Thursday, April 26, 2012

Once in a Lifetime

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012, I had the opportunity to experience a once-in-a-lifetime event. The Space Shuttle Discovery was flown from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Dulles Airport in Virginia. And it just so happens that the building I normally work in at Dulles has a wonderful view of the airport. :)

Wide Angle shot
Approach for the first flyover of Dulles
It was such an amazing sight to see but kind of a sad one too. I used to want to be an astronaut when I was younger (specifically a payload specialist/scientist). My grandmother even bought me a replica of the jumpsuits for Space Camp. I wore it for Halloween several years. :) My parents used to live near Edwards Air Force Base and would watch this same sight when the shuttle needed to land in California then be ferried back to Florida. Mom even told me that one of my granfathers worked on the shuttle program.

Now that the shuttle program is ending and the shuttles retired, it's also the last time this amazing site will be seen. Well, for Discovery at least. Enterprise will be ferried from Virginia to New York on Friday (weather and other conditions permitting). Endeavor will be ferried to Los Angeles sometime this fall. But for Discovery, the journey has ended here. It will be intriguing to see what the next chapter holds for space exploration.

Banking to make the approach for landing

Godspeed Discovery!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chicken-scented Memories

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Mom's chicken pot pie! It is easily my most favorite meal and one I asked for constantly as a kid. I love the smell of it as it's cooking and the leftovers are *almost* as good as the first time around. We always got to request our favorite meal for our birthdays and Mom almost never had to ask what mine would be. When I got married, we made sure that she passed the recipe down to us since my husband loves this dish almost as much as I do!

Since then, I have shared this wonderful treasure with several friends, whether taking them a meal to celebrate a new baby or inviting them over for dinner. For me, it's just one of those things that is made even better when shared with friends. And in that way, many more people have been introduced to the wonderfulness that is my Mom's chicken pot pie.

Of course, that leads to multiple requests for the recipe :) So instead of always typing it up/writing it down...I've decided to post it here! (With Mom's blessings, of course!) :)

Mom's Chicken Pot Pie
1 box Pillsbury Pie crusts (I've tried store brand crusts but they never seem to turn out as good)
1 16ox package of frozen mixed veggies (preferably microwaveable steamer bag)
1 large can of chicken breast meat
1 small can of cream of chicken soup
3-4 medium sized red potatoes
black pepper, seasoning salt, and onion flakes to taste

Wash and cut potatoes into even-sized cubes. Steam potatoes until just able to be pierced with fork.
Partially steam frozen mixed veggies (if microwaveable, I usually put them in for about 2/3rds of the stated time)
In a large mixing bowl, mix soup, spices, and liquid from can of chicken meat.
Cut canned chicken into smaller pieces and add to mixing bowl.
Add veggies and potatoes and mix thoroughly.
(Side note: I usually have the potatoes going while I'm mixing stuff together and then throw the veggies in the microwave just before I'm ready to add them. I try to overlap tasks as much as possible to save some time.)

Spray pie plate with nonstick cooking spray and preheat oven to 375*
Place one crust in the bottom of pie plate and fill with pie filling.
Place 2nd crust on top (if you use a cookie cutter to create vents, cut out the shapes before placing crust. If just cutting slits, can be down after crust is on.)
Crimp edges of two pie crusts together.

Cover with foil and place on cookie sheet to catch any spills.
Bake at 375* for one hour (I rotate halfway through for even cooking).
Remove foil and continue baking for another 30-45 minutes until crust reaches desired brownness.

And here's a trick I learned from my mom about the pie crusts. Sometimes, the bottom crust isn't quite big enough and the top crust is too big and crimping becomes difficult. So after you put down the bottom crust, unroll and fold the top crust gently into fourths and trim some of the dough off of the curved edge. This excess dough can then be used to extend the bottom crust by pressing the two together (sometimes with a little water as glue).

I've also been asked where I got the small cookie cutters I use to decorate my crusts. I can't take any credit for them :) Mom gave them to me for my first married Christmas as a stocking stuffer. She found them at Michaels in the cake decorating section (for using with fondant). It's special touches like this that upped the awesomeness of Mom's chicken pot pies!

Enjoy the tastiness! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Adjusting to Domesticity: Leaving...

I'm loving these "Adjusting to Domesticity" blogs :) They're fun to write and share our experiences of early married life and what we've learned. So when the mood hits me, I'm going to continue to add to this series.

My husband doesn't travel for work often but when he does it is so hard for me to let him go. Near the end of last year, he had to travel more often than not. In fact, he was traveling for 11 out of the 14 days after Thanksgiving. I missed him terribly even though I knew he was traveling for good reasons and it would give me time to work on my own projects.

This time around, he left the afternoon of Easter. But this is only the start of things. There will be at least one trip per month from now until September and sometimes multiple trips in a month. In fact, there's a chance he could be gone for up to half of a month since he'll be traveling for both of his projects at work.

I've learned though that I need to keep myself busy. Moping around the apartment does neither of us any good and is counterproductive. Some of my favorites are getting uninterrupted time to work on crafting projects and things around the home. After I dropped him off with his co-worker this past Sunday, I ate, got my Sunday afternoon nap (a must most weeks), and then took off! I got my gardening set for the moment, moved laundry around, unloaded/reloaded/re-ran the dishwasher, made dinner, and even had a little time to watch an episode of "Jeeves and Wooster" (fun, British, Stephen Fry/Hugh Laurie comedy that Dan introduced me to). The following days have been slightly less productive (work kinda gets in the way) but you get the idea. :) I've even been able to try some new recipes that I knew Dan wouldn't enjoy but I loved.

But the hard times hit as well, even if I feel like I've been holding it together pretty well. I broke down one night after not hearing my husband's voice for almost 48 hours and only getting to chat for two minutes because they were still working on something. And he found out they were going to have to stay an extra day which always puts a damper on my hopes for a speedy reunion. I once told a friend who is a military wife that I don't know how she does it and she told me that the first week is always the hardest. So while I'm glad his trips are short, it also means I'm reliving the worst part of the separation each time he has a trip.

Overall, though, keeping busy has been the most helpful thing I've done during Dan's trips. Find something that you enjoy, something you don't always get to do and run with it. Periods of separation are hard, but the reunion is always sweet. It can be easy to get bogged down in the emotions and situation but God gives us situations for a reason and works them together for our good.

Now...please excuse me while I go prepare for Dan's return tomorrow! :D

Soli Deo Gloria,