Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Red Nose Run 5K

Sorry that I've been MIA on my blog for a while.  I've been pretty busy with the Holidays but am planning on posting more often in the new year.  Today's post is a little late, but better late than never right?!
My mom and I ran The Red Nose Run 5k in Thomasville (the next city over) on December 15th.  We both PR'd (personal record) and I was quite proud of us!  Here we are before the race:
It was a little chilly starting out, but we warmed up in no time.  There were 349 people running the 5k and 96 people running the half marathon.  Here are our stats!

Julie Anna Helms: Bib: 547  Time: 30:47 Overall place 96/349      Place in age group (20-29 yrs): 8/39
Teresa Close:         Bib: 606  Time: 31:07 Overall place: 109/349   Place in age group(40-49yrs): 11/44

I'm particularly proud of our placing in our age groups.  I was 8th out of the 39 females in my age group, and my mom was 11th out of the 44 females in her age group.  Not bad!  Next year we might just run the half marathon!  Although I didn't meet my 25 for 25 goal of running a 5k in under 30 minutes (missed it by 47 seconds!) I'm still proud of my time.  Guess that just means I have to do another 5k before April 20, 2013! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cairo Christmas Parade 2012

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  Here are some pictures of the Cairo Christmas parade from last week!

The Hardee's star even made an appearance!
And look!  A little car with a hat!
And Santa Claus!

Monday, November 26, 2012


Well it appears that the beautiful fall season has finally arrived here in south Georgia.  Husband suggested I grab my camera and snap a couple of pictures of our crepe myrtles whose leaves had turned delightful autumnal shades.  So I did!  Here are a couple of my shots.  Don't you just love the fall colors!?

Despite the chilly weather, my hydrangeas are still holding on, and blooming like crazy!
Ope!  And look, it's Bing!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


For a period of time while I was growing up, from around the ages of 10 to 18, my family experienced more loss than any family should ever have to experience.  During this time, it was middle of the night phone calls that we each dredded so much.  I discintly remember several times between those ages, being woken up by the house phone ringing in the middle of the night.  I remember the tight chested, "oh please not another" feeling that accompanied those horrible rings.  My sister and I would meet at my parents door, take a deep breath, and walk in their room to receive the news.  It was never good.  Never. 
But for the past several years, there was a small respite.  We had several close calls, but thankfully the seemingly constant flow of funerals and used tissues and 2AM phone calls were not as frequent anymore.  It was a blessing.  But the past couple of weeks, it seems as though our cycle is returning.  You see, we lost my great aunt Barbara two weeks ago.  Her husband was one we lost during those bad years.  I am glad she is with him now, but it hurts that she's no longer with us.  She was such a loving woman, who you always knew was thinking about you and praying for you.  I hurt for my grandfather having to bury his sister that he loved so much.  I hurt for our family that is spread across several states.  We joked during those 8 years that funerals had become our family reunions.  I heard that her funeral was like that, a reunion of family members who hadn't seen each other in a while.  I'm sad that I missed it.  I'm even sadder that they had to see each other on those terms. 
And then yesterday I got a call that our dear family friend, Sandy, was killed in a car accident.  Someone ran a stop sign and hit her, it was instantaneous.  I'm glad she felt nothing, I'm glad she's with her loved ones she had lost.  I'm not glad that she's gone from this world though.  You see, Sandy was one of those people that always made you smile.  She was so positive and unwavering.  I used the word steadfast to describe her to someone yesterday, and I think that's a pretty great word for her.  She was steadfast in her faith, in her life, and in her friendships.  She always had my family's back, during hard times and good.  I will always be grateful for that, and for the wonderful friend she was to my mother.  In a world where true friends are hard to come by, she was a true gem, and will be so incredibly missed.
My sister said on facebook yesterday, that during these times it is a wonderful thing to say "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus."  And while the pain of their loss is still very real, and while we may not understand why the Lord let them be taken from us, we can rest in the fact that we don't have to understand, we don't have to feel that pain alone.  It might be hard to trust in the Lord during times of sorrow, but friend, I can tell you it is much easier to trust Him than to handle it alone. 
Please pray for my family, for Mr. John who is Mrs. Sandy's husband and for their family.  And give your loved ones an extra hug today.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vanilla Sugar Tutorial

