Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Newest Home Decoration

You know how one of my goals this year is to finish decorating my apartment? Well this month I really wanted to feel as though I started working more towards this.  And I did...just not exactly in the way I had planned or expected to decorate my home.

You see about three weeks ago, Brutus discovered that he could climb onto my counter tops.  And then he discovered the top of the fridge.  And from there found the top of my cabinets.  In fact this is where I found him one night last week.

Needless to say I am not exactly the biggest fan of him doing this!  Mostly because you see that vase on the far left? He knocked it down and broke it.  Along with a couple of glasses and mason jars.  The kid just has no clue what he is doing!

So I needed to find a way for him to have fun and climb...just not on my counters.  And this is what I got.

Do you see it? Do you see my new decoration? It would be the cat tree in the corner.  Brutus got a cat tree.  And he better like it! I took him to it right after I put it together.  I made him climb on it.  And see the mouse he now has to play with.  Doesn't he just looked thrilled?

 I mean wouldn't you be excited if this was the mouse you got to play with?!

Originally the plans were for me to get a bookshelf and put it in this corner.  But that went out the door when the little bugger decided to climb.  I really am hoping this will curve some of his counter climbing!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Blast From The Past

Last weekend I had a major blast from the past. A little piece of my childhood was brought back to life, all by taking one step inside a store. A store I spent more hours at during the summer than any other place. A store where my candy dreams came true. 

And that store would be Dips Icecream Shop on Anna Maria Island. 

This place has all the candy you can ever imagine. When we were kids we would grab our bikes and head over there for some good ice cream and candy. We would save and collect coins just to be able to go. We would sit at the counter and eat and talk to the workers for a while. And then back on the bikes and home we went. 

I know mom probably had mixed emotions about the place. For one it got us out of her hair for a little while. But also we would be in sugar comas all weekend. We seriously loved that place. 

Last weekend we walked in and I was taken back to those days. The candy cigarettes. The Baby Bottle Pops. The sour spray. The Fun Dip. And so so so much more. Walking in there was like being 8 again and living the life. 

The place really hasn't changed a bit. It really was just like yesterday I was the little girl enjoying her ice cream with friends. And wishing I could buy all the candy. I remember thinking that one day I would work there. I would have been the best ice cream girl there ever was!

Oh if only I could be 8 again and ride my bike there every weekend (and not worry about the calories). It's always fun going back and reminiscing of the good times. Much of the island has changed some, but not Dips. It will always be the best hole in the wall ice cream shop there ever was. 

Fun Facts About the Hardin 4

If you have been around here long then you know that I have three siblings.  Mattie, Benjamin, and Bryce. I love those kids and could not imagine life without them. We were all born within 4 1/2 years (as in the oldest is 4 1/2 years older than the youngest) and have never really known life without one of us there. I would not have wanted to grow up any other way. 

We are all different, yet so much the same. Being that we grew up so close together, there are so many stories and fun facts about all of us. There is always something to make fun of for and there is always someone being teamed up on (for good fun of course!) Here are some of those good memories and fun facts about all of us!

1. We all had some crazy nick names growing up
Mattie: Matilda 
Me: Mo-dog (and I hated that one with a PASSION!)
Benj: The Turd
Bryce: Brycerella (like Cinderella)

2. We all told at least one person growing up that Mattie was adopted. 
Mattie is the red head of the family. As you can see in the pictures, none of the other kids have red hair. And neither do our parents. So it was super easy at summer camp or school to tell our new friends Mattie was adopted. Usually Mattie and I could have people going for days or weeks that she was adopted. Best fake story ever. 

3. We all played on the same sports team with at least one sibling
Mattie and I: soccer and softball
Benj and Bryce: baseball
All four of us: swim team
This isn't to say I played a lot of sports. This was all in the early years. But I did play some and most of the time my parents would try to make it easy and put us on the same team. Less games to go to!

