Myth: Adding Salt to Water Will Help It Boil Faster

salt2When you watch a cooking show on TV, you get evenly divided advice to either add or not add salt to water because it will affect the boiling speed. Those on the side of adding salt contend that it will speed up the process to add the salt, while those telling you not to add say it will slow down boiling.  So, will adding salt to water speed the time which it takes the water to boil?

This myth is confirmed! Adding a small amount of salt to a pot of boiling water will generally take some time, up to about 1 minute, off the time it takes to boil.

Now for the science: When water boils, the bonds that hold the 2 hydrogen molecules to the one oxygen molecule begin to loosen because of the heat. Eventually, enough heat (212°F) loosens the bonds so that the water boils. When salt is added it changes how the molecules move in the pot, making them move faster, which produces more heat. Because you are now heating the pot of water on the stove AND the salt is causing the molecules to move, the by-product of which is heat, the water in your pot will boil slightly faster. Basically, adding salt reduces the temperature at which water will boil – meaning you have to add  less heat from your stove because the way the salt makes the water molecules move adds heat too.

Remember that the salt in the water will alter the taste of the food you cook in it, so take that into consideration as you try this at home.

Saturday Project: Spring Forward

thDon’t forget that this weekend is the time to “Spring Forward” for most of us in the USA. Set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed tonight! This is also a great time of year to do some tasks that don’t get done regularly.

Check batteries in all smoke detectors. If you do not have a battery charge tester, replace all the batteries. Also, do a fire and tornado drill with the family. Be sure that everyone knows where to meet, and multiple ways out of the house from every room, especially the kids bedrooms.

Take this time to clean your bathroom vent fans and air returns. The covers often build up dust and grease, which can restrict their performance.

Check all your furnace filters and replace if needed. Make a note in your calendar to do this every month.

Finally, clean out your dryer lint. Even if you are emptying your lint trap every load, there is still lint clogging up your dryer. You can find instructional videos on YouTube for opening your dryer and really cleaning all the lint out. Just google your make and model and how to videos. Also, clean or change the vent hose than runs from your dryer to the wall. Get as much lint as possible out of the piping from the wall to the outside air release. You can do that from both the wall side and from outside your house. You can extend your vacuum hose by securely taping a wrapping paper tube (or several) to the end of the hose. Just make sure you use heavy-duty duct tape so that you don’t lose the hose extension in your wall.

The good news for many of us buried under snow or dealing with colder than normal temperatures is that this clock change means that Spring cannot be too far behind! Enjoy your extra morning vitamin D and sunshine!

 

Myth: Does a Watched Pot Really Never Boil?

lid_18901_lgThe myth is that a watched pot never boils. Of course this means more than just in the kitchen. It speaks of how watching the clock and waiting for something to happen will drag out the time it takes. But what about in the kitchen?

It turns out that this myth is kind of true. While an uncovered pot will eventually boil on a high enough heat setting, covering the pot with a lid will actually cause the liquid to boil faster. This is because the heat gets trapped in the pot and allows the temperature to rise more quickly, instead of letting it out as an uncovered pot would. Just remember that a pot can still boil over with a lid so use appropriate heat settings and watch whatever you have on the stove.

So, the next time you are boiling water for pasta or anything else, remember to put a lid on it!

Mythbusters Series: Answering Common Myths

mythbusters-logo-440-x-118My kids are crazy into the TV series MythBusters. They want to watch it every chance they get and even themed their birthday party this spring around it.

So, inspired by their scientific curiosity, I decided that we would tackle some common myths relating to homes, organization, personal care, kids, cooking, etc. Over the next weeks we will examine myths and either confirm or bust them, and give some of the science behind why it is so.

Juggling It All

daily choresDo you ever feel like the woman in the cartoon? I certainly do, often on a daily basis!

The one question I get asked most often is “How do you do it?” At the heart of this question isn’t really the need for information about how I do something, but the idea of comparing what someone sees as my “perfect” way to their way that looks chaotic, messy, or out-of-control to them.  Comparing yourself, your family, your style to anyone else’s is immediately setting yourself up for failure because you are not them and because what they present to you on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc is only the perfect-looking version of their life that they have decided to release to the public.

Let me start by saying nothing I suggest works perfectly, even in my house. There are days when assignments don’t get finished, chores are left half-complete, people yell, toys get left out, and on and on…

The first key to juggling it all, holding it all together, is to realize I cannot hold it all together. “There but for the grace of God, go I” rings true in our home. If we didn’t base our lives of fundamental guiding Biblical principles and a relationship with Jesus, everything would absolutely fall apart into total chaos and confusion, and even with that it still does some days! But even with these basic principles guiding our family, we still mess up. Systems in place to help us still fail because we are human, and at our core we are imperfect.

The second key to juggling it all is to recognize that your family, your personality, your season of life, is different from anyone else’s. You cannot copy exactly what another family does. Even if you did everything exactly as I have posted, your results will be different from any other person’s because you and your family are unique. Whether chores or homeschooling, finances or cooking, you must pick and choose what works for your family and throw out the rest. Try my suggestions. If they work, great! If they don’t, try something else. If you have found something that works well, share your ideas with the rest of us. The idea is not for you to follow everything I say to do, but for us to work together to come up with ideas that we can all use to help manage our families.

As wives and moms, we are all over-worked, under-paid, and often under-appreciated. Part of that goes with the job, but part of that we bring on ourselves by comparing our worst to the social-media best image of our peers.

Saturday Project: Valentine’s Wreath

50916cba6e5f98d47df125b9f2ffd005I am just starting to get into wreaths for the changing seasons. I made one general wreath that we keep up all the time and one Christmas wreath. For February I thought I’d try my hand at a Valentine’s wreath. The people at Craftionary.com have put together a super list of Valentine’s themed wreath projects for all styles.

Find your favorite Valentine’s Wreath project here!

Winter Olympics 2014 Activity Pack

Sochi-2014-Winter-Olympics-lWith the start of the Sochi Winter Olympics this week, I have been looking for activities for my kids to do around this theme. Enchanted Homeschooling Mom has a great pack that can be used for Pre-K through 6th grades.  Perfect for those families with multi-age kids. This is not just for home schooling, but would make good weekend actives for all kids surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Winter Olympics 2014 Pack from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom