Saturday, March 25, 2017

25: That snack...

You know how it feels to just want a snack.

The kind of snack that you should really just reconsider and not put that first delectable, delicious morsel inside your mouth.  The kind of snack with no nutritional integrity but instead a score of sinful adjectives...ooey, gooey, or salty, or sweet, or even salty and sweet together. The kind of snack that you'll regret later but can't seem to turn down....because...

That snack.  

Ree Drummond made that snack on this morning's episode of Pioneer Woman. Barely finished with breakfast I became obsessed with how quickly I might be able to get my hands on that snack.

So in rapid rehearsal, we got out the chocolate chips, flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and butter (so it would be room temperature).  We lined up the flour, salt, and baking soda next to an assortment of measuring cups and within reach of the Kitchenaid mixer.

We ran to Target for eight ounces of bagged perfection...

And then we went to town.

Half butter, half shortening (the secret)
brown sugar, white sugar


Vanilla, two eggs


Flour, soda, salt


Chocolate chips


Pause -- you think you know about this snack, don't you?  Yep; I did too.  I know all about this one. Could make it in my sleep.  But, that Pioneer know she doesn't like to just hang with 'standard'.  She likes to make snacks homespun.  And hearty.

So, the next step invited us to get out a gallon-sized baggie and pour in the chips.  All of them.  (Well, except the handful we snitched for two reasons: a) because we do not buy chips at our house, and b) because we couldn't wait [refer to former reason]).  Then, we closed it up and took turns crushing them to medium-sized bits with the first little and smaller bits by the second little.

And then we poured half of them into the batter.  Half.


Note: I tasted the batter at this point just to ensure we were on the right track.

(Undoubtedly, yes.  That snack...)

Then, we used the cookie scooper to make nice, rounded spoonfuls that we plopped into the remaining clump of crushed chips and rolled them around before a toasty fifteen-minute trip into a 375-degree oven.

That snack.  

Golden. Crunchy.
Chippy. Chocolately.
Ooey, gooey.
Sweet, salty.


The downfall to this recipe is what happened next -- waiting five minutes to remove the cookies from the baking sheet.

But oh -- with one bite many details disappeared
time, space,
propriety, objectivity
restraint, concepts of calories and weight
and were replaced by golden, crispy sweet-salty goodness, melty chocolate chips
in ooey-gooey batter.

That snack.

I texted my neighbor who responsibly spent the day working in her yard.  Want a chocolate chip potato chip cookie?

My doorbell rang two minutes later.  I answered with two perfect specimens tucked into my right hand.

We sat on the front doorstep and devoured that snack.

Write on,

P.S.  You know you want that snack too.  Here's the link to Ree's recipe...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

22: Invention...

A few months ago, the elder little and I watched "Caine's Arcade"
"I want to do that," he concluded

Last week, he decided it was time and so he built
this contraption to take your tickets, or your change to buy tickets

The back of this do-dad has a funnel straight into the
elder little's Tootsie Roll bank!

His first game reminds us both that he loves soccer
and often practices shooting goals from long distances

One goal is worth 10 points for the prize shop!

His second game repurposed a gift baggie, a newfound chapter book,
a school box as a point of leverage, and foam darts

I could make the target with one eye closed
and the other focused on this circle that seems to shrink!

Night after night, the arcade grew
first he'd sketch out his idea in his invention notebook
then he'd build it
...the bowling game
...the prize shop
...the ball toss
...the book shop

Last night, he brainstormed what to do next with his arcade
He realized that he has two types of games:
ones where you toss and hit something
ones where you flick and roll something
He also realized that he may need some additional labels
for his new price section
so between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00 p.m.
when he was 'falling asleep'
and I seemed to be falling behind
he problem-solved to get what he needed

At bedtime, I rushed around the house
putting away remaindered items here
and there
I found this on my desk upstairs..

This note
and all the thinking
and all the plotting
and all the sketching
and all the trying
and all the troubleshooting
and all the perseverance
and all the pride in
welcoming others to play
and hosting players
makes my mama heart

Write on,

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

21: Snack!

You get an idea
and climb up higher than we'd choose
to make it happen
into the refrigerator for a drink of cold, cold milk
onto the countertop for a shorter reach to
peanut butter
(which these days, is better than Easy Mac, Uncrustables, clementines,
and even apple sauce topped with a blanket of cinnamon)

You get hungry, so hungry right before dinner...
even while the meat and potatoes are cooking...
that you make your own luck
so today, while I was upstairs transforming from teacher to mommy,
you made the climb again
I shuffled down the stairs
through the dining room
and into the kitchen
to find you solving your own problem
by reaching for two jars

no crackers
(that would've been another climb -- inside the pantry)
no apples
no bread
no toast
no nothing

Just a spoon
(which is not a climb -- how safe)
because sometimes that is all you need...

...well, maybe really two spoons
a short one for the Nutella, a long-handled sundae one
for the 'we're not messing around' jar of peanut butter

Write on,

Monday, March 20, 2017

20: In Common...

I sat
in the running record session
Saturday morning
listening to the speaker talk about coding
how important it is to have a system
that means something
to every person who encounters the 
check marks
the M, S, and V

I sang
"Wooden Ships" by Crosby Stills and Nash
in my mind
If you smile at me I will understand
because that is something 
everybody everywhere does in the same

I pondered
Do people think smiles are constrictive?  Like codes?
Or, do you find what you seek?

Write on,

Sunday, March 19, 2017

19: Warmth

Here's my perch this afternoon
Looking south on Broadway Street
Watching the cars, taxis, walkers, strollers pass on 75th
My cheeks are warm, so are my knees as I sit in the sun
reflecting on
 taking and analyzing running records
how running record patterns guide instruction
just-right checklists to help students set and work toward writing goals
and the many ways data points differentiate core instruction

Here's my take on all of it --
I have more questions than answers
More balloon strings at risk of slipping through my fingers
than taking my thoughts into the stratosphere
up, up, up
into new places, new phases, new projects
new understandings
Is it that I'm trying to fit new ideas into old forms
Maybe that's why it all feels slippery

In just a few hours my perch will look more familiar
less like graceful towering buildings and more like green neighborhoods
more like day-to-day activities and less like vacation spontaneity
more like school, family, house
packing bags and pairs of socks
and less like a subway ride to
inspirational addresses and solid workshop sessions
to grow my thinking
How will these ideas incubate?

With time
session notes
"I wonder if's..."
coffee dates
rougher drafts
cleaner drafts

With warmth.

Write on,