Food, Fun & Fotography

Back on Track!

So! We are here, we are settled and I can’t wait to get back to my recipes. I am going to be doing one I got from another blogger. Chicken Cheese Enchiladas. You all will be trying it with me. So check back in the next few days for it.


Leave a comment »


Well the day is almost here!  We leave for Florida in the morning.  I am so excited for that part but it’s also bittersweet.  Of course, we will miss Drew.  We won’t see him till sometime in July.  Not quite sure of the date as TMO (military moving office) is jacking us around a bit.  But I am not going to worry about that, I am going to enjoy every single thing about our Florida trip.

In Orlando we are staying at my dad’s timeshare.  My stepbrother and his preggo wife, my grandma, my stepmom, and my little sister will also be there.  We are going to hit Sea World and Busch Gardens.  The resort has 13 pools.  13!!  Plenty of places to cool off from the HOT Florida sun.  I am sure the girls and I will go into shock a bit as its pretty much 60’s here everyday with no sun.  (Side note-Vandenberg AFB is not as sunny as you think.)  After a week in Orlando we all fly to Eglin AFB to visit my brother, sister in law, niece and brand new baby nephew!  My dad rented a beach house for us while we are there.  It has its own pool with slide right in the backyard.  Wowza!  I am feeling a bit spoiled.  🙂

After our Florida trip we head up to Minnesota.  Very excited for this part also.  I can’t wait to see my little cousins Rylan and Caiah, all the nephews and nieces on Drew’s side and of course my niece Brookie.  We will hang there and in Wisconsin visiting friends and family until we leave for Germany Aug 16th.  We will do all the fun things we did last summer.  The 4th at Mom and Marks where our good friends Jason and Sheri will also be.  The joint birthday party for Morgan, Logan and Payten and Chris and Jolene’s.  A camping trip with my family.  Lake Elmo, a night out with my Wisconsin girls, Valleyfair and much more.  Too much fun!

But with all that we have to leave here.  While I will not miss this actual place at all, I will miss the people. We have made some fantastic friends over this 2 years.  Friends I know we will have for a lifetime.  So, that is what I will miss.  Watching Glee with Karen and Haylie.   The MSC get togethers.  Spending the holidays with friends that are like family, Easter, Thanksgiving.  Our girls dance, bunco and anything else parties.  And last but not least hanging with my bud Julie.  I don’t think a day went by that we didn’t talk, text or see each other.  I don’t think I will ever go to Kohl’s or Panera and not think of her.

Ok, enough of that.  I already said my goodbyes and I am going to get sad all over again.  Just one more thing.  Thank you friends for making Vandenberg tolerable.  :))


Leave a comment »

The Military Wife

Lots of moving…
Moving far from home…
Moving two cars, three kids and one dog…all riding with HER of course.
Moving sofas to basements because they won’t go in THIS house;
Moving curtains that won’t fit;
Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours.
Moving away from friends;
Moving toward new friends;
Moving her most important luggage: her trunk full of memories.

Often waiting…
Waiting for housing.
Waiting for orders.
Waiting for deployments.
Waiting for phone calls.
Waiting for reunions.
Waiting for the new curtains to arrive.
Waiting for him to come home,
For dinner…AGAIN!

They call her ‘Military Dependent’, but she knows better:
She is fiercely In-Dependent.

She can balance a check book;
Handle the yard work;
Fix a noisy toilet;
Bury the family pet…

She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts.
She can file the taxes;
Sell a house;
Buy a car;
Or set up a move…
…..all with ONE Power of Attorney.

She welcomes neighbors that don’t welcome her.
She reinvents her career with every PCS;
Locates a house in the desert, The Arctic, Or the deep south.
And learns to call them all ‘home’.
She MAKES them all home.

Military Wives are somewhat hasty…
They leap into:
Career alternatives,
And friendships.
They don’t have 15 years to get to know people.
Their roots are short but flexible.
They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come
after them.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other:
They connect over coffee,
Rely on the spouse network,
Accept offers of friendship and favors.
Record addresses in pencil…

Military Wives have a common bond:
The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands; his commitment is
He doesn’t have a ‘JOB’
He has a ‘MISSION’ that he can’t just decide to quit…
He’s on-call for his country 24/7.
But for her, he’s the most unreliable guy in town!
His language is foreign
And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.
She is the long- distance link to keep them informed;
The glue that holds them together.

A Military Wife has her moments:
She wants to wring his neck;
Dye his uniform pink;
Refuse to move to Siberia;
But she pulls herself together.
Give her a few days,
A travel brochure,
A long hot bath,
A pledge to the flag,
A wedding picture,
And she goes.
She packs.
She moves.
She follows.

