Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Essential find.

So this morning at 9 a.m. I was on Pinterest, as I often am at 9 a.m., and I discovered this blog.

Stop. Are you on Pinterest? You should be. My name is amyellebull. Go find me.

Ok. Resume.

Anyway, I found Healthy Mama, Healthy Baby and, although the blog seemed like it would be of no use to me, she has about 7 million recipes for freezer meals! HEALTHY freezer meals with LITTLE OR NO sodium!! She spends about 3 hours one day a month just cooking and prepping for freezer meals for the entire month. I can't tell you how useful this is going to be for Art and I once the school year starts. I've shied away from learning how to use a crock pot because the only recipes I ever saw consisted of pouring a can of salsa or some kind of soup over chicken and letting it cook. I mean no offense if you cook this way, but that kind of thing just isn't my style. I'm perfectly content to spend 2 hours roasting a whole chicken and making everything from scratch if that's the healthiest, tastiest option.

But with these recipes, I can have healthy and tasty and easy! I cook mostly every day, but sometimes I run out of time or Art comes home too late, etc., and we have to resort to frozen pizzas, breakfast for dinner (ugh! I don't even like breakfast for breakfast!), or going out. I love that I have some new options now, and I totally love the idea of spending a few Saturdays (when we can't go out to the lake anymore, of course) immersed in cooking, and the rest of the Saturdays immersed in sewing.

Anyway, just thought I'd share! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lazy mealplanning

I have a whiteboard on our refrigerator that I use to write important things for the week: when Art's going to be on cross country, when we have special plans like going out of town, when to expect Art home for dinner, etc. I try, really, to also put up what's for dinner that day, but due to math deployment (I'm back! More on that later) it's fallen by the wayside. Let me, however, tell you the main difference between my husband and me:

When I'm out of town, Art eats grilled chicken and steamed vegetables and works out twice as much.
When Art's out of town, I eat egg drop ramen, frozen pizza, and cereal and sew twice as much.

There. Now that mystery is solved.

Anyway, in my free moments today between working on things for my classes and trying to organize the house a little, I decided what we're going to eat this week, at least until Friday when Art goes--you guessed it--cross country. But when he's gone, I'll try to eat grilled chicken and steamed vegetables and work out twice as much. I really will.

Here's what's cookin' at the Bulls' this week...

Monday: Honey Butter Baked Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes Sweet potatoes are in season in Del Rio right now and I know they are super healthy, so I bought a ton. This, combined with roast chicken, which should probably be named the Bull Family Dinner Standby, sounds delicious.

Tuesday: Venetian Shrimp and Scallops I can only buy shellfish frozen around these parts, but the frozen fish case at the commissary had some bay scallops that looked better than what I usually see at the Walmarts, so I bought them. I'm planning to serve this over basmati rice.

UPDATE: Made this last night (7/26), but, to make it healthier, served it over steamed spaghetti squash instead of rice to 86 the carbs. Have you discovered spaghetti squash yet? I live and die for pasta and actually don't miss it when I sub spaghetti squash. Try it! Oh, and I didn't add saffron. Who, pray tell, can afford saffron?! It was a killer recipe.

Wednesday: Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes To accompany something on the grill, possibly pork chops or a pork loin? Maybe chicken breasts in the oven if Art comes home late, because I'm one of those wives that can't start a gas grill without fearing for my life. Our next one will be charcoal so I can feel like a contributing member of our marriage. What's that, you say? Lighting a gas grill is twice as easy as lighting a charcoal one, and if I can light charcoal, my silly irrational mind is the only thing stopping me from lighting a gas one? Yes, I know. I do everything backward. I also don't know how to use a crock pot, make pancakes or correctly sew on a button, but I bake my own bread and taught myself how to quilt. Hi.

Thursday: I don't have a plan for this day. Sometimes we hit one of the two sports bars in town for dinner on Thursdays, and sometimes we scavenge.

Then, it's just me and Peanut for the weekend! In an interesting turn of events, I'm taking the 8-12 mathematics exam on Saturday morning, just in case I'm teaching high school this year. Many things are up in the air right now with my job (fortunately, one of those things is not whether or not I'll have a job, I just don't know where or what yet!), so I'm kind of just reaching out for some insurance. C'est la vie!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Measure in Love

It's two months past, but I feel the need to post about our first year of marriage. Because of my job, I didn't blog nearly as much as I wanted, and I let May 8th slip by without officially dedicating a post to it. And it deserves one!

