Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Buckling Down

As summer comes to a close and Tyler's vacation days end we are buckling down in several aspects of our life. Together Tyler and I budgeted every. dollar. of our earnings this month in an effort to name our money and where it goes each month instead of looking at each other on the 30th and saying, "Where did that go?"


I do love an excel sheet, the thrill of separating, naming, and using each dollar for what is it labeled, but it is hard. It takes discipline and to be fair, we don't always have that discipline. One big aspect of our budgeting is my planning and cooking meals at home -- to include lunch -- a major weakness of ours. So, I come to you, whoever is still out there, to share my struggle, honesty, and meal plan.



Since we were married I have felt that unless I have a full meal -- meat, a few veggies, possibly a salad -- on the table, we should go out. Tyler HAS NEVER made me feel that way -- it is a pressure that I put on myself and felt I had to live up to. Over time I have come to terms with the fact that a sandwich or grilled cheese is just fine and we are starting to go with it. So without further ado ...

Tuesday -- Salmon, baked sweet potatoes (Emma's favorite!), and broccoli
Wednesday -- Church
Thursday -- Chicken, Broccoli Alfredo Bake
Friday -- Hot Dogs, chips and leftover corn or fruit
Saturday -- London Broil, potato casserole, butterbeans -- all from the freezer
Sunday -- Homemade pizza

Not only am I trying to cook at home more, but I am trying to use what we have in our freezer and pantry efficiently to lower our grocery bill and be less wasteful with the food we have.

Let me know if you want to exchange some recipes and/or ideas to make ingredients go farther!


Monday, September 1, 2014

The Great Computer Debate

As we can see, my blogging has been non-existent over the last two months. There are many reasons for this, but one of the biggest is the computer debate.



Last July my computer putzed out and I thought it would be best to buy an iMac -- desktop -- for our family for a wide variety of reasons. I argued for parental controls, better security for the girls when they start using it (years from now), better time management, etc. etc. Unfortunately, all of those ideas sounded good at the time, but the longer I had that computer the more I HATED it. I HATED being restrained to the desk and I found that I spent an annoying amount of time on it.

So, I began the month of August with a goal to sell my computer in order to purchase a laptop. I listed the computer on Facebook and Craigslist and within the week it was sold, YAY!! So, Tyler and I took that money to Best Buy to purchase a computer that he felt was best (he is our resident tech researcher and purchaser because I just don't care that much). We put the girls to bed, opened my shiny, new laptop and found a glitchy screen. It would flutter through screens and colors and was just mind boggling. Sweet Tyler took that bad boy back less than 3 hours after we purchased it.

Upon his return we confidently opened computer #2 knowing that the first was just a poorly produced computer and this would definitely be better. Unfortunately, not so much. I kept the computer for one week to see if it would grow on me, but in the end it was returned, too.

We took a week-long hiatus from the computer drama to Washington, DC got home and finally settled on a Lenovo and I love it. I have had it for two weeks, we have had no glitches along the way and I couldn't be happier. What do you prefer -- laptop or desktop?? I see the value in both, but for me, the laptop is definitely the way to go!

Now that I am back up and running I plan to import my summer pictures and update you on my cute girls!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?


** Please forgive me for the lack of character in this post. I've been traveling and am publishing from my phone**

Now on to Bernadette ...  I enjoyed the book and was taken by the twist at the end. Like most books it took me a while to get into it , but once I made time to read I really loved the book. I found the mother/daughter relationship to be the most intriguing part of the book. The book is told from Bee's point of view -- and she thought her mother hung the moon. I liked seeing Bernadette from Bee's perspective because it was honest about her crazy habits and strange tendencies, yet it showed she did have the heart to care about someone. 

At the beginning of the book I thought Elgie was a hard-working father who was just consumed with his work, but as the truth unraveled I began to think he used work to escape his life. I think he used it to escape Bernadette and her shenanigans and to escape the delapidating Striaght Gate. Do you agree? 

On the Straight Gate note -- do you think the property is symbolic of Bernadette and her life? It has huge potential, but lacks care  and love so it is crumbling around the family as they live together yet apart. 

Antarctica -- how random is that?? I found it interesting that  Bernadette and Elgie promised Bee anything she wanted if her grades were a certain standard. Bee chose to visit Antarctica. I learned a lot about the continent and was fascinated by the details Maria Sempler, the author, included. Do you honk rewarding grades and behaviors that are expected is okay? My famy just discussed this last weekend and we land all over the map in how we feel. 

What did you think about the writing structure? I thought it helped make this book a quick read. I enjoyed getting varying stories and perspectives on the same events in the book. Were you completely thrown for a loop at the end with Audrey's long confession? That made me have a little more compassion for her! 

