Monday, January 31, 2011

On How We Ate, Ate, and Ate Some More

The Hubby's family wanted to come out to Texas to see him one last time before he deploys. I cleaned the house as best as I could with an ever-shedding Labrador. That dog...

His mother visited during MLK weekend. We took her to Austin that Friday afternoon and ate brunch at Juan in a Million, which was where Adam Richman had his Man v Food challenge. We were greeted warmly by the owner himself who won the best handshake award once. (Click pictures to enlarge!)

My husband and I ordered the famous Don Juan "El Taco Grande". It consisted of two scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese and potatoes on top of two homemade flour tortillas. The Hubby gobbled his up quickly, but I didn't enjoy mine quite as much due to the lack of cheese.

Even though we all complained of being too full, we headed to Gourdough's for dessert. They have unbelievably high Yelp reviews, and they are all well deserved. Their fresh, made-to-order, giant donuts are $4.25 each, add $1 for meat. Yes, they have meat donuts, and if I ever get brave enough I will try one.

I ordered the Baby Rattler donut, mainly because I really wanted a gummy rattlesnake. Mine was delicious, but I was completely envious of The Hubby's Funky Monkey. The donuts are made by a guy who sits in his trailer with his guitar, and are served with giant paper towels along with a fork and knife.

We spent the rest of the weekend relaxing at home and eating more food...

I then had two more days to get the house back into order before The Hubby's dad, stepmom and grandparents arrived. The Hubby actually had to work while they were here so we did a lot of sitting and waiting at the house. There really is little to do around here unless you make the trip out to the Austin area.

Saturday was designated for more Austin food. The Hubby's dad wanted to try some Texas BBQ so we took him to Rudy's after a disappointing trip to the more famous Salt Lick. Boy, was it a wonderful experience! 

The friendly cashiers first ask you whether or not it is your first time at Rudy's. If you answer yes, they give you enough samples of their meats and sides for your entire party to taste. We all immediately fell in love with their moist brisket. I think The Hubby got too excited over their amazing meat that he ordered too much food.

Everyone left stuffed and we had enough leftovers for brisket and sausage egg white omelets the next morning. They serve everything on waxed butcher paper instead of plates. Rudy's is also extremely generous with the amount of free sandwich bread they give you. We left with an entire loaf!

The Hubby and I wanted to take everyone to Gourdough's too, but we decided to try Round Rock Donuts instead, which was also featured on the same episode of Man v Food. Their lobby closes early, but they keep their drive-thru open until eight. We had about ten cars ahead of us and we really hoped that the wait was worth it. Round Rock Donuts did not disappoint us either.

I had to order the Texas Sized Donut which is two pounds and the same amount of dough as a dozen donuts. $5.99 bought us an amazing giant donut that tasted better than Krispy Kreme, and that's saying a lot! We loved it so much that we went back for a dozen more donuts the next weekend.

But the trip wasn't entirely revolved around food. We also went to the LBJ Library during our trip to Austin...although we did rush through the museum so that we could go eat some BBQ. And we also did some shopping...for junk food. On Sunday we watched some football...and ate three large pizzas. And then there was some Skype-ing...where we bragged about the amazing brisket and asked what he had for dinner.

My sister is visiting me in March and I suspect that we will be eating a lot then too. I better lose the extra weight I gained now so that I can gain it back again later.

*Paper elements from Pugly Pixel

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meet Ken

My grandmother gave me one of her old sewing machines when I went home for Christmas. I have been wanting one for a very long time, but I never wanted to make the investment. You see, purchasing a sewing machine is the beginning of another hobby and hobbies are expensive. I need to purchase fabric scissors, thread, pins, fabric...the list goes on and on. 

But look how gorgeous it is! It is no longer white, but has yellowed from prolonged exposure in the sun. The edges on the knobs have darkened from dirty hands. And yet the motor still purrs magnificently. My Kenmore ("Ken" for short) will provide the absolute best distraction for me while The Hubby is away.

