Friday, April 29, 2011

House Cleaning Therapy

That's right.  I rediscovered something I once knew, but forgot.  Cleaning house is good therapy.  If I NEED to think, I can mindlessly clean and work out problems in my mind.  And, if I need to NOT think about something I can put my whole focus into what I am doing and forget what's bothering me for a while.  Music helps too.  Because I have a lot on my mind right now and wanted a break from thinking, I threw myself into cleaning today.  This means two things.  #1, my kitchen and downstairs bathroom are clean and #2 I do not have an OOTD to share.  Trust me when I say I was not cute today.  :)  Not at all.

However, I can't blog and have no pictures.  I snapped this photo today while walking the dogs.  Spring is truly here. 
Okay, so it's not the best photo.... They are still really pretty flowers.
Maybe I'll get a better one tomorrow.  :)

Coffee:  Dunkin Donuts Original Blend.  First half of the pot was mixed with Trader Joe's Organic Half & Half.  Second half was mixed with flavored creamers....first cup was Southern Pecan and the rest was with Peppermint Mocha.  To borrow from another brand's slogan, it truly was good to the last drop.  :)

Food:  Reheated casserole from a Wednesday.  I think it was even better tonight.  :)

Writing and Exercise:  Nope.  Sorry. 

Job Search:  No calls again today.  Color me stressed.  Still clinging to Psalm 121...and many other verses. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fabulously Frenzied

In case you don't get it, that means I am  STRESSED OUT BEYOND BELIEF.  No, I'm not yelling.  I'm merely stressing my words.  I'm fairly sure a scream, or tears, or both are following....again.

Too much on my plate.  Don't like most of it.  Worried, stressed, anxious, fearful, not sleeping, overwhelmed, nauseated.  This is NOT how I WANT to feel.  Time is flying by, hubby's retirement is looming (like a big monster over my head ready to grab and devour us) and I'm not dealing well with it today, or yesterday.  Two days ago, I was fine.  How's that for honesty? 

Want more honesty?  I KNOW this is not a good example of my walk with Christ.  I KNOW God has plans for us...and I know they are for GOOD.  Reference Jeremiah 29:11.  Great promise.  One I usually claim.  Why am I not claiming it now?  Why am I letting my joy slip away?  Why am I living with a spirit of fear?  I KNOW it's not from God.  That only leaves one other option....*sigh*  It's time to take the negative focus off me and put it back where it needs to be. K...pity party over. I will try to keep them to a minimum.  Time to read Psalm 121 in the KJV.  It's my life chapter.  Hey, sometimes you need a chapter, not just a verse, right? :)

I will share it with you.  Hope it speaks to your heart as it has mine for the past 23 years. Back story time: I had a wreck when I was 20.  That night, after tossing and turning for too long, I turned on my lamp and started searching my Bible for something for ME.  I prayed, opened the Bible and put my finger on this Psalm and God spoke to my heart.  (I've tried this since and it didn't work, but it did then, which is all that matters.) 

Psalm 121:
I will lift mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

Wow.... I feel better.  I needed this reminder tonight.  I know other versions are easier to understand, but this was the version I read it in the first time and it's the one that speaks peace into my heart. Time to choose joy.  And peace.  And contentment. 

Next topic.  Bible study was today!  Love seeing the ladies. Love our conversations and time spent together.  Looking forward to next week already.  This is what I wore today.  I felt positively FABULOUS in it too - Marilyn Monroe moments and all.  It was rather windy today...need I say more?  *insert grin here*

Patrick went for action shots today.  :)

Coffee:  Church coffee this morning with Peppermint Mocha creamer.  This afternoon I drank a pot of Dunkin Donuts Original Blend, ground fresh. (Thanks again Angela!!!)  First half of the pot was with Trader Joe's Organic Half & Half. Delish!  The other half, I  added flavored creamers.  Needed the "comfort" of them...

Food:  Made a new recipe tonight.  Took a recipe from and made it my own.  Turned out really good.  Thumbs up from 4 of us and the other two liked it minus the cornbread crust, which I anticipated.  We will be having it again. 

Writing:  This blog, some message board posts........

Exercise:  Let's not discuss it, k?  I admit to failing miserably in this area. 

Job search:  Still haven't heard anything from the promising leads. *insert sighs and stessed face here...and then me reading Psalm 121 again.*  Applied on-line tonight with a temp agency.  Maybe that will work out where these others haven't as yet.  I will keep praying. You too, please. 

***Edited to add:  Reading!!!! Today I read "What I Know Now, Simple Lessons Learned the Hard Way" by Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York.  I wanted to add quotes from this very well written and thoughtful book.  However, there was something on almost every page I wanted to share.  So, my suggestion is this:  READ THE BOOK.  It's a quick, easy read.   I would venture to say you can apply much of what she has learned to your own life.  I know I'll be reading it again. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not the Best of Days

Wow...  What started out as a really good day...... *sigh*    I have such sadness right now.  Tornadoes in TN and AL, destroying communities, homes and lives.  Plus a friend in TX lost her home today in a fire.  Hubby and I have talked, texted and Facebooked with family and friends.  So far, everyone is okay.  But,  the destruction I've seen on tv of the storms and to know there are families who have lost loved ones breaks my heart. However, in the midst of it all, I know God will bring healing and will see His children through the storms of life.

K...on to more upbeat times of the day.  Can't stay in the valley for too long.  Spent some time today, finally, cleaning house.  Quick trip to the store (needed half & half and a few other things) and time playing on-line and watching the crazy weather.  This is how I dressed for that....
Proof that I DO indeed leave the house. 
Patrick was sitting inside the car and snapped this photo of me before school.

Tonight at a meeting at church I was given a bag of Dunkin Donuts coffee beans.  Ahhhhh.  Angela, if I didn't say it before, I LOVE YOU!!  :)  Had a great time with everyone.  So much laughter and fun!!  Love this group more than I can say. 

