Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Show & Tell Tuesday: Service

Linking up today for Show & Tell Tuesday with Momfessionals!

I love reading the Show & Tell Tuesdays posts from some of the blogs I follow, and today's topic is something I am really passionate about so I thought I would join in!

If you have ever followed my Philanthropy & Penrose tab then you know about my passion for the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte.  My love for this charity was planted while in college when I joined the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and has since continued to blossom into a passion of mine.  I have been a committee member for two annual fundraising events at the house, Storybook Ball and Girls' Night Out.  

RMH Charlotte Storybook Ball 2015
RMH Charlotte Girls' Night Out 2015
This coming year, I am so excited to be co-chairing Girls' Night Out 2016!!  This event is like no other.  It will make you smile, laugh, cry, dance, and leave with such a full heart.  If you are a woman in the Charlotte area, I highly recommend attending this Spring event!

Other philanthropic causes that we support each year are some through our church.

We always pick at least two names off of our church Angel Tree.  We have a lot of teachers in low-income areas who submit the information and I love that the little angels we help are from our local community.  

We also love stuffing at least two Operation Christmas Child boxes each year!  This year we are gifting to a 5-9 year old girl and 2-4 year old boy.  

P.A.T.H. is a local food bank ministry that helps families in our county.  We donate to them periodically throughout the year, as well as through our Annual Fall Festival where entry is canned goods instead of money.  The past two years, we have raised close to 1000 cans and $600 from the event.  Pretty good for our little country church AND getting rained out both years!

Two other things that have been on my heart are Christmas giving traditions.  The first, is that I have always wanted to skip the 'normal' Christmas day stuff and volunteer at a big soup kitchen.  I think once we have older kids, this is something I want to do at least once and who knows--maybe it will become our yearly tradition then.

The other is--now that Ryleigh is old enough to start learning and experiencing Christmas (last year she was still too young to understand), I feel like it's important to have the foundation of the Reason for the Season.  Yes, we are definitely having all the Santa fun and next year we will probably get a visit from a pesky little Elf on a shelf, but I want to tie it all back to Jesus.  I've heard ideas from friends that since the Wise Men brought 3 gifts, they give their children 3 gifts from Santa.  I really like that idea. Also, I'm thinking of doing three special charitable gifts each year--something like Heifer Project.  Each year sponsor three different animals or gifts.  As our kids get older they can help choose what we do, which will make it special for them and also open their eyes to life outside of our little world.
Last year -- Christmas 2014

I can't wait to read everyone else's ideas in the link-up :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pinning for Penrose: Eat-in Kitchen

In our house we have an eat-in kitchen area in front of our big kitchen window.  I go back and forth with what I want to put there.  We have bar space at the island for people to eat, and when we re-do our kitchen counters within the next year (granite and backsplash) we will be adding 2-3 more bar seats on the wall between the kitchen & living room, where we currently just have wood moulding.  I am not crazy about the idea of just getting a table and chairs and calling it a day in there.  I would rather have some comfy seating, more of an informal area, where friends or family could sit and chat while we prepare a big meal.  So, I've been looking at some Keeping Room inspiration on Pinterest....

reading nook // built-in bench // club chairs // lounge area

Don't these just make you want to grab a cup of coffee or holiday beverage and some snacks to relax a little while?  I'm loving this so much more than a plain ol' table & chairs.

This is not one of the most important items on my list of ideas, but eventually I plan to create something like this.  I will have to keep my eyes open for good deals and see what I come across!


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Plates of Penrose | Inspiration!

Yall, I am so excited. So many people ask me where I find recipes for delicious dinners, appetizers, desserts....the answer anymore is almost always Mix & Match Mama.  It's a foodie blog written by a mom who just so happens to be Sean Lowe [former Bachelor]'s sister.  I love her recipes for so many reasons --they have always been delicious, they are for "normal" people (i.e. there is no fancy chef lingo), and they are practical!  She's a mom so she understands the need for balance. She has great ideas for meal planning, crock pot cooking, and delicious yet easy desserts.  I have never had one of her recipes fail me!  I incorporate them into our daily dinners, covered dishes to bring to events or people who have had babies, holiday meals....everything!  Even my picky-eater husband loves her recipes.

