The Difference Between Sweet Potatoes and Yams

I thought that sweet potatoes and yams were basically the same thing.  That’s because here in the U.S., most of our “yams” also have “sweet potato” on the label as well.  The USDA requires that because our “yams” are not really yams but are actually sweet potatoes.  And, of course, sweet potatoes are really sweet potatoes.

Why all this confusion?  There are two varieties of sweet potatoes, firm and soft.  The firm variety was introduced first in the U.S.  When the soft variety came along, the term “yam” was used to differentiate between the two.  Yams were actually in Africa and Asia.

Sweet Potatoes have two embryonic seed leaves and yams have one seed leaf, so the two are not even related botanically.  Here are more fun facts about sweet potatoes and yams.

New Word World Episodes Start Tomorrow

Word World has new episodes starting Monday, October 4th.  These will have more advanced skills.  And they have upgraded the WordWorld “Build a Word” iPhone app and also have three new WordWorld mobile applications for Samsung’s bada platform.    Be sure and check out Toys R Us and Target for WordWorld products .

NASA Space Center Houston – Home School Families Day on October 6, 2010

For homeschooling families, this is a great opportunity to go visit NASA’s Space Center in Houston, Texas.  Home School families only are allowed on this day as it is closed to the general public.  There is a big discount on tickets which is great!  Here’s more info for those interested.

Online Schools

Now is the time of year when a lot of people are thinking, “Back to school!” for their kids.  Stores are busier than usual with back to school shopping for supplies and school clothes.  It’s also a time when adults are thinking about maybe going back to school, too.  Fitting in time for classes, though, is hard with jobs and busy lives.  Because of that, Online School is becoming more and more popular with people nowadays because it’s easy to fit school around your schedule. Our son took one online course while he was home for the summer, and it was great to be able to fit in an “online class” and studying into his busy work schedule.

FREE Admission to Museums with Bank of America Card – First Weekends of Each Month

Free Ticket:

Check out “Museums on Us” and see if you’re close to one of the 100+ museums participating in this freebie.  There are museums located all over the United States that have free admission for the primary cardholder on the first weekend of every month. Just click on your state and the museums will be listed.  This works with Bank of America ATM, debit and credit cards.

Our son told us about this offer last year, but then he went off to college and things got busy with us here so we never utilized this freebie.  Our daughter, Christi, reminded me of this offer (thanks again Christi!).  Our son is home from his freshman year at college and so I  located the museums we’re wanting to see.  We’re planning to visit a museum this weekend for FREE.  All three of us have B/0f/A cards and are the primary cardholder, so we all get in free of charge!

Going Back to School

Many people in today’s world are going back for additional job training or maybe even switching to a whole new field.   Some are going to medical assistant school, some to get their alternative certification for teaching in the public schools, some to get training in computer skills, etc.   People are trying to get an edge in today’s competitive job market by increasing their level of skills.   Going back to school is a good way to do that.


Philanthropists are interesting to read about and learn what they do to help other people.  For example, I was reading about richard willich recently, and the article said that he asks these three questions in his personal and philanthropic philosophy:

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair?
  3. Will it improve things?

I think these are very worthwhile questions, and I like the fact that he supports positive youth programs as well as educational and historical preservation pursuits.  That’s probably the teacher side of me that’s drawn to these pursuits.

Do you know of some interesting philanthropists?

Book Giveaway: The Five Love Languages of Children

Children need to feel loved in order to thrive. This book gives a lot of usable suggestions for how children interpret and feel love. What makes one child feel loved might not be the same for another child. Learn the love language of your child (or children).

I am giving away a copy of this book, The Five Love Languages of Children, and will mail it within the U.S. (Sorry, money is limited and I have to restrict it to postage I can afford.)

This is all you need to do to enter the giveaway: Leave a brief comment on this post with your name (first name is fine) and your email address. Your email address will be confidential and I will not share it with anyone. Names will be disqualified who do not leave email addresses because that is how I notify the winner. I will notify the winner by email to get their mailing address. Again, the mailing address will be confidential and I will not share it with anyone.

Deadline for entry is February, 10, 2010.

Using RANDOM.ORG to determine the winner, the winner is… Maria.  Congratulations, Maria!

If you would like your name entered twice, post about this on your blog and leave a comment with the link to your post.

*Watch for another book giveaway soon: The Five Love Languages. Learn your spouse’s love language and also your love language.

Pillsbury Turkey Sugar Cookies

It’s fun to make Pillsbury Turkey Sugar Cookies for a fun project with the kids. Use icing for the “glue.” Glue 6-8 pieces of Candy Corn along the top edge of the cookie.  Glue 2 M&Ms in the middle of the cookie for the eyes. Use a small tube of icing to form the beak underneath the eyes (a small v-shape).  Make turkey feet at the bottom of the cookie.

Online Degrees From Home

I know several people who have gotten an online degree and are glad they did.  If I didn’t have a degree, I would consider getting one online.   For someone who had young children at home and wanted to get an online teaching degree, I think that would be great to be able to get a degree from home and be able to study at one’s convenience.

One online site that received attention from TIME Magazine and NBC is Western Governors Online University, founded by 19 U.S. governors to help working adults.  I like the fact that it is nonprofit, is competency based, and emphasizes that each student masters the necessary skills in order to receive a quality education and succeed.  If I were getting an online degree, I would consider WGU considering all of the positive things I’ve read.