Of course, I did NOT wear the above outfit to meet with such FABULOUS people.  Instead, I wore this:
Ummm...sorry about the lighting and the facial expression.
Not sure what happened with the flash.  I KNOW it flashed.  I saw spots for the longest time afterwards!
Daniel was the official photographer this evening.  :)

I have to share this story from tonight.  While waiting to show people to the childcare rooms, I was speaking with a precious little girl who told me I was very pretty tonight and then asked me "why are you so dressed up?"  You should know, she was dressed VERY cute herself (denim skirt with a darling ruffle, an adorable print top and GREAT shoes).  I wasn't sure how to describe my frumpy to fabulous transformation.  (I blame Clinton Kelly for this new phrasing after reading one of his books yesterday)  So, I paused and then bent to her level, looked her straight in the eyes and said, "You know, I didn't always dress this pretty.  For a long time, I just wore jeans and yucky t-shirts.  Then, one day, I wondered why I didn't wear the pretty things I had in my closet.  So, I started dressing up EVERY DAY.  And, you know what?  It makes me really happy inside and makes me smile all the time."  She thought about it for a couple of seconds and then smiled really big and said "I have pretty clothes in my closet too."  I agreed and then told her how pretty I thought she was in her ruffled denim skirt, her pretty top and especially her shoes!  The shoe comment made her smile soooo big!  It's true.  We girls start with the shoe obsession young.  Loving that I had a chance to encourage a future fashionista.  I hope she always feels as fabulous about herself as she did tonight.  :)

Nightly update:

Coffee:  An entire pot of Gevalia Royal Vinter coffee with Trader Joe's Organic Half & Half.  Who needs anything else - even fancy flavored creamers - when the coffee is this good?  YUM

Food:  Did the BUYcott of Chick-Fil-A tonight in honor of their pro-family, pro-Christian policies.  The kids were happy to get fast food.  Daniel enjoyed not having many dishes to wash and I got a break from cooking on a hectic evening.  I'd say this was a win-win situation all the way around.  :)

Writing:  Only this...and a couple of  message board posts.  I am THINKING about writing quite often though.  Does that count??  LOL

Exercise:  ...does cleaning house count??  :) 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fabulously Eloquent (aka Long Winded) Today

I have a confession to make.  My husband loves me.  This is not a surprise to me, him or anyone who knows us.  What surprises me, is how the man can take a picture of me and say "That looks really good!" with such enthusiasm that I trust him and don't look at the picture.  Until it's time to upload it for my OOTD pic.  Then, I realize the man looks at me with eyes of love. *sigh*  Tomorrow, Patrick will be back to his official duties as my photographer.  Until then, trust me when I say I looked cute today as there is NO WAY I'm uploading the photo hubby took.  Sorry....not happening.

In a way it's a bit sad that you won't see my pic as it wasn't in my living room for a change. Instead, I was sitting outside our local watering hole, aka Starbucks.  What did you expect?? You know my penchant for coffee by now.  :)  It was a beautiful morning as we enjoyed our morning caffiene and then went shopping for some boring things at the Navy Exchange:  medals for his shadow box, vitamins for me at GNC and ink for the printer (so many projects at the end of school!!!)  I admit to glancing into the salon to see if the OPI polishes were on sale.  Alas, they were not.  Plus, they were out of the TX colors.  Booo!  After that it was off to the library. 

Ahhhh....the library.  One of my all time favorite haunts.  The enticing scent of coffee as the automatic doors glide open.  The hush as you walk into the building.  The quiet rustle of pages being turned.  Soft voices all around.  And the dusty, yet incredible, scent of books.  Ahhhh....  if they could bottle the aesthetic of a library and put it into a candle and sound machine, I would be their best customer. There is nothing like a library or bookstore.  In my opinion, that is. 

When we entered this happiest place on earth - sorry Disney - I went in search of something different today. I didn't want the usual Christian fiction or historical fiction books.  I didn't want anything modern.  I didn't want anything heavy - no biographies, history or tomes that would require deep thinking.  I wanted something of interesting substance, not quite fiction, but not too thoughtful either.  I came away with five books - from the self help section.  By now, your curiosity must be on high alert.  What is Susan reading this week?

Believe it or not, Clinton Kelly is quite a good author.  His book "Freakin' Fabulous, How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be Better Than Everyone Else" was funny, well written and full of tips on all the above.  I feel more fabulous just having read it. Really.  I wrote down few tidbits to share with you.  Here are my 3 favorite quotes:

"What you wear tells the world how you expect to be treated.  And, take it from me, being treated as though you're fabulous is way better than being treated like a schmuck."

" 'Fashion' is what designers create and sell......'Style' is your usage and interpretation of what is available to you."

"SHOES! You will NEVER be fabulous without fabulous footwear."

Clinton Kelly, you are a bard of style and fabulousness.  Thank you for sharing your genius with us so we may aspire to attain such heights of fabulousness as you.

The other four books? 
"Crazy Busy Beautiful" by Carmindy
"The 5 Minute Face" by Carmindy
"What I know Now" by Sarah Ferguson, The Duchess of York
and "What Would Jackie Do?" by Shelly Branch and Sue Callaway

Yes, I know.  Not exactly what you would expect from me.  But, we all need to expand our horizons and go beyond our normal comfort zone at times. This (style, decorum, etc.) is an area where I once knew who I was, what I wanted to do and always how to act in any given situation.  Somewhere along the way, I lost "me" in being a wife and mommy.  Not a BAD thing by any stretch of the imagination.  But, when I was bored by the girl in the mirror and by my general lack of conversation beyond the kids, dogs and hubby it was definitely time to find Susan again.  Or, better still, to create a new and improved version of Susan.  That is what my current transformation is all about.  Being a better me.  My style is getting there.  The makeup needs help.  And, let's face it, all girls at some point look up to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and want to emulate her.

