About Me

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I am an Air Force wife and mother of three precious gifts from God. I enjoy learning at home with my children, and the many adventures this life sends our way. So stop by often to visit, and check out what the Five Nomads are up to.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another day, another salad recipe.

Southwestern Inspired Pork Salad

Lettuce (romaine, ice berg, whatever suits your fancy)
Tomatoes (again whatever type you have, just sliced or diced)
Avocado sliced
Red Onion
1 Jar Salsa
1 Can Corn, rinsed and drained
1 Can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
Pork Tenderloin, about 2 lbs.
Fajita seasoning
Rinse pork and liberally season with the fajita seasoning. Either grill outdoors (usually about 20 minutes or so. I have to admit. . .I'm not a big griller, so I just use the oven), or bake @ 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes (I always just use my meat thermometer to make sure it is done).
While the pork is cooking, make the "dressing". It really isn't a dressing, but does the trick to make the salad moist and jell the flavors together. Basically mix the corn, black beans and salsa. Snip a little cilantro into the mix, stir and set aside. Now shred the lettuce, slice up the tomatoes, onions and avocado into the salad. When the pork is done, cut the meat into about 1/2 in. thick pieces.
To build the actual salad, put the lettuce mixture on your plate. Next comes the pork. Now top with the corn and black bean salsa mixture. (I like to build individual salads, so you can save the left overs for lunch the next day. I'm just not found left over salads. The lettuce gets too wilted for me once you put the dressing on top.) There you have it, Tami's version of the Southwestern Inspired Pork Salad.
Okay, now I've shared a couple of my favorite summer recipes. Jody Blue started this by blogging about a family favorite at her house, just click here to check it out. My challenge to all of you is this: either leave me a favorite recipe that is easy and quick for summer in the comments, or post it on your blog. If you post it on your blog, please leave me a note so I can stop by to check it out.
I can't wait for your recipes. Now don't be shy. Won't I feel foolish if no one plays along??? You have to admit, this is a clever way to cure my cooking blahs

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Salad

Short on time, or cooking utensils? Need to wow someone with a great salad? Then I have the recipe for you.

1 bag of prepackaged salad, the fancy field greens look really pretty, but any lettuce would work.
1/2 to 3/4 apple diced into bit sized pieces. I prefer the Fuji or another firm/tart apple.
1 clam shell of fresh strawberries, sliced.
Chopped pecans, I don't measure. I just sprinkle over the top until it looks like this. For the dressing I use the Brianna's Home Style Poppy Seed. (I like it because it has very basic ingredients, no high fructose corn syrup.) You could probably make your own, but remember this is the salad for the time or life crunch.

Isn't it pretty? It tastes even better than it looks!

This is roughly based off a salad from some restaurant in Tacoma. Our good friend Al mentioned how much his wife liked this type of salad, so this is what I came up with. I love that is it quick and easy, and I can make it in my primitive TLF kitchen here in Oklahoma. It is wonderful on these HOT Oklahoma days, very refreshing. You know, you could add some grilled chicken and call it a meal.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I've been a little crafty. . .

My friend Sheril inspired me to try my hand at this little kimono sweater, you can find the free pattern here. You know me, I couldn't stick to the pattern. I copied Sheril, who had used the multicolored cotton yarn for contrast. My friend loves this green for her little girls, but I thought it looked a bit too boyish. To make it a little more girly I simply added the crocheted flowers. I based the flowers off the Apple Blossom Pattern, which you can find here.
The original pattern is cute, the flowers were just bigger than I needed for this newborn sweater. I simply substituted double and single crochet stitches for the double treble and treble crochet. You can play around with the pattern to figure out what works best for the project you are working on.
Happy knitting & crocheting,

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Father's Love.

I'm sure my husband cannot be the only man like this. You know the type, the direct route kind of fellow. I have to admit, he humors me, and allows me my little exploring stops. BUT, it has to be along the route.

Enter Princess: Remember when I told you about the big ballet recital she is missing? I'll refresh your memory click here. Given that disappointment, I would tell Princess we needed to focus on the fun we would be having on our big adventurous summer. Being the trooper she is, Princess put on her thinking cap. She decided the one thing she wanted to do see was The Four Corners. You know the place where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet. The only problem, Four Corners was a couple hundred miles out of our way. Hence the title for my post.

Yes, my dear, Point A to Point B husband drove several hours out of our way just so Princess could experience this:
She was tickled to be sitting in all four states at one time.

