Thursday, August 31, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday friends!  We are still settling into our house and we got Ava off to the Czech a republic.  We have a couple of fun things planned this weekend but nothing too crazy.  I am hoping to get a lot of stuff done at home.   Today I am linking up with ErikaNarci and Andrea to share my Friday Favorites

1.  Our biggest favorite of the week was getting Ava off  to the Czech Republic. I am so proud of her for being an exchange student this year.  I could have never been away from home for that long when I was in high school (or college honestly­čśČ).   She is getting settled and dealing with some homesickness which is totally normal. We are missing her like crazy and I'm thankful we can FaceTime with her.  She visited her school yesterday and she starts school on Monday.

2-I've been watching the news all week about the Texas flooding.  It is truly so awful and it makes me so sad that so many people have lost everything.  My heart breaks for them. 

3. My friend M's daughter works for a company called Mission Made Jewelry. Mission Made Jewelry (MMJ) is a non-profit organization that is working to break the cycle of poverty for individuals around the world through the sale of handmade products.  This week I bought the BRANDED bracelet.  This bracelet  is handmade by survivors of human trafficking. Many of the victims of human trafficking are physically marked or branded by their captors, this collection of unique bracelets represents the millions of individuals trapped in the nightmare of trafficking. 

4-Last night I went to a play at the Franklin Stage Company with my friend Julia.  I have a friend that sits on the Board and I like to go at least once a summer to see a play.  Franklin Stage Company is a small donation based theater  about 15 minutes from our house.  They have amazing actors that perform in the plays many of them are from NYC.  It's a fantastic little theatre and I'm so glad we went.  We saw Authur Miller's The Price and it was very good!

I hope you have a great weekend!!!


Book review {July and August}

This summer has flown by and I've lots of fun with family and friends.  I also managed to squeeze in some reading time. I love, love, love to read and there are SO many books that I want to read.  I try and read a little every day and can usually get through a book every week.

You can read my past book reviews here

We read My name is Lucy Barton for my book group. This book is about a girl who grew up in extreme poverty in Illinois.  Most of this book takes place when Lucy is an adult, married with two girls, living in Manhattan.  Lucy develops a mystery infection and her mother comes to stay with her during her hospital stay.  During the visit Lucy's mother shares many stories and gossip from their little town.    We never find out the cause of Lucy's mystery illness but that story line is secondary to the one of love and forgiveness shared by mother and daughter.  

I found Radium Girls at the library and it looked interesting so I checked it out. I love historical non-fiction and this book was so good  to read.  This book told the story of young women who worked as dial painters at watch factories 100 years ago.  At the time the women's didn't realize radium was harmful and they quickly got very sick and started dying.  There were so many heartbreaking stories woven throughout the book it was hard to keep them all straight.  The executives and doctors who worked for the radium company knew it was dangerous but they did nothing to help the women because they would lose business.  It was so hard to read at times because the women died horrible,  painful deaths as a result of their work with radium.  
It was their lawsuits that began the process of holding employers liable for injuries sustained in the workplace.

The Monsters of Templeton was a fun book.  This book told the story of Willie a young woman who comes back to her hometown in upstate New York after moving away for graduate school.  She comes back to town because she fears she is pregnant and she wants to figure her life out.   During her stay in her hometown she does research on her ancestors one of which founded the town.  She uncovers many scandalous secrets while researching her family tree.   This book is also part love story because Willie falls for two men while in her hometown.  It's also part science fiction because when she first arrives in town a lake monster is discovered and that storyline is  woven throughout the book.  This book was set in Cooperstown (called Templeton in the book)  and that was so interesting to me because we live so close to there so many of the landmarks she talks about in the book are familiar.  I loved this book so much I'd like to read other books by this author.

Rules of Civility is a book I read for my book group.  This book is about two young working class women women Katey and Eve and their new friend--  a young, rich banker named Tinker.  The story takes place in 1938 in New York City. The book tells the story of the two women after they meet Tinker and are introduced to the upper echelons of society in NYC.

Theft by Finding is a new book by David Sedaris and is actually excerpts from his diary from 1977-2002.  It was an interesting look back at his life before he was a successful writer.  He spent many years poor and living paycheck to paycheck.  In the book  he talks openly about his drug and alcohol use and the death of his beloved mother.  He suggests that readers don't read the book chronologically but instead flip through the book.  

After I saw his reading last week I had him sign the inside cover of my book.

My favorite book this month was Jackie's girl.  This book was written by Jackie Kennedy's personal assistant who was hired right after Jackie moved to NYC after the death of her husband.  I was so fascinated by this book and I couldn't put it down.  Kathy McKeon tells many stories about her 13 years working with Jackie and her children and about their time in New York and also about summers on Cape Cod.  If you love reading about the Kennedy family you will love this book!

In September the author of Hidden Figures is coming to campus to give a talk so that is one of the books I am going to read in September.

Happy reading.  Have a great Thursday!  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Crafty Wednesday {monogrammed wine glasses}

In July we had a monogrammed wine glass craft night for Branch and Bloom.  We had it at a wine and supper club in our town and that was the perfect venue.  It was our most successful craft night yet with 43 people!  I thought I would show you how we made our wine glasses in case you wanted to make them.  These are super easy and they make great gifts!

Here are the samples that we made for our craft class.   

I had a spring craft party and used my monogram wine glasses st the party.  My friends loved them!  
We had our craft night at a wine and supper club so the owners put out this cute sign for us.  

