Cammo Style Love: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rhe's Bookshelf - "A Season for Tending," by Cindy Woodsmall

A Season for Tending (Amish Vines and Orchids #1)



Old Order Amish Rhoda Byler’s unusual gift and her remarkable abilities to grow herbs and berries have caused many to think her odd. As rumors mount that Rhoda’s “gift” is a detriment to the community, she chooses isolation, spending her time in her fruit garden and on her thriving canning business. 

Miles away in Harvest Mills, Samuel King struggles to keep his family’s apple orchard profitable. As the eldest son, Samuel farms with his brothers, the irrepressible Jacob and brash Eli, while his longtime girlfriend Catherine remains hopeful that Samuel will marry her when he feels financially stable. 

Meanwhile, Samuel’s younger sister Leah is testing all the boundaries during her rumschpringe, and finds herself far from home in Rhoda’s garden after a night of partying gone badly. But Leah’s poor choices serve as a bridge between Rhoda and the King family when a tragic mistake in the orchard leaves Samuel searching for solutions.
Rhoda’s expertise in canning could be the answer, but she struggles with guilt over the tragic death of her sister and doesn’t trust herself outside her garden walls. As the lines between business, love, and family begin to blur, can Rhoda finally open up to a new life? And what effect will this odd, amazing woman have on the entire King family?

What I Thought:

This was the first time I have ever read an Amish book.  It wasn't that I particularly shied away from them, I just never really found one that I wanted to buy.  When the opportunity came to read one I jumped on it.  I feel really lame in same, "oh my goodness I loved it so much," but that's sort of what i feel like saying.   I really really did.  The characters were really endearing, real, and complex.  They didn't come off as stuffy or unrelatable.  What they experienced and how they handled those experiences was something that I could see in my own life; and anyone else's for that matter.  That is important thing for me when I'm reading a book.  I generally like books where I am drawn into the story in such a way, that I feel for the characters on a personal level.  Like, maybe I could be in their world.  Much to my happiness it is the first book in a series, and I can't wait to get my hand on "The Winnowing Season".

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Where can you get it:

$11.99 kindle version (which I read on the Kindle App on my iPhone)

you can snag a paperback version for around $11.00 on Amazon

**Disclaimer - I received this book in my partnership with Blogging for Books and Multnomah Publishing.  I was not compensated in any other way.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The new #GracoJogger hangs out in DC

I was so thrilled to receive the FastAction™ Fold Click Connect™ Jogger from GracoI'm a novice jogging stroller user, and a semi-novice runner.  The opportunity to check out this stroller couldn't have come at a better time for me.  I also happen to live next door to a marathon runner, and she took a turn checking out the stroller as well, while hers was "in the shop" so to speak.  As a special perk of checking out the Graco Jogger I also had the opportunity to meet some fellow blogging mama's here in the DC/NoVA area, at a little Graco Party Playdate.  It was something way beyond hilarious to see fourteen of us lined up with our strollers.


 on our way to the party with my Graco neatly folded in the rear!

All lined up

We all seemed to be in agreement about the uniqueness of the stroller compared to other joggers we've used.  It is extremely light-weight, with the easy one-second, single step fold that locks upright with the kickstand.  As with most other jogging strollers, you have the real, pump tires, the locking ability for the front tire when running, and the wrist strap so it doesn't get away from you.  Other features that the Graco Jogger has include reflectors, a cubbie on the tray to hold items and a smartphone cradle.  The one problem with the smart phone cradle, is that with my Life Proof case on it does fit in the cradle all the way.  I still sort of slide it in, and some of it sticks out, but it stays half in while I jog.  The little man feels quite comfy in the multi-position reclining seat, and is safe and sound in the 5pt or 3pt harness. 

It rides smoothly and I haven't had any problems with it while running, even though my jogging stroller expertise isn't vast, I have used a couple other brands.  The only real critiques (other than the fact I would have to take the case off my phone to put it in the cradle) I would give it would be the handle.  It is a bit bulky and is square in shape.  My hand just fits around it, but someone with smaller hands would have a difficult time.  I personally prefer the more rounded shape, ergonomically.  It is also a tall stroller.  When my friend (who is a tad shorter than me) used it, she mentioned the tall thing.  This can also be a positive, because for someone who is taller, and for the hubby's out there especially, this is a great stroller and some of the other moms at the event mentioned this as a perk as well.  For comparisons sake it is about the same size as my Baby Trend Sit and Stand, there's plenty of storage room, and even though it is large, it still maneuvers quite well.  The shade really isn't worth too much unless you are using it with the infant seat.  I don't really feel like it comes down quite far enough to be of any real good, when I'm comparing it to the other strollers I own.

might not be exactly what its meant for there Phillip :)  But thanks for 
demonstrating the roominess of it.