4. Three of us were in a high school class together
Mattie, Benjamin, and I all took the same class at the same time with the same teacher in high school. Mattie was a senior, I was a junior, and Benjamin was a freshmen. We each needed to get out of some class and our guidance counselor really pushed this creative writing course. And next thing we knew, we were all together. The teacher hated us. We would fight with each other and she would think we were mad and got nervous, when really all was good. I don't think I will ever take another class with those two :)

5. We can pick on each other, but don't you dare try to 
Growing up we always had each other's backs. And like most siblings the rule was that we could say and do whatever we want to each other, but the moment another person says or does something wrong to one of the Hardin's they had the other three after them. And four on one is never a good thing. I loved knowing I always had them, and that I still do. There is strength in numbers friends. 

I really love these kids. And like I said, I cannot imagine life without them. They may drive me crazy most days, and some days I may want to disown them. But if given the option to choose, I would choose them to grow up with all over again. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cooking and Shopping For One

So we all know I have my own place and my only roommate is Brutus. With this comes cooking and shopping for meals for one person. Which is SO stinking hard! I  mean yeah I don't have to take anyone else into consideration for meals, but cooking the right amount is hard. I always have wayyy too much food and get tired of eating the left overs throughout the week. And then I feel like I have wasted food and money.

So I have had to come up with some solutions to this. And if anyone has some tips for how to make cooking for one better, please please please share. But here are a few tips from me on how to make cooking and shopping easier for one person. 

1. Make food you can freeze for later
Crockpot meals, soups, and casseroles are good for this. This tip benefits me in two ways. One I get enough food for a couple meals that week. Two I can freeze the rest of it in individual personal sized containers to eat at later dates. My favorite food to do this with is Chili or Spaghetti sauce. These are great easy meals that I love to have every now and then. Plus they are quick to make. 

2. Buy foods that's don't spoil quickly 
Now I know fruits and veggies spoil kinda fast. So if you buy these, make sure your only buying what you know you will eat. Don't let your mind get bigger than your head. But there are lots of other foods that last for a while. I always buy chicken, even if I freeze it for later use. Protein bars, oatmeal, eggs, snacks, etc. I know most of it is processed but you can find some good staples for you to have. 

3. Change up your meals/snacks
Sometimes I find a meal or snack that I just love. Like oranges recently for example. For a week I ate one to two oranges a day. So the next week I went to the store and bought another bag. I ate one out of that bag. I over ate the oranges and got tired of them. I do this with meals a lot too. The solution? Get on Pinterest and find new meals and snacks. Don't allow yourself to eat something everyday for a week. Or make the same thing every week. Keep changing it up. 

4. Know what you do and do not like to eat
If your pinching your penny's then this tip is for you. Know what you do and do not like to eat. Don't try these crazy recipes and go out and spend all your money on the ingrediants to find out you don't like that meal at all. Big waste of your time and money. And your only left with an empty sad tummy. Instead make meals and food you know you like. This helps me feel as though I am not wasting anything. 

5. Find some friends who like to eat
This has been good for me. I got me some friends who like to eat. Back at Milligan a friend and I would alternate weeks of cooking a meal one night a week for each other. This made cooking a little more worth it. Now I try to invite people over, which honestly doesn't happen very often, to cook for them. And when that friend likes what you like to eat? It's the best of both worlds. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Beach Days Are The Best Days

Ever since I can remember my family has had a beach house. We would go down every weekend and play on the beach, take boat rides, go fishing, ride the trolley or swim in the pool. I grew up down there at the beach and still love being there!

This past weekend being Mothers Day, my mom requested all of her children to come to the beach to spend time together. It was a wonderful weekend that I had been needing for a long time. I love my family and love it when we have some fun times together. Add the beach and sunshine to that and I am one happy camper. 

Saturday felt like we were kids again waking up before 8 and outside by 9 to soak up the sun. We decided to stay by the pool so that we could wear out the dogs. We got out the paddle board and up and down the canal I went. I have never been very good at it, so I was pretty impressed I didn't fall in the water. 

We got out a new game, Ladder Ball, and had more fun making jokes about balls then probably actually playing. My family is very very competitive, so any games that require some skill we love. We stayed out by the pool all day and got more sun then most of us needed!

Sunday we celebrated mom by taking the boat to Mar Vista for lunch. It's our new fave lunch spot. Good food. Good company. And most importantly a good time!

