navygreen: (Suck/Blow)
You know how clutter happens? It's just little moments of laziness.

That's all. Just a tiny moment where you think, "Oh, I'll file that bill later," or, "I'll make a stack right here of things to take upstairs when I go later on." It's things like that, and I'm so guilty of it.

Nonetheless, I just opened the day's mail, and I placed the bills in the Mail Basket on the wall, filed the statements in the filing cabinet, threw away the envelopes, and shredded the unimportant papers. These are all things that took less than a minute, and yet I put them off all the time, making "file" or "shred" stacks on my desk.

I just need to keep the momentum going. For now, the count stands thusly: Day 3 - perfectly clear desk. :-)
navygreen: (Apolo: tears of joy)
You know what thrills me? When royal icing behaves absolutely PERFECTLY. Especially in the midst of having a crazy heatwave and humid blip.

*contented sigh of relief*

I cleaned my desk for real today. As in, you can see both coasters once again, and the only thing sitting on it now is the small box of Coke caps that arrived the mail yesterday from Philip's parents. (You can only enter up to 40 codes/week, so I have to save the rest until next week.) It feels so blissful, and I hope I can keep it this way for at least a day. *wink*
navygreen: (Easter - au naturel)
I can't wait for the next 40 minutes or so to pass! One of our favorite shows, White Collar returns to television tonight. In addition, we'll also be recording Parenthood on another channel. I'm ready for some Matt Bomer, though. :-D

I forgot to mention an exciting find on Sunday when I ran to the commissary for this meal plan. As Jack and I were picking onions, I noticed there were TONS of the dry skins all over the bin. We grabbed an extra plastic veggie bag and loaded up! This way, I won't have to buy nearly so many onions just for the skins as we get closer to Easter. I had to keep buying them in bulk last year, and then Philip would dice/freeze the actual onions. I had them for months and months that way. It's all for the natural-dyed eggs, though - so worth it!

I paid bills today, and Philip and I ran to the commissary again for the handful of items they were out of at closing time on Sunday. I didn't do a whole lot else, as my tummy still feels really weak and sore. I can't even fully explain what happened last night, but oh, it hurt so bad. I felt like my intestines were swelling and pushing against my skin. Truly, my skin was tight as a Braxton-Hicks contraction, and it lasted for hours. I think all the lingering pain today comes from that long period of intense contracting. It was so awful. I couldn't bend at the waist, I couldn't lay on my side, and I had to breathe very shallow to keep the stabs at a manageable level.

I haven't the foggiest clue what caused it. It began almost an hour after eating dinner, but I never even felt that overstuffed, FULL feeling beforehand. I sure hope to never feel that way again, though.
navygreen: (Food)
I made our meal plan this afternoon, and then the boys and I went shopping for all our food stuffs for the next few weeks. They are hosting another big sleepover this coming Friday, so we got all the extra stuff for that, too. In the past, we've always done pizzas for the crowd, but this time I'm making a taco bar with all the fixins'. I called up my friend Jan and got her Taco Dip recipe, and I'm making a double-batch of that for chips, too. It should be fun as usual, but with a nice change of pace. :-)

"Pace" is a funny word. Pace, pace, pace... weird stuff. :-)

I still need to download the cookie pictures from yesterday to share. In the meantime, I've been packaging and re-packaging meats for the freezer, organizing cupboards, and doing laundry. I've got the dishwasher loaded, and now that they boys are done with their nightly showers, I need to go flip it on. I plan to have some quality time with my pictures, my desk, and my planner for a little while yet tonight.

*yawn*

Jan. 12th, 2011 11:48 pm
navygreen: (School)
Oh man, I am so tired tonight! I went to bed around 4am this morning, and then I woke up at 8 to get ready to volunteer at Jack's school. Once there, I copied, cut, pasted, and laminated my heart out! I was absolutely famished by the time lunch rolled around. For once, I actually finished all of my lunch tray before Jack or his friends finished theirs!

I stayed for an extra hour after lunch to finish up a project for Jack's teacher, and then I braved both the commissary and the Youth Center in the cold. I got Jack registered for this year's indoor soccer season, and then I stopped by A.J.'s school (which had just let out and loaded buses) for a quick chat with one of his teachers. They were all in a meeting, however, so I'll have to catch them tomorrow, I suppose.

