What intentions are you planning on using in your daily path? Life is an avenue that we walk, sometime run/jog and often trip. Lessons are learned and wounds heal when that happens. But the fresh air and exercise of moving forward are rewards in themselves.
Have a great 2010 and keep us informed on your thoughts.
Here are some more great articles that might be of interest as we start setting goals:
Why I take walks for the New Year
Eat Healthy Your Way
From the Commissary: Special recipes for our Veterans - Cooking for 1 or 2
Look for Smart Choices in Your Commissary
Mom’s “Li’l Heroes” Get Their Own Program
Save time by cooking slowly
This Holiday Season Focus on Friends and Family, not Food
Tips to help you eat fruits
Tips to help you eat vegetables
Eating Healthy when eating out
Doctor Is In - New Year: Time to Commit to Old Resolutions
Army: Chaplain-led program reinforces relationships
New TRICARE Video Counseling Can Help Military Families See “Eye-to-Eye” with Their Problems
Real Warriors: Behavioral Health Programs
TRICARE Assistance Program Reaches Out Over the Web to Ease Post-Deployment Stress
Finding a New Job:
5 Steps to Land a Job in Tough Times
Direct Sales Success for Military Families
From the Better Business Bureau: Franchise Opportunities for Veterans
Managing a Job Change - Free Advice from USAA
Military Spouse? Try These Job Search Success Tips!
Network - 5 Steps to Tapping into the "Hidden" Job Market
New Hiring Authority for Military Spouses Announced
Financial Readiness: As Critical as Fully Charged Batteries
MilitaryAvenue.com Resources: Money & The Military
Shop smart using saver savvy tips
I hope this new year finds us all happy & healthy!
- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com
No matter what your situation I hope that you can find the peace; the joy; the wonder, amongst the chaos.
Wishing you and yours the Happiest of Holidays.
My focus will be on the General's quality of life priority which has a direct impact on the military community's lifestyle and support in Korea. When the General arrived in 2008 there were 1,700 command sponsored families in country. Today there are 3,700 and by this time next year there will be 4,900. By 2016 they would like to have 6,000 families command sponsored with the final goal of 14,000.
The General stated that he does he have the budget for infrastructure improvements to support the military families due to several reasons. First, many of the outposts in Korea are being consolidated from locations of units from the end of open hostilities to more centralized locations such as Camp Humphrey and Osan Air Base. Second, the South Koreans have agreed to pay for these relocations and many of the improvements are already occurring. It will take 5-6 years to complete the build up. Housing and medical facilities are on track to meet deadlines but the General said the "long pole in the tent" was school facilities. They are working with the DODDS (Department of Defense Dependent Schools) folks to upgrade facilities and provide teachers for the families as they arrive.
As more families arrive in Korea, I asked if there were going to be command interest in military spouse employment. The General assured the Roundtable that he was personally involved in this issue and had started a spouse employment iniative a year ago. The spouses arrive with a visa that allows them to work in the Korean economy and the Korean Chamber of Commerce is working with the Command to assist with employment opportunities as well. The on post/base jobs will also provide more opportunity on the installations as they are built and open their doors! As schools have larger populations the qualified spouse teachers will receive opportunity there as well.
General Sharp provided a great forum for all of us and I certainly appreciate his time and efforts to keep the military community informed through the Roundtable process!
To listen to the 30 minute Roundtable go to DoD Live.
Today there is a pot of soup simmering on the stove. As I have said before, dishes are my passion... so the opportunity to use some deep red pottery bowls is a bonus! With a basket of sliced bagels the vegetable soup is going to be great!
serves 3 (8 oz servings)
1/2 medium onion
2 mushrooms chopped
2 T chopped celery
1/2 t dried parsley
1/2 t dried basil
1/4 t celery salt
pinch of salt
2 beef bouillon cubes
left over vegetables: 3 T cooked green beans with liquid, chopped
3 T cooked carrots with liquid, chopped
8 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1/2 cup cooked pasta, any shape, cut to bite size pieces
left over cooked 3 T broccoli
1/2 c homemade ranch dressing
2 T Parmesan cheese
Heat a heavy 2 quart pot to which you have added 1 1/2 T olive oil. Slice up 1/2 onion and chop into small pieces... the size you would like to feel in your mouth. Slices would not be appetizing. They need to be chopped. Add these to the pot along with 2 mushrooms that you dice to the same size as the onion. Allow to caramelize for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add diced celery to this at the 8 minute point. Add herbs and pinch of salt.