The same can be said for British Royalty.  Sarah is one of my favorites.  Her grace under fire, most of the time, earned my respect.  The fact we are both blue eyed, red heads with past weight problems (I will expand on that another day for those who don't know) helps me identify with her on some level.  I know I'll never meet her and if it should ever happen in some crazy twist of life, I doubt I could string together two intelligent words.  But, I feel as if I know her.  Weird, huh?
Anyway, those are my reads for the next few days as I continue to work on upping my style factor and just becoming more "fabulous" overall. Be it Clinton Kelly, Carmindy, Jackie O or Sarah Ferguson inspired.  Or inspired by some of my friends and acquaintances who have great style and are simply awesome human beings in their own right.  (If you think I might be talking about YOU, chances are good you are right!)

Love to all.  More quotes to come.  :)

Coffee:  Starbucks brewed coffee this morning.  Gevalia this afternoon.  Good coffee day.  :)

Food:  Used a recipe for "Pizza Macaroni Bake" as an inspiration for a casserole tonight. My creation had sausage, beef, pepperoni, green peppers, onions, mushrooms and garlic tossed with some Italian blend cheese and parmesan cheese.  Cooked whole wheat penne noodles and lightly mixed with the meat mixture.  Poured the mixture into a buttered 9 x 13 dish. Made my own pizza-ish sauce and poured over the pasta and meat mixture.  Gently blended it and popped it into a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Served with salad and cresents.  Yummy.  ***I should admit, I didn't use a lot of cheese as we have family members who don't like lots of cheese.  Otherwise, I would've topped the entire thing with lots of Italian blend cheeses.***

Monday, April 25, 2011

Manic Monday? I think not!

Ahhhhh.....  I love a good day at the beach.  Especially if I walk away without a sunburn as I did today.  Thanks to my hubby who not only found the spf 60 sunscreen for me and insisted I wear it, but also kept our time on the beach to a reasonable 2 hours.  What  a great hubby.  :)  We went to one of our favorite breakfast spots on the boardwalk (which is no longer a favorite as they have gone to a buffet vs their menu) and then took a nice long walk on the beach.  After the beach, we hit a favorite coffee spot (Java Jut Coffee Joint) and then a bit of shopping (Topiaries) for the scent for my Lampes Berger. 

Some pics from the beach.  Wasn't it gorgeous today?? 

Hubby on beach.
The water was C.O.L.D.
This was also my OOTD.
Skirt by Merona.
Top by Rafaella.
Flops from Payless.

Came home to an important phone call. May will be an interesting month.  Hubby will be on a trip next week interviewing for a job.  The following week, he has a pre-op appointment and the week after that will have surgery for a lower abdominal hernia.  Then May 30th is his last day on Active Duty.  Wow...

I admit to being torn. A part of my heart truly wants to stay in Virginia Beach.  I've made some great friends here.  The kids have friends here.  Next year, Matthew is a high school senior.  We have our church and church family we dearly love.  I know now, FINALLY, where to shop.  I have come to love the area and the people.  It will be hard to leave.  My heart breaks a little just thinking of it.  Never mind how I will feel if it actually comes to moving.

Then, there is the anticipation of our next adventure.  What does God have in store for us?  Where is He leading us?  Is it back to TX, home in our hearts?  Is it to TN, my homestate and where the majority of my family is...and consequently another part of my heart? Or is it somewhere completely new we have never been before?  A new place to call home?  Truly, only God has the answers to these questions.  My prayer has been and will continue to be that we be shown God's will and that we stay in it as we make these decisions.  He knows the desires of our hearts.  He knows our needs.  He knows what we are going thru and He has good for us.  I just don't know the plan yet.  But I am trusting Him to care for us through it all.   

Coffee:  Plenty of it and more to come.  Have a pot brewing now to enjoy as I sit on the deck and watch the water drift by.

Food:  Left overs from Easter dinner.  Yum.

Writing...only this blog and some texts.  :) 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Catching up from being MIA

Where to start.  I can't believe it's been over a week since I last blogged.  Life happened and I didn't have the time or energy to write about it.  So unlike me.  It's Spring Break for the kids.  Hubby is also off work.  I've been busy with kids, hubby, looking for a job and working on music for our special church services this week.  Church has been HUGE this week starting with Palm Sunday (GREAT service), orchestra/choir practice Tuesday night, another HUGE service on Wednesday night, orchestra/choir practice Thursday night and our Easter concert with Jason Gray on Good Friday night (AWESOME).  Today we had "off" but will be doing two more wonderful services tomorrow for Easter.  Looking forward to it.  The music will be fantastic and I know the services will be also.  No doubts about it.

This has been a difficult week at our house.  Heard from my mother that one of my first cousins died prior to Palm Sunday of unknown causes (as yet, autopsy being performed).  Also my sister's brother in law passed away following surgery around the same time.  Not a happy time for our family for sure. 

Then, our eldest son dropped a bombshell on us at the beginning of the week.  He's not sure WHAT he wants to do when he graduates.  Hoping its just growing pains and he figures it out soon.  But, right now, apparently going to college or joining the military aren't high on his list of what he wants to do. He will figure it out eventually...I hope. 

I've been busy looking for a job.  And have couple of good leads.  Hoping one comes thru soon as we could definitely use the wiggle room in our budget with hubby retiring from the Navy on May 31.  And, hubby's job search is on-going.  We've heard back from one of our favorite possibilities - and it's quite positive. Pray it happens for us.  Not talking about the particulars until it's certain.

And, it's Spring Break.  For a change, we really haven't done much of anything. We had planned to go to DC for a couple of days but with our committments at church, we changed our plans.  Wonderfully so. The services have been incredible.  However, it would've been nice to leave town for a couple of days.  Hoping we can make it to Busch Gardens soon for a day of fun.  Maybe next weekend.  Maybe....

