This week’s recommendations for your life

My fav shows of the fall: 

  • Modern Family (seriously – SO hilarious.  If you are not on the Modern Family train, you are missing out big time)
  • Community (Ok, I might not actually watch it promptly, but I do watch it
  • Parks & Rec (I was a skeptic after that first season train wreck, but this summer I was convinced to give it another go – and season 2 and onward is HILARIOUS)
  • I want to like New Girl, because Zooey D is awesome, but I’m struggling.
  • Pan Am – combines 3 of my favorite things: travelling, that which is vintage, and espionage.  What is not to love?
  • Up All Night – Christina Applegate and Will Arnett.  After the first episode, I wanted to like it, but wasn’t sure.  But Christina and Will are hilarious, so it has pulled itself together.  And there was a slow clap this week.  I am in.

I watch these all on Hulu.  I can’t be bothered to watch TV without the aid of my roommate.  I don’t actually know what channel any of these shows are on.  And knowing the network doesn’t help me.  I need a little guide like they give you at hotels for what channel you can find each network on.  It is a good thing Hulu has my back.  And by “I watch all of these on Hulu” I mean “I watch Modern Family on Hulu and then sometimes remember to watch the others as well”.  I am not exactly a diehard TV viewer.  But sometimes I try.

Music that says, “fall” to me:
  • Mumford and Sons – always amazing. Regardless of the time of year, but especially in the fall.
  • Farewell Milwaukee – I’d like Molly to take this group’s name to heart, but until that happens, I will listen to their music and enjoy it.  You should too.
  • Benjamin Francis Leftwich – I first listened to his music approximately 11 minutes ago and decided I must immediately tell you about it.  It is that good.  Benny lives next door to Bon Iver.  Not literally, but in the sense that their music is from the same neighborhood.

Speaking of Bon Iver – check it out – Tiffany is using his old Scattergories sheet for our game!  That is the bonus of hanging out at his cousin’s house I guess. 

  • I think it is time to make my fall mix for the car.  I will be researching my favorite SYTYCD songs for it.  When I perused their song choices this summer I decided to hold off on making my annual mix until fall, because the songs I loved were too melancholy for summer.
  • Soon enough though, I can just break out the Amy Grant Christmas CDs.  Classic.
I am really enjoying these mints.  But be warned, if you accidentally eat a couple, a lot too many mints, your mouth will be very cold.  Very very cold.  And you will feel sad.  Or at least your mouth will feel sad.  Well, mostly just cold.

And my final (and most important) recommendation for the day is these Trader Joe’s pumpkin pancakes.  So delicious.  Please go eat some right now.  I loved it so much.  It was my first good experience in the kitchen in years.  Or at least in two weeks.  More on that later.  But seriously, go hit up Trader Joe’s for some fall goodness.  You will regret it if you don’t.  I guarantee it.Oh, and I almost forgot.  Final recommendation for real this time. In the realm of movies, I would totally recommend Moneyball to you.  I had plans to see it with a group of people this week, and then I accidentally saw it over the weekend.  Oops!  🙂  It was really good!  And about baseball.  And there is even a scene when the Twins win, so that brought back some happy, and distant memories.  I was hoping it would fill me up with hope for our 2012 season, but it did not.  I did get to see it with my friend Sky and all of our senior citizen friends though, so that was special.  The film makes some good use of silence, and at one point I was eating an apple and felt my apple crunching was a bit excessively loud.  Then I decided none of the elderly could hear it anyway, so it was fine.  The end.

Another week, some more moments of kid awesomeness

A student sits down in a huff.  I ask what is the matter.  He angrily mumbles, “The teacher wouldn’t let me get water”.  A different student clarifies with disbelief, “Jesus wouldn’t let him get water??”  That is a lot different kiddo.  Turn on those listening ears…

Remember the little girl who every time I said the word kindergarten she shouted out (sometimes with a fist pump) “I’m in kindergarten!”?  She has calmed down a bit on that front (it only took a month) but she now spontaneously launches herself at me to give me hugs.  It is sweet.  And alarming.