Again it was a bit of a Griswald experience. This place is located within the Navejo Nation, so you drive quite some time on two lane roads, with a lot of nothing in between. You would see little homesteads along the road with lots of cars. I kept wondering , "what on earth do these people do to survive?" It is rocky, desert all around. There were very few places with any type of animals. The homes appeared modest, no frills, very primitive. The nearest town of any size for a gallon of milk could be 45 minutes away.
Okay back to the Griswald expereince of finding the Four Corners. You continue to drive along, and along, and along. . .you get the picture. Then all of a sudden there is a little sign on the side of the road announcing the Four Corners. You turn, go up a dirt road, stop and pay $3 a person to a girl sitting in a plywood hut, and viola you are at the Four Corners.

There is the monument you see in the picture with a small platform. Surrounding the area are some stands where people sell Native jewelry and other crafts. A couple of food vendors, and there you have it, The Four Corners. Oh, I forgot the very nice port-a-potties.

The sweetest thing is that although I have to say I was a little amused by the lack of grandeur, Princess was pleased as punch. We all took our turns standing in four states, then had a simple picnic lunch. I managed to peek at a few stands before we headed out. (The jewelry was beautiful, too bad I'm on a budget with all the things we need for our new house.)

I was so proud of my husband. It is the times like these my heart just melts with a deep and profound love for this man. He is a great husband, but I am awed by the blessing I have in being married to a man who is so dedicated to being a fabulous father. My children have no idea how fortunate they are, they know nothing else. This is how it has always been for them. Their father has always put them above all else. As they grow older, I know they too will better appreciate the man they call "Daddy!"

Happy Father's Day. We love you from here to the moon, and back!

Daddy and his kiddos at The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, NM. We stopped to show the them where he learned to SCUBA when he was in college. (Note, this was not off the travel route ;)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Visiting The Grand Canyon

Our kiddos promptly climbed up on the sign, leaving us alone on the ground. We didn't know how to pose without a bunch of children surrounding us. I laughed when I first saw this picture. We look a little lost without "the love" around us.

There it is, The Grand Canyon. After the great experience at Zion, I have to admit The Grand Canyon was a bit. . .hmm Griswaldish. You know the Chevy Chase Vacation movie? They drive forever, get out, look at the canyon. . .yep that's The Grand Canyon. Then get back in the car and drive away.

Don't get me wrong, it is beautiful and amazing. However, unless you have older children and time to go on a hiking or rafting adventure down into the canyon, it isn't as cool as climbing around the cliffs at Zion. The real difference is at Zion you are in the canyon, looking up. At The Grand Canyon you are at the top looking down. Both very beautiful, just different.

Here's a nerdy little tidbit. My husband calls me Cliffy (the mailman from Cheers) when I share these info bites. They call The Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon the Triple Staircase. The fossils and sediment you find at the top of The Grand Canyon you will find at the bottom of Zion. The stuff at the top of Zion, you will find at the bottom of Bryce Canyon. Isn't that interesting?

Speaking of interesting. . .Of course finding beetles and other bugs was far more exciting for my kiddos. They were quite disappointed that there were no snakes or lizards. I love that. After dinner we went back to enjoy the sunset. The previous days of hiking had tuckered poor Bubby out. He was so tired he slept through the whole experience. Which was actually okay. It may have been a bit much trying to keep him from stressing his big brother out. You see, The General has a little thing about heights. He calls it TERRIFIED. I'm not sure how we overlooked this in planning our perfect trip. Alas, it was an excellent opportunity for growth. Who says I'm not using that MSW?
Ahh, the sunset. You know when you are at a place that is just so grand, you cannot capture the beauty in one photo? That is how the sunset at The Grand Canyon was. We kept clicking away, but with our camera we just couldn't capture the depth of the shadows. The various hues of blue, purple, red, orange and yellow. Then there is the fact that it is just so HUGE.

See what I mean??

Then we realized Bubby had the right idea. It was time to hit the hay. Good night.

Monday, June 15, 2009

That Bubby, he's so funny!

Bubby Funny 101:

The other day I was busy multitasking. I was chatting with my sister Jody Blue and painting Princess' nails. (Very important work indeed.) Bubby, who for some strange reason was nude, came over and begged to have his nails painted too. Wanting to have a moment to chat, I quickly painted his toe nails. (No worries it was a pale pink, Daddy's concern for Bubby's manhood is still intact.)
After finishing up my conversation with my sister, I found my nudie boy. Although I was still confused as to where his clothes had gone. You see I had already dressed him, and this whole "natural" thing is a first. Anyway, I find the naked boy and say, "Bubby you need to get your clothes on. You don't have any privacy. If someone comes to the door they might see your private areas."
Without missing a beat he replied, "Oh Mommy. I can't get dressed. I have to wait for my pedicure to dry."
That Bubby, he's so stinking funny!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Wonders of Zion.

