A Glimpse of Hidden Figures

The commercials have been all over the place and I can hardly turn on the television without seeing an ad for this film:

Hidden Figures

I have to admit, I knew little about this story, or should I say stories.

These three women were an integral part of history.

The Women

Hidden Figures | AprilNoelle.comKatherine Johnson – the brains behind getting many men into space, including the flight of the first man in space, John Glenn. Glenn’s confidence in her mathematical ability forced NASA to request Katherine’s verification of the trajectory before his launch.

Dorothy Vaughan – the first Black supervisor at NACA (predecessor to NASA) to a group of African-American female mathematicians. She learned to operate the first IBM machine at NACA to ensure that she had a position once they computerized the department.

Mary Jackson – after going to court to be able to get the required education, she became the first female black engineer at NASA.

Did you know any of that?

Not during one of my history classes, even during Black History Month, did we cover these women.

The movie was well-written, well-directed and well-acted.

The Story Continues

One thing bothered me, though. This issue has nothing to do with Hidden Figures, the movie, directly. Sadly, it was the laughter that ensued when there were some racist statements were made.

Granted, I think some of it was nervous laughter, but something about it made me uncomfortable.

Not living in the 50s, most of the audience never had to be on either side of the “whites only” and “coloreds only” argument.

I’m not blaming anyone, I laughed too. But as I get older and I see my children, knowing that there are plenty of places where this behavior has not changed.

True, most people aren’t racist. But it exists.

There’s a line, another one that caused a few chuckles (paraphrased):

White woman: “You know I don’t have anything against you.”

Black woman: “I know. I know you believe that.”

That line made me tear up because it still happens today.

How many more black children would have gotten into programming if Hidden Figures were revealed 20 or 30 years ago? How much more progress would have been made if we told the entire history of our country, the Chinese, Latino, Jamaican, etc.? What if we truly integrated our schools and our education?

That said, I’m not sure of the purpose of this post. These were just my initial thoughts.

Either way, GO SEE THE MOVIE! It’s an extremely well-done film covering some pioneers in our history.

 

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Our Lost Ones | AprilNoelle.com

Our Lost Ones

2016 ended with a bang ~ and not a good one.

This world lost a host of widely known celebrities that have shaped our lives –

  • Carrie Fisher, a champion for female empowerment
  • George Michael and Prince shaping many memories
  • Big Ang, who brought us some great entertainment on Mob Wives

just to name a few off the top of my head. But so many more recognizable people died as well.

Our Lost Ones | AprilNoelle.comThat doesn’t include the people who passed who touched us personally. Just in the last week, I’ve had a friend lose her brother and my “Big Sis” died.

Lori Anne was a mentor, a confident, a leader. As sad as I am that I’ve lost her, I can’t help but think about how many lives she touched.

She’s the one that introduced me to the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in Orange County, an organization with which I still volunteer today. She was the biggest cheerleader of me becoming a stay at home mom, always making me feel better about my decision when so many people asked me “why I am wasting my law degree”.

More importantly, after posting this on Facebook, the sheer number of people who reached out, not just to comfort me, but because she had touched their lives too.

She showed me how to be strong against adversity and how to be grateful for the life I’ve been given.

I spoke with her just last week, and although there were some issues, she was positive, enlightening and always left me with words of wisdom.

Even in her death, all I can think about is how she was happy until the end, at least that’s what she told to the world and how she sounded on the phone. She told me that she had to put her health in God’s and doctors’ hands and her only responsibility was to live her life the best way she could.

So, to her I say, Rest In Peace “Big Sis”.

To everyone else, are you living your life the best way that you can?

 

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All New Amazon #PrimePhotos Features! {+Win a $500GC} #Ad

Amazon.com is providing the gift card prizes. Please read on for giveaway details.

I would have to say that I was hesitant to get Amazon Prime, so less than a year ago, I sent out a Facebook question:

Responses to this post really got me thinking and I joined shortly after.

Amazon Prime Photos

At the time, I was not aware of the awesome Prime Photos aspect, but believe me, I have been wildly impressed.  Amazon has taken the time to code Prime Photos to tag them, which means that I have been able to find a photo super quickly. After I logged in my family, I was able to quickly find old photos in mere seconds, as opposed to combing through thousands of photos.

It’s not just people! Quickly find and rediscover your favorite photos: I took a picture that included a pizza. Don’t ask me why I was looking for this particular photo.

Guess what I could search? Pizza!

Guess who found the photo quickly? Me!

