It is about Honor, Pride and Respect


... because they deserve nothing less.

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

How to Make a Vacation Journal for Your Kids

Ahhh... Vacation!

I'm in the middle of laundry, packing, cleaning out the frig and everything else that is involved when getting ready to hit the road for a family trip.  Our trip will be about 8 hours of driving time to a /great/ place to take the kids: Washington DC!  I am excited. My boys are pumped. The family is going to spend some great time together.

For our trip I wanted to share a little 'Journal' I'm putting together for the boys.  A place to store all of their paper memorabilia, a spot to jot their thoughts and draw pictures, a way to help them get excited and keep the excitement even when we return home in a few days.

What do you need to create your own Vacation Journal?  It can be simple!  A simple Notebook was all I used for a trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa a few years ago.  I taped a piece of paper to the front of the notebook that said "My Camp Grandpa Journal".  They drew in it, wrote in it, even taped branches and sticks they picked up on nature walks with Grandpa.  Grandma carved time out in their busy days to write (or draw) in their journals if they wanted to.  It was a great treasure. (and two years later they both still have them!)

For our Washington DC trip I made it a little more extensive. 

  1. Three ring-binder with pockets.  This is their Vacation Journal.  Everything else will fit into it.
  2. Loose leaf notebook paper to put in binder.  The kids can draw in them, write in them if they are old enough or a little of both.  If there is a lull in your vacation suggest (don't require!) that they could write down what they saw that day or what they learned.  Learning to journal at a young age is a great life-tool!
  3. Binder Pouch to hold items listed below
  4. Tape to attach things to their paper that they might pick up during their vacation
  5. Some pens, crayons and pencils to write and draw with
  6. Little "reporter"-notepads that they can bring with them into the museums.  Less bulky than the big binder and perfect for writing down what they see in the moment
  7. I also picked up some laminated US Maps in the Atlas section of the store.  (You can also print a US Map to save a dollar)  This will go in the front of their binder and is for the road trip.  A great way to talk about the different states is to look for license plates along the way.  This will give them a frame of reference as to where the different states fall on a map.  Looking for license plates is also a great trip time-passing game.
  8. Some tiny dot-stickers to put on each state that they see a license plate for
  9. I printed a few games from MomsMinivan that I will also hole-punch and place in their binders to pass some more time along the way


Vacations-Journals are a great way for the kids to relive their own vacations again and again!  I hope you can have some fun putting together something for your next road trip.

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Financial Education for your Children

There is no one, perfect way to start teaching your children about finances.  However, there is a wrong way and that wrong way is to ignore it and assume that they are too young, don't need to be 'taught' or just feel as a parent that you aren't up to the challenge.  Start your children out on the right foot and help them learn to navigate the world of finances.  You never know you might learn something along the way!

Be a Role Model
How do you pay for things? Do you buy 'wants' and then fuss and fret about not being able to pay for the 'needs'?  It is important to teach children how to save but showing them how to spend money wisely is just as important.  Create a budget for your family.  After you have your budget set, share it (maybe as a percentage) with the kids.  Talk with them about what you need and what you want with the family.  A great article from USAA, "Budgeting Basics - Needs vs Wants", asks the question about Friday night pizza:  "Is this something that we need to do or simply something that we want to do? My kids say need. My wife and I say want."  A little discussion will show them how important a budget is and helps make our wants more affordable.


Education Begins at home
In a Northwestern Mutual survey, 43 percent of parents said they believed schools should be doing more money education.  Kids do need to learn money management at a young age but I'm not sure school should be the core-educators.  According to an article from the Navy's Fleet and Family Support Centers, Financially Fit Kids, "Studies show that the single most important place where children learn about money is in the home and the most important teachers are their parents."  We hold such an important role as parents.  We are their primary trainers and can not rely on outside educators to show our children the proper way to save a dollar, spend a dollar and budget a dollar.  If you don't feel comfortable then take the time to educate yourself!  There are a wealth of articles out there from reputable resources that are there to help you.
Here is a small sample of articles to get you started:
Discuss with your children what you learned and help them apply it to their own circumstance.  If you have decided you want to be better about using coupons, as an example, talk to your kids about it as you clip them from the Sunday Morning paper.  Take them grocery shopping with you and show them the coupons you have clipped and then compare prices with them.  This can be a great lesson for a 2nd or 3rd grader!  (And talk about a great Math lesson, too!)  Not only are you reinforcing new behaviours for yourself but you are teaching them behaviours that they can tuck away and have as a basis for their own financial education.


What do you tie your allowance to?
I believe very strongly that household-chores are part of being a family.  When we do "5-minute jobs" on Saturdays, they aren't going to be paid.  When they empty the dishwasher, they aren't going to be paid.  When they clean up their toys in the family room, they aren't going to be paid.  Why?  Because I am not paid to make dinner.  My husband is not paid to pack their lunches.  They are not paid for household chores.  It is part of being a family! 

I appreciated this comment on an article at USAA.com,  Making Allowances: "Experts say there's no single, right way to approach the big allowance debate [To pay for chores — or not?]."  I know there are some strong arguments that allowance should be tied to chores; and I won't refute them.  It is a personal decision.  You as a parent need to make a decision as to what to tie your allowance to and then stick with it.

My family ties allowance to school.  Right now their job is going to school, getting their homework done, earning good grades.  When a report card comes home with straight-A's or they have significantly improved in an area that was lacking they get a bonus.  My 2nd grader lights up when he is handed $5 for his report card full of As.  Our teenager has enjoyed a significant 'pay increase' over the years from maintaining a near perfect-card.  I suspect our now kindergartner will struggle more but we will find ways to encourage him to do his best.


How do you help facilitate long-term saving for your child?
My parents gave us a dollar for every dollar we put in to our college account when we were young, like a 401(k) plan for kids!   This worked well especially when I came home with babysitting money.  I saved some for my wallet but it felt so good to give my parents $10 for the bank and to see the deposit of $20!  By the time I was ready for college I had money to help fund my own education.  This helped my parents set aside as well and it was a great lesson in savings account interest.

