9.16.2010

A Math Problem of the Day

Here is my math problem for the day:
What do you get when you take one sick day, one day to catch up, five spirit days, one homecoming game, one powderpuff football game, one lost cell phone ( not mine), four "lost" assignments, six eager junior high football players, two uncooperative computers, and one exploding pen?

Twenty-three reasons why I am ready for a peaceful week-end.

9.13.2010

Kitten Update

 Here is when they first came home.

Grayson and Junebug have been pawing me lately wondering why the fan mail has stopped. "Oh dear!"  I told them, "I have not posted pictures online for way too long". For Grayson and Junebug and all of you that love kitten pictures... here are some of the latest.
Junebug the poser.
Annie making sure everything is right with the kittens.
The famous "calendar picture".
Together again on the porch.
Braving a trip to the vet


 and Junebug exploring the pond.

9.10.2010

Keepers From the Recipe Box

Here are the two recipes many of you requested when I posted the photos on Facebook.

Porch Swing Overnight French Toast
Courtesy of Carole Eppler of Porch Swing Bed and Breakfast, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
 Ingredients:
2 TBs. butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup cream
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup sugar
1 TB grated orange zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch slices
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Topping:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 TB corn syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Method:
The night before, melt butter in a 9x13 pan and place bread in the pan. Combine all ingredients and pour over the bread. Combine topping ingredients, except for nuts. Spread topping over bread and sprinkle with nuts. Cover and refrigerate. The next morning, preheat oven to 350 F and bake 40 minutes or until golden. Serves 8.  We served 8 and had leftovers!

Kahlua Punch Bowl Cake

1 (2 layer) package pudding-recipe chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 6 oz. package chocolate instant pudding mix, prepared
16 oz. whipped topping
6 Heath candy bars, crushed

Prepare and bake the pan using cake directions in a 9x13 pan. Cool. Cut cake into 1 inch cubes. Layer cake, Kahlua, pudding, whipped topping and candy 1/2 at a time in punch bowl. Chill until serving time. Prepare 1 day in advance to enhance flavor. Serves 30.
Variation: You don't have to use the Kahlua and I use cream cheese pudding and chocolate ( 2 small boxes) for a bit of variety. When I wasn't home to bake a cake I used Sara Lee vanilla pound cake and it worked great also. If you google punch bowl cakes you will see many variations of the recipe. Great for a potluck!

A Peak at the September Garden

I am watching the burning bush get tinges of pink as the leaves begin to turn. One Virginia Creeper leaf is bright red. Other plants are just getting a spurt of growth. Here is a garden tour. Above another morning glory to brighten up the gate.
I so enjoy the grapes before they ripen.
 I love watching the leaves turn on the Oak Leaf Hydrangeas.
The trumpet vines are outdoing themselves right now! Please Mr. Frost... give our gardens a bit more time.

9.08.2010

Teacher or Learner?

 a view from my classroom door

Do I teach more or learn more in my profession? Each day as I learn more about my students and how they view the world I realize you never stop learning.  Even though I have students two or three years  I continue to learn more about them each year. I realize part of that is because I am their writing teacher and students often share more of their inner thoughts and events of life through writing.

Just today I was reminded how death has recently touched numerous students in ways I never realized. I  learned that one student that appears tough on the outside was a bit scared when we did some research on the beginnings of some popular urban legends today. I also learned that a new student I just met is a pow wow dancer and travels all over the northwest performing with her family in pow wows and has lots to teach me.
How much do I really teach? I often see myself more as a coach or guide than a teacher. I don't teach them to read words or write the alphabet. I do coach them as to how to think deeper and respond more fully. I also guide them in how to take risks. I also learn how to become a better reader and writer right along with them.
Yes, I am more of a learner than a teacher. Perhaps that is why I stay in teaching. I reread a short story today that I have probably taught six times and learned more. I am challenging myself to become a better mathematician this year to assist students that struggle with math in a learning lab. I struggle with math so I am working side by side with these students so we can think and problem solve together. That will be a huge learning curve for me during this school year. I was really nervous as I took the pre-assessment today along with my students. Perhaps it is a good idea for them to see us out of our comfort zone.
I will continue to explore this idea of teaching and learning this year while I am relearning how to do geometry!

9.02.2010

Images of Late Summer

I really love teaching school, but I don't love leaving my gardens this time of year. This is when the annual flowers come on strong. This is when the tomatoes are ready to can. This is when the sun sinks behind the mountain a bit earlier, but the gardens are warmed by the golden light of the gloaming. Plus, I miss the kittens during the day. I caught Grayson on the bench by the pond above.
The colors in the verbena are very vivid now.
I really love the colors in this coleus plant.
The area around the pond is a lovely place to eat dinner.
Our morning glory are finally blooming!