Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Social

I'm hosting a $15 Sephora gift certificate and mystery box giveaway!! Check one post down, open until next Sunday. LOW entries!! :)" title="Sunday Social">

" alt="Sunday Social" />
Linking up with my girls, Neely and Ashley O, for Suday Social this week! Woohoo!

1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Anything with caramel and pretzel. I love a little salt in my sweet ice cream. Coldstone is my fave because I can load that sucker up. :)

2. What is your favorite smell?  Home Sweet Home candles from Yankee Candle or the smell of a dance recital: hairspray, leather, eye lash glue, rosin and sweat. It's heavenly.

3. What is your favorite TV commercial? Hmm...this is a tough one! This is one of my all time faves:

Ben Roethlisberger's Super Bowl commercial for American Idol

But this one never fails to make me cry:
Count on Carter's

4. What is your favorite day of the week? Monday! My Monday classes are the best.

5. What is your favorite article of clothing? Yoga Pants, hoodies, scarves and boots. Thats pretty much my uniform this time of year. :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

#26acts before I turn 28!

I'm really excited by Ann Curry's #26acts initiative. I think it's wonderful way to give the tiniest, smidge of goodness out of that awful tragedy. I'm trying to get all of my #26acts in before I turn 28 on January 5! It's the best birthday present I can give think about others, do nice things with out expecting anything in return. I truly believe the energy and the "Vibes" if you will that we put out are returned to us. I try to teach my kids every day to show Jesus' love to why not teach by example?

Here's what I've done so far...

1 & 2: Found anonymous donors to pay off two families tuition accounts that were really struggling this month.
3. Left a large tip at the Chinese restaurant when I picked up our take out last night.
4. This giveaway!

You see, I have nothing to celebrate right now as I typically do when I host giveaways. No big milestone, no birthday...just because. I just want to send a little love to another blogger. From me to you. :)

What's up for grabs? A $15 Sephora e-gift certificate and a mystery box of some of my favorite things mailed straight to your door. (That's the random part of this act :))

Want to enter? This giveaway is open until 12-30. I will announce winner on 12-31. Use the Rafflecopter widget below!
 Have fun!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dear Olivia

Olivia Rose Engel, 6, left Sandy Hook Elementary school and joined the angels in Heaven on December 14, 2012.
Born July 18, 2006 at Danbury Hospital to Shannon (Merlino) and Brian Engel, Olivia brought immediate joy to all those around her with her ever-present smile and adorably infectious giggle. Quickly growing from a happy, bouncing baby who clung tightly to her stuffed lamb into an enthusiastic, loving little girl who always wanted to do and see more, Olivia's zest for life began early. With help from her adoring parents, she quickly developed an affinity for all things fun. On any given afternoon, one could just as easily find Olivia twirling in a pink tutu in dance class, developing her swing on the tennis court, kicking the winning soccer goal, drawing, painting and gluing things in art class, or honing her inner songstress in her community musical theater class. The budding swimmer also loved to join her dad or grandpa on their boats, so she could explore the world from the water.
As Olivia continued to grow, she developed a love and affinity for math and reading, arts and crafts, and her parish. Participating in her church's CCD program and leading the family's Grace each evening were sources of great pride for Olivia, as was being a big sister. Ever patient, Olivia took joy in helping her three-year-old brother Brayden explore the world she'd grown to love. This smart, bubbly NY Yankee fan and Daisy Girl Scout would instantly light up a room with her humor, charm, and wit. She was a sweet and appreciative six-year-old with a lot to live for. Her physical loss will deeply be felt every day by those who loved her most, but her sparkly spirit will live on forever.

Olivia Engel Obituary, taken from Legacy.

As soon as the names and pictures were released of the Sandy Hook victims, my mind could not stop thinking about Olivia Engel. I think a lot of us have had one victim stick in our minds. I pray for all the families multiple times a day, but Olivia...she's special. Maybe because her interests and little personality remind me so much of Rory and myself. Maybe for no reason at all. But Olivia Engel is special to me. I had to write to her, pour my heart out a little, put in to words the thoughts my mind has replayed for days now. Pray for the victims and when you do, say their names. They were people, individuals and they deserve that last bit of respect.

