Monday, February 28, 2011

A New Month

There is something about the 1st of each month that is exciting to me. It's kind of like a mini- New Year's Day. Its a time to start fresh, to flip the picture on my calendar, to change the background on my computer...and cell phone. Does that make me weird? Quite possibly. And what's even weirder, I go in order of the list of manufactured backgrounds on the computer and cell phone. Its kind of like a challenge to see if I can use them all through out the months. I haven't accomplished this yet. Its the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning on the 1st. .... Hopefully I haven't scared you off by now...

So, assuming that you're still reading, now comes the fun part. After stumbling upon this idea from a very crafty lady, I have a new tradition this year of making a "plaque" for each month. This is the one I made for March:

And the good news is... you can make one yourself with this fantastic tutorial from Suzanne at Just Another Hang Up. She makes the template with wording and she will e-mail it to you free of charge! Very generous. They are very simple to make....I'm not a complicated project kind of girl. If I can do it, you can do it. Its pretty addictive to tell you the truth. Everytime I finish one, I am already thinking of how I want to design next month's plaque.

Here are the one's I've made so far for January and February:

Now keep in mind- I did not make up the words that are on the plaques, I just bought the materials and picked the color scheme that I wanted to go along with it. So- these are mine & they happily grace my bedside table.

Go make one for yourself!

Happy 1st of the month!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Caroline Time

"I am something of a recluse by nature. I am that cordless screwdriver that has to charge for 20 hours to earn 10 minutes use. I need that much downtime. I am a terrible daydreamer. I have been since I was young. My mind goes walking and playing and skipping." - Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz (one of my favorite books)

I know I'm not married with kids yet, but I still savor my alone time. Don't get me wrong, I want a family of my own more than anything in the world, but I'm realizing that I should cherish the days when I can pick-up-and-go whenever I please. One day, nights like these will be long gone. These nights, I like to call, "Caroline Time."

All day at work I was daydreaming of the projects I wanted to get done that I just can't find the time or energy to do on the week days. Project #1: Chalkboarding my flour and sugar cannisters. Here, I am borrowing my fellow blogger and Camp Desoto friend, Melissa's idea. (Lot's of my recent ideas have come here's a shout out to Melissa at Greener Grass. You shouldread her blog- you'll be glad you did!)

After going back and reading how Melissa did it, I realize that I made this WAY harder than it should have been. I saw the chalkboard stick-ons at Michael's as soon as I finished taping off my cannisters and spray painting them with Chalkboard paint. Typical. Anyway, here is my finished product: Not perfect, but cuter than the boring bags where they used to reside.

In the middle of this project I thought about another project that needed to be finished. So, while my chalkboard paint was drying, and in the spirit of "pick-up- and -go," I dropped everything and went to Michael's to find a frame for the first piece of artwork I've bought for my new place.

I've been working really hard lately on my philosophy of decorating only with things that have special and unique meaning to me. I don't want to have that house that looks like I
went to Homegoods and furnished it all in one day. I like to look around and remember the story behind the things in my house. With that being said, there is not much on the walls right now- but in due time...there will be plenty of reminders of places I've been...things I've seen....special people's faces...etc.

So here is project #2, the hanging and framing of my Daufuskie Evenings picture. Last weekend I did a little shopping (mainly window shopping) on Broughton Street. There are certain stores that I hit everytime...Eclectibles being one of them. It has really funky local art and I have been waiting for something to jump out at me, but nothing had tugged at me yet until I saw this picture. The picture itself is nothing outstanding, but it is a true to life photograph of the South Carolina symbol (palm tree with cresent moon). My grandparents live there and I did a lot of my growing up on the river at Fox Island, not far from Daufuskie. You can't see it in this picture, but the photographer captured the cresent moon behind a palm tree during an evening sunset. Its nothing extravagant, but I think happy thoughts about Fox Island when I see it. That's all that matters. PS: Ignore the 1990's baby duckling yellow on the walls. I'm renting and we're not supposed to paint :(

Mom, you'll be proud that I used my dainty, girlpower hammer to get the job done!

I got so carried away by these two projects that 8:00 rolled around and I realized I hadn't eaten dinner yet. (Me forgetting to eat is a rare occasion). So, I turned to one of my staple salads. It's my go-to meal when I don't have a game plan for anything else to make. A friend of mine threw this together awhile ago and I've been hooked ever since. I'll share because I think you will love it.

