The Dinner: The responsibility of a teacher

From Left to Write is an online book club where the members create a virtual discussion about the book and how it relates to their lives. I love the concept of this for a few reasons. It takes the school concept of a book report out of the equation completely and it gives readers who haven’t read the book a way to relate to the topics portrayed within the book.

The second book for October was The Dinner
by Herman Koch.


A lot of the book was about parenting, but one particular passage stood out to me.

“The educators, the teachers, will let you have your say, but afterwards they’ll take revenge on your child. You may come up with better arguments – it’s not too hard to come up with better arguments than the educators, the teachers – but in the end, your child is going to pay for it.

Before I became a stay-at-home mom I was a teacher, mostly I taught 8th grade, but when I was subbing I taught anything between 5th and 12th. I was shocked to see how much has changed in the seven years between when I graduated high school and when I went back into the school system.

When I got a bad grade or did something wrong, the blame was put directly on my shoulders. It seems as if these days when a child earns a lower grade than expected the parents or caregivers blame the teacher. I can’t tell you how many times a student earned a low grade on a quiz and almost immediately received an email from a parent asking why or asking what the student can do to for extra credit.

To me, it seems like parents are doing more and more for their children, but they are also giving them a free pass. To me children are responsible for the material that is taught in the classroom and for the homework that is given and for the material that is expected to be on the test.

I do believe that parents should take an interest in what is going on at school and helping their children prepare for exams or even help with homework, but when the student fails to earn an acceptable grade I wish parents wouldn’t place 100% of the blame on the teacher.

I think this hits so hard because of the recent news {warning: it is disturbing}, and the fact that people are upset that this teenager is being tried as an adult, but teachers are now getting hurt and killed by their students and part of me believes that it is because these children are raised to believe that everything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault and they have no responsibility for their actions.

What do you think?

This post was inspired by The Dinner, a novel by Herman Koch. Two brothers and their wives sit down for a tension filled dinner to discuss a tragedy that can change both families’ lives forever. Join From Left to Write on October 29 as we discuss The Dinner. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Confessions of a Mom, Vol. 4

Disclaimer: please read this post with an open mind and sense of humor. Sometimes we all need a good laugh.


What I am going to be like in 15 years.



How I feel about exercise after the kiddo has been up all night.



How I feel about mom’s who know it all, or at least tell me whatever I am doing is wrong.



How I feel whenever my sister leaves.



What are you confessing this week?

Check out Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3

Five Things Friday: Children’s Books

For Today’s Five Things Friday, I have picked 5 of my favorite books from when I was a kid. I only have one so far, and must get the other 4!

1. Teddy Bear Picnic by Jimmy Kennedy This came with a RECORD, and my sister, Caty, and I used to sing this over and over, we used to sing one line completely wrong. It probably isn’t funny to anyone but us, but I still sing it that way.

Teddy bears picnic book1

2. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw My mom used to read this to Caty and I when we were sick.

Love you forever

3. Shake Your Sillies Out by Raffi I loved Raffi growing up, but Caty and I got our own books with one song, and this was mine. It’s even better if you act it out.

Raffi Shake My Sillies Out Book

4. If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff This is the only book I currently own for my baby. Nick thinks it’s hilarious that I know the entire thing.

If you give a mouse cookie

5. Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss I love all Dr. Seuss but this one was my favorite as a kid. I think mostly because I wanted a turtle as a pet.

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories cover

6. I know it’s supposed to only be 5, however this is a poem not a book. My dad used to read The Children’s Hour by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Caty and I. We both can repeat the entire poem from memory.

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All photos courtesy of Amazon.

Keep your questions coming here!

Today’s Question: What was your favorite children’s book>

Baking with Kids

Since Nick and I live right outside Boston we are both at least 2 hours away from our families. It’s usually a treat when anyone comes to visit us, since we usually do the traveling.

During their April vacation from school my two nephews and my mom came for a visit. The oldest, 15, loves to bake so I thought one of the things we could do together is bake something. I asked him in advance what he would like to make and he gave me some very generic answers. I bought a lot of ingredients so we could decide that day.

When our the boys and my mom got here we hung out for a bit before we started cooking. The boys ended up deciding on the dreaded chocolate chip cookie. I say dreaded because I have NEVER been able to make a chocolate chip cookie that I love. They need to be fluffy and chewy. I always end up with flat cookies. I have tried a million different recipes and today was no different.

I decided to use this recipe on the back of the bag for the Ghirardelli chocolate chips, I had never tried this recipe, and for the 2 years we have lived year, I have never attempted the cookie of doom.

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My helpers:
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Ben, 15

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Cole, 7

I split up tasks for the boys to do based on difficulty. I had Ben do a lot of the measuring and handling all of the liquid ingredients, while Cole dumped the dry ingredients in the bowl and helped mix the ingredients together

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While the boys finished up putting all the ingredients together, I lined my baking sheets with wax paper and set the boys up in stations. I showed them how to make a good size cookie and let them get dirty!

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Once the boys finished, we put the first round of cookies in the oven. While I washed the dishes the boys ran around playing games.

Finished product:
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That didn’t seem to bother the boys at all, they devoured waaay to many before lunch, it’s okay it’s vacation after all, so I think they loved them.
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They tasted okay to me, a little too buttery almost and again flat. What are your tips for fluffy delicious chocolate chip cookies?

Here are a few of my tips for baking with children:

1. Pick a recipe that is age appropriate. Don’t pick a recipe that includes a lot of heavy machine use or knife skills if baking with a young child.

2. Pick a recipe that the child likes, or if you want to pick something they have never tried, use an ingredient that they love, like chocolate.

3. Bake something that doesn’t take forever. Depending on the age, the child could lose interest very quickly and you might be stuck doing the rest of the baking and watching a child.

4. This one isn’t so much baking but general kitchen tips: a. Make sure the kids understand the importance of cleaning the kitchen before and after baking.

b. Washing your hands frequently, especially if you are touching the ingredients, like my nephews touching the cookie dough.

c. Eating raw dough/ingredients. This is my personal preference. Since the kids are not mine, I didn’t want to let them eat raw dough if it isn’t what their parents would want. But I wouldn’t let my kids eat raw dough with eggs. I wouldn’t want my guests, especially kids, spending their visit on the bathroom floor.

5. Send the kids home with what they made. I certainly didn’t need 4 dozen cookies at my disposal. I think it is a proud moment when the kids can go home and share with their families what they made.

Today’s Questions: Do you have any tips for baking with children? Also, do you have a baking kryptonite? And I will take ANY chocolate chip cookie suggestions!