Thursday, November 28, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Trader Joe's Yumminess

If you know me it is no secret I love Trader Joe's. When they first opened I didn't understand all the hype until I went and tried a few items then I loved it. The other day I really wanted grilled cheese and soup for dinner so I decided to pick up the items I needed. First I should say I'm not a huge tomato soup fan I find it pretty bland. So I decided to change it up a bit. I bought TJ's Creamy Tomato soup, TJ's Pesto Tortellini, and TJ's fresh Parmesan cheese, TJ's Tuscan bread, TJ's Smoked Gouda, and TJ's Muenster Cheese.

For the sandwich it's pretty easy...

Make a cheese sandwich and butter the outsides of the bread, grill until golden brown. And enjoy! (I used one slice of bread cut in half for my sandwich, my hubby used two slices of bread.) You could add bacon if you're so inclined.

For the soup...

Pour the creamy tomato in the pan and let warm up. Pour the thawed (they come thawed but you can freeze them) tortellini in the soup, put about a tablespoon of Italian Seasoning in the soup, and about 1/4 cup of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir frequently. Keep the heat around medium so it gets warm but doesn't burn.When the tortellini get soft (about 10 minutes or so) scoop into bowl sprinkle with Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese to garnish.

Enjoy the warmth and gooeyness!  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Remember to Put Your Oxygen Mask on First

If you've ever traveled on an airplane you've received the speech about safety in the event of an emergency. If you haven't here's the Cliffnote the event that the cabin's air supply should become compromised oxygen masks will drop from above over your seat. You need to give it a firm tug and place the elastic around your head and the mask securely over your nose and mouth. Proceed to breath normally. (umm sure that will happen) They also emphasize that if you are traveling with a small child or someone who would need assistance to make sure you put your mask on first and then help them. The first time I heard this speech I thought well that seems a bit selfish...then I realized...if you can't breath and pass out you can't help others. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.


Umm so here's where the true confessions come in...I am HORRIBLE at self care. I don't just mean kinda sorta bad but horrible. I can take care of everyone else. I am the eternal cheerleader and cheer-upper to others but not to myself. I really realized this in 2012 when J was gone to Japan, two dear friends died two months apart, and my dear co-worker who I share office coverage with was out on and off for the better part of 6 months due to illness, her husband dying, injury, and oh yeah illness again. The poor woman couldn't catch a break. So I was covering everything at home, taking on lots of extra work at work, helping a dear friend go through a horrible break-up from a complete and total jerk the love of her life for the third time, and really ignoring myself. 

I'm not complaining. I made my choices and I lived with them. I enjoy helping others, I enjoy taking care of others, I enjoy filling in as needed, I really do so for me it wasn't like I was miserable. Or so I's where the rubber hits the road for hindsight I realized I was so busy helping others that my life, my health, and my sanity were spiraling downward. My house was a disaster and I mean a disaster as in it is amazing that I didn't end up hurt or something from my house, I gained weight, at night after work I'd stop by a fast food restaurant and get dinner, then go home and sit in front of the TV with the dogs, go up to bed, and start the cycle over. 

Since January of this year I have been working very hard at taking better care of myself. I joined a gym, I started meal planning, I got back to beading and sewing, and I've been trying to take time away from work for myself. Wow even as I type that I laugh because with the grand opening of our new addition I've been working more and not doing a great job of taking time off. But I will say house is mostly clean, I've been trying to stay on track with meal planning, and I've been trying to get to the gym. But I think my most important thing for 2013 has been that I'm aware of my needs and taking care of myself in the midst of the chaos. I take time to get my hair done, get a manicure, soak in the hot tub, etc to relax and refresh. It makes my day/week better when I do.

So take time to take care of you before you take care of others. Because if you are worn out and tired it is hard to take care of others. Especially as we enter the hectic holiday season it is important to focus on yourself some too. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pretty Girl and new venture

My banner from my Etsy Shop
So I did it...I took the leap I've been wanting to take for years and started my own business. For now it will be part time as I am still working in a very busy but rewarding job that I love. I am making purses, totes, baby toys, pet accessories, and jewelry that I will be selling online at Etsy, in person to friends and family, and eventually at craft shows. I've made a few things and have a few things stocked in my store. Here are some examples of my work...some are for sale and some were gifts. Please take a moment to check out my website, my Etsy store, and my Facebook.

A beaded Focal Centerpiece using Dutch Spiral
Turquoise earrings on copper wire
The Lucy Tote by AliFoster in a lovely black and white dot print
The Envelope Clutch by Noodlehead in a fun grey, white, and aqua print
The Diaper Bag by Craft Apple in a Marvel Super Heros Print
The Sidekick Tote by Noodlehead in a Alexander Henry Print

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Life After the Navy

My Hubby enjoying the freedom retirement brings!
Navy life had its ups and downs but it had a sense of normality for my husband and myself. As we have been transitioning out of active duty Navy life into the world of retirement there are some things that are the same...the process of getting an ID card is about the same, we have access to the base and all its perks, we still get many of the same discounts at places, my husband was recognized on Veteran's Day, and we still live a similar life. However, for my husband it is all 20 years he hasn't had to apply for a job, he hasn't had to write a resume, he hasn't had to figure out what to wear to work, he hasn't had as many options, and now he has lots of things he's having to do for the first time. It has been an interesting process for him. I on the other hand have really had to do a lot of sitting back and watching. I mean I can give him resume advice, I can help him with job searches, etc but I can't really relate to what he's going through. I've worked at my job for 14 years now so I can relate to doing something for a number of years but I can't relate to having to start over. 

