New recipes

After slacking off for awhile, I've made two more things from my list. I made the Bacon Appetizer Crescents for Christmas and Asparagus Beef Stir-fry last night.

Both were hits! I cut the Bacon Appetizers into three triangles (four would probably work better) per rectangle though. Twelve seemed too tiny.

Both recipes were fast and easy!


Sledding sweetheart

Fuzz got a sled for Christmas and not only was it fun in the house, but it was fun outside as well! I wiped out once during the ride but Fuzz did great! She loved it and didn't want to come in.


Christmas Eve...check




Ready for round 2

One family Christmas down, one to go today yet! Stryker's family got her around 1 and just left about a half hour ago. We got a GPS! I'm excited about that.

My dad, grandma & grandpa, and sister and her boyfriend are coming here for supper yet tonight, and then tomorrow is lunch at my mom's. It's nice having 2 out of the 3 here so that I don't have to be running all over, especially with Fuzz, but it's a lot of work.

Speaking of Fuzz, why is it that she sleeps like an angel at night except when she knows something big is going on the next day when she should be rested up? Last night she was awake from about 10PM until 1:30AM. That girl. At first I thought maybe it was tooth related (she's getting a molar or two), but as soon as I would go in there she was all smiles and thought it was time to play. Clearly not a pain issue. Oh well, she slept in until 9:30 this morning, so both mama and baby weren't completely exhausted today. She definitely keeps it interesting.

Good thing I took D.A.R.'s advice about procrastination and had most everything done for today before her antics. And, as we've established, I'm queen of procrastination, so yay! Crisis avoided.

Well, I'm off to do a little cleaning up before the next round. I hope everyone is having a great holiday so far!

My first dinner party


Is it ever enough?

One thing I will vent about though, is Stryker. Remember all those fabulous Christmas goodies my mom and I sent him? Well he got them yesterday, and do you want to know what the first thing he said about them was?

Stryker: We got mail today, and I got the boxes. It was weird, everything in them was broken.

Yeah...not, "everything is awesome, you're the best wife ever!", but "everything was broken". Talk about feeling unappreciated, because everything after that, even the ranting about how good everything was, sounded like "blah blah blah". All of that time and love that went into making all of those things, and the first thing he says to me that everything was broken. Ouch.

Possibly the worst part is that he completely couldn't understand why that was hurtful to me. He said "It's not like I was criticizing." Well honey, actually you were. "Well, I didn't mean it." Well honey, that doesn't really matter, because you did it. Is this a guy thing? This is definitely a "his mom" thing. She does things like this all.the.time.

I will not be sending any more baked goods. They are too time consuming and too much of my heart goes into them to have them just be criticized almost every time.

Where's the support?

I'm not sure where I misled you guys about the last post, but the family I've been having the most problems with is my own. My sister is the only one who is outwardly supportive, and even fakes a little excitement for me. My dad is the worst, and my mom is happy for us to be together, but doesn't hide well the fact that she's upset we are leaving.

All of this is mostly about Fuzz. They are crazy about her, and I can't really blame them, but it's like they are completely blind to the fact that Stryker will have been apart from her for 15 months while they got to be here for every milestone. They just are thinking about themselves, and not Stryker, nor the good of our family, and it's irritating and disappointing.

Stryker's family doesn't seem to be that phased by the whole thing. His mom actually said "Well at least he'll be closer." Um...not to mention the fact that he won't be in a war zone?? That woman. Having issues with her and her "visits" again. But I'm maintaining faking a positive attitude, so I'm not even going to get into it.


Hiding the excitement

You guys came through big time with the last post. I even had a few de-lurkers! Hello SFPM, toodydolly, and Aly! Thank you for recognizing my need for info, you all were awesome. I am especially excited about the restaurant suggestions. Stryker and I will probably have 6 months worth of dining out before we have to think for ourselves where to go!

I am really excited about the move. I'm ready for a new adventure, and even more ready for our family to be together again! I feel like I can be truly excited here with you guys. It's harder to be so excited when talking to my family. They are sad we are going to be moving again. They have been spoiled by this year with us close by, watching Fuzz grow and change.

With the exception of my sister, they also don't have an edit button. I understand their disappointment that Stryker isn't just getting out of the Army, but getting called back through IRR was just too risky for us. Instead of being excited for us to be together as a family, they make it all about them and how sad they are that they won't get to see us Fuzz all the time. I just want to shake them and say, "You've gotten to see Fuzz for over a year, Stryker hasn't. Stop being so selfish!"

So instead of being excited around them, I hide it and sometimes even pretend that I am a little disappointed as well. I will miss them, don't get me wrong, but my excitement for our family to be together again and knowing we made the best choice for us trumps that...big time.


