Saturday, September 6, 2014

New Uses for Winter Gear, When You Live in Phoenix

In the summertime, when it's about 115 degrees outside, our family usually starts talking about moving somewhere cooler. Somewhere where you actually need a scarf and gloves in the winter, or where it rains enough that you actually own an umbrella. This year we decided to try to think of things we could actually do with all that winter gear if we had it here in Phoenix. After much silliness and hilarity, here our our recommendations:

A device that provides portable shade. Stay out of the blazing sun! Useful anytime you are out-of-doors.

You could keep a pair in the car to use to keep the steering wheel from burning your hands. You might also want to keep a pair of oven mitts in your vehicle, for days when the gloves don't provide quite enough protection.

Thick socks
Thick winter socks would be perfect or sliding over one's (frozen, of course) water bottle to provide insulation and help it stay cool longer, and it would absorb any condensation!

This one could have lots of uses. When soaked in water, it could keep your neck cool and provide protection from sunburn. It is also handy to wrap around your face and mouth if you get caught in a sudden dust storm.

Another item best kept in one's vehicle. Would be perfect for wrapping frozen foods and ice cream in to keep them from melting on the way home from the grocery store.

Desert dwellers usually wear sandals, but those winter boots would be just the thing when walking near natural desert areas full of rattlesnakes, gila monsters, scorpions, and giant centipedes--you know, to prevent a nasty bite.

There you have it, lol! If you can think of a desert use for a winter hat, let me know. We got stuck on that one.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Secular 2nd Grade Curricula

 After a very difficult year with our new baby and working way too much and being horribly behind in our homeschool lessons, I think we are finally starting to see the light of day. At least by working so much I had the money to purchase all the new homeschool curricula I wanted. Our school year starts the first week of September, and this is what we'll be doing this year:

Handwriting Without Tears: Printing Power
Keyboarding Without Tears 2nd Grade
Math Mammoth 2nd Grade (changed to Math-U-See Beta)
Life of Fred Books (Edgewood and Farming)
Library books
Reading Rainbow App
Logic of English Essentials (changed to All About Spelling 1 & 2)
Just Write by Tin Man Press
Language Arts
Flash Forward Language Arts Workbooks
Build Your Library Curriculum 2nd Grade, which uses Story of the World Middle Ages and The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History as spines
 Build Your Library Curriculum 2nd Grade
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (changed to REAL Science Odyssey Chemistry)
Build Your Library Curriculum 2nd Grade

And with all the time we will have left over after doing all that:

Better Chinese
Rosetta Stone Mandarin Chinese

Salsa Spanish videos

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Chinese Hawthorn Candy (Haw Flakes)

My Chinese in-laws always give this candy to my kids. Haw flakes are a Chinese candy made from the berry of the Hawthorn bush. It is supposed to be nutritious and especially good for the digestion. The flakes come in a jar full of little wrapped rolls like rolls of coins. Each roll contains a stack of flakes. The flakes are thin, somewhat dry, and have a grainy texture with a sweet and sour taste.

Left: Haw flakes. Right: Haw cheese.

A new one my in-laws found is "haw cheese." How do the Chinese come up with these translations? It is a hawthorn candy which has a moister, chewy, "fruit roll-up" texture in a little striped block. I like the lady on the package. Thanks to her haw cheese she's energized and ready to kick butt.

My kids adore these hawthorn sweets. You can find them at most any Asian market.

Hawthorn berry