Friday, December 18, 2009

I Love Today

Today is my last day of work until 2010! Thank you baby Jesus!! Not only is this my favorite time of year, and I get to spend it with my man this year, but I am such a happier person when I'm not at work, just ask my husband! I have big plans for the next two weeks. Lots of exercising, baking, trying new recipes, organizing, probably exercising some more after eating all the baked goods, having dinner at a reasonable hour in the evenings, spending time with family, uploading pictures to recap my life on the blog and catching up on the dvr.

I.CAN'T.WAIT!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Weekend Recap

It's December 9th and it's currently 80 degrees with approximately 4,000% humidity. YUK! Boy, do I miss the snow and the cold air that smacks you in the face as soon as you step outside. I'm sure one of these days I am going to be eating these words because with my luck the Army will probably station us in Alaska or Antarctica!

I have so many pictures to post it's ridiculous. Johnny and I just got back on Monday from a weekend get-away in Charlotte, NC. For his birthday in August I bought him David Allan Coe (DAC) concert tickets for this past weekend. When I bought them, I remember thinking to myself, "December is so far away, it stinks we have to wait so long to enjoy the concert." HA! Those four months flew by and now here we are with Christmas right around the corner. The concert was great and we were so pumped up from the excitement of a live concert that we were actually the last ones to leave. And no, I'm not embarrassed by that statement in case you were wondering! Luckily, DAC has mellowed out a bit and didn't sing any of his crude/gross songs that he used to sing back in the day....it was just good ol' Outlaw country music.

We had such a great weekend and ate delicious food all weekend long and shopped at what I consider the best mall in existence...South Park Mall. I loved being back in Charlotte and being able to spend a few hours on Monday in Rock Hill, SC where I spent four pivotal years of my life at Winthrop University. I had the silliest grin on my face the entire time we drove around Rock Hill and the campus, reminiscing about all the good memories I made there.

I'm off to primp and beautify myself for my work's Christmas Party tonight.

Oh! If you need any gift ideas, check out THIS POST from last year!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oh, I Have a Blog? What's That?

Hi, my name is Amanda. I started this blog about a year and a half ago to keep family and friends up to date on our ever-changing, Army controlled, God-loving life! My past-times include neglecting the blog, ignoring harassing texts and emails from my family about the blog, and eating Wavy Lays Chips and Heluva Good Dip.

I feel that it is only right that I introduce myself again considering I have been so rudely absent for almost two months.

Let me give you a quick recap of everything that's happened since I last posted.

1.) I scrubbed every square inch of our house because I was a nervous, anxious wreck about the man returning.

2.) Johnny FINALLY came home from a year-long deployment in Iraq.

3.) I flipped out and had a minor breakdown because it was such a huge, overwhelming change and I was not anticipating that anything would be different....but DUH...he was gone for a year.

4.) We rekindled our love, he told me I was bonkers and now we are slowly adjusting back to "normal" life....whatever that is.

5.) We had about 40 of our closest friends and family over to our house for a "Welcome Home Oyster Roast Party" which was awesome and Johnny got to catch up with his buddies that he hadn't seen since our wedding!

6.) We saw our two cute little nieces dressed up as fairies for Halloween.

7.) We went to Charleston for The Citadel's Homecoming weekend and spent lots of time with "couple friends" who don't have babies...it was amazing!

8.) We decided we are so over everyone having babies right now and are not planning on having kids for a long while. (So, no need to ask us anyone!!)

9.) We finally became members of the church we've been attending for 3 years which is super exciting because we've been wanting to do it for about 2 years now, but he was always gone!

10.) We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year and I cooked everything including a huge turkey all by myself!

And that's about it! See....you haven't missed much! I have lots of pictures that I need to upload from my camera to the computer, so when I do that, I will post some on here, too. Life is crazily busy now that he is home which in and of itself was a major change because my life was so quiet and simple while he was gone. Ya know, no one prepares the wives for this stuff...there was NO re-integration brief for me. I'm just thankful we are 100% committed to our marriage and that God is the center of our lives and relationship....I can't imagine how much harder it would be without that solid foundation.

Sorry for my absence friends :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin Recipes

Fall seems to be in full-swing here in Savannah, considering it is supposed to dip down into the 40s this weekend! I even made a big pot of chili last night to kick-off the cool weather.

In the mean time, I am craving all things PUMPKIN! Yes, I have already drank my weight in half-caff, low-fat Pumpkin Spice Latte's from Starbucks, just in case you are wondering. And I plan on trying out a new recipe for Pumpkin Gnocchi this weekend...I'll let you know how it goes!

