Monday, January 31, 2011

Marine Corps Monday...coming soon!

So for the month of February- I want to remind myself why I love the life I lead so I want to focus on the not-so-obvious reasons why I love living the Marine Corps lifestyle!

Obviously I love the pride I feel in my husband and my country, I love the free health insurance that we get, I love the uniform (who doesnt!), I love the family that is developed in this lifestyle.  Those things are all obvious, and everyone seems to know about so I thought I would focus on the not so recognized aspects that I really enjoy!

So for the next 4 Mondays (all of February)- check back to see some of my reasons that I love my life as a Marine wife!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Im just gonna call this quits already...

my 100 day challenge, yeah, Im not gonna do it...

You are all thinking "um, it hasnt even been a week", yes I know...I thought it would keep me motivated but you know what? Im already motivated...I have plenty of motivation so adding in little, mainly pointless, challenges was just going to prove to be more annoying then benefical...

Judge away...but I know that come May 1st, I will still have met my weight loss goal without those 10 challenges! I will be skinny and smoking hot at homecoming!!

I will, I will, I will....

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My (sad) attempt at etching glass

I was all about the homemade Christmas gifts this year- I made hot fudge jars for our families, made sweet looking peppermint trees for my aunts, and I saw a few blogs on etching glass and it looked super easy so I decided to do that for my friends...

I headed off to Micheals to get my supplies-
-etching cream
-applicator for etching cream (I used a foam paint brush)
-a glass jar
-contact paper (I wanted to make my own stencil, so I needed the contact paper to do that)

I started off by finding the style of "B" that I was wanting to etch, so I traced it from my computer onto a sheet of contact paper, from there I cut out the stencil.  It was at that point, that I just cut out the "B" while hacking away at the rest of the contact paper...aka failing to make a I had to repeat that over again until I got the cut out of the "B" without disturbing the outside of the "B" so that I would have a stencil.

I then skimmed over read the directions on the etching sum it up- put a thick layer, let sit, wash off. So I did just that- I waited 5 minutes then went to the sink...I started rinsing and barely noticed a difference!! I was so bummed, but I thought I would then just reapply more mixture and let it sit again so I tried that.  

Well apparently, when I was rinsing, some of the contact paper un-stuck so when I applied more etching cream, it got under the stencil so although the second application of the cream did make the etching more pronounced, it then looked really crappy since the edges weren't crisp.

I also couldn't get an even etching look, it looks splotchy! I layered it evenly, I just don't know what happened! It was not cute though...I gave it to her anyway with strict instructions to keep this hidden away from public eyes and that I owe her a way better present for her birthday to make up for it! 
FAIL....that is all that I can say to describe this...FAIL!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The best brother a girl could ask for!

Every year, the Ducks Unlimited in Erie PA has a dinner and a raffle...they raffle off lots of hunting stuff and the final raffle is for a puppy.  The puppy comes from amazing hunting backgrounds, the pedigree is truly amazing, and nearly everyone would buy a ticket (or 10) to try to win the puppy.  Each year Dad would go and say that he would wear a tie so that if he won the dog, he could use the tie as a was our running joke each year.  

Then one year, he didn't wear the tie...and the next morning, I woke up to find a tiny black lab kissing my face! Everyone was so jealous we won such an amazing hunting dog when we don't hunt!

From that day on, Toby Tyler Downey was my brother.  Toby was a typical lab puppy, aka...completely insane! He LOVED sneaking out of the fence, we would chase him around for hours trying to catch him, he ate EVERYTHING, and barked non-stop at people walking in the neighborhood but if you weren't feeling well- he never left your side, he would walk up and give you big sloppy kisses if you were crying, he never cared if you just laid on top of him when you needed a big hug. 

As crazy of a puppy he was, he was the best dog a girl could ask for. As the years went on, he got calmer and calmer, then you could tell old age was really taking a toll...he started getting these growths all over him, he had really bad arthritis, he could barely hear anything and his eye sight was quickly fading away.  We would have to support most of his weight for him to be able to walk upstairs, when he was laying down for a long time you would have to help him up.  Christmas 2009 we talked about how that would most likely be his last Christmas...then 2010 rolls around and he is here for this Christmas as well.  

Unfortunately, that was his last.  Toby had to be put down Sunday night.  He couldn't support himself at all, the muscles in his legs were all gone.  I'm sad, really really sad.  I wish I could have been there to tell him goodbye and that I loved him.  I know that he knows I loved him but I wanted to say it one last time.  He got me through so much- 13 1/2 years worth of growing up. 

