navygreen: (Default)
It's been such a nice, long, lazy Thanksgiving break. :-)

By sheer luck, Philip had off from Wednesday-Friday, and having him home all the way until Saturday night (he works midnight shifts) almost felt strange. I bet he's only been off on Thursdays for actual Thanksgiving Day maybe three times in the past almost 13 years of our military life. We celebrated with our friends and neighbors - Tanya, Adam, and Emma - as well as one of Philip's troops, Puckett, and old friends of ours Jan and Payton (while J.R. is temporarily stationed at NCO Academy).

We made enough food for an army, though. Even though there was only 10 of us, I asked everyone to bring food for 30 (explaining the reasons beforehand, of course). You see, the best part about the Thanksgiving feast is having easy-peasy leftovers afterward. We had 30 pounds of turkey, almost ten pounds of ham, two sweet potato casseroles, stuffing, cornbread dressing, candied yams, rolls, green bean casserole, corn, peas, jellied cranberry sauce, 15 pounds of mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry salad. Just like last year, it worked out beautifully: we were able to make three full meals of leftovers before we ran out of sides. I still have about 2 pounds of dark meat turkey I'm going to chop and freeze for tacos or chili later on, as well as three recipes' worth of cubed ham.

I also made two pumpkin pies, a Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake, two Chocolate French Silk Pies, a new cake (which I haven't named yet), and about 100 mini decorated cookies in my brand-new dough creation. I made tiny pumpkins with our names on them, and I made sure everyone took a few home as well.

Emma stole the show for most of the get-together. She's now 19 months old, and she's just too adorable for words. She really cuddled up to Puckett (who's a single airman living in the dorms!), and he was so sweet with her. She climbed up on the chair next to me when I was eating, and she ended up stealing away almost all of my cranberry salad - she loved it! And when Jan was scouring the Black Friday ads and writing out her shopping plan-of-attack, she sidled up next to her and pointed out the toys she was interested in. We were all in love!

Jack's friend Payton spent the night with us so that Jan could do all the midnight Black Friday shopping, and we had a large breakfast late the next morning. (They both fell asleep between 3-4am!) Philip pulled all the bins and boxes out of the storage shed in the garage for me to begin the holiday decorating, and we pretty much did that the rest of the day. Jan came to pick up Payton before dinnertime, and then we went back to decorating. The boys finished their tree entirely, and then they constructed the main tree. A.J. and I took a break and watched The Good Son together (a movie I had seen many years ago), too. After that, I felt too distracted to get back to serious decorating. ;-) I did hang the lights on our main tree while watching both Die Hard and Reindeer Games, and then Philip had to run into the squadron around 4am to clean his weapon.

On Saturday, we did more lazing about, and I finished up some more decorating. We all watched Liar Liar together, and the boys loved the class Jim Carry funnies. I made an easy pantry dinner of tuna casserole and green beans, and we finished off a few pies. Philip took a TON of desserts with him to work, and I was glad to have all the space back in my fridge!

It was 45° today (it's been warm all week), and the boys enjoyed hours of playtime outside. They probably have a few more days they can get away with it, so I encourage it! We've had a bit of snow, but it's all melted, and I'm happy for every warm day we get as a treat. Usually, it snows here in October, and we made it all the way to November 15th before our first snow, and it melted anyway. A blessing!

Last week was crazy-busy, but it was so fun! I threw a last-minute get-together with a bunch of gals for the midnight premiere of Twilight: Breaking Dawn, and I made cookies for the event. We all met at Applebee's for dinner, and then we headed to the theatre around 10:30pm to get in line. We had a great time, even despite one part of the movie that made us all snicker in our seats. ;-)

The next night, Friday, my friend Tifany hosted a Girls' Game Night while her husband was gone, and it was a blast. We played Taboo for hours, and we laughed SO HARD. She had great snacks, and I took a quick chocolate chip cheese idp and graham crackers (I had everything on hand already, and my friend Mary had suggested it while we were waiting for the movie to start the night before).

