Irish Birthday Care Package

Yesterday was my mom’s 55th birthday! She recently went back to school and earned her teaching certificate, then after a few months of job searching, scored an incredible job as a Teaching Assistant at a preschool! I’m sooo proud of her.

For her birthday this year, I knew she wanted a new lunch bag to take to school everyday. So Joshua and I went all out at the PX and got her a Vera Bradley lunch bag, eyeglasses case, notepad, pencil case, and binder clips! My mom loves Vera.

She also loves St. Patrick’s Day, so that’s why I themed this care package around the holiday. Her grandmother (my great-grandmother) came straight off the boat from Ireland! We’re proud of our heritage. :-)

Deployment or not, any holiday or special occasion is a great reason to make or send a care package!

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Dip

Hello, friends! A couple weekends ago, Joshua & I had a barbecue with a few friends from his new unit. We grilled burgers and chicken, had a yummy tomato & mozzarella salad, and my favorite: enjoyed a delicious appetizer of Buffalo Ranch Chicken Dip.

Last winter, my friend Annie (we met at our previous duty station in North Carolina) posted this incredible recipe on her blog. I’ve made it a dozen times, and finally made an alteration to take some of the bite off the buffalo flavor and include ranch, the all-time favorite condiment in our house.

Annie, I hope you don’t mind I modified your recipe! Seriously you guys, you have to try this. We serve it with tostitos or celery. Yum!


  • 1 (12 oz) can of chicken
  • 1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing


  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Add all ingredients to an oven-safe dish
  • Bake at 350° for 15 minutes
  • Let cool & serve with chips or celery!
It’s so easy to make. So easy, in fact, that I was in the mood to play with my new 50mm lens, so I photographed the whole process to share with all of you! Enjoy. :-)
{Drain & add 12 oz canned chicken to dish}

{Add 8 oz cream cheese}

{Add 1/2 cup hot sauce}

{Mmm, yummy Franks}

{Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese— I always add a lot!}

{Mmm, yummy cheese}

{Add 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing}

{Add 1/2 cup ranch dressing}

{Mix it all up!}

{Bake for 15 minutes at 350°}

{Cool and serve!}

Let me know if you happen to try it. Thanks again, Annie! This will be a hit in our home forever! If you don’t already follow Annie, check out her blog, Simplify. She’s sweet, fun, and super smart… always a pleaseure to read!

Terrible Twos

My dogs are monsters.

No really, monsters.

They poop and pee everywhere.

Well fine, that isn’t fair. Lady poops & pees everywhere! Gypsy is potty-trained. But Gypsy… she likes to fight Lady. A lot. And bark.

Oh, the barking.

It’s making working from home not as fun. I can’t wait until they’re potty-trained and I can give them the run of the house. 

So they stop barking. And pooping. And peeing.

I love my dogs, I love my dogs, I love my dogs.

No really, I love my dogs.

I’m just feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment.

Aside from lovin’ on my puppies, giving them baths, mopping the floors and spraying the carpets with pet stain remover, I’ve been working out like a mad-woman. 85 days to the wedding. I’m working out twice a day and doing P90X.

I’ve also been working on invitation designs, yogurt designs, tea designs, rice designs… I love design.

I love my job. I love my puppies. I love working out.

Only 2/3 of that is true. Can you guess which isn’t?

So yes, that’s where I’ve been. Puppies, P90X, and working. Phew!


Meet Lady Luck

We interrupt this broadcast Wedding Wednesday post to bring to you the newest member of our little family… meet Lady!

Lady is 7 1/2 weeks, 4 pounds, and a West Highland White Terrier (Westie). We wanted a playmate for Gypsy, and silly us… we thought it would be better to raise 2 puppies at once to get all the potty training out of the way now, instead of having to do it all separately. Ha!

Needless to say, these little monsters have been keeping me quite busy. All day long. They’re darlings, but they’re still learning how to get along. And Lady likes to poo and pee a lot. And cry… a lot. Little did we know, we had it easy with Gypsy! They’re only 3 months apart.

Oh puppies! We love our growing little family of four… but we both agree, so glad it’s puppies and not babies! Not for a couple years, at least. ;-)

Once I get things under control in our house and catch up with my workload, I’ll be back to post some more! ♥

11 in ’11 | March Update (Part 2)

{Take for your blog!}

You guys, I cannot believe we’re already 3 months into 2011. It’s ridiculous! Does this really mean my wedding is only 3 months away? Ohhh myyy goshhh. 