I know everyone goes through losing their first childhood pet and I know that he isn't in pain anymore and that he is probably swimming in the big old lake in Heaven chasing geese like he did when he was younger, but it still hurts to realize that Ill never get to see him again.

RIP Toby, you weren't just a dog, you were my brother.  I love you so much!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I got yelled at...

on base...for being in "inappropriate civilian attire"....

Yes, I technically WAS not in proper clothing but I was wayyyyy better dressed then anyone else around at that time! It was also almost closing time so no one "important" was even around! 

I respect that the Marine Corps wants the people that represent them (the Marines, spouses, etc.) to look acceptable and that is why they have standards but if you are going to have such rules, either enforce them all the time or don't.  I felt like I was singled out by this woman while others looked worse then I did and she said nothing.  I must have looked approachable to her so she felt more comfortable yelling at me..

Oh and my outfit? I was in long black workout pants, a pink workout shirt, with a black track jacket over it- zipped up.  No cleavage showing, no ripped clothing, my hair was tied back neatly.  It wasn't the "pajama" style track suit, I would have worn this to teach in (granted, I teach PE but still...) I was in PT gear, that isn't allowed but people do it all the time and look way worse then I did! If I had had my cute nice checkered coat on over top, my pants would have been mistaken for dress pants, i guarantee it!

 I took a picture with my phone, I really need to invest in a full length mirror!

The kicker...while I was getting told "I should have you leave but Ill let you through this one time..." I saw 2 people in pajama pants- patterns and all, a male with a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, and a woman who was FALLING out of her shirt- I'm pretty sure I saw a nip slip in the 10 seconds I was looking at her...yet I am the one who gets yelled, NO! Not fair! 

It just pushed my buttons, like I said- I know that I wasn't in the right attire, but that woman should have stopped EVERYONE to tell them, and not just me. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The details of my challenge

So, I will be doing my 100 day challenge in 10-day increments! Each 10 days will have a challenge- either health or fitness related, and sometimes both! The challenges wont be hard but its just to help me stay motivated in my already established workout plan! 

I already go to the gym 5 days a week- Monday through Friday! Here is what I do:
Monday- Cycling
Tuesday- Kickboxing
Wednesday- Pilates
Thursday- Body Pump
Friday- Zumba (two times- one in morning, one at night if I don't have plans!)

These "challenges" will just be to enhance my already implemented routine! On the 10th day of each increment, I will update how I did at each challenge, and a picture of myself after that 10 day round.  

Today is my DAY 1 but its really cold out, and in my house so I'm refusing to change out of my big sweats and sweatshirt until I have to get ready to go out tonight so, my starting picture will be a day late! 

My challenges are:
Days 1-10: Drink at least 80oz of water per day, take multi-vitamins every day
Days 11-20: Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
Days 21-30: Try at least 4 new fitness classes
Days 31-40: Play in the backyard with the dogs for 30 minutes a day
Days 41-50: Increase my calcium intake, make healthy restaurant choices
Days 51-60: Do a 20-minute a day stretching routine to increase flexibility
Days 61-70: lighten up my favorite 2 recipes
Days 71-80: Try 5 new workout machines at the gym
Days 81-90: Make my favorite candy bar last 10 days
Days 91-100: Do 3 workout videos at home, old school style- like Richards Simmons

Ready, Set....GO!

Friday, January 21, 2011

100 day challenge

So there are 101 days until my birthday, I decided to use that as my weight loss goal end date! So now, I have 100 days (starting tomorrow of course...) to get into the best shape of my life! Yep, even when I was a super fit cheerleader...I want to be even fitter then that!
 (not the best picture, but one of the only ones I could find of my cheerleading days...Ill replace when I find a better one!)

I want to come up with weekly goals/challenges...maybe I will work on making those tonight (hm...) I am also going to take every 10-day progress pictures so my starter photos and measurements will be done tomorrow.  Not gonna lie, totally terrified to post these pics but...hopefully each 10 days I will be less and less grossed out by how I look! 

I also chose my birthday as the end date because it will be close (like within a month) of Kale coming home! We, obviously, dont know a homecoming date but my theory is if I end within a few weeks of him, that will all the stress of getting the house ready and the excitement to see him, Ill drop some more pounds even though I wont be able to make it to the gym every day like I plan on doing for the next 100 days! 

Well, Im off to Zumba class (yes, my Friday night consists of're jealous!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Its 3 am...

I can barely fuction properly at this hour but its sooooo worth it because...

I get to webcam with my honey!! He is so cute, melts my heart!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

ABC- Asian market, Bulk store, Cleveland!

