Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Best Margarita Ever:

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law, last May. I have been making them ever since and they are amazing. As we are gearing up for May and Cinco de Mayo, you might want to commit this to memory. You will be making them that often. Enjoy!

The Best Margarita Ever

1 1/2 cups Good Gold Tequila (Cuervo, 1800, etc.)
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
1/3 bottle of beer (preferably ghetto beer)
1 can frozen lemonade from concentrate (little or no pulp preferred, may need to add a pinch of sugar is it's too tart)
1 substantial squirt of a real lemon
1 substantial squirt of a real lime

For on the Rocks:
1. Fill blender with half ice, half water to the top, blend until the ice is shredded...a few good pulses.

For a frozen drink: (my fav)
Fill the blender to the top with ice and blend until you can't blend any more.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Check This Out...

There's a great website that can turn your picture of your deployed spouse into a doll for your child. It costs about $22.00. All you need to do is upload a full-length photo, and if you don't have one, the company will digitally "doctor" it.

I'm thinking it would also be great to have dolls of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc...hmmmm.

Go Figure...

Hundreds of toys to play with and now that we're unpacking, it's like Christmas all over again...except for Charlotte. She has been playing with bathroom Dixie Cups all morning.


For Pete's sake...I'm out of coffee and the only kind left in the pantry is decaf! Not a good omen for how the day will go. Looks like I'm making a DD run.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We're Here...

After a very long, busy and hot weekend we are moved in. We accomplished a lot, but there is still much to unpack and put away. Deciding where things should go, especially toys, is always a challenge. I don't like clutter, so my life is chaos by now, with boxes and stuff all over the place...ahhhh!

It took our movers almost 12 hours to move "just the furniture" from around the block to here...after I wrote the check to pay them, for the first time I was glad Paul was deployed, an entire ocean and a desert away. Whew.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Be Back on Monday...

Packing and moving, so I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Crazy Day...

Had the dog spayed, removed curtains and hardware (no easy involved a drill), picked up the keys to our new locale, orthodontist, ballet, pack-pack-pack, on-call for work til 07:00...sigh.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God's Speed...

Yesterday afternoon, I spoke with one of my friends, a spouse of an MTACS-28 Marine. Her husband left Sunday night for Afghanistan, accompanied by about half of the squadron, the other half is currently in Iraq. This is the first group of marines from MTACS-28 deploying to Afghanistan.

There are no amenities. She will not be able to communicate with him via email, or web cam. She will not be able to talk to him on the phone. She doesn't know when she will hear from him.

The marines will be sleeping in tents, and living primitively. Anxiety of the unknown is real. Please remember these marines and their families in your prayers.

My New Favorite Snack...

I was never, ever a peanut butter fan, the smell alone would make me gag. But lately, my new favorite snack is an almost ripe banana smeared with natural peanut butter...what the heck?

Dinner Time Conversation...

Last night at dinner, my oldest son told me all about his "health" class...what happens to boys and girls when they reach a certain age. I would first like to take this opportunity to thank my husband for leaving the question and answer session to me...a girl!

The labor and delivery nurse in me kicked in and we went over the anatomy and physiology of "things". I allowed ample time for silliness and giggles, in between nibbles of corn on the cob and hot dogs. Luckily for me, the questions were few and far between. However, I do sense a nice, long conversation in the not so distant future with a certain Lt. Col. in the Corps...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shout Out to Dan And Carol...

Wishing you the best time in Okinawa...It's going to be one of your greatest adventures! Please keep in touch with us.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig...

We're back in New Bern after a whirlwind weekend softball tourney. Unfortunately, The Lady Falcons lost all 3 games, but they went down fighting. Abbie came home with a couple of battle scars. She was pegged with a pitch on her shin. She'll have a huge bruise, but will be fine. As a mom, hearing that crack of the ball on her leg was almost enough for me to loose it.

Four hours at the ballpark, 85 degree weather, 2 cans of sunblock, 2 bottles of bubbles, a Frisbee, an endless amount of candy and Gatorade, a sandy playground, 2 port-a-potties and no running water. Need I say more?...I had to scrub my bathtub after the kids had their baths to remove the dirt ring left behind.

Summer is almost here...let the fun begin!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

We Survived the Night...

We survived the night in the hotel, although I think this is more like camping...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Off on another Adventure...

Today we are heading to Tarboro, NC...I'm told it's near Rocky Mount, NC...I still don't have much of a clue. Abbie has a 3 game softball tournament in Hobgood over the next 2 days, so I'm packing us all up, I've made reservations at the only hotel in town and I even had to splurge for a suite. I was actually not too happy about that, but since all 4 kids are going, we couldn't stay in a standard double room. I'm sure it will be worth the extra $20.00...I'll try to keep you posted.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Baseball Season...

I just returned from the season opener for my son, Paul. It's April 16 and we are in North Carolina and I'm a Popsicle...frozen. It's 45 degrees outside! I had to pull out my wool coat and I should have grabbed my scarf, gloves and earmuffs. Despite the frigid and rather unseasonable weather, his team won! We're off to a good start.

