Give a Little--Win an iPod with your Answers

MilitaryAvenue is going to Give a Little with a monthly contest for you, our MilitaryAvenue Answers Participants! Winners will win an iPod Shuffle provided by USAA, a great military association and one of our sponsors. What do you have to do to be entered in our monthly-contest?

Give A Little! Help a Military Family by answering a question on MilitaryAvenue Answers: http://www.militaryavenue.com/Answers/Default.aspx


Subscribe and provide an Answer (make sure you are logged in when you answer as it is possible to answer questions 'anonymously') before the end of each month this year! We will send you an email if you are a winner on the 5th of the month. (Be sure to add leanne@militaryavenue.com and dale@militaryavenue.com to your address book.)

Let your friends know so they can also sign up on the the fastest growing military community website on the Internet. They can sign up to receive military discounts near their installation, MilitaryAvenue Alerts, as well as our monthly Military-Family Newsletter!

So what else could you want: a chance to win an iPod shuffle, military discounts delivered to your inbox, a newsletter with current information & articles that help you meet the challenges of the military lifestyle and Answers to your questions and Give a Little to others as well!

You can read more about Answers, a social networking system, on DefenseLink.mil.

Read the "official" rules

Find out more about our other current contest "Rocking The Avenue" (sweet!)

Med Cruising, Life Living Dip


We have not cruised the Med... nor is that in our sights... but we do love travelling worldwide with great flavors and dishes each weekend. The weekend seems to bring on the idea that life is worth exploring. Throw off the routine, and try something new. For me the first avenue of approach is a new dish. Oft times I invite folks down and we all give it a try. There is fun in new flavors, and table settings: a Moroccan scarf for a table cloth, a Panamanian basket with shells for a center piece, or French ceramics filled with flavored dips or spreads. Having these artifacts allows me to rationalize some of my closet clutter. Ha ha... I need a lot of rationalization going on here!


The weekend is approaching and I am thinking warmth... and it is time for finger food and relaxation. This Mediterranean flavored dip tastes great, and is colorful. Bring on the porcelain bowls! Dale grilled large shrimp and chorizo sausage. The sausage was sliced in bite sized chunks for easy knife-free servings.


Med cruising, Life Living Dip (fun name for a fun night)


4 red bell peppers
5 oz whole blanched almonds
2 t. crushed garlic
2 t. kosher salt
1 t red wine vinegar
1/4 t paprika
3 T olive oil
1/3 c basil leaves, finely chopped
1/3 c flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

Heat broiler and place rack 6" from heat. Broil bell peppers, turning occasionally, until charred, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a paper bag. Let stand 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake until just golden, about 12 minutes; cool.


Peel skin from peppers, core and seed. In a food processor, puree peppers, nuts, garlic, salt, vinegar and paprika. Add oil and process until smooth. Transfer to serving bowl. Stir in basil and parsley. Serve at room temperature.


Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for one day.


Memories of Great Times

While we were traveling with the military for 30 years we always found ways to get home and enjoy family times with our extended family. I was one of 7 brothers and one sister and we still enjoy being together. Recently, we found some old pictures and posted them for the family to see.

The one on the left brought many belly laughs when it happened and 30 years later when it was pulled out and shared again. We always found ways to be adventurous and have a good time. We were active and stayed fit and it saved us many times! For this story let's just say this is my youngest brother hanging from a teeter totter! Not your normal playground teeter totter but a long dead tree that fell into the crotch of another tree and ended up very balanced.

He was on the ground end while another brother crawled up the trunk to start the teeter tottering. I was standing next to the tree and not really thinking about the consequences held my foot on the tree while the upside brother crawled out farther and farther. When I took my foot off he was so far out he shot to the ground and sent the victim into the trees like a catapult would! This picture reflects how he caught the tree on the way down. Pretty scary since he is still 30 feet in the air! But he arrived safely on the ground and no emergency room runs so we can still laugh today!

Find the time to get home and spend time with your extended families! Let us know about your adventures while living military! I have another one about spranging in Iceland that I will relate in a future blog.

