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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

So long, goodbye...

This blog is (obviously) no longer being updated. Rather than deal with revamping it I have decided to move on to another blog entirely. If you're interested in following along, you can see my new blog at:

Not Quite Crunchy Mommy

Thanks!


Friday, July 20, 2012

Themed Care Package Fun - Back To School

It's been a while, huh? Well hopefully you guys are enjoying the Themed Care Packages as much as I am! I know that Huzzy has been liking them.

I like to send out packages for holidays and whatnot, though there really isn't one coming up for a while. But it is time for back-to-school, so I figured I would have some fun with that.

Now, this won't work for everyone I'm sure. I'm lucking out this year. Last year Huzzy would have had no need for most of this, but since he's doing a lot of office work this deployment it totally works out. Of course this is a fun care package idea for anyone who's heading off to school, not just military types.

Some of it is a little...juvenile (*cough* kiddie lunchbox *cough*) but the point is to make it fun, right?

Right?


I totally fell in love with this lunchbox the second I saw it.


Full of snacks and goodies!


Ok, so I played lazy on the decorating. So sue me!

A closer look.

Back to School Care Package:

Lunchbox
Poptarts
Brownies
Magnetic Dry Erase Board
Magazines
Spiral Notebooks
Planner
Colored Index Cards
Post-it Notes
Dry Erase Markers
Pens (cheap pens he can let people steal)
Crayons
Mini Markers
Hand Sanitizer
Highlighters
Wet Ones
Good Pens (that he won't lend to anyone)
Tissues
Snacks/Goodies


 I also included some drawings from Baby Girl, and wrote little notes in the notebooks. Just a personal touch I guess. :D

Have fun!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Themed Care Package Fun - Staying Healthy

Time for some more care package fun! I've gotten a lot of great feedback from posting these themed care packages. Hopefully that means there will be a lot of happy service members out there getting all these awesome boxes!

If you have a great care package idea send me an email at NewMommyConfessions@gmail.com I love featuring guest bloggers!


Usually I send Huzzy out lots of snacks and candy, but I decided it was time to send him something a little bit healthier. Hopefully the items I've chosen to pack help keep him healthy when he's snacking in between meals. On those days that the galley food is inedible, these meal bars will give him an option besides eating chicken...again...for the 10th day in a row...



It took some maneuvering, but I got it all to fit!


Staying Healthy Care Package

1 big jar of trail mix
2 bottles of 5 hour energy
1 Black Powder Pre-workout drink mix
1 Blender Bottle
4 Boxes of Zone bars (assorted)
4 Boxes of Cliff bars (assorted)
1 Box of mini Slim Jims


Now I packed things that I know Huzzy will like. He uses that workout drink mix like crazy when he's on deployment, and somehow the bottles are constantly getting lost/broken. He's also a big fan of Zone bars and Cliff bars. However there are tons of other meal bars and healthy snack bars out there to choose from, so make sure to pick something your guy will like!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Themed Care Package Fun - Mess Deck Survival Kit

Continuing the recent theme of posts, it's time for another Care Package!

Now, this one isn't quite a one-size-fits-all theme. But for those of you who have service members gripping about horrible food (especially those stuck out to sea) this might at least get the creative juices flowing.

If you don't know much about food on naval vessels, allow me to explain to you.

It sucks! And I'm not blaming the poor cooks on board. You can't make a 5 star dining experience out of food that is clearly labeled as "Not fit for human consumption". I wish I were kidding.

They get to eat the same horrible crap day in and day out for months at a time. There's a reason why a lot of sailors - Huzzy included - can't eat eggs without Texas Pete or some kind of hot sauce. You need to put SOMETHING on this food to mask the horrible-ness of it all.

Anyway, so this care package theme is Mess Deck Survival. I put in things I thought Huzzy would enjoy and would (hopefully) help him mask the taste of that God awful crap they call food. If your guy isn't a big fan of this stuff get creative! You know your guy best. Pack the stuff you know he likes!

So without further ado...

Mess Deck Survival Kit

Individual packets of Peanut Butter
Individual packets of ketchup
Various hot sauces
Bacon bits
5-6 of every dipping sauce McDonald's carries
A handful of every sauce packet Taco Bell carries

And when the food is so bad you need a back up plan:

Cup of Noodles
Homemade brownies
A tin of tuna and crackers


I don't think I can stress enough how many sauce packets/dipping sauces there are in this box. It is FULL UP.



Don't worry, the brownies are hidden underneath!

