Thursday, May 31, 2012

Big Cry Baby

Have you ever just felt like you needed a good cry? Just to get it out of your system.
That's how I've felt lately, but today, it's really been baring down on me.
I almost cried watching Auction Kings.
Then again when I unpacked my mom's hand painted dish towels.
And again while browsing around in Hobby Lobby.
But I wouldn't let myself actually cry.
I just feel like if I let down my wall, I will turn into one of those women that cries at the drop of a hat & I don't want to be like that.
Sometimes we need to let it out though, right?
Or am I completely crazy?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Father's Day Give Away

With Father’s Day just a few short weeks away, do you know what you’re going to get the special man in your life?
Here’s an idea. 
Holly, owner of Holly Robertson Photography, is offering one of her new prints from her “Strings” series to one of YOU lucky readers!

Isn’t it lovely?
Holly is not only a wonderful photographer, but also a fellow blogger. Head over to her blog to say hello!
So what are you waiting for?!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Move

I had this really long blog post written about all of the 'fun' stuff that happened to us along the way, but lucky for you folks, when I hit publish it disappeared.
Now, here I am, kind of in shock, and I honestly don't feel like giving another play by play, so here are the highlights:

Monday
*A got a flat tire somewhere in MS.
*While he was in the process of changing it, it started storming...bad.
*Add hail to the rain.
*Our car was packed to the brim, we were stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere & Adelei decides that is the perfect time to relieve herself. This resulted in me having to change her while she stood up in my lap. Awesome.
*Made it to the tire store only to find out they had 1 tire to fit his car, not 2.
*Got to our hotel at 10 instead of 5.
Tuesday
*A went to the Firestone close to our hotel to get another tire.
*He got lost & drove around for an hour trying to find our hotel. [aka wasted an hour of precious travel time!]
*Dallas/Ft.Worth is a beast! But I conquered it.
*The townhouse we reserved a month ago was nothing like what we were expecting. [aka another night in a hotel & search continued for a place to live.]

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I'm back!

You can all breathe a little easier now ;)
Seriously, though...I'm breathing easier [aka less stressed].
There is a little stress left, but not too much.
If you follow me on instagram or twitter, or friends on fb, you know that we made it to our new duty station.
Of course, nothing went the way it should have [in my mind!]. We were thrown curve balls from every direction, but I think that we did pretty good at catching them & staying in the game. I've learned so much from this move, it's astonishing.
The biggest, most important thing I learned is that I am a strong woman [mentally & emotionally]. And that is giving me the confidence I need to be 1,000 miles away from my very best friends and family.
This is all for now, but stay tuned for the gory details of our trip and soon...a giveaway!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

While I'm Away. A Workout Playlist

& Now a word from my BFFF.
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Quick intro for those who are asking “Who’s this guy?”: I fall into
the IRL category of Jamie’s friends, knowing her since before the two
of us could drive a car. Then a few years later we were carpool
buddies to school. A few (more) years after that and a piece of a
plastic rose now sits in my car - a token from when I stood as a
“Bridesman” at her wedding.

So while I try to hold back the tears (both to be strong and to not
get made fun of by her) from realizing she is moving to a spot where
she will no longer be a car ride away, I’m here to do my part in
contributing to her guest posts for the week.

When she asked me to be a guest blogger, I asked her what she had in
mind. Taking a cue from my music blog (ahem, Sight of Sound, ahem,
shameless plug), Jamie suggested I write about a playlist that could
be used when going on a run.

I’ve tried to get into running for the better part of a year and the
past few months I’ve been gaining some small victories in the overall
war. I truly believe it’s because of the right music I had going on at
the time. Since all of our music tastes are different, I wanted to
share what I feel are the right ingredients for a good running mix.

