Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Another Eternity" is now available on in a variety of e-formats, including Kobo, Sony Reader, Nook, & more!  See how easy it is to buy?  It is also available for Kindle & Kindle-related apps on Amazon here.

Thanks in advance!  I've always wanted to write a novel, & even though I'm "unknown," I hope this is the kick-start I need!  :D

Monday, December 13, 2010

A long-time dream of mine has just been accomplished:  I am a published author!  Yes, I self-published on, and yes, it's "just" an e-book right now, I'm hopeful enough people will buy it that it'll create some buzz...

If you run across my blog & want something good to read, please buy it!  :D

Click here!

You don't have to have a Kindle to buy it... thanks in advance!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Okay, so the Deceptively Delicious lasagna was a hit with 3 out of 4 of us again... I've decided Ian is just going to eat what he wants to eat, WHEN he wants to eat it.  He's 3.  Eventually, we'll have more influence on him.  Last night, I put spinach and red pepper purees in the spaghetti sauce, and it was DELICIOUS.  Ian took one bite of his beloved spaghetti and hated it. I would be inclined to think he knew about it because he's overheard us talking about it or seeing it go in, but no... he was sleeping as I cooked.  So no way.  The kid just has hypersensitive taste buds... hey, he comes by it honestly!  I could identify olive purees in spaghetti sauce back in the day!  :p

So we're back to square one... I'll sneak veggies in where I can, when I can... otherwise, I'm not going to worry about it.  We didn't eat too poorly before Deceptively Delicious came into our lives... committing to COOKING rather than eating out is half the battle, I think... and that's definitely something I can do.  I made Splenda/applesauce brownies that were a hit, so I can still sneak 'em healthy stuff.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We'll try this again... on tap for dinner tonight?  Deceptively Delicious Lasagna.  I've done all the prep... looks and smells fantastic.  We'll see how it tastes tonight!  Be on the lookout for the verdict!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Well, that didn't take long.

This afternoon, with all the gusto & positivity I could muster, made "Deceptively Delicious" brownies (that contain spinach & carrot purees) & peanut butter/banana muffins (which contain pureed cauliflower).  I served the brownies for an after-school snack today. I nibbled mine in private, so the kids couldn't get their cues from me, & thought, "Crap. They're gross." Ian smelled his & wouldn't take a bite.  Hannah ate half of hers, declared it tasty, begged for Ian's, then decided she didn't like 'em either.  The muffins look promising (I had a crumb, & they were OKAY, but the cauliflower was still discernible... I thought the idea was to HIDE the vegetable, Jessica! BOO!

I did the "Deceptively Delicious" chicken nuggets (with broccoli puree) & mozzarella (with cauliflower puree) sticks (along with another side dish that wasn't DD) for dinner tonight... the chicken nuggets were OKAY, but the prep was a lot messier & time-consuming than I allotted for, so I wound up putting them in the oven.  They were a hit with Hannah, JC, & me, but Ian wouldn't eat them.  The cheesesticks would've been better had they not gotten soggy while waiting for the chicken to finish cooking, & cool cheesesticks that contain cauliflower taste like cold cheese wrapped in cauliflower.  Again, boo.

Either the Seinfeld children aren't as bright as my children, or they have more forgiving taste buds... either way, my kids were having no part of it.  I'm wholly disappointed, but glad I didn't pay full-price for the cookbook (thanks, Amazon!)...

I decided I will try a few more recipes out of it, if for no other reason than to use up some of the purees I have, but then I will not be going there.  I will continue just being smart about how I'm cooking... and maybe my children will eat veggies when they come back in their next life... as cattle.
My family has a problem... we eat out too much, choose the wrong things to eat, & suffer the consequences! I'm quite overweight (though it's not just habits that cause this... I do have a genetic predisposition for obesity, but I'm not helping myself overcome that predisposition!!), Hannah's following in my footsteps, and while the boys are lucky to have quicker metabolisms, they don't eat very well either.  So, I'm on a mission.  I'm on a mission to get us healthier, to improve our eating habits, & get us back on track as a whole!