What would you  put in a mess deck survival kit?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Keeping Daddy Involved When He's Not Home - Deployment Survival Techniques



Since I've started this blog I've had a lot of moms asking for ways to keep Daddy 'present' in their child's daily life. Though this list is by no means complete, and everyone does this differently, I thought I would tell you all how we keep things going in our household.



1. Make Memories

First and foremost, when we know a deployment is coming we start trying to plan a lot of family time together. Since our daughter is still young, it's unreasonable to expect her to really remember everything for long. There's a reason why we keep multiple cameras and video recorders in our house. Take lots of pictures. Lots and lots. And when you think you've taken too many, take some more. A lot of people get family pictures done as well.

This will give your child something he or she can actually look at to help remember spending time with Daddy. Don't delete the silly pictures because you're embarrassed. Those are the pictures you'll want to hang on to the most. Make sure there are lots of pictures with Daddy and the kid(s). Put these pictures up everywhere.

Kids cling to the silliest things that you wouldn't even think of. Baby Girl will sometimes walk around all day with her Daddy's expired driver's license clutched in her little hand.

Though no one likes to think about it, there are always risks with deployments. It doesn't matter where he is sent. Though I try to push it to the very back of my mind, I always wonder... Being a military spouse means facing harsh realities. What if this were the last chance you were ever going to get to take pictures of him? Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Snap away, ladies.


2. Videos Of Daddy

Last deployment I convinced Huzzy to record himself reading books. I never thought it was going to be the big deal it turned out to be. Baby Girl watched her video daily, and even at bedtime she preferred hearing the books that Daddy read to her. She was only 6 months old when he left, she had no understanding of what was going on or why Daddy was gone. But she did know that Daddy would show up in the TV and read her stories...for as long as she wanted.

You don't have to stop with just recording videos with him reading. Have your service member record messages to be played at specific time, such as:
  • Birthdays
  • Holidays
  • Graduation
  • Special school or family events


3. Security Items

Most kids have some sort of security item. It might be a blanket, a specific toy, a binky. When Daddy leaves, give them something to help remember him. There are a million different options, but here are a few I love:

  • Build-a-Bear - If you have one of these awesome stores near you, you should check it out. I'll warn you, it isn't cheap but it is so worth it. Your child can make and dress their own bear, and Daddy can record a special message to go inside of it. 
  • Operation Kid Comfort - These awesome people makes quilts for kids 6 and under that include pictures of their deployed parent.
  • Daddy Dolls - You need to have a full length picture of your service member to order one of these adorable dolls.



4. Don't Shy Away From Talking About Daddy

I know that when Huzzy leaves I kind of just want to pretend like nothing is different. The first few weeks I actively avoid phone calls from family and friends calling to see "how I'm handling it". It doesn't seem real yet. It hurts.

This is a painful time for everyone, and especially for children. Even though you are hurting too, you have to help them get through it.

Make talking about Daddy a normal and every day thing. It will help the kids to know that Daddy is still a part of their lives, even if he isn't there physically. If the children are old enough, make sure he is sending them letters or emails that are just for them. If they're too young to read on their own read it to them. When they ask questions about Daddy be as truthful as you can without scaring them. That too, will depend on how old they are.
    Some families still set a place at the table for Daddy. Some do countdowns. Everyone deals with this differently. Just make sure that your child(ren) know that they can talk about Daddy, and it's ok to miss him. Help them get excited about homecoming by thinking up fun things to do as a family once he returns.


    5. Keep Daddy Feeling Involved

    Lord knows that he isn't going to be able to help with every decision or every mini crisis you experience during deployment. Being deployed is tough. Being deployed and away from your children is heartbreaking. They know they're missing moments and memories they'll never be able to get back. They know they'll have to hear about first accomplishments through phone calls and email. It doesn't really get easier.

    One thing I like to do is ask Huzzy's opinion on a lot of stuff. That probably sounds pretty silly. I mean, we do that normally, right? If he's home sure. But how many times have you just done what you thought was best while they're gone and not had a second thought about it?

    I know a lot of the time I will have to make a decision before he can email me back. But I do it anyway. I tell him what's going on at home, I ask his opinions and I try to keep him involved in the way we run our family.

    Trust me, it may seem silly but it's much better than him feeling as if he has no real say or input for 6 months or more. It's the little things that matter.

    And like earlier, pictures. Lots of pictures. I take a picture of Baby Girl for every day he is gone. Every single day. It's a pain, but it is so worth it. I take video. A ridiculous amount of video. He may not be here for everything, but I try to catch it all on film.

    In our care packages, flash drives are the most precious thing you can get.




