Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day

This year (as usual) I have so much to be thankful for! I am so thankful for my amazing family and spending a holiday apart that usually means togetherness and tradition makes me miss them deep down in my core. But, I'm thankful for my husband who is home and I'm so glad that we were able to be together. I am so thankful for my good Oki friends and we got to spend the day celebrating together eating turkey and all of the traditional Thanksgiving foods. I contributed a sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and a apple pie. Jess was the perfect hostess and I am in love with her little baby boy!

Definitely enjoying the seasonal foods. Earlier in the week I made skinny(er) stuffing with whole wheat bread and turkey sausage and a pasta dish with a creamy pumpkin sauce. I saw this interesting recipe in a magazine while getting a pedicure last week and decided to try it. It was really good! Even my hubs who isn't a huge pumpkin fan chowed down on this.

Pasta with Pumpkin Sauce
1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat)
1 1/2 c broccoli florets
8 oz turkey sausage
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 c fat free half and half
1 c canned cooked pumpkin
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Cook pasta adding broccoli 3 min before pasta is done. Meanwhile, cook sausage in large skillet over med-high heat, breaking up with a spoon until cooked. Drain fat. Stir in pumpkin pie spice; cook 1 min. Stir in half and half, pumpkin, sugar and salt. Heat mixture to boiling and cook 1 min longer. Drain pasta and broccoli. Return to pot. Add sauce and toss to mix.

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Introducing Gojou

We are the proud parents of a little baby boy hedgehog! Meet Gojou:

Seeing him for the first time at the Japanese pet store called PetBox. We had to order him special since they were all out of little hejjihoggu's. A friend of mine got a hedgehog a few months ago and a few weeks ago Brad finally came around to wanting to get a pet. Since we live in the towers we can only have caged animals (no dogs or cats). I miss my little yorkie and having a pet in the house, so I was so excited when Brad said I could have a hedgehog.
The hedgehog ended up being a lot more than we thought we would spend! But, since he was a baby and ordered special I guess that's what we get. Gojou is a month old and was born on Oct 20. Brad's Japanese skills came in really handy during this process because we kept having to go by the store and make calls.

Brad putting together his lil home. He is an omnivore and eats insects, fruit, veggies and we found out he really enjoys chocolate (see video below). At the store they were feeding him ferret food in milk (like cereal). The green box is the stuff they were using to line his cage at the store.
These are pictures from his first night home 2 days ago. I am totally in love!

He is so teeny. He is also very sleepy. He sleeps all the time, such a little baby. Well, the first night he didn't sleep much. This little Houdini escaped from his cage! He some how managed to get himself out through the bars of his cage and wandered around the apartment all night long. Brad woke up early for work and saw he wasn't in his cage and started looking for him. He couldn't find him, so he woke me up to help look. I tore the apartment apart looking for him. No luck. I was terrified that he somehow got himself stuck somewhere, that he hurt himself or that I'd never see him again. We kept looking and after about 45 minutes (that's a long time the apartment isn't that big), we saw that the couches had some rips in the fabric on the bottom from our many many moves. We started turning the couches over to see if he maybe burrowed up into one. We found him in the third couch in the living room, balled up sleeping soundly. He was perfectly fine and pretty annoyed about being woken up in his warm comfy spot. I burst into tears when we found him, he made me so worried! We added a soft cloth to his cage that he likes to sleep under and he didn't get out last night. I hope he likes his cage and wants to stay in it. I didn't really like cleaning up all the spots of green baby hedgehog poop I found in random spots around the apartment after his night out. Silly baby.
This is my favorite picture so far. My little ball of joy. The internet translator told us that his name means Joy. But, I've asked a few Japanese people and they don't know what Gojou means and when I say joy, they don't know what joy is either... so not sure. But, to us his name means Joy and he already brings me so much joy!

This video is from tonight. He got into my shirt pocket all by himself. He loves to burrow and get snuggled. I was eating a mini dark chocolate leftover from Halloween and he smelled it, woke up and turned around with his little nose going. I bit off a little bit for him and he really loved it. He only got the little bit shown in the video, I'm thinking chocolate is probably not great for baby hedgehogs. I've tried giving him bread, turkey, lettuce, kiwi and provolone cheese. This is the first thing he's liked. He does like his baby formula milk stuff and it's super cute to watch him eat.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmasing in Sydney!

SO excited about our Christmas plans! Brad and I are going Down Under for a week over Christmas!!! Best husband ever. We are going to Sydney! Aaahhh can't wait. I have always wanted to go to Australia and am excited to actually have tickets and to be going in only a few weeks.
Here are a few things we'll be doing: Darling Harbor, Milsons Point for views of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge, Seaforth Lookout, Arabano Lookout and Manly Beach. A harbor cruise from King Street Warf. The Blue Mountains to see Laura Village, Echo Point and the Three Sisters, Narrowneck and Cahill Lookouts and we're going to do a scenic Cableway/Skyway. And of course being a huge animal lover we will be going to Featherdale Wildlife Park to see the wombats, koalas and kangas! My guide book says that Christmas Day on Bondi Beach is a blast.

Beyond excited. So excited to get another stamp in my passport and check this off of my bucket list. This is my first Christmas away from my family. I'm so glad that Brad and I get to be together, that he was able to take off and that we'll get to start making our own Christmas traditions. I will miss my family desperately, but it will be hard for me to get too homesick because I'm pretty sure we will be loving our Australia adventure!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Burgers and Froats

I just have to share with you one of my favorite burger joints, Gordie's by the Sunabe seawall in Chatan. I love this retro, laid-back, eclectic eatery with friendly staff and delish menu. Their slogan is “Homemade in Sincerity.” I love the mismatched chairs and tables, charming outside seating in the garden and watching the chefs make up your order fresh. We went here with friends once before and I've been looking forward to going back ever since. The menu has a great selection of drinks, shakes, salads and burgers.