For my own children now, my husband and I keep all out change in a change sorting bank, something similar to this bank at Amazon.com.  When we fill up a row of pennies, nickles, dimes or quarters we roll it and put it in one of the child's piggy banks ready for our next trip to the credit union.  It's just a little bit extra for their accounts but the boys can help us roll the money and it also shows how quickly pocket-change can add up!


Ignorance is not bliss.
Almost three years ago I wrote a blog about Financial Independence:
Financial Independence re-visited. So now we have Josh and his new-found checkbook and ATM card. My husband has set it up so that his allowance is automatically deposited into his account twice a month, much like a paycheck. (Ah... that is one thing off of my financial "to-do" list while Paul is deployed; remembering to pay allowance.)... - Financial (In)dependence
When I was 16 I had my first credit card.  When our oldest was 14 he had his first checking account.  All of us have had savings accounts since we were babies.  It all sounds so young but it works!  It is a great way to educate your children before they sprout wings and leave the nest.  It ties back to 'Education at Home'. If you open an account for your child show them the dividends and earnings they make on their savings account.  When they have their first checking account help them balance their statement each month.  When they are financially-savvy enough to handle a credit card make there no question that it will be paid each month!  Don't set them up for failure.  Teach them.  Walk hand in hand and they will be ready to fly.


- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com


If all this has you thinking, be sure to read the book "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees" by Neale S. Godfrey.  It was given to me at a recent military support event and I enjoyed reading it.  It is full of tips, games, and much more that will help you teach your children from as young as two through their teenage years about money.

Easter Sunday Reflections: Promise and Strength

Easter, a beautiful day of Bonnets, Baskets and yummy chocolate-Bunnies.

But first and foremost it is a day of promise.  A promise fulfilled, a promise for today, and a promise to come.

"Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow!"

Where do you find your strength?  It is easy to lose heart when we don't remember the promises of God.  Today at church our pastor reminded us of some wonderful verses to hold on tight to. I hope they can help you:

Are you...

Troubled
Psalm 9:9 - The Lord is a refuge
Isaiah 43: 1-2 "I have called you by name; you are mine"

Discouraged
Joshua 1:9 - He will be with you where ever you go
Psalm 27:14 - "Be brave and courageous"

Filled with Guilt
Psalm 103:12 - "... as far as the east is from the west"
Micah 7: 18-19 - "and throw our transgressions into the depths of the ocean"

Wounded by abuse, addictions, ...
Joel 2:25 - There is Restoration!
Spring time in our soul!  What a beautiful picture.

Concerned about your future
Jeremiah 29:11 - "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"
Romans 8:18 - Nothing compares to what is to come!

Anxious
Philippians 4:6-7 - "Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done."
Isaiah 26:3 - Peace instead of anxiety

Worried about money
Matthew 6:31-33 - God knows what you need!
Philippians 4:19 - "God will meet all your needs"

Feeling lonely or unappreciated
Isaiah 54:10- "My unfailing love for you will not be shaken"
NOTHING can separate us from the love of God

What reminds you of God's love?  The sunrise?, an unexpected check in the mail?, a smile from a stranger?  What can you do to remind others of God's love?  Be an encourager.  Send a note to a friend, bake some cookies for someone who is down, smile and offer a hand to someone who needs it.

I hope the Promise that arose from the dead two-thousand years ago reminds you of the strength you can hold to today.

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com


PS - There are a lot of verses but my two favorite from above are Romans 8:38-39 and Song of Solomon 2:11-12.  What amazing images these two pieces conjure up for me.  I hope that if you are in need you can glean something from this.  I know what a treasure all these promises are!

Flourless Baked Berry Oatmeal Brunch Crunch

Sunrise service coming up with a brunch to follow. What to bring? When folks are allergic to flour, they search the table... When sugar is not friendly to a diabetic, they search the table.
Here is a recipe for a flour less dish using Splenda Brown sugar.

Baked Oatmeal

1 1/2 C frozen blackberries
1 T molasses
1 1/3 c regular oats (Quaker oats)
2 large eggs
1/4 c firmly packed Splenda brown sugar (if using regular brown sugar use 1/2 c.)
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 t. baking soda
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2/3 c water
1/4 c melted butter
Topping
1/2 c slivered almonds

Spread blackberries evenly on the bottom of a lightly greased 8" square dish. Turn oven on to 350 degrees. Place baking dish in the oven as it comes up to temperature. Allow berries to render juices and thaw. Remove from the oven when they are thawed and juice is visible.

Combine all ingredients except for topping in a large bowl, stirring until blended. Pour oat mixture evenly over the blackberries.

Bake, covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; uncover and add almonds. Return to oven and back 15 more minutes or until golden brown and set.

Other option:
Apple-pecan Baked Oatmeal

Place 1/2 c pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until toasted, stirring once.
Peel 3 granny smith apples and slice thin. Spread on bottom of a lightly greased 8" baking dish. Sprinkle toasted pecans over apples. Prepare oat mixture as directed and pour evenly over apples and pecans. Omit almonds.
Bake as directed.

Disregarding Allergy: A Sweet Sensation

Allergies... disgusting.
Disgruntling: scratchy throat, drainage
Disparaging: headache
Disrespectful of our happiness!
But my goodness seems everyone has an allergy of some type, and at some time.
Our household has hay fever, pine pollen, and yucky moldy oak leaves. However, we LOVE being outside. So, will allergies stop us.... no way.
So on this Earth Day... it is time to get out and check out the garden for tiny spinach leaves or pea plants that should be poking out.
Time for Kleenex, hydration and hot drinks.
My elixir is coffee. I know... not the best for hydration, but oh how it soothes and gives me a bit of zip.
Dale cuddles his cup of tea. And today, for a change from the lemon and honey, a peppermint stick candy cane brought a smile. Better yet, a "Oh, that's good!" came from a nasally voice.
Let's go get the garden! Can't stop fantasy farmers just by eyes and noses that are disturbed.
Got an allergy? Got a cure? We would love to hear them, but will have to take off the muddy boots, jacket and cap first... it is April, it is chilly, and it is time to get going!
Have a great day.

