Saturday, July 31, 2010

What to Expect When You're Expecting Your Hubby to Graduate From Army BCT

I'm sure many of you are curious about Army BCT graduation and what it entails, much as I was before I attended it. When a soldier successfuly completes training, his family is invited to a 2 day event to celebrate his accomplishments. The first day is called "family day" and the second day is the official graduation, although the soldier has successfully completed BCT before either of these days occur and, short of a major mess up on his or her part, will graduate.

Family Day at Fort Jackson is always on Thursday. They recommend you get to gate 4 by 7:30 am to be able to get a good parking spot and a good seat, although if you do get there by then you will be at the field by 8 am and will have to wait an hour for the ceremony to start. When you get to the field that the ceremony is held at, there are soldiers there that direct you where to park. Joey said they are people who are being held back until the next BCT session. It was not a good idea to take a stroller. We took our double stroller to shield the girls from the sun only to find that the bleachers are covered and the only place the stroller can go is on the bottom row (otherwise it is a fire hazard) and that is the only row where the sun will hit you at 8 am. We ended up leaving our stroller at the bottom row with a sergeant's assurances that it would be fine with all the drill sergeants staying in the front row. We sat at the top row where we were able to catch a nice little breeze. It was a good idea to take water and snacks. They do sell food and beverages at a mobile refreshment trailer, but its much cheaper and healthier to take your own. We took yogurt and water and the girls were pretty happy, antsy to see daddy, but pretty happy nonetheless.

At about 9 am, the person in charge (I believe he was a Captain) spoke for a while and then there was a demonstration. The soldiers were across the field from us. First they threw out what appeared to be fake grenades that released plumes of different colors of smoke, then the soldiers ran across the field and fell into formation at attention. I think the Captain talked a little more at this point, but no one was really listening. Then he released us to go find our soldiers, who had to stay in formation at attention until we found them. Of course, I saw Joey run across the field, so I knew where he was. But the crowd was so crazy and we were at the top of the bleachers, so I had the girls wait with my mom and sister and I went to go get him. I don't think he has ever hugged me that tight. We got to spend the rest of that day with him on post. We went to the PX (like a mini mall), reactivated his iphone, got him some stuff he needed for AIT, took Addy to the playground (by this time Evie and Izzy were asleep in the car and my mom and sister wanted a nap so they stayed in the car with the babies), toured the barraks where Joey slept and a couple of the training areas, and went bowling. We had to drop him off before 9 so he wouldn't get in trouble (anyone late was to be considered MIA and would not graduate, according to his drill sergeant earlier that day).

The next day was graduation. Again, we were advised to get to the gate at 7:30. We were a little late, but that just meant we parked further back and we still had to wait until the ceremony started at 9. As with Family Day, there were soldiers to direct us where to park. This day, they played music while we waited for the ceremony to begin. During the ceremony, we heard from Red Cross people and listened to the Captain speak again. Then the soldiers marched around the field, some were recognized and received awards, there was a brass band that marched and played. Afterwards, we took Joey back to his barraks and he signed out so he could leave post and we went to our hotel and the girls stayed there while Joey and I took a walk. Then we went to lunch and came back and spent a couple hours alone while the girls took a nap. Then we went to dinner and took Joey back to post. It was a lot harder saying goodbye to him, knowing that we wouldn't get to see him the next day, but we managed.

The next day, he was shipped off to his AIT in Oklahoma and we came back to Georgia. A week later, he's still waiting for his AIT to start and we're hoping it starts soon because he has 7 weeks and 1 day of AIT once it starts and I'm due November 6th with our 4th daughter.

I hope I cleared up any curiosity any of you wives may have regarding BCT if your husband is planning on joining the Army or if he has and you're planning on attending graduation and family day once that day arrives. I wish I had had a blog that told me what to expect before I went.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mason family update

Well, it has been an active month here, not that you can tell from my blog posts. We spent the first part of the month getting ready to go visit Joey for his Army Basic Combat Training graduation. We left on the 21st much later than we had intended on leaving then got back on the 24th much later than we intended on getting back. The time we got to spend with Joey was infinately precious, but the traveling was not so much LOL. The past week has been spent for the most part getting my house back in order from the trip. I cleaned it before we left, but had to catch up on laundry, etc. I am happy to say that I am finally caught up and am hoping to be able to post more. I know I keep saying that. And I keep hoping it. Somehow it just doesn't happen as often as I would like. But I'm doing the best I can.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Baked Mac 'n' Cheese (from scratch)

I've been ISO a go to mac 'n' cheese recipe for a while. Ever since my research has shown me that the boxed mac 'n' cheese that tastes good is full of crap and the boxed mac 'n' cheese that isn't full of crap tastes like crap.

My ideal mac 'n' cheese recipe was one that did not have eggs in it, was semi-healthy, easy to make, and good reheated. And boy did I find it. It was recommended to me by someone on diaperswappers when I posted that I was ISO a recipe.

1 lb uncooked elbow macaroni noodles (or noodles of your choice)
cheese (amount to your discretion/taste)
1/2 stick butter, softened
5 cups milk
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
2. Spray 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray. I use olive oil cooking spray to avoid GMOs.
3. Layer uncooked noodles with cheese, sprinkling salt throughout and ending with a layer of cheese.
4. Place pats of softened butter on top.
5. Pour 5 cups of milk on top. It will cover everything else, but that's ok. Its supposed to.
6. Place in oven and cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until top layer of cheese is slightly browned.
7. Enjoy.
8. Refridgerate.
9. Enjoy again.
10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until its gone. Then start all over at step 1.

Easy peasy, nice and cheesy, made from scatch and NOT full of crap. I mean, it uses the same amount of butter as a box of Kraft mac 'n' cheese and makes a whole lot more mac 'n' cheese.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Crock pot barbecue

I used this recipe Sunday to make crock pot bbq chicken that was TDF. I'm sure you can use the same recipe to make other bbq meats. We won't because we only eat bbq chicken, but feel free to adapt as you see fit.

I got this recipe from a friend whose bbq chicken makes me drool just thinking about it (and all I did was smell it lol). But as we all know, when you're pregnant, to smell is to want LOL.

meat (I used 3 large frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts)
1 bottle bbq sauce of your choice (I used Jack Daniels brand, but I plan to try Williamson Bros brand next time)
1/2 cup italian dressing (I used Wishbone House Italian)
2 tbsp worstershire sauce

1. Place frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of your crock pot
2. Mix bbq sauce, italian dressing and worstershire sauce in a bowl
3. Pour over chicken
4. Cook on high for 4 hours
5. Take chicken out and shred
6. Put chicken back into crock pot and cook for another hour on high.
7. Enjoy on loaf bread, buns, baked potatoes, the starch of your choice or by itself.