Book Review: Long Time

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I don't know that I've ever read a Karen White book that I didn't fall in love with, and I have read every one of her books so far. A Long Time Gone is my most recent read and the mystery element of it kept me up late quite a few nights because I couldn't quit turning the pages to find out what was going on. 

From the Amazon description:

When Vivien Walker left her home in the Mississippi Delta, she swore never to go back. But in the spring, nine years to the day since she’d left, that’s what happens. Vivien returns, fleeing from a broken marriage and her lost dreams for children.

What she hopes to find is solace with her dear grandmother who raised her, a Walker woman with a knack for making everything all right. Instead Vivien is forced into the unexpected role of caretaker, challenging her personal quest to find the girl she once was. But things will change again in ways Vivien cannot imagine. A violent storm has revealed the remains of a long-dead woman buried near the Walker home, not far from the cypress swamp that is soon to give up its ghosts.

Vivien knows there is now only one way to rediscover herself—by uncovering the secrets of her family and breaking the cycle of loss that has haunted them for generations.

This story is written from three different perspectives in three different times, which is generally a writing technique that I don't love, but I feel like it was very complimentary to the plot line in this story to know the details from all three women's perspectives. Without giving too much away, Vivien is trying to solve the mystery of Adalaide, her great, great grandmother, without much to go on and with only on living person tied to Adalaide to help tell her story. There's also an interesting mother/daughter dynamic between Vivien and her estranged mother, who now suffers from Alzheimer's and has no recollection of  the wrongdoings for which her daughter still holds grudges. There's also a small romantic plotline. It's a very multi-dimensional story, and while not my favorite White book by any stretch, it's still very well-written and worth the read.

Whirlwind of a Week

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Last week was a doozie! We ran and ran and then ran some more covering just about every activity we could squeeze in and I'm still exhausted. But it was such a fun week with some of our best friends. Last Saturday, Caroline and I headed to Sanford, NC to visit with our friends for the weekend. We spent most of Sunday in Southern Pines and Pinehurst, both of which are beautiful and I can't wait for a return trip. I'm thinking Juston and I may make a long Southern Pines weekend a must do trip in the spring. 

 Lunching at the Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Southern Pines! A definite thumbs up from our party!

 I got the BBQ at the Ice Cream Parlor. When in Carolina... It was so delicious.

Strolling the streets with her buddies. Caroline just loves this bunch and has a ball every time we're together. Addi, the youngest next to Caroline has so much patience with her and they are so cute to watch play together. 

We headed home from Sanford Monday and brought Lexi, our oldest Godchild back to KY with us for a visit before she started her new nursing job at Duke Medical.  I had to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but we managed a visit to one of my friends to meet her new baby boy and visited the library for story hour.

 Caroline was entranced with Taylor's little boy Elias. She just kept watching him and walking over and touching his toes. When Taylor asked her if she wanted to hold him, she jumped right up on the couch and held out her arms.  It was so cute. 

Thursday evening, we met up with the Lovings, who had made their way to Ky earlier in the day for the Auburn vs. Kentucky game at Commonwealth. I didn't have a Dawg in the fight since it wasn't Georgia playing, so I just wore navy trying to be neutral. I ruined that with my accessories though. hah. It was the perfect night for football. I was worried we may end up freezing, but it never got below 60 degrees while we were there. 

Friday was a much needed day of nothingness. I cleaned the house, tried to catch up on laundry and prepped some food. Other than that, I. did. nothing. It was awesome. 

Saturday, I got up early and headed to the gym to get my workout in before we left for Keeneland for the day. Caroline always loves it there. She's befriended one of the employees who stands where the horses enter and exit and he always gives her peppermints for the track horses when we're there. We tailgated for a bit beforehand, then headed in to play the ponies. I won a race for the second time ever in my years of going to Keeneland and for the first time, I left with more money than I came in with! 

Sunday, our friends headed home to North Carolina and I caught up on everything that I neglected during the rest of the week. I love weeks with so much fun and fellowship, I just wish they didn't go by so quickly. We have some fun things planned for this weekend as well and then before we know it, October is over and it's time to start prepping and planning for the Holidays! Have a great week!


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I'm a little late on this one since Caroline turned three a couple of months ago, but I wanted to share a few of her three year old stats and fun other fun info. 