And then on Saturday night, I hosted Enchilada Night at our house! Tanya, Janelle, and I had been talking about our different enchiladas for weeks, and we decided to have them all together one night to share. Tanya made red enchiladas, Janelle made green, and I made white (the colors of the sauces, I should say). Tanya brought a big pot of Spanish rice, and we all ate together. It was a tasty night, and Jack loved it so much that he's already planning out our next "community suppers," as Tanya calls them. Samantha came over around bedtime and had some leftover enchiladas, and then we girls all watched Friends With Benefits together.

On Sunday, I was beat! Seriously, I think I napped and dozed all day to make up for three parties with three different groups of friends in three consecutive nights!

This coming week should be busy, too. I've got a bunch of cookies to make, as well as HUNDREDS I should be putting online. I need to make two "foodie" posts, and I'm hosting a huge giveaway on my website tomorrow (well, today!) to celebrate both Cyber Monday and my 1000th 'like' on Facebook. I've got two cookie swaps to mail out, and I want to make a bunch of cookies for the Airman's Cookie Drive again this year.

Oh, oh, oh! Aaaaaaand, my cookies made the Top 10 in the L.A. Times 2nd Annual Cookie Bake-Off! (Gosh, I can't believe it took me so long in this post to remember this!) I figured the "crowd favorites" as far as vote-getters would make the Top 10 even when the staff baked the Top 50, so I had been confident in my cookie so long as I remained high in votes. When the voting stopped, I had a 70+ vote lead on my closest competitor (the last time I saw it before the contest was pulled down), but then I waited for days on pins and needles for the baking and judging to take place. Finally, last Monday, the winners were announced! I was SHOCKED to find that the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place vote-earners did NOT make the Top 10 at all. It was crazy, and I'm SO glad my cookie held up in the judging! I still can't believe all my friends that voted so much for me - thank you ALL!

I've been invited to Los Angeles by the L.A. Times for a publicity photoshoot and a day tour of the facilities in their test kitchens on Dec. 7th. The recipes will be published in the huge holiday edition of the paper on December 15th. There's also another article on the judging HERE. I do wish so badly that I could go, but I absolutely can't afford the travel *to* L.A., so these articles are the end of the line for me. It was still SO EXCITING, and I was calling friends and *squeeeing* when I found out!

Oh, and we received a Christmas card yesterday from [livejournal.com profile] ashen_butterfly! She's the first, as usual. I've still only got my cards addressed, but not written, nor an accompanying newsletter even started!

I'm so happy to see so many of my friends returning to LJ lately. I have been reading, and I'm trying to be better at commenting myself. I don't know how much I'll be able to post in December, but I'm glad to have checked in at least a little bit. :-)
navygreen: ('Affairs:' recap)
It's been so long since I've updated, and I really just don't know where to start!

Cookies are just constant at this point, and I couldn't be more grateful. This creative outlet fell into my lap when I never expected it, and I find so much joy in decorating each set. The easy ones are pleasing, but the challenging designs make me reach beyond my abilities, and I feel like I learn something new each time. It's win-win in my book.

Easter has now come and gone, and it was such a busy, busy week! This is the third year that A.J. has decided he's "too old" for Easter egg hunts, and it is such a bittersweet moment for me as a mom. He's growing up so very much, and so quickly lately, it seems, but I realize that he would rather now be an "adult" and watch the "kids" hunt for eggs. He did, however, pitch in and help Jack and me color Easter eggs on Friday night... with a bit of begging on my part. (I wanted it to be a nice thing we could do together on our night at home while Philip was working.) Once he's doing something, he has a good time, and this was no exception.

Still, I can't bear to think that next year might be Jack's last year to hunt eggs before he makes the same proclamation. Then again, Jack so enjoys being "just a kid" and isn't it quite the same hurry to grow up as A.J. I think it has a lot to do with being the older vs. younger brother, as well as a good deal to do with their completely different personalities.

