Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Must See Sites in Delaware City, Delaware {Kid Tips Too!}

Everyone once in awhile you find yourself in cool little town. And if you're like me you have your own little "Gilmore Girls" moment, while in said town. That's what happened to me when I visited Delaware City, Delaware! I fell in love with this small town, with his big history, adorable shops, white gazebo and amazing food! Here are some must see sites and things to do in Delaware City!

1. Fort Delaware - of course its at the top of the list because I would venture to say its the main tourist attraction here in the town. You come for the history, but stay for so much more. This fort was probably the coolest of all the ones I've ever been to {and I've been to a ton, and on both coasts!}. The docents and actors were amazing. The kids were super involved. There were areas to run around, stairs to climb and crevices to peak into. They saw a cannon, blast, rifle demonstrations, and actually got to blacksmith. NO JOKE! I've never ever seen that before anywhere. With the assistance of some docents my two oldest got to make an "S" hook and a spoon. For five dollars my eight year old got to actually have a dream, wish type of experience. Ever since he was six and went to Coloma (Northern California) for the first time he's been absolutely obsessed with blacksmithing. Plus, riding a ferry to get there was pretty cool.







~ Parent note: you can pack a lunch and bring it on the island with you. There are picnic tables and grassy areas (watch out for the goose poop!). Souvenirs and snacks are also ridiculously reasonable in prices! I snagged a bonnet and two civil war hats for $6.00 each. They are awesome!

2. GeoCaching and Boat Watching in the Square - As a geocaching family we, of course, had to see what was what! Unfortunately it started to pour rain on us the first day so we could only snag one; but there is one right in the square.  Huge boats come right by the square and the kids had a marvelous time watching the boats and laughing as the water splashed up on them!!! They could have stayed longer but we had to skidaddle.

3. Lewinsky's On Clinton  - Yup, you read that right! A restaurant that cleverly uses the name of the main street in town, 'Clinton Street' in its name. It was a must-see place that we didn't have time for. Since the hubby was only able to be with us on one of the days there we had to make the most of our time. We didn't get a chance to swing in and check it out, but you better believe it is on my bucket list. I don't even care if the food sucks, I want to go just so that I can say that we ate there!

4. Cordelia's Bakery and Cafe - This adorable Cafe and Bakery would be the place I would be hanging out, or going to every day if I lived in Delaware City. With bread and desserts made fresh daily and the sweetest staff ever, Cordelia's is the perfect stop for lunch during your visit here.



5. Ice Cream Parlor - its simply called 'Ice Cream Parlor' and is located at the end of Clinton Street near the water. This is a no-frills, old fashioned ice cream shop. They have lots of fun flavors and the servings are huge. There are some places to sit, but this is a take and go, walk around the square, go sit in the grass type of area. 
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Attractions Come to Baltimore's Ripley's Believe it or Not!!


If you've never been to a Ripley's Believe it or Not you are definitely missing out. Mr. Air Force and I have been to several over the years, and across the country. They are some of the coolest museums to visit. We have a Ripley's in our own backyard, and starting June 19th there are some special exhibits coming that will be the visit that much more cool. Coming soon are the legendary Ripley's Fertility Statues, which will be on display as part of world tour. The statues will be available to look at and touch!

 

The statues were hand-carved by the Baule, who live on the Ivory Coast in West Africa and probably date back to the 1930s. In 1993 they made their debut in the Ripley's Orlando headquarters. The legend started there when within months 13 staffers and office visitors became pregnant. The story sparked the curiosity of many and the Wall Street Journal picked it up in 1995. The statues became an international phenomenon, with women everywhere wanting to see and touch the statues. Now, I'm not sure if I believe in legend of the fertility statues; however, in one of my MOPS groups we had a fertility statute that made the rounds and we all swore by it!! Regardless of whether you believe the legend it's pretty darn fun!


Ripley's is making the statues available in the lobby during regular business hours {m-th 10-9pm, Fri 10-10pm and Sun 10-8pm}. There is NO CHARGE to see the statues, but you will need a ticket to tour the rest of the Odditorium.

Not gonna lie, but I think I'll be giving the statues a rub - Don't tell Mr. Air Force!!

