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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekly Menu: January 29 - February 4

I may be a little late, but here's this week's menu!  =)

  • Sunday - Leftovers from eating out (I promised myself a break after I burned my hand on the oven AND set a pan on fire last night -- yeeeeah, it was bad!)
  • Monday - Bonnie's Roast Recipe (I couldn't resist trying after you mentioned it, Bonnie!)
  • Tuesday - Stuffed Shells (frozen from the week of January 15th)
  • Wednesday - Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes (recipe found here, discovered via Pinterest!)
  • Thursday - Chicken Bundles (as per Mr. L's request -- he loved them so he wanted them again this week!)
  • Friday - Off Night/Leftovers
  • Saturday - Off Night/Leftovers
I'm sure you probably want some elaboration on my cooking accident, so here's at least the moral of the story:

Mrs. Landrum was in a hurry, and being in a hurry in the kitchen is pretty much always a recipe for disaster.

Also, don't try to heat up a pan before you put oil in it to rush the process.  Bad things happen.

Well, now that even my text is red with personal embarrassment, what's the worst thing that's ever happened to you in a kitchen?  Please let it be worse than mine so I can feel better?  xD


Friday, January 27, 2012

P52 - Week Four: Self-Portrait

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge my3boybarians.com

{This week's linkup can be found here:  http://my3boybarians.com/2012/01/p52-week-4-self-portrait/}


For this picture the hubs and I were playing around with the camera at this beautiful beach on Hickam AFB, and he insisted on getting a silhouette shot with the sun behind my head.  I think it turned out pretty cool!  (And yep, you caught me -- it's not a true "self-portrait" since he took the pictures, but it's good enough for me!)