At our class each person made four monogrammed glasses using monogrammed decals we made on my silhoutte machine. 

We had 43 people at this craft night!  It was a great turnout and doing an easier project gave people time to talk with their friends and eat which is always fun!  
I cut out 2 inch monogrammed letters on my silhoutte.  I downloaded the monogram font from the silhoutte store. If you don't have a silhoutte machine you can order two inch vinyl monograms from etsy.  

You then attach the monogram to the glass with transfer paper.  I don't have pictures of this step but here is a tutorial online that explains that step.

Here is the finished product!  These wine glasses make great gifts and they are fun to make for yourself.  My friends also made them last year at my 40th birthday party.  You can see them here.  

I have lots and lots of projects I want to complete this fall so I am hoping to have lots of crafty Wednesday posts this fall.

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Goodbye Ava

Yesterday we took Ava to the airport to begin her year as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.  I have had very mixed feelings about this day since we found out a month ago this would be her departure date.  We are so excited for her to go but we are also so sad she'll be away from home for a year.  

She packed SO much.  The girl loves clothes and her shoes and she filled both of her suitcases plus her carry on bag to the brim with stuff. 

We drove to the Philadelphia airport  about 4 hours away from our house for Ava to catch her flight to Paris.  From Paris she will go to Prague.

Over the weekend Ava had many teary goodbyes with her friends and family.  I am so thankful that she has so many people that love her and care about her. 

Saying goodbye at the airport was so hard. We all cried.    I know she is going to have a great year but it was hard letting her go.  

At her party I asked people to write her notes to read in the Czech Republic.  We packed these in her suitcase and if she gets lonely she can look at them and be reminded of her friends and family back at home.

This morning she landed in Prague!  Her host family was there to pick her up.  Her host Mom has been messaging me a lot on Facebook and she has sent pictures and videos.  I am so thankful for them.  I love seeing these pictures!  
Please keep Ava in your thoughts and prayers this week as she transitions from life in the USA  to being an exchange student.  She will get settled in her new house this week and she starts school on Friday. 

I hope you have a great week!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday friends!  We are moving back home after being in our rental house all summer AND we are packing Ava up for her 11 month trip to the Czech Republic!   It's crazy around our house this weekend.   Today I am linking up with ErikaNarci and Andrea to share my Friday Favorites. 

1.  Today we are saying goodbye to our summer house and moving back to our normal house.  We rented it all summer to baseball families that were visiting our area.   We have been packing all week and we will unpack and organize this weekend and hopefully be all settled in by next week.

2-on top of the craziness of moving Ava is also packing for her 11 month trip as a Rotary exchange student.  She will be living in the Czech Republic.  We had her going away party on Sunday.  You can read about it here.   And this week she has been saying goodbye to all of her friends.  

3.  Monday night I went to see David Serdaris.  He is an author and he did a book reading.  He is very witty and has a very dry sense of humor.  My friend Shannon and I took our friend Amy for her birthday.  It was a great night!
4.I got my book signed for Brock and Ava.  I decided I am going to start having books signed for them.  I told Ava about my plan and she told me she didn't want my old books-ha ha!  I think she'll appreciate them when she's older!

5-We had a little adventure this week with my  friend Sabrina and her daughter Eliza.  We went to Ithaca to the waterfalls and to do a little school shopping. It was a fun trip!!

6-Last night was our monthly Bunco night.   My friend Debbie hosted and we hung out on her deck.  It was a beautiful night but it was freezing cold!   We put on Debbie's sons' hats to stay warm.

7-Also this week Rachael and I (for our Branch and Bloom business) put together a wooden box for a fundraiser tonight for the animal shelter.  Rachael's husband made the box for us and we added bottles and the plant cuttings.  I think it turned out so cute!

Happy Friday friends!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Ava's going away party

In less than a week our Ava leaves for Czech Republic for a year to study abroad through the Rotary exchange program.   She is SO excited to go and I'm thrilled for her.  I know she is going to have an amazing experience.  She wanted a big going away party to say goodbye to all of her friends.  

We had her party on Sunday.  Our friends own a campground so we had the party there and it was perfect!
Ava loves cake from the College where we work so they made her a cake for her party.  It was delicious! 

We made fun photoprops that people could use in their pictures. Our colors for the party were red and blue from the colors in the Czech flag.

 I had notecard so people could write notes to Ava that she could open infe she got to Czech if she gets homesick.

She has had many amazing experiences this year as she prepared for her exchange so I printed pictures from her year year from the Rotary Yourh Exchange. 

We also made a signature drink for the kids.  It was a red, white and blue punch.  

Ava created a Snapchat filter for her party.   Grandma Jan and I tested it out.  

Our friend Shawn grilled chickens for us for the party.  They were delicious.  We also had tons of side dishes.  Some my fiends made and I had some catered so we had plenty of food.  

Ava and some seeet girls from her class.  She has been to school with some of these girls since pre-school.   She is really going to miss them next year.   

Ava's basketball coach came to the party. We love him!  His name is Mac and he has coached Ava for 5 years.   He is the best coach and he gave her drills to work on so she keeps up her skills when she's away next year.   

We took a big picture of all of the kids that came to the party.   Ava wanted lots of people there so I'm glad so many people were able to come.  

It was the perfect send-off for Ava!   This week we have been packing her up and getting her ready to go.  I am so proud of her and I know she is going to have a great year!