200 Years of Castro Valley History {Field Trip 2016}

Captions by: Melody
Introduction and Photos by: Joyce
More info here –> adobegallery.org

One of our favorite things about the library are the cool display cases with new collections in them every month. One of them has a bunch of art work in it this month, and we saw someone was going to have their work displayed at the Adobe Art Gallery, we were reminded that there was a CV History exhibit on display. So we took our books and headed to Adobe Art Gallery. It was a rainy, rainy day, but we figure we would take advantage of that since there will (hopefully) be fewer people there and we will be able to see more of the stuff.

Getting There
Adobe Art Gallery is kind of hidden, but from Castro Valley Boulevard, starting from Safeway, you go straight down Castro Valley Boulevard all the way to San Miguel Avenue, turn right, and then you come to a stop right before you see the yellow signs about the pedestrian crossing for the schools. Then you’ll see the sign that says Adobe Art Gallery. We got mixed up on the buildings and on parking, but you just follow the sign and go into the parking lot, then you’ll see a wall that has paintings on it. From there you turn left and then you’ll see a building that says, “Redwood Studio.” You park in front of it in the parking lot and walk to the right and turn left and open a door. You’ve arrived!



When we entered, I knew we had come to the right place. There were panels everywhere that had photos on them. A lady at a desk told us to go around so we walked around the gallery, starting from a panel that says Panel #1. Castro Valley used to be a chicken farm! The glass display below shows an egg case.

Castro Valley Library has changed in the past. In 2009, they started construction on the new library. They also have a lot of old newspaper clippings on the panels, which I thought was cool.

Above is my sister pointing to the hospital where she was born. They demolished the hospital after, and then built a new one. We got a tour of the new one a couple years back. Below is a picture of an egg scale.



Trader Joe’s opened on Redwood Road next to our church. They got in the panel! I don’t know when this newspaper is from, but now we can go and get food for lunch after church!


Speaking of churches, here is a photo of 3Crosses a long time ago. Still looks the same as it does today! And next to it is the people who the schools in Castro Valley are named after, including Strobridge Elementary and Stanton Elementary School.20161215_141307

As we were walking to see some films, which you’ll hear about shortly, we saw a huge photo…of Castro Valley, aerial view! We tried to find our house, and succeeded! So below is a picture of us pointing to our house! Find us if you can! 😉


After we took a picture with Castro Valley, we headed into the room where a film was being played. I don’t mean a video or episode, a film! They collected old film footage dated way back from the 1920’s or the 1950’s and then made a video out of it! Did you know that Castro Valley Boulevard used to be a 2-lane road? That was way back in the olden days! And that Adobe Art Center was once the first schoolhouse? And you’ll never guess what was there before Starbucks moved in!20161215_142053


On our way out, we signed the guest registry and took some crossword puzzles for home. I’m still doing mine! We think that we were supposed to do it during the tour, but that’s okay. I’ll finish it eventually!


What are some of the interesting local-to-you spots you have visited as a tourist in your own town? If you are in the SF Bay, where are some of your favorite places to visit or where would you like to go visit?

Check out more photos in our 200 Years of CV Exhibit PHOTO ALBUM.

USS Hornet Museum {Field Trip 2016}

Captions by: Melody
Introduction and Photos by: Joyce
Free passes courtesy of Alameda County Libraries’ Discover & Go Program
More info here –> USS Hornet Museum

While I’m not a fan of the high cost of living, I love being here in the San Francisco Bay Area! It is our never-ending playground! Most, if not all, of you know that we love the library. (We’ll need to do some kind of blog post about this sometime!) This school year, we decided to make use of the Alameda County Libraries’ Discover & Go Program. There are so many participants in the program, it can be hard to choose which one to get passes for. (They are all a little different…some will take mobile passes, some you have to print out, some are for 1 adult and 2 kids, some are for a total of 5 people, etc.) I had been to the USS Hornet Museum as a kid, but this was the girls’ first time there. I thought they would be bored (which was quasi-true toward the end of the loooong tour…still interesting, but it involved a lot of walking and they wanted to explore on their own). We got there later in the afternoon because we went to the Japanese Garden and lunch with my mom earlier, so we will definitely have to go back again some day. Also great to see my high school friend Carrie! She will be in the museum store if you ever stop by. It’s a bit lengthy, but Melody did a fantastic job sharing how our day was like at the USS Hornet Museum, so read on, friends!

