Monday, September 29, 2008

Military Monday

In the photo you will see the USS Iwo Jima in the background. This was taken in The Great Bitter Lake. You can actually see this lake on the map in the back of your Bible.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Italy

Our last full day in Italy we traveled about an hour south by train. We had to see the lost city of Pompeii. Let me see if I can fill you in on a few details. Pompeii was a thriving city by the sea in its day ceturies before the birth of Christ. It is nestled in a beautiful spot very near Mt Vesuvius. In 79 AD Mt Vesuvius erupted and covered Pompeii almost instantly with volcanic ash and poisonous gases. Very few people in the city were able to escape. It was so covered that it was forgotten about over the years. Only within the last 200 years has it been rediscovered, excavated and researched.

Lee is standing in what is left of Appollos temple. Right above his shoulder to the right is the statue of Apollo that has been standing in that very spot for hundreds of years.

Above and below are examples of the living quarters and places of business in the city. The paintings on the walls were so vivid and detailed. It was hard to comprehend how old they actually are.

The archiologists have set up rooms containing all of the artifacts collected from the city. Pictured below is just one of those rooms. Notice the body? Evidently people died instantly where they slept and were entombed in layers of volcanic ash.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Will Work For Pizza

It was really hard to get the sisters to hold still long enough to get a photo. This was the best I could do.

Many people are unaware that when a US Navy ship pulls into a port that they will do at least one community outreach project during their stay. In most cases it is the chaplain who organizes these projects. So upon my arrival I was informed that I would spend one of my Italian vacation days helping with a homeless mission in the city of Naples. I thought "How hard can it be? I've worked in soup kitchens before, piece of cake right?" HUH!!! I've Never worked for the nuns before and boy was I in for a surprise! The sisters worked us like Clydesdales!

We took about 20 sailors from the San Antonio over to a Cathedral pictured above in downtown Naples. The sisters who we worked for are of the same order of Mother Theresa Missionaries of Charity. They quickly put us to work. We scrubbed 5 flights of staircase, we scrubbed floors, cleaned kitchens and bathroom showers that doubled as toilets (UH!!) , we organized storage closets, we cooked and we served a hot meal to over 200 homeless folks at the end of the day.

Sailors doing what sailors do: swabbing the deck.

The Sister in charge of the Mission was thanking Lee and the rest of us for all of our hard work. We then walked up the street a bit to a place called Sarbillos which touts being the birthplace of pizza. It was SOOOOO good!!! We each ordered our own well earned pizza and devoured every delicious little bite!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Pieta

Here is a better picture of the Sculpture I was refering to below. I figured that we ALL deserved a better look at it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Of Rome

Our day in Rome began with trying to find our way through this enormous train station. Of course, as in any big city, people with that wild, terrified look in their eyes (like us) are preyed upon. We might as well have worn signs that read "Lost tourist who does not speak Italian, please help me and then expect to be paid many Euro for your meager assistance!" We did eventually find our way and we learned an all important lesson to be used in future out of country excursions: No matter how hopelessly lost we are, NEVER let it show!
This station was HUGE and very little English was being spoken or displayed. I did spot the IKEA sign there at the entrance though.

Originally we thought this absolutely beautiful building was the Pantheon. Turns out it isn't. Still it was one of the sights that took our breath away.

Here we are in St. Peters Square where the Pope conducts mass everyday. We got there late in the day so the Pope was probably napping (which is the Italian custom between 1 and 3). Seeing St Peters Basilica was the highlight of our day in Rome. It was completely unbelievable. The late hour prevented us from getting to see the Sistine Chapel but now we have something to look forward to next time.

Ok, I am going to make a confession here. I snapped this picture inside St Peters and stood to look at the beautiful sculpture for about 15 seconds then walked away to take in other marvelous sights. I had NO IDEA what a momentous, once in a lifetime opportunity I had just missed. Later that day I found out that this sculpture is The Pieta by Michelangelo (1499) !!!!!!!!!! Can you believe that? I was almost sick to my stomach when I realized what I walked away from without much attention. UGH!!!

This sculpture was also in the Basilica. I thought it was so captivating that I had to have a picture.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Military Monday

I'm taking a short break from Italy pictures to bring you Military Monday. This is my feeble attempt to get back onto a schedule. Below you will see what looks alot like the pictures we took in Rome but that is not Rome. Nope, Lee's ship pulled into Turkey last week so what you are looking at is Ephesus. Ephesus is the city featured in the book of Ephesians in the New Testament. Pretty cool eh?

Lee had the opportunity to tour the city (what is left of it) and then lead in a short bible devotion from the ampitheatre there. Can you imagine standing where the apostle Paul may have stood to teach the early Christians of Ephesus? Gives me shivers just thinking about it!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rome For A Day

A smiling Roman soldier? Anyone else think that's a little wierd?

