A Special Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful for each year.  This year I am thankful for something that in years past, hasn't been as surreal to me.  My life.  Now, you may say, you should always be thankful for life, but this year it's a little different, because we could have died last week, and there's nothing like a near death experience to put things in perspective.  We were driving Thursday night to the gas station and to rent a movie, it was a little after dark, and we were going between 45 and 50.  All of the sudden, last second, a van pulled across in front of us, like he never saw us, to turn into a drive way on our side.  With no reaction time (there aren't even skid marks at the scene), we hit him head on.  If you look at the pictures below, Jason tried to turn and take the brunt of the hit on his side (my knight in shining armor!).  We were both taken by ambulance to the ER and were released late that night with a lot of bruises and feeling pretty banged up.  But a head on collision at 50 mph could have been so much worse..thank heavens for seat belts and air bags.  The seatbelt bruised me pretty bad on my hip and chest, but kept me from going through the window!  The airbags burned Jason's arm, and my face is a little sore, but we didn't bust our heads on the dash or window.  My knees are both busted up, and I'm limping, and Jason's hand is swollen from it hitting the whindshield and shattering it when the airbag deployed, his collarbone was bruised, and both of us are hurting pretty badly in our backs and necks, and the doc thinks there is a possiblilty of Jason having a pinched nerve in his back or hip.  With all that said, we believe there was an angel riding with us that night, protecting us from worse harm.

And as always, I am so very thankful for my family who dropped everything last week to make the 3 1/2 hour trip to take care of us after the wreck, who prayed us through the ordeal, and who are continuing to take care of us this week at home, despite everything else going on trying to get ready for Thanksgiving!  I truly feel like I have the best family in the world, and I love you all with all my heart!

And going back to Jason...he really is the man I dreamed of.  He protects me at all costs, and despite his injuries, has handled everything this week from the police report to the insurance to the house and dog.  Our police report was wrong, and had to be fixed, because I wasn't even listed on it, and then the insurance has been a mess, because come to find out, the idiot that turned in front of us (who was obviously at fault), doesn't have insurance, or get this...a valid license!  So, needless to say, it's been nothing but stressful and draining, but Jason's handling things like a pro.  I love you so much, honey, and thank our Heavenly Father for blessing me with you!

And last, but not least, I am thankful for friends that rallied around us...friends who sat with us at the hospital until our family could get there, friends near and far, who were praying for us to be ok.  I love you guys!  You are truly the best friends a girl could ask for!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  Hug and kiss your loved ones, you are not promised another day!  Tell them you love them, because you don't know when it may be the last time you see or talk to them!  Please, don't take it for granted. 


A USMC Gunnery Sergeant & Sergeant In Their Natural Habitat

Just Dance 2 is awesomely fun!  Our friends, Jimi and Rachel came over last night for a "dance party".  The camera conveniently went missing when it was mine and Rachel's turn;o)  Let me tell you, if you want some fun exercise, this is it!  Enjoy!  We certainly did!

**Oh...and pause the music player at the bottom of my page!**


A Few Things I've Learned (and been reminded of) the Past Few Days

- NEVER, I mean NEVER go to Onslow Hospital ER.  They are absolutely the slowest ER I have ever been to.  We waited almost 5 hours in the waiting room, and were never seen.  We finally decided to take our chances on base at 11:30 last night.  I only had to wait 30 minutes there.  (The reason for the trip was me, I was hit suddenly with excruciating pain in my lower abdomen/pelvis area yesterday evening out of nowhere.  I was doubled over and in tears, nothing like I've ever felt before.  Still sore today, but they were able to rule out most of the serious, threatening things it could have been.  I don't like not having an answer, but peace of mind over it not being certain things is enough to satisfy me for now.)

-A morphine/zofran cocktail via IV is enough to totally knock you out.  Almost 17 hours later and I am still drowsy.  This was my first time having morphine.  Weird feeling for sure.

- Naval Hospital employees are not as professional as civilian hospitals.  I guess it's the whole military mentality thing. 

- Our dog can refrain from messing in the house (right after eating dinner, mind you) for 8 hours.  That's how long he got left last night during this whole ordeal.  I was proud of the little bugger.

- My husband is a wonderful man.  I already knew this, but when I am sick, he really shines, even more than other times, if that is possible.  He takes charge, and takes care of me.  He runs around and does everything I need, babies me, and geniunely does whatever he can to make me feel better or at least comfortable, everything that I am used to coming from home with a mom who did all those things.  I know you're proud too, Momma :)

- Batteries for Hemi engines are more than twice the price of regular car batteries.  Wish I woulda known that when we bought the Jeep!

- Buying a house is a long and drawn out process.  I am so impatient.  Closing is finally set for Monday at 10:00am. 

