24 is Looking Pretty Good

Good Morning! I’m coming at you today officially one year older ;)

I started my morning off in typical Sunday fashion. Woke up around 6:30 and made a fresh pot of coffee for Nathan and I, got his breakfast ready, we talked over steaming mugs of Jamaican Me Crazy coffee and then off to church/work he went. I on the other hand laced up my Brooks, leashed up my energetic pup and out the door we went for our morning run. After completing 3 miles I headed into my “workout room” (it’s a work in progress) and did 15 minutes of strength training/lifting free weights.

Now, I’m eating my breakfast of scrambled eggs and a banana with natural PB and then it’ll be off to church for me too! I can’t wait to be home this afternoon to relax with a good book and some soup. The temperatures are dipping here in San Antonio and I am loving the hint of fall in the air, it makes everything feel more cozy! :)

Backing up to last weekend, Nathan and I decided to head over to a water park in the area on Saturday!

Schlitterbahn for the day!

Schlitterbahn for the day! ( I didn’t take my camera into the park)

Nathan also surprised my by giving me some early birthday gifts that day too! Excuse the sweaty attire, this picture was taken post run. I got some of my all time favorite coffee Jamaican Me crazy along with an Ipad Air! Later, we got all cleaned up and went out for my birthday dinner! We tried a new sushi place called Piranha Killer Sushi and it was incredible!

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photo bday

The next day we continued the celebration by going to another favorite seafood restaurant, the infamous Fish City Grill. I know we go here all the time but its honestly just too good not to!

So delish. There was even some Cheesecake Factory -Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake for dessert! yumm.

So delish. There was even some Cheesecake Factory -Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake for dessert! yumm.

He always does such a great job of making me feel so loved on my birthday. <3

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On a different note, I have been killing it with meal planning lately. Knowing how unrelenting our schedules are lately I know that I need to have lunches, snacks, and dinners easy and ready to go. So, last Sunday I made a giant batch of homemade chicken noodle soup for us to take in our lunches throughout the week. Soup is such an easy lunch, I usually pair it with an apple and some nuts or a granola bar and I’m all set.

Chicken soup for daysss

Chicken soup for daysss

I also made a pan of ground turkey meatloaf with zucchini and BBQ sauce. It was a great option for Nathan to take in for lunches because he needs more meat and sustenance in his meals.

Meatloaf is so hard to photograph

Meatloaf is so hard to photograph.

I also have a fun little recipient to share with all my ice cream lovers out there! I have been making homemade peach and banana soft serve lately and it is so delicious, healthy, and a great substitute for most calorie laden ice creams.

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These are some guilt free indulgences that you may want to try the next time that late night ice cream craving strikes!

Banana Soft Serve:

*1.5 frozen bananas slightly thawed*1tsp. vanilla extract* 2tbs. cream (May need to add more depending on desired consistency)* 1/2 cup of ice.

*Combine all ingredients into a food processor, I use my magic Bullet, and blend off and on for 3 minutes or until desired ice cream consistency. Enjoy!

Peach Soft Serve:

*2 fresh peaches chopped  *1tsp. vanilla extract* 2tbs. cream(May need to add more depending on desired consistency)* 2/3 cup of ice.

*Combine all ingredients into a food processor, I use my magic Bullet, and blend off and on for 3 minutes or until desired ice cream consistency. Enjoy!

I am seriously obsessed with these easy, creamy recipes!

I will leave you with this funny photo of Nathan and I at the ice skating rink with the youth group yesterday. Our height difference always makes me chuckle and with skates on, he’s even taller.

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Okay, that’s enough for one post! I’m off to get my worship on! Have an awesome Sunday!

Lauren <3

What’s Been Happening Lately

Isn’t it amazing how quickly time passes? Last time I sat down to type a blog post it was July, and now here we are on the last day of August.

First day back to teaching after a glorious summer break!

First day back to teaching after a glorious summer break!

The end of summer is an extremely busy season for Nathan and I. Since my last post we’ve had a week of summer camp, my family here for a vacation, two weeks of teacher in-service, school starting up, Nathan preaching in main service, staff retreats, youth events, and last week my good friend lost her dad unexpectedly. I feel as though I’m just starting to slow down and reflect on all that the month of August entailed.

Summer Camp-2014-Thirst

Summer Camp-2014-Thirst

Sisters! <3

Sisters! <3

We showed the family some of our newer favorite restaurants.

We showed the family some of our newer favorite restaurants.

Hanging out at the pool and play some tennis matches.

