BREAD WEEK #2: One Hour Bread – spoiler alert….this is a lie

I spent the week reading some articles about bread baking, and I ended up going down a rabbit hole of bread…. Bread 101, the science behind baking bread, bread history, no-knead bread, breading on food, milk-bread, soda bread….and this list goes on . I guess I am ignorant to the passion surrounding bread. Maybe I, too, will become passionate about bread after this project is over.  Eventually, I settled on trying a blogger’s recipe. What caught my eye was this: “Easy fast bread recipe that bakes up soft, fluffy and golden brown in only 60 minutes.” ONE HOUR. Come on folks.  If you read last week, I spent 4 HOURS baking 2 loves.

I repeat: ONE HOUR.

Let’s do this.

I quickly realized that the reason this recipe only takes one hour is because of this magical ingredient: quick rising yeast.  I am 99% sure Mamma Val used this back in the day. There’s no way she would spend 4 hours on her bread with 3 kids all up “in her kitchen”.  Huge shoutout to Mamma Val again. Naturally, she had an entire jar of quick rise yeast she gifted me. She is the best.

After taking my middle child to soccer one evening, I came home and promptly gathered my ingredients, excited to have fresh bread in one-hour as the recipe claims.  It was 8:00pm, and I was hopeful to be crushing a fresh slice of bread and butter at 9:15pm.  I’m so sorry to report: SugarGeek Recipes:

To begin, I had to warm the milk to a very precise temperature: 110 degrees. I was very worried I was going to scald it, so I took this part slowly, warming up the milk 30 seconds at a time.  Well, it turns out, I went one 30s too long that it ended up WAY over the recommended temperature. So then, I had to let it cool.  Not off to a very good start of the one-hour track.  This recipe calls for the use of a stand mixer with a dough-hook, and since I have a Kitchen Aid one, I was pumped to use it, thinking it would make up for the time spent on not scalding the milk. I threw all the ingredients in the bowl and let the mixer do the work.  I guess I wouldn’t be getting in my muscle work by kneading like last week.  Pffffffffff.


I followed the instructions to the letter, and I kept testing it to get the little see through window without tearing as stated.


Uggggh. So, I went back to what I know best: kneading it by hand for another 15 minutes to get that darn stretchy window.  I finally achieved that, and this dough was ready to rise. (TIME STAMP: almost 25 minutes into the recipe).

Just like I remember Mamma Val doing, it told me to put it in an oiled bowl with a towel over top, and leave it somewhere warm. It happened to be 29 degrees out, so the air conditioning was on.  I had nowhere warm, so I thought I’d try their suggestion of turning the oven on to the lowest setting and setting the covered bowl in.  PERFECT.


I didn’t read the suggestion correctly, and put the bowl literally in the oven and closed the door.  WRONG. I wasn’t supposed to shut the door because it gets too hot and could kill the yeast. Oh well, 25 minutes into the rising, and it looked pretty good to me. I guess I’ll never know if I killed the yeast or not (TIME STAMP: well over 60mins into the recipe).

I cut the dough in half and shaped it.  I like that I could just shape it onto a parchment lined baking sheet. I am no artist, but there’s definitely some French bread vibes here. Then, I had to put an egg wash on it.  Egg wash. Pfffffffffffff. What a waste of an egg.  I guess I should I have read all the notes at the end that it could have been milk. Or water. Or something else.  I guess I also should have read that an egg wash is egg and water, not just an egg.


Then I had to score the top with four diagonal cuts “at a 30º angle in the top of the loaf, about ¼” deep”. What? I have no idea what that looks like, so I just went for it. Pretty sure I went too deep. And after a solid 90 minutes into this “One-hour bread recipe”, into the oven for 25 minutes.

For sure cut it way too deep.

I mean – the house smells incredible again, so maybe it is worth it?

Okay. FINALLY. After one hour and 55 minutes into the recipe, the bread is done. It actually looks fantastic.  I loved the suggestion to take the temp in the middle of the bread, and if it’s between 190-200 degrees, it’s done.  This is a solid tip I will use for the forthcoming weeks.  They were perfectly golden – I guess the egg wash did it’s job.

Looks gooood…with some deep cuts.

I wanted to let it cool longer, but PLEASE NOTE: it’s 10:00pm at this point and way past my breadtime (see what I did there…). I have lost my mojo.

