Things that have made me smile this week in Santa Barbara

Love the girl that wants to give her Mamma flowers, whenever she sees an opportunity to pick them… though in many a situation I have to urge her not to pick them!

Miss 3 and her sand flower castle

Love Autumn here in Santa Barbara (though it’s the warmest, sunniest one I have ever experienced in my lifetime!). The days are definitely shorter, but the sunshine still has plenty of heat in it.

Love the Zoo here in Santa Barbara, set on hills, close to the sea, with lovely gardens and play spaces for families. We enjoyed the ‘Rainbow Garden’ on our visit this week, with different herbs to discover along the winding pathways, fairy glen, miniature hedge maze and tree stump stepping stones.

Rainbow Garden at Santa Barbara Zoo

We hired a little buggy for Miss 3 to whizz around in, which she thought was ‘the best’ – she really believed she was steering it too – and was quite determined the buggy went in the direction she wanted it to go!

Santa Barbara Zoo

Love the Maritime Museum here. We had fun completing a ‘treasure hunt’ when we visited this week. The older girls had to read the displays to get the answers (something they don’t tend to do a lot of – unless it’s a game!).

There was a treasure hunt for young Miss 3 too. She had to find the cannon and shoot it (her older sisters made for good target practice!). She also had to describe what she could see through the submarine’s periscope (that was once she’d found the submarine). She was delighted to see trees, the beach, boats and the sea, depending on which direction she turned the periscope.

Maritime Museum Santa Barbara

On completion of our visit to the museum we took the lift to the look out above the museum, where the periscope must come out somewhere, and enjoyed seeing the beautiful view directly with our eyes (all be it very briefly, as Miss 3 suddenly became tired and insistent that it was time to return home for a rest!).

View from Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

Loving finding a moment to read, whilst the girls play ‘wizards’, ‘princesses’, ‘doctors’ or ‘spies’ (just a few of their favourite at the moment!).

A moment to read

Loving the blossoming friendship of Miss 3 with a young friend and enjoying the company of another Mum who is a wonderful person, who is originally from the US, but married a Kiwi and both her boys were born in Wellington. Her hubbie works with our dear man of the house, so it’s great the men can have some ‘man chats’ whilst us ladies can swap parenting notes! We spent this morning getting drawn on with face paints, turning our children into dinosaurs (didn’t take much) and enjoyed a lovely walk to the upper village in Montecito, before returning for a rest and singing time for my eldest daughter.

Loving crafts with my youngest daughter, collages, painting and play. The older girls have started to think about Christmas decorations too and we’re going to be doing lots of home-made decorations this year (as I left all of our lovely collection of decorations back in New Zealand).

I’ve come across several lovely ideas on ‘Homegrown Friends‘, this sun-catcher idea is one of many I’ve come across so far…


There are signs of Christmas beginning around Santa Barbara and we’re beginning to feel excited, especially now that my dearest Mum and Dad are coming to spend the festive season with us!

Signs of Christmas in Santa Barbara

Finally I’m loving a few reminders of home, with this beautiful video of New Zealand – ‘Land of open spaces, open hearts and open minds…‘ (and we can’t WAIT to see our New Zealand neighbours, next Friday, who are flying to the USA to spend nearly two weeks with us!).

The New Zealand Story from New Zealand Story on Vimeo.

The transcript for the video is beautiful…

The New Zealand Story

Welcome to the country of Open Spaces
Where nature bursts and flows,
Where the elements come alive,
Where there is room to breathe and places to find.

Welcome to the country of Open Hearts
Where care for the land and people is genuine,
Where life is for living,
Where time spent together is never time wasted,
Where lasting partnerships are formed,
Where strangers are treated as friends and memories are treasured forever.

Welcome to the country of Open Minds
Where learning is embraced and opinions valued,
Where freshness is championed and quality is prized for the world to enjoy,
Where nature inspires incredible thinking,
Where ingenuity drives innovation and productivity,
Where big ideas are born every day and new technologies are perfected,
Where the impossible becomes real and where every sunrise inspires the extraordinary.

Welcome to the country of Open Spaces, Open Hearts, and Open Minds.
Together, we can do amazing things.


Linking up this post with the wonderful Meghan, in New Zealand, for…