Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's that time of year again.....

It's that time of year again, the time of year when people take stock of their lives and think about the changes that they would like to make or the goals that they would like to set for themselves in the next year. Last year I made very vague goals they were not measurable, which I guess is both good and bad. It meant that I was able to keep them in mind all year but it also meant that there wasn't ever a point where I could say that I was finished with them.

So this year I have decided to set goals that are more measurable and less general. So here it goes.

1) Get my teaching liscense renewed/valid for the state that I live in.
2) Start and complete one new craft project a month.
3) Try one new meal a month.
4) Continue to make health and fitness a part of my life.
5) Spend more consistant time in prayer and study.

I think that will be a good set of things to do for the upcoming year. At least tight now those seem like pretty realistic goals. I'll keep you updated.

So what were your goals for the year 2012?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Coming to the end.....

Last year at I posted one of my most popular posts ever when I talked about resolutions and goals for the next year. (If you want a reminder here it is) I talked a little about making goals that were motivated by peer pressure and feelings of inadequacy. I made three goals for the year 2011. So the question for today is did I do it?

Well, I can say with certainty that I tried to avoid judging myself through others peoples eyes. So number one is a success.

The second resolution well it was much harder. I am horrible at not judging myself and in loving who I am. I am very self critical to the point that sometimes I spend all day stressing out about things. It's a flaw, a huge one.... and I guess another thing to add to this list. I have a horribly hard time accepting who I am as who I am supposed to be, in every aspect of life. I am constantly seeing what "might" be and never appreciating what is there. So I guess that means that number two was a failure is a work in progress.

Number three. Well I tried. I really tried to be more helpful and friendly and to hold my tongue more when I wanted to give someone a piece of my mind. I know I wasn't successful 100% of the time, but I hope that I was at least most of the time.

All in all I think that 2011 was a wonderful year and a success. I am blessed to have the family and friends who love me for me even when I struggle to do so. So thank you to everyone in my life who helped to make this an amazing year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Hodgepodge

1. Will you be hosting any house guests between now and the end of December? Does that thought make you happy or crazy? Do you do anything special for your guests to make them feel at home? How long should a house guest stay?

No, I'm not going to have any guests in my home this year for Christmas. My husbands parents came here for Thanksgiving. For Christmas my family is packing up and heading out to Texas. I can't wait!

2. Walter Elias Disney was born this week (December 5) back in 1905 ...what's your all time favorite Disney movie? Here's a list in case you're struggling...and yes, you have to pick one.

Sleeping Beauty. Without question. I love it. Not that I don't love a million other Disney movies, but if I had to pick just one that would be it.
3. What was the last thing you purchased that you realized was a mistake after the fact?

Apples from Sam's Club. was bruised beyond use. I couldn't even cut off the bad parts to use the good for baking they were so far gone.
4. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?

This year I only bought one thing online and it was from this etsy store. The Plum Pin Cushion she makes beautiful stuff. You really should go check it out. The rest of my gifts were purchased from home show businesses like Pampered Chef, Usbourne books, and Scentsy.

5. Amaryllis-snowdrop-poinsettia...your favorite winter blossom?

Amaryllis, I have fond memories of getting it as a bulb and watching it grow during the Christmas season. Something about watching a beautiful bloom come to life in the middle of the snow is amazing. Although for that reason I guess I sort of like all of them.

6. What is one thing on your personal Christmas wish list? I think we all want peace on earth so let's make this answer an actual item.

My Christmas wish is to know when and if we are EVER going to leave Vegas.... ever.

7. If you could only use one word today what would it be?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

P-nut has been sick with one of her signature raging fevers. Nighttime is long.....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wed-nes-day Hodgepodge

How many of you still sometimes say wed-nes-day that way when you are spelling it? I do.

1. Do you send Christmas cards? If so about how many will you send this year? How do you display the cards you receive? Or don't you? (gasp!)

Yes! I love sending and receiving cards. I tend to go the traditional card route with a picture and a letter enclosed. I will probably send about 150 depending on when I have spent my budget. I love displaying the cards that we receive however I have a hard time with how. I just haven't found a way that is perfect to me.

2. When do kids become adults?

Legally at 18, historically at 13-15 (scary to think about now isn't it?) in a mothers eyes never.

3. Does your 'beauty regimen' change with the seasons?

Yes and no. Bwahahaha I love ambiguous answers. I have horrid skin, it seems to be breaking out more as I get older not less. So I have been changing to a new "solution" about every 4-6 months, which is pretty much with the seasons. I just started a new one that is cleansing with oil. I actually love it so far. I can't say that it is working any better or worse than any of the other 57 (yes I've counted) things I've tried but for some reason I feel better about it than I have in a while.

4. What's something you like to eat that might cause another person to turn up their nose?

On a regular basis? V8, or grits. At Christmas I crave vienna sausages, microwaved and put on warm rolls. Really strange considering I am not a fan of hotdogs or any other chopped and packed meat. But it's what we ate every Christmas morning when we had Christmas with my Dad's family. So I think about it a lot this time of year,

5. Gloves or mittens?

Neither. I hate them both, if I HAVE to pick it would be gloves. But I don't need them here in the desert and I barely used them in the snowy skiing type town I grew up in.
6. What's the longest queue you've ever been in? Was it worth it? Queue=line but doesn't queue sound nicer?

I love the word queue. I miss hearing it. Other than the fact that it was at 2:00 in the morning I actually enjoyed the line I waited in in Kohl's on Black Friday. The people around us were nice and fun and it made the hour long wait seem much better.

7. Besides Christmas, what is one thing you are looking forward to in the month of December?

Seeing my family. As a military family I rarely have the chance to attend large family gatherings and this year I will get to see a lot of cousins who I haven't seen in a while. Some just a few years, one family more than 12.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Two things, one was that I spent the month of November starting each day with something I was thankful for and posting it on Facebook. It was an amazing experiment, it really helped me to start each day out on the right note by looking at my blessings instead of the issues I anticipated. It was awesome.

The second is, I have started another blog dedicated to the interesting things that my kids say, I have started adding things from other kids, it's cute and funny, and since I'm being honest sometimes a little shocking. Feel free to head over there for a giggle and also to submit any kid-ism's you may have, the more the merrier.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Hodgepodge

1. Let's start with something controversial...dressing or stuffing? What's it called at your house and what's included in your recipe...cornbread? oysters? sausage? chestnuts?

I call it stuffing but I never ever stuff it into the bird. My recipe is a basic cornbread and herb that has been in my family for YEARS.

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?

Everyone. I am a comparer and frequently find myself lacking. I'm working on it, but it is a huge struggle for me.
3. When were you last inside an airport?

When the whole family was coming home from a Spring Break trip to South Carolina. The trip home was good, but the trip there was an....adventure.
4. What is one side dish that absolutely must be included in a turkey dinner?

See question 1. Stuffing, absolutely without a doubt. I could go without anything else but just stuffing and turkey.
5. What Christmas song do you dread hearing?

Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer..... my husband loves it.... I hate it.
6. If someone approaches you and asks for money do you give it to them? Do you drop money 'in a tin cup' that belongs to a person on the street? Do you have a specific charity you support during the holiday season and/or year round?

