Tomatoes and overpopulation

The dinner menu at our house the past few weeks reads something like this:  tomatoes on toast, tomatoes with eggs, tomato gratin, caprese salad, tomato pie, b.l.t.s, pasta with marinara, pizza margherita, tacos with salsa, …

Notice a theme?  TOMATOES, TOMATOES and more TOMATOES.


We have a serious tomato overpopulation problem.  Now in terms of overpopulation problems, tomato overpopulation is pretty benign.  In fact, I welcome a tomato overpopulation “problem”… but holy smokes.  I need to take antacid just thinking about all the tomatoes I’ve consumed the past few weeks.

Part of what’s happening here is that I’m trying to avoid canning. It’s just too stinking hot to boil water for hours and shuffle hot jars.  I’ve been making triple recipes and freezing.  So far so good, but G came in with this box of tomatoes a few hours ago.  I see a day of hot jars in my future.

So, in short:  Need tomatoes?  Come on over, we’ve got plenty to share!

With love,



Don’t hate the selfie 2015-08-23 09-31-39
“Don’t hate the selfie” has been the theme I used to kick off the 2015 school year with the kiddos.  Selfies are easy to hate… and I do kind of hate them.  But the origins of the selfie, the self portrait, are an entirely different story.  No one can deny the impact or relevance of the self portrait in the art world both historically and currently.

Self portraits are a great way to get kids to investigate and share about themselves. 2015-08-23 09-39-25

One of my favorite self portrait lessons is a first grade lesson inspired by Henri Rousseau. We start by looking at self portraits and defining the word.  We then look at this specific self portrait by Rousseau.  We talk about what we can learn about Rousseau by looking at the piece.  We can tell he likes art because he painted himself holding a brush and palette.  We can tell that he is in Paris, France because the Eiffel Tower is in the background.   The flags and tent suggest that there may be some sort of festival taking place…  The kids really love looking for hints in this painting.

Next, I tell the kids what I know about this painting.  I tell them that this painting was completed in 1889 around the time of the World’s Fair.  Henri Rousseau painted himself at the world’s fair (hence the flags, the hot air balloon, and tents).  We talk about the Eiffel Tower’s origin.  We talk about size relationships in the piece (i.e. Why is Rousseau bigger than the boat?  Because he’s in the foreground.)  Then comes the creation component.  Each child is to draw a self portrait that includes a foreground and background.  They will be in the foreground holding something that tells me about them.  Maybe you are holding a football if you play football…. Maybe you’re holding a violin if you play the violin.  The background will include details about WHERE they are.  Are you outside or inside?  What’s the weather like?  Are you at home or school?

This lesson invariably gets great results.  We construct people out of basic shapes and then the kids go to town adding their own details.  I love learning about the kids as they work.


After we draw we add color.  This year we’re using crayon, but this could be done in any medium.

How adorable are these?!  The little girl with heart sunglasses, a crown, hot dog in one hand, and a magic wand in the other…  BAHAHA!!!

With love,


River rats

It wasn’t until I was scrolling through  photos on my iPhone that I realized how much we’ve been at the river lately!  I’m pretty sure we’ve become river rats… Correction Galen, Ollie and Arlo are river rats, I’m more a river rat by association.

All 3 of these boys would rather be on the river than anywhere else in the world… As you can see here.

This picture cracks me up.  I don’t even remember what these 3 are looking at, but it is just so telling.  They are all ready and willing to hop off a bridge in search of a fish… or stick… or goodness knows what.

How did I ever wind up with this crazy crew?

I have a lot of pics like these ones!  Galen and Ollie getting into something… anything.  I’m somewhere in the distance wondering “What in the world   have I gotten myself into?!”

Adventure after adventure with these guys.  Pretty stinkin’ cute adventures though!

With love,


Playing Fall

I know, all you seasonal purists are rolling your eyes…  But this cool morning weather already has me itching for fall!  Today was cool enough for me to keep my sweat pants on ALL DAY!  That fact alone makes it a good day in my book.

So I decided to play fall…  Watermelon?  No thanks, apples with caramel dip.  Black coffee?  Not today, coffee with pumpkin creamer.  And for lunch, a fall twist on our summer tomatoes:  Tomato soup.  I basically followed this recipe, tripling it for freezing, doubling the garlic, throwing in some parmesan and a wee bit of liquid smoke to give it depth.

Panera ain’t got nothin on this.  And that’s quite a statement coming from me, because I love me some Panera!

I’m thinking of making grilled cheese croutons and throwing them in for dinner tonight.

Can hardly wait… for dinner… and for fall.

With love,


Toddlers and Matisse!

 Matisse may well be my favorite human beings to have ever walked this planet.  I have to try (really hard!) not to base every art lesson I do on Matisse.  Fauvism, still lives, cut outs…  I love them all!

So of course I had to find a way to teach Matisse to Ollie’s preschool class!

I rarely hear of toddlers doing art lessons with an art history basis. I think it’s generally it is assumed that it will be “over their heads”.

I will have to beg to differ here.  I think that toddlers are the most eager learners.  They fully engross themselves in any and all experiences.  Art is no different.  If you present them with information about art and artists, they will learn from it.  They may not remember the name Henri Matisse, or specifics about his art work… but they won’t forget the creative process or the way it made them feel.  Early and constant exposure to art history just primes the brain for artistry… and it most certainly can’t hurt!

There are so many great books for little ones that have art history references.  I came across the book “Henri’s Scissors” by Jeanette Winter in the library.  It is a beautifully illustrated book that puts Mr. Matisse’s life into very toddler friendly words. The kiddos in O’s preschool “ooooooed and ahhhhhhhhed” as  I read the book.  They were very impressed by the scale of Matisse’s work. 2015-08-19 13-20-56 2015-08-18 14-47-19

After sharing the book we looked at a specific Matisse piece, “The Snail”.  The kids were excited to try to piece the shapes in this piece together to make a snail!

I love the mystery of this piece.  The piece is non-objective until you read the title.  Matisse’s color use always amazes me… The colors just pop off the page!

After looking at “The Snail” each child used collage techniques to create their own snails.  The little artists tore paper into itty bitty pieces and glued them all over the place!  Some of their pieces look more like snails than others… but really the end result isn’t the beauty in children’s art.  It’s all about the process:  teaching them about art, through art, to love art…  The final pieces are just icing on the art cake!

Happy art making!!

With love,


Back to school madness

So the last few weeks have been madness. All my teacher friends know exactly what I mean!  After mornings of leisurely sipping coffee while working on crosswords; afternoons comprised of binge watching, play dates and reading for ENJOYMENT…. We’re back at it!  It’s a shock to the system, but oh so much fun!!

Here are a few shots of my amazing art room!  I am without a doubt the most spoiled art teacher in the world!  How cool are these Warhol soup labels?!  You can print your own here

I was cracking myself up with this “Dont hate the selfie” bulletin board.    Vermeer posting to Instagram!!  Bahahaha!! 😂😂I’m such a nerd that I actually calculated that this painting was finished 18,200 weeks ago. Just wanted to make sure that little instagram clock was accurate. Yeah…     The chandeliers in the photos below were made by science club last year. We did a lesson about recycled art. The kiddos collected water bottles, colored them with sharpies, cut them into spirals and voila!  They were inspired the the amazing glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.   The kids have been so excited about seeing them installed around the art room!   This last photo is by far my favorite. My art class is lovely, but it’s just not the same without the enthusiasm of all these little artists.

I can’t wait to see what art adventures we get in to this year!!

With love,