Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cakes for Iraq

A friend from the FRG asked me earlier this month to put together a couple cakes for her husband and friend who are in Iraq with Phil's squadron. She intended to mail them their way in time for their birthdays. How fun is that? I did my best to make something that might hopefully survive the time and postal service handling. Here's what I came up with...
I built them on the lid of ziplock like containers that fit snugly, hoping it would hold them both in place for the long journey.
I've been waiting rather impatiently to see the results and finally got this from Cristina the other day...
Yeah not so good, but the guys enjoyed them anyway!
Hope you guys had a really Happy Birthday, Brad and Boomer! We'll see you home soon!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Daring Baker Challenge- April

Cheesecake! Seriously, I know. Could this possibly be more up my alley??
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

The plan was to take a basic cheesecake recipe that was given and turn it into a show stopper. My drug of choice for this particular challenge was inspired by my hubby... Oreos.
I'm not a huge Oreo person, and neither is Phil but he'll have it blended into ice cream and whatnot. Blended into cheesecake Oreos become soft and pretty easy to cut through.
I'm no stranger to baking cheesecake. I actually just made my favorite dark chocolate version for Easter. This one I had problems with, which is why I'm not attaching the recipe here. It was a much thinner batter then any other cheesecake I've made which didn't post any pan leaking problems because of the way I did my crust. However, when I took it out at what should have been the perfect temperature, it cracked like the Grand Canyon. Might have been the recipe, might have been the fact that I added heavy cookie chunks to the top, I'm not sure. Good news is that it still tasted absolutely delicious even though it's appearance was a bit lacking. We just finished off the last two leftover pieces last night and are so sad to see it all done. Hopefully the boys and I can go pick some strawberries soon and make some pie or cobbler. Yum!

The Rest of Our Weekend

Joshua's soccer game was at 8:30 Saturday morning. Not a big fan of trying to get us all up, dressed, fed and out by that time. Didn't help that I remembered at 11 o'clock the night before that we were supposed to be bringing snack. Thanks to Phil for saving the day when i completely forgot!
Joshua has been amazing us in soccer! He guards the ball and dribbles great! He no longer struggles to keep up with the other kids running across the field. He made 6 goals this week! He didn't make a single goal last year. We're working on things with him still. I am just so amazed at how much he's been able to improve in just one year.
Today we decided to head to Langley Air Force Base in Hampton for an air show they were hosting today.
Shortly after this we fitted Josh with some ear plugs that helped him immensely. That plane in the distance is the F22 Raptor. Very cool... and very loud!
There were lots of other guns to show the boys. We even got to check out night vision for the first time. Daddy was able to show a lot of things to the boys with what they had on display that he has to use at work.
This is a Humvee that Josh got to check out.
It was super bright and super hot, but the boys were champs and really got excited about all the airplanes.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Outer Banks, NC

Yesterday we found out Phil would only have to call into work today. I had no idea what all we'd find to do today when we talked about trying to get out of town last night. What a fun day! We headed to the Outer Banks to check it out. This was the boys' first trip to North Carolina.
Our first stop was Currituck Beach Lighthouse. There are several along the Outer Banks and this just happened to be the closest.
Before heading up the 214 stairs, we took a pause for an important lesson in potty history (anything that will encourage Jeremiah to do his business in the potty instead of his britches is worth my while these days!)
We all started out bravely toward the top. Even Jeremiah took the first flight.
Jeremiah got a free ride to the top courtesy of Daddy. Josh and I were not so lucky. We did eventually make it to the top after a few pauses. Jeremiah's flip flops were in my purse so we didn't lose them which is why he's barefoot here.
Just another perspective on how many stairs we climbed.
The boys even got stickers celebrating their achievement.
There were some other historical houses in the area so we went ahead and checked those out. Daddy spotted this great little playground so we took a break for the boys before lunch. Jeremiah is on a "tire swing." It's a horse made out of a tire.
Yep. You guessed it. This is post-lunch after another 1/2 hour drive or so.
We stopped at the Wright Memorial and got to see some replicas of a couple of the Wright brothers planes as they figured out how to make human beings fly. Josh was particularly enamored with the "pretend person."
This is where the first flight happened. I hope they understand the significance of this someday.
The memorial itself was a pretty good trek from where our car was parked. The wind at the top was so strong I had to hold the boys hands for fear that they might fall over. It was a really nice view from the top of this hill, though!
On the way home we stopped at a place we noticed on the way there. Meet Grave Digger, the monster truck.
They were closed by the time we were heading back home, but we could still walk around a few trucks and they even had some animals out that the kids got to observe.
An axle. Can you believe that? The trucks seem so much bigger with two little boys walking underneath barely even having to duck!
From here we just finished up the short drive home. What a day full of fun and adventures and the weekend has only now officially begun!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Phil's squadron will be home from their deployment in less then a month and everyone is so excited! Tonight was the pre-homecoming brief. They asked me to make a cake to help celebrate and this is what I came up with.
Talk about work! 3 little boats that resembled the boats our guys drive. In front are little sea bags and helmets. All the camo I hand-painted. In the picture are Lauren and Lisa, the FRG president and vice-president. I've recently taken on the secretary role in the FRG. I love these girls! It should be fun once all our hubbies are home for a bit.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Catching Up with Old Friends

