Wow, thanks for all the support about photographing the wedding. I had no idea that people were still keeping tabs on this blog. It had been such a long time since I had posted, it kind of seemed like I fell off the radar. Hopefully I can get into some kind of habit here again. It's a great outlet with a lot of friends and I've missed it!
Today, Fuzz and I are going to go grocery shopping and play outside. It's been just gorgeous here lately. T-shirts in November? That's my kind of winter! Although I am a big fan of curling up in a cozy sweater too.
Well, happy Monday everyone!
Wow, thanks for all the support about photographing the wedding. I had no idea that people were still keeping tabs on this blog. It had been such a long time since I had posted, it kind of seemed like I fell off the radar. Hopefully I can get into some kind of habit here again. It's a great outlet with a lot of friends and I've missed it!
Posted by Carissa at 8:58 AM
You probably already saw on Sara's blog, but for Halloween, Fuzz was an elephant. I'd say she was a pretty darn cute one at that. She loved her costume and even made elephant noises. This year she was afraid of crazy face paint, and masks, but she was a fan of the candy! When we dumped out her bucket when we got back home she squealed and proceeded to dive right in.
Let me start at the beginning. For years it's been a dream for me to have a photography business. I loves babies and children, and I love capturing their huge innocent smiles, soaphawks in the bathtub, even their pouty faces when they don't get their way. Recently the dream has become more of a reality.
From the very beginning of the reality phase, I have said that I'm not going to do weddings yet. Weddings are a once in a lifetime thing and holy moly, I don't want to be the one to screw up wedding pictures. As you can see by the title of the post, all that is thrown out the window...
It's a special family situation, which is the only reason I agreed to do it. I'm nervous, but that's good. The nerves will push me to study study study, and organize organize organize. This could be either great, or horrible...
The weather down here has been just superb the last couple days! I'm sitting here with the windows open, breeze just flowing through our house. It's great. I'm not sure if I've said it yet, but I really like it here. I've met some great people. We have great neighbors. The kind that come over to borrow aluminum foil, and watch Fuzz if I have an appointment. This is a first for me. I feel like we are home, and it's great.
It's been awhile! Since I've last written, Fuzz had a birthday! Can you believe she's two? Because I can't.
She is getting to be so fun and verbal and just such a joy.
She currently loves animals and can make nearly any animal noise. She loves to say hi and buh-bye. As a matter of fact we went grocery shopping today and she said buy-bye to nearly every person we passed. Seriously. She also loves to blow kisses. We probably need to work on that - teaching her who it's appropriate to blow kisses to and who it's not...like complete strangers. Fuzz also has a friend! Our neighbors have a little boy who is a little older than her and they are best buds now. It's so cute. They also have a little baby, and Fuzz is crazy about her too. She probably would like a little brother or sister of her own, but thankfully she's not the one who gets to make that call!
Right before I left Wisconsin to return to Hawaii, our computer died. I took it as a sign that I needed to get off my butt and start packing, so I just packed it up, and it came with us to Georgia. We took it in today to see what the damage was and I got a call this afternoon.
"Hello, Kiki? We had a chance to look at your computer this afternoon, and...it's not good news. The main board is dead, so...it looks like you'll be looking for a new computer." Yippee!! Another expense I was hoping to avoid.
We did go and pick out a new one, and let me tell you, I'm excited to get working in Photoshop again.
Posted by Carissa at 10:26 PM
There is this girl who I went to high school with who still emails me from time to time. Here's the funny part. She only emails me when she has a military forward to send. Does anyone else have this? I think it's completely funny. Like, "ooh, I'll send this to Kiki, her husband is in the Army!" Does that count as supporting our troops? Sending mass emails that you know you just want to delete the second you see the "FW:" or even better, the "FW: FW: FW: FW: FW:...." you get the idea.
The farmers market was a little pathetic, only one farmer, but he was nice and had some beautiful looking produce. If it's any indicator of how good it was, Fuzz ate a WHOLE peach last nice in addition to her dinner! I don't know where that girl puts it. Sometimes I swear she eats more than I do. Although she's growing, and I'm hopefully...not.
