Posts Tagged 'family'

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?!?!?!

Newshoes

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.  

Nashdress

 

Ypcaprese

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!

Peachesricottatoast

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!

Natandlinds

378210 615390462232 97333540 n

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.

Girlsinkitchenohio

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!  

Farrosalad

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)?

playing catch (up)

WOW so much has happened since the last post!  

The teacher in me has missed making organizational lists, so that’s what we’ll be doing today.

1. Friday

  • hot yoga
  • yolo’s frozen yogurt with my friend Amy
  • hung out with my mom and a few friends
  • Lauren’s rehearsal dinner (Lauren is Daniel’s oldest niece – she was 11 when we started dating!  I can’t believe she’s old enough to get married now)
  • chilling with Daniel outside until almost midnight – most of our conversation was about how excited we are to go to Mexico this week!
Cancunchristmas2011

2. Saturday

  • farmers market!!! – I picked up a pint of fresh blueberries (for only five bucks – I was ecstatic!), a quart of fresh blackberries, one pound of mahi mahi, and some crabcakes
  • catching up on my google reader
  • working in the yarden – weeding, picking, tying, hoeing, sweating, etc – we stayed out there for a good three hours in the heat, but our fresh veggies are so worth it!
  • Lauren’s wedding & reception
Laurencollage

3. Sunday

  • long run (actually longEST run of my entire life) – 6.4 miles – I know that’s not a big deal for some of you, but this felt like a major breakthrough for me!
  • church
  • goodwill (to drop off donations)
  • cleaned out a closet and my workout room (it had a bunch of stuff that was here when we moved in that didn’t belong to us – let’s just say that we are no longer storing other people’s stuff 🙂 )
  • tumbling/stunt cheer practice with my awesome team (I somehow got roped into going up again – it was fun!)
  • helped Daniel pick up a new-to-us fridge for our garage for all our overflowing produce (I’m not sure how just the two of us need a second refrigerator, but I’m just going to say it’s because we buy/grow a ton of fresh produce)
  • family time!!!  I haven’t seen my cousin Jennifer in a very long time, and I got to see her, meet her husband, and meet her precious nephew
  • make salt and vinegar zucchini chips (recipe soon)
Famcollage

Needless to say, the weekend was jam-packed with a balance of hard work, fun, and family.  This time next week….you know where we’ll be

much love,

nat

so tell me…

how was YOUR weekend?

do you have an empty or full fridge right now?

mango avocado ice cream

Hey hey my lovely blog friends!  I hope that you enjoyed your weekend and were able to celebrate Father’s day with the people you love.  

I got to spend the whole weekend with family, and it was wonderful.  On Saturday, Daniel and I went to his family reunion and were able to spend time with his siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  That night, we got together with my family and had a delicious dinner outside watching my little cousins play on their new playset (I will have to take pictures – it’s the coolest thing ever and I kind of want one for myself).  Sunday evening we went to my parents house for a big Father’s day dinner.  Daniel grilled the best pork chops in the history of the world, and we also had a plethora of other delicious treats: black-eyed peas, cornbread, pole beans, corn on the cob, and grilled squash and zucchini from our garden.  It was quite the meal.  After dinner, we headed outside and played whiffle ball and washers.  I completely sucked at whiffle ball, but I redeemed myself with washers.  I had never played before, but I completely dominated the game (I even beat my brother…..not that we’re competitive or anything).  We finished the night off by enjoying my mom’s homemade blackberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream.  It was pretty much the perfect night with my family.

love them

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned that ice cream yet, aren’t you?  Patience is a virtue, people.  😉  When it comes to ice cream, I don’t have much patience either, so let’s get right to that recipe.

This isn’t actually ice cream, but it sure does taste like soft serve!  Not only is this recipe delicious, but it is super simple with only three ingredients!

Mango Avocado “Ice Cream”

  • 1/2 avocado, frozen (peel and chop your avocado before freezing it)
  • about 3/4 or 1 cup frozen mango (I used one small champagne mango that I peeled and chopped myself)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

Mangoavocadoicecream

This is a healthy, scrumptious, sweet-relief-from-the-summer-heat treat.  I bought several avocados yesterday at the grocery store so that I can put them in the freezer and make this recipe again.  I can’t wait!  I think next time I’ll add in some coconut extract and use coconut almond milk.  I’ll let you know how it turns out. 

Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

much love,

nat

So tell me…

Have you used avocado in sweet recipes before?

