Light and Fluffy Crinkle Cookies

I thought today I would switch things up a bit and do a sweet treat. This light and fluffy crinkle cookies are easy to make and are delicious. I made two batches, one for us and one for our neighbors. I like making these cookies to take to BBQ’s or other events that I need to bring a dessert item.

Finished cookies

Ingredients

What you need

1 Box Super Moist Cake Mix Any Flavor – I used Lemon

1 Tub Whipped Topping – thawed

1 Egg

Powdered sugar – in small bowl

  1. Mix the cake mix, tub of whipped topping, and egg together. Make sure to thoroughly mix in the cake mix.
  2. Roll dough into balls.
  3. Roll each ball in the powdered sugar.
  4. Place sugar coated dough balls on cookie sheet.
  5. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
  6. Cool completely before serving.
Mix completely
Dough ball into powdered sugar
Covered in powdered sugar
Place on cookie sheets

And there you go. Powdering the dough can get a bit messy but it’s not too bad.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

As always, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

Cookie goodness

Writing Exercise – Point of View

For today’s writing post I thought we’d visit our good friend , Writing Exercise. Writing exercises are a good way to get your brain working and stretching. They give you an opportunity to just write or to work on a writing skill you feel you need more practice on. As writers, we all need to practice.

Newman helping with the writing process

Today’s writing exercise is on point of view.

Set the scene – Depending on whose eyes (point of view) a scene is viewed through, they will see things very differently. An adult sees things differently than a child. A man sees things differently than a woman.

With all of us staying inside to flatten the curve I though this point of view exercise was fitting.

Select a room and describe it as a sanctuary. Then describe the same room as a prison.

I think we can all relate to this right now. Good luck and have fun.

As always, follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

Chemistry 101 – Acid or Base

I’ve pulled another STEM activity out of my lesson plan files for you this week. This activity gives kids hands on experience in identifying acids and bases. This is my full lesson plan for this class so please excuse the treachery wording. I unfortunately don’t have access to any of the photos that go with this plan. I hope you enjoy doing this lesson and activity.

Chemistry

Materials to Make Indicator Solution

  • Head of Red Cabbage
  • Kitchen Knife
  • Bowl 
  • Hot Water
  • Container with a lid (I used a gallon juice container)
  • Strainer
  • Funnel

Materials for Experiment

  • Small Paper Cups or portion cups
  • Eye droppers
  • Lemon Juice
  • Water (tap, distilled or filtered)
  • Baking Soda
  • Saucers or small bowls (perfect world have three bowls per group)

Preparation (Adult to Prepare)

  1. Cut the head of cabbage into quarters and cut into strips with a kitchen knife.
  2. Pour hot water over the shredded cabbage, push the cabbage down with your hands, or spoon, ensuring it is covered in water. I used a kettle to heat the water.
  3. Let stand for three hours.
  4. The chemicals that color the cabbage will dissolve, turning the water purple.
  5. Strain the purple liquid into a gallon juice container, or other storage container, let cool in the refrigerator with no lid. Once cooled place a lid on the container.
  6. Refrigerate the liquid when not in use.

Activity Outcome

To identify liquids as an acid or a base using an indicator solution.

Experiment Setup 

Fill up each small bowl or plastic cup with the following items. Each group will get one of each.

Cabbage Juice

Lemon Juice

Baking Soda, one spoon full

Water (tap, distilled, or filtered)

Ensure you prep enough for each group.

Ensure all containers / equipment are clean and dry.

Pre-Experiment

What is chemistry? (Give students an opportunity to answer)

  • Chemistry is the branch of science that deals with the identification of substances which matter is composed.
  • The investigation of their properties and the ways in which they interact, combine and change, and the use of these properties to form new substances.

What are the scientist called who study chemistry? (Give students the opportunity to answer)

  • Chemists 

What is an acid and a base? (Give students an opportunity to answer)

  • An acid or acidic solution has a high concentration of hydrogen ions, greater than pure water.
  • A base or basic solution has a low hydrogen concentration, less than pure water.
  • And just for fun, pure water is neutral. Which means it is neither an acid or a base.
  • Chemists use the pH scale to measure how acidic or basic a liquid is. The scale measures values from zero to fourteen. 
  • Acids are found from seven to fourteen.
  • Bases are found from zero to seven.
  • Distilled water is a seven, which means it is neutral.

