Monday, October 12, 2015

Kitchens of the Midwest

Kitchens of the Great Midwest  is J. Ryan Stradal's first novel. The book is peppered with recipes.  I almost had to stop reading because it made me so hungry! Every chapter is a short story that adds up to a wonderful novel. Loved this book.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Saint Mazie

 I had a long list of books I wanted to read this summer and this book kept popping up on Must Read List of 2015. Saint Mazie is a roaring 20's good time girl with a heart of gold. This book is written as a diary of a common person who was known as the Queen of the Bowery. Mazie loves the bums, dirt and grim that make up New York City. She sits in her cage, the ticket booth at the Venice movie, watching life go by. I really liked the format of journal entries. I didn't want this book to end.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Book of Speculation

I picked this novel merely for the cover. However the story had enough mystery to keep me reading to the last page. If you like carnival stories with tarot cards and curses you'll enjoy this book.  It reminds me of Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Everest Vacation Bible School

 This year our church's VBS theme was Everest. It was fun to come up with snowy ideas during the summer heat. I did snacks again for VBS. The first day I kept it super simple with trail mix. Day 2 was a yogurt parfait. I used strawberry yogurt, crushed graham crackers and blueberries on top. It looked real messy in the cups but the kids loved it. It was also the messiest snack to clean up.
 This snack was very simple and a real crowd pleaser. 

We used cookie cutters to make quesadilla hearts and snowflakes. This was the most labor intense of all the snacks. 
This was our final snack of the week. The day before we made the cups because it is time consuming. It is a simple craft as long as you have sharpie pens and ribbon. We used an air popper to make the popcorn. It smelled so good! I put Teddy Grahams on top of the snowmen because a bear, Yeti, is the mascot for Friday. We served it with grapes on the side.

Maine a novel

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan is about 3 generations of women. It focuses most on Mother/Daughter relationships. The reviews on the back of the book leads you to believe this novel is a comedy but really it's a sad story of 4 lonely women trying to find their place in life. The one thing that kept me reading is each woman is a circumstance of their own time. Things that were taboo in 1951 you wouldn't blink an eye at in present day. J. Courtney Sullivan is a great at interwoven storytelling however I prefer her novel The Engagements.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Harry Potter Party Decorations

 I saw on Pinterest this GREAT idea of having Harry's letter from Hogwarts shooting out of the fireplace. We made 25 envelopes. I used fishing line and lots of tape. The wax seal makes the envelopes heavy on the wire so I recommend buying strong fishing line. Hanging the letters was a little tricker than I thought. We used push pins to attach to the ceiling and tied the fishing line to the grate inside the fireplace.

I wanted to do the Sorting hat because that is one of my favorite parts in the book. I hung up these signs near the entry way. No hat needed. 

We gave each kid a wand made of a chopstick or straw to take home.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Harry Potter Party...Food and Invitations

 This year D wanted a Harry Potter party for his birthday. We based his party mostly on things that happen in the 1st book. Since all but 1 kid at the party had seen the movie we showed the movie at the end of the party.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out to theaters in 2001 so I couldn't go to Party City and pick stuff up. This party was really fun to put together. It took a lot of research and Pinterest ideas.  

 I knew I wanted to mail the invites. I found free Harry Potter font to download. I wanted to use Harry Potter phrases but I knew if I went overboard our guest wouldn't know what I was saying.We attached train ticket to the invitations. I was so happy that all the kids brought their train tickets. We had a drawing using the tickets and the prizes were glass jars filled with candy. I found Harry Potter stamps at our local postoffice. I bought the wax stamp at Michaels. I didn't mind buying the stamp because I was able to use it for invites and decorations. 
This is the easiest cake I've ever made! It is the cake Hagrid brings to Harry on his 11 birthday. His cake was pink and green but we love chocolate.

Using the same font as the invites I made up labels for the food. You can get real creative and come up with crazy names, we called tortilla chips Dragon Scales. 
I printed these labels form this website I found on Pinterest. I wrote on the bottom what the actual drink is, Cactus Cooler, Root Beer and Strawberry soda.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Vacationers

 The Vacationers is a thoroughly modern novel by Emma Straub. It's about a New York family on vacation in Mallorca, Spain. So if you can't go on vacation this summer just google Mallorca images and you will wish you were there! Franny and Jim Post are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary and their daughter's graduation from high school. I enjoyed this book. It is really about family and the people we make our family. A great beach book.