What’s your favorite cold treat in the summer?   

Where did the weekend go?!

I cannot believe it’s already Monday!  I feel like it should just now be Friday.  Not that I’m complaining about Monday already being here, because this is the last full week of school. 🙂

This weekend was kind of a blur due to lack of sleep and odd hours of work.  Let’s just take it one piece at a time.

Friday

Friday night Daniel went on a motorcycle ride with one of our friends that recently got a bike.  My dad was in town, so I headed over to my parents house to hang out for a couple of hours.  I knew I had an early morning, so I made myself go to bed before eleven.

Saturday

Boy, this day started EARLY.  My alarm clock went off at 3:30 a.m., and I hit the snooze a couple times before finally rolling out of bed to get ready.  I was doing a Zumba class at the fairgrounds for Relay for Life.  The class started at 5, and when I pulled into the parking lot at 4:30, it started to rain.  Did I mention the class was outside??? Luckily, there was a HUGE stage that I got to dance on, and my loyal zumba ladies (seriously, they are so amazing to get up that early on a Saturday to come support me/get a free workout  – I love them!) had enough room to stand under a small awning.  Not that many people participated, although I have no idea why.  I mean, who doesn’t want to shake your booty at 5 a.m. in the rain after walking all night long????  Even though only a small handful danced along, we did draw a little group of spectators.

Daniel had to go into work on Saturday morning, so I drove home around 6:15 to see him before he left.  I had plans of being productive before going to teach another Zumba class at ten…..yeah.  That didn’t happen.  After Daniel left, I sat down in the chair to check some emails, and it was all over.  I dozed on and off until around 8, and then checked emails and caught up on blogs until 9 when I had to get ready to leave.  The second class was fun, and my energy was back after the first song.  That afternoon, Daniel and I both lounged around and took naps, and then the real fun happened.  We cleaned out the guest bedroom and took down a bedroom suit that my cousin was coming to pick up.  I’m telling you, we are some crazy people over here!  We did end up getting out for dinner at a local Mexican place.  Oh, when my cousin came over, she brought her adorable Morkie puppy, Maple, who is only nine weeks old.  Check out how cute she is!!!!!!!

you better believe I airbrushed out the circles under my eyes!

Sunday

MOTHERS DAY!  My parents joined us at church, and then we took my mom out for sushi (and some presents, of course).  The sushi was amazing, and I definitely ate too much.  This was followed by the typical Sunday routine, groceries, food prep, some laziness, etc.  I went back over to my parents to spend more time with them before my dad leaves town for work again, and my mom had made this beautiful strawberry pie.

sorry for the phone pic

Don’t worry, that wasn’t my slice.  Mine was about 9/10 the size of this slice haha.

I hope that you enjoyed your weekend and that your Monday is off to a great start!  Happy belated Mothers Day to all of you moms out there – you are truly heroes, and I respect and admire you!

So tell me…

What was the best part of your weekend?

Did you celebrate Mothers Day?

No Excuses

So…I didn’t post all week.

I could say that I was busy.

I could say that I was on Spring Break (which is true).

I could say I was on some amazing tropical vacation (which is a lie).

OR I could tell you the truth.  Let’s go with that.

I had every intention of posting each day last week, especially because I was on break from school.  However, I just didn’t feel like it.  Lazy?  Perhaps.  I enjoyed the break from absolutely everything, and I definitely feel refreshed.  My idea of Spring Break used to be sitting on the beach, toes in the sand, listening to the ocean waves crash peacefully onto the shore as I watch the sun seemingly sink into the water.  Let’s be honest, that’s STILL my idea of Spring Break!  Because I work at night, that idea was not a realistic one for me.  So what did I do over my break?  So glad you asked!

Slept in until almost 8 a.m. every single morning!!!  Glorious sleep!

Read – I read a lot of health and fitness articles, as well as the adorable novel Moving Neutral by food and fashion blogger Katy Atlas.

Planned and prepped food for the plan – more on that tomorrow.

Watched more TV than I usually would – I still love Saved by the Bell just as much as I used to!

Spent some quality time with m-swag.

Took these crazy puppies on several walks to the park down the street.

Poor Clyde, he needs some new pictures.  I tried to take several, but he has a hard time holding still for more than .19 seconds!

Harley gets just a tiny bit excited when we go run outside!

Spent a great amount of time with Daniel (especially over the weekend).