Looming PCS

First of all, thanks for the great recipes and tips! I'm still not sure what we are going to be eating. My friend De has the final say.

So, I have some news. After 6 years in the army, we will be embarking on our very first PCS. We're headed to Ft. Benning next summer. Although I know that a lot of people would never want to be stationed there, I have an open mind about it. I don't know anything really about that area, so I'm determined not to hate it before even giving it a chance. I've heard bad things about the area, but I've heard good things too.

I've never been down there. So, my faithful readers, what do you think of it? Don't worry about sugar coating for me, we are going to be there together, as a family, and that would make even the worst place sweeter.

Any great restaurants, must-see places, advice on nice places to live, or bad places to avoid, anything? Fill me in!


Anyone fluent in vegetarian?

Wow, I am really surprised by how many of you also have missing jewelry! Mine did have a pretty stellar ending, I hope yours do as well.

One of my friends from college is coming to visit next week. I'm so excited to have her. The last time she was here I had just moved in and had to go digging through unpacked boxes in the garage to find the wine opener. I'm happy to report we will not have that problem this time!

She's a vegetarian, so if any of you have good dinner recipes, send them my way! I love to cook, and I'm not bad at it, I'm just not very fluent in vegetarian dishes, I like meat! So if any of you ladies (I don't think I have a single male reader) could help out, I would appreciate it.

The Great Find

I was reading New Girl's post yesterday about whether or not we help out our significant other's pick out gifts and it got me thinking about past gifts from Stryker. I was trying to remember if there were any times that he really got me a great gift without any help from me, and the first one that came to mind was the necklace he got me for my birthday last year.

I had just given birth to Fuzz, and when he asked me for ideas I told him I just wanted him to get something for me that he picked out because those gifts mean so much more. I have to admit, doing this usually bites me in the butt. On the first big outing since her birth, I was getting a haircut in the mall and he was bumming around with Fuzz trying to find a gift for me.

When I was done getting my hair cut, he was hemming and hawing about how he just couldn't think of anything and so he wanted me to pick out some new tennis shoes (that I was going to buy regardless). I was so frustrated, but he was so upset over it that I maintained my calm and kept telling him it was ok.

So we go and I pick out shoes that were probably more expensive than I would have spent because after all, this is my birthday present and I was going to buy shoes anyway, they might as well be nice ones...

I get the shoes, I'm pushing the stroller and we're on our way outside and I open the little compartment in the stroller to get my sunglasses and there is a long skinny box in there. Complete shock. Immediately I felt guilty for being angry. I loved the necklace. Not only is my favorite color green, but it was also Fuzz's birthstone.

Fast forward to February and I'm moving out of my mom's house to our new place. About a week later I realize I haven't worn my necklace for awhile (unusual), and go to put it on. Can't find it. Are you kidding me? Where could it be? I searched and searched and never found it. I remembered putting it in with some stuff on one of the trips from my mom's to the new place but couldn't remember exactly where I had put it. I was sick. I just knew that I must have stuck it in one of the Target bags and then when I unloaded the stuff from the bag didn't see the necklace and threw the bag away. I was just devastated. How could I be so irresponsible with something so precious?

Now you know that feeling you get when you put on a jacket for the first time since last winter and you find $20 in the pocket? Magnify that by about 158,000 and you get the feeling I had last night when I was decorating the tree and opened the box that one of Fuzz's ornaments was in, took the ornament out, and my necklace was lying in the bottom of the box! My heart started beating out of my chest, and I was on the verge of tears. I just stared at it for about 5 minutes before I could even take it out of the box. To think I almost didn't put the ornaments on the tree this year!


Labels help me maintain my sanity

It's starting to feel pretty Christmasy around here! Most of my decorations are up (we don't have many), the tree is up (I'm still debating about putting ornaments on it. Fuzz is...curious), I have a big chunk of the shopping done, and my mom and I had a major bake-a-thon for Stryker yesterday.

We made those chocolate peppermint cookies Sara talked about, white and milk chocolate sponge candy, peanut butter balls, all those flavored nuts on my sidebar (the Sugar & Spice Pecans were divine!), and peppermint bark.

When all was said and done I mailed out one of the big flat rate boxes and one of the smaller ones. Approximately 12 pounds of cookies, candy, and nuts! Good thing he shares, otherwise he may need to order new uniforms! We had a lot of fun making everything, and conveniently, my mom left just in time for clean up. Thankfully, the repairman came last night and fixed the dishwasher.

If you haven't done it yet, and you mail a lot of care packages or letters, go out and buy some labels. Those downrange addresses are long, and it's so easy to make a mistake. I use the big ones on packages, and the little ones for letters.

