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Archive for April, 2013

Inventing

April 29, 2013 Leave a comment

An important part of a child’s growth is experimenting. Children thrive when they are allowed to take items and find out how they work and if there are new uses. We parents too often squash this thinking outside of the box. I try to encourage my children to invent and put to use their ideas. One such idea is an invention that the family races to.

Youth 2 loves nachos with cheese, nachos and salsa. These food items could be a main staple if it were not for the Educator and myself. When we are out of these items, Youth 2 takes to experimenting with different foods. My child has come up with a tasty creation that I wish to share. Maybe someone else has invented this, but I’m giving my child the credit.

I guess it could be called a saltine popper.
Ingredients:
saltines
jalapeno pepper
Colby Jack cheese

One or two peppers are placed on a saltine. Diced cheese is placed on top of the pepper. These are small chunks of cheese. You could place more or less cheese. In fact, you can use whatever cheese you like. Youth 2 usually makes a plate full and then microwaves them monitoring the cheese melting. The method of microwaving is done in two to three phases in order to ensure the cheese melts properly. The time ranges from ten to fifteen seconds. Too long and the cheese melts too much and hardens or stiffens. What Youth 2 is looking for is a gentle melt.

That is my child’s method of preparation.

There is a spicy pop to the snack with some saltiness from the cracker.

Categories: Recipe Tags: , ,

Scones

April 21, 2013 Leave a comment

This weekend I have been tasked with meals. Friday was a make your own meal as I was to be watching a hockey game that ended up watching the hunt for a fugitive. Yesterday was my chicken fried rice. Any hopes of leftovers was over within minutes of the Educator and me taking our first bite. Today’s meal is corn chowder. I always say chowder with a New Englander accent. Takes me back to spending time in Bwaston after graduating from high school. I wanted to attend B.U. or B.C.(I picked a better school). If you haven’t visited the city, please do. There is much history to be had and a nice Italian restaurant in the city except I forgot its name, so I can’t help you.

This morning after our Sunday requirements I began the meals. First is the jerky I am making. Twenty pounds of meat dried into a few pounds of leather in eight or so hours. This meat is then processed by Youth 1 and Youth 2 and gone before the end of the week. If you do not have a recipe for jerky and are interested in making it visit this site, http://www.conyeagerspice.com/. Con Yeager is just outside of Pittsburgh, PA. They have some great kits such as the Hillbilly Jerky. For their bologna, I will add brown sugar for a sweeter variety. Anyway, this jerky is being made for hiking and biking but won’t make it to the coming weekend when it is most needed.

The Educator wanted some type of bread product to go with the corn chowder. If I’m not in the mood to make something, I don’t make it. What I will make are scones! I love scones; blueberry scones are what I love, too. I have some frozen blueberries we picked from last year that will make a great ingredient. This recipe is not of my creation. I do modify it when I make them. No longer do I need to hit the grocery store wondering if these scones have been manipulated by dirty hands.

INGREDIENTS
· 3 cups all-purpose flour
· 1/2 cup white sugar
· 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
· 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
· 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I leave this out and use salted butter because that is what I have)
· 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
· 2 cups fresh blueberries (Any berries or variety of berries can be applied)
· 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
· 1 1/2 cups vanilla extract
· 1/2 cup heavy cream, for brushing
· 1/2 cup sugar, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet. In a large bowl and using a wooden spoon, mix together the flour, both sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using your bare hands, work the butter into the flour mixture until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the berries, mixing well, so that the berries are evenly distributed. In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla extract with a fork. Once again using your hands, dig a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour the buttermilk mixture into the well. Still using your hands, combine the ingredients until the entire mixture appears wet. Do not over-knead. Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Gently pat down the dough to make a disk about 1½-2 inches thick. Using a biscuit cutter (or a knife if you don’t have a biscuit cutter), cut out as many scones as possible and lay them on the baking sheet. Gather together the remaining dough to cut out more scones, careful not to over-knead the dough. Note: I’m not too picky when cutting out scones. They taste the same.

