Getting Ready For a Busy Weekend

I’m currently fighting a cold, which as we all know isn’t very fun.  I’m hoping I can get through most of it before I run the Big Sur 9 Miler on Sunday morning.  Fingers crossed

My 4 year old apparently has a busier social life than I do.  She has two birthday parties on Saturday and one on Sunday.  I love that she gets to play with her friends and she is always worn out by the end of the day, but for some reason they wear me out too.  How does this happen?  Maybe it is the social anxiety I get from socializing with parents I don’t know that well?  Weird right?

The Big Sur 9 Miler is about a 1.5 hour drive from my house and instead of staying down there I decided I would just get up really really…really early and drive down race morning.  Hoping that all goes as planned.

That is the quick version of my weekend.  Anyone have any super fun plans?

Empty Nest Syndrome…

Goodbye little Aurora and Cinderella, which then my daughter renamed Elsa and Anna.  I have shared the journey of the baby hummingbirds in our tree with you.  Yesterday I noticed they had left the nest.  I looked again today and they are definitely gone.  We rescued one after it had fallen out of the nest.  We watched them grow and gain feathers.  I feel very blessed to have witnessed this amazing process.

photoHere is the last picture I have of the baby hummingbirds the day before they left the nest.

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You can visit my first and second hummingbird nest posts here to see how they grew.

W New York Downtown Hotel Review- #NYCHalf

Back in March I had the pleasure of staying at the W New York Downtown when I was there for the New York City Half Marathon.  I love the W Hotels, which are Starwood properties.  I was able to get an AMAZING deal with my AAA discount.

The view from the lobby windows.

The view from the lobby windows.

The W New York Downtown is in the financial district and is literally across the street from the 9/11 Memorial entrance.  The Statue of Liberty is only a few blocks away.

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The race started in Central Park.  I had first booked a hotel in Midtown, but after some thinking and realizing that I would have to take transportation back to Midtown after the race and try to make it to the airport in time to catch my flight this seemed to risky to me.  I decided to stay Downtown near the finish.  This way I could just quickly walk back to hotel shower and leave for the airport.

I left California on the redeye which means I landed in NYC at 6am Saturday morning.  I took a cab straight to the hotel to checkin.  I had let them know I would be flying in on the redeye, but wasn’t expecting my room to be ready until that afternoon.  To my awesome surprise my room was ready.  I also had a bonus surprise, since I am a AAA member and part of the Starwood Preferred Guest program I was upgraded to a corner room that had windows on 2 sides.  Score!

They knew I was running the NYC Half Marathon and I asked if there was any way to get a little bit of a later checkout so I would have enough time to shower after the race?  They said what time would I like?  I said 2:00pm and they said no problem at all.  That was such a breath of fresh air.  I am so use to hotels not extending checkouts after races.

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After getting to my room and getting settled I heard a knock on the door and a gentleman presented me with a basket and card.  The hotel was wishing me good luck at the race and gave me some fruit, Kind Bars, water and Eboost!  I almost cried.  That seemed so amazing to me that a hotel would go out of their way to do this.  The little touches like that are what makes a hotel special.

I had a great night sleep and ran a great NYC Half Marathon.  It was so nice to walk back to my hotel after the race and take a hot shower before having to run off to the airport.

I highly recommend the W New York Downtown.

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2015 Registration

Registration opened today for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  As of the time of typing this post, 3 of the events are already sold out.  Capacity is as follows:

Walt Disney World Marathon 50% capacity
Half Marathon 85% capacity
Walt Disney World 10K Sold Out
Disney Family Fun Run 5K Sold Out
Dopey Challenge Sold Out

The events not listed above are still below 50% capacity.  I’m actually pretty surprised that the Goofy Challenge registration isn’t selling faster since it is the 10th anniversary.  Everyone loves anniversary medals.  I think most Goofy runners decided to signup for the whole shebang though and run Dopey.

I registered for the Dopey Challenge again.  Super excited!

To register you can visit the runDisney website here.

Will I be seeing you in January at WDW Marathon weekend?

Run Like the Wind Boston Runners!

Big huge shout outs, hugs, cheers, woohoos and congrats to all the amazing people running the Boston Marathon today.  The world is with you!

Are you running today for the Boston Marathon World Run day?

“This year, the Boston Athletic Association, in partnership with John Hancock and Manulife Financial, are inviting people from around the world to participate in their own Boston Marathon. Maybe it’s not 26.2 miles, and maybe it’s not in Boston, but there is a marathoner in all of us. We encourage you to bring it out – and to be a part of the first ever Boston Marathon World Run.”

For more information visit the Boston Marathon World Run website here.

How many miles are you doing today?