Today we are going to determine if certain liquids are an acid or a base. 

When chemists mix different chemicals or liquids together the liquids may change color. Through this color change chemist can learn more about the content of different liquids. They call the solution that changes color the indicator. We will be using an indicator today made out of cabbage juice.

Hold up the container  for the students to see. Give a brief description on how you made the indicator solution.

Experiment

Each group will receive small cups containing:

Cabbage Juice, lemon juice, plain  water and a spoonful of baking soda.

One eye dropper

Saucer, short plastic cup or small bowl

Part One

  • Have one student in the group drip a few drops of cabbage juice onto the saucer.
  • Then have the next student add a few drops of lemon juice.
  • The indicator will turn red, or pinkish.
  • The lemon juice contains citric acid, and the chemical in the cabbage juice reacts with the acid turning it red.
  • Most liquids that taste sour are acids, but chemists can’t taste liquids by tasting them. 
  • Why do you think that is? (Give students an opportunity to answer)

Some liquids are poisonous.

Part Two

  • Have a student, from each group,  wash out their saucer.
  • Have a student mix the water and baking soda together.
  • Have another student drip a few drops of the cabbage juice into the saucer and then add a little bit of the baking soda solution.
  • This time the indicator will turn green.
  • The baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a base. Which is the opposite of an acid.

Part Three

  • Wash the saucer again.
  • Wash out the eye dropper.
  • Now place some water (tap or distilled) in the saucer.
  • Have a student drip a few drops of the cabbage juice into the water. What happens? The indicator doesn’t change color because water is neither an acid or a base, but neutral.

Additional liquids you can test, if so desired.

  • Strong Tea
  • Milk
  • Orange Juice
  • Ginger Ale

Conclusion:

Once your students have completed these experiments they will understand the difference between an acid and a base, what Chemists do and general chemistry terminology. 

Clean up

Depending on age and maturity, select a helper or two to help with clean up.

  • Collect all the containers
  • Carefully pour out the remaining liquids
  • Clean containers thoroughly , air dry if possible, if not dry by using a single use paper towel. This reduces the chance of contaminants.

As always, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

Insta Pot BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Happy Friday Everyone! I hope you all have had a good week. Here in Oregon we have had sun all week so it’s been easier to get out in to the yard or take a walk during our social distancing.

Here is my recipe for BBQ Pulled Pork for the Insta pot. It’s a family favorite. My husband was upset the first time I made it because I used a can of his Dr.Pepper. He’s from Texas and Dr. Pepper is there official drink. But he loved the flavor of the pork with it so now he’s willing to sacrifice a can of Dr.Pepper to the cause.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches  Insta pot Recipe

Ingredients

1-2 pound Pork loin (I’ve also used 2- 1.5 pound pork loins and comes out great)

1 can Dr.Pepper

2 ½ cups BBQ Sauce (I use Sweet Baby Rays)

⅓ cup Brown Sugar

4 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Onion Powder

Rolls for Sandwiches

  1. Place pork and soda in pot
  2. In medium bowl mix – 2 cups BBQ sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  3. Pour mixture over pork.
  4. Set the insta pot to manual for 45 minutes.
  5. Natural release for 10 minutes, then quick release.
  6. Shred meat in the pot. Once shredded remove pork to a serving dish.
  7. Add the remaining ½ cup of BBQ sauce to the meat. My family likes it saucy so I add more. I also put BBQ sauce on the table.
  8. Assemble sandwich.
Pork and Dr.Pepper in Insta Pot
BBQ Sauce Mixture

Note: To help with the carb count on this meal I use a low carb tortilla and make a wrap.

BBQ Pulled Pork

Let me know how you liked the recipe. We always have left overs so there is always more for lunch the next day.

As always, please follow me on Instagram@beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

Styles of Poetry

Poetry in Pink Flowers

There are a lot of different styles of poetry in the world. In celebration of Poetry month here are some short descriptions of just a handful of poetry styles. Maybe you’ll try your hand at writing one.

Centro Poem – The word means patchwork in Latin and refers to a poem placed together from lines taken from other poems, in other words, a collage poem. From the beginning, poets have quoted other poets, stolen phrases and lines and reworked them into their own poems.

