Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Introducing Me!

I am a teacher in an elementary school, at least for one more year. Who knows what next year holds! I got married and just bought a new house in 2005. So far, life is grand!

Here are a few goals that I would love to accomplish, hopefully sometime before I die:
  • Travel the world! I'd love to see: the Philippines, the Pyramids of Egypt, Australia, and so many other places!
  • Read as many great books as I can get my hands on.
  • Get to know my family better. Hello? Is anyone out there? :-)
  • Have time to write...really write!
  • Scrapbook the greatest memories of my life...making up a few if needed.
  • Be comfortable in my own skin! I once heard it was possible!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Running and I are Having a Little Tiff

So have you seen those New Balance commercials about running -- the ones that talk about the love/hate relationship we have with running?

Yeah... running and I, we're kind of not liking each other right now. In terms of the whole love/hate thing, I'm kind of on the love side less and less. In fact, I'm thinking that we might be seeing other people for awhile.

What can I say? After getting back from my vacay from Hawaii, I have had such a hard time getting back into it. I've had some super hard runs. At first it was just hard reconditioning my body, but then I got wicked sick on a few of my long runs. I went out to run 10 and 12 milers and while I completed the 10, I had to cut the 12 miler 1/2 mile short. You're probably thinking, "Oh come on! Why didn't she go the full 12? What's another 1/2 mile?!" No, let me just tell you that while it was only 65 degrees when I started, by the time I hit mile 11, it was 85 degrees, no shade in sight, I was out of water, my arms started tingling and I felt like I was going to pass out! I will spare you the details, but let's just say that I was out totally out of commission for the next 6-7 hours after that run. I mean seriously -- I think I had heat exhaustion or something! While that was probably more my fault, I was seriously not loving the long run that day. To top that off, my feet and knees have started hurting again. After I got back from HI, they were 1000x better than before, but now the pain is creeping back. WAAAAH! Running is just kicking my butt!

So anyway, I have my first ever half marathon coming up this weekend. When I first started training 7 long months ago, I set a time goal of under 2 hours. Yeah, I have since modified that to finishing without walking! I am even scared now that I won't be able to do that! I really think though that I'll be able to do it. I mean, I have completed a 12 miler and an 11.5 miler without walking, so 13.1 should be doable. I think having a crowd of other runners around me will be a big help too. That last 12 miler attempt though is playing with my psyche. I'm just going to have to put it out of my mind come race day.

So then I started thinking, I've been training 7 months for this one race coming up on Sunday. What happens after the race? I hate to totally quit all that I've done. I've gotten into such a habit of going out for a long run on Saturday, I'd like to keep that up. I think I'd like to go running on a few weekdays too, but I don't want to be too strict. I'll run when I feel up to it, and I'll leave all the gadgets at home. No more mapping, no more logging, no more mandatory speedwork... just running to run. I need to simplify our relationship -- I think it might be the only way to salvage it!

I'm Officially a Half Marathoner!

Well, after 7 months, 400+ miles, a few injuries, and countless hours of training, I'm proud to say that I am an official half marathoner! I still remember early in my training when I went out for a 4 mile run and could not even complete it. I stopped at 3.6 and later wrote in my journal -- "Just getting to 4 is so hard! How will I EVER get to 13.1?!" I was so discouraged! I didn't let it get me down for too long though. The next week, I went out and tried again, and I accomplished it! And each week after that, I built on just half a mile at a time and before I knew it, I was hitting double digits! I had a few injuries and a vacation that caused me to take an occasional hiatus from my training, but all in all, I stuck with it as best I could. And today, it all came together.

Back when I originally started training and racing, I set the goal to run my half in under 2 hours. After those injuries and the 3 weeks I took off while on vacation, I realized that a sub-2 hour mary was not likely in my future. I adjusted my goal time based on my recent training runs to about 2:10. I secretly set a more hopeful goal of 2:05.

