"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Update!

I have not really had the energy or motivation to blog lately.  Lo siento.  But here is what I have been up to.

* I hung out with some of the other teachers at my school.  They are great and I already have some new friends.  It has been very fun.



* I did  a lot of grading in front of the TV.  That's right, it is officially Christmas movie season on Hallmark and Lifetime and I can't resist.  I did, however, hold off the urge to decorate for Christmas, but I am slowly giving in...maybe tomorrow :)



* I still get adorable pictures like this daily.  Seriously...Is he not the cutest little kid you've ever seen? And I get to hang with him in just a few short days.  Along with the rest of my family - I cannot wait!




* I went to see the new Twilight movie.  Yes, I really did it and no, I am not a teenager.  I do have to say, of all the movies in the series, it was the best!  A great way to end them.

* I got my hair did!!  I love it.  What do you think?



* I have been running again.  Slowly, but surely.  If anyone has any tips for finding motivation to run in cold, dark weather, please share them with me.  I am feeling pretty good when I get out there though.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!  I've been keeping a gratitude journal and it has been pretty amazing.  Remember all of the great things in your life, this week especially, because there are a lot of wonderful things in the world!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gingerbread Mini-Muffins

Don't let the title fool you - these have no nutritional value.  They are probably more correctly titled "gingerbread mini-cheesecakes", but I like calling them muffins, so I will.

I was asked to bring a dessert to a dinner last week, and while I really just wanted to grab some cookies and  pretend they were homemade, I also kinda wanted to try out this pinterest recipe I had found.  Luckily, my laziness did not win out.



Ingredients:
*a roll of gingerbread cookie dough (or homemade dough)
*powdered sugar
*cream cheese
*vanilla

I actually made these twice...yep.  The first time I made them I got a little overzelous and they were huge!  They overflowed out of the mini-muffin cups and looked like a mess.  So, I made a second batch with more reasonable sized cookie dough balls and they came out perfectly.  I also tweaked the recipe a bit for my liking.

First, put a small dallop of cookie dough into the mini-muffin places on the pan.  You can use mini-cupcake wrappers, but I just greased the pan first and it worked fine.

Then use a spoon dipped in flour to hollow out a hole or cavity in the middle of each ball of dough.  This is important! - make sure your dough balls are small or they will overflow and cause a mess.  Cook the gingerbread according to cookie instructions.

Warning - add less dough than I did :)


In a bowl, use a mixer to create the frosting.  Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, 4 oz of softened cream cheese, and one teaspoon of vanilla.  Mix.  It's delicious!!



When the cookies are cooked and cooled, add the frosting to the center of each cookie so that it fills the hole.  If you are fancy, you probably have baking tools for this.  I did not, so I used a ziplock bag with the corner cut out of it.  It worked just fine.  The girls at small group ate them up and begged for the recipe.

Unfortunately, they were eaten  so quickly that I didn't even have time for a picture.

**The first time I made them I followed the complete recipe on pinterest which says to put the frosting in before cooking the dough.  It resulted in everything bubbling over and going everywhere.  It did caramelize the frosting a tad, but not enough for me to warrant trying the mess.   Here is the picture of the first batch...


And even though they don't look like much, I took them to school and the teachers raved about how good they were.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Spectator

This past weekend was the City of the Oaks half marathon.  
I didn't run it, but I did get to see it!

After the marathon, something was up with my foot.  It swelled up a bit and was pretty painful for a few weeks, so I did not run for three whole weeks.  I was planning on running the half this weekend, but after only a handful of runs in a month, I didn't think that it was the best idea.  I did, however, want to go cheer!

During the Chicago marathon, it was so inspiring to see all of the spectators cheering, yelling, and showing their support.  I figured if I couldn't run, at least I would be able to give back and show some support for the other runners.

It was a gorgeous day and I got to see two spots the 8 mile spot and the finish.  There were so many familiar faces!!







 It was pretty inspiring to watch, too.  It made me really wish that I had run it.  Maybe next year ;)  
Congrats to all the runners!



Monday, October 29, 2012

In Color

This past weekend I ran the Color me Rad race here in Raleigh and it was fun.  The race is completely to raise money and it is not actually a "race" at all.  They don't even start a clock.  It is all for fun.

Before, all nice and clean.


After, full of color.



Here are some other pictures from the day.  It was so cool to be a part of it.






 I think I may have to do this run again.  



Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Favorites

1.  My new cellphone cover!!  It was my gift to myself last week and I love it.  After five years in the south...my first monogram :)



2.  Wearing my boots!  It's finally cold enough here to wear my fall clothes.  It's like I have a whole new wardrobe now that the seasons have changed.

3.  Scarves!  It kind of goes with #2, but it's so chilly in the mornings that I wear a scarf with my outfit to school each day and then as it gets warmer I can ditch the layer.  Scarves are so cozy!