Height: 35 inches
Weight: 29.5 pounds
Favorite shows: Paw Patrol, Daniel Tiger, Umi Zoomi, Sophia and 7D
Favorite Foods: Any type of pasta, yogurt, bananas, Palmetto cheese, pizza, breakfast casserole, rice and hot dogs
Vocabulary: She'll repeat anything (especially words I don't want her to), she carries on normal conversations like an adult practically, she knows her alphabet, she can count to 15 and she can spell about half of her name on a good day. 
Shoe size: 6-7
Clothes Size: mostly 2T and 3T. She still fits in some 18 month and 24 month clothes
Sleep: She sleeps from about 9:30 until around 8:30 most every our bed...which I sort of love and haven't really tried to change :) She gave up naps probably six months ago.

Caroline is seriously the best little girl. She's so sweet and doesn't have a mean bone in her little body. She does have quite a few wild ones though. I call that her Harlan half. She loves her gymnastics class, going to story hour at the library, feeding the ducks at the lake and any playground you'll let her on. Her favorite place to stop when we travel is Chick-fil-A. Speaking of travel, it's basically just like traveling with another adult in the car with her these days. She does so well now, it's almost enough to make me forget what an absolute terror she was in the car the first year and a half of her life, screaming bloody murder at the very sight of her car seat...Almost. Oh how times have changed. She's constantly asking to go to North Carolina and Charleston since we have friends in those places she thinks the world of. She absolutely loves the water. Whether it's the pool, the boat or the ocean, she will never turn down a chance to swim. 

She loves to work puzzles, help me in the kitchen, ride her 'cooter' (scooter) and bike in our driveway and wave and holler at the neighbors when she sees them walking their dog. She is constantly saying and doing the cutest things that I wish I could remember to write them all down so that I won't forget...but I usually forget. I just can't put into words how amazing this little lady truly is and what a light she is to everyone who knows her. She's sweet and king and stubborn and independent and I hope none of those traits ever change. She's very inquisitive and is constantly asking 'why'. She will ask a lot of times, "will you teach me" about anything she's watching us do. I love that she's so eager to learn things. We couldn't ask for a better three year old. I know a lot of people complain about the terrible two's but we didn't have that experience. No tantrums, no hissy fits...for the most part, Caroline is the most rational toddler I have ever come across. I'm hoping three won't be any different as far as that's concerned. I've also been warned about the threenager phase, so we'll see. 

Our Weekend + Starting the Week off Right

Monday, October 5, 2015

Another weekend, come and gone. And it was a good one. We did a whole lot of nothing Saturday. Honestly, I think we're all still recovering from Disney a bit. It has been cold, gray and rainy every single day since we've been home and something about that weather puts me in the mood to be lazy. Saturday I managed to get my workout in, shower, then park on the couch the rest of the day watching football. My poor Dawgs had a rough one against Alabama. I was worried about that one going in. They just didn't play like themselves and Alabama is not a team you can be off against. 

Sunday was much more productive. We started off the morning with Caroline and myself meeting my mom at church. Caroline has started going to Children's Church during about half of the service and she just loves it. They sing and dance and do crafts. It's right up her alley. Honestly, this it the first thing I have left her to do. With her other organized activities I'm there to watch and she can always see me, so this is good for her I think. She really seems to love it. 

After church, I hit the gym to get my workout in while Juston kept Caroline, then hit the ground running when I got back home. I trimmed all of the boxwood hedges and other shrubs around the house, I pulled the million weeds that have managed to pop up since the last time I pulled them all, I gave our Lucy pup a bath, I made a pot of vegetable soup, I got the laundry done, cleaned Caroline's closet and drawers of all the things that she's outgrown and managed to get a small harvest of a few things from our garden. I had plans to hoe it all up, but found that a lot of our plants are still producing some really great things. 

My church outfit. I found this Annie Griffin dress on eBay and just love it! It's a thick ponte fabric and I love the flattering fit. My shoes are hard to see well from this picture, but they are the cutest shoes I think I have! They are snakeskin print and cross strapped. I got them from Blossoms shoes and such out of Greenwood, SC. They have a website with lots of goodies to choose from! My pearls are old from a boutique in Mt. Sterling that has since closed up shop. 

Catty Cat loves all of the fall decorations on the front porch and makes a pretty cute addition if you ask me. He's a pretty ornery little kitty right now, but I think it's just the stage of development he's in. That, or he's just crazy hah. 