So, I may have squealed with excitement when she recently announced this:

I know that these will be just the first cookbooks of many from her and I plan to add every single one to my collection.  I have a drawer full of printed out recipes from her blog and now I can have them all bound and pretty!

It looks like they will retail at $16 each once they are available February 1, 2016.  Preorders are available now!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pages of Penrose Review: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

This suspenseful story from Gillian Flynn will keep her fans guessing...forever.

The Grownup fits the bill for a short ghost story, leaving the reader with questions throughout the twists and turns, and that unsettling feeling that lingers after the story is done.

Just like one would expect from Flynn, the lead role is a young woman with a troubled, questionable life yet she fascinates us with her obvious intellect and quick-thinking.  The story surrounds her choice of jobs, and one particular client visit that ends up leading to a bigger ordeal.  The story is just over 60 pages and while it builds steadily in the beginning, the middle of the book becomes a rapid page-turner where the reader is questioning just which twists to believe.  Is it supernatural? Who is lying? What happens next?....and that final question will stick with us always as the ending of this story leaves all questions unanswered.

I do not read many short stories so it may be more of my predisposition to wish for a more developed ending, however I felt being a thriller it was fitting to leave the reader speculating with so many options for the direction the conclusion could have taken.

Purchase your own copy here.

 *I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

Have you read The Grownup? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

Read more about my book reviews here, and friend me on Goodreads to see what's next!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pages of Penrose: Exciting update!

Last week I updated you on my renewed love of reading and this week I have some exciting news!

I stumbled across the opportunity to start doing online Book Reviews, and my first book is currently on the way to me now!  I'm being sent a copy of Gillian Flynn's new story, The Grownup and sometime in the next month you will get to hear what I think of it!  This isn't a full novel, it's a 64 page story that is being published as a stand-alone.  I loved Gone Girl and I'm already excited about her newest story just from the synopsis and cover art...

I know they say 'Never judge a book by its cover' but I'm totally a sucker for some good cover art.

From Random House:


Gillian Flynn’s Edgar Award-winning homage to the classic ghost story, published for the first time as a standalone

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it. 

The Grownup is currently available for Pre-Order and goes on sale to the public TOMORROW!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Parenting Penrose: Halloween

My little Minnie Mouse had the best time trick-or-treating with her friends! We had a bunch of friends and family over to take the kids around our part of the neighborhood and then have dinner, snack, and watch games for the night.  We had some great conversation and laughs! 

She loved carrying her "punkin basset" around full of candy and glow sticks.  She would walk/run up to the houses and say "treat treat"....I guess the girl knew what she wanted!  She was so polite and would say "thank you bye bye" to every house, haha!  She also learned how to grab 5-10 pieces of candy from a bowl with just one of her itty bitty hands in a giant grab. She got one little taste of chocolate and we created a monster!  She takes after her Momma with that sweet tooth I suppose.

I mean, all the heart eyes.....We got her dressed and then took her into her bathroom to see herself in the big mirror...she thought it was hilarious! I put on her hairpiece (just alligator clipped on top) and she started cracking up at herself and thought she was the coolest thing.  I loved seeing her enjoy the holiday and somewhat understand what was going on. 

Her hair clip was the only thing that we needed to buy for this little outfit! The leggings and black long-sleeved shirt are just Garanimals that we already had, moccs were an online deal I bought months ago and she's finally growing into them, and the romper we found on Amazon a while back.  It's sized for next summer so it was perfect to go over another layer.

In other exciting news, I pre-ordered this.  Can't wait for the 20th to get here!