Monday, December 30, 2013

Top 5 of 2013

This is one of my favorite posts of the year. So much fun to look back to see which entries had the most hits.

Survey says:

#5) Work

#4) The Zoo

#3) Possibly Having a Stalker

#2) Clean Diet Round Two

...and the most popular blog post of the year (drum roll please)

#1) The Day I Got My Nose Pierced!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

With Love,

Caroline & Whelan

"Let your heart be light...."

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 Reads

I've read 8 books this year and I'm trying to make it 9 by the time 2013 is over. I have my books listed at the bottom of my blog page, but I've decided to post it so that it can be saved because I am going to delete and start with a fresh list for 2014.

Here they are, in the order that I've read them:

1) The Secret Life of Bees  (Sue Monk Kidd)

2) The Great Divorce (CS Lewis)

3) The Omnivore's Dilemma..... this I listened to on audio and I didn't quite finish it, only because the technology messed up. I would like to finish listening one day

4) 40 Days to Personal Revolution (Baron Baptiste)

5) Freakonomics (Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner)

6) 50 Shades of Grey (EL James) Yes...I read it. Eh, it was okay. No desire to read the sequels

7) Handbook of Vintage Remedies (Jessie Hawkins)

8) Imagine: How Creativity Works (Jonah Lehrer)

It takes me awhile to get through a book, As you can see, I read about 1/2 a book per month. I think my favorite of the year would have to be #7. I'm reading this one on my kindle & I'd like to buy a hard copy just to have around so that I can replace all my western medicine with old, natural remedies. Basically every ailment can be treated naturally, another goal for me to work towards in 2014.

The book I'm beginning today is borrowed from my friend, Angie. Its called Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth. Pretty sure I'm gonna love it.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Brain Dump Week

Yeah, so the brain dump didn't work out for me. If you promise not to judge, I'll share what I wrote on Monday morning (because that's the only day I did it.) Sleep trumped writing every other day. I'm not sure how motherhood will ever work out for me. Sleep is much too valuable.

Anyway, this is what my brain wrote as it was still beginning to process for the day....

"I think we're going to do 5 minutes in the morning. Its 6:38 now. the screen is bright for my eyes. my head doesn't hurt this morning like it sometimes does when i wake up. I think drinking lots of water helps with that. I want to drink water so that my skin will look pretty as I age. I'm almost 30 ya know!? Its a halfway goal of mine to be in the best shape and frame of mind in my 30th year. I don't want to be one of those who gains 5 pounds every year and goes downhill. I want to really change my habits for the better. I'm thinking- very conscious eating for 6 days out of the week and one splurge day. That's what the marion berry style lady does and I think she looks phenomenal. Exercise is also a key component and will be a major goal of mine for my 30th year!"

 I've been feeling extra chubby lately, so I guess talking about my good intentions makes me feel better about myself. These were truly my very first thoughts upon rising. I pretty much forgot what I had written until I went back later in the day to look at it. I was almost writing from a dream state.

Maybe you'll get more out of me over the Christmas break while I have some time away from the pre-teen drama that is 5th and 6th grade.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trying Something New

I'm going to give morning writing time a shot. I've been hearing lots of tid bits lately about writing and lets face it, I need a boost. The new strategies I want to try will include: A) forcing myself to do what is endearingly called a "brain dump" each morning.  I use the term EACH very loosely. This "brain dump" was mentioned to me by a creative writing teacher I met through yoga. She says to set a timer for X amount of minutes & write down whatever comes to mind as soon as you roll out of bed, whether it makes sense or not. B) I will write whether I feel like it or not  (advice given by a novelist I recently met.) Sometimes it takes grit to get through writing a novel, but the end product is worth it. I have no plans for writing a novel; I'll gladly stick to this humble blog. However, I do want to rekindle the spark and write as often as I used to when I first began.

PS: This may not pan out at all, but in the morning I'm going to give it the old college try.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

My First Turkey

...was a gigantic failure. We're gonna blame the turkey disaster on my oven. I strictly followed all instructions from my grandma. I de-thawed for days, I rinsed, I removed neck and giblets (gross), I rubbed with oil and spices, I stuffed, I wrapped tightly in foil, I baked. When it came time to open the oven 12 hours later, we had a halfway raw 18 pound bird on our hands. Good thing mom and dad came through with the ham. Also, thank goodness I still had a 6 hours before everyone came to my house for the feast! Back in the oven she went. Long story short, turkey became dessert.

