Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just call me Betty...or Martha

Today was my first pumpkin baking extravaganza!  Ok...probably not a full on extravaganza, but I did spent a lot of time today in the kitchen baking with the orange, gooey deliciousness!

Mark made a special request for a pumpkin pie.  Nothing fancy...just a good 'ole pie!  And since I am such a loving wife...I marched over to the commissary, on pay day (ridiculous!), and purchased the items for the pie.

Then...I mixed it all up...
Poured it in the pie shell.  I cheated and bought a frozen one.  The fantastic crust making gene must have skipped me.  

And here is the finished product!  I'd say pretty good for a first time pumpkin pie maker.  And...the taste tester LOVED much that he is refusing to share!  I suggested he take it to work in the morning and that was an unacceptable suggestion.  He will be personally consuming the pie over the next few days, and then I will be producing a second pie! :)

The second pumpkin project today was pumpkin spice cupcakes with...

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing!  YUMMY!!!!!

These are absolutely ah-mazing, but unlike my husband...I WILL be sharing!  Tomorrow is Bunco night at a friends house and this is my contribution.  :)  Happy Fall Baking!  

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pumpkin Shortages!

Over the past couple of weeks I have been to 3 different stores searching for canned pumpkin and at each store there is a huge void where it should be!  I had a momentary panic....I love pumpkin everything this time of year and I had plans to make:
Pumpkin Spice cupcakes
Pumpkin muffins
Pumpkin whoopie pies
Pumpkin pie
Pumpkin pancakes
How in the world was I going to make all of this yummy goodness without pumpkin?  Well, I heard that there was a pumpkin shortage this year and that it would be weeks until any stores received any pumpkin.  So, I decided to head to the local farmers market...pick up some pumpkins...roast them...puree  the good stuff and then freeze it so that I would have it on hand when I need it.  Luckily, I stumbled on a stocked shelf full of pumpkin today at the store so I am good for the next couple of weeks.  Now, I have to decide what to make first!!!!  

Cheater Cinnamon Rolls

This morning we woke up with very little food in our fridge or pantry, so I put my creative juices to work and here is what I came up with...
1 can of low fat crescent rolls
1/2 stick of melted butter

I rolled the crescents out to make a sheet and squished all the perforations together.  I spread the melted butter over to cover the surface and then sprinkled with a healthy dose of cinnamon and sugar.  I'm not sure "healthy" was a good word, but sprinkle enough to make it super yummy!  Then, I rolled it up and sliced it to make mini cinnamon rolls.  While they were baking(for about 11 minutes), I whipped up some icing for the top.  
About 4 T. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
A little milk
Stir it up and...VOILA!

So delicious!!!!!  

Tomahawk Ball 2010!

Last night we had the 1-23 Infantry Ball.  It was lovely!  It is always fun to get dressed up and especially fun to see Mark in his blues!  Best outfit ever!!!!  I have made lots of great friends in the Battalion and it was a really fun night!  And...I got an award!  It was totally was the Commanders Award for Public Service.  I even got a medal!!! So, if I ever join the Army, I already have a medal!!!  Don't worry, that isn't happening.  Here are a few pics from the night...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Something to treasure

During our tour of Texas last month, we had the opportunity to go down to New Braunfels for a day to visit with my Grandad and eat some BBQ at Coopers(the BEST bbq I have ever put to my lips!).  I can still taste the yuminess as I type and think about it!  Our time together is so precious and we don't make it down there often enough. My Grandad and I are both into studying genealogy and he always has so much interesting information to share.  He is also a master woodworker.  Through the years he has blessed me with beautiful handmade furniture, that is replicated from old German furniture and also a coin bank with an old timey bank door on the front.  I noticed that he had a few of these coffee grinders on the buffet at his house. Of course I wanted to know who they were for and if I could have one.  They are gorgeous and unique!  Well, what do you the doorbell rang and this beautiful coffee grinder appeared!  It can also be used as a pepper grinder.  So cool!  I love it!!!!!  

Game Day Prep

The best part of waking up.....
is coffee in our game day mugs!!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

28 is GREAT!

