Friday Foodie: My Favorite Salad

This is a wonderful summer salad!

  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • baby cucumbers, sliced
  • red onion, sliced really thin
  • feta cheese crumbles
  • rice vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste.
I did not put amounts because I do equal amount of tomatoes and cukes, a small amount of onion, then add rice vinegar like dressing. So, if you're making it for a crowd you'd make a lot more. Then I top with feta cheese when I plate it. If you can find the garlic infused rice vinegar, that is really yummy, too. Enjoy!


Wake me when we get there

Click on photo for credit and also a great post (in Italiano)
about Astana, Kazakhstan.
I read this post entitled Bruising Seasons at just the right moment. As we are preparing to once again jet-set off to a foreign land, my heart is heavy. My husband's new career may seem like a glamorous one but it isn't all travel to exotic land and pretending we are always on vacation. Many of the places may be wonderful to visit but difficult to live in for any length of time.
This summer we are moving to a country that people have only heard of because of a goofy movie called Borat. The information about where we are moving is limited but we are talking with people that are there currently. Learning a new language is okay, if you've been exposed to it since watching Sesame Street, like Spanish. Russian is scary. It sounds scary and it looks scary.
{Most} People do not join the missions field or the military or the foreign service to get away from their family and friends. They join because they are called by God to live a different kind of life. Not better just different. We know what it feels like to be gone and miss the important things, like weddings and new babies and funerals. We know what it feels  like to be left out because they know we can't just fly in for the weekend. We know what it feels like to wave goodbye at the airport for the ump-teenth time. We have birthdays and Christmases that last a month because of all the packages and mail delays. We feel the ache in our chests when we think that this could be the last time we see a special someone. Friends' children, niece (because there is only one) and nephews grow up so fast. And shopping in a store where you can read the labels. And leaving yet another a church family that just got to know you. I won't even talk about missing the food, oh, the food.
When my husband decided to leave the military I got very excited. I thought we could buy a house and settle down somewhere beautiful and live in the trees. I could homeschool and we could plant fruit trees and build a chicken coop. For me, that is dreamy. God has a different plan for our lives. It doesn't mean I'll never get my dream house with a chicken coop. It means that God has something bigger for us... Right now. So, I will sit up straighter. I will wipe my eyes. I will pack up my warm (rated at -40 degrees fahrenheit) fuzzy boots. And we will move wherever God wants us. Because I know His plan is greater than mine. I will not fear. I will not be anxious. I will be in the Lord and lean on Him. There is no other way.
Don't get me wrong. I don't want to sound all Negative-Nelly about our next adventure. I am excited and I know we are so blessed to even get the opportunity. I would not be happier to do it with anyone else. I have the best husband that God could ever create just for me. I just want people to know that it isn't easy to say goodbye to the life you've known and jump into a different culture. And it sure isn't easy to leave your friends and family. I am really overwhelmed right now by all that needs to be done. Thinking about the short time we have left before we pack out again... I just unpacked the last box from our last international move. Wake me up when we get there.


Friday Foodie: Hashbrown Casserole

Hashbrown Casserole
  • 10 Eggs
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese (I use lo-fat), softened 
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 (+) cups of cheese (I use the colby mix)
  • frozen hashbrowns
  • 1 pound of bacon (I use nitrate free, uncured pork)
  • salt and pepper
  • hot sauce is optional but super yummy!
Preheat oven to 375 and spray or grease a 9x13 baking dish. 
Right now, lay out the bacon on a foil covered jelly roll (cookie sheet with an edge) and place bacon in the oven to cook while you prep the rest. You want bacon to get a little crispy but not burn it, so watch it closely. When it is done (you don't have to wait to put eggs in the oven), remove the bacon and place on paper towels to absorb bacon grease. Do it twice if you have to. Then chop it up into smaller pieces. Save to put on top.
In the blender, combine eggs, garlic, cream cheese, 1/2 of the cheese, and salt & pepper. Blend until mixed well. Pour mixture into 9x13 baking dish. Add frozen hashbrowns, enough so that there is about 1-1.5 inches above the egg mixture to allow for a little rising. I also recommend cooking it on a cookie sheet, just in case. It takes about an hour to bake and a knife of toothpick should come out clean when it is done. Make sure you do it in the center to make sure it is all done.
When egg mixture is done, top with bacon and the rest of the cheese. Put it back in the oven until the cheese it all melted. Serve with hot sauce and even some sour cream if you want to. This is great with a fruit salad for dinner, too! 


What we've been up to...

We did not get kicked out of Target! can you believe it?
Mother's Day dinner at The Melting Pot! It was fabulous!
Joshua trying on suits.
We went to the outlets and they really liked this "monster truck".
We found a great park nearby Dad's training, so when we pick him up we go early and play.

GI Joe... Again, not getting kicked out of Target.
And Captain America. Maybe Target knows how much I spend there and will let us do
whatever we want to because of that???
Shocker! Schoolwork! 
And some more... Proof that we are not all fun and games around here.


Hershey, Pennsylvania

We decided to take a day trip to Hershey, PA. It was so much fun! We did not go to Hershey Park to ride any coasters. We did the tour (which is free!) and made our own candy bars and watched the 4-D movie. It was perfect! We had dinner there and the food was really yummy. Real food, made by real hands. Not the typical food at amusement parks. All the people were so friendly! I highly recommend Hershey!
Perfect ending to a perfect day!

All the flowers are cake!


Avon Walk DC

 I'm a little late in my post here but I know you were dying to know how the walk went.
It was an overcast and early morning! 
Sandra and I, bright and early!
For the next generation of survivors!
My finishing point for day 1.
Day 1, I completed half the walk... 13.1 miles. That is a long way, FYI!
The main stage. We started and finished here. It was awe inspiring.
$4,500,000 was raised in Washington, DC. They gave grants and donations to a lot of great local charities, organization, and research foundations. It was amazing to see the money at work and hear survivors speak.
So many people walking! Men and women of all ages. (That is the Washington Monument under repair behind them.)
The amazing Youth Crew that cheered us on throughout the walk!
The SURVIVORS! including my friend Sandra!
My bandaged toes. 
We lived to tell.
 Sandra completed day one... ALL TWENTY-SIX miles by the time I got to lunch at 13.1 miles! She flew and finished while I was riding the bus to the finish on the second day. I had blisters and one that was really bad and had to be lanced by one of the fantastic Johns Hopkins nurses that took care of us. So I only finished about 3 miles the second day. If I was going to be in the States next year I would do it again but start training now! What an amazing experience! Get a mammogram and if you can't afford it reach out and find an organization to help you get one! Don't wait!

This is my amazingly supportive husband!
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A Quick Recap

I have not been blogging nearly as much as I'd like. I really need to set aside time for me to be creative and also right more intentional posts here. Pray for me, would ya? Thanks!
Nikolas working on phonics and reading.
Joshua's tangram man.
A trip to the National Children's Museum.
Joshua finished "Stink", his first big boy book!
Joshua's reading workbook.
Joshua's math workbook.
Joshua's journal. I asked him to draw one thing he'd like to be when he is grown up. 
Seems like I need some more pictures of Nikolas. I'll get on that!