Sometimes, it will depend on where they are, and how often I see them there and how they ask and what I have. I also have given food and other stuff too. I support Salvation Army, and usually the Angel Tree program, and the Shoeboxes that get sent to Africa. We also usually adopt an Airmen who cannot get home to be with family.
7. Share a favorite Thanksgiving memory. If you live in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving share a favorite memory associated with food.

I loved the fancy Thanksgivings that we had with my Dad's family when I was growing up. Something about being trusted with china and crystal at the age of 6 makes you feel really special and important.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

So many thoughts so little time. :-) We are hosting a multi family Thanksgiving dinner here this year. I am not very stressed at all and that is sort of scaring me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Give it up or not Hodgepodge.

1. What song reminds you of a specific time in your life and what is it about that song that makes you remember? I identify strongly with music, it takes very little for a song to take me to another place in time. The hardest part of this is going to be picking just one song. So I will go with the one that has been in my head for the last couple of weeks and will probably stay there for a long time. I sang this song as a part of my Universities Choral Christmas program which is amazing and this song has the ability to transport me to a calm and peaceful place.

2. What's something you've given up on? Something I have given up on? Do I want to answer this one with a joke or with something serious? Ok, for the joke, I have given up on sun tanning. Actually I should have given this up years ago. Beyond the fact that it is not healthy for you at all. I am very Nordic in my coloring, so it really is a bad plan for me. If it isn't fake my color is either white or red.

For something serious I have given up on. I have given up on being in control of my life. Between the knowledge that I need to let God be in charge and the reality that my life is controlled by the military I have had to let go of that need to be in charge.

3. What's something you'll never give up on?

Family, and the friends who are like family. I will never let them go and I will never let them give up on themselves.

Health, I will never give up on my health and doing what I can to take care of that as best I can.

4. If you had to cook something from scratch in the next hour what would it be?

Let's see I currently have the ingredients for potato soup, spaghetti bolgonaise, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, chicken and rice casserole, peanut butter balls, and I think that's it that would count as from scratch. If I had to choose one to make right now it would probably be potato soup.
5. Have you started Christmas shopping? Decorating? Listening to Christmas music?

Started? I'm pretty much finished. I still need a few things to finish the girls gifts but that is pretty well done. I also will have a few gifts for random things like white elephant exchanges and gift exchanges with friends, but I am done with everything else. Decorating? Nope, I refuse to until after Thanksgiving. I love fall decorations. Listening? Same as before, one holiday at a time here.
6. What do you know about your parent's wedding?

With my Father and Mother. I know where it was held, I've been there, I know what they wore and who was in it. I know how long after they met that they had it. I love to look at the pictures and hear the stories. I am a sucker for weddings and would listen to the stories all the time.

With my Mom's current husband, I know everything about it, I was in it. I helped to plan parts of it. So that's easy.

7. I can't believe I ___________________.

.... don't have ANY pictures of just DH and I together with him in his uniform since our first date. Yes you read that right. So I think that is something that needs to be fixed.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

I read this on Pinterest the other day and I love it.

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway. - Blessed Mother Teresa

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meal Plan Monday - Fall is Finally Here

This week is all about easy to prepare, warm, comforting foods. However my goal is to make sure that it is healthy instead of starting to pre-pack on the holiday pounds. I attempted to start couponing this week. Well let me tell you, it was a failure. I managed to save $40 according to my receipt, however I spent twice as much as I have been spending per shopping trip, so I am thinking that maybe I need to just keep up what I am doing.

So here are the meals in no particular order, mostly. We have a busy weekend with 5 extras so those meals are specifically set aside for that day.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
Green Beans

Peppercorn crusted pork loin
Glazed Carrots

Whole Wheat Spaghetti
Marinara Sauce
Garlic Bread
Stuffed Quesadilla's

Chili Dogs
Sweet potato Fries

Grilled Cheese
Vegetable/Tomato Soup

What's on the menu at your house this week? What's your favorite fall meal?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


1. Who taught you how to cook?

My Mom. I love to cook and bake and I'm a pretty good one if I do say so myself.

2. Have you been told you think too much? Are too much of a perfectionist? Are too sensitive? Were they right?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Well sort of I think that I think things through and expect them to be done correctly if at all possible and that I have a soft side, but I don't think I am TOO any of those things any more than my brother is TOO adventurous or my husband is TOO friendly. It is just a part of what makes each of us ourselves.

3. As a child did you have a favorite blanket or toy? Tell about it.

As a young child I had a yellow blanket named DD. Actually I still have it, it's in a box of childhood memories up in the top of my closet.

4. What 'institution' do you have the most faith in?

Institution? Ummmm I'll think about it and if I come up with something edit later. Perhaps it is the lack of caffeine at this early time of the morning but I can't think of any institution that I have a great amount of faith in right now. I have a lot of faith in people and their desire for the best for themselves and those they care about and I have Faith.

5. Chrysanthemums-pansies-burning bush-ornamental cabbage...your favorite in an autumn garden?

Mums. Mostly because I have never had any other others in a fall garden. Pansies say spring to me, but something about a thick group of rust and gold chrysanthemums makes me thing of Fall every time.

6. What superpower do the kids in your neighborhood seem to posses?

Well, they are all pretty good at falling and getting right up again. We have a large number of kids who have some gracefulness issues, but it never stops any of them, they just bounce right back up and keep playing. Oh that and they all seem to possess louder than normal voices. My own children might be the worst in this group.

7. Are you a fan of the cranberry?

Yes! I love cranberry, juice, sauce, compote, jelly, bread, dried. Yum!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Every random thought I have right now is too grumpy to share with the world. I really should try and do Hodgepodge at night when I am in a better mood. :-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thoughtful, Tearful Hodgepodge

1. What gives you goosebumps?

An amazing piece of music. There is something about the way a complex chord sounds when sung by an amazing choir that will give me goosebumps no matter what. This song is one of my favorites for that purpose it is beautiful and powerful and the bass' part makes me shiver.

2. Halloween-are you a lover or a hater? Okay, that sounds harsh...Halloween-yay or nay?

Honestly, I'm ambivalent. I grew up in a house where we didn't celebrate Halloween, and I didn't miss it or feel like there was something wrong with not being a part of it. My husband loves it so our girls celebrate, but it isn't something I care too much about one way or the other. If he didn't love it so much I probably wouldn't bother.

3. Can you respect someone you do not trust, and can you trust someone you do not respect?

Yes, I can respect someone I do not trust. I feel like respect is a decision you make about a person where as trust is something that is more emotional and long term. I respect people in authority over me, but I weigh what they say and make my own decisions based on what is best for me and not what they say. When I trust someone it means that I don't question what they say or their motives.

4. Apples or oranges? Yes, you have to choose.

Apples absolutely. I love to eat apples; fresh, cooked, whatever. Oranges I like but not that much.

5. What is something you wish was in your town? (shop, restaurant, attraction, etc)

Chick-Fil-A I went from Georgia where there was one on every corner to Las Vegas where the nearest one is 5 hours away. I actually have asked my brother to pick some up on his way out of town to bring me when he visits.

6. What non-food item is in your refrigerator or freezer?

An adorable set of Super Hero glasses we have chilling for beer. About 8 ice bags for my husbands recent surgeries. And alcohol that has been left at our house when people PCS.

7. Are you at all superstitious?

Nope, I can never remember what most of them are anyway.
8. Insert your own random thought here.

