a little adventure to an important rock

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Today we decided to take a little adventure. I know the plans were originally to make it to Virginia Beach, but this morning when we woke up we just didn't feel like beach material (or driving material...2-3 hours of it..). I don't know what it was, but this morning our original plans just didn't sound like a good idea anymore. So instead, we decided to go on a little adventure. This is where we ended up:

I looked up local attractions in the gps and we landed at Meditation Rock, out in Fredericksburg. This was actually a few blocks from the College of Mary Washington, and it was obvious as there were college dorms all up and down the street. A park was built around the rock, and it was pretty cool. If you can't read the above plaque, basically this is the place that Mary, George Washington's mother, prayed for the safety of her son and the country during the days of the revolution. This area of rocks was shaded by ample trees around, and it was one of her favorite places to sit and read and pray. Pretty cool, huh? (And obvoiusly, the college is named after her!) Here are some pictures of us there:

This reminded Marshall of Enchanted Rock, back in Fredericksburg, Texas. (Crazy that these two cool rocks are from the same named city!) I know he's been wanting to take me there for a while as I haven't been, so we're waiting on that. But I know it is absolutely beautiful. Cannot wait :)

Afterward we decided to go out to eat and to the movies again. We just stopped by the mall which was in the area, had some Chick-Fil-A, walked around for a bit, and saw a movie. It was a slow little day for us.

Now I'm just trying to concentrate on homework, but it's not working out as well as I'd hoped. I have two quizzes and an article review due for Monday, so I still have time. It's hard to believe that there are only three weeks left in my summer courses! This summer is flying by way too fast, but that's still good. We are so relieved that by the end of this week we will definitely know Marshall's MOS (job assignment) which means that we will finally know where we will be moving come September. I cannot tell you how relieved/excited I am about this. We both really want to get away from this crazy city..traffic...and we both really really dearly want to be somewhere back in the South! (And Marshall just wants to be done with the stress that is TBS - as much as he may enjoy it at times - I'm sure!) Fingers crossed for the homeland :)

It is also almost AUGUST. Marshall pointed out earlier today that we've been married for almost a year! It seems like only yesterday we met/he asked me to dance at Daisy Duke's... He's also going to be gone sporadically for half of this next month, but the more he's gone on a FEX the closer to graduation it is!

We are so excited to get going on this next part of our life!!

history, cake, and a huge relief!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

 These past few days have been very eventful. On Tuesday my mom and granny were in town - that morning they went through DC and all the monuments while I worked on homework and ran errands, and that afternoon we met at Occoquan, a short drive between DC and Quantico. It was a very pleasant, historic little downtown, sitting on the Potomac river. We had our fun -- looked through all the shops and ate at a little cafe. Here are some pictures from that adventure...or really just cute things they had in the local shops:

Tuesday was also my 20th birthday, so once Marshall was released from TBS for the day we met up at the apartment and headed out to dinner. It was nowhere special or unique, we just went to  the  local Chili's at the shopping center across from our place. It was still good food though. I also got a warm chocolate molten cake dessert... Here you can see Marshall trying to blow out my candle! Once my mom was  satisfied with her pictures I was finally allowed to blow out the candle and get to work. It was delicious! Also, if you can't tell - I'm wearing my new favorite mint shirtdress :)     It was perfect for the weather that day!

Here is our lovely group! It was really nice having family in town, and it was especially nice spending my birthday with family rather than with Netflix... I'm so glad we got to visit with my mom and granny. I know they've done so much traveling the past couple of weeks!

Wednesday we went to Monticello near Charlottesville, as was plan for quite a while. I know my granny was so happy to be there - it is something she has been wanting to do for years, and we all finally made it! It was really cool to be immersed in American history out there - I only wish that Marshall could have made it! But the Marine Corps had to steal him away from us...

It was loads of fun. Here's a cool picture of a sign near the entrance, and a stone bridge..which you don't see much of nowdays. The weather was also beautiful that day as well, as you can tell!