Had a girls night with my mom, cousin, and friend.  I now have a French pedicure thanks to sweet cousin Anne.

Convinced Daniel to go see The Hunger Games with me.  I thought the movie was excellent, but, as always, the book was better.  I want to read the second book again haha.

Daniel said it hurts to smile, so he’ll roll with his “prison photo” face.

Enjoyed a night out with friends.

Bridal shower for my great friend Hazelnut.  Okay, her name is Hazel, but I like to pretend her real name is Hazelnut.  We also call her Wheezy, but I’m not exactly sure why…

Grocery shopping.

Real shopping (MARSHALLS will forever be my favorite store!).

Food prep for the upcoming week.

FINALLY feeling like blogging again! 🙂

Please forgive my absence – and sorry I don’t have a good excuse!  I hope that you enjoyed your week and weekend, and that your Monday goes exceptionally well!

So tell me…

What did you last week and this weekend???  Catch me up!

MIA and Thanksgiving

MIA really doesn’t even come close to describing it…  Apparently I have abandoned my poor blog for quite some time…  I could try to justify it by saying that I’ve been busy and that my internet at home only works during the morning (thankfully I’m changing companies this week!), but more than anything, I’ve just been enjoying life.  I apologize…kind of. 

I hope that y’all had an amazing Thanksgiving and that you got to spend a lot of time with family and friends.  I’ve been off work since Tuesday, and I have enjoyed every.single.second.  I have spent the majority of my Thanksgiving break hanging out with Daniel, cooking and eating ridiculous amounts of delicious food, deer hunting, and chilling with both of our families. 

We always eat Thanksgiving lunch with Daniel’s family on Thursday, and then we eat with my family on Friday.  His family is HUGE (he is the youngest of 7), and there were 43 people at lunch.  It was so much fun seeing everyone and playing with my adorable nieces and nephews.  My family’s get together the next day was lovely.  My parents, my brother, me and D, my cousin and his family all got together and enjoyed a feast of all the favorite Thanksgiving foods. 

Of course, we all talked about the things for which we are most thankful, and I always feel overwhelmed with gratitude.  First, I cannot fathom the unconditional love God has for me.  It blows my mind, and I strive daily to not take that for granted and also to show His love to others.  Second, the love we receive from our families is unbelievable.  I cannot imagine how our lives would be different if we didn’t have the love and support from both of our families.

Sorry to be so mushy, but I just feel so blessed!  I will be back THIS WEEK (pinky promise!) with a new workout.  Have a GREAT week, and don’t forget to count your blessings!

What are you most thankful for this year?

AND…

What was the best thing you had to eat during Thanksgiving?

Back to school…back to school…

To prove to Dad that I’m not a fool.  (Name the movie/finish the song!)

school bus(source)

School is officially back in session!  Needless to say, these last two weeks have been hectic.  My summer was fairly busy, but I definitely had a little extra time to sleep.  The first week of the 4:45 alarm clock took some serious adjusting on my part.  No more going to bed at two in the morning for me.  As much as I love summer, it has been fun getting back into my school routine.  The days of in-service were beneficial and effective, and it is always great to see my amazing colleagues!  I feel incredibly blessed to work with people that I can truly call my friends.  I honestly look forward to going to work ninety-nine percent of the time (hey, we all have those days where we just want to stay in bed, right?). 

 

andrea and me

Andrea and me

We have successfully made it through our first week with students, and I have zero complaints.  I have a feeling this is going to be a WONDERFUL year! 

Another thing that comes with returning to my tight schedule is meal planning and prepping.  I have started taking some time on Sunday mornings to make out a chart (because I’m a nerd) with my food plans for the week.  I plan out breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner for each day; then I make my grocery list to support my chart.  Maybe I should make myself a powerpoint presentation ha.  Sometimes going back to school brings out the major nerd in me – charts, organizations, lists, planning, etc.  Even though it seems silly to plan all that, it helps tremendously.  I’m planning a post for later on this week with my weekly chart. 

 

nerd

(source)

I promise promise to figure out a normal blogging schedule soon! 

Tonight the family is coming over and we are cooking out (by we I mean Daniel) for my dad’s birthday.  I love my daddy, and I am so thankful to have him in my life!!!  I may look just like my mom, but I act just like my dad!

me and dad

sorry for the phone pic!

Are you a planner?  How do you stay organized and on schedule???

Have a FABULOUS week!


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The Lean Green Bean