Been in Early Childhood Education Too Long?

When Pickle Queen came across this list of questions to ask yourself if you’ve been in early childhood education too long, not long enough or if you’re ready for retirement, she said she had to answer ‘yes’ to a lot of them. You don’t have to be in early childhood education to answer these questions. Simply answer yes or no to each item and see the analysis of your score at the end.

  • Do you murmur “no cuts” when a shopper squeezes ahead of you in a checkout line?
  • Do you move your dinner partner’s glass away from the edge of the table?
  • Do you ask if anyone needs to go to the bathroom as you enter a theater with a group of friends?
  • Do you hand a tissue to anyone who sneezes?
  • Do you refer to “snack time” instead of ‘happy hour’?
  • Do you ask quests if they have remembered their scarves and mittens as they leave to go home?
  • Do you say, “I like the way you did that” to the mechanic who repairs your car?
  • Do you say, ‘Are you sure you did your best?” to the mechanic who fails to repair your car?
  • Do you sing the “Alphabet Song” to yourself as you look up a number in the phone book?
  • Do you say everything twice? I mean do you repeat everything?
  • Do you fold your spouse’s fingers over the coins as you ask him/her money?
  • Do you ask a quiet person at a party if he/she has something to share with the group?

If you answered yes to more than two of the above, you are hooked on little children. If you answered yes to more than half of them, you’re probably beginning to think about retirement. If you answered yes to more than ten, you’ll have children in your heart forever, retired or not.

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I Know Something Good About You

Pickle Queen found this poem while sorting teaching materials. I thought it was worth sharing.

I Know Something Good About You

Wouldn’t this world be better
if folks whom we meet would say
“I know something good about you,”
and treat you just that way?

Wouldn’t it be splendid,
if each handshake, good and true,
carried with it this reassurance:
“I know something good about you.”

Wouldn’t life be happier,
if the good that’s in us all
were the only thing about us
that people would recall?

Wouldn’t our days be sweeter,
if we praised the good we see;
for there is a lot of goodness
in the worst of you and me?

Wouldn’t it be fine to practice
this way of thinking, too;
you know something good about me,
I know something good about you.

Author, Unknown

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Chill Hours

You’re thumbing through the newest seed/plant catalog you’ve just received and decided that you may want to plant a peach tree or two this spring. While looking at the varieties available you see: Contender ‘Needs 1,050 chill hours’, Elberta ‘Needs 850 chill hours’, TruGold ‘Needs 600 chill hours’, etc. The first thing that runs through your mind might be ‘What the heck are chill hours?’ You’re in luck. Here’s the story on ‘chill hours’.

It widely known that the Southeastern states is the best area in the U.S. to grow peaches. But growing peaches is not as easy as one might think. The most important item in establishing a peach tree, or a peach orchard, is correct variety selection. Over the winter, each variety of peach or nectarine must collect a set number of hours of temperature being below 45 degrees. They will not begin the blooming process until this set number of hours has been accumulated. Once the pre-determined number of chill hours has been accumulated, they will start to bloom rapidly. Thus, while a low chill hour variety tree will grow quite well in the Northern states, its blossoms and buds will almost always be frozen and the chance of fruit ruined by the frost.

As the temperature varies from year to year, the total accumulation of chill hours will also vary. If the required number of chill hours below 45 degrees is not reached, peaches and nectarines will not set fruit or if they do, it will be very sporadic. Along the Gulf and Centeral Atlantic coast states, select varieties with a chill range of 350 to 650 hours. For states north of these areas, select varieties with 700 or more chill hours so they will bloom later in the spring. Check with your local extension office for publications that show the number of chill hours for all areas of each state. On line, go to http://www.extension. org and select the link to your state and area for the exact number of chill hours required.

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Which Grain for Your Culinary Creation?- #8

This is #8 in a series that started 8 Jan 2018 listing useful facts on several varieties of grains used in  recipes.

  • Wheat – High levels of protein, fiber, iron, B vitamins, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc are among the nutrients in whole wheat. Studies have shown that the insoluble fiber in wheat bran may help fight colon cancer and at the very least is beneficial for digestion. Wheat contains gluten but has a multitude of health benefits. There are many types and forms of wheat available for cooking/baking. Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, wheat contains 158 calories, 1 g total fat, .25 g saturated fat, o mg cholesterol, 1 mg sodium, 32.75 g carbs, 5.75 g dietary fiber and 7.5 g protein. Here are some facts for Hard Red Winter Wheat. HRWW may be for making flour and in yeast breads. This whole wheat may be used as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, in pies and pastry. If soaked, it may also be used in pilafs & side dishes.
  • White rice – The husk, bran and germ have been removed (polished) from white rice which allows it to cook rapidly. Removal of these items makes it the least nutritious of rice varieties although it is the most popular of all varieties. White rice is often enriched with nutrients such as iron, thiamin and riboflavin to restore some of the lost nutritional value. If you are gluten intolerant, flour milled from rice is an excellent choice for your use. Rice is available in many varieties that retain the bran and germ, making them more nutritious. These include brown rice, red rice, black rice and brown basmati, to list a few. Based on 1/4 cup dry grain, rice contains 171 calories, 1.25 g total fat, .25 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3.25 mg sodium, 35.75 g carbs, 1.5 g dietary fiber and 3.75 g protein. Both long grain and medium grain white rice may be used for making flour. Both rices may be used as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, in yeast breads and pies & pastry. They may also be used in pilafs & side dishes and are considered fast cooking.
  • Wild rice – Being slightly higher in protein than most other whole grains, wild rice is a good source of fiber, folate, magnesium phosphorus, manganese, zinc, Vitamin B6 and niacin. One study of wild rice determined it to be high in antioxidants while other studies showed it to be effective in lowering cholesterol and other lipids. Based on 1/4 cup dry grain, wild rice contains 146 calories, 1.5 g total fat, .25 g saturated fat, o mg cholesterol, .5 mg sodium, 30.5 g carbs, 4.25 g dietary fiber and 5.75 g protein. Wild rice may be used for making flour and as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, in yeast breads and pies & pastry. It may also be used in making pilafs & side dishes.

