Monday, March 26, 2012

Care Package Madness!

Am I considered "crazy" if I send out so many care packages they are as tall as my toddler? If so, then I never want to be sane muahahahahaha!

*Okay, not all of those boxes are care packages (only the 3 in the middle of the pile!)*

My goal this deployment is to send a care package for every pay check. Well, he left on the 11th and I haven't sent out a box yet so I am already behind! Of course this box is filled mostly with stuff he forgot. He only packed one pair of pants for port visits, so I obviously had to send another pair. I don't know how often he does laundry but I can only assume it is only when absolutely necessary. He left a shaker bottle here and since he manages to go through those like candy, I figured he has probably already lost the first one. He left his sunglasses and a towel. I also filled the box with lots of goodies, like his favorite hard candies and some pictures of us on our Disney World vacay. In fact, this box has a bit of a Disney theme to it. I wanted him to open it up and think of something happy (like our recent Disney vacay), so I painted the flaps red and had Little Miss cover them with Mickey Mouse stickers. While I was at WalMart I came across these simple 5X7  plastic frames with a magnet on the back and I thought they would be perfect to hang on his rack, so I picked my favorite 2 photos from vacation for the frames. I hope he is happy when he opens it!

Then I made an "Egg Hunt" care package for his department. I filled plastic eggs with individually wrapped candy and toys like rings with bubbles, those plastic poppy caps (no idea how to better describe them!), and super stretchy plastic bunnies. 

The third box is for Hubs, he needed more of his protein shake and it comes in this HUGE container that wouldn't fit in the APO/FPO flat rate boxes. So lesson learned, I will have GNC ship it straight to him so I don't have to go searching for a box again!

Dang it, I just realized I forgot to pick up extra customs forms. We get paid again soon so its already time to start thinking about the next box!

Some helpful websites when it comes to care packages:

SKIP cares

Navy for Moms

Free Care Package from Scion!



Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: Frederic Fekkai Marine Summer Hair, Beach Waves

I have been searching for a way to achieve sexy, effortless beach waves. I have tried curlers. I have tried the sock bun. Then I came across this gem at TJ Maxx: Frederic Fekkai Marine Summer Hair. I decided to give it a try. 

*Oh my goodness, I am in love!*

I tried it out this morning, I had showered last night and slept on my wet hair. So it was a hot mess this morning. I figured it was the perfect excuse to try out my new product! My hair is as straight as a board, I am not exaggerating by saying it has zero wave to it. 

As soon as I sprayed this stuff in, I could see a difference. It was a nice, light mist that smelled wonderful; not too strong and faintly sweet. It didn't make my hair stiff or wet looking once it dried. I simply scrunched up pieces of my hair after I sprayed it and finger styled. So very easy!

My hair held all day, even outside in the humidity. This product even offers some UV protection, which is great since I spend a lot of time outside. 

This product is definitely worth buying!

I am so happy to have found this product, I only paid $9.99 at TJ Maxx and when I looked it up online I saw it retails around $25!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recipe: Baked French Toast

I apologize for the lack of blogginess going on this week, my mommy is in town! So we have been spending lots of mother/daughter/grandbaby time together. This week I made the BBQ Shrimp recipe that I absolutely love and of course we had french bread. We had quite a bit leftover so I decided to make Baked French Toast for breakfast!

1 cup light maple syrup
1 (16 oz) loaf French bread
2 eggs
2 egg whites
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Coat a 3-quart oblong baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the maple syrup into the dish. Slice the French bread into 2-inch slices, and place over the syrup.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, egg whites, sugar, skim milk, vanilla, and cinnamon until well blended. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, pressing the bread to soak up the liquid overnight, or leave at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.!

Preheat the oven to 350.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Per Serving: Calories 261, Protein (g) 9, Carbohydrate (g) 47, Fat (g) 3, Calories from Fat (%) 11, Saturated Fat (g) 1, Dietary Fiber (g) 2, Cholesterol (mg) 444, Diabetic Exchanges: 0.5 very lean meat, 2 starch, 1 other carbohydrate. 