Alas, to quote Larry, “let’s butter a slice and giv’er a taste!”.

Unreal. Light. Fluffy. Tasty. A success.

So, my friends, this is definitely not a one-hour bread recipe for beginners.  This is more like a one-hour bread recipe for seasoned bakers.  In fairness, I should have read all the way to the end before starting. It would have saved me a lot of “pffffsssss” and “ugggghhhhssss”.  I should have clicked on “jumped to video” instead of “jumping to recipe”.  The video was super helpful and made me recognize my mistakes in hindsight.  Also, the mixer she uses looks super cool – I’ve never seen anything like that in all my Food Network watching.  Probs the most important fact of all time: the quick rise yeast saved me 2 hours – I think it’s the real MVP here.

The real MVP

Or, maybe it’s my husband who is getting fresh bread once a week.

Crushing it

One happy hubby.

Overall, this recipe is good, but I still don’t buy that it’s a one-hour recipe, especially if your standmixer doesn’t do its job. I take full responsibility for not watching the video or reading the recipe notes at the end, but let’s be honest, shouldn’t those notes be put within the instructions, not as a sidebar? I feel like there should be, in big bold letters, READ THE NOTES AT THE END BEFORE YOU START.  I do think this bread tasted better, was lighter and fluffier, and much quicker than Larry’s recipe, but I think at this point, I would use Larry’s instead.  I can’t fault the recipe for my user errors, so I’d still give it 4.5 doughballs out of 5.

fresh raw doughfresh raw doughfresh raw doughfresh raw dough

Stay tuned for next week when I try buns for the first time. I’m quite certain it will be quite bun-ny.

Competing With My iPhone

Before I get into the last couple weeks of my Learning Project Journey, let’s play a little game called “Can you Spot the Difference?”

Here is a series of photos I took with different settings on my camera as well as one on my iPhone. See if you can spot which one was taken on my iPhone!

As you may have gathered from the title of my post, I am still having a really hard time adjusting the settings to make the photo look as high quality as an iPhone naturally can do. I have been watching Fulaan Creative on Youtube because he makes content specifically related to my camera type. I watched some introductory videos about my camera as well as some photography basics videos. I learnt that although the automatic settings are more user-friendly, the manual settings where you can adjust the aperture and shutter speed allow you to learn how to manipulate your camera better for specific settings. So the last few times I was outside I worked on adjusting the different settings to see which ones got me the closest to the representation of the landscape that I was photographing. However, this is a lot more finicky than I thought it would be. Therefore my goal for the next week is to find some more specific articles/videos that can teach me some tips and tricks about adjusting the manual settings…rather than me having to trial and error every setting.

The best of the 50 I probably took..still a long way to go!



I also decided to create an Instagram to post about my journey and to connect with other photographers. I found a few really good hashtags (#canoneosm50, #landscapes, #sunsets, #canonphotography) that provide a lot of inspiration and some accounts to follow with photographers using the same camera and shooting the same style of content. I love being outside in nature, specifically at sunset, so I decided to call my account LandscapesOfJoy. This somewhat limits my content but I also think there are a lot of different skills to be learnt when you do portraits, night photography, or landscapes so I figured it was best to just chose one. Anyways…if you feel like you would enjoy following my journey on Instagram, head on over to landscapesofjoy and give me a follow! 🙂

Thanks again for checking out my update! Feel free to share any tips/tricks if you have ever dabbled in photography!

Go Shorty It’s Your Birthday! We Gonna Make Cake Cause It’s My Birthday

Welcome to my party! What is more perfect to practice the skills I have been learning about then to make my very own birthday cake? Now the lessons I am following called for a funfetti cake I chose to use one of Cakes by Courtneys other cake recipes a Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting ,and yes it was as delicious as you think it would be; seriously you need to try this. YUMMMMMMY! Here was my focus for my first cake because I learned that it is not just about decorating the cake as much as it is also about creating the cake. So today I focused on:

  • What I need to know before starting
  • How to bake the best tasting and looking cake (creating a cake from scratch)
  • Making the best tasting buttercream
  • How to stack and crumb coat
  • Using some of the tools and creating straight and smooth edges

I didn’t get into anything fancy decorating wise today, I wanted to focus on what I thought was just basics but man did those “basics” really take time and some serious learning for me! Straight and smooth edges are no joke; it was hard!

