French silk pie

I cannot figure out how to post to the UIWP recipe blog, so I will post my French silk pie (filling only) recipe here for now.

ingredients:

3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter or margarine
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Before making the pie, it is crucial that all ingredients be at room temperature.  There are at least two good reasons for this.  First of all, the butter/margarine will not mix well if it is hard.  Lastly, and most importantly, if the ingredients are not all at room temperature, the eggs are much more likely to curdle.  (Eww!)  I know that it may seem scary having eggs at room temperature, but I assure you that it is necessary.  Thus, before mixing, you should set your butter/margarine and eggs out at room temperature at least two hours in advance.  Do not melt the butter/margarine.  Also, I highly recommend that the eggs be as fresh as possible.

First, mix the powder ingredients.  Secondly, mix in the butter/margarine.  Next, add the eggs one at a time.  Every time an egg is added, beat the filling for at least two minutes.  Finally, mix in the vanilla.

Put the filling in a crust.  Freeze for at least three hours.  You may add whip cream before or after freezing if desired.

Allow the pie to thaw somewhere between fifteen and forty-five minutes at room temperature before serving.  Too little thawing causes the filling to be too frozen to cut.  Too much thawing causes the filling to be too pudding-like, and the pie is difficult to cut due to its liquid state.  In my opinion, the closer the pie is to room temperature, the better taste.

If you ever plan on making multiple pies at once, make one batch of filling at a time.  The more eggs there are in the mix, the better the chance of curdling, and that would be a travesty.

Enjoy! 😀

the end is coming

Including today, we have six days left of the Writing Project.  I think that the end will be bittersweet.  On one hand, I will enjoy the opportunity to catch up with family and friends, travel, and just kick back, relax, and enjoy the summer break.  On the other hand, I will miss being around such a wonderful group of people, being exposed to new ideas, and reading books regarding education that I might not otherwise have read.

I will admit that I do not read a lot of books on education.  My take is that people can only learn so much about teaching from outside sources.  After that, teachers have to rely on their instincts and their experiences.  This is one reason that a lab school is such a wonderful fit for me.  I doubt that I would have even tried to incorporate a research project into my curriculum otherwise.  This does not mean that I am willing to try any sort of experiment.  With any general idea for teaching that I think might work, I always want to get it to the “This sounds good in theory, but will it work in practice?” stage before implementing it.  You can never know if an idea works if you never try it, but you also have to try to make it work.  Also, I think it is important to recognize when an idea needs tweaking versus when the idea just does not work.

By no means do I mean to discredit reading books about education!  I think that it is important for all teachers to reflect on their practices, and reading is an effective way to do this.  I have enjoyed the books that I have read for the Writing Project, and I hope to maintain this habit throughout my teaching, or at least during summers.  Before the Writing Project, the most formidable reading that I have done regarding education is reading through the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and analyzing how the curriculum for my subbie algebra class fits in with those standards.  I felt that that was a wonderful way for me to reflect.

Like I said before, I think that this group is wonderful.  I have enjoyed getting to know each and every single one of you and seeing the ideas that you brought to the table.  I appreciate being able to discuss matters regarding education in such a welcoming and comfortable environment.  The end will definitely be bittersweet.

thoughts on last reading assignment

For my last book, I have chosen Strategic Writing by Deborah Dean.  This was one of the books that Scott Filkins recommended to me.  At first, I had some apprehensions, as the subtitle is The Writing Process and Beyond in the Secondary English Classroom.  Part of this does not sit well with me.  Will people ever stop automatically associating writing with English class???  Despite this subtitle, I decided to look briefly through its contents, as the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is quite a wise one.  The first thing that I read in my browsing was an anecdote about a college student’s writing conference with a professor.  The majority of the conference consisted of the professor looking for the student’s paper.  After finding it, the professor removed the first 11 pages of the 15 page paper and threw them in the trash.  With that, he said, “That was garbage.  About page 12 you begin to get interesting.  Start there and do it over again.”

I skimmed through some of the other anecdotes, and I was hooked.  If Deborah Dean addresses all of these anecdotes in the book, then I think that it will be a fun read.

Even if this book is meant to be geared towards English teachers, I think that I can get something out of it.  Though most of the writing assignments that I have students do are expository in nature, there is room for other types of writing.  I have at least two projects that I assign which require students to write stories and use their imaginations.  I would most certainly be open to having students respond to certain writing prompts with a poem.

The big question that I have is, “How can I encourage my students to write more effectively?”  I am having trouble coming up with other questions, but I am certain that they are meandering about in my brain.

When Steve Rayburn saw that I chose Strategic Writing, he commented that, of all the books that he read, that was his absolute favorite.  I consider this praise in the highest form.  Based off of that assessment, I have high expectations of this book and what I can get out of reading it.  I very much hope that this book lives up to my expectations.

energy

Now that I have posted my movie, I no longer feel unmotivated and lethargic.  Rather, I feel refreshed and energized.  Actually, I am itching to read my last book, but this is writing time, so writing it is.

