Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New blog design

I've had the same design almost since I started blogging on my husbands deployment many moons ago. I happened to catch Bri (who runs Utterly Chaotic) when she was just starting up, and now she's turned into a huge success. Sadly, I can't afford to shell out a few hundred dollars for her to revamp my blog.

A few fellow bloggers have mentioned few other great designers who range from $70-$100, but with me not working right now, I don't know if I could justify that purchase to my husband. Boo!

My blog stalking the past few weeks now has helped me narrow down what I'm looking for. What I learned is that I really like how everyone has gone from the 3 column blogs that were popular when I got my last design done, to the large main column, and a skinny right column with a bio and what not. I also really like the clean, white blogs I've been finding.

I've been googling and spending my spare minutes while the kiddo is otherwise occupied by trying to get together a presentable blog. I'm hoping within the next few weeks that I'll be able to install all the elements. I've been testing them on a dummy blog that I added, and so far I'm really happy with it.

I'll leave you with my inspiration for my new design:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Having no job/extra money stinks!

This house is completely different than our house in NC, and with that, I needed to completely revamp the house I'd spent 3 years crafting to my liking. We went from 2 incomes to 1, so I couldn't just go out and buy all new things without going into some serious debt. I'm having to revamp what we already had, and pull together some cheap craftiness to fill up this larger house.

I get a lot of our decor pieces from Hobby Lobby and TJ Maxx.

So far I've only been able to finish decorating the Kitchen/Dining room:

Love all these cabinets! We had way less cabinet space in the last house, so this is amazing. Most of the decorations on top of the cabinets came off our mantle, but sadly, no fireplace here, so I it was easy for me to repurpose them.

I got that super cute green horse-cart ride sign at TJ Maxx for $5 and the horse shoes while they were half off at Hobby Lobby

I picked up the cute little baskets in the dollar section of Target for $3 each, and I made the $5 TJ Maxx frame into a cute little menu board using my silhouette

I found this little country sign at the Dollar Store back in NC. The movers broke the "c" off, so I glued on this rusty old horseshoe I found in the pasture we rented in NC

I found old window frames for $5 on craigslist by posting in the ISO section. I let the hubs use the glass for target practice. Then I sanded them down, sprayed them down with a cheap white paint to clean them up since they'd been sitting outside, and "aged" them with a valspar antiquing glaze I picked up at Lowes a while back to do THIS dresser and THIS nightstand. Then I stapled some chicken wire to the back, and voila, picture frame!

I haven't finished the other "shelf" so just pretend its there ;)

I also found this little gem in the $1 section of Target (also for $3) and didn't really have a purpose for it (I'm the worst impulse buyer when it comes to crafty things O.o) until I decided to make it into a "floating shelf"

I painted it white & spiced apple (to match the kitchen walls) and mounted these little picture hanging do-dads to the back. I still have one more to finish for the other side, and I need to hit up the thrift stores for some little knick-knacks to put up there, but other than that. The kitchen is done :)

Seafood Potpie

This is a recipe I adapted from my mom, who got it from my uncle, who got it from who knows where. lol. If its your recipe, let me know and I'll give you credit :)

First thing you will need to do is dice up 3-5 large potatoes and get them boiling. Then make the crust. I made a double batch (because my husband could eat one all by himself) so I think I made 3 batches of crust using THIS Martha Stewart recipe that I adapted a little bit. You'll probably want to make 2 batches, depending on the size and shape of your dish.

I used:
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of unbleached white flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick of butter
1/4 cup of EVOO

I didnt want to put two sticks of butter in it (mainly because I didnt have enough) so I subbed in some oil, but I'm not sure if that made it better or worse for you. lol You can use whatever flour you like. I would have made it all whole wheat, but the hubs hates it, so had to compromise.

Cream all your ingredients together, roll them out, and place them in your dish. Be sure to cover the sides.

 Once your potatoes are cooked, add them to your pie crust. You also will be adding whatever other veggies you'd like. My moms recipe called for a can of VegAll, but its healthier to use fresh or frozen.

