I'm taking a break from blogging about my recent weekend on the Big Island because, honestly, I am just blah today and have been for a few days now.
I am suddenly aware that in a few months Callie will be leaving me to attend college in Texas. I knew she wouldn't be around forever, but she's the last of my three and I'm very sad. I have cried two mornings in a row thinking about it. Whoever designed a woman's life to have empty nest, menopause, and poor eyesight (not to mention the lack of metabolism and all that goes with that) all at the same time, was clearly not a mother or even a woman, for that matter. In case you haven't been keeping up with my blog very long, I will update you on the empty nest. Alex (Nick's 15 yr old) is joining us this summer. I won't have an empty nest but I will still miss Callie. I have cried over all three leaving. I can't see that stopping with Alex either!
We arrived home on Sunday afternoon and I knew I had to get my act together and make a weekly menu and grocery list. This is something I've enjoyed doing and it's saved me money and time at the store and during the week. This week, I just couldn't get there. I struggled with the menu and list. I poured over cookbooks and my favorite web sites and found no inspiration. I'm trying to eat healthier so when I asked for help from the husband, I had to shoot down half his ideas. (an all beef menu for the week)
I finally got it together and made a menu. I hit the commissary after going to the gym. Let me just say that I'm STILL struggling to find my comfort zone. I hate working out and I suspect that I always will.
This Week's Menu:
Sunday: Chicken pasta alfredo (from a jar) and salad. This was because I had absolutely nothing else in the house.
Monday: Chicken pesto and roasted asparagus (southbeach diet recipe again and it was delish)
Tuesday: Stir fry beef with veggies (Nick makes this one, let's see if it's too spicey to eat again!)
Wednesday: Pork Tenderloin and broccoli
Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and cabbage
Friday: Homemade pizza
On a brighter note, yesterday, Callie and I finished up 3 scholarship applications and got them in the mail. Fingers crossed for some $$$ this year. She got 2000.00 last year from a spouse's club I belong to. All that volunteer work has paid off!
We got up the first morning and decided we'd hit the gym. We'd made a promise to each other that we would work out every day we were there. After the gym and breakfast, we went volcano hunting. The volcano national park covers a lot of land and there are lots of parts to it. I guess I thought a volcano was like you used to make in school; one mountain with a hole on top. It's not like that at all. I don't understand it completely, so I will just say the place where the lava erupts moves. There are lots of calderas where the land has caved in. There was one place we saw after dark that had glowing lava in it. Some places had steam or some kind of sulfur cloud coming out of them and that was it. We did see lots of lava. Some of it was up to 20 years old and some as new as 4 months. The part we found that was only 4 months old still had hot lava running underneath it. In fact, we were able to stick our hand in a crack and feel the heat. It was like holding your hand in front of a 300 degree oven. This particular lava had covered a whole community.
Check it out:
This was the entrance to an old lava tube... very cool!
Lava and more lava. This is some of the older stuff.
Literally..the end of the road. This was very cool.
Four month old lava.
For those of you wanting to move to Hawaii, here's a deal for you. The sign says two lots and ocean view. These people actually re-built after the lava came through and wiped out the community. There were other new houses here too. Remember, this lava is 4 months old. There is no water or electricity here.
This was the only "hot" lava we saw. It was disappointing for us. Many times you can see lava rushing into the ocean, but Pele was quiet this time.
When I found out that Nick had a 3 day weekend coming up, I immediately booked a trip to the Big Island. As I have said before, we’ve been here almost four years and have never seen any of the other islands until last month.
There is a military camp on the Hilo side of the Big Island called Kilauea Military Camp which is where we stayed. Nick’s only request was that he gets to see an active volcano while we’re here in Hawaii.
We left Thursday afternoon for the 45 minute flight over. Nick drove to the airport; Callie went with us to drive the car back so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking. This is Nick waiting for Callie and me to get in the car and go.
It seems this is always the story when we leave. He’s in the car, with it started, waiting for us.
Now, when I get through security, I have started my vacation. Proof of that:
We get called to board the plane. We get to the gate and I expect the nice air conditioned jet way, I got this instead:
This was the plane.
