Anchors Aweigh : July 2013


Beach Pasta Salad

I look forward to this pasta salad all year. It's pretty much the best! My family takes an annual beach trip and makes this pasta salad for the crew to munch on all week. Unfortunately this trip didn't happen this year with scheduling conflicts, so I decided to make it myself. I really don't have enough good things to say about it. It's like summer in a bowl, and it's super easy to throw together.

Garden rotini pasta
Chopped veggies- I used zucchini, red bell pepper, green onions, and broccoli florets
Marinated artichoke hearts
Wishbone Italian dressing
Black Pepper
*you can make this salad as large or as small as you want, so use the quantity of each ingredient that best suits your needs!

1. Cook your pasta according to instructions on the package. Drain and place pasta in a large bowl.
2. Chop your raw veggies and throw them into the bowl with the pasta.
3. Chop a few artichoke hearts and add them to the bowl (I used about half the can, pictured above). Pour a small amount of artichoke marinade into the pasta for flavor.
4. Add Italian dressing. You don't want your salad to be swimming, but you want enough in there to completely coat the pasta. Just add and taste until you think you have it just right. Sprinkle black pepper.
5. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator a few hours. You may want to add a little more dressing after it has chilled because the pasta will soak a lot of it up. Just taste and see.


Our Greatest Blessing

At the ripe old age of 24, I look at my life and see a million ways God has blessed Parker and me. We have our health, we have great friends, and we have each other, but without a doubt our greatest blessing in life has been family. I don't think we really realize until we are older just how much it means to have a support system that will love you unconditionally. From getting into trouble with the athletic department for switching places with my twin in high school to deciding to marry Parker, my family has always been on my side. I know I took this for granted growing up because it was all I knew. I was so spoiled with a loving family that I didn't remember how truly blessed I was. I was talking to a friend who lives at home, and she mentioned she is so ready to get out because she and her mom butt heads. It made my heart hurt because I would do anything to get to walk into the living room and hug my mom anytime I want. Getting married and moving out is exciting and new, but there is always that part of me that can't wait until the next time I get to hug my family.

This weekend, we had the privilege of getting to spend time with a lot of my extended family, and I came back with such a full heart realizing how richly blessed I am. I'm not gazillionaire, but looking at this picture of so many people that I love and who love me makes me feel like I am the richest person in the world.

This picture is missing a few people including my dad, but being with these people for a day was pure happiness. I think the military life and living far away makes us appreciate the gift of family in a way we never have before.

We spent the three hour car ride home talking about how much fun it was to all be together again. If I had it my way, I would see both of our families every weekend, but that's not realistic in this always adventurous Navy life. Weekends like this last one are just special, and it was such a reminder of how truly blessed we are. Another blessing: road trips with the husband. Never a dull moment with this guy!

What do you consider the greatest blessing in your life?

Free Friday

This Friday we did a little something different. Instead of the typical dinner and a movie date night that has become the Phelps Friday night norm, we decided to have a completely free Friday. No fancy dinner, no expensive movie, no ice cream stop. No money, just us. We munched on a casserole our sweet neighbors brought over, played board games, and watched a movie. Honestly, we can't remember the last time we had so much fun. I was in an oversized t-shirt with no make-up on, Parker was in athletic shorts and a t-shirt, and Jenny was rocking the birthday suit as usual. It was less than glamorous, but comfort is the name of the game over here. We also decided to get the camera out and take random pictures for no apparent reason at all.

Has anyone ever played cribbage? Parker taught me a few years ago, and it's our go-to game. It's complicated, but it's really fun!

The real low point was about the time cousin Itt/the long lost cast member of Duck Dynasty decided to make an appearance. You know how sometimes a couple thinks something is really funny but nobody else gets it, so you think "well at least they think it's funny since they're the ones that are together"? Well this was one of those times. At least we were amused!

Free Friday turned out to be a blast and something we hope to do at least once a month. It was a perfect way to relax and reconnect, and we didn't spend a dime. Yahtzee!

