The Finches

Charlotte and Ella: Two moms who met on the Internet and love design, simplicity, and sustainability.




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Its That Time Again! | San Diego Family Camping

Who has two thumbs and is a super happy kid?  THAT DUDE pictured above.  

This weekend was our first camping trip of the season, and Wes was beyond excited to be back to the great outdoors, getting filthy and just generally causing a ruckus outside.


We took a short, "pregnant Ella" single night test run up to Green Valley Falls in Julian, CA which is a really great place for families and folks who are generally not huge on camping in general.  It has a beautiful short hike that leads to waterfalls and a stream with plenty of kid friendly hang out spots where the younger set can splash, throw rocks, and look for fish (that I would be shocked if they found), but, I am a damn liar, and have no qualms sending my kid on a wild goose chase. 

We had site 68, which was a pretty good set up.  A huge oak for shade, lots of places to safely explore within eyesight and, look, not gunna lie. It wasn't far from the bathrooms. Which in my book, for both Wes and I, is pretty ideal.  Priorities....they have changed. 

Camping with Wes this year as opposed to last year (look at those chubby faces!) has been a HUGE difference, and is less containment and more, well, just a lot of fun. He is an active participant in the camping trip, from his excitement, to being able to help get dinner ready, hike on his own, and help carry things from the tent to the car as we clean up. He is part of everything, and loves every second of it, good, because if he was a camping wet blanket, I don't know what we would do. 

It was also really nice to watch Gray and Wes do their man thing.  I am not into gender roles too much, so it being a "man" thing is less of the thrill, and more, it is so nice to see your partner in crime and offspring do tons of fun, positive and enriching activities together.  Handy skills? Our kid will have them, thanks to Gray. 

Gear wise, we have spent the "colder" months culling our supplies and trying to minimize what we bring, and we did pretty good.  No crazy pack 'n' play, no mat to keep a precious baby clean, no stash of toys that were edible, nope.  Dude is a regular person. Child specific we took two trucks, a bucket and a shovel, along with an extra set of clothes, two extra sets of socks and called it a day.  

Also, we kept it easy food wise.  Veggie dogs and baked beans for dinner, and an egg/potato hash for the morning. Apparently, somewhere into Wes's second veggie dog, with -baked beans dripping down his shirt I realized I sorely misjudged camping food.  Apparently roasting veggie dogs in the fire is one of the more exciting things Wes has ever done? 

Oh! Yeah, totally forgot. Pregnant me? Totally survived and totally ready to do this whole thing again next month...and the month after...and...I think that is all we have booked now, but, you get the idea.

Haven't taken your kiddos camping yet? I am not one to tell people what to do, but dude, come on, it is one of the more exciting adventures a family can participate in, and it can be as easy or as intricate as you want. Living in Southern California we are lucky, the weather is nice now, and we have a lot of options. From local mountains like Palomar and Julian, all the way up to Sequoia National Forest where you can grab a fire permit, follow an old logging road and find your own spot wherever you wish (Which, I wouldn't recommend without a serious skill set and body of knowledge in place - logging roads go on forever, and ever and it would be easy to get lost)!

Random tangent?  I love these guys, together and individually. Our tiny family is my favorite



A timeline, a pregnancy and an update.


For My Favorite Sailor | Sailing Themed Gifts


Build It | Christmas Gift Guide


Me Learnin' Mama! | Toddler Homeschool

B is for Bat (which he is flying), boat, ball


A few things. 

1)Has anyone else noticed that I use "So," to start a sentence way too frequently?

2)We have clearly established that I naturally lean towards laziness, right? 

3) Sorry for the awful instragram photos - I never intended to write about this. 

Excellent. Now we can move forward.

So, a few months ago, I realized that my son and I had fallen in to a delightful, but not all that productive routine in the mornings before I head out to work.  I am not one to be structured, organized or productive but even this was a little much for me.  I can handle an easy going household with dishes in the sink, stomachs full of delicious food and lots of time spent outdoors exploring, but again, we were not using our time in a constructive way.

