Books: Conquering Math Clandestinely

Sneaky Math by Cy Tymony

Sneaky Math by Cy Tymony

One of the greater challenges of parenthood, at least for me, has been helping our kids with their math homework. Sure, we all use math in our everyday lives, and some of us even at work, but explaining how and why math works the way it does (such as how to properly work equations with multiplication and addition) can be harder than one thinks, especially when they are concepts that you just know without the accompanying "why". That's one of many reasons why the book Sneaky Math by Cy Tymony is a great primer for adults. With easy to understand explanations and well-diagrammed examples, Sneaky Math offers a great way to reintroduce yourself to math basics and even more complex arithmetic, as well as including interesting projects you can do with your child to illustrate the principles and language of mathematics. Designed so that the math you encounter builds upon what has come before, Sneaky Math truly fits its subtitle, "a graphic primer with projects" as each section from arithmetic to pre-calculus features several projects such as the "Sneaky Cup Calculator" and "Sneaky Powers and Square Root Quizzer" which can be used to both drill and explain the concepts. As well, there are helpful resources and even more advanced mathematics at the end of the book. In total, Sneaky Math is a great way to revisit the finer points and even expand your understanding of the concepts behind math before you have to sort out an explanation of your young one's geometry theorem.

Sneaky Math by Cy Tymony is available from Andrews McMeel Publishing.

 

A copy of the book was provided for review.

At the green table: Tarte Normande aux Pommes

At the green table: Tarte Normande aux Pommes Apple Tart from Normandy

At the green table: Tarte Normande aux Pommes Apple Tart from Normandy

Apple Tart from Normandy

Ingredients:

Pastry

1 1/2 cups all- purpose flour, plus a bit more as needed

7 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1/4 cup turbinado sugar, or to taste 1 egg a pinch of salt

Filling

2 lbs of granny smith or other firm apples

2 eggs

1/2 cup turbinado sugar, or to taste

1/2 cup ground almonds (pulse sliced almonds in a food processor)

1/2 cup Crème Fraîche 1/2 cup heavy cream

Calvados or Cognac, about 1/4 cup or to taste

Sliced almonds for decoration

Method

Tarte Normande aux Pommes Apple Tart from Normandy

Tarte Normande aux Pommes Apple Tart from Normandy

For the dough, whisk the egg with a fork and add the sugar and salt. Whisk until it becomes frothy. Add the flour to a food processor and pulse several times. Add the egg mixture and the butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs and begins to hold together, about 6 t0 10 times. Do not let it form a ball. If the dough is not coming together at this point, you can add 1 or 2 tablespoons of ice water and pulse several more times.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and bring it together into disk with your hands. If it sticks to your hands, add a small amount of flour. Roll the dough out on a clean, lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. If the dough tears, it can be fixed in the tart pan. Transfer the dough to a buttered and floured 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the dough into the pan and up the sides, trying not to stretch it. Trim off the excess dough, leaving about 1 inch beyond the top of the tart pan. Fold this over inside the tart pan, gently pressing it against the side. Dock the bottom of the tart shell with a fork and place it in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven to 425oF.

Beat the eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Mix in the ground almonds, then the Crème Fraîche with the cream and finally the Calvados.

Peel, quarter, and core the apples. Cut them into thin, 1/8 inch lengthwise slices. Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator and arrange the apple slices in 2 concentric circles in the shell. Slowly pour the egg and cream mixture over the apples. It should come almost to the top of the tart shell.

Sprinkle some of the sliced almonds on the top of the tart and place in the oven. The tart is done when the top has browned slightly and a tester or knife placed in the custard comes about clean, about 25 minutes.

Allow the tart to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove it from the tart pan and place it on a rack or serving dish until you are ready to serve. The tart can be served warm or room temperature. Serve with some Calvados or Brandy.

our house: bathroom mini- makeover

With new paint, original tile and sink plus tiny 3" wide shelf.

