• No School - Spring Break - Mar.14 - Mar.18
  • No School - Spring Vacation Day - April 15
  • HS Theatre Spring Show - April 8-9
  • End of 3rd Quarter - Mar. 31
  • HS One Act Plays- April 13 at 7pm
  • No School - Prof. Development Day - April 25
The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

How To…

By Lauren Glynn

-all images by Lauren Glynn-


How to… make tea

















How to… burn more calories walking

how to burn calories walking

















How to… plan for Spring Break

It’s not just you, the anticipation is killing everyone. The time between Jan. and Mar. seem to take forever but soon tests, quizzes and snow days will be gone.

Spring Break could be the best time of your life, but first you need to plan it out so all you have to do is show up and relax.

Some individuals get to do the classic go to Florida and have a nice vacation with their family while others people are going somewhere with friends.

There are many components that need to come together to pull off what could be a great trip. If you are someone who is going on Spring Break with friends you’re probably paying for it yourself so hopefully you’ve been saving.

You need to decipher how you are planning to pay for it. If you are going to Florida or Cancun,  it will cost much more than going to Kentucky to hangout with some family.

Once you have all of the details laid out, you want to set aside some spending money to ensure that the trip is all you hope it to be. As in, you want to make sure you can eat good food and buy some trinkets.

No matter what you are doing, it is important to pick the right destination. If you’re going to leave Ohio at least do it right and let the rest of us live through you vicariously as we lay in bed watching every episode of “Gossip Girl”. .

In addition, it is imperative to make sure if you are flying in a plane that you don’t miss your flight.

Also, make sure to pack right, this isn’t the time to pull out the big puffy coats, this is time for snap backs and bikinis.

No matter what you do over the week off of school just make sure to get some rest. There is nothing worse than not taking advantage of time to sleep.

Finally, just remember to be safe so we can all return and start counting down the days until Summer.

spring break











How to… prepare your car for winter

how to prepare your car for snow


















How to… make budget driven Valentine’s Day special

Feb 14, better known as the day of love can be a real wallet emptier. It’s easy to spend 30 dollars on your significant other between the chocolates, stuffed animals and even that special intimate dinner.

But, there are some tricks to save a few bucks for the future. First, keep in mind it is a commercial holiday and, of course, there will be amazing deals but there will be terrible scams so be a smart shopper: don’t spend 15 dollars on candy.

Next, avoid trying to show how much you care with objects. You can also use words and actions to show your feelings that will mean just as much and cost a lot less.

Also, try making something. Homemade projects might not come out the best but they mean the most.

Even if it’s just cooking dinner instead of going out, it will make it more meaningful and cheaper, but you will have to put in a little more effort than just making reservations.

An excellent way to show your love can be through making coupons or vouchers in a book. This is another homemade project but can be more personal.

This book should contain promises in which the other person can redeem their coupons for such as: a night out or a movie of your choice.

Lastly, relax maybe if it is nice and there are stars you can try to go stargazing. It’s simple, it’s different and it’s free!

Just remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect, it is just one day and you always have next year to do something better.



money hearty











How to… keep your New Year’s resolution

It happens every year, the clock strikes 12 on Dec. 31 and everyone feels the sudden rush of the fresh start of a new year. First comes the partying, then you hear of the oh so promising new years resolutions.

Most gyms are closed on Jan. 1, but Jan 2 is always extremely crowded but it gets less and less as the days go on.

Then once it is mid Feb. the numbers are back around the usual count.

Working out and getting that “summer body” is just one example of countless resolutions that have been broken.

So if you did make a resolution and you made it this far, first of all congratulations! The next step is to maintain your progress.

How you may ask? Well for starters, only choose goals that you care enough about to follow through.

That might sound obvious- but why would anyone set a New Years resolution that they did not intend on keeping? Who knows? People do it.

Also you can try to make a “trigger-action” plan. According to Vox, Research in psychology finds that one of the best ways to make sure you actually achieve your goals is to use implementation intentions: “if-then” plans which specify exactly what action you’re going to do and when.

Also sometimes known as “trigger-action plans”, the basic idea is that you set a clear, concrete trigger: “when I walk through my front door after work”, followed by an action that you’ll take after the trigger: “I will put on my running clothes.”

Results from almost 100 studies find that people who make these trigger-action plans are significantly more likely to reach their goals, across a variety of domains.

Something else to try is change your environment. If you change your surroundings maybe you won’t get bored and just stop. So if you do choose to work out maybe run on the treadmill somedays and run on the track another day.

There are countless ways to keep yourself accountable, so don’t let yourself down and keep your new years resolution.











How to… stay motivated

Everyone has those days where we just can’t do anything. November and December are crazy months and it seems like school drags on forever, but here are some tips to help push through these last few weeks of the semester.