We all got our pictures with Thomas Jefferson :) After all, Monticello is his house - which he planned and built in a period of over 90 years - the last of those years being completed after his passing.

Here is the front and the back of the house.  It was so beautiful inside, but sadly because of the aged furniture, books, etc in there, no photography of any kind was allowed. It's just like at the National Archives, or any other museums like that. They don't want anyone damaging the history. But inside, there were so many books...hundreds...And it was only part of his library, others are housed with private collectors or the Library of Congress. You could tell how aged they were, along with everything else. There was also a lot of French and European influence in the decor because of all of the traveling between the US, France, and Italy as Jefferson was a foreign ambassador for a great deal of time.

 This is awesome. It's a statue of the young Thomas Jefferson..and behind him is the "Carters mountain range," which some recognize as Brown's mountain. I had to look that up since I don't know my geography or local mountain ranges as well as I maybe should..but I just think it's beautiful being able to see the mountains in the distance. Virginia is full of trees and beautiful scenery!

Also on Monticello is the Jefferson's family burial grounds. I think the earliest date we found was in the 1700s, and the latest was a couple of years ago, as the family still uses this site to this day. This is the monument/gravesite of Thomas Jefferson himself, shown above. It was a very real moment.

Yesterday afternoon, us girls went out to eat at Joe's Crab Shack while Marshall was just getting off work on base about to head home and get ready for the next day. It was really good timing - they had a nicer day at the school, going out on a field trip to a battlefield in the area, having a little history and weapons lesson out there. He said it was a pretty cool demonstration, though I don't know all the specifics. We met up again last night while everyone said their goodbyes, as my mom and granny left for North Carolina this morning. After nearly three weeks of traveling for my mom and almost a week for granny, they are definitely done for a while. It was a blessing spending so much time with family so far away from home, though we only wish that Marshall could have been with us more than just those nights. Alas, TBS doesn't like to give him up too easily! Only two and a half months to go :)

This weekend Marshall and I are planning on heading up to Virginia Beach - SO excited :) The first weekend of August we will also be going to Busch Gardens out in Williamsburg with my parents - free tickets for military appreciation until December! The pool schedule got changed around a bit with people moving, and a new person coming in, and now I only do 2 days a week, sometimes 3, as it was earlier in the summer. I am so relieved everything got worked out with the pool, I was getting a little stressed about the schedule along with school and family plans getting worked out. Also - no weekends any more! - so more time with family, or sightseeing in the area before our time here is up.  I can't believe how much closer we are to being done...I know Marshall sure is relieved being past the halfway point. Pretty soon we should hear about his MOS (job assignment) - so fingers crossed we get something that he wanted, preferably back in the South :)

"A little Crisco and some fishing wire, and we'll be in business!"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I'm not too sure why I'm up so late, but it's usually the case on any given day. I just can't seem to fall asleep, maybe from being overwhelmed at everything going on lately!

I just finished watching the Devil Wears Prada..and it was pretty awesome, as always! I just can't get over all of the fashion and adorable clothes, shoes, music..everything in that movie. I decided to award myself from getting B's on my midterms (still barely have A's in the classes though!) and watch a couple movies. Everytime I watch that movie I just feel the urge to watch every other Anne Hathaway movie I can get my hands on...and of course an urge to go shopping. I think I'll go to TJ Maxx next week once all the family hype has died down and things are back to normal :) After all, good grades in school (and my birthday) are both perfect reasons for shopping! I think it's time to hit up the Disney outlet at Potomac Mills soon too! (Also, a 15% discount is a wonderful motivator to head that way:))

This just in, Tangled is about to start :) I love that movie! Rapunzel is my favorite Disney princess. Oh also, it's her birthday in the movie..just like how it's mine today! How wonderful is that coincidence? I can watch Tangled over and over again and never get tired of it. I just love how Disney re-invented the Grimm brother's story of Rapunzel. There are so many reasons why I love this movie! I think by now you can guess what my answer is to the following question... :)

I really really really want to go to Disney World! I know Marshall does too, someday soon :)

If only I could fall asleep, then when I wake up in the morning and my mom and sweet granny would already be here! Right now they're wanting to do DC, but I'm not sure if I'll be in the mood to deal with all that traffic...I dealt with so much today going out to Fredericksburg, home, and then back out to Quantico, twice. It may not sound like much but it's a bit of driving on the highway, and it's pretty overwhelming. I'm thinking we can head out the other way to various battlefields and Monticello (which was the original plan), but we'll see.

