Preparing for your Summer Vacation - Military-family style


Summer is approaching and thoughts of family vacations quickly follow! My family of five is taking full advantage of our military-discounts this summer as we travel down to Disney World. But not all vacations are BIG (this is our first big one in 5 years), sometimes a simple camping trip, or visit across country to see family is what you need. Whatever your plans are with some research & creativity you can find the perfect summer-plans for your family!

Here are some great tips from Military OneSource's Blog, http://www.blog-brigade.org/:

Itching to cruise? Andrea Rotondo, editor of LuxuryCruiseBible.com, tells me that a ton of cruise lines offer military discounts. These include Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Regent, SeaDream and Windstar, to name just a few. Check out any of their Web sites or call their reservation numbers for more information.

Need to fly? American Airlines, US Airways and Southwest Airlines all offer military discounts in some markets. But the trick is to get offline – you have to call their reservation numbers to get the real skinny.

And, of course, SATO Travel can often get you a cheaper deal on a flight. They have a whole Web site dedicated to vacation planning whether you are at Fort Polk or over in Vincenza, Italy.

Is there a military installation near your vacation spot? It may be possible to find a discounted place to stay. Military OneSource goes over the ins and outs of using military lodging.

Is a trip to a Theme Park in your future? Definitely visit your local Morale, Welfare and Recreation Office. Many of the parks (including that famous Mouse one) offer great military discounts. But they don’t always offer them at the gate. So talk to MWR about the best way to get your discounted tickets.



These are some great tips! Also be sure to find your local base on MilitaryAvenue. Then find rewards for the community around you. If you just moved to your area you could have a wonderful "StayCation" and discover what your area has to offer! MilitaryAvenue also has a new Travel Section. Ask questions related to vacation destinations, read articles posted on MilitaryAvenue related to Travel and find official web-sites.

Happy Travels!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Summer Time!








According to the calendar it may not technically be Summer yet. But according to the laughter, the running, the smiles we are just beginning one of my favorite seasons!

So get outside. Bring the camera. Capture the moments & be sure to share them with friends and families in far-away places! Take in the season, set-up a pool (even 30-something-year-olds can enjoy an inflatable pool!), take a bike ride, have a bbq with neighbors, attend a parade, play with sidewalk chalk, go to a baseball game, pour yourself a tall glass of iced-tea. This is the season of smiles.

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

The Reason for Memorial Day

Simple but very powerful...


Have a blessed Memorial Day Weekend.

- The MilitaryAvenue Team

I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America

I had taken saying the Pledge of Allegience for granted. I grew up saying it to start off my days at school and am honored to say that they say it at my son's preschool every morning as well as my my middle-child's school every morning.I got an 'interesting' email this morning. My step-son attends school about 20 miles from us and once in awhile I receive emails from parents in his school-district about events going on and how to participate. I love being part of his life & welcome the information.

However, today's email from a parent was about the "Pledge of Allegiance" and how a group of outsiders were trying to sway the school-board into reinstating saying it at school and sporting events. Although she tried to come-off in her email as being bi-partisan it didn't take much reading between the lines to know what her opinions were.

I decided to do a little reading on my own and ran into this article from our local paper: Oberlin school district debates pledge.

This part really gets to me though:

"But the issue of “liberty and justice for all” also was a sticking point for some who spoke, including Phyllis Yarber Hogan.

“That part is not true and it is wrong to say it but it is particularly wrong to ask little black children to say it,” Yarber Hogan said. She has argued the pledge is dishonest for descendants of slaves."

What?! So our children should be looking at their history alone & not their future? Forget what CAN BE let us dwell on what has been. Forget about the American-Ideals let's look at the transgressions of our forefathers. Ugh... (Yes, my blood is boiling.)

“I’m offended all day. It builds character.” I guess today I've added a bit to my character ... because, yes, I'm offended!

Ok, time to get off of my soap-box. I thought it was very sad that I received this email on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. What a slap in the face to those that have served our country & lost their lives serving our great country. To the Oberlin Community against "The Pledge" I leave you with these images:



As one fellow-American so deftly put it: “You can choose not to say the Pledge of Allegiance and I will go to my death to defend you.”



- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Great Travel Weekend in the Great Lakes

Planning to travel? Need a reunion getaway after a long deployment? We recently had the opportunity to travel to Petoskey, Michigan for an extended weekend getaway for an anniversary (can barely count the number on both of our toes and hands)! What a great time and we saw some new parts of the world we had never seen before!

We have lived overseas in Central America and Iceland and visited South America, the Caribbean and Europe. We have also lived in numerous US states from the Puget Sound of Washington to the Low Country of South Carolina. After retiring from the Air Force we relocated to Michigan to be near the family we had air dropped here during our many moves. So we have been regular travelers and enjoy seeing new areas, finding new restaurants and just enjoying life while traveling. This time we stayed closer to home and still found something new and fun!

Petoskey is right on Lake Michigan and is a bit of shop town for visitors and has a wonderful gas light district with numerous restaurants to choose from! We found several great ones including Chandlers, City Park Grill and Staffords Bay View Inn. All were friendly and the food was delicous. We had planned to visit Mackinaw Island on one day but the weather did not cooperate and we elected to proceed up to Sault Ste Marie to see the Soo Locks instead (flexibility is the name of Air Power). The locks are one hour north of the great Mackinac Bridge over the waters connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. At the visitor center for the Upper Pennisula of Michigan we found a friendly welcome and a great recommendation for a restaurant overlooking the locks.

The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior and Lake Huron and allow ships to move heavy loads of iron ore, etc from the north to the Midwest industrial areas. We sat in the Freighters restaurant and watched for ships and had a super sandwich and soup. The restaurant is named after the captains of ships who would eat there while waiting for their ships to transfer through the locks. After lunch we drove up the coast of Lake Superior and visited an old lighthouse which was gorgeous. We found a great boardwalk type trail along the lake but unfortunately the wind and sand blasted us when we turned around to head home (adding to our humor and memory of the event of course).

We had a great weekend and used some of our travel points with a hotel chain we frequent! Have you joined at least one? With all the military and family traveling that you do, a membership (they are free) for hotel families such as Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, etc is a great way to save for a getaway like ours! Safe travels and God speed!

Have a favorite getaway location? Tell us about it by commenting.

Lowes & Home Depot offer Military Discount for Memorial Day

My garden has been tilled! I felt like a regular farmer this weekend as I pushed my father-in-laws' rototiller up and down our vegetable garden. I made quite a few passes working up the dirt from last years garden & then even expanding the garden two or three feet. I have BIG plans for this years garden... big plans! I know the carrots are going to be the best in the land, the tomatoes the juiciest, the cucumbers the tastiest, the peppers the biggest, the watermelon the wettest, the spinach the crispest and the lettuce the crunchiest.

Hubs isn't quite convinced that we are saving any money by doing a garden; but maybe it's not the 'savings' that I'm going for. It is the joy, the reward, the feeling of accomplishment as the kids, Hubs and I enjoy the fruits of our labors all summer long. But with those feelings comes the expense of the seeds, the dirt, the fence to keep the bunnies out and this year is going to include a new expense of black edging to keep the grass out. (Why does it always grow where I don't want it?!)

There are always household expenses that come with a change in season, aren't there?! Spring / Summer leads us to the outdoors and am very pleased to hear that Lowes & Home Depot are offering a 10% discount for Memorial Day weekend again this year! So you know where I will be this Thursday!... out there purchasing my garden's border to keep that pesky grass at bay.
To Lowes & Home Depot I give a heart-felt Thank You! Its not ALL about the money for this military-family. It's about being recognized for the sacrifice, the honor, the distance, the pride that being a member of the US Military entails. The savings is nice ... but it's not all about 'the savings' for this Army-Wife!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Community

What a weekend!
I am thrilled to have Hubs home from his year long deployment to the sand-box for so many reasons. This weekend was a quick reminder of one of those reasons: multiple-schedules.

There were times over this last year where I simply had to say "I can't do it" because it would have required splitting my body into two and being at four places at once. It was frustrating because when my children are active they are happy. When they are happy I am happy. But there were times we just couldn't do it all PERIOD. (And yet we were still happy, well apart from the fact that Hubs was in Iraq)

Soccer & T-Ball overlap for about two-weeks for our youngsters and this weekend the two-week overlap began. But amidst the craziness of a booked-Saturday schedule there was a certain joy. A joy of having healthy-active boys whose parents love not only *them* more than life, but each other more than life. We enjoyed the games & practices as a family and when things overlapped we easily figured out who needed to do what. I just had a sense of peace despite the craziness about us.

