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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fall Bucket List

Fall is just around the corner and I don't know about you all, but my Autumn is my favorite season! There's just something about the leaves changing colors and the cool, crispness of the wind. So here's a bucket list of things to do this fall!

  1. Make a leaf pile and jump in it! 
  2. Make hot cider and cuddle under a blanket.
  3. Go to a pumpkin patch and find the perfect pumpkin.
  4. Pick apples at an orchard.
  5. Carve silly (or scary) faces on pumpkins. 
  6. Make s'mores. 
  7. Make and eat caramel apples.
  8. Have a scary movie marathon!
  9. Find the perfect Halloween costume.
  10. Go to a haunted house.
  11. Take a nature walk or go hiking (bring a camera!)
  12. Go on a hay ride.
  13. Drink pumpkin coffee. 
  14. Make pumpkin bread.
  15. Make pumpkin pie.
  16. Make pumpkin cookies. 
  17. Go to a fall festival/fair. 
  18. Have or attend a Halloween costume party. 
  19. Go to a corn maze.
  20. Tailgating! 
  21. Attend a local football game. 
  22. Family Pictures! 
  23. Buy fall scented candles. 
  24. Watch Hocus Pocus. 
  25. Make Halloween Cookies. 
  26. Go to Six Flag's Fright Fest. 
  27. Have a bonfire! 
  28. Play flag football.
  29. Decorate for Halloween.
  30. Decorate for Thanksgiving. 
  31. Leaf crafts!
  32. Roast and eat pumpkin seeds. 
  33. Visit a sculpture park. 
  34. Grab a blanket and cider and cuddle under the stars. 
  35. Trick-or-Treat
  36. Tell ghost stories. 
  37. Take a drive along back roads and enjoy the fall scenery.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Advantages Of Shopping At The Commissary

Many of you  know the advantages of shopping at the commissary, but many of you may not, especially if you live off post. So I thought I'd compile a list of the advantages of shopping at your local military commissary!

1.) Cheaper Prices 

I'm sure most of you know that the commissary offers cheaper prices than most local grocery stores.

2.) A Wide Variety Of Products. 

The commissary sells many international foods and other products. There are shampoos, drinks and soaps from all over the world such as Germany, Korea and Japan. This offers a great opportunity to try new foods (especially if you'll be moving to one of those countries) or have food from a place that you once lived.

3.) Coupons!! 

I'm an avid couponer so this is great for me! Not only do you get  low prices, but you also have military only coupons that can only be uses at the PX and Commissary. The Commissary also has a rewards card. This allows you to save coupons right to the card for check out. The card will be scanned and the coupons will automatically be taken off.

4.) Priority Check Out Lines

These lines give uniformed personnel priority during lunch time. This gives them plenty of time  to return to work from their lunch break.

I hope these have given you some reason to give the commissary a try!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Easy Ways To Save Money

With today's economy we're all looking for ways to save money. Sometimes things are obvious, like don't go out to eat all the time or don't buy things you don't need. But sometimes things that you don't think about, is what will save you the most. So here's a list of ways to help save you money.

1.) Cut out cable or satellite. 

This can cost you anywhere from $50-$100 a month. So you can get rid of it and stick to Netflix and Hulu.

2.) Turn out lights when you aren't using them. 

During the day, open the curtains up and let the sunlight be your lighting. It's not only good for you, but it cuts down on energy costs as well. Replace light bulbs in your house, with energy efficient ones.

3.) Hang up a clothesline or use a drying rack. 

Your dryer is one of the most energy sucking things in your household. So put up a clothesline, indoors or out, and let your clothes air dry. Let use of the dryer, means more money in your pocket.

4.) Hand wash your dishes. 

The dishwasher also uses a lot of electric to run, so cut down on using it. Hand wash your dishes as you go, not only will you have more dishes in your cabinet throughout the week, but your electric bill will also go down.

5.) Plan out your meals in advance. 

Believe it or not, this will cut down how much money you spend at  the grocery store. Make a list of everything you need for each meal and buy only those items when you go to the store. No more clearing the shelves because you went grocery shopping while hungry.

