Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Gratitude Project.

{My view this past Sunday!}

Sorry I'm a day late with this post, but better late than never... right??

1. Weather above 70 degrees! I know I've already mentioned nice weather on here, but WOW... I would be crazy if I didn't mention the gorgeous weather we had on Sunday! I spent the majority of the day outside with friends, and it could not have been a more perfect day! I was in constant praise to the good Lord for blessing us with a day like this after cold snowy weather, followed by what seemed like nonstop rain. My mood was light, and there was a smile on my face the whole day. I am so, so happy to see the first signs of Spring and good weather coming our way!

2. My Bed - Last night, after a long day and a hard workout, I all but ran to my bed right after dinner. Maybe it was because I was so tired, but I melted into the sheets and really noticed how wonderful my bed is. I stopped for a moment to say a quick "thank you prayer" that I even have a bed...and that it is so gloriously comfortable. I know many people in this world do not have a soft, warm place to lay their head at night, and I am truly grateful that I do. When my mind is in a place of gratitude, I become grateful for the smallest things. Things I might not even think I need to be thankful for... but I am. My bed is one of them because it is a place I feel safe, calm, and rested.

3. Golf - I cannot believe I just wrote that. If you know my husband, DO NOT tell him I said that!! HA!  He thinks I am not too fond of golf, and the truth is...I'm not, but not in the way you're thinking. Chris loves to play golf. "Love" might not even be a strong enough word for it. He would do it all day every day if someone would pay him let him. In an attempt to spend more time with him, I tried to learn a couple of years ago. I am a realist, though, so let's just say the game of golf isn't for me. However, I am thankful for golf because it has led him to make many, many great friends. In turn, I have met several of those friends and their wives or significant others, and they have become my friends, as well. You really get to know someone riding alongside them for 18 holes, and I am thankful God has placed so many amazing people in the cart next to him. Having moved here from CA, he didn't have a big base of friends, so it's been a great way for him to make lifelong friendships...and get me a couple in the process, too!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Favorites: Smoothies.

One of my favorite things to make is a healthy smoothie. You can get creative and throw just about anything you have in the blender, which helps clean out your fridge and freezer AND keeps you healthy on the go! They are great for a quick make-and-go breakfast in the morning (especially if you're the type of person who always runs late), afternoon snack, or my favorite…a pre or post workout snack.

My secret is that I keep a variety of frozen fruits and veggies in my freezer at all times. That way when the urge for a smoothie hits, I'm always prepared! I always have frozen bananas in a big zip lock bag. This is a big help to me when I'm in a hurry and wanting to make a protein shake or smoothie. Bananas are great for texture and help add a natural sweetness to the smoothie. I buy a big bunch of bananas, let them get rip, peel them, and then cut them in half before freezing. I also have frozen blueberries, strawberries, mango, and pineapple at all times.

Another tip? I freeze my greens! Back in the baseball days, when I would leave for weeks at a time, I would hate for the greens left in the refrigerator to go to waste. I would end up throwing them in the freezer to use later, and they always kept so well! I wouldn't cook with them again, but using them frozen was perfect for smoothies. So now, I always keep a bag of spinach, kale, and romaine in the freezer. That way I know I always have fresh greens ready to go! This is always a great thing to do if you notice any of your produce starting to go bad and know you won't use it in time… just stick it in the freezer!

Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Decadent Dark Chocolate Chia Seed Smoothie
*Good for breakfast, dessert, or post workout*
- 1 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
- 2 c kale or spinach (fresh or frozen)
- half a banana (you can use the whole banana if you want more sweetness)
- 4 dates, pitted 
- 2 tbs chia seeds
- 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's Dark Chocolate)
- 1 c Ice
-Optional: 1 packet of Truvia 
-Optional: Chocolate Protein Powder (I like added this post workout)


Berry Mint Kiss 
From Goop:
-1 c coconut water
-1 c almond milk
-1 c frozen pineapple 
-1 c frozen blueberries 
-1/2 c fresh mint leaves 
-1/2 lemon, juiced
-1 tbs coconut oil 
-4-6 drops of stevia (optional)


Chocolate PB Smoothie 
-1 c unsweetened almond milk
-2 c spinach
-half frozen banana (can use a whole one here, too)
-1/2 Bartlett pear
-2 tbs natural peanut butter
-2 tbs unsweetened cocoa 
-1 c ice
Optional: Add chocolate protein powder
Blend everything until smooth. 