Dear Olivia,

My name is Kate...well if we knew each other in "real life," you'd probably call me Miss Kate. That seems to be the only way a 6 year old knows how to address me. :)
On Monday, your name was brought in to my life. I've been praying for you ever since. I can't imagine how scared you were on Friday, how you clung to your friends and how you prayed yourself. Everything I hear about you states how much you loved your church and that, my dear, is amazing! I'm so glad that you are playing and dancing in Heaven with Jesus. I'm sure He was standing there, waiting for you, your friends and teachers to come through the gates. You know, in the Bible it says that when we get to heaven, we won't remember the tears, the pain, the sickness, the bad days...I believe this to be true and that gives me comfort when I think about you.

Olivia, you have changed my life. My mind drifts to your mom and dad so often. It's allowed me to be quicker to anger with my own kids, take a little extra time to do a craft or sing a second song at bed time. In some ways, Olivia, what you went through has reminded me of something I forget all too often: life is short but sweet for certain. (Dave Matthews said that. You would have learned about him and loved him in college...just like every other North Eastern-ner kid I know...myself included. :)) Your mommy and daddy didn't have enough time with you. It's a fact.  A million days with you would not have been enough. You moving on to heaven has reminded me that each day, each hour, each minute with Rory and Trace is a gift. I can't take it for granted. I need to savor each day I am given and tuck it away in my heart.

It's hard to understand what happened. Lots of people are asking why God would allow something so awful to occur. I'm not going to pretend to know the answer. I'm going to chose to learn my lessons from what happened and by doing that, live on. You live on every time I watch my first graders dance in clas. Each time they twirl in their tutus the way you loved to, you live on. You live on when I teach Rory a new song or Trace sits through a church service without crying. You live on every time I choose, purposefully and intentionally, to not take my kids for granted. An extra marshmallow or a few M&M's, coloring time instead of paying bills, a game of hide and seek, a prayer...when I choose joy and choose taking time to make memories, you, tiny dancer, live on.

Look down from heaven at us sometime. I guarantee listening to Rory sing her grace or Trace trashing his room during "naptime" will make you giggle. Give my Grammie a hug for me. Heaven is a wonderful place and I can't wait to meet you there someday. Thank you for changing my life.

Dance on angel!
Love, Kate

Tuesday, December 18, 2012



Monday, December 17, 2012


I want to post something eloquent about the happenings in Connecticut, but I can't wrap my brain around it enough yet to form adequate words. I'm going to choose joy and choose to honor those beautiful children (and adults) by appreciting my children a little extra this week. It's the least I can do, to choose joy and thankfulness over fear and anxiety. If there's anything I've learned in my years as a teacher of sorts, it's that children naturally choose joy and inspire others to do the same. Lesson learned.

That being said...

It's Monday. Life is moving forward, as it always does. Monday means the start of another week. Rory's school is closed already for Christmas break. This week at dance is Bring a Friend week. (I'm literally insane, I know. :)) Tonight I teach a combo class (1st-2nd graders, mostly) and a beginning Acro class (25 kdg-4th graders) and they will almost ALL bring a friend with them. It's pure insanity. The volume alone is just...nuts. But I love it. I really do love it. The energy and excitement is awesome. It helps pass this last week before Christmas a little easier.

Sidebar. When I was pregnant with Rory, I ended up in the hospital with the same thing as Duchess Kate during Bring a Friend week. That was cra-z-ay. My poor mom and Aunt has to step in and cover for me, along with my high school girls.

ANYWAYS. Wow I'm extra jumpy around-ish today.

I've been doing so much better at cooking meals at home lately. We've only had to get pizza one night during the week and that was a beyond nutty day. :)

Here's what my menu for this week looks like:
Monday: Bisquick Chicken and Biscuits
Tuesday: Chicken Spaghetti
Wednesday: Cheese Dreams and Zucchinni Fries (Cheese dreams are the best tuna melts EVER. They are a throw back from my school lunches)
Thursday: Spanish Buns and Green Beans (Another school lunch...I love food from my school cafeteria. It was really good!)
Friday: Sweet and Sour Chicken

For the weekend, I'm hoping to find some good new Crock Pot recipes and maybe a make your own pizza night? I think the kids would get a kick out of adding their own cheese and pepperoni to pizzas. Hmmm...

