Penny's Passion: February 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - March 1, 2018

Holy cow -- it's Thursday and I'm still thinking about last weekend when six of my friends came for a visit!  I've been trying to write my weekending post since Sunday night and I'm just now getting to it.  Busy week!  But the weekend was just too good to let it pass by without a post - so that's what I'm thinking out loud about today!  Last weekend six of my dearest friends came to my house for an epic weekend of fun, laughs and a great time!

Best Friend Quotes

On Friday, my friend TW from Wisconsin arrived earlier than the crew from Kansas City so we were able to start the weekend by noon.  Our first stop was one of my favorite eating joints - Club Taco.  TW hadn't been before and I was excited to introduce him to their street corn.  Ian joined us and we called it a date.

After filling our bellies with street corn and tacos, we headed to St. Charles, Missouri's main street for a little antique browsing.  We meandered up and down the street, wondering in and out of several shops.  Although our only purchase was a pot of shamrocks, it was an amusing way to spend the afternoon.

We hooked back up with Ian and Kayla for dinner at another one of my favorites - Sauce on the Side.  If you are looking for some awesome calzones,  this should be your destination.

After dinner, we still had a couple hours before the others were arriving so we popped in the MX to see Game Night.  Fun fact about the MX ~ if you check in on Yelp you get a free small popcorn.  Guys, I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants!  Very funny movie!

When we were leaving the theater, we got the call that our friends coming from Kansas City were just ahead of us.  They were at my house to greet us when TW and I arrived home.  What a great greeting group!

We sat up and talked until midnight then headed to bed to get some rest for our big Saturday ahead of us.  Oh - and everyone got to open their goody bags.

Saturday morning, with the help of Mary and TW, breakfast was served.  We made egg, sausage and cheese muffins and served them with bacon and fruit salad.  YUM!  Kayla joined us and our group was complete.  I'm going to have to make those egg muffins again.  They would be the perfect thing to take to work and warm up for mornings I don't have time to eat at home (which is every single day).

Our first stop of the day was Courage and Grace.  We had all preregistered and picked the piece of art we wanted to create.  I've done the painting classes before where you paint a picture and this place was so much better for me.  You prepare your wood sign and then paint your words by placing a stencil on top.

The whole process takes a couple hours, but the end product to so worth it.  I love all our designs!!

As soon  as we were done painting, we walked across the street to Fezziwig's for a cooking class.  Crepes were on the menu and, let me tell you, they were DELICIOUS!  Ellen was our instructor and she made the entire experience magical.  She walked us through making adorable crepe purses as appetizers, chicken crepes with asparagus for the main course and raspberry crepes for dessert.  We ate and drank and shopped.  What a great way to spend the afternoon!

If you live in the St. Louis area, Fezziwig's is someplace you should  keep in mind for all your tea, olive oil and vinegar needs.  It's located in  O'Fallon, Illinois - just minutes from downtown St. Louis.  They carry so many unique gifts and specialty food items -- well worth the trip!

When we were all done shopping, we headed back to my house to inspect what everyone had purchased and get ready for the evening.  And enjoy some jello shots!

Dinner was happening at Peel Wood Fired Pizza.  If you've read my blog for a hot minute you've heard me talk about this place.  We love the food and the drinks go down pretty nicely too!

After dinner, we popped over to Silver Creek to listen to an 80's hair band - Top Gunz.  We weren't the only ones there listening - about 3847374384743 others had the same idea.  It was CROWDED!  The people watching was as good as listening to the band.

Sunday morning we tried one of the mixes we bought at Fezziwig's, the Apple Cider Donuts.  SO GOOD!

Before everyone started leaving to head home, we played a couple games of Splendor.  I just can't get enough of that game!

Everyone was gone by 1:00 pm and I have to say, it was a little sad.  I wish we all lived closer together so we could see each other more often.  Eric got home from work around 2 and we headed out to see a movie.  Guess what he wanted to see - Game Night.  That choice was fine by me because I thought it was hilarious.  It was just as funny the second time around.

What an absolute magnificent weekend!  Spending time with friends is one of my absolute favorites things to do.  I'm already looking forward to the next time we're all together again!

So that's what I'm thinking out loud about today.  What's on your mind?  Link up below and share!

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at:

Monday, February 26, 2018

Spread the Love Gift Exchange

The Blended Blog recently hosted a swap called Spread the Love and today is reveal day!  The participation included 58 ladies.  I just love participating in these things!

Spread the Love Gift Exchange

I was paired with Morgan from Once Upon a Time.  Check out what she sent ~

Morgan did a spectacular job with her finds for me!  The scarf, necklace, earrings, and bracelet will all be getting a workout because I can't wait to wear each one of them.  As a matter of fact, the necklace and earrings have already been worn and the scarf is going to make it's debut this week.

