Let me be the first to say that I am NOT a fan of shopping with my kids in tow. My brain has trouble processing coupons and deals with other things going on. It’s not fun for me, but being a military wife sometimes necessitates I take my kids along – otherwise while Michael is on deployments, we might not eat…
As they get older (they’re now 8, 6 and 4), it does get a little easier, but one of my favorite discoveries when the kids were a little younger (roughly 6, 4 & 2) was that they loved to have their own little drawing pads and pens to doddle on while in the store.
At times we’d get lucky and be at a store where the carts could accommodate all 3 kids. Notebooks work best if all of the kids can be seated – because drawing and walking at the same time is a bit difficult!
I simply tuck these things in my purse, or in the bag in which I’m carrying my coupon box:
~ 4×6 spiral bound notebook for each kid (I usually pick these up at the Dollar Tree or in the $1 bin at Target)
~ Pen or pencil for each child (keep it simple, don’t bring a lot of choices)
I would reserve the notebooks for a little while into the trip. The boys enjoyed helping me choose things from the shelves and place them in the cart for the first bit, then when they got antsy, I would sit them down and give them their drawing books.
I realize this won’t work for everyone and isn’t always practical, but sometimes mama just needs her brain back! They love it and it definitely works for me!
This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.
Homemade treats are some of my husband’s favorite comforts while he is deployed. He especially loves these Double Chocolate Cookies from The Farm Girl! They are moist, chocolaty and so very yummy! And they ship well!!
While he was deployed earlier this year, I sent him a couple of batches of them and all of the cookies arrived in good condition and still slightly moist and definitely edible!
I packaged a batch of them recently to send to a friend in his Christmas package, so I thought it was time I documented the packaging process.
It’s really quite simple and only requires a few extra items. I always use disposable containers with lids, but a holiday tin would likely work just as well.
For this package, I used a large rectangle container.
Start with a layer of plastic wrap cut long enough to have a few inches of excess on each side of the container.
Then you’ll need to cut several sheets of wax paper to the size of the container. I used a Sharpie to trace around the outside of the bottom of the container and then cut them slightly inside the line so the finished paper would be small enough to fit inside the container. Place one layer in the bottom of the container, on top of the plastic wrap.
On top of that layer of wax paper, place a single layer of cookies. Then repeat that two more times, for a total of 3 layers of wax paper and cookies, making sure to leave at least an inch of room above the top layer of cookies.
After the last layer of cookies, fold in the plastic wrap. Bring one side in and then fold the other over onto the first side.
After you have secured the plastic wrap and tucked the edges in around the layers of cookies, fold/layer in enough bubble wrap to completely fill the rest of the container.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll need one more layer of plastic wrap. This time, make sure it’s long enough to hang over on all 4 sides.
Place the lid on the container with the plastic wrap still exposed on the outside edges. This creates one final layer of resistance against air getting in and drying out the cookies. Then you can tuck the excess plastic under the outside edges of the container to make it look less messy.
Your cookies are now ready to add to the package you’re sending and get them posted as soon as possible.
If you’re sending any packages overseas this year, I believe you still have a day or two to get them in the mail for them to reach their destination by Christmas. During Michael’s last two deployments, some packages made it to him in as little seven days, while the longest only took 14 days. However, Michael was working in an office environment where they received mail each day. I have no idea what kind of time frame you should expect if your intended recipient is working in a field environment. That being said, packages are still appreciated, even if they don’t arrive in time for Christmas. It’s your heart and intent that will bring them the most joy!
Welcome visitors from the Military Spouse Appreciation Bloghop! I’m happy to have you! If you’re not familiar with this bloghop, it is for Military Spouses and takes place on Military Spouse Appreciation Day (today!) hosted by Riding the Roller Coaster and Household 6 Diva. However, you don’t have to be a military spouse to show your support! If you’d like to participate, just go write yourself an intro post, sign the Linky, then join the fun by surfing some lovely new blogs! Also be sure to post a button in your sidebar to be eligible for one of the wonderful sponsored giveaway items!
