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Monthly Archives: October 2011

I Voted Memorabilia :: PCS Goodies

Most of you know we have been without our household goods for 22 months. They were delivered to us on Monday (Halloween). It was such an overwhelming experience, and we decided to tackle boxes right away to get our house back in order as soon as possible. I decided to use this as an opportunity to really look at our things and purge! We had a box set up for things to donate and there was an endless amount of things going into the garbage. If we haven’t needed it for almost two years, perhaps someone who needs it can use it more than us!

We were going through several Rubbermaid boxes with things from our past and man were there some ghosts! I hadn’t gone through some of these containers since I moved in with Hubs back in the summer of 2008!

Some of the very awesome things we did find were an “I voted” sticker! How cool will that be to show future generations? My very first Presidential election was in 2004 and the only memorabilia I could find was a Kerry/Edwards button. I tucked it in my memory box and had all but forgotten about it.

The coolest thing right now that I have would have to be a little “Congratulations” card we used to use at Freemason Abbey Restaurant, where I worked as a server and hostess back in college. One day back in 2007 the Governor of Texas was in town for something and came with his posse of people to eat. We set a space aside for him in the upstairs dining room and watched as his secret service people talked on their ear pieces. I was Hostess that day and as he left I asked him for his autograph. Regardless as to my political party affiliation or political views, I think it’s pretty awesome that four years later he is trying to be a Presidential Candidate. Thank you, Mr. Perry, for this awesome piece of memorabilia!

It's Legit, y'all!

 

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Two Years Later :: Happy Anniversary, Love

Most wedding anniversaries are romantic and celebrated as such. Not for Hubs and I! We celebrate two very special “wedding” days. Today is the day written on our wedding certificate and the day we said “I do”! We even have matching skull and cross-bones rings we gave to each other that day.

So we are having a romantic dinner tonight, right? If I’m completely honest it will be the most romantic dinner of the year! Two years ago after being wed by our chaplain we were preparing for trick-or-treaters. Nan and I were getting candy together and setting up outside while Hubs went to get us dinner. He came back with three Chicken McNugget meals. One for me, one for Nan, and one for himself. We decided right then and there that every year as we celebrate our love we would celebrate over McNuggets! Last year we celebrated with a candlelight dinner and our nugs. This year, there will be no candlelight, but there will definitely be two McNugget meals and we’ll “cheers” with out Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider in champagne flutes.

It is one of the most special days every year. We have been blessed to celebrate our first and now our second anniversary together. We are also getting the best anniversary gift ever this year:: our car and household goods will be delivered today! The dogs will hate me as they will have some kennel time while the doors are open and the movers come and go, and I’m sure they’ll hate all the boxes all over their house, but I couldn’t be happier! I know there will be something crazy, like we’ll have three crock-pots or something, but I’m so excited to get everything again!

The last two years have been quite the ride, but I could not imagine myself married to anyone else!

It’s Fall, Y’all :: Pork and Pumpkin Stew!

By now you all know how in love I am with Williams Sonoma. We go to most of their Sunday morning classes, and it was there that I first sampled and fell in love with Pork and Pumpkin Stew… and I don’t even like pumpkin flavored things! Using Pumpkin as a vegetable for this stew (and a pumpkin chicken curry I’m making soon!) has completely changed my outlook on the food! Keep your latte’s and pies, I’ll take mine for dinner! You don’t have to attend their classes to get the goodies! The recipe for this dish can be found on their website (but I’m sharing it here too!)! Did you even know they had recipes? Once you’re done here, you should go browse around!

Here is the recipe::

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes (I had the butcher at Albertson’s do this for me! He cut them a little bigger than that, but he did it for free so I wasn’t complaining!)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil (divided)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (I used fresh, and about two cloves because I love me some garlic!)
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger (Which I actually got fresh! It was my very first try with it and it was super easy!)
  • 2 tsp. chicken demi-glace (This was the only ingredient I had to buy from Williams-Sonoma directly, because I couldn’t find it anywhere else.)
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. applesauce
  • 9 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 lb. peeled and diced (3/4-inch dice) pumpkin or winter squash, such as kabocha (I’ll share down below how easy it was to use a baby pumpkin!)
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 4 tsp. chicken stock concentrate mixed with 2 cups water, or 2 cups chicken stock
  • Mashed potatoes for serving
  • Sautéed broccoli rabe for serving (We didn’t use this.)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325°F.