Posted by Carissa at 9:20 AM
I gotta admit, I'm pretty excited to go to the farmers market with Sara tomorrow! Are any of you farmers marketers? I think they are great. The produce always looks amazing, and you're almost always guaranteed a good story to take home. Once at the farmers market we went to in Hawaii there was a guy with a mohawk that must have been 18" high. Seriously, it was the biggest mohawk I've ever seen.
Stryker is heading out to the range tomorrow and may or may not have to stay overnight. I guess it will be a surprise whether he makes it home for dinner or not!
Posted by Carissa at 8:55 PM
The Mrs. mom is so talented! She makes purses, wall art, and now little bags! In honor of her impending third little boy, she's hosting yet another giveaway, and I missed the last couple, so I'm not missing this one! Go check it out!
Posted by Carissa at 7:25 PM
Picture this. I'm in the kitchen, browning chicken for dinner tonight. It's smelling good, I start to flip the first batch, as a drop of oil spits out of the pan and lands right on my eyelid.
Talk about a close call.
Anyone else have a scary kitchen mishap?
In pursuit of my career in photography, I got a new baby yesterday.
So far, I love it! I am still learning some of the things on it that are different on my old camera, but I'm excited. Here's one of my first pictures on it.
The greatest part is that shirt is from my mom. The grandma who thinks that Fuzz can do no wrong.
Yeah, I was the mom who made her sit as if she was in time out so I could take a picture of her in her time out shirt.
Yay! I met my first blogging buddy! Sara, Fuzz, and I met up yesterday, and it was so fun.
I can't imagine how it sounds to a non-blogger. "I met this girl on the internet, and we're going out for lunch." But it was very un-weird actually. She was taller than I expected, but other than that, there were no surprises. Her true spirit just shines on her blog, so I felt like going out for lunch was something we had done many times before.
After lunch, Fuzz and I got to meet Jagger. I'm willing to bet Fuzz liked Jagger more than he liked her. About 5 minutes after dealing with Fuzz, Jagger was hiding by Sara begging her to get rid of the crazy little girl.
She got some great pictures of all of us playing at her apartment complex, go check them out!
*Disclaimer* Although it looks very much like I had it out for Jagger on the slide picture, Sara assured me it was alright to let go. Don't listen to what she says. :)
A whole post about food...loosen your belt.
For Father's day, my sister and I prepared a brunch for our dad, grandparents, and Stryker. We included a strata, and it was delicious. I prepared it the night before except for adding the bread, and it turned out great.
Father's Day Strata
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
3 cups chopped zucchini
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
4 cups cubed day-old bread
3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, zucchini, onions, green peppers and garlic in oil until vegetables are tender. Drain and pat dry; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and cream until smooth. Beat in eggs. Stir in the bread, cheese, salt, pepper and vegetable mixture.
Pour into two greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dishes. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
We've also been grilling a lot. One of our favorite marinades comes from this Southwest Turkey Breasts with Avocado Salsa. We have used it on both turkey and chicken, and it's phenomenal. The avocado salsa just puts it over the top! The salsa is a lot like my guacamole recipe, so it's a big hit in our house. If you only try one recipe from this post, try this one!
I get a lot of my recipes from blogs. We love trying new things, so whenever I see one I think looks good, I bookmark it. Then when I plan our menu for the week, I go through and pick whatever sounds good at the moment. Last week we tried this Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken. Spicy, but yum! I added some cooked white rice to the beans and it was great.
I'm not a huge meatloaf fan, but every once in awhile Stryker requests it, so when I came across Martha Stewart's Honey Mustard Meatloaves, I thought it was worth a try. They are surprisingly good, but very filling. A little onion in the mixture wouldn't hurt either. We've already tried them a couple times, and next time he requests meatloaf, I'll probably make them again!
You didn't think I'd leave you without any sweets did you?? Stryker's brother graduated from college this year, and for his party I made these:
They weren't really anything special, just chocolate cupcakes with ganache frosting, but aren't they cute?? I got my inspiration from Brown Sugar Bee.