Add bouillon cubes and diced leftover vegetables. I you have left over broccoli, wait until almost done before adding, as you do not want to overcook broccoli.
Add water, tomatoes and bring to a boil lower heat and cover with lid. Allow to simmer for 1 hour. Add cut up left over pasta and broccoli.
In a separate mixing bowl, stir ranch dressing and Parmesan cheese. Ladle hot soup into mixing bowl, stir to combine. Add one more scoop to heat the ranch mixture. Then pour back into pot. Serve immediately.
It is good, it is filling, it is healthy! Enjoy the warmth.
Stress in the military? Stress in our world? None of it can be taken lightly, and the program which the Navy has set up to move forward to meet the needs of sailors today is a generational learning series of steps. From first days at boot camp, sailors can learn about how they are being equipped to be World Class Athletes. Their lives have value and are worthy of our country's respect. The USN is willing to build and support each sailor with the confidence it takes to assist individuals to sustain themselves during continual deployment, family separation and relocation.
As a military spouse I know the comfort of having my military member nearby, or within phone distance. With the military's support of the family there is usually the retainment of the military member. I valued his job security, his job respect, the technical achievements and personal job growth that he accomplished. There was recognition for success continually. We had interaction with his bosses and pats on the back. The family speaks loudly, firmly in the heart of the military community. Military life is about community.
There are times when the outside-the-gate community should step up and recognize the importance of their military residents because of the community's personal experience, patriotic fervor or the desire for continued economic health. It is a said affair when BRAC places an installation on the closure list. Local businesses and establishments need to recognize the efforts they could put forward. They need to speak out and show appreciation, voice accolades.
I would love for spouses to have the ability to have time to be a couple (one of the strongest support systems that I know of!). This support could come from local churches, chapel sponsorship, community support for Navy Birthday, Marine Birthday, or for Veteran's Day. Local news recognition that the installation is an economic stronghold for the community. Clean up the area around the gates - take down the war zone that is out there. Let the Chamber of Commerce know that zoning needs to be realized, enforced or changed. Let the authorities act or react. Embrace the installation with a fresh face!
Our Navy is comprised of athletes, fit, educated computer savvy and purposed. They are ready for success and the leadership is being equipped to direct this goal.
Life is a great game... not a game of chance but of stepping forward with conviction and self worth. We need to support and cheer on these athletes - it's our team and we know they are winners!
The military community is facing numerous stressful events and the services, correctly, are addressing these mission impacts "head on" with programs and support for the military members and their families. Today, Lt Jennifer Cragg hosted a Defense Department Roundtable discussion with US Navy Captain Lori A Laraway, coordinator, Navy's Operational Stress Control (OSC) Program and Lt Cmdr Bonnie R Chavez, Navy's Behavioral Health Program Manager to discuss the Navy's response to a rapid increase in measured stress levels within the Navy as self reported by Navy personnel. Comparing surveys from 2005 and 2009 the Navy has seen a 16% increase in reports of stressful lives!
Started in November 2008, Operational Stress Control was designed as a command/line program with medical assistance to improve sailor and family resiliency! Comparing the program to resources that world class athletes use to reach the top of their game Capt Laraway stated that sailors needed assistance to be the best possible performers. These resources include physical training, education and resources to meet stress including mental health tools. Some of the specific tools include knowing when to seek help, defeating the stigma attached to mental health issues and creating a climate that prepares sailors to help each other! Laraway said, the program guides include giving sailors, "Tools to reach full potential".
Training for the program is through leadership continuum efforts including professional military education. As a line program, it provides unit assistance to help individuals focus on prevention before stress reaches the high level associated with mission degradation and conflict. It teaches personnel to recognize stress in themselves and co-workers so resources can be identified to help relieve the stress. The program is developing measurements to determine effectiveness through mission performance issues, legal, family issues, unit cohesion, morale, etc.
To listen to the DoD New Media Roundtable with Captain Laraway and Lt Cmdr Chavez go to DoD Live. To find OSC resources go to Naval Center Combat & Operational Stress Control! The mission of the NCCOSC is "Building and Preserving Psychological Health for Sailors, Marines and Their Families".
The services are providing resources to help! Please take advantage of all the assistance available to maintain your resilency and be successful in dealing with stress! Prevention is key.