In His Image

I was so excited when Susannah at Simple Moments Stick emailed me about a new series she is hosting called In His Image. I love any excuse to talk about my faith and what I believe, and what intrigued me most about this topic is how many ways you can go with it. The first thing that stuck out to me was the literal translation of being in His image: appearance.

Especially being girls, we are all insecure about something in our appearance. I'd like to thank the media for convincing us we all need to be 6 ft. tall with big boobs and a size 2 waist. I can look in the mirror and find 100 things that don't match up with the "beauty" the outside world is looking for. I have a slight lazy eye that is occasionally evident when I am tired, one nostril is a little wider than the other, my stick straight hair can't hold curl for anything, and my boobs are fairly nonexistent. But you know what? I am fearfully and wonderfully made in God's image, and knowing that wipes away all pressure from the outside world to look a certain way.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." -Psalm 139:14

We were created in the image of God, and God doesn't make mistakes. He is so intentional with His creations. From the dimples in our cheeks to the number of hairs on our head, God sees a complete masterpiece when He looks at each one of us. All of those little "imperfections" I see when I look in the mirror are so pleasing to God. His work is wonderful.

Not only was I created in God's image, but I love looking at my parents and seeing the features God took from them to form me. I have my mom's nose and straight hair, my dad's face shape and eyes, and I am shaped just like my Nana from head to toe. It was God's intent for me to look exactly as I do. We were all made in His image, and each and every one of us is so wonderfully made.

Look in the mirror and smile- God is!

Grocery Shopping With The Husband

Parker was home a little bit last week during the day (this little wife was not complaining one bit!), so I asked if he wanted to do the weekly grocery shopping with me. Typically he passes without hesitation, but he didn't have anything else going on so he agreed to come. I am one of those people who actually enjoys going to the grocery store, and I think grocery shopping with Parker is so fun! Does anyone else enjoy grocery shopping with their significant other?

Our bank accounts probably hate it when Parker comes to the grocery store because it always costs more, without fail. Parker likes to throw random things in the cart, and I always laugh at what he decides we need. Somehow it's cute when someone who does zero of the cooking decides we need certain foods. As we were walking through the store, Parker told me we needed to diversify our pantry and mix things up. And that is exactly what he proceeded to do. Here are the items Parker threw in the cart. Some are normal, some...not so much.

Neither of us drink sodas, so the Mexican soda he decided we needed to try was an odd choice. The spam is something he ate when he was younger and thought I needed to taste, and the mackerel filets...there are no words. I didn't even know such a thing existed. Parker actually really liked it, and I can do without ever having another bite again. Think salty canned tuna. Somehow I doubt you are jumping out of your seat to go buy your own little box of canned mackerel filets.

Just a normal day in the Phelps household, enjoying canned mackerel

So that was an experience. I laughed so much on this trip. It really is the little things sometimes, and this was a fun way to spend time together during the week. 

...and there he goes, having spent double what we usually do on the most random foods we've ever purchased. If that's not a lunch break well spent, I don't know what is!

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

I found this recipe on my favorite foodie blog and have been so excited to try it. Parker recently bought me a bundt pan after several not so subtle hints that I really wanted one, so I am trying to get good use out of it! This recipe is a gold mine and Parker and I were both licking our plates clean. If you like chocolate and you like cake (ahem, Emily), this recipe is for you my friend. Bonus- prep time was literally 5 minutes. I almost feel badly calling it homemade for how easy it was, but I'm not complaining!

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 small box of instant vanilla pudding
1 small box of instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups water
4 eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (the original recipe only called for one, but I personally think two was perfect)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your bundt pan.
2. Put all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a mixing bowl and blend together with an electric mixer. Once blended, stir in chocolate chips.
3. Pour mixture into greased bundt pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
4. Let the cake rest in bundt pan 10 minutes once removed from the oven. After 10 minutes, carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate to finish cooling.

