Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon Recap

I have so much catching up to do!
Lets start off with the fact that surprise, I ran a half marathon last Sunday!
I got offered a spot in the race super last minute and had 5 days to train?! I though about turning down the opportunity but the adventurous side of me leaped at the chance to run this legendary race that winds throughout downtown SA. Nathan and I headed to the race expo where we picked up my bib and a few other race day essentials.

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I started off race day morning at 4:00 a.m. with a banana, toast with PB, and coffee. I got dressed and mapped out my course down town. This is a huge race so I had to hop a shuttle to the starting line. Luckily everything went off without a hitch and my wave started around 8:15 a.m. I planned to slow down and take this race slow and enjoy it! I finished in 2:15 and kept my pace around a 10 minute mile. For not training, and deciding to run this race a few days before hand I was happy with my time. ;) I felt great at the end of this race and was glad I didn’t push myself too hard and get injured.

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This past week was a whirlwind and this next will be the same! We’re hosting a holiday party at our house Friday then family is coming into town to stay for the holidays! I am so excited and have begun tackling my cleaning lists and polishing off Christmas lists too. ;)

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I got some new curtains yesterday and bribed Nathan to hang them with a fresh batch of cookies. ;) at first I didn’t care for them but now I am 100% sure that I like them and they’re here to stay!
Well, I’m off for tonight!
Lauren <3

Back in Texas & A Mouthwatering Oatmeal Bake

Hello and happy Saturday!

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Nathan and I are safely home after a full day of travel yesterday. We woke up this morning to an empty fridge and NO COFFEE, Which meant an emergency grocery trip was in order. Luckily I had already created a grocery list for the week. I have some new Pinterest inspired meals ready to whip up this week for dinners. I was getting in a meal planning rut and finally found some fun new healthy recipes to try that are husband approved as well ;)
For breakfast after grocery shopping I tried out a new baked oatmeal recipe and it was delicious!

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I followed this recipe except opted for honey instead of maple syrup and only used 1/2 cup. I also used 4 eggs instead of one because I wanted to up the protein factor because I plan to eat this for breakfast this week. Instead of using bananas and raspberries, I chose fresh strawberries and they made this dish amazing!
Some other meals I plan to create this week are avocado salmon pasta (using spaghetti squash),Crockpot pineapple chicken, Baked citrus salmon with brown rice, and orange chicken wings. Hopefully they turn out well!

Our time spent in Michigan was beautiful and went by way too fast. I didn’t take too many pictures but got some good ones on a family walk we took when both families were together for Thanksgiving. It was a chilly Thanksgiving but I did conquer some miles in Michigan before consuming lots of delicious homecooking. ;)

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We played so many great family games which is always a highlight for me. We ate delicious meals. Most of all we just enjoy catching up with family and great friends. My heart is so full and I feel very refreshed and ready to tackle these next three weeks until Christmas break when Nathan’s family is coming to stay. In the mean time I’ve got a lot to do around the house to get it in tip top shape for all the holiday visitors. Nathan also surprised me with new couches for our formal living room downstairs which I am so, so excited about. (pics. to come).
Well, I’m off to watch this Ohio state vs. Michigan game and hope that my Buckeyes beat Nathan’s Wolverines. Wish me luck!
Lauren <3

Thanksgiving and Christmas All in One!

Happy Tuesday!
I’m blogging today from my in-law’s home in Michigan. Their house is so relaxing and serene. It’s placed at the top of a hill overlooking miles and miles of woods and corn fields. We took a quick jaunt down the dirt road to grandma and grandpa house for brunch and ate a bunch of grandma’s yummy pancakes.
Nathan and I arrived in Michigan yesterday afternoon after spending a few short days with my side of the family in Ohio. We arrived in Ohio after barely making our connecting flight in Chicago. We had a longer than expected wait in San Antonio due to a delayed flight. So we went and ate diner in the airport followed by Starbucks.

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Once arriving in Ohio we caught up on sleep and then it was a whirl wind from there.

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I ran some snowy miles with my favorite running partner, dad. I ran with mom, and I ran solo. Every time the views were spectacular, especially knowing some delicious warm coffee was awaiting me at the house.

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We decided to have our own little family Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration together since we will not be seeing each other for he actual holiday. We cooked up a mean feast and my sister Annie decorated the table and everyones place setting had a fun TG themed trivia game along with a space to share what you’re thankful for.

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My dad also made plans for all of us to see the new Hunger Games movie and then a delicious hibachi dinner at Nagoya. We followed that up by a stop to Tofts Dairy where they make the best ice cream and Nathan and I couldn’t resist walking out of there without purchasing three different flavors to try. ;)
It was a truly great time spent with family and I cannot wait for my side of the family to come to Michigan Thursday so both families can celebrate the holiday together! I am so blessed and thankful that our families love each other so much and mesh so well.

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Home for the Holidays

Happy Sunday and a Happy Birthday shout out to my darling best friend Faith!

