A Week In Review: Lindsay & Ben Visit

 I last left off when Lindsay and Ben arrived for an impromptu weekend late Friday night. We were so thrilled to get a weekend with the two of them and spend some time catching up. I was so excited Saturday morning that I bounced right out of bed and brewed a fresh pot of Jamacian Me Crazy coffee and got started on breakfast for everyone. After everyone woke up and ate a filling breakfast of bacon, eggs, and smoothies, we laced up our hiking shoes and went for a few mile hike around the block.  Soaking in the mid Winter sunshine with my beautiful sister!
After a leisurely morning of hiking, lounging, and chatting, our stomaches told us it was time for later lunch. We had plans for a late dinner at the famous Gristmill that evening, so settled on a lighter lunch from Papoulis Greek Restaurant. The boys each ordered the lamburger with fries, Lindsay got a chicken pita wrap, and I got a salad with a side of hummus and veggies.

 Nathan had to be at our church’s Saturday night service so Lindsay, Ben, and I hung around the house and got ready for dinner while we waited. I poured everyone some Arnold Palmer in fancy wine glasses to sip on. In our house we always have Arnold Palmer on hand, it’s Nathan’s favorite drink which consists of sweet tea mixed with lemonade.
    

 Once we got some good sister pictures  Nathan arrived home and we were out the door for a late dinner in the quaint little town of Gruene.

My forever date <3

    We arrived to dinner only to find it was an hour and a half wait to be seated. However, the hostess was awesome and somehow got us right in without a wait at all. We joked that we must have been on “the list” or that Nathan slipped her some money, either way it was extremely welcomed because we were all ravenous.

  

For our main entrees Lindsay and I got the seared ahi tuna to split, Nathan got the full rack of ribs, and Ben got the sirloin. We gave the food rave reviews as usual.

  

  

    

  On Sunday morning Lindsay and I went for a run before attending the later 11:15 church service. We had some baked oatmeal and coffee and made our way to church.  Sunday selfie! <3
  

  

Before church I marinaded some chicken for kebabs on the grill for lunch after church. Once we all arrived back from church the boys busted out the grill and began cooking the chicken kebabs while us girls worked on the sides. Eventually we joined the men outside in the beautiful sunshine and spent some time discussing the church service and talking while the food cooked.

   
 

Relaxing while the guys do the work ;)
   

Monday morning-ish Lindsay and Ben loaded up and hit the road back to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for another month of Air traffic Control School. We are so excited for them and to see where in the U.S. God places them after Ben finishes classes. 

Once Linds and Ben left Nathan and I got ready to go play some disc golf with friends at a nearby course that we have begun to enjoy playing at. My studly disc golfer ;)

  

  

I’m not much good at the sport, but I can hold my own with the guys who throw 3 times as far as me.  It was so great to see how many other people were out at the park taking advantage of the georgous weather we have during the winter.  

 This picture is from Youth last night. I took this as the students were singing out gracious tempest and it touched my heart so much that I wanted to capture the moment. We had over 100 students out at youth last night. I am really starting to see the fruit that has been born from all that we’ve been doing with God’s help while on our journey here in Texas. Hearts are changing and God is getting a hold of lives and I am so beyond thankful to be a part of it!

   
   We are packing up tonight because tomorrow at 5 pm our busses leave for Winter Camp in Leaky, TX. It’s going to be a great weekend and I can’t wait to see how God shows up and moves this weekend.

Have a blessed weekend!

Lauren <3

Meal prep & Surprise Houseguests

After two weeks away for Christmas, I knew it was important to do some meal prepping ahead of time to get us through the coming weeks in a healthy manner. I knew my system was in need of a healthy reboot with fresh smoothies, oatmeal bakes, detox soups, and big salads. I found myself craving fresh healthy foods instead of the sugary fatty foods I’d allowed myself to indulge in over vacation. I am glad that I didn’t restrict myself too much and allowed myself a few splurges over the holidays, because duh it’s vacation!

Pictured below is a hearty chicken noodle soup I made for some lunches. I followed this recipe and used rice instead of egg noodles to make it Gluten Free.