Finally, when we went last weekend to help some friends move, I made these Cookies and Cream Rice Krispie Treats. Yum, yum, yum. That's all I have to say about them.
So tell me, do you try new recipes every week or do you have old standby's that you always make?
The phone call never happened. My friend had emailed him and he never got back to her, so she didn't pursue it. I was nervous about it, but completely willing to help my friend out even if it meant making a fool of myself. I figured..they are in Colorado, I will never meet this guy, if he laughs at me after we got off the phone, oh well! I think I could have held my own though.
Stryker and I have been trying some really phenomenal recipes lately. Stay tuned for a post of my favorites!
Posted by Carissa at 2:20 PM
My best friend from way back is trying to buy a car. The owner only speaks Spanish, and she wants me to translate on a 3-way call tonight. Yikes! I mean, I minored in Spanish, but I haven't spoken a lick of it in years.
This could be interesting....
The beautiful thing about this is that all of these, with the exception of Kentucky, were seen out of their home state. And the Wisconsin plate isn't ours. We saw all of these between Louisville, KY, and Columbus, GA. Lots of travelers out and about while we were driving. We also saw a few more that we were unable (ahem, Stryker), to capture. Maryland, New Jersey, Minnesota...maybe more? I don't really remember. This was by far the most fun car game I've ever participated in!
Wow, it's been over a month since I've written! We have been very busy with visiting our families, house hunting, moving, and unpacking, but it's also a case of the longer you go without writing, the less you feel like you have to write about. I'm hoping to get back in the habit of it, even when I don't think I have anything to say.
Stryker and I took a couple days to drive down here. We left on the 29th, and only hit a little of this:
It was a pretty nice trip. As nice as an 18 hour road trip can be. On day two we decided to start taking pictures of all the different state license plates we saw. We saw so many! I am going to try and compile them into a collage. We must have gotten close to half. It definitely kept the trip interesting. Quick lane changes to catch a new one, tailgating, yeah...driver of the year! Not to mention what the other people were thinking when they saw a crazy man from Wisconsin trying to take their picture. Quite a few laughs that day.
We spent that night in Atlanta and had the most amazing dinner at Il Mulino. The food was amazing, and the service was even more amazing. Stryker and I like to go out to nice dinners occasionally, and this was a great pick.
Well, I'll leave it at that. It's time to go wake Fuzz up from her nap. Sleeping through the night has taken a hiatus, and we're trying everything we can to remedy that.
Yesterday was our anniversary, we were woken up at 4:30AM by a sick Fuzz. Poor little bugger.
Of the four years we've been married, we've only actually been together for about two. And even those two were littered with field training, schools, and other separations. Such is the Army life. I think this was probably our hardest year yet. Here is to hopefully our best year yet!
We leave tomorrow. We're hoping Fuzz is feeling better by then, and that we don't contract it in the meantime.
My sister's visit was awesome. It felt like we were never apart, and when she left, I missed her before she was even halfway to California. Her spending time with us makes me a little sad that Stryker reenlisted. I know that it the best decision for us right now, but spending time with her makes me realize that I want to just be closer to our families. Granted, being in Georgia, we will be closer to them, but I doubt we will see them any more often than we did while we were here.
The dolphin swim was amazing. We bought some of the pictures, but we don't have a scanner here, so I will have to upload them later. Fuzz loved it too. It was a really neat experience, I recommend it to anyone! We got to kiss her, dance with her, and Stryker got to feed her a fish. That was right up his alley.
By the way, do you think she likes Fuzz much?
Talk about a whirlwind lately! My cousin's visit, my sister's visit, our lease ending on the first and us moving to a hotel until we leave, selling stuff... I have been one busy lady, and it's not going to stop any time soon.
We're getting settled into the hotel just in time to leave again. We'll be spending a week in Stryker's hometown, a week in mine, and then driving down to Georgia and hopefully finding somewhere to live quickly. We're already looking, but it's hard to commit to something without knowing the neighborhood, and more importantly, the smell. I have done enough apartment/house hunting to know that pictures of the place might look great, but nothing is worse than walking in and getting slammed with a smell that makes you believe cats, and only cats, lived there without a litter box for years.