Well last night, I was so nervous/excited, I could hardly contain myself! Luckily, I was able to get some sleep and got up feeling pretty good. My DH and I headed to the race venue as I munched on a PB&J and a banana. Once we arrived, I was pleased to see how perfect the weather was for running. The skies were overcast, shielding the energy draining (at least for me!) rays of the sun, and the air was nice and cool -- maybe 60 degrees. PERFECT! Soon, the race started. I tried to remind myself not to go out too fast, to run my own race. My pace was feeling pretty good though, and much of the race was downhill, so I figured that I would just listen to my body and go with it. I hit mile 1 at a sub-9 pace and thought, "Hmmm, I better slow a little." I then hit mile 2 at around the same time but I was feeling great, so I figured I would take the next big downhill at that pace and then slow up if need be. Well, to make a long story short, I felt pretty fantastic from miles 1-8 (despite the driving rain that started around mile 3 and never let up.) Once I saw my time at mile 8, I started to realize that if I could maintain this sub-9 pace, I could actually reach my original goal of a sub-2 hour race! I maintained the best I could and met my new goal time at mile 9. When I hit mile 10, I saw my time was exactly 1 hour 30 minutes. I figured, all I had to do then was run another 5K in under 30 minutes to meet the goal that I had previously thought was out of reach! I couldn't believe this was happening! I tried my best to pick up the pace and at mile 11, I was pleased to see that I still had 20+ minutes to run just 2.1 miles! I was getting so pumped! At mile 12, I saw that it was only about 1 hour, 48 minutes! I could run a 10 minute last mile and still make it under 2 hours! WHOA! Well, I tried my best not to dog it though and tried to really push it in, even as exhausted as my legs were getting. I looked down at my Garmin which had been completely accurate thus far and when I saw 12.9 miles, I started to sprint. (Now, when you have already run 12.9 miles, "sprint" is kind of a relative term! LOL!) Anyhow, after really giving it all I had, I looked up and thought, "Surely I should be able to see the finish by now... where is it?!" I looked back down at my Garmin and it said 13.1. WHA?! I looked back up and finally saw the finish line, but it was still a bit ahead of me. I figured, "Oh, who cares... just keep running your butt off! 7 months of training -- don't dog it now!" So I kept pushing and crossed the line at... 1 hour 58 minutes 47 seconds. WOO HOO! I had made my original goal with over a minute to spare! Oh yea! (Oh, and by the way, my Garmin had a final distance of 13.27... oh well!)

I was so totally excited... and exhausted! I really felt like I totally put everything out there and really enjoyed the whole experience. After I finally caught up with DH, all I could say was, "I did it! I did it!" He was so happy for me too. After we walked to the car and I finally got to stretch, I started thinking about all that I had done to get to that point. I actually started to cry a little! I was so happy to have accomplished my half mary. It was an awesome experience! Thanks to everyone who has helped and encouraged me along the way! I couldn't have done it without you! And I'm not done yet either. I'm not sure yet what's in my running future, but I know it's not over!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Trying to Revive My Scrapbook Vibe

I looked through scrapbook items and old projects for inspiration. I thought I'd share a few more. Here is a box/purse I altered to hold birthday cards I made ealier this year. I choose patterned paper that would match the green/purple theme in my scrapbook room. (Yes, that's right, my scrapbook room. What can I say? We have 4 bdr house and just my husband and I living in far.) I also altered a T and an M for practice before doing the DREAM letters for the guest room. I'm not crazy about them, but I decided to keep them anyhow. At the very least, they match the room! Here they are...

Hopefully I'll have more projects to share soon!

In Need of Some Good Health Vibes!

I think I jinxed myself. My husband recently came down with a really bad case of sinusitis and I kept bragging about how I never get sick and how I'm so surprised I haven't come down with anything yet. Well, I can say that no more! After my run yesterday, my throat started getting really sore. I started to feel worse and worse as the day wore on. I ended up going to bed at 9:30! I've been taking medicine all day, but my throat still feels completely raw and my head is starting to get congested. OH NO -- and my first race back is in just a few days! I need some serious good health vibes sent my way! PLEASE?!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I Did It! My First 5K Race Report

Okay, so it's not my first 5K race EVER, but it is my first in a long time. I think my last one was in ... 2002 or 2003! Anyhow, if you want the short version here goes: I was hoping for a time under 27:30 and I finished in 26:30! I'm pretty happy with that! If you want the crazy long details, read on!

