Tuesday, March 11, 2014

SMMART Math: Welcome Home Math Door

Tricky, tricky!  This was an attempt at avoiding the complaining that accompanies multiplication practice...and it worked!  I wrote a few multiplication facts on sticky notes and tacked them to the door to welcome my daughter home.  On a different color of sticky notes, I wrote up a few addition and subtraction problems for my younger daughter who would arrive home at the same time.  I left two pencils on the doorstep...and voila!
Here's a beautiful rhyme...Math practice before they even step in the door!

Monday, November 18, 2013

abc4 BRCA2 interview

Thanks to abc4 reporter, Kim Fischer and cameraman, AJ, in sharing my
BRCA2 experience.  Hopefully someone watching will find this helpful...

Friday, November 15, 2013

BRCA2 interviews

Tune in to abc4 News on Monday, November 18th at 10:00pm
 for a segment on Women's Health and my BRCA2 Journey.  My surgeons, Dr. Reading and Dr. Ferguson accompanied me to the abc4 studio to interview with reporter, Kim Fischer.  I am eager to see the segment to see how it turned out! 
Tues, November 19th on the 4:00 News,
Dr. Reading and I will be interview live by Kim Fischer as a follow-up segment.  I hope sharing my story can help someone else...and I am hopeful that anyone who is seeking good surgeons will discover Dr. Reading and Dr. Ferguson.  They are amazing!
(If you miss the segments, you can sometimes find them on abc4.com after they air.)

Monday, November 4, 2013

SMMART Reading: Cards for Soldiers

Free Pictures at ImageEnvision.com :) This Veteran's Day take a moment to serve those who sacrifice so much to serve each of our families.  Encourage your little ones to share their artistic talent and writing skills by making a card or two for the service members of the United States.

You know how a child's artwork and handwriting can bring a smile to your face.

"Holiday Mail for Heros" is a program run through the Red Cross.  "The cards and personal messages, sent by tens of thousands of Americans, provide a welcome “touch of home” for our troops during the holiday season.

Each year we collect cards between October and early December and then distribute them at military installations, veterans hospitals, and in other locations.

There are several ways to be part of the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. In addition to sending cards on your own, you may want to start making plans to host card signing parties or card making parties. Here are a few guidelines to help you on your way:

Card Guidelines:      

Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.
Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:
  • Ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
  • If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

All holiday greetings should be addressed and sent to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

The deadline for having cards to the P.O. Box is December 6th.
Holiday cards received after this date cannot be guaranteed delivery.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

SMMART SCIENCE: Fizzy Jack-o-Lantern Juice

This fun activity results in the production of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in a fun fizzy drink.  We put a little Halloween twist on this one.

Ask your little haunt to use a black sharpie to draw a picture of a Jack-o-lantern on the front of a clear plastic cup.  Fill the cup with freshly squeezed orange juice to see the Jack-o-lantern appear. 

You can also use bottled lemon juice and a little food coloring to make the drink a nice orange.  (Here's a trick for Halloween:  It will look like orange, but taste like lemon)

Let your child use a spoon to add a little sugar to sweeten the drink to taste.

Now, let your child sprinkle a teeeeeeeny bit of baking soda over the drink.  You will see the reaction between the citrus acid and the baking soda begin to form fizz....or Carbon Dioxide bubbles.

NOW I DO MEAN TEEEEEEEENY bit of Baking Soda.  Let your child take a pinch of baking soda and sprinkle it on the top of the drink.  If you use too much, your drink will taste salty, so use just a little and taste the drink along the way as you add a bit more baking soda.

Enjoy your Jack-o-lantern juice!

SMMART SCIENCE: Trick or Treat Tossers

Physics and Math...what could excite your children more!?!

Let's make a lever launcher to toss those Tricky Treats across the room.  You can make a launcher by just using plastic spoons that won't launch the treats too far, or one made with popsicle sticks that tosses a bit farther.