I prepped this the night before, it was so easy. Then I just popped it in the oven in the morning and voila! easy breakfast. 

I totally love this cook book from Holly Clegg. My mom surprised me and bought the Gulf Coast Favorites edition, I can hardly wait to try out all the recipes!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


The best way to describe the last few days: Hazy.

Hubs deployed on Sunday, less than 8 months after returning from the last deployment. As I was driving up to the pier it all seemed a little too familiar. I feel like we were just there dropping him off for the first deployment. We quickly said our goodbyes (because that is the easiest for us) and we watched as he disappeared amongst the crowd walking onto the pier. I sat there for a while just staring off into the distance and letting my mind wander. This wasn't fair. He wasn't home long enough. We were just getting used to being around each other again. Just 2 weeks ago we were having the time of our lives in Disney World, how could he be leaving now?

I didn't want to go home yet. I wasn't ready to go back there yet and see all of Hubs stuff. His shoes by the door. His body wash in the shower. I wasn't ready to fold his clothes that were in the dryer or wash the bowl in the sink that he used to eat ice cream the night before.

*Yes, I left dirty dishes in the sink overnight just this one time. Don't judge me!*

I looked around and noticed all the "goodbyes" going on. It reminded me that I am probably not the only one feeling this way. I started thinking about the next time I would be in this place and I smiled. Next time I would be here, there would be big white tents filling the parking lot for Homecoming.

Then my phone started going off, my friends had said their goodbyes and didn't want to go home either. We all met up and stayed together most of the day. When everyone else went to watch the ship pull away from the pier, I went home for a nap. I was functioning on 2 hours sleep and I cannot bear to watch the ship leave. I also mustered the strength to put away the reminders that Hubs was not coming home. Eventually I met back up with my friends for dinner and "Army Wives". By the time Little Miss & I came home, it was after 11pm and I was too exhausted to feel anything else. Even though I didn't want to, I put Little Miss in her own bed and I slept alone. Before drifted off, I reminded myself that when I woke up Hubs would not be next to me.

Yup, they definitely are gone now

I don't consider Deployment Day as Day #1 of our countdown. I think the day after is the first day of deployment survival. I made a jar filled with kisses for Little Miss. Every day, she gets a "kiss" from Daddy. I actually think she understands what is going on, but I don't think she understands for how long. When I explained things to her, she nodded and said "Daddy at work." She is such a trooper.

This deployment so far has been harder emotionally than the last one. Perhaps it is because last time I was blissfully ignorant since it was our first deployment. This time I know what is coming and what to expect. I thought that experience would make this whole thing easier, but maybe that will happen further down the road. 

I am already diving head first into my check list. I had an appointment with my personal trainer yesterday and he came up with my hardest workout to date. Little Miss has been sleeping in her own bed since Hubs left. Next week we will complete potty training. I will be so happy to be done with diapers.

I am starting to see through the haze that came with this deployment, I can see the rays of light breaking through. Each day that passes is one day closer to that ship coming back home.


Friday, March 9, 2012

BBQ Shrimp Recipe

Since last night was one of Hubs final nights home for a while, I decided to spoil him with Southern cooking! He loves shrimp and even though it is pricey here, due to the special occasion I overlooked the cost.

This recipe came from Holly Clegg, she has a "trim&TERRIFIC" series of cookbooks. I own one of them and I cook from it quite often. The recipes are yummy AND they are healthy! 

I came across her blog and found this BBQ Shrimp recipe from her "trim&TERRIFIC Gulf Coast Favorites Cookbook". After making the shrimp, I will definitely be buying this cookbook!

