You can’t win em all

I have been swamped with school work, work work and family stuff over the past few weeks and even though I have some meals to post I have been neglecting my learning project.  I popped in to the local foodery after class in hopes of picking up some fresh Salmon.  Unfortunately, the combo of cost and size prevented a fresh purchase.  So I bought some frozen salmon and decided to give a different recipe a try.  Super simple, super quick and hopefully super tasty..

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Looks can be deceiving.  I am not too sure if I over cooked the salmon, but it was by far the worst thing I have made so far.  My daughter Madeline’s response was an 8 which proves her bias.  My daughter Lucy gave it a 10, which clearly suggests that a kindergarten does not fully comprehend the 1 to 10 scale.  She did eat all of it though…

I will post the Frozen dinners and their recipes in the next couple of days.  I am hoping to cook a couple more meals for the overall learning project and then have an ECMP invite only dinner party.  The invite only is not due to my dislike for anyone in the class, but rather the cost of food and I am far from being a banquet chef to accomodate 50 plus people.  I am not aware of whether or not it is conflict of interest to invite the professors of the class to a dinner party.  Even if it is not appropriate, or a massive kiss up move, I think the major concern would be potential food poisoning resulting in a failing grade.  Either way when I figure out what the final project looks like I will post something.  Sorry in advance if you get an unvitation.


Social Activism, the Internet and Go Fund Yourself…

(Sorry, this is all over the place and I guess that is kind of where I am at regarding my own activism…enjoy)

In no way will I pretend to be a trumpeting advocate for social justice.  There are social issues I follow, that I care about, that I want to care about and that I should care about… but I never get to involved or to invested.  Why?  Time, finances, lack of knowledge are some of the excuses that I would use.  At the end of the day they are excuses and people need to feel comfortable about passionately standing up for social issues because without the dedicated people involved these injustices will continue to slip through the cracks.

What injustices you ask? Without even using the internet, open up a local paper and see what is going on in your community.  I think that one of the problems is that people become so focussed and overwhelmed with the exposure to all the awful things that are happening around the world that we forget what is happening at home.  Poverty, homelessness, addiction, status of recent refugees that just moved to Regina.  All of these issues lack momentum because there is so much out there via the internet/social media that winds up eclipsing issues that are occurring in our own communities.   In a way there becomes a numbness to the issues.  I am not saying that this is all bad, but I think that the overwhelming exposure that people receive on these issues almost push people away from being a part of something that they are on the fence about being involved in. The shift that needs to occur is the connection between awareness and action.

So what role can the internet play to redirect slacktivism to activism?  When I open up Facebook/Twitter and see all of these socially active posts, but often times the personal connection does not go deeper than just taking a glance feeling a little shame that you are not directly experiencing something and then moving on to the next post of a person losing her marbles over a mcrib and bad service at a McDonalds. (video has some bad words but its off the charts hilarious)

The worst connection that I see comes from the notion of sites like  I see the value that can come from financial hardships that people experience and it is a good way to get the word out if people need help, but helping pay for a couples honeymoon through internet donations is a mind boggling scenario.  And I think that these situations often turn people off from actually using the internet to help out because of the disconnect that comes from seeing Jack and Jill not being able to afford food for their wedding.

I see hope in the dedicated people that are using the internet as a forum to get people thinking and in many cases acting. I guess if one person sees a twitter link that motivates them to get involved then it has served a purpose.  I think what the challenge will be as teachers is to make it personal regardless if we feel the same compassion about a subject as our students.  I know that because of my aloof approach to social justice that I am not role modelling the importance of issues from local to global.  Students buy in when teachers are invested. If we are not invested and not inserting passion and value into activism then the issues that are being ignored continue to slip through the cracks…


Tender(loin) and care

The learning project experience has become a lot easier and I am finding that it has become much easier to find new recipes and simple ways to cook food.  For todays meal I am using the slow cooker again and trying to have something ready to go for the “fam” when they get home from school/work.  The food needs to be ready to roll when they walk in the door because they have to go to swimming lessons right after supper.  I am cooking a pork tenderloin meal that I found on youtube with some baked veggies and minute rice.  I do not think that kids are going to like this meal so this will be a strong indicator of bias if they say they like it.

There will also be a rant at the end of this post regarding some of the struggles that families are facing to maintain a healthy diet.

The recipe…


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And the responses.