Before Starting

This goes for any cake you are making:

  • Turn your oven onto the required temperature 30 minutes before starting. You want the oven to reach its full potential before you put the cake in. If you put your cake layers in 5 minutes after it says it is done heating up they will not bake evenly, you really want it at full heat.
  • DO NOT use convection bake; it usually runs hot, and then makes your cake dry
  • Use an oven thermometer to see if the internal temperature is actually matching what the oven is telling you. Even if it is a few degrees off it can change the way your cake bakes. Get to know your oven
  • Now this is another big one, get all your wet ingredients out of your fridge at least an hour before you begin baking. You want those ingredients at room temperature and the reason being is that they will be better absorbed by the dry ingredients. It helps your cake rise more evenly
  • .
  • Do not over mix your batter, mix it at a very low speed
  • Use fresh baking soda and baking powder nothing over 6 months old (key)
  • Use cake flour if you can. It is a finer flour and will make a fluffier and lighter cake. Highly preferred



Getting The Best Tasting & Looking Cake

To get started Cakes by Courtney recommends that when making a cake recipe for the first time that you follow it exactly as the author intended for you to. Once you have done it, after that, that it when you can make your substitutions to it. I am a slight rebel but also a rule follower at heart so for this cake I kinda went slightly off the beaten path and instead of making this Banana cake a single layer cake I made it into a 3 layer cake. (oooooooooo such a daredevil I was), doing so didn’t require me changing anything to the cake recipe but it did mean I had to double the buttercream but we shall talk about that later.

  • begin with room temperature butter, add sugar and vegetable oil
  • mix this at a medium speed but after this everything will be mixed a low speed
  • scrape down the sides to make sure it is all blending really well, do this after you add the eggs in as well
  •  For vanilla you can use whatever kind of vanilla you want, it’s all okay
  • Now a very interesting step here was alternating my cake flour mixture and buttermilk (I have never used buttermilk in cakes before so that was something new), starting with your cake mixture and ending with your cake mixture. This helps the ingredients blend more evenly. 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, finish with 1/3 flour.

    blending the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and soda

You can create your own substitute for buttermilk by using 1/2 part greek yogurt, 1/2 part whatever milk you have

  •  Continue to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • If you ever want to colour your cake batter you want to fold the colour in, never use your mixer. Because you do not want to ever over mix. Use a spatula

You wanna know why I love this baker? Especially at this step?  She says you always have to sample. Bon Appetit, says the biggest mistake a baker can make is not taste testing along the way. She said to lick the bowl clean! OK twist my rubber arm!!! I may have had a taste or two but my kids cleaned it right up.


Creating the Perfect Layers

All her recipes are good for 3- 8″ cakes or 4- 6″ cakes. At this step I then decided that I should be okay to make a 3 layer cake just like I wanted too. To ensure the cake batter is evenly shared you need to use a scale. She uses around 16 oz  of batter per cake pan. I found that had more cake batter with this recipe so I just adjusted accordingly.

This helps the cakes bakes even more evenly, when they come out of the oven they will look more even.

Preparing the pans

In my previous cake making I only ever sprayed the pans. Today I used some tricks I learned in the class.

  • Spray the pan including the sides
  • Use parchment paper on the bottom ( I traced the bottom of the pan as you can so slightly see if you really look hard in my picture and then cut it out)

  • Then you spray the parchment paper again in the cake pan
  • Once the cake is in the pans use a spatula to spread it out as evenly as you can

Baking the Cake

  • It is crucial that once you get closer to the baking time being up that you turn on your oven light and pay really close attention to your cakes
  • You will know they are baked perfectly when the top is slightly golden brown and it is not shiny anymore. The sides of the cake are barely pulling away from the sides of the pan.
  • The most important part though is you need to put a toothpick in the center of the cake and when you pull it out you are looking for a few moist crumbs on the toothpick

Something I can’t believe I never put 2 and 2 together is just like meat when you take it out of the oven/grill it is still cooking. Of course DUH that means cakes would do the same… it is still baking for about 5 additional minutes afterwards. Surprise!!

Once the cakes were done cooking I let them cool down for about 15 minutes and then wrapped them up and stuck them in the freezer. Putting cakes in the freezer for at least an hour is a very important step for when you are ready to do the crumb coat.

