Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Invisible Bridge Discussion Schedule!

Hey all, sorry it took me longer to get the schedule up for the December Group Read, The Invisible Bridge.  We won't start discussing until Dec. 9th.

Here is our schedule...

Discussion 1 - Chapters 1-14 - December 9th
Discussion 2 - Chapters 15-25 December 16th
Discussion 3 - Chapters 26-33 December 23rd
Discussion 4 - Chapters 34- Epilogue December 30th

If you would be interested in doing a guest post for one of these, let me know! Thanks and happy reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A day in the life of Heather...

Hey all! Today, we have Heather a friend of mine, who unfortunately does not have a blog! Thanks for sharing your day with us Heather.. and sadly, she sent me some really cute pictures,  but I didn't know how to get them out of Word and didn't look until tooo late so I attempted to add some of them back in but in my trying to get them saved in Paint I messed some up.. I suck.. Sorry Heather!

Hi, I am very excited to share with Emily’s readers what a day in my (uneventful, yet fulfilling) life is like. My name is Heather and I am a working mom with a long commute. During the week, every day is pretty much the same, but I chose to document a typical Wednesday because aside from the weekends, that is the day I get to spend the most quality time with my  3 year old daughter Charley.

4:45am: The alarm sounds and I hit snooze.

5:02am: The Alarm goes off again and I get up, mosey on to the bathroom while my husband is still snoring.

5:10am: Find my way to the kitchen to take my vitamins and make my morning tea.

5:15-5:45am: Iron my clothes and put on makeup…I don’t even bother fixing my hair anymore, it is either in a loose braid, a messy bun, or a frizzy hot mess.

5:45am: Matt, my husband, brings me breakfast consisting of eggs & ½ a grapefruit.
5:55am: I get a sippy cup of warm milk ready, put it by “the chair” as my daughter calls it, in my bedroom, turn the TV to Arthur and go wake up the sleeping beauty.

6-6:15am: Flurry of activity, dressing me, dressing Charley, getting her a banana, then a cheese stick, then she tries to trick me into giving her popcorn. In between, I get my lunch packed. Then we all three end up in the bathroom dancing and brushing our teeth to the tooth brushing song on Charley’s step stool. Finally get hugs and kisses from daughter and husband and hit the door for my long commute into Atlanta.
6:15-8:00am: Drive the 44 miles one way to my office. (I am usually at the office at 7:15, but today it rained and Atlanta stops when it rains.
8:00: Usually the first one at the office, I am the personal assistant to our CEO and Executive Assistant for Human Resources for an auditing firm. I turn on lights, gather newspapers, turn on my computer, and put my lunch in the refrigerator. Make a cup of coffee.
8:00-9:00am: Catch up on email, check personal email and internet message boards I frequent, look at my calendar and the calendars of those I support to see what is on tap for the day.
9-10am: I am working on the Holiday Party Invitation, various tasks from New Hire Letters and book orders, to Management Reports, to Staffing Tracker.
10am: Morning snack: greek yogurt and a peach, 2nd cup of coffee. Check various message boards I frequent.
10:15a-12:30p: Work.Work.Work. More administrative work, from preparing invoices for approval to re-stocking the break room, working on a Management Report project for our Commercial Division which involves “cleansing” the report of all client and vendor identification and developing a spreadsheet for reference of who the actual client of the cleansed report is, and doing a lot of personal stuff for the CEO.
12:30p-1p: Lunch! Usually leftovers and a cucumber/tomato salad…at my desk. Today it is a Stuffed Pepperoni Sandwich. Check various message boards I frequent.
1-4:00p: Work.Work.Work. I received a new Management Report due November23rd. I checked the length and it is 50 PowerPoint pages with lots of data. I have to clear my schedule to dedicate 100% of my time on it so that the many back and forth drafts will get it completed and to a final approval by next Tuesday so that I can print/bind and ship 30 copies to the Principal to arrive by Wednesday for presentation to the client November 28th. (These are very complex reports where I have to check the math and claim amounts, ensure every page lines up with the page before and all data is accurate for the audit. It is my responsibility to make them look “pretty” and professional and check formatting/punctuation/grammar, etc.)
4:00p: The weather is really terrible, so my boss told me to leave 15 minutes earlier than I normally leave on Wednesdays to ensure I get home in time to change and get Charley to “Mommy & Me” Gymnastics.
5:15ish: Stop at package store to get wine for Survivor.
5:30-6p: Arrive home to hugs and kisses from both of my biggest fans. Change into comfortable clothes. Matt is feeding Charley and getting her into her gymnastics leotard.
6p: The 3 of us hop in the car and head to gymnastics. I ask Charley about her day, but she wants “Music”, so I put in the Cinderella soundtrack and we sing along changing “Cinderella” to “Charley-rella” where appropriate. J She holds my hand from the backseat and we share the moment together.
6:20-6:30p: We are waiting for class to start. This usually consists of watching the team girls practice their floor exercises. Charley cheers for each one very enthusiastically and loudly.
6:30-7:15p: Gymnastics! Matt comes out after warm ups and the 3 of us go from station to station. Bounce house, Beam, Trampoline, Airplane ride on the zip line, bungee swing, and bars, to the mat to practice rolls and then back to the Bounce house.
7:15-7:30p: Drive and arrive home.
7:30-7:45p: Spot clean the dirty girl put her in her Jammies.
7:45-8p: Catch the last 15 minutes of Clifford the Big Red Dog, snuggling in “the chair”.
8p: Bedtime for Charley
8-9p: Salad, Wine & Survivor night with Matt
9-9:15p: Shower (Matt moves to the living room to watch TV)
9:15p-10p: I watch Criminal Minds and catch up on Words With Friends and Hanging With Friends
10p: EXHAUSTED! Bedtime!
For years I’ve been saying I will get everything together the night before, or this will be the week I am organized and not in hurry, but it has yet to come to fruition. I think I am comfortable with semi-organized chaos. So this concludes a day in my life as a busy working mom with a long commute.