I'll explain with the spoons.  You'll need two spoons or popsicle sticks.  Lay one spoon on top of the other.  Secure the handle of the spoons together with a rubber band at the very bottom of the handles.  Slide a pencil inbetween the spoons and push it down towards the bottom of the handles.  Then secure the pencil in place.  The pencil acts as a fulcrum for this lever launcher.

If you use popsicle sticks, lay one on top of the other and secure the very end of one side with a rubberband.  Slide a pencil inbetween the popsicle sticks and secure the pencil with a rubberband.  You can now lay a spoon face up on top of one of the popsicle sticks.  Secure the spoon with a rubberband around the spoon handle and the popsicle stick.  The spoon will act as a "holder" for the Halloween treats.

Now, set a treat inside the spoon "cup".  Push down towards the table on the tip of the spoon and release... Watch the treat soar.

Instead of just launching treats randomly, let's set out a cupcake tin.  Try to launch the treats into the tin.  On the bottom of each cup of the cupcake tin, place a number from 1 - 12 inside of it.  (You can just write the numbers on a piece of paper or a small sticky note paper)

Now, let your child launch away and try to get as many as they can into the cupcake tin.  Now for the math.  If you have a little learner, they can just count the number of treats that landed into a certain cup.  More advanced learners can add or subtract the number of treats with the number in the bottom of the cup.  Multiplication students can multiply the number that is on the bottom of the cup with the number of treats that landed in that cupcake cup.  Or, you can divide the two numbers.

However you play, your child will enjoy launching the treats and watching them soar!


We know about purple cabbage as a pH indicator...but did you know that radish skins can be used to test if liquids are acidic or basic?  A pH indicator is a substance that changes color (and sometimes smell) when a basic or acidic substance is introduced.   This is a fun activity and can even be adapted to any holiday.

Have your little goblin draw a picture of something spooky...perhaps a pair of lips and fangs, a pumpkin or a witch. 

Hold on firmly to a radish and rub the radish  onto the picture like a crayon as you color in the lips, pumpkin or witch's hair and dress with the red color skin.

The red radish color on the paper will act as a pH indicator. 

With purple cabbage juice ...If a BASIC substance is introduced, the paper will turn a BLUE/GREEN color.  If an acidic substance is introduced, the paper will turn a PINK/RED color.

With the red radish paper, we found that the BASIC substance turned the paper a shade of ORANGE and the ACIDIC substance turned the paper a shade of dark PURPLE.
Try some substances around the house...water (neutral), milk (neutral), bleach (basic), baking soda paste (basic),  glass cleaner (basic), vinegar (acidic), lemon juice (acidic)... what else?
We made a baking soda paste by adding a little water to a Tb of baking soda and mixing it together.

[Just like making a red cabbage juice pH indicator...If you wanted to make a red radish liquid, you could skin the radish peels and to the peels, add a 50-70% alcohol water solution.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes.  Now you have a liquid litmus indicator.  You can pour the liquid into small cups and it will turn colors when an acid or base is introduced.  OR you can soak pieces of paper in the red liquid, let them dry and then cut the radish-soaked paper in strips..  Now you have pH paper.  Drop a little drop of bleach, lemon juice or vinegar onto the paper...are they acidic or basic substances?]

I found this cool list of natural materials you can use to create pH indicators:

(http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=1006052916842 CrazyBaby69 answered)

 A visual acid-base indicator is just a weak acid with differently colored acid and conjugate base forms. Flower and leaf pigments often fit this description. For example, take rose petals and crush them with alcohol; you have an acid/base indicator solution. Stew some red cabbage and pour off the juice; you have an acid/base indicator solution.
Many indicators can be extracted from plants; others (like phenolphthalein*) and methyl orange are synthetic. Here is a list of 'natural' acid/base indicators.