Happy Birthday to me...and a Happy Birthday is was indeed!  I don't really feel any older than I did yesterday, so that is good!

The day started early with a surprise on the bathroom mirror.  Mark had written all his favorite things about me on the mirror for me to see!  I might never erase it.  Then, there was a sweet little note on the counter that he had left before he headed off to work.  After the Brigade Redeployment Ceremony, a few of my sweet girlfriends took me to lunch at one of my most favorite places in Washington...The Spaghetti Factory.  When I returned home I had the big surprise of the day waiting for me.....

The Favorites Game!  Mark had created a list of clues to lead me to a few of my favorite things...
Clue 1:  Led me to Sour Candy!
Clue 2:  Kettle Corn
Clue 3:  New Jeans!!!!
Clue 4:  Tickets to So you think you can Dance!
Clue 5:  Cheesecake Factory!

I think he knows me pretty well!  Is it bad that 3 out of 5 were food?!

All my goodies!

Happy Birthday Girl!

The perfect day was topped off with the perfect meal at the Cheesecake Factory with my almost "perfect" husband!  

I was also blessed with tons of Facebook messages, sweet phone calls from special friends and family, and several text messages!  Thanks everyone for making my day extremely special!!!!  

Welcome Home 3rd Brigade

This week is Arrowhead week and to kick it off was the Brigade Homecoming and flag uncasing ceremony.  It was a lovely ceremony minus the drizzly cold weather.  Here are a few pics from morning.
1-23 IN Tomahawks

Homemade Deliciousness

I love flour tortillas so much that I decided to try and make my own.  They must be better for you than store bought, because there are no preservatives.  It was actually really easy and pretty fun.  I used the recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  I chose to use crisco instead of lard for 2 reasons.  Even the word lard disgusts me and the commissary didn't have any.  I followed all of her tips and instructions except for the size.  I started with ping pong ball sized balls of dough, but the tortilla came out to be the size of the palm of my hand!  So, I put 3 ping pong balls together to make mine.  I think it made around 14 tortillas.  I can't remember and I didn't count.  

Silly Dog!

Exhibit 1:  Dixie with her new toy...approaching the play corner.

Exhibit 2:  Positioning the stuffed toy appropriately in corner.

I have yet to understand why Dixie loves to play all squished up between the wine glass cabinet and the wall.  This is about a three times a day occurrence.  I don't get it, but it sure is funny!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hoping and Praying for a Mini Me

Or a Mini Mark!

The topic of when Mark and I are going to start having babies comes up ALL THE TIME!  I usually say..."Oh, someday..." or "Hopefully soon..." or "We'll see..."  I try to keep it vague and avoid going into details.

I always just thought that when 2 people were ready to have a baby, it just happens.  Well, due to the crazy Army schedule, we decided we were ready for a baby in January of 2008, and really didn't go as planned.  Around October of 2008, I started to get concerned.  It hadn't been a full year, which is the magic time frame for one to not conceive and thus be diagnosed as "infertile".  I just had a strange feeling that something wasn't right and I wanted to be checked out.  Mark agreed and so we made an appointment with a fertility specialist.  A work up was done and it was determined that I have poly cystic ovaries.  I don't have the full on syndrome called PCOS, but I do have the ovary issues.  (Sorry if that was TMI)

The doctor recommended we try Clomid, which is a drug that helps women ovulate.  Long story didn't work for me.  By this time it was almost March of 2009.  We decided to forgo any further treatments because Mark was about to leave for Iraq for a year and my stress level couldn't handle anything else.  At that point we decided we would revisit having a baby once the deployment was over and our stress levels were back at a reasonable level.

So...that brings us to now.   September 2010!  Mark and I want nothing more to be parents.  It makes me simply giddy to even think about Mark being a dad!  He will be the best dad ever!!!!!  We had our first visit with our fertility specialist yesterday.  I feel like I am emotionally prepared for whatever the Lord has in store for us.  Over the past two years, the one thing I have learned is to be faithful and trust that God has a good plan for my life.  I have complete faith that I will be a mom!

I'm not 100% sure why I felt the need to share all of this...I just did.  It is out there now...It isn't a secret...This is a part of us and our journey...and I will choose to find JOY along the way!

