Thursday, April 28, 2011

New York!

As promised, here is a little more detail of our spring break trip.  Tuesday morning, Nick, Alex and I loaded up the family SUV and headed south.  I had made reservations in a Brooklyn hotel because of the price.  The hotel was fine, in a decent neighborhood, and within walking distance to the subway which was to be our primary means of transportation.  I tried to get us a room at the Fort Hamilton lodging  but was too late calling. Next trip, I will definitely call early and get in. I’ve stayed there before and it’s very nice and inexpensive.
So.. first night in NYC.  Our plan was to see a Broadway Show. More specifically, “Rock of Ages”  It wasn’t meant to be.  My girlfriend told me that you simply go to Times Square, hit the ticket box a few hours early and get discounted tickets.  I don’t think any of us were thinking that .. HELLO, it’s spring break.  The crowds were amazing. You couldn’t walk down the sidewalk easily for all the people. Needless to say, the show was sold out. Not only for that evening but the rest of the week. Oh well. 
We decide we’ll just walk around and then grab something to eat. It was amazing just to be down there.

Here we are on the subway. Alex was a bit camera happy. I stole this from his Facebook page.


As we stepped off the subway in Times Square, I heard music. You know the kind.. live music. I knew it was live as soon as I heard it and couldn’t wait to see what was up. We found this makeshift band playing for whatever money you wanted to throw their way. They were really good!

Here we are! Times Square! It was everything I thought it would be.


Alex has a goal in every city we visit. To hit the Hard Rock CafĂ© and get a T-shirt. Apparently this is something his mother started with him, but ironically, the shirts he has (besides one) are ones he got since living with us. Maybe we just travel more?  So, we find the Hard Rock which is right there on the square and have him grab his way overpriced T-shirt.  While we were there, I decide to hit the ladies room. I walk in, and there is a restroom attendant. I have rarely been anywhere to see this. Not only did she have every lotion and potion imaginable, but she had a basket of Blow Pops. I love Blow Pops. Something about the crunchy sweet candy through the bubble gum is just euphoric to me. I had to have one.  What’s involved in getting one of those things?  Do I need to require her assistance?  Is a tip really all that’s necessary? It turns out I DID need her assistance. I couldn’t get the blasted motion detector faucet to spray any water. I’m waving my hands under it like a crazy woman and she has to walk over, take my hand and show me how. Oy, now I really have to tip her. I did my business at the sink and took her offered paper towel. Then I dropped a dollar bill in her basket and grabbed a Blow Pop. This whole experience made me think of an episode of Will & Grace. Does anyone know the one I’m talking about? 
Karen Walker goes to Las Vegas to be married to her …what? third husband?  Anyway, she’s in the rest room adjusting her make-up or lipstick ..something in the mirror when Jennifer Lopez walks out of one of the stalls. She offers a few dollars to Karen and says she just needs a paper towel and some Chiclets.  THIS is what I’m thinking as I tip the attendant and take my Blow Pop.
Imagine the surprise of my boys when I walk out of the bathroom with a Blow Pop in my mouth. After explaining where I got it, their next question was “Why didn’t you get us one?”  Because I thought it might cost more Smile
We went on to have some amazing New York Pizza at John’s Pizzeria. My friend who was my neighbor in Hawaii told me about this place. It was delicious! I love pizza but I really, really LOVE good pizza.

My boys with their pizza. We ordered Alex his own. He is picky and doesn’t like what we like and besides, I didn’t want to share with that appetite.
We had a great first night in NYC. It wasn’t all we had planned, but it was amazing just the same.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Royalty and Why it Fascinates Us

I admit, I’m a Royal Wedding Junkie. I’ve been following this beautiful couple for a long time now and am anxiously awaiting their wedding this week.

I started wondering… why the fascination?  Why is this the “Social Event of the Year”?  Here are my thoughts.

First of all, at least for me, Diana has a big impact on this event.  I think the general world population loved Princess Diana and thought she got a raw deal marrying Charles.  I was fascinated with her from the first time I saw her. She was young, beautiful and oh so innocent. It was truly like watching a sheep go to the slaughter.  I never liked Prince Charles. He seemed to be an old frumpy whiney man.  Can men be frumpy? If so, he’s one of them. 