Before We Got There
At first, when we were trying to find a place to park, we didn’t know where to go, because the USS Hornet is kind of in a place that reminds you of a shipyard. Actually, it is! Some of the ships can instantly take off anytime the US declares war, but others, like the USS Hornet, are retired, and cannot go anywhere else. And then, after we finally got to where the ships were (that was scary!), we had to find parking. We couldn’t tell where the USS Hornet was, because it was so hidden. After we found the correct place to park (after 10+ minutes!), we saw a sign that said: “Welcome to the USS Hornet Museum.” And that’s how we found it!
Also, when you turn to the left of the sign, you walk to this walkway and it leads you to these stairs. Actually, a lot of stairs. I (Melody) am scared of heights, so I was terrified at the thought of ACTUALLY entering the USS Hornet – the real one, not a duplicate. We had to cross of the water to enter! <gulp> The thought of me falling! But luckily, we made it, and I’ll tell you the rest, just scroll down and I’ll tell you facts…


Guided Tour
Yes! You made it! Okay, so we went on the guided tour, but not the audio tour. I don’t know what the audio tour is like, because I only went on the guided one, but I looked at the handbook on the ship, and you get to see more on this guided tour. We had a guide named Dennis, who used to be a high school principal. This was the last tour of the day, so we made it just in time. There was another guy named John, and he was actually a veteran of the war, and it was cool that he was there and we met him.
Here is a view of the runway from a place up above (I forgot where exactly) and when I heard the news, I couldn’t believe my ears. Being a captain, or on the crew, is a very hard job! You only have one chance to land your plane on the runway, and five seconds before those yellow-black thingies release a net that stops the plane. But this can actually still not stop the plane from crashing! This is why you have to be very skilled and trained in order to fly these types of planes.
20160915_144750And this is a view from a lookout on the ship. Here’s another fact for you: During the war, the places where the ship’s lookout and the ship’s captain were were on opposite sides of the boat. In order to tell the captain there was an enemy ship advancing on them, or there was a bomb coming, a crew member, only about 16-18 years old, sometimes WITHOUT training, had to race up or down those very hard steps to climb, and then back down again to keep his post. Whew! Being a crew member is very hard work!

This was one of our last stops on our tour. This is one of the most important rooms in the entire ship, where the controls of the ship are. After the lookout tells the captain, the captain runs to the control room and tells the person standing there to stop the ship – well, not without help, of course. You can also steer from this room, which is why this is such an important room that the captain spends so much time in. He even has an extra bedroom right next to it, so he can be up and ready to go in case of danger!


Looking Around
After the tour ended, Dennis told us we could just look around if we wanted. So we did! See these planes? They are mostly army planes, and they didn’t tell us, but I think the reason why it is a shark is to scare enemies away, and if it didn’t, to remind them that we Americans are fierce. And it was so windy there, so make sure to bring a coat if you ever go there!
We actually stood on the runway, where we began our tour, of course, after we climbed some steps! I think my legs needed some serious exercise before then, so people, here is your workout for the week! And there is the view of the Bay again – just beautiful, I just love seeing the Bay.
20160915_154446This, I believe, is a Army helicopter. But the USS Hornet didn’t only carry army supplies. It picked up Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, the first men to walk on the moon! if you don’t know this, when astronauts return from their trips, a ship usually picks them up. And Richard Nixon also stepped foot on the USS Hornet! Amazing!
20160915_154509After we returned from all of that wind, as you can see from the previous photos, we climbed all of those stairs again and then saw this plane. It’s an original Navy plane!
We didn’t have any coins with us, so we just traded in dollars for cents, and then after that we got pressed pennies from the museum store. There were many different options, and we got them all! I don’t know about you, but still, after all this time, I still enjoy watching those pennies transform.
20160915_155830Then, as we got ready to leave, I saw something that caught my eye. A ship registry! It was for everyone to sign their names. I just love registries! So I wrote our names down in the book, and then we walked out the door.


