Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Half-Day Happenings

Today was a teacher inservice day, and since I'm enjoying the only pure benefit of being a student teacher (I don't have to attend all the inservices!) I had a half day. This morning I went with two other kindergarten teachers from my school to visit Lower Gwynedd Elementary School. It was really neat, Wissahickon is a great (very affluent) district, and the elementary school definitely reflected that. We saw some awesome writing conferences and literacy stations, and of course, observed some fun fillers and energizers. As anyone who has ever been in charge of children knows, it's always good to have some tricks up your sleeve for killing those last five minutes, or refocusing the children in a positive way. My favorite activity of the morning was a sight word activity. You know all those little words that aren't quite phonetic (sound like they're spelled) and come up ALL the time in reading? Words like the, she, it, am, and, etc. The students made cards for themselves with all their sight words, and then laid them out on the floor. They threw bean bags onto the cards and then spelled and said aloud the word the bag landed on. So cool, and such good practice.

I ran a couple errands after my visit, and then came home, because I had work to do. Cat lent me her mother's mini steam cleaner, and I had a date with my area rug. Lily is probably 99% housebroken, but those little accidents are ridiculously hard to get out of the rug. Plus we are the third owners of this rug, so there's no saying how long the dirt has been there.

First I moved the (freakin heavy) marble coffee table off of the carpet. It's a ginormous hunk of pure marble, thankfully in two pieces, but it disguises the fact that our rug is really too small for our living room.

As I said, Cat lent me her mother's steam cleaner. It took me a while to figure out how to use it, and I didn't have the appropriate soap, but warm water with a little baking soda did the trick.

It took ages, and a break in the middle to take the dog out, but finally I was left with:

and (brace yourselves, oh weak of stomach):

The rug is only 5x7, so it wasn't a ton of space to clean, but geez oh man that's a lot of dirt.

Finally, it was time for some Lily snuggles.

What a cutie. I don't think she really enjoyed the process, nor does she appreciate the end result. Oh well.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The more my feet hurt...

...the more fun my students had. That's become my basic mantra of teaching, because generally, if we are all sitting around on our bums we are not having fun, learning actively, and applying what we know. I don't mind as much anymore when my feet hurt (the first two weeks or so of school was pretty brutal), because I know it means that I was active, my students were engaged, and we were doing exciting things. I love teaching!

In other news, I'm currently listening to my dear husband explain a really awkward situation to a friend to try and alleviate much greater future awkwardness, and he concluded his explanation (every conversation is an opportunity for a presentation) with a "think about it; pray about it; I'll be here." He's such a good guy. No wonder he was nominated to be a deacon at our church. Who has two thumbs and is proud of her husband?

This gal!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Home At Last--An Introduction

I've been considering blogging for some time now. I already spend an inordinate amount of time online, so it's not like it will cause a greater waste of my time, and I think it will be a good way for people I don't see or talk to very often (my family in Michigan, California, England, New Jersey, Maryland, my friends in Iowa, Louisiana, Texas, New York) to catch up on little glimpses of my life. Unless, by some miracle, I start focusing a great deal of attention on one area of my interests, I don't intend for this to be a cooking blog, a DIY blog, craft blog, or even just a family blog, but some amorphous combination of the three, plus whatever else strikes my fancy.

I chose to call it Home At Last, because, thanks to my mom (pretty much one of my favorite people) taught me the huge value of home. I want my home to be a place of haven, of warmth and acceptance, of joy and the simple pleasures in life. After my family moved from Collegeville, PA (where I spent most of my life) I spend almost a year in limbo, without a real home. It was a huge relief to marry my husband, Dan,

move into our little apartment in Glenside,

 adopt a puppy,

and have someplace that truly felt like home. We're enjoyed improving the place (we have a great, very laid-back landlord who doesn't mind when we do things like paint, put holes in the walls, rip up the carpeting and refinish the wood floors underneath...), adding touches of our lives, and making some cool memories here. I also have come to love the challenge of making a tiny, sometimes awkward space work for us. (I'm sure I'll detail some of that later).

But mostly, this is just going to be a simple little way for me to document and share bits of our lives, here in our happy little home. Thanks for stopping by.