For school lately, I took my midterms earlier today and ended up with B's, so now my grades are borderline A-B range. Pretty happy with that! I'm just ready for the last four weeks of classes to fly by, because I really want a break! After this I'll have 15 more hours from this summer to add to my degree plan! And I'll be able to get at least a month break in before the fall terms because of (hopefully) moving with orders coming up - TBS graduation is less than 2 months away! - and the wonderful academic calendar Liberty offers. Other good news, my Special Education minor just showed up on my degree plan and it gave me a huge huge smile :) It's something I'm interested in and it will definitely give me a little boost come graduation time in two years. Also, it would help me to be able to work with EFMP as I would like to! I can't wait to get into the rest of my Ed. courses!

Right now Trigger's being all cute and sweet sleeping next to my shoulder on the top of the couch - just look at that sweet picture! She is such a little princess! As I've said before, she really digs staying warm next to the new Xbox 360 (at least she was earlier)..and Marshall just can't seem to stop playing his new game every chance he gets. It's been a little tricky to concentrate on studying and midterms the past few days because of all that noise..but he enjoys it. I'm just thankful I was able to get done and finish my one hour midterm and 30 minutes quiz before midnight...I had only two hours left in the day and was getting nervous!

Earlier this afternoon there was a Dollies & Me session at the chapel annex on base for LINKS...and we danced for two hours! It was fun, though I'm not a big dancer. We did all the usual middle/high school dance songs, things like the cupid shuffle. There were only a couple kids there, of another volunteer, so I guess the night was more for us volunteers. I made a pink lemonade cake mix earlier today and took that and it was so good! I got so many compliments...if only I had made it from scratch!

Here's a cool picture of part of the chapel annex, where Dollies & Me was at. "Return to Me for I have redeemed thee!" How cool is that? I am so in love with learning more than I could ever imaging about the Bible and Jesus' life and promise in these classes this summer - required by Liberty because it's a Christian university! - and it's really been something else.

Tomorrow I do have a little bit of things I have to do before my granny and mom get here...take Marshall's studly suit to the dry cleaners, groceries, clean/vacuum/mop/laundry/trash, start on a Geography project...So ready for the summer to be over!

Also thought I'd share this..at the store the other day and it made me smile:)
Hershey was such a wonderul trip with my mom!

Well I'm going to get back to Tangled and enjoy this quiet night/birthday morning before bed and family gets into town. Hopefully we will have loads of stories to tell from the next few days! Praying that Marshall survives another week at The Basic School..I know it's been stressing both of us out, especially him. I don't know how those guys do it! There is truly too much going on all around the table. We need to go out to dinner again to celebrate everything we've both accomplished these past few months, especially my stud. We are truly too blessed.

two games and a movie

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I know I haven't posted about LINKS for a while, since the summer camp....well, now I will! Today starting at 9am was LINKS for kids. It was pretty fun, actually. It was at the Youth Center on base, which I've never been to before. Pretty cute! There was a gym and classrooms..and flyers everywhere about some cool events they do. I never realized all the resources bases had for kids and teens because I haven't lived on base since I was 4! They have movie nights, roller skating, lock ins, bounce houses, game nights...what have you. It sounds like loads of fun, and I wish we lived closer to an actual base that had events like this growing up! I think I definitely want to work at the Youth Center for CDC (Child Development Center) on base once I have (or almost have) my degree when we PCS again in a couple years..and Im waiting to take the Praxis certification to work with the DoD! It sounds awesome!

