Feeling so proud and accomplished after deep cleaning (cleaned the brush, fixed a small crack, changed a new bag) the vacuum cleaner.
Admire the vacuum cleaner.
*5mins later* Put it back in the closet.
Floor vacuuming can wait.
Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to you all!
It totally slipped my mind that today is mid-Autumn festival. Life has been especially busy for us since we came back from a 2.5 months of summer vacation in Singapore, and kids went back to school shortly after. Now that the kids are more or less settled back to their daily routine, I re-started my long overdue de-cluttering project again. This time, however, I’m not just working around my home, but my mind too.
Anyway, here’s the impromptu lame attempt of a mid-autumn festival theme bento that I prepared for my daughter today.
Snack : steamed taro bun and apple (in case you are wondering, that is a chinese lantern pattern!)
Lunch: Char Siu (BBQ pork) rice
My firtborn is now a 4th Grader! How time flies!!
To make her first day of school a special one, I started doing my research on pinterest (Join me if you haven’t do so!) for inspiration and made this back-to-school bento yesterday.
Fried rice wrapped in white egg sheet, school bus made with cheese, grapes and homegrown cherry tomatoes.
Pencil shaped cheese stick (decorated with nori), Kueh Lapis (aka thousand layer cake which I got from Singapore. ), apple and a book origami lunch box note.
If you are interested in making the book origami for your little one, here’s a pretty good tutorial video. Check it out!
* This is a guest post. *
Barack Obama has focused much of his attention on education. Still, there exists a tremendous amount of disagreement over the impact of the president’s policies on both higher education in America and education at the lower levels. How has the administration’s policies shifted the educational world? As Jennifer Epstein of Politico.com writes, the results are mixed. Here are some pros and cons of Obama’s policies and their effect on education.
Obama’s positive effect on education
One cannot discuss the president’s education initiatives without first diving into the stimulus. Back in 2009, states were struggling to keep up, and many were cutting budgets for teachers and classrooms. The administration poured money into the states through the stimulus package, and this helped those states stave off mass teacher firings. Many education experts believe that this had a positive impact on education overall, as the consequences of lay-offs would have been devastating for students.
In addition, the administration has taken positive steps on the question of No Child Left Behind, the Bush-era program designed to help out at-risk students. Obama’s administration has given states the ability to apply for waivers. Under the waiver initiative, states can opt out of the No Child Left Behind requirements if they can show that they have a better program in mind. Through 2012, 19 states had chosen this route, and this helped relieve the burden on these states. While No Child Left Behind might have seemed like good policy at the time, it put difficult and often unmeetable standards on states.
The administration has also done a tremendous amount of work with higher education. In trying to help students afford online college degrees and traditional programs, the administration has bulked up funding for the following programs:
• Federal Pell Grant
• Public service student loan forgiveness
• Military education funding
Obama’s negative effect on education
Many critics claim that Obama and his administration have been sloppy in their dealings with teachers’ unions. Some have criticized the president for being too beholden to unions, while others have blasted the president for sticking it to unions. Overall, the president has championed charter school initiatives that could have a negative impact on teachers and the students that depend on them. Whether or not this falls into the positive or negative category depends upon your political perspective.
Under the president’s watch, student loan rates have risen in 2013. While the president took good steps to lower rates during his first term, he could not stop the Republican majority in congress from raising rates on new loans. This will make college more expensive for people who have to borrow that money. Though this will not have an impact on students who have already taken out the loans, it will force difficult decisions for those kids who can’t afford to pay college out of pocket in the future.
*This is a guest post by S.Alex*
Parents have more choices now when it comes to schooling their children. Many mom’s have decided to stay at home and teach their children themselves. They do this for a variety of reasons, but it is not easy to do in the least. As the different school boards in each state raise the bar for education, the rules constantly change. Intervention strategies have become a large part of education now, so they can identify children who are struggling with their studies.
As kids reach the more senior grades of their pre-college school career, more emphasis is put on college level lessons to prepare them for the rigorous curriculum they will have when they get to college. Whether they earn a scholarship, their parents pay for it or the students work their way through it, in today’s job market you have to have a degree to get anywhere. Preparing your kids for this is certainly not easy.
The exorbitant costs of college are making it more and more difficult for kids to be able to go to college. The student debt crisis is over $51 billion dollars, with the interest rates about to double on the first of July. Finding scholarships can be challenging for everyone. Therefore, even if you find a scholarship to help pay the costs, living expenses are high. Because of this, kids should find the best credit cards to apply for based on their specific means- preferably an undergraduate-friendly card that’s more lenient on younger adults.
Many minority kids are able to find scholarships specifically for them, but not everyone has that luxury. The competition for scholarships is amazingly high no matter what ethnic minority you come from. Parents are struggling to help foot the bills, which is not easy in today’s economy. As a parent, I know that without a college education, my kids will go nowhere fast.
If you are smart, you will start a college fund for your kids the day they are born. You don’t have to put a lot into it, just make sure that the account will make money over the years. It probably still won’t cover everything, but it will take care of the major portions of the tuition and that is a big help indeed. Talk to your banker about what is the best way to begin a college fund and what kind of account it best. They are more than willing to answer all of your questions. After all, that is what they are there for.
