How many more times can you see Beauty and the Beast? One more.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a well-known professional theatre located in Ashland. We have never been and so when I was working on my 101 in 1001 list, #32 was to go the festival. Last week, Taelin and I took a little overnight trip to Ashland and saw one of the plays at the festival this year, Beauty and the Beast.

Why Beauty and the Beast? Well, Taelin’s voice teacher has worked at the festival before and this year he is one of the musicians for Beauty and the Beast. I was thankful that he was able to get us discounted tickets (because they are not cheap) and we made a little girl’s trip out of it.

After meeting for lunch and getting our tickets, Taelin and I went to the local independent bookstore Bloomsbury Books. It was an amazing little bookstore and since we were there….

We spent a good hour there and left with some books that we just couldn’t resist. I would like to say for the record that this pile could have been a lot larger.  I was reserved in my purchase.

After we left the bookstore, we went to check into our hotel and after a mandatory nap, Taelin went swimming and I read poolside. Talk about it officially feeling like summer!

After some downtime, we got ready for the show. They gave ample warning that it could get chilly since the show doesn’t start until 8:00 and the theatre is outdoors, so we made sure to dress in layers and we even took a blanket with us. I had no idea when the doors opened but Taelin was so excited we got there VERY early.  So early we had no trouble finding parking or being able to snap a picture in front of the outdoor theatre.

(As an aside, you may have noticed the boots making many appearances in photos. I got them a few weeks before the end of school for $3. She seriously wears them everywhere.)

The doors were finally opened and we found our seats. I was impressed with how roomy the seats were, both for behinds and for legs. Because we were outdoors, we were able to have drinks and snacks, which was nice. We both had pretzels and bottled water but there were a lot of different options. As we were waiting, Taelin’s voice teacher waved to us and Taelin was giddy! She knew someone on the stage!

The show started on time and, from the first moment, grabbed our attention and didn’t let go. It was the Disney version, so the story was familiar but there were many added songs and a few twists that were unexpected. All in all, it was a great experience and I know it will not be our last visit to Ashland. In fact, I am trying to figure out how I can squeeze a show in when we go on our road trip in August.

Not that I am an expert, obviously, but I would highly recommend The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. If you are wondering what else is playing right now, you can visit their website here!

This Month I Read…June 2017

This month was another great reading month! Three of the books I read this month were written by authors I have read (and loved) before. The other three were brand new to me. Here’s what I thought of them all…

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins was a mystery/thriller that was full of twists and turn. If you are afraid of drowning, you should not read this book. The story centers around a woman that is found dead at the bottom of a river. Hers is not the first death connected to the river that runs through the town and as the story unfolds, you find out just how connected the other deaths are. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

White Fur by Jardine Libaire was a book that I received from Blogging for Books. You can see my review of it here!

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson was an absolutely beautiful book. I have been a fan of Woodson’s writing for many years; my first introduction being a children’s book. This story starts with August returning to Brooklyn after many years of being away and running into an old friend on the train. The encounter sparks the memories of four girls growing up together in the 1970’s. This is a coming of age story that should not be missed. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh was another favorite of mine this month. One of my top five favorite books was written by Diffenbaugh so when I saw this book, I grabbed it immediately. I didn’t love it as much as her first novel but I still loved it. Letty is a teenage mother that, for years, depended on her mom and dad for support to raise her children. Her world changes when her parents decide to return to Mexico and she has to step up. Letty and her two children, Alex and Luna, are hard not to fall in love with in this story. I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos was a book that I bought on Independent Bookstore Day and really wanted to love. Charles Marlow is the main character that the story follows both in present day and in flashbacks to his childhood. Charles is a high school language arts teacher at a pivotal point in his life and we watch as he tries to find a path for himself. The story was a bit tedious at times and I didn’t love it all that much. My friends agreed. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Behind My Eyes by Li-Young Lee was a short poetry book I found at the library. I chose it for no particular reason other than I liked the title. It is not hard to see that Lee’s own story inspires his poetry. Of the four sections in this book, I enjoyed the poems in the third section the most. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Have you read anything lately that I need to add to my to-read list?  Let me know in the comments!

Project 52: Week 26-morning

Week 26 and we are exactly half way through the Project 52 photo challenge. I will be the first to admit that I haven’t done so well with this challenge. I got behind and haven’t caught up all the way but I am trying! If you have subscribed the blog (and if you haven’t yet, you should) you have probably noticed that I have been post-dating some of the weeks I missed.

But, I am not behind this week.

There is a story to this picture. Sometime in the middle of the night, before this picture was taken, I left my comfortable bed because it had been taken over by a 75 lb dog and a 52 lb kid. I had been trying to get back to sleep for awhile when I final realized that it was going to happen and I moved myself to the couch. After I woke up, I grabbed the book I was reading and read for awhile. Eventually the aforementioned dog and child came out looking for food. I took care of that and then heading back to the couch and my book. Just before I sat down I thought, “I should take a picture of the sun coming through the trees for my word this week!”

It was a good idea but there was a problem. I was still in my pj’s and it wouldn’t be polite for me to go outside and take a picture in my pj’s. So I grabbed my phone, lined things up a little bit, snapped the picture and settled in and read for another hour.

What a great morning that was.

White Fur by Jardine Libaire

White Fur by Jardine Libaire is a book unlike anything I have read in awhile. It grabs you right at the beginning and then has you racing through to figure out what in the hell was going on at the beginning.

Jamey Hyde is a Yale student and heir to a family fortune. Elise Perez didn’t graduate high school and grew up in the projects. They meet, fall in lust (often) and change each other’s lives in ways that neither of them could have ever suspected. Jamey’s family, of course, doesn’t approve of Elise and Jamey reacts accordingly.

