Saturday, June 22, 2013

meal planning: vol 1

the kitchen is my favorite room in my house. Actually, in any house. I feel most at home in the kitchen. I used to believe that I wasn't a creative person. But I've come to find that I'm just mostly creative in the kitchen. If I have a Saturday to myself, I want to spend a good portion of it planning a meal and prepping in the kitchen. Dinner parties? I'm always in. There's a harmony that comes from cooking well and feeding people. My heart feels fullest with friends at our table.


Yet, sometimes, when I'm meal planning, I find myself in a bit of a slump. And so, mostly because Ruthanne posted her meal plans, I decided I wanted to start sharing what our week looks like in the kitchen. (Also, it's much easier to find these links for myself if I post them here. ha!) I normally plan + grocery shop on Saturdays. We like to do a fancy at home meal one night a week, usually Saturday or Sunday, just depending. Weeknights are mostly busy for us. I've got class a couple nights a week, we have Bible groups, it just get plain busy. Insert the crock pot meals.  I find looking at our weekly schedule before even attempting meal planning results in a lot less frustration.


Thai Steamed Mussels

Parmesean Brussel Sprout Crostini



Lunch- Baked and filled avocados

I don't normally cook for lunch, but we've been wanting to try these so badly, I made an exception!

Dinner- Coconut Chicken Salad with Warm Honey Mustard Viniagrette

This has been a staple in our meal rotation for over a year now. Just make it. You'll love it.



Chile Shrimp with butter beans and lemony couscous

We had this for the first time last week and Sam went crazy for it. It's up again.



Baked Salmon (30min at 350--we bake it in a little olive oil and lemon pepper)

Roasted Carrots



Mongolian Beef



Crock pot chicken tacos

This is a meal my mom taught me--4 chicken breasts, 1 can cream of whatever, 1 jar salsa. Dump it all in the crock pot in the morning on your way out the door, (the chicken can even still be frozen!) and when you come home, pull chicken and serve on tortillas. Delicious and easy.


I don't plan Friday--that's our weekly date night. And then it starts all over!  Also--there's always a box of cereal in our pantry and sometimes, the plan for the night gets scrapped. It's real life.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

6 weeks of life

I could have alternatively titled this post, I don't know how to catch you up on 6+ weeks of not blogging, so I'm just going to throw it all at you at once!


My foot has completey healed and I've returned to running. This is really a whole post within itself. Suprise! After 3 months of not running, I'm pretty far physically from where I was immediately post-marathon. I've struggled like never before to get back into running, and the summer heat isn't encouraging my runs.

This summer is a busy season for us. I've got one last class to take that's going on Tuesday and Thursday nights. We've got something booked for every night of the week. These seasons can leave us ragged--so I'm reading through the ebook Jessi and Hayley wrote--Refresh. I'm hoping to have some of my sanity left at the end of the summer.

I started a bookclub. Best decision. It's a smallish group of girls that are quickly becoming my best of best friends. Books + cookies + laughter? Good recipe for success, if you ask me. 

Mumford and sons concert: one of the highlights of my whole summer. It was a perfect June day, just my man and me. I couldn't have asked for a better night.

My baby brother got married. Oh Lordy, help my emotions. He married the most beautiful woman, inside and out. And now she's my sister. Enough, before I start crying again.  

It always seems when I'm busiest I find the ways to make the most lists of what I'd like to do when I have free time. Since this summer is a season like that for us, I'm working on a good list and being intentional about my free time. Instead of trolling twitter and IG. Tell me I'm not the only one. I'd like to post on it later--intentional resting. 


What's your summer filled with? What's it looked like so far?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

back to blogging


Normally, when I take a 6 week haitus from blogging, it's because too much is going on. And that couldn't be more true this time.  When I get quiet + vansish, it's all because under the surface everything is bubbling over.  After I posted about how I didn't get into nursing school, life just got tough.  It was a dry, hard spring. Most days felt like "getting by" days. And yet, He was there. In the midst of the hardest time in a long time.

