I Ran runDisney Virtually This Year . . . and LOVED It!

So many beloved athletic events have had to change in order to implement COVID restrictions — but don’t let these changes stop you from participating!

I’ll never forget the first time I learned about runDisney. We had just arrived in Orlando and were aboard the Magical Express, making our way to our hotel, when I saw the signs down the side of the highway warning about traffic and road closures for the “Princess Half Marathon Weekend”. The idea that you could run a race IN DisneyWorld filled me with more joy and excitement than you can imagine. 

As soon as we got home from our trip, I began to research these magical races and figure out how I could participate.

It was a few years more (while I recovered from a brain tumour surgery and regained my physical fitness) before I took the leap and signed up for my very first event — the Tinkerbell 10K in Disneyland. While I journeyed to DisneyLand with my family, I was the only one who was going to be running. I will admit, I was a bit nervous, heading to the starting line all by myself. But as I slowly made my way from my hotel to the corrals, I was stunned by the sheer number of people running — and the COSTUMES they were wearing! There was so much to look at that I was kind of glad I was by myself so I could take my time and really look around and soak in the atmosphere.

As the race began and the course took us through backstage areas that guests wouldn’t normally get to see, and then past some amazing scenery (running through Cars Land as the sun rose is something I will never forget), all the while being able to stop and take photos with characters along the way, I was hooked!

Next up was my first Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. This time, I ran with a friend, and we only ran the 1/2 marathon portion. Again, I was blown away by the costumes that everyone was wearing and amazing scenery and characters that we got to see was we ran. But as I crossed the finish line and made my way to the spectator stands to meet my family, I realized that some people were receiving an extra medal! That’s right — for running both the 10K and the 1/2, you also received a Fairy Tale Challenge medal.

The only obvious thing to do was to sign up for the Fairy Tale Challenge the following year. And then, the year after, the 5K as well as the Fairy Tale Challenge. I completed all 3 races in February of 2020.

And then . . . COVID. 

In 2021, the Princess races went virutal. I was preparing to complete all the runs by myself, sad that I wouldn’t be running around Epcot, or through the Castle, that I wouldn’t get see so many amazing runners in their amazing costumes, and that there would be no character sightings. 

But then it hit me. I was home. With my family. Who had never had a chance to experience the fun of actually running a runDisney race (although they were experts at spectating).

And so we all took on the challenge. For the kids, it meant breaking the race up into smaller, achievable distances. But for the Husband and I, it meant powering through the full distances in one go. We cheered each other on, and celebrated our big finishes with a special Disney-themed dinner, while watching our favourite Disney shows.

A few weeks later, the medals arrived in the mail — the kids were so proud to receive tangible evidence of their accomplishment. And to commemorate the achievement, I purchased a medal hanger to display all our new hardware!


From this, a new family COVID tradition was born.

We completed the Wine and Dine Challenge in the fall, the Dopey Challenge this month, and we’re looking forward to the Princess Weekend next month, and the Springtime Surprise Weekend in April.

To be clear, running these events at home is no where near as fun as being in Disney. But running these events, with my whole family, being able to cheer each other on, and share in the excitement of finishing, is certainly something wonderful! And this is why I’m loving these virtual races this year!

Spreading Joy In a Time of Crazy (Or how baking a new kind of cookie was a recipe for family happiness.)

Given what we have all lived through these past two years, I can’t honestly believe I’m writing this but . . . these first few weeks of January have been some of the craziest yet. We have had completely mixed up weather – from having warmer than normal temperatures and now snow, to freezing temperatures and now snow, to freezing temperatures and more snow that we’ve had in a decade – it feels like every day has been an environmental guessing game. But it’s not just the weather that’s making us all scratch our heads. We’ve had two weeks of online school following the Christmas break, and a full month with all activities shuttered due to COVID. Now the kids are back in school, but have to quarantine for 5 days if they, or any of us in the house, have any COVID symptoms, so online school remains a distinct possibility.

All of this uncertainty has been hard for all of us. Well, maybe not so much for the husband who heads down to his office in the basement, a schedule that is unaffected by weather, or stay at home mandates. But the rest of us haven’t been such big fans of it all.

So, as a mom who found herself tied to the house these past few weeks to assist in the running of online school, there was only one thing I could do . . . cook. Besides, in my post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s cleanup of the pantry, I uncovered a not insubstantial amount of baking supplies that really did need to get used up (I excel in over-buying in the event of catastrophes and am currently trying very hard not to overbuy anything right now in the case of a 5 day mandatory quarantine for us all).

And what is more quintessentially motherly than whipping up a fresh batch of homemade cookies?

