Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Upcoming Fall Events 2014

October 1-15: PSA filing period
October 10-17: HSC Campout, Pismo Beach
October 11-12: JPL Open House - Pasadena
October 12: Battle of the Old Woman's Gun, Dominguez Adobe
October 15: Class Dismissed premiere, Los Angeles
October 16: Class Dismissed premiere, Orange County
October 17: RKTeen Halloween Party - Anaheim
October 18: Sea Base Open House - Long Beach
October 19: Seal Beach Kite Festival
October 21: Free day at South Coast Botanical Garden - Rancho Palos Verdes 
October 21-November 15: Brass Rubbings - St. Luke's Long Beach
October 24-26 & 31st: Haunted House at St. Isadore Historical Plaza - Los Alamitos
October 24-26: Zombie Walk - Rainbow Harbor - $15 under 12 free
October 25: Dia de los Verdes - The Growing Exprience, Long Beach
October 25: Halloween Party, Temecula
October 26: Wings, Wheels, & Rotors - Los Alamitos - FREE admission
October 30: Day of the Dead/Teen Festival 6-9pm- Muckenthaller Center, Fullerton - FREE
November 1: Creation Station - Rancho Los Cerritos - FREE - ages 6-11
November 2: Daylight Savings Time ends - move your clocks back one hour
November 7: Homeschool Day at Magic Mountain
November 8: Zombie Apocalypse
November 16: Exploring Your Universe - UCLA
November 18: Free day at South Coast Botanical Garden - Rancho Palos Verdes
November 30: Handel's Messiah Sing-Along - Nixon Library - FREE
December 13: Holiday Living History - Dominguez Adobe - Carson
December 16: Free day at South Coast Botanical Garden - Rancho Palos Verdes 
December 25: Christmas
January 1: New Year's Day
January 20, 2015: Free day at South Coast Botanical Garden - Rancho Palos Verdes
June 18-20: Great Homeschool Conventions - Ontario
June 25-28: CHN Family Expo - Torrance
July 17-August 16: OC Fair
August 6-9, 2015:  HSC Adventures in Homeschooling - San Jose

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Logan's Candies!

This is a popular field trip during the holidays.  I would see it pop up each year and hear people raving about it.  So I was determined to go this year.  I have to say the procedure for securing a demo date is similar to making arrangements for a secret spy rendevous.  :-)  First, you call in July to get your instructions, then you send a postcard in August with all of the pertinent information.  Then you get a phone call in October.  That is when you actually choose your date & time.  And, then, you finally call back two weeks before your date to finalize your numbers.  Hijola!  And now I can say it's worth it. :-)

First of all, we had dinner at Vince's Spaghetti, a perfect spot for a big crowd.  They had no problem seating 16 people.  And by a miracle, we all arrived at the same time. (Photo by Kohl Tabori)

A handsome dad at Logan's.
(Photo by Kohl Tabori)

Our gigantic group enjoying the candy cane making demo.

Both colors of the candy cane start out the same, then color is added to the red part.

To make the white part, the candy is pulled over and over again.  It's amazing how it turns white with air is mixed in. (Photo by Kohl Tabori)

After the colors are arranged on the candy, the puller cuts off a small length to be bent into shape.

Freshly made candy canes!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Exploring Your Universe - UCLA

Sunday, November 17, Noon-5pm
Rain or Shine! (In case of rain, all outdoor activities will be moved indoors)
Free & Family Friendly!


This is the most exciting day of science all year in Southern California.  They have many activities and demonstrations open to the general public, including outside groups like STAR Eco Station.  Activities for all ages include workshops, faculty and graduate student talks, planetarium shows, solar telescope viewing, comet making, weather tours, dinosaur fossils, physics demos, and more!

This event includes participation from Astronomy Live!, the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, Earth and Space Sciences, and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, the Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, and IEEE.  The program was developed by graduate students, faculty, and staff in each of these departments.


