Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Halloween 2019 : Elli The Jelly

Elliott was a jellyfish this year for Halloween. I know that’s a bad photo, but I’m trying to show off that it lights up. Here’s another attempt, but it’s still not a good photo.

You have to trust me, the costume looked awesome in the dark. All the credit goes to Coral for this one. She made the whole thing and it was so impressive that a lot of the houses we trick-or-treated at gave Elliott extra candy because they thought his costume was so great. “Why not take another couple candies? I just LOVE your costume!” It was a fun night. One lady even told him to take an extra handful.

Here’s a photo in the daylight so you can get the full effect of Jelly-Elli.

Per tradition we went to downtown Paso Robles where they block off the streets around the park and the shops hand out candy. It gets pretty crazy, so if you can’t handle a lot of fast movement and big crowds you’ll probably want to avoid it, BUT it’s actually really fun to see so many costumes all in the same place. We even found another jellyfish, which Elliott was very excited about.

After a couple of hours of walking, arms tired from holding the heavy jellyfish, we were happy to be home to enjoy this pile of candy.

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

Oh yeah, here’s a bonus photo of some fun Halloween cut outs Elliott made earlier in the month.

And that’s that.

– Jeff

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Bonus Blog:
Yes, today is the last day of Blogtober. I posted one blog every day for the entire month. I never got to that point where I thought, “Ughhhh….why did I decide to do this?” It was fun for me and it was interesting having to come up with something to write about every day. I don’t like to talk about “inspiration” because I think it’s cheesy, but inspiration is everywhere. One day I wrote about a lady buying way too many boxes of Wheat Thins. Another day I wrote about a hole in my sock. Anyway, I hope it brought you some enjoyment. I have two minutes to hit the PUBLISH button before midnight strikes and there is no way I’m going to fail this dumb challenge on the last day.

Thanks again for reading and following along.
See you soon!

The Chesebrough Farm Tradition

Every year we go to Chesebrough Farm to pick out a few pumpkins and it’s always a good time. We went a couple of weeks ago and Coral and Elliott picked out some favorites. I feel like every time I go there I am surprised with how many different types/varieties of pumpkins there are.

They have a lot of fun photo opportunities set up around the farm, but we skipped all of them except for the big pyramid of pumpkins at the top of the post. I guess none of else felt like being Instagram models that day.

The farm is located at 790 Moss Lane in Templeton and is open 10am – 6pm every day in October. If you need to grab some pumpkins in the next couple of days now is your chance.

See ya!
– Jeff

Say Hello To My Little Friend

Last night I promised to talk about our drive home from San Diego in today’s post and I’m just going to get straight to the point.

We got a puppy!

This has been in the works for awhile. If you know anything about Coral she LOVES to do research. She would never acquire a new pet on a whim. She already knows a lot about dogs, but I’m guessing she’s spent the last 6 weeks becoming an expert on Pugs, specifically. Her timing could not have been better because she found a pug puppy that wasn’t too far out of the way from our drive home from San Diego.

Elliott was completely clueless to the fact that mom had been on the hunt for a puppy, so we totally surprised him. We left San Diego and headed to Fontana. The problem was we couldn’t pick up the puppy until 5:45pm. We were stuck with a lot of time to kill because we didn’t want to stay in San Diego too long in hopes of avoiding traffic, but we didn’t want to get to Fontana too early because from what we could tell there wasn’t much to do there. Luckily, we found a pretty sweet Barnes & Noble in Corona that we spent a lot of time at. Clean bathrooms too, which is always a plus when you’re on the road.

When it was finally puppy pick up time we pulled up in front of a house after hours of telling Elliott that we had to pick something up for work. He was slightly confused why we had to go to a house, but I think he was so tired of driving he didn’t question it too much. He didn’t even think it was too weird when I told him to cover his eyes while I was holding my camera and nothing says, “this surprise is for you” more than a person pointing a camera at your face while telling you to cover your eyes. I got the whole thing on video and it’s adorable, so by the time I finish editing it you’ll be able to see it in about eighteen months.

Those first two photos were from Coral and this next one is a screenshot from the video. At this point in the surprise he was so thrilled to be holding a puppy that it hadn’t crossed his mind that it was ours. After cuddling and laughing he asked, “Where can we have this.” Coral said, “She’s coming home with us.” And his face did this.

