Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Strawberry Smoothies

I recently got a new refrigerator that makes ice (big, big deal for me). It took me a week to feel comfortable throwing away the leftover ice when I was done a drink (no, I don't know where these ideas come from). In getting the new, larger fridge, I got to move some things around. Wouldn't you know I own a blender. What? You wouldn't know? Well, neither did I. It was buried.

So I have a blender and an infinite supply of ice, children but no tequila or vodka. Yes, yes, my first thoughts turned to frozen daquiris and margaritas. You read that I have kids, right? If I couldn't drink my cares away or lure my sanity out if hiding with frozen liquor, I figured I might as well do something that might keep their mouths occupied for a few minutes.

I searched for a smoothie recipe on-line (let me save you some trouble: lots of strawberries, milk and/or yogurt, maybe ice, maybe sugar, maybe some flavor extract--I discovered that any old thing thrown in the blender can constitute a smoothie) and gave it a whirl. No really, when I turned on the blender everything goes round and round.

Long story longer: kids loved it and now I am on call for strawberry smoothies if I ever bring strawberries into the house. I wonder if artichoke hearts would be as easily eaten in smoothie form?

From mobile device

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

10 Allergy-Friendly Flowers

From Casa Sugar: 

"Allergy sufferers may shy away from keeping fresh flowers in their pads, but many blossoms are just as easy on the allergies as they are on the eyes. The pollen is easily removed on some blooms, but check out 10 of my favorite low-pollen picks for sneeze-free floral enjoyment year-round.






From mobile device

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Science Everyday: Simple Machines, Wheels and Axles

We all know about wheels. We see them on cars, bikes, carts, wagons, trucks, and other things that go. They can also stay still! Here are some examples I found of the same motion at the park. So next time you head out to the park, make sure you point out these science concepts to your kids.






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my iPhone

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Running Joke



We've been missing a door handle for almost five months. We keep a pair of pliers handy in the dining room to escape the house. The door knob was held on by a set screw which was lost shortly after we moved into the house ten years ago. In a way, it was actually convenient that we could remove the handle. With Omega walking and tall for his age, he could easily operate the lever to open the door (and so could our old dog, by the way). Removing it allowed us complete certainty, to this day, that he would not be able to toddle outside without our knowledge. And removing it also allowed us to lose it. Even the astronomy class knows to look for the pliers before heading out to observe! We have a replacement on order, but with how much that shank has been stripped, I am crossing my fingers that it will work.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Greek Yogurt is Good

So I don't like yogurt. And I only started liking yogurt in the last few years and even then I only like black cherry or cherry flavor (no--I don't know why). Many people talk about Greek yogurt, and when I saw Fage had a cherry flavor, I tried it. And I liked it. And Omega, the 28 month old like it. I liked the creamy texture and stirring in the cherry was enough to offset whatever flavor I don't actually enjoy in yogurt.

I also read recently that you can make your own Greek yogurt by setting a dish towel in a strainer and pouring in regular yogurt. Once it sits for a few hours, there you go. I don't think I'll be making my own yogurt any time soon (I know a lot of people who are very adept at making their own cultured foods, but I'm not one of them), but the Greek yogurt is expensive! I also bought a small jar of black cherry preserves to add to plain yogurt so I'm not at the mercy of the grocery store selection.

Round Up!

It's Round Up time!

Your one stop shop for all things liberty.

Monday, March 22, 2010

How Creationists Try to Undemine Evolution & Science

I posted a comment at Alasandra's Homeschool Blog Awards about evolution and the recent homeschool textbook bruhaha. One of the other commenters brought up the meme of "it's only a theory". Here is my reply (very slightly edited for type-o's and not edited for clarity, though it probably needs it):

Unfortunately, The Crimson Wife is using theory as a stolen concept. Scientific use of the word "theory" is thoroughly different than a layman's use of the same term. Creationists have successfully confused many people by equating the two.

It is similiar to using the word faith to mean you trust a friend & also using the word faith to mean unwavering belief in God. They are the same word but the context of the usage makes it clear that they do not mean the same thing. A scientific theory is not a supposition that kind of fits a small amount of known data and is on precarious footing. The type of theory that creationists would like their children and the public to think of is akin to waking up and only seeing blue cars out of your window and theorizing that all cars are blue even though there is nothing inherit in cars that would require color to be part of the definition, thus being easily toppled when a red car zooms by.

Many creationists conflate that use of "theory" with an entirely different use by scientists. When science uses the word "theory", it is more of a convention than an attempt to indicate any uncertainty. When a scientific hypothesis has enormous amounts of supporting data and no contradictory evidence, it is certain. Evolution's history is a long one and it was accepted for almost a century prior to Darwin's discovery of the process of natural selection. It does not need to have proof for all possible cases. It is enough to know that there has never been another *scientific* answer for them to still be considered consistent with the theory.