Some poets make small changes in the lines they appropriate for a cento, while others adopt the lines without amendment. Usually a cento will use no more than one line from each source poem. The sources may be poems of a single poet or many poets, or even many different languages.

Ghazal Poem – a ghazal is a short lyric poem composed of a series of about 5 to 15 couplets, each of which stands independently on its own as a poetic thought, but linked through a rhyme scheme established in both lines of the first couplet and continued in the second line of each following pair of lines. The meter is not strictly determined, but the lines of the couplets must be of equal length. Themes usually are connected to romantic love and longing, and the closing signature couplet often includes the poet’s name or an allusion to it.

Haiku – a haiku is an unrhymed, syllabic form adopted from the Japanese. The poem is made up of three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Because it is so brief, a haiku is necessarily imagistic, concrete and pithy, capturing a single moment in a very few words.

Since the form has been brought into English from a language written in characters, in which haiku appears on a single line, many poets writing haiku in English are flexible about the syllable and line counts, focusing more on the brevity, condensed form and Zen attitude of haiku.

Limerick – The limerick, which gets its name from a town in Ireland, is a five-line joke of a poem.

The standard form of a limerick is a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth having eight or nine syllables and rhyming with one another, and the third and fourth having five or six and rhyming separately. 

The first line traditionally introduces a person and a place, with the place appearing at the end of the first line and establishing the rhyme scheme for the second and fifth lines. In early limericks, the last line was often essentially a repeat of the first line, although this is no longer customary.

Shadorma – The Shadorma originated in Spain and is made up of a stanza of six lines with no set rhyme scheme. It is a syllabic poem with meter of 3/5/3/3/7/5. It can have many stanzas, as long as each follows the meter.

Triolet – The triolet is a very brief, tightly rhymed poem that takes part of its structure from the repetition of entire lines. The triolet is composed in eight lines.

1st – line A

2nd – line B

3rd – line a (rhymes with A)

4th – line A (entire first line repeated)

5th – line a (rhymes with A)

6th – line b (rhymes with B)

7th – line A (entire 1st line repeated)

8th – line B (entire 2nd line repeated)

Triolets were originally written in French of the Middle Ages.

I hope you enjoyed this fun and informative run down of a few poetry styles.

As always, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurkmarshall

Until next time.

Cross Linking STEM Activity Slime

This is another one of my students favorite Chemistry classes, making slime.

Slime

Cross Linking, The Science Behind  Slime 

What’s the science behind the slime? The borate ions in the starch (borax powder or boric acid) mixes with the PVA (polyvinyl-acetate) glue and forms this cool stretchy substance. 

This is called cross linking.

The glue is a polymer and is made up of long, repeating, and identical strands or molecules. These molecules will flow past one another keeping the glue in a liquid state.

The addition of water is important to this process. Think about when you leave a gob of glue out, and you find it hard and rubbery the next day.

When you add the borate ions to the mixture, it starts to connect these long strands together. They begin to tangle and mix until the substance is less like the liquid you started with and is thicker and rubberier like slime.

This is my favorite slime recipe. The saline solution makes a nice smooth slime and if kids accidentally get some in their eye it wont hurt them.

How to make Saline Solution Slime

½ Cup White Glue

1 Tablespoon Saline Solution {contact solution}

½ Cup Water

½ teaspoons Baking Soda

Food Coloring

Glitter

Bowl, Measuring Cups, Spoon

Sandwich ziplock bags or 5oz portion cups with lids

Experiment

 Measure 1/2 cup of glue and pour into your bowl. 

To that, add 1/2 cup of water and mix the two ingredients together.

Once the two are well mixed, it’s time to add color and glitter. Make sure to stir well.

The next two steps are important to the forming of the slime itself.

Add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the mixture and mix it in. This helps the slime firm up a bit more and create a solid.

Then you will add one tablespoon of saline solution to the whole mixture. Make sure that your saline solution contains both boric acid and sodium borate for the best slime activation.

Mix well.  You need to stir fast like you are trying to really whip up something. If it still feels loose, you can squirt a bit of solution into the bowl.

The slime will begin to form immediately thanks to the mixture of boric acid and sodium borate that is present in the saline solution. These two ingredients are cross linking agents that create your slime.

The final step is to knead your slime. Once the slime looks like it is pulling away from the sides and bottom of the bowl, it’s time to remove it from the bowl.