It was small. I don’t like small planes. They are crowded and make me nervous. Our flight was uneventful. We arrived, rented our car and checked in to our little cabin. On the way into the camp we saw this:
Those are steam vents... a very good start to a volcano trip.
Our cabin had a fireplace that we used every night. I LOVED the fireplace. I LOVED the chilly weather. We rarely get chilly weather in Hawaii so being at the top of a mountain, near a volcano with cool weather was a blast. I asked the dear man to pay extra for a cabin with a Jacuzzi tub. I used it once during our three day stay. I almost felt guilty for asking, but then I remembered… we don’t even have a tub in our bathroom here. I NEVER get a bath, much less a bath with jets. I got over the guilt.
I will post more on our Big Island trip. Enjoy a few more photos.
This afternoon, my precious husband and I will board a small plane and hop over to the Big Island of Hawaii. We have lived here almost four years and are just now getting around to seeing other islands. Waiting til the last minute is a bad habit of mine. I always have the false sense of having plenty of time. Take now...it's 9:00 AM, the laundry needs to be changed out, my bed is not made, breakfast dishes not done, and I haven't started packing. I'm not sure I have enough clean clothes to pack, so I'll need to get on that laundry pretty quickly.
We went to Maui last month right after my husband changed out of battalion command. A wise friend told me it would be good to distract him because it would be a huge let down for a while. (it's been over a month, when does this end?...that's another story for another day) Maui was fabulous! I would live there if I could. I will blog about my Maui trip soon and post pics. It's truly a beautiful island.
The Big Island has the active volcano. Nick just can't leave Hawaii without seeing it. I hope it's acting up really well so we can see it from afar. I'm not a big hiker and I don't like the idea of hiking near lava. I will definitely post pics of this one.
I'm not sure how often I will blog while away, so everyone, have a wonderful weekend and think of us paying our respects to Pele, the goddess of fire!
Last night I attended my first coffee with Nick's new unit. Fortunately for me, we've been part of this group most of the time we've been in Hawaii, but not in the Headquarters. Now that he's a staff guy, I get to play with the wives..umm...spouses!
We had a lovely dinner on a roof top in Honolulu. This particular coffee was hosted by a male spouse in the unit. I've never been part of a group where any of the men were involved on this level. He grilled outside, had buckets of wine, beer, and sodas, and a lovely view. His wife was there too, and a couple of other guys..I'm not even sure how they fit in.
I had a great time eating and drinking with my girls. It's a hysterical group.
Tonight, I play Bunco with another group of Army Wives. This is a sub-group of our spouse's club. Bunco is always a blast because we have lots of wine, and we play with real money!
On a side note, I made the South Beach Diet's "Turkey and White Bean Chili" It's from the "Quick and Easy Cookbook" It was DELICIOUS! I had only a few bites before I left for my night out. I was going to take a photo, but Nick ate almost all of it, then packed the rest in his lunch for today.
Turkey and White Bean Chili
1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound turkey cutlets cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 TBS chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can Mexican diced tomatoes
1 C lower-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
Add turkey, chili powder, and cumin; cook, stirring often, until turkey is no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes.
Add beans, tomatoes with juice, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
I will double this next time...it was that good!
I completely blew my diet last night. Chips and salsa, wine.. oh boy. I will try to do better tonight!
Last week, Jillian Michaels told me (and millions of others on her show Biggest Loser) that I need to drink a glass of milk per day. THEN I go to the doctor last week and my favorite primary care provider told me that milk should be the only thing I drink that has calories. So...I've been drinking a glass of milk a day. Usually it's with breakfast but today I had it with my chocolate Special K protein bar. It was almost like having milk and cookies. I really thought I would hate skim milk. There was a time I wouldn't have let it near my mouth, but I'm enjoying my milk and wishing I could have more in a day.
Tonight's dinner was: Peppery Steak and Horseradish Sauce, Sautéed Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Fries. I took all of these from the South Beach Diet Quick and Easy cookbook. My favorite primary care provider said I should eat a more "Mediterranean diet" so I pulled this book out.
Yes, that is steam coming off the plate. That's how quickly I snapped the photo after serving it up.