Thanks Morgan for the great gifts.  I definitely felt the love from your package.  A special thanks also to Alison from The Blended Blog for coordinating this whole experience.

If you would like to see what I sent Morgan, check out her blog ~ Once Upon A Time.

Linking Up With 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Five on Friday - February 23, 2018

Happy Friday!  And what a truly happy one it is for me -- in just a few hours my friends will be descending on my house for a weekend of fun.  One friend, TW, is arriving from Wisconsin earlier than the rest so we are going to get to spend the day together.  So excited!!

Now, before I turn this computer off for the weekend I want to share my five with you for today ~

1.  2018 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony
The 2018 Winter Olympics is coming to an end and Sunday will be the closing ceremony.  For us here in the Midwest, if you want to watch the closing ceremony live you will need to tune in at 5:00 am.  Our next chance to watch the Winter Olympics will be in 2022 when Beijing will host the games.  So long PyeongChang!  You've given us lots of great memories!

2.  Game Night
Have you seen the previews for the movie Game Night?  Oh my gosh, we laugh so hard every time we see them.  This movie, starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, opens today and it is high on our list of movies we want to watch!  Here's what Fandango says about it, "Max and Annie's weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party -- complete with fake thugs and federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it's all supposed to be part of the game. As the competitors set out to solve the case, they start to learn that neither the game nor Brooks are what they seem to be. The friends soon find themselves in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn over the course of one chaotic night."

Game Night (2018) Movie Poster

3.  Snyder's Wholey Cheese Swiss and Black Pepper
I'm in love with Snyder's Wholey Cheese Swiss and Black Pepper!  These gluten free bits of goodness are airy, crisp and baked.  Best of all - they have no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.  Just a whole bunch of greatness!  Have you tried them?  
Swiss & Black Pepper

My favorite cleansing cream just got a new look.  Acure has new packaging but is still the same great product.  This stuff is magic on your face, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin.  It purifies and cleanses without leaving your skin all dried out.  Acure is also vegan, sulfate free, paraben free and cruelty free.  Love this stuff!

5.  This is me....

Image may contain: text

Now let's get this weekend started!  We have a packed agenda.  Fun times ahead!!  Check back in next week to see what shenanigans we were involved in!!  Have a great weekend.

Linking up with:
The Blended Blog
This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Friday Favorites - February 23, 2018

Welcome to Friday Favorites!  Hope you enjoy all the features today and add your link below.!

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:
Jerri at Simply Sweet Home - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Maisy at Becoming Alice - FB | G+ | Pin
Sheree at Stage Presents - Twitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst
Lisa at Condo Blues - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Penny at Penny's Passion - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Kelly at Under a Texas Sky - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL
If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!
You can show your love for this week's favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!
And if you love all of this week's favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week's linky party!

Thinking Out Loud Thursday - February 22, 2018

Hello from Thinking Out Loud Thursday!  Hope you link up below and share what you're thinking out loud about today.

Today I'm thinking out loud about my weekend coming up!  Six of my friends will be arriving at our house tomorrow for a weekend full of fun.  I absolutely LOVE these kinds of weekends and when we get together memories will be made that will be laughed about for years to come.

These people are truly more than "friends", they are my family.  I love them with all my heart and would do anything for them.  There's a certain feeling of comfort knowing that this group will always have my back.  In good times, or bad, they will be there to pick me up, dust me off, and get me headed in the right direction again.

Friendship Card - Best Friend Card - Chalkboard Art - Hand Lettering - Chalk Art - Chalkboard Note Card. $2.50, via Etsy.

Do you have a tribe in your corner like this?  If not, start TODAY developing friendships that will last your lifetime.  My friend Linda, who is one of the people arriving tomorrow, has been my best friend since 6th grade.  We've been through so much - the awkward middle school years, dating adventures in high school, college sororities, marriages, babies, divorces.  Even though we're a state apart, we don't let distance come between us either.  It takes time and effort keeping friends.  But it's time and effort so worth it! 

Investing time in friendships is one of those things when you look back on life, you won't regret.  True friends are those people that can be brutally honest with you and you know they are telling you the truth because they love you.  I feel that's where we mess up with friends sometimes.  When they are honest with us, we feel offended and hurt.  Instead, we need to trust that they are only telling you the truth because they care so much about you.  And in the end, they are going to still be there, standing beside you, cheering you on like no tomorrow.  That's just what true friends do!

Now, I must get going.  I have goody bags to pack and jello shots to make!  I have friends coming!!

What are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share!  

