Saturday, December 31, 2011

My resolution to make NO resolutions this year!

It is the FINAL day of 2011! All this week I have seen people talking about New Years Resolutions. While having a "resolution" is a grand idea, I am not a fan. In general, people take resolutions too lightly. The resolution lasts maybe a month or two then people fall into their old ways. Like at my gym, it is crowded and the classes are full for the first 2 months of the year. Which makes things kind of annoying for me since my favorite classes have a limited number of spots available. But come March I won't have that problem because people somehow forget their resolution to work out more. Instead of making a "resolution" this New Year, I propose you make a "LIFE CHANGE". That just sounds more permanent and serious. Maybe by starting to take the phrase more seriously, people will be more serious about their commitments in 2012. 

Looking back at 2011, this year was full of new life experiences for my family. To name just a few: At the beginning of the year we started our first deployment (and it looks like we will start another one in early 2012). I actually committed myself to a gym and personal trainer. I am back down to my pre-baby size and I am in better shape! I was also a little brave this year, I took boudoir photos for Hubs and got a tattoo (which I plan on adding to this upcoming year!).

These are our Christmas card photos from 2009 & 2011 
(2011 photo courtesy of Rusella Photography!)

Boudoir photo of my new tattoo, thanks La Mia Bella Photography!

So today I have been thinking about what challenges and experiences 2012 will bring for us. As I stated earlier, we have another deployment. Since I have one under my belt already (especially one as tough as the last one!) I know I will be better prepared for this upcoming one. My goal during this deployment will be to save more money. We didn't do too bad last time, but I know I can do better. One idea I have is to cut back on eating out while Hubs is away. Since I was eating healthy food while I was out, it was even more expensive! Why is it that healthy food is never cheap & convenient? I'm starting to love cooking more so eating out less should be easy enough. This deployment will be a different experience in some ways, Little Miss is getting older and she realizes when Daddy is gone for a long time. I will also be dealing with this deployment from the Ombudsman perspective. So far I am LOVING being ombudsman, it is so satisfying to help out the families in this way.
I also plan on continuing putting in time at the gym. Even though I have hit my goal, now is not the time to slack off. I only have one body in this life and I need to keep taking care of it. In the next year I am also hoping to get pregnant and I would like to keep active during that pregnancy in hopes that I won't gain 60+ lbs. or if I do, I am hoping it will come off easier if I keep active.

We are also talking about taking our first family vacation to Disney World and Universal Studios! Once I gather all the information I will be sharing the planning experience on my blog. I've already visited the ITT office at Dam Neck for some information but I'll need to visit the ITT office at Little Creek to get the info. about lodging at the resort. I know Little Miss is still so young, but for Hubs and I this trip will be about the family time together. I know Little Miss will not remember this trip, but I will. For example, this week we went to Busch Gardens Christmas Town with my parents and saw the Sesame Street Christmas Show. Little Miss was so in awe when she saw her favorite characters right in front of her. She was so excited I teared up just watching her. I know Disney World will be like that for her as well. Plus, since she is under 3 years old we don't have to pay for admission or meal plans for her.

So for now those are all the "LIFE CHANGES" I have planned for 2012. I am sure I'll come up with more as the year progresses. I hope everyone has a safe and happy NYE. Remember, please don't drink & drive. Before you head out, please look online for ways to get home safely. In the Hampton Roads area AAA is offering services to get you home safely! Happy 2012 Ya'll!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tools of the Trade

I am super excited to be hosting my first PC show this week, so I want to blog about my favorite tools & gadgets and show you all my wish list! With all the cooking I do, this stuff makes it simpler and easier to clean up.

*This blog post is not sponsored by PC, I am writing this simply because I love their products*

I literally use the following utensils every day in my kitchen, whether I am preparing cookies or making dinner!

Mix N' Scraper: The unique shape of the silicone head allows you to both mix adequately and scrape the bowl clean (as the name implies)! I've had mine for a couple of years now and it hasn't cracked or melted. It scrapes the bowl so clean that there is no need for licking the bowl anymore. I use this to mix everything, it has *almost* totally replaced my electric mixer!

Apple Wedger: Little Miss LOVES apples and this makes it so easy to slice an apple into 10 slices!

Stoneware: I use 2 different round stones and their bar pan stone. Whether I am baking cookies, biscuits, or pizza these stones come in handy! At the last PC party I went to they made this amazing ultimate brownie sundae in the bar pan that is on my list of things to make. What I like about the stoneware: They evenly distribute heat, they don't retain odors or flavors, and they keep food warmer longer. 

Mix N' Chop: This is a must have if you brown meat on the stove-top! It does a great job at breaking up what  you are cooking, plus it won't scratch up your cookware. I've also used this to break up cake when I am making cake pops. 

