tis the season…

Halloween has passed, Thanksgiving is around the corner and already Christmas is in the air. This, of course, means that those zealot Christians who have access to social media will start crying about a war on Christianity. It started when Starbucks released their red holiday cup, forgoing any real identifiers that the cup is actually for the holidays aside from making it a traditional holiday color.

Now, I’m not sure how that exactly makes Starbucks a Jesus hating company, but apparently that’s what it means. We’re going to ignore that they still have Christmas themed gift cards, mugs and a Christmas Blend of coffee grounds because these zealots are ignoring that as well. Now, it takes a lot for me to take offense to anything. It’s actually nearly impossible. But if I were to be one of those people who takes offense, this would seriously be the lowest priority on my list of things of which I’m offended.

What I’d be more offended by is that Christians think they have any sort of real claim to Christmas. Celebration near the end of December has been around since well before the dawn of Christianity. Festivities surrounded the winter solstice.

“In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year” –History of Christmas via History.com

During the time of pagan rule in Rome, Saturnalia was celebrated in honor of the Roman Goddess of Agriculture; Saturn. To properly integrate and absorb the pagan holidays into the newly formed Christian religion, Pope Juluis I appointed December 25th as Jesus’ day of birth, despite not having any factual evidence that that is truly when he was born. But even then, Christmas celebrations were not what they are today. It was celebrated more like Mardi Gras than the Christmas we know.

In 1645, when Oliver Cromwell took over England with his Puritan forces, they actually outlawed any sort of Christmas celebration. When the Pilgrims came to America, who were also of this staunch Puritan faith, they too kept to the tradition of outlawing Christmas. It wasn’t until the American Revolution that Christmas was even declared a national holiday (June 1870 to be exact).

Now you may have guessed at this point, but I don’t identify my religious beliefs with Christianity. While I don’t have a declared religion, I most closely identify with paganism. No, not the poly-theistic type of paganism. The Greek Gods and Goddesses of old were created to explain natural phenomena that we now have the answers for because science is a really cool thing. I more closely relate to the belief in the power of self and energies. You get what you put out… that sort of thing.

So, if I were to take offense to anything this holiday season, it would be Christians parading around like they started this holiday. But guess what? I’m more excited to see people passionate about their beliefs. I’m more excited to see people celebrating. Taking offense to something is a choice, so why would you choose negativity during what’s supposed to be a happy time of year?

excited for new toys

So a few months back I did a refresher course on my camera settings with a fellow photog in the area as well as learned some things I never knew about it. Just about everything I know about photography is self taught and while I knew what the settings all meant, my application of said settings needing some refining. Basically she helped me do this.

But of all the things she told me that day, one thing stuck the most. If I wanted to get more into portrait photography I needed to invest in a fixed focal length lens with the lowest F-stop possible.

So, when I got home I started doing some shopping around. Two months later, and I finally ordered my lens… and it’s expected to arrive tomorrow! I can’t wait!

I ordered the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens and in the bundle I got, it comes with a wide angle and telephoto lens as well as three different filters. There are some other bits and baubles that come with it, but I’m honestly most excited for just the lens. I can’t wait to take it for a test run this weekend! And I’m super excited that I’ll have it before Daniel and I hit up the Carolina Renaissance Faire next week!

Love Your Gypsy Soul

So when I started this blogging journey I thought I had a good thing going using “TimeWillNowBe”. It’d been my go-to login for basically everything and I loved the song I pulled it from. Well, I still love the song and while my go-to login isn’t that anymore (it’s my name because I’m trying to be a big kid), I felt like it didn’t fit as nicely anymore. For whatever reason, it just didn’t sit well with me. Even having my photography named “TimeWillNowBe Photography” just didn’t seem to fit.

So I did some soul searching and thought about how to make it work or if I just needed a complete change. I decided on the latter and came up with something that I think fits better. Something with which I can grow.

I’ve always been called an old soul. At 22 I had people in their 50’s guessing I was in my mid-30’s. I didn’t exactly look that old (though I have been told I look older than I am before), but just the way I acted and the opinions I held weren’t normal for someone who, essentially, just graduated college. It made sense to me to want to pay some sort of tribute to that part of me, but I didn’t know how to make “old soul” work in a blogging (or photography) atmosphere.

