Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wrapping up 2015

Of course it wouldn't seem right if I didn't do one last "dump" post before the year was over would it now. I've had a few pictures and drafts waiting for a place on this here blog of mine for a good minute and well I just haven't had the time or energy to sit down and put the words together. So here you go, the last little bit of 2015 and how we spent it.

*Early December we went to the Hubbs Battalion Ball down in Nashville. We ended up staying the night down there and had a great evening out with friends.
*The morning after the ball we went to breakfast at Biscuit Love. I'd been wanting to try it for a while now and well it was tasty, I have to say its not some where I'd rush back to.
*While the hubbs was at a match I took advantage and tagged along. After dropping him off I headed into town to check out the Franklin Factory and Market. I picked up some tasty 100 layer donuts and some Bison for our Christmas Dinner.
*I'm in love with our new fire place mantel picture. I had originally planned to put it over out bed but I just love it here.
*It just wouldn't be a complete holiday with out some freshly made Gingerbread loads and a Candy Cookie Cake for our work New Years Eve Pot Luck.
* I hadn't been to a match with the hubbs recently so I decided to tag along this particular day. Bonus we had lunch in Nashville and did a bit of window shopping.
*Our first ever date way back in 2006 was to "Ice" at the Gaylord in Texas. When I found out last year that they did it here at the Opryland Hotel & Resort I told the hubbs we had to go. We enjoyed it and had such a great time.
*My childhood puppy I had before moving to Hawaii was adopted by my best friend Ang. we found out late on Sunday night that she ended up having to be put to sleep. She had, had so many problems of the years but lived a long long life!!!
*Right in the mist of preparing dinner one evening after work our power went out. We decided to take the pups on a walk to give it time to come back on but no such luck. Out to dinner we went and ruffly two ours later when we returned there was still no power. I decided it was the perfect time to watch a movie on my computer.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Weekend 2015

We had a wonderful relaxing low key Christmas weekend this year. We stayed home through the Holiday. We didn't have any family come to visit, it was just the two of us. Plus of course the furry mutts. But it was just perfect. It was nice not to have to worry with the hustle of trying to get from one families home to another. Staying home we where able to do our own thing and simply enjoy each other. I unfortunately had to work up until the day before Christmas Eve, which I suppose wasn't that bad. Other that the fact that I would have much rather been at home with the hubbs. I ended work late Wednesday night due to us having our Preschool Christmas Spectacular Concert. It went off great and everyone really seemed to enjoy it.
Christmas Eve Morning we woke up and went for a bike ride on post. I really enjoying riding together. It's become something I look forward to doing on the weekends. After our morning ride we went home and I made some delicious GingerBread Pancakes for breakfast.
The hubbs had plans to go shooting with a buddy of his early afternoon which left me home alone. I took full advantage of the day and cleaned the house top to bottom. I even straighten up the garage and took the pups for a walk. It's such a wonderful feeling so have a spic and span home. 
We lounged around the rest of the day and watched Christmas movies. For dinner we carried on a Family Tradition having Sandwiches for dinner. We enjoyed some tasty Turkey, Ham, Bacon and Cheese Croissant Melts with a side of Sweet Potato Puffs. One of my favorites :). Followed by more Christmas Movies.
Christmas Morning we managed to sleep in a little bit, which was nice and much needed. We agreed to wait and exchange gifts till after I got breakfast in the oven. At his request, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls. Don't mind if I do, I absolutely love them. With breakfast in the oven, the hubbs gave the pups their gift, a large bone each. They seemed to really enjoy it. We too turns opening gifts from each other as well as my Nene. Generally each year it seems like I end up going with a theme for his gifts and this year was no different. It was all about it bike. He received clip on peddles, a bike maintenance book, a bike maintenance rack and clip on shoes. Of course there where a few other odds and ends added in there as well. I received lots of kitchen ware, a oldie but most defiantly a goodies. A new complete set of tubberware (seeings the hubbs has managed to loose not one, two but three sets since he's been home, don't even get me started), a waffle maker, a electric pancake griddle (both of which I'd been wanting). The hubbs also gave me a new Garmin Fitness watch which I'm still learning and playing around with. We of course did get each other a few things for the Westy. Christmas wouldn't have been complete if we hadn't.
We spent the day lounging around doing absolutely nothing, we stayed in our pjs all day and just relaxed. Something we never do and let me tell you it was so nice. For dinner we went a non-traditional route, Kabobs. Our menu included: Seared Bison topped with sautéed Mushrooms and Feta, Grilled Chicken and Veggies with a Plain Baked Sweet Potato. It was just perfect and tasted fabulous.
Saturday, I decided to go with the hubbs to his match,  this way we could go down into Nashville afterwards and do a little shopping. After grabbing some lunch we headed back home to de-christmas the house. I absolutely love the Holiday's and the way our home looks when its decorated but I was ready to get it back to normal. We managed to get everything down, packed away, the tree and loads of boxes that had been piling up loaded in the truck and off to the dump. It was a great feelings to have all of that done and behind us.
Sunday, we went on a ride, came home busted out the new waffle maker for breakfast and made Belgian Waffles. The rest of the day was just kinda hanging out. We ran a few earns but nothing to fancy. It was a bit rainy and ugly out so we took advantage and chill-axed at home.