I've been trying to figure out how to put this post together for a while. I have two problems, make that three. Problem number one; my husband needs the computer for work. Really, isn't blogging more important than studying??? Second, it was so beautiful, so wonderful. How do I tell you all we did and learned without boring you. . . Three, well there are three of them. AND they keep interupting me!

Here we go: When the Mormon settlers back in the 1800's found this area, one man settled with his family to farm. He named it Zion, saying he had finally found a safe haven after all of his years of struggle. I couldn't agree with him more. After the endless hours of desert plains, coming into Zion was quite a feast for our eyes.

The General, Bubby, Princess & I out in front of our hotel. We were waiting for the bus. They have a wonderful shuttle system that takes you from your hotel to the park entrance. Once inside the park there is another line that goes around the park. Cars are actually not allowed in some areas. It has significantly reduced the noise and pollution. I loved the convenience, and riding on a bus was a treat for the kiddos. After 2 1/2 days in the van, a bus without seat belts was a welcome relief. Oh, did I mention this whole shuttle system is FREE!

Here's Princess with the flower she drew for me. She thought it was so cool you could draw with the rocks.

You see the canyons of Zion are Sandstone. Depending on your belief; young earth theorists say thousands, old earth believers say millions of years ago this part of the country was a huge sandy desert. After which the area was covered by a shallow ocean. The sand was cemented together by the calcium and other things of that nature (sorry I can't remember exactly the term) that leaked down through the layers. After the ocean dried up the area was once again a desert, only this time more of a high plains desert. Two major plates of the earth's crust meet here, causing some upheaval, which gives us mountains. Finally you have the Virgin River flowing through, along with wind erosion you are left with the beautiful canyons we see today.

After lunch we headed into the park for a hike. We rode the bus to the end of the line, getting off at Temple of Sinawava to hike on the Riverside Walk. It is an easy little hike, with a paved walking path.
These two rock formations are called the Altar and the Pulpit. Maybe that is why they called the area the Temple. Anyone know for sure?

I was surprised to see all of these beautiful flowers growing out of the side of the canyon. While walking along the river, you have to remind yourself you are in a desert.

Of course wading in the cool mountain waters was the favorite activity for the kiddos. You can see Bubby has entered the "it is impossible to get a decent picture phase". All of my children go through this stage. It lasts until they are around 4 or 5. Please bear with me.

These little fellows were all along the trails. They would just lay on the path, once I almost stepped on one. They were so tame, they creeped me out. I could just see one jumping up to bite the kiddos. No, I'm not crazy for thinking that. We saw an impressive picture of a hiker's hand all stitched up. Apparently, the poor guy thought since the squirrels were so tame, he'd share his lunch. It did give me some serious credibility with my children.

These three peaks are named Isaac, Jacob and Abraham. Apparently a Methodist pastor visited Zion in its early days and named many of the areas. One especially challenging hike goes up to Angels' Landing. I can see how some blur the line from worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.
On our second day our hiking destination was the Middle Emerald Pool. The first half was very easy. The second part up to the Middle Pool was a little more challenging, but well worth the effort.
The waterfall we hiked under.
The General standing by the Middle Emerald Pool. They named them the Emerald Pools because the green algae looked like emeralds in the brownish red desert.
Before we knew it, our time was up. It was time to leave this beautiful oasis. Driving out of the eastern part of the park we passed by The Arch.

Then drove through the tunnel. It was about a mile long, and was built back in the 1930's by blasting through the sandstone. Quite a feat for that era.

As we drove on, the canyon slowly began to fade away. Good bye Zion. Your riches are so great, we will be back to explore again another day.

If you would like to learn more about Zion click here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

We ventured off the porch. . .

which was a lot of fun. I think my favorite part is asking for seating for 11 at restaurants. That will be 4 adults, 7 children please. Those of you with big families can appreciate the look in their eyes. What is even better is when the kiddos behave nicely.

We hit our favorite restaurants: Wild Wings, Sticky Fingers and a great seafood place right on the water. Wild Wings in downtown Charleston, SC is so fun. It is right in the heart of the market, so the ambiance is very nice. The wings are even better! YUM! Sticky Fingers is a great barbecue place. Now that Jennifer introduced us to eating pulled pork sandwiches served with the coleslaw on the sandwich, I felt like a pro when I ordered. All the different sauces to choose from, crispy fries. . .again YUMMY!