We watched Diana have two boys and be as good a mother as she could be considering her circumstances. We saw her put up with her husband’s infidelity and selfishness and stood by her even when she divorced him and left “Royalty”  The world grieved for her when she was taken too soon and we were angry with the press for pushing her so hard she felt the need to flee until it killed her.  I saw her boys mourn her death and felt a terrible sadness for them. They seemed to have lost the only real parent they had and would surely have a hole in their hearts forever.

So now, the beautiful first born son is engaged to be married, and to a lovely young woman.  This Princess-to-be is different from Diana in so many ways. She’s older, has had a long term relationship with her fiancĂ©, and is the first woman to marry into royalty that has a college degree. Just as Diana was, Kate has the opportunity to be a wonderful role model for other young women.

I think another reason I’m fascinated with the royal wedding is the fact that it IS royalty. Let’s admit it, every little girl imagines herself a beautiful princess marrying her prince.  The idea of this couple marrying in such a fabulous church, living in a palace and riding off in a carriage is magical.  We can all live a little vicariously through Kate on Friday as she dons her tiara and amazing gown to wed her prince. I know I’ll be up very early to see the whole thing, just as I did for William’s mother oh so many years ago.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring Through the Dreariness

Tonight it is damp and foggy and there is a definite chill in the air.  For someone who was fed up with nasty, cold weather, I’m almost enjoying this evening’s yuck.
I just spent a few days in Washington DC where the weather was beautiful. I saw budding trees, flowers and lots of blooming shrubs, so, it’s not like I haven’t had a bit of spring. 
I took a few minutes earlier, just as it was getting dark, to walk around my end of the neighborhood. I mentioned before the vacant houses here that have beautiful flowers growing.  I even promised one little bunch of budding tulips that I would be back for them when they flowered. Tonight I fulfilled that promise.  There were only a few, but I got them all. I also found some beautiful big bushes full of yellow blossoms. I took some of those as well.  While I was wandering through looking for some sign of spring, I realized how peaceful it was out there.  The fog is rolling in and the air was quite damp.  The only sounds I could hear were the fog horns in the distance and seagulls squawking as they flew overhead.  I have to admit, I enjoyed it.  Tomorrow I may be moaning and groaning again about the cool weather and wishing for the sun, but tonight I enjoyed my walk in the last minutes of winter.

It’s really a shame I’m not a better photographer. I’d like to blame it on my cheap, point and shoot camera, but I am afraid it’s probably me.  Hopefully the beauty of these tulips and the wonderful colors will come through. Most of my vases are in storage so these are in a beer glass. Classy, huh?

I love these yellow sticks. That’s how I would describe them.. sticks covered in  yellow flowers. They certainly brighten my dining room.

I took this photo as Nick drove us through town yesterday. There are literally fields and fields of these daffodils all around the area. I just love them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Post Vacation Update

It’s Sunday evening and almost 7:00 PM.  I am home from our spring break trip and doing all those things one must do upon returning from vacation. In a word..WORK!  I have unpacked, gone through the mail, checked email, Facebook (oh so important things), started laundry and made frozen pizzas for dinner.  I still have to finish laundry and make my list for the coming week. Between getting caught up on chores and shopping, trying to coordinate our move with a wedding in the middle of that time, and planning for the Army ball coming up in two weeks, I’m exhausted thinking about even making my list.
We had a fantastic trip. We left Tuesday morning and went to New York City. I have been there a few times but neither Nick nor Alex had ever been. Our intentions were to catch a show on Broadway, see the Statue of Liberty and whatever else we could squeeze in.  However, since it was spring break for a lot more people than just us, the shows we wanted to see were sold out and the tours to the Statue of Liberty had painfully long lines. So, we walked around Times Square, ate some amazing New York style pizza, walked and walked and walked some more (ouch my still healing foot)  We rode the subway, saw the Museum of Natural History, and ate even more food.
Thursday morning we loaded up the car and headed to the Washington D.C. area. (Did anyone else just have a flashback of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song here?)  Nick’s sister and her family live in the DC area as well as his first cousin that’s like a brother. We had a fabulous visit with our family.  I got my fill of playing with little kids and catching up with my wonderful sister-in-law. I’m so blessed with my in-laws, I really couldn’t ask for any better.
I will try to write, in more detail, about our trip this week.  Right now there is a pile of laundry screaming at me and a grocery list that needs to be made. I have promised myself (or threatened?) that I will most definitely start my healthy lifestyle, however temporary it may be, this week. Tomorrow starts a much lower calorie diet and exercise program. Like I mentioned already, I have the Army Ball in two weeks that I must attend and that requires squeezing my ample bottom that has hibernating all winter into a ball gown. I refuse to buy a bigger one. I also have the wedding coming up and I want to buy a fab dress for that. Not to mention the fact that we’re moving this summer and I’d love a new start with a healthier body…I think I said that last year as we were preparing for a move Smile 
Between laundry loads, I’m going to catch up on blog reading. I’ve missed all my bloggy friends!
Here are a couple of photos from our trip.

