Memorial Day Thoughts – 7 photos

Memorial Day is an annual holiday in the USA, observed on the last Monday in May. It’s designated as the day we remember those men and women who died while serving in the military.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Sometimes, we forget the original purpose of Memorial Day. I’ve put together a little collection of images from our war memorials, with thoughtful inscriptions and quotations. I found these meaningful and poignant, and wanted to share them with my kids to help them understand the value of service, the price of freedom, and to help us feel more gratitude for the good things we enjoy.

Enjoy your holiday, and take a moment to remember…

From the World War 2 Memorial:

“THEY FOUGHT TOGETHER AS
BROTHERS-IN-ARMS. THEY DIED
TOGETHER AND NOW THEY
SLEEP SIDE BY SIDE. TO THEM
WE HAVE A SOLEMN OBLIGATION.”
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

(photo by William Hartz)
from the World War 2 Memorial

“WOMEN WHO STEPPED UP
WERE MEASURED AS CITIZENS
OF THE NATION, NOT AS WOMEN…
THIS WAS A PEOPLE’S WAR,
AND EVERYONE WAS IN IT.”

Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby

"WOMEN WHO STEPPED UP WERE MEASURED AS CITIZENS OF THE NATION,  NOT AS WOMEN…THIS WAS A PEOPLE’S WAR, AND EVERYONE WAS IN IT." Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby
“WOMEN WHO STEPPED UP WERE MEASURED AS CITIZENS OF THE NATION,
NOT AS WOMEN…THIS WAS A PEOPLE’S WAR, AND EVERYONE WAS IN IT.”
Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby
(photo by William Hartz)

From the Korean War Memorial:

“OUR NATION HONORS
HER SONS AND DAUGHTERS
WHO ANSWERED THE CALL
TO DEFEND A COUNTRY
THEY NEVER KNEW
AND A PEOPLE
THEY NEVER MET.”

"OUR NATION HONORS HER SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHO ANSWERED THE CALL TO DEFEND A COUNTRY THEY NEVER KNEW AND A PEOPLE THEY NEVER MET
“OUR NATION HONORS HER SONS AND DAUGHTERS WHO ANSWERED THE CALL TO DEFEND A COUNTRY THEY NEVER KNEW AND A PEOPLE THEY NEVER MET”

“FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.”

FREEDOM IS NOT FREE
“FREEDOM IS NOT FREE”
(photo by William Hartz)

From the Vietnam Memorial:

IT IS OUR DUTY TO REMEMBER…
THE GALLANT AMERICANS WHOSE NAMES
GRACE THIS MEMORIAL WALL SACRIFICED
THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF OUR
COUNTRY DURING THE VIETNAM WAR
1964-1975…

IT IS OUR DUTY TO REMEMBER... THE GALLANT AMERICANS WHOSE NAMES GRACE THIS MEMORIAL WALL SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY DURING THE VIETNAM WAR 1964-1975...
“IT IS OUR DUTY TO REMEMBER… THE GALLANT AMERICANS WHOSE NAMES GRACE THIS MEMORIAL WALL SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY DURING THE VIETNAM WAR 1964-1975…”
(photo by concep007)

From the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier:

“FREEDOM IS A LIGHT
FOR WHICH MANY MEN HAVE DIED IN DARKNESS.”

(photo by Matt McGee)
(photo by Matt McGee)

Create Mandala Art with Your Words

Create your own mandala-style word art

I’m a big fan of words, letters, and interesting patterns, so I was excited to find this cool mandala word art generator! You can type in some letters, use the sliders to adjust the size and overlap of the characters, and view, share, or save your creation in seconds!

Mandala-style "Todd"
Mandala-style “Todd”

I tried a few different words and decided I like shorter words better, because I can still kind of see what letters are in the finished product. If you want to use a longer message and create something very mysterious, that would also be cool. You could hide a secret mantra or message in your mandala, and nobody would ever know what it means, besides you.

Go try it at Mandific and let me know what you come up with! I’d love to see your creations, whether they are big and clear, or cryptic and complicated.

Mandala-style "sunshine"
Mandala-style “sunshine”

Bedtime Math 3 – Add some math fun to your bedtime stories!

Bedtime Math 3
Bedtime Math 3

My family has enjoyed the first two volumes of Bedtime Math, by Laura Overdeck. When I was offered a chance to review Bedtime Math 3: The Truth Comes Out, we were very excited!

If you aren’t familiar with the Bedtime Math series, here’s a quick introduction.

Author Laura Overdeck says, “We want kids to feel about math the way they feel about dessert after dinner.”

Our mission: to make math a fun part of kids’ everyday lives. When is the last time you gave your child a math problem just for fun? Yesterday? Last year? Maybe never? We all know it’s wonderful to read bedtime stories to kids, but the question remains–what about doing math? Math has a negative association in our culture and many Americans are uncomfortable and even fearful of math and numbers. But Bedtime Math is here to change all that.

Bedtime Math stories feature different difficulty levels, so kids of varying ages — and parents — can participate in the math fun.

Getting kids to enjoy math as much as dessert may seem impossible, but wait until you try Bedtime Math with your kids. Give it a try and give math a chance! You might be pleasantly surprised at their reactions!