   

Last weekend we were out watching one of our youth’s basketball game and realized that we were pretty close to Shogun Sushi . Since Shogun is one of our favorites, we decided to take advantage of being close by and grab an early dinner there.
   
   

This coming weekend we are heading up to Leaky, TX to HEB camp located right on the beautiful Alto Frio River. We will be hosting our annual Winter Camp there this year, and the theme this year is REBELATION. We want to build up an army of teens who are so on fire for the Lord and seeking hard after Him.
  

I got this blurry action shot as proof that I did run once last week…I’ve been dealing with some personal issues and felt that I needed to take some time off running for a bit.

   

Jumping back to meal planning, here is an example of some breakfast staples in our house. I usually do an egg and sausage bake for Nathan, oatmeal bake for me, and home fries on the side. Each of these foods reheat well and are convenient for quick breakfasts throughout the week.

We’ve been making breakfast for dinner lately and found the best maple bacon at HEB that makes the whole house smell like pancakes for days after you make it. Pictured below are some breakfast tacos Nathan made for dinner last week. So GOOD!

    

I promise this is the last food picture! In the winter I crave hearty soups (even though TX isn’t really that cold) I have found that chili makes a great lunch that sticks with you and doesn’t leave me hungry an hour after lunch. As a teacher, foods that fuel me for a long time are ideal because I’m on my feet all day running her and there, and if I’m properly fueled then I have more energy for my lessons, I’m not hANGRY ;), and I don’t go running to the fridge right when I get home and spoil my dinner. 
  

If you haven’t heard the new worship song, give it a listen. The man who originally wrote “It is Well With my Soul” wrote it after his wife and children died and it drove him to pen this beautiful song in the midst of his suffering and anguish. Such beautiful words.

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 My classroom has been FREEZING lately, so I’ve been rocking my scarf and coat while teaching until it gets warmer. BRRR. I’m such a freeze baby, I hate to be cold.

 

Friday after school I went to get groceries for the next week and because we had two houseguest coming to stay with us for the Long weekend!! We had two carts because one was for our house and the other was for Winter Camp supplies we decided to knock out at the same time. Needless to say it was a loooong shopping trip.

   

On Wednesday after youth, my sister Lindsay texted me and asked what we were doing for the long weekend and I told her we didn’t have too many plans but had to be in the area because Nathan was scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday services. Our conversation quickly escalated into them making the 7 hour journey from Oklahoma City to San Antonio for the weekend! They arrived late Friday night and it was so great to see them! Here is a picture of breakfast the next morning. More recapping to come!
 

Have a blessed week!

Lauren <3

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year:

 Christmas break was a whirlwind of excitement so I have lots to squeeze into this blog post. 

Nathan and I have been getting into disc golf lately and there are many different courses to play in our area. It’s a great way to get in some extra exercise and spend time outdoors! We played a new course with two of our friends one gorgeous  Sunday afternoon.

  

   

The week leading up to Christmas was spent running, packing, and cleaning the house. Smoothies are the best fuel to drink on the go when you have a list full of items to accomplish! This one is a banana mango smoothie made with Greek yogurt and chia seeds. 
   

I am so thankful for sunny, tank top running the week before Christmas, man I love the South!

One of our Christmas Eve traditions that has become a favorite of ours is to make a pot roast and mashed potatoes for dinner. I buy the best looking roast and make the pioneer woman mashed potatoes and some other veggies to go on the side. We have sparkling grape juice and cheers to Christmas!

    

Christmas Eve morning has become the day that we open gifts together since we are normally in the air traveling on Christmas Day. We started the morning off right with some Jamacian Me Crazy coffee, Manheim Steemroller music, maple bacon, eggs, and some GF waffles for me!
  

The aftermath of gift opening, Brandy got to open hers too! 

  

We always read the story of Jesus birth in Luke or Mark to remember the reason that we celebrate and to reflect on that wonderful day so many years ago when God took on flesh and was born in a lowly barn with animals. I’m always so in awe of such a humble birth that entered the Savior into this weary world. Thank you Jesus <3

 
   

our church put on a live nativity scene and last minute they needed a Joseph and ended up talking my Nathan into doing it. ;)

  

On Christmas morning we were up at 3:30 am to catch an early flight to Cleveland. We had almost everything packed, cleaned, and loaded up the night before which made our departure that morning very smooth.