Thankfully, Stryker's mom is going to fly down with Fuzz a few days after we leave. She does well in the car for about 20 minutes on a good day, so we're lucky we don't have to suffer through 15 hours with her. I would probably be bald by the time we got there. I don't do well with ear piercing screeching in small spaces. They don't seem to bother Stryker, which adds to the irritation.
How can that not drive a person to unthinkable acts?
My sister gets here today!
On the schedule:
* Run with Stryker
* Pick up lei
* Pick up one of my favorite people!
We don't have a lot on the agenda, although Stryker & I are surprising her with a dolphin swim on one of her last days here. She is going to flip. Should be a lot of relaxing, and quality bonding time. I can't believe how much I've missed her!
I can't believe that my sister will be here tomorrow already! That snuck up so fast, and I am so very excited. When I think about what Fuzz was like when we left in February, and what she is like now, I realize how much she has changed. My sister is just going to eat her up. I can't wait!
Today has been a potty training day. Don't worry, it hasn't been nearly as
traumatic exciting as last time. Not that I'm going to test it with piggy-back rides or anything. The last few days she's been wanting to sit on her potty a lot. Mostly right after she's gone to the bathroom in her diaper, so I think it's starting to click. So today, after I took her first diaper off this morning, she wanted to sit on it, peed, and I decided today would be a no-diaper kind of day. So far she's doing well with it. I've yet to get a decent picture, but she likes to read while she's on the potty. How funny is that?!?
Just got home from possibly the worst walk with Fuzz ever.
I found this training program in my Fitness magazine, 6 weeks to a 5K. Supposedly it's for a beginner. Anyway, I'm on day 2, doing the 3-5 mile walk, and Stryker has a PT test tomorrow, so he said he probably wouldn't want to do it tonight, so I thought I'd go with Fuzz this morning. She enjoys our walks. Her latest craze is flowers. Loves loves loves flowers, and wants you to pick one for her at every corner. Hibiscus are her favorite, but maybe that's because there are so many of them around here.
So at about a mile and a half, there is this beach. Fuzz was starting to get a little antsy, so I thought, we'll stop at the beach, dip our feet in for a little bit, and then head back. I thought it would be a nice break for Fuzz. Well, apparently, 15 minutes wasn't long enough, because when we left she threw a huge fit. Arching her back in the stroller and the whole works. About a block into the way back, I stopped to talk to her and she had snot all over her face, her sunglasses, her fingers. That is how hard she was crying. I'm walking past people who can clearly hear her losing it, probably wondering if they should call CPS, smiling and saying "she wasn't ready to leave the beach".
She settled down a little bit, but whined and cried the whole way back. Right now she's eating lunch like nothing ever happened.
I need a nap.
There was one not so fun moment while my cousin was here. He and Stryker got into a little fender bender. After their shark diving, they were waiting to pull out of a driveway and some lady just ran right into them. It wasn't serious, but she did do damage to our car. Sounds like she was quite the person to deal with.
She was nice at first. They both parked and she got out of her (rental) car and said "Did I just hit you?" Um...no kidding Sherlock. She offered to pay Stryker a whopping $200, when the damage will probably cost more like $1000 to fix. He said no, and then she started getting all crazy. Tried to claim that the damage wasn't caused by her, even though she did in fact hit them. Said they were trying to screw her. Even told my cousin "F*** You", and my favorite "FYI, I hate you". How 5th grade is that?
Anyway, Stryker has been in contact with the rental company, and surprise surprise, she hasn't reported the accident to them yet. The rental company is going to take care of it it sounds like, but this lady was quite a trip!
Holy moly, I just had a busy busy weekend! My cousin arrived on Thursday, and left last night. He packed in a lot of excitement in four days. Waimea Valley, Luau, Pearl Harbor, hiking Diamond head, rock jumping at Waimea Bay, shark diving, and dinner out in Honolulu. It was so nice of him to come and visit, and we really had a great time.