This evening, I was starting to brown the hamburger meat for chili when I smelled something... off. I followed my nose to the basement, where we found one of the litterboxes to be quite full of pee. Cleaning the litter is one of A.J.'s daily chores, and I think he had been skimming it for a while. Ick! I rarely go into the basement/playroom except to do laundry, so this led to an entire family event: a "game night" consisting of deep-cleaning the basement from top-to-bottom. I ran upstairs a few times to add things to the chili, and when we finally finished, we had a warm, hearty meal waiting for us. Because of the later hour, I think we were all especially silly at the dinner table, too!

I'm turning in early tonight. Actually, this is super-early for me... before midnight, even!
navygreen: (Office: Dwight - Dwigt?)
It's been a relatively lazy day around here. I went to bed at almost 7:30 this morning, when Philip came home from work. (Yes, I was awake all night. It's the new routine I'd gotten into over Christmas break, I think.) We both slept until 2pm, about the time A.J. was to be home. I showered and Philip shoveled snow. By the time we were finished, Jack was also home from school!

We headed to the commissary for a short list to round out the rest of this meal plan, and I also grabbed all the things for a craving: Italian noodle salad. I had it over the summer at a party, and I fell in love! I don't really remember exactly what was in it, so I did my best tonight trying to make it. I boiled pasta, chopped up a small jar of black olives and a tomato, diced 1/4 of a white onion, then bathed it all in Italian dressing. I put it in the fridge to marinade overnight, and I can't wait to dig in tomorrow for lunch.

Tonight's dinner was an easy one: BBQ Chicken Pitas, mixed vegetables, and pears. I sprinkled a tiny bit of mozzarella cheese over the succotash (sufferin'!) before serving, and it was a neat change. I already have tomorrow's main entree ready, too - a smaller lasagna that I made on Christmas Day with the larger one that I took to our dinner hosts. I had frozen the small one (unbaked), and I'll make a loaf of fresh garlic french bread to go with it tomorrow. It should be an easy dinner for Philip to handle on his own.

I put out the word last night for an impromptu girls' night to several friends. I'd been wanting to catch Burlesque, and it will be showing at the base theatre. I invited some gal pals to watch the movie with me, then head to J.R. Rockers for appetizers and drinks afterward. It should be fun, and there's a few of us lined up now, plus two more that will be joining just for the food later. I'm excited for a night of chit-chat!

I've been watching tons of chick flicks lately on Philip's nights of work. Last night, I watched Sweet November and The Truth About Love. He's home tonight, and we're about to finish up Repo Men (we watched half of it a few weeks ago, but the movie was messed up and we received a replacement disc today). Here's to the last bits of Friday night!
navygreen: (Christmas - Robbie)
I'm taking just a moment from un-decorating the house for Christmas to post a little bit. I realized I had not used this icon this holiday season, and well... to let such an opportunity pass would be a shame. If nothing else, I know [livejournal.com profile] mostcurious will love it. *wink*

The boys and I were treated to lunch today in town by our sweet friends, the Paini family. They had "booked" us for lunch, wanting to thank us for everything we do for them. It was so very non-necessary, but we were so touched! We ate at Mi Mexico, and it was wonderful as usual. Philip worked last night and so was sleeping through lunch today, but he's not fond of Mexican food, either. He appreciates the gesture but considers the food a non-loss. Silly boy - Mexican fare is *always* a treasure!

A.J. and Jack helped me with un-decorating all afternoon and evening, and then we had leftovers from the parties two nights ago for dinner. It was nice to have our dining room table back in the center of the room again for this meal (we had pushed it to a far wall to make room for the boys' full-size tree this year), even if it was just leftovers. The only thing I have left to do myself at this point is strip the family tree of its lights and tuck it away. I've stacked all of the bins/tubs of decorations in the hallway by the garage for Philip to stow in the shed room tomorrow when he gets home from work. He will be very pleased to have missed all of these parts, though!

I've been deep-cleaning while I take things down, and it feels so vastly different to me already. I absolutely adore my Christmas things, but there are so many trinkets and statuary that I can't really dust around, so I enjoy a massive dust-and-clean session while re-decorating with our regular home decor.

For dessert tonight, the dear Painis blessed us again - with fresh "Snow Cream" they had just made! It was our first time having snow cream, but it definitely won't be the last this winter season. We've got plenty of fresh snow at all times, it seems, and this was just too tasty of a treat. From the "recipe" they gave me, it should be quite easy to make, too. I'm very jazzed about it!

