Friday, October 9, 2015

Day of the Dead

This Mexican holiday is getting more and more popular in the US.  We didn't grow up with this tradition, because our family is from Northern Mexico where the native traditions were absorbed by the Catholic Church.  Therefore, I've had to learn about it myself.

While Halloween is on October 31st, Dia de los Muertos is November 1st & November 2nd.

The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.

A common symbol of the holiday is the skull (in Spanish calavera), which celebrants represent in masks, called calacas (colloquial term for skeleton), and foods such as sugar or chocolate skulls, which are inscribed with the name of the recipient on the forehead. Sugar skulls as gifts can be given to both the living and the dead. Other holiday foods include pan de muerto, a sweet egg bread made in various shapes from plain rounds to skulls and rabbits, often decorated with white frosting to look like twisted bones.

This is a well-done video for younger children:

Another animated film is "The Book of Life".  The trailer is here:

Friday, July 17, 2015


The El Dorado Archers are proud to offer archery classes to the community. These classes are held on Saturdays at El Dorado Park. Classes may be canceled due to weather, other area events that shut down the archery range, and some holidays.

On your first visit,  you must take the safety class, taught at 11:30am. Sign up by at least 9am because it fills up fast. You can rent equipment for $5. 

Saturdays only
9:00 a.m. - 10:20 a.m. - Advanced
10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m. - Beginners
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Safety Class

Classes are one hour and twenty minutes long. You must have your safety card on you to take the beginning or advanced classes.

The archery range is off Spring St., north side, across the street from the nature center.  Parking fee is $7/car, annual pass is $50 (purchase at the nature center).  To avoid the parking fee, you can park in the neighborhood just west of the park. 

The safety class is held at 11:30 am on Saturdays and is open to anyone eight years old and up. We only have 15 spots available, and you must sign up the morning of the session. The sign up sheet is available at 9:00 a.m., however most people are showing up well before that time to make it on the list. If we are ready to open the sign up before 9:00 am and there are 15 people already waiting then we will allow them to sign up and not wait for 9:00 am, this is the case most Saturdays. Once we have 15 names on the list the class is closed.

After you pass the safety class, the beginner class meets at 10:30am. You achieve a score of 100 to move onto the advanced (at 9am).

The instructors are dedicated volunteers, very patient and knowledgeable.

El Dorado Archers
657-222-0-BOW (657-222-0269)

For regular classes, contact Janet Dykman.  Ms. Dykman is a 3 time Olympic archer.
Children must be at least 8 years old.  The first five weeks is geared toward getting the student to shoot safely and consistently while the sixth week is a private fun shoot for the class with fun activities.  The cost for the session is $75, but you can save $20 by prepaying the $55 before the first class.  Class fee includes all instruction, equipment use in class, program folder, and fun shoot.  Class members also have practice privileges and equipment use at the other class times for Int./Adv. archers on Wednesday & Thursday

Want to learn to shoot, but need flexibility and can't commit to six consecutive weeks?  Save $15 off the daily rate by buying a six class punch card for $75 and use it any day class is being held.

If you have questions call Janet @ 626.242.8870 or email to


El Dorado East Park

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jury Duty & Homeschooling

The long and short of it.  I hope you live in OC.  Orange County excuses anyone who is a primary caregiver.  That's it.  You don't have to serve.

But if you live in LA County, it's not as easy.  First of all,  if your child is 5 and under, you can be excused.  Just say you are the full-time caregiver of a child under 5.  All done.

Unfortunately, if your child(ren) is(are) school-age, we don't have an automatic excuse.  The most that can be done is to get an extension to a more convenient time when you can arrange daycare.  (An isolated incident: when I was working, I went down to the courthouse and was going to ask for an extension.  As soon as I said, I couldn't arrange daycare that week, the clerk excused me completely.  This was in Long Beach and at the discretion of the clerk.)

So what happens with the rest of us homeschoolers?

1) You can roll the dice and hope you don't get picked the first day.  In LA, if you are not assigned to a court the first day, you are excused from further service that year.

2) Hope that you can call in each day to see if you have to report.  Perhaps they won't need you at all for the week you call in and then you're done.

3) You can plead your case to a clerk.  I wonder what they say if you can't afford day care?  Also, I think they are trained to ignore the words homeschooling.  They figure that all kids need a break from schooling, so you can come during a school break.

4) If you are called into a courtroom, you can tell the judge that service is a hardship.  I've seen judges be VERY lenient in who they let go.  At this point, you can say you homeschool and can't afford day care, etc.

5) Finally, start a business quick!  I found that court personnel respond favorably if jury service would be a financial hardship.  When you arrive at the jury room, you fill out a form.  They go through a list and say that if your employer pays for jury service, write in the number of days.  If you own a business or your employer does not pay, enter 0.  Do you know what  the number is for retired folks and stay-at-home parents?  99  They assume you can serve indefinitely!