This came across my Facebook newsfeed today. It is moving and so true so I thought I would share.

Military Man's Promise: I cannot promise you every night of my life. I cannot promise to be beside you for every difficult moment, every trial, and every hardship. In truth, I can promise you that I will not be with you for most. I will leave you at inconvenient times. Any special date to us may be tainted with the anniversary of the death of one of my friends. I will ask you to take over whatever life we have built together for months and years at a time. And will then crash back into that life that you have used your sweat, your tears and your heartache to keep together, and try to take it back as I knew it before. I will shut you out at times because it will be the best way for me to hold it together at that moment. I will lie to you. I will tell you I don't know things when I do. I will not always tell you where I am going, when I will be back, or who I am with. I may not call you for weeks and months and you will not be able to call me. You will ask questions that I won't answer. You will know answers to questions that you will hope you never need. I will share things with my brothers that you will never understand. They will know things about me that you never will. They will be a support to me in some things that you cannot be. I will miss birthdays. I will miss anniversaries. I may need time to process things that seem natural to everyone else. It will seem that someone - or something - will always take precedence over you. You may lose me long before you ever thought possible. I will uproot you and ask you to re-establish our family anywhere in the world, in any season, at any time - over and over again. Sand and mud will be tracked through your halls from the boots I am too tired to take off. I will leave you when you beg me not to. I will stand at attention while you cry beside me. I will not turn my head and I will walk away. I will knowingly break your heart. And I will do it again - and again. I cannot promise you all of me. I cannot promise you much of anything. But if you will have me, I can promise that as I march away from you, it is not without sharing your heartache. I promise you that every time I break your heart I will be breaking mine. Every time that I cannot answer you I will be protecting you. Whenever you want to call and you have no number to dial, I will be wanting to do the same. I will protect everything that we have created together with every fiber of my being while you do the same back at home. I will honor you in everything - every moment that we are apart and every moment that I am with you. I will fight harder and push further knowing that I do so for you. And I will carry you with me in everything, until my sandy boots once again sit just inside our door.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's the Busiest Time of the Year!

       Oh my goodness what a weekend it has been. I keep thinking that things are going to get better before they get worse. I love the holiday season but sometimes the constant go, go, go that it brings with it can really wear a person out.
       This weekend we kicked off our holiday season with four, yes four Halloween/Fall Festivals. Two of them were school carnivals and they were packed. The girlies loved every second of them even with the zoo that they were. They both loved playing all of the carnival games that were set up. P-nut was especially proficient at the ring toss games, and won some pretty amazing prizes. AJ was great at the skill games like bowling. Face painting was another favorite as were the balloon animals. Today we went to a kids party for my husbands squadron. That was an adventure to say the least they had it set up half inside and half outside on the lawn. The automatic sprinklers kept turning on, soaking all of the kids in their Halloween costumes and causing mass panic. Tonight was interesting, it was time for the Junior High Youth at my church to have a costume party and carve pumpkins. Surprisingly enough it was not nearly as scary as it sounded. The Youth were great, there were no problems, and the pumpkins turned out great.
       Next weekend we have more Halloween plans including a birthday party which should be lots of fun. Then some Trick-or-Treating on Monday night. After Halloween the festivities really start. I am hosting Thanksgiving this year for the first time all by myself and it is starting to panic me a little, so I am sure you will be hearing all about that as time goes on.
       Time for bed with a good book and a nice tall icy glass of water. Night all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Caramel Hodgepodge.

1. How do you typically react in a sudden, extreme, pressure-filled crisis? Would we want you nearby in an emergency?

I am generally really calm and logical in the face of emergency. However I don't feel like I have many special skills that would be helpful. So I would not be running around like an idiot or having a panic attack but I still could not give medical care or use the physical strength to do something impressive.

2. Caramel apple-caramel sundae-caramel corn-caramel macchiato...of the four, which Carmel treat would you choose?

When I was pregnant with my oldest I was the most frequent customer at the Baskin Robins on Lakenheath. My sundae of choice was a caramel sundae with nuts. I love caramel corn but it isn't something I buy often. I am dying to try the new Salted Caramel Frapp at Starbucks. I guess the only one that isn't a favorite for some reason or another is caramel apples and that is just because I hate how awkward they are to eat.

3. Is there such a thing as destiny? Explain.

Yes, I believe that God has a plan for our lives, something that each person was born to do. I also believe that we are able to make choices that will ultimately effect that destiny.

4. What's your favorite piece of furniture? I'm referring to something currently in your possession as opposed to something on your wish list.

Our new mattress. It is the first one we have ever owned that doesn't make my back hurt in the middle of the night.

5. Wednesday night marks the start of the 2011 Baseball World Series. Did you know? Do you care? Will you be watching? Ever been to a professional baseball game? If you're not an American do you find the title 'World Series' annoying or amusing?

Yes I knew, no I haven't been watching much baseball this season. I used to keep very close track of baseball but it has sort of gone by the wayside with the birth of my children (hockey too) I love going to professional games. I have been to multiple Arizona Diamondback Games, and a few of the games for the Las Vegas 51's (a minor team that feeds the Dodgers)

6. A sound that takes me back to my childhood is____________.

This is a hard one. I would have to say that classical music played on a record is a common sound from my childhood.

7. On average, once you've linked your hodgepodge post to mine how many other participant blogs do you visit? Do you ever come back to the Hodgepodge later in the day or even the day after to read posts?

I try and visit every single one, so an average of 40 I think. Some weeks I am better about commenting than others. I usually visit as many as possible on Wednesdays and then come again on Saturday to see what I missed.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have a new favorite fingernail polish color. It's Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Gunmetal. It's a great fall neutral. And I've added a link to the color and a quick pic of my toes and nails so that you can see what it looks like.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


1. Have you ever been 'asked' to report for jury duty? Were you chosen to serve? If not, were you happy or disappointed?

Yes, but I couldn't actually report. The only time I have been sent the letter was when we were stationed in England. So I made a call and told them that I was a military wife stationed overseas and that I would be unable to come.

2. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very), how mechanically inclined are you? Give an example to back up your answer.

I would say that I am a 7. I am more mechanically inclined than your average person, but I am no where near as good as my brother. He can just look at something and somehow he knows how it's made. Or he can think of something and somehow know the best way to build it.

3. Beets-cabbage-cauliflower-butternut squash....of the four, which is your favorite fall vegetable?

Cauliflower is my families favorite. The girlies will request it once a week or more. Personally my favorite is butternut squash, it is so yummy and so versatile. Stuffed Squash, roasted squash, squash pasta, squash enchiladas. Yummmm.

4. What do you recommend to overcome self-pity?

A good healthy dose of perspective. There is a quote that says "If we all threw our problems into a big pile, we would quickly grab back our own after we say what everyone else was struggling with." Self-pity comes from a place of entitlement, when you say that you deserve something more, better or different. What we need to remember is that life isn't perfect and God never promised that. What he did promise was to be with us along the way, and if we have God with us there is no room for self-pity.

5. Do you enjoy classical music?

I adore classical music. I listen to it almost as often as I do any other style of music except children's music, which seems to be everywhere with the 4 yo and the 6yo making the choices.
6. October is National Book Month...what's on your reading list this month?

