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Priceless

 

1 school 22Another school year has started. It has been years since I taught school. My how things have changed! Often this change has not been for the good.

Too many of our schools, teachers, parents, administrators, politicians, and the public at large are failing our children.

We do not expect enough of our children.

We have dumbed down the curriculum. Any standards that exist are too often ignored, and children have few if any rules that are enforced. Dress codes are considered so passé. Too often Americans have a laissez-faire attitude about education and life itself under the misguided belief that children should have an easy life; at least easier than we had it.

Nothing could be more wrong.

”The soft bigotry of low expectations,” are making and keeping too many children dependent upon others to do what they can and should be doing for themselves.

Learned Impairment is what I call it.

When given a chance children will surprise you and do hard work even they did not know they could do.

My first real job as a teacher, as opposed to being a substitute teacher, started out poorly. I took over the class in January when the regular teacher took a pregnancy leave of absence.

The school was in the inner city. That did not bother me. It was where I wanted to teach. It was where I thought I could do the most good and where I could save the world.

The first few weeks were very difficult. The class didn’t want to work or learn and just wanted to play. They did not complete class work and few did any home work.

Toward the end of January when I gave a paper back to one child marked with a ‘F’ on it, he took the paper and said under his breath, “Racist.”

I said, “What did you call me?” He would not answer me. I repeated my question. The child refused to answer me. The entire class heard what he said. They immediately put me under a microscope to see what I would do.

If I ever hoped to really teach these children I had to say and do something.

“You called me racist didn’t you?” I said loud enough for the whole class to hear.

Again he would not answer.

I said, “You don’t know if I am racist or not.”

At that moment the bell rang to change classes and the children started getting out of their seats to go to their next class.

1 LO 8I said with my most authoritarian voice, “ SIT DOWN!!!! You are not dismissed yet! We are going to have this out right here and now, cause I am not going to put up with this the rest of the year.”

The children sat down.

Other children were lining up outside my door to come in for last period. I told them my class was not dismissed yet and it would be a few minutes. I knew the other teachers were wondering what was happening too.

I shut the door with emphasis!

I told my class that they didn’t know anything, nothing at all about me. I told them they did not know whether I was racist or not. I told them, “As far as slavery goes, I DID NOT DO IT!!!!! It wasn’t me. I had nothing to do with it.”

I told them that my mother and my father, and my grandmothers and grandfathers had nothing to do with slavery either. And as far as I knew none of my forebears had any salves.

“So don’t go blaming me!!!!! I said.

“Now, having said that I will tell you that I believe that slavery was wrong. It was morally and ethically wrong and evil. But I can’t go back in time and change it. I can not erase history.

“However, what I can do is change the future. And that is why I am here. I don’t have to be at this school. I want to be here. I asked to be at this school.

“There are still people who think you are inferior just because of the color of your skin or because of where you live. There are still people out there who hate you simply because of the color of your skin or because you are poor.

“It is a cold hard cruel world out there. When you graduate high school you will have to be two, three, and even four times better than white people just to get a job. That is not right either. It is not fair!

“And I can’t change that either!

1 LO 33“But………

“……….. what I can do is to teach you how to read and do basic math so that when you get out there in that cold hard cruel world you will be three, four and even five times better than any white job applicant and you will get that job. And then you will show and prove to every one that you are every bit their equal and maybe even better.

“So don’t expect me to let you get by this year. I am going to work you and you are going to learn to read and do basic math!

“That is my way of making up for the sin of slavery.

“Now get the hell out of here!”

I opened the door and dismissed the class.

The students got up and silently walked out of the room. You could have heard a pin drop. I couldn’t even hear shoes shuffling over the old worn warped wooden floor of that old school building.

I went to the middle of the hallway where teachers were supposed to stand until the hall was cleared.

I watched the children slowly, silently walk down the hallway. Then a clique of three girls, who had been giving me grief for weeks, turned around and walked back towards me. I wasn’t sure what they were going to do. They stopped right in front of me. Without saying a word each girl individually hugged me, turned around and walked back down the hall way to their next class.

While it did not happen over night; and while I still had normal misbehavior the class gave me a chance. The kids gave me a chance to prove myself.

But most important of all the class gave themselves a chance to learn.

They worked hard. They studied. They did class and home work. They learned. Grades went up.

And the angels must have been with me because a week or so after this incident I came up with and created some great, fantastic, and child friendly learning centers to teach basic skills.

From using pop songs to teach reading to using a black lite to jazz up boring practice in Math and English the class came to life with learning and helping each other.

The Lesson Learned

1 school 6Here’s the thing……..

