Friday, August 31, 2012

Are You Ready For Some Football?!

In recognition of the beginning of A&M’s journey into the SEC, TAMU Press would like to celebrate one of the best Aggie football players to ever come through our university, Dat Nguyen, with a discount price on his book Dat:Tackling Life and the NFL. As some know, Nguyen was the first player of Vietnamese descent ever to play in the NFL. However, his outstanding performance began long before that time.

Nguyen was born in a refugee camp in Arkansas after his family narrowly escaped the North Vietnamese Army. Nguyen began his football career at Rockport-Fulton High School in Rockport, TX, where he had lived most of his childhood. In high school Dat played middle linebacker and handled punting duties where he earned All-State honors as a punter. Toward the end of Nguyen's high school career, he received scholarship offers from six different colleges, including Texas A&M University.

While at A&M, Nguyen battled the opinion that he was too small to play linebacker. However, after ending his career at A&M with a record 517 tackles, he is still the only Aggie to ever lead the school in tackles for four consecutive years. To this day, it is extensively believed that Nguyen was the undeniable on-field leader of the famous "Wrecking Crew" defense in the 1990s.

During his career at A&M, Nguyen also received many awards including Southwest Conference Defensive Newcomer of the Year, first-team All-Big 12 honors three consecutive times, MVP, Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award, Jack Lambert Award, as well as many others.

Nguyen began his professional career in 1999 with the Dallas Cowboys. During his time there he led the team in special-teams stops as a rookie and became Dallas' starting middle linebacker in his second season. In 2001, he completed his first full season as a starting NFL middle linebacker with a record 112 tackles. In 2003, with Nguyen leading the team in tackles, he was selected second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.

Nguyen officially retired from the NFL on March 3, 2006 after a neck injury that failed to improve. As of November 2010, Nguyen currently ranks 10th all-time in Cowboys recorded history for career total tackles. In 2007, Dat was hired by the Dallas Cowboys as the assistant linebackers coach and defensive quality control coach.

However, his journey with A&M did not end after he graduated nor after retiring from the NFL. In 2004, Nguyen was inducted into the Texas A&M Athletics Hall Of Fame. In 2005 he was named to the Big 12 Conference's 10th Anniversary Team and in 2010, he was voted on to the AP All-Time Big 12 Team. In 2007, Nguyen was also inducted into the AT&T Cotton Bowl Hall Of Fame. He is considered the best defensive player in Texas A&M football history and one of the greatest defensive players of all-time in the history of the Big 12 Conference. In 2010, after leaving the Cowboys, Nguyen rejoined his alma mater, this time as an inside linebackers coach.

In his first year, the Aggies ended the regular season with wins over Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas and Texas Tech. This marked the first time in school history that A&M had beaten all four of those teams in a single season. This feat helped lead to the resurgence of the Texas A&M "The Wrecking Crew."

Nguyen also helped fortify Von Miller's status in Texas A&M history by coaching him, eventually leading to Miller being awarded the 2010 Butkus Award, an achievement Nguyen never achieved.

For a more in-depth look into Dat’s struggles and triumphs and to help celebrate A&M’s move to the SEC, purchase a discounted copy of Dat Nguyen’s book, Dat: Tackling Life and the NFL using the code 25off when ordering online or by phone.

--Paige Bukowski

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cheese Stuffed Breadsticks

I love breadsticks, and while we were st the state fair a couple weeks ago I was reminded of these breadsticks stuffed with cheese.  Got me thinking I could probably do the same with some string cheese.  So I started with my normal breadstick recipe and some mozzarella string cheese.

Bread Sticks


1 1/2 C hot water (I use mine between 110 and 120 degrees)
2 T sugar
1 T yeast
1 T salt
2 T butter, softened
4-5 C flour


3 T melted butter
sea salt
garlic powder

Pour water into stand mixer with sugar and yeast, let sit and froth about 10 minutes.

Add salt, butter and 2 C flour.  Mix on low.  Add 1/2 C flour at a time until dough scrapes sides of bowl clean.  Mix 5 minutes on medium.

Roll into log. Spray knife with cooking spray and cut into 12 pieces.

Roll into snakes.  At this point I shaped some of them around a stick of string cheese. I suppose I could have tried to make them a bit prettier, but at least they were yummy!

Top ones have cheese. Bottom ones don't.

Lay on greased cookie sheet.  Place in oven heated to 170 degrees for 15 minutes to rise.