I have an issue with staying motivated in the kitchen... it's so easy to get bogged down with the same old things, lose sight of the ultimate goal, and throw your hands up, shouting "McDonald's, anyone?"  I am determined to get rid of that possibility!

Perhaps the biggest hurdle thus far has been trying to get the kids to eat vegetables.  Hannah likes potatoes (but, really, do they count, since they're so high in carbs??) & green beans... she can be bribed into eating salad if it has enough tomatoes in it... but that's about it.  And Ian?  Forget about it!  "You mean mac-n-cheese isn't a vegetable, Mommy??"

Years ago, I purchased Jessica Seinfeld's "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook, wherein she offers tips & tricks to get your kids to eat their veggies by sneaking them via purees into delicious recipes.  I'd never tried any of the recipes, but am starting now!  I spent a few hours this last weekend steaming & roasting fresh veggies, then pureeing them for the freezer... Hannah got in on part of it, which I dreaded... I don't need her turning her nose up at stuff, saying, "So what did you sneak into THIS!?!" I decided to come clean with her a bit, telling her I was going to start trying to sneak Ian some veggies... she giggled, declared me "sneaky!" then asked if she could help!  I put her to work, & though the help didn't last long, by making her a confidante & co-conspirator, I thought maybe I could get around it with her.

So, I'm armed for the next two weeks... groceries are purchased, meal plans are set in dry erase board (ha!), & the kids are pumped about the menu.  I currently have brownies (with pureed spinach & carrot) in the oven.  I can't wait to make this step!

Stay tuned for pictures & verdicts for each of our meals.  These guys & their subsequent levels of health are totally worth all the hard work!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My hellish existence post-tonsillectomy is getting less and less... hellish.  But only teensy bits at a time.  I feel like my tongue is swollen (even though it's not)... it's sexy.

But, it is giving me lots of time to do more and more and more digital scrapbooking while I'm laid up in bed...see?

Also, I'm sad to announce that we had to find Heidi a new home... we couldn't hack her nipping problem (she got Ian in the face a few times), so we found her a better-suited family to take her in... she seems to be very happy there, as they keep in touch with us!  It's been very nice... I just don't think we're a dog family, despite our love for them as a whole...

The kids had a great time trick-or-treating... Ian was the "black suit Spiderman" and Hannah, who was supposed to be Cleopatra, wound up being a rockstar after we couldn't find her Cleo dress.  I panicked, I'm not going to lie, because I didn't feel like leaving the house to find her a new costume... we threw together her rock star look in a matter of minutes, and she won 3rd place in the community contest!  :p  Here they are:

We remain here, healing and being and rockin' out as hard as we can!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I have had a roller coaster ride this week, but totally not in a fun way!  I had my tonsils out on Monday, and no amount of preparation could've geared me up for what I've endured. It's only day 5, but I feel like I've been run over by a freight train.  Insanity!  I've already lost 10 pounds and feel weak as a kitten.


But, this, too, shall pass.  I'm ready for it to pass.  I miss eating. :p

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When you have enough spare time on your hands, beautiful things happen...

I've always wanted to get into digital scrapbooking, but never found the right software to assist... I usually use PSP 7.0 for photo editing, but it can still be a little complicated, and I'm just an amateur user... but Hannah's school fundraiser had software called Digital Scrapbook Artist by Serif, and I decided to give it a shot... behold, the evidence. :)

I'm in love... I have so many hobbies now, I can hardly keep straight what I wanna do!  :p

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

After years of resistance, I finally gave into the begging of my family... and opened my heart to a four-legged creature named Heidi.

Heidi before she joined our family

She's a full-blood, AKC-registered Weimaraner... and don't let those long legs fool ya!  She's still just a baby at 6 months old!

Such a pretty girl!!

She's smart, loving, and a bit on the hyper side at the moment (given that she's still a puppy and in a new place), but she loves to cuddle and fetch, too... but all of us are in love... welcome to our family, pretty dog!

Friday, October 8, 2010

A third blog in ONE DAY!?!  What!?!

I just couldn't let it go without saying here in our family blog...

