Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Macaron Feet!

Cooking with another person who also loves experimenting is my idea of a fun night. After looking @ YouTube videos, my friend Lina & I started our venture to making our first ever French macarons (not to be confused with macaroons!). These little cute delicious desserts are usually very expensive at bakeries---but we now don't have that problem! Our macarons came out PERFECT & they even rose to show off their little feet (the term used to describe the airy bubbles on the edge or the ruffled rim). Not hard to make, but a bit time consuming & a heads up--- almond flour is not easy or cheap to find! But---it was all worth it @ the end.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gratitude List @ 33.5 Years Old

As I was reading through some old posts from this blog, I came across one that I promised to revisit annually (what a surprise that I didn't!)

Ok---so 3.5 years later, I'm sitting @ Kingsway mall in Edmonton & decide to do what Daniel Pink suggests: write a list of what you're grateful for (the # of things to list = your age).

So here goes my list of 33.5 things since today is my half birthday (yes, I still celebrate this---you should too! :-))

1. GOD
2. David
3. My family
4. Large families/extended families
5. Holidays
6. Prayer time
7. Sisters & sister-in-laws
8. My iPhone
9. Christmas sales after Christmas (I got the cards that are in the picture for $1.00!)
10. Long johns
11. Snail mail
12. FaceTime
13. Chilli chocolate
14. Long walks with David
15. BBC's Sherlock series
16. Coffee
17. Raised hands of students
18. Contact Lenses
19. Knee-length boots
20. Facebook (yes, I admit it after hating on it for so long!)
21. OXO kitchen products
22. Fireplace mantles
23. Lemons
24. Burt's Bees Chapstick
25. Pinot Noir
26. Photos/Scrapbooks
27. Ability to walk everywhere
28. Libraries!
29. Advice given b/c one wants to 'pay it forward'
30. Spooning
31. Blo bars (hairdrying-blowing salons)
32. My diaries
33. Free lectures
33.5 Naps

#11 Reason Why I Like Canada

Babies have the right to their own library cards! If adults have the right to bear arms in the US, I think the same should go for infants & library access. Actually, now that I'm putting more thought into this, it should be mandatory. (Not the adults-guns thing...not working out to be such a good idea)

I remember taking my niece Izzy to their local library in Long Island, NY. She must've been 2 years old when I was scoffed @ by the librarian for asking if Isabelle could sign up for her card. That librarian looked at me as if I had 3 heads. I probably knew back then that my life wouldn't be permanent in Long Island. (Just to be clear, this is NOT indicative of the rest of NY state)

Anyway, it was refreshing to go to the downtown Edmonton public library & find signs encouraging toddlers to sign up for membership. What better way to open their worlds to unlimited knowledge, ideas, and imagination? :-)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Online Scrapbooking...

Here's a nifty Web 2.0 tool I found online while googling 'Easy to Use Online Scrapbooks'...It's called SmileBox, it is a unique service that helps you connect to friends and family by using your photos and videos!Smilebox helps you make animated scrapbooks, photobooks, slideshows, postcards, and eCards for ANY occasion.

Below is the roadtrip I took with my sisters a few weeks back. I used SmileBox to recap our incredible vacation:

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Our Road Trip
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What Do You Mean?

My Gratitude List
1. GOD
2. My parents
3. My siblings
4. My niece
5. Church
6. Searingtown
7. Colleagues
8. Heat
9. Chocolate
10. Coke-Cola in a frosted glass
11. Pasta a la vodka
12. Sunday School
13. Nail extensions
14. Gift of Travel
15. My salary
16. My Tempur-Pedic mattress
17. Thursday nights
18. Summer days
19. Warm blankets
20. Worn out Bibles
21. Facials
22. Going out to dinner
23. Good literature
24. Driving
25. XM Radio
26. Baking
27. Avocadoes
28. GPS
29. Google

The above is an activity you should try (at least once a year). It is called a Gratitude List, an idea that I came across while reading A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. In short, the activity ‘forces’ us (in a good way!) to write down a list of things we are grateful for. I chose 29 random things, and tried not to put too much thought and list them ‘off the cuff’ (please do not judge me by only the few things that I thought of quickly---especially #13!). The number of things represent my age---typical of the birthday gratitude list, where you start a new list on your birthday according to the age you are turning.

