Monday, August 29, 2011

New Furniture Again

I found this couch at a local thrift store and decided I needed it.

I didn't end up getting it since Timmy despises pretty much everything I love, but then some of our friends decided we needed a present yesterday.  So now it's home with me!  (Sucks to be Timmy.)

I absolutely love the detail on the sides, and the colors make me so happy.  I'm pretty satisfied right now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

New Furniture

In preparation for our move to Germany, Timmy and I had a huge yardsale where we sold...everything.  We still have our bed, a couch, and the entertainment stand, but that is it.  Our dresser is now the extra bedroom, the shelves can be found on the kitchen counter, and I can be found on the floor since Timmy and the dogs take up so much space.  But then I found this awesome chair on Craigslist for free!  

Now I have a place to sit and everyone else can crowd the couch.

Gorgeous old sewing table given to me by a friend.  Perfect for my new chair!

I'm in love.  Saving most of my shopping for the thrift stores and flea markets in Europe, but you really can't beat the lack of a price tag.  Perfect start for our new home in a new country.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pay it Forward 2011

New Challenge for 2011

Recently found this amazing idea on box full of hobbies, and think that it is fantastic.  

Copy this blog and post it to your page.  The first 5 people that comment on the post and agree to follow the rules, you send them something home/hand made.  It can be anything!  Everything counts as long as it is homemade with love!  If you participate, you must send those 5 people something.  This means, don't sign up for the challenge if you aren't going to follow through with sending anything to anyone.  To make it even better, you can send the person you got the idea from something, too.  (i.e., me!).  You have all of 2011 to complete the challenge, so there's no rush!

To sum it up:


1) You must send (at least) 5 people something home(or hand)made.

2) If you comment to receive something homemade, you are included in Rule 1.

3) You have until the end of 2011 to complete this challenge.

4) Of your five person requirement, send something back to the person who sends something to you.

If you don't have a blog you can use Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. Just as long as you participate in paying it forward. Just be sure to copy the link to this page so everyone understands the rules. ")

Apple Dump Cake

This is my all time favorite dessert.  Yummy apples, delicious cake topping, baked to perfection.  The name throws most people off, but don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

I made mine in an 8x8 baking dish, which is still more than enough for Timmy and I, but I'll give you the recipe for a 9x13 dish instead.  It is a very very easy cake to make, and pretty much just requires you to "dump" everything in the pan.  Hence the name!  This is adapted from my mom's way of making it, but I'm sure there are other recipes out there if you're looking for something different.

2 (21 ounce) cans apple pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
1-1.5 sticks (or cups) of butter
9x13 baking dish

Baking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if you're using a glass baking dish)

Dump apple pie filling into bottom of  baking dish.

Sprinkle top of apple filling evenly with the yellow cake mix.  Do not stir!!!

Evenly distribute butter onto the top of the cake mix.
(Easy way to do this?  Slice off little pats of butter and place them evenly on top.  OR take a squeeze bottle of butter and distribute evenly...make sure it's butter!  Margarine makes it taste different)

Place in oven and let bake for 40-45 minutes, or until top is bubbly and golden brown.

Let cool, and enjoy!  Use a spoon as a serving tool, this is not a firm cake by any means.  Tastes amazing with some vanilla ice cream on the side, and can be eaten hot or cold.  Seriously delicious.

Apple pie filling can be replaced with cherry, pineapple, peaches, or whatever else you think might taste good.  I love cherry dump cake as well!  I've also heard of people mixing cherry and pineapple together, then dumping it in the bottom.  Quite a few people sprinkle walnuts or pecans on top of the cake mix, but neither of us are a huge fan, so I left them out.
Hope you like!  Try it out and let me know how it goes.  The apple pie filling is considerably sweet, so take that into account before you decide what fruit to use.

The Ninja Handbook

My Husband and I are obsessed with Ninjas.  We named our dog Ninja (which is actually in part due to the fact that he can get out of anything...quite annoying), Timmy has a future Ninja tattoo planned, and we both love to read The Ninja Handbook by The International Order of Ninjas.

We make it a point to head to bed early, snuggle up with the dogs, and Timmy reads to us.  May sound overly cheesy, but this book is hilarious.  Here is the disclaimer.

"The writers and publishers of The Ninja Handbook are dead serious about the fact that this book will kill you.  Just put it down and walk away.
Oh, you don't scare so easy, huh?  Quick flip to a random page.  Are you back?  Do you still have control of your bowels?
Honestly, no one is going to think any worse of you than they already do.  Walk away.
Look, we get it.  Somebody's with you and you don't want to lose face by running screaming and crying from a book, but this is your life we're talking about.  You can't handle a book like this.  Seriously.  This is your last warning.  Walk away.
What part of "last warning" didn't you understand?  Do we have to send you a list of names and burial site?  'Cause, brother, we got one and it is Nile-long.  We're not trying to scare you, friend.  It ain't about fear, it's about survival. By continuing to read this, you're tearing off your logic suit and jumping into Lake Stupid.  Now, we want you to put down this book, and scurry your Beta-buying, trailer-rebuilding, crazy-ex-drunk-dialing, Yahoo-e-mail-using, "I can do that" saying, F.D.A.-believing, USA Today-reading butt outta here.
Still here?  Nice.  Let's do this!"