Someone turned 35 today. Someone's 35 birthday candles leaked their wax onto the requested angel food cake.  Someone's wife is amazing & picked off all the wax before serving it up.  Someone is loved.

Happy Birthday, JC!
I'm a crafty person (thanks, Mom, & shout-out to Grandma up in Heaven!), which is both good and bad.  It's good because it gives me something to do on the most boring of days, but bad because I become a little obsessed about it quite often.  Take this last move of ours... I put my beloved boxes of glass beads in the hands of the movers... they were neatly compartmentalized into matching colors when they left my house at Ft. Hood, but upon arrival at my house at Ft. Detrick, they were all mixed up. The horror!!!  So I spent 2 hours sorting them back into their color piles recently... obsessed much?  Yes, I thought so, too.

One of the craft projects that I've made in the past & wanted to make more of was vintage button bracelets.  I used to love pilfering through my grandma's coffee can of buttons, so I always have my eyes peeled for cool ones.  Before I found this project in a beading magazine, though, they always just stayed in that coffee can.  No more!  I present to you, the latest in my vintage button bracelet project line!


Awww, look, just my size!

Close-up of some of the buttons... including sweet buffalo nickel buttons!

And nifty-keen, I have one of the buttons featured in the tutorial!

I can't wait to make more projects like these, but for now?  My hands hurt!  I may be crafty, but I don't have the nimblest of fingers.  It ain't easy being a Yeti.   ;)

It's no secret (well, maybe YOU don't know, but... it's no SECRET) that I've always had throat problems... I got a particularly memorable case of strep throat back in 4th grade that made me miss school for like 2 weeks and take "horse pills" for a month beyond... I remember Mr. Couch being shocked at how big these pills were!  Tonsillitis, laryngitis, you name it, I was frequently sick with it.  Once I hit adulthood, though, I kinda stopped having throat issues for awhile... it was more a sinus thing after that, though I have mini-reprieves from sinus issues, too, depending on our geographical location at the time...

My throat issues have returned, though, and with a vengeance.  I've had strep throat 3 times this year already, a terrible case of tonsillitis after that, and my tonsils still aren't back to normal after 2 rounds of antibiotics this last go 'round.  They're still swollen (although not red or sore anymore), the left one is touching my uvula, and I find myself gagging and having trouble swallowing thanks to that... I saw a doc yesterday, though, who referred me to an ENT.  I get to have a tonsillectomy, 'cause I'm 6, not 32!  After all these years of doctors threatening to do it and just dropping the ball, or not wanting to deal with it, or not having insurance to pay for it, I finally, at 32, get to have a tonsillectomy!
Now, don't get me wrong, adult tonsillectomies are apparently no joke.  You bleed more, it's more painful, and it's a longer recovery time... but I am SO excited to get these useless balls of flesh cut out of my head... I'm assuming that I'll have my adenoids removed, too... could it be??  Could I finally be able to breathe better?  Could I finally be able to sleep better?  Stop snoring?  Avoid throat infections!?!

Remind me I was this gung-ho about it when I'm whining and crying about how bad it is and begging for my mother... ;)

Apprehensive? Huh? No way!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Because our first trip to Washington DC had been so miserable with Ian in tow, JC and I made the executive decision that any future trips would be taken 2 at a time (meaning 1 would stay at home with Ian while the other took Hannah to the city)... so yesterday, Hannah and I took our first trip to DC alone!

We got up before the chickens and headed to catch the train in Shady Grove... the train was full of Washington Capitals hockey fans, so I had already determined that we should probably stay away from downtown... then, at one of the other stops before we got to the Metro Center station, people that were going to DC for an AIDS Walk loaded up.  Whoops, guess we should stay away from Pennsylvania Avenue, too.  :p

When we got off the train, we consulted our handy-dandy map, then headed to Ford's Theater.  It's fascinating!  I had been there before, back in the early 90's when I went with Mr. Shaw's group between 8th and 9th grade, but to experience it as an adult was pretty dang awesome.  They've redone the museum, and it's amazing.  They now house the pillow that has Lincoln's blood on it in the museum itself (it had been in the Peterson House across the street, where they took him after he was shot)... and they have the actual gun that fired the shot.  Pretty amazing stuff.  See?

