Sunday, June 15, 2014

Enjoy your summer!

Hello families,

Here are a few ideas I have collected, from others, that I thought might inspire cool summer projects!  That said, I love the sentiment of the first article, and the fact that we need to support children to feel in charge of their time and be decision makers, instead of "being entertained or distracted" all the time.  How might you incorporate this free time and support your child to create and continue their own projects that don't require a lot of you?  (The second link might help with this...:)

 If you family embarks on any adventures (at home or abroad), I would love to hear about them!  Keep in touch!  Love,

PS I may not respond during the month of July, since we will be in Baja and happily "off the grid".  (See the photos above from previous years!)  That quote is from this crazy little structure on a beach on the East Cape near no cities which is filled with plastic bins and books- just so anyone can "borrow a book!" A very cool find. I think the quote invokes the spirit of adventuring, whether abroad or in SD- you can make an adventure and see new things where ever you are!  :)

My friend does an amazing service for  the community out of the goodness of her heart, because it means so much to her and to children, teachers and artists.  Many of you have asked me about the unique materials I have in class (especially in construction and for counting), well this is where you can find these, too!  She will open her doors by appointment, so it might be fun to call another family and make it a play date.  Buy some bins at the dollar store and bring home a bag of cool stuff from Re Interpret and your child will have fun sorting and creating all summer! The website:
Her contact info:
reInterpret (by appointment)                                                                                                         10250 Magnolia Avenue, Room 38                                                                                      
 Santee, CA  92071                                                                                                    

Some other ideas!

I mentioned this one before, but I keep learning and love the simplicity of reading about her one beautiful image a day.  It reminds me of how different life can be in other parts of our country and of how beautiful nature is, when we take the time to consistently notice.

This year, I received this email from Brett's mum, Kim:
Away from my e-mail: Screen-Free Week
On May 5-11, 2014, my kids and I have pledged to:
  • Watch no TV or DVDs, play no video or mobile games, and only use the computer if it's required for work;
  • Encourage my friends and family to go screen-free with me; 
  • Explore new screen-free activities; and
I will catch up on e-mail on Monday, May 12.  If you need to reach me before then, please call me.

It looks like their family took the challenge of going technology free for a week.  I was wondering if this might inspire other families to try out their own version.  I personally feel how much of a double edged sword the internet is... Time sucking?  Endless research and ideas? Then I wonder, "What would I be doing if I wasn't on a screen?"  Well, in Baja, we just don't have that problem!  :) (But at home...)

Here are some fun outdoor opportunities, written up and shared by William's mum, Cate! (Thanks to Cate for going above and beyond my request to use her expertise!) I hope you can try some as a family, or even meet up with friends and head out!  She also wanted to put a particular mention about keeping rattle snake safety in mind while out on the go!  Here are her words:

Hi Jennifer, I thought that it would be a good idea to remind parents that rattlesnakes live in all the hike areas and that caution should be used. Below is a great link to rattlesnakes and people should take a look.  Hopefully people will not be turned off of hiking because of snakes. I see them all the time and know to stay away (not jump over them, get too close, panic, etc). There are Safety and first aid and How to avoid bites sections in the webpage.
Another word of caution is to look out for poison oak. It is everywhere in Penasquitos Canyon and out east. I've attached some pics I took a few days ago. It is not always red and can grow in trees like a vine or on ground level.  Basically, everyone should stay on trails.

AND HERE ARE THE COOL HIKES TO CHECK OUT!  (With helpful descriptions so that you can choose which is right for you today!)