I’m Laura and I’m wife to Michael. Michael is a Master Sergeant in the Air Force. I have been married to Michael for his entire 12 year military career which began in 2000. Our journey started before 9/11 and before the recent war situation. These last 12 years have definitely been an ever changing, exciting and sometimes lonely experience. We are currently enduring a deployment that will bring him home in the early part of this summer. I have never been more proud of someone as I am of Michael’s accomplishments!
I’m joining in this bloghop because I feel that community is incredibly important and valuable, especially in the life of a military spouse. I want to say THANK YOU to those of you on this very important and like-no-other journey of being a military spouse. You (yes YOU) are valued and appreciated!
Michael and I have three amazing children. They are Jacob (8), Eli (turning 6 in 2 weeks) and Rachael (3). We were married in 2000, just 11 short days before he left for BMT. We’ve survived several deployments and we’re on our 4th duty station (we are currently at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio). I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and count it a blessing every day to be able to spend these precious years with our children. Here on the blog, you’ll find me posting about military life, homeschooling, homemaking, cooking, baking, parenting, natural living, real food eating and living out our faith and belief that our lives should be God directed and Christ centered.
During our last deployment, I wrote a series on Preparing for Deployment, if you’re in that season of military life, I encourage you to have a look at it.
I hope you’ll visit more of the lovely spouses who have joined the bloghop and leave them some love in their comments.
You are welcome to subscribe to my blog for email or RSS updates. I am also on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram (user @LauraVenning).
I had lofty goals for this deployment. Things I wanted to do with this blog (ie – reviving it!) and available opportunities that I wanted to get involved in, but to say that my life has taken a different route would be an understatement. I’ve hardly posted anything here since Michael left and it doesn’t really seem like that’s going to change anytime soon.
For a variety of reasons, this deployment has been the most difficult of the ones we’ve endured. Please understand that I’m not really complaining – this is the life we’ve chosen and I’m well aware of and happy with that. God has this in His control and for that security, I’m incredibly grateful.
I wish I had adequate words to convey to you what’s going on in my head, how I’m feeling and what’s causing it, but I just don’t. In part, because I’m not completely clear on the whole ordeal, but I’m otherwise simply unable to convey my thoughts (or collect them, if I’m honest).
I love my children dearly and am incredibly blessed to not only be able to stay home with them, but also educate them at home and I really don’t want this to be taken then wrong way, but it’s HARD work to be the sole person with your kids (and them with you) 98-ish% percent of the time. Yes, I have baby sitters and friends who help out (and it is such a wonderful blessing!), but there’s truly nothing like the Godly example of a dad who loves to be with his children and who also loves to be a blessing to his wife and help her out daily.
Don’t mistake this comment, I am not, in any way, saying that I miss my husband based solely upon how much help he is when he is home. That is not even remotely true, because there are a million other reasons, but I do, in fact, miss the help.
Dear readers, would you please keep me in your prayers? It would be immensely appreciated.
Also, please pardon the dust that might continue to settle on this blog as I continue in this deployment journey. I am still around on Facebook, Twitter and now on Instagram (I’m LauraVenning), sharing small snippets of life along the way – feel free to follow me on one of those platforms!
Have you ever stopped to really ponder God’s amazing providence in your life? I’m not talking about recognizing and counting the gifts (though I would highly recommend doing that, as well) God has placed in our every day lives, but the true working out of the details that He orchestrates on so many occasions – and that many of us take for granted. You certainly don’t have to have had an “easy” life or have had things run smoothly to be able to sit back and truly reflect on His providence in your life.
I have a story I’d like to tell you. A story of truly recognizing God’s providence and faithfulness in my life and of having an awakening to the sense of true love and attentiveness He has for me (and YOU). Also, I don’t tell short stories, I just don’t know how! My apologies in advance, but it’s worth the read if you have time.
Michael was originally scheduled to deploy this past Thanksgiving weekend. As the middle of October approached, we had come to the place where we were “ready”. Our hearts were ready, our lives were ready, the children were prepared. However, around October 15, Michael received notification that his deployment tasking had been given to someone else (for reasons that only make sense to military personnel) and he was left with no tasked job. I was a bit upset at this news due to being ready to get it started so that it could be over sooner. I was not upset about the fact he no longer had to be in Afghanistan! However, none of that meant he was in the clear, what it meant was that another tasking would most assuredly come sometime before his deployment window ended in May. There was just no way to know when or where until he actually received the notification. So we were back to waiting while he continued in his regular duties in his squadron here.
