Saturday, July 27, 2013

Return to Cardamom Book review and $50 Giveaway!

Return to Cardamom Blog Tour
We are so excited to be part of the Blog Tour for the second title in the Caramel Cardamom Series by Julie Anne Grasso. More than 25 blogs will be posting a selection of reviews, Author interviews and even teaching resources for the book! Be sure to check out all the participating blogs listed at the end of this post and enter the giveaway!

About Return to Cardamom

Title: Return to Cardamom (Caramel Cardamom Trilogy, Book #2) Author: Julie Anne Grasso Publisher: Independent Publication Date: July 17, 2013 Pages: 136 (Paperback) Recommended Age: 9+
Caramel the Elf is back and more determined than ever! When we left her in Escape from the Forbidden Planet Caramel had just discovered her usual talents and almost single handedly her home, Planet Cardamom. As if she isn't busy enough studying as a Tree Healer AND an Elf healer,there is more trouble when the rainforest and the planets livelihood is threatened. Caramel is sure her aunt and Alexander 222 behind it all but no one believes her! how can anyone hide something from a planet full of mind reading elves? Can she stop these two troublemaker again?

I enjoyed the second title in this tween Sci-fi series as much as the first.  It is great to see a strong and clever female Hero that makes being smart and being into Science cool! It was also refreshing to find a series that is full of fantasy and science without the darkness that seems to be prevalent in many YA books these days
The art work on the cover made me think how much fun it would be to see Caramel and friends animated! That is not to say Ms. Grasso doesn't do a great job describing the characters and the amazing planet on which they live! I look forward to more in the series and reading them with my daughters (7 & 3.5) when they are a bit older. I would definitely recommend adding this to your family's Summer reading list!


Amazon (US) * Amazon (UK) * Amazon (Canada)

Return to Cardamom Blog Tour Schedule (2013)

July 17

July 18
July 19
July 20
July 21
July 22
July 23
July 24
July 25
July 26
July 27
July 28
July 29
July 30
July 31

*** Return to Cardamom Blog Tour Giveaway ***

Return to Cardamom by Julie Anne GrassoAmazon $50 Gift Card
                Prize: One winner will receive a copy (print in U.S./Canada & e-copy internationally) + a $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash Contest runs: July 17th to August 7th, 11:59 pm, 2013 Open: WW How to enter: Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send us an email! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Expanding Molecules or How we nearly set fire to the Microwave.

We found the Accidental Scientist: Science of Cooking site while we were doing our Cookie Unit study. There is a lot of great information on this site but what caught Miss K's attention was an activity to make 'Monster mallows'. She saw it as a great reason to buy candy, I saw as a way for her design her own experiment.

Instead of just observing a marshmallow heat for one minute in the Microwave Miss K chose to heat  marshmallows for  varying lengths of time so she could compare the changes. 

We found some cute retro style marshmallows at Target selected 4 to test and put the rest aside for consumption.

Using a sharpie Miss K labeled our test candy 1 to 4, these was the method she wrote:
1. Heat for 30 seconds
2. Heat for 60 seconds
3. Heat for 90 seconds*
4. Left out on the counter (control)

What happened?

I wish I had taken a video of the marshmallows, the kids reaction and their later dramatic retelling of it all to Daddy! As promised by the Accidential scientist all the marshmallow's puffed up dramatically during heating! The kids were amazed at how big they got! What did differ between heating times was the final texture and color of the candy (which we observed AFTER it cooled down).
After 30seconds the marshmallow nearly quadrupled in size during heating. When no longer being heated it begans to shrink to approximately double its original size and was still sticky.

After 60 seconds the marshmallow has not only quadrupuded in size but collapsed again and browned a little around the edges. When it cooled to the touch it felt hard on the outside but remained sticky at its core.

We only made it to 75 seconds with marshmallow #3 before it began to seriously spark and smoke. At this point I stopped the microwave and ran the blackened candy outside so it didn't set off the smoke detectors. When it cooled down we got to observe the changes. There was no stickiness, it was very brittle and the burnt sugar was very dark and shiny.

Why did this happen?

Candy is primarily full of sugar. In the case of Marshmallows there is also a lot of air and water. When you heat something in the microwave the water molecules vibrate at a crazy speed. This heats up the water and sugar molecules and air bubbles.  The air bubbles push against the walls of the now softened sugar and the marshmallow blows up like a balloon.
When the heat is removed the marshmallow begins to cool and the air bubbles shrink and the sugar hardens. If  you continue to heat  an already 'puffed up' marshmallow it will eventually get so big it  'pops' and deflate.

What did we learn:

My Mother can attest to the fact I do not have a great track record with Microwave ovens.
In my teens I decided to make popcorn in the microwave using a pyrex dish, gladwrap and oil. Yes oil! Lets just say my Mum was not happy to come home to a microwave with a blackened interior complete with popcorn shaped groves...again sorry mum! For some reason Dad didn't seem surprised.

In hindsight this was probably not a great experiment for us but it was a great lesson in the effect heat has on molecules! It also inspired us to look for some more ways we can use food to teach science concepts. Here's our collection of things we want to try!