Poppin’ Lesson

Have you ever written something that keeps giving you enjoyment or teaching you long after you’re done? Something that you LOVE but that you just know will not provide the same level of enjoyment or knowledge to anyone else? I had one such moment yesterday as I set up my classroom for our Friday Experiment. I waited all week with excitement, tried the experiment three times at home (just to be SURE that it really works!), and was almost completely prepared by the time I got to school Friday morning…if you forgive the few minutes of panic as I raced through the hallway asking fellow teachers for balloons.

Though I knew what the experiments outcome would be, I waited with baited breath to find out what my student teams a) came up with for their hypothesis and b) how they would react to the outcome.

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I set up our center ‘activity’ table (a new addition for the new year) with a box of Baking Soda, a bottle half filled (about 8 oz) of Vinegar, a balloon, a set of measuring spoons, and a funnel along the left side. On the right hand side of the  table I laid out a bottle of Sprite with a little off the top, a funnel, a balloon, and a packet of Pop Rocks (strawberry, but I don’t think the flavor matters). I had students break into two teams. Each student was to draw out the ‘ingredients’ however they saw fit, then discuss with their team to come up with a timeline and hypothesis for the experiment. One team was to focus on the  left side, the other on the right.

We had an astonishing (at least to me) amount of spot on, or almost so, guesses at to what I would do and what would happen. Then we had a few incredibly interesting but not very close to truth hypothesis…that make me want to try out what they suggest!

After about ten minutes of group talk and hypothesis writing, everyone turned to the center of the room and watched me perform the experiment.

1) use funnel to place a tablespoon of baking soda in a balloon, use other funnel to place pop rocks in second balloon.

2) open bottle and place mouth of balloon CAREFULLY over mouth of respective bottles.

3) raise balloon and release dry ingredient into the liquid below.

If all goes correctly, Sprite and Pop Rocks or Vinegar and Baking Soda will react together to release the gas and blow up their balloon. In the second class, a student requested a bottle of EVERYTHING (i.e. vinegar, sprite, pop rocks, and baking soda). Surprisingly, this set up yielded a pretty awesome result as well.

Sprite and Pop Rocks blew up a balloon with more length than width, and only a small amount of length (around 5 centimeters for 3/4 of the classes. Last class had a larger balloon at almost a full inch and a half in length).

Vinegar and Baking Soda has a more violent reaction that the Pop Rocks and Sprite, so that the balloon stretches in width, as well as height, and is several inches in size. According to my students, it tries to ‘boom’ but just ‘blows up’. (I love their love of creative sentence structure!)

Finally, the all in bottle creates a reaction somewhere between the other two, filling up its balloon with a beginning reaction that is violent and slows down to a delightful lava lamp effect as you watch the pop rocks jump around within the liquid. The balloon fills up to approximately 3 – 5 inches in length and 1.5 inch in width…though my last class of the day lucked out because I finally hit it just right..that balloon actually filled out to be slightly larger than the vinegar and baking soda one!

Some students wanted to measure the different sizes of the balloons. One suggested we try the experiment with every color of balloon available to us…or re-do the experiment using all the same colors of balloon…just in case. And a few wanted to drink the sprite mixture (I didn’t let them 😦 ) But amazingly enough, almost all of my 80 students could actually EXPLAIN the reaction and WHY it happens! Not only that, but they made the connection between solid (bottle), liquid (yup), and Gas all having volume and mass…and explained to me how the air displaces as we moved (CAREFULLY) the bottle and poured liquid into, and then out of, the balloon (still attached to the bottle’s mouth).

To call me a proud teacher is a bit of an understatement at this point. To top it off, my principal came in and observed the final installment of our day and got to see a class who is usually a bit slow and behind the others (due to behavior issues and a need to change my teaching style for them, ick!) excel and ask do to do more work to figure out exactly what was going on! (and I only had to get on to two students while she was there, a new record!)

Ok, you know you want to try this out so my one suggestion is that you choose something a bit more carbonated than Sprite. Coke worked well during my home tests. If you try it out with something else, let me know! I loved this so much, I think we’ll do it again next year!

My Block = Your Detour

I began this story on Thursday and have added approximately one word since then. So here is my challenge to you, my dear friends…finish it. Or at least find a little inspiration to hand over to me. I’m stuck….YOUR TURN! 😀

The Baker’s Dozen:

Reginald was running errands for his mum.

The Baker had a sale going and Reginald was able to purchase a baker’s dozen of rolls for the same price as their usual 3.

Instead if being pleased, Reginald’s mother (who had always been poor and rarely experienced kindness without strings) did not believe his story of the sale and marched him to the Baker’s to sort it all out.

Novel Interiors

*I was given this book for free in return for an honest review*

Do want an interesting, well written, and beautifully photographed book on interior design? Are you, perchance, a lover of classics, a devourer of words, and/or enchanted by interior design?

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If the answer to any of these was ‘yes’ you should race to get your very own copy of Lisa Borgnes Giramonti’s Novel Interiors: Living in Enchanted Rooms Inspired By Literature. Combining her knowledge of design and literature would make for an interesting read in and of itself, but when you add to those words the beautiful photography of Ivan Terestchenko,you find yourself diving into a space that invites a reader in just to sit in a corner and bask.

With a beautiful Forward written by David Netto, an enchanting and inviting forward which all but begs the reader to pull up a chair and learn their decorating style, and six sections titled with headings such as “Shall I put the Kettle On? (ch 1, pg 21) and Sometimes a Fantasy (ch 6 pg 225) there are many genres and styles to choose from.

