The Big Three O!

On Friday it will be my 30th birthday!!!

happy cake day

What better way to celebrate then to test out some new bakeware and homemade cake recipes! Once again, I took to Pinterest to find two different confetti cake recipes.

The two recipes I choose were similar, but the one by Sally’s Baking Addiction used more eggs and the one by Delish used more sugar and also cornstarch.

The recipes were both easy to follow, ill share which one I will definitely be using again in my review at the end of this post!

I was so excited to use my new “Numbers and Letters Cake Pan” from Pampered Chef . Honestly, everyone needs this pan. It can make any number or letter in one pan!

I choose to do Sally’s recipe first and make the number 3!

Ingredients and the wonderful cake pan
There is actually way more sugar in cakes then I thought.
This cake was pretty dense. It tasted great, but for the amount of eggs/egg whites I thought it would be fluffier.
EEK! I love the cake pan!

Next, quickly wash everything up and time to make the “0”. This recipe was from Delish which actually pops up frequently on my Facebook as an ad. It was the same process as the “3”, but with a few different ingredients.

the “0” cake pan.
This cake was more fluffy!
ops! dropped the sprinkle container in the batter.
I am seriously obsessed with this cake pan. BUT it made two gigantic cakes.

If you are wondering how I collage the photo’s together I use a free app on my phone called “layout” it is an app that connects with Instagram.

I then made a vanilla buttercream icing from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I dyed it a few different colors (blue, purple and green) and got decorating. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of this process. I made the icing look like tie dye (in my opinion) which was super easy to do. You just put little globs of colors all over the cake and smooth into one another with a smoothing knife.

The final products! The cakes were both delicious and a simple process to make. However, the Delish cake was more airy and fluffy and I had my small get together of friends rate the cakes and everyone seemed to like it better! Sally’s cake was still good just very dense. I also read that you can buy sprinkles that don’t leave their color coating throughout the batter. I would consider purchasing different sprinkles for my next confetti cake. I was intimidated to make anything from scratch before this class and I am very much enjoying my time baking in the kitchen.

Baking Tip #7- Get the PAMPERED CHEF pan. YOU NEED IT!

Cheers to 30!

Had a great day ice fishing and enjoying cakes!

Stay Sweet,

Miss Blenkin

Digital Realities can be Scary! Prepare our Students for Success.

Technology change

Thinking back to how technology has enhanced even since I was born in the early 90s’, HAS TRANSFORMED IMMENSLY! From dial up internet that I had to struggle with the annoying sound and hoping, nobody would need the phone in the next hour, or I would get disconnected. My parents also made it seem like it cost a future and I could never be online. (Not sure, if that was true or if that is just what they said).

Woman in white long sleeve shirt holding white ceramic mug
Photo by Max Fischer on Pexels

To now having the fastest internet connections around with everything from streaming live sporting events, gaming, music downloading, apps, many social media interaction accounts and having access to whatever we need at the tips of our fingers!

Wesch, in his youtube video, An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube (Full video) shares the Numa Numa dance that went viral and also how Soulja Boy landed a record deal when they produced and published their own video that went viral. I fully participated in the Soulja Boy dances at many outings throughout my high school years. We discussed in our lecture in EDTC300 of how the Numa Numa video went viral, but in a positive way. Wesch, shares with us how much content YouTube shares everyday and that it is new and original content. He also talks about how having access to this digital world we are able to shares new forms of expression, community and identity.

Realities

Heart and zero neon light signage
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels

Honestly, thinking about the accessibility that students have to technology and social media accounts makes me fearful for the environment my students will be living in. I know that the experienced educators in our EDTC300 class said they are already dealing with social media (Snapchat was named specifically) as causing problems in the day-to-day interactions of their students. We talked in lecture how platforms were holding back “likes” on peoples accounts (Instagram) because they new how often they checked and were anticipating their friends, family or strangers to “like” their post/content. That simple click of a button to send a “like” can spark a student’s mental and emotional response positively or it could have negative affect on them, if they are not receiving those daily web affirmations.

