Pesquisar este blog

quinta-feira, 30 de dezembro de 2010

Jokes - 14

Joke of the Week

Good Manners

A teacher was giving her class of small children a lesson on good manners.
"Suppose, by mistake, you step on a lady's foot. What do you do?"
"I say pardon me."
"Very good. Now suppose the lady, to reward you, gives you a coin. What do you do?"
"Step on the other foot to get a second one."

Pronunciation Tips

Pronunciation Tips

Tense x Lax Vowels

This video is very helpful for showing the subtle distinction between tense and lax vowels found in words such as: feel x fill, seat x sit, eat x it...

For additional information, ask me! My masters is in Phonology. Tense x Lax Vowels was the topic of my monograph.

Grammar Tips

Grammar Tips

Lend x Borrow

To lend:
Meaning: to hand out usually for a certain length of time.
Banks lend money.
Libraries lend books.
For example: "My mother lent me some money, and I must pay her back soon."

To borrow:
Meaning: to take with permission usually for a certain length of time.
You can borrow money from a bank to buy a house or a car.
You can borrow books for up to 4 weeks from libraries in England.
For example: "I borrowed some money off my mother, and I must pay her back soon."
! For a happy life - Never a borrower nor a lender be.

For exercises, click on the following links:

U2 - New Year's Day

Song of the Week

New Year's Day


Video of the Week




New York

A Christmas Carol - Book

Book of the Week

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens first published by Chapman & Hall on 17 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim.
The book was written and published in early Victorian era Britain when it was experiencing a nostalgic interest in its forgotten Christmas traditions, and at the time when new customs such as the Christmas tree and greeting cards were being introduced. Dickens' sources for the tale appear to be many and varied but are principally the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.
To download the book, click on the following link:

To listen to an audio book, click on the following link:

To see a modern animation of this story watch:

For the remaining videos, click on the link:

Christmas Cookies

Recipe of the Week

Gingerbread Men

Christmas baking wouldn't be complete without a batch of these cute Gingerbread Men. They are fragrant with ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; the amount of which can be adjusted to suit your own individual taste. If you like your Gingerbread Men on the soft side, bake them a little less than the recipe states as the longer they bake the harder they will become. There are a few ways to decorate your Gingerbread Men; one is to press raisins into the dough before baking, or you can frost the baked and cooled cookies with confectioners' frosting. You can also use Gingerbread Men as decorations for your Christmas tree or as gift tags. To do this, pierce a hole in the top of each unbaked cookie using a straw or end of a wooden skewer. Bake the cookies and then thread a pretty ribbon through the hole and hang on your tree. 
In England and North America, we usually make our gingerbread with treacle or molasses. Ground ginger and cinnamon are almost always present, with ground cloves placing a distant third, if used at all. There are two types of molasses generally used in making gingerbread: light and dark. Light molasses, used in this recipe, comes from the first boiling of the sugar syrup and is lighter in flavor and color than the dark molasses. Dark molasses comes from the second boiling and is darker in color with a more robust flavor.  Molasses is usually labeled as "sulphured" or "unsulphured" depending on whether sulphur was used in the processing. The unsulphured molasses is lighter in color and tends to have a nicer flavor. Molasses is used in baked goods to add color, moistness and flavor.
Gingerbread Men: In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices. 
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture beating until incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside while you roll out the dough.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a gingerbread cutter to cut out the cookies.  With an offset spatula lift the cut out cookies onto the baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1 inch (2.54 cm) apart. If you are hanging the cookies or using as gift tags, make a hole at the top of the cookies with a straw or end of a wooden skewer.
Bake for about 8 - 12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. Small ones will take about 8 minutes, larger cookies will take about 12 minutes. They are done when they are firm and the edges are just beginning to brown. 
Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for about 1 minutes. When they are firm enough to move, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
If desired, you can press raisins, currants, or candies into the dough for eyes and buttons while the cookies are still warm. Otherwise, confectioners frosting can be used to decorate the cookies. You can also use the icing as a glue to attach candies, raisins, and sprinkles.
Confectioners Frosting: In an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth and well blended.  Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beater. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes).  Add a little more milk if too dry. Place the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and decorate the gingerbread men as desired.
Tint portions of frosting with desired food color (I use the paste food coloring that is available at cake decorating stores and party stores).
Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on the size of cookie cutter used.
Store in an airtight container.

Gingerbread Men:

3 cups (390 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup (160 ml) unsulphured molasses (To prevent molasses from sticking to the measuring cup, first spray the cup with a non stick vegetable spray.)
Confectioners Frosting:
2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons milk or light cream
Assorted food colors (if desired)

Read more: