Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Ski Trip to Arrowhead and Big Bear

Every year during the winter holidays my family goes on a ski trip. This year we stayed in Lake Arrowhead, and skied in Big Bear, California.
Picture taken from:

Last year, during the winter holidays, my family and I skied at Cyprus Mountain and in Whistler, British Columbia. This year we decided to stay local. We stayed in a beautiful resort in Lake Arrowhead and skied in Big Bear Lake. 

Lake Arrowhead is a beautiful mountain resort located in the San Bernardino Mountains, California. It hosts about 4 million tourists a year, who can enjoy backpacking, hiking, bicycling, both water and snow skiing or just walking and shopping in its cozy village.

During my family's stay in Lake Arrowhead we walked by the lake, shopped and enjoyed good food in the village, spent some quality time in our beautiful hotel, and went inner-tubing in the snow at a nearby inner tube park .

Leila and I on the dock at Lake Arrowhead

For two out of the four days we spent in the mountains we went skiing in Big Bear Lake. We would wake up early in the morning to beat the crowds and the traffic and then drive forty-five minutes to the Snow Summit ski resort in Big Bear Lake.

Big Bear Lake was inhabited by Serrano Indians for 2,000 years before explorers arrived. It got its name because it was populated by Grizzly bears which unfortunately have not been found in the region since 1908. Just like Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear Lake is also a beautiful mountain destination, offering everything Lake Arrowhead offers plus two wonderful ski resorts, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. 

My family skied at Snow Summit which has more intermediate runs, where Leila and I are more comfortable. This was not a good year in terms of snow fall, but all the resorts were making snow, so skiing was still pretty good and we had a wonderful time.

I am looking at a beautiful view on the deck of a restaurant on top of Snow Summit

Leila and I at the bottom of the mountain

Do you ski or snowboard?

If so, what is your favorite part about the sport?

If you ski or snowboard where do you usually go?

Have you ever been to Lake Arrowhead or Big Bear Lake?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Green Bag Project

The last project my Girl Scout troop (4th grade) and my sister's Girl Scout troop (3rd grade) participated in to help the community was  The Green Bag Project.

Mr. Walton with all the bags our troops donated
The Green Bag Project, which is an organization that helps the homeless, was founded by Duffy Walton about five years ago. It all started when he had gone to downtown Los Angeles to watch a show. When he saw a homeless person and decided to give him his running shoes (he is an avid runner),  his wife, who was with him, told him that he should do that more often. That's when he decided to start the Green Bag Project.

Here is a synopsis of The Green Bag Project in Mr. Walton's words:

I have a small community action grant from the Alcoa Corporation. In looking for a way to maximize the impact of my limited funds and broaden the awareness of the monumental problem of homelessness, I hit on the idea of the Green Bag. I supply the empty canvas bag and a list of suggestions. People then take the bag home and fill it with stuff usually found in your house - something to wear, something to eat, a way to get clean. This permits one to think about what being homeless means, what you would like in the bag if it was you, perhaps write a note of encouragement, even pick up a toothbrush at the market. I collect the bags and store them here at Alcoa,  Simi Valley  until I have 50/100. We then take them down to Skid Row and pass them out on or near  5th Street  to people living in cardboard. I say "we" take them because part of this program is taking people to skid row to see for themselves, actually hand out bags, talk to people, receive thanks from someone who really needs and appreciates a gift. That is what this program is: a way to bring a small gift to the least in our midst. And the bag is part of the gift.  A way to carry stuff that reminds them of people who care.  It is not just a bag of old t-shirts and canned goods: it's a bag of hope that says there are people who wish them well and hope they can climb out of poverty and despair.

Mr. Walton came to one of our meetings and talked to us about the need to help the homeless. Each girl was given 3-5 bags to take home to fill up and we met with him 2 weeks later to return the bags. We did this project right before Thanksgiving and it was our way to give thanks and give back.
Filling up the bags was a very rewarding experience for Leila and me. We went shopping with our mom to buy some of the items such as toiletries, food that is easy to open, small bottles of water, and first aid items. We went through our parents closets for some gently used clothing to donate. One of the moms in our troop generously donated all the dental hygiene items. I think the best part for me was writing the note of encouragement that we placed in every bag.
Mr. Walton's truck is filled with our donated bags

Bags being distributed on Los Angeles Skid Row

If you would like to find out more about The Green Bag Project you can contact Mr.Walton at or go on the New Basin Blues.


Have you ever heard of or donated to The Green Bag Project?

If not, have you heard of any similar programs?

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Trip to Europe!

I had a wonderful trip to Europe last week, and I would like to tell you all about it!

The first part of my trip was to Essen, Germany to visit my great aunt and my mom's cousin. Essen is a small industrial town, and the purpose of our visit was only to spend time with our family. After a few days of relaxation we headed off to Paris where all the excitement began!