Friday evening we went to the cultural center and roamed around there and then took in their luau. Best one I've ever been to. It was amazing and our seats were stellar. Fuzz loved it. She was dancing and doing the arm movements and grunting like the men were doing. It was pretty funny.
Between the dinner and the luau, she was standing outside an Elvis exhibit, listening to the music and dancing her heart out. Before long, Stryker is knocking on the window of the gift shop my cousin and I were in waving us to hurry and come out. We head out there and here's Fuzz.
You can see her crowd starting to develop on the right. On the opposite side of those people there were about 15 others watching her shake her stuff. Not kidding. They were cheering and clapping for her, and the more they cheered, the bigger she smiled and the harder she danced. One lady even gave her money. After about 3 songs we finally dragged her away, even though the crowd was yelling "again! Hana hou!" It was hilarious!
Afterward, some guy came up to us and said that when his son was her age he was the same way, and today he's a 29 year old musician who is very successful here in Hawaii, "so be careful, you're headed for show business!" he said. Yikes! I mean, I know I referred to her as a moviestar, but I didn't think it was actually reality.
Not only am I her biggest fan, but she is apparently mine. Fuzz has taken to introducing everyone to me. As if she just believes everyone should know me. At least that's what I want to believe. Grocery store, park, parking lot, it doesn't matter. If there is someone around, she goes up to them, points to me, and says, "Mama!".
One of the best mom moments to date.
My sister loves her birthday so much that she even celebrates her half-birthday. Yes, my sister is 24 years old, and still celebrates her half-birthday.
Because she celebrates it, I made her these.
Happy half-birthday sweet sister!
Happy Mother's Day to all you hot mamas out there!
I feel so blessed that the Lord has allowed me to be a mom. And to be a mom to this little girl:
is especially wonderful.
You know those moments that make your heart sing when you first start falling in love? I have those every day, as I watch her grow and learn. I fall in love every single day. How awesome is that? Being a mom has also been a test in patience, but it's good. She's making me grow just as much as I am helping her do the same.
I can't wait to see what this next year in motherhood holds.
We are having issues with the internet and it's so annoying! Every page takes forever and a day to load. My complete annoyance is clearly a sign that I am far too reliant on the computer.
I'm ok with that.
Posted by Carissa at 7:39 PM
I think the Army was confused when they said PCS stand for "permanent change of station". I think they actually meant it to stand for "pretty crappy situation". PCSing..what a pain!
Poor Stryker. I mean, we're excited to start a new adventure, but are three different transportation appointments really necessary?? We do have a strange situation because we are in Hawaii, but our household goods are in Wisconsin, but it should be that difficult.
During his first appointment, the lady scheduled his unaccompanied baggage pickup (his army stuff that needs to be transported), but told him that he should get in touch with his next duty station to schedule the household goods pickup, because that would be easier. Easier for who? Yeah. Her.
So he called to see if they could schedule it from here or if he really had to call the next duty station. The woman on the phone told him that the lady at his first appointment should have done it and that he should come in to schedule it. So he went in last week and they sent him away because he didn't have yet ANOTHER copy of his orders. Wait, he's there to fix YOUR screw-up! Not to mention the fact that they already have 32ish copies of his orders. So he left, made another copy of his orders and went in there today. He sat in the waiting room for over an hour and they made him ANOTHER appointment to schedule the pickup. Nothing was accomplished today other than making him an appointment.
Really? All because the first lady didn't do her job? Wow.
Sometimes when I think about the deployment, I wonder how we got through it. Not only did we get through it, but we got through it almost unscathed. 15 months is a long, long, time. Yes, it was hard. Yes, we lost a friend. Yes, we had reintegration issues just like everyone does. But we made it, and we are stronger because of it. We appreciate each other more. I enjoy being a mom more. We cherish our time together more. I could probably go on all day.
