Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Suppers

I cheated just a little bit today with Sunday Suppers.  I'm using a recipe out of the Pampered Chef Delightful Desserts Cookbook.  SO this one does not have a great/interesting story behind it.  That, however, does not make it any less yummy.  I will type out the ingredients for you because it looks like the picture below might be a bit hard to decipher.  

1 plain pie crust already baked and cooled
1 large container of Cool Whip
1 package (6oz) semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups of cold milk
1 lrg package of instant vanilla pudding
1/2 tsp Rum extract (optional) ( I did not add it because it was going to a Baptist church function! He-He)
2 med bananas sliced into rings

I think you can click on the above picture to enlarge it if you want the official directions.  If  you'd rather experience the reined in randomness that characterizes most of my endeavours then keep reading.

Bake your pie crust.  I used a homemade one here but a store bought one from the freezer section will do the trick.

Put your chocolate chips and 1 and 1/2 C of Cool Whip together and microwave them until they are melted.  Stop the microwave every now and then to give it a good stir.  You should end up with a yummy looking chocolate soup.
While this is melting, now would be a good time to mix your pudding, milk and extract together so it will be ready for the next step.

Pour about 2/3 of your chocolate soup into the pie crust and spread it evenly all around and up the sides of the pie crust.  After that, put down a layer of banana rings on top of the chocolate layer.  Now fold another 1 and 1/2 Cups of Cool Whip into your prepared pudding and spoon the whole mixture into the pie over the bananas.  

I had a little chocolate left over so I put it in a ziploc baggie and snipped the corner off to make a pretty design on top.  Stick the whole thing in the fridge for a couple of hours to let it all gel together.  Serve it up!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

USS San Antonio Begins Her Maiden Deployment

NORFOLK -- Sailors and Marines onboard the USS San Antonio (LPD 17) man the rails as it deploys as part of the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group. The ship is underway in support of
Maritime Security Operations and Theater Security Cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility.

IWO ESG is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio, the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf, and the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage.
Copied from a local news source.

Here we are saying goodbye.  It was very early.  The girls said their goodbyes the night before.

Lee was loaded down with all of his stuff.  You can't see it in the picture but he was also carrying his pillow.

Going aboard

Manning the rails on the way out of the harbor.

Here are a couple of links in case you would like to keep up with the ship while they are deployed.
First, this is the ship's website but I'm not sure how often it gets updated.  Maybe now that they are underway it will get some attention.  
This next site is updated often.  It is dedicated to sharing news for the whole Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group of which the San An is a part.  My favorite section of this page is the photo gallery located on the right hand column.  These are regularly updated pictures of daily activities aboard the ships that make up the strike group.  

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008


I was in the kitchen putting away the leftovers from supper when I heard an unusual amount of commotion behind me.  I turned around and this is what I saw.

I'm still not sure what exactly was going on.  Sometimes it's best not to ask.  
On another note, deployment has officially begun.  I managed to get a few shots of our farewell that I will post later.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Grand Tour

As of yesterday the mighty USS San Antonio was supposed to have left on its maiden deployment.  As I said, supposed to have.  It didn't.  But it will.  They just had a little set back with the hardware.  So before too long we will bid farewell to daddy.  I thought I would take you on a little tour of where he will be living during his time away.  Don't get too excited, it's a short tour.

Here's his state room in all of its glory.  Gracie and Abs are sitting on his bed/couch.  There is another bunk above them but it mostly serves as storage.  Lee's back is facing the camera and to the right of him is the bathroom that he shares with the air boss whose room is on the other side.

Vanity area where he shaves and washes his hands.

Caitlin is sitting at his desk.  A bunch of chaplain stuff gets done at that desk.
This is also where all those emails home will get sent from.

Here's the sailor in his get up.  I insisted we have a family portrait done before he leaves and he was a good sport. What a guy!
I know this post will inevitably bring up a few questions, so I'll address the ones I can think of right now.
  1. Q. When is he leaving? A. Soon.
  2. Q. Where is he going? A. Away.  I can let you know where they have been after they leave but even I won't know where they are while they are there.
  3.  How long will he be gone? A. A long time.  Average deployments are anywhere from 6 months to a year.  When he gets home you'll be among the first to know, I promise.
  4. Q. Can he communicate with us?  Absolutely.  His email address is   email him as much as you want to.  He will appreciate hearing from home.  Just remember not to ask any of the above questions.  Also he has a snail mail address that I can give you by way of email.  This is for packages, letters and cards etc... I can hint that he would love to get a package of goodies for himself and to share at Thanksgiving and Christmas time.  Email me or leave me a comment asking for the address and I will happily send it right out.
  5. Q. WIll Lee be in danger? A. Well, he is in the military and there is a certain amount of danger assumed.  All I can say is that your prayers are coveted.  
  6. Q. Will you and the girls be ok with Lee gone?  A. We'll get by.   We plan to do alot of visiting, but there will definitely be a void in our lives for a little while.  Pray for us and for Lee.  Your prayers and encouragement are what will get us through and it is appreciated more than we can express.  Thank you!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Just Sharing