After lunch we headed back on hone boat for some time in the water. Again the goal being to wear out the dogs. We have a sandbar we go to by boat and the dogs absolutely love it!  I have to say though, boat riding has to be my fave activity!

This was the perfect weekend for the start of summer. It set us all off for good tans, good times, and lots of sand!  And let's just say I could not be looking forward to summer more!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

May Goals Update!

Well it is the first week of the month and that means it is time to update these goals!  I have always loved having goals and I am loving all of these.  But to be honest I did not really do well on my goals last month.  I honestly just forgot or didn't have time.  But I promise I will get back to working on them this month!

1. Put 10% of each paycheck into my Savings.
Instead of putting away 10% of each paycheck I changed this to reaching a certain number in my savings and staying there. I have reached that number!!!!! And now I just have to keep it there!
I have kept up with my revision of this goal. And now I want to revise it again.  I want to start saving more money each month.  Even if it is just simply $50.  I know in a year I will be having more responsibilities and I want to be prepared for them.

2.  Go Back to Charleston
Need to get to work on this one!
Nothing has changed here :(

3.  Focus on my Health
Last month I did not work out hardly at all.  And now I feel gross.  So about a week ago I bought Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.  And I have been working on that. Not everyday, but most days.  My sister also asked me to sign up for a 4 race 5k series this summer.  So I am back to running.  This is my big goal this month.  I want to be running 3 times a week training for my first race June 7. So far so good with this one!

4.  Really get involved in Church
This past month I have really started make church a priority and I have been going more consistently. I also did visit a small group one sunday morning.  Now that my little brother is back in town and wanting to go and get more involved this is encouraging me to do so as well!

5. Meet a blog friend in person
Plans to meet Rissa in September maybe!
It's close enough that Rissa is starting to look at flights down here!  So so so excited for her to come!

6. Visit Tennessee and New Hampshire twice at least before the year is up!
I visited Tennessee March 1. And I have plans to go to New Hampshire at the end of the summer!
This remains the same.

Ashlee did come down for Easter last month which was so great.  I was so happy to be able to spend some great time with her! It was much needed best friend time!

7.  Finish decorating my apartment
I have loved my newest additions to my apartment. I added some new prints to my walls. I love the prints and the frames!

Here is what it looked like before:
The first three prints are from Lauren's Blog

Here is way it looks like now:
The new Prints are from this shop.

I also found this tin bin that I absolutely LOVE. It is going a over my kitchen cabinets. I am working on decorating up there and as soon as it is done I will share a finished picture!

So I haven't quite finished a room yet.  I am so close to having my kitchen done and I cannot wait to share it.  I am waiting on a canvas painting from my friend, and then it will be complete!

8. Find a Practicum and Internship site
I wrote all about my site here.  And I have also committed to being at Lighthouse until December for my internship.  I will also be working at a church doing support groups and working on gaining individual clients.  To see what kind of work I am doing read this post.

9. Go visit my sister at least one weekend before she comes home from Law School.
I am thinking this one is going to happen in the fall.  This spring just got a little too busy for me!

10. Quit one of my jobs
I DID IT!! You read all about it here

11. Do 10 Random Acts of kindness
I completed two already! I sent Lauren and her hubby a gift card to go on a date. Those two just moved and I knew life was crazy for them. I just wanted them to take some time for themselves:) 
Also when I was in Tennessee I treated some friends to meals. It was my way of showing love to them:)
I am officially awful and did not do a single one of these this month! I will catch up!

12.  Spend more time in the Word
Still a work in progress. I was doing good and then I let life get in the way:(
Still working on this one too….

13.  Stop procrastinating work as much
New semester, new start right?!  I have begun my summer semester and I will be forced to be more diligent with my work.  It's a lot more busier and I have to really watch when things are due.  But I am looking forward to doing it all!

14.  Put my phone away more
Worked a little on this one at dinners when out.  I have also tried to be good about this when I go to my parents house for dinner once a week.  

Slowly but surely I will be completing all of these goals! Like I said, I am loving doing them and I know they will get done!