The Determination Tracks

I’m one of those people that wish life came with a soundtrack and
running is one of those moments. I know it sounds cheesy, but
somewhere in a playlist you should have songs that set a scene of
determination. These types of songs are usually longer in length and
include a buildup of sorts. Some examples: “Secret Crowds” by Angels
and Airwaves; “The Resistance” by Muse; “Sick Sad Little World” by
Incubus

The Adrenaline Fuel

These are the kinds of songs people think of when they visualize a
running playlist. The ones with the fast and/or hard beat that stands
to pump the blood in your body along with the bass in your ears. This
is where hard rock or hip hop songs usually get the most play, but
what I’ve noticed is that your playlist shouldn’t be filled with these
songs. Instead, spread them out. There have been a couple times when I
start to slow down but “Fuel” by Metallica comes on and it gives me a
surge of energy.

The Singalong Songs

For the most part, running is a solo adventure. Even if you run with a
friend or two, you most likely have headphones in so you’re in your
own little world anyway - why not have some fun? Fill your playlist
with some of your favorite tracks to sing along to (think about which
ones you would totally give a concert performance to while in the
shower). This is why I have no problem putting “Nuthin but a G Thang”
or a No Doubt track on my playlist. It helps occasionally to get lost
in the world of a favorite song and not think too much about how out
of breath you are or how much your legs hurt.

Slow Jams

Much like everyone would assume to fill the playlist with the
adrenaline tracks, people automatically assume not to put on anything
slow but I disagree - it all depends on placement. Depending on how
long you are running, odds are you are going to slow down at some
point and there is no problem matching the music to your mood. But the
two points when slower tracks can come into play are during the
“warmup” and “cool down” periods. Here is when would be best to throw
on some lighter Black Keys or Kings of Leon tracks.

And those are the perfect ingredients to a good running playlist. I
hope if you try them out that the results are tasty.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

While I'm Away, Another Recipe ;)


Y'all know I love a good recipe! So here is Mrs. Duh letting us know how to spice it up ;)
--------------------------
I’m Mrs. Duh from The Misadventures of Mrs. Duh. I’m an Air Force Wife, graduate student, Crossfit newbie, and all-around quirky gal. One thing that I love to do is find delicious, healthy recipes! I’m happy to be guest blogging on This Is Me; Consequently, so I can share one of my favorites!

This is a recipe that was given to me by my mother, who is an avid Crockpot cooker. She is one of the busiest women I know, so the Crockpot always serves her well. It allows you to make delicious meals and not waste too much time in the kitchen. Mango Habanero Pork Chops are no exception! This recipe requires very little hands on preparation and tastes amazing! I know it has “habanero” in the title, but don’t be scared… it’s not too spicy!
Here is the recipe:

Mango Habanero Pork Chops

Ingredients:
-          4 boneless pork chops
-          1 habanero pepper, finely chopped (for less heat, don’t add the seeds)
-          1 small onion, chopped
-          ½ cup ketchup
-          1 Tbsp. brown sugar
-          15 oz. canned mangoes with syrup (I use Sunfresh brand, they are in a glass jar and usually found in the produce section… if you can’t find mangoes, canned peaches work well)

Directions:
1. Place pork chops in slow cooker. Poke a few holes in each with a fork.
2.  Mix all other ingredients in a bowl, coarsely mash the mangoes with a fork (you want big chunks), and pour over pork chops.
3. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
4. Shred pork in slow cooker with a fork.
5. Serve over white or brown rice.
6. Enjoy!

Serves 4; Calories - 345; Fat – 13.1g; Carbs – 13.5g; Protein – 40.8g

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

While I'm Away, DIY Cleaning Pt. 1


A Girl from A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps is here to share some cleaning secrets! I definitely plan on doing these when we move into our new house! 
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DIY Laundry Products:
How one Girl avoided eating Top Ramen to pay off her student loans

When I graduated from school I felt great!  I had graduated top of my class and been honored with an award for the highest GPA and praised in front of everyone at graduation for my hard work.  I was flying high…  until I got my first student loan statement.  I looked at my loan amount, I looked at my monthly payment and thought, “Two years of hard work and I won’t even make enough to cover these??!!!”  So, what’s a girl to do?