Look what happens when I sort my photos by person:

Prime Photo Features

Recently, Amazon Prime has just gotten better. They have launched an all-new Prime Photos experience with Family Vault. Now, Prime members can share their benefit of unlimited photo storage with up to five family members or friends at no additional cost. Prime Photos is free for Prime members and makes it easy for family members to safely store and share all their favorite photos.

Prime members can now order photo prints, cards, photo books, and calendars directly from their Prime Photos account. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Download the new Prime Photos app here: www.tinyurl.com/PrimePhotos

Available on computers, iOS and Android phones, and tablets

Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway!
 Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

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One Small Action to Support a Great Film | AprilNoelle.com

One Small Action to Support a Great Film

Early this summer, Jeff, my husband, and I met this couple: John and Jackie*. They are an older couple and we have learned to look up to them in a lot of ways.

We were making dinner plans one day and we had an interaction that went something like this:

John*: Are you going to see “Southside with You”? Jackie and I are going to see it on Friday night. We’d love for you to join us.

Me:  I doubt it.

John: Really? Why not?

Me: It’s hard to get discount tickets for new releases. (Yes, I’m that frugal.)

John: Oh

Me: No, I mean, the Costco movie tickets tend not to work on opening weekend. We normally go on the second or third weekend.

John: Well, you know seeing a movie on the first weekend helps the movie stay open on weekends two and three.

Me: Um, I know that.

John: You also know that most black movies aren’t open more than a couple of weeks. When we don’t support it the first weekend, it may not be around a second. If you want to see it, you really should try to see it the first weekend.

Me (deflated): ok…

One Small Action to Support a Great Film | AprilNoelle.comI felt like a deflated child. I felt like my parent telling me that I’ve been doing wrong even when I thought I was doing the right thing. It was like the day I took one of the horoscope things from the grocery store because I thought it was free only to find out I stole it.

And this was so simple. So easy.

See, I’m all for supporting the minority movie, not just black, but small movies, independent movies, movies that teach important lessons, movies that are against the moral grain, etc.

And truthfully, we rarely go to movies on opening weekend. For the bigger movies, I don’t want to fight crowds or get bad seats. For the smaller movies, it’s just me being cheap.

But when John said it, I felt like I had spent a lot of time trying to save a few dollars and possibly costing a good movie real support.  Movies that deserve more attention. Movies that don’t fit the minority stereotypes. Ones that are well-written and beautiful. Movies that we wrote. Movies that my brothers and sisters wrote, not an already established actor or director.

We need to break the stereotypes, the molds. We need to support the movies that are not typically blockbusters and turn those movies into the ones that production companies are clamoring to make.

So, what’s the one thing you could do to help movies that could lead to progress:

Go to the movies on opening weekend.

Go with your friends.

Make it a date night.

Drag your siblings.

Whatever you can do.

This is a plea to see a new movie, one out tonight.

Loving.

Loving tells the story of interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving, who fell in love and were married in 1958. They grew up in Central Point, a small town in Virginia that was more integrated than surrounding areas in the American South. Yet it was the state of Virginia, where they were making their home and starting a family, that first jailed and then banished them. Richard and Mildred relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington, D.C., but the family ultimately tries to find a way back to Virginia.

This story is the epitome of the melting pot of the United States. It shows us the struggles that previous generations have gone through to lead us down the path of choosing our partner.

If the plot of this movie even ignites the smallest spark in you, go out and see it. And if it doesn’t, choose to go see other movies that you normally would wait for it to come out on DVD.

 

*Names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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Easy Beef Macaroni Recipe

I love my Costco. I go to Costco religiously. On payday, I head over and fill up my cart with goodies, which for the most part, is standard, with minimal changes.

On that list is ground beef. We purchase the three pack of Kirkland Organic Ground Beef almost every trip.

The problem, however, is figuring out to do with it. A juicy hamburger is always a hit. Spaghetti is another. Honestly, that’s where my go-to recipes end.

I’ve tried hundreds of several options, none of these to my husband’s liking. Until this one.

I found a recipe online. Like usual, I didn’t have all of the ingredients, so I had to improvise. Usually, my improvises don’t work out so well, but this time, I nailed it. Three empty bowls! So I had to share.