Even though we are not off the hook for jury service in LA, there is a good chance you won't have to serve at all.  Good luck!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring/Easter Events!

Spring Festival - LB
Saturday, April 4
Mom's Beach House
5839 E. Appian Way, Long Beach
Free admission - activity passes for sale
Giant egg hunt, appearance by the Easter bunny, face painting, bounce houses, and more!

Spring Carnival - Los Al
Egg hunts begin 9:30am
Saturday, April 4
Little Cottonwood Park
4000 Farquhar Ave., Los Alamitos

Friday, December 26, 2014

Snowboard or Ski with HSC!

Come Snowboard or Ski with HSC!
HSC will be Snowboarding or Skiing at Mountain High (Wrightwood)
Cost-$155 (for six trips!)
Who-Everyone 5 yrs and older (even if you have never snowboarded or skied)

When-First Day will be on Tuesday JAN 13, 2015
This program includes-
-6 Lift Tickets
-6 Ski or Snowboard Rentals
-1 Skiing or Snowboarding Lesson for 1 hour and 45 minutes

Our first day is Tuesday, JAN 13. After that, you will be able to ski or snowboard any day, Monday-Friday excluding holidays, until the season ends. You will be able to snowboard or ski for a total of SIX times. This price includes your equipment (so you don't need to buy anything except a warm coat and gloves).
*This program is for school aged children and adults*

***IMPORTANT-Once you have registered, please e-mail Catherine at and then join  the Facebook Page-HSC Mountain High SnowSports Program*****

{If you have a child who is a fifth grader (ages 9-11 yrs) then s/he can get a free season pass. You must either rent or provide your own equipment. This is separate of this program}
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Monday, December 1, 2014

A Long Beach Holiday 2014!

Time to plan your holiday calendar!

Until December 23:  Marionette show - free - 7pm - 3314 Country Club Drive, Lakewood

December 4: Artist in Residence - Stefan Meyer 11am-8pm - Free

Experience Stefan Meyer's fully immersive room size installation that explores the natural world in a whole new light. Come learn about the possibilities of digital fabrication in the Ralston Family Learning Center, LB Museum of Art

December 6: Winter Wonderland - Snow play! - Los Alamitos - Free

This winter season the Los Alamitos Recreation and Community Services Department and the Los Alamitos Area Chamber of Commerce invite you to attend Winter Wonderland at the Plaza. Held on Saturday, December 6th from 4:00 to 7:30pm at St. Isidore Historical Plaza, Winter Wonderland at the Plaza will feature an area to play in the snow, activities, Santa’s Village, a tree lighting ceremony, refreshments, and entertainment. The event is FREE, so be sure to bundle up and bring your family and friends along to join in the fun!

December 6-7: Victorian Christmas at the Banning Museum - Wilmington - Free

Join us on Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December 7  from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. as we kick off the  holiday season in grand style at the Banning Museum’s Annual Victorian Christmas Celebration and Open House!  Due to the generosity of our sponsors, event admission is FREE! Visitors will enjoy period entertainment, tours of the Museum decorated in holiday splendor, refreshments, a children’s craft, a horse-drawn trolley ride between The Banning Museum and Drum Barracks Civil War Museum as well as local food and craft vendors. As a special treat, a Queen Victoria re-enactor will receive guests for the two days and Jolly St. Nick himself will pose for photos with the kids. This year’s event is even more special as we will unveil for the first time a full-size replica of the first Stagecoach Phineas Banning ever built. Imagine posing in front of an actual Banning Coach for your holiday greeting cards! Don’t miss out on the event of the season. No reservations needed.

December 11: Artist in Residence - Stefan Meyer 11am-8pm - Free - LBMA

Experience Stefan Meyer's fully immersive room size installation that explores the natural world in a whole new light. Come learn about the possibilities of digital fabrication in the Ralston Family Learning Center, LB Museum of Art
December 11: Holiday Sing - Cypress - 6pm - Civic Center - Free

Festival style seating, blankets and lawn chairs encouraged. $3 meal provided by YAC (cash only). Visits with Santa, Cookie decorating, Train rides.  In case of rain, event will be held at Cypress Community Center.

December 12-14: Prince of Peace Pageant - Wardlow Blvd between Bellflower & Spring - Free - 7:30pm

Enjoy the true story of Christmas with a candlelit outdoor walk.  Come follow the path through many scenes, complete with actors and animals.  Enjoy the choirs, musical groups, and refreshments provided by the churches. This 5-church pageant route begins at St. Cornelius Catholic Church, continues to the Neighborhood church, back along Wardlow and St. Luke's and our church, and ends at University Baptist.  Each church has additional music performances in their sanctuary.

