Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Since our children just love their teachers, we decided to look for ways to honor them. A little Web surfing turned up a cute, relatively easy and inexpensive idea that I’d like to share with you as an idea for a teacher’s gift.
There really isn’t anything better than telling a teacher why they’re important to your child, so we love the idea of personalizing a notebook. Encourage your child to write a note on the first page of the notebook, letting their teacher know why they’re special. Here’s a link to a few ideas about how to make a cool notebook that your child’s teacher is sure to love – almost as much as the letter they’ll receive!).
Apple for the Teacher
When I hear “teacher’s gift,” visions of apples automatically flash through my mind. That’s why I’m also sharing a simple, recipe that includes Granny Smith apples. I haven’t yet taste-tested this recipe, so I’ll be eager to hear your comments. As a complement to the main dish, here’s a link to parmesan potatoes.
Tender Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples and Onions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
- 2 Whole Yellow Onions
- 3 Whole Granny Smith Apples
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 4 Whole Bone-in Pork Loin Chops
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish. Place the onion slices in an even layer over the bottom of the dish. Top the onion slices with the apples. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the apples and onions. Season the pork chops generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the pork chops in a single layer on top of the apples and onions. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for three hours. Do not open the oven and lift the foil – the pork chops, apples and onions need to be tightly covered the whole time to work their magic (and not dry out). Serve with parmesan mashed potatoes and top with apples and onions.
Our son has been begging us for a Black Lab puppy for five years. For five years, we’ve listened to, “I’ll take care of him myself. I promise, you won’t have to do a thing!” and “If you let me get a dog, I’ll get up every morning at 6:00 to walk her.”
Now that he has turned nine, John and I decided he’s ready for the responsibility of a pet. (Plus, who couldn’t reward determination like that? Persistence pays!)
So on Saturday, April 3, our family went to pick up our 8-week-old female pup. Meet Bailey, who was named after the creek that runs through our backyard. She’s cute. She’s cuddly. She’s everything our son wanted in a puppy. She is not, however, potty trained!
I’ve tried a few tricks: taking her out first thing in the morning and first thing in the afternoon to her designated spot; mopping up the “accidents” with vinegar and baking soda; and placing newspapers in front of the kennel door. No luck.
Do you have potty training tips that have worked for your dog or others you know?
Stay tuned for more Puppy Tales adventures. I have a feeling that someday soon one of my posted recipes will have been taste-tested by Bailey.
“Early planting” has taken on a new definition for many farmers this spring as unusually warm, dry weather allowed them to finish planting corn in record time. It’s also causing some farmers to question how early to plant soybeans.
Benefits of early planted soybeans, defined as late April or early May planting, have shown to outweigh potential risks in some university studies. Research by Iowa State University shows the optimal planting dates for soybeans – if soil conditions are suitable – in the southern 2/3 of the state is the last week of April and the first week of May for the northern 1/3 of Iowa. Seventy-nine percent of the time planting in late April or early May resulted in higher yields than soybeans planted around May 20.
When determining how early to plant, the potential benefit of yield gain must be weighed against the potential risks. Planting seeds in cool soils can delay emergence and predispose soybean plants to seedling diseases. The ideal soil temperatures for soybeans is 77 degrees Fahrenheit; germination may be delayed by three weeks if the soil temperature at two inches is about 50 degrees. Cool soil temperatures may also slow root development and make seedlings more susceptible to root rotting pathogens that can cause “damping off”.
Early planting may also predispose soybean plants to infection by Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS). To reduce the risk of SDS infection, choose soybean varieties with good tolerance to that disease. Also be aware of whether the field in which the soybeans will be planted has a history of SDS.