Saturday, July 13, 2013

Our House Updates: the living room

As promised, I finally have some pictures for you of the inside of the new house! It's not perfect, and I suspect it will never be completely finished, but I like it enough to post pictures.

Here is how it looked BEFORE with the previous owner's stuff:
 (you can't really tell, but the paint color in the room is a sea foam green)

And this is what it looks like AFTER our move and modifications:

We painted three of the walls a light, buttery yellow and then more of a true gold as the color for the accent wall. That color runs through the paisley pattern of our couch, but it seemed too much for the whole room. Steve came up with the idea of using it for an accent wall and I love how it came out. We were also able to use a lot of artwork we already had on the walls, including our Quaker Wedding certificate which is in a place where we can actually see it on a regular basis instead of tucked away in the dining room like it was before. It's my favorite thing in the house, so I'm thrilled that it has such a prominent place now.

The sconces on either side of the TV were gifts from Steve's mom. She bought them thinking they would look nice above the couch, but they really seemed to fit on the TV wall better. It's what made the room feel more finished to me.

You can't see it in these pictures, but there is a large bookshelf in the back corner of the room, near the doorway to the back hallway. It isn't anything fancy - just a simple Walmart bookshelf - but it allows me to have books nearby. We do have plans to put some sort of chair in the other corner to create a little reading nook back there eventually.

Of course, the best parts of this room are things that were there all along... the incredible tile floors and ridiculous amount of natural light. :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

4 years

4 years ago today I was on my way to Disney World for my honeymoon. Yup, yesterday was our 4th wedding anniversary!

It's funny to me to think about our anniversary in years because 4 years just doesn't sound long enough for all the things Steve and I have experienced since we were married. Saying "4 years" to someone when they ask how long we have been married seems incredibly inadequate. Then again, by the reactions from people I meet at school you would think we had climbed Everest or something. 

Last year we went to Disney World (it's kind of our thing) for our anniversary, so we kept things really low key this year. Keeping with tradition, I recreated the meal we had at our reception for dinner (fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and green beans) and made a lemon cake for dessert since our wedding cake was a lemon cake. I look forward to this meal every year because it brings back such wonderful memories of sitting in our hotel room halfway to our honeymoon and eating the dinner our family had the event staff box up for us. 

I did try to jazz up the kitchen/dining area for the occasion which was a bit difficult to keep a surprise now that we have the security cameras up in the house. Steve likes to check on Finn and me throughout the day, so I had to set things up where he wouldn't see everything. lol. I think it turned out nicely!
I made the banner with construction paper and a sharpie. Not fancy by any means, but we both really liked it and it made the room feel special.

The card Steve got me said "on to the next adventure" and Steve had written his own message talking about the things he is looking forward to in the years to come. It was very sweet and very fitting for this particular anniversary, even if it did make me think of the couple from the movie "UP". There are a lot of really good things about to happen for us and there is no one else I want to experience them with.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Building a class library

Ever since I received my placement for the fall semester my mind has been running about a million miles per minute with different ideas and random thoughts about what the semester might bring. My Pinterest account can attest to that! I realized that I had a lot of ideas for little ones, but not so many for upper elementary students.

In the midst of my pinning and blog hopping, it hit me. My 4th graders will be able to read actual books! When I was in 4th grade I read some of my favorite stories and began to develop my individual tastes as a reader. That was the year I met Laura Ingalls out on the prairie, the year I read my first collection of Edgar Allen Poe short stories and scared myself silly, the year I started solving mysteries with Nancy Drew. 

I quickly realized that one of the best things I could do for my students would be to have tons of reading recommendations to offer with copies of the book to put in their hands. So, I cleared out the back of my car and headed over to my parents' house to sort through the books I left in my old bedroom when I moved out. 

After about 45 minutes of sorting through the boxes, I managed to find quite a haul:

You can't really tell from this picture, but I even had multiple copies of some books which will be perfect for reading circles. There are some excellent stories in here including everything from Anne of Green Gables to Animorphs; Hiawatha to Number the Stars.

There are a few more boxes I did not get to which have my collection of Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and a few others.

Since I plan to loan these out, I realized I needed to catalog these books and label them as mine, So, I created this label to go in the front of each book:

Cute, right? I really like it and there will be no mistaking who these books belong to!