As a bonus, when people ask for Stryker's address, I can just give them a label! Since Stryker deployed just before Christmas last year (we just passed our anniversary on Saturday, happy anniversary to us!), we sent a label in each Christmas card we sent out. Worked great, except they changed their address once they got in country, approximately 3 days after I sent out the cards. (Why not??)

We got a lot of snow last night and the neighbor was at it again with the snowblower this morning. It makes me laugh, but apparently it's not that uncommon to have wimpy spoiled dogs (sorry D.A.R., I couldn't resist).


Holiday Mail for Heroes

I just received an email about Holiday Mail for Heroes. Pitney Bowes is working with the Red Cross to send our Heroes overseas homemade holiday cards from you! Check it out, letters and cards must be postmarked by Wednesday the 10th.

Here are some photos of the cards already received.

And here's the official Holiday Mail site.

You can mail the cards to:
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456


Attack of the Dishwasher (take 2)

Well the dishwasher is at it again. Except instead of leaking in the basement this time, it leaked all over the new flooring in the kitchen. I noticed it before it flooded the whole kitchen, but a significant part in front of the dishwasher was wet. The repairman who was here last time said, "It's a good thing it didn't leak up here because it would ruin the flooring."

Thank God I'm renting. I hope they just replace the dang thing this time. I heart having a dishwasher (that works).


Recipe catch-up

It's about time I updated on my latest recipe trials. Since I last wrote, I tried:

Pecan Crusted Shrimp
Chicken Piccata
Turtle Pumpkin Pie
Busy-day Pork Chops
Zucchini Fritters
Coconut Crunch Cookies

I found the recipe for Pecan Crusted Shrimp in a magazine I was reading while I was waiting for my car to get serviced. They were good, but the recipe called for way too much of the egg wash. It called for 8 egg whites, one cup of honey, and one teaspoon each of salt and white pepper for 24 jumbo (butterflied) shrimp. You could easily get away with half of that for all the shrimp. You dip them in that mixture and then roll them in ground pecans and bake them in a 350ยบ oven for 8-10 minutes. I'd give the recipe a 3.5 out of 5.

Next I tried a Chicken Piccata. Yum! It was very lemony, and it was actually better the second day when I ate it as left overs. This one came from a free preview issue I received from Cuisine at Home. 4 out of 5. Next to this recipe there was a different option for cooking the chicken, a Chicken Pomodoro. Stryker and I actually made this a long time ago and it was delicious, even better than the Picatta.

Kraft Foods to the rescue again when I made the Turtle Pumpkin Pie. I made this for our Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt's house. It was a big hit! It was so easy, and you don't even have to bake it, so it's fast. I will definitely make this again, 5 out of 5.

For dinner a couple nights ago I made Busy Day Pork Chops and Zucchini fritters. The pork chops were not much more than pork chops dipped in milk and then a bread crumb mixture and baked. They were alright, but the breading didn't get crunchy enough for my taste. 3 out of 5. The zucchini fritters were also baked and the breading had a little bit of taco seasoning in it which gave them a unique flavor. I thought they were good and Fuzz loved them! Although there isn't a whole lot anything she won't eat. 4 out of 5.

In the last package I sent to Stryker, I included the Coconut Crunch Cookies. They have "finely chopped almonds" in them, and my mini chopper wasn't doing the job, so I had to chop them by hand and it was a pain. They ended up being pretty flat, but they were definitely good. Again, they were a hit with Fuzz. 4 out of 5.

Sorry I went against the poll this time. When I went to make the pumpkin seeds, they looked a little funky, and I thought better safe than sorry and threw them away, and I figured with all the peanut butter stuff I had sent Stryker lately (although he probably wouldn't have complained), I would change it up and go with the coconut.

I plan on making the rest of the goodies on his list for his Christmas package. My mom and I are getting together early next week to have a bake-athon for Stryker and the guys. I already warned him to stop eating so he has room for all the goodies. I imagine shortly after that package I won't be able to send anymore...YAY! I love sending him packages, but that "last day to mail things downrange", makes it so real that they are almost home.

Tomorrow I'm going with my mom and sister to meet my aunt and cousins for a Christmas shopping trip. Fuzz is staying at the in-laws. Bring on the wine!


Little Drummer Girl

Is it just me?

Or is it actually ok for me to think it's weird to look out my window and see my neighbor snow blowing his yard. Not his driveway, his grass. Don't believe me? See for yourself. I hope he didn't see me snapping pictures, but as soon as I saw him, I knew it was blog worthy.

I've lived in this state nearly all my life, I've seen a lot of snow...a lot. I don't think I've ever seen someone shovel or snow blow their yard! They do have a couple small dogs, perhaps he doesn't want them to get lost in the three inches of snow? Seems to me the poop would be much easier to locate on white snow....