The filing cabinet for these remembrances is now standing in the living room. Twelve feet tall and lit up: 2009's Christmas tree. Yeee Ha! It's up, lit and decorated. And it is beautiful. We sat last night just looking at it and pointing to our history. Each move has a marker on that tree.
Icelandic ornaments: House on top of the world, and a wooden doll.
Panamanian Ornaments that we brought home were straw animals.
You get the idea... New Mexico, Texas, and every other station fills a spot in our hearts and is brought back to mind as we celebrate the season and friendships. I hope your Christmas, your holiday time is the best. I hope you get to share it with loved ones and friends.
Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! The best of your holiday season!
USAA has been named #3 of the Top 100 of Most Military Friendly Employers by GI Jobs Magazine! That is their highest ranking ever and shows their continued commitment to support the military community with their services, products and employment!
I spoke with three USAA employees this afternoon and asked them questions about the company and its employment programs that lead to the recognition by GI Jobs. John Dipiero, Howie Egbert and Brandon Harrison were kind enough to speak with me and answer my questions about their employer! John and Howie are retired Air Force and Brandon was active duty Army till joining USAA in January and is now serving with the Texas National Guard.
First, just some basic facts about USAA: 7 Million Members, 22,000 employees, 12% of the employees are veterans and 7% are military spouses! The company target (which they are working hard to reach) is to have 25% of the employees be part of the military community they serve. That includes military spouses, family members, veterans, retirees, and Guard and Reserve members.
Why would you want to work for USAA? John, said the bottom line is they have great products and services that support the military community and they take care of their employees. Brandon, Howie and John all praised their training programs which allow military personnel to transition to a new job and be trained for it! They have on the job training and will pay for college courses as well! Personal experience tells me that is a unique opportunity to receive quality training from an employer while in transition to civilian life!
Military personnel should take advantage of Transition Assistance Programs which have become very helpful and informative according to all three! John said, "You are crazy if you don't use them." Next step is to contact USAA to find your niche! Brandon had a USAA contact who worked through resume issues and gave advice too!
John and Howie were both retirees and said the company has no age issues and they felt like they were doing what they wanted to do! Brandon said the environment was more like family and allows choices within the company for lateral moves and other career options as well! All were highly enthusiastic about their jobs, the folks they work with and the company!
Brandon is now a member of the Guard and felt that the company allowed him to continue serving with a flexible schedule for duty periods that were required. The company has won the Freedom Award from the ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) in the past for its support of Guard and Reserve members too! So if you are a separating veteran with the desire to continue serving in the Guard or Reserve this is a great company to join!
Feel the enthusiasm? Want to join the USAA team? Send John an email at John.Dipiero@usaa.com to find out more information and begin that next career step!
PS: Did you know that all honorably serving Veterans are now eligible to join USAA? Click on the USAA logo at the top to find out more of the benefits and why you should be a member!
I hope you are taking the time to enjoy the sites, sounds, smells and so much more of the season and not too caught up in the rush & chaos of this time of year!
- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com
PS: Looking for a fun web site to enjoy with the kids? NORAD officials ready to track Santa's flight
If you haven't heard about Military Answers, you should stroll on over to see what questions are out there that other military-families are asking for help with. It's as close as a mouse click. BUT if you really want to help, become an "Answers Expert!"
After you sign up with an Answers account (used only for MilitaryAvenue Answers, Alerts & our monthly-newsletter) you will see our list of Military Installations. Select the bases / posts that you have lived at... 2 years ago, 10 years ago, now. These are the bases you know. Maybe a little or a lot. Installations that you could help guide another military family that is looking for help. After you have selected all of your 'Expert Locations' select 'Next'.
Hit 'Next' and you will see our list of 'Expert Categories'. We have quite a range of different categories from 'Military Deployment' to 'Pets' to 'Children & Family'. If there is a category that you think you could help other families with select it. There is no limit to the number of categories (or installations) you can be an 'expert' at.
After you have selected the installations and categories that you can help with you are done! (That was pretty painless!) Now here comes the least painful part. Whenever a new question is asked related to an area you are an expert in you will get a very short & sweet email.
If you can help with the question there is a link to click on and type in your answer. If you can't help then just hit 'delete'... and that email is no longer your concern :) Pain free and yet a wonderful way to help!
There is nothing like military families helping other military families!
- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com
USAA Urges Home Protection as Winter Weather Approaches
A Market that Rewards the 'Sponsors'
"Elf on a Shelf" - A New Christmas Tradition
What does PCS mean to our MilitaryAvenue Partners?
