The Gentle Art of Breaking Coconuts

 

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What You Will Need:
* Supply of Coconuts (i.e. from tree in backyard)
* Screwdriver
* Cup or Other Drinking Vessel

Directions:
1. Have an adult repeatedly jab the coconut with a screwdriver.  Any onlookers should not stand around the coconut, as the adult’s aim is not steady and toes might end up getting jabbed instead.
2. Keep jabbing despite questions of “Do you know what you’re doing?” and “Shouldn’t you use something other than a screwdriver?”
3. Peel back the outer husk. Have an onlooker pat you on the back; you are making progress!

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4. Attempt to pour out the refreshing coconut water. Realize that the said liquid is still safely sealed in the inner seed. Act like you knew that all along.
5. Repeat Step 2.
6. Rejoice as the screwdriver sinks to the handle into the inner seed. Make a note to tend to blisters on your hand later.
7. Pour coconut water into your drinking vessel of choice. Build expectations of how wildly refreshing the first taste will be.

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DSC052448. Enjoy!
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Just Around the Corner

It has been just about four months since we said goodbye to our beloved vehicle, the Mazda5. At first the kids were excited to be free from their car seats and Five String relished the break from driving. However, reality quickly set in that our life would now include a lot more walking then ever. Unfortunately we discovered that these walks would not be the pleasant nature trail rambles that we love. Instead we have spent many long hours the last few months trekking along hot, dirty sidewalks while breathing in noxious car fumes.

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However, mom and dad have finally learned our lesson and this past month we made renting a house within a reasonable distance of grocery stores, playgrounds, and green spaces a priority. This priority has paid off big time!!! Not only is our rental house in Cozumel just 1 km from the supermarket, but it also has an amazing sports complex just around the corner. So, everyday after homeschool we head to “gym class” at the sports complex. This amazing facility is 100% free and features a track, several basketball courts, two soccer fields, a couple of tennis courts, a multi-lane swimming pool, and even a playground. By far this is the Younger Fives’ favorite attraction in Cozumel, and it has firmly planted the message in our mind that kids with room to run and play are happy kids!

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Disruption

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As a family were were glued to our laptop this past Sunday as we watched a live stream of the People’s Climate March in New York City. It was amazing to see so many people turn out in support of a cause that is very important to us as a family. We were super jealous that we weren’t in New York to add our voices to the crowd in calling for the United States government to take immediate action to reduce carbon emissions. The kids had been studying global climate change all week in home school so after watching the march our Sunday brunch conversation was dominated by the subject. At this point it feels like the kids are the experts on the subject, which in some ways is fitting seeing as they will be the ones fully dealing with the consequences of climate change.

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Even though learning about global climate change and its negative effects on our environment isn’t much fun, it makes us feel better prepared to tackle this major issue that isn’t going away. The kids get excited to think of new ways to do their part in reducing carbon emissions and get more involved in campaigns to save the environment (polar bears always feature highly on their priority list). So, after brunch we gathered as a family to watch Disruption, a movie about climate change, the climate movement, and the People’s Climate March created by Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott. You can watch Disruption for free by clicking below.

The movie is so well done that it captured all of the Fives’ attentions. The science of global climate change is broken down in a very understandable way, and the call for each of us to do our part makes you feel like taking immediate action. There is a wonderful segment of the movie that talks about the human brain and how with jobs, kids, and bills to pay we can easily put the danger of our changing climate at the back of our minds, only thinking about it when we hear a news clip or read a newspaper article. However, if everyday we see someone taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions our brains will wake up and be inspired to follow suit. Watching Disruption gave our brains that wake up and we hope that in watching it you will be inspired into action as well.

High Five is putting his best 3 year-old lettering to work to bring awareness to global climate change.

High Five put his best 3 year-old lettering to work to bring awareness to global climate change.

Fives’ Favorite Resources to Learn About Climate Change

Climate change has never been far from our minds as we travel. For one, we have experienced its effects first-hand (seeing shrinking glaciers in Glacier National Park and driving through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on our way to Washington D.C.). Our homeschool studies have also helped us understand the various consequences of climate change, including how melting sea ice is endangering polar bears and other creatures.