Making the Buttercream

Everything about about having room temperature ingredients like when you make a cake throw it out the window (her first words in this section) it made me giggle like oooooh kay. You want to have slightly cold ingredients this time. The butter can come out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you begin. This will help get a good consistency in the buttercream. If your frosting ever just falls off the spatual it is because the butter was not cold enough it was too soft and sitting out too long.

Now this is where things got interesting was with her second tip...

Sift your icing sugar… it will help make the icing sugar lighter and fluffier which will help give you a smoother buttercream DO NOT skip this step she said, you will not be disappointed she said… use a big mesh strainer. Well I don’t have a sifter… so I chose to use just my regular strainer like you use for pasta… what a mess!! I do not recommend using a pasta strainer at all, I am sure the metal mesh strainer is sooo much better than this. Now remember earlier I said I doubled my buttercream recipe so that meant 12 cups of icing sugar…

It got my floor, all over my counter, it was just a mess…. I gave up… then my husband walked in and ask what in the world I was doing, so I explained. He said “you know if you use a whisk you can also get the same results a similar one”…. Go away Gord, I never asked you…. UHHHHH.

Another tip I learned is to measure my icing sugar first and then sift which I did.

So now I am at the point where I can add my buttercream ingredients together so off I went following the video and the recipe. My second mistake in the buttercream was trying to double it all at once. What I should have done was make single batches and then combine them after. My mixing bowl in my Kitchen Aid was not even close to being big enough but I tried anyways…. OH MY! Yep this is exactly what happened even mixing on low speed…

So at this point I paused and took a deep breath in. Split what I could in half and tried again in smaller batches then combined them afterwards. Even with these hiccups I will call them, the buttercream still tasted AMAZING! It was light and fluffy.

Stacking & Crumb Coating The Cake

Now that my cake has sat in the freezer for a hour it is ready to begin staking and applying the crumb coat.

  • On the cake board apply a small amount of buttercream in the middle. This helps keep the cake in place and not slide around on the board
  • The first 2 layers put top side up
  • Using 3/4 cup of frosting and the off set spatula, put the frosting in the middle of the first layer and spread it around. Using the turn table move the frosting to the sides coming towards you. Try to keep it really level with the cake. This is an prime opportunity to level out the cake without having the cut away too much. Get eye level with the cake “get into a cake squat”.
  • Put the next layer on and do your best to get it centered and repeat.
  • Pipe a rim of frosting around the edge if you need that support
  • Use a light touch always! If it is too hard to spread around, put it into the mixer and whip it up some more
  • For the last layer, put it top side down, it has the least amount of crumbs on it and also should have a nice smooth top.

Crumb Coat Time

  • Using a crumb coat is key in locking in those crumbs so they do not appear in your final buttercream frosting.
  • Apply a thin layer of frosting. Let it then sit in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This does not need to be pretty.
  • Start on the sides of the cake
  • Use the straight spatula
  • Turn the cake away from you
  • Bring the spatula towards you
  • Go towards the bottom but do not go over the cake board
  • Add a little bit to the top, use the offset spactual on the top.
  • Now using the cake scraper, starting at 1:00, left  hand does all the turning, the right hand holds the cake scraper at a 45 degree angle, and lightly go around it. Only go from 1:00 to 4:00 then go back to 1:00. If you are left handed it’s 11:00 to 7:00. This is to only get 1 scraper line
    • Crumb Coat Completed

    Final Stages of This Birthday Cake

    Mastering the art of straight sides and edges is not joke. I need much, much, much, more practice with this!

  • The top of the cake comes last, start with the sides
  • If the crumb coat ever becomes not cold, put it back in the freezer
  • Spend a couple minutes with a wooden spoon whipping the buttercream up, it helps get all the air bubbles out of the frosting and make it silky smooth.
  • Use the straight icing spatula go around the cake focusing on the top first
  • Begin working your way down your board once the top is done.
  • Wave back and forth as you apply the remaining icing, using the turn table and apply the icing towards you
  • Don’t frost in front of you, it is just awkward
  • Now using the cake scraper
  • Keep your eye on the scraper
  • Use 1/4″ of the scraper. use a 45 degree angle the whole time this will smooth everything out
  • Use a light touch
  • Start at 1:00 and turn the table all the way around
  • Do some spakelling if you need to, to help fill in the holes. Do not add a ton of frosting.
  • Always clean off your scraper
  • Do not over work the buttercream. Get it applied within 15-20 minutes. This is done for a couple reasons: the crumb coat will thaw, and for your sanity
    1. This was huge! Oh man was I getting frustrated it just wasn’t perfect. I need to work on the 45 degree angle part…
    2. There will never be a cake the is perfect all the way around.
    3. Tears are not worth it, cake = happiness.
    4. Each time I make a cake I will get better and better
  • Put the cake back in the freezer in about 15 minutes