The steak was easy. It was a sirloin coated in a little olive oil and lots of cracked black pepper. I broiled them because it was raining out. Next time I'll use tenderloin. I just like it better.
The mushrooms were easy as well. Sautéed in olive oil with onion and thyme. YUMMY!
The sweet potatoes were simply tossed in olive oil, salt, and paprika. Unfortunately, I neglected to see that I was supposed to leave the skin on until after I had peeled them. More fiber I guess?
This week's menu:
Sunday: Chicken Tacos/Nachos
Monday: Steak with horseradish cream, sauteed mushrooms and sweet potato fries (all from southbeach diet cookbook)
Tuesday: Turkey and white bean chili (also a southbeach diet recipe)
Wednesday: Spanish Rice casserole with a green salad
Thursday - Sunday: Nick and I will be on the Big Island of Hawaii!!
I've been a research geek the last few days looking for things to do on the Big Island. We want to see the active volcano of course. Since we only have a couple of days we'll probably hang around that area. We'll be staying at the Kilauea Military Camp. They have cottages there with fireplaces, kitchens and jacuzzi tubs! It's quite a bit cooler on the Big Island because of the altitude so I'm looking forward to wearing jeans, a sweatshirt and enjoying a small fire in our little cabin.
Tonight I made the Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos I had planned to make on Friday or Saturday. They are delicious and oh so easy!
Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
1 pkg chicken (frozen works best)
1 jar salsa
1/2 to 1 packet taco seasoning (if you don't have it, throw in some cumin, oregano, salt, etc)
a little bit of water (1/4 c. or so, I think)
Cook on low for ~6-8 hours.
After it's cooked, shred the chicken and mix it up with some of the remaining cooking liquid. Use it to make anything -- quesadillas, tacos, burritos, salad, etc
I made amazing nachos with them for Nick and I had a taco salad with them since I'm cutting back on the calories and carbs.
I guess having Nick work two weekends in a row has paid off. He got a three day weekend this week. Yesterday we ran errands and had lunch out. I love doing the simple things with him, maybe that's a side effect of having him gone so much. Today we hit the pool at the Hale Koa Hotel. This hotel is a military hotel and is downtown Waikiki right on the beach. We have pools closer to us that we could enjoy but we drive downtown and pay for parking for one reason. The cocktail waitress that walks around the pool. It just doesn't get better than that.
After getting a little too much sun, we came home, cleaned up and went back downtown to hit Hooters for fried pickles and wings. I LOVE fried pickles. Maybe it's a southern thing?
The best part of this weekend? We still have one more day! I think tomorrow we'll spend working around the house. We are already starting to de-clutter and get ready for our upcoming move.
On the way home, we had a good laugh at the recent road work that's been done here on the military installation where we live. The Army has paid good money to re-pave the road coming up to our neighborhood and the asphalt looks fabulous. However, this really makes me wonder....
What kind of guy was driving the painting truck? Was he drinking? Was he texting? I want to thank the American people.. these were your tax dollars hard at work.
Here is my husband wondering why I was taking photos on the way home:
Here are photos of us just outside the house when we got home. Once I get the camera out, Callie and I want to take lots of pictures of ourselves. Enjoy!
Below is a picture of two of my favorite people. Callie wanted a photo with dad. She's already dreading that she will not be living with us after this move. I think she misses us already.