Here are two recipes which I've tried and loved. Johnny and I made the Pumpkin Creme Brulee's for Thanksgiving dessert a few years back. It is extremely rich, so you could probably get away with smaller servings. And I just recently made the Pumpkin Cobbler. I love it best warm with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream and/or whipped cream. YUM!!

Pumpkin Crème Brulee
Serves: 7

Ingredients:
2 c. heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
5 Tbsp. (2.5 oz) sugar, divided
10 egg yolks, beaten
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. powdered ginger
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. sugar for tops, or as needed

Combine the heavy cream, vanilla and half of the sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and remaining sugar. Add 1/3 of the hot liquid to the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Add the egg yolk mixture to the remaining hot cream, stirring constantly. Sire in the cinnamon, allspice and ginger. Fold in the pumpkin puree.

Fill buttered ramekins 7/8 full, place in a water bath. (Place ramekins in a deep roasting pan and fill pan with enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.) Bake at 325° until just barely set, cook 30 minutes, chill overnight.

Cover the surface of each custard with 1/8-inch of sugar, set ramekins in a pan surrounded with ice (so the custard does not become reheated when caramelizing the top). Caramelize sugar under the broiler or with a torch.


Pumpkin Cobbler - from THIS site

Ingredients:
6 eggs, beaten
3 cups cooked pumpkin
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. cloves
1 spice cake mix (or yellow cake mix if you prefer)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Mix eggs, pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices. Pour into a greased 9x13 cake pan. Sprinkle cake mix over the top. Pour melted butter all over the cake mix. Sprinkle nuts on top. DO NOT MIX. Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Getting Ready...


It's almost time to welcome the man back home. I think it is actually starting to sink in finally. It is such a mixture of emotions....excitement, anxiousness, a little nervous, lots of happy tears, and relief. Would it be terrible for me to say that it's hard for me to remember what life was like when he was home? I had to email him this morning to find out what kind of soap he uses these days so I could stock the bathroom with his products again. What a weird feeling to not know what kind of soap your husband uses.



He is officially out of Iraq and currently waiting in Kuwait for his flight home. He sent me an email yesterday once they arrived to Kuwait after packing up and saying good-bye to the only "home" he's known for the past year. He said, "I am glad to be out of that place. It was weird leaving; It was like moving out of an apartment...you take one last look around and hope that wherever you go next is better, and hope to never go back there again."

Below is a video my mom sent me this morning with the disclaimer to not watch it at work because it was a tear-jerker, the happy kind. Well, everything is a tear-jerker these days; I am so my mother's daughter! And of course I didn't listen to her because I watched it as soon as I got into the office!

video

My favorite part on the video is when he points to the soldier and says "You ARE the man!"

What an exciting time...he's coming home...and he is actually gonna stay put for awhile!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Recap

It was 53° this morning in Savannah when I woke up! I couldn’t believe it! I realize there are many places across the country that have already had their first snow, however, 53° is chilly for Savannah in September. Are there any other locals out there who think Fall weather is hitting us much earlier this year??!

Last weekend I spent Saturday at the beach with a few of my girlfriends. We had such an awesome time. We all brought something to contribute to our picnic and just spent the day talking, eating, snoozing, reading, and relaxing ocean-side. It really was therapy for my soul!

On Sunday, I spent the morning volunteering with the Food Ministry at my church. I spent 4 hours chopping and mixing to help prepare for a Missions Lunch that afternoon and I loved every second of it. I think they thought I was kidding when I said I could stand and chop vegetables literally all day long and actually enjoy it! It is a dream of mine to one day go to culinary school….wonder if that will ever happen J

The work week was only mildly painful. Luckily I was able to stay rather busy so it went by quickly. The evenings this week were spent catching up on my DVR since all my favorite shows are finally back on.

Johnny’s return date was delayed about a week which is a bummer, but honestly…what’s another week when we’ve already done a year of this mess! I am ready for it to be here though, fo sho!

I have a fun weekend coming up with lots of plans with sweet friends that I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with. Next week, I’ll be making lots of to-do lists and getting things ready for Johnny’s return….can’t wait!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Overwhelmed.

I'm feeling overwhelmed at the moment.

Because I have a lot to do before JOHNNY COMES HOME!!!!!

That's right friends, you heard correctly! We've made it through a year-long deployment in Iraq! There have been many necessary time-outs from life when it was all just too much to handle, a lot of ugly crying and a lot of randomness on this blog, but we made it. It wasn't anything that an extra large helping of God, a big dose of daily exercise and a few Xanax couldn't fix.

I am currently trying to get things in order and crossed off my to-do list. Lots of little things, the majority of which are not mandatory, just pleasant niceties...things like having fresh flowers around the house and stocking our fridge and pantry with some of his favorite things. I want our home to be as welcoming and clean as possible!

