Saturday, April 30, 2011

Is it August yet??

Ian and I were very excited to find out that his next duty station will be at Fort Campbell, Ky! He will be part of the 101st Airborne Division, which coincidentally is the same one the men from Band of Brothers are in, which is Ian's favorite movie. (Upon finding out we were going there, we started watching the series again! 6 times for me, 1 million for Ian). Ian got his RFO (Request for Orders) which makes it pretty darn official. He graduates his career course in July, but will be taking an additional one month long course, so we will head to Campbell around the end of August

Although Fort Campbell is in Kentucky, we will most likely live in Clarksville, TN, just across the border. Both of us have heard several wonderful things about the post and the town! Plus, we will have several of our friends (From A&M, Fort Lewis, Fort Huachuca) there as well! 

I just might get caught saying "y'all!" 

We are also very excited about living in this part of the country. Nashville will be less than an hour away and I fully plan on stalking Tim McGraw and the like. We also are hoping to check out the Kentucky Derby and the nearby Carolina's. Also, it will be fascinating to be in an area with so much history! I can't wait to explore all the Civil War historical sites! 

I am going to have to convert Ian over to "Nashville" Country music. 

The Derby = Big, fabulous hats and mint juleps! 

Though I really have enjoyed our time here in Sierra Vista, AZ, now that we know where we are going I can't wait to get there! Minus the whole moving and driving for days on end again. :-) 

Friday, April 29, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Basically, I think I have given up on my 30 Day Blog Challenge...the final day's had some annoying challenges. For example, I am not going to post on my blog a letter I just had to write to someone who hurt my feelings. Thanks, but no thanks. So here's my latest set of answers from Wife of a Sailor's blog. Sorry I missed last week, we were busy with family visiting! 

1. Have you and your spouse agreed to live in separate locations knowing that the short-term inconvenience would have long-term benefits for your family? Thankfully we have not had to make any decision of this magnitude yet (other than me not being allowed to go to Iraq with him!) I obviously can't say for sure, but I definitely don't envision us parting ways while we are childless. However, once we have children and if he will only be somewhere for a very short period of time, I think I would have a hard time uprooting them from their schools and stability.

2. What is your favorite thing about being a MilSpouse? Ohhh this is hard to pick just one! Of course seeing him in his dress blues is always a perk ;-) But I would say the opportunity to travel to places I never have been and meet amazing people from all corners of the world....well at least four corners of the U.S. You develop a strong sense of family with other MilSpouses and a bond unlike any other, especially during a deployment. Lastly, being proud of my husband each and every day, seeing the love of his job despite the sacrifices he has made; who wouldn't love that?

Man I love him in those blues! 

3. If you could still have your spouse and your family, but take the military part out of it, would you? Ha, depends on if I am liking the Army today or not! Ian and I have had several conversations about nearly the very thing. The Army is a great world to be involved have a housing allowance, health care, opportunities for travel, steady income, honorable job, etc....but then there's the horrible D-word. Deployment. If you could almost guarantee that there would be very few, if any, deployments the rest of his career, I would be all for Ian staying in and retiring from the Army. However, it has always been a dream of his to join the ranks of the FBI or the like, so yes, I would still have my spouse in or out of the Army.

4. What have your homecoming celebrations been like after a year-long tour of separation? Oh you know, the basic, hum-drum affair. NOT! It's quite literally the BEST DAY EVER! After thousands of prayers said, countless tears shed, and missing him so much it physically hurt, jumping into his arms is like a feeling you can only imagine. It took me at least two to three weeks to finally let it sink in that he wasn't just home for the fleeting R&R but for good! (For now). Ian's parents and my parents came to WA to greet him and I bought every Fourth of July decoration in the entire PNW to create a festive homecoming for him. The entire event was simply magical.

The outdoor decor to our pad 

His plane landed!!! Watching the live feed 



Ian's welcoming committee 

5. If you have a child(ren) why you chose their names? If not, why you would name your child something? Okay, I have read this question five times now and I think whoever wrote it clearly does not speak the same language as me because I have no clue what they are asking. I think it's asking about the decision process behind naming your children. Since we don't have children yet, my favorite game to play with Ian is to suggest a name, and he has to decipher if I am suggesting it for a future child or future pet. Other than that, we have sort of come to a rough agreement that I can name any boys and he can name any girls. But really, I can't just let him choose a girl's name without my approval! That's just silly ;-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 18-21

Day 18 - Something you crave a lot: This is easy...Cheez-It's! (I tend to sway toward the reduced-fat variety). Not only did I give them up for Lent but I still have an almost full box in the pantry just calling my name! Only a few more days to go!