"The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing" Zep 3:17

But, there's a new morning and we're on the edge of a new, sweet season.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

these dreams of mine

I applied to nursing school. Back in December, I packed up all my hopes and dreams and work and mailed them off in an envelope. And we waited. We prayed and we waited.

We pleaded and told God it was what we wanted. This school, this timing was what we wanted.

And I got a letter of denial. This isn't the school, this isn't the time.

I've been quiet about it, even though I got the letter a few weeks ago now. It's been hard. But we're releasing our goals into His hands. Still pleading, still wanting. Planning to try again.  There's 5 more schools that are accepting applications this fall to begin in January of 2014. We're trying again. We're pushing into Him harder, knowing His dreams for us are bigger and shine brighter than the ones we have.

But day to day? It's raw. It hurts. My pride doesn't want to admit I didn't get in. My heart clings more to plans than to God on days. It's showing me how much I put faith in work and in myself. Thinking I can work my way to whereever I want to go.

The dreams are still there.  Though we may feel a bit lost, we're trusting that it's best we don't see the whole plan.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


For a marathon runner, I don't eat as well as I should. We eat well--but I'm known to skip breakfast and enjoy an afternoon cookie.

Until I started to feel a tugging at my heart to change the way we eat. To cut out all the crap. To fill our plates with veggies. And then, just like when you buy a new car and see it EVERYWHERE, I began to see healthy eating everywhere.  Jami Nato blogged though cutting out sugar.  I got a random text from my husband that said "Want to try a fruit and veggie cleanse?" I went home with a massive sugar/caffiene induced migrane and watced two food documentaries back to back that I randomly found on Netflix. If you haven't watched "Hungry for Change" and "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" you need to. They're available to stream. 

So we took the plunge and coughed up the money for a juicer. Found some good recipes online (I'll be sharing my favorites on here) and bought literally 30 pounds of fruit + veggies at Costco.

And now, it's Tuesday afternoon and my breakfast has been a yummy concoction of cucumber + apple + lime juice. It's good. I'm getting food but fighting my brain that wants bread and eggs and coffee. Really, really, fighting the coffee.  I'm also reading though the Youvision app devotional "Made to Crave" because really, this is a big heart issue. And I'm a believer that my heart + soul + body are all connected and all given to Christ. I just skip out a lot of giving my food over to Him. 

It's going to be a tough 5 days. I'm hoping to shed a few pounds and re-start my body. To give it nutrients and a clean slate. To treat it right.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

when it's what you want

As some of you may or may not know, I'm waiting a response to nursing school. I've applied, done all the hard work. And now I'm sitting in wait.

And every day there's a battle. Of checking the mail. I'm so anxious to check, but then I want to avoid it altogether. It makes me sick to my stomach. I go daily, anxiously anticipating the letter. Of playing it in my head going either way. Yes. Or No.  I was told the answer will come in March of 2013. And now, for the better part of a month, we play this game every day.

And my daily prayer is to hold my plans with open hands. Wishing and wanting and hoping for this dream, but not idolizing school. Knowing the One who holds our future has good for us, not harm.  But when I'm honest, I know it's what I deeply desire. I can't imagine a future without nursing school. But more than that, I know what I can't live without daily is Jesus. So I'm holding it with open hands. Pleading and praying and making my deepest desires known to the only One who really plans our futures.

If you find yourself in a place like this. A place where your dreams are laid bare and your heart feels raw, take it to the only one who knows our futures. And take that step to the mailbox with confidence.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

January + February Reading Recap

sooo... Remember how I finally showed you my book list for the year a couple of days ago?
and now it's the middle of March?  Well, it just seemed like the perfect time to recap what I I've read so far.  Take note: not all of these books were/are on my list for 2013. You can thank half price sales for that. They are all books on my list, and some happened to be cheap/on sale/borrowed from friends.