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My, How Time Flies

Remember when we were young? It took forever for Christmas to come, for us to be a year older or for the school year to end. I think you get my drift. Now that we are older it seems that birthdays come quite often, they’re playing Christmas music again and events that happened years ago seem like they happened yesterday. Why is this? What can we do to slow it down?

Our brains contain thousands upon thousands of neurons. Every time we encounter something new, thousands of these neurons are stimulated to code and store as much information as  possible about this event. This causes you to feel and notice a lot about this new experience. As time passes, these ‘new experiences’ become old and your brain uses less energy to code information because you already know it. Here’s an example of this. The first few times we drove the 14 miles from the bridge to our place, the neurons in the  ‘old noodle’ were really stimulated to code and store things we saw. Now, with every trip in/out our brains are not stimulated as much as we know where every pothole and low hanging branch is located.

We experienced most of our ‘firsts’ in the earlier parts of our lives. This causes us to feel that much more happened when we were young. Our first encounter with the opposite sex, our first car or our first ‘party’, the likelihood of new experiences is much greater at a young age. Add this likelihood of new experiences at a young age to the declining proportion of time that one year represents in our lives and the feeling is compounded. To a 1-year-old, this is 100% of their life. A 2-year-old, one year is 50% of their lives while to a 50-year-old, one year is 2% of their lives. Every year represents a smaller proportion of your life as a whole, and it seems like time went by faster. As my Dad always said, “Getting older sure beats the alternative!”

What can we do about this feeling? If we continue to find new things to do that stimulate different parts of our brains, time may slow down again. Learn a new language, travel, take a class or do an activity you’ve never done before to escape the monotony that everyday life brings. By doing these new things, you’ll get the feeling that time is once again passing slowly.

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Which Grain for Your Culinary Creation? – #7

This is #7 in a series that started 8 Jan, 2018 listing useful facts on several varieties of grains used in recipes.

  • Sorghum – Being gluten free, sorghum is used by many people who have celiac disease. This whole grain is similar to others in terms of its nutritional benefits, and since it has an edible hull it can be eaten with all outer layers, thus retaining most of its nutrients. It is a non-GMO grain source as it is grown from traditional hybrid seeds. The naturally produced wax surrounding the sorghum grains contains compounds called policosanois, which may have a positive impact on human cardiac health. Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, sorghum contains 163 calories, 1.5 g total fat, .25 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 mg sodium, 33.75 g carbs, 3 g dietary fiber and 5.5 g protein. Sorghum grain can be used as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, for making flour, yeast breads and in pies & pastry. It can also be used as a cooked cereal and in making pilafs & side dishes.
  • Spelt – Spelt is a species of wheat rich in vitamin B and fiber. Other nutrients found in spelt include iron, magnesium, niacin, thiamine and phosphorus. Spelt does contain gluten. Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, spelt contains 140 calories, 1 g total fat, .25 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 31 g carbs, 3 g dietary fiber and 6 g protein. The whole organic spelt grain can be used for making flour, yeast breads and pies & pastry. It can be used as a cooked cereal and in pilafs & side dishes.
  • Teff – Being too small to be processed, all of teff’s health benefits stay in the grain. One cup of cooked whole grain teff has 123 mg of calcium. Its other benefits include weight control, blood sugar management and colon health. Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, teff contains 160 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 mg saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 33 g carbs, 6 g dietary fiber and 6 g protein. Teff grain can be used as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, for making flour, yeast breads and pies & pastry. It may also be used as a cooked grain and in pilafs & side dishes.

Keep your fork

Which Grain for Your Culinary Creation? – #6

This is #6 in a series that started 8 Jan 2018 listing useful facts on several varieties of grains used in recipes.

  • Quinoa – Quinoa was the main grain used in the Incan empire but lost favor with the passage of time. Helping in the control of blood sugar, quinoa has the highest level of potassium of any grain. Making you feel fuller longer, quinoa is also more nutritious for gluten-free diets. It is also a complete protein, with a high protein to carbohydrate ratio based on the germ which makes up 60% on the grain. Studies show that quinoa is a good source of antioxidants and vitamin E, has excellent nutritious properties with a high protein content, and has great amino acid balance.Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, quinoa contains 159 calories, 2.5 g total fat, .25 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 9 mg sodium, 29.25 g carbs, 2.5 g dietary fiber and 5.5 g protein. Quinoa can be used as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, in yeast breads, pies & pastry and ass a quick cooking cereal. This whole grain can also be used in pilafs and side dishes.
  • Rye – Rye, being a rich whole grain, is a versatile source dietary fiber. It has arabinoxylan , a fiber source known for its high antioxidant activity. Phenolic acids, lignans and alkylresorcinos, among others, are compounds contained in rye. Other benefits of rye include improved bowel health, aid in controlling blood sugar levels and weight management. Rye does contain gluten, unlike some other grains.Based on 1/4 cup of dry grain, rye contains 142 calories, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2.5 mg sodium, 29.5 g carbs, 6.25 g dietary fiber and 6.25 g protein. Rye berries can be used in making flour, as an added ingredient, but not the primary ingredient, in making yeast breads and in pies & side pastry. If soaked, rye berries can also be used in pilafs & side dishes.

Keep your fork