Anchors Aweigh : April 2013


Home Is Where The Navy Sends Us

If you are in the military, you know truer words have never been spoken. When I was younger, I always imagined settling down in a Dallas suburb with my husband and raising our kids. The great American dream, right? I love the idea of our children growing up in the same town and being close to their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. That's the way I grew up, and it was amazing. Parker's career has meant we get to live out a different dream. While we aren't settling down and buying a home in the great state of Texas, we are getting to travel the world and experience places we otherwise wouldn't. Now that we are living this crazy Navy life, I wouldn't have it any other way. A house doesn't make where you live a home, the people you live with do. So for us, home is where the Navy sends us.

I saw a cute little sign craft on Pinterest a while back that I had been wanting to try out (a few of my friends have already done this), so this past weekend I finally decided to do it. I didn't want to copy any of the designs I saw, so we love that no one else has one quite like it. I'm no Vincent Van Gogh, but Parker and I are pleased with how it turned out and are excited to hang it on the back porch in our next home.

So there you have it! Home is where the Navy sends us, and as long as I have Parker and that sweet furball, I'm home! :)

Last Weekend in Pensacola

Well, that happened fast! Our last weekend in the sunshine state has come and gone, but it was a good one! Our friend Rodney got his wings of gold Friday, so we headed out to The Oar House Friday night to celebrate. None of us had ever been to The Oar House, but it was a neat place! Too bad we discovered it so late in the game. We spent the evening chatting it up with our sweet friends and unwinding from the long week. (Apologies in advance for all the iPhone quality pictures. It's a little obnoxious to lug the DLSR around everywhere we go, so we settle for the phone).

This was our view during dinner. I know I know, we have it so rough.

Saturday Parker got up bright and early to play golf, so my friend Maggie and I decided to do a little shopping since her significant other was busy too. When the boys are away, the girls will spend their money. Is that not how the saying goes? We got to chat about her upcoming wedding and each scored some cute housewares. Parker glared at me when I told him I bought another picture frame. I told Maggie I could have bought five shirts and he would have said "Great!", but buying something for the house when we are moving is silly and I knew that. It was a really cute frame though, in my self-defense.

We all met up at the Wagstaff's for a party to celebrate Rodney's winging Saturday afternoon. Allison did a great job hosting and I was a good little guest and ate everything so she wouldn't have many leftovers.
Here is a pic of all of the girls!

Misty was the hostess with the mostest and always made sure everyone was having a good time.

Our friend Jimmy was in town for Rodney's winging, and it was so good to see him again. I missed my brother from another mother!

Sunday we attended Harvest Pensacola Church for the last time, ran a few errands around Pensacola, and hung out with our sweet furball.

 4 days left in Florida! Here we gooooo!

One Week From Today...

Is this real life? Are we really moving back to Texas one week from today? Knowing this is enough to make me jump out of my chair with excitement, completely freak out with all we have left to do, and feel sad that we are leaving so many sweet friends. Mostly though, we just can't wait! With all the craziness that comes with moving, we are just excited for a new chapter.

We know this next week is going to go by so very quickly, so this weekend is project: soak it all in. We are excited to celebrate our friend Rodney's winging this weekend and spend as much time with our friends and each other as possible. Sunday is our last ever church service with Harvest Pensacola, and we are going to miss that place! We have been mentally making a list of all the places we want to eat before we leave (sad but true), so we may be hitting up a few local eateries before the week is up, but it's a delicate balance because we want to try to eat as much of our food at home as possible so it doesn't go to waste. Seriously, the past three weeks, I have been so careful when going to the grocery store and trying to only buy things I know will get eaten before we leave. Does anyone else do this? We both hate wasting food and it's become kind of a game to see how empty we can get the refrigerator before we leave.

I started making a list of all the things we will pack in our cars (the Navy will move our stuff for us and should deliver it about a week after we move in). I want to make sure we have anything important packed in one of our two cars, and I guess Jenny is important because anything related to her has made the list. Her massive amount of toys and treats have somehow replaced my jewelry and clothes, but I'm not mad at it. Pups need entertainment!

