Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Baking And More Baking

I love baking! It's so relaxing, and I just love blessing my family with a variety of treats! I bake often, so it's really nothing new to them. Even around the holidays, it feels like I have to think of more original things to make, however they do have their favorites! But, I do have to give credit where credit is due! All the recipes (except for the hidden kisses) are all from Sally's Baking Addiction, and also from her cookbook. Her recipes never fail! 

These could have been more red, but I ran out of red food coloring! These are Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies!
 photo E5068115-FAEC-480B-81B1-44ECB7E37AC4.jpg

I'm not exaggerating when I say that her peanut butter cookie recipe is by far the best one I have ever tried. They are thick and chewy! 
 photo B91AD8CF-0148-4A94-B5E1-8F2CBF27F0CF.jpg

These are Paula Deen's Hidden Kisses cookie, but Sally also has a recipe for these as well!
 photo 4144E7D4-BAE2-49D3-BCF8-B02F415A9516.jpg

This is the infamous Cake Batter Cookie!! So fun!
 photo 62E8244A-3FA2-4052-B141-4FD575CC24CE.jpg

My husbands favorite, by far, Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies.
 photo EFF1A41C-0CFD-4411-BFDE-E6AD61DD4A48.jpg

And another treat, Glazed Apple Crumb Muffins!
 photo 83B5469E-B040-4126-8490-4BD01BCF8A94.jpg

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Christmas Tradition?

This year we decided to let the kids open their gifts on Christmas Eve. This gave us all a chance to sleep in, and not worry about cleaning up all the mess in the morning. What a great idea! We had all day to do what we wanted to do, and not feel rushed at all.  

Since the weather was great, we planned a a hike at a park not too far from home. We haven't been there with the entire family in years, so it was nice for all of us to be there together! 

I had to force them to stop and take these pictures, but I'm glad I did! These memories will last a lifetime, plus the backgrounds were beautiful!
  photo 79428606-293C-4F22-802E-29EED97C4D0D.jpg
 photo 6C1109C8-75B4-4E1C-BD33-998A47737F11.jpg 
 photo 21C6EEAB-36F1-4605-AC9D-448857D9152A.jpg 

 photo 473F3425-24F2-489D-ACB9-E169E8CF9F0A.jpg

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I Did It! My First 10K!!

When I first committed to running back in July, I did so with an app on my phone (couchto5k). It  helps you to eventually complete a 5k without walking. I decided that was going to be my goal at the end of it. Little did I know that even after I was able to do that on my own, I would end up signing up for a 10K!!

I started running (long runs) with my best friend on early Saturday mornings, and I remember feeling in awe that I was able to run 4 miles. After our run one day, she told me that I was ready for a 10k! I was like, "Really????" That motivated me even more, and I totally took her advice on how much to run during the week leading up to the Turkey Trot!!

The week leading up to it I was a little nervous, but then I knew I wasn't going to be worried about my finish time. I just knew that I wasn't going to stop!!! Besides, this run is all about fun, and not very competitive (thank God)!!

It went by faster than I imagined, and the experience of it is something I will always cherish because this was my first time!!!! So, now my new goal is to improve on my pace, and to sign up for another 10k very soon!!!

All I know is that anyone can be a runner! I remember a few months ago when I could barely run a lap!! All it takes is dedication, heart, and determination!!!

Here we are getting ready to leave for the Turkey Trot!!
 photo FBD5D3CC-3698-421D-96BF-EBBA150B2B11.jpg

We got there a little early so we decided to get a bite to eat!
 photo 3b3c5eda-27e5-43e9-873b-bd3e63c1482a.png 

This totally hit the spot!
 photo 65720F27-2F3B-4613-AF00-0A63BD28AF8C.jpg

Here we are at the starting line!
 photo F7F93268-D0FD-49D7-9F72-CFA6ABE6D32B.jpg

More selfies before we get started!
  photo E0B0598B-F819-4C3C-BAA3-3EFD504D2F66.jpg

We just crossed the Finish Line!!
 photo 0B38AFE8-184C-42AF-85E8-40D8CB68F599.jpg

I love this one of us!!
 photo A298FE0F-3513-49FD-BC46-5B649877175F.jpg

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Nail Polish Swatches

I paint my nails so every couple of days, sometimes three! If it's longer than that, it must mean that I have been really busy! I figured I could post the last few that I have done in the last couple of weeks.

