Friday, September 7, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm so happy it's the weekend!!  This week Ava started school and G and I finally picked out a color to paint our rental house.  We are going to start painting it this weekend.  I feel  like it's a project that will never end.  I also have a baby shower to go to and I'm going to celebrate my friend Heidi's bday.  

Here are my favorites from this week-

1.  Ava and our exchange student Grace started school this week.  I just loved every minute of our summer but I am thankful that she and Grace are back in school.  I hope they both have a great year!

2.  Last Friday two of my friends (Sabrina and Lynn) came and took pictures for our annual Greek photo shoot.  Lynn and I were on top of one of the campus buildings so she could get pics from above and Sabrina was on the ground taking small group pics.  I always do this photo shoot the first Friday of classes.  I love having these pictures to use in brochures, on our website, etc throughout the year.  

3.  We spent a fun Labor Day at the falls in Ithaca.  It was beautiful and it was so nice out and it was a great day to spend the last day of summer  outside hiking and swimming.  

4.  I made some jalapeno freezer jam this week.  One recipe made about 10 jars.  I mix it with cream cheese and I'm going to take it to parties this fall.  It is so good and it's the right mix of hot and sweet.  

I hope you have a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

First day of school

It was back to school day for Ava today.  She is starting her sophomore (junior) year.  I wrote it like that because she can graduate in two years with her class or she can stay an extra year and finish her math and science requirements that she missed when she studied abroad in the Czech Republic last fall. 

We also have an exchange student from Taiwan living with us this fall. Grace was excited and happy to start school today too!  

I hope they have a great first day!  I am going to pick them up right after school and I can't wait to hear all about it.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Weekend Fun!

We had a great last weekend of summer!  I celebrated my dear friend Julia's 50th bday in Saratoga and took Ava and Grace school shopping on Sunday  to the Ithaca waterfalls yesterday.  

  It was hot and humid here all weekend and I wanted to make the most of it.  School starts here tomorrow so this was our last summer weekend :(  

Saturday I went to the Saratoga racetrack to celebrate my dear friend Julia's 50th!  This was the last weekend the track was open and I'm so glad it worked out for us to go.  We had a great time celebrating her 

We left bright and early Saturday morning and headed to the track we rented a house for all of us for Saturday night and came home Sunday morning.  We had a full 24 hours to celebrate Julia.

 I try and get up to Saratoga at least once a season.  You can see a post about the track and tips for going here.    We brought our own food and drinks and did general admission to get in so it was only $7 each.  I bet $2 on each race so it was a cheap day!

Befoer each race a bugler plays "Call To the Post" to signal the race is about to begin.  Since it was Julia's bday we asked him to take a picture with us which was fun!

During one race Julia picked a horse and we all put our money together and bet  $40 on him. Which was a big bet for us.    It made the race SO exciting!  Sadly we didn't win but here is a picture of the horse we choose during that race.

After a day at the races we went back to our rented house and got ready and went to a nice dinner in downtown Saratoga.  It was a great way to end our time in Saratoga.

Monday I went to Ithaca to the waterfalls with my friends Sabrina and Lynn and their daughters. I love going to Ithaca at least once a summer too and this was our first and only trip there this summer.  We swam, had lunch and took lots of pictures at the falls. I'm so happy Grace got to expereince this with us too.  It was a long day but so worth it.   It was a great last day of summer!

Hope you had a good weekend!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Favorites

This has been a week of settling for us.  

We are settling back into our house after being gone for the summer and settling in to having grace our exchange student with us.  I have been organizing and putting this away this week and Graig is busy working getting our rental house ready.  Our tenants move in on Saturday.

Today I am linking up with Erika, Narci and Andrea here are my favorites from this week

1.  My most favorite thing from this week was meeting Grace.  She an exchange student from Taiwan and will be with us until December.  She will start school with Ava next week and we have a few fun trips planned with her this fall.

2.  My college students are back!!  Classes started on Monday and  I have been going non stop since then.  It’s been a crazy busy week and I’m thrilled it’s Friday and that I have a three day weekend to look forward to!

