Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Love


$13,343,517.33. That's how much PSU Dance Marathon raised last weekend for the Four Diamonds Fund, a charity benefiting childhood cancer. I'm always proud to be a Penn Stater, but that record breaking total is just one more reason.


Crockpot Monday. Each Monday the 5th grade team at my work does a rotating schedule where someone brings lunch for the whole team, this year I joined the rotation. It was my turn this week. I'm sure you will see the recipe I used on my blog soon. Not having to pack lunch on Sunday nights and having a delicious lunch makes Mondays a little bit easier.


Cookbooks in the Library. Today I went into the library at school and saw these cute little cookbooks for kids laid out on one of the tables. I hope my friends check them out and become little chefs!


The Nest. Matt desperately wanted the Nest thermostat. I talked him out of it multiple times. Then I decided to be a nice wife and surprised him with it on Valentine's Day. It is pretty cool. You can control it from your phone and it learns your schedule so it can adjust itself. We are still learning how to use it to it's fullest potential. When I win the lottery I am going to buy the smoke alarms too.


Doug Kamerer. He's the local meterologist. I just love him and his snow day predictions. He's been quite a fixture in our living room this snowy winter. He has been bringing me a lot of good news. Currently, I'm feeling very conflicted about his ideas for Monday.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Marathon Monday

I'm excited! This weekend was quite productive in the way of miles. On Saturday I had to wake up at 4:57 a.m. (I only set my alarm for weird times, always ending in an odd number, but never 5) to get my cousin to Reagan Airport on time for his flight to Seattle. My plan was to drive out, drop him off, drive back to my neck of the woods and complete my miles. I wanted Saturday to be my most miles ever. I think having this attitude and this plan for Saturday morning really worked in my favor. I was driving back on Saturday when I realized I forgot my gloves and ear warmer, but knew that if I went home I would quickly get back into bed. I decided it wouldn't take me long to warm up and went directly to my running location. I started my first lap and my hands were so cold it was painful. I looked down and my hands were actually blue. I kept trying to pull down my sleeves. I thought I was going to have to quit, or go home and get my gloves, but by the next lap my hands were coming back to life. Thank goodness. Things drastically improved as the miles were getting completed. The temperature was climbing, I was entertained by two boys learning how to drive (but then quickly thought that I could be risking my life and potentially get run over), there was a county chorus event and I saw some students I know while I was running. I was so happy when I finished my 7.16 miles...I probably looked like a fool walking through a mostly empty high school parking lot with a big smile on my face. I was also pretty pumped that it was still before 9:00 and I had a whole day to do whatever I wanted and not procrastinate miles. Later on Saturday it was so sunny and so warm out I walked another 2.31 miles on our neighborhood trails with Matt.

Sunday I really tried to be a runner and wanted to do a 5k. I talked Matt into going with me since it was super nice out again. My legs were just so tired from the day before. I was struggling, but made myself complete the miles. Granted, it was three miles in a roundabout way to our closest Starbucks. That might have had something to do with my motivation. After the slow, slightly painful, three miles we took a direct, leisurely one mile stroll home.

Add my weekend miles to the short 2.23 I did after school on Thursday and my total this week is 15.7 miles, 13.47 of which happened over the weekend. That weekend total is a little crazy to me. And we are now 68 days from Pittsburgh.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Love

Today's {Friday Love} will feature only one thing. It's one of my top loves in my life: Penn State Dance Marathon. In my life I have tried to describe THON to many people. It can't be done, or maybe I should say a personal account will never do it justice. You have to experience it to fully understand it. There is truly nothing like it. You can only tell someone so much about 48 straight hours of no sitting, no sleeping madness. THON is just so much love all together in one place. It's indescribable. I feel so blessed to have been a dancer in 2005, and a moraler all my other years of college. It was truly one of my greatest experiences as a Penn Stater.

Just an hour ago 700 dancers stood up, and they will be up all weekend long, along with thousands of other students raising money for pediatric cancer. If you have a chance, watch the live feed, especially Sunday if you can. You might get an idea of what a great place Penn State is and what it means when we say WE ARE...PENN STATE!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Recipe of the Week!

Roasted Potatoes with Caramelized Onions & Truffle Oil
Oh these potatoes!!! So yum. I just love truffle oil. And caramelized onions. And potatoes. My mom took a trip to Croatia this summer and brought me back the truffle oil...again so delicious. This dish was super easy. Probably the hardest part would be finding the truffle oil. This was also the first time I bought purple potatoes, so I wasn't sure what they would be like. The just tasted like potatoes :) For this recipe you could choose any array of potatoes you like though. I did a mix of red potatoes, butter potatoes, and purple potatoes.