All in all its a wonderful stroller, and we've toted it around town and on little mini adventures - on the metro into DC, at the Natural History Museum, out to Fort Washington, MD and up the street to pick up my son from school.

You can pick up the Graco Fast Action Jogger $179.99, and the travel system for $254.99.

Graco’s NEW jogger is the ultimate crossover stroller, combining all the comfort and convenience features of a traditional stroller (FastAction Fold and Click Connect Technology) with performance and maneuverability of an all-terrain jogger.
As an added bonus, Graco’s innovative one-second, one-hand FastAction™ fold automatically locks & is self-standing.
          This post is sponsored by the Graco.

*New* Octonauts Toys Review

Hello all!  Hope your weekend was wonderful and I excited to welcome you to another week with a little peak at some brand new Octonauts toys, available at Toys R Us.  We received a couple of toys to try out, and the littles in the Cammo Love house were thrilled beyond belief.  Especially one little miss in particular.

Here are some of the items we received

Perhaps the most loved among the group is the Octopod, the backbone of the Octonauts really.

It sells for $39.99 and features 10 play pieces, phrases and sounds.  It comes with Captain Barnacles and the Gup-A, which is by far the best part of the play set in Ami's opinion.  The play pieces are cute and made well.  Its perfect for little kid hands and all of them, ages 18 months to 6 love this.  I have a feeling that adding to our little collection will be on future Birthday and Christmas wish lists.



I would also love to add one of these cute books to our collection.   Personally I can't get enough of these characters.  In a world full of questionable tv for little ones, the Octonauts are wonderful.  They are sweet characters that teach my children how to work together, how to take care of one another and about the ocean.  Ami has picked up quite a bit of knowledge about sea creatures from the show, and I love that!  We then take that and move on to reading books in the library about Orcas, looking up videos on YouTube and checking out the Discovery Channel.

If your kids love the Octonauts then these are the perfect companion, and will most certainly be a success in your household.  One of the most important things I look at when I look at toys for my kids is the interactive qualities of it.  Can I take this toy and expand it beyond just the toy?  Can we talk about it, learn more and use that in our play?  These are the kinds of things that make a great toy and that's what I think I've found in these Octonaut playsets and toys.

Disclaimer: I was provided these toys in exchange for my honest opinion and review.  I was not compensated in any other way.  My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rhe's Bookshelf - 'Take a Chance on Me' by Susan May Warren


Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

**Read the first chapter of Take A Chance on Me, here

Author Q & A:

1. This is the first installment in a brand new six book series. Can you give us a bit of background on this series?

I love stories about families, watching the members interact and grow together through challenges and victories and I conceived this series as I watched my own children begin to grow up and deal with romance and career and futures. I love Deep Haven, and it’s the perfect setting for a resort, so I crafted a family, much like the families I know, who run a resort. They want to pass on their legacy to their children...but their children don’t know if they want it. It’s sort of a parallel theme to the legacy of faith we instill in our children. As they grow older, they need to decide whether it is their faith too. It’s a saga about family and faith and what happens when those collide with real life.
2. This Christiansen Family series is set in Deep Haven, Minnesota. Tell us about this setting.
Deep Haven, Minnesota is based in a small vacation town in northern Minnesota where I spent my childhood. It’s located on Lake Superior, surrounded by pine and birch and the sense of small town and home. Populated by everyone from artists to lumberjacks, it’s Mitford, or perhaps Northern Exposure gone Minnesotan. Quaint, quirky and beautiful, it’s the perfect place to escape for a vacation
What I Thought:

