Saturday, February 18, 2012

el dorado nature center

an oasis in the city: el dorado nature center. i grew up going here many weekends with my dad and walking the one or two mile loop trail. lots has changed here, more native plants and a more manicured path but fun all the same


my big camp fire kids held an "environment" meeting here, hosted by three kids, part one was our walk today and a craft and lesson will complete the "trail" at mondays meeting IMG_0453
winter time is the best time to be in california, the mountains can be seen (with snow too!) and the days are cool, windy and sunny IMG_0470
one of the first outings our group did together was visiting the nature center and it's been 6 years since! wow! IMG_0466
i couldn't help myself with all these group photos, such a wonderful way to spend a weekend morning IMG_0473
and one more.... IMG_0485

thanks for six wonderful years together girls, i can see the bright futures for all of them shining in their eyes. what a great feeling!


i am heading to work and hoping to share more about our new "garden club" at the kids school i am FINALLY getting started! more to come!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

5 months from now....

we'll be in italy!! southern italy that is. i have been super busy planning this trip... for 2 years now! yep, hoping we could scrape this huge trip together and so far it looks like a go! i became enamored with italy many years ago when i went on a trip with my parents, husband and emily when she was about a year and half old. we went to venice and the tuscany area, renting houses in each spot for a week and exploring on our own. italy has a similar landscape to california but with way less people. it was definitely the best trip of my life and still remains so today. when i returned i dusted off the "under the tuscan sun" book i had started a decade before and read it cover to cover (and a second time too) wondering why had i not gone to cortona!! we had been so close! it sent me dreaming of another trip someday... which has been more than 10 years now. emily will be 12 when we hit rome and start our adventure through puglia, basilicata and up through naples back to tuscany and YES cortona!!!


researching this trip has been a blast and i went from two to three weeks and now a little more than that as i added city after city...


puglia is not as touristy as other italian regions so i am hoping our june/july dates won't be too crowded. i am sure rome will be a challenge but the kids really can't miss school right now


inspirations for choosing puglia came from here and here and here

funny how once on the trail i stumbled onto many italian blogs written by americans... even becoming "friends" with many on Facebook and adding even more places to our list of cities to visit. one very special person turned us on to basilicata and another fellow so cal gal has the b and b in tuscany we will be staying at. last, our trulli in puglia was found by another ex pat from laguna beach (just down the street from us) crazy! here are some of the links, in case you are curious:

basilicata really has become a major player for me now with it's rugged coast and hilltop villages, visit my pinterest board on it if you really want to be wowed! like i said, it reminds me of growing up here in southern california before it got so miserably crowded and smoggy... stay tuned for more on italy!!