Matthias created this ornament!

christmas, inspiration, matthias By November 18, 2015 1 Comment

Months ago, I was working on our Christmas ornaments and I asked Matthias if he would like to design one. At eleven years old he draws and sketches all the time–I mean, he literally carries his drawing pad and pencil case everywhere. And this is nothing new–he’s been drawing since he was three or four years old. I thought an ornament would be such a fun gift for aunties, uncles and grandparents. I asked him to draw whatever he wanted and planned to create the ornament from his drawing. Take a look at what he came up with!

*Also, scroll down to the bottom to see our ornament special happening today!*

matthias cross of light ornament2-02

Matthias drew the cross himself, then from his drawing, together, we created the ‘cross of light’ ornament. It turned out so well!

matthias cross of light ornament2-03

I asked Matthias why he wanted to draw a cross for the ornament and he said, Christmas is about Jesus and the cross symbolizes Jesus. Beautiful!

matthias cross of light ornament2-04

The ‘cross of light’ ornament is finished with a sheet red ribbon and can be personalized on the back with a name or the year.

matthias cross of light ornament2-05

I love having Matthias use his talents and creativity to be part of the business. He loves to draw and sketch. This was a perfect opportunity to use his artwork in a new and different way. He inspires me!

matthias cross of light ornament2-06

All ornaments are buy two get one FREE today! Enter code ‘happytree’ at checkout. Yay! They’re the perfect gift for each kiddo, teachers and dear friends.

You can find the ‘cross of light’ ornament here. Click here to see all the 2015 ornaments.


kayaking as a family

family, san luis obispo By September 10, 2015 6 Comments

One of the things I wanted to try this summer was kayaking. A couple of years ago, some friends of ours took Matthias and David–and they had so much fun! So we figured we should be able to make it work.

I researched Morro Bay kayaking and Kayak Horizons had excellent reviews. We loved them and we will definitely use them next time we go {which I hope is soon!}
kayaking as a family lisa leonard-01

Matthias was a little nervous but he did great!

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-02

I love all the colors against the blue sky and Morro rock in the background.

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-03

They gave us each a life vest. I love that silly face Matthias is making–what a ham.

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-04

Can you see that smile on David’s face?

David and Steve used a single kayak, Matthias and I used a double. We wanted to keep David close by–and the single worked great. After a bit we ended up switching and I took the single with David and Matthias and Steve took the double.

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-05

Matthias did a fabulous job paddling. He told me I was being too bossy, though!

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-06

We pulled the kayaks up the sand bank and played for a bit. Matthias named this bit of land ‘Barnacle Island’.

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-07
The three towers in the back and our kayaks on the beach.

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-08

Matthias wrote in the sand with the oar.

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-09

They’re checking on David to see if he likes kayaking. Love my boys!

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-10

All four of us. I loved sharing this adventure together.

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-11

David loved playing in the sand and he got it everywhere.

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-12

Steve pulling the kayak out so we could explore more.

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-13

There were lots of sea lions hanging out on this dock.

kayaking as a family lisa leonard-14
We paddling around lots of boats and up and down the bay. It was a beautiful day. Afterwards, we got lunch at Blue Sky Bistro overlooking the water. It was such a fun day!

Have you tried kayaking? I’d love to hear about your experience.


hiking madonna mountain

family, san luis obispo By September 3, 2015 2 Comments

Last weekend we tried a new hike–Madonna Mountain. It ends at a huge ‘M’ on the side of the mountain. The way up is a bit steep but definitely manageable. The landscape was dry {we’re in a severe drought} but breath-taking.

When Matthias was little we told him the ‘M’ on the side of the mountain stood for Matthias. So it was fun to hike there and see it up close. He struck an epic pose near the ‘M’–check it out below.

hiking madonna mountain-11

David loves to be in the pack and soaking up the fresh air.

hiking madonna mountain-12

The dry grass against the blue sky was beautiful.

hiking madonna mountain-07

How did I get so lucky to call these boys ‘mine’?

hiking madonna mountain-10

Framed by branches.

hiking madonna mountain-09

Matthias, claiming his ‘M’ on the side of the mountain.

hiking madonna mountain-08
Sunlight filtered through the leaves.

hiking madonna mountain-06

This hike had lots of cacti–different from other hikes we’ve done.

hiking madonna mountain-15

All smiles–I love it!

hiking madonna mountain-13

After the hike we got cinnamon rolls. So it was pretty much perfect!