Take A Chance on Me was not what I expected when I started reading it.  After doing so many reviews of Christian novels I was beginning to notice a pattern among them.  I didn't feel as challenged by the reading perse.  The stories seemed to be lost in the attempt to portray God and the reasons to have faith in Him, or seek out a relationship with Him.  The characters and what they were going through seemed to be secondary to the faith parts of the book.  There have obviously been exceptions to this, but as someone who considered herself to be absolutely obsessed with books, I wasn't finding satisfaction in the stories.  All that being said, let me take a second to praise Susan Warren's book!  The characters were wonderful, deep, complex and relatable.  The story was also all of those things.  There was real emotion of love, anger, hatred, all honestly laid out, which I had found to be a unique trait in this genre of novel.  All of those involved in the book with real and they made mistakes.  They didn't claim to be perfect and they weren't trying to be.  That's what I loved, loved, loved about this book.

5 out 5 Stars

I received this book in partnership with the Tyndale Blogging Network, in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Crayola celebrates 110 years!!

Many years ago, 1990 to be exact, Crayola retired its eight crayon set - orange yellow, raw umber, green blue, maize, blue gray, orange red, violet blue and lemon yellow.  The year after that they came with a Limited Edition tribute to it of sorts, in a box that was modeled after the original box.  I really can't remember when I actually received it, or who I received it from, but it wound up in my box of special memories, barely touched, but inexplicably missing the Maize color,which now I'm totally bummed about.  I can't remember the last time I looked in it.  But me being the vintage lover I saved it, and its still here.

Well, Crayola is celebrating the 110, whoa!  And, in celebration of the celebration is opening an all new Crayola Experience in Easton, Pa, to be unveiled Memorial Day Weekend.  This is not the Crayola Factory, this is a unique experience all in its own.  Its a place for children to discovery and experience a world of color and creativity.  The Crayola Experience features four floors of new interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind attractions that will bring the magic of color and your child's creativity to life! 

However Crayola has presented us with the opportunity win our way in!  You can FOLLOW the crayons on their adventure, LEARN more about each color and enter to WIN a trip for 4 for a three-night, all expenses paid trip, to celebrate their birthday and the Grand Opening.

Visit the Crayola Facebook page and click "enter now" for your chance to be first in line.

I am so very excited for this experience and I know it will definitely be on our list of things to do, maybe when Phillip is out of the eating crayons stage.

This is a sponsored post brought to you by Crayola.  Some content was provided to me by Crayola.  My views and opinions are my own.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rewind 365 *Linky*


Every third tuesday come join us in 'Rewind 365'!
It can be something you posted on your blog a year ago, a memory, a photo or even a video taken  a year ago!
This is what was going on with me a year ago:
So What Happened With You A Year Ago Today? Join in and "Rewind 365" days and tell us what you were up to A Year Ago Today!
It's all simple:
1. Follow me!  2.Tweet your post and tag me @RheChristine 3. Create a Post with a picture, a memory, or even a previous blog post from 1 year ago, make sure you include our button so we have more people joining every week. 4. Leave your link below!

A year ago around this time the kids and I were at one of the coolest things we had yet to do in DC.  We were fortunate enough to attend the Kid's Innagural Concert, hosted by Michelle Obama and her daughters, and Jill Biden and her granddaughters.  Truth of it is I probably enjoyed myself more than the kids....I mean Usher and Katy Perry?  When would I have ever been able to see them?  Most likey never.  I was jumping up and down and yelling like a silly fool...I mean, hello...Usher?  It's my teenage years right there.  It was a really cool experience.  Thanks for joining us on our first week and I hope to see you all back next month!

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Military Monday: Lets Make a Readiness Folder #militarymonday

I'm no stranger to the "going it on your own" life.  In more ways then one it applies to the military life.  For some it is the very essence of their world.  For those of us in the National Guard or Reserves world it can be a daily thing.  Having been stationed fairly remotely, without the conveniences of a standard base, find the kinds of support many of my online friends talked about was difficult, if not impossible.  I have a couple of friends who aren't even stationed in the same town, or even the same state, as their significant others unit.  Many National Guard and Reserve Units are lacking in the support department, don't have FRGs and don't have the resources to provide remotely located spouses with the guidance they need to navigate these tricky waters of MilSpouseDom.  For those that are girlfriends or finaces the waters can be even more treacherous to explore.