TaDa! Here is my first finished cake



TikTok about feeling old!

For my social media platform exploration choice, I chose TikTok. As someone who regularly uses Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, I figured this was the logical choice. It’s the one app in this category that I feel just “makes sense” for me to check out, plus it’s definitely the app of choice among my grade 7 students. Becoming familiar with a culture they are immersed in can’t hurt in building relationships and connections!

Free Person Holding Black Android Smartphone Stock Photo
photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

The first step was creating an account. I quickly realized I had downloaded the app before, but I couldn’t remember why or when. Once I was all signed up, I truly had no idea where to start, so I just started swiping up through videos, stopping and watching ones that intrigued me. To be honest, I wasn’t stopping all that often. I was a little confused about why all of these videos in the “For You” section were often not things I was remotely interested. The content all felt like it was way off my interests or sense of humour. I was having trouble relating to basically everything I was seeing and ultimately just felt confused. This is the point that I started feeling like maybe I was too “old” for this community.

Of course, I understand that all of the content I was seeing is based on algorithms. And I understand that the app was just doing its best to guess what content I would engage with. But this got me thinking – where does an app like this, that’s driven by algorithms, start with new users? What information are they privy to to help guide their decisions?

I checked out this article from the New York Times to become a bit more familiar with the “behind the scenes” of TikTok. Here’s a bit of what I learned:

  • TikTok’s parent company is ByteDance, a Chinese technology company that operates a variety of content platforms
  • It serves more as entertainment than as connection to friends, a central function of an app like Facebook
  • TikTok analyzes how much time users spend watching each video to inform the content that users see in the future
  • A kind of disturbing and unsettling quote by Guillaume Chaslot who said “[t]his system means that watch time is key. The algorithm tries to get people addicted rather than giving them what they really want,”. This gave off some serious Social Dilemma vibes.

I then did a bit more perusing of some articles focused on the algorithmic heart of TikTok. Some of what I read touched on the controversy around TikTok and Donald Trump, as well as trying to categorize the app as either positive or negative overall.

The Bright Side

As time went on, and I spent more time engaging with the app, I found myself stopping to watch videos much more often. My “For You” content was starting to feel much more like it was actually for me. I was laughing out loud at some of the videos and shared several with my sister, with whom I share a very similar sense of humour. In those moments I was really quite appreciative of TikTok for providing me with some feel-good content that made me smile and chuckle.

I also started following a few users who posted content for and by teachers which were recommended by some of my ECI831 classmates. I could quickly see how these short videos and reels could provide handy tips and tricks for all things teaching and learning. farmerlovesphonics on TikTok made me especially excited as my daughter is definitely on the brink of being ready for some pre-reading learning, and this user provides some great tips and guidance in this area. This is just a glimpse of what a platform like TikTok can provide for educators, parents, caregivers and the like – a bite-sized, to-the-point example of something to try.

…And the less bright side

I think my opinion on social media for youth is pretty solidified, and my experience with exploring TikTok has only served to support my existing views. A couple of my students were showing me their daily screen times. They were looking at the previous Sunday. One of their times showed over 15 hours, and the other showed over 11. Now I know I’ve spent far too much time on my phone before, and seeing it show over 6 hours definitely makes me feel guilty and honestly a little sick. But seeing that my students are spending over double this in a day is alarming, to say the least. I know this is common for middle year students in this day and age, but seeing the actual time on their screens just hit a little different.

It’s no doubt that kids and teens are more impressionable than adults, and this is why I think the use of apps like TikTok should be monitored, and moderated, for young people. Just like it has for me these past couple of weeks, Tiktok can absolutely provide some feel-good, mood-boosting entertainment. But reading about how algorithms are at work behind the scenes and why they function the way they do leads me to be cautious and skeptical about anyone spending the majority of their waking hours on this app.

