Archive Page 2

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Happy birthday to my sweet husband!

 

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I have to brag on him – he has an amazingly strong faith AND the boy cooks, cleans, gardens, works so very hard, and always gives 110% in everything.

 

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He treats me like a princess.

 

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He puts up with my difficult ways and all of my nonsense.

 

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He makes me smile and laugh every day.

 

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And – he is a total hottie. 

 

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I’ll post about his birthday present later this week – hopefully he will like it!

much love,

natalie

putting the suitcase away

I’m back!  After several weeks of traveling, house sitting, and more traveling, I am finally putting my suitcase away (that is, once I actually unpack it).

I have had so much fun this summer, but it seems impossible that tomorrow is the last day of July AND that this is my last week of summer break.  Where did it go?!

Last Wednesday I headed out to Nashville to spend the night before flying to Ohio on Thursday.  My first stop was Fleet Feet to get new running shoes!!!  Aren’t they awesome?!?!?!

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That night, I met up with my mom and another girl and we went for dinner at this great little place called The Yellow Porch.  We didn’t go until 9 and we definitely missed the big crowd because we were seated immediately.  All of our food was wonderful, but the caprese salad stole the show.  

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On Thursday morning, my mom and I went to a little place called Marche for a delicious breakfast before heading to the airport.  I ordered flax toast with fresh ricotta, peaches, and honey and a fried egg on the side.    Mom ordered one fried egg and the savory crepe of the day, which was potato, lemon, and mint.  Of course, we split our food and everything was delicious!

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We flew to Columbus where my sweet cousin Laurel picked us up.  She had to go back to work, but dropped us at Easton to shop for a couple hours.  After a somewhat successful shopping trip and grabbing a light bite to eat, she picked us back up and we headed to her lovely home.  My amazing blogger friend, Lindsay from In Sweetness and in Health, lives nearby and came to meet us for dinner.  Lindsay and I connected through Kristen and got to know one another through our Bible study and countless emails and texts.  She is incredibly sweet, thoughtful, and caring.  If you don’t read her blog, you definitely should!  It was so much fun to finally meet her in person, and it really felt like I was just seeing an old friend.  We chatted the night away and enjoyed a scrumptious dinner at a cool pizzeria called Harvest.  I can’t wait until we can meet up again!

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Late that night, we rode with my cousin to a little place outside Toledo.  We were there to celebrate with my mom’s oldest sister – 29 years of being cancer-free!  We joined in on all the food prep on Friday and also had a great time catching up on everyone’s life!  The party was Friday night, and it was a blast.  The food was great, and the DJ played a great mix of music until midnight.  Needless to say, when I wasn’t explaining my southern accent (those Ohio people thought it was so funny and kept asking me where I was from haha), I was dancing the night away.  It was a great night celebrating my aunt’s health and life.

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On Saturday we spent the day at my aunt’s lovely home eating leftovers and watching my little cousins swim and play.  All too soon we were headed to the Detroit airport to catch our flight back to Nashville.  We drove straight from the airport to meet my cousin and her husband at The Cheesecake Factory (I had never been!) for dinner.  Oh my gosh – that menu is quite overwhelming!  I ordered a glass of skinny sangria, farro salad, and salmon rolls.  I couldn’t finish my meal, and ordering dessert was out of the question.  I guess I’ll have to go back sometime to get some cheesecake!  

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After crashing that night (I slept in the exact spot where Steve McNair was murdered – pretty cool, huh? – it’s actually a really nice apartment!), I got up the next morning and headed to my favorite place – Trader Joe’s!  I stocked up on everything I needed (and a few extra items…dark chocolate coconut bonbons…mmmm) and then headed home.  As soon as I walked in the door, I gave Daniel a quick kiss and then my mom’s other sister (from Texas) stopped by with her husband, one of her daughters and her grandson.  They were in town for a high school reunion, and it was so good to catch up with them!  When everyone left, the only thing I wanted to do was hang out with Daniel and take a nap haha.  Instead, I headed off to tumbling with my cheerleaders (who are truly amazing, by the way).  Once back home, we chilled for a bit and then I convinced Daniel to take me to Sonic for 1/2 price shakes.  I got a mini vanilla caramel hot fudge shake, and it was perfect.  After that, we both crashed!

Okay, enough of this rambling!  I hope that y’all had a great weekend!!!!!!!!!  I have an announcement later this week, so be watching for it!

much love,

natalie

so tell me…

Do you unpack your suitcase as soon as you get home, or do you put if off?

Do you see your family often (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins)?

french toast pancakes

Good morning, friends!  I hope that your week is going well so far, and if not…well, it’s almost the weekend! 🙂

This morning I was craving something delicious for breakfast.  Don’t get me wrong, the cinnamon Life I had yesterday was delicious, but I wanted something that offered a bit more flavor and that kept me full.  I decided to cook up some pancakes, but didn’t want to fuss with a lot of ingredients.  I searched some of my favorite recipe blogs and cooking sites, but then decided to just wing it.  It was a good decision, because I ended up with French toast pancakes.  That’s right – two of the most classic breakfasts foods in one.  