The race I ran was the Twinsburg Bogsucker Strut. There were very few people there (maybe 35,) but that was fine with me -- less competition = a better chance of me winning something! :-) After I checked in, I looked to find a course map. It was just as I had feared -- a somewhat hilly course! I've done next to no hill work, so this was making me nervous. Oh well, too late for that! As the day started, there was pretty thick fog. As race time approached, much of it had lifted, but it was still pretty hazy. As I stepped up to the race line, I was getting butterflies in my stomach. I couldn't stand still -- I kept hopping around. Finally, the siren sounded and we were off. The race was downhill much of the first half so I took advantage and let my legs carry me down the hills. I kept thinking, "Boy, I hope I'm not going too fast! I've got to save some for the end!" Pace was my biggest worry going into this thing. Anyway, I get to the 1st mile marker and I heard my time -- 8:08. Whoa / uh-oh! That's way faster than I had planned on, but I was running on a downhill. I thought, "Well, I'll just do the best I can to maintain my effort." As the course evened out, I started to get discouraged that I was further back in the pack than I would have liked. I kept reminding myself of all the advice I've heard the past few day: Don't worry about anyone else -- run your own race! So that's exactly what I did. When I approached the 2 mile mark, I heard my time: 16:55. I thought GREAT! Even if I run my last mile in 10 minutes, I will still beat my goal time of 27:30...then I remembered that the last mile is all uphill! As soon as I approached that hill, I started to get SO tired! I even had thoughts of walking it! I had a little lazy devil whispering in my ear, "Nobody will see you if you want to walk a little!" But in the other ear, my running angel, "You can do it! Don't quit now! Remember -- just a 10 minute mile and you'll reach your goal! You've run farther than this!" Luckily the angel won and not only did I run that hill, but I picked up pace along the way (at least I felt like it!) My Nike+iPod telling me that I was just 800, then 400 meters to the finish surely helped too! Finally, I made the last turn and headed to the finish line. Those last 400 meters were the hardest! As I got closer to the finish line, I keep squinting to see the clock. The earliest I could see it, it said 26:12...13...14... I thought, "OMG, I can make it in 26:30 -- hurry! I tried to turn it on as much as I could, but there wasn't much left in me. I think I came in at right at 26:30. I am pretty happy! To top that off, I ended up winning first in my age group and got a cool medal! Now sure, there may have been just one other person in my age group I think, but shhhh -- don't tell! :-)

So there you have it -- my first race back! My next race is another 5K, the Tallmadge Memorial 5K on May 26th. That's in 10 weeks! Here are my goals and things to work on:

Goal time: as close to 26:00 as possible (Do you think that is reasonable?)

Things to work on: (1) hills, (2) a finishing kick, (3) increasing LSD for 10K and half-marathon! Can't forget about those! :-) Any other suggestions?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cards for Heroes -- Check it Out!

So I ran across this program that a couple of people on a message board I frequent are involved in and I thought it was really cool. It's called Cards for Heroes and basically, what they do is collect blank greeting cards and send them over to the troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Korea. It's not like the soldiers there get a chance to stop at their local Hallmark when they want to send a card home, so instead, they are able to use the cards they receive from people like you and me! Cards can be handmade or store bought -- doesn't matter! They are happy to receive anything that they can then use to send their loved ones a special note. Since I've been making so many cards lately, I plan on making an extra few every time to send over. Check out the site by clicking HERE -- maybe you can help in some way too!

New Cross Training DVDs

If you read an earlier post, I tried a pilates VHS tape earlier this week with um...not much success. It was kind of a pain fastfowarding and rewinding to where I wanted to get anyways. So today, I took a trip to Target (my favorite store!) and picked up two new workout DVDs. Here's a little review!

The first one is Yoga Conditioning for Athletes by Rodney Yee. If you're not familiar with yoga, Rodney Yee has put out a least a dozen DVDs and they are all pretty good! This one is supposedly targeted for athletes with one general workout that's about 45 minutes long, and then 5 short 10 minute workouts for various sports, one of which is running! I got a little bored this evening, so I decided to give it a try a little earlier than I had planned. Some parts focus on toning muscles, but it's mostly stretching, but that's just what I need right now. There's a little meditation too at the end which at first I kind of chuckled at. I think they lie on the ground meditating for maybe the last 5 minutes of the video. I thought, "this is my kind of workout!" Once I actually got to that part of the video though, I found those last few minutes very relaxing and a great opportunity to focus my mind. I like! I think this DVD will be PERFECT after those long weekend runs!

