January 26, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: Week Four*

Welcome to the Pinterest Challenge: Week Four! If you are new to this challenge [as I'm sure most people are!] then feel free to go here to check out the rules & all pertinent information. 

Welcome to week four everyone! HOORAY! I am happy to see a few regular posters already and am hoping that this will gain some speed in the coming months. I am a huge failure and due to an extreme lack of time/being completely exhausted/dealing with some pregnancy issues I did not get anything on my Pinterest list accomplished this week. So, I bring you this funny instead:

Which, coincidentally, I found on Pinterest. So I guess that kind of counts? And it's funny, because it's true. Next week may also be a challenge as we are heading to Savannah, GA for the weekend, but I will do my best. I have a couple of projects that I will start working on and recipes to be cooked [although I really am trying to get away from the recipes! They are just so dang easy to go to when you love cooking!].


A shiny, kind of pretty button that you can now share on your blog to help spread the word about this wonderful link party. The more the merrier! So add it to your posts, or put it permanently on your blog to help drive traffic during the non-pinterest challenge days. Either way, I hope y'all use it. [You will see it right over there to the right ... a little lower ... yup. Right there. Code and all!]

So have at it, folks. What did you do this week? Did you branch out and try something new? Or did you stick to what you know? Link up, peeps!

January 25, 2012

Wine & Painting Class*

Hello! If you're here from ICLW, see my lame attempt at this month's ICLW post here. Thanks for stopping by & I hope you stick around!

Recently, a new art studio opened up here in town. As an avid art lover & someone who enjoys painting, drawing, photography & all things creative, I have always been bummed by the lack of art classes this town offers. Growing up in the Northwest, art was something that was engrained in my life from early on and an important part of growing up [for me, at least]. Any chance I had to take an art class of some kind, I did. And while I have all the supplies I need at my home, it's always nice to get out and do a class with other folks to branch out. Unfortunately, that had been somewhat non-existent to this point.

The new studio is literally called "Wine, Paint & Canvas." You bring your own wine [or, sparkling cider in my case right now] and they give you all the supplies you need as well as teach you how to do a painting. You sign up for the specific piece you want to do & everyone does the same thing. At the end you walk way with a beautiful masterpiece done by you! The painting are fairly simple & definitely focuses on beginner techniques, but a couple girlfriends & I thought we would try it out. All in all, we had a blast!

The class lasted a little over two hours and was PACKED. We had a great time just sitting & talking, while also checking each others paintings out. The girls did AWESOME & I was so proud of them! Painting can be difficult for beginners and I thought the other three did such a lovely job!


All in all, I THINK everyone had a really great time! It was nice to get out with the girls for a couple of hours and just relax, while also doing something semi-productive [and working towards that goal of mine to be more artistic this year!] I think we are all definitely planning on going back in the future, and the darling husband has even expressed going on a date night together post-baby. I foresee myself spending a lot of time here in the future for a quick, easy art class.

Check out everyone's finished product: 

January 24, 2012

ICLW & Stuff*

So, I totally signed up to do ICLW this week & have completely failed on doing any sort of blogging whatsoever. I know. Lame. So if you're here from ICLW & you haven't run away screaming yet because I suck & haven't actually done an ICLW post, you can go here for previous ones. They do an OK job of giving the back story. I promise I will make up my comments on other blogs!!

I really do hope you will stick around.

In other news, this week has been crazy & it's only Tuesday. In fact, the past few days have been insane. I feel like I'm lost in some time/space continuum where nothing really fits or makes sense. Maybe I'm officially going crazy, or maybe I'm just dealing with extreme lack of sleep and battling my way through exhaustion. [I'm going to go with the sleep theory.] With my due date quickly approaching, I haven't been sleeping well. Which, this does not make sense to me. I know that this is common in pregnant women, that with the third trimester comes more lack of sleep .... it seems to be life's cruel joke. This should be the time when I get the most sleep in preparation for the lack of sleep I'm about to be getting. But yeah. That's not happening. Getting comfortable is getting harder and harder. Most nights I give up my fight with finding an acceptable spot on the couch and just move to the bedroom, where I can stretch out with my millions of pillows. A good night lets me sleep for a two hour stretch without waking up for a bathroom break, needing to shift because my hip/shoulder is killing me or just general discomfort. A RARE night gives me a three hour stretch. I haven't slept more than three hours at any given time in months.