What for?
How come?
You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually it is because she has lost her heart.
It was stolen from her by a man,
Who puts duty first,
Who longs to deploy,
Who salutes the flag,
And whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her
Military Husband,
She will remain his Military Wife.
And would have it no other way.

–Author Unknown

Leave a comment »

Is it June Yet?

Almost.   June is the month we leave here.  I really can’t believe it!  I have been reading more and more about Germany and I am getting a little more excited.  I think what is stopping me from getting very excited is fear.  I really do not like the unknown.  I am a planner and I can’t plan this the way I like.  Drew said today we can plan all we want but something will probably not go our way but oh well.  I am really really really going to try to not worry.  Really.

I kicked Bren out of her room today!  Moved her in with Morgan for the next 19 days.  Brenna’s room is now where I will sort, pack and plan the move.  I have already packed some things for Florida/Minnesota.  It stinks to have to take so much with us on the first leg of our trip.  Drew is bring up some of the stuff when he drives to Minnesota, like the stuff we need to take to Germany but I still have to get us through that time.  It’s okay, right?  No worrying! (I think I am going to say that to myself a lot!).

We spent the weekend with Drew’s brother and sis in law.  They left today, it was the first of many goodbye’s.  Oh, how I am not looking forward to that part!  I have made great, GREAT, friends here.  In fact, it is the only thing I will miss, the people.  The people have made this place what it is.  Ok, I am not going to get into that right now or I will get sad.  But anyhow, we had a fun relaxing weekend.  Now it’s on!

School ends this week.  Brenna will no longer be a kindergartener.  Wow.  My baby is 6.5 and is growing so fast.  I am so, so proud of that girl.  Morgan will be a 5th grader!  Am I old enough to have a 5th grader?!  I guess I am.  Again, so proud of her.  They both did so well in school this year.  I hope it continues with the move and their new school at Ramstein.  To celebrate the end of the school year we are heading to Solvang on Friday to this cute little craft store.  They are going to take a knitting class.  How fun!

This week we also meet with the clinic to go over our medical stuff.  I believe we have to be cleared medically to go overseas.  We should be good there.  It’s the final thing we need to do to get our orders.  Once we have orders, we can arrange the move, car shipment…all that good stuff.  Drew and I marked the stuff we are not taking and having the military store…our washer and dryer, deep freezer, our 2nd dining table, and a lot of stuff we have in the garage in bins.  Like old yearbooks and stuff.  No need to haul that over to Germany.  So that part is done.

Ok, again, another post about nothing but the ramblings in my head!  )


Leave a comment »

Counting down the days

I leave here in 34 days.  I really can’t believe that.  I am not looking forward to saying goodbye.  But this is what us military wives do, right?  Move.  A lot.

Anyhow, Drew left today for TDY to Orlando for the week.  I told him I was highly offended he would go do something like that in the middle of the PCS chaos.  But again, this is what we do.  What?  Moving overseas isn’t stressful enough for ya, let’s send your hubby across the U.S. for a week while you are in the middle of it all.

I was just saying my life was starting to get boring staying at home.  I didn’t have much to do during the day.  I spoke up too soon!  Now my days are filled with emails, phone calls, briefings, meetings, and whatever to get this move going.  Secretly (shhh, don’t tell) I like all the busyness.

So, I got 4 quotes on our SUV shipping over.  It’s going to be about $2600 door to door.  That is from my mom’s house in Mn all the way to Ramstein.  It sucks to pay that, but it’s what we have to do.

This week I disconnected all our satellites, internet, phones, all that jazz.  It took a whole morning.  That stuff is never fun!  I also got a quote for our insurance while living in Germany.  It is going up about $100 a month.  It’s good thing we get COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) while over there to make up for all the extra’s.

I am still a bit scared.  I am nervous about finding a home and getting our things. I am nervous about having to take their driving test and get a license, I cannot drive there until I do that.  So I need to be studying for that also.  I am nervous about how the cat is going to be on the way over.  She is getting a bit moody lately, I don’t know if she feels the move coming.  I am really wondering if she can handle it.  I am scared of not knowing what to do when we get there.

Blah.  On a better note, I had a garage sale yesterday and did pretty well.  I have 2 boxes to bring to the thrift store.  Hopefully, I get that done this week. I better go now and put it on my list or I will forget.

What a blubbering mess this post was.  That is my mind right now so it fits.  🙂

Leave a comment »

Day 2.

Yeah, I really am not going to label all the days. I just thought I would today. Heh.

So we decided to take our Nissan and have our kitty go with us when we go. Will this change tomorrow? Probably. But for now that is what we are doing.