The good news is there are a number of resources out there. The other good news is that many companies look at military service very highly. And his military skills, training, and experience transfer over to the civilian world pretty well. I mean some things don't of course but many of his experiences in the military relate to the civilian world. I'm relieved he is no longer in the Navy...I am very proud of the years of service he gave and the amazing things he did for his country but I'm happy to know I won't have to deal with deployments, training exercises, or duty days again. Most of all I'm relieved I don't have to worry about a knock on my door with two men in uniform at my door.

For all of you with spouses who are still serving in active duty THANK YOU!!! You are amazing people for what you do. Your spouse could not do what he or she does without your love and support and the security of knowing you are keeping the home steady and strong while they are gone. I applaud you and I wish you the best in your continued journey!! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Our Newest "Baby"

Ms. Bianca

Ms. Bianca with her Pal Otis
** Please ignore the sad state of our carpet in the above is scheduled to be torn out soon**

I'd like to introduce Ms. Bianca...we got her when she was about 8 weeks old from a rescue near us. She is a feral kitty which has some challenges sometimes but she has adapted really well. She is in spaz like craziness. At first she and Otis didn't like each other but now the play, cuddle, and create havoc together. Our male dog Ares doesn't care she's here. Our female dog Eva seems to want make Bianca her toy playmate. Eva isn't so popular with Bianca.

I hope she is as happy with us as we are with her.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans...

So let me explain what's happened since we've talked last...actually that would take too long so let me sum up...

  • My long lost sailor came home for good from Japan in May! It has been wonderful to have him home but it has also been an adjustment for both of us. Two geographically single people combining to be a couple again has been fun, interesting, and different.
  • Our dog Eva had to have knee surgery in May and we had a long rough go keeping her calm and confined. She has since recovered after physical therapy. She seems to be doing good.
  • My husband retired the end of September after 20 years in the Navy and we are transitioning to civilian life. It is a bigger adjustment for him but it is going well. He is in the job hunt right now and he looks forward to his next career.
  • After losing three of our beloved kitties between December of last year and January of this year...we weren't sure we wanted to get another one. But we determined that our Otis kitty was lonely so we adopted a new kitten Bianca. She's crazy and sweet and we love her.
  • After 5 years of it sitting not being used we have finally gotten our hot tub set up and running. It has been used twice by my hubby and once by myself. It is wonderful on a cool evening. I love it!
  • Work has been insane...we have built a new addition on to the building that includes a new multipurpose room that will be used for worship services in the future. This weekend is our Grand Opening! It is exciting and stressful all in one. 
  • Finally after three years of talking, planning, redesigning, renaming, and replanning I've opened my business...I'll be selling jewelry, purses, and children's items online through Etsy. My website is live but my Etsy site is not yet. Coming soon!! 
A few tv show observations...
  • My husband got me addicted to Boardwalk Empire and I love it!! So far I'm not sure I like some of the story lines this season but we'll see where it goes. 
  • Grey's Anatomy is reaching an end in my opinion...I love that show but I think it needs to go out in style in the next couple of seasons rather than replacing everyone like E.R. did. 
  • I think Big Bang Theory is a great show and I love the humor on it.
  • We are loving the new show Sleepy Hollow. I love the ties to Christianity and the Bible. I think it has great potential. And they've made Ichabod Crane kinda cute!
  • I love the show Blue has Donnie Wahlburg, Tom Selleck, and Will Estes as the main male leads and they do a great job acting as a family. I think this one will be around for a while.
Ok so I'll be posting more soon!! And I've been hoping around to the blogs I read so I can catch up on all of you too. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Menu Planning Monday

Welcome to Menu Planning Monday!

This week I'm using a few cheats because it makes my life easier.

