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4th of July Traditions

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Hello all!  I hope that your mid-week vacations are off to a fun start.

This morning, Brian and I woke up nice and early.  5am to be exact.  We needed to be up and refreshed with food in our tummies to fuel us through our little 4th of July tradition.

Breakfast for me was half of a baked oatmeal mixed with some Greek yogurt, topped with raspberries, and almond butter….yum!  I let it sit in the fridge overnight so that the baked oatmeal gets nice and soggy while sitting in the Greek yogurt.

After breakfast Brian and I headed downtown to run our 2nd annual Firecracker 6 6 mile race.

Pre-race last year

We started the tradition last year, and after having such a great time training together and running together we had to make it an annual event!

Next year, this will be the day before our wedding (crazy!!!) so we plan on having all of our family members and people in the wedding party either walk or run the race with us.  I can’t wait!

Pre-Race Smiles!

We finished!

Last year, Brian and I made a point to stick together throughout the entire race, but this year Brian said that I could go off on my own 😉  He ended up finishing in under an hour (woo!) and I ended up finishing in the top 75 females with a pace of 8 minutes and 5 seconds and a finishing time of about 48 minutes…a personal best for me!

Brian and I were reading about the awards a couple of weeks ago, and when we read that the top 75 females and males each got a glass goblet, I immediately decided that was a goal that I had to strive for.  Did I mention that I am slightly competitive???

I started of in the 8 min/mile bracket, and as I ran, I kept my pace around 7 minutes and 40 seconds for the first 4.7 miles…I was completely shocked because it didn’t feel like I was going any faster than usual…but I just kept chugging along.  Needless to say, I am very happy with my results and I needed that little confidence boost!

I got a fancy goblet for finishing in the top 75!!

After the race, Brian and I decided to walk around the City Market to see the various food stands that were open.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have any money so we were just window shopping.

U-Relish Farm

As we were window shopping, I saw a cute little station with a ton of neatly packed crock pot meals.  If you are a regular reader, then you know that I have been searching for little ways to save time by preparing meals on the weekends, and even using the crock pot…I was very intrigued by this little shop.

I started talking with the shop owner, Cara, and she was so personable and knowledgable about the ingredients in her crock pot meals.  She owns the U-Relish Farm, where she creates and sells pre-packaged dehydrated meals containing fresh ingredients from her own farm that you simply pour in the crock pot, add a little water, and let the crock pot do it’s thing.  How amazing does that sound!!?

We hit it off right away, and I informed her of my little blog and that I would love to write a review of her products.  She sent me home with some goodies and I was on my way!  I can’t wait to try these little goodies out.

Now, we are at our friends’ (Caitlin and Dave) apartment for the day just hanging out…but before I have a chance to hang by the pool, I have to practice a little bit of Body Pump (and eat some snacks…meal number 2:  broccoli, hummus, egg muffins, and a quarter of a peach!)

Happy 4th of July!

What are your 4th of July traditions??

  • Growing up, we would always go camping and watch the fireworks at a large baseball field near the campground.  At the time, I hated fireworks and would spend most of the time hiding under my blankie crying….I was a really fun kid 😉  Now, I love to play a little game where we guess what color the next firework will be!  It keeps things interesting.

Mother’s Day Surprise!

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The wedding last night was beautiful and amazing, but I will share more about that later 😉

I woke up this morning pretty early considering how late I was out last night.  But I needed the head start so that I could drive up to Fort Wayne to surprise my mom with a Mother’s Day visit.  My sister had been planning on being in Fort Wayne for the weekend, and when I found out she would be there, I planned on coming too…I just never mentioned it to my mom.

I started out the morning with some scrambled eggs and tofu with tons of veggies, salsa, and sriracha…maybe a little too much sriracha, but still tasty!

I then packed my overnight bag and hit the road.  Since I was a little tired from the late night, I thought that a cup of coffee sounded like a good source of fuel.  So, while I was getting gas for the car, I got gas for my body too!

For some reason, I really enjoy gas station coffee.  There really isn’t anything special about it, but maybe it’s the fact that it is only $1.00, which seems like a total steal compared to the $5.00 that I pay sometimes at “fancier” coffee shops.  All the same, it did the job, tasted good and gave me a little jolt for the drive home.

