Monday, February 28, 2011

Science Experiment: Taste Gene Lab

This picture is just not behaving for me! No matter what I do I can't make it turn. Oh well. I hope you don't get a crick in your neck reading the label.

At our homeschool we are just not that into science experiments. We watch the videos, but rarely do the experiments ourselves. But today our AOP Monarch (6th Grade) Science 604: Molecular Genetics Unit had an experiment even this homeschool mom could handle: Taste Gene Lab.

We tested whether we had a dominant or recessive gene for the chemical phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) by chewing PTC taste paper strips.

These were our instructions (copied from our lesson):

First, be sure you are located near a trash can lined with a plastic bag.

2. Chew one of the taste strips of PTC. It must be moistened with saliva. To some people, the PTC tastes very nasty; to others, it is tasteless.

3. Spit out the taste strip after you have chewed it. Do not swallow the paper.

4. Note your taste reaction by clicking on the Report button below. The lifesaver mint is to remove any unpleasant taste from your mouth.

  • Describe your reaction to PTC. If you can taste PTC, indicate its flavor.
  • Do you have a dominant gene or recessive gene for tasting PTC?
  • If you can taste PTC, remember you may be TT or Tt.

We had a friend and his mom join our experiment. Mr. A went first, and definitely has the dominant gene. So does Mr. D. Missy made faces before the PTC paper strip went in her mouth, but then found out it had no taste: she has the recessive gene! When it was Mr. T's turn we concluded he has the weird (& dominant) gene, as he said: "Mmm.... It's bitter and delicious!" :)

Our friend A was next, and he has the recessive gene: the PTC paper strip had no taste for him. Little Miss spat our her PTC paper strip immediately and reached for the mints - another dominant gene. A's mom, Sennie & The Captain all had the dominant gene also, yuck!!!

Our conclusion was, based on The Punnet Square, that The Captain and Sennie both must have the hybrid dominant gene in order for three of our (biological) children to have the dominant gene, and one to have the recessive gene.

Very interesting stuff! I think everyone enjoyed this experiment. If anyone would like to try it, I have about 80 more strips I can mail to anyone who would like try it. Just leave me a comment with your email info or link.

I am linking this post to Hip Homeschool Hop, won't you join us there, also?

Hip Homeschool Hop Button


Kiitos Soile-kääntäjäni, tässä käännös:

Me emme pahemmin välitä tieteellisistä kokeista kotikoulussamme. Me katsomme videot, mutta harvoin teemme itse mitään kokeita. Mutta tänään kotikouluohjelmassamme oli koe, jonka jopa tämä kotikoulu-äiti pystyi hoitamaan: Maku-geeni testi.

Me testasimme olisiko meillä vallitseva vai väistyvä geeni fenyylitiokarbamidi (PTC) kemikaalille, pureskelemalla PTC:n makuisia paperiliuskoja.

Nämä olivat oppitunnin ohjeet (kopioituna meidän oppitunnilta):

1. Ensiksi, ole lähellä muovipussilla vuorattua roskista (!)

2. Pureskele yhtä PTC:n makuista liuskaa. Sen on kostuttava syljestä. Jotkut ihmiset maistavat PTC:n hyvin pahana makuna; toisille se on mauton.

3. Sylje pois makuliuska pureskelun jälkeen. Älä niele paperia.

4. Ilmoita makureaktiosi “klikkaamalla” alla olevaa “Ilmoitus” painiketta. Mintun tarkoitus on poistaa mahdollinen epämiellyttävä maku suusta.
Kuvaa reaktiosi PTC:lle. Jos maistat PTC:n, kuvaile sen maku.
Onko sinulla vallitseva vai väistyvä geeni PTC:n maistamiselle?
Jos voit maistaa PTC:n, muista että voit olla TT tai Tt. (Tarkoittaa että on perinyt molemmilta, tai vain yhdeltä vanhemmalta.)

