Monday, May 23, 2011

Presenting Smokey and the Bandit

SitStayRead's Hollywood night at Kinowerks Studio was a smash hit! As you can see from Smokey and the Bandit, guests were dressed in their finest for the big night. (Smokey is actually wearing a tux!)

Guests enjoyed food and drinks while touring the facility and everyone was in awe watching The Matrix in the private screening room of the Wachowskis who wrote, directed, and produced The Matrix Trilogy.

Nearly $2,000 was raised at this blockbuster event--all of which will help more kids learn to love reading! Click on Smokey and the Bandit to see more photos of all the fun.

Our thanks to everyone who attended and helped with this event, and a special thanks to Kinowerks and the Wachowskis for hosting SitStayRead in their star studded studio!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Go Hollywood with SitStayRead!

The Wachowskis, American film directors, writers and producers, most famous for creating The Matrix trilogy, are graciously allowing the use of their private screening room for a fundraising (and fun-raising!) event to benefit SitStayRead on Saturday, May 21, 2011.

Join us at the Wachowski's ultra-glamorous Chicago studio, Kinowerks, complete with all the Hollywood touches including the Wachowski's Oscars and MTV Movie Awards, memorabilia from V for Vendetta, The Matrix and more!

Event Details

  • Saturday, May 21, 2011
  • 7 - 10 p.m.
  • $65 single seats; $150 loveseats (seats 2 people)
  • Ticket includes a mix and mingle Hollywood happy hour with drinks, appetizers, and a tour of the studio, followed by a private screening of a Wachowski feature film!
  • All proceeds benefit SitStayRead programs.
  • Call SitStayRead to purchase your tickets 773.545.6629

Never open to the public, this event at Kinowerks is exclusively for SitStayRead friends and volunteers - you won't want to miss it. Hurry! There are only 5 loveseats (each seats two people) and 8 single seats left. What are you waiting for? Call 773.545.6629 to order your tickets to this exclusive event today.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Big Changes In Store

In case you missed it, this letter was sent to the SitStayRead email list yesterday.

After much deliberation, I have decided it is time to step down as Executive Director of SitStayRead. Over the past eight years, with your help and support, the organization has evolved from a dream to reality. To each of the 600 children we'll serve this year, SitStayRead means discovery, joy, and learning--something we can all be very proud of.

We have built a strong and durable enterprise that is poised to grow and impact many more children. With the past eight years as our base, I feel it is time to transition to new leadership who will optimize the growth and expansion that is our opportunity.

I will always be involved in SitStayRead as a volunteer and member of the corporation. Although SitStayRead represents only a portion of my work life, it is my life's work. I feel so lucky to have been led to this path by Shandy, the furry bundle of joy who was my constant companion for 17 years. Shandy's love of children inspired me to bring the healing power of dogs into the service of children. I am committed to participating in the growth of SitStayRead in her memory and glad to assist in that growth however I can.

Thank you for your kindness and friendship and for making SitStayRead the great organization it has become. I hope you will join me in continuing to support SitStayRead in its journey of greatness.

MaryEllen Schneider
Executive Director and Co-Founder

Monday, May 2, 2011

Free T-Shirt for Momofuku Cookies

Have you heard about these crazy cookies? We were talking about them in the office this morning and all the volunteers asked for the recipe. My sister, Patti, made them over the weekend and they were awesome.

Free SitStayRead t-shirt to anyone who gives the recipe a try and brings cookies to the office to share!

Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookie recipe by Christina Tosi (as seen on Regis & Kelly)


1 cup butter, unsalted
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup [Note: I left this out; not because I'm against corn syrup, I just didn't have it. The cookies came out fine, though may have had a nicer sheen with the syrup.]
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsps Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups your favorite baking ingredients (options: chocolate chips, Raisenettes, Rollos, Cocoa Krispies)
1 1/2 cups your favorite snack foods (chips, pretzels, etc.)

Note: Patti used Ghirardelli chocolate chips and crushed pretzels and potato chips and Rice Krispies.

1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for two to three minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides with a spatula.

2. On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate.

Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.

3. When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Mix 45 - 60 seconds just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

4. On the same low speed, add in the hodgepodge of your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30 - 45 seconds until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in your favorite snack foods last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.

5. Using a 6 oz. ice cream scoop (I'm not sure how many ounces mine is, but it worked well), portion cookie dough onto a parchment lined sheetpan.

6. Wrap scooped cookie dough tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour or up to 1 week.
DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.

7. Heat the oven to 400 F. Take the plastic off your cookies and bake 9 to 11 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread.

At 9 minutes, the cookies should be browned on the edges and just beginning to brown towards the center. Leave the cookies in the oven for the additional minutes if these colors don't match up and your cookies still seem pale and doughy on the surface.

8. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pan (good luck!) before transferring to a plate or an airtight container or tin for storage. At room temp, they'll keep five days.