Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Question of the Day: Why is a Penny called a Penny?

One foreign currency we were using was British money. The British pound was not divided into 100 cents like our dollar, but its smallest part was called a penny, and that's why we call our cent a "penny" today. But for more than one, the British called them "pence" while ours are called "pennies."

Source US Mint for Kids

Monday, March 28, 2011

Question of the Day: Who was Poor Richard?

Who was Poor Richard?

Poor Richard's Almanack (sometimes Almanac) was a yearly almanac published by Benjamin Franklin, who adopted the pseudonym of "Poor Richard" or "Richard Saunders" for this purpose. The publication appeared continually from 1732 to 1758. It was a best seller for a pamphlet published in the American colonies; print runs reached 10,000 per year

Poor Richard

Franklin borrowed the name "Richard Saunders" from the seventeenth-century author of the Apollo Anglicanus, a popular London almanac which continued to be published throughout the eighteenth century. Franklin created the Poor Richard persona based in part on Jonathan Swift's pseudonymous character, "Isaac Bickerstaff." In a series of three letters in 1708 and 1709, known as the Bickerstaff papers, "Bickerstaff" predicted the imminent death of astrologer and almanac maker John Partridge. Franklin's Poor Richard, like Bickerstaff, claimed to be a philomath and astrologer and, like Bickerstaff, predicted the deaths of actual astrologers who wrote traditional almanacs. In the early editions of Poor Richard's Almanack, predicting and falsely reporting the deaths of these astrologers—much to their dismay—was something of a running joke. However, Franklin's endearing character of "Poor" Richard Saunders, along with his wife Bridget, was ultimately used to frame (if comically) what was intended as a serious resource that people would buy year after year. To that end, the satirical edge of Swift's character is largely absent in Poor Richard. Richard was presented as distinct from Franklin himself, occasionally referring to the latter as his printer.[8]

In later editions, the original Richard Saunders character gradually disappeared, replaced by a Poor Richard, who largely stood in for Franklin and his own practical scientific and business perspectives. By 1758, the original character was even more distant from the practical advice and proverbs of the almanac, which Franklin presented as coming from "Father Abraham," who in turn got his sayings from Poor Richard. (source Wikipedia)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What are those flowers at the Smithsonian Castle?

I have had several inquires about the trees pictured in my March post about the Smithsonian Castle. These are not Cherry Blossoms, they are tulip magnolias.

Museum: Smithsonian Gardens-Enid A. Haupt Garden

A 4.2-acre rooftop park, named for its donor, features an embroidered parterre in a geometric design of plants and flowers rotated seasonally, an Asian-influenced garden adjacent to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and a Moorish-influenced garden adjacent to the National Museum of African Art. Saucer and tulip magnolias, wide brick walks, and 19th-century cast-iron garden furnishings from the Smithsonian Gardens' Garden Furniture Collection line the perimeter. The entrance gates off Independence Avenue were re-created from a design by James A. Renwick Jr., architect of the Smithsonian Institution Building, the Castle.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Welcome Back Cherry Blossoms

We love the Cherry Blossom season because it is the first sign that Spring is officially here in DC. Although the weekend forecast does call for snow. :-(

National Park Service Cherry Blossom WebCam

Cherry Blossom Bloom Schedule

Average Peak Bloom Date: April 4

2011 Peak Bloom: March 29 - April 1

2011 Blooming Period: March 26 - April 7.


Green Color in Buds: 3/7/2011

Florets Visible: 3/9/2011

Extension of Florets: 3/16/2011

Peduncle Elongation: 3/19/2011

Puffy White: 3/22/2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Using The Microscope

Over the holiday break I finally gave in and switch science programs from Winter Promise to Real Science-4-Kids. Ironhide was not enjoying Winter Promise Shoots, Buzz and Sprouts because the information was presented in a disjointed and confusing manner. The hands on experiments were good but there were also information gaps that were not acceptable to us. I spent a lot of time trying to fill in the gaps and not enjoying science time. So after a short Google search we found Real Science-4-Kids (RS4K).

RS4K may not be our long term science program but it is a nice transition for spring where we tend to be more literature and math intensive. Our major science study for the spring will be our garden and outdoors so we chose the Biology bundle. This program actually gives us the detail we searching for with a nice kid friendly text. We supplement with interesting websites recommended from the Usborne Internet Linked Science Encyclopedia.

This week we will be learning how to use our microscope. Last year we were gifted with a new Celestron Digital Microscope. This is a neat tool because it allows us to connect to the computer and save our pictures to share.

Tools for this Week

-Celestron Digital Microscope

-Brain Pop Video on Microscope

-Looking through a microscope by Linda Bullock

-Lakeshore Learning Prepared Slides

-Laptop computer

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Math Lesson: Gluten free baking flour and Legos

Hey Mom, why do you buy all that gluten free flour? Why are you getting so much?

Son, it is cheaper to shop in bulk than to buy big small bags. Let us go to the white board and bring the laptop.

First we found the price of favorite GF bread at the local grocery store and online.

Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
Local Grocery $3.99 for 22oz (3.99/22) = $0.18 per oz (add tax,gas) = $0.25
Amazon $26.80 for 176.oz = (26.60/176) =$0.15 per oz

The Amazon flour is sold as a bulk item, so it may look like we are saving only pennies but factor in driving to the store, local sales taxes and just time spent shopping it can actually add time to our day. Amazon.com is better than local grocery store price per pound and you get free shipping over $25 dollars. Which saves on me driving to Wholefoods to buy Gluten Free items.

Hmmm Mom, does that work with Legos? Let's do the math.....

Okay at the Lego Store's small pick a brick bucket is about $8 you get about 40 pcs. The bigger bucket is $15 dollars and you get squeeze about 90 medium pcs or 200 small pcs in the bucket.

$8/40=$0.20 for the small bulk bucket and you points towards more Legos.
$14.00/90=$0.16 for the Big bulk bucket and you points towards more Legos.

So it's cheaper to buy the big bucket. Can we go to the Lego store?

(Why didn't I see that coming. LOL)

Kitchen Tip:
I also use http://www.mambosprouts.com/ which has organic food coupons.

I use my crockpot using this http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/03/perfect-gluten-free-bread-baked-in.html to make bread. All of her dishes are gluten free and it saves time, but you have to plan.

(All photos are borrowed from the web because my camera is off-line.)