Friday, October 17, 2014

The Third Annual Great Pumpkin Swap: REVEAL!


I don't know about you, but I love getting mail.  I have always loved getting mail, and mail is even better when it's a package full of goodies!  For this, and so many other reasons, I'm so glad that I got to host the Great Pumpkin Swap with Kristin again this year!

Last year, we had an odd number of participants, and Kristin graciously took on a second partner.  We had an odd number again this year, and I took a second partner this time.  That just made things EXTRA exciting since I had two packages to look forward to!

My first partner is Ann from Annster's Domain.  I loved Ann's enthusiasm for the swap.  As it turns out, Ann is also from PA, and she's not too far from my little town since she lives near Pittsburgh!  


Isn't this a great box of treats?  Here's what's in there:
1. Orange Halloween/Fall lights (These arrived in the nick of time.  One of the sets I have to decorate my classroom burned out while I was decorating during the first few days of October.  These lights have taken up residence on the white board at the back of my classroom!)
2. Scarf
3. Halloween socks 
4. A bag of Reese's Minis
5. Caramel Apple Twizzlers
6. Nail polish
7. Gushers
8. Caramel Apple Lollipops
9. Ghirardelli Chocolate minis- Milk Chocolate Sea Salt & Almond

SOOOOO good.

Thanks for a great box of treats, Ann!  Be sure to visit her blog today to see what I sent in her swap package!  :)

I also got to be partners with Micah from Unabashedly Me.  

Here's this box of goodies:


There is a box of tea, an infinity scarf, purple Halloween BOOT SOCKS, Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins, and an Essie nail polish you can't see from the photo.

I immediately fell in love with this scarf.  I posted a picture of it on Instagram, and stated that I would probably wear it the following day.

I did.

And dear Lord, please ignore my disaster of a bedroom in the background.  I need to find a better place to take these pictures....
And, of course, be sure to stop by to visit Micah today to see what was in the package I sent her!!

I can't wait to see everyone's goodies!  Please link-up with us below! :)






Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stuff & Things: Things I Don't Get...


I'm linking up with Kristin this week for Stuff and Things!  This week, I'm writing about things I don't get...

These boots....


I'm sorry.  I don't mean for this to be offensive, but those bottom ones just look trashy to me.  I really don't get the point.  Where I come from, it gets cold and we get snow.  These boots are in no way practical.  I mean, who are these for?  Are these for people in warm climates who want to wear boots but it's too hot to do so?  I don't know.  When it's hot here, we just wear flip flops....


"Cool Iron"
This just annoys me when I read it on clothing care tags.  Let's be honest.  The whole purpose of an iron is to get wrinkles out of clothes.  This doesn't really seem to work if the iron is cool.  I don't know about you, but I can barely get the wrinkles out of my clothes when it's hot....


Clock time...
Lately, I've been seeing the same time on the clock almost all of the time.  I almost always catch the clock when the time is 9:11.  I think that's weird.  Does this happen to anyone else?  Is this supposed to be some sort of sign?

What are some things that you don't get?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book Review: Four: A Divergent Story Collection


While I was listening to Eat, Pray, Love in the car on my way to work, I finished reading Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth.  

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth comes a companion volume to the worldwide bestselling DIVERGENT series, told from the per-spective of the immensely popular character Tobias. The four pieces included here—THE TRANSFER, THE INITIATE, THE SON, and THE TRAITOR—plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the DIVERGENT trilogy.
~From Goodreads.com

Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent, #0.1 - 0.4)Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I'm not sure what the obsession is with releasing prequels after a series has been released, but in this case, I think it actually makes sense.

Four is cleverly titled for not only it's four short stories which take place prior to Divergent, but for it's main character Tobias, whose nickname is Four. It gives us more background into his character and the choices HE made which led him to Dauntless.

I really enjoyed reading about Four's journey to Dauntless and reading his point-of-view as his story collides with Tris' story in Divergent. Since Allegiant is written from the point-of-view of BOTH Four and Tris, I liked getting to read from Four's perspective in this book.

View all my reviews


If you are a fan of the Divergent series, I would certainly recommend picking up this book!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Liebster Blog Award


I was so flattered when Jenni from Living for the Victories nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award!

How It Works: 
I post 11 facts about myself.
I answer 11 questions asked by Jenni.
I nominate 11 bloggers that I love.
I list 11 questions for them to answer. 

Not to be a party pooper at all, but I have been honored enough to have done a couple of these awards before.  I would be nominating almost all of the same people, so I'm going to skip the nominations and additional 11 questions.