You don’t help children, or anyone for that matter, by giving them an ‘A’ for “D’ level work. You don’t help children by dumbing down the curriculum. You don’t help children by telling them how wonderful they are twenty-four hours a day. You don’t help children by telling them how bad life or society has treated them.

You help children when you encourage them, when you challenge them, and when you make them reach inside themselves to see and learn what they have inside.

I believe in public education. I believe in education. The etymology of the word ‘educate’ is derived from the Latin, ‘educare.’

Educare means to ‘lead out’, ‘to draw out’ and ‘to bring forth.’

I have never believed education or teaching meant just cramming facts or knowledge into a child’s brain.

Education is at its best when we can draw forth the natural ability that each individual possesses inside themselves.

I had high expectations and high standards for the students I taught. I encouraged and when necessary made the children live up to those standards and to go as far as they could. I helped them to reach inside themselves to see and learn what they could do.

The most important lesson my students learned that year and every year I taught was that they had it within themselves to learn, achieve, and succeed on their own.

Priceless.

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Featured Recipe        Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates

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I had some sorry-looking left over dates I wanted to use up before they were totally and completely waste basket bound. I hate to throw food away!

These delectable little morsels are good as hors d’oeuvres or as finger foods. They are perfect for tailgating parties too. And don’t forget Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are soon upon us too. Then next year there is New Years Eve, the Super Bowl, and Valentine’s Day to name a few.

This recipe has endless varieties. You could make a different stuffed date for every holiday and special occasion you can think of.

You can stuff dates with almost anything and everything but the kitchen sink.

You can make these with cheddar cheese, stilton, goat cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan, Gorgonzola to name a few cheeses.

You can also stuff dates with chorizo or jalapeños. You can stuff them with pecans, almonds, or walnuts. In Morocco they stuff dates with honey and cinnamon. YUM!

Some people like almond butter in dates and some people wrap them with prosciutto instead of bacon.

I have not made them but I think honey and pistachios would be divine in dates.

So you see, this is a very adaptable recipe.

This is what you will need for 17 stuffed dates:

17 dates

9 slices of bacon

About 4 ounces Honey Pecan Cream Cheese

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Here is what you do:

If the dates are not sliced and the pits removed, slice and remove the pits.

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Slice the bacon strips in half. Partially cook the bacon until it is translucent but not browned. This will take about 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

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Using very small spoon stuff the dates with the crème cheese.

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NOTE: If I had left over pecans I would have chopped them and place one or two on top of the crème cheese.

When the dates are all stuffed wrap each one with a strip of bacon and secure with a wooden toothpick. I set up an assembly line to do this.

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Place the stuffed dates on a baking sheet that is lined with non-stick foil.

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Set your broiler to low and broil 3-4 minutes.

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Turn the dates over and broil another 3-4 minutes.

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Let the dates cool for a minute or two. Remove toothpicks and serve warm.

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Bon appétit!!!

Cost

17 dates                               $4.47

9 slices of bacon                   $3.25

4 ounces Crème Cheese        $1.40

Total cost = $9.12
Cost per date = $0.54

Quote of the Day

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.

Robert M. Hutchins

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Why Body Mass Index Is All Wrong

 

It Is Time to Throw BMI in the Trash Can!!!

 

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Since almost the inception of this blog I have been railing against Body Mass Index or BMI as a measure for obesity. I have written posts about BMI in five (5) separate posts.

The first time was on March 7, 2012 in a post titles The Obesity Epidemic ~ Or Is It? In that post I showed in pictures how crazy the BMI really is.

In March of 2013 I took on the school house Nanny State and BMI.

At this point a brief history of the BMI is in order.

Funny thing here.

THE BMI WAS NEVER CREATED FOR AND WAS NOT CREATED TO MEASURE AN INDIVIDUAL’S OBESITY!!!

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It was created in 1832 by a Belgian polymath, Adolphe Quetelet, to define the normal man and to describe “….the standard proportions of the human build.” [From The F-Word web site.]

The BMI was NOT created to determine body fat.

However, insurance companies began using it to do just that. Doctors also liked the number because it was easy and cheap to figure.

So it was not long before that the National Institutes of Health [NIH) began defining obesity using only the BMI number.

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Initially the numbers were for men 27.8 and for women 27.3.

Using these numbers was bad enough. But soon things got even worse. Or even shadier.

In 1998 a NHI Board decided to consolidate the men and women’s BMI numbers into one – 25 meant you were over weight and 30 meant you were obese.

Interesting enough the Board making this decision was made up of many people with ties to the weight loss industry.

I wonder why that was!!!!

Surprise. Surprise. Surprise.

These people just make this stuff up as they go along. And make big bucks doing it!