Day 19 - Another picture of yourself: I post a ton of my recent pictures all the time so I thought I would change this one up a bit. Here's some pictures of little me! 

Brand spankin' new! 

My daily self-burial in the toy box

I started my writing young...with my great-grandpa Poppy

I have no idea what is going on here

I look so happy that my baby brother appears to be in exile ;-) 

Day 20 - The meaning behind your blog name: Nothing too crazy here, I thought the alliteration looked interesting/cute and it described my blog accurately. 

Day 21 - A photo of something that makes you happy: Girlfriends!!! No matter where I am living, no matter the age, no matter the distance between us...girlfriends keep my smiling, keep me grounded and keep me sane! Being in the Army life, it's hard to always be saying goodbye to wonderful ladies, but it is great because you always get to meet more wonderful friends too! 

Me with my bridesmaids (plus one) at my Vegas bachelorette party!

Fort Lewis Army wives

My Colorado lovelies

Fort Huachuca friends!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 15-17

If you can't tell by now, I'm apparently not good at keeping up with this daily challenge ;-)

Day 15 - Something you don't leave the house without: My iPhone! It's my phone of course, but also my iPod for working out, internet source and general form of entertainment. I even keep my grocery list on it! Also, since I seem to be on post almost daily be it for the gym, the commissary, etc., I tend to keep my military ID on me at all times.

Day 16 - Your celebrity crush: Okay, so I know this might be a far stretch, but I absolutely adore NPH! Better known as Neil Patrick Harris. So he's gay, he just hasn't met me yet ;-) He is very handsome, hilarious, a doting new father, and portrays one of the best characters on television - the hilarious man-whore (and uber straight) Barney on How I Met Your Mother. Plus, he was my first celebrity crush when he played Doogie Howser, MD! I also have always appreciated when celebrities can have a self-deprecating sense of humor, and if you have seen Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, you know how NPH has no qualms with poking fun at himself.

Day 17 - A photo of you and your family: Since I am blessed to have two wonderful families, mine and Ian's, I am posting two pictures. One of Ian and I visiting my brother's college in Idaho for family weekend for his cross country team, and the other is outside the McLeod home during a trip to Texas last summer.

 Happy Saturday! We are off to take a Ghost Tour at the local old mining town. Here's hoping we don't see any unfriendly visitors ;-)

Friday, April 15, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Here's my lastest answers to the questions posed on Wife of a Sailor's blog.
1. With PCS moves happening every few years, do you take the time to paint and decorate your home? This is my first Permanent Change of Station - PCS - move with Ian (we met when I was already living in WA) but even though we will only be here for about six months I still decorated. I did not paint however. This was the first real home we have had together and our first chance to pull out all of our wedding gifs! So you bet your booty I decorated! Plus, in my opinion, you need to make your home your home, no matter how long the stay.  I do however believe in not going overboard...especially this short term. We still have things in boxes and we have barely attempted to tame the yard. But overall it still feels like home.

2. If you could live in any home from a television series, which would it be? I am going to cheat here and choose a home from a movie. Okay, two movies. My absolute dream home is from Father of the Bride. Not far behind is the home Susan Sarandon lives in in Stepmom. Both of these are very traditional, very warm and inviting. Full of soft fabrics, warm lighting, lots of windows, big kitchens, grand staircases, etc. Plus I love the back of the Father of the Bride home, with the big patio and lilacs framing the yard. And just look at the big porch on the Stepmom home. Sigh. They're just wonderful. Click on the links below the pictures for more photos of the interiors of the homes as well.

3. What inspired you to start your blog? My main inspiration was how much I love to read my friends blogs! Be it reading their yummy recipes, exciting family news, or their survey answers, I seem to browse through several a I felt like giving it a shot myself. Plus I was lucky to have some friends encourage me to join the blogging world as well. Another motivator was being far from family and many friends, I  thought this would be a good way to give updates on our latest adventures and happenings. Lastly, I missed writing. I used to write many stories as a kid and was always involved in journalism or would even write for a local non-profit I volunteered with. Being jobless right now I realized just how much I missed putting my brain and vocabulary to work!

