Find Words That Rhyme with Anything

by mel 18. November 2012 23:14

Do you need to find a word that rhymes with the word of your choice? This tool has helped me on numerous occasions. I purposefully tried to stump it and couldn’t! Next time you need a rhyming word and are drawing a blank try :

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Children | Education

Find a Word Tool - Find a Word with a Pattern

by mel 18. November 2012 23:10

Do you need a word but you have no clue what you are searching for? I had this situation recently and needed words that ended in y-consonant-e for a phonics lesson but couldn’t think of anything other type and hype. I went through the alphabet yBe, yCe, yDe, etc. Most words were obscure and not for my third grader but I did find a few that were relevant such as the name Bryce which is the name of her good friend.) Just type in whatever pattern you are looking for and then go through the alphabet if you don’t have any clue.

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Children | Education

iherb.com Review and Coupon

by mel 9. January 2012 04:26

This coupon code for iherb.com gives you $5 off your first order:  . As far as I can tell it doesn’t expire.

My review of iherb.com:

My orders with iherb.com have come promptly and are well packaged. I have found several items I purchase regularly on iherb.com that are less expensive than I can get through two of my co-ops and other discount websites. As with any place though, you have to check the pricing since I have found a few items that were not less expensive. Here are the things I like the most about iherb.com 1. Many items are less expensive 2. Variety of items offered 3. Rewards program 4. They list the expiration date of each product so you know whether you should stock up or just get a few pieces 5. Free shipping over $20 and free 3 day shipping over $40 6. Surprise discounts that aren’t always advertised (the first time I ordered for them I received 10% off the items in my cart in a sale that wasn’t even advertised and then got a 5% discount on the next order!

With these kinds of deals and promotions, iherb.com is likely to become a major player in the natural foods and supplements websites out there today. I know I will certainly be using them!

How to Make Popcorn on the Stove: Old Fashioned, Homemade Popcorn without a Microwave

by mel 9. January 2012 04:22

How to Make Popcorn on the Stove: Old Fashioned, Homemade Popcorn without a Microwave

Dairy Free, Vegan, Gluten Free, Super Delicious, Kid Friendly Party Food!!

Once you have really good homemade popcorn, you may never go back to the bag in the microwave kind. I opted to move away from microwave popcorn and plastic air poppers because of the plastic issues from the bag lining and heating up plastic in a popper. What I found was that popcorn made on the stovetop is easy, fast and the most delicious stuff I have ever eaten. I don’t even like popcorn and love this stuff!

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. of Coconut Oil for popping (I used refined organic coconut oil from Spectrum that I purchased for $5.99 a jar at Walmart because A. it came in a glass jar B. It is organic C. It is readily available at a good price D. refined coconut oil means less coconut taste and E. It is one of the safer oils to use at higher temps)

1 Tbs. Coconut Oil, Vegan Butter (I use Earth Balance Soy Free when I use Butter), or Butter of your choice for tossing the popcorn in for flavor. (This is optional but my family doesn’t really like dry popcorn.)

1/3  to 1/2 Cup Popcorn (Trader Joe’s Organic popcorn is great for trying this recipe as it is inexpensive and tasty) This will be dependent on the size of your pot. If your pot is 4 QTs, I would try the 1/3 cup first. I can just fit ½ cup popped corn in my 4 QT pot of choice but it lifts the lid at the end and could be potentially unsafe. If you have a larger pot you can easily do the ½ cup or more.

Salt to Taste

Stainless Steel Big Pot with Lid and Pot Holders

Big Bowl

Directions:

Scrape 3 tbs. of oil into pot. Turn heat up to medium high (on my stove top the number 8 is the best setting). Once all oil is completely melted (don’t let it start smoking!), drop in 3 kernels of popcorn and cover with the lid. Give it a gentle shake. Watch or listen for three pops. Once all three kernels pop, remove the pot from the burner, add the remainder popcorn, put the lid on immediately and starting counting for 30 seconds. Give it a gentle shake or two while counting if you can. At the end of 30 seconds put the popcorn back on the burner. (The 30 second trick is really important as it gets all the corn heated to about the same temperature to ensure even popping).

