We Thank Thee

thankful 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family.

We have so much to be thankful for this year, don’t we?

Favorite Gifts

favorite gifts 2014

This is a collection of a combination of some gifts on my wish list & some I have purchased for gifts this year. Enjoy!

1) JessicaNDesigns

2) Fawnsberg

3) Kelly Moore

4) CocoandBubbles – they have Campfire & Grass candles!

5) Lindsay Letters

6) Evy’s Tree - follow them on Instagram for sale updates…there’s a HUGE sale that starts tonight!

7) Red Letter Words

8) Urban Decay Smoked Eyeshadow

9) Urban Decay Glitter Eyeliner – these are SO FUN! I have Midnight Cowboy!

10) Happy Little Lovelies – follow her on Instagram for 6 Days of Christmas this week!

11) Grace Laced

Happy Shopping!!

Follow Caroline’s board shop // gifts on Pinterest.

The Clay Necklace That Could

the clay necklace that couldBefore you get too excited, this is not a tutorial. This is a tutorial flop. Or as I like to call it, The Clay Necklace That Could.

This project started with great potential & enthusiasm. Isn’t that how it goes with most new projects?

I was determined to make this necklace:

6a00d8358081ff69e201bb07951a22970d-800wiread the tutorial here via A Beautiful Mess

Cute, right? I wanted to make a few of them as gifts this year.

While Eden was at a birthday party a few weeks ago, I headed to a nearby Hobby Lobby and gathered all my supplies.

The next day I set aside some time to make the necklace. Everything was going great until I grabbed my carving tool & tried to carve the geometric shapes into the hardened clay. Um, I was expecting it to be a little softer. Silly Caroline. It was baked clay. But as I told you before, I was determined. My enthusiasm still in tact.

clay carving

I sat at our dining room table & carved those little suckers for over an hour. Maybe longer. I lost count. My butt was numb & I developed a blister on my right middle finger & almost threw it all in the trash when my x-acto knife slipped through my fingers & I cut through the chain! The enthusiasm was gone. But I had to finish. I wasn’t going to quit.

And my end result:

the clay necklace that could not

Yep. Almost looks like our carrot crop that we harvested last week.

carrot harvest

Maybe I should have just poked holes through our carrots, painted them with metallic paint & strung them through the necklace string? Hmm. What do you think?

Oh, and my necklaces were HEAVY. Probably a few pounds. I was somewhat defeated but still about 75% determined to make something work & I had all this extra clay…so…

Scratch that project & onto ROUND TWO!

After a few Pinterest searches, my enthusiasm returned & I just knew that I could make something like this:

hh-diy-clay-gumballHello Natural

Roll the clay. Poke holes through them with a toothpick. Bake them. Put 2 coats of paint on them. Let them dry. String them. Gift them. Wear them. Toss them on the ground & let your cats play with them. Victory!

clay beads process


blue & white

asterisk gold

The point of all of this was to try something new. Sometimes you need to learn something new, work hard at it, fail, do it again but better & then you will know whether or not you want to continue.

The Clay Necklace that Could.

No Talk November

Monday Fall SunriseGreg and I write everyday in October and then silence…

It felt strange waking up on November 1 to realize we were done with 31 Days. But at the same time it was nice to turn the brain off for a few days.

Greg and I joked that November would be “No Talk November”. Or maybe “No Think November”. Sometimes your brain needs to rest.

All kidding aside, I will take some time this month to accept the challenge of my technology dare. Maybe during the week of Thanksgiving?

Also, during the month of November I am going to read. Maybe November will be “November Reads”. Ok. I’m done with giving November a name.

Here are a few of the books I want to read this month:

November Reads

Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersly – I received this book at Allume & it is so good! Hear from the author during this month’s Hope*ologie podcast {you can listen to it in iTunes!}.

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sara E. Ladd – When Modern Mrs. Darcy mentioned this new release in one of her posts, I knew I would love it & well, I finished it in a day.

Running on Empty by Jill Briscoe – this book was a gift from my mother, it is one of her favorite books

Longing for More by Timothy Willard – a gift from Allume.

Tables in the Wilderness by Phillip Yancey – another gift from Allume. This conference is very generous with their gift of books!

I think I sense a theme…maybe I need to catch my breath & sit & read & listen & ponder & pray. So, it will be a quiet November around here. That’s okay with you, right?

I have always done my best to make this space a place of encouragement, allowing my photography & meager words to bring you hope & joy. Since I am going to be more quiet than usual, I would love to hear from you – those of you who faithfully read my blog & those that joined us during 31 Days – what would you like to read about here?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below or send me an email {carolineteselle at gmail dot com}

We Dare You to Be Truthful

rock & roll teselle thanks

We loved writing together again this year. Thanks again to The Nester and the Write 31 Days initiative. We hope you had a couple good laughs at our ridiculous truths… as well as challenged to be a little bit more daring.