6.) Get rid of land line phones if you have cell phones. 

Why pay extra to have a phone you barely use anyway.

7.) Budget your money and stick to it. 

8.) Save 10% of your pay and leave it alone. 

Put it in a savings account that you won't touch. It's always good to have money to fall back on in case of an emergency.

9.) Pay off your credit card each month. 

Don't just pay the minimal payment, pay it off if you can, if not, pay as much as you're able to. The interest rate is ridiculously high on credit cards.

10.) Use cash to pay for everything.

This keeps you from running up your credit card bill or over drafting your bank account.

11.) Buy fruit and veggies instead of junk food. 

If you go to the store and buy bananas, they are about 4 times cheaper than buying a bag of chips. Not only will this help you save money, but it'll help you be healthy too!

12 Things Not To Say To A Military Spouse

We've all been there. You're spouse is deployed and those around you just don't understand what this time entails. We've all had the stupidest things said to us. So I've compiled a list of 12 things that should NEVER be said to any military spouse.

12.) Now you can do whatever you want.

First of all, my husband doesn't keep me from doing anything I want to do. If there's something that he doesn't like me doing, there's probably a reason and I shouldn't do it when he's not here either.

11.) Quit whining, it's only 9 months. 

This absolutely grinds my gears. It's only nine months? When you go nine months without your husband, with limited communication and the fear he may not make it home, then we can talk.

10.) He'll be back before you know it. 

This has been said to me on the day my husband has left. Yeah... Nine months is before I know it... not. Even if you keep busy, it's still a long time to be apart.

9.) Where exactly is he?

I can't tell you that. It's called OPSEC. I'd rather my husband and those he's with, make it home safe and sound. Not hinder that in order to feed your curiosity.

8.) I totally understand how you feel. I hate when my husband leaves for the weekend. 

No. Just no. A weekend? That's 2-3 days apart that your husband will be staying in a safe hotel or house. My husband leaves for 9 months at a time, staying in a war zone. That's roughly 270 days apart. That's not even remotely close to the same thing. So you don't understand, so please don't say you do.

7.) At least he's making a ton of money!

First of all, yes he's making more money but it's not a ton of money. No amount of money could replace how I'd feel to have my husband at home, safe and sound.

6.) At least you can Skype! You'll be fine. 

I don't think people understand that the internet our troops have while deployed absolutely sucks. So most of the time you stare at a pixelated picture of your spouse. And Skype doesn't come close to actual physical contact.

5.) Aren't you afraid he'll cheat? 

No! Absolutely not! My marriage is built on trust. If you don't trust your spouse to be away from you, maybe you shouldn't be together.

4.) Is it hard to be faithful? I couldn't go without sex for that long.

If that's all you're thinking about, maybe your marriage relies on the wrong things. It's not difficult whatsoever. I love my husband way too much to do that to him.

3.) Don't you miss him? 

YES! Of course I do. What kind of question is that?

2.) Aren't you afraid he'll die?

This is probably the dumbest question I've ever been asked. That is the biggest fear of any military spouse. We don't need to reminded of it.

1.) I don't see how you do it. I never could.

And that's why you never will. It takes a strong person to do what I do. To stay faithful and unconditionally love someone who has to leave for months on end. But you will also never understand how rewarding it is and how strong my marriage is because of it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Deployment Bucket List

While our spouses are deployed, we always want to make the time apart pass as quickly as possible.  I've learned that if you have a list of things to do, in mind, it'll help make the months pass more quickly. So here's a list of things that you can add to your deployment bucket list. 

1.) Take a road trip. 

Take a trip with some friends or family, not only will it keep you busy and keep your mind off the deployment, it'll be fun! 

2.) Train for a 5k, 10k, half or full marathon. 

This will give you a goal to work towards while your spouse is deployed. It'll be sure to keep you busy and you'll also get in shape! Imagine how accomplished you'll feel after you complete the run!

3.) Start a large craft project.

Is there a project that you've been wanting to do but just haven't gotten around to it? Well your spouse is deployed, so why not do it now? It'll keep you busy, it'll be fun and you finally get to do the project you haven't had time to do.

