RePost-Winterlights at Stevens-Coolidge Place

REPOST  – this wonderful event is happening again NOW through DEC 29th. An illuminated grove of trees and an interactive children’s section have been added. I can’t wait to get there. Read my post from last year’s event, below.

Purchase tickets HERE.


I was so happy to be invited to the opening of Winterlights at The Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover. There is nothing like the twinkle of holidays lights to get a person in the holiday spirit. To have a wonderland of lights spread throughout the beautiful grounds of a historic home was nothing short of magical.

I snuck peak of this spectacular display  at dusk last Thursday night. I felt so happy to be frolicking through the luminaria lit paths and all I could think of was how wonderful this experience will be for little kids and their families.

The opportunity to walk the various gardens, identify each of Santa’s reindeer, stroll through the poinsettia filled greenhouse, warm my hands by the firepit and discover Santa’s den, where you can leave Santa a letter or meet him in person on December 15th, was quintessentially kid-like in the best way possible.

In addition to The Stevens-Coolidge Place, The Trustees have introduced Winterlights at their Nuamkeag property in Stockbridge, MA. Don’t miss the opportunity to brighten your season at either location.

Winterlights runs through December 30th and opens in Stockbridge this Thursday.

FYI

OPEN THURSDAYS – SUNDAYS through December 30th

Entrance to the gardens is ticketed in 15-minute increments between 5-8PM. Purchase your tickets in advance here. Choose your preferred location for your ticket options.
Members: $12
Nonmembers: $17
Children 12 and under: FREE

Fun For All Ages

While I know that little kids and their parents will love this, I fully intend to go back with my teenage daughters and husband. This is a family event that everyone is sure to enjoy.

More Information

For more detail visit thetrustees.org. and be sure to check out each Winterlights night’s featured entertainment such as Tetra-Fire performer, Crispelli on December 9th or Ice Princesses on December 29th. Full calendar of events here. Choose your preferred location to see the performances and activities near you.

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What Now?

blog photo

I cannot believe that my “summer break” from the blog has now landed me smack in the middle of holiday season. I think saying middle is appropriate seeing every store I’ve been in over the past two weeks has Christmas décor on display. I had every intention of resuming posts in September, but time simply got away. To those who kindly inquired about the blog, thank you! It’s so nice to know that 3 Olives was missed.

Where I’ve Been

My summer was spent readying Julia for college (she is doing great at Fordham in NYC) and keeping tabs on Ally, who is busier than ever (her junior year and college search are in full swing). Tony spent a good part of the summer (who am I kidding – nearly all of it) golfing and Oscar kept me on my toes with his growing, elder dog, demands. That sweet Schnauzer is a full-time job!!!

Of particular note this summer, and fall, was how much I enjoyed the escape from social media. A big part of my hesitation getting back to the blog was the realization that posting drew me into the blogosphere and social media world, in ways that I didn’t particularly enjoy. Every time I thought about blogging again, something held me back. I just wasn’t ready.

Writing is an art form and sometimes the motivation and creativity wanes. Following a fun year of book promotion, my creative spirit and energy needed time to reset and recharge. While it took a little longer than anticipated, I am, once again, excited to reconnect with my keyboard.

Where I’m Going (I hope🤞)

So, what now? While I do plan to resume the blog, on a much looser schedule, I’m also excited to begin a part-time job search. This isn’t so much a reinvention as a continuation of my path as a writer. My dream is to find secure, steady work in a creative space. I have workplace visions in an art gallery, a design studio, a radio or television station. But, no matter where I land, I long to return to a team environment where I can collaborate with others. I miss that.

I look forward to something new and to reconnecting here at 3 Olives & a Twist.

What’s new with you?

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The One Good Thing – Best Book Club Yet

 

The One Good Thing by Kevin Alan Milne got passionate mixed reviews from the ladies of book club. However, I’m ranking it as the best book club read so far. This is based on the number of book clubbers who actually read it and the lively discussion this book elicited.

I absolutely love that some readers really liked the positive messaging of The One Good Thing, while other vehemently hated it. Yes, the word hate was used. Differing opinions on what we read is exactly what makes book club so much fun!

If you’ve never heard of The One Good Thing (I hadn’t), here’s a little bit about it.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

For as long as Halley Steen has known her husband Nathan, he has carried a handful of stones in his pocket. Each day he uses those stones to remind him to follow the Golden Rule, moving a stone from one pocket to the other with each act of kindness. So it’s not unusual that Nathan stops to help a stranger on the side of the highway while on his way to his son’s football game one Friday evening. But that one act will change all of their lives forever, when a car hydroplanes off the road, killing Nathan instantly.

