Tuesday, November 30, 2010

All Set and Ready to Go...

There are a few additions to my Christmas prep that I've added the past few years. Sometimes it's music, sometimes a funny holiday t-shirt and sometimes it's just a scent that reminds me of Christmases from the past.

I just discovered the wonderfulness that is Diana Krall singing Christmas songs the other day on iTunes and I am hooked. She gives such a retro vibe to her songs that I love.

We can't have a real Christmas tree in this house because Sean is allergic. It was the same way in my family growing up because my brother was allergic. So, to get the lovely pine needle smell that I love, I buy Yankee Candles Christmas Wreath scent. It's heavenly!

I'm a fan of all things Christmas Vacation themed and while browsing Ebay the other day I found some awesome t-shirts from the movie.

Any new Christmas or holiday items you've added the last couple of years?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Weekend in Pictures

There was lots of baking...

And turkey...

Time with my two favorite boys...

The first snow of the year...


Admiring the final product!

Hope you had a fab holiday weekend!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Advent Ideas

I grew up watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation every year. Every year I wanted an advent house like they had on the movie and I could never find one.

A few years ago I found out that someone was selling them on the web. They are AMAZING and beautiful and perfect, but they're also super expensive. They are $1000 for the house. Granted, they are well constructed and even have brick and mortar, but still quite pricey. One of these days I'll save up and buy one and treat it as a family heirloom.

Here's a picture of the house:

While I'm on the topic of advent, I wanted to share with you the advent list I found on Katherine Marie's blog. It's a random acts of kindness advent list for Christmas and I was blown away when I read it. What a wonderful idea! If you're curious as to what is on the list, click here to read it.

Hope you all enjoyed Black Friday! I did nothing but put up our tree as Italy obviously doesn't even know Black Friday exists or what it is and it was snowing. First snow of the year for us!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Castello di Bardi

Last weekend I took a trip sponsored by Outdoor Rec here on post. I usually love taking trips with Outdoor Rec because they are normally cheap, you get to see someplace you might not normally go and you don't have to worry about travel.

However, this was probably the worst trip I've ever taken. For starters, I get carsick when a road has switchbacks. One particular road we traveled on for an hour had switchback after switchback. Then the little girl in front of me got carsick and puked in her seat. Being nauseous already and then smelling vomit almost did me in. Because of a detour on the autostrada, the trip took about twice as long as it should have, putting us at our first location, Castello di Bardi about an hour and a half late.

We had a guided tour of Castello di Bardi and it was very informative. The castle had an amazing view of the surrounding valley and it was interesting to see the torture devices they used to use, although somewhat unpleasant to imagine them actually being used.

A view of the top of the castle

Inside the castle courtyard

A view to the side of the castle. Isn't the valley below pretty?

I love the zig-zag road through the valley. Even though I don't think I'd like traveling on it!

The town below

A tranquil scene within the castle

The castle was full of spooky little corners like this

I thought this church was the prettiest part of the town

This way to the castle

Horse meat for sale! I haven't been adventurous enough to try it.

This was a first for me in Italy. They drank this wine out of what we originally thought were soup bowls. I've never seen that before. It was delish wine though! We were all starving since we got done with our tour too late to eat lunch. Thankfully we found an enoteca in the next location we visited that agreed to serve us dinner. They whipped up plates of meats, cheeses and some tortellini with spinach and mushrooms. Very fresh and very delicious.

Isn't this wedding dress gorgeous? I happend to spy it on my way back to the bus.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Very Cool Gift Idea

So, in reference to yesterday's question, let me just say that I completely agree with all of you that chimed in and said you find it disgusting. Let me tell you though that on the forum where this was debated, that there was actually one or two ladies that said, "I change my child at the table regularly and if you have a problem with me doing it, then you can leave the restaurant." Can you believe that?

Anyway, I was browsing on Etsy today and I ran across this awesome shop that sells spices for dips, popcorn, tea, Indian food and Asian food.

