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 9/11/2015

Hello again and thanks for joining me today for Friday Favorites!  I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend and a short week to follow!  We spent our Labor Day as a family enjoying a hot, but exciting day at the ballpark watching the Tin Caps win their last  baseball game of the regular season.

Grace at the ballpark

Yesterday, I went into Grace’s school and helped out in the library for a few hours, as I do every Thursday.  I grabbed some lunch afterwards and headed over to the hospital to donate blood.  It’s not something I like to talk about.  I have donated twice in the last three months.  I’d like to say that it was for some admirable cause or that I am donating out of the goodness of my heart, but I was ordered to do it by my doctor to help reduce my iron levels.  That being said, I should be doing it out of the goodness of my heart.  We all should if we are able.  There is such a vital need for blood and platelet donations.  Donating blood takes less than an hour of your time, with the actual collection process being less than 15 minutes.  You can go to the American Red Cross website to learn more about donating in your area.

It wasn’t something that I thought about too much until I received an email after my first donation.  My blood was used to save a person’s life in a nearby town in Ohio.  That was impactful.  It doesn’t matter whose life it was; what mattered is that my blood was available to make that happen.  Now, I will warn you, the Red Cross provides follow up and reminder phone calls on a regular basis.  Screening your calls only adds you back into the calling rotation.  This was a nuisance to me so I’ve asked to be taken off the calling list and yesterday the nurse removed my phone number from my profile so that will no longer receive reminder calls.  As long as I am able, I will continue to give blood.  I’ll get off my soap box now, but I urge you to donate if you are healthy enough to do so.  We should all be fortunate enough to have blood available should we or a family member need it.

I am a blood donor

Links to love:

A Harry Potter themed bar themed bar is opening in Toronto and it looks spectacular!

Today is 9/11.  I’d be lying if I said I haven’t shed a few tears looking through Facebook posts about the tragic events that cast a shadow over our dear country 14 years ago today.  Bretagne’s Best Day is a video about the last known living search and rescue dog from 9/11.  She is 16 years old and very much a hero!

And finally, a few books about 9/11.  I haven’t read any of them, so I can’t personally recommend any of them.  However, there looks to be some very intriguing stories here.  A quick check of Goodreads has me thinking that these books are probably being judged a little harshly due to their subject matter.  Check them out for yourself and see if there is anything you want to add to your TBR list.

What I’m reading this week:

I just finished the YA novel Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.  Look for a review coming soon!  Now I am smack dab in the middle of Simon vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli.  I don’t usually read back to back young adult books, but both of these were library downloads.  When I download from the library, I always try to blow through them as quickly as possible for fear that I won’t get through them before they expire!  And be sure to click on over to my latest book review about The Rosie Project!    What have you been reading lately?

What I’m watching:

Doug and I have been watching the new series Narcos on Netflix.  It follows two DEA agents in Columbia during Pablo Escobar’s reign of terror.  I really like it, but it isn’t one for multi-tasking.  Because much of it is subtitled, you really have to pay attention to what’s going on.  It is a fascinating series.  Have you seen anything good lately?

Each year, it seems like we watch less and less TV.  But I always enjoy taking a sneak peek at the new fall lineup.  Here’s the ultimate guide to the new fall shows.    I like to view it on one page rather than in the slideshow.  Anything new catch your eye?  I’m looking forward to The Muppets and will set the DVR so that we can all watch together as a family!

I think that’s a wrap for this week!  Thanks for joining me here, friends!


Friday Favorites and Foo Fighters Recap: 8/28/2015

Well, this week has flown by!  It has left us all exhausted and in need of a restful weekend!  We are all overly tired because we just took Grace to her first real concert last night.  She’s seen plenty of live musical performances in the past, but nothing could quite prepare her for her first rock concert!  After Grace got off the bus yesterday, we loaded up the family truckster and made our way back to our old stomping grounds to see Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters.

Ready for Foo Fighters

It was a first for all of us.  While Doug and I are well-seasoned Pearl Jammers, we have never seen Foo Fighters live.  It was a great show and Grace said this morning and I quote, “I LOVED IT!”  It was a memorable show given that lead singer Dave Grohl performed from his throne while recovering from a broken leg sustained earlier in the summer at a European concert.  Even without leaving his throne, Grohl commands the stage and brings serious energy to the crowd.