4. What is the weirdest thing you have ever seen on base? Weird might not be the best word, depending on your own beliefs, but perhaps the most surprising thing I have seen actually happened on post here a just a few weeks ago. (Side note, for those who may not know: In the Army world, a base is actually called a post.) I was walking into the health center and what do I see? A transvestite! A male clearly dressed as a female. Wig and all. :-) Generally Army posts have the most macho-looking, clean-cut males in society so this sighting definitely made it feel like we weren't in such a little bubble. Plus, I was jealous (s)he was able to pull off those white jeans so well!

5. Which historical figure (politician, writer, artist, scientist, actor, etc,...) would you like to have dinner with?  Alright, I'll be honest, I hate these type of questions. How on earth am I supposed to decide on just one person out of all the fascinating people in the world?! Too much pressure! But given a gun to my head, on this particular day, I supposed I would choose Paula Deen. Not only would I have her make me the dinner, I would love to experience her warm, loving personality and talk to her about her battle with agoraphobia and raising her two sons on her own. She clearly is a woman of strength who has been through a lot in her life and transformed into a mogul, inspiration for others, and still seems so down to earth! Okay, I might be watching Food Network as I write this, and with the possibility of us moving to the Savannah area soon, my brain is definitely geared that way. But there really is so many people I would love to talk to! Jesus, Princess Diana, Jackie O, John Candy, Lucille Ball, oh I could go on and I'll leave you with the immortal words of Paula Deen - here's wishing you love and best dishes from our home to yours. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 11-14

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I am behind. So my apologies in advance for the length of this blog. :-)
Day 11 - What's in your makeup bag: I won't bore you with all my items (plus, a girl has to keep some beauty secrets right??) Instead, I'll show you what I am loving right now.

First, my new bronzer. For as long as I can remember, I have been using the same Clinique loose powder bronzer in Transparency Bronze, and I thought I would change it up a bit and I have been very happy! It's still Clinique (which I love) but it is a pressed powder bronzer. It doesn't feel greasy or cakey and the color seems to blend well with my skin tone.

The next item is actually something my fabulous sister-in-law Camille introduced to me. It is the best eyelash curler EVER! Unfortunately, they no longer sell it in the U.S. It is the Shu Uemera Eyelash Curler and all the best makeup pro's recommend it! I have found it curls the best and seems to be more cushioned. If I do one thing before leaving the house, it's curl my eyelashes and swipe on a coat of mascara. 

My last must have of the moment is the CoverGirl Natureluxe Lip Gloss Balm Stick. It's perfect! It feels like chapstick, not goopy, adds some color, and has SPF! I take it everywhere! Especially this being Arizona and super dry, my lips constantly scream for moisture and this product helps immensely. 

Day 12 - A photo of the town you live in: This picture was taken recently near our town when we went wine tasting. Yes, wine tasing, in the desert. It was wonderful! I realized I don't actually have many photos of our actual seems we are always exploring other areas. Note to self, take more pictures!

Day 13 - Your favorite musician and why: This one actually took some thought. I have a wide range of favorite musicians and all reflect my moods, settings, etc. That being said, the one artist who I think I would drop everything to see his concert, know all the lyrics to all his songs, and will never change the station if one of his tunes is on the radio is Garth Brooks. I have loved him since a child and still hold resentment toward my parents for not bringing me to his concert with them! ;-) I also love how humble he is, what a great family man Garth is, and his whole aura of kindness. Plus, his songs truly reach you no matter what the moment. I will always remember his "The Dance" playing at my grandmother's funeral, likewise I will always smile thinking of shutting down our own wedding reception to "Friends in Low Places" with all our friends belting out the lyrics! I could go on and on, but I think I will just go listen to his CD instead. 

Day 14 - A TV show you are currently addicted to: One of the most recent shows I have grown obsessed with is Dexter. It is about a serial killer who only kills "bad people" and just so happens to work for the Miami police department as a blood spatter analyst. Michael C. Hall plays Dexter Morgan and no one has ever made a serial killer seem so like-able! It's creepy, witty, touching, and smart. Ian and I are anxious for season 5 to come out on DVD. Season 4 was EPIC and featured a very creepy John Lithgow in a guest role. I highly recommend this show! (Not for children however!) 