Sorry for that extended little break I took this week!  Trying to get back in the swing of things, so here's a little tutorial for you guys!  I heard the other day about Vanilla Sugar.  Quite a simple concept, and even simpler to execute.  So I looked up a little information about it and made some for some hostesses at a dinner party I was attending.  I had some left over that I have been putting in my weekend coffee, and it adds an extra bit of goodness!  So, without further ado, the embarrassingly simple tutorial on making your own Vanilla Sugar:

1.  Buy vanilla beans.  You'll pay a ridiculous amount of money for these if you buy them from the local grocery store.  I know, because I procrastinated and that's what I had to do.  So do yourself a favor and order them online.

2.  Cut one vanilla bean in half.  Next, slice the vanilla bean very carefully with a very sharp knife, sort of like bean surgery.  Don't cut all the way through, just halfway so that you can spread it open.  

3.  Next, scrape the little caviar-esque beans from the bean pod with the tip of your knife.  I didn't get a picture of this because I have a good reason I just didn't, ok?!  Oh, and don't throw away these pods!  They will be reunited with their offspring shortly.

4.  Put 2 cups of sugar in a food processor.  Don't have a food processor?  No worries!  I'll address that in a minute.

5.  Add the beans which you just scraped out of the pod into the processor with your sugar.  

6.  Turn that sucker on!  Just let it go for a couple of minutes until it looks all blended.  Alright, if you don't have a food processor, just use your fingers to mash and mix the beans into the sugar.  You want a little bit of the bean oil to mix in with the sugar, so really give it a stirring.  

7.  Once it's all mixed, pour your Vanilla Sugar into a jar, container, plastic bag, whatever you can find to put it in!  That's clean, I mean.  

8.  Take those little bean pods which you sliced open, apologize for your vivisection (don't Google that word, you'll get some gross pictures of dissected frogs and stuff), and nestle them down in the sugar.  The bean pods give it a little extra flavor.  

9.  Enjoy in your favorite coffee or use in baked goods.  Or give it as a gift!  But be sure to tell the receiver what it is, lest they think you gave them sugar with bugs in it.

Notes:  The longer the sugar sits, the better it tastes.  (Two weeks is recommended).  Once the sugar gets low, just toss some more sugar in the container and shake.  The oil from the beans makes the sugar turn into clumps sometimes, so give it a stir every now and then.

Told you it was simple!  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting Day!

Hope you guys voted today!  I did early voting last week, and thankfully didn't have to go to the busy polls today.  Eager to see the results!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mule Day 2012!

Yesterday Timothy, myself, and Mr. Tim (my father-in-law) went to Mule Day one town over in Calvary.  Mule Day is a huge one day festival, with hundreds of vendors and food trucks.  Thousands of people from all over the south travel to this festival each year.  It's a huge deal down here, and always proves to be an interesting day.  Below are some highlights of this year's Mule Day.
The Parade.  The Mule Day parade usually includes several local school marching bands, men on huge tractors, and hundreds of people on horses.  These horses' "deposits" make traversing that road after the parade quite a smelly affair. 
You can kind of see the marching band trumpets in the middle of this picture.
The Chicken Show.  Yes, there are performing chickens at Mule Day.  They even had a chicken who played the piano. 
 The crowd.  Ok, so this is not exactly a positive.  Especially when it is really really hot and some people don't understand the necessity of deodorant.  Also, hellloooo passive aggressive mothers with strollers.  I about lost all of my toes thanks to you.
Freshly ground Mule Day cornmeal.  I see some yummy cornbread in our future.
Delicious apple butter.  Just had some of this on some biscuits.  Yum!
The cane syrup making.  Cannot imagine how much literal sweat went into the 
making of this syrup. 
And that was Mule Day 2012!  You guys should come next year!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Turns out I'm not the only little writer in the family.  Since around April, Husband has been on a committee to write a charter petition for the high school where he works.  Rumor had it that the school board was considering voting it down.  So he wrote a pretty awesome letter to the editor of our city paper and it got published.  The vote is this week, so we'll see what happens!  I think he's incited a revolution, though.  Just call him Katniss Everdeen!