Give the popcorn pot a few shakes every now and then and listen for the pops to start. As they start popping, hold the lid and your pot with your pot holders and give it gentle shakes every now and then to make sure the popcorn doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn. Once the popping slows to 2-3 seconds in between each pop, hold the pot off the burner but over it and let it have a few more pops before setting down in a heat safe location. Wait until all popping has stopped for at least 30 seconds. Pour into a big bowl. Heat your oil/butter of choice in the hot pan until melted. Pour it over the popcorn, add your salt if using and toss to coat. Enjoy while warm and fresh!

 

 

 

 

Vegan Cheese Popcorn Recipe – Nutritional Yeast Popcorn, Dairy Free!

by mel 9. January 2012 04:16

 Vegan Cheese Popcorn – Nutritional Yeast Popcorn, Dairy Free!

Once you have really good homemade popcorn, you may never go back to the bag in the microwave kind.

My standard blurb about recipes I develop/tweak: I am often hesitant to post recipes because I cook by sight and intuition. I say intuition because it is what I think will appeal to my family’s tastes and we have some varied ones let me tell you! Therefore, I do not always use exact measurements. If the recipe doesn’t appeal to your taste, it is possible you just need to tweak the amounts of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. of Coconut Oil for popping (I used refined organic coconut oil from Spectrum that I purchased for $5.99 a jar at Walmart because A. it came in a glass jar B. It is organic C. It is readily available at a good price D. refined coconut oil means less coconut taste and E. It is one of the safer oils to use at higher temps)

1 Tbs. Coconut Oil, Vegan Butter (I use Earth Balance Soy Free when I use Butter), or Butter of your choice for tossing the popcorn in for flavor. (This is optional but my family doesn’t really like dry popcorn.)

1/3  to 1/2 Cup Popcorn (Trader Joe’s Organic popcorn is great for trying this recipe as it is inexpensive and tasty) This will be dependent on the size of your pot. If your pot is 4 QTs, I would try the 1/3 cup first. I can just fit ½ cup popped corn in my 4 QT pot of choice but it lifts the lid at the end and could be potentially unsafe. If you have a larger pot you can easily do the ½ cup or more.

Salt to Taste

1-3 Tbs. Nutritional Yeast (I prefer Red Starr brand)

Stainless Steel Big Pot with Lid and Pot Holders

Big Bowl

Directions:

Scrape 3 tbs. of oil into pot. Turn heat up to medium high (on my stove top the number 8 is the best setting). Once all oil is completely melted (don’t let it start smoking!), drop in 3 kernels of popcorn and cover with the lid. Give it a gentle shake. Watch or listen for three pops. Once all three kernels pop, remove the pot from the burner, add the remainder popcorn, put the lid on immediately and starting counting for 30 seconds. Give it a gentle shake or two while counting if you can. At the end of 30 seconds put the popcorn back on the burner. (The 30 second trick is really important as it gets all the corn heated to about the same temperature to ensure even popping).

Give the popcorn pot a few shakes every now and then and listen for the pops to start. As they start popping, hold the lid and your pot with your pot holders and give it gentle shakes every now and then to make sure the popcorn doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn. Once the popping slows to 2-3 seconds in between each pop, hold the pot off the burner but over it and let it have a few more pops before setting down in a heat safe location. Wait until all popping has stopped for at least 30 seconds. Pour into a big bowl. Heat your oil/butter of choice in the hot pan until melted. Pour it over the popcorn, add your salt if using, the nutritional yeast and toss to coat. Enjoy while warm and fresh! (A note on nutritional yeast in popcorn. We use a lot less than many recipes call for. I have seen folks add as much as a ½ cup to their popcorn which is just way too much for us. You can play around with it to see how much you like by adding a Tablespoon at a time).