I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot of Inez on the Viva Paso Instagram. Today was her first full day with us and she spent a lot of time in the shop. She did great and even played a little bit of dress up.

See you tomorrow!
– Jeff

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Not satisfied and need more?
Check out my YouTube Channel.
Take a look at the Viva Paso Blog.

The Hot Wheels Track You Didn’t Know You Needed

So, this is new and I am pretty sure this is not what Hot Wheels intended, but when you have an 8 year old boy left unattended for a few minutes this is what you get.

In other news, I am typing this with 12 minutes to deadline. As much as I would love to expand on what is happening in this photo, sadly, I just don’t have the time. Sorry, it’s been a very busy day. Don’t worry, I’ll make it up to you with a real banger of a post in the next day or two.

As always, thanks for reading.
– Jeff

Spiderman, Chillin’

Oh, Elliot is at it again. If I remember correctly, he requested that I visit his room for a surprise. And wouldn’t you know it, when I walked into his room I was surprised. There was Spiderman, just chillin. From what I can gather, Elliott lent Spidey his Einstein shirt and camo sweat shorts. And without being asked to borrow my stuff, Spidey was proudly wearing my hat. For some reason he had my keys and he also had a GoPro remote velcroed around his wrist. That GoPro thing was very surprising because I hadn’t seen that remote in a long time, which means Elliott fished it out of the depths of my closet. I’m actually glad he found it. His curiosity (or nosiness, as some call it) has paid off. Oh, Spiderman was also reading a book about dolphins. All in all, just a regular day.

When was the last time you played dress up?

– Jeff

Elliott And Captain Underpants

It was only a matter of time, but Elliott has found out about Blogtober. He knows I made a couple of posts about him and now he wants EVERY post to be about him. He’s got a lot of ideas too. It’s adorable. He really wants everybody to see the Captain Underpants cut out that he made.

Elliott is super into cut outs, which I think is awesome. When I first starting using epoxy resin to cover my paintings back in 2004 the majority of my work was cut outs glued to painted wood panels. Like this:

Let’s just say cut outs are dear to my heart and I love that Elliott is making them and totally discovered them on his own.

After he made the BIG Captain Underpants he decided a smaller one needed to be made for on-the-go purposes. Elliott is totally one of those kids that has to grab as many things as possible as he walks out the door because he “needs” them wherever he goes. He’ll stuff his backpack to full capacity with Hot Wheels and plushies and things he “needs” and then he’ll never even open the backpack while we’re out and about. Anyway, this smaller Captain Underpants gets to go on adventures like trips to Trader Joe’s and whatnot. Although, now I think it might be crumpled up in the bottom of his backpack. So, it’s a good thing I took this photo when I did.

Oh yeah, he said it’s very important for you to know that the cape is a separate cut out piece that he taped on the back of Captain Underpants. I took a photo of the cape, but it didn’t quite capture the full glory of what the cape stands for, so you’ll just have to trust me.

That’s it for now.
Y’all have a good weekend!

– Jeff

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In other news:
– It’s Open Studios Tour in SLO County this weekend and next. Go check out some art! For more info visit: Arts Obispo
– I’ll be at Viva Paso all weekend. Come by and check out some art and all of the other goodies we have to offer. 1211 Pine in downtown Paso Robles.
– If you have a 10 year old or younger have them check out The Elliott Show.

Elliott Lego Edition

My shop is open until 9pm on Friday’s and Saturday’s. Elliott is not fan of these nights because it usually means he’ll be asleep before I get home. This past Friday was no exception. Elliott was asleep when I got home and Coral told me that he made something really cool with his Lego’s that he REALLY wanted to show me. In ParentLand this means in the morning I need to be sure to ask him about it. And I would have but, like usual, he beat me to the punch. What that means is that he woke me up at 6:40am with a very subtle, “Dad! I have to show you something!”

Half asleep, groggy eyed and not really 100% sure of what was going on he ran out of the room before I could respond. He came back seconds later carefully carrying this big awesome Lego construction that was actually a Lego version of himself.


(In case you can’t tell from the photo. The arms have some sort of pivot function so they can swing back and forth and the legs have hinges so they can bend.)