Friends, or lack thereof

I never thought that a point would come in my life that I wouldn't really have any friends. I have a few friends who I can talk to about anything, but none of them that live close to me anymore. I don't have friends around who I can call on the drop of a hat and say "let's go do lunch". I miss that...so very much.

I was the girl in high school who heard people say that once you graduate you don't really keep up with your high school friends and thought it would never pertain to me. It did. I still talk to a handful of those old friends, but not very often, and we are not nearly as close as we once were. When we do get together, we mostly talk about our other old friends and if we've heard about what's gone on in their lives lately. Gossip, reminiscing, idle chat.

I am a "handful of tight friends" girl as opposed to a "tons of party friends" girl. Let me explain what I mean by party friends. Say you're at a party, sitting in a chair people watching. You see a girl who runs up to everyone she's met even once and gives them a huge hug. You might think they are best friends, but they probably don't even know the other's last name. Party friends.

This is one hard part of the military life. You might just start to develop one of those tight friendships and then you move. Suddenly you're in a new place and starting all over.

I'm a stay at home mom right now so I don't have a lot of opportunities to meet new people, and somehow I think thrashing on the floor in Walmart crying "Waaaa! I want a friend!" is going to help my cause. Well, then maybe the Mrs. would write about me....


Checking in

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Mine was really nice. Good food, good company, it couldn't have gotten much better.

We got back tonight around 5:30 and I've successfully been putting off unpacking and doing the dishes since then. I had to catch up on all of your blogs, you can understand that, right?? When I finished doing that, I decided to prolong the inevitable a little longer by posting. You can understand that, right??

Thanks for all the kind words and encouragement while I was gone. I loved coming home to lots of comments, it made my night. It's recently dawned on me that photography is my passion and I'm really serious about pursuing it, so the compliments on my pictures meant a lot. I have a long way to go, but I'm excited about it, and eager to learn and experiment, and that's a start. I did a mini photo shoot of my cousin and her family while we were there this weekend. It was fun.

Three years ago was the first time I ever participated in the Black Friday thing, and vowed to never do it again. Where was I on Friday at 4:50AM? Yeah. But it was actually fun this time despite almost getting taken out by a hurried shopper. And we got everything we went for!

Well, the suitcase and kitchen are calling my name, I can procrastinate no longer. Blasting the Christmas tunes is sure to help!


Early Thanksgiving wishes

Early Thanksgiving wishes to everyone! We are heading out in the morning, so Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful:
* to be able to spend it with family even though Stryker isn't home. I can't wait until we can make a big Thanksgiving dinner together.
* that almost 12 months into the deployment, Stryker is still Stryker, mind, body, and soul
* for our beautiful daughter, who seems to be the healthiest child I've ever known!
* for so many more things that I don't even have the time to list them all. I am truly blessed in this life, and try my hardest not to take it for granted.

Have a great holiday everyone!

Fuzz's First Snow


I am Charlie Brown's teacher...

Since this is quickly becoming a cooking/baking blog, and that's very much not what I intended for it to be, here's a funny story from today.

Here's a little background. During Stryker's first deployment from 2004-2005, his dad was his power of attorney (mistake #1), and he asked his to fix up his car using his money (mistake #2). There were many other stupid financial decisions during that deployment, but we'll just focus on these today. So throughout the deployment, his dad was taking money out of his account to "work on the car". But the checks he wrote were never out to any businesses, only to himself as cash. Does this sound shady to anyone else?

The 13 month deployment ended, and lo and behold, the car is not finished, and approximately $7,000 is gone from Stryker's account. Besides that, Stryker is not allowed to see the car, or hear any news about updates to it, because "it's a secret". Wha?? His money, his car.

Here we are, November 22, 2008, and the car still isn't finished. I've asked Stryker repeatedly if there even is a car. His dad is a good-hearted guy, but it's been over four years. Did he sell it and keep the money??

Anywho, where was I? Oh yes, so we're on the phone this morning, and he told me that he had talked to his dad before he called me, and they talked about the status of the car. Stryker proceeds to start complaining about the choices his dad has made so far. *Cue increase in blood pressure*

Kiki: Stryker, I don't even want to hear you complain about it, because if you cared that much about what was done on it, you should have just waited and done it yourself."

Stryker: Whoa. What?

Kiki: *repeats previous rant*

Stryker: Hello?

Kiki: Hello? *realizing he can't hear me*

Stryker: I need to call you back, you sound like a monster or something.

Kiki: Ok. *hangs up phone*

*Telling my sister what Stryker said and both of us laughing like crazy*

Ring ring

Kiki: Hello?

