and pumpkin pie! Everything was delicious. It was a nice, rare opportunity to spend time with Dutch and Sharon. It was a fun and relaxing mini vacation.

The house is already decorated for Christmas, and I had so much fun with my Rustic Cowboy Christmas theme. I bought Wes a new cow skull ornament, and used Cedar branches to decorate. It's festive, woodsy and beautiful. I absolutely love it. Now it's time to buy all our gifts, order Christmas cards and bake lots of delicious Christmas cookies. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

September Family Party

My great-aunt Nancy was visiting us from Portugal. It had been over 10 years since most of us had last seen her, so it was a great cause to celebrate. We had two family parties, and the first party was the most memorable because it was the first time that the entire Santos family from Southern California was all together in a long time. With the working schedules that many of us have, it is very difficult for absolutely all of us to be present, but this time we managed it. So, of course, we took many pictures, and now have many wonderful memories. Here are some of my favorite pictures.

The Santos and our extended Cellini family

a rare picture of me and my brothers

Cellini family


me and my mom
me and my cowboy

September Art Board

The girls were very excited about this month's art board because it involved a 3D apple tree! Here's how I made it:

I scrunched up a rectangular piece of brown butcher paper for the tree trunk and attached it with tape in the shape that I wanted. (Traditionally, you can just staple the paper directly onto the board, but since I don't have cork board installed yet, I have to tape everything onto the background paper and then pin the entire board up with push pins.) For the tree leaves I scrunched up green construction paper (butcher paper is better, but I didn't have any on hand) and attached it in the shape that I wanted. We used our handprints as leaves for extra dimension. In the past I shaped tree branches with the brown butcher paper, and attached only handprints as the leaves, but with only two girls that would have required a TON of handprints, and bored three-year-olds. I hand-drew the barn and had it laminated for safekeeping. The remaining artwork includes apple print apples, footprint tractors, handprint chickens, and a cow craft.

Now our September masterpiece is complete.

September Art

Our themes for this month were Farm, Pioneers and Wild West. Here are some of the fun art projects that we did. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of our pig craft, handprint ducks, paper log cabins, and woven paper baskets.

footprint tractor

handprint chicken

dairy cow craft

handprint leaves and apple print apples
handprint chicken craft
covered wagon craft

footprint horse

August Art Board

I have had a blast planning out the art and art board for my at-home preschool! Every month I let the girls help me put it together, and then are happily surprised when they come back to school to find it hanging on the wall. They are very proud of their art, and being able to help. They tell anyone, and everyone all about it. Here's how I put it together:
I hand-drew the sand castle and palm tree to serve as a teacher-created art. For the ocean waves I painted on white tissue paper with varying color shades of watered down paint. Once dry, I cut out the curvy shape of the waves and pieced it all together randomly. The remaining artwork was done during the prior week by the girls. They include a paper sandcastle craft, handprint crabs, and footprints in the sand. Then we had our August masterpiece. :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

August Art

Our themes for this month were Beach, Ocean, and Rainforest. Here are some of our fun art projects from August.