Merry Christmas from our connecting gate in Chicago!

     Once we arrived to my parent’s house we were greeted with so many hugs and smiles! Nathan and my sister Kelly are pictured below they are such great buddies!

  

We even got to open our stockings that were waiting for us!

 

  

   

Reunited with 2 of my 3 sisters!
  

Dad makes the best omelettes, and talked Nathan into a brisket omelette before the Rasbaugh family arrived and we had our big Christmas dinner.

  

Once the whole family was there and gifts had all been exchanged we gathered around for a delicious Christmas meal of Braciole and gnocchi pasta!

   

Finally the day after Christmas Lindsay’s flight from Oklahoma landed and the whole family was officially reunited.  We really wanted to stretch our legs so we bundled up to brave the cold temperatures for a run around the block.

 

I also got in the solo run which was nice too I love running my old stomping grounds.

  One of the evenings we went out to the infamous Nagoya Japanese Steakhouse  to celebrate some December Birthdays.
  

 The food was spot on as usual, but being gluten free there were a few of my favorites that I had to pass up. I ended up ordering the miso sea bass without the miso because it contained gluten so it was basically just boiled fish on leaves. ;) 

My darling sister Annie who is home on a break from college. It was so good to spend time with her!
 

One of the lazy mornings when we were all lounging around playing various board games, I decided it was time for all of us to break into one of our tasty stocking stuffers. Since we’re were little girls my parents have always put dried icecream into our stockings and it’s become quite a delicious tradition that we all look forward to. Nathan and Annie are showing off their dried ice cream sandwiches.

  
  

It feels so good to have family around during the holidays!

  

I love this man!
    

Eventually, we packed up our bags and got ready to spend the second half of break at the Rasbaugh residence in Michigan.
  

The family was super excited to take us out to The Flipping Cow for Amanda’s birthday. My sweet friend Faith made the drive to spend some time and have dinner with us as well! <3

  

We had to get a sibling picture on the wobbly dock! I really love this one and I might just put in a frame.

He’s my favorite!   

 

New Year’s eve was spent playing board games laughing and enjoying one another’s company. My family made the drive from Ohio up to Michigan to spend New Year’s all together as a family and ring in 2016 the right way.

  

We took Nathan’s parents to the Mexican restaurant for their wedding anniversary. There aren’t many restaurants in the small farm town that he grew up in but we managed to find one. We all had a great time and the food was surprisingly tasty coming from this spoiled Tex-Mex lovin’ girl.
  

I had their homemade chicken tortilla soup because I wanted something lighter for my stomach since I wasn’t feeling so great that day.

  

On a ridiculous note, Amanda and I tried out some couples yoga poses for kicks and giggles one evening. We looked up different couples yoga poses online and trying to re-create them. We had such a fun time and ended up laughing until our stomaches hurt. It was quite the workout and had us both sweating in no time. We made the discovery of that we are both horrible at yoga. Those poses are much harder than they look I give all those yogis credit. 

Eventually our time ran out and we had to head to the airport to catch a flight back to good old Texas. While at the airport, we decided to get some dinner in Chicago and wash it down with some Ben & Jerry’s milkshakes, the best way to cap off a wonderful Christmas vacation! We arrived home late and hit the ground running the next morning with school,work ,the upcoming winter camp prep, and parent teacher conferences all in one! 

Right now I’m simmering a pot of hearty chicken and rice soup on the stovetop for a late dinner. I’m going to go dish up two big bowls and we are going to curl up with a movie to end the night.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

yours truly,

Lauren <3

   

Dinner And A Show:

 This past week has been full of all things Chistmas. We’ve had youth Christmas events, school and church events, and parties with friends. The picture below is Nathan and I after our Wednesday night youth party.

I also got a picture with one of my favorite youth girls, Jessica!   