- I look more natural as a light colored brunette.  My new color is called Acorn.  Will post pictures soon.

- Family is the most important thing (next to a relationship with God) in this life.  A good family, like ours, is the biggest blessing.  I just feel so fortunate to have my family.  I love y'all so much!  You all mean so much more than I know how to express...


Getting Creative

My sweetie pie surprised me with the prettiest little marbled rose buds the other day, not thinking that all my vases are packed!  So, I had to get resourceful.  Not as pretty as a vase, but functional.  Yes, a reusable plastic water bottle.  Hey..you use what ya got!


Just Feel Like Rambling

The cool air lately is so refreshing!  The majority of the week here is calling for mid-60's.  Love it! 

The house is almost done!  We have only about a week and half until everything is done and we can close!  I can't wait to decorate the new place!  It already feels so homey, I can just imagine how it will be when we get all of our stuff in there!  Plus, we didn't have any flooding or leaks at the new place with all this rain, so that's reassuring!

We spent the day in Morehead City yesterday, shopping, and just spending time together.  It was nice.  We don't get to do that much during one of Jason's classes, so I try to enjoy what time I get with him.  He only has 9 more days of this class and then he gets two weeks off.  We are both really excited about this.  Not only to spend time together, but to move and get our house set up together:) 

Last night, we met up with our friends out there, and ate at this little hole-in-the wall place called Everyday Italian.  The stromboli was to DIE for...almost as good as Mama Mia's back home!  While sitting there, Jason and I had a flashback that brought tears to my eyes.  An elderly gentleman (who was probably a local), was getting up to leave, when he said to the waitress "I'm glad you got to see me".  Jason and I looked at each other and just chuckled.  It warmed my heart.  You see, that was one of my grandaddy's catch phrases, and I haven't ever heard anyone say that since he passed away almost 3 years ago.  I always miss him, but last night I REALLY missed him.

After dinner, we got coffees and hot chocolates from Dunkin Donuts and took off down to the beach.  We could see the fireworks from the Seafood Festival, which was really pretty.  We walked on the beach for a little while before it just got too cold to stay out there.  That excited me that it was COLD!

Jason has duty again today/tonight, so I have plans to go get a pumpkin donut from Dunkin Donuts (they were out last night) this afternoon, and enjoy a chick flick.  Probably get some laundry done and try to clean house a little for our first inspection of the rental house tomorrow.  And I have to change out the air filters.  Fun.

They are calling for passing showers today.  I am so sick of rain.  Maybe it will miss us.

My friend Tiffany will be here in 4 days from Florida.  It will be great to see her, and she will keep me busy and help the time pass more quickly while Jason is working almost all weekend next week.  We are planning on going down to Mike's Farm.  After dinner, we are going to take a pumpkin patch hayride to go get pumpkins.  Then we will probably go to the little local fair that is going to be in town next week.  It is one of our little traditions to go to this fair and ride the pirate ship even though it scares us both to death!

I can't wait to use my new side by side fridge/freezer.  You have no idea how excited I am to use these!  I will actually be able to see what we have in the freezer!

We plan on buying a storage building with our rental deposit refund instead of waiting for the homebuyer's tax credit. That way Jason will still have a workshop and we will have a place to put our out of season decorations and our mower.  I want one of those cute ones with a window so I can put a window flower box on it, and of course, it will have a barn star on it somewhere;o)

With our first time homebuyer's tax credit, I'm getting a new washer and dryer!  Ours are about 10 years old, and the washer is now making a squeaking noise during the spin cycle.  So loudly, that you can hear it downstairs with the tv on.  I'm just praying they will make it a few more months.

As far as the phone/cable/internet issue, we finally found out that Century Link is going out there with phone/internet, and they will bundle it with a satellite package.  I am relieved to know this, and most everything is falling into place nicely. 

You remember I was talking about Jimi and Rachel and their car situation with all the flooding.  They weren't as fortunate as we were with the car.  When they took it in to the shop, they found out that it will have to have a complete engine rebuild.  But, thankfully, insurance should cover it!

I will be watching the Panthers game today at 1:00.  We are not having a good season.  Pretty disappointing, but I'm still holding out hope that they will turn it around.  Maybe today will be the day (wishful thinking!).

Ok, time to get busy.  I can't use Blogger to stall anymore.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend!


We Didn't Float Away!

