Friday, October 24, 2014

Louie Never Looks At the Camera

At this point I think she does it on purpose. Louie never looks at the camera. 

This is what it's like to try to get a photo of my kids....

"Okay smile!"


"Louie look over here and smile!"


"Better but Phi half closed her eyes. One more time!"


"Louie I have no idea what you're doing. Just look and smile"


"Phi you moved and Louie look here. Right here at the camera"


" Forget it "

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Troop Pumpkin Patch Trip

Over the weekend we braved the giant crowds and crazy parking lot situation to meet up with some of our Girl Scout troop friends to have some fun at the pumpkin patch and earn a hayride fun patch! 

I still can't get over how hot the weather still is in the middle of October.

I cannot tell you how excited Louie is to be an official part of the troop. She is so proud.

Since we were there on the weekend the monkey who will shake your hand for $1 was there. Always a highlight.

She is shaking hands with a monkey! That's bucket list stuff right there.

The weekends are really crazy and with the heat it just doesn't feel like a traditional visit to the patch. I think we are going to try it again, maybe at night so it could feel a bit "fall-ish".

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Homeschool Week 9: Cumbia De Los Muertos

Language Arts: We are just a few short chapters away from finishing "Island of the Blue Dolphins." We worked on the novel study. Phi's school uses the Accelerated Reading website to keep track of books read. I really like this program. The hardest part is finding a book Phi wants to read. This week she asked the youth librarian at our local library for some recommendations and ended up with 2 new book series she is loving! So much that she read one book in one day!

Math: We have moved onto complex multiplication. To make this easier we are learning how to expand out a large number, multiply and add. For example. 7,659 x 3 would become 7000 x 3 + 600 x 3 + 50 x 3 + 9x3. Math was not so hard this week. There was no tears or game systems being taken away this week. That makes it a win!

Social Studies & Science: We are at the end of units for both social studies and science so this week was all about review questions. There was one project for this week and it was all about a cultural tradition. Since it's been on our mind because of the Book of Life movie and all the prep going into the next girl scout meeting Phi picked Dia De Los Muertos. She made a new powtoons presentation and is going to be taking in a few items to share with her class.

Of course I am very proud of this one!

Next week we will finish the book and start new units in science and social studies. Exciting stuff!! 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

American Heat

A few weekends ago we headed out to the still very hot Palm Springs for American Heat. A weekend filled with motorcycles and biker dudes. The main drag in PS was lined up with bikes and it was very cool to see.

So why would this be a family outing? Well because ever since she saw "Teen Beach Movie", Louie is obsessed with motorcycles and even more bikers. Everytime she sees one on the freeway she points and yells "BIKER!"

Louie and some of her biker buddies.

 Then she saw a pink Harley Davidson. Mind Blown.

Best of all it was a fun day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Homeschool Week 8: Breaking News

Language Arts: We are getting close to the ending of the book! I love that Phi is reading this book at this age. What a great reminder how girls are just as strong and resourceful as boys can be. Karana is such a great example of the strength and courage a young girl can possess. I am bracing myself for the ending. Phi did all the novel study assignments. I have noticed that Phi's reading comprehension this year is a little better than last year. She is already reading novels a but faster too.

Math: We dove right back into multiplication and anyone who has been following along since last year knows that this is not Phi's forte. Getting her to memorize the multiplication tables, combined with these crazy common core lessons has made it really hard. She still hasn't them all memorized but we are slowly working on it. This was the first week where math was hard. There may have been some talking back on her end, and there may have been 4 days without electronics. I hope that these hard weeks are few and far between this year.

Social Studies: We talked about the Native California tribes close to home. We talked about the desert tribes. We talked a lot about about how the climate determines how they build their homes and what they wore. We talked about the governments they developed. When we were talking about what Phi thought made a good Chief she talked about traits like, honest, brave, kind, funny and realized that her Tata would make a damn good Chief. I told her he was kind of like the Chief of our tribe!

To bring the lesson to life a little more we took a trip to the small Native American Museum in Palm Springs. It was a very small place but it was enough to let Phi learn a little more about native governments and she got to touch and see a few of the plants and what they were used for.

Science: This week we studies microorganisms. We talked about the 3 different types of microorganisms The assignment was to write a newspaper article about one type of microorganism. There needed to be quotes from an expert and from someone who has dealt with the microorganism first hand. We got permission from Phi's teacher to do a video instead.


Big thanks to Uncle Matty for helping us out. 

Despite the math we had a pretty fun week! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Back to Troop

There are a lot of things I am now that "cool teenaged" Elissa would never had imagined. Things like blogging, knitting and being crafty in general. You can add Girl Scout Troop leader to that list, but here we are. Last year when we started Troop 2123 we had 4 members. Last week we celebrated the start of our new troop year with an investiture ceremony with our 20 troop members. Yes 20! 

