Month: May 2023


To be quite transparent, I did not want to create an account on a new social media tool. If you read my first post, you’ll know that I only have one social media account, and I’m perfectly happy with that. I do not want my name attached to any other type of social media like Snapchat and certainly do not really feel comfortable leaving a digital footprint or compelled to do so just to see what’s up.  That’s just how I roll. I  do recognize that a social media tool doesn’t always have to just be the aforementioned apps. So, I thought I’d do some digging into YouTube.  Surely it’s a social media tool; plus, my kids are really fascinated by it (actually obsessed), and I’m not so sure it’s appropriate for them as all three are under 10 years old.  Enter my research. I read some really great articles, especially this one .

Here are my thoughts:

  • Playlist function is great –
    • As an educator I can save the videos I need for the multiple subjects I teach
    • Saving videos is also a great option
  • Excellent for educators to access movies/clips for the classroom without having to purchase anything
    • there is an option to purchase entire movies for a cheaper price that can often be paid for by one’s department
  • Live streaming
    • Pro: access to events if cannot attend
    • Con: can be used incredibly inappropriately, potentially causing harm for viewers
  • Free music streaming
    • ad-free for purchase
  • Content sharing of all kinds – literally everything an everything can be shared
  • Closed captions are always a bonus
    • transcripts are also available – it’s not perfect, but I think it’s a great option if needed.
  • Great to learn skills like breadmaking (shoutout to Larry)
  • Tutorials for pretty much anything
    • I think “YouTube It” has become proper verbage
  • Offers problem solving videos and great visuals for understanding complicated terms like the polyvagal perspective for trauma or intersectionality. 
  • Pretty much any subject being taught has information and tools to help people understand like “Dad, How do I?”
  • Don’t need an account to use it or share it.
  • Kids:
    • access to all the things (nudity, sex, violence, profanity, and general inappropriate videos and ads) for curious kids
    • Predators are there lurking and ready to take advantage of naiive children.
    • Microphone option for kids to search for things instead of typing
      • This can be used as both an advantage and disadvantage
    • Millions of videos uploaded every day, so are they really screening all things perfectly and monitoring content appropriately?
    • Option to control access to content for kids…for the most part
    • Youtube kids is an option for younger kids
    • Nothing is 100% safe. This is a great article that helps explain how to keep things safe on YouTube.

At the end of the day, I think YouTube is an awesome tool to help educators, parents, and all of society, but, as always, we need to be aware of the risks and continue to have the conversations about how to be responsible with it. Recently, I became aware that my 9 year old was searching for videos on inappropriate topics for his age.  Kids (all humans, actually) are curious, and, frankly, I wasn’t doing my due diligence in assuring he was being monitored.  For now, because one of my jobs is to protect my children, I’ve blocked YouTube until I feel like they are able to be responsible with it. I’m not naiive in that he can access it with friends and other places, but for now, while he’s at home or on his tablet, YouTube is not an option for any of them. There will  be continued discussions and frequent monitoring, but I’m okay with that. My oldest is 9, and I think that’s still a little too little to have free reign with the second most visited website in the world (Gonzales, 2023, “Which are the most visited websites in the world”).

I think it’s clear how amazing YouTube is for access to learning on so many different avenues, but I’m not convinced it’s appropriate for younger kids unless there are parental controls applied and frequent monitoring occurs.


BREAD WEEK #2: One Hour Bread – spoiler alert….this is a lie

I spent the week reading some articles about bread baking, and I ended up going down a rabbit hole of bread…. Bread 101, the science behind baking bread, bread history, no-knead bread, breading on food, milk-bread, soda bread….and this list goes on . I guess I am ignorant to the passion surrounding bread. Maybe I, too, will become passionate about bread after this project is over.  Eventually, I settled on trying a blogger’s recipe. What caught my eye was this: “Easy fast bread recipe that bakes up soft, fluffy and golden brown in only 60 minutes.” ONE HOUR. Come on folks.  If you read last week, I spent 4 HOURS baking 2 loves.

I repeat: ONE HOUR.

Let’s do this.

I quickly realized that the reason this recipe only takes one hour is because of this magical ingredient: quick rising yeast.  I am 99% sure Mamma Val used this back in the day. There’s no way she would spend 4 hours on her bread with 3 kids all up “in her kitchen”.  Huge shoutout to Mamma Val again. Naturally, she had an entire jar of quick rise yeast she gifted me. She is the best.