So, while in Erie, I asked my friend Ashley and my Mom to come to this bulk herb store called Grammy's Bulk Store.  I had heard it had some great prices on spices so I wanted to check it out- and boy am I glad that I did! First off, you walk in and the place is filled with little containers of spices, and for my lovely organizational friends- ALL IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER! 
 -Ill take a better picture when I charge my camera and unpack it all, I only had my camera phone at the time-

I had to much fun reading every spice name, I didn't know quite a few which actually really surprised me! In addition to spices, they had pastas, extracts, yeast, sprinkles, etc. I ended up getting a bunch of different spices that I use often, really bright colored sugar for decorating, a big bag of whole cinnamon sticks, a big tub of salt, a bag of yeast (which now I think I might have grabbed the wrong kind, I need to inspect it further...), alphabet soup noodles, whole wheat couscous, regular couscous, quinoa, and emulsified lemon.  It was all for under $30 too! 

It was just really great.  You got just as much of the product that would come in what you would buy in the grocery store but for way cheaper! Those awesomely bright sprinkles only cost just over $1, you would pay way more in a store.  The spices ranged from .50 to $2 but in the store they would have easily started at $2.50!

I wish we had something like this near where we are stationed.  I figure as I use the spices up, I will just keep a running list and when my Mom goes out to the store have her pick me up more and just save it until either my family or my friends come down to visit. 

I was just so amazed at the awesomeness.  Then, my friend Ashley invited me to go to the Asian Market with her and her Mom later that day so I agreed and we road tripped up to Cleveland (about 90 miles away) to go to the market and to see her sister up at Case Western Reserve University. The Asian market was such a new experience, some stuff was really cool and interesting while some was just flat out gross...I asked her Mom (who is originally from Vietnam) a ton of questions about what things are, what would it be used in.  Turns out, some of the things I thought were really gross looking, I had been eating for years at their house and just didn't know it!

Anyway, I really wanted jasmine rice just like they always have at their house but the smallest size they had was 25 pounds! So, guess who is the proud recipient of a 25 pound bag of rice? Yep...this girl! Que, Ashley's Mom bought it as my Christmas gift...I love it! I have a feeling that I will be incorporating rice into nearly all of my recipes for oh, the rest of the year! 

I was so excited about my savings, only a housewife could get excited about stuff like this! Just another example of just how different I am than the average 22 year old!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Its Saturday evening...what is this awesome Marine wife doing tonight, you ask? Oh you know...what every 22 year old is doing...

eating Peppermint Ice Cream for dinner...

Wait? The average 22 year old is not eating ice cream right now? Oh yeah...they are probably making plans for their bar hopping, no thanks! 

I much prefer my ice cream!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Deployment Day, all over again.

In my previous post, the Cookie Cake one, where I said I had a lot on my mind...this is why...

On Thursday, January 6th at 5:15am I received a phone call from Kale, it began like this:
Me: (half awake and groggy) Hello?
Kale: Hey, so....we're going.
Me: say that again...
Kale: We're going, were packing now...
Me: You're lying...

The conversation continued for another 20 minutes, and just by reading that, I'm sure that most of you have no idea what that means or why it deserves its own blog posting but there had been rumors for weeks that my husband's unit, 3rd Battalion 8th Marines, was going to be activated to go to Afghanistan, since he couldn't say openly that he was going to Afghanistan since news hadn't broke publicly yet, this was his way of telling me...
                                                      (Re-enlistment Ceremony- Nov. 2009)
The phrase my friend LeShea used was "my heart just sunk to my toes"...We re-enlisted with 3/8 for the sole purpose that the deployment was to be a non-combat tour.  MEUs are almost always considered a "booze cruise", heck just a few weeks ago Kale was here and now he is lacing up his boots to head into the fight.  I know that there is always a possibility that the MEU would be activated to go into war but its not very common, mainly their job is to wait for some country to need humanitarian relief! If we knew it would end up like this, I cant say that we would be with this unit, we would most likely be with another unit at the current moment. He should be floating around, getting off in random countries, drinking and spending way too much money!

Well not this time...this deployment just went from a "safe,see you in 9 months, have fun" deployment to a "please be safe, make it home to me" deployment.  When we said goodbye back in August, there was no doubt in my mind that he would be returning home but now, that isn't a set in stone guaruntee.  
                                                    (Deployment Day- August 2010)
I feel like its deployment day all over again, I dont want him to go.  Yes, he is already gone but hes not in danger now.  I wish I could be there to hug him, kiss him, and tell him to come home to me. It just isnt the same over the phone...

