Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Maid-O-Matic

I have been meaning to post pictures of the Maid-O-Matic forever! My Aunt Paula reminded me this weekend at my cousin's wedding that I still hadn't shown her the stove. So here it is, in all its glory. Complete with Visi-Bake oven. 

The door on the left there is a rotisserie, which seems cool at first blush, but would probably be a giant pain to clean since it's so tiny inside. We haven't used it.

 Lights on...

 Lights off.

These are a couple of little pamphlets that we found in a cabinet. They're kind of hilarious. Aren't you so excited to embark on this new adventure in cooking? You can tell the people who made this are practically pooping their pants with glee at how amazing this machine is. Life-changing I tell you! In all seriousness though, I've been reading lately about the history of the kitchen in Western culture, and these kinds of appliances and the changes in the function and organization of kitchens really did change our lives. Or maybe reflected our changing lives, or facilitated the change. 

But yeah, in conclusion, we love the Maid-O-Matic. 

The Kitchen Sink Table

Today I sanded and applied one coat of spar urethane to the table that the kitchen sink will sit on. It was not without incident. I got a gigantic splinter, which helpfully reminded me that it's probably time for a tetanus shot, and I learned that it's advisable to wear a respirator while applying spar urethane so that Sean doesn't come home to find my unconscious body lying in the garage. Evidently that stuff is strong! I was working in the garage with the door halfway up, (working right next to the opening), using the urethane for approximately 45 minutes, and by the end of that time I could barely walk straight and nearly puked. Woops.

The upshot is that the table is now looking charmingly vintage as opposed to the filthy-nasty spider world it formerly was.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gearing up for the School Year

Last year was my first year teaching. It was probably the hardest thing I have done yet, and I was unbelievably grateful to have a summer vacation to relax, reflect, and regroup. I've started getting excited about next year: I have moved schools and moved grade levels (from fourth to third), and started thinking about next year and getting great resources and ideas on pinterest and teacher blogs. There is a lot out there! I wish I had been better able during the school year to pull myself out of the day to day rush and be smarter about investing some time looking for resources that could help me do things better or more easily. (But that's kind of a silly thing to wish, because when you're in survival mode it's hard to carefully consider what you're doing. I'm going to try and do better at that by building in some scheduled reflection time, probably through blogging.)

Here are a couple fantastic blogs by third grade teachers that I'm excited about:

Third Grade Thoughts: I love this blog. I think I've pinned half of Stephanie's posts for future reference. I am not super familiar with The Daily 5 and have been wanting to learn more, and it's been helpful to see how she implements it in her classroom.

Look Who's Teaching: Jessie is a really thoughtful and reflective teacher, and I really appreciate her insights into trying out new curricula and frameworks: what she did well and not as well, what her students got from it, where she needs to tweak things, and how she's thinking about it now.

And here are a few more that I've added to my google reader as well:

My Life As a Fifth Grade Teacher (who is moving to third this year: yay!)

Clutter-Free Classroom

Coffee, Kids, and Compulsive Lists

The Go To Teacher

From My Mixed Up Files


Teaching With a Smile

...And maybe Mrs. Fioritto will have some time to blog this year as well.  :-)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Concrete Countertops!

They're FINALLY underway! After months of plywood countertops, and before that, months of no kitchen whatsoever, we will have our very own, beautiful concrete countertops. I've purchased all the materials, I've made the templates, and now I just have to, uh, make them. I've decided to put in stone for the biggest working surface in the kitchen next to the stove, because some concrete sealers can't handle heat, and the ones that can are less stain-resistant (and apparently acids like lemon juice can actually eat through the sealant and into the concrete itself). I am also customizing an old table to hold the vessel sink. My plan is to blog along the way and show you all the fun/chaos. Here's the plan of where each material will go:

By the way: our kitchen layout was designed by the ingenious Tracey Edson. Our kitchen has some silly things like the back door and the angled hallway coming into the corner of the kitchen that really make it an awkward space. In spite of that (and the current plywood countertop situation) our kitchen is very user-friendly and pleasant to work in: thank you Tracey!

Stay tuned for updates. I really do intend to blog more frequently. Promise. :-)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Classroom Website

I have been looking for a way to give students more ownership of the blog, and also for a tool that will let students create more than just blog posts, and so I've finally created a classroom website on weebly. It was really easy to do, and not only that, I get up to 40 student accounts (it's a special educator's version) so that students can upload assignments, write blog posts, and create their own websites! I am really looking forward to seeing how we can use that next year. That, combined with the YouTube for schools (assuming CPS doesn't block this), should really facilitate inquiry work. So exciting! Be sure and check back in the fall to see more student-generated content and see some of the work we're doing.