Showing posts from March, 2015

Reading Lately: Update #1 for 2015

I set a goal again this year to read a book every week, for a total of 52 books during the year.  We're three months into the year, and so far I'm on track!  Here are my reviews of a few of my favorites in the first three months of 2015... (SPOILER ALERT!)

Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline:
This is the beautiful story of two orphans from different time periods who have the opportunity to impact each other’s lives in unforgettable ways. It’s a story about acceptance, perseverance, and fate.

Molly Ayer is a troubled teenager growing up in Maine who has been in and out of foster homes. She finds herself on the brink of being kicked out of yet another family after she is caught stealing. For her community service sentence, she is assigned to help an elderly woman clean out the attic of her mansion. Molly dreads the task but is determined to finish her required hours. As Molly spends time with the woman of the house, Vivian Daly, the two discover the many parallels of their lives…

The Road to Buying a House... Volume 4: Becoming Homeowners

We did it!  We are homeowners!  

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of paperwork, packing, and praying that all the pieces would come together.  We had the appraisal on our home and everything went as expected.  We did our final walk-through on Sunday, received our final paperwork on Monday, and signed on Tuesday!  

We were nervous leading up to the final hour because the staging furniture in the house was still there at the time of our walk-through, we had hoped to receive our paperwork further in advance to have time to review all the numbers, and we had heard horror stories from friends and co-workers about everything that could go wrong.  Fortunately, our closing process was incredibly smooth and relieved all of my stress of the 72 hours leading up to this day.  We then had a few setbacks during the week dealing with the electrical company, a dishwasher that wasn't installed properly and an issue with the garage door opener (among countless other stresses and issues), but …

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Who doesn't love funfetti cupcakes?  The answer is: nobody.  Because everyone adores funfetti.  These colorful treats remind us of childhood birthday parties, summer afternoons, and younger days when happiness was directly proportional to the number of sprinkles on your cake.

These cupcakes are fluffy, rainbow-y and delicious!  This recipe will take you right back to the good old days...

Funfetti Cupcakes
From Tastes Better From Scratch (

For the Cupcakes:

3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Rainbow sprinkles for decorating


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

2.  In a large mixing bowl …

Cherry Blossoms

Life is fragile.  Life is short.  But life is also beautiful and breathtaking.  Cherry blossoms only bloom for a few weeks every year, calling us to take time to appreciate their beauty before it's too late.  Enjoy the little bit of time that we are given.  Take time to admire the world and its beauty while you have it.  Look at the trees, hike in the mountains, and smell the flowers.  Observe the changing of the seasons.  Spend time with the ones you love because their days, too, are numbered.  Everything is transient, causing a certain sadness, but at the same time joy and appreciation for what was.  When it's time for life to end, we recognize that it is the natural cycle of things, and we celebrate the time we had together.  Cherry blossoms are delicate and precious, beautiful without overwhelming.  

Cherry blossoms wilt and fall much too soon; but (if you're lucky) they will return again next year.

Tuesday Tidbits and Sunshine Risotto

1.  I am 3 weeks into race training for my first Half Marathon of the year, the Run for the Zoo in Albuquerque!  I'm looking forward to doing a local Half, and I'm feeling really good with my training so far.  I took the whole month of January off from running to focus more on Boot Camp and strengthening and I'm hoping that it works in my favor!  I'm still doing a novice training program, but incorporating more speed work and tempo runs into my training.  Less than 7 weeks to go!

2.  We got several inches of snow in Santa Fe last week, and Kua was absolutely in heaven!  It was really exciting to see so much white powder after a really dry winter so far.  Most of it has already melted in town, unfortunately, but I hope to get in a few more days of snowshoeing before winter is over!

3.  My third season of Girls on the Run starts this week!  GOTR is a nonprofit, curriculum-based, healthy lifestyles after school program for elementary school girls.  It is such a rewarding pr…