4.) Clean out the attic, garage or basement.

This will definitely be a time consumer, but that's good. You can finally clear out all the clutter that has taken over. Take time to get things organized and decide what to keep, donate and throw out. After all, cleaning has been proven to relieve stress. 

5.) Volunteer. 

Whether it be at the local soup kitchen, the VA hospital or Big Brothers, Big Sisters, volunteering will give you something to do on a regular basis. Not only will you be able to have fun, but you will also be able to help those who really need it. You may even stick to it after the deployment is over.  

6.) Read at least one book a month.

Maybe there's a series you've been wanting to start or even reread, well now's your chance :)

7.) Get more involved on base. 

Become more active in your FRG and more involved in the activities that take place on base. You'll be surprised how much fun you'll have and the friends you'll make. 

8.) Send at least one package a month. 

You'll have fun decorating each package. Your spouse will be so happy to receive the cute packages you've made him or her and will be especially appreciative of any food you may send.

9.) Learn to cook new foods. 

Find some recipes that you've never cooked before and try them out. You may find a lot of things you love, that you just haven't tried yet. Plus you can cook them for your spouse when he or she returns home. 

10.) Pay off debts.

While your spouse is deployed , there will be a slight increase in pay and it will be untaxed. This allows for a great opportunity to pay off some (or all) debts that have been accumulated. 

11.) Further your education.

Take some classes at the local community college. It'll help you work towards your degree and will also give you things to do to take up your time. 

12.) Save up money.

Now is a great time to save up money for a trip, a new car or maybe even a house. 

13.) Take yoga classes. 

You may end up loving it! Plus it'll help you get (or stay) in shape. 

I hope that you've enjoyed this list of ideas and that you are able to add them to your own bucket list. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Carepackage Ideas

Here's a list of my favorite carepackages that you can send to someone deployed. They're fun and creative! Keep in mind when it's time for someone to return home from deployment, they can't bring a lot of items back.

1.) Life back home. 

This package is a great way to remind the deployed person back home. You can decorate the box with pictures of your kids doing daily activities like brushing their teeth, watching tv, getting ready for bed. You can include a plastic bag filled with lawn clippings (you'd be surprised how much they miss the smell of grass), one of your child's shirts, pressed flowers, dryer sheets to make their room smell fresh (I'd recommend putting the box in a ziplock bag, the smell can be overwhelming), a pillow case with your perfume on it (you CANNOT send bottles of perfume in the mail).

2.) Hang In There

In case you can't guess by the title, this is a monkey themed package! Decorate the box with monkeys and bananas. Include a monkey stuffed animal, banana chips, banana flavored candies, banana bread in a jar, monkeys in a barrel, a deck of monkey card, and any other monkey themed item you wish to include.

3.) Birthday Party! 

Is your deployed person's birthday coming up? Make a birthday themed package! Include confetti, confetti poppers, balloons that they can blow up, party hats, noise makers, cake in a jar, pictures, a birthday card, a disposable camera so they can take pictures of their "party," party favors, and a gift for them.

4.) Superhero

Make a superhero themed package. Include comics, superhero movies, little figurines, superhero cups and napkins, snacks, superhero coloring pages.

5.)  Disney 

This was my husband's favorite. Include Disney movies, Disney soundtrack CD's, Disney stickers, small Disney stuffed animals, Disney figurines, Disney fruit snacks, microwave popcorn, candy.

6.) Movie Night

You can decorate it with movie reels and ticket stubs. Include DVDs, microwave popcorn, candy (be careful with chocolate, it could melt. If you send it, put the chocolate in a plastic ziplock baggie.), drink mixes, snack crackers, fruit snacks, popcorn seasoning.

7.) Season Pass 

Send a baseball cap with his favorite team, recordings of the games he's missed, baseball cards, peanuts, a mini baseball bat, mini basketball and hoop set (the ones the hook on the door), chips, snack foods.