Free Tree at Lowes for Earth Day

There are some companies that give back to the community over and over.  Lowes is one of my favorites! 

It started with a Memorial Day and Veterans Day discount for all Veterans.
It evolved to a 10% Military Discount all year for Active Duty, National Guard, Reserves and Retirees.

For that alone I give them a huge THANK YOU!

Now I want to thank them for giving away a million trees!  Head to your local Lowes on Saturday, April 23rd where they are celebrating Earth Day.  What a great way to to appreciate and give back to our earth.  Plant your free-gift with your children.  Talk about how important our trees are.  Discuss recycling and reusing and how that can save trees all around our planet!

Thank you, Lowes, for supporting our military, our families, and our future!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Free Books from Scholastic and Kumon

Let books be your dining table,
And you shall be full of delights
Let them be your mattress
And you shall sleep restful nights.
~Author Unknown

Reading is food for the soul!  My boys are blessed with a bookshelf overflowing with books.  In fact, usually the messiest part of their room is books on the floor after being sorted through to find their choice piece of work for the moment, many minutes or hour.  I love books.  I love that THEY love books.  They love to re-read old favorites and they love the gift of a new book.

I was excited to learn that Scholastic and Kumon have partnered to offer five free books to children if they do a small packet of age-appropriate worksheets (two math and two reading related).  What a wonderful prize!  This worked out well for us as we have just started our Spring Break.  Each morning they will do part of their worksheet and we will be done by the end of our break from school.    Head to the Learn and Earn Center to get started!  The offer ends either (a) when 1,250 Sets have been awarded or (b) October 15, 2011.



- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Tasty Tuesday Peaches and Cream Pie OH MY!

Have company....
Have desserts ....
Have laughter, discussions and seconds.

That is just what we did this weekend. Friends over, Easter candy out in dishes, Blackberry Grunt and Peaches and Cream Pie warm from the oven....
OH MY!

Somehow the clock propelled around it's face faster than a comet across the sky.

Seem great friends come with military families. With friends come some great recipes that were first tasted in Kadena, or Osan; perhaps Ramstein or Queensland. This peaches and cream pie hit my taste buds in Florida. Sunshine state lit up my curiosity and the 'chef' handed it over!
Now it is yours to share at your table. Enjoy!

Peaches and Cream Pie
3/4 c all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 egg
1/2 c milk
1 pkg (3 1/4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
1 (1 lb 13 oz) can sliced peaches - or 2 pints canned peaches DRAINED
3 T drained peach juice


Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Beat 2 minutes. Spray a 9" pie pan with Pam. Spread the mixture bottom and up the sides of the pie pan. Cover with the sliced peaches.


Topping:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
3 T of reserved peach liquid



Beat 2 minutes and spoon over top of peaches.

Sprinkle with 1 T sugar and 1/2 t ground cinnamon over the cheese topping.

Bake in 350 degree preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Filling will appear to be soft.

Peaches and Cream! It not only sounds right, but hits the sweet spot!

“Let’s Move” How Healthy Are You and Your Military Family? - DoD Roundtable

We see it everyday! Sometimes in our own mirror, in family members, at the Exchange, at church/chapel, around town, while visiting family and at the doctor’s office: Many Americans including our children are overweight! We need to get active! The “Let’s Move” campaign is a national effort to improve our health and we need to get going! As the military order goes, "Move Out" on this one!

"She said the campaign was focusing on three targets: Diet, Activity and Screen Time."

I am encouraged by the interest of our country’s leaders taking a stand because this is becoming a health care issue with record numbers of childhood diabetes, adult onset diabetes and other complications from carrying those extra pounds. It is becoming a national security issue as well! Many potential recruits are not qualified due to their weight!! They may be great at computer games but not at physical activities that our service members need to be in order to accomplish the mission. Yesterday, MilitaryAvenue met with Ms. Barbara Thompson, Director of Office of Family Policy, Children & Youth at Military Community and Family Policy during the DoD Bloggers’ Roundtable to discuss the military version of the program. She said the campaign was focusing on three targets: Diet, Activity and Screen Time.

All three make perfect sense to improve our health! I love activity and have learned to enjoy more vegetables in my diet but fortunately never had the urge or time to do a lot of TV watching (maybe it was the AFRTS commercials overseas that helped me make that choice). However, I have become due to my new line of work, a computer junkie! The more screen time, the less activity time! The more sugar and fat in your diet, with reduced activity means weight gain for all of us.

This is not an easy issue for our military families but Ms. Thompson offered a number of ideas and resources and MilitaryAvenue has some as well in our Reading Room and blogs! The DoD Family Centers on military installations are a ready resource with information and classes on diet with curriculum focusing on the campaign. New policies include providing military the community with gardening plots on the installation, etc. Do you like to get your fingers in the dirt? Garden plots on the installations are going to be available for the military community to grow your own vegetables! In the civilian community? Turn a small piece of your yard into a garden and teach your children the fun of planting, caring for and picking their own food! It beats a Happy Meal a day anytime!

I asked if the program had any additional funding to help spread the word and Thompson said no, they were drawing on previous funds, US Department of Agriculture and Land Grant Universities for curriculum and materials! Military One Source has a teen program, “I Can Thrive” and installation youth programs are partnering with Boys/Girls Clubs, 4 H Clubs and others. School lunches are being evaluated and sugary drinks are being removed from vending machines. Have you heard of 5210?