Already off to a fantastic start and the book hasn't even begun.  We lay in bed cracking up at some of the lessons and weapons, and have maybe tried practicing a few of the moves around the house.  We're not very good yet.

If you love Ninjas as much as we do and have ever considered becoming one, I suggest this read.  Of course, it's at your own risk.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hospital Waiting Rooms

One of my dearest friends and next door neighbor, Shanna, is constantly plagued with my company.  Since I have no children and she has three, I typically invite myself along on her errands or outings, not only to lend a hand, but because her children provide the best entertainment ever.  Today was definitely one of those days.

I tagged along with them on their morning trip to the produce stand and pet store, and one of the stops between happened to be the hospital for a quick New Baby check up.  Shanna took Landen (three weeks) and Grayson (1.5 years) to see the doctor, while I kept company with Cole (3 years).  Cole loves to talk and wiggle about, so I had to think of a way to keep him still.  Thank goodness for my handy little camera that I never leave home without.  He kept telling me to take pictures of his "awesome faces" or pointing out other objects that I absolutely had to capture on film.

Mostly funny faces, but his very favorite book got to make an appearance.  After a while, I managed to make him angry (not a rare occurrence.  mostly i just have to talk and he gets angry at me), so I let him take the camera and take pictures of what he wanted.

 (self portrait)

There were quite a few more of the carpet, stroller, and random strangers, but they were not quite as entertaining.  Well, there you are!  This was my day hanging out with a three year old.  Quite a bit better than it could have been.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Moldy Berries?

In effort to start eating healthier while saving money on our grocery bill, I have recently started frequenting Larry's Produce, an amazing fruit and vegetable stand located in nearby Napa Valley.  However, due to my large affinity for blueberries and strawberries, I end up making the trip out there two or three times a week to buy in small quantities so they don't go bad (not that I mind...the drive is amazing, and the stand itself is so much fun).  I've started searching for a way to help me keep my produce fresh for longer so I can make less trips and buy larger quantities.  Then, I found this blog via Pinterest (such a life changing site, ya know?!).  Here is a home remedy to keep your berries from getting moldy:

Upon arriving home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar and 10 parts water in a large bowl or pot.  White vinegar or apple cider vinegar work best.

Dump berries into mixture and stir until all berries have been doused in mixture.

Drain, and rinse if so desire.  Mixture is diluted enough that does not affect taste in my opinion, but it could be stronger to others.  Place in refrigerator until time to eat!

Voila!  The vinegar kills mold spores and other bacteria on the fruit, and keeps raspberries fresh for a week, and strawberries for two weeks.  I haven't tried it on blueberries yet, but I imagine just as fantastic of results.  Hope it works as well for you as it has for me!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekend In Pictures

Davis is a local college town (UC Davis) and one of the best places to go for drinking (or so I hear.  I've only been once, and I was the designated driver).  Neither Timmy or I had ever been during the day to wander around their downtown area, so we headed over Saturday and spent a couple hours playing tourist.  

Love love love these bicycles.  

We found an old Boy Scouts cabin that had been built in the early 1900's.

A little oasis where the college students could sit and study.

Bench made from skateboards!!!

Sushi for lunch.

My amazing accessories.  The pics are small so the details are hard to see, but this is my all time favorite necklace and the cutest pair of heels I own.  Love them!

Great weekend even if Davis was slightly disappointing in the thrift/consignment/antique store department.  I'm sure I just don't know where to look, but I had high hopes for their little downtown area.  But Timmy and I got to spend tons of time together, and that's all that matters.

How was your weekend?  Get to do anything amazing?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Blog = Re amped!

I redid the blog!!!!  I think I'm disgustingly excited about this.  Excited, and overly tired as well.  I have spent the better part of six hours (give or take) working on this thing.  That is pathetic for two reasons:

1)  It still doesn't look quite perfect.  One of these days I will pay someone to make me a custom layout.  I was too impatient to wait for the results, so I did it myself, which is why it's a tad off.  But I love it for the moment.  (If anyone has any pointers or some time on their hands and what to help out, I won't complain.)
2)  It took me so long because I have no clue what I'm doing.  I am beyond computer illiterate, and just the few things I had to copy and paste and whatnot gave me a massive headache.  Can someone please tell me, what exactly is HTML?

I'm not complaining too much, though.  It was time well spent in my opinion.  If you're wondering why I spent so much time on such a silly thing, it's because I'm trying to eventually expand the number of readers I have (which is almost nonexistent at this point).  Our new house in Germany will be a continuous four year project of DIY adventures, so why not get help and give pointers to others who are interested in the same thing?!  And the other reason...I'll be having a give away soon!  So make sure you check back often to enter and win something(s) cool.

