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{September 26, 2016}   Military Wife Life: The Song

This is kind of a movie review and a post in one. I rarely attempt to give anything even resembling relationship advice on this blog, but I just loved this movie so much. 

The movie follows a musician and his marriage. I don’t want to give spoilers, but you can guess that there are temptations he has to challenge as married musician. What I love about the movie is that there are so many facets. My husband and I just finished watching it a second time in preparation for a marriage Bible study we will be facilitating and I still found new layers. This is refreshing because so many Christian movies are over simplistic in their views on love and life. 

Let’s be honest, marriage isn’t clear cut. I listed this under military wife because I could see how the same struggles of a touring musician could effect a military family. It’s not just the temptation to cheat, but the strain of long separations; as a spouse building a life without your service member when they are gone, then the struggle to reincorporate them back into your life. 

The movies highlighted a lot about choices. I see it a lot on base. Spouses who make their whole world about being a military spouse. I talk about it a lot on this blog, but that is because it’s really inappropriate to talk about my career as an attorney.  So I discuss home life. But in real life there are spouses who can’t relate if you aren’t talking about being a military spouse or a mother. This is not to condemn anyone, but when our self inflicted identities take precidence over our marriages can they survive?

I told you the movie was deep! Anyway so, I encourage you to watch it and if you’re so inclined do the Bible study or devotional. 

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Are you a child-free military spouse? Here’s our tips for surviving the military life without kids.

Source: How to Survive the Child-Free Military Life | SpouseBuzz.com



Not too long ago I wrote about my desire to be the change I wanted to see in the world. This concept is applicable even in the small things in life. I became very aware of that when we moved into our new base housing unit this summer. To say I was excited was putting it mildly. I grew up in base housing and now as an adult I looked forward to barbecues and sitting on the lawn with the neighbors on a random Wednesday. I looked forward to meeting the neighborhood spouses and waiving and smiling as we passed by. I looked forward to the women who come around just to say, “Hi,” and “Welcome to the neighborhood.”

So imagine my disappointed when our first week had passed by and we had yet to even see most of our neighbors, let alone be greeted by any of them. Imagine my dismay when I rolled into my second week in base housing and I had to run down one of my neighbors as she headed into her house. She looked straight at me, knowing I was new and didn’t waive or anything just turned to go Ito the house. So I literally ran up to her extended my hand an introduced myself. She was actually very nice and I don’t think she did it as a snub. I think she just was minding her own business. She said she’d noticed new people moved in and she thought I was new to the neighborhood. I honestly don’t think it even crossed her mind to introduce herself.

Maybe it’s the new generation of people.  Maybe it’s social media. But one of the best parts about living on base is that small town feel, or it used to be. As I read spouse blogs and meet more people that’s the very thing new spouses hate. They view each other with suspicion and those that do not, mind their own business to avoid intruding.  In short, when it comes to our neighborhoods, we are losing our ability to be…well, neighborly.

After talking to our housing manager during our intake inspection, I got the sense that that was “just the way” this neighborhood was. No one came out and no one participated. So what to do? Well I determined that I wasn’t going to give into the norm and be apart of the problem. Maybe people just need a reminder that it’s okay to be friendly. So I decided to become my own welcome wagon. What makes people happier than sweets?! That’s why I made really easy and cheap cookie bags for the entire neighborhood.

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Here’s the supply list and a video of how I put the simple bags together:

Brown bags

Twine

Post it notes

Marker

Hole puncher

Sandwich bags

Cookies

Normally I would make my own sugar cookies, but at the time my household goods were still lost. By making the cookies you can probably save even more money because you can control the size of the cookies and therefore the usage of the dough.

—-Update ——

Since passing out the bags, the response has been slow but heart warming.

I’ve received a neighbor at our food just to say hello

Another introduced he whole family and another neighbor as I walked by

And yet antihero sent fresh and hot spice cake down as a thank you gift.

People are reticent to speak still, but they wave.  So I keep trying. The neighborhood BBQ might not happen this summer, but hopefully there will be time for that.