I am now going to defrost in a hot shower and don flannel PJs.

What I Miss the Most...

Sipping wine with him...

Time for a Recipe...

After all of the cookbook chatter of yesterday, I felt it was time again for another recipe, and no, it's not from one of my cookbooks. Simple and easy is the name of my game, usually and this definitely qualifies. Enjoy.

Zuppa di Mussels

1 lb live mussels, cleaned and debearded
2 TBS Butter
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 TBS chopped onion
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
1/4 cup crushed tomatoes or left over tomato sauce
3/4 cup white wine
1 TBS fresh Italian parsley

Soak mussels in cold water, scrub with veggie brush and pull off and discard beard (hair-like feature on seam of shell). Any mussels that do not close, or are broken, discard. In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, add oil and melt butter, add garlic, onion and red pepper flakes and cook until onion is transparent. Add tomatoes or sauce and stir until well combined. Add cleaned mussels and white wine. Cover with tight fitting lid and lower heat to medium. Cook approximately 10 minutes or until all shells are open. Discard any mussels that did not open.

Serve 1 of 2 ways...Pour into a bowl with liquid and serve with crusty bread OR pour over spaghetti and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cookbooks Galore...

O.M.G...I had to stop what I was doing because I just couldn't believe the amount of cookbooks I have. I've started packing up the kitchen for our move and hidden in various cupboards and bookshelves I've found 62 cookbooks! (Yes, Christine, that required and exclamation point.) I don't even really use them. I do have a couple of favorites like The Joy of Cooking circa 1960-something with printed pencil drawings and it includes everything from how to boil an egg to how to process the goose liver for pate. It was my go-to reference book when we were first married and living in Okinawa. It was too difficult and too expensive to call mom and ask, "what cut of beef should I buy to make a roast beef?", or "how do I make a chicken paillard?" or "how do I butcher a deer"...I never read that chapter.

I also have a couple of Weight Watcher's cookbooks from before they switched to the Points system...yeesh! Some of my cookbooks came with appliances like The George Forman Grill, a.k.a. "The George", in context like "the oven"...we no longer own it, but somehow the cookbook remained. Same goes for the bread machine, and the sandwich press, although I don't think they make a regular sandwich press anymore, it's a panini press.

I also have a few reference books like, How to Repair Food...this was a Christmas gift the year I was married...I referred to it twice, yet somehow it keeps moving with us. Some were fundraisers,and some I actually purchased myself like every stinking Pampered Chef cookbook ever published up through the year 2000. I think I have one piece of stone cookware left and I hardly use it.

I even have a couple of cookbooks that I inherited, like Holly Hobbies Cookbook and the Betty Crocker Cookie Cookbook. I have had these since I was a small child, I won't get rid of them...yet. They'll be passed on to my kids.

Happy 11th Birthday Paul...

I can't believe 11 years have gone by since you were born...Happy Birthday, I love you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bragging Rights...

Yup...I'm bragging...Paul, my 5th grader made the Honor Roll. I'm so proud!!!

For Johnny D...

I hope you get to watch this soon!

The Afternoon of Doom and Gloom...

This morning started out to be a great day, the kids got off to school without a hitch, we were O.T.D. by 7:50, headed to the gym, followed by a myriad of errands to include, hitting New Bern Sporting Goods, Target, Walmart and New Bern Utilities (to enquire about transferring our services to the new house).

All went smoothly until...Charlotte fell asleep in the car at 10:45, on our way home. I tried tickling, singing, I had Drew play Peek-A-Boo...nothing worked. So, at 11:00 I had no choice but to put her in the crib.

It's now 1:20 and she's awake, refuses lunch, and cries if you look at her funny. It's thundering and raining, so playing outside is not an option. The day is young, so wish us luck, I don't think I'll be getting any packing done today.

Back in Carolina...

We made it. Spring break is officially over. As much as I enjoy a break from the constant craziness of the school schedule, I'm glad to send them back again. I thrive on routine so when there's not one, I become totally overwhelmed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Sunday...

Happy Easter! Still in Virginia, donning heavy coats over our Spring attire. The kids were up bright and early, 6:00 of course. Nothing like candy and chocolate to get the day going. Church followed, standing room only, except for Charlotte, who decided to lay face down on the marble floor in her Easter finery...always fun!

Another holiday to check off. I think I'm just going through the motions, so to speak, for the kids. Paul is usually the one to see if the Easter Bunny came, he hides the eggs, eats tons of candy...robbed from the Easter baskets of course, and enjoys a couple of Easter cocktails, something I'm actually looking forward to.

I'm ready for 4th of July!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Shopping Spree???

