Reflection 11 (Week 15)

This is my seventh and final week working on my blogging project. Last week, I decided to not focus on a certain kind of dish, but a type of cooking; grilling. I had a lot of fun trying new things on our grill. This week was by far my favorite just for the tasting portion. It wasn’t my favorite learning the history of dessert and researching, but I liked the actual making of the desserts. I have always said that I’m a better baker than I am a cook. My fiancé would have to agree with that. He loves when I make cookies or homemade brownies.

THINGS I STRUGGLED WITH THIS WEEK:

I do want to talk a little about last week as well since we didn’t have a reflection. Last week felt very work intensive. We had to keep up with our project for the week, as well as do our studio tours. I was actually very excited to check everyone’s blogs and wikis out (I have clicked on their links, but haven’t had time to look in depth). I didn’t realize how hard I found it to review others’ work. It also made me second-guess a few elements in my blog (Do I have an appropriate format? Should I have added this or that to it? Should I have left that out?). I found others’ work so interesting, but I struggled to write the tours. It took me hours thinking and re-working my words to do the assignment correctly. Even after I posted my tours, I didn’t feel as confident in my work that I thought I would. For this week, I have known that my final week would be the dessert week, but after the work intensive week last week, I felt a little less motivated than the past weeks. It actually bummed me out that I wasn’t as energized, especially being the last week I still enjoyed making the recipes, and documenting my process, but the write-ups took more time than usual. I think a big part of my lack of energy was my fiancé and I brought our new puppy home this week so we have been exhausted with him.

THINGS I LEARNED:

A good thing that I think came out of last week’s studio tours was when I was comparing my project to others, I realized how truly proud I am of my project. I obviously like to get good grades, and like my work to be up well done, but I have taken a whole new pride in my work for this blog. It doesn’t feel like another assignment to do for a class, it has become something I enjoy doing. I have always liked to write, but I never really found something I was passionate about writing about. I have truly enjoyed writing my blog every week, and get very excited when people I don’t know comment or like my blogs. I feel like people are interested in what I have to say. This week also taught me that I need to give myself more credit in my abilities, both in blogging and in cooking. For the homemade brownies, I had the recipe out, but I didn’t even look at it to make them. I have made them so many times, that I’m confident in my abilities to “just do it”. I also have learned that something might make sense in my mind, but I have to explain it a different way in the blog for others to understand. I will re-read my blog posts before I post them and most times, I have to fix a direction because it is either too vague or it doesn’t make sense. I have learned a lot of my style of writing during this project.

THINGS I WORKED ON THIS WEEK:

Week 7-Dessert

Facts about Dessert

Homemade Chocolate Brownies

Philadelphia 3-Step Cheesecake

Philadelphia 3- Step Cheesecake review

Last Week:

Week 6- Grilling

Grilling 101

Grilled Cheeseburgers and Corn on the Cob

Grilled Mexican Lime Chicken

Grilled Mexican Lime Chicken Review

Studio Tours

Tour #1

JKaufenberg: Interactive Middle School Novel Studies: Creating communication link between parents, teachers, and students

She says at the school she teaches at, all the students have ipads, access to internet and course materials online, so her project was testing the effectiveness of using social media in the classroom.

She used several media platforms for her project. She used twitter to share facts about and articles that dealt with different aspects of the reading. She also tweeted and linked her #interactivenovelstudy to twitter so teachers, parents and students could have several ways to get to her blog.

For safety concerns both by parents and schools, She used kidblog.org to create a blog for her students to use for their novel study. From the website, the teacher can create a private blog by using a class code that only her students and their parent can access to provide a safe space for students to work and connect. She also created a remind account where teachers can connect with both parents and students from anywhere where she can post reminders and things for her students to do and communicate faster. It keeps numbers hidden, so it is safe for students to use.

She had to teach her students, not only how to do the assignments but also how to use the new social media. She planned lessons within her unit, to just teach and give students practice using these new social media tools. Many of her reflection posts for the class, explain in depth how her unit got started. She explains what an interactive novel study  is for anyone which is helpful to know what it is before trying to understand how to use one.

She has one post about setting up her interactive novel studies where she goes in depth about how to set up the novel studies using the new blog and twitter media. She also screenshot pictures of the steps to make it easy to create one. She also explains what students will be doing, from daily reading responses, to reading the chapters online, to having a free space where students can comment on what they are thinking while reading.