Next came looking at the lifestyle I was leading and/or wanted to lead in the future. While being part of the military isn’t exactly the same thing as being a “gypsy”, the constant moving and making new friends rang home to me. I have many friends all over the country, not just because of the military but because of the Renaissance Faire circuit (which is way more like the gypsy lifestyle but I digress). And who doesn’t like bohemian fashion? I’m into the holistic side of things, though I’m not super strict about all natural and organic, I understand it all and appreciate it.

And from that, GypsySoul was born. I removed my photography facebook and started a new one (GypsySoul Photography) and while I couldn’t have the luck of snagging the WordPress username “gypsysoul”, I was able to find one that still fit.

So for those of you who follow me here and see this and would like to continue reading what I have to say, I give you Love Your Gypsy Soul. It’s still very much a work in progress but I hope to have a post up today or tomorrow and more to follow soon after.

I’ll be better about this one. Promise 😉

“Oh God, Is This The Right Move?”

It’s officially official and I can now start sharing with the whole world that my little sister is engaged!! She and her (now) fiance got engaged on her birthday (June 13th) and it’s looking like they’ll be getting married in mid-August. Does the short turn around time sound familiar to anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Well, if it does sound familiar it’s likely because you had a short turn around too. And that short turn around might have meant that you were also getting married to a service member. That’s right, my sister is marrying a Marine. Though, unlike me and my husband (Army), they’ve known each other since they were kids. They graduated high school together. He was even her first real boyfriend in like middle school. After graduation, he joined the Corps and they kinda lost touch. Last year, while she was working the renaissance faire circuit with Inner Beast Leather they worked the Southern California Faire and they reconnected while she was there. For over a year they’ve been in a long distance relationship (he was in California for a portion of it as well as being deployed to the Middle East while shutting down bases) and now they’re getting married. Yay!!

Personally, I’m super excited for her. I know she is as well, but I’m like over the moon excited for her. Mostly because I know what her love life has been like her entire life and she deserves this. Her boyfriend is beyond good to her and gets the big sister stamp of approval.

When a normal engagement happens, the girl generally has no idea it’s going to happen. For military engagements though, a lot of the time the woman either knows when it’s going to happen or knows it’s going to happen soon just not when. So she’s always on the edge of her seat wondering “is he gonna do it now?”. The latter was my sister and I. With our boyfriends being so far away from us (admittedly, hers was further) we knew it had to be during one of those rare windows when we were together. We had an idea, just not a certain time. So in the days leading up to her boyfriend arriving back home for his summer block leave (he came back to Kentucky since it’s his home state as well), she was growing more and more nervous. Of course, she came to me for advice and I gave it to her the best I could.

And now that it’s all come to a head and there’s no more need for her to be nervous, I find myself wondering if those moments of “oh God, is this the right move?” is something a majority of mil-spouses go through. Whether it is or not, I felt compelled to write this blog. These are the things I told myself (since I didn’t really have someone to discuss it all with like my sister did) and things I told my sister — which also includes some things I wish someone had told me.

Despite What People May Say, Marriage Isn’t That Big A Deal
Or at least it doesn’t have to be. Nothing has to be a big deal in life unless you want it to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t think hard about the decision to get married before doing it, I’m just saying that making the decision to do it doesn’t have to cause you agony. In fact, if it does, that should be tip number one that you shouldn’t do it. I’ve lived with almost every boyfriend I’ve ever had in my life except Daniel. I can tell you that living with him now is a lot like living with all those boyfriends I’ve ever had. Yes there are differences, but those differences (for the most part) are the things you don’t constantly have on the fore front of your mind. For me, the biggest difference is that I’ve only had insurance through one boyfriend before (because we were technically common law married). My insurance is through Daniel (except dental, that’s mine) whereas I’ve always had insurance through my parents or myself (minus that one time previously mentioned).

You Can Keep Your Lives Separate
Do you have to take his last name? No. Do you have to get joint bank accounts? No. Do you have to completely erase your identity and become “Mrs. So-and-So”? Most definitely not. I took Daniel’s last name because I wanted to, but he had absolutely no issues with me keeping my own name. We have a joint account but our paychecks go into our personal accounts so we can pay our separate bills (phones, car insurance and car payments) and the rest goes into joint so we can pay other bills (cable, groceries, etc). But you don’t even have to do that. No where does it state that you have to share money when you’re married. It makes sense and it’s easier to run a household that way, but you don’t have to do it.