Free Trendy ethnic female teen with dark hair in casual outfit and sunglasses on head using mobile phone standing in city on sunny day Stock Photo
photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels

I think the safest play when it comes to young people and social media use is encouraging open conversations, teaching proper use and respectful online communication, and setting boundaries. Age limits exist for a reason, and I don’t think social media use should be an exception. Teaching students and children how to do this themselves is an excellent idea, of course, but I think providing some degree of protection and guidance during years of major development is just as important.

Week 1: Plugging Back into the Matrix.

The more this loops, the more annoying I realize websites in the late 90s must have been!

Social Media has largely been a very passive activity in my life. It has been there to fill empty time when I haven’t really wanted to accomplish all of my adult tasks, and at other times I have used it as a platform to address some personal growth.

Way back in the day FB was a place that I updated regularly, added friends, rediscovered connections that had been lost. Those were the ‘good ole days’ of understanding the potential power of reconnecting.

The most powerful use of my social media was when I was going through a time of trying to figure out who I was, where I fit into the world, and how I could deal with my fear of being judged. As a teacher, I spent a fair bit of time in 2018-2019 coaching some of my students through their own personal struggles, and realizing that I was trying to address my own. Ugh! As I was terrified of judgement, I did what any sane person would do and entered a powerlifting competition.

I posted my progress on FB, added some positive messaging to the inner struggles, and worked through the discomfort of ‘being judged’. At the end, I didn’t know if I was or not, and it didn’t matter.

Starting this journey, I thought that I would love competing- I did not -but I had already signed up for a second meet to compete in and wanted to follow through.


Using twitter has never been a priority, and it turns out that I was ahead of the times in boycotting the platform, as Elon Musk has turned out to be a bit of a melomaniac with more money than common sense.

Originally my handle was something Transformers based, but two years ago I figure I should probably have something more professionally aligned. So, @BrianGrocholski it is. As of today, I am follow more than @courosa for the first time since I created this account.

Things to consider:

  1. How have you leveraged your social media personally/professionally?
  2. Do you spend some of your valuable time ‘doom-scrolling’?
  3. How has your social media usage changed over the years?


When class started, I was at a bit of a loss as to what I would do for this project. I wanted something that would bleed over into my classroom, but at the same time, I wanted to provide myself with a challenge.

Our math teacher is very passionate about the introduction of AI into the world of education, and he and I have been discussing the implications of platforms like Chat GPT in education. As an English teacher, I know that kids are playing with these platforms, and I want to ensure that I am prepared to help them navigate this world. So, my colleague and I discussed some possibilities of what I could do, as he has created several of his own chatbots for the online school that he runs.

Sounds easy!

I was feeling all in, but then I needed to switch gears.

My mom has been quite sick the past year, and with her passing on May 13th, I wanted to do something that was not going to drive me batty. So instead, I decided to leverage some of my leather making skills.

Obviously, I can’t pretend that I don’t know what I am doing, but when I was driving back from SK with an old chest that my mom wanted me to have, I came up with an idea- Upholstering. I had stumbled on a video a few months back where someone was re-covering a chair using leather, and that idea stuck with me.

As I had spend the last two weeks in SK with my mom and family, I am a bit behind. With that in mind, I have three projects that I am going to try and tackle. I have my kitchen chairs, which don’t need any love, that I am going to upholster first. There is a chair in my bedroom that my mom reupholstered years ago with this horrid alphabet fabric, and then the chest that was in my parents basement for years. The chest if the final project that I will tackle, as I will need to build a custom cushion from scratch, whereas the other two projects are refurbs.

With that in mind.

  1. Does anyone have any experience with upholstering? If so, add me on twitter @BrianGrocholski
  2. Has anyone else dabbled with leatherwork?
  3. Which of these three projects most interests you?

It’s Raining… Water and Fertilizer

Now the hard part begins – how do I keep everything alive?

At the start of this project, I was nervous about this part as I planted a lot in a short amount of time so the upkeep felt overwhelming. I decided to start with some YouTube videos to get a general idea:


These videos were very helpful, but what really helped was the PictureThis app – I swear it’s just that good that’s why I’m mentioning it twice.