Today I went to Tripler Army Medical Center for my annual physical and all that goes with it. For those of you not familiar with TAMC (Tripler Army Medical Center) let me tell you about it. It’s a HUGE pink hospital that sits just down the road from where I live.(but still takes me 30 minutes considering the parking situation)It serves all branches of the military here in Hawaii and let me reiterate.. it’s HUGE! I hate going to Tripler for more than one reason but the main one is that there is absolutely NO parking. They recently added a valet parking service which is all wonderful if you happen to go to that side of the hospital (which I don’t) and valet is not full. The parking garage is normally full, not that it’s on the side I frequent either. I go to the ocean side (yes it has a beautiful view) and there is a huge parking problem. The second reason I hate going is because it’s truly the only place I’ve ever visited where the phrase “you can’t get there from here” is used and it’s true. To get from family practice (which is on the ocean side and where I go) to the pharmacy (which is on the mountain side) here’s what you do. Take the elevator from floor 1 to floor 2; take the loooong hall (they call it a bridge) to another bank of elevators. Take that elevator from floor 2 to floor 4 (which ends up being the first floor if you come in on the other side, which is called the mountain side) then take another looong hallway (bridge) and you’ll be at the pharmacy. You will wait at the pharmacy for at least 30 minutes. It’s that big, and I swear a bunch of drunk Army generals laid it out so they could laugh at us from their graves.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Annual visit. I was pleasantly surprised when my favorite primary care provider informed me that because of my great history with the ever popular PAP I didn’t have to have one this year if I didn’t want it. I jumped all over that. I said, GREAT, just re-fill my meds (high blood pressure) and I’ll be golden. So, she looks at my file a little closer and decides I need lab work. I make my way across the pink hospital and finally find the lab that they’ve temporarily re-located while they renovate the old one. Sheesh. I think I’m good to go! Needle stick was almost completely painless and I didn’t have to wait a half hour.
This evening, I’m just about to start dinner and my favorite primary care provider calls to give me my lab results. (Who knew the Army could be that fast) My sugar is high, my cholesterol is high and basically, I need to get healthy or I will be a hot mess soon, especially given my high blood pressure and family history. (Damn genetics) So, while my inside plumbing works fabulously, other things need work.
So, I’m here, publicly stating that I will take a healthier step. I will exercise more; I will eat better and lose at least 15 pounds so I’m not a raving diabetic on 15 meds in a few years.
Keep me honest people. I need the support.
For your viewing pleasure: TAMC
Is it any wonder I need this: (which my favorite primary care provider said I could have, because I'm worth it)
Yesterday was my birthday. It's really no big deal to me.. I would be content to NOT have anymore. This one seems big, I'm 45. It's not as hard as 30 (that one killed me) but worse than 40. I figure my 20s were hard, my 30s sucked so by 40 I was ready to have a good time and be content. I've definitely found happiness in my 40s. Not that I wasn't happy before, but I did struggle. I had 3 beautiful children in my 20s, divorced their father in my early 30s and raised them by myself, for the most part, the rest of my 30s. When I was 38 I met my soulmate. Some of us just don't get it right the first time.
The one kid still at home made me a chocolate cake, from scratch,the night before my birthday.
We had huge slabs of cake a day early because she would be working all day the next day. Not a bad way to start the celebration. The cake was awesome! She also gave me my gift early, some sparkly earrings.
I was greeted this morning by my darling husband who gave me the boy Hawaiian statue, made by a local artist, that I've been asking for. It matches the girl statue I got for Christmas.
My fabulous husband also sent roses. Now this man NEVER gives me flowers unless he's deployed, and I think that's just because it's easier than anything else he could send. So, this was special!
To end the day, we had dinner downtown Waikiki at Bali Steak and Seafood which is at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It was an awesome dinner with a great view and fantastic service. To end the meal they always give you a chocolate mold of Diamond Head complete with dry ice underneath and fabulous chocolate truffles in the middle of Diamond Head's crater. YUM! Chocolate overload.
So, it was a great birthday! I was lazy and did only what I wanted to do. Today, back to reality. The laundry is piled up and dinner waits to be cooked. I love my life!
Since I was in such a funk yesterday, and my birthday is tomorrow, I decided to treat myself to a pedicure and trip to the mall today.
I love getting any kind of spa treatment. I could easily be a high maintenance woman...if only we could afford it. We have WAY too many kids for me to splurge often.
After my lovely and relaxing pedicure, I went next door to the shoe store. Even when you don't feel good in your body or clothes, you can always buy shoes! Ooops.. shoe shopping right after a pedicure isn't a good idea. You can't try on shoes, even sandals, with freshly painted toes. I mucked one of them up and would have been furious with myself if I didn't have the same polish at home for touch ups. I bought a pair of shoes:
Shoes with freshly painted toes and bottle of nail polish for touch ups...because I'm clutz.
Another shot of cute shoes. Cheap-os from Payless...my favorite kind.