I am also a bit overwhelmed and frustrated with work. There are many specific points of contention but my main frustration is currently because I don't think I'm going to be able to take the time off from work that I wanted to take when Johnny returns home. My leave hours are minimal and my boss won't allow me to take time off without pay as I have done previously. It stresses me out because I feel like it is going to be crucial for Johnny and I to reconnect and get back into the swings of things as quickly as possible since we have been apart for so long. I know it will all work out and Johnny and I will be fine even if I have to work that first week, I am just eager to hang out with my best friend again...duh :)

I still have another week or two until he arrives...but we are so close I get goosebumps every time I think about seeing his face again. This will be the longest stretch of time we will have spent with each other since we were married a year and a half ago!!!

It will be such an overwhelming relief to know he is back on American soil and "safe." After a year of earnest prayers being lifted up for his safe return home, they soon will all be answered.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shoe Crazy

I don't know what it is about Fall, but around this time every year I become shoe obsessed.

I need-I want-I must have-kind of crazy.

Over the past few years, I haven't bought many pairs of shoes....and there are a few reasons to blame.

1.) I'm super duper picky. I mean really picky. If the heel is slightly too wide or the toe too round, it will completely ruin it for me.

2.) I have a hard time spending an absurd amount of money on one thing. And comfortable shoes that are made to last are expensive.

3.) I usually have an image in my head of something I want and will spend years trying to find it. Am I weird or what?

4.) COMFORT. Why in heaven's name would any company produce shoes that weren't comfortable? I just don't get it.

5.) Not only am I picky, but now that I'm a married woman, my husband usually gives me his input and he is even pickier! He actually usually dislikes most of the shoes I crave....which will probably include the ones below :)

This year I am turning over a new leaf and I am going to actually purchase shoes this year instead of just drooling over the choices. It's been too long and it's time to refresh my current shoe selection, they are looking pretty worn down actually. Here are a handful from the hundreds of beauties that I've got my eye on this year...

And they comes in this bright sky blue too...love it.




I love the black ones for riding the motorcycle and the yellow ones to match my purse. I'm obsessed with this burnt mustard yellow color lately.



Boots with a wedge, what a novel idea!



Ankle boots or aka "Booties".
I didn't like them last year, but they've grown on me I think. These peep-toe boots work in Savannah during the winter, but I don't think they'd be that practical if we lived in NY.


How killer would these look with a black skirt? Every outfit needs a pop of color...why not do it with your shoes?!




sources include: bakersshoes.com, ninewest.com, endless.com

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

Yes, it was alive and I only did it for Johnny. And that is a fact!


I spent this past weekend at my parents' home in Melbourne, FL. I am so lucky to have them within driving distance so I can get away for the weekend now and then. I know my parents probably never thought they would see their adult married daughter as much as they have this past year! They have been my main source of company and entertainment over the course of this deployment :)

This weekend however was different from most weekends; I was not able to be an "only child" as I normally am when I visit them since it is rare for any of my four sisters to be there on the weekends. My younger sister and her new boyfriend were also in town. So in an effort to entertain the new boyfriend, we set out for an Air Boat ride to search for swamp creatures.

My lil' sis and I modeling what kind of "swamp creatures" to be on the look-out for.

All five of us sat on the front row of the boat and donned lovely large, black headphones that I am sure had not been cleaned in between head usage. The headphones luckily (note heavy sarcasm) came with a microphone which we were told to place snuggly (not a word, but you know what I mean!) under our bottom lip. At one point during the ride, my tongue accidentally grazed the germ-infested microphone and I could have THROWN UP. If Clorox was safe to drink, I probably would've chugged some.


One of the many beautiful scenes we saw on our ride. The water was so smooth that I couldn't tell where the trees ended and where the water began. It was crazy to look at, yet so peaceful.

We didn't see too many "swamp creatures" since it was really too hot for the gators to be frolicking on the surface, but the scenery was beautiful and it was a fun experience to ride on an air boat.

As I said my goodbyes on Monday, it made me happy to think that the next time I'll be at my parent's house will probably be with my Johnny :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Carb Overload

And this is coming from someone who LOVES carbs. I could literally have a baked potato, garlic mashed potatoes, french fries, a freshly baked yeast roll and pasta on the same plate and be completely happy. I would also go into a carb-induced coma , but I would enjoy every second of that delicious food before hand.



However, this new Bread Bowl Pasta from Domino's totally grosses me out for some reason. Have you tried it yet? Is it any good? If you could see my face right now, it would be a face of disgust and dismay. I actually just tried to take a picture of my face with my phone, but it wasn't very cute, so I'm not posting it here. Just use your imagination.