While some of the rooms depicted seem overdone or odd to my simple eyes, there are quite a few that appeal to me. I love page 41’s bit on naming your house, the golden mermaid flying over a sink on page 262, and most of the bohemian styles depicted in the chapter title “Anything Goes” (beginning on page 181). However, I think my favorite picture of all is that of a child’s bed, who’s sweet simplicity is depicted on page 39…and will be reinvented in my daughter’s room as soon as I can trust her without bed bars!

Can't wait to set this up for her!

Can’t wait to set this up for her!

Overall I am going to give the book a whopping 5 out of 5 dragons! The set up is gorgeous, the author has a flow of words that matches the photographer’s eye, and I know how I’m redecorating at least 2 of my rooms next time! Now if they would only come out with a Novel Interiors 2 – Decorating with the books of J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and Nora Roberts. I could FINALLY have a great guide for creating a writing room strait out of a lover’s retreat bed and breakfast in which resides the Leaky Cauldron, which is (of course) located in Middle Earth!

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What an ODD bathroom!

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The book’s back cover – Even the back is full of gorgeous Terestchenko photos!


Habits, even the habit of forgetting something, can be difficult to break. Today is our first day back from Christmas break and my students and I have spent a significant portion of our time discussing goals. Our goals for ourselves, our goals for our class, and our goals for our school/grade. We have discussed making S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and timely) goals. We have even discussed the difference between detailed and too detailed or not detailed at all. And as soon as those students left for lunch, I sat down to eat my salad and had a miniature panic attack because I didn’t write a short story for last Sunday.

You see, I had made a habit of writing and forgetting to post, or writing a day late. Even now, that I completed the goal of posting a story for every week, my habit of remembering that I forgot is holding strong. For the record, I did write on Sunday. I even wrote the first two lines of a short story, though nothing else for that story has been written.

The point here, at least for me, is that even forgotten things become habit if you’re not careful My compunction to write is coupled with a habit of forgetting to write when I’m supposed to. My goal to exercise can swiftly become a panic attack at midnight, as a lay in bed remembering that I didn’t do my reps for the day. Even alarms and reminders sometimes only serve as something else to moan about when I realize I’ve forgotten something. I’m afraid that I can be rather a lot like Neville Longbottom on occasion, “The trouble is, I can’t remember what it is I’ve forgotten.”

So be careful my friends, especially during this time of re-acclimating to normal patterns and time tables for your days. I hope that you are all able to slide easily into the new habits that you want to build, and that none of you are languishing through the habit of forgetting.

To misquote Fiddler on the Roof: May the good Lord bless and Keep forgetfulness….far away from Me!

Thank you!

I want to take a moment here and just thank everyone for their continued support as we make our ways into the new year. 2015 will be an interesting and (hopefully) amazing one for those of us here at Tyree Tomes and I would love for you to come along with us for the ride.

Now then, while I’ve got you here basking in the warmth of my appreciation, let’s go over a few numbers!

136 – the number of books I gave away last weekend

6 – the number of countries that had people downloading ESTyree books last weekend

I don’t have the full year’s numbers yet, but I do know that I have given away books in at least 9 countries at this point. I know that you all have been a big part of that! Not only that, but I am less than 20 follows away from hitting 300, which seems like a small number to those of you who have thousands of followers but for me it is AMAZING. I spent a long time with less than 100 followers and am very grateful for each and every one of you!

May each of you have a blessed and inspiring day! I’m off to work on lesson plans and day 3 (in a row, go me!) of exercising. Be Blessed!


I resolve to be more like the Minions – Happy and Sassy. Wait! They’re mutated slaves…lets think about this for a minute.

I don’t know about your friends, but most of mine tend to make fun of the traditions involved with New Year’s Day and making resolutions…especially as they, themselves, are in the process of resolving to be/do/see/or say something differently in the coming year.

This is a trend I’ve noticed more and more on television, radio shows, magazine articles, and social media…the ‘I’ll make fun of anything, even while I’m in the middle of trying it’ syndrome. Exercises, diets, clothing and hairstyle trends, and resolutions all get the same treatment. But why is that? Are we really so afraid to leave the pack that we cannot stop ourselves from this behavior? Are we, as what passes for adults, really so wrapped up in everyone else that we don’t have our own voices? Or are we just still living with the high school mentality that making fun of everything somehow makes us seem cool?

Honestly, I have no idea. But I do know that I actually saw two resolutions all the way through the end of 2014, and it felt GOOD! I don’t actually think that I’ve made it all the way through before. But this year I followed through on both getting a job (I’m a teacher…what what!) and writing at least one short story a week! (Ok, so I didn’t always get them posted on time, but I did WRITE them..which was my resolution after all).

So let’s get down to the brass tacks: What are THIS YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS?

Here a few from me, and I would love to hear from you!

I resolve…to make strict and followable goals instead of vague resolutions! Because “I’m going to try to get healthy this year” does nothing but sit there on the paper while I eat chocolate and flip channels!

1) I will realize that just because the New Year has begun does NOT mean that I automatically change. I must WORK if I want to see the changes!

2) I will eat at least 2 meals a week that are meatless but full of hearty vegetables (This does NOT include the meal of chips and salsa I try to sneak in once a week or so)

3) I will continue to write on an (almost) daily basis but try to remember that if I miss a day or two it is not the end of the world. Life interferes and that is the normal way of things. (grr)

4) I will attempt to be more loving and patient with my child, my family, and my students. Really I will!

5) I will get a planner and USE IT for more than a month or two at a time. (last year’s planner was used for January, February, July, and October) This also goes into a whole big thing about organization. Baby steps people, its all about baby steps.

6) I will learn to knit. Those slippery non-hooked needles will not get the best of me!

7) I will do my best to do my best, even on days when I don’t feel it in my core. Fake til you make it and all that jazz. (Nerdy quotes help people succeed, remember that!)

Happy New Year! May 2015 be blessed and full of love, success, and inspiration beyond your wildest dreams.