For a hilarious look at the sweetest little guys check this out!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
For a hilarious look at the sweetest little guys check this out!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
43° F | 34° F
6° C | 1° C
40° F | 27° F
4° C | -3° C
34° F | 25° F
1° C | -4° C
32° F | 22° F
0° C | -6° C
34° F | 23° F
1° C | -5° C
100% chance of precipitation
60% chance of precipitation
|Chance of Snow|
50% chance of precipitation
|Partly Cloudy||Partly Cloudy|
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
|BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND LEEK SOUP|
4 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, halved lengthwise
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 lg. leeks (white and tender green), chopped
7 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
5 c. chicken stock or unsalted canned broth
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 c. sour cream
2 to 3 tbsp. chives, chopped
8 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the squash, cut-side down, on a baking sheet and bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Scrape the squash from the skin.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Add the leeks and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs.
Stir in the stock and the squash. Simmer over moderate heat for 20 minutes. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in patches until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pan and season with the salt and pepper. (The recipe can be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead. Reheat the soup before proceeding.) To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 teaspoon chopped chives and a sprinkling of the bacon.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The greatest changes to the parts of the brain that are responsible for impulse-control, judgement, decision-making, planning, organization and involved in other functions like emotion, occur in adolescence. This area of the brain (prefrontal cortex) does not reach full maturity until around age 25!
Monday, August 25, 2008
It's interesting to look into the statistics of "education dollars". Only $.57 of every education dollar sees the classroom. Much the rest goes to administration and capital costs. There are tons of startling facts about the way money is spent in education (and it's not necessarily spent for the benefit of the kids...) but one glaring example of this is that in Ohio top union leaders had pay raises that increased 9-1 in comparison to teacher salaries.
In the meantime teacher's are compensated fairly well overall in comparison to let's say, law-enforcement (my husband is in this line of work). It's interesting to note that law-enforcement officers often have to work without a contract and can only hope to get compensated for the difference in pay from that time period - they are not allowed to strike. Isn't the education of our children just as important? Let's just hope that the teachers and administration involved in considering this strike will realize that it is the kids who suffer. If grown-ups could only learn to get along then maybe we could teach our children.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Well, the boys have completed their school year, we've been on vacation once, and we are preparing to go for five days to Wenatchee. The boys have completed one golf camp and have two more that they are looking forward to. They are playing golf pretty much everyday. We have an upcoming "book signing" for the youngest one and his book club that all published their stories. We've just been contacted by a new homeschooling family in the area who would like to get together. Our problem, like everyone else, is there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day. I've put off weeding the front flower bed, painting the house, and finishing staining the back fence but I do have time to write this post. I have put off cleaning out my closet or under my bed but I did find time to complete the boys' yearbook. It's all about priorities and as I look back over the year I can see that even when it felt like we were busy, rushed, or bored, we had our priorities in the correct order. At the top of that list was family. As long as we keep that were it belongs everything else just seems to fall into place.
Friday, June 20, 2008
When I was in high-school I worked at the local theater. I loved that job! As I moved up the ranks from lowly concession worker to the pinnacle of success as the "Head Cashier" I also took on the responsibility of recommending and giving my opinion to the average movie goer.
Mistake #1: Thinking that they value my opinion.
Mistake #2: Thinking that they would like the same type of movie that I enjoyed.
Mistake #3: Taking it personally when they invariably chose the "other" movie.
I think this goes for books as well. There are "those books". The ones that we connect to on some deep and personal level. We wonder how that author knew that we had felt that same emotion at some point and how in the world were they able to express it so simply when it was so complex. I enjoy seeking out and "discovering" my next most favoritist book but I would be less likely to put that same book on my favorite list if it was told to me by someone else first, that it was an excellent book. I think it all comes down to ownership. I am not able to own something to the same degree if someone "gives" it to me. I want to seek it out, find it, and then take it or leave it. It's my choice and I own it!
"It's choice - not chance - that determines your destiny." -- Jean Nidetch”
Consider the 10,000+ men who died while walking the Death March of Bataan in the Philippines during WWII. They didn't die from walking but rather the conditions in which they were forced to walk. The distance was a measley 60 miles but it's all about location, location, location. The tropical heat, lack of food and water, physical abuse, and disease made this such a deadly stroll.The difference between being forced and the ability to choose.
These examples may be two extremes and you could easily argue that one has nothing to do with the other but I ask you to think about the power of choice.Every day in classrooms across America children are either being given a choice or they are being forced. Forced to read a book that they have no interest in...the horror! Or, hopefully, given the choice in what book they'll read next, ah, the joy! Teachers can be the dictator or the liberator. Which will you be?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Did you hear the one about the teacher who took a stand and refused to subject his students to the WASL? He is my hero!! Consider the quote,"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer."-- Ralph Waldo Emerson. Now read the following article, imagine Mr. Chew's thought processes...the first year he gave the WASL, the second year, the seventh year, and then finally, the eighth year.It was in those "five minutes" that he made a choice. This is an example of the power of one person who takes a stand for what they believe in. When I read this article, I just beamed. I'm now imagining all of the teachers who feel the same way that Mr. Chew does and, perhaps, will finally be emboldened to act! Momentum is a powerful tool.
P.S. As of 2006 the cost of creating and administering the WASL has been estimated at over 150 million dollars!!
Apr, 22, 2008
SEATTLE TEACHER REFUSES TO GIVE THE WASL, GETS SUSPENDED
By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP
SEATTLE -- A Seattle middle school science teacher has been suspended for two weeks without pay for refusing to administer the Washington Assessment of Student Learning in his classroom.