Obviously, I thought it was amazing and I told him so and then he left the room with his Lego Elliott and I fell back to sleep. When I finally woke up I had to rush out of the house to make it to work on time. Let’s be honest though, the phrase “on time” actually means opening the shop between 10:15-10:30am despite the posted hours on the front door that claim we open at 10am. The point is, I rushed out and totally forgot to take a photo of Lego Elliott. If you know kids and Lego’s you know the fun things they invent with them are usually quite fleeting. Lucky for us Lego Elliott survived the entire Saturday and this morning before I left for work I was able to get a photo of him. And it’s a good thing I did because when I came home from work today Lego Elliott looked like this.

I’m sure it wouldn’t take much surgery for Elliott to get the Lego version of himself back to working order, but the likelihood is pretty slim. That’s just the nature of Lego building. You build it. Play with it. Wreck it. And then on to the next invention.

That’s a wrap!
Thanks for reading.

– Jeff

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Need more?
Check out this great text convo with Neal from 2015.
Speaking of Neal. Follow him on Instagram: @nealbretonart

Claassen’s Radiator Service

I love that this place exists.

– Jeff

Eat The Marshmallow

There are a lot of days when there is something waiting for me when I get home and the other day this was it.

Yes, it’s a rope hanging from the balcony with a note taped to it. Could it be a ransom note? Has some villain taken my family hostage while I was out? The odds of that are pretty slim, but I will say this. Elliott loves leaving surprises around for me to discover. I think these surprises are hilarious and I love them. I never quite know what to expect. Of course, this note hanging from the balcony is the first thing I see as I approach the garage to put my bike away. What will the surprise be today? Does the note say, “Welcome home, Daddy!” Of course not, that’s too easy. Instead, there is a marshmallow skewered on a toothpick and the toothpick is taped to the paper with the following message.

“Pull the paper up and eat the marshmallow!”

Aww…he left me a tasty treat. What a sweetheart. The thing is, I have no idea how long this marshmallow has been hanging here collecting dust from a windy afternoon. I have no idea what critters might have crawled on it. It’s also unclear to me why I need to go up the balcony just to pull the marshmallow up to eat it when I could just as easily eat it right here on the spot. Elliott must have been spying from the window because before I even got the garage door open he was running down the stairs to see if I found the note.

This shouldn’t be much of a surprise, but he ended up eating the marshmallow before I had a chance. What will be waiting for me when I get home tonight, hmmm…

Elliott’s Awesome Monsters

A couple of weeks ago I came home to these drawings waiting for me on the kitchen table.


Obviously, I love them. It’s just so cute. In the second photo you can see one sad girl, which is funny because he usually makes everything happy. My guess is he wasn’t pleased with the sad girl, but tried it out because that’s how I drew it, then immediately drew another one, but with a smile. I can only assume that he circled the happy one to designate it as the one to pay attention to.

As adorable as it as that he would copy me, make no mistake, this kid does not need any inspiration. Check these out. He has his own style totally unique to him. I love these.


He drew these because it’s October and he’s super excited about Halloween. He calls them Spooky Chomps. Even with the spiky teeth the Spooky Chomps are still cute and happy. One of my all time favorite things he’s drawn though is this window drawing. His grandparents keep glass markers in the house and as soon as Elliott found them he went to town on the slider.

Oh, I love it so much! For years he’s had a thing for drawing cyclops and triclops creatures, but he always makes them so cute and endearing that you just want to squeeze them.

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking!
– Jeff

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Not sick of me yet? Great!
Check out this Pumpkin Spice post from five years ago.
Watch a time lapse of me painting a Blockhead Owl.
Follow on Instagram: @jeffclaassen

These Toothbrushes Are Multiplying

First off, this is not a post to highlight my incredible photography skills. Here’s the thing. I live in a house with two other people. Numbers and math are by no means something I excel at, but I am pretty sure I got the math right when I say that three people live in this house. It’s true, there were five of us at one time and if I blogged regularly I would have mentioned that the big kids have moved out. If you’re a parent and you’re wondering what that feels like. It feels amazing.

Anyway, back to the photo. It does not take a mathematician to count seven toothbrushes in the photo. What you can’t gather from this photo is the fact that Coral keeps her toothbrush in a drawer. I’m sure that has something to do with her being an only child…and maybe something to do with her introversion, but that’s a whole other blog post that I will probably never write because she’s an amazing cook and I love eating.