This was kind of a random post, but the thought of moving our lives one week from today is just completely blowing my mind. Ready or not, our last week in Florida is here!

Fruit Pie with a Pecan Crust

Yesterday our sweet friends John and Samantha invited us over for a BBQ, so I wanted to bring a dessert that fit the occasion. I didn't want to do anything too heavy or chocolaty, so my mom suggested this delicious dish. It was perfect for an outdoor get-together, and yall, this pie was delicious. Oh, I almost forgot, it's also the easiest thing to make.


1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cool whip
8 oz cream cheese, softened
fruit of your choice- I used blueberries and strawberries
cool whip to dollop on each slice, optional


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Stir pecans, melted butter, and flour in a mixing bowl until dough forms. Press mixture into pie plate with your fingers, and bake about 25 minutes. Cool completely.

3. With an electric mixer, cream powdered sugar, cool whip, and cream cheese until incorporated. Spread mixture into cooled, baked crust.
4. Top with fruit. If not serving immediately, place finished pie in refrigerator until serving time. Enjoy!

Muster with the Emerald Coast Aggies

Sunday was April 21st, and for Aggies, that means it was Muster. Muster is a ceremony where Aggies come together to remember the Aggies that passed away that year. The names are called, and you say "here" for your fallen comrades, symbolizing that they will never be forgotten. One day our names will be called, and our friends and family will say "here" for us. Pretty cool to think about!

When Muster rolls around, if there is an Aggie within 100 miles of you, you are to get together and celebrate the lives of those no longer with us. Last year we had our friends over and celebrated Muster in our home, but this year we were excited to join the Emerald Coast Aggies for their Muster celebration!
We met at Magnolia Grill in Fort Walton Beach. Parker was a little worried it would be too somber, but it wasn't at all. The gathering at Texas A&M is really somber, but the gathering with the Aggie clubs around the world are not that way. I don't love awkward social situations (but honestly, who does?), but lucky for me everyone was so nice and friendly! There were about 50-60 of us spanning across all age groups.

Thankful I got to sit with these two lovely people!

We ran into James, who was Parker's squad leader in his RV platoon at A&M. He also happens to be another Midlothian High School alum, so I got excited when I saw him!

A few of the younger ones there!

 We ate dinner, swapped stories, and listened to an awesome speaker, Dr. Jim Ferguson. He was a yell leader the same year Gov. Rick Perry was! When they got to the part where they read the names, things quieted down. 24 names were read. 20 of those were Aggies who lived in a 100-mile radius of where we met, and the other 4 were those who lost their lives in service for our country. I probably don't need to explain why that part was hard. The last name read was Graham Woody '08. He died last month in an Army training accident. He was a senior in Parker's corps outfit when he was a freshman. I got choked up hearing Parker say "here" for him, and I know Sunday was a really hard night for Graham's buddies.

Once the names were read, we sang the school song. There were a lot of tears in the room and I fought back some myself, but I was so grateful in that moment. Being an Aggie is one of the biggest blessings of my life. It led me to Parker and to so many life-long friendships, and the comradery you feel on days like Sunday is unmatched.

Parker got a video of everyone singing the school song. We sang this hundreds of times during our four years at Texas A&M, but it gives me chills every time I hear it now.

We had such a great experience celebrating Muster with the Emerald Coast Aggies, and I am excited to celebrate with the Kingsville Aggies next year!

Guys, Girls, and Pups

You know those times when you feel like you need a weekend to recover from your weekend? That was this weekend, but in a good way of course. We only have one more weekend before we are out of here, so we are really trying to make the most of them.

We had been wanting to go wine tasting again before we left, so off we went with the Wagstaffs to sample the flavors. It was delicious and fun and of course I was feeling it way before anyone else. It happens. The four of us met Chris and Maggie for dinner at our favorite sushi hub, Kappa. I am going to miss that place! Parker has had enough sushi to last him a few years and isn't shedding tears that it was our last time there. I had so much fun catching up with the girls at dinner and talking about all the things that boys cringe at the mention of. We laughed because with three couples, you either all sit next to your significant other, or you split up so the girls can chat and the boys don't have to listen to it. We chose the latter with no hesitation, and it was a blast! The boys had a great evening as well talking about planes, planes, and more planes.