I have greatly appreciated the comments that people have been making to my blog recently.  I feel like Wendy has read each and every single one of my entries, and the encouragement that she has given me in her replies has benefited me tremendously.

Based off of this most recent experience, I do not think that movie-making is my forte.  Web design is much more familiar territory to me.  I know that I have a lot to learn in this area, but the fact that I have designed and maintained several web pages will most certainly come in handy.  I am definitely looking forward to becoming familiar with tabs.

Becca has provided me with a new writing challenge: science fiction.  I will see what I can do.

I also want to write about the book that I have chosen, but I would prefer to do so in a separate post.  I will go ahead and take care of that now.

Eureka!

I have a movie!  Hooray!!! 😀

I couldn’t figure out how to get music from my MP3 player onto the Mac, so alas, there is no music this time.  Also, there are minor changes that I would have liked to have made to the movie, but getting one posted with which I could be satisfied was much more important than spending more time improving minor issues.

frustration

In the process of making my movie, I have been having problem after problem.  First of all, there was the issue of having no mic on my tablet.  Amber suggested downloading Audacity and using an external mic.  I found a free download of Audacity, but when I downloaded it, other programs that I didn’t want came with it.  One of them said that my one-month old tablet had 672 critical errors.  Audacity indeed!  To make matters worse, using the borrowed mic and Audacity was such a pain.  Once I realized that I was having trouble converting the Audacity files to the correct format, I thought, “Screw this!”

Based off of this experience, I thought that Mac was the way to go for video.  I decided to borrow one of my school’s Macs.

By Friday, I had all the scripting written, and I recorded it all on Saturday morning.  I wanted to be in the movie, which necessitated someone filming me.  I couldn’t have someone do that until Saturday.  Also, I wanted some old pictures of me.  My sister had some, but I needed more.  Unfortunately, the only other person who would have the pictures that I wanted was my mom.  Alas, the only time that we both have off is Sunday.  Moreover, she had plans on Sunday until 5pm.  To make matters even worse, my mom felt the need to reminisce as we sifted through photo albums.

I didn’t get back to Champaign until about 9pm, but now, I had all the ingredients I needed to make my movie.  (Sleep was not a big issue:  Once I knew that my mom wasn’t available until 5pm, I took a long nap in the afternoon, so I wasn’t in the least bit sleepy.)  All was going well until the power went out at 11pm.  The battery in my Mac didn’t last too much longer than that.  I was frantically trying to figure out how to save, and was baffled beyond belief.  I relocated to my office at school, only to find that the work that I had done was gone.

At this point, my main concern was not working on the movie, but rather how to save.  From what I gathered, iMovie was not registered on the Mac I was using.  I tried to register it myself, but the computer was asking for information that I did not know.  Not being able to save made me lose motivation to get any more work done, at least for the time being.

I got back home at about 3am.  Shortly thereafter, the electricity came back on.  In despair, I took another nap.  I woke up at about 8am without an alarm.  I had a terrible headache, but I put that down to my erratic sleeping schedule.  It was not until I was in my car backing out of my driveway that I realized that I was really sick.  Being stressed out about the movie and being out in the torrential rain on Sunday night and Monday morning are the likely culprits.

I wish that I would realize that, if I feel like I need to puke, I just need to do it and get it over with.  Maybe it’s my stubbornness to refuse to admit to illness that holds me back.  For some reason, I also seem to forget that I feel better afterwards.

I wasn’t feeling up to working on the movie, but I at least wanted to check on how to save.  I emailed Andrew, one of our tech people at the school.  He was helpful as always.  Later, at 1pm, I decided to take the Mac to my sister’s house, as she is good with technology.  It was not until 3pm that I finally figured out what was going on:  The Mac resets itself every time it shuts down.  With programs that have a save feature, this is not too much of a problem, provided you have a USB drive.  For iMovie, however, you have to know where it auto-saves, and I finally found this location on Monday at 3pm.

So now, I think that I finally have all of the knowledge that I need to make my movie.  I know exactly how I want the movie to look (pictures and video) and sound (voiceover and music).  The task of putting all of these pieces together still seems daunting, though.  I was expecting that feeling, but not to this degree.  Moreover, the many setbacks that I have experienced seem to have sapped my motivation.  At this point, I really don’t want to work on the movie.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get done with it.

Caleb demands a blog entry!

Corinne and Warren say:

Yolanda is doing her best, but it is unlikely that she will be able to make changes without help.  It would make sense for Yolanda to have access to a counselor that might direct her to the services that make the most sense for her and might help her have a more predictable schedule.  Yolanda has been failed by her landlord as well as society.