Five (5) fruits/vegetables a day, a maximum of two (2) hours of screen time (TV or computer games), one (1) hour of exercise and zero (0) sugar drinks! Great standards and goals for parents to help their children be healthier and better citizens! Parents are the key to this campaign! “Let’s Move” relies on parents to be motivated about their own health and their family’s as well! We would never wish for our children to be obese or give them an illness but without the tools and discipline that parents can provide that is what America looks like! Lets turn that around! Here is a great list of articles for more information from MilitaryAvenue to help you get started! Oh, and one more thought! Feeling stressed? Exercise is one of the best stress relievers available so take that walk today to get started!

DOD Takes Steps to Combat Childhood Obesity -
http://www.militaryavenue.com/Articles/DOD+Takes+Steps+to+Combat+Childhood+Obesity-36297.aspx

First Lady Michelle Obama Visits Fort Jackson -
http://www.militaryavenue.com/Articles/First+Lady+Michelle+Obama+Visits+Fort+Jackson-36199.aspx

TRICARE Encourages Military Kids to "Move" on Childhood Obesity - http://www.militaryavenue.com/Articles/TRICARE+Encourages+Military+Kids+to+Move+on+Childhood+Obesity-34947.aspx

Family Matters Blog: Childhood Obesity Hits Home for Blogger - http://www.militaryavenue.com/Articles/Family+Matters+Blog-+Childhood+Obesity+Hits+Home+for+Blogger-36591.aspx

TRICARE Schools Parents on Nutrition with Article Series -
http://www.militaryavenue.com/Articles/TRICARE+Schools+Parents+on+Nutrition+with+Article+Series-33676.aspx

Pentagon Urges Employees to ‘Leap’ Into Fitness-
http://www.militaryavenue.com/Articles/Pentagon+Urges+Employees+to+Leap+Into+Fitness-34818.aspx

A Snow Day Workout for TRICARE Kids
http://www.militaryavenue.com/Articles/A+Snow+Day+Workout+for+TRICARE+Kids-36390.aspx

Coping with stress -
http://militaryblog.militaryavenue.com/2010/03/coping-with-stress.html

If you would like to listen or read a transcript of this very informative Roundtable with Ms. Thompson, please go to DoDLive!





Photo Credits: MilitaryAvenue.com

Family trip to Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids Michigan

Vegetables from the family garden and local farmers market home canned for freshness and vitamin retention

Wild blackberries and lettuce from family garden

A winter family hike on the Lake Michigan shoreline

Earth Day, Everyday at MilitaryAvenue

My husband is the budget guy, I am the environmentally conscious one.  I love hanging the laundry on an outdoor rack/line.  I am using less electricity ("non-renewable resource") and letting the sun and the wind do its job.  My husband loves it because it helps keep our gas bill down during the summer.  I love open windows in the spring, summer and autumn!  For me, it's all about the fresh air in the house using renewable resources.  For my husband, it's all about the lack of air conditioning to drive up the electric bill. 

There are other simple things we do to live in harmony.  I make homemade yogurt.  Not only is it delicious but *less packaging*, less garbage.  My husband calculated it (yes, yes he did!) and it is about half as much to make as it is to buy the individual packages in the store.  Our family of six eats about four 8oz-jars of yogurt a day.  It adds up.  I imagine you  are starting to see the theme.  It it is economical to make Earth Day everyday. 

Another way I enjoy Earth Day everyday, this year I have been so much better about keeping our reusable bags in the trunk and then remembering to pull them out at the grocery store. Those blue bags are actually VERY nice. They hold a lot more grocery per bag. They sit up nicer in the trunk of my van. They are much less awkward then the store-plastic bags when carting our new purchases into the house. It is win-win-win for me to use these bags!  "Earth Day everyday" is about making a new routine a habit.  Then it all falls into place.

Here are some more thoughts about Earth Day everyday on MilitaryAvenue:    


Earth Day


I will tell you I'm not a 'tree-hugger'. I spend probably too much money on pre-packaged foods. I always seem to forget to bring my own environmentally-friendly bags to stores - even though I do have a few of them. I don't drive an oversized-SUV but my smaller size mini-van isn't exactly the most economical vehicle out there.

But I do care.

I do know that I can make a difference.

Continue Reading
The Many Benefits of a Garden

We had our first taste of spring here in Northeast-Ohio this week. Windows cracked, doors open, breathe in that fresh air! With this taste of weather to come brings thoughts of my summer garden. I have bought the seeds, diagrammed what and where I am going to plant, and dreamed big thoughts about this upcoming summer's produce. The Garden, my passion, on so many fronts. It embodies good health, good stewardship, and good eats!

Continue Reading

Ways to Cut Home Energy Costs - Conserving energy not only helps your budget, it helps conserve other earth-given resources.  Use cold water instead of hot water to wash your laundry, use less air condition and more ceiling fans, look for EnergyStar appliances when you need to replace older appliances.  There are many more tips in this article from USAA. Continue Reading



Household Penny Pinching from the House Guy! (Conserve water, buy a programmable thermostat, and other helpful tips that conserve our earthly-resources)

We owned homes while on active duty but spent a lot of time in military housing too as we moved so many times. One of the challenges of post military living has been household expenses and budgeting. We chose to live near family in a cold winter environment with a propane tank due to our country lifestyle. As we try to control electrical and propane bills we also saw the rise of fuel prices so it became critical to maintaining our costs. We like to travel and needed to see what we could do to save precious resources. We also saw it as a way to decrease demand and increase supply and help our environment. Our dollars saved can go into the penny pot for travel! So here are some Household Penny Pinching ideas that we found to be very helpful:  Continue Reading 



My tomato plants are growing in a sunny spot in the kitchen, waiting for warmer days to plant in the family garden.  My husband said to me just yesterday, "I can't wait to get these planted so that we can stock up on homemade pasta-sauce."  He loves the taste of homemade sauce and the economics of not buying the jars of sauce on the grocery shelves.  I love the process of growing a plant, putting it in the ground and then enjoying the fruits of my labor.  Earth day everyday.  Let's all enjoy the fruits of our labor for many years to come! 

