The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

Early on in 2014 I gave this little challenge to myself – No Sleep Til 30

This was my mindset for my 29th year. The year I would celebrate the closing of perhaps the most important decade of my life. And in fact, my wonderful, glorious friend Kimmy even gave me a lovely journal for my 29th birthday, so I could document all my adventures.

I opened it up yesterday and found this:

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That’s right. NothingBlank. Ugh. I failed.

But, alas. There are two months left! Today marks the 60 day countdown to 30 (things your 16 year old self never expects to say…) Now I’m still not saying that I’m going to be successful in filling the journal. However, it was a kick in the butt to start loving life a lot more and get back to the things that are important.

And you know what else, friends? This week marks the start of the most wonderful time of the year. Red Cup, Peppermint Mocha Season!

You see, this whole blogging thing came about as an experiment. Half to do with my fear of having a blog and then never having anything to write…and half my love for fall and sweet drinks. Put em together and boom. Six years later and here we are.

So here’s the thing I need your help with. The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles isn’t about me. It’s not about filling the world with my opinions and my ramblings. It’s about you and the people you love, and me and the people I love, and a whole lot of people none of us have probably met yet.

It’s about slowing down and taking a deep breath. Smiling. Cherishing the season and the moments (my word for 2014!) It’s about remembering what’s important. Putting people first.

2014 has been a year full of surprises and 2015 is shaping up to top that. But I’m going to do my best not to let my favorite time of the year rush by without me. So let’s do this together. More quiet time. More moments. More laughs. More people.

And a red cup in hand. Who’s with me?

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The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: Happy Blog-iversary.

(You have no idea how long it took me to spell that correctly…it’s actually embarrassing.)

Happy Blog Birthday…A Myriad Life is one year old as of today!

Photo from Pinterest

The good/bad thing about writing your life out online is, well, you can go back and read it. You are forced to look back at the past year and see where you’ve gone, what you’ve done, whether you actually want to see it or not.

This is always a very reflective time for me. Not only is it my blog’s birthday, but my actual birthday is next week, just three little days after New Year’s. It’s a time of much soul-searching. Luckily, I still have another week of holiday vacation with which to do this!

Don’t worry, I will be sharing over the coming weeks. New inspirations and new goals. I don’t do resolutions, but I can feel big things coming in 2013! I’m excited to start the journey with you.

How were your holidays? Here’s a quick snapshot of mine…yummy food, Christmas traditions and snow. We actually got snow! Mom was here all week to enjoy it with me and how thankful I am for that!

Christmas Collage

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: The Nutrcracker.

Saturday was a fantastic day.

I started my morning baking cookies with a dear friend, a tradition we started last year. Always fun to catch up over some sweets!

The afternoon, however, was where the real fun was waiting. This year, Breena and I finally decided it was time to take Eisley to see The Nutrcracker performed by BalletMet. Being a tiny performer herself, Eisley has talked endlessly about Angelina Ballerina for the past couple of years. She even got to take her first dance class last year. So I of course thought it necessary that she see this holiday classic.

There is something magical about seeing art performed live. It could have something to do with the fact that we were in the amazing, historic Ohio Theatre, decked out for Christmas, among hundreds of excited kids dressed to the nines.

Or, it could be something else. It could be the idea that at the core of all of us, is the desire for something beautiful. And art is beautiful. I can’t count how many times Eisley leaned over to me during the show and said “Oooooh, look at how pretty that girl (dancer) is”…it was like each costume was more spectacular than the last one to her. By the end of the day, she couldn’t stop talking about Clara, the lead character. And I couldn’t help but find a sense of great joy and thankfulness…that in light of Friday’s events, I got to spend a few hours with a little girl, where the scariest thing we had to encounter was the Mouse King, and how he was really just a kid with a costume so she didn’t need to be afraid.

I was thankful that I had the opportunity to go with Breena and Eisley and share something that I love so much. I remember watching older dancers when I was little, thinking they were so pretty and perfect and thinking that I could be just like that. And I hope Eisley got that too; the understanding that she too has the opportunity to be beautiful and make magic in her own life and in her own way. Because art ends only with our imagination.

In Eisley’s own words, “That was just too much fun.” And it really was.

