Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Three's a Charm

So yesterday was my wedding anniversary with my husband. It wasn't a big celebration...we both had school and work but we still made it memorable. Last year was the first one spent together and my husband went all out for me. You can read about it in my blog post from last year When First Comes Second.  He definitely outdid me.  I got him a pair of sneakers he wanted.  (I usually get him practical's what he likes best.)  And if you read my blog post, you'll see that he threw out surprises all over.  It was a amazing day for me and him both but mostly for me of course lol.

Yesterday was just as amazing in its own way.  We got home around the same time and before I started on our nice dinner, we exchanged our cards and gifts.  Now mind you, we agreed on small gifts since our taxes hadn't come in and bills were due soon.  He opened his gift from me which was the play and charge batteries for his xbox controller.  (Practical as usual lol)  Since he has had his xbox, he keeps a large box of AA batteries next to him to quickly change them out once his controller dies as he's playing.  It's pretty comical to say the least lol.  So I thought I'd bring him current with the xbox rechargeable batteries that also charge as you play.  I opened my gift which was a beautifully handmade picture frame.  I absolutely loved it and rewarded him with a big kiss for his thoughtfulness.

 Sooo...I thought our gift exchanging was done BUT then he lures me into our bedroom to supposedly look at something the pups had done in our room and there on the floor was a big gift bag.  Ugh!  He outdid me again!  So what was my gift you ask?  Well I'm typing on it and I write this blog.  He bought me a MacBook Pro!   I was so shocked and definitely not expecting it.  We had talked about getting me my own since my Dell laptop died on me and I was always taking his MacBook to school.  So either he wanted to surprise me or he was tired of me stealing his LOL. Needless to say I'm satisfied either way.  =)

With that being said, I'm determined to outdo him next year.  I have a whole entire year to plan so we'll see what I come up with as our next anniversary comes closer.

Some more great news, my awesome SL got me out of taking the APFT this morning since I'm already #1 on the OML and just waiting to sign the paperwork.  So my next and last APFT until Fall semester will be on April 12th.  I'm preparing for a 300.  My last record APFT, got a 290.  I want to at least beat that score.

That's it for now.  Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ohhhhh Positive

GREAT NEWS!!!  My contracting packet has officially been turned in.  It should be a matter of days before I'm a officially a contracted cadet.  I can't wait.  I've traveled a long road to get where I am but I'm proud of every minute spent working towards this.

The last thing needed was my blood type.  I got my results yesterday and come to find out I am O+.

Here are some facts about blood types:

  • O positive blood type is the most common blood type in the world.
  • 38% of the world's population is O positive. 
  • Out of that 38%, 53% are of Hispanic decent.
  • O blood types are universal donors meaning all other blood types can receive O blood type for transfusion purposes.
  • One donation of blood can save up to 3 lives.
  • If you are O positive, you can only receive red blood cells from O blood types. O negative can only receive from O negative blood type.  
  • If you are O positive, you can receive plasma from all blood types.

It's nice to know I'm a universal donor but unfortunately I can't donate.  I tried once back in high school and I was deferred permanently because I lived in Germany during 1993.  According to the American Red Cross, "Persons who have spent long periods of time in countries where "mad cow disease" is found are not eligible to donate. "  So long story short, I can never give blood...bummer.  There isn't even a waiver that I know of that I can get so I can be able to give blood.  But there are other things permanently deferred people can do to help support the American Red Cross.

  • Send an eCard inviting friends and family to donate

  • Join us on Facebook, inviting friends to donate or support the cause.

  • Help host a blood drive.

  • Volunteer your time at a blood drive.

  • Make a financial donation to support the mission of the American Red Cross.

  • I plan on volunteering for a blood drive near me soon.  So do what you can readers to help contribute to your community.  Whether it be giving blood and volunteering your services.  =)

    Today is my wedding anniversary with my husband.  I'm not sure what he has planned for me today.  I'm going to cook a nice healthy dinner tonight since my APFT suddenly got moved from Friday to tomorrow.  I also got him a gift which I can't say just yet.  He might check here to peek lol.  I'll give updates later this week.

    I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

    Saturday, March 24, 2012

    SMP vs. Army Scholarship & Tips to Road Marching

    Tip of the Day:  Do not let friends abuse the relationship because at the end of the was only a "thing" to them while you spent so much time and energy to help them.

    One thing I've learned is that you can tell someone time and time again on how to be successful in life but in the end they will choose their own path...whether it is to destruction or just another emotional crutch.  And what have you done except waste your own breath?

    This has happened to me several times with different people but I guess it took that many times to get it through my "thick skull"  (my Dad's old saying) for me to finally see the light.