During our four day stay we visited several magnificent landmarks, such as: the Eiffel Tower, the Basilica of Sacred Heart, the Louvre, Palace of Versailles, Arc de Triomphe, and the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Named after it's designer, Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889, and is the tallest building in Paris. It is the most visited paid monument in the world, and I can see why, because it's truly magnificent. My family and I took the elevator to the top and loved the spectacular view of Paris.

The Eiffel Tower 

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic church.  Located at the summit of Monmartre which is the highest point in Paris, it is a very popular landmark. Construction on the Basilica started in 1875 and was finished in 1914. Monmartre is the artistic center of Paris, where you see many artists drawing and displaying their art on the street. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at one of the many restaurants there.

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart

The Louvre Museum is one of the world's largest museums, and is the most visited art museum in the world. It is housed in the Louvre Palace and has almost 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century. My favorite painting in the Louvre is the Mona Lisa, because of her mysterious smile and because regardless of the angle, it always seems like she is looking at you!

The Mona Lisa or as the French call it  La Joconde

Arc De Triomphe is a very famous monument in Paris. It is located at the western end of Champs Elysees which is one of the most famous streets in the world. It honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars.

Arc De Triomphe

I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Paris!

Have you ever been to Paris?

If so, what is the favorite place you visited?

If not, where would you want to go in Paris?

Can you add any other facts about the landmarks I mentioned in this post? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Universal Studios


Yesterday, my sister, my mom, and I went to Universal Studios!

Universal Studios is a studio and theme park in Los Angeles, California. Movie production first took place in 1912, but 1915 was the official public opening of the studios. From the start, Universal Studios offered studio tours which included a chance to buy fresh produce since Universal City was part of a working farm! In the early 1930's, when sound films came to Universal the tours were discontinued. 
In 1962 accountants suggested a new tour would increase profits. As a result, in 1964, the modern tour was establised. Over the years, the tour grew into a theme park.

In the past year my family and I have gone to Universal Studios five times. Usually, we get there early to avoid long lines. We start by going on my favorite, The Simpson's simulator ride. Simulator rides are a type of amusement park rides where you are shown a movie while you seat moves to the action on the screen.
After the Simpson's Ride, before the lines get too long we rush over to the Studio Tour which is about 45 minutes long. The tour is led by a tour guide on a tram which goes through Universal's backlot, the world's largest working movie studio! During the tour you see sets and props from many famous movies and TV shows. There are also some special demonstrations such as an 8.3 earthquake, a flash flood, a look inside The Mummy's Tomb, an encounter with the shark from Jaws, and most famous of all the King Kong 3-D show.

Our next stop after the Studio Tour is The Jurassic Park Ride which uses 1.5 million gallons of water. A lot of people wear parkas on this ride, we didn't have any so at the end we were soaked! 

Next is The Revenge of the Mummy. It is a super fast ride in a very dark place, it has scary sound effects, and at one point it blasts you backwards!
Our last stop is usually the Waterworld show which I think is amazing. The stunts are truly unbelievable!

Here are some pictures from yesterday:

This is the beginning of the Flash Flood.

This is the scene of the plane crash from the Movie War of the Worlds.
They used a real Boeing 747 and then demolished it!
This is the famous Bates Motel from the movie Psycho.

Here is the set of the Water World show.

Have you ever been to any of the Universal Studios?

If you have what is your favorite attraction?

If you have never been to one, would you want to go after reading this post?

Monday, May 30, 2011

My New Blog Mascot


Hello! I am Popsicle, Hannah's new blog mascot! I am 1 year old, and I was born March 23, 2010.  

I have lots of blog mascot friends:
Panda, Bunny, Mr. NYMr. CA, and Angel Face!

I do a lot of things with Hannah. Here are a few:

I helped her make her sculpture of Sally Ride for Open House.
 I spend time with Connor and her.
I do homework with her.
I bake cupcakes with her.
If you had a blog, what would your mascot be, and what would you name it?
For those of you who have a blog, what is your blog mascot, and what did you name it?

Monday, April 4, 2011


On Sunday, I participated in an Iranian celebration called Seezdah-Bedar! 

This traditional painting of Seezdah Bedar is taken from the book Persian Miniature Paintings. 

Seezdah-Bedar is celebrated on the thirteenth day after Norouz, the Persian New Year. It marks the end of the New Year celebration. Seezdah means thirteen and bedar means to pass over. Seezdah-Bedar is therefore the passing over the thirteenth day of the new year, as many consider thirteen to be an unlucky number.  On this day families leave their houses and head for parks, gardens, or country sides and enjoy their day together with a picnic. By having a joyous and laughter filled day outdoors, Iranians believe that they can keep bad luck away!