I know it isn't Friday but I just had to share.  I took this picture a few days ago with my cell phone.  Note to self: Never again leave home without my camera.  So we are sitting in the parking lot waiting on Lee who went inside to pick up his uniforms from the alterations shop.  I looked up and saw this sign.  I'm not sure why but it just struck me as funny.  I mean look at it!
Hmmm...  Who wouldn't love the gift of an Asian Sea Bass for their living room?
It's like an oriental wally world- so many items under one roof, how convenient.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday Suppers

Todays recipe is not really a recipe per se, it's more like... well... what we ate for supper last night.  I haven't been thinking about real cooking much here this past week. With Lee leaving soon, my mind has been rather preoccupied.  Now next week might be another story altogether.  I may only have enough inspiration to show you guys how to whip up some Kraft Mac N Cheese or even a package of Ramen Noodles.  We'll see how it goes.   It could easily be a gloomy, moody week around here.  The first week of a long deployment always is. Pray for me, will ya?  
Without further ado I give you:
The Buffalo (who needs an overpriced restaurant?) Chicken Sandwich

Todays cast of characters includes Tyson Crispy Chicken Strips.  I use these as a base for so many of my recipes.  Don't miss the Sesame Chicken Recipe I posted here several months ago.  I figure that the Brown family is doing their part to keep Tyson in business.  You will also need your choice of Buffalo Wing Sauce, Burger Buns, Cheese and Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing (whichever you prefer).

Prepare the strips according to the package directions.  While they are hot pour on enough buffalo sauce to coat them thoroughly.

Once all of the strips are coated, you can start building the perfect sandwich.

You may have to cut the strips some to get them the correct size for the bun.

While the chicken is still hot sprinkle on your cheese so it will get all melty.  We like mozzarella but you can use whatever you have on hand.  Add on whatever else you like on your sandwich, tomatoes, lettuce, onions etc. My people like theirs plain jane.  Lastly, pour on a yummy dressing like ranch or blue cheese and gobble it up.  
Do you know what goes perfectly with a Buffalo Chicken sandwich?  No? Tornader Taters of course! 

Basically Tornader Taters are just french fries that have been cut with the Pampered Chef Apple Peeler Corer Slicer. Not that my girls need a fancy name before they can scarf down home fried potatoes!  The name just makes them more fun to eat.

Plop em down in the deep fryer till they're golden brown.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Because He Loves Me....

...and doesn't want me to be coffee deprived; he bought this fine, little, magic coffee brewing machine.  It makes me one perfect, steaming hot cup and it does it all in under a minute.  See what I mean?  What's not to love?  Ok, it doesn't exactly replace a husband, not in the least.  But, I will not have to wish he was home to make me my coffee for me.  Believe me I will have many, many reasons to miss him hanging around but the coffee supply line has been taken care of.  What a sweetheart, I know he cares.  

Look at all those varieties!  It even makes hot tea and cocoa.  How do I choose?

My eeny, meeny, minie, moe landed on Caribou Coffee for today.  I think I like this system.

Close the lid, count to 3 and wait for the magic to begin.

Oh look there it is!  I bet you wish this was a scratch and sniff blog huh?

Lee's only complaint is that it does not fill the cup all the way up. This, from the 2 POTS a day guy. I say quality, not quantity rules the day today. Besides if I want more, I can watch the magic happen all over again in the count of three. I love my new magic machine and I love my sweetheart even more for taking care of my coffee needs. 
You rock Brown! I sure am going to miss you.

Friday Funny

How is this for being on top of things?  It's only 12 minutes into Friday and I'm already posting Friday's Funny.  We had to stay up this late to watch the American fellas dominate the beach volleyball competition.  Priorities people!!!  This Olympics is really messing with my sleep time.  Ok, on to today's funny.

A little background:
The station pictured below is a gas station/mini mart on the highway not too far from our house.  I got a few strange looks from the folks inside when we rolled up in our big Suburban, rolled down the window and pointed a camera in their general direction.  Lee was urging me (in his nervous, I can't believe you dragged me into this voice) to get this shot quickly.  I guess he was hoping that no one would return a shot.  Notice that they claim to treat you like kin.  I'm not sure that is really a good thing considering how some families treat each other.
A few days ago the following conversation was overheard after just leaving the house in Jet Puff (the Suburban).

Lee: This truck is almost empty.  We need to go get some gas.

Holly: We could go to that station where they treat you like kin.

