I'm just an ordinary girl doing ordinary stuff.

I just happen to be a single mom in the military.

My kids are part of the military too.

When I deploy, their heart breaks too.

They're strong little guys.

Being their mom is the most humbling experience I've ever had.

Follow the adventures

See if you can keep up with me as I serve my country holding my kids in my arms.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Reflective Sunday

Sunday is the first day of the week so I thought it would be great to start the week with a quick reminder of how good my life is and how blessed I am. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pumpkin Bisque Anyone?

I am a huge food hound. I like trying different foods and I love cooking. But not everyone is as adventurous and I have to refrain from feeling hurt when others don't like what I cook. Even if the "others" are my kids. :-/

Today I made a pumpkin bisque. I thought it was fabulous. 

First I sautéed an onion and a couple of carrots with a couple tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of sage leaves.  
I sautéed them long enough to get tender. 

Then I puréed them in a blender with a splash of chicken stock and a banana.

After I puréed the mix, I poured them into a stockpot with a can of pure pumpkin purée.
I added 2 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of soy milk (I have a milk allergic boy). 
Heat it all up and add your favorite seasoning. I used salt, pepper, curry powder and garlic powder.

Add a salad to the meal. 

Again, I thought the soup was amazing. It smelled wonderful, tasted unique and delicious, and was healthy enough. 
But alas, not everyone enjoys what I enjoy. 

Caden pretended to like it. 

Sean took a lick and said he was full. 

Guess its just me eating today. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Add A Bowl Of Soap

I'm really big on making my home a happy place.  It's gotta look cozy and welcoming, it's gotta smell like food, and it's gotta sound like life.  My home is never pristine and it'll drive a neat freak absolutely bonkers.  But my kids (and anyone else's kids who come over) feel like this is HOME.  And that's important to me. 

When you are having people over for dinner, a BBQ, a party, whatever, hopefully you will want them to feel comfortable in your home.  Here are a few things you might find helpful for the next time your guests are planning on coming over.

What you don't want your guests to walk into:

The Uptight, Don't-Do-This-Or-That-House

You know what house I'm talking about.  And see?  I've already used the word "house" instead of "home."  It's the type of house that's so clean and orderly with tons of those breakable objects and expensive paintings that the average person looking to have a good time with some friends will feel terribly uncomfortable even walking into.  When you're walking into a home like this, you feel as if you're walking into a museum.  The host is probably polite enough, but you feel as if you can't afford to touch anything in case you smudge it with your fingerprint and find out the object you've touched has been passed down from generation to generation and "everyone" knows you don't just pick that up.  What you usually hear from the host or people who've been to this place once before are things like, "Oh we don't sit on that chair, that's an heirloom," "Actually, could your kids stop jumping?  We don't allow loud feet in here," "Oh, excuse me, I'm sorry but we don't walk on the grass."  Unless you're planning a fancy dinner party, don't let your guests feel like they're walking on thin ice the moment they step into your home.

The Real "Don't Mind The Mess" House

Many people say, "Please don't mind the mess" when people walk into their home.  It's a habitual way of demonstrating humility or modesty about one's home.  But when you say it and prayerfully mean it, maybe you should've rescheduled the visit.  Here's what not to do:  Don't leave your laundry on the couch-- even though you've already washed and dried it, your guests simply see a pile of clothes and please don't let there be an underwear hanging out.  If your dog poops on the floor, even if it's on a puppy pad, please please please clean that up before your guests arrive.  And spray some air freshener.  If you have a pot of last night's dinner on the stove-- throw the food out and wash the pot.  Put on a bra-- enough said.  But most of all, if you are a hoarder (a true hoarder) please seek help before letting people come in.  Unless they're trying to get you out of there.  Now don't get me wrong, these are little things individually, but if you're really not ready to have company over, simply give your home a quick pick-up.  Put that load of clean laundry on your bed, clean up any yucky messes and air out your home.  It's good to let your home look lived in, but try not to let your guests feel uncomfortable or gross staying in it.

The House With "That Dog"

I love animals.  I have 4 pets of my own.  But I wouldn't ever want my guests to feel assaulted when I let them in.  My dog doesn't jump on guests-- he'll definitely approach them and hope for some pets, but he doesn't go crazy jumping all over them begging for a treat.  If you're a dog owner, it is a really beneficial thing to train your dog.  He doesn't have to have his Canine Good Citizen certification but he should be well mannered.  Not only would you be showing your guests that they are welcome in your home, but it is really great for your dog!  If you must have people over and your dog is just not a people kind of person, you might want to crate him while people are over.