While we were in Illinois we got to be really good friends with the Meier family. They were supposed to leave Illinois around the same time as us for North Carolina. Unfortunately, with the real estate economy being what it is, they're stuck in Illinois waiting for their house to sell. In the mean time we were lucky enough to be able to meet up with them in Richmond at a children's museum while Lyndsay and the kids were visiting family here in Virginia.
Kaylee had a hard time recognizing the boys at first, but in a few minutes they were all running around playing together like they hadn't missed a beat. Yes, driving 2 1/2 hours in traffic was worth this!
Little baby Logan went from being a little peanut who did little other then sleep and eat is now a little ball of personality. He was a big fan of Phil and is starting to definitely resemble his daddy, Adam (who was working in Kentucky).
It was so hard to say goodbye again. For these friends it's more like a "see you later" though. Eventually their house will sell and they'll settle into North Carolina where it will be much easier for us to go visit.
This is Lyndsay and me. Poor Lyndsay has to go back to Illinois weather tomorrow. She said the grass hasn't even started to green there and while she was here the weather was beautiful!
It was our first trip to Richmond, Virginia's capital. I am sure we'll visit again. It seemed like a nice city.

The New Car

We traded in Phil's little orange SVT the other day. It was so sad to let it go. This car will be for me to drive, though, which I am so grateful for! Hopefully this will give the boys and I something reliable to run around in.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter at Our House

Before Easter ever arrived, we found our little dove chicks had made their appearance. They were quite big by the time we saw them so I assume they hatched a while ago. Here's the daddy with the babies this morning. He came around and watched the kids while the mommy took off for a while.
We got an Easter package from Nana (Grandma Valencia in California) for Easter as well. The new legos and bubbles were the favorites, although the candy was a big hit as well. Thanks, Nana!
Then all the family started coming. We are now officially the halfway point between our family in Maryland and North Carolina, so everyone was here for the Easter weekend. The kids had a blast overall, even though the weather didn't completely cooperate.
We did get to hunt eggs outside this year, even though it was a bit chilly. The kids were so stinkin excited!
This one was apparently the hardest to find. Even the oldest of the kids was standing directly in front of it and didn't see it. Jeremiah saved the day and spotted it though couldn't reach it on his own.
Grammy and Papa (Grandparents from Maryland) were happy to help point the kids in the right direction.
We forced them to take a picture together before they were allowed to dive into the treats hidden in the plastic eggs.
It was a great weekend for conversation and card games for the adults as well. I have never seen people get so violent over a spoon!
Jeremiah has been the shier of our two boys for a while now, but he was Mr.Personality by the time everyone had to leave. This is him giving Auntie Dana the look because she stole his "wadderboddle."

Grammy and Papa had to get a picture in with all the kiddos as well. It was a long and great sleep-deprived weekend and I have a feeling this won't be the last one!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

United in Spirit

Yep... it's another book. I'm only barely into this one but it will take me so long to get through, I might have to buy one for myself. It's a cookbook! A military wife cookbook! Yes, I do think that's about the coolest thing since sliced bread. I wanted to share with you a bit from the front that I found... well, redeeming after the other books I've been going through. Normally I wouldn't copy so much out of a book, but this part is actually copied from someone else. Who, you might ask? "Author Unknown." So, here's to you, Author Unknown! Thanks for making me feel better today!