And just to be on the safe side (and so no one accuses me of not really doing the challenge, haha), here's another one he snapped which I also think looks nice.  I mean, my hair's a mess and I have no makeup on (c'mon, it was the beach!) but I think my big smile really showcases how happy Mr. L makes me, especially when we're goofing off with each other.  With impending deployments looming around the corner, it's good to cherish these little moments of happiness with each other to give ourselves something to hold on to (and look forward to having again) in the coming months.


~~~

Interested in joining the Project 52 Challenge?  Check out this FAQ link via My3boybarians.com!


Five for Friday

1.  You're an awesome "dad"; I can't wait 'til I get to experience what you're like with our human children =)

2.  I like it when I'm able to contribute something to your shop, even if it's just some banana pudding.  (Hope they enjoy it, by the way!)

3.  Thank you for being such a rock star and helping our friends with their move!

4.  I love your cheeks.

5.  I've said it before and I'll say it again -- thank you for being supportive of me <3

ily <3


Monday, January 23, 2012

Christmas 2011

Yeah yeah, I know, it's almost the end of January!  But I figured I'd recap our 2011 Christmas for everyone anyways, so indulge me ;)

Mr. L and I actually started our Christmas early -- like, a week early!  Since my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and niece were spending Christmas 2011 with my SIL's family, they decided to open presents with my family early while Mr. L and I watched via Skype!



We also let our nephew open his big present from us early, since it literally was big (meaning too big to travel in the car to SIL's mom's house!):

Lego Duplo Train set via Lego.com -- one of Bryant's new favorite toys!
It was kind of strange seeing Bryant experience Christmas morning on a random evening in December, but at the same time it was so great getting to see all of my family together in one spot.  I miss them so much, especially my sweet little niece I've yet to meet!

I love and miss them so much!
Fast forward to Christmas Eve -- Mr. L and I woke up bright and early at 6AM so we'd be able to Skype with all of his extended family who were at his grandmother's annual Christmas brunch.  We were all pretty amazed that even though Mr. L and I were 4000 miles away, we were still able to partially participate in this tradition =)  His extended family opened their Hawaiian themed Christmas presents as we looked on.  It was a little surreal and a little bittersweet, but we were so happy to see everyone and they were so happy to see us!  Later that evening, we opened Christmas with just Mr. L's immediate family via Skype, so it was a bit more low-key but still just as happy!

Our Christmas morning and evening were pretty lazy.  We woke up around 9, got some breakfast ready, gave Liam a Christmas rawhide and settled in for our first Skype date of the day, this one with my parents, brother Brad, Grandma, and poodles CiCi and Cocoa =)

Pigs in a blanket, cinnamon rolls, coffee, and Mountain Dew -- breakfast of champions! 
The poor guy thought he wasn't allowed to have the bone at first!
I was super excited for everyone to get their presents open, and Mr. L and I were of course excited to open ours!  We spent some more time chatting with them before we had to log off and call my other brother and sister-in-law for our next session.  We watched Bryant open another one of our presents and watch my brother and SIL open their gifts.

I was really looking forward to seeing Bryant get his second present from us -- Mr. L and I had made a few homemade audio books for him to listen to while we're stationed so far away.  Every year that we're gone, he'll choose three of his favorite books to send out to us a few months before Christmas so Mr. L and I can do more audiobooks for him.  When we're done recording, we'll mail them back to him in time for Christmas.  We're going to do the same thing for our sweet niece as well =)  My SIL said he absolutely loved this present and his face lit up while he was listening to it.  Love!

After we finished talking with everyone, we surveyed the mess that was the living room and sorted out the presents:

Some of our spoils -- pizza stone, Hickory Farms sausage and cheese set, a PedEgg, Game of Thrones box set, and a Shop Vac!
Mr. L's big gift this year -- a Keurig with his own special Mandalorian coffee mug that he's used approximately four times a day since Christmas.
My big gift this year from my parents -- a Kindle Touch!  I'm so in love.
Mr. L and I spent our free time in between Skype sessions mainly lounging around the house.  By the time dinner was ready, we moved our plates to the coffee table, set Liam up with his special dinner, and watched some Elf on DVD!

Christmas dinner -- ham, corn, mac and cheese, dressing and brown gravy, and green beans.  So good!
Liam's Christmas dinner -- a little bit of our ham!  It was gone in about 5 seconds.
ELF!
Then for dessert, we had some of Mr. L's Nee Nee's homemade pumpkin roll!  Unfortunately she wasn't able to actually send us a roll considering our geographical location, but she did the next best thing -- sent me the recipe so I could make it for ourselves =)



Utter deliciousness.  We felt like it transported us back home =)
I think Mr. L and I both will agree that the best present of all this year was being able to see literally all of our families via Skype even when we were so far away.  And here we thought we wouldn't be spending Christmas with them -- silly us =)