Teacher: Does anyone know the long word for Vet?  Student: VEGETARIAN!

Student A: You are tall!

Teacher: Yep.  Why do you think I am tall?

Student A: So you can get old!

Student B: I don’t want you to get old!!!!!  I want you to be my best teacher ever!

(what does that even mean???)

We learned about the city vs the country.  “Who remembers some things you might see if you visited a community in the city?”  “lots of parrots!”  “I think you are thinking of pigeons.” (but honestly, how great of a mental image is it to think of this guy as being surround by parrots instead of pigeons??)

Buenos Aires pigeon man

How to choose a home: We had a lot of community helpers come visit us this week.  One was a realtor.  She said, “Barbie and Ken just got married so they don’t want to live with their moms and dads anymore.  I found some pictures of houses to see if they want to live at any of them.  Which one do you think they should pick?”  “That one!  Because it is fashionable!”  

Questions and Answers with my students about who helps in the school community: 

Tell me about who you drew that helps in the school community:  Attempt #1 “Colts stadium”  Attempt #2 “the principal”

A lot of them drew a picture of me helping the school community.  Here are my fav answers:

  • Where do I work?  In my desk.
  • What would happen if I were not in the school?  I would play music
  • What would happen if I were not in the school?  [The student] would cry
  • What else do you know about me?  I am nice
“Miss K!  I moonwalked all the way from my locker to the classroom!”  “Oh, um, be sure to watch where you are going…?”

Well, I am now off to visit the forest.  If the student in another class is right, and I am assuming they are, I will find my husband with mohawk under a tree.  Full report tomorrow.

Brilliant Idea

Ok, this idea took the efforts of several people, so you know that it is good.  If you are a Minnesotan looking for an awesome Halloween costume idea, consider being a MN Twin.  It is a simple, basic, and awesome idea.  

Start by putting on the Twins jersey.  Then throughout the day, or party, slowly add to your costume.  Perhaps first you add a cough.  Then a sling.  Then a cast on your leg.  Then a neck brace.  An eye patch.  Many randomly placed bandaids.  Soon you can be pushed in a wheel chair.  If someone asks what is wrong, tell them your legs are feeling weak.  Then for the grand finale, be sure and crash your car into a co-worker’s or friend’s as you make your departure.

It will be epic.

*Please do not actually damage yourself or property.  Halloween is not worth it.

Turtles and Cakes

Question 1: Have you been to Cafe Latte?

Question 2:  Have you eaten their turtle cake?

If the answer to either question was no, please stop reading, go do what you need to do to change your answer to yes, and then come back.  

Alright, welcome back to my blog.  Please continue reading at this point.

I had been looking forward to Sunday for many weeks. months.  years.  I didn’t have a paper chain to count down (except in my heart) but I had been checking my calendar for weeks to see if it was THE weekend yet.  Not only did I get to hang out with some of my favorite people, but we were also going to make a delicious Turtle Cake. 

It was a great day for baking.  And for learning.

I learned that even though our grandmas use the lowercase t to indicate teaspoon, and the uppercase T to indicate Tablespoon, sometimes the teaspoon’s label includes an uppercase T right ON the teaspoon.  Who is right?  The teaspoon maker?  Or all the grandmothers in the world?  Obviously the grandmothers.

this photo is not to imply Brooke is a grandma. Rather, she is modeling the measuring part of this point

I learned not to be scared of frosting a cake.  Sometimes it will go well, and look petaly.  And you will become famous for your frosting technique.  No, I have no idea what I was doing.  Someday I will google it and learn the real frosting technique.  Or maybe I won’t.  This worked fine. I learned that sprinkling pecans truly is an art form. 

I learned that creating candy corn shavings is a great way to pass the time while the cake is the oven. 