Sunday was the town's official Little League parade. What a great way to get the town and kids PUMPED up about the upcoming baseball-season. I dropped Hubs & my 6 year-old off at the middle school & then my 4 year old and I went and parked our car close to the end of the parade route. With my camera in hand, *C* and I went to find the "perfect" spot to sit and watch the parade. Well lo & behold as we were walking along I heard a neighbor calling out my name. So *C* and I got to sit next to friends and enjoy the sites and sounds of the fine Sunday afternoon.

After the parade was done we met Hubs and *E* (the new T-Ball player!) at the ball field for opening-day ceremonies. In the course of the 90 minutes we were there (because *E* HAD to wait and have his free-hot dog and juice box) I ran in to 4 or 5 families that I knew. People I could talk to. Faces I enjoyed. I didn't go expecting to know many faces and yet ... the more I become involved the more faces I get to know. We even sat down with an acquaintance of mine & her husband. She has a son in kindergarten with *E* so the boys played while I got to know Liz a bit better and her husband.

Community! This is what it is about. It is about getting to know those around you, taking the time to do what the town (or base or post) has to offer, maybe being a bit uncomfortable when walking into a sea of unfamiliar faces and yet knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Get involved: go to a parade, attend a class at your family center, join the PTA & attend meetings, help in the classroom. Do something to get to know those around you! After yesterday I could see that I didn't live in a bubble and my network of friends was expanding. It felt good!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

May's Military Family Newsletter

* Subscribe today & receive our monthly-newsletter straight to your email box PLUS become eligible for our monthly-drawing!




Welcome to the month of May! A month I can appreciate in so many ways; warmer weather, gardening, Mother's day, the finishing up of the school year and Military Appreciation Month!

To all of our military-families I wish you a joy-filled Military Appreciation month. May 8th was Military Spouse Appreciation Day and yesterday, May 16th, was Armed Forces Day. We will observe Memorial Day on May 25th, a day of picnics, parades and most important, pauses to remember those who laid down their life for our freedoms as Americans.

So to all of our military-families I give a heart-felt THANK YOU! As an Army-spouse I can say "I get it!" But we all make our own sacrifices & fight our own struggles. I can walk beside you but no one can walk in your shoes, and I know you can appreciate that. Find someone today to wish a happy "Military Appreciation-Month".

Do you have family or friends, fellow military spouses or service-members that may not know about MilitaryAvenue? Forward this newsletter to them & encourage them to sign up for our future Military Family Newsletters.

A quick reminder, no matter what lies ahead visit us at MilitaryAvenue.com. Find articles, military discounts, and so much more to support you, our military family!


- Leanne & the MilitaryAvenue.com Team





Military Spouse Appreciation Day - A Tribute

We come in all...

Shapes
Sizes
Ages
Backgrounds
Colors
Theologies
Ideologies
Societies
Some of us are Army-strong, others of us are in the Air Force-blue, there are a few proud Marines, a wealth of Navy and the ever-vigilant Coast Guard.We love our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coasties. Most of us don't wear the uniform but all of us swoon (deeper than a civilian can understand) when we see the uniform.

(Continued)




What's Hot on MilitaryAvenue.com
Popular Articles during the last month




What are You doing Memorial Day weekend?

We recently celebrated Military Spouse Day and the whole month is military appreciation month and it appropriately ends with the Memorial Day weekend. We should be so thankful as a Nation for those who serve and protect and those who died doing so! I can not imagine the pain of families who have attended a memorial service burying a loved one killed defending them in a time of war or training for such a contingency.

(Continued)





Crooks & Henderson are coming to Fort Bliss, Texas! A wonderful evening of spouse pampering, tips for deployment, and a night out for well-deserved spouses of deployed-military members.

June 4th and 5th, 2009
A Seminar For Military Spouses
Themed Care Package Ideas
Deployment Survival Tips & Resources
Networking
Giveaways
Fabulous Gift Bags
Complimentary Meal, Dessert, & More

We have been a part of Army Wife Network's Priceless Packages events at numerous installations and they are always wonderfully-supportive events.

Hurry & sign-up today! Seating is limited & this one is filling up fast!