Growing up, the internet was scary or bad and our parents and teachers made it intimidating. Now we need to teach our students the positives of building an online network, and what is safe and good or what can be harmful to them. The fact is, the internet and technology are not going anywhere, instead it is growing and the participation of all people is increasing, it will be in our classrooms and schools and we need to prepare our students for it. Almost everyone has a digital footprint whether they are aware of it or not. We discussed in our lecture that parents are posting pictures of babies in utero and that is the beginning of their digital footprint.

Let us make good use out of technology!

We are living in a world currently that without technology it would seem the world would stop. Online schooling, face timing to see loved ones, streaming weddings or graduations or major life moments. These are all new realities of technology that we have incorporated for the greater good. I know I downloaded the “house party” app, so we could visit with multiple friends and family and play games. We actually set up virtual date nights with our group of friends so we could still have that human interaction although it was via online.

The challenge I foresee in the classroom will be with students being inappropriate with the use of technology. Technology can be very dangerous to people’s self-worth and wellbeing. Cyber bullying is something that all teachers will have to be aware of and eye on in their classroom, but it also extends outside of the classroom and it seems to always land on the school. We need to show students the positives like the “numa numa” video instead of it being hateful. Digital reality is on the rise and we need to prepare for it!

That is all for now,

Miss Blenkin

Maybe a Food Truck in my Future?!

Orange food truck
Photo by Artem Saranin on Pexels

I have always teased my fiancé that I have wanted to have my own food truck! He would quiz me on what things I would serve out of it. For a long time I figured I would master different lasagna recipes and have a lasagna truck!

Then when we were in Banff last March on a snowboarding trip, we stopped in Canmore at the Rocky Mountain Bagel Co restaurant. We enjoyed some breakfast bagels on our way home. I bought a dozen of their bagel as well. I highly recommend stopping there for a bite to eat if you are ever in the area. With those bagels, I created some interesting combos… butter chicken bagel, pizza bagel, and a favorite in our house, the ultimate breakfast bagel. Sunny side up eggs, bacon, ham, cheese, lettuce and tomato with a secret cream cheese sauce I am not willing to share! (You know, just in case my food truck dream takes off!)

So, for this weeks “baking with Shana” adventure I MADE BAGELS! I spent some time researching recipes on Pinterest for homemade bagels! I came across an account by Sandra, a self taught cook and her blog “Shes not cookin” It is where I found the recipie to use. It honestly had me a little freaked out though it called to BOIL the bagels… As I was laying in bed with Spencer and telling him all about my plan the next day to create these bagels, I told him “I’m so nervous… it wants me to boil them before baking!” I never knew that was a thing to do, when it came to making bagels.

The next morning, I started my day off making my bagel dough! it was easy enough to follow Sandra’s recipe. however, I do wish that she included pictures so I could compare what mine looked like to hers!

adding my yeast to warm water and sugar, then combining all my other ingredients to make the dough.
I then kneaded the dough and placed in a greased bowl to let rise for a few hours. Once the dough was proofed I cut into 12 equal pieces.

The dough was EASY PEASY to make!

Here comes the part that had me a little freaked out! After I rolled my dough into ropes and pinched the ends closed to make my circle with a hole. I let them rest again for 15 minutes. Now, I am boiling 8 cups of water with sugar (the recipe called for 16 cups, but I didn’t have a big enough pot for that). WHY the heck am I boiling these bagel doughs? I needed to know the answer so I took to Google and found this blog post called “Food Crumbles” and learned that when boiling the bagels the starches in the flour of the dough gelatinize. During this process the starch granules absorb water, swell and ultimately break releasing more starch molecules (the same happens when boiling potatoes). This process stiffens the starches and thus the bagel, starting from the outside. By cooking the starch on forehand it won’t loose as much moisture anymore in the oven. As a result bagels won’t get that super crunchy crust that some sourdough breads for instance might get. That tip is also my baking tip #7 for my blog!