Easy Beef Macaroni Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • Easy Beef Macaroni #Recipe | AprilNoelle.com2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (I use a jar of already minced garlic)
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • 2 medium bell peppers
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 tsp of Italian Seasoning
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth (Better than Boullion is the best!)
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • Himalayan Sea Salt to taste
  • Fresh Basil for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mince the garlic and dice the onion and bell peppers. In a heavy skillet, sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft and transparent (2-3 minutes). Add the ground beef and cook until fully brown (5 minutes). Lastly, add the diced bell pepper to the skillet and continue to sauté until they are slightly soft (3-5 minutes).
  2. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices to the skillet along with the uncooked pasta, basil, oregano, and some freshly cracked pepper and Himalayan sea salt. Stir the ingredients in the skillet well.
  3. Add 1.5 cups of vegetable broth to the skillet and stir to combine. Place the lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and allow the mixture to come up to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. You should be able to hear the liquid simmering quietly the whole time. If you can’t, turn the heat up just slightly until it begins to simmer.
  4. After 30 minutes, remove the lid, and check to see if the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. If the pasta is still a bit crunchy, return the lid and allow it to continue to cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Once the pasta is tender, mix. In a separate bowl, combine the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Pour the tomato sauce over the skillet and serve.
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3 Style Tips for Simply Pretty Little Girl’s Hair #justformejustforschool #ad

**These tips provided to you by Just for Me. All opinions are my own.**

Most women dream of having little girls. I didn’t.

One of the reasons that I wasn’t excited was the thought of doing three heads of hair on the regular basis. I barely like doing my own, add to it the fussiness of little girls and the critique of other mothers, I was not up for the challenge.

But alas, here I was with two daughters and tons of hair! In my quest to have more beautiful hair myself, I also have to make sure that my girls look good too! School has upped my hair game. Now, I do their hair more than once a week.

To ensure quick and simply pretty little girl’s hair, here are 3 style tips that I use:

Moisturizing Cleanser

3 Style Tips for Simply Pretty Little Girls Hair | #justformehairjustforme | AprilNoelle.com | #ad

Steps to Effectively Washing Your Little Girl’s Hair

  1. Saturate her hair with water with before applying the shampoo.
  2. Take a dime or quarter-sized amount of shampoo and work it into lather. Concentrate on scrubbing her scalp. Remember, shampoo is for the scalp and conditioner is for the hair.
  3. Massage her scalp deeply to stimulate the follicles and loosen any flakes that may be there.
  4. Rinse your hair until all traces of shampoo are gone, which should take about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Part your hair and check to make sure it’s all out. If not, rinse again.
  5. Gently squeeze the water out of your hair.

Condition and Detangle

The hardest part is making sure that the hair is detangled – WITHOUT TEARS. Brushes are the enemy of wet hair, so get yourself a wide tooth comb.

Here are the tips to properly detangling their hair.

  1. Apply a moisturizing conditioner, like Nourishing Leave-In Conditioner.
  2. Following the directions, wait allotted time for the conditioner to work its way through each strand.
  3. Use a wide tooth comb on small sections of the hair, starting from the ends to the roots for less tears.
  4. Rinse out conditioner and gently squeeze the water out of your hair.

Style

Now here comes the fun part. Styling. There are so many cute styles for little girls. For the hairstyle to last longer, my girls have ponytails. These are the things to remember when you style your little girl’s hair.

  1. Braid it up. Braiding is one of the best ways to keep your hair healthy.
  2. Mix up her parts. Don’t part her hair the same way each time you do it.
  3. Loose ponytails. Don’t pull your hair tightly.
  4. Use a smoothing creme. A good smoothing creme, like Moisture-Rich Styling Smoothie, will calm the frizz without pulling the hair tightly.

How do you keep your girl’s hair simply pretty?

Whether your daughter has tangles, dry hair or both, Just For Me has just what you need to give her happy, healthy-looking hair. Shea butter, soy milk and honey combine to nourish your little’s ones tresses and help make styling easier than ever.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Just for Me. The opinions and text are all mine.

For more information, like and follow Just For Me’s Facebook page.

Whether your daughter has tangles, dry hair or both, Just For Me has just what you need to give her happy, healthy-looking hair. Shea butter, soy milk and honey combine to nourish your little’s ones tresses and help make styling easier than ever.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Just for Me. The opinions and text are all mine.

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CompTIA #MakeTechHERStory | AprilNoelle.com

CompTIA #MakeTechHERStory

On our way up the coast, my husband and I started talking about our career choices. He’s an aerospace engineer. I’m a lawyer. I love a lot of things about the law, but it doesn’t spark my creative side.

He asked me why I didn’t choose another career field since I clearly have passions in other areas. The truth of the matter is that I didn’t know about them.