Well today was for kids ages 6-12, though there were a few older there with younger siblings. There were different activites like an o-course, parachutes, scooters, a mat maze, an eagle globe and anchor puzzle, among others... my part was Candyland, something to keep the kids busy while they waited for their rotation into the PCS mat maze. That's where they got "orders" for either HI, NC, VA, or Japan, and were told to find that "station" and to bring something back from it...a lei, chopsticks, a picture of Shamu... The maze was fun, they could go through it in scooters too. It was basically like the maze we did at the EFMP camp last month. We did the maze, PT exercises, decorated "care packages" for deployments (pretended to), and played a quick game of bingo.

Anyway, Im not going into details for the Candyland game since I have before...but I tweaked it quite a bit. It was much simpler going with the actual game, just asking questions/drawing pictures about PCSing according to the colors landed on each turn. For places like the gumdrop forest, or whatever it's actually called, I just taped pictures of different duty stations they'd go to and also fixed it on the cards too...like Disney World for Florida! Kids got really excited about that. It worked just fine :)

To change the subject...while Marshall was gone this week his new Xbox 360 came in! Seriously half price from what it used to be when it came out. Our sweet Trigger really digs it, here she's staying warm next to that hot air that comes out the side..she does that with the Wii too! As you can tell it really relaxes her...usually she's jumping all over the place, she has so much energy :) Marshall slept all day then for the past 2 hours he's been playing a new game he got, and still is at this moment..far too silly...(Dad, this is where you're supposed to laugh! If anyone didn't catch..Monty Python reference :))

Once he's done with his game (if he ever is!) I think we're going to watch this movie next :) Mirror Mirror! It came out around the same time as Snow White and the Hunstman..so guess which movie we saw in theatres! Not this one, that's why I got it cheap off Amazon. Fairytale movies make me so happy, I guess with all that Disney hype about it, so I couldn't resist getting this one! It's still crazy..or should I say... inconceivable! (that was for you too dad! The Princess Bride!)... that two completely opposite Snow White movies came out in theatres at once! We'll see how this one goes tonight...maybe with some ice cream, too.

So I guess that's it for now! Time to relax.. and study I guess :)

Chocolate Truffles...Surprise!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

After all the hype about being at Hershey Park the past couple of days I've come back to my constant adolescent craving of all things chocolate. I had a bag of chocolate chips in the cabinets so I decided to give truffles a go. This is a recipe I took from the sisters of Georgetown Cupcake, home of TLC's DC Cupcakes! Seriously, if you can't tell from my earlier post about this place, I'm dying to go back! But this book is a good catch -- cupcake and sweets recipes, along with lots of good stories and tradition to go along with it.

Here's the recipe:
  • 36 ounces good quality chocolate chips (basically 2 bags)
  • 8 T. unsalted butter, room tempurature
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 T. corn syrup
  • 2+ cups of hazlenuts, shredded coconut, sprinkles..
The last is the topping..as you can tell below, I used shredded coconut...mmm!

1. Melt 24 ounces of chocolate chips with butter in glass bowl over double boiler and stir constantly until smooth

2. In a seperate small pot, combine heavy cream and corn syrup over medium heat for 5 or so minutes. Add the the bowl with melted chocolate and butter, and mix thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour, or until it has the consistency of peanut butter.

3. Scoop small chunks of the chilled chocolate of a baking sheet, and chill in the fridge for another 15-20 minutes, or until the chunks harden.

4. Melt the remaining 12 ounces of chocolate over double boiler, and cool slightly.

5. Remove chilled chocolate chunks from fridge and shape into round balls, or any shape desired.

6. Using a toothpick, dip the truffle into cooled melted chocolate, then roll it or sprinkle atop desired topping to coat. Let it set for around 20 minutes before serving.

Here's my creation...so delicious!!! Just what I've been craving :) Now I just need to get back into the groove of watching DC Cupcakes..I'm pretty sure I've missed the past entire season.

Hope you enjoy!