After taking my middle child to soccer one evening, I came home and promptly gathered my ingredients, excited to have fresh bread in one-hour as the recipe claims.  It was 8:00pm, and I was hopeful to be crushing a fresh slice of bread and butter at 9:15pm.  I’m so sorry to report: SugarGeek Recipes:

To begin, I had to warm the milk to a very precise temperature: 110 degrees. I was very worried I was going to scald it, so I took this part slowly, warming up the milk 30 seconds at a time.  Well, it turns out, I went one 30s too long that it ended up WAY over the recommended temperature. So then, I had to let it cool.  Not off to a very good start of the one-hour track.  This recipe calls for the use of a stand mixer with a dough-hook, and since I have a Kitchen Aid one, I was pumped to use it, thinking it would make up for the time spent on not scalding the milk. I threw all the ingredients in the bowl and let the mixer do the work.  I guess I wouldn’t be getting in my muscle work by kneading like last week.  Pffffffffff.


I followed the instructions to the letter, and I kept testing it to get the little see through window without tearing as stated.


Uggggh. So, I went back to what I know best: kneading it by hand for another 15 minutes to get that darn stretchy window.  I finally achieved that, and this dough was ready to rise. (TIME STAMP: almost 25 minutes into the recipe).

Just like I remember Mamma Val doing, it told me to put it in an oiled bowl with a towel over top, and leave it somewhere warm. It happened to be 29 degrees out, so the air conditioning was on.  I had nowhere warm, so I thought I’d try their suggestion of turning the oven on to the lowest setting and setting the covered bowl in.  PERFECT.


I didn’t read the suggestion correctly, and put the bowl literally in the oven and closed the door.  WRONG. I wasn’t supposed to shut the door because it gets too hot and could kill the yeast. Oh well, 25 minutes into the rising, and it looked pretty good to me. I guess I’ll never know if I killed the yeast or not (TIME STAMP: well over 60mins into the recipe).

I cut the dough in half and shaped it.  I like that I could just shape it onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I am no artist, but there’s definitely some French bread vibes here. Then, I had to put an egg wash on it.  Egg wash. Pfffffffffffff. What a waste of an egg.  I guess I should I have read all the notes at the end that it could have been milk. Or water. Or something else.  I guess I also should have read that an egg wash is egg and water, not just an egg.


Then I had to score the top with four diagonal cuts “at a 30º angle in the top of the loaf, about ¼” deep”. What? I have no idea what that looks like, so I just went for it. Pretty sure I went too deep. And after a solid 90 minutes into this “One-hour bread recipe”, into the oven for 25 minutes.

For sure cut it way too deep.

I mean – the house smells incredible again, so maybe it is worth it?

Okay. FINALLY. After one hour and 55 minutes into the recipe, the bread is done. It actually looks fantastic.  I loved the suggestion to take the temp in the middle of the bread, and if it’s between 190-200 degrees, it’s done.  This is a solid tip I will use for the forthcoming weeks.  They were perfectly golden – I guess the egg wash did it’s job.

Looks gooood…with some deep cuts.

I wanted to let it cool longer, but PLEASE NOTE: it’s 10:00pm at this point and way past my breadtime (see what I did there…). I have lost my mojo.

Alas, to quote Larry, “let’s butter a slice and giv’er a taste!”.

Unreal. Light. Fluffy. Tasty. A success.

So, my friends, this is definitely not a one-hour bread recipe for beginners.  This is more like a one-hour bread recipe for seasoned bakers.  In fairness, I should have read all the way to the end before starting. It would have saved me a lot of “pffffsssss” and “ugggghhhhssss”.  I should have clicked on “jumped to video” instead of “jumping to recipe”.  The video was super helpful and made me recognize my mistakes in hindsight.  Also, the mixer she uses looks super cool – I’ve never seen anything like that in all my Food Network watching.  Probs the most important fact of all time: the quick rise yeast saved me 2 hours – I think it’s the real MVP here.

The real MVP

Or, maybe it’s my husband who is getting fresh bread once a week.

Crushing it

One happy hubby.

Overall, this recipe is good, but I still don’t buy that it’s a one-hour recipe, especially if your standmixer doesn’t do its job. I take full responsibility for not watching the video or reading the recipe notes at the end, but let’s be honest, shouldn’t those notes be put within the instructions, not as a sidebar? I feel like there should be, in big bold letters, READ THE NOTES AT THE END BEFORE YOU START.  I do think this bread tasted better, was lighter and fluffier, and much quicker than Larry’s recipe, but I think at this point, I would use Larry’s instead.  I can’t fault the recipe for my user errors, so I’d still give it 4 doughballs out of 5.

fresh raw doughfresh raw doughfresh raw doughfresh raw dough

Stay tuned for next week when I try buns for the first time. I’m quite certain it will be quite bun-ny.