Let's see, so far I have read Emma, Little House in the Big Woods (with the girls of course), two regency romance trilogy's by Julia Quinn, one by Catherine Coulter. I plan on reading some history books on Organized Crime, and if it ever comes in on the Library waiting list I want to read The Help.

7. What is your idea of 'cute'?

Hmmm, I think that is children being children. I love seeing kids who are allowed to explore and learn about the world and express themselves in their own special way. It almost always ends up being cute.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Not much today, nothing interesting or profound. Just the normal stuff, dentist, school, cleaning...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Zion National Park

Meal Plans haven't even been thought about yet this week. I usually get all of that together over the weekend and finalized on Sundays so that I don't need to do any shopping during the week. However since I was having an amazing time camping with my family and friends my meal plans are currently non-existent. The plan for today is to take stock of what we have in the house and to make plans from that. So when I do finally share them with you it will be a bunch of pantry and leftover style meals.

Now on to the fun part of this post. My camping trip this weekend. My family and three of my neighbor families (14 total people and 3 dogs) went to Zion National Park for a weekend away. I had an amazing time. It was so wonderful to get away from the desert that is Las Vegas and see some soaring sandstone cliffs and trees. For those of you that don't know I am from Northern Arizona so that type of natural surrounding is what I grew up with and what I am used to. We did some hiking trips with just our little family and some with the large group and enjoyed both times. I saw some wonderful wild life and landscapes all while filling my lungs with clean fresh air. There really aren't words to describe how beautiful it was so I'll just share some pictures.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Family Fun Friday!!! Camping Edition

I am so excited .We are taking a family and friends camping trip this weekend. We are going with three other families that live in our neighborhood, well actually we almost all live on the same tiny cul-de-sac. Preparing for this trip has been interesting. DH and I haven't been camping together except for once on an ITT trip that he had to drive for when we were in England. I love to camp but DH says that he camps out enough when he is deployed he doesn't want to do it while he is home. So I think I am more excited than the girlies, which is hard, because they are thrilled.

The prep for this has been funny, DH's packing list is this; sleeping bag, baby wipes, MRE's, underwear. That's all he thinks we will need. I have added; tent, hot dogs and s'mores, some pre-made snacks, change of clothes, flashlights, cooking stove, WATER.... LOL. No wonder he doesn't ever want to go camping. If we camped his way it would be seriously roughing it.

Because of some other stuff that came up this week I didn't get to pre-make anything so I am rushing around today packing, baking, and doing the last minute shopping. Hopefully I don't forget anything, but I have my handy dandy packing list. Gotta love preparation by list.

Have a fabulous weekend, I can't wait to share my pictures with you come Monday.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gingered Pork Tenderloin

My Mom made this pork tenderloin one year for Easter and I fell in love with it. It is an easy and very impressive recipe to prepare. My favorite way to serve it is with mixed roasted veggies on the side. I will usually put one 9x13 pan with the pork next to another 9x13 pan with the veggies. Tonights vegetable combo was cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potato.

2 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin
1/8 tsp. dry mustard
1/8 tsp. thyme
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 gloves garlic, minced
2 T. fresh ginger, minced

3/4 cup ginger preserves (I couldn't find these. used apricot instead)
2 T. dry sherry
1 T. soy sauce

Rub meat with mustard powder and thyme. Place in a non-reactive dish and add 1/2 c. sherry, 1/2 c. soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Coat the loin well. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

NEXT DAY: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place loin with liquid in oven uncovered. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Baste occasionally while cooking.

SAUCE: Meanwhile, heat preserves with sherry and soy sauce over medium heat until melted. Reduce heat to low and simmer. Pour over loin when it's done.

NOTES: I usually don't measure the mustard and thyme I just sprinkle it lightly over the outside.

Sometimes I don't remember to make the sauce. It's still amazing without it.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nostalgic Hodgepodge.

1. What's your favorite meal to serve on a chilly autumn evening?

Chili, hands down. I love a lot of warm comfort foods, but I love chili.

2. Are you a creature of habit? Explain.

I most definitely a creature of habit, it might border on OCD, but I choose to ignore the possibility that it would. An example for you. When I make my water bottles for the day or working out I put in 10 ice cubes, not 9, not 11, exactly 10. I can't stop myself from doing this. I have showered in the exact same order for at least 10 years, I can't change it and I don't want to.

3. What food product (no longer readily available) do you remember and miss from days gone by?

This is really hard. I didn't eat many packaged food products growing up, my Mom was a part of the organic natural co-op movement long before it became mainstream. My favorite childhood food that I don't eat anymore is whole wheat carob chip cookies. Another favorite was getting to eat pieces of honeycomb.

4. What's something you've lost that you've never been able to find? Any theories as to what happened?

I don't know. Hmmm. I'm sure I lost a ton of things when I was younger I was one of those "clean by shoving things under the bed" type of kids. Now I rarely lose things. At least I rarely lose things that I don't find again.

5. Zoo~circus~ carnival...your favorite?

Zoo, but only if it is a good one where the animals look happy and well treated. When they are in cages that are too small or in climates that are unnatural for the animals I just want to cry.

6. What song makes you feel instantly happy?

Vivaldi's Gloria.... the whole thing.

7. To what extent are you an argumentative person?

I HATE it when people talk down to me. I tend to argue a lot when people try to act like they are know-it-alls or when people talk to me like I must be stupid because I am a stay at home mom. Other than that I am a pretty easy going person and will do a lot of bending to avoid an argument.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Family camping trip to Zion National Park this weekend. So very excited. I just hope that the rain stops before we get there.

Teaching Tuesday

After some really bad issues with the pre-school where P-nut was attending DH and I decided that it was time for us to pull her out and do pre-school at home. I have been enjoying my little bit of time to myself to get things accomplished each week, but those few hours are not worth the way that things were being done in the pre-school. So time to go into Mommy-teacher mode and start finding lesson plans.

Thank goodness for Pinterest and all of the wonderful things that my friends are pinning. I was led to this website with free downloadable pre-school lesson plans. Amazing! They are colorful, fun, and comprehensive. Covering so many different skills that are important for pre-schoolers to learn. I absolutely love what is provided. It will help make this transition so much easier.

Our first week of lessons will be the Camping theme. So exciting. I thought that bringing it together with our family vacation this week would help to make the lesson more interesting for Paige and more relevant to what is going on where we are. We have done the first few lessons and she is loving them. We also found some books at our local library that are camping related that I am reading to P-nut as well as having AJ read to her, so that the whole family is involved.

Wish me luck as I re-configure our whole schedule to accommodate this new development in our lives. I think that it will be a lot of fun to spend the schooling time with her this year.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meal-Plan Monday

Happy October to you all! It's Monday and time for some meal plans. This week will be a little less interesting than the others since we are headed out for a camping trip this weekend and our food plan for that is..... well you'll see.

Crock-Pot Zucchini Ziti
Grilled Steak


WednesdayGinger Soy Pork Roast
Roasted Veggies

Baked Potatoes

Dinner on the Road

Saturday MRE's...

Sunday MRE's

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nutty Hodgepodge

1. It is officially fall here in North America...I realize not everyone who participates in the Hodgepodge lives in North America but if you do, what's your favorite memory of Summer 2011? If you're not in North America, what's your favorite memory of the season just ending on your side of the world?