Now we have school personnel and nurses using these questionable numbers to tell young girls they are fat and over weight. Schools are sending letters to parents telling them their child is fat and over weight.

It is hard enough for young girls to grow up these days. There is far more pernicious negativity out there than when I was in grade school.

So I do not think young girls need school personnel and nurses making them feel bad about their body and self concept at this tender an age; especially when the BMI was NEVER EVER created to determine if someone is fat or obese.

A BETTER WAY

1 scaleThere is a better measurement for obesity. The waist to hip ratio is a better measure for obesity and should probably be used.

However, it probably will not be used because it is much quicker, easier, and cheaper to use BMI.

Nevertheless, It is time for parents to take a stand and tell schools to teach reading writing and arithmetic and to stop harassing their children about BMI!

 So throw BMI in the trash can not just for children, but for all of us.

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Featured Recipe        Raspberry Angel Food Cake

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A few weeks ago I saw a 3-ingredient recipe on Face Book for Apple Angel Food Cake. The recipe has been shared by several people on Face Book. I also did an internet search and there are dozens of versions of this cake.

The trick is to add a can (21 ounces) of pie filling to the dry cake mix.

The Face Book notice I received said you could make the cake with any pie filling fruit your heart desired.

So, I decided to make a Raspberry Angel Food Cake.

The person sharing the recipe used walnuts. I decided to use macadamia nuts on mine.

It is as delicious as the Face Book posting said it would be.

You can get 8 large pieces of cake or 16 smaller pieces of cake.

Here is what you will need for one cake:

2 – 11 ounce cans raspberry pie filling

1 box of Angel Food Cake Mix

1 – 4 ounce package macadamia nuts

Spray oil

OK OK!! So it is really four ingredients. I forgot you need to grease the baking pan. Sorry.

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This is what you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 19 x 13 baking dish with spray oil.

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Add the can of pie filling with the dry cake mix in a large bowl.

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Stir until well blended. Make sure you get all of the dry mix at the bottom of the bowl mixed in with the pie filling.

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Pour in the sprayed 9×13 baking dish and top with macadamia nuts if desired.

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Bake at 350 until done, at least 25-30; or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out dry.

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NOTE: Even 30 minutes may not be too long. This is a moist cake and it takes a tad more time to bake through. I baked mine 35 minutes. However, make sure you do not bake too long as the cake will get hard and could burn.

Hot out of the oven. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

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I serve with either fresh raspberries or raspberry gelato.

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Bon appétit!!!
Cost

2 – 11 ounce cans raspberry pie filling       $6.78

1 box of Angel Food Cake Mix                    $3.39

1 – 4 ounce package macadamia nuts        $2.69

Spray oil                                                 $0.23

Total Cost = $13.09

Cost per slice 8 = $1.64

Cost per slice 16 = $0.82

Quote of the Day

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.

Jim Davis

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What Is Your Prediction?

 

The headlines are blaring at us:

 

Summer 2014 is the coldest in a decade
2014 on pace to be the 3rd coldest year on record in Toledo
Coldest Dutch August in 30 years
Brisbane – Coldest in 103 years
July 2014 becomes the top tenth coldest on record
Coldest summer ever? 2014 keeps setting record low temps

Even Twitter and Facebook have been abuzz with how cold this summer has been.

What does it mean? Who knows?

Some say it proves global warming theories.

Others say the globe is moving into another ice age.

The only thing I really know is that the leaves on the trees are turning red much earlier than “usual” again this year.

I first noted this phenomenon here on More Thyme on August 29, 2012 in a post titled, Fall Already?

At that time I noted:

……..the ONLY time I have seen red leaves in August was in the fall of 1977. This was the fall that preceded the Great Blizzard of 1978.

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Then last year in 2013 I noted the same thing although I did not do a post on early red leaves specifically, although I did see some. The leaves last fall dried up quickly and it was a poor fall color show as evidenced here: Fall and Halloween Delights.

Now comes 2014 and again the leaves on the trees are turning red very early – VERY EARLY. Even earlier than in 2012 and 2013.

This year I first saw leaves turning red on July 31st in Pataskala, Ohio on my candy rounds. The following week on August 7th the same tree I had seen the week before was almost half red. And there were more areas of the county that had red leaves.

The following week, on August 14th I had my camera with me and as you can see, almost the entire tree was red as were many trees in the same area.

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A tree in Gahanna, Ohio August 14th.

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Two miles down the road from this tree and almost into the city of Gahanna I saw movement in the woods on my right. It was a deer – a young buck. I slowed and stopped and it crossed the road right in front of me and went into the woods on the other side of the road. It was magnificent!