The tropical storm that has been racking the Eastern coast has finally cleared out. It left us with cooler temperatures, but that's the only good thing it brought! We had our friends from Morehead City over the other night, and their car broke down while here. Jason let them take his car home, and he got his car fixed, so we met halfway between our houses to switch cars back out. This was a bad idea to try doing this last night, on the worst night of the storm, considering it had been raining for 4 days straight. By the end of it last night, we had gotten 19.19 inches total!!! Roads were closing everywhere, and we found ourselves stuck on the other side of town, unable to get home due to the closing of Hwy. 24. We couldn't even go back through base, they shut it down, in some spots the water had risen to the bottom of stop signs! We finally decided to wind our way back to Emerald Isle and hit a highway there that takes us back to another main highway that would lead us home...about an hour and a half trip. The first road was 58. It was dark, curvy, and unfamiliar. We thought we were ok, as we weren't running into much standing water, when all of the sudden we came up on water rushing across the highway and into a large ditch, creating a pool of water, and a waterfall-like effect. Jason did wonderfully at keeping us from dying. The water took us across the road, and onto the shoulder of the oncoming lane. He got us stopped right before we slid off the road and into the watery ditch. We would have really been in trouble then. And then, the car died. We were praying it would start back, and that we hadn't just completely messed up the engine. After about 6 or 7 tries, it finally turned over, and we got back on the road. It took about 20 minutes for the car to finally get rid of all the water it sucked up, but thank heavens it did! We had several close calls on that road, but none as bad as that one. We truly believe we had been sent an angel to ride with us last night. The outcome could have been so much worse in so many ways. We finally made it to Hwy. 17 and it was alot more easy-going from there on. Our friends, Rachel and Jimi, weren't so lucky. Their car did the same thing, but it never started running normally again. The road they were on got closed, and no tow truck could get to them. The water was rushing across the road there so badly, they couldn't go home until 4 am. They have to put the car in the shop today. To give you a little idea of what we had to face last night, I took a few (not so good) pictures from my phone. This is before it got dark, and before it got even worse and they closed the roads.

We are just thankful that it's over, and that it wasn't any worse.  The house didn't flood, and we haven't found any leaks yet.  It was so much worse for so many others.  We saw emergency crews out by the dozens last night, and I know alot of people had to leave their homes due to flooding.  I just hope we won't have anything like this again for a long time!  Too bad I couldn't get any good pictures of the sound in Swansboro, the water there had completely covered the docks and had risen to the base of the houses.  It was scary!  We were told that in a nearby town, a car had been swept off the road by the waters and into a ditch, where the four people drowned.  This was no joke, and I am so thankful today that we are safe.  We need to keep those families in our prayers that weren't as fortunate.


A Smallish Update

The driveway at the new house HAS been moved, thank goodness!  I am so glad it is no long smack dab in the middle of our house..who would do that!?  Well..our neighbor, I guess.  The house at the first of our road has hers like that and it's strange.

I am coming close to finishing packing, I should get most of what's left done, this afternoon.  The stack of boxes that Jason so kindly brought me home from work yesterday, is sitting in front of me, staring me down.  I'm tired.

I am loving that my fall shows are back on!  Finally some good TV!  I have several CW shows that I love, plus Chuck, Glee, and Ghost Hunters are back!  Now, I just hope that cable is run to the new house before we move..I have had the worst time trying to get anyone to tell me anything, the cable companies have no clue, and neither does the housing company.

Well, today is officially fall, and the high here is 92.  I am absolutely ready for cooler temps, punkins, bonfires, hoodies with jeans and boots, brightly colored leaves, halloween candy, hot chocolate..the list is endless!  It can't come fast enough for me!  I am done with summer, have been for a while.  I would be completely fine if summer only lasted about a month.

Kojak thinks that we cheat on him.  Anytime we are around another animal (be it dog or cat), he won't stop sniffing us, and then he pouts (which is usually short lived because he is such an attention hog).  Sometimes I am amazed at how smart he is.  And annoying.

I am HOOKED on Bolthouse Farms Mocha Cappuccino.  It's a protein coffee-like drink and it rocks my socks!  It's my new breakfast.  The protein in it keeps me full for hours. 

My wonderful friend, Tiffany is coming to visit in two weeks from today, for about 3 days.  We haven't seen each other in almost a year, and it's a long overdue visit.  We met here in Jacksonville almost 4 years ago.  The military, and life have led us in different directions and she now lives in Florida, so we don't get to see each other too often.  We are both really excited!

Ok, well, this update turned into a not-so-smallish update.  Oh well!


More House Pics

The front of the house with the driveway in the wrong place!  Thank goodness we went out there when we did because the landscaper was there and was really nice about it all, and told us he would move the driveway, and that he was just putting where he was told (even though we told them NOT to put it there!), so he was super helpful, and is going to move it to the right of the house by the mudroom entrance, between the two trees.  He said he would even lay a walkway from there to the front door:)  But, you can see the pretty brick is complete!