On Sunday morning, as with millions of other Iranians, every member of my family got up early to prepare for Seezdeh-Bedar at the park. We packed our car with all the necessary supplies, such as blankets, traditional foods, fruits, pastries, backgammon, and the Sabzeh (sprouted wheat or lentils) which had adorned the Haft Seen for thirteen days.  The Sabzeh which by now had turned yellow symbolizes sickness and problems and is thrown into a flowing stream at the end of the picnic.

Once we got to the park I met up with my friends, we spent the day feeding ducks, playing on the playground, and riding our scooters. There were a lot of different booths selling different foods, such as ice-cream, Iranian food, and pastries. My friends and I stopped at a cotton-candy booth and we got some delicious blue cotton-candy! In the meantime, our parents and all other adults were enjoying themselves by socializing, playing backgammon or cards, eating, and dancing. The atmosphere was very festive!

My friends and I at the playground, you can see the crowds in the background.

Leila and I played on the playground with our friends.

We left the park at about 5:30 in the afternoon, but not before throwing away the yellowed Sabzeh. I had such a great time, and I am already looking forward to next year's Seezdeh-Bedar!

Me throwing the yellowed Sabzeh in the water.

Do you celebrate Seezdeh-Bedar?

Have you heard of Seezdeh-Bedar? 

What do you think of this tradition?

Do you have a celebration in your culture that is done outdoors such as in parks or at the countryside?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jumping Over Fire!

Last night, I participated in an Iranian celebration called Chahar Shanbeh Suri! Chahar Shanbeh Suri is an ancient Iranian festival of fire dating back to 1,700 BC! It takes place a few days before the ancient Noruz festival which celebrates the coming of Spring and is the Iranian New Year. Chahar means Wednesday and suri means feast. It is actually celebrated on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year. Bonfires are lit at sunset, and the idea is to not let the sun set! The tradition goes back to when the Zoroastrian religion was popular in Persia (ancient Iran) and fire was considered to be sacred and pure. Iranians honor this tradition by celebrating Chahar Shanbeh Suri today!

People jump over the bonfires that are set on the street and recite the following:     

Zardy-e-man az tow,
Sorkhy-e-tow az man

The literal translation is 
My sickly yellow paleness is yours,
Your fiery red color is mine
which means you want the fire to take your paleness, problems and sickness and in turn give you redness, warmth and energy.

Like millions of people around the world, my family and I jumped over the fire last night and recited the words that I mentioned, it was a lot of fun! My sister Leila and I look forward to this festival every year. We are old enough to jump over the bonfires by ourselves ( they are not very big!), but when we were younger our parents would hold us in their arms and jump with us.  I am really happy and proud to be able to celebrate a family tradition that goes back thousands of years. Next, is the Iranian New Year which we will celebrate this coming Sunday!

Have you heard of Chahar Shanbeh SuriI?
Do you celebrate  Chahar Shanbeh Suri?
Do you celebrate any family traditions that are as unusual as Chahar Shanbeh Suri?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Leila Donates Her Hair to Locks of Love!

On Sunday February 27th, my sister Leila had 10 inches of her hair cut off to donate to
Locks of  Love! 

Leila's ponytail was 10 inches long.

Donating hair is something both Leila and I love to do. I first found out about hair donation five years ago in my last year of preschool when two of my classmates were donating their hair. When my mom explained to me that the hair was used to make wigs for children who had lost their hair, I was determined to donate mine also. Even though my hair was fairly long, I had to wait a year until I had at least 10 inches to donate, that was at the end of my kindergarten year. Ever since then, Leila and I have taken turns donating our hair every year,  last year was my turn, this year was hers. I am looking forward to donating my hair again next year!

Locks of Love is an non-profit organization that provides wigs, free of charge or on a sliding scale based on financial needs, to children in Canada or the United States. Their mission is to help restore the self-esteem and confidence of children who have lost their hair due to a medical condition.

It takes 6-8  ponytails to make one wig. What makes these wigs special is that they are custom made for each child's head. They are made in a way that they will not fall off and can not be pulled off by anyone except the wearer. The children can even swim or shower with them! The wigs retail between $3,500 and $6,000, so it is wonderful that Locks of Love can provide them free of charge or for a much lower amount.

Below are the steps to follow in case you decide to donate your hair:

Click to enlarge  to see the steps to donate.
You can also make a monetary donation, here is the link if you would like to know more about the organization:

 *       *      *
Leila's ponytail was 10 inches long.

The hairstylist is cutting Leila's ponytail.

Leila after the hair cut.

I am holding the hair Leila is donating.

Have you ever donated your hair?

Do you know anyone who has donated their hair?

Do you know of any other organizations that provide wigs for children who have lost their hair?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mrs. Yollis Wins Employee of the Month Award!