I started using a computer at the age of nine. By the age of 12, I learned how to be a graphic designer with color separation (the old fashioned way). I have had a series of freelance design gigs since.

CompTIA #MakeTechHerStory | AprilNoelle.comBut I had no desire to be a “starving artist”. I didn’t want to spend my entire day behind a computer.

Yet, here I am. I spend a good portion of my day behind a computer.  If we had to live on my income alone, we would certainly be starving.

Quite frankly, I really enjoy what I do. Now, I do a bit of computer graphic design, document formatting, editing and many more things in the tech field. I think I’ve been hesitant to go all in because I have a lot on my plate and not sure that I should make the commitment.

I wish I had known more early. Thankfully, my daughters will know have experiences way beyond what I had because organizations like CompTIA spread the word to encourage more girls to enter the world of IT.

Girls in Technology

New CompTIA-commissioned research, based on a survey and focus groups of girls between the ages of 10 and 17, identifies several critical factors that discourage girls from considering careers in tech.

  • Parents play a key role in introducing technology – Girls and boys agree that parents and guardians are the primary source for finding out what IT stands for. But boys are more likely to begin using mobile devices at an earlier age, at five years old or younger, than girls (11 percent vs. 5 percent). Boys are also slightly more likely to explore the inner workings of tech devices out of curiosity (36 percent vs. 30% of girls).
  • Girls’ interest in technology lessens with age – Nearly half of boys have considered a tech career, compared to less than one-quarter of girls. Among middle school girls, 27 percent have considered a career in technology. By high school this figure drops to 18 percent.
  • Tech classes aren’t enough –Girls who have taken a technology class are only slightly more likely to have considered an IT career (32 percent). Less than half of girls who’ve taken these courses are confident their skills are right for the job.
  • Girls lack awareness about career opportunities – 69 percent of girls who did not pursue IT attribute this to not knowing what opportunities are available to them. More than half (53 percent) say additional information about career options would encourage them to consider a job in IT.
  • Girls need role models in the industry – Just 37 percent of girls know of someone with an IT job. This rises to 60 percent among girls who have considered an IT career.

Women have played essential and vital roles throughout the history of computing and technology, from pioneering programmers such as Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper and the ENIAC Girls, to today’s leaders at Facebook, YouTube, HP, Alphabet, Xerox and other companies. Read the entire press release here.

Were you interested in tech as a child?

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Bee & Butterfly | White Teeth | Cosmetic Dentistry | Southern Dental | AprilNoelle.com

Beautiful White Teeth For the Whole Family

**This post is brought to you by Southern Dental Care. All stories and opinions are my own.**

Each day after school, Bee starts sharing her day as soon as she gets into the car. Some days, she doesn’t stop talking until we get home. Recently, her focus has been on a mission to lose her first tooth. A classmate has already lost their first tooth and Bee just can’t wait until the Tooth Fairy comes to visit for the first time.

Of course, the Tooth Fairy doesn’t always stop by our house (don’t judge).

That said I’m certainly not ready for her to grow up and I’m not ready for potential tooth problems.

When I was about 12, my teeth started moving. More specifically, my lower teeth pushed out my middle bottom tooth. With each bite, my top teeth pushed out this bottom tooth. Slowly over the next couple of years, my gums no longer supported my tooth and I almost lost it.

Thankfully, braces saved me from having a gap in my smile. Cosmetic dentistry to the rescue!

Teeth Tips

Those were prime teeth days for me. I had the cleanest, whitest teeth. I hated the idea of food stuck in my teeth and followed all of the dentist’s directions on keeping white teeth, even though it was often difficult.

Brushing – I brushed no less than three times a day, after breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Flossing – With the braces, for the first time ever, I was able to get between my teeth to floss and boy did my teeth appreciate it.

Mouthwash – Sometimes I had food stuck in my braces and it was gross. I kept a bottle of this in my backpack for any time I couldn’t brush.

Avoid Tobacco – This was easy. I don’t smoke because it’s absolutely disgusting.

Limit Sodas, Coffee and Alcohol – I was too young to drink and don’t particularly enjoy coffee. Those two were easy. At that time, I drank more soda than I do today, but with the braces, I cut all of that out!

Take My Vitamins – Even though I hate taking pills, I was all over this one! I wanted to make sure that any movement in my mouth would be supported from the inside out.