Happy

Words can not describe the past two weeks that I have had with the love-of-my-life. Hubby has been home from Iraq on R&R and will be headed back to his 'home away from home' next week. I will sad to see him go... but am so happy to have had him here.

Something about this deployment has made me stronger. He recognizes it. I recognize it. There was no time to wallow-in-self-pity. He left last March / April and I had to hit the ground running; managing a full-time job, a household, a teenager, and (at the time) a preschooler and a toddler. It eventually evolved into a full-time job, household, a teenager, a kindergartner, and a preschooler. Life didn't stop just because we missed Hubby / Dad. This Mom had to step up to the plate and we lived the last 12-months with gusto.

The other major change during this deployment for me has been communication. Somehow I have always expected Hubby to be able to 'read' my body-signals. He has failed miserably at that. Why he doesn't understand my cold shoulder as "you stayed up way too late playing Zelda on the wii instead of snuggling with me in bed" I will never understand ;).

Our only communication this past year has really only been via our fingers on the keyboard. (We have found it much easier to send IMs via AOL while looking at each other on the computer web-cams, then to actually try to talk on the web-cam with the microphones. That delay can really cause harried conversations.) When forced to type out all of my thoughts and feelings of the day I have become much better at SAYING what my thoughts and feelings are. Recognizing that he can't tell my 'mood' from a tiny little picture of me on his computer, I don't leave things to his imagination. I tell him. This has spilled out into home-life these two weeks and he recognizes it. He still gets a cold-shoulder once in awhile but I certainly don't have unfair expectations for his mind-reading ability.

Deployment is hard. Very hard. But because our marriage was strong to begin with it has only brought us closer.



- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Rocking the Avenue -- Win an iPod

MilitaryAvenue is going to Rock the Avenue with a monthly contest for our MilitaryAvenue Alerts and monthly Family-Newsletter readers! Winners will win an iPod Shuffle provided by USAA, a great military association and one of our sponsors.


What do you have to do to win? Subscribe before the end of the month and wait for your valid email-address to be pulled in a random drawing! (See contest rules @ Rocking Down the Avenue Rules) We will send you an email if you are a winner on the 5th of the month. (Be sure to add leanne@militaryavenue.com and dale@militaryavenue.com to your address book.)

Let your friends know so they can also sign up on the the fastest growing military community website on the Internet. They can sign up to receive military discounts near their installation, MilitaryAvenue Alerts, as well as our monthly Military-Family Newsletter!

So what else could you want: a chance to win an iPod shuffle, military discounts delivered to your inbox, a newsletter with current information & articles that help you meet the challenges of the military lifestyle and much more! What else? Alright, ready for the drum roll!

Watch for another contest coming concerning our Military Answers! You can read more about Answers, a social networking system, on DefenseLink.mil. Yes, we will give more details but Answers participants will also get the chance to win an iPod once a month. Specific contest-details coming soon!

MilitaryAvenue Help for the Military Community while Selling or Renting their Home during this next PCS Season


The next PCS season is quickly upon us and many military families and personnel already have orders for a move this summer. We relocated 18 times and know well that feeling of excitement for a new spot/job! But then the challenges and stresses start arriving. The top one usually has to do with either housing or spouse employment.

Many military families sell or rent their own homes through For Sale By Owner or military to military rentals. We have two categories on MilitaryAvenue just for those type of transactions. If a military family is going to do a FSBO sale or rent their own home, MilitaryAvenue will provide a free First Class Package ad for active duty personnel. This includes one image of their residence and would allow increased military to military sales and rentals.

So, please pass on to your friends or get your own ad on the site by going to Advertise with Us and place one free First Class Listing at your installation in the Real Estate For Sale By Owner or House Rental category. When you are done with your ad, go to checkout and enter the Discount Code of ActiveDuty and it will credit you with $60. If you prefer a higher package such as a General's Package with 6 images, this code will also provide a discount for the higher cost package.

Please, no realtor ads in these categories. This is a special offer for our military community and is one of our ways of saying thank you and how can we help those who serve us all so well.

