More Alarmist Pseudo Science About Our Food: Hot Cheetos

Okay, if you read my post about the ice cream sandwiches from Wal-Mart, you probably gathered that I get really, really annoyed about a few things:

  • a person acting like they’re doing something scientifically significant when they’re observing absolutely no meaningful part of the scientific process
  • a person spreading alarmist nonsense based on virtually nothing
  • a person saying chemicals are bad or chemicals are poison – I think we can all pull up a bit of chemistry knowledge and realize that literally everything on the planet is made of chemicals – even spinach and kale and stuff

So, the latest thing I’ve seen with alarmist food fear mongering is a variety of videos showing that Hot Cheetos are just terrifyingly bad for you….because….wait for it….

they’ll catch on fire!

Holy smokes, y’all! Did you know that everything that flames is toxic and bad for you? Wait, no. That’s actually not a real thing. In fact, if I had to guess at the thing, I’d say the flammability of a food and how “toxic” the food is aren’t really all that strongly related.

But I thought I’d go with this concept of “if it catches fire, it must be poison” and try a few other foods. Foods you may have never guessed you shouldn’t be eating because they’re clearly just full up with poison and chemicals. I know because they caught fire. *sarcasms*

Let’s have a look:





And fear the mighty cheese doodle!


It’s almost like any plant stuff that’s been dried out and had a bit of oil added to it will catch fire. Strange that.

The good news here is this: We found some snack foods that are obviously free of chemicals and bad health…

Yep, cupcakes and Twizzlers are clearly your better snack choice. They do not catch fire, so they must be free of all those icky toxic chemicals, right?

Need more choices for snack foods that are safe according to this rule? Bricks, insulation, antifreeze, and pretty much anything metal. Neat! (I kid! Don’t eat those things. You’ll be sad.)

Now, don’t be confused. I am in no way saying that I believe Cheetos (or any snack foods of this nature) are good for you. They’re obviously not. But could we please, please, please pretend for just a moment that we’re reasonable adults capable of just a smidge of critical thinking?

Oh, and just one more thing…several of these videos state that Cheetos are made from the same thing as cardboard. And they may share a common ingredient…I don’t know and I haven’t checked. Since Cheetos are corn-based and cardboard is also plant-based, they may very well share some ingredients. But you know what? Table salt shares an ingredient with a toxic gas that will kill you dead in moments. That doesn’t mean I run screaming from the salt shaker.

And one more note: If you want to eat Hot Cheetos safely, I suggest putting them in a bowl of water. That should neutralize their flammability and make them safe. Yum! ;)

Want to see the nonsense that prompted this post? You can check out just one of the many examples of this nitwittery here:

So, tell me your thoughts in the comments. :D

This Is How We Math: Graphing Linear Functions

*making middle school math fun* :)

Graphing linear functions is another review activity for Grace, so we whipped through things pretty quickly. (In fact, that’s going to be the case with a few of the topics we have coming up.) You may remember that we already talked a bit about graphing equations before we really got our school year into full swing…back when we were just playing around over the summer. :) This time, though, we were doing things all official style with our chosen curriculum. ;)

For this activity, I gathered up some painter’s tape, yarn, scissors, a marker, a ruler, fluffy pom pom things (the same ones we used when creating atoms), post-it notes, and tape (both double-sided and regular).

I started off by creating a lovely area for Grace to work (using the painter’s tape, yarn, scissors, ruler, and marker):


It. Is. Marvelous! :)


A closer view.


Then I gave Grace yarn, tape, the fluffy pom poms, and post-it notes with linear equations on them.

She used the double-sided tape to place fluffy pom poms as her points. She then used the yarn to "draw" her line and taped it in place. To finish up, she folded the post-it note over the yarn to label the line with its equation.

She used the double-sided tape to place fluffy pom poms as her points. She then used the yarn to “draw” her line and taped it in place. To finish up, she folded the post-it note over the yarn to label the line with its equation.

She's hard at work on line number 2.