Thankfully, this trip into Afghanistan wont be as long as their last deployment there back in 2008-2009, I obviously am not disclosing everything that I know due to OPSEC but I have my fingers crossed that they will be back when originally scheduled and not extended, again. 

Some of you may think this new development sounds a little familiar, well if you watched the news at all on that Thursday, you would have heard of it...some news articles that were published that day included...
Article of ABC, it was discussed on the nightly news 
Jacksonville Daily News released a short statement 
As well as every other news station, I wont lie, I was glued to the coverage on CNN for most of that day! 
                                                          (Homecoming from Afghanistan- June 2009)
So, bring it on deployment...You have already thrown me for a loop, and now you are adding another...I am ready for whichever twist and turn is next on this crazy roller coaster ride because I see the end zone- homecoming which will be double as sweet!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cookie Cake- I cheated!

It was my Dad's birthday on January 6th! He is the big 5-6! I wanted to make something homemade but still easy and I didn't want to do cake so, I decided on the next best thing...

A cookie cake!

You know, those cakes that you can get at the mall but are super expensive but so delicious that you always actually consider paying that much for said cake...well, no longer! This took less time then me calling, ordering the cake, driving to the mall, waiting to pick it up, then driving back home!

So simple- really, its like 2 steps!

-Cookie Dough
         *I was naughty, I didn't use homemade, I used Tollhouse cookie dough in the tube, and actually, I used about a tube and a half...can you guess where the other half went (yummmmm)?
        * Once again, naughty (Thank goodness it still isn't the season that Santa is watching, I figure he is napping off his last few months), I used store bought icing too....

Okay, okay, I feel you all judging me!! If I were at my house and being my normal cheap self, and not at my parents (who lovingly buy what I put on their shopping list) and if had about a million things to do today while a bunch of stuff is on my mind (that blog will probably come later this week...) it would be homemade. So next time I make this, it will be homemade...this time, not so much....

Cookie Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 375, or whatever your cookie recipe calls cookie dough recipe called for 375.
2. Spread dough out into a circle (I would say about 1/4th inch), leaving a 2 inch border from the edge of the pan you are using- its important because it will spread out.  I used my Pampered Chef pizza stone.
3. Depending on thickness bake 10-20 minutes. My cookie took about 13 minutes then I shut the oven off and left it in there for about 15 minutes longer with just the residual heat then let it cool on the counter the rest of the way
4. When completely cool, decorate!

A cool tip that I thought of today when dying the icing was instead of mixing it in a bowl then puting it into the piping bag (which i just always use ziplock bags), I spoon the frosting from the can right into the ziplock bag then just put the food coloring in there and just smush the bag all around to distribute it less dish I have to wash!!!! If you have been using this tip for years- dont burst my bubble lol I'm excited about my discovery! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

So, I have arrived back to NC and have no plans in the near future to go on any long, extended trips to anywhere! Erie was a great time but I am so glad to be back in my own home.  When I got in, it was raining pretty hard so I put off unloading the car until that next day...

The easiest way for me to unpack is to just unload it all into the living room and have one big pile as opposed to taking bags from my car and putting them directly into the room they belong...does that make sense? If there is one big pile, I will get motivated quicker to make that pile disappear as opposed to just small piles in each room that wouldn't bother me to put it away...

Well, after emptying my car...AKA a Toyota Camry so not a BIG car, this is my pile that needs to be put away....

Yep- 2 big bags of clothes, tons of bags from shopping, 2 end tables still in the box, 2 bar stools still in the box, a big box of food items, and see those cute half-flower door mats on the bottom? They were originally 9.99, on clearance for 3.99, then with an additional percentage off clearance my Mom paid just $1.99 for it! Its really high quality too, so I now have 2 of them!!! 

Needless to say, unpacking all of this is going to stink, that is usually where Kale excels- he loves putting new stuff where it belongs.  Me? I could care less by the mess.  Its going to be hard to stay motivated to put it all away in the same day but Im so glad to be back in my own home!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Easy Hot Fudge Gifts

I was blog stalking over at Our Best Bites and came across a heavenly combination of ingredients, it screamed "make me as gifts".  It was the easiest hot fudge ever to make and people loved it!! My cousin ate it right from the jar as we opened presents! 

I wanted to be frugal this holiday season, I thought about making cookie mix in a jar, homemade spice mixes but nothing I came up with seemed like EVERYONE would like it while being holiday-ish too! Then when I came across the recipe, they had them in the cutest little jars but I didnt have time to print the cute tags so I just had to make my own...

