Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Favorites

Today I'm linking up with Amanda from Meet @ the Barre (get it? So clever!) for Friday's Favorites. If you're visiting from that link-up, hello, new blogger friend! Here's a little glimpse into my life this week.
It was a wild and crazy week here, which is saying something considering the pack of silly hyenas I live with. I'm going to bypass all the stuff that's stressing me out because I will go stark raving mad if I dwell on it right now. And it's Friday, so for goodness sake, let's have a little fun! Jim and the bigger boys are driving to Michigan for a family gathering while Audrey, Asher, and I hold down the fort. We'll celebrate her 8th birthday with friends, have a few house showings, go on some runs, finish watching Anne of Green Gables, and generally enjoy the heck out of each other.

Favorite Pictures:
Come on. How could I ever pick just one? I used great restraint and stuck with two pictures.
My favorite girl in front of our favorite, fantastic smelling lilacs. She is off to a great start with her softball program. And she's adorable. mom-bias in full effect.
Playing on the swings with my favorite baby. Yes, it's a selfie and no, the quality isn't great, but I love how he's reacting to my enthusiasm. What a precious babe! I love to watch his personality grow as he is able to interact with us more and more.

Favorite Day:
Audrey turned 8 and we took advantage of the special day to tell her many of the reasons we love her. Talk about a long list! She requested creme brulee french toast for breakfast, we played Blokus, went to an indoor play area with a few friends in the afternoon, opened gifts once Jim got home, and had to adjust her requested meal of Pea-Nutty Noodles due to a last minute house showing and went to Noodles and Co. instead. She said it is probably her new best day of her life, so I'm calling it a smashing success. This smile. You guys, this smile says it all.
8 is great! What a fun day of celebration
Celebrating their special sister

Impromptu get together to climb and giggle

Favorite Motivation:
Admittedly, my running has taken a back seat to the rest of my life these days. I am not training for a race or working toward any goals other than keep moving forward. I am sure to get at least two runs a week in since coaching with Moms on the Run is still a very important part of my life. This quote gets right to the heart of why running is so important to me and why this running program in particular has such a special place in my heart.
If we do something we never thought possible, something we didn't know we had inside of us, on the track or on the running path, it transforms us and opens us up to the possibility that we can do all of those other things we thought were impossible, too. It is an incredible feeling and I am so honored to be a part of it with the women I coach. They motivate me in ways they probably don't realize.

Favorite Book:
Reading has, unfortunately, fallen by the wayside over the past few months. (Do you sense a pattern here?) I'm usually reading at least three books, plus the chapter books I'm sharing with the kiddos. That just isn't happening right now, although I did just finish Looking For Alaska by John Green for my book club and I've started Running Dreams and The Last First Day. I think it's high time I make time for reading again. It does wonders for my mental health.

Still, reading is an important part of my life and our kids are huge readers, too. I am reading Harry Potty and the Goblet of Fire with Isaac right now and I want to stay awake all night with him until we get to the huge, climactic ending. Oh goodness, that book is fantastic. I know you've probably read the whole series and that we're late to the party in reading them, but if you haven't read them, do it now. So good!

Anyway, these pictures make me insanely happy as I think of all the books we'll share together and all the adventures they'll take through the pages of a book.
reading hour in the fort

since Audrey was in the fort, he had reading hour in her bed

reading/music hour in my room

He is obsessed with the Droon series so he came down from reading hour to read more

Favorite Recipe:
Swirly Milk Chocolate and Caramel Cheesecake found in the Baking Kids Love cookbook. 

Isaac said it was so good that it was not just off the hook, but miles off the hook. It was Audrey's requested birthday cake and we all loved her decision. Kudos to you if you can get your kids to bed or your kitchen cleaned up or however you finish your day, and not go at this cheesecake with a fork, no plate necessary. It's that good. I couldn't find a link to the recipe so here I go. It's kind of long, but absolutely worth it.

1 1/2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
1 TBSP sugar
6 TBSP melted butter

9 oz milk or dark chocolate
24 oz cream cheese, at room temp. (ask me if I've ever thought ahead enough to have it at room temp? nope! Still turns out deliciously.)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, again with the room temp. Ha!
2 teaspoons vanilla (forgot that this time)
1/3 cup caramel sauce

combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in bowl and pour melted butter over them. Stir until mixed and pour into the bottom or a springform pan or 9 inch pie pan. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes (or buy a crust at the store. whatever floats your boat)

Melt the chocolate.

Put cream cheese and sugar in large bowl. Milk for 1 minute, or until blended. It takes longer when it's not at room temp. I know this from experience. Scrape sides and beat for one minute longer. Add eggs one at a team, beating for 15 seconds after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Remove 1/2 cup of batter and add caramel sauce to it. Scrape melted chocolate into batter remaining in the bowl. Blend well.

Pour 1/2 of chocolate batter into the crust and spread evenly. Spoon 3/4 of caramel mixture on top, spreading evenly. Then top with remaining chocolate batter and smooth the top.

Drizzle remaining caramel batter over the top in thin lines. Drag a toothpick or thin knife through the surface to make pretty swirly designs.

Bake for 1 hour, or until edges are set and puffed, but center looks a bit wiggly. Run a spatula around the edge of pan to loosen the cake. Let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or, even better, overnight.

Eat it. Plates are nice, but really, invite some friends over, hand everyone a fork, and go to it!

Favorite Song:

We played Jamie Grace's "Beautiful Day" for Audrey on her birthday and then we heard this song and it just stuck with me. It says so much of what I'm feeling right now as I worry about her and muddle through doctor's appointments and confusing information when I just want to take it from her. I can't. So I hold on. And this song helps me remember I'm not alone and that we will get through this.

Now it's your turn. What are your favorites from the week? Share your happy moments!


  1. Ummmmmm that cheesecake looks amazing!! Yeah!!! Thanks so much for linking up!!

  2. Happy Birthday to your girl! Every mile is one mile more than you did before. Cheesecake is my weakness, therefore I run! ;)

  3. Happy moment is seeing/hearing JR wanting more books and wanting to stay up late nightly because she just had to read ONE more chapter (we all know that it can't be just one more chapter ... it leads to another and another). Many mornings has been spent trying to get sleepy JR out of bed!