Meidän ystävä, ja tämän äiti ottivat myös osaa testiin. Mr A kokeili ensin, ja hänellä on ehdottomasti vallitseva geeni. Kuten myös Mr D:llä. Missy irvisteli ennen kuin maistoi PTC luiskaa, mutta huomasi sen olevan mauton: hänellä on väistyvä geeni! Kun oli Mr T:n vuoro tulimme siihen tulokseen että hänellä on outo (ja vallitseva) geeni, koska hän sanoi: ”Mmm... Se on hapan ja herkullinen” =)

Ystävämme A oli seuraavana vuorossa; ja hänellä on väistyvä geeni: PTC paperiliuska oli hänelle mauton. Little Miss sylki välittömästi PTC paperiliuskansa ja ojensi kätensä kohti minttuja – jälleen vallitseva geeni. A:n äidillä, Senniellä ja The Captainilla oli myös kaikilla vallitseva geeni, yäk!!!

Päätelmämme on, että The Captain ja Sennie ovat molemmat vallitsevan geenin kantajia (Tt molemmilla), koska kolmella meidän (biologisista) lapsista on vallitseva geeni, ja yhdellä on väistyvä geeni.

Hyvin mielenkiintoista! Luulen, että kaikki nauttivat tästä testistä. Minulla on noin 80 paperiliuskaa jäljellä, ja jos joku haluaa kokeilla tätä, niin voin postittaa niitä. Jätä minulle mailiosoite kommenttiin.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day With Friends/Päivä ystävien seurassa

Yesterday we had a fantastic day with friends, snowmobiling in the woods of New Hampshire, then sharing dinner together. All in all eighteen people. With Friday's new snow we were all excited to head out.

Eleven sleds traveling together. At intersections making sure the sled behind you is still following you. When meeting people going the opposite way signaling to them with your left hand fingers how many sleds are behind you.

A family picture! It was quite breezy on top of the mountain, hence the helmets on most of us. It was fun to go out with friends, and all our kids. Our kids don't always want to snowmobile, so at any given trip we might have no kids, some kids or all the kids. Yesterday wasn't too cold, and it might have been the last snowmobile trip of the season, so we encouraged everybody to go.

It was a beautiful day! We love exploring the woods, lakes and mountain tops. The scenery is breathtaking, and zipping on snowmobile trails a lot of fun.

Although, occasionally we need to navigate trickier spots. Somebody may or may not have taken a little swim here yesterday. (No little snowmobilers were harmed in the making of this blog post.)

Someone took a nap, of course. This is what The Captain says: "That happens when a little girl gets lulled asleep by the purring of a 1100cc engine. It happens every time we go snowmobiling at least once."

Aahh, finished the day with a delicious meal and sweet fellowship. What a great day!

So overall our Saturday trip: Thumbs up from The Captain and Little Miss (and everybody else, too)!!

I'm linking this post to Stephanie's Sunday Snapshot at Ni Hao Y'All.

Ni Hao Yall


Eilen vietimme koko päivän ensin moottorikelkkaillen ystäviemme kanssa New Hampshiren metsissä, sitten istuen iltaa ystäviemme kotona. Kaiken kaikkiaan meitä oli kahdeksantoista ihmistä, ja moottorikelkkaladuilla yksitoista kelkkaa. Olimme aika mahtava karavaani :)

Perjantain lumimyrskyn jälkeen metsissä, vuorenhuipulla ja järvillä riitti lunta. Tänä aamuna sitä tuli lisää ja huomiselle on luvattu myös, joten ehkä tämä ei ollut viimeinen moottorikelkkareissumme tältä talvelta, niin kuin eilen ajattelimme.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Homemade Chinese Dumplings

Our family loves dumplings! When we have Chinese food, about half of the order is fried dumplings. Dipping them in ginger soy sauce is heaven on earth!

We were inspired by Kristi at Fireworks and Fireflies to try making our own. We are a little late for Chinese New Year, but they were just as delicious today!

We made our own dough by adding 2 cups of boiling water to a well in a bowl of four cups of flour, and mixing it with a spoon. We let the mixed and then kneaded dough rest 30 minutes under a towel while we did the prep work.

There was prep work for mom (we don't have a great history with kids and knives, and with a blizzard hitting New England again, didn't want to take a trip to the ER for stitches): chopping four scallions, four cabbage leaves and about an inch of fresh ginger.

Mr. A then mixed them with one pound of ground pork, two tablespoons of cornstarch, two tablespoons of soy sauce, a teaspoon of salt, and two teaspoons of sesame oil.