Some genius designed our house to have a giant window that looks into our garage, letting the world now exactly when we are away. We purchased some cheap curtains from Ikea and I decided to hem them myself using the sewing machine instead of using the provided iron-on hemming strip.

Although my grandmother gave me a short tutorial on threading the machine, I had to watch some videos online to brush up on it. This video was particularly helpful while this online series was especially wonderful for a beginner like me.

But in my excitement to begin sewing, I stupidly neglected to bother measuring just how much I had to hem from the bottom. The Hubby, being the sweet fella that he is, tried to make me feel better by saying that it was smart making the curtains short because the corners of the windows are always full of cobwebs. At least they're evenly short! Lesson learned...

And, if you look carefully, my stitched line is far from straight, but practice makes perfect!

I would love to make cute pincushions when I get the chance (source: 1, 2)

And I think my next projects will be this sewing caddy along with a cover to protect Ken from dust when he is not in use.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sometimes, I Think She's Human

I'm just waiting for her to start talking to us.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Let's Make: Orzo and Rice!

Can I share with you my absolute favorite non-dessert recipe? I have to specify that this is a recipe that does not include any sugar or chocolate because that is all I tend to post on here. I made this for dinner one night as a last minute thing, not even knowing what orzo pasta was supposed to taste like, and it was a huge success. 

This recipe for orzo and rice was adapted from one I found online. I adjusted it to our tastes by adding garlic powder, some more chicken bouillon, crab meat, broccoli and a light sprinkle of black pepper. This dish tastes incredibly creamy, even with only two tablespoons of butter in it and no milk or cream. 

Please, I beg of you, try this on your own one evening. It will only take twenty five minutes and the ingredients are cheap. It can be paired perfectly with chicken or eaten as a meal on its own. The Hubby and I always scrape our bowls and the pot clean. I go hungry during the day so that I can gobble my orzo and rice dinner down.

I can't wait to eat this again...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

I finally found the time today to finish a recap of block leave. (Click pictures to enlarge) The Hubby and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary by watching the new Narnia movie and then eating dinner at The Summit House in Fullerton. We had a spectacular steak meal with magnificent creamed corn on the side. I cursed my lactose intolerance once again for restricting me from gobbling down spoonfuls of this marvelous side dish.

We also went ice skating in Santa Monica one evening where I displayed a fantastic improvement from the last time we skated. I only fell down once and was able to go around at least ten times before I retired to the sidelines. 

We had a baking extravaganza where I made the shortbread toffee cookies and brownies while The Hubby helped make the Oreo truffles. They were a huge hit with our family and friends, but I suppose anything with that much butter or chocolate tastes good. Bella spied on us from afar and would not keep her eyes off of me in the kitchen. (Packaging details here. Recipes here)

My sister and I attempted to make a gingerbread village and it was a difficult task, to say the least. Details of our shenanigans can be found on her blog here.

Believe it or not, it is actually incredibly difficult to create a dog fort, especially when you have an uncooperative canine. You can find the actual dog fort comic here on my sister's blog.

Sorry for the profanity, but man does this make me laugh!


Our absolute favorite part of the vacation, however, was dog beach. The weather was absolutely perfect that day, unlike the rest of the duration of our visit back home. The three of us just took our sweet time enjoying the sights and sounds of this doggy heaven. Bella, being the "special" girl that she is, wanted to hide behind us rather than play with the others.

Bella never wants to go into the ocean, but she prefers to sit next to us on our blanket and bask in the wondrous California sun. And in those short moments watching the sunset together, we were in bliss.

*Paper elements from Pugly Pixel

The Most Expensive Ugly Thing You Can Ever Buy

Note the disco balls...Unless they're made out of diamonds, this backpack is not worth $400

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nom Nom!

Not my darling piggy, but definitely could be.
via on Pinterest

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On the Road Again

Our little family packed our bags and headed back home to California the morning of December 18th. Flying was not an option for us so we drove through half of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to reach home sweet home. (Please click images to enlarge!)

We drove close to eleven hours each day. Bella did not go potty once while on the road because apparently there is no grass between California and Fort Hood, Texas. The pampered canine needs lush greens in order to do her business.

