Art Ahead…


Hello all–So excited about the new addition to our little study– an art closet!!  When I packed up my classroom for the last time, I couldn’t resist trundling home my leftover feathers, popsicle sticks, paints,  and wiggly eyes…  Now there’s floor to ceiling shelves with tubs of supplies just waiting to become “art!”  It will be Big Fun when those grand-girls to roll in and set to gluing, sticking and painting!!

Here’s a little painting session from last summer at Grammy Camp.  Can’t wait to get at it again with those three.


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thanks Pinterest and Sarah Walsh for the Art graphic.


A Walk in the Woods

IMG_2995Hey there– While the kids were here, we had a chilly picnic out at Carbon Canyon Park. We wandered along the lake and hiked back to the Redwood Grove on he edge of the park. It’s the largest transplanted stand of redwoods in California.  Felt great to get out and ramble after all those big meals and Christmas cookies.


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It was a fine day, good to get out of the neighborhood and take a little mini-vacation with Micah, Jodi and the grand-girls.  Thanks for the hike time together M&J!


12182587_679054412386_3114323731215632846_oHi there–we had the grand-girls (and their dear parents) here this weekend, down to celebrate a couple birthdays.  I know I sound like “one of those grandmas”  –but I just have to say I get more besotted with this girls every time we’re together.  I wouldn’t trade them in for anything!

So here’s 10 reasons why I’m sticking with this grandma job:
#1.  I hear the car roll up and they charge in the door shouting, “Grandma Rhonda!!”
#2. Sittig through the new Peanuts movie,* Jobay on my lap.  After the first hour, she looks up at me and says, “This is a long movie Grandma!!”
#3. Three girls tumble into the kitchen to frost a cake for Great Grandma Honey’s birthday       and set to it with every single sprinkle to be found in the cupboards. Exciting cake!
#4. We pull out the doll house furniture my grown girls used to play with and they spend an hour fixing up their houses.
#5.  Reading my favorite version of the Thanksgiving story on the sofa together.
#6.  Charlotte doing backwards writing in her journal (ala DaVinci) then pulling me over to the mirror to read it along with her.
#7.  And there’s the raucous sing-a-long with Tom Chapin songs in the car.
#8.  As well as the steady stream of bad puns and knock-knock jokes from someone’s Laugh Aloud Joke Book for Kids.
#9. Love Sunday morning breakfast with syrup sticky fingers and forks while the sun streams in the kitchen windows.
#10. Hugs, lots of hugs.

Yep, being the grandma is the best job I’ve had yet.  And it gives a whole lot of joy watching these girls grow and change over the years.  I pray their lives will be filled to the brim with the love of people around them and the everlasting love of God.

*P.S. — Loved the Peanuts movie, all the old Charlie Brown antics and great music with colorfully clear new animation.

Ten Things to do with Grand-girls on Summer Day

DSC02941Hello all– Do you have any grand-girls of our own?  Then you know how much exhilarating, exhausting fun they can be.  Just being with them makes me feel younger — when they’re around, I find myself singing silly songs and dancing and racing around the house in a way I would never do on my own.  There’s knock knock jokes that don’t quite make sense and Maryann’s “Food Experiment Club,” that impels us to try odd combinations of what’s on our plates at dinnertime.  It’s definitely energizing to have them around the house!

Here’s 10 Things we thought were good old summer fun together:

DSC02955     DSC02988     #1.  Start the day with a “wake up song”– our personal favorite is “Good morning to you!”
(we are still waiting for the wake up on this photo).  #2.  Drag out the paper, glue and scissors for a little kitchen cupboard art display.

#3.  Head to Great Grandma Lo’s pool for a splashing good afternoon.

DSC02992     DSC02973#4. Eat a Chinese Breakfast together– dumplings and bowls of rice soup with egg and sesame stuffed rice balls (thanks Jodi!!).  #5.  Dig up their auntie’s of doll houses and furniture for an afternoon of mini- interior-decorating.

#6.  Round up a couple of little farmers here to plant two tomato plants, a watermelon plant and rows of flower seeds back behind the garage.  (Last year we did sunflowers and zinnias and I would email them pics of the flowers as they grew.)

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#7. An after dinner stop at Yogurtland.  It’s all about the colorful toppings.  #8.  Gather around the coffee table to a not too formal tea party (by tea, I mean peach juice) on Great-great Grandma Grace’s fancy China.

DSC02963#9.  Make a morning trek to the library to stock up on good reading for bedtime and long hot summer afternoons.

DSC02996#10.  And my personal favorite– Cooking with the grand-girls.  Here they’re helping me out by licking the whipped cream beaters nice and clean.

Here’s hugs to my girls for all the riotous fun together the last week.  You’re the best!

Back in Ojai!

Sun setting off the back porch in at Micah and Jodi house

Hello friends–  So happy to say that Jodi and the 3 grand-girls are back from China!!  Been missing them all 4!  So today we trundled up to Ojai for welcome home hugs and a little birthday cake for Jodi.  Loved the sweet time together.

Out and about in Ojai– trying out the new Sushi restaurant in town–a grand-girl favorite.