She’s hard at work on line number 2. Our yarn line got a little cattywampus here, but don’t fret…we fixed it. :D

After several lines, things were starting to look crazy and fun. :)

After several lines, things were starting to look crazy and fun. :)

A closer view of the masterpiece.

A closer view of the masterpiece.

Of course, there was discussion of slope and how slope changes with coefficient of x and all of that good stuff, but we won’t “officially” study those things until the next few days of school. :)

And for those of you who like to see how activities line up with Common Core standards:

Common Core Standards: Grade 8 – Functions and Expressions and Equations (CC.8.F.3 and CC.8.EE.5)


What about you? Any fun ways to teach or learn graphing linear functions? Has anyone noticed that I’m actively searching out ways to use up the rest of those fluffy pom poms I have left over from out atom models? ;)


Math Challenge & A Funny: September 1

I’ve seen this type of problem/brainteaser all about the place, but the only copy I could find contained one of those “99.9% of people can’t answer this” messages. Since I find those messages to be bad math (odd for it to be attached to a math problem, eh?) and just kind of icky in a way that I can’t quite put my finger on, I didn’t want to use that one…so I made my own. Please forgive the utter lack of cuteness. ;)

Have fun! :D



Let me know what you think in the comments!

And now for your math funny:

Found on PInterest. Click for link.



Southernisms: Y’all

*a fun look at Southern folks…the oddities of our speech and behavior* ;)

It’s amazing how much confusion and controversy one little word can create, isn’t it? If ever a non-Southern person wants to mock a Southern person, the very first thing out of their mouths is “y’all.” Of course, that person usually pronounces it incorrectly and ends up sounding pretty ignorant. ;)

Before we move forward with this, let’s address a common misconception…the myth that “y’all” is not a legitimate word. Well, of course it is. It’s just as much a word as can’t or don’t or I’ve or she’s. It’s called a contraction. Y’all is simply a contraction of you and all. It’s actually not all that mysterious or confusing.

That leads us straight into the spelling of “y’all.” I have seen this poor little word abused in so many distressing ways. People, for whatever reason, spell this simple word in such interesting and incorrect configurations. It is not yall or ya’ll or yal’l or yall’. (I’ve seen each of these out in the world.) It follows the standard contraction rules. We’re combining “you” and “all.” The “ou” part of “you” is being kicked to the curb, so we’re going to pop an apostrophe in to replace “ou.” That all sounds familiar, right? Y-apostrophe-all. Neat!

Now let’s talk about how to say this nifty little word. The pronunciation actually varies throughout the South (we’ll talk about the fact that there are many different Southern accents sometime later), but, no matter where you go, y’all is a one-syllable word. It is not yuh-hiccup-all or yuh-all. Nope. One syllable. Where I’m from y’all rhymes with hall or ball. In other areas it has a better rhyme with crawl or brawl. There is one exception to this y’all being one syllable thing, and that happens with your drunk/whining/drunk and whining Southern girl. In this case, there is more of a yah-all sound to the word. If you hear this pronunciation, your very best course of action is to walk away…quickly. ;)

You may have seen this handy chart on Pinterest or Facebook:


It is absolutely, 100% accurate. And, yes, we do understand that when we say “all y’all,” we are really saying “all you all.” We’re okay with that. :) It’s an important distinction for us.

Okay, let’s review!

  • Y’all is legitimate word.
  • Y’all is spelled y’all. Put your apostrophe in the right place!
  • Y’all is a one syllable word. If you hear a two-syllable version, you’ve encountered someone who is incorrectly mocking a Southern person (bad form on so many levels) or an overly needy Southern girl.
  • Talking to more than 4 people? Bust out your “all y’all.”

What about you? Are you one of the few Southerners who doesn’t use the word y’all…or one of the non-Southern types who uses the word y’all? Tell us about it! Are you a Southern person who has a pet peeve about “y’all” that I failed to mention here? Have any Southernisms you’d like explained or cleared up? Let me know in the comments. :)

Get to Know a Home School: What I Love About Home School

*answering my own home school interview questions…so you get to know what I think about these things, too* :)

Last week, I told you why we decided to home school (as that’s always the first question I ask home school parents). Originally I was going to share what I think are the greatest things and the not-so-great things about home school. It quickly became clear, though, that my answer to the first part was going to be lengthy. ;) In light of that, in this post, I’m only sharing the bit about why I love home school. We’ll get to the not-so-great part next week.