My day starts with “the chair” and ends with “the chair”. I live for that chair.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Postmistress - Discussion 4

I have to be honest, this book was just okay for me.  There were moments when it was really good, and other moments where I was skimming and my head/heart wasn't in it.

I liked the timeframe and I liked the characters of Emma, Frankie, Harry and Otto.  Iris, not so much.  I liked the reporting of Frankie and her time spent on the trains.  All of the Cape scenes were pretty blah for me.

1. Seek Truth. Report it. Minimize Harm. That is the journalist’s code. And it haunts Frankie during the book. Why wasn’t Frankie able to deliver the letter or tell Emma about meeting Will? For someone whose job was to deliver the news, did she fail?

2. After Thomas tells his story of escape, the old woman in the train compartment says “There was God looking out for you at every turn.” Thomas disagrees. “People looked out. Not God.” He adds, “There is no God. Only us.” How does THE POSTMISTRESS raise the questions of faith in wartime? How does this connect to the decisions Iris and Frankie make with regard to Emma?

3. Why does Otto refuse to tell the townspeople that he’s Jewish? Do you think he’s right not to do so?

4. Discuss the significance of the Martha Gellhorn quote at the beginning of the book, “War happens to people, one by one. That is really all I have to say, and it seems to me I have been saying it forever.” What stance towards war, and of telling a war story does this reveal? How does it inform your reading of The Postmistress?

5. “Get in. Get the story. Get out.” That is Murrow’s charge to Frankie. Does The Postmistress make you question whether it’s possible to ever really get the whole story? Or to get out?

What was your overall feeling of the book? Are you planning on joining us in December?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

December Group Read is...

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer!

Julie Orringer’s astonishing first novel—eagerly awaited since the publication of her heralded best-selling short-story
collection, How to Breathe Underwater —is a grand love story and an epic tale of three brothers whose lives are torn apart by war.

Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver to C. Morgenstern on the rue de Sévigné. As he becomes involved with the letter’s recipient, his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena, their younger brother leaves school for the stage—and Europe’s unfolding tragedy sends each of their lives into terrifying uncertainty. From the Hungarian village of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the lonely chill of Andras’s garret to the enduring passion he discovers on the rue de Sévigné, from the despair of a Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in forced labor camps and beyond, The Invisible Bridge tells the unforgettable story of brothers bound by history and love, of a marriage tested by disaster, of a Jewish
family’s struggle against annihilation, and of the dangerous power of art in a time of war

I'm excited to read this one! I do not have the discussions broke out because it is not available at my library til mid December so I had to order it on amazon and won't have it til Monday.  Will update you all on the discussion dates as soon as possible! We won't have a discussion next Friday, December 2nd.  The first discussion will be on the 9th!

Who is reading with us? Anyone interested in a guest post?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A day in the life of Lisa...

