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a family affair

Today started off with a bang when Jon and I headed outside for a sweltering 20 minute run/walk.  It has been so hot and humid here – it’s nearly unbearable.   I think I might be hitting the gym to spend some time with the big T tomorrow morning.

I inhaled a bowl of this new (to me) cereal with chopped banana and soy milk.  The verdict?  Amazing.  Exactly what I’ve been looking for in a cereal;)

We were busy bees today as we went to church and then headed to my hometown for my little cousin, Addie’s, 15th birthday party.  Before heading out, I reheated the second half of my leftover vegetarian burrito from Chipotle.  I refuse to post a pic of it due to the fact that it was probably the most offensive looking meal I’ve photographed since the beginning of time ChiaSeedMe.  I’ll let you use your imagination:)  I also was later accused by my loving husband of violating the “no eating out for a week challenge agreement,” but I set the record straight.

Instead, please enjoy a few pics of my beautiful, if not a bit goofy, little cousin.

And now for a funny tidbit about my cousins.  Addie’s brother, Ashton, just graduated from high school a year ago and has now finished his first year of college.  During high school he was the cool guy emo type, dressing in skinny jeans, rocker shirts and converse.  Over the past year, however, he has made this out-of-the-blue transformation into mister country boy (also the name of the grocery store in my hometown).  In this process he has aquired a coon dog named Red, about 5 chickens, 8 baby chicks and two cows.  Yes, cows.  So, today I was lucky enough to get to meet two thirds of his new brood.

This little guy not to be confused with the baby chick I bought on a whim during my crazy freshman year of college, only for it to die a matter of weeks later and be buried on our campus library lawn after being held hostage in a cardboard box in my bedroom.  Please don’t judge.  I feel bad enough already.

After touring the “farm,” eating some fresh fruit served by my aunt, watching Addie open her gifts, Jon and I made the trek back to Stillwater.  This is where I must brag just a bit.  By the time we left my aunt’s house, we were famished!  Usually we would have no doubt stopped at the Subway on our way out of town or at least grabbed a lil something on our way back into town.  But we held strong and waited until we arrived back home before cooking up our famous vegan enchiladas (recipe here).  Pat us on the back!

So far, we have succeeded in our “no eating out challenge.”  Today, we passed up dinner out and Starbucks, which must already by a savings of about $30.  Crazy.

Well, that’s all for tonight.  Stay tuned for tomorrow as I’ll be back to posting vacation recaps!  G’night!

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we’re back! and a challenge

Well, we made it back from vacation safe and sound a couple of days ago, and aside from me being deathly ill the day after everything is going just great.  I am loving not having to commute to work everyday!  I feel more at ease and less overwhelmed than I have in I don’t know how long.  I finally feel back to myself, and I’m soaking it up.

Sadly, I had to basically drop off the face of the blog world for the rest of vacation because our Paris hotel did not have free wifi.  Actually, there was a “mac station” in the lobby which you could use for twenty minutes.  That’s right, twenty whole minutes!  I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t even have been able to get my photos uploaded in that amount of time.  Plus, the keyboard was not an American keyboard so the letters were all in crazy places, so typing even a one line email took an eternity.  Needless to say, I was out of touch.

I still will be posting a recap of each day – I’m planning on putting up one post each day this week, in addition to my daily posts.  So, don’t be confused…I am officially back on American soil:)

Today has been a blissful day.  From sleeping in this morning to finishing my current read, “American Wife,” to working in the yard, shopping at the health food store, cleaning the house and just spending glorious time with my sweet J, it couldn’t have been a better Saturday.  I’ve also enjoyed some delicious food.

For lunch I decided to pull together a variation of the meal in this post by Caitlin.  I added frozen peas, corn and rinsed/drained black beans to a skillet and sauteed until thawed.  Next I added two heaping spoonfuls of hummus plus a sprinkle of ground red pepper and mixed it up.

In the meantime I smeared a tad bit of hummus on a whole wheat tortilla and added some broccoli slaw and alfalfa sprouts.

All together now!

Delicious – with a side of cherries.

For dessert, Jon and I each had a little something that he created for my raging sweet tooth a couple of weeks ago:)  A brown rice cake slathered with Maranatha dark chocolate almond butter, aka perfection.

I also snacked on some blue corn chips and salsa this afternoon.  Do they have a support group for people who have a serious addiction to chips and salsa?  I need help!

I’m off to work on cleaning out our office.  I’m still trying to decide on what’s for dinner.  There is nothing more fun than getting back from vacation and getting the fridge stocked with great food.  The only problem now – there are too many awesome choices I can’t decide what to make!!

