Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How Old Do You Think I Am?

"What are you doing drinking coffee at OUR age?"

"How did you land a job working in the office?"

These questions were just asked to me by two 21 year-old students who came by the office for a little bit to get some assistance.  Apparently they do not realize I'm 28 years old, but rather believe I'm around 22 or 23.

I have come to believe that most people who work in my department think I'm a good 4-5 years younger than I actually am.  I've actually asked people with whom I work how old they think I am after they've made comments about me being really young, and usually receive shocked looks when I tell them I'm actually in my late twenties.

I know it's usually a compliment for a woman to be mistaken for being younger than she is, but at this point in my life I'm proud of being the age I am and no longer college aged.  Getting older doesn't scare me, as with age comes more experiences, and I love getting to experience new things.

Unlike others I know who have cried over leaving their twenties behind them, I am not the least bit fearful of turning 30 in a year and a half.  The only thing that worries me about turning 30 is how much of a hard time my husband is going to give me about it, as I'm nine months older than he is, so he'll still be 29 when I hit my thirties.  And the man LOVES to rub in the fact that I am older than he is.

Monday, June 25, 2012


This is one of those mornings where I wish I had brought two cups of coffee with me to work.  I just have this feeling it is going to be one of those days that kind of drags on at work, leaving me with a need for an extra jolt of caffeine in the matter of a couple hours.  If only Starbucks delivered... I could so go for a skinny vanilla latte right now!

In other randomness... I am definitely feeling the effects of some of the exercises I did yesterday.  The mountain climbers in particular.  I just hope that Saki isn't feeling anything from my exercises yesterday, and the accidental kick in the face that resulted from him getting too close to me right as I was kicking out my left leg.  Thankfully the poor little boy is pretty resilient!  I just hope he learns not to get too close to mommy when I'm doing what I'm sure he thinks are crazy movements in the middle of the living room.  I am bound and determined to start and stick to a new exercise plan so I can work off these last 15 or so pounds from when I started working out over a year ago.  So far it's just been baby steps, but hopefully I'll get a routine down shortly!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Slutty Brownies, Take 1

I really enjoy baking.  Not to toot my own horn, but I do think I've got a bit of a knack for it.  I can at least make really tasty cheesecakes, if nothing else.  Plus my oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chip cookies are pretty dang awesome too.

Last night I decided I wanted to finally try my hand at making Slutty Brownies...

Cookie dough topped with brownie batter, with Oreo cookies sandwiched in between.  What's not to love about this combination?

Well, they didn't turn out all that great.  I think the brownie recipe is likely a good one, however I ended up over-baking the brownies because of a malfunction with the cookie dough layer.  I ended up using the cookie dough recipe that this blogger had listed, rather than my own recipe.  I wish I had gone with my gut and switched it up to my fallback recipe when the quantity and ratio of sugars for the cookie dough set off an alarm (1.5 cups granulated sugar mixed with 1/2 cup of brown sugar - compared to my usual ratio of 3/4 cup of each type of sugar, with the quantities of all other ingredients being practically identical).

The abundance of white sugar in the recipe caused my cookie dough layer to pretty much liquify and melt (some of it actually came up through the Oreo and brownie layers to crystallize on top of the whole thing).  I had baked my brownies for the recommended 30 minute bake time, checked for doneness, and when the top brownie layer was very gooey, I put them back in for an additional 5 minutes.  After checking again to see the brownie layer was still gooey, I decided to give just another 5 more minutes.  After 40 minutes of baking, the brownie layer finally appeared to be in good shape, so I pulled the pan out of the oven and let the brownies rest on a cooling rack.

After letting them rest for a bit, I pulled the brownies out of the baking pan via the aluminum foil lining recommended in the baking instructions, only to find that the cookie dough layer was a molten mess, and no where near set up properly.  Since I had nothing to lose at this point, as I didn't want to be left with oozing cookie dough, I decided to put the brownies back in the oven for another 10 minutes.  After it had finished, I let the pan rest on my cooling rack for about 15 or 20 minutes, and then pulled the brownies back out of the pan.  Along the outside edge, the cookie dough appeared to have set up.  It wasn't until I cut into them that I discovered I was left with about 2mm of cookie dough lining the bottom of my slutty brownies.

For my one last attempt with this cookie dough recipe, I took the remaining dough I had (you only use half of the cookie dough for a 9x9 pan of brownies) and followed the recommendation of the blogger and decided to make cookies with it.  Before I made the cookies, I let the rest of the dough I had sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to make sure it was chilled so the batter wouldn't spread too much.  I then scooped the chilled dough onto a chilled cookie sheet and placed the cookies in the oven, where they proceeded to spread out/melt so much that I was left with cookies that were a good 4 inches in diameter and about as thin as crepes.