Hey all! A day in the life... is back with Lisa! Thanks so much for sharing your day traveling to my my favorite midwestern city, Chicago! For those of you who don't know Lisa, she works as a fixed income analyst.

Hello to Emily’s readers, it’s Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns!  When Emily asked if I was interested in participating in this series, I thought it would be interesting to record what all happens on a day when I am traveling for work.  This trip to Chicago was atypical as I did not have client meetings, but it gives you an idea of what it is like to travel for work!  I apologize for the lack of pictures…  I think my co-workers would have thought I’d lost my mind if I had taken pictures during the day – and then I felt horrible on the flight so the last thing on my mind was taking pictures of anything!!

5:30 – Wake up in hotel room, get ready for work while listening to Pandora

6:30 – Check out of hotel, stop by Starbucks for the mandatory pumpkin spice latte that will help me get through the long day at work.  Get a fruit cup with the hopes this will sustain me through the day (I usually eat eggs for breakfast).

 7:00 – Arrive at the Chicago office to find that there is no receptionist so I need to call one of the sales reps so they can let me in.  Cross fingers that I reach some.  Cross fingers that I am actually in the right place.

7:15 – Get settled into a random desk.  Overheat and sweat profusely because this office is hot, it is unseasonably warm in Chicago, and I am wearing a wool dress with tights (it was cold when I packed, I never imagined it’d be so warm in Chicago).  Hook up laptop, fan myself, consider ditching cardigan (but don’t because I am wearing a sleeveless dress).  Check in with my boss.

 8:00 – Call into our Monday morning trader call, take notes on what happened in each market.

 8:30 – Start going through emails, follow up on things, research a question a sales rep asked.  

 10:00 – Conference call meeting with our off-site boss in Charlotte.  Try to stay engaged in this conference call.  Try to remember to mute the phone each time I cough (I have a wicked cold/cough)

 10:30 – Start to sit with the various sales reps, ask them questions about their client base, attempt to sound smart and get them to like me. 

 12:15 – Wonder if the guy who said he would take me to lunch is actually going to follow through on this…  Hmm….  * insert sound of stomach grumbling *

 12:30 – Grab lunch with the cube mate of the guy who said he would take me to lunch.  Talk work stuff, continue to try to sound smart and get this rep to like me. 

 12:45 – Bring lunch back to the office, eat at desk while answering questions about my job/my life/the market from people sitting around me. 

 1:00 – More meetings with sales reps to talk about their clients/how I can help.   Make tentative plans for a return trip when I will meet with their clients. 

 2:00 – Check in with my boss again, talk about what I will finish up before leaving for the airport. 

 2:30 – Lead another trader conference call, take notes about the different markets.

 3:00 – Say good bye to everyone, walk to the train.

 4:10 – Arrive at airport, track down healthy food (sushi), charge iPhone, decompress from a long day of talking to people and being “on”. 

 5:45 – Board plane, pretend I am mute so the person next to me does not talk to me on the plane.  Tune out others around me, fantasize about sleeping in my bed that night.

 7:30 – Flight lands, impatiently wait for people to de-plane, wonder if the people on this flight have ever flown because it should not take this long to de-plane.

 7:50 – Get onto light rail train.  Exchange knowing look with fellow traveler who is appalled at the loudness of his seatmate’s headphones.  Put on headphones, attempt to zone out everyone around me. 

 8:20 – Get off train, walk home to my condo.

 8:30 – Arrive home in my condo.  Breathe deep sigh of relief.  Unpack necessities as I am too exhausted to unpack my whole suitcase (very out of character for me, but I was so exhausted.  And sick.) 

 8:45 – Shower to remove the grime of work and travel from my body.

 9:00 – Take melatonin, go to bed.  Marvel at how comfortable my bed is compared to the hotel beds I have slept in the last 3 nights!

So I was up at 5:30, and in bed at 9, which is probably about a typical day for me.  I really enjoy traveling for work, as it’s great to meet people after talking to them on the phone for months, but I have to say that it is totally exhausting to travel – and this trip was especially tough because I was sick with a terrible cold/sinus infection – I actually ended up going home sick the day I got back!  When I was younger, I thought traveling for work was so glamorous, but now that I travel for, I realize that it’s really not very glamorous at all and you really do not get much time to appreciate the cities you are visiting!  That said, I still do enjoy it as it’s fun to get out, put faces to names/voices from phone conversations, and meet with their clients.