The entrance arch at the colliseum.

The Colliseum

Just a Georgia boy looking at ancient ruins.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Italy Sites

Let me just say right up front that Italy was AWESOME and that there is no way that I will be able to convey appropriatlely all that we experienced there. Most of you already know that Lee's ship had liberty port in Naples and that I flew Space A to meet him there. For me, getting there was almost too easy, which is very unusual for Space A. I was there for one night and then Lee joined me for 5 wonderful days.

Our first day in Italy. We are standing in front of this castle waiting on a bus.

Just one of the MANY beautiful building in Naples.

On the train to Rome. That, was an experience let me tell you! The language barrier alone was enough to make us wonder if we hadn't boarded the slow train to nowhere. In the end, we did make to Rome and had a great time seeing the sights.

Everyone in Italy drives these tiny little cars.

The view from our hotel room on base.

Stay tuned, more to come tomorrow. In the meantime all of the Italy pics can be seen in our picasa web album.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Best Thing About Italy.......

I've been telling anyone who will listen for over thirty years that I should have been born Italian. Now I KNOW it was an idea that has firm roots! The food alone is worth the inconvenience of an cross continental move! Don't even get me started on the caffe' bars and the gelato and the granitas and the pizza and the pasta anglio olio.... oh I'm making myself hungry!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Show Me the Way To Go Home!

I can now tell you that I am in Italy! Most of you knew that already. I could not say anything until Lee's ship pulled out. Italy was FANTASTIC! We saw Napoli, Roma, Pompeii and Sicily which is where I am now. I am working hard on getting a Space A flight home. We'll see what happens. I am so ready to be home. I'm missing my girlies. Get ready for an onslaught of pictures and info once I do make it home. Just wanted to let all of you know, I'm alright and missing everyone!
PS If anyone wants to welcome me home with a hot meal, please NO PIZZA!
Ciao for now!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Location

I'm here!!! I''m sorry I cannot tell you yet where "here" is. I will tell you soon, I promise. I can tell you that I am in Europe somewhere. I have a horrible case of jet lag! I woke up this morning at 3 am unable to go back to sleep. I got up and ate a Twinkie because it was all that I had with me at the time and my body was telling my stomach that it was supper time.
The Space A flight was awesome. It was not at all like any Space Available flight I have ever been on in the past. It was a regular 767 aircraft with meals, bathrooms and in flight entertainment. I could not believe it. The lady who sat beside me looked to be about 10 or so years older than me. She had never flown before and was going to meet her hubby in Souda Bay, Greece. I commended her on her bravery at making her first time on an airplane a Space A transcontinental flight. Her bravery lasted until the plane began speeding down the runway for take off. I could tell she was scared witless. I leaned toward her and asked "would you like to hold my hand?" I no sooner got the words out of my mouth before she was clinging to me for dear life. I talked her through it and she relaxed when the plane leveled out. Needless to say, I made a new friend. She returned the favor by letting me have her cucumber and tomatoes out of her dinner salad.
That's all for now. As soon as I finish here I am going in search of Lee's ship which should be arriving soon. Stay tuned for another update tomorrow. Ciao for now!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ya'll Behave Yourselves

I'm considering adding a Military Monday to the weekly line up here at Lovin' Life At Home.  It would include pictures and little updates about Lee and the ship and their deployment.  Is that something you all would like to read?  I know it is not Monday anymore but I will give the first installment a day late.    

This is the most recent picture from Lee.  He sent it to us a couple of days ago.  Look at that blue ocean back there.   Gorgeous!  They are obviously a long way out there because the water around here looks like 2 week old green tea with some coffee thrown in.  Yuck!  
Speaking of a long way away...  I may not be around much for the next week or so.  I am going to meet my sweetheart at the ship's liberty port.  Right now all that I can say (on the blog) is that it is in another country.  When I return, I will fill you in with pictures and details of our adventures.  Until then behave yourselves, ok?  At least give it a good try.  No whining about missing Friday Funnies or Sunday Suppers allowed. Like my friend Deanna says "If you cannot be good, at least be interesting".  
Ciao for now!


Monday, September 8, 2008

School Is Now In Session

Today we began our second full week of school.  Yep, still homeschooling.  This will be our 10th year.  Caitlin is in the 11th grade but she went to public school for K5.  About halfway through that first school experience I wised up and pulled her out to do school at home.  This was something I always thought I should have done to begin with but was too busy second guessing my abilities.  I cannot say that we have never looked back or floundered in our decision.  The year that Gracie was in 1st grade, Abbie and Holly were in 4th and 5th, and Caitlin was in 8th, I began to question my sanity.  All in all it has been overwhelmingly beneficial to us as a family.  The girls have thrived and learned and it has been the glue that has helped hold us together in our transient life.  