What is next ...

June 1st - Monthly "Military Alerts" will be sent out, filled with great-military discounts that can be found around your installation. To subscribe or change your Installation Click Here.

June 21st - Look for our next edition of the MilitaryAvenue Family Newsletter.
To subscribe Click Here.



Help your fellow military-family by answering a question and you will be entered into our monthly-giveaway brought to you by MilitaryAvenue.com, with support from USAA. Will you be our next winner?

Some recent questions on MilitaryAvenue Answers that you might be able to help with:
Help out your military-community by answering some unanswered questions. (Click on 'Unanswered Questions')



101 Ways to Thank a Military Spouse

Appreciating our Military Spouses isn't limited to one day of the year. We need to be mindful of their needs every day of the year. Here are 101 fairly simple ways to say "THANK YOU for your service as a military spouse".

It is about Respect, Love, Admiration, Appreciation, and a simple Thank You.

Enjoy!
  1. A simple "Thank You for Serving, too"

  2. CHOCOLATE

  3. Take the time to *listen* She may not have had an adult conversation for quite some time

  4. Don't assume HE is not a military spouse. Thank the military-husbands too.

  5. Pick up something at the store that reminds you of her; a potted-plant, a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, nail-polish & nail files, etc etc

  6. Give her a call! Say 'Thank You' and find out how her day is going.

  7. A day at the spa! (Thank you, @shelly_76)

  8. FREE child-care. Watch her children for her. Let her do something on her own.

  9. Invite her out for a local-sight-seeing tour. She might not know the area & enjoy learning.

  10. Equip her.

  11. Take a spouse out for coffee or tea.

  12. Pray for him. Pray for her.

  13. Make a fancy-drink. Pour two glasses. One for you, one for her. Make toasts and enjoy together.

  14. *Give* him a book from your book-shelf that you enjoyed.

  15. Offer to wash her car (Don't forget to vacuum)

  16. Business-owners: Host a special event just for spouses, don't do it for monetary gain.

  17. Do you garden? Bring her some of your produce; flowers, fruits, vegetables.

  18. Give her personal space to miss her loved one. Then open-up your arms to take her in.

  19. Gather your mutual-friends. Have a multi-family picnic.

  20. If she calls asking for something, a cup of milk, some eggs, potatoes etc etc Lend with a cheerful heart and don't expect your 'gift' back!

(Continued)



MilitaryAvenue.com's May 2009 Featured Reward

This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:


Cold Stone Creamery
Colorado Springs, CO


"Come see us for Military Mondays! Receive 15% off with your Military ID (Mondays Only)"

(Continued)

Previous Featured Rewards





Staying in Touch

Do you Twitter?
@MilitaryAvenue- @MilAve_Leanne - @MilAve_Col_K - @MilAve_Deborah

Use Facebook?
http://www.facebook.com/pages/MilitaryAvenuecom/10813177198

Enjoy MySpace?
http://www.myspace.com/militaryavenue



Don't forget to look for your Military Reward in your community. Don't see one, ask! Let your local merchants know about MilitaryAvenue.

Thank you for your service,
The MilitaryAvenue.com Team

Pet Fair at Ft Leavenworth and other Local Events


This Saturday, May 16th, Ft Leavenworth is having a Pet Fair from 10 AM till 2 PM! Great time for the kids and pet lovers! They are having a petting zoo, bounce houses and friendly pets are welcome too! They are even going to have pet contests with judges!

How did we find out about this event? We think it might have been entered by Grinda, our loving puppy who found a computer free and got it done! But... really! Read on...


A member of the Ft Leavenworth community submitted the Pet Fair through our Ft Leavenworth Local Event feature. All of our installation home pages have this feature below the map for your entries! Why not spread the word about events on the installation or in the local area. Many military families are unfamiliar with the area and are looking for something to do this weekend or next or maybe someone is visiting from out of town this summer?

Spreading the word helps the community and the military families too! So join in and send us your events!

What are You doing Memorial Day weekend?





We just celebrated Military Spouse Day last week and the whole month is military appreciation month and it appropriately ends with the Memorial Day weekend. We should be so thankful as a Nation for those who serve and protect and those who died doing so! I can not imagine the pain of families who have attended a memorial service burying a loved one killed defending them in a time of war or training for such a contingency.