“The Sphere” displayed in Battery Park, NYC. This sculpture once sat in the center of the plaza of the World Trade Center.

A beautiful flowering tree in Battery Park, NYC.

The sun shining through a row of flags on a building in Washington D.C.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Leave a Little Something When You Go

Since I’m new to this Army wife thing and moving around, I can only talk about the two places I have moved in the last six years.  I try to make even temporary military housing our home while we’re there. One of the things I really love to do is plant things and have beautiful flowers in my yard.
When we lived in Hawaii, we moved into a house that had been vacant for a while and didn’t have much going on as far as landscaping. However, once I moved in and started watering the beds, several beautiful things started growing again. I loved seeing a bougainvillea start growing and I loved training it to grow around the fence surrounding our small patio. It provided year around color in that area.  In one particularly bare area I planted a beautiful bed full of hibiscus, lantana and other flowering plants. Hawaii was wonderful because you had growing season all the time.  I also love to cook with fresh herbs so I planted rosemary, parsley and basil that I left there for the next person.
I searched for a photo of my plants and only found this one. I think I was taking a photo of the Nick’s unit crest but you can kind of see some of the plants. That whole area was bare when I moved in. Another beautiful thing about living in Hawaii is that things grow super fast! I also left a pretty good size avocado tree. I never got fruit from it, but someday, someone will.

I also grew a pineapple from the top of one I bought and rooted. I harvested and ate that pineapple before I left, but the plant had more little shoots on it when we moved away.

As spring comes dragging into New England, I’m watching beautiful flowering bulbs sprout that others have left before me. It’s so much fun to see what new thing is blooming in the yard. It makes me wonder about the people who were here before me and planted those bulbs.

Something is sprouting in my back yard. I think they may be tulips.

This rose bush had beautiful blooms last summer and I cant wait to see them again.

When I was digging around in a raised bed planting my parsley I found these shells under the dirt. I’m not sure why they are there. Maybe they were originally on top of the dirt for decorative purposes. I like them and will use them in my own plantings.

More shots of the plants in my back yard.

I took this one of the bed of a vacant house. I know these are tulips and I told them I would be back for them when they bloom. I love tulips and I think they would look fabulous in a vase on my table.

Another shot of the vacant house. You can tell it’s vacant because no one has trimmed back the winter dead stuff. I love the hyacinths that are here though. They smell wonderful.


Vacant house again. I imagine someone put a lot of work into this at one time.
I haven’t done a lot of planting here. We’ve only been here a short time. I will leave the herbs I put out back and before we leave, I will empty the pots of mums from last fall and put them in the back yard bed too. That way the next person will have something to enjoy when they move in.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I am a Winner… Again!!

I just heard from Cris over at GOODEness Gracious that I have won yet another Gooseberry Patch cookbook!  This one is Quick and Easy Autumn recipes!  What a wonderful deal Smile   One of my favorite parts of living in New England this year was that I actually got to experience autumn. It’s definitely one of my favorite seasons and I’ve missed it so much. I love the cooler weather after a long summer and I crave those yummy comforting flavors of fall. So, needless to say, I’m uber excited to receive this book. It’s the third one I’ve won from various fabulous bloggers. I’m so thankful!
If you haven’t heard about the book, or Cris’ wonderful blog, check them both out here .  In the last several days, Cris has made a sampling of recipes from this book and has shared recipes and reviews on her blog.


