Monday, July 30, 2012

My Camping Trip

Couple of weeks ago, I went on my yearly 50+ person camping trip. This was my fourth year and the best yet because there were the most games, the nicest people, and I was finally old enough to go on the scary yet fun bike trail!

The games we played were almost like competitions. The game I won was the watermelon eating contest where all the kids got a quarter of a watermelon, and the person who finished first won the prize which was a packet of Starburst. The next game was a scavenger hunt which my sister Hannah won. Her prize was a huge bag of assorted candy!  After that, was the potato sack race. For those of you who don't know it, this is a game where you step in your potato sack and when you hear GO you hop to the finish line, the first person to reach the finish line wins. 

Doing the potato sack race.

Me eating the watermelon.

My sister sharing all her goodies.

One of the funnest things that I did on the camping trip was to go on a long and difficult bike ride with my sister, friends, and some adults including my dad. We went on a trail that was mostly uphill to a beautiful lake.  It took us about two hours and the scenery throughout the trail was magnificent. I had to ride my friend's bike since my brand new bike is a little big for me, and I had a little bit of trouble getting up the hill because his bike didn't have gears!:)

You know how camping is usually about roughing it, well every meal at this camping trip was a feast! For breakfast the menu was a variety of breads, spreads, jams, different kinds of omelets, fruits, juices, coffee and tea. For lunch we had delicious sandwiches and salads.  For dinner we had chicken, beef and fish kabobs, sausages, a variety of salads and salsas,  and all kinds of side dishes.

Over all I had an amazing time, and I can't wait for next year! Hopefully, there will more exciting games.

Have you ever been camping?
If so, where?
If not, do you want to go camping?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Gopher Snake and a Tarantula Visit Our Classroom

Today Mrs. Yollis told our class that a surprise visitor was coming. Everybody was extremely excited, and the visitor turned out to be Beverly Critcher who is a member of Wildlife Experience. Mrs. C. brought in two animals, a gopher snake and a rose haired tarantula. She shared a lot of facts about them and allowed us to pet the gopher snake. I found it exciting! Here are some facts about them:

                                   ROSE HAIRED TARANTULA   

Mrs. C. showing us the tarantula

• Females can live up to 15-20 years.

• They are found in Northern Chili, Bolivia, and Argentina.

• They are usually active evening or night.

• Their menu includes grasshoppers, crickets, moths, beetles, cockroaches, and mealworms.

• They have eight eyes.

• Their fur is long and jagged which helps them when a predator is trying to catch them. They shoot out hairs which goes in the predator's throat and makes it itch, so while the predator is trying to cough them up the tarantula runs away.

                                       Gopher Snake

The gopher snake


Gopher snake's shed skin
     Photos used with permission from Mrs. Yollis.

• Adults are 36-84 inches tall.

• They are yellowish with brown markings.

• They tail makes a sound that sounds like a rattle and is the "warn off".

• They skin feels like an orange.

Have you ever seen any of these animals?

If so, where you scared?

If not, would you like to?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Hannah: In Honor of Her Tenth Birthday Hannah Donates Her Hair

My sister, Hannah is my best friend.  She means so much to me. I can always count on her, and she is always there to help and protect me. Both of us love playing with each other and we really enjoy each other's company. I can't think of anyone else that I would want to play with more than Hannah. I feel very lucky to have her as my sister.

Hannah before she cut her hair
Tomorrow is Hannah's tenth birthday.  Today, in honor of her birthday, Hannah cut ten inches off her hair to donate to Locks of Love, a non profit organization that provides wigs free of charge or on a sliding scale based on financial needs, to children in the United States or Canada. This is the third time that Hannah is donating her hair. I have donated my hair twice, the last time was last year. Hannah did a post on it on her blog (Leila Donates Her Hair to Locks of Love ). I really love to donate my hair, and I feel that I need to thank Hannah for it because she is the one who started it in our family. I have been following in her foot steps!

Hannah's hair was put into four pony tails, and they were cut one by one.

The final result. Hannah's cute and very short haircut!

If you are interested in donating your hair, here are the steps you need to follow:

You can also make a monetary donation, here is the link if you would like to know more about the organization:


Finally, I would like to wish my wonderful sister a very Happy Birthday! I hope you have an amazing day, Hannah!

Have you ever donated your hair before?

If not, would you want to?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hiking With My Dog

Last Sunday, I went on a long hike with my family and dog, Connor in the Santa Monica Mountains which is a range that runs along the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California.

I really enjoy hiking because you get to exercise while you're enjoying nature. I think Connor loves to hike because he gets to run around without a leash.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day (luckily we have a lot of those in the Los Angeles area)!  Our hike took about an hour and a half during which we enjoyed spectacular views and lots of beautiful and interesting plants. On the way back to our car Connor got really tired and my family thought we would have to pick him up and carry him to the car! :).  Thankfully, he made it! We had an absolutely wonderful time, and I can't wait to go on another hike!

We saw so many beautiful plants and views that we couldn't stop taking photos!

Connor, Hannah, and I looking at the beautiful view.

Another spectacular view!

The plant on the right looks like a bull with horns!

Golden Poppy, California's state flower.

If you look closely, the flower is growing out of a cactus!

Hannah, Connor, and I going up the trail.

Do you like hiking?

If so, how often do you go hiking?

If you have a dog, have you ever taken it on a hike?



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Persian New Year!

Last night, at 10:14 pm spring began in the northern hemisphere and that's when the Persian New Year starts!  Persian people have celebrated their new year, named Nowruz, on the first day of spring for thousand of years.  The word Nowruz is a compound of the two persian words, "now"which means new, and the word "ruz"which means day. I was allowed to stay up late so that I could celebrate the start of the new year with my family.  It was really exciting for me to stay up that late, but I wasn't so sure about it when I came to school today! I was really tired!