The app allows you to save all the plants uploaded into the app and it gives you a detailed breakdown of when to water, how much to water, and when to fertilize. The app even allows you to set reminders to water and fertilize and a monthly checklist – game changer!

PictureThis app screenshot
PictureThis App

Another amazing feature of the app is the diagnostic tool where the app identifies any issues with your plants and provides you with tips to remedy the issue.

PictureThis app screenshot
PictureThis App

With all this new knowledge (not sure how my brain is storing it all) I went to Costco’s garden center to get the goods. I will admit I didn’t do any research in this part I just let go and let the garden centre tell me what I needed.

Fertilizer and plant food
Fertilizer and Plant Food

Now I just need to follow the watering and fertilizer schedule that I have set up in my app and hopefully, we will see some beautiful flowers and delicious herbs in no time.


ECI 831: – Social Media and Online Education

First Step toward Learning

As I indicated earlier, martial arts is an intriguing skill. Though this ability is challenging to learn, I wouldn’t rush to do so. In order to perfect this skill, I had to start out slowly. I used to practice this technique with my director’s daughter most of the time when I was working there. She used to instruct students on fundamental skills.

Photo by Julia Larson on

She informed me that it is important to maintain a healthy weight before beginning martial arts training. However, I discovered that I was overweight when I weighed myself on a machine. After that, I made the decision to start working out at a gym. In the late afternoon, I had signed up for the YMCA gym in Regina, Saskatchewn.

I begin my hour-long run on the treadmill at a speed of 6 mph. According to the treadmill’s speedometer, I had burned 500 calories in a half-hour. Then I have to take a 10-minute break before starting to run on the treadmill once more at the same speed.

I felt exhausted after that. I avoided a lot of junk food as a result of mastering my initial step towards my skill. I used to typically eat Maggie. But when I train for running, I also become overly concerned about my food. Even so, in order to be healthy and fit, I now consume a lot of green vegetables, carrots, cucumbers, avocados, apples, and kiwis. I also drink a lot of water.

I have lost weight until 57 after practicing running for a week. I’m now prepared to go learn this talent. My initial learning phase is almost complete. I now want to take the following stages in the upcoming weeks in addition to working out. I’m going to start practicing’s punches next week.

Thanks for reading.

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Category Archives:- Network Learning Post

Instagram has Changed the World

Photo by Anton on

I don’t use social media frequently. There is no question that it significantly influenced the world as we know it. The majority of work today should be completed on social media. Most of the time, I choose to use only those social media platforms and websites that are convenient for me to use and support my educational goals. Instead of using other social media sites, I would prefer to use WhatsApp to share my images, videos, and essential documents. In comparison to other social networking networks, I find WhatsApp to be simpler to use.

Photo by Pixabay on

However, the majority of my friends choose to utilize Instagram and Snapchat to share both their photographs and their tales. They explained to me the many features of both Instagram and SnapChat. But as soon as I started using both, I thought Instagram seemed more intriguing than Snapchat. I then registered for an account there. I want to know more about it. When I first started utilizing this platform, I discovered a lot of features. Nevertheless, I have learned how to post media using both geolocation and hashtags. However, it is simple to share one’s stories, pictures, and videos with followers. This software has several fantastic features, however WhatsApp lacks the ability for users to share their posts publicly. On the other side, it has several outstanding features that I have observed while using this app , such as live streaming, private messaging, and short stories.

Additionally, It affects Users in a variety of ways, both positive and negative. One of this app’s greatest advantages, in my opinion, is that it gives us a more visual platform. Users can also edit, post, and share short stories using the most cutting-edge methods with the help of this application. The children, however, experience a great deal of benefit from it. It serves as a platform that is kid-friendly, therefore in my opinion, it gives kids the possibility to feel empowered. For example, kids may express their creativity without worrying about what the rest of the world will think. By imitating their favorite’s role models, children are able to learn about those people, and they have easy access to anything they desire. The addictive nature of Instagram is one of its drawbacks, in my opinion. Although I have seen that younger users of Instagram are more addicted than adults. When I start using it, I also develop an addiction. Even though I used to check other people’s posts and forget about my own work and essential projects, spending the majority of my time texting, sharing videos, and scrolling through Instagram accounts that I followed feels like a waste of time.

