Thursday, June 27, 2013

Currently reading....

So one of my favorite things about being a teacher is the time I have to read in the summer.  While it is still one of my pet peeves to hear "Oh that must be so nice to have the summers off" (honestly, anyone who grew up with a teacher as a parent realizes you never have time OFF, just time without students) it is a glorious thing to be able to read like I did as a child.

I remember the summer after eighth grade, when the teen librarian at the Warren Township library had to ask me to stop filling out the book forms for the summer reading program because my younger sisters and I were messing up the lottery system for prizes.  She said they had tried six times to pull a ticket before getting a non-Appert name.  Instead, I could just come once a week and pick out a free book (these were the prizes).  Books were something my sisters and I devoured- if you left yours lying around, someone else would jack it and finish it first- sometimes this was even my dad.

Today I gave myself permission to just read- no errands to run, no deadlines to meet, no plans to fulfill.  I decided to tackle some books I am using for a Literature Circle unit next year, so at the time of this post, I have just finished reading Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, and before yoga this morning I read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Both will be options in a lit circle unit focusing on social issues and strong female characters. While I was certainly reading with my students in mind- is the subject matter of TKAM too mature for middle school? is the multi-layered plot of WTM too confusing for my struggling readers?  I also was blown away by the power of a beautiful book.  I cried when Salamanca finally made it to Lewiston, Idaho (a place not too far from where I live) and learned what had really happened to her family. (I am being careful about really should read both books.) I was angry at the choices people made in TKAM that resulted in innocent and guilty alike suffering at the end.

And this is why I give my students these texts.  To be able to empathize with anyone is a gift, and sometimes literature is one of the only ways that is possible for a middle-schooler.  I have three more books to go- Julie of the Wolves, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, and Dicey's Song.  I'll see how many more I can finish today.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

She's back....

So I was talking to my good friend Sara Nolan probably a month ago, (and those of you who know Sara know that she is a blogger extraordinaire) and she encouraged me to start this blog up again.  Recently I have been trying to be more creative, and Willie suggested that I start writing again.  So here is my first attempt at the new and improved She Laughs at the Days to Come.

Since my last post, I have made some significant changes in my diet, and have been successfully gluten free for two years.  I have seen some really positive results, such as no more migraines and putting on some much needed weight.  Most of the time I don't miss the gluten, but there are some sad times when it comes to desert.  So for my first post back, here is a delicious gluten free recipe for Earl Grey Lemon bars, which I adapted from a Cooking Light Recipe.

Cooking spray
1 1/4 cups gluten free flour mix (I use the Land o' Lakes recipe)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 Earl Grey tea bags
1/8 tsp salt
8 tablespoons cold butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine ingredients for crust, using 1 tsp of Earl Grey tea from one bag.  Discard the rest of the bag.  Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Press into  the bottom of a pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for about 19 minutes or until golden.

1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons gluten free flour mix
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon powdered sugar.

1. Microwave lemon juice on high for 30 seconds.  Add the second tea bag to the lemon juice and steep for ten minutes.

2. Combine granulated sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl.

3. Add eggs and rind to lemon juice and whisk together.

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, pour onto hot crust.

5. Bake for 23 minutes or until set, then cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes

6. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.