Granted, it is what it is. But this lack of sleep is effecting my life. Despite my best efforts, I'm becoming more & more useless at work. I hope that this kid comes a week or two early, for the simple fact of no longer embarrassing myself during meetings because I can't come up with a word or complete a full sentence during a presentation. It's funny for those around me, thankfully, and passing it off as baby brain works from time to time, but as a professional with a perfectionist problem, it's just plain annoying for me.

But alas, I get through. And am realizing every day how fast March 9th is approaching. It's scary to think that in just a few weeks, we will be responsible for another human being. Something that we've wanted for so long, but at the same time, something that is so terrifying. How the hell are we going to do this? We may have all the right equipment to get through -- we have the crib, the stroller, the car seat, the clothes, EVERYTHING -- but how will we REALLY do this? I think panic has set in a little for both M & I. I know we will make it through & I know we are as prepared as we can be, & even more I know we will fuck up so many times along the way. Only time will tell I guess!

With that said, I am very much ready for the next chapter of my life. This pregnancy has been far from easy for me, mentally or physically, and I am ready to move on. I came, I saw, I conquered. And while I am far from being in a normal state of mind these days, I think things have gotten better. I THINK they have gotten better because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but better none the less. There are still bad days mixed in with the good days, and tears for no reason. All things that I am watching carefully & fully aware of. I am trying really, really hard. And hopefully things will be much better on the other side.

I have so many other things to write about this week, and plan on posting at least a couple more times before this weekend [or at least have posts scheduled!]. We are going to Savannah on Friday for two nights as our last trip just the two of us. I am BEYOND looking forward to a weekend away with  my husband, away from the dogs, away from the house, away from life at the moment. Just a weekend of relaxing and eating [and definitely some sight-seeing!]. I can't wait to share photos, because trust me, there will be plenty of them!

Happy Tuesday, all! And happy ICLW!

January 20, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: Week Three*

Welcome to the Pinterest Challenge: Week Three! If you are new to this challenge [as I'm sure most people are!] then feel free to go here to check out the rules & all pertinent information. 

I am always looking for meals for dinner time that are quick and easy. I love to cook, but I also work full time, so after being at the office all day the last thing I want to do when I come home is spend an hour or more in the kitchen. If I can cook a meal in 30 minutes or less, then I am totally happy!

I found this one earlier in the week and since I had all the ingredients at home already, it was the perfect match for dinner last night. It was REALLY good, and incredibly easy. I will say that I must have gotten the hottest jalapeno at the grocery store, because holy crap ... the one pepper, despite seeds and veins, made this dish incredibly spicy. Even for M. But it was still good, and I will just use half (or a much smaller) pepper next time.

Noodle over Stir-Fried Shrimp & Cilantro
Kosher salt
6 oz. 1/4-inch-wide dried rice noodles (pad thai)
2 medium limes, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges
1-1/2 Tbs. packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
3/4 lb. peeled and deveined large shrimp (31 to 40 per lb.)
3 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
Freshly ground black pepper
2 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1 large shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the noodles, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the noodles are just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a colander and run under cold water to cool slightly. Drain well.

2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, sugar, soy sauce, and fish sauce; set aside. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 Tbs. of the oil, the coriander, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

3. Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the red pepper, jalapeño, and shallot, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

4. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until it turns pink and is almost cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add the lime juice mixture and cook, stirring, until the shrimp is cooked through, about 1 minute more.

5. Add the noodles and half of the cilantro; toss until the noodles heat through and pick up the sauce, 1 to 2 minutes.

6. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cilantro, with the lime wedges on the side for squeezing.
    Serves 3-4.

    What did you create this week?

    January 17, 2012

    Baby Shower*

    This past Saturday, my amazing friends Raychael & Belinda threw my baby shower for me here in town. Since I have no family in the area, I consider myself extremely lucky that I had not one, but two friends who wanted to step up and take on the responsibility & who, in my opinion ;) threw an amazing shower.

    It was perfect.

    I really could not have asked for anything better. The decorations were gorgeous. They listened to what little requests I had. The cake was both amazingly beautiful AND tasty. And there was some seriously yummy food (I regret not taking multiple plates of it home with me!). All of my best and closest friends here in town were there to celebrate with me. I really could not have asked for anything more.

