Lessons with Scones


I’m gonna be honest…I’ve been binge watching “The Great British Baking Show”. Due to heavy exposure to British baked goods I’ve been inspired to make scones (to eat along with my cardamom black tea of course).

Unlike “The Great British Baking Show” my main judge is my husband and he’s always very nice to me. He’s not a very unbiased judge but I’m alright with that. Anyway, I have very little experience baking scones so it was a learning experience. Hooray for learning! I used this recipe from bon appetite and I feel 90% good about the finished product. I did in fact over bake it by a couple of minute as the bottoms are just a bit darker than I wish they were. Also, the recipe called for two tablespoons of sugar on top before popping into the oven.  I only did one tablespoon. But I mean, come on, that is A LOT of sugar topping! I was wrong though, two tablespoons is right amount of sugar topping. Last, these are cream scones, and while they are yummy I think I probably like butter scones better. Because, butter.

I have a bad habit of ignoring recipe instructions and going rogue. Today’s Baking Lesson: When making something for the first time, assume your thoughts are wrong and follow the instructions. Today’s life lesson: Sometimes it’s good to be a little rebellious, and sometimes, it’s just not. Choose wisely.

The joy of learning, Together.


Sally Sallies Forth

It is 3:30am on a Friday morning. My husband and I are sleeping peacefully in our bed. I awake to a rustling of the plastic wrap of a magazine I had left on the floor next to the bed (because I’m a slob, it’s fine). I sleepily call out for Nikita, our husky, to stop messing around and go to sleep. The rustling does not stop and I wonder why Nikita is in that corner of the room anyway. If you know me at all you know that I hold sleep most precious next to cheese and my loved ones so I am NOT HAPPY. In frustration I grab my phone and illuminate the scene to find, not Nikita, but Sally the Salamander who is slowly crawling around on my bedroom floor.

Let’s back up a little because there is a logical reason that Sally is in my home, although I am still unsure of how she escaped her muddy confines. I teach science outreach programming and Sally, South Carolina’s state Amphibian, is part of my next day’s program. Consequently, Sally was our houseguest for the night. Here are some fun facts about Sally’s escape:

  1. Her cage was on top of a standing desk…so I’m not sure how she made it down.
  2. She smartly turned on the touch lamp on the desk, probably to better illuminate her way. Get it, girl.
  3. After her journey down from the desk she crawled under the closed door of the office and found her way into our bedroom.
  4. In order to enter our room she had to waddle right past our dog asleep on the floor. Girl, you are bold.
  5. She smartly woke me up with by crinkling the plastic wrap to avoid drying out or getting eaten. OK, maybe she didn’t do this on purpose but I shudder to think what would have happened if she hadn’t.
  6. In her exploration she acquired a very impressive “fur coat” because, Nikita graciously leaves her fur in literal piles on the floor. Salamanders are the texture of those sticky stretchy hand toys, so you can imagine what she looked like. Girl, you look good!

After hollering a lot and capturing that tricky amphibian, we went back to sleep for a couple of hours before getting up again for the day. Sally, looking fabulous in her fur coat was returned to her rightful home. Where she will stay because I am a bad amphibian babysitter.

LessonAlways put a heavy object on top of a guest amphibian cage in case it tries to make a wild dash for it.

The joy of learning. Together.

**Disclaimer: Sally is in good health. No salamanders were injured in this unfortunately true story.**

This land is your land, this land is my land

I suppose I don’t need to state the obvious by saying it’s been a while since my last post. I haven’t lost interest in writing or learning but I have been brainstorming ways to reimagine this blog. The theme will still be centered around learning but it will be broader, encompassing my interest in less traditional forms of education and learning. Thanks for your patience with my lack of posting! Speaking of learning…Please read the below post to LEARN AND DO SOMETHING. And then spread the word, start conversations, and learn some more.

Yesterday, as I was sitting outside of a local coffee shop I witnessed something that isn’t unusual, and yet it is still so important to talk about. A group of four young people consisting of two white passing people and two brown skinned people were chatting about their fledgling adulthood experiences when a woman drove by and stopped her car by the curb to yell at the group. She yelled profanities about how two of the group members with brown skin should go back to Pakistan or India before she drove off. The young people at whom the hateful words were aimed at were only slightly fazed and essentially expressed that “it could have been worse.” The thing is, they’re right. It could have been worse, and it has been worse for many people.

So, how do we talk about this scenario? I honestly feel like I don’t know how to talk about it because it’s layered and because of my place of privilege but I’m going to try to anyway because I have to. We all have to. First of all, my initial shock is a sign of my privilege. The fact that I was even a little surprised is my privilege because this type of racism isn’t a part of my daily life. Second, although I didn’t have the time to confront the woman in the car, I did have the time to address the young people. I wish I had said I’m sorry that happened to them. I wish I had said that the woman’s ideology is disgusting and entirely wrong. I told myself it doesn’t matter what little old me says anyway, but I think that’s the beginning of a larger issue isn’t it? We can all DO something, even if it’s as small as saying “I’m so sorry that happened to you, it’s not right.”

Lastly, the woman in the car was African American and I have a lot of trepidation talking about this. This phenomena of horizontal hostility as explained by Anna Czarnik-Neimeyer, MA, founder/CEO of Bridgebuilder Consulting, is when “marginalized groups fight against each other instead of working with one another to fight systemic oppression, because a perceived scarcity of power and resources.” (Anna has more to say about this, and more, in her blog called “A Place On Earth”- check her out!). The actuality of scarcity of power in our country is very real. Consequently, I see why this fear exists as it is validated by systemic oppression. However, the idea that fighting against each other will solve the problem cannot be right. But as a white woman, what does my opinion mean? I don’t experience the type of prejudice and hatred that people of color in this country do. I know my place in the world allows me to suggest that love will always beat out hate and I really want to believe it.

SO, I want to talk about this. I want to know what you think, and I want to hear your insights. I want to learn more. Together.

Imposters Everywhere

As we get back into the swing of things after the holidays, here’s a nice reminder that you’re doing enough and you are enough!

Learn with Nora


I sat down to write this post and I really did not feel inspired. I didn’t feel like I had anything riveting to share, and I wasn’t in the mood to write. Here’s why: First, I like many people, sometimes fall into the metaphorical pit of self-pity where I envelop myself in histrionic feelings of inadequacy. Sounds like a real party, am I right? Second because I felt like this post was doomed to failure I did not feel motivated to write it. With all this fun stuff rolling around in my head I opened up my computer to get down to business. It’s not surprising that I found plenty of things on the Internet that were more interesting (a cinnamon roll recipe, various crochet patterns, facebook posts, emails, my bank account, literally anything else). Eventually I wrangled my brain and summoned some self-control. I then pulled up a blank…

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I have been thinking a lot about kindness. The experience of kindness is undoubtely integral to learning and flourishing. We cannot grow and learn in a classroom, in a home, or in a community where there is an absence of kindness. I believe that there is no more important endeavor than to be kind to others and to exercise empathy. I know that if kindness is my first goal, then everything else I strive to accomplish will be positively affected.

Let’s start at the beginning with a basic and important question. What is kindness? It seems like such a silly question, but it’s not. Let’s pretend for a moment that a child you care about asked you to answer that question. What would you say? How would you explain or summarize what kindness is? What would you hope they understood from your definition? Do you embody kindness in the way you would explain it to this child? If not, why not? If so, how so? You see, it’s not really a simple question because it involves so much action. In the next handful of posts I will be discussing the topic of kindness, and as kindness is action I would like to hear from my readers! Tell me, how do you define kindness?


The kinds hands one of my past 3rd grade classes

The joy of learning. Together.