So... how do you measure a year of marriage?

1 perfect day, complete with 40 mph winds.

1 really long veil.

10,000 whispered secrets.

10,000 laughs.

A million smiles.

A LOT of sunflowers.

7 incredible days in Great Exuma, The Bahamas.

3 rings, symbols of our promises and love for each other. (Er, make that 4 rings)

1 move, just for me.

1 trip across the threshhold!

52 weekends at (or wishing we were at) Lake Amistad.

A thousand sushi rolls. I don't think that's an exaggeration.
(Our standbys: Strawberry Roll, Jen Roll, and Spicy Tuna Roll from Sushi Zushi)

Less than a thousand sake bombs.

1 ridiculous, impulsive surround sound system purchase that we don't regret.

3 trips to the attic.

1 admittance to my husband of my irrational fear of ladders.

1 first job.

Many bouquets of flowers.

Two big races, the Tough Mudder and the Adventure Race.

1 baby niece!

1 amazing, adorable, lovable dog.

1 billion "You are so cute. You are so small. I love you so much. You are my best dog friend"

A handful of nights spent apart.

Many, many kisses good morning and good night.

A dozen "I'm sorrys" and "I forgive yous"

Three scorpions.

1 tarantula.

Hundreds of bottles of wine.

1 big item on our to-do list. (buying a boat!)

1 year, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes of being grateful that I married my best friend and the only man I have ever truly loved. I feel lucky every single day that I am Mrs. Art Bull. I can't wait to see what Year #2 brings for us!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Math Deployment - Days 1-3

These next few weeks have been lovingly dubbed by Art and I as Math Deployment. Being married to a military man, you'd think HE'D be the one traveling for weeks on end for work. For IPs, especially FAIPs, that does happen very often, and when it does, it's just over a weekend. I can kiss that goodbye once Art gets assigned an MWS and gets deployed, so I am grateful for these days.

Acronym Key...
IP = Instructor pilot, what Art does.
FAIP = First assignment instructor pilot. First assignment out of pilot training is to be an instructor. That's what Art does.
MWS = Major weapons system. Real airplane. :)

Anyway, I will be gone until the 21st, traveling around what seems like the entire state of Texas. Here's a rundown:
  • July 5-8: San Angelo for the Texas Regional Math Collaborative Summer Institute I. This is a grant I got from the state of Texas and ESC Region XV to be a Math Mentor at my school (I'm one of one from my school who applied, yeah!). So far, we have spent two entire days on one fraction problem. It's pretty intense, but I'm glad to be brushing up on my math for next year!
  • July 8-10: Austin to hang out with our friends Tony and Betsy! We have all lived in the same state for over a year and haven't all met up. I'm SO excited for sushi!!!
  • July 10-15: Back to San Angelo for Summer Institute II of the TMC
  • July 15-21: Up to Grapevine for the CAMT - Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching. Two other teachers from my school are going, but since I'll already be in San Angelo, I'm just driving up myself. But at least my district is paying for food for this one!
I made a little map to chart my travels:

In total, I will spend 21.5 hours driving and put 1,209 miles on Job the Jeep. Speaking of Job, the air conditioner officially hit the dust once the average temp hit 95 degrees, which was in like, March. To be honest, I could do without air conditioning forever, even in the 100+ temps, so I hardly notice that the A/C in my car doesn't work. In Del Rio, I'm only in the car for 15 minutes at the most, and I love driving with the windows down. I really don't ever see getting it fixed, although Art might insist for the one or two days a year he has to drive it to work. Other than that, Job is working like a charm. As long as I remember the sunscreen for the 2 hour drives with the top down!

Once we were back from Mackinac Island (after a one hour drive to the Columbus airport, a two hour flight to Detroit, a three hour flight to San Antonio, and a three hour drive home), I had about an hour to unpack and repack for my two and a half hour drive to San Angelo.

Back story: Last summer, before I was gainfully employed but newlywed, I would wake up with Art sometimes and Peanut and I would see him off to work. Totally 1950s, but Art and I are pretty sure that's the decade we were meant for anyway, what with his good ol' boy mentality and my affinity for just wanting to stay home all day and needlepoint myself to death. Sometimes, when I leave first for work, he does the same thing. Let me tell you, I did NOT want to leave when I saw this:

But I did. I may rag on Texas sometimes, but driving in West Texas is actually quite lovely, especially at sunset. Here's my favorite spot, Lake Amistad, as I crossed over the bridge:

This picture doesn't really do the sunset justice, but I was loving my little road trip!

