Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vote for Mason! Deadline is Saturday!!!

Go to and he is #48! Votes are $1 each and they go to support the Lee County Humane Society and are tax deductible! Come on, I know you have a heart! Go donate!!

Hello, out there! I hope y'all are having a wonderful fall and football season! I decided after our loss to Mississippi State that I was going to emotionally separate myself from football this year.  I've succeeded to some extent, but I should have known that wouldn't be entirely possible! I was proud of Auburn for doing way better against LSU than I expected us, we didn't win...and I guess maybe that's all that will count in the long run, but I was definitely encouraged to see our defense show up and play an awesome game, and I think that was the most fun I've had at a football game in a long time.  Scott came to town for the game, and so did Chris' friend, Jordan, who lives in Pennsylvania.  We got student section seats so that we could all sit together, and of course you can't beat the student section when it comes to an amazing atmosphere.  I yelled so loud at that game that I still don't have my voice back! Seriously, what a great time! I was pretty bummed out at the end when we lost, but that was just the last 5 minutes or so.  The rest of the game was probably the best game atmosphere I have been to in a few years.  Way to go, AU student body! War Eagle!

Here are some pictures from our weekend. 

Tailgating...L-R is Jordan, Sara, Scott, Chris, and me

With Warren and Liz

More tailgating...this time with Andy, Marc, and Joseph...I should apparently have worn heels to this game.

AU Stadium...first time I've seen it this year...ahh I love it!
At the game

The last time I posted, we had just come back from Atlanta for the Clemson game.  Our September has been pretty consumed with football.  The weekend following the Clemson game, my parents came to town with my sister and her boyfriend, Jason, to go to the Mississippi State game in Starkville.  Now that was NOT an easy loss to endure! However, it was great having my family up and getting to do some entertaining.  We tailgated with some friends before the game and then grilled out and watched more football afterwards.

That Friday night....I was so looking forward to using all my my AU serving pieces (for actual Auburn Fans! yay!)...this is Sauteed Broccoli with Mushrooms, Onions, and Toasted Almonds

Bruschetta (Friday Night)

BBQ Pot Roast with Ranch Cheddar Grits... YUMMMMM!!!! (Friday Night)

Saturday game

Thought it was going to storm, but it didn't

Tailgating before the game (what a lovely picture of our entire bodies haha)

Dinner Saturday...we made sliders with hawaiin rolls

Baked Bean Casserole

Toppings for the sliders

Burger Bar! Here are the "options"...guacamole was my favorite! This was really fun, and I would definitely recommend it for entertaining. It was easy and delicious.

As you know, Chris and I are pretty much always on the go, especially in the fall.  The weekend after the MSU game, we took a trip down to Pensacola to visit Scott.  Scott is going to be moving to Texas in a few weeks, and we are really going to miss him!! We have gotten to see him a lot since he moved to Pensacola, but I'm sure we'll still see him occasionally after he moves...and, hopefully, with the Air Force, our paths will eventually cross again! Anyway, it was great to get in a beach weekend before the weather cooled down.  The water felt great...I always love the beach in September and October!! We picked up some more fresh seafood from that great seafood market, too, which I think we will cook this weekend while we are actually in Columbus.

I think Chris is listening to some commentary on the game...

Scott don't go!!!!!

Jon and Craig

Autumn and Dubs

Sweet wittle MASON!!

With Mason

Since I have two super cute pics of Mason up, I want to remind everyone to go vote for him in the calendar contest!!! Again!!

Lately, I have moved part-time to our condo in Tuscaloosa. Even though we haven't closed on it yet, we were able to work out an arrangement with the owners to rent it from them until it closes.   It has been so much less stressful not to have to drive 3 hours a day! I can actually get work done and not feel like everything is spinning out of control.  The last couple of weeks I have been going home on Tuesday nights for my obligations as the spouse club social chair.  One night we had a board meeting, then the next Tuesday we had a social (that turned out really well, by the way!) This is the first week that I am staying Monday - Thursday.  I'm kind of sad, but it's not like I'm too far to go home if I really wanted to! We really need to save on gas right now with all our traveling, so I am probably going to be trying to cut back on the commuting as much as possible for the time being.  It's a little lonely here without even a TV to give me some background noise! But I have been productive, which I guess is the point, and in a couple of weeks we are going to go to Auburn to pick up all the furniture that our wonderful families are donating to the cause!