My favorite memory of this summer, that's actually hard, we didn't do any huge things just a lot of fun normal family stuff which is a great memory in and of itself. DH was deployed last year so he missed most of our normal summer activities so seeing him there with us and enjoying his girls is my best memory of all.

2. Your favorite nut? You know I mean the edible kind, right?

Pecans. I love most other nuts, don't get me wrong, but I ADORE pecans. Plain, candied, in baking, on salads. I used to love getting boxes of pecans from my Grandmother in the mail from her trees. Last fall the girls and I were visiting when the trees ripened and we got to help pick/gather the pecans and it was so much fun. When we live somewhere long enough to benefit from the tree I will be planting a pecan tree in my own yard.

3. What activity puts your sense of balance to the test?

Yoga, I am trying to do more yoga and Pilate's style exercises recently and I am finding that they really test my balance. I have been doing cardio and weight training for a long time, and using balance balls and bosu ball for that so my core strength is pretty good, but I am finding that contorting my body while needing to balance is more difficult than I thought it would be.

4. How would you describe your sense of humor?

Sarcastic, and dry. I am not a fan of most of the modern comedy shows, they are too sexual, overt or just plain stupid for my taste.

5. September 28th is National Ask a Stupid Question Day...what's your stupid question?

Why is it that you can get mutts (cross breeds) with dogs, cats, and horses; but not snakes, whales, birds, or any other animal?

6. Roller skates~hula hoop~jump rope...which activity would you most enjoy? Yes, you have to choose.

I would have to say jump rope. Mostly because it is the only one I can still do with any hint of skill. I could probably re-gain my skill in roller skating if I tried, and I had a friend suggest I take up roller derby as a sport, so you never know.

7. What's your most sentimental possession?

That's hard. I am not an incredibly sentimental person when it comes to possessions. I have things from Grandparents who have passed away, I have things from my Dad before he died. I also have mementos from both of the girls births and my wedding. But if it all came down to a fire there isn't any one thing I would risk my life to save, it is all just stuff in the end.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I think that I am going to get certified to teach in Nevada starting next year when the P-nut is in school. I am not sure if it is what I want to do with my life forever, but I no longer feel panic when I think about walking back into a classroom after 8 years. Now that the girls are older I am remembering why I love teaching and I am pretty sure that I am ready to do it again. The good thing is that at least I have decided what I want to do when I go back to work when the girls are in school, which is much further along than I was even 6 months ago.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Menu's

I am starting to make the switch over to Fall food this week and I am trying out all new recipes. So this next couple of weeks will be an adventure. I can't wait though.

Grilled Mozzarella Cheese
Tomato Basil Soup

Pizza Casserole

Soy-Ginger Pork Tenderloin
Roasted Veggies and potatoes

Crock Pot Tika Masala

Sweet Potato Fries
Carrot and Celery Sticks

Corn Bread

Crock-Pot Baked Potatoes
Leftover Chili

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


1. Do you like chili? Red or white? Beans or no beans? Spice or no spice? Toppings? Yes!! I love chili in all of its forms, I love a good basic red with just beans and beef and spice, I love the veggie full chili that people make. I love white chili. I like mild chili with a lot of depth of flavor and a good chili that is so hot it makes you cry. I just really love chili. My favorite topping in sour cream or plain yogurt which tastes about the same and is much better for you. (plus the yogurt helps you with the digestion so less chili type issues)

2. Red~Orange~Gold...your favorite fall color? In decorations? Orange it is so warm and vibrant at the same time. In clothing Red, it's the only one of those three I can wear with any luck. On trees Gold, probably because that's the only color the trees in my hometown turn, but the Aspen are amazing.

3. Who did you idolize when you were growing up? Honestly I don't remember. How's that for an answer. I cannot remember ever saying "when I grow up I want to be just like __________" I adored old movies and the movie stars of the 40's and 50's, which could explain my love of style from that era. Also my Mom had a coffee table book about Diana Princess of Wales that I loved to look at.

4. When was the last time you did something 'arts and craftsy'? Share please. I am a crafty person, I love to do crafts. I have made bracelets and anklets for the girls this week, also hairbows for some people. I need to make a fuse on design shirt so that I can teach a friend how. I want to make a fall wreath. I am loving the time I spend on pinterest which is basically like an internet version of a corkboard to store ideas. Oh and does spending 30 min a morning doing fun hairstyles on the 6 year old count as an artsy crafty thing? I've been doing that too.

5. What's a place that makes you really nervous? Parking lots at night. The neighborhood around the Air Force base where I live (nothing like armed robberies and shootings to make you feel safe). And last but not least, large crowds where I don't know anyone.

6. Horse back riding...yay or nay (neigh?) Neigh, I've spent most of my life highly allergic to horses, my girls have to shower and change clothes before I touch them if they go. I wish it was a yay though. A lot.

7. What is your favorite cliche? Home is where the heart is. Because this is so true for me. I feel at home where my family and friends are. Places are beautiful, but people are what matters.

8. Insert your own random thought here. I've been cooking some this week so hopefully I can get some recipes up tomorrow. As long as I find the time to get it all set up in blog style. The plan is to do Sour Cream Enchiladas with some variations and Stuffed Manacotti or Large Shells. Yummy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fall is here! Hodgepodge.

1. What do you do at the first sign of a cold? Will you get a flu shot this year?
     I take a ton of vitamins, and drink hot liquids and then get on with my life. I've always found that the more I lay down the worse I feel. The only exception to this was when I got H1N1 2 years ago. I spent 3 days with a fever of at least 104, the whole time is a blur. I NEVER want to feel that way again. So I never got the flu shot before but I do now.

2. What advice can you give about how to conquer fear?
     Remember that fear is not from God. That God has not given us a spirit of fear but of a sound mind. Fear and worry are both things that we feel when we tell God that we think that He is not in control and that we want to be in charge because we think that we can do better. I try to confess my fears and worries and give them back to God, because the reality is that He is sovereign no matter what.

3. Share two good things about your life right now.
     Yesterday was my 8th wedding anniversary. So that's pretty awesome, especially with DH in a squadron with an 80% divorce rate.
     The other good thing is that I am doing a lot of learning type reading. I love to read, but I am rediscovering the love of reading for learning purposes.

4. A hot fall fashion trend in 2011 is a return to sixties style...tunics with pants, shift dresses, pencil skirts, cinched waists, bold prints, high necklines and short lengths to name a few. How does this fashion trend fit with your wardrobe and personal sense of style?
     I am a huge fan of the clothing styles of the late 50's and early 60's, so some this move towards the late 60's is making me a little sad. I like pencil skirts and cinched waists, but the prints, and short stuff is not me at all.

5. Were you involved in scouting as a kid? How about as an adult?
     I was a Cub Scout.... sort've. I was in the Girls Scouts for a while but didn't enjoy it. When my brother joined the cub scouts my whole family got involved and I went to all of the meetings, I memorized all of the stuff, I did everything to earn all of the patches, I went on the trips. I really enjoyed that a lot. My involvement stopped when my Dad died when I was 13.

6. Apple, pear, plum, pumpkin...your favorite fall flavor?
     Oooo it's a tough call between Apple and Pumpkin.

7. What characteristics do you think are essential in a good teacher?
     I think that a love for learning and the desire to share that is the most important quality for a teacher to have. I am not a fan of the new move towards teachers being self-esteem builders, I think that there are ways to teach children in ways that they learn to love learning that doesn't sacrifice the actual learning of material.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
   I've been helping DH write a paper on the Navajo Code Talkers, and researching them. All I can say is that it is awesome and everyone should read something on this subject in their life.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Return of Wednesday Hodgepodge.