Sunday: Cream Cheese Stuffed Hamburger Bake (see recipe below)

Monday: Leftover CCSHB and Leftover chili

Tuesday: Grilled Steaks

Wednesday: Leftovers (I have a lot of leftover meals in my fridge so we'll pick one of those)

Thursday: Spaghetti with Italian Sausage sauce

Friday: Unknown

Saturday: A Belated Cinco de Mayo party

Cream Cheese Stuffed Hamburger Bake
1 - 1 1/2 lb lean hamburger (I use the 96 % lean)
1 softened 8 oz brick of cream cheese (I use light don't use fat free it doesn't work right)
1-2 T Worcestershire sauce (I use more because we like it )
1-2 T mustard (I use TJ Hot & Sweet Mustard)
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t pepper

To make:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a bowl mix hamburger, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix it well.
Split the hamburger into two portions. 
Take the first half and spread it into a big patty in a pie plate. It doesn't have to be perfect and you don't want to spread it too thin. 
Take the cream cheese and make it into a roundish patty. Place it on the center of the hamburger.
Take the rest of the hamburger and make it into a patty. Set it on top of the cream cheese. Pinch edges of the patties to seal it the best you can.
Bake it for 25-40 minutes depending on preferred doneness. 
Let sit for a few minutes. Enjoy! 
I eat mine with ketchup...J likes hot sauce or steak sauce.

Now head on over to The Young Retiree and link up!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Weekend Yumminess

I've been working really hard at cooking my breakfast and most of my dinners at home during the week. Even on weekends I've been doing pretty well. My usual go to is a Trader Joe's whole wheat cinnamon raisin English muffin, a couple pieces of Trader Joe's Black Forest Bacon, egg whites, and coffee. But on weekends I like to get a bit fancier but I still like simple so I go for German Pancakes. This is such a quick recipe you could even make it on a weekday as a treat. I started with the recipe from Redhead Recipes but since it is just me I've cut it down a bit...

Original Recipe:
German Pancakes (adapted from
3 Tbsp butter
6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt

Place butter in 9x13 baking dish and place in oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine remaining ingredients in blender, blend until combined. Once butter is melted, remove baking dish from oven. Poor in batter. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with strawberries, powdered sugar, or maple syrup!

My Variation: 
(basically I just halve the recipe)
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt

Place butter in 8x8 (or 9x9) glass baking dish and place in oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine remaining ingredients in bowl, mix with an electric mixer until combined. Once butter is melted, remove baking dish from oven. Pour in batter. Bake for 15 minutes. (check it, it should be full cooked with a bit of golden brown on top) I sprinkle it with powdered sugar and eat it with Trader Joe's real maple syrup.

As I read this I'm realizing I may have a problem. I am addicted to Trader Joe's. What can I say I like good food at good prices.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Menu Planning Monday - Week 3

I've just gotten back to menu planning. So I was excited when I saw this! This week is actually a bit of a crazy week for me work wise so I'm trying to keep it fairly simple. For better or worse the weather is making me crave warm and savory comfort foods. So here is the plan...

Monday - Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Chicken with Trader Joe's Brown Rice (very easy to throw the chicken on a cookie sheet and bake it and the rice goes in the microwave)

Tuesday - Ms. Arnita's Meatloaf (I'm not a huge meatloaf fan but I love this is yummy and relatively easy)

Wednesday - Leftover TJ's Mandarin Orange Chicken (there is something like 2 1/2 servings in the bag so I'll have that to use it up)

Thursday - Leftover Meatloaf (It's even better the next day or two...I'll put some single serve portions in the freezer for use at a later date)

Friday - Leftover Chili (I made a crock pot of chili last week and put some in single serving containers in the freezer so all I have to do is reheat them)

Saturday - Dinner Out

Sunday - I'll have Easter Dinner with Mom either at her house or we'll go to Cinebistro for dinner and a movie

Want to join the fun? Head over to The Young Retiree and Taingamala and link up!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I took a bite...out of Apple

I've been using an iPod for about 6 1/2 years (yes I was a bit late to the game), I started using an iPhone about two years ago, and now I'm using a MacBookPro at work. I have to say I'm an Apple girl and I like it. I wasn't so sure about the MacBookPro because I've used a PC for years but I've become very accustomed to the Mac quite quickly.

Then there is the iPad. I'd like to say I fought the good fight and resisted temptation. I'd like to say it but I can't the truth of the matter is plain old envy kicked in and I couldn't resist. So J got me one for my birthday/Christmas present per my request. However, the joy of being a deployment spouse is sometimes you get to shop for yourself. So on Black Friday I went to the Apple Store and bought myself an iPad 2. I promised J I would wait until at least my birthday (Dec. 16th) to play with it. Well being the sweet husband that he is he said I could go ahead and open it and play with it. So of course I did. I love it!

I confess the two apps I use the most are my kindle app and the dropbox. Oh and of course Angry Birds lol.

So what are some of your favorite apps?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I'm Back...and Coming Soon!!

Well hello there...

I didn't realize how long I had disappeared. I confess I've missed it. I've missed you guys. And I hope to become more regular about posting again. So I thought I'd give you a heads' up on what will be coming soon.

  • The story of my husband's final R& R! (yes the next time he's home he's home for good)
  • I Will Thrive: Surviving Deployment
  • When Your "Deployment Spouse" gets a better offer
  • Understanding a calling
  • When God speaks to you...and you don't listen
  • Yummy recipes
  • My status on the Couch to 5K program
  • My "race" schedule
  • Furbabies
  • The reality of not dealing with it
  • The beauty of technology
  • The beauty of a cleanish house
  • and more...