Rolling With The Military Punches

If you are a military spouse/fiance/girlfriend, you know their schedule is anything but 8-5, M-F. Sometimes Parker gets home at 11 AM, and sometimes he gets home at 11 PM. I started out hating this concept but have grown to understand it and realize it's my job to be supportive. One thing I think all military spouses dread is our husbands being scheduled for duty. Duty of any kind usually means an 8-12 hour shift at odd hours standing watch, taking calls, or something of the sort.

Parker and I were so excited for this weekend. We haven't spent a day just completely the two of us with no studying or work in a few weeks, and Saturday was finally going to break that trend. We found out Friday night he was scheduled for something called duty driver (if someone flies out of one city but lands in another close by, the duty driver picks them up and takes them back to their car in the city they flew out of). Parker contacted everyone on the flight schedule and found out only one person needed to be picked up around noon. Awesome! We could just drop him off really quickly and then enjoy a fun day downtown. We drop him off, arrive downtown to a cute little restaurant I was so excited to try, and then Parker gets the call. There were planes flying back from a detachment all afternoon, and he would need to cycle through picking them up and dropping them off for the rest of the day.

Just like that, our fun little date day downtown was over. It would have been so easy to be upset. We were both annoyed, that's for sure, but there was absolutely nothing we could do. He asked if I wanted to just ride with him while he was driving everyone around. At least we would still get to spend the day together, so I did. This was my view for the next 7 hours (at least he's pretty to look at!):

Right when Parker received that call, plans had to change. Our lunch date at the Bamboo Gardens turned into McDonald's in the car, and our plans to grill burgers and veggies for dinner turned into Taco Bell take-out. You know what though, we spent the entire day together and had time to talk about everything from future trips to kids' names to completely random topics that shouldn't even qualify as conversation. All we wanted was a day to just spend time together. Although this wasn't exactly what we had in mind, God gave us just that: a day to spend together. I felt blessed and ashamed at the same time for wanting more. This was perfect.

We finally got home around 8 PM, but we really did have a fun little Saturday! Never have we driven so much just to end up right back where we started, but with all this military moving, Parker and I have become pros with long car trips.

Did we really just spend over 8 hours in the car?!?
We definitely had to roll with the military punches on Saturday, but we got to spend the entire day together! If that isn't a perfect Saturday, I don't know what is. :)

Friday Happy Dance

I cannot tell you how excited I am that it's Friday. Parker has been so busy this week with flight school, so the idea of spending an uninterrupted and stress-free weekend together sounds like perfection. Here's what kept me smiling this week:

Jenny time. This was a busy week work-wise for both of us, but we still found time to hang out with our favorite pup. Jenny just loves it when you pin her on her back, obviously.

Running. Jenny and I have been working on increasing our distance this week, and surprisingly cooler temperatures definitely helped! Plus Jenny always has the biggest smile on her little face when we finish. Heart melted.

Reality TV. Thank goodness for shameless reality television on nights when it's just Jenny and me. I'm also thankful that Big Brother comes on three times a week...yahtzee! That, The Bachelorette, Dance Moms, and Pretty Little Liars have kept me entertained this week. I apologize for the lack of maturity in my television choices. Reality TV is definitely my guilty pleasure.

Good Eats. Finding a good restaurant in Kingsville is like finding a goldmine. It is such a small town and options are scarce, but we found a BBQ joint last Friday that we are now mildly obsessed with. This sandwich was oh so delicious.

I hope you all had a wonderful week! Cheers to the weekend!!

The Boy Behind The Blog

I got so excited for the Boy Behind The Blog link-up this month because I love hearing Parker's answers to random questions. Parker has written several posts on this blog and is talked about in nearly all of them, but I do love a good excuse to highlight the man in my life. In case you haven't noticed, he and Jenny are my not so secret obsession ;). 

Questions and Answers (my responses to his answers are in blue):

1. What celebrity would play you in a movie about your life?
Channing Tatum. Some people say he's my doppleganger...I don't know if he looks that good.  
This one made me giggle. If you don't know Parker and his sense of humor, he likely just came off a little cocky in this answer. That said, I can almost kinda maybeee see the resemblance?