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French Toast Pancakes 

note – this recipe is for one serving (three pancakes), but it could easily be multiplied to fit your needs

Ingredients

one egg (farm fresh from my sweet friend, Amy)

1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese

1/3 cup oats (I used regular, but I think quick cooking oats would also work)

4 or 5 drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia (or 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 pack stevia, splenda, or sugar)

1-2 tsp coconut oil (or whatever oil you have on hand)

Blueberries (optional)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender.

Heat oil in skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.

Using a spoon or 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop batter into skillet (should be 3 quarter-cup servings).

If using blueberries, drop a small handful on top of each pancake.

Cook until bubbles start to form and pop (I think about 3-4 minutes).

Gently flip over and cook on other side until desired color is reached.

Enjoy with toppings of choice!

Pancake collage

The egg in these pancakes gave them a French toast taste, and they were incredibly delicious!  I enjoyed mine with a little Brummel and Brown yogurt spread and some maple syrup.  Some other toppings that would be great would be nut butters, Greek yogurt, fruit, fruit spreads, nuts, chocolate (I had a very hard time deciding between adding chocolate chips or adding blueberries), etc. 

As far as nutrition stats go, let’s compare these to typical pancakes.  According to myfitnesspal, one serving of pancakes has 275 calories, 33g carbs, 13g fat, 8g protein, 675mg sodium (!!!!), and 9g sugar.  This recipe (not including blueberries or any toppings) has 235 calories, 22g carbs, 9g fat (mostly from the egg), 18g protein, 375mg sodium, and 4g sugar.  So basically, half the sodium and double the protein – um YES please!

I’m heading out to Nashville today and flying to Ohio tomorrow to be with my family for a celebration (more on that later).  I hope y’all have a great day!

much love,

natalie

so tell me…

What’s your favorite topping(s) for pancakes?

Which do you like more, French toast or pancakes?

overcoming fear

Good morning!!!!

I’m back!  Whew – last week was a fun, crazy, and exhausting one to say the least!  Cheer camp was a great success, and I wish y’all could have seen those 80 little girls performing for their parents at the end of the week.  It was so precious.  I’m finally getting the Justin Bieber and One Direction songs that we played all week out of my head.

Yeah.  Moving on…we are going to have a deep conversation today – ready?

I have had several conversations lately about fear.  Talks with friends, families, my cheerleaders, etc really have me thinking a lot about how we let fear get the best of us all too often.  

By definition, fear is:

1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid
2. a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights
3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety
4. reverential awe, especially toward God
5.something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of
 
Now, the fear I’m talking about isn’t just the “phobia” type of fear (side note – do you KNOW how many legit phobias there are???? fear of the moon??  fear of clouds?  fear of the color purple??).  I’m talking about the fear that robs us of our joy and happiness; the type of fear that comes with taking risks and accepting new challenges in life; the type of fear that comes when we step out of our comfort zone.  Satan likes to creep in with those “what if I fail” or “what if it doesn’t work out” questions.  There’s also always that one person who likes to point out all the things that could go wrong.  But what if we stopped thinking like that?  What if we focused on all the things that could go RIGHT and the amazing experience we may have?  
 
I kind of feel like I’m jumping around, but it just bothers me that so many of us let fear control our lives.  Fear is definitely something we need in our lives – thankfully God designed our bodies so that we would have that emotion when faced with danger or pain.  At the same time, we can’t let it control our lives.  In the Bible, you will continuously come across passages that begin with “fear not” or “do not be afraid” or “do not worry.” 
 
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That verse blows my mind – God has given us a spirit of POWER, not of fear!  
 
So, we know we have fear, but how do we overcome it?  For me, my answer comes straight from scripture. Jesus said that we would have many trials and troubles in our lives, but to take heart, because HE has overcome the world (John 16:33).  
 
