Teacher giveaway, recipes

Thursday, September 24, 2009

About a month ago, I asked my teacher-readers for input and advice regarding Harry's class assignment this year. You all offered wonderful insight and I promised y'all a little thank you for your kindness. So, if you are currently a teacher, please let me know the comments. In fact, tell us parents how we can better support teachers. I will have Harry randomly pick one of you to receive your choice of either a Starbucks gift-card or a Barnes and Noble gift-card.

To update you on the situation with Harry's class. I decided to keep him in the class and I am so glad I did. His teacher is the ESL trained teacher for 3rd grade and his class is extremely diverse. In fact, Harry's best little buddy is from Israel. Harry and I have had some great discussions regarding religious and cultural differences. There is a world map in his class indicating where all the students are from and only 4 or 5 children are from the US originally. But most of the children speak English. There are a handful of children who struggle with the language. One little girl joined his class from Saudi Arabia last week and speaks no English at all. Dave taught Harry how to say hello to her (he lived in Libya as a child) and I told him to smile because that means hello in any language.

Harry's teacher is AMAZING. She is truly meeting each child where they are. Harry is being challenged and stretched. She has re-ignited his love for reading through a challenging literature circle for him. And he goes to gifted and talented class for 3 hours a week. He is an extremely good student. His report card usually has grades ranging from 95-100. But this week he earned a B on a test. This was a first. He had never earned less than an A on a test since kindergarten. He was a little upset but I was secretly glad he got a B. That told me that he was being challenged and that he would have to study a bit more. This is a good lesson to learn. I think kids need to be challenged.

We talked about his B at the dinner table...Harry said, "I got my first B today." Will quickly quipped (offering a high five), "Welcome to the club, Harry." Harry (not missing a beat) said, "yeah well my membership is temporary. This is a club I do not want to be in." My boys crack me up.

I want to share two recipes with you. I fell off my juicing wagon BIG time with Kate's surgery and the boys being so sick. And I noticed three things: a) I gained weight--my pants were tight and b) my skin did not look so good and c) I was tired and irritable. So, I am trying to get back to my daily juicing. This week, I am focusing more on fruits and have a recipe to share.

1 cup organic green grapes

2 oranges, peeled

1/2 lemon, peeled

mineral water

Juice the grapes first, then the oranges and finally the lemon. The grapes might splash out a bit. Mix with mineral water (50%). I am not a huge fan of mineral water and plain water is fine too. This has great vitamin C and A, folic acid, and calcium which I need now because Will and Kate have colds. This makes enough juice for 2-3 servings. From The complete book of Juicing.

Here is another recipe that is not really healthy but a special occasional treat. Harry was at a sleepover one night and I made this. Harry cannot eat butter or cheese so I cannot make this when he is home. Although you could substitue olive oil for the butter and it is equally as delicious!

Oregano Shrimp

Oregano Shrimp

1 1/2 lbs fresh large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup bread crumbs (gluten free work well too)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

2 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano

1 stick of unsalted butter, melted

1 lb of angel hair pasta, cooked al dente (we used gluten free)

Preheat the over to 325 degrees. PLace shrimp in a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle shrimp with lemon juice. Combine bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, parmesan and oregano in a small bowl. Sprinke bread crumb mixture over shrimp. Pour melted butter on top. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve over pasta.

From Stop and Smell the Rosemary.

Hope you are all having a GREAT week. It is rainy here and I am enjoying hanging out at home and cooking cozy fall food. Oh and don't you LOVE Season Premiere Week? I laughed so hard last night watching Modern Family!


  1. Kim, you have just the best boys in the whole world!! I hope that I can teach my kids the values that you have instilled in Will and Harry! I miss you guys much, and hope that we can meet up soon (possibly for some fall/winter/Christmas card pics??? hehe)


  2. Thanks so much for this recipe, both my girls LOVE shrimp and I'm always looking at new ways to fix it, plus my 12year old is into cooking these days, and it looks simple enough for her to cook for dinner. :-)

  3. I'm currently a kindergarten teacher, but have taught 4th and 5th as well. This year started out tough, but week five seems to have changed the tide for us. Things are going great now! I work in a low income school with children that come to me never having read a book or been read to before. It is heartbreaking. So many of our parents just don't know how to support their children or the teachers. I know they want to, but just don't know how. Many of them have not finished school themselves. :( It sounds like you do a really great job supporting teachers already! You encourage your boys, have fostered a love for learning and hold them accountable. I think what I wish most for parents is to just encourage their kids to do their best. For some it is A work, for others it is B work. I always explain to my parents at open house that I want us to have a partnership with their child's education. I can't do it all, but with their help their child WILL succeed! Sorry to blab on and on...this is something teachers are passionate about so we tend to do that. :)

    BTW...I am going to give juicing a try. I am going out this weekend to purchase a juicer. I've done some research and know there are soooo many benefits to juicing. Thanks for the extra push!

