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....