As Halley and her children Ty and Alice struggle with their grief, Nathan’s spiritual legacy lives on. A Facebook page appears, where countless stories about Nathan’s selfless acts are shared. But among them is one that stands out, from a woman who says that Nathan saved her life. Neither Halley nor her children have ever heard of Madeline Zuckerman. But soon Halley discovers years of e-mails from this woman to her husband on his computer that refer to “our little girl.” How could her husband have kept the secret of this other child for their entire marriage? Why had he lied to her? Was he not the man she thought he was?

Only thirteen-year-old Alice maintains unwavering faith in her father. She knows there’s an explanation. When she sets out to find Madeline and learn the truth, she will start to unravel the complex story of The One Good Thing Nathan Steen did that had the greatest impact of all. 

Review

The range of reviews for this book was indeed wide. Some enjoyed the feel-good concept of acts of kindness. Others thought the story was predictable, trite and even poorly written. I agree on the predictability – I knew the twist would straighten itself out from the very beginning. The fact that this very nice man was tragically killed at the onset of the book was also a bit of a bummer. But, I liked that the author presented the mystery early on and enjoyed the ease of the read. The “do good” lesson also spoke to me in a positive way. Add to that, one of our thoughtful book club members gifted each of us with a bag of little stones and I call that a win. Thank you Kelly!

 

 

Our lovely hostess also served the sweetest handmade chocolates in the form of a little book – adorable and yummy too. Thank you Margaret!

 

 

I passed my copy of The One Good Thing to my mother. Mom, have you read it yet? What did you think?

Next Up

Educated by Tara Westover has come highly recommended and will be book club’s next read. I am looking forward to it.

 

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Organizing a Fundraiser? Soul Warming Soups!

The weather may be warming, but a nice bowl of soup still makes a filling and nutritious meal. Recently, I and a fellow basketball mom (thanks Bethany) were charged with organizing a fundraiser for our daughters’ basketball team. I was introduced to Andrea Gallagher and Soul Warming Fundraising by a friend who was also organizing a fundraiser (thanks Jen!).

I quickly realized that team fundraisers are not only an important part of supporting our kids and youth sports, but a great opportunity to give back to our communities. In the past, I’ve purchased magazine subscriptions, pricey wrapping paper, coupon booklets that sat in a drawer and $10 candy bars. All for a good cause, of course, but no other fundraiser felt as worthwhile to me as this one with Soul Warming Fundraising.

Donate A Bag

The concept is simple. Rally your team, or group, to sell delicious 2 pound frozen bags of soup in a wide variety of gourmet flavors.

Soul Warming Fundraising also has a generous matching program for groups that reach their DonateABAG.org donation goals.

flyer for organizing a fundraiser

Looking for Something Even Easier?

You can also opt to only donate soup vs. selling direct to family and friends. This is the option the girls’ basketball program chose and we could not have been happier with the outcome. All donations were secured online. Participants were thrilled with the ease of it and satisfaction knowing that with every bag donated, we were helping a local family in need.

One mom told me that this was the best fundraiser any of her three children had ever been involved in.

Our fundraiser did so well, we were able to cover all of our team’s expenses for the year. In the end, members of the basketball and ski teams volunteered to help deliver the soup to Lazarus House Ministries. It was a great feeling for everyone involved.

Organizing a fundraiser can be a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be when you Donate a Bag with Soul Warming Fundraising.

Are You Organizing a Fundraiser?

Contact Andrea Gallagher at 401-212-0211 or andrea@soulwarmingfundraising.com

“My heart is in it all year round. In spring and summer, food pantry or food bank shelves are traditionally low with food.  Many parent groups, classes and sports teams are still in need of funds. It could be an easy, heartfelt way to raise dollars.” Andrea Gallagher Owner & Fundraising Consultant.

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Happy 18th Birthday Julia!

I interrupt my regularly scheduled programming to wish this sweet baby the happiest of birthdays! I couldn’t resist the opportunity to tell my girl, now an adult, how very proud I am of the young lady she’s become.

Happy 18th Birthday Julia!

Today, she will don this apropos graphic tee as she begins this new and very exciting phase of life.

 

Personally, I feel 18 is one of the most momentous of birthdays. Yet, my visit to CVS, to find just the right 18th birthday card, left me empty handed. Sweet sixteen, 21 and 50 were all available, but not 18. Hey Hallmark! Let’s get some smart 18th birthday cards on the shelves. You’re missing out on a big milestone moment!

Forgive me, I digress.

Welcome to adulthood Julia. You may now vote, you may legally enjoy a cocktail with your cousins when we go to Aruba and you can be selected for jury duty (that might be interesting seeing your latest obsession with Criminal Minds.)

Here are a bunch of other things you can also do, but I hope you won’t do most of them!

What you can legally do when you are 18!

I am so happy to celebrate this big day with you. xoxo!

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