Well, I couldn’t think of anything, so I got to looking up new recipes. Ok, not so new recipes. I got to looking at every recipe I have saved over the past however many years on Instagram (maybe this should be one of my monthly challenges this year – to cook all the recipes I have saved). But I digress. I looked over the cookie recipes and decided I could wing it, base a new recipe off of tried and true cookie recipes and see what came of it.

The result was a cookie that EVERYONE loved. They loved them as a homework snack, as a post-shovelling refuelling snack, apparently even as a post-breakfast snack (I need to stop storing them on the kitchen counter evidently). Anyway, my point is, these cookies were such a hit that I have been asked to make them weekly, and have also been asked to make them for their teachers and their friends.

I hope you have a chance to make these cookies – and if you can, make them with your kids, your husband, your dog . . . there is NOTHING happier in this whole world than being in the kitchen creating something wonderful with someone you love.


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  • Difficulty: ”easy”</p>
  • Print

These cookies are a real family favourite in our house. We prefer to use Smarties, but feel free to use M&M’s or any other candy coated chocolate treat – I’m sure they would be delicious with Reese Pieces too!


  • 2 sticks / 1 cup butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if you used salted butter)
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cook oats)
  • 1 1/4 cup Smarties
  • 1 bag (just over 1 cup) mini semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (we use the Enjoy Life brand)
  • 1 bag (just over 1 cup) white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown and granulated sugar on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add in the vanilla and the eggs and egg yolk and beat again until everything is well combined. Scrape down the bowl once or twice during this process.
  3. Add in the baking soda, baking powder, flour and oats. Mix again on slow and then medium until these have all been combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix again to ensure everything is well mixed.
  4. Add in the Smarties and chocolate chips and mix again slowly until they are well mixed into the batter.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop or your hands, divide the batter into balls about 1/4cup in size. Place cookies about 2″ apart on a cookie sheet and using the palm of your hand, flatten the balls slightly.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes, then turn the pan and bake for an additional 4 minutes.
  7. ENJOY!

My family’s new favourite cookies!

A Multitude of Small Delights

For the past several years I have chosen a “word of the year”. I started this tradition when I first enrolled in Ali Edward’s “One Little Word” class and have kept up the tradition of choosing the word ever since. This year, I noticed more and more chatter on social media about choosing a word of the year. It seemed everyone from The New York Times to Gretchen Rubin were choosing words. No matter the source, though, it seemed that that everyone who chose a word did so as a way to guide them through the year, which is precisely why I love having a word of the year.

My word last year was “Believe”. I wanted to believe that COVID would come to an end, that life would go back to normal. I wanted to believe in my health, and that I would gracefully cross the 10-year anniversary of my tumour without any recurrences. I wanted to believe in lots of things. But as COVID raged on, I found it harder and harder to connect to my word. Put differently, I found it harder and harder to believe that good things were coming, when every day seemed to bring, if not more bad news, certainly not any good news.

And so, this year, I wanted to find a word that could inspire me to feel good; to “spark joy”. And while I was folding my 1,000th load of laundry late in December, the word came to me: “Delight”.

A multitude of small delights constitute happiness

-Charles Beaudelaire

No matter how bad a day may be going, there is always a way to find some small delight. And the idea that stringing together small delights can create happiness – well, that spoke to me on so many levels given the uncertainty over what 2022 will bring.

Over the past two weeks, I have applied my word in so many different ways. I have found delight in purchasing fresh flowers for myself each Sunday, so I have something beautiful to look at while I work. I have found delight in trying new recipes for the family (sometimes the kids have delighted in these new meals, and sometimes not). I have delighted in reading more, and especially in reading more of the books the kids have been reading. I have delighted in having everyone home, and even in having morning coffee during the work week with the Husband when he would normally be at work. Reminding myself to look for the small delights when I start to feel down about all that is not normal in our lives right now has made a big difference in my outlook on life!

And while I will never be able to eradicate the foreboding I have over what this year will bring (thanks to all things COVID), I am optimistic about the multitude of small delights I know this year will deliver.

What I Read This Week:

  1. LA Weather by Maria Amparo Escandón
  2. How Crafting Saved my Life by Sutton Foster
  3. The Last Super Chef by Chris Negron
  4. The Babysitter’s Club #18: Stacey’s Mistake by Ann M. Martin

What I Cooked This Week:

  1. Roasted Cod and Potatoes – everyone ate this, but no one loved it
  2. Cheesy White Bean Bake – 3/4 of us loved this – will definitely make again
  3. Tomato and White Bean Soup – 3/4 of us loved this as well and will keep this in the soup rotation this winter
Two of my biggest delights in one of the most delightful spots in the world – Mount Cadillac, Maine – watching the sun rise.

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