This the ONLY style anyone ever wears in Hawaii. It must be some kind of flip-flop and they call them ALL "slippas"
While I'm there, I purchase the described product "eye liner tutorial" at $38.00, and found another little make up packet that I spent $34.00 on. This is expensive, even for me and I have a terrible feeling that I'll try them all once and never again. I'll end up passing them along to my 19 year old. She's a lucky girl. She steals my new cute shoes and gets all my expensive make up rejects.
I have struggled greatly with this week's menu. Partly because my mind is hitting a wall with creative cooking ideas, and partly because I just don't want to. I have a bad case of "I don't want to" lately. My house is a wreck, the laundry is piling up, and everything is a chore. I'm a little ticked because Nick is working a second weekend in a row. Nobody offers to give Soldiers a comp day when they work 16 days in a row, but I knew that going in and I should just get over it. I thought of going shopping today and springing for a pedicure, but even that holds no shine for me right now. So....I'll finish this grocery list and get myself to the store. Oh wait, that will require cleaning out the refrigerator..which will lead to taking out the garbage and more chores. Blah..seriously, does any of it sound fun?
Sunday: meatloaf, mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus (we didn't have this last week because we absolutely needed to eat some leftovers)
Monday: BBQ pork chops, macaroni and cheese and green salad
Tuesday: Out to eat (It's my birthday! oh, could this be the reason for my funk?)
Wednesday: Chicken Cordon Bleu (stolen from Michelle), some kind of potato and fried okra
Thursday: Red beans and rice with smoked sausage and cornbread
Friday/Saturday Chicken Tacos (this may wait until next week, depends on what the weekend looks like, I seriously may go on strike)
No more procrastinating. I'm starting a load of laundry, cleaning up the breakfast dishes and hitting the shower. I WILL get this done. It will make me feel productive..right? I'll go with that.
Today Nick and I attended a change of command ceremony for our good friends coming and going out of command. Rarely do I know both couples so well.
Most of the time, I attend ceremonies and sit without my husband. He is either one of the main players in the ceremony or at the very least, one of the Soldiers on the field. Today I sat with him and made a comment about the bugle playing attention, parade rest, and all those things I don’t understand so much. It seems to me they go to attention, go to parade rest, and start all over. There is lots of marching and orders being yelled out. He said “it’s tradition.” I guess so. I’ve only been an Army wife for less than 6 years and I have already come to love the traditions that go with it. I love hearing the National Anthem being played wherever we go. I love seeing Soldiers stand with a salute as the American flag goes by. I truly love the pride that goes along with all of it.
Speaking of Soldiers, I have to share this news clip of the 7 year old little boy calling 911 for help when his family is being attacked. You can hear the fear in his voice and the hope that help will arrive quickly. When he asks for police and to hurry it makes my heart beat fast. When he added “And bring Soldiers too” it touched me. I love that little boys feel safe with a Soldier. I love that this little boy thinks Soldiers are the good guys and will protect him. I personally feel very safe sleeping with a Soldier every night. I’m proud to share him with the world when it needs him.
As I continue to prepare my body for the ex-wife run in…I’ve started going to the gym. I am no gym rat, and frankly, I don’t trust those who are. It’s just not natural to me. I’ve been hitting the elliptical for around 30-35 minutes (this is huge for me) and trying to add more time. At home, I use my hand weights to reduce the wingspan I’ve formed on my arms. Blech. I do push-ups and sit-ups as well. I don’t know why.
I’m trying to find my “zone” while working out. I have to do something to occupy my mind because, honestly, I get bored. I have my music, the gym has TV, but sometimes (most of the time) Sports Center just doesn’t do it for me.
Today I let my mind wander. I thought about our upcoming move and how we were going to make it all work. There are so many facets in this one that it overwhelms me. One kid going off to college in Texas, dogs need to be flown over, two vehicles to ship. Where do we fly in? California and take a road trip to RI (just shoot me) or Texas to see kids and start from there. We need to snag Alex from North Dakota at some point as he makes his home with us from now on. Lots of logistics and unfortunately, the Army made my man an Engineer, not a logistician. He can handle it.. he always does.
Anyway, my thoughts got me through the work out today. Music was great and it doesn’t hurt that I ended my session with Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back” appropriate for a visit to the ex-wife.don’t you think?