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What We're Reading Wednesday - February 21, 2018

I'm so excited to be co-hosting What We're Reading Wednesday today!  When Stephanie, from Wife Mommy Me, ask for hosts I jumped on it as soon as possible.  I love reading books recommended by others and learning a little bit about the reader too!  So let's go!

1) What book did you read from start to finish that when finished you thought "That was a waste of time."?
I had the think long and hard about this one.  If a book doesn't capture my attention, I have no problem abandoning it and starting a new one.  One that eventually came to mind was Fifty Shades Freed.  I got caught up in the whole "Fifty Shades" saga and didn't want to be left out of the conversation, so I read all three books.  The last one was dreadful!  When I finished, I definitely thought it was a waste of time.

2) Someone is looking for a tear jerker. Which book is your go to suggestion?
The Art of Racing in the Rain.  This book, told through the eyes of the dog, made me laugh, cry and every emotion in between.  I just loved it!  If you haven't read this New York Times bestseller, I highly recommend you add it to your reading list.

3) What book have you read more than once? Maybe even more than 3 times? A book I could read over and over is To Kill A Mockingbird. Who wouldn't fall in love with Scout?!? Fun fact: Apparently Atticus Finch was inspired by Harper Lee's father.

1) What book did you read from start to finish that when finished you thought "That was a waste of time."?
I try my hardest to appreciate every book I read but I have nothing positive to say about Bridget Jones’s Diary. T-r-a-s-h

2) Someone is looking for a tear jerker. Which book is your go to suggestion?
I’m going to be up front and tell you I get very emotionally invested in book characters and cry pretty easily but for a purely good cry Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult

3) What book have you read more than once? Maybe even more than 3 times?
The Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling, Emma and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Chasing Red Bird by Sharon Creech, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum- I may have a tendency to reread my favorites when I need the comfort of nostalgia. 

Whitney is sharing her February book report so be sure to check it out for some book suggestions to add to your to-read list.

1) What book did you read from start to finish that when finished you thought "That was a waste of time."?
This is going to be a shock to those who love this author but Emily Giffin's One and Only was awful. While I love most of her stuff, this particular book left my feeling uncomfortable the entire way through. Another one that felt just wrong and off was Nicholas Sparks' Two by Two.

2) Someone is looking for a tear jerker. Which book is your go to suggestion?
I am a huge fan of WWII novels and when I finished reading Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, I was a sobbing mess. I was crying so hard my chest hurt. It's that good of a book! Not only does it create this amazing story of resilience but it gives a whole new perspective on the war. All while breaking your heart.

3) What book have you read more than once? Maybe even more than 3 times?
I have read The Help by Kathryn Stockett 8 times. It's one of my all-time favorite books and movie. It's always one those books that is made into a film that the film does the book justice. I'm sure you've seen the movie but the book is so worth reading anyway.

Read about Stephanie's meet and greet with Jojo Moyes by visiting her blog, Wife Mommy Me.

If you'd like to host an upcoming "What We're Reading Wednesday" email Stephanie and she can fit you in! There are spots available. Her email is

In January, I read The Women in the Castle and have been recommending it to anyone who comes in contact with me since.  

Here's how Goodreads summarizes this Jessica Shattuck novel ~

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined.

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resistor murdered in the failed July, 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First, Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and na├»ve Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resistor’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war. 

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges. 

Here's what I thought ~

This book hooked me in the first few pages and I had a hard time putting it down. The story weaves the characters into your heart and you truly feel like you know each one of them. It's full of twists and turns that makes you want to keep reading.

Even though the women in this novel are brought together under such incredible circumstances, the bond they form is everlasting. After reading this book, you will feel connected to them also.

As an added bonus, I had the opportunity to meet the author - Jessica Shattuck. The St. Louis County Library hosted an evening with her and my daughter-in-law and I were so excited to attend! I loved the story before this event, but after hearing Jessica tell the reason she wrote the book and what it meant to her made it even more special in my eyes. 

At the author event, Jessica read a passage from the book. To hear the words from the page read by the author was pretty special. 

After her presentation, there was a book signing. I'm so happy to say I have a signed copy now hanging out on my book shelves!

Jessica made me fall in love with The Women in the Castle even more than I already had.  If you're looking for your next read, definitely think about The Women in the Castle.  


Thank you for joining us for What We're Reading Wednesday!
We look forward to sharing and discovering books with you! -- #WWRW2018

Weekending - February 16, 2018

Happy Day After President's Day!  Did you enjoy a day off?  Not me - it was work as usual; however, I did get to enjoy a low traffic day.

This weekend was a pretty quiet one around our house.  Friday night Eric and I had a date night and went to see The Greatest Showman.  I'm not a super big fan of movie musicals, so it was just okay in my opinion.  Eric thought the same.  Glad we saw it though.