Second-tier Entitlement and VA Loans
Why is a Military Discount Valuable for a Marketing Strategy
Sears Celebrates Military Heroes This Christmas With Programs That Give Back
The Season of Advent
Military Discount on your Truck or Trailer Rental
Turkey in a Puff Leftovers Turkey Celebrated!
To find the most recent additions to MilitaryAvenue follow our RSS feed
Today I am Thankful for:
- Wiggly Teeth
- 3AM: "Mom I'm scared"
- Dirty knees, filthy fingernails
- Guns, Swords, Light Sabers... all pretend, usually completely imaginary
- Games of soccer in the family room... "Keep the ball low, boys"
- 4 year-older declaring "I HATE school"
- 7 year-older asking me what the bad F word is that was written on the back of the school bus seat
- "Can I help you, Mom?"
- "I'm telling." STOMP STOMP STOMP. "MOM, he [fill in the blank] me."
- "Mom, I have a joke to tell you." (Now think of the most non-sensical sentence you can come up with & that's their idea of a joke.)
- "Mom, I love you" (Seriously, how lucky am I to hear this multiple times a day?!)
Not everything about being a mom is pleasant, but it is all manageable! Children (in my case boys) bring life abundant. I am so thankful to be a mom; to be an influence; to know that I can handle what comes my way... and to know that if I ever feel like I can't handle it I have a support network behind me like no other!
What are you thankful for this Thursday?
- Leanne of MilitaryAvenue.com
Turkey in a puff started out to be ham in a puff. Ham is not a family favorite, so I looked for a way to dress it up, even disguise it a bit. But to my non-ham loving children: ham is ham and the best way to serve it is to pass! So, although the ham in a puff didn't work. Turkey in a puff, (a choux pastry) vanishes when put no the table. It is pretty, it is cheesy and the turkey is tender. Love it!
Turkey in a Puff
For choux pastry
2/3 c water
2/3 c flour
1/3 c butter
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
Bring water to a rolling boil in a medium sauce pan. Add butter, stir. Remove from heat as soon as butter is melted. Add flour all at once, stir until a ball is formed. Add eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition until they are incorporated. Stir in cheddar cheese. Spray a large casserole dish with Pam or spray oil, and put this choux around the sides of the dish, keeping it off of the bottom as much as possible.
For the Filling:
2 T olive oil or butter
1 medium onion, diced small
4- 6 mushrooms (optional)
1 cup broth
1 T flour
1 1/2 cup cooked turkey, or ham, or chicken cut in strips
2 tomatoes, peeled, cut in strips (or 2 canned tomatoes)
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
2 T breadcrumbs
2 t parsley
To make filling
Add oil or butter to saute pan. Cook onions slowly until soft. Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes or until tender. Take pan from heat, stir in flour and pour on stock. Bring to a boil. Simmer 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Take the pan from the heat, add the cooked turkey, tomatoes and season to taste.
Set oven to hot 400 degrees.
Sprinkle the choux with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
Bake in heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve!
One of my favorite Christmas-pieces is an advent calendar my mom & dad bought for me back when our middle-child was born. It is a magnetic board with little boxes all around it. Each day the boys take their turn (one a day) at pulling out that day's magnet to put on the board. We are reminded AT LEAST that one time of day (usually first thing in the morning) what the real story of Christmas is. We talk about the stars, the animals, the inn keeper, Joseph, the story of the 3 Kings, Mary & of course the baby born in a manager over 2,000 years ago, the most important part of our little manger scene.
The rest of my decorations are just that... decorations. But our advent calendar is part of the story-board of our lives.
- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com
MilitaryAvenue continues to see a great out pouring of support for the military comunity! Our Veterans Day outreach was tremendous with numerous national, regional and local companies offering veterans a special on their day! We also continued to enjoy seeing all of the new ads at MilitaryAvenue! There are so many new ones and their great Military Rewards make choosing the best one a very tough job! The MilitaryAvenue team has chosen an apartment complex with a great MilitaryReward that reflects a military friendly owner and support to the military community! Thank you!
If you know of a business offering a military discount tell them about MilitaryAvenue!
This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:
Their Military Reward says:
Receive your 1st month Free and $50 off each month when you sign a 12 month lease!!
A special thank you to Normandy Club Apartments and all of our MAPP partners for supporting your military community with your Rewards.