 In the mail, I got a gift from Faith of some adorable workout gear! She knows me so well. How cute are these workout capris and it was a bit chilly to wear only the tank top, but it’s super cute too! Thanks Faith <3

 

Friday in First grade was full of fun, crafts, music, and goodies! We had our class party in the morning and my classroom commander  planned a whole party complete with a waffle bar for the kids to enjoy after they visited each center in the classroom. We also did a Penny Christmas where each child gets a stocking and all the kids bring in a small item to put in eachothers stocking. by the end of it, the stockings were bulging and the kids had so much fun looking at all their new treasures. It made my heart so happy to see. <3  
To kick off Christmas break right, Nathan and I made plans to go downtown for dinner and to see the Nutcracker! I got all dressed up and everything. ;)  

Dinner took us to a new to us steakhouse called 20Nine Restaurant and Wine Bar.  

For his entree, Nathan ordered the 20Nine burger with a cheddar stuffed patty, carmelized onions, sweet house pickles, lemon chive aioli, and hand cut fries. I ordered the Petite filet served over mashed potatoes and carmelized pears and carrots. Both dishes were delicious and we left satisfied and ready to see the Nutcracker! 

We arrived to the Lila Cockrell Theater  which was right above the beautful River Walk which was light up with beautiful lights draped throughout all the trees and shops lining the water. It was a gorgeous sight, it really felt like Christmas.
    
Once we went inside, we looked around at the nutcracker displays before finding our seats.

    
I was so excited for the ballet to start!

    

 During intermission, we went out to the lobby and stretched our legs before the rest of the ballet resumed.  He’s sooo handsome! #lucky

   

We had to get a selfie before going back in for the rest of the ballet.
  

We then decided to look at some of the lights on the river in before making the journey back to our car. 

 
We just love living in San Antonio. Being downtown during Christmas really gets you in the Christmas spirit! All the lights,people, sounds, smells, colors, and decorations are wonderful!

We had such a great time at the Nutcracker! If you’ve never seen that ballet I highly recommend going, it is a beautiful thing to see. 

Well Nathan and I are watching some football right now. Later I’m going to go running and then we’re going to go play tennis with some friends, since it’s not a school night tonight I can be a party animal haha! We are headed home for the holidays pretty soon and this week will be full of cleaning, packing, shopping, and getting together with friends!

Have a blessed day!

Lauren <3

Meal Prepping & An Engagement:

 Happy Sunday evening. This weekend was the perfect mix of relaxing and fun! 

I took a luxurous Sunday afternoon nap today in preperation for ALL the activities this coming week. We have multiple church or school events every day after work which leaves us with little to no time to cook or prepare meals. Which brings me to the picture below. I am a huge fan of meal prepping on the weekend to make the busy week ahead easier meal wise. Lately I have been making egg casseroles for Nathan and Oatmeal bakes for me.  In this egg caserole I have seasoned potatoes, sausage, about 10 eggs, and some cheese. In the mornings breakfast is a snap because I can just pop a slice of this caserols in the microwave for a minute and he’s good to go with a breakfast that’s not going to leave him hungry an hour later.
 This is an apple cinnamon oatmeal bake, but I’ll switch up the fruits and flavorings every so often depending on season and what I’m craving. In this oatmeal bake I used oats, milk, honey, cinnamon, apple slices, and 2 eggs. (I’ve been using chia seeds lately too for extra omega-3s) I usually microwave a slice for 30 seconds then top with a smear of peanut butter and I’ve got a great breakfast that sticks with me through hours of teaching! :)

   There’s somehting so cozy about having only the Christmas tree turned on with a warm cup of hot chocolate topped in marshmallow cream. Nathan is the one who got me started on the marshmallow cream topping, it’s a game changer.
 There was also a viewing of my favorite Christmas movie ever!

 This past week, I was in charge of elementary chapel and my students wanted to put on a play for everyone so we reinacted the story of Jesus’s birth in a manger. We had Mary, Joseph, the angel Gabriel, Elizabeth, King Herrod, and a few barn animals. 

   Nathan preaching on Wednesday night! He’s such a gifted speaker, I am always blown away listening to him bring God’s word to these wonderful teenagers. #blessed


 Happy Birthday Jesus bulletin board! Jesus is the reason for the season!

I love that we still have some bright bursts of color around in these winter months. Lantana is such a beautiful flower, I’m glad we have a whole bunch growing in our flower beds. 

