Graduation Party

About a week ago, the moms of my homeschool group hosted a graduation party. We have a few 8th graders (me included) and it started out as celebrating our migration to high school grades. But, the oldest in the group is graduating high school this year, so they thought we could celebrate that, too. Then, there are the younger kids who are graduating to the next grade. So, they just decided to celebrate everyone’s graduation.

About a week before the party, I had no idea about it. It was supposed to be a surprise, sort of. My mom didn’t tell the others that it was supposed to be a surprise, so my friend asked me something about the party. My dad had slipped a little a few days earlier and I knew my mom was being secretive, so I had a pretty good idea of what was going on. K just confirmed it for me. It was really funny because she was emailing me about the party, and she wasn’t really supposed to know about it. My mom was next to me so I told her that we should have a graduation party. She kind of just stared at me for a second then started whispering to my dad, asking if he said anything to me. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I cracked up. Then, I had to tell her that K had confirmed it. It was so funny, though.

It was hosted at my house, and, man, was it chaotic. Super fun, though. Our homeschool group has been slowly breaking apart lately. It was so much fun to have everyone together again. The boys in the group are hilarious. We laughed so much! Everyone brought food so we had tons to eat. My mom, my friend J, and I made lumpia, which is our favorite Filipino finger-food. The link there is for a picture and recipe on my mom’s website. ūüôā

Another mom brought beef stew, and, being a meat-and-potatoes girl, I absolutely LOVED it!! She promised to give us the recipe. I was prepared to beg on my knees for it. J and her mom brought a chocolate fountain. It was delicious!! We caught one of the 8th grade boys stuffing his face with chocolate covered goodies. We had a good laugh over that.

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My friends and I are obsessed with 80’s music, but my brother can’t stand it. So, at the party all of the kids hung out on the deck listening to music on my phone. I tried to put it on Journey, but my brother kept changing it. Yeah, we get into quite a few arguments over music. I can’t wait till I can drive, so I can control the radio. My brother’s dreading the day. ūüôā

We had a mock graduation ceremony. The moms made up these diplomas that say we’ve graduated to the next grade. They also each contributed a gift of $5 or less for the goodie bags. We totally scored on gift cards and candy. K’s mom got us each a movie ticket for whatever movie we want to watch along with a bag of microwave popcorn and a box of candy. I got a Barnes and Noble, Emerald City Smoothie, and a Half-Price Books gift card. I got a really cool book light from BN. I haven’t used the movie ticket or any of the other gift cards yet. But, I’m looking forward to it!

My dad set up his photography studio and took pictures of all of us. He took a shot of us four 8th graders together and that’s cool. He also took pictures of the whole group together; I think we have about 12 kids. We had graduation caps, leis, and big sunglasses for everyone. It was actually really funny.

K and J stayed the night and we had a writing-themed sleepover. We wrote more in our books and wrote short stories (while singing along to 80’s music, I might add). My parents cracked up whenever we simultaneously started singing Journey or Bon Jovi together.

Anyway, it was an AMAZING party!! It was fun to have everyone together again and we laughed so much. Can’t wait till next year’s party!

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Veronica Roth Book Signing

Back in March, Veronica Roth (author of Divergent trilogy) had a book discussion and signing close to me. My mom was the hero of the day because she drove me and my friend almost four hours round-trip to get there. There was a panel of six authors there, all of them friends. My friends and I think it would be SO cool to do a group book discussion and signing together when we get published.

We got there early and were in a pretty good spot in line. When it was finally time, we all went into a room where the six authors were sitting in front. They introduced themselves and their books and took questions. We learned a lot about the publication process and querying agents. I couldn’t really get a good shot of Veronica ūüė¶ but my mom got a picture. Or maybe it was K? SOMEONE got a pic for me.VR 2Unfortunately, the authors weren’t allowing personal pictures with the fans. There were just WAY too many people. Most were in line for VR, but a couple of the authors’ debut books haven’t come out yet.

This is the same book signing that I said Marissa Meyer had been to. That was a surprise when I found out she had gone too. I was just reading Cinder for the first time during this signing, so that would have been AMAZING to see her. I don’t know if I would’ve recognized her, though. I guess the timing just wasn’t right. At least I got to meet her anyway.

I was shaking so hard after I left the library. It was my very first book signing ever and it was one of my favorite authors! SO COOL! K and I were SUPER giddy afterwards. The discussion really¬†lifted our inspiration for writing. K and I came up with some great ideas for the¬†novels we’re writing. And . . . I absolutely CANNOT wait for Allegiant!!