Hand and Footprint Lobster
Footprints in the Sand Poem

Paper Bowl Jellyfish

Beach Balls

Handprint Crab


Monkey Craft

Tree Frog Craft

Saturday, September 15, 2012


It's been a challenge adapting to country life, to say the least. It seems as if nearly every day I'm faced with a new challenge. Our pump broke last week, so we were without water pressure for 8 days; meaning no showers, no dishwasher, and no laundry! Luckily, my amazing in-laws allowed us to shower at their house when needed, so we weren't too dirty at least. Then yesterday, I had to face a personal phobia - crickets! I know, I know - I'm pathetic. But yes, I am very terrified of crickets and grasshoppers. Not because I'm afraid that they will harm me, but because I'm afraid that they will jump on me! It was a nightmare trying to get close enough to the cricket to get rid of it. I debated for a good 15 minutes on what I should do, muttering to myself the entire time about how much I hate crickets! I really, really didn't want to do anything, but the idea of leaving the cricket free to roam around my house was absolutely inconceivable! At first, I had planned to squish it with a shoe, but that required me getting close enough to it which did not work because as soon as I moved closer it turned toward me and looked right at me! Then I had the ingenious idea of tying a plastic cup to the end of a painting extension pole with rubber bands. That way I could stay far enough away, but hopefully capture it in the cup and wait for Wes to come home and get rid of it. Of course, when I went into my classroom to get a rubber band, I found another cricket right inside the door. Chicken through-and-through, I screamed and threw a shoe at it! Luckily I managed to nail it with the shoe on the first try. I felt kind of bad about squishing it, but really, I had no other choice. I finally got my rubber bands, constructed my "cricket catcher" and fortunately was able to cover the cricket with the cup and weighted it down securely so that it couldn't escape. Now all I had to do was wait for my cowboy to come home, and hope that the dog didn't knock over the cup during the wait. Poor Wes, he's come home many times to find a bug trapped under a cup. I'm so lucky that he humors me with my silly fears. He merely comes home, smiles or laughs at the cup, and quickly disposes of the bug. While it's widely known that I do not like bugs, crickets are definitely my nemesis. I can handle other bugs much more easily than I can crickets. Ick. I hope this is not an experience that I will have to repeat any time soon.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Beach Day with Friends

We spent a fun-filled day at the beach with my BFF and her daughter on Sunday. We rarely find time to get together because of our busy schedules, so the time that we have is so priceless. We splashed around in the water and built sandcastles. I love them so much.

August Vacation

Wes and I took a week-long vacation recently. We spent 4 days working on our kitchen, and the other 4 on a mini vacation. We went to a family pool party, the Safari Animal Park, the beach, golfing and relaxed poolside at Lawrence Welk. It was a simple, but fun vacation.

Acclimating to Country Life

Emerging into the country life has been quite an experience! Since we moved to the mountain I've encountered many new challenges - some that make me want to laugh, but mostly ones that make me want to cry.

My number 1 challenge has been dealing with critters, such as mice, bugs and amphibians. Our house was abandoned for 10 years, so the mice took over until we moved in. I've been finding mouse poop in random places all around the house, including our pantry and my car! Every evening my cats catch a mouse, but are too busy trying to play with it that they lose it!

I've been finding random bugs everywhere too, and I hate bugs! Small ones, gigantic ones, flying ones, slimy ones, etc. The worst was when there was an ant infestation in my bathroom. There were giant flying ants swarming all over my walls and floor! Ick!

While working on the remodel, there has been a challenge with everything that we've tried to work on. Such as issues with changing out the door locks, or installing new flooring, or appliances. I'm trying to remember to laugh, when most of the time I just want to cry. Fortunately, things have been coming together, albeit slowly, but at least it's moving along at all.

Living in the mountains means learning caution because of wild animals. I've encountered a bobcat, coyotes, a rattlesnake, and a MOUNTAIN LION! It's been a little scary at times!

There have been many challenges living here on the mountain, but I'm beginning to learn that it comes with the territory. Despite the difficulties, it's worth it to be able to live in the country. It's calm, and peaceful, friendly, and full of adventures. There are so many great experiences that a city girl like me has never had the privilege to know, and I'm so blessed to have this opportunity. This is an amazing lifestyle that my children are going to be so blessed to be able to live.

Preschool Art

This is our art project from our first day of preschool. It's a Handprint Peacock!
 Tissue Paper Campfire
 Handprint Campfires
Footprint Butterflies

4th of July BBQ

We had our annual 4th of July BBQ with family and friends in our French Valley pasture. The weather was perfect, and everyone had a wonderful time. We camped for a few days and spent our time relaxing, fishing, floating in the pond, and playing games. This year we had a special guest at our BBQ - San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers! He was such a great and down-to-earth guy. It was amazing getting to meet him! I absolutely love our annual BBQ!