After the dough had rested, we divided and shaped it into four cylinders, then cut each cylinder into 12 pieces. Each one of these little pieces were then shaped into ball shape, and flattened to about four inch sized round shapes with edges slightly thinner than the middle. We tried to keep the dough (and round shapes) covered with a dampened kitchen towel.

We discovered putting the dumplings together was quite challenging. Mom did not have the patience for it, so Missy took over (she is amazing!!!). I would put about a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the round shaped dough, then Missy folded the dumpling and sealed it with a moistened cold water. No matter how hard we tried, they did not look like the restaurant ones.

However, after pan-frying them the dumplings didn't look too bad, and tasted almost as good as the restaurant ones. Missy, Mr. A and Little Miss talk about what we need to do differently next time (like don't let the uncooked dumplings touch each other on the platter or they'll stick together and fall apart when trying to get them separated). Mom thinks it's going to take a while to forget how time consuming and messy making the dumplings were...

Out of the dozens of dumplings we made, we might have three left. So I guess they were definitely a hit :) We found the recipe here and doubled it. We made the dipping sauce from the recipe also, but ended up liking our own ginger-flavored soy sauce with chives better.

Sooo, if you have a few hours to spare, all the ingredients above, and didn't care if flour ended up covering your kitchen floor, your work surface, clothes, hair, and you were ready to tackle a mountain of dishes, I'd say try making your own dumplings. Well worth the effort :)


- My new Verizon iPhone arrived yesterday. I love it! We switched from AT&T to get better coverage, but my real excitement comes from the camera phone :) I love my Nikon, but like carrying a small camera with me in my purse or pocket (you know, for blogging purposes!). My old iPhone camera was ok, but it had it's limitations. This photo was taken with the iPhone 4, and I only edited to make it smaller and to add the watermark. I took the photo through a window too, and I think it still turned out great! And a side not here: to those who know me in real life too: I have a new cell phone number, so if you need it, let me know :)

- We are having a snow day today!! Preschool was canceled, so we declared a Pajama Day. Four of the kiddos have already been playing in the snow (pajamas under their snow gear, of course). We have been predicted seven to thirteen inches of snow, with possible freezing rain. The snow we welcome, the freezing rain notsomuch.

- Yesterday Mr. D set his alarm clock to seven, woke up, but fell back to sleep, and struggled through school again. This morning he woke up at seven, and started his school work right away. By 10 am he had four out of his 5 lessons done, including a Math Quiz and a History Test, and he got A 100% from everything! And this was all done independently!!
After his hot chocolate we'll finish his school day by studying Science together. I'm so excited we've been able to find ways to make homeschool work smoother for him (Thank You, God!!!)

- Little Miss' 5th (!!!!!) Birthday is coming up. I asked her this morning if she had any Birthday gift wishes. Oh boy. Did she ever! I was so not prepared for this:
* An American Girl Doll - she already has two
* Clothes for the doll - I think we need to find the box of clothes set aside during packing for the move
* Honey (a pet dog from AG doll)
* Computer (Specifically an MacBook Air) - no comments here
* A Nerf Gun - a big one, she says, can anyone say "three big brothers"???
* A real vacuum cleaner - not a bad idea, not a bad idea...
* Play kitchen or bakery, with accessories and a shopping cart - at age 5 maybe not anymore?
* Berenstain Bears DVD - this we can do :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


- Sain eilen uuden iPhonen. Syy vaihtoon oli parempi kuuluvuus eri kantajan (??) kautta, mutta eniten olin innoissani iPhone 4-puhelimen kamerasta. En aina kanna rakasta Nikon-kameraani mukanani, ja tämä pieni puhelinkamera on loistava! Yllä oleva kuva on otettu sillä ikkunan läpi. Ainoa muokkaus kuvassa on vesileiman lisääminen ja kuvan pienentäminen. Muutenkin organisoin meidän arjen iPhonen avulla, kuinka pärjäsinkään ennen sitä? :) Niin, ja jos kukaan tarvitsee uutta kännykkänumeroani, laittakaa viestiä!