Cutting for Stone:  This book gripped me from the very first page.  It's a love story with such depth that you are hurting for both sides of the couple.  The twins born of the nun-nurse mother and surgeon father lead a life unlike any other.  The complexity, depth, and twists of this book kept me up late into the night to finish.

Life of Pi:  Honestly, this one took me awhile to get into.  I just couldn't get into the flow of it.  About halfway through, I started to enjoy it, but not near as much as I had expected.  When it ended, the ending left me with more intrigue and questions than a sense of closure.  I don't think all books need closure to be good, but I desired a bit more with this one.

A Clash of Kings:  I'm so into this series. It's fantasy--set in a time and place long ago. The story of 5 kings, at civil war with each other. And no, I don't watch the TV series.  If you want to step into fantasy, this is a great series to start with.

Beautiful Boy: This was an awesome book. Raw, real, and it doesn't hide or sugar coat a thing. It's a rare look into what drugs, and specifically meth do to families and people.  In the best way, it left me empathizing with all of the characters.

What are you reading? On my shelf this month: Bossypants and MWF seeking BFF

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

An influential woman

I'm linking up today with some pretty rad women. The influence network is a group the sweetest of women who strive to make Jesus the center of everything. Life, love, business, He's the goal of all of it.  Today we are linking up to learn a little more about each other. If you're not a member, I hope you'll at least go check it out. But seriously, you should become a member.

For the linkup today, this is what we're supposed to be sharing:

A photo of yourself that you love. Three get-to-know-me things.

One valuable thing you've gained from the Network.

1. I'm a runner. Marathons are my love language, and I spend a lot of my free time running, thinking about running, or planning my next race.  I love the solitude of a good 4 hours spent running, and get giddy with the endorphins after.  I'm running a half marathon in March with a sweet friend, and thinking of running another full marathon in April.

2.  I love science. I was the nerdiest kid in high school, and it's pretty much stayed the same since.  I used to work in cancer research, and now I do genetic testing on infants.  I am in the process of applying to nursing schools, and hoping to go back to get a second bachelors and become a nurse within the next year.

3. To me, the best days go a bit like this:  waking up early-ish to lay in bed for a bit and stare at the sunlight streaming though.  Breakfast with my husband, followed by a morning run.  A good book (I'm an avid reader), afternoon outside, and lots of time in the sunshine are the key to a good afternoon.  A home cooked dinner with some quality time in my kitchen and a bottle of wine makes for one of my favorite evenings.  Simple? Probably. But to me--that's the perfect day.  

To me, the influence network is an irreplaceable network of learning and community.  I LOVE the online classes--and each one teaches me so much while enriching the community around me.  I'm signed up for Advanced Handmade later this month, and already giddy about what I will learn to advance my shop!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cowtown Marathon Recap

Happy Wednesday.

Sunday was a big day for me. A marathon day. A day I had hoped about and trained for for many, many months.   After the catastrophe that was the San Antonio Marathon, I had my hopes set for something much better this time around.

The alarm clock woke me up around 4:30, and after a quick bagel + banana, we were out the door.  This race is in Fort Worth, and it's a family affair.  My dad started his journey into marathoning 5 years ago with this race--and since then we've all joined in.  My brother, soon to-be sister in law, husband and I have all at some point run part of the Cowtown marathon.  We all hoped into the car, and it was off to sunrise service. Sunrise is a small worship service the home church I attended puts on every year for the runners. It's a 5:30 worship time before the race starts. For me, it's a time to calm and collect before the race. Just what I needed.

It was a perfect 40 degrees outside at the start of the race.  We had planned for Sam, Dad and I to stay together for as long as possible, or until the split.  The half splits from the full around mile 10, and I wanted to stay with Sam until then.  Early on we all felt good.  Just trying to relax and let the race come to us.  We all got separated really early on--by mile 3 I was alone and had no idea how I lost my people.  We reunited at mile 4, where my Dad was having some knee pain.  Sam and I decided to continue on. 