So many couples don't make it through one deployment, much less multiple ones. We are close friends with a couple who did not, in fact, make it through this deployment, and it still blows my mind daily. I can't believe they are in the situation they are. I'm certain there is more to the story than what I know...there has to be.
It brings me to the question: What makes one seemingly strong couple crumble while one thrives? Is it faith? Because I'm certain that during some points in the deployment there were only one set of footprints in my neck of the woods. Is it love? Is it personal strength? Is it determination and pure will?
I don't know all the answers, but I think it's a combination of all those things. Here are a few of the things that I think helped us get through our deployments.
#1. Realization and acceptance of the fact that you can't change it. He will deploy. It will be a long time. You can't stop it. Find a way to deal.
#2. Faith. I am a Christian woman. I believe that each of us has a set amount of time on this earth, and that it's predetermined. This was a huge thing in helping me get through this deployment. I believed that if Stryker's time was supposed to be up during the deployment, it would have been up whether he was deployed or not. This prevented me from worrying so much. Of course I still worried, but it wasn't as extreme as the first deployment, and thus, resulted in less stress.
#3. Faith. Faith in our marriage. Faith that despite the length of time apart, our marriage would survive, and we would be ok.
#4. Care packages. I wanted to make sure that Stryker knew I was thinking of him, and loved him, and sending care packages was one of the ways I could best show this. I loved sending care packages because I knew he and the guys enjoyed them, and it also helped me feel closer to him. I knew that I was touching something he would touch.
#5. Being understanding of weirdness. Sometimes while Stryker was deployed, he would go through periods of weirdness. He wouldn't have much to say while we were on the phone, he seemed down, he just was not himself. It's not a cause for panic. They go through ups and downs during the deployment just like we do. It's normal.
#6. Finding something to look forward to. When we started making plans for R&R, conversations were great. We smiled, we laughed, we made plans that involved us actually being together. It was fun.
#7. Living life. I kept on living life. It helped pass the time much more quickly. Yes, sometimes I felt guilty about it, but it was better for Fuzz, Stryker, AND me live life instead or wait for it.
These are just the big ones off the top of my head that helped me, and us, get through deployments. What is something that helps you get through a deployment?
*Here's what I was sending to Stryker one year ago today.
My legs are finally on the mend. Yowzers that was rough. Must make sure I don't go that long again before doing lunges. Not a good feeling.
I did manage to go for a couple walk/runs with Stryker and Fuzz last weekend. Definitely loosened the legs up. And can I just tell you how much more fun it is to run with your family than it is to run by yourself on a treadmill or elliptical? The last time I went to the gym I seriously considered visiting a Dr. to see if I had ADD. I'm going on the elliptical, this is my thought process. "Only 2 minutes? This is boring. La dee dah... What? Only 4:25 minutes? I wonder what that paper on the bulletin board says, maybe I should go check it out." You get the picture. It wasn't pretty.
I will admit it. I'm not a runner. I have asthma, and pounding on the pavement doesn't agree with it. But I want to be a runner. Going out for a run, even if it's half run, half walk, with Stryker and Fuzz is fun. It's great family time, and it's great for Fuzz to see us being active. So I'm starting slow, seeing if I can build up some endurance. We'll see.
In other, completely unrelated news, we grilled pizzas on Friday. If you've never done it, you need to try it. Easy, fast, and so yummy!
After being inspired by Biggest Loser on Tuesday, I thought it would be a great idea for Styker to come up with some workouts I could do. Not only do I get stuck in a rut and keep doing the same things over and over, but I push myself harder if I have a plan and am accountable to someone else for it. (Who isn't?)
Yesterday was my first one, and my legs felt like jello afterward. I'm rethinking this idea....
Actually I'm not, it was fun to do something different than I usually do, and he enjoyed thinking some up for me too. The best part is that he made some for me to do at home (or outside), and some for the gym. So on days when going to the gym isn't an option, I have a back up.
Fuzz got a kick out of it too. Squat jumps induce giggles, and her trying to replicate. And really, how does that not make a workout more fun?
...Kiki for Mother of the Year!!!