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And back home there was some awesome double rainbow watching and a little soggy puddle jumping.  Things are never dull with the grand-girls back– Love those lively, lovable  girls.

Eating with the Grand-girls in San Francisco

10414539_10103171440295033_8777143104621033161_nBreakfast at Andytown– fresh baked soda bread and homemade scones, muffins…

Hi friends— Like most trips, going up to see the family in SF involves some delightful eating!  This time the trip was all about entertaining those 2 grand-girls in tow.  So here are a few highlights,  eating, small girl style in San Francisco…

IMG_0113     IMG_0571   Andytown, is the new coffee grinder/baker in the Sunset.  It’s owned by an Irish couple who bring the best soda bread out of their oven (his grandmother’s recipe).  It’s smart, stylishly modern, but the scrumptious baked goods are definitely old fashioned and homemade.  Weekend breakfast at Andytown in a regular habit for Ani & Brian.

img_7351     IMG_0637For cousin lunch with Baby Mae, we stopped by the Wooly Pig Cafe and picked up an assortment of their amazing sandwiches– for a little sandwich buffet lunch followed by the requisite trip to year another new playground.

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A short trek from our day at the zoo, brought us to the House of Pancakes, that’s Chinese pancakes!  It’s a small friendly place and if you peek through the doorway into the kitchen you can see noodles being pulled by hand, the old fashioned way.  Our girls were happy to eat here– especially the dumplings.   Chinese food is comfort food for them!

Bi-Rite5     IMG_0535We set off on our travels with a list of “5 TRIP RULES,”  the first being, “#1. Eat at least 5 ice cream cones.”  We did our best to follow this essential rule!  And there’s no where better to pick up a marvelous cone of ice cream than at Bi-Rite Creamery, a convenient walk from the fancy new Delores Park playground.  With flavors like honey lavender and coffee toffee (with Ritual coffee), it’s the best!

IMG_0249    IMG_0252    After a full day of beach hikes, we landed at the Pacific Catch, Fresh Fish Grill.  Loved the spiced maui sandwich with avocado, red onion, tomato and citrus aioli.  And since it’s just across the street from Golden Gate Park, we ambled over to another super playground.

IMG_0726And one last ice cream (well, yogurt!) on the drive back home!!  Thanks Charlotte and Maryann for all the super duper girlie fun!!!  xoxo Gr Rhonda.


thanks for the photo I borrowed– Ani and burritos&

San Francisco with the Grand-girls (or Fun in SF with kids)

IMG_0671 Two girls by the fanciful fence of the Mission Playground, SF

Hi there–  Just back from a rollicking trip to SF with the grand-girls!  It was a whole lot of swinging, sliding, singing, dancing, jumping, story reading, ice cream licking fun…

Before we started off we wrote up our TRIP RULES:
#1. Play on at (at least) 3 playgrounds
#2. Take Harry the Dog for a walk daily
#3. Eat 5 ice cream cones
#4. Give 10 hugs every day
#5. No grouching allowed

Here’s the highlights:

IMG_0130     IMG_0144 IMG_0200     IMG_0179On a cloudy day we hiked down the trail to Funston Beach– a off leash dog beach, where you’ll meet every size and shape of dog you could imagine!  Dog watching, hill climbing paradise!

IMG_0303     IMG_0319 10527271_10103303559986113_5510079715396104629_n-1     IMG_0342There was the big day out at the San Francisco Zoo! Love zoos and this is a perfect one– not too big, not too small, lushly landscaped and easy access to all those animals–  Oh the giant giraffes, the tumbling otters, the stately gorillas…  Throw in a playground set in three world biomes and a carrousel and it was a super day out!

IMG_0408      IMG_0411Harry the Dog and the grand-dgirls had a running good time one evening at Crissy Field, in the shadow of the gold Gate Bridge.  (In the first picture they are pretending to be exhausted after running non stop all evening)

IMG_0437     IMG_0463 IMG_0466     IMG_0449We launched out on a foggy morning hike along the Land’s End Trail– catching glimpses of the Golden Gate through the shifting fog.  Loved all the ocean views, forested pathways and wild flowers.  (The dramatic pose on the bottom left are hikers being frightened in the scary forest–???)

IMG_0539    IMG_0640 IMG_0537     IMG_0532 My personal fave was taking the 2 grand-girls to meet their cousin Mae–time for playgrounds, ice cream (one of sweet Mae’s first words!) and reading books…

IMG_0618     IMG_0615 IMG_0627     IMG_0630We happened into a sunny day for our wave jumping at Ocean Beach.  What started as just getting ankles wet quickly degenerated into full scale bathing in the sea.  Great soggy fun!

IMG_0690     IMG_0688 IMG_0698     IMG_0701One sunny afternoon in SF found us back in Golden Gate Park for a stroll around the lush flower gardens.  The girls picked out favorite Dahlias and named them after people in the family.

IMG_0718     IMG_0719Our last morning, we took the muni into town and explored Chinatown, while we shopped our way along the streets, picking up treats to take home to the family.