I am a little sad that we didn't get a chance to really start any new Christmas in Hawaii "traditions" this year (other than Skyping the heck out of family), so I hope next year, if Mr. L is here, we'll be able to go to the beach or go surfing or something equally fun and "Hawaiian"!

What are some of your Christmas traditions?  Did you do anything special for Christmas 2011?


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekly Menu - January 22 through January 28

Alright, another brand new week is already here!  Let's check out the menu:

  • Sunday:  Crispy Cheddar Chicken with rice and corn
  • Monday:  Cheesy Taco Pasta
  • Tuesday:  Chicken Bundles with roasted broccoli and cauliflower
  • Wednesday:  Double Crunch Honey Garlic Pork Chops with mashed potatoes and green beans
  • Thursday:  Bacon Ranch Slow Cooker Chicken and pasta
  • Friday:  Off Night/Leftovers
  • Saturday:  Off Night/Leftovers

    I'm excited that I've finally incorporated a "favorite" recipe (the Bacon Ranch Slow Cooker Chicken) in this week's menu instead of trying entirely new things like I have been.  It's good to try new things, but throwing some staples in every now and then makes things easier =)

    What are some of your staple recipes?


    Friday, January 20, 2012

    P52 - Week Three: I Dreamed a Dream

    project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge my3boybarians.com


    Ka'ena Point Beach, Oahu, Hawaii -- almost had to pinch myself when we visited this beach!
    When I was younger, my dream for myself was to travel the world.  I never knew how I would accomplish this dream -- whether by a job or just a random whim to backpack around a country -- but I always understood that travel was a very important priority for myself.  Little did I know not only would I get some traveling under my belt (thank you, European honeymoon!), I'd actually be living in a place to which most people dream of vacationing!

    What's your most favorite place you've traveled to so far?

    ~~~

    Interested in joining the Project 52 Challenge?  Check out this FAQ link via My3boybarians.com!


    Five for Friday

    1.  Your hugs and kisses are really tops.

    2.  Can I just say how awesome it was I got to see where you "work"?  xD

    3.  Pink cupcakes!

    4.  I can't believe we celebrated our "20 month" wedding anniversary this past week, haha.  Four more to go before we hit the 2 year mark!

    5.  We may have received some not-so-happy news for the next couple of months, but time will fly and we'll be just fine =)

    ily <3


    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Think: Military Versus Civilian

    My husband is the one percent.

    via this link
    Nooo, I don't mean Mr. L is a part of the nation's richest one percent. I mean he is a part of the one percent of our nation's population currently enlisted in the US military.

    That means ninety-nine percent of our population actually isn't in the military.  When you include family of friends of military, the percentage probably changes a bit, but the point still stands that an overwhelming minority of our population is enlisted to defend this country at a moment's notice.

    I've heard reports in the media that this "99 percent" is feeling a growing disconnect with what military members and their families have to face during deployments and on a day-to-day basis.  (See: "Military's Gold Star Families Often Feel Disconnected" via USAToday.com -- I would absolutely recommend reading the article in full, not just the quotes I've chosen below.)  

    To quote the article: "National leaders and advocacy groups say they see a widening rift between a military at war and a public at peace, distracted by a sputtering economy and weary of hearing about Iraq and Afghanistan...Fewer than 1% of Americans are in the military today, compared with 10% during World War II."


    10% and 1% is such a huge difference, and I absolutely believe this difference is causing a lot of mystery within the general populace about military members and the military lifestyle, especially with the circumstance of the woman in the article, Jane Horton, who wears a Gold Star pin in honor of her husband who was killed in action.

    "Jane thought the Gold Star pin would be a conversation starter. But it isn't.  'This is like code: 'My husband was killed in the war.' But nobody knows what it means.'"

    The fact that our nation and its warriors are at such a disconnect is saddening to me.  As I read the article, I couldn't believe absolutely no one had asked that woman about her pin.  She seemed so incredibly proud to share memories of her husband, but no one was really willing to ask about them.  It's heartbreaking.

    When you're in the position of a military member or that member's loved ones, it can sometimes seem as if most people just don't care, but I don't believe that to be true.  I think our citizens are curious about our lifestyle simply because it's a bit of a mystery to them these days since so few (relative to our country size, I mean) seem to experience it firsthand.

    Being a military loved one, especially a spouse, is no walk in the park, and it sometimes seems as if no "outsider" (since spouses are civilians, I'll refrain from using that general term in this post) really understands what we have to go through in order to support our significant other's career in the armed forces.  And in a way, I think that in a small way we tend to allow this ignorance to continue.