All in all, I think our trip to the USS Hornet was great. I learned a lot. Before, my cousin went to the museum, and I thought, “Oh, it’s just some old museum that you learn a few facts and then you leave.” But I really learned a lot, and I highly encourage you to go for a day. It’s still the same ship that it was so long ago (it’s held up by ropes) and there is a whole ton of history behind it. I shouldn’t reveal any more to you, because then you won’t learn anything when you go! The USS Hornet is really and truly amazing. Go and learn more about it!


Tips: Wear comfy shoes if you take the guided tour! Bring a jacket to wear, it is windy out there.

What are some of the interesting local-to-you spots you have visited as a tourist in your own town? Does your library have a Discover and Go-type program? If you are in the SF Bay, where are some of your favorite places to visit or where would you like to go visit?

Check out more photos in our USS Hornet Museum PHOTO ALBUM.

Homeschool Supplies We Love and Use Daily

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

homeschoolstuffI was inspired by Jolante at Homeschool Creations to create a homeschool supplies favorites list. Photos courtesy of the 7-year-old. 🙂

Expo 2 Low-Odor Dry Erase Marker Set, Chisel Tip, 16-Piece, Assorted Colors – All the pretty colors! 🙂 We have a set of the thin ones too…for all our dry erase needs.
dry erase
Prismacolor Magic Rub Vinyl Drafting Erasers, 12-Pack – They are by far cutesy, but they work great!! The girls do have a few penguin or heart shaped erasers, but nothing compares to the Magic Rub ones.
Lakeshore Count Up & Count Down Digital Timer – Love this! Sometimes I just wanted to get things done, but I know the girls need a break, so the timer helps us to know when to take one!! We also use it for math drills, or how much screen time they have (I should do this for my own screen time!). I also use it for cooking even though we have a timer on our ovens. It is magnetic, too. I’m going to read more on the Pomodoro technique.
Post-It – We use them for checklists and as bookmarks to keep our spot in workbooks. Also, great for reminders (as long as I remember where I put the notes). :p
post it
Fiskars 5 Inch Classic Blunt Tip Kids Scissors – I like the blunt tip on these scissors. I think if you are getting your first crate with a Kiwi Crate subscription, you get a pair of these in the crate too. Only $10 using THIS LINK.
Ticonderoga pencils and sharpener
– There’s bound to be a bad pencil in the bunch, but these have always been longer lasting than any pencils with designs on them.
Lakeshore Best-Buy Washable Fine-Tip Markers broad tip and fine tip
Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils, 12 count
– Our favorites are actually a set of My Melody twistable pencils, but I figure these are easier to find. :p
Lakeshore Glue Sticks

glue sticks
What are some of your homeschool essentials for everyday?

2014-2015 School Year: Curriculum

Obviously, it is not back-to-school time anymore, but I thought I would humor you all by posting our curriculum choices for the year, and also to remind myself of what all we are doing. 😜 We started back on August 18th, and we are into Week 10 of the school year. We are “officially” homeschooling both girls this year, with Melody being in 2nd grade and Emily in Kindergarten. I am so proud of them for working hard these past two months. And I’ll just repost what I posted last year. –> It looks like a lot, but we don’t do all the subjects every day, except Language Arts and Math. The bolded items are what we mainly work on, and the others are done if there is extra time. We try to get school done by lunchtime (except for MOPS days when school is in the afternoons,and Memory Masters Workshop days when school is during lunchtime/early afternoon), and Melody can mostly do a lot of it on her own. Emily is slowly getting the rhythm.

I’m not quite “on it” with getting the curriculum and materials in order, but it’s getting there slowly but surely. I need some motivation to fix it up a bit so I can get a blog post out about our “schoolroom”. 😝

How has the school year been going for you so far?