Astronomy (12:00 - 5:00 pm) (Court of Sciences unless otherwise noted):
- How the Sun works and solar telescope viewing
- Stellar Evolution
- Bottle Rockets
- Comet Making Demo
- Pocket Solar System and Asteroids
- Constellation Detectives
- Discovery methods for finding new worlds beyond our solar system
- Planetarium Shows (Mathematical Sciences 8th floor): Every half hour starting 12:30 pm! Pick up tickets to planetarium at the Information Booth.

Physics (12:00 - 5:00 pm) (Physics and Astronomy Building - PAB):
- Physics Demonstrations
- Lasers and Optics
- Waves and Vibrations
- Rotational Motion
- Electricity and Magnetism

Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (12:00-5:00) (Court of Sciences):
- Exploding Marshmallows--Expand marshmallows using a vacuum pump!
- Can Crushing--See how pressure can crush soda cans!
- Tornado-in-a-bottle--See and create your own vortexes!
- Cloud-in-a-bottle--See clouds being made right before your eyes!
- Portable Weather Station--Talk with experts about conditions and get an updated forecast for the day!

Chemistry (12:00-5:00 pm) (Court of Sciences):
- Find out how to make a bubble bomb for baths
- Find out what floats on top of what... and what floats on top of that!
- Watch food get frozen with liquid nitrogen
- Eat liquid nitrogen ice cream


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Art of the Brick - Glendale

We checked out the new LEGO exhibit at Forest Lawn Glendale.  It might seem like a strange place to have an art exhibit, but Forest Lawn has a long tradition of offering educational programs.  FL-Glendale also has an art museum where the LEGO exhibit is housed.


Art of the Brick by Nathan Sawaya
May 21, 2013-July 21, 2013
Forest Lawn Glendale
1712 S Glendale Ave, Glendale, CA
Free admission and free parking
Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm

Nathan Sawaya has specialized in creating sculptures out of LEGO bricks.  Sawaya’s ability to transform this common toy into something meaningful, his devotion to spatial perfection and the way he conceptualizes action, enables him to elevate what almost every child has played with into the status of contemporary art.

There are about 25 sculptures in this exhibit, ranging from a multicolor peace sign to large crayons with the paper coming off of one.  Most of the sculptures are of the human form.  A bust removing his face from his head, a boy looking at his reflection in water, a figure in despair.

This is a small exhibit, so don't drive an hour to just see this program.  Like I said this location also has an art gallery and the current display "Light and Color" is a collection of remarkable stained glass.  There is also an impressive display of bronze statues.  And in the Hall of The Crucifixion-Resurrection next door are hourly showings of The Crucifixion and The Resurrection paintings.  Walk out the back of the museum for restrooms and an amazing view of Glendale.

But don't stop there.  Forest Lawn Glendale is 300 acres and has its own sights.  Check out the mosaic of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence and the 13ft tall statue of George Washington.  There are, also, white swans on the lake.  Of course, many famous people are interned at Forest Lawn.  The mega famous like Michael Jackson are behind locked gates, but you can see the final resting places of such stars as Jimmy Stewart and Elizabeth Taylor.

And since you're already in Glendale, perhaps get a bite to eat at Americana at Brand.  This is a mall designed by the same firm as the Grove in LA.  I recommend the Granville Cafe on Brand Blvd outside of the mall proper.

Is someone in your family a science fiction fan or loves old bookstores?  Remember those old bookstores that used to be in every city?  Well, there's still one left in Glendale.  Mystery & Imagination is at 238 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203. http://www.yelp.com/biz/bookfellows-mystery-and-imagination-glendale

If you're not tired, yet, you can end the day at the Griffith Observatory which is about 10 minutes away.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blue Ribbon Festival - Music Center

The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival is an annual admission-free program for fifth grade students to attend a live, professional performance at The Music Center, which has been running for 43 years.

The Children’s Festival is sponsored by The Blue Ribbon, a support organization of the Music Center, founded in 1968 by Dorothy Buffum Chandler.  The festival began in 1970 as part of The Music Center’s commitment to engage young people in the arts, and is one of California’s longest ongoing free arts education programs.  More than 700,000 children have participated in the festival since its inception, and for many, the festival is their first experience at a live performing arts event. 

