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thankful

Only one day left until Thanksgiving – I can hardly believe it! I am so looking forward to spending time with family over the next few days.  We’ll be leaving tomorrow afternoon, heading to my hometown for all kinds of fun.  I’m so thankful that I have a home and family to spend time with.  In fact, I have two!

Something I’m really feeling so thankful for this year is that I have my grandparents to go home to.  My grandma and grandpa will cook Thanksgiving dinner at their house on Thursday, just like they have every single year since before I can remember.  And I feel so blessed to be able to spend time with them.

This morning when I got up, I really was not feeling a workout at all.  I just felt like I had zero energy…but I decided that if I just made myself go, I’d get more energized once I got there.  Works every time.

Until today.

I felt completely drained the entire time, and it was all I could do to keep myself going from machine to machine.  I ended up putting in about 40 minutes on the treadmill – a combination of walking, speed walking, jogging, running and pretty much everything in between.  It wasn’t super intense, but I was moving!!

Unlike most days, I ate some breakfast before I went because I was starving from the second I woke up.  I knew that oatmeal was in the cards, and in the end I decided to keep it simple.  I love putting tons of different toppings on my oats, but sometimes it’s nice to just get back to the basics.

I cooked 1/2 cup of oatmeal in 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk for about 2 minutes.  Actually, I cooked it for 1 minute and 50 seconds, and then the oatmeal overflowed out of the bowl and all over my microwave.  oops!  I seriously hate it when that happens!

Anyway, after getting everything cleaned up, I just stirred in about 1 tbsp of pumpkin butter and then put a little dollop on top.  It was so simple tasting…and delicious!

I spent the rest of today doing laundry and working on preparing the photos I took for a family last weekend.  Here is a little glimpse of two of the cutest little baby boys ever:)

Tomorrow is going to be a busy one, trying to get ready to go!  I think I know what I’m taking as far as food, but I still need to work out a few more details before I share.  Other than that I just have to pack, tutor and get some Outbox work done.  And then we’ll be off!  yay!

What are your plans for the holiday?  What special dishes are you making?

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no place like home

I’m now back from a 3 day hiatus.

Over the weekend, the husband and I got to visit our family in his hometown.  We always love spending time there; I may be a little biased I suppose, but I’m certain that I have the best in-laws on the planet.  Here are a few photos of our little weekend getaway.

They are so thoughtful to always make sure that my favorite foods are in the house.  I always think it’s so sweet that they do that because these are not things they would normally have.

Breakfast Saturday morning – Ezekiel bread with almond butter and sliced banana

Playtime in the backyard:)  Olive is the only grandchild so far, so she gets a LOT of attention.  I worry about the day she’s no longer the only one…she will be a sad baby dog:(

ready….set….

GO!

One thing I love about visiting our family is that, like us, they love to hop in the car and just drive around, ending up wherever the days takes us.  On Saturday it took us to a cemetery in this tiny little country town. Don’t even ask:)

trying to see her Grandpa

And then dinner.  The family had spaghetti with meatballs, my MIL’s specialty.  I fixed up a giant pan of seasoned and roasted chickpeas, sweet potato, carrots and squash.  Easy and delicious.

And as usual, the day ended with a great round of game-playing

On Sunday we went to church to hear my FIL preach and then sadly, we had to rush to get back on the road toward home.  I never want to leave when we visit, but this week the sadness was softened just a little bit because I was so excited about what we were headed home to do!

More on that later:)

Hope you all had a great weekend!!

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weekend recap and another trip!

Hello!  Happy Monday:)

This morning has been crazy – I got up early to clean our house and then had to stop mid-clean to run and get my hair cut.  I’m still technically not done cleaning, but I’m getting there.  After not posting for the last couple of days, I’ve been itching to check in.  Cleaning can wait!

But it can’t wait too long, unfortunately, because tomorrow morning we are leaving for another cross-country trip, except this time by plane!

We’re headed to Washington D.C.!  Jon has a work conference there this week, and he’s going to let me tag along.  I’ve never been to our nation’s capitol before, so I’m really excited!

We’re leaving early tomorrow morning and coming back on Friday night.  It just so happens that this weekend is homecoming here in Stillwater, and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are coming to stay with us Friday night.  So, I’m trying to get our house ready for guests and everything plus getting us packed and ready to leave tomorrow – it’s going to be a busy day since I’ll be tutoring all afternoon.  My excitement is serving as great adrenaline so far, though.  Let’s hope it lasts well into the night:)

This past weekend, we were in my hometown celebrating my mom’s birthday.  I made her a cake, and we took her out to eat and whatnot.  I also led my mom through her first yoga class, which was really fun.  We’ll call it birthday yoga:)

Then we went to church on Sunday and met my grandparents afterward for lunch.  It was definitely a weekend well spent – I loved getting to just relax with family.  One of my favorite things:)

I’m so thankful to have my grandparents in my life:)

Saturday morning I rose early to get a head start on baking my mom’s cake!  Last week Jenna posted a recipe for a Bohemian Wedding Cake (full recipe here), and the minute I saw it I knew it was THE cake for my mom’s birthday.  I mean, it had pumpkin in it – how could it be wrong?

Before I got started baking, though, I needed some fuel.

This isn’t just any green smoothie.  I knew I’d need to be able to ward off my pumpkin cravings (and stay out of the cake batter), so I decided to have a green smoothie, fall style:)  I added 2 big handfuls of spinach, 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1 tbsp molasses, 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1.2 cup almond milk and ice.