Make My Appointments – Well, I didn’t want to wear braces any longer than I had to, so I made sure that I went to every appointment ON TIME.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Mom & Son | White Teeth | Cosmetic Dentistry | Southern Dental | AprilNoelle.comSometimes, you can do everything right and still have issues with your teeth. Thankfully, cosmetic dentistry has become commonplace. Men and women alike will stop by their dentist to get widespread treatments like bleaching, bonding, veneers and reshaping. Who doesn’t want beautiful white teeth?

Bleaching is the most common. You can pick up a bleaching kit from any store or pharmacy. Even though they don’t get the best results, you can do it yourself.

Now the rest need a dentist’s touch.

Bonding is tooth-colored material used to fill in gaps or change the color of teeth.

Bridges are made to bridge the gaps created by one or more missing teeth.

Crowns, also known as caps, cover a tooth to restore it to its normal shape and appearance. Whereas veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic placed over the front teeth to change the color or shape of your teeth.

Finally, tooth reshaping and contouring, is a procedure to correct crooked teeth, chipped or irregularly shaped teeth or even overlapping teeth in a single session.

How to Find the Perfect Dentist

The condition of your teeth and desired result you want often dictates the best procedure. A good dentist, like this one in New Orleans, can answer any questions you may have about techniques used to improve your smile. Those questions should include:

  • How will my smile change?
  • What should I expect through the course of treatment?
  • Will there be any maintenence?

What should I look for in a cosmetic dentist?

Make sure your dentist is skilled in cosmetic dentistry. Before you start treatment, ask your dentist for the following items:

Before and after photos. These photos will allow you to examine the results of other patients being treated by the dentist to make sure his or her work fits your dental needs.

 White Teeth | Cosmetic Dentistry | Southern Dental | AprilNoelle.com

References. References allow you to get a sense of the quality of care the dentist provides.

Proof of continuing education. Be certain that your dentist has taken continuing education courses to keep him or her up-to-date with the latest techniques in clinical cosmetic dentistry.

Your dentist can answer the questions you have about the techniques used to improve your smile. The condition of your teeth and your desired result often indicate the best procedure for you.

This post was brought to you by

Southern Dental Care
7301 Westbank Expy
Marrero, LA 70072
Phone: 504-347-1014

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Outdoor Science Lab for Kids | AprilNoelle.com

Flipped Water Glass Experiment from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids

Weekends can be tons of fun, but on some weekends, where the primary goal is to clean up after the recent hurricane, ideas and energy can fall flat pretty quickly.

When I received Outdoor Science Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke, I was excited and hesitant. See, I have spent tons of time checking books like this out of the library, only to find out that I need to buy a bunch of things from the store to get them to work properly.

Outdoor Science Lab for Kids is nothing like that.

Many of these experiments can be done with a simple search around the home. Even when you do have to go to the store, you will likely use it all, no random items sitting around the house after you’re done.

 

I also had the opportunity to speak with the author, Liz Heinecke (this is not verbatim, just giving you the highlights):

Flipped Water Glass | Outdoor Science Lab for Kids | AprilNoelle.comWhy did you write Outside Science Lab for Kids?

My background is in art and science. I actually have a masters’ degree in bacteriology. I worked in a research lab for 10 years. When I had kids, I stayed home with them, started doing science with them. That naturally progressed to me starting a blog (kitchenpantryscientist.com) where I would post the activities that we were doing together, which was really fun. Eventually, I started demonstrating science on our Twin Cities TV station, especially right around Halloween when everyone wants to do science at home. A publisher approached me to write my first book, Kitchen Science Lab for Kids, then I followed that up with Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, which came out this summer.

I tried to give parents simple explanations that parents can understand and pass along to their kids.

How old were your children when you started? 

When I started doing this, they were 2, 5 and 7. Now they’re 10, 14 and 16. I’ve really been doing this since my youngest was born. But I think my website is six years old. I would say your child should be about three to be fully engaged.

Because I had children that were spread out over a number of years, I tried to make projects that were safe enough for my youngest and my older children would be doing it at a more advanced level while my youngest was playing around with the ingredients or play around with the finished product.

So if we were doing an experiment like Cornstarch Goo, my older children would stir it, because it’s pretty hard to stir. My youngest would just play with the goo.

Also, my older children would write in science notebooks (which I mentioned in the book). The older ones could actually write down the words if we were learning about surface tension, draw pictures and write the date.  My younger one just scribbled.

 

More Interview to Come…

I will be adding to this over at LosetheCape.com and UrbanMommies.com. I will highlight the articles as they become available.

