Thursday, February 13, 2014

Crazy Week

Happy Thursday! My mood is exponentially better than it has been in about a week, and that is because the sun has finally shown its face. Though it is still fairly chilly outside, the fact that the sun is out makes it so much more bearable.

Anyway, it's been a while since I've checked in with you guys, so let's hit the highlights of this past week.


We left off on my birthday, so let's start there, as we know that's a highlight for me. Dylan told me that we had 8:30pm dinner reservations, though he didn't tell me where, only that the restaurant is known for its bar. I honestly couldn't guess where it was that we were going (though I admittedly didn't try very hard, because I like surprises), and I was certainly surprised when we pulled up to North by Northwest with most of my roommates and some of my YoungLife teammates waiting inside. I had absolutely NO idea that Dylan had been planning all of this, and it was so much fun for me to ring in my 22nd year with so many of my very favorite people. I guess you're never too old to have that surprise party you always wanted as a kid!

Not much has changed since turning 22, as I still took a picture of my delicious Pan Seared Salmon over Silver Lake Spinach salad, of which I ate every last bite. I was a bit unsure about the mustard vinaigrette dressing, but it ended up being the perfect combination of flavors.

And though I am not much of a beer drinker, this restaurant does brew its own beer, so I almost had to order one. On a recommendation from the bartender, I went with the Pale Ale, and while it doesn't compare to my favorite fruity cocktails, I will admit that it tasted pretty good. The night turned out to be such a great and memorable one, and it was the perfect start to 22.


Because school was canceled on Friday due to icy road conditions, Dylan and I decided to hit the road to Houston at about 10pm on Thursday night. A stop at Whataburger and Bucees fueled us for the dark drive home, but we both agreed that we were glad to beat any bad weather that might have made driving home dangerous. And I wish I could say that I had an eventful weekend at home, but it was mainly spent hanging out with my parents (it was nice having them all to myself), watching some of the Winter Olympics (though the summer games certainly have my heart), and grading about 50 college research papers.

I also went to visit my mom at work on Friday night, and one of her co-workers gave me a piece of advice that I think will prove to be very valuable: GO HOME, because the work will still be there in the morning. Leave the work at work, and just go home. While I certainly plan to implement that policy (as much as possible) in the future, right now I have to juggle the grading along with assignments for my class at UT along with planning lessons/a unit. It's a lot, but I'm almost halfway done with my student teaching experience - and that's hard to believe! I've truly come to enjoy it, and I can honestly say that I look forward to going to school each day. When someone asks me how my day has been, it's such a relief to be able to say, "My day has been really great; I had such a good day at school." Relieves a few of my anxieties about choosing the wrong profession!

I don't have any new recipes or workouts to share with you this week, but I promise that will change after this weekend. I plan on spending part of my Saturday in the kitchen, coming up with at least one new recipe that invites a little bit of food excitement. Additionally, I hope to create a couple new workouts to test out and share with you guys next week, so be on the lookout for those! Hopefully it will hold me accountable for posting regularly (though don't count on it).

Valentine's Day

As many of you probably know (or maybe want to forget?), tomorrow is Valentine's Day. It's nice that it falls on a Friday this year, and I already have my pink sweater ready to wear to school. I'm hoping to win over my students' hearts by bringing them some sort of Valentine's Day baked good (or at least some Valentine's-themed candy), and I came out of my temporary baking retirement to quickly throw together these Valentine's Day Funfetti Cake Mix M&M Cookies.

Funfetti is almost always a win, and if you're wondering how to make them, follow these simple steps -

  • 1 box of Valentine's Funfetti Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1.5 cups Valentine's M&M's (mini work best, but I did use regular sized M&M's, and they worked great too)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix ingredients together in a large bowl
  3. Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet
  4. Optional: add additional M&M's to the dough balls for the sake of appearance
  5. Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown
  6. Enjoy!
Have a great rest of your Thursday! I'm hoping this next week won't look as crazy as this one was, but I'm not certainly not going to count on that one!

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