Ah, look at Caitlin helping Abbie with her Math.  Isn't that sweet?  Uh, wait did I say Caitlin helping with Math?  I better go check this out.  Caitlin's not my math girl, but she sure knows how to wield her grammar police badge.

Gracie is reading her science book aloud to me.  See the fingers up there on her head?  That's her way of saying "C'mon mom, put the camera down and pay attention".
Gotta go before someone makes me write 100 times "I will not blog during school."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Suppers

Ok, considering the way I have been feeling for the past couple of days, you guys almost got the Ramen Noodles recipe or none at all.  BUT, I took pity on you because this is by far the very best chicken pot pie you will ever eat.  I'm was never a chicken pot pie fan myself.  When I was growing up chicken pot pie came from the freezer section of the grocery store.  It was shaped like a mini pie and for some reason when it was served to me it was flipped over on top of my plate.  An upside down, dry, tasteless, strange looking meal. Just one step above a TV dinner.  Lee's mama made this homemade one for us a few years back.  The second I tasted that rich buttery crust and creamy filling, I became a loyal chicken pot pie fan!

The YUMMIEST Chicken Pot Pie

1 Can each of Cream of Chicken, Potato and Celery Soups
1 Can of Veg-All (or mixed veggies) drained
2 Cooked chicken breasts chopped into bite sized pieces
1 Stick of butter
1 C of milk
1 C flour

Mix together the ingredients of the above cans.  Make sure to drain the veggies.
To this mix in your cooked and chopped chicken.

Pour the soup/veggie/chicken mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.

For the topping, melt the one stick of butter in a microwave safe bowl.  When it is all melted, add to it one cup of milk and whisk in one cup of flour.  Whisk until you have a smooth batter.  After much trial and error I have found that the topping is best made if you follow the butter, then milk, then flour order.   

Pour the batter over the top of your filling that is already in the pan.  Make sure it is spread evenly all the way to the edges.  

Bake it at 375 degrees for about an hour.   
I sincerely hope that this recipe will turn you into a chicken pot pie fan.
Let me know how you like it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cell Phone Mania

Take a little trip back in time with me.  We won't be gone for too long I promise.  You may not be able to go on this trip with us if you do not have conscious memories that date back before about 1990 or so.  If you do have a few thoughts that go back that far then buckle up and hang on cuz here we go.  
Everyone in this picture is between the ages of 5-16
Remember when a phone was that thing that hung on the wall in the kitchen?  It was probably the only one in the house and it had a very, very long cord on it that would stretch around the corner and into another room.  This cord was spiral shaped and was always tangled around itself in spite of your father untangling it daily.   The length of said cord provided much needed privacy when some boy called and you did not want to be mercilessly teased by siblings or hounded with 20 questions by the cord untangler.  

Remember when you would leave home and worry that you would miss someone's call?  Later you would hear from said caller that they'd been calling and calling and no one answered and they would then ask you where in the world you had been.  By then they had probably forgotten why they had called in the first place. Later as times progressed you could rely on your new fangled answering machine to answer while you were not at home.  Inevitably though you would have someone like my grandmother informing you that they hated talking to "that machine".  And boy didn't we think we were something when the cordless phone became all the rage?  It weighed several pounds but no matter, you could walk and talk at the same time!!

Then came the first generation of cellular phones.  My pawpaw had one.  You had to carry it around in a duffle bag sort of like a mini suitcase and just as heavy.  It cost a fortune and heaven forbid you leave your calling area of about a 10 mile radius, just think of the roaming fees! 
 If you can remember those days, I'm here to inform you: 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Random Shots

I'm tired folks!  I got up this morning with about 100 things to do on my imaginary to-do list and I might have accomplished about 10 of those things.  Yesterday I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt which read " I am so far behind I thought I was first".  Today I needed that shirt!  It hasn't been a bad day, just very busy.  The girls started school yesterday, so I'll get pictures of that posted before long.  In the meantime, because I am too tired to think of anything else I'm posting some random photos taken within the past 2 weeks.  I hope you enjoy them.  I expect to be my old energetic bloggerific self again tomorrow, so watch out!  
Our Mimi and Papa went on an Alaskan cruise, can you tell?

Oh the dangers of falling asleep on the couch with four very wide awake daughters in the house.
Pssssst.....these are Lee's toesies.

I have to let him reclaim his manliness-this is what he is currently about these days.  Before he left we let him have the nail polish remover.

Caitlin took this pic of unsuspecting Wrigley on his way to the groomer from her side mirror on the truck.  Clever shot I thought.
Poor little guy never saw those clippers coming.

When tough Navy girls get a little down in the dumps what should they do?  Go shopping at the Vera Bradley store of course!