Afterwards, some nice ladies took our picture outside the theater... because I took theirs for them!  :)

We took off for Constitution Avenue, with our ultimate goal being to hit the Lincoln Memorial... along the way, Hannah decided she felt strong enough to uproot the Washington Monument...

She felt bad, though, so she put it back... ;)  Unfortunately, while our efforts to skip the AIDS Walk and Capitals hockey crowds were successful, our efforts to skip the 10.02.10 One Nation Working Together march on the capitol weren't.  Thankfully, it WAS a peaceful march, and thankfully, we managed to avoid the actual march itself, but it was an experience for we small-town girls from Texas!  The Lincoln Memorial area looked like a scene out of Forrest Gump, though, so we didn't make it all the way down there... we'll have to hit it our next trip...

We opted to eat an over-priced hot dog, then, and checked out the American History and Natural History Museums, walked through a few memorials, and then came on back to good ole Frederick.  Perhaps, later today, we'll check out Frederick's Oktoberfest festivities with Daddy and Ian, but for now, we're just a momma and a daughter, who are super-silly, and enjoying our time here in the big M-D!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We're trying to find a new norm, now that all of our household items are here & we're unpacked... JC should start his job in earnest next week (he's been on permissive TDY to get our household business squared away, which has been nice, don't get me wrong, but...) ... and I think we're ALL ready!  :p

Hannah started school, and is doing as well as to be expected.  Socially, she's sound.  Academically, she's getting there.  This school seems pretty advanced, and she's clamoring to catch up to where these kids are, learning all the lingo and the teacher's processes, but I feel confident that she'll continue to do great.  She's riding the bus for the first time ever, and loves it.  She is antsy to get out of the house in the morning to walk to the bus stop alone... I can see it from our front windows, so she's not REALLY alone, but shhhhh.... don't tell her!  :)

And then there's Ian... he will start part-day pre-K this Friday at the CDC here on post... it's going to cost a bit of money, but how much is my sanity worth... really.  :p  He needs the interaction with other children, and I need the time to rest or clean or whatever else I can come up with.  I'm ready!  :)

So, there ya go!  We're "Home Sweet Home" finally, and can't wait to venture out more in this absolutely gorgeous part of America!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

So we've been in Maryland for exactly 5 days... and you might be saying, "How on Earth could you have had enough time to collect preliminary thoughts on your new locale??"

We haven't had phone, internet, or cable TV in those 5 days, people.  We've explored.  We've experienced.  We've stared all agog at the Marylanders in their prime, and have laughed and/or cried at their antics.  Trust me.  We've had plenty of time to develop thoughts.  :p

First, I must brag on my family... it is no easy feat to drive two vehicles, slogged down with the "absolute necessities" that you don't want the packers to take away and/or they aren't authorized to move (such as the toiletries, batteries, & light bulbs of your life), with 2 children.  I kept whispering to myself, "Thank God we don't have pets!  Thank God we don't have pets!" as we sped through the 8 states & 3 days it took to get to here.  It could've been horrendously excruciating... after all, Ian's only been potty-trained for a short 5 months & Hannah's NEVER been known for her quiet traveling skills.  We managed, though, and they were FANTASTIC.  I tried to make the trip as fun as I could for Hannah, who is now old enough to appreciate things... one bright spot was when we were leaving Springfield, MO on our 2nd day of travel and she read a sign that said, "Come visit our Vacuum Museum!" She read it aloud, and I said, "Hannah, we'd totally go there, but I heard it sucks."  *rimshot*  She didn't get my joke, of course, 'til she thought about it a second... but I guarantee you that she'll remember it and use it on her friends.  ;)

So, I digress.  We were trucking along and doing fine... yes, we took our time to get here, but that was intentional since we didn't know how well they'd wind up doing, AND it is EXHAUSTING to drive that far!!  I don't know how truck drivers do it (well, I KNOW how they do it, since my daddy was one back in the day, but... anywho)... we pulled into Frederick mid-afternoon on the 3rd day after experiencing the most beautiful, yet excruciating descent from the Alleghenies (I guess that's what they were... haven't really filled myself in on ALL the geographic points in the area)... we checked into a motel and immediately set out to see what was going on... this town was founded in 1745, which baffles me... BEFORE the nation was a nation!  Therefore, the streets in the historic downtown area are | this wide | which is slightly harrowing when your husband is driving his big ole Texas truck in front of you... :p

We have yet to truly explore Frederick proper, aside from putting our GPS to use in trying to locate this kind of business, or that... but we have done things like hopped into the Kia and gone to Gettysburg, just 'cause we could... hopped on a train and gone into DC, just 'cause we could...

