Friday Favorites 10/23/2015

Ahhh…it’s Friday!  Did you all just breathe a huge sigh of relief, too?  That sigh of mine came after finishing one last homework assignment for the week with no intention of working on another until Monday!

Last week, Doug and I went to see The Martian in theaters!  It was amazing!  I’m a huge Matt Damon fan, so I loved seeing him in the role of Mark Watney.  It was well cast all around.  It is a must-see if you’ve read the book.  It’s one of the few movies I’ve seen that really pays tribute to the book.  And just for fun, I thought this was an interesting look at how the book and movie would have been different if author Andy Weir had included the recent discovery of water on Mars in his plot.

The Martian

I’ve not been watching much tv lately, but I finished up homework early one day and decided to check out two episodes of CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling on Netflix.  I’ve liked Lisa Ling since her days on Channel One News.  That is a throwback to my high school days, by the way.  Did anyone else have Channel One at their school?  Serena Altschul and Anderson Cooper both made their debuts on Channel One.  Anyway, back to This Life with Lisa Ling.  This is such an interesting series.  The first episode that I watched was on women living amisdt the oil boom in North Dakota and the second was about drug addiction amongst the mormon population in Utah.  Ling does’t take a traditional look at issues.  She spins them in a way that creates such intrigue for viewers.  I plan on watching more of this series when I get a chance.

So, what are you all up to this weekend?  Doug and Grace are watching Star Wars Episode V as we speak.  There is a fabulous vintage market and Lego Brickfest in town this weekend.  Unfortunately, we may miss them both because we have other plans.  But we may try to squeeze in Brickfest Sunday morning if we can all get up and moving.  If you know how we move on the weekends, then you also know that is a big IF.  LOL!

Is it beautiful where you live right now?  Because it is gorgeous right now in Indiana!  We are having the most spectacular display of fall colors that I recall seeing in several years.  I’m not sure if it is the unseasonably warm temperatures that we’ve had this fall or the lack of rain, but I just can’t get enough of the trees!

Speaking of fall, here is a link to love.  Be sure to turn the sound up to hear the cute noises this porcupine makes as he tries pumpkin for the first time.  It’s so adorable!

What are you reading now?  I picked up The Hanging Girl: A Department Q novel by Jussi Adler-Olsen from the library a few weeks ago.

The Hanging Girl by Jussi Adler Olsen

This is another great detective series set in Denmark.  Detective Carl Mørck is a bit of an outcast.  Sent to the police headquarter’s basement in what would appear to be a demotion, Mørck and his ragtag band of misfit assistants form Department Q.  Department Q sets out to solve cold cases and does a surprisingly good job of it.  This is another formulaic detective series, but if you have a thing for self-loathing detectives with a wonderfully dry sense of humor like I do, then you will enjoy this series.

Wherever you are this weekend and whatever you are doing, I hope you enjoy!  Happy reading!

Friday Favorites 10/16/2015

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a Friday Favorites post!  And I’ll tell you why–it’s because I’m going back to school!  Eek!  I know, what was I thinking?!  I was thinking that the window of time for me to volunteer at Grace’s school will inevitably close soon.  Once she reaches middle school, there will be very few, if any, opportunities to volunteer.  And let’s face it, volunteering is what keeps me sane during those long lonely winter months.  It gets me out of the house so that I don’t lose my mind.  So, if I’m not volunteering at a school, I might as well be working in one, right?

At this point, you may be wondering what I’m going back to school for.  Currently, my plan is to take two classes so that I can renew my teaching license.  Then, after renewing my license, I will be able to apply to grad school so that I can pursue my masters in library sciences with a focus on school librarianship.

Evidence Based Reading Instruction

The first class that I am taking is only 6 weeks long.  It on the foundations of beginning literacy.  It is a lot of information to cram into 6 short weeks.  There has been a bit of a learning curve since the class is online.  I prefer to sit in a classroom, soak up lectures, and participate in live discussions.  Instead, I spend hours reading textbooks and online articles, then formulating long detailed responses summarizing what I’ve read and posting them on discussion forums.  What is interesting is that the majority of my classmates are from outside the U.S, so this has created a lot of great interactions.  I am planning on taking my second class starting in January through the same professional development company. I’ve not yet decided what I’m going to take, but I have a few classes to choose from.

What’s happening

Last week was a crazy busy week with my class starting, volunteer obligations, doctor appointments, family visits, and a quick overnight trip out of town.  Doug and I went to Cleveland for a day.  We saw Chris Cornell in concert and visited The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Chris Cornell

And of course, it wouldn’t be a great date without a trip to the grocery store!  We made an impromptu stop at Trader’s Joes to load up on all things pumpkin spiced after drooling over this list.  I can say with certainty that the pumpkin seed brittle earns its title as one of the best pumpkin spiced products!  Though only after tasting it did we discover it may contain wheat.  What a bummer!  It was delicious, but probably not something we needed to eat much of anyway.  It was super decadent!

This week has been another crazy week, with me feeling like every second of everyday has been scheduled.  It’s actually kind of nice to be busy.  School is definitely keeping me on my toes and, so far, I am staying ahead of the game!  Between loads of reading for school, I managed to volunteer at Grace’s school book fair 3 times, go to two optometrist appointments, have a parent teacher conference, and help Grace’s teacher and the art teacher in the school work room, all in four days!  It’s gone quickly!  Needless to say, I’m looking forward to a few quiet weeks ahead.

What I’m reading

After I finish typing this, I’m going to finish my latest book After You by Jo Jo Moyes.  Because it is a new release, it was on a 7 day loan at the library.  I’ve no idea what possessed me to pick it up, considering my hectic schedule, but it has been a nice distraction this week.

So, what’s new with you?  What are you reading?  Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook!

The Silkworm book review

It’s been a few weeks since I have posted, but I can assure you that I have still been reading!  I have a few books waiting to be reviewed and this is one of the best…


The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith is the second novel in the Cormoran Strike mystery series.  For those of you that may not be aware, Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym for Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.  Though clearly an adult series, the style of writing is just as delicious as the wizarding series that gained Rowling so much notoriety.  Much like any mass market paperback mystery, The Silkworm and it’s predecessor The Cuckoo’s Calling are very formulaic.  But what sets this series apart from one that you would typically pick up at an airport gift shop is the beautiful prose contained within its pages.  J.K. Rowling has such a knack for creating vivid imagery that readers tend to lose themselves in her settings.

Set in the bitter cold of snowy London, private investigator Cormoran Strike is hired by a woman to find her husband who has disappeared among mysterious circumstances.  Owen Quine is a second rate writer who has seen little success.  When his latest book is released amidst major controversy, it seems as though Quine may earn himself some infamy. Quine has managed to insult just about everyone he’s ever encountered in his life in his outlandish tale.  When he turns up murdered, it appears as though everyone in the book is a suspect.

Private investigator Cormoran Strike, a down on his luck former military amputee, leaves no stone unturned in his quest to find Quine’s killer.  If you love a good mystery and have a deep appreciation for literature, then you will love the Cormoran Strike series.  If you’ve already enjoyed the first two novels in the series, then I’m sure you will be thrilled to know that the third book Career of Evil is set to be released next week!