Vacation!

I’m beyond-my-wildnest-dreams excited about the fact that I get to go on a mini-vacation starting TOMORROW with my sweet husband. We hardly ever get to travel together because of his work schedule and our high maintenance dog. We’re spending a few days in Boston with his family, a few days in Newport at a bed and breakfast for fun, and then a few more days in Atlanta to see my brother kick butt in his first leading role in a community theater production.

This Summer has been nothing but school and stress, and even though I’ll need to put in a lot of hours of textbook reading while we’re gone, it will be SO much better to be sitting outside in 70 degree weather next to the ocean while doing it.

Josh and I will coincidentally be in Georgia for our 5th anniversary next week. It will actually be the first time in 4 years that we’ve been IN the state we got married in ON our actual anniversary, so I am thinking a little trip to Alvaton Banquet Hall is in order to re-live that crazy, rainy, whirlwind of a weekend five years ago.

Hopefully I’ll have some great photos to share upon our return. I have made a vow to myself to start using an actual camera instead of my iPhone every time I take a picture, so you can look forward to maybe slightly less horrible-quality photos in the blog’s future.

Bon Voyage!

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Bread and Wine

Shauna Niequist is a writer. She’s written three books, and I just finished up her most recent one called Bread and Wine

For whatever reason, I just  feel like Shauna gets me. She puts words to feelings I never could explain and has a way of digging deep into my soul and shedding light on places I didn’t even know where there.

If you know me, you know I love food. I love to eat food, make food, share food, hoard food. I can’t possibly be in a bad mood if I’m inside a Whole Foods or at a farmer’s market. I love sharing meals with people I love, or people I want to get to know better. I am 100% convinced that food binds people together in a way that no other experience does. This is what Bread and Wine is all about. Shauna calls it “life at the table”.

The book has about 20 recipes inside. She shares about each one in context of her life, and how the recipe came to be or made an appearance at a critical moment. The stories impart so much emotion to the recipe that I am pretty sure no matter what it tastes like, you’ll think back on the story and not be able to help but love the meal.

I keep recommending this book to people, forgetting that not everyone is as weirdly emotional and touchy-feely as I am. I want to say there’s a part of everyone who will enjoy reading this, but I honest have no idea. I just know I love her books. A lot.

I tried my first Shauna recipe last night for dinner. Her maple-baslamic glazed pork tenderloin. Even though we undercooked the meat (it was raw on the inside) it tasted wonderful. We grilled some garlic-y artichokes to go alongside the meat, and they went great together. I am NOT a seasoned chef by any means. (Hence the undercooked pork) But her recipes seem super easy to manage, with a lot of room to make it your own. In fact, she encourages creativity, and challenges you to change things up along the way.

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If you love food and Jesus and being in community, I think you’d like this book. It is an easy one, so get ready to gobble it up like you will her recipes!

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Happy cooking!

Caroline

 

Quick Trip East

Just when I thought the day would never come, my dreadful religion class finally ended. Pressing “submit” on that last assignment felt like heaven. How did a five week class feel so much like eternity?

My first day of freedom was, ironically, the Fourth of July. Go America! Though the fog of Comparative Religions hadn’t quite worn off yet, I managed to drag my disheveled self to 2 barbecues that day. I re-introduced myself to all my sweet friends, who I hadn’t seen all summer due to school, and I actually felt a little like a normal person for the first time in weeks.

The morning of the 5th, I flew to Atlanta to stay for the night, and then head up to Ohio with my Mom the next day to visit my Grandmother and family in Casstown.  I’ve been feeling a lot of guilt lately over how little time I’ve spent with my sweet Grandmother since I got married. She’s 92 years old now, and truly some of my most amazing memories from childhood were from her big old white victorian house on what feels like million acres of land. I was born in Dayton, Ohio and she helped my Mom take care of my sister and I until my dad got home from his year-long deployment to Korea. I remember so many things about that little town, and being back there was so emotional. It was joyous to see her. It was sad to see how little she’s able to do on her own. It was exhausting to travel right after one of the most stressful weeks of school I’ve ever had. It was energizing to feel how much she loved us being there.

Everything about this little town triggers the most vivid memories in me. The smell of the fresh middle-of-nowhere air. The way my Grandmother’s china teacup felt dainty in my hand like it used to when we had tea parties growing up. The way the cornfield swayed in the breeze. I loved it all so much more now than I did back then. I love the country. The “Pioneer Woman” in me wants simplicity and homeschooling and pickling things all Summer…But something else wants to stay in Austin forever, enjoying all the city and all it has to offer.

I guess for now I’ll just enjoy the time I get away from the hustle and bustle, knowing that it isn’t for me…Just yet at least.

Oh, and as a HUGE surprise (to both me and my Grandmother) my sister decided last-minute to make the trip up with my niece Lucie. This was beyond awesome since Lucie is kinda my favorite person on the planet. I couldn’t even believe how cute she is these days, and how many hilarious things she does on a regular basis. It was the best thing ever. I sure do love my family.

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