Sep 9, 2021

How to Enroll in Los Angeles Community College Courses While You're in High School

Are you a high school student in Los Angeles, or do you have a child who is? If so, did you know that you can take community college courses for free?

I've helped my son through the process several times now, so I've put together a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.

1. Create an OpenCCC account here. You’ll receive a CCCID number, which you'll need for the next step. 

2.  Apply to the community college that you want to attend at A few days after you’ve submitted the application, you’ll receive an email with your Student ID number and LACCD email account info, which you’ll use throughout your community college experience. 

3. Activate the Student Portal. The login information will be in an email you receive after submitting your application. 

4. Submit your K-12 Form for dual/concurrent enrollment using the college’s website. You'll be directed to an online portal called Dynamic Forms (search the college's website for a page for high school students or dual/concurrent enrollment). The K-12 form must be submitted each term at each college you plan to attend. Once the student completes and submits the K-12 form, their parent/guardian will receive an email and need to electronically sign it. The form will then be submitted to the high school counselor. Once the counselor has signed it, the form will be submitted to the college. Once you receive the email that says “Your school has completed their portion” of the K-12 form, you are able to enroll in the classes listed on the form. 

5. Clear any prerequisites. If you want to take a course that has prerequisites that you took in high school, know that those need to be cleared separately from your K-12 form before you will be allowed to enroll in the class. Each college has its own way of clearing prerequisites, so you'll need to search check their website. 

Other things to know:

  • Once you have an LACCD Student ID number, you can take a class at any of the Los Angeles community colleges without re-applying. Just log into the Student Portal and click on manage classes. You'll be able to search for a class at any of the LACCD colleges.

  • You need to complete a new K-12 form each semester or summer session, and you'll need a separate K-12 form for each college you attend. For example, if you want to take a class at Pierce College and another class at Valley College in the same semester, you'll need to fill out K-12 forms at both of those schools.

  • If you want to talk to someone at a college, use the Online Services & Chat link in the Student Portal. LACCD uses a system called Cranium Cafe, and it actually works well once you get used to it. Depending on your needs, you can choose to chat with someone in a specific department. If you need to talk to someone about your K-12 form, chat with someone in Admissions and Records. If you need help clearing a prerequisite, chat with someone in the Counseling department.

  • You can take classes for free! As a high school student taking community college classes, you don't have to pay for tuition, but you may have to pay for books. 

  • Keep in mind that unless the textbooks/material are digital, it can take some time to get them, whether you order them from the college bookstore, Amazon, or elsewhere. Textbook information is often listed in the Details section when you look up a class in the "Manage Classes" section of the Student Portal.

  • Information listed here is subject to change, so you should always check with the college and/or your high school counselor for the latest.

Aug 30, 2021

Heads Up: If you want to get Chief Family Officer posts via email, you'll need to subscribe to the newsletter

I've used Google's Feedburner service to send out new posts by email for well over a decade. But Google is terminating that service, so if you want to keep getting CFO posts by email, you'll need to sign up for the CFO newsletter if you haven't already. Just go here and input your email address. Rest assured, your email address will only be used to send you CFO news. Thanks as always for reading!

Aug 1, 2021

Random Roundup Catch Up Edition: Books, Shopping, School and More

Hello, stranger! I hope you and your loved ones are doing well.

I didn't mean to take a nearly three-month hiatus, but it happened. And so has a lot of life, which I'll catch you up on below. But first, just me say THANK YOU for being here - it means so much to have friends in this little corner of the internet!

Some of the links below are affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for using them! You can read CFO's full disclosure here.


I continue to read lot thanks to #Read21in21, and my Instagram feed is basically all the books I've been reading. I mentioned the Book Collector mystery series in my last post, and because of it, I started reading the Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers. It's set in the early 1900's, so it's something of a history lesson on what society was like then (it seems like every day, I'm reminded of how lucky I am to be a woman today and not at a previous time in history!). The stories are quirky, and it took me some time to get used to the style, but I'm enjoying myself as I slowly make my way through the books. (I'm apparently not the only one reading the series since I have to wait for each book to become available at the library.) I'll also give a shout out to the Bakeshop Mystery series, which is light and fun.