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Having Perspective

Apparently this week I am filling everyone one in on my jobs. One of those is my internship for school. As mention before, I am working at Lighthouse Ministires. The women and children I work with are homeless, and have experienced trauma far beyond what I could have ever imagined. To say it has been a learning experience is a major understatement! Sometimes my mind is just blown away. Ok everyday my mind is blown away.

While working with this population my perspective has been greatly changed. Let's be honest, when you think of homeless people it's not exactly the prettiest picture you can paint. For myself, I was even slightly scared of them because I had know clue how to relate to them. And of course if they were homeless then they had to be bad people right? Wrong. 

Most of these women have had everything going against them since they were born. Some are lucky to be here today. But at the end if the day, they are people. They are God's people. Many times their faith in God amazes me and I am beyond impressed and excited to see how much they love The Lord.

Just like you and me these women and children need someone to talk to.  They need a person who is willing to listen without judgement.  If only I was allowed to tell you about some of my clients.  Then you would understand so much more why I have come to love each and every one of them.  You would know why I have fallen in love with what I am doing.

I hate being vague and not being able to really sit down and tell you about these ladies.  (Thats just the talker in me) So to give you some idea of what I work with here are a few common themes among all who come to Lighthouse.

Almost all have abused drugs like meth, cocaine, pot, prescription pills, or alcohol so an extreme.  Many have had an abortion.  Some have had their children removed from their home multiple times.  Due to their circumstances they are typically diagnosed at some point with depression, substance abuse disorder, bipolar disorder, attachment disorders, personality disorders (very rare), or possibly something else.  This includes both the women and children.  But this is not to say this is every woman there.

Despite their pasts, despite what brought them to Lighthouse, and despite what their future may hold, I have come to love these women and children.  Yes it is stressful.  Yes it can be crazy.  Yes I could walk in one day and my client have left without me knowing and I may never see again.  But in the end I want to show them God's love.  I want to be his hands and feet and voice so that these women know without a doubt that He loves them just the same as anyone else.

Now you know a little (ok pretty big) piece of my life.  This is my present and my future.  And I cannot wait to see and experience more of it:)


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kids Are Tough Cookies

As many of you know, one of my many jobs is that I am a substitute teacher. Being that I have a degree in teaching, I have to say I am pretty good at my job. So good that all of the teachers with all of the really bad kids love having me. I am strict, yet nice. And I have discipline, yet like to have fun with the kids. But really why do I have to have all of the bad kids?! Please allow me to share some of the kids I have encountered.

The one who vomited everywhere
For one vomit is gross. But I normally would not classify a vommiter as a bad kid. Excpet this one REFUSED to go to the clinic. He sat on a stool and SCREAMED for his mom. I thought he was scared he would puke again if he walked, so I offered to roll him in a chair down. Nope he did not want to go. He ran into the teachers office which connects to another classroom, and kept screaming for mom. The other teacher asked if I needed help. She got the nurse to come to us. He still refused to move. He puked again on the floor of the office and still refused to leave the classroom. 5 minutes later he ran into the room crying. When I tried to talk to him he bolted for he door where he was caught by the nurse. And never to be seen again....

The one who put soap on the water fountain
Now from the moment this kid walked into my classroom he did not want to behave for me. About half way through the morning he got in trouble for something. He then told me he was going to lock himself in the bathroom. I didn't care, I knew he would come out eventually. When he did come out he went to wash high hands at the sink with the water fountain. I look away for one second, and when I looked back he was putting hand soap in the mouth piece of the water fountain, in where the water comes out. He swore he didn't do anything. To the other classroom he went...

The one who screamed for 15 minutes
I was warned that I had screamers this day. And I was warned about this one child. Well she decided she didn't like the assignment I gave. I told her she was not allowed to do anything else, she needed to do the assignment the way I asked. She did not like that and started crying and screaming at me. Like seriously screaming at me. So loud that all the other students were complaining she was hurting their ears. The teacher next door came over and called the office. It took them forever to come down. Meanwhile the girl chased me around the classroom as I tried to help the other students with their work. 