20141021_204514 20141023_122131

Melody – 2nd grade/3rd grade

Emily – Kindergarten

Both girls

(We go through lots and lots of other books that connect with what we are learning too, but that might be another blog post as well…if I had the time… 😜)

***(italicized items are done in their classes taught by a tutor that meet on Fridays)

  • 161 events & people in a chronological timeline
  • 24 history sentences: (including the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights)
  • 44 U.S. presidents
  • 120 locations & geographic features in North America (emphasis – the United States)
  • 24 science facts (including the first 12 elements of the periodic table and the parts of 8 body systems)
  • Latin rules & vocabulary (including the text of John 1:1-7 in Latin & English)
  • English Grammar facts (including the principal parts of 11 irregular verbs)
  • Multiplication tables up to 15×15, common squares and cubes, as well as basic geometry formulas and unit conversions
  • Exposure to drawing techniques
  • Music theory and tin whistle
  • 6 great artists and related projects: American Masters
  • Introduction to orchestra and 3 classical composers
  • Weekly science experiments or hands-on projects
  • The practicing and refinement of oral presentation skills

Classical Conversations Memory Master

I haven’t blogged about Classical Conversations lately, so I figure I would share a bit now that our CC year is over.

This was the first year both girls were each in a CC class. We started 3 years ago with Cycle 3, and with completely this year, we have gone through all 3 cycles once. They both grew in all different areas. I love watching them grow through the year as they start out being a little shy in their oral presentations, and learning a little more each week as they worked through the memory work.

Melody wanted to try for Memory Master this year. (Details at the end of the post.) It is pretty hardcore, with the end result being an intense week of proofing by a parent, another adult, the tutor, and the director. We had workshops every other week to drill the kiddos on the memory work, and their hard work paid off. The proofing session were about an hour long, with the director proofing being a spot test.

Study buddies going over the timeline before proofing started for the week.

For the tutor proof, we met Melody’s tutor at the Dublin library. It was our first time there, so that was exciting.

Another friend was being proofed right after Melody, so Emily hung out at the computers with her friend who is the little sister.

I was trying not to distract Melody, so this was a way zoomed in photo of her and her tutor during the proofing.

They have a huge selection of books and it was pretty quiet inside, which is a bit different from our library. :p

And ta-da!! Out of the 64 kids on our CC campus, there were 12 who became Memory Masters. The youngest Memory Master is 5 years old.

Here is what they had to memorize PERFECTLY without any mistakes:

  • 161 events in the timeline of our world from creation to present day
  • Geography- they can show you where 122 places are on a map
  • the 44 presidents in order
  • 24 Science facts (in complete sentences) on ecology, astronomy, and physical science, including Laws of Thermodynamics and Newton’s Laws of Motion.
  • 6 Latin verb endings
  • Times tables- from 1×1 to 15×15, square, cubes, unit conversions, geometric formulas, the areas (of a rectangle, square, triangle and circle) and the algebraic laws of addition and multiplication
  • Definitions for pronoun, noun, adverb, adjective, gerund, appositive, conjunction, and interjection; types of nouns; coordinating conjunctions; adverbs telling to what extent; and 65 pronouns
  • 24 (long) history sentences on the following: Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, The Crusades, The Magna Carta, The Hundred Years’ War, The Renaissance, The Protestant Reformation, European Exploration, Age of Absolute Monarchs, History of Russia, The French Revolution, The Battle of Waterloo, The Industrial Revolution, World Leaders and Countries of World War I, Leaders and beginning of World War II, Formation of the United Nations, Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, Fall of communism in Eastern Europe, Gulf War, Free elections in South Africa

And for the record, I am super close to being a Memory Master too. :p I keep mixing up a few days, and some of the timeline events. Whenever I expect my students to learn something, I usually push myself to know and understand the material too. When I was teaching Sunday School, I memorized a chapter in the Bible along with them when we had a Bible drill. It’s only fair, right? Or I’m just a nerd. :p

2013-2014 School Year: Student Photo

nbts-blog-hop-2013Melody – 1st grade/2nd grade

Melody is in 1st grade this year. There are a few subjects where she is doing 2nd grade level work, and she is participating in some activities as a 2nd grader, but she is enrolled in the charter school as a 1st grader. I don’t plan to have her “skip a grade” even if her reading level last year was something like a 4th or 5th grader. She is a typical firstborn child. Melody is very enthusiastic about learning (most of the time). She is definitely most like me right now. She is an analytical kid and a huge bookworm. She is a visual learner. Her favorite subject is art, and she is very creative with her work. And true to her name, she loves music and enjoys learning to play the ukelele with her dad. 🙂 They also like bike riding together.