I learned that Jill once had short hair.  I learned about weddings from 11 years ago.  I learned about photography that wasn’t digital (jk jk, I used to work at Proex developing film and printing pictures.  I can smell the chemicals now…) 

I learned that it is tough being so popular, and sometimes you cause trouble when the mom and the kids both want to hang out with you.  Boys: have your people call my people.  We’ll set something up.  Jill – sorry for causing problems.  I’ll try not to be so fun next time so that I’m less in demand…

I learned that turtle cakes are delicious.  And obviously should be eaten right after baking them. 

I learned that if you make this cake, you could charge $10 a slice.  People would pay it.  It is just that good. 

Thank you Cafe Latte for sharing your recipe with us.  I think our cake is prettier than yours.  But we couldn’t have done it without you. 

Thanks for a fun day of baking, girls!!

If you want to make your own turtle cake, here is a link to the recipe that Cafe Latte has up!  Next I want to make their chicken salsa chili.  It is pretty much the second best thing I’ve ever tasted (after this cake of course).

Vintage Teaching

My roommate and her family are YMCA Garage Sale experts.  I am way too intimidated by the whole experience to join in, but I occasionally reap the benefits.  Yesterday Tiffany gifted this to me: A Child Guidance Toy: a magnetic alphabet and spelling board.

 I am really hoping that my students use it to spell things like “Doris Ruth and Bob were in my class” just like the clever child on the cover of the box.

The back shows other magnetic child guidance toys  and gives descriptions.  I like the Read ‘n’ Rite Board.  Nothing says literacy like learning to “rite”.  I’d LOVE to read the “accurate up to the minute facts on each state” in the geography board. and also enjoy the magnetic basic form board that says, “The younger kids will be magnetically attracted to this all new educational fun board with completely unlimited play value.”  I know I appreciate it when the play value is not limited.   My research tells me this board is from 1959.  Mom, did you learn to read with it?  I’m guessing yes.  I do love vintage things, and am considering changing all of my teaching techniques to that of 1959.  Unfortunately, google isn’t giving me much to go on other than replacing lock down drills with a little duck and cover action, so I’ll probably need to stick with my teaching practices of 2011.  It was a nice idea while it lasted though!

Fall Perfection

Sometimes you go outside after have a complete meltdown baking cupcakes and it is a perfect fall day.  So you embrace it for all its worth.

If you aren’t sure how to do that, here are my tips!

1.  Beautiful weather.

when I think "beautiful day" I think "llamas"

2.  Beautiful friends. 

3.  Corn maze.  Pick one you can’t get lost in.  Loop around and come out the entrance.  Confused?  Yes.  Lost and panicked?  No. 

4.  Giant roosters.  They add to anything.  For other giant chicken escapades, read this

5.  Hayrides.  At this point you might get separated from your friends.  Don’t panic.  You can just get on the next one.  If you don’t believe me, I have emotional photographic evidence below.

happy; with anticipation

distraught, terrified, deeply saddened

relieved; tentative joy

6.  Apple donuts and cold apple cider. 

7.  Picking apples. 

8.  Did I mention fun friends on a beautiful fall day?  Because that is kinda key. 

Sprinkling a cupcake with disaster.

Rachel’s birthday was on the most beautiful fall day ever.  We decided we’d make it a day of fall fun followed by hanging out with friends at her house to party it up that night.  Naturally, cupcakes were in order.  After all, it was a birthday, right?  I asked Rachel what kind she wanted and she found this recipe for Apple Pie Cupcakes.  I thought to myself, “those look pretty tasty!  But I just think they could be even better.”  So I did some googling and found THIS: Caramel Apple Pie Cupcakes.  Picture it (or look at the picture below): a cinnamon cupcake with apple pie filling and caramel frosting.  A little bit of fall heaven, right? 

Sometimes I say, “Read this and find out how to make delicious treats!”

Today I will say, “Read this and learn how NOT to make delicious treats.  Then after you read, click on the link to the original recipe and learn how the pros competent people do it.”

The first thing to keep in mind is that you probably shouldn’t bake if you are feeling 100%.  I mean, what fun is that?  Where is the drama if you are awake, coherent, and healthy?  Boring!