We would greatly appreciate your prayers and support as we embark on this adventure!

Guess who is going back to school?

If you guessed ME, you are right!  I've finally decided to finish my Masters in Teaching, specializing in Elementary Education.  I am excited and nervous!  I'm excited to be a student again...and to be learning...and I will finally be certified to do what I have always wanted to do!  I am nervous about finishing the program with a move in the middle and also about finding a job once I complete the degree.  I'm just going to take it one day at a time and roll with the punches.

I just ordered books for my first semester!  I am taking 2 education classes and also geology and world history.  I am lacking the science and history from undergrad, so those are catch up classes and aren't part of the graduate program.  This fall is going to be busy, but I am excited for this new challenge!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget!

Today is not only a day of remembering those that had their lives taken on 9/11/01, but also a day to remember all the families that have sacrificed much through many long deployments, and to remember those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Today, I also remember my Granny on what would have been her birthday.

In honor of Granny's birthday today, I am making her famous Honey Whiskey Cookies!  Happy Birthday Granny!!!!  I bet birthdays are awesome in heaven!!!


Check out this video to warm your heart and put a giant smile on your face!  This is a preview for a documentary that is coming out about Mark's Nana and 2 Nanas.  They are twins that sing!  Just watch...and grab a tissue or two!

Part 3- The last leg...

The last week of our trip was spent enjoying all of the things we love in Texas...Family, Friends, Food and Football!
Mark's precious family hosted a welcome home party in his honor.  We spent the afternoon eating and visiting and Mark showed everyone videos and photos from Iraq.

Nana's Banana Puddin'

Later in the weekend, our dear friends, the Coles, came to Fort Worth for a fun dinner at Joe T. Garcias.  

As always we stuffed our faces and had a wonderful time!  

We also had dinner with the Rinellas in Dallas!

This was our first time to meet up with them as married people!  

Our entire 3 weeks, we were entertained by these 3 precious dogs!  My parents house was a little shih-tzu kennel.  This was the best picture I could get of all 3 of them.  It is a rainbow of cute doggies waiting for their treats.

At the end of block leave we attended my 10 year high school reunion!  I don't think I am old enough to have been out of high school for 10 years!  It was pretty uneventful since I knew what most people were up to...thanks to facebook!

After a wonderful 3 weeks...we were on the road again...back to reality!  But not without a quick stop in Lubbock on the way out.  We drove 5 hours to Lubbock, stopped to watch the football game, and then got back on the road.  

We made it all the way to Raton, NM the first night and then did a brutal 18 hours of driving the next day.  Now we are back and it is definitely fall here.  The leaves are already changing and there is a chill in the air. 

We bought some new fall decorations at Hobby Lobby while we were home and we couldn't wait to get them out.  

Check our our new shelves!  They added so much to our bare, white walls.  

Friday, September 10, 2010

Part 2...On the road again!

Next stop...Destin, FL and Columbus, GA!

This is the look I get when I put my little toes on the dash and they "accidentally" touch the glass.  :)  I owe Mark a good window cleaning on the inside of the car...there might be a few footprints.  

We planned a last minute mini vacation to Destin a few weeks before leave.  We got a smokin deal on a hotel since the oil spill scared so many people away.  Not us!  Thank you very much!  The trip was a quick 11 hours from Arlington and was really enjoyable.  We made a quick pit stop in Natchitoches, LA (pronounced Nack-a-tush) for a look at the Steel Magnolias House.  Such a cute little town...

We arrived in Destin pretty late on Monday evening and ate a quick dinner at Fudpuckers and then called it a night, so we would be rested up for a day of fun in the sun.  If you haven't been to Destin, you should go!!!!  It is paradise!

The first day we were there, there wasn't one single wave.  It was like a giant swimming pool.  The second day, there was a storm brewing in the gulf and we got some good waves for boogie boarding.  

Our dear friends Jesse and Kat are stationed at Fort Walton Beach.  That must be rough!  We were able to meet up with them for dinner the second night in Destin.  They were very patient and kind as there was a little hitch in the plan for the evening.  