Thanks Aaron & Jessica for the great “hang-out” time.  And thanks Ani & Brian for planning so many great outings and cosseting us at the Casa Heung.  And thanks Charlotte & Maryann for being cheerful, excited, curious, enthusiastic travel buddies.  Loved it!

Cooking with the Grand-girls

IMG_8444 Hello there– There’s been a lot of cooking going on around here.  And most days I can lure one of the grand-girls in to be my assistant to stir up bunch of muffins or to cut up fruit for dinner.  They are enthusiastic mixers and surprised me that they can pretty well crack eggs into a cake all  on their own (well, most of the time).  I’ll just say it’s been loads of fun!

IMG_9295     IMG_9277Charlotte specializes in cutting up fruit and making it “fancy” on the plate.

IMG_9811     IMG_8468Maryann spreads the pizza dough.  Says it’s just like using play dough. (Notice how elegantly she cooks in her princess dress that plays Cinderella music with a touch to her jewels! )  And even Joby contributes, mixing up the muffins with a firm stir.

So I’ve found out 5 and 7 year olds can chop potatoes, trim string beans, mix up muffins and cakes, spread frosting, cut up fruit, help prepare pizza dough and set the table.  I think we have some fine little cooks on our hands…

Grand-girl Top Ten

Hi all– Well the grand-girls have been here for 10 wacky fun-filled days–time to send out the Grand-girl Top Ten– our favorites so far!

A back seat full of grand-girls, on their way to the zoo!!

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After dinner fun in the new play house, opening all the envelopes full of surprises from the girls after breakfast,  Jet-lag strikes–mid coloring session & at the park.

#1.  Loading up at the Library– We’re set for snuggy bedtime stories.
#2.  Cut throat UNO games– Those girls get the giggles when they serve up a Draw 4 to Grandma!
#3.  New Secret Password (it’s “fancy pants” –don’t tell)
#4.  More than 1 trip to Yogurtland–load on those gummy worms!
#5.  Frequent spontaneous jet-laggish nap.
#6.  Sunday morning Sunday School –Charlotte told me it was “the best time she never-had!!”  (I think that’s good.)
#7.  Carrying over, putting together the playhouse on loan from next door.  (Thanks Trisha and Oscar).
#8.  Bathing suit shopping, ending in the pool at Great Grandma Lo’s.
#9.  Reading through a tall pile of drawing-letters from the girls, complete with homemade envelopes– stickers and colorful tape included.
#10.  A day out to the L.A. Zoo, with car naps for 3 girls & their grandma on the way home!

It’s happy, silly, exhausting fun to hang with these grand-girls– so glad there’s more ahead…

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Off to explore the zoo,  Grandpa and Jobay check out the flamingos, Maryann reads to map to see where we are,  three grand-girls sleep all the way home.



Almost On Their Way

Hello blog friends–  I have wonderful news for us here– “jumping up and down, can’t get to sleep, making lots of plans, rearranging the house” kind of news.  Our three grand-girls, along with their mom and dad, Jodi and Micah are moving to California from Shanghai, China at the end of March!!

We’ve made lots of trips to see them over the last 10 years.  And they’ve come this way a for some special events.  But now, they will be at “arm’s length”.  Think of all the trips to the library, the zoo, the mountains!  All that cookie baking and flower picking and park playgrounding…

OK, I’ll stop.  But I just wanted you to know the news.  So excited!

Sledding through the Bamboo Forest


Hey there–  Last summer we drove up into the mountains outside of Shanghai to a lush bamboo forest.  The whole time we were hiking up that mountain trail amid the bamboo, I was eyeing the sleds on rails that sliced down the mountain.  Being the coward that I admittedly am, I was secretly thinking, “Glad we’re not planning to have that little adventure!”  BUT, wouldn’t you know it, that is exactly what happened!  Once we reached the peak it was all aboard the sleds for the trip down.  You can see how much I loved every minute!

IMG_3732Here I am, hanging on to the brakes for dear life!  It turned out to be more fun than I thought, in a scary sort of way…

IMG_2843     IMG_2844         We had other forest adventures– leaping across the lily pond on stepping stones.

IMG_2849     IMG_2850And winding our way up the first half of the mountain aboard an ox cart.

IMG_2854     IMG_2853Then there was some happy hiking (and maybe a little whining) on up the mountain.

IMG_2888     IMG_2892We loaded ourselves into the zippy sleds and set off back down (and I do mean down!).

IMG_2898     IMG_2902A little more exploring in the mountain stream, and across the bamboo bridge, and we set off for home…   Thanks Micah and Jodi for the big day out in the bamboo forrest!

IMG_2906It was a glorious, grand day together.  Can’t wait for more adventures ahead…

China Christmas


Hello friends– Well, even though it’s not an actual holiday in China, there’s plenty of Christmas going on at the Shanghai Sittig’s 10th floor home.  Micah and Jodi summon up a tree, the packages, the meals with friends.  There are photos and gifts and silly late night skyping flying from China to California.  Thanks Micah and Jodi for including us in all your Christmas fun, even long distance…

P.S. -The REAL reason I’m putting up this post is that it’s been way, way too long since we’ve had some sweet grand-girl pics here!  Love those little faces!