This other video is quite the opposite. It's by The Firm and it's the Total Body Time-Crunch. I haven't tried it yet, but I can tell it's already going to kick my butt! I've never tried videos by The Firm, but I guess this one follows the others in that the workouts are a combo of cardio and strength training. While the yoga workout is very slow, controlled, and relaxed, this one is high energy, moving every second! I just hope I can keep up with it! I plan on doing this one on Thursdays, the day after my speed workout. I usually have a rest day Friday, so that'll be perfect! I don't know if I'll do it this Thursday since I'm planning to do my long run on Friday instead of Saturday. (The weather for Sat is not looking great.) I'll let you know how it is though once I try it!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In Honor of Holloween: A Ghostly Tale

The Fifty-Cent Piece
retold byS. E. Schlosser
Listen to the story (4 mb download)

There is a story told in Troy and Albany about a couple returning home from a trip to New England. They were driving home in a carriage, and were somewhere near Spiegletown when the light failed and they knew they would have to seek shelter for the night.

The husband spied a light through the trees and turned their horse into a small lane leading up a hill. A pleasant little house stood at the crest, and an old man and his wife met the couple at the door. They were in nightclothes and were obviously about to turn in, but they welcomed the travelers and offered them a room. The old woman bustled about making tea and offering freshly-baked cakes. Then the travelers were shown to their room. The husband wanted to pay the old couple for their lodgings, but the old lady shook her head and the old man refused any payment for such a small service to their fellow New Yorkers.

The travelers awoke early and tiptoed out of the house, leaving a shiny fifty-cent coin in the center of the kitchen table where the old couple could not miss it. The husband hitched up the horse and they went a few miles before they broke their fast at a little restaurant in Spiegletown.

The husband mentioned the nice old couple to the owner of the restaurant and the man turned pale.

"Where did you say that house was?" he asked. The husband described the location in detail.

"You must be mistaken," said the restaurant owner. "That house was destroyed three years ago by a fire that killed the Brown family."

"I don't believe it," the husband said flatly. "Mr. and Mrs. Brown were alive and well last night."

After debating for a few more minutes, the couple and the restaurant owner drove the carriage back out of town towards the old Brown place. They turned into the lane, which was overgrown with weeds, and climbed the hill to the crest. There they found a burned out shell of a house that had obviously not sheltered anyone for a long time.

"I must have missed the track," said the husband. And then his wife gave a terrified scream and fainted into his arms. As he caught her, the husband looked into the ruin and saw a burnt table with a shiny fifty-cent piece lying in the center.

Keep Em' on A Leash!

I was supposed to do a speedwork run today but couldn't use the track since it was still covered with snow. I tried to do it on the trail, but it was tricky. I wasn't feel all that good either, so that didn't help. What really tripped me up was a couple of Fidos! Now don't get me wrong -- I really do like dogs, but if your walking your dog on a trail, it should be on a leash. Here's why: I come running down the trail trying my hardest to maintain my 4 minute 800 meter pace, (which by the way, is torturous in itself at this point in running plan) when I see two dogs and their owner up ahead. I notice the dogs aren't on their leash, but I think, "Well, if the owner trusts the dogs to be off their leash, they must be pretty good." But then as I approach even closer I think, "Hmmmm, me running...ferocious beasts loose...not a good combo." Actually they weren't that ferocious -- more like insanely hyperactive. So anyway, I try to maintain my pace as one of the dogs comes straight for me! I kiddingly say, "Oh, hello there!" and try to make my way around as the owner is just yelling at his dog. Then when I pass the dog and think that he is gone, he runs right in between my legs nearly knocking me over! HELLO?! And to think, I'm actually worried at this point that I stepped on the dog's paw and am concerned that IT'S okay! Does the owner care about me though? Yeah, not so much! Grrrr. I shrug it off though and continue on my way.

Well, when I finish my run, I stop at the pavilion by the trail end to stretch and to wait for the other girl I went running with. Apparently, she too had a run in with the overzealous canines! One dog jumped on my friend who had headphones on, got caught on the cord and nearly ripped them off her head. Yikes! Keep these pups under control!