As we headed out of our hotel room, we discovered we had misplaced our keys.  After tracing back our steps from the day, we came to the conclusion that they must be locked in the car.  I gave ONstar a call hoping they could remotely unlock the vehicle and we would be good to go.  Unfortunately, we had let our subscription expire and they weren't able to unlock it.  All hope was not lost...they sent out GM roadside assistance to help us and unlock the door...only to find that the keys were NOT in the car!!!  Our next thought was that we left them on the tram that took us to the beach.  We called the tram people for the hotel and they insured us that they had searched all of the trams and there were no keys found.  I called GM roadside assistance back and they sent out a guy to make us a new key for the truck with a hefty price tag of $140!!!!!  After 2 hours we were able to meet up with our friends for dinner.  It was a lovely evening, but way too short.  Someday we hope to live closer to them so we can do it more often.  The next morning while we were relaxing on the beach we got a call from tram security and what do you know?!  They FOUND OUR KEYS!!!!!  It was nice to have the keys back, but it would have been nice to have them before we shelled out cash for the new one.  Oh well!  

The next evening we had dinner at the Crab Trap...DE-LISH!  And a beautiful view!

Sadly, our Destin vacation came to an end much too soon, but the next stop was GA to see our precious friends...Jon and Molly!  They moved from WA in June and we were super sad to see them go.  We made a quick stop at Auburn University for some yummy lunch and a run through the bookstore for some new game day t-shirts, then off to Columbus for dinner with our friends!

I'm not sure if our friends will ever want us to come back! :(  While we were visiting that night about the greatness of Blue Bell Ice Cream I caused a small disaster in their home.  They were saying that they weren't sure if they were Blue Bell fans, but thought that the ice cream they bought was old or something.  I told them I would give it a taste test with my expert ice cream taste buds.  As I opened the freezer, ever so gingerly, all of their beer mugs came falling out of the freezer and slowly crashed to the floor one at a time and each shattered all over the place!  At least every time they step on glass they will think of me! :)  I thought the visit was way too short, but I am sure they were ready to get the tornado out of their house.  

Back on the road...back to TX!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm back! Block Leave Part 1

It has been a whirlwind 3 weeks!  Lots of time...driving...mexican food...friends...and shopping!  Now we are back in the PNW getting settled back in and getting ready for fall.
All packed and ready for our 3 week tour of America!

Block leave started out with a trip to Lubbock to drop off my "baby" brother at college!!!!  Yes, he is still my little baby....Ahhh!! Where did all the years go?  At least we took him to Lubbock and not some other college Austin or College Station.  He had enough sense to pick the right University.  :)

Upon our arrival to the LBK, Mark and my dad had the unique opportunity to visit with the assistant AD at Texas Tech, have the grand tour of the athletic facilities and meet Tommy Tuberville!

No trip to Lubbock is complete without a trip to Spanky's for a hamburger and this...

ooey..gooey...delicious fried cheese!  Amazing!!!!  I'm pretty sure they are NOT figure friendly!

Move in day was Saturday and boy was that an experience!  (Dad and Mark left to go to the cabin and set up deer feeders.)  They missed out on the "fun"!  

The day started out with getting in line at 7:45 AM...we were 4th in line!  Trey was in the line to check in, mom went to the car to unload and I waited in line to rent a cart.  I got the cart, Trey brought out his keys, Mom brought the first load and we were up to the 11th floor!  In the meantime, Mom moved the car around for our 30 minute session to park and unload.  

The car full of Trey's college stuff.

I helped by documenting the occasion with the camera as Trey told me to "put the camera away and help".  I also opened doors.  :)

After 2 loads up the elevator, we got word the 2 out of 3 elevators were broken and it would be much quicker to use the stairs.  11 flights of stairs 5 times!!!!!  I'm pretty sure Trey owes mom and me big time for that!!!

Here is the finished product.  Not too fancy...boys will be boys! 

Kerm was there too!  Moving her sister into the girls dorm...also on the 11th floor! 

We have this same picture from the day I got dropped off at Texas Tech.  I'm pretty sure he was tiny back then.  What happened?  

Part 2 to come later...