Since I'm going to be in San Angelo for so long, I got a hotel room with a kitchenette so that I wouldn't have to go out for every meal. Funding, plus the fact that I'm doing the low-carb thing for a while, means that I need to cook my own meals while I'm away. It's little, but it'll do!

Of course, I had to bring a few essentials to my temporary home:

My tea kettle, of course. I drink at least two cups of tea a day, so this was a must.

I mustn't forget that I still have a Masters to earn.

An audio book for the long drive! I'm only a few chapters in. It's kind of hard to hear with all the wind (and Job's volume dial is broken too), but so far it's pretty good.

There's about a square foot of floor space in my hotel room to do this, but I have made a visit to Tony Horton this trip. Art says I should bring my laptop down to the fitness room here, but yeah right. As if working out by myself isn't already humbling enough!

The training is going well, although I'll be anxious to see how tomorrow goes! I miss Art and Peanut though. I'm glad Math Deployment is only three weeks long! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mackinac Island!

Last weekend we were in Mackinac Island, Michigan for my college friend Lauren's wedding. As anyone who lives far from their hometown knows, going anywhere for just a weekend is exhausting and not much of a vacation at all. In order to help that issue, and spend some time with our family, we flew into Ohio on Tuesday, up to Mackinac for the weekend, and back to Columbus/Dayton until yesterday.
Of course, there are no motorized vehicles allowed on Mackinac Island, so our options were either to fly into mainland Michigan and take a ferry (yuck!), or fly on a tiny plane from mainland Michigan. Art, hearing the word "fly," instantly began researching airplanes for rent and how he could fly us from Columbus to Mackinac himself. Several months later, we talked Jeff and Mary (Art's parents) into flying with us and off we went.

Let me just say that I can't believe I actually did this. I'm not the best flier.

There's Art and the headphones we wore so we could all talk in the plane. My brain was NOT making the connection that Art does this every day of his life and is very good at it, and therefore I have nothing to worry about.

This is the hangar where our plane lived. At this point, I was about to throw up just at the fact that the car we were in was the same size as the plane!

I asked Jeff and Mary how they felt about Art being solely responsible for their lives for the next 2.5 hours... Mary's not so sure! 

All kidding aside... I was so glad to be back in Ohio.
There's our little plane!!
The hubs and I in front of the plane, just to give you a frame of reference. Tiny!
This was my view from my seat. Hello.
And this was the best I could do for barf bags. Just in case! (I didn't need them)

I'm ready to go! Kind of.

Art talking on the radio... I guess he actually does know what he's doing. It was actually surreal seeing him talk on the radio and flip all the switches and whatever else he did to make the plane fly. I never saw him practice or anything, so it was kind of like all of a sudden we got in a plane and he was good at it. Art will tell you that four consecutive years of 12+ hour days probably counts as practice.

This is the view from the air! After I got over my nerves to see it, of course.

There's Mackinac Island! It's the one closest to the top of the photo.

Here are some pictures of the beautiful island:


Mackinac Island is famous for its fudge... I loved this! It was 4th of July weekend, after all! And PS, the fudge was awesome. And those are peanut butter covered Milk Bones for... guess who! I was missing my Peanuts the whole time, so I had to bring him back a prize! :)


 This is where the wedding took place. The weather could not have been more beautiful!

Uhhhh speaking of beautiful... CHECK OUT LAUREN!! She was seriously the most beautiful bride. I could not take my eyes off of her dress all night!!

A few snapshots of the wedding. I love the one where Lauren is looking down. Such a gorgeous ceremony!

Here's where the reception took place. Beautiful!

And here's my hubs and me in front of the water. He's always the best date to weddings. :)

We had such an amazing time. I was so blessed in college to have some amazing girlfriends to party with, and now I have amazing girlfriends to celebrate life with. The eight of us live in five different cities in four different states but have managed to keep in great touch since college. They are such a great group of non-gossipy, kind-hearted, fun girls, and I feel like I can always be myself with them. And look how hot they are!!

Erin (the blonde next to me) is getting married in Kentucky in September, so we get to do this all over again in just a few months! I can't wait. There's no wedding like a 108 wedding!! ;)