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

A Dedication to my 6 year old

Happy Birthday to my *C*!  He turned six on Saturday.  It was a day filled with fun befitting our six-year old prince.  A 9:30am birthday party with 15 of his kindergarten friends; a 3:00pm soccer game in the rain and major-mud (see picture for the after-soccer game look); a favorite dinner of pasta, meatballs and bread, which after all the earlier fun in the day I had to wake him up off of the couch for.  Then to top it all off sundae-desserts at our kitchen counter.  It was just a great day!

This little boy is a light in my life.  He has the strength of a military-child.  The heart of a lover.  The thoughts of an artist.  The mind of a dreamer (seriously... he can still fall asleep /anywhere/.)  He is  so very different than his brothers and has taught me, as a mom, that there are no cookie-cutters when it comes to children.  (Really, I had to be taught that? Yep)  So my dear, *C*, here is to 6 more years, and 6 more years and 6 times 6 more years with some more to spare.

Mom LOVES you!

By the way, I love birthdays! In this hustle and bustle world it can be hard to remember to celebrate those that you love. Birthdays are just the perfect reminder to do that.  Here is a short little video dedicated to one of my favorite princes!


Seems Comfort Is Not Immediate and Abuse is Prevalent

Music plays in my life like breezes in an open field, sometimes noticeable, often relaxing and at times bone chilling. I hear songs in the background without recognizing the words. I might know them; I did when I first added an album to a playlist, but now, they fit in.

Robert’s desk was front row, front seat. Robert was Robert, not Robbie, Bob or Bobby: Robert. He would cringe when an unfamiliar person would call him Bobby. I saw it as I was the substitute teacher who was coming in February to finish the school year: 6th grade math and home room.

Robert could not sit still. He would squirm; move side to side in his seat, tensed.

Time to talk to the school nurse. She was a wizard to whom I went with questions about several of my 11 and 12 year old pupils. Everyone needs a wizard in their life!

The back of the classroom was her perch; her loving eyes watched my students. She knew them, knew when they moved on base, and heard when they were leaving. She was a rock to whom they turned when they weren’t feeling well: feverish or just heart sick. She gave them access to her room and life.

Robert filled her vision and her day today.

After class I went down to her office. I was thinking he had an uncomfortable rash or something on those lines. Our school nurse had already called Robert in, called whomever it was that procedure instructed her to do. Child protective services were in action. Robert was being abused by his Mom’s boyfriend.

UGH! Oh no! How long? All of these thoughts/questions thunder~bolted through my skin.

Abuse? It is a creepy, sickening occurrence that chars our world. Abuse could be scorching a child in your housing complex, it is in your community.

What to do?

Who to talk to?

What are the repercussions if you are right?

What if you are wrong? Who is served? Who is neglected?

What is worse?

I am brought back to today, now, music that has just slapped me in the ear.

Amy Grant song (1991): Ask Me youtube.com video

It makes my skin crawl, tears flow and breath stop.

Suzanne Vega: Luka youtube.com video

Marina McBride: Concrete Angel youtube.com video

Michael W Smith: Leave video

Genesis: You’re No Son Of Mine youtube.com video

Aerosmith: Janie’s Got A Gun youtube.com video

Look at children. See their innocence. Do not let them be robbed or scarred .

Where do we find the wizard in our life now? To whom can we turn?

In this month of the Military Child know that there is help.

A DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable has been scheduled to discuss Child Abuse Prevention Month. David Lloyd, director of Family Advocacy Program will be joining in on the call.

This will an emotional topic! Again, the music on my computer is streaming throughout the house, now it is working as a solace for me.

On the playlist is the final song of the afternoon: Michael W. Smith's Calling Heaven.

Volunteer Appreciation Week - DoD Roundtable

The American spirit! We see it all around us!

Did you know this week was Volunteer Appreciation Week? Who do you think are America’s best volunteers? I give a vote for our all volunteer armed forces involved in three wars that began 10 years ago and yet we still have a force that makes its recruitment and re-enlistment goals each year! How about the American military family? They sacrifice so much and work so hard to take care of themselves and still find time to volunteer and support their communities!

During my times as a military leader and even now I realize that many of the on the installation organizations could not function without all the hours of volunteer work from military spouses, service members and military kids! They do it all! In the civilian world I see hours and hours of work at our local church to provide services and care for our youth, the local group that keeps our nature trail clean, the outpouring of support for parades recognizing our country’s heritage, our veterans, those who died protecting all of us and much more!

To highlight this week the DoD Bloggers’ Roundtable met with Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy) who was excited about many of the same things! He said he had a better appreciation for American volunteers after studying volunteerism in other countries. He said the key to much of the current efforts is the use of social media to spread the word about volunteer opportunities and needs. Military families are also serving outside the installation gates and many need help outside the gates too! He cited the United We Serve website as a tool to find needs and ways to volunteer as well!

He mentioned the program announced from the White House to enlist civilian support for military families by the First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr Biden, our Second Lady. Approximately 70% of the military community live, worship and play in their civilian communities! They support their schools, churches, civic minded groups and others with their time and giving! Gordon said that private/public partnerships are critical to identifying needs and filling the gaps of services available. Not a new effort but the door is being opened to strengthen these ties. One example that he identified was in the realm of childcare. With the military families needing child care beyond the capacity of DoD facilities, the department has opened agreements with 13 communities across the nation to assist with child care needs! The President has declared that military family support is a national priority!

In addition to the needs of the active forces and their families Gordon also highlighted the Yellow Ribbon program of the National Guard and Reserve forces to support their members spread throughout the civilian communities with information, referrals, support services available and benefits, both public and military. My own experience with a son in law in the National Guard is that they have a critical outreach to connect with Americans who have little to no knowledge of the military lifestyle.