- Heräsimme tänään taas lumiseen maailmaan! Pikkuneidin kerho peruttu (lumen takia), joten julistimme pyjamapäivän, ja lapsisakki pisti talvikamppeet yöpaitojen päälle, ja lähtivät ulos leikkimään. Meille on luvattu 18-33 cm lunta tänään, mahdollisesti myös jäistä vesisadetta. Antaa sataa lunta vain, mutta ei kiitos jäiselle vesisateelle!

- Eilen D-poikani heräsi aikaisin, mutta nukahti uudelleen, ja takkusi taas koulupäivän läpi (katso edellistä postausta). Tänään hän yritti uudelleen, ja heräsi ja aloitti koulupäivänsä klo 7. Kymmeneen mennessä hän oli itsenäisesti saanut neljä viidestä oppitunnista tehtyä, ja kaksi niistä oli kokeita! Ja täydet pisteet kaikista.. Kaakaokupillisen jälkeen aiomme yhdessä tehdä tiedetunnin. Nämä aikaiset aamut toimivat hänelle parhaiten, olen niin kiitollinen (Taivaan Isälle) että olemme löytäneet sopivia keinoja koulutyön sujumiseen!

- Pikkuneidin 5-vuotissynttärit ovat tulossa. Kysyin häneltä onko hänellä lahjatoiveita. Yllä lista englanniksi - se olikin aika yllättäen aika hurja: American Girl-nukeista (ja kamasta) omaan tietokoneeseen, sekä isoon Nerf-pyssyyn (kuin veljillä!). Onneksi listalta löytyi myös lasten dvd, sen ainakin voimme antaa :-D

Oikein hyvää viikonloppua kaikille lukijoilleni Mothership-blogilaisilta :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Real Homeschooling Day/Kotikoulupäivä

First confession of this blog post: Despite having a lot that needed to be done today, we had a late start. Our master bathroom shower is (still) out of commission, so my mornings start with a bath. I {heart} my bathtub. It is impossible so hard to take a quick bath in the morning. (And no, I didn't see a need to go use a different shower.)

Once I was out (no, there's no need to know what time that was), morning chores done, kids up and their morning chores done (oops, Mr. A above is still in jammies), I started to tackle the mountain of book keeping. While working I kept hearing little sounds from the Lego-room.

Second confession of this blog post: We don't have a formal dining room. We have a Lego-room. When we moved into this house we soon realized (while painfully stepping on Legos everywhere) with three boys, a Lego-room was much more important than a dining room. About seven years later, with our 12-year old boys, we still agree.

But anyway, I was trying to write something about those sounds coming from the Lego-room.

Mr. A apparently was multi-tasking: doing school AND playing organizing his Legos.

So I decided to do my rounds with the camera to show the different styles of school at our house.

Missy was found in bed, but at least she was doing school. We used to do homeschooling in pajamas all the time (less laundry for mom), but this year have tried to get in the habit of getting dressed in the morning, with an occasional pajama day thrown in. This morning I decided to let Missy finish school in her bed, as she came down with a migraine last night.

Mr. D has had a rough time staying motivated and getting through his work independently this year. Every lesson is taking a looooooong time to finish. Even getting started is painful. He finally opened up his computer and AOP Monarch lessons at 10:30 am. He wanted to go do school on his bed, or at least the couch, but mean mom wouldn't let him.

This is the same kid who last year would tell me at breakfast he had gotten up at 6 am and was already done with school. I suggested today he might want to set his alarm tomorrow morning to see if those early morning hours are his best time to do school. Let's see how tomorrow morning goes!!

Mr. D and I worked together all day. He was able to finish Language Arts and Math on his own, as long as I kept reminding him to stay focused. During these two lessons I furiously worked on bookkeeping. When Mr. D was ready for History & Geography and Science, I set my work aside and we learned about Southern African countries and taste buds, dominant and recessive genes together.

Third confession of this blog post:
I enjoyed it. He enjoyed it. We are planning to learn together tomorrow too. See, I am not really a homeschool mom by heart. We are homeschooling because it fits our current nomadic lifestyle. Enjoying doing lessons together was a big surprise. I just wish there were more hours in the day, as I can't always set my work aside to help Mr. D.