We’re on the search for more good hikes. I want to try a hike in Avila Beach that ends at a lighthouse. It sounds amazing!


50th anniversary {all the details}

celebrate the every day, family By August 6, 2015 4 Comments

When we were in Lake Arrowhead last week, all the kids planned a 50th dinner celebration for my parents. We split up all the tasks and it came together beautifully. The dinner was delicious {I had nothing to do with food prep!} and the decorations were so fun {I helped with the fabric bunting and centerpieces}. We had a toast {Martinelli’s sparkling apple juice} and a talent show put on by the kids. My younger sister created this video of photos through the years. Each guest took a succulent favor home with them. I’m sure we’ll remember this night for a long time. I took lots of pics to share with you–take a look!

all the details lisa leonard 50th-01all the details lisa leonard 50th-08 all the details lisa leonard 50th-02all the details lisa leonard 50th-10all the details lisa leonard 50th-09 all the details lisa leonard 50th-03all the details lisa leonard 50th-15 all the details lisa leonard 50th-04all the details lisa leonard 50th-11 all the details lisa leonard 50th-05all the details lisa leonard 50th-14all the details lisa leonard 50th-13
I know my parents felt celebrated and that’s exactly what us kids wanted for them. So special! 50 years is a crazy, amazing thing.


hello lake arrowhead 2015

family, hello monday By August 3, 2015 3 Comments

Hello friends! We just got back from celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary in Lake Arrowhead. It was busy and crazy and fun. Now we’re welcoming cousins and preparing for zoo camp this week! I’ve got pics to share of our trip and some hellos for a brand new week.

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

lake arrowhead 2015-01
lake arrowhead 2015-02 lake arrowhead 2015-03 lake arrowhead 2015-04lake arrowhead 2015-01-3 lake arrowhead 2015-05 lake arrowhead 2015-06 lake arrowhead 2015-07 lake arrowhead 2015-08 lake arrowhead 2015-09 lake arrowhead 2015-10 lake arrowhead 2015-11 lake arrowhead 2015-12lake arrowhead 2015-01-2

Hello cousins and aunties and uncles and grandma and grandpa. All of us together!

Hello party prep and celebrating 50 years.

Hello splashing in the lake and waterslides.

Hello pine trees and starry skies.

Hello editing pics and smiling at memories made.

Hello stand-up paddle boarding for the first time. Once I got over being terrified of falling, I love it!

Hello big breakfasts and lots of coffee.

Hello making up spare beds for cousins.

Hello packing lunches and loading up on sunscreen for zoo camp.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty and busyness waiting. Are you ready?

What are you saying hello to this week? Leave some hellos in the comments or link your own hello monday post there.


hello celebration

adventures, family, inspiration By July 27, 2015 3 Comments

Later this week we’ll be up in the mountains celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It’s sure be fun with a lot of crazy mixed in. How about some hellos for a new week?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***
cousins LL-01-2cousins LL-01-3 cousins LL-01

Hello cousins and aunties and uncles and grandparents. Hello big family!

Hello mountains, cabin sleeping, and starry nights.

Hello driving winding roads and trying not to get carsick.

Hello swimming and hiking and board games.

Hello making memories.

Hello breathing deep and letting life be imperfect.

Hello celebrating 50 years of marriage. I think you have to be a little bit crazy to be able to stay married that long, don’t you?

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?


hello whale watching in avila beach

family, hello monday, san luis obispo By July 13, 2015 2 Comments

We’ve had humpback whales off Avila Beach for weeks. We took a couple evening to walk along the ocean and look for them–and we say lots of backs and tales and spouts, but no jumping. So many of our friends had seen them jumping up out of the water to feed. We went back for lunch at Avila Beach and spent some time watching for them in the early afternoon and we finally saw a few pop their heads out of the water. It was amazing! So fun to whale watch from the shore.

It’s Monday and we’re greeting a new week. We’ve been busy with summer fun and work craziness. I’m not sure we’re ready to jump into another week but ready or not, here we go!