3.  I said goodbye to my older adult ladies swim class members this week. Starting next week I will be teaching a deep water class early mornings on M/W instead of this T/Th evening class.  I have loved being their teacher for four years and I will miss them so much!  We had a potluck last night and it was a great way to end the last class.

4.  I did my summer book review this week.  You can read it here.  I just started reading 
The Hate U Give which has been made into a movie that comes out in October.  So far I really like the book. 

I hope you have had a great week!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

What's up Wednesday

Hey I'm linking up today to share what we've been up to lately.  It's been a busy summer and I am excited about getting back into our work and school routine.  Classes started at the College where I work on Monday and Ava starts school next Wednesday 9/5.  We are getting settled into our house again after being gone all summer (we rent it out to baseball families) and I'm excited about the fall season ahead.  

I don't link up every month but you can read my past WUW posts below

What we're eating this week...Now that we are back home I have been cooking so much more.  Last night we had a cookout and tonight G had to work late so Ava and I went to our friend's house for TACO TUESDAY.  We haven't had one in so long and it was good to get together and catch up.  I brought the taco meat and she provided the toppings. It was a fun night!! 

What I'm reminiscing about...All the fun we had this summer.  We had lots of adventures and good times and fun with friends and family.

What I'm loving...I'm loving being back in our home and getting settled. Home is my absolute favorite place to be.  I'm also excited about September and all things fall!!

What we've been up, work and more work.  enough said!

What I'm dreading...Thankfully nothing at the moment!

What I'm working on...I'm working on unpacking and getting settled back at home after being gone all summer long.  

What I'm excited about...FALL!!  I love fall and we have a few fun things planned and I can't wait for the weather to be cooler and pumpkin everything.  I just love fall!

What I'm watching/reading...I just finished watching Sharp Objects on HBO.  The show is based on the book that I read in June.  The show was SO good!!  

What I'm wearing...I have been living in these birkenstocks this summer.  They are comfy and cute and I just love them. 

What I'm doing this weekend...going to Saratoga to celebrate my friend Julia's 50th birthday!

  Also school shopping for Ava on Sunday  and we have a day trip to Ithaca on Monday to see the waterfalls.  While I'm in Saratoga G is going to paint Ava's room gray.  We got her a new desk and dresser at IKEA and he's going to put that together so she'll have a new room by the time school starts!

What I'm looking forward to next month...anything and everything related to fall. I just love all of it-cooler weather, bonfires, high school football games, 

What else is new...we have an exchange student living with us for a few months.  Her name is Grace and she is really sweet.   She just arrived in the US on Sunday and moved in to our house Sunday afternoon.  On Monday night after dinner we went out for ice cream and showed her the high school.   She will start school next week.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Book review {July and August}

July and August have flown by.  I try and read a new book every week.  Sometimes it works out but in July and August I couldn't make that work with everything else going on so I decided to combine my July and August book review into one post.  I read four great books over the past two months.  They were all so different but not a bad one in the batch.  There are SO many books I have on my list to read.  Let me know your favorites and I'll add them to my list.  You can read my other book reviews for this year below

The Summer I met Jack  is a historical fiction book about   Alicia Darr is a poor, Polish immigrant who comes to America after WW II for a chance at a better life.  She works at a movie theatre in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  While working, she meets a young Jack Kennedy and they fall madly and deeply in love.  She meets the entire Kennedy family and at the end of their summer together  Jack proposes to her but his Father adamantly objects to their marriage because Alicia is Jewish and he wants Jack to run for President.  Devastated, Alicia moves to California to start a new life for herself but Jack Kennedy keeps re-appearing in her life at various times until his death.  I never knew anything about Alicia Corning Clark and found this book very interesting.  I have always loved reading about the Kennedy family and this book was fill of history, intrigue and scandal.  I highly recommend it!

