Friday, October 9, 2015

MilSpouse Wellness Summit is coming ~ Oct 19-23 {attendance is free}

I am so exited to be a part of the MilSpouse Wellness Summit, brought to you by INdependent, Army Wife Network and USAA Educational Foundation. Invest in yourselves by attending this free summit online.

The summit will prove to be an invaluable and truly wonderful experience for all who attend.

At the summit you will find health, nutrition, fitness, and financial experts who are all eager to help you thrive as a military spouse. EVERY REGISTERED participant receives a 1-year membership to Thrive Market (Retail Value $49) and a chance to win tons of PRIZES by MetLife Dental, MSB New Media, SpouseBox, Elva Publishing, QALO rings, Lucy Activewear, and many more. If that's not enough to peak your curiosity I'm not sure what is.

One of the reasons I'm looking forward to this summit is that taking an all-encompassing view of wellness, not just a physical wellness, is so important. Physical wellness, mental wellness...and financial wellness. Money has always stressed me out, and I didn't realize how crucial all of that was to a total body wellness. Military spouses are strong individuals. We power through so much, deal with so much, and succeed through so much. We are not to be pitied. And that's what I appreciate about all those involved in this summit. They see all those things.

Come join myself and other ambassadors by following us on social media, with the hashtag #MSWS15! Don't forget to register here so you can snag all the amazing stuff!!


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Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Moscow Ballet comes to Baltimore {The Nutcracker}

The Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker s coming to Baltimore Dec. 18-19! My Readers Can Save on Tickets Now with this exclusive offer from US Family Guide 

For those not in Baltimore area visit Moscow Ballet's website for a full schedule.

 It's the ultimate holiday tradition and creates memories for a lifetime. The production includes over 200 romantic costumes and 10' tall playful animal puppets; shimmering colorful, backdrops splashed with 3-D effects; life-sized Matrushka (Nesting) Dolls and a puppet show for shadowing the Nutcracker Story at the opening Christmas Party. During the battle with Nutcracker Prince and the 3-headed Rat King, a golden cannon shoots roses! In the Magical Snow Forest an authentic Russian style Troika Sleigh, known as the fastest sleigh in the world, is escorted by Father Christmas (Ded Moroz) and Snow Maiden (Snegurochka) on their way to Act II. The Great Russian Nutcracker is known for its dedication to world peace with Act II named the "Land of Peace and Harmony." The first scene of Act II features a stunning "Dove of Peace" with a 20' wingspan and danced by 2 dancers each with one feathered wing. All ages feel the spirit of the season at Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker! Use the code JOY to get the biggest discount of the season for your family.

Save on the Moscow Ballet's celebrated Great Russian Nutcracker 2015 North American Tour. Visit US Family Guide for details! USE PROMO CODE: JOY

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Halloween Care Package with Kids

Holidays are always a fun time to make care packages, its easy to find stuff to put in it and to decorate with. This time we are discussing Halloween because its just about that time. You've still got time to get those packages put together and sent out to your service member. Our first stop was Dollar Tree because, why not!!!?

First thing is you have to have some fluff for the package so things don't get jostled around. We picked up some orange shredded paper and some scary Halloween fabric. It is surprisingly big and thick! It was perfect for packing some of the more delicate things I had going in this time around.

Picking up a few whimsical things for a good laugh was also important to me. It's Halloween, a fun holiday to be like a kid. And if they hubby has to miss all the silly fun I'm going to bring as much fun to him and his pals over there as I can. So, I picked up a few plastic halloween cups with funny sayings on them. I snagged four for a dollar.

 Next the kids picked out a package of pirate patches! It will be perfect for an awesome deployment picture. There is a whole row of Trick-Or-Treat alternatives or Halloween Party Favors right now at Dollar Tree and they are just the right amount of silly fun. Pack it up with hard candy that won't melt everywhere (even though its starting to get cold here its still 90 to 110 degrees over there) and toss in a few eyeballs and you're good to go.

Decorating a box can be you've got to be creative. I cut up paper that could be taped to the flaps and let the kids draw and decorate them. They are cut out perfectly to fit over the boring brown box flaps. Other options would be colored paper or themed wrapping paper.

Make sure to decorate the outside of the box too!! It's so much fun for the kids and it just builds up that anticipation for your service member as they are opening it!

Sending care packages is such a fun thing to do for your service member, and for you too!
What are your favorite things to include in Halloween care packages?

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

MilSpouse Stories: Preparing Your Heart

When I became a military spouse I expected there to be hard times. "We" had joined during war time, in a career field that had a high op-tempo. I knew that. We weren't that far from family and I have always been a fiercely independent sort of gal. So what's the worse that could happen? Little did I know that my heart would be thrown into despair and sadness that I had a never before experienced. Circumstances beyond my control, and new life experiences that I had not expected would throw my heart for a loop.

