Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Homeschool Week 19: Fremont and The Ranch

So for the record I skipped last weeks recap. It totally slipped my mind and to be honest it was a very easy week. No big projects to speak of. So we are moving on to week 19!.

Language Arts: Phi read chapters 10-15 of By the Great Horn Spoon. The story is a lot of fun with a lot of language of the time mixed in. It makes it a little harder for Phi to follow along but she is still doing a great job. This week we did 3 different pages in the novel study guide. We studied how mining destroyed much of California's landscape and how we are still dealing with the mercury dumped in the water by the miners. She drew a picture of a gold mining cradle. We got to play a choose your own adventure like game on-line to see if Phi could make it during the Gold Rush. She couldn't. I couldn't either.

Math: We are now into adding and subtracting fractions with like denominators and simplifying the answers. We are doing okay with this. We had 4 worksheets and we got through them with little difficulty.

Social Studies: We studied all about the Mexican American War. This week really solidified my love for California history because without us knowing it the lesson hit super close to home. After answering the textbook questions she had to pick one person from the war to research and write an essay about. She chose John C. Fremont.  Who strangely looks like Joey.

So weird. The coincidences don't end there. As we were researching Fremont's attack on Santa Barbara is is documented that he and his troops rested at what is today Rancho de Ciervo. The same ranch my parents lived on for 10 years, and the ranch my Pops still manages today.
Rancho de Ciervo
We called my Pops and he knew all about it. He told us that the trail they used is still there. There was also a big oak tree called "Fremont Tree", but it fell down a few years ago. We plan to hike up there and check out the trail soon.

Science: We are reviewing solar and lunar eclipses. We read from our e-book and answered some questions. The project for the week was to create something that demonstrates a lunar and solar eclipse. Phi and Poppa came up with this.

Very cool project! They used a girl scout cookie case box (we have a lot of those right now) chopsticks, styrofoam balls, construction paper, glitter, glue and a flashlight as the sun. I love how Phi painted the earth and how the even covered and labeled the outside! Great job!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dirt Road Diary: Calico Ghost Town

After off-roading in the Calico Mountains we headed over to Calico Ghost Town. Since Phi is studying the mining era of California history we knew this would be a great place to experience a mining town. 

Calico, Ca was a real life mining town in the late 1800's, At its peak there were over 80 houses and mines were producing $10 million in silver. After the mines were tapped out, the town was all but abandoned. Mr. Knotts, of Knotts Berry Farm fame, bought the town and took most of the original buildings to Knotts Berry Farm. What was left at Calico were a few buildings and he built replicas around them. Today it is a cute little touristy place with some great California history.

The cost to enter is $8.00 per adults and $5.00 per kid. I thought the attractions were worth the price. There were other little things the kids could do like pan for gold. This cost $1.50 for Phi and Louie was free and the got to keep the "gold" they panned.

We took the little train tour ($6.00 total for me and the girls). They guys sat and waited for us.

The tour gave us a lot of facts about the town and throughout there were lots of original items from the mining days. 

We had a really great time and stayed until the saloon doors were closing.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sponsored Post: Getting Through the cold and Flu Season with PediaCare

This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Blogger Connect and the maker of PediaCare®.
However, all opinions expressed are my own.

It is officially cold and flu season. Ugh! It has gone through our house once already. Dealing with snotty kids who are cranky while you are feeling under the weather yourself is the worst. The best thing we can do as parents is try to keep kids germ-free to help avoid getting sick. There are a few things we can do to help prevent illness.

  • Wash hands. A lot. Like all the time. 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. 
  • Get lots of sleep and eat healthy foods. Do leave your immune system vulnerable. 
  • Get a flu shot. Immunizations, including the flu vaccine help to reduce the risk of ear infections, pneumonia and sinusitis. 
Sometimes, no matter what we do our kids get sick. When they do you can find PediaCare® at your local Dollar General. You can find a PediaCare® for whatever symptoms your little one is dealing with. 