Since I have a few new followers, I’ll fill ya in on what I do on the 11th of each month here at Hard Corps Love (ha). I have a list of 11 goals and resolutions I made for 2011, and I keep track of them on the 11th day of the month. It’s kind of a motivational/progressive/accountability thing for me.

With that said, I did great for January 11th (barely 2 weeks into the new year, go figure!), but then on February 11th I totally sucked and only posted half of my updates. Since not much has changed with that half of my goals from last month to this month, I’m just going to post the second half of my goals today.

It’s never too late to set goals or resolutions for yourself! Feel free to take the image above if at any point, you’d like to join in. I could use some company, really. ;-)

So here is an update on the second half of my 11 in ’11 progress.

    6. EXERCISE | Work out 3x a week, minimum.

    • Um, yeah. About that. I really hate to start off my progress on a bad note, but seriously? I haven’t been making time to work out. I can blame it on the weather, blame it on my schedule, blame it on whatever, but the truth is I just haven’t been prioritizing. And with my wedding right around the corner… yeah. I need to put this first.
    • My plan? I’d like to start P90X again on the 18th. It’s a 3-month program and the 18th is the 3-month mark to my wedding day. Cutting it close, yes, but also a really good reason to stay on track!
    • I started to C25K (Couch to 5K) program in December, and even though I’ve taken a few breaks along the way, I’m going to pick back up with Week 4. I will run a 5K this year!

    7. MONEY | Spend less, save more.

    • Okay. So aside from the massive shopping spree at DSW that Joshua & I indulged ourselves in last month, and aside from the dresses I purchased at Macys for my bridal shower, bachelorette party, & rehearsal dinner… and aside from the office furniture we bought to furnish the home office (tax write-off!), we’re doing pretty well. Ha.
    • I’m taking a once-a-week coupon class on base and learning so much about coupons and budgeting. I saved $13 on my last trip grocery shopping, and I have a feeling I can save a lot more if I put more time into it! The world of couponing can be quite ridiculous, I’ve definitely learned.
    • I’m making it a goal to read this book, SHOO, Jimmy Choo!, by the 11th of next month. This girl (yours truly) could use some help.
    [SIDE NOTE: One of my BFF’s and maid-of-honor, Sue… just got a job at Jimmy Choo in Boston! So proud of her. Go Sue!]

    8. TIME MANAGEMENT | Be 5 minutes early. Everywhere.

    • Sometimes, yes. Most of the time? Getting there. But at least now, I’m not as late as I used to be. This resolution is continually getting better.
    • And this may sound weird, but now that my hair is longer, I have the option to get ready quicker and therefore, leave the house earlier. When I had my shorter cut, I had no choice but to blowdry, flat iron, and style everyday. Now that it’s getting longer, I can twist it up into a bun, pull it back into a braid, tie it loosely into a side ponytail, or doing something else with it that doesn’t require an hour of blowdrying the massive thickness that is my hair.

    9. SCRAPBOOK | Get up to date with j&d scrapbooks.

    • We haven’t been as good at taking a photo everyday as we did in January for Project Life, but we are still taking the photos and have all of February to catch up on as far as documenting them. I have a million prints to order before we can do this!
    • Let’s just say I’m really glad there are still 9 months left in the year for me to catch up on this one!

    10. KINDNESS | “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”

    • This goal is seriously the hardest goal of them all. I want to do more, give back more to my community, be a better person, inspire people. I just don’t even know where to begin. Joshua began volunteering for the Marine Corps, but I just don’t know what to do?
    • I’ve donated to 3 charities so far this year though, all in the past month. When I can and I have the money, I do try to help out as much as possible. 

    11. KEEP IN TOUCH | Regularly update email, photos, Facebook, & website.

    • Definitely keeping up with this one. I uploaded a bunch of pictures of Gypsy Rose to our Facebook album, “All About Gypsy” last week, and I finally shared our engagement photos both here and on Facebook. 
    • Both of my websites could use some sprucing up though, so that’s next on the list.
    • I’d also like to return emails a bit quicker. If I don’t respond right away, sometimes I forget until the next day or week, and that’s just bad manners!

    So I’m making some progress, but I still have a lot to accomplish. I’ll say it again… thank goodness there are still 9 months left this year!