So, what can you do to stay afloat?  One thing you can do is put together a Family Readiness Folder.  I happen to extremely blessed with a husband who actively makes sure I'm connected in some way to his Unit, and he has an amazing boss, who feels more like family then a co-worker, having been the rock I've leaned on whether he knew it or not.

What makes a good Readiness Folder?

Contact Information is Key:

Gather together key contact information from your husband, the base website or anyone else you can get it from.

1. Family Services Contacts
  • Family Programs local 
  • Family Readiness Assistant
  • Youth Programs
  • Air Wing Family Programs Coordinator (or other branch Equivalent)
2. Support Services
  •  Military OneSource Consultant
  • Transition Assistance Advisor
  • ESGR (Employer Support Guard/Reserve
  • TriWest (for your area)
  • ID Cards/DEERS
  • Survivor Outreach Services
  • American Red Cross

3. Wellness Team
  •  Director of Psychological Health
  • Military Family Life Consultant (adult/family & child/youth)
  • Chaplain
  • Personal Finance Counselor
  • Suicide Hotline (national (800) 273-TALK)

4. Yellow Ribbon Program contact info

5. Your local unit or operations group contacts
  • Group Commander
  • Squadron Commander
  • Operations Support Commander
  • Director of Operations
  • First Sergeant
6. Track down the list of FRG or Key Spouses, or maybe your s/o's buddy's spouse or significant other.  Finding a connection with another spouse, girlfriend or family member connected to your husband is important, even if its just one.

Pre-deployment Information Form

Find one of these and fill it out before a deployment.  This will have important information  for the unit, like deployment location and time information, who your family is, who your child are, emergency contacts, information about you so that you can be located and specific concerns about the deployment.  It is important that you are kept in the loop during a deployment.

Important Dates

Include an important dates section in your folder - drill schedules, special events, or local events that might be helpful to those stationed near you, and for those that are not.  They may want to make the trek closer if there will be special base events or holiday events (especially for families).  Our local base had Easter, Halloween and Christmas events for the kids.  There is also usually a unit BBQ.  For the National Guard many states have a State Military Ball where all branches affiliated with the Guard and Reserves in the area are usually invited.

What My Family Should Know:

This is a guide for all the things you should know, your family should know.  It is also a great way to get the conversation going about topics no one wants to talk about.  Lets face it, who really wants to have a conversation about funeral arrangements before anyone is actually passed on.  Talking about those things is important none the less. For me, I wanted to confidently be able to stand my ground and specifically state that I knew exactly what my husband wanted.  This may also force your significant other to have this conversation.  If I could recount the stories that I've been witness too where that was never discussed and problems arose.  Contact information going unchanged - never being changed from a parent to a wife, and other similar situations.  Being married to an Eagle Scout, being prepared is a mantra around here.  It never EVER hurts to be can always hurt to be unprepared.

Here's a link to a packet if your unit doesn't have one.  I can also probably get one of mine, so please feel free to email me if you feel the one linked to doesn't work for you.

Other Notes:

Many Family Readiness Groups on base have booklets for deployments and info ones to have around all the time.  Seek them out.  If you aren't near your husband's unit, but you are near another base, reach out to them!  Currently we are nowhere near hubby's home base, but close to so many.  I am always actively seeking programs that we are eligible for.  We have full rights to the MWR too.  Last year we got a pool pase for a great deal.  Sure it wasn't the local neighborhood pool that I could walk to, but it was hundreds of dollars cheaper.  If you're a mom look for a local MOPS group.  The base here has one, but there is bound to be a local church that hosts one.  Each one is different, and while all of them are faith-based,  they are all different.  Seek out other Moms groups in your area as well.  There was more than one in the area we were in previously, faith based or not.  They are out there!  Look online for military support groups, or facebook. While many can have drama (what doesn't in life anymore), I can tell you that I have made some amazing friends that I have 6yrs later, and many I eventually met in person.  These ladies were my saving grace at times and I couldn't be more thankful.  Find out if your area has a local Blue Star Families.  They have been an amazing connection for me.

So, I hope this helps and is a place to start for you.  Please do not hesitate to contact me for clarification on anything listed here, as well as help tracking down the information for your local area.  If you're totally lost and wouldn't even begin to know where to start PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE email me and I will help you!!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Social Week 46!

