Sunday, July 1, 2012


Every 4 of July, for many years now, I’ve made red, white and blue jello.  This jello is not what I’d call difficult, but it takes 6 hours.  You’re not working on it all 6 hours, this thing isn’t brain surgery, but you do have to commit yourself to it.  Each layer needs to set before you can gently put on the next.  If you don’t wait long enough between layers, they will bleed together.  If you don’t work with the gelatin correctly, that layer will gel lumpy instead of smooth.  It’s never perfect, but what is?
Teaching kids, at home and in school, is supposed to be a long term commitment. They learn best in layers, each one the foundation for the next.

Red White and Blue Jello | | #recipe
Red, White and Blue Jello
When Older Son was in Middle School, he had a Student Teacher for Chemistry.  She was teaching something about balancing chemical equations and Older Son didn’t get it.  Older Son was a good student with good grades but he was struggling with this concept.  He stayed after school with the Student Teacher but she just repeated what she had said in class.  I e-mailed her asking what we could do to make sure that Older Son masters this part of the curriculum.  Could we come at this information from another angle?  She answered that this is how she teaches.
This is what I came to understand:  If they’re not learning, you’re not teaching.
It had been a long time since I had been in school, but I sat down with Older Son’s book and papers and studied.  Once I figured out the lesson, I explained it to him in a very visual way, using props. The next day in class the students corrected each other’s homework.  Few were able to do it, but saw that Older Son had done his.  The Teacher wasn’t happy, but many circled around Older Son, who explained it to his classmates in the way that he was able to understand it.
Teaching is difficult.  But here’s the thing, so is learning.  When my kids were little and they misbehaved, I used to take a toy away from them.  I’d put it on top of the refrigerator for a while.  They could see it but they couldn’t have it until they understood the behavioral changes that needed to be made.  I remember trying to talk to my Mom on the phone one day and not being able to because the kids were disruptive.  Mom asked “Can they go play for a little while so we can have a short conversation?”  “No”, I answered “at the moment all of their toys are on top of the refrigerator”.
What happens when the toys spend too much time on top of the refrigerator?  Did one of those layers not set before you applied the next?  If they’re not learning you’re not teaching; even if you're utilizing the expertise of others it’s ultimately on you.  So, no matter what, you’re gonna keep walking into that brick wall because you know this; it may come at a price, in some cases a much higher price than you ever thought imaginable.  But, in the end, the reward is Independence . . .for all.
Happy 4th of July, everyone.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Red, White and Blue Jello

Printable Recipe

2 pkgs red jello, dissolve each (separately) in 1 cup boiling water, then add ½ cup cold water
2 pkgs blue jello, dissolve each (separately) in 1 cup boiling water, then add ½ cup cold water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin dissolved (together) in ½ cup cold water
2 cups milk
¾ cups sugar
2 cups sour cream mixed with 2 tsp vanilla
*Prepare 1 of the red jellos as indicated above and pour into a 9 X 13 pan.  Put in refrigerator until set (about 45 minutes).
*While red is setting, put milk in a pan and heat but don’t boil.  Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
*Remove from heat and add the dissolved unflavored gelatin.  Wisk in and let cool a little on counter.
*Wisk in the sour cream and vanilla mixture.  Leave on counter.
*Once red jello is set, carefully top with a layer of 1 ½ cups of the white mixture.  Refrigerate until set (about 45 minutes).
*Repeat with blue layer, then white, then red again then white again and finally the last blue layer.
*Allow final layer to set before cutting.


  1. I love how the strawberries look! I will definitely need to try a red and white version for Canada Day next year!


Warning: Comment at your own risk. I have Comment Moderation, meaning I approve all comments before they show up here. So go ahead, I'm not scared!