Above is a picture of the dip seasonings, the flavors are:

1)French Onion
2)Chili Con Queso
3)Crab Dip
4)Sweatin' Bullets
5)Dill and Spice
7)Jalapeno Spinach
8)Lime Cilantro

Maybe it's just the foodie in me, but I think this would be an awesome present to get. The popcorn spices look just as tasty.

The Etsy shop is called SpiceSpiceBaby, click here for a link.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Question of the Day

Another question yet again inspired by a debate on a forum I'm part of.

Changing a child's diaper at the table in an eating establishment.

Appropriate in certain circumstances? Unhygenic? Disrespectful to other diners?


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas Cards

If you're thinking I'm going to be blogging about Shutterfly's Christmas cards, fear not! Because I'm not blogging about them, I'm a Snapfish girl and that's who I ordered my cards from, so I won't even be mentioning Shutterfly.

The other night Sean, Boomer and I took our pictures for our first photo Christmas card. Our orginal plans were to go take the picture in front of a local villa, but with the constant deluge of rain we've gotten almost everyday for the past 2 months, that wasn't possible. Instead I rummaged around in my Christmas decorations, found a few things I could use as a background, set-up the tripod and took a few pics.

I LOVED how our pictures turned out. I think what really makes them is Boomer. His little face is hilarious! Also entertaining is Sean in a Santa hat. Sean HATES pictures, so for him to go along with this idea AND wear a Santa hat is monumental.

I'm not going to be showing our Christmas card on here, as I want those who are receiving it to be surprised, but I will show you a couple of pictures from the other night.

Sean told me I couldn't put these pictures on Facebook, but he never said anything about not putting them on my blog...

Boomers face in this picture makes me laugh so hard. He looks so disturbed about what is going on.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Have You Seen This?

Last week I was browsing around Twitter and came across this hilarious and incredibly awkward video on YouTube.

I did a little research on the kid behind the video, evidently he's appeared on Chelsea Lately and she hooked him up with a visit from 50 Cent on one of this YouTube videos.

I think the kid is hilarious, but once I watch it I can't get it out of my head!

My good friend Dana also shared this video of Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen singing "Whip My Hair"

I like it much better than the original version!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Whirlwind Tour

As I've mentioned before, Sean and I are not getting leave during Christmas this year and are instead taking our leave in February. We've decided to do a whirlwind tour of Europe since Sean hasn't had the opportunity to see as many places as I have.

I've already been checking airfares and have the schedule and flight details nailed down. I've also got almost all our hotel accomodations decided upon, I just need to book them once we receive final word that our leave dates are approved.

So where are we going on this whirlwind tour?

Sicily (Palermo and hopefully other parts of the island)

We were trying to sneak Lisbon in there, but the flights just weren't working out.

So if you have any recommendations on any of these fine cities, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Interesting Day

First of all I'd like to bring to your attention the fact that a Sal Giunta, a solider from the 173rd Brigade is being awarded the Medal of Honor today in Washington D.C. We weren't here for the last deployment, but I've heard a lot about the courageous actions of Sal. Click here for an article.

Secondly, I was offered my old position at the USO today. I have mixed feelings about it. I wouldn't mind working there again because I enjoyed it(when I had a good boss) and I liked the extra money, but I only have a year left in Europe and I'd like to see as much as possible, without having to worry about work. Also, the job caused a few issues with Sean and I, so I'm not really sure it would be good to go back to it. I told the new manager (who is a good friend) that I'd think about it, but I wasn't sure I'd take it and quite honestly I'm not even sure USO Europe would hire me back after I quit without two weeks notice. For a little background on that whole story, click here. So, I guess we'll see where this goes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What's Cooking: Thanksgiving

With next week bringing Thanksgiving, I was wondering what all of you out there will be preparing for Thanksgiving.

Here is my list, a mix of some family recipes and Pioneer Woman recipes.

Turkey (marinated and injected with Tony Chachere's butter and jalapeno mix)
Mashed Potatoes
Hot Corn Casserole
Potato Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Spinach Dip
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie

Any favorites or new recipes you're making this year?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Winter Must Have

I'm a huge fan of Old Navy PJ pants, especially the flannel holiday pants. I've gotten a pair for myself every year for probably the last five years to wear on Christmas Day and afterwards.