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So the kids are not feeling well and everyone is home and cranky and bored! Here are a few ideas to help keep your sick babies entertained while they are on the mend!

  • Bust out the board games. The easy ones! Think Chutes and Ladders or even Go Fish. Games that require a lot of thinking may leave sick kids frustrated.
  • Relive your childhood favorites. Snuggling on the couch watching a movie is a great way to spend a sick day. Introduce your kids to some of your childhood favorites. In our house my kids were recently introduced to Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Mrs. Doubtfire.
  • Get out the old photo albums. Kids love to look through old photos. Sit down and show them photos of your childhood or of them as a baby.

Wishing you and yours a happy, and healthy winter! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Dirt Road Diary: Calico Mountains (Mule Canyon Road)

The Muddy Buddy crew had a great off-road adventure last weekend. It was really an off-roading / homeschool field trip. I love when we can make our adventures educational. Phi, our 4th grader is studying the Gold Rush. She is learning all about mining and mining towns. So we made a 2 hour drive out past Barstow to the Calico Mountains. Here we were able to off-road and explore old silver mines. We even spent the rest of the day at the Calico Ghost Town to really feel what life was like for miners.

I know this is like our 12th trip but the views still take my breath away. Every place we visit is a little different. This place was filled with some gorgeous marble looking hills and some areas where the ground was full-on green. The Calico Mountains at one time were filled with silver and was a big mining area in the late 1800's. Everywhere we looked while we rode there were holes in the mountains that used to be mines.
Just chilling in a hole in the mountain
 The ground was very soft so climbing up and down was a bit of a challenge.

We knew someone was going to eat it.

It was Joey.

The Mini Muddy Buddies. These kids really are off-roading super stars.

I know that the guys are really itching to get onto some more technical and difficult trails. Joey did a little climb without the kids in the car for fun. The Mule Canyon Trail we were on was pretty tame with a little bit of a rocky area at one point. Nothing dramatic but still a good couple of hours of fun.

I still can't believe that the view of open dirt roads can make me so happy.

Mines, everywhere, mines.

It was amazing how up-close we could get to and even into the mines.

I loved how colorful everything was. The hills were red, green, yellow and even purple.

Next up..... our time at Calico Ghost Town! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Flip N Fantastic

I remember the day Flip came into our lives. It was 2004 and Joey and I had just moved into our home. We were at a PetSmart just wandering when we walked into a pet adoption event. An older lady was there with this little black and brown puppy. It was love at first sight. The lady told us that her daughter and boyfriend had brought home the puppy but were not up for taking care of it. We did not hesitate to adopt him. I remember Joey carrying Flip like a baby through the store as we shopped for puppy supplies. We walked in that day without knowing we would be bringing home a new addition.

Flip made himself at home and was happy to have our other dog Roo as a playmate. Flip grew, and grew and grew. He was a typical puppy and during the year he was at our house he literally ate up a few couches. Yes plural. I can remember one time coming home and finding the stuffing from a couch cushion everywhere. The weird part was that the now empty pillow was not ripped up. Flip was considerate enough to use the zipper to get to his beloved stuffing. There was also the time when he was chasing Roo through the house. Roo ran out the dog door with Flip right on his tail. Instead of using the dog door he ran right through the screen door, To this day we do not have a screen door in the back. There was also the time he helped himself to some pork chops bones. I came home from work to find him laying on the floor breathing heavy. I panicked and called Joey and by the time Joey got home the bones had passed and Flip was back to his normal self.

Flip lived with us for almost a year. When Phi was born my Mom stayed with us for a week to help out. When my Pops came to take her home they loaded up Flip and took him too. There was really no discussion, my Mom was convinced Flip was too big and active to have around a baby. Of course she was right. Flip moved to Santa Barbara in 2005 where he lived the ultimate ranch dog life. He made friends with a road runner who would taunt him. He had many battles with the coyotes and even suffered a snake bite or two. He spent his days with the workers on the ranch and would come home at 5pm to spend his evenings curled up on his blanket on the couch. There was the time he smacked his face into a pole and ended up losing his eye. Having one-eye never stopped Flip. He could still catch a piece of meat in mid-air.