But it didn't matter because we had:

family time....

a festive table ...

games like Boggle & Buzz Word (I don't have cable)...

lots of other yummy food...

my squash and zucchini casserole, however, DID turn out to be delicious. Whelan enjoyed watching me chop....

I loved having my family over at my new condo for Thanksgiving. One of my favorite parts of our day was reading "thankful" scriptures around the table and putting out our old and worn place cards that Cathlin made out of index cards when she was in 2nd grade. They each have a fall themed picture drawn nicely with colored pencil. Some of the best ones are: the skinny pilgrim, a piece of corn on the cob (husk included) a pumpkin on a hay bale, and a cornucopia. I should've taken a picture of them.

Psalm 107:1
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."

Sidenote: On Thursday we went to RJ's in Statesboro with dad's side of the fam. Who knew that so many people went out to eat on Thanksgiving?? It was a first for us. The place was PACKED. We had to wait in a long and cold line out the door. Once we got settled all was well and lunch was delish!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

October Re-Cap

Oh hey, let's do an October re-cap. If we make a list, it'll go faster, then we can move on to the quickly passing month of November, then it will be Christmas & before you know it, BAM- 2014.

1) Fall began at my new favorite place on earth, Whole Foods. It puts a huge dent in my wallet, but I enjoy the experience so much that I deem it worth dropping $100 each time I exit the door.

2) Taking in the last few lazy weekends at Wylly Island... moving date: November 1st.

3) Isle of Hope Art Festival. I went earlier in the day with mom and dad, toured all the booths, and got a few early Christmas gifts ( for myself....) The best part was running into so many familiar faces. Isle of Hope will always be home to me. We had Joe's Lobster Roll's for lunch from a stand in the marina parking lot. That guy was killin delicious. Check out his lobster claw hat.

Later I came back with Josh when he got off work and we revisited all my favorite booths, drank some cheap wine, and listened to some live music.

4) Cathlin started working in the school system as a PSI parapro and now that we have the same work schedule, we send each other selfies every morning to compare outfits. The sad part is, I'm not even kidding.

5) The 5th grade team dressed up as the Pink Ladies for Halloween. I was Rizzo. Vicky, don't kill me, but I had to post a picture of you as Jan. Too bad the toothbrush in your pocket isn't showing. She was seriously the best. Oh... and our grade level won for best costume. Not bragging or anything.

The end!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Zoo

Ah, September. You're almost gone. So many things I've been wanting to document lately & I've been slack. Hard to find Balance, as usual.

Lets talk about The Zoo....oh how I love the zoo. This is how it all went down. Meet Josh.

 Meet Josh's new car (its looks a bit mini-van-esque in this picture, but its actually a sporty little Volkswagen GTI)

Josh wants to take spontaneous road trip in new car, Caroline jumps on opportunity to visit the Jacksonville Zoo.

I could spend hours at the zoo and it would never get old. There were mainly families and kids there, but I was happy to be there without screaming children in tow. Josh and I thoroughly visited every section (minus the stingrays and butterfly garden because it was an extra $15. Who cares about those anyway- I'm here to feed a giraffe.)

First stop: Birds. With the exception of cats, birds are my second favorite animal as far as pets go. They have so much personality! I will own another bird before its all over. One that talks is next on my list. This picture is probably my favorite one from the whole trip. Look at those lil bird legs.

When we approached these creatures, I heard the guy behind me say: "Look at those Rhinos!" Come on, man. Haven't you seen The Lion King? ....Pumba? Its a Warthog.

We went into the reptile section not long after because it had air conditioning. Also because I have a love for creatures with scales and slimy skin. There were vipers and bullfrogs and chameleons. If I had better pictures of the lions, cheetahs, alligators, and bears, I would post them, but the photos do them no justice. The weather was perfect so all the animals were out. We couldn't have picked a better day to go.

The elephants were being fed bales of hay when we walked up. The keeper explained about which ones were dominant and how she had to feed them separately. They're loud and huge and I wouldn't want the job of feeding them. As scary as they can be, they are also very elegant and I have so much respect for them.

Then there are the lions and cheetahs. So graceful! Watching their shoulder blades glide back and forth as they walked was my favorite part. When they played, it reminded me so much of my Whelan, just on a much larger scale. Surprisingly, we spent a good chunk of time watching the alligators. You would think that being from Savannah we see them all the time and who cares, but, these were enormous and the exhibit allowed you to get very, very close. So close that I could see their eyes blinking. I was almost in a trance watching them. Then with the bear, we walked up right about the time that he was being fed. Apparently bears at the zoo eat kibbles n' bits and fruit.

