3.19.2014

Sinfully Jealous

Its been awhile since I've posted anything. Its not that I haven't written anything, or even almost posted, I just have kept myself from pushing that "Publish" button. Why? I'm not sure I even know the whole reason. ha I know that apart of it is some recent criticism that has come pretty regularly lately, another is the fact that this semester has turned into more than I thought it would (story of my life), and just life in general. But no matter matter what combination of all the reasons happen to be, I think it all comes down to one thing. I am not really sure what direction I want this blog to go.
Up until now, this blog as been a huge jumble of a billion things over the last 4+ years. It started out with expressing my feelings through supporting my (then boyfriend) who had joined the Air-force, then turned to documenting our lives away from our families, then to crafting, then to a deployment journal, then to all things baby, then to a more commercialized blog, then to more religiously themed, etc. etc. etc. . . Which seems to bother some people...  And here we are. Which brings me to the subject that has been on my mind pretty much since I reached early adulthood. .

I have no focus. . . I have a problem committing myself to interests. And I am sinfully jealous of those who have that ability. Artists, HTML coders, Pilots, Gardeners, Hair Stylists, Larpers, and so on. have something that I wish I had so SOOO badly. FOCUS. How do they pick that one thing that defines their free time, their random thoughts, their so called "calling" in life. How?
I can't do that. I can't pick. I like way to many things and have way to much of an attention problem. This has translated straight to my Education experience. I have had.. wait for it.... 11 different major changes. 11. That means I have rearranged my school plan 11 times. Not to mention school switches. Any psychologist would have a HAY DAY with me. I can't commit to an educational future. I want to be a Delegate, and a Teacher, a Small Business Owner, a Parole Officer, a Marriage Counselor, a Florist,  a Journalist, and a Senator,  a PR Rep, AND a mom.

I just love so many completely different things, and because I feel this connection to so many things.... I feel insecurity often in who I am. One week I am interested in Painting, but I feel like a "poser" because it hasn't been my life goal to be a Painter, and some people work for years and years at it. I am a Hobby Hopper.... Liking so many things has made me decently knowledgeable at a plethora of hobbies and subjects... But I am not an expert at anything, and it is pretty easy to get down on yourself when the world is telling you that you are missing that "life calling" that everyone is waiting for.

But I have realized something over the last few weeks. Something that I should have learned a long long time ago.. that took one simple sentence from a loving Bishop to make my light bulb finally go off.  None of those feelings of insecurity, or depression, or confusion, or melancholy-ness (word or not a word?) are from a place that is worth my time.  We live in a world where we are constantly pushed. Pushed to be smarter, more dedicated, more successful, and more "liked" than the person next door. . . BUT there is one person that wants us to be better, but will never push us based on a comparison to "everyone else".... Our Father in Heaven.


Satan wants us to be our OWN worst enemy. Satan wants me to look at my Education and feel overwhelmed. He wants me to quit. He wants me to think I don't know who I am. And even though it would be pretty easy to get down on myself for my lack of focus on any one thing. . . to see all my jumbled-ness and feel like a hot mess.   Our Father would never want us to feel that way. 
According to the world, I am lost, needing direction, confused, and unfocused. But If I looked at myself the way our Heavenly Father sees me; I am eclectic, interesting, open minded, and well rounded! I would much rather see myself as the latter. Either way, I'm O.K. admitting that I am not really sure exactly who I am according to my interests. But my Father has taught me that my interests don't define who I am. I was someone before I came here &  He has given us the opportunity to know ourselves by knowing him. He gives us the opportunity to receive personal revelation, patriarchal blessings, and has given us the scriptures and latter-day prophets to learn of Him and his Son. 

I may not know what I want to be when I "grow up" or what I want to be in an hour! But, I know that I am a mother and a wife, and whatever path or class or course I decide to take... my education and variety of interests will help me be a better version of both of those things! With God's help I can do just that. Be the best version of myself and help others to do the same, and THAT is my "life calling". Our Father in Heaven has given us the opportunity to become whoever and whatever we want based on the fact that we will include Him. He is perfectly fine with me being ALL the things I want to be.  I love and appreciate Him for that. What a blessed and loved group of children we are. 
So instead of getting down on yourself on those days you "don't know who you are" exactly or getting jealous of those who seem to have "it all together". . . Try getting to know him better, and "Be still". He loves you. 