Time for one of my favorite times of the week!  If you're looking for another fun hop, check out my Thursday "Rewind 365".  We leave it open all week.  Its fun to take a walk down memory lane and see where you've been in a years time!  If you're a new follower make sure to let me know so I can return the favor.  Have a great week.

Sunday Social

Thanks again to Ashley and Neely for another great Sunday.

1. What is your shopping weakness? 

That feels like such a complicated question, even though I know it should be, LOL!  I feel like anytime I'm in Target its my weakness.  Shoes and purses for abso-positively sure though.  But I love clothes in general.  I just wish I had more money to spend.  But, don't we all.

2. What is your food weakness?

It's funny you should ask.  I just started a Paleo Challenge.  I'm pretty sure its similar to the Whole30, but I think its slightly more intense the first week and stuff.  My amazing neighbor is doing it to win a free membership to a crossfit gym she joined with a groupon.  So, I decided to do it with her.  She makes everything for the most part.  I've contributed here and there to the pantry and make dinner for my kids and her son (they get to eat real food).  I feel like right now everything is my food weakness.  I'm dying for a soda right now, even though I wouldn't have considered myself addicted before.  I think just in general I'm craving bread and cheese man.  But I'm getting through it.  Already lost more weight then I thought I would.

3. What is your go to movie to watch when nothing is on?
 I've got a couple I will pop in....

Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping and He's Just Not that Into You

I've also been known to pop in Gilmore Girls and Seinfeld

4. What is your go to breakfast food?

Probably instant oatmeal or toast with Peanut Butter on it.  Quick and easy for my crazy mornings.  Can't live without my coffee!  Now that I'm on this diet its eggs for sure, anyway you wanna make 'em, I'll eat 'em!

5. Do you drink coffee? If so, how do you take it?

As per the last question, Yes...yes and yes!  I take it with a little bit milk and sugar...these days I'm using Almond Milk :)  I wasn't going to give up my coffee yo!

Can't wait to read everyone's answers this week!  Hopefully there's some more coffee addicts out there. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Happies and Crappies

The Vintage Modern Wife: Happies and Crappies Link Up 
I've had this link-up on my blog hop list for what feels like forever, but never have remembered to jump on board!  Finally, I'm being well-prepared and am going to link up.  If you've never visited The Vintage Modern Housewife you're missing out, seriously.  L-O-V-E.   If you're stopping by from this link up, welcome!  If you're a new follower let me know and I will most certainly return the favor.  Also, think about stopping by on Thursdays for my awesome link-up, Rewind 365, with one of my bloggy pals, where we revisit what we were doing a year ago.

The Happies

1. Spring/semi-Summer weather has finally come.  Although it was a little too hot (I prefer a slow trasition into summer thank you very much) for awhile, I'm happy to see some warmer weather and to be playing outside with the kids every day.

2. I'm back to reading more consistently.  I had been doing well for awhile, and then life sort of got in the way.  But I'm back to it again and so happy.  Escaping into books is my sanctuary.  If you're looking for a book to read find me on Goodreads or click my Bookshelf link up top.  I think I might actually break my reading challenge goal this year!
3. The kids are doing remarkably well.  They miss daddy but they are doing well. 
4. I'm working on myself, when it comes to this whole depression/anxiety thing.  If you read my recent post about it, you might know that I had a ridiculous reaction to my last meds.  Working on getting new ones soon and feeling so much better.
The Crappies
1.  Hubby is gone and I'm over it.  Its been a struggle this time, a particularly difficult one.  Its an all too frequent occurrence around here, complete with its own unique ups and downs within each individual occurrence.  So, there's that.....
2. Although I'm dealing with it, the frustration of having had a reaction to my last meds and then the impending process of finding a new one is frustrating.  
3. Working out and my running have recently taken a back seat.  Being sick set me back and now I'm struggling to jump back into it.  Some fitness fairy dust and good vibes coming my way would be greatly appreciated.  I know that it will all fall into place, and getting help for the anxiety and stress will only serve me better in this whole working out area.  I feel like I'm juggling all these things without having had any lessons, or having an instructor to guide me, all alone here.  But I know it will get better.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Rewind 365, April 18th


Every Thursday come join us in 'Rewind 365'!
It can be something you posted on your blog a year ago, a memory, a photo or even a video taken  a year ago!
This is what was going on with me a year ago:
So What Happened With You A Year Ago Today? Join in and "Rewind 365" days and tell us what you were up to A Year Ago Today!
It's all simple:
1.Your hosts: Mommy Only Has Two Hands, and Rheanna from Cammo Style Love (We will read your posts) 2. 3. Create a Post with a picture, a memory, or even a previous blog post from 1 year ago, make sure you include our button so we have more people joining every week. (You can put this in your side bar if you don't want to put it in your post.