 Next you're going to make your filling. In a large skillet, mix 2 cups of stock (I used organic veggie, but chicken is fine too) 6tbsp of flour and bring it to a boil. Make sure you stir it often or the flour will goop up. Once it boils, add 1 cup of 1/2 and 1/2, and whatever seafood you'd like. I used shrimp and imitation crabmeat. My mom normally uses scallops too, but they're super expensive here, and we're on a budget now that we only have one income. Boo :(

 Pour over the veggies into the pie crust

Top with the rest of your pie crust
(I'm not a food blogger, so don't judge my horrible looking crust)

Let it stand 10-15 minutes before you cut it so that it sets up. My darling husband couldn't wait, so it turned into a runny mess, but it sure was tasty!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

That time I ruined spaghetti squash (recipe)...

...and by ruined, I mean I took a perfectly healthy vegetable, and made it taste AMAZING, but oh so bad for you.

I tried THIS recipe off of pinterest, and it was just as delicious as it looks. Creamy, garlicy heaven. I few weeks later I bought a spaghetti squash from walmart, because they are one of our favorite veggies. I didnt really have a plan for how I was going to cook it. Normally, we just add a little butter and parmesan cheese. That got my little brain thinking of the spaghetti recipe, and I thought why not?

Here is the original recipe for the pasta version:

Creamy Garlic Pasta
2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
¼  tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 cups chicken stock
½ lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
In a pot, bring the olive oil to medium-low heat. Add the garlic and stir, allowing it to cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the butter until melted. Add the salt, pepper and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and let it come to a boil.

Once it is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for as long as the box’s directions indicate. Reduce the stove to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and parsley. Serve immediately.

Instead of boiling the pasta in stock, all you need to do is cut your spaghetti squash in half the long way, pull the seeds out of the center, and put it UPSIDE DOWN on a plate with a little bit of water on it. Toss it in the microwave for 10 minutes. If you can't fork the flesh out easily, then put it in for a few more minutes. You can also bake it on 350 for around 30 minutes, but I'm impatient. ha! 

You will basically follow the rest of the recipe. Brown your garlic a little bit in olive oil, then add your squash. Melt in the butter, then add the parmesan cheese, heavy cream (I always use 1/2 and 1/2 to make it a little less unhealthy), and parsley. Enjoy!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Beautiful Alaska

A few fun pics off my iPhone of beautiful Alaska that I thought y'all might enjoy.

Two huge salmon-the bottom one was easily 3 ft long!

This is the "little Su" about 2 miles from our house

She loved riding with momma & I loved not breaking my arms carrying her

Hubs with the critter and one of our Pitts

This is our road <3

Critter at Jim's Lake

Our other Pitt enjoying the nice day

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Finish the sentence...

I promise I've got two recipe posts, and a decor post coming up, but I can't seem to find the little do-dad that plugs in for me to upload pictures. I'm tempted to just go buy a new one.

In the meantime, I'm linking up with Holly for the first time to do this fun little finish the sentence link up party.


If I had one extra hour in the day... oh geeze. So many things. With a little bit running around like a tornado, I feel like I clean the same mess 10 times and never have any time to do anything else. 

I wish my [last] name... wasn't the same as a famous president's. I've loved the name Reghan for a girl for ages, but didn't want to subject my little one to sharing her name with two presidents, even if its not spelled the same... maybe if our next little one ends up being a girl I might reconsider.

I think anything chevron is... cute, but not really my taste. We're both country folk, and our house is decorated accordingly.

My last nightmare... I dont remember what it was, but I remember thinking to myself that I'd had it before, and knew it was a dream, so I was able to wake myself up. Way to go subconscious!

Sometimes... I want to go back to work so that I could pee without someone banging on the door

My last meal on earth would be... seafood.  

I would much rather... have no tv than be subjected to the crap my husband watches

Mayonnaise... is yummy, but I dont eat it too often. Since I stopped eating commercially harvested meats, I haven't had any sandwiches.

10 years ago, I didn't think... I'd be living in Alaska!