Stryker: Whoa, that was weird, you sounded like 'whaa whraa whaa' *think Charlie Brown's teacher*

Kiki: Well that is kind of what I sounded like...

I mean, could the phone reception going crazy have possibly come at a more perfect time? I think not.

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Wow! These are delicious! My sister and I made them for Stryker today, but somehow, a few didn't make it into the package. I wonder how that happened... You must try them. Immediately.

Here's the recipe.

While you're here, you should vote over on the right for the next goodies!


Let me just grab my purse...


In which I jabber...

Well, if all goes according to plan, (haha, what's that???), we're into double digits before Stryker is home. At this point before R&R, I wasn't nearly as excited as I am now. I guess because I knew that R&R was just a pit stop on the journey.

In other news, I made the Seafood Potpies last night. They were good. Not out of this world, but good...think 3.5 out of 5. I think they would be better with a crust over the top as well, maybe next time. The Basil-Garlic Salmon was much better. Has anyone tried it yet?

Since puppy chow won the latest Stryker poll, I plan on making him that some time this week yet. I will probably make the pumpkin seeds as well while I'm at it.

I've been feeling kind of blah this last week. Almost like I'm about to get sick, but it hasn't happened yet, so I'm not sure what the deal is. The cold weather making us housebound might have something to do with it.

Anyway, obviously, I don't have much to talk about, I just had the urge to write. Have a nice night everyone!


Honey Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

3 for 3!

This was good. Tender, juicy, not overly spiced, and EASY! My dad came over to help me eat it and he raved about it. Granted a typical meal for him is a TV dinner or a can of soup, so take it for what it's worth...

You can find the recipe here.

Frozen faces

Last night as I was lying in bed desperately trying to fall asleep, I turned the TV on and saw the guy who played that shady sports agent in Jerry McGuire.

Holy Botox.

Then I changed the channel and on some news channel was another lady who looked completely unnatural.

I'm not completely anti cosmetic procedures. It's something I don't ever plan on doing myself, but I feel that it's a personal decision. But as I was watching these people, I wondered. Is this going to be the new "normal"? When Fuzz grows up, is she going to think that the frozen face look is what is normal? Because as a woman who grew up before Botox, I know that it is not a natural look. But Fuzz won't, and it makes me sad.

It makes me sad for the next generation of girls who will already struggle with body image. I just hope that I can be a good role model for her and show her that the frozen face is not natural, and that aging can be a beautiful thing.


Veteran's Day

Before I got involved with Stryker I could probably have counted on one hand the number of people I knew in the military. I didn't know what being in the military really entailed. I certainly didn't know the sacrifices involved for the person in the military, but especially for the people who love them.

Oh how things have changed, and I'm glad for that. I'm glad I know more about what it means to serve, because I appreciate it now. Thanks to all veterans past and present. I appreciate you.


Basil-garlic salmon

This morning I made the Banana Blueberry Pancakes for Fuzz and I, and tonight I invited my mom over for supper. We tried the Salmon in basil garlic sauce. The pancakes were good, and the salmon was absolutely delectable. Will definitely be making that again!

I got the recipe for the salmon in the May 2008 issue of Glamour magazine. It says the sauce can go on anything: chicken, beef, fish, or veggies. I can't really imagine it on beef, but anything else I think would be a hit. Without further ado, the recipe so you can try it (it's that good).

Basil Garlic Sauce

1/2 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed
zest from one orange
1-1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
3 T. olive oil
1/2 t. Asian fish sauce
1/2 t. red pepper flakes*
1/2 t. salt
fresh pepper to taste
1/3 c. orange juice (I just squeezed the juice out of the orange I zested and had plenty)

1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients (except orange juice)
2. Chop into a fine paste, adding juice little by little to achieve desired consistency.
*the red pepper flakes really spice it up so if you're not a big fan of spicy, just don't use as much, or any at all.

Salmon in basil garlic sauce

Salmon fillets (the recipe is for 1 inch thick, so adjust cooking time as necessary)
basil garlic sauce
1 T. olive oil

1. Rinse salmon and pat dry.
2. Coat salmon with sauce.
3. Cover and refrigerate 20-30 minutes.
4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
5. Sear salmon for about 1 minute on each side.
6. Reduce heat to medium-low.
7. Cover pan and cook 6-7 minutes, turning at the midway point.
8. Spoon additional sauce over salmon.

So far: 2 for 2 in the new recipe department.

I had an awesome memory...

...and then I gave birth.

My long term memory, still pretty rockin' (just ask Stryker how great it is when I get mad). But the short term? It's ridiculous! I'm not sure if it's taking care of Fuzz by myself and having to remember 742 things at once, but it leaves something to be desired, I promise you.

