By Lucy M. Pritchett

Laura spends some time with her son JT. Photos by Patti Hartog

In my day, teachers of Home Ec classes instructed us on how to broil half a grapefruit (a tasty appetizer?) and how to hem an A-line skirt (of which I had many). Today, Home Ec has been renamed Family and Consumer Sciences, and Laura Spiegelhalter is readying students at duPont Manual High School in life skills such as nutrition, relationships, parenting, fashion, and interior design.

In fact, she is doing such a good job…

…of guiding her students in these areas that in November she was named the 2015 winner of the Pride Award by the National Association of Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences at the organization’s annual meeting in New Orleans. This award goes to a classroom teacher for outstanding work in the continued development and enhancement of family and consumer sciences education.

Laura, 36, uses many of her classroom talents in running her own household, which consists of husband Joe, 5-year-old daughter Caroline, and 1-and-a-half-year-old twins, son JT and daughter Laney. Oh, yes, and there are a dog and a cat added to the family mix as well.

Not surprisingly, one of the items that works for her is her trusty vacuum cleaner.

Hoover Windtunnel Bagless Upright Vacuum
I like to vacuum. It makes me happy. With the pets and the children and hardwood floors, there are constantly little tumbleweeds of dust floating around. I vacuum every day. It is my meditation. My husband bought me a multi-hundred-dollar vacuum, but it was very heavy, and it just didn’t work for me. So he bought me the Hoover Windtunnel (which is the brand I had before), and I love it. It is lightweight, and I use the attachment hose on the baseboards and area rugs.

My 5-year-old knows how great it is. If the babies spill cereal, Caroline says, “No big deal. Get the vacuum. We can clean it right up.” I can’t imagine life without a vacuum cleaner.

Blend All-Natural Body Balm
This is a thick, all-natural moisturizer and is my favorite product in the house. I buy it at the St. Matthews farmers market. My 5-year-old has eczema in winter, and she keeps a jar of it by her bed. I tried it as a treatment on my son’s cradle cap, and it cleared up in two days.

Actually I use all the Blend All Natural products. They are made locally. My favorite lotion is the grapefruit ginger. I use their baby care products, and in the summer, their bug spray.

Boyz II Men CDs
I have this group’s CDs at home, in my office, my classroom, and my car. I listen to the actual CDs, and I have all that they have recorded. My students are used to Boyz II Men’s music playing in the classroom or my office.

Every year, I used to drag my sister to any concert of theirs that was close by. Last year we drove to Nashville to see them. Now, she has become a big fan of the group.

I am old school. I carry the CDs around with me and rotate them out from home to car to school. My favorite songs? On Bended Knee, One Sweet Day, and Oh, Well.