United in Spirit
We are sisters--bound, not by blood but by unity of spirit . We share many of the same experiences, hopes and fears. You carry some of my thoughts and I some of yours.
You understand the chest I have labeled "Special Memories" that grows heavier and heavier as it is moved from assignment to assignment.
I understand your box marked "Curtains" which contains several different sets, each of which fit one window in all of the U.S. and Europe.
You know what it is like to plant a tree, knowing that someone else will sample its fruit and enjoy its shade.
I know how you paused while hanging a picture in base housing to hear for a moment...
the echoing footsteps of the families who preceded you.
I also know that you never write in your address book in ink.
To us, home is not so much a geographic location as it is a place in our hearts.
The evening news is more then a 30-minute blitz of information;
it is often the compass that directs our lives.
I have stood in your shoes and you in mine on docks, piers, flight lines, and terminals of every description around the world, waving good-bye and whispering a silent prayer.
To us the words "support our troops" are more than a bumper sticker logo.
We wear yellow ribbons around our hearts every day;
because we know that every day a military family is separated by time and distance while that military member stands watch at freedom's door.
We come from all walks of life.
We are homemakers, workers, professionals; and in our number are those who also serve our country on active duty or in the reserves.
We are different and yet we are the same.
Sometimes I see your face in my mirror.
Sometimes you dream my dreams.
So, we come together today to celebrate our similarities and explore our differences in the spirit of friendship and unity. I am honored to count myself among you.
Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Couple More Books

I've finally surrendered my last Abigail Adams book back to the library for a peaceful rest among innumerable others and picked up a couple other military wife books.
I've mentioned "Campfollowing" before. I'm almost halfway through this one and have enjoyed it so far. It's a pretty thorough history of military wives and their involvement with their husbands and what not. Did you know there were a whole slew of wives who joined their husbands on the battlefield during the Revolutionary and Civil wars? I remember talk of Molly Pitcher and all but didn't realize she was married to someone serving. There are so many more then that as well! There is a tone in this book that makes a person a little embarrassed to be the wife of an enlisted man. For generations the wives of these men would find employment as laundresses and even some men would be hired as officers servants in their off hours. I thought that it was just the history that was making me feel sadly for these women but then I picked up reading another book by the same authors. I didn't realize this was the case until just last night. I'm about 2 chapters into "Uncle Same's Brides" and have found myself deeply offended by something written inside at least 4 times already. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make it all the way through this book. I should preface this with saying that there is still quite a separation between officer and enlisted for the purpose of professionalism as well as to keep order when they are out in the field. This is meant to be for the military members, not the wives. Wives do often keep these distinctions, though, since it is just easier. Hard to be friends with a wife but not to be able to hang out as two couples together when the husbands are home. All of that said, there is a basic assumption in this book that all enlisted wives wish they were officer's wives. It could not be farther from the truth.
This book was written in 1990. Most of what I've read so far is so completely out of date that it might as well have been written in 1950. Base housing, health care, and wives clubs have all changed drastically since this time, I guess. I feel like I could go on and on supporting my feelings about this book but I think it would probably be redundant at this point. All said and done, I'm left hoping that the attitudes of Officer's wives these days are far different then those of these authors. I'll part with two quotes that I found particularly interesting:
Most officers and their wives are as aloof to enlisted society as royalty might be to their servants.

As one colonel's wife remarked, "Even if an extremely bright, gifted, college-educated woman from the civilian upper classes should elect to marry an enlisted, that's her mistake. Unless her husband promotes to officer rank, she is condemned to a life in the military outside of the officer's superior social hierarchy."
I really really hope that things are seen differently today because I think it's safe to say that enlisted wives are fine being where we are in the military heirarchy and enjoy the society here quite well, thank you very much.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

At the Game Today

Josh wanted to tell everyone how many goals he made at the game today!

Jeremiah wanted to show you that he could make a goal, too.
Joshua has really changed in his abilities this year. It's like a completely different boy! I can't wait to see how Jeremiah does once he's old enough.

In other news, our truck has started to show more problems again (same as before when I was stuck at Barnes and Noble). Phil is currently at the Nissan dealership and we're hoping and praying they'll be able to diagnose and fix the problem without it putting us in the poor house. Thankfully we didn't have other plans today. Our vehicles have been quite the frustration for us lately. The car needs a new clutch, the truck new brakes, both probably need an oil change, and now this on top of all of that. Life will always be a struggle, right?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A New Tenant

We have a new family growing under our roof! We have a little gray dove family that is expecting. The mommy has been faithfully sitting there on her eggs while her hubby flies out quite often. Yesterday he even took a break on top of Phil's car! I can't wait to hear the little squabs up there. They have nested literally right outside our door. It's a little safe place for them that I'm glad to provide. We've even talked about getting a bird feeder for outside so the boys could watch the other birds in the area. Our neighborhood in Illinois was pretty overrun with squirrels so we were never able to enjoy the other creatures in our area like this. I'm really starting to get comfortable in this new area of the world.
But just wait until summer... I'll definitely be eating those words!