Sorry I didn't have more OOTDs from the past week.  But between helping friends move (forgot to mention that earlier) and the kids being home and going nowhere all week, my dressing has been EXTREMELY casual and boring. 

Coffee....LOTS has been consumed.
Food....LOTS has been cooked, but nothing of note.
Writing and exercise...NONE.  *sigh*  Well, with the exception of walking the dogs.

OOTDs... Lots of them....

Palm Sunday Outfit  :)

View from our deck Palm Sunday evening.
Photo by Patrick.  Nice, huh?

April 19 OOTD

Good Friday OOTD
Before the LBBC/Jason Gray concert at church.
GREAT night!!

Above:  Patrick with Jason Gray
Below:  Me with Jason Gray 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Extreme Couponing or Not, THAT is the Question...

It's official.  The boys are out of school for the next weekend, week and weekend.  That's a lot of days to spend together.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can get out and about to Busch Gardens (before our passes expire and I don't renew them) and maybe even the beach.  Who knows what else we may go shopping or to the library.  Those places make ME happy.  Why not teenage boys?  Hahahahaha!

Have I mentioned I love shopping?  Have I also mentioned I LOVE a good deal?  :)  If not, consider yourself informed of both of those facts. 

This has made me think about how I use coupons.  They have been a part of my grocery shopping for years.  However,  I've recently noticed more people talking about "really getting into couponing." I know there is a tv show about Extreme Couponing (haven't watched it yet, but plan to do so).  My sister in law and several of her in-laws are couponing.  I know people in Hampton Roads who are using them with great success also.  "So, why not me?" was the question I asked myself earlier today. 

Off to several stores and a bit of research later and I purchased a binder, some pages (trading card type and 3x5 photo type) along with dividers to organize my coupons according to aisles at the commissary.  I also have sections devoted to specific stores, like Food Lion, which have their own store coupons.  I have the circulars for this weeks sales so I'm ready to comparison shop and/or price match when I can.  I know I'm just getting started but I'm already exhausted...and a bit disgusted with how much money I spent simply setting up the system.  However, if my next shopping trip saves more money than usual, I will be all better again.  :)

How did I dress today for all this fun?  Notice it's dark outside the window and I look exhausted.  We didn't manage to take my photo until just before I started writing this tonight.  Yikes!
Jacket - again.  You know who it is.  :)
Dress - third or fourth appearance?  I love this dress!
Flops:  Montego Bay for Payless
Hmmm...didn't I wear the flops this week too? 
Repeats!! All repeats. 
Guess that means these items were worth the money.  :) 

Coffee:  Yes.  Please.  Or, maybe not.  I need to go to bed and to sleep soon.  However, I did drink an entire pot today of Gevalia Traditional Roast with Peppermint Mocha creamer.  It was just that kind of day. I need more creamer...  A grocery trip...and I have TWO coupons for creamer!!!  Woo hoo!! 

Food:  Pasta with homemade sauce and meatballs.  Also bought a mini french loaf, spread it with butter and sprinkled garlic powder, parmesan cheese and Italian blend cheese over it, then broiled it till lightly browned.  Yummy dinner.  :)

Not mentioning those other two items that I haven't done the past week. Didn't break the trend today either.  *sigh*  And, no word on the job situation yet.  Will start looking into other options next week.  *another sigh*

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Two-fer Thursday

Did you miss me?  I was so tired last night I went to sleep early for a change.  Not a busy day and no reason to be exhausted.  Apparently I needed the sleep.  I feel so refreshed today.  Maybe it's stress.  We will see once the stress is over.  Funny how you don't really realize how things affect you until you are past it. 

Spent some time with a great friend yesterday morning, having coffee and talking.  Spent the afternoon running errands and then with hubby chatting on our deck. The evening was spent at church, first playing keyboards and then playing with babies in the nursery. I volunteer one Wednesday night a month in the nursery.  That's enough of a baby fix for me.  :)

Here is yesterday's OOTD:
Jacket by  Alfred Dunner
Top by August Silk
Jeans by Lee Rider
Shoes by American Eagle for Payless

Today was a usual Thursday.  In other words, BUSY.  :)  The morning started with Bible Study.  Difficult topic, great food, awesome girls.  After the study, I headed to lunch for hubby's "Going Away Lunch".  *sigh*  It gets more and more real each day.  He's really getting out of the military.  Can I scream "NO!!!!!" right now?  It's happening too quickly...  After that it's just been the usual afternoon of picking up kids from school, making dinner and watching American Idol. 

American Idol. Yes, I admit it, I'm hopelessly addicted.  What's unusual this year is that I don't have a favorite.  I like several of the contestants...and dislike others. What a diverse group.  I think that's my favorite part of it this year.  There are some real artists and some really weak performers.  My personal opinion.  Just waiting to see if American got it right this week...  Have my doubts...but we shall see.  ***UPDATE***  America got it right.  He was okay, but needed to go.  Of all the contestants, Paul was the weakest.  Good job America.

Here is my OOTD.  I really like what I put together today.  And, yes, I am wearing my jacket AGAIN.  I told you it would be making several appearances this week.  I don't lie.  :) Chances are good you will see it again tomorrow.

Jacket byAlfred Dunner
Top by Croft and Gable
Skirt by Isaac Mizrahi for Target
Shoes by Predictions (no idea where I bought them)

This was an action shot this morning (seriously) as we were leaving home.  For a change, we got the OOTD photo in ONE take.  Incredible.  Must be the lighting.  Sunlight is always best.  :)

Coffee:  7-11 with lots of creamer.  The ONLY way to drink it (IMHO).  Church coffee - again with lots of creamer.  At home, Gevalia Traditional Roast with a variety of creamers.  And, speaking of creamer, I bought a new one today from International Delights.  It's their Breve Creme vanilla caramel cream.  I like it.  Not a must have in the refrigerator at all times (like coconut cream, peppermint mocha and Italian sweet cream) but it's good and I will buy it again. 