4. Link your post up on the linky below so we can all check it out. 5. And the most important thing:


 A little sprinkler fun!  We just recently pulled out all our outside toys, the sprinklers and all that fun stuff!  The one in this picture!!!  i really liked it.  But the good ole fashioned one will work just fine.  We've been having a blast outside, and I'm loving having Phillip be mobile and playing with his big brother and sister.  I've been reading and getting lots of work done, all while watching them play.  It's been great.  



How's the weather where you are?


Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Dial Kids hair and body wash 2+/6+ *Review*

Thanks to amazing people at Purex I had the opportunity to check out some new products for kids from Dial.  They came out with Pediatric Dermatologist approved, Kid's soaps, specially designed for 2+ and 6+.

The 2+ soap is a body + hairwash, specially designed for the sensitive and tender skin of your little ones, and the peachy smell is absolutely to die for.  I can't get enough of it on my little guy.  Sensitive skin is a thing in my house and this is a great soap, that leaves my little guys' skin soft and smelling good. No reactions, no problems.

The watermelon scent is a tear free formula designed specifically for 6+.  It smells great and leaves the kids' hair smelling good and feeling soft.  My daughter has a massive amount of hair and brushing it, of course, comes with all sorts of fun things.....brushing the tangles out....can you say fun?  Dial provides a great soap that does a pretty good job with the tangles considering it is not specifically designed as a detangler.  With a list price of $2.99 you pretty much can't get any better than that.

You can find this soap at WalMart and Target, and probably most of your other local retailers.  However you have a chance to win coupons to snag yourself some for free!  Good luck!

Also, click here to enter in a special sweepstakes thanks to Dial!   One lucky person will win $1000!  250 others will win their very own full size Dial Kids Body+Hair Wash!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

I was provided a full-size product for the purposes of review, in partership with Purex Insiders.  I was not compensated in any other way.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rhe's (Children's) Bookshelf - The Last Bully

About the Hugo books:

Meet HUGO – a little starfish with a BIG HEART. His passion is to make others happy but he still has many things to learn.
Fortunately he has more than just a big heart, he also has a CURIOUS MIND.
Through his adventures, Hugo learns many valuable lessons of character, life skills, and ecological alertness — all against the colorful backdrop of a magical underwater world and mystical islands.
Join Hugo on his journey as he discovers that having the right attitude is the best way to be — and the only way to be truly happy.

The Hugo books are a series of books covering different topics for children, making them easier to understand even at a young age.  I was able to take a look at The Last Bully.  Hugo learns that just because someone is different then you doesn't make them any less special.   Hugo decides to form his very own club with some of his fellow undersea friends, to share the importance of not being a bulky!  

What I Thought: 

I love the whole Hugo series!  These books are wonderful topical books, that would be easy for parents searching for something that would touch on a topic for their own unique situations.  With bullying being a hot-topic currently, this would be great to illustrate this subject with your younge children.  I personally would recommend this book for the younger, elementary school-age set.  The Hugo books also include several Spanish words and phrases.   There are also interactive pages at the end of the book, where children are asked to draw and express their feelings on the topic of bullying. You can also find games and worksheets on the Hugo website.

5 out 5 Stars

Hugo the Happy Starfish
Hugo's Facebook
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

#Rewind365 - A Year Ago Today....


Every Thursday come join us in 'Rewind 365'!
It can be something you posted on your blog a year ago, a memory, a photo or even a video taken  a year ago!
This is what was going on with me a year ago:
So What Happened With You A Year Ago Today? Join in and "Rewind 365" days and tell us what you were up to A Year Ago Today!
It's all simple:
1.Your hosts: Mommy Only Has Two Hands, and Rheanna from Cammo Style Love (We will read your posts) 2. 3. Create a Post with a picture, a memory, or even a previous blog post from 1 year ago, make sure you include our button so we have more people joining every week. (You can put this in your side bar if you don't want to put it in your post.