I am really interested to find out if someone has tried this yet or not...so if you have, PLEASE leave me a comment and tell me how it was!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Food Network Magazine

Did you know that Food Network now has their very own magazine? Were you as skeptical about it as I was when you first saw ads for it? Were you also pleasantly surprised when you checked it out and then couldn't put it down because it was AWESOME?!

If you are looking for a great cooking magazine with tips, recipes for both the beginner and advanced at-home chef and gadgets galore, then grab this magazine the next time you see it. It is an easy read and you'll feel like you are cooking with friends with the faces of all the Food Network chefs across the pages. I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Worst Reality Check Ever

This last quarter of the deployment has been really tough for me. I venture to even say I'm having a harder time right now with it all than I did during the beginning few months. I honestly think Johnny and I are just so mentally and emotionally spent that we are having a tough time communicating and unfortunately I am just flat out of patience and optimism.

A year is just too long.

I am going through the motions of each day but my general mood is just BLAH. I know how close we are to his return home and everyone says, even Johnny, "But it's almost over, he's coming home soon, you should be excited!" And I am, but it hasn't really hit me yet to the full extent to overcome my feelings of blah-ness.

I wonder if other Army wives hit this point during the deployment where they just can't comprehend doing another day of this crap.

To make me feel even worse about my lack of patience and not so great mood towards Johnny lately, I just found out this morning that the husband of one of my friends' best friend was killed in action this weekend in Afghanistan. She is my age, maybe a few years older. MY AGE. NOW A WIDOW. PLANNING A FUNERAL FOR HER HUSBAND.

I've had a tough time dealing with that news even though I never met this couple. Even now, I'm fighting to hold back tears as I sit in my office and write this. While I know the reality of Johnny's situation and job, and I knew what I was getting into when I married him, it doesn't make that blow any less painful. Those are things I don't let myself think about because I wouldn't be able to get myself out of bed in the morning.

I thought to myself, "How dare you for getting mad over stupid things when all you can do is pray and trust that you will see his face again one day. How dare you for taking life for granted while he serves our country at WAR."

Nothing is guaranteed. Is that argument really worth having now? My mom always says, pick your battles Amanda. I didn't really think I needed a reality check to remind myself that Johnny is in Iraq with death a very real part of the job, but let me tell you, that news really helped put things into perspective for me as I struggle to make it through the last 5-7 weeks of our deployment.

My thoughts and prayers are with the young wife as she wraps her head around the news, the rest of the family and my friend and her husband.

As Johnny put it best, "He was serving his country so that we can all have freedoms. He made the ultimate sacrifice for his country and he will not be forgotten."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hiya

Where have I been lately you might ask?

Sleeping. That's where.

Summer has not been very nice to Amanda considering I just recently finished my SIXTH antibiotic for yet another sinus infection only to get the flu in mid-recovery. What a delight that was!!

I am finally feeling better and I'm armed with several allergy medications to help keep things in check. Let's hope this works because I don't think I could handle another sinus infection and I'm sure my boss is fairly fed up with zombie Amanda walking the halls!

I have had two exciting reasons worth celebrating this week. Yesterday was my parent's 30th wedding anniversary! That is a long time folks! But what a happy milestone to celebrate! It is hard for me to imagine Johnny and I celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary...I wonder where we'll be living and how many kids and grandkids we'll have by then. What a crazy thought!

The second exciting reason I am celebrating this week is because it is Johnny's birthday today!! Despite the fact that I am continually trying to celebrate his 25th birthday, he is really turning 26 today. As embarrassing and heart-wrenching as it is, I even wrote "Happy 25th Birthday" in his card. What an awful wife I am!!! I think I am confused because we have not been together for 15 months and we didn't get to celebrate his 25th birthday last year since he was at Ranger School. I already feel like I am just going through the motions of life while he is away, so I can kind of understand how in my head I'm behind a year. I think I am just trying to make myself feel better. I told him he will appreciate the fact that I can't remember his age when he is 80!!

I am having a birthday party tonight to celebrate his 26th birthday. Even though he won't be able to join in on the fun, we are celebrating the day he was born, and that is definitely worth celebrating in my book!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

R&R Recap

Remember way back when, like back in May when Johnny was home from Iraq for 2 weeks and I couldn't stop gushing about how amazing our time together was?! We tried to cram all of our favorite things we love to do together into two weeks. We even made a list of all the things we wanted to do about 2 months before he actually came home. And I KNOW we accomplished most things off that list because as I was writing the captions for the pictures below I kept wanting to start off each sentence with, "One of our favorite past times...".

