Bullocks with Butterflie Wings

born to move

Posted in military, moving, parenting by MommyTaco on 31 March 2010

moving boxes currently listening to: “Born to Move” by Creedence Clearwater Revival; img courtesy a Google image search

One of the few guarantees in the military life is that you will have to move at some point in your career. Ironic that something involving change is one of those few constants in the unpredictable life of a military family.

My husband spent his entire Air Force enlistment assigned to one duty station. Training, TDY’s and deployments aside, he spent about 6 years at one base. That is not normal. I don’t think he complained much because he will be the first to tell you that he HATES moving. However, over the course of our time together (including dating time) we have moved every. single. year. In our nearly 6 years together, be it apartment or house, we are now living in location/home number 6. Only one of these moves was actually relevant to a PCS, but WOW! Our 4 year old son has lived in 5 different dwelling spots. That’s more locations than the number of years he is old!

One of the reasons that I decided to stay in El Paso while Taco is deployed was that we just moved here not even 6 months before he left. Certainly, the desire just wasn’t there to have to pack up all of our stuff into storage so that we could go stay with my family for the next year. But also because I didn’t want to uproot The Boy again by moving. Unfortunately, deployments are another one of those inevitable things in the military life and something that we’ve just got to put on our big girl panties and deal with…whether I’m 5 hours’ drive from family or an ocean away.

To finally get to the point of this post: for a few days now, The Boy has taken to telling me that “this house is old” and “we have lived here too long.” And I have to wonder – was this child born to move? Will he go stir crazy here before we hit our first ever full year in one house? What about actually spending Christmas in the same house as the last year’s? That will feel weird, even to me.

one month down, 11(ish) to go

Posted in deployment, military, technology by MommyTaco on 23 March 2010

I am marking today as officially one month into deployment. Technically it should have been yesterday but due to the “layover” in El Paso, he left country a month ago today.

The first month seemed to go by fairly smooth and fast. There were a couple of moments where I did something completely out of my mind but nothing that landed me in either the hospital or in jail (though I wonder about both things). Not from acting out and having fun either, more or less those moments where my brain has had a serious malfunction and I have done something I don’t think I would have done had I not been going through a deployment.

Emotions are pretty much in check. I’m not bursting into tears at random or yelling down the neck of someone because of something they have done (my son doesn’t count, does he? ha ha…really, I’m joking!… :\ ) My irritability levels are a bit elevated though and it’s pretty easy for me to throw the towel in with a person or situation just because my brain lacks the ability to process the stress it/they cause.

I am beyond grateful for the technology we are fortunate to have. Neither of us are phone-talkers usually, so it doesn’t bother me that I’ve not received any phone calls. But the availability of the internet from his bunk bed more than makes up for that. Our last deployment, he didn’t have a laptop to be chatting the night away. Being able to see his face via Skype or Google Talk webcam is AMAZING! I don’t get to talk to him every day, but it doesn’t bother me. There are some nights I stay up LATE (morning his time) wondering if I will get to talk to him that day, because he wasn’t online in the morning (evening his time). But most of the time I wonder what it would actually be like to experience a deployment pre-internet style. Relying on nothing but snail mail or an infrequent phone call at best.

Technology is such a privilege I think a lot of people take for granted, whether they are military or civilian. So the next time you get an email or a text message, a phone call or a webcam chat…or especially if you get to look your spouse/significant other in the eyes NOT through a computer screen…thank God, or who/whatever it is you believe in.

cooking, out of the box – mac & cheese

Posted in cooking, food, recipes by MommyTaco on 2 March 2010

(sorry the pic is crap-dark, I have poor lighting in my kitchen)

I have decided in order to try to update my blog more frequently, I will try out a new theme which I will call “Cooking, Out of the Box.” I call it this because I try to cook from scratch whenever possible. I am just as guilty as anyone else at buying the occasional Hambuger Helper for days when I am just too tired or unmotivated to come up with dinner ideas, but whenever possible I always try to make things myself. That goes for bread, cookies, muffins, soups, pie crusts, and so much more. The more I control what goes into my food, the more I can control what goes into my tummy. And that, friends, is a GOOD thing!

So to start this out, I am filling a request from one of my BFF’s, @megandubyuh,. Here is my own personal recipe for Mac & Cheese. It’s from one of my many attempts to re-create the wondrous mac & cheese that they have/had on menu at Cotton Patch Café, where I used to be a waitress/cashier/trainer. Their mac & cheese is truly irreplaceable and was one of the only two things that I actually craved when pregnant with my son. Fortunately (or maybe not) my sister was still working there and on Wednesday and Friday nights I looked forward to her bringing home any and all leftover mac & cheese from closing time. I could very well attribute my excess weight gain to the pounds, I kid you not, POUNDS of mac & cheese that I consumed during that time.

I’ve played around with this recipe a few times, but keep going back to the basic cheese sauce. I know most people (including myself) prefer the extra saucy mac & cheese, though nowadays I actually halve mine – trying hard to lose that a fore mentioned pregnancy weight. I haven’t halved it in the recipe below though, I don’t intend to subject my diet upon others!

This is also really great as a casserole base if you were to add some other stuff like bacon, broccoli, diced red bell peppers, ham or chopped cooked chicken breasts. Just make sure you’ve taken proper measures to cook them ahead of time, and use a bigger dish like a 9″x13″ pan to allow for additional content.

Mac & Cheese a la MommyTaco

1/2 14.5oz box short-cut pasta (elbow, rotini, penne, etc.)
1/2 TBS olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 TBS minced garlic
4 TBS butter
2 TBS flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup half & half
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs OR 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Cook pasta until just past al dente. Drain & set aside into mixing bowl.
2. In medium sauce pan, brown garlic in olive oil. Add onions and sauté. For a sweeter flavor in the finished mac & cheese, cook onions until carmelized. Add onions/garlic to mixing bowl.
3. In same sauce pan, on low heat, melt butter & whisk in flour to create a reux.
4. Whisking *CONTINUOUSLY* – add milk slowly.
5. Add salt & pepper and simmer mixture, continuing to whisk, until a light light sauce is formed (coats inside of pan but not thick like gravy).
6. Mix in cheddar cheese and pour over pasta & onions.
7. Allow to cool about 10 min, in the mean timme preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 1.5 quart baking dish. (Double ingredients for 9″x13″ baking pan).
8. Add beaten eggs & mix thoroughly.
9. Transfer to baking dish and top with bread crumbs or shredded cheese.
10. Cover with lid or foil and bake 30 min. Remove cover and bake 10 minutes.
11. DIG IN!!!