On a serious note, let us explain why we chose the topic of Truth or Dare to write about for 31 Days this year.

One of the reasons we decided on this topic is because we love TRUTH.  The root meaning of truth is “to come out of hiding“. We want to live our lives in such a way that we don’t have to hide. Hiding is horrible. Truth has so many benefits…

Truth is the beginning of healing… physical, spiritual, and mental.
Truth builds integrity.
Truth begets trust and credibility.
Truth creates stronger relationships.

Every morning we should put on the belt of truth.  A belt encompasses the waist… and we need truth to encompass our lives. Truth should be written on our hearts and must reach beyond an outward show.

The other reason we decided to write on this topic is because we love to be DARING.  Maybe Greg likes it a bit more than Caroline, but we both understand deeply the value of taking risks.

Risk provides new experiences for you to learn, change, and share.
Risk allows you to discover new things about yourself and the world.
Risk allows you to conquer your fears.
Risk is exhilarating. It makes you come alive.

May our lives be about the TRUTH and the DARE.

And we DARE you to be TRUTHFUL.

On a far less serious note, can we share with you our TOP 5 FAVORITES from our Truth or Dare series:

1. Our Celebrity Crushes – don’t you love Greg’s new t-shirt? {wink!}

greg has a new tshirt

2. Greg lies to Caroline all the time.

3. Our million dollar dream.

4. A big fight with a honey bee.

5. Caroline wants to be a spy.

What were your favorites?

Thanks again for joining us this year!

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One Big Dare ~ Coming Soon!

dare collage

Today was going to be the day we revealed our One Big Dare. Just like the season finale of your favorite show, we’ll be ending our 31 Days of Truth or Dare with a cliffhanger. Our One Big Dare will have to wait.


The truth is… October was a little ridiculous for our family.

Greg had knee surgery… again.
Gunnar had a few football injuries.
Eden had track camp.
Stone had band practice twice a week.
Tygar had 2 major school projects.
Caroline was in South Carolina for 4 days.
Gunnar had allergy testing for shellfish.
Oh, and writing everyday was no easy task but we LOVED it!

Even though we did establish a deadline for our One Big Dare to happen during 31 Days we didn’t want it to be forced & neither do you.

Obligatory dares are foolish.

Our dare didn’t happen yet… but it will… and we will tell you about it here… at carolineteselle.com … once it is completed.

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Your Truth Questions Answered

truth questions answered

Last week, we asked you guys to send us your TRUTH questions for us to answer… most of you just sent us an email with your questions… and after reading some of the questions… we completely understand why some of you wanted to be anonymous!

greg says_1        caroline says_1

Is this your first marriage?
Greg: Yes
Caroline: Yes

Of all the places you’ve lived, where is your favorite?
Greg: Chicagoland
Caroline: I concur, but I miss being 2 hours away from the ocean when we lived in Maryland.

Who is your favorite band?
Greg: The Cars
Caroline: I have to pick a favorite? Too hard. I classify favorites as artists that I love to listen to their entire album, not just a hit song, so here are a few of my favorites: Bon Jovi, U2, Reeve Coobs, Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, Phillip Phillips, Relient K, Mumford & Sons.

Do you exercise on a regular basis?
Greg: Yes.  I run to the bathroom everyday.
Caroline: Yoga. 3-4 times a week

Do you believe in ghosts or aliens?
Greg: No
Caroline: No

What is your favorite smell?
Greg: Freshly cut grass… (btw – they should make a perfume for women called GRASS)
Caroline: Coffee brewing.

If you could press a button and make anyone in the world magically explode, who would it be?
Greg: The main leader of ISIS or ISIL or whatever they are called.
Caroline: What Greg said.

Have you ever been drunk?
Greg: I don’t remember… so that means… yes.
Caroline: Yep. A few times but all before I was 21 {sorry mom & dad}.

Have you ever gone skinny dipping?
Greg: Yes
Caroline: Um… No

As an adult… have you ever peed your pants?
Greg: Yes. A flight attendant drugged my drink in first class. #rufie #passedout #peeeverywhere
Caroline: Yes, as I was surrounded by 100s of strangers.

Have you ever run through a golf course at 2am naked with other guys?
Greg: Yes
Caroline: WHAT?
Greg: Please don’t ask me about this.

What’s the largest check you have ever written?
Greg: $100,000.00
Caroline: We need to talk!
Greg: Can we talk while skinny dipping?

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In The World

in the world

Truth : If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?


greg says_1

Is this is a trick question…

I’m a Christian… I am not supposed to desire anything in this world… am I?

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever.” – John the Disciple

Ouch… But why?

Primarily because the love of the world pushes out the love of the Father.