With new paint, original tile and sink plus tiny 3" wide shelf.

Our upstairs bathroom has been the one room in the house that we knew we wouldn't be able to deal with for quite awhile. It needs everything right down to the plumbing and it's very, very small which means we have to really think out every detail of what we do before we start and that puts it last on our list. However, looking at it every day and knowing we have a long wait for real changes has gotten old fast. 

This past week we impulsively started a mini-makeover and it has changed everything. We wanted to spend as little as possible and get it done as fast as possible. We're still waiting for a few pieces to arrive for the shower mostly and then we have to  paint the trim, but it already looks so much better. It's so small that it's hard to photograph, but here's a quick preview. Rundown on the pieces we're using, final pictures soon. I'm hoping to find the real before shots too. Above, just the new paint. Below, quick shots of the almost after. 

new shelves & containers

new shelves & containers

new shelves & containers

new shelves & containers

Total prep time spent: 5 minutes to pick a paint color (unusual for us, normally days to weeks), 1 trip to Home Depot to pick up 1 quart of paint, 1 trip to IKEA to pick up the 2 shelves and a variety of storage items (mostly from the plant pot section, chosen while waiting for the bathroom for our 5 year old who really did not need to go...It was a several hour trip that involved about 10 minutes of product picking, 2 hours of wandering around climbing on things, a few temper tantrums, several threats, 6 slices of pizza, 2 lingonberry sodas, 4 frozen yogurts and sadly no coffee. That's how it goes when you make a quick visit IKEA with 4 children.), a few minutes to order 2 sets Mibo Tile Tattoos. We already had the Citron West Elm shower curtain. My 5 year old has already reorganized to suit her preference. 

BOTKYRKA, Wall shelf, white, $29.99, Steel, Pigmented epoxy/polyester powder coating

BOTKYRKA, Wall shelf, white, $29.99, Steel, Pigmented epoxy/polyester powder coating

BOTKYRKA, Wall shelf, white, $29.99, Steel, Pigmented epoxy/polyester powder coating

BOTKYRKA, Wall shelf, white, $29.99, Steel, Pigmented epoxy/polyester powder coating

The BOTKYRKA shelf is found in the kitchen section, but it's great for a bathroom too. It's replacing 1 row of 3" wide shelves, so offers 4x the storage space in a bathroom that has none of it's own. 

DRAGAN, 2-piece bathroom dish set, bamboo, $12.99

DRAGAN, 2-piece bathroom dish set, bamboo, $12.99

This is the only piece of bathroom related paraphernalia that we bought. The 2 boxes a well sizes and have tray tops for holding small items, which is great. The rest are all pots from the plant section. Everyone picked one that they liked. We have 1 green plastic MAJSKORN ($.99), 1 pink and 1 red SKURAR (Galvanized steel, Epoxy powder coating, $5.99 each), 1 seagrass RISKORN (with a plastic liner, $5.99) and 1 bamboo VILDAPEL ($5.99) that matches the DRAGAN boxes. 

To cover 10 inset bird tiles, we ordered 2 sets of Mibo Tile Tattoos from 2Janes in the solid blue which hopefully will be close to the original blue tile. Paint is Behr Premium Plus Semi-Gloss in Costal Mist, Zero Voc paint with primer for speedy coverage. 

Music on deck: waxahatchee

waxahatchee, ivy trip

waxahatchee, ivy trip

Waxahatchee will release Ivy Tripp on April 7 on Merge Records in North America and Wichita Recordings in the rest of the world. Below, is the first track "Air" with the full album- CD or LP- available for pre-order from Merge. The first 500 LP orders will receive the limited edition colored vinyl version. Waxahatchee is on tour with dates in Europe this month and US dates starting this April. 