Food:  Made a new recipe tonight from called "Chicken Souiza Cornbread Bake."  It was good.  After reading the reviews, I made a few alterations.  This recipe will be added to my binder to make again.  My alterations:  a whole can of diced chilis, added cream of chicken soup and reduced the sour cream to 1/2 cup-ish, added 2-3 oz of pepperjack cheese to the cornbread base, stirred about 4 oz of mexican blend cheese into the chicken mixture instead of topping the casserole with it, added a touch of onion and cumin to the chicken mixture  AND finally, used a small can of cream corn vs a big can.  Will make it again, minus the mushrooms....and making guacamole and salsa to serve with chips alongside. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beautiful Spring Day!

What a lovely day in Virginia Beach!  The weather was simply beautiful.  If I had ordered a day, this would be it.  Sunshine, blue skies, warm temperatures, birds chirping, flowers blooming.  Glorious, simply glorious! 

We spent a few hours on the deck enjoying nature and our incredible view.  Here it is so you can enjoy it too. :)

Isn't that lovely?  This view is why we live here. 
Hubby and I grew up in the country.  Sitting outside and enjoying nature (birds, squirrels, etc) with this view, gives us the feeling we are in a lake house out in the country far away from the city, when in reality,
 we are right in the middle of it! 

Today I did the unthinkable.  I applied for a job.  Now the waiting begins.  Really praying they call me soon for an interview.  Otherwise, I will be applying for other jobs.  I will update as things happen. 

Today's OOTDs:  First was for hanging around the house.  Second (minus the jacket, it was too hot) was what I wore to apply for the job and later  with the jacket to orchestra practice. 
Top by Allison Brittney
Capris by New York & Co
Flip flops by Montego Bay for Payless

Jacket by Alfred Dunner
Top by Allison Brittney
Slacks by Sonoma
Shoes from Payless

Coffee:  Gevalia Signature Blend with Italian Sweet Cream.  Yum!! 
Food:  Ynot Pizza (cashola night for the middle school)  Pizza from here is not my favorite... 'Nuff said.
Writing:  This is it for today.
Exercise:  Took a couple of long walks with the doggies.

Shopping:  Did NOT find the overalls for Daniel, but DID find suspenders.  Hopefully this will work.  Will continue looking for the rest of the week in an attempt to find what he wants/needs.  DID find a Van Heusen dress shirt for Justin to wear for Palm Sunday services.  Super excited that he liked it!  Now to find a dark purple for Matthew to wear for Easter.  His request.  :)   Must find a tie to go with it...  HELP!!  LOL

Monday, April 11, 2011

Delivery Days!

Delivery Days are the BEST days!!  Returning home from a walk with my hubby (and the doggies) this afternoon, I found a delivery of Gevalia coffee on our doorstep!  I am such a happy girl.  Just yesterday I brewed the last of my Signature blend and Le Procope and over the weekend I used the last of the Traditional Blend.  WHEW!  It was getting ugly around here without a good blend of basic coffee.  I do love my flavored varieties, but sometimes you just need coffee. 

Today has been casual.  A bit of housecleaning, catching up on laundry and spending time with the hubby.  Tomorrow will be filled with shopping for overalls and a beanie.  Son #3, aka Daniel, "needs" them for a project in Language Arts, which we called "English" back in the day.  Actually, it's an imaginative project.  They read "To Kill A Mockingbird" as a class.  The project is to dress as a character from the book and give that person's viewpoint of what happened.   Each person is portraying a different character so each presentation is unique.  Great project, isn't it?  Wish I could sit in class for this week to see them all.

Top:  Calvin Klein
Capris:  Levi
Flips:  Airwalk for Payless

Coffee:  Millstone Hawaiian Blend with a variety of flavored creamers.
Food:  Reheated Lasagna.  Gone now.  Whew.  We can have something new to eat finally.  :)
Writing & Exercise:  None on the former...and took a walk with hubby and dogs this afternoon for exercise....and getting ready to take a walk with just the hubby now.  Great day.  Especially for a Monday! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Sunday...

It's a bright beautiful day!  The sun is shining.  The birds are tweeting.  And, I bought a new bluejean jacket today - on clearance, at that!  OK.... shopping doesn't necessarily make it a great day, but it doesn't hurt.  Here is my new jacket.  It will be making an appearance in my OOTDs this week.  Promise.  :)

The jacket feels GREAT when you put it on.  Light denim.  Machine wash cold/tumble dry.  YIPPEE! I seriously despise dry clean only.  3/4 length sleeves make it fabulous for cool spring days or when going places that are have crazy cold AC blasting. Wasn't quite sure about the butterfly embellishment, but quickly made 10 outfits with it at home. I bought a size 8, which is fitted but not tight.  All in all, I really like it.  BEST part: mall price  $66.  My purchase price:  $20.  Love that. 

Here is today's OOTD.  BTW, my MIL gave me this dress.  Pretty, isn't it? 

Dress by Sandra Darren
Shoes by Alfani

Music at church this morning was incredible.  Sometimes I get so lost in the music I actually get lost and have to quickly find my place so I can continue to play.  This morning was one of those days.  Not admitting how many times that happened, but it was more than once.  Our guest speaker....words fail me...and you know that doesn't happen very often.  Anyway, he gets to the point with his messages.  There were a few times I needed steel toed boots on instead of my very cute peep toe pumps.  But, it was a message the entire church needed to hear.  God has blessed us indeed with our visiting speakers as we await His choice for our Senior Pastor.

The afternoon was fun.  We left church in one vehicle and headed to base so the eldest could go to the movies with his girlfriend (her Dad knew, not sure about the Mom) while the rest of us went to the NEX to have lunch.  The plan was to kill time after the boys haircuts. (They look so handsome.)  Instead, we found clearance sales.  Hubby came home with a pair of Dockers and 5 shirts....and my denim jacket.  All in all, it was a good shopping day. 