I was blown away by this amazing opportunity for our students.  Individual homeschooling families may RSVP, but it's a lot more fun to attend in a group.  Reservations are accepted around the middle of January with materials being mailed out a month later.  Parents and students are free.  Although, the recommended age is 11 years old, they have no problem allowing 6-18 year olds enjoy the show.  Families also get complimentary parking.

There is an optional, audience participation portion so you may want to schedule in a rehearsal.  Families could also practice while they are waiting to enter the theatre.  After parking in the garage, you up the stairs or escalators to the plaza.  There are 3000 public school kids waiting for the show, but look for the information table in the middle of the plaza.  It is pretty easy to gather there while waiting for your party.

The cast of TRACES enjoyed the student performance

About 30 minutes before showtime, we were assigned a guide to take care of us.  She ended up telling us a bit of history about the Music Center.  The place looks completely different in the day time.  There was so much I never noticed before.

Finally, we got in line to wait to enter the theatre.  We were sent up to the Loge level and the show began.  The kids whooped and hollered and had a great time.  When the show ends, I recommend waiting until the last group leaves the theatre.  Because we were a small group, we ended up walking out to the front of the plaza to do our performance.  It was very relaxed, you could sit out the dance, but why?  The kids and parents had a wonderful time.

For more information, go to

Friday, September 21, 2012

The shuttle comes home

There's alot of excitement in the air as the shuttle prepares to fly over Southern California and land at LAX.  We would be in Seal Beach or on the Queen Mary to take in this once in a lifetime event, but as homeschoolers, we've been up early enjoying archery and the aquarium the past two days.  But this does remind me of the excitement of the shuttle program over the years. 

I remember when the first shuttle went up in 1981.  I can't believe it's been 30 years!  I had a part-time job at an aerospace company while I was going to school studying math and computer science.  The company set up TVs in conference rooms for employees to watch the historic moment.  One of our co-workers was actually on the program and he was more nervous than anyone.  As an engineer, you wonder if you've tested every possible scenario before you hand over your code/design.

Then my dad took us out to Lancaster to watch the landing at Edwards Air Force Base.  We had hoped the landings at Edwards would be commonplace, but soon the regular landing site was moved to Florida.

The shuttle was built in Southern California.  In college, we had a chance to tour a mockup of the orbiter (the part of the shuttle that goes into space and comes back) at Northrop.  An amazing piece of machinery.   It only makes sense for one to retire in Los Angeles.  The Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey also plans to have a mock up of the shuttle for tours in the near future.

Because of my blogs, I've been getting invites to attend the press conferences regarding the shuttle arriving at the California Science Center.  I hope I will get an invite for it's arrival at the museum in October.

And the company where I worked when the shuttle first took off?  I joined them after graduating and we worked on the first GPS system.  Can you believe the smallest unit was the size of a backpack??  Now, we have it on our phones.  Incredible!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Free admission to the Columbia Space Center!

Sunday, August 26, 2012 from 10am-5pm.
People of all ages are encouraged to come out for a day of fun and festivity.

Columbia Memorial Space Center
12400 Columbia Way
Downey, California 90242

The Columbia Memorial Space Center welcomes young people to explore space science like they never have before. With hands-on robotics presentations and its very own Challenger Learning Center, the CMSC has become a staple institution in Downey, and the Los Angeles Area.

The Columbia Memorial Space Center is the only space science learning center in the Los Angeles area dedicated to hands-on robotics and boasts LA’s only Challenger Learning Center.  We are also dedicated to preserving the history of aerospace engineering in Downey.  During your visit, you will learn about Downey’s place in the exploration of space flight, from the Apollo capsules to the Space Shuttle Orbiters.

Our goal is to teach young people about careers in space exploration and aviation. We focus on engineering, technology and science. Our subjects include:
  • Human and Robot Space Exploration
  • The Principles of Flight and Aeronautics
  • Current NASA Programs and Technology
  • The Space Shuttle Columbia
  • The Aerospace History of Downey
  • Our Earth and Solar System