Well, it's time to return to the task at hand and get those lights down. I think I'm going to plop down with a nice movie as my reward tonight, too. :-)
navygreen: (Snowflake)
Today has been the laziest of days. My shoulders/neck/upper back area is quite tense, and I'm sure I didn't help things along by standing at the counter for a while earlier. I was seeding two pomegranates, as well as sectioning four grapefruits and eleven oranges. Still, I'm glad the fruits are done. I love to eat any of these in the mornings, but I'm too groggy at the time to get into such labor-intensive foods. Now, I'll just need to open the container and dig in!

I haven't made cookies in several days. It feels... weird.

Dinner last night with friends was amazing. We sat at the restaurant gabbing for almost three hours - and that was with all of our kids! I can't believe they weren't running for the doors, but I think they were perfectly content to gab on their own with each other, too. It was just a great, perfect opportunity for all involved.

We're having a winter storm right now, and I would bet that we've already had 8" of snowfall since 4pm or so this afternoon. It should continue until tomorrow morning, but then we're supposed to have 50mph winds, too. My neighbor's mom is coming in tomorrow to spend New Year's with them, and I hope that her plane can still arrive safely tomorrow night.

I still have my Christmas decorations up, and while I do want them down for cleaning, I don't want to go back to just regular home decor yet. It's much too early for Valentine's Day (despite what the stores/shopping centers would have me believe already), and I just love my holiday things. Still, I would love to be able to shut my window for computer time during the day, too...
navygreen: (Lazytown: mailbox)
I mailed a box and two letters this afternoon, and I could not believe how crazy-busy the post office was! I figured that it would be dead now that it's AFTER Christmas, but it surely wasn't. The line was wrapped around inside the tiny room, and stretching out down the strip of a hall outside the door. Insane!

I don't know about other folks, but I wasn't there for Christmassy reasons, though. I was returning two pieces of my cookware to Pampered Chef. You see, after ten years of solid use, the nonstick coating on my 10" skillet and 4 qt. covered stockpot has finally deteriorated. I have the entire PC Professional Series of cookware, having earned it over three years' worth of parties back in the day. (I held a PC party every six months.) It has served me so well in all this time, but it has a lifetime guarantee, and Pampered Chef is replacing it all with brand-new pieces! Even if I had paid $800 for the cookware (which is what it would have been without my host benefits), I still think that's a steal for an estimated 20 years of hard work/cooking!

I can't wait to get the new stuff in return, and then I'll send off another two pieces. I've got to do it this way, though, because I just can't be without all of my cookware at one time, you know? Even as it is, I borrowed a skillet and 4 qt. pot from my neighbor while mine are in the mail!
navygreen: (Christmas - socks)
It's such a wonderful, warm day out today! It's about 37° right now, and consider that is almost 70° warmer than we were last week - wow! The boys are out playing in the snow with friends, and Philip is carving away a bit more snow at the end of the driveway, to make it easier to manage pulling in. You have to take advantage of the warmer days to clear extra snow as much as you can!

We just finished up the leftovers from Christmas Day dinner with our friends, Jennifer and Dennis and their family. We had Jennifer and her kids (they're actually 20 and 17!) over for Thanksgiving, and they returned the favor for Christmas since Dennis had returned home. We met another couple - Clint and Alicia - and they were so charming as well. I think we all had a great time, and we laughed for hours on end. As we said our goodbyes at the end of the night, the guys had ranked three wins on Wii Pictionary over the girls... even though we had tougher/better drawings! Oh, and that Wii tablet is really difficult to work with compared to a pencil and paper! So yeah, we'll blame our losses on the equipment. *wink*

I made my first lasagna as my contribution to the Christmas feast, and it turned out wonderful. I didn't take a picture for "food porn" purposes, as I thought it would be rude to show up with a casserole with a piece missing! I also made a new cheesecake for dessert - Peppermint Chip Cheesecake - and I didn't take a photo of it either, for the same reasons. I guess I'll have to make both again sometime so that I can document them in pictures. Such is the life of a food blogger!

I worked a bit last night on cookie pictures, getting up several from the last month or so. I uploaded over 40 cookies just from December, and I still have two Christmas sets left to do! I'm so desperate behind in journaling them, though. So many cookies seem to never see the light of the internet! Currently, I can't work on pictures during the day because the desktop monitor faces the large window in the office. Normally, I would just shut the window and proceed, but the large family Christmas tree is in that window, and shutting the blinds is not an option. I've not decided yet whether I'll take my decorations down this week or wait until after New Year's... but for now, I can't see my screen well enough during the day for pictures.

I need to run a few things to the post office for now, so I'm off!

Yesterday.