The Sound of Gravel is a memoir about a girl who grew up in a polygamist family.    This is the first book written by Ruth Wariner and I can’t believe this is her first book because she is a wonderful storyteller.  In the book Ruth talks about her childhood and growing up in an FLDS compound in Mexico.  She served as the caretaker for her many siblings.  She survived severe neglect, extreme poverty and molestation by her stepfather. I still think about what yhe author and her family went through.  This book is a story of survival and is both heartwarming and heartbreaking I couldn’t put it down.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things was my book club book for August.  This book was another heartbreaking book about a young girl Wavy who lives with extended family because her father is a drug kingpin who parties hard, has multiple girlfriends and shady business associates and has little time for Wavy.  Wavy's mother is a drug addict who also is dealing with mental health issues.  The only bright spot in Wavy's young life is Jesse Joe Kellen who works for her father.  Kellen takes care of Wavy and makes sure she has what she needs to survive.  This is where we had the most discussion at our book club-Wavy and Kellen have a physical relationship when she is a young teenager and he is a 20 something year old man.  This part of the story made me very uncomfortable.  I did enjoy this book and the way the author made you really feel compassion for Wavy and her circumstances.   The author tells a beautiful story of love and survival.  

I just finished reading From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein.  She was a 20 something unemployed teacher working part time jobs when she saw an ad on Craig's list for a job in a law firm. The law firm turned out to be the Obama White House and Dorey-Stein served as a stenographer for the President providing transcripts of meetings, press interviews, etc. The most interesting part of the book for me was reading about the author's travels with the President.  She got to see the world with him and it was interesting reading about the ins and outs of travel with the President.  She also talked about the toll the job took on her personal life and  the many friends and adventures she had while working for the President. She is a wonderful story teller and I hope this is the first of many books from her.

Happy reading!

Monday, August 27, 2018

This and That

Oh my goodness these last two weeks have been a blur-we packed up and moved from our summer house back to our regular house over the weekend.  We rent our regular house to baseball families visiting our town for 12 weeks during the summer.  G also  has been working with a contractor day and night for 8 days trying to get our second rental house ready for tenants who are moving in this week.   On top of all of that craziness classes started today at the college where we work and we have an exchange student living with us this fall and she moved in yesterday.  I'm exhausted just typing all of that.  For the last two weeks I have done nothing but pack, clean, organize and I made numerous trips to Home Depot to get stuff for the rental house.  I am SO exhausted but I am thankful that we are back to our regular house and almost settled in there.  

I also did manage to squeeze in a few fun things that were already on my calendar in the last couple of weeks.  

 G learned to put in windows and put 16 news ones in our rental house!  Here he is putting in the windows in the dining room of the downstairs apartment.  I took tons of pictures of the renovations that we did and want to make a book of before and after pics.  

The upstairs bathroom needed a complete overhaul.  Here is the before and the (almost) after.  

I love making homemade freezer jam so I made 6 jars of  strawberry freezer jam for us and I also made pesto using basil from my garden.  I was able to make four batches of pesto the basil leaves from one of my plants.

My friend M invited me over for a fun afternoon of swimming, friends, and snacks.  It was a great day!

My friend T had her second annual summer brunch and I made peach hand pies to take to the brunch.  They were so easy to make and I used peaches from the Farmers Market.  Peaches are in peak season in NY right now and they were so delicious.  I will post the recipe soon.

I went to a fundraing event for Hospice over the weekend.  ZZ Top played and it was a lot of fun. Practically everyone from our whole town was there and it was fun night for a great cause!

A couple of weeks ago my friend D hosted our monthly bunco game and her hubby made pizzas for us in their outdoor pizza oven.  They were so good!  

A couple of weeks ago Margaret Atwood, one of my favorite authors, came to Cooperstown to give a talk about her books.  She talked mostly about A Handmaid's Tale and the TV series it has become.  She gave a fascinating talk and I learned so much from listening to her.  She had a dry sense of humor and she kept everyone engaged with her funny stories and sharp wit.  After the talk she did an impromtu book signing and I had her sign a copy of the Handmaids Tale for Ava.  Once school starts for Ava we are going to read the Handmaid's Tale together.  

This morning I watched the finale of Sharp Objects.  I read the book in June and have absolutely loved the series it was SO good.  The finale was intense and crazy and I loved every minute of it.  If you watched it let me know how you liked it.  

Finally our exchange student from Taiwan arrived yesterday.  She slept most of the day yesterday and is still tired today.  She is a sweet girl and we have had fun talking with her and getting to know her a little bit.  We have a couple of fun things planned for her this week before school starts.  

I hope you had a great couple of weeks.