Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's so great to be home!

After 17 years and 10 months, I'm back home and it sure does feel good!

I left Texas in 1994 with the intention of returning some day to settle down, start a family, and spend the rest of my life in the lone star state.

Although I tried many times to move back throughout the years, God certainly had a different plan in mind.

All of my attempts to make it back failed.

I tried relocating with my job to Texas.....fail.

I tried quitting my job to move to Texas.....fail.

I tried finding a new job in Texas....fail.

For some reason, God kept me away for many years only to return a married woman, mother to a sweet little boy, a stay-at-home military spouse, and a born-again Christian.

I'm beyond thrilled to be back and super excited to find out what God has in store for me and my little family here.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Road Trippin'

1610 Miles.

168 Hours.

7 Days.

7 Hotels.

5 States.

2 Cars.

1 Virus.

Here's my photo journal of our journey from Virginia to Texas.
These were taken leaving Virginia and approaching the Appalachian Mountains.  The rear view photo was my view of my husband's car throughout our journey.



Approaching the Tennessee mountains.  This stretch was the scariest for me.  The twists and turns on the mountains were pretty treacherous, and the torrential thunderstorms made visibility difficult.


I think I was finally taking deep breaths and Thanking God at the time I snapped this photo.  We made it through safely and were approaching Nashville.


While in Nashville, we saw this interesting restaurant serving "camp-style cuisine" with a large moose statue outside.  We were intrigued.


To my surprise, these were inside!


Ewwwwwww!

They were EVERYWHERE!

I hate taxidermy!

I wasn't hungry anymore.


My husband taking a photo of his Elk Burgers.  Apparently they were delicious.


These fried green tomatoes were alright, but I don't think I'll be back.  The stuffed animals were just too much for me!

In other news....

While in Nashville, we spent some time exploring the Grand Ole Opry...

The Opryland Hotel ...


Opry Mills ...

We ate at the Aquarium and LOVED it!  Our little guy loved the fish tanks filled with sting rays, sharks, eels, etc.  The tank kept him busy so we were able to relax a bit and enjoy our amazing lunch.

I had the most delicious Thai Shrimp Salad.  It sure was Yummmmmmy!


Shortly after our tour of Nashville, my husband felt very ill and spent the remainder of our time in Tennessee in bed.


He championed through a 3.5 hour drive to Memphis, but curled up in bed until the virus passed.

While he slept, I spent time visiting with my former co-worker and good friend from Memphis, Toni.

I've missed her.  It's been way too long.

Stopped by her office.


Spent quality time over some incredible Memphis BBQ.


By the way, I ate everything in the photo which included, wet & dry ribs, baked beans, cole slaw, and a side of spaghetti.  It was ALL fantastic!

I love how the BBQ restaurants in Memphis offer a side of spaghetti.  I brought a serving back to the hotel for my sick husband and he scarfed it down saying it was "dynamite!".  I don't know what was in the sauce, but it certainly was incredible.

Here's a photo of us after dinner.  Isn't Toni pretty?  Hasn't aged one bit in all 12 years I've known her.


Oh wait, I also had dessert.  Here's the lemon ice box pie that I devoured.  It tasted like a key lime pie (my favorite), but soooooo much better!


Thankfully, my husband kicked the virus and we were back on the road.  Here's a photo of the terrible traffic we ran into in Arkansas along with my dirty dirty dirty windshield.


The toddler was getting a little nutty, so we stopped along the route for lunch at Cracker Barrel.


After enduring the traffic, bumpy roads, and a restless toddler in Arkansas, we finally made it ...... to TEXAS!

YeeHaw!

We stopped by my parents house for lunch where our son played with their little parakeet, Spud.  It was a great visit.  We all loaded up on my mom's cooking which was spectacular.....as usual.  She's the best cook ever!


Since the temperature was well over 90 degrees, we hydrated with Blue Coconut Slushes Slushes from Sonic.  These are awesome!

We also stopped to take this photo for my father-in-law.  My husband thought his Dad would like this since he is a fan of Cabela's.


Our journey was long, but we made it!

Praise GOD.....we made it!