Speaking of the library, I can't rave about it enough. I just love being able to borrow e-books and read them using the Kindle app. I can also borrow audiobooks, which I listen to using the Libby app. It's all free, and they've been quite good about acquiring books that they don't have that I "recommend" (it's an option that usually pops up for a book they don't own).

If you're not in Los Angeles, your public library probably offers the same or similar service for digital content. Look for a link on their website about borrowing digital material or even just a "get a card" link.


Now that my entire family is fully vaccinated, I've been going out more. I eat outdoors with friends and I go shopping! I always knew I enjoy shopping, but having to take a long hiatus from doing it in person as opposed to online has given me a new appreciation for it. I know lots of people don't like it, but I love perusing the different options and picking out my own products. (Although now that the delta variant is so prevalent, I've been double masking and getting in and out quickly.)

I've been going to the farmers market every week, which always makes me feel good - I get to buy great produce and prepared foods, and support small business owners and local farmers. (A few weeks ago on Facebook, I shared a link to an article about how over half the products in a supermarket are made by just four companies.) I've also checked out the new Pavilions and Whole Foods markets that opened in my neighborhood during the pandemic, and they're great. My friend's son is actually going to start working at the Pavilions, so I'm looking forward to seeing him there. 

We're saving money compared to when I ordered everything online, because I don't stock up unnecessarily, the way I did when I wasn't sure if something would be in stock the next time I needed to place an order. I can also buy in quantities that work for me (e.g., a quarter pound of deli turkey instead of the full pound Ralphs made me buy for a pickup order).

And I've rediscovered the joy of a great deal. Over on Facebook, I shared the moneymakers I recently picked up at Whole Foods. (By the way, even when I was only buying groceries online, I consistently used the Ibotta and Fetch apps to earn free money.)


I spent a the first half of the year starting to work toward a certificate in College Counseling. As you might recall, I've spent a lot of time the past few years learning about the college application process and especially, how people pay for college (aside from loans, which I really want to avoid). As my kids and my friends' kids have gotten older and my friends and I talked about college, I realized I had so much knowledge that I could use to help other families, so I decided to try a course in the certificate program at UCLA. So far, I'm really enjoying the classes (although I'm taking the summer off).

Since my goal is to help other families, please let me know if you'd be interested in a video series that gives an overview of the college application process, and then goes deeper into different areas, like what to think about in middle school, what to do junior and senior years (with a timeline), and explanations about various aspects of financial aid. I had to make a slideshow for my final project in one of my classes, so I'm envisioning a slideshow with my voiceover, giving more details about what's on each slide. If that's something you'd be interested in, please let me know! (You can fill out the contact form in the right sidebar at or email me at


A word about going back to school: If you liked school when you were younger, you'll probably still like it now. I was nervous about taking classes again, but it didn't take me long to remember how to study and although some things are different (no face-to-face time with professors in my online classes), the rhythm is mostly the same. It feels good to learn new things and analyze and explain them. And I have to say, the big benefit of taking online classes is that you can do the work on your own schedule and not worry about getting to class on time. If you've been thinking about taking some classes but have been hesitant, let me encourage you to take just one class and see how it goes.


I also want to share one of my favorite resources when it comes to learning about applying to colleges, the Getting In: A College Coach Conversation podcast. I listen to it every week when I'm vacuuming, and I always learn so much. I love that they cover every facet of the college process, from what eighth and ninth graders should be thinking about to how to write essays for specific colleges to applying to a military academy or to college as a veteran. They also talk about paying for college and what students should do to prepare to be successful when they get there. They answer lots of listener questions, too, so if you have a specific concern, you can submit it to them and get expert advice.