I decided there had to be ways to cut my expenses without cutting so much that I had to eat Top Ramen for the next 20 years of my career to survive.   There had to places all over the house and our life that I could cut our expenses without killing our ability to have a life.

First up:  Laundry.

You wouldn’t think it, but I do A LOT of laundry.  I average 5-7 loads a week, and I don’t have kids.  Both the hubs and I have to wear work specific clothes.  I have scrubs, he has a work uniform and don’t get me started on washing is military stuff, which is a whole bag of mess in it’s self.   How can I cut my laundry budget without sacrificing clean clothes?  I make my own laundry soap.  Sounds crazy, I know, but I save a small fortune.

I have sensitive skin and must be cautious about the soaps I use.  We also have an HE washer, so we have to be careful about the soaps we buy.  This leads to a $6 bottle of All brand Free and Clear every month (sometimes more often).  Add in the color safe bleach, since nothing we own can have normal bleach, and dryer sheets and you’re looking at a lot of money. 

Let’s start with my recipe for Laundry Soap:

·         1 Bar Felz-Naptha Bar Soap.  You can use Zotes if you want, but Zotes has optical brighteners which is what makes Cammies fade. You will find that some say you can use Ivory soap, but don’t.  Soap made for skin and soap make for laundry have different fats in them that are specific to what you are cleaning.  Skin soap will not get your laundry as clean.  (I buy my bar soap at Winco for about $1.20, but I know other retailers carry it.  It is a specialty item though and I am unable to get it on base)

·         1-2 cups Washing Soda.  I use Arm and Hammer brand but any brand will do. This can be found in the laundry soap aisle.

·         1-2 cups Borax.  Also found with the laundry soap.

·         ½-1 cup Baking Soda- this is optional.  I like to use it because I think it makes my laundry smell cleaner by getting rid of all of that yucky body odor from our clothes, but you don’t have to use it.

Now that you have the ingredients, the instructions:

·         Grate your bar soap with the smallest grater you can find.  I have a lovely bity one that I bought for like $5 and it makes lovely, fine little flakes.  If you don’t have this, or can’t find it, a Magic Bullet or food processor will work, but I personally feel like it makes the flakes chunkier and thus they don’t dissolve as well when washing.

·         Next, mix the bar soap flakes with the other powder ingredients well.  The powders are very light and will make a mess, so mix gently. 

·         Now put it all in an airtight container.

You can use 1-2 TBS per load depending on size and how soiled the items are and that is it.  I personally have never needed more than 1 ½ TBS even with the hubs filthy cammies.

*The variation in the amounts of powder use is based on personal preference.   I have found that I like the 2 cups with one bar of soap, but some like the 1 cup.  When I used 1 cup of each, ½ cup baking soda and 1 bar of soap, my mixture lasted for nearly 6 months!!!!  And since you do not use all of the Borax, Baking Soda or Washing Soda in each batch, it made my use less cost less than a penny per load.  You can’t beat that.  When I use the larger amounts, I’m at less than a 10th of a penny per load.   And it takes less than 15 minutes to make, and I still have Borax and Washing Soda left after making two batches.

So with that lovely laundry soap, what did I do about color safe bleach?  Hydrogen Peroxide.  Seriously.

1 cup Hydrogen Peroxide per Gallon of water.   That’s it. 

Now I don’t have a gallon bucket lying around, but I did have an empty bottle of All liquid detergent.  So, I washed the bottle and did my amount based on the fact that the bottle held 1 quart of liquid.  Easy peasy.   And you have choices.  You can do the larger amount and soak your items for 30 minutes prior to washing, or you can do what I do.  Add it straight to my laundry, soaking is great for stuff that needs more attention though.  You will still need to use bleach for things that call for actual bleach, but this works great as a color safe bleach and is safe to use on delicates like bras and wool.  I hear you can even use it on SILK!  But I don’t own anything silk, so I’ve never tried.