Brush with butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

Meanwhile increase oven heat to 400 degrees.  Bake 12-15 minutes.

Brush with butter and sprinkle with garlic powder.

These are best the day they are made preferably right after they are cooked!

Texas A&M University Press to Extend 30% Conference Discount in Light of APSA Meeting Cancellation

About this time today, Texas A&M University Press would have been showcasing its best political science titles at a  special discount for APSA meeting attendees. Instead, Hurricane Isaac rages in Louisiana, on the anniversary of deadly Hurricane Katrina, no less.

Tuesday evening the American Political Science Association council made the decision to cancel this year’s APSA annual meeting in New Orleans.

Our Press would love to be in New Orleans exhibiting books, but we support APSA's decision to cancel.
Since we won't be there to show off this great collection in our booth, we've decided to extend our 30% conference discount through the month of September online. Access the order form for books we would have exhibited there, as well.
You can also search by series listings: Presidential Rhetoric and Political Communication, Landmark Speeches, and Library of Presidential Rhetoric.
Please use code 3BAPSA upon checkout on the Web site. Or call 800-826-8911 to order using the code.

Analysis of Presidential Term Limits Receives APSA Nod

While you are reviewing the list, be sure to also check out Presidential Term Limits in American History: Power, Principles, and Politics, by Michael J. Korzi. The author was slated to accept the prestigious Richard E. Neustadt Award at the APSA conference.

In Presidential Term Limits in American History, Korzi recounts the history of the two-term tradition, as well as the “perfect storm” that enabled Roosevelt to break with that tradition. Korzi’s analysis of Roosevelt’s pursuit of a fourth term offers a strong challege to biographers who have generally whitewashed this aspect of his presidency and decision making. His extended consideration of the selfom-studied 22nd Amendment and its passage reveals vindictive and political motivations and a sincere distrust of executive power that dates back to colonial America.

If you would like your copy of Presidential Term Limits in American History signed by the author, email

Liquid Layers

So when I started this experiment I really wasn't sure where it was going to go.  For some strange reason I decided to try making ice cubes out of vegetable oil figuring I could then add them to water.  Easier said then done.  Despite them being slippery they would NOT come out of my ice cube tray! I had to melt the edges a bit to get them out.  So then I just refroze them in a big mass.  I decided then I would add regular ice cubes and melt them by adding water.

We tried cold water and hot water.  Obviously they all melted faster in the hot water.

I was surprised the oil didn't melt faster then the regular cubes, but it may have something to do with them being a large mass of frozen oil.

After that the girls wanted to dump it all together, so we dumped both trays into a larger container and watched it separate.  This amazed Bria! She kept asking, "What happened?"

I tried to explain to her that the oil was floating on the water because it was not as dense..  So then we tried corn syrup. It sunk to the bottom.

Then we added dish soap.  It got hung up a little in the oil, but it ended right on top of the corn syrup.

 At this point the girls wanted to shake the whole thing up.  We did an ended up with a lovely blue colored solution (as the dish soap suspended the oil in the water) and lots of bubbles.  The girls really enjoyed playing with the bubbles.  At least until they knocked the whole thing over!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Letter and Number Formation Poems

I found these little poems on various sites a while ago and just copied them to a word document and printed them.  Now I have no idea where I found them, so I apologize to whoever they came from!  They are just some cute little poems that help kids learn to properly form their letters and numbers. Bria doesn't care too much about them, but Nadia really likes them!

ABC Letter Formation Poems

A - Pull down twice from the point to the top. Add a seat to view the apple crop.

a - First make a round apple to eat, then a slide for an ant when he's finished his treat!

B - Big old B has a tall straight back and two big bellies 'cause he just ate a snack!

b - Draw a straight back just like me. Don't forget to add a belly for b.

Cc - Cars can cruise down curvy c. Stop near the ground- that's it you see!

D - Down to the ground, then take a break. Half a circle is what you'll make.

d - First you make a dime to spend. Go way up high then down to the end.

E - Pull straight down for capital E. Then add some shelves 1, 2, 3.

e - A little line start off e. Add a plate for an egg- here's breakfast for me!

F - Big F is a tall flower for you. E has three lines, F has two.

f - This flower grows tall and hangs a little. Add a line right in the middle.

G - Big round circle but don't go too far. Add a garage to park your car!

g - A garden starts with a little seed. The roots grow down that's all you need!