Other than eating, we did manage a few other things. The kiddos really enjoyed the stop by the candy store on the corner. They were able to watch them pull the salt water taffy. They also served gelato, so my husband was happy. He fell in love with gelato on his trips to Italy. It is always fun to see how "authentic" the gelato is (not that I would personally know--I have to live vicariously sometimes).

Next stop was Battery Park, which is down by the waterfront. You can see Fort Sumter (you know, the area where the first shots of the Civil War were fired). Best of all is the open spaces and fountains. The kiddos ran around and played in the fountain all afternoon. (Yes, we were downtown both Saturday and Sunday. You just can't get enough!) The baby was such a trooper. She was just along for the ride.

As always, our time together goes by too quickly. Before we knew it we were back on the jet headed back to OK. Fortunately the weather was good on our return, so no problems there. On our flight to Charleston, there was a thunderstorm. With lighting in the area they wouldn't let us off the plane. We sat on the ground for over 2 hours before we were able to deplane. Fortunately Bubby did well.

Overall the "hopping" experience was a great success. With only that slight hiccup at the beginning, the weekend was a blast. It was such a nice treat for the kiddos to fly in the C-17.

HMMMM, I wonder if there will be any other cool opportunities for travel???? Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

When opportunity knocks. . .

Guess what?!! We are in Charleston, SC this weekend! I'm so excited.

So, how did we get here you ask? I know some of you may be thinking, "Please say you didn't make those poor children drive again!" No, no, we too have our limits of sanity. You see there is this thing in the military called traveling Space A. As one of our perks as a military family, we can "hop" onto military flights if there is space available. There are several rules and clauses to go with this (which continuously change), so it is actually not as easy as it sounds.

Anyhow, Thursday my husband came home and said, "I heard there may be a flight going to Charleston this weekend. Would you like to go?" Would I??!!

I've always wanted to take advantage of Space A, and yesterday after 17 years in the Air Force our family successfully "hopped" to Charleston, SC! It helps when you are leaving from Altus, OK. Not so many people there to compete for a space, and not a lot of people to bump you on the return flight. Not meaning to offend any OK folks, but Altus isn't really a hot spot.

Here we are in Charleston, visiting our dear friends. It is a treat beyond measure, as we thought moving to the West Coast would mean a long time before we saw them again. The icing on the cake: they have a new baby girl!

So this weekend we will be sitting on the front porch rocking, sipping Firefly and enjoying some very special time with these precious friends. God is good to me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tales from the Trail.

As you know the Nomads have taken the family on the road again. This time we traveled from Washington State to Southwestern Oklahoma. Over the next week or so I will share photos and valuable data (useless trivia) we learned along the way.

I wanted to share a few of our traveling stories. You know, traveling with a toddler is so stinking funny! Keep in mind my children are crammed together in the middle row of our minivan, with their "stuff" all around. AND, this is the second LONG road trip they have enjoyed (endured) in the past couple of months.

Here we go:

"Slug Bug!"
While in WA we began playing the Slug Bug game. After one long stretch on the road, Bubby reaches over and hits The General yelling, "SLUG BUG!" (Note there were no VW Bugs remotely in the area). Being the wise little boy that he is, Bubby has figured out a way to get free slugs in with his brother. Pretend to play the game! Needless to say The General has been doing extra tutorial with his brother on vehicle identification.

"Where is my lizard?"
After one night in the hotel, we packed up the kiddos, did our final walk through to make sure no precious lovies were left behind. As we were driving off for another day of travel, The General asks, "where's my lizard Bubby was playing with last night?"
The light bulb pops on in my head, and I say, "wasn't he playing with him near the fridge?"
We turn around, I have to go get another key to get back into our room. There in the freezer the lizard was on ice. Lesson learned, when doing the final walk through remember to check ALL spaces large and small. You never know where a 3 year old is going to put a lizard to bed.

"You go over there, and I'll go over here."
One morning as we were getting ready to go to breakfast I hear Bubby talking to himself. I quietly peek around the corner. There is Bubby talking to his reflection in the mirror. He looks at himself and says, "you go over there, and I'll go over here."
Then he turns and walks a few steps, turns back and repeats to his reflection, "now I said you go there and I'll go over here."

There you have it, some of the funnies with Bubby. He's a keeper.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Internet FINALLY!!

Well, we arrived here in OK last weekend. Unfortunately, no Internet. . . .

After waiting for the work order, this is my treat today. I've been able to check e-mail. A luxury that feels a lot like a NEED rather than a want.

I've gotta run, Bubby is off and running. I just wanted to let everyone know we are here safely. I will put together a post later. So much to say, so little time to get my act together.