I am getting even more excited about my placement each day and I really can not wait to meet my students. I hope they get a lot of use out of my books and I hope I can hold onto this excitement when I am staying up late planning lessons and grading papers. :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hello there, 4th grade!

This morning I got an email from my program director with my placement for this fall. In an interesting turn of events, I will be teaching 4th grade at the school where I did my block two practicum! I am absolutely thrilled to be going back to that school. The administration was very welcoming of those of us from GSU and the teachers were great to work with.

I spent two mornings helping with 4th graders at that school last fall, so I think I will be okay. I had planned on being with the little ones for student teaching, but now that I think about all the things I can do with 4th graders I am getting very excited. Part of me keeps thinking back to my PTLS and the various activities my friends in the cohort were able to use with their 4th grade classes...

Another fun perk of being in 4th grade at this school is the fact that I could have some of the kids from my 3rd grade class last fall in my class again for student teaching! At the very least, I will be able to see several of them since we will all be in the same hallway.

This last semester of coursework is going to completely fly by. I am so excited to get started!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Anniversary excitement

This Thursday will be 4 years since Steve and I got married. It seems like a really long time and not nearly long enough all at the same time, if that makes sense.

I get really excited about our dinner tradition for our anniversary.  I'm pretty sure I have mentioned before that I recreate our reception meal for dinner on our anniversary every year. It was the one thing I could think of to make the day extra special even when we were broke as a joke in Savannah.

The meal itself is nothing fancy. We aren't fancy people and we wanted simple things we knew would taste good for our wedding. It worked out really well that day and it has been a great way to remember our special day ever since.

This year I'm particularly excited because I will be trying out a new recipe for our lemon cake dessert. It's an adaptation of a yellow cake recipe I have used for the last few years with a lemon curd filling and butter cream frosting. If it turns out well I will post the recipe here. Hopefully this one works out well because I have tried two other recipes in previous years and they were a bit of a disappointment. A good lemon cake recipe is difficult to find. :(

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy 4th!

July 4th holds a lot of really great memories for me. When I was a kid we always did something fun with family and there were definitely fireworks.

As I got older, there were more fireworks and even a few outings to Stone Mountain to watch the special laser show and fireworks.

In college there were trips to a lake house and cook outs with good friends and lots of food (ahem- and beer).

These days the celebration is a lot more low key. No more drinking games and loud parties. No more special trips to parks or special events. However, one thing remains constant: time with family.

Yesterday Steve and I took Mr. Finn with us over to my parents' house for a small family gathering to celebrate our nation's independence. The two of us, both of my brothers, my sister in law, my parents, and all five dogs spent the day eating delicious food and enjoying each other's company while avoiding the rain which prevented setting off fireworks. Well, the rain and the fact that we left our fireworks at home by accident. :)

It wasn't anything particularly significant, but it was relaxing and comforting to take the time to be with family. This year has already been a bit tough emotionally for all of us and it has served as a reminder to me to be grateful for the people you love because you never know how much longer you have with them.

I hope everyone had a wonderful, safe, and relaxing holiday.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cirque Musica

Steve's company owns a performance venue in town, and every now and then the company gives complimentary tickets to employees. This past week Steve took advantage of one of those offers and surprised me with tickets to a performance of Cirque Musica, a sort of circus and symphony mash-up with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

First of all, I am a HUGE fan of the symphony. I haven't been since middle school for a variety of reasons (no one to go with and high ticket prices mostly) so this particular date was such an incredible surprise. Add in the fact that the performance included Cirque du Soliel style performances to compliment the music. 

The result was a really cool blend of circus and concert. There were acrobats, guys juggling each other, and a woman doing the ribbon wrap aerials. The violin soloist during the Tchaikovsky concerto actually flew above the rest of the orchestra on a wire.

I was completely enthralled the whole time. 

Toward the end of the show the performers took a break while the symphony played a Beatles medley. Steve and I were cuddled up under the stars (which made an appearance despite a forecast of rain) listening to world class performers play "Let it Be" while the lightning bugs flickered all over the lawn. It was so romantic... definitely one of those moments where I was thankful to be exactly where I was.