Emily – PreK

Emily is our PreK kiddo. In terms of academics, she seems to be right on target for her age. She is waiting for the day when she can participate in everything that her big sis is a part of, and even though they have similarities, she is her own person, for sure! Emily reminds me a lot of myself as a kid. That said, she is a typical secondborn child, just like me. She is definitely a more hands-on learner (tactile/kinesthetic), and even learned how to cut shapes from paper before she turned 2 (I’m not sure why I thought it was a good idea for me to give a not-even-2yo child scissors, like real scissors that cut, and yes, I was there to supervise the whole time every time). She likes to draw. Emily is an awesome share-er and always watches out for her friends. She is our expressive child. She is my little helper whenever I am cooking or baking in the kitchen.
Eventually we will sign up again for dance or some sports, but I think we have found something that both girls really, really enjoy – singing and theater! I know, who’d have guessed with music-loving parents? :p They are both really compassionate about helping others, and are an inspiration to me to get into the Bible. I am encouraged by the people they are becoming. They aren’t perfect, but they are my lovely girls.

Now in our 2nd week back to homeschooling, we are finding our rhythm. All the girls’ activities will begin next week, and I can’t wait to see all our friends on a regular basis again now that everyone is mostly back from vacations and other summer activities. 🙂 Both girls really thrive when we have a structured schedule, and I hope to be more organized this year to be able to give them that! I guess I’ll be posting more about that in the Day-in-the-Life post. 🙂

nbts-blog-hop-calendar-2013P.S. Obviously, I’m behind in actually linking up to this blog hop. 😉 And obviously, I’m not going in the right order…I’m not ready to post my School Room post because it is in disarray. You can argue that it is not, or just for me to show you how it is, as it is, but I think the school supply closet threw up and it just doesn’t even make sense in here. :p Trust me on this one.

Linking up to ihomeschoolnetwork’s Not Back-to-School Blog Hop: Student Photo Week 2013.

Related Post: 2013-2014 School Year: Curriculum

2013-2014 School Year: Curriculum

nbts-blog-hop-2013Although we have been doing a few things here and there during the summer, we officially started school last week. Below is what we are using for our curriculum. It looks like a lot, but we don’t do all the subjects every day, except Language Arts and Math. The bolded items are what we mainly work on, and the others are done if there is extra time. We try to get school done by lunchtime (except for MOPS days when school is in the afternoons), and Melody can mostly do a lot of it on her own. Emily is slowly getting the rhythm. All of our activities start next month, and we can’t wait for all the exciting things that this school year will bring!


Melody – 1st grade/2nd grade

Emily – PreK

Both girls

***(italicized items are done in their classes taught by a tutor that meet on Fridays)

  • 160 events & people in a chronological timeline
  • 24 history sentences: world history from pre-reformation to modern
  • 43 U.S. presidents
  • 100+ locations & geographic features in Europe, Asia, & select parts of the World
  • 24 science facts: ecology, astronomy and physical science
  • Latin verbs the first conjugation: Latin verb endings
  • English Grammar facts: Pronouns, adverbs, conjunctions
  • Multiplication tables up to 15×15, common squares and cubes, as well as basic geometry formulas and unit conversions
  • Ephesians 6
  • Exposure to drawing techniques
  • Music theory and tin whistle
  • 6 great artists and related projects: Impressionist Artists
  • Introduction to orchestra and 3 classical composers: Classical & Romantic Composers
  • Weekly science experiments or hands-on projects
  • The practicing and refinement of oral presentation skills

nbts-blog-hop-calendar-2013Linking up to ihomeschoolnetwork’s Not Back-to-School Blog Hop: Curriculum Week 2013.

P.S. Obviously, I’m behind in actually linking up to this blog hop. 😉

Field Trip: In-N-Out Burger

by Emily Moy

Note from Emily’s mom: We went on a field trip with our homeschool group to In-N-Out Burger. There were 20+ kids and adults. They gave us a little history of In-N-Out. It started in 1948 in California in a 10-ft square space. Now they are in 281 locations (5 states). We, then, split up into 2 groups, and got a tour of the restaurant. Afterwards, they treated us to a meal, although it was a little odd to eat a burger at 10am. Photos below are taken by Melody (except for the ones where she’s in the photo), and captions are by Emily. Extra commentary by Emily’s mom.