We attended a big party at our friends' house - the Mendezes. Matt and Amber are always such gracious hosts, and we really enjoy our times there. Jack and Bryce are peas-in-a-pod and usually disappear off to Bryce's room. Among all of their other friends, one of A.J.'s classmates was there as well - a fellow 7th-grader named Kendra. The two of them paired off just as quickly, and we were perfectly content to just gab with all the other folks. I had brought Easter Bunny Bread, sugar cookies, and Pineapple Carrot Cake to share, and all were big hits. I've never actually witnessed an entire platter of my cookies disappear in just a few hours (usually folks take the cookies home or tell me, "They're too pretty to eat!"), but I was overjoyed to see it this time! I came home with lots of empty dishes, and that's the sign of a good party in my book!

Philip has been working on his truck with the help of some friends. I sure hope they figure out whatever is wrong with it, and soon. This next month is extremely busy - we've got A.J.'s track season and Jack's outdoor soccer season going at the same time, as well as two major band performances for A.J., and there's lots of traveling involved, as well as activities at the same time. Eek! On Philip's days off, however, we jumped into a new-to-us series, and have been watching 24. We finished the first season in four days, and we're a few episodes into the second season now. We also recently saw both Arthur and Scream 4 on 'Date Nights,' and we're very much looking forward to this weekend for another night out when Fast Five hits theatres!

I'll try to be better about popping in more regularly. I was so good at the beginning of this year, and now I'm slacking so terribly! *hangs head in shame*
navygreen: (Sugar Cookies!)
Well, these pictures don't need a whole lot of introduction...

Mardi Gras Cookies.


My first set of Mardi Gras cookies! (Then again, I've only been making sugar cookies for one year now... most holidays are still my "first" time...) But they were so fun! Also, I used chocolate dough for the cookies to make the colors really POP!

Read & see more. )

We've got a soccer game for Jack tonight, so I'm definitely ready for an easy Mardi Gras dinner of pancakes. I hope you are having a wonderful time, and eating some King Cake, too!
navygreen: (Christmas: cookie cutter)
I didn't finish posting all of my Christmas cookies from this year, so I'm going to back-track and get a few more posts up. I know, I know - everyone is ready to move on in the new year. I promise that I am, too!

But you love me enough to humor me, don't you? *holds breath*

I should probably save these for last, but that's just not the way organization works in my head. The reason I want to share these so badly is simple: they contain my favorite cookie of the season.

Reason for the Season.
The Reason for the Season.


CHRISTmas is about celebrating the birth of our Lord, and the idea for these sweet, simple cookies came to me in an afternoon nap. It was a divine sleep (ha! You see what I did there?!), and I'm sure it means that I am to nap each and every day. *wink*

I only made just a few of these delicate crosses for that very reason - they are delicate. They are large cookies, but the shape is very frail - too long and skinny for much handling. I didn't make any of these for shipped holiday cookies, knowing they wouldn't make the trip. Instead, I made these as part of a set that I gave to my doctor at my last appointment during the first week of December.

I was tickled to hear the nurses all exclaim over the beautiful crosses, despite the others in the basket. My message had been simple and sweet, but they "got" it all the same.

See more from this batch. )



Merry Christmas to you!
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: (Toast)
Happy New Year to all of you!

We felt so very loved last night, having invitation to three different parties to ring in the new year, but it involved some fancy footwork, too! We skipped the third party, but we attended two, and they were both wonderful times. :-)

I made some cookies, but they were complete and utter FAIL. Trust me on this one. (However, so many folks were already disbelieving on Facebook that I actually did take pictures of the sloppy mess!) I was making them on the 30th, and I was so very disappointed. So, to save the day on the 31st, I baked these instead:

Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Peppermint Buttercream.
Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Peppermint Buttercream.**


They're not cookies, but they were oh-so-good! Not only that, but the lasting minty taste made you feel as if you just brushed your teeth. Rest assured, the sugar involved says otherwise! *wink*

We took the cupcakes to the second party first, dropping them off. The temp was well below 0°, so if the cupcakes had just been in the car, they would have frozen solid! Then we took ourselves and the rest of the cupcakes to the first party. They were very well-received at both places - success!