The cookies ended up in the trash last night.  Most of the brownies likely will find their way there as well, after I do my best to salvage the best part of the brownies, aka the moister center.  I definitely want to try making these again though.  Next time I'll try it with my cookie dough recipe, add a tad more flour to the brownie recipe, and might upgrade to double stuff Oreos, because you cannot ever go wrong with them.  Wish me luck!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Planning Away

I am a planner.  I always have been.  I love doing research and figuring things out for the future.  Of course it makes for an interesting struggle with military life, but I do my best to plan for all of the options I can, so that way when the time comes I already have a base from which to act, rather than having to start from square one at the last minute. My husband knows very well that I enjoy planning things, so he has enlisted my help and has given me a couple tasks.  I think he's just trying to give me a distraction from counting down the days until he gets home.  But hey, I'll take it!

First, we're hoping to do something different for Christmas this year and instead of traveling to visit family, we're going to have our own Christmas with just the two of us.  If we're able to get the time, we really want to take a vacation somewhere.  The question is, where do we want to go?  While we won't be able to get anything set until after we've moved and hubby gets settled in with his new unit, and actually learn how much time we'll have to go on a trip, we already have a list of options to consider.

We're currently keeping our options open and are looking at several different places, from visiting islands in the Caribbean or going on a cruise, to heading to the mountains & Jackson Hole, and even heading further west to California to visit Yosemite National Park and some of California wine country.  It could end up that we aren't able to get more than a day or two free, but if that happens we'll be happy getting to enjoy time at home with our fur-babies and will take a trip at a later date.  Either way we're going to enjoy just getting to be together again, regardless of where we're at.  But boy could we use a vacation together, just the two of us.

The real interesting job I've been assigned is to help plan my brother-in-law's bachelor party.  That's right, I get to help plan a guy's bachelor party.  My husband is his best man, but given the fact he's deployed and will not be home until right about a month before his brother's wedding (and during that one month our lives will be crazy as we move halfway across the country), I have been enlisted to assist with the planning process, as my husband isn't about to hand over the bachelor party planning reigns to one of the groomsmen since he believes it is his rightful duty as the older brother to plan this night.

One benefit from this is it should hopefully put our future sister-in-law at ease a little, as she is slightly worried about what sort of trouble my husband might get his brother into and is hoping they have PG-13 rated fun, rather than something resembling The Hangover.  Honestly, I think they'll behave themselves for the most part anyways.

The difficulty, however, will come from the fact that I'm having to scope out areas I've never really visited before, stretching around his home in northern Virginia.  I've been instructed to look at places as far south as Virginia Beach, and as far north as Baltimore.  If anyone has any suggestions for places around the area that might be suitable for a group of 5-10 guys to get together, and likely on a Monday or Tuesday night at the end of October, please feel free to offer them up!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Super Special Deployment Present

When my husband and I decided to get married last year, that's all our "engagement" was, simply two people making the decision that we want to spend the rest of our lives together and get married.  There was no proposal.  No getting down on one knee.  There was no ring.  It was simply two people who were crazy in love with each other, who were tired of waiting for the "right time" after a year of setbacks, deciding to just go for what we want.  We had been shooting for a certain date, and because of one thing or another it kept getting put on hold.  So in January 2011, we just decided to go with a small ceremony and started planning out the details for our target date.  At the end of February we told our families and a couple close friends and gave them the details about our "big" day, and then that April 1st we were married, just one month after making our engagement public to everyone else via the almighty Facebook.

There were definitely some things that we missed, and still do, about not doing the whole traditional engagement/wedding thing, but it worked for us and what we wanted.  All we really cared about was being husband and wife.  And by having a super short engagement and having worked out all of the details about our day before we even told our family, it saved many headaches that would have resulted from a longer engagement and larger wedding.

The one downside to all of this is my husband has said before how he feels bad that he wasn't able to buy me an engagement ring.  Instead, when it came time to go buy my wedding band, I simply spent a little more money than I had originally planned on to get a nicer ring, using my increase in pay from the new job/promotion I had received at the time to pay for it.

Now that we have a decent steady income each month, my husband decided that it was time to get me the ring he never could get before.  When we began talking about it, I had looked up settings at the same jeweler where we purchased both of our wedding bands, and fell in love with one that looked like it should match my band perfectly.  All that was left was to find the center stone.

Given the fact that my husband and I haven't done everything by the most traditional means and prefer to do what works best for the two of us, I started to really like the idea of going with a stone other than a diamond.  After playing around with the jeweler's design your ring page, I quickly fell in love with the idea of a white sapphire.  I like the idea of having something a little different.  And honestly, I still wouldn't let my husband spend the money on a diamond now, as there are many other better ways our money could be spent.

My husband found and selected the stone he wanted me to have while on this deployment, and then sent it to me to have placed in the setting I had found, which turned out to be a perfect match for my wedding band.  I have to say, my man did a good job!  He says he would still like to change it out for a diamond one day, but I don't know that I'll ever want to make that change.