I thought I would share some of the things that I do every Sunday afternoon/evening that help me to feel like I'm starting my new week off right, instead of already playing catch up. I can't stand having a million things hanging over my head on a to-do list, so I have a Sunday routine that helps me to feel like I'm off ro a great start for the week. I don't always get everything on the list accomplished, but I try to. Here's a few things I do.

1. All laundry washed and put away. It's always a bit of a bummer when you're looking for your favorite pants or shirt to grab and throw on, but it's in the laundry. With Caroline right now especially, I only have a few things for the cooler weather for her to wear, so I have to make sure her black leggings are cleaned and put away. 
2. Empty all the trash cans around the house. 
3. Clean the kitchen and bathrooms top to bottom. Few things make me feel more at ease than knowing my house is cleaned a presentable in case any company were to show up at the last minute. 
4. Meal plan and prep for the week ahead. I usually try to go ahead on Sunday evening and make our dinner for Monday-Tuesday. We're big on leftovers around here, so I like making things that will last us a couple of days when meals are concerned. Like last night, I made a huge pot of vegetable soup. Some to take to our neighbor and the rest for our dinner Monday and Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. Then on Wednesday, I'll make something for the next two evenings dinner. Doing it ahead makes me less likely to grab something quick and easy that may not be the most nutritional.
5. Make a goal list for the coming week. I'm really big on this one. It helps me keep myself accountable. I have a journal that is specifically for recording my workouts and my goals. I make monthly goals for myself, then break them down into smaller weekly goals. Doing these goal sheets has really helped me to be organized and thoughtful about the things I do whether it involves health and fitness, things around the house, projects, or doing certain things with Caroline. 
6. Read. I love to read and I will read just about anything I can get my hands on. I try to carve out time at bedtime each night to read a few chapters from whatever book I'm into at the time, but I always do it on Sunday. It's just a good way for me to slowly unwind and get lost in another story. 
7. Grocery list. Monday morning is my shopping day at the grocery week because I typically (not always), have Monday's off of work. Mornings are such a great time to go because they have usually replenished all the produce fresh and the crowds are bearable, unless it's the first of the month. I save a lot of recipes on Pinterest and like to give at least two new ones a try each week. Lately, most of what I've been doing has been salads, but I do try a good variety most weeks. 

So there you have it. A few things I like to do each week on Sunday to help me feel ready to tackle a new week when I wake up on Monday morning. Am I missing out on anything that would help me out? Be sure and share if I'm not doing something I should be :) 

Five on Friday

Friday, October 2, 2015


Any other 90's kids heard that Nickelodeon is bringing back our favorite 90's cartoons?!  The most recent that I read was that is was actually going to be an entire network filled with the favorite 90's Nick shows.  I really shouldn't be so excited over this, but I can't help myself. I get so nostalgic over things that take me back to my childhood. It's hard to pick what my favorite was, but I'd say it was Doug, followed closely by Rugrats. Here's an article about the new network.


How cute are these Disney graphic tees from Old Navy! I got Belle before we left for Disney, but it ended up being too hot to wear in Florida. I think I may grab Sophia and Snow White, too. I managed to get ours for $7/00 during some sale, but I'm almost afraid to wait because some of the sizes are already selling out. 


They have Cinderella, Anna and Elsa and Sophia as well as the ones I've linked above. 


Have y'all ever used Ebates before? I started using it a few months back and have already made almost $100 in cashback just purchasing things I would have purchased anyway. As far as I've been able to tell, there's no catch to using it, only the benefit of earning money back from shopping online. You can sign up here, and once you sign up, if you refer others who sign up, you'll receive $25 for each referral. I believe you get a $10 gift certificate for signing up as well. Mine was to Target. 


We tried these Firecracker shrimp tacos a few weeks ago after I came across the recipe on Pinterest and they are ahhh-mazing! The recipe can be found here on the Kevin and Amanda blog. 


I have been eyeballing these Ali Ro jackets for nearly two years now but have yet to pull the trigger on one, mainly because I can't commit to a color. They are perfect for the fall and spring Keeneland seasons and so cute and versatile. The Monkee's in Lexington carries them, so I need to just make up my mind. I really love the black but I am such a color lover that the coral just calls to me ;) Then there's the khaki that would go with anything. Decisions, decisions. 

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!