2013 “The Happiness Year”

2013 was a Big Year!

In Disney Tokyo, they were calling it “The Happiness Year” because they were celebrating their 30th year of being open… I know someone else who was celebrating their 30th year of being on the Earth. 😉

2013 wedding at Quiet Valley in front of FarmhouseBIG Things Happened here in 2013 too, so here is my “Year in Review” Post where I am going to go through the highlights of my past year… personally, professionally, & food-filled. Lets start with the reason you are probably here visiting my site though: the food!

Some of my most popular recipes of 2012 remained my most popular in 2013. Thank You all for continuing to visit my page, pin/share/tweet/e-mail/facebook my recipes. Be sure to always comment when you find something you like (or any questions/concerns you have as well). Now, without further adieu, The Top 5 Most Popular Posts of the Year are…


Crock Pot Apple Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Apple Butter on a slice of bread


Chocolate Red Wine Cupcakes

 cork n cupcake


Rum Cupcakes with Caramel Rum Frosting

 island cupcake rum


Ginger Peach PopsiclesGinger Peach Ice Pops

AND the #1 most visited recipe of the year…


(for the 3rd year in a row!)

 crock pot apple butter before


On a Personal note, it was a HUGE Year as well!

If you don’t mind I’d like to share the highlights with you as well (and if you do mind, then just stop reading the post at this point, it is 100% completely up to you) 🙂

January – a laid back (wedding-planning-filled) start to the year… Some favorite foods/posts of the month were all filled with veggies: Greek Stuffed Eggplant, Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms & a Greek Roasted Veggie Flatbread

February – I finally found my perfect Wedding Dress, the Students of DeFranco Elementary hosted guests at a Wonderful Leadership Lunch, Bangor Theatre (including almost a dozen of my 5th & 6th graders) performed Annie, and we went on a Chinese New Year Cooking Spree including Baked Eggrolls and Thai Kitchen Homemade General Tso’s Chicken

March – Annual Ski Trip to Mt. Snow with my favorite Big Boulder Ski Area Co-Workers, reunion of past Theater Friends/Family on the Stage where I grew up & got engaged on, Reuben Soup is quickly becoming a yearly tradition after St. Patrick’s Day, AND I turned 30 and went to DISNEY WORLD to celebrate!

Disney2013 march for my 30th

April – just another month (filled with continued Wedding Planning!!!) but I finally posted one of the most-prepared dishes in my kitchen (HUMMUS) and made an instant classic in Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake Bites

May – My Family & Friends threw a Surprise Bridal Shower for me (they had everyone bring gifts unwrapped since I hate ripping wrapping paper and to be more green) and my brother-from-another-mother (Ryan) turned 21 & was the host with the most as he enjoyed whipping up drinks for everyone, we did another DIY test for our Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Wedding Cake (which was no where near as good as the cake my amazing friend Deb ended up making).

June – Our absolutely adorably handsome nephew Carter turned 1 and my Sister-in-Law went above and beyond with an amazing Under the Sea themed Birthday Party for him, my sister-from-another-mister (Jessica) graduated from High School and we celebrated with her. We also did a test run of our centerpieces (which were amazing) and I tried to stay healthy by continuing to do a Smoothie-a-Day for Breakfast.

carter 1st birthday

July WE GOT MARRIED!! We had a beautiful Wedding where I married the Love of my Life at the perfect location (Quiet Valley – the Living Historical Farm where I grew up working)! Although getting married was the big event of the month, we did other things too (like make all sorts of crafts for the wedding like bridesmaids survival gifts and table runners and ring-boxes and natural bug spray on and on, Infused Olive Oils for favors, have a Bachelorette Weekend at the Shore, pack for the Honeymoon, and of course still cook)

FAMILY at wedding at Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm July2013

August – We continued our AMAZING Honeymoon! We started at Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica where we went snorkeling every day, spent some time Scuba Diving, and ate to our hearts delight (all while relaxing – at least by our standards). We then continued to Costa Rica where we traveled the country (during the Rainy Season) and did some hiking, zip-lining, waterfall repelling, touring, rafting, & horse-back riding. Needless to say, after being away from so long we were ready to come home (it was nice to be gone, but it was a long enough trip that we missed our own bed and mostly our dogs)

snorkle at Sandalsscenery around Costa Rica Mountains


September – We had a nice vow renewal on our 6-Week Anniversary for Rich’s Grandmother who was not able to make it to our wedding (it is quite fun to wear your dress again “just because” and we got to get some Family Photos with the Dogs and also us with the Cameras). I made a great snack which could easily be mailed or added into a Care Package: S’Mores Pretzel Bites. It was also Back-to-School for my 6th Year as a Computer Technology Teacher at DeFranco Elementary, a Leader in Me School (I started teaching at BASD the same time that my 5th Graders started Kindergarten), and I made another New Fall Classic for the Crock Pot: Crock Pot Pumpkin Apple Butter

AlbornFAMILY @ Vow Renewal

October – Two fantastic days of Quiet Valley’s Harvest Festival and some fall-hiking around the area (Bushkill Falls in the Fall is pretty darn special, love being local to great gems)! I got really into Halloween with some Spicy Ghost Cookies and easy Chocolate Witch Hats as well as some awesome Caramel Apple Flavors including Martinis and Shakes and Individual Caramel “Apple” Grapes!

November – The “Food-Season” really picked up when my Sister-in-Law Hosted Thanksgiving #1 and then to my Folks two days later to eat some more, we ate Pumpkin all month long, even in our Oatmeal, and I continued the Chocolate Cuteness with some Chocolate Turkeys!

December – My School (DeFranco Elementary) has decided to stick with the amazing Leader in Me Process and we are beginning our work toward trying to become a Lighthouse School! Some Early-December Snow made everything look amazing (until we had 60+ temps a few days before Christmas to ruin it all). I made even more Holiday-Themed Chocolate Treats, this time they were Reese’s Trees, Rich discovered a new favorite cookie in the Oreo Cheesecake Cookie and I kept up the craftiness with Cupcake Ornaments! We also traveled West in search of Gold right after Christmas… ok, maybe not gold but we did head to the San Francisco Area to visit family and Ring in the New Year (all while site seeing in the City, Muir Woods, & Sonoma County Wine tasting).

… what will 2014 bring


2013 food wrap-up


I hope that as you reflect on your year-end you look back on it with all sorts of smiles.

Continue to Eat Well and Live Life to its fullest.

I plan to live 2014 by my personal mission “Today I shall behave as if this is the day I will be Remembered”

life lessons dr-seuss


One Year Ago – 2012, a Year in Review!

And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day Year… How are you Beginning with the End in Mind for 2014 – what goals will you be working toward & what steps do you plan to take in order to reach those goals?


2013 “The Happiness Year” — 4 Comments

  1. Both you and your dress look absolutely beautiful! I miss you lots! I’m super glad you had such a fantastic year. I’m sorry I couldn’t really be in it. 🙁