What about fabric softener I hear you say.  What do I do there?  Well, you have three amazing options.
1.      Vinegar.  Not kidding.  I don’t know how or why, but you can add vinegar as a fabric softener to your washer just like you would any other liquid softener.  I don’t do this because I like baking soda in my laundry soap and I really don’t need a volcano of suds flowing into my hall.  ;)

2.      Dryer balls.  These are available on base for $2-$3 and places like Fred Meyer or other such retailers for $5 or so bucks.  They last 3-5 years and require no chemicals at all.  I’ve been using them the last 8 years and have only had to replace them once.  You simply put them in your dryer and go.   I never take them out.   They not only cut static and fluff your clothes, but they decrease your drying time as well.  If you have a timed dryer, you can go from a 60 minute cycle to 45-50 minutes depending on what you are drying.  I have a sense dryer and it is done in about 30 minutes.   I think this method best because there is minimal waste, no chemicals and I save money twice- the product and the energy. 

3.      But you really want dryer sheets?  You can live without them?  Well, cut them in half.  You will never notice the difference in softness, but will have to buy them half as often. I’ve done this for years as well.  I have a box of dryer sheets I use for our sheets since the dryer balls aren’t great for that and I literally cannot remember when I bought it because it’s been so long.  And my sheets do not feel any less soft with half a sheet and neither did my regular laundry prior to the dryer balls.  

Keep in mind one things about fabric softener:  Though your clothes smell nice and feel soft, they actually decrease the absorbency of the clothes and towels.

So there you have it.  That’s how I cut a lot of money out of my budget with very little heartache. 
  
A Girl is a 20 something blogger who began blogging in 2008 as a means of coping with a deployment.  She is a Vet Tech by trade and loves her work in Emergency and Critical Care.  She is married to a 10 year veteran of the USMC reserves, whom she meet shortly after he returned from a deployment.  They have been married for four years, have three, very bratty dogs, and are currently trying to muddle through the aftermath of a difficult deployment for both. 

Check out her Frugal Fridays for more tips on DIY ways to save money with very little hassle.

Monday, May 21, 2012

While I'm Away, How Pinteresting!


Sarah from Dandelions and Daffodils is going to share some of her favorite PINS :) That's a girl after my own heart!
---------------------------------------------------
Hello, blogging friends!! It's so nice to be here today! :-)

For weeks I had been hearing people talk about it and I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. All I knew was that it was surely another internet time-consumer and I WASN’T ABOUT TO BE PART OF IT. Between blogs, Facebook, email and various websites I didn’t have time for anything more.


Well. Here I am today, a member of Pinterest Addicts International. 

I love Pinterest. I have pins for baby clothes, pins for holidays, pins for Army life, pins of ideas for our future home, pins with quotes, pins with crafts to make with buttons, pins for children’s birthday parties, pins of cute dresses. When it comes to pin, I have a ’plenty. One of my favorite aspects of Pinterest are all the great craft ideas I’ve seen. I love making crafts and am always looking for new ideas. When I’ve been stuck in a certain area, all I’ve needed to do is look on Pinterest and just like that, ideas galore. Not all my Pinterest creations have come out picture-perfect, but I’ve loved most of them. Today I’d like to show you three that went from Pinterest to life. (Note: in the below collages, the original is on the left and mine is on the right.)


1) Owl stuffed animal
 
I found this adorable owl while looking for an easy sewing project for my sewing class. We handsewed the entire thing and the girls (ages 9) loved seeing the owl "hatch" before our eyes. This is a great project for those just beginning to sew.



2) Flower art
This project took two attemps. I gathered tons (and I do mean TONS) of paint chips from Lowes and Home Depot and spent about an hour cutting the shapes. The first time I used tacky glue and it did not work. The wetness of the glue caused the paper to warpe and some pieces even tore. The second time I used a glue gun and it worked so much better. Two big things I did differently than the directions were that I bought a black canvas instead of painting one, and I didn't Modge Podge it when I was done. I love how it came out! 