Monday, October 22, 2012

25 for 25 UPDATE!

So I realized at the end of last week, that this past weekend was my half birthday!  Because of that, I wanted to do a little update on my 25 FOR 25!  I deleted the original dialogue out and just put the main objective.  If you'd like to read the explanation behind each goal, check out the original post.  Here goes!

1. Send out 25 cards:
        1. Mom for Mother's Day
        2. Nannie for Mother's Day
        3. Mom-June
        4. Nannie-June
        5. Allie-June
        6. Emma-July
        7. Allie-July
        8.  Nannie-July
        9.  Emma-October
      10.  Mom-October
      11.  Aunt Sarah Lea
You want to get a little note from me!  Leave me your address!!

2. Call family members at least once a week:
I've done pretty well with this one.  Though I did adapt it to more like "text or email several times a weak."  I just can't get over my issues with talking on the phone.  I just hate it!

3.  Remember people's birthdays:
I've been alright with this one.  Though not too many people have had birthdays since April, in my family at least. 
4.  Run 366 miles:
So far I have run 196.95 miles, so I am about 10 miles ahead of schedule this year. Yay!!


5.  Run a 10K:
I'm prepared for this, I think.  As you already know from this post, I ran 7 miles straight the other day.  There aren't too many races here in south Georgia, and no 10ks before next spring, so I might have to run one of these up near Atlanta when I visit my family next. 
6.  Run a mile in under 8 minutes:
Not sure if this one will ever be attained!  haha!  I've decided that at least one day a week I am going to try to run a fast mile.  I did that last night and ran one in a little under 9 minutes.  The route I took had a big hill in it though, so I might cheat on this one and try to run it on a track to get my time down.  We'll see!
7.  Finish a 5k, sub 30:XX:
I haven't run a 5k since my birthday, so I haven't really had a chance to test this yet.  Not sure if I will be able to do it, since in my practice runs I'm still around 33:XX :(
8.  Lose weight:
I actually have done alright on this goal.  By my measurement about a month ago, I had lost about 10 pounds.  Not focusing so much on the pounds lost, more so on the way my clothes fit and how I feel.

9.  Give more of my time and money to help others:
Haven't done so well on this goal. :(  I haven't had too many opportunities here lately, but I also haven't really been looking earnestly for them either. 
10. Make 5 recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking:
Notta :(  Dern Pinterest is just so much easier!!!
Speaking of Pinterest, here's a recent Pinterest recipe win!  You should definitely make this cake.  Super easy, super delicious!

11.  Make 5 recipes from the Joy of Cooking: 
Notta.  Again with the Pinterest!!
12.  Attend 5 concerts:
       1. Punch Brothers
We were actually supposed to go to a show this past weekend, but it was sold out before we could get tickets. :(  I blamed this on Husband and gave a pretty authentic rendition of "My half birthday is ruaaaaaaaned!" but then he took me to get pizza and garlic sauce and all was well with the world again.  We do already have tickets for a show in January though! 
Here's who we're going to see!!!!  The Civil Wars singing "My Father's Father" in the California redwood forest (where Husband and I went on our honeymoon)

13.  Read 2 books a month: 
       So far:
       1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children-fiction
       2.  Let's Pretend This Never Happened-nonfiction
       3.  The American Heiress-fiction
       4.  Mrs. Kennedy and Me-nonfiction
       5.  The Dovekeepers-fiction
       6.  Unbroken-nonfiction
       7.  The Poisonwood Bible-fiction
       8.  The Silver Linings Playbook-fiction

Welp, I said this would be easy.  But I am currently in a book rut.  I have started 3 different books recently but haven't finished any of them.  Any suggestions?

14.  Read through at least the New Testament:
Not as far along in this one as I need to be.  We started a new Bible study in our Sunday school class, so I've been reading that some nights instead of just from the New Testament, but that's really not a good excuse.