Wait, what? Why are you taking my trophy away? You mean mothers of the year don't turn their backs for two seconds as their child kicks herself away from the kitchen counter and falls backward while strapped into a booster seat in her chair?
Seriously. We were having a nice morning, she was eating a good breakfast while I ate next to her. I was done so I got up, threw my plate in the garbage, asked her if she was done, she wasn't, so I turned around, and BANG! Chair hits the floor (and breaks), and Fuzz screaming ensues. She has a little goose egg, but she's fine. I'm still traumatized (and mad at myself). Well, she might be too. For about an hour after it happened, everytime she walked by the chair she whimpered.
Teresa requested this recipe, so I thought I'd share it with everyone. Make sure you bake it long enough! I didn't bake mine quite long enough and when I transferred it to the wire rack it pretty much collapsed. Also it wouldn't hurt to leave it in the pan for a little longer.
Special Banana Nut Bread Courtesy of Taste of Home
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups granulated pure cane sugar
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 medium)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans, divided
1 cup Domino® or C&H® Pure Cane Powdered Sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Fold in 1 cup pecans.
Transfer to two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Sprinkle with remaining pecans. Bake at 350° for 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
In a small bowl, whisk the glaze ingredients; drizzle over loaves. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves.
Another great thing about having Stryker home is that I am cooking for more than myself and an occasional guest. It's great. I've been able to try several new recipes, and most of them have been wonderful.
I've been really into making homemade bread lately. I'm not sure why, but I love it! I've tried a couple different recipes for french bread. I've found a really great recipe for pizza dough (seriously, it's d.e.l.e.c.t.a.b.l.e). Homemade cinnamon rolls anyone? Best I've ever made. Even better than the ones out of the can.
My mom gave me an awesome recipe for banana bread with an orange glaze on top. It sounds like a weird combo but it's the best banana bread I've ever had, and I already had a great banana bread recipe. I've also tried an applesauce bread with a cream cheese filling that I found on this website. It was good but very spice-y. Very Thanksgiving/Christmas. I'd cut back on the nutmeg next time. This is what it looked like:
We've tried great seafood recipes like ginger-glazed mahi-mahi, and awesome grilled recipes like a southwest turkey breast with avocado salsa. Italian, Mexican, American....you name it. The best part is that we have so many more to try!
Alright, I'm hungry...gotta go.
We've been incredibly lucky since Stryker has gotten back. He only took a handful of leave days during block leave, so while everyone else was on block leave, Stryker "worked" for a couple hours a day and had four day weekends. Can you say family time?!
It's been great, and so relaxing. I don't know about you, but block leave always has been a huge runaround for us. Being pulled this way and that, so many people to see, and so many things our families plan for us to do. By the time we get back we're exhausted. Not much of a "leave". So this time we decided we'd just stay put. And it was amazing, not to mention a lot less expensive! Besides, who needs to go anywhere when you see this across the street...
Now everyone's back and they are back to work. It will be two months since he got back on Thursday. We've been lucky to have all this family time, and we're getting back to normal (whatever that is).
Next month we're having some visitors. My cousin is visiting from California for a long weekend, and shortly after he leaves my sister is coming for about a week and a half! I can't wait for her to get here. I miss her a lot, and she needs a Fuzz fix.
PCS season has begun. This past weekend we partook in a little get together for a friend who is leaving this week. Yummy Mexican food and a homemade cake (by me of course). It was fun. After dinner I came home with Fuzz and the rest of the guys went out for a few drinks. Well, maybe more than a few. Stryker got home and had the hiccups for about an hour and a half before he finally fell asleep. Haha.
This was the first close family that I have had to say goodbye to. I've been pretty lucky I guess. Married almost four years and this is the first one. Stryker and I aren't far behind, and neither are the other families that I've grown close to over these four years. I just hope at our new location I meet more couples and families like the ones I've met here. Maybe I'll meet some of you!
For assignment one of my photography workshop we were instructed to capture motion. I've taken two pictures that I like and can't decide which one to use. Check them out and let me know what you think. Which one speaks to you?