I am going to try and spend some time next week prepping some freezer meals for the slow cooker.  Should be interesting, but I feel like I need to because of my lack of preparation last week led to a family stop at McDonalds.  I was a bit miffed when I got home from work and saw the remains of 2 Happy Meals in the garbage.  I have been looking into some of the issues surrounding nutrition and how difficult it is with the pace of life to keep up with healthy eating. I think that there are 2 things that I want to look into for my next post.

  1. The cost of eating healthy
  2. The ease of eating unhealthy


Fingers, Fries, Bette Midler and the Jolly Green Giant

On the menu today are homemade chicken fingers and fries.  I do not own a deep fryer and I have always been super annoyed when you make fries in the oven and they turn out soggy.  I am trying 2 new recipes so I was a bit worried if they bombed.  Also I hate cleaning up so using cooky sheets covered in foil really made clean up easy.

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I also tried to incorporate some sick tunes into the cooking experience.  Let me tell you, Bette Midler is truly the wind beneath my wings…

House did not burn down but the girls basketball game took close to 2 hours so the fries were a bit cold by the time we got back.  I did not have time to fancy up any veggies for the meal so the kids were stuck with Jolly Green Giant frozen vegetables.  Here is what the critics had to say.

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Next post will be a legitimate slow cooker meal prepared for when I am at school.  I hope my wife can remember to get some responses from the critics before swimming lessons but I won’t hold my breath on this happening.


Pork Chops, Asparagus and Calorie Awarness

Part of this Learning Project is about healthy eating.  Trying to convince my daughters to eat a variety of vegetables can be challenging.  I wanted to try and get them to eat some asparagus as well as try and make something work with kale.  My daughters will not eat kale in a salad (I don’t blame them) so I used this kale chips recipe.  I thought that they tasted alright but no go on the girls eating them.  I will keep trying new recipes for kale because every health magazine/ fitness blog says you gotta eat kale.


For supper I made pork chops, oven roasted potatoes/asparagus/carrots.  I barbecued the pork chops using this recipe.

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There was a complete boycott on the asparagus by both of my food critics but I can attest that it was really tasty.  All you have to do is cook it the same way as the kale from the above recipe.  Here are the girls reaction to the meal.

The other part of this Learning Project has to do with overall healthy eating.  What is unfortunate is that people assume that everyone just knows what is healthy and what is not.  I saw this video on Facebook that shows what 200 calories look like and it is amazing how much healthy food you can eat in comparison to unhealthy food.  This is important to middle years teachers because the health curriculum wants you to delve into this by using Canada’s Food Guide.  Now I have nothing against Canada’s Food Guide, but it is pretty boring and it gets stuffed down students throat in primary years, so by grade 7 I found that the kids were really sick of it.  I found that Kahoot had a lot of quizzes already made which really made formative assessment fun in the classroom and took literally no work.  With the issues of childhood obesity in Canada I really feel that these outcomes need a lot of focus and it is making this learning project morph into something more then just improving my poor cooking.  It is making me think of how I can implement more nutrition and healthy living into the everyday lives of my future students…



Enlightened and Uplifted

I was at work when I received the email that the plans for #ECMP355 had changed and I was unable to attend the lecture in person. I am glad that I was able to watch the live stream but there are some things that are better to be physically present in and I think that this would be one. With that said, I was watching the live stream in the presence of two young ladies whose communities are still feeling the impacts of the generational trauma left by the Residential School era. I could not help but look at them and wonder do they know: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? And, who am I? Unfortunately, I know that they cannot and I will explain why later.

Justice Sinclair’s lecture impacted me as a future teacher, a youth worker, a parent and as a Canadian. There were so many moving parts for me as I listened to him address this topic I do not really know how to write this post without including more then just how it will impact me as a teacher. I guess because how all these moving parts work will be a part of who I will be as a teacher.

My son is Metis. You would not know to look at him. He has blonde hair, blue eyes and could get sunburnt on a cloudy day.   His physical features do not change that his grandfather is a proud Metis person that works developing First Nations curriculum for Regina Public Schools, or that his mom/uncle/aunt are all teachers that are proud of who they are as Metis. I do not know if my son is proud to be Metis. We have never talked about it. I always just assumed that this was something he and his mother discussed or that if he had questions that our relationship was strong enough that he would just ask. It never occurred to me that, due to the system that has been created from colonization and the lack of education that discusses the true history of Canada, my son may not know or even feel comfortable talking to me about his cultural heritage. This is important because his dad, step-mom and sisters are not Metis, they have not been taught about the negative legacy of Residential Schools. More important to this is my lack of focus to promote and foster a connection to his culture in my home. I need to ensure that I create an environment for him that allows him to unequivocally answer the questions that Justice Sinclair proposed in his lecture.