My family's HaftSeen.

One of the main parts of the Nowruz celebration is setting up a ceremonial table called Haft Seen which means "seven S's" in English.  It is placed on the floor or on a table for the first thirteen days of the new year. Seven items that begin with the letter s in persian are placed on the Haft Seen :

1. Sabzeh (sprouted wheat or lentils) is a sign of rebirth.

2. Senjed (a kind of sweet and dry fruit) is a sign of love.

3. Seeb (apple) signifies health and beauty.

4. Samanoo (sweet pudding made from wheat germ) signifies plant roots.

5. Serkeh (vinegar) symbolizes patience.

6. Sumagh (crushed sumac berries) symbolizes the color of sunrise.

7. Seer (garlic) represents medicine.

There are other items that are placed on the Haft Seen and they each have a meaning:

• Coins which represent prosperity and wealth.

• Painted eggs which symbolize fertility.

• A pot of flowering hyacinth which represents the coming of spring.

• A mirror which represents truth and the reflection of the real world.

• Goldfish in a bowl which symbolizes life.

•.Candles which represent enlightenment.

A few minutes before the start of the new year, families gather around the Haft Seen. When the New Year begins people hug and kiss each other and wish each other a happy new year. Then older family members give cash, coins, or gold coins to children. That is exactly what my family did last night!

Happy Nowruz everyone!

Do you celebrate Nowruz? If not, have you heard of it?

Is there anything similar to Nowruz in you culture?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Visit To The Ronald Reagan Library

Yesterday,  I went to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum with my Girl Scout troop. One of the museum volunteers gave us a tour of the museum and lucky for us the George Washington exhibit was there, so we were able to see that also.

 Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

Presidential Libraries and museums preserve documents and artifacts of our presidents. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum located in Simi Valley, California, has many exhibits about Ronald Reagan's life from the the time he was a baby until his death in 2004. It is also his final resting place.

Riding with the president!

Here are the highlights of our tour:

•The full scale reproduction of the Oval Office

The Resolute desk in the Oval Office.

A jar of jelly beans on the table.


President Reagan loved Western art and earth tones, so that is how the Oval Office was decorated during his presidency. He loved jelly beans, so of course as you can see in the picture on the right hand side, there was a jar of jelly beans on one of the tables. 

Air Force One

Air Force one. Image 
Air Force One is a Boeing 707 that was used by six presidents including Ronald Reagan from 1973 until it was retired in 2001. In September 2001, it was flown to San Bernardino, California, and then Boeing transported it to the Library in pieces. There, the plane was reassembled and was placed on pedestals. I really enjoyed going inside Air Force One, unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos, but I can tell you that we counted seven jelly bean jars!

• Jewelry and gifts received by President and Mrs. Reagan
Some of the gifts given to Mrs. Reagan. The purse on the top right is
 made out of oyster shells and the one on the top left is gold!

The Ronald Reagan Library has over 100,000 gifts that president Reagan and Mrs. Reagan received while in office. I learned that presidents and their wives are not allowed to keep the gifts they receive. They can use them while in office, but at the end of the presidency the gifts belong to the American people.

• George Washington Exhibit

George Washington's dentures
George Washington's swearing in ceremony 


About 100 artifacts from the life of George Washington and his wife Martha are temporarily on display at he Ronald Reagan Museum. We were able to see his dentures that were made out elephant ivory, and human and cow teeth! We also saw life size models of George Washington that were created by computer and forensic scientists, art historians, and 18th century garment experts.

Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum, and I hope I get to visit other presidential libraries in the future.

Have you ever been to the Ronald Reagan Museum?

If so, what did you like about it?

If not, would you like to go?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Overnight at La Brea Tar Pits

Two nights ago, I spent the night in the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits! I went there with mine and Hannah's Girl Scout troops. My mom who is a Girl Scout leader and four other moms were there also.

This is the Page Museum. Photo taken from

This is an example of the tar. Photo taken from

Located in the middle of Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits ( la brea is spanish for tar pits, so the La Brea Tar Pits means the the tar tar pits!) are pools of sticky tar where millions of fossils of animals such as as mammoths, sloths, saber tooth tigers, camels, lions, and wolves have been found. All of these animals were trapped thousands of years ago when they wondered into the tar.

The Page Museum, which is located right next to the La Brea Tar pits, opened in 1977 to display all the finds from the tar pits, and to tell their story. It is one of the world's most famous fossil museums. Even today, scientists, volunteers, and researchers work on the grounds to find fossils and to clean and exhibit them.

Fishbowl Lab is a glass walled laboratory were visitors can see how Ice age fossils are cleaned, studied and prepared for exhibit. Photo taken from

The overnight program gives kids an opportunity to spend a night in the museum surrounded by fossils!

In our group there were 24 Girl Scouts and 5 moms,  and there was another troop of sixth grade and their moms from another area in Los Angeles. We had the whole museum to ourselves! Here's what we did:
  • Toured the museum and the tar pits led by museum educators.
  • Sorted out bones and put the bones of a saber tooth tiger together.
  • Had a light snack and went to bed at 11:00 PM.
  • Woke up at 7:00 AM, had breakfast, and left.

This was probably the most scary fossil of a mammoth at the museum!

This is me trying to figure out what type of micro fossil  I am looking at.

I slept on the red air mattress in front of the mammoth exhibit.

Have you ever been to the La Brea tar pits?

Have you ever spent the night at any museum?