Sunday, July 28, 2013


SOAK, English vocabulary
SOAKING beans so they can absorb water and soften for quick cooking.

I thought about the word SOAK today as I SOAKED my clothes in the washer while doing laundry and SOAKED some mung beans for an easy-to-cook soup for dinner. About 6 hours later, the beans were soft and cooked IN NO TIME (very quickly) after I added some sauteed onions, mushrooms, and carrots. TO SOAK here means to submerge or to place in some liquid (often in water). In the same sense, when we take a bath, we can say that we're going to SOAK in the tub. 

SOAK is also synonymous with "absorb". Indeed, when we SOAK the clothes, we're letting it absorb the soapy water. Similarly, when we SOAK beans, we're also letting them absorb water so that they soften and cook quickly. 

It's the same idea when, on a sunny day, we lie on the sand at the beach or on the grass in the park in order to SOAK UP some sun. Also, when it's raining, we can get SOAKED or SOAKED TO THE BONE or SOAKING WET when we forget our umbrella. 

Alright, folks. I hope you enjoyed this quick vocabulary lesson. I thought it was a cool word to know and use. In the coming weeks, I hope you find some time for a relaxing SOAK (n.) in the tub, and I hope you don't get SOAKED the next time it POURS (rains hard). 

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Thursday, July 4, 2013


The flag at the U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Station on Times Square.

It's the FOURTH OF JULY, and the United States is 237 years old! We declared our independence from Britain on July 4, 1776. Understandably, a lot of American flags are proudly being flown and waved today at events nationwide. There are parades, backyard barbecues, and of course, fireworks! Have you been to a Fourth of July celebration? What was it like?

To make your July 4 memorable and meaningful, here is some information about the U.S. to keep in mind.

  1. The U.S. flag has 50 stars, which stand for the 50 states in the Union.
  2. The flag also has 13 stripes, which stand for the original 13 colonies.
  3. The flag is also known as the Stars and Stripes.
  4. The first President of the U.S. was George Washington.
  5. The first President to live in the White House was John Adams, who was the second President and the Vice President under Washington.
  6. Washington, D.C. was strategically selected as the nation's permanent capital to APPEASE (make calm or peaceful) both the North and the South.
  7. D.C. stands for District of Columbia; the area was once called the Territory of Columbia, named in honor of Christopher Columbus. Also, "Columbia" was once the poetic name of the U.S.
  8. The national ANTHEM (song) of the U.S. is called the Star Spangled Banner

Well, folks, I hope you're all having a great time. Be safe out there! :-)