With the People’s Climate March happening this Sunday in New York City and around the world (in anticipation of next week’s UN Climate Summit), we’ve decided to focus our homeschool for the coming days on climate change and its impacts. While we will not be able to make it to any of the marches, we are planning to watch the NYC rally live on Sunday. Now is the perfect time to learn more about climate change and how our actions at this very moment will accelerate or lessen its impact. We have found the following resources to be informative and engaging for all ages.

 

Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye
We are huge Bill Nye the Science Guy fans, and his shows (click here for a list of topics) make learning about science a riot. While the following video is not part of the series, he does an excellent job breaking down the science of climate change in under 5 minutes.

 

Climate Kids: NASA’s Eyes on the Earth

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NASA has put together a great assortment of animations and games to teach the fundamentals of climate and climate change. It is conveniently organized by topic or by type of content (video, animation, game, etc.).

 

Showtime’s Years of Living Dangerously
This 9-part documentary series does an amazing job of making the complexities and challenges of climate change come alive through an impressive cast. The first episode is available for free, and it changed the way we look at the palm oil we find in countless food products (a huge cause of deforestation in Indonesia) and at the conflict in Syria (fueled in part by chronic drought). The entire series is now available to stream online at Amazon and iTunes.

 

Surging Seas

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This interactive map program shows the impact of rising sea levels on coastal locations in the United States. Based on the increasing reach of high tides, the program allows you to experiment with various scenarios and see which areas end up underwater (shown in blue). You can search places by state, city, or zip code.

 

Crash Course World History and Ecology
The Crash Course video series gives a great introduction to both the historical and ecological dimensions of climate change. The first video lays out the social upheaval caused by the Little Ice Age in the 17th century, while the second video looks at climate change through the lens of ecology.

¡Viva México!: Independence Day in Pictures

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We’re suckers for parades. Despite the hassle of getting up at the crack of dawn to claim a prime piece of sidewalk along the parade route, the hours of waiting and baking in the sun are always worth it when we first hear the distant notes of the marching band getting louder by the moment. During our travels we’ve experienced the Fourth of July in New York City and Canada Day in the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, but there’s nothing quite like an epic Mexican Independence Day parade. 

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During the course of the more than hour-long parade, we got to see every student, every police officer and firefighter, and every military service person on the island of Cozumel. And we mean everyone. Wave after wave of school children brought up the front of the parade, and it was fascinating to see the amazing variety of uniforms among the students of all ages, from pre-K up through university. They were followed by all the police officers, firefighters, and ambulance drivers, who then were followed by the army, navy, and air force personnel on the island. The time went surprisingly fast, and as the final flag and snare drum passed we still were wanting more. However, the rides and attractions set up in the town square gave us a push to keep going with the day’s festivities.

 

Fives’ Facts about Independence Day in Cozumel
* Fireworks:
 Some impressive fireworks are set alight the night before on September 15th around 11:00 PM. While the most popular place to view is from the main square, we found our 2nd floor bathroom window gave us a perfect view with all the comforts of home.
* Where to Watch the ParadeThe parade route is along the Malecon (coastal boulevard) from the Municipal Palace north several blocks toward the airport. We found a good shaded spot in front of the Mega supermarket which made it super convenient to take bathroom breaks and get refreshments.
When to Arrive: After asking around, we gathered that the parade started at 8:00 AM. Therefore, we made sure to arrive at our spot on the parade route around 7:55 AM. The street, though, was completely deserted. The reason, we discovered, is that the parade actually starts around 9:15 AM. Even as the parade began, there was still plenty of space on the sidewalk. Lesson learned: no need to rush :)
* Patriotic Accessories: We debated whether to invest a few pesos in Mexican flags and decorations to wave during the parade. In the end, we never got around to buying any. This ended up being a wise move as none of the spectators went overboard with the red, white, and green. The only flags were in the parade itself, so it’s probably best to leave the face paint at home.
* Fair in the Square: The main square has a carnival-like atmosphere for the week leading up to Independence Day. There are plenty of amusements for the kids, including carousels, trampolines, and pint-sized roller coasters.