Dec. 12th, 2010 12:43 pm
navygreen: ('Affairs:' recap)
Well, we woke bright and early because a friend was supposed to drop by at 9:00am. On a good "sleeping in" day, I set my alarm for 8:30 instead. When I woke, there was a new snowfall of 4-5" overnight, so I quickly roused Philip as well so he could clear the driveway and sidewalks for my expected guest.

While he worked on that, I busied myself in the kitchen, chopping and dicing, throwing the ingredients together for Chicken Gumbo in the CrockPot. It was the perfect meal for such a wintry day, and I knew it would smell delicious all day long while it simmered. The boys woke and dressed, and Jack set himself to working on his paper crafts again (he's been making many things, planning special homemade cards for teachers and friends). He also made more snowflakes throughout the morning, and I dutifully taped them to all the kitchen cabinets for display. I finished the gumbo and moved on to cleaning the kitchen and bar, then straightened up the dining room as well.

Philip finished clearing the snow and came back inside. He sliced some cheese and we had crackers with it for a mid-morning snack. My guest had still not arrived, so he began vacuuming the main level of the house while we waited some more. I wrote out some thank-you cards and a long overdue birthday card and prepped those for the mail, and then I searched high-and-low for some glitter glue for Jack. (No dice on that, we'll have to grab some in town soon.)

Finally, I sat down with the newspaper just to pass the time. Philip finished vacuuming the entire house, and then he disappeared to our bedroom and folded laundry. The boys began to ask for lunch, but we staved them off a bit. We'd been planning to run to town for a few things, grabbing lunch at the same time. I finished the paper, and we waited a bit more. Finally, the doorbell rang!

It was noon by then, and when my friend left, we set our sights on lunch. Philip and the boys went to the BX and grabbed chicken from the new Popeye's location. I began watching a movie while they were gone, and by the time they returned, I was so far into it that Philip told me to finish it. I had chosen The Young Victoria (something he would *never* be interested in!), and he quickly fell into a nap on the couch while I finished it. Our plans to go into town were dashed at that point, so I laid down for a nap myself.

When I awoke, I made the garlic bread and rice to serve with dinner, and we ate. It was such a low-key evening, and I was thankful for it. We had planned to watch Elf together as a family, but the boys received an impromptu invitation for a joint-sleepover at their best friends' house (the friends are brothers as well), and they packed their things and headed out. It's always so amazing quiet when it's down to just Philip and me!

Even quieter still, my neighbor Tanya soon called, hoping to find a last-minute babysitter in A.J. for little Emma while she and her husband attended a UFC fight. Since A.J. was already gone, Philip volunteered to sit with Emma while she slept, and I continued baking cookies for an order. Philip came home just after 1am, and I had finished baking (though not decorating) the cookies. He was so close to sleep already that I chose to watch Bright Star, and I enjoyed it as well, though not nearly so much as The Young Victoria.

Philip was so sacked out on the couch that he never came to bed, and once my own head hit my pillow, I never even noticed! The house was wonderfully silent this morning, and we both slept in. Even now, it is 12:40pm, and Philip has just called for the boys. I imagine the noise/ruckus will begin again shortly... *wink*

*whistles*

Nov. 15th, 2010 09:15 pm
navygreen: (Christmas: candy canes)
I began addressing my Christmas cards last night. Philip and I had run a few errands in town, including picking up the holiday stationery and envelopes. I've been buying a book or two of holiday stamps each time I'm in the post office (it seems to sting a bit less that way, you know?), so I'm getting there in the preparation. I need to process the boys' fall portraits I took in September (yes, I know!) so that I can print a picture to pop in the cards, and then I'll be set.

Well... except for actually writing the newsletter, that is. I'll have to crank that one out by this weekend or so. I always feel so dorky, yet folks continually tell me how much they adore my "newsy" newsletters. Oh, what I do for the people I love! *wink*

This afternoon, Philip and I finished up all the outdoor holiday lights and decorations. There is currently no snow on the ground, but there is a dusting in the forecast this week, and we got about 5" a couple weeks ago (which melted in 60° the following two days), so now is the time to beat the true cold and wind. Also, tonight is the first night you can officially have holiday lights on in base housing, so we were ready for that. The icicle lights on the roof were up during October as part of our Halloween decorations, so we only added the train on the roof, the moving deer (a doe and buck), and the yard stakes with red-white-green lights. We'll put our indoor decorations up on the 28th, and then the two full-size trees will shine brightly out both of our large front windows.