All in All it was a great weekend, just the two of us and I really wouldn't have had it any other way. I hope you and yours had a wonderful Holiday. Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

-16 goals for 2016-

Making Goals sounds so much more do able than Making a New Years Resolution. I'm all about having goals, writing them down and having a visual to help keep myself accountable. So here in no particular order at all are my 16 goals for 2016. I'm hoping that by setting realistic goals for myself I will be able to maintain them and keep up with what I have set out for myself in the new year. So here's to 2016 and everything it has ahead to offer.

1) Be more mindful / careful about spending money. Ask yourself do you really need this, must you have to have it.

2) No eating out during the work week. Which includes stopping for a drink or snack. Sticking to my planned packed lunches. (I'm pretty good at this already, but I do allow myself a treat here and there)

3) Putting $50.00 - $100.00 from my weekly check into savings on top of what we already put in there. Sticking to our savings plan.

4) Work out at least 5 days a week. One day being a weekend day, and never miss a Monday. On top of my normal routine, Run at least twice a week and bike at least once a week.

5) Make a point to walk the dogs every day, unless its raining.

6) No eating out during the month or January unless it's a special occasion.

7) No eating out for dinner during the work week, unless its a special occasion. Making sure I have something planned and prepped for dinner every night.

8) No sweets during January. (Continue on month by month)

9) Getting off my phone and computer more and being a more present Wife / Spouse.

10) Being better about sending cards for birthday, anniversary and just because to family and friends.

11) Take the test I need to take in order to finish school and continue on.

12) Pay off our USAA card, again.

13) Get to my goal weight by my birthday in April and continue to maintain it going forward.

14) Make time for us, make time for date day's / night's. Doing something new; in or out of the house.

15) Finally get our Holiday Card / Letter book put together and Finish framing and hanging the pictures and prints I have printed that are simply sitting around still.

16) Staying on top of the house, keeping it picked up and clean and put together. I'm a super OCD, Crazy Neat Nut when it comes to our house already but sometimes the upper level can get a little neglected. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Happy Holiday's 2015

Happy Holiday’s to you and your’s. Is it really that time if year again?! Another fun filled fabulous year of memories behind us. You may remember Gabe was deployed from November 2014 - July 2015, leaving me to spend the first part of the year keeping busy with work, school, running and doing fun girlie things. I was even able to enjoy a few weekend getaway’s to SC, OH and WV. 
In February I experienced my first snow storm. This Texas girl wasn’t really sure how to handle all that snow or even attempt to drive in it. Mean while Gabe was doing what he does best, helping defend our country down range. April & May rolled around when we celebrated another birthday. I spent the 4th of July with the Gabriel’s and some of their expended family. Mid July rolled around, Gabe and I where reunited after his 3rd deployment, this time after being gone 9 long months. It was definitely the highlight of our year. 
In August we enjoyed two long over due fun filled weeks in both Texas and Arizona visiting family and friends on both sides. Surprising both my brother and Gabe’s mom with our arrival, along with Gabe finally getting to go out on the boat to see us ski where just a few of the many highlights from our trip home. 
This fall we went on a few weekend get away’s, which included a trip to Louisiana, Memphis and Gatlinburg. Our trip in November to Gatlinburg was to celebrate our 8 year wedding anniversary. We enjoyed exploring the Great Smokey Mountains, a first for the both of us. Such a beautiful place. 
One of our most exciting adventures since Gabe returned was the purchase of our ’91 VW Vanagon Westfalia. Also known as our Westy. We’ve spent many weekends now working on the renovations and restoring process of our Westy. It’s become something that we both really enjoy working on together. I know we will have years and years ahead of us to enjoy the Westy and create wonderful lasting memories with her. We’ve already taken her out on a few adventures. We spent Thanksgiving weekend at Montgomery Bell State Park camping. A new tradition maybe? Previously while we where home in Texas we purchased two bicycles and have since then enjoyed getting out and cycling together. Having the bikes to load up on the Westy and take camping has been great, they really come in handy. Especially on our 3 mile ride we had to take to Thanksgiving lunch. 
We’ll enjoy Christmas and ring in the New Year here in our Home Sweet Home of Tennessee. It’s been a great year. Full of up’s and down’s but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We hope the New Year finds you and your family filled with lots of Love, Joy and Happiness. 
                                              Happy Holiday’s 2015

We did something a little different this year for our picture card, and I had our pictures made into polaroids and we made labels to go on the bottom and included them with our yearly holiday letter. I loved the change and I think they turned out great!! 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree.... Oh Christmas Tree... How Lovely are your branches. 