A key question for Gordon was how to translate volunteering into employment opportunities? He said the spouse education and career initiatives translate into a skill set that can be used by employers. Organizing, working with diverse groups, a work spirit and enthusiasm create job preparation skills. He closed with a comment on volunteerism that I thought was insightful. Volunteerism demonstrates 1) selflessness and 2) selfishness. We show we care for others by volunteering and we care for ourselves by doing the same volunteering! We are a better country for our volunteers and we are better individuals for it as well!

You can find some very interesting and military hot topic subjects such as TBI, PTSD, support programs and other Roundtable discussions on MilitaryAvenue's Blogs! If you would like to listen to the audio of this very interesting Roundtable please go to DoDLive!

PS: Have you heard of the campaign to make the military family the Time Magazine Person of the Year for 2011! I so think they deserve this recognition! There is a ground swell of support; be sure to find out more and how you can join in this recognition!






02/26/2011 - A participant is covered in mud during the 17th Annual Combat Logistic Battalion-3's Swamp Romp aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Feb. 26, 2011. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Jody Lee Smith/Released

04/12/2011 Photo Credit: Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy). DoD official photo.

02/14/2011 - Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, talks with U.S. Army spouses at Fort Stewart, Ga., Feb. 14, 2011. Biden visited Fort Stewart as part of the White House administration's ongoing work to raise awareness about military families and the challenges they face when a family member deploys. (U.S. Army photo by D

Building Resiliency in Military Children

/ Resilient /: Able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.

There are SO many words that can describe a Military-Child.  Resilient is the word that pops in to my head, first and foremost.  Other great descriptions:

Loyal - Adaptable - Strong - Supportive - Compassionate - Empowered

These are important words for a military-child!  Sometimes they come naturally, sometimes they may need to be reinforced.  This week Star Henderson and Tara Crooks of  Army Wife Network took the time to talk with Ingrid Torres-McCullough of the American Red Cross on the topic of building resiliency in military children.  What are symptoms of childhood-stress?  How do you help your child through the stress?  What about the extra stress of being a military-child?  Great questions!  Find your answers; take a listen and enjoy!


Listen to internet radio with Army Wife Talk Radio on Blog Talk Radio
(Ingrid Torres-McCullough begins speaking with our friends, Star and Tara at about the 35 minute mark.)

What do you need to do to support a Military Child?

Listen - Tolerance - Respect
Positivity

... and very importantly as a Military-Parent, Take Care of Yourself!


- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

Sermon Notes: We are Equipped

Many years ago (back in high school) I read a book This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti. I was never a big reader but this book captivated me, scared me, reminded me of the Protection that surrounds me. I can distinctly remember going into my family room while in the midst of this book one late night, turning on my parents' new CD player, finding my dad's good head-set and blasting the song, "Ashton" by Michael W. Smith.... (ok, maybe there is a reason I'm a little deaf. But I digress.) Ashton is also the name of the town that This Present Darkness takes place in. A town where angels and demons battle. Anytown, USA. It could, in fact, be your town. And while I was immersed in this book I could hear and FEEL the battles taking place in MWS's late-1980s song (no lyrics, pure synthesizer) that he wrote based on the book. It was literally one of those steps forward in my relationship with Christ. He used that music and that book to remind me that no matter what He's there!

Flash forward to today. We talked in church about Evil. Pure, Genuine, Evil. Evil that surrounds us everyday. Evil that attacks us when we are new Christians, when we are afflicted, when we are idle, when we are isolated, when we are dying, even when we achieve success.

Have you ever felt any of these? I know that when my husband was deployed there could have been a whole lot of isolation and idleness (The boys went to bed and I had hours after that because I had a hard time falling asleep with hubs gone.) These are times, according to William Gurnall in The Christian in Complete Armor, when Evil and all of his henchmen (the Devil and his fallen angels) will find us. But wait...

Have you read Ephesians 6:10-17? What an image! We are armored, protected, suited up for this battle.

  • A Belt of Truth
  • The Breastplate of Righteousness
  • Shoes of Peace
  • A Shield of Faith
  • A Helmet of Salvation
  • and our weapon, the Sword. The Word of God.
What protection! What protection as Christians we find from the Lord of Hosts. Our pastor ended today by quoting the lyrics from "A Mighty Fortress is Our God", a timeless hymn:

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.

I'm so fortunate to be a part of that Kingdom. To have this armor. To call this Lord, "My Protector"!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

A Recipe for Summer: Sun Tea

Sun Tea!  My favorite drink.  It is sunny skies, warm weather and the sounds of summer wrapped up and packaged in a glass jar.  A few years ago I perfected my family's favorite version of sun-tea and I thought I'd share it with you.

6 tea-bags.  (I use Lipton Tea, found in an economy box of 100.)
2 quarts of cold water
1 two-quart glass jar.  Nothing expensive required!

Using your glass jar combine the ingredients and let it sit in a nice sunny-warm spot for two or three hours.  My deck table is ideal.  The longer you let it sit, the stronger your tea will be.  So you can play with the time to see what your own preference is.

Bring your sun-tea in after the allotted time and pour it into a 4-quart (or 1 gallon) pitcher.  Add two more quarts of water and enough lemonade powder to make 2 quarts of lemonade. 

As a side note, for many summers I used Country Time lemonade-powder.  This past summer I was diagnosed with gestational-diabetes while pregnant with Baby Boy *L*.  Drinking any amount of my sun-tea sent my sugar sky-rocketing.  So I switched to Crystal Light lemonade-powder.  What a difference!  Even after being cleared of diabetes I still prefer their less sugary-lemonade for my own health and my boys own sugar intake.

Stir the lemonade and tea together.  Pour into a glass with some ice and WA-LA.  Summer in a cup.


Cheers!