Thanks so much for sharing with us Lisa! I know, sometimes I wish I could just be a professional traveler.  Perhaps a travel blog writer? Yes.. that would sounds perfect, if I only had to travel in warm areas!

Do you travel for work?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Monday to me..

You know what is gross?

Baby snot.

Well, snot in general.  I hate seeing other being have snot hanging from the nose or flying out into a tissue.

What's worse? When your cute baby has snot flying oute and INTO HER mouth and you can't get it in time.


Gag worthy.

At least it's not green.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Discussion 3 - The Postmistress

I found this section to read faster than any other part of the book so far, and for that I'm thankful.  However, Frankie's time on the train about shot my anxiety level through the roof! Holy crud buckets.  I just do not understand how so many people looked the other way as Jews were discriminated against and moved.  Boggles my mind and hurts my heart every damn time I read about it.  Fiction or non.  Horrible.  People who deny the Holocaust, I just have no words for them.  Well, I do, but they are not kind.

1. Do you think Iris is doing the right thing by holding on to the letter? Why or Why not? What would you have done?
2. Much of The Postmistress is centered on Frankie’s radio broadcasts—either Frankie broadcasting them, or the other characters listening to them. How do you think the experience of listening to the news via radio in the 1940s differs from our experience of getting news from the television or the Internet? What is the difference between hearing news and seeing pictures, or reading accounts of news? Do you think there is something that the human voice conveys that the printed word cannot?
3.  We know that Emma was orphaned, that Will’s father had drinking problems, that Iris’s brother was killed in the First War, and that Frankie grew up in a brownstone in Washington Square. How do these characters’ backgrounds shape the decisions that they make? And if we didn’t have this information, would our opinion of the characters and their actions change?
4. When Frankie returns to America, she doesn’t understand finds it impossible to grasp that people are calmly going about their lives while war rages in Europe. What part does complacency play in The Postmistress?

Thanks for participating! I will be adding the poll up for suggestions sometime today! Next week will be the last discussion over the rest of the book.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Glimpse Into Meal Planning

I always like to hear what others are cooking up, planning in their homes, so sporadically I share what I have oh so lovely planned for my family.

I've gotten into the habit of trying to do a 'big' grocery trip every 3 weeks.  In between, sometimes I run in for more bread, milk,eggs or sandwich stuff if we run out in between.  But I try to shop the sales on meat so I can always pull things out.  We also LOVE Stove Top stuffing and Rice a Roni Spanish Rice so when things like that are on sale we stock up. 

Couponing has kind of been hit or miss lately because of time constraints and I haven't gotten a Sunday paper in about a month and I don't use Internet coupons unless they hit my email.  I do use mperks through Meijer and I occasionally will check out various blogs to get coupon/sales deals.

I also stalk the internet for recipe ideas and we very rarely eat the same thing twice.  Unless we love it and it gets thrown in the rotation for awhile until we forget about it and then I will remember it again a few months later when I'm searching my favorites or pinterest boards. 

Things we always keep stocked in the pantry..
diced tomatoes, cans of corn, salsa, spaghetti sauce, pasta, rice, pizza sauce, jiffy pizza dough, cream of mushroom, chicken broth, black beans, pinto beans, enchilada sauce, tortilla chips, tortilla shells, sugar, flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, Betty crocker frosting, canned soup, canned chicken, granola bars, tomato sauce, rotel, and Hormel chili

I'm sure there might be more but those are things I usually always stock back up on or load up on when they are on sale..

My current goal is to meal plan out for 2 weeks and I usually don't include the weekends unless we are planning a big Sunday meal for leftovers. 

Here is our current two week out plan..

M – Swedish Meatballs in the crock pot, served over mashed potatoes w/ a green salad
T – out to eat at our local Taco Tuesday
W – Chicken Enchiladas w/ Spanish rice
TH - leftovers
F – Meatloaf or since my husband is in charge it may change to takeout
S – Beef stew

M- Goulash
T- Spicy Bean Burritos
W – Taco Chili

Since, the next week is Thanksgiving, I only did three meals because I am sure all three will give us leftovers to get us through the weekend, plus we will be at a lot of family gatherings which cover our other meals!

I don't plan out our breakfasts, but we usually either grab granola bars, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs or leftovers.  Same with lunches, we either eat leftovers, sandwiches, frozen meals or fruits and veggies. 