Hanging out at the pool and play some tennis matches.

Family iron chef competition. Guess who won it all? ;)

Family iron chef competition. The secret ingredient was peanut butter. Guess who won it all? ;)

Early morning runs starting back up and a side of lesson planning ;)

Early morning runs starting back up and a side of lesson planning.

Before heading off to church this morning to hear my wonderful husband being the Word, I got in a 3 mile run and core work, then hopped down to the kitchen to create a crock pot meal that I could have ready to go by the time we get in the door this afternoon. After going over all of my options (we need groceries so bad) I realized that I had all the fixings for some turkey chili with zucchini and quickly whipped up some cheddar bay biscuits to pair with the chili. This meal has autumn written all over it which is ironic because it feels nothing like fall here in TX with our 100* days we’ve been having. ;)

Slow cooker Turkey Chili served with Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

Slow cooker Turkey Chili served with Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

So tomorrow for Labor Day, we’ve been throwing around the idea of hitting up a nearby water park or another appealing suggestion of having a lazy day at the house and staying in our jammies all day, which after the few weeks we’ve had may just be the smarter choice. Either way, I plan to get in that morning run/workout and keep on trucking  in my health and fitness journey! I’m doing great lately and have a new found love for salads which I believe have contributed to me loosing about 5 lbs. and being able to keep it off too. 

Well, I’m off to run some errands and then relax with Nathan and Brandy. Enjoy your Sunday!

Lauren <3

 

House Guests and Snow Cones

Happy Saturday!

Today has been spent cleaning, packing, organizing, and cooking! For what you may ask? Well, we are off for a week of summer camp with 100 teens from our youth group and I am in total prep. mode! Directly after camp my family will be arriving in Texas to spend the next week vacationing with us here in San Antonio, so I want all my ducks to be in a row so that I won’t have too much I need to get done when we get back from camp. I know from past experiences how draining a week away with teenagers can be and plan to catch up on lost sleep before the family gets here!

On Tuesday I said goodbye to my dear friend Faith who spent a week here in the city with us. We went all over and didn’t waste any time catching up right where we left off. We ventured from Sea World one day to hiking at the Missions the next. Of course we toured the Alamo, shopped the outlets, and dined on the Riverwalk. It was sad to say bye, but looking back on all the great photos of her visit cheers me right up.

Save the Alamo!

                                  Save the Alamo!

Getting ready to take in some SeaWorld shows

         Getting ready to take in some SeaWorld shows

Hiking The Mission of San Jose

            Hiking The Mission of San Jose

Currently, Nathan’s sister Amanda is here visiting because she is joining us for a week of camp! Tomorrow morning I am picking up Nathans college buddy Josh from the airport as he will be our camp speaker all week! Tonight, we are going to hit up the Saturday night service at church and then take Amanda to a new-to-us snow cone shack called Bahama Bucks, which I am loving right now amidst all this crazy heat.

Gettin' my froyo on ;)

Gettin’ my froyo on ;)

Even though it has been vacation mode over here for a few weeks with all the visitors we’ve been having, I am still logging those miles each morning and incorporating hiking too! Keeping so busy has kept me from mindless eating lately which has been great. Now, I just need to keep my ice cream intake to minimum and my waistline will thank me! ;)

Delicious Bahama Bucks

Delicious Bahama Bucks

I’m off to go get ready and head out the door for church! See ya after Summer Camp!

Lauren <3

 

 

One Year Blogiversary!

Looking back on the past year of blogging, I am so thankful that Nathan encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and begin Living Life Between the Miles! It has been so neat to be able to look back on old posts and document our lives this way. If you are considering starting a blog I encourage you to take the plunge and just do it! :)

With that said, here are some highlights from this past week!

Nathan and I woke up early on the 4th and took the dog for a long walk/run it was a beautiful, cool, breezy morning. Once we returned home I made up a batch of pancakes with blueberries and raspberries in true red, white, and blue form. ;) Later I created a festive batch of Oreo truffles for the party we were attending later in the day. 

We spent July 4th our on our pastors ranch! We got rained on quite a bit but once the storm cleared we were able to shoot off a great firework show and enjoy some delicious eats. (I left my phone in the car for the party, so no photos :( )

The rest of this week has been spent deep cleaning this house of ours. We will have a revolving door of visitors staying with us from July 15th-August 9th! (not counting the week of summer camp in there.) As much as I love having a larger house, it does come with quite a bit of maintenance required and it seems as if there is always something needing repaired. Oh the joys of home ownership! ;)

Of course no blog post of mine would be complete if I didn’t have at least one food picture ;) 

There is just something about the hot weather that makes me crave cool crisp salads all summer long. I have been eating more than my fair share of the Subway chopped salads recently. Also, Monday evening Nathan and I tried out a new little pizza parlor called New York Pizza Pub. We ordered half Hawaiian for me and half meat lovers for him. Oh, and those garlic knots…yumm!