By the way, making drinks like this is so much less expensive and more earth-friendly than buying cans of soda, juice boxes, or any individually packaged drink. As you are taking a look at your own budget think about the small ways you can save. They add up! We fill up our sports bottles on 'soccer and baseball game days', keep plenty of cups so that I can serve the neighbors when they are over, and just generally fill our cups up when we need a drink. There are so many reasons to make a pitcher of YOUR favorite drink this summer!

You Are Dismissed!

"You are Dismissed!" Some of the sweetest words spoken to a hot sweaty classroom of 5th or 6th graders at the end of the year.

Should you ever be brought to traffic court for a ticket... and then that ticket is dismissed... ahhhhh... exhilarating!

However, when bringing the car in for a check up, under what I thought was warranty... not a good dismissal.
We purchased the car not quite 2 years ago, about 30 from our home. LOVE the car, hate the gas prices, but I digress. We drive cross country, zipping in and out of States like some folks drive in and out of their driveway.
A slight noise was noticeable when we closed the door... not bad, but it was there. Time to check this out. The car was still not two years old! Off to the car dealer I drove.
As the smartly dressed mechanic slid into the car seat, looked at the odometer, cocked his head and informed me that the warranty on this car is for 3 years, a smile broke out across my face. I can usually get anyone to talk. This guy was all business, and I felt like I interrupted his life, not only his day! "YEAH, that is great, thought it was only for two!"
A most disgusted face turned to me and informed me that we did not purchased the extended warranty... we had a 36,000 miles end point (which we exceeded long before we changed calendars this year). BOO.
You are dismissed.

Win a Gift from Wire-A-Cake for your Military-Child

Doesn't it feel good to receive a gift?

Children find a lot of joy in the act of giving.  I have homemade necklaces, paintings, and home decor from my boys as proof-positive!  They light up as I marvel at the beauty of my newest gift; beaded necklaces, hand-drawn art for the frig, even painted rocks from the garden.  Those gifts are a tangible expression of their love for me.

With this in mind we, MilitaryAvenue, have partnered with Wire-A-Cake, a great military-support company, to help celebrate the Month of the Military Child!  We want to send a military-child a cake as a thank you for their sacrifices! 

What do you have to do to win a cake for your military-child?
Wasn't that a piece of cake?!

We will have a random drawing, after the nominations close on Monday, April 25, 5:00 PM PT.  Wire-A-Cake will be in contact to verify the mailing address for the gift from all of us to your child!

Now head on over to Facebook and nominate your Military-Child!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com


Questions About Wire-A-Cake?  Head over to their website to learn more.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Month of the Military Child


What is DoD doing about Traumatic Brain Injury’s Impact on Our Service Members and Their Families?

In March, I read a book about a neurosurgeon’s life, “The Gray Matter” which delved into the intricacies of the brain and how the author, Dr David Levy, had helped save and improve lives through surgery on the brain. We have all been following Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords recovery from a penetrating brain injury in the news and the long road to recovery she is facing. With thousands of service member also having brain injuries from mild to severe the military community has a need for care and support as well.

The subject of brain injuries piqued my interest and I was excited to meet on Tuesday with the DoD Bloggers Roundtable with Ms Kathy Helmick, deputy director for TBI at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). She presented improvements that DoD has made and new methods to protect and care for those impacted by TBI.

As the lessons of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are learned, we find new ways to help our injured and protect them. Due to the fact that IEDs (improvised explosive device) have become the weapon of choice in both wars the number of TBI cases has significantly risen. Ms Helmick did divide TBI into two categories, severe (sometimes with penetration like Ms Gifford) and less than severe (such as a concussion). Under a new policy starting last summer, the military developed guidelines to identify potential concussion injuries in theatre to begin treatment quicker. The Military Acute Concussion Evaluation (MACE) is incident based and mandatory. If a service member is involved in an explosive incident, rollover or other potential brain trauma the policy kicks off a medical evaluation to determine if a concussion has occurred. The soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors can not be placed back on duty until this is completed to avoid the potential for a second incident that might create a more severe injury (like multiple injuries that boxers and football players have received).

During follow on treatment the medical community has also developed a unique tool kit with six guidelines meshed together to deal with multiple diagnoses such as TBI, PTSD, depression, etc. According to Hemlick this methodology does not exist in the civilian world as each illness or injury is treated on its own basis with no interaction between them. The tool kit is available to medical providers online at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. This is a great website with information for Service Members & Veterans, Family & Friends and Providers available.

The Family & Friends section has a Caregiver curriculum that consists of six modules and provides resources for the families of the TBI heroes. There are how to’s, help and assistance, etc listed in the modules. There is also an interactive map for finding a DVBIC location close to their home.

April is Month of the Military Child and their theme this year is Celebrate Military Children – the Strength of our Future so I asked about how we are helping the children impacted by a parent with TBI. Ms Helmick said there are now resources at Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury for military kids. When I went to the DCoE site it has featured content this month for resources for military children. She mentioned books for children such as “Our Daddy is Invincible” as well.

The Roundtable was a great way to spread the word about resources for our military community. Be sure to share this information with those you know! You might help a mom/dad dealing with a child’s fears and strengthen them for the future! Share this blog on your Facebook page for someone to see! These resources are there to help all of us!



Would you like to listen to this Roundtable? Go to DoDLive!






Photo Credit: Ms Kathy Hemlick, DoD Live

The Ultimate Military Road Trips

We just returned from a road trip of over 3,200 miles and it reminded us of a PCS except at the end I did not start a new job, there were not three kids in the backseat, the house was still there and we knew the way around our neighborhood! After 18 military moves we get frequent reminders of the military lifestyle and this time I thought about how we automatically do things to expedite our travels, find ways to save money and enjoy long trips.

One of the most expensive items (this may change if the price of a gallon of gas keeps going up) for a family traveling are hotel accommodations. While not always available and maybe off the track a bit, you may be able to find quarters on a military installation, particularly on a weekend unless the Guard or Reserves are working. PCS folks actually get a priority and it is worth a call or email and you can book in advance at most installations. Have you looked at which hotels offer a Military Discount?