    My mom flew in from Seattle for the too short weekend & we had a great time together in those couple of days. She was so happy to see that I have such an amazing support system of friends here in town, since family is non-existent around here. And I will say that I do believe that I am so blessed to have so many wonderful friends. I can't say that enough! I easily could have invited 50 people to the shower, but the women that were there are the closest, nearest & dearest to my heart. We had a blast, despite being extremely exhausted that night [and the next day!] but it was an amazing experience. One that I will never forget. It was so full of love and support. My heart has never been bigger.

    We got so many great things, as well. I am happy to say that after this weekend, we pretty much have everything that we need for this baby. There are still a few smaller items that we are needing to get us through, but we have started to make those purchases in small doses & will continue to do so in the coming weeks. But as far as the large stuff goes, this kid is already spoiled rotten. There were beautiful hand made items both from my friends & friends of my moms, as well as some genuinely creative items that I never would have thought to ask for. We got a lot of great items from our registry, but also some practical items that will come in handy. And diapers galore! Good grief!

    All in all, it was such a wonderful experience! I really do feel blessed and loved [I'm serious ... I can't say it enough] and will never be able to thank my friends enough for all that they did for us. both that were able to attend and those that weren't. We still have eight weeks to go before this baby makes it's debut, but the family it will be a part of is extensive. They may not be blood, but they are still family.

    It was also very hard to say goodbye to my mom. We hadn't seen each other since August [being 3,000 miles apart makes that difficult] and even at 31, I realized how much I needed my mom around. I'm going to partially blame hormones mixed with utter exhaustion, but Sunday, when she left, was a hard day. I pretty much spent the entire day crying my eyes out. I am glad that she will be back in March after her first grandbaby is born, but I do wish she lived closer to experience this whole process with me.

    It was a perfect day. One that I never thought would have ever happened! And it couldn't have been any better :) Thank you, ladies! Love you!

    January 12, 2012

    Pinterest Challenge: Week Two*

    Welcome to the Pinterest Challenge: Week Two! If you are new to this challenge [as I'm sure most people are since we're only in week two!] then feel free to go here to check out the rules & all pertinent information.

    When we started talking about the nursery plans, I was pretty set with the fact that I didn't want a traditional changing table. The room we are using is a decent size, but there were a few key things that I wanted & didn't want to give up. Space was one of them, which means minimal furniture. In an attempt to not only save space but utilize it as best as we could, we decided to find a used dresser and re-purpose it, using the top as our changing table portion.

    We got this baby for $100 from a used furniture store near our house. I fell in love with the detail as well as the size & space. It's a heavy piece & very sturdy, but obviously needed some love:

    With this project in mind [even before we found the dresser] I had been keeping my eyes open on Pinterest for ways to re-purpose furniture, as well as ideas in general on what color to paint it. Because we had painted the walls such a dark grey, we wanted to stick with really light & bright colors for the rest of the furniture & I wanted the dresser to really pop. I was willing to do the work necessary for a re-purpose job ... until I got this one. I loved the detail, but sanding this bad boy down was going to be a bitch. What was I thinking??

    And then I came across Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on pinterest. A product that claimed to be so simple & fabulous, that no prep work was necessary. A paint that doesn't need any sanding? That fills in gaps & holes, & doesn't leave paint streaks? What?? How is this possible? They also claim that you can use this paint on almost anything: furniture, walls, indoors, outdoors ... anything! After searching many, many blogs to see if the claim was true [do a search ... people swear by this paint product!] & searched for a US retailer that shipped, I ordered the paint & got to painting. Because we wanted something bright, I went with the color Provence:

    A nice, bright teal! As soon as I opened the can, I knew I was in love. I should also probably mention that I have no idea why they call it "Chalk Paint." This is not chalkboard paint, so please don't get the wrong idea. I haven't quite figured that out yet. But the paint definitely went on as smooth as people said it would. The paint is a little thicker, so I did have to use two coats. However, if you wanted a more rustic look, one coat would have been fine. A lot of people sand down their projects a little, to give it that little bit of "extra rustic" look but I wanted a good solid color, so I applied two coats and left it as is.

    After painting & letting dry, I applied a coat of the clear wax, which keeps the paint from scratching & overall just protects the product. I definitely recommend it. I was hesitant at first, but was glad I spent the extra money. The wax can be reapplied overtime, keeping it in good condition.

    All in all, I'm pretty happy with the final product. I think it's the pop of color that we need in the nursery while also being functional. And, I think it looks good :)

    Pin It

    Alright people! Show me the goods! What did you do this week??