Let’s the get the experiment started!

 

Lab 27: Flipped Water Glass

Materials

  • Glass with a mouth small enough to cover with a playing card
  • Deck of playing cards
  • Water

Safety Tips & Hints

  • The cards may be damaged by water.
  • Small children may need assistance with this experiment.

Protocol

Step 1: Add some water to your glass. Make sure the glass is only partially full so that there is some air on the top.

Step 2: Cover the mouth of the glass completely with a playing card. Don’t leave any gaps and keep the card flat.

Step 3: Put one hand flat over the card, being careful not to bend the card, and quickly invert the glass. It might be easier to use your fingers instead of your palm.

Step 4: In no water is leaking out, remove your hand from the card. The card should remain on the mouth of the glass, holding the water in.

Step 5: If you have a leak, try again! You may need a new card.

Creative Enrichment

  1. Add more water to the glass. How much water can you add?
  2. Put dish soap around the edge of the glass. Do you get the same results?
  3. Make pin holes in the card and repeat the experiment. Does the water leak through the holes? Why or why not?

The Science Behind the Fun

We live at the bottom of an ocean of air molecules. Although we don’t notice it, these molecules push on our bodies and everything around us with a powerful force called atmospheric pressure. This pressure pushes on us from all directions.

When you flip the covered water glass over, water molecules in the glass are pulled down by gravity. However, the force of the water pushing down is lower than the force of atmospheric pressure pushing up on the car, so the water stays in the glass.

Surface tension is at work as well, since water molecules like to stick together, forming an elastic-like skin at their surface. Some water molecules even stick to the card due to another force called adhesion, which helps hold the card on the glass.

If your friends ask, just tell them that atmospheric pressure provides enough push to keep the card on the glass and that surface tension and adhesion help stop leaks.

 

Buy now:
From Outdoor Science Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke
© 2016 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.
Text © 2016 Liz Lee Heinecke
Photography © 2016 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

Get Liz’s other book too!
 
 

I’m part of blog tour, so check out some of the other wonderful sites on this tour to see more great experiments

10/17/16  ME! https://www.aprilnoelle.com
10/18/16  Happy Healthy Hip Parenting http://www.happyhealthyhip.com/blog/
10/19/16  Mom of 2 Dancershttp://www.scrappyd.blogspot.com
10/20/16  Just Joannahttp://justjoanna.com
10/21/16  Familylicioushttp://familylicious.com
10/22/16  Say it, “Rah-shay”http://sayitrahshay.com
10/23/16  Honey Badger Momhttp://honeybadgermom.com
10/24/16  The Life of a Home Momhttp://homemom3.com
10/25/16  Mom, Are We There Yet?http://momarewethereyet.net
10/26/16  Bless Their Hearts Momhttp://blesstheirheartsmom.blogspot.com
10/27/16  Central Minnesota Momhttp://centralmnmom.com
10/28/16  Cassandra M’s Placewww.cassandramsplace.com
10/29/16  My Silly Little Ganghttp://mysillylittlegang.com
10/30/16  Houseful of Nicholeshttp://housefulofnicholes.com
10/31/16  Cook with 5 kidswww.cookwith5kids.com

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Lessons Learned from Hurricane Matthew | AprilNoelle.com

Nine Lessons Learned From Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew came and went with very little damage to me or anyone I know.

Many people asked, “Is it serious?”

As I mentioned in my last post, it is… and it isn’t.

See fortunately and unfortunately, we live in a society with a lot of modern conveniences, plenty of sturdy buildings and access to television and a twenty-four news cycle that does not shut up.

In places like Haiti, the same storm killed 800 and counting. With parts of Haiti’s south completely destroyed.

With these modern conveniences, we have become complacent and lack discernment.

Here are nine lessons learned from Hurricane Matthew

Listen to the Experts, not the Meteorologist

Sorry, men and women, but I just can’t trust you. I saw, on more than one occasion, an expert from the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) or other national expert interviewed, only to watch the meteorologist sensationalize what he said. Approximate, but not exaggerated conversation.

EXPERT: “The weather should be fine until Thursday.”
METEOROLOGIST: “So we should buckle down on Wednesday?”
EXPERT: “No.”
METEOROLOGIST: “You heard it right here, get ready on Wednesday because we’re in for a rocky ride.”

Unfortunately, we have this ridiculous 24-hour news cycle which people are compelled to talk non-stop about “stuff” whether it’s the best information or not.