I have spent a third of my life working with at-risk youth from all across Canada. Some of my middle years classmates are probably tired of hearing me discuss some of these experiences but 13 years of working with young people is undeniably the biggest reason why I wanted to come back to school and become a teacher. Listening to Justice Sinclair discuss the current state of the Child Welfare System in Canada was so important. As an audience we were very fortunate that he spent time discussing it. He referenced a system that is taking children away from families and putting them in care of people that in many cases are not improving the quality of life of the children. More importantly, he stated that there is little to know effort to improve the environment of the families and the communities where these children are being taken from. I hope that anyone reading this can make the connection of how similar this situation is to what we as a Nation are trying to reconcile for. I believe Justice Sinclair used the term “broken” when discussing the current child welfare system and I could not agree more.

With that said, I do not feel that what I have done professionally up to this point is part of the problem. The people that I work with and the agency that I work for do exceptional work with the young people that come into our program and I am extremely proud of the relationships I have built personally with these youth. The most common issue that connects to what Justice Sinclair was discussing occurs when these youth are ready to transfer home after they have often been successful in our programs. As an agency we try very hard to incorporate families in the treatment of the youth but often little or no support is being given to the families and communities. Since there is not much being invested to help these families and communities, the young people often struggle and fall back into the same negative patterns that they were facing before coming into treatment. I used to blame the families and communities for the relapses of the youth that worked so hard to get their lives back on track. These past 2 years of education have allowed me to understand that I was projecting blame at the wrong people for these setbacks. Justice Sinclair reinforces this by saying that no amount of money will change the outcomes of communities that are trying to heal unless the system itself changes. I do not know what this system needs to look like, but I know that for healing to occur for indigenous communities the system of taking children away from their families for whatever reasons cannot continue to exist.

As a teacher and a Canadian, Justice Sinclair’s words elevated the importance of what is being taught to us in the Faculty of Education. If we are all Treaty people then that message needs to be delivered to everyone about what needs to be accomplished for our country to become whole. I was not educated about the true history of Canada and its relationship to Residential Schools until now. My parents were not and neither were their parents. These are not excuses to justify the lack of understanding and racial stereotypes that have developed due to a worldview taught through the lens of colonialism, it is the reality of our past. It is unfortunate that it has taken so long for us as a society to realize that we can and have to do better. Schools will be the foundation for where this change will occur and teachers will be the driving force to start this process. If our students are impacted by the lessons we teach, the process of reconciliation can build momentum. This momentum could break down stereotypes and misconceptions that have been built up from limited and misguided education on First Nations issues for generations. Which will hopefully provide Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with more effective ways to build a stronger relationships and communities with one another.

Everything that I have discussed in this post so far brings me back to the young ladies that were with me while I listened to Justice Sinclair. I am hopeful that as I continue to work with them that I can help answer the questions that were proposed: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? And, who am I? The reason why that they are unable to answer all these questions is because of the complexity of their situations that has been created by Residential Schools and an inadequate social system that seems to mirror, in some ways, the processes of assimilation that were established in Residential Schools. They know where they are from and they know that they want to go home.  As a person that now has a greater insight into why there is so much complexity in their lives, I need to become a part of the process to help answer the last 2 questions. The only way to do that is by embracing my role as a teacher and go through a process of education with them. I do not think that I can say that I will educate them because I know that as I talk to them about their communities and experiences they will be teaching me just as much as I teach them…Hopefully through time as they discover the answer to “who they are”, I will be someone that has connected to them in this journey. Because they will undeniably be a part of who I will be as a teacher

Learning Project #2 Ribs off the bone

Firstly due to some unforeseen work issues there is a bit of a Goof in the video.  Part of this learning project is suppose to be about having meals prepared so my family does not eat out so much.  I say in the first video that I am not going to be home for supper, but obviously I am. I do not want to taint this learning project with lies so I felt I should come clean.

On the menu is slow cooker fall off the bone ribs.  Another recipe that I pulled off of pinterest. This was definitely the best meal I have cooked maybe ever.

I wanted to provide proof that I am not just hitting up Tony Roma’s after feeding the other ribs to the cat.   Here is the proof.

This is what they looked like in the slow cooker when I got home from class.


And the reaction from my critics…

I think that they were a hit.  Lucy showing off rib fingers.


I am tackling pork chops next on the BBQ.  I am really going to focus on calories for the next meal by cooking without a lot of additives.  Hopefully my critics are not to tough on me.