First, you need to stay positive. No matter what, optimism is the key factor to getting through times like this.

To stay optimistic, you might want to try things like listening to music, exercising or maybe hanging out with some friends.

Next, it is imperative to stop blaming yourself. According to the Huffington Post, if you find yourself blaming others or yourself for everything, it can be hard to let go. With more awareness and a daily practice of self-compassion, you will come to terms with who you truly are and what you can take on.

Blaming everything on yourself, will tear you down and takes away from the whole optimistic idea too. Don’t reminisce on the past- focus on the present and look toward the future.

In addition, you need to forget the ideal situation. I know it sucks that we have to come to school, but we have to be here so might as well make the best out of it.

Find a place where you can work well and not get distracted. If your room is too much with the bed and Netflix remote sitting right there then go to the library or Panera.

I know life can be tough, but if we push through classes, assignments and projects together we will get to winter break and have  time to ourselves once again.













How to… make a Thanksgiving turkey

There is no doubt about it; the turkey is the center piece for every Thanksgiving meal. It is an American holiday that brings family together to celebrate tradition.

Since the turkey is the star of the show, you don’t want to mess it up. The procedure can be a bit tricky, so here is a short tutorial to get the best outcome on Turkey day.

It’s hard to create a perfect turkey every Thanksgiving, but this could be the year you nailed it.

No matter what herbs and spices such as  you decide to use, the best way to get tasty turkey is to generously season it everywhere possible. A 20 pound turkey is a lot of meat – a teaspoon of salt and pepper sprinkled over the top is not going to keep the whole family satisfied.

According to American Food, generously rub salt and pepper inside the cavity, along with whatever other herbs and spices you’re using.

You can also push seasoned butter or olive oil under the skin of the breast, and around the thighs. You can use your fingers, or push a thin silicon spatula under the skin to separate it from the meat. This not only flavors the turkey, but also helps keep it moist and juicy.

Lastly, you will need to rub the outside skin of the turkey with butter or oil, and season with salt and pepper. This triple application of flavor might take some extra time now, but when you are sitting down with the family, you won’t regret it.

A properly prepped turkey will go a long way to ensure a successful roasting, and a very attractive bird. These three steps are fast and easy, but make a huge difference.

First you need to pull the wing tips forward and tuck them under the breasts so they don’t burn. This keeps the turkey sitting nice and straight.

After seasoning, tie the legs together with kitchen string or dental floss (plain, not minty fresh). This important step will ensure even cooking, and a beautifully shaped turkey.

Last, loosely cover the breasts with a piece of foil. This will help keep the turkey moist, and prevent the breasts from getting too brown. Then you must remove the foil for the last hour of roasting to brown the skin.

Leave the turkey out for one hour before roasting to take the chill off. Cut two carrots, two ribs of celery, and an onion into large chunks. Place on the bottom of your roasting pan. Place the turkey, breast side up on top of the vegetables.

Add about a half-inch of liquid (water or stock) to the roasting pan. This will keep the oven moist, and the turkey juicy. This aromatic liquid can be used to baste the turkey while it cooks (there is a debate whether basting does anything, but it’s part of the tradition). Also, the pan drippings will be even more flavorful if you’re planning to make gravy.

Roast at 325 degrees F., for approximately 15-20 minutes per pound. This is just an estimate – be sure to use a meat thermometer to get a perfect doneness.

Remove the turkey when it reads 165 degrees F. in the thickest part of the thigh meat. Here is an approximate turkey cooking time guide for roasting at 325 degrees F. from the USDA:

8 to 12 pounds: 2 3/4 to 3 hours

12 to 14 ponds: 3 to 3 3/4 hours

14 to 18 pounds: 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours

18 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours

20 to 24 pounds: 4 1/2 to 5 hours

The most important thing to remember is to let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

When you remove it from the oven, cover it very loosely with foil, and go about getting your side dishes to the table. Don’t worry, it won’t get cold; a covered 20-lb turkey will stay hot for over 40 minutes, so don’t rush it.

Once you have waited the full 20 minutes, you are finally ready to carve it, sit down, give thanks and enjoy your meal.

















How to… pump gas

Growing up, we have watched as our parents rush to the gas station as the gas gauge leans toward empty. But waiting for them in the car as they do all the work never prepared us for a lifetime full of gas tanks.

As I was teaching my newly licensed brother how to pump his own gas, I realized that there are a series of steps everyone needs to follow. Slowing it down can really help someone out.

First, you need to figure out which side of the car your gas tank opening is on. It also does not hurt to know how to unlock the hatch to fuel up your car ahead of time.