Let me know if you like the new look or not, or have any advice/changes/etc. that you think I should do.  :)

Friday, August 5, 2011


I'm new to this whole giveaway thing...I've seen them before on others' blogs, but have never participated, so excuse me if I'm going about this the wrong way.

I followed a friend's tweet (thank you, Talia Christine) and found Smile and Wave, a blog that is currently giving away a $20 credit to The Stash and promoting these gorgeous vintage sheets.  All you have to do is tweet and/or Facebook share the giveaway, then let her know you've done so!  Make sure you do it by 7 pm central time tonight, then she'll pick a winner.  Easy and cool, right?

Check out the blog and enter to win.  Check back for more giveaways in the future, I'm loving this new concept :)

Monday, August 1, 2011


This is a rant.  If you're not interested in reading about what upsets me, there will be no hard feelings and you may of course continue on your merry way (or read some other posts...whatever floats your boat).

Today's topic is the growing irritation directed towards military members and dependents that refuse to entertain the idea of moving overseas and/or do everything possible to get out of deployments.  I know that this sentence has already upset quite a few people; please let me explain.
I am prior active duty Air Force, and my husband is still in the Air Force as an NCO.  Timmy has deployed twice in his 6 years and I deployed once during my four.  We have both been extremely lucky having only been separated twice in the entire time we've known each other, and even those two deployments were extremely trying on our relationship.  I absolutely hate the rate of deployment for the Air Force at the moment, particularly the 2T2 career field, and I definitely wish that our men and women could spend more time at home before being shipped off to the Middle East again.  HOWEVER.  If they were to tell Timmy today that he had to leave at the end of the week for Afghanistan (therefore postponing our PCS to Germany) then obviously he would go.  I would not ask him to injure himself or to make up some phantom illness or mental disease, I would not beg for them to send someone else in his place, and I may moan and groan and cry about how unfair it is, but the bottom line is that we signed up for the military lifestyle, and that scenario is part of it.  I understand that I don't have children, and I'm absolutely positive that it is a million times harder to watch your spouse deploy when you have to stay home with kids that want to know where mommy or daddy are, but unfortunately, you chose to be a part of the military community.  If you did not want your spouse to leave for six (or more) months at a time, then you should not have decided that they join.  Yes, I know the excuses: Joining the military got us out of a horrible lifestyle, we needed a way to pay for school, we couldn't find any other job opportunities, etc. etc.  I completely understand all of that, and empathize completely.  But your security comes with a price: deployments, TDYs, training days, 12 hour shifts, no holidays off, working weekends, missing birthdays, leaving at the drop of a hat.  It is difficult, but isn't knowing that you're much better off now worth him being gone for a few months?  And even if it's not, the fact that he signed a contract and is obligated to go should change your point of view.  I get that it sucks.  I get that it's hard.  I get that being told that you put yourself into the position is a little bitter, but take a look at it this way.  The Army deploys for a year at a time.  The Marines deploy for who knows how long at a much higher rate with a much more dangerous mission.  The Navy puts the majority of their people on ships and expects them to not go crazy.  Six months in the desert in relative safety is a helluva lot better than it could be.

Second is the straight out refusal to PCS anywhere overseas.  Once again, you signed up for this job as either active duty or as a dependent and expected to spend your entire life in the States?  What is the point of that?!  I've heard the millions of excuses for this one as well; our family is all in the US, we want our children to see their grandparents, all of our friends are here, I don't know the language...Here are my answers.  Overseas military communities are much more closely knit than those stateside.  They are willing to help you find homes in the local area, give you tours of the base and surrounding villages, etc. Learning the language isn't necessary, you'll have everything you need on base.  You can make new friends and keep in touch with old ones via the amazing technological advancements that have been made over the last few years.  And family.  The majority of military families I know don't live near their hometown (unless you're one of the weird ones that went back home after basic and Tech school), so in reality, you only see your family once or twice a year, if that.  Did you know that while stationed over seas, you have two (2 week) periods that you are ENTITLED to, to take leave and go home?  By HOP?  So that excuse is moot.  You'd probably go home more often while over seas than you did while in the States.  But you might be right, it's just not worth enriching your childrens' cultural senses and experience in a place they will never have the chance to see or visit again.

I am not very eloquent, nor am I a very fantastic writer.  These are just my opinions.  I know that there are special circumstances to each situation (special needs children, parents that live with you, etc.) but my  thoughts are related to the average military household.  There are many factors that I chose not to mention just due to the fact that the blog would then be a hundred pages long instead of just one entry.  I promise I wasn't trying to offend anyone, this is simply something that has been building up since I joined the military and subsequently have been privy to a multitude of reasons, excuses, and plots to send another family man in place of themselves on deployment.  Feel free to leave a comment; I voiced my opinion, now I would love to hear yours.