(Why I'm posting this horrible picture of myself, I don't know. It's one of the few pictures we have from when we saw our ppeople and said hi.)

We ran together all the way until the split.  These were fun and easy miles--we had some conversation, some laughter, and a lot of fun. It was Sam's first race and first half, and he was strong and ready all the way through.   At mile 10 we split, and with a quick kiss, he was gone.

I knew mentally this was the time where it was going to begin to be a test.  Almost immediately, the course becomes much less interesting, and the full marathon heads directly south. Into a wall of wind.  This is when all my mental preparation began to kick in.  I did everything I could to stay in the mile I was in and not let my mind wander to further miles or how many more I had to go.  

 I knew because of scheduling + family wanting to see Sam and my brother complete their halves, I wouldn't see any spectators miles 10-20.  20 was the earliest they could get the halfers + get back in the car and find me on the trail again.  These were my miles to myself to redeem the race I had in San Antonio.

For most of the race, I tried not to think.  When I did, I had pre-rehearsed lines of "Yes. Mile 16. Great"  NOT "OMG 10 more miles."  I also did a lot of "Trust your training. Your body knows how to do this."  And just a bit of "You can do this within your goal.  It's worth the pain to make the goal."  

By mile 19 I was ready to see a smiling face.  I was THRILLED to see family at mile 20.  I knew seeing them would push me the last bit.  When I saw them at 20 I said, "It's getting hard." 

The last 6 were hard.  I did a few calculations quickly and knew it was very well within reach to meet my goal time.  I let myself breathe a little and backed off, trying to force my mind anywhere but the pain. I had thought about, accepted, and moved past all the pain earlier in the week, and I'm sure glad I did.  It's impossible to run that far without pain.  It hurts.  You keep going.

Mile 23 was the hardest.  Close to the end but a lot of steps left.  At this point, knowing how proud I would be to finish within my goal kept me going.  I started making shorter and shorter visual goals for myself.  Next tree. Next water stop.  Anything to keep the legs moving.

When I saw mile 25 I knew it was happening. I knew the hard work was paying off and the goal was real.  At 26 I started crying.  Running for me is so emotional, and the tears were a constant flow until I crossed the finish line.  So much hard work, so much doubt from the last race.  I did it.  Mind, body, and soul are united for me in running.  All focused on a singular goal: and it happened.  I couldn't stop smiling and I couldn't have been happier.   Knowing my husband met his goal time as well--it didn't get better than that.  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Shop Update

It's been awhile since I've created something new for the shop, and I'll be honest--I get pretty nervous when I try to launch something.  I wait and wait and wait to post it, because, you know, how will it be received? 

But you never get somewhere if you don't start, and so, very nonchalantely, I posted these felt garlands on Friday.

And now I'm exicted and ready to reveal them to you.

I've made each one a one of a kind piece, and I'm not sure if I'll repeat color combos or just make one of each.  They, like everything else in my shop are customizable, and you can request one to be made for whatever your occasion may be.

These three are ready to ship--just head over to the shop to check them out.   I'm offering 20% off with these new items (and the rest of the shop) with the code FRESH. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Week-of Marathon Prep

We're less than 72 hours away from the start of the Cowtown marathon, and as you're reading this we're probably in the car on the way up to Fort Worth.  Many people have asked about what the week before a marathon looks like--and for others it probably looks different, but this is what it looks like for me.


My miles for the week get cut in half, and a lot of time is focused on rest.  Lots of foam rolling, massaging legs and feet, and letting my legs have some time to prepare.  Also, getting enough sleep is key.   Your best night of sleep should be two nights before the race. Most races are on Sunday, so this means Friday night.  The night before is plagued with excitement/nerves, so it's key to get that good night of rest on Friday. 