3) Paula Deen's Zesty Cheese Straws

 
I love food, especially food involving cheese so I was excited to make these. As with the previous pin, I tried this twice because it didn't come out right the first time. Both times the batter stuck to the pan and it was impossible for me to make it look like the picture. I was able to peel some off the pan after it was cooked, but not in a way that looked presentable. The taste was pretty good, but overall it was a flop. That being said, I should point out that I made it with rice flour instead of regular flour since I can't eat wheat. I imagine that would make some difference.


What pins have you tried! I'd love to know! You can find me on Pinterest here!


Thanks again to Jamie for letting me visit!! It's been fun! :-)






Sunday, May 20, 2012

While I'm Away; A Fave Recipe


Since I'm currently overwhelmed with the moving process, I asked a few lovely ladies to guest post for me. Each day they will be sharing with you something they enjoy! So without further ado [don't miss me too much ;)]
------------------------------

Hello Awesome Bloggers!! 

I hope you are all having a wonderful week. I heard Jamie needed some people to do a guest post for she is in the process of moving and we ALL know how difficult that is so I'm so excited she is letting me do a guest post. Without further ado I will tell you a little bit about me.
 My name is Stephanie I'm 24 eeekkkk I feel so old. I am a mother to a Fur baby and my husband at times when he acts up haha only joking. My husband is in the Army and we are stationed here in good ole Colorado my husband and I were both raised in Panama City,FL man do we miss the ocean. But its not to bad here just a little cold during the winter and well ok I can't lie its cold all the time here. When my friends and I get together we try to trade recipes and if any of you like soups when its cold out I PROMISE you will LOVE this soup.(We cook it at least once every two weeks) yeah its that delicious..Its called Chicken Enchilada Soup and you can cook it on top of the stove or in a crock pot my personal opinion is do the CROCK POT I think it turns out better. But to each its own. 
Below I have copied the recipe to share with you all. PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW YOU LIKE IT. I have also posted a picture of it in the crock pot. 

Thank you Jamie for letting me guest post I hope your move goes smoothly.
You can catch me over at Army Wife On A Mission. 

Chicken Enchilada Soup

3 cups chicken stock
2 skinless, chicken breast
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
4-6 jalapeno peppers, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup tomato paste
8 oz cotija cheese, crumbled
8 oz pepperjack cheese, divided
1 cup cilantro, chopped
Tortilla chips

In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, add chicken stock and heat over medium heat. Add chicken breasts, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Simmer about 20-25 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and set aside. Add tomatoes, jalapenos, bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the pot. Simmer about 30 minutes, covered until tomatoes have begun to break down. Add black beans, corn, and tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Add cotija cheese and half of the pepperjack cheese and stir to melt. Return chicken to soup and cook about 20 more minutes until desired consistency. 
If soup isn't as thick as desired, you can add strips of flour tortillas. They will dissolve into the soup to thicken the broth. Add cilantro, reserving some to top individual bowls if desired. Ladle into serving bowls and top with crushed tortilla chips, reserved pepperjack cheese and cilantro if desired.


Love
Stephanie

Thursday, May 17, 2012

One Last Beach Trip

With less than a week left here, we decided to make a last minute trip to the beach. It's only an hour & a half away, and that's something that we won't be able to do in Oklahoma.
It was Adelei's first time. My rationale of 'she loves the pool, so she'll love the ocean' was insanely incorrect.
She hated it.
The water, the sand......all of it made her cry. hysterically.
I felt so defeated.
All of my expectations were crushed & I honestly just felt like a bad mom for even thinking that it was a good idea.
The only pic I got of her being calm.
After only spending 20 minutes on the beach, we left. Went to the local outdoor mall, found bathrooms to change in, and spent the rest of the day shopping, eating, and just enjoying ourselves.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Birthday (Party) Girl

