Friday, November 30, 2012

The Story of a Fluke

Hello! My name is Nicole. Welcome to my blog. Did you stop by from Pinterest or the Today Show? You did? Then you are probably looking for this.


Her name is Kirsty. She blogs at http://luciakjewelry.blogspot.com/ AND she has amazing style. I could pin all her outfits. I do pin many of her outfits on my Pinterest Style board. (You can follow my style board HERE.) Kirsty also creates beautiful jewelry. And she is so humble. How do I know this? Because she came here to thank me for the pin. This pin. The pin that landed her on the Today Show Style pinboard. Next to Kate Middleton may I add. I love the traffic the pin has created for my little military-spouse-mommy blog. However, my good conscience could not continue without a little re-direction for others looking for some great style ideas.

For those, sticking around let me share the condensed version of this little fluke.

Once upon a time (in October), I linked up to What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy. I read through hundreds of posts and came across the above pic. I don't pin much from personal fashion blogs but this one I wanted to replicate. There is no denying it's a great look. I could totally pull this off. You could pull this off. Kirsty will probably do it best. It is a classic comfy style. Weeks later, I linked up for Oh How Pinteresting with The Vintage Apple. I blogged a Preparatory Thanksgiving post. Great food, great atmosphere, and great fashion (i.e photo above). If you want to read Preparing for Thanksgiving {Pinterest Style}, then click HERE.

And after the blog post, the picture went viral. Obviously. Thank you Pinterest. You are the love of my life when my husband is deployed. Thank you Today Show Style pinner for inadvertently exposing this gal and her blog to the world. It has added a joy to an otherwise challenging week. And doesn't that keep everything in perspective?

My friends, that is the story of a fluke. Just a girl who loves Pinterest with some time on her hands.

Nicole

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Back to December (Pinterest Style}

December is almost here. Can you  believe it? Another year is about to be crossed off the calendar. I feel like my mind has been all over the place this week. This Pinterest post will give you some indication of the ramblings in my mind.

As we head into the last month of the year, I've got hot chocolate on the mind. Chocolate tends to consume my thoughts majority of the time. Last night I gave into my temptation and made this recipe. It's simple and so yummy. So much for the first day of my "healthier lifestyle". It was only one cup.

From Allrecipes.com pinned by Me here


Speaking of healthier lifestyles, I am pinning lots of workouts lately. Easy stuff I can do at home. I have three kids, remember? My plans of going to the gym can quickly be derailed. I'm trying to set myself up for success. Here is the workout I have on my fridge right now. When I'm in the kitchen I will pick one or two things off the list to do. An hour later, I choose a couple more.

Pinned from here by Me here

Why the change in mindset all the sudden? Do I like to set myself up for failure? With the holidays lurking, I am sure there are a few challenges coming my way. But mostly, I've been thinking about deployment homecoming. It's a really long time from now. However, starting to plan gives me something to look forward to. This homecoming will be different from the others. Of course, I can't share the details because of OPSEC. Acronyms ruin everything! Just kidding. Ok, so not kidding!

Keep watching the 'Homecoming' board on Pinterest. Right now I'm thinking homecoming dresses. Wrong season to be looking for outfits but a dress is a dress in my opinion. Here are some of my most recent finds.

Pinned from Bloomingdale's to here
Pinned from Nordstrom to Here

Pinned from Banana Republic to Here
If I go with the black dress, then it's getting hemmed. Just putting that out there! But chances are I will change my mind a hundred times before he returns. I think it's part of the fun. 



Nicole


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Nights Are Long


Deployment sucks.

There is just no way around it. I honestly thought after a successful Thanksgiving, the kids and I were golden. There was no stopping us. We had this deployment in the bag.

ERRT! No way! The feeling of mastery is a kiss of death. To feelings of accomplishment at least.

When will I ever learn?!?

My husband finally called us last night. The phone call was overdue. The boys have been asking a lot of questions recently. “When will dad be able to call?” “When can [they] FaceTime with him?” They miss him. After a quick hello, I handed the phone over to Ky. She talked for a few minutes and handed the phone to Zac. He talked for a few minutes and then they were disconnected.

I understand the ways of the boat. Unfortunately, the kids do not. After all three were tucked snuggly in bed, the crying began. First one, then another. I would get one calmed down and the next would start. And then back around again.  Not a thing I could do to console them. *sigh* This is the hardest part. 

I am no stranger to deployment. I have done deployments pregnant, with babies, and with preschoolers. Those days were physically exhausting. I completely empathize with those going through it right now. It is tough. Don’t discredit your situation.

What I didn’t know is deployment doesn’t get easier as your kids get older. Every day I feel I am navigating a mine field of emotion. I am more mentally/emotionally exhausted than previous deployments. What works for one, doesn’t work for the other. One needs a goal oriented check list, the other a current events lesson, and my oldest takes a hug and some jokes. I’m a jack of all trades. Master of none.