Today, I was so proud (my first mistake). I packed up Stryker's package, filled out the custom's form, got Fuzz dressed all the way to a winter coat and hat. I even started the car early because it was cold today.

We got to the post office just as Fuzz was nearing the end of her car seat patience...perfect timing. I get out, walk around the car to get Fuzz out and notice...

...I don't have my purse.

He doesn't know what's coming...

Gingerbread is the winner!

Thanks for the votes. I know I didn't have the poll up for long, but I want to get a package out to him tomorrow. The gingerbread cookies are cooling as we speak. As soon as I frost them I'll be posting pictures. I updated the poll for the next package, so vote away! If anyone has any tried and true care package goodies that you think I should try out, let me know!


Fuzzy memories clarified

Here I sit, my heart just pitter-pattering away. I was checking an email account I rarely use, and noticed there were two emails in the drafts. I got curious and started reading one and it was an email I was writing about Stryker's proposal.

As happens during a big moment like that and the passage of four years, the details are fuzzy for me. I remember what we did that night, and the circumstances, but the words he used are fuzzy. To be honest, they were right away. But in this email I went into more detail than my mind has. I had forgotten some of the amazing things he said. Of course it cut off before I had written all the details, but I can fill in the blanks.

The valley is behind me, I'm giddy in love once again.

Food, goodies, and a poll

I compiled my final list of things I want to cook or bake for myself before the deployment ends. I even made a list on here to make myself accountable.

I decided I wanted to try at least one new meal a week until I leave to go back to our post. As you can see from my list on the right, I don't have that much longer to go! I'm also invited to my aunt's for Thanksgiving, and am in charge of the desserts, so I'm going to try a couple new ones for that. I am also helping host a baby shower before I leave, so I'm hoping to try some of the appetizers I listed for that.

I also made a list of things I want to send to Stryker before I can't send him packages anymore. I even started a poll so you can participate in what he gets next! Join in the fun. :)



Thanks to Kristen for the award!

Q&A and a bunch of mishmash.

Thanks for the comments, questions, and concerns. Questions are fun, feel free to ask them at any time!

Where's the next trip?
The next little trip is to Michigan again to visit family for Thanksgiving. The next big one is back to paradise (aka Hawaii) to welcome Stryker home. I bought our ticket this week, which makes it feel so real and exciting!

How are things with you and stryker? Is communication better?
Communication is much better after we talked about the things he's been going through lately. However, we haven't had a chance to have one of those really good conversations lately. Between my trip and his being completely exhausted by the time he gets to call, it's usually just catching up on the day to day things. Lots of yes and no answers to questions. I'm dying for one of those heart-filled, intellectual, move from one interesting topic to the next, conversations.

It seems like we always go through these kind of patterns though. For about a week we'll have amazing conversations every time we talk, and then we'll go through a rut where we have nothing to talk about and there's a lot of dead air on the phone. It happens, I've learned not to freak out about it. That doesn't mean I'm not ready for the rut to be over.

It happens with those romantic lovey dovey feelings for me too. Peaks and valleys. I really believe that it happens because then when we hit the really great peak again, I can appreciate it and it feels that much better.

So we're doing good, and my kitchen is clean, so now I can bake and send more goodies for him and the guys.

Today, I made this. I put half in a foil pan and took it to my new neighbors, and invited my sister and her boyfriend over and we ate the other half. Yum. I suggest you try it. It's easy and good.

I was just sorting through some recipes last night and picked out a bunch I want to try before Stryker gets back. It will force me to cook for myself, and I love trying new things. I'll be sure to keep you up to date on my progress!



Well, we made it! The wedding was absolutely beautiful, although the company (my grandpa) stressed me to cold sores. Seriously. I have them. From the stress of dealing with him all weekend. Except, I don't get them on my lips, I get them on my face, around my nose. Not pretty. I spared you a picture of them.

Unfortunately, when we went to see the Golden Gate Bridge, it was really cloudy. We couldn't even see the top, although the pictures look pretty cool. It was pretty amazing.

Fuzz was a dancing fool at the wedding. Until she abruptly passed out on my lap. It was awesome. She was a great little traveler, and it makes me much less nervous about our even longer trip in a few months. Although next time I'll be traveling by myself, which will make it more interesting. No one to pass her off to when she's squirming around in my lap on the plane. Oh well, we'll make it, it's what we do.


The Slope

Distance. It's a slippery slope, and one I'd rather be on top of.

These past few days, I have noticed that Stryker has been distant. And not in that obvious, "Well yeah, you're living 6500 miles apart" way either.

I know he has a lot going on right now, and maybe it's a guy thing, but I just don't get why it's so hard to TALK TO ME! I am your wife, I am here for you, please talk to me before it's too late.