What do you keep stocked in your pantry? How far out do you meal plan?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside.

Sorry, there is no A Day In the Life today... but next week we will hear from Lisa from Lisa's Yarns about traveling on business! (Can't wait!)

Here are the last two..
A Day In The Life of Becky
A Day In The Life of Amber

If you would like to share a day in your life, email me at pinkflipflops44 @gmail . com and we will discuss! I know, it's fun to read about others.

Since, I have nothing to put in this spot today because I was planning on posting A Day In The Life, here are some photos of Isla.

Have a good Tuesday!

What's a necessary start to your day?
Mine lately, is coffee.  Needed.  For Sure.

Monday, November 14, 2011

December Group Read Suggestions!

 Wow! Another year in the books.  Kind of crazy! Even with as busy as life has gotten over the last few months, I really enjoy reading/talking with you ladies! And it is that time again to suggest somethign for December.

Here is what we've already read..

The Postmistress
The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Still Missing
The Sandalwood Tree
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Something Borrowed
The Blue Orchard
Sammy's Hill
In the Woods
Shanghai Girls
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere

Leave a suggestion by November 18th.  The poll will go up that day.  And as a thank you for all that have participated in the last year, if you suggest a book and your book is the winner I will send you a copy for next month.  If you already own that book, I'll let you pick another for yourself, or you can gift a free book club book to someone else.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Postmistress - Discussion 2

Hey all! Discussion two is over chapters 6-15.  Thanks for playing!

Iris seems so rigid and stuck in her roles.  I almost want to peg her as having Aspergers.  She's something else. I physically cringed when she gave him her 'certificate.'

I also felt that Will was extremely hard on himself and extremely selfish for leaving his very new wife.

"There was dark in that tone and smiles in the dark, Emma realized." pg. 228 (I liked this line!)

"There is no God. There is only us Fraulein." pg. 306

1. Do you think Iris has a personality issue?
2. Do you agree with Will that 'the only thing that makes sense is to go'?
3. Anyone else crack up over doctors smoking?
4. Do you agree with Frankie's way of thinking or Will's?
5. Would you travel into a country at war?
6. How did you feel about the last part of this section? When Frankie was yelling and Thomas was hiding?

Come back next week for discussion 3! Thanks for participating!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Art Every Day Month 2nd Check In

I've been busy since Sunday! I was busy checking out Pinterest for suggestions and decided to skip over Thanksgiving for decoration ideas and move on to Christmas.  Plus, there is more time between now and then!! ;)

Sunday, I created this masterpiece.  Pumpkin Blondies!!! Yummmmm!

Monday, I started the letters for my banner that I shall attempt to make.  I used note cards, a black marker and letter cut outs that I had.

Tuesday, I made more letters! Not really impressed the letter I.  I may have to re do this.  especially since all the other letters are capitals.

Today, I made this lovely creation at the Art Center.  I used a pipe cleaner, leaves and macaroni pieces.  It looked cooler at school, some of the leaves fell off as I transported it home!

For the rest of the week, I plan on working on the banner some more and who knows what. Always, looking for something somewhat easy haha.

What have you created this week?

Don't forget to check out Leah's blog and the other talented artists creations!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A day in the life of Becky...

Happy Tuesday! Today, we get to sneak a peak into Becky's life.  Hope you enjoy!

When Emily told me she was starting this series I was more than happy to participate! Maybe it’s the stalker curiosity in me, but I always like to see how people spend their days.

I chose a Sunday to document, and figured it would be productive, but leisurely. My husband Ben had gotten sick a few days before, so I spent the majority of the weekend taking care of him, but this Sunday I’d set aside for getting things done. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans.

Slept until 9:30 AM - This was quite a luxury because I’m normally up much earlier than this, even on weekends. I made tea and had breakfast while thumbing through the cookbook I’d won in a giveaway, getting excited to try new recipes.

10-11:30 AM - Munched on apple chips, wrote blog posts, and planned out others. (The best way I blog is through organization).

11:30 - Realized I had an appointment for a haircut in half an hour and needed to get moving. Tried unsuccessfully to wake my husband, so prepped tea and soup (as much as I could) so he wouldn’t have to do too much when he got up.

11:45 - Washed my face, threw on some clothes and received a phone call from my brother and two-year old niece right before walking out the door. I hated not being able to talk to her, but grinned when I heard her yell “bye bye Beck!” at the top of her lungs. (The volume at which she says everything these days). Made it to the salon with two minutes to spare. Score.