A quick summary:

1. One Free First Class Package ($60 value) on MilitaryAvenue to advertise your own home for six months.
2. Active Duty Military Personnel and Families
3. Real Estate For Sale By Owner or House Rental category
4. Discount Code of "ActiveDuty"
5. Go to: Advertise with Us and start your ad today!

Posting Old Pictures



I love pictures. I love capturing memories, tagging moments and displaying the love of friends and family. Photos do that. I started young with a brownie camera. Saved my allowances to pay for flash bulbs, flash cubes and finally a new camera that had a built in flash attachment. Wonders would never cease.


Then, I saw the big screen and fell in love with slides, and movies. We moved around a dish pack box full of boxes of slides trays. Setting up each house had to have a good spot to enjoy the pull down screen which we used when we would pull out the projector for our movie/slide show. And I should mention the 35 MM camera complete with a bag of gadgets: different lenses, filters and lighting equipment. Life was engaging hauling a baby, a diaper bag and the camera bag. Weight was evenly distributed!



NOW, and AMEN and Hallelujah... the digital. Oh the digital you are worthy of our joy!


Our shelves are full of albums. We have at least 2 per year... until 3 years ago when I fell in love with Shutterfly.com and Flickr.com where I could paste those pictures on line, print them at my leisure and share them with the world.



I live in an ever changing world and recently started gleaning some of these beauties... scanned from albums and uploaded from my online accounts. I share them on Facebook.com. Images fly around the world faster than a credit card payment... and we know that is immediate now! I love seeing pictures of friends and families that others have had safely stored in their own precious photo albums.



Share and share alike. Bring on the old times... laugh at the knobby knees, missing teeth, unkempt hair and fashion lovelies! Sigh with the faces of loved ones who are long gone. Be amazed at the resemblances of generations past and the generation present. Photos... a scientific study waiting to happen. Capture more than a moment, capture the story of your friends and family via Internet. I think this is why it was created!



Send us some of your photos of service members of yore... and present. Six degrees of separation might let you see your grandfather, or great great uncle/or aunt. It certainly will let you see smiles and the strong character that brought us safety and brings us pride.

The Best Kind of Valentines

*Hubby* is home. Forgive me being AWOL this week it has been a little crazy. He is here in my arms for about two-weeks and then has to go back to his 'home-away-from-home'. But I am loving every minute of having him here.

I think my emotions are starting to come out of *ping* mode. I cried on and off the first 24-hours he was home, not because I was sad in any way, shape, or form; but because I was just tight as a ball, emotionally. It is the tears that can help me unwind. Hubby understands that. He is so good about understanding that.

We've had "discussions", healthy discussions about 'closet creep' (ok, he did lose half a shelf in the closet to my 'stuff'); and stacks of paid (but not filed) bills on his desk. He understands he has been gone for way too long and that things are going to shift and not be put back exactly as he would have done it. I recognize that he is allowed to be a little bit frustrated over it but that he has to expect it. It has been a very very good week, even in times of light-turmoil.

We have spent a night in a hotel; an evening at a favorite restaurant as a couple; time at the zoo with our youngest; time as a family around the dinner-table; Hubby volunteered in our kindergartner's school for the day; tomorrow we will take in a wrestling-tournament for our oldest; swim lessons for our youngest two; a homemade meal prepared by my favorite Valentine tomorrow night. Life is happening! And I am SMILING the biggest smile.

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Saturday Morning Rice Buttermilk Waffles

Saturday mornings at our house always meant a break from the standard "get the day started with calculated nutrition, efficiency and uncomplicated fixings". Hooray for cereals and yogurts! But after 5 days of get up, get dressed, get out the door... and sneak in the breakfast eating and clean up, leisure time came to town. Dale normally would flip the pancake batter that I made and syrup would flow. Conversations would linger as the details of our time together would unfold.

Now that there is no rush to get us all eating at the same time... only 2 of us, waffles are the perfect breakfast bread to cook up for a hot start of the day. These Rice Buttermilk Waffles are tender.. and even help empty the leftover rice from last night's dinner! Clean the refrigerator has always been my motto!


