Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mason Jar Light Tutorial

 Michael and I have a little porch at our apartment.  There isn't a whole lot of light out there and because we are getting patio furniture soon we wanted a way to have lots of light so we could eat dinner outside in the evenings.  We decided to make jar lights.  We used Mason jars, wire and Christmas lights.  They turned out really cute!
This is the view as you walk up the stairs to our door

This the view from on the porch sitting on the chairs

To make them you will need Mason jars, the lids- not the tops (not the part that seals the jars when canning but the actual lid part that screws on) and wire.  We used 19 gauge stainless steal wire, and pliers so twisting the wire is easier.
I wanted the wire to be secured onto the actual lid so that we could take the jars down and clean them without having to take the whole assembly down, so Michael came up with a great system.


First you punch eight holes (four set of two) on the jar lid.  In the picture above it just shows two but they will be three more sets of two around the jar.  You twist the wire on itself in order to make it more secure and strong.   Do this three more times with each pair of holes made in the lid.  If the lids were the face of a clock the holes would be punched at 1:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 11:00.  The picture below shows a better picture of the hole placement.

Then you attach the jars to each other and depending on the space you are using you will need different amount of jars.  We used eight for the space we were working with.  These are the jars before we put lights on them.

This is the final product.  Michael did all the handy work, I just supplied the idea.  I think we make a great creative team!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Great Military (and other) News

Yesterday Michael told me some of the greatest news I have heard in a while.  Before I share the news I want to address some military terms to make the story more clear.  There are a few different types of units in the Marine Corps,  some are combat deployable, some are non-deployable and some are MEUs A MEU is a Marine Expeditionary Unit,  this is the unit that Michael is in.  A MEU is a unit that doesn't deploy to combat zones, instead they get on huge boats and sail the Pacific Ocean.  They are a global presence, taking up port in various Oceanic and Asian countries.  MEUs are much easier, emotionally, to deal with for spouses because you have much more of a guarantee of safety on a MEU as opposed to a combat zone.  MEUs are usually deployed for around 6-7 months.  Ok a lot of background but now you will understand why the news is so great!
We were really lucky that Michael got put in a MEU unit, but over the summer they told him that he would be deploying on a MEU in August,  this was obviously devastating news but Michael fought it, told his superiors that he didn't want to go and by some stroke of luck they decided to pick someone else to go on the MEU.  So he dodged one bullet.  Yesterday Michael came home and told me that there is a second MEU scheduled for next summer.  And again, they decided to take someone else on the ship!  So what does this mean... Michael is for sure (as sure as military life gets) not deploying for the next year and a half at least.  He may not deploy at all!  
I am so happy and grateful that we have been so blessed with the timing of everything.  
In other news I am dominating my chemistry class, highest score in my class,  sorry I just have to brag a little.  And also we have been getting very festive lately.  We have been making fall desserts,  decorating our apartment and trying to pretend it feels like fall here even though its 75 degrees and so sunny I haven't worn pants all year.  This is the wreath that I made, with Kate's help- to be fair all of Kate's help and her idea and her materials, its very festive and I'm quite proud.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Michael is back!

Michael has been back from his training for a couple week and I must say, I am so happy he is back!  The day he came I was so excited and nervous, I couldn't sit still!  I went to base two Fridays ago and waited for him to arrive.  It was the longest hour of my life.  They told us that they would arrive on base at 3:00 so that is when I got there.  Then I got a text from Michael saying that they had to have a brief at 4:00 so he wouldn't be out for a while.  I got so anxious and fidgety waiting for so long that finally I couldn't sit in the car any longer.  I called my mom and forced her to talk to me so my mind could be distracted.  After our talk, I was standing in the parking lot and I started to see all these marines dressed in their uniforms walking toward me.  They were all carrying their huge bags and backpacks and I couldn't really see Michael in the group.  As the marines passed me to get into their cars and to go back to the barracks, my heart started to sink because I didn't see Michael in the crowd.  I finally went back to my car and tried to find a song to distract me.  I was looking out the window when I saw a guy walking in my direction.  I couldn't see his face because he was carrying one of his bags like a baby bjorn.  I was getting so excited because I thought it was him but I didn't dare jump out of the car and hug him on the off chance that it wasn't actually my husband.  Finally when he was about five feet from the car I recognized his face and bolted out the driver door.  He dropped everything on the ground, gave me the hug I had been waiting for!  All my anxiousness and bottled up energy just disappeared when we finally got to hug each other again.
That weekend Michael ate a lot, and slept a lot.  He was so excited to sleep in a bed because the cot he had been sleeping in was so small he couldn't get both of his elbows in at the same time.  Geez, what a complainer!
I am so glad he is back!  It is amazing how much you can miss another person.  I took for granted all the wonderful things he did for me.  Silly things like opening pickle jars, and making sure I walked on the not street side of the side walk.  His unit has no scheduled training deployments or regular deployments for the foreseeable future, and I am so grateful for that!  We are both hopeful that we can serve the entire contract without him deploying.  Cross your fingers!