Saturday Rodney and Allison had a great idea of renting a pontoon boat for the day and taking the pups. Parker and I were a little nervous because Jenny and Misty LOVE to play, and we weren't sure how that would go on a boat. The pups did wonderfully and completely shut out any reservations we initially had. Troy and another sweet couple Mandy and Caleb came too, and it was such a fun, relaxing afternoon out on the river.

Jenny was so excited when we got in the car. She knows when all three of us are in the car together, something really fun is going to happen. She is going to need to slightly alter her expectations when we get in the car for a 9 hour move to Texas in 2 weeks.

Captain Jenny loved driving the boat.

Actually, she was not impressed.

How cute are these two?!

Sunday evening was muster, and I'll do a separate post on that later in the week. It was such a great weekend! One more weekend till we are officially Kingsville residents!

You Go Blue Wahoos

Yes, I was channeling "You go Glen CoCo" in the title of this post. Mean Girls anyone? Yesterday afternoon the realtor who is selling our house called me and offered us Blue Wahoo tickets for the baseball game that evening. She had season tickets but couldn't make it. Free tickets? Sure! We were planning on going to Buffalo Wild Wings anyway that night since we had a gift card we needed to use before we move to the land where restaurant chains are nonexistent, so we had a nice little impromptu date night for free.

I'm not the biggest baseball person, but I had so much fun! Parker loves baseball and of course had a blast. He bought a Blue Wahoos hat last year when we got down to Pensacola (we were trying to be good Pensacolians! Yeah, seriously doubt that's a word.), but that hat has been worn all of twice and he didn't want to wear it to last night's game. To make it feel like less of a waste of money, I wore the silly thing all night. It was about two sizes two large for my head, but oh well!

Parker bought us M&Ms for sustenance.  He knows how to keep this girl happy!

Our seats were really good! I think baseball is much more enjoyable if you are close enough to see everything, but that goes for any sport I guess. Regardless- great seats :)

The 8th inning was so. good. The Blue Wahoos got 8 runs in one inning, and everyone was going nuts! So exciting and fun to watch!

The Blue Wahoos won 10-2 against the Jacksonville Suns. It was a great game! Of note, there was a group of really funny Marines in front of us, and at one point two of them figured out they were dating the same girl. Soooo funny. I mean it was probably awkward for them, but as a spectator, hilarious. It was straight out of the movie This Means War. We also sat next to a recently retired Navy jet pilot who was the XO at NAS Pensacola and his wife. They couldn't have been nicer to us, and I loved loved loved talking to his wife. She gave me some great advice from one Navy wife to another, and I loved hearing her stories. Parker and I had an absolute blast on this surprise date night!


Tuesday night was a little scary for this puppy mama. Parker was gone for the evening for his strike top-off flights so Jenny and I were having a typical girls night in (aka snuggling on the couch and watching reality television). She started chewing on a long, slender bone she has been working on for a while, and all of a sudden she went completely nuts. She started running across the house and violently pawing at her face. She tried to dig her nose into the floor in between scratching at her face, and then she would sprint off a few feet and do the same thing. She was acting so strange it looked like she had rabies, and I had no idea what to do.

After about 5 minutes of this, she sat calmly on the floor and just stared at me. For a second I thought whatever had been hurting her was over because she was so still, but she wouldn't leave my gaze. I don't have human babies, but anyone who knows me knows Jenny is my baby.  You always hear about "motherly instincts", and I think those kicked in when Jenny was hurting. To anyone else, she now seemed fine. She was sitting on the floor and wagged her tail every time I came to sit next to her, but when I started petting her, the tail-wagging stopped every time. It was as if she was trying to tell me "I don't need to be pet. There's something wrong and I need you to fix it". I opened her mouth and didn't see anything abnormal, but her face was different. I realized that she wasn't able to touch her bottom and top teeth together. Her mouth was partially open and she couldn't close it. Naturally, I was panicking at this point.