Rest stops were few and far between. We went miles and miles without seeing a single gas station or McDonald's. It was terrifying. At one point, the radio in our car could not pick up any trace of a radio station.

This is what I have interpreted Bella to be thinking when I took these four snapshots somewhere in Arizona. It's a good thing she loves car rides or else she would have been truly miserable. I cannot even imagine what it would be like with human children.

We made Deming, NM our rest stop. Bella is a wonderful guard dog back at home, but this did not translate well inside a hotel. She barked at any noise she heard outside our door, which always occurred between midnight and 6am. I ended up holding her close to me and gently holding her snout to prevent her from barking up a storm. Needless to say, neither of us got much sleep.

And then we finally hit our great state. The mountains were greener, there were snow-capped mountains in the distance and the skies shined a gorgeous blue. Just two hours home and we would hit home.

But California was angry at us for leaving her and rained and rained and rained...It was not the wonderful weather that we had dreamed of for months. This video was taken on our way to Pasadena where we braved Colorado Boulevard for hours before watching "The Nutcracker". As I was recording the heavy rain, it turned into hail. 

Our drive back to our Texas home was absolutely horrible. I never want to do it ever again. Bella was lucky enough to be able to sleep through the long trip, but us humans were forced to stay awake...okay, so I fell asleep a couple of times. We survive through bottles of water, fast food lunches and dinners, and a couple of audio books. Kira Kira got us through Arizona. Thanks, Mimi!

While The Hubby drove us all the way from one home to the next, Bella and I took a bazillion pictures. I have to say that having Bella with us was wonderful because she became a source of entertainment.

As we listened to the book version of The Princess Bride, we found ourselves back in Texas with still about ten hours left until reaching Fort Hood. This is a massive state. I love how the sign says, "Welcome to Texas. Drive friendly--the Texas way". Some of the worst drivers we have ever seen have been here. Californians get a bad rep for nothing!

We will be busy bees here until next Tuesday so posting will be light until then. Look forward to posts about our guest room, more holiday recaps, and Bella at the beach.

*Paper elements from Pugly Pixel

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Kiddo's Future Halloween Costume

via  Pinterest


This commercial reminds me that I really need to update our GPS to get us around this middle-of-nowhere town.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wherever I Am With You

If only The Hubby had musical talent. And if we had an adorable daughter.

found via Petite Mandoo

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Battalion Ball

Hi everyone! Sorry for the lack of new posts lately. We have been extremely busy here in Texas after coming back home last Wednesday evening from a great vacation in California. The Hubby's family is making the trek here to visit us before his deployment and we have been running around getting the house ready. 

More on that later, but for now I wanted to share a few pictures from our first brigade pre-deployment ball last Friday night.

On the morning of the ball, I tried on four different dresses from past West Point hops that I had brought with us from back home. And amazingly, the one that fit the best was one of my all-time favorites. It was the blue strapless dress that I wore for The Hubby's senior prom and Plebe Parent Weekend. The dress hugged my curves just right and I actually looked better in it than before. I was incredibly excited, but then disaster struck.

Two hours before the ball, I went to get out wrinkles from the dress and I found some strange discoloration that magically appeared. The marks were not there the very same morning. I have no idea what happened, and I went into panic mode. I ran around screaming in my underwear, "What am I going to do?!"

In the end, I wore this pink number that was ridiculously wrinkled despite my efforts of ironing with a cheap $10 iron from Target. Thank you, Spankx like underwear for keeping me sucked in! All the other women had professional hair and makeup while I did it all in thirty minutes or so. Plus, my dress was long enough so that I didn't bother shaving my legs. TMI?

The theme of the gala was "Keep the Fire Burning". They were trying to emphasize the importance of the support from the family members back home during deployment.

Along with the regular speeches and toasts was the making of the Grog. Basically, soldiers poured a bunch of alcohol into a large punch bowl. Each type of alcohol corresponded with a part of history and had some significance. For example, bottles of sake for WWII and vodka for the Cold War. The concoction sounded revolting, but mixed in with regular fruit punch, I was told that it tasted like Kool-Aid.