We really did have an incredible two weeks together. I don't think it could have been any better quite frankly. The fact that we hadn't seen each other for 7 months didn't seem to phase us because we jumped right back into our life and it was almost as if he had never left. It really did refuel us for the rest of the deployment and reassured me that we were going to be fine.

One of our "fancy" dinners out in Savannah. We love getting
dressed up and eating delicious food!


Playing cards and drinking beers at home :)



Pickling okra


Fancy dinner at Grill 225 in Charleston. We were celebrating our one year wedding anniversary since we weren't together for it in February. Look at how cute he looks in his bow tie!! Love it!


At The Citadel for the Parade.


Our couples massage at Savannah Day Spa....amazing!


Cleaning his bike after we got caught riding in a major rain storm.


Out for Mexican on Cinco de Mayo with friends.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gwyneth Paltrow's Book List

Click HERE to see Gwyneth Paltrow's summer reading list from her site GOOP. If you go to the main page she has lots of yummy recipes, travel trips and all sorts of information on other topics too.

What are YOU reading this summer?

I am currently working on City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare....it's about vampires and "shadowhunters" and other mythical creatures that I NEVER thought I would ever enjoy reading about! It's book #2 in the Mortal Instruments series....check it out if you loved the Twilight series and need a little more vampire adventure and romance in your life :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Life Through Johnny's Eyes

A South Carolina flag waving proudly during one of the many dust storms.



Yup, that's a scorpion! Johnny said even the locals were scared of it!


Johnny and Charlie Daniels after a concert by the Charlie Daniels Band.


(Sorry for the wacko coloring here.) Here is the little desert lizard that Johnny chased around his room one night. As you can see, the tail-less lizard lost!

Friday, July 10, 2009

READ IT! That's an order!


I just finished reading this book. And all I can say, is RUN, don't walk, to your nearest book store and get it! It is probably one of the best books I've ever read. I typically like reading mystery and suspense, but this true story was so touching and eye-opening that I didn't want it to end. I cried through the last 100 pages, but then again, that's nothing new! My mom suggested the book because she had read it for her book club and absolutely loved it. As I started flipping the pages I was enjoying it and intrigued by the different lives the two authors wrote of, but it wasn't until Chapter 22, one sentence in particular, that made me close the book and gasp as I said, "I LOVE THIS BOOK!" And then I couldn't put it down.

This book is the story of a poverty-stricken slave from Louisiana, a very successful art dealer and a woman who had the heart of an angel who brought them all together. Such an unlikely trio, yet such a profound story.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Land of the Free Because of the Brave


Happy 4th of July!

This time last year Johnny and I were in Columbus, GA while he caught up on some much needed sleep, filled his belly with as much food as he could manage, and soaked his poison ivy ridden legs in some sort of smelly medicine before he had to report back to Ft. Benning for Ranger School. I can't believe that was a year ago!

I have always loved America and felt blessed to live in a country where we have so many rights and such freedom. I remember a moment a few years ago when I was so overcome with pride for my country that I got goosebumps and tears in my eyes. I was flying home from Australia where I had lived for six glorious months and as we were rounding out the 18 hour flight and soaring above the big blue ocean, the pilot came over head and said, "Welcome to the United States of America." I have never been so happy to hear those words and I didn't even realize they would mean that much to me.

Since then, I've become an Army wife and our rights and freedoms that we are so blessed to have here in America have taken on a whole new meaning to me. I know I can speak for Johnny as well when I say IT'S OUR HONOR TO SERVE OUR COUNTRY. Thank you to the rest of the soldiers who the serve and the families who support them.

Happy Birthday America!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summer Ingredients

I love avocados. They are so, so creamy and fresh tasting. Next time you make a BLT (bacon lettuce and tomato) sandwich, mix up fresh avocado with the mayo until it is completely smooth and spread that on your sandwich. It will make plain mayo seem so boring! I made this for dinner the other night and it is so delicious and takes a simple sandwich to a whole new level!

Watermelons....ahhhh...my favorite! It's only slightly embarrassing how much watermelon I can consume in one sitting :) So I bought a HUGE watermelon yesterday and now I have watermelon running out of my ears.

What are your favorite ways to use watermelon? Do you have a drink recipe or dessert or ANYTHING you can share with me?! I made a watermelon and feta salad last night, but y'all, I'm not kidding when I say I have more watermelon than I know what do with! So help a girl out would you please?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Breaks My Heart


How many of you watched it last night? I realize news of it is everywhere this morning and it's what everyone is talking about, but I can't help but share my thoughts and feelings on it all as well. Especially considering I've kept my mouth shut this long!

I kind of figured it was coming but I think I was still hoping that they might surprise us and say they are going to counseling and will do whatever it takes to make their marriage work.

