Tuesday, August 26, 2014

the best websites for school

Students today have a great advantage, the internet!!  I can honestly say that I wouldn't be able to make it through school without use of the internet.  There is so much it can do and assist us with, you cannot ignore this vital resource!

I used to do school online (middle school and freshman year) and up until then I was homeschooled, so I relied heavily on the internet to learn things and complete my work.  I've compiled and organized a massive list of all my favorite and most helpful resources that I've discovered over the years.  I'll try to keep it updated!

Math forum (a simple site that has practice problems, simple explanations, and other resources)
khan academy (easy to follow videos that quickly explain difficult math and science problems)
mathway.com (enter your problem to get step by step help to solving.  you do have to make a free account)
Algebra Help (it looks super old school when you first open the page, but it has an amazing collection of free calculators, lessons, and worksheets)

TED  (some great videos on science and social topics)
Crash Course (seriously, go watch their videos.  They have the most informational videos on history, science, psychology, even english!)

Crash Course (DO IT)
Norton AP US History (this is an amazing resource if you are taking AP US history and are using the norton book.  Even if you aren't, go check it out.  The chapters also correspond with all the crashcourse videos)
Library of Congress (This is a great website for more than just history classes, but it's great for finding primary sources such as pictures, transcripts, interviews, documents, and more!)
Tiki Toki (This fabulous website allows you to create stunning, I do mean gorgeous, timelines that are super easy to manipulate and organize.  I use this for AP US History.  The one downside is the free version only allows for one timeline but you can upgrade with different packages.)

Purdue OWL (Fun fact: both my parents went to this college!  If you have any english needs, this is the number one website to go to.  It's easy to navigate and full of information.)
Sparknotes (use wisely...I use it to aid my understanding of books I'm reading...use wisely)
Cliff notes (read above)
Paper Rater (I am madly in love with this website.  It's free to upload your paper and get actual advice on it right away.  They rate plagiarism, cliche use, language, and other elements of your paper!  This website has saved my butt on multiple occasions.)
Shmoop (I feel like a lot of people know what this is but it's pretty much a more in depth version of Spark/Cliff notes.  I like this much better than the other alternatives.)
eNotes  (eNotes has a bunch of study guides that are more in depth than Sparknotes or Cliff.  They also have quizzes and eTexts.)

Foreign Languages:
Doulingo (there's also an app!  It's an easy, interactive way to learn a language.  It's totally free and a great way to keep up with your language class.)
LANGUAGE.about.com/od/verb_conjugations  (type the language you're taking where it says LANGUAGE to go to a huge list of conjugated verbs in all the tenses possible)
BBC Languages (This site has a bunch of videos, worksheets, and other resources in a variety of languages!)

Random links that are actually super useful:
Brain pickings (This is one of my favorite websites!  You can learn about the most random things and especially about obscure works of literature and art.  I promise you will leave feeling smarter.)
How stuff works (great information on random workings and fun facts)
Don't know much about
Info Please (This is a great research tool!)
Google Scholar (Easily search through records such as scientific papers, journals, and other scholarly works.  This came in super handy when I had to do a ton of research for AP Psychology.)
Assignment Calculator:  (Use this website if you have no idea when to start writing that ten page paper due in three weeks.)
15 minutes of productivity (I am so in love with these calendars.  Print one out to see how focused and productive you are for just a week.  I personally found myself really inspired to get more motivated and work more effectively.)

I will try to update this as I find more and more resources (obviously some will go out of date *sad face*).  Stay tuned for more back to school posts!!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

celebration Sunday: relax week

This week is a very busy and fun filled week.  I start school on Tuesday...I'm really looking forward to that (I'm only partially joking).  But this week is filled with some great holidays and excuses to celebrate!

1)  Lazy Day-August 10th
That's today!  Have a nice bath, your favorite chocolate, and get cozy with a pair of sweatpants and a good book/movie.  I'm cramming in a couple papers that I put off for a little too long.  Hopefully, we can all have a nice, relaxing day!