    January 10, 2012

    My Past Blogging Life*

    I got a couple of  message from some twitter friends this week, talking about my old blog, "My Army Wife Life." I've heard from them, and from others in the past, that it was the first military spouse blog that they had found. I wrote there for three years and loved every minute of it.

    I miss that blog from time to time, mostly because of the freedom I had to write whatever I wanted. Which, I definitely have that here as well, but the direction of our life changed and I didn't feel the topics that I was writing about over there were relevant to my life anymore [politics] or that I had a lot to offer about the military life. M has been home for two years now since his last deployment, and our life is pretty stable & normal. There is definitely the normal Army crap that we deal with from day to day, but we have settled into a pretty good routine in our household. That may change any day, especially with the possibility of him going to Warrant Officer school, but we're taking it day by day and enjoying what little normal military life we can!

    I wish I had more aspects of our military life to write about, but I honestly can't come up with anything. We've been lucky that with M on Global Relief, they haven't been called out for anything. Again, that can change any minute, and he could be gone tomorrow. But it's been pretty easy. And I have nothing to complain about! My friends, on the other hand, can't all say the same, and so we try to be as supportive as possible to those we know dealing with deployments and all that comes with them, good and bad.

    Being in this transition phase makes me definitely enjoy the Army a little more. I definitely do miss writing about it, being a resource for other military spouses ... and I honestly hope that I can get back to that point where I have useful things to say and experiences to share. Unfortunately, that probably means a deployment will happen. BUT ... maybe I can find a middle ground! Share some of my past experiences with you, even though not all of you are military spouses, and try to be somewhat useful again.

    We will see.

    But for those that are here because you followed me, I'm glad you stuck around. I didn't make this available to everyone, so if you found me or followed the links on twitter, then I am definitely glad you are here. It's nice having a small piece of my past blogging life mixed in with this one!

    January 5, 2012

    Pinterest Challenge: Week One*

    Here we go folks! The first every Pinterest Challenge! Below is the link up for this week. Bear with me, as I'm using this program for the first time, so here's hoping it works! If you are new to all of this [as we all are!] you can find all the rules and specifications here, or by clicking the "Pinterest Challenge" link up in the tool bar!

    This week, to get things started, we asked you to just show us your favorite Pinterest find that you've written about in the past! A recipe. A craft project. A homemade good. Anything!

    Since most of the things I've found on Pinterest [ok, the only things I've actually made from Pinterest] are recipes, I thought I would share one of my favorites. I found this recipe a while back and it definitely made for a great dinner. I have no doubt in my mind that you will think it's tasty. I regularly use a little cheese in my turkey burgers [so not a big jump, plus feta ... nom.] & who doesn't love avocado?? I foresee these being a new alternative to the normal way I make them.

    Feta-Avocado Turkey Burger Pitas

    For the turkey burgers:

    1 lb ground turkey burger
    1 avocado, diced
    1 cup crumbled feta cheese
    1/2 tsp garlic salt
    3 tbs bread crumbs
    3 tbs diced green onion
    salt and pepper

    Served with: 
    1 pkg whole wheat pitas 
    2 tomatoes, sliced
    1 head of lettuce, separated

    Spicy Mayo
    1/3 cup light Mayo
    1-2 tsp cumin (depending on how strong you like it)

    1. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients together, mixing with your hands until evenly incorporated.  Shape into 6 patties.  Season both sides with salt and pepper. 

    2. Lightly brush each side of the patties with extra virgin olive oil.  Place patties on the grill (high heat), cooking about 6 minutes each side until cooked through.  

    3.  Spread some of the spicy mayo in each pita pocket and place a turkey burger in each.  Garnish with lettuce and tomatoes.   

    So there you go, friends! What do you have?! I can't wait to see any submissions that come in this week. Be sure to share this challenge with all your friends!

    January 3, 2012

    Pinterest Challenge 2012*

    If you read this blog regularly, you have seen me mention COUNTLESS times about various things I have discovered on Pinterest. More often than not, they are recipes that I try for dinner, because I'm a total foodie and love to cook [I also love to cook really great meals that don't take more than 30 minutes during the week because seriously, who wants to slave away in the kitchen after slaving away at a desk all day? Yeah. Nobody.]

    Quick detour, if you are not signed up on Pinterest, follow the link and check it out. It takes a little while to get your account registration approved, but it is totally worth it. And addicting. Don't say you haven't been warned.

