Thursday, May 30, 2013

Talent Show and Field Day

I am in love with my camera and the pictures I take with it.  The best part is, many of them are "by accident."  The joy of a digital camera is that you can take hundreds of pictures without worrying about wasting film.  The more you take, the better chance you have of getting that perfect photo.  When it comes to kids, you can set up a shot all you want, but the best pictures are always going to happen by luck.  You have to just keep pushing the button and hoping to catch that perfect moment.  If you wait til you see it, it will be gone by the time you get that button pushed.  There were so many moments and facial expressions that I tried to catch yesterday, some of them I got, and some of them I didn't.  But some of the best pictures I took were when I just started pushing the button over and over.  I didn't have any idea what the results were until after I got the pictures on my computer and had a chance to really look at them.  This is especially true of the pictures I took outside at Field Day.  The sun was so bright, I could barely see what I was doing.  Really, all I could do was point, attempt to focus (even though I was so blinded I couldn't really tell), and shoot.  I used auto-focus occasionally, but I really prefer not to.

During the Talent Show and Band Concert yesterday, we were treated to an amazing display of talent from quite a few students.  And the weather was typical Field Day weather : hot and sunny.  No matter how rainy and cold the forecast was, is, or will be, it is always blazing sunlight on Field Day.  It works out fine though, the kids play on the swing set, have a picnic lunch, do fun activities, eat ice cream, and then get hosed down by a fire truck.  What kid wouldn't love that?  The only thing that saved me from being soaked by students was the fact that I was carrying a camera all afternoon.

I took over 900 pictures yesterday, and would love to share so many of them, but here are some of my favorites.


A kindergartner singing with one of our after-school staff. 

Mid-air, right before chopping those blocks in half!
This 8th grader has his 3rd degree black belt for Tae Kwon Do.

Kindergartner singing while accompanied by her dad.

Slam Dunk!


A farewell dousing for an 8th grader.

 So many things going on in this photo, I love it!  
They were supposed to be transferring water cup by cup from one bucket to another.

What a gorgeous day!

Speaking of photography, I just got my yearbook, and it is full of wonderful moments that I captured this year.  I am so grateful to have this camera and to be able to capture so many precious moments.  Not to mention how awesome it is to experience all those moments at this school.  Hard to believe I am finishing up my 5th year here!  There have been so many ups and downs, but these kids are amazing and I love them all!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chocolate Cake with Cherry-Guinness Topping

I bought some fresh cherries at Kroger the other day.  So when I was thinking about what kind of cake to make for my friend and I's double birthday party, I thought about Black Forest Cake.  Yum.  I found  cake recipe online somewhere and made the chocolate cake part, then I made a cherry sauce out of the fresh cherries and some Guinness.  I don't like whipped cream, so I omitted that part of the Black Forest Cake ensemble.

2 1/8 c flour
2 c white sugar
3/4 c cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 c milk
1/2 c veg oil
1 tbsp vanilla

mix together the dry ingredients, then add the wet
grease and flour a 9x13 pan

bake 350 for 45 min

2-3 cups fresh cherries, pitted
3/4 c Guinness
spoonful of corn starch
large spoonful of sugar

throw it all in a pot and bring to a boil, cook until thickened

cherry blood...all over my kitchen
I put on an apron to save the white dress I was wearing...but somehow nothing ended up on the apron.

This cake was super-awesomely delicious.  Best Birthday Cake I ever made myself.  
Also, the only so far, but that's beside the point.
It was so delicious, I had some for dinner last night. Before I ate my real dinner.  
I couldn't wait til after for dessert.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Appalachian Power Festival Run

This was the first 10k I've done that wasn't the Lewisburg Chocolate Chase.  The Lewisburg course, described as "gently rolling" by those of us who live here, is considered quite hilly by everyone else.  The Festival Run I did this past weekend was run almost entirely on the Roanoke Greenway, which is very flat.  It's a paved biking/walking trail along the river.  The only small hills in this race were two short bridges within a mile of the start/finish line.  The race was an out-and-back.

I was not particularly impressed with race management.  There was no bag check, and since I was travelling alone, I ended having to run with my car key in my hand.  My shorts have a small key pocket, but my car key is much to big to fit.  I wasn't too pleased about that, but there are worse things that running with a giant car key in your fist I suppose.  I run with my house key in my hand all the time, but I prefer not to worry about such things in races.  Anyway, that wasn't so bad.  The more disagreeable part was that the race started 15 minutes late because they didn't have water set out on the course.  The race was supposed to start at 8, so I was ready on the starting line before then, and they waited until 8 to tell us that the water wasn't set out and that we would be starting 10 minutes late.  10 minutes later they said they still weren't ready.  I don't personally really understand the need for so much water out on the course, but I guess it's a good thing to have.  I kinda feel like people should be able to survive an hour without water...but that's just me.  Mostly, I just can't stand it when races start late.  I strongly dislike standing on the starting line for extended periods of time.  I want to just go run already!

