Todos Santos Beach: Where to go swimming in Todos Santos

What’s the best Todos Santos beach?

If you’re coming to vacation, you’re going to want to go to the Todos Santos beach! Interestingly, when you’re in town, you won’t even be able to tell you’re near the beach. The town is built up away from the coast, so you’ll need directions to the best Todos Santos beaches.

todos santos beach

Also, the area is notorious for dangerous breaks and dangerous currents, so only go swimming at beaches that you see other people swimming at, or that you know for sure are safe to swim.

The top 5 todos Santos swimming beaches

  1. Punta Lobos Beach

    This is hands-down my favorite Todos Santos beach. It also happens to be the fisherman’s beach. The fishermen of Todos Santos land their boats by timing their entry with a wave, and then driving full-speed toward the beach and pulling their motor out of the water at the last minute as the boat beaches on the sand.  For that reason, I would only go swimming in the afternoons or on a Sunday. They’ll be coming in pretty steadily between 1 and 4 pm.

The thing that’s so special about this beach Continue reading


What’s the first question people have when they find out you’re homeschooling?

“What about socialization?”

There is a wealth of social interactions just within your family that I truly believe is enough for kindergarten- and under-aged kids.

If you're homeschooling your kids, how will they be socialized?

Think about it! When your kid grabs a knife and you don’t want him to have it, how do you model this interaction?

(Toddler translation: That kid has my ball and I want it back. I will do what I see mommy do when she wants something back from me). Do you snatch it away from him, or do you calmly ask him to give it to you with an open hand?

He will be socialized by your responses to him, and when he does get a chance to be with other kids, he will do what you’ve modeled.

This works negatively as well. Ask me how I know.

When you want him to put on his pajamas and he doesn’t want to, how do you get him to cooperate?

(Toddler translation: I want to play superheroes a certain way and that kid isn’t doing it my way. I will do what I see mommy do when she wants me to do it her way).

And once you bring a sibling to the mix, your big brother will know the rules and the baby won’t. How will he enforce those rules? (Toddler translation: The baby just threw my cup on the floor. I will do what I see mommy do when I break the rules.)

There! Socialization!

Modeling works really well and it works all the time. Watching my oldest imitate my behavior on his younger brothers has been like looking into an extremely unflattering mirror at the fun house.

Thanks to that uncomfortable lesson, I began reading everything I could get my hands on regarding positive parenting. My favorites:

The last one, the unschooling book, really helped change my perspective. I began to see my kids as people with legitimate desires–as legitimate as my own. That doesn’t mean I always give in, but it means I’ve started collaborating with them on our daily life plan, rather than just planning a scientifically-approved, developmentally appropriate queue of activities.

It’s a small detail, but a major distinction. Are you planning wholesome healthy activities for your kids, using your super-smart, all-knowing adult brain? Or are you looking at the person in front of you, and taking them into account? Is catching geckos less valuable than making crafts? What about watching YouTube videos about geckos?

I know you want to try that cute paper plate cow face craft on Pinterest, but what is that small person really into?

In terms of socialization, this distinction is huge. At school, kids are learning to follow directions (important in many instances, not saying it isn’t). But that’s not really learning how to socialize with others, or how to collaborate.

If home life is a series of commands and star charts and bedtimes and get-up times, then no, that’s not really socialization, unless you’re socializing them for the military.

When’s the last time you met someone and thought, “Now there’s a well-socialized person!” Are you sure those traits were learned in school?

What does it mean to be well-socialized? What do well-socialized people do? No really, I’m asking. Let me know in the comments!

If you're homeschooling, how can you be sure your kids will be well-socialized?



I told a story! Getting my feet wet in homeschooling

I’ve been looking into different homeschooling methodologies, from unschooling to Montessori to Waldorf to conventional public school at home.

choosing waldorf homeschooling

After deciding and changing my mind a few times, I’ve settled on Waldorf, and spent money on a curriculum and mom-training to really cement my commitment.

Waldorf concentrates on art, creativity, and storytelling, and delays formal academic instruction until 1st grade, which begins when the child will be 7 for most of the school year.

For us, that means that Leon will start the final year of kindergarten next year, and Peter and Phillip will start K1 next year. Honestly, I’ll probably just do K2 for everybody.

You want me to do what?

My first task as a Waldorf mom is learning how to tell a story by heart. (There’s a phrase I haven’t used since I was a kid. Memorization just sounds so clinical. By heart is definitely more apt for story-telling).

I wasn’t sure I was up to it. I’m so used to reading stories. But after reading Waldorf training all day, I found myself in the car with a few squirrely boys.

I launched into a retelling of the Giant Turnip. I’ll give a quick summary: A man plants turnip seeds (we changed it to carrot) and prays for an extra big harvest. When they finally germinate, only one came up, but it was the biggest carrot anyone had ever seen. When it was time to harvest, it was as big as a house.