Well, I’m off to get some more items checked off of my to-do list. I’m so excited for Faith to be here next week, I haven’t’ seen her since Lindsay and Ben’s wedding and we barely got to talk, so we have some catching up to do! 

Have a great day!

Lauren <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

Hello and happy Thursday!

I am currently snacking on a delicious bowl full of sweet cherries and boy do they taste like summer. Speaking of summer, this past week has been jam packed with fun summer activities like rafting the Comal river, birthday dinners on the River Walk, Summer shopping, and busting out the grill!

shopping, summer dinners, and deer sightings.

shopping, summer dinners, and deer sightings.

Busy schedules, grilling, and tubing days...

Busy schedules, grilling, and tubing days…

Nathan and I have gotten to go on quite a few date nights so far this summer and are really enjoying time together. I know I say this all the time but we finally found our new favorite sushi joint in San Antonio. It’s called Wasabi  and we fell in love with the fresh food, great Miso soup, and incredible service.

My dinner date ;)

My dinner date ;)

As I mentioned last Monday, we had plans to go out to dinner and a movie, well we dined at a favorite place of ours, the Cheesecake Factory and our movie afterward turned into a Redbox  renting of Lone Survivor. (Nathan’s choice)

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On the running front, I have been logging miles with Brandy every morning before the Texas sun gets too unbearable. I run brandy for about two miles when she starts to get bored and hot then drop her off back at the house with some cold water and head back out for the remainder of my run. I’ve been trying to finish each  run before 9 am each day which means no sleeping in for this girl, but I’ll take it!

views from my super sweaty runs this week

views from my super sweaty runs this week

Well, I’ve got dinner in the crock pot and it smells great! I can’t wait for Nathan to get home and enjoy a day off with him tomorrow celebrating our nation’s independence!

Catch ya later!

Lauren <3

 

Our Hill Country Get Away & Creamy Spinach Tomato Sausage Tortellini Recipe

And just like that it’s the last day of June. Where is this summer going?

Well let me catch y’all up to speed on life over here!

 

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Nathan and I spent our 2 year anniversary at a beautiful ranch up in the heart of Texas hill country. It was an incredible little get away and we plan to return some day!

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Pictured above is the inside of the cabin we rented out for our stay. It was furnished so well and extremely comfortable. My husband the hunter was in love with this place.

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One of the main highlights of this trip was our hike up Enchanted Rock! If you’re ever in the Fredricksburg, TX area I highly recommend this hike, just bring plenty of water!

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And no vacation post would be complete without a plethora of food pictures ;) . Yumm!

Upon returning home and realizing our home hadn’t been lived in for almost 3 weeks, I immediately made a shopping list and was off to the grocery store within minutes! (I basically just needed to purchase some coffee, let’s be honest) ;)

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I found a delicious recipe  for Creamy Spinach Tomato Tortellini on Pinterest and once Nathan saw it and requested it for dinner I decided to add it to the grocery list and whip it up. It had been a while since my man had eaten a nice home cooked meal. You may have seen this recipe floating around Pinterest as well! I made a few simple swaps for the meat lover in the family and it was a hit!

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Ingredients: 1 cup chopped spinach*1 bag Buitoni three cheese tortellini*1 tsp. dried basil*2 tsp. garlic*1 tsp. onion flakes*1 can petite diced tomatoes*2 tbs. All Purpose flour*1 1/2 cups half-n-half*1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese*(optional) browned sweet Italian sausage* salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the tortellini according to directions on the bag.

2. Add canned tomatoes, browned sausage, spinach, and spices to a large skillet to cook on low for 5 minutes.

3. In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour and half-n-half until smooth and then stir in into the skillet.

4. Once the pasta is fully cooked combine it with all ingredients in the skillet and add the grated cheese to the top. Stir and serve!

Bon Appetit!

Well, today is Nathan’s day off and we have plans to go out for dinner and a movie tonight and a possible hike is in the forecast for this afternoon which means it’ll be a HOT one!

Today is a running rest day for me which actually worked out well because I woke up with a killer headache this morning, boo! However, I have been on a running streak and have logged miles every day since last Monday!