Your Friends =/= His Friends
While it makes sense that you’ll have friends in common, it also makes sense that you won’t have them. There will be people you’re close with that he isn’t and vice versa. And that’s okay. While you get along fine with each other, your spouse might not get along with all your friends and you might not get along with all of theirs. That’s human nature and by no means should you feel bad because of it. Now, when he wants to be friends with all of your friends or doesn’t want to know your friends at all… that’s when you have a problem and should probably consider not getting married. While you are thought of as a whole by the government when you sign your marriage license, you are still two very separate people and should live your lives as such. This kind ties into the previous point, but you can and should keep your lives separate.

Forget Whatever Norm or Standard You Think There Is For Marriage
Everyone is different and because of this you can’t create a “norm” for how a marriage should work. So long as you’re both happy, who has the right to judge your relationship? No one, that’s who. So whatever you think a “normal” marriage is, throw it out the window. Do what works for you and your spouse. I recently altered my schedule at work so that I work all day three days a week and have two days during the week off. This allows me to be home to do the crafty projects I want as well as teach horse back riding lessons (oh yeah I started teaching those!) AND spend time with my husband since he’s home from work due to a medical profile. So that’s two days during the week and both days on weekends where I’m with him pretty much all day (minus the few hours I’m at the barn). While I love my husband and love spending time with him, I do like doing my own thing in my spare time. So the norm for us on my “days off” is making breakfast together and then him playing his video games while I work on crafts in the backyard or the other room. We’ll go hours without talking to one another. Strange, maybe, but it makes us happy. We’re not happy to be apart, but we’re happy that the other respects the things we do in our alone time and that the other allows us the time to do those things. Really, it all comes down to respecting the fact that your husband or wife might not want to spend every minute of free time with you. Or respecting that they do and accommodating to the fact that you might not want to.

Communication Is Your Best Friend
I’ve known this even prior to getting engaged, but talking about things that bug you is the most important thing you can do in any relationship. If Daniel is spending too much time with his video games, all I have to do is tell him that I want to watch a movie with him and he puts the controller down. It’s so much easier than sitting on the couch with my arms crossed and staring at him or the TV screen in silent hatred. There have even been times I didn’t care if he was playing or not but he could tell I was bored and he put the controller down anyway. Even if you’ve been with your fiancee for years before taking the step towards marriage, open lines of communication are the only thing that’s going to keep your relationship healthy and happy.

Your Big Day May Not Be What You Imagined, But That’s Okay
I know a lot of girls dream of the day they get married. They have thoughts of this big, beautiful party with all the trimmings. Well, when you get married to a service member, you might not always have the time to plan something like that. Daniel wanted the big wedding. I did not. So we agreed to instead do something small in the beginning and plan something bigger for a vow renewal. I don’t know what my sister’s plans are, but obviously she won’t be planning the party of the year either. I’m sure it’ll be small and just for family and close friends, but whether or not she does something later I have no idea. My point is, you likely won’t get the wedding you imagined, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have it later. Honestly, getting married is all about the legal part of it. You don’t have to have a ceremony and reception to get married. All you have to have is a piece of paper and an ordained minister (or the magistrate in your county seat can do it). The requirements vary by county so be sure to check the details before you get everything set. EITHER WAY… it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Honestly, if I could have met with the woman that married Daniel and I at a coffee shop and just signed the papers I would have… but our parents wanted a “ceremony” of sorts.

You’re Going To Have Your Best Friend In Your Corner. Breath.
I know I’ve been promoting the fact that you can still be separate and be married at the same time, but the biggest thing you cannot forget in this journey is that, no matter how scary it may be, you’re not alone. Chances are, if you’re taking the necessary steps to getting married, the person you’re with truly loves and cares for you and doesn’t want to see you fail. Ever. If that’s the case, they’re going to be there for you no matter what. I’ve never been the best at this thing called “adulting” and at 27 years old, I often look back on my life and wonder what the hell I did wrong. Why am I not better at this? I beat myself up a lot over it. A lot. Daniel kinda knew that before going into this, but he didn’t know that there were days I was beating myself up over it so bad that I literally wouldn’t want to get out of bed. Now, those days are very few and far between, but one of them happened to come up soon after moving down here with to be with him. Any other time I’ve had these kind of days, I’ve had to deal with them by myself. Even if I was dating someone, I didn’t want to bring them down with me. But Daniel literally wouldn’t let me shut him out. He pulled me up (again literally because I didn’t want to get out of bed) and forced me to go out and do something I enjoyed. He picked me up, dusted me off and gave me the “you don’t have to do this alone anymore” speech and it was in that moment that I realized it was okay to let someone else help me. It was okay to lean on him. He was my husband after all. It’s not that he was doing it because it’s expected of him. He was doing it because he hated seeing me like that. When you marry your significant other, you’re marrying your best friend and like a best friend, they never want to see you cry. They’re not going to let you fail.