Selfishly... I'm letting my kiddo run around with no pants on because I don't want to go find the ones she somehow managed to wiggle out of.

My favorite show on TV right now... Big Brother. Although I don't know who I want to like right now, aside from Andy, but I don't think he'll end up winning it :/

And, George Zimmerman... has gotten way too much attention. Yes, it's sad a child died, but it really didnt need to be made into the media circus that it did. Sadly, children are killed all the time, but do they all flood facebook & cause such animosity, no.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Get to know me

Anyone remember surveys on Myspace? When I saw this little gem on Crazy Shenanigans that was the first thing I thought of. Speaking of myspace, has anyone been on there lately after not going on it in ages? I went looking for a picture of a friend and I, only to find that every bit of information was lost. Myspace is pretty much worthless nowadays unless you're trying to follow musicians. Sad.

Anywho, I thought it would be fun to fill in this little survey in remembrance of the sadly dilapidated myspace.

1. Do you like blue cheese? I love blue cheese itself, but I hate the dressing. Blue cheese and onion straws on a burger is amazing in my book. 

2. Have you ever smoked a cigarette? I have
3. Do you own a gun? The husband owns a few, so I suppose guilty by association?
4. What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic? Orange cream slush. Sadly there is no Sonic in AK :(
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Nope
6. Do you like hot-dogs? Very much so... as long as they're nitrate free, which are so much easier to find nowadays
7. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? I pretty much only drink water
8. Can you do push-ups? I can 
9. What’s your favorite meal? Anything pasta... I blame my Italian roots
10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? Aside from my wedding set, I wear this ring daily:

11. Favorite hobby? Crafting
12. Do you work with people who idolize you? Right now my work consists of being a SAHM, so yes, my little bit idolizes me. lol... but being a teacher a lot of my kiddos idolized me, as well as one of the newbie teachers since I tried hard to help her out.
13. Name a trait that you hate about yourself? I have a hard time letting things go
14. Middle name? Marie 
15. Name 3 thoughts at this moment: 1. Big Brother this season is ridiculous (Ive got after dark playing in the background. One of the few perks of being 4 hrs behind the east coast is BBAD is on at 9pm) 2. Its still way to bright out to sleep (were getting 20 hrs of daylight still) 3. My little tornado made a mess out of this living room.
16. Name 3 things you bought yesterday: I went to the Bear Paw Festival yesterday, but we didnt buy anything.
17. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink: I only drink water regularly, but if we're out and about I might drink lemonade or iced tea
18. Current worry right now? If it's too late to file unemployment since I havent found a job yet
19. Current hate right now? The amount of mosquitos in AK 
20. Favorite place to be? I am loving AK so far, but I do miss NY 
21. How did you bring in New Years? At home?
22. Favorite place to go? Right now its fishing up the road from our house since we can take the pups
23. What is your most recurring dream? Running away from someone/something and I get to my house just in time, but I can't close the door because the door is a few inches too short to reach the door jam
24. Introvert or extrovert? Depends on the situation, but I'm usually pretty extroverted
25. What color shirt are you wearing? Camo
26. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? No thanks. I love jersey knit cotten sheets the best though
27. Can you whistle? Not well
28. Can you sing? Not well
29. Favorite color? Dark purple or teal
30. Would you be a pirate? Sure
31. What songs do you sing in the shower? None
32. Favorite girl’s name? Critterface is named Amelia, which I love because its old-fashioned & I love names that begin with a vowel. If we have another girl I want to name her either Evelyn after my grandma, or Emory
33. Favorite boy’s name? If we have a boy we're naming him Charlie Joseph, after our grandfathers, but I also love any "country" type name like Levi and Hunter
34. Who is your loudest friend? My husband and all of his friends are beyond loud. They're artillery and refuse to wear ear plugs
35. What’s in your pocket right now?  Nothing. I'm wearing yoga pants.
36. Last thing that made you laugh? My littlebit
37. Bed sheets as a child? I dont remember any other than a beauty and the beast set
38. Worst injury you've ever had? I've never been seriously injured (knock on wood) so I guess when I broke my nose?
39. Do you love where you live? YES!!
40. How many TVs are in your house? Four, but only two are hooked up
41. What is your worst habit? Thinking too much about something
42. How many dogs do you have? Four: two pitbulls named Dixie and Rebel (can you tell we liked living below the Mason Dixon Line?) a dachshund named Miley (yes, cyrus) and a Catahoula/Boarder Collie mix named Ty (after the famous bull rider Ty Murray)
43. Does someone have a crush on you? I'm hoping my husband does
44. Do you own slippers? A million pairs even though I never wear them. My mom always gets them for me for Christmas. Maybe now that we live in the cold again I might use them.
45. What is your favorite book? I could never pick one favorite. I love anything Nicholas Sparks, A book called confessions from a hot pink notebook, any of the Rick Riorden greek/roman/egyptian series of books, aside from some of the books I've been forced to read in college, I dont think I've ever read a book I didnt like
46. What is your favorite candy? gummi bears
47. What is your favorite sports team? I'm a NY girl. Yankees for sure. Hate if you'd like. lol
48. What song do you want played at your funeral? I just want to be cremated and tossed somewhere pretty
49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night? Hanging out with my littlebit who still hasnt adapted to the 4 hour time difference & the constant sunlight
50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning? Grumble grumble grumble

