Monday, August 15, 2011

Fueled Up and Ready to Clean

     I really tried to post something last week.  Really tried.  But after two days of being back at work, I was too tired to think.  Too tired to type.  Too tired to turn my computer on.  I spent Thursday and Friday unpacking crates in my classroom, moving furniture and boxes in what felt like 150 degree temps, and doing some deep cleaning.  The school district graciously offered to build us a new school building that should be ready at the beginning of the 2012 school year.  The price, one school year spent in a transition campus that deserves to be torn down and rebuilt itself.  And the third grade classrooms aren't really even in that building at all.  We are out in a portable annex, grounded securely on cinder blocks.  We are the third or fourth school to set up camp in this transition campus that was well past its prime even before it was deemed the transition location.  However after a couple 10 hour work days, some deep cleaning, and a lot of colored paper to decorate the walls, my room in the T Shack is finally looking almost cheery.
     With everything in place, I pulled out my Branch Basics cleaner and paper towels and went to work sanitizing EVERYTHING.  It kills me that the district requires all the supplies in my classroom to be non-toxic and have a non-toxic label to prove it, and yet Clorox, Lysol, and antibacterial soaps are allowed.  The chemical soup that forms in the air when these cleaning supplies are used are a lot more harmful to the students than the occasional marker.  I could smell cleaning supplies all over the campus as teachers brought in economy packs of Lysol wipes and began wiping down desks and tables, assuming they were cleaning.  I posted a while ago about what clean really is.  Are those classrooms full of Lysol and Clorox really clean?  I'm not sure that they are.  They smell clean, or smell like what we associate with clean, but my Branch Basics cleaner did a great job cleaning all surfaces without the strong smells and chemicals.  I also know that it is killing bacteria and viruses that might be lurking around the room.
     In preparation for this week, I refilled my spray bottle with Branch Basics and made some energy bars to help keep me fueled throughout the day.  I can't even begin to tell you how obsessed I am with my Clean Start cookbook.  The recipe for my energy bars came from Clean Start, and they are amazingly good, fantastically simple to make, and free of any sugars or unwanted additives.  They can be made with any kind of nut butter, the nuts of your choice, dried fruit or chocolate chips and are sweetened with a touch of pure maple syrup.  I used almond butter with sunflower seeds, cashews and almonds.  I included a picture so you could take a peek.  I ate more than my fair share before I even put them in the refrigerator to harden.  I always need snacks throughout the day, especially when I'm at work.  Now I'm sure I'll have enough energy to keep cleaning and organizing my classroom.  I have until Thursday to get everything set up.  Wish me luck!       

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