As a special treat for Cammo Style Love readers I have a discount for you!
Come see over 15,000 sq feet of weird and crazy stuff! There's a marvelous mirror maze and a 
4D movie theater as well! So buy two attractions and get the third one free by clicking here, and entering 
the code USFAM

*this post is part of a my partnership with UsFamilyGuide Mom Bloggers. I was compensated for my post, but I picked it
because I love Ripley's!! My thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

When Honor Comes Unexpectedly ~ Meeting Taya Kyle

On two separate occassions this year I had the tremendous honor to meet Taya Kayle, the wife of the late Chris Kyle {American Sniper}. Although talking with her you would have thought she had the tremendous honor of meeting me. I still can't quite put into words how I felt to be there, hear her speak, thank my husband and just take in the whole experience. I decided to write about it at Homefront United.


Recently, I had the honor of attending two events that were also attended by a recent 
icon in the military spouse community. Thrust into the spotlight by circumstance 
beyond her control, in a unique but unfortunately not unique position. 
Military spouses as a collective group are smart, compassionate, resilient, caring, 
understanding and some of the strongest women I know. The ‘Millies’ in my life, as
 I affectionately refer to them, are the backbone of my life, second only to my 
civilian church family. There is no one else in the world that I could go to and not have 
to explain my feelings or what I’m going through. There is however, a group of 
spouses that I couldn’t even classify myself as being on the same level with. They are 
the caregivers and widows of the military spouse community. 

~continue reading at Homefront United Network

{photo courtesy of Sandboxx}
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Friday, May 22, 2015

The 2:30 AM Phone Call {Do You Know What SCAD Is?}

Its not something that you ever want to experience, and its been years since I remember purposefully keeping my phone on and up load through the night. Its something that I did because I wanted to be the person that people could call in the middle of the night if they ever needed anything. And, I was. With my husband gone frequently I wanted to always be available to him. Who knew when he'd be able to call. Inevitably it would ring again, and last week it did. I flung myself out of bed and checked the caller id. It was one of my girlfriends, so my first thought was something had happened to her husband. But, when I answered it wasn't her....it was her husband. My friend had suffered a heart attack, mere weeks after having a baby.

 I totally agree. I could say that about my friendship with my cousins.


After those words came out of his mouth I could feel myself shifting into "milspouse survival mode". Its something I'm familiar with, that feeling. Its like an out of body of experience and you start moving about checking off things from an invisible check-list that floats around in your brain. There was no time to processing anything other than getting through. The baby was coming here and I had to take a deep breath and focus on the task at hand. I called one of our other close friends, because I knew her phone would also be on. She was also in survival mode and we made a plan. The next day my two other close friends, and their husbands also swooped in - brought me coffee (because of all the days to only have decaf in your house!!) and breakfast for all my kids and their own kids, and then proceeded to spend the day with me until my husband could get home. It was exactly what I needed, but didn't fully realize.

During events like these you realize the amazingness of humanity, but also realize the crappy side. The crappy side isn't what is important but its worth mentioning. People are human and it it what it is, but its not what we should hold onto. Its the people that care for each other that matters most. I don't know how one would go through life without their faith. Despite everything there was this sense of peace that had enveloped me and going through experiences like this without it may very well be the worst thing ever. I was in this mode of silent prayer and thought all day, as I was trying to fumble through the day, keeping it together. Going over verses in my head that have always given me comfort. Jeremiah 29:11-14 is my life motto. Its what I break out in times of good and bad. It was our wedding verse and just always seems to apply no matter what the situation is. Boy, was it in my head over the weekend.

The point though of this post isn't really to talk about what happened, but to educate. If I have even the slightest opportunity to share something that could save someone else I will do it. One of the amazing blessings about this blog is having the platform to talk about things that matter to me. Even if it only reaches one person, that is one more person that knows about whatever it is that I'm sharing. What I want to share with you is this short video about SCAD from the Mayo Clinic. SCAD, stands for Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. This is something that occurs mostly in woman, typically with no other health issues at all, with 20% of cases happening to woman who have recently given birth. Please take the time to watch this video, read about SCAD in the link above and share this with at least one other person. It is incredibly important that we use what experiences we have in life to do good and this is what I'm doing. I'm doing this for my friend, who I could have lost. I'm doing this for myself and for anything that I might come in contact with during my life. Take a moment and do the same.



Have you ever experienced, or know someone who has experienced SCAD?
Share your stories! 




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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

4 Ways of Taking Care of You ~ MilSpouse, Mom and Woman #FindNewRoads

Along the road of becoming a milspouse, having children and navigating our somewhat unique and different military life there have been times where I have lost my way. Its easy to do no matter who you are or where you're going. I not alone either but it wasn't until I started talking about my own "lost moments" did I realize it. It was then I realized that talking about it with my friends, family, fellow milspouses was something that was important to me.