She kept her gaze locked on me and followed me anywhere I went. I finally decided to open her mouth again and get a better look, and that's when I saw it. She had broken off about a 3 inch piece of that bone, and it was firmly lodged in the roof of her mouth towards the back of her throat. Poor thing! My first inclination was to dig into her mouth and grab it right away, but I didn't want to accidentally force it farther into her throat and cause her to choke. I figured out a way to maneuver my hands in her mouth to make sure I had a good grip on the bone and wouldn't drop it. After several hard tugs, I pulled it out. You would think she would have been fighting me the whole time I had my fingers practically down her throat, but she sat completely still. I think she knew I was her only hope of fixing whatever was wrong, so she put all her little pupper trust in me and let me help her. As soon as I yanked it out, she wagged her tail, grabbed the bone, and ran off as if to say "Thank goodness! I wasn't done with that!". Good grief. I watched her carefully as she finished the bone and the night went on. For as much as this scared me, Parker thought it was really funny when he got home. Granted he just heard the story and didn't have to see her while this was happening, but it's been two days and I still don't think it was funny. Men these days.

It was definitely a scary moment, and I am so thankful I was home. Had I not been home and seen Jenny acting so strangely, we wouldn't have known the bone was lodged in her mouth. She's a smart dog and realized pretty quickly that clawing at her face and running around wasn't going to solve anything, and I would have never known she was in pain had I not seen her do that. God was looking out for that little trouble-maker, and I am so thankful!!

Homemade Cherry Pie

I blogged last week about my favorite Apple Pie Recipe, so this week I decided to blog about my all-time favorite pie recipe. Nana's homemade cherry pie has been my favorite dessert ever since I was little, and I don't anticipate that ever changing. One thing you will notice with these pie recipes is they all use a homemade crust. I know I know, you can just buy a pre-made crust and skip the hassle, but yall, the homemade crust is what makes the pie every time. The filling is a cinch and won't take much time at all, so use that extra time and make a crust. You won't regret it!


Pie Filling:
1 can of cherries packed in water
1 cup sugar
2 T flour
1 T butter
1 t almond extract
red food coloring to enhance color

2 cups flour
1 cup crisco
1 t salt
4 T ice water


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Begin making your crust by mixing flour and salt. Cut in crisco with a fork and add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each. Rub flour on your hands so the dough won't stick together. Pat dough in a ball and cut in half with a knife for a top and bottom pie crust. The bottom crust needs to be slightly larger, so make one half a little bigger than the other. Roll larger portion of dough onto a pastry cloth or paper towel with flour, and place dough in a pie plate. Reference my Chicken Pot Pie recipe to see step by step pictures for making the crust.
3.  In a large pan, mix sugar and flour. Add cherries, food coloring, almond extract, and butter. Bring to a simmer just to melt the butter.
4. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell and cover with upper crust. Crimp edges and sprinkle a little sugar on your top crust.
5. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 20 minutes of until lightly brown.
6. Let cool and enjoy!

I mentioned in my apple pie post that Nana always cuts in our initials with a fork. This is a pie she made for Danielle and I, so she put a "C" and a "D" on it for us. Little things like that just make my heart smile :).

A Reason To Celebrate

We had a couple of reasons to celebrate this weekend! The first was of course the news from Thursday's selection. Parker is going to fly jets, and we are headed to Kingsville, Tx for training. This is a big deal for our little Phelps trio and we couldn't be more excited! We made reservations at The Melting Pot Friday night and got ready for a fancy little date night to celebrate Parker's accomplishments- shout out to Groupon for saving us $50 on said fancy little date night :). If you haven't ever been to The Melting Pot or Simply Fondue, you should try it! It's a fun and different experience. It's a little pricey, but it's the perfect little date night for special occasions. Who doesn't love dipping cakes and fruit into melted chocolate? This girl was in heaven.