Baby Spinach
Toasted Almonds (I used walnuts today)
Grilled Chicken (I keep a bag of frozen grilled chicken strips on hand for times such as this!)
Mandarin Oranges
Goat Cheese
Poppy Seed Dressing

* note- I've been trying relentlessly to put a picture of the salad up, but my computer is NOT having it. Maybe later.

Happy Weekend to everyone!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cravings Indulged

Around 3:45 it hit me. Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, Horizon Organic Skim Milk, and Fresh Blueberries. I must have it. It was all I could think about on the drive home. Do you ever get that way about food, or is it just me?
After school snacks are just the best. They are a large part of my moment of sanity when I walk through the door after work. I grab my computer (to get my fix of facebook and other mindless websites), take of my shoes and jewelry, and have my little snack of choice. Since I've been Fitness Pal"ing"- I'm ever aware of what I'm spending my calories on. Post Cereal treated me right today. It was a good choice. I may have even had an extra 1/2 bowl of cereal and not even felt too bad about it.

Feeling re-charged!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Clean House

Today, I woke up with a grand inspiration to CLEAN the house. I mean really clean. Maybe it was the beautiful weather? Who knows- but I won't question it. I knew if I thought too hard about it, the moment would pass.

There are few things I love more than cleaning the house when I'm really in the mood to do it. On the same token, there are few things I despise more than cleaning when i'm NOT in the mood. I think most people would agree.

So, this morning I blasted my Itunes, rolled up my sleeves, and broke out my hot pink rubber gloves. I even moved the chairs out from underneath the dining room table to sweep away ALL the crumbs. That's how I know I was really in the right mindset. Otherwise, I would have swept up around the chairs and pretended that was good enough.
Floors swiffered, toilets scrubbed, mirrors cleaned, laundry done, stove wiped down, dishes put away, candles lit, fresh smelling house, and a sunny day. All done before noon. Doesn't get much better than that.

Get out and enjoy the sunshine!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Fitness Pal

Last Friday I went to happy hour at Green Truck with the girls from work. I think it's fantastic & I will probably make a whole new post about the place because I liked it so much. So much in fact, that I went again the next day for lunch, but that's for another time...

Anyway, while we were there talking about how out of shape and fat we all felt (a common theme among girls at happy hour) my friend, Lila, introduced me to my new favorite app: My Fitness Pal. Ah, an app to make me thin...if it were only that easy. And, for those of you who don't do "Apps"- there is a website for it as well.

Here's how it works: You type in your 1) Height and current weight (I don't own a scale so I had to guess. Its hard to be honest.)

2) GOAL weight (for me, 125 would be nice)

3) Activity level on a day to day basis (For activity level the choices are: Sedentary, Lightly Active, or Active...there may be a VERY Active in there but I don't remember :) I chose Lightly Active since I am a teacher and move around a good bit during the day in a non-strenuous way. Don't worry, it gives you guidelines on how to choose.)

4) Exercise goals ( I said 4x/wk for 45 min. Remember- this is a GOAL. So far this week I think I've met it though!)

5) How many pounds you'd like to lose per week. (I said 1 pound/week. Slow and steady wins the race!)

So, next it spits out the # of calories you should be taking in per day in order to get down to your goal weight. My magic number of calories is 1330. I can only IMAGINE how many calories I was eating per day before I started keeping track. wonder I was busting at the seams. Thanks to Lila and this handy little app, I think I can breathe a little easier already and its only been 6 days. Maybe its in my head, but either way- I'll take it.

How do I love this app, let me count the ways. 1) There is every food imaginable in the database, complete with calories, fat, carbs, & protein. I've always been into "nutrition facts", so this is right up my alley.
2) It even has restaurant meals included. Green Truck was not listed, Sad. I had to use a TGI Friday's Salad as a substitute for the one I actually ate. Lets hope it was atleast close in calories :/
3) I made Lentil Soup from my Martha Stewart Everday Food cookbook and to my surprise, my very recipe was already in the database. Real Simple ;)
4) After you exercise, you can type in your activity & add BACK the number of calories you burned. (This is ususally how I get to sneak in my desserts. Thank Goodness.)
5) At the end of the day, you hit a magic little button that gives you warm fuzzies when it says : "If every day were like today, you would weigh _________ in 5 weeks." It makes things seem do-able and not so far off.