The same thing happened after the hurricane too. Two newscasters stood outside next to the same boat, claiming that it was in two different places (Riviera Beach and Jupiter) showing us the capsized boat. It was one boat in a coast spanning 200 miles.

 

Pay Attention to Evacuation Orders

We did not receive evacuation orders. However, I look to our neighbors to the north, riding around in boats because they chose to stay home and can’t help but think how things would be different for them if they left. As I pointed out in my last post, it’s easier said than done.

 

Get D Batteries as Soon as You Get Word

Batteries are relatively inexpensive and keep for a long time. Those were the first to completely disappear from all stores. I’m not just talking about D batteries, although those seemed to be extinct, but any and all batteries you may need for lighting sources during the storm. You can get and keep or return those batteries for a good while, especially during the length of the hurricane season.

 

There’s No Comfort like Being Prepared

We could only purchase two cases of water for the five of us, so I put my Brita to use before the storm. I filled up large pots and containers just in case the storm hit.  We filled up the bathtub for flushing and potentially extra default drinking water.

Thankfully, the massive amount of water saved for the storm did not need to be used. Of course, afterward, I felt guilty about pouring it all down the drain. Instead, I opted to use as much as I could before it would become a problem.

 

Sometimes a Little Extra Work is Worth Peace of Mind

My husband put up all of the shutters, but I tightened them all. Tightening is not necessary.  The hurricane would rip off the shutter before becoming unscrewed. However, the tighter shutters don’t rattle, which allowed me and my children to sleep peacefully through the storm.

Using the Internet is Awesome for Disbursing Information to Loved Ones

As the storm neared, friends and family reached out from all over the country. The problem? I was spending so much time responding to people, I stopped preparing for the storm.

If you aren’t already a friend on Facebook, I recorded FB Live videos to broadcast to my friends and family, giving them regular updates, calming them by showing them what was actually going on around me. I was able to show everyone the extent of the damage as well as the precautions I took.

When it was all over, I was able to click a button to mark myself “Safe” to eleviate any worries from family and friends.

 

Spend as Much Time Outside as You Can Before the Storm

My children and I were completely going stir crazy by the time it was over. Even though it was damp outside, I really should have sent all of us outside to run, jump and just play before the storm came.

 

Make sure You Have a Bunch of Healthy Snacks for the Storm

This one is a little harder than most because if you’re buckling down for the unknown long-term, you want to make sure that your food stays fresh. Without refrigeration, the selection is limited. Sadly, my kids don’t eat very many non-perishable items, so what we did purchase was just junk. I figured it was worth it in some ways, a way to kick back.

But when the storm doesn’t come, you end up eating a lot more junk than you ever anticipated.

 

A “Wobble” Saved Us, but We May Not Have Been So Lucky

Regardless of whether you think it’ll be rough, follow proper hurricane procedures. Hurricane Matthew spared our area by what the meteorologists called a wobble which lessened the strength of the hurricane and moved it away from our area.

The meteorologists could not predict the wobble.

If not, this area would have been much worse.

 

Overall, although it’s somewhat of a pain to take everything down for what seems like nothing, I’m glad that was our outcome. Safe and sound we all stand.

 

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Hurricane Matthew: Getting Ready for the Storm | AprilNoelle.com

Hurricane Matthew… Getting Ready for the Big Storm

**This is not a disaster preparedness post. For those coming for that, I have linked guides for actual hurricane preparedness.**

If you aren’t on the East Coast, you probably haven’t heard much about Hurricane Matthews bearing down on the eastern seaboard, the largest in a decade. For this area, I believe it’s the largest since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Since my family and my mother live on the east coast, my sister called us out of worry. Neither of us are evacuating, we are both buckling down and preparing for the storm. She told me that I seemed calm, was it a big deal.

The truth is… it is and it isn’t. 

 

Earthquakes

I happened to be in Florida the last time a hurricane hit Florida, Hurricane Wilma in 2005. I was scared, really scared. Coming from earthquake country, we have no forewarning, no way to prepare right before it happens.

For me, there’s no anxiety behind it. It just is. When one hits, you move quickly and within a minute, it’s over. You survey the damage and in most places in California, there isn’t much damage to homes or streets. There were the big ones, San Francisco and Northridge, but no one could prepare for that intensity.

 

Hurricane Matthew: Getting Ready for the Storm | AprilNoelle.comHurricanes

But in a hurricane, you start asking yourself tons of questions:

  • Do I stay, do I go?
  • If I go, where do I go?
  • Can I afford to go?
  • If so, how long can I afford to stay away?
  • How long do I stay gone?
  • Is it better to be near your home if there’s damage than return to it and see the damage days later?

