Solar Eclipse

We saw a solar eclipse on Monday at Caspers Wilderness Park. It was hard to find parking. Mom dropped us off at the line for the viewing. We saw some of our friends soon after.

group shot eclilpse

Our mom took 5 minutes to get parking after she dropped us off. The solar eclipse didn’t look as cool as I thought. But it did look like a crescent sun sometimes. Ian used a welding mask to look at the eclipse, and it didn’t work well. We went to the nature center, and they had snakes there.  Kate pet them. I was busy doing other stuff. We went to the park and played Lava Monster. After that, we left.

What we saw was a partial eclipse. Not this:


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This is a full eclipse.

An eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun. A total eclipse is when the moon is completely in front of the sun.

This was a phenomenal day!



Field Trip to Sub Zero Ice Cream

On Tuesday, we went to Sub Zero Ice Cream and stuck water bottles, balloons, and flowers in liquid nitrogen. When we entered, there were chairs set up for all of us. The table at the front set up for experiments had a few bowls, a balloon, and some water bottles. One of the first things our teacher did was put the flower in a bowl full of liquid nitrogen for 5 seconds. When it came out, it was all stiff, and we could break the petals off easily. Next, we put our hands in the liquid nitrogen for about 1/10 of a second. sport-hand2 Mr. Terry put his hands in for half a second, and they hurt.

Mr. Terry putting his hands in the nitrogen.

The liquid nitrogen is 320 degrees below zero. Our teacher blew a balloon up and then put it in the liquid nitrogen. It deflated while it was in the nitrogen and came out like the flower. But it reinflated. That happened because all the air molecules grouped together since the nitrogen was so cold. After it was out of the liquid nitrogen, the molecules went back to their normal places floating around in the balloon. He then put some liquid nitrogen in a water bottle, and the nitrogen gas came out. When he put the lid on, it popped off soon after. At the end, we made a cloud. Ian was selected to help the teacher, and he wore a purple mad scientist wig and some safety glasses.

Ian in his purple wig.

They made it by dumping a bunch of water in a tub of nitrogen. It seemed like some water explosion took place because I was a little wet after.

The cloud was made, but it did not stay long. It was very fun and we had ice cream after.

My ice cream

My sister made a post about the Sub Zero field trip at Communikate.

Field Trip to the Ecovivarium

After the field trip to the Museum of Music, we went to the Ecovivarium reptile museum. They had lots of, you guessed it, reptiles. The museum only took rescued animals which is 98% and animals donated to them which is 2%. They have two turtles. One of them is named George, and he is just a shell. There is also Ninja who is alive.

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Strangely enough, Ninja is not black.

Ninja lives in a pyramid that is a good size for him. One of the reptiles had survived a fire but had some of his toes burned off.

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This is the one that was in the fire.

Another was blind. One of them can change gender by losing a lot of his tail. He can’t switch back, though. A lot of the stories were quite sad. There was one water monitor who was showing off when enough people were there.

The water monitor, Max.

At the end, we had snakes slither along our legs. One of their snakes, Valentine, might be in the Guinness Book of World Records because he is gigantic.

This is Valentine.

Valentine was rescued the night of Valentine’s Day. The snake was being kept in the garage and was dying. Thankfully, Valentine was rescued and nursed back to health.

The water monitor, Max, was going to come out. He was staying in the back of his habitat because he thought he was not going to see us. He was sad. One of the kids, Griffin, went back there so Max would come out. He did. That field trip was as fun as the one to the Museum of Music.

Museum of Music

Yesterday, we went to the Museum of Making Music in San Diego. They started by taking us to the guitar lab where we learned about electric guitars. The body of the guitar, which is the part that you strum, can be any shape. The most popular shape is the Stratocaster which is what you usually see when you think of an electric guitar. The neck is the part which is sticking out of the guitar. We then went over the pickups.  They are magnetic, and they take the sound and send it through the wire to the amplifier.

We had some African drums which we played after. They had a hole in the bottom to make the sound. Some of the kids conducted including me and my sisters. music-museum-and-reptile-zoo-jan-17-047

Next, we went on a tour through the museum. In the first room, there were a few instruments from each family. The four instrument families are: woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings. band2 They had some rooms where you got to play the instruments. Inside the last room, they showed MTV. In one band, all of the guys had long hair, and they were wearing brightly colored outfits. One of the musicians looked in the camera sideways.