We knew we wanted to take the Westy to pick out our tree this year but it was just finding the right time. Last weekend we had planned on going but it was so rainy and ugly out we decided not to. This morning I made us a tasty breakfast that included biscuits, sausage and gravy. We decided we would wait around to till the mail came to see if our Odometer came in that we had sent off to be repaired before heading out. No point in putting the dash back together if it was going to come today. Sadly no such luck. So the hubbs screwed everything back into place and we headed out. It was the perfect day. The temperature was just right, it was nice not to have to bundle all up like we live in the Arctic. 
So we headed out early this afternoon to a local Christmas Tree Farm, Lazy Spread Farms to pick out our perfect tree for this years Holiday Festivities. This is the 2nd year now that we've picked out a real tree and I absolutely love it. 
We took our time, looked around the farm at all the tree's before settling on the perfect one. It's just right!! I can't wait to get it inside and all decked out!! It's the last thing we have to do, to have our house perfectly decorated for the man in the big red suit to come visit us. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Vansgiving

We decided to do things a little nontraditional this year and for go the big hoopla of a meal and all that comes with it. Wednesday afternoon I was able to get out of work a bit early and make it home just in time to help the hubbs finish packing up the Westy. Shortly after we where on our way to celebrate our first holiday of what I am sure will be many to come in the Westy. Vansgivning!!!! 
We arrived at Montgomery Bell State Park just after sun set, set up camp (which in the Westy is seriously so easy.) While the hubbs worked on starting a fire I started getting dinner ready. Bean & Cheese Quesadilla with a side of chips and salsa. We are still trying to figure out what meals work for us on the road / camping and what doesn't so we decided to keep it as simple and easy this time around. We spend the better part of our evening around the fire just enjoying the evening. The weather was perfect not to chilly at all. We roasted marshmallow, made s'mores, and chatted with the In-Loves a bit. 
The next morning we, well I tried to sleep in some but the pups and my ever so lovely automatic alarm clock in my head just didn't let me. One beautiful thing about arriving to your camp site after dark is when you wake up you get to see the beautiful surroundings around you. The stream running right behind us, and the lush trees made for a cozy sight. Which simply put that pep in my step for a early start to our day. Sausage, Eggs and a bagel for breakfast while sipping on some Hot Chocolate. After breakfast we headed out to do a little exploring around the camp site with the pups. I managed to get in over 8000 steps before 10:30 that morning. It always fun to take the pups out walking along the trails, they get so excited. 
The plan was to have Thanksgiving lunch at the Park Resort. It was only 3 miles away so we knew we would just ride our bikes up there. Literally up, it was mostly up hill half way there. Around 11:00am we decided to make our way over to the Resort, knowing we'd probably have to wait a little bit we wanted to get a early start. Much to our surprise the Resort Restaurant was already packed full of waiting guest's to eat. We where told it would be about a 45 minute wait, which really didn't seem to be that bad considering the amount of people there. It gave us time to catch our breath and cool down from our ride. Lunch / Dinner was served Buffet style, with all the traditional Thanksgiving foods and then some. I'd never been to anything like this before and I asked the hubbs if he had either and he said nope. I didn't really know what to expected. I was so used to doing everything myself and or being with family. This was all so new to me, but let me tell you the food did not disappoint. It was simply fabulous, hot, fresh and kept us full. It wasn't a bad deal at all for $15.95 you could enjoy a feast till your heart desired and that we did, dessert included. Although I couldn't help but think about the fact that we had to ride our bikes back. 
We headed out to the parking lot and the hubbs mentioned he figured out a short cut. Ok, I'm all about that, although he failed to mentioned that we would first have to carry our bikes down a couple flight's of stairs ride across a bridge and then straight up close to 100+ stairs to get back up on the road. I wearing boots, blue jeans, a sweat and not to mention I'd just stuffed my face with loads of food. So to say I struggle just a tiny bit would be a true statement. 
The pups did so well staying in the Westy while we where gone. We didn't think we would be gone that long but I'm so glad they didn't mess anything up or get into anything.
 What else do you do after a full Thanksgiving feast, crash out. And that's just what we did. The four of us passed out on the bed. We left the door open to enjoyed the nice breeze coming through and the pups did so good, they didn't even get up to go out once. 
Later that afternoon we went on another little trail hike across the stream back behind our camp site. I loved how it was super dog friendly and yet gave us a pretty good work out at the same time. Gotta work off all that goodness we ate right. 
That evening our site-neighbors arrive, we chatted with them a bit, cooked up some skillet pizza's for dinner, made some s'mores and relaxed around the campfire.
We knew we wanted to head home shortly after breakfast the next morning and of course I did everything I could to sleep in but it just didn't happen. So up early again, I cooked us up some eggs, bacon and potatoes that we enjoyed and then we went on a little walk to get some of the pups energy out before heading out. 
It was the perfect Vansgiving, just the two of us. The weather was amazing the entire time!!! No hustle and bustle of trying to get a big meal prepped and cooked or being on a time schedule having to be at one place or another. I am very traditional and generally want to do things the old fashion way but this was perfect for us. As I grow and experience life I've learned and come to realize that its not all about doing things like everyone else or going all out but rather simply just about being with the ones that matter and that was just what we did this weekend. It was simply but it was perfect!!! 