I think it's easy to distance ourselves from each other when we live so far apart, and such different lives, and it's a scary, slippery slope. Before long, you don't talk about anything anymore, and by the time he gets back you don't even remember who he was, and who you were as a couple. I'm not willing to let that happen to us, so I try to get to the bottom of this stuff before anything serious or permanent happens.

I'm not one of those wives that applies the "don't fight", "don't tell them what's going on at home", logic. Stupid, insignificant things, yes, of course I'm not going to make a huge deal about, because it's true. He does need to focus, and I'm not going to make him worry about me being bratty back here. But big, potentially life altering things, which I consider this distancing to be, you can bet I'll be calling him on it.

I already feel like our life as a family takes a backseat to his life as a soldier, and there's no way I'm letting Little Miss Army sneak in and steal our whole future as well.

It helps that we talk about these things without attacking, and in a calm manner. We talk about it, we try and figure it out, and it usually gets better. He doesn't dwell on it, I don't dwell on it, and our relationship is all the better for bringing it up and getting it out of the way.

Thankfully we're crawling our way back to the top of the slope.

My little lion

We will be traveling on Halloween for the wedding, so we have already been around doing the family trick-or-treating thing.

Yes, I made her costume (note the proud smile in the first picture).
No, she won't smile while wearing it, she's totally playing the part.
Yes, she "ah ah"'s like a monkey instead of growling like a lion....


An actual conversation...

Overheard by the fly on the wall during the Penn State/Ohio State football game last night.

Me: What are all those stickers about on their (Ohio state) helmets?
Dad: Oh just different awards, like maybe they get one for every so many tackles...
Me: I think it looks stupid. Some players have a helmet full, some don't have any...
Dad: Well it's kind of like all those awards and ribbons hanging all over a military uniform.
*Cue crickets*
Me: Um, no dad, that's not the same.

Comparing stickers on a football helmet for tackles to military awards, many earned through blood, sweat, and tears? Not even close, not even close.


Thanks Katie! Not only does she heart my blog, but her and her mom support our troops by sending amazing goody boxes!

Now, the way this works, is I answer the following questions with single word responses, and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers:
1. Where is your cell phone? desk
2. Where is your significant other? Iraq
3. Your hair color? Brown
4. Your mother? funny
5. Your father? mailman
6. Your favorite thing? books
7. Your dream last night? non-existent
8. Your dream/goal? photographer
9. The room you're in? dining
10. Your hobby? sewing
11. Your fear? widowhood
12. Where do you want to be in six years? settled
13. Where were you last night? home
14. What you're not? hungry
15. One of your wish list items? husband
16. Where you grew up? Wisconsin
17. The last thing you did? played
18. What are you wearing? PJs
19. Your T.V.? on
20. Your pet? none
21. Your computer? vital
22. Your mood? mellow
23. Missing someone? definitely
24. Your car? Jetta
25. Something you're not wearing? make-up
26. Favorite store? Target
27. Your Summer? anticipated
28. Love someone? much
29. Your favorite color? green
30. When is the last time you laughed? yesterday
31. Last time you cried? movie

Have fun ladies! I'm being a rebel and only tagging three.

Loquita at Loquita's blog
D.A.R. at the student and the soldier
Sara at When in Rome


And the Care Package Queen award goes to....

After reading her latest "Deployment Week in Review", I've decided Kristen deserves this:

Sounds like you are taking great care of your soldier even though you are completely busy!


Happy Birthday to my wonderful, amazing, handsome, silly, goofball of a husband. Poor thing didn't even realize it was his birthday today.

Things are in the works for this to be our last birthday apart, and I'm so thankful for that.

Today, I wish for you a lifetime of happiness, love, and wonderful memories as a family. We love you and miss you!


Ahh...much better.

I don't know about you, but I find that there is a direct relationship between my internal clutter and external clutter. Yet somehow, I have a hard time keeping the external clutter at bay. Tonight, my sink and kitchen counters look like this. There is a reason you only got a picture of the sink. The rest of our house doesn't look quite so spiffy. Maybe tomorrow.


Ribbon cookie update

You may remember these that I sent to Stryker.

Well, he received them and they were all broken. He said many just had one "leg" broken off, so it's not like they were powder when they got there, and of course brokenness doesn't inhibit taste! :)

I just wanted to let you ladies know since a bunch of you expressed interest in sending them to your own soldiers.


The smelly seat belt

Stryker left for his first deployment in January 2004.

After he left, occasionally when I drove, I would smell him. His cologne. It was as if he enveloped me. It was the greatest thing, but I couldn't figure it out. It only happened in the car, and not every time I drove.

It was months before I figured out that it was the seat belt. When he was home on leave, he always drove, and apparently some of his cologne rubbed off on the seat belt. It was only after I had been driving for awhile and my body heat warmed the seat belt that it would waft up and make my whole day.

