5 for Friday

Friday’s here!  This is an extra fantastic Friday as my sister and brother-in-love {to be} are visiting and hanging out with us for the day.  Bonus!  The Mr. is off today too!  We’ve got a fun day planned with swimming lessons, some beach time, and a new restaurant to visit for lunch.  I’m way excited.  🙂  First, here are five things that have been on my mind this week…

{ONE}
Training makes me think of school, and school makes me think of the end of summer.  The end of summer makes me a little sad (Doesn’t that sound like the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?!?!).  I attended two days of training this week which is actually quite a bit better than the three days it was scheduled to be.  I actually enjoyed the training today on a new reading series that my district has adopted, BUT I still prefer having the summertime and the luxury of having undivided focus on home and family.  We have had/are having such a wonderful summer!  I enjoyed lunch outside on my two long lunch breaks aka longer than the 20-25ish minute breaks during the school year.

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The ducks pictured above were scarily close!  I had to shoo them away to prove I wasn’t holding out on giving them treats.  The poor guys tried to nibble on the straw pictured.  What the heck, people!?!?!  Pick up your trash!  😦  Trash or not, it was so nice eating outside.  I think I miss that the most about the school year…outside time.

{TWO}

Running Quotes – On one particularly long lunch break, I stopped in a Barnes & Noble and check out books on running.  These two looked good.  I plan on looking them up at my local library.

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I also saw Zen and the Art of Running which looked interesting too.

Here are some quotes/advice that I liked.

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Middle Quote

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Love all these!

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Bottom Quote = LOVE

{THREE}

Fruits and Veggies – I picked up lots of fresh produce at a local farmers’ market last weekend.  I really loved the beets!  I’ve also been buying about a watermelon a week.  It’s going to be sad when melon season is done.  watermelon > pumpkin  (Sorry all you fall people!)

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{FOUR}

My new clothesline! – Well, I did a pretty sad version of this about a week back.  However, the Mr. blew mine out of the water!  He took pity on my sad line and fixed me right up.  I’ve enjoyed doing a few loads already.  I just put it up when I need it, and take it down when I’m dong.  Perfection!  Thanks so much, darling!


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{FIVE}

Fitness Binder – I finally assembled my fitness binder!  I went through all my fitness magazines and ripped out workouts that I thought I would like.  I put them in sheet protectors in a binder.  Now, I can just take out my workout that I want to do for the day and head to the gym!  I tried it out Thursday morning and loved the variety it brought to my workout time.

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This was simple and inexpensive.  I would totally recommend it over phone workouts (i.e. looking at Pinterest, etc.}.  You can easily check out the pictures and explanations and get on with your workout.

Questions –

  1. What are your favorite summer fruits?
  2. Do you prefer line-dried or dryer-dried (?) sheets?
  3. What is a favorite new workout tool you’ve used recently?  I used a medicine ball today despite the dumbbell pictured above.

Have a great day!

Natalie

5 for Friday

{ONE}

Just saying no! – Over the past few weeks, the Mr. and I (not simultaneously) decided to quit coffee.  If you know me, I’ve tried this numerous times before.  Well, this time I think I’ve actually done it!  The Mr. has never tried before, but he had no problem (besides some slight crankiness) quitting.  I’ve replaced my habit with one cup of green tea.  The Mr. has been drinking one cup black tea followed by one cup green tea.  Go us!  Here is an article discussing the advantages of quitting coffee.  

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I just love these sweet quotes on my tea bags from Trader Joe’s.

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{TWO}

Popsicles – I broke down and bought the healthiest popsicles I could find at Wal-Mart.  Lots of good reviews for these!

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There don’t seem to be any fake ingredients in them, and they’re low calorie and low in sugar.  I had the strawberry and thought it was delicious!