    My good friend, Cortney, over at A Dog, A Farm, A Canvas, A Quilt wrote a really great post today about how freaking awesome Pinterest is, but how it is also a huge time suck. Like her, I spend most of my time on it [which is a lot] re-pinning things, but rarely ever DOING the things I pin, therefore, making the whole point of the site a big fat waste of time. I will admit that I have found many great recipes through Pinterest that have been solid winners in my kitchen. But aside from the cooking, I haven't done much else.

    So here's the plan. folks.

    Like Cortney, I am going to attempt to make at least one thing a week that I find on Pinterest. I plan on sharing here, because I want to be accountable for actually being productive. Plus, this will help me out with one of my New Year's Goals. BUT, because I know so many people who frequent Pinterest, and who also happen to blog, I thought I would make this a group effort!

    So let's do a link up!

    Starting this Thursday, and every week through the rest of the year, do something creative that you find on Pinterest. Whether it's a recipe that you try for the first time, a homemade product, a knitting pattern that you fell in love with & decided to make, a photo that you took that was better than past photos because of tips you found on Pinterest .... you get the idea! Every Thursday I will open up the links and keep them open throughout the weekend. Come here, share your wonderfulness and see what other people are doing. Maybe you'll be inspired to try something else new!

    Since it's already Tuesday, and Thursday is right around the corner, let's start the week with anything that you have done from Pinterest in the past. If you have already blogged about it, feel free to link up to that blog post. If you haven't blogged about it, but want to, feel free to do that as well.

    I've written a detailed page with instructions, what to post, what to include, etc and you can find that here [or, by clicking "Pinterest Challenge" up in the menu bar!] Eventually, I will also include a button that you can add to your site & include in your posts.

    Let's have some fun, people!

    January 2, 2012

    Counting Down*

    While it is now officially January 2nd, I fully realize that I am a day late in saying this, but I will say it anyways. Happy New Year to all my friends & readers!

    In it's short life span, 2012 has already proven to be a thought-provoking year for me. While I am definitely working towards making sure my goals and resolutions happen, I'm realizing that there are some other changes that need to happen in my life as well, changes that at some point I might share, but for now are just for me. Because honestly, I don't know how to phrase them without sounding selfish or ungrateful. But I am hoping that overall, 2012 makes me a better person. One who doesn't care so much what other people think of me. One who can let go of things that have happened in the past. And one who can be learn to cut ties with individuals when it's necessary instead of holding on to failing friendships [or faking my way through some friendships, which I have been doing a lot of lately].

    This new year is also bringing on Baby Boho. I have officially hit 30 weeks, which is scary in it's own right. March 9th is just around the corner and I am in no way, shape or form ready for what is coming. I am starting to feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I need to accomplish prior to the baby coming, but am also feeling like I am running out of time. We have 10 weeks until my due date, and while that seems like a good amount of time, I fear that it is not. Being in the third trimester means that I am back on the exhausted band wagon. So after working a full day, the likelihood of anything happening after I come home is usually slim, leaving my weekends to get things done. But with so few weekends left, I feel like everything that I want to happen is NOT going to happen. And it's frustrating. My husband, king of unfinished projects, is no help. Well, he is, but not in the motivation factor.

    So, a list is being made. And it WILL get tackled. I may be an emotional basket case in the coming weeks [more so than I already am] but something needs to give. The nursery is not even close to being finished and my house is not nearly as organized as I want it to be. Our baby supplies are about to increase dramatically, and as of right now, I have nowhere to put anything.

    So starting today, I'm getting things done. Not exactly how I wanted to spend the last day of my long weekend, but shit needs to happen around here, before I go crazy. I will admit that I hired a cleaner to come in next week, and I couldn't be more excited. My mom is coming in from Seattle for the weekend and there was no way I was going to get it clean the way I wanted to, especially with a husband who is currently home for another week due to knee surgery. Having a nice, deep cleaned home will definitely make me feel a little better about things [again, especially after having a husband who will have been home for two weeks at that point, making a mess and driving me crazy] and I may even get her to come back at the end of February before baby comes. We will see. But either way, it will be money well spent. We used to have cleaners that came in every two weeks & it was glorious. But alas, they were both Army wives and both ended up PCS'ing. I never found anyone else that I loved as much as them, so that luxury fell by the wayside. Having someone do the dirty work for me while I'm at the office will be a great treat.

    Happy Monday to all. And wish me luck on my motivation skills!