1. What is one piece of advice you would give a 'just turning' 21- year old adult? You don't have to know now who you will be in 20 years. Pick a career and lifestyle that fit who you are now and be ok with change when it comes along. If teaching is your thing now go with it, but don't be upset with yourself if you decide in 10 years that you would rather be an accountant.

2. Besides cooler weather (or warmer weather, depending on your hemisphere) what is one thing you are looking forward to this fall?
There isn't much beyond cooler weather I am looking forward to. Well no that's not true, but getting out of the 100-115* temps is going to feel absolutely amazing. The other things I am looking forward to are the girls both being in school and me getting to have some free time. I also am looking forward to working with the Junior High Youth at my church, that should be fun!

3. What sound lulls you to sleep?
Nothing, I am not a big sleeper. It takes me FOREVER to go to sleep once I am laying down at night. Although I am always sleepy when I am on an airplane, but can't sleep now that I have kids traveling with me.

4. September is National Preparedness Month...does your family have an emergency 'kit' and/or disaster plan in place?
Nope, well other than get out of the house in case of fire. We live in a small one story house with massive windows in each room. No snow, water, tornadoes, earthquakes, forest for a fire, so unless one of the jets accidentally bombs base housing (pretty unlikely) I don't feel very threatened, so I am totally unprepared. Perhaps I should change that.
5. How has your blog changed since you started blogging? Or has it?
I try to be more organized in my posting, I also have included more things other than just crafts and cooking. But not much because I don't do it that often so I haven't spent much time fine tuning.

6. What's something you've recently learned to do on the computer?
Nothing, but I really want to get photoshop and learn how to do that correctly and effectively.

7. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.
Well, maybe not always 1000, but usually at the very least 500. I think it depends on the picture and the words. Sometimes all you need is a couple words to say what I picture never could.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Time alone

Well it is the second Tuesday of the school year here and I am starting to figure out what to do with myself now that I have time alone. I don't have a ton of alone time since P-nut is only in school two days a week for a couple of hours, but in reality I haven't had this much consistant time to myself in almost 7 years. It is really strange to walk around by myself in the middle of the day. DH is really good about letting me get time when he is home, but when he is at work it just feels strange.

I think that one of my first changes will be to start going back to the gym during the time when P-nut is in school. I haven't been doing any weight lifting in a long time and I think that I really need to get back to that. I am still doing Zumba three times a week and I love it now as much as I did when I started. I am so excited that I found an exercise that makes me happy no matter what. I never don't want to go which is awesome.

So for my first fitness Tuesday back in the swing of things I am just going to challenge you to look at your routine and see what you love and what you've been neglecting. And then, fix it. Probably easier said than done, but do it anyway.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer's Over.

It seems like we just got started on summer and all of a sudden we are starting school. I had every intention of being really good at this blogging thing over the summer, of taking pictures of the fun things that I did with the kids and sharing the books I was reading with you. And I did NOTHING, nothing at all. I think it has been 2 months without a blog at all. So here is a quick rundown of what we did and didn't do. And by quick, I'm not kidding.

Reading - I read a lot. 7 books on the American Revolution, 3 on the Declaration of Independence, 5 on the Navajo Code Talkers, 3 on the Great Depression, 3 books by Louisa May Alcott, The Scarlet Pimpernell, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensability, as well as umpteen quick reading chick lit books. They were fun, I enjoyed it.

Summer "school" ~ DH totally got into the science thing. He had a blast going through the books with AJ and picking out experaments. The favorite was using baking soda and vinegar to blow up a balloon, and pickling an egg.

Family ~ DH had surgery on both hands/wrists within 3 weeks of eachother, so a lot of time was spent taking care of him and entertaining him when he got bored.

Trips ~ We took a couple of trips to see family and they were a ton of fun. The sad part was that we had to cancel our family trip to the CA beach because DH wasn't healed enough yet.

So that's about it, it was fun, I enjoyed it, but I am ready to get back into the swing of things.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summery Hodgpodgyness

1. Summer's here-whoohoo! What's your favorite sight, sound, AND smell associated with summer? I am not a summer person, and living here in the land of heat and tourists I have come to dislike it even more. I know that I am totally not in the majority opinion here so I will try to find things I like about it, just for you all. I will say that I love seeing happy children playing, and laughing. My favorite summer smell would be the grill.

2. Fireflies or lightning bugs...what are they called in your neck of the woods? They are called non-existent. There were no fireflies in my hometown and there are none where we live now.

3. What is something from the past week that reminded you of your childhood? Watching my girls stage an original performance with all of their dolls.

4. Define 'the good life'.  Living full of hope and love, surrounded by people who love you and knowing that God loves you.

5. Tell us what we'd see if you took a snapshot of your desk/work space? Right now. A camera, my husbands History book for the class he is taking, an issue of Real Simple, water and fat free refried beans with salsa.

6. Peaches or watermelon...yes, you have to choose. When we lived in the South, peaches without question. Here in this oasis of sin and debauchery, watermelon.

7. Ever been skinny dippin'? Is that too much for the Wednesday Hodgepodge? Rest assured we won't need details...unless of course you feel you must but remember, this is a family friendly blog so keep it G rated. Nope, I never had the opportunity, I never lived near water.

8. Insert your own random thought here. I realize I sound very much so like a Debbie Downer in this Hodgepodge, I really am just not a summer person, and I am not a Las Vegas person, and summer in Las Vegas, well it brings out the grump in me. Sorry.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Classics

I am a reader. I really absolutely love to read. I could go without tv, movies, internet and phone, but I would go absolutely crazy without my books. I read constantly and quickly so as a result of that my reading tastes are eclectic to say the least. I read mystery, romance ( although I am not a fan of too much smut), comedy, classics, history both fictional and non fictional, just about everything but sci-fi. I also tend to read each of my books multiple times to save money.

This summer I have decided to read classics. I have been neglecting them for a while in favor of Sookie (the Vampire series by C. Harris) so I feel like it is time to get back to them. Another reason I choose to go back to classics is that they are free or close to it through my Nook. I have been perusing the free and discounted titles and stocking up. As of right now I have more than 50 titles stocked up.

I have started with a book that I haven't read for more than 15 years. Little Women. I am loving it actually. It is amazing how much more enjoyable these books are now that I am reading them for fun. I'll keep you updated on my progress through the summer.

Something to talk about: What's your favorite classic? Why should I add it to my list?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mini-Diva Days of the Week

AJ, my oldest is out of school for the summer, P-nut will be starting pre-school next year. In the interest of both of them doing something productive over the summer I have been researching activities to keep their minds and bodies active and engaged. Go me! This is definitely a Domestic Diva type of activity. I had planned on doing things in a free form sort of fashion and letting the days guide themselves. Well I figured out this week that when we do that the days guide themselves no where. Even AJ asked me today if we could get on a schedule (yup, I have a 5 year old who loves schedules) So we sat down and listed all of the things that we wanted to accomplish and made a calender. It has the Days of the week for the Mini-Diva's in the house as well as a daily schedule of when we will accomplish these things.