At the end,, when all the pieces to the puzzle came out, I was dumbfounded as how smart and strategic  Maria Sempler is. I cannot imagine writing a book with so many secrets, varying points-of-view, and the literal man-hunt for Bernadette. I commend Maria for her work and rumor has it ttgat a film company has bought the rights to the book to turn it into a movie soon! 

I truly enjoyed this book and I look forward to hearing what you think, too. This is a very free book club -- you can answer the questions posed or you can leave your own thoughts. Please leave comments and we can interact about Bernadette. 

The next book and date will be announced on Monday. Two weeks from today is  July fourth, so perhaps well do Thursday that week. Take care and have a good weekend!! 


The Beach!

Tyler and I love the beach and we discovered that our girls do, too! We took our first ever vacation as a family (that wasn't a PCS) last week and had the best time. We hung out on the beach, played in the pool, rode the carousel, ate out, ordered in, napped, and just enjoyed each other.

Tyler took her on the carousel. I so enjoyed watching them come around each time and I love that he is getting to experience new things with her. Although she has always been fun, Caroline just keeps getting more and more fun!!

**Prepare for picture overload**












This year was quite different than last -- Tyler was here, I wasn't 10 months pregnant, and Caroline LOVED it! My family joined us for the second weekend of our trip and then the girls and I stayed for a few extra days with my Mom. I feel like a spoiled beach bum -- thank you, Tyler for letting me stay home with the girls and vacation with my Mom!!













Monday, June 9, 2014

Six Years

Tyler and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary on Saturday .. SIX!! We kicked the weekend off with a ball Thursday night. I do have to say Army Balls are one of the perks of the Army ... you get to dress up, have a nice dinner and socialize all night with the friends you've made in the unit.


Friday we had a date day that included the driving range, a movie, dinner out and reading on the couch that night. Yay for six fabulous years ... I am excited about what lies ahead.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Virtual Book Club

I have found that many bloggers and friends of mine are trying to read more. Read for fun, read to learn, read to escape, whatever the reason we want to read more. In light of this, I have decided to start a virtual book club for the summer. We will begin on Friday, June 20 with the book Where'd You Go, Bernadette? 



On June 20 I will pose a few questions on my blog and you can choose to respond in the comments section or to write your own review and link-up to my blog on that day. Anyone -- blogger or non-blogger -- is welcome to join. I hope that this will be a fun way to interact throughout the summer!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

TV Shows

Caroline does not get to watch a lot of television and she most certainly does not flip through the TV to choose what looks good. I have introduced her to a number of new shows over the last few months. She becomes obsessed with the new show and rarely goes back to the previous one.

Her old favorite, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,  is the only Disney show she has been able to watch. She hasn't watched it in months, so I'm not sure if she is over it or forgot about it. The other shows she has been introduced to are from PBS. They include: Clifford, Curious George, Madeline (DVD not PBS), and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood.

Most recently I introduced Super Why! I was afraid to introduce this because I didn't want to deal with the "Why" question before she started with it, but I LOVE this show. Super why .. the power to read. She LOVES it, too. This show is all about using books to find answers to solve problems. Letter recognition, letter sounds, and writing are all woven in each episode -- what's not to love. We recently bought a spelling wand at Target and she is having more fun than ever -- participating in writing words with Princess Pea on the show.






If you haven't seen it, check it out. PBS, 11 am EST.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day versus Veteran's Day

The United States designates two days each year to celebrate and thank military serviceman and their families, but these two days have two very different meanings. Since joining the military by Tyler's side six years ago, I have become keenly aware of the reason the United States designates these days, but also more knowledgeable about the difference.

Memorial day falls on the last Monday in May each year and is a day to remember our fallen soldiers, sailors and airman, and their families. This is not the day to thank people currently serving, yet a day to remember their fallen comrades. If you want to experience true love -- ask them about their friends and fellow serviceman who was killed in action. Be patient as you wait for the story because emotions are hard to contain, but they appreciate your sincerity and relish in the opportunity to share their friend's heroism.


On this day, do not forget the wives, husbands, sons, daughters, moms, and dads left behind. When a service member lays down their life, their relatives' lives change forever. They can tell you what they were doing when they heard the knock on the door and they can tell you what they are doing to survive each day without their loved one. These families are known as Gold-Star families and they are some of the most remarkable people you'll ever meet.


Veteran's Day is November 11 each year and is quite different. It is more of a celebration of those who currently serve. Say thank-you, have a parade, celebrate the men and women who volunteered to serve. Celebrate their families who are left behind for months on end.


This has become one of my pet-peeves. I encourage you to thank a serviceman every time you see them, there doesn't have to be a holiday to share your appreciation, but please don't continue to confuse the significance of Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. They are both necessary and special, but quite different in their purpose.