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Nathan and I are heading up North for Thanksgiving and I can hardly contain my excitement! I have been scurrying around all weekend getting Christmas gifts (we are doing an early Christmas exchange with my side of the family because we will not see them for Christmas) doing laundry, finding yummy TG recipes to make, and getting our house in order ( I hate leaving a messy house to come back to).

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(Christmas shopping with my trusty Starbucks coffee in hand, the best way)
I have really been cleaning up my diet this week and saving up my calories for all the delicious eats I will most defiantly be consuming next week, in moderation of course. ;)
It’s been a dreary couple of days here but I have stuck to my running game and even logged some miles yesterday in the rain with the pup. The neighbors officially think I’m nuts. ;)

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(Last weekend to this weekend)

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Brandy enjoyed our cold rainy run much more than I did!
Earlier this week, Faith sent me this book I have been wanting to read for a while now ever since her visit this July when she mentioned it to me. I was close to ordering it on my iPad and then it arrived at my doorstep. Thanks Faith!

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It really puts a Godly perspective on weight loss and living a healthy life. I’m almost finished reading it and I highly recommend it!
Speaking of Christmas gifts, I have been eyeing these lovely running pants and the bold colors and designs!

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(Hint, hint Nathan ;) )
Well, today I’ve got some last minute shopping to do before our flight leaves Thursday! Oh and some DIY projects in the works along with painting/touching up some of our base boards.
Have a great Sunday!
Lauren <3

Hiking, Clean Eats, and Weight Loss Coaching

Good Morning!
It’s a bit chilly here in south Texas so I’m choosing to finally write a blog post before I go running this morning.
These past few weeks have been such a whirl wind between work events, youth events, and life in general. Here are a few snap shots into life lately.

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I had some girls over for pumpkin carving and a sleepover!

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We went to a local corn maze and us teachers dressed up as the Three Little Kittens who Lost Their Mittens for our school story book parade.

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Some yummy fall eats including a delicious egg casserole courtesy of Nathan’s mom’s recipe box.

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Last weekend my teacher friends and I headed to a nearby Market Days to browse and shop around the adorable little town of Wimberly, TX. We were told we needed to stop at their famous pie shop, and it did not disappoint.

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Nathan and I have been hearing about a wonderful hike up in the hill country at Lost Maples State Park so we decided to pack up some healthy snacks, plenty of water, and make the 2 hour drive to spend the day exploring. It was a beautiful hike complete with a snake sighting ;) and we would go back for sure.
In other news, I was approached by a friend that I work with at school and she asked if I would be willing to help her loose weight and get ready to run an upcoming 5k. I let her know that I am in no way a professional but I do have a passion for living a healthy lifestyle and would love to sit down with her and get her started. So, Friday we met up after school and I was able to help her come up with meal plans, grocery lists, and a work out regiment to start off her weight loss journey. It was such a great experience and I love being able to help friends get a grip on their lifestyle and being making healthier lifestyle choices instead of “dieting”.

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(This was one of the quotes I showed her in our meeting, and I love it!)
Well, I have an anxious puppy over here that is dying to go running, so I’m off to go lace up my running shoes!

Have a great day!
Lauren <3

Spaghetti Squash & Beating the Rain

Hello and happy Saturday!
I’m sitting in our upstairs living room, football playing in the background, and soaking up the remaining hours of this wonderful Saturday.

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I woke up with the dawn this morning so that I could fit in a run before the thunderstorms began at 8. Sure enough I was coming up my last hill towards home when the storm began to roll in. I was able to grab coffee with Nathan before he headed off to a youth leader meeting at the church. I may have decided to skip out on this one to catch up on housework around here. I always feel like I’m never caught up with all of the upkeep this home requires. So, after a morning filled with cleaning Nathan came home and whisked me away to a nearby park for a hike. We love hiking but they’ve had to be put on hold due to the unrelenting Texas heat.
After our hike we were both staving so decided to pick up a pizza and head home in time for the Michigan game to start.

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I ate my salad before downing two slices. Yummm.
We are having quite a few people over this week so I’m really trying to stay on top of my cleaning so that I don’t get overwhelmed. My friend Holli is coming over tomorrow after church for lunch, and then we are hitting up some local thrift shops to look for furnishings for her new apartment. Tuesday night we are hosting small group here and then Friday night I’m having some youth girls over for a sleep over, pumpkin carving, and cider with donuts.

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(I found some cute new holiday decor last weekend)
Also, I made a killer spaghetti squash dish last night for dinner and decided it is blog worthy so here we go! *cough cough faith*;)
Before leaving for work yesterday morning I put together a package of sweet italian sausage and three cans of Hunts tomato sauce in the crock pot to simmer on low all day. (Think 7am-3pm) So 8 hours on low. Then after arriving home I cut the spaghetti squash in half, scraped out the seeds, and placed it face up on a baking sheet. Once the oven is fully heated to 400* put the squash in to roast for 50 minutes.