  4. I am so so so so glad that things are working out with Harry's teacher -- it sounds great! You are a fabulous mother and it sounds like you are doing everything right!!!!

  5. I think you did a great thing keeping Harry in that class. It sounds like he will learn a lot, especially from his classmates this year. I am going to try this shrimp recipe this weekend...it looks great.

    I am not a teacher, but my sister just started her first year teaching 4th grade. Too bad she is not a blogger! :) I praise anyone with the patience to be a teacher. They are special people.

    Have a great rest of your week!

  6. I'm so glad to hear that everything is working out with Harry's class. Oregano Shrimp is a staple at our house-we LOVE it. A friend of mine who lives in Houston gave it to me and I make it often. We just had your Chicken and Penne dish last night- it's a big hit when one meal makes everyone happy. Even Cooper at 11 months ate it for the first time and absolutely loved it!!!

  7. I'm a teacher! :D

    I'm so glad the class worked our for your son and the teacher is so wonderful! :)

  8. I love Harry's enthusiasm for school and being successful! Sounds like you and your hubby have such a great time with your kids!

    The fruit juices sound delicious! I have never juiced but think it sounds like something I would really like! And I am going to try that Oregano Shrimp! Yummy!!

  9. Stop and smell the shrimp and oregano! Sounds AMAZING!

    So happy Harry is doing well. Your right, it proves he is being challenged and that is better than any A. There is no doubt he'll be back to A's though, the conversation between the boys cracked me up too!

    Jill xx

  10. I wasn't sure how appropriate Modern Family was going to be (not that that's always what I look for in a show hence Grey's Anatomy premier tonight!) but I was laughing out loud when I watched it this morning. Have a great weekend!

  11. Great post, Kim! I'm a teacher of preschoolers but no matter what grade you teach I think success in the classroom begins with a relationship between the teacher and the parents. Teachers should want parents to be involved in their child's class in some way whether by volunteering, being a class mom, even cutting things at home is a huge help! By being an involved parent you will develop a relationship with your child's teacher which benefits everyone especially the child.

    Enjoying your blog as usual!
    Kim and Katiebug

  12. I am currently an ESL teacher in Kentucky. I began my career as a Kindergarten teacher 10 years ago. I still teach in the same school. It is a large, urban school in a low socio-economic area.

    I will never forget a parent from my first year of teaching. Everytime we went on a field trip, she would send in two fee envelopes, one for her child and one for a child who wasn't able to pay the fee. She never wanted to know who she helped. Her child, my student, also had a very kind heart. So, I love parents that are good role models!

    I am glad this situation worked out well for you! There are many different models of ESL instruction.

    Happy Fall!!!!!
    Amanda B.

  13. Hello! I am so so glad that everything has worked out so well in Harry's class. I know that you have been super busy lately, and not sure if you read any of my recent posts... but I am going to go through what Harry did, but in reverse. Instead of going into the class as a student, I just found out I am going to teach a class mixed with Kindergarten English Language Learners by myself. I was really nervous at first and honestly a little confused and almost angry because I wasn't sure what I could do for them when I didn't know any other languages. I am used to PreK and Kindergarten children, yet have little experience with ELL. After talking about this to several others, I am putting a new turn on things and believing in myself. My principal told me that I am the best person for the job and that she knows I will do great. I am now looking forward to beginning this new chapter in my "teaching life." If you have any hints or ideas that I could use in my class please share... it is always nice to get feedback from parents. Parents support teachers the most when they continue learning at home. You seem to do a WONDERFUL job of that already. You talk to your child and more importantly, you listen.
    So glad things are well!

  14. Yeah for Harry! I have a 3rd grader right now too.

    The recipes look fabulous! Once we get home, I really need to start the juicing routine. I need help with all of the above you listed! :)

    That shrimp looks divine!!!