So without further ado. The Mini-Diva Days of the Week.

Monday - Cooking/Art.
Tuesday - Handwriting Practice
Wednesday - Library/Reading
Thursday - Piano/Ballet
Friday - Sports/Science

So hopefully we have an great summer with some amazing fun for the girls and I. I can't wait to share some pictures with you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

First Day of Summer

Well here it is at least. Today is the first day that AJ will be out of school for the summer. According to her we have exactly 104 days of summer vacation. This isn't a number she choose because she counted, or someone told her. No it is because that is the number of days that the Phineus and Ferb song uses, so it must be true. If you haven't had the pleasure of watching Phineus and Ferb, here is the song for you.

I am excited for summer vacation this year because I have a lot of fun things planned for the girls including many inside activities. Wait, what's that, inside activities? Yes, you heard right. In case you didn't know we live in a desert. A so hot it will burn your toes through your sneakers if you step on the asphalt kind of desert. In less than a month we will be experiencing temperatures well about 110 and possibly above 120. So summer isn't the time for a lot of outdoor activities. We will however be making full use of any water we have available, for backyard sprinkler running, splash-pad playing and of course swimming. We are stocked up on sun screen and swimsuits.

So as we get ready I have been eagerly perusing the Internet for fun activities for kids to do indoors. I have also been talking with a neighbor that sells Usborne books and I have found a million things that I want to order from her. Ok, well maybe not a million but certainly a thousand. They have these amazing science sets that help you to teach basics science to young children which is great. They also have all sorts of how to books, and history books. My biggest problem will be choosing just a few.

I will be sharing all of my finds and fun with you, and my oopses too.  I hope that you see something that inspires you, even if you don't have kids, to make the most of summer. No matter ho many days it actually is.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Feeling a bit put out.

Today was apparently not my day. I really hurt myself tonight and I am hoping that it isn't a horrible injury and I won't be out of comission for too long.

I was getting changed for Zumba tonight and as I bent over my right knee cap rolled off to the side and popped out of place. This caused my leg to bed a little bit backwards and a little bit sideways to try and compensate. I will admit I was not a big girl about it I fell down and started screaming for DH to come and rescue me. He came in and it took a while to communicate what was wrong through the pain. Once he understood he popped the knee cap back where it needed to be.

Needless to say I did not go to Zumba tonight. I have been set up in bed first with ice and now with one of the cool water circulation machines. It doesn't hurt too badly anymore but I haven't tried moving. So I am layed up for at least the rest of the night.  I don't do layed up well. So I'm watching the History Channel and trying not to ask DH to go to the store for candy.


Tasty Thursday

Ahhhhh. Food. My love, my nutrition, my addiction. It is so funny that even though I love healthy food I cannot seem to break my addiction to junk. When I look at a bag of chips verses a plate of veggies I am more attracted to the veggies, I want the veggies, I know that they taste better and that I should be eating them. This isn't the problem. The problem is that I know all of that and then I reach for the chips. Smart huh? Yeah I know, not so much at all. It's sad really. I work so hard to break this habit, and I work so hard at being healthy and then I sabotage myself by eating junk food that I don't even like.

I don't have a recipe to share with you this week. I have been eating horribly the last few days. I don't want to share any of the recipes that I have used because they are so bad for you. It's sad really. I think I already said that, but it's true. It is sad because it is something that I know how to change and have to power to change and yet I still don't change it.

So where do I go from here? I WILL start to make better choices. I will choose to eat the food that is healthy for me. I will choose to eat the food that is more appealing to me. I will choose to stop finding ways to add junk into my diet. I feel better both physically and emotionally when I eat right, so now I just need to do it.

Wish me luck.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

And here it is again... Hodgepodge Wednesday

I always start the week off with good intentions and then poof, it's already wednesday again and I have neglected my blogging. Oh well, I guess it's better than neglecting my children.

1. Do you and your family enjoy camping? What do you enjoy most/like the least when it comes to family camping? When was the last time you camped? That's an interesting question for my family. I enjoy camping and my husband used to enjoy camping and we also used to go camping together. However my husband has desided that since he camps for 8 months every 10 (his deployment schedule) at a minimum he really wants to sleep in a bed and have running water when he is home. So my girls have never been camping.

The last time we went camping was on a trip to Wales for horseback riding. My husband was volun'told' to drive a large British Van full of gossiping women on this trip and that I could come along if I had to, Happy Anniversary, it was all the more ironic because I am deathly allergic to horses. But all in all it was an amazing trip and despite the incessant gossiping and cackling, and having to take tons of meds and avoid the horses, oh and the hairpin curves on one lane hedgerowed roads it was amazing. We both loved it.
2. Did you attend a summer camp when you were a kid? Is that a happy or not so happy memory? I attended church camps and those are happy memories.

3. Over the course of your life, what have you probably spent more time pondering than anything else? Now I will have Pinky and the Brain stuck in my head for the rest of the day. "Pinky are you pondering what I am pondering?"

As for the question. I don't know I never thought of it. Hmmmm.

4. Which of the seven natural wonders of the world would you most like to see? There are many lists of 'wonders' but this is the standard natural wonder list-Mount Everest, The Great Barrier Reef, The Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls, The Harbor of Rio de Janerio, Paricutan Volcano and The Northern Lights. Well since I grew up very close to the Grand Canyon and have been there too many times to count I don't think that I will exclude that one, although I love it there and will go back many times. I think that my choice for first place to visit would be a tie between the Great Barrier Reef and The Northern Lights. However before I head down under I would want to be SCUBA certified. So right this second I would go and see the Northern Lights.

5. What was your first real job? Babysitting. And I hate it when people tell me that this isn't a real job. I have done umpteen different jobs in my life and babysitting was the hardest. The first job I had to put in an application for, turn in pay cards and pay taxes on was also babysitting. I worked in a church nursery for 7 years, for many of those I worked there 6 days a week. I have also nannied, that's a job.

6. Lemonade or Sweet tea...which do you prefer on a hot summer day? Neither. I am NOT a fan of sweet tea although that fact constantly irks my very southern husband who likes his tea to taste like syrup. I prefer an herbal iced tea or a mint iced tea with no sweetener involved at all.

7. What is something that always brings a smile to your face? There are a lot of things that make me smile, but I would say the number one thing that I can always count on to warm my heart is my children. My girls amaze me and fill me with happiness and love. (most of the time, sometimes they make me want to run down the street and scream... aaaaahhhhhhh..)
8. Insert your own random thought here. My children are dressing me today, why oh why did I agree to this. So if you see me and I am wearing a formal dress and spike heels... that's why.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer time.... and the livin' is easy.

1. Have you ever been to the US capital-Washington DC? If so, what's your favorite site? If not, what would you most like to see on a visit to that city someday in the future? Is it even on your list of places to visit? I have been, I will admit that I didn't pay as much attention to things as I should have or enjoy it as much as I should have. But my favorite thing was the American History Museum portion of the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. I would love to go back to visit but it isn't high on my list right now. There are so many other places and so little time or money.

2. When did you last attend a wedding? Are there any weddings on your summer calendar? Were you a summer bride? If you're single, is summer the season of your dream wedding? The last wedding that I went to, it was my brothers wedding. 3 years ago this July. Wow time flies. I don't think that I have any weddings on my summer calender right now. Strange but true. I was a late summer/fall bride with a mid-September wedding. In Flagstaff that could be hot or freezing you never know.