Mom still doesn’t know that I am here because she is out at the store with my sister, but when she arrives we have a day full of gardening (I honestly really stink at planting and gardening, but my mom likes the help), catching up on TV shows, giving each other facials, and enjoying some girl time!

Have a happy Mother’s Day!

Question of the Day:

  • What are your Mother’s Day traditions?

Every year, the only thing my mom asks for is that my siblings and me to help her plant her garden of veggies and flowers for the summer to come.  At first, I have to admit I was pretty reluctant to help because I am just not very talented in that area, but over the years it has become a fun tradition that I look forward to  🙂

Two New-to-Me Foods

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Good Monday morning!

Before we move into the beginning of this week, let’s recap what went on yesterday.

After singing in the church choir, Brian and I used up the last bit of our Starbucks gift card on a little mid morning chai tea drink break.  Because of the chill in the air, sipping on a nice, warm beverage was a great idea.  Brian then headed home, and I headed out to the grocery store.

Sometimes Brian comes with me to the store, but usually he gets very bored and antsy at the store because I like to take my time and look at all of the options and new foods I have yet to try…so most of the time he lets me do the shopping alone 😉

Because it was lunch time, and I hadn’t had lunch yet, I was hungry.  While at Good Earth Natural Foods standing in line waiting to check out, I spotted little packets of Lush Nuts, which is something that I had actually been wanting to try!  For $1.50, I had a little snack and I got to try something on my list of new-to-me foods.

I grabbed the Hot Curry flavor, and it did not disappoint.  My mom makes a curry dish that is probably one of my favorite meals.  When eating the curry dish, we top our meal with a little coconut, pineapple, and peanuts.  These Hot Curry nuts hit all of the same flavor notes.  The actual peanuts were crunchy and mixed well with the spicy curry flavor, just like adding peanuts on top of my mom’s dish.  These nuts were also slightly sweet, which was the perfect compliment to the heat of the curry and really reminded me of the sweetness that the pineapple and coconut add to my mom’s curry dish.

Lush Nuts are made right in Michigan by a young girl using her family recipe.  I absolutely love the fact that these are made with a family recipe just above my little state of Indiana.  I can’t wait to try the rest of the flavors.

After spending a couple of hours picking up meal items for the week, I then came home, unloaded the groceries, and made myself a little snack of scrambled egg whites with lots of veggies and my mom’s homemade salsa.  For some reason, I had been craving scrambled eggs all day…and these hit the spot!

After my little snack break, tidying some things around the apartment and getting ready for the week to come, Brian and I headed over to his parent’s house for our little Sunday night dinner tradition.  Last night’s menu included grilled zucchini (one of my favorites!), and an orzo salad.

For dessert, I was introduced to something new.  A couple of days ago, Brian told me he had a craving for a napolean from Long’s Bakery.  A napolean??? I had zero idea as to what this napolean thing was.  When we arrived at his parent’s house last night, his mom surprised him with the dessert he had been craving.  I must say…they are pretty good.  The dessert was layered puff pastry with whip cream, strawberry, and cream filling topped with powder sugar.  So simple, yet so delicious.  Good choice, Brian 😉

And because it was Earth Day, his mom had a baggie of goodies to share with us from Target!

In a mini reusable shopping bag we received all sorts of “natural” shampoos, toothpaste, lotion, and even a granola bar!  You know how I love anything free


Today, I did not start the morning with a workout.  My workout will come in the evening in the form of a Boot Camp session with Brian and a BodyPump class.  My training for BodyPump is this weekend, so this week I am going to all of the classes that I can!

Instead, I started the day with some overnight oats in a jar.  I had a little bit of almond butter left on the bottom of the jar, so instead of making my overnight oats in a bowl I put them right in the jar!  The taste of the almond butter was delicious.

I added some frozen peaches to the mix this morning.  Luckily, I saved two jars of almond butter that were about empty…so I can have this same breakfast again soon, maybe tomorrow.

Now, I am off to volunteer with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, study BodyPump, and do some promotional work at one of the gyms I am teaching at.  I hope you have a great start to your week!

Things to Check Out:

Easter Weekend Recap

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Good Monday morning, friends!


This weekend was packed full of fun, baking, family, and food.  It was great!  Here is a recap of Saturday evening and Sunday day.


After I was finished baking and preparing all of my Easter day goodies on Saturday afternoon, Brian and I headed out for a little bike ride around town and picked up a Red Box movie to watch later in the evening.