There should really only be two toothbrushes here, but we have seven. Well, technically, we should have three because for some reason Elliott has two toothbrushes. One he uses on the daily and one that he’s…saving? This might be the beginning stages of a hoarding problem and I have no idea where he would get that from. His are the one hanging in the penguin thing and the pink Crayola one. That one came in a two pack and he used the blue one first. He knows pink is one of my favorite colors, so I like to think he was saving the best for last. Mine is the black one and get this, it’s normally in the boring toothbrush holder, but it got demoted to just sitting on the countertop like nobody cares about it. Now here is where things get a little fishy. Remember I said the big kids moved out. Well, one of them spent the night this past Sunday and after SHE left is when I noticed my toothbrush got demoted to the sidelines and the toothbrush holder was full of other toothbrushes. Did she open a four pack and thought it best to put all of them in the holder? Did she think she was doing us a favor? Did she bring four from her apartment and each brush serves its own unique function? Maybe the blue one is only used for the front of her top row of teeth, while the job of the pink one is for the back of the top tow of teeth. I really have no idea and am a little disappointed I’ve thought this much about it, which makes me feel a little bit guilty that I’ve now made you think about it. Sorry. Admittedly, I did not see her do any of these things. There are no witnesses that saw her remove my brush from its esteemed spot in the toothbrush holder, but it does make you wonder.

Nobody that lives in the house is claiming ownership to these four mysterious brushes. If I soak them in extra hot salsa will they taste spicy to the person that uses them next? Will a person actually use them or will they just sit in my bathroom forever? Should I scrub the toilet with them and put them back in the toothbrush holder. Look, this is just where my mind goes. I wouldn’t really go through with it.

Like I said, it feels amazing when the kids start moving out, but I might actually miss solving mysteries like this in the house. Like when you find an old onesie tucked away in a drawer and you get all sentimental. “Ohhh…remember when they were so teeny tiny.” Just maybe though. Because last time Evelyn stayed the night, the time before this toothbrush thing happened, I found this bullshit in the pantry.

Again, no witnesses. But, I did hear her ask Elliott if she could eat one of his BelVita snacks and what you see in the photo is what I found in the pantry later that day. Keep in mind there is a trash can just a couple of feet away that you HAVE TO walk by as soon as you step foot out of the pantry. You literally have no choice but to walk right by it. Don’t worry, I’m trying to figure out how to wrap this all up and what I’ve come up with is this. Despite having moved out of the house kids still cause all kinds of bullshit and because of that, after all of these years, I still have source material for this blog.

Thanks, kids!

Remember, I’ve challenged myself to posting on here once a day for the entire month, so be sure to tune it tomorrow for…who knows what. Do I look like a guy that plans things?

(Imagine a photo of me here doing something that looks unplanned. You know, like I’ve painted myself into a corner or something.)

Thanks for reading!
– Jeff

Spring Break 2018: Ostriches, Tramps, And Other Exotic Creatures

Spring break has come and gone, but the memories will last forever.

Is that the cheesiest line to start a blog post with, or what? Ok, let me wipe the throw up off my face and brush my teeth. Yes, that sentence made me vomit. Anyway…

It’s a bit overdue to post about something that happened over a month ago, but that’s just my life. Before we dive into the Spring Break shenanigans I have to show you a couple of things. First:


Elliott wanted to draw a little boy so I made a very quick drawing of a little boy and Elliott colored it. That’s right, it’s a collab. Limited edition prints coming soon! Just kidding.

Second, Elliott drew the coolest freaking leprechaun I’ve ever seen.

Limited edition prints coming soon!
Again, just kidding.
But maybe…

And now, I’ll tell you all about the crazy Spring Break debauchery that went down. You’re not going to believe it, but Elliott and I went to Fort Lauderdale to party and pick up some beach betties. And we’ve got the photo to prove it!

After a couple of days in “The Fort”, as we call it, we couldn’t get out of there fast enough. If you’ve ever been there you know what I’m talking about. Two days is too many. So, we went where everybody else goes when they’ve partied too hard…SOLVANG!

We fed the ostriches and a couple emus. Nobody quite knows exactly what an emu is, but we didn’t discriminate. We made sure to feed the emu whatever we found on the bottom of our feeding dish. You know, just like you would any other second class citizen. Did you know you can now ride the ostriches at Ostrichland? Here’s Elliott taking Ozzie The Ostrich for a little joyride around the farm.

(Sidenote: It’s taken me 4 days to get to this point in the blog. I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore, but let’s continue. Shall we?)