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

whale watching in avila-01


Hello palm trees, ocean breezes and blue skies. It’s so beautiful where we live. We try to take time to enjoy it as much as we can!

whale watching in avila-02

Hello pelicans above us and diving into the ocean to feed. So cool!

whale watching in avila-03

Hello to feeling afraid. Matthias was worried about the stability of the pier. There were so many people out there whale watching. A couple days later, they closed the pier to make sure it was structurally sound. So maybe his fears were well founded!

whale watching in avila-04

Hello to hugs and cuddles from a dear friend. Love is a beautiful thing.

whale watching in avila-05

Hello cameras with long lenses. People have been getting some amazing photos! Check the shots this local photographer got. Awesome!

whale watching in avila-06

Hello old friends. These guys went to high school together. So thankful they’re still friends!

whale watching in avila-07

Hello watching and waiting and resting.

whale watching in avila-08

Hello growing up together. These boys are getting so big!!

whale watching in avila-09

Hello big smile, summer hair and evening light.

whale watching in avila-10

Hello to one of my favorite smiles in the whole world.

whale watching in avila-12
Hello resting on daddy’s shoulder. Life is good.

Hello preparing to meet up with the incourage writers on the east coast this weekend. I can’t wait!

Hello BBQing and loving the long days.

Hello emails and laundry and dishes. Always.

Hello to YOU. It’s a brand new week with beauty waiting to be found. Join me? Leave some hellos in the comments section or link your own hello monday post there!


camping, sunset beach, 2015

adventures, family By July 2, 2015 3 Comments

We went camping with friends earlier this week. We’ve done this every year for the last six years. We borrow a tent trailer from our very generous friends and this year we camped at Sunset Beach in Watsonville {near Santa Cruz, CA}. These are the guys Steve graduated from high school with {and their families}. Miraculously, the kids get along great and the wives are some of my closest friends. It’s pretty awesome.

Camping is a mixed bag for us. David is super tricky because he has a hard time sleeping away from home and he wants to wander and explore. Mixing those things in with a campground {lots of people trying to sleep, hot stoves, campfires, and wide open spaces} it means that we have to watch him every second. So camping isn’t relaxing for us, but it’s tons of fun. And even more, David slept like a CHAMP this year. Getting a good night’s sleep makes the days so much easier.

I have lots of pics to share, ready or not!camping sunset beach 2015-01 camping sunset beach 2015-02 camping sunset beach 2015-03 camping sunset beach 2015-04 camping sunset beach 2015-05 camping sunset beach 2015-06 camping sunset beach 2015-07 camping sunset beach 2015-08 camping sunset beach 2015-09 camping sunset beach 2015-10 camping sunset beach 2015-11 camping sunset beach 2015-12 camping sunset beach 2015-13 camping sunset beach 2015-14 camping sunset beach 2015-15 camping sunset beach 2015-16 camping sunset beach 2015-17 camping sunset beach 2015-18 camping sunset beach 2015-19 camping sunset beach 2015-20 camping sunset beach 2015-21 camping sunset beach 2015-22 camping sunset beach 2015-23 camping sunset beach 2015-24 camping sunset beach 2015-25 camping sunset beach 2015-26 camping sunset beach 2015-27 camping sunset beach 2015-28 camping sunset beach 2015-29 camping sunset beach 2015-30 camping sunset beach 2015-31 camping sunset beach 2015-32 camping sunset beach 2015-33 camping sunset beach 2015-34


The kids are getting so big! I love watching these kids grow up together and collecting memories they’ll treasure forever. This is the stuff of childhood summers!

Do you like camping? What are your favorite spots? Do you tent camp or use a trailer?


hiking the bluffs montana de oro

adventures, family, san luis obispo By May 27, 2015 7 Comments

We’ve been hiking a lot lately and it’s been so fun! One of the easier hikes we’ve done is off the beaten path and absolutely breath-taking. It’s land owned by PG&E so you have to enter by walking past a gate and sign into the ranger station. The views are staggering and the landscape is easy to navigate. Check out these pics.

Maybe we should have a gathering in San Luis Obispo and I’ll take you to my favorite restaurants, show you some beautiful hikes and of course we could do a little thrifting too. Wouldn’t that be fun?