 

Fun Way To Learn About Animal Characteristics/Classifications – Animal 20 Questions

by mel 30. December 2011 06:03

I created this game to help my daughter learn about animal characteristics, habitats and classifications. The rules are similar to the regular 20 questions: you get 20 questions (this never happens, we either go way under or way over), let your child take a turn to be an animal even if you end up going in circles for an hour because they aren’t clear on certain things, and you can only ask yes or no questions.

This has fast become my daughter’s favorite game to play and every stinking time we are in the car, she wants to play this game. I say stinking because there are some days that I just do not want to be an animal. LOL Seriously, though, it is fun, it is educational and the possibilities are endless.

You, as the parent/caregiver, go first and be patient. You might have to play this a few times for the child to get a good understanding of it. Here is an example:

Adult: I am animal. Guess Who I Am?

Child: Are you a mammal?

Adult: Yes

Child: Do you walk on two legs or four?

Adult: I can’t answer that. It has to be a yes or no question only.

Child: Ok, do you walk on four legs?

Adult: Yes

Child: Do you live in a forest?

Adult: Yes

Child: Are you an herbivore? ( Yes, my child asks these kinds of questions though in the beginning she didn’t know the meaning of these kinds of words.)

Adult:  No.

Child: Are you a carnivore?

Adult: No

Child: Are you an omnivore?

Adult: Yes

Child: Can you be kept as a common household pet? (another question that has evolved through MANY, MANY games. We decided to limit animals to common household pet (rabbit, dog, cat, mice, snake,  fish, basically anything you can get at a pet store or shelter, though I do not condone purchasing pets) and should not be pets (animals that are not “domesticated”) This arose because we agreed that foxes, bears, etc. should not be pets but do sometimes end up in human homes.

Adult: No

Child: Do you have a long tail? (as opposed to a short tail like a deer or rabbit) You will come up with your own family’s rules as you go along because things will come up that can be seen as relevant such as size of animal. For example, a large animal in our game is anything as big as an elephant or giraffe. A medium animal is anything that is bigger than a cat. A small animal is cat size or smaller.

Adult: Yes

Child: Are you a wolf?

Adult: Yes!

Are Insects Cold Blooded?

by mel 30. December 2011 05:43

So we frequently play a version of 20 questions to learn more about animal characteristics. ( It is my daughter’s favorite game and there are some days that I feel like another game of animal 20 questions may be my undoing! LOL ) One day, my daughter asked me if insects were cold blooded? My first thought was yes, then I second guessed myself. How much do I truly know about insects? Um, not much.  So I turned to google and the short answer is:

Yes, most if not all insects are cold blooded. Want to learn more? Try a google search http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLL_enUS348US348&q=are+insects+cold+blooded

Christmas Charades List and Ideas for Kids

by mel 30. December 2011 05:39

As promised…my Christmas Charades list for kids. These were some I just came up with off the top of my head one day so I am sure there are more that could be added.  This was a fun party game at our last Christmas party. I find the best way to ensure this is enjoyable for kids is to help take some of the pressure off of them.  Some kids hate charades because they can never come up with actions on the spot that might match the word. Be prepared to have an adult “advisor”.  Give children a few seconds to think of ideas for each word  and then have the adult advisor help if necessary.  If the concept is too advanced for the kids in your group to guess, have the advisor help out with clues. In other words, you can bend the rules a little for the younger set. The idea is to have fun and learn team work, not be competitive. Just for the record, all of our party games are played for the fun of it, not for prizes.