The second thing is you definitely shouldn’t check and make sure that you have all of your ingredients.  Absolutely do what I did and just start baking.  I’m sure you’ve got what you need!  Then, when you realize that you don’t have corn starch, you can have a total meltdown and flee your house, nearly in tears, leaving a confused roommate in your wake.

Another thing is you probably don’t want to have an awesome roommate who will help you finish the cupcakes when she sees how emotionally unstable you are while working around dangerous things like knives and hot ovens.  

Oh, and before I forget, try to not mix the batter well.  It will be so much more fun if you think it is odd how runny the batter is, double check the recipe, shrug your shoulders, and move forward with the baking.  Merrily scoop the batter-soup into the cupcake liners.  Then shake your head with dismay and sorrow as you reach towards the bottom of the mixing bowl and come up with chunks of batter-glop that clearly should have been mixed with the batter-soup.   At this point you can oh-so-carefully pick up each soupy-filled liner, and squeeze the batter back into the mixing bowl to try again.  Now you have effectively wasted enough cupcake batter to go from a double batch to a 1.5 batch of cupcakes.  Think of all the time you are saving yourself in the frosting stage!  Less cupcakes = Less work.

Now just put the cupcakes in the oven to bake!  While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the apple pie filling.  After the cupcakes are cool, use your handy dandy cupcake-corer to take out the middle of the cupcake, spoon in some apple pie filling, and swirl the caramel buttercream frosting on top!  

As a final touch, I would recommend drizzling caramel on top.  If I were you, I would do this as messily as possible so that everyone who eats your delicious creation is a sticky (but happy) mess.

Happy Baking!  Enjoy the little taste of fall-heaven in your mouth after you complete the above steps of fall-not-so-much-heaven.  

p.s.  If this baking plans sounds awful to you, but the cupcakes sound delicious, please click here for the actual recipe and directions for a successful baking experience.  And note that because I am lazy, I used the frosting recipe found here.  I actually really would recommend this recipe to you.  The cupcakes were amazing.  I don’t know how to describe them except to say that taste like everything that fall should taste like.

Winning them over.

Holy buckets, this week has lasted FOREVER.  I could not be happier that it is over.  I will say that I am slowly winning my class over to be on Team-Laura for life.  This is a yearly goal, which results in me barely being able to get my kids to their buses at the end of the day because I am mobbed by former students.  Awesome?  Yes.

Here is my evidence that this year’s bunch is well on their way:

One girl cried the first few weeks of school upon her arrival because she missed her parents.  Now she cries when she leaves my classroom because she misses me.

The child who randomly comes up to me, says my name, and then simultaneously gives me a smile, a thumbs up, and a wink.  UH-Mazing.

Today we talked about ways we can be caring with our hands.  Many children drew pictures of helping a friend up when they fall, throwing away their garbage, giving a high five, or sharing.  This child drew a picture of “giving Miss K a hug.” In his picture, I have angel wings.  Or really giant arms.  But I will go with angel wings.

Another child drew a picture of me when asked to name someone important to the community.  I wish I’d saved his picture to show you.  He was so proud of it and said, “Look!  I gave you a big smile!”  While this is true, he also drew me as a cyclops.  One circle, with one big eye, a HUGE smile, arms, legs, and crazy hair going everywhere.  He clearly spends a lot of time looking at me, because he knows exactly what I look like.

As if they’d won the World Series…!

Last week I begrudgingly went had the opportunity to go to the final Twins game of the season.  I wasn’t super excited because 1) I had the opportunity to go a potentially good movie instead. 2) Watching the Twins lose by a million points had because boring and repetitive.  3)  I had begrudgingly gone to the game the previous week and it ended up being a fun time at Target Field when we were given a slightly behind the scenes tour including a trip up to the every exclusive Budweiser beer deck.  What more could Target Field offer?  Why bother going back?

Well, let me tell you.