In other news, my husband’s name came out on the 06 command list this morning.  We have been anxiously awaiting word on where we would go from here this summer, and since we’d not heard even a hint, I figured his name was on that list.  He will be taking command of the big engineer brigade at Fort Lewis. We are so excited and honored to be following some awesome people in that brigade.  We don’t know details of dates or what job he will take until the command is open, but we should hear something soon. Since it’s a large Army post, I feel like they will send on us on early and give him a staff job there until the change of command date.
I’m so proud of him and everything he’s accomplished. It will be nice to go play with the Army again and serve Army families.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I sat down to write an update on my surgery and recovery and realized how much like an old lady I am.  It’s as if I have nothing else to talk about other than my surgery. Oh my. It’s a sad state of affairs.
Anyway, here it is.
I went to the doc on Wednesday morning. He took the stitches out and said everything looks like it’s healing very well. He gave me the ok to walk on it and exercise (without high impact) as is comfortable for me. 
I have to admit, I was uneasy about putting a shoe on and trying to walk with two recent incisions on the ball of my foot. But, Nick pushed me, like he does, and I put a tennis shoe on after we got home. It felt so strange after hobbling around on the back of my foot for two weeks. It wasn’t long before I was walking around pretty well. I am still not completely bending the foot, just walking kind of stiffly, but it’s better every day. I’m hoping to get to the gym next week to at least ride the bike for a bit. I’m also able to drive now, if it’s comfortable. I can make my facial appointment on Tuesday and schedule a hair appointment!  Yay for some pampering.
It was so nice to get out yesterday, even if it was to go to the clinic. It was the first time I’d been out in two weeks and that trip was just to the clinic and back as well. It’s amazing how things change in two weeks. The farm down the road had more sheep out and was starting to green up a bit. It looks like spring is finally trying to come to New England, but it’s dragging it’s feet!
I got a shot of this a little while ago. It’s right outside my front door. I didn’t even know it was there until I walked out the front yesterday. I’m missing out! 

I am loving watching things sprout up in my yard. I have a few others in the back that I don’t really know what they are. I will try to get photos of those later.
On a positive note… I’m going out tomorrow night. Nick and I will be joining our good friends and neighbors to hit our favorite watering hole, Pour Judgment. I have been craving it!  The fries with the smoked gouda cheese sauce. YUM.
I’m working on next week’s menu. I would love input on some new things to cook. I’m clueless!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Promotion Day!

As promised, I am finally posting about Nick’s promotion last Friday. It was a nasty day outside, but cleared up just long enough for us to step out into the backyard and have a tiny little ceremony.
Our friend Jim did the honors while our friend David read the official orders.  It was starting to sprinkle rain and I was way consumed with how big my hair would be by the time it was over that I didn’t turn around once to face the camera!  What was I thinking…??? My backside is NOT my best side!
We had a great little party afterwards with take out barbecue and the few dishes I made at home. Nobody cared, just as I thought.  As a matter of fact, I had the barbecue in the crockpot to keep it warm, opened it up to stir it a little and David made the comment “Wow.. that smells so good”   Dinner Win!  I did get lots of positive comments about my peach cobber and red velvet cake. (from a box)  The potatoes were a hit, as always. Who doesn’t like hash brown potatoes mixed with cream of mushroom soup, onion, cheddar cheese and sour cream???  It’s really a no brainer.
Here are a few photos of our little promotion ceremony.
Jim giving a little background on Nick's career.

David reading the orders.
Me putting on the new Velcro rank while Jim struggles with the pin for the beret.

While I was kissing Nick, Jim  makes the comment "Oh good, the one finished first gets the kiss, I'm glad it was you"  Is that true? Is that a rule?  Maybe that's why he was struggling with that pin.

Nick making a few comments of his own.

Me getting my hug. Notice that lovely black boot on my right foot. I was hobbling around.

