Better: Five Minute Friday

I’m kicking off my 2019 FMF streak with a late post.

In Ohio, I spent my Friday preparing for the imminent arrival of this weekend’s snowpocalypse. After school yesterday I joined the rest of the state at the grocery store stocking up on necessities. If you want to join in on the weekly fun over at Five Minute Friday or check out others’ posts be sure to click on the link. Here is my five minute uninterrupted response to the prompt: Better.

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Fuzzy socks, wool blankets, hot coffee, and good books…does life get much more relaxed?

Sure, there is a mound of laundry beckoning me to wash and a room full of toys that need to be boxed up, but today I chose to hibernate. The steady rhythm of the snow outside is the perfect backdrop to my reading adventure. The laughter of the children forming snow men and throwing snowballs can not be outweighed.

I was scheduled to attend a writing conference today, but the weather forced me inside. I was excited to focus on my writing today (I haven’t done anything like that since I had the baby last year.) But if I’m honest having this perfect day at home turned out better.

There will be other conferences.

Today I am choosing to embrace the tundra and enjoy the benefits of this house arrest. I’m taking time to read, write, and make memories with my family.

If you were snowed in how would you spend your day?

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Fall Break 2018

The past week was Fall Break in the school district where my husband and I teach (and our daughter goes to school.) We were extremely busy during this week with traveling, hospital visits, big news, and family time.

Below is a look at all that happened during the past seven days (it’s all out of order, but I wanted to be creative with the word: FALL):

Flu struck the Sisley house! Days before our break began our oldest daughter was taken to the ER with a temperature of 105. I freaked out a little prematurely, but that was the first time I had ever read a number that high on a thermometer. A little hydration and medication went a long way to helping her feel better. The fever hung on for four days, but luckily she started acting back to normal much sooner.

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A trip to Niagara Falls, Canada, was the biggest part of our break. My sister moved to Canada to work at Brock University (more on that here) and so we loaded up the car, our passports, and tons of baby supplies and spent three days with her at her apartment. I really enjoyed getting to see her town and touring her campus. We also saw the falls, did the Journey Behind the Falls, and walked through the tourist district at Clifton Hill. The only thing I disliked about the trip was that the morning we drove up I woke to a high temperature myself. I spent the trip nursing the same flu that I caught from my daughter, but I tried not to let that keep me down.

 

Local tradition has it in my hometown that Pumpkins take over the city streets on the third week of each October. The Circleville Pumpkin Show is the Greatest Free Show on Earth. Before we embarked on our travels we made sure to spend a couple of hours at the festival eating Pumpkin-flavored baked goods and my personal favorite, bourbon chicken and rice.

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Love was in the air as my youngest sister got engaged at the beginning of the break. Her boyfriend proposed at Hocking Hills, which is a state park in Ohio. It’s a beautiful time of year there and I am so excited to plan her fall wedding at the same destination. I am also so excited to be gaining such a thoughtful and positive brother-in-law.

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Now you are caught up with us after Fall Break 2018!

The Ameri Brit Mom

Coffee Fest and Rob Bell

 

 

Date nights don’t happen nearly as often as they should. At this point in our lives we have two girls (one of which is an infant) and they keep us busy. Balancing work and family seems like a farfetched myth. But every so often the stars align and we are able to get away for a couple of hours.

Our most recent date night consisted on attending two events (one chosen by each of us.)

For me: We joined the Columbus Underground and attended Coffee Fest

Coffee is not just a boost of caffeine in my life; Coffee is a lifestyle.

I’m well aware of the addiction I harbor toward this brewed beverage, but I have no plans of sobriety any time soon. I live on this stuff and I absolutely loved joining other coffee fanatics in my city for this fun event. It was held at the Ohio Village, an old-fashioned, model village behind the Ohio Historical Society.

Local brewers set up stands throughout the venue and provided samples of their best coffees for those in attendance. When we entered the festival we were given a ceramic mug that served as our cup throughout the event so that they minimized trash and kept the environment of the day clean and green.

My favorite coffee that I sampled was the Ethiopian blend from Hemisphere Coffee Roasters.

After several cups of amazing coffee we visited the Food Trucks on site and enjoyed  Mikey’s Late Night Slice’s famous pizzas.

 

For Him: We attended Rob Bell’s Holy Shift Talk

Ever since Rob Bell launched his career my husband has enjoyed his work. He is a Christian author and speaker who now lives in Los Angeles, California.