"Caramels are only a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing."

First of all, here's a picture Marshall took of me before he left for base Sunday night for another FEX this week. I'm wearing my new H&M mint shirtdress which I LOVE. He digs it, too.

That day my mom got into town so that we could get a head start on our trip out to Hershey, PA!!! Here's a picture near the state line on our way in on Sunday.

That night we were able to get into the park after a certain time with our tickets for Monday, so we went inside and made it to Chocolate World. Oh my goodness, that place was wonderful. Lots of desserts and Hershey memorobillia. There was also a "tour" where you sat on a little ride as it took you around this deal they made that shows how they make their chocolate. Lots of singing cows on that ride...

We also went into the actual park that night, and spent a lot of time in a Christmas store after walking around a bit since the rides were nearly closed. I got these two wonderful ornaments! Merry Kissmas and an eagle globe and anchor will be wonderful additions to the tree this year. Aren't they the cutest?

Here are our tickets into Hershey Park :)

There was this ride called the Kissing Tower that was basically like a rotating car thing on a tall tower that went high enough so you could see the whole of the parks, the city, and the like. It was pretty sweet. The windows were even shaped like Hershey Kisses!

We went to the Hershey Hotel and had lunch out on the porch of a cool resturaunt, Trevi 5. It was pretty good, though the pasta was nothing special. I should really stop ordering pastas whenever we go out to eat... But my mom told the waitress my birthday was coming up so she brought this out! On the bottom of the chocolate covered strawberries there was a pretty paisley pattern. Cute!

This was back in the park the night of day 2....we got a Reeses pie. Oh my goodness it was so rich. Sadly we couldn't finish it all.. this is when we needed Marshall to finish it off! It was DELICIOUS. We got a little box for it but it didn't keep in the car on our last day when we stopped for the Gardens and whatnot. I was going to bring this home for his treat, he told me to bring back chocolate..I got a cute mug with Kisses instead.

We went to see what the Hershey Lodge looks like too. Super nice and beautiful.

Here's the sign at the entrance of the Hershey Hotel :) One day I'm going to stay here!

Here's a picture of the new bag I got. Isn't it cute?!?!! This was at Chocolate World, actually. Early bday gift to myself :)

This is at Zoo America, a part of the Hershey Parks system. It was pretty cool to see some animals, but I was kind of disappointed, like I was at the National Zoo. There weren't too many animals just because of the limitations of the facilities. After all, these parks are about chocolate, not animals. But still, awesome!

Chocolate Ave. & Cocoa Ave. :)

This is a picture standing in the waterpark sector of the Park looking into the rest of the Park with roller coasters and all. That big coaster is the Sky Rush, brand new this year. There's a lot of hype about it, but we didn't do any roller coasters. That's just not our thing any more... And they make me ridiculously uncomfortable..

Here's a picture from the Hershey Gardens of a heart shaped fountain pool!!! I want one of these, so cute! Some people actually just gave us their tickets, since they had kids that didn't want to do the Gardens after buying them, so we got in free! I think they were like $30 tickets too! It was really beautiful.

This was a garden in a bathtub, with a makeshift sunflower shower head. I think it actually worked, too. Such a cool idea!

I thought this was pretty cool. Look at the pictures, and here's a quote from Milton Hershey himself:

"If I ever become rich, I am going to use my money to build schools to give every boy and girl an opportunity to get an education."

Well it looks like his wish came true! Milton Hershey School is actually a non-profit, private school for children from families with low income, limited resources, and social need. The students actually live there, in comfortable home with 10-12 others and "houseparents." It's funded through a trust fund Hershey and his wife established and provides education for K-12. The graduation gowns are even chocolate colored! I wouldn't mind working there...

Anyway, it was wonderful. A nice little escape, I am so glad I got this week off work!!! It was really good to get out and spend some time with my mom, immersed in chocolate. Super awesome trip, I wanna go again, this time with Marshall! Well I guess that's all, time to get ahead on homework and clean the apartment :)
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