Despite technical difficulties…

So my commitment to writing for a month

came to a screeching halt due to a little technical difficulties.

My internet connection was down all day Friday and Saturday.

Does it count that I thought about what I was going to write about?

I guess I could have written some posts on Word

and then posted them all at once right now,

but I guess I’m not that dedicated.

Anyway, a nine day streak is kind of a big deal for me and my blog!

Friday night I experimented with another Pinterest recipe

that definitely belongs in my library of party desserts!

It was DE-Lish!

Carmel Apple Dip

Courtesy from Tasty Kitchen

What you’ll need:

-16 oz package of cream cheese softened,

definitely let it get pretty soft, it helps with the mixing later.

-1/2 cup powdered sugar

-16 oz tub of carmel apple dip,

I used Marzetti’s like the recipe suggested.

-1 cup Heath Bits-O-Brickle,

I couldn’t find these at SaveMart, so I bought a pack

of bite sized Heath bars and finely chopped them.

-4 Granny Smith Apples, thickly sliced,

I have to say that I bought 4 and it was NOT ENOUGH!!!

We were left with sad faces when the apples disappeared.

I definitely recommend about 6 or more apples.

3, 2, 1…

Step 1: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese

and the powdered sugar until fluffy.

Step 2:  Spread the cheese mixture on a platter.

Step 3: Spread the carmel sauce on top of the cheese.

(Sounds like I was having too much fun during step 2 and 3

because I totally forgot to take pictures.)

Step 4: Finally, top it all off with the toffee bits.

You’re done!

Enjoy this dip of goodness!

It’s fun for Fall, and your friends will love you!

NaBloPoMo 2012

Today I make a commitment to my blog.

About a month ago, a writer friend of mine (who is also a teacher)

began to twist my arm to join her in a month of writing.

She is participating in Nanowrimo for the second time

and promised me it’d be good for my writing.

I never really see myself writing a novel,

but I liked this idea of committing to writing

every single day for a whole month.

As I started to think about what to write about,

I started to feel overwhelmed. Stressed.  Stumped even.

I’ll never make it if I can’t even make up my mind!

I threw the idea on the back burner,

and decided to postpone it to next November.

A year is enough time to think of something good, right?

But then, of course, today I logged onto WordPress

to catch up on some of my favorite blogs

and of course, on the reader is this blog about

NaBloPoMo.

Basically a bloggers version of Nanowrimo.

I guess you could say it was a sign.

My arm has been twisted.

The white flag is up.

There’s no turning back now.

So thanks to my friends consistent nudging,

here goes nothing.

NaBloPoMo, bring it on!

Thankfulness Thursday – The Now

Thanks to The Domestic Fashionista

I am back again for Thankfulness Thursdays.

Today I am thankful for the now.

I pray.  I pray a lot.

And lately, I’ve been catching myself praying

in gracious thanksgiving for all the amazing things

going on in my life right now.

I feel like a lot of my teenage years (and some college years)

I was always longing for something,

waiting for life to get a little bit more exciting, a little better.

But now, I can honestly say, that life feels pretty good these days.

My job.  My relationship.  My family.  My friends.

Everything finally feels like it has a purpose and a place.

It honestly feels so good.

And I don’t think I’ve felt this happy before, this content.

So today, I am thankful for this very moment,

where everything feels perfect.

I think I’ve finally found the best days of my life.

(Not to sound cheesy or anything.)

Though mantras are usually what get me through those long, tough runs,

I find myself with a new mantra, but this time for life in general:

Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.

 So find what you can be thankful for in this day.

28

Birthdays make me feel free.

They’re a fresh start.

Whenever my birthday comes along,

I always get excited to start anew and make big things happen.

My motivation may not last all year long,

but it’s a great feeling.

I hope I never feel “too old” to celebrate my birthday.

I love spending time with my favorite people,

doing my favorite things, and feeling optimistic about the newest year to come.

Cookies and birthday hats covered our teacher’s lounge table courtesy of my parents. Pretty sweet in my book! (No pun intended!)

28 greeted me with surprises,

including my parents coming to my classroom unannounced

and decorating the teachers lounge too.

Later, my coworkers brought me coffee and a Fleet Feet gift card,

which means I get to treat myself to some new running stuff!

And then my sweet, sweet Abuela cooked my favorite Cuban dish

as I celebrated my birthday with my family that night.

A pretty good day!

And to top it all off, last night I celebrated my birthday with my friends.

They joined me for some Ah-mazing italian food

at one of my favorite midtown establishments.

(Mmmmmm. I’m pretty much still dreaming about the pasta I got.)

Then we headed over to a nearby club to watch Tainted Love,

an 80’s cover band who is pretty darn awesome!

There’s nothing I love more, than singing at the top of my lungs

and dancing my heart out

to Journey, Blondie, Madonna, and more!

Pretty much, the night was a blast.

Like I said, I just like to spend my birthday doing my favorite things

with my favorite people.

And according to all the fun I’ve had in the past week,

this birthday goes in the books as awesome.

My favorite place to eat in Midtown Sacramento!

Tainted Love – Amazing!

Enjoying the show!

Thankfulness Thursdays

I’ve been a little MIA lately.

I guess you could say I’ve been a little uninspired.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in front of my computer screen

and waited for words to come.

Or sometimes they’d arrive, only for me to quickly erase them and log out.

I thrive on positivity and I don’t do well with negativity.

When surrounded by grumpiness, it starts to take over me.

And the last thing I wanted to do was taint my own blog with negative ideas.

But I’m back!  And with such a great reason

Thankfulness Thursdays

brought to you by the Domestic Fashionista and my good friend Olivia.