And a look at all of our new stairs:
I'm thrilled with the quality of the steps/stoops.  They are custom built and really sturdy.  Not what you usually see on manufactured homes.  Now it's not an ordeal to get inside the house anymore, lol.


Moving Day Is Approaching, and Some Other Randomness!

The brick is on the house!  And they are saying about 2 weeks!  Eeek!  I'm not even finished packing!  We are having a yard sale as I type to try to eliminate some of the clutter before we move, so that's a step in the right direction, right?!  Plus a little extra moolah never hurt anyone;o)  We are going back out to the house on Monday, so I will have more up to date pictures to post then, but I love the brick that they chose, and they will soon be building our steps!  I'm still a little worried that the cable won't be run out there yet, because we all know I can't live very long without the internet!

As I am sitting on my front porch supervising the yard sale, I had to grab a hoodie because it's a chilly 67 degrees.  I absolutely LOVE it!  It just intensifies my need for fall.  Only 12 days until it's officially fall, and only 57 days until our vacation to Gatlinburg!  YAY, YAY, YAY!!!!!!  I am glad that we will be moved and settled in the new house way before vacay, so we can relax and enjoy the break from reality.

Today, especially as a military family, I am reminded of what this day means to our American history.  The 9th anniversary of 9/11.  I can't believe it's been 9 years.  It just doesn't seem real.  May we NEVER forget all of the Americans who lost their lives that day, and all the brave men and women who have lost their lives fighting for us since that day.  God bless them and their families.  And let's continue to pray for this country, it's leaders, and this war.

Remembering, but trying not to dwell on all the sadness of this day..I want to also reflect on all that we (our military) have accomplished in Iraq, and celebrate that.  Alot of people say that it was a waste of time and money.  Having had my husband there twice, and numerous friends there as well, I can promise you that they have made huge strides.  Yes, there is still so much to be done, and there are no guarantees, but I whole heartedly believe that they have made a difference.

Moving along...I am totally digging Sara Bareilles' new CD, Kaleidoscope Heart.  I recommend it if you like her type of music.

Ok..yard sale update.  It's 9:30 and we have already made 90 bucks!  Cool!

We went up to the drag strip last night and Jason ran his car again.  He didn't run as good this time, so he's been bummed.  So, he's been out tinkering on his car again.  Geez.

Went to Texas Roadhouse for the first time last night with some friends.  It was delish!  And I even ordered healthy!  Roasted chicken, with green beans, and mashed potatoes.  I figured I deserved a little starch, lol.  I've been eating much healthier, and much lighter, and I could definately tell a difference in the amount of food I could eat last night.  My stomach must be already shrinking:)  Plus, I've felt better, and had better blood sugar levels.  I'm really wanting to make this a habit and a lifestyle.  I know it will pay off, and I will have more energy.

We are going to dinner at some friends house tonight, and they are having steak.  I love a free steak dinner;o)  Complete with salad, and mashed potatoes (I never get tired of 'em!).

I am not looking forward to this moving thing.  Thank goodness Jason got off early all week and was able to help me get everything off the walls, and the living room packed, as well as part of the kitchen.  We have to make a late night run to Walmart tonight for more boxes and papers, so I can finish packing up the kitchen.  At least it's an in town move, we aren't even packing up the drawers.  They are all getting moved as is, lol.  We need some strong fellas to head our way on moving day, if there are any takers out there;o)

I am ready for our first time homebuyer's credit to hit the bank!  We want to put a fence in at the new place for Kojak, get a new TV since ours no longer responds to the remote (Jason's getting that one for his game room), a storage building, and a deck.  So exciting!

Carolina Panthers football baby!  The season starts tomorrow at 1:00 against the NY Giants!  Woo-hoo!  I am looking forward to a lazy Sunday afternoon tomorrow with my Panthers and my hubby!  I might even break out some chips and guacamole!  Football also means the start of fall, ya know!  I need some tickets, it's about time I go to another live game.

Oh, and only 105 days until Christmas!


3 Cheese Garden Pizza

A delish take on pizza, courtesy of the Pampered Chef.  So yummy, and not too bad for you either!  The veggies on top crisp up just right, and the cheeses make it extra gooey and stringy.  Plus, it makes your house smell divine!  Recipe follows for those that are interested!  The recipe calls for mushrooms, but I leave those off because I hate mushrooms;o)

1 package (10 ounces) refrigerated pizza crust
1 small onion, sliced into rings
1 medium zucchini, sliced
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Using lightly floured rolling pin, roll pizza crust into a 14-inch circle on pan. Bake crust 7 minutes. Remove from oven; place on cooling rack.