I believe that Instagram offers many educational opportunities for teachers and parents to be aware of. For example, instructors and parents can start accounts on Instagram to promote kids’ use of descriptive writing. On the other side, kids can utilize the websites for NASA, The British Library, National Geographic, and other museums to learn about anything in the world.

As a result, it has significantly altered the world. I’d like to learn more about cross-app communications and remixing the reels.

Thanks for reading.

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Algorithm on Steroids: A TikTok Story

The closest I have come to using TikTok was during last spring’s class when I used my wife’s account.  I decided to join for the purpose of this post, but made sure to do something I rarely do.  Read the terms of service.  I focused on the privacy portion.  TikTok says the only information they gather is what you provide in your TikTok profile and the information in any profile you use to login.  For example I used my google account (after the first week), my profile only has my age and name. No mention of gathering contacts (unless you link them, which I did not). I did not put on a vpn to get a true sense of what the app would do with my isp address. Initially it leads you to think that they will only gather other information if you give permission, then later on it says browsing history for advertisers. Sneaky.  This was not something I noticed until later (as you will see in my point form reflections).

My screenshot of one of TikTok's terms of service.
My screenshot of TikTok’s terms of service.

As TikTok is a series of short videos I have decided to present my initial findings in point form.

Week 1 (just using app as a guest, not signing in with an account)

  • First few videos are all of a hill on fire in Edmonton.
  • Fires in Alberta.
  • Lots of Indigenous creators.
  • Animal videos.
  • Lots of weird cooking videos.
  • Indigenous content (specific ones on cultural appropriation).
  • Comedic animal videos.
  • Comedic kid videos.
  • Watch one comedy video on hockey and then…
Screenshot of Coach Chippy video.
  • ….Lots of Canadian centred content (heavy Canadian accents)

Week 2

I reread what info they take if you make an account from a third party (nothing about the content you use just profile info).

  • Sign up with google (same email as YouTube)
  • Almost immediately creatures I follow on YouTube shorts start showing up (coincidence?).
  • Still lots of indigenous content (mention of indigenous TikTok).
  • Started following Lewis Capaldi.
  • Turns out the YouTube connection was a coincidence.
  • Animal and kid videos have combined.
Screenshot of Zesty Newz video.
  • Told them not to track contacts and then the first person they recommended to follow was my wife (she does not make videos).
  • Started to follow Hank Green and felt sad
  • My dog is quite sick, so I’ve been up late scrolling through TikTok, feeding the algorithm.
  • Forwarded my first TikTok video
  • I’ve heard of this happening- where did the past half hour go?
  • Following Lewis Capaldi was a mistake (dog video)
  • It knows I’m a teacher.  Getting a stream of teacher related content.…which means the few teacher TikToks I was sent before I downloaded TikTok are floating around somewhere and TikTok has access to the part of my phone. I didn’t give it access to…or it’s kept track of my isp from watching videos before I had the app.
Screenshot of TikTok terms of service. I guess TikTok considers itself a Third-Party advertiser.
  • It is teaching me slang.
  • After my dog died it has become an easy distraction. Far too easy.

Throughout the second week I started interacting more, using hearts forwarding three videos and following a few creators.  TikTok was much better at figuring me out than YouTube.  Even before I started liking and following it got a very quick sense of my politics.  With YouTube I watch one conservative video to try and balance my bias and then that is all I get recommended (no matter how many-“do not recommend” buttons I click). This, along with how much information it seemed to have without me giving permission, was frightening.

At the same time I see the benefits.  I am getting a broader amount of content that is providing useful information.  For example as a CIS white male I have worried about how well I will be able to speak out on anti-lgbtq+ issues.  TikTok has provided me with allies that have added to my vocabulary and done so in a compellingly calm way.  YouTube thinks I am anti-trans because I watched Neil Degrasse Tyson on Joe Rogan.

While TikTok is far more comforting I am worried about how comforting it is to those on the opposite political spectrum.  Is it just one giant confirmation bias?  It feels that way and it is very seductive.  I don’t know how long I will continue using it, but each time I switch back to YouTube I am fed angry content.   TikTok just seems happier. I get fed self-affirming videos, creators that are not just white males, progressive reflections, and dog videos that make me feel sad.

Screenshot of Annakprzy video.

I hope I am able to find my way through the weeds and gain from the benefits while not pulling that comforting blanket of confirmation over my eyes.