Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympics Opening Ceremony

I have to say that the Olympics Opening Ceremony was fairly dreadful and underwhelming. Granted, I missed the first 45 minutes, but unless something spectacular happened, I don't feel like I lost any of the ... whatever it is they were going for. I did watch the next hour or so, but was so bored that I decided to record the rest and go to bed. This morning I watched the rest while working on purchase orders for my classroom.

Here are my thoughts on the following topics:

The Queen
Bored much? While the James Bond scene was creative, Her Majesty looked like she was bored half to death. I don't think I saw her smile at all; where's all that spunk that the NBC commentators said she had? And then there was the frowny, bland, single sentence statement declaring the Olympics open. Yawn.

The NBC Commentators
Unimpressive. And apparently, they skipped tributes to the Israeli victims and the 7/7 victims to show a dull interview with Michael Phelps. Hopefully NBC won't botch the rest of the Olympic coverage.

The American Uniforms
What are we, French? Berets. Scarves that look like the French flag. Is this the best the U.S. could come up with?

The Lighting of the Torch
By far the best part of the Opening Ceremony. I loved the "passing it on to the next generation" and the way they passed the torch among themselves. And, while I was clueless as to what the big horn-looking things being carried in were, the copper "leaves" being raised into the cauldron was pretty spectacular. It's rather unfortunate that that was followed a poor rendition of "Hey Jude".

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Classroom

Today was the first day I was able to get into my new classroom. I hadn't planned on starting until tomorrow (when pre-planning starts for the rest of the teachers), but I found out yesterday afternoon that there was a new preschool teacher planning session from 8-12 today. Since I was already there, I decided to spend the next few hours working on unpacking my room. My principal mentioned that there were a lot of boxes to unpack; little did I know what I was walking into...

There's another new preschool teacher who can't get into his room until Monday (they're still using his classroom because preschool goes through the summer). Suzanne suggested that he could come help me unpack boxes, and I gladly accepted his help. When I walked into the classroom, I realized that the boxes were all from Kaplan, Montessori tools, and other educational stores. Everything in my classroom is BRAND NEW (except the computer). Tables, chairs, puzzles, blocks, dramatic play uniforms, everything! It's like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one. Oh, and most of the furniture was pre-assembled - can't beat that!

Going through the boxes has been interesting, to say the least. I have more plastic play food than I know what to do with, 1 full set of sheets and 1 half set, and at least 40 different types of paint brushes. Ironically, the three things I haven't found anywhere so far are markers, crayons, and books. I have no storybooks at all for a classroom library; all I have are the books that we use in our language/literacy curriculum. I'm hoping to order some, but if anyone has any ideas where I can get preschool level books for cheap and/or free, please let me know!

I'll post some pictures once I've got my classroom set up.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Before and After

When we first signed our lease and moved into our new place, I was a bit worried at all the work that would have to go into making it feel like home. Sure, in our last place I didn't worry as much because I knew we would only be there a year. However, it is my hope to stay here for a few years (hopefully until we have enough saved for a decent down payment on a house).

As I'm sitting here watching Sister Act, I figure this is a great time to do a Before and After post.


The kitchen was pretty disgusting - very dirty, with caked on dirt and grease. So, after a couple hours of attempting to clean, I decided to try something that I had seen on design shows and magazines. I also wanted to add some color (the entire house was white and off-white, and if you know me, you know I don't do bland). So, I removed the doors from the cabinets, painted the insides white and the outsides "Guacamole" (just for you, Dad!). I then put the doors back over the stove (to hide all my plastic containers); bought baskets to hold my spices, baking supplies, and pantry goods; and purchased fabric and curtain rods to make curtains to cover the bottom cabinets instead of putting the doors back on. The kitchen is probably the room I'm most proud of because it has made a 180 degree turn from where it started.


Dining Room

The dining room was our "I-don't-really-know-what-to-do-with-this-stuff" area. Once I was able to find a home for all of the random things, I put our china in the hutch that matches our dining room table. I also painted the long, back wall of the dining room/living room blue. The hutch also makes a great place to display some of our wedding photos.


Living Room

The living room started off just as bland as the rest of the house.  However, it wasn't anything that a coat of paint, new curtains, and our furniture couldn't take care of! As a birthday gift, Davis bought me frames for my black and white photos that I took in Sicily, and they are now hanging on the wall above the couch.



I already had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do with our bedroom since it was the one room I had worked on in our old apartment. My mother-in-law bought me matching lamps for my birthday. We bought a dresser off Craigslist for $50, and I refinished it for Davis; it's very similar to the other dresser we already have. Black-out and gauzy curtains were hung, and a nice coat of green paint on the wall behind the bed gave me the pop of color I was looking for.

In the bathroom, (after bleaching everything) I de-glossed and re-stained the cabinets and fixtures to bring some life back into them. A bright shower curtain, corner shower caddy, and some bathmats finished off our bathroom.


My Library
Now on to my favorite room in the house... It started off as the second closet in our guest bedroom. I took down one shelf to stand up my taller bookcase. My shorter bookcase went on the adjacent wall, and my sewing box fits nicely in the corner. Oh, and my shoes are hanging on the back of the door instead of in our bedroom closet.

Guest Bedroom
There's not a whole lot in this room at the moment - I'm not really sure what I want to do with it in terms of decorating. Right now there's a bed frame and a couch that I want to recover at some point.