Tuesday, November 25, 2014

fun news

Now that it's been publicly released, we can officially share that Hubs has been selected to attend Officer Training School! He first mentioned this goal back in February 2013, and has worked so hard to do everything he needed to in order to make it happen. He finished his Bachelor's, proved himself as a leader at work, dealt with canceled selection boards, and jumped through some crazy hoops the week of selection to ensure his package would be seen by the board. It all paid off for him and he was among the 32% off applicants chosen to receive commissions upon completion of Basic Officer Training. I am so, so proud of him!

Because this is the military, nothing is ever 100% set in stone, but we are very excited for our Air Force future. After he does all the necessary administrative requirements to get a class date, we will  officially find out our next step!

(P.S. I know I failed at blogging every day in November. But, Life. I'm working on getting some more substantive posts up in the near future!)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holiday Necessities

holiday necessities

Major holiday season is upon us--we've had Christmas items in the stores here even BEFORE Halloween! I am firmly in the "no mention of Christmas decorations until at least Thanksgiving Day" camp, and this year we decided to order our Thanksgiving meal from the base club rather than spend all day cooking just for our little family. Overall, I try to keep holiday stress to a minimum but this isn't always possible because Life. Here are some of the things I use to help manage holiday season chaos.

Amazon Prime - The ultimate lifesaver when it comes to gifts. Shipping overseas can take for-ev-er, and Amazon Prime has been the single greatest invention during our time in Japan. We can get basically anything we want for the girls delivered in a week, and gifts sent to stateside family in two days. You can't beat it!

Artificial tree - I never had a real tree growing up due to allergies, and even though I've outgrown them, I can't be bothered with one now. You can get some really realistic looking artificial trees these days, and bonus points for the ones that come pre-lit. Plus, one year? My aunt's real tree had a nest of SPIDERS. That HATCHED. IN HER HOUSE. The grossest.

Rubbermaid containers - For managing all the Christmas accoutrements and hiding all of the things that get stashed away to make room. While not a super cool item, these definitely keep our storage room from falling into total chaos.

Cookie cutters - Cookies are a must during the holidays, naturally! Because sugar makes people happy. Our base does a "Cookie Caper" every year where they package and hand out tens of thousands of cookies to single servicemembers. I like to donate as many as I can to the effort to bring some homemade holiday cheer to folks in our community, and of course we also have to make and decorate cookies just for Santa!

Boots and Yaktrax - The past two winters have brought over 220 inches of snow here! Even during an average winter 100 inches is the norm. Usually from the end of November until the end of March, boots are a must everyday. The Yaktrax are especially helpful when things start melting and refreezing and parking lots turn to ice rinks.

Hot spiced cider - My favorite holiday season drink by far! We love having a pot going on the stove because it makes the house smell delicious. Pre-pregnancy/breastfeeding, the cider might occasionally be replaced with wine for the grown-ups.

Moisturizer - Because winter air wreaks havoc on skin! My hands get super dry in the winter and I have used Mary Kay extra emollient night cream for years. This stuff is amazing and keeps me from getting dragon skin. ;)

Christmas music - I love playing iTunes radio or Pandora holiday stations once it's cold and snowy. Christmas music always reminds me of decorating the house as a kid and I hope we can create similar memories for the girls. Plus, who doesn't love singing along to all the classics?

Classic movies - Of course, we cannot forget the Christmas movie classics like Rudolph. I have watched it almost every year for as long as I can remember, and I definitely plan on having our girls grow up the same way.

What are some of your holiday necessities? Are you looking for the perfect gift for the men in your life? Check out Man Crates--perfectly packaged gifts that are opened with a crowbar! I wish I'd known about them before the baby's arrival, I totally would have picked up the New Dad Tactical Bag for my husband!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


(Blogging from my phone lately and running into issues with the blogger app. I thought this published earlier.)

This week (Nov 11th) marked the birthday of my favorite author: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. I always like to celebrate by sharing some of my favorite quotes of his. In high school, I hoarded stacks of index cards with quotes. I also had a chalkboard wall in my bedroom that was constantly full of the same. Pinterest makes it even more fun!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

Wishing all service members, past and present, and their families a very Happy Veterans Day. I am proud to be a lifelong member of this community and to know so many wonderful folks who have sacrificed for the nation. Thank you!

Monday, November 10, 2014

recipe | (the best) pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

My favorite part of fall is breaking out this recipe every year. I know that pumpkin recipes don't have to be limited to only one season, but it's better for us all not to have these things around too often. On the other hand, pumpkin is a fruit (Hubs and I had a long discussion about fruits vs. vegetables--we are 80 years old) so this recipe is basically healthy. 

These cookies are SO good. They're soft, full of chocolatey walnut-y deliciousness, and not too sweet. We might sneak a few before the glaze goes on, but if you can wait then it really puts them over the top. The original recipe my mom gave me is huge--5-6 dozen depending on how big you make them, so I've halved it to protect our collective blood sugars/waistlines.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
yields ~2.5 dozen

1-1/8 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 a regular-sized can of pumpkin puree (just under 1 cup if you use a bigger can or use your own)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (I prefer semi-sweet or dark)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
-1/2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

*homemade pumpkin pie spice: 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 2 teaspoons ginger, 1.5 teaspoons all spice
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. 
  3. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts with a rubber spatula. 
  4. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto a greased or non-stick baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes then transfer to wire cooling rack.
  6. Once cool, drizzle glaze over cookies.
  7. Enjoy! And try not to eat them all in one sitting. 
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