Category Archives: family

Meet Jax

Pheww these past few days have been busy busy busy!

We recently hired 6 new people for our department and yesterday was their first.  Not only am I the supervisor primarily responsible for getting the new hires all situated when they first arrived, but I was scheduled to do yesterday’s training session as well, so I was on-the-go all day and had no time to stop in and recap the weekend!


Better late than never, so here we go.  Friday and Saturday were pretty low key as far as my social life goes.  I played the role of a bookworm nearly all day Saturday and studied my butt off.

Highlights from Saturday:

yogurt cheerios bberries peanuts

Greek yogurt, honey nut cheerios, blueberries, honey roasted peanuts.

deconstructed kebab

Deconstructed chicken and veggie kebabs

I mean I love food and all… but the fact that leftovers were the most exciting thing during the day on Saturday indicates it was a pretty dull day.


On the other hand, Sunday was full of fun stuff!

cake and presents

We went over to Dave’s parents house around 11:30 for Maddie’s 4th birthday party.

maddie bday party

photo (31)

We relaxed out by the pool most of the afternoon and watched all the kids play.

dunk tank

The dunk tank was definitely the hit of the party!  Even the adults loved it 😉

mac and jax 4

Meet Mac’s new friend, Jax!

mac and jax1

Dave’s cousin and his wife, Kevin and Diane, just recently added this little guy to their family.  He’s about 15 weeks old, only 7 or 8 pounds and will grow just a few pounds bigger.  Such a cute little guy!

mac and jax 2

Mac and Jax enjoyed keeping an eye on the kids while sharing Mac’s bed together.

mac and jax 3

Two peas in a pod! 🙂


Later on, Dave, Mac and I headed over to my aunt’s house for a little family get-together to celebrate my cousin, Heidi, who just recently graduated from North Central College!

After a couple hours, we headed back home and were greeted with friends in the lot next to us!

deerA doe and her two baby fawns!!


We were able to get really close to them before they bounded away.

When we first moved to our house, Dave and I both would see on average 7-8 deer… per day!!  When springtime rolled around, all the deer were in hiding while they gave birth to their babies.  After I saw that one picture, I have been waiting (impatiently) all spring to see a fawn for myself and it finally happened!  Yay!


Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

fathers day collage

Especially to mine who is an inspiration, a role model, and hands-down, the coolest guy around!

The very best dad a girl could ask for! 🙂

Cooking Scrapbook – Mom & Lauren’s Tostada

Based on my past history of delayed flights, I was all worried about being delayed again last night.  Turns out, we completed our audit earlier than expected and I was able to switch to an earlier flight for free and I was able to get home nearly 3 hours early.  Score! 🙂

Having been gone for several days, I knew I didn’t have too much in the fridge for dinner so I resorted to an all-time favorite.


The easiest tostada ever!  My mom and I used to make these for lunch quite often when I lived at home.

tostada 2

We are convinced there is a touch of Mexican blood in us somewhere.  Both of us love Mexican! A longgggg time ago, I remember Taco Bell being ‘our spot’ when my brother and dad weren’t around for dinner.

tostada 3

I know, Taco Bell isn’t exactly the best Mexican food out there, but there was something about those little dates together eating our shared love for tostadas and bean burritos… definitely a cherished memory! 🙂

So when we weren’t at Taco Bell, we often assembled these tasty little tostadas and so, for obvious reasons, they made the cut in the Family Secrets section of the cooking scrapbook.

mom and lauren's easy microwave mexican tostada

mom & lauren's tostada recipe





Spread salsa, black beans, corn and shredded cheese over a tortilla.

tostada layers

Microwave until cheese is melted and top with lettuce, tomatoes, and hot sauce (optional for you, not optional for me! 😉 )

tostada 5

Easy as 1-2-3!

Note:  since the tostada is heated in the microwave, the tortilla does not get crispy, so it is a knife-and-fork kinda meal.  I would not recommend trying to pick it up!

In Honor of Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

While most of us are off work and enjoying our 3 day weekend, we must not forget the importance of Memorial Day itself.  It is a day to remember the men and women who died while serving our country.

Murph for Miller 2013

In honor of Memorial Day, my CrossFit gym hosted their 6th annual event, Murph for Miller, which I had the pleasure of participating.  (<— although I may have opted for an alternative word for ‘pleasure’ while actually doing the workout. 😉 )

murph for miller

“Murph” is the name of a WOD (Workout of the Day), in memory of Navy Lieutenant, Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.  The following was his favorite workout and thus, named Murph in honor of him.


  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull ups
  • 200 push ups
  • 300 squats
  • 1 mile run

The event, Murph for Miller, is held each year to not only remember Michael Murphy, but also to honor a local United States Army Special Forces solder, SSG Robert Miller, from Wheaton, Illinois who also died in action in 2008.  (You can read a little more about him in the above picture.)  Seeing how I spent my entire childhood and adolescent years growing up in Wheaton, I was particularly interested in getting involved in such a great cause.

