Tuesday, October 9, 2018

September Book Review {Just Mercy}

In September I only finished one book but it was a great one and I can’t wait to share it with you.  

Each year the College where I work does a Common Read.  The Common Read encourages all faculty, staff and students to read and talk about a common book.  Faculty members integrate the book into their classes and we are encouraged to talk with students about the themes in the book.  

Last year the Common Read was Hidden Figures.  I wrote a post about that event here.  This year the book our College chose was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

  Bryan was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice League dedicated to defending the wrongly convicted.  The stories in his book are powerful and haunting.  I finished this book  a few weeks ago and I still find myself thinking about the people he writes about in  this book.  Bryan and his team do amazing work for the most desperate and most in need in our criminal justice system.  

I’m in two book clubs and both of my book clubs read this book for  September. Everyone loved it.  I met with some friends in both book clubs at a restaurant last Monday and we all  talked about this book before we went to his talk on campus.

During his speech he told some stories from his childhood and from the book and he gave us four points for changing the world.  One of those points  was to get close to the people  that you want to help. I think reaching out and connecting to people is so important so I’m glad that this was one of his recommendations for our students.  

After the presentation he did some book signings and I was lucky enough to get his book signed by Brock and Ava.  

This was a wonderful book and I highly recommend it if you are looking for a good, thought provoking  non-fiction book.  This book is also in production to be a movie that will be out in 2020.

Happy reading!!


Monday, October 8, 2018

Weekend top 5

I never got around to posting this last Monday-ooops!  But we had a fun weekend and I want to remember it so I am going to post it now!

We had a fun weekend-Ava got her drivers license so she spent the weekend driving anywhere and everywhere-G is working hard painting our rental house (he loves working on it), and I spent the weekend doing a few fun things and I got some things done around the house.

Here’s our weekend top 5

1-Ava got her license!  She has been driving her Grandma Jan's car to school and she drives Grace our exchange student every day.    She drove to visit her bff at College and they went together to shop Ava’s homecoming dress. They had such a fun weekend together.

2.  I started the weekend with a birthday  happy hour for my friend Lori.  It was held at a little restaurant/bar downtown.  I had so much fun catching up with everyone.  I made pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting and took those to the party for Lori.  They were a big hit!

3.  After the happy hour I raced to work to attend a dinner in honor of a former who was being honored as one of the distinguished alumni from the College where I work.   It was a great night for my former student Evan and his wife and I’m so happy I was there to celebrate with them. 

4.  Saturday  my friend Sabrina and I took my  exchange student Grace to a fall festival and to do a little shopping.  We always have so much fun together so I’m glad we were able to coordinate our schedules to make this day work.  We had such a fun day together. 

5.  I started making a few things  for our sixth annual holiday market which is 6 weeks away.  You can read about last year’s holiday market here.  This year I’m trying to make a few things a couple of times a week so I’m not so stressed out the week of the Market this year.

That’s it for me this week.  I hope you had a fabulous weekend.


Our weekend {Pit Run and Homecoming}

We had a great weekend!  Two events took up our whole weekend and both were so much fun!  The annual Pit Run was yesterday.  I’m on the race committee and we spent Saturday setting up for race on Sunday.  

Ava also had her homecoming dance on Saturday night.  She had her friends over and they got ready, had pizza and took pictures at our house before the dance.

Saturday after the homecoming football game Ava’s friends came over and got ready for the dance.  Ava also had her friends over to get ready for homecoming during her freshman year.  You can see those pictures here.  Last year she was in Czech Republic so she missed Homecoming.  

I just love that she gets ready at our house.  It’s so fun to see everyone get ready and get  dressed up for the big dance.  

I spent my weekend setting up for the annual Pit Run.  This race is held the first Sunday in October every year and this year the race celebrated is 25th year.  The race is held is memory of a state trooper who was killed trying to stop an armed robbery at a grocery store in our town.  After that horrible day his friends and family decided to do something to honor him and the Pit Run was born.  It is amazing to me that this event is still going strong after all these years and it's amazing that the run has generated so much money for his foundation which gives money to programs and events right in our community.  I am truly honored and humbled to be part of such a wonderful organization.  

I hope you had a fabulous weekend!

Friday, October 5, 2018

Friday Favorites

This week has been busy!!  I saw this picture on Facebook this week and this perfectly describes me this week.  I’ve had big plans to make good dinners all week and then life got in the way and I got busy and we ended up eating a lot of frozen pizza and mac and cheese.  Tonight I’m planning to  make penne alla vodka but I’ll see how the day goes :) as usual I’m linking up with Andrea to share my Friday Favorites.