Struggling with my heart to this day I turned to a bible study that I'm currently doing.  
Jesus, the One & Only has been such an amazing study for me right now. If you've never done a Beth Moore study I can't recommend them enough. In fact, this is my second time doing this particular one and here it is speaking directly to my soul. As I opened up the book for the day this verse jumped out at me: "When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, 'Don't cry.' Luke 7:13. I was crying and it was ridiculous. But he cares whether or not I'm crying and that is anything but ridiculous. You know that feeling though. You don't want to be that girl that says, "hey, my husband is deployed give me a pass!" But at the same time you kind of want to be like, "hey, my husband is deployed so give me a break." It's one of those things that I feel like I should wear on a t-shirt or tattoo on my forehead. Guys, I'm sorry!! I'm the kind of girl that locks her keys in her car three times in one week. It's amazing how different a deployment can be each time, no matter how experienced you are. The children's age, the time of year, external stressors all play a factor in how it all goes each time.

I don't have to time to prepare my heart because I am guarding my children's, trying to prepare theirs.  As they've grown older the gaping hole their deployed daddy has left in their heart is more apparent these days. The day is a succession of deep breaths and eyes turned upward, "Please Lord, give me strength." He will I know he will, but I have to let him first.

One's heart is a funny little thing. Shore it up, protect it, tell it that this is only temporary but yet it still breaks. My partner, who makes life easier isn't here with me and despite having some of the best support I've ever hard, it doesn't take the place of having him here with me. Being a classic, "girl who takes on too much," having  my partner around to bare that load with me is something that I try not to take for grated but inevitably do when I take on too much.

So, I read my books, stick to my bible study and quiet time as much as possible, take lots of deep breaths and pray. Pray a lot. While I'm terrible at asking for help, with each one I feel like I'm getting better. God has placed these people in my life and I know that I can't do this on my own. This is just one of my MilSpouse story. Do you have one? How do you prepare your heart?
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Thursday, October 1, 2015

9 Shows I'm Binge-Watching on Netflix

You know that screen that comes up when you know you've been watching too much Netflix. It pops up all judgemental like in the middle of your binge watching - "Are you still watching {insert name of show here}." Yes Netflix I am, thank you for judging me. So here's what I'm binge-watching - you can share what you're binge watching and I promise I won't judge.

1. MASH - I was so excited when they added this to the line-up. This is a classic show and as a military spouse so much of the show was relevant to my life. It's funny, sad, touching and I definitely think you should add this to your list.

M*A*S*H (1972) Poster

courtesy of IMDB
2. Royal Pains - I'd seen this show advertised on regular television before, but never watched it. There's just so much to watch on TV and its hard to pick. You watch some, you DVR some, but there's just too much good stuff. So, while wandering around on Netflix I decided to give this one a shot. I absolutely love it!!! The writing is great, its funny and smart, as well a real. I love shows that can combine comedy and drama.

courtesy of TNT

3. Gilmore Girls - I can't get enough and I will watch this show over and over until the end of time. I'm not actually binge watching it currently, but I just finished my second binge watch since it showed up on Netflix. I'll probably start another one here soon.

courtesy of FanPop

4. Death Comes to Pemberly - It's not a technically a show, but a miniseries based off a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. You had me at Matthew Rhys (The Americans). If it can't be Colin Firth, then Matthew Rhys is a great replacement. The show takes place about six years after the originial Jane Austin based movie. Its so good people, stop what you are doing and watch it now.
 courtesy of Telegraph UK

5. Vexed - Part of my recent BBC binge, this is a quirky detective series. There's not enough episodes of this show and I love it!!

Vexed (2010) Poster
courtesy of IMDB

6. Monarch of the Glen - Scottish tv show which I happily stumbled upon one evening. As I've been watching the show (several seasons in now) makes me wish that I lived there, and I could go back to when it was filmed so I could hear all the "hollywood gossip" around the show. There's been some interesting exits from the show and I'm surprised it was able to carry on as the years went by. Two things about the show which never cease to make me laugh are the music and the fashion which is slightly more 90s than the early/mid 2000s in which it was filmed. Gotta love the Brits! 
courtesy of BBC One

8. The Paradise - I came upon this show when it was getting ready to release its second seaon on Netflix. I blew through season one (although in my defense it felt short!) and was delighted when the next season popped up. But shame on me I didn't heed my own past experiences and did a major sad face when I ended the second season. Who knows how long I'll have to wait now. The characters are beautiful, the clothing and vocabularly romantic and an absolute vision. You must watch this!!!!

via PBS

9. The Munsters - you know I had to squeeze in some type old schools show in there? The kids and I are binge watching this when we are able. It took them a bit to get used to the black and white but they are loving it. They think its hysterical. I love that I can show them shows that my mom once showed me. Shows like this are just so good and so much better than anything else on tv for kids. Its simple and easy to follow and just plain funny.