H- Make two lines, high to low. Connect the lines so they can say hello!

h - First start high then take a jump. Little h has a little hump.

I - Big I starts with one side of a door. All it needs is a roof and a floor.

i - Little i goes down, it's an ice cream treat. Add a sprinkle on top and it's ready to eat.

J - Jumping jack J jumps up and down and then curls up. Jack needs a hat 'cause he likes to dress up!

j - Little j is so thin and lean. Jump way down, then add a jellybean!

Kk - K and k have three lines as you can see: a tall straight back and a sideways v.

L - Pull down a line and add a lap. Lie down, lazy! It's time for a nap!

l - Little l looks like a number one. Just draw a line and you are done!

M - Go down, hit the ground, then draw a V. Down to the ground again big M is two mountains for me.

m - Go down, hit the ground then get ready for bumps. Little m is easy to write, just add two humps.

N - Stick a nail in the ground and slant another one right. Add a third pointing up and say ?nighty-night?!

n - Go down, hit the ground and your almost done. Little m has two humps, n has only one!

Oo - Oh yum! An orange to eat! Nice and round, it's a healthy treat.

P - Pull down your pencil, then pick it up off the ground. Add a half a penny, nice and round.

p - Pop on down and then up, you see. Finish it off with a little pea!

Q - Big Q is a round quarter to spend. Add a line when you're at the end.

q - A fancy queen with a little pearl. Give q's hair a special curl.

R - First draw a line and then a rainbow. Add a ramp and you're ready to go!

r - Go straight down, then race on back. r has an arm, like a little rack.

Ss - Silly S and s, those slippery snakes. Twisty, turny, ready to shake!

T - Big T is a big tall tree. Add a fort at the top so you can see.

t - Little t is a little tree. Add a fort in the middle for you and me!

U - Big U is just like a cup. Start by going down and then curve up.

u - Curve down and up, then down once more. Little u is a cup that's ready to pour.

V v - Slant down first then up like so. This upside-down volcano is ready to blow!

W w - W and w have two pointy waves. Swim in the water if you're brave!

X x - A criss and a cross and in case you forgot, where is the treasure? X marks the spot!

Y - Capital Y has a V in the air. The pole at the bottom holds it there.

y - Slant down right, down to the ground. Slant down left and take it underground.

Z z - Zigzag Z and z are easy, you see. Just zig a zag - 1, 2, 3!

Number formation poems

1- Straight line down
    And then we're done.
    That's the way
    To make a one.

2- Around and back
    On the railroad track.
    Two, two,
    Two, two.  

3- Around a tree,
    Around a tree.
    That's the way
    To make a three.

4- Down and over,
    Down once more.
    That's the way
    To make a four.

5- Straight line down,
    Then around.
    Hat on top
    And five's a clown.

6- Stick and a hoop
    Do the tricks.
    That's the way
    To make a six.

7- Across the sky
    And down from heaven.
    That's the way
    To make a seven.

8- Make an S
    And do not wait.
    Go back up
    And that's an eight.

9- A loop and a line
    That's a nine.

10- Straight line down,
     Then around with a grin.
     That's the way
     To make a ten.

And one of the girls favorite ways to write, by painting on their chalkboard.  Probably not new to anyone, but they love it!

This Week In History

August 29, 1922 – The first radio advertisement is broadcast on WEAF-AM in New York City.

August 30, 1836 – The city of Houston is founded by Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen.

August 31, 1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales, her companion Dodi Al-Fayed and driver Henri Paul die in a car crash in Paris.

September 1, 1532 – Lady Anne Boleyn is made Marquess of Pembroke by her fiancĂ©, King Henry VIII of England.

September 2, 44 BC – Pharaoh Cleopatra VII of Egypt declares her son co-ruler as Ptolemy XV Caesarion.

September 3, 1838 – Future abolitionist Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.

September 4, 1951 – The first live transcontinental television broadcast takes place in San Francisco, California, from the Japanese Peace Treaty Conference.

More iPad Favorites

Well there are always new apps, and the girls definitely have some more favorites! Eli is starting to use them more too since he LOVES the ipad.  He even pushes his sisters out of the way to use it! Like before most of these are free apps because I really don't like buying apps unless they are spectacular!

Toca Doctor- $3.99- We were lucky and found this free sometime last week.  Bria loves it!  Basically you have to fix various problems from dirty teeth to removing splinters to helping burps escape.  Very cute app.