How do we recognize this sacrifice and support the survivors of those killed in action? I have some recommendations that may be simple but certainly send the signal that we care!

Fly the Flag


Attend a Memorial Day Parade and/or Service


Thank those you see in uniform


Do you know a family that lost someone? It will be a lonely, tough day for them--do something special for them but most importantly tell them thank you for the greatest sacrifice!


Tell a child about what Memorial Day means (we can only succeed by remembering our history)


Better; tell a classroom of children what Memorial Day means


Spend time with a child of a veteran and tell them what their mom and/or dad did/does was/is important


Insist that our churches and all worship locations mention this sacrifice during services that weekend


Have a great weekend of family fun in celebration of our Nation's willingness to defend and protect those less fortunate than us



The MilitaryAvenue Team salutes all of you and hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend! If you have other ways to recognize Memorial Day and those who have paid the ultimate price for freedom please comment so we can add it to our list!

Beth's Garden is Pumping Out Rhubarb

We all have favorite ladies in our lives. I have one who is right up there at the top, Beth Kocsis. She not only gave me the world's best son-in-law, but supplies rhubarb too. Does life get any better? I don't think so.
So, with a fresh supply of rhubarb comes my Mom's fantastic recipe for Rhubarb Delight. My daughter and I have been guilty of picking some of the rhubarb off of the top of a very hot dessert that came straight out of the oven. When asked why we did this... blank stares came across our faces... as if... how could we refrain. This is a "TRY it, you'll LOVE it!" recipe.

Rhubarb Delight
Crust
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup butter (soft, room temperature)
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Filling:
3 cups granulated sugar
1 t. salt
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 cups chopped rhubarb

Crust:
Mix flour, powdered sugar and butter until crumbly. Press into a 9x13" baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Filling:
Mix remaining ingredients, pour over hot crust. Bake for an additional 60 minutes at 350 degrees. The top will be lightly browned on top.

Enjoy! Serve with a dollop of whipped cream. This is why folks plant rhubarb, I'm convinced!

Getting ready for May's Newsletter: Military Appreciation

I would just like to say how much FUN I had last week getting the word out about Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Although no one did anything SPECIFICALLY for me (yes, Hubs did roll his eyes when I mentioned I think I deserved a back-rub :) ) ... I did get a lot out of it getting to talk with military spouses about it, especially on my new favorite social-network, Twitter.

This brings to mind that I am going to be working this week on putting together our monthly-newsletter. The Military-Family Newsletter will be published this Sunday and will focus on Military Appreciation. Have you signed up? (You could win an iPod!)


There were a lot of great blogs this past week about Military Appreciation. Here is a great replay by fellow military-wife blogger, Sara Horn, if you are looking for some additional reading:

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Just Get It Done! Chelle Brewer Walks Her Talk

Military Spouse of the Year 2008 does not give up her title but has a teammate now: Tanya Querio. Chelle (pronounced Shellie) let it be known that she is not sitting down and stepping aside but is alive and well and on fire for today's military. A powerful weapon aimed at complacency - and she is on our side! WAHOOOOO!


Chelle has a heart that is jammed packed with adventure, sensitivity, compassion and sorrows. She is strong, determined and sounded like Wonder Woman when I spoke with her in a great teleconference which you can hear at http://www.defenselink.mil/Blogger/ click on the Pentagon Web Radio spot. Mrs Brewers first love is her family and laced with that love is her love of special needs children around the world. Educated as a teacher, spouse of a psychologist and armed as a USAF brat, Chelle speaks from her depths of experience and her joy of the future. There is no letting go for her.


When asked how she finds time to do all that she does, her straight forward answer was so simply put: she doesn't find time, she incorporates her family, friends and her feelings. She advises all to be philanthropic: give to others, help others to connect.


I asked her how young spouses can better deal with constant deployments. Her advice was to become stronger, make better connections with children, family, friends. Chelle grew up without grandparents around - sigh, mine did too! It is the life of a brat. And as a terrific brat she is blooming wherever she is planted! Chelle said about giving advice to young spouses... Don't take it! Be yourself! Be comfortable with who you are. Be a resource to civilian communities. Know your culture. "We make a difference every time we make a good choice!" (No doubt why she was chosen spouse of the year!) Don't ask who is doing this or that, get in there and "Just get it done."