December 13: Naples Island Holiday Boat Parade 6pm 

There will be three "groups of carolers" walking around the Island and singing holiday songs by the bridges.  Most of the homes in Naples have been decorated for the holidays in accompaniment of the Boat Parade theme. (we have a local competition for best decorated house).  Alamitos Bay Marina off 2 Street and Marina Drive offers substantial free parking just over the Davies Bridge from Naples. Mothers Beach off Revenna and Appian Way has some metered parking as well as Beach parking at Bayshore and Ocean Boulevard.

December 13: Holiday Living History - Dominguez Adobe - Carson - 3pm - Suggested donation $4/person

This holiday season the Adobe is adorned with lights and holiday decorations. This beautiful event offers fun holiday activities. The event includes tours led by the Dominguez sisters and their friends (no better way to spend the day than learning about the rich history of the area), holiday craft making (perfect gifts to give to loved ones), and music and dancing! Treat yourself to the appetizers and desserts from Mexico and Spain then of course, visit SANTA! Ask him for whatever your heart desires! But don’t forget the holidays are the perfect opportunity to give to those less fortunate, that’s why there will be a toy drive to help our local community. We hope to see everyone there to celebrate this wonderful time of year!

December 16: Free day at South Coast Botanical Garden - Rancho Palos Verdes

The South Coast Botanic Garden, "The Jewel of the Peninsula", is located on the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula, located 10 miles south of the Los Angeles Airport in California. Conveniently located to many South Bay communities, this 87-acre Botanic Garden has more than 2,500 different species of plants from as far away as Australia, the Mediterranean, and southern Africa. Popular features include a small lake, Mediterranean Garden, AARS Rose Garden, Water-Wise Garden, Garden for the Senses, Cactus Garden, Children's Garden, Fuchsia Garden, Dahlia Garden, Herb Garden, and Japanese Garden. There is a picnic area located outside of the Garden gates. Free abundant parking available.

December 18-19: Holiday Open House at Rancho Los Alamitos - Free 4-7pm

Enjoy the Yuletide sparkle of the ranch house, the magnificently trimmed tree, mantles and hearths festooned with greens, holiday treats and strolling carolers.
The Ranch house will be decorated and ready for regular tours by Saturday, November 29 and decorations will remain up through Sunday, December 21.

December 21: Family Artmaking Workshop - LB Museum of Art - Free 11am-3pm

Artist in Residence Stefan Meyer will lead this many faceted workshop. Participants will be able to create their own rings using the 3D printer. There will be demonstrations on how to use a 3D scanner, and a table of materials you can use to create your own jewelry from found objects.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ticket Giveaway for LA Opera's Family Program!

Domingo Family Program welcomes all ages to an exotic adventure with "Florencia en el Amazonas"

Scenes from Florencia en el Amazonas

All aboard for an operatic adventure, as LA Opera's Domingo Family Program welcomes families to explore an exciting river journey along the Amazon River!

On Sunday, November 30, the matinee performance of Daniel Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas will feature themed activities for the whole family to enjoy while learning more about the opera and its fascinating Amazonian setting. The dynamic staging of the opera features a flying river spirit, intoxicating choreography, colorful projected animation and a 42-foot long steamship that rotates on the stage. Domingo Family Program activities are free with ticket purchases, with half-price tickets available for children from 9 to 17 when purchased with an adult ticket.   

"I love to see parents and grandparents with their children at the opera," said Plácido Domingo, the General Director of LA Opera. "It’s so important to introduce them early to the joy of the classical arts. From my own experience, I know that when families come to the opera together, it creates a special bond, with beautiful memories that last a lifetime."
Scenes from Florencia en el Amazonas

Scenes from Florencia en el Amazonas
Pre-show activities begin at 12:30pm in the Fifth Floor Salons of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (located at 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012). Teaching artist Peter Kors will lead enjoyable and inspiring acting workshops that explore themes from the opera and help youngsters understand the elements of theater. Exhibit interpreters from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles will showcase specimens of flora and fauna relating to the opera's setting on the Amazon River. The performance itself will begin at 2pm and will last until approximately 4:10pm.

After the performance, participants will have the opportunity to meet the cast at a special Domingo Family Program reception in the Fifth Floor Salons.

Booster seats are available to help small children get a better view of the performance. Booster seats can be picked up from the coat check stand located on the Grand Avenue side of the main lobby. You can also reserve booster seats in advance to have them waiting in your seating locations when you arrive. To reserve booster seats, simply email Garrett Collins with your seating location at

Tickets for the November 30 Domingo Family Program performance of Florencia en el Amazonas start at $17 for adults, and are now available for sale in person at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion box office or by phone at 213.972.8001. (No online orders.) Tickets can also be purchased for LA Opera's next Domingo Family Program performance: Rossini's rollicking comedy The Barber of Seville on March 8, 2015.
Scenes from Florencia en el Amazonas

To enter the giveaway for 2 adult tickets and 2 child tickets for the November 30th show, please send an email to hijola AT yahoo DOT com with your name & cell phone.  Winner will be chosen Tuesday, November 25 at midnight.  Good luck!