Here are my bagels getting ready for a boil bath.
I wanted to make cheese bagel so I shredded some cheese.

I added the shredded cheese to my bagels
Next I egg washed my boiled bagel.

The loaded cream cheese and the finished bagels. I had to try one fresh out of the oven.

Ok, LIKE HOW GOOD DO THEY LOOK? I am so impressed with myself! BUT we cannot have a bagel without cream cheese! I found a recipe on Pinterest that I liked and made it.

These bagels turned out AMAZING! I am so happy with myself and the final product. I was beyond nervous about tackling this adventure, but following the directions and researching when I was unsure made the process so enjoyable. I have come along way in the kitchen. I highly recommend the bagel recipe linked earlier, You can use my pictures for reference since her blog doesn’t include any. I stepped out of my comfort zone and I am so glad I did! This bagel recipe will be a staple in our house hold now! (Or I might tweak it in the future to make it my own:)

The final product!

So yummy!

The bagels were rated 10/10. I do want to let the dough rest longer once I get them formed the next time I make them!

Stay Sweet,

XOXO,

Miss Blenkin

The Struggle is Real!

Last week we were asked to use a new form of technology for our class assignment where we are teaching ourselves something new! I saw a few of my peers use Animoto! Animoto is a video creating platform that says it is connected to the cloud! which is ideal for someone like me who struggles enough with technology to begin with.

what even is the cloud?

My baking project this week was BROWNIE BATTER COOKIE SANDWICHES! and they were so delicious. I got the recipe from the my Jenna Rae Cakes Cookbook I got at Christmas time. I am truly loving this cookbook. I was never a baker and these recipes are easy to follow and delicious.

I started in the kitchen. Taking photos with my phone at every step! The brownie batter cookie sandwiches are not for the faint of heart. it is a 3 step process and you have to “heat treat” the flour, which I have never heard of or done before. Thankfully that part was super easy.

Baking Tip #6- Heat-treating the flour ensures that the bad bacteria are killed, so that the flour can be used in no bake desserts and more.

The next steps were to edited my photos on the Animoto app, I liked the app because you could add transitions, music and text to your photos! you also had access to how long you want each slide to be shown for.

NOW–> this is where I run into my problems!!! When you create an account it asks you if you want to connect with Facebook, or Google etc. I used my Hotmail account. I am unsure if that is the reason why my video is on my phone, but not in my “video library” when I log onto Animoto on my desktop.

No baking video saved on my desktop 🙁

So, here I am trying to figure out how to display my video on my blog, but it is not in my Animoto site. I was able to save the video from the app to my camera roll. I then uploaded the video to my Facebook. Next I saved the video from Facebook on to my desktop, and the final step was to uploaded it to YouTube. You could say I used a lot of technology for this assignment! A lot more then I intended too!

Here is what the app looks like and the options it gives you for templates.

I am relieved that I was able to share my cookie baking video I created. Check it out!

I like that the app had fun music to choose from.

Thanks for following along on my baking journey! stay tuned to see what “Baking with Shana” has in store for you next week!

Stay Sweet,

XOXO,

Miss Blenkin

Awko Taco (using LOOM for the first time)

I decided that I was going to use a video recording program for a tool or app I have not used yet, to document my baking process!

This is what Loom looks like on a desktop

TALK ABOUT AWKWARD!

I first started with Flipgrid, and I quickly realized that I would only have 5 minutes to make my video and I knew that I would need more time. Next, I went to the list provided to us by Katia and thought Fotobabble would be cool! Fotobabble, allows you to take pictures and do voice-overs over top of the picture! I started playing around with the app, but I could not figure out how to make it into a movie or something that gave it some flow! Although, I do think Fotobabble would be a great resource in the classroom for online learning especially if your students were learning how to read. You could have words written and they could try them, but if they could not read them, they could listen to the voice over!