This is a tough gig. 


Nicole

Monday, November 26, 2012

I {heart} You Pokemon Style


"I {heart} You" spelled out in Pokeman cards.
Is there any sweeter act of love?

Nicole




Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gratitude Journal



This week's gratitude journal is a hodge podge of thankfulness. Looking back on our first major holiday without my husband, I feel blessed. I was worried the day would be a total bust. We fared pretty well. The kids and I added a few fun things to our Thanksgiving. Things we wouldn't have done with my husband here. And it will probably be a good memory to look back on.

I AM GRATEFUL...

...for another trip to Knott's Berry Farm.

... for a little positive peer pressure to encourage bravery and independence in the boys.

... my son overcame his fear of roller coasters. My husband will be so pleased.

... for a nice Thanksgiving.

... for some great pictures of the kids on Thanksgiving.

...my husband's mood was boosted by receiving those pictures.

... for our time with my husband's family on Thanksgiving.

... a weekend chilling with the kids.

... for time to work on a new hobby.

... for phone calls from "home".

... for Grandmas who shop Black Friday!

Join me at Sunday Gratitude Link Up here.

Nicole

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sunday Gratitude Link Up #6


Welcome to the weekly Sunday Gratitude Linkup.



This is week 6 of the Sunday Gratitude Link Up. I hope you are linking up today to share your gratitude, thanksgiving, or reflection posts. For many months, I have been posting my gratitude journal every Sunday. I use a gratitude journal to keep me thinking more positive, especially when I'm not feeling so blessed. Recently, I began the Sunday Gratitude Linkup to invite other bloggers to do the same. I hope you will join me!

The Sunday Gratitude linkup has some devoted gratitude bloggers. Last week, I highlighted a blog from the previous linkup. This week I am highlighting Nichole at Just Some Jane. I have really enjoyed getting to know Nichole through her blog and gratitude posts. I feel she is the epitome of what gratitude journaling is all about. After experiencing some big life changes, she is finding joy in her everyday. She has such genuine joy radiating through her posts. Please stop by and say hello to Nichole!

If you are linking up today, then here are a few simple guidelines:

Post your 'gratitude post' URL, not your blog URL. Click on the title of your gratitude post, copy the URL from the address bar. Paste into the Inlinkz. 

Link back to this blog in your post. Grab the Sunday Gratitude button or use a text link. What is a text link? It's 'linking up here' kind of thing. This will help spread the word about the Sunday Gratitude Linkup and give others a chance to participate.

Read others gratitude posts, leave a comment, and encourage them to continue posting.

Let your gratitude overflow!
Nicole

Friday, November 23, 2012

InstaFriday: Thanksgiving Recap

Here we are on Black Friday. It's 1pm and I'm still in a sweatshirt and yoga pants. I think it's going to be one of those days. The kids and I just ate our Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch. We have a Christmas movie on. And my first holiday read is close by. This is how we do Black Friday folks!

Thanksgiving went well for us. We went to the Ranch House on Camp Pendleton late in the morning. I wanted to take some pictures of the kids to send to my husband. I noticed a few trees changing colors and losing their leaves. It seemed like a great backdrop for Thanksgiving pics.

I've mentioned the Ranch House before. I take the kids there from time to time so they can run around and climb trees. We went a little further around the grounds Thursday and found a stone ravine. My active boys spent a lot of time running back and forth jumping over the river.

"Take our picture mom!"
"Again!"
"One more time!"



After noon, we headed to church for the military luncheon. It was a full house. I love seeing the growth. Although, we were celebrating with my husband's family in the evening I wanted to be with others who were experiencing the same thing. The highlight for my kids is the craft room. Typically the kids go to craft while parents enjoy some quiet dinner time. I went with the kids and we spent a long time crafting.  Slowly families came trickling in and sitting together doing crafts. Pretty cool to see families enjoying some time together.


The boys were busy playing with toys. Ky and I made a Countdown to Christmas paper chain. We added daily tasks to each link to give us something fun to look forward to. Each day closer to Christmas will be exciting as we create small joys in the month of December. My goal is to keep refocusing our attention on the good and not dwell on the bad. I give myself a day or two but then I move on.

Thanksgiving ended with a family dinner at my husband's aunt's house. Grandma and Grandpa were there and everyone loved on the kids. Even Charlie got some extra lap time which he loves! It was nice to visit and spend time on Thanksgiving Day.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your family and/or friends. Have a great weekend!

Nicole

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Preparing for Thanksgiving (Pinterest Style)

I am devoting this week to all things Thanksgiving. Here is some effortless fodder to get you in the holiday spirit. Or me in the holiday spirit. Not quite sure who needs it more.