  15. First & foremost, I am so happy that everything worked out for Harry. What a wonderful learning experience! I am a third grade teacher & love what I do tremendously. Teaching can be heartbreaking, though, when you have unruly children who come from the saddest home situations you could imagine. I am having a tough year thus far. The parents simply tell me that they don't have time to discipline or even talk with their children. How SAD is that! My number one advice to parents is that if we are a team we can work absolute miracles in their children. Without support, you are not only teaching the child, but you are also raising them and teaching them values & manners. It makes a day super challenging since I have to teach on top of all that...but it ALWAYS pays off. One of my biggest successes comes in the form of a young lady who is now at Penn State (with honors!). Came from the worse home life imaginable...I became not only her teacher, but a mother as well. She challenged me like no other, but after months of love and firmness, I brought her around. I was with her at any function she took part in (her parents or any other family member never attended) I cried at her graduation, I cried upon hearing about her full scholarship. She always tells me I will someday be at her wedding and will always be a part of her life. What better gift is that to a teacher? I am proud of what I do and sometimes (when I am frustrated and annoyed)I forget how important this job is...all I have to do is remember Ali, and my mood changes immediately. Thank yourself as a good parent everyday, too. It seems that every year there are less and less of people like you and myself.

  16. Kim,

    So glad that everything worked out for Harry. It is probably such a blessing for his teacher to have him in her class.

    I think I have mentioned before that I am a 4th grade teacher in Maryland. Although it is hectic, it is so rewarding as well. Like one of your other readers mentioned, it is just a blessings to have the parents involved in their child's education. Most of my students come from a lower economic level and sometimes school has not always been a priority in their homes. This year I have the Special Education class, which is new for me. My Special Education students are some of my hardest workers. Today I told one of my little boy's he had received an 84% (he got a 50% on the last one) on his Math test and his face was priceless - I actually had tears in my eyes because he was just so proud of himself. That is what it is all about!

    Thank you for your post "honoring" teachers!

    Blessings, Ashley

  17. Hi, I'm an Additional Adult Asst. Teacher in a 4th grade classroom. I think there definitely needs to be a relationship between the teacher and the parents. Communication with one another is important! Thanks for the chance to win a Barnes and Noble gift card that would be lovely!

    purposedrivenlife4you at gmail dot com

  18. Kim
    So so glad Harry is doing so well!
    I KNEW he would!
    I think you deserve the gift!
    From experience, the learning abilities of any kind start at home!!
    I simply love your blogs!
    I wanted to ask you also about the juicing...
    Will it, does it?? could it??
    help this horrible disease called fibermyalgia??
    Are you acquainted with that terrible disease or have you ever been??
    It's terrible and I would love more insight on any one that might have any or has been there!
    Would the juicing help??
    Hugs and enjoy your certificate!
    I am so glad that you blogged on this, for I have been wanting to ask you, if you EVER did experience
    It's a terrible thing for any human!

    On the final not Great going boys you have a great mom!

  19. Judging from the post above, you have some wonderful and dedicated teachers in your reading audience! I wish each TEACHER knew exactly what a GIFT they are too us!!! Although one may "win" the prize, I want them all to know they are all WINNERS in my eyes!

    Kim, I love Harry's attitude! So glad that everything worked out for him in ESL! Love your advice about the SMILE!! It's a gesture known across the world!!

  20. I am a second grade teacher. I would love for parents to trust teachers judgement. I know that parents know there kids by I have spent 6 years in college for a B.A and a masters learning how to instruct children. I would love more respect.

    Note-I am in no way talking about you just a lot of parents in general. I think you guys are raising 3 wonderful children.

  21. Hi Kim,
    I have taught kindergarten (at a very diverse school) for 9 years. What I would love? An occasional email, note, or comment from a parent showing appreciation for something specific. So many times I think we think compliments in our head, but don't say them. Teaching can be an exhausting job (much like parenting), where one feels under-appreciated. Positive feedback is free and it makes such a difference!

  22. I teach 7th grade. I think parents can support teachers simply by listening to them and also being in contact with them. I am always happy to discuss a parent's concerns when they take them time to contact me. I hate getting blindsided at a conference by something that I had not even realized was an issue.