So it’s no secret hubby and I love to save money. We also love to eat really well, which means I find myself at the farmer’s market or grocery store several times a week looking for food inspiration or either we are at nice restaurant. Well recently we have begun saving for some very specific and life changing events we hope to happen in the future (more on this later) and that means while we’ve always budget, we actually need to stick to it now. Our food budget was the one area where I was more flexible than not.

As we are adjusting to American grocery shopping again, I am realizing we need to adjust our budget and our approach. No more are the days where I haggle with vendors to get a great deal. In America, the price is the price. With that said I spent this months grocery money in two weeks. Now could I just reallocate money, yes, without much trouble actually. But where’s the fun in that. I haven’t had a good challenge in a while so I decided to take what I have in the house and see how many meals I can make before I’m forced to go shopping again.

Here are some disclaimers and rules I set for myself:

There are only two of us and we are not heavy eaters,

My husband comes home for a sit down meal twice a day and eats a very light breakfast,

I bought a rotisserie chicken and frozen pizza before deciding to do this challenge in anticipation of some very work and school obligation days,

My husband and I hate random meals so these meals must be thought out prepared meals others might want to duplicate. So no tuna, crackers, and canned peaches. Lol.

My goal is to prepare 7 days of dinner for two people from the continents currently in the house.

I took pictures of our refrigerator and cabinets and have listed the contents below:

  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 packs of tuna
  • 3 packs dried fruit (craisins, banana, apricot)
  • 2 rum cakes (random I know)
  • Ground turkey
  • 2 yams
  • Pack of burger buns
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • Couple handfuls of spring mix greens
  • 1/4 cantaloupe
  • 1/4 of a pint of strawberries
  • Half a pack of blueberries

Here are the meals some of the meals we ate:


Are there any other amateur food bloggers out there who’d like to take the challenge?



{September 6, 2016}   The Lost Art of Gratitude 


I was on Facebook today and I had to just turn it off. Have you noticed how angry people are and how negative. I’m all for the political discourse I hope it makes people more informed. But I’m talking about highlighting the negative people of the world. Whether it’s a crazy ex, an aggravating co-worker , or a family member who can’t stay out of trouble; why broadcast it? And more importantly why give them that energy?

So today I wanted to highlight something awesome. When my husband and I moved to our new base we had more than a few struggles with receiving our household goods (by the way the drama is on going). We had no furniture for almost a month. Most important to me was we had no dining room table. We like to eat dinner together at a table. I mentioned this at a dance workout class I attend and another spouse overheard.  Immediately she offered up a card table she had, brought it over for me and came bearing cookies. It was such a sweet no strings attached action. She told me to return it whenever we got a table and I was so grateful. She probably will never fully know how much it meant to me. Anyway, in gratitude I didn’t just want to return her table so I bought a small gift. It’s not much but it has a theme. She’s a mom of 4 or 5 kids, so I made a mini relaxation kit. 

I still have some amazing organic tea unopened from Korea so I am giving her some of that , a yummy smelling candle, a cute cup, and this cute little tea kettle tea strainer. Once upon a time people did nice things for one another and highlighted the good in people. What are you grateful for? How have you tried to be a blessing to someone else?



Hubby and I made some bbq after church and packed up a picnic one Sunday afternoon. We went to a local dam where Lewis and Clark traveled during their trek to the Pacific Northwest. It was absolutely beautiful!

One of the things I hope people get from my blog whether you are in a military or civilian family. Find the fun where you are at. My husband and I aren’t stationed where we want to be, we weren’t previously when we were in Korea. But we have purposed to embrace the adventure…



“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.” – Shirley Chisholm

People often attribute this quote to Muhammed Ali, but Shirley Chisolm is the first to be quoted with this adage. My own personal sheroe, Shirley Chisholm, was the first woman to seek candidacy for one of the major political parties when she ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. She is often forgot, but Hilary Clinton definitely stands on her shoulder’s as the Democratic nominee.