2. What is your dream car?
If I could drive anything and gas mileage isn't a big deal, I'd probably drive something sporty and Italian. The Fiat! Just kidding, maybe like a porsche (I realize that's not actually Italian).
The Fiat thing made me laugh out loud...nothing against Fiats of course :)

3. Do you have any tattoos? What, where, why?
No, I've never understood tattoos
This is true. I don't see either of us ever getting tattoos for our own personal reasons. 

4. Boxers or briefs?
Neither. Just kidding, briefs
I found this question a little awkward. Maybe that was just me.

5. List 3 random facts about yourself...

--Every Halloween that I can remember as a child, I dressed up as a solider or a military person of some sort.
I love this about him. Few people can say they are truly living out their passion and their dream, but for Parker, being in the military has been something he has wanted from the beginning. I wonder if future little Phelplets will take after their dad?

--I was on the marksmanship team in high school, but we sucked. I still got a letter jacket for it.
Bad wife alert: I forget this fun fact every time he tells me. It's not something he talks about, and I don't even think I have ever seen said letter jacket.

--I'm a closet environmentalist. I hate throwing stuff out that still works. 
 So true. I am working on our audition tape for Hoarding: Buried Alive. Kidding, actually Parker is the cleaner one of the two of us. 

Thanks for humoring me and answering these questions Parker!

DIY Yarn Art

You should have seen the look on Parker's face when I told him I had another craft project idea for the house. He was less than amused (I can't blame him), but this string/yarn art stuff I have been seeing on Pinterest was too tempting not to try. I am so glad I did! It was cheap, easy, and it looks great in my office over my giant turquoise desk. So here is the finished product:

I decided to do three smaller square boards and have a different design on each. The board on the right is the shape of Texas (I hope everyone already knew that), and the heart is over College Station. Parker and I have lived in a few different places both together and separately in Texas, but College Station is where we met. It's where our story began. The middle shape is an anchor. This obviously symbolizes the Navy, but it had special meaning for me in college as a Delta Gamma, it symbolizes this blog, etc. The heart on the left was kind of a cop-out. I couldn't think of another out of the box shape to do, and I love love, so a heart it is.

Want to make one? Here's how!

Parker ever so graciously cut the boards to proportion for me, and I tackled the rest of the project.

Step 1: Stain or paint your wood. These will be going in the same room as our world map, so I decided to use the same stain we used on that frame to tie it all in. Bonus- we already had some of this stain left over, so that portion of the project was free. The color I used was Cabernet by Rustoleum.  Let the stain dry completely- I let it dry overnight.

Step 2: Print out an image of your desired shape and cut it out. I printed out half a heart twice and taped it down for the heart board. The heart and the anchor were easy because those shapes are mirror images of themselves. The state of Texas...not so much. For Texas, I printed out a smaller shape as a guide and just eyeballed it. Tape the paper shape onto your board and nail around it. Remove the paper/tape and you should see your shape outlined by nails.

Step 3: Tie a piece of yarn to your starting point and string away! I didn't follow any specific pattern. I just kept wrapping the yarn until I was pleased with the end result. Tie off the yarn when you're done and that's it! Easy peasy.

This was a fun and easy project for me to take on, and Parker and I really are so pleased with the end result!

This week I was also chosen to co-host the Wednesday Walkabout, so bloggers be sure to link up and meet some new fabulous bloggers! Thanks fellow military spouse Jane at Poppiness for letting me co-host!

The Rules:
1. Please follow at least ONE hostess, and let us know you're a new follower and how to follow you! To be entered as next week's Mystery Host, follow all hosts from this week.  
Mystery Host Chelsea- Anchors Aweigh
Chantal- Scattered Shells
Jane- Poppiness
2. Try to visit 3-4 blogs that interest you. Take some time and let them know where you came from.
3. Grab the button and spread the word! (Not required, but just cool if you do). The more, the merrier.