Yet more homeschooling differences: Mr. T chooses to do his schoolwork The Night Before. Yup! First thing for me in the mornings is to check his schoolwork from the night before. Every night as I kiss the kids good night and we say our prayers, Mr. T is working on his school work. Then he enjoys sleeping in a bit longer in the mornings, although mean mom strikes again, and wakes him up at 9-something.

While the rest of us do school, Mr. T completes his morning chores and his house chores. After that he gets 'free' computer time for 1.5 hrs. And when that is done (and he's been outside for awhile), he often asks me for extra chores to earn more computer minutes. Today he spent maybe 45 minutes with Little Miss, working on preschool books. Little Miss has been under the weather and stayed home today from preschool.

Now today was a really good day. Everyone did a full day of school, everyone got their chores done, and everyone spent a while outside too. I got the bookkeeping done, which was huge. But even on a good day, something gets neglected.

Fourth confession of this blog post: We had waffles for dinner. By the time I got my work done it was late, and I was tired. Missy asked for waffles, and so ended up having Chocolate Chip Waffles for dinner. As the Captain was enjoying his, and thanking me for making them, I decided to stop the guilty sounds of *No Vegetables!?* and *Chocolate For Dinner!?* coming from my head, and just enjoy our waffle dinner.

Fifth confession of this blog post: The laundry. In a family of seven, skipping a day in the laundry room is a bad idea. Skipping two days, and there may be dire consequences (or no clean underwear). Well, this was Day Two Of No Laundry Done. Let's not go into details on that one.

As I write this, the washing machine is finally on. I think there will be clean clothes for tomorrow's wellness check-ups. Whew.

Sixth confession of this blog post: In order to write this blog post, we are skipping Little Miss' bath. Again. Let's move on.

So, even though we didn't get everything done today, we had a good day. I'm happy with it.

I'm ending this blog post with this cute pic: all three boys playing together. Mr. T rarely joins his brothers in Lego playing (he's our sports dude), so when he does, Lego time turns into extra special fun for all of them. And the boys are awesome at tolerating including Little Miss in their activities.


Ei kertakaikkiaan. Aivot eivät kykene kääntämään enää. Tässä postaus ihan oikeasta kotikoulupäivästä. Onnistuneesta sellaisesta (sain kirjanpitotyöt tehtyä myös), vaikkei ihan kaikkea saatukaan tehtyä. Päivälliseksi söimme vohveleita, unohdettu pyykki alkoi juuri vasta pyörimään. Mutta hyvä päivä silti. Yksi pojista teki koulutehtävät jo edellisenä iltana, toinen aamulla Lego-leikkiensä ohella. Yksi kanssani kirjanpitotöiden ohella, tytär sängyssään.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yes, We Are Nutty/Kyllä, olemme kahjoja

The collage above is from a few weeks back. I meant to blog about our sauna night, but then I chickened out. Yes, I was concerned someone would finally realize question my insanity, and send someone out to check on the well-being of our children.

But I decided to be brave and show how nutty we truly are. Yes, those are our children. Yes, that is real snow. Yes, they are wearing their bathing suits and rolling in the snow. I don't see Missy in these pics, but she enjoys a good roll in the snow, also. So does mom, but there just aren't going to be any photos of mom in a bathing suit.

Not so sure if the Captain has had his turn, but he used to be part of the Polarbear Club taking a dip in the ocean in Connecticut even in the wintertime. 5ennie grew up having her dad break the ice on the lake for a swim in Finland, but we did have a sauna to run into afterward. The Captain... Maybe running into a vehicle??

Definitely a Match Made In Heaven for us. {True Love}

Anyway. We are a nutty family. New Englanders (& a Finn & a Chinese girl) turned into Floridians, who really love the snow. Really do.

PS. One of the reasons for making this blog post is a major Blogger Fail: after our vacation we hit the ground running - the boys have had Archery, the big kids have had Homeschool Gym-time and sledding with friends, and there are no photos. I am trying to juggle everything, but this week is just not running smoothly. We are behind on everything. And tomorrow I need to sit down with a mountain of bookkeeping. And Little Miss is sick. Maybe once the bookkeeping is taken care of, we need a mental day (even though we just had a vacation). At least we had a delightful visit from cousins and second cousins on Monday, and we get to have Grandpa here for a few days.

And maybe another sauna night is in order??

I'm linking this post to Hip Homeschool Hop Bloghop, check out other the other participating bloggers, also!

