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“Twizzle Twazzle Twozzle Twum, Time for this one to come home.” There used to be an old cartoon that featured “Tootle the Turtle.”

Tootle Turtle

Tootle would always get himself into all sorts of scraps in alternate worlds and on adventures and Mr. Wizard would summon him home. Well that time has finally come home for us. My husband has served in the US Air Force for twenty years. For us that means, he is retiring and we are re-entering the civilian world. Mr. Wizard was always trying to teach Tootle that he was best off and safest in the comfort of home. While I admire the lesson, I don’t know if we are ready to fully embrace it. We are leaving the military; my husband after 20 years of service, me after almost 30 years as a dependent. Yet neither one of us are mourning. We are excited for our next adventure. In the mean time, of course I will provide resources for this transition.

To start off: Here are few tips when deciding how you will move and what you are entitle to for the final PCS:

    1. Who should we see before retirement? There are some mandatory appointments that the service member must attend before the final out processing is complete. However, you’d be surprised at how few spouses think to go to those appointments as well. So far we have been to about five appointments and/ or classes and I am always the only spouse. If you can’t accompany your service member through all of the TAPS process at least go to these classes and meetings:
      • Survivor Benefits Plan – There is a face to face meeting that requires both of your signatures. If your SBP counselor doesn’t insist on your presence, insist on  it for yourself. You want to be able to ask all of your questions because the SBP is a one shot deal. Once the paperwork is signed its hard to undo. Granted you have to give your consent to be cut out to of the plan, but you may have other questions about remarriage after death, protection for future children, etc.
      • Boots to Business Lecture- Even if you are not sure you want to start a business. Its good to know your options. There are so many programs out there to help veterans and their military spouses start businesses that you should really just take advantage of good information.
      • 10 Steps to a Federal Job – This is a great job for both members of a military couple. Often retirement can mean a change in dynamics. Spouses who haven’t worked in a long time, may consider full-time employment now that moving every few years isn’t a factor. Federal employment is always a consideration. It’s the closest you will get to a military career, and for some veterans and spouses that is comforting.
      • Budget portion of TAPS – In many military families the spouse takes care of the finances because they are the consistent partner on the home front. Thus, its so important that spouses get involved in the transition budget portion of transition training. One, so you can help fill any gaps on your existing budget and financial plan. Two, because its your future too. Don’t leave your service member to create a mock budget that has no relevance to your real life. Take the help and make your budget as realistic as possible. It may be difficult to get advice later.
    2. What entitlements are available to me?Separating or Retiring Military Service Members

      Are you separating or retiring from service? Read more on what you need to know regarding your travel claim at the end of your military service. You are authorized the following entitlements:

      Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT)
      Plus (Per Diem)
      Dependent Travel
      Personally Procured Moves (PPM)
      Advance Payments

 

  1. Where will the military pay to move me? If you are,
    • SEPARATING: You must complete your travel before the 181st day (6 months) after your Separation Date on your orders. And, your travel is limited to your Home of Record (HOR) or your Place Entering Active Duty (PLEAD)
    • RETIRING: You must complete your home of selection (HOS) travel one year from the retirement date on your orders. Your travel is not limited to your HOR or PLEAD. You may claim travel to any location within the U.S. you are planning to reside after retiring
  2. How long am I entitled to military pay or a military move after retirement?
    • According to the regulation that governs military travel, your final move must be made within one year of your retirement, unless you apply for and receive an extension.
  3. How much can we make if we move ourselves verses have the military move us? PPM or DITY moves are known for making the service family money. But this may not always be the case because there’s no set rule that you will make money. Instead you make the best decision base on the information. Here are some resources to help make that decision:

 

Resources:

https://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/travelpay/armypcs/endofmilitaryservice.html

http://www.belvoir.army.mil/jppsoma/files/FAQ/retirement%20entitlements%20info%20paper.pdf

http://www.military.com/spouse/military-life/retiring-from-military/qb-how-long-does-a-retiree-qualify-for-a-final-pcs.html



{January 18, 2017}   Christmas in Big Sky Country 



{November 4, 2016}   Voting

A cute post about the importance of voting during this election season.

charityis's Blog

We always take the kids with us when we vote. This year was no exception for early voting.

Me: Ladybug our current president is President Barack Obama. Today we’re voting for a new president.

Ladybug: …another guy?

Me: Today we’re voting for a girl.

Ladybug: Like me?

Me: yes, like you!

Ladybug:With curly hair?

Me: Maybe next time…

Our kids need role models in all walks of life. They notice when they are and aren’t represented, regardless of their age.Our Politics, Presidents, Senate and House should look like our country; diverse. Go vote!

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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. 



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…



I gave myself a few weeks to just relax, after literally traveling around the world… Ok, I didn’t do it on purpose. Our household goods are scheduled for three separate deliveries. The first two came in four weeks after we moved into our home. Ugh. So now its time to set up house. Yay! Starting with the most important room in the house.. The Kitchen. Nothing makes a house feel like home like home cooking.

Kitchen

  • Place drink ware near the refrigerator — It just makes sense for quickly getting drinks.
  • Place espresso maker near the drink ware and refrigerator — You need both for your espresso or coffee.
  • Plates and bowls go near the dishwasher — Ideally it would be between the sink and the dishwasher.
  • Silverware right above the plates or as close as possible.
  • Pot holders, serving spoons, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil all go near the stove.
  • Cookie sheets, cooling racks and cutting boards in the tall thin rack near the stove.
  • Dish towels and dish cloths near the sink, if possible. My kitchen doesn’t allow for that, so I put them close to the silverware.

 Bathroom

I did the bathroom next because… well its important. I just can’t relax without a good bath or shower. My husband and I are blessed in this house to have our own separate bathrooms, but I still like to know where everything is at. For some reason, my closets, bathrooms, etc. always become the overfill rooms. So I’m the one with all the extras.

In the bathroom I grabbed some baskets and plastic drawers and basically categorized all of the items under my sink as that is the most cluttered spot. I tried to organize based on my daily routine.

  • Teeth and eye products go in the medicine cabinet.
  • Face products (main face wash, eye cream, and facial toner) went into the closest drawer to the sink on the left.
  • My everyday hair products (rubber bands for work outs, hair pins for work) went into the next closest drawer.
  • Under the sink:
    • Feminine products to the side, but close to the front. Just in case of emergencies.
    • Additional hair products (gels, moisturizer, spray) I use those regularly, but not everyday.
    • Hair appliances (flat irons, curling irons, blow dryer) I only use on special occasion so they are in the back in a basket together.
    • On the other side near the front is extra toilet paper, again in case of emergency. Lol
    • Extra body lotions and extra body wash are in the back.
    • I also have very basic cleaning supplies for everyday use ( I keep the heavy duty supplies in the hall closet. Homemade shower spray, paper towels for cleaning, and plastic bags for the trash can.
  • On the back of my toilet I keep wipes and face tissue.

Bedroom

Because we haven’t received our home goods yet I haven’t done much with the master bedroom except make it sleep-able. We were on a air mattress for about a week before I begged my husband to go mattress shopping with me. We needed a new one anyways so it wasn’t exactly a spontaneous purchase, although I was going to wait until the bed frame arrived. I’m glad I made the purchase. Nothing ruins a day more than poor sleep.

Discount Tip: When shopping for a mattress everyone knows to comparison shop, but do you know how to use it in your negotiations? That’s the real key to great deals on large purchases. Click here for a short story.

 

 

 

 

http://organized31.com/2012/06/moving-into-new-home-how-to-set-up-your.html



et cetera