    When you're a part of the military community, you often feel like you are a part of something bigger, something special.  It's a good feeling to not only know you "belong" there, but that there are other people going through the exact same situations as you.  But sometimes we get lost in our military bubbles so to speak, and we forget to include outsiders in on our acronyms and military lingo.  It's easy to let it happen, especially when you're surrounded by the military lifestyle (i.e., you and your husband moved 4000 miles away from your respective hometowns and now you both live on a military base!).

    We've all been in the situation where a seemingly well-intentioned outsider asks us a question that showcases their ignorance of military life.  We scoff at them and set them straight, or sometimes just completely ignore them, shaking our head at their lack of understanding.  Then we go off and laugh with our spouse and military friends at how some people just have no clue what's going on sometimes.  I'm no saint, I've been there too.  It seems to commiserate the bond we hold between our spouse friends, and bonding over similar accounts in military life is perfectly fine and natural.

    I'm just not sure that we should brush these people off every single time.  What if instead we just gently explained to them the answers to their questions, or explained why we can't answer those questions at all?  Why must we feel so superior towards an honestly well-intentioned person's questions?  There are, of course, exceptions -- especially when a person is definitely not well-intentioned in any sense of the phrase and crosses a line, which unfortunately, people do far too often.  I tend to think of those as exceptions to this little vent.

    I feel like, as military spouses, we tend to shut out outsiders, sometimes with a half-attempted explanation of "You just wouldn't get it."  Perhaps if we took an extra few minutes to help them "get it", we could accomplish a bigger kind of goal -- allowing an outsider to get a glimpse into our lives and what we have to go through so our spouses can protect our nation.  And the more often we educate an outsider on our lives, the more sympathy and understanding we could generate throughout the population.  Wouldn't that be a good thing for everyone?

    If you're one of the people that already do this, I applaud you, and wish that I was more like you!  You understand that people are just naturally curious, especially about the "hard" details of our lives.  And if you don't really do this, I totally understand where you're coming from since I've been there too.  Sometimes there's too much going on -- your spouse is deployed, your kids are driving you up a wall, your job is a pain in the neck -- for you to sit and have a full-on conversation with someone.  You shouldn't feel obligated to explain every little detail when you have other things to take care of.  Just try not to brush said-well-intentioned person off entirely, if possible -- maybe answer some questions at a later date or something.

    I certainly don't want to come off like I'm some know-it-all attempting to tell someone what to do, because I am absolutely not.  I only want to offer a different perspective on something that we military spouses experience a lot, and perhaps seeing it in a different light may change your outlook on things.  You could quite possibly end up educating a person about the difficult shoes we spouses and our military members have to walk in and change someone else's perspective at the same time.  Lord knows we all need a good perspective shift every once in a while!

    If you are an outsider without any military affiliation, is my semi-generalization about curiosity towards the military in the ball park?  Have you ever been curious enough to ask about military life?  If you're a military spouse, have you ever felt this clique-ishness?  Do you think my thoughts on this subject are misguided?  Maybe we'll get some discussion going and possibly even answer a few questions about military life.  Comment below!  =)


    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Weekly Menu - January 15 through January 21

    Here's this week's planned menu:
    • Sunday:  Taco Night (we didn't get around to doing taco night last week, so it's been moved to tonight!)
    • Monday:  Stuffed Shells with marinara sauce
    • Tuesday:  BBQ Chicken with mashed potatoes and corn
    • Wednesday:  Grilled hamburgers and hot dogs with french fries (finally breaking out the grill, yay!)
    • Thursday:  Pizza Night
    • Friday:  Off Night/Leftovers
    • Saturday:  Off Night/Leftovers
    I'm so looking forward to using our new grill for the first time =)

    What's your menu look like?  Anything yummy in the works?


    Friday, January 13, 2012

    P52 - Week Two: Made with Love

    project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge my3boybarians.com


    What's more "made with love" than a bowl of yummy, delicious, homemade soup?

    (f/3.2, 1/50s, ISO 800)
    Not much, I tell you.  This is a bowl of baked potato soup I made earlier in the week =)

    What have you "made with love" lately?  Anything delicious or crafty?

    ~~~

    Interested in joining the Project 52 Challenge?  Check out this FAQ link via My3boybarians.com!





    Five for Friday

    1.  Yay!  We have a grill!

    2.  I love our new hug/kiss rule we implemented.

    3.  Thank you for supporting my photography hobby, even when I need you to be my model =)

    4.  I had fun PvPing with you last night!

    5.  Whale watching tomorrow, woohoo!

    ily <3


    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Bacon Ranch Slow Cooker Chicken

    Don't you just love a good crock pot recipe?  Apparently I do, especially this week (hello, broccoli cheese soup!).

    But really, can you blame me?  Just looking at these pictures is making my mouth water =)

