Thursday, September 13, 2012

Model Perfect?!

So for the past year and a half, my breast cancer has been in remission. Since I've been diagnosed, I've had many opportunities to be honored as a survivor--from Race for the Cure events to being part of an NFL survivor ceremony on the field at a game  I even got to meet Martina McBride last year!  This year, I was planning on laying low and hanging up my pink threads, but then I got a call. There is an organization called the We Believe Foundation.

 It provides financial aid for young survivors who may need help paying for treatment if they don't have insurance.  They help pay for wigs, fertility preservation, and many other things. So every year they host a fundraising  event called "A Night of Pink Hope".  It is a fashion show! They have 25 models, 6 of which are young cancer survivors. Guess who gets to be a model? Now keep in mind I am 5'4" and no where close to being fabulous enough to be a model. Maybe when I was 20ish and in the best shape of my life, but definitely not as a 30 something in my after cancer body and with lymphedema.  I even have to attend Model Boot camp for 4 hours next weekend! Oh goodness! On the plus side,  I get to be fitted by a professional stylist and have my hair and makeup done. Paul Wharton (Real Housewives of DC) will be the emcee for the evening.

I haven't even told you the best part yet! Every year they have a theme for the event. This year's theme is "family". The foundation wants to send the message that it takes a village to help someone battle cancer, and caregivers are just as important as the person diagnosed with cancer. So I get to honor my wonderful mother, my best friend Jenn, and my amazing husband. We will have a professional photo shoot next week together, and then they will use those photos and my information, to retell my story and journey the night of the fashion show. I have never been able to truly thank those closest to me for all they did to help me through chemo, surgery and radiation, so I am tickled pink to be able to do this for them. (Can you tell I taught idioms at school today? Ha!) My best girlfriends are all buying tickets for the event to support me. I am the luckiest girl ever!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Yes, I'm a Cupcake-aholic!

When I was battling cancer, I began baking. I took a cake decorating class and became hooked on cupcakes! Our last hurrah for the summer was my brother's annual Luau Labor Day party. I was quite excited for I got to try out a new cupcake recipe: Butterfinger Cupcakes!

1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
4 eggs
1 cup well mashed  ripe banana
2/3 cup buttermilk
12 fun size Butterfinger bars, cut in half

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt-- whisk together and set aside. In the bowl of a free standing mixer, use the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium low and add in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides when needed. Mix in the mashed banana until well combined. This is key. I did not do this too well, and you could tell. With the mixer on low speed alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing only until just incorporated.Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full. Bake 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool 5  minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack. Before cupcakes cool push half of a Butterfinger bar into the top of each cupcake about 1/2 of an inch down. The bar will begin to melt. Then let cool completely.

For the frosting:
2-8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
 8  tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
 1 cup creamy peanut butter
 6 and 1/2  cups confectioners’ sugar
 2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

To make the frosting, in the bowl of a free standing mixer, use the paddle attachment,  combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth. Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and well blended. Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluffy.

modified from Annie's Eats

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School...whoo hoo!

My first blog post! This past week was our first week back to school. This year I have 24 students in my class, and I am in a brand new classroom. I am so excited! My room is so large and I feel like my students and I don't run into each other anymore. I even have empty cabinets, and that has never happened in my 16 years of teaching!
Here is a peek into my classroom:
Here is the front of my new room with my brand new Smart board! I feel so spoiled:)

My reading group area and cute curtains.
Our classroom library. I found these great baskets with chalkboard labels at Home Goods. Our Student of the Week gets to put his/her book pics for the week in the basket.
 My students are loving it!
Our homework board and computer station.
My favorite part of my new room...a place I call  "The Smith Laboratory." Yes I do have a fridge, microwave, two sinks, and an oven this year! (They moved fifth grade into the old kindergarten rooms).Which also means we have...
cubbies!!! Believe it or not, my students are digging the cubbies, and so am I because it takes them no time to find their things and get seated. Who knew Kindergarten rooms could be so perfect for fifth graders?

It has been good for me to get back into a schedule. My hubby like to joke that he does not care for "School Year Wendy" because she is stressed and always grading papers. He celebrates every year when "Summer Wendy" appears. "Summer Wendy" bakes, cleans more frequently, tries new recipes for dinner, etc. (You can see why he likes her so much ;)