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go shopping at Tyson's Corner, in Northern Virginia, with my oldest daughter, Abbie. I had a gift card for Nordstom and I was on a purchase a pair of good quality jeans. I thought this was going to be an easy task. The last pair I bought took 5 minutes,a pair of Lucky favorites. This time, not so easy. I wanted a pair of Seven for all Mankind or Citizens of Humanity or Hudson's. I asked the sales associate for assistance and started trying on...and on and on and on. European sizing is intimidating, skinny jeans are for the prepubescent, and "mom jeans" are for no one...more on that later. Mind you, I was in the Juniors Department...where I never venture, as I'm not really a junior, proved this trip!

After trying on 25 pairs of different style and different cut jeans, and feeling like a total looser, trying to cling to a little youth, the sales girl brought me a pair of jeans made to fit "curvy girls"...Joe Jeans, "Booty Cut", for women with, well...a booty. (It's taken me 36 years to appreciate my Italian inherited Assets).

Finally, a jean I could take home. I had the entire department, including patrons, giving opinions. I didn't trust the sales girls, they work on commission. Now, the only thing I needed was a hem. Alterations are free with purchase however, the jeans wouldn't be ready until next week. After I explained my situation of how I lived in North Carolina and there wasn't a Nordstrom near me and I couldn't return, the seamstress somehow found it in her heart to fix them right then. "Come back in an hour." So Abbie and I enjoyed lunch and a little window shopping and returned. They were perfect, I took them home and I love them, I think.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Day in the Life...

Seven hours of driving with 4 kids, 2 dogs and a mama on the verge of throwing herself out of a moving vehicle! Traffic was terrible, there was construction all over the place, elderly drivers and hot shot teens everywhere, not to mention slow moving logging trucks...makes you wish it was possible to call up the traffic offender by dialing their license plate number on your cell phone and say, "Pardon me, can you please speed up to at least the speed limit in the passing lane?"

Tomorrow is going to be a promising day. I'm very excited to have my hair cut by my old stylist in Bristow...seems whenever I get my hair done in NC, I come out of the salon with coiffed southern beauty pageant hair circa matter what I tell them.

Needless to say, we safely arrived in the Old Dominion and are trying to get used to the cold.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A New Way to Relax...

Today I had the opportunity to take our car for an oil change and tire rotation. I have never looked forward to this chore before, but now in Paul's absence, it is the ultimate relaxation station! The kids stayed home with the sitter!!

After the clerk took my keys, I was directed to a comfy couch where I was able to read a little and watch some of The People's Court, btw, whatever happened to Judge Wapner??

Anyway, only 3 more oil changes until Paul returns, I may never give this job back to him!

Looking Forward to Time in Virginia...

My kids are home on Spring Break this week through Easter,so we are packing our bags and heading up to Virginia for a few days to visit with family and catch up with old friends.

I'm also planning on catching up with some shopping at my very favorite store, Nordstrom, a Seattle, Washington shoe store turned upscale department store, turned global! I have a gift card that I MUST use, so Tyson's Corner will definitely be seeing me!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Of Course the Answer is...YES!

Palm Sunday...

For us Catholics, today marks the start of Holy Week...the week prior to Easter. Growing up my family always celebrated with a HUGE dinner of antipasti, special pasta dishes, meats, special pastries, etc. It seemed that if we were spending Easter Sunday with one side of the family, we would spend Palm Sunday with the other side, and it would be equally special.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Trying to Find a Mover...

Over the past week, I've been trying to find a moving company to move me around the block. I plan on taking all of the small stuff myself, but need professionals to move the furniture and appliances. I've received several estimates and have decided on one guy that has his own moving company as a side career/job. My question is...aside from the dude doing my job, what gives movers the privilege to charge what an attorney or physician can charge? Feel free to comment.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Gender Neutral...

Today while grocery shopping, Drew asked if our dog "Lola" was a boy or a girl...I told him she is a girl. He then asked me about his sister, Charlotte, which I responded, "Your sister is a girl too." With my curiosity peaked, I thought I'd ask the inevitable question..." Drew, What is mommy?", to which there was dead silence, followed by an idunno.

Mind you, I am one of the most girly girls I know! I love to dress up, wear very high heels, don make-up, I expect doors to be opened for me and I'm easily offended by manly sounds and smells. Why was there silence??? Of course I set him straight.

I'm also remembering that today I had to shower at the gym, I forgot my hairdryer so I had to use the "hairdryer" mounted on the wall and today I'm wearing Paul's running I can see the confusion in hind sight.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's A New Day...

Now that I've been able to catch up on some sleep...sort of. I'm ready to write again, I think. This is fast becoming my way of procrastinating the LONG list of "honey do" chores I have to tackle.

In the midst of packing and arranging our move, a realtor is coming by this morning to take marketing pictures of our current dwelling for the soon-to-be online photo tour...AHHH! I stayed up until 11:30 last night preparing and I still need to take care of a few things. After today, it's hard core packing time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sleep Deprived Day...

Last night I had the privilege of working. It is always fun to be with adults, do something that has to do with adults...for the most part, and catch up with friends at work. I didn't sleep before going to work so I am looking forward to a morning nap while my friend, Ailish, keeps an eye on Charlotte...yawn.