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army life confessions, or rather: our life in hawaii

Today I'm happy to be joining Mal & Sam for their link-up "The Real Military Wives of Blogland". I'll be honest and say that I wasn't initially going to do this link-up. Not because I don't think it's creative or fun, but because being a military soon-to-be-spouse doesn't define me. In fact, I avoid using that title at all costs, because I'm so much more than a (soon-to-be) wife and it makes me sad when women pigeonhole themselves in such a way. Another topic for another day...

In any case, just like every season of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, here I am!

I suppose for anyone who is new around here, I should start with the basics. You can read all about Dane here, but he's my Army Ranger and the main man in my life. We live in sunny Hawaii and are loving every moment!
Dane recently took command and I've never been more proud!
Here's the part where things often go south for me in the military community: we have no children, we don't live on post and I work full time (and some weekends!) so typically coffee groups & FRG events are out of the question.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with any of these things--plenty of our friends fall into all of the above!--this just typically means I'm the odd one out and I fully accept that. What I don't accept is being judged for any of the above--not cool. My life, my choices, right?

We have one baby--she has brown fur.
For us, the Army is Dane's job, not his life. Sure, it impacts some of the decisions we make as a couple, but we don't let it run (or ruin!) our lives.

It would be kind of awkward if my job defined him, right? Right! I'm proud of him in all of his accomplishments professionally and likewise he with me.

What do I love? Spending time with him when we're not working!

We love: Going to the beach, planning parties with friends, traveling the world, spending time with family on the East Coast, trying out new restaurants and bars, playing with our sweet puppy, Judy, tailgating sporting events, shopping (crazy, I know!), Chrissy Teigen, cooking, DIY home projects, planning our wedding, golfing/surfing/paddle boarding/running/Crossfit and the list could go on and on.

Where to next? Good question. Your guess is as good as ours ;) Though we do have a pretty good idea of where it will be, we're not counting our chickens yet, but will be headed that way next spring.

I think sometimes the term "military spouse" gets a bad name, which stinks. It shouldn't be that way, because no two people are alike. If you're stopping by today from the link-up I'd love for you to say "hello!" in the comments below. Be sure to tell me something about you, because of course, you're more than just the other half of someone else who happens to be in the military ;)

how to: italian arancini

I've recently become obsessed with going back to Italy to continue taking cooking classes. When I find the funds and time to do so, I've already informed Dane I will be on a one-way plane. Okay, just kidding, it will definitely be round-trip because I would miss the heck out of my family.

Moving right along, I was making Italian Arancini last week and Dane was looking at me as I babbled on about rice temperature and adding eggs. He was convinced this was becoming an Asian dish and I continued to yammer on about types of breadcrumbs and gluten free substitutes. Thankfully, I was finally done cooking and these delectable little treats were wolfed down in less than 10 minutes. Truth me told, I used to make them all the time. I can't really be sure what happened, but the caloric intake alone is enough to stop a horse heart. That being said, you should probably make them.

You Will Need:

1 cup rice, cooked
 2 eggs
Parmesan or mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan or mozzarella cheese, cubed
*note, I accidentally shredded all mine before I could chunk any into cubes, hence the very sharp cheddar you're seeing instead of a mozz.
1 cup breadcrumbs
*I used gluten free sunflower seed bread that I put in a food processor, but for anyone who doesn't have a gluten allergy--store bought should do the trick!
oil for frying
marinara sauce for dipping

1. Cook rice. While rice is cooling, mix in one egg and a handful of cheese. I never measure these sorts of things so I wish I could say something better than 'handful', but....welcome to my kitchen.

2. Mix well and let cool.

3. While the rice is cooling, take your other egg, crack it into a bowl and whisk.

4. In a separate bowl, pour your breadcrumbs.

5. Rice ball making time! Take a cube of mozzarella and wrap the cheesy, eggy rice mixture around it. Sizing wise, I typically make balls slightly larger than a golf ball. Do this until you have used all of your rice mixture.

***At this point, begin heating oil in a stove-top pan. I pour just enough oil to reach about an inch high in my saute pan.
6. Next, take each ball and dip it into the egg bowl, followed by rolling in the bread crumbs.

7. You're ready to fry! Your oil should be hot enough by now. Place each rice ball into the hot oil and fry until lightly golden.

8. Place all balls on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 110-15 until golden brown.

9. Serve with marinara sauce and try not to eat all of them in one sitting :)

some golf, some Easter, some DIY...just another weekend

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Easter week, where did you go? I have to admit, this past week has been a total blur to me. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I worked the LPGA Lotte Championship here in Hawaii. You can read all my pieces from the week here.  Special congrats to Hawaii's own Michelle Wie, who won it all!

With all that was going on, I barely realized how close Easter was getting until Saturday night rolled around and I faced hosting Easter brunch with zero prep work done....eek!I kind of panicked. My visions of an Easter presentation looking like this:
Went out the freaking window.
Heck, I hadn't even done my grocery shopping. Seriously, people, this is the point in my life when I'm thanking the heck out of God for gifting me Dane. In his quick thinking ability, he turned our sit-down brunch into a champagne bar buffet. Genius, right?
We headed out to Kmart to grab all the essentials for brunch guests: hash browns, eggs, brown sugar, butter & toilet paper (Check out Shop You Way Rewards for great coupon offers on Scott Tissue products this week!)
Did you know they sold individual toilet paper rolls?

I didn't realize this either, because I'm a professional bulk-buyer.
Here's where I started to realize that my "OMG IMMEDIATE PERFECT PLAN" had a slight catch...
I don't know about you, but I really love how place cards look, but I hate the price tag usually associated with them at the store. I knew I could make easy alternatives for something simple and cute for Easter.

But, no sit-down meal, means no need for place cards at your table settings.

Would you believe these were crafted from toilet paper rolls?
Heck, it means no need for table settings at all! I'm not going to lie, I was a little bit heartbroken, but I really loved how our champagne brunch buffet table turned out.
Judy had to make an appearance, of course!

Because these place cards were just too cute (and easy!) to make, a tutorial is in order, right? Right.
Be sure to pull ALL the toilet paper off before you get started..oops!
For 4 Place Cards, You Will Need:
1 empty roll from toilet paper or paper towels
1 Sharpie in a fun, spring color
index cards

1. Cut your index card into 4 equal size pieces and write your four guest names on the pieces.
Name cards = done!
2. Cut the toilet paper or paper towel roll long ways on either side, so you have two equal half circle dome shaped pieces.
3. Cut the domes in half and voila! you have your place card holder.
4. Finally, cut a slit in the top of the holder and slide your name card in.

How easy (AND CHEAP!) was that? Admittedly, I'm now addicted to finding crafts to do with toilet paper rolls. I'm currently using an empty roll to wrangle my curling iron and hair dryer cords so that they don't get tangled underneath my sink, because I'm too lazy to properly wrap them every time.

What can you take from this post?
I have a lot of things going on all of the time--I like to maintain about 114mph at all times. But more importantly---Toilet paper rolls can save Easter....or something like that.