music: spotify playlist {one}

I've just been in a mood shall we say that's really keeping me actually doing many of the things that I normally would be doing. I don't feel like writing anything, picking up all of the toys that I keep tripping, flipping through a magazine, putting away the laundry, etc, etc. I have managed to make cookies, 3 kinds of muffins, ignore massive messes produced by my children, read with my daughter, watch TV and listen to actual grown-up music, not just our beloved Caspar Babypants. Tonight, if I can stay awake, I'll be watching Empire, which offers both TV and music. And Terrence Howard & Taraji P. Henson. So, there's that. And so, instead of working on something here that I really just don't feel like doing, I made a playlist in Spotify. Not totally sure if it will work though because I'm too tired to read the directions for Squarespace. And because I'm only ready reading beginning readers right now. (If I didn't, here's a linkNormally, this is where we would have a poem by Sean Flaherty, as we have had for just about every week since we started this site at the end of 2010. Today, we have music. 

Water Fountain Romance

from Silly Morality Songs (frottole-barzellette)

For Halsey W. Taylor who invented the
sanitary drinking fountain in Warren, Ohio in 1912.

  Warren Ohio loves Halsey Taylor.
    He envisions them frolicking
     like Mastroianni and Ekberg
       in the freezing fontana,
        he a mountain of man.

   love is a constant, silent well noguchi fountain.
he is the giant exploding osaka exposition water park,
     but his thirst lies unknown and unquenched.

     Their names imprinted, twisted
      on a porcelain column, not
    the statuesque tower of Malmö: Anita,
         but the tower of London:
            imprisoned Ohio.

   love is a constant, silent well noguchi fountain.
he is the giant exploding osaka exposition water park,
     but his thirst lies unknown and unquenched.

   Warren dreams wet dreams of crashing
      falls, Victoria thundering
  across shoulders, through his loin stream—
      Zambia, the fetus of their
     Zambezi, sheet-of-water child.

   love is a constant, silent well noguchi fountain.
he is the giant exploding osaka exposition water park,
     but his thirst lies unknown and unquenched.

Things we love {for kids}: Home Grown Books

home grown books, the environmental set by kyla ryman, artist: nathalie trovato

home grown books, the environmental set by kyla ryman, artist: nathalie trovato

I first wrote about Home Grown Books back in 2013 in one of our check it out {mini} posts and I've been a fan ever since. I have been very lucky to have received a complimentary copy of one of their current sets to sample first hand along with my daughter. I've loved them for awhile and I love them even more now that I have a beginning reader here at home.  Home Grown Books combines art and words to create the perfect starter books for young readers that pull them in and support them on the road to reading. Artists and educators work together to create these truly beautiful “perfect for you” books that start with board books for the youngest pre-reader and build up to sets that work in steps to build reading skills, vocabulary and confidence. The books are made in New York City using recycled paper and vegetable inks and the Home Grown Books website offers a wealth of parent resources to help everyone get ready for learning to read. I also love that a percentage of the profits are donated to arts based literacy programs. 

in my garden board book, home grown books

in my garden board book, home grown books

the play book set, home grown books

the play book set, home grown books

Most importantly really, how well do they work? My just turned 5 year old daughter immediately removed the entire Environmental Set from my possession as soon as it arrived. All I have left is the box. She loves the 7 books in this set so very much that she sleeps with them. She loves the artwork, the themes of each book, is using the cues from the art to work out the words and we are reading them over and over to her and with her. She has wanted to learn to read for awhile and we had started with just a few words, but since receiving the books, she’s moving ahead much more quickly and is much more engaged in reading and writing on her own. Her 3 brothers (ages 6,7 and 9) have all read through each of them and gave their approval as well. So, yes, I’d say they work. I would have loved to have them when her oldest brother was learning to read to help give him a head start. It may have really made a difference and reduced the long struggle that we had to get him to actually read. These lovely books are a great gateway to the reading world plus they are just as lovely to look at. Whether for your own child or as a gift, Home Grown Books are wonderful. Please visit the Home Grown Books site for more information and to see the full line of Home Grown Books products. 


* a sample was provided for review purposes.