Happy Wednesday!

Disney Movies Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations About Men

I was raised watching Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Lady & The Tramp, etc etc. Most of us were, right? I grew up on these cute movies with happily ever after endings. I have a lot of friends looking for the perfect prince charming to sweep them off their feet, and the idea always makes me uneasy because that just doesn't exist. I love Parker more than anything, but he drives me absolutely nuts sometimes, and vice versa. Disclaimer: we came up with this post idea together. This may seem like a "dog on your husband" kind of post, but he came up with a lot of the ideas. So without further ado, this is why Disney movies gave me unrealistic expectations about men:

1. They will always give you the last bite of food. Thanks, Lady & The Tramp, for that lie. Not only will you likely be in charge of feeding your man, but note that he will also eat all of the food. All of it. Then he will expect you to go to the grocery store to get more. Sorry girls, he won't always give you the last meatball.

2. When you get married, every night is a romantic date night! Every night you will dance barefoot around the living room to your favorite song, then you'll watch The Notebook, then you'll fall asleep in his arms on the couch. Awww, how cute! Now get that idea out of your head right now. Instead of this...

You'll get this...

Boys love video games for reasons us girls can't understand. We can't change it. We just have to accept it. For some guys, it's not video games. It can be an obsession with sports, muscle cars, you name it. He's going to have a hobby you don't understand. I'm not really sure which movie planted the lie in our heads that every moment is a romantic one, but I'm inclined to blame Cinderella.

3. Your husband will never fart around you, and if by some chance he accidentally does, he will apologize profusely and show sincere remorse for his bodily actions. Ah, the. biggest. lie. of. them. all. Men are a gassy species. Thankfully my Dad was pretty crude growing up with the farting and pull my finger and all that stuff, so it wasn't too big of a shock when Parker started pulling the same antics. We will be watching a movie, he'll pass gas, and then he'll try to waft it in my direction to make sure I appreciate how smelly it is. Seriously girls, this is real life. Some men may be cruder than others with it, but you will be offended daily by their smells, and you will rarely receive an apology for subjecting you to such horror. I ask Parker all the time how something so foul could come out of something so precious, and I may never know. The guy on the left never seems to fart. The guy on the right sure does.

So there you have it ladies. This post was meant to be funny, and Parker and I sure got a kick out of ourselves when we were writing it, but there really is some truth to it. If you're in the market, stop looking for the prefect guy. He doesn't exist, but there is a guy out there that is perfect for you. Something else to remember, just like they aren't Disney princes, we're no Disney princesses either. We have habits just as annoying as theirs (well, at least they think so). I get frustrated with Parker for something as silly as having the TV too loud. I'm pretty sure Cinderella would just let that go. I hope this has helped to debunk the lies that Walt Disney so willingly planted into our hopelessly romantic heads. Cheers!

Well That Was Fancy

This weekend was a little different from the typical Parker/Chelsea let's hang out 24/7 weekend that we normally have. Parker was scheduled for his first flight Saturday, so Friday and Saturday were spent studying and prepping for that. You know what they say, "when the boys are away, the girls will spend their money". It was a great excuse to catch up with some girlfriends! In addition to shopping/girl time with some of my Navy girlfriends, of course I had to make time to hang out with my best girlfriend. We went on a run and on a car ride to the pet store, because that's what best girlfriends do.

Now, onto the fanciness. I was invited to a ladies tea party with some other military spouses/girlfriends Sunday. Fancy schmancy! Apparently girls love an excuse to dress up and bake because the food spread was impeccable and everyone was dressed to the nines. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

I loved hanging out with all these sweet girls, and I waddled out with a full and happy belly! That chocolate fountain was the most amazing thing ever. Needless to say, I stayed camped out by that for most of the party. Wouldn't you?

It was another great weekend, and shout out to this guy for completing his first flight in the T-45! So proud of my aviator husband!


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