Running with these two makes my heart so happy. I told Nathan Saturday morning while we were running that this is one of the most loving things he can do for me, it’s just so nice to have him join me for those miles to talk, goof off, and spend time together.  

After running we got cleaned up and headed over to the church for a youth flag football event.     After flag football my friend Jessica surpried me by stopping over. We ended up talking for a while and then decided on going to a wrestling match to cheer on her boyfriend. I had never been to a wrestling match before and I must say it’s a pretty gross sport; lots of sweaty mats, smelly boys, and the outfits…On a VERY exciting note, two of our best friends got engaged last night! Nathan and Chris had been working hard on his proposal video and he totally nailed it and caught Liz off guard, it was so great. We were supposed to be the paparazzi hiding out in the back yard taking pictures through the window but it was really hard to see the action from back there. It was just so exciting to be a part of the whole thing!I am so excited for these two. They are an amazing couple, made for eachother, and I cannot wait to see how God uses their lives together. Bring on the wedding planning!      

Nathan’s office had a Christmas decorating competition. Chris and Nathan decided to go for the wow-factor and stay up the night before the judging to decorate the whole place and surprise everyone the next morning. Typical goofy youth pastors.

    
    

They will find out if they won this week!    
Church this morning was great. I get there at 9 and go up to the Jr. high room and lead the middle school girls small group, then go down to guest services and greet people until the 11:15 service starts which I get to sit in on. I have just loved Pastor Sean’s sermons on The Pauper King.

  

Lastly, I made this tasty soup via Pinterest and it was hearty, creamy, and the perfect winter soup! If you’re looking for a warm comforting bowl of soup, this sausage, potato, and spinach soup is it.

 

That’s all I’ve got for today. I have one more week of school to go then a week off and we head home (up North) for the holidays! Have a great week!

Lauren <3 

Oklahoma Recap: A Thanksgiving to Remember

Ahh Thanksgiving, it was such a memorable one spent with Lindsay and Ben in Oklahoma City. While we sat down to our feast, Lindsay and I couldn’t help but discuss the fact that we are now adults cooking Thanksgiving dinner by ourselves without the rest of the family and in a whole other part of the country. It feels like just yesterday we were little girls playing dress up and running around my grandma’s big old mansion playing hide and seek in all of her many rooms Thanksgiving day, while delicious smells of stuffing, pie, and roast turkey filled the air. 

Now we’re here with our own little families, married, jobs, and living in different states. It’s a little bittersweet, but I am so blessed and thankful for where the Lord has taken us and all He has showed me through this life I’ve been given.

  The men took charge of the bird and injected it with a cajun butter sauce that was delicious! 

 Brandy planted herself right in the middle of the kitchen so that she wouldn’t miss a single spilled morsel. ;)

  The bird was cooked to perfection, good job guys!  
We had some sparkling apple cider to accompany our spread.
  The little hostess putting the finishing touches on Thanksgiving dinner.  


On the menu, we had the Pioneer Woman’s mashed potatoes, corn, fresh gravy, rolls, stuffing, and the cajun butter turkey. Everything was delicious and cooked to perfection!

  

Cheers to Thanksgiving 2015, one we will never forget!  

 Surrounded by those I love most in this world, my heart is so full <3

   
For dessert Lindsay and I made an apple crisp cheesecake. It was heavenly!

  

On Black Friday, we woke up to brave the crowds and hit up the nearby outlets for some Christmas shopping. Let’s just say it was a very successful trip. ;) 

After shopping we hung around the appartment and waited for Ben to get home from work so that we could go out to dinner at our favorite Cheesecake Factory!  
    
    
We ordered the Wonton and fried macaroni and cheese ball appetizers. (sadly, my Gluten free self could eat none)


  For dinner I ordered my usual Miso Salmon dish. Excuse the quality on these photos, the lighting was very dim.  
Before heading home we had to head over to Braum’s a local icecream place that is only located around Oklahoma and is a favorite of ours. I got a little sundae!

 
Linds got one too!

   

The next morning we were greeted with ice covering everything! A bad ice storm hit the night before and it was quite the sight.

    
 
Lindsay and I braved the ice and walked to the gym to get in a circuit workout together. We alternated between running intervals on the treadmill and doing different strenght training moves before hitting up the other equipment for a good burn.