I love polish, and I get extremely excited when I see a new collection come out!

 photo 88B658F1-5815-4D12-B409-D1061D78E563.jpg

From L-R:  Essie Mink Muffs, Zoya Reagan, Zoya Willa, Essie Dress To Kilt, Zoya Bevin, and OPI Black Cherry Chutney.

Friday, November 13, 2015

 Friday Photo Flashback

 I started "Friday Photo Flashback" because I have so many pictures from my PRE-digital camera days. I thought it would be fun to scan them and share them here with you. I'm having so much fun doing this, that I would love for you to join me, too! So dig out the photo albums and put your scanner to good use! Don't forget to link up so we can all visit and comment on each others blogs!

Feels like FOREVER since I did a FPF!!! I really missed updating my blog. Not just for me, but for my kids. They will still read the older posts and I know they appreciate that I documented all those things! I came across an old folder in my email account and had these photos saved from years ago!! I'm so glad I didn't delete them!!!! This was probably about 8 years ago, and my kids were learning to play chess at Awana!! Gosh, they are so little there!!

 photo IMG00110_zpsare5i7a3.jpg

 photo IMG00108_zpsaw6rsh8b.jpg 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cookie Heaven

 If I had to use one dessert cookbook for the rest of my life, it would definitely be Sally's Baking Addiction! This is seriously my "go to" book for anything cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, etc.! And it doesn't stop there. I even tried her savory recipes and they were just as delicious!!!

I'm always gain to try something new, and especially when I know the picture will look great on Instagram! For example, these beautiful Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies!! I kid you not, this is the kind of cookie I would pay $2.00 for! They were so soft, huge, and had that perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter!

And if I don't already sound excited, she is on a book tour and will be in my neck of the woods in February!!!!!

But, seriously, you have to check out her website!!

 photo 9895A0A3-B932-46A7-B12D-338958A83D59.jpg

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Me? A Runner?

Never...and I literally mean, NEVER would I think that I'd end up being a runner! I mean, I'm not a marathon runner (yet), but my next goal is to do a 10k which is coming up in a couple of weeks!

I got this great idea back in August to start running with youngest daughter before soccer season so she could get in better shape. Well, that prompted me to google "Couch to 5k" apps that I've seen before. I wanted to follow a plan that I knew we could do together.

When school started again, it was up to me to finish the program on my own, and I did!!! It was so easy to follow, and when I first started it was hard to just run one lap around the track!! By the time I was done with this (and it only took a few weeks), I was able to run 3.1 miles (5K) without stopping!

And it wasn't like I just started to exercise. I have been pretty consistent with my cardio at the gym doing my Group X classes. Running is an entirely a new ball game! I realized quickly that this was a total MENTAL sport, and that I had to motivate myself the entire time! I constantly pray for strength to keep going, and that has been the biggest factor in helping me to reach my goals!!

So, a couple of times a week, I will run my 2 miles, and then on Saturday mornings I will run 4 miles with my friend! She has been awesome in helping me with my runs!!

I can tell there's such a huge difference in my U-Jam classes because of running! The energy I have in class has increased so much!! I'm so glad that I stuck it out and didn't give up in the beginning. If I did, I would never have known my potential!!!

 Just one of the MANY pictures I have of me at the end of my runs!!!
  photo F14474C4-43F2-4102-B73E-78C4A66AB3E2.jpg

And here's a little comparison of me before in 2010 when I was probably at the biggest I have ever been, and then now just a few weeks ago!
 photo 5399A721-7093-420A-ACE9-9039B0535F91.jpg

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Birthday Lunch

When it's one of my kids birthdays, mama (my mom), likes to take them out to lunch individually. This gives her a chance to have a little more one on one time with them. Now that they're getting older, sometimes it's easier that way because of their schedules. It was so simple when they were all little. Just put them all in the car and go!!! Unfortunately, even for us, we may go to dinner and be missing one or two of our kids with us. Ugh, so sad, but that is our reality now.