One other thing I need to mention.  Jon and I have decided to take on a challenge.  This is serious people.  You see, we have developed a seemingly uncontrollable love for eating out.  For the past month (or maybe more:), we have eaten out SO much!  Generally we eat at healthy places, but our bank account sees little difference between pizza and veggies.

So, we are challenging ourselves to go a full week without eating out.  Starting tomorrow (Sunday) and going through next Sunday, we will be eating at home.  And this means no Starbucks as well (eek!).  We figure it will be a good way to rediscover how much we love eating at home and how much money we can save in the process.  I’ll be posting all of my meals for the next week, so you guys have to help keep us accountable!  Do you think we can do it?

How much do you/your family eat out?

Do you prefer eating out or making food at home?

It’s so good to be back:)

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Barcelona: dia dos

From eating bikinis to holding the hand of a giant, day 2 in Barcelona was one to remember.  Here’s our day in pictures:

We hunted down this restaurant that was built in 1786 – it is the oldest restaurant in Barcelona.  Sadly, it was closed, so we didn’t actually get to eat there.  It made for a cute picture, though.

Instead we opted for this cute little cafe – Cafe de L’Opera.  We saw it the day before while strolling down La Rambla, one of the busiest and most interesting streets in the city.

I ordered a bikini – hold the ham:)  A bikini is a staple menu item at most restaurants here.  It is essentially a ham and cheese sandwich – so you can see exactly how exciting my lunch really was.  It actually was quite tasty, though.  Jon went with the full bikini.  He’s crazy like that.

Jon had scouted out this quaint little herb shop in our guidebook called L”Herboristeria. Del Rei.  It really was just a little hole-in-the-wall shop that was cute as it could be. It even had this giant guestbook for us to sign, leaving our mark on this little place forever.

Adorable, right?  And guess what else…

…chia seeds!  It was the most random moment when I spotted them.  This sweet little lady is the owner of the shop, and she didn’t even know what chia seeds are.  Jon nearly brought her to tears by showing her the picture of her shop in our guidebook.  Sweet.

The building on the left is an old government building where the royal family used to live.  Inside you find these absurdly large statues of royalty. Kind of creepy…yet fun!

And moving on…

Sweet little nuns.

I love this little girl – from a distance of course:)

Beautiful church – even though it’s under construction.  That is another quirk about Barcelona  – there is construction everywhere!

Remember yesterday when I mentioned pick pockets being a serious problem here?  We found this sign in Starbucks.

Arc de Triomf – when Jon and I were in Laos, the main (and only) sight to see was the Arc de Triumph, which was built by the French in Laos.  This was my favorite part of day 2 in Barcelona because it was so beautiful.  There was a huge park that backed up to the Arc and we spent some time just laying in the grass and walking around.  The weather was beautiful and there were a lot of Spaniards out just hanging with friends, sun bathing, playing games etc.

Jon and I in front of the Laotian Arc de Triumph two years ago.  I have to say I’m pretty excited to actually get to visit the Parisian one in the next few days.

Jon chillin’ on the Arc de Triomf

lovin’ on each other:)

Next on our path was this group of yoginis.  I seriously wanted to join them, but I resisted.  We still had sights to see!

Cascada in Parc de la Ciutadella – Okay, honestly that is all I know about this place.  We saw it, climbed it, took pictures of it…just because it was so dang pretty.

Another beautiful church.  I have to say, though, that if you’re into this sort of thing you must stop back by tomorrow because there will be an insanely gorgeous and amazing church in tomorrow’s post.

Mid-afternoon snack – a veggie pastry

and the precious little shop we bought it from

One of our last stops for the day was this Mediterranean port – there was a mall at the end of the pier and we did a little shopping at H & M.

And of course to top off the day Jon and I found our Mexican food.  This guacamole was some of the best I’ve ever tasted!  I also ordered a vegetarian burrito that was to die for. It was filled with veggies, refried beans, avocado, lettuce and some kind of unidentified sauce that was the key ingredient.  Delish.

That’s all for day 2 (I’m blogging a day behind)!  Tomorrow morning we leave for Paris.  I’m going to try to keep posting, but our Paris hotel doesn’t have internet, so I’m going to try to track down an internet cafe.  If you don’t hear from me, I’ll post recaps once we’re back in the States!

I miss you all, and I hope you’re all having a great week!

P.S.  I love my husband.

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hola Barcelona

Hola!  We arrived in  Barcelona yesterday morning after getting only a couple hours of sleep on the red eye.  By the time we caught a bus to our hotel and showered, it was about 1pm.  Despite our tiredness, we decided to get out and explore this beautiful city.

Here is our day in pictures:

First stop on our exploration was the National Art Museum.  We didn’t go in, opting to enjoy the beauty from the outside instead:)

The pictures are a bit dark because it was overcast.  The weather is amazing, though, 70 degrees during the day and 60′s at night.