2. Slice onion, zucchini and tomatoes, and mushrooms.

3. Using Garlic Press, press garlic over crust; spread evenly. Sprinkle mozzarella and cheddar cheeses evenly over crust; top evenly with onion, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes. Grate Parmesan cheese over vegetables. Sprinkle with seasoning mix. Bake 15-18 minutes or until crust is golden brown; remove from oven. Cut into wedges using Pizza Cutter.

Yield: 8 servings


A Little Taste of Fall

During one of Jason's double duties, I was super bored and decided to do some baking.  Being so impatient for fall to arrive, I figured why not make something that reminds me of fall?!  Sooo, I made jumbo pumpkin raisin muffins.  Hot out of the oven with butter, yummy!  It was food for my soul that day.


Sneak Peak

Our house has been put on our land, and they finished the underneath supports on Friday!  I will try to post update pictures as it comes along.

View from the cul-de-sac:

Some of my favorite features!

My walk in dressing room closet with TONS of storage:

My ginormous tub and make up counter:

Part of the kitchen with my awesome side by side fridge and freezer, I can't wait to fill those babies up!  And you can see my wood burning fireplace in the back..I'm super excited about cozy fires this winter!

Kitchen/Pantry from the front door:

Our bonus room with built in desk and storage.  A.K.A. my scrapbooking nook:

I will post more soon, but I figured I'd give you a peek at a few of the things I'm most excited about!  Not too much longer now!


My Poor Baby

My sweet Jason is just so tired these days.  This month was his first full class as a MCT Instructor.  Being the new guy is not a fun place to be in.  They are giving him all the crap jobs, and have been making him pull double duties where he is gone for 2 nights at a time, and alot of times, they don't allow him to go to sleep.  Alot of the things they are doing very closely resemble hazing, and I am so tired of it, and I know Jason is tired of it.  He keeps hearing that it gets better...it has to, right?  At least this class graduates tomorrow, and he won't pick up another one for 3 weeks.  We are hoping for a break and some time back home with our family very soon!

Here is my poor fella after pulling one of those 2-nighters.  As I was making him breakfast, he fell asleep sitting up at his computer.  You have to be pretty exhausted to fall asleep like that...

Hoping that this is not how the next 3 years are going to go...

I have to keep reminding myself that it is better than him being deployed again.


Lil' of this, Lil' of that...

Can you believe it's August!?!  I'm so excited!  Fall comes with the promise of several new photography gigs!  I've already got about 5 people interested in Autumn photoshoots.  Good for the vacation fund!

95 days 'til Tennessee and counting!  I am SOOOO ready for a vacation and cooler weather, as if I haven't already mentioned that!

It's looking like I will be hosting Christmas this year!  Jason will have a class over Christmas, which sticks us with staying here.  My family will probably be coming in the Thursday before and staying through the weekend.  I know it's an inconvenience for them, but I'm kind of excited since I've never hosted Christmas before.  PLUS, it will be in our NEW HOUSE!  Yep, we are "under contract" for a new manufactured home and 2 acres of land.  Our house is being built right now!  I already have the perfect spot picked out for the Christmas tree.  And I have brand new side by side fridge and freezer (the freezer is a separate unit and they are both the size of a normal side by side)  They are huge!  Plenty of space for all the food:)

We are busy pulling out all of our unused treasures to put together a yard sale.  We are trying to get rid of anything we don't use anymore to avoid moving any unncessary stuff!

I'm having a Pampered Chef catalog party, so if anyone wants/needs any kitchen supplies, you can order online and not have to worry with making it to a party!  The show will be open through the rest of August!

The neighbors have recently gotten some new dogs or either put their indoor dogs out.  They are yappy and annoying, and they drive my dog NUTS!  They do nothing but bark at each other through the cracks in the fence.  I do not like them.

I am so excited to decorate the new house...so many ideas swimming through my head!  I can't wait to get it all in there and post pictures, it's beautiful!

Plus, because Jason was deployed in '09, we still qualified for the first time homebuyer's credit.  Yay for extra moolah!

Alaina was with us all last week, it's always fun to have her here.  She is such a good teenager.  I'm proud of the girl she has become.  Such a big heart, and a desire to help animals.  She will do big things.

Then Daddy, Momma, and Grandma got here Friday night.  Momma, Grandma, and I went shopping at some favorite local spots on Saturday, and Daddy, Jason, and Alaina headed to the beach where Jason fell asleep and got sooooo sunburned.  He was in a lot of pain this week, but it is finally healing and peeling!  Plus we took everyone by the model of our house, and showed them the land.  On Sunday, we headed to Topsail and Surf City.  Two places we had never really explored.  Both really neat beach towns, and not nearly as crowded as other, larger beaches.  Plus I found some new photography spots!  It was a cloudy, cool day, and we really enjoyed our time together exploring and visiting the Wings store, eating at a "local" dig, and walking on the beach.