Liberally brush the heavy cream over the top of each scone, then sprinkle them with sugar. Bake the scones for 10-12 minutes or until they are lightly browned.

As I have stated, this is not my recipe. I do vary this recipe. Today, I will not use as much vanilla; I do not have that amount on hand. Please give this recipe a whirl.

#5 Building Blocks

April 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Whatever style of education is used, the same educational laws apply. We have schools offering STEM as if it will change the results of schools. There are schools offering college courses. We have schools that specialize in a field. Schools now have senior projects for the student to accomplish. There is this leadership push. These are all garbage! It will accomplish nothing. Oh, there are benefits… to those that really do not need it. If the first law of education is ignored, these new methods have no chance of succeeding.

We need to go to WAR. Writing, Arithmetic and Reading. These three subjects are the foundation of education. It does not matter if you are homeschooled or public schooled. Without these three building blocks, the child will never achieve their maximum in life. As I entered college life, my professors complained about “today’s” students. We were not as prepared as yesterday’s students. The professors had to ease up on us for we couldn’t handle the work. Our foundation was weak or non-existent, and we were entering college unprepared. I see this today with new employees fresh out of college.

As a homeschool parent, you need to build a strong foundation with your children in order for them to succeed. Your history will come through with reading. The Educator would lament about learning history. My response was to have Youth 1 and Youth 2 read about a historical event or two. They would write about the event. Early on, our history lessons were all over the place. After a year, we found a groove and continued with a path of history to accommodate the requirements. We focused on the reading of history and the writing of history. History was in the background for we were working on our children’s foundations.

As your child grows, the foundations are reinforced while you expand your child’s subjects. The middle school and high school years can focus more on the sciences, history or other areas of education. The foundation you have built makes it easier for your child’s future. A firm foundation brings meaning to STEM or other educational options in life.

Downward Slope Of Freedom

April 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Freedom is an easy privilege to lose without even knowing. In America, freedom is considered a right. Other parts of the world it is not a given right. Most of history is about humans without freedom. The funny thing about freedom is humans have been fighting for freedom for centuries if not thousands of years and when won, willingly return to the original state.

Americans look at freedom as a right fought for by our forefathers. We recognize that freedom is not given but more of a fragile state of existence. Our rights such as the bill of rights provide a base structure of our freedom in our country. We have extrapolated these rights to expand our freedom in some instances and in others we see the correlation in the expanded rights. What we don’t see is the path to losing our rights.

My two youths have very little in common at their age with me when compared to me at their age. As I look at my parents, I see less between my parents and me. What my parents could do were unrestricted when compared to me. What I did as a youth is considered unrestricted when compared to my children. I never had any government looking to restrict my diet. My parents regulated what I ate and drank. I can tell you that soda, pop or whatever you want to call it was rare and only in plenty during time of holidays. Today we have a mayor restricting amounts.

Freedom and rights go hand in hand, but we seldom see them lost. We expect an invader to conquer our country and place us under their totalitarian rule. We see the political party we despise as the usurper of our governmental rule taking away our freedom. Though these are very real, they are not the true threat.

Go to a mall, sporting event, busy city or anywhere there is a large group and you’ll see your threat. It is not the muslim looking to do America harm. It is not the Christian or the Jew. It is not even the atheist or the person that does not believe in a God. Who or what is the threat?

It is your liberal, atheist, religious person, conservative and any other person you want to name. Right now we have the liberal minded people ranting and raving. Their ideas are slowly eroding our freedom as well as theirs. As they fight to restrict, eliminate, censor or ban they start the erosion of rights which leads to the reduction of freedom. How is this done? Well, think of your safety or your health. They attack in the name of “good”. In our education system, we allow one-sided arguments to subvert and indoctrinate our youth. They are fed lies and opinions to the point they became a false-fact. I am not picking on our liberal crowd. Even our conservative crowd have done this.