If you do this too, leave me a comment & let me know so I can read your answers :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

5 on Friday

ONE: Last time I had a free Friday to post, I was wanting to go to the Summer Solstice Festival, which we did get to make it to, sans husband. This Friday I'm itching to go to the Bear Way Festival. The hubs doesnt have to work, so we're going to check it out tomorrow. I want to see the Slippery Salmon Olympics, and maybe convince the hubs to go back on Sunday for the Rubber Duck Race. Do you remember the story about the 29,000 rubber duckies that got lost at sea in the '90s? You can read about it HERE on the oh so informative wikipedia. The ducks were lost near Washington, but a lot of the ducks washed up in Alaska, so they celebrate it here with the duck races. Critterbug has a book about it by Eric Carle called 10 Rubber Ducks which she loves, so I think she'll enjoy it.

Critterbug reading her ducky book... not sure what's going on with that face. Ha!

TWO: Critterbug had her 15 month well check today. Poor thing's got her daddy's head. She's in the 6th percentile for weight, 50th for height, and 90th for her head. I sure hope she evens out. lol.

THREE: We stopped by the playground and I couldn't get the Critter off the slide. She loves it. She learned how to slide the last time I took her to the park and now she thinks she's a pro at going down the slide all by herself. She never ceases to amaze me with how quickly she is learning.

FOUR: I'm making seafood pot pie for dinner tonight. The hubs has been asking about it all week. I got the recipe from my mom, and if it turns out yummy, I'll post pictures and share the recipe with y'all. I'm sure hoping it comes out as good as hers. I like to think of myself as a good cook, but I'm not a baker. The crust makes me a little nervous! I may or may not have mixed up 1/4 tsp and 1/4 c of salt while baking once before. Eek.

FIVE: I got a pretty little desk off of a facebook for sale page, so look out for before and after pictures coming soon. There are so many forsale pages here its ridiculous, and they all post some really great things. My favorite so far though is called "ISO: In Seach Of."No need to stalk the other sales pages. Just post what you're looking for, and people message you if they have it!

I also bought two gorgeous little night stands. I haven't decided if I want to paint them or not. They're real wood, and in pretty great shape for being from the 60's, but they don't match our bedroom furniture... I'll probably just end up staining them a little darker to match, and maybe painting the hardware.

Link up below if you'd like to participate too :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wanderlust... sort of...

Google defines wanderlust as a strong desire to travel. While I love to travel, my wanderlust feeling doesn't pertain to that. I have career wanderlust. I've got it bad!