What have you been cooking lately? Any good recipes to share?


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Feeding my creativity.

Being a dance teacher requires a constant supply of creativitiy.

For example...this year, there are 45 dances in our recital. I'm responsible for choreographing 40 of them. I also have 30 solos, 8 duets, 1 trio and 13 group dances to do for competition. That's 92 dances to choreograph and make each one look unique, different and special.


I also am responsible for set design, program design, tshirt design...if it needs a picture, graphic, layout or idea...I'm in charge. I get input from dancers, but for the most part it's all me.

Having to be creative is straight up difficult at times. I picture my creativity like a gas tank. Reading books, watching movies and dance performances, seeing inspiring artwork or pictures, that all feeds my creativity and fills the tank, if you will. As I work, create, teach each week, I use up some of my supply.

And this time of year, as is often the case, my intake is not matcing up with my output. I can feel myself getting drained. I'm repeating too much in class, feeling my ideas are stale and am ready to change recital music. (Which, by the way, rarely works out. Usually my original decisions is my best decision!)

How do I remedy this situation?

Well this year, thanks to teaching a bunch of Saturday morning sessions, I'm taking myself and Dave for a long weekend to Disney World. It's like the ultimate creativity gas station for me. I understand a lot of people think it's straight up bananas for adults to be in love with Disney the way I am (and Dave too...though he'll never admit it) Think about it this way. In my life, I am constantly outputting creativity. There isn't one day a year where I am not creating some kind of dance. The same way I draw upon my faith and belief in prayer to get through trying times personally, I need the respite and reflection that a trip to somewhere filled with creativity and inspiration brings me. I crave being surrounded by ideas. I crave being surrounded by other big dreamers.

And Disney gives me that. No one there shys away from attempting the impossible and I don't either. Heck last year, my dad and I put a scale model, with a field of depth perception, of a 1920's style town on stage! Big ideas don't scare me. They make me  better. The challenges, the pushing of boundaries...that's life, man. ;)

What inspires you? What feeds your creativity gas tank?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Favorite Christmas Tunes

It's no secret. I love Christmas! I love everything about it. The decorations, hunting for a gift, wrapping presents, the Elf on the Shelf mischief, reading special Christmas stories to the kids, the movies...all of it. The whole season feels warms and inviting to me.

I thought today I'd highlight some of my favorite Christmas songs. Let me know what your faves are and I'll add them to my Christmas playlist! :)

Amy Grant's version of Breath of Heaven

Michael W. Smith's Jingle Bells

Kurt and Blaine's Baby It's Cold Outside
Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Carol of the Bells
What are your favorites?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On my nerves.

Want to know what's getting on my nerves lately?
Okay. If you insist.
Yeah I know these are all first world problems. It's alright, I'm keeping things light.
...Husband and wife joint Facebook accounts. I MEAN HONESTLY. (Not all, just the obnoxious ones...)
...the fact that I have no friends on Snapchat over the age of 17. ADD ME. misskateund It's freaking hilarious!
...having to get gas so often. It seems like all I do is drive anymore. Ugh.
...trying to come up with recipes to cook for dinner every night. Take out should be free. And healthy.
...the fact that Modern Family hasn't been new in a couple weeks. I really look forward to my time with the Dunphys!
...the temperature. Now, during the day time I'm loving the low 50's, high 40's we've been rocking. Fall coats and heavy sweatshirts on the kids are so much better than snow coats but I like to be COLD when I sleep so I can snuggle under blankets. :)
...this dumb cough I can't kick. I may need a perscription soon.
...running out of Diet Coke. Threat Level Midnight.
...insomnia. And my stand by Tylenol PM isn't even helping lately. Melatonin? badly I need a pedicure. Yuck.
...people coming late to dance or not paying tuition. SHOW UP AND PAY ME. Please...?
...the fact that my 2 cousins, aunt and uncle just got home from Hawaii and didn't take me! (lol)
...that this fall has gone so quickly. Please dear God don't let the spring go this fast! I'm not ready!!
What's on your nerves lately?