Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

by Denise Krebs

My Favorite Conversation with a Student Today

It was an email conversation last night, actually. (I wanted to wait and ask his permission to share it with you, and he said I could.)

Last week the U.S. sprung ahead for Daylight Savings Time. In Bahrain, as in most of Asia, there is no such time change. We had this conversation through email.

S: Hi Mrs. Denise, the time in the U.S. has jumped ahead 1 hour!!!


Me:¬†Yes, that’s right! I’m glad we don’t change!

S: I saw that from the slice of life challenge website that at 2am u.s time, they jumped ahead one hour that means they became 3 am !!!

I didn’t respond again at that time, but a week later, he sent me a followup email:

Does Donald Trump changed it?

by Denise Krebs

Differentiation Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Do Jigsaw Puzzles

“Aunt Josephine? When we go to the store for puzzles, can we not get jigsaw puzzles?” I pleaded.

Wisely, she left my question unanswered and said, “We’ll see what they have when we get there.”

My seven-year-old self¬†fretted the whole rest of the day and all the way to the dime store in town. My 10-year-old sister and I were staying for a week at Aunt Josephine’s farm.

Why we would continue to keep going back year after year when we got so homesick, I don’t know, but we persisted in the coming years. A lot of it was fun- -spending time with the baby animals, riding on the tractor and in the back of the hay wagon- -but the dark and noisy nights scared us. Farm animal noises.

Anyway, one of the things Aunt Josephine¬†loved was jigsaw puzzles. She and my sister were enjoying putting together a difficult puzzle. I don’t know how many pieces- -maybe 500, 200, or possibly even less. I don’t remember, but the number of pieces was daunting to me! I did not enjoy helping, and it probably made me more homesick and lonely watching them do the puzzle together.

When my aunt told me she would buy a puzzle for me that I would like, I got excited, but remained skeptical. I couldn’t imagine there was such a thing, so I worried.

That evening, as she promised, she took us into town and right to the toy section.

And there, when I saw it, I jumped for joy: a cardboard puzzle in a tray, with guides to line up the 15 pieces. A puzzle that rocked a picture of a sweet kitten in a basket. My heart soared! Now that’s a puzzle. That’s the kind of puzzle I love.

“Oh good,” I said. “They have good puzzles¬†here–not jigsaw puzzles.”

My aunt showed me the label: 15-piece jigsaw puzzle. “I guess you will be able to get a jigsaw puzzle, after all,” she said, with a smile. Then she bought me two different kitten puzzles.

I was reminded of that story this morning as I made a verb game for my students–some of whom are advanced grade five readers, as good as many native English speaking grade 5 students I’ve known. On the other hand, some of them are still learning basic English vocabulary. All of them study half of their day in Arabic subjects.

Differentiation. We can all play the games, all do the work, all learn the strategies. We sometimes need to do it at a different level, and that’s OK.

Purpose: practicing with verb forms. #differentiation #cy365 #t365project

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by Denise Krebs

Ghee Ghee and Leah

Thursday is my kid sitting evening. Ghee Ghee and Leah come while their parents lead the youth group at church. It’s convenient that we live right next door.

Ghee Ghee and Leah are not their real names. Those were their “baby” names tonight. They built their fort tonight as babies, complete with baby talk. I made a short attempt at this blog post, but that didn’t last. While they built the fort, I said I would record the progress through photographs. I did for awhile.


The babies stayed busy with the fort for some time. Next Ghee Ghee and Leah became Silverback Gorilla and Baby Gorilla #1. The Silverback saved us all by fighting off lions.

Then we ate raisins.

Next we ate cheese while reading Oxcart Man.

We discussed punctuation marks.

Then we baked brownies.
Then we made necklaces with beads.

Those are just the things I remember! They were only here for a little over an hour, but now I’m exhausted and ready to put my feet up.

by Denise Krebs

Old School

I am privileged to work in an old school with much history. A mission from the Reformed Church in America was started in the late 1800s. Samuel Zwemer and James Cantine came and started a hospital, church and school. The three are still going strong today. I am fortunate to be able to be involved in each of these institutions–the American Mission Hospital, the Evangelical Church of Bahrain, and the Al Raja School.

Old school, literally. #cy365 #t365project

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Al Raja School, Founded in 1899

by Denise Krebs

My Carrot Cake Memories

Inspired by yesterday’s Slice by Erika Victor, I will write about carrot cake memories today.

It seems like I grew up eating this recipe of carrot cake, but I’m not sure when my mom’s cousin Lorraine first found the recipe. It might have been when I was a teen, possibly¬†somewhere in the 1970’s.

Here is my recipe card that I copied from the family cookbook sometime in the 80’s.

This is the only picture I have of the recipe card. I took a blurry image when I digitized my recipe collection before moving overseas. Oops, should have focused better.

This recipe holds so many memories. Too many to name, but a few include enjoying it with my family as a young person, introducing it to my future husband, and then helping my mom bake it for our wedding cake in 1983. We baked it for our daughters’ first birthday cakes, their baptism celebrations, my husband’s 40th birthday, graduations, and so many more that we have lost track.

When I told my husband about this post, he reminded me of the time we were at a fifth grade track meet with my youngest daughter on his birthday. My oldest daughter stayed home and baked him a surprise carrot cake. It was her first attempt, and although a bit crooked, it was delicious and full of love.

We’ll be making more memories when it comes time for my daughter’s wedding in May. The tentative plan is they will have a variety of cupcakes, and surely this will be one of them.

Over the last 40 years, we’ve made some 21st century adaptations, and we like it just as well. The adapted recipe below with reduced fat and sugar is by no means a healthy cake now, but it’s a little better than it used to be.

I hope you will take either the recipe above or below and adapt it for your purposes, making it even better.

Carrot Cake

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Sift together:

  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†2 cups flour
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†1 t. baking soda
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬Ĺ t. salt
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†1 ¬Ĺ t. baking powder
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†2 t. cinnamon
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†1 ¬Ĺ cups sugar

Add and beat well:

  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†1 cup oil
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†4 eggs

Add and beat again:

  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†3 cups grated raw carrots

Optional, fold in 1 cup walnut pieces

Pour into a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Bake at 180 degrees C for 25-30 minutes (convection oven) or maybe 30-40 minutes in a regular oven. Check it at 25 minutes to see if a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream together 250 grams of cream cheese and 50 grams of butter.

Add 1 t. vanilla and a pinch of salt.

Gradually add about 500 grams of powdered sugar and beat until creamy.

Thank you, Erika, for your memories, which sparked my memories.

What recipe holds special memories for you?

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