Friday, September 21, 2012

It's Apple Season!

My sister and her husband have two apple trees in their yard that are just loaded with apples! So she invited us to come and pick as many as we wanted. Free apples just for the pickin'? I'm there!

So many good things can be made from apples but one of my favorites (right behind apple crisp) is Apple Bread. It's easy and quick and never lasts very long at this house! 
I started with an apple peeler although you wouldn't need one since the recipe only calls for 2 cups of chopped apples.
Since I was also going to make apple crisp I pulled out the peeler.
Mix all the ingredients together and put in a bread pan.
Then add the extra special touch--a sugar cinnamon topping.
Pop in the oven and hope that time passes quickly as you smell the aroma! 
 Look at that finished product.
Wish I could cut you a slice!
Instead, I'll share the recipe so you can go make your own.
Apple Bread
1/2 cup veg. oil
1 cup sugar
2 T milk
2 cups flour
2 cups chopped apples
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
Cream the eggs, sugar and oil. Add the vanilla. Mix your dry ingredients and add them to the egg/sugar mixture. Add the milk and apples.
Put in a greased bread pan.
1 T melted butter
2 T brown sugar
2 T white sugar
1 T flour
1 t cinnamon
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 325. 
 I used small bread pans so my bread didn't take quite that long to bake.
post signature
Pin It!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes or At Least Tweens

My granddaughters had some friends over on Saturday. The weather was so nice they decided to get out the sidewalk chalk. They were all busy doing their own thing when I overheard this conversation.
"Emily, what are you drawing?"
 "Oh...uh... it looked better in my mind."

 I'm not sure what she was drawing but I love her response!! So many times I've tried different crafts that didn't turn out quite the way they looked in my mind!  She didn't seem bothered by it at all and my granddaughters accepted her answer and kept drawing. Oh to be so young and wise!

post signature
Pin It!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Uh Oh, Grandma's Gonna Snap!

As you know I am practicing a lot with my camera and different lenses. As you may or may not know, I make and sell awesome skin care products. As you also know, I have three adorable grandchildren that like to visit and play with toys here. On most visits the toys get picked up. But once in awhile they don't. Look what happened when the toys + grandma's camera met up!



Gathered From The Garden has aromatherapy lotions.
We also have products for the guys.
Our fun little lotion favors are perfect for shower gifts, stocking stuffers or when you just need a little something.
Our Flip Flop Foot Cream is intensive therapy for feet.
Push Up Lotions are great for traveling because they aren't liquid.
Our most popular item:  Goat Milk and Honey Lotion.  My personal favorite  Raspberry Lemonade.
Guess it's time to put the dolls away. I forgot how much fun it is to dress up Barbie dolls! I'll have to get the girls over soon and play Barbies with them.  (This time, I'll snap pictures of the grandkids.)
When was the last time you played with some toys?
post signature 

Pin It!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Eleven Ideas To Make The School Year Great

Where oh where did the summer go? It was just as long as last summer but it sure seems like it went back faster. As I head back to my second grade classroom and your children head back to theirs, here are some tips to help make our year the best.

1. Bedtime
This goes for the teacher and the students. We all need to get enough sleep. Children especially need at least 10 hours of sleep. (I'd like that much too but it just doesn't happen.) I can always tell right away in the morning who hasn't had enough rest. Going to sleep with the tv on is a bad, bad habit. Going to sleep listening to mom or dad read a story is a very good habit.

2. Breakfast
This also goes for the teacher and the students. Most of my students eat breakfast at school. I can always tell later in the morning who hasn't had the fuel they need to be the best learner they can be. If your child doesn't eat breakfast at school they really need to eat at home before they come. Breakfast is not my favorite meal  but with a little creativity I can get the nutrients I need to start my day. Check out Cute Foods for Kids for some fun ideas.

3. Communication
I would love to be able to read minds but that just isn't my talent. I can't tell what students or parents are thinking/feeling if they don't tell me. In my classroom I send home a newsletter each week. One of my partners does hers online. It gets frustrating when my students tell me that their parents don't read the newsletter. I put some effort into getting it ready to be sent out on Fridays. Please read information that is sent home.
Communication is a two-way street. Please communicate with your child's teacher. I really appreciate feedback on homework assignments or a note if your child is going to be absent.  I would love to answer any questions you have about what is going on in our classroom. I have school email and phone. I'm guessing most teachers do. 

4.  Homework
This is a touchy subject for a lot of parents. As teachers, we assign homework to reinforce the teaching that we do. It is my personal opinion that at the very least children should be reading every night. Most kids also can use practice on math facts. I don't feel that  homework should take very long (especially for younger students) because your child needs down time after school just like I do. If you have questions or concerns about homework please share them with your child's teacher. And parents, it sure doesn't help your child if you do their homework or sign off that they did it when in fact they didn't. Really, what does that teach them?

5.  Hygiene
In my building we do not have air conditioning or showers and our playground is covered in pea gravel. On hot days, kids get sweaty and dirty. Even small children can be taught to wash up and put on clean undies. It doesn't help in making friends if your child smells. Help your child out by teaching them to use soap and water. Deodorant for older students makes a difference too. (Personal hygiene is a subject teachers don't enjoy having to discuss with students.)