12-2 PM - Haircut, picked up a couple things at Target, talked to Ben, made a run to Starbucks to get a certain kind of drink for his throat (I’m a total pushover when he’s sick), talked to a friend on the phone, came home and admired how good hair looks the day you get it cut.

2-3:15 PM - Prepped a new crockpot recipe, made pumpkin bread, made soup and tea for Ben, ate lunch.

3:15-4 PM - Had a video chat with the lovely Kyla, took pumpkin bread out of the oven, and admired Kyla’s new red hair. (Not necessarily in that order).

4-5 PM - Did a couple of things for work, talked with my niece (for as long as a two-year old can talk anyway), and folded laundry.

5-6:15 PM - Made more tea for Ben, talked to a friend on the phone, worked on more blog posts.

6:15-8 PM - Followed my father-in-law to his mechanic because he was dropping off his car overnight. Got stuck in traffic on local roads (ah, Northern Virginia), but enjoyed the time it gave me to catch up with him in the car. Made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up crackers for Ben.

8 PM - Home. Switched laundry and collapsed in a chair, complaining to my husband that I was exhausted, but felt like I hadn’t done anything that day. (He pointed out that thanks to this post I had a whole list of things I’d done!)

8:20 PM - Ate dinner and read. (We normally don’t eat dinner this late, but I’d gotten it into the crock pot pretty late, and it needed to cook for six hours).

Brushed my teeth, washed my face, and was asleep by 9:30 PM - again, I’m normally not in bed this early, but because of the pace I’d kept that day I was wiped.

Looking at this all written down, I realize I did a lot that day, but I guess I was frustrated because I didn’t feel like I had anything tangible to show for it. And trust me, this is NOT how I spend most Sundays. (Those usually involve sweats and some instant Netflix).

Do you ever have days where you did a lot but didn’t necessarily think you accomplished anything? Thanks for having me!

Thanks Becky! Hearing about that Sunday, just about wiped me out! I am much more the sweatpants and football watching type of gal on a Sunday.  Next week, we will sneak a peak into Miranda's life!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Art Every Day

My friend Leah over at Creative Every Day hosts a challenge each November to create art every day.  I decided I wanted to play along and have a few things to share with you from the beginning of November.

Since I am so not creative and artistic, bare with me.  And I decided that since I am also trying to workout more, not eat McDonald's, work and raise an almost 6 month old, planning ideas and purchasing things also counts.  So does picture taking.  Yeah, I bend the rules.  But, it's the thought that counts, right? Plus, everyone else participating blows me out of the water anywhoo.

I made this at work on Nov. 1st.  We collected leaves, pine cones and what not from outside and this is what I created at the Art Center that day. :P

On Nov. 2nd, I took this scarecrow out of our Art Center and started coloring with a cute little student of mine.  And it was a very craaazy day, so as you can see, I did not finish it.

Nov. 3rd, was SUPER duper uber crazy at work and I meant to just finish coloring the scarecrow, but didn't have time and when I got home that night, no time to color.  So, I decided my putting together this cute outfit on the little sweetheart was my 'creativity' of the day.  Baby legs, jean jumper, onesie and a handmade (not by me) hair bow.

Friday, I was a googling machine, had high hopes of creating some sort of Thanksgiving decoration.  Yeah, our house has no craft items apparently.  So I thought, hey I will make a book for Isla, (totally stealing that idea from Leah).  But I kind of wanted to start it with a board book like she did and not just construction paper.  So I decided not to start anything.  But my idea of the day is making a book for Isla.

Saturday, I went out to Target and picked up craft sticks.  That's all I got.  Lame, I know.

Who knows, what today has in store.

Head on over to Leah's blog to see people who are much more talented and have much better ideas than me!

What have you created lately?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

October At A Glance

Once again.. trying something new this month.. Going to do this one in pictures..

What was your favorite moments of October?

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Postmistress - Discussion 1

This month's book is The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, and I must confess that I had to do a power reading session Thursday night to be caught up.  When I started it last weekend, it did not hook me and I was dreading it.  Then I picked it back up Thursday and the first chunk was hard and then when I got to the part where Emma went to watch the soldiers firing at night, it sped up and I was interested again.  I think this is going to be a book of good and bad spurts for me.

I really like that this has a WW2 time period.  It's a time that I am very interested in so I like that about the book so far.  I also think it is interesting to get a perspective from Frankie, a woman, in London, during 1940.