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Then with a fork, take and scrape at the sides of the squash and pasta like strings will fall right off. Spoon the “pasta” into a dish and top with sausage/sauce.

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It was so delicious and nutritious which is a great combo in my book!
Well, I’m off have a great remainder of your weekend!
<3 Lauren

Running 1000 Miles & A Finished Project

Happy Saturday!
Last post I was talking of my excitement to wake up and run in the morning. Well, it was an awesome run yesterday and it set the pace for a lovely Friday! My First graders behaved (mostly) and the weather even cooled down.

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(refueling post-run with a protein smoothie & B is all tired out)
We’re having a pretty low key day today. I’m feeling pretty lousy with a sore and scratchy throat that is moving into my chest. None the less I woke up this morning telling myself that a short 3 miler wouldn’t make me feel any worse. Well, after completing the run I looked down at my phone and saw this lovely number staring up at me. I started to feel better…:)

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I finally made it to 1000 miles in under 2 years of tracking my running with nike plus. :)
Following the running and showering, Nathan whipped us up some bacon and eggs for breakfast. I sipped on my coffee at our bar while he was busy cooking away. We always have the best talks when coffee is involved ;) Mid breakfast I started to feel pretty lousy so we decided to lounge around this morning, me watching Gilmore Girls (it’s on Netflix now!) and him football. It wasn’t long until I decided I needed some fruit and made us some berry smoothies with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.Yum.

Soon, Nathan left for church and I decided to get cracking on that Pinterest project I hinted about last post. I found a brilliant, easy, an cheap headboard idea for our master bedroom. I sprayed the foam ceiling tiles down with Kilz and using the scotch extreme mounting taps stuck them to our wall. It seriously was too easy. Here are some progress pictures and the finished product.

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Also, I crafted up this fun little festive wreath for Christmas time. I told you I have been bit by the DIY bug. ;)

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And that’s a rap for today. Nathan’s watching his beloved wolverines play right now and I’ve got some hearty chicken lime soup simmering on the stove top.
Have a great weekend!
Lauren <3

Grocery Shopping & Running in the Dark

Well here we are on October 2nd already! Bring on all things fall related! I love the feel of cooler weather finally reaching the South…

Nathan and I had no obligations tonight after work, so we came home and filled each other in on the happenings of our days from first graders and parent teacher conferences to moving office spaces and speaking on Saturday night. After weighing the options and taking a peek into our fridge we deciding to hop back in the car and swing by Chick-Fil-A for an easy dinner (aka we need groceries).

Fridays are our typical grocery days. I am weird in the fact that I actually enjoy grocery shopping and don’t mind going after work on a Friday, Nathan on the other hand is not a fan but will always agree to join me and attempt to sneak as many junk food items Reese’s chips ahoy oreos potato chips frozen pizzas into the cart as possible while I am busy scouring my planned out shopping list.
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This past Monday Nathan suggested that for our weekly date night we should do dinner and the movie Maze Runner. I was more than game and we had such a blast eating then walking around target to find some movie munchies to smuggle into the theater (don't act like you've never done it ;) )

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(Of course I had to make a Starbucks stop to caffeine up before hand)

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I have been bit by the DIY bug lately and decided to try some Pinterest inspired crafts for the house. We are having Nathan’s whole family here for the holidays and I want our project list finished and the house in tip top shape. Here’s a preview of some of the items I am planning to use in our under construction master bedroom.

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I am looking forward to my run in the morning at 5. I love running in those early hours while it’s still dark out and most people are still sound asleep. There’s something almost sacred about you, the sound of shoes on pavement, and the will that is the driving force keeping one foot in front of the other. I love looking up and seeing the stars overhead, hearing Nathan and Brandy next to me and knowing that it’s our time before all the happenings of the day begin. I will never take my running for granted, I truly treasure the gift of being able to use my legs and push my muscles to their limits and feel just how much my body truly is capable of.

This picture doesn’t do it justice but it is from my Sunday morning run. I had to try to capture the beauty of the shining dew clinging to the grass in the morning sunlight. It stopped me in my tracks and reminded me of the verse Luke 19:40 that says”I tell you even if they were to keep quiet, the very stones would cry out” meaning even creation is shouting outHis praises!

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Well, this weekend is quickly approaching and we have plans to attend a high school football game tomorrow night and then help a friend move on Saturday and of course church Sunday. I plan to get in some heavier mileage this weekend along with finishing up and posting some of my projects along with new fall dinner recipes I hope to create after we make that grocery trip tomorrow ;) PS expect to see a spaghetti squash recipe featured soon because let me tell you I have been meal prepping that stuff for my lunches the past two weeks and I’m still not tired f it! Spaghetti squash is such a great pasta substitute packed with fiber, zinc, magnesium, and tons of vitamins. Not to mention it is like 30 calories per cup!

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Yummy!

Well, I’m off to watch a little Blacklist on Netflix with Nathan! Love that show.:)

Have a great evening.
Lauren <3

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