Meanwhile back in Texas, this beautiful sister received her Aggie ring!

I hate that we couldn't be there for Bree's ring day, but we were celebrating her accomplishment from Florida! We're proud of you!! All Phelps kiddos now have these shiny pieces of gold, and we are just two Benners away from all of our siblings having them. I guess this whole Aggie thing runs in the family ;).

Saturday we had friends over for the Texas A&M Maroon vs White game. With our time in Florida coming to an end, we were really just looking for a reason to get everyone together. I can honestly say I watched absolutely none of the game. Michelle, Allison, and I stayed in the kitchen the whole time and chatted while the boys watched the game the Masters. So we were all bad Aggies, but we will be better when the season actually starts. Though I didn't see any of the game, I do know we won. Gig Em! The boys were inspired by the Masters and went to play golf, the girls stayed and chatted about anything and everything, and we all reconvened for a late dinner. It was the perfect little weekend!


The verdict is in! Parker is going to fly jets, and we are moving to Kingsville, Tx in May for him to learn to fly the T-45. Parker's selection was yesterday afternoon, and to say we were excited is the understatement of the year. This selection has been a long time coming, and we knew it was going to be a huge blessing regardless.

I woke up bright and early Thursday morning because I was too excited to sleep. I told Parker I couldn't sleep because the big day was finally here, and he rolled over and mumbled "You're not even selecting" and went back to sleep. Typical. Don't get me wrong though, he was excited too! I was antsy all day and had little butterflies as the selection got closer. I really haven't been so excited about something since our wedding day, but I got those same jittery feelings all over again.

Eight other people selected with Parker.

In a nutshell, selection works like this: you are given four cups with the different planes you could fly written on the bottom of each one (jets, rotary, maritime, etc). The selectors give a toast, flip a cup over to read what it says, and then ask the instructor if that's what they're flying. Their first toast is always to the Red Knights (their squadron), and Parker's second and third toasts were to the wives and to the instructors. Sorry Jenny, I'm sure you would have been fourth. Parker picked up the jets cup third, so he gave three toasts.

When Parker picked up the cup that said jets, I think I stopped breathing for a second. Jets is what Parker has wanted since we got here, so I really wanted it for him. Hearing the instructor say "yes" to jets was so surreal. All the hard work had paid off, and Parker is going to get to live out this dream. This little Navy wife couldn't ask for anything more!

Troy also selected in his squadron and got helos! I am so glad we were in Pensacola at the same time and selfishly wish he was coming to Kingsville, but we are so excited he got what he wanted and is going to fly helicopters!

Jets is already wonderful news in itself, and the fact that we are going to Kingsville is the icing on the cake. We are moving back to TEXAS! Gosh we could not be more excited! We of course went to Chili's after the selection and spent the whole time talking about all the little weekend trips we can take and planning for our future in Kingsville. We will only be 4 hours away from College Station and 4.5 hours away from my family. We are still pretty far away from Parker's family, but thankfully we will be able to meet halfway in College Station for fightin' Texas Aggie football games. The idea of seeing our families more than twice a year is beyond exciting.

We are so thankful for everyone who has loved and supported us throughout this journey! We could not feel more blessed in the life God has given us. Here's to a new chapter!

Homemade Apple Pie

I grew up learning how to make homemade pies with my Nana, and I get so excited making pies for Parker and thinking about one day teaching our children how to make them. This pie is a family favorite and one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted! It's actually one of the easier pies in terms of filling because you don't have to cook the filling ahead of time.