Here is our new fridge (yes I know, this is very exciting and blog-worthy)

Chris has not been flying as often in the T-1 as he did in the T-6, but these flights are 3 hours long.  However, right now they are trying to push the class through that is about to graduate that is behind.  Once they get them through, Chris' class will be able to fly more. He has flown twice to Huntsville. He flies half of the time, and his flying partner, Cody (shout out to Cody!) flies the other half.  They fly out to an area and practice some different maneuvers and then fly to the base and do several landings.  Some of the landings they do with only one engine to simulate an engine failure.    He's had several tests, and made 100s on almost all of them!  Overall, since he's just getting started, there isn't a whole lot to share, but I'm sure it will get more interesting as time goes on!

Remember to vote for Mason, everyone! He's counting on you!!

Til next time!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Football Season!

Hello, world! Happy Labor Day and Happy Football Season! Chris and I took a trip to Atlanta this weekend for the Auburn vs. Clemson game.  Sadly,  we did not bring home a win...but we still had a great time!  We don't expect to win all of them this year, and we are at peace with that.... but I can only keep up this good attitude for a couple more years before I start getting agitated, so let's hope this is the last "rebuilding" year and that next year we can start winning our big games again! I'm not a poor sport at all, I'd still be an Auburn fan even if we didn't win a game for 10 years...but I do think that the point of playing sports is to win (sorry for those who disagree!)...sooooo hopefully these tough losses will eventually pay off, the team will learn and improve, and we can start winning again!

Our friends Matt and Ellie were very sweet to let us stay with them in Atlanta.  As usual, we enjoyed some eating out at places like Tap 1180, Gordon Biersh, and one of my new favorites, Empire State South.  The chef and owner at Empire State South wrote the cookbook that I used for the August cookbook club.  All the recipes from the cookbook turned out so well, that I had high expectations for the restaurant, and I would say they were met.  The chef's name is Hugh Acheson, and our waiter told us that he is a judge on Top Chef.  I don't watch that show, so I didn't know that, but I will have to check it out.

Heading out for dinner Friday night
Chris with Lauren Emily's little dog, Lilly...she just loved Chris!

Ran into Charles Barley

With Lauren Emily, tailgating at Taco Mac before the game

The Georgia Dome

Warren and Chris at brunch at Empire State South

Warren, Chris, and Matt playing Bocce ball while Ellie and I relax in the (too hot) sun after brunch

Here is the cookbook

As I mentioned, I held the first monthly cookbook club at our house a couple of weekends ago.  This was a lot of fun, and the recipes turned out great! Not everyone could's very hard to get a weekend that works for everyone! But Jon and Autumn came and brought a dish called "Southern Carbonara", and our new friends Jenny and Kevin brought peach pie and a delicious pear and pecan salad.  Kevin went to Auburn, and even though we didn't know each other, we know some of the same people.  Jenny and Kevin make their own wine, so they are going to teach us how because we think that would be a really fun hobby to take up between batches of beer! They brought some of their homemade wine to the dinner as well.  We went to their house earlier tonight to watch them make a new batch, and we might have to pick up that hobby! Since we were hosting, we were in charge of the main course.  I used some of the shrimp we purchased at the fish market in Pensacola to make a shrimp and grits dish that also included andoullie sausage.  I also made some peach cocktails using fresh peaches.  Here are some pictures.

On the left, the Shrimp and Grits I made and on the right is Autumn's Southern Carbonara

The ladies at dinner

Jenny and Kevin's homemade wine

The salad and pie Jenny made

The main rules of cookbook club are that you choose recipes all from the same cookbook, and that you make the recipe exactly like it says (with some exceptions, since in the grocery stores here you can't find some special ingredients).  I would definitely call this cookbook "tried and true" now, and will certainly be making other dishes from it.  It has lots of very unique dishes with ingredients I have never tried together before.

The weekend after my last blog post, we took a trip down to Auburn to visit family one last time before the craziness of football season began.  We attended the annual BBQ and Brewfest at the Event Center, where we got to catch up with Chris' dad, and also got to have lunch with Tammy, Greg, Liz, Warren and Aunt Bette on Sunday.  We also got to spend some quality time with my parents, and my mom and I did a bunch of shopping on Saturday morning. (I had to get some gameday outfits).