2.11.2014

Easy Pillow Cover Tutorial

Do you have some "less than cute" pillows, like I do?  Instead of buying new ones, just cover them for a fraction of the price! I love being able to change the look of my pillows often without dropping a few hundred dollars every time I want a new look, and it is pretty easy!


Here is what you need:
-Your choice of fabric, I used about 2 yards for 4 pillows. (2 in the Aztec fabric, 2 in the gray) But it just depends on the size of the pillows your covering. You can use regular quilters cotton, or home decor fabric. You can even use furry or decorative fabric.
-Coordinating thread
-Sewing Machine (unless you want to do it by hand)
-Iron
-Pins

That's IT!

First lay out your fabric, place your pillow on top and wrap it like a present (but just 2 sides). You want the fabric cut so that the ends are overlapping about 3-4 inches. Cut your fabric so that one side overlaps (that 3-4 inches) and then the other two sides have about 1.5 inches extra after being sandwiched together. The pictures will help it make more sense. You are essentially making an envelope pillow case.





After your fabric is cut to the correct size, finish the 2 overlapped edges. Just fold the edge over 2 times and iron it. 

Sew the edge flat with a small seam allowance.

Lay your fabric down right side up. Place your pillow on top, and fold the finished sides over like an envelope. Fold it over so that it is pretty tight, you don't want a wrinkly pillow. 


Sandwich 2 of the side edges, and then pin right in the middle. (again try to get it as tight as you can) Be careful not to pin your pillow to the fabric, you will need to remove it later.


On the other side of the pillow you will do the same thing, but instead of pinning it shut, draw a line where you would have placed the pins. You can use a pencil or pen, just nothing that will leak through the fabric. 
Then slide your pillow out of your fabric.

 

Then pin the 2 layers over the line you drew. Now you can sew over the 2 sides that are pinned. 


You can trim the excess fabric to about .5inches from your seam. Then turn your cover ride side out! 


Just slide your pillow in, fluff it up, and you are done! 




 Enjoy your fresh new pillows!








2.05.2014

Not a Single Mom

While Ben was deployed I found that a lot of military spouses label themselves as a "single parent" while their partner is away. That rubbed me the wrong way. I wasn't a technical "parent" at the time though, I was pregnant with our 1st child.... So I figured I just didn't understand.
I'm a parent now. I've been a parent for 1 year and 20 days. And in that 1 year and 20 days, Ben has been gone enough times with the Air Force that I've compiled an opinion based on my experience. And my opinion is... I'm not a single mom. 


I feel absolutely unqualified to hold that label. I feel like calling myself a single mom is an insult to single parents. Don't get me wrong. I'm in no way telling all the Military Spouses they are bad or wrong for labeling themselves as single parents. 
BUT I personally cannot do it, and these are some reasons why:
I don't have to hold 3 jobs to barely skim the poverty line. 
I don't have to arrange visits between my child and their other parent. 
I don't get lumped into a statistic.
I don't have society judging my parenting abilities based on my relationship status. 
I don't have to go to parent teacher conferences or preschool orientation and feel nervous about explaining where Bennett's dad is. 
I don't have to explain to Bennett why his friends have 2 parents and he has 1. Or why he only lives with one. 
I don't have to be alone..
no matter how alone I may feel.... I'm not. 


NO matter how long Ben is away, or how often we do or don't get to speak.... He is thinking of us. We are thinking of him. And calling myself a single parent isn't only an insult to those who really struggle with all the things that single parents struggle with every single day.... it is an insult to Ben. 
I firmly believe that the relationship between a Military Spouse and their Military Member is either strengthened or broken down during time apart by one thing... Respect. In order for Ben and I to have a healthy relationship during time apart, I need to respect his role as a husband and a father while he is gone. 

What does calling myself a single parent entail in relation to Ben? It suggests that he isn't lending any support or aid! And as his partner... it is my job to build him up, to help him become better, to be there for him while he is away, to reassure him of our love and respect for him as the patriarch of our little family. He needs to know that he still has a role even when he is thousands of miles away. He needs to know that we need him. He needs to know that I don't think of myself as a single parent, because he is valuable. 