Speaking of  haircuts for the boys....  I turned the camera on my official photographer today.  Didn't get a "Before" picture, but here is his "After" shot. 

Isn't he darling??

After we got home, the above pictured offspring "remembered" he needed a new binder.  So, off  to Wal-Mart.  Bought the binder. Hubby found some things he needed and I bought two more colors of nail polish.  Have I mentioned it was a good shopping day? *insert huge grin here*  I HAD to have the nail polish though.  Just seemed prudent to buy a nice pink for my hands and an AWESOME deep red for my toes.  You know, just in case I have an interview this week.  Or next. 

Coffee:  Morning cup from 7-11 (thanks again Trina!!!!) and then church coffee.  Tonight I veered from my norm and made a pot of Kona Chocolate Macadamia Nut coffee.  Drinking it with Italian Sweet Cream and Belgian Chocolate Toffee creamers.  I prefer it with the Italian Sweet Cream. 

Food:  Didn't cook today.  Leftover BBQ.  Yum.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What a crazy weekend...

The weekend started out great.  The boys had a friend over to spend Friday night.  They went to church to Guys Game Night and had a great time.  Came home, played video games and talked half the night. I got up this morning, fixed breakfast (which disappeared in 5 minutes) and relaxed for a while.  After lunch, we dropped off the extra teen at his home, did a little shopping and came home to prepare for the eldest's girlfriend to come over for dinner and a movie.  Less than 2 hours before she is supposed to arrive, my son gets a call saying she can't come.  The reason?  They ran into each other at the mall about a month ago (she was shopping with her aunt) and spoke for about 2 minutes.  3 maximum.  She didn't tell her mother about it.  Neither did her aunt.  Now her Mom is livid and has forbid them to see each other.  I'm confused and upset because my son is hurt and unhappy. I know I'm only hearing half the story...but this truly makes no sense.  If they weren't going to let her come over, then why say yes initially and at the last minute say NO.  I can get over it easier than my son.  Poor fellow.  He doesn't know what to say or do right now about the whole situation.  We've counselled him to NOT sneak around to see her as doing so will only cause more problems with her parents. Beyond that, we don't really know what to tell him as this has totally baffled us.  *sigh*


Sweater:  Croft & Barrow
Belt: no brand, thrifted
Top:  Essentials by Milano
Skirt:  Old Navy
Boots:  9 West

  At least I looked cute for the day that went wrong.  Hopefully next time, if there is a next time, it will work out differently.  We can only pray it will.  However, the evening wasn't a total loss.  I posted on FaceBook about drinking coffee and watching My Fair Lady.  A friend, Debra, saw it and came over to watch part of it with me.  :) 

Coffee:  This morning was a half and half mixture of Le Procope and Signature Blend.  This is what happens when I don't have enough to make a full pot of just one with peppermint mocha creamer.  This evening I was in a New Orleans kind of mood so made a half pot of Trader Joe's chicory coffee to make cafe au lait to sip while watching My Fair Lady.  Delish.  :)

Food:  Homemade lasagna made with lots of veggies hidden inside. I put in spinach, mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers, onions, garlic, yellow squash and extra tomatoes.  Served it with french bread spread with butter and sprinkled with italian seasonings, garlic powder, parmesan cheese and italian blend cheese and then broiled till lightly brown.  It was a feast.  :)

Writing & exercise:  None of the former and only a short walk with the dogs for the latter.  It's one of those days....   

Friday, April 8, 2011

Is it Really Friday?

Yesterday was a good day.  But, I missed a huge chunk of it by sleeping.  A lot.  The morning started out with Bible Study.  It was the last day of studying David. Met hubby for lunch at DW's Mongolian Grill.  Yum!  When I left, an elderly gentleman who was leaving the fast food restaurant next door said to me:  "Young lady, is that place any good?"  I said "Yes!  I really like it."  He nodded his head and said "Then I'll try it next time."  Word of mouth is a GREAT way to advertise.  :)  Later, I drove my eldest to his Air Force DEP call.  (DEP = Delayed Entry Program) He goes to the recruiting office one Thursday a month.   Anyway, I started feeling bad while waiting for him and by the time I got home, I felt awful.  Took off my very cute OOTD, put on my jammies and crawled in bed.  I fell asleep 15 minutes later and slept till almost 9:30 this morning:  approximately 16 hours!!  I woke up long enough  this morning for my hubby to say he would drive the kids to school.  Thank you sweetheart. :)

So, my very cute OOTD for Thursday?  Here it is:

Dress by H&M
Purse by ???  No clue, it's a knockoff....
Shoes by Alfani

Today has been relatively quiet and filled with "Mom stuff".  Laundry, vacuuming, general pick up, a friend came over for coffee and a chat, picked up kid from school (2 back to back study blocks and nothing to study, so he came home to clean) and a trip to the grocery store.  Older teens have a friend over for the night (hence the cleaning), so I cooked a lot and gave them money to eat again at church for the Guys Game Night. Where do they put all this food?  I'm convinced teenage boys have hollow legs. 

The news is on non-stop at my house as we monitor the current fiasco that is our government being unable to pass a REASONABLE budget.  Come on, the rest of America has to balance our income and spending.  Why can't the government?  Not to mention, I'm highly upset they are talking about not paying stateside military members, yet expecting them to report to work.  Ummm...hello?  How about THEY show up to do what they were elected to do WITHOUT pay until this is fixed.  I am not happy about the way they are playing with people's lives and livelihoods.  And, it's not just about the fact that MY husband won't get paid next Friday if this isn't solved.  It's about other families I know who need the money more than we do.  It's about the fact that our military literally puts their lives on the line, day in and out for very little pay...and they are talking about NOT paying them at all??  Who is the IDIOT who thought of that idea?  Seriously?!?!?  Someone has no clue.  Pay the people who are protecting the nation.  It just makes sense.  I'm sure there are other  federal employees who deserve to continue doing their job and being paid.  But, there are a lot of places federal money (that's MY money and YOUR money folks!!) is being used that are just ridiculous and wrong.  