Our list of beers...each rated 1-5
Sunday brunch with the fam

Here are some other pictures to help fill you all in on the past few weeks

The rug underneath our table was SO FILTHY...we finally got a Rug Doctor to clean it.  We didn't even realize how dirty it was until we started! Ew!
Chris with the Rug Doctor
Here is a picture of Chris' class patch.  He has about 50 stickers with this logo if anyone wants one...we also have some trucker hats with it.  Mine is pink :)
Decorated the house for football season! Here is the hutch. 
Up close
The entry table
We had a nice dinner one night a couple of weeks ago before I started school.  Here is a smoked salmon platter with some honey mustard sauce goat cheese capers onions, and crackers.  Yum! They just started carrying smoke salmon at the commissary.
A pasta dish I made with the scallops we bought in Pensacola.

What else is new? Well, we think we may FINALLY have a solution with our condo loan and hope to close by September 30.  The commute used to be an hour and fifteen minutes, but ever since school started back and my classes are during rush hour, it takes more like an hour and a half.  I don't even know if I got a chance to mention this in my last blog, but at the last minute (as in...2 days before classes started!) the circumstances at school changed in my favor and I wound up getting to be a full-fledged first-year Ph.D. student with my stipend and everything (although it's not my full stipend that I will get for the next few's much better than what I got when I was going to be mainly teaching!) I'm ecstatic because this means that I will probably be able to complete the program in 4 years rather than 5.  However, it was a little overwhelming adjusting to the idea of taking a full load of classes PLUS teaching PLUS doing my first-year research PLUS commuting in a matter of days.  Ahh! So far, it's not been too bad, but I am already sick of driving 3 hours a day.  The sellers agreed to lease us the condo until we close, so I hope to be moving as soon as next week.  A lot of logistics to figure out before then, though! We will keep you posted!

Besides being a little overwhelmed and over-mileaged,  I'm really enjoying my classes.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are really long because I have class from 12:30 - add in my commute,  the prep work I have to do to be ready for those classes, and my 10:30 AM first-year student meeting, and that's a pretty long day.  Wednesdays are easy because I only have one class.  Mondays aren't so bad, except that I have class at 9, meaning I have to leave by 7:30 at the latest (easier said than done!)....the worst part is that every day Monday-Thursday I have class til 4:45, so that means I don't get home until after 6.  However, the silver lining is, I get (most) Fridays off, AND every semester changes, so it's easy not to get to frustrated with getting home late when I know that I only have to deal with it til December.  And once I move into the condo, I can spend those 3 hours a day doing school work instead of driving, so I won't have to do it all weekend long while I'm home! I've been making the commute feel a lot shorter by checking out books on tape from the library...right know I'm listing to The Help, and it is GREAT! I hardly want to get out of the car!

There's actually  not much new going on with Chris right now.  Ever since he transitioned to T-1s, he's been in the academic stage of training again.  Right now he is studying for a test and a simulation, but he doesn't have to prepare for any flights right now so the last few weeks have been pretty low-stress.  He's been making 100s on his tests, so I'm a very proud wifey! His schedule has been very flexible, too.  Once he hits the flight line this Monday, he will have to map out his flights AND study...he will also have a 4:30AM showtime and go back on formal release for a few weeks (12-hour days) for 3 weeks.  He has really enjoyed this down-time, but I know he's ready to start flying again and get to know his new plane.  T-1s do mostly what are called "out-and-back" flights, where they fly up to 600 miles away in the morning, have lunch and then fly back in the afternoon.  You always have a co-pilot in this plane, so he won't be soloing.

Pretty good looking guy, that husband of mine :)

That just about wraps it up for us over the past few weeks.  We've had a lot of rain here this week, and it's been so muggy that it has been flat out MISERABLE! I've had to wear my glasses the past couple of days and they literally fog up so much every time I walk outside that I can't even see! We've been visiting the local farmers market a lot and picking up some delicious vegetables like okra, eggplant, muscadine grapes and tomatoes.  After watching us buy some muscadine grapes, one farmer convinced us to buy a bottle of homemade muscadine wine that he had in the back of his truck.  They aren't allowed to sell alcohol, so he was extremely secretive about was funny, how he was feeling us out to make sure we wouldn't tell on him.  Anyway, we took it home and it tasted basically like Boone's Farm.  Oh well... at least we supported the local economy, right?

This weekend my parents and sister and her boyfriend are coming to visit for the AU vs. Mississippi State game that's being played in Starkville.  Hopefully we will win this time! The house will be very full but we are looking forward to a fun weekend watching football and grilling out with friends and family.  Hopefully next time I write, I will be in the new place! I may only have a mattress on the floor but at least we will FINALLY have it! Until then, War Eagle!
Don't forget to vote for our Shrimp Dog at the Humane Society website! Pretty please vote for him, he's #48!!