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? I'm getting there. I had a small panic attack last night at the commissary. Grocery store, for you civilian folks. Everyone had carts full of Thanksgiving fixings. Surrounded by all those turkeys, stuffing mixes, and potatoes, made me feel overwhelmed. Like I was missing something. 

I chose to carry on this week as if it were any other week. Thanksgiving has only been a thought in the back of my mind. The visual of last minute shoppers filling their carts clouded my mind all the way home. After unloading our groceries, I stood in the kitchen and burst into tears. Of course, the kids were there to watch. *sigh* I really don't like to do that to them. They were kind enough to initiate a group hug. I pulled it together and we are moving on. 

On Thursday, I will definitely be missing my husband and family in Iowa. I'm not sure why I talked myself out of those four plane tickets. Oh that's right, the $2K price tag. I knew something was making me think I could do this without them. However, the absence of tradition will not deter me. We will celebrate with my husband's family and have a traditional turkey dinner. The kids will see their (great) aunt & (great) uncle & great-grandma & great-grandpa. And the world will be right.

I haven't been totally ignoring the holiday. I pinned some Thanksgiving pics on Pinterest. Isn't pinning a form of celebration?!? And now I'm spreading the joy with you! I'm a true Thanksgiving ambassador.


Picture via The Winthrop Chronicles
I love a beautiful Thanksgiving table. This one looks like something you could pull off inexpensively. Especially if you live in a forest, right? Just kidding. I really do like this table decor. If I were hosting, I would totally go cut up a tree. And have my kids snag some branches. Pick some berries. Whatever it takes to make a table look "earthy".


Picture via Homebased Mom
Oh, and I would decorate my mantle? Because if you live in the forest, chances are you have a fireplace. I'm a fan of holiday themed mantle decor. In this photo mantle, I especially like the Thankful wall art. As many of you know, I'm a gratitude journal-er. In fact, I host a Sunday Gratitude linkup. There is always an open invitation for you to join me. I will never claim to be the happiest person but I'm definitely a happier and more thankful person.


Picture via Paula Deen.com


Iced Pumpkin Cookies
Food is the best part of Thanksgiving. Dinner is not complete without green bean casserole (Paula Deen's preferred). And something made with pumpkin...pie, bread, or even better, cookies!

Via Lucia K Jewelry Design
You must look cute, especially if you are celebrating with the in-laws. And be comfortable. Leave a little wiggle room for eating way too much carbs food. Unfortunately, I will not be wearing sweaters or long sleeves this year. But if I lived somewhere wonderful like, anywhere but the Southwest, I would wear something like this outfit.

Via Costco.com


And never forget the host/hostess gift. It's necessary. Even if it's for your mom. Have you ever opened your home to a crowd of people? Then you know the stress. Bring a bottle of Riesling (perfect match for turkey), a candle, or some chocolates. Something to say 'Thank you'. If you decide to skip the gift, then at least do the dishes!

Nicole
Linking up with Tell It To Me Tuesday.

Monday, November 19, 2012

An Alternate to Pumpkin Pie: Iced Pumpkin Cookies




Here is a repost of the super-yummy Iced Pumpkin Cookies. This recipe was originally posted 2 months ago as a pre-Welcome to Fall. If you are looking for an alternate to pumpkin pie, then look no further. These are fluffy and moist. And they freeze well. So make them today and put them in the freezer until Thursday.  One less thing to do on T-Day!

Ingredients

2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 c. canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
       
GLAZE

2 c. confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture. Mix until creamy. Next, mix in dry ingredients. Spoon cookie dough on cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with spoon.

To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 
teaspoon vanilla. Add more milk as needed, to achieve consistency.


Nicole

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gratitude Journal

It's Thanksgivng week. I'm not sure there is a better reminder in the calendar year to express our gratitude. The holiday is such a true reminder of the most important things in life. I like to think this week people are going to slow down before the hectic Christmas season begins and value family, blessings, and some really good food. I wish you all joy and thanksgiving this week!

I am grateful for Thanksgiving.

I am grateful we have the luxury of enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

I am grateful for my family's health. I feel blessed daily.

I am grateful for a safe place to live.

I am grateful for friends who invited us to their family celebrations on Thursday.

I am grateful for a trip to Knott's Berry Farm with friends. It will be a favorite memory for the kids. It was a great day!



I am grateful communication has been restored with my husband. It's spotty but we are able to email daily again.

I am grateful for the weather this week. Warm days, cool nights. The best combination!



I am grateful for Zac's note he secretly left by my computer. He has a great heart. It made my day.


Nicole

Sunday Gratitude Link Up #5

Welcome to the weekly Sunday Gratitude Linkup.