 

Rudolph

Trimming the Tree
Santa

Elf

Mistletoe

Christmas Tree

Angel

Star

Wrapping Paper/Presents

12 Days of Christmas

Christmas Cookies

Candy Cane

Stocking

Hot Chocolate

Nutcracker

Reindeer

Little Drummer Boy

The Naughty and Nice List

Different Types of Clouds Lesson Plan For Children: Cumulus, Cirrus, Stratus

by mel 30. December 2011 04:52
When it came time to teach my daughter about clouds, I decided to use a multi-approach method. I spent hours searching the internet to find the information I needed, then rewriting it in a simple child like manner. You do not have to spend hours doing this as you can find all that information below!
This is one of those teaching moments that can be fun as well. After you read the following information, supply your child with glue, cotton balls and blue construction paper or card stock. Have them make an example of each cloud with your help. They may need you to help them figure out how to manipulate the cotton balls to make them match the cloud shapes and forms!  You can label them for the child or they can. Just remember, this is not about perfection. It is just to help reinforce what the basic cloud characteristics are in a fun manner.
Finally, go observe some clouds! This doesn’t have to be done during the lesson, you can always do it whenever you are out anyway. It becomes a sort of game, trying to guess the different cloud types. Prepared to be stumped!
 
Cumulus Clouds
Cumulus clouds  are fluffy clouds in which the tops may get taller and taller but the bottoms do not change. You may see fluffy clouds in fair weather. The weather may be sunny and warm. Sometimes rain will follow from these clouds. The rain does not last a long time. The rain may fall fast and stop suddenly. Sometimes if the clouds are large, thunder and lightning may arise or hail may fall.

Cirrus

Cirrus clouds are feather clouds, very high in the sky where the air is cold. These clouds are made of tiny bits of ice because they are so high. Rain does not fall from these clouds. These clouds may be seen at any time of year. In some places, they appear just before or just after periods of rain, so the sight of cirrus clouds can signal the approach of rain in one or two days, or mark the end of a rainy period and the beginning of clear skies.

 

Stratus

Stratus clouds are blanket like clouds that are very wide and usually cover most or all of the sky. The weather is not very sunny when we see these clouds in the sky. Rain or snow may fall for a long time.

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Children | Education

Getting a Disney Rewards Redemption Card From Chase Disney Rewards Credit Card Without Losing Your Sanity

by mel 14. June 2011 15:23

Here are the step by step instructions to actually getting a Disney Rewards Redemption Card from Chase Disney Rewards Credit Card without losing your sanity or creating some form of damage to your computer system. (If you just want the instructions and not the other helpful tidbits I throw in just skip down to numbered part below). If your rewards dollars are about to expire, this is a good way to make them last just a bit longer. Unfortunately, for many folks, it will not last long enough to get that Disney vacation you had hoped to use it for, but at least you can buy your kids something with it. That is, saying that you can actually get the darn card to you because they don’t issue vouchers and such. You have to request it. Folks, I like to think of myself as somewhat computer literate. So when something comes along that is not very straight forward and I have to actually go looking for it, I try to jot it down for others. I have to say that this was one of the most frustrating things I have done recently mainly because there was no step by step instructions on their website.

Despite what it looks like, it is free to order. There isn’t a shipping fee either as long as you don’t have to rush it to your address.

1.       Log in to your Chase Disney Rewards Credit Card

2.       Click on “See More Information”. This is under the account overview that shows you the balance, payment due, etc.

3.       Click on “Manage Disney Rewards”. This is on the right hand side of the screen about half way down on this list.

4.       You will now see your reward dollar amount. Click on “Redeem Rewards” which is currently showing in green font beside your reward dollar account summary.

5.       You will now be taken to a screen that shows you any rewards cards that are already issued or pending. If you have never done this before  you should have “no active reward redemption cards at this time”.

6.       Click on “Order Reward Items” which can be found on the right hand side of your screen.

7.       Click “Add to Cart” next for the redemption card product. This is currently listed as item # D1001.

8.       You have to add a minimum of 20 rewards dollars to the card before they will ship it the first time. After that, the minimum is 10 dollars to be added at a time. I believe you can call into them and ask them to add it to the existing card rather than get a new one mailed to you, if I read the program correctly.

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Computers