I had to add another posting today after trying these. I went to play Bunco with a group of friends a few weeks ago and my friend Linda brought these as an appetizer. They are WONDERFUL. SOOOOO stinkin' easy too!
1 pkg English Muffins, split in half
1 (7oz) can crab meat, drained
1 stick softened butter
1 (5oz) jar Old English sharp cheddar
2 T mayonnaise
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
Directions:Mix all ingredients well, spread on muffin halves. Cut each muffin half in fourths , a pizza cutter works best. Freeze at least 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and broil until they puff up and are bubbly and slightly golden brown. Serve hot.
I make them ahead of time and keep them in the freezer, then pull out what I need and broil them
Seriously.. these freeze right after you make them and you literally put them under the broiler for a couple of minutes. Nick RAVED about them. How great is the potential? Butter, fake gooey cheese, garlic, and crab. YUM.
I made the mistake of asking Nick what he'd like to have this week as I was making out my menu. He threw two curve balls at me, so I'm going to be challenged a little. I just hit the commissary and think I have all I need. The menu making has made commissary trips so much nicer and easier. I know exactly what I need and get out!
Sunday: Crockpot french dip sandwiches and waffle fries
Monday: Chicken Pot Pie (curve ball number one.. I've never made this)
Tuesday: Stir fry with veggies and rice (Nick is cooking this one!)
Wednesday: Corned beef and cabbage
Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus
Friday: He's promised to take me out
Saturday: Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches (the second curve ball)
Lucky for me, our daughter works at the snack bar at our bowling alley here on post. She makes cheesesteaks all the time. I'll solicit her help with this!
It's been a nasty weekend in more ways than one. Rainy, and Nick has had to work. Apparently there is an important training exercise going on that he must be involved in. It's part of being an Army wife, but it's one of the parts I hate. He also got word that he needs to be TDY (temporary duty for my non-military readers) for almost a month in April/May. Lovely. Didn't he JUST get back from deployment? I shouldn't complain, it's not a war zone. I used to always say an occasional TDY is good for a marriage. Now I'm wishing for more time at home.
So..I've been struggling with my weight. My problem (besides being over 40 and having my metabolism just stop) is that I truly love to eat. I love to cook and then I love to eat. I like almost any kind of food, but my favorites are those that are just not good for me. I have been on many diets and some very successfully, but eventually, I get lazy and gain the weight back. I'm currently heavier than I've ever been, and I need to lose around 20-25 lbs. I realize that comparatively speaking, it's not crazy obese, but it bothers me. No.. I'm obsessed with it lately. If it bothers me SO MUCH, why can't I get serious about losing the weight again? I know how to do it! I've never been one to exercise. I hate exercise. I hate to sweat, I hate to push myself, and I have yet to experience these "endorphins" I hear so much about. I think it's about as real as the green flash Hawaiians see when the sun goes down over the Pacific Ocean. (I don't buy it, I've never seen it)
I'm working out more. It's not just a weight issue, but a health issue. My blood pressure is high (enough that I'm on meds now) and I'm pre-diabetic. I have to get this under control before I have serious health issues. Today I hit the gym and did almost a full 40 minutes on the eliptical. That is HUGE for me. I keep waiting for those endorphins and to finally slip into that mode where "you just don't feel the pain anymore" It may be another wive's tale...I'm not sure.
I'm eating healthier most of the time. I'm cutting out the snacks and cutting back on the evening wine. Eventually, I'm hoping to hit a routine I'm comfortable with and can live with.
Right now, I'm particularly motivated because of some upcoming events. Our youngest daughter (the other Callie..yes we have two..) graduates high school at the end of May. I refuse to show up to an event where Nick's ex-wife will be and be looking like a cow. Secondly, we will PCS this summer and I would like to look fabulous and healthy when we hit the east coast. Motivation usually helps... motivation that includes competing with someone's ex..almost always does it!
I'll preface this post with the announcement that I have NEVER lived where it gets very cold. I'm a southern girl and I don't really tolerate the cold very well. Hawaii has made me even MORE of a cold weather wimp.