Season the pork with salt and black pepper. In a 3 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and warm the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, demi-glace, tomato paste, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar, applesauce, tomatoes with their juices, pumpkin, sage, stock and pork. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until the pork is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Skim the fat off the sauce. Serve the stew over mashed potatoes and pass sautéed broccoli rabe alongside. Serves 6.

So now that you’ve read the recipe, what do you think? I was a little intimidated by it, quite frankly! It just seemed like A LOT of ingredients! I went to a local Spice store and had them give me a Tbsp of each of the spices I would need. They cost about fifty cents by doing it like this and I didn’t have to buy a bunch of spices I might never use again before they go bad. We bought small pumpkins and I used about a 5 incher for this recipe. Here is how easy that it: you cut the top off and scoop out all the seeds and pumpkin guts! I cut a hole in the side (like if I were carving an eye) but next time I think I would carve two or three to let more steam out, because I popped the little fella in the microwave for about ten minutes. I let him cool and the skin was super easy to remove! Some of it fell right off! I quartered the pumpkin and then peeled all the skin off before chopping it into little cubes! Super easy, y’all!

All ready to go in the oven for about 3 hours!

I must warn you that this is not a quick dish. It takes a lot of time and a lot of lovin’! Since you do the pork in batches, it took about 45 minutes. While it was browning though, I used that time to prepare my other ingredients (the onion, the garlic and the ginger). The ginger was super easy to work with. I bought just a little piece, peeled it like a potato and minced it up like garlic! It smelled super delicious and I know is going to be such a great part of the dimension of this stew! I served it with the mashed potatoes on the bottom of the bowl, and the stew on top!

”]”]Let me get real serious for a minute: y’all, this was the best thing I ever prepared with my own two hands! Are you ready?

FEAST!

Have you ever made a stew with pumpkin before? This was my first time cooking with it and I must say, we are heading to the patch tomorrow to try to get a few more so I can freeze some up!

The Little Thngs :: Like Balls and Dogs

This week was a pretty rough week. There were definitely a few little things that carried me through though, and I’m hoping there are little things to carry me through the next year as well! In fact, I’m counting on all the little things to get me through this no good, very bad year.

Last Friday night was the Navy Ball for the North County in San Diego. I know I still haven’t posted my recap, but I have made this following picture my background on my screen. It makes me smile and not think about him being gone for a year.

We are a smoking hot couple!

We clean up pretty well! He always makes me smile! We went out for Caramel Apple Ciders and the following took place: I ordered one, and since weigh ins are coming up, he got his sans whipped cream (gross!) and when we got home, he asked if I wanted his. He said he doesn’t even like apple cider, but wanted to be like me!

deliciousness!

That necklace has also made my week! I have enjoyed wearing it more than any other accessory I own! You can find it over on My Sweet N0vember along with tons of other gothic jewelry!

I consider myself pretty lucky to have my little furbaby’s too! They are three of the best little things and I know they will definitely get me through to 2013! These boys are bananas!

They even held it long enough for an awesome picture!

I know they will keep me on my toes and will  be a good comfort around the house!

These are little things that got me through this week… I hope there were little things to get you through yours as well!

Mele Kalikimaka, Y’all! :: Etsy Loving!

I was so excited when Jane won a giveaway for some shop credit to my Etsy store. She loved my gift tags but asked me if there was anyway I could incorporate their duty station in Hawaii into them. My first thought was bright colors and beaches… and one of my favorite Christmas songs! Who doesn’t love Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters? Christmas will be green and bright, and so can your Hawaiian inspired gift tags!

(click picture to be taken to this listing in my shop!)

This particular pink and green are my absolute favorite colors and I would stamp everything in them if I could! All three colors are from Stampin’ Up: Pink Passion, Green Galore and Only Orange. I looped through some contrasting colored twine and we are all set! In the shop, these little fellas come in sets of ten, but I can do any quantity you’d like!

The holidays are fast approaching! How do you wrap your gifts? Fun, funky and fresh? Or do you go more traditional? I am working on a few other designs and can’t wait to have them in the shop! It’s so awkward getting ready for the holidays this early!