Here is a sample how my day looked. I'm not ashamed to show you.

Wish me luck. I'll update you on my progress if its good. If not, forget I ever posted this!

Monday, February 14, 2011

"How He Loves Us"

"He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.....Oh, how he loves us"

Anyone familiar with David Crowder Band? They cover this song, but as far as I know- they did not write it. (Correct me if I'm wrong....gotta give credit where credit is due!)

Anyway...I love this song because it moves me. I love it's simplicity and depth, all rolled into one. Its one of those that I listen to over and over and never seem to get sick of it. This Sunday morning I had it on 'repeat' in my car on the way to LateChurch and...surprise....the band played it as the closing song, just for me (I felt like it anyway).

If you're already a fan of the song....Do you know the story behind it? (I've posted this video on facebook once or twice after a friend passed it along to me) but, I think its worth sharing. So if you have a few minutes, watch: How He Loves: A Story. I think you'll like it...

What song do you have on repeat?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Paisley Pattern

I had a revelation when I was going through my closet the other day. It's pretty evident that I love paisley. Its one of those patterns that I'm just drawn to. The little swirly designs are so much fun and I always feel spunky when I have on paisley. It's a real mood booster! Reminds me of a fresh & sunny spring day.

How often do you see people wearing paisley and looking gloomy? Its rare.

So, in my personal opinion, if you're pondering over a pattern, pick paisley. You'll be pleased!

Caroline :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


How many of you hear about people going to Zumba all the time, but never know exactly what this... Zumba... entails. Well, I'm here to tell you that it is amazing. My personal favorite workout class, ever. Its like going to the club without the alcohol or sketch-balls trying to dance up on you. I love the classes because they are filled with old and young alike, all shakin' it!

After you watch this little might be hooked. I found myself setting my alarm & waking up at 8:00am on Saturday mornings to do this. It's that good.

If you haven't experienced it, should,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

When Things Go Better Than Planned

Don't you love it when something works out better t
han you thought it would? Especially when it's something you've been dreadfully anticipating.

If there is one thing I dread most in this life, it would have to be public speaking. Spot light on me. Yuck. Major anxiety. I know, I know... "But you're a teacher," you say. Yes, I am...but there is a difference between standing up in front of little children vs. having another adult (specifically a professor from Armstrong) watching me and only me....and jotting down notes on her yellow legal pad, critiquing me. Its frightening and I don't like it.

My fears are irrational, really. I don't care if she doesn't like my lesson. I don't care if a kid throws a fit, or picks a booger, or blurts out a wrong answer. Who cares! My fear is that the professor will sense my fear. That my hands will shake, that I will have a coughing attack, that my face will turn red, that my voice will quiver, that I will feel overwhelmed & not be able to catch my breath and pass out!! This, my friends, is what scares me most. How dumb, I know.

Her e-mail reads: "I'll be there to observe you at noon! :)" All smiles. "Sounds great!" I lie.

All morning my stomach is in knots...."Maybe I'm getting the flu," I think to myself...."after all, half the class is out sick....that must be what it is...maybe I just need to go home. I'll call and tell her that we'll have to reschedule...surely next time I won't be so's just been a stressful week. Everything will be better NEXT time. " No, Caroline. Wrong. This will not solve your problems. Good try. (This is the battle going on in my head as I watch the clock.)

8:30.....9:15...9:45......10:05.....10:30....maybe she won't be able to come in today...10:50, 11:00... Okay, one more hour and this will all be over. I'll either be victorious because I pushed through with no problems or embarrassed because I passed out during my lesson.

11:17: I see her jolly face as she quickly approaches from down the hall. She's early!!! Magically, my fears subside. I think its just the build-up...the waiting... that gets me.

She comes into the classroom casually. We chit chat and I circulate around the room as the kids finish up something they were already working on. Before I know it, 20 minutes have already gone by and she has written up an evaluation. Well, that was easy!! One down...but she wants to squeeze in another observation for today.

Next, we transitioned into the lesson I had planned on her watching and it went beautifully! Wanna hear about it? Ok..

In 3rd grade, we are learning about Fossils. Well, what goes along with fossils? Paleontoligists. I decided to let the kids be paleontologists and use their "special tools" (aka: toothpicks) to dig for fossils (aka: pick the chocolate chips out of cookies.) There are more details as to why the chocolate chips resembled fossils, but I'll spare you the details.