It has been kind of weird getting used to it, as I'm so used to just the one ring and not getting it snagged on anything, but I've only had it since the end of this past weekend after having to wait a couple days for the jeweler to set the stone into the ring.  But I love it very much and love that my husband was able to hand pick the stone for me.  It will always serve as a reminder of what we've been through this past year, the discovery of what we're capable of, and the love we have for each other.

My husband's response when I sent him pictures of the final ring: "it's HUGE".  I'm not sure if he remembers the fact that HE picked out the stone, not me lol.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Deployment Countdown

Before we had even learned of the deployment my husband is currently on, I had seen and read about different ways spouses will countdown the days in deployments.  One of the ways I saw that I liked the best is this one I found on Pinterest.

It uses two glass containers, with stones inside to indicate the number of days that have passed and the number of days remaining.  I liked this idea because it is something that can be dressed up a little bit and serve as additional decor for the home.

Since I have TONS of extra vases around the house from flower deliveries I received while my husband was in basic, I decided to re-purpose two of them and turn them into my own "days down" and "days to go" jars.

I picked up some red & clear/white stones at Michaels and quickly counted out the number I needed.  I had also purchased some sticker letters to place on the front of the vases with the words "Days Down" and "Days To Go" to match my inspiration picture, however I decided to wait to do this until deployment #2, which will inevitably be longer whenever it rolls around and likely require larger containers.

We're quickly approaching the two-month mark into the deployment, and this past weekend I found out that my husband's time there has been extended for another month, so on Saturday I got to add in another 30 stones to my "days to go" vase.  I was not too terribly happy about that of course, though I had a strong feeling it would likely happen.  At least now with his official return/new PCS orders being cut, hopefully it'll be easier knowing the "official" ballpark return date.  I just hope they're able to actually get him out of there roughly around the target date and that it isn't delayed too much more.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I Shall Call Him Squishy, and He Shall Be Mine...

My day was made yesterday when I got to work in the morning and began checking my email, only to find in one of my daily emails from Amazon was the official announcement of the pre-order of Finding Nemo on Blu-Ray!

This is one of my all-time favorite movies, and has been ever since I first saw it during a late-night trip to the movies in college when the university movie theater was showing it for all of like $2.  I've been waiting on Disney to release it on Blu-Ray for quite some time now, because everything is better in HD, and dealing with rumors of its release coming and going quite regularly over the last several years (with my husband giving me a hard time each time a rumored release date has been mentioned, telling me that they're never going to release it).

When Disney made the announcement last year that they would be re-releasing several of their popular movies in theaters in 3D, I became very excited when Finding Nemo was included in the list of movies to be released in 3D, because I knew that meant the Blu-Ray would follow shortly thereafter, based on the precedent they had set first with The Lion King, and then with Beauty & the Beast.

It appears as though Disney is sticking to their word and moving full-steam ahead with their plans for my beloved Nemo, with the 3D showing in theaters set for September 14th and the Blu-Ray/3D Blu-Ray release set for December 4th!

I'm so excited!!  And my husband can make fun of me all he wants for getting so excited over this, but he got just as excited when Disney did the same thing with The Lion King last year.

Friday, June 1, 2012

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #72

1. What's one thing in the past month you would have changed?  I would have done a better job at occupying myself.  This deployment and continual time away from my husband has really taken its toll on me this past month, and I haven't been the happiest of people.

2. What was your favorite thing that happened in May?  Getting packages from my hubby with items he's purchased on this deployment.  One of my favorite things about receiving the packages was simply getting to see his handwriting on the address label.

3. June includes the first day of summer... what are your plans for the summer?  I don't really have anything exciting planned, other than the continual task of getting ready and waiting for our PCS at the end of the summer/early fall.  My step-MIL really wants me to drive up to Virginia to celebrate July 4th with her and my brother- & sister-in-law, so if I'm able to arrange the time off work without having to use much leave time, I may make that trip (I'm trying to save as much of my annual leave time as possible because any time I have remaining when I leave my job will be paid out to me in a bonus paycheck, which will definitely come in handy post-move when I'm trying to find a new job).

4. Do you use the services on base (gym, financial planning, family services, daycare)? And if so, what's your favorite one?  Since the Army decided to deploy my husband immediately after he finished training and we have still yet to PCS to my husband's first duty station, I do not currently have easy access to any base amenities.  The nearest base is an AFB about 1.5 hours away from me.  I'm excited to check out all of the available services once we move though!

5. What are you looking forward to in June?  My town's annual music festival is later this month and might be worth checking out one last time (we have a pretty decent music scene -- after all, REM and The B-52's got their starts here).  There is another thing I am REALLY excited about, but I'm not going to share the details quite yet...