BREAD WEEK #1: Using YouTube, and Larry, to figure it out.

I did a lot of searching for an easy bread recipe to follow. I thought about starting with the Queen, Martha Stewart, and then dabbled in considering the bread master, Paul Hollywood. Alas, I decided to keep it simple for week one. I repeatedly came across mentioning and links to this YouTube video, featuring a man that seems to be pretty confident this is the easiest bread recipe for beginners. With over 8.8 million views, it must be a solid tutorial.  As Larry says, “If you’re a beginner, this is the place to start”.

Howdy, Larry.

So, let’s do this. I tried really hard to follow this video to the letter – I mention this because I have been known to just throw around a recipe and follow my heart in the kitchen just like my mamma taught me (huge shout out to my mamma, Val. She’s the best cook I know).

Baking is a different story. I figured I better stick to exactly what Larry tells me to. Here’s what happened.

Stage 1: I  got all my ingredients ready and was ready to rock and roll.

Stage one: Get the ingredients into the bowl and mix away.

I added the water and yeast in a giant bowl. I always thought you needed warm water and sugar to activate the yeast. Weird that I didn’t have to do that. Once that was in and I added all the other ingredients, it was time to knead the dough for 8 minutes. Yes. 8 minutes of kneading with my hands, which I thought would be no big deal, but let me tell ya. It’s no joke. Who *kneads* (see what I did there?) the gym, when you’re busy pushing and pulling dough? I have to say that kneading this dough was incredibly soothing. In the beginning the dough was very sticky, and I was super skeptical. I need to learn to relax and trust the process because eventually it all worked out and became incredibly pliable. Surprise! Following instructions works.

Working it for 8 minutes.

Once I was done, I put it into a giant bowl and covered it. I had to let it sit for an hour.  I thought you needed to let it rise in a warm spot. I found it weird that I didn’t have to do that as I clearly remember my mom doing that with her dough as I grew up.  I tried really hard not to peek during the hour, but I couldn’t take it. At 30 mins, I peeked. I panicked because it didn’t look like it was rising, so I moved it into warmer spot (under the window with the sun shining). It felt right in the moment, and I could hear Val’s voice telling me it needed some warmth. This was the only time I didn’t follow Larry.  Sorry, pal. Val knows best.

Peace out, dough. See you in an hour.

Stage 2: After one hour, I took the cloth off, and it really looked like nothing happened. I didn’t think it rose at all. I thought these things were supposed to double in size! Again, I need to learn to trust the process.  I took it out of the bowl, and as soon as I touched it, it definitely felt much bigger and lighter. The giant white bowl I used deceived me.  Once it was on my countertop, I found Larry’s method for shaping the dough interesting.  I had to spread it out, fold it over, make it into an odd, elongated triangle, and then roll it up into a log and plop it into the buttered pans.  Then, AGAIN, I had to let them rise, covered, for another hour. Honestly, woah. This breadmaking takes a really long time. Sigh. I was starting to lose my mojo.

Young woman lying buried her face in sofa feels tired

Not me getting tired of waiting.

Despite Larry not suggesting to let it rest in a warm place, I put it back under the window in the sun. It just felt right considering it worked out well the first rise. I tried my hardest not to peek again, but I couldn’t resist. They looked fantastic.

Ready for the oven!

Stage 3: After another hour of rising, into the oven they go. 40 mins at 400 F. The smell was incredible. Good thing I checked them at the 35 minute mark because I thought I smelled burning. They were starting to get a little dark on the top, so I pulled them out and brushed the tops with melted butter, just as Larry suggested, and let them cool.

I made that!

Stage 4: Get at it. It was soft, felt light, and, as Larry suggested “let’s butter a slice and giv’er a taste!”.  Delicious. My kids and husband also loved it. Half a loaf down the hatch, just like that.

DELISH. I hope you’re proud, Larry.


We will be crushing this all week.


Overall, Larry’s video was extremely easy to follow.  I had no problem pausing and rewinding where needed.  I realized that I didn’t use quick rise yeast as the recipe called for. I just used active dry yeast. Are these two different kinds of yeast? I’m not sure if this altered the recipe or not, but, clearly, I have 2 tasty loaves, so it doesn’t really matter. I don’t have much to be critical about except for the fact that I wish Larry would have told me how long the entire process takes. That’s my fault because I didn’t watch the whole video before I started. I will 100p do that next time. Now that I know this about this recipe, there’s no way I could bake bread after work….too many other distractions. This has to be reserved for a weekend when I have 4 hours “to spare”.   I started this at 2:40pm and didn’t get the loaves out of the oven until 6:40pm.  Four hours is a long time to spend baking bread.  Perhaps next week, I will see if there’s a quicker recipe – if that’s even an option. Am I totally naïve, or does baking bread always take this long?