I’ve been trying to make better dessert choices with some mixed success.  I admittedly have a HUGE sweet tooth.  I just added new recipes to my recipe binders (yes, I’m on to two large 3 ring binders!), and the majority, by far, was desserts!  Although I like popsicles, cookies and chocolate treats still are my number 1.  I’ve been trying to replace my usual dessert cravings with fruit parfaits that consists of plain yogurt, fruit, and granola.  I admit to going a bit too heavy-handed on the granola this week.  😦  Why can’t fruit be enough!?!?  The dessert struggle continues.  The item pictured below certainly just increased my chocolate cravings…

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Underneath all the treats, there was a delicious vegan toasted coconut frozen yogurt.  Wow!  I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.  It even inspired me to recreate a one dish brownie bowl that I’ve done before.  Sadly, my recipe was not as good as the time before.  A little strawberry jelly helped, but it just wasn’t like it was before.

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Here’s to hopping back on the “no chocolate dessert” bandwagon!

{THREE}

I have been doing lots more running since our trip to visit family.  Not having a the gym option really got me into it.  I continued this week with one 3 mile-ish trail run.  IMG_2399

My shoulder is still keeping my workouts light.  I did do bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, and bent-over rows this week with 8 pound dumbbells.  This weight is way low compared to what I was doing.  My shoulder was a little stiff and sore this morning, so I guess it is more light workouts for me.  It’s a bummer to lose muscle you worked hard to acquire, but I know that I can gradually increase again.

Here are some core moves for runners that I’ve been trying out…

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Here are some great shoulder stretchers…

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{FOUR}

Wedding Bells – My sister is getting married!  Well, it is sort-of old news, but it is getting closer which means the excitement is building.  I asked for some official duties {besides my day-of matron of honor duties} to assist with planning, and I got assigned some “look this up on the internet” jobs.  Gladly!  I found these cute tags to possibly tie to favors on Etsy.

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Aren’t they perfect for her Charleston, SC wedding?!?!?!  I’ll spare you all the other poor quality pictures that I texted to her.  Needless to say I was consumed with scouring the internet for about an hour that day!  You can see by my tabs at the top of the picture that I was also doing some online window shopping for Roscoe P.  I’m thinking about getting him a new collar/leash/harness.  This guy has literally had one collar for about a million years!  It’s looking a little worn, and I thought maybe a little early birthday present {his birthday is in November – always overshadowed by Thanksgiving 😉 }for him.  He puts up with a lot.  We love him so!

Here Roscoe is being a good sport again and wearing H’s T-shirt yesterday afternoon.

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No animals were harmed in the photography session, lol!

{FIVE}

Words to Inspire –

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Have a great Friday and a weekend full of fun and family!

Natalie

Memorial Day Thoughts

There is a certain peacefulness, slower pace that settles over you as you realize…”It’s Sunday.  Tomorrow is a holiday.  I’m not going to work tomorrow.  I can relax and enjoy the day at a much slower pace!”  I know that there is so much more to Memorial Day than cook-outs, grills, food, and beach trips.  However, isn’t that what the women and men of our military fight to protect?  Our safety and peace.  The ability to make a decision about how I’ll spend my day.  We are so blessed to have our only worries be about how frequently H’s sunscreen should be reapplied, what beach to go to, and are we eating fro-yo today or tomorrow.  I realize these “problems” really aren’t problems at all.  In America, we have lives that others can only dream of.  I’m so thankful for my life and those who showed the greatest form of love…laying down his/her life for another.

To remember and honor those who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, our church places a flag for each departed person.  We joined in after the service for lemonade and the creating of the Field of Flags which will stay up until the 4th of July. We had to head off to the grocery store {no bread, milk, eggs…no nothing!}, so we didn’t get to see the finished field.  However, they were still working on it when we went by about an hour later!

