Cherry Bloosoms

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our Trip out West

This is us starting out on our trip to the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. We had a blast! This photo of us in front of an iron memorial resembling Crazy Horse was taken at Custer's Last Stand in southeast Montana.

More to come.....

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Homecoming Party

We surprised Adam with a homecoming party on July 1st. He thought we were just going over to celebrate my dad's birthday (June28th), but when he drove up, he saw all the cars on the street and said, "Who's house is that?" I laughed and said, "haha, Sorry honey. I love you." Adam goes, "Is that my dad?! What's he doing here?! And Shelby too?! ha." And those sweet eyes of his misted up and got all red. We had about 40-50 friends and family. Thanks for taking pictures Mrs. Pat!
And here is a picture of Adam when we first got back to our house from outprocessing in Gulfport. Lots of smiles :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's been waaaayy too long

I have not posted since the end of May. Wow! Summer flew by.
-school ended
-trip to the mountains
- getting ready for Adam to come home
-going to get Adam in MS!!!
-family came in town for the 4th
-long road trip out west
-hand surgery
-Adam's new job
-job searching
.....did I forget something? Oh, the reintegration phase. Well, that part of deployment is just now hitting as we have slowed down and gotten in a routine of things.

Thus, I have had time to read, clean and get stuff done. I have decided to update my book list, so check it out on the top tab!!! and post the rest of my new year 2011 resolutions to resolve.
We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Our homecoming is coming soon. The countdown has begun!!! Well, actually it started a few weeks ago.

I haven't been one to keep up with the time past or upcoming. To be truly honest, I'm okay with that and it's been much better to only start counting when I can see the end of the tunnel. Yay!!

Last night, I watched Suprise Homecomings on TLC and just watched the youtube video pasted below. You'll have to click on the link since my video won't upload well on here. Be sure to watch the little girl and Santa Claus at minute 1:30ish. Grab a tissue.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day: a day to remember

Alabama National Cemetary

Truck from Vietnam war

The way I have spent the day to remember the fallen the past two years has been to attend the Blue Star Salute presentation at American Village in Montevallo. It is a great place and beats any bbq or other Memorial Day "tradition." This has been our tradition and I'm proud to be part of it. Thank you for serving.

Right before the chinook took off. We missed getting to go inside.

In memory of the fallen and support of our troops currently serving.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Levon enjoys his stay

I have enjoyed keeping my sister and brother-in-law's dog this weekend. He really enjoys the back yard. After church it was just too hot to go run around outside so we came back in and worked on some tricks. (And I found out where Levon's old bone from August was and that you can't walk barefoot out there w/ the all the stickers). I will have to post a video clip on my pictures website. :) He's since taken a nap while I emailed and is now out enjoying the breeze in the shade. And my feet still sting.........

....a few hours later, Levon waits for me "sitting down," yes sitting down, as I come in from the movies (Water for Elephants was pretty good). That doesn't last long. As soon as I step foot in the den, Levon jumps up in excitement and goes outside to play for a short while. As we settled down for the night, Levon came to my aide, as a sweet dog should, and nuzzled his head under my dangling hand. Sweet dog. He enjoyed watching the end of the National Memorial Day Concert with me and is now passed out on the floor asleep (see pic below). Guess someone likes to stick to their schedule?!

I think it's safe to say that Levon is enjoying his stay with Auntie Valerie.

P.S. He and his collar are clean and fresh; now that was a sight to see yesterday! Now if we could only do something with that breath.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friends and family lunch

Making taboleeh is no piece of cake. However, I now have a greater appreciation for all of those who have made it for our holiday lunches in the past, or food festivals or Tuesday night dinners for that matter. What is a lunch at Aunt Tricia's on Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving with out taboleeh? Incomplete. Let's just hope mine turns out alright!
That's A LOT of onions. What do you do with left over green onion? I'm taking suggestions.
Parsley from the backyard. That's A LOT of parsley!! Next time, I'll take a before and after picture of the bush. And the best part was what I used for outdoor lighting to pick it tonight.....think "Waterboy."
Packed and ready to go for tomorrow. All but the dressing is made and chopped (minus Aunt Tricia's fresh mint). Don't worry, there are 4 more lemons for the juice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's never too late to party

