Catherine’s Column #8

By: Catherine Amaris Munoz

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1

Hi there, all home-schooling teens! My name is Catherine Munoz. I am a homeschooler from Monrovia, California, USA. I am in the 12th grade. This is my eighth column for the “Homeschooling Teen e-zine”, and I am looking forward to sharing more with you all in the future.

In December, I held a toy drive, as part of my high school senior project. I am currently volunteering at the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, California, USA. It is conveniently located just down the street, approximately eight minutes, from where I live. The toy drive was not sponsored or coordinated by the City of Hope, but the toys which were collected went directly to their pediatric ward. Usually, around this time of year, the City of Hope receives an abundance of donated toys from various generous sources. This year, however, as of early December, there weren’t as many to go around. Therefore, upon hearing the news, I decided that I should hold a toy drive. I let everyone know that all donations would be benefiting the City of Hope pediatric ward and its patients. I was able to place a donation box within our local Duarte Library, printed flyers to share with friends, family, and neighbors, and also utilized the social-reaching powers of Facebook. After about two or three weeks, I was able to fill-up that huge donation box with an assortment of toys for children and adolescents of most age ranges. When I took them into the City of Hope pediatric ward on the day I went in to volunteer, Monday, December 19th, the staff and nurses were so grateful and astounded! I am looking forward to holding another toy drive next year. More than anything, I am thankful to everyone who helped me to make it a success, since no accomplishment may be achieved singularly. And of course, my Christmas was a blessed one, as I pray yours was also!

MUSIC CORNER ~ January 2012

This month’s featured Christian music artists are:

Above The Golden State is an American Christian rock band. Their early beginning took place in Portland, Oregon. A relatively recent addition to the Christian music scene, they formed in 2007. The band members say they have gained influences from various bands including Weezer, and The Beatles, just to name a few. Look into this music group more by going to

The Afters is a Christian rock band. They originated in Dallas, Texas, USA. Surprisingly, two of the main members– Matt Fuqua and Joshua Havens– were both simultaneously employed at a Starbucks coffee shop in Texas. This is where they first met, and decided to create a band after they gained success from playing music together for their customers. The size of the music group expanded after two additional Starbucks employees became part of the group. Although the band’s name has since changed from “Blisse” to “The Afters”, they have been formed since 1999, and continue to remain in-focus. For more info on this group, check out:

January’s Recipe ~ “Snickerdoodle Cookies”

“A perfect cookie for the winter months, Snickerdoodles are sure to win-over your friends and family!”

Yields: 5 dozen/ Time: approx. 15 minutes for preparation; 1 hour of refrigerator time; 9-11 minutes for baking.

What you’ll need:

*2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
*1 tsp. baking powder
*2 tsp. cream of tartar
*1 ½ brown or white sugar + * ¼ cup white sugar
*2 eggs
*2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
*1 cup (2 sticks) of butter
*1 tbsp. ground cinnamon


1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda. Set aside. Beat 1 ½ cups of the sugar with the butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well-mixed. Take dough and shape into one-inch balls; place in refrigerator for one hour.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix remaining ¼ cup sugar and ground cinnamon in a medium sized bowl. Roll shaped dough in cinnamon/ sugar mixture to coat. Place 2” apart on baking sheets.

3. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Enjoy!

January’s Movie Review ~ “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” (2011)

Even better than the first, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was worth the theater seat! Starring the dynamic duo—Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson–, this sequel was as entertaining as being witness to a real-life mystery case. Being witty, old-fashioned, and containing notable dialogue, and amazing cinematography, Holmes was practically awesome from the commencement of the film! It includes the possibility of Holmes’ death, and we also come to meet Holmes’ brother, who helps him and Watson throughout their case. Unlike the previous Sherlock Holmes movie, this one takes us to Paris, France, where we, along with Holmes, Watson, and recently added character, Simza, crack the mystery and attempt to dissipate the potential attacks of our villains afoot. Perhaps one of the only drawbacks was that I noticed there was a funny scene in the movie’s theatrical release trailer which was not found within the movie. (Short pause of disappointment… Grrr.) Also, one other attribute which I didn’t care much for was the scene where the gypsy, Simza, deals with Tarot cards, although I do realize that it was just part of the character portrayal. But, in any case, considering that these were the only drawbacks I left with, this proves the movie to be pretty well-reviewed. All-in-all, this critic truly enjoyed watching Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and I would like to see it again, as well as own it on DVD.

~January 2012

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