This recipe calls for buttermilk - a friend of the baker! If you don't have this on hand, add 1 1/2 t lemon to 2 cups of milk. It seems there is almost always a way to substitute items when cooking.


Rice Buttermilk Waffles
3 eggs, separated
2 c. buttermilk
6 T melted shortening
2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 T baking powder
1 t sugar
1/2 t baking soda
1 c cooked rice

Beat egg yolks until lemon colored. Add buttermilk and shortening.
Add salt, sugar baking powder, baking soda and flour to egg yolks. Stir until smooth, add rice.
In a mixer beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold whites into rice mixture.
Bake on a hot waffle iron. Makes 8 (7") waffles.

USAA supports Wounded Warriors

Last week when I interviewed Brian Neuman and Mike Kelly from USAA, I wanted to make the interview a series of blogs. Brian is a Wounded Warrior and I told some of his story in a previous blog. He recently became a USAA talent manager and assists other Wounded Warriors with their transition into the civilian work force at USAA. Today I will tell you more about this program since it provides a great opportunity for employment and shows what one corporation with military ties is doing to help those so deserving of our appreciation and support.

Brian maintains contact with injured troops returning to medical facilities in San Antonio and visits them at the hospital, brings them to the USAA facility there and provides information on what to expect in the civilian corporate world. He also sits on the Transition Assistance Program employer panel to provide his experiences and an employer view to the transitioning troops. He assists with resumes as well for those participating in the program.

The CEO of USAA, Maj General (retired) Joe Robles, has asked, How can we hire more wounded warriors? With emphasis from the top the program has taken off and Brian is point of contact for information so please send him an email at Brian.Neuman@usaa.com if you have questions or know someone who is interested in working for USAA.

Not all jobs are in San Antonio but a large percentage have been so far and that provides access to the superior rehabilitation facilities nearby and the ergonomics team at USAA headquarters provides work place support too! The program includes pairing with a "Battle Buddy" to assist in the transition, reserved parking for Purple Heart honorees (over 14,000 employee parking lot), New Employee Orientation program and of course a military friendly work place!

What a great way to support our injured heroes during tough economic times! Thank you USAA! Don't forget that there are ways for you to assist as well! You can donate your time or funds to the following non profit organizations: Operation Comfort, Operation Homefront and of course the Wounded Warrior Project.

If you know of other support groups or corporations that are aiding warriors please provide their information so others can see them too!

A Wounded Warrior Helping Others


Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Brian Neuman, SSG US Army retired, who is a wounded warrior helping other wounded warriors! I plan to tell you about Brian in a couple of blogs. I will talk about a wonderful Wounded Warrior program at USAA and Brian's personal story as well. Brian's story is exhilirating because of what he is doing for others who face similar injuries and major changes in their lifestyle.

Brian is a Ranger who was injured at Fallujah, Iraq on November 11th, 2004 and lost his arm to a high explosive device during fighting on Veteran's Day. His team was in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and supporting the Marine Corps efforts to drive out terrorist from the city when it was hit by numerous RPGs and finally penetrated by an armor piercing round or explosive device. Brian had served two prior tours in Afghanistan before his tour in Iraq.

After returning to the United States Brian went to San Antonio for treatment and spent an extensive amount of time in rehab. During this time he became determined to help other servicemembers and joined up with the Wounded Warrior Project organization. While serving with the Wounded Warriors organization Brian helped others transition to civilian life, led fund raising efforts and encouraged others during their rehabilitation.

Recently Brian became involved with USAA in their own Wounded Warrior program and is determined to make it an example for other corporations and businesses to provide employment and support for our heroes! I will write more about the USAA Wounded Warrior program in the next blog.

When I asked Brian what MilitaryAvenue could do besides tell his story and sharing information concerning the USAA Wounded Warrior hiring project he mentioned the support for several non profit organizations such as Operation Comfort, Operation Homefront and of course the Wounded Warrior Project. Support for these groups is critical to the successful transition of these men and women who deserve our best!