What are some of the greatest things about home schooling, in your opinion?

I think we’ll tackle this one with a list!

I love the flexibility of scheduling. For example, Grace is getting ready to go spend a week with her Grandma in Alabama. I didn’t have to consult a school calendar or worry about her missing days. We just scheduled the trip. This goes for days off, sick days, field trip days, etc. No matter what the situation, it’s so much easier to deal with scheduling as a home school family.

I love the flexibility of lesson planning and curriculum choices. We’re in our fourth year of home schooling now, and we have thrown more than a couple of resources straight in the trash. If something doesn’t work for us, I feel no obligation at all to continue using it. There are tons of reasons a resource may not be the best fit – above or below academic level, full of mistakes or inaccuracies, just plain boring, or the expectation that we have an entire professional grade chem lab hidden somewhere in our house…those are a few of the problems we’ve encountered. When these things come up, it’s no problem to abandon ship and search out a more suitable resource.

Grace has choices. Those resources I was talking about up there? Sometimes they get abandoned simply because Grace doesn’t like them or isn’t learning well with them. Grace has input in what she learns and how she learns it. Now, I’m not saying that math and language arts and science and social studies are optional, but Grace has full freedom to say, “This isn’t working for me.” And then we find something else that does work. She also gets to choose her own electives. For the first half of this year, she’s chosen forensics, marine biology, and art. Later in the year, she may change them or keep moving with the same ones. It’s up to her. She also has long-term projects that she works on…and she gets to choose and self-guide the project. (She’s currently working on making visual art representations of her three favorite Panic! at the Disco songs.)

Our daily schedule. We don’t start school until 10:00 each day. This allows Grace to get that extra sleep that teenagers need so much, but almost none of them get. It also allows me to start my day off slowly and calmly…and that is a good thing for everyone involved. ;)

The ability to explore on a whim. We often encounter topics and dream up questions that have absolutely nothing to do with what we’re “supposed” to be learning at the moment. With home school, tangents and side paths are 100% okey dokey. It is not all that unusual for us to get sidetracked with research or to head out for a sudden “emergency field trip” to address a curiosity. I feel like Grace is learning that curiosity is a lovely thing that should be entertained whenever possible.

We’re not limited in the level of work we do. We don’t have to stick to Grace’s “grade level” or only swim in the waters of what the “other kids” are able to do. If Grace understands a concept, we keep going…we don’t have to wait for anyone to catch up. If Grace is struggling with a concept, we stay with it until she has it…we don’t have to keep moving to avoid “getting behind.” We can use whatever level of materials we see fit depending on where Grace is with a topic. It’s common for us to use elementary school materials and college level materials in the same day. For example, Grace loves astronomy and has no problem grasping the ideas presented in the subject, so we used a college text book for the subject. She’s also just awful with remembering the finer points (and, honestly, the not-so-fine points) of grammar. (Odd since she writes like a little mad genius.) We have no problem using “below grade level” resources to address that. And Grace is totally comfortable with the idea that this is not an insult or anything like that…we teach to where she is in a subject.

The absence of bullying, peer pressure, and truly horrifying role models. I think that one is pretty self-explanatory.

School includes more than academics with home school. Because Grace is home schooled, she is familiar with things that a lot of kids don’t get to experience. She knows about renewing car tags and filing taxes and updating insurance policies because she’s been along for the ride on these things…and had everything explained to her as we went. She even witnessed the whole process of us buying our house from the first visit with the loan officer to meeting the home inspector to sitting in at the closing. Life skills for the win!