Things came up and she wasn’t able to follow her project proposal exactly how she had in mind, but things happen, and she had to be flexible in making it work  for her own classroom as well as for the project. She also created categories and tags so you could find either a certain post, or a certain grade novel guide. She had both 7th grade and 8th grade novel guides she created. Since these were real novel guides that she is using, she had all of the information blocked from visitors who are not in the class. I would have liked to see how these were playing out in real time, but I understand for student safety not to let strangers see what the kids are doing.

Tour #2

Tony Lien: Infinite Headphones

His blog is about finding and talking about forgotten music. He creates a more relaxed approach to researching different artists and music. The blog wasn’t created into forcing any type of music on anyone. It was created to let others know what he is into and to show another path into finding “new” or “different” artists and music.

His blog is very simple to use. He has his main home page, his about page, where he explains what his blog is about, contact information, and then he has his blog entries of different kinds of music and artists. For each blog post, he chooses an artist to give information about and includes what the genre of music is. You can click on his music entries to see all of them at once, or he has created a down arrow where you can see just the name of the artist and the genre to just look at one at a time. He has a wide range of genres that he chose for this project (experimental /improvisation/contemporary classical, Canterbury scene/psychedelic/progressive rockcinematic drone)

Each blog post gives some background on the artist and on the genre of music while also adding his personal comments about what he thinks of the artist/genre. He also gives an interesting fact. In his project proposal, he states that he wants to share not only the music, but share a little bit of the life of the artist with others. He then has a recommended listening section where he names the song from the artist. At the end of each post, he also uploaded a Youtube video of the recommended song. This is nice for visitors who can just listen to the song right on the blog without having to open another tab. You can also read through his post on the said artist while listening to it.

I noticed that the links he included were the same color as the rest of the text, so you have to really be looking close to see that they are bolder than the rest of the text. At first glance, it doesn’t look like he has any links, but he does. They range from articleslistening stationreviews to a documentary.

He also included a blog roll that has a few sites to check out that become a place to search for music. One site is a blog created entirely to release cassettes and talk about what kind of music it is. Another cool site he added on his blog roll is Music Map. It is a site where you can type in an artist you like and find other artists who are similar in music you might like.

Tour #3

Blake Jackson: Fitness Tracker

His blog project was connected to his class blog. His project proposal did say that he would have a fitness tracker category on the bottom of his blog, which he does. His blog posts were like diary entries counting the days since he started the project. Each post is labeled what day of the journey he is on since he started. The last entry was day 34, but he doesn’t have 34 entries. Some days he doesn’t post about his fitness day but still keeps track of the days. His blog posts are informal entries where he track his daily nutrition and his fitness plan and lets others know how his journey is going. On Day 1, he started an 8 Week 5K Training Plan which breaks down the weeks into what and how fast you need to run.

He has a previous and next button on his blog posts, so you can read his blog posts in order starting at day one. You don’t have to keep going back to the main page to find the next post so it is nice and easy to follow.

In his daily posts, he shares what he is eating and adding how many calories each meal consists of. Each week, he recaps how the week overall went for him. I think these weekly reflections are good to include because day to day can vary for a lot of reasons, so its’ he’s showing a bigger picture. He breaks the weekly summaries into workouts, runs, diet, and groceries to discuss them separately and how they worked for him. On day 9, he decided to start posting about his day the next morning to give himself more time to reflect on the day before. He also shared his new stretching routine from Youtube and said Youtube could be a helpful resource to find fitness and health related videos.

He shared links to different kinds of foods he was eating as well as a few articles. One thing I was noticing was he talks about his calories he was eating and making sure to try to hit his caloric goal. I thought maybe he could link his resources on how he found what his caloric goal is and how others can find their goal to match their own fitness and health needs.

He stays honest on his fitness journey, which is nice to see. When things don’t go the way he planned, he write about that and explains how he plans to fix it. He also gives himself a cheat meal every so often. He’s being real with his fitness goals and journey.

 

 

 

 

Reflection 10 (Week #13)

This is my fifth week working on my blogging project. Again like last week with cooking chicken, I was used to making eggs every day. My fiancé and I love eggs and from the beginning, I knew I would incorporate an egg meal at some point. I am actually surprised I like eggs so much. Both my parents don’t like eggs (my dad actually gets sick when he ever eats them), so I didn’t eat a lot of eggs growing up. I started making eggs a lot in college because it was cheap, easy to make, and filling to eat. My fiancé claims he ONLY lived on Omelets in college. I think eggs were a really good choice for my blog because they are a simple meal and you can make them so many ways.