On my drive home from the airport after I dropped Stryker off, I was turning the corner on our street, and that familiar smell wafted up, and I knew everything would be ok.

Did you doubt there would be pictures??

Thank you guys for your insight on the pretzels, I am sending them today. Stryker must have been having a guy moment. I guess he's entitled, as he is, in fact, a guy. So without further ado, I present to you, drumroll please, the goodies...


Goody night

Stryker's birthday present came today, so I am going to bake his birthday goodies tonight and get the package in the mail for him tomorrow. Turtle brownies on the menu.

I also decided that it is about time to get the pretzels out to G's wife. A few days ago I was telling Stryker that I was going to make them soon. He asked if I was going to tell her the story behind it and I said yes and he seemed hesitant. I asked what was wrong and basically he's worried it's going to make her sad to think about it. I asked him, "Do you really think that she isn't constantly thinking about him anyway?".

I think that if it was me, the pretzels and story might make me a little sad, but I think they would mean so much. What do you guys think? Am I about to step over a line, or is it just a meaningful gesture?


Birthday surprise

I love T's idea of making a sexy song cd for her soldier. I'm totally stealing it...with a tweak. His birthday is in a couple weeks and I bought him the new nano and am going to put a surprise playlist on there for him.

Any suggestions for the perfect sexy (not nasty...we're not into that) song?



My creation

Answer the following 12 questions about yourself in order to influence your mosaic:

1. First name
2. What is your favorite food? Japanese
3. What high school did you attend?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation? Spain
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Financial counselor
10. What do you love most in life? Stryker & Fuzz
11. One word to describe you? dedicated
12. Favorite interest? Travel

Want your own? All you have to do is type your answer to each of the above questions into Flickr's search. Using only the images that appear on the first page, choose your favorite and copy and paste each of the URL’s into the Mosaic Maker (3 columns, 4 rows).

1. First name, 2. Japanese plum, red flower, 3. John Edwards on the cover of Newsweek, 4. Meeting the pregnant princess of the forest, 5. Mark Consuelos, 6. Amazing Circles: Diet Coke Cans, 7. Toledo bajo el sol (HDR), 8. Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Raspberries, 9. Here are some of the Steps which will helps you to become debt free., 10. Fuzz, 11. Love will come through.., 12. Soft purple


Feel your boobies, save 2nd base!

October is breast cancer awareness month, and many of you have probably seen special sections in the stores with lots of pink merchandise. I found a new cookie cutter and decided to do this...

They are going in the mail tomorrow.

Debate #2

I have a feeling that tonight's debate is going to be far less cordial than the last one. I'm anxious to watch it. I wish that more people would be informed and vote. It's so important!


I'm Kreativ?

Wow, my first award! Thanks KD!

With this award you have to:
A. List 6 things you value/support and 6 things you don't.
B. Pass it along.

Things I value:
1. Time with my husband. I think it is something all of us military spouses value.
2. God.
3. America. The things I read and the stories I hear from Stryker make me so thankful I live in this country.
4. My family and friends. They helped mold me into who I am today.
5. The internet & my bloggy friends. Without it my house would undoubtedly be cleaner, but I would be bored and lonely! I feel more support from you guys than I ever have on the military base.
6. Dinner at a nice restaurant with Stryker. Dress up, eat fabulous food, enjoy a great cocktail...can it really get better than that?

Things I don't:

1. The fact that the cases of Diet Coke went down to 20 cans from 24, and yet you pay the same. When did this happen? (D.A.R., did you know this???)
2. People who feel entitlement about things they shouldn't. Ick.
3. Running. I have asthma, the two don't mix.
4. Scary movies.
5. People who insist on discussing politics and then berate you for voicing your opinion.
6. Manual transmission. Give me the automatic please!

I'm passing it along to Katie, because I love her hilarious stories, and Kristen, because of her great idea reviewing each week of deployment!


In other news

My Google reader says I need to catch up on 582 posts. Proof of how involved I was in savoring every moment!

And just like that, it's over

We sent him off this morning. We had an amazing time and savored every moment. I didn't even start to get sad about him leaving until about two days ago, which I consider a success.

His relationship with Fuzz is just out of this world. I couldn't have picked a better father for her.

They went to the park...

Went on their first bike ride...

Watched the Packers...

And just hung out...

Could they be any cuter??

We got away for a weekend just the two of us in Door County.

It was a much needed break. We were gone for two nights and that's the longest I've ever been away from Fuzz! His being home made me realize just how stressed I actually was from taking care of her and the house by myself day in and day out for ten months. Now it's back to it for at least another four months. But I'm refreshed and ready. Bring it on.