So, Larry. Right now, since I have no comparison, I’d give it 4.5 dough balls/5.

fresh raw dough

fresh raw doughfresh raw doughfresh raw dough





Interested in making this recipe? Here’s the full video I followed. If you try it out, let me know your thoughts!

A legend in the baking…

Bready or not…here I crumb…

The learning project is right up my alley. Ideally, if there was enough time and money was no issue, I would choose either the cello (always been a dream of mine) or pottery (I don’t have a kiln).  So, I think I’ll stick with something in the realm of what I think I’m good at: cooking. BUT. I suck at baking. SO. I think I’d like to learn how to bake bread.  My family loves all things bread, and quite honestly, there is no greater smell than fresh bread. Adding a pat of butter onto a warm slice of homemade bread is divine. Of course, I’ve never filled my own house up with that smell because, frankly, it scares me. I am super confident whipping up a meal, but I have zero experience baking bread. I just head to Cobbs because it’s easy. Duh.

First, white bread.

Then, homemade buns.

Last, focaccia.

I’m thinking I will tackle three different types of bread throughout the next 6 weeks. Two weeks of trying two different recipes for each type of bread. PaulHollywood might be proud of me….

What do you think about that? Too easy? Too hard? Lay it on me.Baking Puns - Nice Buns

Not very social with the media….

Ahhhhhhh. The Facebook.

I first become acquainted with this soul sucking vampire of a machine when I got back from backpacking in Europe in 2006. I remember thinking this was the absolute coolest thing to exist since Napster. I quickly became enthralled and would spend countless hours looking at people’s profiles (let’s get serious: creeping), looking for people I used to know in high school to “connect” with, and posting my own albums of the experiences and events of my life.  In the beginning, it was glorious. It quickly became an obsession. I would sit on my brown chaise with my laptop and my dog, Magnum, at my feet and scroll. Loving people’s statuses, checking for comments and likes, and joining groups brought me joy. It was the only social media I really became hooked on. However, after a few years, I found myself starting to get annoyed with people. It seemed more like “bragbook” or a place where people would post cryptic statuses for attention. People started to get hostile. Political. Honestly, the vibe started to shift. I noticed my vibe started to shift. Then, one incident occurred that was the nail in the coffin. I was part of a mom’s group…you know, the kind of group that is supposed to be a community who supports each other and answers all the questions of the unknowns of motherhood and parenting. You know. A village.  The first red flag should have been that I had to be “accepted” – basically, I had to be recommended by another member and then the “leader” would let me in after several days of waiting. Once in, I quickly realized it was not as supportive as anticipated and there was way more attacking and mom-shaming than I ever wanted to be a part of.  Basically, I stood up for a mom and tried to clarify something, and was called a troll and attacked. I’m a sensitive soul, and even though I have no idea who these people are in real life, I did not like how it made me feel. I spent far too much of my mental load worrying about those keyboard warriors than I needed or wanted. So. That was it. I was done. It was sucking the joy out of my life. I deleted my profile about 5 years ago now and haven’t gone back. Peace out, Facebook.

Snapchat? No, thank you.
Tik Tok? No, thank you.
Twitter? No, thank you.

Instagram? Yes, please.

I love it. In my old-ish years, I recognize that I don’t need to follow anybody or comment on anything. What I love about Instagram is that I can just mindlessly scroll when I need to turn my brain off. It’s easy. I laugh a lot at memes or reels. I love sending them to my friends along with posts that just  make sense between us. I love the ideas I curate looking at teaching profiles. I love learning about how to incorporate BIPOC texts in my classroom and how to weave social justice topics seamlessly into my teaching and everyday life. I love being able to learn about being a mother or how to parent and raise resilient children and gentle boys. I love learning about mindfulness, self-regulation, the vagus nerve, and resilience from gurus like Gabor Mate.  I love having belly laughs with my friends over the simplest…and stupid…memes. I love feeling nostalgic when I watch all the throwbacks to the 90s.  I love bookmarking recipes and watching people cook all the food. I don’t have to belong to any groups. I don’t follow or watch anything that makes me sad or upset. I just keep on scrolling if it doesn’t appeal to me. I barely make posts. I have never in my life made a reel and have no intentions to.  Instagram is quick. It’s simple. It doesn’t suck my soul dry of joy – it does just the opposite.

To be clear: I don’t use social media to be social.  I use it to learn and laugh.  If I stop doing that, then peace out.

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