Thank you Brian for your service and taking the time to talk with me last week! The image I used shows Pvt Josh Lucas winning $10,000 from America Supports You sponsor, USAA at the Army's All American Bowl. He kicked a 30 yard field goal to win and the award shows the great support of USAA to our veterans! MilitaryAvenue is also a sponsor of ASY and we appreciate what they do for you!

Anadama Batter Bread

I love bread. It is a downfall, a reward, a wake up, a comfort food, an aroma that absolutely overwhelms anything else that is going on in the kitchen. There are times when kneading bread is therapeutic, and times when there just is no time! No time? Bring on the yeast raised cornbread: Anadama Batter Bread.


3/4 c. boiling water
1/2 c yellow cornmeal
3 T shortening
1/4 c molasses
2 t salt
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water (110 to 115) degrees
1 egg
2 1/3 c flour

Stir together first 5 ingredients. Cool to lukewarm.


In Mixer bowl sprinkle yeast on warm water. Check to make certain that the yeast moistens and starts to soften.


Add cornmeal mixture, egg and 1 1/3 c flour to yeast. Beat with mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl occasionally.


Add rest of flour slowly until the batter is smooth.


Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2" loaf pan and sprinkle a little cornmeal. Spread batter in pan. With floured hands, gently shape into a loaf. Cover and let rise in warm place until batter just reaches the top of the pan, about 1 1/2 hours.


Bake in Moderate oven 375 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. (Tap with fingers. If there is a hollow sound, the bread is done.) Crust will be a dark brown. Remove from pan to rack at once. Brush top with butter. Makes 1 loaf.

Does a Better Burger have to be Bigger?

Company is coming... short notice. Time to dig into the freezer and see what the storehouse holds. Yeah for ground chuck, ground round, 93% lean beef - Hamburgers!

Folks are hungry... it's raining/snowing/ugly outside. Therefore, the grill outside is out of the question.

Pull out the large frying pan and with 2 T. of olive oil, saute 2 onions sliced thin. As they cook down and soften, pat the burgers into thin patties. I know, a larger burger is the norm for the grill, but the fry pan will perfect this thinner beef burgers. Move the onions in the pan to the sides, and place 4 burgers next to each other. Cook on medium heat one side for 4 minutes. Flip. Put a slice of Monterrey Jack cheese on each piece of meat, and cover with the onions. Cook 3 more minutes.


Slice Anadama bread into very thin pieces, toast. Spread a bit of mayonnaise, catsup and mustard on one slice and add the cheeseburger and onions. WOW. A gourmet sandwich in a moment's notice!

It is hard to tell what is the crowning piece in this burger: the bread, the meat, or the caramelized onions. Life is tough sometimes... isn't it great when this is the question that stumps us! Enjoy and let me know you prefer to entertain with a few hours notice and ingredients that are sitting in the pantry.

The Education You Deserve

The theme for our February Military-Family Newsletter will be Education, specifically higher-education. Sign-up today to receive some great insight on completing your education as a service-member or a military spouse. There is no time like the present to be thinking about your future. Our expected publication date is Sunday, February 15.

If you are thinking of college for your own children keep in mind that the 'Scholarships for Military Children' application deadline is right around the corner! Encourage your senior or college-student to turn in their application at their nearest commissary. February 18 is the drop-dead deadline.

And last but not least, did you know that MilitaryAvenue has its own Education Center? There you can find articles, education related Questions and some great links regarding the education you deserve: http://militaryavenue.com/EducationAvenue.aspx.

Hope to see you soon on MilitaryAvenue!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

February 2009 Featured Military Reward

This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:


HAPPY BOXES

CHESAPEAKE, VA

Their Military Reward reads:

Happy Boxes Self Storage Military Reward program. All active duty personnel and their dependents Receive 15% off their Monthly Rent! In addition mention this ad and receive 20% off any moving supplies!

Click here to view coupon featured at Norfolk Naval Station.

A special thank you to Happy Boxes and all of our MAPP partners for supporting your military community with your Rewards.

Why Should Your Business Offer A Military Discount?

We choose a Featured MilitaryReward each month to highlight our Partners and their wonderful support to the military community! Our military family team chooses one based on value for the military family and how well it sends the message "military friendly business".




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