BBQ Shrimp
Makes 4-6 servings

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fat-free Italian or reduced-fat Caesar dressing
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds unpeeled large shrimp
1/3 cup light beer, room temperature
1/2 cup clam juice or fat-free chicken broth

1. In large nonstick large skillet, combine all ingredients, except shrimp, beer, and broth. Cook over medium heat until sauce begins to boil.
2. Add shrimp and cook 5 minutes. Add beer and broth and cook until shrimp are done, 5-7 minutes.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 207, Calories from fat (%) 44, Fat (g) 11, Saturated Fat (g) 2, Cholesterol (mg) 196, Sodium (mg) 614, Carbohydrate (g) 6, Dietary Fiber (g) 1, Sugars (g) 2, Protein (g) 22 Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 carbohydrate, 3 very lean meat

For our dinner, I doubled all the ingredients except the shrimp & the cayenne. I went with 3lbs of shrimp and used just the listed amount of cayenne. The only thing I would change about this recipe: I would suggest you let the shrimp soak for a while, around 10 minutes. Just like you would do if you were boiling crawfish!

My kitchen smelled so delicious while this was cooking, Hubs was instantly curious when it was going to be ready. I paired it with angel hair pasta and french loaf bread (for soaking up the juices mmmm!). Hubs also loved deer sausage so he grilled up a package of that too.

I will most definitely cook this recipe again, especially after Hubs gets home from deployment!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Easy Meatloaf Recipe!

I found this recipe a few years ago online and it has been my go-to when I need to throw something together on the fly. I usually take a package of lean ground beef out of the deep freezer in the morning and throw it in the fridge to defrost during the day. But when I forget, that is what the defrost button is for on the microwave right?

The reasons I love this recipe: Prep time is less than 10 minutes, there are 5 ingredients, I can throw it in the oven then take care of things around the house, and Hubs says its the best meatloaf he's ever had (shh don't tell my MIL)!

Easy Meatloaf
2lbs lean ground beef
1 pkg. stuffing mix for chicken
1 cup of water
2 eggs
1/2 cup bbq sauce
  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Shape into a loaf in 13x9 baking dish OR put in meatloaf pan.
  4. Top with additional BBQ sauce and ketchup if desired.
  5. Bake for an hour.
Wasn't that the easiest meatloaf recipe ever? It is very simple, but very yummy! I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do around here!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Deployment 2012, Here We Come.

Its official. It has been announced: Hubs is deploying next week. 

*Am I ready for this again?*

Everyone has their own way to cope with deployments. I try not to think about the bad things that go along with deployment, instead I try to focus on setting goals and finding ways to make the most of our time apart. Throughout my life I have found that being positive always makes matters better, no matter what your predicament. I know we are strong enough to make it through this deployment, hell we just made it through our first one less than 8 months ago! Staying positive worked for me last time and I bet it will work for me again.

Does that mean I'm not a hot mess the day the ship pulls our or for the first few weeks following? Shhh no one knows because I go into hiding! I go into hiding for my own protection: I kind of get sassy and irritable around deployment time. Things that normally don't bother me start to irritate me immensely. Don't be surprised if you see a snarky blog post or two, I really am a nice person I promise!

My mom is coming into town the weekend after Hubs leaves to spend a week up here, so we will be doing some organizing and shampooing the carpets. You know, all the therapeutic stuff right?

Its not like I can't accomplish any of these things when Hubs is home, but setting goals and accomplishing them helps the time pass. Plus it helps me feel good about myself :)

  1. Organize craft area!
  2. Start selling a few crafts and use the money to surprise Hubs when he comes home :)
  3. Make custom bedding for Little Miss
  4. Re-create the projects on my Pinterest "Upcoming Projects" board.
  5. Read more! I have the Hunger Games series and a few Nicholas Sparks books on my Kindle to catch up on.
  6. Start home pre-schooling for Little Miss.
  7. Potty train Little Miss, bye-bye diapers!

My craft area is just a mess right now. I just need to find a better way to store my fabric scraps and ribbon especially! I plan on doing alot of crafting and sewing during deployment. The circle cutter and 3 piece rotary set came in the mail this last week so I am very anxious to use them. The circle cutter is going to make the felt ruffle wreaths sooo much easier, no more thumb blisters! I would like to start selling a few of the items I make, just in my spare time. I don't want to start a business necessarily, I just like to sew & craft and since I can't possibly use 10 baby blankets I figured I could sell them!