It's been a crazy and so awesome first year and Melanie, Jessica and I are super pumped for the new year. We wanted to start the year off right with a very special investiture/rededication ceremony. The 3 of us really worked and planned our tails off and the results were amazing. We had such a special night for all the girls. 

The night was extra special for my tribe. First off our troop decided to open membership to Daisy aged siblings. That meant that Little Louie's big dream was going to come true. She was going to get to be a Girl Scout. All last year Louie watched from the sidelines. She talked a lot about how she couldn't wait to be a Girl Scout. She would carry Phi's sash around and ask me about each and every badge. When we decided to let Daisy's in I kept it a secret from Louie until the night of the ceremony. Before the ceremony started Joey and I presented her with her vest. She was a bit stunned but as soon as the ceremony started she was excited to be a part of it all. 

We started our ceremony with a special Girl Scout promise. Each girl was given a special candle and we passed on the light. It was really awesome to see.

We wanted the girls to know that being a girl scout is a commitment. We wanted to remind them that as troop members, troop leaders and parents we are all dedicated to making this the best experience for them possible. To emphasize this we had each girl, each parent and each troop leader sign a contract.

Even Louie...

The last part of the ceremony was the pinning of each member. Each girl got a new membership star for the new year, an investiture badge, a badge with their level. Our troop had 4 girls that were bridging up to the Junior level and my Phi was one of them. To mark the occasion we made a "bridge" with balloons and at one end Phi removed her Brownie sash and walked across the bridge.

Ugh could I be anymore cheesy proud Mom in this picture....

Then I got to present her with her new Junior vest. It was a very proud moment for me. Seriously just writing about it makes me teary eyed. I am such a sap.

Before we let the girls loose on the cupcakes and other goodies we had one more surprise in store for them. Troop leaders Melanie's Mom made each of the girls their very own personalized bag. 

 We also had a photo backdrop set up where Melanie took some really great pictures of all our girls. 

Here is our newest (and youngest!) member of Troop 2123

And her silly face....

And our brand new Junior's silly face....

That's better....

If you would have told us 5 years ago that we would be so involved in Girl Scouts we never would have believed you. But this group has been such a blessing in our lives. We have a new big group of really great people in our lives and our girls are making life long friends, learning important skills and gaining self-confidence. 

Of course the access to Girl Scout cookies helps too!

Thursday, October 09, 2014


My parents recently moved into a new house. They had been at the "old" house for about 10 years. It is the only place the grandkids know as "Nana and Tata's House". It is where we took the twins trick or treating for the first time ever. They dressed up as ducks. It is where we have had the last 10 Christmas mornings. Even the ones where we had to Skype in Elaine and Kelly from Florida. It is where we had our luau/poker tournament baby shower when we were pregnant with Phi. It's where we had the most amazing 3rd birthday for Phi, you know the one where Mom ended up in the kiddie pool. It is where Joey and I had our wedding reception and where I danced with my cousin Roman for the last time. It is where we have had beer pong tournaments, star gazing around the fire pit and I am sure thousands and thousands of cold beers.

Phi was really sad about the move and there is no doubt that it does suck. She kept going over all her memories from the house. I stopped her in the middle of listing things and told her that just because we do not have that house anymore doesn't mean we don't have those memories anymore. Those memories are for us to have. Forever.

Over the 10 years at the old house I have taken some of my favorite pictures of my family.

It is not the house or the trees that I love about these photos. Its the people in these photos who I love more than life itself. And those people are still our people. We may be changing where "home base" is, but what as long as the 14 of us have each other it really doesn't matter where home base is. As long as my Mom is there to hug us and Pops is there with a cold one for us when we get there, that is our home. They are the heart of the family and this new house is giving us a new background to a lot of new memories. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Homeschool Week 7: I Got You Babe

Language Arts: We are now about halfway through the Island of the Blue Dolphins book. We worked on the Novel Study questions for chapters 10-14. I am so excited at how excited Phi is about this book. I forgot how vivid Scott O'dell's descriptions are.

Math: The lessons this week were all about time. We worked on worksheets about different way to write time and working with elapsed time as well as working with schedules. Of course I loved this because I love schedules

Social Studies: We continued learning about Native California tribes. This week our focus was on those that lived in the mountain and valley areas. We answered some worksheet questions and for her project she got to research different types of games Native kids played, pick one and bring it to class for everyone to play. Phi picked the bowl games, where Native kids took 6 nuts and painted them white on one side and black on the other. Then placed the nuts in a bowl. Each played would hit the bowl to the ground and if you got 5 ore more of the nuts with the same color you get a point. Since Phi is allergic to nuts she used buttons that she spraypainted black on one side and pink of the other. She also used a to-go container as the bowl so that there would be a clear lid.