They say that most teachers leave education within the first 5 years. I made it 2 months shy of the 6 year mark, so I broke the statistic... but only slightly. I've been thinking a lot about looking for a teaching job up here, and I just can't bring myself to do it. Teaching, and raising a little one was hard, too hard for me. I felt like either my students were suffering b/c I wasn't giving my all to them, or my own child was suffering because I wasn't giving her the attention she deserved. I was loosing precious time with her to faculty meetings about nothing, and putting in extra hours for events, only to be unrecognized for all I was doing. While I love teaching, I've had this overwhelming feeling that I NEED to try something else. I've worked since I was sixteen, and bounced around from job to job, always getting hired on the spot. I've loved all of my jobs (aside from selling cutco knives. What was I thinking?!) and I loved being exposed to new people and situations.

So that brings me to the question of what I'd like to do. The million dollar question. I have no answer for that, yet. I'd absolutely LOVE to go to Vet school, but that requires 8 years of education. I've been out of school too long, so all of my undergrad course work is "no good," and I'd essentially have to start over. Am I too old to be getting a vet degree now? Maybe. The thing I love about teaching, is the interactions with people. If I had to do a job where I didn't get to talk to people, I'd die. So, I began thinking I might like a job in health care. Before being a mom, I was so grossed out by blood, barf, and poop, but now it doesn't even phase me. Health care seams to provide a pretty stable job market. People will always get sick right? My sister is an X-Ray tech, and she makes decent money, and likes her job (aside from some of the people, but thats every job!)

I think I'm going to start small, and get my certificate in Medical Assistant, and if I really like it, I can add on to it, and maybe someday get a nursing degree. If I hate it, there is always time for me to find something else to do!

My husband is eligible to sign over his GI Bill to me in August, and I think I might take him up on the offer. He doesn't want to use it, and our little one is too little to be able to reap the benefits unless she turns out to be some sort of child genius, and is ready for school at 11 and a half. ha. He'll only have to extend for one more year.

While I appreciate the Army for even offering this option, I worry about how I'll pay for daycare for the my critter (I could do some course work online, I'm sure, but I think this is a more hands on field) and how will I pay for text books? I was fortunate enough to get a book scholarship my freshman year because of my grades in high school for $500 and I still had to shell out almost $300 more dollars before I had what I needed. I'm not sure if we could swing $800 for books. That was only ONE semester. I had to shell it out again in the spring!

Then I learned about Campus Book Rentals and it made going back to school that much easier. You can save up to 80% on books (80% of $800 is $640. That's almost a whole payment on my husbands truck!!), and you just return them when you're done. My sister has bins and bins of medical textbooks she got stuck with because they either wouldn't give her anything for them, or they became outdated. I returned (or burned. ha!) most of mine, but I still have bunch of outdated teaching books taking up a bin in the garage. No need to worry about that with Campus Book Rentals. Just send them back when you're finished. You can also highlight and write in the books, as long as you're respectful about it.

They have super easy search options, toll free customer service, and free shipping both ways. These are all great things to look for in a company, but I think the best thing about this particular one is their willingness to give back. Its refreshing to see a company that does something great with a portion of their profits. Campus book rentals partners with Operation Smile to help provide surgeries for families that would otherwise not be able to afford this kind of treatment. How awesome is that?! Not only are they helping families with children in need these surgeries, they offer tons of book scholarships to people right here in our own communities who just can swing the money for textbooks.

If you're in college, I suggest you swing on over to Campus Book Rentals, and see what they can save you!

**I received a small compensation for this post, but all opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

What a difference a year makes

When we got our orders to Alaska, the hubs found out that his best friend as Bragg would also be coming with us. How often does that happen in the Army world? Pretty much never! They got here about a week after us, and we got to spend our 4th of July with them and another family we met here, BBQing and having a bonfire.

Check out little bit on 4th of July last year:

3 months old

And critterface this year:

15 months old

I made THESE cupcakes off pinterest to share and also THIS recipe for tater tot casserole as a request from the hubs BFF. The cupcakes were super yummy! I hate buttercream frosting, and this was more like the whipped topping you get at bakeries. Plus they're a "skinnier" version.