It's hard to believe that it's August. My cousins' kids in Hawaii start school this week (!) and my kids start in two weeks. Not only is waking up early again going to be a major adjustment, I've been trying to remember what my morning routine on school days was a year and a half ago - things like what time I used to wake up, when we used to leave the house, and what time school started and ended. They seem like such fundamental things that I can't believe I forgot them, but the fact that I did is just another indication of how bizarre life has been for the last 17 months.

The craziest thing is that I'm about to have two kids in high school. My older one just got his driver's permit, and I'm hearing that if you drive your kids to school, then it's common to have your kid drive to and from school when they're learning how to drive. I'm not sure I'll be doing that.


I'm heading over to Costco tomorrow. My younger son has fallen in love with Dubliner cheese, and they sell giant blocks of it there. I also realized that I would love to have some freezer meals again to make dinner time easier. Because I've been getting my meat from ButcherBox, it comes frozen and I can't meal prep the way I used to (since you can't re-freeze raw meat that was already frozen). So I'm thinking about buying some meat at Costco and prepping some meals for the freezer, like chili and meatloaf. What are your favorite freezer meals?

May 9, 2021

Random Roundup Mother's Day Edition: Books, Recipes & Meal Ideas, Work Outs + More

 It's been a while! (Again.) Things have been kind of crazy, but I'm thrilled that my husband, my oldest son and myself are vaccinated now (we just got our second doses). I've got my fingers crossed that my younger son can get his first shot this week! (We experienced almost no side effects from the first shot; we all got Pfizer. I had about 12 hours when I felt like I was coming down with the flu, and my son had a headache and a little nausea for about 24 hours. My husband was perfectly fine.)

At the end of April, we had another stretch of adaptation because our school district implemented a new hybrid schedule. The schedule for middle and high school students involves staying in homeroom and attending virtual classes, so my kids chose to stay fully virtual. But their schedule still changed because the bell schedule changed, and I had to spend some extra energy trying to remember when lunchtime is, when they get out of class, etc.

During this pandemic, I've really noticed that sometimes little things suck up my energy, which explains why I don't have the will to do things I normally get done. Sometimes I just accept it (especially if they're temporary), and sometimes I try to figure out ways to eliminate the energy drains. With the schedule, I did both - I accepted it the first week, but as soon the final schedule was released for the following week, I printed out several copies and posted them where I can easily see them so I don't have to keep checking my email.

This post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for using them! You can read CFO's full disclosure here.

Here's more of what's been going on ...


Thanks to #Read21in21, I'm still reading a lot. I haven't done book roundups the last couple of months, but I do post every book I finish on Instagram. Thus far, I've read over 50 books, which has got to be a personal best for me in such a short time span. (At least as an adult. As a child, I was a voracious reader, and I wouldn't be surprised if I used to read 50 books every month or two.)

Some highlights have been the Port Danby and Book Collector series - lighthearted mysteries that are easy and fun to read. But the book that has had the greatest impact on me was The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh - it helped me understand systemic racism in an articulable way for the first time. It also gave me motivation and tools for continuing to learn and grow to be the person I mean to be.


Like a lot of people, I'm still cooking a lot. For Easter, I made these Bunny Cinnamon Rolls:

I got the idea from Instagram, although I can't find the post that inspired me. These are just Immaculate  Baking's cinnamon rolls in a can. All I had to do was pull them apart, then unwind each roll a little bit to form the bunny ears.

For Passover, I made this 4-Ingredient Flourless Chocolate Cake, which my husband said was the best cake I've ever made because it was crunchy on top and soft inside. That's not exactly my ideal cake, but I'm probably going to make this every Passover now.