Pineapple Mojito Smoothie
Serves 2 
-2 c kale 
-2 c coconut water 
-3 c pineapple 
-1/4 c fresh mint leaves 
-Juice of 1 lime 


Green Protein Smoothie
-2 cups baby spinach
-1 cup water
-1.5 cups pineapple, frozen
-1/2 small banana, frozen
-1/2 cup Greek yogurt
-2 tsp honey
-Blend spinach and water first then add everything else. 


Here are some other ones I love:

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Gratitude Project.

{From my mother's surprise 60th Birthday this past weekend!}

{The theme was "Cooking Up a 60th" so we had this cake made for the occasion!}

{We pulled it off!}

{Birthday girl with The Harper side!}

{Birthday girl with The Osborne side!}

{Mom & her sweet college roommates}

1. My mother's birthday! On Saturday my sweet mother turned 60! My dad and I planned a surprise party for her, which we pulled off beautifully, if I do say so myself! So the #1 thing I am grateful for this week is my mother and her 60 years on this earth. It's such a comforting feeling to be surrounded by people who love your mother so much, and that's exactly how Saturday night's party was. I am grateful beyond words for her and everything she has taught me, given me, and done for me. She is truly the most generous, faithful, and selfless women I have ever known! I feel blessed to have had such a shining example of a mother, wife, and friend. When I open my mouth to speak, when I look in the mirror every day, and when I meet people who knew her as a child and young woman, I am reminded that, thankfully, I AM MY MOTHER'S DAUGHTER!

2. My sensitivity - I am very sensitive. People who know me well (or anyone that attended my wedding or bridal showers) know how sensitive and emotional I am. I was reminded of that this weekend at my mother's birthday party. We did a little "roast" on her that evening, and since there's hardly anything to "roast" her about, it ended up being a sweet and emotional tribute to her. Of course, I said something. And of course... I cried. No surprise there. I used to be very embarrassed of that quality and hated that I couldn't talk about anything near and dear to me without becoming a red-faced puddle of tears. Even as a young girl, I couldn't get up and speak about my parents or family without crying. At church every Mother's and Father's Day, kids could get up and read letters they wrote to their parents. When I was younger, I would always write a "thank you" letter to my parents and get up in front of the whole congregation and read them. One after the other, kids would get up and nicely (and audibly) read the touching letters to their mother or father. Then I came up to the podium…. and cried my way through my letters. Every. Single. Year. It embarrassed me until I got older and realized it is just WHO I AM. My grandfather was very emotional his whole life, always speaking from the heart and shedding a few tears in the process. As a result, my mother is also very emotional. There wasn't a morning growing up that she didn't cry after reading our devotional around the breakfast table. I guess all those mornings rubbed off on me, because now I, too, am emotional. At 32 years old, I am finally ok with that. I know that, if I'm speaking from the heart, to -or about-  those I love…I will cry. I will cry reading and writing birthday cards. I will cry thanking those that have done something special for me. I will cry at movies…and corny Super Bowl commercials. I will cry telling someone how much they mean to me. I will cry reading devotions or touching stories. I will also cry writing this blog post. Because like I said… It's just who I am, and I am very grateful for that.

3. Positive affirmation - I'm human. Of course, I love positive affirmation. I am specifically talking about positive affirmation in terms of my blog and this "Gratitude Project" series I'm doing. I've gotten several texts and emails from friends telling me how much they enjoy it and how it's made them more aware of things in their lives that they are grateful for. I'm thankful for people who go out of their way to tell me those things, because it makes me feel like I'm making a small difference in this world. I draw a lot of inspiration from those around me, so I hope I can do that for others, as well.

4. Safe travels home to West TN - This might seem like a given, but I am so grateful for safety and traveling grace on our trips home to West TN. We've been home a lot since the holidays, and the trip this weekend was particularly nerve-racking due to all the pot-holes and road damage on the Interstate. I think there are still nail marks on the passenger seat in my husband's car because I was so nervous going home this past weekend!! I'm grateful for safe travels on those special trips home!


{I felt this quote was a perfect one in honor of my mom (and my dad, too!) for her birthday week.}