Then, you need to know what kind of gas your car takes. Usually, there are three types but each car is different and has various needs.

You should know how much your tank holds. Also, it is pertinent to know what your drive mileage is after the empty warning light sounds.

Make sure your car is in park and the engine is completely turned off. In many gas stations, if you are paying cash, you will need to go inside.

It is essential to be careful not to leave your wallet or purse on your front seat. The number of purse snatches is increasing rapidly.

Before you head in, look at the pump and remember the number. When you talk to the clerks, tell them how much money you’re paying and at what pump. If the pump can process credit and debit cards, simply swipe your card and follow the instructions. Sometimes you’ll be asked for a signature or a PIN.

Finally you will remove the nozzle and put it into the car and you pick your known fuel grade, then you can wait outside if the weather permits or wait in your car.

Once you hear the click noise you will know it finished and you need to remove the nozzle slowly without dripping fuel everywhere and place it back in the holster.

Close the tank cover- twist tightly and shut hatch door or light on dashboard will remain on.

Last, turn the car back on and the dial should move away from empty and toward full, and then you are good until you need gas again.




How to… carve a pumpkin

No matter how old we are, we still see individuals going to pumpkin patches in the fall to get in the Halloween spirit. Picking the pumpkin is the easy part but when it comes to carving it, what are the steps to creating a killer pumpkin?

First, cut a hole in the pumpkin. This is to hollow it out so later a candle can be placed inside to keep it illuminated at night.

Then, use a plastic scraping tool to scoop out the flesh. To keep the insides completely hollow, all seeds, pulp and flesh must be removed.

Next, it is time to transfer the design. Find a pumpkin template online to trace using a needle tool or T-pin by poking holes into it so carving is easier when the template is removed. This is when it is possible to get really creative and abstract with designs.

Finally, take the knife and saw through the points marked already on the pumpkin to carve the features of the masterpiece.

According to Martha Stewart, the best way to illuminate a carved pumpkin: string lights that are preferable to candles for most designs. Wrap a strand of 20 lights around a glass jar, and secure wires with tape.

Cut a hole in the hollowed-out pumpkin for the cord, and place jar inside. Unplug lights before leaving the house or going to sleep.

If using a candle, place it in a glass or votive holder, and cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin for ventilation.

At the end of the process, you are left with a great homemade pumpkin!














How to… stop biting your nails

One of the most annoying and addicting habits that people learn at a young age is biting nails. One nail breaks so you feel the need to make it even. Then it is shorter than the rest so now you have to fix the rest.

It’s a vicious cycle.

Some studies have found about one-quarter of children bite their nails habitually (Ghanizadeh & Shekoohi, 2011), others say it may peak at almost 45 percent in adolescence (Peterson et al., 1994).

More surprisingly, the prevalence among adults may be just as high, with some estimates at 50 percent (Hansen et al., 1990). I had no idea it was potentially that high—I guess it’s a habit that people hide well from others.

The first step to overcoming the habit seems obvious, but you have got to want it. It might seem redundant to say, but any change has to be desired- really desired. And for such a simple behavior, nail-biting is surprisingly hard to quit, perhaps partly because it doesn’t seem that big a deal.

One method for boosting motivation is to think carefully about the positive aspects of changing the habit, for example, attractive looking nails and a sense of accomplishment.

Also, make the negative aspects of nail-biting as dramatic as possible in your mind. If you tend to think it’s no big deal then you’re unlikely to make the change.

Next, replace bad with good. One of the keys to habit change is developing a new, good (or at least neutral) response that can compete with the old, bad habit. According to Psychology Today, the best types are ones that are incompatible with your old habit.

So, for nail-biting you could try chewing gum, putting your hands in your pockets, twiddling your thumbs, playing with a ball or an elastic band, clasping your hands together, eating a carrot or clipping or filing them instead.

It is essential to constantly use visual reminders. If you keep your nails clipped short then there is less temptation to bite them. Some people recommend having a manicure because the money spent, along with how much better your nails look, will deter you from biting them.

You could also paint your nails a bright color as a reminder, although most men seem to find this look difficult to pull off—I can’t imagine why.

A lot of these steps can be applied to many different habits and hopefully they help because nail biting is an unattractive and gross habit that needs to be stopped.

nail biting











How to… set a table

It might just be me, but I was told to set the dinner table last night and had no idea which side the silverware was supposed to be on. If I don’t know how to set a table, I figured there might be some others out there who share the struggle.

Don’t worry, because I did some research and I am ready to share the facts.

First, get the basics. These consist of the main dinner plate and the drinking glass. Set the dinner plate in front of the chair (center it) and place the drinking glass on the right side of the plate accordingly.