Recently, I made Buri Daikon, which is yellowtail (hamachi) simmered with daikon radish in a soy sauce mixture. It was quite good:

Some super easy meals I make involve cold cuts - either sandwiches or a charcuterie platter. The freshly prepared pasta from Truffle Dealers is delicious, although a little pricey (I order them as add ons to my Edible Gardens LA weekly delivery). My favorite ramen is now Sun Noodle Miso Ramen - it's particularly delicious with some greens and a poached egg. (Their other flavors are good too. My only complaint is that I can't made heads or tails of the expiration date sticker.)


I signed up for the Peloton app after reading How to Trick Yourself Into Liking Running. I realized that I too would like to have someone encouraging me to push myself, and it's been awesome. (I will admit that the cult-ish way the overall group is referred to as "Peloton," as in, "So glad you're here today, Peloton," is a little off-putting.)


I can't wait to go to the farmer's market in two weeks, when I'm fully vaccinated. I've really appreciated being able to get deliveries from Edible Gardens LA, and I'll probably continue to order from them at least periodically. But I am so looking forward to picking out my own produce, and buying my sons' favorite tamales and croissants!


It's Mother's Day, so I can't sign off without wishing all the moms out there a very Happy Mother's Day! But I still remember how hard this day was the year I had my second miscarriage, and I know some have lost their mothers, and others have strained relationships with their mothers or as mothers. If this day is hard for you, please know that you're not alone!

Mar 15, 2021

Shop, Play, Win! Monopoly at Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions: $230,000,000 in prizes! + More Ways to Win

This post is sponsored by Sivan Social. All comments and opinions are my own, honest opinions. Read my disclosure policy here.

If you're an Albertsons shopper, you probably already know about the Shop, Play, Win! Monopoly game that's happening now through May 4th. (Albertsons is the parent company of Vons and Pavilions here in Southern California.) There are over $230,000,000 in prizes and money-saving offers this year!

Every time you shop, you'll earn 1 game ticket for every $25 you spend on qualifying purchases, PLUS 1 ticket for every featured item. Each ticket contains a code that you can scan to win prizes. Download the new Shop, Play, Win! app to easily scan your codes, or enter the codes in your Shop, Play, Win! account. You'll also need a Just for U account, which is free and gets you extra savings. Store level prizes will be loaded to your Just for U account, so you just need to scan your card at checkout (no coupons necessary). For more info, check out the Shop, Play, Win! FAQ.

There are more ways to win!

🠊 Be sure to check your blue Valpak envelope when it comes in the mail - you might be the instant winner of a $100 gift card, plus you'll get details on how to win free groceries for life!

🠊 Enter's #GoShopPlayWin gift card giveaway for a chance to win one of SIXTY $100 gift cards to spend at Albertsons Companies stores (ends 3/31).

🠊 RSVP for the #GoShopPlayWin Twitter party at 10AM PT/1PM ET on Thursday, March 25th. You can chat about the game, plus you'll have even more chances to win a $100 gift card!

Good luck, and be sure to let me know what you win!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Game tickets end 5/4/21. Must be resident of an eligible U.S. state listed in rules; 18+. Visit for full rules, incl. how to enter without purchase. Series MON-14. MONOPOLY™ & © 1935, 2021 Hasbro, Pawtucket, RI 02861-1059 USA. All Rights Reserved. TM & ® denote U.S. Trademarks. Hasbro is not a sponsor of this promotion.

Mar 11, 2021

Random Roundup: An Update, Advice, Tips, and More!

Hi, how are you? I apologize for being the friend who says "I'll call" and never does. The volume of posts has plummeted without warning here at CFO, mostly because I find the days just speeding by. I've begun getting certified as a college counselor, so that's taking up some time - in new and challenging ways. I haven't been in school for 20 years, so it's been weird having real homework. But it's also been good: I enjoy what I'm learning, and I'm excited at the prospect of creating a new career for myself. With my youngest being in eighth grade, I want to set myself up for the inevitable time when he goes off to college, and I no longer have the active role of "Mom" to keep me busy every day.

