health & relaxation

May 10, 2009

personally, and I don’t know if this comes as a big surprise, but I REALLY like to relax. I like hot tubs and eating and taking naps and takings naps on couches and eating and then taking a nap on a couch. For us though, educators, in a high stress position, the time for all these simple pleasures is dwindling. That’s why I think it’s important to reboot in our summer months, to get in touch with our commitment as artists, and maybe catch 40 winks. Don’t forget we were artists first, so brushing up on your skills, taking time for yourself, and having more credibility as a teacher can’t hurt, can it? This is really important to me, that we relax and remember, when we’re older and veterans of the teaching scene, that we came from somewhere, that we are artists first. Take time for yourself, and more importantly your art. An art teacher who doesn’t make art isn’t taken seriously, so take yourself seriously.

so, some places in illinois.


Ragdale is an artists’ retreat located on the grounds of Arts and Crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s 1897 summer home in Lake Forest, IL.

The artists’ community, which is situated just 30 miles north of Chicago and overlooks 50 acres of prairie, now hosts over 200 emerging and established artists of all disciplines each year.

it’s 30 dollars to apply, but having been to this rather remarkable place, I would definitely recommend it.

A list of All the Great Lake Artist Retreat

great list. seriously

Drea had a great suggestion about writing your artist statement in preparation for an application. Include your past works, all the materials you work with or intend to work with, and what your purpose is as an artist. How do you want your students to perceive you? I know we talked a lot about not having a “medium” this semester, so with that in mind, how important is it that we be perceived as “working artists”? I know my favorite teacher in high school went away every summer and came back with great stories of a time for regrouping, getting her head on straight from “a year spent with you“, and renewing her energy as a person. It was apparent that it wasn’t the time spent away with us, or getting up after 5am, but that her art was important and therefore OUR art was important. Maybe getting away from the midwest would be good for you. We all know a good travel might be the most important thing you do for yourself as a person.

Fortunately, it’s summer now (officially!) so I’m gonna go take a nap.


If your idea of a delectable desert is a Hostess Twinkie from your nearest 7-11, I have a treat for you! Two basic cake recipies- nothing fancy but extra tasty.  Maybe you have never baked a cake or you think, why wast the time? Well, friend, let me tell you- these cakes will be worth your while. If you don’t think you like cake, this cake just might change your mind.

I come from a long lineage of fabulous bakers so I have a serious love for cake.  Here are two recipies I love!

carrot cake

vanilla cupcakes

And then there’s icing.  Wilton is a company that has been supplying cake goods since 1929.  My family swears by them for all cake products and I think their buttercream icing is hands down, the best.

buttercream icing

Here’s a few basics that will make your cake perfect!

grease only the bottom of the cake pan.  Rub a small amount of vegetable shortening on a paper towel on the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle with a little flour, shake around to coat shortening, dump out excess flour.  Greasing only the bottom helps your cake climb up the sides of the pan so it rises evenly.  Would you be able to climb a wall covered in vegetable shortening? Neither can your cake.

To turn a cake out of the pan, let cool about 10 minutes.  Run a knife between the edge of the pan around the entire cake.  Hold a wire rack on top of the pan, while grasping both flip the cake upside down.  Remove pan.

Mix wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients. Mix them together in adding dry to wet.

  • Don’t over mix your cake.  Cake is usually too dry because of some zealous mixing.  Once all the dry ingredients are mixed with the wet ingredients  enough to no longer be visible as their original form- stop! That’s enough!



May 6, 2009

at our last class we talked a bit about reflexology so i though it would be fitting to incorporate this into the blog. so sit back and give yourself a foot massage.

Reflexology is a form of bodywork that focuses primarily on the feet.

The underlying theory behind reflexology is that there are “reflex” areas on the feet and hands that correspond to specific organs, glands, and other parts of the body. For example: the tips of the toes reflect the head, the heart and chest are around the ball of the foot, the liver, pancreas and kidney are in the arch of the foot,low back and intestines are towards the heel

lesson idea: draw your own reflexology diagram.





  • sticky rice
  • 1 phat Pineapple
  • 1 of each: green, yellow, orange, red peppers (its too bad mother earth ‘ make blue or purple peppers c we’d have our rainbowpeppers
  • 1/2 green or yellow onion
  • minced garlic: 1 clove is plenty
  • 3 +cups of sugar snap peas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch
  • 3 tsp low sodium soy sauce (a serving or regular soy sauce contains all the sodium that a person should consume in a day)
  • salt-n-pepa
  • salt_n_pepa1

  • lawry’s seasoned salt
  • broccoli, peas, baby corn, carrots
  • Mini Shrimp: fresh or frozen, de-tailed and de-veined. Amount is based on how many people you are feeding.A heaping handful should be enough to ill you up.happy-shrimpbmp

what do i do now?

  1. Get your rice started in a rice cooker. For every one cup of dry rice in you will get 1 1/2 cups when cooked. And put in 1 1/2 cups of water for each cup of rice. Turn on the contraption and let-her-cook.
  2. You may now begin chopping your vegetables. This is where your ‘artistic agency’ comes into play. You get to decide how big/small, fat/thin, short/long the pieces will be. I prefer to chop on a wooden surface because I hate the noise the knife makes on a glass one. Chop up everything, you want to use AS MANY vegetables as possible.


  1. You can mince your own garlic if you like, but you can also buy it in a cute little jar cuz that stuff can make your digits stinky for a like week.
  2. In a seperate bowl mix 1 cup of chicken broth, 1 tsp cornstarch, 2 tsp of soy sauce.
  3. Chop up your pineapple. Resist the urge to gobble it all up before putting it into your stir-fry, its worth the wait. I like to make little cubes appx. 1″x1″. HOW TO CHOP A PINEAPPLE
  4. Coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil and set it at a medium heat level. (Stir-fry is traditionally done in a wok at high heat but since most people dont have high heat or big ol’ woks this recipie calls for a big ol’ pan.
  5. Saute several pinches of minced garlic. I like garlic so I put alot in.
  6. (If you do not wish to include shrimp, skip this step) Add in your (defrosted) shrimp and stir until pink.
  7. Add your peppers, onions, snap peas, and other vegetables. Turn and stir frequently for about two minutes so that all of the vegetables have been stir fried. This will start to smell deeeeeliscious!
  8. Add in your cornstarch/soy sauce/ broth mixture over the vegetables and put a lid on it for 1-2 minutes. The flavors will soak up and do a dance with each other. The liquid mixture will begin to evaporate.
  9. Add salt, pepper, lawrys, and other spices to taste. You may add a splash of soy sauce for more of a salty flavor.
  10. Lastly add the pineapple and keep stiring and frying for another 1-2 minutes.
  11. Remove all the contents from heat.

ENJOY! Scoop your rice onto a plate or bowl (1/2 cup of rice is an adequate serving) and add heaps of the vegetables. Again about a handful of small shrimps will be enough.

Also Recommended: reflexology, yoga, or eat a bunch of deliscious carrot cake with mounds of frosting.