This is where you get to play with the slime. Have fun

Slime Fun

I hope you find this activity fun, my students definitely did.

As always, follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall for the latest .

Until next time.

Insta Pot Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken over rice

This is a flavor packed recipe. You can adjust the amount of marmalade to your families personal tastes. The first time I made this I put in 18 oz of marmalade and it made my families eyes cross from the orange flavor.

I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Orange Chicken Insta Pot

3 Chicken Breasts cubed

6-8 oz Orange Marmalade

¼ cup Soy Sauce

1 cup BBQ Sauce

Rice made according to the package.

What you’ll need.
Cubed chicken breast
  1. Select Saute and cook chicken for about 5 minutes or until chicken is white on all sides. Chicken does not need to be cooked all the way though. Cancel Saute. Note: chicken produces a lot of liquid. Remove excess liquid before adding additional ingredients. If you leave the liquid in your sauce it will be diluted.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  3. Cook on manual for 10 minutes.
  4. Quick Release.
  5. Serve over rice.

This is an easy and quick recipe I’m sure your family will enjoy.

Please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

Orange Chicken

April is Poetry Month

That’s right, April is Poetry month. Time to get your poetry on.

Usually for Poetry month I would suggest all the poetry reading events, slam poetry, open mic poetry nights your city has to offer. But with the current state of the world with social distancing all the places that traditionally hold these events are closed. Most libraries hold events also, so I was at a bit of a loss at what to suggest.

There are a lot of online opportunities to experience poetry and I invite you to search the webs to find these experiences.

Poetry means different things to different people and so there is not one poetry style I can suggest over another. But I do know how important reading and writing poetry is. There is a style of poetry for everyone. I encourage you during this time to explore reading and writing of poetry.

To help you start your poetry journey I invite you to check out two of my poetry books. Munchy Crunchy Poems is a book of poetry. You can probably guess by the title the poems are not serious but good hearted fun. The second book is Jump Start Your Poetry. This book is to help you start writing your own poetry. Both of these books are currently free on Smashwords until April 20th. So please click HERE to get your free copies or click on the book covers.

Enjoy your poetry journey.

As always, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall for daily fun.

Until next time.

Smashwords Author’s Give Back Sale

With everything that is going on in the world Smashwords author’s wanted to give back to their readers. As one of those author’s I wanted you all to know about.

From now until April 20th thousands of titles are deeply discounted or free on the site.

Please come on by and see all the titles that are available.

You can click HERE to be taken to my author page to see my titles included in the sale and then navigate around to find other books and authors you’ll enjoy. Or click on the Smashwords logo below to get there.

Smashwords

Enjoy your book adventure.

As always, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

Some of my titles available on Smashwords

Making Something from Nothing Activity

During this time of no school and social distancing, I dove into my STEM enrichment materials to give you an activity that will get your kids creativity flowing and build something from nothing.

Below is my lesson plan I wrote for my enrichment. It is part of a bigger class Inventors Workshop so please excuse the treachery wording.

I hope your child enjoys this activity. My students did. There are a few pictures at the bottom of the post of students creating.

Objective: Thinking outside the box and creating from random items.

Materials Needed:

Bottle Glue

Stick Glue

Tape

Supplies for creating:

Scissors 

Supplies

Have items out on a table for the students to select from. Here are some ideas for items you can collect for this activity. This is a great opportunity to clean out all the extra “stuff” you have tucked away.

More supplies

Bottles, bottle tops, pipe cleaners, straws, chopsticks, paper plates, plastic spoons, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, construction paper, small cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, yarn, string etc. 

Preparation:

Set out all creating items on a table.

Last class we created cars, ships, and other creations out of a random shape. You stretched your brain to be creative. Now we’re going to stretch your imagination and creativity to create something from this table of random everyday items.

Give a quick tour of all the items on the table.

There are only a few rules to using the supplies on the table.

Think about what you want to create before you select your supplies.

Once you select items from the table, please respect them.

If you decide you don’t need an item please return it to the table. 

Now that you’ve seen the items and taken a moment to think about what you can create. I’ll dismiss a few of you at a time to select your items.

When class time is close to completing, give students the opportunity to share their creations.

Please share your childrens creations. I love how creative kids can be.

As always, to keep up on my daily happenings, please follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall

Until next time.

Student creation
More Creativity
Students being creative