15.  Read the Count of Monte Cristo: 
Have NOT even started this one.  Eck!  That tome is just staring me down, man!

 16.  Create a family tree: 
Actually got a pretty good start on this in my visit with my grandmother a couple of months ago.  Need to get it all organized and written out though. 
17.  Learn to sew:
Not yet!  My parents are coming down in a couple of weekends though, maybe we could do that then Mom?
18.  Watch 25 new-to-me movies:
Ok, I have definitely already accomplished this.  Haha.  Lazy much?  Don't remember all of the titles, but the most recent one I saw was Argo.  A definite must see!

19.  Re-learn French: 
I've worked on this a little bit, not as much as I need to though. 

20.  Take 500 new pictures:
I'm about halfway there on this, thanks to our Darien Trip
21.  Go to Wakulla Springs:
Haven't done this yet, maybe soon?  The weather is finally cooling off, as you can see, and it might be time to go! (Why yes, this is "cooling off" for hot as hades south Georgia, thankyouverymuch!)

22.  Go to 3 parades:
I haven't seen an advertisement for a single parade!  I think the highschool's homecoming is soon though, don't they usually have one for that?

23.  Go on vacation to a city I've never been:
Darien trip!

24.  Paint my toenails a different color each month:
I think I've pretty much accomplished this one!  I've tried to take pictures along the way and will post those in April when I'm done!

25.  Write 200 blog posts:
65 down, 135 to go.  Definitely behind on this one!  Yikes!

So overall, I am waaaay behind.  It's actually a little bit embarrassing.  I'm pretty caught up on the fitness goals, but on all of the other ones, I am more than a little behind.  I need to kick my booty in gear and start focusing on the spiritual and intellectual goals as much as I have focused on the physical ones. Anybody got some extra motivation around that they'd like to lend me?!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Skink in the Sink!

Well, it was actually in the tub.  But that title sounded more Dr. Seuss-ish.  :) 
The other morning I was trying to get ready in the bathroom, but Husband aka Mr. McSteamy, was fogging up the mirrors with his fire hot shower.  Steam/humidity and my hair do not get along well. At all.  So I went to the guest bathroom to finish getting ready.  Right before I turned on the hair dryer, I thought I heard a sound from the bathtub.  Now, since before I can remember, I have always checked behind the curtain in the middle of the night when I got up to piddle.  For some ridiculous reason, I think that a murderer would break into my house and be like "ooooh a shower!  Let me hide in there!"  I never said my fears were logical...But anyways! When I pulled back the curtain I saw this guy!  Definitely the most harmless possibility to be waiting behind that curtain.
He was so tiny!  And he was still in that creepy stage where he was transparent and you could see all of his organs.  I went to show him to husband a few minutes later and he was halfway down the drain.  So I'm figuring that's how he got in?  'Cause there are no windows in the bathroom.  Later on that day at lunch I checked to see if he was still in the tub, and there he was just looking at me!  So I got a little cup and rescued him. 
I freed him outside, which I think probably made Martin cry foul, but oh well.  :)  Hope you guys are having a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


One of mine and Husband's favorite bands is releasing a new EP in November!  It's available for pre-order today!  You best believe Husband ordered it ASAP!  :)
Photo courtesy of

Below is a live video of Punch Brothers playing their instrumental track "Flippen."  I can't get over how fast their fingers move!  They're such exceptional musicians!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hair Update!

Well, I was finally having a decent hair day today, so I figured I'd take some pictures to share the new bangs with you guys!  What ya think?
Do you like them all down?
 Or swept to the side?
They're much less annoying when they're all swept to the side.  But I think them being all down gives me a different look.  Either way, I think I like them! 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Stones from the Riverbed

One of the things I enjoy about my job is that I work with people who are passionate about music.  Several are musicians and the others are sound techs.  We share new music with each other all of the time, which has led to my discovering some new favorite musicians.  One such musician is Matthew Perryman Jones who recently released his new album "Land of the Living."  Below is my favorite track from the album "Stones from the Riverbed."  Lyrics are below.  Hope you like it as much as I do!
Silently tracing the cracks
Through the chaos
Grieving what cannot come back

What's gone away
Feeling the weight
Of sorrow's night
You can't find your way through the black
So you pray for light