While I look at what my children can no longer do, I recognize the slow, downward spiral of freedom. These people looking to restrict your freedom have no clue they are dooming themselves, too. The freedom will go to those in power. It will not matter if they are Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or any other party.

Will removing guns solve problems? Will restricting salt or soda pop solve problems? There has been murder before, during and after guns. Obesity has always been around and will continue. Who are we helping when we restrict? What happens when these ideas of removal do not work? Do you think a little more restriction becomes the answer?

The world is a dynamic place. Today’s issues will be irrelevant tomorrow. What remains to be relevant is freedom, and this means our rights. We have a strong tendency to gravitate away from freedom to a system of reliance. We rely on the power to control us. Until humans can interact with each other without an agenda, there is no peace and no freedom. We will continue to fight for freedom.

Categories: Humanity

Morning After And Maturity

A federal judge has decided that a child under 17 is responsible enough to take the morning-after pill without a parent’s consent. This decision has basically said a child is capable of making complex decisions as an adult which is contradictory to how the brain of a developing youth truly is. A parent is not required for their daughter to walk in a pharmacy and purchase this drug. The parent has been taken out of the equation. Shall we now allow teenagers to purchase alcohol, tobacco and other items? Why not?

Are teenagers fully able to comprehend the side effects of this drug? We don’t trust teenagers with driving a car. Some states are pushing for the age to be 18. How can we say yes on one and no on the other?! No teenager and I include the 18 and 19 year olds as not fully understanding. Teens have a difficulty looking a the consequence. This is a developmental issue, normal to all. There are plenty of teenagers that consume alcohol and tobacco without understanding the side effects or the future complications.

This ruling also negates a family religious belief. This judge has allowed the thumbing of one’s nose towards the religious. Again, teenagers do not fully understand the decisions they are making especially when it is a traumatic and stressful situation. Look at the plenty of examples where teens make a mistake and attempt to cover up the mistake even though it will be found out. An example is of teens breaking a window and then taping the break or even ignoring it. They don’t think about the future of the incident. The parent will find out. There are plenty of examples displaying the immature teenager brain.

Without a parent, children have no role model or guidance to help their life develop. A government can not provide any of this. It does not take much research to discover that governments are an inefficient parent. There is nothing a government can do except to screw up something good. They can’t tax well or fight wars. Why are we so willing to give our government more and more control over us? When will we say enough! Stay out!

Categories: Education, Family Life

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Misery

I am a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and his works. I have read LOTR, Lord of The Rings, every year except the past two. I have read The Hobbit every year except for the last four. Time allotment has not been kind in recent years. There are great expectations when it comes to these two stories. Peter Jackson received my approval with the LOTR movies even though I was disappointed with some of the detail.

What do I expect in a movie version of The Hobbit? I expect a book brought to cinematic life. If the movie must deviate a bit, the main themes can not be sacrificed. You can’t miss the point. In a nutshell, I expect much. Peter Jackson attempted to recreate The Hobbit from his mind’s image. He felt it necessary to add back history to the story. It leaves you wondering where you are. Much of the back history is unnecessary and worthless to the story.

MONEY! That is my first impression. He did it for money and not love of the story. That is impression I developed while watching this grueling and tortuous task.

With much expectation, I placed the movie into the DVD player. The movie left the theaters in a quick manner, and I never had the opportunity to watch it. The beginning was Peter Jackson trying to tie the Hobbit with LOTR. It was not appropriate for those that have read the books. There are some incorrect details. I can only assume he was trying to attract an audience that never watched the three LOTR movies. This I can mostly ignore. We waste five or ten minutes with this. I don’t remember for time began to do strange things as I endured this flick.

The introduction of Gandalf and Bilbo didn’t have the same dialog effect that I remember from the book. I’m not sure what was going on. One of my favorite parts of the book is the “Good morning” routine between Gandalf and Bilbo.

Now begins my journey. The dwarves began to arrive at Bilbo’s house. This is where I sympathize with Bilbo. I couldn’t wait for the Dwarves to leave, and I knew they were going to be on my journey. This scene lasted two, three weeks at the minimum? I can’t even tell you how long it lasted. What I can say is I was hoping I would fall asleep in order to escape from my boredom. I won’t bore your with this dull action of dwarves living it up in Bilbo’s house.