I Hope You and Your Family had a Wonderful Thanksgiving and are Enjoying the Holiday Season. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cooking for Two: 4th Edition

French Toast Bites
Quesadilla Stuff Pita Pockets, Side Salad 
Veggie Loaded Chili, Homemade Cornbread 
Black Bean Soup : Fixate 
Homemade Pumpkin Dream Cake 
Chicken Noodle Soup 
Peanut Butter Pancakes topped with Banana's & Homemade Strawberry Jam
Homemade Pumpkin Rolls with Salted Carmel Icing 
Ground Turkey Veggie Skillet 
Black Bean Quinoa Bake 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

8 Years and Counting, Since We Said "I DO"

We celebrated our 8th Wedding Anniversary Yesterday. We spent the weekend in Gatlinburg, TN in a cute little cabin nestled in the woods. Life couldn't have been more perfect!!
We headed out Friday late morning after spending a unplanned hour+ getting the oil changed in my car. Never the less we where on our way. First stop was lunch before getting on the highway. Hubbs asked what I wanted, we agreed we'd grab something quick and easy. As against eating Fast Food any more I responded with Chick-fil-a. I hadn't had CFA since my Birthday back in April and for some strange reason it sounded like the best idea ever!!!! I mean it was our anniversary weekend after all so why not splurge a little.
We arrived in downtown Gatlinburg around 6pm that evening after sitting through traffic in Pigeon Forge for almost a hour. Talk about crazy, simply to go about 12 miles. At least it gave us plenty of time to plan out our day for Saturday. Looking at all the shops and sights we knew we had a packed day ahead of us. We found our cabin, looked around and decided since it was still early to head out on the town. The streets where crawling with people...locals and tourists from every where. There where so many cute little shops that we popped in and out of on our quest to find the perfect dinner destination. We ended up at a little Mexican joint right when you come into downtown by the Aquarium. The hubbs and I are all about some good Mexican food, even with the wait being almost a hour. We walked into the bar area which was our doors to get a drink while we waited and lucky for us it was open seating first come first serve. We snagged a table just in time and whelp there went that hour wait. Dinner was so tasty, I really don't drink all that often when we go out. Partly because I'm cheap and partly because I really try to watch my calorie intake and what I eat / drink but that Strawberry Banana Margarita was sounding pretty fabulous. I love anything Strawberry Banana Mixed so why not give this a try I though. Plus we're on vacay right!?!?! :) It lived up and was the best. 

We strolled up the other side of the street on our way back checking out the different stores before grabbing Ice Cream from MayPops on our way back to our cabin. I love love ice cream, my favorite is Peppermint and / or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Neither of which they had in stock but they did have Banana Pudding and Cookies' n Cream. I'll take two scoops, one of each in a cups please. If I would have known the size of their single scoop I'm pretty sure I would have only ordered one scoop I was huge. A double scoop was like almost 4 scoops for a normal ice cream joint. You better believe it was good, I couldn't finish it though. I would have been so sick. We spend the rest of the evening relaxing in our warm cozy cabin.

The next morning we strolled down to Crockett's Breakfast Camp for a tasty morning meal. I loved how everything was within walking distance. It made it so nice not to have to mess with parking. Well, Let me tell you they did not disappoint. Between the hubbs Eggs Benedict, my Create Your Own Biscuit and the FRIED Cinnamon Roll we split we where definitely happen Campers when we left. 