Next time I'll have to try the "rootbeer froat." HA! I am obsessed with the bbq chicken salad on their menu. Brad and I shared one last time, but this time I had to have one all to myself. The burgers come with a cup of soup and fresh home style french fries. Brad always gets the onion rings with his. I got the chicken burger and while it was delish I will just get the large size of the salad next time! Love it. While we were there they were playing Bob Marley and reggae the whole time! Kind of funny. Added nicely and some how fit perfectly to the chill, unique atmosphere.
I love the food. I love the atmosphere. Definitely a favorite on the island!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Birthday Ball

This weekend we celebrated the 235th Marine Corps Birthday. This was my 4th Marine Corps Ball and I had a total blast. I love dressing up, dancing the night away with friends, food and drinks and birthday cake. Awesomeness.

We pre-gamed with some friends in our building before cabbing together over to the Officers Club. The guys played rock band as the ladies finished primping... and making our own version of the Pink Paradise cocktail (mentioned here).

We were having so much fun that we missed the first round of cabs we called. So, we called them again, waited and by the time we got in cab my hubby was about having a nervous break down that we wouldn't get there in time for us to be in our seats before the ceremony started. Thanks to my cocktail induced high spirits, I was unconcerned, taking copious pictures in the cab and probably making him want to throw me out the window.

We did in fact make it there with a few minutes, not much but a few, to spare. We did miss the entire happy hour. We quickly found our assigned seats and the ceremony started. The ceremony was followed by good speeches by the head honchos. We ate dinner and then were let loose to boogy on the dance floor.
A big thank you to my momma for picking out a ball dress for me in the shopping mecca of Northern Virginia. I live in a shopping desert and the dress I bought online was beautiful, but huge. So, that had to go back. Mom saved the day by picking this red number out for me. Way to go mom!

I loved my dress, felt good in it and it was super comfortable. I had wanted to wear my mane down since it's super long right now and I just got my hair done, but it was pouring down rain all day on Saturday, so I ended up trying my luck with taming it into something presentable. I had no idea what it was looking like in the back as I was doing it, so I got lucky it didn't end up totally awful. Beginners luck?
It was a great night celebrating with the Marines. I got to meet a lot of people Brad works with and shimmy with them on the dance floor. This night always makes me feel so proud of Brad and so fortunate to be apart of the military community.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - J. Kennedy
My gratitude and respect goes out to our military today on Veterans Day and always.

I love our military life and I am so proud of my husband.

Also, yesterday was the 235th Marine Corps Birthday. Happy Birthday Marines! We're off to the ball this Saturday.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Yesterday Brad got home from being gone for 6 weeks. Yay! I got to go out to the flight line and watch him land his plane. I've never seen him fly before, so I was a little nervous. That combined with the excitement and butterflies in my stomach from getting to see him again made my hands a bit shaky during the video. A couple of other wives and their kids were there welcoming home their husbands as well. It was my first time welcoming Brad home and I felt quite proud.

Last night we celebrated by going out with friends to the Naha Harbor Diner, or the Tree House Restaurant. For someone who always has their camera, wouldn't you know it that I forgot the memory card in my computer. Dang. The iPhone saves the day again.

The food wasn't anything to write home about, so the lure of the place is definitely the novelty of the setting. The menu did boast organic veggies which I was excited to see. And I really enjoyed the plum wine!

After dinner we went to Kokusai Street to check out the nightlife. I loved this street during the day, but at night all the lights, shops, and people gives this street a different feel and makes this street a lot of fun. We went to a cool, trendy bar/lounge called Rehab and I loved their creative cocktail menu. My favorite that I tried was the Pink Paradise.

Welcome home Brad! Hurray!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Play Ride

Sometimes you've just gotta get out!

A friend and I hit the trail this week and enjoyed the gorgeous fall weather, blue sky and beautiful views. Makoto (his name means Faithful in Japanese) loves to get out of the arena and RUN! There is something so exhilarating, relaxing and freeing about a good gallop. I feel better and I know he does too. I love this super talented, and fun horse!

Here's a little video from playing at the beach:

"In partnership with a horse, one is seldom lacking for thought, emotion and inspiration. One is always attended by a great companion." - Charles de Kunffy

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Running Favorites

During my run today I just couldn't stop thinking about how much I love my shoes. Well, I've always loved my shoes, but today I was wearing them with new fancy running socks and I was amazed. I never wanted to shell out $10 for socks I'm going to work out in, but in the last year or so (thanks to my husband's encouragement) I've been investing in nicer things to work out in. I don't by any means have fancy running gear. I'm not a real runner, I just like to run. Like the quiet, the power over my body and being outside. Someday maybe I'll get a fancy running watch like a Garmin, but at this point I just don't need one. If I get curious about how far I'm running I'll drive the route or I use Map My Run.

Yes, I love my shoes. My husband surprised me with a pair of these a few years ago and changing my shoes changed my whole outlook on running. I've run through my first pair and bought the 11's for my new ones. I love strapping these babies on. They aren't fancy or expensive and I know its are a very popular shoe. These are the socks I just bought and they made a huge difference! Notice the theme with the pink? I love this water bottle. I don't like using a lot of plastic and this stainless steel bottle with a straw is perfect. Another thing I use almost every time I run is a pretty black and pink wrist pouch that has a zippered pocket to store keys, ID cards and such. I always worry about things falling out of my pockets and this wrist band is cute, comfy and so handy.

Happy running!