A lot of the week, I consider and think about the pain.  The body wrenching, I'm so tired I want to quit pain.  Why? Because I know it's coming, and because accepting it now and deciding that the marathon is worth it is how I get through those hard moments.  Yes, every part of my body will hurt. Yes, it's worth it. This also includes copious amounts of pinning inspirational things on pinterest.  Sorry about that.


The week before the race, diet is key.  You want to fuel your body with good food. My diet consists of lean meats, sweet potatoes, lots of greens, and some carbs.  It's not the carb-fest you might invision. That said, I am having spaghetti the night before the race.  Moderation is key. You don't want to overdo it with anything. Wanting dessert the week before?  Ok. Have a small bit of dark chocolate.  Your body will respond so much better on race day with the right nutrition.

The rest of the week is a mix of emotions. Excitement, nervousness, and thrill that it's here. Next time you hear from me, I'll be bearing the soreness and pride of the race.  I'm hoping to post a race-recap on here sometime next week. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

book list 2013

I thought I posted this in January. Last night searching the internet for this list on my own blog, I realized it was still in the drafts!  Ha! Now it's visible for all to see how bad at blogging at am.  But, if you're interested, here's my list.

I posted on goals oh forever a go, and reading wasn't one of them. It's sort of an unspoken goal that I'll read as much as possible in a  year. I'm a reader. I love reading and talking about books to friends. So, because time is valuable and limited, I've made a list of what I'd like to read in 2012. These aren't hard and fast books, but I want to be cognizant of what I'm reading.

 I'd like to read at least 30 books this year. But, like yesterday, there's grace. If I do all of this list, or half of it, there's grace. This is just my small plan of what I'd like some of my year to hold. 


1.       Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
2.       They Killed my Father by Loung Ung
3.       Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
4.       Quiet by Susan Cain
5.    Expecting Adam by Martha Beck


1.       Born to run by Christopher McDougall
2.       Eat and Run by Scott Jurek

Faith Based

1.       Radical by David Platt
2.       Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman
3.       Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
4.       Crazy Love by Francis Chan
5.       Forgotten God by Francis Chan


1.       The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
2.       Columbine by Dave Cullen
3.       Islands of the Damned by RV Burgin
4.       In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
5.       Morality by Christopher Hitchens


1.       Atlas Shrugged by Ann Rand
2.       To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


1.       The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht
2.       Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
3.       Bossypants by Tina Fey
4.       MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
5.       Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
6.       The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

Do you have any plans to read? What's on your list? I'd love to know!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pre-Race Running (and lack thereof)

I hate tapering. Before every marathon, the 2 weeks before you are supposed to cut down you mileage and allow your muscles to re-build before the race.  For me, it always becomes a time of laziness. A couple weeks of "why go out if it's only 4 miles?"

Add into that my birthday (yesteryday), Valentines, and going out of town to visit friends, and all my modivation is gone. I'm happy with a snack in hand and running far from my mind. 

That is, until it catches up.  Two days ago I went out to run and my legs were concrete.  CONCRETE. I couldn't get them to move. They were stiff and after each step I wanted to stop. I couldn't get my  mind in the right place, and the fears of "Oh HOW am I going to do a marathon" keep creeping in.

And so, I went a got a massage.  I let the therapist know about my running and leg issues and hoped for the best.   After an hour of tortue, she worked out a lot of issues and demanded I start foam rolling more regularly.  I have a roller, but sort of do it not that often. At all.

But, mostly I'm sharing all this to say: I'm 10 days from the marathon, and despite all the training I can still get nervous.  I can still doubt if I'm going to make it (even though I've done this race before.) And when you eat like crap, your body feels like crap.

Friday, February 1, 2013

a little wishing

because, you know, my birthday is now in the countable days range.

9 Tiny brass arrow earrings

What's a birthday without a little wishing? But lets be honest, the boots are WAY WAY out of our price range, and I'm really just hoping for the bedding.

what's on your current wishlist?