We completely finished our holiday shopping almost two weeks ago, and then I finished wrapping everything over that next week. I mailed out our first boxes of holiday gifts last week, and I hear that both have been received already. I still need to mail two more big boxes of gifts, and then the shipping part is done. I can't wait to have our trees up and decorated because I'm tired of storing all of our gifts in the closet! Even though they are already wrapped, I still don't want them out until the tree is ready. (It makes sense in my mind, I swear.)

Last year, we waited on all gift-shopping for our family because we were moving on Dec. 7th. We didn't want the movers hauling gifts, but we didn't have room in our vehicles for them, either. We finished up our friends and extended family before the move, but waited on our own things. This year, however, it feels nice to be ready ahead of the game. Two years ago, I took a picture on Nov. 4th of everything wrapped and ready, and this year we were on par with that. It sure makes for a sigh of relief as we head into the busy holiday season!

Meanwhile, we spent our nights this weekend while Philip was off watching movies. While doing that, I crafted tons more ornaments, and I'm over halfway done with the sets for the boys' teachers. I really had to step up my game this year since A.J. is in middle school and now has seven teachers instead of just one - eep! I will probably tuck some cookies into their gifts as well. (Naturally!)

And that's that. It's not just "beginning to feel a lot like Christmas" around here... it's practically in full-swing already!
navygreen: ('Affairs:' magically gifted)
I'm about to go organize my cookie cutters. I'm so excited I can't stand it! Where has all of this come from in just eight short months?! Back then, I only had five little cutters. Now I have an overflowing drawer, and more on a countertop (that I just bought and couldn't put away - no room!).

This morning, Philip built me a simple storage system. I'd been looking for a specific type of shoe rack with no success. (I even looked on eBay!) Since August, I've been using a rubber drawer filing system, but everything was all jumbled together. I had the idea that maybe a peg board with long pegs would work well. It's on the wall now, and it's just wonderful. I can't wait to have everything sorted and easier-to-see. No more fumbling about in my drawer, or having to pull out every single cutter just to find the ONE I'm looking for!

I'll post pictures of the pretties, I promise. :-)
navygreen: (Teeny Super Guy)
When I think of after-school, I think of PBS and after-school television. Which makes me think of the "Operatic Orange" and "Teeny Little Super Guy."

It also makes me think of warm cookies. So, A.J.'s just arrived home from school, and I have the second of two fresh batches of chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven. Jack is bringing home two friends for a playdate as soon as his school lets out, and they'll all have cookies and milk for snack. For now, A.J. has spied Jack's library book, and he's cozied up on the couch reading.

I volunteered at Jack's school this morning. I took along a breakfast of pomegranate seeds and cheddar cheese while I worked. I laminated and cut 288" worth of stuff, as well as made a few hundred copies. I collated a 15-page test, and I made 50 of them. It doesn't sound like much when I write it out, but I was solidly busy the whole morning, and I was starving once it was time for lunch with "The Jack Pack." We had a nice meal, and then I continued working on the tests for another hour. By the time I left the school, I'd been there for 4.5 hours!

Oh, and speaking of cookies, I have these I want to share:

Cookies for Paula's 50th birthday party.


Friday, October 1st, will be the 50th birthday of one of Philip's distant cousins. His family is very close, however, and I was invited to the surprise birthday event (it was ladies only, I believe). Of course, I can't be in Virginia easily (since I'm in North Dakota), but I wanted to send a little something. Her family doesn't know what is coming, but I did contact her husband yesterday to tell him to watch out for a box, and to make sure that it is opened for the party. I thought this was a cute way to celebrate: she grew up near Route 50, it's her 50th birthday, and I mailed 50 cookies in her box. Oh, and these are the cookies that I had no cutter for and was hand-cutting a few days ago! :-)

A couple more pictures. )

So, what do you think? Will she be surprised? Will she like them? I can't lie - I'm kinda nervous!
navygreen: (Fall: pumpkin)
Friday was a whirlwind of school, running errands, and then A.J.'s parade in town for marching band. I already posted about that, but I have so much to post from the rest of the weekend!

Saturday was crazy-busy cleaning day. We all cleaned together, each of us doing certain chores. We rewarded ourselves with a lovely, planned playdate that afternoon with friends and a very special snack: Banana Crunch Muffins, Peanut Butter Banana Bites, and Harry Potter's Butterbeer!