Her advice for Tanya Quiero, Military Spouse of the Year 2009, was to make certain that she follow your gut. Do things for the right reasons.


She had fun times too in this position that she held so well. While in Charlotte, Chelle met Quincy Collins, a POW for 7 1/2 years in Vietnam and John McCain's cell mate for 2 of those years. As she walked beside him she wanted to sing his praise, and he would stop her and say that she was the celebrity, the star, the patriot. WOW. Chelle has proven that this year and I felt honored to hear part of her story: Mom of a special needs child. Therefore the need to travel, live and breath continually in a hospital. Wife of an injured soldier. I would say nothing came easily to Mrs. Brewer - but she didn't carry that banner at all. She cheered for those in hospitals, families worrying for those in rehab, children needing medical attention. She has a mission- as does our military. She is armed with her background, firm with her backbone and courageous! Thanks Chelle. Well done!

101 Ways to Thank a Military Spouse

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day! In honor of the spouses that work so hard on the home-front I've compiled a list of 101 Ways to Thank a Military Spouse!

It is about Respect, Love, Admiration, Appreciation, and a simple Thank You.
Enjoy!
  1. A simple "Thank You for Serving, too"
  2. CHOCOLATE
  3. Take the time to *listen* She may not have had an adult conversation for quite some time!
  4. Don’t assume HE is not a military spouse. Thank the military-husbands too.
  5. Pick up something at the store that reminds you of her; a potted-plant, a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, nail-polish & nail files, etc etc
  6. Give her a call! Say ‘Thank You’ and find out how her day is going.
  7. A day at the spa! (Thank you, @shelly_76)
  8. FREE child-care. Watch her children for her. Let her do something on her own.
  9. Invite her out for a local-sight-seeing tour. She might not know the area & enjoy learning.
  10. Equip her.
  11. Take a spouse out for coffee or tea.
  12. Pray for him. Pray for her.
  13. Make a fancy-drink. Pour two glasses. One for you, one for her. Make toasts and enjoy together.
  14. *Give* him a book from your book-shelf that you enjoyed.
  15. Offer to wash her car (Don’t forget to vacuum)
  16. Business-owners: Host a special event just for spouses, don’t do it for monetary gain.
  17. Do you garden? Bring her some of your produce; flowers, fruits, vegetables.
  18. Give her personal space to miss her loved one. Then open-up your arms to take her in.
  19. Gather your mutual-friends. Have a multi-family picnic.
  20. If she calls asking for something, a cup of milk, some eggs, potatoes etc etc Lend with a cheerful heart and don't expect your 'gift' back!

Morel Mushroom Stuffed Potatoes

I mentioned that we found morels. Boy Howdy did we! Since I have these beauties, I am bound and determined to use them. I researched the Internet for some goodies, and I was not impressed. So, with a bit of changing ingredients for stuffed mushrooms... I came up with stuffed potatoes and wow! We are doing this one again soon.



Morel Mushroom Stuffed Potatoes

Makes 4 servings Preheat oven to 350 degrees.



5 small morel mushrooms, chopped

3 T butter or margarine

1 small onion, minced

1 t. chopped jalapeno pepper

1/8 t. onion salt

1/4 t. pepper

1/8 t. dry mustard

1 t. chopped garlic

2 Yukon gold potatoes



Cut a slit in each potato so that the steam can escape. Microwave potatoes for 3 1/2 to 5 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave oven) on high, until just squeezably soft. Cut in half, scoop out the 'meat' of the potato into a bowl and set aside. Place the 4 potato skins in a baking dish.



In a small fry pan, over medium heat, add the butter, onion, jalapeno pepper and the chopped Morels. Saute until onion is translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add to the bowl with the potatoes, add spices and mix gently. Spoon mixture into each of the 4 potato skins. Bake for 20 minutes or until potatoes are a light golden brown.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

We come in all...
Shapes
Sizes
Ages
Backgrounds
Colors
Theologies
Ideologies
Societies

Some of us are Army-strong, others of us are in the Air Force-blue, there are a few proud Marines, a wealth of Navy and the ever-vigilant Coast Guard.

We love our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coasties. Most of us don't wear the uniform but all of us swoon (deeper than a civilian can understand) when we see the uniform.