You can’t fool me with your tricky “truth or dare questions”. :)

But if I was “allowed” to desire a few things of this world… You could give me some Pappy and French Fries at a Beach House… and I’d be good to go!

At least I didn’t say something stupid and shallow like… “world peace”.

caroline says_1

Gracie & her friends answer have the perfect answer… {click over to the blog to see the video}

…now I have to unscrew my smile.


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Favorite Kid

teselle kids 2014

Truth : Do you have a favorite kid?

greg says_1

“95 percent of parents in the world have a favorite kid, and the other 5 percent are lying.” – Jeffrey Kluger

I think it’s normal for most parents to have a favorite child… so yes… I have one.

Which one?  Well… it seems to switch weekly, daily, hourly and sometimes even by the minute!

Hopefully all of my children go to bed each night feeling like they are the favorite.  #tricky

I ask my children regularly… “Who does Dad love the most?”  They all answer in unison… “God… then Mom…  then all of us”.  They know they are all loved equally by me… but I can still have a favorite… right?

The challenge is not to show favoritism… so on occasion I reflect to see if I’m showing any favoritism…

* Do my youngest children “get away” with more than the older ones?
* Am I more relaxed around one of my kids over the others?  Do I smile more, laugh more, and am I less stressed?
* Are my expectations of my children different?  Lower expectations are often a sign of favoritism.
* Etc.

But my favorite moments as a Dad are the ones where I really can’t decide which child is my favorite.


caroline says_1

Sometimes. Honestly, it depends on the day. Or the moment. Or the season.

I love each of our 4 kids but there are days when I’d rather trade one or two or four in for the day. Kidding, not kidding.

Being married to Greg has had it’s challenges but I chose to marry him. I did not choose to become a mother. And I most certainly did not EVER think I would be a mother to four! It was in the back of my mind that we might have kids one day.

I wanted some time to just be a wife. We had a plan. God had another plan.

That plan brought 4 little people into our lives in 7 years as we hopped across the country from Iowa to Ohio to North Carolina to Illinois. Somewhere between those years & crossing state lines, my stubbornness of embracing motherhood & this Spring-like season of raising infants to toddlers to kids to adults finally took on a new meaning for me.

Just like there are certain aspects of each season that are my favorite – winter trees & snow, spring flowers, summer breezes & the colors of fall – there are going to be seasons of being a parent that are going to be my favorite.

My favorite seasons that I’m embracing with each kid right now:

Gunnar – as our oldest, he is paving the path for his siblings for being the friendliest guy in this town. He loves to be around people & his humble heart is so encouraging.

Tygar – this is a season full of changes for Tygar & I know it will not be long before he starts calling me “Mom” instead of “Mommy”. I hope I can help him hold onto his creativity & soft heart for others that has surrounded his childhood as he enters into being a young man.

Stone – he wants to learn everything there is to know about everything. From cooking to origami to being a percussionist to archery to writing stories to  ______ {fill in the blank}. His desire to learn it all right now encourages me to embrace this season of wonder surrounding him.

Eden – she is so brave right now, she has been since birth & I guess she needs to be when surrounded by three big brothers. She is not afraid to try something new. I want to be brave like her.

Each and every day I am learning to embrace my favorite moments of the seasons of parenthood. I hope I never stop looking for those favorite moments.

truth or dare banner




I dare you to ditch technology for a week.


caroline says_1

I realize the irony involved in daring you to ditch technology for a week because as I type this, I’m sitting on a plane on my way to Allume, a blogging conference. Bloggers need computers & they utilize social media to communicate with their audience.

As I was waiting to board the plane, I could count on one hand those who were not using some kind of technology. One was napping, one was reading a book & two guys were chatting while eating their lunch. Everyone else was either talking on their phone, reading a kindle, watching a movie, taking selfies, texting & doing the finger scroll. Myself included – going back & forth from scrolling through Instagram & writing this post.

We are addicted, aren’t we? Any moment of silence is met with a blank stare which leads to grabbing my iPhone or opening up my laptop.

Can you do without technology for one week?

I’ve done partial technology ditching before, giving up FB, Twitter & Instagram for a month. I called it “Quietember“.

I realize some of us rely on the Internet for work so maybe you cannot completely ditch your laptop or social media but pay attention to the technology that threatens a quiet moment you could have, and ditch that for a week.

Maybe reading blog posts once a day for 31 days has been distracting? Or maybe it’s the constant pull of social media to check Instagram, FB or Pinterest? Or a television show? Or?

What is it that drains you? Can you ditch it for a week?

After 31 days is over, I will be taking a break from my computer. I have LOVED writing this series with Greg, but it’s time for a break. As a reader you probably think it’s time for a break as well {wink!}. I will also ditch Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram . It’s time for a break. Do you agree?

I dare you to ditch what drains you for 7 days.

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