I have already started pinning tutorials for making Little Miss's new bedroom set. We finally converted her crib to a toddler bed during Hubs POM leave so it is time for new bedding! I am going to try something different for her and use a duvet on her bed so I can make my own duvet covers. That way whenever we change up her room decor and such, it is easier to make a new cover then to make/buy a new comforter!

My mom got a Kindle Fire for Christmas, so she gave me her old Kindle and she even loaded a few books on it for me! I am still learning all the cool stuff for it (free books?!) but I am excited to get back to reading. I used to be a huge bookworm, I was always reading something. Every time I breastfed Little Miss I was reading so I could relax. When the breastfeeding ended, I quite making time to read. On our vacay, I started reading "The Best of Me" by Nicholas Sparks. Oh I do love his books so much, I was a fan of his books before "The Notebook" was a movie by the way LOL! I need to read "The Lucky One" next since they made a movie of that one, though maybe reading that one won't be such a good idea while Hubs is deployed...

Finally, I want to start doing some home schooling activities with Little Miss once or twice a week. Nothing super intense, I mean she is only 2 and a half! But she is very eager to learn so if she is willing, I need to be able to provide her with an educational environment. I also NEED to potty train her. She is ready, I just need to let her run around naked for a few days since that seems to be the best method for her so far!

It seems like a pretty reasonable to-do list for me, I am looking forward to everything off that list because by the time I finish it will be time to get ready for Hubs homecoming :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Are You Deployment Ready: Your Resources

Preparing for deployment can be overwhelming. Period. You try to get all your "ducks in a row" and try to be ready for anything that life throws at you while your spouse is serving overseas. As much as you try to anticipate what is going to happen during deployment, things are going to transpire that you are not ready for. 

*Take a deep breath*

Its okay, you are a milispouse and you already know to expect the unexpected. Lucky for us, we have resources available to help us.

Fleet and Family Support Centers
This place definitely deserves number one on my personal list because I have used them more times than I can count. The first time I went, we were stationed in Charleston and I simply needed to fax something. Then I went back to get help writing my resume and finding a job. Then I went back to use their printers when mine broke. Then I went back to take a "Smooth Move" class when it came time to PTS. Since moving to Hampton Roads, I have used their resources many more times. 

They offer so many classes it is unbelievable. They offer training for Ombudsman and FRG. They offer financial tutoring: When we first moved here, I made an appointment and sat down with a financial adviser who helped me make a budget. They offer counseling. They are the ones that come out to give families the "Homecoming Brief" and go out to the ship to do the same with the sailors. They have lots of information for new parents. 

FFSC do so many different things to help the families. They are so friendly to talk to and if they can't answer your questions, they will know who to send you to in order to get it!

Military OneSource
These guys do a little bit of everything for the families too, plus you can contact them 24/7. I have used their free H&R Block federal and state tax filing program for the last 2 years. 

They do counseling, they offer 12 face-to-face session for FREE. Plus, it is completely confidential they will not go to your sailor's command with any information (except in cases of abuse or threats of harm to self/others). As a spouse, you can take advantage of the free confidential (your sailor does not have to know) counseling.

They have a plethora of resources available online. Everything from dealing with deployments, financial & legal, to information about education & careers. I like that all of their information is online so when I am awake at 3am with a question I know where I can go to find answers!

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
I am finding more & more information about the services this group provides. I always knew about their Quick Assist Loan Program: Need based, interest-free loans up to $300. Like if your car breaks down suddenly and you need help between paychecks. It takes only 15 minutes to get you QAL at one of their locations. 

They offer the Budget for Babies class to help you prepare financially for a new baby. After taking this class, you get a layette aka baby's first sea bag!

I just recently found out they offer a Visiting Nurse program! I was very excited to find out about this because I wasn't aware a program like this even existed. I have a friend who's sailor is deploying, they have a young child, and she will be giving birth to twins during deployment. How is she supposed to make it to the Dr.'s office, alone, for those first few check-ups with her twins? Or how about this scenario: Say I need surgery for some reason and I am okay enough to not have to stay in the hospital, but I am not mobile enough to make it to follow up Dr. appointments with a toddler in tow. This program would definitely be something I would look into. 

