Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Taking a Family Photo

Before we headed out to the big family Easter party my Mom wanted us to take a family picture. The end photo turned out great! But when you are working with 13 people, 3 dogs and a self-timer on a camera it is a process! 

First we have to gather everyone in one place.

Then we have to figure out where everyone should go. And no Cari and Luis you cannot stand there.

Okay everyone is in place. There is a space for me. Lili is obviously ready for her close up. All eyes on Llama!
As I get the camera all situated the kids as always get antsy.  So do the dogs. I am working as fast as I can people!

Okay so first attempt did not work. 10 seconds is not long enough for me to get down the steps and into the picture in heels. Time for plan B. Kelly can get back down in frame fast enough so a quick tutorial for Kel. Here is a practice shot. This one may be my favorite!

So now I am in place and Kelly hits the shutter button and runs.



A frozen moment in time that took about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Homeschool Week 27: More Despereaux, Countries Working Together, Polygons and More Shapes, Floating Egg Experiment

Week 27 has come and gone. On Friday Phi's school had a Bunny Hop field day and Phi won the big prize! Go Phi! 

We are STILL reading The Tale of Despereaux. I really hope that we get to finish this book soon. This week Phi's teacher put a big emphasis on writing complete multiple sentences and lots of details. So this week we did just that. The work we had been turning in for the handouts answered the questions posted by the worksheets. The worksheets were created by another teacher and are just being downloaded and used for Phi's class. Phi's teacher is specific on the type of work she wants from the kids and I think worksheets being used are a bit to vague for what she wants. I felt like Phi and I had to really had to reach to give detailed answers to the questions asked. 

For Math we moved onto different types of polygons. We tried to make it a little more fun by working on a coloring page of tessellations! 

For Social Studies we talked about how and why countries work together. Phi wrote a great essay about the reasons why it is important for nations to work together, and talked about how treaties, ambassadors and the United Nations work.

For science we got to choose a simple science experiment to try and write about. Phi choose the floating egg experiment. We went through the experiment process by starting with a questions, giving a hypothesis, writing down observations with photos and coming up with a conclusion. She basically concluded that by adding salt to water you can get an egg to float. This was a fun and super simple experiment!

We are in the final weeks of school! I can't believe we are almost done. We have STAR testing coming up and one more field trip next month! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Land Cruiser Adventures: Big Bear to Pioneertown Part 2

We finally made it to our destination... Pioneertown. In the 1940's this place was made as a movie set. The show Cisco Kid was filmed here. It was a cool little stop with lots of photo ops..

The whole crew heading into the "town".

Pretty sure Louie attempted to rob this fake bank.

And somehow Karla and Phi landed in jail.

 And the kid gets away with it.

Just put some chaps, boots and a cowboy hat and Joey would fit right in.

My cool Joey with a cool cactus.

We tried to have dinner at Pappy and Harriet's. It looked like such a cool restaurant and smelled super yummy but it was an almost 2 hour wait. 2 hours for a place in the middle of no where. So instead we headed out to Joshua Tree and had dinner at Pie for People. Giant slices of pizza!

It was a long and fantastic day and we can't wait for our next adventure! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Landcruiser Adventures: Big Bear to Pioneertown Part 1

Our little off-roading crew went on another day adventure. This time we headed to Big Bear Lake. We started the day with a short trip to the Big Bear Discovery Center. Its a small museum with free admission. The best part was the outside Discovery Zone. 

Of course this stop was for the kids but Matt and Joey managed to have fun too.

We headed up past the discovery center and made our way onto unpaved Burns Canyon Road.  And the off-roading adventure begins!

We were heading to Pioneertown through an awesome road. Our first stop was on this little plateau with an amazing view.

To the left....

To the right.... With just a little bit of snow.

We were stopped right by the Pacific Crest Trail. This hiking trail starts at the bottom of San Diego and goes all the way to the top of Washington. While we were stopped we saw one woman hiking the trail.

With each trip we are figuring out what things to take and what things we don't need. Binoculars are a must. Louie tends to use them backwards but she still likes to use them.

The girls and I walked up the trail just a little bit.

We made this stop to "air down" the tires. Basically the guys let out air in all 4 tires so that we could have a smoother ride. We had the smallest member of our crew on board (3 months old!) so we wanted comfort. And yes Matt does look like the uni-bomber most of the time.

I was trying to get a photo of Phi and the view when Uncle Matty decided to prance on by. He's like a gazelle.

I eventually got the picture.

And back on the road we went.

Our next stop was for lunch. At the height of our drive up to Big Bear we hit over 7000 feet elevation. When I pulled out the popcorn bag it was completely inflated with air.

We had an guest with us this time. A jeep!

Joey's 80, Matt's 100 and a jeep
 We are getting better at packing for these trips. We keep the chairs in the back and a cooler stocked with sandwiches and water bottles. This time I also packed a small bag with puzzle books, coloring books and crayons.

This is how Louie likes to off-road. Oh and this stupid neck pillow. So much fighting over the neck pillow.

Our next stop was at an old mine. We are not sure what they mined there but it was pretty cool to see.

Watching the kids explore places is one of my favorite parts of our trips.

Karla looking like a bad ass Momma

As we were looking around an old beat-up Saturn pulled up. A very rough looking dude who claimed to own the mine stopped to inform us of day use and over nights rates for the area. He also told us we could follow him down the road to some other mines that the kids could go in.

Hmmmmmm no thanks dude. We really try to avoid potential kidnapping/ hostage/ Misery situations. I was just coming off a Breaking Bad bender and my mind went to bad bad places.

As we drove on the landscaped changed a bit from forest to more desert and we entered an area filled with Joshua Tree's. This time around the trees were bigger than the ones in actual Joshua Tree.

We made another unexpected stop when the Jeep decided to break down. An alternator or starter or battery issue. That's what we get for taking a jeep with us!

We had to stop for a good 30+ minutes so that the guys could switch out batteries. There were rocks involved. Mateo used the time to stretch out his tiny little chubby legs!

And the definite low point of the trip for me. Thanks to our unexpected stop, and the 2 drinks I had at lunch I really needed to pee. I first I thought I could hold it. But then when I realized that we were stuck for awhile I knew that I was going to have to do the unthinkable. I was going to have to pee...outside. I had no idea how this was even accomplished. How do you squat without peeing all over you clothes?

I managed to get the job done but somehow ended up with rocks and twigs in my pants. The guys said they would rig up something for us ladies to use in the great outdoors.

where it went down
 We finally got the jeep running and started back on the trial.

It was a pretty easy course and the end was a pretty smooth ride. So much that both girls knocked out. Notice who has the neck pillow now.

Stay tuned for the second half of our adventure where we explore Pioneertown.....