8.) Sand Storm Survival Kit

Include: eye drops, Q tips, lotion, chapstick, baby wipes, nasal spray, instant coffee, clean socks, lens cloths, clean sheets, dryer sheets, foot powder, foot soaks, large ziplock bags for foot soak, nail clippers, boot inserts

9.) Deployment Food Survival Kit

Napkins, plastic silverware, salt and pepper packets, ketchup and mustard packets, seasonings, BBQ sauce, ranch, small plastic bowls, mayo packets.

10.) Hygiene In A Box

Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, deodorant, aftershave, toilet paper, shaving cream, razor refills, shower shoes, towels, wash cloth. Put the liquids in plastic bags in case they leak.

11.) Correspondence Box 

Envelopes, pens, paper, disposable camera, address book (filled out already), stickers, markers, colored pencils.

12.) Makes Me Feel Like A Kid Again

Coloring books, colored pencils, cards, small games, play dough, action figures, squirt guns, nerf guns and extra darts, little toys, silly putty.

13.) It's A Boy/Girl! 

Decorate it with pink/blue, gender reveal card, candy pacifiers, candy cigars, stuffed animal, baby wipes, sour patch kids, sugar babies, cheerios, pink/blue drink mix.

14.) Easter 

Fill it with candy, little Easter toys. When I sent this to my husband, I decorated it with Easter stickers and filled it with Easter grass. Fill plastic eggs with little gifts and hide them in the grass.

15.) Thanksgiving in a box

Decorate with fall colors and turkey. Fill with canned turkey, instant mashed potatoes, instant stuffing, canned corn, canned green beans, gravy in a jar, apple or pumpkin pie, cookies, microwave rice, Apple Cider mix, turkey jerky, homemade bread and candy corn. You can create a "why we're thankful for you" book. Include a video of everyone wishing him/her a happy Thanksgiving, your children's hand turkeys.

16.)  Christmas 

Christmas lights, Santa hat, stuffed reindeer, non glass cinnamon scented candles (they can't burn it but they can still enjoy the smell), fake snow, a small fake tree with little ornaments, small wrapped Christmas gifts, Christmas cards addressed to his or her family for him or her to write in, jingle bells, Christmas CD's, Christmas DVD's, Cookies, candy canes, hot cocoa or cider mix.

17.) Fourth Of July Package

Uncle Sam hat, small US flags, confetti poppers, USA shirt, glow sticks, Red, White, Blue Twizzlers, portable fan and batteries, patriotic card, video of fireworks, red, white, blue rice crispie treats, patriotic plastic necklaces, wet wipes, cracker jacks, patriotic trinkets.

18.) Valentine's Day Package

Sweetheart candies, heart shaped cookies, a stuffed animal, pictures of you both together, Valentine's cards from your children, Valentine's card from you, little heart containers filled with little candies, Valentine's trinket toys, cake in a jar, 52 reasons why I Love You, Jar of Hershey's Hugs and Kisses.

6 Things To Help You Survive Your Spouse's Deployment

1.) Keep yourself busy.

The more you do, the quicker the time apart will pass. So hang out with your friends, start a new hobby or maybe go to the gym. It'll help you stay busy. Plus, you can surprise your husband with the changes a routine work out can make!


I repeat COMMUNICATION IS KEY. This is a very cliche thing to be told, but it's true. While your spouse is deployed, be sure you remain honest with each other. Keep them up to date with the things that you have going on in your life, even if you had a terrible day. It helps them feel like they're still part of the life back home. A Sergeant First Class once told my husbands unit "A soldier doesn't age on deployment. They do the same thing everyday for 9 months. Nothing changes. But the world doesn't stop back home. Life goes on and is always changing." So be sure to keep that in mind. If you don't tell your spouse things that happen while they're away, they'll learn within the first month of returning home, which can make it very overwhelming. So tell him or her that you miss them and share with them about your day, week, or month.

3.) Send each other pictures. 

This simple gesture helps so much. You get to see each other throughout the months apart. One picture can make the distance seem a little less far and can bring a smile to your face, on the worst days.

4.) Don't hold in frustration or sadness. 