*As a side note:: I am still sitting out on the patio, except now it’s about 77* and I am listening to Christmas music. I wonder how crazy the neighbors think I am, if they can hear the gentle luls of Christmas hymns coming over the fence!

Ever Just Want To Be Dramatic?

Sweet, sweet friends:: a huge, HUGE thank you for all of the prayers, love, and support showered over me and Hubs the last few days! The shell-shock of the news is slowly fading and reality is setting in!

I was able to share my feelings with Hubs yesterday and luckily, he was able to share his with a reservist at the hospital who once had the same billet we think Hubs is going to fill. Let’s just say there will be no foxholes, no semi-automatic machinery strapped to his body at all times, and most likely no need for a battle buddy.

I will of course still worry every minute of every day, but we are able to face this upcoming deployment with a much better outlook than we previously thought.

Now we can focus on the fun things… we’ve been talking about a nice vacation when he gets back (Um, yeah- we’re talking 2013!), our awkward airport homecoming for one, and all the vendors they bring onto base over there.

Maybe I put the location in the back of my mind and just think of it as an extended Navy deployment.

On an unrelated note I’ve taken to blogging outside on the patio! From our little table with God all around me in the greenery of our yard. I find it awkwardly refreshing to get in the fresh air and just be. The dogs enjoy playing in the yard instead of sitting on the computer on my lap as well.

Gotta love an awkward webcam shot!

We can officially begin all of our pre-deployment goodness from the mistakes we made last time… like adding my name to the accounts of every single company we pay a bill to! We only faced a few battles and the representative asking if my husband could call them back. Sure, let me get right on that! Of course we will have a POA, but do any of you ladies know how that works for a year-long deployment? Since, aren’t they only good for one year? Of course there are the little things like calling our credit cards and having the interest rates lowered! That’s right: Did you know if you (or in our case, your husband) has a credit card, they will lower the interest rate during a deployment and in some cases stop interest!? That was a nice way to add to the pay-off of some of our (and by our I mean the debt I married into! Ugh!) debt last deployment!

The next big thing we have to deal with is the phone! Oh good Lord, what a headache that was! We saved about $40 a month when we suspended his phone last deployment. Then we struggled with them not reconnecting it and international charges from Hawaii for at least one month. A few $400 phone bills later we just got it straightened out! A huge part of me wants to just cancel his phone and get him a new one when he comes back home. My fear is he could call me on his way home through various airports if we just kept his phone on and paid the darn bill! I just hate throwing that kind of money right down the drain since he won’t be able to use it over there!

Then of course there is the daunting task of updating his will. That is the worst part of pre-deployment in my opinion! I just don’t like having to talk about it. Nothing has really changed since we did it last year though, so I am thinking maybe we just leave it.

ANY OTHER PRE-DEPLOYMENT ADVICE? Anything you can think of we have to get in order? We won’t have a pre-deployment briefing like we did on the ship, and even with two under my belt, I feel like there is so much I’m just not thinking of! Maybe we will go down to the pre-deployment briefing for the ship since they’ll be going out again soon! (I’m kidding- we’re not PDB crashers!)

Once again:: Thank you ever so much for all your support, prayers, and words of wisdom. I think I got the tantrum and pity party out of the way and can focus on the task at hand- loving my husband with all my heart over the course of the next few months as we prepare to be separated once more. I know with all of the outpouring of love I have already received, you all will be the best rock I could ever ask for!

Sweet Birthday Gift!

With all the travel and deployment madness going on I almost forgot about one of the sweetest gifts I received for my birthday! I am a member of the Love and Envelopes Birthday Club and got the sweetest gift for my birthday by being a member! I was so excited when I opened my mailbox and saw a little package from Amy!

Pretty Earrings!

Can you say gorgeous? Obviously there were two of each design… I don’t know why I took a picture of only one of each! They came with a beautiful blue and coral note card as well!

I was so touched to know she put so much thought into this gift! They have become on of my favorite accessories! She is an artisan who creates jewelry, and I must say- it would make quite the perfect gift for any of your girlfriends this holiday season! Check out her shop and pick up something adorable for yourself, or someone close to you!

 

Thanks, once again Amy, for the gorgeous gift and greetings! I have had so much fun being a part of this community of sweet women! I also promise this is my last birthday post… for this year!