For a dinner party, there are usually three drinking glasses. The one closest to the main plate is the white wine glass, the middle glass is the red wine glass, and the one farthest away is the water glass.

A coffee cup and saucer sits to the right of the red wine glass position.

Next, it is important to add to the dinner plate a napkin placed in the center.

Alternatively, place the napkin either on the table to the left of the forks, or on a side plate; some people roll up the napkin and place it into a wine glass.

Add a small bread plate with a knife placed inside of it horizontally to the upper left corner of the dinner plate (American setting). Or, use it as a “side plate” and have it placed to the side (English setting), with the butter knife still upon it.

Then, it is time to add the silverware or to be more proper, the cutlery.

Place the two to three forks on the left side of the dinner plate (salad fork, meal/dinner fork, and fish fork if using).

Above the plate goes the dessert fork tines facing toward the glass and the dessert spoon facing left.

Place the dinner knife on the right side of the plate and the butter knife following and align a soup spoon next to the knife if having soup. Any teaspoons being used will be placed between the knife and the soup spoon.

If there is a cocktail fork, it sits next to the spoons, at the outermost edge.

Once all of that is finished you can serve guests for a formal meal or just have nice sit down with the family at the end of a long day. Either way, now we know how to set the table right.

table setting













How to… lose weight the right way

Everyone is getting in homecoming mode where a great body is on the top of their priority list. While it is possible to lose weight fast, no one is going to lose 20 pounds in two weeks while using healthy methods.

Hiding behind baggy clothes can get anyone through the stressful winter. By the time Cincinnati weather changes to spring, it is already summer, giving people virtually no time to have the realization that they need to wear a swimsuit soon. Individuals can turn to methods of losing weight that are not exactly good for their body.

According to Web MD, there are ways to lose the weight fast and safely. By religiously going by a healthy diet and exercising regularly there is a possibility of losing up to three pounds a week.

If you burn 500 more calories than you eat every day for a week, you should lose about one to two pounds. If you want to lose weight faster, you’ll need to eat less and exercise more.

For instance, if an individual takes in about 1,050 to 1,200 calories a day and exercises for one hour per day, he or she could lose three to five pounds in the first week, or more if he or she weighs more than 250 pounds. It’s very important not to cut calories any further because it could lead to dangerous results.

Limiting salt and starches may also mean losing more weight at first- but that’s mostly fluids, not fat. When you reduce sodium and cut starches, you reduce fluids and fluid retention, which can result in up to 5 pounds of fluid loss when you get started.

If you think that just by popping two or three pills daily you can get an hourglass figure, you are highly mistaken. They may seem like a quick-fix solution by curbing your hunger pangs, but what people don’t know is that they have harmful side effects on overweight people and kids under 18.

According to Heath Kart, diet pills are readily available over the counter but they’re not as good as they sound. Some of the harmful side effects include: gas/acidity, diarrhea, high blood pressure, restlessness and/or nervousness, hair loss and urinary problems.

So if you’ve gained weight because you couldn’t resist cheeseburgers and French Fries, then try to reduce it through proper eating and exercise habits. Resources like diet pills may claim to help you shed weight without any effort on your part, but their after-effects are still questionable.




How to… organize your closet

With winter so close, everyone is digging through the puffy coats and warm sweaters to find the cute little shorts and swim trunks perfect for facing the warm weather.

This is one of two times a year where everyone shifts their closet to have easier access to what is needed for that season. Since it has been an entire year since wearing sundresses and t-shirts, maybe it is even time for a whole closet clean out.

The first step to having a successful cleanout is to take everything out of the closet so you have free range to do whatever you want.

Also, this is a great time to grab a garbage bag to give some of the old clothes away to places like Goodwill and Platos Closet. This will just decrease the clutter and provide more room for new clothes.

First, start with what you aren’t going to wear, like heavy coats and gloves and warm hats. Just put these in storage whether it be in drawers or the basement. Keeping them in the closet, again, just adds to the clutter.

Now that you have what you want, you can start putting things back into the closet. Depending on how it is set up, there are so many ways a closet can be put to use.

If you have shelves, start by putting your most-used outfits (that do not need to be hung up) at eye level. Put less used outfits on the lower shelves, and the least used outfits, like your red white and blue Fourth of July tank top up top and out of the way.

If you have all hangers you should use the same method. Most used clothes go in the middle, then less used and least used will go on either side, so whichever you prefer.

If you have shelves and hangers then try to use the shelf method and hang what is necessary so you don’t have a million outfits hung up.

Also, another great use of shelves are using them to store hats and shoes for easy access and so you can see everything in an organized manner.

Closets are used to hold clothes and accessories. Make sure not to put everything you own in there. Keep it clean and organized and then repeat the process in the winter and then voila! You have an organized closet.


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