I was tossed into this picture and the horrible stetson was placed on my head at the last second. And although  our friend on the left may seem like the third wheel in this picture, I had to compete against him for The Hubby's attention back in Georgia. These two were inseparable!

We left as soon as we could. Before changing out of our fancy clothing, we took one last picture with the timer on our camera so that I could get a full length shot.

I'm not sure if I will get a chance to post much in these next couple of weeks, but keep checking back! I miss blogging...

Friday, January 7, 2011


Bella likes to go into her crate and sleep. Yesterday, she was in it for most of the day and she is actually in it right now. 

Dogs are known to be den animals, and they appreciate having a place to go that they feel is safe and secure.

But then why does she still continue to break out and tear apart anything she possibly can? We've tried tying the gate and even looped a carabiner to lock it, but she still managed to get out of her cage. After the first time, we thought that I had just locked the cage improperly, but now she always greets us at the door every time.

Before leaving the house, we close all the doors so that if she urinates it won't be on carpet. I put the kitchen trash can on the counter. I remove any plastic bags from sight because she now correlates plastic to food. I didn't think I had to hide the Duraflame log by the fireplace.

Luckily, the log is not toxic when consumed. She threw it all up the next day and was good as new. As you can see by the picture, she was gnawing on it like a bone.

I think she breaks out like this dog in the video below, although I am sure that she is far less calm about it. I just hope she doesn't hurt herself in her quest to be free. Does she think that she can catch up with us or something?

Edit: I think we have finally come up with a proper solution. I remembered that my husband has a weird obsession with locks. The seven locks below were found as I was going through his boxes when we first moved into this home in June. I'm not sure what he ever needed to be stored under lock and key, but at least there was one that does the trick for our situation. Let's just hope we never misplace the key!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mom or Wife?

The topic of comparing myself to my husband’s mom is slightly repulsive. It’s not because I do not like my mother-in-law. She’s a wonderful woman, really. It’s the fact that I often act like a parent to my husband that is disturbing.
I grew up living with my mother and grandmother, and they were master naggers. Even until the day I got married they insisted on having an opinion on when and what I ate, when I slept, how I dressed, what I watched on television, how long my hair should be, and even the friends I chose to spend time with. All of this has been unconsciously passed onto me, and I’m sure my poor future daughter will inherit this, too.
This epiphany occurred one frosty evening when I woke up and found my husband next to me completely curled up in a fetal position, shivering. Natural instinct told me to cover him up with the comforter and spoon him back into a comfortable warm state. You see, he insists on sleeping au naturel with just a sheet for warmth. He always complains of overheating as he falls asleep, but in the middle of the night, the cold weather finally catches up with him. But what kind of grown man is incapable of realising the need to cover himself up when he is freezing?

My mind started racing as I listed all the things that I do for him that is considered to be motherly. I assure that he has clean clothes to wear and tell him to make sure to bring his jacket when we go out in case it’s chilly outside. I prepare his lunches and dinners for him. It makes me cringe when I shout, “Dinner’s ready!” and he doesn’t come running right away. This was always a pet peeve for my grandmother. On weekends, we have special waffle breakfasts and I let him mix in any special toppings he’s craving—usually some kind of chocolate.

I have never been an expert at knowing how much pasta to cook for the both of us. Typically, I am short a few forkfuls and neither one of us is full. One time I was dividing a batch of spaghetti between two bowls and realised that I only made enough for one person. Again, instinct kicked in and I poured my share into his bowl. I was willing to sacrifice my dinner for him, which is something I know my mother would do.

I’m not sure why I never saw the connection between being a mother and being a wife until now, but I welcome it now. I just see it as good practice for when our children come along in later years. But I do know one thing. You won’t find me kissing his cute little toes or tickling his belly button.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Life


And blogging...

Post #250 proves this.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Facial Timeline

This is such an amazing idea. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a visual timeline of how you all age and grow together as a family?

Bella would be included, of course.

Found via Pinterest

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On Repeat: Throwback!

Oldies, but goodies. No shame, baby!