This book is set in the ’80 and I get the feeling that the New York 80’s party vibe was supposed to come screaming through. What came through seemed to be very much what I have read in other books and have seen in movies, all the say, I have no idea if it’s at all accurate.

While I am no Mother Theresa, there was a lot of abrupt sex scenes in this book and there was excessive cursing. I got used to it about a third of the way into the book but it took me awhile before it stopped shocking me.

Overall, I liked the story. I read it in a couple of days, some of it poolside, so I think it could be considered a quick summer read. At least that’s what it was for me! I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review.

Beach time!

After the craziness of the end of the school year and the dance recital (which involved people staying at the house), I was so grateful that I had booked two nights for us to go to the beach. On Father’s Day, we packed what we needed and headed an hour west to Neskowin. Neskowin is home to one of my favorite beaches but we haven’t ever stayed overnight because it is so close to home.

Not long after we got to the beach house, Joe and Taelin changed into their swimsuits and were down on the sand.

Those are my people. I love them. A lot.

My mom and dad, who still live in Montana, were visiting and my sister and her husband came down from Seattle for the weekend. My sister had to head back to Seattle that night so we made it easy on ourselves when deciding on dinner. We started a fire on the beach and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. Not your typical Father’s Day dinner but it worked.

You can see we brought the dog for her first trip to the beach and I think you could say she loved it. Actually, what she loved most was chasing seagulls. We have never seen her run so fast or listen so poorly. The girl actually got herself in a bit of trouble when she went barreling into the ocean towards a rocky edge that had seagulls sitting on it. We are lucky she was able to get herself out of trouble and back on land.  She was exhausted afterwards.

I taught Taelin the art of reading at the beach and I would have gotten a picture of that but I wanted to be a good model for her and keep reading myself. It’s my responsibility.

It was also my responsibility to make sure there was enough food to eat while at the beach and I decided that one way to make that happen was to buy a giant Costco cake and take it with us. It was a good call as you can see my sister and daughter looking pretty comfy and cool…with their chocolate cake.

When you look at this picture it almost looks like there is sun shining and I guess there must have been but for the most part it was pretty cloudy/foggy. But, we still had an amazing time and I can’t wait to spend more time at the beach!

2017 Summer Reading Challenge

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I love books. I always have and I think I always will. This school year was a pivotal year for Taelin, in terms of reading, so I really wanted a fun way to keep her going this summer. We have done the summer reading program at the library (and we are still doing that this summer) but that program counts all minutes spent reading. So the audio books we listen to on road trips and the books we read to her before bedtime all count. Which is great. But I really wanted her to be able to see what she is really capable of all on her own.

I also did not want to go all crazy Pinterest with this. There are so many great ideas (and I’m not knocking anyone who does them) but I know myself well enough and it just wanted to make this one simple. We talked about it for a long while and finally came up with the idea of just picking a number of books we were going to read by ourselves. I decided I am going to try and read 20 books (which is half of my 2017 goal) and Taelin decided she is going to read 40 chapter books.

When we get done with a book, we are just recording it on our paper and moving on to the next book. Now, a goal wouldn’t be a goal without something to sweeten the deal a little bit. So, if we both reach our goal, we get to go to the beach overnight. (I might have wanted a reason to plan a girl’s night at the beach.)

We have been trying to convince others to join us and, so far, we haven’t had any takers. So…if anyone wants to join us in the challenge, please do. We picked a number of books, but you could record time or pages or different genres. Anything you want! Just read!!!

I can tell we have already both added books to our list since I took this picture, but we both better get cracking if we are going to make our goal! In fact, I have a poetry book that is due to the library tomorrow that I should go and finish right now. Happy reading!

p.s….if you have an recommendations for a quick, fun summer read, tell me in the comments.

Where have I been?!?

I can not believe I let myself get so behind here. There have been so many times over the last 10 days where I thought, “I need to blog about that!” only to have another thing needing to get done. We haven’t transitioned well to a summer schedule yet and my writing time has suffered. Not to mention, we have had a few things going on.  Like this…

The total numbers of hours this girl danced in June is directly related to how much stuff I haven’t gotten done. But man, it has been so worth it.  The smile you see on her face right there (thank you Teresa for taking this photo) was pretty much been on her face the entire week leading up to and including the recital. (Except for the slight meltdown on the Wednesday when she couldn’t remember how to do about 16 counts of one of her 10 ten dances, that is.)

We had a lot of people come watch Taelin, which was pretty amazing. She was so happy that so many people were coming to watch her dance. Before having Taelin, I would have been hard pressed to believe that someone could find their passion so young, but I believe it now.

At any rate, the craziness is done and we have had a few days of settling in after all the company has left. Let the summer adventures continue!

Young at Art Class @ Santiam Brewing Co.

I am SO excited about a new adventure I have taken on this month!!! I have been teaching kids classes at Young at Art for a year this month and I have decided to branch out a little bit into the world of teaching painting classes to adults! I am a little bit nervous about it but mostly really excited to have the opportunity to try something new.

July 1st from 6:00-8:00, I am going to be teaching a painting class at Santiam Brewing Co. Santiam Brewing Co. is a local brewery that I absolutely LOVE! They have fantastic beer and a great tasting room where you can drink their fantastic beer. They also host some super fun events at the brewery and hopefully, these painting classes will become a regular part of those fun events.

Here is the a painting we are going to do…  Just perfect for the upcoming holiday!

If you are interested in signing up, you can do that here! There are only 20 spots so reserve your spot today!