THINGS I STRUGGLED WITH THIS WEEK:

Something I struggled with this week was deciding what exactly I was going to make. Every day, I make myself eggs over hard with a little salt and pepper. It is a two-minute meal and probably could have fit in with my cooking blog, but I also want to challenge myself as a cook and find meals that are still easy, but give people a little more variety in their life. I had the same issue last week because the chicken we make every day at home is pretty bland compared to what we made for the blog. I want there to be a balance because I want to get recipes to represent real life beginner cooks, but I also want the recipes to be something people actually want to go home and make. Another thing I’m already struggling with is finding ideas of what I want to make for next week. I usually have a pretty good idea by the weekend before, and my fiancé and I do all our grocery shopping on Sunday (the work week gets way too crazy to sit down and meal prep and find recipes and still go to the store). My original plan was to make some kind of soup, but since it has been unseasonably warm out for April, the last thing I want to cook and my fiancé wants to eat is hot soup. I have a few ideas, but we’ll see what happens.

THINGS I LEARNED:

I have been practicing with editing my photos some more this week. A coworker told me you could edit your photos on Photoshop software before uploading the photos to the blog media content. I am not sure if I’m ready for that step yet. I don’t want my photos to be too edited. Like my Instagram, I don’t use that many filters and I thought, especially for a beginner cooking blog, I want it to look like how I see it in person, the real life cooking for beginners. Another thing I have learned this week came from my research on eggs. I never knew what labels meant (nor did I ever take the time to look). I learned this week that if your eggs say “no hormones added” that is just a way to sell you more expensive eggs when ALL eggs can’t have hormones added according to FDA guidelines. I also don’t like when things are labeled “organic”. What does that mean? Well, in the eggs case, it doesn’t mean anything. Eggs aren’t organic. It just means the chickens were only fed with ingredients that don’t have any pesticides. I know I say this every week, but I really am learning more than I ever thought I would and have enjoyed learning.

THINGS I WORKED ON THIS WEEK:

Week 5-Eggs

Everything to Know about Eggs

The Basic French Omelette

The Basic French Omelette Recipe Review

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Italian Egg Bake

Reflection 9 (week 12)

This is my fourth week working on my blogging project. I got really into the project this week. My fiancé are constantly cooking and eating chicken and so it felt right to add a week about chicken. It wasn’t hard talking about chicken meals because lately that’s all we’ve been eating. My fiancé teases me because of how into the project I have been getting. I am really enjoying researching my meals and learning the history. I have also been sharing my newfound knowledge with my students, who mostly rolled their eyes when I told them a new fun fact about chickens. Since my fiancé and I are watching what we are eating for our upcoming wedding, I wanted to incorporate a healthier option meal, but I also found some really fun (not so healthy) chicken meals.

Things I struggled with this week:

Personally, I struggled with wanting to make these elaborate calorie filled chicken goodness recipes I was finding, but also knew that if I ate those kinds of meals, I would never get into my wedding dress at this rate. I want my recipes I choose for the blog something people can enjoy and are less bland than baked chicken breasts and green beans. I love that meal, but to me, it just didn’t seem to fit into my blog style. I want easy meals, but I also want people like me to try new things and get out of their cooking comfort zone. If I stuck only to what I know, then I wouldn’t be able to build on my skills (both blogging and cooking). I decided on two meals again this week; one a little healthier (chicken fajitas) and one not healthy (chicken fries). I’m still working on finding a balance that I will be comfortable with.

Things I learned:

I learned how to edit pictures! While I’m making my recipe, I am taking pictures with my iPhone and then uploading them to my computer to upload to my media content on my blog. I noticed last week that some of the pictures were not that great and that I should’ve cropped some of the background out. While I was choosing my images for this week, I noticed the edit button!! It does the bare minimum (crop, rotate, zoom) but that’s all I need. I could crop out some the background. Also, I took one of my photos sideways because I needed to fit more into the frame, and all I had to do was rotate it to make it look good for my blog.

Speaking of pictures, I also need to just take better pictures in general. I know it is just a amateur blog that was originally designed for a class, but I haven’t been happy with some of my photos. Some of them look good, but my end result with the chicken fajitas in the tortilla doesn’t look as appetizing as it could be. When I am looking through a cooking recipes, that’s the first thing I look at: the end product. If it doesn’t look good, I might stay away from making it. I don’t like that because my fajitas were delicious, and I wish the picture showed how good they really were.

 

Things I worked on this week:

Week 4- Chicken

History of Chicken

Easy Chicken Fajitas

Easy Chicken Fajitas Recipe Review

Chicken Fries with Tamarind BBQ sauce

Chicken Fries Recipe Review