So that's what's been going on with me, and along the way, I've found some things I want to share that I think you'll find useful and/or entertaining:


If you'll have a kid in college in 2023 or after, you should know that big changes are coming to financial aid. In the second pandemic relief package passed by Congress last year, they tacked on the FAFSA Simplification Act, which reduces the number of questions on the FAFSA, what counts as income, and more. The changes take effect in October 2022, which is when you can file the FAFSA for the 2023-2024 school year. 


Thanks to #Read21in21, I've been reading a lot this year. Check out my Instagram profile to see all the books I've finished. (I've started quite a few without finishing them - they count toward my daily reading, but don't make it onto the list of "books read" this year.) If you have a book recommendation, send it my way!


I recently came across this insight from writer Annabelle Gurwitch, in an interview with Gretchen Rubin:

I had a close friendship that hit a snag. At first, I thought I couldn’t get over the hurt I believed my friend had caused. Then, I realized my own responsibility in the situation, but I was still upset and thought it was unsurmountable—this is a friendship-ender. I just couldn’t land on how I wanted to proceed, but then I asked myself, “How important is it?” The incident and the bad feelings that resulted were upsetting, but not as important as our long-standing friendship, which I decided was an essential part of my inner circle. Now, that question didn’t resolve our issues, but it allowed me to focus on repairing the relationship and by asking the same question of other situations I was facing, it eliminated some other challenges I was spending time on that weren’t worth my attention.

She's articulated a process I went through last fall when a relative deeply hurt my feelings. Like her, I concluded that the relationship was too important to forfeit. But I wish I'd been as articulate about my conclusion.


Almost exactly a year ago, not knowing what to expect with the impending quarantine/lockdown, I stocked up on canned tuna. As I was planning my menu for last week, I thought I should start using the cans, when David Lebovitz fortuitously published a recipe for tuna melts. I didn't take pictures, but they were delicious. (I skipped the capers because I didn't have any, used parsley instead of dill because that's what I had on hand, and mixed the gruyere with some shredded mozzarella for extra meltiness.)


It looks like my kids will be heading back to school at the end of April, or at least, we'll have the option to send them back to do their classes online in a classroom. No, that's not a typo. Apparently, they can go back twice a week with half of their homeroom class in their homeroom teacher's classroom. The teacher will provide some social, emotional and college support/instruction/activities, but most of the day will be spent doing what they do at home - attending class through a screen, while their homeroom teacher teaches their own classes. It's not ideal, but we'll probably do it since the kids could really use some time outside the house, and they would at least get to see a few friends. Which isn't to say I don't have anxiety about this, because I do. It would sure make me feel a lot better if vaccines were more widely available by then.


My oldest turns 16 this month! We're not doing anything big, and we're definitely not getting him a car, but he asked for a surprise cake, so I decided on a rolled ice cream cake, a mashup of this Smitten Kitchen recipe and this Barbara Bakes recipe. My plan is to prepare the cake according to Smitten Kitchen's directions, use Cherry Garcia ice cream, and cover it with the Barbara Bakes ganache. I'm going for an result reminiscent of Baskin Robbins' Roll Cake with Cherries Jubilee, which was my mom's choice for a birthday cake when I was growing up. (I did consider this money cake, but decided it was a bit much. Maybe for high school graduation, though.)


I really enjoyed this insight into how one family's food expenses changed from 2019 to 2020. I haven't tracked my own family's expenses, but I'm sure ours have gone up too. For one thing, I'm not shopping around for deals much, and I hardly use any coupons. My pantry is also more fully stocked than it normally is, because I'm never sure when I can get something if I run out. Has your food spending changed since the pandemic started?


I'll leave you with a link to the tweets I've liked. They're mostly cute animal videos, and the perfect way to get a feel-good fix when you need one! 

Feb 16, 2021

Tips for Reading More + What I Read: January 2021

 If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've been reading a lot in 2021, thanks to Gretchen Rubin's challenge for the year, #Read21in21. The idea is to read for 21 minutes each day, but I'm finding that I'm reading a lot more - especially if I'm reading a novel and I just have to know what happens next.