I highlight these Shirely Chisolm because she worked on the Education and Labor Committee during her time in Congress. She worked for the everyday woman, immigrant, minority worker. In fact, one of her legacy’s while in the New York State Assembly was to  get unemployment benefits extended to domestic workers. It doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but then as is the case now, the main demographics who worked in domestic work was the woman, immigrant, minority worker. The very people who are at the forefront of much of the controversies in the 2016 election. The very reason many people want Hilary as President. The very people who are “causing all the problems” with their protests and demonstrations against inequality.

Ironically, the same type of people (all though not the same demographic) that was the catalyst for Labor Day. Labor Day was originally intended to be a nationwide protest against inequality led by laborers, not a day for picnics. The meaning changed when laborers were guaranteed one day of a year to relax (worker’s rights weren’t law then, and people often were forced to work 365 days a year or risk losing their jobs)… That’s right, Labor Day. You see we as a country have a habit of forgetting from whence we came. We receive small concessions and think that one, everyone has received them as well, and two, that no further progress should be made. Imagine if people stopped striving for change at the first sign of success? Most of us would not have the freedoms and liberties we receive today. So the idea, that people should cease protesting or rising up because they have a good life or life isn’t as bad as it use to be is not only sad, its pathetic and selfish.

I normally keep this blog light, but we as country just need to be better.

Here are five trail-blazing women who ran for president before Clinton:

Victoria Woodhull (1872);

Belva Ann Lockwood (1884);

Shirley Chisholm (1972);

Lenora Fulani (1988); and

Jill Stein (2012).

 

Learn more: Friday 5: Women Who Ran for President

Learn more: The Forgotten History of Labor Day

 



Here’s a great recipe for the barbecues this weekend! Everyone need coleslaw at the Labor Day party, so why not try traditional dish with a twist?

Ever have one of those moments when you have too many fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator? Since we’ve been at the new duty station I’ve been to farmer’s markets and local stores and of course the commissary. I seem to walk out with more produce every time and we haven’t consumed the vegetation at home. I think I’m in shock. No longer am I seeing $13-18 watermelon at the commissary like in Korea. No more rotten lettuce or worm eaten tomatoes!
I can’t help myself. Not to mention I just planted a garden with plenty of herbs. So what’s a girl to do?
Make up new recipes of course!

I already mentioned that we’ve been grilling like it’s going out of style. Partly out of necessity, our beloved household shipment has been “misplaced,” and partly because it’s beautiful and we have a new grill table.

The newest recipe is: Mango-Nectarine Coleslaw. It fits perfect for a Labor Day barbecue and is oh so yummy! This a great dish to pair with BBQ chicken.

 

Mango- Nectarine Coleslaw

Ingredients:

  • 1 head, large (about 5-1/2″ dia), Cabbage, red, raw
  • 9 mini peppers, Bell Peppers (for color) or 1 medium Bell Pepper
  • 3 medium (2-1/2″ dia), Nectarines, raw
  • 2 medium, Mangoes, raw
  • 1 tbsp(s), Mint, fresh
  • 1 tbsp, Basil, fresh
Directions:
Cut out the core of the cabbage, and cut thinly. Coarsely chop all the other ingredients. Mix well. Chill. Serve.
Servings: 12
Notes:
1) If you want more of a “coleslaw” texture add vanilla yogurt until you have the right texture.
2) If you want to it to remain a low-calorie side dish add 1/2 cup of strawberry vinaigrette.
3) This has no baring on the recipe, but I am proud to say that the basil, bell peppers, and mint came from my garden!!!
Nutrition Facts
Servings 12.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 100
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1 g 1 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 1 %
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Sodium 25 mg 1 %
Potassium 466 mg 13 %
Total Carbohydrate 24 g 8 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g 16 %
Sugars 18 g
Protein 3 g 5 %
Vitamin A 51 %
Vitamin C 204 %
Calcium 6 %
Iron 6 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


et cetera