Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mrs. Kingsley's "An Apple for My Teacher" Apple Pie

In his short educational career, Wilson has been blessed with a string of wonderful, caring teachers. But his current second grade teacher, Mrs. Kingsley, is set apart.

To begin with, our family's relationship with Mrs. Kingsley goes back approximately thirty years to when my husband was a shy, toe-headed student in her third grade class at a nearby elementary school. How lucky we have been this year to share and compare stories of Mrs. Kingsley's class between father and son!
Secondly, she just "gets" Wilson. My firstborn is very much his own person - unwaveringly strong in his convictions, often despite the reactions of his peers. Mrs. Kingsley quickly recognized, encouraged and directed this strong will, choosing to find strengths in quirks that could have been viewed as challenges by less invested teachers.
Throughout this past school year, our dinner conversation has regularly consisted of the latest and greatest of the happenings in Room 6. Wilson loves that Mrs. Kingsley calls her cats her "children," that she exclaims "Sign her up!" when she makes a basket in the trash can from across the room and that she prods "Let the Mama through" when creating a path through her students. He enjoys her company so much that he painstakingly saved 700 Beaver Bucks (classroom incentives) to have a special pizza lunch with her at the end of the school year - and anyone who has had a second grader knows just how difficult delayed gratification can be. But I think what Wilson loves most about Mrs. Kingsley is that she provides a safe, warm and nurturing atmosphere for him to learn, grow and yes - even make mistakes. This is also what Will and I have grown to love about her.

So I wasn't the least bit surprised when Wilson mentioned he wanted to make a pie for Mrs. Kingsley as his end of the year gift to her. Because Will and I are actively attempting to instill a culture of giving and appreciation in our boys, combined with his growing interest in cooking and baking in particular this year, I decided to let Wilson take the reigns on this one. He worked busily on his gift - editing and revising his blog over the course of nearly a week, researching pie recipes and crust techniques and baking away (with me taking a back seat as his sous chef).

Ultimately, Wilson settled on an apple pie as a nod to the tradition of bringing an apple for your teacher. So, without further adieu, I present Mrs. Kingsley's "An Apple for My Teacher" Apple Pie - as told by Wilson.

"Dear Mrs. Kingsley,

I know that you already know about this blog that I am writing. I hope you like it.

I think that you are an amazing teacher! You teach me so much like math, reading, science and money. It is so cool that you taught my dad and me! 

I love that you are so hilarious. My favorite memory will always be the time we went to the Jelly Belly Factory. 

Since you are such a good teacher, my mom and I decided to make you a pie. Since teachers love apples, we decided to make you an apple pie!

First, Mommy and I made the crust. I measured the flour, salt, butter and vegetable shortening. With my hands, I mixed the ingredients with ice water into a dough. My mom helped me roll out the dough into a pie tin.
Next, I did the apple filing. I measured the sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon while my mom cut the apples for me. I mixed the ingredients with the apples and we put it in the pie tin with the dough. I cut up little pieces of butter and put them on top of the apples. 
Then we rolled out the dough for the top of the pie. I used cookie cutters to make apples out of dough. Then I carefully set them all on top of the pie to make it beautiful. 
At last, I cracked an egg from the chicken coop (our chickens are so helpful) and I brushed it on the pie. Then I sprinkled sugar on top of the pie. I put it in the oven to bake. 
When we took it out of the oven it looked beautiful and delicious!
You are an amazing person! I will be so sad to leave your class. YOU ARE AWESOME! Those are the three words that best describe you!

Mrs. Kingsley, you were such an amazing teacher and I hope you will love this pie!
         your student,
“You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can't count the apples in a seed. When you teach, you never know how many lives you will influence...you are teaching for eternity.”

- Karen Jensen