Stepping off my soap box before my blood pressure goes too high and I have a stroke.  After all, if this budget doesn't pass, TriCare won't be able to pay for my healthcare benefits at a local hospital and I will not want to go to the local Naval Hospital where they are being forced to work for no pay.  KWIM?

Next topic.  I have decided to look for a job.  Several reasons.  Main one being I want to help out right now as we are transitioning from military life to civilian life.  I would like to pay off our credit cards and van.  And, then I'd like to bank my paycheck for extra $$ for fun trips this summer. Needless to say, I'm not looking for a career, I'm looking for a job.  Something I can do for 30-40 hours a week and come home to my family.  I like being able to leave the office at the office.   'Nuff said about that.

What does one wear on a cool day when it's rainy off and on and one doesn't feel the best?  This, of course:
Sweater by Croft & Barrow (like you didn't know that already)
Top by George for Wal-Mart
Jeans by Lee Rider
Shoes by Airwalk for Payless

 Yes, it's the Mom Uniform, but still cute and comfy.  Hopefully soon, the MU can lose the sweater and sneakers and I can wear my cute flip flops instead.  :)

Coffee:  LOTS of it today.  First pot (shared with a good friend) was Gevalia German Chocolate Cake and Coconut Cream creamer.  Yum.  After dinner, I brewed a half pot of Gevalia Dark Chocolate Truffle and am mixing it with Italian Sweet Cream creamer.  More yum!!! 

Food:  Made "Ann's Dirty Rice" from It tastes like a stuffed pepper without the hassle.  We also like it because, for a change, it's a stuffed pepper-ish recipe that doesn't include tomatoes.  We love them, but it's a nice change.  The boys certainly enjoyed it as they emptied the bowl.  Makes a Mom's heart happy. Served it with corn and home made biscuits with my Mom's Blackberry Apple jelly.  Soooo delish!!

Writing and Exercise:  None. excuses....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Not much to say...

Strange, isn't it?  It's been a bit of a busy day, but it's nothing noteworthy.  Well, other than breakfast this morning with my neighbor and friend for her birthday while her husband is out of town and our churches midweek prayer service tonight, which is always quite wonderful. 

What did I wear today for this not so special day?  A special outfit that made me feel good about myself.  An updated version of the "Mom Uniform."

You've seen it all before.  Just not put together like this.
I liked it.  It made me feel great about ME today.
Isn't that what the OOTD is all about?  Feeling and looking good, no matter what your plans happen to be.

Coffee:  Not nearly enough.  3 small (6 oz) cups of coffee at Citrus with splenda and half & half.  Later, a medium coffee of Seattle's Best at Borders this afternoon.  That's it.  Maybe half what I normally drink per day.  I have a headache.  Wonder why?  (Not really....)

Food:  Breakfast foods all day long.  A Western Omelet and hash browns at Citrus this morning.  Only able to eat half, so I brought the other half home - and had it for lunch.  Dinner tonight was pancakes.  It was quick and easy before church. 

Writing:  None.  Also, no exercise beyond walking the dogs.  I told you it was a quiet day....  Hmmm...I know I was busy all day long, but right now, I have no clue what I accomplished.  Oh well....  I worked on relationships today.  May not show much toward a clean house, etc., but it was worth something in eternity.  :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rainy days are not meant for skirts...

However, Monday night I planned what I wanted to wear today hoping the weather forecast was wrong.  Therefore, I wore a skirt today.  Was it the smartest thing I've ever done?  No.  But, at least I was cute.  :)  I've been waiting 3 weeks to wear this particular skirt and decided I was not going to let a little rain dictate my wardrobe choice.  Tomorrow will be a different story as I haven't chosen an outfit yet. 

What did I wear today?  Here it is!!  Two shots as the temps dropped during the day and necessitated a sweater. 

I know it's a bit dark for my outfit, but wasn't the view behind me pretty this morning?  :)

Benji wanted to get into the action and joined me for my afternoon photo.  Isn't he a cutie? 
Love my mini schnauzer.  :)
Sweater:  Croft & Barrow
Top:  Anne Klein
Skirt:  East 5th
Shoes:  American Eagle for Payless
Flip Flops in top pic:  Airwalk for Payless

Had lunch with hubby and shopped for a shadow box for his retirement from the Navy.  We didn't like the ones we saw at the Navy Exchange, so we will keep looking.  None were the right size to hold his memorabilia from the past 20 years. I must admit, it's like a punch in the gut sometimes when I think about him retiring...and other times it's really exciting to imagine where we may go and what we may do next.  Right now, I'm feeling sucker punched...  It will be better tomorrow, or the day after...  eventually.  Yes, eventually, it will be good.  :)

Tonight was church orchestra/choir practice.  My eldest son plays trumpet and I play keyboard.  We are currently preparing for our upcoming Holy Week/Easter services.  The music is incredible.  I can't wait for the concert on Good Friday.  The music is a bit ambitious (this means HARD!!!) but it's going to be above and beyond any program we've done the past 3+ years that I've been there.  Seriously looking forward to the entire week.  After all, it IS Easter week.  :)

Coffee:  Gevalia Traditional Roast.  Assorted creamers.

Food:  Dinner tonight was yummy.  Threw some chicken in the crockpot all day long, then shredded it and added fajita seasoning.  Sauteed some onion and peppers.   Made fresh salsa.  Fried flour tortillas.  Cheese, sour cream, etc.  YUM. 

