Sunday, August 27, 2017

Snack is Coming!

Hi there! I know we have been missing here for the last few months. Even with summer vacation, there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day for everything. Perhaps one of these days we'll finally get it down and be able to get everything done, as planned.
Anyway, today's post has been a few weeks in the making. You may have heard of a little show called "Game of Thrones". If not, you may live under a rock. (It's OK, I have been told I grew up under one 😉) When Caleb and I first started going out, he introduced me to the show with the "Red Wedding" (Imagine red cornstarch, EVERYWHERE...) It took me another few months to get over that episode and we started watching from the beginning. The only problem- it's addicting. For the last three seasons, we've re-watched the entire series. This season has gotten him through the work week this summer, and we've looked forward to it every Sunday.
When this season began, we decided we wanted to throw a season premiere viewing party. Then it turned into a season finale viewing party. I started gathering a few ideas earlier this week, but then we decided against it because Sunday afternoons are kind of rough around here. However, as I was looking on Pinterest for ideas, I found a super cute shirt for the Little One.
For those of you who don't watch the show, the Nights Watch is the group of men who protect the Wall that stands between the Seven Kingdoms and the land beyond. For those of you who do watch the show, I didn't spell it wrong. I mean, I guess technically, yes, but it is a play on their last name. (I thought it was clever...) Then, the one shirt led to a handful of onesies for the future Littlest One:
These are all show-themed sayings and designs, changed to fit babies and kids. I absolutely LOVE how these came out- and I got to use up some materials, which is always a great feeling! 
And to enjoy while watching tonight, we made some "White Walker Direwolf Chow":

In the show, the White Walkers are a mysterious group of the undead that have come back and everyone has to come together in order to conquer them. The direwolf is the symbol of House Stark, and if I had to guess, Ghost is going to come help Jon and Co. Below are the directions to make this treat. This version is super quick and easy, and takes about 15 minutes to make, which includes melting time. Serving size depends on a few things, especially if you're anything like me and snack as you go. This recipe can also be doubled or halved quite easily.
  • 5 cups Rice Chex (or a combination. I like Rice Chex because they're gluten free and have a 'neutral' taste, so you don't have to use a lot of other things to cover it up. You know?)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar 
  • Blue, white, and black sprinkles and blue chocolate candies
  1. In a double boiler (or, if you're like me, you can use a glass bowl and water-filled saucepan), melt the peanut butter and chocolate. 
  2. Pour cereal into a mixing bowl. Slowly pour the peanut butter and chocolate over the cereal, and toss. Coat the cereal pieces completely. (Snack on the biggest chocolate-covered cereal piece you can find.)
  3. Pour the powdered sugar and cereal mixture into a gallon-sized plastic bag. Seal tightly and shake. Make sure the cereal is entirely covered in the sugar. (Eat the biggest chunk you can find in the bag.)
  4. Add the sprinkles and candies into the bag and shake again to mix. (Munch on a handful of the other colored candies) Enjoy the peanut butter and chocolatey goodness as you watch an episode or ten of Game of Thrones
Now, I'd be lying if I didn't say this is really just another version of the iconic "Muddy Buddy" or "Puppy Chow" (hence the Direwolf reference). The combination of chocolate, powdered sugar, candies, and the sprinkles make it a perfectly tasty representation of the characters on the show. I actually lucked out and found a "Blizzard Mix" of sprinkles, which works even better for this mix.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Honoring a Legend

It's been a while, but I thought today would be a great day to post. Warning: It might get a little "mushy", and I'm OK with that.  😁
Every once in a while, people come along that have a true impact on your life. From family members, to teachers, to friends. Most of the time, these people come and go and we continue on the path we choose. Sometimes, we are most fortunate enough to meet people who start as "just the person down the street" to someone you consider family. This is my story of one such person. 
Growing up, Coach Butler was just the man who lived down the street from us. He lived across the street from our grandparents, so we'd see him working in his yard when we visited. He'd occasionally stop by while we were over, but being the shy little girl, it was always kind of awkward. I'd sit there in silence, listening to the older people talk (Oh, and can he talk! I'd only learn later how true that was). I remember being at one of our grandparents' summer picnics and being terribly afraid because Coach's dog Hershey crossed the street for a visit. Here was this big, ol' German Shepard who I was sure was going to eat me. (I now know this wasn't true, and I'm pretty sure my dad tried to tell me this.) 
A few years passed, and when we got older and started running with our brother, he'd stop at the end of our runs and the two would chat. We'd continue our run home because we didn't have much to add to the conversation. However, these conversations would be the start of something amazing.
Come fall of our freshman year, I remember sitting in the high school cafeteria, being one of a handful of freshmen signing up for indoor track (we decided to go with it, even after the Twins made fun of us for turning beet red that summer at the Track Restoration), and talking to Coach. Over the next four years, I learned just how much the man liked to talk, especially during Sports Awards, when we would sit in the front row, timing his speeches. By the end, I'm pretty sure they put a limit on how long he, and other coaches, could be up at the podium (think Hollywood awards nights and the music starting to play.) The four years of high school flew by and we made a TON of memories, from the Twin Relays, to the dog "poop" on the track,  to everything else that I seem to be drawing a blank on. The four years in high school, under Coach's supervision and dedication, made me a stronger person (both literally and figuratively.)
After college, we had the opportunity to begin coaching with him. It was the most rewarding four years. Through the early morning bus rides to the late night meets and hours upon hours in between, we learned the ins and outs of everything that went into running a high school athletic program. In the last year before we moved, we were honored as co- Connecticut Indoor Track Assistant Coach of the Year. This honor wouldn't have been possible without Coach Butler's mentorship. Or without him submitting our names (and being the only one who voted). (Annnd here come the tears. Have to hold it together- can't cry during school ;) )  He is the man I look up to, and compare all other coaches to. I have yet to meet another coach who shares the same passion and dedication as he does, for all of his athletes, whether they were All-New England, All-SWC or just trying to become an all-around better person.
So, today, as Coach Butler is finally honored by the school district he has given so much of his time, energy, and love to, I would like to say "thank you" for absolutely everything. I couldn't think of a better man to have the track named for. This honor should have been given to him years ago, when he first led the effort to restore the track. He has done so much for the school and town, and this a truly well-deserved honor. I'm not sure how many more "after this person graduates, I'm going to retire" there are, but after who knows how many years (but he still looks the same 17 years later), hopefully he can enjoy the spotlight for a few hours, and then continue inspiring his athletes. I look forward to seeing him in a few months and catching up. That's one conversation I am looking forward to.