Should we get a Double Oven Range? Will our Turkey fit?

These are the burning questions I turn to when the work day is winding down and the Mommy-taxi service has not yet begun. I may have mentioned that our circa 1977 electric range oven has been on the fritz. And we plan to host a moderately large family gathering this year for Thanksgiving.

GE Oven Dials (left)
GE Oven Dials (left) by Bill Bradford used under a Creative Commons License.

This is about what our control panel looks like, sans the oven temperature recommendations.

So, I’ve been visiting Consumer Reports, reading online, asking questions of my Facebook pals and pretty much virtually shopping for our new oven range. I have always longed for a double oven. My first high-school boyfriend’s Mom had double wall ovens in her kitchen…

and as someone who loved to bake, I could see the beauty of such an arrangement. However, we don’t have the correct kitchen arrangement for double wall ovens (which were the clear favorite among my Facebook friends). So, I started looking at standard ranges with double ovens. I liked the idea of a smaller oven on top and larger one on bottom (another FB friend recommendation.)

GE Double Convection Oven Electric Range

My dear husband objected to the double oven. His thought was “if there are two ovens, neither is liable to be able to handle a large item like a Thanksgiving Turkey with trimmings….”

maximum oven
maximum oven by bunbunlife used under a Creative Commons License

But, from what I have read (product descriptions of the interior dimensions of the ovens, Consumer Reports, and Online testimonials), I think we’re going to be just fine. And what a joy to be able to cook the double batch of Sweet Potato Casserole (for UT) in the top oven at 400° F, while the turkey and stuffing are at the perfect roasting temp in the lower oven.

So, the shopping begins. I am doing most of my product comparisons online, but plan to purchase from All American Appliance in Monroe. They have been a great company to work with. Shop local, and all that!  Addendum: Just found out that All American Appliance now only does service and not sales.

What Book Should I Read Next? A Cool New Online Tool.

One of the saddest things about finishing a good book is not having another promising prospect lined up behind it in your queue of “Books to Read.”

Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend...William Feather
Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend…William Feather by Wendy Hollands used under a Creative Commons Attribution license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

I’m always looking for suggestions on Good Books to Read. GoodReads.com is a very robust “social media” style site that has lots of ways to not only track, review and categorize the books you’ve read, but also to find out what other people in your social circles are reading and get subject dependent book recommendations. I will write more about that site soon (it has some GREAT addon apps for scanning ISBN codes and adding them to your book lists.

However, I just wanted a quick “down and dirty” suggestion on a book to read that was like the one I just finished, so, after I finished reading The Wolf Gift, by Anne Rice, I went online and Googled “What Should I Read Next?” Lo and behold I found a website with that exact name:

ScreenShot1274This handy little site lets you put in the title or author of a book and returns to you a list of related books with subject/keyword links.

What Book Should I Read Next

Below each suggestion on the list are the keyphrases/subjects that make the suggested books similar to the book title you put in the search bar. The Info/Buy tab brings you right over to Amazon. Being frugal, I used the list to search what was available from my local Library.

Each of the little orange phrases under the Author – Bookname are links that you can click on to see other books with the same or similar subjects. It’s a neat way to find similar books to a great book you just finished and narrow down the list to the specific subject of the book you’d like in your next good book.

All in all, a very cool tool for finding a new book to read.

How do you find what book should be next on your list?

What is the Goal of Education?

I was talking today with a retired Special Education Specialist and was struck by something she said:

“The Goal of Education is to Prepare Students for an Independent Future.”

education by Sean MacEntee used under a Creative Commons Attribution license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

It’s really a profound statement when you think about it…. it seems like we might have lost sight of that as a goal, with all the current focus on standardized tests and adequate yearly progress. And, as the parent of a student in the Special Education system, I definitely think that we should have that goal emblazoned in our homes and throughout the offices of the special education department.

I get the distinct sense that the current goal for many special education kids is “Get them through High School so they are no longer our problem.” I know that schools are under tremendous pressures with “No Child Left Behind” and making Adequate Yearly Progress and that anything beyond those goals seems impossible to address for many students.

But, as parents, and as educators, preparing our students for an independent future is really the ultimate goal of education. Let’s look at what we’re teaching and how we’re teaching it in light of that goal.

I recently found some great resources online with information on life skills checklists and independent living skill assessment tools. These tools and checklists are opening my eyes to what all students need to learn, not just special needs or special education students, but all students. Click the images for more details

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Mandala Meditations

Coloring Mandalas is like a therapeutic meditation for me sometimes. These two were done just after the 4th of July this summer. The designs were created using Mandala Maker (back in 2010 when I knew how to use the program! I have to re-learn to be able to make new ones.)

5Jul2013-Mandala 6Jul2013-Mandala