Then the giraffes. Look at this knobby kneed little guy. I also love their velvety horns.

The gorillas, oh man. They were cool to watch but they STUNK. Like nothing I've ever smelled before. Almost eye watering. Their rubbery looking noses are adorable though.

My absolute favorites were the monkeys. I cannot get over how much they look and act like people. This old lady monkey came up and welcomed us. I believe the zoo keeper said she was 42 years old. She kept extending her hand, palm up, in a gesture of welcome. Or maybe she wanted food. Either way, it was very entertaining. I felt like I could've had a conversation with her. Then you hear them all start screeching and you remember that they are in fact animals. Probably the loudest animals in the entire zoo.

At the beginning of the day, I mistakenly called the ostrich a flamingo. I will never live that down.

Like I said, pictures just can't capture all the wonder of the Zoo. It makes me want to quit my job and go work at the Zoo. Maybe one day!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Hello friends. I feel like I've been out of the loop on the blog world lately. Funny the things that happen to you when summer ends and work begins again. I am loving this school year, but I also love coming home where I can kick off my shoes, greet my buddy, Whelan, and remove all my that order. On that note, I did have to take out my nose ring for school but I have a clear retainer now so that it doesn't close up. Mr. Principal wasn't a fan of the nose jewelry & he let me know it.

I was assigned to work in 5th and 6th grade this year and let me tell you, 6th grade is a different animal. In the first two weeks, I've already dealt with two break-ups. One was on the first day of school with a puppy-dog eyed girl pitifully saying, "He broke up with me..." Next was a sad and teary-eyed boy holding a folded up note from his girlfriend that read: "So sorry...I am breaking up with you!!!" (Exclamation marks included.) I forgot what it was like to "go out" with someone in middle school. Oh wait, I never did. Boyfriends didn't happen for me until high school. Possibly a blessing in disguise.

The older kids are kinda fun in their own way, but I miss the little ones on occasion. Like today at afternoon bus duty this baby boy came up and told me that his tummy hurt and he was ready to go home. I said, "I know buddy, its been a long day." I rubbed his sweet, fuzzy, little head as he stood next to me and after awhile he rested his head on me and wrapped his arms around my waist. We sat down on the bench and he fell asleep sitting up. Poor guy was exhausted. I had to wake him up when his bus arrived. Those things don't happen with middle schoolers.

Either way, I'm looking forward to whatever the rest of this year holds! So thankful for a job that is different and challenging every day. Thankful I am able to pour into the lives of others and how they pour even more so into mine.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Corn & Farewell to Summer

Happy August 1st, y'all! 'Tis the season for back to school. I'm trying desperately to hold on to the last little bits of summer as I shuck a dozen ears of corn on the back porch this afternoon. My grandparents picked it themselves and hand delivered it to my house, so it was the least I could do to shuck it and cut it all off the cob. 

Part 1: Shuck

I only found 1 worm! Too bad....that's my favorite part. He wasn't moving though. I guess 2 weeks in the fridge will do that to ya. 

Part 2: Rinse off 

Part 3: Cut off the cob

Part 4: Holy huge-amount-of-corn Batman

Part 5: I need a recipe! Suggestions please. 

Side note: Is it possible to have a corn shucking allergy? My wrists are blotchy, red, and itchy!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Day I Got My Nose Pierced

Much to the chagrin of my mother and grandmother, I had a hole poked through my nose. You see, I've been thinking about doing this for awhile. By awhile, I mean over a year. I'm not sure what prompted me to desire a nose piercing, but something sparked it and I think they are just the right amount of spice. I needed a little something. As one of my friend's said, "Is this because you're almost 30?"

I've had the stick-ons from Claire's since last summer. I would test them out when I was feeling sassy & I always got good feedback. I guess I started feeling sassy on the regular so I decided to go for the real deal.

Only two things were holding me back. A) The impending sense of dread over how much I knew it was going to hurt to have a needle stuck through my nose while being fully awake and un-numbed. B) The fact that I may have to take it out as soon as I go back to work in a month and then I'd probably have a scar....all for nothing.

So this is how it all went down. My favorite sister drove me all over town the week before to check out different places. The first place I went did not impress me. Dirty. Ditsy. Dark. The second place was better than the first but I felt like the girl I talked to wasn't chipper enough. Cathlin quickly informed me that most people who do tattoos and piercings for a living are not the bubbly type. This girl was cool, calm, collected. Pretty nonchalant about the whole deal. I suppose she does this all day long and I was just another customer. To me, it was a big deal. I am a clean slate. No tattoos...nothing but my ears pierced (if it counts, I did have a second hole in my ears back in middle school but those have long since closed up). Basically, I'm a virgin customer.