We keep the home-fire lit and our babies at bay. We manage the home-front with grace and ease mixed with a few fumbles and a bit of heartache. We may not be "issued" but we are chosen!

We depend on friends, mentors, networks and far away family to get us through the tough times.

We use strength to carry us. Distance to mold us. Tears to soften us. Laughter to brighten us. Perseverance to humble us.

To all the military-spouses I wish you a Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day! (Friday, May 8th) It is a proclamation from a president in years past. It is a the wish for a day full of cheer. It is a hope that although your burdens are heavy, that your future will be bright.

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

May Featured Military Reward


Summer is quickly approaching so this ad at Ft Carson brought a lot of sympathy votes for hot temperatures, family times and ice cream!



This Month's Featured Military Reward is given to:


Cold Stone Creamery

Their Military Reward says:

Come see us for Military Mondays! Receive 15% off with your Military ID (Mondays Only)



Click here to view coupon featured at Ft Carson!

A special thank you to Cold Stone Creamery and all of our MAPP partners for supporting your military community with your Rewards.


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".

Morel Mushroom Mania

We are having the most beautiful spring season that I can remember! The front yard is painted with pastels and lavender. Red bud trees (which are covered in pink-purple... don't you think the powers that be would have picked a purple name?) are out in bloom. Daffodils are still up and tulips have spotted the our gardens with deep dark red. It is just gorgeous out there!

As we walked and took in the palate of colors and the scents of the blooms, we spotted in the grass a gazillion morels! Never before had we noticed them growing... or maybe this is the first time they appeared here.

We know folks who went hunting these beauties. They took long walks in the woods in search of this treasure. I wondered if it was like submarine race watching, or snipe hunting... a game that young couples played: but there they stood ready for us to gather.

So, I am searching the Internet for recipes. I found instructions to dry them for future meals. It is such fun to have something totally new presented to me.

We are working hard to put in the vegetable garden that will keep us busy throughout the summer. This surprise crop has be eager to keep picking fresh food. The quarter acre plot garden requires rototilling, fertilizing, and fence mending. The mushroom crop required a beautiful day, a walk and a bucket. I understand the hunt now. It is real! It is fun. I recommend getting out there in the woods with someone special. Might not be anything to pick, but it will be worth the time spent!

Happy May Day!

May 1st. A day I *HATED* as a child.
Mom would gather all of her construction paper, glue, markers, and tape together and we would sit at the table after school and make little baskets. Then she would fill the make-shift construction-paper baskets with candy and we would all head outside. Ah, what great memories... until happy memories came to a grinding, screeching halt...

Myself, two brothers and my best friend in Lubbock Texas.  Note the pouty shouldered girl in the middle... that would be me. The three of us, myself and two younger brothers, and any neighborhood friends we would rally up to make May Day baskets would all line up in the front yard, our backs all facing the same direction. Then the competition would begin. Mom would start the game by putting one basket behind a person (*never* me, I'm quite certain) and then they would have to chase her and give her a kiss. Once they betrothed their kiss on my mom's cheek they got to pick the next victim. (I'm not sounding a little cynical about all of this, am I?) They would place the basket behind said-victim's back, tap them on the shoulder and then RUN, trying their darndest not to be caught. Once the person had been tapped they could start the chase.

For some reason I was never the PRIZE person to choose and was usually the last to be picked. Usually, it was one of my brothers who even at 2 & 4 years younger than me could way out run me. (I was not very athletic! Barbie Dolls and Play Dough and 'girlie things' were more my ideal.)

Competition. I HATED it. I still HATE it. I cringe when my two young-boys race to see who is faster. I go to my 'happy place' when my husband tries to one-up his brother. I think deep thoughts when my own brothers try to prove who is smarter / wiser / stronger. Competition is in no way a part of me.

May Day left me running till I could run no longer trying to catch someone I NEVER could catch. To give them a kiss I hardly felt like giving when all was said and done. Did it make me a stronger person? Hardly! But I sure enjoyed that candy in my make-shift construction-paper basket when all was said and done!

Ah memories... :) I hope you can create your own POSITIVE memories this May Day and days to follow!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

PS: I had to chuckle, my mom wrote a blog last year about the tradition: May Day: a Kid's Holiday That Might Not Be On The Calendar. If you are looking for a not-so-sour perspective of the day ;)
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