Archive for May, 2011

May is National Foster Care Month!

posted by Karen Hood
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Source: National Foster Parent Association

Presidential Proclamation
President Barak Obama issued a presidential proclamation designating May 2011 as National Foster Care Month. The proclamation begins,
“For nearly half a million youth in foster care across our country, the best path to success we can give them is the chance to experience a loving home where they can feel secure and thrive. During National Foster Care Month, we renew our commitment to ensuring a brighter future for foster youth, and we celebrate the selfless individuals who make a meaningful difference in their lives.” You can read the full proclamation here.

What can you do? Here are some ideas.

  • Go to the website and get some action ideas! See if there is an event in your area.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Tell them why the contribution of foster families should be celebrated.
  • Raise money for your local or state foster parent association by creating a Walk Me Home walk.
  • Help a foster child by becoming a mentor or a CASA.
  • Call, email or write your local social services or family services director – tell them that you are thankful that they do their best to protect our most vulnerable children.
  • Once a week this month, bring up the topic of foster care in a conversation with friends or co-workers.

Walk Me Home….to the place I belong is the signature fund-raising and awareness event for foster care in America. We know not everyone can be a foster parent, but Walk Me Home is a great way to support the over 424,000 children in foster care. This year thousands and thousands of walkers will participate in Walk Me Home events across the country, raising funds to support the life changing programs and activities of foster care associations throughout the United States.
Get your organization, family, or just yourself involved! Get more information at the Walk Me Home web page, and check out the cool music videos.

NFPA is proud to announce the Dave Thomas Foundation as the newest Walk Me Home sponsor.

Blueberry Delights Tantalizes the Tastebuds

posted by Karen Hood
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Blueberry Delights is the latest installment in Karen Hood’s ever-popular Cookbook Delights series. Crammed with delicious recipes and interesting tidbits, graced with the delicate, sure touch of Hood’s poetry, this cookbook is a gem. Cooks of all experience levels and ambition will be thrilled with the variety of recipes that use the delicious blueberry in creative ways, all of them with well laid-out, easy-to-follow instructions. Particularly sumptuous are the recipes in which the berry is used for a savory rather than sweet effect, as in the Blueberry Basil Vinegar or the many mouth-watering main dishes like Pastrami-Spiced Beef with Blueberry Sauce. Other dishes, like the Blueberry Oven Custard Puff Pancake and Blueberry Cheesecake Fudge, promise to be decadent enough to make an impression at the fanciest occasions. There is even a recipe for blueberry wine!

As with all of Hood’s cookbooks, it is the extras that make Blueberry Delights truly stand out. At the beginning of the book, not only will you find a selection of Hood’s themed poetry, but information about identifying different types of blueberry, which will be invaluable for those who like to go berry-picking; tips about growing and cultivating blueberries in your garden; and a fascinating introduction to the berry’s history and folklore. Also present are the helpful metric conversion chart and glossary that will provide excellent assistance for less experienced cooks.

My family tried out the Blueberry Chicken Salsa Torte, Multigrain Blueberry Pilaf, and Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies. Both the torte and the pilaf were longer, more involved recipes than we usually make on a weekday, but both were well worth the extra effort. The torte was simply amazing, the blueberry salsa a bright, flavorful twist that added the perfect touch. The torte recipe is very versatile and will easily accommodate delicious additions like roasted red peppers and pico de gallo for those who want to add their own flair. Although listed in the Appetizer section, it would also make a fun lunch item. The pilaf was equally tasty, and the blueberries added a wonderful burst of flavor to the rice that had even my children (who generally don’t care much for rice) scraping their plates. The wild rice and wheat berries in the recipe also make it very nutritious,  a side dish that will please parents just as much as it will kids. The Oatmeal Blueberry Cookies that we had for dessert were quick and easy to make, and alot of fun for my kids to lend a hand. Adding a fruit other than raisins to an oatmeal cookie was a novel experience for my family, and it was a hit–we’ll definitely have to try it again with variations! As always, Karen Hood has produced another winner in her Cookbook Delights series.

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week!

posted by Karen Hood
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Author: Leehspride
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Since 1984, the National PTA has set aside the first week of May to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week. Join in the festivities this May 1-7 by helping your children plan a surprise for their teacher or purchase a meaningful gift for them, or drop a line to your own favorite college professor to let them know how they have had an impact on your life. On the PTA’s website, you can find many resources to help you plan a fantastic TAW, including posters and stickers, ideas for events and activities, certificates of appreciation, and more.

National Teacher Day is part of this week-long celebration. Since it always falls on the Tuesday of Teacher Appreciation Week, this year it is May 3. The first Teacher Day was celebrated in 1953, after a nine year campaign by Arkansas teacher named Mattye Whyte Woodridge to create such an observance. However, it was not celebrated again until the National Education Association, in particular its Kansas and Indiana chapters, lobbied Congress for a national day to celebrate educators in 1980. Congress passed it, and for the next 5 years Teacher Day was celebrated on March 7, until the creation of Teacher Appreciation Week when the date of Teacher Day was changed to correspond with the week-long festivities.

People in the educational field have some of the most important but under-appreciated jobs in our country. They work long hours dealing with sometimes unruly and stubborn children, and must constantly find new and creative ways to reach out to their students. Their dedication to educating current and future generations of Americans is nothing short of heroic, and we owe them our gratitude and admiration. Furthermore, we should not forget the many supportive roles performed by administrative staff, principals, teacher’s aides, cafeteria workers, and janitors in our schools, for they too contribute to the education and betterment of our children. We should express our appreciation for these diligent people far more often than we do, so please take a moment this week to find a way to thank the teachers in your life and the lives of your children.