On a more positive note, my students pointed out today that we are now in the 4th quarter -- less than 45 school days until SUMMER! What's even better is that after looking at the calendar, I realized that after next week, I have Spring Break. Yea #1. After Spring Break, there are 4 weeks until Ohio Achievement Test time. As stressful as those weeks will be, they will fly by with all of the work we have to fit in. That's good! Yea #2. After the OATs, we can FINALLY relax and I can teach fun stuff! Yea #3. I only have a few weeks to do that though because we have to start getting ready for 6th grade camp! (Yes, that's right. We take 300 12 year-olds and set them loose in the wilderness. Oh yeah -- and we go too! The camp is located on Lake Erie though, which I LOVE!) Yea #4. The very next week, I go on a field trip to Michigan to help chaperon for two days. It's a fun trip and being outside of the classroom is a nice change. Yea #5. And here comes the best -- after the Michigan trip, only 2 days of school left! We started the school year early, which means we finish early! We are finished May 30th! Yea #6-100! Hopefully I'll have a job for next year to look forward to. :-)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Goals Revised

Okay, so the excitement of my last race is starting to wane. I am looking at my goals for my next race and have decided to revise. While I think I can still try for the time goal of running my first 10K in under 54:00, I'm going to go a little more conservative and say that I'd still be pretty happy with a time in the 55s or less. While I hope that'll be enough to place, the bottom line is, placing can't be part of my goal. The only thing I can control is my own training and how well I perform on race day. I can't do anything about the number of runners who show up or how fast they may be. I could run a 52 minute 10K and it may be #1 or it could be #100, it just depends on who else shows up! So, I need to let the dream go a little and refocus on just keeping a time goal. If I do end up placing, well, that's just a bonus.

Also, I have to remind myself that as fun as these races can be, the main reason I am running them is to keep on track with my half marathon training. My original goal in running the 10K was to get as close to 55 as possible, seeing as how that would get me close to my goal of running a 2 hour or less half mary. Obviously, the lower in the 50s (or maybe even 40s, dare I say?) that I can get, the better my 2 hour or less half mary looks, but I have plenty of time to get there. The 10K I'm talking about here is 12 weeks away from my half mary! I have plenty of time to work on it and get faster!

On a different note, tomorrow is my last day of school. While I will miss seeing my students, I am looking forward to having some time this summer to do some other things. I definitely want to reorganize parts of the house and finish decorating. There are still some rooms we have yet to finish painting and we've been living here 3 years now! I have some reading to catch up on and friends I haven't seen in way too long! I also look forward to being able to run whenever I want to. Some days, it's so hard to squeeze it in. It'll be nice to really have the time and energy to focus on my training. Then of course, there'll be those days where I just lounge on my back deck soaking in the rays! Summer, here I come!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vacay Report Days 2-3: Turtles, Lava, & Petroglyphs

We've had a lot of awesome memories packed into the last 2 days. Here's what we've been up to!

Before heading to check of the ongoing lava flow yesterday, my DH and I decided to hang out on the beach and do a little snorkeling. We weren't sure what to expect, but we were told that some people had seen sea turtles in the recent days. I was super psyched! We strapped on the gear and headed out. I had my waterproof camera with me and started snapping pics of all the coral and the cool fish I saw. It was amazing. Then out of nowhere, I saw this huge rock like thing starting to move. I was like, "What the?!" Then I realized, it was a turtle! I swam over to it asap and was just amazed at how beautiful it was! I started taking pics like crazy! It was just hanging out munching on some algae. As it floated along, I tried to follow it to get more pics. My husband said I was like the paparazzi! I ended up seeing a few more that morning... It just so awesome to see such beautiful, peaceful creatures in their natural environment! Here's a pic of a turtle eating algae off one of the piers.

Later that day, my husband and I took an evening tour to see the volcano and its spewing lava. The journey there was a little treacherous. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive to the site, which included some uhhh, interesting side trips. Our tour guide Jana, decided to take a scenic route which led us down a cinder "road". And by "road," I mean a cinder path through crazy thick jungle-like vegetation with insano ditches that sent us flying up out of our seats just about every 3 seconds. This was a fabulous experience to add on to the motion sickness I was already experiencing. Anyhow, Jana told us that most of the people who live in this area are either hippies or people trying to escape the law. Yikes! She said that it's a good hiding place for outlaws since the houses are hard to see through the thick vegetation. Uhhhh, should we be here then? And how do you know about this place?! Anyway, after some crazy detours, we made a stop at a macadamia nut farm. That was pretty cool. After stopping for some eats, we finally headed down to the volcano site. It was insane to see how the previous flows already affected the land. It was like we were on another planet! But then out of nowhere, we saw these houses plopped down right over the hardened lava! I guess those people lived there before and decided to reclaim their land despite the lava. Pretty wild! I was hoping to get some pics, but we were still driving so I wasn't able to. Anyhow, once we parked, we had to hike a little over the lava flow. It was actually easier than I thought. Then, once we got to the end of the path, my DH and I were able to see one of the most awesome sites we'll probably ever see in our lives! Here is a pretty crude pic...