Hi Jennifer,
There are many hikes I could recommend but I'll just toss out a few, esp since many the areas listed have multiple options. 
One easy and close option is Penasquitos Canyon Preserve (basically 6 miles end to end (west/east) with a waterfall in the middle that has cool boulders to hike on and LOTS of running water. There are several entrances to this area, which is quite expansive. The "East" entrance to the Preserve itself is at Black Mtn Rd and Mercy Rd (Where Mercy Rd dead-ends into Black Mtn). This is a lot that costs a couple bucks to park in. Instead of this, one can go north on Black Mtn Rd for at best a quarter mile and park at Canyonside Park (Black Mtn Rd and Canyonside Park drive). If one goes in that entrance, just drive all the way down past the playing fields and park at the farthest west lot. There is the Ranch House to explore there as well and there are chickens, goats, horses and vegie gardens there. The west end entrance is off of Sorrento Valley Blvd and there is a good size free lot there.  Here is a link to a map that can be printed:
I'd also recommend Torrey Pines State Reserve. This is one of the most gorgeous (and busy/popular) places to hike along the coast. There is a large pay lot off the coast highway (northern end) and another pay lot off Carmel Valley Road. The price is pretty steep for one day visits and the paved road up is steep right off the bat. My suggestion is to park on Callan Road which is off Torrey Pines Road (south end of the Reserve). If you cross Torrey Pines Road over to the west side, you end up along the Torrey Pines golf course. Then walk north on the sidewalk and in a few blocks you can enter the Reserve on a flat paved road. There are extensive dirt trails from there. See map link. The area I'm talking about (Callan Rd/Golf Course) on the map is at the bottom of the map and just shows that the Reserve ends there, but really it just goes onto the sidewalk on Torrey Pines Road:
Another great place to explore is off the 67 in Poway area.  Two very popular (and pretty steep) trails are at Iron Mountain and Mt Woodson.  If one where to drive east on Scripps Poway Pkwy all the way till it ends at the 67, you'd make a left toward Ramona and there is a huge parking lot on the east side nearest Poway Road for Iron Mountain. This is an extremely popular hike.  Attached is a link to this one.
Further down on the 67 is Mt Woodson. The parking here is ALONG the 67 on the west side and can be hard to find. You know you're there when you see all these cars parked along the road. The cross street is Mount Woodson Road. There is a dirt trail to get onto that leads to the fire road. Look for other people and follow them!  My biggest caution here is that Hwy 67 is BUSY.  Great caution should be used in parking and getting out of vehicles and children should only get out on the west side of the car along the trail side of the road. This may dissuade some, but if you are careful, all should work out fine. I've been there many dozens of times. Most of the hike is up a pretty steep fire road (William does it but is sometimes in a jogger stroller for part of it).  The link below has the 3 ways to get up Woodson. The fire road off the 67 is the shortest. I have done all of them and would not recommend the one from Poway Lake or the one from Blue Sky Ecological Reserve for little kids or people not used to strenuous hikes. BTW, I highly advise not taking the chance to jump on the now very famous "potato chip" rock that so many people seem to think they have to do. You can easily blow the leap and fall to your death, and of course the rock can decide it's had enough at any time. Certainly NO child should be brought onto that rock.  If you want to get to that rock, you need to go a little bit past he summit where all the communications infrastructure is (which has a great resting area btw) and continue on the paved road for a bit. Potato chip rock is on your left... just look for people jumping on and off it taking pictures.
Speaking of the Blue Sky Eco Reserve, that is another great area in Poway off Espola Road. Here is link. Very pretty.
Another area would be Mission Trails. I have been all thru there and one can make it a very extensive and strenuous hike. The most popular is Cowles Mountain, which is a steep switch back 1.5 miles up and down. I find it boring and it is WAY too busy on the trail.  However, it is a beautiful area with many other alternatives. Here is a link to the area. Click on Trail Map link on the left side for a nice colorful interactive map that tells you about the hikes.
Another area that is a bit of a drive would be out at Cuyamaca off the 79 in Julian. There are many choices here and a nice camp ground at Paso Picacho. You can picnic there right near the lot ($8 fee) before hiking. We've done the fire road hike which is long, but really nice.  The view from the top is great.  William made it all the way... with LOTS of encouragement, distraction and funny games. Click Maps/Brochures on right side of main page.
The below link lists some easy hikes in SD. However, I can tell from the list that some of the areas are actually part of larger hikes, so it can be misleading. For instance, the Guy Fleming hike is part of the Torrey Pines Preserve system and you have to go a ways to get to it.


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