What You Do Want Your Guests To Walk Into:

The Comfortable, Easy-Going Home

Your home should feel like home to welcomed guests-- and your family!  You don't have to make it look beautiful.  You don't have to feel bad about your kids jumping up and down.  And you definitely shouldn't apologize for even having a dog.  There are a ton of little things you can do to make your home FEEL happy.  Think of your five senses and go from there:

  1. See:  Your home should look comfy and cozy. 
    1. Put a throw on the couch.
    2. Hang a fresh hand towel by your sink.
    3. Clean your guest bathroom.
    4. Get some fresh flowers and put the vase in the middle of your dining or entry table.
    5. Let your kids play!
    6. Brush your dog.
  2. Hear:  A quiet home is an uncomfortable one.
    1. Turn the TV on, not too loud but enough for background noise.  Put on a good, clean comedy.
    2. Leave a couple (just a couple) of dishes in the sink so when you let your guests in you can leave them to have a seat and you can wash the dishes.  It lets them relax.
    3. Talk to them!
  3. Smell:  Food is always a good welcoming gesture.
    1. Before your guests arrive, heat up a pan of olive oil and some garlic.  Keep it on low so as not to let it burn.  Garlic, although not a good kissing scent, is a great way to break up any nervousness in the atmosphere.
    2. Heat up a candle warmer with some kind of baked goods scent.  I personally like my Scentsy blueberry cheesecake scent.
  4. Touch:  When people are nervous, they tend to need something to keep their hands busy.
    1. Brush your dog! 
    2. Keep a comfy teddy bear on the couch.
    3. Have a few books or magazines out.
    4. Knick-knacks are great for keeping guests entertained.
  5. Taste:  Again, food is always a good welcoming gesture.
    1. If your guests are not coming for dinner or a party, have a bowl of chips or pretzels out on your dining or coffee table.
    2. Make a good queso or other type of dip.
    3. Have a pitcher or iced tea or water out for them.
I'm a huge home person.  I love my home and when people come over I want them to feel at home.  Most of all, though, I want my kids to remember the feeling of home as a good, loving place that they always felt safe in both emotionally and physically.

I keep a variety of soaps in a bowl by my kitchen sink.  It adds color and makes people smile. 
I've seen it!
My fridge holds things that makes me smile.  Pictures, art, and good coupons.

I keep my fruit, veggies and bread in baskets on my counter.  It looks busy but also fun!

My home would drive a neat freak crazy!!  My dining room is also a mini-library and art space.

I got hit in the face with a ball

Yup.  I sure did.  The enlisted team and I were playing wallyball.  If you've never played wallyball before, you can read about it here.  It's pretty similar to volleyball but in a racquetball court.  It's wild, crazy and sometimes painful.  But it's a lot of fun and as nonathletic as I am, I always end up enjoying it.

For the past 7 months, I'd been in charge of the team while our boss was deployed.  It has been a really interesting experience.  I've been involved with each individual member of the team both personally and professionally.  I've had to discipline in a way that doesn't take away their ability to confide in me when their personal life is affecting their work.  I've had to constantly watch myself and how I'm portraying my own values and ethics.  I can't expect the team to be prompt every day if I'm always late.  I can't hold them accountable if I myself am running from my integrity.  It's been a bit rough... but pretty rewarding as well.

Before the boss returned from his deployment, the crew decided we should spend one last hurrah together.  So we did some glow golf (awesome black light putt putt) and a laser race (you know, those lasers in high-vis banks or museums?).  We had an absolute blast!

So for PT last week, we played wallyball.  I really suck at it.  I got hit on my right boob, bruised both my wrists, and took a shot to the face.  They laughed.  But they also high-fived me.  I'm going to miss being their leader.  They're a great team.

Summer Is Here


We spent the morning and early afternoon being lazy.  I loved it.  I love getting to enjoy the boys without any agenda, nothing planned, just me and them.  We laid on the couch and watched Transformers Prime on Netflix, ate breakfast, went back to watching.  The boys eventually got up to play with their Transformers toys.  I hung out with them and asked questions about their role playing.

There's this really obnoxious guy at work who irritates the crap out of me.  He asked me once, "How are you going to raise your boys to be men?  I mean, don't you think they need a male role model?"  I can't stand ignorant remarks.  Granted, this dude is super obnoxious.  Most of the time the things that come out of his mouth is used to seek attention or an attempt to gain validation of his infinite wisdom.  I didn't take his comment to heart.  I simply said, "They have God and their uncles.  I think they'll be fine."  He didn't say anything to that.  And I do remember my kids' father made a comment during our divorce.  He said, "If she raises those boys without me, they'll grow up to be pansies."  And now as I sat with my boys watching them smash their Transformers into each other with enthusiastic war cries, I had to smile to myself.  I think I'm doing pretty darn well.

I spent the early part of the afternoon repotting my flowers and sweeping my porch.  It's summer.  It's beautiful.  And I love my life.