3. What is your favorite way to eat strawberries? I have a lot of favorite ways. Dipped in dark chocolate (really dark) is way up there. Sliced on Angel Food cake with whipped cream, that's my birthday cake each year. Fresh picked is always a good one. I don't know which one I would say the best is though.

4. What is one thing you are especially looking forward to this summer? Finally losing the last of my depression/baby weight. I am so close to my goal and I have such a great support system here I think I will finally do it this year.

5. Do you use/like the self checker at the grocery store? Not if I can avoid it. I hate that thing.

6. Share a favorite piece of common sense advice. Wear Sunscreen! This advice is timely and useful. I am a very pale person so I need to follow this or I am a miserable dayglo red lobster person.

7. Barefoot, flip flops, tennis shoes, sassy sandals-your first choice for summertime? For many years I would have picked flip-flops or barefoot, but I am buying some killer summer wedges and sandals this year so I will definitely go with some sassy sandals. They are an instant pick me up on a bad day and make any outfit look like you tried a little harder.

8. Insert your own random thought here. I am a little, ok a lot disgusted with people right now. I live on a military base with a lot of parks for the kids to play in. There is a group of older kids who think that it is their job to trash the park at the end of our road at least once a month. They haul the large (8-12 in) river rocks over and throw them all over the equipment, they cover everything in the smaller landscaping rocks, throw the swings up where you have to climb to get them down and take all of the mulch from under the swings and put it all over every.single.surface. It takes forever to clean up, 8 adults over 45 minutes this weekend, and it is just outright disrespectful. After dealing with this for months we finally had someone see a small group of kids doing it, so when we started to clean up on Monday my husband went to talk to one of the parents and request that the kid help us clean. Nothing. The kid didn't have to help clean, didn't get in trouble, didn't have to apologise, nothing. The stuff they did this weekend damaged some of the equipment but no one is doing anything about it and it is driving me crazy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pot Stickers, a healthy version.

This is another recipe from my new cookbook. I am loving all of the things that I have tried so far and I have a list of over 100 recipes from the book that I am wanting to try. So that should keep this section of the blog going for at least the rest of the year. Although I will keep throwing out some of my families favorite foods and some things that I find from other locations.

Today's recipe is for Chicken Pot Stickers. It is a really easy basic recipe that I can already see a million variations for. So here it goes. I realize that this isn't the healthiest that these can get, but I know that they are much better than the pork stuffed with a zillion extra calories and preservatives type that you buy in the freezer section.

Chicken Pot Stickers.

2 T chili sauce (I left this part out of the girls sauce)
1 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 T Teriyaki Sauce
1 t rice wine vinegar
1 t peeled fresh diced ginger
pinch cayenne (again I left this out of the girls)

1/2 lb ground skinless chicken breast (I used turkey because that was what I had)
1/2 c finely shredded napa cabbage (sometimes labeled chinese cabbage)
1 scallion minced
2 t soy sauce (I used Bragg's Liquid Amino's)
1 t cornstarch dissolved in 2 t water
1/4 t mustard powder
1/8 t ground black pepper
20 (3 in square) wonton skins

4 t peanut oil
1 c chicken stock
1 t all-purpose flour
1 T toasted sesame seeds

1) To prepare sauce, in a small bowel, combine the chili sauce, cilantro, teriyaki sauce, vinegar, ginger and cayenne.

2) To prepare the filling, in a medium bowel combine the chicken, cabbage, scallion, soy sauce, dissolved cornstarch, mustard and pepper.

3) Cover the wontons with plastic wrap; have a small bowel of water near your work area. Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time, spoon 2 teaspoons of the filling into the center of each wonton skin. Moisten the edges with water; fold diagonally to form a triangle. Seal the edges, pressing out all the air. Repeat with the remaining wonton's and filling.

4) In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil until it is almost smoking. Place the dumplings in a circle in the skillet; reduce the heat slightly and cook until the bottoms are golden brown 5-7 minutes.
5) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Remove from the heat; sprinkle in the flour ans stir until dissolved. Pour the broth over the dumplings; cook, partially covered, until all of the liquid evaporates. Uncover and cook until the bottoms are crisp. Carefully loosen the dumplings with a spatula. Serve with sesame seeds sprinkled on top and sauce on the side.

DD's notes.

1) These are a pretty plain recipe, the flavor is in the sauce. The next time that I make them I think I will be mixing the ginger and cilantro into the meat mixture instead of just putting it in the sauce. I might also add some finely grated carrots.

2) This recipe is so easy to double it almost asks for it. Wonton wrappers are sold by the group of 50 in my grocery store, not 20, so I had plenty. I doubled this recipe and had enough filling to fill all 50 wrappers. I froze the second batch on a cookie sheet with parchment paper on top and then packaged into groups of 5-6. They cook from frozen exactly the same as fresh.

3) I made a lot more dipping sauce than it called for so that each person had their own mixture based on their individual taste.

4) While this is an easy recipe the wrapping of the dumplings takes a while. I spent roughly 30 minutes just on that part of the recipe. So make sure that you have the time to do that. I also folded the corners in so that the dumplings looked like an open envelope instead of leaving them in a triangle, I thought that they looked better that way, and that they took up less room in the pan.

5) The first time I made this I tried to use a pan that was too small and crowded them in. That was a BAD plan. They ended up all cooked into one huge mass. So when you cook them make sure that they aren't touching in the pan, it makes it a million times easier to get out at the end.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Red, White and Blue Hodgepodge

1. What is something about living in this country that you value? 'This country' is whatever country you call home. I value the freedoms that we have here, and the fact that we live in a nation that is dedicated to improving not only the lives of the people who live there but the people all over the world. I realize that often these goals are gone about in totally the wrong way, and often they are not met. But it is still an awesome thing to strive for.

2. What is a favorite something you own that is red, white and/or blue?  My favorite blue thing is my eyes. I love the color that they are, I think that they are awesome! I also love that they are the exact same shade as my mothers. We don't share many physical features so I love that we share this one.

3. Do you fly a flag at your house on patriotic holidays? Absolutely. We usually fly a flag at all times, however we need a new one so there is nothing up right now.

4. What ingredients do you think should be included in a great picnic basket? My personal ideal picnic basket would have a good loaf of bread, a variety of good cheese, and fresh fruit, with wine to drink.

5. What is one interesting piece of trivia you know? Interesting is of course a relative term. LOL, I am the Queen of random and interesting trivia. I don't know what piece to share with you today. Let's see, Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day.

6. Wednesday, May 24th is National Escargot day...have you ever tried them? Eww or ooh? Yes I have tried them, they are neither eww nor ooh to me. I wasn't grossed out by them, but I didn't love them. If I was served them again I would eat them, but I wouldn't bother ordering them in a restaurant.

7. What is one thing you know for sure? I know for sure that I am happy where I am in my life right now, and that is a blessing. I love doing what I do, and being who I am. I also know that this is a huge thing, I don't know many people who can say that with complete certainty so I am grateful for that.

8. Insert your own random thought here. I am not having any luck with a random thought today. That's strange, generally I am full of random thoughts. Oh, here is one. I really need to start crafting again. I think I shall design a new 4th of July shirt this afternoon.