Grohl on his throne

You may be curious to know why seemingly good, upstanding parents would take their nine year old to a Foo Fighters concert.  Since Grace was very little, she has always listened to and enjoyed our music.  Of course, we had our fair share of kids music around, too.  I can recall a time, perhaps not so fondly, when Grace was about 18 months old that we spent listening to a Fisher Price Little People’s version of “If you’re happy and you know it” on repeat whenever we got into the car.  This went on for at least 6 weeks and included a 14 hour round trip car ride to Tennessee and back.  I feel we paid our musical dues as parents a long time ago.

We started listening to Foo Fighters around the time Grace was 4 or 5 and she loved them, even more so than her mommy and daddy’s beloved Pearl Jam.  So when we realized the Foos were making a stop near us, we felt like it was an opportunity that we couldn’t miss.  After all, our favorite bands of our youth aren’t getting any younger (heck, neither are we) and you never know if this could be their last tour.  That’s why Doug and I take every opportunity we can to see Pearl Jam when they are touring within driving distance of us.

So how exactly does one prepare to take their nine year old to a rock concert?  When we initially asked Grace if she wanted to go, we prefaced it with several warnings.  It’s on a school night and you WILL be going to school the next day.  We will be up late and we will NOT be leaving the concert early because we are tired.  And lastly, it WILL be loud.  After lots of questions that we attempted to answer the best we could, she eagerly agreed to go with us.  If she hadn’t wanted to, we likely would have gone without her and asked one of the grandparents to stay the night with her at home.

As a mom, it is my duty to predict and to be prepared for every possible scenario, so I came armed with a purse that resembled a suitcase by the end of the night.  I packed both earplugs AND a noise canceling headset since neither alone seemed to provide enough ear protection.  I packed her rarely used inhaler, just in case it got smokey.  And finally, I smuggled in a snack for my ever hungry child who seems to have a bottomless pit for a stomach.  I know the way to heart and her stomach apparently.

Be prepared!

She wore both the earplugs and headset through the entire show.  Doug and I each donned our own set of earplugs, as well.  You will note her new swag, which resulted in taking off the shirt she was wearing and tossing it into my saddle bag purse. Isn’t she the best?

The best!

I was lucky enough to be able to capture one of the many sweet moments that I saw her share with her daddy during the concert.  Even though it is dark and grainy, you can feel their love for each other and see how much they are enjoying the show.  She stood on her seat for much of the concert and took breaks when she was tired.  I feel lucky to have shared this memory together as a family.  Hopefully, it is an experience that she will remember for a lifetime!

They have my heart

New on the blog this week:

I reviewed two books this weeks.  Code Name Verity is the beautiful and profound story young two friends working for the Woman’s Airforce Auxiliary during WWII.  Indiana author Sarah Layden writes a sad tale of a young twenty-something attempting to crawl her way out of a pit of despair in Trip Through Your Wires.

What I’m reading this week:  

We did a lot of tidying up over the weekend, which left me free to do some reading this week!  I just finished up And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, which was a library ebook that had come up on a hold.  Then I breezed through The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion in about a day.  Now I’m reading one of Grace’s middle reader books The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke.

What’s cooking in the kitchen:

I made up a batch of Grace’s favorite ham salad to pack in lunches this week.  I had never made, nor had Grace ever tried ham salad up until this past spring.  When we were sent home with loads of ham leftover from Easter, I decided to give it a try.  I loosely followed this recipe by Paula Deen.  I use my own homemade mayo and a combo of both dill and sweet pickles that I chop into a relish.  It was a surprise to me that Grace would love it so much, but she is thrilled when I make it for her lunch!  Do your kids like ham salad?  Have they ever tried it?  It seems like such a throwback!  At least there’s no jello involved in this recipe

Links to Love: 

I just watched this beautiful and poignant video from CBC Radio’s Wiretap.  I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me tear up just a little.  WireTap: How to Age Gracefully

Well, I think that’s all for this Friday’s Favorites.  Hope you have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here next week!