    It's another recipe from back in November (I've finally caught up on all of those "old" recipes by the way, yay!) that was a Pinterest inspiration, and I'm so glad we tried it out.  What's not to love about chicken, bacon, ranch, and yummy creaminess?  I also just realized how similar it is to tonight's dish on our weekly menu, the Crock Pot Italian Chicken.  Apparently we love cream-based chicken and pasta dishes as well as crock pot recipes!  Now, do yourself a favor and have this for dinner!

    Bacon Ranch Slow Cooker Chicken via Pinterest via Kelly's Healthified Kitchen



    Ingredients
    • 2 strips of bacon (the original recipe calls for turkey bacon, I opted for the pork that was on hand)
    • 1 tsp minced garlic
    • 1 package ranch dressing mix
    • 1 10.75oz can cream of chicken soup
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 16oz chicken breasts
    • 8oz pasta (I chose penne!)

    Directions

    1.  Combine first five ingredients.


    2.  Place chicken in slow cooker sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.


    3.  Pour sauce over top of chicken.


    4.  Cook on high for 3.5 hours.



    5.  Shred chicken and serve over cooked pasta of your choice.


     What's your favorite thing to cook in a crock pot?


    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Crock Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup

    By the way, don't forget to check out my new social media icons featured on the right scroll bar of the blog and follow me on my various platforms!  Thanks!

    ~~~

    One night a few weeks ago, I decided to tackle a recipe I'd been drooling over for a while -- particularly when I discovered that there were no McAlisters and Panera Breads on this island; i.e., no instantly-in-your-hands-without-cooking-super-delicious broccoli cheese soup.

    Of course, that's when Pinterest stepped in to save the day with this recipe.


    It sounded so easy -- broccoli cheese soup in a crock pot?  All I have to do is throw the ingredients in and let it cook?!  Brilliant.



    So that's what I did.  I let a batch of this deliciousness cook on high for four hours, and promptly ended up with WAY too much soup for Mr. L and I to consume in one sitting.  So we ate some and froze the rest!

    I will say though, I did not like the way the Velveeta melted in the crock pot.  For some reason, we've experienced issues before where the cheese does not fully break down and just gets clumpy.  For the batch I froze, I used a blender to even everything out, but of course lost the little broccoli and carrot bits that make broccoli cheese soup so yummy.  I'm assuming that's how the crock pot cooks Velveeta cheese (maybe just on high?), but I'm not 100% sure.  Next time, I think I'd skip the crock pot altogether and just make a roux-based soup on the stove.

    But if clumpy Velveeta doesn't deter you, definitely try this recipe.  It tasted pretty awesome =)



    Ingredients
    • 2 10oz cans cream of chicken soup
    • 1 small onion
    • 1 carrot
    • 1 lb Velveeta, cubed
    • 2 12oz bags frozen chopped broccoli
    • 1 quart half and half
    • 1 tsp hot sauce
    • shredded cheddar cheese/croutons/etc for topping
    Directions

    1.  Pulse onions and carrot in food processor.
    2.  Add all ingredients to the crock pot.
    3.  Cook on high for four hours.
    4.  Top with cheese/croutons/etc and enjoy!

    I told you it was ridiculously easy.  Go forth, cook, and enjoy!  =)


    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    And it Comes Back to Us: The Girls Get Prettified

    After doing what I could to help set up some elements of the wedding, my hairdresser told me we'd better start on my hair before any more time passed by.  I agreed with her, and upstairs we went!

    It was mostly quiet while we sat in the roomy middle area near the top of the stairs.  My mother was very busy setting up the decorations outside, and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law hadn't arrived yet.  I definitely enjoyed having a little quiet time while my hairdresser and I politely yet excitedly talked about the day ahead.

    (Clips of me getting my hair done from our wedding video)
     Before I knew it, my bobby pins were in place and I got my last douse of hairspray.  My hairdresser claimed me fit for bridal duty, and she then moved on to my mother's (who had finally come up from outside!) and my grandmother's hair.

    By that time, Mr. L's family arrived, and I eagerly hugged them hello.

    Mr. L's beautiful sister and me, about to start putting on our makeup!
    I then gave Mr. L's grandmother, mother, and sister as well as my grandmother, mother, and SIL their wedding gifts from me and Mr. L.  I found some beautiful poems personalized for each lady and added a pretty hanky so they could dab away at those happy tears.  Since my SIL was my MOH, I gave her something a little extra -- a beautiful purse in one of her favorite colors.

    After I'd given out gifts, it was time to get my makeup done!  My MOH was my makeup artist for the day, and I absolutely love the naturally beautiful look she gave me.




    When we were finished putting on makeup, then it was time to slip into my dress!  I don't actually have any pictures of this (my photographer was MIA...<sigh>), but my videographers were there to at least capture my amazing friend Bonnie fixing my bustle =)


    After my dress was zipped up, it was time for me to grab my bouquet and start doing some bridal portraits!

    ~~~

    Missed something?  Catch up here!

    Before the Big Day
    And it Comes Back to Us