Writing:  None.  Been busy.....  I know, not an excuse, but it's the best I've got. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Banana Cream Dreams

The title says it.  This weekend we discussed my friend Debra's recent trip to NYC where she had "the best banana cream pie EVER" or something to that effect.  Being the Susie Homemake that I am, I took this as a challenge.  My plan is to try duplicate her NYC experience.  The wheels in my mind started whirling as she described this most awesome Banana Cream Pie (BCP).  I asked questions and admitted I was going to play around in the kitchen to see if I could duplicate the one she had.  Ideas have been swirling thru my brain. My favorite recipe site has been searched diligently.  (, if you wondered)  This evening, I made my first Banana Cream Pie. Not knowing how her BCP tasted, I don't know if I have duplicated it or not.  But, I have to tell you, mine is good.  I'm pleased.  Will make this again.  Definitely.  After Debra taste tests it, I may need to tweak this recipe a bit, but for a first try at BCP, I am quite content with the outcome.

Now, what does a girl WEAR to make a Banana Cream Pie?  Something cool and casual with a hint of the beach (since that's where I was inspired/challenged).  Also something on the inexpensive side for staying home most of the day.  So, this was my OOTD: 

Maxi dress by Merona
Tank by Basic Editions (I think, can't read the tag, lol)
Flip Flops by Airwalk for Payless (bought today - BOGO!!)
Necklace from Wal-Mart
Photographer:  My son Patrick who said "You look good.  This looks like a Glamour Shot."  Awwwww.  :)

Close up on the feet.  LOVE the nail color on my hands, not so much on the feet...

Isn't the little flower just darling??

And, I was having a good hair day this morning, so I snapped a photo of that too. 

Ummm...looked better in person.  Really. 

It was a GORGEOUS day!!  Temps in the 80s.  Blue skies.  SUNSHINE!  Wind.  But, oh, so nice.  Opened all the windows to air the house and enjoy nature.  Quite wonderful.  Spent the day working on the house after being gone for the second weekend in a row. It was more of a general pick up along with washing dishes and clothing.  In fact, I'm still doing laundry.  With a family of 6, when am I NOT working on laundry?  Spent time on the phone with a friend.  Good chat.  Spent time with hubby.  Very nice.  Spent time with the boys.  Also nice. 

Since I didn't have any sandals or flip flops (they all died last year) and this dress definitely required either sandals or flip flops, a trip to my favorite Payless was in order for the afternoon.  Lo and behold, today was the final day for their BOGO sale on flip flops!!  Two pair were purchased.  The other pair is rather cute too.  You will see those on the next mid 80s day, I'm sure.  :)

Prayer meeting tonight was awesome.  God met us there.  No other way to put it. 

Coffee today:  Gevalia Le Procope with Italian Sweet Cream for the first 3/4 of the pot.  Final 1/4 was enjoyed with Peppermint Mocha.  Yum.

Food:  Meatloaf (made with my Mom's homemade salsa), Irish Potato Casserole, Broccoli and the Easiest Rolls Ever. 

Writing:  Sorry, didn't happen today.  Too much else going on.  To be perfectly honest, I forgot to do it.  Oh well.  There's always tomorrow, unless there isn't.  In which case, it doesn't matter anyway. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

No April Foolin', I Had a Wonderful Weekend!

Happy April Everyone!  Here's hoping Friday didn't catch anyone off guard and you didn't hear the famous (or infamous) words "April Fools!"  I *almost* got taken in by an acquaintance who is pregnant and had an ultrasound Friday.  She did a Facebook announcement saying she was having twins.  I was *this close* to sending a huge congratulations, etc., and then remembered the day.  She later admitted it to be an April 1st joke...however, the baby is doing great.  No fooling.  (thought you'd wanna know that for sure)  :)

So, my weekend.  It was fabulous.  Just a small group of us (5 total, only 4 able to stay the entire weekend) went to the Outer Banks of NC to stay at a beach house and simply relax for the weekend.  It was amazing.  I haven't felt this relaxed and rejuvenated in a long time.  We simply did nothing all weekend other than talk, drink coffee, talk, eat, talk and sleep.  Maybe a little reading, more talking, movie watching and talking was thrown in, but not much.  A quick walk and then run (it was about to storm) on the beach was the ONLY exercise.  I wonder how many calories are burned by non-stop talking?  A friend said I looked slimmer today.  :)  Maybe it was the run on the beach.  Hmmmm.....  Did I mention we did a LOT of talking this weekend?  Ha ha ha ha ha

Here are some photos from our walk/run on the beach Saturday afternoon.  There was a storm coming and I got a couple shots of the sky that I really like showing the line as the storm blew in.

Although I had a wonderful time all weekend long, I have to admit to a couple of times that were extra special to me.  First was Friday night when we talked until almost 3:00 A.M.  The outpouring of love and concern was incredible.  Hearts were opened and deep emotions were shared. 

My second favorite time was the last part of the ride home.  Some very hard to hear words were said to me, but it was something I needed to hear.  It was just a couple of sentences, gently said, which helped me see I was having a pride issue I needed to get past.  It is being acted upon and I think will cause changes in the best way possible.  As I said then, I don't just want the better thing, I want the best which is God's best for my life. I know what His will is in this particular situation. Now I need to follow His leading in this matter.  First steps have been taken. More to follow daily.

Sorry, no OOTD pics from the weekend.  It was an extremely comfortable, casual time and not photo worthy from a fashion standpoint.  :)  Hey, we all need jeans and t-shirt days every now and then. 

Food:  Awesome.  Each of us prepared a meal for the group.  I made breakfast Saturday morning.  Simple, reasonably nutritious and easy.  The other ladies made awesome meals.  I'm thinking of asking for recipes as the meals were delicious. 

Coffee:  Provided by Debra.  Creamers:  Peppermint Mocha, Italian Sweet Cream, French Vanilla, half and half and organic half and half.  Lovely weekend.  :)

Writing update:  Not much actual writing...but I did have some great ideas for the adult books (at least a trilogy, maybe 5 books - one for each main character) and worked on developing basics for each main character.  All has been written down.  Nothing further on the children's book, although I took everything along.