You've probably been told "don't bother him when your angry or sad. It'll distract him from what he's doing there." This isn't true. You need to tell him when your sad, when you feel like you just can't take it anymore. And when you're angry or frustrated. If you bottle it all up because you want to "protect him," you'll end up exploding. You could take it all out on him, causing more problems than it's worth. Or maybe even your friends and family. So talk to your significant other about what's bothering you. It'll help. I promise.

5.) Remember he misses you just as much as you miss him. 

This is a very important thing to remember. Sometimes the distance can take it's toll on you. It'll feel like you can't do it anymore. And sometimes, you feel like you're alone, that no one understands. That's not true. It's easy to forget that while you're apart, he misses you just as much as you miss him and that the deployment is just as hard on him, if not harder.

6.) Keep your chin up, it'll all be over soon. 

You may be reading this on the first day of deployment and thinking to yourself "I still have 9 months to go. That's not soon." But if you take a moment and think about it, it really isn't that long. You want to spend the rest of your life with him right? Well 9 months seems so small, compared to 50 years. So keep your head high. Remember you're strong and you WILL make it through this.

I hope these tips help you through this deployment, or any that you may face in the future. Just stay positive. Don't worry yourself with the "what if's" or you'll drive yourself nuts.

10 Things Only A Military Wife Would Understand

1.) Keep your family and friends close, no matter how many miles are between you. 

Being a military wife, you will face many obstacles that could be difficult to handle on your own. Obstacles such as deployment, can leave you feeling alone. This is where your friends and family come in. They will be there for those late night calls, when you can't stand sleeping alone anymore and the world feels like it's crashing down on you. Your friends will help the time pass more quickly, by keeping you busy with girls' nights and lots of laughs!

2.) Sleeping with the ringer on high and your phone laying next to you. 

You've taught yourself that your phone's ringer must ALWAYS be on high while your husband is deployed. If you turn your phone on vibrate for a second, that will be the second he calls and you don't hear it. A missed call can crush the mood of your entire day. Especially when those calls are few.

3.) Always write addresses in pencil.

You'll make friends at each base you go to. You'll want to keep in touch with those closest to you. But you know that they will move multiple times, just as you will.

4.) There are no goodbyes, only see you laters. 

The Army may move you and your family away from those that you've grown close to but that doesn't mean that you'll never see them again. Often times families can be restationed together later on down the road. You've learned that even if you aren't stationed together, you and your friends will stay in touch and many times you'll arrange to see each other. You can meet in the middle or take turns going to each other's house.

5.) It's okay to cry.

You've been told your entire life that crying is a sign of weakness. That IS NOT true. Sometimes the stress of military life, or life in general, can be too much. Crying is a release. You've learned that it makes you feel better. Holding it in only leaves you hurting more.

6.) Homecomings are the happiest days of your life.

You've both survived the deployment. You've experienced the tears, pain and loneliness that accompanies the time apart. Your husband has finally made it home, safe and sound. The first kiss at homecoming is magical, just like the first kiss you two ever shared. Now you finally get to walk away, holding the hand of your husband. No more nights alone. No more skype calls. You get to  be together again.

7.) You've learned to pack your entire house on short notice. 

Your husband has just now gotten his orders and it's time to PCS. You've learned through your many moves how to pack quickly, where to get free boxes and just what all you can take with you and what you need to sell.

8.) Having to explain the many acronyms of the military to your non-military affiliated friends and family.

While talking to your friends and family about your life, you have to explain what PCS, MOS and NTC. You bring them up, forgetting that your friends don't know what they mean. You've gotten so used to talking to the other spouses around base and your husband, that you forget not everyone knows what the acronyms means. 

9.) The pain of going through the gate to get on base. 

You know the pain of the long lines of cars that are waiting to make it through  the main gate. The line that gets held up by those without military IDs trying to get on base and being turned around to get a visitors pass. Or new people to post asking for directions to the PX or Commissary.

10.) You never ever shop at the Commissary on payday. 

The amount of people who shop at the commissary on payday is outrageous. The lines are ridiculous and trying to maneuver down the aisles is almost impossible.