1. pray – pray that the fear is taken away and a peace is restored; pray for wisdom; pray for clarity.
2. be confident – many of us are captive to our fears because we have believed them for so long and let them take hold of our lives – give those fears the cold shoulder and believe in yourself!
3. face them – that’s right – face your fears.  how are you supposed to deal with them if you’re running away from them all the time?
4. risk it – know that anything worth doing usually involves some sort of risk – and there’s only one way to find out if it’s truly worth it.
This week, I am going to face some of my own fears and work on overcoming them.  One thing that I will be working on is my fear of needing to fit a certain mold or be a certain body type.  Instead of feeding that fear by criticizing my body image, I am committing that I will say something positive to myself every day when I’m getting ready in front of the mirror.  Sounds silly, but I know that those positive thoughts will help keep the negativity and fear at bay.  
I hope that y’all have a great Monday and that you identify and conquer a fear this week!
much love,
natalie
so tell me…
Do you struggle with fear?
How do you overcome fears in your life?
Do you have any weird phobias????

madness

I may be absent from the blogosphere for the remainder of the week.  It’s elementary cheer camp week, which means I am in charge of a gym full of screaming little girls! 🙂

We usually have about 60-65 girls at cheer camp, which is a lot of kids to manage at once haha, but this year we have 79 campers!  SEVENTY-NINE!  I am so thankful for my varsity cheer squad – they get community service hours for working the camp, and it helps them to be better cheerleaders when they have to be responsible for teaching it to someone else.  I definitely could not do this camp without them.  Needless to say, this week is a little bit hectic.  It is one of the most fun and exhausting weeks of my summer (not quite as much as varsity cheer camp).  

I’ll be back Friday or Saturday, I promise!  I hope that y’all are having a GREAT week!

much love,

natalie

so tell me…

what are you doing this week?  

what is the busiest week of your summer?

Vacation Recap: Mexico 2012

It’s hard to believe that this time last week we were still in Mexico trying to soak up every ounce of all-inclusive beachy goodness.  

This trip was one of my favorite vacations ever; it was just so perfect!  Sunshine the entire trip, wonderful food, amazing staff, and unlimited time with Daniel made for an amazing getaway.

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Some highlights of the trip include:

relaxing on the beach in the beautiful sunshine every single day

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playing games around the pool with the activity staff (bingo, darts, trivia, dancing, etc)

salsa dance lessons

couples Swedish massage with hydrotherapy

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snorkeling (we saw a barracuda – we used an underwater camera and I will put those pictures up soon!)

walking on the beach

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delicious food & umbrella drinks

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seeing a giant sea turtle come up onto our beach to lay her eggs (they wouldn’t let us on the beach to take pictures since the flash would scare her, so this is the best picture we could get)

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acting silly with Daniel

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Daniel was very excited that those pictures made the blog 😉

It was a very memorable trip, and it was wonderful to get to relax and spend all of our time together.  Maybe one day we can a view like this permanently…

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ahhhh…paradise

Now we have to start planning and saving for the next trip!  Any suggestions???? 

(You can check out our other Mexico vacations here and here.)

much love,

natalie

so tell me…

What is the most memorable vacation that you had?

What is your dream vacation???  I think mine would be Australia, but then I can also think of about 50 other places that I would also call dream vacations. 🙂

Sunshine Blog Award

Hey y’all!  I hope that you are having a wonderful week!  We’ve been getting some MUCH NEEDED rain this week, which ruined my plans of lounging by this pool:

I’m still very thankful for the rain.  We went 21 days without a single drop of rain at our house, and our garden definitely needed it.

My sweet friend Lindsay was so kind and nominated me for the Sunshine Blog Award.  Thanks so much, Lindsay, for being an inspiration to me and everyone else.  You’re the best!

This prize is awarded to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”As an award winner, there are a few rules to follow:

  • Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
  • Answer the questions below.
  • Pass on the award to other fabulous bloggers, link their blogs, and let them know you awarded them.

Here we go!
  1. Favorite color? blue!!!
  2. Favorite animal? dogs, but I love all animals, especially baby ones!  
  3. Favorite number? I don’t really have one. I usually pick 9 because it was Daniel’s number in soccer back in the day
  4. Favorite color? Ummmm…again?  I’ll say that my favorite color to wear is black.
  5. Favorite drink? Lately I’ve been drinking tons of water infused with fresh cucumbers from the garden – so refreshing!
  6. Facebook or twitter? I’m copying Lindsay’s answer and saying that I prefer pinterest and instagram for sure
  7. What is your passion? I have many passions – health (food and fitness), travel, my faith, reading, Daniel, my friends and family, having fun, teaching, missions, etc!
  8. Giving or getting presents? Like most other people, I do enjoy receiving presents, but there is nothing better than getting someone something that he/she really wants and probably wouldn’t buy on his/her own 
  9. Favorite day of the week? During the summer it’s Wednesdays because I only have one thing planned on that day and it’s over by 8:30 a.m. but during the school year it’s definitely Saturday!
  10. Favorite flower? I love calla lilies, especially the mini ones.  I had them in my bouquet at our wedding

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source

Now…I’m passing this award on to some of my favorite blog friends that continue to inspire me!

Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries

Megan @ Munch N Crunch

Katie @ Faith Food & Fitness

Michelle @ Nice Lil’ Saturday

Andrea @ Andrea Out Loud

Have a blessed day!

much love,

natalie

so tell me…

What (or who) inspires you???


pinterest

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The Lean Green Bean