Even with a college education, finding a job is not easy. There are tons of applicants and just as many of them have the same education as you. Picking a major that isn’t already overrun with people is difficult. You literally have to gauge the job market and try to predict what will be the next major occupation hiring by the time you have your degree. This is not an easy task to do, but with some work you can show your children that hard work will lead to great jobs and success.
Overdue post… :p Made this bento last October, and only get to post this up today. LOL.
Lunch box: Ham and lettuce wrap with strawberries.
Snack box: Apple Galette and raspberries.
Made the apple galette when it was apple season. I was craving for the Apple Galette, that my friend D made from scratch, using the test kitchen’s recipe. Of course, being the lazy SAHM, I cheated and made a simpler and fuss free one with store bought puff pastry. To be honest, unless you love homemade and like to experience making things from scratch, I would say… skip the work, just use the store bought pastry! There is really just a slight difference in taste and texture.
Here’s the recipe…
1 pkg of store bought puff pastry (make 6pcs)
Apple filling and Glaze:
Apples (2-3 medium size) – slice thinly, about 0.5cm thickness.
2Tsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ pieces
1/4 cup sugar (may be reduced according to your preference)
2Tsp apricot preserves
1. Unroll the puff pastry on a floured parchment paper and dust with more flour. If you like, you can roll one full sheet into a rough rectangle about 12×5″ long or do what i did, cut the dough where the folds are and make them into individual sized galette.
2. Roll the sides of the dough up to about 1-2cm and pinch the sides to create some kind of border. Then, gently prick the dough with a fork several times to prevent puffing.
3. Now, it’s time to assemble the fillings.
Arrange the apple slices, starting in one corner, shingle the diced apples to form an even row across the bottom the dough, overlapping each slice by one-half. Continue to layer the apples in rows, overlapping each row by half. Dot the apples with butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar. Bake until bottom of the tart is deep golden brown and the apples have caramelized, 45 to 60mins at 375F.
4. To glaze the galette
While the galette is baking, combine the apricot preserves and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium power till the mixture begins to bubble, about 1min. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any large apricot pieces. Brush the baked galette with the glaze and cool on a wire rack for 15mins. Transfer to a cutting board and cut them into individual portion, serve.
*Information about RtI*
Creating Early Intervention Strategies For STAAR
Public education in the United States is older, even, than the country itself. The first public school opened in the English colony of Boston, Massachusetts in 1635 and remains today as the oldest public school in the country (Boston Latin School, which boasts five pupils who were signers of the Declaration of Independence). However, mandatory free education provided by the government was not the norm until the late 1800s and early 1900s. By the 1980s, only 1 percent of students in the U.S. were enrolled in schools outside the government education system, and while that number has gone down in subsequent years, the vast majority of students are still part of the free public education system in America.
As the trend toward public education has grown over the years, states have constantly worked to create standardized testing that accurately evaluates students’ knowledge and understanding of the curriculum. Texas has recently implemented a new system, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).
What is STAAR™?
In April 2012, Texas switched to the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, replacing the old Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The new system keeps TAKS tests in place in grades 3-8, then implements new end-of-course (EOC) tests for 12 different math, science, English, and history classes beginning in high school.
When the STAAR system was announced, creators acknowledged that the tests are harder than previously administered TAKS assessments, and are intended to push students toward a higher level of achievement. Since the program was rolled out, Texas educators have discovered that the harder tests have resulted in more students who require extra assistance to reach the required level of understanding a comprehension to pass the new EOC tests.
For students who are struggling to keep up with their peers on the new standardized tests, parents, educators, and administrators are looking for effective Response to Intervention strategies (commonly abbreviated as RtI) that will address the specialized needs of those students, aiming to bring them to a higher level of achievement.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) provides educators with student progress monitoring tools, which help identify students who require additional attention. The state RtI system includes three tiers of intervention—beginning with a core curriculum aimed at teaching students the required material to pass the tests.
Students who fall behind are identified for Tier 2, where they receive more individualized attention in groups of 5-10 for 20-30 minutes a day, from either the classroom teacher, a specialized teacher, an external interventionist, or a paraprofessional (as determine by the school). Students who do not respond to this level are moved to Tier 3, where they receive instruction in even smaller groups of up to three students for about an hour each day. Learning strategies are tailored to each individual student for maximum impact.
In addition to the RtI system, many private companies offer products for teachers, educators, and parents that can help identify struggling students and provide strategies that will help students to catch up to their peers on standardized assessments.
Educators hope that the RtI strategies will result in more effective learning and instruction within the classrooms, giving every student access to the best possible education based on their individual needs. Effective RtI strategies help identify students with learning disabilities, creating a better support system as early as possible, and resulting in a more effective system of collaboration among all educators while improving overall school achievement.
Made this simple ‘doggy sausage bun with orange slices’ snack box for the girl when she had an early release school day two weeks ago.
Sweet buns is one of my favorite ‘make ahead’ snacks for the family. This recipe I used is very versatile. It can be made into sweet or savory treats, and because they freeze well, I always double the quantity and stock them up in the freezer. My kids favorite sweet buns fillings are vienna sausage and red bean paste.
Lunch content: Chives and Egg sushi, corn and baby carrots.
Snack content: Flower shaped toast bread with sausage, orange, carrot and grapes.
The chives in the sushi and baby carrots are from my garden and I got the corn from our local farmers market. This year I have been quite good in making healthier choices for my family. I hope to add more vegetables and fruits to our diet.