A lot of these points tie into one another, but really that’s how all advice should be if you think about it. This huge problem you think you’re having often isn’t really that big and thusly can be answered in one go. But it is always nice to hear lots of things to back your decision, even if it would take less oxygen just to name one thing.

What things did you figure out after getting married that you wish someone would have told you before hand?

I Know You’re Mad, But Show Some Respect

Let’s face it. The United State of America is probably as un-united as it’s been since the Civil War. I don’t think there was even as much tension during the Civil Rights Movement. There certainly wasn’t as much disrespect during the Civil Rights Movement. Okay, those sentences are completely opinion based because I obviously was not there for that movement, but from what I know… I’d rather have that all over again than this.

Anyone who has social media or watches the news knows exactly what I’m talking about. Ever since the incidents in Ferguson, this country has been very near to another civil war and all over the same reasons (with some new ones dabbled in there as well). It’s sad to think that 150 years later we’re still struggling with racism and inequality. But it goes deeper than just even that. Or at least deeper than the things you think of when I say “racism” or “inequality”.

As a white woman who grew up in a middle class family, I know I haven’t experienced the same things as a black woman from a middle class family or even a Hispanic woman from a middle class family. But nor have they experienced the same things I have. Now, I’m not saying my hardships are any worse than theirs, just that they’re different. Everyone’s story is different. That’s what makes us individuals. Trying to fix everyone’s story is a lost cause. That’s like taking Advil because you broke three of your fingers. Even just fixing one finger isn’t going to solve anything.

I get that people are upset with the current establishment. I get that people are tired of being oppressed. But I can promise you that I wasn’t afforded more opportunities in life to better my situation because I’m white or because I’m a woman. On the flip side, nor was I denied opportunities for those same reasons. Every opportunity I’ve ever had in life, I made for myself. College? I worked my ass off to get scholarships and loans and I’m paying for the latter (as are my parents who helped me along the way). Career? When I worked retail, I poured everything I had in me into my job to be the best at it and to get where I wanted to be. Now I’m in the auto industry and I can tell you that it’s even more cut throat and nasty but the same rules apply. If I want something, I go for it and I don’t take “no” for an answer.

In my life, I never threw a fit and expected things from anyone. I never expected special treatment because I’m white or because I’m female. The latter actually works against me in some regards, but I don’t sit there and bitch about how it should be equal. Should it? Hell yes it should but it’s not so you know what, I’m going to prove to you that even though it’s not equal, I can still pull my weight and exceed your expectations of me. Why? Because I don’t take hand outs.

I should note that in no way am I implying that everyone who opposes my opinions on this doesn’t work hard or takes hand outs. A number do, but they don’t represent everyone. Just like the few bad police officers who have fallen into the media spotlight don’t represent police officers as a whole. If stereotyping a person of color who listens to hip hop is bad, then so is stereotyping someone who puts on a blue uniform and swears to protect his/her cities/counties/states citizens. Equality is a two way street. If you demand respect, you sure as shit have to give it back.

Which brings me to the entire point of this entry. Respect.

There’s a hashtag floating around the web that simply states #FuckYourFlag. It’s generally used by people taking pictures of themselves stepping on or burning an American flag in protest to what the flag represents. There are debates over the legality of doing such a thing. There is a Flag Code that states the unlawfulness of the desecration of the US Flag, but in banning that you’re directly restricting peoples freedom of speech. It’s the first amendment in the US Constitution. It’s number one in the US Bill of Rights… one of the few things we cannot alter even with other laws.

The Flag Code is just that… a code. It’s kinda like that scene from Pirates of the Caribbean when Elizabeth Swan invokes parlay under the Code of the Brethren. The pirates follow the code but then later in the movie when she brings it up again, Captain Jack says “And thirdly, the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.” Cheesy as it may be to quote a movie… that’s all a code is. You can’t take anyone to court over breaking Flag Code.

