Valentines Day Fun

As I get ready to head off for a fun weekend of Winter Camp with our youth I am struck with the realization that time is simply flying by at warp speed. I feel like I was just writing last year’s Winter Camp recap and here I am getting ready to zip up our suitcases for another camp. Wow!
Monday night Nathan and I celebrated an early Valentines as soon as he picked me up from work.

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He created a fun little scavenger hunt all over that took me to dinner and ended with our favorite cheesecake slices at Cheesecake Factory. YUMMM!

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Today was a chaotic valentines celebration in the elementary grades;)

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I felt the love from my little ones and have more than my fair share of Chocolate. My plan is to take most of it to camp with me this weekend and I know those high school girls will have no trouble helping it all disappear. Out of sight, out of mind.
I’m planing to use this weekend as a sort of detox from lots of things. Camp food is a no go for me so I usually resort to the salad bar and fruit or granola bars that I pack myself. We spend majority of the camp running around being super active and I plan to run Saturday and Sunday morning like I normally would.
Well, I’m off to get the last few to-do’s checked off of my list before the madness of check-in starts. I’m already looking forward to a day off on Monday to rest and recuperate.
Have a great Valentines weekend!
<3 Lauren

Spurs Games & Roses

As I get ready to go for a chilly run this morning I figured I would pop in with a much needed blog post. I’m going to be honest here, lately my running motivation has been more like this…

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Running in the mornings outside before school has been pretty cold so I think i’m going to finally cave in and start looking at dreadmills treadmills. ;)

Friday night Nathan and I went downtown to attend our very first Spurs game!

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We went to Cheddars for dinner before the game and it was pretty good.

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Someone was pretty excited to see the Spurs vs. Lakers game and I am happy to report that the Spurs kicked butt.
These past few weeks of work have been very challenging and my sweet husband has been going out of his way to brighten my days. ;)

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Roses, cheesecake, and dinner dates a.k.a. not having to cook dinner!
I will leave you with this great quote that has been a big challenge for me in my life right now.

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truth.
I’m off to go running then head to church. I’ve got some youth girls coming over after church for a girls day.
Lauren <3

Staying Fit in 2015

Hello 2015!
So far today Nathan and I have spent the majority of the new year in our PJs curled up on the couch, watching movies, and spending time together and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. His family made the trip down to Texas for the holidays and they left us after breakfast this morning.
We rang in the new year last night with loads of board games and yummy eats. Around midnight we popped open some Welches grape juice and ran outside to the deck to watch all the fireworks being set off all over the city.

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Heading into the New Year I am feeling strong. I made it my goal to not gain any extra weight this holiday season, because it has always been a time when I notice myself start to slip. I am happy to report that I stuck with my running regiment and kept active all throughout. There were totally a few days where it took way more self discipline to get out the door, but I stuck with it and never skipped a planned run. (Oh, and these new Mizunos helped lots too ;) )

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On the eating front, I am a FIRM believer that abs are made in the kitchen and weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. You can’t out run a poor diet, trust me I’ve tried ;) Don’t get me wrong I had my fair share of Lindt truffles and gooey brownies, but I had less than I would have in years past. I never felt deprived by allowing myself a few bites of some of my favorite dishes. It’s all about moderation!

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Jumping back to Christmas, it was a great day and actually our first Christmas spent in our new house (we were in Ohio last year). I cooked Christmas dinner and my mother-in-law made a delicious brunch for us that morning.

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I planned to do a giant 12 foot tree in our living room this year because we’ve got super high ceilings but didn’t ever get a chance. Next year though!;) It’s so fun decorating for Christmas!

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We took Nathan’s family downtown to the River Walk for dinner and to see the beautiful lights illuminating the whole river.

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We had a blast with Nathan’s family and we took them to all our favorite spots to eat and places to see in S.A.

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From Mini golfing to Big Lou’s 42 inch pizza I’d say it was a successful trip!
I am in the midst of meal planning and getting ready to get back to the grind Monday and mentally prepare myself to teach a class full of kiddos again…

I am excited for this new year and some activities I plan to do more of this year are *day trips to new places we haven’t yet visited in TX*Get in the Word more*Hiking*Lots more running*take more dates with my man* Read more books*Try new recipes*travel*face more fears*Take more pictures*Write more letters*Go on a missions trip*Paint*Slow down more*
I’m off to make some hot cocoa and curl up with my guy!
Have a great evening!
Lauren<3

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