Thanks for bearing with me! I'll try not to skip so many days again. Emphasis on try ;-) 

Monday, April 11, 2011


I am deviating from the normal 30 Day Blog Challenge here for just a bit. I had some other thoughts I felt the urge to share.

Today is the day Ian turns in our preferences list of where we want to go and where we really do NOT want to go. Now begins the long two weeks until we find out where the Army is sending us! I know we will make the absolute best of wherever we go, but we are keeping our fingers crossed for our top choices!

  • Fort Campbell, KY - short drive to Nashville! And Dollywood! 
  • Fort Stewart, GA - near Savannah..can you say Paula Deen???! 
  • Hawaii - Need I say more? 
  • Germany - Europe! Traveling! No quarantine! 
  • Italy/Germany (apparently they are sure which one the job is for) - see above
  • Fort Carson, CO - Skiing! Friends in CO, half way between our families! 
Hopefully we will know before Easter :-) 

But this really got me thinking. The old adage for the Army is "hurry up and wait." This not only is true for our soldiers, but for their families as well. It seems we are always waiting on something. For exciting times - troops returning home from deployment, learning where we will move next, days until block leave, days until we can see our families again. And for the unhappy times - for the word on the actual day our loved ones will leave us for a war zone, for congress to approve budgets, for movers to arrive with all our goods, for phone calls from the husband when he is away. Full disclosure here, during my darkest days of deployment when I faced high levels of anxiety, I even found myself waiting for the doorbell to ring with bad news. (More about that at a later date...I finally found ways to avoid letting myself "go there"). 

Now, for those of you who know me well, you know that I am NOT a patient person. I have full road rage, find my temper rising with too slow of lines at the grocery store, and do not like being late to anything. So needless to say, the Army has definitely pushed my comfort zone. And that's good. I now find ways to occupy myself so I don't obsess over all those many details I can't control. I cook, I workout, I surround myself with amazing girlfriends, and lucky for me, Ian is one of the most patient people I have ever met. Ever! 
I also have grown exponentially in my faith. I know things will work out the way they are supposed to and cheesy as it may be, I believe that everything happens for a reason. So if we do end up in Korea or Fort Polk, LA, I know that we are supposed to be there and will just have to make the best of it! 

I do not mean this to sound like I am complaining, because I believe being an Army wife is the best job and that it has made me a better person and continues to push me and challenge me. I just wish the Army would better abide by my timelines ;-) 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge - Days 9,10

Day 9 - A picture of the last item you purchased:
I bought these:

To make these for a bbq: 

And for those who wish to try these for themselves....

White Chocolate-Coconut Cookies
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup shredded coconut flakes 

8 ounces white chocolate
3 tbs whipping cream
1 cup toasted shredded coconut flakes 

Heat oven to 350.
In a small bowl combine baking soda and powder, flour and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter, cream cheese and brown sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Slowly incorporate flour mixture into butter mixture, mix well. Fold in oats and coconut. Shape into tablespoon sized balls and place on lined baking sheet. Gently press down with palm or bottom of glass. Bake for approx. 10 minutes or until bottom is golden. Remove from oven and let cool on rack. 
Melt chocolate and cream over a double-boiler until smooth consistency. Toast coconut in oven on baking sheet for approx. 10-12 minutes or until level of desired golden is achieved. 
Once cookies are cool, dip top half in chocolate and sprinkle coconut on top. Let set on parchment paper until completely dry. 

Day 10 - A picture of your favorite restaurant: This is a picture of Ian and me at our favorite date night restaurant in Tacoma, WA. Marzano is a delicious, authentic Italian restaurant right near my alma-mater, PLU. The food is simply divine and the atmosphere is's a little old house. Our favorite time to go, however, was in the summer when the deck was open and we would sit out there for literally hours enjoying wine, food and each other. 

