Friday, November 17, 2017

Fall Favorites

Greetings faithful blog readers,

It seems like the last few weeks have passed in a hurry. I wanted to document some of awesome events and such that have brightened the fall season for us. It's nice to stop and take in all that's good sometimes. If you're in the mood for happy thoughts, read on!


I didn't take time to blog about Halloween this year, but one thing I love is that Halloween is a BIG freakin' deal in our neighborhood. We get hundreds of tricker or treaters. My neighborhood in Austin was the same way growing up, so I'm so thrilled that we can participate and make Halloween special for a bunch of kiddos. At our house, we give out erasers in Halloween shapes and an insane variety of candy (ordered on Amazon). This year, we ordered over 500 pieces (and it still wasn't enough!) Though we were tired by the end of the night, we really enjoyed seeing all the kids out having fun in their costumes

Meow: Stacy's Pumpkin 

 Pumpkin Seeds

The best part of carving pumpkins is roasting pumpkin seeds. This year, I followed this recipe for cinnamon/sugar pumpkin seeds. They came out so delicious!

Boo: Brendan's Pumpkin 
Stranger Things 2/Curb Your Enthusiasm 

I don't have a photo for this one, but how awesome was the latest season of Stranger Things? I won't spoil anything, but I'll just say I'm so happy the show maintained its original tone and this season did not let me down.

I'm so late to the Curb Your Enthusiasm party (I know), but I started at season 1, and I love the awkward situations Larry routinely finds himself in. It's great to have a funny show with short episodes that I can watch if I find myself with thirty minutes before bedtime.

Little Seed Farms

My friend Tara sent me Rosemary Mint Soap, Body Butter, and Elasticity Serum from Little Seed Farms, and her gift not only warmed my heart but has also made my skin shockingly smooth. I have bumps on my arms, and the body butter seems to be working miracles for me. The products are paraben, dye, and fragrance free and also organic. If you need a gift that says "treat yourself to some relaxation and love" look no further! Also, I love reading their blog and looking at pictures of baby goats! 

Baby's First Book 

Our friends Peggy & Eric sent us baby's first book, and it is beautiful. I can't stop staring at the gorgeous illustrations, and I look forward to reading our daughter these stories about women who have changed the world. If you need a gift idea for a little one in your life (boy or girl), this collection is unique and carefully curated (and randomly has that amazing book smell; I know, I'm weird).

The Great Outdoors 

Weather in Midland doesn't get any better than this. Highs in the high 70s/low 80s, gorgeous sunsets, and nights cool enough to cozy up: check, check, and check. Even though life is busy, we've taken some walks and tried to stop and appreciate this gorgeous weather.

A New Friend 

Life is funny: just when many of my dear friends moved away, a new one came into my life. I'm still in touch with my friends that have moved and love them as much as ever, of course, but I'm happy to have a new local friend. Casey and I have so much in common: we both grew up in Austin, we both love to read, and we share many world views. She's 31 weeks pregnant with her second child, so I'm getting some good new mom and pregnancy tips. Plus, we both love eating right now, so you could say it's a match made in friendship heaven.

Paul Nicklen

Speaking of my new friend, she has already broadened my horizons. We checked out a lecture given by National Geographic Photographer Paul Nicklen at Midland College last night. The free event was hosted by the Sibley Nature Center, and it was so interesting. Nicklen dives in freezing temperatures and photographs within feet of elephant seals, leopard seals, polar bears, penguins, walruses, and all types of whales...he has had near death experiences like plane crashes and being pinned underwater by 800 pound animals, but he does it all to show people the beauty of Antartica and to be able to show people the harm climate change is causing first hand. I don't think I would have heard about the lecture if it weren't for Casey. Dallas Baxter (of NPR's Nature Notes) led the Q&A. Fun Fact: Brendan and I rented Dallas's cottage during spring break 2016, so I enjoyed visiting with her and her husband afterwards. 

Paul Nicklen trying to fit in with the pregnant ladies
Rebecca Watson Creative Writing Awards

Brendan missed last night's lecture (which would have been right up his alley) because he survived one of the two busiest days of his school year: the Rebecca Watson Creative Writing Awards, and he was exhausted. This is one of my favorite events of the year because we get to hear so many of our students read their creative work. Brendan puts so much effort into organizing this contest and awards ceremony and making sure it encompasses everything that Rebecca Watson, the generous donor, envisioned. This year, I noticed a lot of people saying "thank you," and I can't express how much it meant to hear those two small words. After watching Brendan pour so much energy into making this event awesome for the students, it made me happy to hear people acknowledge that the event was special to them. Here's to this year's talented (and thoughtful) group of bright students. It was a pleasure to hear their work yesterday. 

Apples of My Eye 

Remember how my fourth anniversary gift was a Harry and David fruit of the month club? It has truly been the gift that keeps on giving. This month's selection is delicious apples grown in Oregon, and they look as good as they taste (Brendan says their beauty makes him skeptical, but they're not too good to be true!) I think I'll use a few in a Thanksgiving pie. Lucky for all those that get a taste! 

Westin Booties 

My high heel booties are getting too uncomfortable (thanks to the extra weight I'm carrying) and one pair is too tight (thanks to feet swelling). DSW to the rescue! I ordered these booties in two colors, and they seem like they'll be comfortable for teaching in, are work appropriate, and are cool weather friendly. Three cheers for covering all three bases (and not having to leave my house for a time consuming shoe shopping adventure).

Kamiposi Fair Trade Craft Market 

Midland has a gem in Kamiposi Art Gallery located at 510 S. Big Spring. We stopped by the Fair Trade Craft Market and picked up some adorable "aminals," as Brendan calls them, for the baby's room (we have a nursery theme: Southwestern). Everything at the Fair Trade Craft Market was made by women in Guatemala, earning a fair wage for their labor. For gifts you can feel good about giving, stop by Kamiposi between 9AM and 6PM for the last day of the fair tomorrow.

I'd love to hear about what is making your fall awesome. Leave me a comment, would ya?

Hope your "fall" into the weekend goes seamlessly!

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