Sometime around November his health began to rapidly decline. A trip to the vet ended up with a cancer diagnosis. He had major inoperable masses in his lungs. The vet could not tell us how much time he had but we knew that Pops would be able to determine when it was time. We knew Pops wouldn't let his best friend suffer. The vet put Flip on some steroids that seemed to be a miracle drug. He was back to his old self. Eating, playing and even being the alpha dog when all the other dogs were around. The medication gave us some hope. He even was gaining some weight. Of course the home cooked meal of meat my Pops would make him for every meal was helping.

I was really praying for a miracle.

The last few days Flip's breathing has labored due to a mass against his lungs. He is not eating or drinking. We got word today that my Pops has determined that it's time.

As much as we want him to stay, he is suffering so it's time to let him go.

This afternoon the vet came to my parents house and now our Flippy is in heaven. I believe that Flip came to Joey and I as a way to get to my Pops. Flip was his best buddy and his constant companion. And in exchange my Pops gave him love, attention and patience. He was always meant to be my Dads dog. My heart is breaking for him. Like all dogs they become part of our family and Flip was an important part of ours.

We love you Flippy and we are comforted in the thought that you are not suffering anymore but we will miss you so much.

You were a good boy Flip. 

What's Your Color Name?

Lately I have overheard Louie asking people...

"What's your color name?"

Of course people have no idea what she is talking about. Some people ignore the question and others will just throw a color at her. What she really means is 'what's your middle name?'. See I gave Louie the middle name Blu. Spelled just like that, no 'E". I gave her that name after my Mom and Pops. It has always been there nickname for each other. See when they met my Pops was in a band called "Los Blu Boys". In our house it wasn't "honey" or "dear" it was always Blu. It was just the perfect way to give her both my parents name. Having a middle name that is a color has obviously confused the kid. But then again this is a typical Wednesday night for this kid...

She wanted me to let you know that she HATES Bieber and was forced by me to wear this as pajamas.

Then I saw this on Facebook....

Damnit! Louie might be onto something. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Homeschool Week 17: Alta California Gold

Language Arts:

Phi is starting a new book that goes perfectly with her social studies/history lessons. This is a book I have never read before and I am reading along with her. This story is about a young boy named Jack and his butler Praiseworthy. After overhearing that his Aunt will be losing her house Jack is convinced that he can go to California and strike is rich to help his aunt and siblings. Jack and Praiseworthy have their boat tickets stolen and are forced to stowaway on the boat. They turn themselves into the Captain and their sea adventure begins. This book also has a novel study attached with it. This novel study has a lot of great links to websites with video and even music to help pull the lessons together. 

Math: This week we studied composite and prime numbers. Phi did okay, but she STILL has not memorized all her times tables and that makes everything so much more difficult. I finally broke down and will be making her write each multiplication table 100 times. When she first started her multiplication tables I wanted her to do this and she did not want to. So we tried everything else and nothing has really stuck so we are going old school. Phi is not thrilled.

Science: We started Chapter 6 of her e-text book all about earth and the planets. Which of course we covered last year. This week was a review about revolutions, orbits, axis, ellipse. We reviewed why we have seasons complete with a diagram. We even talked about wind patterns and why wind moves in arcs. We did a cool experiment with a spinning cardboard and a marker.

Social Studies: We are at 1849 in California history. The beginning of the gold rush to California. We read about the first pioneer American's who traveled to Alta California. People were convinced they could come to CA and get rich quick! We studied about the 3 different ways people came to the US (Panama, Around the Great Horn and across the Oregon Trail). Her big assignment was to create a poster convincing people to come to Alta California. You know we took it up a notch. We watching some Huell Howser on California Gold for inspiration and then Phi wrote a script for "Alta California Gold". This is probably the best video we have done to date...

We have a planned field trip/off-roading trip to Calico, Ca this weekend to check out an old mining town! 

We had so much fun this week! As always we are looking forward to next week!