Time. We can take the time we need and want to accomplish things. Even goofy stuff like lunch. We actually take an entire hour for lunch each day. We make our lunch, sit down together to eat, and then goof off for a bit before getting back to school. We also have flexibility with our time. If the day’s science lesson takes 2 hours, it’s no problem to cut back on how long we spend on math or social studies. Another time factor that works in our favor? We don’t honor the public school calendar. We pretty much have school all year, so we avoid those big breaks where things get forgotten.

Pajamas. We make liberal use of them. That’s not just a home school myth. ;)

Why not build rockets and take them outside for launch while wearing your pjs? :D

Why not build rockets and take them outside for launch while wearing your pjs? :D

These are just some of the things that popped into my head at first think. I’m sure there are tons more reasons why I love home school, but this list gives the big picture.

What about you? If you home school, what are some of your favorite things about schooling this way? If you went to/go to public or private school, are there any things on the list that sound appealing…or horrifying? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

On the Second Day of Being 40, the Universe Gave to Me…

My fourth kidney stone!

Yeah, last night was no fun at all. :/

Since this is my fourth one, I’ve learned that there is absolutely no point in going to the hospital or anything. Nope, as long as you’re still peeing normally, there’s nothing to do except wait it out. (The hospital gives pain killers that don’t work and sympathy, so that’s a little nice, but not worth the expense.) ;)

So, yeah, lots of water, lots of hot baths, lots of acetaminophen (but not too much!), lots of whining, and lots of trying to distract myself. Lucky for me, this one only took about 6 or 7 hours to do its thing. The first one I ever had went on for about 24 hours, and, from what I understand, some people have taken way longer than that. Horrifying!

If you’ve never had a kidney stone, go ahead and give thanks to whomever you thank for these things…because you really, really, really don’t want one. I promise.

By the way…let me clear up a common misconception about kidney stones: It’s not peeing out the kidney stone that hurts so bad (though I hear that’s worse for men). Nope, it’s the stone making its way from the kidney to the bladder that brings the horror. And it can take quite a long time to complete its journey. :/

Why, in the name of all that is good in the world, would a body choose to do this?!?!? (Picture from wikimedia commons. Click for link.)

Why, in the name of all that is good in the world, would a body choose to do this?!?!? (Picture from wikimedia commons. Click for link.)


This Is How We Science: Phases of Matter

*a weekly look at how we’re making 8th grade home school science fun* :)

As we continue forward with our study of chemistry, we, of course, had to take a little bit of time to discuss the phases of matter. Now, this is beyond a review concept for Grace….phases of matter are introduced in elementary school after all. Instead of focusing a ton of attention and time on familiar concepts, we just completed a few foldables and had one delicious demonstration. There was a little bit of reading to go with that, too. :) Oh, and one spectacular Bill Nye video! :D (Yes, his videos were aimed at a younger crowd…that doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable information…and they’re fun to watch!)

I’ll show you what we did in pictures!


This foldable with its nice, spacious background was an excellent way to address the phases of matter and the transitions between them. Do be stunned by the artwork, please. ;) I got this idea from a pin on Pinterest, but now I can’t find it no matter how much I search. :( If I ever do find it, I’ll be certain to come back and give credit where credit is due.


A quick flippy foldable for reviewing the difference between crystalline and amorphous solids. Under those flaps, definitions and pictures are hiding. :) Grace also created a little pocket for the phases of matter. She used round stickers to represent molecules and placed them in a way to demonstrate their arrangement in different forms of matter. Fun!


To demonstrate gas, liquid, and solid coming together to create delicious treats, we had ice cream floats with lunch. There actually was discussion about phases of matter as we created our nommy drinks. :)


Yum! :D

The “molecule” stickers activity and using root beer floats to demonstrate the phases of matter are pretty common concepts in the science teacher world. You can find pins galore with various versions and supporting information about both…if you’re so inclined. ;) I didn’t credit anyone for those particular ideas because they’re so widely used. It’s kind of like the vinegar and baking soda thing, you know? :)

What about you? Any fun phases of matter activities that you use for teaching or learning? Anything more you’d like to know about those wacky phases? Let me know in the comments. :)

Come back next week to see what we did to learn about the gas laws!