Pie Filling:
6 cups pared, sliced apples
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 T flour
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 T butter

2 cups flour
1 cup crisco
1 t salt
4 T ice water


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Begin making your crust by mixing flour and salt. Cut in crisco with a fork and add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each. Rub flour on your hands so the dough won't stick together. Pat dough in a ball and cut in half with a knife for a top and bottom pie crust. The bottom crust needs to be slightly larger, so make one half a little bigger than the other. Roll larger portion of dough onto a pastry cloth or paper towel with flour, and place dough in a pie plate. Reference my Chicken Pot Pie recipe to see step by step pictures for making the crust.
3.  In a small bowl, mix sugars, cinnamon, salt, and flour together.
4. Place 1/3 of the sliced apples in the uncooked pie shell. Sprinkle 1/3 sugar mixture over apples.
5. Place another 1/3 sliced apples and 1/3 sugar mixture in pie shell. Repeat again.
6. Pour heavy cream into the center of the apple/sugar mixture in the uncooked pie shell. Dot with butter.
7. Roll out remaining pie crust and place on top of the pie shell and filling. Lightly brush a little bit of heavy cream onto top crust and sprinkle with sugar.
8. Bake 1 hour or until crust is golden brown.

Nana always puts a "C" in the pie for Chelsea, so I kept that going and put a "P" in the pie for Parker. Happy eating!

Primary: Check!

We were so excited going into last week because we knew Parker would finish Primary. For those who don't know, Primary is the last part of training in Pensacola before he selects jets, maritime, or helicopters. Primary is supposed to take about 6 months, but due to factors outside of Parker's control like the weather and maintenance issues this summer, he checked into Primary in June 2012 and finished 10 months later. We have been making jokes about just buying a home and retiring in Milton because it seriously didn't seem like Primary would ever end! Parker had 2 flights left Friday and was on standby, so we didn't think he would get to fly, but an instructor became available and he got to knock out his last 2 flights in the T-6 Friday afternoon. We were both ecstatic! His last out and in was to Mobile, Al and he got home late Friday night in time for a little celebratory dinner at Chili's with a few friends.

With Primary out of the way, we get to focus on the future and what lies ahead. The exciting thing is we really don't know what's coming! Parker put in his choices for selection and we find out Thursday at 3 PM what he will be flying and where we will be moving. All weekend we were giddy with excitement about what is to come. Either way, it will be an awesome adventure and a huge blessing. I am really at peace with the fact that God has it all under His control, and He has already predetermined what He wants Parker to fly. Love that. Parker is hoping for his first choice, but he knows either way it will be a really great ride. It's a pretty big decision though. This decides what kind of plane will will fly for the duration of his time in the Navy, how much more training he has before he goes into the fleet, where we move next and the possible locations thereafter, etc. Like I said, either way it will be a blessing! We are just ready to know, so come on Thursday at 3:00!

Weekend Wrap-Up

Yet another weekend has gone by all too quickly, but what else is new? We had a perfect mix of productivity and relaxation, which is always our goal with the weekends. Friday night Parker got home after his last flight in the T-6 (more to come on that tomorrow), so we were ready to get out of the house and celebrate! Parker brought me a cookie home from Mobile where he had flown that day...too sweet! Some husbands bring their wives flowers, others bring cookies. I'd say Parker knows his audience. This girl was a happy camper!

Luckily our friend Ryan had a late flight that evening too, so the three of us met at Chili's (where else?!) for a late dinner. James and Drew met us a little later for dessert and I later waddled on home 5 lbs larger. It's the weekend, so it doesn't count, right? Right.

Side note: One of the highlights of my weekend was getting to Facetime with these two. Danielle and Whitney were having a girls day and I was trying to live vicariously from 4 states away.

Saturday Parker had a mandatory event on base, so Jenny and I decided to make a day of it and tag along. While he went to his event, we took a scenic walk around base. We walked to a pond and had the best time exploring and smelling everything! Okay, that was mostly her, but I loved watching her get so excited about being in a new place. I stayed there around an hour and came back with a very tired pup. Successful day for sure.

We met up with some friends on a boat at Whiting Park Saturday afternoon and had a blast. Love being out on the water on gorgeous weather days! 

Sunday we did our normal Sunday thing, and the Wagstaffs came over for dinner and a little pupper play date! Jenny was on cloud nine when her friend Misty got here. Jenny's absolute favorite thing is playing with other dogs, followed by nature walks in cool places. I think Parker and I probably come in a solid third on her list of likes, but we could be farther down. How cute are these two though?!

Happy Monday!


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