Anyway...ready for a super yummy treat?

It is only 3 ingredients:
-a can (the normal size...i dont know ounces) of sweetened condensed milk
- half a stick of butter (unsalted)
-1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- optional: I added a little peppermint extract to a few of my batches...I like the lil zip it added to it!

How much it will make will (obviously) depend on the size of your jar or container that you are putting it in.  I used pint jars and it made enough for about 2 1/2 jars!
I made 10 jars, all you do is melt it all together! I did mine in a make-shift double boiler because I dont have much luck with melting in the microwave.  You could just dump the 3 ingredients in but I chose to do it by melting the butter, then adding the chocolate chips until those were melted then stirring in the sweetened condensed milk until its all combine.  It came together super quick, even though I took a little longer to combine all of them in order to make sure I didnt burn it!
What didn't go so quickly was the making of my decorative lids! First I started with the rims- I hot glued ribbon around them then glued a mint on it to cover where the ribbon ends met. Some of the jars I also made mini ribbon flowers before I put on the mint- they are more in the background of this picture.
The flowers and the hot gluing took me longer then I expected, but Im also the one who ALWAYS drops what she just put hot glue on and grabs it and burns herself so that slows me down! After those were done, I made the little hot fudge tags just with a sharpie and index cards that I cut into a circle.
I just then hot glued the tags onto the tops of the lids...a close up! 
I then had a cute idea to wrap it in green and red tissue paper, but I had one small problem. It was about 4pm on Christmas Eve and we didnt have colored tissue paper, so I wrapped them in white and tied them with red ribbon...
And there you have it- super cute gifts! Now, I know some of you are thinking "um, Christmas is over, this is no help" but just follow along with me for a second....if you used different colors of ribbon and tissue paper, these could be used for any occasion! 

Pink and red ribbon and tissue paper = Valentine's Day
Shades of green= St. Patrick's Day
Red, White, and Blue = Memorial Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day (how cute would this be to give out to veterans in your life as gifts during these holidays!)

You can also use it as party favors- use the colors of your party (birthday parties, wedding showers, baby showers)

Overall these are super cheap to make but look adorable too...oh and you cant forget...DELICIOUS!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Just another day in paradise...

So, before I get comments about "he deserves it" stuff  read this...because trust me, I know he does! I NEVER said he didn't!! Kale got a port call for the first time since he boarded at the end of the August back in December and he just sent me pictures...

All I can say it, for those days that he was there...I totally got the short end of the deployment stick! Every other day, he gets the short end since he is cramped, confined, cant go where he wants, etc.

But for a couple days, this is where he got to "rough it"

Yep, you see that correctly- a pool! But that is not all...
Look at that view!!! OMG! So awesome!!! I can only hope that Kale used sunscreen but knowing him, he didn't!
Not only can you see the pool, but you can also see the ocean too! A-freaking-MAZING! 

I told Kale that I hoped he got to wear his "Bahama pants" as he likes to call it since he didn't get to wear them on our planned Bahama trip (yes, Im still bitter...)

Monday, January 3, 2011


So I just noticed that I had a few "Drafts" even though I knew I shouldnt...then I realized that they are already posts that I had published...somehow, they got taken off the blog and put into my drafts, so I re-published them! They were my Christmas crafts of peppermint trees and my ornament wreath!

My blog must be haunted! lol

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year- New Blog (kind of...)

I changed my blog name! No longer am I "Surviving and Thriving", well...technically I still am but I changed the name! I also, switched my background which if anyone remembers when I tried to do that a while ago (you don' was a nightmare, I almost cried- but instead blogged about it here) but this time, I am proud to report, I had NO problems! Technology and I are at an even 1-1 against each other! 

With the new layout, its super close to the font color that I had been my previous posts, you are just going to have to highlight to read them because I am way too lazy to go back and change it all so that its easier to read...sorry! Unless someone knows how I can change it all at the same time (anyone...anyone...?) 

So, the focus will be the same for this new blog, aka, just my random life happenings but I felt "Surviving and Thriving" wasn't going to describe what I wanted for the blog because once deployment ends, we are hoping to have quite a while (hear that Marine Corps...a WHILE, like more then a year please!) so I thought a simple change to "My Life:Marine Wife" would be perfect! 

Bring it on 2011...I have great hopes for this year.  It started off with a bang too- I got to web chat with Kale!! Oh and the most exciting thing about the new year....KALE COMES HOME THIS YEAR! (granted its still 5 months away...but THIS YEAR!)