Alizarin is an orange dye present in the root of the madder plant; it was used to dye wool in ancient Egypt, Persia, and India. In an 0.5% alcohol solution, alizarin is yellow at pH 5.5 and red at pH 6.8. Several synthetic modifications of alizarin are also used as acid/base indicators.
Cochineal is an acid-base indicator made from the bodies of dried female cochineal insects, found in Mexico and Central America. You'll have to grind about 70,000 insects to make one pound of dry indicator. The powder is about 10% carminic acid, which is yellow in acidic solution, and deep violet in alkaline solution. Cochineal solutions are not used much as acid/base indicators these days.
Curcumin, or tumeric yellow, is a natural dye found in curry powder. It turns from yellow at pH 7.4 to red at pH 8.6.
Esculin is a fluorescent dye that can be extracted from the leaves and bark of the horse chestnut tree. You'll need to shine a black (ultraviolet) light on the indicator to get the full effect. Esculin changes from colorless at pH 1.5 to fluorescent blue at pH 2.
Anthocyanin is probably the most readily available acid/base indicator; it is the plant pigment that makes red cabbage purple, cornflowers blue, and poppies red. It changes color from red in acid solution to purplish to green in mildly alkaline solution to yellow in very alkaline solution.
Litmus is a blue dye extracted from various species of lichens. Although these lichens grow in many parts of the world, almost all litmus is extracted and packaged in Holland. Litmus is red at pH 4.5 and blue around pH 8.3. While most litmus is used to make litmus papers, some is used as a coloring for beverages.
Logwood is a dye obtained from the heartwood of a tree that grows in Central America and the West Indies. The extract contains hematoxylin and hematein, which turn bright red in alkaline solution.

Beets change from red to purplish in very basic solution.
Blackberries, black currants, and black raspberries change from red in acids to dark blue or violet in basic solution.
Blue and red grapes contain several different pH-sensitive anthocyanins. For example, blue grapes are colored by a monoglucoside of malvinidin that changes from deep red in acidic solutions to violet in basic solution. Red wines naturally contain these same pigments.
Blueberries change from blue (around pH 2.8-3.2) to red in a strongly acidic solution.
Cherries and cherry juice is bright red in acidic solution but purple to blue in basic solution.
Curry powder and tumeric are spices that contain a bright yellow pigment called curcumin (which is not an anthocyanin). It turns from yellow at pH 7.4 to red at pH 8.6.
Delphinium petals contain an anthocyanin called delphinin, which changes from bluish red in acid to blue to violet in basic solution.
Geranium petals contain pelargonin, an anthocyanin which changes from orange-red in acid solution to bluish in basic solution.
Horsechestnut leaves can be ground with alcohol to extract esculin, a fluorescent dye. Esculin changes from colorless at pH 1.5 to fluorescent blue at pH 2. Shine a black (ultraviolet) light on the indicator to get the full effect.
Morning glories contain an anthocyanin called "heavenly blue anthocyanin" which changes from purplish red at pH 6.6 to blue at pH 7.7.
Onion is an olfactory indicator. The onion odor isn't detectable in strongly basic solutions. Red onion can act as a visual indicator at the same time. It changes from pale red in acid solution to green in basic solution.
Pansy petals
Petunia petals contain petunin, an anthocyanin that changes from reddish purple in acid to violet in basic solution.
Poison primrose (Primula sinensis) has both orange and blue flowers. The orange flowers contain a mixture of pelargonins (the same type of pigment found in geraniums). The blue flowers contain malvin (similar to the pigment in blue grapes), which turns from red to purple as a solution changes from acidic to basic.
Poppy flower petals
Purple peonies contain peonin, which changes from reddish purple or magenta in acid solution to deep purple in basic solution.
Red radish
Rose petals contain the oxonium salt of cyanin, and they turn blue in basic solution. (The potassium or calcium salt of the same pigment makes cornflowers blue!)
Thyme (extract in alcohol)
Tulip petals
Vanilla extract, like onion, is an olfactory indicator. The vanilla odor isn't detectable in strongly basic solution because vanillin exists in ionic form at high pH.
Violet petals

Sunday, October 20, 2013

BRCA2 on "Good Things Utah"

Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Reading were so great to come on "Good Things Utah" with me to help share information about Breast surveillance, Breast Reconstruction and my BRCA2 experience.  They are wonderful, skilled physicians and I am so grateful that they helped me with my surgeries!

You can read more about my BRCA2 experience at http://JakoPisek.blogspot.com.


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