Quite frankly, most people stay, for the good or the bad. With a hurricane, you never know how hard it will actually hit until it gets here. You can watch the maps all day, but in the midst of it, a hurricane can speed up or slow down.

Last year, there was one hurricane, I can’t remember the name, which everyone was worked up over until it hit land and completely fizzled out. It was no worse than a heavy rain storm.

This year, people waited until they saw the tracking map that showed that it would almost definitely hit Florida. See, that’s how it is, an “almost definitely” is really the best they have.

Hurricane Matthew could hit the States and fizzle, or instead, get stronger. The hurricane could also turn inland or go out back into the ocean. Fun right?

 

The Store Run

As the news predicts that Hurricane Matthew would almost definitely hit this part of Florida, there was the run on the stores for batteries, water, food, and fuel. Water was the first to go.

But the dang batteries? You know those D batteries that don’t have a place in day to day life anymore? Well, you need those… and since you have no idea how long the power will be out, you need to make sure you have enough to last every night. Most places only sell four or eight packs unfortunately and those were sold out everywhere!

So, where did I find mine? Bed, Bath and Beyond. After posting online, someone also mentioned trying Barnes & Noble too! Gotta think outside the box when looking for emergency items.

 

Major Concerns

The Hurricane itself isn’t the problem for most people. Mobile homes and lighter structures, yeah, but for the rest of us, the major concerns are:

  • Flying debris (broken trees, garbage left outside, anything loose)
  • Flooding (if drains clog or too much rain for the area at one time)
  • Lack of Electricity (the power will most likely go out, so the real question is “how long?”)

As I sit down to write possibly the last blog post for the next few days, and listen to my husband put up shutters around the house, I think of what my major concern is.

For us parents, the biggest fear is “How am I going to take care of my children without electricity and without killing them?”

So, I’m going to sign off while grabbing some board games and using my Brita to filter some more water.

Be safe.

 

Which scare you more: hurricanes or earthquakes?

 

Hurricane Preparedness

Red Cross

 

If you are planning to evacuate your home and need to seek shelter, you can dial 211 on your phone or click a link below for information on shelters in your area. If you plan to remain home, please take time to prepare your home and ensure that your family will be safe and secure.

Hurricane Shelters

Palm Beach County

Martin County

St. Lucie County

Okeechobee County

Broward County

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Flora's Cocktails and Canvases | AprilNoelle.com

Flora’s Cocktails and Canvases in West Palm Beach

Paint and wine parties are all the rage and deservedly so. For two hours, you sit with some friends, showcase some art skills you didn’t know you had and, of course, drink some wine.

So, when one of these places opened up in my backyard I had to check it out. I had heard the buzz about Flora’s Cocktails and Canvases from some friends and was really looking forward to it since the next nearest place is a couple of towns over. Why drive extra if you don’t have to?

About Flora’s Cocktails and Canvases

From the website:

Flora’s Cocktails and Canvases™ is the new trendy upscale and chic paint party studio in town! Come join us in our cozy studio and relax in our classy white and blue leather couches as you sip on a cup of coffee, tea or wine.

Everything but your favorite drink is included: the canvases, aprons, brushes, paint, tables and chairs, etc.

Our studio turns into the “chill” place to be after our night classes end. We turn up the music and turn on the strobe lights. The party has only begun!

Grand Opening

For the grand opening, I arrived between classes and it was pretty empty. Honestly, I was pretty nervous wondering how this place would do. It’s in a great location, but sometimes new businesses don’t start out strong. I asked Flora about how the morning went. She said that all of the previous classes were booked solid. So I waited.

In thirty minutes, it went from empty to completely full. Only three seats (out of 36) were empty in the entire class.

Flora was our teacher and she stood on the elevated platform with a mic, camera, and television. She used her phone to show the details of her painting on a large television. This really helped me see what she was doing up close for such a large class.

Gallery and My Finished Pieces

We painted a bird surrounded by beautiful purple flowers. I have no artistic skills, but I’m surprised what a good teacher can bring out of me. The left is Flora’s Cocktails and Canvases’ Gallery Piece. The right is mine. As if you had any question…

Ok, I’m no Van Gogh, but we knew this going in. The fact that it actually looks like a bird and the flowers look like flowers is a triumph.

How do you think I did? Would you go to a Cocktail and Canvas night?

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