The one who hits for no reason
You would think by 5 years old kids would know not to hit each other. Well this young man apparently does not. After already having to walk next to me because he couldn't walk in line, when I turned my back for literally two seconds he hit another student in the chest. I could even hear the pop! He went straight to the office and was never seen again....well until I had to take class pictures for the second time!

The one who said her name was squirrel
She was in middle school. And I know I was totally her when I was her age. But when I went through attendance she said she went by "squirrel". How obnoxious!? She goofed off all class and could not be trusted. I mean come on, I am not 89. It wasn't even 10 years ago I was sitting there. And I'm nice to you if your nice to me. I had her again and when she finally figured this out she was much better. 

The one who knows where the devil lives
I had given the students a math assignment. I was minding my own business. 19 minutes later this child looks at me and says " the devil lives in a fire house." Um creepy much!?

The one who screams when he is rewarded
This kid scremed and cried over EVERYTHING! I ask him to be quiet? He screamed NO!  When I told him I didn't want to hear tattling (one of my big rules)? Screams and whines and says what he wanted to say to begins with. When I went to give him a point (their behvaior system) he screamed that he didn't want it. Lord have mercury child! He also had to be dragged out of the classroom screaming one day. 

Most of these cases happened on the same day!  So imagine what I need by the end of the day?  A nice hot bath!  And maybe a little more:) The craziest part is I would be back in those classrooms with those kids in a heartbeat. I love children and I love teaching (only in someone else's room). I absolutely love my job and doing what I do. Subbing is defnitely something I can see myself doing for a while even after I graduate.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

23rd Birthday Recap

I know I am late in the game on posting this, but honestly sitting down and blogging has not been my top priority this week...sleep and relaxation has been!  But I did have one of the best birthdays ever!! I could not have asked for more love or fun than what I had!

Friday I headed down to the beach house with Brutus in tow to help Mom get the groceries shopped for and everything planned for my party.  Saturday we woke up early and headed for the one and only thing I asked for for my birthday: a Spa Day!

Friend with Grad school and finals and the stress I had been going through lately, I just wanted a day to be pampered and to relax.  We went to the Aqua Aveda Salon on Anna Maria Island.  If you ever make your way down here, you better come see me, and you must go to this salon! It was absolutely PERFECT!

We both had a massage and then a facial.  I wasn't looking for any intense massage, I just wanted to relax, and that is exactly what I got.  2 hours of pure bliss.  I don't think I could explain enough how amazing it was!

After our morning of the Spa, we headed out for lunch at a cute local place.  Then back to the house to set up the table for the party and get some sun! I  am still much more white than I would like to be, and if you know anything about Florida then you know by May we have a full tan!  It was so nice and relaxing to get some sun and read.

We then got ready for the party and made all kinds of amazing food.  Dad had been fishing all day because I had requested one of my Mom's famous Fish Fry's and well you need fish to have one of those!  I also made this AMAZING Brie wrapped in crescent rolls thing that is a must share on here soon!

Everyone came over and we just had a blast talking and enjoying ourselves.  The food was amazing, the company was amazing, and I could not have asked for a better birthday.

As I mentioned before I only asked for one thing for my birthday this year.  I wanted a Spa Day.  And I know how expensive those can be so that is all I wanted.  Well my Mom got to reading this post on my blog and surprised me with many more gifts than I expected!

As mentioned in that post I had been wanting a recipe box that I had found online to put a bunch of the family recipes in for myself.  Mom went on the hunt for a recipe box, which are apparently non existent in the real world, and found this.  She made copies of her recipes and even laminated  them for me!  I am SO SO SO beyond grateful for this gift! It is so much more than I could have asked for!

This is the Alex and Ani bracelet I had been eyeing for a while.  Funny story both my mom and brother and his girlfriend were looking to get this for me.  Mom had picked it up before they could and so they bought it off her so that they could give it to me! Love love love it!

Also in that post was a black cross body purse.  And what did mom find for me? A black crossbody purse that I love even more than the one I had picked out!

There were other gifts of candles and soaps and drinks and clothes! I honestly was not expecting anything and feel so blessed to have a mom who went out of her way to make my day so special!!

Even though this is the first birthday in four years I have not been with my girls, it was definitely one for remembering! I loved being able to be with my family and be loved on all day!