4. Link your post up on the linky below so we can all check it out. 5. And the most important thing:


  So, the hubby has my I was forced to scour my facebook page to discover what I might have been doing a year ago today....

 My guess, based on all the pics was that we may have ventured out to the National Marine Corp Museum!



If you are ever in the Northern VA/DC area I highly recommend you get out and visit it.  They did an absolutely marvelous job putting it together, both inside and out.  The kids were entertained, my husband was in heaven, plus there's all these adorable (fresh out of boot camp) Marines on special duty there.  They are pretty cute.

 What were you doing a year ago today?
Make sure to come back every Thursday and Link UP!

Military Support Series - "Our Military Kids"

Jumping back into the swing of things, I am so very happy to bring to you the third installment in my Military Support Series.  In light of April being the Month of the Military Child, I thought what better organization to highlight first this month then Our Military Kids.

Our Military Kids Logo

Our Military Kids, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to provide support and recognition to military children. This may include children ages 3 years through the 12th grade of deployed National Guard and Reserve service members, along with children of Wounded and Fallen Warriors from all branches of service. The grants to children pay for fees associated with athletic, fine arts, and tutoring programs. Our Military Kids’ grants keep military children engaged in activities of their choosing, helping to relieve the stress of separation from a parent by providing a positive distraction, minimizing emotional destabilization, building self esteem, and enabling academic achievement.
 Our Military Kids provides tangible support to the children of deployed and severely injured National Guard and Military Reserve personnel through grants for sports, fine arts and tutoring that nurture and sustain the children during the time a parent is away in service to our country.
Last month I had the amazing opportunity to sit down and have lunch with Linda Davidson, co-founder of OMK.  It was truly amazing to hear the story in person, to talk about the direction and how the direction has grown and changed over the years.  To talk about the future and what other things this wonderful organization can accomplish.  Starting as a group of people who sought to serve the children of Guard and Reservists in the State of Virginia only, then growing nationwide, and not stopping until OMK began helping the children of Wounded Warriors as well.

me and Linda Davidson
Linda, and the amazing staff, Board of Directors and volunteers have worked tirelessly to provide grants of up to $500 to cover six months of extra-curricular activities for a child of a deployed service member, who is deployed for 120 days or is one of two missions overseas totaling 180 days in a one-year period and there are at least 30 days remaining, and the child will start the activity before they return home.  The grants are to support athletic activities, fine arts and also tutoring.  Most of us that are military-connected know what its like to have a loved one gone, even if its only for a two week training or field mission.  Regardless of the length of time, when it involves children its difficult.  Two weeks, two months or a year, to them its all hard.   I have personally experienced so many different types of separations and they have all been hard on my children, especially when they are too young to really understand anything.  We haven't been lucky enough to be a recipient (because I didn't know about OMK!!!  Crazy!!), but I know that it would have been such a blessing.  One day maybe OMK can expand to include Guard and Reservists families that are in unique situations like prolonged TDYs, Geo-Bachelor, shorter stint missions and more unique situations that I know are out there.

Our Military Kids conducted a survey of recipients (in both the Guard/Reserve and Wounded category) to garner more insight and information into the lives of these families and the effect that it has. 
  • 82% noticed an increase in the stress or anxiety level of their child during the parent's deployment
  • 97% indicated that participating in an activity benefited their child
  • 100% found the grant application process easy
  • 99% reported that participatin significantly contributed to the overall well-being of the entire family
  • 99% thought the Our Military Kids program should be continued and made available to other families
 My little Military Kid
If they surveyed me I'm sure they would find very similar responses.  My kids are involved in Martial Arts and Awana.  I know that having those things, that pattern, that stability in their lives is incredibly valuable to my children.  The support that they find, that is extremely difficult for those of us not attached to a larger unit and/or on a substantial base is beyond words.

To learn more about Our Military Kids, please visit their website and here are some special links!

Press Release - Business support OMK (if you're in the VA read this!!!)
Donate to Our Military Kids
Vehicle Donation Program
Our Military Kids Facebook
Our Military Kids Twitter

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Because I need to....