    Anyways on to another note.  My contract for ROTC is finally unveiling a light at the end of the tunnel.  I never doubted that it would since I have been working hardcore towards getting it.  My medical waiver has finally been approved by Cadet Command.  It only took them almost 4 months! lol  But hey all good things come to those who wait.  =)  I have just one more thing to turn in which is my blood type.  I've gone my whole life without even wondering what my blood type was and now when I need it the most is when I don't have it lol.  Well I went this past week to get my blood taken so my results should be in sometime next week and then I'm done!

    I've been researching lately on the Army scholarship vs. going SMP.  I've learned that you can't do both because the money paying for school comes from the same pocket.  After going through a couple forums I've decided to go with SMP.  I've been wanting the scholarship for a while because I thought I would be getting more money back into my pocket.  Instead, I would actually be double-dipping which is a negative with the Army.  SMP  gives more benefits as well.  Not only do I get tuition assistance (TA), but I get my weekend drill pay on top of the ROTC stipend.  If I did get the scholarship at the end of this semester, I would have to give up my weekend drills which is a good $200+ a month.  With that said, if they offer me the scholarship I will most likely decline it.  It sounds good but it actually limits me.

    So if any of my readers are thinking about doing Army ROTC check out this site to see the differences:

    Another thing I've been doing lately.  I on a new team in ROTC called the Ranger Challenge.  It's a small group of us...only four.  But we've decided to push our limits on PT.  We meet separately from the other cadets to perform a more intense PT session.  The first week was a killer for me.  The three others in the group are PT studs (two guys and a female).  And me...we'll well I'm just average.  I do always score a 270+ on my PT exams but again I'm on a female scale which has different standards for running. So my 16:30 doesn't add up the same on a male scale.  Nevertheless, I'm glad I joined the team because I am getting better at PT...faster and stronger.  The first week, we did a 4 mile road march where I almost died and this past week I did the same road march just fine and even cut my time.

    My boots were a major issue on the first road march.  It caused major blisters on my ankles which stopped me from being able to run to catch up to the group after the third mile.  For the next one, I took everyones' suggestions and combined them.  I'm happy to stay I did amazing on my second road march and I didn't get any blisters but I can't tell you what worked the best.  Here's everything I did to help prevent getting blisters.

    • Buy comfortable boots:  The boots I was using were S.I. summer combat boots.  My husband bought me some new boots though, the Nike Special Field Boots (SFB).  They fit like a sneaker but still have the combat boot appearance.  They are also a lot lighter than S.I. boots.

    • Change the insoles:  not all insoles fit perfectly on everyone's feet.  Even though the Nike SFBs were light and had a nice sneaker fit, the soles were hard on my feet.  I didn't have time to go to the store and buy some new insoles so I grabbed my most comfortable sneakers, took the insoles out and put them in my boots.  What a difference it made!
    • Put Vaseline on your feet: One of my girls was in the Army for 5 years and told me she would always put Vaseline on her feet before a road march and she never got blisters.  I didn't have any Vaseline but Neosporin works the same way so I put that on my hotspots.  (Hotspots are the places where you are more likely to get blisters)
    • Wear a thin second layer of socks: I didn't feel comfortable with another pair of socks because my feet felt too constricted.  Instead I grabbed a pair of nylon knee-highs and put those on under my socks.  They worked great and helped lessen the friction.
    • Get good road marching socks: The thicker the socks, the better.  Most places that sell military clothing will have these type of socks.  They cost about $10+ a pair but I promise, they are definitely worth the buy when it comes to road marching.  I have Fox River socks.  You can buy them straight from their website.  Click here

    I know this all sounds like a lot of things to do but when it comes to your feet, it's all worth it.  Pain is going to happen regardless but at least you can alleviate some of it.

    I hope you enjoyed my tips!  Have a great rest of the weekend!  =)

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    EST, Armory training, and new guns

    So this past week I had my first refresher with M16s, M4s, and SAWs.  It's been about 5 years since I've even shot an automatic rifle so I was pretty nervous.

    On Tuesday we went to Fort Bragg for EST (Engagement Skills Training).  EST is a virtual weapons simulator.  They use real M16s but they have been rigged for electronic use.  So no rounds just an empty magazine in the rifle and you lay out in front of a huge screen.  It was a bit awkward for me.  You don't zero your weapon during this exercise so I was having a hard time centering my targets through my sights and also concentrating on a screen was making my eyes twitch.  Needless to say I didn't pass but I hope I will do better when we go live to do the actual qualifying next weekend.

    On Thursday, we went to Lumberton's National Guard Armory.  We practiced zeroing weapons, clearing them, taking them apart, and doing a weapons check after it's been put back together.  Nothing too bad...we do all of this (except zeroing) when we use weapons with blanks during our FTXs.

    I hope to get some more shooting time in this weekend.  My husband bought us a new shotgun this past week as well.  My neighbors and I are planning to go shooting sometime this week so I figure we'll trade off on our shotgun and their M4.  Sounds like a plan to me! :)

    giving the specs about the SAW

    working with the rifles

    having some fun too!

    make sure to look hardcore lol

    the newest addition to our family :P

    Sweet Basil Cafe

    Hey everyone. Its been almost two weeks since my last post.  I have a lot to catch up up but I will separate them into separate posts since they are all about different subjects.