This particular picture was taken on a celebratory date night soon after Ian returned home from Iraq last summer. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 8

Day 8 - A song to match your mood: I couldn't think of a specific song to reflect my mood so instead I thought I would share a song that I am loving at the moment. Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts." We have a shower radio, and whenever I hear this song I find myself belting it out and then ensue to dance around the house for the next hour or so ;-) (TMI??) Back in my dance days, it would definitely of been a great song for a lyrical routine. The video is awesome too! It has dancers from the show So You Think You Can of my favorite summer guilty pleasures, except last season...but I digress... Here is the video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 7

Day 7 - Describe your dream wedding: At the risk of sounding cliché, I would definitely have to say my dream wedding was my wedding! My dream became a reality last December 11. In spite of the record rainfall (yuck!) our wedding was a fairy tale come true! We had a beautiful, romantic, candlelit ceremony followed by a raucous reception, with a ride in a classic Mustang in between. Celebrating our love and commitment to one another, in front of God, our family and our friends, made it one of the most spectacular days of my life! I tried to narrow the pictures down as much as possible but there are so many wonderful moments from that day I cherish, it was incredibly difficult. Don't be surprised if you see more pop up from time to time ;-) Also, would like to give a shout out to our fantastic parents who helped us pull off our dream wedding - THANK YOU!

Seeing my love for the first time on our day <3

Our spectacular bridal party!

The moment I'd been waiting for! Walking down the aisle to my man!

I think by looking at our faces we were pretty darn happy :-)

The reason why I made Ian wear his dress blues - I wanted the saber arch! 

We had a photo corner and several silly pictures ensued. Priceless. 

Okay, moving off of me for a moment. Another BIG wedding I have to admit I am counting down to is the royal wedding! I can't wait to see what Kate wears! Some girlies are even going to come over for a pajama party since it is on during the middle of the night here. 23 days to go! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 6

Day 6 - A picture of an animal you would like as a pet: Dolphins are one of my favorite animals, however, I would not particularly like a big tank in my backyard. So that being said, I have two animals that I think are just too adorable for words! A miniature giraffe and finger monkeys!

The mini giraffe is straight from a commercial. Honestly, I couldn't tell you what the commercial even is for because the giraffe steals the spotlight!

I first fell in love with the idea of a finger monkey when my dear college friends Tracy and Rachel showed me what one is! It was always a dream of ours to own in our house together. They are just too freaking cute!

What would you have??

Monday, April 4, 2011

Channeling Grandma's Cookin'

Some of my fondest memories of growing up are not only eating my grandma's yummy comfort food, but also of helping her make it! It seems I spent countless hours in their kitchen, especially during the summer, baking with her. It was a rare day if Grandma wasn't making cupcakes, cookies, brownies or the like. And something was always simmering on the stove for dinner! Tonight I made a meal inspired by Grandma...Split pea soup and snickerdoodles! The soup is not her traditional recipe, I will admit I don't even know what a ham hock is let alone where to get one! But I think my version is a close substitute. But the cookies are straight from her kitchen.  So I thought I would share a little bit of my Grandma with you...enjoy! :-)

"Easy Peasy" Split Pea Soup
-1 1/2 C chopped carrot
-1 1/2 C chopped celery
-1 C chopped onion
-2 cloves chopped garlic (or 2 tsp jarred minced garlic)
-2-3 links diced andouille sausage (chorizo works well too)
-1 lb. split green peas
-8 C low-sodium chicken stock
-2 bay leaves
-salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Let cook for approx. 8 hours. (I have found that you can play with the heat settings for a faster or slower cooking time). Remove bay leaves before serving.

1 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 C butter or margarine
1 C sugar
1 egg
1/8 C milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 375. Stir together flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. In separate bowl, beat butter with electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add 1 C sugar and beat until fluffy. Add milk, egg, and vanilla and beat well. Slowly incorporate flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat until well blended. 
Shape into rounded teaspoon size balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture (ration of cinnamon to sugar can be adjusted to suit your preference). Place on a greased or parchment-covered baking sheet and flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from baking sheets and place on a cooling rack. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Note: Snickerdoodles tend to burn easily, so when in doubt, take out of the oven. I have found using parchment paper to cover my baking sheets have significantly helped prevent burning. 

(I thought cookies and milk would help Ian study for his big test tomorrow!)

The next picture is of the actual mixer my grandma used and passed on to me. Just looking at it brings back a ton of memories! Although I will admit, I used my KitchenAid standing mixer for these, I will NEVER get rid of Grandma's mixer!