Which, lead me to realize, that as an individual, I do really well in a high structured environment. Not that my son does, but I do, and well, hell, sometimes you are two years old and you are just along for the ride.  

This whole restructuring of our mornings this has now evolved into a formal learning time for The Beast, and has become something that he really enjoys, and really looks forward to. After the dishes are done, a load of laundry has been switched, we have vacuumed and we have done one other random daily task (because, have you seen how useful a toddler is with a sock as a dusting rag? It was like they were born to get all the spots low to the ground you always miss). I ask if he is ready for our activities and he yells "LETTERS! LETTERS! ME LETTERS!" 

B is for Beach.  We went beach camping yo.

I can't say that we do anything too crazy, I am not here to reinvent the wheel folks (and this is just straight from an email I sent to Charlotte) 

  1. Made a collage of A's from magazines (he likes collages for some reason)
  2. Went to see Animals at the Wild Animal Park
  3. Did a realism painting of an apple
  4. Made Apple oatmeal pancakes
  5. Did a painting with an apple (like a stamp)
  6. Made a letter "A" in glue and glued beans along it
  7. Traced sand paper "A"s with our fingers
  8. Made an alligator with a toilet paper roll, tissue paper and glue
  9. Read books about Animals 
  10. Went to the airport to watch airplanes
  11. Did letter/coordinating word (like an apple) stamping using these and these

C is for Cars or was a win/win situations really. 

As his enjoyment of the activities has evolved over the past several weeks, I have found my planning taking slightly deeper roots, and my love for Excel has shown through. 

Letter D Letter D Letter D Letter D Letter D
Play Dough D D Dot Stamper Sheets Duck Craft Finger Tracing Bag Dinosaur Letter Match
Sandpaper Letter D   Duck For President Book Dinosaur fossil impressions  
Alphabet Book        
Counting Math Nature Sensory Science
Counting Dinosaur Tracks More/Less Dinosaurs Duck Feeding Dinosaur Ice Dig Make Dinosaur Eggs
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Letter D Letter D Letter D Letter D Ella Birthday
Make A Drum Dairy Of A Worm Dolphin Extras Sheet Construction Book  
        To The Nat?
Counting Math Nature Sensory Science
Count Beats On Drum Dirt Dessert Desert Sensory Table Digging In Sandbox


D is for Dinosaur...dinosaur fossils with air dry clay  

Between all of the amazing  out there, pintrest, and just going off of the things The Beast likes, I have been able to keep us going!  It has been a really fun experience so far. Nothing too serious, a great way for us to interact together, and well, the dude likes it. 

As he and I figure this out together (this = mornings, not homeschool - I don't think homeschooling is for us, I just can't justify the cost of a private preschool, and there don't seem to be many non-denominational ones in our area...but maybe this is just how it starts). I have found some great products that we have gotten a lot of use out of. 

  1. Play and Learn: Do-A-Dot ABC's, Numbers & Shapes Activity Book - There are a lot of free worksheets on the web, which we use.  For some reason though, The Beast loves the sheets from this book the most. Simple, and awesome.  Additionally, there is a place where you match a letter cut out to a printed letter. It is always a good day when The Beast gets to do this. 
  2. Amazing Action Alphabet - The concept of the book is that each letter gets it's own page. Then there is a silly paragraph filled with alliterations. You read the paragraph once, then there is an action that goes along with with story that the child gets to do. So, when the bubble blowing bear says B-b-b, the child makes the sound while pretending to blow a bubble wand.  This book has found it's way into our daily rotation. 
  3. Snap Cubes®, Set of 100 - We play with these A LOT.  From counting, to patterns, to memory games to color sorting to just plain building fun. They go everywhere, but they have been really versatile to have around the house. 
  4. Sandpaper Letters - I had never seen these letters before, but they are really neat.  The letter is made out of sand paper, and the child can trace the letter with their finger and feel it.  The Beast finds these hilarious to do. 

...and yeah.  That is what we have been up to. What have you been up to?