   Jim kissed Franny on the forehead, which Sylvia and Bobby pretended not to see. All four Posts held their breath simultaneously, each wishing for the moment to last. Families were nothing more than hope cast out in a wide net, everyone wanting only the best. Even the poor souls who had children in an attempt to rescue a dying marriage were doing so out of the misguided hopefulness. Franny and Jim and Bobby and Sylvia did their silent best, and just like that, for a moment, they were all aboard the same ship. 
This isn't Mallorca but it ain't half bad either.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Touch of Stardust

I didn't intend on reading two books in a row that take place during World War 2...I read the first chapter and I was hooked. I really enjoyed A Touch of Stardust. If you love old Hollywood you will relish this novel. It takes place during the filming of Gone With The Wind. 1939 was a BIG year for Hollywood. Along with Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith goes to Washington were all made that year. Kate Alcott's attention to detail is wonderful. The characters are likable and timeless.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

At the Water's Edge

When I heard the author of Water for Elephants was coming out with a new historical fiction novel I was super excited. Sara Gruen does a lot of research and it makes her books so interesting. I had such high hopes for this book because it is set in Scotland during World War 2. Unlike Water for Elephants  I didn't root for the main characters. They were just 3 spoiled rich people sailing off to Scotland in the middle of WW2 to find the Loch Ness monster. The main character Maddie becomes likable by the middle of the book but the ending really spoiled it for me. I know it's about the Loch Ness monster but it was just to outlandish.  Blah.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

DIY Bobby Pins

No Place Like Chrome
 I can't get enough of this Essie color. It is great on it's own or an accent color. You don't have to keep the color strictly to your nails. You can brighten up boring bobby pins with nail color. It's SO easy. Put the bobby pins on a piece of cardboard, paper...junk mail works great too. Then paint the pin. So easy and you feel like a crafting Queen!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

What I Wore Sunday

Picture is a little blurry but you can see my shoes. 
 This weekend was a special one for our family. Our youngest had his First Holy Communion! He has been practicing and preparing for this sacrament. He was a little nervous because he was the first one to walk into the church.

This isn't my usual style. I typically wear fit & flare dresses and LOTS of stripes. It took some nerve to wear a dress tight on the hips. I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. 
My dress is Land's End 

 First Communion is a true celebration. It was a beautiful and blessed day.
It ain't a party without a bounce house!! 

Go to fine linen and purple to see more What I Wore Sunday!

Friday, May 1, 2015

DIY Burlap Banner

 I wanted a banner for D's First Communion. I looked on Etsy. I saw a lot of cute burlap banners. Then I went to the craft store and decided I could make a banner for less than I would pay. Also it is pretty easy. Burlap is shabby chic so it doesn't have to be perfect. This project cost me $15. I already had the glue and a sponge. It took about 2 hours, counting drying time. 
 What you need::
Twine or ribbon
*I found burlap paper. Burlap paper is great because you don't need to measure and cut the fabric!
 Step 1:: Place stencil on burlap. Using the sponge paint. 
 Let it might need 2 coats of paint.
The back of the burlap paper. You can peel off the paper. However keeping it on makes it sturdier. 
Step 2:: Measure the space where you want to hang the banner. Cut the string to the appropriate length.
Step 3:: Fold over the fabric and glue. I used a hot glue gun and Tacky Glue, they both worked well. I thought the Tacky Glue was less messy.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day Photo Backdrop

 Rows of hearts was our backdrop for classroom Valentine's Day pictures.
D's teacher bought pink and white string, pink clothes pins, large foam hearts, ribbon and jewels. Everything we used was bought at Michael's. 

 After the photoshoot D's teacher took down the hearts. She turned them into Valentine's to give to the kids.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe

The first book I've finished reading in 2015 is Jenny Colgan Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe. I read this book for a couple silly reasons...1) I wanted to prolong Christmas. My Christmas FLEW by! I thought if I read a book about Christmas in London and New York it would make the season last a little longer. 2) I got an iPad mini. I have been using the iPad mainly for reading Ebooks. A coworker told me about this GREAT website BookBub. You can find books in your favorite genre for 99 cents. It's not just apple but amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe is a sweet book with recipes. It isn't thought provoking or earth shattering but it satisfied my sweet tooth for Christmas.