Literally, it breaks my heart. Johnny would say to me, "Amanda, it's just a TV show." And while I did fall in love with the Gosselin family because of their TV show, they are also real people and this is their life. It always has and it always will hurt my heart to see other people hurting whether I know them personally or not.

I don't know what truth there is to all the rumors and magazine articles, but it seems to me that if the allegations were wrong about Jon and this 23 year old school teacher, that he would've stopped seeing her to prove that there really is nothing going on rather than further the assumptions that there was an affair happening. I'm not taking sides because I don't know who's right and who's wrong and it doesn't really matter. What killed me with last night's episode was how Kate seemed so heartbroken and against the idea of separation, yet forced into it because it was "necessary", while Jon acted flippant and excited about being released into single hood again. It's like he's going through a mid-life crisis or something....earrings, the lady friends, the attitude, the motorcycle (nothing against motorcycles, we have one and I love it), the drinking....it's just so not the picture they painted in seasons past.

Not only am I sad for them, it makes me think about how fragile marriage is. After watching the show all I wanted to do was give Johnny a huge hug and kiss and tell him how much I love him. Because he is halfway across the world, I settled for an email! Jon and Kate at one time were madly in love too and I'm sure they didn't see this coming when they renewed their vows last season. It just reminds me to not take it for granted and that the commitment and vows Johnny and I made can't be taken lightly. Jon and Kate's divorce makes me want to work harder at my marriage so that I never have to go through what they are living right now.

I just read that this season has been postponed in light of their recent divorce filing. Good. At least someone finally figured out that it would probably be a good idea to shut off the cameras for a while. It's silly, but I'm praying for them. I can't imagine what these next few months are going to be like for them and those cute little kiddos.

Prediction: I betcha within the next 2 months, Jon and that girl come out publicly that they are dating and/or pregnant.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Supper Club

This is one of my most favorite things EVER!!

It's something that is near and dear to my heart and something that I look forward to every month. Supper Club started last November as an excuse to get together with my girlfriends, cook up a delicious dinner and enjoy my home with those I love. I had been wanting to start a Supper Club for quite some time....the problem was, was that I didn't have enough friends to actually call it a dinner party!

Last November, Johnny had just recently deployed the month before and I was on the hunt for new friends. Sweet, Christian girls who I could spend my time with. And then I finally got placed in a BSF group (much more on Bible Study Fellowship later!) and met Kristy and Sara and what an answer to prayer they were! So, Chelsea (remember her? The one who hooked me up with Paula Deen??!) and I decided to just pick a date and do it! She invited a few people, I invited a few people and wa-la....we have Supper Club!

So this is how it works. We now have a closed group of the 5 of us (me, chelsea, kristy, sara and shelley - my neighbor) because we didn't want it to get too big. Partly because it gets extremely costly preparing a dinner for a group and we wanted to develop close friendships with each other, not just network like I do on a weekly basis for work. We meet once a month and we rotate from house to house. That person is responsible for picking a theme/menu and preparing and serving the meal. IT IS SO MUCH FUN!!!

My turn is coming up again on Monday night and the theme is "Swanky Summer Feast." I know, totally random, but all the good themes have already been taken! Here is the invitation I designed and sent to everyone along with the menu.

And guess what else? I'm going to use my fine china for the first time ever and I can't wait! Now believe me, Supper Club is not usually this fancy...but it's my turn to host and I can do whatever I want :)

Here are some pictures from Supper Club's in the past.

Mexican Night!

Showing off the aprons Kristy made for us....yes, she never sleeps and I usually call her a "machine."

Pizza and Pajamas! No, I am not 4 months pregnant, thank you for asking.


This was Fondue Night at Shelley's!


Oh, it is just so much fun! Now go and start a Supper Club with your friends!! You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Life Lessons by Regina Brett

Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written."

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret,you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words'In five years, will this matter?'

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Audience Participation Please!

Out of the following items, which 5 would you be willing to live without if you HAD to.

1. Computer
2. High Speed Internet
3. Land Line Phone
4. Air Conditioning
5. Clothes Dryer
6. Cell Phone
7. TV
8. Car
9. Microwave
10. Cable or Satellite TV

Now share!! Which ones did you pick?

I could live without (if I HAD to) the microwave, a clothes dryer (in Australia we hung all our clothes on a line to dry), a land line phone (don't even get me started on that again!), cable or satellite tv and the plain 'ol regular tv.

It's kinda hard to imagine life without all of those things since we are so use to having each of them at our disposal....but I know I could do it if I had to.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Clarification

I had a friend say they were worried about me and Johnny after reading my last post and I thought to myself, "Why in the world would that make her worried about us?" And then I re-read my post and realized some of you may think that I posted that song because I am in the depths of despair with a broken heart.

