I made homemade applesauce this morning

and it was so delicious.

What made it doubly delicious was that I made it out of apples that Jess mentioned I should throw away because they were mushy. And to his credit, they were darn mushy, so mushy that we didn't want to come within 5 feet of them, but I just couldn't trash mealy things without attempting to transform them into something.

And what made it triply delicious was how easy it was to make. See here for recipe.


This boy likes frozen, frozen peas

I was making dinner yesterday, when some frozen peas fell on the floor. Ollie picked them up and ate them, and wanted more. Hey, why not? His dad eats them too, on occasion.


bp's science: the power of being a sports fan (v.1)

Football season means game day every Saturday at our house. Jess is a big football fan, and as a result, I am too. It probably helped that my mom was a big football fan herself. I've grown up on football and I have no doubt that Oliver will too. I like football. I enjoy the games. If we win, I'm very glad. If we lose, I'm bummed. But Jess just really LOVES football, so when I read an interesting tidbit on being a sports fan, it gave me some insight into his fandom.

According to scientists, avid sports fans release pent up stress, get a shot of self-esteem, and feel socially connected when they're watching a big game. In fact, one study found that men experience a 20 percent rise in testosterone levels after cheering there team to victory. -Marriott Alumni Magazine, stress.org

Jess and I talked about this. We found it interesting. Then he asked a follow-up question: "What if your favorite team loses? What happens to your body then?" It would seem like stress levels go up. And it's true, physical stress goes up. When you are watching a game, win or lose, your heart rate goes up during intense events. In fact, during the World Soccer Championship in Germany in 2006, scientists studied the occurrence of heart rhythm disturbances in emergency rooms. They found that during games that involved Germany's team, heart emergencies went up at the same frequency, regardless of whether the team won or lost.

So we learn that physical stress goes up regardless of victory. But my guess is that when you lose, your mental stress about the game does go up, but that kind of stress is very temporary, and can be let go within hours. (I see testable, thesis-type theorizing here...)

So what does this mean? From what I can gather, this tells us that supporting a team can lead to a decrease in mental stress (i.e. stress about life & work, not stress about the game which is much easier to let go) but at the same time, a possible increase in physical stress. And from the number of fans in the world and the amount of money that goes into organized sports, it appears that the decrease in mental stress is worth an increase in heart rate.


bp's science: fake vs. genuine smiles (v.1)

We can thank my sister for today's cool post (I even used the same clip art she chose). She directed me to a BBC sponsored survey that shows quick video tidbits of 20 people smiling. It then asks you whether you think the smile is genuine or fake. At the end, you learn the difference between a fake smile and a real one (the two are signaled by different parts of the brain and thus look different!). My wise and scientific sister received a 15/20. So 75% of the time, she's in tune with people's sincerity. Myself, well I didn't fare so well, and got 9/20. This means that 45% of the time, I can tell if people really like my jokes or not. Maybe that's for the best. Anyhow, try this survey out yourself. It's fun. Then come back and tell me your score. Maybe, just maybe, we can learn a little bit about ourselves and come to some conclusions.


Time for some pumpkin patch

We visited a pumpkin patch this past weekend. The weather was wonderful and we picked out some beauties.


A Review: The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

When I read, I have a tendency to fall asleep. But I've found a book that had the exact opposite effect on me. In fact, I'd reach for this book to keep me awake. A rarety indeed!

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan is a true story of a mother of 10, Evelyn Ryan, who works to keep her family afloat by winning various product contests. Throughout the 50s and 60s, companies like Paper-Mate or Dr. Pepper would ask consumers to finish a rhyme or describe in 25 words or less why their product was the best. Evelyn had a knack for words and her winnings showed it. This story weaves through the Father's alcohol problem, older brothers making it to the minor leagues, and the family cat raising a hen and a sparrow. And that is just the beginning. It's a tale of strength and humor, patience and fulfillment, positive thinking and reward. Three important things I gleaned from the book:

- Don't ever judge others.
- Don't waste your life being bogged down by what others have done to you. Rise above it and live your life free of their's.
- Positive thinking and a sense of humor do wonders.

If that's not a recipe for happy living, I don't know what is.

bp's science: how hot is the sun? (v.1)

The sun is 9,941 °F at its surface.

Quick tidbit for today.


neat and neat

Check this out if you haven't already. I saw it from a blog I follow.

After Oliver watched this, he was tapping the table with his hands. Love it.


bp's science: is the pumpkin a fruit or a vegetable? (v.1)

It's fall and time to think pumpkins. It's also Tuesday and time to think science...well, at least over at this blog. So we take pumpkins and science and we wonder, is a pumpkin a fruit or veggie?

Take a guess.

Well the answer isn't all that clear, really.

Science (of the botany sort) says SEEDS if it has SEEDS, it is a fruit. Simple as that. So an orange is a fruit, an apple is a fruit, a tomato is a fruit, a cucumber is a fruit, and a pumpkin is a fruit. Surprised? I am.

So if seeds are what make the difference, then yes, a carrot is a vegetable, celery is a vegetable, spinach is a vegetable, but what about green beans, peas, squash?

It appears that in everyday terms, lots of our fruits are called vegetables. Green bell peppers anyone? So when I'm told to eat 2-3 servings of fruit and 3-4 servings of vegetables a day, is this in science terms or everyday terms? I'm pretty sure it's the later. See mypyramid.gov for more info on how much of each you should have each day. And remember to eat your vegetables, er, I mean fruits, um, wait, I mean both.

photo and pumpkin recipe here