Sunday, December 26, 2010

DD#41 German Candied Almond Recipe

I'm addicted to the German candied almonds that you can find from street vendors at Christmas markets. I haven't had any since we left Germany in 2007. At least until my dad found a recipe for them! He made some up on Christmas Eve and they are wonderful!! If you're like me you'll love this recipe...
Sugar and Spice Nuts
1 egg White
1 tablespoon water
1 pound almonds or pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Separate egg white from yolk into a medium-size bowl.
2. Add 1 tablespoon water. Whisk until frothy.
3. Add nuts and coat with mixture.
4. Combine sugars, salt, and cinnamon in a large plastic bag. Add nuts to the bag and shake thoroughly to coat.
5. Spray a large rimmed cooking sheet with cooking spray. Spread the nuts out and bake at 250* for 30 minutes.
6. Allow to cool before eating.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DD#39 Its good to be home

Home may be where the Army sends us, but home is also where my family is. My parents don't live in the house I grew up in anymore, although about a year ago they moved back to the town I grew up in and bought a house. I love being able to catch up with my parents and not being the only adult in the house. We're still outnumbered 4 to 3, but much better than 4 to1!

Last night was great. My brother Mark and his family came down from Ohio for a few days to visit. My brother Chris and his family live here in town and came over for dinner along with my nephew Wesley and my great-niece Kristina. We had 19 people gathered around the table last night. I only wish that we had more than one night to spend with Mark. I don't get to see him all that often with him in Ohio and us in Kansas. As much as I hate having to alternate holidays with each side of the family because my side is Tennessee and Scott's side is in South Dakota, I realize now that it can be just as stressful to have your family all in one place. Then each holiday you are trying to spend an equitable time with each side which means you are bound to inadvertently slight one side or the other. I guess if you're lucky the side of the family that barely gets to see you, doesn't complain about it.

Today I get to hang out with my nephew Hunter at the bowling alley. I miss being able to do things like this. Family has always been extremely important to me. Not just my siblings and parents, but also my aunts and uncles and cousins. I've always regretted that I did not know my aunts, uncles, and cousins very well. Not something I could avoid really because we lived so far away and with my dad's schedule we never travelled for holidays. Its not that my parents wanted to separate us from our family, it was just a fact of life.

Now being a military family we try hard to keep in touch with everyone. I didn't realize until recently that how much my aunt and uncle liked getting our pictures that we were emailing out. I stopped emailing them out to everyone except our parents as more and more of our family got on facebook. My aunt asked my mom why I wasn't sending them out anymore. I never had emails back from her, so I didn't realize how much they enjoyed them. Just because I don't necessarily hear from some of my family doesn't mean that they don't care about us and want to know whats going on.

We're family and we love each other regardless of our shortcomings and faults or our inability to communicate sometimes! So for the next two weeks I'm going to enjoy my family as much as I can.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

DD#33 Easy Button

Wouldn't it be nice if we had an easy button for everything? When the kids are being difficult in the morning getting ready for school or when the car breaks down while the husband is gone? Wait a minute...we do have something similar to an easy button. Instead of a button to push though we have a God who will listen, guide us, and sometimes even carry us through the hardest parts of our lives. Isaiah 40:31 has been my theme verse for some years now. It says,

                               But those who hope in the Lord
                                     will renew their strength.
                               They will soar on wings like eagles;
                                     they will run and not grow weary,
                                     they will walk and not be faint.
There are many times in my life where I wasn't sure I could go on, but I've always known that God has been there to keep me going. During deployments there are many days where I just want to crawl back under the covers and let me kids fend for themselves, but after a few minutes in prayer I find that I can get through the day. It still isn't easy, but better. And as my mom always says, this too shall pass!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

DD#29 Army Wives

No, I'm not talking about the TV show. I'm thinking about the real life Army wives that I get be around everyday. We don't all come from the same cookie cutter mold and we are definitely not the army wives of the 50s who were all stay at home moms cooking and cleaning all day! I saw a comment to a news article just yesterday degrading army wives at Ft.Carson because they are out of touch with the real world because all we do is stay home and take care of our kids and husband. If that person could have walked in my shoes over this last week they would have seen wives that we are anything but that!

Thursday I was in the midst of some very strong Army wives. A friend was making a DITY move onto post and her husband was in the field. Several of her friends came over to help unload the truck. Her husband, in his misguided thinking, told his wife that it would be okay if we only brought the boxes in and that he would bring some guys over that night to get all the "heavy" stuff. By the time we were done, we only left four or five pieces of furniture in the truck. Never underestimate the strength, both physical and mental, of an Army wife. In some ways it was like an episode of army wives because we were all from different backgrounds and our husbands have different jobs and ranks, but none of that matters.  What matters is that we are here to support each other through the good and the bad.