1 pound small potatoes, scrubbed, quartered
1 large yellow onion, peeled, thinly sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
drizzle of truffle oil to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Put onions and potatoes in a roasting pan. Pour olive oil over them and toss well to coat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the potatoes and onions. Spread the potatoes out so they are in a single layer in the pan. Place in oven. Cook for 40 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned and cooked through. Remove from oven and drizzle well with truffle oil. Toss to coat.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Marathon Monday

What do you do when you watch the forecast for the week and see you are about to get over a foot of snow, and you are trying your hardest to keep motivation for a May half marathon? You force yourself to run the day before the snow gets dumped on your region (at least it was more motivation for a weekday run).

Then you are faced with the aftermath of the massive snow. We were lucky to have our street plowed the morning after the storm. By plowed, I mean one little strip down the middle, but I will take it and count it as a blessing. As someone who does not own a treadmill, and doesn't even like treadmills, this winter has been a little difficult for training. I have googled free indoor tracks every weekend in both January and February, hoping for more success than the weekend before. It's a fruitless labor...they never build one in the days between my googling. There have been a lot of frigid days, and more snow than your typical Northern Virginia winter. This latest snow has created massive piles of plowed snow blocking and trails that might, or might not be, cleared. Theres still a good amount of snow and ice in the streets. I really wanted to get some miles in. My friend started googling trying to find places that get plowed. Naturally, she had no luck either. Then I thought about outdoor tracks, so while Matt and I were out and about yesterday I had him drive past the high school near us. Their track wasn't clear, but I noted they have a huge parking lot. It's also connected to the elementary school next door. I could easily make a mile loop out of it. Desperate times call for desperate measures friends. I somehow convinced my friend this was a good idea. Thank goodness for running partners (that link is an article on partner running, number 6 is my favorite, followed by 5), or I probably wouldn't have much to write about on this Marathon Monday. So on Sunday we did 5 miles around Patriot High School and T. Clay Wood Elementary. We each only almost fell on ice twice. It kept things interesting I guess.

I rounded out the week with a 5k this marathon Monday. I went around my neighborhood and was feeling great about my pace until I had to forge 3 icy snow mountains which killed it. I will just be glad I got through that treacherous terrain. So my 5k brought my total mileage to 11.07 this week with only 75 days until Pittsburgh. It looks like we are getting much better weather this coming week. I am excited to take advantage of it!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Love


Matthew Keough. It's only appropriate that Valentine's Day falls on a {Friday Love} Day. Happy Valentine's Day, Matt! Number {TWO} is also a great Valentine's song :)



Big Snow. I am so excited we got more than a couple inches of snow this week! It was so fun. I think Matt might think differently since he did the majority of the shoveling, but I would take one big snowstorm every year. Preferably in February!


Coffee at home. One of my favorite parts of weekends, snow days, and holidays from school is getting to sit and have my coffee at home. I swear it tastes better.


Olympics. I live with someone who claims to "hate the Olympics." I also live with someone who hasn't stopped watching the Olympics and always has commentary of his own to add to the nightly events. I have been enjoying the nightly events. It's kind of fun watching sports you really don't know anything about and don't normally get to see on TV. I think my favorites so far are the skiing events and ice skating.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


That big February snow storm I have been hoping for for years arrived last night. We got about a foot of snow overnight, and we are expected to add a few inches to that later today. Both Matt and I have off and DC is under a snow emergency. I know I won't be going to work tomorrow, and it's still questionable whether Matt will have to go. Here are a few pictures from our morning :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Recipe of the Week!

Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Almonds
I made this beans (along with these brussels sprouts) as a side for Christmas dinner, so I am a little late in posting. They were very good, and went over well. They are especially good if you like caramelized onions and almonds like me. I am actually continuing to try to incorporate more green beans into everyday dinners. We are always eating a lot of broccoli and asparagus in our house, so it's nice to try to change it up with green beans every once and awhile.

Kosher salt
3 pounds green beans (I used frozen beans)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3 tbsp butter
5 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, sliced thin
Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large high sided skillet with water. Place over high heat and bring up to boil; add a big pinch of salt and the green beans. Cook for about 5 minutes, the beans should still be crisp. Drain the beans and then run them under some cold water to stop them from cooking. Reserve the beans while you start the onions.

Return the skillet you cooked the beans in to the cook top over medium heat. Add the almonds and toast stirring every now and then until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the almonds from the skillet and reserve. Return the skillet to the heat and add the butter and olive oil and heat until the butter has melted. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook stirring frequently until the onions caramelize, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the cooked cooled green beans and almonds, and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Marathon Monday

Great news. I actually accomplished my goal of running at least once during the week. I attribute it to my strong motivation to have fun. I did miles with a friend. Lesson learned...miles may be less focused with friends, but they are most definitely more entertaining. My legs were so tired after last weekend, and my longest run ever, that it was a lot of work going after school on Tuesday, but I was very happy when I got home that I had got 3 miles in during the weekdays.