    This has been a pretty long post, and there's always more to add to it but hopefully this will help out those of you who were looking for help.


    To those of you who have gone through deployments with children, what would you add to the list?

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    Tim Allen Would Be So Proud

    If only



    Everyone sets goals during deployments. It gives you something to strive for, something to keep you busy, and leaves you feeling accomplished (assuming you hit those goals).

    There are some pretty common goals out there. Most spouses express a desire to lose weight or get in shape, some have more personal goals for themselves and others (like me) decide to try to tackle home improvement projects. Some women are super ambitious and set multiple goals. These ladies scare me in an I'm-impressed-but-I-can't-be-your-friend-or-I'll-look-lazy-in-comparison sort of way.

    During last year's deployment I had new cabinets put in. I was extremely happy with these, since our house is severely lacking in storage space and the kitchen hasn't been updated since the 1960's. I kept it to myself and didn't breathe a word of it to Huzzy, expecting him to be overjoyed when he got home. Well, he was overjoyed when he got home, but it had nothing to do with the cabinets. He didn't give a damn about the cabinets. Oh well. I suppose when you return from deployment you have other things on your mind. You know, like spending quality time with your kids. Geez, get your mind out of the gutter already.

    Anyway....

    Huzzy has mentioned on more than one occasion that he wants to get the dining room floor sanded down and re-stained. I would love that too, since I'm pretty sure the last people that stained this hardwood floor were the people who installed it. There's literally no finish on my floor at all. It's all worn away over the years.

    Unfortunately, (fortunately?) Huzzy is my own personal Tim-the-tool-man-Taylor. There are some things that Huzzy is awesome at fixing, and then there are the things he thinks he is awesome at fixing just because he read about them in a magazine or saw a picture online. Yikes.

    This man is a danger to himself and everyone around him.


    A couple years ago, Huzzy was working on something in the garage while I was at work. On my way home I got a text asking if we have a first aid kit. He refused to tell me what happened, and said he would be fine it wasn't a big deal. I swung by CVS and stocked up on gauze, peroxide and every other first aid supply I could find. When I got home Huzzy had man-fixed it. Which basically means he wrapped his bleeding hand with a wad of paper towels and duct taped it in place. Nice.

    Later that same year he insisted on installing new attic stairs while I was out... I'm not sure if it happened before or after the new ones were installed, but at some point he managed to fall down the stairs and scrape the hell out of both arms. What Huzzy saw as a do-it-yourselfer's battle scars, I saw as another unnecessary brush with death.

    He purposefully will wait until I am gone before doing anything remotely electrical, because he has this bad habit of "accidentally" electrocuting the people who help him. According to legend, he electrocuted his sister when they were younger, but she swears she doesn't remember it. In my mind that's just further proof that it did happen. He also zapped a friend of his who was helping fix the wiring in the nursery. The man cannot be trusted.

    Where was I? Oh yes, the hardwood floors.

    Since Huzzy is gone, I'm going to take care of the floors myself. I figure in the long run I'm still saving money on gauze, band-aids and therapy bills. Huzzy of course doesn't know, and won't find out until he comes home. And just like last time he probably won't notice for the first few days. If ever.

    The only thing that bothers me is that after this deployment the Enterprise is getting decommissioned. Since he's staying on for the decommissioning and then going to shore duty, Huzzy won't be deploying for years. YEARS.

    People, this means that any work I want to get done to the house is going to have to be done during his duty day. I'm going to be stuck on 24 hour limits to fix the house without the risk of bloodshed. Meanwhile, Huzzy has been collecting an assortment of tools to help him complete all his "projects" he'll soon be able to work on.

    I'm doomed.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Why is OPSEC So Important, You Ask?



    You may or may not have read a story recently concerning Megan Born. She's an Army wife who recently made the news thanks to other people's inability to adhere to OPSEC.

    Megan Born's husband had been serving in Army, and unfortunately he lost his life during a protest in Afghanistan. That in an of itself is heartbreaking. Every husband, wife, child, family member and friend worries when their loved one goes on deployment. Everyone knows that death is a possibility, but I doubt anyone is truly prepared for it.

    When a soldier dies there are procedures to be followed. I don't know of a single milspouse who doesn't have a fear of uniformed soldiers showing up at her house, bible in hand, to deliver some very bad news. I know that I jump a little when there's an unexpected knock at my door while Huzzy is gone. It's a fear that we try to ignore, but it's always there.

    Unfortunately for Megan Born  she did not get the calm, trained soldiers breaking the bad news to her. She found out through a text message from a fellow military spouse on post. A TEXT MESSAGE. Turns out it was already all over Facebook as well. Well isn't that just dandy?