Then, we went to a room with a bunch of instruments that you could play. For all of the electric ones, you had to use headphones. They even had an electric drum set.

The electric drum set.

That was a very fun field trip. There was another one after it. I will write about that soon.


Senior Home Christmas Performance and Balboa Island Lights

On December 7th, our sailing group performed at a senior home with ocean views.

Our group

Kate started the performance by playing “Jingle Bells” on the flute. We all sang “Jingle Bells” after that. Next, Kasen, Asher, and Mr. Terry sang “We Three Kings.”

The kings


After that, I played  “Joy to the World” on the piano. Next, my sisters and their friends sang “Away In a Manger” while I accompanied them on piano.


There were more songs and then we sang “Rudolph” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” While we were singing, some of the girls walked around handing out cookies. We were each allowed to have two.

We took some photos outside and then went to have lunch at Fashion Island.

In Barnes & Noble, we had a lightsaber fight. I won most of the time. Even with one lightsaber against Asher and Griffin, I won. We fought where they used toy guns, and I still used a lightsaber. They won by Asher distracting while Griffin snuck up and shot me.

After that, we went to look at the lights on Balboa Island.


A very decorated house.


There was one lady who put up over 3,500 teddy bears.


Mrs. Teddy Bear

We ran ahead of the parents and played tag. Eventually, it turned into a game called Infection. In the last game, I survived the longest along with Griffin. What I didn’t know, was that Sarah had survived, too. She had been hiding the whole time!


Overall, it was a fun day!

Fossil Hunting

We looked for fossils during a hike on Tuesday. Our guide knew the right area so we found plenty. I took one home with me.

Group picture

We arrived at Cook’s Corner to meet up with the group, and I climbed a hollow tree.

Walking down the trail to the fossil area

We went with a guide who we have been with twice. His name is Joel. He always has us introduce ourselves somewhat the same way. We tell who we are and where we come from. We are really allowed to say we came from anywhere. I usually say I came from “somewhere.”

When we started on the hike, we pointed out rocks we found that were interesting. None of them were fossils, though. We saw some burnt logs from a fire that ravaged that area a few years ago.

In a tree killed during the fire.

We walked down that trail for awhile. We came to a natural rock climbing place. There were two caves with a lot of litter.

My sisters in the cave

You couldn’t really fit into the caves, though. I went into that cave and one a little higher that is hard to reach. After that, we went to the creek. There were a lot of fossils.

Some Fossils

There was also a rock that looked like a dinosaur. We walked down a little farther to a sulfur pond. It smelled really bad. The smell was like rotten eggs. We went down a little farther, once again, to a great place to climb. I found it, and everybody followed me.

We went about as far as the camera shows.

John and I went the highest. That probably sounds confusing, but there is another John who I am friends with. The view from there was so high it made me dizzy. Christian and Ian made it up behind me. We all went down together, but John went down first. We walked down the path a little farther then turned back. Everybody was getting tired, but I could’ve walked a little farther.


The area with the burnt trees was fun. The wood was so soft I could take some of it off. The result was getting my hands sooty. My sisters did it, too.

For dinner, we stopped by Peppino’s Pizza to buy some pizza and wash my hands. The day was good from the fun hike to the delicious pizza.

Shelter Building

Last Tuesday, we went on a hike with our friends. Our leader, Joel, showed us where we were going to build a shelter. erectingshelter2 When we arrived, there was work to be done. First of all, there was the problem of finding enough sticks to make the shape. The shape was going to have one long stick diagonally held up by two small sticks. After we found the sticks, we used others like the two shorter ones to create a wall.

Bringing a stick over for the shelter.

I tied together two crisscrossing sticks because it looked like one was going to knock the other one down. We used plant fiber to tie the sticks together. The knot I used was a random one, but it worked surprisingly well. After that, we put leaves on it.


Before that, Kasen, Ian and I went to find some more sticks because our supply was running low. We brought back some good ones. I found a straight one which was awesome. We were trying to get down the stick on a dead yucca, but it was time to put the leaves on.

Going to get a stick. The yucca in the background is the one we tried to pull off.

Kasen had a great idea. He found a stick like a rake and raked up the leaves for us to put on the shelter. I went inside the shelter when they were putting the leaves on. It was raining leaves! I did go out to put on more leaves. We were putting them on to make insulation. The result was a good but not very comfortable shelter. It would still work, but it would be much better if you had a blanket. Even though we didn’t sleep in it, you  definitely could.


If you can’t already tell from the words and the picture, you should know it is uncomfortable.