We had trouble getting awesome pics since we didn't have a good zoom lens, but oh well. Just seeing it ourselves was phenomenal... a true testament to mother earth's power.

Today we just kind of hung out around town. We had planned on driving to Hilo, but after all the crazy driving from the day before, my stomach wasn't ready to take on another day of sickening driving. We ended up going to Kona instead which was just 30 minutes away. We checked out a Kona coffee farm and sampled some different coffees. One thing that actually caught my eye while we were there was a few of the wild mango trees that were growing in the parking lot. Now this caught my eyes because I seriously love mangoes! I mean, I pink puffy heart mangoes! I rarely buy them though because they are so $$ where I live. And to see them here just growing wherever... wild!

Now here is where things get really bad... you might want to skip down the next paragraph... After taking a pic of the tree, I looked down in the parking lot and saw a most egregious crime. Some of the mangoes had fallen off the tree, and instead of someone running after the mangoes, cradling them in their hands, brushing the harsh dirt off and carrying them into their loving kitchen, the poor mangoes were... run over by cars! Oh the horror! If you have a weak stomach, you might want to avert your eyes from the following crime scene photo.

***Drying tears*** Okay, onto more uplifting things... After that we headed back to our hotel, and then went on a little hike. We checked out this path called "The King's Path". I guess way back when, one of the kings had a path build that connected the major cities on the island. Much of the path still remains, but along the path, are these images carved in stone called petroglyphs. What was really fascinating is that I guess nobody really knows what these images mean. On one of plaques, it said that many of the natives told the explorers what they mean, but many of the explanations were conflicting. They now believe that the natives likely told the explorers many different things in an attempt to hide their true, secret meaning. What do you think they signify?

After our hike, we headed to Roy's, a local restaurant. It was crazy $$, but pretty good. We were just excited to get semi-dressed up and try some different foods.

Well, that concludes days 2-3. Tomorrow we have nothing planned but a little snorkeling and laying by the pool. We might do a little shopping as well. Should be a nice, relaxing day. To finish off, here's a pic of DH and I before heading out to dinner. (While I do like this pic, I will admit that is a shameless attempt at getting one last pic in of my awesome shoes -- love 'em!)

Pie Dough and I Are Friends Now

So one of my first Tuesdays with Dorie experiences was to make a double crusted blueberry pie. I tried to make my own pie crust and it was a NIGHTMARE! Well, after many recommendations and a few trials, I have found the easiest pie crust EVAH! I found this recipe on Allrecipes for a pie crust made with just butter, flour and cream cheese! I was a little hesitant since it is totally different than any pie crust I've ever made -- no cutting in of the fats and no adding of water. All you do is blend some cream cheese and butter then add in the flour. It seemed too easy! I figured it was worth a try if it did work out, so I decided to head out to pick up some ingredients. While at Walmart, I went over the dairy section to pick up some cream cheese, and I found this:

It said on the package that it bakes like cream cheese, so I decided to try this hopefully healthier alternative. Once I got it home, I whipped up the dough in a breeze! I altered the original recipe a little based on reviewer recommendations:

-1 stick butter, softened but still cold
-1/2 package cream cheese, softened but still cold
-1 1/2 cup flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 Tablespoon sugar (for sweet pie dough, omit sugar for savory dough)
-1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1. Using a hand mixer, mix butter and cream cheese.
2. Whisk flour, salt, sugar (if using) and baking powder. Slowly incorporate into butter/cream cheese mixture.
3. Dump mixture into plastic wrap. Mold and flatten into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling out to use.

This dough was seriously easy -- the easiest I had ever made. I loved not having to cut up frozen butter, pull out my food processor, or have to guess at how much ice water to add. This dough seriously took less than 5 minutes to make -- more like 3 minutes. Love that! But would it bake nicely? I made a savory recipe (chicken pot pie) and a sweet one (strawberry rhubarb pie) to test it out.

Here is the chicken pot pie...

And here is the strawberry rhubarb pie. (Can you believe my local Walmart had fresh rhubarb in the produce section this week?! I had to make this pie as one last summer fling! And what a fling it was -- YUM!)

I am so pumped with how these came out. Seriously yum! This will easily be my go-to pie dough recipe. Way too easy and oh so tasty!