BUT GOOD NEWS!

Johnny and I are just as obsessed with each other as we were last month and probably even more crazy, madly in love than we were when we got married :) Are you done throwing up yet?! We couldn't be happier....well....actually...I would be a whole heck of a lot happier if he lived in our home with me and NOT in Iraq, but that's beside the point.

The reason I love that song is because I feel like there are so many people in my life right now who ARE hurting and who aren't able to see the light at the end of the marriage-trouble-tunnel. And my heart breaks for them. I was hoping that the song may give them an ounce of hope so that they could continue to fight for a strong and lasting marriage. Johnny and I fight for our marriage every day, because I don't want to take the chance to "take a day off" and give the enemy a chance to creep in. The divorce rate is steadily rising and quite frankly, I don't want to end up a statistic.

And I just really liked the song...that's all! :)

So, just in case you were wondering, there's no need to worry about us! I'll nauseate you with pictures from R&R soon!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Love is Not a Fight by Warren Barfield

I am currently loving this song that's been playing on the Christian radio station lately. It's from the movie Fireproof and if you haven't seen the movie yet, it really does have a powerful message. The acting is a little weak...so just keep that in mind going into it, but the impact of the movie left me in tears! And there is this incredible devotion/ 40-day marriage challenge that you can pick up at your local Christian book store that I know will bestow blessings upon blessings on both you and your spouse. Whether your marriage is amazing or you are completely out of hope, I hope you enjoy this song. And don't give up. Nothing is impossible for God.

Go HERE to listen to the song.

BTW - I've added a music playlist down at the very bottom of this page, so be sure to pause it if you click on that link to listen to the song. It's also at the bottom in my playlist if you'd rather not click the link to watch the music video to go along with it on YouTube :)

And below are the lyrics....

Love is not a place
To come and go as we please
It's a house we answer in
Then commit to never leave

So lock the door behind you
Throw away the key
We'll work it out together
Let it bring us to our knees

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

To some, love is a word
That they can fall into
But when they're falling out
Keeping that word is hard to do

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

Love will come to save us
If we'll only call
He will ask nothing from us
But demand we give our all

Chorus:
Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight but it's something worth fighting for

I will fight for you
Would you fight for me?
It's worth fighting for

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tell me I'm not the only one....

My exterminator is coming tomorrow morning. I spent the evening cleaning my house. FOR MY EXTERMINATOR. I don't even really like him....he is kind of rude. I have actually canceled appointments before with my bug man if I didn't have time to make my bed and do the dishes. Am I crazy and just really OCD? Or are you like this too?

On another completely different note...Johnny is back in Iraq and I am slowly (yet so much quicker than the first time he left) getting back into the swing of things, my productivity level is finally rising again and I'm working on getting rid of the several pounds I put on in just a mere 14 days. I'll update you on our fabulous two-week hibernation and our miserable good-bye soon. Just hang in there with me. It has been a roller coaster of emotions for this chick. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Land-Line Phones

Hi. What you are about to read could come across as bitter and/or annoyed and/or ridiculous. I'm just warning you.

When my sweet husband and I bought our first home, he wanted to make sure we had an alarm system to keep me [somewhat] protected while he was away. Well, one of the MAJOR components to getting this new alarm system set up, was a land-line. I HATE LAND-LINES. Not to mention your average person doesn't use a land-line anymore because cell phones are now literally attached to people's ears. We don't need a land-line, we don't use a land-line and I certainly didn't want to pay $30 extra a month for something I had no use for. Guess who lost that battle. Me.

The "great deal" of $35.99 a month quickly jumped to $61.99 because the only reason we were paying for that stupid land-line was for the alarm system. Dumb.

I don't even know the number to own house phone. I am dead serious! I happened to be home one day and it rang. That phone NEVER rings. I mean N-E-V-E-R-R-I-N-G-S. It actually kind of frightened me when it rang because I had no clue where it was coming from. So I answered it and the woman said, "Is Betty there?" Umm, unless you are affectionately referring to me as Betty Crocker, no, no Betty here. Then she asked, "Is this 912-893-6789" (or something like that) and I just said, "No it isn't." BUT I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT OUR NUMBER IS!!!! The number she said could have very well been our number, but I couldn't even tell you a single digit that's in it. So ridiculous.

I am definitely a little bitter about the land-line. But I am thankful for our alarm system. There have been many nights since Johnny has been gone that I have heard some weird noises but was reassured that if it was someone breaking into my home our alarm would have already woken up the entire neighborhood.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

AAAHHHHHH......