And of course, pictures! We are three fashion-loving ladies, so of course we were excited for a reason to dress up. Eisley even got to wear a little make up because it was a special day out.

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With her Clara Christmas tree ornament she got to pick out.

 

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: Guest Spot and a Recipe.

Today it is my pleasure to feature a fabulous lady, Heather Gilbert (she obviously draws her awesomeness from her name.) Heather and I are friends from our days at Otterbein and she writes over at bakingbreak. Earlier this season she told me about her new Peppermint Mocha cookies she was planning to try and of course I wanted to hear all about them! I must say, they look incredible. I can’t way to give them a try. Thanks so much for sharing your joy, Heather!

I  love Peppermint Mocha season. Just seeing those red cups makes me feel all festive. I agree with Heather, this season is all about joy and few things give me as much joy as baking for friends and family. Who doesn’t feel more joyful with Christmas cookies?

So, ‘tis the season for sharing sweets with those you care you about. Just this week I had my first red cup of the season and I’m happy to say, I think I was able to make a cookie that matches the magic of the Peppermint Mocha. You’ll be the talk of the cookie exchange with these and I hope this recipe helps you spread a little bit of joy to you and yours.

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp instant espresso
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao chips)
1 cup Peppermint Crunch Andes Mints Baking Chips (I found these at World Market)

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Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugar together, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, espresso, baking powder and salt.

Add dry ingredients to wet gradually and fold in the chocolate chips and Andes Mints.

Drop tablespoons of dough onto parchment paper lined sheet trays and bake for 12 minutes. Enjoy!

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It’s December! (Really?!?)

It came up so quickly that I actually didn’t even realize it was starting yesterday! Hence, we are a day late…

We are officially into the holiday craze. I can’t even believe that in less than 31 days, 2012 will be over. How did that happen??? November was a good month but it seemed to go by in a flash. Let’s recap…

Stef and Matt got married. And yes, that’s a fire truck. We’ve now had two consecutive weddings set off the fire alarm. Nothing like evacuating the entire hotel!

Stef and Matt

We had a little girls day out. You can read more about that adventure here.

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FRIENDS THANKSGIVING!

This is the prep the night before…

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And this is the result…Chuck 2.0! We eat well around here.

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I also had Thanksgiving at home which included our annual tradition of  the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo. And of course, plenty of decorating for the holidays!

Things to look forward to in December…

– Plenty more Peppermint Mocha dates with good friends
– So much food! We have three holidays parties just at work alone. So much celebrating.
– Two weeks of holiday break. You heard that right. Such a blessing at my job.
– Momma comes to visit for Christmas!
– Zoo lights, The Nutcracker, baking days…just so much good time with good people.

What about you? What is your favorite part of December?

The Peppermint Mocha Chronicles: My New Favorite Thing.

And before you get excited…no this is not like Oprah’s Favorite Things. Though I wish I could give you each a copy!

My new favorite thing is a book by photographer Jordan Matter called Dancers Among Us. It is literally 229 pages of joy in everyday life (goes with the PM theme, right?!)

In the artist’s introduction, Matter states:

” What happens to this enthusiasm, this ability to be wholly present in the moment? Why are these pure moments of passion so often replaced with cynicism, boredom, and indifference? As I played with my son, I thought about creating photographs that would show the world as if through his eyes. The people in the images would be alive and in the moment, celebrating all aspects and emotions of everyday life.”

What does happen? How do we get so caught up in doing, that we forget to look around and just be? As I read through the book, (yes I sat down and read/looked at each and every single page in one sitting), I found myself finding a peace that I had been missing the past week or two. The pictures did make me want to celebrate the everyday little moments. We’re alive, we have emotions and we’re meant to embrace all of it!

And the photographs really do just bring you pure joy. Of course, I have a passion for all things dance, but beyond that, they show you real life and how it could look if we’d let our imaginations play out.

Life really can be a playground, it doesn’t have to be so serious all the time, you just have to know where to look. While we’re taking this holiday season to be present, I wonder if you’ll notice any of these magical moments. Let’s try?

Photo by Jordan Matter. http://www.dancersamongus.com

Photo by Jordan Matter. http://www.dancersamongus.com

Photo by Jordan Matter. http://www.dancersamongus.com