Salt & Fog

The Art of Veronica Casson


Big Bend Sketchbook

Pen & Paper, Adventures & ParentingVeronica CassonComment

It is summer tradition in our family to head up north and spend a few days to a week in a small cluster of cabin located within walking distance to a bend in the Eel river. It It has been a tradition in our family since it started, and in my wife's family since her father was young.

Last night we returned from our yearly sojurn. Still feeling relaxed and a bit dreamy from afternoons on the river, and sharing evening drinks around the campfire I am going to honor the trip by posting a few illustrations and photos each day for the rest of the week. Enjoy.


I needed to start with this piece. I drew it sitting on the small sand beach bordering the river. It is of Julie. It is the day we went from BFF to TLF. While drawing this I had no idea that hours away our lives would start to twist together and remain that way from then on. Though looking at this art, I can tell I was sweet on her - even if I didn't know it yet.

river - BB

I did this painting over the weekend sitting in pretty much the same spot, but if I had turned completely around to face the main swimming hole. Of course to show the passing of time quite directly- that's my son as well as my mother-in-law wading in to the river trying to net passing fish.


I had the "great" idea to bring my sketchbook into the water with me and do some sketching while floating on an inner tube. It only sort of worked as splashes kept making the ink bleed (like Luke's eye and the splotch on Julie's hair). Still, I like the unfussy way the line work turned out.

Some river photos from this weekend.

Julie & Byron walking towards the river.

Julie & Byron walking towards the river.

Luke and I playing in the river.

Luke and I playing in the river.

Proud due about to do his first early morning fishing trip with granpa

How to Fly with a Toddler

Adventures & ParentingVeronica Casson1 Comment

Have you flown with a child? It’s not the best thing ever.

Recently within two weeks we had three flights, two of them over five hours. On all of the journeys we managed to keep Luke fairly occupied and entertained and it was not so bad. Julie and I were both spent but he seemed to come away from the experience enjoying air travel. So it’s a win.

Luke and I excited to board the flight to NYC.

Luke and I excited to board the flight to NYC.

How to fly with a toddler:

Entertaining Luke inflight was mostly a series of pre-planned time delayed activities, gifts, apps, toys, and snacks. Nothing extravagant, just items that he would find interesting and occupy his mind while on board.

Julie & Luke inflight.

Julie & Luke inflight.

Stuff we brought 

New storybooks
We picked three golden books we knew he would enjoy and pulled one out when he started growing restless. Our current faves are the new Star Wars ones I mentioned in the last post.

All times faves are


Granola bars, fruit pouches, cheese sticks, veggies sticks. About once every thirty minutes we would ask him if he was thirsty or wanted a snack. 

 We also made a really big deal about the food cart. He got to pick anything he wanted (except soft drinks which we don’t allow yet) and any snack. He chose chocolate milk and potato chips (which we split three ways). He really loved the pringles mini-can.


We loaded the iPad with new games tucked in hidden folders that we did not show him until mid way through the flights.

 Favorites included:

Endless Alphabet



The night before Luke got to pick out a toy from the book store he got to bring along on the plane (I distracted him with this activity while Julie purchased the Golden Books for the flight). He picked a set of Star Wars action figures and really like holding them and looking at them while on the plan. Particularly during take off and landing. 



To help cut down on ear-popping and avoid Luke noticing how nervous I get during landing and possibly  taking that on himself, we let him chew his first piece of gum. He was totally in to it and was not really phased by the descent, other than enjoying watching the buildings and cars grow from tiny to big.

plane window

PROTIP: Bring your own car seat. Rental car dealers charge a lot for them.
You can check yours for free when picking up your boarding passes. It is a little bulky on the walk from the terminal to the rental but worth the savings.

Happy fliers landing in NYC.

Happy fliers landing in NYC.

Enjoy your next flight! Let me know any tips you have I might have missed.

Oceanside Morning Walks

Adventures & ParentingVeronica Casson6 Comments
july walks Header.

Having a dog and a three-year old means taking many many walks each and every day.


If we don't get out of the house by ten on any given morning, we all grow irritable. Luke will be frustrated with excess energy; like any boy his age, he needs constant stimulation. I will get grumpy at his moodiness and at having to corral him from one activity to the next when he is clearly unable to focus. Byron will be sad as he’ll still have to pee. That’s how dogs roll.