Each of the 1-mile runs must be completed in its entirety at the beginning and end of the workout; however, the pull ups, push ups and squats can be partitioned whichever way the athlete(s) chooses.

murph for miller squat

Since this was my first time tackling Murph, Tracie, one of our coaches (above), was kind enough to partner up with me and split up the workout half and half.

murph for miller run

I ran the first mile while Tracie took care of the second, and we divided the remaining workout into rounds of 3-6-9 (3 pull ups, 6 push ups, 9 squats) and took turns completing 3 rounds before switching off.

murph board

Again, I don’t know why I think the workouts always look semi-‘easy’ on paper, but this WOD was anything but!  It was tough!!  We finished Murph together in 34 minutes, 50 seconds, and I’m still feeling the after-effects all over my body.  Ouch!


I stuck around the gym to watch the other heats take on Murph.  It was such an exciting event with a DJ who played upbeat, motivating music to energize the participants, as well as the spectators who all cheered on the athletes!

murph for miller tccf 6

The workout as prescribed (aka RX) is to complete Murph entirely by yourself… with a weighted vest.  I would say the majority of participants steered away from the weighted vest.  Some completed a full Murph, others did half by themselves.  And then some partnered up for the entire Murph and worked as team, like Tracie and I.

Military Heat

murph for miller military heat start 2

The 11:00 am heat consisted of all military and/or uniformed participants.

murph for miller tccf 2

murph for miller tccf 5

murph for miller tccf 4

murph for miller tccf 3

Marines, Air Force, Police, and Fireman all came out for the event.  It was so cool to watch this heat and honor those who serve our country.

murph for miller military group

Everyone did such a great job and Murph for Miller was a huge success!

crossfit group

Special Thanks

Although Memorial Day is technically observed for those who died while serving our country, I still have to give a “shout-out” to my brother, Pete, who currently serves in the Coast Guard.

peter coast guard

Thank you for your service! 🙂  And of course, thanks to everyone else who is also currently in the service!  Your time and dedication is incredible and very much appreciated.


Enjoy your Memorial Day, whatever you decide to do, but don’t forget to remember those who fought, served, and died for our country!

(Most of the pictures on this post were taken by and borrowed from CrossFit Tri Cities.)

Happy Mother’s Day

happy mother's day

To every mom…

peter lauren cheryl 1

Especially to my best friend and by far, the very best mother out there!

saar family peter's wedding

Beautiful inside and out, so lucky to have her! 🙂

Food Prep & iPhone Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

Food Prep Inspiration

I first wanted to highlight a fun little post over at The Lean Green Bean.  Lindsay hosts a food prep inspiration post on Sundays to share other bloggers’ healthy eats.  I know sometimes I get into a rut making the same foods over and over, so it’s great to take in some new ideas from other people.

Check out her post from yesterday.  You might even recognize someone! 😉

iPhone Weekend Recap

This past weekend was jam-packed and I loved every second of it!  Here are a few photos to recap:

white tree



mac dog parkflowers

bloody mary

mom dad mac walk


dad and mac


I also ventured out for my first wedding dress shopping trip, though I can’t share many details and of course, no photos.  Let’s just say, although I didn’t actually make any purchases, it was a very successful trip! 🙂


Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad

Happy birthday to the best dad there is! 🙂


Unfortunately, the pictures of my Dad are very few and far between because he is our family photographer and always behind the camera.  But he does an amazing job, that’s for sure!

peter lauren bob

How about that for Throwback Thursday!? 😉

Birthday Cake Popcorn

We had a mini birthday celebration for my Dad’s and Nikki’s birthdays on Sunday and all enjoyed a little cookies and cream cake and some birthday cake popcorn.  I loved Cassie’s cookies and cream popcorn she made for girls night so I spun off the idea and tailored towards birthday cake flavors.

birthday cake popcorn 4b

Birthday Cake Popcorn


1 5 oz bag of popped popcorn (I used Boom Chicka Pop brand with sea salt)

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

1-2 tbsp coconut oil (or canola oil)

1/3 cup yellow cake mix

1/2 – 3/4 cup sprinkles


1.  Line 2 baking sheets with wax or parchment paper and spread out popcorn into a single layer.

2.  Melt white chocolate and coconut oil together in microwave for a few minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds until melted.

3.  Stir in yellow cake mix.

4.  Drizzle half of the chocolate mixture and half sprinkles over popcorn.  Stir popcorn around using a spatula to get evenly coated.

5.  Drizzle remaining chocolate mixture and sprinkles.  Let cool and harden completely.

6.  Devour!

birthday cake popcorn mac