It is so great to be back in the Lone Star State.  I sure have missed you!!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Big Man Down

My little boy was on the road to recovery and we were finally on our way to Texas.  Until ...


Big man down!

This is what my husband looked like during most of our time in Tennessee.  

He was very sick.  

It was a virus.

Great news though ... PRAISE GOD that he's doing better and we're back on the road.

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."  
- Deuteronomy 31:8


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Little Boy Down

We were on a roll, on schedule, and almost on our way to Texas.

 BUT...

 This past week was just too hard on my little family.

We had one main objective for the week --- move.

- move out of my husband's current unit
- move out of our on-post house
- move to temporary lodging
- move to Texas

Thankfully by God's grace, we completed everything on our move list last week except...

... move to Texas.

Unfortunately, here's why...


Our little boy is now sick in bed.  

While my husband and I are okay with pushing ourselves to the brink of insanity with our move, it's not working out for our little one.

He's done with the madness.

His sweet little body is screaming at us to slow things down a bit.  God bless him!

So, we threw away our travel plans, canceled commitments with friends, and canceled all hotel reservations.  Texas can wait.

We're spent!

"There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.  Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience." - Hebrews 4:9-11

Friday, May 18, 2012

Little Buddies

Our little guy and the precious little girl who lives next door.  

Hanging out in the pool.

I just love this photo!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

All Packed Up

It's been a looooong and stressful week .... and it's only Wednesday!

On a positive note, our household goods are all packed up and on their way to Texas.  YeeHaw!  Here's a photo of the moving truck parked in front of our place this morning.


It was sad to watch everything get packed up and moved out.  I've really loved our little place and have enjoyed living on this Army post.

This is my first official military PCS (permanent change of station) move, and so far it's been surprisingly exhausting!  I've moved across country several times in the past, but my moves were paid for by big corporations which I've now learned is a whole different enchiladad.

In a nutshell, I think that the way the military does moves is for the birds.

I miss my corporate days.

Okay, not really.

Well....maybe sometimes.

Oh, and to add to this crazy and hectic week, my husband and I scheduled some last minute....."down to the wire" lunches, dinners, meetings, outings, gigs, and visits with friends.  What in the world were we thinking?!

We're nuts!

Although I love our friends and will miss them all dearly, at this point of overwhelming stress and exhaustion all I want to do is just get to Texas and maybe sleep for a week or so.

By the way, here's a photo of tonight's sky here in Virginia that my husband snapped with his camera phone.  It sure was stunning!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Curry

If you LOVE curry, you're certainly going to LOVE this dish.


This Freezer Crockpot Chicken Curry recipe is one of those dishes that you just can't stop eating because it's so stinkin' good, and you can't stop making because it's so easy.

I saw this recipe on mamaandbabylove.com a few months ago and thought it was a great idea.  I'd assemble the ingredients in ziploc freezer bags, store them in the freezer, then throw the frozen contents of the bag into the crockpot in the morning to be ready for dinner in the evening.

Sounds simple doesn't it?

The great news is that ..... it is!  Very simple, healthy, and ohhhhhhh so tasty.

I altered the original recipe a little to suit our taste and add in some of my favorite spices.  Enjoy!

Crockpot Chicken Curry     *Printable Recipe*
adapted from mamaandbabylove.com

6 chicken thighs
2.5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp curry powder
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp tumeric
1 chicken boullion cube (knorr brand)
1.5 cup peeled sweet potatoes, chopped
1.5 cup baby carrots
1 cup mango, chopped (frozen)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 zucchini, chopped

Add everything into a one gallon freezer bag.  Store in freezer until ready to use.
To cook, empty frozen contents of bag into crockpot.  Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Actually..... Happy Belated Mother's Day!

We're moving to Texas ya'll!!

As I type this, there are two strangers in our house going through each and every drawer, cabinet and closet, and packing it all up.  Then two more strangers (or three) will come tomorrow to haul it all away.

I know they introduced themselves and gave me their names, but I can't remember them.

I'm numb and I'm having a panic attack.

It's all very overwhelming since it's my first big military move.