11 Facts About Me
1. While I do love my summer vacation, I secretly love fall a little bit more.  Here in PA it's such a beautiful time of year, and I really do love snuggling up in warm clothes and blankets.  (P.S. Stay tuned for a post about PA seasons coming to the blog soon!)
2. I love Christmas music and movies.  As soon as the weather gets cooler and it starts to get darker earlier, I want to indulge in all things Christmas.  BUT I force myself to wait until November 1st before I let the festivities begin.
3. Contrary to what you may think based on fact #2, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I think I like the anticipation of Christmas more than the actual day itself now that I'm an adult.  There's less pressure for Thanksgiving to be this magical day like Christmas.  Thanksgiving is just about a good meal.  And uh...yeah...giving thanks....
4. I realized the other day that I have four boyfriend cardigans from Old Navy in four different colors, obviously.  Because of this, I could essentially wear the same outfit but in a different color for four days of the work week and then wear jeans for dress down day.
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School picture day & happy first day of fall, y'all! ����

You can see the top of this outfit from school picture day.  I also have this cardi in a light blue, black, and pink.  The outfit also consists of leggings, boots, and a scarf.

5. I love the movie Pitch Perfect.  
6. I'm pretty sure I suck at writing book reviews.  I love reading, and I enjoy sharing book reviews with all of you, but I always have lots to say and either forget or don't know exactly how to say it.  Still, I'll keep sharing anyway.
7. My favorite Psalm is Psalm 91.  I recently memorized it.  I've always loved this passage, and it just feels good to know it by heart.
8. I have a Pottermore account, and I probably haven't been on it in over a year.  It's mostly because I don't have time, and probably a little bit because I was sorted into Slytherin....
9. I am so tired of trying to come up with something for dinner or having to actually make dinner.  I need a personal chef....and a maid.
10. Lately, even when I'm feeling tired, I can't seem to close the social media and just go to bed.
11. I am a voice teacher.  I currently have two voice students, and they both have practically the same name: Isabelle and Isabella.  Not at all confusing.  
Jenni's Questions for Me
1. Who is your favourite Disney character, and why?
I can't just pick one!  Cinderella is definitely my favorite princess and always has been!  I think it's the whole rags to riches thing that makes me love her.  I also love Mary Poppins.  I mean, she's a singing, magical nanny.  What's not to love? 
2. What is one thing you wish you were better at?
Housekeeping.  I can't seem to ever convince myself that my disaster of a house is worth my time and energy.  Nor can I figure out how to balance keeping it clean while going to the work, the gym, making dinner, etc. etc. etc.
3. What was your favourite TV show when you were a child?
I had to think pretty hard about this one.  I had a variety of shows that I really liked, but Full House came to mind first.  I am about the same age as the middle daughter, Stephanie, and I basically grew up with her.  ABC had a pretty awesome line-up on their TGIF set on Friday nights.  Full House, Family Matters, Perfect Strangers and eventually, Step by Step.
4. Who was your first celebrity crush? How old were you?
My first celebrity crush was Michael J. Fox.  I think I was seriously 3 or 4.  We used to watch Family Ties, and I loved Alex P. Keaton.  I don't remember how, but somehow, I acquired a poster of him, too!
5. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
Oh, that's a tough one.  There are so many places in the world that I want to see.  England and Ireland are at the top of my list.  So I'll go with those!
6. Have you ever won a competition of any kind?
I have won many competitions, actually.  Most of them involved singing, and I also won competitions in forensics (Speech League).  One of my proudest moments was when our high school choir competed at Busch Gardens in Virginia, and I won Outstanding Soloist!
7. What is your favourite snack?
The better question is what isn't my favorite snack.  BUT some of my tops are cookies, Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars with peanut butter, and Queso with tortilla chips.
8. Share a favourite photo or yourself. What's the story behind it?

This is a recent photo from our summer vacation in Nashville, TN.  We were on Broadway at a bar called Tootsie's, and I snapped this selfie while Scott was in the restroom.  
9. Who is your favourite music artist?
Goodness, another category with SO many choices.  The Beatles are still my all-time favorites, but I do love country music and Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert are at the top of my list.
10. What makes you feel most alive?
Singing and/or performing.  I love being on stage.
11. Do you have any pets? If not, do you want any?
I do have two cats named Allie and Abbie.  :)

Thanks again, Jenni for including me in your nominations!  :)

If anyone out there wants to join in on the fun, I'd love to read your answers to Jenni's questions!  You can share them in the comments below or write a post of your own!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love

via
One day, I was checking my e-mail as usual when I got an e-mail from Goodreads.com.  It stated that Eat, Pray, Love was available to me for free with a 30 day trial of Audible by Amazon.com.  This book was on my "To Read" shelf (which is why I'm assuming that I got this e-mail), and since it was free, I figured I'd give it a try.

I'm pretty sick of my music lately, and since I won't allow myself it's too early to listen to Christmas music yet, I need something to do in the car.  I'll admit.  I was a bit concerned about listening to a book.  I have a Bible app that I use for my daily Bible reading, and sometimes, I use the listening feature so that I can listen while I get ready for bed, and my mind tends to wonder.  But in the car, with nothing to do but watch where I'm going, this turned out to be a great experience!

Here's the book synopsis from Goodreads.com:

In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.


Eat, Pray, LoveEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have to start by saying that I really did enjoy this book. I had heard it was good, and I added it to my list for that reason alone. Truth be told, if I had known that it was a memoir about a person that I had never heard of before, I probably would not have ever picked it out.