THEN LIGHT BULB MOMENT! I have seen many of my professors use LOOM! So, I downloaded the app and got my baking ingredients prepped to make my video of fame and potentially my new journey into baking videos! (haha, as in my video posted you can sure see how awkward it is to do your first ever baking video recorded!

Pink and white cotton candies
Photo by Julie Luke on Pexels

LOOM was SOOOO EASY! It gives you a step by step how to do it on my phone! I turned on the microphone, allowed access to my videos and pictures and hit record! Three…Two…One…  It was recording and there I was AWKWARDLY talking about cotton candy cupcakes in my cotton candied coloured sweatshirt!

Here is the Loom app on my Iphone. The countdown before it starts recording and when you are done you just hit finish!

Loom would be a great tool to use in the classroom especially for online learning! You could do video presentations of your daily lessons or upcoming assignments so the students have an idea of what is expected! If you were starting the year off it would be a great way to introduce yourself to the students and families ahead of time. You could use Loom to give feedback to your students, instead of typing an email or giving a handwritten note. The other thing I liked about Loom was that it is FREE! Loom can also be used from your phone and it sync’s to your Loom account on your computer! I took my video using my phone and logged into my account on my laptop and it was right there to start sharing!

Now, let’s get into a little bit about the baking process! I decided the best way to make this video as short as possible was to make a batch of cupcakes ahead of time. This way you can show the process and the finished product and you wont be recording for an hour!

The cookbook from Jenna Rae Cakes was SOO easy to follow, very reader friendly, and I highly recommend her baking book after just one use!

Here are some screen shots from my Loom video!

I totally just winged this video because I new if I over thought about it… it would be worse! The next one I would like to do without looking down as much, and less awkward pauses of silence– maybe have music playing!

All in all I enjoyed the simplicity of Loom, the cupcakes taste amazing and I MADE MY FIRST EVER BAKING VIDEO!

ps, the cupcakes were rated 7.5 and 7.9 from the boys! I gave them an 8!

Stay Sweet,

XOXO,

Miss Blenkin

Baking tip #5- Use a toothpick to see if the cupcakes are done by sticking it in the middle of the cooked cupcake. If it comes out clean they are baked!

Will You be my Valentine?

Happy valentine s day text on pink surface
Photo by alleksana on Pexels

Why not show off these delicious sugar cookies!!! I made these on Tuesday with one of my best friends Nicole. This was before I knew the new tasks for our #EDTC300, but I learned a lot from that day in the kitchen, so here goes the progress of sugar cookies (which are not for the faint of heart. I give Sydney Kawa credit for taking on strictly sugar cookies/ decorating for her learning project).

Nicole, shared the recipe she has found and loved on Pinterest with me and it makes the perfect, soft, but also chewy sugar cookies! and the best part NO CHILLING! I will link the recipe here: https://cookingwithkarli.com/perfect-sugar-cookie-recipe/

The Process: first things first, you need to cream the butter and sugar together (the recipe calls for 2 minutes, but we creamed ours for 10 minutes – this is one of Nicole’s secret hacks to make the perfect cookies).

Another hack Nicole shared with me is when adding the other ingredients for the dough, she includes almond extract for flavor!
When adding the flour to the dough, Nicole taught me to use a spoon to spoon the flour into your measuring cup. This leaves the flour light and airy and doesn’t pack it down!
We had a cute pup that really wanted to taste the cookies!! The dough should feel like playdough! You also need to roll it out 1/2 inch thick for larger cookies!

I want to mention that these are my new Pampered Chef cookie sheets! They are amazing. Cookies were cooked perfectly, easy clean up on these non stick sheets! Did I mention they are dishwasher safe?

This is how the cooked cookies turned out! Delicious right!

Ok, so now that the cookies are made we needed to make the icing! I am so thankful that I had Nicole for help during this whole process! I couldn’t of pulled these off without her.