Once the race finally started, it took about a mile for people to settle into their strides, and at that point, I did not pass anyone nor get passed by anyone for the rest of the race.  First place female was in sight ahead of me until she kicked stronger than me in the last mile, but she was not close enough for me to catch.  I could have surged and caught up to her earlier in the race, but I didn't feel like I would be able to keep up after wasting the energy on a surge.  So, I chose to run what felt like the best I could do.  I did finish under 40 minutes, which was my goal for the day, and gave me a nice PR from my previous 10k PR of 40:25.

I finished 2nd place female and 9th overall.

After the race I wandered around and took some pictures of the festival/car shoe while waiting for the awards ceremony.

Last week:
M: rest
T: 3.48 / 25:40 / 7:22
W: 5.23 / 41:02 / 7:50 w/Jim early in the AM
R: 3.9 / 28:10 / 7:13
F: rest
Sa: 10k / 39:47 / 6:24
Su: rest
total : 18.81

A light week, but it was all I had the energy for.  It was my last week of teaching for the year, but it was a full week, and my energy is gone.  I am definitely ready for summer break!  Just field day and odds and ends for this week, finishing with closing chapel on Friday.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cream Cheese Mac

I try to eat healthy as often as possible.  But sometimes, I just crave mac n cheese.  And sometimes, I remember that I just happened to buy cream cheese the other day and haven't done anything with it.  And think that maybe I should add cream cheese to the mac n cheese.  And darn it, I just remembered that I also have sour cream in my fridge that I should have thrown in because it needs to get used.  Oh well.  I missed out on using the sour cream, but I did use some cream cheese!

By the way, I'm currently eating my second helping.  This stuff is too good.  Maybe I'll run it off in my race on Saturday...It will only be the 2nd 10k course I have ever run.  I've done a 10k in Lewisburg for the past 5 years, but it's the only 10k I've ever done, and while my times for the past 2 years have been decent, I really really want to break 40 minutes. I'm hoping to achieve that this weekend.  New course, flatter course, and hopefully some better competition to help carry me to a PR! 

Anyway.  Cream Cheese Mac.  Deliciousness.

Boil some water and throw in about half a box of elbow macaroni.  In a smaller saucepan, combine 3 tbsp butter, 3-4 tbsp cream cheese, a bunch of heavy cream, 1/4 c wheat flour, and a big handful of shredded cheese. Once everything is all melty and delicious, and the macaroni is cooked, combine in an oven-safe dish.  Oh and by the way, grate a carrot and mix it in with all that.  Then you can pretend it's healthy.  Mix well, sprinkle more cheese over the top, and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  

I enjoyed my mac and cheese on a bed of arugula, topped with a crabby beef burger and some shaved & sauteed parsnips.  And then I drizzled ranch dressing over the whole thing because...I thought it might be too dry without it?  And...go big or go home? 

It was delicious.  
Eating super healthy all the time is overrated. 

and here's a picture of the shaved parsnips before I cooked them
just because
they're awesome

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Crabby Beef Burger

1 lb ground beef (93/7 lean)
1 can of shredded crab meat
1 egg
2 tbsp of ranch
tbsp of bbq sauce
1/4 c breadcrumbs

mix it all up, shape into patties, cook 'em up

I put some into ziploc bags and put them in the freezer for later.

1/2 whole wheat bun
1/2 avocado

 Don't forget the home-made fries!
I love home-made fries...this is the 3rd night in a row I've had them for dinner!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mint-Guinness Cake

The things I do when I've been entertaining myself too many evenings in a row and need to get off the couch and do something.  (Something other than cleaning...I should do that someday...)

Anyway, I ended up feeling the need to bake this evening, even though I was not even remotely attracted to the idea of eating anything that I might make.  But I decided that I wanted to make some sort of a cake. With mint.  I'm only slightly obsessed with the mint plant I bought not too long ago.  I don't have any milk and didn't feel like wasting gas on a trip to the grocery store, so I needed a cake recipe that didn't call for milk.  So, I went with a spin-off of my olive oil beer cake.  I made a Mint-Guinness cake.  With olive oil. 

2 eggs
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c Guinness
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1+ tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
small handful of mint leaves, chopped
1/2 c wheat flour
1 scant c flour

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

I didn't do anything fancy for the topping of the slice pictured above.  I will probably melt some dark chocolate to make a glaze for the rest of the cake later.  The topping above was just some chocolate that had seized on me awhile ago, and I had stashed in the cupboard to try to save someday.  I melted it with a bit of water and it came out...tolerable. You can definitely tell that the chocolate isn't tempered. 

I haven't quite decided if this cake is actually good or not.  I might just be pretending to like it because I don't want the ingredients to go to waste.  It is certainly interesting-tasting.