Happy Holidays!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m very thankful for the diversity of the world, which celebrates a lot more holidays than one might think. After October 31st, there are at least 29 major holidays celebrated by the world’s religions. While some people celebrate Christmas, other people celebrate Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, or none of these at all. It’s important for people to know these types of things and to be open to the idea that there are more holidays than just Christmas.

Besides the religious holidays, there are holidays all the time after October 31st. One includes Festivus, a holiday on December 23rd for people who don’t celebrate mainstream holidays. There was also World Kindness Day, celebrated on November 13th. It should be celebrated more than it is to remind people to not be jerks to one and other. National Chocolate Day and National Egg Nog Day are on December 24th, while National Chocolate Covered Anything Day is on the 16th. There is also Humbug Day on the 21st of December. There are many more, no matter what month it is.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season¬†and a not too bitter winter! ūüėõ

HALLOWEEN!

Happy (somewhat belated) Halloween! I hope everyone had a safe but spooky Halloween. There are a lot of good things that come with Halloween. There are the ghost stories, the movies, the costumes, the pumpkins, and the cats, all of which I love.

First, did you know that part of the reason black cats are considered unlucky dates back to the Middle Ages–specifically back to the Black Plague? People don’t quite understand why the cats were first associated with the Devil, but people killed many black cats during the plague. That actually made it worse since the cats had been keeping down the rodent population that spread the plague. Another part of the reason came from the hysteria outbreak about witchcraft. People assumed that “witches” took in (typically black) alley cats to be their companions. People spread rumors and wouldn’t let go of historical beliefs, thus strengthening the idea that black cats were unlucky. I don’t think these felines are unlucky. I have a lot of black cats friends at the animal shelter I volunteer at. I hope to befriend all of the black cats at some point since they’re all really sweet.

Did you also know that the original jack-o-lanterns were carved from potatoes, turnips, and beets? The Irish legend of the jack-o-lantern can be read at the above link, but basically a man named Jack tricked the Devil into not taking his soul and then died. God wouldn’t take Jack and the Devil couldn’t take him, so Jack’s soul wanders the earth with a burning coal in a carved-out turnip. Many people began to carve scary faces into other gourds and root vegetables to scare away this wanderer.

There are too many movies, stories, and costumes to list here, so which ones are your favorites?

OCTOBER IS HERE!!!

Hello! It’s October, one of the best times of the year! It’s getting cooler, the leaves are changing, AND Halloween is this month! I’m soooooooooooooooooooooo excited!

Since it is October, I dedicated a math project on conditional statements to the month. It goes as follows:

If it is October, then you buy a pumpkin. If you buy a pumpkin, then you make a jack-o-lantern. If you make a jack-o-lantern, then it is close to Halloween. If it is close to Halloween, then you buy lots and lots of candy and chocolate. If you buy lots and lots of candy and chocolate, then you will want to eat it. If you want to eat all of the candy and chocolate, then you will eat all of it. If you eat all of the candy and chocolate, then you will have nothing to give the trick-or-treaters (besides the fact you would more than likely go into a diabetic coma). If you have nothing to give the trick-or-treaters, then your house will get TP’ed. if your house gets TP’ed, then you will become the laughing stock of the whole neighborhood. If you are the laughing stock of the whole neighborhood, then you will never leave your house. If you never leave your house, then you will become very lonely. If you become very lonely, then you will buy lots of cats. if you buy lots of cats, many of them will be black cats. If you have a lot of black cats, then you will be reminded of superstitions. If you’re reminded of superstitions, then you might see some superstitious figures. If you see superstitious figures, then it is October.

The whole reason we wrote these projects was to practice conditional statements, but it was also inspired by the whole If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series by Laura Numeroff. I thought it was a lot of fun to do since it could be based on anything.

Besides the If-then story, we went to go get pumpkins this past weekend! Instead of the classic orange pumpkins, we got a white pumpkin and a green-silver pumpkin. They’re really cool, and I love them even though they are just pumpkins. I don’t know if we’re going to carve them or not, since we could just draw spooky faces on to the pumpkins. I can’t wait to do even more decorating for Halloween! It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

A Muddle Of Things

Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you all stayed safe on this unofficial end to summer. By this point, a lot of kids are back at school. I started high school just over a week ago. It’s awesome, although all my friends would beg to differ. I really like my physics teacher. He’s a lot like my middle school science teacher: wacky, nerdy, and fun–all good things. Some of my classes have content that will work together, so I think my grades will benefit from alternate explanations of things I don’t understand. I’m really looking forward to engineering. We’re going to get to design stuff and possibly even build things. Most of my teachers have explained things fairly well when they are teaching, so I’m thinking this is going to be a good year.