Today I am thankful for inspiration.

Today I saw “Won’t Back Down” with Maggie Gyllenhaal .

 Teaching was meant for me.

In college, I tried to steer away from it.

 My family is full of teachers, and I was determined to be my own person.  Do my own thing.

But it’s something I’m good at, something I love.

And I found myself realizing that wasn’t something I could deny any longer.

After watching that movie, though sometimes the future of education seems like a mess,

I felt proud.  I felt inspired.

And I’m thankful for that.

Because even on the toughest days, its that feeling that keeps me going.

Another beginning

When I walked into the staff lounge on the first day of school,

my principal had written,

“Happy first day of school!  

Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint

so train accordingly.

I felt like it was meant for me.

One, because I’m training for a marathon,

and two, because it was the perfect reminder to remember to take time

for the little things that matter most.

Like getting to know the “real” kiddos that are in my class.

I call this activity “5 Things in a  Bag”

taken from Pinterest.

It’s a quick and easy way to bring that

Joy Factor to your classroom, while getting to know your students.

It’s as easy at the title makes it sound.

Basically you pick 5 things that represent you and put them in the bag.

Only rules:

-Any item chosen needs to be able to fit in the bag.

-If it can’t, draw or take a picture of it, and put the picture in the bag.

-No electronics. (I made this rule up, for fear I would see iPods,

DSs, cell phones, etc make it into the bag.)

Here are mine…

My running bib book.

I tried to explain how runners wear bibs during races.

I related it to the Olympics, since I figured many had seen

the track and field events on TV.

“You were in the Olympics?” one boy asked.

Ha! No… but it was a sweet thought!

Ahhhh. Summer Sisters.  This was my favorite book in high school.

My friend Jana and I read it together and would compare

ourselves to the best friends in this book.

Well, this summer, I was pleasantly surprised when Jana

mailed me a copy.  Signed by Judy Blume.

It was totally unexpected, as she and I haven’t spoken in months!

My ticket box.

I keep most tickets from events, movies, and games that I attend.

Mainly the Sacramento Kings games I go to with my dad.

Watching basketball with my dad has always been a treasured  pastime.

I’ve been going to Kings games for as long as I can remember.

Arco Arena is where I learned a lot of my basketball knowledge,

but it’s actually a bigger place to me.

It’s my favorite place to hang out with my dad.

Because one of the rules states that you can bring a picture

if something you want to bring is too big to fit in the bag.

So I chose this picture.

It represents my love for the American River.

Whether it was chasing the ducks, riding bikes,

or learning to skip rocks,

a ton of my childhood memories include being around this river.

Nowdays I spend time running on the American River Parkway

or floating down it in a raft during the hot summers.

But to this day, this river holds a special place in my heart.

And last, but not least, there’s Dennis the Menace.

The comic strip that gave me my name.

See that girl with the brown hair?  That’s Gina.

When my parents were deciding on my name,

my mother gave my dad two ideas – Regina and Janelle.

Well, my dad always enjoyed reading this comic as a kid,

so he went with Regina, and decided that they’d call me “Gina.”

Then he wrote a letter to Hank Ketcham

to tell him about me and how he chose my name.

Well, a few weeks later, Hank Ketcham sent my dad a letter.

And inside was an original comic, just for me.

I wish I had a picture of it to display it here,

but it has the best quote.

“The world needs more Ginas.”

Road Trip Diaries…Part 3

It’s been some time since I’ve continued telling the tale

of my Pacific Northwest Road Trip adventure.

Portland was such an unexpected delight.

A city filled with bridges,

I instantly fell in love with the vibe of this city.

We began our day in Portland at the Saturday Public Market

(though it was Sunday…hmmm?)

wandering and leisurely enjoying the tent vendors.

When I’m on vacation, I love to do what the locals do

and this was a perfect way to get a taste of what Portland is like.

wandering through the market

I bought a tshirt with this bridge on it.

Our exploring continued with a trip to VooDoo Donughts.

I wasn’t really sure what the hype was about this place

as I’m not one to get excited about doughnuts.

But this was a definite ‘must do’

based soley on the fact that the line was wrapped two times around the place.

I wanted to just say that I had been there.

VooDoo prides itself on its funky and creative donut toppings.

I peeked in the window to see donuts with Oreo cookie crumbles,

others with Fruit Loops, and alas, the VooDoo donught.

We weren’t planning on getting more than one donught,

as it was just for the experience.

So in that case, we opted for the VooDoo.

It must have been our lucky day. Our VooDoo doughnut was two-headed!

All our wandering of course made us hungry,

so we dined at Deschutes Brewery.

Beer? Yes please!

Table outside? Why, of course!

The burger was delicious, the beer satisfying.

After that meal, I was a very happy camper.

Ahhhh, but wait, there’s more to this dandy adventure in Portland.

The grand finale included a trip to Powells books.

Seriously, you don’t know what kind of heaven this place is until you’ve been inside.

No joke, 4 million books. Yes, you read that right.

4 million books!

3 stories of gloriousness.  (Is that even a word?)

We gave ourselves a half hour to roam, which obviously wasn’t enough time.

I felt panicked.  Where do I even begin?

I could have spent hours in there.  I felt lost, but yet so at home.

Shockingly all I bought was a Walking Dead graphic novel for my boyfriend,

but I vow that if I ever visit Portland again (which I know I will)

I will be spending way more than a half hour in that place.

Powells covers one entire city block, holds over 4 million books, and buys about 1,500 used books daily.

Portland, you were an unexpected, yet, pleasant surprise.

Hope to see you again soon!