This is the cleaning stuff.

That is all the clothes for changing.

The drink, like drinks we have in our refrigerator. (We don’t have drinks like these in our refrigerator. We have milk, orange juice, pomegranate blueberry juice, ginger ale, and sometimes Starbucks Frappuccinos.)

Boxes of tomatoes

That is potato to cook.

That’s lettuce.

He’s showing us tomatoes.

He showed us how to slice tomatoes.

That’s all the tomatoes.

That’s lettuce. (They also take off the spine when cutting up the lettuce for the burgers.)

That’s Jeh-Jeh wash her hands. (Jeh-Jeh is Chinese for ‘big sister.’)

She mush, mush, mush, mushed it. (There was no mushing involved. This contraption slices up the potatoes into fries. I can go for animal-style fries right now.)

That’s A and Melody drink.

That’s us draw and drink. (Everyone got coloring books, crayons, an associate name tag, hats, and a free meal.)

We do picture with a hat…a crazy hat. (The hats weren’t too crazy. The girls, maybe. 😉 )

What fun field trip(s) have you (or your kids) been on recently?

Field Trip: Semifreddi’s

We are part of a group called Homeschoolers Loving God, and there was a field trip to Semifreddi’s in Alameda. I had to get special permission for Melody to attend since the minimum age to go on the field trip is 6 years old, and her birthday wasn’t until that Saturday (the field trip was on Wednesday). She was very excited that they let her go. And thanks to my awesome in-laws for watching Emily so that we could go.

Note: Phone photos –> some blurry ones

We arrived early and had to wait for a few others before starting the tour.

Most of the group (kids, anyways)

Oh yeah, stylin’ with the hairnet.

Sooo many types of breads and pastries!!

Breads in the lobby area

Semifreddi’s opened in 1984 in a small space (smaller than my kitchen!) in Kensington, CA.

And now, they are located in Alameda. Look at this huge flour silo!!!

They punch some numbers into a digital keypad, and the amount that they need goes from that big flour silo, through a tube, into a GIANT sifter (which started up while we were standing next to it!), and into that funnel.

Water is added, along with yeast and salt, and it becomes this HUGE thing of dough! (If you’re cool, you can also rock the beard net like these dudes.) It was some outrageous amount of loafs that they can make from this amount of dough.

A huge mixer!

Assembly line, and look at all those baking sheets! (Yes, I’m going to add exclamation marks at the end of every sentence! It was that cool!)

300 gallons of oil and then some…

ANTM, here we come!

Owner Mike Rose gave the tour

Taking dough out of the baskets and scoring the tops

Before we were quizzed on what we can remember (so we can get our gift bags), we also walked through an oven!! It was slowly baking yummy breads at 90*F.

Another group shot

Each gift bag contained lots of yummy breads, biscottis, croutons, and a pastry. Super duper yummy stuff!


The bakery is right next to where my sister works, so we also went to visit her, thus the apple visitor sticker that Melody has on her hoodie. I’m not the biggest fan of apple turnovers, but that one was good! And the croissant was delicious too.

Their breads are sold within 50 miles of the plant, and I think there are 2 cafes in Berkeley.

It was a long tour, but very fun and informative. I think the first 45 minutes was just Mike telling us about the history of the Semifreddi’s and how bread is made. Sidenote: There are 3 men’s restrooms and 1 women’s restroom at the plant. That is all.

If you want your own tour of Semifreddi’s but aren’t in the area, you can check out the virtual online tour. It is the 3rd video on the page or you can click HERE.

Hospital Tour

The new hospital building is opening up in December. They had a community open house for all to come and see it before things got moving along. The girls liked the CT scan room because the lights can change colors or you can have stars on the ceiling. For some reason everyone was asking me when I would be back in the post-partum room. haha! They’re nice, but not nice enough to be an incentive… :p The coolest thing was being in surgery. I’m hoping I will never have to go back there again, but it was neat seeing everything in there. We also got to sample some of the menu items from the cafeteria. Yum! ….also not yum enough to be an incentive to return.

Community Open House

Passing by the ER to the new hospital building for a tour

Front Entrance

Opening December 1

Garden area outside the cafeteria

Fun activities

And food truck

Checking out an ambulance