Rachel Reports from the Volcano House

Today in my STEM class I showed an amazing video of eruptions from the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii. This was one of our “curiosity links” for this week. In one class, student questions about how lava cools led me to discuss “lava tubes” and show this photo of a lava tube which I took in 2009 when our family visited the big island.

I ended up also finding this short video of Rachel, at age five, reporting from the Volcano House. Oh how this makes me want to go back to Hawaii with our family!

Saving Bruce the Shark

This short video, “Saving Bruce the Shark,” is a creative story told and created by Rachel yesterday using the iPad app, “ToonTastic.” Since we added a new iPad to our family collection, Rachel has inherited her own. Mom is encouraging her to use more apps for creative “making,” since her favorite computer activities continue to be WATCHING YouTube videos and playing Minecraft. Rachel is a creative storyteller and “maker!”

 

Bowling is Fun Enhanced eBook

A few weeks ago when Rachel and I were in Manhattan, Kansas, we went bowling with my dad. I took photos while we were bowling with the idea that we would later create an eBook together. We did (using Book Creator for iPad) and took turns narrating it. It is available as a downloadable EPUB, a PDF without audio, and as a video on YouTube. I plan to submit this to Apple’s iBookstore but have not done it yet.

 

Snowflake Book Series Website Moved

Rachel: The old domain we’d bought for your first Snowflake eBook (MeetSnowFlake.com) expires tomorrow. Since we decided not to keep that domain, I moved the entire website and made a few small updates/changes to it. The new address is a “sub-domain” of your main website. You can find it on snowflake.rachelfryer.com. If you publish another Snowflake book, like you were talking about over Christmas break, you can publish/link it there also if you want.

I also remembered I setup a Twitter account for your Snowflake book series, it’s @MeetSnowflake. I posted about the new site address and made some changes in the Twitter profile. If you want logins to both the site and this Twitter account I can make/give you those. 🙂

I think you should write and illustrate a new Snowflake book by yourself, and we should publish it to iTunes together. 🙂

Student Blogs to Check Out

Here are two student blogs to check out. First, “Escondido Adopt a Doggy Bloggy” by Page. Jo-Ann Fox’s daughter is working to “help dogs find forever homes.”

Second, “Reflections of a First Grader” by Yael Varga. In her latest post she’s asking for help learning more about Minecraft!

Great work by young bloggers!

Hash tagging a Family Vacation

Educator Carl Hooker (@mrhooker) is a very clever guy. On his family’s vacation this summer, he used a unique hashtag every time he posted a photo to Instagram. By doing this, he is enabling others to aggregate all his photos of the trip, and it’s possible for him to do the same thing. This creates a dynamic, separate set of images like a photo album. Great idea!

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Holiday Prime Rib

This Christmas we ate prime rib for dinner rather than our more traditional turkey or ham main course, and it was delicious. For my own documentation for future years, and in case this is of interest to others who may find their way to this post, here are some details about what I did, my lessons learned, and what I’ll do differently next time.

Christmas Prime Rib

This recipe from Prime Steak Houses was my main guide. It’s been around 5 years since I’ve cooked  a prime rib, and I couldn’t find the friend’s recipe this time that I’d used previously. I did remember it involved initially cooking the prime rib at a high temperature in the oven for a short time, and then lowering the temp for a longer time… and that is what this recipe also directs. We bought and cooked a five pound prime rib, planning for about 3/4 of a pound per person. That worked out great portion-wise. The main change I’d make is to cook it about 15 minutes longer than I did. My meat thermometer starts at 140 degrees, but according to the recipe you need to remove the roast when the interior temp reaches 120. Since my meat thermometer didn’t show the exact temperature that low, I had to guestimate and I guestimated a bit low. After the initial 15 minutes cooking at 450 degrees F, I cooked our prime rib an hour at 325. Next time I’ll use a meat thermometer that shows increments at least down to 120 degrees (hopefully lower) and cook just a bit longer, probably an hour and a half for the same quantity. Rather than remove the prime rib at 120 degrees (as I tried to do this year, and the recipe directed) I’ll remove it at 130 degrees. For the eaters in our family, medium to medium-well prime rib is best.

I will say the aroma of the cooking prime rib in the house was absolutely fantastic. The anticipation of eating excellent meat like this can be almost as good as the actual eating itself.

We have a relatively new spice shop in Oklahoma City on Western, right by the Will Rogers Theater, called the Savory Spice Shop. It’s a chain based in Colorado, and they have some amazing seasonings. I used their “Mount Evans Butcher’s Rub” as my spice rub on our prime rib and it turned out delicious. I highly recommend it, and look forward to also using it on pot roasts in coming months. Per the above recipe link, I rubbed the ends with soft butter and made small, 1/2 inch cuts around the roast before rubbing in the spices.

We love creamy horseradish sauce with prime rib, and I used this recipe to make mine although I used raw horseradish from a bottle rather than fresh. It turned out runnier than I would have liked, probably because of the amount of lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Next time I think I’ll just make my own to taste with sour cream and raw horseradish. It was good, but next time I’d like it to be less runny.

To accompany the meat I cooked our family’s traditional mixed vege casserole, cranberry sauce (basic and plain from scratch, the best kind) and mashed potatoes roughly following following this recipe. It was a great meal on an already wonderful and blessed Christmas day with family.

I hope you had a great Christmas are are continuing to enjoy a restful holiday time with family and friends!

Table set for Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner 2013

 

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