 

Shortly after our workout we headed back to the apartment where I packed us up and we said our goodbyes, loaded up Brandy, and hit the road.

We are now back home in San Antonio. I am about to jump in the shower and head off to church!   
 
Have a lovely Sunday!

Lauren <3

“Oh Give Thanks Unto The Lord, For He Is Good”

Happy Thanksgiving day! I am so thankful for my MANY blessings today! We are currently in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. While we await for the delicious foods to cook/bake I wanted to pop in with a quick blog post! 

Brandy and I went to watch N play flag football with some of his friends the other day. He is such a great athlete and so fun to watch score touchdowns and school the other guys. ;)  
    Sunday we headed out for some fresh air and disc golf with some friends of ours.
    
 Our attempt at a group selfie.

   As the sun was sinking down and peeking through the trees, I had to capture some beautiful pictures of our disc golf adventures.
 God’s handiwork <3

 Tuesday morning I got coffee with my fried Hannah and we discussed life, love, and everything in between.  
 Yesterday morning before squeezing into the car for our venture to OKC, we took a family run to burn off some energy (for Brandy) and stretch our legs before the 8 hour drive.

   Once in the car Brandy was a champ and settled right down. We had our coffees ready to go, some books on tape, and wondeful conversations on our journey. 

 We arrived at Lindsay and Ben’s place around 6:30 PM and were all more than ready to go get some dinner. Our appetites led us to Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, known for the best steak in Oklahoma. The food was delicious and the company was even better!

 After dinner, we walked around Stockyard City to explore the town a bit. Oklahoma is known for it’s wind, but WOW it has not stopped blowing since we arrived.   
 I coerced Lindsay into running with me this morning. The weather was blowing and sprinkling but it felt good to move! We covered a little over 2 rainy miles then headed back to do some “yoga” and pilates.
 
 

love running with my sister!

 
Well, we’re having a blast here in Oklahoma with Lindsay and Ben. We have been exploring, playing games, and the cooking/baking is about to go into full force as we get dinner ready! Happy Thanksgiving!

Lauren <3

Oklahoma Bound:

 I am coming at you this morning officially on Thanksgiving break! In Texas, schools get the whole week of TG off to celebrate and I am not complaining one bit. This morning I was up at 6:30 and planning to go to a church outreach event with Nathan, but then I looked around our house and realized how badly I needed to stay here and catch up house work. The dishes were a MILE high, I kid you not. 

In the days since my last blog post, we have been running around nonstop it seems. Nathan went on a hunting trip recently and I had some good quality girl time with these cuties! We went to a football game, shopping, and stayed up late watching movies.  The Big Texas sky <3
 I also got myself a much needed massage at a local massage parlour called Aramesh Day Spa. The masseuse was very friendly and after a few minutes into my hour massage she told me that my neck was so tense that she had never had anyone whose neck was that tight. I told her that I have TMJ and grind my teeth at night and she said she could really tell. She spent about 45 mintes just working on my neck and I felt so much better afterwards. She also gave me some good stretchs to do at home to combat my tense muscles.  Fingers crossed they will help! (Picture in the waiting room)

 So, Nathan and I have this wonderful life hack that we use all the time. My husband is a huge meat eater, so I do my best to have some type of protein/meat at each memal for him. We have discovered a clean and quick way to make bacon and will never go back to cooking it in a frying pan. Simply layer a baking sheet with foil and line it with bacon . Preheat the oven to 400 and bake for 13-15 minutes.So easy ,no grease spatter, and the bacon doesn’t loose any of its wonderful flavor!
    
Last Saturday we had 3 youth events in one day. First, we headed out to the Hondo Corn Maize with about 30 kiddos where we toured the corn maize, watched a pig race, and I of course bought some fresh squeezed lemonade and delicious kettle corn from their food stand. 