Science: For science we studying mutual interdependent relationships, also known as symbiotic relationships. We read the work sheets and how animals and plants help each other.We watched this cute video. We found a few more videos about different animals who help each other out and the assignment was to present a symbiotic relationship. Phi chose the clown fish and a sea anemone. Instead of just making a picture we did a simple craft.

Since Phi has really been loving working on PowToons she made a new one all about the mutually interdependent relationship between Larry the clown fish and Harold the sea anemone.


Monday, October 06, 2014

September Books and Gratitude

49. The Infinite Moment of Us by Laureen Myracle: a very unmemoriable book that I most likely picked up in hopes of another Fault in Our Stars. To be honest I have no idea what this book was about and I only read it a month ago.
50.We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: this was a good story and a quick read. A very Kennedy like family and a really shocking twist at the end.
51. I Just want to Pee Alone by Kim Bongiorno: A compilation of a bunch of Mommy bloggers talking about the horrors of parenthood.
52. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper: I have had this book on my "to-read" list for awhile and since the movie just came out I picked it up from the library. What a great book! A sad and funny story about a family trying really hard to get through the death of their father.
53. Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper: Since I loved "This is where I Leave You" so much I immediately grabbed another book by Tropper. This one was pretty good but it became pretty clear that Tropper has a formula that he uses for all his books.
54. Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina: As usual I got my hands on some chicana literature. I really wanted this book to be great, but it was just okay. A book about a young girl growing up on the East Coast and her life trying to deal with her Mom's secrets and the school bully Yaqui Delgado, who for some reason it out to kick butt.

And always so much to be grateful for....

9-1-14: a beach day
9-2-14: fantastic girl scout meeting
9-3-14: My Momma's birthday
9-4-14: that they have each other
9-5-14: cool artist who encourage kids to be artists too
9-6-14: a pool day
9-7-14: my brother-in-laws birthday
9-8-14: fresh veggies
9-9-14: that Phi loves school
9-10-14: that Joey didn't get hurt!
9-11-14: Generous friends
9-12-14: a reminder that they are always watching
9-13-14: a night with my beautiful Boo
9-14-14: a successful surgery for my Nana
9-15-14: that we saved a box of girl scout cookies
9-16-14: my talented co-leaders
9-17-14: sky gazing with Louie
9-18-14: kids with kites
9-19-14: my family making boring errands fun
9-20-14: Friday Night Lights and yarn
9-21-14: 15 years with my Vero
9-22-14: silly books that make us all laugh
9-23-14: movie night with the troop
9-24-14: for Joey getting a cute costume together last minute
9-25-14: for trying new things
9-26-14: for my baby sisters birthday
9-27-14: being able to help my family move
9-28-14: bonding time for the cousins
9-29-14: new school portraits
9-30-14: a break from the heat. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Homeschool Week 6: I Will Survive

Language Arts: We got through chapters 6-9 in Island of the Blue Dolphins. Phi is really enjoying this book. We worked on the Novel Study and answered the questions for all the chapters we read. The novel study so far has been pretty straight forward questions. As a way to learn a little more about the life that Karana might have lead I made Phi her own profile on the Webrangers Site.  This is a great site put together by the National Park Services. Phi was able to make up her own Ranger Name (It's Ranger Itchy Kid) and she has her own office. There are lots of fun activities for her to play and learn.

Math: This week the lessons were all about different types of graphs. We did worksheets on double bar graphs, line graphs. The worksheets that we were given were 2-sided but the backsides had the answers on them as if they were from the teachers book. Since we got through the front sides in just 2 days I went in and just crossed out the answers and had her work on them. We did run into one issue when it came to Math and tutoring. Phi goes to tutoring for about 45 minutes on Fridays to work with a junior high kid on math. This week when I reviewed the work they had done, it was done wrong.

Social Studies: Coastal People was our topic this week. Joey and Phi worked together to learn all about how California tribes like the Chumash lived off the land. The assignment was to make a list of some of the ocean resources used by these coastal tribes. Of course Phi's was centered around animals.

The second part of the assignment was about how coastal tribes used resources they found in their area to use as trade. The assignment was to come up with something to bring to class that can be traded for goods and services. Phi had a great idea and decided to make rainbow loom bracelets as her good. Over the weekend Phi and Lili had some fun making rainbow loom stuff!

Science: Adaptation and accommodations were the topic for science. We reviewed how plants and animals adapt and accommodate in the rain forest, desert and coral reef. The assignment was to pick an animal make a picture of it and then present 3 different ways that animal has adapted to its environment Phi picked a camel.

Here is her presentation....