Earlier this evening, Mrs Yollis received a really well deserved award for Employee of the Month in our school district! We first found out that Mrs. Yollis had won when the district Superintendent and his two assistants came to our classroom a couple weeks ago. Every one of my classmates was very excited for her, so most of us came to the district office for the award ceremony and to celebrate with her!

Mrs. Yollis giving  her speech! Our blog is in the background! 

Mrs. Yollis holding her award which was an apple (not a real one)!

It was really exciting to be present for this special occasion. First, the Superintendent introduced Mrs. Yollis and talked about her incredible achievements. He also shared the answers that Mrs. Yollis had given to some questions that she had been asked prior to the ceremony. The one I liked most was when she said that she always feels like a student even though she is a teacher!  After that, Mrs. Yollis gave a very touching speech about her love of education and teaching. Everyone gave her a standing ovation!

During the ceremony, they also showed a portion of our class video titled Blogging is Learning, I felt very proud!

This picture was taken after the award ceremony. 

For those of you who were able to make it to the ceremony, what was your favorite part?  My favorite part was when they showed a clip of the video.

For those of you who were not there, does this post help you get a sense of what it was like?

Have you ever been to any other ceremonies where your teacher won an award?

Have you ever won an award? If so, what was it?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eclipse, a Pup in Training for Guide Dogs of America

Conner, Leila, and me.

My four year old yellow Labrador Retriever, Conner, brings a lot of love and joy into my life. We adopted him from a shelter when he was one. Everyday I look forward to coming home and playing with him. As important as he is in my life, there are a group of dogs that are a lot more important to their owners because of the way they transform their lives. They are the guide dogs for the blind.

On Wednesday, January 5th a speaker from Guide Dogs of America and her cute little pup in training, Eclipse, visited our school for a presentation for my Girl Scout troop. Eclipse is a 7 month old Black Retriever. In fact, because of their willingness to please and trainability, the majority of guide dogs are Labrador Retrievers or Golden Retrievers.

Guide Dogs of America is a nonprofit organization that is supported solely by donations. They don't receive any funding from the government. They provide guide dogs for free to blind individuals. With the help of their loving guide dogs these men and women can live happier and more productive lives.  In addition, guide dogs make great companions!

Eclipse and his trainer.

Eclipse and me. Everyone in my troop got a chance to pet Eclipse!

It costs $42,000.00 to train a guide dog and match it with its new blind partner. Most of the training is provided by volunteers,  just like the lady who trains Eclipse. As I mentioned before, Guide Dogs of America relies on donations to provide these wonderful companions. If you would like to know more about this organization and perhaps make a donation please visit :

Do you know anyone who has a guide dog?

Have you seen a guide dog before?

Are you familiar with Guide Dogs of America?

After reading this post, what is your opinion of the Guide Dogs of America organization?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Winter Vacation

I spent one week of my winter vacation in British Columbia, Canada with my family. We visited Vancouver and Whistler both of which were 2010 Winter Olympic venues. My family and I skied in Whistler and at Cyprus Mountain in Vancouver.

British Columbia is known as Beautiful British Columbia, I agree with that description. Everywhere we went the views were amazing. I took many photos, I hope you enjoy the ones that I chose to share with you.

Leila and I at our hotel in Whistler.  It  was one of the venues for the 2010 Winter Olympics.                                                                                                      

In this photo, I had just finished ski school in Whistler. The red band on my leg is a GPS device that keeps track of all the kids in ski school!

This photo was taken in our hotel after a long day of skiing in Whistler.

Whistler Village, outside of a store.

The Olympic rings in Whistler. That's me in the middle!

Skiing down Whistler mountain.

The Olympic rings at  Cyprus Mountain, a ski resort in West Vancouver.  This was  another venue for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

A spectacular view from  Cyprus Mountain. That's the ocean in the background!

Colorful Canadian currency! In the picture you don't see a 1 dollar bill because Canada has only a 1 dollar coin!

Have you been to Canada?

If so, where?

Have you ever skied before?

What did you do on your vacation?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My New Blog

Dear visitors,

Welcome to my new blog!  I am very excited to share my blog with you. I am a third grader in Mrs. Yollis' class in California. I live with my parents, my little sister, Leila, and my yellow lab, Conner. I love to read, play soccer, ski, and do karate.

I will try to post as often as I can about my hobbies, travels, and other special and exciting events in my life. Please check out my gadgets and my Voki. I am looking forward to reading your comments, so please don't be shy and leave me as many comments as you would like!

I would like to thank Mrs. Yollis for giving me a blog. She has taught me so much about blogging. I really appreciate her guidance and patience in teaching me to blog.

I have had a lot of fun reading and commenting on other blogs, I hope you have as much fun reading and commenting on mine.

Do you have any hobbies?

Do you participate in any sports?

Do you have any pets?

If you don't have a pet would you like one?

Happy blogging,