Being apart is hard. I would be lying if I said that being here alone with Bennett is easy while he is away. It is hard. I have laid in bed awake plenty of nights wishing and hoping I would wake up and he would be next to me. But no matter how many tears, or missed phone calls, or terrifying nights alone we have... I know its only temporary. And even though there is always a possibility that something horrible could happen... it is the exception..not the rule. 

I have the greatest and utmost respect for single parents. I can't ever pretend to know their struggle, and I hope I never have to. You are incredible, you are strong, and you can do it!
As a military spouse, I am not among these soldiers of parents. So please don't call me a single mom, instead... let a real single mom know you support them. Because they deserve it. 


2.02.2014

14 Days of Valentines! Free Printables!

I have seen 14 Days of Valentines done by people before, and I thought it was such a great idea! I couldn't find ones that had tags that matched things that Ben actually liked, so I decided to make my own and create a way that you could make your own too with blank ones!
& For all you military spouses or those of you away from your loved one this year, this would be a great thing to send your sweetheart!


This is such a great way to celebrate Valentines in a special way without spending a lot of money. :)
So even though February has already started... you can still participate! Just start today or tomorrow or even give your sweetheart a couple on the first day to catch up! Better late than never! :)
So here are 14 days of ideas! You can print them all at the bottom of the post, or make your own with the blank ones at the end of the printables!

Ben LOVES putting Lime juice in things. But for this one you could also use some kind of fun seasoning, a favorite flavor of ice cream or drink, or anything!

I think you are "Sodamazing"

"I go Bananas over you." You could also do banana candy!

"Thanks for sticking by my side" You could do some kind of gooey or sticky treat for this one instead of sticky notes!

"Being with you is always a treat" Again, you could substitute this with any treat!

"You are Flip'n awesome" with Flips!

"You're my favorite Krave-ing" with Krave Cereal.

"We were Mint to be together" You could do any minty treat, even ice cream! ;)

"You are one Hot Tamale"

"I am Nuts about you!"

"You have O'fish-ally stolen my heart"

"My life would be Mixed up without you!" You could make your own mix with this one, if you aren't horrible at it, like me. ha

"You are a perfect TEN" You could find anything with the letters T-E-N on it. Later I realized all these wonderful ideas for this one that didn't come to me earlier. haha oh well. 

"I wouldnt Chews anyone but you!" With a pack of gum! 

You can download the printables by clicking the picture below! Remember you can use the blank ones to create your own! :)
CLICK the picture to download the 3 tag pages!

1.29.2014

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I'm always looking for easy recipes for dinners, especially since I'm not a very good cook. :) This Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole is GREAT, and it is easy to save and then reheat! (This recipe is also an easy one to double or even triple if needed)
Printable Recipe at bottom of post! 
From Tasty Kitchen
Prep time: 20 Minutes
Cook time: 40 Minutes
Serves: 8

IngredientsFOR THE CASSEROLE:
1 whole Cooked Chicken, Bones Removed, Meat Diced Or Shredded (rotisserie Chicken Is Excellent, Should Be 5-6 Cups Of Chicken
½ pounds Very Thinly Sliced Deli-style Honey Ham, Rough Chopped
¼ pounds Thin Sliced Baby Swiss Cheese
FOR THE SAUCE:
4 Tablespoons Butter
4 Tablespoons Flour
3-¼ cups Milk (I Used Whole Milk)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1-½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoons Smoked Paprika
¼ teaspoons White Pepper
FOR THE TOPPING:
6 Tablespoons Butter
1-½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
¾ teaspoons Seasoning Salt
1-½ teaspoon Crushed Dried Parsley

Preparation Instructions:Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
Put cooked shredded or diced chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Rough chop the ham and scatter it over the top of the chicken. Lay the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.


For the sauce:
Melt the butter in a large sauce pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour to form a smooth roux. Do not brown! Once the roux is smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly to make a smooth sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and white pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce evenly over the casserole, being certain to get some of the sauce around the edges of the pan.

 

For the topping:Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium sized microwaveable bowl. Heat it for 30 seconds at a time and stop once it’s melted. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir in the panko bread crumbs, seasoning salt and crushed dried parsley. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.


Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.
Enjoy!

Printable Recipe: 
(click to download & print)

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen
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