6. Respect for Others
I have been teaching for many years and I have seen changes in how children respect their elders at school. We now have kindergarden students who sass back and absolutely do not follow directions. You don't have to like us teachers but I think we still deserve your respect. If your children see and hear you bad-mouthing teachers and school personnel they will carry on that attitude. It is very hard to do our job of teaching if we have to deal with a lack of respect.

7. Respect for Things
I've seen  a change in the regard for other's things and our own. Last year I was amazed at the number of children who would not stoop down to pick up a pencil. It didn't matter if it was theirs or someone else's. Our Lost and Found Box was overflowing and then some. Library books come back scribbled in or full of jelly fingerprints. Yes many things can be replaced but this is about teaching your children to be good stewards of all their treasures. (It will carry on in how they treat the earth.)

8. Be a Joiner
One of the saddest things about my school is that it has no parent support organization. There is a Booster Club at the High School that supports arts and athletics but nothing at our elementary. I think there are so many opportunities we are missing because of it. If your school has a PTA or parent group--join. Here you can have some influence and make a difference. (In my own children's school they have a very active parent group. So many good things have come out of it.)

9. Don't be a Stranger
One of the best things about my school is that we invite parents in all the time. Moms, Dads, Grandparents and special family members are invited in to watch plays, poetry readings, track and field events to name a few. It means so much to our students to have family share in their school experience. Even having lunch with your child is a special treat.
We also encourage parent volunteers. In our large classrooms it is so wonderful to have an extra set of hands. Having a parent or grandparent who can help with small groups or give some one on one time to a struggling student can be such a boost for  students.

10. Attendance
This may seem pretty common sense but the more days your child misses, the more learning he/she misses. While we really don't want your child in school when they are sick we don't think letting your child stay home when they are not sick is a good idea. You know what I mean.

11. Show Gratitude
Who doesn't like to be thanked for the job they do? It only takes a minute to jot a short note of thanks or leave a voicemail. You have the power to make someone's day. This could be a teacher, librarian, para, bus driver, lunch people, office staff, principal or even your child!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful fun-filled year of learning!  Now I'm going to go head for bed since tomorrow is our First Day.

post signature
Pin It!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Macarons and a Blue Moon

They say the next Blue Moon won't occur until July 2013. I don't think it will be that long before I try making macarons again! I first tasted these sweet confections when visiting Paris three years ago. They were so delicate and delicious! I never thought I would be trying these on my own. They were actually quite easy to make.

Some day I hope to make these.

Enter Mommy's Confessions. Last night I just happened to see her macarons pic on a Linky. Hubby was gone so I had nothing better to do. I read Lindsay's blog post on making macarons and I knew I had to try it. She had spelled out everything so completely. (she even shared her flops ) She listed the ingredients, how to prep and step-by step directions with photos. I set up my laptop in the kitchen to have her nearby and gave it my best shot.

Yes, I know a more professional food processor seems to be in order.
So...since we have no Trader Joe's nearby I had to make my own almond meal. It sounded kind of easy but for some reason, my almonds did not want to "powder up". I had to do quite a bit of sifting and regrinding.I kept my cool.

Then while separating the egg whites, one of my egg yolks fell into the bowl too. Yikes! I only had one spare egg. (I didn't decide to make these until 9:00 pm and didn't want to leave to buy more eggs.) So I dumped out the egg, washed out the bowl (needs to be stainless and I only have one) and started again.

OK, slowly whipped the eggs like the blog post said and added the sugar. So far, so good. Egg whites starting to form peaks and when the bowl is tipped--they don't fall anywhere! Hurray!

  Cool glass from my Ragnar Race came in handy! 

Now to add the almond meal, powdered sugar and cocoa mixture. Folded that in. Easy peasy! Had my piping bag all ready. Added the eggwhite/almond meal mixture and started piping as round of circles as I could. (Some say to put a template under the parchment paper but I was too lazy.) I tried to smooth out the tops but on some I think I made it worse. I baked some on parchment paper and some on a silpat mat. I prefer the parchment.

Now they have to sit for awhile. It gave me time to clean up a bit. It took about 30 minutes for them not to be tacky.

In the oven they went--295 degrees is what Lindsay recommended. She also recommended putting an extra cookie sheet as a heat shield on the oven rack below. I baked them for about 20 minutes then checked to see if they would lift off the cookie sheet without sticking. Yes!
See the little bumps that didn't get smoothed out.

I took them out to cool. After cooling I matched them up. Then I spread Nutella on one and put the other on top. Lindsay says the macarons have to age 24-48 hours. (Sometimes time just doesn't go by fast enough...) So I am waiting to try one tonight.

See the little bumps from the almond meal? Next time I might pipe in the filling for a nicer look.

My macarons don't look half bad for my first attempt because of Lindsay's excellent instructions. (Some day I hope mine look like hers.)  I know I am going to make them again. I'm already planning on what flavors! Lemon will next and I'm thinking salted caramel has to be on the list too. (If you read Lindsay's blogpost you'll see her beautiful colors and filling combos. such inspiration!) Have you ever tasted macarons? They are a little bit of heaven on your tongue. Have you ever tried making macarons? Don't wait for the next Blue Moon to do it!

Some more of Lindsay's pretty macarons.

post signature
Pin It!


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Contact Me

Name *
Email *
Subject *
Message *