Monday, February 24, 2014

Sick, but happy

Hello everyone!

Apologies for not posting lately- I have been quite ill with a nasty respiratory virus. To compensate, here is my neighbors' pet crab wearing a starfish for a hat:

I'm too sexy for this fish tank...

Photo provided by my awesome neighbor Tashina Bennett whose aquarium ownership I live vicariously through!

Anywho, this illness has taught me a few things:

1) Bigelow's "Constant Comment" tea is like (better tasting...its mold, people) penicillin in a cup. This stuff will make you feel better no matter what you've got.
2) Women never stop working. Even when I was sick I still continued to cook and clean. Why do we do this to ourselves ladies? The laundry and cleaning will always be there, and our families won't starve (hopefully).
3) Short term sicknesses are a blessing in disguise. Be thankful for your body's amazing ability to fight off infection. Some people aren't so lucky.
4) Pets and husbands will cheer you up when you are down.

Happy Monday, friends!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Weekend recipe! Crockpot chicken and rice

Hi everyone!
This weekend our horrible washing machine finally died. It was a long and arduous saga that included a junkyard that looked like the set of "Sanford & Son". Seriously- I was waiting for harmonicas to kick up.

Assuming that we would have a crew of soldiers helping us to move the old washer out, I made an easy crock pot meal that feeds a group of 4 or more. Tweak the ingredients if you have a larger group to feed. I also add a packet of dry ranch to give it an extra flavor.

  • 4 to 6 boneless chicken breast halves, without skin
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup or cream of chicken
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup converted rice, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 to 2 cups frozen green beans, thawed (broccoli works well too)
  • 1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
Put chicken breasts in the Crock Pot. Add cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup water. Add 3/4 cup of rice and the chicken broth. Add green beans. Add ranch packet. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours, or until chicken is cooked and rice is tender. Serves about 4.

The crock pot...inside you will find riches untold...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Toki Wartooth: Portrait of a Dog

I felt that my dog Toki warranted a post. He is an enigma.

Grape Man and I always wanted a dog. Our initial breed of choice was a bulldog, but after researching breeders, we learned that a bulldog puppy has the same going rate of establishing a small mutual fund. No thank you. Insert argument-against-buying-versus-adopting-here. Let me be clear that I don't label myself some sort of animal rights champion because we adopted a dog. This dog was $40.00, and frankly, very cute.

After a few months we found a shelter about 2 hours away from our home. Things in Kansas are VERY spread apart...i'm looking at you, Pittsburgh friends. We decided to make the trip. At this particular shelter, they put you in a small enclosed are where you can "test out" a dog (Test a dog? Interview doesn't seem applicable).
The first dog BEGGED to leave the room we were in. He cried and whined and looked out the glass door helplessly until a shelter employee suspiciously took him from us.
The second dog had enormously large dog breasts. I can't live in a house with a dog who has bigger breasts than I. Chafing on a walk was a major concern.
More dogs were brought forth. More awkward encounters.

Finally the shelter employees let us walk around the kennels to see if any of the dogs appealed to us. We saw about thirty dogs, and a big yellow head popped out of one kennel. This was a cute dog. He was also HUGE. We asked an employee if we could take him out.

"You want HIM?" she asked, "I have to warn you, he is a high-energy dog..."
"GOOD THING I AM TOUGH AS NAILS, MADAME!" I said this in my head. Not aloud.

Shortly thereafter, we were heading home with a 80+ pound sock-eating, owl-hating, stinky mystery of evolution. A vet trip informed us that he was half German Shepherd, half Anatolian Shepherd. "This dog could hold his own in a fight!" the vet exclaimed. Only in Kansas will your vet merit your dog by his toughness factor.

I am a big tough man! Just like Daddy...

His quirks include tearing down the curtains, eating (only pink) socks, staring at cows, and sneaking up next to your ear while you're sleeping and barking because he hears an owl outside. Toki, not my husband.

"I'm gonna get you, sucka..."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Guilt and the FRG

Sometimes I fear that I have a lack of couth. I have a nasty little habit that when I am nervous I tend to talk loudly and draw attention to myself. I once dropped an enormous candle in a glass jar in a Walmart, and (while I stood there, mind you) yelled, "OH MY! LOOK WHAT I DID! OH, THAT'S SO EMBARRASSING! I SHOULD PAY FOR THAT!" Many Walmart employees and bystanders came running.

Needless to say when the Fort Riley FRG leader called me out of the blue and asked what food item I was bringing to a large meeting I was completely unaware of, my screaming kicked in.


And with those few words I solidified my reputation as the town spaz.

For those unaware, the FRG is the Family Readiness Group. It's (usually) a battalion-level organization of spouses that facilitates information and provides activities to boost morale. It's highly organized, and frankly, you don't want to screw up in front of them.

To be fair, I usually am a prepared person. I hate looking like I don't know what's going on. Luckily the FRG leader was a wonderful person and filled me in on everything. The meeting is at 6:00 pm tomorrow, after I work until 5:30 pm. And I must prepare a dish. For a large group. What.

I hurriedly scanned my cabinets to see what I can make that would be healthy, delicious, and wholesome.
Translation: something fast and portable that won't make people physically ill.

 All I ended up finding was Jell-O packets and various canned fruits. Jell-O salad anyone?? Sometimes my resourcefulness takes my very breath away.

I made the Jell-O and added the fruit, and it looks like something a janitor should throw sawdust on:

Don't judge me. I am the same woman who was responsible for throwing a flaming pan of food out the back door because I knew we didn't own a fire extinguisher. I believe the proper term here is "improvisation", not "desperation".

Wish me luck. The jiggling mass is congealing in my fridge as I type. Hopefully I won't scream at anyone tonight.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New blog + winter in Kansas!

I will be the first to admit that I do not adjust to change gracefully.

I am still getting used to Kansas' weather extremes- last week roughly a foot of snow came down on us. I hate it. Toki, my shepherd mix, loves it. Grape Man pretends to be indifferent, but secretly he's dreaming of busting out a sled and ice skates. 

Grape Man is my beloved husband. Why is my husband nicknamed Grape Man you may ask? Because when he was little he believed that if he ate the dried, wrinkly malformed grapes in the bunch it would bestow him with super powers. Plus he is naturally sweet.

He really is a hoot.

I digress. Being perpetually snowed in has led to an explosion of creative prowess. Thus I have decided to start a blog. 

Writing has always been a joy for me. I find most things in life humorous, so you will find a lot of stories and musings here. I am also budget-conscious, so you'll find some of those ideas, too. Life as a military spouse has enlightened me to many new things, and I hope to share those experiences with you as well. 

Greetings from Grape Man and I!

Toki as well.