Taking it back old school....Mary D and friends at her 7th birthday party in February. I even made it on the floor sporting the inline skates! Not gonna post that pic though.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Some Family Photos

The Mattocks Crew at Morgan's Tavern in New Bern, NC

Me with Adam's niece and cousins in Gulf Shores, AL

The Blanchard Cousins

The Blanchard Grands

Mom's Sweet Seattle sibs


The purple apron was the 2nd apron I've made. My friend, Lucy, loves purple. It was the perfect b'day gift. The hounds tooth apron with red was made last week for my sister, as she is a Bama fan. I am an Auburn fan, remember. This was a big step for me. Not really though, as I'm not a big "ya-ya" about that stuff. Note the signature "DZ" marking. I couldn't figure out how to do my initials in a simple hidden stitch. Love my pink n green ladies!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Celebrating One Year!!

We made it! We celebrated our 1 year anniversary yesterday. As hard as some holidays have been during deployment, this one was the easiest. I think my codependency of staying busy kicked in to help. Nonetheless, the day's activities were very memorable and it was a happy day! We enjoyed reminiscing, skyping and sharing the day even miles away. March 6th 2011 was a great day!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gravy Recipe

Easy Gravy Recipe (adopted and adapted from somewhere on the internet)
Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
•4 tablespoons butter
•2 1/2 cups turkey broth ( I use chicken broth)
•onion, celery or garlic ( I sautéed onion in the butter and added garlic salt)
•4 tablespoons flour
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Melt butter in pan over medium heat.
2. Add flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, you want the mixture to turn light brown but not burn.
3. Add broth, salt and pepper and continue to stir for 3 minutes, sauce should be getting thicker.
4. Move to serving bowl.
5. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Gravy Train

So the gravy train may not be the art of cooking, for me at least, but this was an easy recipe to make. As a first timer making gravy, it was an easier feat than I imagined. I've always been scared to make gravy. Here's why....
1. Unhealthy
2. How can something just thicken like that
3. I don't make things that require gravy
Well, when you make a dish that was supposed to be a soufle and it turns out as cornbread need gravy. voila! Not bad for my first time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Little did we know

These two trees mean a lot to me. I have walked under them in the spring, summer, fall and winter; bare, full of toilet paper, shading the sun from my heat-stricken body, or covering the ever so lightly falling rain. So I was totally shocked and taken aback by the recent incident of the twin oaks on Toomer's Corner. I will never look at them the same. I actually grieved, yes, grieved a sad sad day when I heard the news of them possibily not making it. And this is in all seriousness.

I took the previous picture on Jan. 22nd without knowing why they looked so bare. Was it because all the hype from the recent national championship was 3 blocks away in Jordan-Hare Stadium at that exact moment anticipating the next rolling of Toomer's, or did the oaks just seem to be lacking something? We know now, unfortunately.

All I have to say is Bodda getta bodda getta bodda getta bah, rah-rah-rah, sis-boom-bah! Weegle, weegle War damn Eagle! Kick 'em in the butt big blue! Hey!
Oh, and WAR EAGLE!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

As Sure as Spring

I see small specs of green. Green sprouting out from some cold dark days. I glance up a bit to notice that the pink of the forsythia in the front bed has begun
to bud, oh, and even open up for a peek or two. A peek at what? The new season! The season is SPRING! Probably my favorite season, and not because of baseball, though I'm trying to make my way down to the Plains this weekend to see my Tigers play their first series.

I've been in this season before and I've missed it. But you know what? Just as I have been in a new season of my life this past year, I am about to change over to a new one. A positive, beautiful down hill slope of what is to come. The return of my sweet sailor! The return of our beautiful yard! The return of two together as one! What can bloom from that, God only knows. Lots of love and amazement.

I am always amazed at the beauty of flowers and how they can completely die and come back again. Have I completely died and come back? Died to myself and come back as a someone wanting and hoping and praying to live more for others this year? I think so. I hope so. I pray so.

