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.