Ash, Matt, and Austin are trying to plan a trip down at the end of the month or the first of September.  This summer has been so busy for everyone that it's been hard to coordinate trips, but things are slowing down and getting back to normal, and we are excited to get them down here...SOON!  Austin has gotten to where he loves the beach.  He used to HATE the sand and scream until you picked him up, but now he really does enjoy being there.  Ashwee and Matt have their SIX year anniversary coming up the 14th..I'm so proud of them, and of the parents they have become to sweet Austin.  We love you guys, congratulations on 6 years!

At a new found antique store in a nearby town, I found the cutest retro salt/pepper shakers on Saturday.  And they have...what else?!...cherries on them!  So cute, will post a picture soon!

Well, I think that's enough of my rambling for one day.  Hope everyone is having a good week!


Been Trying Some New Dishes:)

Tonight, I made my first pound cake!  I have always heard poundcakes are kinda hard to make and have been a bit intimidated, so when I found this easy, yummy sounding recipe in Good Housekeeping, I figured why not give it a try!  We have had Alaina here with us this week, and my parents and grandma are coming down tomorrow, so it's good that I will have some help eating this!

Looks good, huh?
And if you were wanting to try it for yourself, the recipe is:

Easy Two-Step Pound Cake
4 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 cups butter, softened
¾ cup milk
6 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Place flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla (in that order) in 4 qt. bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer. Beat at low speed 1 minute, stopping to scrape down sides. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes.

Pour into a greased and floured 10 inch (16 cup) tube pan, and smooth. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 30 mins or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 mins. Remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely for 1 hour.

Oh, and the glaze is super quick and easy too:

Chocolate Glaze
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons hot water

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate and butter (and if there’s one thing this cake needs, it’s more butter); stirring to blend. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium-size bowl. Add sifted powdered sugar and hot water; stir well. If necessary, add additional hot water to bring glaze to drizzling consistency. (Makes enough to glaze a 10-inch tube or bundt cake.)

And then last week, I tried my hand at a mexican dish.  Enchiladas!  And they were to die for!  Jason has been raving about them since;o)  Easy, easy, and my Pampered Chef Deep Dish Baker cooked them so evenly and perfectly!  So much cheesy, gooey goodness!
You know you want some!

Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
½ cup sour cream
1 cup Pace Picante Sauce (Medium)
2 tsp. Chili Powder
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (plus a little for topping)
6-8 flour tortillas (6 in.), warmed
1 small tomato, chopped
1 green onion, sliced

Stir the soup, sour cream, picante sauce, and chili powder in a medium bowl.

Stir 1 cup picante sauce mix, chicken, and cheese in large bowl.

Divide chicken mixture among tortillas. Roll up and place seam side up in baking dish. Pour remaining picante sauce over tortillas, and top with cheese.
Cover and bake at 350 for 40 mins. or until hot and bubbling. Top with tomato and onion.

Can you tell I like recipes with the word "easy" in the title;o)  I'm really enjoying being in the kitchen lately, and using my slow cooker!  The new one I got for my birthday has already been getting alot of use!  I made some slow cooker chicken and dumplins that were a hit, but forgot to take a picture since we were totally starving that night.  Plus I got a new cookbook for the slow cooker, and my Pampered Chef consultant just gave me a recipe booklet for my deep dish baker with looooots of yummy sounding recipes to try out very soon!  Ok, now, if you're not hungry, it has to be because you just finished eating;o)


Changes In The Bedroom

My new bedding!

And, I moved a little furniture around because I needed a makeup table.  The lighting in my bathroom is terrible, so I am very happy with the new setup.  I can see what I'm doing, and sit down while doing my massive mop of hair:)


A Good Birthday!

Yesterday I turned 27 (for the second time!).  I felt very loved by many!  Lots of calls, cards, texts, facebook wishes, and gifts!  We celebrated my birthday last week while we were at home since I knew we wouldn't be back in for my actual birthday.  My wonderful sisters orchestrated the birthday dinner with Alaina baking me a triple layer chocolate cake, heavy on the frosting (just like I like it!), and Ash did the grocery shopping and cooking since Momma is still out of commission for a bit longer (but not much longer..yay!!!)  Daddy grilled cheeseburgers and hot dogs, and Ash called in our closest friend, also an Ashley, to help, which she gladly did!  They made the BEST homemade macaroni and cheese, and a southern fave..fried squash, to compliment the hot dogs and cheeseburgers!  It was absolutely delicious!  I wish I had some pictures, but I think they are all on Alaina's camera..by the way, you need to send those to me! 