The Munsters (1964) Poster
via imdb

What are you binge-watching? I wanna know. I'm always looking for new stuff to add to my growing Netflix can totally judge me.... "are you still watching..." 
Yes Netflix...I am

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Friday, September 18, 2015

22 A Day Is 22 Too Many #Powerof1

All it takes is one person to make a difference. One person to stop and say "Enough is enough." During the month of September the Department of Veterans is challenging everyone through the 'Power of 1' Campaign. Through this campaign they hope to get across the message that one act can encourage a Veteran, a service member and their families. By supporting them and encouraging the use of resources like The Veterans Crisis Line, one person can make the difference in the life of someone who might be struggling.

What is The Veterans Crisis Line? It is a free, confidential crisis resource that can be accessed by service members, their families and their friends 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. Don't be afraid to be the one that makes a move when you or someone you know is in crisis. Do not let fear or worry about what happens next stop you from getting help for yourself or someone you know.

If you, or someone you know exhibits the following signs don't hesistate to act:

1. Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
2. Talking about death or dying
3. Self-destructive behaviors - drug abuse, alcohol, weapons

We must stand up for change! Demand change from those in power, and be the example of change for those around us. There is no tiime to waste and we can't afford to sit around and not take action. Life is too precious and valuable for that.

Share the #PowerOf1 with as many people as possible and join us on social media with the hashtag
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Monday, September 7, 2015

10 Books for MilSpouse {during deployment or anytime}

Books have always been my escape in life. Its relaxing, comforting, educational and I love it. During hard times in my life as a military spouse I've turned to books, both military related and not military related. These are some of my favorite military related books to read while the hubby is gone, or just when I need a milspouse pick me up.

1.  Right Side Up -Right Side Up by the awesomely cool Judy Davis is such a great book, and I can not say it enough. Judy is a fellow blogger and downright inspirational lady. Judy's goal in writing the books was to provide motivation and encouragement so that milspouses view the life of a military life as an opportunity, not a burden. Judy's book is the perfect gift for yourself or a new milspouse.

3. The Power of a Praying Wife: Military Edition - This is simply the military edition of Stormie Omartian's book, "The Power of a Praying Wife." Stormie Omartian's nephew is a service member and this book was made available to chaplains across the services and can usually be found through them. It is a wonderful encouragement for wives, especially for those like myself who love direction and advice for prayers when it comes to my marriage and my husband. The Power of a Praying Husband is also available.

4. Faith Deployed...Again - This is the second in this series (Faith Deployed). These books are filled with wonderful stories of faith and encouragement from military spouses across the branches. I just happened to be a little partial to this one because one of my amazing friends is one of the authors. What is so wonderful about a book like this is you can pick it up and read it for hours, or choose one or two stories for a quick encouragement.

5. Psalm 51: Military Edition - Peggy Joyce Ruth has a whole series of Psalm 51 books, including Motherhood and Teen Editions. Along with the specific text of Psalm 51 there are encouraging words from Military personnel. While not specifically for the military spouse it is a great read and makes a great bible study, especially during a deployment.

6. Olive Drab Pom Poms - Kori Yates is the author of this motivational milspouse books from a Christian perspective. Military spouses spend a good chunk of our lives being cheerleaders for our families, sometimes with our Olive Drab {or Air Force Blue for me} pom poms. Finding our place in this crazy military life can be difficulty at times, and I know for me personally, my faith has played a huge role in getting me through some of the most difficult times.

7. Confessions of a Military Spouse - from the awesomely cool Mollie Gross comes this real, and almost certainly hilarious, view of milspouse life. How do we deal with life, all the twist and turns and ridiculousness of this life? The true confessions in this book will attempt to answer those questions and will probably have you rolling on the floor in no time.

8. The New Testament for Military Spouses - Along the same lines as the Psalm 51 book, but specifically for military spouses. It includes devotionals meant just for us, written by military spouses that have been there.

9. American Wife - There isn't much introduction needed for this book by Taya Kyle, wife of Chris Kyle. But its included in this life for a very good reason. It is a story we are all familiar with, but the book is about so much more. Its about a life we, as military spouses, can all relate to. It touches on our worst fears and our best moments. I still can't get over how emotional it was to meet her and to hear her speak. This book is a really intense extension of that. You can read about my experience here.

10. The Five Love Language: Military Edition - Another special edition of book, written just for military families. The stories is this book are real and, at times, intense. I was curious how well this book would be written, but the authors did their homework. The books takes the principals and advice for the original and adds a military twist. I'm currently working through this book more carefully then my original review read through and I can't wait to update ya'll on how it goes.

This is a great start for all you amazing military spouses out there! Deployment and separations suck! Even the day to day of military life has its struggles. But I know for me I've always found encouragement in the stories of others who have walked before me, or who are walking right along with me. It is that comraderie, either in person or in the pages of book that is true diamond in the rough of military life. Stay tuned for more lists like this.

do you have an awesome military book that provided some encouragement to you? Tell me about it!

~this post contains affiliate links ~

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