 One of us didn’t get the memo that it’s now Autumn…

   My sweet friend Patience and I. She is a senior at RCBA where I teach and she is our classroom “Adopt A Senior” student, so she comes in and visits my kiddos during the week. We just love her!
  The corn was starting to die off a bit but we still had a blast trying to beat the boys out of the corn maze first!  
  This week  I talked nathan into running with me after work, and he agreed to ride my bike next to me so that we could talk and catch up while I got my miles in. He also had Brandy  with him, so it was a whole family affair and I couldn’t help snapping a picture of us all. We’re sure a sight, I’m sure the neighbors got  a good laugh. ;)  
 My First graders all disguised turkeys to hide out in the classroom this week. How cute are they?! We’ve got a few princess turkeys, a peacock, astronaut, santa, cheerleader, balerina, cell phone, Spurs player, and Seahawks turkey. I love my job! <3

 
Date night this week consisted of take out from my favorite greek place, Papoulis and a side of the best Baskin Robbins icecream flavors.  Yumm!

    Yesterday at school we had a service day and the whole school got involved and painted a fence for the church where our school is based. Here is a picture of the whole group after we got all cleaned up.
Here is one of the staff only. I love these people! <3

    In other news, Nathan and I are packing our bags and heading off to Oklahoma City for Thanksgiving with my sister and brother -in-law. They just moved there for a temporary time for his job, and its just a 7 hour drive from us so we’re leaveing in a few days! I cannot wait to see them and their new pace!
I am off  for a blustery run with the dog! I’ll pop back in with a TG recap next week! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, there is SO much to be thankful for! 

Lauren <3

 

The Murder Mystery Birthday Party and Hocus Pokus 5k:

 This recap has been long overdue! Let’s rewind to the Friday before Halloween which was homecoming for the school that I teach at. In the elementary grades we have our annual Story Book Parade where students and teachers dress up like a character from a story book and march in a parade around the school.
  We also had a HUGE storm and everything was flooded this weekend as well. Here are some pictures of a road right by the school.
    Needless to say the football game that night was a muddy one, so in an effort to save my boots I went the whole plastic bag route. I know I’m so fashionable ;)
 That evening after the football game, my friend Liz (the birthday girl) came over and we busted out tons of goodies for her birthday. We made carmel apples, toffee apples, hundreds of chocolate covered strawberries, whitches brooms, googly eyed cookies, white chocolate pretzle bones, and chocolate covered pretzles. It took us until 3:30 am that morning, but we had tones of fun listening to music and talking while working.

I had a 5k to run the next morning and everyone was convinced I would sleep in due to the late night, but I proved them wrong and bounced out of bed ready to go Saturday morning. The Hocus Pocus 5k was a race that I planned to run with my friend magen but she had a family emergency come up so I ran solo. We had outfits planned to be Workout Barbies and I was not going to dress up as that by myself so I opted for an”80’s” look.  It was kind of a half hearted attempt, I was pretty tired and just focused on getting in a good run.  
  Nathan snapped these pictures because he’s seriously the best husband ever and supports me in all my endeavors without complaining a bit. Thanks  Nathan <3  
    
I felt good throughout the run and decided to really move it towards the end when I realized I was out in front of the pack. I finished in 24 minutes and 56 seconds, not my best time but considering how little sleep I got I was happy with it.

   

 I looked at the roster before leaving and realized that I finished first in my age group and was going to get a medal, so we decided to hang around a bit until the awards began.
I got some fruit while we waited becuse my stomach was starting to growl. 

 
We had a good time looking at all the costumes and dogs that people had dressed up to run with them, as it was a pet friendly race sponsored by the humane society where we adopted Brandy from. We did not bring Brandy with us for the run because we were nervous about how she would do around so many other dogs. She still acts very much like a puppy and loves to harass other dogs and can be difficult to deal with at times, but maybe next year she will have settled down a bit and be able to participate.
    