1. The 25th annual Pit Run is this weekend!  I’m on the race committee and for the past two years I’ve been the Race Director.  We have been working on planning and preparing for this race all year and the weekend is finally here!  I’m excited and nervous at the same time.  I hope I didn’t forget anything and I’m hoping we have a great weekend. Here we all are Wednesday night stuffing goody bags for the kids fun run.

2.  Rachael and I started advertising for our 6th annual Holiday Market which will be held Sat. Nov. 17.  We own a small craft business and each year we host a Holiday Market and we invite our crafty friends to make things and sell.  We invite everyone we know to come and shop.  You can see my post from last year’s Holiday Market here.

3.  Speaking of the Holiday Market my friend Sabrina and I got together on Tuesday night and we made a couple of signs.  We also went out to dinner and surprised Ava while she was working.  It was such a great night!!

4.  I just love fall decor!  I have a post in the hopper to show you all my fall decorations but for now I’ll share a picture of the hutch in our dining room.  I just love decorating this space for different  holidays.


5.  G has been working so hard painting our rental house.  He is working so hard to get it all painted before winter. I went over the other day and snapped a few pics because I want to make a book of the before and afters.  

Here is the before

And here is the (almost!) after.  He still has another coat of the white to do.  I’m so proud of him this is a big job!!

That’s it for me this week.  I hope you have a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

What's Up Wednesday {September}

Hey I'm linking up today to share what we've been up to lately.  It's been a busy month and I’m excited about things calming down and  I'm so happy  about the fall season and all the pumpkins, hayrides, bonfires, hikes, etc. ahead.  

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

What we're eating this week...Last night I made chicken fried rice using this recipe and it was fabulous!   We loved it.  I got a wok for my birthday and I’ve been using it to make stir fry recipes and pad Thai. 

What I'm reminiscing about...All the events that I’ve had since school started.  It has been sooooo busy!  I had the freshman block party, fall recruitment, bid day, the annual photo shoot, and family weekend.  It’s been a crazy!!  I hope things calm down in October.

What I'm loving...all things FALL!!   I had my gal brunch on Sunday.  We’ve been to football games, done a little hiking, and a little fall crafting.  I am just enjoying everything about fall!!  

What we've been up to...school, work...you know the usual

What I'm dreading...thankfully nothing right now!

What I'm working on.... October is  big month for me work-wise so I'm busy planning and organizing to make sure my October events run smoothly.  

What I'm excited about...everything fall!  I am enjoying every single day of this beautiful season!

What I'm watching/reading...I just finished Just Mercy. This book was our Common Read at the College where I work for this academic year.  The book was incredible and it made me re-think my thoughts on the death penalty.   The author, Bryan Stevenson, came to campus last night to give a talk.  He was so inspirational and motivational.  I learned so much from hearing his speech.  He signed  a book for Brock and Ava.  

 What I'm wearing...I’ve gotten a couple of really cute things this month from wait for it......

Walmart!   I got these Levi jeans that I just love at Walmart.  I wear them all the time and get so many compliments on them.  They are so comfortable and a great transition piece from summer to fall. 

What I'm looking forward to next month...I'm going to see Justin Timberlake with my friends in Albany.  It's going to be such a fun show!  We are going to shop and spend the night and I'm happy to have a fall getaway.  

What else is new...Ava is taking her driving test today.  It’s today at 11am and I hope she passes.  She has had her permit for six months and has been driving  a lot with G and I.  She is a good driver and she’s ready for her test today.  

I hope you've had a great week!

Crafty Wednesday {September craft night}

I own a small craft business called Branch and Bloom with my best friend Rachael.  Once a month we host a craft class and teach people how to do a craft.  We took a couple of months off for the summer and we had our first craft class of the fall last week.  For our September craft night we hosted a private craft class for our dear friend Faith and some of our friends.  Faith really wanted to do an organization station so we worked hard to come up with something that would be simple and fun for our friends to do.  

This is what we came up with.  We provided each person with a 2 foot x 2 foot board, chalkboard paint, ribbon, jute, and corkboard tiles.  We had everything set up when everyone came in for the class.  We set up each person with their own little station.  

Here is the birthday girl hard at work on her craft. 

 The first step we had people do was to paint their board with chalkboard paint. Some people wanted their board completely covered with chalkboard paint, some people used painters tape and taped off sections of their board.  We wanted people to use their creativitiy and make this project their own.  It was neat seeing all of the designs that everyone came up with.

After their chalkboard dried then they add on the corkboard circles.  The circles were a big hit! 

The most important things for us at our Craft Nights is that 1.everyone  leaves with a completed craft and 2. everyone has a good time.  Faith's birthday craft was so fun!  Everyone had a good time and everyone left with their own organization station.  If you would like a craft class for a birthday party please let us know!

Happy Wednesday!  Now that things have calmed down for me I hope Crafty Wednesday posts every week so check back.