*geeks out*

Oh, it was all so, SO good. The kids were smacking their lips, and we were all on a sugar high - fantastic! The kids continued to play together for a few hours, and then A.J. received an impromptu birthday sleepover invitation for another friend. He left for that, while Philip and Jack went shooting with one of Philip's buddies from work. Jack came home with some shells and the things he'd blown up, and there were tales of the evening. I had made a yummy roast, and we had a cozy dinner with Philip's friend staying for supper.

On Sunday, we woke bright and early and drove down to Bismarck to visit the pumpkin patch. There's a couple small patches more local, but this one was rumored to be the largest around the west side of North Dakota. We were not disappointed! It was super-cheap to get in, and we all had a good time. Even after Jack "broke his butt," we kept on having fun. (That's a story in itself!) We played in the autumn spectacles, had lunch, played some more, had a snack of cookies and cocoa, then picked our pumpkins and headed home. That night, we had a warm beef stew waiting for us from Saturday night's delicious roast - yum!

Yesterday practically continued the weekend, I swear. With the exception of the boys heading to school, it still felt like it to me! Since we had already visited the pumpkin patch, I was in the mood to get full-on decorated for fall. Philip brought in all the bins from the storage room in the garage, and I busied myself putting up my fall pretties while waiting on the maintenance man to come fix my oven. It was such a treat to unpack everything - it had been two years since I last decorated for fall and Halloween (last year, we were moving, so we didn't decorate in that last month). I baked up a batch of cookies for a special order, and by 10:30am, I was STARVING. I think I inhaled my BLT for lunch while Philip played his new birthday video game. Heehee!

When the boys came home, they were amazed to see the transformation inside and outside the house. I had hung lights and put decorations in the yard - it was all complete. It was so fun to turn on my Halloween lights last night and feel really festive. Since it wasn't a "soccer night," I took the boys into town to a beautiful park and took some fall portraits of them. I'll work on them soon. :-)

Today, I finished up the pictures from that sweet, newborn baby boy I photographed last week. His mama was overjoyed with all of them, and I couldn't be happier! I burned a Raspberry-Vanilla three-wick candle on the table most of the day, and I watched Ginny (the cat) nearly try to light herself on fire when she tried to make sense of the dancing flame! I made fried chicken for dinner, and then after the boys went to bed, I settled in and watched the season premiere of GLEE. I saved this week's episode of Parenthood to watch while Philip is off these next two nights.

We're having dinner guests tomorrow night, and I think the day will be fairly busy, too. I need to head to the commissary, as well as prep something for dessert for them. My friend Valeen's husband is deploying to Guam for six months, and we wanted to have a farewell dinner with them before he leaves. Wednesday was the best bet since Jack has another soccer game on Thursday. He's in charge of snacks this week too, so I'll finish those up tomorrow as well.

I have literally TONS of pictures that need to be posted from this weekend. I'll never catch up!
navygreen: (Fall: leaf)
Well, we were supposed to have roast tonight for dinner. I planned it this way so that we could have the resulting leftover beef stew tomorrow night - an easy dinner after Jack's first soccer game of the season. However, when I pulled the chunk of meat out of the fridge at 2pm for searing, it was still a solidly frozen block. Drat.

Instead, it's back in the fridge for more thawing time (though it already had two days!), and tonight I've bumped up a meal from later on in the week: goulash, broccoli, and cottage cheese. Just a bit ago, I was standing in the kitchen, wondering what to do with myself. It was still a little early to prep dinner, but I really wanted to be in there. So... I whipped up a batch of fudge brownies, and now they're in the oven. We'll have them for dessert tonight.

Today, I updated the boys' book lists, paid all our bills, entered all Coke points into the system, cleared my desk and the bar (paper "hot spots" in this house), dropped off a prescription, shopped a short list at the commissary, stopped in and had lunch with Jack at his school, chatted for over an hour with [livejournal.com profile] bigbrain61 on the phone, filled the prescription, and put away the groceries. Believe it or not, that was ALL before noon! By the time I was done with all of that, I laid down on the couch for a quick nap, and then I woke up when A.J. came in from school. Once Jack was also home, I loaded up the boys and headed to the barber shop. It's payday, as well as the day before Picture Day at the elementary school, so there was quite a lengthy wait. Finally, the boys were sheared, and then we did some birthday shopping for October.

I'm thinking about making some cookies in the next couple days, but they're just "test" subjects, so I haven't fully decided. I have one large order and two small orders to do in the next two weeks, and I still have several cookies I need to post (Facebook seems to get those pictures first, I guess).