This is my pick for this year:

In case you can't tell they have little Santa faces on them. Love it!

Now I just need to get some warm houseshoes for these ridiculously cold tile floors...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Snapshot Saturday

I went to a homecoming ceremony today. Almost everyone is home, almost.

Friday, November 12, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

Join in over at Wife of a Sailor!

1.Were you named after anyone?
Nope. My parents couldn't decide between the names Melissa and Vanessa and finally agreed on Melissa.

2.What color, if any, are your toenails usually painted?
During the summer it's usually pink. In the winter it's usually red or dark red.

3.How do you flush a public toilet? Hands? Feet? Something else?
With my hand. In Europe, using any other part of your body really isn't an option.

4.When you were a little kid, which TV character did you have a crush on?
Anyone remember the show Teen Angel? I had a crush on the guy who played the angel. I also was a fan of Sam on Cheers.

5.Let’s say you had to lose one of your five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell). Which one would you choose? Why?
I've actually given this a lot of thought, I'm going with hearing. Sight is way too important and I am very big on smells and taste. So hearing it is!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Question of the Day

Before I get to the question, I just want to say thank you to all veterans out there past and present. I really appreciate your service!

So now to the question, How much is too much information on Facebook, Twitter or your blog?

I ask, because there's been a few things that have come up lately and it made me wonder what some people are thinking when they put it all out there.

Ex 1: Several Facebook friends of mine and Sean, have called to attention the fact their spouse was having an affair and who they were having it with.

Ex 2: Blogs (although I know a blog is a bit more personal) putting out details like the status of the blogger's monthly cycle (no it was not a health/fertility blog) or people blogging detailed pictures/descriptions of their surgeries.

Does too much information turn you off? What is too much information to you? If you encounter blogs or Facebook friends who blog about things like the above, what do you do? Simply ignore or do you say anything?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Few Items of Interest

1. I spoke too soon about the sedative not working on Boomer yesterday. It kicked in five hours after I gave it to him and scared me because I had no idea it would affect him that much later. Needless to say I called Sean crying and hysterical because I was afraid Boomer was having some sort of reaction. Not my best moment.

2. One of my favorite swaps is currently going on. I'm not usually a fan of doing swaps, but The Mrs. over at Trying Our Best is hosting her 2nd annual ornament swap and I'm jazzed about it. I participated last year and had such fun.

Click here to check it out!

3. The annual Army MWR Photography Contest deadline for submitting photographs is November 30th. I've entered the last couple of years and even though I haven't been one of the top winners, it's still fun to see how well your photographs do. You do need an AKO address to submit your pictures, so if you don't have one yet, then make sure you sign up for one. The link to the info page is here.

4. Last, but not least, I ran across this handy Thanksgiving planning list while surfing online today. It has a calendar, shopping list, baking planner and guest list, plus several more downloadable items. Take a look here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh the Joy of Being a Dog Owner

As some of you know, I have an extremely funny, smart and naughty Min-Pin named Boomer.

Today he was due to the vet to get his nails clipped. If you've heard my stories about past vet experiences, then you know how much of an ordeal it is to get his nails clipped.

To put it mildly, he freaks out. I'm talking legs and head thrashing, whining and snapping at people. He now has to wear a muzzle and the vet visit was so bad last time that they gave me a sedative to give him before his next visit.

Usually I get injured in the line of duty. I've had bruises on my chin from Boomer throwing his head up, scratches on my arm that they had to treat at the vet office and today I got my nose hit by Boomer's thrashing head.

Boomer is usually a delight, until you get him in the vet office. He always fools the vet techs before he goes in because he's so calm and cuddly looking. Then he turns into a little demon Min-Pin. This time was no exception, he was a little bit better, but the sedative did NOTHING.

I'm just glad it's over and it will be a couple more months before we have to repeat this ritual.