Why learn math? (Fox Trot comic)
Why learn math? (Fox Trot comic)

R2D2 Finds Love

This short film is adorable! It’s a story about our favorite little droid, R2-D2, looking for love in San Francisco and Berkeley. He falls hard for a quiet mailbox and tries to woo her… Watch to find out how the story ends.

If you’re curious about how “Artoo In Love” was made, check out the official project site: http://www.artooinlove.com/. Writer/Director Evan Atherton.

World Water Day Giveaway

The UN first designated March 22 as World Water Day in 1993, and fifteen years later, it’s still important to spread the word about clean water access! To help share World Water Day, leave a comment on this post and you’ll have a chance to win a beautiful scarf and umbrella from World Vision!

First, watch this video! Matt Damon (co-founder of Water.org) explains some important stuff about water and toilets.

Why worry about clean water? Have some facts!

  • Water is essential to life. The human body is 50-65% water. A newborn baby is 78% water.
  • The World Health Organization recommends at least 7.5 liters of water per person per day, and that minimum doesn’t include water for hygiene and sanitation.
  • Each American uses about 7500 liters of water per day.
  • In developing nations, women and girls spend 25% of each day gathering water for their families.
  • Handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs and prevent illness and disease. (Up to one trillion germs can live in one gram of poop.)
  • Every minute, a child dies from a water-related disease.

(facts from World Water Day site)

Water (World Vision)
Water (World Vision)

How you can help with World Water Day

One of the World Water Day partners is World Vision, and they have a great list of things to do for World Water Day. Of course, you can come up with your own ways to spread clean water awareness, and help with local water conservation efforts, too. This year’s specific World Water Day theme is “Water and Sustainable Development,” so you can also learn and talk about #water #sustainability #wateris and #waternow.

  • Start with a tweet: 22 March is #WorldWaterDay. Use #WaterIs to share messages about #Water & #Sustainability @UN-Water
  • Organize an event, such as a walk or run. One middle school is hosting a 1 mile barefoot walk to raise money and awareness of how hard it is for some people to find and gather water every day.
  • Comment for a chance to win!
    Comment for a chance to win scarf!
  • Give clean water by donating money. You could try water.org or worldvision, or find a local organization that you can help by volunteering.
  • Take shorter showers. It may not seem important, but the average 5 minute American shower uses more water than an average person in a developing country gets all day.
  • Print and share some World Water Day posters from UN Water. There are several to choose from here.

Whatever you decide to do, even if it’s just talking about the need for clean water, do something. Water is life! World Water Day is March 22.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win this beautiful scarf (normally $95) and an umbrella! (Scarf and umbrella will be provided and shipped by World Vision.)

WOOT! Pi Day Shirts and Stuff

woot pi day shirtsGeeks and number fans all over the world are getting excited for 2015’s epic Pi Day! That’s because the date and time on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 will coincide with the first 10 digits of the mathematical constant, pi: 3.141592653 …

To celebrate this fun and fantastic event, you might want to gear up with some Pi Day shirts and stuff. Besides being a great way to show your personal enthusiasm for pi, it’s a practical way to spread awareness of Pi Day, and show that math, science, geometry, and numbers are COOL! That’s a message I can get behind, any day of the year!

pi day shirtTo help you get geared up, WOOT is having a pre-Pi Day sale on lots of fun shirt designs (shirt.woot). Or, shop my own Pi Day design, which is simple and bold (Pi Day Shirts).

Do you have special plans for Pi Day activities or costumes? Please share your ideas in a comment!

Geeky Gift Ideas

You may be shopping for some special nerds this Christmas, and it can be hard to find a great gift that suits those geeky preferences. I have a couple of ideas that might be useful for you.

Recently, I had the opportunity to review a couple of products from Uncommon Goods, and learn about the company and its philosophy. Uncommon Goods has an interesting selection of crafty products that appeal to a wide variety of interests. And if you like the idea of supporting US artisans, being good to the environment and animal-friendly, you’ll feel good about shopping Uncommon Goods. Half of their products are handmade and 30% include recycled or upcycled materials.

Periodic Table Building Blocks
Periodic Table Building Blocks
And besides all of that feel-good and politically-correct stuff, these gifts are just plain cool! See all kinds of Christmas gifts here.

For the mini-geek in your life, check out these lovely periodic table building blocks. My daughter is nine years old, and she broke these open and starting sorting them by color, and then built them into pyramids and towers. The blocks are well-made, and the faces are lovely and smooth. The 118 elements of the Periodic Table are represented on the blocks, and their names and atomic weights are printed in non-toxic inks.

For more geeky gifts, visit this page: http://www.uncommongoods.com/fun/by-interest/geek-gifts

Wooden Arithmetic Puzzle
Wooden Arithmetic Puzzle

For a more mathematically-advanced recipient, take a look at Aristotle’s Number Puzzle. It’s kind of like a sudoku puzzle, where you arrange the numbers so they add up to the same sum in every row. It’s a challenging brainteaser, and it looks pretty on a table. I love that kids and grandparents can work on this together without batteries or screens. Math is fun!

If you’re interested in more unique gifts, browse some more great ideas here: http://www.uncommongoods.com/occasions/christmas-gifts/stocking-stuffers

Have fun checking out these products, and if you have other suggestions for geeky gift ideas, please let me know! I’m always interested in new toys and games that make learning fun for everyone!