While on the bike ride, we rode by a fire department.  Brian pointed out his grandfather’s name on a memorial to firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.  That’s pretty cool to have a family member on a piece of the city’s history like that.

We then came home, and I whipped up a quick meal of a tossed salad, baked sweet potato medallions, and baked cod.  Seriously, this meal was delicious and it came together in about 20 minutes.  No time at all.

We then popped in our movie for the evening…Paranormal Activity 3.  That movie is super scary!  We both saw the first Paranormal Activity in theaters but hadn’t seen the second.  I had heard that the third was the best, so we decided to give it a try!  The movie was good, but Brian and I found that throughout most of the movie we each had one eye closed…luckily we could huddle nice and close to each other to stay “safe!”  I love scary movies…but I do get very scared during them!!



On Sunday, I woke up bright and early to put the finishing touches on the Easter decor before Brian and I headed to church.


They look like little carrots!

Each year, I make some sort of special dessert for Easter, and this year my special treat was flower cupcakes!

I found these little gems by searching the web, and I used this how-to guide to figure out how to make them.  They turned out great 🙂  Half of the cupcakes were strawberry and half were lemon.  So springy!

Flower Cupcake How-To

I saw a couple of ideas on pinterest that inspired me to put jelly beans in the bottom of this flower vase.  It was actually harder than I thought because I had to figure out a way to put water in the bottom without melting the jelly beans…I put a little shot glass in the bottom with water in it, put the flower in it, and then covered the glass with aluminum foil.  Then I dumped the jelly beans over the top!

After church, Mom, Dad, and Brenna came over for Easter Brunch.  Mom made carrot bread, banana bread, and oatmeal muffins.

Brenna brought the most creative dish according to my vote.  She brought Apple Nachos!  They were apple slices topped with coconut, peanut butter, chocolate chips, walnuts, and dried cranberries.  They were so delicious!  She found the idea on pinterest 😉

We then had some fruit salad with delicious fruit dip from Mom.

I made a raspberry french toast bake that I based off of this recipe.  I changed a couple of things, but the idea is still the same.  It was delicious!

I also made a savory spinach quiche with an oat crust based on a combination of this recipe and this recipe.

Mom also brought a special drink…homemade sangria!  This was delicious.  Needless to say we had plenty of leftovers of everything!  Except the sangria 😉

Every year, we color Easter eggs and do a little Easter egg hunt around the house. Mom…I mean the Easter bunny is usually the one to hide the eggs, but since Brian and I were hosting the party this year, we didn’t have a chance to actually color the eggs, but we did hide some plastic eggs with little treats in them!  I made sure that Brian and I were able to participate in the hunt, so I hid half of the eggs and Brian hid half of the eggs.  We had a great time finding all of the eggs…except there are two missing!  Luckily they weren’t real…otherwise they would start to smell if we never found them!

Dad had to head to work before we thought to take a group picture.  After Dad headed out, the rest of us walked downtown to look at a couple of cute little shops, and head to the movie theater.

We have been planning this for a while and anxiously awaiting….The Hunger Games!  The movie was so great.  Even though we have all read the book and knew what was going to happen, we still found ourselves glued to the front of our seats anxiously awaiting the next scene.  I can’t wait for movie number two! (Brian and I are still reading that book).

We shared popcorn...Brian had a diet coke, but I brought my water 🙂

After the movie, we walked back to the apartment and it was time for Mom and Brenna to head home.  It was a perfect way to spend Easter!


I then headed out to run 5 miles.  I am trying to focus on speed, but this was the longest run that I have done in a couple of weeks, so I just ran without focusing on pushing my speed too much.  I ended up completing the 5 miles with just over a 9 minute pace…not too bad if you ask me!  I can only improve from there 🙂  And most importantly…it felt good!



This morning, it wasn’t super cold so I wasn’t in the mood for hot oatmeal, and I didn’t prepare any overnight oats last night, so I opted for a smoothie!

Strawberry Protein Smoothie:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 scoop pea protein powder
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
  • 1 handful spinach
  • splash of water
  • 3 ice cubes

It was delicious and gave me perfect fuel for the day!


I hope you all had an amazing weekend and have a great start to the week 🙂

What treats did you make for Easter if you celebrated this weekend?  What are some of your favorite traditions?