Saturday morning we woke to a winter wonderland.  Snow was falling and it was beautiful.  Hard to believe that on Thursday it was 81 degrees!  It was also beautiful that it warmed up during the day and melted every bit of it away!  I spend the morning visiting with some friends and returned home in the afternoon to get some chores done.

In the evening, Ian and Kayla came over for some pizza and to play Splendor.  We just love that game!  If you haven't added it to your game collection yet, you might want to consider it.  Click HERE to learn more.

Splendor Board Game

Sunday morning we headed to church.  We've been doing a series on Come To The Table.  The lessons on showing up and being present are so relevant for all of us.  Great way to start the week!

After church, Eric and I did our usual thing of going to Peel for lunch.  I didn't snap a single picture of our food because I think they are starting to wonder if I'm some weirdo for always taking pictures of the items we order.  If I went back through my pictures from there, I probably have an image of every item on their menu from one trip or the other.  Seriously.

In the afternoon, Eric scooted off to work and I went to see the daughter of our friends play volleyball in a tournament that was being held close to our house.  It was so fun watching the kids enjoying the sport.  It tugged on my heart strings a little that I didn't have any kids at home to run to all their activities.  Audrey had a great game and they managed to pull out the win!

Sunday night was spent thinking through girls weekend which I'm hosting in just a few days.  To say I'm a little excited to have friends coming in from out of town would be an understatement!  We have some wonderful things planned and I can't wait to start executing them!

Letter Board
I'm in love with the letter board my friend Tracy gave me for my birthday.  This baby is going to get a workout at my house!  If you're interested in one, click HERE.

It was also a pretty monumental day for Eric.  The vehicle that he drives most, a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer, turned over 200,000 miles.  Hope we can get another 100,000 out of it!

Hope you had a fantastic weekend and your week is off to a good start.  My week is full, full, full.  But don't get me wrong -- that's exactly the way I like it! 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Five on Friday - February 16, 2018

Hey, hey -- it's Friday!  We got a small taste of Spring yesterday when the temperature rose over 70, but today it's supposed to be back down in the 30s.  Mother Nature - what a tease.

Hope you enjoy my five this week ~

1.  National Random Acts of Kindness Day
Get your ideas ready -- tomorrow is National Random Acts of Kindness Day.  Put a smile on someone's face by doing a small gesture showing kindness.  Need some ideas?  Here's a few ~
~ Put a coin in an expired meter where there is a car parked.
~ Give a genuine compliment to at least three people.
~ Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru.
~ Contact an old teacher and thank them for positively impacting your life.
Do you have a random act of kindness that's your favorite thing to do?
National Random Acts of Kindness Day - February 17

2.  Baileys Strawberries & Cream
Have you seen the new Baileys flavor - Strawberries and Cream!  I checked out their website for recipe ideas and there are several that look amazing.  You can check them out HERE.  When you click over, you'll see creations like Baileys Strawberries & Cream Ice Cream, Bailey's Strawberries & Cream Shake, Bailey's Strawberries & Cream Shortcake Jar.  Which one do I try first?!?

Baileys Holiday

3.  Amazon Bridal Registry
Did any of you lucky ladies get engaged on Valentine's Day?  Well, if you did (or know someone who did) don't forget that Amazon has an awesome way to register for gifts. You can set up your wedding registry online and update it from anywhere you are.  Your guests will love that they can shop from home and get free 2-day shipping if they are Prime members.  If you would like to set up a registry, click the picture below.


4.  Know Your Money
In honor of President's Day Monday, I thought I'd share this little graphic on Presidents on your Money.  This might be a fun conversation piece to have with your kids.

presidents and money

5.  Dieting....

I choked on a donut and thought - I'm glad it wasn't a carrot! ;).☆~☆

Have a great weekend!  I'm hoping to catch up on some sleep since we've been up late every night this week watching the Olympics.  I'm hosting Girls Weekend at my house next weekend, so there's lots of things on the to-do list to get ready.  Hoping to cross quite a few things off that list over the next couple of days!  See you next week.

Linking up with:
The Blended Blog
This post contained affiliate links.  I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase.  Thanks

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Friday Favorites - February 16, 2018

Happy Friday!  Hope you all survived Valentine's Day.  We have been up way to late every night this week watching the Olympics!!  Enjoy the features today and I'm looking forward to seeing the linkups.

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:
Jerri at Simply Sweet Home - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Maisy at Becoming Alice - FB | G+ | Pin
Sheree at Stage Presents - Twitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst
Lisa at Condo Blues - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Penny at Penny's Passion - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Kelly at Under a Texas Sky - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL
If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!
You can show your love for this week's favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!
And if you love all of this week's favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week's linky party!