Saturday, 1 September 2018

Berkeley Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival 2018

This past weekend saw one of our favorite local festivals here in Berkeley, the annual Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival.

Now, you would think that the chocolate part of the festival would be what excites my kids every year, but the chalk art part of the day is actually the big draw card for them. It's not every day you get to get creative on the sidewalk, after all. Plus, it's a competition with prizes up for offer.

This year's festival happened to fall the day after we arrived home from our East Coast trip. I'll be sharing our East Coast trip here soon, but make sure to check out Instagram in the mean time as I've been sharing sneak peeks there. Anyway, we were all a little tired from our early flight home from Boston so we had a quiet morning and headed to the festival in the afternoon. This didn't give us an awful lot of time to try out the chocolate on offer but we still had plenty of time for the girls to get creative with chalk.

Berkeley Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival 2018

We found ourselves a few clean-ish squares of sidewalk along Shattuck Avenue in the Gourmet Ghetto and the girls got to work.

Berkeley Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival 2018
Berkeley Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival 2018

Friday, 31 August 2018

Our Summer tradition at Brushstrokes

Summer break is over and the kids are back at school, but today I wanted to share one of our Summer traditions. It's a fun indoor activity for any time of year and a great tradition to start.

With the long Summer break here in the US I'm always looking for fun things to do to keep the kids occupied. There are certain activities that are a Summer tradition - going to camp, heading to the beach, spending time at the pool, playing in the park... And then there are the activities that have become our very own Summer traditions. 

One such thing is our annual visit to Brushstrokes Studio here in Berkeley. Every Summer break the kids and I spend an afternoon at Brushstrokes painting a ceramic plate each. It started off as a one off, but when I realized how wonderful it would be for the kids to each have a collection of their own hand painted plates when they're older I decided that we'd make it an annual tradition. We've done it five Summers in a row so far, and even just in that short amount of time it's amazing looking back at how the kids' artistic skills have developed. It's also fun way to keep track of their interests at the time. 

Brushstrokes Studio, Berkeley CA

This Summer break the girls couldn't wait to head to Brushstrokes and paint their plates. They had been coming up with ideas for quite some time and were eager to set paintbrush to plate. Here's a look at what they created this year.

Brushstrokes Studio, Berkeley CA
Brushstrokes Studio, Berkeley CA
Brushstrokes Studio, Berkeley CA
Brushstrokes Studio, Berkeley CA
Brushstrokes Studio, Berkeley CA
Brushstrokes Studio, Berkeley CA
Brushstrokes Studio, Berkeley CA
Brushstrokes Studio, Berkeley CA

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Stomper in the Town

If you're following Little Hiccups on Instagram you would've seen our adventures this Summer finding Stomper statues around Oakland. I figured it was time I shared them all here on the blog as well. We've found quite a few of the Stomper statues so far, so prepare for a lot of fun photos. But first, a little background...

If you're not familiar with the Oakland A's then you're probably wondering just who Stomper is and why there are statues of him around town. Stomper the elephant is the mascot of the Oakland Athletics (or simply the A's) baseball team. This year the A's are celebrating fifty years in Oakland and as part of the celebration they have teamed up with local artists to bring the Stomper in the Town exhibition to the streets. Fifty Stomper statues decorated by fifty artists can be found dotted around Oakland. From the port to the hills, from the northern border with Berkeley all the way down to the Oakland Zoo, Stompers can be found all over. Intrepid Stomper hunters, like us, can download the Stomper in the Town map and checklist (or pick one up from Visit Oakland in Jack London Square) and head off on a city wide treasure hunt. 

We've spread out our treasure hunting over the Summer, and so far of the fifty Stomper statues on display we've made it to thirty four. The statues will be on display until the end of the current baseball season, so we still have time to make it to the rest - fingers crossed.

Here's a look at the Stompers we've found so far. I've put them in the same order here that they appear on the numbered Stomper in the Town map and list.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, Oakland

If you're following along on Instagram you would've seen that the kids and I have been on the hunt for Stomper the elephant statues around Oakland. I have a post coming up next with all the Stomper statues we've found so far (about 35 or so), but today I wanted to share a park that we came across during out hunt for a particular Stomper.

Over the weekend we decided to go for a drive to find a few of the Stomper statues that the girls and I haven't been able to get to on foot. We visited a few, snapped some photos and headed off to the next one. However, when we made it to the Captain Stomp statue right on the waterfront we knew that we had to stop a little longer and spend some time exploring the surrounding park. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Big Break Regional Shoreline

Recently we've been getting out and about exploring "new to us" Bay Area parks on weekends.

We're really lucky to have so many amazing and varied parks within such a short distance of our home. Beaches, rivers, mountains, cliffs, redwood forests... there's a little bit of everything. With so much shoreline along the San Francisco Bay and its tributaries, there is no shortage of picturesque water front parks to visit. What could be better than visiting a waterfront park on a Summer's day?

This past weekend we visited Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley. Big Break is located in the California Delta, a 1,150 square mile area where fresh water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers meets saltwater from the ocean. The Delta is the largest estuary on the west coast and is home to a large variety of fish, birds and mammals including beavers, river otters, muskrats and mink. It's also home to cool Delta breezes which were much appreciated on this hot day!

Despite the size of the Delta, the shoreline park is relatively small and makes for a great afternoon destination. There is an informative visitor center filled with interactive displays, picnic areas, an amphitheater, a kayak launch, a shaded sand play area, a small hiking trail and an observation pier perfect for fishing or taking in the views. 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

3 Ingredient Chocolate Ice Cream

It's National Ice Cream Day today!

To celebrate I'm sharing a super simple, yet super scrumptious ice cream recipe that Ava made a while back. It only takes three ingredients and you don't even need an ice cream maker. It really doesn't get any easier!

Most of these photos Ava actually took herself with my camera set up on a tripod as she planned to make a video to share on her YouTube channel. She hasn't gotten around to making the video yet so I'm hijacking them for my blog for now. I'll make sure to share her video when she gets around to finishing it.

As I mentioned, this recipe if super simple and only needs three ingredients - which you may have in your kitchen right now. This recipe is for chocolate ice cream, but you could always switch out the chocolate for any other flavor you might like to add. I'm not normally a fan of chocolate ice cream, but this is so good. It's seriously one of the best chocolate ice creams I've ever eaten!

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Flower Piano 2018

It's that time of year again when the most peculiar "flowers" pop up all over San Francisco Botanical Garden. Large, musical flowers that draw crowds of children and adults alike. 

I'm talking about Flower Piano, the annual event, now in its fourth year, that pops up to delight garden visitors and music lovers. Over twelve days twelve different pianos make the Botanical Garden their home. Visitors can have a turn at playing these pianos for themselves or listen to performances from professionals and talented visitors alike. 

Lola, Mathilde and I headed to the San Francisco Botanical Garden on Thursday to check out this year's event.

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