The Most Delicious Gluten Free Egg Free Sugar Cookies

Most people think gluten free cookies have to be dense and grainy, but that is not the case.  I LOVE this sugar cookie recipe.  I could seriously sit down and eat an entire plate of these…which I may or may not have done. ;)

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We have no egg allergies in my house, but I am a cookie dough lover.  The fact that this recipe is egg free makes sampling the raw cookie dough ok.

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Half Crazy Mama’s Sugar Cookies
1 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup almond milk
2 tsp. all natural vanilla
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
2 Tbsp potato flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Use a mixer to cream together the butter and sugar.

3.  Add the almond milk and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

4.  In a separate bowl mix together the white rice flour, coconut flour, potato flour, baking soda and baking powder.

5.  Slowly add the dry mix to the wet ingredients as you continue to mix.

6.  Place 1 inch balls of the dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Flatten the balls slightly.

7.  Bake until golden, approximately 10-14 minutes.

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Frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1.  Combine almond milk and vanilla.

2.  Using a mixer slowly add the powdered sugar.  It shouldn’t be super thin.  If it is too thin then add more sugar, a little bit at a time.  If you want colored frosting you can mix in a few drops of coloring at this time.

3.  Drizzle on the top of cookies.  Remember that it will harden slightly.

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Tips:
You can substitute real milk or soy milk instead of almond milk if you would like.  You can also substitute non-hydrogenated oil margarine if you want instead of butter.

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Enjoy!

Do you love gluten free desserts?

The Little Moments in Life- My Daughter’s Laugh

I think every parent loves the sound of their child’s laugh.  The most amazing sound I’ve ever heard is when my daughter laugh’s so hard she is almost not breathing.  Just hearing it puts an instant smile on my face.

Now that the weather’s warmed up we have put the mattress on our Floating Bed in the backyard.  We have a roped tied to one of the posts so we can pull it to make us swing.  My daughter always thinks it is hilarious that I almost fly off the Floating Bed when I do this and my husband happened to catch a video of it.  I could listen to that laugh all day.

Remember to enjoy those little moments in life.  They are so precious.  It is so easy to get busy and forget to appreciate and enjoy those moments.

Do you have a favorite sound that can always put a smile on your face?

Gluten Free Coconut Macaroons

I love macaroons, but didn’t like the cup of refined sugar, condensed milk and flour that are in a lot of recipes.  I decided to experiment.  This Coconut Macaroon recipe is delicious, gluten free and can be all natural if you choose all natural products.  You don’t loose flavor though.  They are still delicious!

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Gluten Free Coconut Macaroons
5 cups shredded coconut
5 egg whites
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt

Tips: Obviously unsweetened coconut would be a healthier choice, but the recipe can also be done with sweetened shredded coconut.  Same with the agave nectar, you can use white sugar or honey if you would like.

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1. Preheat over to 325 degrees.

2. Whisk or use a mixer to stiffen the egg whites and salt. Combine the agave nectar and vanilla and fold into the egg whites.  Mix in coconut.

3.  Form mix into balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  (a small ice cream scoop works well too)

4.  Bake until golden brown, roughly 20 minutes depending on size.

5.  Let cool on the cookie sheet completely.

6.  Enjoy!

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For a fun treat I like to make these into bird nests instead of balls.  After they are cooked you can put jelly beans in them for eggs, or if Easter is near a Peeps is always cute.

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The Microwaved Peeps Experiment

I taught my daughter something new today, what happens when you microwave a Peeps?  You know that famous Easter candy that is marshmallow covered in sugar?  You either love them or you hate them, but it is always fun to microwave them :) photo 1

We put the Peep in the microwave for 20 seconds and he got ginormous!  My daughter thought it was the coolest thing ever.  They shrink down in size pretty quick, but still a fun experiment with the kids.  I would recommend experimenting in short time increments in the microwave though since microwaves differ in powers.  No one wants to clean up exploded Peeps from the microwave :)

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Have you ever microwaved a Peep?

Our Visit to “The Discovery”- Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum

On a recent trip to visit my mom we decided to check out a nearby children’s museum that she had heard good things about.  The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum is near downtown Reno, relatively close to the “Biggest Little City in the World” sign.

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My daughter and I love museums and regularly go to them around the country on our travels.  I had no idea what to expect with this museum because I admit, I was slightly skeptical since it was in downtown Reno.

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We had a GREAT time!  It turned out it was also baby animal week, so my daughter loved that.

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The “Nevada Stories” exhibit was a fun look at pioneer life.

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The “Cloud Climber” was HUGE!  I wish I could’ve climbed all the way up in it.  It is 3 stories tall and was in the center of the building.

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Beneath “Cloud Climber” was a water way exhibit called “Truckee Connects”. The Truckee is the local river in the area that flows from Lake Tahoe. In this exhibit the kids can sail down boats and rubber ducks and watch the currents, rapids and dams.

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We had fun in every exhibit.  Camping, building, art, energy and much more were all there in a fun environment for the kids.

To learn more you can visit the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum website here.