I am in the middle of my fourth winter here. Typically winter is a very rainy and wet season. The first year we were here, it rained somewhat, but not a ton. I wondered what the hoopla was about with this "rainy season". The second and third winters more than made up for that first one. We had downpours and flash flooding. I was cleaning mildew and mold off of almost every surface of this old wooden house.
This winter hasn't been very wet, but temperatures have been cooler. So cool, in fact, that I'm cold.
This old house we live in is in the higher elevation here so its cooler and way more damp here than in other parts of the island. (Thus the comment of mold and mildew) We currently have two de-humidifiers working to try to keep mold out of our clothes and linen closets. Because the de-humidifiers make so much noise and blow warm air, I usually don't run them in the room where I am. However, during these "cool" days, I've been tempted to bring the de-humidifier into the living room while I'm having morning coffee and warming my hands and feet around the warm air blowing from the machine. It's really kind of funny..."gather 'round family, and warm yourself at the de-humidifier!"
I know I've been in Hawaii too long when central air conditioning and/or 67-74 degrees makes me cold. I'm not sure I'll survive next winter in Rhode Island!
Allow me to introduce two members of our family; the dogs! Max is a 9 year old yellow lab (pound puppy) and Cleo (short for Cleopatra) is a 10 year old dachshund, AKA The wiener. My husband will tell you he hates the wiener but he is the first to love on her when she wants a belly scratched. She was Callie’s dog before Nick and I married so I don’t figure we’ll be getting rid of her any time soon. Cleo runs the dog house. Max is sweet and quiet. He almost never barks and gets very nervous when Cleo barks… and she barks at EVERYTHING. He’ll grab his toy and chew on it like there is no tomorrow when she gets started. We call his toy the booboo and we figure he’s dreaming of that booboo being the wiener and that he’d love to chew the squeaker out of her!
We recently bought Max a new bed. He was skeptical; being the quirky lab he is and didn’t jump right on. Cleo, however, takes full advantage of the new big bed and makes herself right at home. Max looks at her, wonders why she’s there, finally resolves himself to the fact that she’s taken over, and lies on the floor. When I force the wiener off the bed, Max finally takes it. Then Cleo decides he can share. They constantly make me laugh.
Max has other quirky traits too. He will do things when we’re away that he would never dream of doing if we were here with him. I think it’s his way of rebelling against our absence. Once when Nick was deployed last time (in Texas) I was at work one day, and my college aged son was visiting. I had college boy (J.D.) meet me at my office to take him to lunch. When we were having lunch, I asked him if he had let the dogs out before he left the house. He said yes, because I think Max has heartburn. I asked, why in the world would you think Max has heartburn? He said because he took a bottle of Tums to his bed. This is a true example of how Max is when he needs attention. He had pulled the bottle of Tums off of Nick’s bedside table and just placed it on his bed. Another time when I was working a lot, Max took one of my slippers and hid it under his bed. You gotta love a dog with personality!
Is it still a routine if it changes from time to time?
Since Nick's been home and taken this staff job, my morning routine has changed drastically. My morning routine was very casual and included only my coffee (which I prepare the night before so I can stumble to the kitchen and hit a button), taking the dogs out, feeding the dogs, and making breakfast for Callie on her school days.
Now, Nick gets up first, turns on the coffee maker, takes the dogs out and is usually sipping his first cup of coffee by the time I stumble out. I truly love sitting in the morning having coffee with my honey. We watch the news, talk about the day, upcoming events, etc. I make something for him for breakfast, make his lunch, and fill a thermos with coffee for him. Even though he's home and I do more in the morning, it's still way more relaxed than when he was gone. The stress of the deployment is gone and that does a lot to relax me. I still make breakfast for the college kid. She's one spoiled girl!
For dinner tonight I made a baked chicken recipe that I took from an Army family readiness group (FRG) cookbook. I bought this book from a good friend on one of my favorite military forums when she was FRG leader. The name of the dish is "Kittie Chicken" I don't know why it's called that, but I know my family LOVES this dish.