It looked light it might rain today, and there was a chance of it, but it never happened. The weather should be nice and warm again tomorrow, though. I'm taking pictures of a newborn baby boy in the morning. (Well, it's scheduled, at least.) He'll be just ten days new, and I hope he's sleepy. His mama was very sweet when I met her at a surprise birthday party for my neighbor last Saturday. I'm excited, and I know she is as well. She understands that this is not really what I do, but she's willing to accept that with good faith!

I hope to pull out my fall decorations soon. I might do it this weekend. We're also discussing which weekends to look at for hanging lights. (When we lived in Alaska, he usually hung white lights on the roof in September. That way, we used them with orange lights for Halloween and later with more white lights for Christmas. Plus, he didn't have to be outside/climb on the roof in the bitter cold once winter and snow had come.) Philip is trying to either get leave or get someone to switch him a shift so that he can have the 24th off next Friday. The boys are out of school that day for inservice, and we're planning to go down to Bismarck for the day. We actually haven't been back to Bismarck since passing through it when we moved here!

Goodness, the brownies are smelling absolutely heavenly at the moment. I just pulled them from the oven, and I can't wait to have a fresh one in a little while! :-)
navygreen: (High)
Last Wednesday was a busy, busy day. A.J.'s seventh grade class had a special field trip planned to go duck-banding at dawn, but there was a catch: only 20 students' names would be drawn. On Tuesday, A.J. learned he was one of the lucky ones! I was really hopeful they would let me attend as well, wanting to have some pictures for A.J.'s school scrapbook, but the office staff couldn't grant permission. They told me to arrive ready-to-go and hope for the best.

I did just that. I got out of bed at 2:50am (I was too anxious and wasn't sleeping anyway), and then I woke A.J. at 3:45. We'd planned all of his clothes and things the night before, so he got ready for the trip, as well as packed the things for the rest of the school day afterward. We arrived at the school at 4:30am, and the bus was roaring in front of the school. I ran inside, found Mr. Walz (A.J.'s science teacher) and said, "Hey, can I please come with you guys? I'd love to take pictures." He said yes!

I moved my car to the staffing side, and we all loaded up in the bus. It was the darkest of blacks as we lumbered down the highways in extensive morning fog. We went down small roads and eventually reached J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge. It was still the color of midnight when we stepped foot off the bus for a restroom break in the Refuge offices before heading to the water's site. It was very cool and windy, but I couldn't help myself from standing and staring at the sky in awe - the stars were countless and amazing! With no lights anywhere near, it almost seemed as if more stars popped up visible the longer you gazed.

From that moment on, the kids had to be super-quiet. As we approached dawn and the water, the bus pulled to a halt, and we waited in absolute silence. We turned off our cell phones (there wasn't any service anyway!) and didn't even chance a whisper. The silence was paramount to the birds feeling safe to flock and feed once the rockets went off and the nets went out. Within half an hour, we heard the soft boom! of the feed rockets, and we saw the smoke curling against the faintly lit sky. It was time.

The nets formed an apron and captured the birds as the bus moved closer. We shuffled out of the bus and straight up to the ducks - hundreds of them. Just as the kids moved in to begin sorting the birds, I turned to catch the sunrise over the water's edge:

J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge.


The kids worked for a few hours, becoming cold, muddy, and sometimes, pooped on! Every single one of them had a fantastic time, though. They were hyper and chatty the bus ride back to the school, all wishing they could come to the Refuge and do it again!

We arrived back just after 10am, in time for the kids to head to their 4th period of the school day. I raced home, gathered a box, and then headed out to Jack's school to have our traditional Wednesday lunch together. The tables seemed more crowded than usual, and I sat across from Jack and very close to a new student from Louisiana. He was engaging, and had the entire table enthralled as he told them of alligators in the marsh at his old base. :-)

After lunch, I delivered some cookies to a teacher in the school. I came home, grabbed my list and ran a few errands, and then I prepped several boxes for mailing. I went to the post office, and I made it home just a few minutes before A.J. arrived. We gabbed about the morning, and then I set to making dinner and cleaning house a bit. I worked hard the rest of the day/evening, and when I crashed into bed at 11pm, I was POOPED!

There will be more pictures soon from the actual duck-banding trip. I'm working on them right now. :-)
navygreen: ('Affairs:' spitting)
In the kitchen/dishes category, I think it's time to formally announce that I am one of "those" people. You've heard of them, you might know of them, or perhaps you ARE one of them.

