Thursday, September 30, 2010

Plum Tatin and putting out fires

My 3 favorite people (Fall 2009)

I feel like "putting out fires" has been the theme of my life since school has started for Katie. Emotionally this has taken quite a toll on me. There is a double edged swored that is called parent portal. In theory and I guess in reality it is. What is parent portal you might ask? Basically it is your child's grade book online. So yes, this tool is good because there are no surprises you can track exactly how your child is doing. Bad when you find out all sorts of inconsistent remarks. Let me explain. The first week of school Katie had an essay due for English. She had completed it and also needed to decorate a paper bag and fill it with five items that described her, she also did this. The problem was Katie was having problems getting into her locker and couldn't get from the third floor to the basement in time. She told her teacher her predicament. The teacher explained and said she could still present without her bag, but her grade would be lowered. Well she lowered her grade a lot!!! So we had to send an e-mail explaining the situation to the teacher. She was very gracious and raised her grade.

Last week I noticed that one of Katie's quiz scores in American History was lowered. She had brought the paper home with the original grade, so I was confused. I e-mailed the teacher and explained the situation. He was also very gracious and said it was probably a computer error and he would correct it.

Then yesterday I was checking parent portal and noticed that in her French class in the scoring section of Katie's last quiz it said CHEATED. Now I know my daugheter is not perfect, but there is one thing that Katie is not and that is a cheater. So I immediately called the school and left a voice mail with the teacher and e-mailed her. A few hours later I received an e-mail back that said, "it must be a mistake a terrible glitch of the mouse." Seriously people are you trying to give me a heart attack!!

After talking with a friend, I have decided to give myself permission to check parent portal twice a week. I think I have found a few additional gray hairs these past few weeks.

Other than that school is going really pretty well for Katie. She is doing good in her classes, has good friends, and can open her locker.

Ian has a lovely teacher. She seems to really get Ian and how he operates. Brian and I couldn't be happier, and Ian is quite content as well.

Speaking of Katie she has been begging me to make her favorite plum cake for weeks. So I baked one for her finally. This photo was taken last year. I tried to take one when I made it, but the sun had gone to bed already. This cake is really easy to put together and has the most wonderful fruity taste. Enjoy!

Plum Tatin
I adapted this recipe lightly from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
6-8 plums, cut in half and pitted
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-inch pie dish and arrange the plums in the dish, cut side down.

Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don't stir. Pour evenly over the plums.

Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the plums and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If a plum sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room



Angel said...

Oh wow! Amazing that there could there be soooo many mistakes on her grades. So glad you caught all of them. Makes you wonder if other kids are experiencing the same thing and perhaps their parents aren't catching them. Scary!

That plum tatin looks delish.

sjhofer said...

Sounds like a frustrating first couple weeks of school dealing with grades. Good thing you were on top of it or it would have been a lot worse later.

Vivi said...

Thank goodness you have the ability to check that stuff out online and get it corrected quickly. Sounds like maybe they need a new webmaster. :) But I bet all was well once everyone had a bite of plum tatin!

Taffy J said...

Instead of relying on Parent Portal I would directly email the teachers once a week. Like a bulk email on her grade what is missing and how she is doing. I to use Parent Portal, and they have Symone out of class more than she is in. And Symone knows not to miss class without me knowing about. LOL. Anyway maybe that would help.


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