I am also getting really excited for all that will be happening in the month of July! We have a fun July 4th party on Friday involving dancing, fireworks, and delicious food. Texans really go all out when celebrating our Nation’s independence! We will also be having house guests from July 15th-July 28th when we leave for a week of summer camp! 

What are some summer plans you are looking forward to?

I need ideas for cute red white and blue themed desserts! 

Have a great day!

Lauren <3

 

 

It’s Good to be Home…

Happy Sunday!

It feels good to be back in the comfort of my own home after almost three weeks of travel, weddings, and graduations! I left the beautiful shores of lake Erie early this morning to catch a 6 am flight back here to Texas. Leaving family was very tough but also much easier knowing that they will be here to visit in July!

(Reunited with Nathan and adorable our fur baby)

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Tomorrow marks our 2 year wedding anniversary! I simply cannot believe how fast those years flew, it seems only yesterday I was giggling with my bridesmaids as we curled our hair and wondered what Nathan’s reaction would be upon seeing me walk the isle to meet him.

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This past week was spend down in the backwoods of West Virginia at our family’s property down there. We hiked, fished, ate great food, and spent hours talking around the camp fire. It was just what my soul needed. :)

 

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All of the hiking and running I have been able to do the past weeks have really got me feeling great fitness wise. Even though my eating was not the cleanest (it was vacation, duh) I still managed to drop 3 pesky lbs. while gone. Yay!

Allison’s wedding was a great time. She was such a stunning bride and it felt so good to be reunited and catch up with some of my high school buddies again!

 

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Tomorrow Nathan and I are hitting the road again to spend a few quiet days up in Texas hill country for our 2 year anniversary. I am so excited for this little get away with my man and to spend quality time together! 

Catch ya later!

Lauren <3

Meanwhile in Ohio…

Hello! I’m coming at ya this morning from Ohio! It’s a cozy and dreary day here but they weather was blue skies and sunny yesterday for Lindsay and Ben’s big day!

My past week in Ohio has been full and busy, busy. I packed up my classroom last Friday, sent off each First grader, and hopped a plane to make it home in time for my sister Kelly’s high school graduation. This was a monumental event for her and our family and I was not about to miss it!

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Here are some shots of our graduate and me with each of my lovely sisters!

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All week long after the graduation celebrations died down we turned our focus to all things wedding related. We spent countless hours beautifying the church where the wedding and reception were to be held! Oh, and we also suck in some non wedding related fun such as swimming, trail running, sushi eating at my favorite spot!

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It has been so incredible to catch up with friends and family while being here! Nathan was able to fly in for the wedding and left on a flight early this morning because he is leading a mission trip that is leaving today! Crazy!

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Lindsay and a bridesmaid at the rehearsal dinner, she was so cool, calm, and collected the entire time.

 

Lindsay and Ben’s wedding was over the top beautiful and perfect. Everything from the rehearsal dinner to the “get away” in a fancy blue corvette was totally them! Here is a sneak peak of their beautiful day!

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Well, the rainy weather has declared today a rest day for me. I’ve run every day since being here in Ohio. I just can’t say no to the beautiful green trails that call my name.We are going to be heading off to West Virginia for a few days to visit our property that my family owns there! Some extended family is coming along too, so it’s going to be a great trip. I plan to swing by the local library today to pick up some reading material for the drive. 

Have a great day!

Lauren <3

Unleash YOUR Legs

Happy Saturday!

We’re enjoying a low key weekend over here. I woke up at 6:40 this morning threw off the covers and jumped out of bed thinking I missed my alarm and was going to be late for work! Then, slowly realization that it was indeed Saturday morning and I had nowhere to be but in my cozy bed started to sink in, my hear rate returned to normal and I drifted back to sleep until the beautiful hour of 9 a.m. :)

Shortly after waking, I laced up my Brooks and hit the pavement for my standard Saturday morning run. I have been incorporating Pilates ab videos into my fitness regime paired with free weights. I am now starting to see a bit more definition in both arms and abs, yay! My body was becoming accustomed to my favorite form of fitness, running, which was consequently resulting in less of an effect on my overall physique. Switching up your fitness routine once in a while is always a good idea!

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Love it!

This time next week, I will be in my home state of Ohio to attend the High school graduation of my sister Kelly, followed by my sister Lindsay’s wedding, and also participating in Allison’s wedding afterwards! So many awesome things to look forward to!

