Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving a day early!

So, is everyone ready?? Are you having a big feast with lots of family or doing something adventurous with your own little clan, or inviting someone to join you? Or, like us, just having a nice little dinner with just us, watch football, put up Christmas lights and spend time together. Gary is leaving Sunday for Japan for a few weeks - yes, the crucial shopping days before Christmas. (not to mention shipping days) Ugh, don't even get me started on Christmas cards. Last years aren't even done! I'm going to take the easy way out and do picture cards. I already have a picture picked out.

Gary asked me to keep it simple. He didn't want me slaving for hours in the kitchen. So here is our menu: I'm going to bag a small-ish turkey (cooks much faster); sweet potatoes with crushed pineapples, walnuts and cinnamon; brown rice; jarred gravy; and some easy rolls that a friend gave me the recipe to. We tried to make these last year, but they kinda flopped. So I begged her for the recipe and I'm going to try again. I need to stick in a green vegetable - but why bother? I'd be the only one who eat it. For dessert, I'm picking up a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake that they sell at Foodland.

So I was looking at last years posts, to get a feel of when we they told us our assignment. It was around the first week of December - so hopefully we'll know something soon. The job that Gary wanted most is not going to be available, he just found out. I guess the guy is going to stay there. Anyway, I was reading the post and I had said I was getting teary-eyed at the thought of leaving here. Well, I've got to say, last week we went to a movie.... Back the train, I have to explain this part. At Consolidated Theaters, they have this intro clip. Very dramatic. Starts out dark, and you hear the blowing of the conch shell, you see native Hawaiian paddlers and hear the chants, some hula, etc. LOVE IT! I get goose bumps every time. They were showing this clip when we lived here 10 years ago. Goodness knows how long ago they filmed it. Back to the story, at the movies, and the clip comes on. Guess who tears up? You got it. I'm such a sentimental sap. But I couldn't help but think that I would never see it again in just a few short months. Such a totally Hawaiian thing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

it must be fall!

even though it doesn't feel like it. Because I made soup! It was yummy. I also made bread using the recipe I posted many moons ago. I'm going to have to label my recipe threads. Here is the recipe I used, I got it off the weight watcher chat boards. I made a few changes as you'll see in the notes beneath the recipe.

Beef Barley Lentil Soup
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups cubed red potatoes ( ¼ inch pieces)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
½ cup medium pearl barley
8 cups water
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
2 cans (14 ½ ounces each) stewed tomatoes

In a non-stick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker (crock pot). Layer with the potatoes, celery, carrots, lentils and barley. Combine the water, bouillon, salt and lemon-pepper; pour over vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until vegetables and barley are tender. Add the tomatoes; cook 2 hours longer.

Yield 10 servings.

Notes: I used stew meat and trimmed off all the visible fat. I browned the meat and onions, but I'm sure you could get away with not doing that. I only had 1 can of stewed tomatoes (which I blended with a hand blender) so I added a can of rotel tomatoes. The cooking time - well, I didn't need 8 hours! Very yummy.

I'm sorry I haven't posted all week. I had a very unpleasant day Wednesday and it's affected me for a long time. I wish people were more aware of how their words can really hurt. Even when they mean to hurt you (at the moment) - it really, really hurts. Probably more than intended.

I've got some pictures to post. We had a huge rain this weekend, and while we were driving past the Koolaus on the H3, I hung my phone out the window and took pictures of the waterfalls cascading in between the folds of the mountains. I need some time to resize them for internet posting.

Monday, November 17, 2008


This time last year I was posting about bad news that Gary got passed over for promotion. Well, deja vu - it happened again this year. There is no "next time". In rereading those posts, I relied on I Thess. 5:18 - and curiously enough, that exact verse is what I've relied on this time. We just did it in our after-school Bible class. I even made a "give thanks" cake, because this means we are going to embark on something different in our family. And God always has the most interesting stuff planned.

So we have to face the future. That means I'm going to start digging into our finances and figure out how much house we can afford! Woop-te-do. I'm so not looking forward to it. Househunting - yes, I look forward to that. Being in debt, no. We are a frugal family and have no debts. A couple of years ago I swiped a book from my parents, one of those For Dummies books about buying a house. I'm going to fill out the charts and learn all about the intricate world of mortgages and negotiating.

So anyway, we have to move this summer. Gary talked to the placement people and we have a few possibilities. Notice I didn't say choice. It's never our choice. Hah! (gotta push the bitterness down) We're looking at 2 jobs a Ft. Monroe, VA (very near where we lived last time), Charlottesville VA at the JAG school, Atlanta, and Ft. Sam Houston San Antonio. Of course, I've been spending my time online researching schools and houses. The list needs to be narrowed down more, because these are just too many areas to research fully.

Oh, and if he finds a job and wants to retire? They need 9 months notice. How fair is that? What employer is going to wait 9 months for a new hire?

So, to lighten the mood, I decided to post a picture of me when I was 13 and in braces. Give me a break folks, I was 13 and this was the 70's! LOL!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

back to the usual routine...

First off, I'm going to post Halloween pictures.

Jake as a gangster (I need to talk to him about not pointing weapons at people!) and Ryan is a forensic crime investigator (in other words, a CSI, but I dare not call him that in his range of hearing) Basically, they are cops and robbers.

These are some friends they went trick or treating with. We went to a little party beforehand where we attempted to ply our children with goulish yet healthy foods before the candy frenzy.

It seems like there has been very little school the past month or so. First, there was the week of fall break, then a week and a half of half-days due to parent/teacher conferences. BTW, they went very well. The boys are doing great except their handwriting is atrocious. It's going to start affecting their grades, and I told the teachers to do whatever they needed to do to drive the point home that they needed to take the time to write neatly. It's bad folks. It would be unreadable if I weren't the mama.
Oh, we had off monday and tuesday for waiver day and election day. Then they get Veterans day off and two days for Thanksgiving. Not to mention we get 3 weeks for winter break which is coming up way too soon. Christmas shopping? It's so hard to even think about when it's in the 80's. The room I'm sitting in right now reads 88.
I'm about to scream. My printer is flaking on me. I just bought a new ink cartridge and now nothing is printing. Oh, there's ink in that thing all right. Can we not manufacture a printer or pc that actually works?? This is so frustrating. We seem to buy new ones every other year! That's just not green people! If I had a shotgun I'd rip this thing a new one, ya know.
Okay, in this no politics zone, I must mention that I'm glad the elections are over. I may not agree with the politics of the president-elect, but it is wonderful to see a black man going to the office. Let's face it, race is important in this race. It may not be what the race was about (for some I'm absolutely sure it was), but it is a major earmark for this particular election. I fear for some of the changes that will be coming, but I do embrace the change that having a black man in office will incur (is that a word?). This is huge folks. Huge. It will be normal for the newest generations for a person of color to occupy the highest office in the country. An office of respect. I think this is a turning of the tide for greater gains in race relations. (of course, I pray he does a great job and doesn't pass bad legislation) I love that this will be the norm (as it should be) for my kids. When I think back again to that book "Elijah of Buxton" - how it reminded me that slaves were treated as animals, or really less than animals - possessions, not even prized possessions. This is a good day. Maybe not so politically, but a good day morally.

Gosh, I wonder if this will end up being another post I have to unsave...