Hip Homeschool Hop Button


Nämä sauna-ja lumikuvat ovat otettu muutama viikko sitten, mutten ole uskaltanut laittaa niitä nettiin, nämä amerikkalaiset lukijani saattavat kauhistua :) Te suomalaiset lukijat ehkä vain nauratte meidän uikkareillemme, hehee.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Maine Points/Mainen osia

Our wonderful vacation is nearing the end. Tomorrow morning we pack up and head home. It has been a full and fun week.

We have enjoyed beautiful Maine scenery, discovered by snowmobiling.

One day of great skiing for the big kids on Saddleback Mountain. And one awesome sledding trip.

Lots of yummy food & special time with Grandma & Grandpa!!

Haircuts for the girls & fun time with friends!!

Games, games and games! (Check out our favorites here.) Today alone, we've played multiple rounds of Life, Mancala, Trouble, Go Fish & Sequence. And ping pong.

There was also a serious snowball fight Dads vs. Boys. Both sides claims they won.

As the fight ended and only one of the boys stayed outside, the ice from the cabin roof started falling. The first chunk fell right next to Mr. D. During dinner more chunks fell off the roof right outside the cabin door. The picture doesn't do justice - these chunks were large enough to do serious damage. We bowed our heads and thanked God for protecting us...

We have a lot to be thankful for.

I'm linking this post again to Sunday Snapshot.

Ni Hao Yall


Mahtava lomaviikkomme alkaa olla loppumassa. Huomenaamulla pakkaamme kamamme ja suuntaamme kotia kohti. Olemme nauttineet Mainen kauniista maisemista moottorikelkkareissuillamme. Yhtenä päivänä isot lapset kävivät laskettelemassa, ja toisena päivänä pojat menivät pulkkamäkeen. Olemme syöneet paljon hyvää ruokaa, viettäneet aikaa isovanhempien ja ystävien kanssa. Tytöt saivat uudet kampaukset. Olemme pelanneet paljon lempipelejämme, niin sisällä kuin ulkona. Ja tänään laitoimme kädet ristiin ja kiitimme Taivaan Isää suojelusenkeleistä kun suuret jäälohkareet putosivat vuokramökkimme katolta alas - juuri sinne, missä pojat ja isät olivat juuri leikkineet lumisotaa...

Paljon on syytä kiitollisuuteen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sledding At Mingo Springs Golf Course/Pulkkamäessä

We had a beautiful, sunny vacation day (we brought our homeschool work, but none have been done) here in Northern Maine today! At first we were all going to go snowmobiling, but as Grandpa opened the outside door we checked we soon realized the temperatures were a bit too Arctic for everyone, especially the little ones. A small group of us took a short ride, but it really was too cold to enjoy: 4F, but with the wind chill on snowmobiles it probably was closer to negative 40F!!

(Too bad I don't have any pictures of our Michelin Man outfits :)

After lunch our brave boys decided to face the elements, and we took a drive to Mingo Springs Golf Course for some serious sledding.

The way up was long, deep and grueling...

... but worth it. So worth it. {Or so I was told.}

{Some of us actually stayed very close to the warmth of the car...}

Thank you, Grandpa, for going with the boys while The Captain, Little Miss and I ran to the Arctic Cat shop :) I think they really enjoyed themselves!!

I am linking this post to other homeschool blog posts at Hip Homeschool Hop!

Hip Homeschool Hop Button


Tänään oli kylmä päivä. -15C astetta tuntui paljon jäätävämmältä tuulen ja viiman kanssa, etenkin moottorikelkkojen päällä. Meistä lähti osa pienelle moottorikelkkareissulle, mutta jouduimme kääntymään ympäri ennen kuin pääsimme perille (vuorenhuipulle), meidän oli ihan liian kylmä.

Poikajoukkomme kuitenkin halusi lähteä pulkkamäkeen lounaan jälkeen, ja niin ajoimme paikalliselle golf-kentälle, mistä löytyi pitkiä mäkiä (ja syviä lumihankia). Grandpa ja pojat viettivät oikein hytisevän riemullisen tunnin ennen kuin pelastimme heidät tulemalla takaisin moottorikelkkaliikkeestä :)