To say this weekend was busy would be GROSSLY understated. BUT, it was the kind of busy that leaves you feeling accomplished and fulfilled. It was the Thanksgiving dinner of weekends. We went to a football game and lost our voices cheering, we tackled some home projects that needed attention (does landscaping ever end?!), we hung out with fun folks with food in fallish weather (isn't alliteration FUN?!), and the list goes on and on! It was the kind of weekend that should have had another whole week attached to it, there was so much fun to be had!
I attended Mansfield University as a young woman, and even met my super cool husband there. It's a small state school in Mansfield, Pennsylvania nestled in the hills on the edge of town. So many stairs! But there's nothing better than Mansfield in the fall. The coolness in the air, the colorful leaves, and the sound of the marching band practicing makes me want to carve pumpkins and use newly sharpened pencils. Each year it's home to the fabulous 1890's weekend, and it truly is FABULOUS! It's something my family looks forward to each year. The tradition started with just my grandmother and I while I was a college student, and I haven't missed a year since. We go early in the morning while the chill in the air has a bit of a bite, there's a foggy mist on the drive there, and you finish waking up on the 30 minute drive with your roader coffee. Why so early? THE BOOK SALE.....
The library hosts a book sale that my grandmother and I loved. She always had a small list in her purse of books she was hunting for. I never go with a list, I just love the hunt. When my children were smaller I'd carefully comb through the children's books in search of little treasures for them to enjoy on my lap at bedtime. In recent years they've searched for their own treasures. They love the thrill of the hunt and the find as much as I do! I search along with them, adding to their piles, choosing books I enjoyed when I was their age, hoping they like them too. I found a Nancy Drew Mystery to add to my collection! We even scored a couple Calvin and Hobbes books we didn't have yet!!! If you love to read and you missed it, mark your calendars for next year. You won't be sorry.
All that book huntin' works up quite an appetite! A breakfast stop at Night and Day Coffee Cafe is just what the doctor ordered! The wall colors have changed a few times over the years but the service and quality is just as awesome as ever! Specialty caffeinated drinks, homemade baked goods, local honey, and artsy benches and tables make for a fun atmosphere hungry and thirsty folks of all ages are sure to enjoy. One of my favorite things about this place is that while I sip my delicious coffee and nibble my artfully prepared bagel sandwich, my eyeballs can feast on artwork by local artist Paul Bozzo! We have a (small but growing) collection of his work hanging in our home, and you should too! Seriously, check it out...
After searching through books and feeding our faces, we ventured toward the center of town and rested on the curb for the parade! Sarah Knight, second grade teacher at my school, joined us for the 1890's adventure! It was her first time, and I think she liked it. She really liked it! Books, breakfast, parade! Who could resist?! There's candy! My grandmother loved the parade too, especially the bagpipers. I think of her every year at this time and know she'd love these adventures with my kids!
To add to the fun, my lovely friend and posse pal Betsy was planning a 17th birthday party for her darling daughter, Hannah! She asked if I'd be willing to do a Wine and Design kind of guided painting thing, minus the wine, of course, and I happily agreed! Her home is adorable, the company was hilarious, the music had toes tappin', and the cherry on top was that her boyfriend was cooking!!! His food is amazing. I chewed slowly to make it last longer. Then I went for seconds. Don't judge. It was that good. Yummo! Delish! Really super tasty!
After stuffing myself, it was birthday paint time! Several of Hannah's friends gathered in the living room around a table, a few sat on the stairs, a couple of much younger guests (who also happen to be students of mine from school) sat at the coffee table, and we rolled up our sleeves to get started! The birthday girl chose a picture for us to paint and everyone chose background colors.
I'm not used to hanging with teenagers, I teach Pre-K through 6th grade, but this group was talented! I asked all of them if they were taking art classes in high school. I encouraged them to sign up! We talked about ceramics class and making clay whistles. They chatted, they laughed, there were some insecurities, but I think they had fun. At least I hope they did!
These painting parties are a fantastic example of how different we all are, even when given the same task. Each painting was slightly different and I love that about art. Hoping Hannah had a Happy Birthday weekend!!! There were no birthdays in our household, but the weekend was packed with adventures and fun! Fortunate folks....
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