American Red Cross
We all know the Red Cross is who we need to contact if there needs to be an emergency message sent to your sailor (don't forget to tell your ombudsman too!). But I want to delve into exactly what the requirements are for a Red Cross message and what that message does.

A Red Cross message is required by the command in order for your sailor to be granted emergency leave, whether they are at shore or out to sea. *However, this does not mean your sailor will be granted emergency leave.* That decision is entirely up to the command and it will depend on alot of variables like if they can afford to let your sailor come home they may need him on the ship and if they can safely transport your sailor off the ship since they are not always in the safest of locales. Also, not all emergency situations are dire enough for a Red Cross message to be sent. It has to be a life-threatening situation to an immediate family member, the death or serious illness of an immediate family member, or the birth of the sailor's child. Unfortunately, just because you are admitted to the hospital may not be enough for a Red Cross message to be sent (this is where your Ombudsman comes in handy because they can contact the command to let them know the situation). 

The American Red Cross also offers emergency financial assistance. They have information on their website about deployment & reintegration and of course they offer quite a few tips about emergency preparedness.

There are TONS of other resources out there for military families. My friend over at New Mommy Confessions has a nice list of information too. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to email me and I'll point you in the right direction!

Pinterest Review: White Chicken Enchiladas

I have been wanting to try out this recipe from the moment I came across it on Pinterest. Hubs agreed even though he isn't a fan of mexican food, he sure does love me :)

OMG. These. are. amazing. 

These enchiladas were very easy to make. I quickly cooked the chicken in my PChef DCB and whipped the sauce together while doing cooking the chicken. It took about an hour to prep, cook, and cool off. I am definitely working this one into my meal rotation!

White Chicken Enchiladas
10 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of sour cream
1 (4 oz.) can of chopped green chilis
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. Mix chicken and 1 cup of cheese. Roll into tortillas and place in pan.
  3. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour, and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium until thick and bubbly.
  4. Stir in sour cream and chilis. Do not bring to boil, you don't want curdled sour cream. 
  5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake 22 minutes and then under high broil for 3 minutes to brown the cheese.
This recipe I found on Pinterest and over at Joyful Momma's Kitchen. There are quite a few of her recipes that look oh so delicious that I want to try out so check out her blog!

I did do a few minor things differently when I cooked my version of the enchiladas: Instead of 2 cups of chicken broth I just used 1 can, I used monterey jack and colby cheese so that is why my enchiladas look more yellow and I also used more cheese than called for, I used 2 cups with the chicken and topped with 2 cups. Mmm cheese...

Like I said earlier, these enchiladas were yummy. I am glad there was enough for leftovers so I can enjoy them all week!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pinterest Review: Sonia Kashuk Perfectly Neutral


Ever since Urban Decay came out with their newest Naked palette (its eye makeup, get your minds out of the gutter!), I have been seriously debating buying it. The problem: Its $50! I am glad I held off on buying it because I found this alternative palette that costs less than $20 PLUS a tutorial on how to use it. If you don't follow The Small Things blog or her Pinterest boards, you are missing out on amazing hair & makeup tutorials!

The Sonia Kashuk Perfectly Neutral palette can be found at Target for under $20. After watching Kate's tutorial, I realized I needed a new eye makeup brush but I was able to pick up an E.L.F. Defining Eye Brush for $1. E.L.F. makeup brushes are amazing by the way and super cheap!

I was very impressed with the quality of the powder, it was a much silkier powder than most other equally priced ones. The colors looked the same on my skin as they did in the palette. Which is great because I hate it when you buy eye shadow and you have to put on a ton of it to get the color you want! The palette comes with an eye shadow primer, but I like to use Urban Decay in Sin. With my primer, the eye shadow lasted all day!

I am so very happy I found out about this eye shadow palette, thanks Kate! I wanted to share this with all my friends, I hope you like it as much as I do.