4. Pictures from Paula and Ben.  Yes, that's right.  She sends me a picture each day and I love it.  Sometimes I even remind her if it's getting late and I haven't gotten one yet.  Here are some from this week...they would brighten up your day too, wouldn't they?!


Aren't these dimples adorable?!


5.  Fried egg sandwiches.

6.  My shows are back on!!  Some of the ones I'm loving are Revenge, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Nashville & Modern Family.

7. Fall decorations!!  I have them indoors and out...and the mums aren't dead yet.  They were looking pretty sorry about a month ago, but I think I've revived them.



8.  Hanging out with my cousin Stacey.  We've got to spend a lot of time together lately and I am loving it.



Counting my blessings has been making me a much happier person lately.  There is no point in dwelling over what you don't have.  Be thankful for what you do.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Loving on BS

I am enamored with my new nephew.  My sisters think it's funny.  He is the cutest thing in the world to me!  I cannot get enough of him.  What a lucky little guy too, to have two amazing parents like Paula and Matt.


If the pictures are a little much, please don't get mad.  I can't help it.  I think they are all the most perfect picture ever :).


Aunt Cath is in awe.


Look how happy Mama Paula is...even when BS isn't!

And what a proud dad!


Precious.


Gangsta baby :)




I love that he sleeps with his hands up.


And I could sit like this all day long.


What a cute little monster. 





Benjamin had such a busy weekend.  What an exciting time for this little boy.  He had people who wanted to meet him and love on him and so many places to go.  What an important little man.

I miss him already.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Chicago Marathon

I did it.  I ran the Chicago Marathon!



I would be lying if I didn't tell you I was incredibly nervous.  I was scared to death.  I signed up for and trained for the Detroit marathon last year and I didn't finish my training, so I couldn't run it.  This year, I was nervous, but I did the training, I felt incredibly fit, and the marathon actually went really well!  Wahoo!!  I'm not gonna lie, I'm more than a little proud right now.  My little sister ran it with me and she was so supportive, we laughed together, sang together, danced together, and whined together (only a little) throughout the 26 miles.  She actually had a lot more left than me and was able to finish faster too - what a stud.  But I am so happy with how I did.  So happy.


I flew in on Thursday night so I would have time Friday to go the expo (and spoil my nephew rotten with cuddles and kisses - more on that tomorrow).  We headed to the expo around 1:30 pm and I think it was a good time to go... Not lunch break and not after work.  The lines weren't long and parking wasn't too bad...



Saturday my mom made us an amazing dinner and we got ready for the race!  Sunday morning, we headed into the city early and it was cold!!  I think it was about 34 degrees - yikes!  Cath and I found our way to the corral and we entered.  Well, she entered.  I had to hop the fence because I had entered myself really slow (it was a nervous move!).  So yes, I hopped the fence to get in.  What a rebel.

But, it was so worth it because I'm so glad we got to run together!  We started off and I was absolutely amazed at the support of the crowd.  I never imagined that the crowd would be so big!  There were people shoulder to shoulder on each side of the road the WHOLE WAY! Are you kidding me?!  They were several people deep at most parts.  It was so inspiring!  I think I got to mile 15 before I even got tired because it was so fun to watch the crowd, read the posters, and see all the people cheering for us.  I even saw some friends from high school who cheered for me that I haven't seen to in years!  We ran through the downtown, the shopping district, the Loop, Lincoln Park, Boy's Town, Pilsen, Chinatown, etc.  Each neighborhood had their own music, their own live bands, their own cheering section and their own water station.  It was so exciting!!  I never got bored for a second.

At mile 8 we saw my parents, Paula, Matt, and Ben who came out to cheer for us and they had signs!!  It was perfect.  We high fived them and dropped off a layer of clothing as we continued on.

At mile 15, my friend Liz suprised me by finding us and she hopped in to jog with us for about a half mile.  It was a much needed entertainment break and she did a good job of rejuvenating our spirits and getting our minds off the race for a bit.  It was so fun to see her!!

At mile 21, my friend Colleen hopped in with us at our designated meeting spot and she ran with me for four miles.  It was a good thing too, because Catherine was getting a second wind and I was, well, dying.  I told Catherine to run ahead and Colleen just talked and talked, catching me up on her life and everything interesting that she could think of as she tried to get my mind off the pain in my joints.  It worked!  We laughed and chatted all the way to mile 25, where she veered off towards her condo and I hit the home stretch.

The crowds during the last mile were insane, at least 5 people deep on both sides of the street!  I found my mom 400 meters from the finish and it was just what I needed.  I made it across the finish line and I found my sister right as they put the medal around my neck.  Wow.  I think I had to blink back tears.  What an experience!  If you have never had the chance to run Chicago - do it!


A half hour post finish.  Haha.  Not the most attractive I've ever been.  But I've never been prouder.