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Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. -John 15:13

When Holden and I were at church today, this exact verse was read.  Although our soldiers lay down {and sometimes lose their lives} for another, we can show that “great love” by “laying down” our lives for others daily.  Laying down our lives speaks more to living a sacrificial life.  We must put others and their needs before our own.  What a hard thing to do!  We are, by nature, selfish creatures.  Our desires to get “what we deserve” and ensure our own well-being first are so so so hard to fight.  As Christians, we are called to live differently.  I confess that I try and fail DAILY to do this, BUT the importance is the TRY.  I try again.  and again.  and again.  Sometimes, it can almost seem easier to do some big sacrifice.  I think the truly harder thing is to live it out daily.  It is no fun to put others head of yourself.  Being nice to the cranky person in the checkout line.  Not yelling at the person who yells at you first.  Smiling and being cheerful when you really aren’t feeling it.  Working not for your profit but for the well-being of others {moms of small children, good gracious!}.  Taking your ego and pride out of the scenario to best serve the common good for all involved.  Whew!  Hard things.

We also had a baptism at church this morning.  I love this part of the ceremony…a prayer for the baptized.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy
Spirit you have bestowed upon these your servants the
forgiveness of sin, and have raised them to the new life of
grace. Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give them
an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to
persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy
and wonder in all your works. Amen.

I love the qualities that are requested…an inquiring and discerning heart, courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and love God, and joy and wonder in all God’s works.  What a powerful list!  I certainly wish all those things for my child, myself and for YOU!

I hope you are having a great Sunday and Memorial Day Weekend!

Natalie

Strawberry Fields Forever

We are the people with thirty dollars of u-pick-’em strawberries in our fridge!  For the second year, we went down to Vaughn Farms in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach to pick lots of strawberries.  The row we went down had so many strawberries!  Unfortunately, some of the strawberries had started to rot from being on the vine for too long.  We were able to fill a bucket, a large basket, and a small basket in no time at all.  It was a beautiful morning!

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I enjoyed quite a few yesterday {some in the actual field before paying!  Oops!}, and I had some in my oatmeal this morning.  So juicy and sweet!  Now, we’ve got to get a plan together on how we are going to use these delicious treats!  We made freezer jelly last year, and I’m thinking that might be a repeat.  I also saw this recipe on Natalie’s blog.  She always has the yummiest looking food with fresh ingredients!  These strawberries are certainly fresh!

After strawberry picking, we headed to the beach.  We met a work friend there, and Holden got to run around with a bunch of little boys which suited him just fine.

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Can I just say that his running form looks great!  🙂

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Love how the sandbars make little kiddie pools {a.k.a. parents don’t have to be quite as uptight!}!

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After the beach, we enjoyed some fruit.  Holden had an awesomely long nap which meant the Mr. and I could get lots of chores done (yard work…check!  dust/vacuum house…check!).

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Nothing like chilling on the front porch in your undies.

I must admit that although it was a great day I felt a little out of sorts.  I think it has to do with lady hormones, and I’m sure it will pass shortly.  But, oh my goodness, I hate feeling like my hormones/weirdo emotions take over my day.  Like…I’m “living the good life today” relax and enjoy!  I started taking some wonky herbs that were prescribed BY A DOCTOR.  Isn’t that weird?!?!  I always like the more natural approach to things, but I was a little surprised when a MD told me…”just go to GNC and get___ and ___.”  Um…okay.  We’ll see what happens.  I felt super hippie and crunchy and started taking them yesterday.  If it is helpful, I’ll let you know what they are.  No need passing on info that hasn’t been tested!

Today’s goals are to relax and do some fun stuff that I like AND work on finding a purpose for all these berries!

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Some Sunday Sayings…

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Via Oxygen Magazine 

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Two Images Via Pinterest

Have a great Sunday/day of rest!