Upon arriving home we still have a lot of work to do to get ready for Liz’s party that evening.    We made all the sweets the night before but we still had to make the pumpkin quesadillas, the mini mummy pizzas, and the hotdog mummies for the main courses. We decided to go with finger foods for her party since it was later at night and it would be easier for all the guests.
  Everything is baked and ready to go and then we started moving all of the food over to the pavilion where we would be hosting the party. The boys who were in charge of the murder Mystery had already been hard at work prepping the “murder scenes” .   I begin setting up the pavilion with white ights,candles, candies,name tags, fake spiderwebs and all the food. Due to all the rain that we had the pavilion floor had puddles on it so we tried our best to squeegee it off but there were still puddles when the guest started to arrive so we made the best of it!
  Dry ice can make any drink look spooky.   The cheesy pumpkin quesadillas.
  The mini mummy pizzas.   The witches broomsticks.
  Delicious caramel apples with toppings .  
  White chocolate skeleton bones a.k.a. pretzels and marshmallows dipped in chocolate.   Pinterest inspired googly eyed cookies.
  I was thrilled to see that all the guests had dressed up according to their character assignment per the birthday girl. Liz assigned each person who RSVPed a different character to come dressed as for her murder mystery party. We had around 30 guests and each one decked themselves out wonderfully. 

If you couldn’t tell I was assigned Snooki for the party. Here I am taking a picture with the lumberjack and a zombie.

 And here is the vampire birthday girl with the ghost Jessica!

 

I had to snap a picture with the old man from UP.
  And the mime was dressed to kill 😉  Flavor Flave the rapper also made an appearance at the party.
    
  
And my date for the night was the infamous Dwight Schrute from the show the Office.  (with Jessica the ghost creeping in the background )  we also had some lovely cupcakes made by Jessica the ghost, they were delicious!
    
 Overall the party was a huge success and the Murder Mystery led us all around campus in the dark. The murderer was Aladdin and everyone was surprised. Once we finished with the mystery part we headed back to the pavilion for some dancing and dessert. We dance the night away and then cleaned up and head home to crash. It was a lovely weekend and I’m so glad that I got to help my friend Liz celebrate her 20th birthday.

Lauren <3

Lobster Rolls, Bon Fires, and Homecoming Week

 Happy Thursday! This week has  been a great one so far, full of festive fall activities, good workouts, and delicious eats! 

Date night took us to the Shuck Shack downtown which had rave reviews and was flagged as an “up and coming popular seafood spot”! I of course ordered the oysters which are their signature dish. These were the best oysters I have ever tasted, I could have eaten so many but wanted to save room for the Lobster Roll which was pricey but came highly recommended.

My handsome date for the night ordered a handcrafted bacon burger and was very please with his choice.   I have to be honest here, I thought I’d be okay having that gluten filled bun after eating no gluten for a few weeks but that night and the next few days I had a migrane that would not go away, so I’m sticking to this gluten free thing for a while.
 
Saturday evening we had some good friends over for dinner and a game night. Me and my vegan friend Liz recreated the avocado pasta topped with sauteed mushrooms that we made the weekend before and the men ordered pizzas. 

    Liz brought over ingredients for vegan and GF chocolate chip cookies which were very, very delicious!
   
Game night was such a blast and we ended up playing a card game called Scum of the Earth, and the looser had to do a dare. It got pretty hillarious and gross, I’ll leave it at that…;)

Sunday night we met up with our tennis group and this lovely sunset called for a picture. 

 I love our tennis group, they’re so much fun!   

 I heard this quote once and find it so very true for me, it says “That’s The thing about running; your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is.” This so often rings true for me, I am so blessed.

 I have been on an energy ball kick lately and whipped some up using peanut butter, dark chocolate chips, coconut milk, chia seeds, honey, and oats. 

  
Last night was small group night at youth group, which was where each group leader and their kiddos plan an event or something fun to do as a group to fellowship and get to know each other a little better. So my small group girls (9-10 graders) decided they wanted to order Bush’s Chicken, sweet tea, and have a bon fire with s’mores on the hill at church.

   
  It was a success!  This week at school was spirit week because homecoming is tomorrow, so each day of the week students have been able to dress up in different themes. Today was throwback day, so we took some pictures!
   
I am so in love with my ten little students this year! We have so much fun in First grade!

Well, this is going to be a BIG weekend! Tomorrow there are tons of Homecoming festivities, a football game, and a halo-fifth quarter at night. Saturday morning I am running the Hocus Pocus 5k then working, decorating, cooking all day to get ready for Liz’s birthday party that night. The party is a Halloween murder mystery and I am hosting , eek! I’ll be sure to pop in with a recap soon!

Have a great day!

Lauren <3