I called both companies that finance our cars. (Yes, we have two car payments. Always have but hoping to not too in the future) They both said, yes, you can take your cars to Germany! We actually have to call them back once Drew gets orders and 30 days out to actually get the letters. The people that ship cars require these.

Volkswagen said our warranty follows but turns into a German warranty. Interesting. It actually sounds fishy to me, I will probably call and verify that again.

Here are a few tips we have found out.

-There is a cord they sell at the BX at Ramstein that makes your Wii work over there. Yay!
-So, if you are going to plug something in that doesn’t work with their outlets, you use a transformer. These things are HUGE blocks of metal and are not pretty. So you won’t use them often. But I guess they have little fuses that blow all the time. They sell them at the BX but are usually sold out. We are going to stock up on these little suckers before we go.
-If you don’t have a GPS, get one! We have one and we are going to load it with Europe maps. It’s $99 but well worth it for all the traveling we are going to do.

That is what I have so far. On my agenda today-

-Taking paperwork to the school to let them know my kids are leaving.
-Getting our passports. We didn’t get this done yesterday as the site we fill out the paperwork went down.
-Stop by vet to make appt for Ginger (our kitty) to get cleared for travel. Shots, oh no!
-Call a few car shippers to get quotes. I have filled out 3 online quote forms but haven’t had any contact from them. We are shipping the Pathfinder from Minnesota.

That is it for now!

Leave a comment »

I have been bad…

and neglected my blog.

But, I am going to start it back up and take it a different direction for right now.

We are PCSing. To Ramstein. Am I freaked? Yep, just a bit. I have been reading blogs, forums, anything I can find. I love to collect information and go with it. So I thought I would track out big short notice move on this blog in hopes I can help somebody else that is going to go through this.

As of now our RNLTD (Report No Later Than Date) is 20 Aug. School starts 29 Aug so we want to be settled a bit (Ha!) by then.

The girls and I leave June 18th to spend a week in Orlando with my dad, stepmom and lil sister. Then we all fly to Elgin to see my brother, sis in law, niece and brand new baby nephew for 5 days. The girls and I will then leave Florida to head to Minnesota. Drew will join us around the 18th of July. We will visit friends and family and head over to Germany sometime in Aug. So as you can read, we will be busy! AND I officially leave Vandyland the 18th of June. So not much time for me to freak out, just time to get crap done.

Here is what we have done so far.

-Went to housing and picked up the paperwork to get on Ramsteins Housing List. We can’t hand it in till we get orders.
-Heading to get our passports after kids get done with school today. We are hoping this can be done without orders. I guess we will see!
-My sister is going to watch our kitty until we get settled. In the process of getting her shot records from her old vet.
-Called Verizon and found out our Droid’s are not Global Capable. So my new phones I just paid a fortune for we have to get rid of. Verizon will let us cancel our contract since we are moving overseas.

That is about it. I have a few other things in the works but nothing much. In the meantime I am planning our summer vacations, getting ready for my garage sale, deciding what we bring, what we store, and what we sell and just our normal everyday stuff. I am going to try really hard to not stress. Drew told me I was doing a good job so far, not sure if he was kidding or serious on that one.

I might post once a day or 5 times a day or none at all. But this will help keep my thoughts in order. Wait, that probably isn’t possible. ;P

1 Comment »

Healthy, Easy & Good Meals

I’m sure everyone is trying to eat light after the holidays.  Well, I am anyhow.  🙂  I wanted to post a few of the meals I eat.  These are ones I just make for myself, not our family meals.

Yummy Egg Muffin Sandwich

I am so addicted to these right now.  I take a wheat english muffin (sara lee) and toast it.  I then fry 1 egg minus the yolk.  1 piece of 2% cheese (its lower fat than the regular cheese slice) and 2 pieces of precooked bacon.  I pop the muffin in the microwave for 10 minutes with the cheese on it to just to melt it.  I break up the bacon and make the sandwich.  This is only 4 pts if you do Weight Watcher points.

Oatmeal with Agave and Bananas

Another one I am addicted to.  I mean, I actually crave this!  I bought this oatmeal from Costco called Coach’s Choice.  It is so so so good.  It’s healthier also.  I make 1 serving (depending on how hungry I am, I either do a 1/3 cup or a 1/4 cup serving)  I cook it in the microwave then I put it in my bowl, add a cut up banana and 1 tsp of Agave Syrup.  This stuff is the bomb, I got it a store in San Diego.  But you can use anykind of Syrup.  Agave is just better for you.  I then add 1 tsp of Splenda and mixed it all up.  Dang it, it’s yummy.  The larger serving is only 160 calories and the Agave is 30 calories.  This meal totally fills me up too.