Yes, I know it sounds gross, and I must admit I was a bit nervous with that first sip.  But just like adding spinach to a banana smoothie, adding spinach to a pumpkin smoothie doesn’t alter the flavor at all!  It was absolutely delicious, and I still got my greens in.  Score!

I digress.

Back to the cake.

I started by mixing together all the dry ingredients – brown sugar, baking soda, whole wheat flour, white flour, pumpkin pie spice

Then mixed the wet ingredients – pumpkin, oil, vanilla, molasses, 2 eggs.  I almost made this vegan by simply switching to flax eggs, but no one in my family is vegan and I didn’t really have time for experimentation.  So, I stuck with 2 organic, free-range eggs.  I also added a quick store-bought cream cheese icing at the end.

Next, mixed them all together…

And poured ‘em in.

Into the oven it went while I raced around doing Jillian’s 30-day shred DVD and packing!

After it finished baking and I allowed it to cool completely, I added the frosting.

Perfect.

Everybody at the party seemed to enjoy it.  Everybody except my sister that is, who insists that she just isn’t much of a sweets person.

I always doubt my baking, but when my mom had another piece on Sunday afternoon, I knew they weren’t just trying to make me feel good when they said they liked it:)

And for the record, I thought it was delicious!

All in all the weekend was a success!

Now it’s just time to play catch up…and get ready for our trip!

Any suggestions on places to visit or sights to see while we’re in DC??  I’ll be flying solo one day while Jon is in meetings – so any recommendations would be great!

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a day of reunions

After such a fun and spontaneous day yesterday it was admittedly a bit hard to get back into a routine today.  As my husband can attest – I live for spontaneity.  I love waking up and not know what the day will hold and then making it into something wonderful.

We spent the first half of Labor Day getting some work done.  One of the harder aspects of owning your own business – you must work even on holidays!  I was so glad we got work out of the way, though, because then we had the rest of the day to relax and play.

On a whim, we decided to head to Tulsa.  There are several draws to visiting this second closest city to us:

1. my brother-in-law and sister-in-law live there.
2. Whole Foods lives there.
3. There’s a mall.

What can I say? I’m easily pleased.

Before heading out of town, we grabbed some lunch to take on the road.

For him – Chickfila.  He doesn’t get quite as excited as I do about taking pictures with his food.

For her – Panera.

Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich (minus the feta)

And an apple balancing on my knee:)

Our first stop in Tulsa as at the Apple Store at the mall to look at iPads.  The husband is considering purchasing one for the business, but got cold feet and decided to think on it some more.

We also stumbled upon this place while perusing the mall.

I had never tried Teavana tea before, and I was pleasantly surprised!  They had several different flavors out for sampling and they were all delicious.  I resisted bringing any home with me, but I would definitely like to try some of their teas in the future.  Tea has been on my mind more and more with colder weather fast approaching, so Teavana – maybe we will meet again:)

Upon leaving the mall, we headed straight for my BIL and SIL’s house.  We didn’t stay there long as they had dinner cooking and we needed to get back home, but considering we hadn’t seen them since Christmas (pathetic!) it was so nice to catch up in person for awhile.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture yesterday, but just for fun here’s one from when they (MIL and FIL came too!) came to visit us when we lived in Thailand.  Fun times.

Anyway, before heading back home, we grabbed some dinner at PeiWei

And then headed to Whole Foods, where the best thing ever happened.

I was reunited with my love.

no cameras allowed in Whole Foods so we had to sneak this shot with the iPhone

Almond Butter and I have been separated for a good few months due mostly to the much lower cost of peanut butter:(  But last night Whole Foods had their machine working where you can grind your own, and it was only $4.99/lb.  So much cheaper than buying it in a jar here!

I was a true foodie through and through last night as I giddily walked through the store with my prized possession tucked safely under my arm and a smile from ear to ear.  Only those of you who share my love for almond butter can understand how happy I was.  The rest of you can just think how weird I am.  I’m okay with that:)

It was a smooth ride all the way back home…just me and the husband.  And possibly some dark chocolate.

Hope you all had a great day and are all geared up for the short week!

Love, Candice

Do you live for spontaneity like myself?  Or do you prefer the structure of a routine and planning?

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home sweet home

Good Morning!

Despite missing my peeps from HLS, I am happy to be back home with my favorite person.

and my baby of course:)

After Jon and I drove the two hours home from Wichita, we hopped into bed and slept for about 2 hours.  I’ve gotten a total of about 8 hours of sleep the last two nights combined, so I needed it!  I wanted to keep sleeping, actually, but had some homework to do!

My homework for my photography class is due on Sunday nights and I didn’t have time to complete it before I left for HLS, so it had to be done!

Jon and I had a great time wandering all over our little city looking for good shots…it was so sweet just to spend some time together. I missed that boy! Plus, the temps had cooled down to the mid eighties yesterday (hallelujah!), so it was a beautiful evening.

I gotta run to the city again today for my last (knock on wood) orthodontist appointment.  I hope I never have to see the inside of that place again!

I thought I’d leave you with some of my homework shots from yesterday. Practice, practice, practice!!

yoga on Library Lawn – taken by Jon

This building is where most of upper level English classes were in college

Student Union

This last one is obviously way overexposed, but I had to post it because of the story.  We were looking for a good shot and we saw this biker coming up the sidewalk and Jon said “see if you can get a cool shot of the biker!” So, I shoot it, totally neglecting to adjust my exposure, and then instantly realize that she is a friend of ours.  Random, right?  I think this picture kind of looks like it was taken with my Mini Diana.

Hope you all have a great Monday.  I’ll be back later on for another HLS recap!

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