    So last weekend my husband and I drove out to Southern Pines and spent the morning exploring the downtown area.  We had a acquaintance recommend a small cafe called Sweet Basil to us if we were looking for a good place to eat lunch.  We to the cafe around 10 but it doesn't open until 11:30 am on Saturdays so we walked the shops to kill time.  The downtown area is small but very pretty.  All the shops are locally owned.  Some make quilts, others were small Christian bookstores, we found a hippie/antique style coffee shop called Swank.  I had a delicious coffee there.  It tasted like an Almond Joy.  I also got an oatmeal chocolate and walnut cookie too.  It was delicious!  We got back to the cafe around 11:15 and to my surprise there was already a line of people waiting outside the cafe for it to open.  You could also smell from outside all the amazing aromas coming from the cafe.  We were both starving and mouth watering by the time we sat down to eat.  There isn't a big variety on the menu but you can tell that everything is freshly made there.  Everyday they have a different soup of the day (the only soup option on the menu too).  That day, it was asparagus soup.  This was the first and the BEST asparagus soup I've ever tried.  My husband and I were in heaven with the soup.  I also ordered a margarita pizza and my husband ordered an swiss and roast beef sandwich.  Everything was amazingly fresh.  It's a small mom and pop cafe and you can tell that many of its customers are regulars by the way the customers and waitresses interact.  I really enjoyed outing morning outing.  We plan on doing this again soon.  :)

    Sign outside the cafe

    Asparagus soup

    Margarita pizza

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    Heather's FANTASTIC Grilled Salmon

    Hey everyone!  So today my husband and I went recipe hunting.  We were in the mood for fish so I picked up a 2 lb salmon filet at Harris Teeter.  I'd just like to say that I love this grocery store.  Their meats, produce, and deli are so fresh and even though it is a little pricey the quality is worth the money.  And I still always find great deals there for example:

    • Land O Lakes all natural brown eggs - Reg. $3.49 per dozen
      • On sale BOGO free plus there was a 60 cents off sticky on each carton (did I mention HT doubles your coupons up to 98 cents if you are a VIC member!  that means $1.20 off each!)
      • So I bought two dozen eggs: $6.98 - $3.49 - $2.40 = only $1.09!!!  SCOREEE
    • Smart Balance Milk - Reg. $3.59 each
      • On sale 2/$6 plus I had coupons for $1.50
      • So I got two cartons for $3!  What a steal! =)
    Haha ok ok enough of my couponing testimonies.  So we found a recipe online on called Heather's Grilled Salmon.  It had a lot of great reviews so we decided to give it a try.  The great thing about this recipe is that all the ingredients are things most chef amateurs would have in their pantries (except for the salmon of course).  Here are the ingredients you'll need for the marinade:

    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons lemon pepper
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

    See not so bad.  Here's a TIP: you don't actually need to buy McCormick's version or any other spice brand's version of lemon pepper.  You can make this all on your own with one whole lemon and black pepper to your own taste.  To me, it gives it a fresh and natural taste.  All you have to do now is leave the salmon in the marinade for preferably one hour and then you are ready to grill!  Now the recipe says to grill for 5 minutes on each side.

    If you aren't a great griller (as am I) there are other avenues to still get a great salmon out of this recipe.  My husband and I decided to wrap each filet in foil and broil them in the oven for 10 minutes.  They came out PERFECT!  We added some steamed corn and red mashed potatoes (with sour cream and shredded cheese mixed in) to make it a meal.  Check out our meal below!  I hope you enjoyed today's blog and if you happen to try this recipe let me know!  I'd love to hear how it came out for you.

    Check out the reviews  on the website.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    New blog plans

    Hello everyone.  It's been a while.  I'm taking a new turn with this blog.  I've been talking with my husband lately about what I should blog about.  He says that I should talk about food....well of course he would say that since he LOVES food haha.  I do love to cook but it's not the only I have a passion for.  I love to write,   fellowship with friends, and explore the wonderful things this world has to offer.  There are many ugly things in this world but there are also tons for beautiful things about it as well.  I'd like to educate my readers on what's going on outside our safety bubble here in the United States but I'd also like to unveil the miraculous things that we so often take for granted.

    Anyways to start off a routine of some sort I'm going to dedicate one day out of the week to introducing a new recipe to my readers.  I haven't decided what day that will be yet but my husband is already on board with helping me choose recipes and cooking with me.  =)

    I'm also going to start Fun Fact Fridays.  If I find out any neat info I'll save it for that day to share with all of you.  I hope I can stick with this new routine.  I will continue to do my usual posts as well but I want to make my blog more interesting and useful to my readers.

    Have a blessed day everyone!
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