That is a sigh of relief and complete and utter happiness. Johnny arrived home after traveling for 61 hours on Saturday afternoon. I was a total wreck, cleaning everything in sight and so anxious I couldn't stand still to save my life! My parents were there, Johnny's parents were there and his sister, brother-in-law and our two little nieces (one of which Johnny had never met!).


I have to admit I was a little nervous for our reunion and how it would be between us after being apart for six months, but now that he's home I have no clue what in the world I was worried about. It is literally like he never left! We are having a blast together and there was no adjustment period needed. It has truly reassured me that when he goes back to Iraq in two weeks that we will be fine and I know we'll be able to make it through the next 6 months.

Enjoy the several hundred pictures I've posted. My friend Chelsea is an amazing photographer and graciously agreed to come to the airport to take pictures for me. I am so thankful she was there and able to capture our sweet reunion on film :) THANKS CHELSEA!!

(Don't forget you can click on the picture to enlarge it.)


PS - As I'm sitting upstairs in the office writing this post and I can hear Johnny downstairs watching TV and laughing, and man oh man, how it makes my heart smile. I love having him home again. Life is exactly how it should be again.


I couldn't stand still! Looking for him amidst all the people!


There he is!!

Johnny and Elena...she warmed right up to him again!

Johnny and our sweet new little niece, Samantha Pepper




Wednesday, April 29, 2009

He's Almost Here!

I would say within about 72 hours I should be looking at my husband's face, holding his hand and remembering how it feels to be 100% complete.

This doesn't even seem real y'all. We have been apart for so long and I have gotten so use to the distance and not being together that it kind of feels like a trick that the Army is playing on me.....they are telling me he is going to come home for two weeks...but I just can't believe it!

I am anxious, a little nervous, crazy excited and super emotional about it all. Every time I really think about what it will be like to see him for the first time in over 6 months I get choked up and teary. I always cry when I see stories on the news or in the paper about soldiers coming home and it shows couples and families reuniting (I'm tearing up right this second, oh my goodness) and now it is my reality!

Life is going to be exactly as it should be. And then we'll say goodbye again and Ranger through another 6 months of this crap. Such is life in the Army!

Everyone has asked me what we have planned for his two weeks home. And you know what? We don't really have any plans. We are going to lay in bed for as long we want and then do whatever we want to do....TOGETHER!! We had talked about going on a cruise but he said he didn't really want to vacation anywhere that was going to be HOT and SANDY. Duh Amanda, your husband is in Iraq - clue in!! Then we tossed around the idea of going away to a log cabin in the mountains for four or five days and we quickly decided against that too. We were afraid that if we took an actual trip, it would make our time together go by so much quicker.

We are going to go up to Charleston for a night and enjoy the Long Grey Line Parade at The Citadel since it's graduation weekend there. We have dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant and we're staying at the hotel downtown that we stayed at on our wedding night. Don't tell him, but I've requested the exact room from our wedding night and there will be our 1 year wedding anniversary cake (since we weren't together in February) and a bottle of champagne waiting for us! :)

He is actually down at the flight line now getting his departure time. From Iraq, he'll go to Kuwait for several, several hours and receive the rest of his itinerary. It could very well be Friday evening, but I'm thinking it will be Saturday sometime before he arrives in Savannah. I just can't hardly stand it I'm so excited. I wish it would hurry up and get here, I'm running out of patience!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quelf & Sisters Weekend

Raise your hand if you've heard of the game Quelf. I'm a newbie to the Quelf world...but I am loving it! My cousin introduced me to the game and I've never looked back! I think you have to have a certain personality and sense of humor to truly find this game as enjoyable as I do, so if you like this game....we could totally be friends in real life.



My sisters and I recently had a "sisters weekend" in Savannah at my house and we had so much fun. Friday night we played Quelf...and man, did we have fun! There was lots of laughing going on...the kind where you aren't even making a noise you are laughing so hard!

It is the most random game I've ever played but will provide hours of laughter and enjoyment. You basically draw cards (after rolling the die and moving spaces) which will prompt you to do some random, crazy act. For example, I had to go to the bathroom and wrap my head in toilet paper to become a mummy for the rest of the game.


My sister had to sing a nursery rhyme like a grizzlied old man....hilarious I tell you. My other sister had to rap a song to her fellow "inmates" while her knees were glued together, she had no top lip and she was covered in tar and feathers. Like I said....RANDOM!!!

I come from a big family, so get-togethers, family vacations and holidays are spent usually playing cards or board games. Those are some of the fondest memories I have of growing up because we were all together as a family. I still love it today when we can get together and laugh. And I don't mean giggling....I mean laughing till you cry!



So anyways, check out the game. I hope you love it as much as I do and make some awesome memories in the process!