We spent the majority of the day in Pigeon Forge doing some shopping and random sight seeing. We had no idea there was a outlet mall there as well as 3 different stores that sold Fiestaware. We definitely made out good with some new finds. It a bit of a dreary day, kinda cloudy so at least we did have anything big planned outside. We where so busy with shopping that we kept pushing lunch back and before we knew it, it was almost 4:30pm and we where starved. Originally we where going to try out a place back in Gatlinburg near our cabin for dinner but we knew that would be at least a hour or so drive be time we got back to our cabin and walked down there. So we decided we'd try out Paula Dean's Restaurant we spotted earlier in the day. Hey its not 5pm yet there shouldn't be to long of a wait right?!??! Yea, that's what though. After having to park almost a half a mile away, (the shopping area it was in, include a hotel and lots of other sights so it was a huge area.) and finally getting to the restaurant we where told it would be almost a 2 hour wait. aaaaahhhhh you've got to be kidding me. Whelp, the hubbs stuck it out and said that was fine. I really would have been fine going some where else but he's such a good sport. We spent the next hour or so checking out the different shops and doing a little sight seeing there on what they called "The Island" before parking out booties in the rockers out front. Dinner was fabulous, or course did you really expect anything different. Although for the wait and price I'm not sure we will be going back but at least we can say we've been right. :)
We finally made our way back to our cabin and since it was still early we decided we would go ahead and check out the Ripley's Aquarium. I mean because we had done enough walking already that day. It was so nice though because it was later in the evening it wasn't crowded at all, there wasn't a ton of little kids running around every where and we were able to really take our time and look at everything we wanted to without having to wait for the little people to move. We always try to make a point to visit the local aquarium where ever we go since we where married in one. We did a bit more walking around downtown afterwards before, calling it a night and heading back. We where exhausted and my feet where killing me.
Sunday morning we went to FlapJack's for breakfast for some yummy pancakes. I had Peanut butter and Banana. They where pretty good but we both agreed we loved Crockett's even better. After breakfast we stopped in a local donut shop that we both had wanted to try out. yes Even though we had just eaten. We did pick up a little treat for later in the day. :) From there we rode the sky lift up to the top of the mountain right there in downtown. And since we got there so early we didn't have to worry with waiting. Which meant we literally walked right up and sat down in our lift chairs. I didn't have much time at all to think about what we where doing and we a little nervous on the way up. The view from up top offered such stunning sights. It was simply gorgeous. Looking down over the city, we could even see our cabin. We eventually headed back down and to the cabin where our day continued. 
 We spent the better part of our day driving through and exploring through the Great Smoky Mountains, a first for both of us. As we drove through the mountains to Cade's Cove it was simply beautiful. The trees changing colors and the different look out area's offered such breath taking views. I could have spent all day just wondering around within the mountains taking it all in. 
Eventually though we had to call it a day, the sun was setting and we where starting to get a bit hungry. So back to the cabin to freshen up before heading out to dinner at Cherokee Grill. And because my husband loves me, and supports my love of Ice Cream we went back to MayPops for a little after dinner dessert. Snug in bed, next to a warm cozy fire was the prefect way to end our last night away. 
Monday morning we woke up, Happily Married 8 Years. I can't believe its been EIGHT YEARS, since we said "I DO"!!! Some days it seems like it should be much longer and other days it seems as though we just got married last month. Either way I wouldn't change it for the world!! We decided to go back to Crockett's Breakfast Camp for Breakfast since we both loved it so much the first time. 
After a quick walk through downtown we decided to call it a trip and start heading back. It raining and we didn't want to have to drive home wet and cold so it worked out just fine. We made a stop in Knoxville and toured the Knoxville History Museum on our way back. The plan was to go to a fancy little Steak House in downtown Clarksville since it was our Anniversary night but thankfully on the way home I looked up the hours.... sadly only to find out they where closed on Mondays. No biggie we will go to such and such place in Hop-Town, womp womp they where closed as well. We couldn't decide where we wanted to go. I wanted something different a bit fancy but everything was closed on Monday nights. Yes we HAD to go Monday night because it was OUR NIGHT. So w agreed we go to  the steak house another night and ended up at Cheddars for dinner. Its ok, it worked out perfect, we had a tasty meal and where home early enough to relax and enjoy our Anniversary dessert we'd picked up earlier in the day. 

I absolutely love love celebrating our Anniversary together, we have been so lucky to have only missed being together for 2 out of the 8 years. Which being in the army life that's pretty rare. We've already talked about what we want to do to celebrate for the next two years and I can't wait!!! It was by far a fabulous weekend, we made so many wonderful memories. I cherish each and every moment we have together.