It ended up being a great night of baseball.  I should have known things would go well when Tiffany and I ended up in coordinating ensembles of navy blue striped cardigans.  Secondly, it was John Gordon’s last night of announcing baseball.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t exactly know his name.  But I know his voice.  In my mind, he is the voice of summer since childhood.  I love a good tribute.  This one was touching.  I may have teared up.  But so did the guy running the best buy photo booth, so I feel validated in my emotions.  (Or he had something in his eye.  I’m guessing tears though).  It ended with Dan Gladden taking him (John Gordon, not the weepy best buy kid) for a motorcycle ride (in the sidecar) around the perimeter of the field.  Fans cheered and high fived him as he passed by.  I was concerned for a moment that he was going to take out the Turtle Lake Elementary School choir that was lined up to sing the National Anthem, but best I can tell, no toes were run over.  Insert Standing Ovation Here.

Thirdly, Pavano’s mustache was looking might trim and well-groomed.  I’m guessing that the ‘stache was the main contributer to his awesome pitching.  Because he was amazing.  And pitched all 9 innings.  And didn’t give up a single run.  Insert Slow Clap Here.

Fourthly, after reading the Twinkie Town article suggesting ways to make the final game bearable, I was really hoping to see Cuddyer play all nine positions.  While that didn’t happen, we all know in our hearts that he could have done it.  Cuddyer is the (healthy) glue that held this team together this year.  There is talk of trading him, and my hearts breaks a little when I hear such rumors.  Where will we be without his leadership, baseball skills, and magic tricks?

Fifthly, I was there with fun friends.  I don’t have a picture, so just use your imagination.  Look at all the fun friends!

Sixthly, we won?  In the shortest game of my life.  Yep; 1-0, Twins Win!  I don’t know when I’ve seen that much excitement at Target Field in the past year.  I mean, everyone was on their feet cheering wildly.  The players rushed the field and tackled the winning hit hitter.  (yes, I have great grammar).  I thought, “by golly, it is like they have won the World Series!”  Or at least it is like they have never won a game of baseball before.  Then I realized, perhaps they haven’t, at least in the major leagues, because our team is not actually comprised of major league players.  I haven’t smiled that much at a Twins game in ages.  Well done, boys.  Well done.

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you: TC did in fact get knocked over in all the excitement.

One of my grad school profs likes to end each class sharing her hopes and dreams for us.  I’d like to share my hopes and dreams for the Twins.

  • I hope you stay healthy
  • I hope you remember how to play baseball
  • I hope Cuddyer is a Twin forever and always
  • I hope that one of the following players calls me for a date: Kevin Slowey, Luke Hughes, or ______________.
  • I hope that you never get this close to losing 100 games again.  That would just be embarrassing.
  • I hope that Drew finds lots of fancy clothes at Nordstroms during the off-season.
  • I hope that we can sing Don’t Stop Believing more often as a sing-along.  This year I was a little disappointed; not gonna lie.
  • I hope that the game forecast does not include snow, sleet or hail, but rather covers the field in sunshine, smiles, and rainbows.


things to come…

My body has been fighting off the plague like it is it’s job.  Which I suppose it is.

We’ve been in the middle of a super busy assessment time at school.

I’ve been baking (apparently more than I should).

All that to say I collapsed into bed at 8:00pm on Friday and have been a bit too tired to write anything coherent.  But I have had a few coherent thoughts of late.  And soon I will share them with you.  I promise.  I will share things like…

  • The last Twins game of the season.  Magical?  Yes.  Surprisingly so?  Yes.
  • Baking delicious cupcakes: which will fall apart: the recipe?  or me?  or both?
  • Embracing all that is fall: apples, corn, and pumpkins.
  • The baking of the most delicious cake I’ve had in my life.  Jill, I am standing outside your door right now for a bite.  Please let me in.

Today I told a room full of strangers that I enjoy the Twins and pretending that we are actually friends, and I am known for my mis-identification of a animals at a distance.  I sure know how to make a great first impression!

Today in kindergarten we learned what a character is.  Tomorrow we will need to revisit the topic, because just to clarify, Darth Vader is not actually a character from the story of The Gingerbread man.