The icing to decorate these cookies is “royal icing” which you add small amounts of water to get the “flood” consistency you desire to decorate. The recipe we followed is from Sweetopia, she has the cutest websites with all kinds of recipes she shares! I will definitely be using her website for future baking adevntours!

Flooding the cookies! You start along the outside then keep going till you fill in the whole cookie!
Our conversation heart sugar cookies! As you can see the yellow flood icing was not “floody” enough, we added more water to the yellow to get it to the right consistency.

I am beyond proud with how they turned out! I also learned how difficult sugar cookies are to make!

The boys rated them 7.5/10 (they both said sugar cookies are not their favorite’s, but they liked how soft the cookies were and the taste!)

XOXO,

Stay Sweet,

Miss Blenkin

Baking tip #4- Scrap off the dough that builds up on your rolling pin! this will make sure that your cookie dough is even and won’t continue sticking to your rolling pin.

Twitter is Growing on ME!

Image result for education and growth quotes

I am not “techy” when it comes to Twitter, I also never really understood what twitter was about or the hype for it. I have other social media’s, I use Facebook and Instagram often, but for personal use or sharing my love of something! Twitter, I have found is a resource and community building tool! I do believe that I will continue using it to learn from others and build resources to benefit me as an educator.

I am slowly finding people and resources to follow, learning to re-tweet, sharing what I have found and enjoying posts from peers! I think one way I could include twitter in my classroom is sharing people like Garrick Schmidt and his land based education approach in my classroom to show my students the way he teaches and what he is doing for his school and community. I also think I could use twitter as a resource for parent/teacher communication or questions. I could tweet out the students assignments instead of handing out notes and the parents could receive them and be able to ask questions back instead of waiting to write a note to me the next day. I think it would be beneficial to share resources for parents and students to read about educational resources and strategies!

Here are some great examples of how to use twitter in your classroom!

https://elearningindustry.com/15-ways-twitter-in-education-students-teachers

Image result for Network Education

Saskedchat was a very neat and stressful experience for the first time. I enjoyed it, but felt a little overwhelmed! I know, the next time I join a Saskedchat I will be less nervous and be able to go with the flow of engaging and responding to the questions. This type of professional development experience was different. When I think professional development, I think of conferences and presenters. I like that this type of professional development can be done anywhere and that it was free to attend. I also liked that I could engage how I wanted. I could either engage with others and their thoughts or I could include my own thoughts as well.

I will definitely be attending more saskedchats in the future! It was nice seeing some familiar names and learning from new teachers and experienced teachers. A wide range of knowledge and sharing their wealth of knowledge of tried and true tricks and resources that have worked for them in their classrooms.

Miss Blenkin

“Rising” up to the challenge

Here is a quick video to learn some tips about baking and the importance of ingredients.

Today is the day!

I made BUNS for the first time EVER! Initially, I wanted to stick to local and small business recipes, but turns out they protect their recipes like GOLD and I do not blame them! Baking is not easy, everything is precise and takes time. Some would say years to master a perfect recipe.

So, I took my search to Pinterest and found a recipe by Valentina’s Corner. I won’t lie, I choose this recipe by looking at the ingredient list and I had everything at home already to make it, so it was an easy pick.

When I started the process of making these pizza buns, I noticed that the directions were not as clear, especially for a first timer! I am really happy I made cinnamon buns last week and remembered details like lightly grease the pan you are cooking the buns in, sprinkle flour on the counter before putting the dough down – I did forget to lightly grease the bowl the dough was rising in though! The recipe also didn’t tell you how much pizza sauce, cheese, or meat to put into each bun. I wish there was more visuals on her blog as well, that would have been more helpful for the first time baker.

Now, with all that being said and with the tricks I used from the cinnamon bun recipe, these pizza buns turned out pretty darn good! My taste testers both rated them a 7 out of 10. (they quickly went back for seconds though, so I don’t believe their rating scale).