After having my first children, almost nine years ago {whoa!} I suffered from some pretty gnarly post-partum depression. So bad that I didn't even realize it was happening, which isn't an uncommon story. You get caught up in living your life to the best of your ability, living in survival mode, that you can't think straight. Since that time I have been to therapy {thank you military one source - free counseling and completely secure}, been through two rounds of medication and have been better for it. So how did I do it, and what is my road map for the future?

1) Stay Vigilant ~ As much as you are able, be aware of yourself. Take stock of your emotions and feelings. I was able to do this the second time around, when I began to notice myself not responding to text messages and not picking up the phone for people. After we moved and Mr. Air Force's schedule proved to be way busier than either of us had expected, it was extremely difficult. We were farther away then we had ever been from family and despite my extrovert personality it proved to be too much.





2) Be Honest ~ This is for you and for others. who are the people in your life that you trust? Identify them and talk to them.  These are the people that tell you, "hey man, I think you're depressed," or "Something is up, you're not acting like you're normal self." They need to be able to say it to you openly and honestly, and more than once; probably fifty times to be more specific. You aren't off the hook here, you have to honest with yourself too. Sometimes you can't do it all, and without getting to politically incorrect, or correct {i can never tell which}, we can't do everything and we can't do it all! This is particularly true if we are by ourselves. Recognize that about yourself. For me, it meant saying no to things when I knew I would be the most stressed or alone. This was huge for me, but I finally learned how to do it.

3) Find Your Thing ~ This has been something that has been particularly important for me. Mine has been this blog, writing and advocacy. It also happens to include super fun and frivolous things like buying way too much yarn and crocheting all night, inviting girlfriends over to watch Pretty In Pink and Top Gun, and binge watching Gilmore Girls for the fifty-millionith time. For some of  my fellow milspouses its a career. They make it happen for them in whatever way they can, be it daycare, work from home, telecommute, whatever! Make it a priority, no matter what. If you're like me and can't fathom the idea of paying for childcare, its not in the budget, or have a husband whose career is just not conducive to outside work regularly, find other moms to trade with, create a co-op of sorts. Trust me, you won't regret it!

4) Support and Education ~ This seems self-explanatory, but is important enough for its own number! One of the things we do when we first move somewhere is find a church. Now this may not be for you, but for those that do attend church I can't stress how important it is to get plugged in ASAP! We typically don't have a standard unit or squadron, with a welcome wagon and spouses of my husband's co-workers waiting to be my ready-made friends. Sometimes it sucks!  Finding a church usually leads to finding a bible study, a mom's group and fellowship. Its a life saver every time! Volunteering outside of the home for a military group or in your child's school is another good way to get this done. The educate part comes by reading up on what is out there. Groups like Military Spouses of Strength really focus on support and education of depression. Military Spouse Advocacy Network is working on growing a significant network of local spouse advocates who empower and strengthen through in person connections, as well as webinars and online support. Up top I have compiled an almost ridiculous grouping of support and resource links! You can also contact me at any time and I can point you in the right direction, answers questions, give support or advice!

However you get down the road in life, make sure you do with support, friends, your spouse, family (whether biological or not) and education! You are never alone in this crazy world and it will making navigating those new roads all that much easier. 

Companies like Chevy also want to make navigating those crazy military life roads even better for you! That's why I'm proud to partner with them for this Military Support Month in their #ChevySalutes campaign, which includes their amazing military discount program. Chevy also allows to add that onto other amazing military discount programs, like that of USAA. And remember how I talked about finding what you love? Maybe that includes work? GM has partnered with Hiring Our Heroes (which is an organization I love!), working on initiatives that will enable a smooth transition for returning veterans. Currently GM employes nearly 5,000 veterans and close to 45,000 retirees. How amazing is that? You can find GM attending some of the hiring fairs, put on my HOH, which are some of the best veteran/military spouse hiring fairs I've ever attended.

Make sure to stop by the Twitter party coming up!!



This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.



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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Three Ways to Help Your Kids Merge Seamlessly #FindNewRoads

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

We've been a military family for almost thirteen years now, and it’s definitely been a journey. There was even a brief moment where I had just had a baby, was in the middle of nowhere, while Mr. Air Force was gone eighteen hours a days for days on end. As a new military spouse, with not a lot of coping skills on my back burner this was a pretty low time in my life. Quickly though I gained some amazing skills - reintegration, transition, solo-parenting...I got mad skillzzz! Then the kids started growing up. They were in need of some skills of their own, and it was up to me to provide those for them.