Since I was flat broke that day, I excitedly told the girl I would be back Monday once my paycheck rolled in and we would go through with it. I don't think she cared.

On Monday, once again, Cathlin drove me to the piercing place and I started filling out the paper work.  Adelle (my roomie) came as well to hold my hand and video the whole thing just like I did with her when she got her first tattoo. Just when I had worked up enough courage, the girl turned me away because I hadn't eaten in the past 4 hours prior to the piercing and she said she didn't want to pick me up off the floor in case I passed out. Understandable, but I hoped that I would have the courage to go back after being so close and then not going through with it. She told me to eat something with lots of carbs. So, Byrd Cookie to the rescue. I had a huge pimiento cheese appetizer with loads of crusty bread and a catfish sandwich with fries! Just following orders.....

So, fast forward and before I know it I'm sitting in the white chair with a cork up my nose waiting for her to shove the needle through. Much to my relief, it did not hurt at all!! I mean, really- not at all. I was so surprised. Maybe it was my adrenaline pumping or the fact that I had worked myself up to think that it was going to be awful, but I was shocked at the amount of painlessness!

My first fear (A) was conquered. Not sure about B yet (the having to take it out for school thing). I'm hoping to put in a much tinier stud for my return to work. For now, I just have in the same jewelry they used to pierce it, which is a tad bit bigger than I would normally choose. My mom reminds me of that every time she sees me. "I would like it if it were SMALLER."

And that's my story! I like it. Glad I did it.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Burlap Bouquet

I turned into Martha Stewart for an hour yesterday and handcrafted a bouquet of burlap roses. The best part, I didn't spend a single dime.

Supplies I used:

1 real genuine burlap potato sack (salvaged from the barn at my grandparents house)

hot glue gun

pinking sheers

broken off long wooden match sticks

a jelly jar


*Pandora reggae music station playing in background (Matisyahu)

Few things make me happier than burlap, reggae, and being thrifty with supplies on-hand. I'm pretty pleased with the final outcome!

Here is the link to the on-line tutorial I used as a rough guide. Clearly, I improvised.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I'm eating cookie dough for breakfast. Again. But, its okay because its oatmeal raisin and I used whole wheat flour. So its HEALTHY! That's my justification.

My summer started out with me being super house, doing morning yoga, cooking meals, reading chapters at a time of my book- All in one day! Now I might do one of those productive things per day.

Here's an update in list form:

1. I've been spending lots of time with this dude. My main squeeze, Whelan. I think he loves me being home. We play chase with the tennis ball and the laser light. Also, take naps.

2. I've talked Josh into Thursday night yoga dates. He's a good sport and we always go jump in the pool in our sweaty yoga clothes afterwards.

3. On weekends, we drink too much wine and cook delicious food. Here is one of our best meals thus far: Filets topped with mushrooms and onions, bacon wrapped sesame asparagus, chili lime grilled corn on the cob, and a summer arugula salad from Kasey's blog. Check it out.

4. I spent Father's Day on Wassaw and burnt the back of my legs to a crisp. I can't do 7 hour beach days like the rest of my family. Its not for me.

5. Grama came over for lunch one day and I cooked the healthiest meal imaginable. Then, she went to the hospital the next day...oops. (Its was unrelated and all is well!!) Anyway....Red lentils, sauteed greens (swiss chard & spinach), sliced avocado, topped with hummus and toasted walnuts. Its brain food. Packed with Omega 3's!

6. There was a leak in our garage and the ceiling fell clean onto the floor. Thankfully dad hooked me up with a good plumber & it was fixed in no time.

7.My new favorite restaurant is Blowin Smoke. I went twice in one weekend. Fried pickles, honey jalapeno margaritas, live music, outdoor atmosphere, dog friendly, enough said.

8. Most recent stop was Hilton Head to visit my old friend, Kendall. We packed lunches, sunblocked up, hauled the tent and chairs and floats to the beach, then packed it right back up about 20 minutes later. Looming black clouds fooled us. It never rained. Not a drop. But, it worked out okay because we ate our lunches in a sand-free environment, then went to Goodwill where she acted as my personal shopper and I racked up. I always love her taste and since she's super pregnant right now, she just picked out clothes for me!

More updates to come!