Gracie: Who's Ken?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

From The Bottom Of My Heart

Thank you, thank you!  I logged on this morning and saw all of your comments and I was overjoyed. I love hearing what you have to say even if it has nothing to do with the post.  I'm one of those people who loves company, even unexpected company! So hearing from you is sort of like having company without having to cook and drag out the air mattress.  Not that I would mind doing any of those things.  I guess I'm a bit more social than I realized.  
Anyway, I heard what many of you had to say about returning the favor. I promise that from now on I will do my best to leave a comment every time I visit your wonderful blogs.  Much of my morning is taken up with reading what you all have to say.  I cannot fathom going back to the days when the word blog was not even a word.  I love having this little window for peeking into your worlds. So consider me company; and you don't even have to make sure there's clean towels in the bathroom.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What Are You Thinking?

Forgive me for a little whine, but I'm feeling a bit lonely here at Lovin' Life At Home.  I know you all are out there reading because I randomly hear you telling me so by way of telephone or email.  I hear things like "Oh, your girls are getting so grown up" or " I made that recipe and it was yummy" or "Rebecca, you have a very odd sense of humor" (thanks dad!).  What confuses me and makes me sigh is that you guys are not leaving any comments.  I was just over at the Pioneer Woman blog and saw that she regularly gets about 500 comments for EVERY post and most of those come in within 24 hours of her posting.  Unbelievable!!  I know, I know, I'm not as witty as she is and my photography skills are lacking in comparison.  Still, is it too much to ask for a little feedback?  I am hoping that you guys simply have trouble using the comment options so I have decided to do a little tutorial.
On the right side of the blog is a comment box.  Go to the bottom and type in your name in the name block.  Ignore the email/URL block.  Type your comment in the little box on the bottom below your name that says message and click Go.  It's that easy.  If you do not want everyone who reads the blog to see your comment right away then you have another option.  At the bottom of every post you will find something that looks like this: 
Posted by Rebecca at 2:18 PM   0 comments
The 0 comments is a link, click on it and a pop up box will appear.  In the pop up box there is a block that says "Leave Your Comment Here".  After you type your comment you must choose an identity.  If you have a google ID then choose it.  If you don't then you can choose anonymous and just sign your name to the bottom of your comment so that I know who you are.  Next you may have to type a word verification, this is to keep those pesky spammers away.  Click the big orange button at the bottom that says "Publish Your Comment".  It will send your profound and well thought out words to me to verify and I will publish them.  It sounds harder than it actually is.  Go ahead, give it a try, I dare you.  You can do it, I have faith in you!  Plus I'd really love to hear from you.  Humor me alright?  

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Suppers

You cannot ask for a more man/family pleasing meal as today's Sunday Supper recipe.  Good ol' fashioned steak and gravy.  The bright side is that it is also cook friendly.  It's pretty easy to prepare; you simply stick it in the crock pot.  I LOVE that "already prepared dinner smell" just as you walk in the door after being out all day. This recipe is from Lee's Aunt Lena, whom I consider to be one of the best cooks I have ever known.  Everything she puts her hand to in the kitchen turns into something delicious!  

Steak And Gravy
3lbs Cubed Steak
Apprx. 2 C flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 envelope dry Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 soup can of water
2 cloves of garlic (optional)
About 6 carrots peeled and chopped
1 onion cut up into small pieces (optional)

First we cut our cubed steak up into individual sized pieces.

We dredged each piece in a flour, salt and pepper mixture.

Then we lightly fried each piece of steak.  The point is not to cook it through, you simply want to brown the flour on each side.

Holly and Gracie peeled and chopped carrots, garlic and onions to get them ready for the pot. 

Then we readied the other ingredients for the pot too.
Yummo!  Here it is in the crock pot.  The steak, the carrots, garlic and the onions are hiding under there in the bottom left corner.

We sprinkled in the onion soup mix on top.

Then we added the can of cream of mushroom soup.

Next we poured in a soup can of water and gave it all a good stir.  We set it on low and left it to work it's magic for about 6 hours.  When we got home the delicious smell greeted us at the door!  I gave it a good stir and served it to my family over rice and a side of dinner rolls.  You could also serve it over creamed potatoes if you'd rather.  Sometimes we do that too.  I hope you'll enjoy this great recipe as much as we have!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Funny

Ever wonder why you seem to ALWAYS need more dog food?

Oh has it ever been a crazy day!!!  I almost forgot that I decided 2 weeks ago to start posting a funny here at Lovin Life At Home every Friday.  As it stands at the moment, I still have 45 more minutes left of this Friday, so I just barely squeaked it in.  Chalk one up for this very tired mama who can now go to bed and sleep in peace knowing that you all have had your Friday Funny. 

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Abbie Pics

Hi everyone!  It's me Abbie.  I just turned 12 and I got this cool new camera for my birthday.  It's pink.  I took a ton of pictures with it already.  Here are a few for you to see.

We were going to Busch Gardens on my birthday, so we had cake and ice cream and opened presents for breakfast.
Daddy was still at sea.

This is Garfield.  He belongs to my friend Baylee.  He is almost as fat as Fraidy but fluffier.

Wrigley.  Doesn't he look like a mini sheep dog or a little skater dude?

Daddy just got home from being at sea for almost a month.  Fraidycat really missed him and so did I.

Hey that's me!