Life around here has been go, go, go. School is winding down and I am preparing end of year speeches, awards, gifts, ect. We have been ordering quite a bit of take-out lately, and I am so not complaining because I have discovered an AMAZING Greek restaurant that I have ordered dinner from 2 nights in a row. Their hummus and Greek tossed salads are on point! I did however manage to make this baked crusted tilapia served atop orzo and veggies the other night.

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Baked Breaded Tilapia Served atop Orzo

I went to my home away from home Garden Ridge last week and picked up a few items, which resulted in some lovely  new dining room decor. (the R rug is to replace our current entryway run and the colorful rug is for my kitchen)

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My brother in law Joe decided to pop over to Texas for a week! It was such a blast having him here and showing him around some of our favorite places in San Antonio.

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We ate at the Tower of Americas, toured the River Walk, and of course hit up Bucee’s. ;)

Nathan and I have been on a huge sushi kick lately and have been trying out different sushi places throughout the city. Here’s what our last date night consisted of! I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant right now, but we will be back!

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Well, if the rain holds off we have plans to head over to the Bulverde Boardwalk food trucks for diner tonight, and explore some new hiking trails over the long weekend!

Have a great extended weekend everyone!

Any fun Memorial Day plans?

Lauren <3

 

 

Going to Bed Hungry & Sweet Summertime

I am in total spring and summer mode over here in Texas!

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found this little gem and had to share ;)

 

The school year is winding down, pools are being filled, and vacations are booked! I for one am ecstatic about all the fun that is going to be jam packed into summer ’14!  I have booked flights to spend 2.5 weeks home in Ohio to take part in 2 very special weddings just a week apart! I will be able to see my sister Kelly graduate high school, catch up with relatives and friends that I have missed dearly! In July friends and family will be coming to Texas to visit for some time and see our new home! There’s just lots of fun to look forward to! :)

Nathans brother Joe is coming for a visit next week and we are totally looking forward to it! Nothing like having company over to motivate the spring cleaning, am I right?  ;)

Last week was Nathan’s 24th birthday, and I decided that called for a visit to Chama Gaucha’s Brazillian Steak House. It was a meat lovers paradise and Nathan now says it is his favorite restaurant in SA. Wife points! ;)

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I didn’t get any meat photos because we were too busy chowing down. The salad bar was incredible along with the Brazilian limeade that I ordered! The idea of a Brazilian steak house is that there are tons of different Brazilian cooked meats that servers bring around and carve at your table. They keep coming until you flip a little card over that basically says stop I need a break, haha.

We also recently had our school annual gala which was a huge success and we raised a ton of money to help out our growing private school! Also, a fun excuse to get dressed up! 

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Here’s one of me and my colleagues. Ha! 

The table decor was beautifully done! 

 

Moving right along to the health and fitness portion of this post, here are some of the meals that I have created in the kitchen lately!

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pictured: BBQ chicken drummies and brown rice, whole wheat veggie and feta pizza, ground turkey cabbage rolls, and PB, honey, and yogurt fruit dip. 

My meal plan for this week:

M-out for date night!

T-chicken and veggie stir-fry

W- leftovers

TH-dinner at friends house

F- Spaghetti and meatballs

S-homemade chicken and veggie quesadillas

S- crock pot chicken noodle soup

*(we are currently budgeting which is why my meal plans have been pretty basic lately. )

Time for a Myfitnesspal update! We are rounding week 4 and I have yet to loose a whole pound by using the app. Nathan has lost 10 lbs. and I am very excited for him! 

It has been a bit discouraging that all of my calorie counting hasn’t gotten me the results I have wanted, but it has also showed me that my eating habits don’t need much changing. I feel that for the amount of calories I have been consuming (1500 per day and more when I work out) I should have lost a bit more weight but at the same time, I know my body best and I have not felt deprived at all and listen to my body. When I am hungry I eat, if I am not hungry I don’t. It sounds pretty obvious but so many people eat for reasons other than hunger. One thing that Has helped me in the past to loose a few pesky pounds in time for bikini season has been to stop eating after dinner time and no food after 7 pm. Your stomach shouldn’t be full when you go to sleep because your body wont be able to digest the food while you are sleeping and it can be stored as fat. Going to bed with a bit of hunger has always been a trick of mine which I have recently been tapping back into. I will continue to stick with the app. because I do like to regime of logging my eats and supporting Nathan as well!

Well, that was a mouthful and hopefully beneficial! I’m off for my usual Sunday run. Let’s make it a great week!

Lauren <3