I tell ya, it's surreal to be so close to history.

But it's not all peaches and roses.  For one thing, the Marylanders (I wonder if that's really what they're called??  I say it because it's funny, not because it's accurate!) drive like maniacs.  Even though we're in a relatively calm part of the state, in the sticks, even, they're all balls to the wall when it comes to getting from point A to point B.  I find my "German road aggression" coming back to play... not that I'm unsafe, not that I'm feeling road ragey... I'm just more aggressive.  It's kill or be killed out here, after all!  We're amused with the level of obviousness to the road signs, too.  There are signs that are so specific, they're amusing.  "Left Turn Yield on Red. Left Turn Permitted After Stop" is probably my favorite... but there are others that I can't get in my head right now... It's also amusing how we can go from literally driving in an urban setting to farmland, complete with cows, in a matter of blocks.  Hannah's school is one of those areas... pretty, prim, and proper respectable neighborhood, next door to moo-cows.  :p

All-in-all, though, we're enjoying our new digs and our new surroundings. We're happy that there's tons to do on the fly, especially since JC is one of those "I'm bored" types... we have learned, though, that Ian is still a little too young to enjoy the urban exploration/history lessons that our area offers, so we're going to have to tag-team those excursions a little bit.

Our household goods arrive on Wednesday, and then I'll be swimming in paper and boxes and furniture... can't wait.  My house looks like a refugee camp with all the air mattresses and folding furniture.  :p

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I lied... I said you were not going to hear from me 'til I was in Maryland, but I'm still in Texas.  I forgot to update on the whole carpet cleaning charge debacle from move-out at Ft. Hood.  We were very upset about it, but as it turned out, we only owed $59.  Score.  Some times things DO work out.  :p

PCS Leave...

We're currently on PCS leave, and  mere days away from our trek to Maryland... while I don't look forward to the drive, I am ready to get to our new house and begin life anew!!

You just don't know how much the "things" in your life contribute to your overall happiness 'til you're not around them!  I want to make jewelry, but don't have my stuff to do it, and am fighting my urge to go buy new stuff to make it with!  :p

Next time you hear from me, I'll be a Marylander by name, but still a Texan through-and-through!

Friday, August 20, 2010

T-Minus 1 Week!

We are astounded by how quickly JC's out-processing is going!  He says he keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop, because it always does... hoping this time things will just go our way!  Lord knows it is time for that!!  :p

The worst thing that's happened lately is that me and the kids got strep throat AGAIN.  This is Ian's first time, I guess, but the 2nd bout for me and Hannah this year (Hannah's had a 3rd throat infection that wasn't strep).  Ugh!  We're doing our rounds of antibiotics, though, and hoping to nip it in the bud before the real fun starts next week!

My nephew Jax joined us for a few nights... a first for us all!  It went very well, and I'm so happy that it did!  My kids will get to visit with him more next week while we're being packed up before our leave starts...

Then?  Maryland bound!  I don't look forward to the drive at all, though...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Down Side...

Kassie here...

JC came in last night after stopping by the housing office to give them our notice... they provided him the paperwork detailing their standards for cleanliness for final inspection, and they're not unheard of... except they want us to strip down the tile floors to a dull finish (uh, we didn't wax them, people!  YOU did!) and will charge us $30 a room for carpet cleaning.  Yeah, we could get the carpets cleaned for cheaper, but they require it to be done at least 72 hours prior to final inspection, and our household goods won't be picked up 'til the day before!  Um, no!