The dwarves looked either cartoonish or human. Thorin is all too human looking while Fili and Kili took the wrong turn in Albuquerque and ended up in the wrong movie. Bombur looked like a fat German. I guess Dwalin and Gloin looked most like dwarves. The dwarves left me empty as they did Bilbo.

Thorin Oakenshield. He was more human than dwarf. Even though he was the leader, he didn’t appear to be one. This character was miscast. More likely, the character design was poor. He just looked like a brooding human to me and nothing like a dwarf.

While I am on dwarves, Kili was the pretty boy of the group. He looked and acted like a human. When you need a dwarf make one. As the youngest of the dwarves, I can understand the limited beard and young looking individual, but he was too human.

Now we drag onto the journey. This was about the sixth year of my life that was being lost. I discovered some type of background about goblins fighting dwarves and some type of revenge or whatever it was. It just didn’t fit with the story. The dwarves were being tracked by goblins and the one-armed CGI character. Yep, the one-armed man turned into a goblin that was a poorly created CGI character. This made no sense was had no use other than filler to in order to create three movies. Did I mention money earlier?

This is my rambling paragraph. It reflects my attention to the movie. Okay, they do something, so here is blah, blah, blah and more blah. Peter Jackson’s spell was clearly broken. At some point they talk about the Necromancer, a minor character that you only hear about it the book. The character becomes important for LOTR but not here! In fact the Necromancer really isn’t a character. Radagast comes into view as some type of loony. He never appears in The Hobbit but somehow has a role in the movie. This guy is a special character like Gandalf, but he’s treated as some type of comic relief. Talk about insult.

There was another scene with the trolls. Instead of a serious scene with trolls, you get a bit of brain dead trolls that are not impressive or frightening. Nope, these trolls are stupid and incompetent. How they function is an unknown. I don’t know if this happened before Radagast or not. I lost not only interest but my sense of what is going in this dull movie.

I’ll jump to Bilbo and Gollum meeting. I really do not remember much since I was no longer into the movie and was never entertained. The initial interaction between the two is wholly wrong! This is no where near what happened in the book. Jackson goes Quentin Tarantino here. The only positive part about this interaction is Gollum. Gollum’s CGI is as good as it was in LOTR.
Okay, I had another lucid moment where the dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf are being chased by the goblins and wargs (wolf-like creatures). Once again Jackson tries too hard to create who knows what. The group are stuck in trees and there are flames involved. That part is in the book. The location in the movie and Thorin’s heroics are not. Forgotten is the scene where Bilbo is saved by Dori when they escape into the trees to get away from the wargs and goblins. Jackson chooses to ignore what makes the characters real. Instead they are stupid goofballs. Oh, there are Eagles that do save them.

I can’t go on any further because I chose a more appropriate action. I went to bed.
Watching the first installment of a movie trilogy is like buying crab cakes with little crab and a lot of filler. Why do I want to pay for two more crab cakes if all I get is filler. This movie could have been completed in one movie. I do not need nor want senseless drivel about Radagast whose not in the book or some scene concerning the Necromancer who is not in the book either.

If you are not aware of the book The Hobbit, you may appreciate the movie more. Many of the problems remain. The beginning is dull and slow. If there was supposed to be any light moments in the movie, my children were never laughing. One of my children expressed disappointment and boredom. What you do have is a lot of senseless fighting in which most have nothing to do with the story. I have read the book many times and could not follow the movie.

For me I would give it 0/10. If I knew nothing of the books, it would be at most a 3/10. I prefer the campy cartoon version from 1977 by Rankin and Bass and that doesn’t say much. The Hobbit is not a dark book like LOTR, but Jackson can’t help make it into one. I can sum this movie up. I don’t care about the movie, and I won’t watch the next two. It is a complete waste of my time.