** Picture is SOOC - no post-processing at all!
navygreen: (Christmas - blue)
I just love-love-love the holidays! I love how everyone is perfectly content to buzz about in their kitchens, measuring and mixing, baking and tasting. I love the floured aprons and pants, the smudge of chocolate on a cheek, and sprinkle glitter all over. I love the magic that transforms from such simple things, and I wish I could bottle the smell of freshly creamed butter and sugar - magnificent!

Best of all, I love turning out treats like these for my family during the holiday season:

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie.


I bake so often. I'm almost true when I laugh and tell folks, "I bake every day." It really is that much, that often! There's something special, something "warm-and-fuzzy" around the edges about holiday baking, though. It just tastes better, and I think it's because there's a little bit of the season's hope and joy tucked in. :-)

More pictures of our holiday cookies. )

I never got the Snickerdoodles made before Christmas Eve, but I still have all the ingredients on-hand. I'm sure they'll turn up here before New Year's, and maybe we'll set them out overnight for Auld Lang Syne. *wink*
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!
navygreen: (Christmas - Coke Santa)
If I waited to put these in order - or to write stories - with each of these pictures, they would never be ready in the same timeframe as our holiday newsletter. In short, I will just put a small caption beneath each photo. Enjoy a glimpse of our 2010!

50 Faves From 2010 )


The 2010 family tree.

*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: (Halloween: pumpkin)
Wanna see my Halloween lanterns? You do, I know. :-)

Halloween Lanterns.


I got the idea from last month's issue of Country Living, and I saved the page. Over the summer, my parents brought us a ton of their home-canned green beans and tomatoes, and I'd been dutifully saving the jars with no purpose in mind (but they don't recycle here, and I couldn't bring myself to toss them in the trash). Eureka!

I contacted my fave crafty queen [livejournal.com profile] katielovesmatt and asked what she uses for decoupage in her creations. She tipped me to Modge Podge®, and that's what I used on the jars, along with several colors of tissue paper, some ribbon and hot glue, and decorations that I cut from construction paper.

I had the supplies spread over my dining room table one night when my neighbor Valeen stopped by. She asked what the mess was for (only more politely!), and I explained the craft I was about to attempt, offering her some jars to make her own. She stayed, and we worked for a few hours, watching Case 39 while we crafted. The results were so fun!

Two more pictures. )

Halloween Lanterns.
My Frankenstein and Candy Corn lanterns.
(I used a one of Philip's foam ear plugs for gun firings for Frank's bolts,
as well as a small strip of curling ribbon for his scar.)

navygreen: (Fall: pumpkin)
I had spent the most lovely, happy of days hanging out with my besties and their beautiful, fun children. The only thing missing in my life on that day was my special AnnieMcFranniePants and her little family.

The memories are so vivid, so wonderful, and today, so bittersweet!

Our little animals.
Lily, John, Jack, A.J., and Catherine.


Vala's Pumpkin Patch was an annual tradition during our years in Nebraska. We went to the patch each of our eight fall seasons, and it only was better and better each year. Most years, we also went on a separate trip to the smaller Bellevue Berry Farm & Pumpkin Patch as well. Still, Vala's was the big ticket.

This last year, we set out to enjoy everything "one last time," and we made every second count. Heather and her family were moving to New Mexico the next week (which is why we visited Vala's the first weekend it opened in the season), and we were headed to North Dakota two months after. Marissa brought Lily for her first real "Patch experience," and she was just the perfect age to dig in and enjoy. It was an amazing day!

There is no way I can condense this post to just a few pictures, so I'm going to put most everything behind a cut. [livejournal.com profile] katielovesmatt, this is the place your dreams are made of!

So many pictures! )

Taking a picture here one last time.
Taking a picture under the 'Pumpkin Moon' one last time, on one last year.