Although much of his work is considered to be a bit liberal for the Christian crowd my husband has continued to support Rob Bell and his ministry. I’ve read some of his early works and I have seen almost all of his Nooma videos. It’s easy for people to form an opinion about him and protests are a regular occurrence at his speaking engagements, but overall I enjoyed listening to him and found objection to none of the elements he spoke about in this talk. It was a call to Christians to regard the holiness in the everyday and mundane events of life.

Per usual, we laughed, cried, and felt goosebumps as he revealed seven ways that he has encountered God’s holiness in his own life.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Rain: Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday and I’m up early in order to write alongside my favorite linkup before work. Five Minute Friday is a group of writers and bloggers from all over the world who join together once a week to write on a common topic. The topic this week is rain. Below is my five minutes of uninterrupted writing on the topic.

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The air is thick and beckoning the clouds to let loose. The ominous skies tempt us to believe that rain is on the way. Soon the bright orb of the sun breaks through and all signs of precipitation vanquish. Air has never felt this heavy. Come, rain, bring us relief!

This past week we lived in constant anticipation for rain. As the temperatures climbed, so did our desire to see the clouds break open. The weathermen even took our hopes captive as they promised rain. But the week is nearly over and not one drop has fallen in my little corner of the world. The grass withers outside my window and my allergies are acting up.

I’m hungry for relief. If the rain would fall (if even for a few minutes) maybe it would feel like September.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Our First Geocache Adventure

Geocache- the act of using GPS services to locate a hidden package or item.

Over Spring break my husband and I found ourselves with some alone time. This isn’t something that happens often so we decided to make the most of it. Sure, we could have done the usual date night and gone to a movie, but this was a mid-day respite and the sun was shining. We wanted to soak up the sun!

As we tried to decide what to do I remembered a student recommending urban geocaching. It’s something I had heard of before, but had never done. The idea seemed intriguing and it proved to be the perfect way to spend a day together. My husband and I are always looking for new places to go in downtown Columbus so we packed up our car and headed in that direction.

First, we downloaded the app Geocaching. 

Then, we found a general area in Columbus that had several geocaches available. We parked in a random place. Our first task was to find somewhere nearby for lunch. Since we were on the edge of Harrison and Victorian Villages we decided to try the popular Katalinas. I ordered a breakfast taco and my husband had Hens in a Basket (eggs baked into toast.) Both menu items were really good!

Next, we headed out on foot for our first cache. Using the coordinates and GPS on our phones we made it to the first location. Our first try was unsuccessful. We spent twenty minutes looking for a hidden key box. To be fair, we had no idea what we were looking for. We decided to go ahead and move onto another cache and come back and check again on our way to the car afterward.

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The next geocache was two miles away. Geocaching is a good motivator for exercise…did I mention that? We plugged in the new coordinates and enjoyed a leisurely walk around town.

We found the next cache almost immediately. Hints provided by those who planted the cache are always helpful. Most geocaches contain small trinkets. You can take something from the cache as long as you replace it with something of yours. This first cache contained two small erasers. Despite the anticlimactic souvenirs we were excited to have found our first cache!

Next, we decided to head toward the arena district about half a mile away. There was another one hidden in a park there. This one was a little harder to spot, but after ten minutes we had captured the quarry. The memento contained in this one was a dream catcher key chain. Again, not super exciting, but finding the cache was reward enough for us.

Believe it or not, downtown Columbus isn’t the best spot to geocache. Many of the suburbs are ridden with them, but downtown only has a few. We decided to head back in the direction of the unsuccessful cache. On the way we stopped for coffee at a small place in the Short North called One Line Coffee. We sipped and walked.

Once we got back to the original coordinates from earlier it only took a few minutes for us to find the hidden key box. Having the experiences of the first two helped us know what to look for.

We ended up walking five miles and having a really great time. This is something we plan to continue. We may even get our daughter involved. Stay tuned for more geocaching adventures!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Gone Too Far: A Book Review

Title: Gone Too Far

Author: Natalie D. Richards

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Copyright Date: 2015

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Ever since I became a member of the central Ohio SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) I’ve been on a quest to read books by Ohio authors. This book was recommended to me by my high school librarian. The author is local to our area. 

Piper Woods is a senior just trying to make it to graduation. Her future plans are all laid out and include paying out of state tuition and studying photography. She won’t miss the cliques and the drama of high school, and she’s aching to get out of her dysfunctional home.

All of that changes when she finds a notebook laying in the hallway of the school. She picks it up and flips through the pages. It doesn’t take her long to figure out that someone is using the notebook to record secrets about her classmates. She soon realizes that knowing the secrets comes at a dangerous price.