I got to break in my new shoes this weekend, the ones I was so inspired to buy after last weekend's half, half-marathon. I did 5.25 miles on Saturday using a new route. A couple of the hills just about killed me, but I was super excited about my pace when the whole thing was said and done. It was also fun to venture to new parts of my neighborhood that I don't usually use. It kept things a little more interesting. Sunday I did a very rough, painful 4.04 miles. I think my legs were just too tired from the day before, but I'm glad I made myself go out and do it.

This week I am hoping to run during the week and hopefully do a record number of miles over the weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for nice weather. This Marathon Monday's numbers: 12.29 miles this week and 82 days until Pittsburgh.

Friday, February 7, 2014

This is NOT a Drill.

If you asked me what my favorite part of my job's a tie. The best part of being the school counselor at BES is that I get to work with every student every year from the time they are in kindergarten until the time they leave us at the end of 5th grade. You really wouldn't believe the great and crazy things each kid does, or says, in those six years. The other best part is the reason I picked my job. Every day is different, you never really 100% know what to expect. Something is always surprising. A lot of people ask me what the worst part is too. The thing I dislike about my job is all my extra responsibilities. One of those topping all the others: Crisis Team Chairperson. You might recall the BES "fire" of 2011. There is far too much paperwork and "what ifs..." and personal opinions about protocols when it comes to crisis teams. Yesterday, my best and worsts collided.

Around 2:00 I was teaching a class of first graders when a co-worker came flying in the door. I knew immediately something was wrong. She told me to go to the office and she would take my class. I came to find out there was a manhunt in the neighborhoods surrounding my school and we had to "Secure the Building." After making a very quick plan in the office we alerted the staff and everything was fine. We were never really in imminent danger. We dismiss our students every day at 3:40 and that time very quickly crept up on us. A little before dismissal we were informed we wouldn't be allowed to dismiss our students. This put a little more stress on the situation. Phones were starting to ring and I'm sure there were lots of kid questions for teachers to answer. Eventually we were allowed to dismiss students to parents that came to pick up their child after 4:30. Ok, problem solved you are thinking. Yes, but no. Now you have 800 children who need picked up from school, and if you saw the road that leads to my school you would understand. {Here's some pictures} It's tiny. Two cars driving down it at one time is slightly nerve wracking. Then once they get there you have to make sure you are sending every kid home with the right person. I could go on and on about the logistics, but I won't. 

What I do want to talk about is the fabulous BES community. I might have days where I complain about my job, but I really do work at a wonderful place. I remember at one point yesterday standing the in the gym that was completely full with stressed parents, and kids trying to find parents, and a very busy staff and just thinking about the people checking the emergency cards (who ranged from teachers, to cafeteria staff, to substitutes) and how grateful I was for everyone standing there. Then I thought about all the bus drivers who were sitting at a venue just outside our school property waiting until 7:00 in case they were needed. Those people start work before 5:00 a.m. During the course of the afternoon I was stationed in the gym to help release students, but then got put in charge of giving snacks to hungry friends. It was so amazing just how calm the hallways and classrooms were. There was not one upset child. Everyone was basically having an extended recess and the time of their life while they waited so incredibly patiently. I consider it slight miracle that every single child had left the building by 7:15. Our parent community was so wonderful. They were calm and appreciative and even got up early to bring us a special breakfast, and then later brought us lunch today. It was such a crazy afternoon and evening, but we all worked together and made it happen. It was a proud day for BES. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Marathon Monday

I was excited for this weekend. I planned to run both days, doing a decent amount of mileage both days. I also planned to run with a friend, which was going to be a fun change of pace. I woke up Saturday morning and felt so sick. I started feeling even sicker when I realized there was no possible way I was going to be able to walk down my steps, let alone do miles. I went back to bed. I woke back up two hours later and got dressed to run. That was hopeful. All day long I did not feel well. Needless to say I was feeling so disappointed that things were't going as planned.

I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a new person. Thank goodness. I really wanted to do 5-6 miles so that it would be the most miles I had done at one time. The night before my friend, Kathy, and I decided to run in her neighborhood. I was also excited about the change of scenery. The weather was so super nice, maybe even a little bit too warm (I know, seriously). The most fun part of the run was seeing people we knew driving about. First, we saw our friends the Miller's and they saved my life with a drink of water. Then we saw the Rimkus' when I was super serious about my running, and I think said something along the lines of how I had no time to talk. The other best part was having a friend to run and chat with for the afternoon. Now that I am in the middle of writing this - and starting every sentence with "the best part was..." - I realize there was a lot of good parts about yesterday. While I was out for my run my car got washed, and another great part is I did 6.6 miles! My longest run by 1.6 miles! And 6.6 is a little bit more than half of 13.1 friends! Oh and I guess I was feeling so inspired I came home and bought another pair of running shoes. It was a great Sunday!

On a less positive note, those were my only miles for the whole week. I need to find more motivation for weekday runs. I need help! So Marathon Monday by the numbers: 6.6 miles total and 89 days until Pittsburgh!