Friday, June 21, 2013

A First Day of Summer Five for Friday!

One cool thing about TODAY is that:
LAST Friday it was SPRING and

So, before you read this...
Before you do ANYTHING...
Crank UP your sound, PLAY this video, and CELEBRATE!
(This song takes me RIGHT BACK to middle school/junior high)

I've got a hodge-podge of stuff today:

1. A recipe! I'm liking this new tradition of making a recipe part of my Five for Friday post. It gives me motivation to try new things and so far, they've all been really good!
This week I'm bringing you Lemon-blueberry cookies with lemon glaze.
(I'm calling them Jackson Pollock cookies because they're colorful & splattered)
I basically followed Baker Bettie's recipe but added a glaze.

Jackson Pollock Lemon-Blueberry Cookies with a Lemon Glaze

1 c. butter- softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp.vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 1/4 c. CAKE flour (I didn't even know about cake flour until this recipe. The box says it's finer and lighter than regular flour. That must be why these cookies are so fluffy & light)
1 pint fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time until combined.
Add vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
Add cake flour, by the cup, until batter is combined.
Gently fold in blueberries and TRY not to break them. I did BIG, SOFT mixing strokes and was fine.
This recipe can also be made with the paddle attachment in a stand-up mixer, but you'll want to hand-fold in the blueberries or they'll break.
If you DO break berries, I don't think the taste will be affected.
Chill out, break or don't break your berries.
Just make these tasty cookies!
Refrigerate the batter for anywhere from 1 hour to overnight.
The cookies are really buttery and need to be cold when placed on cookie sheets.

No broken blueberries! Woot!
I'm sure these would look good if scooped with one of those mini ice-cream scoop things (I think they're for cookie-making) but if you use a tablespoon-spoon they will be okay, too. The batter will be nice & cold and you WILL break blueberries as you scoop.
It's okay! That's supposed to happen!
 I always use parchment paper for baking. My oven is temperamental and the parchment is like having insurance against burnt cookies (yuck).

No fancy scoops necessary!

Bake for 11-14 minutes. The edges should not brown too much.
They are so light and pillowy!

While you're waiting for your first batch to cool, and the second batch to bake, you can make your glaze.
I happened upon this because the Hubster and I both agreed that these cookies needed a little SOMETHING more. This glaze is sweet & lemony.
PLUS, lemons were 2/$1 at the store so I had another one to use.


1/2-3/4 c. powdered sugar.
It may have been more, I didn't measure any of this stuff, really.
It's glaze. You can't mess it up!
2 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest

Mix it up! If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar.
Too thick? Taste it? Want it milder, add more milk.
Want it lemony-er? Add more juice.

When your cookies have cooled, use a fork and drip, splatter, and if you need to,
SLAP the icing on these bad boys!
Let the icing harden, oh, who am I kidding?
We definitely ate some warm
and they were AMAZEBALLS :)
I'll definitely be making these again before summer is over!

2. The creation of those cookies above actually inspired me in another way.
Special little cookies that they are.
While baking, I Instagrammed the photo of the batter-bowl photo with a caption about GUESSING what in the world that batter was going to be?
I hashtagged the photo with the first thing to come to my mind #whatsthatwednesday.
Hmmm, that's a fun idea...
Pictures of random thing, close-up things, or crazy things with the caption of
What's THAT? Wednesday
And a new linky idea was born!

Here's my plan:
whether it's through a blog post or on Instagram or Twitter, snap a photo of something (I'm sure I'll have more than one) intriguing, interesting, weird, or cool.
Even the most ordinary things, when photographed from a certain angle, or close-up (or far away) can be get people wondering:
What's THAT?

The other night, once I finished my cookies, I posted a photo of them with that #whatsthatwednesday hashtag. I could have made a picstitch side-by-side, too.
OR, if it's in a blog post, I will schedule a short, "reveal" post for later in the day to show WHAT my "thing" really is. Post comments of your guesses to photos and/or blog posts.
Is all this making sense?
Does it sound like a good idea?
 This could be interesting...
And hopefully lots of FUN!

This linky will be replacing my Wild & Wonderful Wednesday link up & I'm excited to take my ideas in a new direction. I'd love for you to link up with me too! 
Look for it NEXT Wednesday.

3. I picked up a new book in the Kindle store this week and I'm really excited about it!

Do you know about Whole Brain Teaching?
I know some of you JUST attended the conference! Lucky!
I'm excited to hear how it was!
I incorporated many WBT techniques last year and it really started my year off in a good way.
My firsties LOVED the classroom rules and wanted to show ANYONE who came in our room what we were all about!
Class-Yes was wonderful!
It saved me from raising my voice and got everyone's attention quickly.