It's a scam, of course... it's privatized housing, and they have to get us in SOME manner.  I just find it utterly disgusting that my husband is fighting for THEIR freedom, so they can have the right to glean even more of his hard-earned money... 

I'm trying to remain positive about it all, of course, but it really irritates me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And so it begins... again.

Kassie here...

One of the most daunting things about being a military family is the PCS.  That's "Permanent Change of Station," for you civilian-types... in laymen's terms, a move to a new post.

My first PCS occurred back in 2005, when JC was at AIT (or Advanced Individual Training).  Hannah was 3 and we were living in Piedmont, OK.  I was new to the whole military thing, and I remember being absolutely mortified.  As it is now, I don't remember much of the process... just that it was a pain in the butt to go to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma City and set up the move.  The lady was throwing around acronyms (much like I'm doing to you guys now), and I was literally shaking inside.  We set a date & I waited with baited breath for that date to roll around.  I missed my husband madly, and just wanted our family to be complete again.

When the movers arrived at our little duplex with this gigantic truck, my head started to spin, and it really didn't stop 'til our stuff was packed up and on that truck.  It amazed me.  My mother-in-law came to help me keep Hannah entertained, and as soon as the moving truck left (promising my household goods would arrive in Augusta, GA by the week's end), we hit the road in our two cars.

We got to Augusta the next day and only had to rough it for one night before our stuff arrived.  It was amazing!  Not having to schlep all of our stuff up and down the 20 or so stairs between the parking lot and our apartment in the sweltering GA heat???  BLISS!  I know the movers hated me, but whatever. They were getting paid.  :p

The move to Germany was a little more daunting.  We wouldn't see our stuff for weeks or months, and I'm a little too OCD to deal with that sort of thing.  I got over it, though.  Moving back was even more daunting, since we lived in a 4 story townhouse-type abode, and I had an infant... I couldn't possibly keep my eyes on all the movers at once (and thusly, had some stuff come up missing... but we had no proof, so... blah).  It's all worth it, though, to not have to do all the packing and loading and unpacking.

It's been three years since I've had the military involved in our moves, though.  Yes, we've moved twice in those 3 years, but they weren't government-sanctioned moves, so... I had to do all that stuff by myself (which I do NOT enjoy).

We got orders to Maryland yesterday, and got word today that our stuff will be packed up on 25 August.  Now, I find myself panicking and looking around at everything.  I need to get some large Ziploc baggies to bag up some of the smaller items, start segregating the things I know they won't pack (like candles, chemicals, etc.) or the things we need to take with us instead of letting them pack 'em (like certain toys, clothes, etc.).

I've got a lot to do in the next two weeks, much of which I can't do 'til right before.  It's going to be a crazy few weeks!

And then I see pictures like this one (of downtown Frederick, MD), and can't wait to get to a new place and explore and photograph it and make it my own, like a true Army spouse would!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Places We've Been

Since JC joined the Army in January 2005, we have been to 3 technical "duty stations."  First, we moved to Ft. Gordon, GA while he finished AIT.  Then, in November 2005, we moved to Landstuhl, Germany.  We should've been there for 3 years, but there was a glitch in the system and we left after 2 years to move back to the U.S.  Our third (& current) duty station was Ft. Hood, TX in Killeen.  While we've enjoyed being so close to family, we're ready to get the heck outta Killeen!  We're currently awaiting orders to move to our fourth duty station:  Ft. Detrick, MD (in Frederick).   We're pretty excited to get Daddy back into a non-deployable unit and to get really close to Washington D.C. & be within reasonable driving distance to exciting places like NYC!

We will miss our families, of course, but such is life in the military!  Look out, East Coast!  The Bennett Four will be there soon!  Brace yourself!
Testing the mobile blogging feature... Please ignore... ;)

Welcome to Our Adventures!

Welcome to our blog!  While Kassie has had a private blog for a decade via other portals, we decided to start a public blog to document our family's world-wide adventures.  We are a military family, & are embarking on yet another journey to a new place far away from our homeland (Texas!) & extended families.

So sign up for updates or just come see us whenever you can!  We hope you enjoy our little stories & tidbits!