The authors that were there: (I haven’t read any of the other authors’ books. Only Divergent and Insurgent.)

Veronica Roth: Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant (October 2013)

Necklace from Phoebe North

Necklace from Phoebe North

Kristen Halbrook: Nobody But Us

Kirsten Hubbard: Wanderlove, Like Mandarin

Phoebe North: Starglass (July 2013) She gave us each a necklace. So nice of her.

Kody Keplinger: A Midsummer’s Nightmare, Shut Out, The DUFF: (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite (Selection series, part 2) by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass, picture from goodreads

The Elite by Kiera Cass, picture from goodreads

America Singer is now an Elite in the Selection, competing against five other girls to be Prince Maxon’s bride and the princess of Illea. She doesn’t actually have to work very hard, though. Maxon is completely attached to her. She still has a hard time sorting her feelings, and she goes back and forth between Maxon and Aspen. But, when she’s ready to give Maxon her loyalty, she notices him hanging out with the other girls more than her. That leaves her completely confused. The rebel attacks continue, more dangerous and more frequent. Maxon and America try to solve the mystery of why they are attacking, and they may have gotten close.

America cries a lot in this book. It gets annoying after a while and I just want to¬†snap my fingers in her face¬†and say get over it! Honestly! I CAN understand that she’s going through a lot of stress, but if the whole book is filled with crying I usually don’t care to finish.

This book has a little more romance in it than The Selection, but nothing terrible. This book has a few twists in it that made me want to keep reading. The Elite ends on a semi-happy note, I suppose. It makes me anticipate the third book, but I don’t think it’s something I would lose sleep if I don’t read it.

I think I liked The Elite about the same as The Selection, maybe a little more, but I give both three stars. They aren’t my favorite books ever, but I’d recommend them to my friends.

Tide Pool Field Trip

The Saturday before our Marine Science Afloat trip,¬†we went on another field trip to a tide pool park. It’s basically just a small strip of part rock-part sand beach. It was so much fun because we really just looked under rocks and saw tons of intertidal life. My teacher, Mrs. H, was there, too, and helped jog our memories on what phylum and class each animal belongs in. It’s so nice going to the beach and actually knowing what the animals are called. Only half of my class showed up (basically three kids including me), but Mrs. H’s daughter and her friend, along with some of Mrs. H’s other friends made the group a little larger.

Sea Hurst Park

Clear blue sky

It’s a miracle we actually got some sun! And it was actually warm! I call that a wonderful day out here. I was SO afraid it would rain, but the sun came out and made everyone happier . . . you know, as much happier as we can get going tide pooling at the beach with friends.

Moon Snail

Moon snail

It was a minus tide so we saw lots of marine life.¬†One boy in my class¬†waded out in the water the whole entire time. He brought lots of animals back for us to see. He even got pinched by a Dungeness crab! It was hilarious! Especially¬†when it grabbed on to his shoe and he took a really long time getting back to us. Here’s a moon snail that he brought back to us. Moon snails can grow quite big. They bore little holes in clam shells and suck out the inside. If you see a clam shell on the beach with a little hole in it, it was eaten by a moon snail. It’s kind of interesting that this huge snail can bore a tiny little hole. You won’t find a snail looking like this out of the water, though. When one is out of the water, it stuffs itself into its shell to shield itself from the sun and air. I don’t know how that thing can fit its fat body into the shell.

Monk fish

Monk fish

Under a large rock we found a monk fish. I don’t really get why it’s called that, but it was really cool to find a fish.

We also saw lots of crabs. TONS of crabs! Dungeness, red rock crabs, etc. . . . My favorite part was probably either the starfish or the sand dollars. I also really like the giant barnacles. One even had it’s feathery appendages out. Not something you see everyday.

I had a really fun time with my friends. Of course, you can never take something home that’s alive or has something living on it or in it. And, if you turn over a rock, always, ALWAYS turn the rock back over. There are organisms living on the top and bottom of the rock. The organisms living on top need the sun to live and the organisms on the bottom need the moisture to live. If you turn it over, their environments are drastically changed and they will most-likely die.

I encourage everyone to visit a tide pool every once in a while!

Giant Barnacle

Giant Barnacle

Live sand dollar

Live sand dollar

Starfish that ate a crab

Starfish that ate a crab