So in stepping on and/or burning the US Flag, you’re exercising your freedom of speech, which is fine and dandy. I’m all for using your constitutional rights until you’re blue in the face. Until, of course, you spit on the memory of my grandfather who fought in WWII so that you wouldn’t lose that right.

The US Flag represents more than I think people realize or really think about. Let’s take it back to elementary school and break it down for everyone. I hate citing Wikipedia, but they describe what makes up the flag, literally, better than I could

The national flag of the United States of America, often referred to as the American flag or The Greatest Flag Ever Flown, consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red (top and bottom) alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton (referred to specifically as the “union”) bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows of six stars (top and bottom) alternating with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and became the first states in the Union.[1] Nicknames for the flag include the “Stars and Stripes”, “Old Glory“,[2] and “The Star-Spangled Banner“.

Now, it doesn’t mention the reason for the color choices so I’ll go over that separately. White signifies purity and innocence. We all come into this world completely pure and completely innocent. We all start the same. It’s the choices we make from then on that determine whether or not we stay pure and innocent. Red signifies hardiness and valour, and while it doesn’t say it on usflag.org I’ve always been told that it represents the blood lost to give us the freedoms we have. This country was built through hard work and great strength. Through facing scary shit and not backing down. Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance & justice. Vigilance is keeping watch for possible dangers, perseverance is sticking with it til the job is done and justice is a bit self explanatory.

I’m not saying this country isn’t messed up and that something doesn’t need to be fixed. What I’m saying is that this #FuckYourFlag campaign is not the way to go about fixing it. You can be as upset with the state of this country as you like, but in no way, shape or form are you doing any good by stepping on or burning the flag. You’re raising more hackles and pissing more people off in doing so, and not even the right people. You’re upsetting the people who had nothing against you and would have likely stood by your side. In doing that, you’re losing allies and when it comes to fighting a war against an establishment, allies are what you really need.

We don’t need to be a country divided based upon the opinion of whether or not it’s right to desecrate the flag. We don’t need to be a country divided at all. The root of your problem isn’t with the flag. The root of your problem is with the fact that you feel unheard and disrespected.

I know you’re mad, but show some respect. Only then will you have it shown to you.

On Post VS. Off Post

After my husband and I got engaged, the discussion shifted from when we were going to get married to where we were going to live after we got married. Thanks to his commitment to the US Army, he couldn’t move to Kentucky (unless he were to somehow get stationed at Fort Campbell but because of the “82nd black hole” that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon) which only left the option of me moving down there. I didn’t mind of course, I had intended to live down here before we met anyway, so then it became a discussion of on post or off post.

This is a question I’ve had a lot of people who are moving to Bragg ask as well and I wish I had a better answer for them. Really what it all comes down to is preference. There are pros and cons of each and the only way to determine which is for you (without trying them both out) is to take a look at what both have to offer and see what works best for you and your family. In this blog, I’m going to go over the good and the bad and hopefully answer any questions someone might have. I’ll try and keep my points general so that they can be applied to any duty station.

Living On Post
When you live on post, housing works almost exactly like an apartment complex. Generally, the places you can live are broken up into neighborhoods. In those neighborhoods there might be single family homes and there might be duplexes. There might also be more apartment style housing. There is one housing building that acts like a main office for the neighborhood. All complains and questions can be directed there. Generally, there’s clubhouse like area there with a pool, game room and gym that’s accessible by residents of the neighborhood only.

The benefits to living on post: all your rent and basic utilities are paid for. Well, that’s putting it simply. The enlisted service member in the family gets Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and when you live on post, all of that goes towards rent and utilities (not including cable). It goes into his/her paycheck and comes right back out automatically. You never see the money, but you live for free. For the most part. If your electric bill exceeds a certain amount (usually determined by taking an average of how much electric the entire street is using) you have to pay whatever is over that amount. But adversely, if you are under that amount you get money credited back to you. Since living here we’ve gotten one heating bill (not sure where the others went) and we were $15 dollars under the average, so we got that money back.