Turkey Avacado Wrap

One whole wheat 9″ inch wrap.  I add low sodium Sara Lee turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, and avacado.  I will usually eat a 100 calories pack of chips, some grapes or apple slices.

Of course I add in fruit all day for snacks. I eat one of these 3 meals every day.   For dinner, I eat whatever I make for the family.  I just watch my serving size but normally everything I cook is healthy.  The best thing I like about them is I feel really full.  Comment and let me know any of your healthy choices!  

Later I will post my Beef Stew recipe.  I currently have it in the crockpot now.  It’s such a great recipe, it’s really the best stew I have ever eaten.


Leave a comment »

No Frills Chili

I got this chili recipe originally from my Betty Crocker cookbook.  I have added things over the years to my liking.  It’s a pretty simple straightforward recipe.  Throw it in the crockpot in the morning and you are done!  I like beans and sometimes add an extra can.  If I do that, I just add more beef stock.  Today, I just did 3.

The Ingredients

1 Lb Hamburger Meat
1 Onion, chopped
1 Green Pepper, chopped
1 Tsp Minced Garlic
1 Can Diced tomatoes, chili flavor
1 Can Chili beans
2 Cans Red Kidney Beans, rinsed
1 Cup Beef Stock
1 Can Tomato Sauce
Chili Powder

Chop your pepper and onion using the handy dandy Pampered Chef chopper.  (Did I mention before I *heart* mine.  I also *heart* my cutting board with built-in measuring cup.  I *heart* Pampered Chef!  


Place you meat in a skillet.  Here, I use my Pampered Chef meat chopper thingy.  Yes, I believe that is the correct name.  Anyhow, its great at getting the meat nice and small.

Add your garlic.  I use a lot because I ike things all garlic-y.  Again, I used the refrigerated version.

Add the onions and peppers to meat and cook until the meat is not pink.

While meat is cooking, start putting your other ingredients in the crockpot. 


Chili Beans (don’t drain!)

Drain  and rinse the red kidney beans. Then add to crockpot.

Your meat should be done about now.  Add to crockpot.

I then add my tomato sauce and beef stock.  I put one bullion cube in 1 cup of water and cook in the microwave until its dissolved.  Then pour it in.

Now, just add as much chili powder as you like.  We like ours hot so I added a lot.  Just taste and decide.  I am sure I never add the same amount twice and I have never measured.  Today I added some jalapeno sauce for a little more kick.  Morgan doesn’t eat it (it’s one of her 3 free passes) and I figured I would make Brenna whatever I made Morgan, so I spiced it up!

So good!  Make with some cornbread and you are set.  We had leftover fresh bread from the bakery.  Yum!

1 Comment »

Sunday Pot Roast

First, let me say.  My kitchen in this base house has no light.  It’s always pretty dark so taking pictures without my flash is hard, even with the ISO set high and my aperture at 2.8.  I don’t like this because I hate flash and always try not to use it.  Soooooo, anyway, my food photography might not always be great.  But hey, you gotta work with what ya got!

Anyhow, back from Christmas vacation and I am trying to get back in the swing of things.  I had this roast in the freezer and all the other things on hand.

Here are the ingredients.

 I don’t really have a “recipe” for this.  I just pretty much throw it together.  I will list what I use.

3 Lb Bottom Round Roast
Olive Oil
2 cups Red Cooking Wine
2 Cups Beef Broth
1 Med Onion
1 Tbsp Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tsp Dried Thyme
1 Can Diced tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
1 Cup Carrots, cut up
3 Large potatoes, cut up

First, I trim most the fat off the roast.  I like using bottom round roast which always cooks up great in the crockpot.

Then I salt and pepper both sides.  Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet and brown the roast on all 4 sides.  This helps sear in the flavor.

Meanwhile, in my crockpot I pour the 2 cups red wine.

Then I put 2 beef bullion in 2 cups of water and put in the microwave for about 3 minutes to dissolve them.

While that is cooking, I then take my onion and chopped it with my Pampered Chef Chopper (which I am in love with!!!) and add it to the crockpot.

Next add the garlic.  I used the refrigerated kind for this recipe.  About a Tablespoon.

Throw in the bay leaf.

Then the can of tomatoes.  Don’t drain them.  I used petite diced with olive oil and garlic.

Pour in the beef stock that you heated in the microwave.

Stir everything and then add the roast.  Sprinkle about a tsp of thyme over it.

 I put this in about 10:30 am.  I cooked it on high till about 1:00, then I turned it down to low.  About 4 o’clock I added the potatoes and carrots.

Let it all cook until about 6:00.  It is soupy when its done.  I used a slotted spoon to lift the veggies up and put on the plate.

There ya go!  Enjoy!