I hope you are linking up today to share your gratitude, thanksgiving, or reflection posts. For many months, I have been posting my gratitude journal every Sunday. I use a gratitude journal to keep me thinking more positive, especially when I'm not feeling so blessed. Recently, I began the Sunday Gratitude Linkup to invite other bloggers to do the same. I hope you will join me!


This week I have seen an influx of gratitude and thanksgiving posts on the blogs I read. I enjoy reading these posts so much. One list covered the whole gammut of things to be thankful for. Jesus and Spiced Pumpkin Lattes on the same list. My kind of girl! 

I love to visit each blog linking up with me for Sunday Gratitudes. I thought it would be nice to begin highlighting a blog from each prior week. This week I am choosing Kaye from This Everyday Life of Mine. She posts daily gratitude with pictures. I like to think Kaye and I would hit it off if we ever met. She is a military wife of a retired Navy guy. She has three sons who she obviously adores and she loves to sew. She also has the most scenic walking route I have every seen.  Please stop by and say hello to Kaye!

With that, let's get started!
  
Here are a few simple guidelines to keep true to the Gratitude Linkup:

Post your 'gratitude post' URL, not your blog URL. Click on the title of your gratitude post, copy the URL from the address bar. Paste into the Inlinkz. 

Link back to this blog in your post. Grab the Sunday Gratitude button or use a text link. What is a text link? It's 'linking up here' kind of thing. This will help spread the word about the Sunday Gratitude Linkup and give others a chance to participate.

Read others gratitude posts, leave a comment, and encourage them to continue posting.

Let your gratitude overflow!

Nicole

An Unexpected Note

Parenting is a thankless job. I hear it often enough. 
Not from anyone in particular, people just say it.
 In the throes of deployment, I feel it some days.
There is a lot of giving on my part and not a lot of thanks.
It's surprising how much you miss encouragement and support
when the husband is away, especially in the parenting department.
(I imagine single parents feel it every day. I empathize greatly.)


Zac left me this note yesterday. Totally unexpected.
It made my day. Not because I got a 'high five' in the parenting department.
Ok, maybe it was. But it reminded me parenting is NOT always a thankless job.
They recognize what we do for them. They just don't express it. 
Most of all, it makes them feel loved and that is the greatest thing you can do for your child.
Really.


Nicole




Friday, November 16, 2012

Confessional (Insta)Friday: Pre-Thanksgiving

Time to share phone pics and "secrets"!  It's Confessional (Insta)Friday: Pre-Thanksgiving edition.

I confess...fun mom struck again. We went to Knott's Berry Farm with our friends to celebrate Veteran's Day. It was fun. Kids had a blast. We were especially fun parents because we let our kids ride the river raft multiple times after dark. No hypothermia here.  Our phones reassured us it was 77 degrees outside. It was SO NOT 77 degrees outside. 


I confess...today is my last day of freedom for the next 10 days. Kids are on school break. Let the bickering begin!

I confess...I only realized two short days ago that Thanksgiving is next week. A little spacey? I think so.

I confess...I'm nowhere near prepared for TDay. But I'm always prepared for the Green Bean Casserole! I bought my ingredients the first of November. Double batch!

I confess...I love Thanksgiving. It ties Easter as my favorite holiday. But this year, I'm just not feeling it. I'm ready to jump to Christmas. Christmas books, Christmas movies, hot cocoa, cookies, decor, music. Must I stop???


I confess...I went THERE aka Target, again. Can we just have a mutual understanding that I like Target. My husband is not home. And I will go there often. I'm not hurting anyone! Just an innocent perusing of the aisles. No big.




I confess...while walking my dog this week I took notice of all the American flags flying on my street. At least four in this picture. It warms my heart.

I confess...sometimes I'm a total cheeseball. I love family and patriotism and nature and holiday fun. All these things bring out my sappy side. I will stop and take a picture of American flags on a street. Just because I think it is so cool people do that.


I confess...I went to my favorite restaurant for lunch on a whim. Which means I ate alone and I'm ok with that. I didn't have to share my chips and salsa. Always a good thing!

I confess...I'm promoting Jen's Holiday Baking giveaway over at The Adventures of Our Army Life. Right now. Why?!? Because that is what blogging is all about: connecting and sharing. Jen is the one of the most encouraging & consistent blog commenters I know. She just makes me smile. And I think if you entered her giveaway it would make her smile. Just sayin'.

I confess...next week I'm going to be in a serious holly jolly mood. Be prepared! 


Nicole
Linking up with Leslie over at A Blonde Ambition. I confess she is a funny gal who always makes me smile.

Jeannett from Life Rearranged who has the best heart in the blogsphere. Creative and encouraging. I confess she always makes me want to be a better person.

And Jane from Taingamala. A military wife currently living in Hawaii. I confess I cannot read her blog without always hoping we can swap duty stations. Plus she has a very cool giveaway for a gift card to ModCloth this week. You can go enter HERE.