    No one is really taking blame in this, although there are plenty of people pointing fingers. Some are blaming the FRG for leaking the information. Others are blaming the Army. The Army is blaming the spouses. I'm not sure that we'll find out for sure who is to blame (though there is to be an investigation of course) but I cannot believe that someone along the way didn't stop to think, "Hey, should we really be spreading this stuff around?"

    Last year the USS Enterprise also had casualties during deployment. Thanks to the wonder that is Facebook and social media it spun out of control at record speed. At first we were aware that there had been a casualty, but did not know who. Everyone was panicked and scared. I don't think I can stress to you how scared we all were. I was about to pack up Baby Girl and go somewhere else just so that if by chance it was  Huzzy, I wouldn't have to see them show up at my door. Besides, if they didn't relay the message then it wasn't real, right?

    Whoever is at fault for this should be ashamed of themselves. I can't imagine the pain this woman is going through, but I'm pretty damn sure it would have been better to find out the way regulation dictates. No one should ever find out about the loss of a loved one through text message.

    Shame on the Army for giving this information to less than trustworthy individuals.

    Shame on the person that thought themselves above OPSEC.

    And shame on the wives who kept this going by texting or posting about it on Facebook.


    If you haven't already, I highly encourage you to read HouseholdDiva6's OPSEC page. Don't keep it to yourself either. Spread it around. Make sure fellow spouses know what OPSEC means.





    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    If I Set My Clock On Fire That Will Stop Time, Right?



    Before Huzzy got home it seemed as if time was just dragging. Now that the ship is in port and we actually get to see him again time is flying! Thanks to his awesome  duty rotation he's been able to come home a whopping 7 days so far. Not in a row, but hey I'll take them.

    I think it's really starting to confuse Baby Girl, but at this point I'm not even worried about it. I'm more concerned about this *gasp* deployment we have coming up. Every day he goes to work he takes more and more on board with him. Really it's just convenient to do it a bit of a time then all at once later on. Plus you are far less likely to forget something if you start packing months in advance. It's still super depressing to watch him gather things together or make up a to-do list. I know what's coming down the road and I do not like it.

    I've been trying to come up with hobbies and things to keep me occupied, though it seems as if I'll never have time for the things I actually want to do! When Huzzy is home, I'm certainly not worried about spending time on my shiny new sewing machine. When he isn't home, Baby Girl is sure to keep me busy! Maybe she just doesn't want me to feel lonely, so she fills up all the extra time I have. I love her, but I wish she would fill the time with a little less whining, crying, and sidewalk chalk on my hardwood floor.


    In other (less whiny) news, I've spent way more time on Pinterest than is healthy, but I'm loving it all the same. I'm hoping to actually find the time to make some of these awesome projects. By the way, anyone have ideas for where to get *cheap* fabric? I don't want to ruin good (read: expensive) stuff while I'm learning!


    DIY Crayon Roll Tutorial
    So cute, I want to make a bunch of them up for the kids in the family. They're all little budding artists, you know.


    DIY Coaster Set

    This looks so simple! Assuming I can get the tissue paper to feed through the printer correctly these will make for awesome, personalized gifts.


    DIY Scratch Off

    I didn't even know you could make this yourself, but I'm so excited to try now! I'm thinking they'll make great gag lottery tickets around the holidays, or maybe I can incorporate this into a game somehow.



    Adorable apron tutorial


    This DIY apron tutorial looked so easy and cute that it instantly made my crafts board. Now I just need to find some awesome fabric and make one of my own!!



    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Daycares Make Me Nervous





    OK, I'll admit it...I'm scared of daycares.


    Maybe it's because I'm a paranoid first time mom. Maybe it's because I watch too much news, or simply that I've heard too many horror stories.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Are Military Moms Single Parents?

     


    If you aren't from a military family, this might seem like a strange question. If you are from a military family, then you've probably heard this before.
    "My husband is deploying. Looks like I'm a single parent again."

    "I'm a single parent when my husband is gone. I do all the Mommy stuff and the Daddy stuff."

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Expectations vs Reality

    Ah, the plight of the first time mom. You want to get your kid everything under the sun. All the toys and things that you would have wanted as a child are now yours to give your your little sprog. Spoil? What? No... Never.

    I don't know if it's because I'm slightly OCD (but only on really random things) but Baby Girl's toys have to be just so. Otherwise it drives me insane. I didn't think I was going to be one of those moms. I really hope I grow out of it.