Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Have You Heard About the Wii Bear?

Yesterday I read the "Three Bears" by Galdone to my third graders. This was a new story for about three quarters of my class. One youngster had heard the story before and proclaimed it "Awesome".

The edition I read calls the cub a "wee" bear. After several repitions of the word wee, one student asked "Where is the Wii Game? When do we get to play it? I laughed to myself as I realized I was in the presence of "digital natiives". They even explained that Wii was spelled w - i - i.

I ran through the story mentally applying modern meanings to this traditional story. It certainly painted a different picture in my mind. As I explained the contextual meaning my students nodded their understanding, but looked around hoping to see a Wii Bear.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Heads or Tails: Sammi's Stuck

How does a Great Dane cross get stuck in a kitchen cupboard?  Maybe a better question is, why would a Great Dane get stuck in a kitchen cupboard?

Sammi is our Great Dane cross and she thinks she is a mouser.  Last week she had chased a mouse into one set of kitchen cupboards.  I had already removed most breakable things from this cupboard when she had made an earlier foray into them after a mouse.  Sammi is like a guided missile locking onto her target.  She tolerates nothing in her way.  

You see Sammi simply clears the shelves with her front paws when things are between her and the mouse.  The room ends up in shambles with all manner of things littering the floor.

I went to check on her when I heard Sammi whimpering in frustration.  I found her with her head in the cupboard.  Flour was all over the floor.  The second time I checked on her. Her front end was inside the cupboard.  I removed a few more things that I didn’t want on the floor.  And swept up all the flour.

The next time I looked over at her she had crawled all the way into the cupboard and was trying to get out the other side of the cupboard.  She was stuck and flour was everywhere.  It looked like someone had been in a flour fight.

I helped Sammi get out of the cupboard and started to clean up the flour.  Retrieving the remains of the flour sack, I noticed a mouse had carefully chewed a large hole in the bottom of the bag. Flour was still flowing everywhere. 

That is the tale of Sammi the dog, or should I say the head of the dog.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Deal Me In

 I have always like C. M. Coolidge's prints of dogs playing poker.  I've always wondered what inspired him to paint this whimsical scene.
Last week Dan, Tom, and I were playing cards at the kitchen table. We had been laughing quite a bit when Baby Fritzy came over. She is extremely curious and very social. She stood up and balanced against the table, trying to figure out what was going on.
Dan had just dealt the cards. Tom looked at Baby Fritzy and commented, "Do you want to play cards?"
Baby Fritzy looked at Dan and myself, then started to pull the cards towards her with her paw. We all broke into laughter. She looked perplexed and got down.
I wonder what type of card game she would like to learn how to play?  Maybe there is a poker game in her future.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What Does Decadent Chicken Have to Do With Writing?

Over the holiday break I gave my intermediate students an assignment to interview a family member or friend about a favorite recipe.  I wanted them to have a great conversation and to write what they learned about the recipe, it’s history, and the cook.  I wanted them to see that there are many forms of writing.  I wanted them to make connections with part of their heritage. 

I reminded them that we all eat.  We can learn many things from talking to our family about favorite foods.  I also figured that maybe they would go on to collect other recipes and this one would get them started.

When they came back from break about half had the assignment done.  Recipes ranged from sugar cookies to hot dogs, Campbell’s tomato soup with extra tomatoes and milk.  Many shared their version of macaroni and cheese.  One of my students asked me, “Did you bring in a recipe?”

I told him I hadn’t but I would bring one in.  I thought he had showed me a link that I had missed in making the assignment.  I had one class that didn’t get the assignment before Christmas.  So I adjusted the lesson and started with my recipe.  I told them a little about Donna Rose, the lady who originally given me the recipe.   I read them the recipe. 

We talked about the title – Decadent Chicken Wrap.  We discussed what decadent meant.  I asked – “What do you want to know about this recipe or who gave it to me?”  We talked about the importance of checking to make sure they had written everything down correctly.  Why was proof reading important?

Several of the students asked me if they could have a copy.  My answer was sure.  I printed the recipe and made it available for anyone who wanted to copy it down.  Next week I will read them the story “Miss Opal’s Auction” by Susan Vizurraga.  It is the story of an elderly lady who is moving and has an auction.  Her young neighbor is watching the things being sold and remembering all the good times they shared.  Miss Opal buys back one of her cookbooks and gives it to the girl. 

As I think back over my life - It was more than just great food. It was the conversations and the relationships that were built when we made it, talked about it.  It was really about family and friends who broke bread together.

Donna Rose gave me this recipe in January 2003.  She was one of my Library Volunteers and a fantastic cook.

Decadent Chicken Wrap

4-6 chicken breasts – pounded flat
1 slice bacon for each chicken breast
1 slice ham for each chicken breast
1 slice Swiss cheese for each chicken breast

Sauce Ingredients
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1 can cream chicken soup
½ package dry onion soup mix

Step 1:  Pound chicken breasts flat.  Lay bacon under chicken, place ham and Swiss cheese on top.

Step 2:  Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Put in 9 X 13 cooking dish.

Step 3:  Mix sour cream and soup.  Pour over and cover up chicken roll ups.

Step 4:  Cook about an hour at 325.

 This was cross posted with Gather; Windows 2 My Life, and Li-Bear-Y Corner

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tokens of Affection

I was feeling like I was waiting on my husband hand and foot.  I was feeling frustrated and resentful.  I kept trying to get him to help more around the house.  He gets frustrated because of the pain he is experiencing.  In the time he has been off work I would estimate that he has lost 50% of his mobility.

I tried encouraging, harassing and badgering.  All to know avail.  The under lying emotion I felt was fear.  Fear for his health.  Fear for what will happen if he doesn't keep moving despite the pain.  It scares me that he seems to have given up.

Getting back to my irritation. I had a brainstorm I would show him how much I was waiting on him for things he could do himself.  I threatened to give him ten chips, when they were gone he was on his own.  He thought it was way to low. For a week or so I just threatened. Then I was talking to a friend about my idea. She thought I was brilliant!

So the next day I gave my beloved ten chips. We negotiated that he could get chips back for doing things like picking up his clothes and putting them in the laundry basket, etc. I figured I would collect them quickly, especially since I was home on vacation from school.

To his delight I have yet to collect all of his chips on any given day! The up swing is that he did more for himself. He is moving around more. His eyes twinkle when he says, "Maybe you haven't been waiting on me as much as you think."

My response- "You don't want to lose your chips, so you have been doing more for yourself."

Another friend and her husband have weighed in on the experiment. Ted told my husband he would go to the Dollar Store and buy him more chips skewing how many he really had. Carol marveled that Dan was a rare husband that would go along with such a scheme.

Using the chips and negotiating - really helped. It's amazing what a little competition can do. I think we were both correct. I was waiting on him more than he thought, but not as much as I thought. The chips I've been using truly have become tokens of affection.