I enjoyed following Liz on her journey. Since I listened to this book on Audible, I particularly enjoyed Elizabeth Gilbert's narration of her own story. It amazed me that each place she journeyed in the story corresponded with a word from her title. Italy was about eating. India was for prayer, and Bali was where she began to figure out love again.

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I won't lie, I could kick myself for not writing this review sooner.  I wanted to do it right away, but life got in the way.  There were parts that I really loved and a few things that I didn't like, but I can't remember what things I specifically wanted to comment on.  

Either way, I enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it if you're looking for a good read (or listen!).

Friday, October 10, 2014

Potter Fix Friday: HP Recipes

Potter Fix Friday
I'm excited to be linking up with Ashley and Page for Potter Fix Friday again this week!  I totally missed last month's link-up.

This month's topic is Harry Potter Recipes.  

I can't say that I've ever actually made any Harry Potter recipes.  

I originally found this as a Pinterest pin, and I do still have it pinned to my "I Love Food" board, but since Pinterest has made it impossible to embed pins, and I'm writing this at work, we'll just do it the old fashioned way.  Luckily, the pin actually leads to a website.

Butter Beer Cupcakes

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I have the first two Harry Potter books available for my students to read and study in reading class.  I think that if any of my classes ever choose to read one, I am TOTALLY making them these cupcakes.

Other than making homemade butter beer itself, this is really the only Harry Potter-like recipe that I'm thinking I really want to try some day!

Have YOU ever made a Harry Potter recipe?  What would be on your list of things to make?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Little Blog Tour...

Last week, the lovely Ashley from A Party of Four sent me an e-mail and asked me to participate in a blog tour with her!  Sure, I haven't been the best blogger since school started up again, but how could a girl say no to an opportunity like that!  (Plus, since I haven't been blogging much, I've got ideas lined up....)  The topic of this particular tour is My Writing Process.



1) What am I working on?
Well, I'm actually working on how to find time to blog, work, go to the gym, and take care of house hold chores.  So far, I've got the work and gym thing down.  In other words, I have a long way to go.  BUT I do have some posts in mind for this week (which I plan to write after this post).  I finished two books recently that I want to review.  I want to write about my most recent Stitch Fix, Seasons in PA, and a few other ideas.

2) How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?
It's different because it's me writing it and not someone else.  I certainly don't claim to be great at blogging/writing, and I don't think I'm better than anyone.  This is just my little corner of the internet, and I like interacting with the friends I've made here. :)

3) Why do I write what I do?
I started this blog to share recipes I've tried in my kitchen.  My ultimate goal is to document how I make things so I can look them up here later.  I often need to tweak recipes to suit what I have on hand or to make it work for me.  So why keep looking up the recipe when I've documented how I do it on my blog.  I share book reviews because I love reading, and I might as well share my thoughts about books I've read.  Anything else that I share is simply because I want to.

4) How does your writing process work?
I would use the term "writing process" VERY loosely about what I do here on this blog.  I'm going to say the only part of my "process" is that I have a list on my Reminders app on my iPhone.  If I have an idea for something I want to share with all of you, I make sure I write it down.  Then I just open up blogger, and get to work.

Now for the tour...

I asked 3 other ladies to join me on this blog tour.  Even if they don't write a tour post, I highly recommend that you check out their blogs!  They are three blogs that I always look forward to reading!  (And I chose to list them alphabetically by blog name so there's no favoritism here.  If you've been around here for awhile, you know how much I love ABC order...)



First up is Kristin from Kristin's kNook.  Kristin is an Army Wife, and she and her husband (who is also named Scott!) currently live in Colorado.  I actually know Kristin in real life because she used to be a substitute teacher in the school where I teach.  Kristin is a lifestyle blogger who shares yummy dessert recipes, book reviews, and posts about life in general.  She also has a fun link-up on Thursdays called "Stuff & Things".  It's a great link up because it can be totally random thoughts on your mind or a themed post about random stuff on your mind.  It's all up to you! :)  I love reading Kristin's blog for her fun posts and sarcasm.

Life As Always

Next is Sarah from Life as Always.  Sarah is a new mom to a beautiful baby boy.  She and her husband live near Seattle and are HUGE Seattle Seahawks fans.  Sarah is also a lifestyle blogger who writes about life as a mom, book reviews, the Seahawks, and the fun adventures she has with her family.  (Seriously, they went to Hawaii this summer!!).  Like me, she's figuring out how to balance blogging with the changes in her life, but I love reading all of her posts!

The Young Retiree

Last, but certainly not least, is Elizabeth from The Young Retiree.  Elizabeth is also a military wife.  Her husband, Gene, is in the Navy, and they are currently stationed in Okinawa!  Like Kristin and Sarah, I would consider Elizabeth to be a life style blogger.  With their recent move, she has been sharing LOTS of fun adventures in Okinawa.  From foods and drinks they've tried to places that they're discovering, there's never a shortage of excitement on her blog.  I'm also a huge fan of the Vlogs she posts.  Usually, these videos include her and Gene trying something new.  I always find myself laughing out loud at their interactions and *sometimes* facial expressions when they try something new!
 
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