 

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Trees in Upper Arlington, Ohio on August 17th .

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Trees in Columbus near where I live on August 17th.

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What does it all portend, if anything at all?

One explanation I have read several times the last few weeks is that the cooler than usual summer this year has caused the leaves to turn red early.

I disagree with that explanation. Scientifically leaves do not turn red from cold. They turn read because as we near the fall equinox the number of hours of day light is less than in spring and summer – the days get shorter and shorter. Thus there is not enough light for photosynthesis to take place. When photosynthesis shuts down the leaves turn red and other colors.

Is Early Leaf Color a Predictor of Winter Weather?

As I said in the 2012 post, “Fall Already” the only time I had seen early red leaves the following winter the Blizzard of 1978 occurred.

Although 2012 was not a super bad winter for Ohioans the east Coast/New York got slammed with a terrific blizzard.

Then last year in 2013 the entire North American Continent had one of the worst, coldest, and snowiest winters in recent memory.

Old Farmer’s Almanac Predictions

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a, “super cold” winter in two thirds of the United States for this coming winter.

You can read this prediction here: Winter 2015.

You can get a Long Range Forecast for your area of the USA or Canada by clicking this link: Regional Predictions,

The prediction for where I live in Ohio is predicted to be, “colder than normal….with lots of snow.” *SIGH*

What is the prediction for where you live?

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Featured Recipe    Sausage Stuffed Shells

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I don’t remember any more where the original for this recipe came from.

All I know is I hate cottage cheese with a passion. I hate the way it looks, the way it smells, and tastes!

So I dropped that ingredient like a hot tamale. After trying more mozzarella and a few other cheeses I hit on and now make this recipe with cream cheese. That was the first and biggest change I made in this recipe. I added Italian Seasonings and brown sugar too.

And now that there are all these whipped crème cheeses this recipe has become better and better as I use whipped crème these days. Makes the dish much easier to make too.

The original recipe also used ground beef which you can still use. You can also use Italian sausage, or spicy hot sausage.

This is one of those recipes that is quick and easy to make but looks so fancy that people will think you cooked all afternoon. It makes a great ‘Company’s Coming ‘ recipe. And the cost is relatively low. It really looks impressive on a plate.

Here is what you will need for 3 people:

12 – 15 jumbo pasta shells

1 pound sausage

2 – 8 ounce cans tomato sauce

½ cup tomato paste

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

For the Filling

5 ounces cream cheese softened *

1½ cup shredded mozzarella, divided

1 egg lightly beaten

1 teaspoon fresh parsley

Grated Parmesan cheese – optional

* I use whipped cream cheese because it is softer and mixes easier.

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This is what you do:

Pre heat the oven to 350 F

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain.

NOTE: Cook the pasta till al dente. That is, do not over cook the shells as they will be come limp and will be very difficult to fill.

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Drain and let dry on a plate or a baking pan.

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I also cook a few extra shells because inevitably one or more will break in the boiling and you will not be able to fill them.

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Chop the parsley.

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In a large skillet cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; breaking it up as you cook it. Drain grease from the pan if any.

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Set aside half of the sausage for the shell filling.

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To the remaining sausage add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, brown sugar, and Italian seasoning to the sausage.

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Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

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To make the shell filling:

In a bowl combine the softened cream cheese and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, egg,  about 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and the reserved sausage.

NOTE: I save some of the parsley to sprinkle on the finished dish.

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Use a teaspoon to stuff the filling into the shells.

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Now spread ½ cup of the meat sauce into an ungreased 2 quart baking dish.

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Arrange the stuffed shells on top of the meat sauce.

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Spoon the remaining sauce on top of the shells.

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Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese.

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Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until heated through.

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Done.

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Sprinkle the reserved parsley on top.

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Serve with a salad and sprinkle with some Parmesan cheese if so desired.

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Bon appétit!!!

Cost

12 jumbo pasta shells                        $2.00

1 pound sausage                               $1.10

1 – 16 ounce can tomato sauce          $1.00

½ cup tomato paste                          $0.67

¼ cup water                                      ——

2 teaspoons brown sugar                   $0.12

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning              $0.32

For the Filling

5 ounces cream cheese                     $1.56

1½ cup shredded mozzarella             $3.39

1 egg lightly beaten                           $0.12

1 teaspoon fresh parsley                   $0.11

Grated Parmesan cheese                   $0.15

Total cost = $10.54
Cost per person (3) = $3.51

Quote of the Day

October gave a party; The leaves by hundreds came – The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples, And leaves of every name. The Sunshine spread a carpet, And everything was grand, Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band.

George Cooper

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