I received some wonderful gifts that night too!  My parents and Alaina got me some Americana decorations for the house, and the cutest strawberry juice glasses!

A new flag for the entryway closet:
A new barn star (LOVE my barn stars!):
Bells that sound like wind chimes, so as soon as I get a hook, they are getting hung up on my front porch!
My sweet little juice glasses with the cutest strawberries painted on them:

I also am getting a painting from my Grandmother (Mom's side) for my kitchen.  She paints beautiful pictures with water color and I can't wait to see what it's going to look like!  Got some $$ from my other Grandma..always nice!  And my sweet friend Ashley brought me a bag full of goodies when they came down a few weekends ago..complete with lots of smelly good stuff for my house, knick-knacks, a box of my favorite sleepytime tea, a precious handmade picture frame..gosh that thing was so packed, I can't remember it all!  Oh, and an unknown gift still to come at an undisclosed time from Ashwee-Pooh..she's so mysterious, lol.  It was a wonderful night!

So yesterday being my actual birthday, started with a wake up kiss and birthday wishes from J, and my annual call from my Momma at the minute I was born:)  Followed by calls from Daddy, Ashley, and Alaina, complete with singing!  Many text messages followed as well!  Then my good friend down here (about the only good friend I have here!), took me to lunch at where else...Olive Garden!, where we sat and talked and enjoyed endless salad, bread sticks, and Zuppa Tuscana soup (my fave!), oh and of course, alfredo sauce to dip our bread sticks!  She was wonderful to take me out, as she says nobody should be alone on their birthday!  Plus she's a cake maker, so she is in the process of making me a cake!  Will post pictures when it's done!

Then we went shopping!  I love Ross' and Marshall's..see my deals!

A big floppy beach hat..with SPF 50, a double sized butter dish in RED, two new pairs of flip flops, one for 7 bucks, and one for 5!  The smaller heeled ones are replacing the exact same ones I had and ruined with paint..only pair in the whole store and in my size!  Sooo meant to be:)

Then, it was home I went to be with hubby once he got off work.  Once home, I got to open my gifts from him!  Some of which haven't arrived yet, but I will post pictures of what's coming!  The things already here:

He let me pick out new stuff for our bed..so new sheets and bed set, the New Moon Blu-ray, and the Je-taime Willow Tree figurine:)  Jason took french in high school, and ever since we dated, he often tells me he loves me in french..which is Je-taime..such a sweet man!

Things still to come!!!

An electric skillet for some big time cooking!  Especially if we host one of the holidays coming up!

A new RED KitchenAid digital toaster (ours now burns everything!):

A new 7-qt. slow cooker by the Food Network:

And, the Twilight Blu-ray, with the promise of a Twilight Saga movie night before we go see the new one in the theater:)  Love me some vampire movies!

After gifts, we ordered pizza from my favorite pizza place..Michaelangelo's, who makes the biggest New York style pizza around (and the best!).  A stop by Redbox to rent some movies.  And the night ended with cupcakes and the Happy Birthday song from J.

He made the cupcakes and they were delicious!  The letters on top stand for Happy 28th Birthday Christie:)

Singing to me:


Blowing out my candles:

A happy girl:)

Thank you everyone!  You made my birthday so special and I love you all!


MCT Instructor School Graduation

I am so proud of my man!  He graduated his MCT Instructor training today!  He is now officially an instructor and non-deployable for 3 years:)  Some pictures from today...

Jason and Derek getting their diplomas:

With their proud wives (me and Lisa):

Jason with his Cheif Warrant Officer, and a couple of buddies from his old unit that showed up to see him graduate!  (He had a cheering section!)

Jason and Derek with their diplomas!

Congratulations Babe!  Congratulations Derek!  And yay for training being over!!!


Been a little M.I.A.

Just some things going on in our lives...

My parents and Alaina came down for a weekend visit a couple of weeks ago.  We started off the weekend with a movie and root beer floats on Friday night and then Saturday, we had tons of fun going to all of our favorite knick knack shops and scoping out some new ones in the next town over.  Momma always finds good stuff down here and we make it a priority to hit these stores when she's down.  Dad and Jason played some golf with a couple of guys from Jason's school and then hit up the beach with Alaina.  Mom and I finished our shopping and came home to rest until dinner.  These trips are always so much fun, but always too short!  Several weeks before that, Ashley, Matt, and Austin were down for a week.  That was a fun week too, complete with a water balloon fight, a few visits to a local ice cream shop that has mine and Ashley's new all time FAVORITE flavor...Outrageous Oatmeal Cookie , a treasure hunt for Austin (you can see pics on Ashley's blog), and a photoshoot at the beach!  I love family visits!!!