Last weekend I helped out at the youth church retreat. For selfish reasons; I admit at first I volunteered to be there as much as I could to bar the loneliness if only for a few days. One youth spoke words of encouragement, then another and so on. They laughed, cut up, prayed, sang and worshiped. And yes, I joined them. I was spoken to. I was rewarded and I got something out of it. "GO, NOW." Go, now...into the world, not as you are but whose you are and what you are to do, serve. Clearly, I must GO.

It had been awhile since I volunteered with the youth. It had been a season in my life, but it has returned. Deployment is a season in our life. My hubby will return. As sure as spring is around the corner, he will return. I travel through seasons in my life, but I will God and to serving others.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot" Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

~This photo was taken a few years ago along the Mall in Washington, DC~

Friday, February 11, 2011

Snow in the morning

Here are pics of our house yesterday morning! So pretty. And the nice thing is that the snow did not inhibit daily activities.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More snow in Alabama

So the prediction is just about on the mark tonight. They said 3 inches and it's been snowing for the past 5 hours and I can measure about 2 inches or so on the bird house roof and railroad tie bordering the garden. Enjoy! We are!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Changing of the Tides

I finally took down the tree tonight. And I must admit, the tears were not withheld. Even though we made it through the holidays, I was just not ready to take it down yet. Having the tree up seemed more sentimental this year and I really love my/our ornaments. They remind me of places we've been and things that are special and dear to us.

The days have a new feeling to them now. We are HALF WAY THROUGH the deployment!!!! woohoo!!!! . I am trying to stay positive as I know my Adam will be coming home soon. I can see it in sight. It's about to be high gear start preparing for de-deployment mode....whatever that is....maybe that's what I'm feeling.

I really miss my kiddos that I had this fall at school. They just made my day. I really appreciated them while I was there but it's just a different perspective when you step out of where you were and look back in at what you left. I had to leave someones and something great. I would never have left, given the choice though.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Not that domesticated

So, I'm not as domesticated as you would think....ah...hold on a sec as I just remembered I have cooling bread in a pan that needs to come out!

"What do I take it out with and put it on," I just exclaimed and reached for a short spatula and a salad plate. Um, well I got a bigger plate and tried really hard not to let it break in the middle. Oh, and the best part I can brag about is remembering that we have a bread knife. MMMMMMM!!! It's yummy!

So I've decided to get back to cooking more and to try things out of my Rosie the Riveter Celebration Cookbook. We got it down in Montevallo last Memorial Day when we heard some "Rosies" speak. How great they are to have done what they did.....mmm new thought...a new blog on going through the cookbook and the war here on the homefront from a not-so-rosie perspective. Verdicts anyone??

Oh, and did you know that the MINDFULL can be MINDLESS? Yes, I completely washed a load of darks without putting in detergent and realized it as I was putting in my second load today. Oh my gosh! Where was I? I think I was focused on making banana bread, working on my resume and everything else in between.

And to cap it off, this not so domesticated diva pulled out the soft scrub to clean the sink and it was solid. What? Yes, solid. I watered it down because who needs all those strong chemicals anyways. Well, it didn't work. Back to the baking soda and vinegar.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The pink fluff

Here ya go ladies! All of those who wanted to see the pink fluff. It looks great and can easily be moved and look just as great on the white loveseat. Only the round one looks good on the large couch though. P.S. Those are seasonal Christmas coasters on the table.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I think they call it retail therapy

"Sometimes it is good to treat yourself!"

I wish I had this moto when I was outlet shopping today. If I had thought about it, I'd have splurged on the silk Michael Kors paisley dress! I sacrificed and bought something I'd wear more often and something that my honey would love love love instead.

After looking, trying on and comparing sale prices, I decided on some fun, non-traditional pieces. I say, "Sometimes you just have to branch out." Either way, either moto-shopping can do wonders if you don't think about it too much and just have fun and feel good about it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lovin' the fluff

With the change of holidays, I've recently had the urge to redecorate or move things around. Thus....

Deployment=pink pillows for the living room w/o debate. Awesome!
Don't worry; they are antiqued-looking and textured.