Leon hates when I sing, which I love to do, so that’s unfortunate, so I wasn’t expecting him to listen to my story. But I was thrilled to discover that I had his rapt attention at this point. This is especially important since the others follow whatever he wants to do.

So now the boys had settled down and were listening closely.

The man pulled and pulled on the carrot, but he couldn’t pull it out. So he called for his wife. They pulled and pulled, but it didn’t come out. So they called for their son, Leon. Leon pulled on Mommy (changed it up here), who pulled on Daddy, but it still wouldn’t come up. I think you can imagine what happens next. One by one, we called Peter, then Phillip, then Ryan, and finally Rosie.

Here Leon interjected.

“Mama! Que Rosie la rompe con sus dientes!”

“Ooh, good idea Leon!” So along came Rosie and she dug with her claws and gnashed with her teeth and chopped the carrot up into pieces. Then we all put the pieces into the wheelbarrow and made carrot soup.

At this point we had arrived at our destination and we happily disembarked.


Wow! It was an encouraging start to this homeschooling journey.

I learned that I can tell stories. I learned that story-telling is fun, creative, engaging, and the pace can be perfectly calibrated so that we finish just as we need to.

I think storytelling will be incredibly beneficial to my boys. They are less eloquent than other children their age and produce very little English (most of their speech is in Spanish, though they understand English).

I think this concentration on storytelling will be help boost their English prowess. And I’m looking forward to a bit of storytelling therapy, where I can help impart wisdom to get them through the struggles of their days through a fun story whose characters they identify with.

Preparing for homeschooling, Montessori-style: teaching my kids to work in their own space

Now that I’ve decided I’m going to homeschool, I need to think about how we’ll homeschool. I’ve always been drawn to Montessori. When I was a teacher in a conventional primary school, I incorporated as much Montessori philosophy as I was able to within the constrains of the environment.

In a Montessori school, kids work independently. They choose what they want to work on. They get materials out of storage on their own, work, and put the materials back when they’re finished.

We have a storage cupboard where things are easily accessible to the boys. But we were missing one crucial element: a way to teach the boys not to interrupt each others’ work.

Enter Montessori! They use mats. Each student rolls out a mat on the floor and does their work on their mat. The mat forms a clear boundary that keeps the working student in their space and other students out of their space.

This is huge! They actually worked quietly and independently in their own space. There was no whining because someone grabbed someone else’s piece. They were are all able to focus and do deep work. Even the baby!

This gives me hope that we’ll be able to pull this off. I’m looking forward to gathering materials, creating our environment that’s child-accessible, and creating the culture that will allow everyone to work side-by-side without frustration.


Disclaimer: both before AND after this idyllic Montessori-inspired work-time, I had major mom tantrums. It’s a work in progress.

How to make ceviche: raw fish salad!


Ever since I moved to Baja in 2008, I’ve served and been served ceviche at get-togethers.  Ceviche is to choyeros (people from Baja) what brats are to cheeseheads (people from Wisconsin).

Ceviche has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac.  We eat a lot of ceviche and have a million kids, so that might be true, but it’s anecdotal.  What I do know for sure is that it makes you feel so good after you eat it!  No fat, lots of lime, lots of veggies, raw fish.  I definitely feel a good energetic buzz after eating it.  And it’s certainly not heavy and doesn’t make you feel full like those brats and cheeseburgers from back home. Continue reading

Little chicken farmer

Leon is pretty much the hardest thing in my life right now. If you haven’t had a toddler in your life recently, you have no idea. If you used to have toddlers in your life, you have forgotten how terrible it is.

Now I understand the “terrible twos”. I used to think it was about tantrums and being stubborn, but in Leon’s case, it’s all about GETTING INTO EVERYTHING QUICKLY. Continue reading

Tamales, estilo Ranchero!

My husband, mother-in-law and sister-in-law often complain about the state of tamales these days. “Pura masa“, they often say–all dough, no filling. They just don’t make things like they used to, do they?

We finally decided to take matters into our own hands. Ooh, what a busy, delicious day!

First we had to fatten the rooster. We got him up to 8 pounds.

Continue reading

Crazy fad dieting: trying the Whole 30

I’ve never wanted to diet. Ever. Not even as a sensitive female teenager. My worst body issue was acne, and I didn’t know that that had anything to do with diet.

Instead, I’ve always been a strong athlete: volleyball and softball in high school, and rugby in college. Sports were fun, and running around makes you feel good about yourself. As a Midwestern-bred farmer, I know that a diet rich in whole, real food is good for us. I’ve never been scared of whole milk, cream, butter, cheese, bacon, or organic grass-fed meats.

Now, breastfeeding twins, I’m literally melting away. They’re eating me alive. So, believe me, I’m not doing this crazy diet to lose weight.

Instead, I’m doing it to see if I have any food sensitives. Not allergies. I obviously don’t have allergies, because I don’t choke or pass out or anything obvious. But it turns out that my body is telling me things. Continue reading