From mobile device

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Personal Pet Peeve: Bad Public School Teachers & Abusive Homeschoolers

As much as homeschool bloggers spend a ton of time defending the majority of homeschoolers from generalizations based on a few really horrible stories, how is it that I often see bad public school teacher stories trotted out by homeschoolers as reasons to avoid the whole system?

From the four or five stories of abuse and death of supposedly homeschooling families each year to large portions of homeschoolers who want to deny their children good science educations in favor of religious (or even anti-industrial environmentalism) instruction, homeschoolers are insistent that those cases do not damn all of us. Yet every horrible story of a public school teacher (presenting a huge segment of the population compared to homeschool parents) gone bad is listed as yet another reason to homeschool--painting each teacher with the same broad, tainted brush. There are certain bad philosophies shared by ed schools and so many teachers that one can make generalizations. Idiot teachers who might be mean or cruel are no more representative of public school as a whole than murderous, abusive homeschoolers.

Now that I am a firm fence-straddler, using both homeschool & public school, and hope to be fully entrenched in the public school culture next year (which can only happen if Flurpee would do her work!), I am have a very different perspective. I have seen homeschoolers do their own children a disservice and public school curriculum be much more rigorous than the instruction received at their homes (my daughter is still trying to catch up with some skills I had not taught properly). I have also seen incredible dedication by public school teachers who stay after school to offer additional help. I think I have a good perspective to see that public schools are not always awful and that homeschool is not always great.

From mobile device

Sunday, March 14, 2010

From Montessori Mama: Parent Ed. Night (Part Two)

http://spiralmontessorimama.blogspot.com/2010/03/parent-ed-night-part-two.html
"Older children:
Engaging Cooperation


"To engage cooperation with our children, we need to help our children understand that we are all in this together. We need to come with an attitude of respect that communicates to our children that we think they are loveable, smart and capable people who are willing to do the responsible thing when they see a problem.


1. Describe what you see, or describe the problem.
2. Give information.
3. Say it with a word.
4. Describe what you feel.
5. Write a note.

"Let's take an example. The den needs to be picked up for company. To engage cooperation we could do the following:
To describe: There are toys on the floor that need to be put away. There are crayons on the table. There are shoes under the table. Coats on the couch.

"Give information: The Browns are coming in 15 minutes. I don't think they can walk in the den without tripping on toys.
Say it in a word: Pick up time! Or, the den!
Describe feelings: I'd love for the Browns to see our home without a lot of clutter.
Write a note: Emergency! Company Coming! Clean Up! Apple Pie for Dessert!

"When we can avoid making chores into a competition, that is, rewarding our children for doing something first, or the fastest, we will also avoid the power struggles that can emerge from a child's thinking this is a contest between me and you. When we can help everyone in our family understand that working together benefits us all, when we can engage cooperation, we'll help create stronger individuals and a stronger family."

So much great information. Follow the link for more context and a great adult example.

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CATO on public vs private school spending



"Although public schools are usually the biggest item in state and local budgets, spending figures provided by public school officials and reported in the media often leave out major costs of education and thus understate what is actually spent.

"To document the phenomenon, this paper reviews district budgets and state records for the nation's five largest metro areas and the District of Columbia. It reveals that, on average, per-pupil spending in these areas is 44 percent higher than officially reported.

"Real spending per pupil ranges from a low of nearly $12,000 in the Phoenix area schools to a high of nearly $27,000 in the New York metro area. The gap between real and reported per-pupil spending ranges from a low of 23 percent in the Chicago area to a high of 90 percent in the Los Angeles metro region."

They spend what?
by Adam B. Schaeffer


"To put public school spending in perspective, we compare it to estimated total expenditures in local private schools. We find that, in the areas studied, public schools are spending 93 percent more than the estimated median private school."


Of course public education deals with many issues private schools don't--like special needs students, alternative schools, private tutoring for sick or delinquent kids.


From mobile device

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Comment Moderation Is On--Again!

Not because of any bad comments--I LOVE the comments--keep 'em coming.

BUT the Blogger capcha is just not that good. Oh well! With my iPhone attached to my hip at all times, I think approving comments will be more timely than it used to be. Unlike the posting!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Oh, the Things They Learn!

When it comes to food, Omega is pretty much of the opinion that some things are yummy and some are yucky. Pretty easy for a 2 year-old to grasp. We also try to impress upon him that poopy diapers are undesirable. We often find ourselves chasing after him while telling him that poopy diapers are yucky and need to be changed. As he runs from the dreaded diaper change, he proves how much he doesn't want his diaper changed and how quickly toddlers can apply concepts by shouting, "NO! Poopy diapers are *yummy*!"