Tomorrow is my final follow up doctor's appointment. If everything goes as planned, I should have stitches removed and hopefully, be starting to walk normally again. I'm crossing my fingers that not only have I healed well, but that the surgery did what it was supposed to do and there will be no need to mess with it again. I will let y'all know!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekly Menu 4-9 April

I can’t believe it’s April already. Where did March go? For someone who’s been dreading the last couple of weeks, they have really gone quickly. Maybe it’s a sign of my age!
I’m not quite back 100% but I’m working on it.  I did make a menu for this week and a grocery list. I had to send Nick to the commissary to pick up the stuff though. He’s doing an awesome job, but I must admit that I’m ready to be back in charge of the kitchen and meals. I think it’s a control issue. Maybe?
This week’s menu has a few old favorites but it’s still very easy. I’m not quite up to standing for a long time in the kitchen yet.
Sunday: Hoagie Bake (Alex LOVES this dish, he takes leftovers to school for lunch)
Monday: Slow Cooker San Francisco Pork Chops (these are in the crockpot now and it smells fabulous)
Tuesday: Sloppy Joes, fries and broccoli
Wednesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
Thursday: Grandma’s Beef Casserole
Friday: leftovers or we go out (I’m ready for an evening out)
Saturday:  unsure..hopefully I’ll get it together before then!
The weather is nasty today. We awakened to an amazing sunrise. The colors were beautiful. I tried to capture it, but just couldn’t grab how beautiful is was.  Now it’s cloudy and yucky. We’re supposed to get rain/thunder storms this morning. I am thinking it’s a good day to be stuck at home.


I’m counting down to Wednesday now. I have an 8:30 doctor’s appointment that should result in the removal of my stitches. I know I won’t be ready to run any races, but I’m hoping I can start to really walk again without the boot!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Homemade VS Store Bought… Does Anyone Really Care?

Today is April 1.  The day my husband pins on his new rank. I’m so excited for him and want this day to be very special. However, there are a few reasons this won’t be your “traditional” promotion.
First, he isn’t in an Army unit. He is a student at the Naval War College and there won’t be a normal promotion. On the good side, we can kind of do what we want, as long as someone the same rank or above does the promoting. 
Secondly, I’m partially laid up, because of my foot surgery, and can’t throw the kind of party I’d like to. My idea was to cook some amazing food, have a great bar set up and lots of delicious snacks sitting around.  Instead, I’m ordering barbecue and setting up a buffet.  I’m making two desserts, because I just can’t stand not to, and one side dish. If I keep thinking about it, and if I didn’t have Nick here to hold me back, I’d be doing more and would suffer for it later tonight. I can tell when I’ve overdone it, I go to bed early, with a pain pill and swearing I will never do it again.
So, here’s my question;  does anyone really care?  Will our good friends and neighbors, who love us and support us really think less of me because my dinner is being brought in from somewhere else?  Or, are they just here to celebrate the day with Nick and me and have a good time?  My head tells me it’s the latter, but my southern raising and the hostess in me wants to do more. I know, it’s ridiculous.
The plan for tonight was to go out in our backyard around 4:30 tonight, before dark, and have a small promotion ceremony out there. Our friend Jim would do the actual promotion and pin on one rank while I do the other. (we’re going with ACUs instead of the class B so it will be Velcro, not a pin) while our friend Dave reads the orders. We are having Alex and Dave’s son Andrew hold the flag in the background. BUT… the weather is completely nasty outside. It’s cold, windy and raining. Not a good situation for anything outdoors. It looks like we’ll do it right here in our living room and that’s fine. I am chilling champagne so we can drink a toast to the new Colonel.
For dinner, we will have chopped barbecue pork, (to make sandwiches) a three bean bake (it’s delicious, I HAVE to figure out how to make this) and Cole slaw.  I am making a potato casserole for the kids, a peach cobbler because it just goes with BBQ and a red velvet cake for the man.  He loves red velvet and I like the idea because of it being “Engineer Red”   I am using a box mix today… don’t judge!
So, to answer my own question;  nobody cares about the food tonight.  They are our best friends and are truly only interested in celebrating this great day with Nick and me. I’m very excited and I’m so proud of my Soldier. I will post photos this weekend.
Happy Friday everyone!!