I think the introduction of the characters was nicely done in a slow drawn out way and it was also slightly irritating at the same time, but I could immediately tell which characters I was going to like the best, based on my reactions to their sections.  Harry's part? Bored. Frankie's? Loved. Iris? Intriguesd.  The Fitches? Interested.

1. What did you think of Iris's visit to the doctor to obtain her certificate?
2. What was your impression of Iris after the first chapter?
3. How would you have dealt with sending your children to the country or ACROSS the Atlantic during a war?
4.  What are your thoughts over the first 5 chapters?
5. Ask your own question, and answer another person's answer.

Check back next Friday to chat over chapters 6-15!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nantucket Nights

I have been meaning to check out a book (any book, but I think Barefoot got me interested) by Elin Hilderbrand since 2009, but have kept pushing it off because I'm afraid I won't like it and I really want to like her books. She sort of made me think of Kristin Hannah, who I adore, but I was so afraid that I would roll my eyes and not like a book of hers I put it off until this August when I finally checked out a few of her books.  Nantucket Nights, is the first book of hers that I've read and I have mixed feelings.

Kayla, Val and Antoniette meet once a year for Night Swimmers, a weird ritual they have perfected over the years, where they meet, drink champagne, tell secrets and swim nude.  Every year it's awesome, no problems, til this year when Antoniette goes missing, Kayla's relationship with Val is ruined along with her reputation.

There were some pretty unbelievable plot lines and the book ended with a few too many loose ends and with an outcome of a decision Kayla makes that I didn't support. I mean the writing in the book is good, it's a quick read and it's not tooo chick lit-y that I was rolling my eyes, I mean it's real and not 'oooh woe is me' and all but Kayla kind of sucks and so do her friends. You start out kind of thinking Kayla's husband is an ass and you come to realize he may be the best person in the book. The characters are horrid people and do terrible things to each other.

I'm really not sure I can say I like it or not. I really want to like it and I will try to read another of her books because I still really want to like her, but consider me still undecided.
Have you read any books by Hilderbrand?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A day in the life of Amber...

Hey everyone! This week Amber is letting us take a little peak in her life! She is a graduate student from Iowa who works two jobs while doing school full-time.  Enjoy!

Hi! I’m Amber from A Little Pink in the Cornfields and I’m really excited to share with all of Emily’s readers what a day in my life is like! Each day is different for me, no two days are EVER the same and I love that. Recently I left the corporate world and began graduate work full time. Besides the classes I am enrolled in, I substitute teach three days a week in grades 6-12 and am a residential counselor at a local non-profit for adults with intellectual disabilities two days a week. I’m not usually with the same clients each week, or in the same classrooms, so life is never dull!

Here is what a typical day is like for me. On this particular day I was substitute teaching in a middle school art class, and I had a methods course in PE that evening.

 6am: Get up and get ready for the day. It usually takes me an hour to shower/get ready, make lunch, take Zeke for a quick morning walk and pack my bag for the day.

7am: Leave for the school that I am working at. Today I am subbing in an art class in a school that is pretty urban (as urban as Des Moines gets, I suppose). I know the day is going to go either really well, or really bad. There really isn’t an in between at this school.

7:30am: Arrive at the school, check in at the main office and pick up the sub folder with the schedule and lesson plans.

7:45am: School day begins. I have four 46 minute classes until lunch. My first period goes okay. They are 7th graders and still pretty sweet. Today all classes are working on drawing hieroglyphs. They’re not very excited about this project. Even when I told them it was like cracking a code. That didn’t work at all. Fail.

 8:31am: Dismiss class

 8:34am: Begin period two. More seventh graders and they do the same thing as first period. During this period I scolded two boys for using the “r” word. They decided to use the word “spaz” instead. I, again, scold them.

The students I sub for figure out pretty quick I do not tolerate language like that. The boys continued to figure out other words to use that would get under my skin (my mistake) so I just decided to ignore the words and focus on getting them to work. Another boy sitting at their group got upset and started crying

(I have never had girls cry in my classes, just boys. Isn’t that odd?).

My heart was really heavy over this, because I knew he didn’t want to talk and I wasn’t going to force him. He sat with his head down the entire period. I’m still wondering what was making him cry. I know he wasn’t receiving special ed services, so perhaps he has a family member that does? It broke my heart. Kids are so cruel.