Monkey Drum- FREE- You play a song and the monkey plays it back! You can change instruments and monkeys and such after you earn a certain number of  points.  You can get the extras with in app purchases, but the girls are happy with it as is.

Squiggles- FREE- You draw some squiggles on a picture and then make it move.  If you don't draw squiggles in the right place it doesn't go.  Good for pre-writing skills.  Nadia really likes making squiggles!

Agnitus- FREE- Covers a lot of preschool curriculum like colors, shapes, letters, etc.  Both of my girls like it even though they breeze through it.

123 Color International- $2.99- Another app we were lucky to find when it was free.  It has several pictures you can color by letter or number.  There is also an option to color how you want and it tells you the color you are using. The girls really enjoy this app.

The Adventures of the 7 Wonderlicious Girls- FREE- This is obviously geared towards girls.  It reads them stories about girls who solve problems.  The girls enjoy the stories, and hopefully are picking up some good character traits.

Eggy 100- FREE- Introduces 100 sight words in fun, egg themed games.  They have a version with 250 words that you can buy as well.

Tell Time Lite- FREE- They have a more difficult version you can buy, but we are still working on hours and 30 minutes increments, so this works for us.  The girls enjoy earning new fish!

I Hear Ewe-FREE- One of Eli's favorites! Realistic animal and vehicle sounds when you click the picture.

Xylophone- FREE- Just like the little toy xylophones except on the ipad. Eli is becoming more interested in playing with it.  You can also click the icons at the top and follow along with common songs.

Of course they still like their original favorites too: iPad favorites

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Growing a Pineapple from a Pineapple

About a year and a half ago I decided to try and grow a pineapple from a pineapple because I had heard it could be done.  I love pineapple, so this seemed like a good way to get more of it.   If you know anything about pineapples you realize how silly this thought was. It turns out that it takes 2 years before a pineapple plant will even produce a pineapple, and very few plants (at least kept in houses) produce more then one fruit ever! Talk about inefficient!   I still wanted to see if I could do it.  Yet another silly thought for me since most all plants that come into my house do not survive a year.  Yet somehow after a year and a half and a lot of good instruction from Rick's Woodshop Creations my pineapple is still alive.  I don't know if it will have fruit or not, but I am hopeful.  So a couple weeks ago I had another pineapple and decided to try again.  Really I have tried to root several plants over the past year, but have had some rot, some never do anything, and one even froze in the car overnight.  Well I did not think this one would make it either since we had a vacation planned, and it would be ignored.  Surprise, surprise, I returned from Indiana to a plant with roots!  I hadn't planned to blog about it since it wasn't expected to live, so you will have to excuse the lack of pictures prior to rooting.  If my explanation is nor clear check out the above link for good instructions on how to do this on your own.

First of all, start with a pineapple.  Cut off the top and remove all the flesh around the bottom of the leaves (otherwise it will rot)  Then remove some of the bottom leaves.  I have found some pineapples that already have some stringy looking root things or at least little buds where the roots will start from.  Unfortunately none of them made it for me.  Then let the stump dry for a couple days. At this point you need to stick it in water to form roots.  I suspended mine in a clear, blue glass with toothpicks stuck in the leafy area.  You don't want the leaves in the water or they will rot.  Change the water every other day if at all possible!  In a couple weeks you should get roots!  I left mine in the water for another week to let the roots grow some.  So, here is what it looked like the day I planted it.

Top plant it I started with an 8" clay pot, an extra a saucer to break and place in the bottom, some cactus soil, and some perlite,  First thing is to break the extra saucer and place it over the drain hole in the pot; not to completely cover it but at an angle to allow drainage.

 Then mix 2 parts cactus soil and 1 part perlite.  I just do this in a large bowl by dumping in 2 cups of soil and then 1 cup of perlite.

Add some of the mixture to your pot, followed by your pineapple, and finish with the soil mixture.

Water thoroughly and place in a sunny location.  It will need watered once a week.  You never want the soil to be super wet though, or it will rot.  After a couple months you can pull on the plant to see if it is viable.  If it resists you tugging it has formed new roots, but if it pulls out then it died.  Obviously my new one isn't that far yet, but I will update when it is.  Here is a picture of the new little one with my bigger one that was repotted in March.  I think it may actually need repotted again soon.