Looking back toward Plaza Espanya (where our hotel is) from the museum

where the 1992 Olympic Games were held

We went to La Boqueria (the main outdoor market)  and I couldn’t resist snapping photos of the beautiful fruits and vegetables

the architecture and structure of Barcelona is absolutely quaint and breathtaking.  I love it – it has stolen my heart.

there are many horses and carriages

the front of our hotel – we love this big wooden door that slides open

the Torre Agbar building – or as the guidebook calls it “Barcelona’s own cucumber shaped building”

We are spending plenty of time on the subway where pick pocketing is supposedly the worst.  We keep getting warned by complete strangers to be careful.  Today a security guard walked up to us on the subway and told us to put our camera, which was around Jon’s neck, in our bag.  They are serious.

We finished off yesterday with dinner at a quaint little restaurant on the side of the street.

I ordered the vegetarian plate – hummus, pita, falafel balls, grape leaves stuffed with rice and a salad.  It was delish!  I haven’t had any problem avoiding meet whatsoever.  I just say “soy vegetariano” and they know exactly what I want….or don’t want:)

Jon ordered this chicken dish with hummus, falafel and salad

That’s day one in a nutshell.  We are loving Spain and the people here are wonderful.  The things that really stand out to me so far are that pickpocketing is a really big deal (but people are being so kind to try and warn us), this should be called the “city of love” because everyone is always kissing each other, the weather is perfect and the streets and alleyways are adorable, and Spaniards are very laid back and friendly.  I don’t want to ever leave!  I guess I’ll let Jon peel me away, so we can go to Paris;)

Stay tuned for day 2 and to find out what I found in a little hole in the wall shop that is very dear to my heart.  Adios!

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up in the air

Hello from the air!  We are currently en route to Atlanta where we’ll have a short layover and, and then we’ll be on our way to Barcelona.  So far it’s been a great trip and we haven’t even left the States yet.

We ended up getting to Dallas Sunday night at about 1 am.  Monday we had a fantastic day hanging out with my sister.  We hit up some of my favorite spots: Target, Central Market (like Whole Foods) and Lululemon!  I purchased my first pair of Lululemon pants, and I am stoked!  I’ve been eyeing them for some time, but we don’t have a store in OK so I had to wait.  I wore them on our flight today, and they are perfect for traveling!

We also ate quite well yesterday.  Surprisingly I wasn’t very hungry for breakfast, but I did end up snacking on an apple and some crackers and hummus before we left.

For lunch we hit up my sister’s favorite restaurant – Best Thai.  It was excellent.  Not only was the food to die for, but we had the cutest little Thai waitress.  She was pretty surprised when she first approached our table and Jon told her (in Thai) that we speak a little Thai.  It was fun and totally took me back to our time there.  I got a Vegetable dish with brown rice, and we all shared some veggie spring rolls – delish!

We had Mexican food for dinner, but unfortunately I didn‘t get a picture of my meal.  Jon and I split spinach enchiladas.  I did get a picture of this bean dip they served with the chips and salsa.  It was every bit as great as my sister had raved.
We went to Central Market primarily for travel food for our trip.  I knew I wanted some healthy food that I could eat on the flight (which I think is about 8 or 9 hours) as well as some snacks to have while we’re in Europe.  I basically try to avoid plane food altogether.  For the flight today I packed a brown rice cake and almond butter sandwich, 2 apples, some trail mix, a couple protein bars, and some Pirate’s Booty.  Not sure how much of it I’ll eat, but it’ll be there if I need it.

In our checked luggage I packed the rest of the rice cakes, almond butter, more Amazing Grass/Cliff/Lara bars and Annie’s chocolate bear cookies (cannot remember what they’re called!).

This morning we had to leave for the airport by 10am, so there wasn’t much time to do anything but get ready and pack.  I had picked up some Siggi’s Pomegranate Greek yogurt at Central Market yesterday, so I had that, a half of a sliced banana and some Kashi U sprinkled on. I may or may not have sprinkled a tiny bit of Jon’s chocolate chip trail mix in as well;) I have wanted to try Siggi’s for a long time, but it isn’t sold in our little city.  I think it tops my list as favorite yogurt now – it was so creamy and thick and had just a slight hint of flavor.  Love.

Well, I think that about wraps it up for now.  This flight has been a bit rocky, and I’m a little freaked out!  I think I’ll try to get some reading in for awhile. I’m currently reading Sarah’s Key by   as recommended by Jenna.  I’m really enjoying it so far…more on this to come!

***Update – We made it to Barcelona and have had an amazing first day!  I’m trying to track down an adapter for the outlet because my laptop is dying fast.  As soon as I find one I’ll be back!

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