Natalie

Sunday Fun Day

Hi there!  What a great weekend it has been/continues to be!  We had such a good time yesterday, and today has been fun too. If you recall, we’ve had a few illness-filled weekends.  This one feels like an actual reprieve from the work week instead of a different type of “work.”  The Mr. and I watched The Best of Me last night on DVD.  It’s a Nicholas Sparks novel, so you can just imagine the plot of this one.  Very good sentiment and heart-touching.  However, I think the Mr. is lobbying for a break from the “touchy feely” movie that I’ve been picking lately!  We rose and shone early this morning to attend the 8AM service at church.  H was a pretty good little dude and captured a few of the older ladies’ hearts.  😉  After church, we got to go on a walk together and do some yard work.  The Mr. purchased and planted two dogwoods and a redbud.  He’s way into it.  Me…not so much!  I did help a little with cleaning up some dead vines and just plain junky plant material in our yard.  Holden had a blast finding two new “homes” for worms that popped up and just generally getting into mischief with pliers, rakes, and fertilizer.  I think we pretty much blew his mind when we told him that the fertilizer was essentially “poop!”  Then, Roscoe ate it, and well…there you go!  Lots of opportunity for questions/conversations!  Here are a few pictures from my Teacher of the Year reception (including the wristlet corsage that I wore!  I felt very prom-ish!).

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Truthfully, I get really uncomfortable at “things” like this.  This is my nervous/frightening face.

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#bathroomselfie

Another interesting pic from the weekend – the Mr.’s hunting gear laundry day!

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He certainly likes his gear/accessories!  If he was a girl, I swear he would have a million shoes and bags!

I hope you’re having a terrific weekend!  It’s amazing how simply being well and having some sunshine can be so appreciated in the spring after the winter season!

A thought for all the moms out there who are struggling with decisions, big and small!

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Image Courtesy of Traci Michele – Found at Pinterest.com

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Image from Pinterest

Natalie

Running Fever

I have had a crazy week!  More illnesses (H again!), some daycare behaviors that sure do upset this teacher/mommy, a Teacher of the Year reception that made for a late night, personal let-downs, and just plain busy-ness at work!  However, I’ve also gotten more into work again which is good.  Sometimes just acting more excited about work really results in being more excited.  Sidenote:  I’m excusing Friday from this comment as I was a stressed, busy mess!  The Mr. also knocked it out of the park on Tuesday when he picked up a sickly little man, stayed home with him, AND thoroughly cleaned the house, did laundry, and just generally was an awesome Mr. Mom.  This enabled us to have a “free” Saturday.  We enjoyed a very long trail walk at First Landing State Park and some grocery shopping together.  Together is always more fun even though the Mr. always wants to buy lots of meats and snacks!

In other news…

I’m not sure if it is due to this weekend’s Shamrock running madness in Virginia Beach or all the runners/races on my Instagram feed, but I feel like all I’m seeing, hearing, and reading about is spring running!  I did not run the Shamrock Towne Bank 8K this year due to a icky attitude and some icky winter weather.  HOWEVER, I’m really, really, really happy that it is officially spring and nicer weather.  I started increasing my mileage again (such a fair-weather runner!) using the treadmill at the gym and a handful of outside runs.  I’m up to about 6 miles for long runs.  Weekdays, I did a 5K run on Tuesday and then a 5K run on Thursday that was broken down into 400 meter runs varying speeds between 7, 8, and 10 mph speeds.  Holy goodness!  That 10 will get you!  I was a dripping, hot mess both mornings.  I mean, you know you’re warmed up if you put the window down on the way home, and the temps are still in the 30s/40s at that time of day!  I desperately need new running shoes, and I’m planning to make this purchase at the next paycheck.  It is just too ridiculous!  I’ve got one shoe that is ate up based on the way I run (turing my foot out in some odd way) plus the chewed up tongue on one shoe that I will NEVER forgive my sister’s dog for doing.  Honestly, my shoes suck.  I should have never switched brands!  I’m pretty sure I’ve lamented my choice on here about a dozen times.  Can’t wait to get another pair of Brooks!  Here is some fun pictures I found on Pinterest this afternoon…

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I love a good quote!  Off to do a long, outside run in my almost-reached-their-expiration-date shoes!  Have a great Saturday!

Natalie