When I found out that we would be moving a lot sooner than we had originally thought, one of the things that bothered me was that we wouldn't be with our friends and family for Adelei's first birthday.
But when I realized that Aaron's Graduation and Mother's Day were scheduled for the same weekend, I thought I could just have a very early birthday party for her.
Yep, that's right. We had Adelei's first birthday party at 10 1/2 months.
 Her theme was cupcakes, and it was so, so cute!
My sister made her a custom onesie, tutu, and birthday banner, and my aunt helped me make the decorations!
Our menu included pimento cheese/chicken salad/pb&j sandwiches, french onion dip & chips, & Nanny's 'famous' rotel dip! Cupcake flavors included strawberry & funfetti w/ chocolate buttercream icing, and chocolate with pink [vanilla] buttercream icing.
We made all of the food/cupcakes ourselves to cut down on costs.
Oh, and who could forget about the punch?

Also something we threw together, but turned out amazing!
So many people came out to spend this special time with us! I couldn't have asked for a better turn out!

And although Adelei isn't quite 1 yet, she sure did enjoy smashing her cake!




 [I used cool whip instead of icing to avoid too much of a sugar rush!]

Adelei & her cousins

I'm so glad that I decided to have her party before we left. Everything worked itself out perfectly!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Proud Wife

And now, folks, the moment we've been waiting for....
Our little ham, keeping us entertained
Not only did my husband graduate on Friday, but he also commissioned as a 2LT.
I was so, so proud as he walked across that stage to get his diploma, and even MORE proud as he stood on the stage and took his oath of office!

Here is a short [and VERY blurry] video of him and the other cadets giving their FIRST salutes! My hubby is on the very left!
video

So, it's official. We have closed the college chapter of our lives & we're moving on to the 'real world' section. Wish us luck!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Bliss

Mother's Day has always been a bitter sweet day for me.
Until this year, I spent Mother's Day missing my mom, wishing she was here. 
Wishing I would have been able to get to know her. 
Wishing I could remember more about her.
And although I always celebrated with my Nanny, I still had that void.
Adelei has filled that for me. 
I wasn't sad. I still thought about my mom & still wished that she was here. 
But I didn't dwell on it. I didn't spend my day moping around. I enjoyed myself!
Our whole family went to church, and then went to Cracker Barrel afterward. 
It was so nice just being together with the ones that I love. 
Aaron got me the perfect gift!
A sewing basket & a DIY purse kit.
He even let me take a nap!
We spent the rest of the day with family, and then headed home.
And the perfect ending to a perfect day, I rocked my sweet baby to sleep :) 
Hope y'all had a great Mother's Day, too!

Friday, May 11, 2012

10

My [not so little] chunky monkey is 10 months old!
 She goes on mini-rants that are absolutely hilarious. [I will try to video one so you can see for yourself!]
Her new words are dog, duck, bottle, & momma.
[dah, duh, ba ba, & ma ma]
Still not standing on her own yet, but doing so well while holding on [even walking while holding on!]
She's 'dancing' on command & when she hears music.
She gives kisses like crazy!
And she gets in to jusssst about everything!
Need I say more? ;)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I did it.

Remember my list of goals I wanted to complete by the end of the year?
I completed one of them.
I created my own header & button & revamped my blog.
Although I'm not 100% done, I LOVE it.
Just a few more tweaks, and it will be my idea of perfect!
Come by & check it out!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Landlord Drama

Today we got a note on our door from our Landlord stating that they will be entering our unit on Thursday to do inspections and for us to have our apartment thoroughly cleaned and free of clutter to make it easier on them.

I stared at the note for several seconds, reread it, and laughed.

One more thing to stress over? I think not.
We are moving in two weeks. Boxes everywhere.
Our movers aren't coming until NEXT Friday.
Did I mention that we have a graduation AND birthday party to prepare for? 
Decorations & Cupcake stands everywhere.

What I can't understand is why they would be inspecting our apartment BEFORE we move out.
Isn't that something they do afterward to assess what needs to be done before the new renters move in?
I mean, surely they will have to do it again once we leave, so why do it twice?
Am I thinking way too far into this?
Probably so.