*sniffles*
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: (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. :-)
navygreen: (Fourth of July)
Tonight was the "4th" of July party for Philip's flight, and we all went. The guy hosting - McClenan - had a huge farm in the middle of nowhere, and it was great to be in the country. The music was blasting with no neighbors to worry about, and there was tons and tons of parking space. A burn pit on one end of the property served for s'more-making, and the stables and pastures were full of horses and llamas. He even had a pet goat that he raised indoors (though now the little guy thinks he's a horse!), as well as his own sled dog team of Huskies. There were puppies (chocolate labs) all over the place, and mama dog barked to announce the arrival of each new vehicle.

In military fashion, there was more alcohol than soda, and Philip made a quick "drinks run" after about two hours to grab more things that the boys could actually have. At one point, A.J. had poured himself a cup of orange juice, and Philip and I were ALL over it to make sure it was really *just* juice. There was SO MUCH FOOD, and I'm sure the flight will be eating tons of leftover burgers, hot dogs, chips, and desserts when they return to work on Wednesday night. (Philip will still be on leave, however.) I made homemade mac 'n cheese and Oatmeal Monster Cookies, and they were well received.

My scrapbooking and burrito-making friend Jennifer was there, and we finally tuckered out together and came home early. Her husband was already drunk, so Philip was going to drive his truck home with the boys once the fireworks and party were finished. I drove the two of us back to the base, dropped her off, and then came home as well. I took a long, long bath, shaved my legs, took a very long shower, and then I put fresh jammies on. I put away the last load of laundry from today, put away all of Jack's clothes, and ran him a bath. I figure that I'll pop him into the tub the second they return, but I have to keep going up and adding a trickle of hot water to the tub to keep it warm. A.J. can then jump right into the shower in the other bathroom.

It's after 1am now, and they're still not home, so I guarantee you that we're all sleeping well tonight, and sleeping IN tomorrow! :-)
navygreen: (Fourth of July)
Patriotic Pancakes.
Served with cheesy eggs and bacon.


Two more. )

We've got our holiday celebration party to attend tomorrow (that's when Philip's flight will be off, though he's on leave right now himself), so tonight's dinner was a low-key affair. Still, I wanted to jazz it up a bit, and the boys absolutely loved it. A.J. actually made the pancake batter and prepared the eggs, and then he scrambled them in the skillet while I cooked the pancakes.

Philip and Jack headed to the pool for a few hours this afternoon after we'd gone grocery shopping. After spending about four hours at the big pool in town yesterday, A.J. voted to stay home from swimming today. I'm not surprised - Philip said they each hiked the stairs and went down the HUGE waterslide about 39 times each yesterday!

As the evening winds down, I wish you all a Happy 4th!
navygreen: (Fourth of July)


I made a bunch of cookies to share with my neighborhood for the holiday, and I think they turned out very sweet. I had seen the idea online months ago, bookmarking it in my brain for the occasion, and I couldn't wait to make them!

I made all the outlines in the afternoon, and then I began flooding the colors onto the cookies after dinner. Philip pulled the dining table into the living room, and we watched The Men Who Stare at Goats together while he helped to "toothpick" the icing with me. I was grateful for the help, and also not to be in the dining room by my lonesome. :-)

Finishing up the outlines.
The befores... what they looked like after just the black piping.


All the rest! )
navygreen: (Easter Eggs)
A.J. wasn't interested in coloring the eggs, but two days later, he was ALL OVER cracking and peeling them!

I originally just asked him to help me, and he easily agreed to do so. A few minutes later, I was still shelling my first egg as he reached for his third. I remarked how amazing that was - how was he doing it so fast?! - and it instantly became a game, a race!

He showed me his technique (all thumb skin, where I'd been carefully using my thumbnail and it slowed me down), and then we really started scrambling. His tenth egg had imperfections, and it caused me to leap ahead from my seventh egg to a start on my eleventh one. At one point, he reached across me and knocked my little paper plate of shell bits all over my lap, costing me half an egg's time in clean-up (while he giggled and worked furiously ahead!). I made him grab the next carton of eggs, and I caught up my half an egg's time.

In the end, we were sing-songing out our numbers each time we finished a new egg, and we were talking to and coaching our little eggs to go faster. We both finished our twentieth egg at the SAME TIME, and it was chaos as we each reached for the last egg...