  23. Glad things worked out.. sounds like she is a wonderful teacher..
    Love the recipes..
    Have a great week.

  24. Thanks for your website. I am teacher as well and everytime a family supports their teachers my heart leaps. I teach 4th grade and I love when my students think of me and my favorites. I have filled out questionnaires and then the parents bless me throughout the year. Parent's love and support is VERY important to me and I cherish every minute of it.

  25. The shrimp recipe looks so yummy I must try it.

    I love your salute to teachers especailly since I am one!!!

    So glad to hear that Harry's class is going well.


  26. yum, that Juice sounds really good...guess I need to try that one and I should get the book as well!! I am so happy all is working out so well for Harry, what an incredible experience...I am sure this will be one of those years that he remembers for the rest of his life. I hope the other two peanuts start feeling better soon. This weather has been so strange...we are actually enjoying "Fall" here in north Texas. Have a great week.

  27. Hi Kim,

    I loved Moder Family too! It cracked us up!!

    I am a teacher who loves hand made cards and paintings by my students, those are the best and most treasured gifts for me.

    Can't wait to try your juice!
    xoxo Michele

  28. Thank you so much Kim.....
    love you and hope you are all healthy and well!

  29. Kim,
    How generous of you to recognize the teachers in your "audience". I am so proud to be a teacher. It is truly the most fulfilling job, next to motherhood, that there is.

    I noticed that one of your commentors mentioned a mother that sent double money for field trips, & etc. One of the most rewarding things that I have been able to do is to pick a child each year that I "sponsor". The child never kinows that I am the one paying for him/her to be included in activities, yearbooks, uniforms,& etc. And, because I am in the classroom I get to see the joy in the child's face.

    I am so glad that Harry's classroom situation worked out so well. I have never seen that type of ESL class and was absolutely positive that he should be moved to another classroom. It sounds like a wonderful situation and experience.

    I also have to thank you for the wonderful juicing tips that you have been passing on. I have owned a Vita Mix for about 18 months. It works on very much the same principle as yours; but, all of the fruit ends up in the drink.

    Thank you again for your wonderful blog.

    Pat B.

  30. Hello I have been teaching second grade for 17 years now. My current class is filled with very bright students, a pool of high average kids and a few low students. It is always a challenge to be able to meet the needs of all students but when done right, all the students will soar. Sounds like Harry is exactly where he should be. His teacher sounds amazing!

  31. Too bad my sister is not a blogger either.
    I am not a teacher, she is though.
    Very rewarding when observing and very challenging too.

    I did work for several years as teacher's asst. and I loved it.
    BUT i consider myself not a "the" teacher. I never did graduate from college, although I feel "the real deal Mommies" are the teachers, that really help to incooperate the daily teachers!!
    I do realize too, that some mommies can not be there due to their situations they did not ASK for too!
    Your children are so very blessed!

    I think all teaching starts at home, that challenges the child, involves the parents with the techers as well too.

    I tip my hat to the teacher for pushing the reading and challenging in that way as well too.

    These days were not as in the days when we were growing up, almost every mother works, and every family has so many problems of so many sorts! Maybe not a mother at home, or not a full time father, and all these things are so so SAD!

    I think you are wonderful with your children and so involved!
    In the previous post last week, yes they will know they had a mother that did more than just took care of them, she loved them, she was involved with her children,
    ( no doubt a great parent volunteer) of which we do not have any more!)
    My sister has not a one in her class this year! How SAD!
    Every mother works!
    I enjoy going to help and just doing the little things, but I am not a teacher but I do tip my hat off to all the teachers above, also to you KIM as a great mother that would have your child to be challenged in the right way, to husband that wants the best for the
    family the son too.
    I just think you ALL are being a great example for all teachers out there!
    If only they were more families like you!
    Blessings to you!
    Great going Harry I knew that you would do great too!
    I know that you are a blessing to your teacher as well as the other students too!

    ONLY one teacher will win the "prize" but to me MOST teachers are the "prize" to our children's eyes, especially those who really are in for the rewardings of the children and just not the money!
    Again, I think it all starts at home with parental values that will forever be a life time lesson, and never forgotten either! Kim you are a real deal for sure!

    Blessing to you and you sweet family!
    I just knew Harry would do great!

    God's Blessings to you ALL!
    God bless alll our wonderful teachers too!
    May all tat can work together for the benefit of the children today!
    It's a hard world and they need us so badly!!