On October 22, just a few days after the cancellation of the deployment, I received a message from my most dear girlfriend (seriously, we’ve been besties since kindergarten – that’s 25 years) that her brother, Thomas, who was living in Australia at the time, had been killed in a diving accident earlier that day. This unexpected tragedy broke my heart for my dear friend and her family. You see, they weren’t just her family, they were like a second family to me. Our two families had been friends for many years, her parents treated me like an extension of their own family. Thomas cared for and treated me as another sister (I could tell countless stories of the “brotherly love” he showered upon us both!). There was almost no choice, I absolutely had to pack up the children and head to Florida to be with my “other family.” So, with Michael’s blessing, 2 days later that is what I did.
I tell you this story not to sadden you, but to point you to the realization I had on my long drive to Florida.
Sunset memorial service on the beach
You see, Michael wasn’t only scheduled to deploy around Thanksgiving, he was also scheduled for a 12 day mandatory pre-deployment training in New Jersey. That would have had him leaving around November 8 and not returning home until the 20th and then leaving again on the 26th. Had that deployment not been cancelled I might not have been able to make that trip to Florida (which, looking back on, was absolutely necessary) because the memorials ended up not taking place until November 4 & 5th. So, in essence, we would have missed an additional 4-5 weeks with Michael and only have had 5 days with him between the end October and the end of November, before he went to Afghanistan.
Do you see how God worked out those details so perfectly?? Yes, I was upset about the deployment having been cancelled, but it took me hardly any time to figure out why it worked out that way once I received the news of my friend’s passing.
* Of note: I don’t think it’s any coincidence that we home educate our children and that home education is portable and flexible.
* Another note: If you’re familiar with other branches of the military, I’m sure you know that in most cases they deploy as large units (and there is a lot of secrecy as to the details of the traveling/tasking [we call that OPSEC - Operational Security]). All traveling together to and from the deployment location and mostly remaining together during their tour. Though this does happen in the Air Force, it isn’t as common. In the two vastly different career fields Michael has held during his service, deployments are individually tasked. Meaning, he flies alone on a commercial flight until he reaches the east coast, at which time he joins the hundreds of others waiting for a military charter flight to the same general area. This also means we are allowed to see him off at the gate for his flight and this is where we say our official goodbye.
I also have another story to share, but I’ll wait until another day. It’s just as awesome, happened incredibly recently and has several seemingly tiny and insignificant events that transpired to make one major event doable for us.
Have you taken the time to savor the details of life that God orchestrates on our behalf? I would love to hear about how you’re recognizing God’s hand in your life.
This post is linked to Finer Things Friday.
* Disclaimer – this post contains affiliate links. I will receive a commission from any purchases made through the above link.
I have a confession: I’m struggling with this parenting gig.
Most of the time Eli (almost 6) has on a very tough exterior that’s incredibly heard to break into. On the outside he’s rough and tumble, strong willed and at times, wildly unpredictable. So far, parenting him has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced [...]
We love chicken around here and I love making one chicken go as far as possible.
My favorite and super easy way to cook a whole chicken is in the crockpot. It’s so simple and so delicious. You throw the chicken in (breast side down), season and put on low for 6-8 hours. Really, what could [...]
For a while now I’ve been trying to incorporate more beans into our diet as a main protein for one meal each week and have been so happy with this navy bean soup recipe, there was no way I could resist sharing it with you.
I have adapted this recipe to suit our tastes and we [...]
YUM! This is one of the simplest and yummiest desserts, ever!
It came to me via my cousin, Alisa and it’s either our grandmother’s recipe or Alisa’s mom’s (my aunt).
Crustless Buttermilk Pie
I’m not sure when I came up with this idea (or even if it was really my idea in the first place), but it has been very helpful for us.
Sharpen both ends.
It’s really quite simple. Though a tad time consuming when it’s time to sharpen, they don’t need to be sharpened nearly as [...]