We have learned to be independent and to take care ourselves because of multiple deployments. We've also learned to lean on each other for help. We do things like car repair and maintenance, yard work, household repairs, painting, and many other "manly" chores. Not because we want to, but because if we don't do it, no one will!  Army wives are no longer the stay home mom type...even the ones that don't necessarily "work" outside the home are rarely actually home! They are volunteers, teachers, government employees, soccer coaches, students, and artists to name just a few of the things that army wives do.

We are often called the silent ranks. We sacrifice a lot and so do our children, but we are resilient and show our strength during times of adversity. Many do it without any thanks or praise. So this holiday season as you are gathered with your family and friends, remember those families who are separated from their loved ones this holiday season. They are a special group of women and I love all of my fellow army wives dearly. I don't know what I would do without them. Thank you for all you do!

And last, but not least...GO ARMY!!! BEAT NAVY!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DD#26 Control

I have a 5 year old with control issues. This is nothing new, but seems to be worse when Daddy is gone. The issue lately has been as simple as getting dressed in the morning in order to go to school. Even picking clothes out the night before doesn't seem to remedy this situation. This morning she was almost 40 minutes late. I really don't get it because she loves school and seeing her friends. She has a wonderful teacher. When I took her in this morning I talked with her teacher for a few minutes to make sure that these behavior problems were isolated to our home. Her teacher said that she has been fine at school. Then she gave me a recommendation...if she won't get dressed, bring her to school in her pajamas. I'd thought about it before, but now that the teacher is on board with it I think I just may do that. As she gets older I keep hoping she'll grow out of it and learn to be more flexible. Its days like this that I have to remember that she can be sweet and funny because its the only thing that keeps me from running away!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

DD#23 Crazy Busy

As much as I hate my kids being sick, I'm sort of glad that Megan and Anna aren't feeling all that great today. Anna's allergies are acting up which makes her asthma flare and Megan seems to have a light case of the flu. I really don't like backing out on people at the last minute, but it’s better than making other people sick or making my kids suffer because of an obligation.

The reason I like this is because my house has been suffering the effects of a busy week. The laundry is taking over, the kitchen floor is sticky with who knows what, and my bedroom looks like a tornado hit it, just to name a few of the hot spots in the house! Maybe I can call this Deployed Spouse With Too Many Kids Syndrome? One of the ways my husband compliments my personality is that he is the neat and organized one and I seem to be more compelled to fight my disorderly instinct and keep more on top of the housework. I guess you could say he's my motivation. Motivation doesn't seem to help too much when its halfway around the world!

So the goal today is to get the house back in order before we start a new crazy busy week!

DD#22 Vanguards

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending some of my afternoon with the incredible ladies of the Vanguard Nation, aka 1-18 Infantry, Scott's old unit. They were putting together care packages for the soldiers who are deployed with the help of the 18th Regimental Association and some wonderful people from Herrington, KS, the partner city of battalion.  It was great to visit with some old friends (some older than others!) and do something for the soldiers for Christmas.

DD#21 Holiday Tree Lighting

Of course we can't call this a Christmas Tree Lighting because we have to be PC, but that would be like calling a menorah, a Holiday menorah! Anyway, that's another subject for another time..

The kids had fun seeing Santa pull up in the horse draw wagon and getting their picture taken with him. And no, the kids don't believe in Santa, but they still enjoy the spirit that he represents. The guy in the red suit isn't all bad, just not the focus of our Christmas...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

DD#19 Maybe its a blessing

Proverb 11: 24-25...One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

I get distracted easily. Always have. I've always seen it as a curse, but after Bible study yesterday, I wonder if it isn't really a blessing in disguise.  We were talking about how God wants us to be aware of those around us because when we are always looking inward at ourselves we miss the chance to help others.

Today I was early to pick the girls up from school, so instead of parking on the side street and walking across the field like I do everyday, I found a space in front in the pick up lane. Because I was  15 minutes early, I picked up a book and started to read. I noticed the mom in front of me get out of her car and start talking to the mom next to me and then I went back to reading my book. I was blessed with good hearing as well because a few minutes later I hear, "I can't get it to start!" Her battery had died and she had no clue what to do about it. The other mom didn't have any jumper cables either. Fortunately for her, Scott gave me jumper cables our first Christmas together before we were married! As we were attaching the cables to the batteries, several other moms commented about how great it was that I had cables in my car. Not that this was any big feat, but I realized how God puts us in places for a reason. I could easily have gotten out of my car and stood by the door waiting for my children, but I stayed in my car. I could have been hyper-focused on my book and never realized the need that had developed just a few feet away.

How many times to we pass people by who need help because we are too focused on something else like our latest text, email, or phone call? How hard is it to take a look around and see what God wants us to see? While I'm sure I'll still be annoyed by my inability to focus when anything else is going on in the room, but now that I see an upside to it, I'll try to remember that God wants us to notice what is going on around us.