    Again God bless you so Much!

  32. shrimp...my fave!
    i'll give this one a try

    ps--glad all is well for harry

  33. Happy to hear that your son is enjoying his teacher and making new friends from around the world.

    I have a wonderful group of students and I look forward to spending the year with each and everyone one of them. As a special ed. teacher I have the benefit of watching them grow as individuals as well as in the classroom setting.

    Enjoy your school year ~

  34. So glad your decision worked out for you! I teach 3rd grade. The best way for parents to help teachers...discipline your kids at home, have high expectations for them, and don't make excuses for your kids! I know you are already doing these things well, but I'm currently dealing with a situation of a student and parents who are not doing this and making my job so much harder! Thanks for the giveaway!

  35. Kim, I am so interested in your juicing. I know that you have done a blog about it before and I am so afraid that if I purchase everything I will not like the taste of it. How do you get past that. Any advice? I just feel so unhealthy and know that this is what I need to do. I was also wondering if you received my money order yet for the Matilda Jane skirt?

  36. So glad to hear that Harry's class is going so well and we'd love to continue getting updates! Harry and Will's conversation about the B was cute and funny. Have a great weekend, Wendy

  37. I love to read your blog, and, yes, I am a teacher. I have just started my 33rd year of teaching in Kindergarten. I love what I do. It is just the best job ever, because my class is my focus. I love teaching Kindergarteners to read...I never get over hearing them read for the first time!! It is magical!!

    Glad to hear Harry likes his class!

  38. Hi Kim,
    As usual, you always write a great blog.
    You are an exceptionally good Mom.

    I am a retired teacher. I have taught 1st, 3rd, 4th, K, and high school special ed. I have also taught reading.
    I think that parental support and involvment (like you give)is most important for children.
    I loved, loved teaching and alway feel a bit sad when school starts and I do not have my own classroom.
    Keep up your good work.

  39. Harry's teacher sounds incredible. I'm glad that it all has worked out and you can now feel confident that Harry is in the right place. There is such peace in knowing that your children have what they need!

  40. Thank you for your kind comments on my blog! I love reading your blog. You fill your life with such beautiful things (decor, adoption, faith, service, food, etc.). I am often inspired by you.

    I would love to win the drawing! I am a first year teacher, and I teach 8th grade! So far, I love it! It makes it so much easier because of people/parents like you who appreciate what is done. Thank you!

  41. I'm so happy to hear that Harry is having a great year. It is so important for students to be challenged and it sounds as if he is getting that challenge. As for the B, well, Paige received her first in the 3rd grade and it devestated her. I am strong believer in "failure leads to success". Life is full of great lessons :) Miss seeing your delightful pics. Thanks for thinking of us teachers. Wish I had more supportive parents such as yourself!

  42. Hi Kim,
    I am a math specialist in a low income, racially diverse community. I am currently on leave til Dec. with Paige, but had to chime in. I think the most important thing parents can do for their children to help out their teachers, is to talk to them, ask how their school day went, help (if they can with homework). As children get older- I know, I have a 19 year old- it is harder to help with hw, so just talking with your kids, attending open houses, going to parent teacher conferences and giving them all the at home support is sooooo important. K- I am rambling but I think you understand.
    Glad things worked out with your son's class.

  43. Hi Kim,

    I am a special education teacher. I have taught for about ten years. I wish you the best with your kids. I love your blog. My husband and I are waiting for our first child from China.

  44. Kim!

    Thanks so much for the shrimp recipe. We made it last night and it was delicious!

    Harry and Kate's videos are delightful. They are the cutest!

  45. Dear Kim,

    Thank you so much for the recipes you post on your blog. I made the Oregano Shrimp for my family last night and it was a huge hit! Your 'spring salad' has become a staple on our table-at least once a week and we've got about four other families addicted to it! We are slowly heading toward gluten free and organic, so the recipes are very much appreciated;) I don't comment often because I'm so busy, like we all are, but wanted to say thanks and that I have enjoyed your blog and share your frustrations on negative comments, etc. It's hard to learn to let the negative slide off and just take in the positive, isn't it? I really appreciate your efforts to put forth an informative and positive blog about healthy family life. Thanks again from a fellow adoptive mom in Washington state (Mom to two beautiful Chinese daughters and a grown son adopted from the U.S.) ReneƩ


Thank you for your kindness.