9:20: dismiss class

 9:23: Begin period three.  Now I have two periods of eight graders. I am not a fan of eighth graders. They do the same thing as periods 1 and 2.  I had to raise my voice more than I should have. I also had to turn off the lights to get their attention, which is absolutely ridiculous to me for a group this age. Anytime I have to do this I remind them that that is an elementary school tactic of getting attention. Seriously annoyed at this point.

 10:09: Dismiss class

 10:12: Begin fourth period. This time I took a much calmer approach. In the three minutes I had to regroup I took a few deep breaths, cleared my face of all emotion (seriously, kids see fear and I’m pretty sure they SMELL it too. I’m sure of it) and prepare myself mentally for more eighth graders. Everything went fine at first and I was feeling much, much better. There was also an associate in the room because we had several special ed students. She had a scheduled break, so after checking with me to make sure I would be okay without her (which threw me off guard, I’ve never had an associate ask me that before). I said I would be fine and to not worry about me!

I was wrong.

About ten minutes after she left there was a physical fight. At first I thought they were playing because the boy that got hit first was SMILING. It might have been play fighting at first, but within 2.6 seconds it turned into real fighting and I’m pulling them off each and yelling at one kid to stop choking the other! I seriously blanked and did not know the procedure of what to do or how to get admin in the room. I yelled for someone to run to the office (just around the corner) and about 7 kids ran out (of course). Admin got in there almost immediately and took the situation from there.  The fight grew out of lots of teasing from one boy. This boy was a little jerk. He really, really was. That is all I have to say about that. (Forrest Gump style, ha!)

10:58: Dismiss class. Now I have planning period, which is followed by lunch, which is followed by another planning period. Which, gives me about two hours to do what I want. I’m so grateful for this time, because I honestly thought about crying. My eyes did start to well up just out of shock, sadness, confusion, anxiety over the situation. I quickly composed myself though, it would be stupid to cry now. Plus, this will NOT be the only time this happens. I’m not naïve. I grew up in schools just like this one. I’m not new to fights like this. Still sucks though.

 10:58-12:56: During this time I ate lunch, chatted on Twitter, texted, replied to a few emails, worked on a lesson plan, read a few blog posts and played some Hanging with Friends and Words with Friends. It was relaxing and just what I needed.

 12:56: Begin seventh period. They do the same assignment. Everything goes okay. No major incidents.

1:42: Dismiss class

1:45: Begin eighth period – last class of the day, thank goodness. I could’ve really used some headache medicine at this point.

 2:30: School’s out! Hallelujah!

 2:35: Head home

 3pm: Get home, change into gym clothes, pack a quick snack (a cup of cottage cheese) and head to campus to study for a couple hours before my evening class

 3:30-5pm: Work on a few assignments that are due this week.

 5:30pm: Meet at the campus gym for my PE Methods class. Today we’re doing the fitness test for the second time this semester. The fitness test includes a timed mile run, 1 minute of push ups, and 1 minute of crunches. At the beginning of the semester my mile was 13:07. Today my mile was 12:07! Yay for shaving off a minute!

 6:30pm: Class is technically supposed to go until 7:20, but she let us go early for doing so well on our fitness test. I was super glad because I was going to have to leave early anyway for a conference call for my online class. All elementary ed students have to take methods courses in all subject. PE included… it’s kind of a silly class, but it will be an easy 3 credit A.

 7pm-8pm: Conference call for my Assessment for Reading Instruction. I thought this was really weird, but it ended up being very helpful! This week we’re administering informal reading inventories, and I had a lot of little questions that I needed to clarify. The conference call idea was really smart, because about thirty of us had the same questions!

 8pm: I can finally sit down and eat dinner! I make macaroni and cheese and sit down to watch The Biggest Loser with my sister (so wrong while eating mac and cheese… buuuuut, I made it with Laughing Cow cheese. It couldn’t be that bad….) ;)

 9:30pm: Nightly routine. Crawl into bed to read for awhile, before going to sleep.

 10:30pm: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

 Today was actually very typical, minus the fight! On days I sub, I have class at night. The other two days I have class right in the middle of the day (annoying) and those are the days I work at the non-profit. Despite running around all the time, I get a lot of time at each place to work on studying. Subbing and counseling gives me plenty of time to keep up on reading for school and book clubs.

Thank you for reading about my day and thank you Emily for having me! J

Thanks Amber!! ;) Next week we will hear from Becky! Can't wait!