I noticed when I logged on today that my last post was April 1st, which means I actually wrote it a couple days before that, so its been quite awhile since I've been around.  Since moving here I've been struggling, and if I was really honest with myself I was struggling long before that.  Depression and I are not strangers.  After my first son was born I struggled with post-partum depression and anxiety.  It took me a good eight months before I really recognized what was going on with me and did something about it.  From that point on I talked about it all the time to people, especially my friends.  There's no shame in it, and getting help makes you stronger, not weaker.  This time around though I think it was eluding me even more.  We moved a couple months after having Mr. Phil, and before we moved I also had surgery.  Then, packing up to move across country with three small children to a place where we had no one was, I think, harder then I initially expected.  I don't talk much specifically about the hubby's military career because that's what we've chosen to do, but its difficult.  It is unique and not many, if any, of his co-workers are married or married to civilians.  Here, I am not acquainted with anyone that he works with.  Slowly but surely I am establishing a base of support, but it has taken longer here then at our previous location.  I also can't drive two hours to see my parents if I need a major reboot.  Add all that together and it makes for a somewhat desperate-sounding situation.

                pregnant with Brian                                            welcome baby Brian

The last couple weeks have been totally crazy.  After finally going to the doctor to get some medication I had one of those rare and crazy reactions to the medication.  It was like having the stomach flu, or a virus, for two weeks straight.  It was beyond weird and crazy!  Now the medication has finally exited my system, I am able to eat food now and the process starts all over again.  Now, it just becomes a quest to discover a new medication that doesn't cause a reaction but also helps.  What caused the horrible side effects was something that I had taken previously...but your body changes, different things happen, and I'm just about 100% positive that it was the medicine that caused me to be so sick.  Nothing else really would make sense and it would be too big of a coincidence. 

                                              one of my besties that helps me through the rough times

So here I am, partly letting all of you know whats been going on, and why the abrupt whoever might be out there in the blogisphere (of course i could just be writing this to myself and my one of my most awesome readers - JEN!!! that's you Jen!) but also on the off chance that someone out there might read this...might also be going through this.  You aren't alone, is the first and most important thing that comes to mind.  Next, admitting that you might be struggling with feeling with depression and anxiety doesn't make you a bad person, a bad wife or mother, or incapable of balancing and handling all the things that life hurls in your general direction.

Baby Phillip
Now, all that being said I want to share with you something a friend said to me today....

Make sure you do one thing that brings YOU joy every day.  Something that's just for you...big or small...major or simple...something that brings you joy.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Military Support Series *BPW Foundation*

Happy Monday everyone. I hope your Easter was great.  We had a wonderful day with friends and our East Coast "family".  It was wonderful. 

To kick off the week right I bring you part three in the Military Support Series by highlighting the BPW Foundation; or Business and Professional Women's Foundation. 

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation (BPW Foundation) was the first foundation dedicated to conducting research and providing information solely about working women. Since then, we have partnered with employers to create successful workplaces that embrace and practice diversity, equity and work-life balance convening employers, working women and policymakers to promote systemic workplace change. Areas of research include women and non traditional jobs, Gen Y women and women’s use and access to the internet.

 with MSGT Denyse Gordon

 In particular I wanted to share something that I got to experience first hand at an event I volunteered at.  It was an event for Women's History Month, held at Women's Veterans Memorial.  BPW Foundation was the first to develop research in the transition of female veterans to civilian careers.  In 2010 they hosted at National Summit - Joining Forces for Women Veterans.  Most recently they launched Joining Forces for Women Veterans and Military Spouses Mentoring Plus.  I am extremely excited about this program.  The women I met and everyone that has put their heart and soul into this project were so excited about it.  Frankly, it was difficult to not feel giddy.  These are wives and mothers, Business professionals, Veterans and Military Spouses.  This program joins together women veterans and military wives with working woman veterans.  This program is up and running now, so if you are looking to mentor or become a mentee please visit Joining Forces Mentoring Plus for more information and to sign up.

Me with Brigadier General Pat Foote (middle)
you should read about this women.  She is incredible!

As a special announcement on April 29th and 30th, in McLean, Va, Count Me In is hosting a Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps event.  At this event you meet and network with other women, and ask questions and get support.  Experts will be present to help you grow you and your business.  You will also have the opportunity to pitch your business for the chance to win prizes, business coaching and financing!  Visit Count Me In to register and sign up for webinars and pitch parties. 


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