Little Red Box

Have you ever seen those McDonald’s® commercials with the pretty, red Happy Meal™ box of hope? Well, I had always only seen it on TV and figured it was just for promotion. Throughout my childhood years and working with children I had never seen the red Happy Meal™ box in person. Until today. I learned that it exists. And it is quite cute:

Now, as a side note, my husband told me a story of a British girl, who started having breathing problems and loosing consciousnesses at 17 years old. The reason – she has been eating just about only McDonald’s® chicken nuggets since age 2. Apparently, her mother said that she couldn’t get her to eat anything else. Parents, get a grip. Children will not intentionally starve themselves. If they are truly hungry, they will eat. That does not mean that treating your child now and then is a bad thing. However, never have I refused what my parents set on the dinner table, I might not have always loved it, but I ate it. For their parenting food lessons I am grateful, because today I am a healthy adult, who takes a bite or two of unhealthy foods sometimes, but does not have to live through IV therapy.


Ripe in White

If you’ve ever grown strawberries or have happened to be in a strawberry field when the fruit is about to ripen you might have seen the new, white strawberries with red seeds. Those are my favorite kind to eat, not ripe yet, but still sweet and delicious. I can’t get them in the States, but I used to munch on them all the time when I was a child, to my grandpa’s biggest displeasure. Well, today I discovered that a slightly smaller fruit that looks exactly like my favorite strawberry, but in a ripe state exists – the pineberry. It’s a white strawberry tasting like pineapple, a hybrid growing in South America. Some sources say the fruit variety was cultivated by scientists, but I still wouldn’t mind trying it. Yum!


Pink Tradition

Oddly to some, I happen to love gum. It’s been that way since I can remember. The one kind of gum, however, that we, adults, know is not great for your teeth, but evokes those warm, fuzzy feelings from childhood laughter, is beyond doubt bubble gum. Did you ever wonder why it’s pink? Apparently, Walter Diemer, the inventor of gum, had solely that color when making the original recipe and the shade stuck. Even though today we have hundreds of choices, pink continues to prevail the market. As a side note to my daily discovery, Diemer’s obituary from The Chicago Tribune gives some pretty neat info about this free-spirited man.


Shopping Smarts

Today’s lesson is one of practicality. After getting married, I began couponing and even though I’m not nearly as skilled as the couponers on TV, I manage to save a bit.

This afternoon I happened to be buying Aleve – with an expiring coupon and at my husband’s request – and was considering purchasing the widely commercialized liquid gels. Well, I read the ingredients to almost everything I buy, if they are on the label. Post-checking the active ingredient amount and dosage prescriptions of the regular Aleve pills and the gel-like ones I discovered they are exactly the same. The only variation remained in the price with the gels going for $2 more at a 20 count less. Now, I understand the body absorbs different medication forms in different ways, but I think I will stick to the cheaper tablets per active ingredient. So I guess, I will keep reading the label, because today I noticed the same issue with shampoo, cereal and cocoa prices and I know I’ve seen hundreds more. As manufacturers say, consumers are exceedingly sensitive to price changes but quite unaware of quantity modifications.

Speaking of labels and meds, I also learned Excedrin is a blood-thinner since it contains aspirin, so just a heads up if you take it; read those labels and help your pocketbook and your body.

Round ‘n’ Round


After spinning, for most of us the world does not seem to stand still even though we stopped moving. What I never realized is that our eyes didn’t stop moving, either. Most children at my preschool love our blue, egg-shaped spinner chair. They will close the white front cover and have a friend or teacher spin them for as long as they can. Well, today, for the first time I saw their faces after the cover opened and my surprise mixed with uproarious laughter as their bright, wide eyes looked at me but their irises kept moving. Apparently, once you stop spinning, be that on a merry-go-round, in a circle or on a swivel chair, the fluid in the semicircular canals inside your ears is still in motion. It recognizes activity while it happens, but often lags after sudden movements or keeps sloshing after continuous rotation, hence making your eyes move rapidly back-and-forth after you have become stationary. Check out the YouTube video up top of a little girl, whose mom taped after her spinning in a chair. Fascinatingly funny.

Teaching the Lot


We all know how we learn. The problem presents itself when you try to teach someone else, who may or may not learn as you do. I have near photographic memory, so I write to remember. In my experience, however, not all my students are visual learners. Chances are even your children may not be the same type of learner as yourself. Today, I discovered a curriculum framework that provides equal opportunities for all students to learn, called Universal Design for Learning or UDL. While it has been around for a while, the principles have not been applied in mainstream grade-level curriculum. UDL could help teachers and parents educate children with different needs, skills, disabilities, talents and interests. The UDL materials are designed to help a wide range of learners with minimal adaptation, even with leaving the option for further customization. Spread the word about UDL to help our children and to save money and manpower. I know I will.

Return to Sender?

As many, I dislike forwarded mail quite a bit. Most of the things sent, I couldn’t care less about, be that pretty power points, documents filled with knowledge or some supposedly funny pics. Today, however, I learned quite a bit of fascinating stuff through a sent-on email. Did you know that the tallest merry-go-round is approximately 384 feet? Riding on that would be slightly terrifying. Also, apparently one restaurant in Zanzibar is located on a tiny cliff that you can get to by walking or only by boat depending on the tide. One of the coolest photos was of the cafe that sets the border line between Belgium and the Netherlands. You can check out the entire power point here.