Union officials and education leaders say Carl Chew of Nathan Eckstein Middle School might be the first teacher in Washington state to be suspended for refusing to give his students the high-stakes test.
"Every year, I said to myself this is the last time I'm going to do this," said Chew, 60, who has been teaching for about eight years and said he has seen kids struggle through the test with few positive results to show for the time and effort expended over two weeks each spring.
He made a decision to stand up for his beliefs as he was walking down the hall to pick up this year's test booklets.
Chew said the process was all quite cordial: He wrote a short e-mail to his fellow teachers and school administrators, they set up meetings to hear his story and try to talk him into changing his mind, his principal wrote a letter outlining his insubordination and sent the case on to the school district and the district superintendent wrote back to say he was being suspended.
"Our expectation is that teachers will administer any and all state-required tests," said Seattle Public Schools spokesman David Tucker, who could not comment on Chew's punishment because the district does not talk about personnel issues.
Washington state requires its public schools to administer the WASL to students each spring. Beginning with this year's high school graduation class, students must pass the reading and writing portions in order to graduate.
Chew went to school on the first day of WASL testing, knowing in advance he would be asked to leave. Now Chew is at home, talking to reporters, responding to supportive e-mails from around the state, and hoping for better weather so he can do some gardening.
"I had no idea what to expect at all," said Chew, who estimates he will lose about $1,000 in pay for missing nine days of work.
School officials asked him what he wanted to have happen. Chew said he wanted to be back in the classroom with his students. That, apparently, wasn't an option.
"I see this very much as a win for all of us. I'm happy that the school district didn't send me packing," he said.
He said he has welcomed e-mails of support from parents and educators from around the state, but has turned down their offers of money. He asked them to make a donation instead to an organization searching for a better alternative for assessing the state's education system.
Chew said his wife makes enough money working as a medical doctor and researcher at the University of Washington to keep the bill collectors away.
Neither the Washington State School Directors Association nor the state teachers union could recall any previous cases of teachers refusing to administer the WASL.
"I know a lot of teachers have objections," said Mary Lindquist, president of the Washington Education Association. "Every day I get e-mails from our members all over the state who express their deep concern over what this test is doing to their students in the classroom."
Chew said he thinks there's got to be a better way to help students reach their potential.
"All we have to do is have faith in these kids and work as hard as we can with these kids and their families and they're going to do fine," he said.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
My question to them is, "How is your child doing having to function within the dysfunction of the classroom, not getting to interact with their siblings and parents other than at a rushed dinnertime so they can get started on homework, not having the freedom to decide when to do school work and when to have fun, and not being able to work ahead in their favorite subjects at school because that would screw up the teacher's lesson plans for the year?"
I find that when they ask, they really are wanting to hear all of the gory details of our failings at trying to educate our children at home and how we plan to enroll them into a regular classroom setting as soon as possible.
They don't want to hear that our 8th grader, who, when tested in math, tested low and was placed in a 7th grade level math book and that he just finished his 7th grade math with an 89% average and has begun his 8th grade math with the intention of finishing by the end of the school year. They don't want to hear about his week long road trip with his dad and grandpa to see his Uncle Randy, our plans for week long vacations in February and then again in May.
They don't want to hear about us taking the day to go down to Olympia to let our legislatures know about how much we enjoy and value our homeschooling experience. They don't want to hear about how some days we all sleep in until 10:30 because we were just "tired". They don't want to hear about the workshops that the boys will attend at the University of Washington in March.
They don't want to hear about our older son participation in the Missoula Children's Theater production of Robin Hood and how it does not impact his ability to "do school". They don't want to hear that both boys are playing and enjoying basketball. They don't want to hear that the boys are not required to take the WASL because of their "part-time" status through Washington Virtual Academy. They don't want to hear about the boys' participation in a computer animation class at the local community college. They don't want to hear about our younger son's participation in a writers group which then inspired him to begin another writer's group with his other friends. Did I mention that they are going to each publish books and invite friends and family members to a book signing?
They certainly don't want to hear about Tim doing his schoolwork on a Sunday so he can go snowboarding on a Monday with his Uncle Johnny up at Mt. Baker, repeatedly, and not have to worry about "making" his work up. They don't want to hear about the songs they've learned and composed on the guitar with their dad and uncle.
After all that, I'm fairly certain that they don't want to hear us say that we actually like homeschooling. That it provides our family freedom, flexibility, and fun. As a mother and a former teacher I know that the education that my children were receiving at a private school was compromised at times by what was going on in the classroom, the teacher's mindset, and the pressures we felt with our different schedules that we faced as a family. There were times when teachers told us that although they were sorry, there was not any flexibility on due dates for various assignments, they were unable to review materials in class just because your child had not mastered it, or that they could not prevent your child's grades from being negatively impacted by unexpected absences (vacations, roadtrips, and educational outings) at various times of the year. They were sorry but if they made exceptions for one then they'd have to make exceptions for everyone...we had little control...it was not our classroom...now it is...and we love it! What can I say, I'm sorry?
Saturday, January 5, 2008
It's title was "The Lies of Locke Lamora" - Book I of the Gentleman Bastard Sequence.
"Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,And cry 'Content' to that which grieves my heart,And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,And frame my face to all occasions."
--William Shakespeare, Richard II, iii, ii.
The second book is "Red Seas Under Red Skies" - Book II of the Gentleman Bastard Sequence.
"All your better deeds
Shall be in water writ..."
--Beaumont and Fletcher, Philaster, v, iii
There are interesting comments posted on Grumpy Old Bookman. here's the link: http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com/2006/03/scott-lynch-lies-of-locke-lamora.html
I'm excited about it...how about you?