It was quite fun building the shelter.


Ecology Center: How to Save Resources

Last Tuesday, we went to The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. It had all kinds of fun and educational activities. The house they used for an office once belonged to a Pony Express rider!

We saw the front yard. It soaked up the water in the dirt and used it to grow their plants. We learned the asphalt on normal driveways sends water down into the gutter and goes into the ocean. That is wasteful. The backyard of the center also does the same.

That much water for a soda!
Just that much water for water.

To water their plants, they use tubs to collect rain. They only use water from a hose when needed. They showed ways to save water that I and many people don’t know about. For example:

  1. Food with meat takes much more water than food without. The farmers have to use the water for the animals to drink and so on.
  2. Soda takes more water to make than water to drink! That is because in creating the cans and watering the sugar cane it takes water.
  3. Purchasing a used t-shirt is better than a new one. That is because you have to water the cotton plants.


One of my friends running across the saving water path.


Next, we saw a broken machine. With you pedaling, the machine was supposed to send water through some pipes and make it rain by sending water through grooves in the roof. Instead, we watered the plants.


Getting the water to water the plants.


In the greenhouse, they use a method called aquaponics. It has small clay balls so they didn’t have to water the soil. That system was an aquaponic garden. The way it works:

“Aquaponics is, at its most basic level, the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water and without soil) together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides organic food for the growing plants and the plants naturally filter the water in which the fish live.” – Mother Earth News


Aquaponics garden.



After that, we visited their chickens. We also saw how they make compost. One of the ways was they use worms to eat their leftover food, and the worm dung makes good fertilizer. Their other way is they let their organic trash rot into soil. This is called composting.

Before we left, I put limes under the tires of our car. It didn’t wreck anything, but it was funny. Overall, the field trip was quite fun.

Riley’s Apple Farm

On Tuesday, we did our weekly field trip at Riley’s Apple Farm. Here you can experience a homesteader’s life in the late 1890’s, pick apples and make cider. There is also Riley’s Farm which is different.

 It is a 2 hour drive from our house. Before the field trip started, the owner played banjo. I got to play triangle for one song! 

Playing triangle in the background. I don’t look happy because I was busy concentrating.

 When the field trip started, we went to see what a homestead would be like in the late 1890’s. The cabin was soo small.  There was just one room and one bed. I could live in it for about 5 minutes. There was also a garden. The way I watered it was using the frying pan they supplied and flung the water out. I didn’t use it the whole time, though.

I used a normal watering can in that picture.

 The coffee that they made for us was bitter. I used a rubber mallet with a head the size of a potato to smash the coffee beans. They had live chickens next to a house. In the house,we pretended zombies were going to attack us. After that, we got lunch. We assisted making a rope by being loops to keep the rope from going everywhere.

Making the rope.

 After that, the group made apple cider.

 The way we did it:

  1. You select apples.
  2. You press them.
  3. You take the cider that comes though.

 Next, we went on a hike through the apple grove. We learned seeds of an apple grow into random types of apple trees. There are thousands of varieties! Finally, we shot bow and arrows. In other words, we did archery. I had the harder target, so, I didn’t do well. To me it didn’t matter. Since I will be a Boy Scout, I will have a lot of practice. Overall, it was a fun field trip, but that’s not all.

After the field trip, we left for Law’s Oak Glen Coffee Shop for famous apple pie.

Eating the pie.

 Then, came the long drive home.



Last Tuesday, we went to the Tessman Planetarium at Santa Ana College.

Us in a picture with some of the pictures.

 Parking was hard to find at the college, so we parked in a nearby shopping center. We arrived 15 minutes before anyone else!! When they did finally arrive, the show started.

The group walked into a domed room that housed the show which was called How Rare is the Earth?  It started off simply enough and showed where the planets would be 10/5/2016. We learned about the planets and if there could be life on them. We skipped Earth.

Some of the things we learned were:

  • Some of Jupiter and Saturn’s moons might have life.
  • Buzz Lightyear has gone into space and boarded the International Space Station but didn’t quite explore as far as he wanted. He was confined to the ISS.
  • There is a nebula that looks like the face of a witch.

At one funny moment, the music made it sound like we were at a beach party. The presentation was perfect except for when he put on the wrong music, but I wasn’t mad. It could have been a prank for all I know. Afterwards, we took  group picture with Dr. Eastman.planetarium-dr-eastmans I loved it and we went to Disneyland after that!