Not only does Labor Day mark the start of school, it also marks the start of Halloween decorating in my household! Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday. The colors, the atmosphere, the overall history; it’s all really cool. My favorite part is getting to go to Halloween stores and gawk at all the stuff, then get inspired for a bazillion different costumes I could make. I don’t even want to do the costumes for trick-or-treating anymore; the costume making and wearing is fun enough. I get really giddy around this time of year because¬†it’s time to get spooky!

Reasons to Like Geometry

This sounds like an out-of place post, but I’ve been taking a summer course for geometry to help prepare for high school. There are actually a lot of reasons I like it:

  • So many great puns and jokes come out of geometry, such as “if you’re cold, go stand in the corner, it’s 90 degrees,” and “parallel lines have so much in common, it’s a shame they’ll never meet.”
  • Squares fit into about six different categories in the shape world. They also have the easiest perimeter and area to find.
  • I didn’t realize this before, but angles can be over 360 degrees. Drawing them can be a bit difficult, though.
  • There are a lot of simple references to¬†geometry in real life. Any time I see a triangle, I think of how one side can’t be longer or equal to the sum of the other two sides, or shorter than the difference of the other two sides.

Now, there are downsides–one I am quite vociferous about:

  • CIRCLES ARE SO WEIRD. They have so many different parts, such as circumference (there are a lot of puns about this, too), area, diameter, and radius. There are also arcs, radii, and many nonsensical things.
  • Circles are¬†the only downside I can think of.

Besides the circle aspect, I really enjoy¬†geometry. I’m hoping that in the actual class we will get more into proofs and such because those are very helpful. I’m really looking forward to it.

“Tomato”

Since we missed all of the tomato holidays for a while, we decided to have our own Tomato Weekend. There was a lot of food involved, of course. We decided to make stuffed bell peppers that had a very tomato-y rice creation inside. While I didn’t help too much with that, I gladly helped devour some chili that was made the next day. I’m not a very big tomato fan to begin with, so when we attempted fried red tomatoes I was beyond concerned. I don’t think I have ever made a face about food like what I did when I tried one. To make up for the bizarre tomatoes, we made tomato soup cake. It’s more of a spice cake than anything else and the tomato soup is basically to serve as the cake’s liquid. It was very good and made me a little bit less reluctant to try other tomatoes.

We had to get our tomatoes somehow, so we went up to Kenosha to a farmer’s market. There was a lot of stuff there. Besides getting our tomatoes, I talked my parents into getting me lemonade and they got breakfast egg rolls (which I didn’t know there was such a thing). AND because it was our tomato weekend, we had to watch Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.¬†It’s definitely… weird. It’s better that I watched it now instead of when I was little so I understood more of the pop culture stuff. My favorite part was in the library and the guy just says “Tomato.”¬†It never fails to make me laugh.

Chocolate and Video Games

July 7th was Chocolate Day, so we decided to have a chocolate-themed weekend to extend the chocolate fun. We decided to be daring by trying some savory chocolate foods.

On Friday, we made chocolate cornbread and chili with a bit of cocoa powder. The chili was good, but there is a reason chocolate corn doesn’t exist. We saved the cornbread on Saturday by turning it into chocolate cornbread bread pudding, which was really good with ice cream. In addition to this, we went to the Chocolate Sanctuary¬†and had very chocolaty food. I found out that I evidently like cocoa barbecue sauce when I had it on chicken wings for the first time. I have also never had Chicken Mascarpone and Savory Cocoa Fettuccine until Saturday–it was interesting, but I don’t think I would do it again. We also had salad with a chocolate vinaigrette, pork sliders with more chocolate barbecue sauce, cocoa-spiced butternut squash soup, a turkey flatbread sandwich with cocoa-candied bacon, and then truffles for dessert! Overall, most of the savory stuff was okay. The barbecue sauce was really good. The truffles were great!

On Sunday, we made chocolate pancakes for dinner. I kind of put in a bit too much vinegar, but we fixed it with some baking soda. Saturday was also Video Games Day, but we thought it was Sunday so we celebrated a day later. Time to get past a couple of dungeons!

Happy Independence Day!!!