2)  National s'mores day-August 10th
While you're relaxing and taking a day off, enjoy a s'more!

3)  National Vinyl Record Day-August 12th
I personally have never owned a vinyl, but oh my goodness I wold love to.  Be prepared for a huge music post on Tuesday!

4)  National Left-Handers Day-August 13th
Tell your favorite lefty (me, for example) that they're super cool and unique!  Did you know that you can actually get a scholarship for college just because you're left handed?  True story.

5)  National Creamsicle Day-August 14th
When I was a little kid, my mom used to let me share one with her.  They bring back so many of my favorite memories!  I'm working on a vegan creamsicle recipe!

6)  National Relaxation Day-August 15th
If you missed today's lazy day (like me...) or you just want another chill day, here it is!  I'm testing a couple different DIY's to help assist you in your relaxation.

7)  Tell a Joke Day-August 16th
Get your knock knock jokes ready!  There's nothing more fun than sharing your favorite jokes!  I'll be posting some of my favorites, tell me yours!

Enjoy this week and if you go back to school, good luck!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

top 10 favorite books

This was possibly the most difficult post to write ever, simply because narrowing all the books I've read down to 10 of my favorite is a close to impossible feat.  I've done it, and hopefully, you'll find a new book to devour!  This list is in no particular order, promise.

1) Oy Joy!
I've read this book close to a hundred times, if not more.  I've probably owned it for close to five or six years.  It's a great little story about a girl who's trying to figure herself out while everyone around her is changing and telling her she needs a boyfriend.  Her great-uncle moves in with her family, turning her life upside down.  But it's perfect!  He teaches her so many things and in the end, she finds what she's looking for and her great-uncle Max falls hopelessly in love.

2) Looking for Alaska
John Green is an amazing writer and my favorite book by him is Looking for Alaska.  It's so raw and real.  A young boy deals with a new friend's suicide and spends the rest of the book trying to figure life out.  He's obsessed with last words, giving a morbid touch to her death.  Read it and weep.

3) The Secret Life of Bees
This book will touch your heart and possibly rip it out.  You follow an abused young girl travel with her maid (this was back when black people weren't allowed to vote) and find a place where they belong.  She goes from having no mother in sight to four.  We fall in love with characters and watch as their lives are torn apart.  Read about prejudice, abuse, love, suicide, and bees.

4) Wuthering Heights
Settle in for a lengthy but beautiful trip.  This book is so full of drama, it's entrancing and captivating.  We witness characters meeting again, love, affairs, and so much drama!  This is a classic that you must read.

5) Johnny Tremain
I remember my mom reading this to me in fifth grade and I fell hopelessly in love with Johnny.  He works as a blacksmith until a terrible accident when his hand is mamed.  This story takes place during the revolutionary war and my goodness is it amazing!  We are allowed to watch as Johnny grows and changes by the hands of the world.  He meets people who give him opportunities he wouldn't have dreamed of.  This book has a hearty dose of politics, life, and again, drama.  It's not a very hard read, but the depth is amazing.

6) 11/22/63
Stephen King writes a book that describes time travel.  It's not scary, if you're concerned about reading his works.  This is a very long read, as most of his are, but it is so worth it.  Our main character is a teacher who is left with a time-traveling closet and he goes back in time, living life before JFK's assassination.  It is up to him to stop his neighbor, Lee Harvey Oswald, from committing the terrible act history knows him for.

7) Any of the Harry Potter books
I highly doubt I need to explain these to anyone, but read them.  Read them again.  I grew up with these books and I strongly think that they influenced my creativity to this day.

8) The Giver
This book is actually making it to the silver screen!  Do yourself a favor and read it before you go watch the movie.  We follow a young boy, Jonas, who has decided that the perfect, boring world he lives in is not quite right.  He sets out to find the Giver and learn the truth about the world he lives in and the emotions he has never felt.