If you want to read more, I highly recommend setting a daily goal like #Read21in21, and then scheduling it in your day. I haven't missed a day yet, and that's because I always do my 21 minutes before I get out of bed each morning. Basically, I now read books instead of email. And my pattern is to read a small section of a challenging book, and then move on to something lighter for the remainder of the time. I've already finished two books that I had trouble getting through because they were difficult for me.

My other tip is to know how you like to read. It turns out I've completely made the transition to e-books. I'm currently reading Brene Brown's Daring Greatly, which I've had on my bookshelf for over four years. I started it when I first got it, but then set it aside to read her book I Thought It Was Just Me first. When I finished that book last month, I realized that I just don't want to read the hard copy. I want to be able to read in the dim morning light when I first wake up, without turning on a lamp. I want to be able to read at night too. So I wrote off the hard copy as a sunk cost, and used my Amazon No Rush Reward credits to buy the Kindle version of the book. (Almost all of the books I read are borrowed from the library, but I'm going to take my time with this one, so it made more sense to pay for it.)

If you have any book recommendations, send them my way!

What I Read in January (the links in this post to books are Amazon Affiliate links, so I'll make a tiny percentage if you make a purchase at Amazon using them - thank you! read my disclosure policy here):

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts - I think this was the first Nora Roberts novel I've ever read, and I enjoyed it. The characters are complex but decent, so you root for them.

The Silence of the White City by Eva Garcia Saenz - I'm not sure where I saw this novel recommended, and it was a little dark for my taste. But I wanted to know who the bad guy was, so I kept reading. I suspect it's beautiful in Spanish, but I'm not nearly fluent enough to read it in the original.

My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul - I know this memoir ended up on my radar because the author is in a book club with Gretchen Rubin (who's mentioned in the book). Like the author, I love books - they're my teachers and friends, and I wish I'd thought to start keeping a "book of books" when I was young.

Crime School, Dead Famous, Winter House, Find Me, The Chalk Girl, It Happens in the Dark, and Blind Sight by Carol O'Connell - These are books 6 through 12 of the Kathy Mallory mystery series. I'd read the first five books long ago, and I was happy to rediscover the series, though it's not exactly uplifting.

The Case of the Missing Marquess and The Case of the Left-Handed Lady by Nancy Springer - I found this series while perusing the mystery recommendations on the library website, and didn't know the first book has already been made into a Netflix movie. I love this female perspective of the Sherlock Holmes universe, and am on the library waiting list for the next books in the series.

Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey by A.J. Jacobs (audio) - This is the third or fourth A.J. Jacobs book I've listened to. I like the way he experiments on himself, so to speak, and it's easy to follow what he's saying. In addition to just making me generally feel more grateful about my blessings, I took away one concrete action step: when I'm having trouble falling asleep, I go through the alphabet and name something I'm grateful for that starts with each letter.

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't): Making the Journey from "What Will People Think?" to "I Am Enough" by Brene Brown - This book took me forever to get through because the material is challenging if you're being honest with yourself. But with #Read21in21, I would read a section every day, then switch to a different book. I got through it slowly but surely, and I grew a lot because of this book. It was really eye-opening.

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova - I thought this book would would teach me about luck while making me fall in love with poker, but even though she's a good writer, I skimmed right over the technical parts about poker. I did enjoy the book overall - there are real life lessons here.

The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin - David Lebovitz mentioned this book in a post about a French tart recipe, and I immediately got it from the library. It's entertaining, and full of fun, crazy stories. Jacques Pepin has led quite an amazing life! But the best part was that it gave me a new insight into my own dad. Born right before World War II, Jacques grew up foraging for food, and he never stopped, even after he moved to the U.S. That made me see that my dad always feels compelled to at least think about catching the fish in the ocean, because it's what he used to do as a boy.