The process:

The ingredients for the dough and after the dough has risen
Making the filling for the pizza buns, and letting them rise again.
making the top to put on before baking
The pizza buns
They were light and airy, and so tasty!

XOXO,

Stay Sweet,

Miss Blenkin

Baking tip #3 – Remember to remove your jewelry before you start mixing together dough with your hands! (I did not remember this tip and spent some time digging dough out of my ring)

What’s that smell?

As the aroma fills my house of warm brown sugar and cinnamon I cannot wait to taste these dough rolls of heaven!

Like I stated last week I DO NOT BAKE! However, I found this local recipe from The Everyday Kitchen… They are located in Regina, Sask. Serving sourdough donuts, brown butter cinnamon buns, and coffee! If you are looking for an amazing sourdough or coffee house, check them out! A good place to start seeing what they have to offer is on their Instagram account.

I am trying to stay local or small business(ish) on my baking journey and I thought this recipe will be perfect for my first attempt in the kitchen. It says; that it is easy to follow, even for non-bakers!

@theeverydaykitchen

Brown Butter Cinnamon Buns! The icing will change your cinnamon bun life 🤪🙌🏻 #cinnamonbuns #bakery #baking #dough #coffeeshop #bakinglife

♬ Ocean Floor – Cyril Hahn Remix – Teen Daze

The recipe is organized well and it breaks down each process step by step: attached is the recipe. https://www.theeverydaykitchen.ca/brown-butter-cinnamon-buns/

The Process:

This is the dough process. Activate the yeast, form the dough, wait!
After 1.5 hours the dough is ready!
The filling: roll dough flat, spread melted butter, add brown sugar and cinnamon, roll dough up, cut into pieces.
Let them rise once more, bake, make your icing of choice, spread that goodness all over!

Verdict is in!

THEY ARE DELICIOUS!

XOXO,

Stay Sweet,

Shana Blenkin

Baking Tip #2: If you do not have a rolling pin, like me! you can use any cylinder object. I used a glass to make these cinnamon buns.

“Feedly” my Knowledge!

I knew right away that I wanted to find blogs or resources that will help build my knowledge around students with disabilities or adaptations in the classroom. I am also searching for other educational tips/or tricks that will help me as a first year teacher. With my previous experience of being an Educational Assistant, I know that it is vital to have my classroom as inclusive as possible!

I was not having much luck with my “keywords” on feedly, but thankfully, @Trista Kennett was able to help me. She suggested that I google search first then enter the ones I found and liked onto feedly. That seemed to do the trick! I also have many teacher friends from my previous experience who share on facebook or who I can asked what blogs/books/articles they have found helpful and add to my feedly account as I go.

Having a community of like-minded people sure is a wonderful thing!

One blog that I really enjoyed viewing and reading is called “The Inclusive Classroom.” It starts off by giving 10 strategies for teaching different ability levels in the classroom. Nicole Erdicts, creator of the blog says: “begin with the right mind-set. All the students in your class are YOUR students.” I really love that statement. Each student is unique and different and we need to celebrate all our students’ success no matter how big or how small they are. The Inclusive Classroom has FREE resources, keynote speaker session you can arrange and many strategies to help guide you in the right direction.

An overview of all videos developed for Inclusive Learning: Everyone’s In, highlighting the indicators of success in eight schools across Edmonton Public Schools.

Another area I was interested in learning more about is why play has such an important role for our students and how we should view play in our classrooms. I think as educators we think that academics are EVERYTHING, and we forgot to let kids be kids and learn from one another! The blog Classcraft shows us 10 ways students learn through play. I will list them here and if you want to see the descriptions just click the link to go their page.

  • Communication
  • Listening skills
  • Social skills
  • Cognitive skills
  • Physical skills
  • Motivation
  • Spatial ability
  • Predictably
  • Reflection
  • Connecting experiences

I hope that the resources I shared help you in your educational journey. I am always looking for new suggestions! Please send them my way.

Thanks,

Miss Blenkin