9) Inkheart
I actually own the UK version and the US version of this book because when I was younger, everyone wanted to buy it for me.  That's how much I loved that book (the movie was terrible, the ending made me want to punch a wall, etc).  We follow Meggie (oh the irony) and her father as they travel through a world her father read out.  She learns that she too can read from books and make things come to life, but there is a price.  A price that her mother paid when Meggie was a little girl.

10) Night
Elie Wiesel writes this non-fiction book about his family's lives while imprisoned in a concentration camp.  The terrible things he sees and the hardships he and his father face really open readers' eyes to the reality of life for Jews during Hitler's reign.  It is very graphic, I wouldn't recommended it to younger readers.  But if you can handle it, this book is a must read.

What are your top 10 favorite books?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

mexican stuffed vegan green peppers

Today is National Green Pepper Day!  In honor of this, I came up with a delicious stuffed bell pepper recipe.  Get ready for wild rice, quinoa, pinto beans, mushrooms, and jalapeños!

(Note: I did forget to take a vertical photo...so sorry, today was super stressful.  My poor computer, Guster, has burned through another hard drive.  Because this happened very, very quickly, I'm unable to back anything up to an external hard drive, so everything on there from June 26th to yesterday will be erased.  I've cried a lot over my pictures from the vacation that I'll lose, however, I may be able to recover them but we'll see.)

Prep time: About 20 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes.
Serves 4

4 bell peppers
1 cup of uncooked rice
1/4 cup of chopped mushrooms
2 diced jalapeños

1)  Preheat your oven to roast 425.  Mix your rice with 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  When the rice boils, reduce to a simmer and cook for the suggested time or until soft.

2)  Wash and chop your mushrooms and jalapeños.  Rinse and drain pinto beans in a colander.  Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and fleshy white matter(I really don't know what this is called, but it's the white flesh that you can pull out easily).

3)  Line a baking dish (I used a 9x13 pan) with parchment paper and place the peppers into it.

4)  Mix rice, beans, and chopped vegetables.  Scoop about a cup of the mixture into each half.

5)  For non-vegans, throw some shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese.  Vegans, faux cheese works if you have one you love!

6)  Cook the peppers for about 15-20 minutes.  When you pull them out, you can add whatever toppings you want!  I used pato (a Mexican tomato hot sauce) and lime but you can also add guacamole, peco de galo, or anything your stomach desires!

It's much more fun to cook with a buddy!  Dakota has learned that he is not a fan of mushrooms, more for me!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

celebration Sunday

I'm beginning a new series entitled 'celebration Sunday'. Every week I'll give a list of my favorite, albeit quirky, holidays of the week and ideas for how to celebrate them!  Throughout the week I'll be doing themed posts for each holiday; posts like DIYs and recipes! I'm so excited to begin this series and I even planned out my posts all the way until October!

And without further ado, This week's top 5 holidays!

1) National Friend Day-August 3rd
Send your friends handwritten notes and letters decorated with your own love and creativity. Tell your best friend how much they mean to you and do something nice for them.  

2) Green Peppers Day-August 5th
I love green peppers almost as much as I love broccoli! Today, eat some green peppers! I'll be posting some tasty recipes and toppings for your peppers on Tuesday!

3) Wiggle Your Toes Day-August 6th
Take off your shoes and take a nice, long stroll outside. Feel the different textures under your skin. Walking barefoot brings so many benefits (read my post about barefoot walking here) and tickles our senses. 

4) Root Beer Float Day-August 6th
Whip up a vegan root beer float to savor as you take part in your own barefoot parade!  I'll be posting a recipe on Wednesday for a scrumptious vegan root beer float!

5) Book Lover's Day!-August 9th
This day was made for all you book worms out there! On Saturday, I'll be posting my top 10 favorite books list and a few other book resources!

There's the preview of a week full of holidays! I'm also kicking off my back to school series this week, so stay tuned for lots of new and exciting content!

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