Happy Independence Day everyone! This holiday about celebrating America’s freedom is fairly hectic. Tons of people do barbecues on the 4th of July, preparing for the wild fireworks to come late at night. Red, white, and blue parades gather a lot of¬†people, too. All this excitement¬†can take your mind off the heat of the day. ¬†Here are some fun facts to also entertain you:

Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was drafted on a “laptop,” a small, lap-sized desk? ¬†Another rare fact is that¬†only John Hancock (so far proven) signed the Declaration on July 4th.

Some other facts include:

Hope everyone has a safe and fun July 4th holiday!

Happy Springy-Spring!

20170422_172825Yea, it’s been spring for a while now, but for once it actually feels like it! Spring has a¬†lot of holidays, a few of which were this past Saturday. First off, there was Earth Day on April 22. We went around our neighborhood picking up trash and recyclables. It didn’t look like¬†much improvement at first, but we had two big bags when we were finished.

Next, to celebrate Record Store Day (also on April 22), we drove out to a small record store to try to find a few albums, but to no prevail. It was fun to get to sort through all the records, though, and see what all was there. Half Price Books also had some records, so we went there in search of both records and books. My dad got his records, I had fun looking for horror books, including Cujo, Frankenstein, Dracula, and a couple of Ray Bradbury books.

Tie-Dye Day was also on April 22, but we weren’t in the mood to do shirts. Instead, we celebrated by making coffee filter flowers. We used water color paint to color the flowers to look like tie-dye, let them dry, then bunched them up to look like flowers and secured them with pipe cleaners. The flowers look very cool on our mini-tree.

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1a) Paint the filter with water color and a brush.

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1b) Or you can put a bit of water on the filter and dip the filter in water color so it wicks up some paint.

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2) Let the filter(s) dry.

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3) Fold/crimp/roll your flowers together and secure with pipe cleaner at base. Should look ruffle-y.

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Pretty flower tree!

(Had I done this closer to Easter, there would have been an eggs-travagant amount of egg puns while looking back on all the egg-traordinay egg-ventures from the past few years. So I guess it can be looked at as a blessing that you only had to deal with three. ;P )

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Yeah, I know it’s almost a month late, BUT Chinese New Year is still in the future – January 28th, in fact. 2017 is the year of the rooster, the Chinese Zodiac occurring every 12 years. The Chinese New Year’s date always changes since its based off of the Chinese lunar calendar, unlike our traditional new year based on the Gregorian calendar. The years of the rooster are often thought of as unlucky years even though the people born in those years are supposed to be pretty good, but I think this year will be alright. (For some other fun-facts, go here.) I hope all of you had a good start to 2017.

Speaking of China, my school is doing a play centered in China: Disney’s Mulan (Jr.) It’s been going pretty good so far with the practices, but we haven’t reached the frantic stage yet. We are hoping that this year will end up being a lot better than last year’s play (let’s just say it was beyond hectic). We have been trying to figure out ways to pull off Chinese decor without spending a lot of money, so if you have any ideas, please drop it in the comments.

There are a lot of differences between the movie and the Junior Play. First of all, I would like to point out that Mulan is considered a Disney Princess, but she is not born into royalty nor does she marry into royalty. She is considered also to have a prince, but no prince is present until the sequel and Mulan does not marry the prince (sorry that always bugged me).

  • In the movie, Mulan has to disguise her body so the soldiers won’t notice she’s a girl. In the play, the whole thing is that the soldiers should not be able to see her hair. The solution? Oddly enough, a “boyish ponytail,” quoth the voice-over. Then they put the ponytail in a helmet, but not until later.
  • Next off, Mulan is scared to death in the movie when the guys go into the lake to bathe, because she doesn’t want the soldiers finding out. In the play, she has to play a game of strip mahjong (yes, the play gets away with this, but it’s offstage) and win so she wouldn’t be exposed.
  • The way she is found out in the play isn’t as heroic as it is in the movie. Her helmet legitimately just falls off, whereas in the movie she gets stabbed saving the captain and the doctor stitches her up and finds out. There also isn’t as much fighting (if any) in the play.
  • THERE ARE A LOT MORE SONGS IN THE PLAY. THERE’S ONLY FOUR IN THE ORIGINAL MOVIE WITH THREE IN THE SEQUEL (yes there is a sequel to Mulan, it’s really pretty good). THERE’S SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MANY SONGS IN THE PLAY. Of course, I guess it was converted into a musical of sorts…Otherwise, the drama teacher wouldn’t have picked it.

On that note, I hope you all enjoyed your 2017’s start and will enjoy the Chinese New Year!