Sunday, May 31, 2009

Strawberry Cupcakes

I had the urge to make strawberry cupcakes. Part of it is that it's a good way to procrastinate doing any school work. Heh heh! I used the recipe I found on Martha Stewart's website. I used Sprinkles' strawberry frosting recipe. I split the recipe in half because I didn't have enough powdered sugar, but it make the perfect amount. The fresh strawberry puree in the frosting made this lovely soft pink color with little red freckles of strawberry bits. It's sweet but you can taste the fresh strawberries.

Zuppa Toscana

I love Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. My brother does, too. He would experiment with the copycat recipes once in awhile and he showed me how to make it a long time back now. I still make it anytime it's soup climate. I think I finally got it right this time.

Zuppa Toscana
Serves 2-3 people

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 sliced thick-cut bacon (pepper-rubbed), chopped
1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage meat
2 qt. low sodium chicken stock
1 chicken stock cube (Maggi)
2 medium potatoes, cubed
2 large leaves of kale, chopped
1 cup heavy cream (optional)

1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the garlic and onion to sauté.
2. Add the bacon and stir around.
3. Add the sausage and break it up as you cook it.
4. Once it's cooked, add the chicken stock and the cube. Bring to a boil.
5. Add the potatoes, and set the temperature back to medium high to cook the potatoes.
6. Test the potatoes' doneness. When it's done, turn the heat off, and add the kale.
7. When you're ready to eat, you can add the cream as much as you like to your bowl of soup.

Children's Clothespin Dolls

So here are the clothespin dolls my fifth-graders made. They were supposed to fashion it in the time of the US Westward Expansion. So miners, railroad workers, pioneers, frontiersmen, Native Americans, etc. I told them that they are to use any material they have at home because long ago, children made these because they didn't have money to buy dolls. So, my favorite is the one wrapped in snake skin that he found. He made a bow and arrow with toothpicks, bubblegum wrap, and hair rubberband. With all these random items, I knew exactly what he made. You can also see which students have support at home or the amount of effort or creativity they put in.

Here's the snakeskin Native American doll I like.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Crafty Reward

Today, we went to The Paper Source and saw The Softies Kit. I so wanted it!! I keep thinking about. I ended up not buying it since I have so much end of the school year work to do... Like prepare for Open House, the Science Fair, report cards, class cards that go to their sixth-grade teachers, memory books, etc., etc., etc.... I can't procrastinate by doing crafty things. I can, but I shouldn't. So I told myself that I'll buy it as a reward when I finish the report cards. Ugh!

Orchids in the Bay

Hi Mom! Are you reading this? When we went to Hawaii, you told me that it would be really hard to grow orchids in the Bay Area because of the climate. So when we were at that orchid store, I ended up buying a magnet of an orchid instead of a real one. Well, this photo below is proof that orchids CAN grow in the Bay Area.

But you're probably right... I would most likely kill it. :(


My brother-in-law apparently loves and makes gyudon. So, Hubby asked if I had it before or know how to make it. It's weird, I don't think I ever had it. I think my mom makes butaniku no shogayaki (ginger pork) with rice. And if we eat thin-sliced beef, it's often made into beef teriyaki eaten with rice. When I looked into the recipe for gyudon, I noticed that the ingredients are similar to beef teriyaki, which I suspected, but the portions are not. I used Amy Kaneko's Let's Cook Japanese Food! again for it. The flavor was good; very subtle flavor. But the beef itself was tough. I've had bad luck buying sliced meat at this particular store before... So note to self: Buy sliced meat there only if you have to. Anyways... here's a photo of it with a side of spinach goma-ae.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Clothespin Doll Craft Day

Today I had a Clothespin Doll Craft Day for about an hour after school. Only about 6 students showed but it went really well. For a crafty activity like this, it was best that I had a few kids stay anyway. They're due Wednesday, so I'll post more photos when I get more turned in.


I have been craving for my mom's version of Korean kalbi. So I called up Mom for the recipe, and of course, she only gave me the ingredients for the marinade. No portions. Everything's "to taste." So, I whipped it up "to taste" and everything went well. The side dish of eggplant is from a Korean cookbook. It was alright.

I love Hubby's mabo tofu. I requested it again. Yum!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

About Class Projects

So I introduced the Pioneer Exhibit project to the fifth-graders today. I put the two dolls I made in a tupperware and they were so nosy. They were trying to peek through to see what was in there. They were so distracted by what was in the tupperware that I actually had to move it and hide it at my desk. When I finally showed them, they loved the whole idea of making an artifact exhibit and especially loved the doll part. The letter writing part as a historical person was a little more difficult when I got them started on it. I have one who already wrote up a draft for it though. When I got home today, I quickly made up an outline the kids can follow for the letter since they had difficulty with it.

I can't wait to see how the dolls turn out! I will post as soon as the kids turn them in.

My next creative project is for Father's Day. For Mother's Day, I had them write a diamante poem made into a card, and wood photo frames (from Ikea) decorated with silk flowers. I would love to post them but their faces are on there so I'm not going to. As for the Father's Day gift, I'm still figuring it out. I was thinking of getting those cork tiles from Michaels and cutting them up to make coasters. The kids can then paint them. Ikea used to sell round and square cork coasters, but not anymore. I have some still, but I've been using them for ourselves. I like painting on them for fun.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Earth Day Posters

Here's a project that they have already completed. I had the fifth-graders create persuasive posters for Earth Day. I set up stations where they can read and take notes on info on the environment. Then, I had them use those info to make posters. The catch was to use things that they already have -- so reuse materials to make the poster. I also had them go up and critique each one and then vote on two of their favorites. So there was a first, second, and a tie for third place. The kids are so funny. I gave them a Tater-Ware spoon as an award. I put ribbons on them and they loved that they got biodegradable spoons. They try to smell and taste it to see if it's really potato or corn. Also as winners, I made their posters into stickers (which were really photos of their posters printed on shipping labels).

My example to the class. The class critiquing. First place winner. Second place winner. Or was this the second place winner? Third? I can't remember. But this one and the next one here are my personal favorites. Third place winner (tie).

Clothespin Dolls

Hello! I wonder if anyone checks this blog once in awhile. Geez. It's been over an year! Anyways... I'm just going to dive into blogging again.

So, tomorrow, I plan to introduce their new Inquiry project to my fifth-graders. They have to imagine that they are living during the time of the US Westward Expansion in the late 1700s to the late 1800s. They are to write a friendly letter to someone as if they are a miner, farmer, slave, Native American, Chinese immigrant working on the Transcontinental Railroad, etc. Then, they are to make a doll dressed in that time period using a wooden clothespin. For Open House, they're going to display it like we have an artifact exhibit. Neat, huh? I think the kids will like it.

I made two examples for them. One is a pioneer woman, and the other is a slave. I need to give him props though.