I had it first, but A.J. bumbled it out of my hands (and neither of us understand HOW we didn't knock over my Dr. Pepper in the process!), and then I caught a fingertip on it once more, dropping it from his hands to the wood floor... where it rolled and cracked and rolled and cracked. A.J. was fastest on his feet to grab it, and he scored the final egg. It took him no time to peel it, especially since it was then already cracked and open!

Score: A.J. - 21, Mom - 20.

But so fun! :-) Neither of us even like hard-boiled eggs, so it was great to have a fun memory to associate with such a yucky task. (I enjoy coloring them, and Philip loves eating them, in case you wondered why I bothered even making them. *nods*)
navygreen: (Easter Eggs)
Jack's ready to dye eggs.
Jack's ready to dye eggs.


And so, it has happened. A.J. is now "too old" for many things, and one of them is dyeing Easter eggs. Even with both me and Jack pleading, we couldn't convince him to join us for the color-explosion. :-(

And what COLORS they were! See, Philip and I had looked for egg dyeing kits in the BX and commissary for a week or so, but we hadn't found anything. The next time we headed into town, we picked up a simple PAAS kit for a buck or so, thinking we were set.

On the day of coloring, Jack covered the table in a leftover yellow vinyl my neighbor had given me for just that purpose. He grabbed two undershirts from Philip's drawers, and he donned his. I read the instructions on the back of the kit and carefully measured the correct amount of vinegar into each of our twelve glasses. Both boys carried the glasses to the table, and then I opened the box to give them the tablets.

Only to find the kit completely EMPTY inside. No stickers, no egg holder tool, no dyeing tablets - nothing! Oh noes!

(This is where A.J. lost interest, I should add, then citing that he was "too old." Stupid egg kit, you cost me a memory!)

I had Philip pull the tub of Easter decorations from the shed to see if there were any old kits in there. He "didn't see any."** He looked up the BX and called before heading out, just to ask if they had any kits in stock then. They didn't. While he was doing this, I was frantically searching online to see what I could use for makeshift dyes. I only had a tiny amount of both yellow and blue food coloring - not enough to really make anything.

Every website I could find mentioned regular food coloring. Didn't they understand that not only did I not have the four traditional colors, but that I didn't even have enough?! I wasn't having any luck trying to find a method using gel decorating colors (of which I had nine colors in my baking supplies), but I decided to wing it. I individually boiled a cup of water for each color, and then Jack stirred in the gel coloring until it dissolved/melted. Then we poured the new dye into the measured vinegar and crossed our fingers...

I had ten colors of gel, but I refused to make black. I also didn't make red because I didn't want to open it just for the eggs. The yellow and the orange didn't dissolve well, so we had more of a peach, and we added the yellow (which was basically clear) to some leftover 'rose pink.' Once Jack added the eggs into each glass, the liquid was too high, so I carefully spooned out some dye into a clean, large glass. He chose to then use the "mixture glass," and it produced his favorite eggs!

More pictures. )

All the eggs.
All of Jack's eggs.



** Later that night, when Philip and I fully opened the tub of decorations from the shed to get all the plastic eggs out for filling, I found THREE unopened PAAS kits in it. Three! Twenty-seven little dye tablets in all! *facepalm*

Ghosties.

Apr. 2nd, 2010 02:17 am
navygreen: (Halloween: pumpkin)
Sheesh, but I was really behind this fall, wasn't I?! I mean, yes, I was preparing for a big move and all, but... still!

I swear that brownies aren't the only thing I made this autumn. It just somehow seems that I failed on posting any pictures of them. *shrugs*

But aren't these just the CUTEST brownies ever?!

Ghost Brownies.


My older sister had sent me some nifty ghost-shaped liners eons ago, and I always "re-found" them in my baking cupboards conveniently after Halloween. Not so this year! This time I was on the ball, yo! (Well, except for that whole posting side of the ball, but we'll pretend that there are instead two different balls to be on, right?)

... Um, that sounded a bit naughty. But you know what I meant! :-P

Together.


What happens when brownies kiss? )

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