Monday, January 28, 2013

scenes from our weekend

Saturday, I did my longest run before this marathon. 20 miles. It was supposed to be last week, but with working last Saturday, I had to miss my running group, and then it never happened during the week. Just setting aside that much time makes it nearly impossible to do during the week. It wasn't as hard as other 20 milers I've done, but I've come to learn at around 18 miles things will just hurt, no matter how many times you've done them. Hips, toes, shoulders, they all just ache at that much running.

After two weeks of VERY hilly routes, this route was pretty flat, and I felt that I was flying through it. I stayed strong up until mile 16, where my group headed back home (they were only doing 17) and I had to keep going. I had been preparing myself mentally for that break, and I'm glad I did, because it was still tough even after miles of "You're doing 20 today." "You are strong to do 20." over and over again in my head.

I didn't have a time goal, but I ended up finishing it in 4 hours 9 minutes. And I was thrilled. Not to mention burning almost 2,000 calories before breakfast.  I always feel more secure after the longest run before a marathon, and now I'm beginning to get a bit excited about Cowtown. Just a few more weeks!

Any run as good as that should be celebrated with a date night. I mean, I never have that many calories to use, so why not use them on a few good dark beers? 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Open for Business

Well, Christmas vacation for the shop turned into a 5 week vacation. And I'm completely fine with that.   But, the shop is open again and I'm so excited for 2013.  I've been feeling the need to branch out into other areas recently, and I've got some great ideas that I'm excited to try.  2013 for me is about getting uncomfortable in lots of areas of my life, and pushing the boundaries of the shop is just one of them.

If you follow me on instragram (my username is laurenbattershell), you'll soon start seeing some previews of things to come. I can't wait to share them with you!

For now, let's celebrate the new year with a sale! Use code NEW2013 for 20% off as I get ready to bring in lots of new things!

Monday, January 7, 2013

on goals and grace

Every year, I start out with noble goals. Lists of them, how I'm going to fix all the things wrong with myself, and how I plan to get there quickly.

And each year, I fail.  In December, I find those lists, and look at how just a few months into the year (heck, a few weeks into the year), the changes are gone, and I've settled into my old ways. So, this pattern has to stop. Setting high goals, failing to achieve them, and measuring a year by their success or failure.

So this year, it's different. I do have some goals, but I'm holding them loosely. See, last year I had no idea of a move, job changes, and all that would be to come. They weren't on my radar and yet, they were the best of the year.  So this year, instead of measuring my life by these goals, it's going to be goals + grace.  Meaning, I know that the Lord holds my year, and if he takes my life to the places where I reach these goals, then awesome. If He takes me somewhere different, then these aren't a failure, just a different plan. 


I want to log 1,000 miles for the year. It's crazy and it's a lot, but it's do-able. Run 2 marathons. And reach my goal weight.  To do this, there will be a lot of healthy meals and cooking changes, but I'm not setting specific goals related to cooking. But know that cooking is a large part of keeping these goals alive.


We want to settle into a church and small group here that is our own. We haven't found a place that just "fits" yet, and it's so important to us to come alongside others and live together.

With finding a church, we want to find our place to serve. It's been 2 years since we've actively served anywhere, and it's beyond time. 

And that's it. Just 3 very small and large things. Not as much planning and stressing this year as grace.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Family photos fall 2012

I mean, I really should have shared these in November when they were taken. But, better late than never, right?

I'm a big believer in telling your story. And part of your story is told in pictures.  So, with a little nudging, the husband is now a believer in taking semi-regular pictures. This is our life, our story. And it's one worth being told. It's my job to preserve it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

in photos

Disney Half Marathon, January 2012

Cowtown Marathon and Half, Feb 2012
Easter 2012

 St. Arnolds Brewery, Houston, Summer 2012
 Minute Maid Stadium, Home of the Houston Astros, Summer 2012

 We bought our first car together!

Our new Austin home!
Happy Anniversary!

Give Thanks.

San Antonio Marathon, November 2012