Another bonus to living on post is that you’re generally in pretty close proximity to a Commissary or PX. Now, there’s nothing stating you have to shop at this places if you’re in the military (and living on or off post), but they do have their perks. Either way, being close to anywhere you buy groceries is nice, whether it’s a Commissary or not. Not only are the Commissary and PX usually pretty close, but just about anything else you’d visit on post is as well. My neighborhood is within five miles of the Comissary and PX, the library and a gym. We’re super close to my husband’s company and my recruiter’s office.

Being so close to my husband’s work is why he likes living on post, but he’s used to being in the barracks where he could literally walk to work every day. A lot of guys I know don’t like being so close to work and that’s why they prefer living off post. Probably one of the biggest draws to living off post is having the very definite distinction between “home” and “work”.

Living Off Post
Now, when you live off post you can live anywhere you want so long as your service member doesn’t mind whatever drive they have in the morning back on post for work. I know people who literally live right outside the gates and I know people who live 30 or more minutes away. Off post living gives you more options as to where you can live. You can do an apartment, a duplex, a house or even just rent a room inside a larger house. This last option is ideal for those service members who are single and have the option of not living in the barracks. I know guys who go in a rent a house together just like friends would do in college.

The way your BAH works when you live off post is that the allotted amount (which changes depending on your rank and how many dependents you have) is deposited into the service members account every time they get paid. You are responsible for using that money to pay for rent and utilities. If your bills are less than your BAH, you pocket that extra money. This is the number one reason people live off post. When you’re on, you see none of it (unless your utilities are less than the average but even then you never see much). If you do you research, you can bank a hundred dollars (or more) a month.

Living off post gives you the ability to live like a normal civilian family. You’re not forced to live by the rules of post (whatever those rules might be) and you’re able to distance your service members work life from your home life more easily. It also affords you the opportunity to make civilian friends. That may or may not be important to you, but I find having those kinds of friends helps keep the world in check a little. You’re better able to escape the military troubles when you’re with someone who has no idea what those troubles even are.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ve never lived off post while being part of this military family, I did live in Fayetteville before getting married (even if it wasn’t for that long). I liked it well enough and wouldn’t mind doing it again, but when we looked at our options it just made sense for us to do on post housing at the time. Daniel’s currently recovering from ankle surgery that has essentially forced him to stop jumping, which means that if i wants to stay in when his contract is up he’s going to have to pick a new job and only the Army knows where that job will send us.

While breaking any contract we signed because he got new orders wouldn’t have been an issue, it was just a headache we’d rather avoid. Though, to get on post housing he had to have at least a year left in his contract (which he had a year and a month). He doesn’t have to stay here for a year, but he couldn’t have gotten housing if he were getting out of the Army in the next eleven months.

So, all-in-all, no one can really tell you which is better in the “on post VS. off post” debate. Everyone has their own opinion of the lifestyle and neither is wrong. It really does all come down to personal preference. It also all depends on which duty station you’re moving onto. To determine which is best for you, I suggest reaching out to people who already live in the area and see what they have to say. Join all the Facebook groups you can that are geared towards that specific duty station and ask away. Those already living there will have insight that no one else can give you that might help sway your decision.

Above all else though, never be afraid to ask any question, no matter how stupid it sounds to you. Chances are you’re not the first to ask it and if you are it’s only because someone else hasn’t gotten up the gall to ask it themselves.

What are your thoughts in the on post VS. off post discussion?

EDIT;; It was brought to my attention by a fellow Army wife that there is at least one restriction to living off post. Well, there is here at Bragg. Apparently, there are stone black listed locations where you can’t live for whatever reason. I suppose you could probably find a way around that if you really wanted to, but the way I look at it is it’s black listed for a reason. Stay away.

Cooking 101.1

It’s been a while, but here’s my next installment in my Cooking 101 tag. On today’s menu? Scotch Eggs! These aren’t a very common thing in America though I have no idea why not. It pretty much incorporates all the things Americans love: eggs and meat. But it’s a dish I didn’t get the joy of trying until my second year at the Kentucky Renaissance Faire.

Now, this dish was my “once a year special dish” that I reserved for the faire because I wasn’t super impressed with the turkey legs that so many people look forward to when the renfaire comes into town, but now that I’m living in North Carolina and the nearest faire to me is three hours away in Charlotte… I figured I’d try to make them one day. And that day was yesterday. Daniel got a hold of my food board on pinterest and found them on there, declaring we were going to make them.