I wash all of my dishes to spotless BEFORE I load them in the dishwasher. Then they are washed again, and I sigh a peaceful, restful one of relief.

(To that point, I absolutely *cringe* when I see a commercial where dirty dishes are loaded into a dishwasher to prove how well the detergent or machine works. As in, a visible shake. It makes me ill to think of all that food/gunk rinsing all around... *shudder*)
navygreen: (Sugar Cookies!)
I'm taking a break from vacuuming to make a little post. When I'm done, I'll do the basement and then head to bed, and I'll feel better all around. :-D

La la la la la la la la la laaaaaaahhh! (Sorry, that's the song.)

Growing up, what were some of your very favorite books? I'm talking young books here, elsewise I would be mentioning some serious love for Ramona Quimby (did you hear there's going to be a movie?!) or Claudia Kishi and Dawn Schafer (I can't tell you the number of "clubs" I formed while reading that series). No, I want to know about your favorites when you were itty-bitty.

One I loved for my older sister to read to me was The Fat Cat. I have our family's old copy, and it still resides in Jack's room. Another favorite was Doctor De Soto, and I still see pictures in my mind when I visit the dentist. I dragged Animals of Buttercup Farm with me everywhere (and still have it!), and I can remember my mom reading it to me over and over. And then I went through a Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite phase, and I swear I read Happy Birthday, Buddy Blue every day (also one I still have).

And of course, I had favorites from Dr. Seuss practically memorized. (Who doesn't, even now?!) But a special treat that I only remember reading while at the library were Curious George books. And oh, he had so many fun tales! With my boys last week, I was on a mission to re-find that ol' monkey, and I counted over twenty different titles! I checked out two for inspiration (the original Curious George and Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon), and I was set.

What did I need inspiration for? Cookies, of course!

Curious George cookies for Elsa's 3rd birthday.


My Aunt Mary ordered cookies for my cousin Alisa's daughter Elsa's third birthday. At first, she mentioned wanting the girl monkey cookies (... which, apparently, I've not journaled about yet?!), but then she changed her mind to Curious George. I was so excited to try something new and challenging!

I flipped through the books and found a few pictures to attempt, and then I tossed in a few "title" cookies, as well as a few big "3" cookies for little Elsa. And to make things even more busy, I iced these at the same time as another order (boy monkey cookies that also haven't yet made it to LiveJournal), so I had piping bags and flooding bottles all over the place!

But that's what makes it so fun, right? :-)



Many more cookies! )

Now, Curious George at his most mischievous ranks right up there with Alexander on his most terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days... but I want to hear about YOUR favorites, too. :-)

The matching Thank-You cookie.
The matching Thank-You cookie for the order.

navygreen: (CSI: Horatio - classic)
The boys all arrived home around 1:30am last night. They took MSgt. Jones home first, and then Philip drove his truck with the boys back to our house. He left it in the driveway for Jones to retrieve this morning when sober. :-)

The boys bathed immediately, and we tucked them into bed right at 2am. Philip and I chatted until about 3am while lounging on the couches, and then we headed up to bed at 3am. We all slept in like crazy. Jack woke up at 11:20, and when he turned the TV on in the living room, A.J. heard it and woke up. We woke up at 12:20 when Heather called. Everyone was very well rested, and it's been a low-key day.

I took the boys to get haircuts while Philip did some paperwork at the squadron for his upcoming training. After haircuts, we stopped at the library to return the last of the books and get a new stash. A.J. read seven smaller books while there, and Jack finished up nine short ones. I didn't get any reading done myself, as I was constantly finding interesting reads for them, and then returning them to the shelves in the proper place once they finished the books! They both checked out a hefty stack of new books, as well as each picked another wrapped "treasure" book (concealed in paper to be a surprise until they've left the building). Jack devoured one of his Magic Tree House books the moment we were home, and I also affixed a couple reading tattoos the librarian gave him to his cheeks. Then they went out to play, and they've been out ever since.

Dinner (Chicken Stuffing Bake, spinach, and fresh corn-on-the-cob) will be ready in about 5 minutes, and I've just mixed up two batches of cookie dough. I'll bake the cookies tonight for the next two orders, and then I'll begin decorating them tomorrow. I will have 1/2 batch of dough leftover, so I think I'll pop it in the freezer in case anyone else needs some quick cookies in the next week.

Philip and I are really enjoying Jason Lee's new crime drama, Memphis Beat, as well as the police series Rookie Blue. The former comes on tonight (the third episode), and I'm excited to tuck in and watch it with him. :-)

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