To me, so many of the principals and foundations of this program 
Check out these videos on WBT to see it "in-action"!


First Grade:

Second Grade:

Third Grade:

You can also find out more about the WBT movement by checking out
The WBT Website

Pretty amazing stuff, huh?
There's also a book-study of this book going on right now, too.
Check it out!

4. Here's a little Pinterest tip that I love:

Did you know that hot white vinegar and blue Dawn dish soap make the BEST shower cleaner?
Put it in a spray bottle and spray your shower down.
Then hightail it out of the bathroom because it smells like vinegar (not for long, though).
Come back anywhere from 15 minutes to HOURS later and wipe it down.
I use a magic-eraser and it makes my shower SPARKLE!
Seriously. Like it's BRAND NEW!
I even know people who put that solution in one of those dishwasher-wands and keep it in the shower for daily cleaning. SMART!

 Finally, I want to share a small victory in my quest for fitness.
I've been out running this week.
This is kind of a big deal for me because I am NOT a runner.
Oh, I dream of running.
It's one of my favorite recurring dreams.
I can run and run without side cramps, shin splints, or feeling-like-I'm-going-to-die breathlessness.
It's wonderful. It's what makes me want to get good at it FOR REAL.

In my dreams I glide through the air as though I'm being propelled by springs (I may be, it is a dream, afterall). My hair is flowing behind me, I'm smiling and possibly wearing an olympic jersey. (Like I said, it's a dream, the details are fuzzy).
In reality, I'm awkwardly plodding along trying to remember to lean forward from the ankles, breathe in and out, not trip, all the while trying to look like I know what I'm doing.
THAT'S exhausting!
Needless to say, I've been taking my talents to Southbeach the local cemetery where the audience is sparse and the beautifully manicured lawns provide a good mixture of sun, shade, and the occasional old person taking a stroll.
It's not pretty but I'm doing it and I don't want to quit.
I'm using the Couch to 5K program (C25K) and have it as an app on my phone.
It lets me play my playlist behind it and reminds me when to jog and when to walk.
I'm pleasantly surprised at how quickly I recover after my "jogs". The program gently increases the jogging and I should be 5K ready in about 9 weeks.
9 hotter-than-a-habanero weeks.
My legs are that good-kind-of-sore. I love that.
I'm planning on entering some late-summer/early-fall races.
I'm excited to see where this road takes me, both literally and figuratively :)
I know lots of you out there are runners.
What's your best tip for newbies like me?

Whew! My fingers are tired! It's supposed to be a hot one today.
Getting ready to head to the pool for fun in the sun!
Happy Friday!


  1. Congrats on officially making it to summer! I love that video! It brings back SO many memories. I will be linking up for What's That Wednesday for sure! I loved seeing your pick on Instagram this week. BTW, thanks for offering to help with our 500 follower giveaway!!
    Bright Concepts 4 Teachers

    1. Hey Jaime!
      I'll forever love that song & link it to good memories from the 90's! :)
      I'm so glad to be a part of your giveaway! Can't wait!
      I'd LOVE for you to link up!
      Happy Friday!

  2. I attended a one day WBT training last March. It was a LOT to take in at one time. I used elements in my classroom this year but found it difficult to go full force with it after such a wham-bam-thank you ma'am training. LOVE the idea for What's that Wednesday! I'm so going to participate!

    1. I'm so glad you'll be a part of WTW! Even my non-blogging friend is excited to get in on the fun via Instagram! :) I'm hoping to do better with fully implementing WBT this year, too!

  3. Alisha I just LOVE your blog!! I'm groovin right now as I listen to Summertime!! Good ole Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff!! The good ole days!! Thanks for sharing your cookie recipe. YUMMY!! Happy Summertime!!


    1. Thank you, sweet Tiffany! The good ole days is right! This morning I ate 2 cookies for breakfast and convinced myself they were like mini muffins! Ha! Happy Summertime to you, too! :)

  4. Love your blog! I must say I also love that Fresh Prince song Summertime and it made me chuckle that you posted it but I also feel pretty bummed because it's officially summer and I am still teaching. Next Wednesday is our last day. Oh well! If I keep visiting your blog I will feel better! You have such great ideas!

    1. Hey Bex! Thank you! You poor thing! Where do you teach! We were out before Memorial day this year! When do you head back? I go back on Friday, August 16th and the kids come on the 20th. These are my "lazy" days before the back-to-school bug bites! Again, thanks for your sweet words! Happy almost-summertime! :)

    2. I teach in Massachusetts. We start the day after labor day . Supposed to end last Tuesday but we had 6 snow days! Argh. Anyway! I am almost there! Enjoy your summer!


Comments make me smile!