You can count on us to sniff out the coolest playground in town and I’ve got to tell you, Solvang did not disappoint.

This photo is literally just a fraction of what Pirate Park has to offer. It’s not actually called Pirate Park, but I don’t have the time to google “cool park in Solvang” to find out its real name.

Ok, we need to backtrack a little bit. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. As parents, Coral and I never look forward to breaks. Thanksgiving breaks, Christmas breaks, Spring breaks, Summer breaks and all of those 3-4 day weekends that are scattered throughout the school year. For some people, particularly the kids, I’m sure they are great. For us, we twiddle our thumbs and wonder what the hell we’re supposed to do with these damn kids all day. Well, this past Spring break I actually thought of something. I decided to take Elliott on a little out of town adventure for a couple of days.

I love trampolines.

That sentence will seem less random in a minute. When I was a kid I had a trampoline. I’m not very good on them, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve that make me feel like a rockstar. A few years ago these trampoline parks started sprouting up. A trampoline park is basically a warehouse full of trampolines that are all lined up together and you can jump from one to another to another to another to another until your face smashes into someones knee while they’re going up and you’re falling down. Nose bleeding fun for the whole family! They are basically a dream come true to the 15 year old that still lingers somewhere within my psyche. I’ve been wanting to check out one of these parks since the second I heard about them a few years ago. My plan was to hunt one down and take Elliott there for our daddy-son getaway. It wasn’t totally selfish. Ok, sure, it was a little selfish, but he loves trampolines too. Did you not see the video? Like and subscribe? 😜

But really, like and subscribe. Or don’t. But you should. Well, wouldn’t you know it, some genius opened one in Santa Maria, which is only 1 hour away from where we live. Discovering the one hour away trampoline park was exactly the catalyst we needed to set the rest of our adventure in motion.

The plan went something like this. Leave Paso Robles, tramp park in Santa Maria, feed ostriches and stay the night in Buellton, wake up the next day and go to Santa Barbara zoo (which neither of us have ever been to).

All this trampoline talk and the only photo I have is of Elliott climbing a wall at the trampoline park without a single trampoline in sight. But here’s the thing. I did take some video and one of these days (if we’re lucky) I will edit it and upload it to my channel for your voyeuristic viewing pleasure. Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath. Oh, here’s an idea. How about I post a screenshot from the video?

Great idea! Here it is.

I typed way too much about trampolines. The idea was to post photos with captions and I failed big time at that, so I’ll keep it minimal on the words from here on out. Don’t worry, it’s almost over. Look, I’m bored too. I can only sit at SLO Do Co surrounded by 19 year olds for so long. Also, it’s currently 10:50pm on a Wednesday night and I’m 35 minutes from home and still have real work to get done before the night is over. I’m doing this for you. That’s right, because you NEED to know all about my Spring break that happened 56 days ago. What was it I said about keeping the words at a minimum? Ok, here we go!

Elliott’s main goal at the zoo was to see the elephants.

Goal accomplished.

We also saw this amazingly impressive staghorn.


We waited so long to get this picture. This gorilla sat with its back to us for an insane amount of time. You’d think it would be more concerned with the humans getting good photo ops, but no, not this gorilla. It’s just going to act like it has nothing better to do all day while trapped in a zoo wishing it could be back in the Congo where it belongs.


Spider-Elli!

You know what, that park in Solvang is called Sunny Fields Park. Turns out I do have the time. Ughhh…

Speaking of time, it is time to wrap this thing up because, let’s face it, this post has outstayed its welcome. Trust me though, I totally spared you. Things missing from this post:
– The Easter Egg Hunt and other Easter activities.
– I didn’t mention how Elloitt may have had just as much fun on the escalator in the Santa Maria mall as he did in the trampoline park.
– Hotel room tour photos.
– Continental breakfast photos at The Marriott.
– A plethora of other things that I can’t even remember.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. Even if you skipped all the words and just looked at the photos I still appreciate that you checked it out when you could have been watching trick shot videos on YouTube instead. Speaking of YouTube, I really did take a lot of video of our Spring Break adventure. I’m going to edit it and will try my best to upload before Spring Break 2019.

See ya!
– Jeff

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You can’t possibly still want more of me, but who knows…maybe you’re crazy. If so, check me out on:
– Instagram: @jeffclaassen
– Snapchat: kidding, I don’t snapchat.

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