What is the meaning of this?

Meaning. This is a term that pops up all too often into my brain and makes me feel every emotion out there! When I think about work and my ‘purpose’, I am at peace. When I think about church and my ‘purpose’, I am angry. When I think about my life and the ‘purpose’ behind it, I am confused!
Here’s what I see: we are ALL searching for meaning in our lives. Daniel Pink refers to ‘meaning’ as one of the six senses that ultimately guides our lives and shapes our world. We currently live in an environment of ‘…breathtaking material plenty…”. As I look at the above gratitude list, I realize that around 16 of the 29 on my list have to do with a material thing. Am I too materialistic? (I realize I might be going off on a tangent here, but it’s easier than having to think about the purpose of my existence!)

Ok…back to the meaning of my life. And yours. For those of you who are teachers (like myself), we are constantly struggling with this! We can’t just see our career as a job, it’s a vocation! We’re meant to do this. We have a purpose; one that must be revaluated twice a year; once in August as we get ready for a new school year and once again in June when we have to hand in our End-of-the-Year Evaluations.

“What’s the point of this?”
I’m sure you’ve had a student in your career say this to you, usually during math instruction (probably during some crazy word problem that you can’t answer yourself!). Conveying meaning to our students should be our daily job. This will bring purpose to your own teaching. Students need to understand there is a purpose behind every math lesson, every war they learn about in SS, and every vocabulary word they have to define in Reading. This can only truly happen if you believe in the purpose in your teaching yourself. Of course, there will be those lessons in science or math that make you wonder why you are uttering nonsense to your students, but this is usually a rare occurrence. If children find meaning to what they are doing at an early age, they will continue to search for purpose as adults.

I enjoy knowing that I serve a purpose as a teacher. That my daily routine is going towards the greater good. But what about the rest of my life?

Daniel Pink has us realize that meaning is slowly creeping into every part of our being: from the rise of yoga classes to the selling of millions of copies of A Purpose Driven Life to the Amma who goes around sharing her famous hugs. Have people always been so reflective of themselves? How do we know when to stop searching? Or is it one that’s never supposed to stop?

I realize that unconsciously, I’ve been finding meaning all along! Meaning is what has kept me going, making sure that everything I put my hands on was for the good of the world. I still have a lot of work to do, and I for sure am still seeking for the purpose of my own life, but I am at peace knowing that essentially, there is meaning behind it all. Even this entry.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Are you a Lurker?

How do we design a Virtual Learning Community that is compelling enough that it will compete successfully for the attention of busy educators? ~ Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

I have never considered myself a lurker.

According to, to lurk is to lie or wait in concealment, as a person in ambush; remain in or around a place secretly or furtively. It also means to exist unperceived or unsuspected.

Am I a lurker of the world wide web?

Reading Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach’s blog came me new insight to the word ‘lurk’. According to the blog, there is a model called the 4L Model which describes the roles and interactions of members of an online community: Linking, Lurking, Learning, Leading. As I read through the descriptions, I realized who I really was: a lurker. One who joins different online groups (nings, blogs, education communities…etc), occasionally participates in different discussions, webinars, and may even comment to some posts. However, that’s where I stop. I don’t involve myself deeper. I just lurk from one blog/website/wiki to another.

Reading on and having discussions with my colleagues on the possibility of seeing Virtual Learning Communities as professional development opportunities for teachers opened a whole new stream of thinking for me. Although the best PD days that I have the ones I have when given a chunk of time to sit and discuss curriculum with my own colleagues, I am absolutely in support of linking with other teachers in the ‘outside’ world. Time is ALWAYS an issue, but setting apart PD time to connect with other teachers online would open doors that we never knew existed.

Busy educators, in my opinion, still take time to continue to view or ‘lurk’ on different online platforms throughout the school day. The question then becomes: What makes these busy teachers go to some sites and not others? I’ve noticed where I work, many teachers go onto DiscoveryEducation and SmartBoard links. What they both have in common is the user-friendly feature of quickly finding information. Creating a VLC or a CoP should reflect the same type of user-friendliness. This can encouraged if given the chance to be done during the school day.

I am currently a lurker. I am hoping to get out of this phase and move on to being an online learner/leader. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Interesting Comic by Craig Bellamy