Measure-All Cup: I absolutely loathed having measuring cups all over the place in my kitchen. This one cup eliminates that problem! You can easily measure liquids or solids in this one handy tool. Definitely helps get rid of the clutter in kitchen drawers. 

If you are looking for a few basic pieces, I would definitely go with those. I use them all daily, they are very affordable, and will last you a long time!

Okay here is my Wish List!

Deep Covered Baker: The final piece of stoneware I want for my kitchen. I can bake a 5lb chicken or a casserole in this. But what I love best: There are recipes to use this in the microwave to make dinner!! They made yummy bbq chicken sliders at the last PC party in this using the microwave. Talk about an easy way to prepare supper!

12" Skillet: Every year it seems I am buying a new skillet. They start to warp in the center and they stop evenly distributing heat. I have a friend who has this whole set and swears by it. She had Cephalon before and she says this set is even better! I use my current skillet at least 3 days a week so I am looking to make a long term investment. 

Small Bamboo Knife Block Set: I desperately need to upgrade my current knife set. This one has a lifetime guarantee and my friends who own this set love it. 

If you are interested in browsing their online catalog, take a look here! You can also order online or find a consultant near you, the parties are lots of fun and a good excuse to have a house full of people and yummy food!



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Good Wine, Good Friends, & Great Deals!

This is how I am unwinding after a crazy few days. My "secret santa" brought me a new set of Mikasa wine glasses & a bottle of moscato and I could not be happier! I am so fortunate to have finally found great friends. Actually, I am doubly blessed because I have 2 groups (Play Group ladies and my "Big E" ladies) of great ladies that I can call on at a moments notice, trust with my secrets, rant to when I need someone to listen, and count on them to be there for myself & my family.

I made another dress yesterday as a birthday gift. It turned out really well, I loved the contrasting pockets. This was my first time making a pullover dress!

I have my first "Tacky Christmas Sweater" party coming up and I have no ugly sweater! So I went to Goodwill to find one. I didn't find an ugly sweater, but I found a whole lot more goodies. I paid $39 for 4 long sleeve tops for me, 3 long sleeve tops for Little Miss, a sweater dress & shawl for her, and a pair of adjustable pants! These clothes look so new I am wondering why someone would give them up. I found a white cable knit sweater from Ann Taylor Loft, a new black Nike hoodie jacket, a grey GAP hoodie, a bright green top from Izaac Mizrahi. Little Miss scored Oshkosh jeans, a GAP corduroy jacket, a Gymboree top, a shawl from Children's Place, and a sweater dress from Old Navy. If you break it down, we averaged $3.90 per piece of clothing. I tried on some jeans from BeBe and True Religion but they were the low rise ones, low rise jeans do not work on me since I had Little Miss. I don't know what happened but all of a sudden I have major plumber's crack whenever I wear low rise jeans. 

 So does anyone have an ugly sweater I can borrow for my "Tacky Christmas Sweater" party next week?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Long Day and a Fast Cruise

Today was a day I was hoping would not come so quickly, but alas we are here: Fast Cruise. (*the ship officially released this information*) It has been less than 5 months since Hubs came home from deployment #1 and now they are gearing up for the next one. Waah.

I'm not going to lie, I am not a very happy camper at the moment but that is mostly due to sleep deprivation and this dull headache I've had for 2 days now. Had to drop Hubs off at the pier for 4:30am this morning and Little Miss has somehow managed to only sleep in the car since then so I have gotten no sleep yet. After dropping him off, I did my super sneaky mind trick where I convince myself that Hubs has duty for XX amount of time so he's not really gone. It worked so well last time, this time however Little Miss is old enough to now ask where Daddy is: That snaps me out of my make-believe fairy tale land where deployments and work-ups do not exist. Kids are so dang perceptive. Or else I am just a really bad liar because she definitely did NOT believe me when I said Daddy is at work and will be home soon. Since my realization, I've been coming up with ways on how we are going to tell Little Miss about deployments. I am hoping the Elmo video from Fleet & Family will help out alot. Yah they have an Elmo video where he is talking about his Daddy going on deployment, how perfect is that?

This is my new reality. Yes, I know deployments are inevitable and are part of the deal when you are a part of the military. That does not mean I will be 100% okay with that fact all the time, but what it does mean is this: I have to accept it. I have to figure how to help Little Miss get through another deployment. No amount of whining, crying, or moping will change the Navy's mind and let Hubs stay home (but wouldn't life be grand if it did?). In the grand scheme of life, this is really a short blip of time. While right now it looks like a mountain, years down the road I can look back and say, "That wasn't easy, but it helped me get where I am today and appreciate what I have now."

So time to put on my big girl panties and tough out another deployment. Better to prepare now instead of waiting until the ship pulls away from that pier for a long time! I guess that is what work-ups are for, they prepare the sailors and the families for what is coming up ahead.