The next weekend, I went home for a week to help take care of Momma after surgery.  Jason stayed through the holiday weekend, but had to go back as they can't miss ANY school!  Enjoyed the down time to just visit, even though it wasn't under the best circumstances.  But our God is good, and the surgery went smoothly and she did wonderfully!  We had a girls day out the Saturday before, and all got pedicures, then we went out for "brunch", did a little quick shopping, and ended the day with meeting the guys at a local car dealership and traded in my car for another Jeep!  I have missed my Jeep ever since the wreck, but thought I would be happy with the Edge.  It was a good car, but it just couldn't replace my Jeep!  I'll have to get some pics soon!

Been really diving into my new business!  Getting my website ready, promoting on facebook, ordering business cards (how exciting!), and I did 2 photoshoots this weekend.  Plus teaching myself more on photoshop!  I miss my tutor (Ash), she is soo good at this editing thing, and I've learned so much from her!  And she's all self taught :)

Our dearest friends, Brad & Ashley were down visiting this past weekend.  We had such a blast!  We don't get to spend nearly enough time with our family and friends living 3-4 hours away from all of them, so every visit is so special!  We spent all day Saturday at the beach, and while we were swimming, about 6 dolphins popped up right near us!  They were splashing and jumping around..it was TOTALLY cool!  We got a good laugh out of the fact that we all got "zebra stripe" sunburns.  Yep..we all got burned in stripes.  Apparently, spray sun protection is not very effecient when there's a breeze on the beach.  Then that night we went to a local "family style dining" restaurant.  It's decorated like a barn and is really neat, plus the food is to die for!  Sunday we took them around base since they had never seen anything like that before and they got to experience the PX.  That's always neat for someone who has never been in one.  But overall, we had lots of laughs and made lots of memories:) 

Jason graduates from MCT Instructor school tomorrow morning at 9!  I am so excited for him!  He has done wonderfully through this whole course and breezed through every test, drill, and PFT (Physical Fitness Test for those not up on military lingo!).  He will find out in the next day or two which company he will be assigned to and hopefully find out more about how his new schedule will work.  We are hoping we can get some time off in November for our family vacation and then maybe Christmas!?  I don't know...that may be pushing it, but if we can't make it home for Christmas, I think everyone will be coming here:)  Spending Christmas by ourselves would be depressing, and since we have the room to fit everyone, they may be traveling for Christmas for the first time in many years!  Thank goodness I have double ovens!

Speaking of vacation..Gatlinburg in November with the family...I CANNOT WAIT!!!  I think we are all ready for a vacation, plus all the Christmas stuff will be up at Dollywood when we go!  It's going to be so much fun!

We decided to save 60.00 by trying to shave Kojak for summer ourselves.  What I thought might be an hour job, ended up taking two hours and then another 30 minutes the next morning since it got dark on us!  He doesn't look toooo bad, lol.  He's pretty even for the most part, but we are definately not cut out to be professional groomers!  But, he is much happier without his massive fur coat!  Especially since this week, our temps have tipped the mid-90's.  Yuck!  Too hot, too humid.  Ready for fall!  I haven't been going out unless it's in the evening or I can be near water!  I am so heat intolerant:(

My birthday is in 10 days:)  I love birthdays, but this year, I have decided from here on out, I will turn 27 every year.  I'm in a bit of denial about nearing 30 (but as Ashley reminds me, Matt will always get to the milestones first!  I'm no longer the oldest kid, lol).  I don't feel like I should be almost 30 yet (I will be 28).  I still feel like high school graduation was yesterday!  I guess it only matters how you old you feel!  Somedays, I feel old due to health "issues", but most days, I still feel 18, some days 21..hehe.

We have battled mice twice now since spring.  I hate mice.  Reeeally hate mice.  These are big friggin mice..they are verging on being rats.  I hate rats even more.  Reeeally reeeally hate rats.  We live out in the country, and there are alot of farms around.  When the farmers started plowing and planting, the mice started running and intruding.  We have spent a small fortune on traps and D-Con, but the traps with peanut butter caught the most.  And that makes me want to gag because you can actually see the dead rats.  J totally had to deal with the dead ones and cleaning up after them.  Those little buggers can get in places that you would never imagine!  We had evidence behind the stove, fridge, under the dishwasher, under the sink, even in the coat closet.  We (by we, I mean Jason) cleaned and bleached and disinfected.  It just made me feel icky!  But my wonderful, smart husband found all the "entrances" and blocked them up with steel wool...so far, so good and it's been about a month and a half!  I am so thankful to have a manly man for a hubby!

Ok, well now you are pretty caught up on our last few months!  It's been busy!  I totally need to get better at posting, so when I do post, it's not a novel!  Happy Tuesday!