Friday, August 5, 2011

The Help

A few ladies in the squadron and I decided to start a play group, a book club, etc while our Marines are deployed to help keep busy and pass the time. We are getting ready for our 1st book club meeting and the book we have basically picked out (to be decided at the first meeting) is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Several ladies mentioned an interest in reading it, so I decided to get a sample of the book on my shiny new Nook Color to see what it was about. 

As soon as I downloaded the sample, I was turning pages as quickly as I could read. Kathryn Stockett has a way of writing that makes you want more. I bought the book and finished it the next day. I had to read during nap time and stay up until 3am, but I finished it in two days. If you haven't heard about this book, I would recommend you read the description because I passed it over several months back without a second thought. I wish I had read it then.  

While Kathryn Stockett is a bestselling author, it just so happens that she is also a Phi Mu.  Check out this article in The Aglaia (a Phi Mu publication)! 

*Apparently Michael Phelps mom is also a Phi Mu. I guess I should actually read The Aglaia more often... 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nook Color

Josh asked for and received a Kindle for Christmas. He buys new books while sitting in the living room. He takes it with him on vacation. He reads books in bed. In short, he loves it. 

I've been watching on the sidelines telling myself I don't need another electronic device. With the computer, phone, cameras, chargers, and cords in tow when I travel, I don't think I could handle the extra weight or my shoulder may break carrying it all around in my purse (Only kidding. Even I'm not that dramatic.). I've also been thinking about the endless possibilities. Maybe I could ask for one. Birthday? Anniversary? Christmas? 

No more buying books and trying to find room on the book shelf. That alone was almost enough to sway me. I got more interested as time passed, so I did some research. I decided that I really like the Nook Color because of it's size and the backlit display, so I can read in bed while Josh sleeps. I also like that you can download magazines and newspapers directly to the device (Less paper clutter! Wahoo!) and that there is a place for additional external memory. I loved that it has children's books (some are animated) that you can chose to read yourself, or the Nook will read it to you. How much will Gray love this!?! 

I decided it was the e-reader for me and picked on up at the Barnes and Noble right up the street. I got a pretty cute pink cover for it too. 
Nook Color
Ooohh! Pretty colors!
I think Josh buys me the nicest anniversary presents! Don't you? 

The day after I bought the Nook (and informed Josh I had gotten a great anniversary gift from him*), Josh sent me an email with lots of mushy stuff about how great I am and lucky he is, plus his plans for a spa day for me. The Nook is great, but not as great at being married to the most thoughtful guy in the world. He is fighting bad guys AND planning a spa day for me. That's right ladies. He is all mine! 

*I should add that I wasn't expecting any gifts (like he has time to worry about that while he is deployed). I told him I was considering the Nook. Turns out he was planning on the Nook plus a spa day/wine tasting. That fantastic email would have been enough. :)  

Happy Anniversary!

Wedding anniversary. Marine Corps. Two things that apparently don't mix. 

Josh and I celebrated our first anniversary with a friend who was in flight school with Josh. Josh and the friend had an early morning flight then they came back to our house to study. The three of us celebrated the 1st anniversary by eating a piece of wedding cake over study material, maps, highlighters, and note cards. Last year, Josh spent our anniversary standing duty on base and I spent it with Gray (and Pallas, our roommate in NC) at home. I believe take out was involved. This year, Josh and I are celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary about 8,000 miles apart.  Very exotic right? 

I may not always love the Marine Corps and it's effect on our day-to-day plans, but I honestly appreciate the chances we have been given because of Josh's choice to serve. How many couples are given the chance to have butterflies all over again because you haven't seen each other in months and months? As strange as it may sound, I see this deployment as a chance to build our relationship and make it even stronger. That is not to say I am glad he is gone, just that we should try to make the most of every situation. We are so blessed in so many ways, and God knew Josh and I would be in this place long before we did. 

No matter how far apart we may be physically, we are super close in every other way. We have seen each other really grow up and change so much since the first weeks of our relationship until now (almost 9 years later) and we are still CRAZY about each other! I can't express how lucky I am to have him in my life. He is super funny, intelligent, easy-going, happy, sweet, strong, loving, honest, hard-working, caring, brave, and my rock in tough times. He has the biggest heart, the best memory, and he is the greatest Daddy. He loves to try new things and wants to live life to the fullest. Not to mention his dashing good looks. I mean, come on! Look at him in that uniform! 

I may complain about how he always puts the dish towel back on the oven with the tag hanging out.  Or how he makes me suffer through his iPod play list. Or how he leaves wadded up straw paper in my car. Even with his flaws, I'm the luckiest girl in the world because he is mine. I'm actually his biggest fan...

Happy 4th Anniversary from the other side of the world. Love you Babe. 

*Thanks to Kelly Moore Photography for getting these amazing post-wedding shots. I still adore them. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Powell Woulfe Photography

Several weeks back I stumbled upon a great photographer that could work us into her schedule for some family portraits. Josh ended up having to be at work, so we made it a Gray photo shoot day instead. He didn't participate and only smiled once, but somehow she got some great shots of the Monkey. We haven't had any 'professional' portraits made in way too long, and time is flying. Now I've got to figure out which pictures I want to put in frames...

Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Tomatoes, and Basil

I found this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's website while looking for something new to try. Everything I have made from the Pioneer Woman's site has been good, so I figured this would be no different. It's easy to put together and has a creamy/smoky/spicy flavor that was different but quite good. She has step-by-step directions with pictures here, so I've just shared the recipe with you. She suggests refrigerating and eating it cold. I added some rotisserie chicken and we had it warm. I'm sure you would enjoy it either way! 

Photo from The Pioneer Woman's website,
Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Tomatoes, and Basil
12 ounces, weight Mostaccioli (I used mini bow ties)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 whole milk
4 tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce from chipotle peppers (or one minced chipotle pepper)
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
10 ounces, grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 pound smoked gouda cheese, cut into small cubes
24 whole basil leaves

1. Cook pasta until done. Drain and rinse in cold water until no longer hot. Set aside.
2. Mix mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, salt, pepper, and adobo in a small bowl. In a large bowl, stir together pasta, dressing, halved tomatoes, and cubed Gouda.
3. Taste for seasonings, add more salt and pepper if needed, and even an extra or two of vinegar if necessary. Stir in basil at the end. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Let me know if you try this one and like it!