(from A Taste of Freedom cook book written by the Headquarter and Headquarters Support Company Family Readiness Group, Fort Stewart, GA)
8 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
8 slices Swiss cheese
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/4 C white wine
1/4 C melted butter
1C herb stuffing mix, crushed
Place chicken in buttered 9x13 dish. Top each chicken breast with a slice of cheese. Combine soup and wine; spoon over chicken. Sprinkle stuffing mix on top; drizzle with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve with rice.
I cut this recipe in half because it's usually the two or three of us. The cheese and soup/wine mixture makes a delicious sauce. The stuffing bits on the top are yummy! I serve it with brown rice and something green. Tonight, it was green beans because they were in my pantry and I'm cleaning out the pantry!
I am a creature of habit. I’m not sure if that makes me super organized or a bit boring. Mondays usually find me changing the sheets on the bed, taking all trash to the dumpster (truck comes on Tuesday) and doing my heaviest house cleaning. I love a clean house, but I don’t much care for the actual chore of cleaning it. I really have to force myself to dust, sweep, mop etc. However, I do love to scrub my kitchen (like to see it sparkle) and do laundry. (Except for the folding and putting away part) I love the feeling of satisfaction I get from fresh laundry and a clean smelling house.
I’m OCD in a very strange way. I can’t stand to have a bed unmade, but I can leave three pair of shoes in the floor by the back door. It truly drives my very neat military man crazy.
My husband is a complete neat nick (no pun intended here) He loves things orderly and put in their places. However, he’s not a great one to actually CLEAN the down and dirty. He’ll put things away but never sweep, mop or scrub. He has even been known to take something I’ve left on the kitchen counter (watch, earrings, and stuff like that) and put them IN a kitchen drawer or cabinet to get it out of sight. I’m constantly looking for my stuff. It’s something that Callie and I laugh about all the time.
Tonight I’m making a Spanish rice casserole that Nick absolutely loves. I use a box mix (usually Rice A Roni) canned tomatoes and ground beef. After browning the beef, I add it to the cooked rice mixture, put in a casserole dish and top with grated cheddar cheese. Last time I made this, I had a half onion and some fresh mushrooms left from another dish and added them to the browning beef. Nick raved, so I guess that’s the new norm. I’m out of canned tomatoes so I’m thinking I’ll use Ro-tel tomatoes instead. He’ll love that too because it will be a bit spicier. Necessity is definitely the mother of invention!
We had an exciting day yesterday. We were awakened at 6:00 AM by warning sirens sounding warning us that a tsunami was on the way. It was a beautiful Hawaiian day. The sun was shining and it wasn't terribly warm. However, because of this warning, most businesses were closed and all of the coastal areas of the island were closed off. It was a lazy day and I got almost nothing accomplished. (Tsunami was a dud, thankfully)
Sunday comes with rain and a chill in the air. I hit the commissary early, did most of the laundry (except linens which always get done on Monday), and made a pot of Paula Deen's Potato and Ham Soup. I even went to the gym today (another story for another day on my struggle with my weight)
The soup was delicious and just what was needed on a damp and chilly Hawaiian day. (ok, so it was high 60's, clouds and rain, I may not survive in Rhode Island!)
The Lady & Sons, Too! Potato and Ham Soup Ingredients
5 lbs baking potaotes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 thick slide of cooked ham, cut into small pieces (not country ham, which is too salty)
1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter
Salt and Pepper
1 Cup half and half
1/2 Cup sour cream
Place the potaotes in a large pot and add enough water to just cover the potatoes (too much water will make the soup too thin). Cover and bring to a boil, then uncover and cook over medium-high heat for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the ham and butter. Season wtih salt and pepper to taste. Over low heat, add the half and half and sour cream; keep warm over low heat until serving time.
I didn't get a photo of the soup but it was incredibly satisfying on my "cold" day!
I am an Army wife and mother of five. I have been married to my Soldier for over ten years and we are currently in our fifth duty station since getting married.
I started later in life with my duties as an Army wife but have tried to make up for it by soaking up as much information as I can. I had some wonderful mentors as I joined this journey and now I want to pay it forward and mentor others.
I started this blog to document my life as an Army wife, mother, volunteer, and one who is trying to make this blended family a great one.
I love to cook, bake, and be a complete internet geek. I'm learning as I go, but as I tell everyone, knowledge is power, so I keep digging for more information!