My youngest daughter just had a birthday, and she chose Chili's for lunch! She's the one who will paint my moms toenails, experiment with makeup on her, and do all the "girly" things she loves to do!!

 Have you had these egg rolls? They're okay if you're not expecting it to be authentic.
  photo A981C1DB-AA04-448F-B520-BF76BA7F03D4.jpg

 I never sway from what I order, so this is what I always get! The sliders!
 photo 84BA0CC5-C28D-4ECE-949B-8602991A0284.jpg

 Three generations!
 photo D4C5976B-A375-49A3-B8FB-E055335664F4.jpg

 Mama & Nani!!
  photo 9F3532AD-72D8-4FE5-BA09-A0D2043E781A.jpg

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Who Doesn't Love A Hearty Meal

Nothing is more satisfying than preparing a meal that you know your family is going to love! Even better when that recipe is totally easy, but looks complicated!!

I hit the jackpot when I found a copycat recipe for Panera Bread Cheddar Broccoli Soup!

Thank God for Google Search because I found it here! It is so delicious, easy to make, and it was perfect with cheese biscuits! You know, the kind you get at Red Lobster!

It was such a hit, that my kids wanted me to make it again the next day!

 photo IMG_2470_zpsdybxsh2r.jpg

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pretty Lady

My daughter glammed up for her Senior Ball.

 photo 2d02282c-ef96-44c1-a1d0-5582fa72de41_zpsh4u8mcjp.png

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Promotion Time

Back in my day...a long, long time ago, we used to say we were "graduating," even if it was from elementary school. These days, they say, "promotion" until you are in high school. Don't know why I even shared that, but I just wonder why it changed???

Well, my youngest son just got "promoted" from 6th grade, and he will now be entering Junior High School in the fall! When I was in 6th grade (a long, long time ago), that WAS considered Junior High.

ANYWAY, the promotion ceremony was in the morning, so my husband, and two of the kids couldn't make it! But, I had the two older ones with me to enjoy this moment!!

My Danny boy!! He's a big boy now! Well, he always has been, but you know..the mom in me will always see him as a little boy!!

 photo IMG_2707_zpsbffqgl7y.jpg

Monday, June 8, 2015

Huge Milestone

This past weekend, our two oldest children graduated from high school!

No, they are not twins, however, they would be considered Irish twins

Surprisingly, I didn't get choked up during the ceremony because I did a lot of the crying the day before! I mean, how could I not reflect back on the last 17/18 years of their lives. I can remember their younger days so clearly!

We were "that" homeschooling family! I had them at home with me for ten years before they went to a private school for Junior high! So, our situation is pretty unique (in my humble opinion).

And as much as I would like them to always be a few steps away, I have be realistic. They are young adults, and they need some independence...sigh....

So, with that said, I needed to blog about this event so the pictures could be at my fingertips.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning!! Perfect for a graduation ceremony! I knew it was going to be a long one, too. Come on now, almost 800 students!!!

Here they are, walking in with their group!!!
  photo IMG_2752_zpsieaznlwo.jpg

I couldn't pass up a selfie with my youngest!
 photo IMG_2748_zpsx0epzsfq.jpg

And here they are!! My beautiful babies!!
 photo IMG_2765_zpsyohihrd9.jpg

The token parent picture!!!
 photo IMG_2767_zpsqbllyhqj.jpg

The token picture with mama (grandma)!
 photo IMG_2770_zpsqsqvuqw0.jpg

My sis in-law!!!
 photo IMG_2772_zpsvghtrrjp.jpg

With the "bros!"
 photo IMG_2774_zps2s44kpsn.jpg

 I am a blessed mama!!!
 photo IMG_2783_zps1hvajrfn.jpg

Celebratory lunch!!!
 photo IMG_2796_zpsv3rqkudd.jpg

My father in-law got a little excited with the pasta..hehe.
 photo IMG_2799_zpsp0aoxwo5.jpg

And last but not least, my daughter's boyfriend, and his parents!!!
 photo IMG_2797_zpsrryb1g6l.jpg

I'm excited to see what the future holds for them!! Two down, and three more to go!!