After we went to the store to get the ingredients we came home and started our adventure. They came out delicious and after showing the picture I took of them to all my friends on Facebook, all my friends have been begging me for the recipe. So, without further ado: How To Make Scotch Eggs

So there are two ways to make this. You can either coat them in breadcrumbs/corn flakes or wrap them in bacon. Because my husband and I are complete carnivores, we wrapped ours in bacon. Though I did make three of them with breadcrumbs. They didn’t taste as good as the bacon ones.

Ingredients
5 hard boiled eggs
1 pound ground sausage
10 strips of bacon
toothpicks

(If you don’t want to make yours amazing with bacon you’re going to need a bowl of flour, a bowl of breadcrumbs and a bowl of eggwash. For those of you who don’t know how to make an egg wash, crack two eggs into a bowl and add about two table spoons of milk. Whisk briskly with a fork until it’s completely mixed. Tada! Egg wash.)

Preheat your oven to 400*F. While that’s heating up, you’re going to prep the eggs.

Now, put your five eggs into a pot of room temperature water and set the pot on a burner on high. You’re going to bring the pot to a fast boil and once it’s there, turn it down so that it’s still boiling but softer. You want to be able to see the little bubbles coming out of the eggs as they boil. Once those bubbles stop trailing out, your eggs are done. Or, yanno, about fifteen minutes after the water starts boiling. To test your eggs, take one out, let it cool a bit and then spin it in the counter. Lightly put your index finger on it to stop it and quickly remove your finger. If the egg keeps spinning, it’s not done being boiled.

Once your eggs are done, carefully pour the hot water from the pot without pouring the eggs out as well. You can leave some of the hot water in there, but you want most of it to be gone. Now add cool (not cold) water. This causes the eggs to stop cooking and shrink while they’re in the shell and makes it them easier to peel. Honestly, I’ve never been that good at peeling hard boiled eggs so this part Daniel does. Sorry I can’t help you peel them easily, but I fail at it.

So this part can honestly be done while you’re boiling your eggs, but it’s up to you. Take your sausage meat at mix in any spices you want. When I made them, I used garlic powder, sale, pepper and some Tony Chachere’s cajun spice (because my husband loves it in literally everything), but really it’s all up to you. Now this next part depends on how you’re going to do your eggs. Bacon vs. Breading, so I’m going to tell you how to do them both seperately.

Bacon Wrapped
First lay out two slices of bacon in the shape of an + sign, one overlapping the other. Pull out a chunk of sausage and flatten it in your hand. I didn’t really worry about how much I grabbed because you can add or subtract meat pretty easily. You want to make your sausage patty kinda thin. Once you’ve flattened your sausage take one of the hard boiled eggs and roll it in the flour. This is honestly an optional step, but I did it because it helps adhere the sausage to the egg whites. Try to get the patty as evenly around the egg as possible. Once you’ve done that, set the sausage/egg ball on the overlapped parts of the bacon and fold them up, pulling the bottom strip up first. Layer the end pieces and stick a toothpick through them to secure the bacon in place. Repeat with all eggs and lay on a cooking sheet. I covered my sheet in tin foil for easy clean up but you don’t have to do that.

Breaded
You’re going to use the same process as above for wrapping the egg in sausage, but instead of placing the ball on the bacon, you’re going to place the ball in your egg wash and roll it around. Once the sausage is covered, move it to the breadcrumbs and coat it. You can repeat this step if you like for a thicker crust, but honestly it’s not needed. Once you’ve coated your sausage/egg ball, place it on your cooking sheet. Repeat with all the eggs. I made three of our eggs with breadcrumbs and dusted them lightly with cooking oil but you don’t have to do this step if you don’t want.

Now that you’re ready to cook, pop your cooking sheet into the over for thirty minutes. When you remove them, let them sit for five minutes to cool just a bit and then cut them into halves. I’ve only ever eaten scotch eggs warm, though I hear they’re just as good cold. You can serve them with a yellow mustard if you like. I’m not a fan of mustard but my husband is so he dipped his in dijon and loved it.

There you have it! Homemade delicious bacon-y, sausage-y eggs. You may feel like five won’t be enough, but trust me there’s enough protein in just one of the halves to almost fill you up. I can only ever eat one and my husband barely made it through one and a half. Be sure to share this with all your friends and if you try it let me know how it turned out!!