Lucky for us, and you Salt & Fog reader, we live in such a lovely locale. Documenting these morning journeys through countless pictures has become an unavoidable habit of mine and was in a large part the inspiration for this blog. I mean, I can only post so many pics to instagram without clogging up everyone’s feed. Plus, it's so pretty here I just have to share.

It seemed only fitting the first blog post up on Salt and Fog’s launch day would be my ten favorite images from this past month.

The last shot was obviously during an evening walk - it being sunset and all, but it was too pretty not to add to this bunch.

Do you have a favorite? Is there any seaside imagery you would like to see next month? If so, I will keep my eye out for it. I love a good photo mission.



Mom's Group 101

Adventures & ParentingVeronica Casson2 Comments
momgroup header

The big question here is, 'Do you need a mom’s group?

Are you now, or are you soon going to be, a new parent?  If so, then the answer is yes.

If you have an older child, let’s say 6 months or older, the answer is...maybe.
Below are some of the benefits that I hope will help you in your decision. 


Reasons to join a mom's group:


This was the number one reason for me. Especially if you are a first time mom, you're going to want to talk to someone during the day that can actually respond to you. Even if it's a lame response because they are as tired as you are. Probably even more so because  they get where you’re at because they’re right there with you.


While this may just sound like complaining to your friends or maybe even your spouse, other new moms get it in a different way. They are probably feeling the same thing. No matter how many times you tell other people your new mom problems, they just won’t get it until they are in it.  It can be damn hard to be a parent, especially early on. You’re not alone. Everyone else in the group is in it for a reason too. It can feel very validating when you need it most.


From diapers to potty training, napping to sleep councilors (yes that’s a thing) to feedback on any thing that has been troubling you can and will get answered. "Any ideas on how to handle a picky eater?" Seriously, everyone does thing called being a mom for the first time and no one knows what they are doing. A mom’s group is the way we all teach, and help each other.


Pediatricians, diaper services, hand-me down clothes, that one toy all the kids want to play with (It’s probably this as it was always the biggest hit from ages 6 months to walking in my group). I have never in my adult life been the beneficiary of so much good will and free stuff as I had when was a new mom. People have stuff and advice they want to share. Problems they have researched. They cannot wait to help you with yours. Just remember to pay it back in kind (you will though, don’t worry).


 Yes, early on the babies will all just be lying there in a circle staring up at you, maybe once in a while rolling into one another. Eventually though, they’re going to want to play with other kids. It will be in really short doses at first, and mostly just parallel play, but it will help socialize them. You want kids that are socialized. You don’t want to have the kid that cannot handle being around other children and when other parents see you coming to the playground they all quickly gather their things and leave. (Don’t worry, that too shall pass!)

One of the best reasons to join a mom's group is for the lifelong connections that will continue long after the group has dissolved. Playdates will be had. — Tweet This

Q&A: When should you join?

Do you have a baby?
Yes? Then the answer is NOW. Try it at least twice. Then you will know if it is the right group for you.

Are you going to have a kid in the very near future? Are you in your third trimester?Then the answer is join soon if you feel like it. I think joining and attending up to a couple months in advance can be helpful. It is nice to have a community set up before you have your baby and your time to research such things becomes limited. An added bonus is that many groups have an established meal plan to help with those tricky early days.

How do I join?

As far as I can tell the number one way to find Mom’s group is through The CEO has even mentioned how surprised he was that moms groups became the highest percentage of users.

If one is available nearby, fill out their application (these usually take under five minutes), and once accepted, go ahead and RSVP to a few that fit with your daily timeframe. Most have multiple times slots due to changing nap schedules.



When the little ones get a little older, story times are great. Most every library has a story time that, while sometimes dull for the parents (sorry being honest here), story time is great for the kids. Regardless if you are a part of a moms group, you should go to a story time now and again. It exposes kids to the joys of reading and there is almost always a sing-along part that has group interaction. Very often they will also have information on local mom's groups or events. When story time is over go, ahead and ask the moderator (which is sometimes, but not always a staff librarian) their suggestions for fun things to attend.


Playgrounds and Children's stores:

You have children. You will be at one of these sometime this week. Chat up another mom with a child in your age bracket. Chances are, they are as eager for adult conversations as you. Outside of the internet, other moms are the best resource you will find.


Google Search

Still coming up empty? Go ahead and Google your town and “mom's group.” Something should come up. If not, expand your search to include nearby towns or your county.

What are your thoughts on moms groups? Do you find them helpful?