So how do you help your kids navigate the roads of military life?

1) Plug them in ~ This one has proven to be the most valuable during most of our transitions. Getting them out and involved in their community gets them feeling normal. While there is a certain amount of "circling the wagons" that occurs during any time of upheaval, getting back to a "normal" of sorts has been successful for you. We find a church, get the kids involved in an outside activity and become involved in all of those things ourselves. It’s like an extra fast root grower!

2) Be open and honest ~ Life sometimes throws you a few curve balls, whether you are military or not. Talking about what is happening and being honest with your kids lets them feel involved and heard. In our home we have lots of pictures of our friends from our previous locations, and with technology being as amazing as it is, we can communicate so well with our friends and family that really meant a lot to us. We talk about the times we had, and saying that they miss "so and so" isn't an uncommon occurrence. So we stop and talk about it, pick up the phone and call that person...or maybe even pick up a pen and paper to write a good old fashioned letter.

3) Take care of you! ~ I can't even begin to tell you how important this last one is. Even though it doesn't technically have to do with the kids I know that when I'm not taking care of myself things don't exactly go well around the house. My stress and anxiety isn't exactly something I can hide very well and I'm guessing neither can most people. Taking my own advice, and applying it to me, goes a long way to making it happen for them.



It can be a struggle to remember that it isn't just about me. I've got three little humans relying on me for all the physical stuff as well as all the emotional stuff. Navigating the roads of military life is always an exciting one. You never know what might come your way, but as clich├ęd as it sounds your family is what gets you through. The community around you is also an extremely important part of navigating those new roads. It's beautiful partnerships like the one I'm honored to be a part of, that makes us feel appreciated.

#Chevy Salutes

How is Chevy helping military families find new roads? Well, during the month of May Chevy is offering incredible discounts to service members, including the National Guard and Reserve (which is extremely important to our family). Their discounts are below MSRP, and the Military Discount Program can even be combined with other amazing discounts, like the one for USAA members. You really can't beat that if you are in the market for a new vehicle. Their Military Discount Program is one of the top programs out there among car companies, which is why it is so important to them during this month to share that with us.

Military families are constantly finding new roads that lead them to their new homes, new friends and new adventures! Do you have a story of finding a new road? Hop on over to Instagram and share that with us to win amazing prizes.







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Monday, May 4, 2015

Five Ways to Combat Identity Theft as a Military Family

 This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I hope you like these awesome tips and take them to heart. Identity theft and fraud are a huge deal, especially in our military community. Tips gathered through my own research and experience, as well as an amazing partnership with Lifelock Military.

 

It is no secret that Identity Theft is a real concern these days. We've had numerous attempts to clear out substantial amounts of money from our bank accounts; and as a young military couple with dreams of hopefully become homeowners eventually, the thought of our credit being damaged in seriously frightening. According to the 2011 FTC Report there were over 17,000 military consumer complaints, and 27% of those were related to identity theft. That is an astounding number that I can't imagine has gone down significantly in the years since that last full report. So what can you do to protect yourself?


1. Research the type of protection your bank offers - If you're lucky like we are, you belong to a bank that really takes care of protection your bank account and any credit cards you have through them. Be intentional about this and don't be afraid to ask questions. It's your money and it deserves to be protected.

2. Monitor your Credit Score - Once a year you can pull up your credit score. Do it. You can request it from each of the three major companies - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. Keep a couple years history of this in your files. Its not a full proof way to protect yourself, but keeping track of your numbers through the years is important. 

3. Get Educated - The FTC has some amazing information about identity theft, warning signs, tips and tricks and just information. Information is power!

4. Try Lifelock - Lifelock is one of the premier identity theft protection companies! Think of them as an extra layer of protection between you and the bad guy. They have three different levels of protection to pick from, all of which include things like lost wallet protection, live member customer service and a $1million total service protection. Lifelock is offering military members one month free, a free gift and reduced monthly fees! Visit this link for all the information, plus your discount code.  

5. Request an Active Duty Alert during deployment - Did you know that you can put an "Active Duty Alert" on your credit file. This is important because it requires creditors to verify your identity before they open an account in your name. These "alerts" are valid for a year. 'Active Duty Alerts' are easily activated by calling one of the three companies - Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

Don't be caught without protection of some kind. This type of theft will probably only get worse, and grow bigger and time goes on. Having gone through attempts on my bank account, it can be really crazy. And who among us hasn't lost a wallet or an ATM card, and then proceeded to have a mini-freakout!

Have you had any experience with identity theft? What did you do?
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