Time to go to my happy place ----->  Mother's Day, May 13, 2012

Yesterday was such a wonderful - wonderful day.  I absolutely loved every minute of this blessed day with my family.

We were fortunate to have Luke's baby dedication at the church that we just love so much before we leave this area.  It was our last Sunday and certainly our most exciting.

Definitely bittersweet.

I love everything about our church.  Great Pastors - meaningful friendships - loving mentors.

I can't wait to find a similar church home/family in Texas.

Here's a photo of our little man holding a present given to him by one of the ladies from the church.  He was super excited, and already at age two......very thankful!


My husband also surprised me with this photo.



Because I'm usually the one behind the camera, I seldom have photos of myself and my little love.  While I hate photos of my backside, I'm thrilled to have a recent photo with the boy.  So I'll take what I can get.


For those asking "why a baby dedication".  Here's why...

"As surely as you live, my Lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord.  I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord."  And he worshiped the Lord there. 
 - 1 Samuel 1:26-28

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Farewell Luncheon

Yesterday I attended a "hail & farewell" luncheon with my husband's unit.  It was my first in all four years and eleven months of living here and it was such a nice time.

Hail & Farewells are traditional military events where those coming and departing from the unit are recognized and celebrated.  Since military folks are ordered to move often, they have these events almost every other month or so.

I never thought a farewell day would come for my husband because we've lived here for so long (4 yrs and 11 months is a long time in the Army).

Unfortunately, yesterday was the day.

The luncheon was beautiful though.

His Commander said some wonderful things about him and presented him with this amazing medal (Meritorious Service Medal).  I've learned that these awards/medals are a pretty big deal in the military.

I'm so proud of my husband!


Also, his department or in military speak...'detachment', presented him with this super-duper-uber-cool drum clock.  His boss made this and got everyone to sign it.  Very thoughtful and creatively amazing!!  I can't wait to hang it up in our new place.


Also, his dear friend, Sarah, said some wonderful things that truly touched him (and me).  She presented him with a generous gift for our family.... and that's when I lost it.

Ugh!  The tears!

I - hate - farewells.

Here's a photo I snapped on my camera phone of my husband giving his farewell speech, proudly wearing his medal, and holding our little boy.


We'll miss you Virginia!  *(sniff, sniff)*

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

In honor of this Mexican holiday (and dinner party last night....oh, and strawberry season), I'm posting a Tres Leches cake that is TO - DIE - FOR.


This butter-free 'three milk cake' was surprisingly delightful and I loved every single bite.  It also received great reviews from last night's party-goers.  Yippee!


From the Pioneer Women's Tasty Kitchen, I made an itsy-bitsy change by doubling the whipped frosting.

The more fresh whipped cream, the better!

I also added a dash of vanilla to the frosting and chopped strawberries, but that's about it. 

It sure was lovely.  This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Enjoy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bites & Skewers


A few weeks ago, I signed up to bring a breakfast dish to my ladies bible study.  Aside from the typical casserole, fruit plate, donuts, and breads, I thought I'd try something a little different.

Breakfast bites.

I found this interesting recipe on Pillsbury's website and thought it would be fun to try.  They appeared to be easy to make and the reviewers claimed that even kids could put this together.

So, I figured I should do a test run before the day of the bible study.  Just .... in .... case.

Yep, Sure glad I did the test run!

Although for some, these may have been easy to throw together, I obviously need a little practice.

Easy?  Not so much.

They're awfully cute though.  Aren't they?

Oh, they're pretty tasty too.

I love the idea of breakfast bites and plan to try them again some day when I have more time.

Instead, I made these "super-easy to assemble" fruit and angel cake skewers for the ladies.  Inspired by a photo I saw on pinterest.

These take less than 30 minutes to put together and I never have leftovers!



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Design!

As you can see, my blog now has a new face.  I'm so in love with it!

It's still all the same content with just a little reconstructive work.  Actually, a lot of reconstructive work.

I wish I could say I created this beautiful design myself, but I sure didn't.  

A wonderful and talented designer, Lauren Casper, put it all together.  

She's amazing!
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