After tragedy claims someone mentioned in the notebook Piper decides to turn it in and walk away. Before she can do that, a text message urging her to make things right changes her mind. Piper finds herself caught up in the secrets of the school. Torn between making people pay for the harm they have caused and keeping her squeaky clean record Piper is forced to make some major choices.

Natalie D. Richards is also the author of Six Months Later. Many of my students have read that book and it seems just as good as Gone Too Far. I look forward to continuing my list of Ohio authors over the next couple of months. Some of the authors of the list (like Natalie D. Richards) are also part of the SCBWI with me. It is so cool to read a book by someone I have met. It makes my dream of becoming an author seem so much more realistic. Let me know if you are interested in some reading suggestions written by Ohio authors. There are some really great pieces that come from my home state.

The Ameri Brit Mom

“Another Opening, Another Show…”

The Pumpkin Show is an annual festival held in my hometown of Circleville, Ohio. This is the greatest FREE show on Earth and one of the largest local festivals in the country. Each year, the schools shut down, the roads are closed, and people travel from near and far to enjoy some days indulging in Pumpkin-everything and watching parades. Tuesday night was Local’s Night which means that stalls were opened and people crowded the streets prior to the official opening. The weather was beautiful and the festival was packed. Our church group which normally meets on Tuesdays decided to meet this week at the Pumpkin Show. We spent our Tuesday night with great friends and the locals of Circleville.

On Wednesday, we rode rides, overate, and went through the parade on a float. Every year I pine for a box of bourbon chicken, one of the most popular non-pumpkin items. I also have to get a slice of pumpkin pie, a pumpkin burger, and fried Swiss cheese on a stick. We got a snapshot with the traditional pumpkin pyramid and the locally famous Pumpkin Man. For the first time ever, my daughter was in a parade riding on a float representing her pre-school. It was a late parade and she was almost asleep by the end of the route, but she enjoyed riding through the parade with her teacher and classmate. It was a great opening to another Pumpkin Show!

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The New Columbus Library

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It’s been a long time coming, but the wait is finally over!

Over a year ago the Columbus Metropolitan Library Main Branch shut its doors to begin the remodeling process. Already it was the most beautiful library I had ever visited and I couldn’t imagine what type of work would go into this new construction to make it even better. It took over a year between the time the doors were locked and the reopen on June 25. Sadly, we were in England for the grand reopening, but earlier this week we were able to make the twenty minute trip to investigate all of the improvements for ourselves.

The good news is that it is still the same awesome library we said good-bye to last summer. The even better news is that it is now easier to navigate than before.

There are three floors:

Floor #1– Returns, Customer Service, Children’s Books, Gift Shop, Coffee Shop, indoor/outdoor seating

Floor #2– Audio books, Adult Fiction, Teen Fiction, Reading Room over looking a scenic park

Floor #3– Non-Fiction, Reference Materials, Meeting Rooms

All three floors are clean, spacious, and open. The grand atrium is breathtaking. And most of the place is lit completely by natural sunlight. Here is a look at some snapshots we took during our family trip to the Columbus Metropolitan Library Main Branch.

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The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Race Day Snapshots

This weekend I finished the Patron Quarter Marathon in Columbus. My official time was 1:08:57. I ran the race with my friend, Leah. We ran eleven minute miles fairly consistently until mile 5 and then we left all we had on that course and finished strong.

In the last mile I passed 97 people!!!!

This was a comeback run for me. I ran competitively in high school but haven’t done much running since and barely any at all since the birth of my daughter in 2012. Here is a look at some snapshots from the event.

I’m excited to journey back into running. I’m setting goals for better overall health and wellness and running is a big part of those goals.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Stand In The Place Where You Live

Lately, I’ve been on the prowl to find some unique pieces for a couple of gallery walls in my house. Currently, there is a wall in progress in the living room and one in the kitchen of more themed pieces. Over the weekend, while on a shopping escapade I had a wonderful idea: why not use some unique regional pieces which showcase our family’s heritage?

Marrying a man from England has truly shaped my worldview. I’ve learned to think and love outside of my small corner of the world. I may have never lived more than an hour from my home epicenter in any direction, but being married to Sam has helped me to see that there is more to be explored beyond the Ohio River.

I’m an Ohioan through and through and that will not ever change.

Sam is a Southampton boy and that will never change either.

So I’ve been thinking about bringing the ameri-brit part of our family into our home decor. What better way to highlight that uniqueness to our children and guests than to incorporate knicks and knacks from both of our backgrounds in the aesthetic presence of our house.

Below is a mood board of some pieces I would love to see join our gallery walls.

  1. Blue English Canvas
  2. Ohio Pallet
  3. Ohio Stuff from Simply Vague
  4. London Canvas