Everyone's trying to find
Ways to fix it
You know in your heart what you need
To work it out
Looking away to a violent sky
There's a deep dark river
Rising on the inside

And you stand in the water
With your arms crossed
Groaning Hallelujah
And the trees bow to the east
As the sun waits under the sea
Fall into that mystery
Or it will pull you under
Fall into the mystery
Or it will pull you under

It's ok to say goodbye
It's ok to say goodbye
It's ok...
It's ok...
It's ok to say goodbye

The stones in the city walls
Were pulled from the river bed

Monday, October 8, 2012


The title of this post is the number of miles I just ran outside.  In 1:16. 
It is also approximately the number of bugs I ate while doing just that. 
I try not to post too much about running on here, because I don't want to be one of those people that is just obnoxious about it, but I was pretty proud of this milestone.  So here's lookin' at you 7.  Happy to meet ya!
And yes, I did take this picture in my kitchen.  Don't judge me.  
It was the only place with a shelf tall enough. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chicken hair

So...I got a little haircut the other day.  I was getting that familiar urge to just chop all of my hair off, like I have done a couple of times before.  But each time I do that I end up whining for the two years that it takes to grow it back out, considering that my hair grows at a glacial pace.  "Hair grows an half an inch a month on average" my foot!  Try like 1/16th of an inch!  After I chopped it all off the week after our wedding, I made Timothy promise to not ever let me do that again.  After hearing me whine incessantly, he was more than happy to oblige. 
Dramatic hair chop off 1: Freshman college edition
Dramatic hair chop off 2: Freshman marriage edition (w/ my sweet niece Emma)
So last week, I knew I wanted a change but didn't need to go all dramatic on it.  So, I decided I was going to get some bangs.  I was a little nervous, because I have had bangs before.  And by bangs, I mean thick block o' bangs that followed me through life all the way to 8th grade. 
I had bangs AND a perm going on in this picture.  Double 90s!
After smartly deciding to grow them out in 9th grade, my dad started referring to them in their posthumous state as the "bang thang."  This title was accompanied by a hand gesture, where he would put the back of his hand up to his forehead with his fingers pointed out and wiggle them, as if those bangs had been living, moving creatures with a mind of their own.  So you will understand my reservation in introducing bangs back in to my life. 
While growing out my bangs.  Those silver things on top of my 
head are little clips holding my bangs back.  
Allll of this being said, I went last weekend and got my hair cut.  And not to prematurely disappoint you, but no, I am not going to post a picture of my cute new bangs in this post.  It has been craaazy humid and rainy down here the past week and I have yet to successfully capture these new bangs (in a flattering fashion, at least).  I will, however, give you a glimpse into the comedy that can be my hair.  You see, today I decided to try them out in the curly fashion.  My hair has some natural waviness to it, and I can usually get it to work alright, but I wasn't sure how the bangs would react to a little hair gel and diffusion.  Well friends, some of them a most comedic fashion.  I give you, the chicken hair:
I sent this picture to my mom and sister and my sister's awesome reply:  "How did that happen???"  hahaha!  I was wondering the same thing!  I successfully got that thing calmed down with a little hairspray and tucking (and maybe threatening) and Husband and I went to dinner. 
Well, as soon as we got home, I went to throw my hair in a bun and then used a little clip to keep my bangs out of my face.  Now friends, we all know that Husband is NOT a fan of buns (hair ones, because that needs clarifying).  If you are not aware of his dislike of buns, please read here.  So now that that is established, let's resume.  So I had clipped my hair back and am going about my business when I happened to walk past a mirror.  And guess what I saw...
Those crazy chicken hairs had REVOLTED AGAIN!  At this point, I was quite positive that Husband and these bangs were in this conspiracy together. 
A side view, in case you do not realize just how crazy these little things were acting:
Unbelievable!  So as I type this, I have crazy looking chicken hair going on and am just stubborn enough to act like I don't even care.  Take THAT you bangs! 
Hope you guys had a good weekend and didn't have any chicken bang coups on your hands like I did.  Promise to get better (and tamer) pictures up sometime next week.  :)