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“Students in the United States are not taking the high level math and science classes but their competitors in other countries are.” Soledad O’Brien

Common Sense

Success will forever belong to those of us with common sense.

Us in Science

Wonder Twins

Keri & Kelli Jones

SpelBots Robotic Team

After a wonderful Easter with the family . . .

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust

In Time of Silver Rain

In time of silver rain
the earth
puts forth new life again,
green grasses grow
and flowers lift their heads,
and over all the plain
the wonder spreads

Of Life,
Of Life,
Of life!

In time of silver rain
the butterflies
lift silken wings
to catch a rainbow cry,
and trees put forth
new leaves to sing
in joy beneath the sky
as down the roadway
passing boys and girls
go singing, too,

in time of silver rain When spring
and life
are new.

Langston Hughes

Create a

  1. welcoming,
  2. beautiful, and
  3. comforting


Fuel for tree trimming this weekend!


recipe courtesy of


3 Tbsp oil of your choice (ex. olive, coconut, peanut, grapeseed)

1/3 cup of organic popcorn kernels

1 3-quart covered saucepan

Butter to taste


Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat. Add salt.

Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.

When the kernels pop, add the remainder of the popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover and remove from heat for 30 seconds.  This method heats the oil to the correct temperature and by waiting 30 seconds, brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

Return the pan to the heat.  Once the popping starts, move the pan back and forth over the burner keeping the lid slightly ajar to release the steam. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.

Yield: 2 quarts

for Buttered Popcorn

Melt the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.

for Seasoned Popcorn

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, tabasco sauce, curry powder, ground cumin . . . it’s your choice!

for Caramel Popcorn

recipe courtesy of


1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 quarts popped popcorn


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly and then boil without stirring for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.

Eat it this way

or bake it.

Place the mixture in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow it to cool before breaking it into pieces.

Hot Mulled Cider

recipe courtesy of Cooking for Engineers


1 quart filtered apple cider or juice

1 cinnamon stick (+ extra for garnish)

20 whole black peppercorns

3 whole cloves

1-2 tablespoons brown sugar

zest of 1/2 small lemon


In a saucepan large enough to contain all of the apple juice, toast the cinnamon, peppercorns, and cloves over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Toss to prevent scorching.

Add the apple juice and bring to a simmer. Once the juice is warm enough, stir in the brown sugar so that it fully dissolves.

Stir in the lemon zest and maintain a constant simmer for 30 minutes.

Pour the mixture through a strainer, cheesecloth, or coffee filter to remove any spice particles.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick or a lemon slice.

Serve hot!

Yield: 4 cups

The saying “a woman’s place is in the home” is just wrong – on so many levels. It’s “a wife and mother’s priority is the home”. – one of my very astute grown man cousins

And if she doesn’t recognize it, there’s bound to be problems! – Grandma (said very pointedly to my much younger male cousins)

There was lots of agreement on that statement. It’s rare that anyone disagrees with Grandma anyway but this is just true.

And husband before children. – one my aunts.

Now we have Thanksgiving Day dissension 🙂

All of the men agreed, the long married women agreed, but almost none of the younger women agreed. Only the engaged one and the two in serious relationships even stuck around to listen to grown folks talk.

Oh well . . .

The soft-headed woman makes many poor decisions, because she fails to accept that children are passersby in her marriage and temporaries in husband’s castle. What Women Never Hear

According to my grandma, this is one of the most important marks of a woman. And it’s true. A lady of the house is always prepared on the home front.

Stock up on products over time. This way, it’s inexpensive and convenient.

Simple tip – when you normally shop, instead of buying just one or two of an item, also buy one or two extras.

Of the foods that you already eat, are there canned versions? If so, stock up on these.  While maybe not as palatable as fresh, canned goods are a cheap and convenient way of storing food. Pay attention to the label and scrutinize the ingredients. There are tasty and healthy choices available.

For safety, never use cans that are leaking, bulging, cracked, discolored, or emit foul odors.


To start, place one item in your cupboard for use and the extras in storage. Make a note of the date of purchase so that you are reminded to use the item before it goes bad. Going forward, older items are for use and newer items are for storage. This way your storage always has the newest items.

This method works for other packaged goods as well. Think of the items that you use often – toothpaste, toilet paper, pasta, rice, etc.


  • store items that you are already familiar with (eliminate a learning curve)
  • shop sales and use coupons (saves unbelievable money)
  • maintain food storage variety (keeps meals balanced)
  • remember the condiments and spices
  • and don’t forget the pets

The result is that you “shop” from your storage rather than making trips to the supermarket. You end up shopping for what you want rather than immediate needs.

As the lady of the house, you are in charge of your family’s diet. From forming healthy dietary habits that your children will hopefully follow for life to ensuring a healthy and vital old age for yourself and your husband, this is your realm.

And when you do a good job, not only is your family healthy and look and feel great, but you absolutely shine!

10 extremely healthy foods with very easy recipes adapted from

  1. Beetsbest from July through October Grated Raw Beet Salad
  2. Cabbagepeak season from late fall through winter Jamaican Steamed Cabbage
  3. Swiss Chardbest from June through August Sautéed Swiss Chard
  4. Cinnamonreadily available year round Apple Chips
  5. Pomegranatein season from September through February. (how to seed a pomegranate) Pear and Pomegranate Salad
  6. Prunesbest from May through October Sweet Potato Gratin with Prunes
  7. Pumpkin Seedspumpkins are in season from September through March Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
  8. Turmericreadily available year round Spicy Potatoes and Scrambled Eggs
  9. Blueberriespeak season is summer Lemon Blueberry Cobbler
  10. Pumpkinin season from September through March Gingersnap Crumble Pumpkin Parfait

Excite your sense of smell by bringing a bit autumn inside.

5-10 cinnamon sticks
1 heaping tbsp whole cloves
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 sliced lemon
1/2 sliced orange

Put all ingredients in a pot of water on your stove and simmer over low heat. Be sure that the water neither boils over nor cooks out completely.



White Vinegar

On surfaces, vinegar cuts grease, disinfects, and deodorizes. It will even dissolve soap scum and hard water stains. Mix 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Test first as vinegar is acidic. Do not use on tile grout or marble surfaces.

Use vinegar in place of a commercial fabric softener. Add 1/2 cup to the rinse cycle. Vinegar breaks down detergent more effectively which is great for those with detergent sensitivities.

Don’t worry, the smell will disappear as it dries.

Lemon Juice

Kills most household bacteria and dissolves soap scum, lime, and hard water deposits.

For more heavy-duty cleaning, sprinkle some baking soda on the cut half of a lemon and use it as a scrubber.

Baking Soda

Scours like any commercial abrasive cleaner and also deodorizes.

Mix baking soda with lemon juice or vinegar to make a cleaning paste.

And the old standby – place a box of baking soda in an enclosed area (ex. cabinets, refrigerator, etc.) to effectively absorb odors.

Quick Tips

Start cleaning at the top and work down. This keeps you from dripping cleaner or getting dirt or dust on surfaces that you’ve already cleaned.

Do “dry” cleaning (ex. dry dusting, sweeping, etc.) first then the “wet” cleaning.  The more debris you remove dry, the less likely you are to spread it onto wet surfaces causing streaking or clouding.

In a pinch, microfiber cloths or plain old paper towels are very effective at quickly lifting dirt or grease without any cleanser at all.