Do not fear, we had a toothpick safety tutorial before their grubbly little hands got a hold of them!
1) No poking others (or themselves)
2) No toothpicks flying across the room
3) No sword fighting
4) These are no longer toothpicks, THEY ARE SPECIAL FOSSIL FINDING TOOLS

At the end, the kids ate their cookies, I got a wondeful evaulation, and as always, my fears were proven irrational. I didn't faint...or have a coughing attack...or cry.

Victorious (and relieved),

Monday, February 7, 2011

Journaling & Quotes

I'm a journaler. A lover of quotes, if you will.

All these books...FILLED.

I write down everything! It clears my head.

If you keep up with my blog, I'm sure there will be many, many quotes incorporated in one way or another. Its sort of my thing.

If ever I go on a trip, even a short trip, I would be willing to bet that you could find a journal stuffed somewhere in my bag. There are so many precious moments that would be easily forgotten the next day, unless....I jot down the memory with my trusty little pen. Then its mine to savor for years to come. I'm sentimental like that.

So....."Enjoy the little things, for one day you make look back and realize they were the big things"


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Coming Home

Everyday I am thankful that I come home to a place that I absolutely love.

As most of you know, a few months ago I decided it was time to move out of the nest...(my parents house) and on to a place of my own. On a teacher's salary, I figured I would have to settle for
something "do-able", not necessarily "love-able". My high-school friend, former roommate, and fellow teacher, Lindsey, was also looking for a place to live.

We looked high and low....nothing. Everything we looked at was either in a bad neighborhood, grungy, too expensive, or had 1 bathroom. One bathroom + 2 girls = bad idea.

Well, I stumbled upon this add on Craigslist for a town home near Isle of Hope where we both grew up. Beautiful, safe location, but not in our price range. My dad told me I should contact the owner anyway, just to see what would happen.

Turns out, the owner's wife is also a teacher. They understood our dilemma and wanted to help us out, as we in turn would help them out by being good tenants. They worked with us on the price & we were able to move in pretty much right away!

Once we moved in, we found out that our neighbor to the left is also a teacher, our neighbors to the right know my dad through work, and our neighbor down the street is a long time buddy of my dad's. I guess that's Savannah for you. We were just looking for somewhere affordable & safe, and somehow we hit the jackpot....great neighborhood with quiet streets to walk/run, on the water, neighborhood pool, AND a deep water dock slip thrown in there too! God works in mysterious ways!

So here we are! #5 :)
And this is the view I wake up to every morning:

I couldn't feel more blessed!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Southern Women's Show: Savannah

Where do I even begin? So many of my favorite things all rolled in to one!
Cooking, crafts, health, makeup, clothes, art, spending time with my sister, seeing familiar friendly faces...the list goes on.

Here are a few of my favorites from today:

1) High Cotton scented handmade soap (made with
fresh goat milk... creamy, smooth & moisturizing! :) from Candace & Kids Soap Company

2) Energy Armor bracelet. I was sold after the man's balance/strength demo on me. Its like a superhero bracelet! Grama, you'll be happy to know that it guards my brain from cell phone waves...or something like that...

3) Last but not least, FREE, fresh, Basil! I love anything fresh and green and edible. And I love it even more when its is free. These little guys were being handed out at the exit. Thanks, don't mind if I do! Hopefully I can keep him alive and never have to buy basil again!

Oh, and my other favorite purchase is a surprise... SHH.

Ladies, I'll be back for more next year,

** I forgot to add one more thing! Just a little random act of kindness, Chain of Love (like the Clay Walker song). Some nice lady had two extra tickets to get in the door. She gave them to us since she had no need for them. Saved us $18. Made our day! So, we passed it on and handed out our $1 off admission coupons to two other ladies. It made them happy. It made us feel good. Happiness all around!

Here we go...

I took the plunge. Today, I join the world of blogging. It's my little to share what goes on in my world with those of you who care to know.

I'll go ahead and warn you that its nothing extravagant, but rather the simple things that bring me the most joy. Hence the theme of my blog: Happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind. Happiness is a choice. I am choosing to seek happiness in the day- to- day. So, this is my way of delighting in these simple joys & attempting to share them with you.

Maybe some of these things will make you happy too!