We use a hotel chain to earn points and most offer a discount but you need to check in advance to be sure. Ask for it, if it is not mentioned, you might be surprised. We were reminded of another lesson when we had to make a change in our travel routing at the last minute. We called and asked about a hotel in a large city on our route and the price jumped big time (we usually do our own research online but this was a necessary on the road change)! We then asked for one 50 miles short and the price was less than one third of the previous quote! We went from $300 for a night to $100 (including taxes, etc). So plan to travel short or long of a major city!

Do you try to travel during less heavily traveled times if possible? We always try to hit urban areas at off peak hours to save gas and time! It is not too hard to do with a little planning. It might also save some stress and friction in the car while sitting slow or dead stopped! Funny, how you can hear the kids in the back seat better when waiting in traffic. The kids see the fast food places easier during slow downs too but you can save a bit with a small cooler with drinks in it and maybe sandwiches, fruit, healthy snack bars, etc if you have the time and energy. Stopping in rest areas and getting your stretches is important and certainly not as tempting for all those calories at the fast food places! Taking those breaks is critical to safety and good health as well! A bit of a walk/run around the rest area/park or walkways is always a benefit for feeling better mentally and physically for the next 100 plus miles!

Start looking for gas deals with a half tank! Comparing prices enroute is easy with all the billboard type of signs and if you see a lower one grab it! Much better than getting down to fumes and that tumbling tummy feeling while hoping for the next one to appear which just happens to be the highest priced one in 500 miles.

Pace yourself! I can drive for hours but after a recent illness kept me on the driving disabled list, I realized that riding can be as tough as driving in many situations. So getting a break and letting the spouse have a time at the wheel is beneficial for everyone! How about a day off? Take one day off at a zoo, theme park, etc for the family if possible! Create a memory! My family still talks about one PCS where we traveled separately due to school requirements for me and how they stopped and saw old friends, went to a theme park, camped, etc., etc.

Did you find a great deal on a hotel? Why not splurge on dinner? A nice dinner at a non fast food restaurant will help everyone relax and sleep! Did that hotel have a pool? How about a dip to let the kids run wild and burn off all that energy? Better sleep for them and more rest for you means a better trip the next day!

Have a great PCS this spring/summer and thank you for your service!







Photo Credits: MilitaryAvenue Col K and Deborah enjoying a road trip

Photo Credits: MilitaryAvenue Deb enjoying a nice meal after a long day on the road

Month of the Military Child: Operation Paperback

This is Baby *L*. He is my pride and joy. He is the sparkle in his daddy's eyes. He is one of the younger members of the Military-Family.

Today we recieved a box of books from Operation Paperback.  Some very fun pirate books for my 2nd grader, cool Batman and Scooby Doo books for my kindergartner, and very tasty board-books for Baby Boy *L*. (and so much more!)



This kind of military support, from communities around the United States is what makes me humbled to be called a part of the military-family.

If you are looking for a community-based way to support Military Children this Month of the Military Child look into Operation Paperback.  I'm sure your school, your scout group, your church group, even your neighborhood could support a cause like this.  Something that brings joy even to the very youngest members of the Military Family!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OperationPaperback
Online: http://www.operationpaperback.org/


- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

MilitaryAvenue Resource: Growing up in the Military #MilitaryChild

MilitaryAvenue Resource: Growing up in the Military

In honor of Month of the Military Child I have compiled some resources and articles that are available to you, the parent, the community member, the military supporter.  I will keep this list updated throughout April 2011 so come back often to see the latest news from the Department of Defense community:


Growing up in the Military: A few years ago, a debate emerged on an Internet newsgroup for military brats about what kind of flower military children of military parents were most like. The consensus became the dandelion.  Anne Manning Christopherson wrote, "How about the dandelion? The plant puts down roots almost anywhere. It is almost impossible to get rid of. It is entirely usable except for the little puffball thingy.

April: Month of the Military Child: This is going to be quick because I need to get outside and play with MY favorite Military-Brats.  It is their first day of Spring Break.  It is over 70 degrees outside.  There is no reason for my to be behind the computer EXCEPT as a quick reminder that April is Month of the Military Child!  What a wonderful group-of people to celebrate.  I am one!  I may be 36... but will always be a Brat! It has defined me, and continues to define me. ...

Thriller: Soon I will celebrate the 24th anniversary of my 10th birthday. I know that is a strange way to say that yes, I am almost 34. But any military-brat can tell you the importance of that 10th birthday. Turning 10 meant independence, empowerment, growing-up; it was a big deal! It was the day I could get my Military ID Card! It was a yellow card with a hole and a chain that I could hang around my neck. It had an awkward picture of a pre-teen with a curly perm and loads of freckles. It said that I, yes I, had Exchange, MWR, and Commissary privileges. ...

The Military Child's Creed: Military-Brats are strong! Active Duty kids move around the country, acclimating themselves to new cultures, new friends, new surroundings. They, along with our National Guard and Reserve children, are separated from one or both of their parents for long periods at a time.  As the mom of four military children I know they hold the key to the future. I pray for their future. I work to ensure that they are educated, social and well rounded. When their dad was deployed we sought the support we needed. We used programs like Military Kids, the YMCA, United through Reading. ...

Recognition and Support
Kids Serve Too: Military children continually amaze us as they rise to the challenges of military life. It’s a life of frequent moves, changing schools, leaving friends and making new friends.  During April, the Month of the Military Child, we applaud their character and maturity, and we acknowledge that kids serve too. Our military community includes 1.8 million American children and youth under 18 years old. The Defense Department offers a wide range of programs and services to support military families and their kids. Just a few of the things we’re working on include: ...

Military Children Deserve Nation’s Gratitude: Military children continually rise to the challenges of military life and deserve the nation’s gratitude for doing so, a Defense Department official said today.  “We applaud their character and maturity, and we acknowledge that kids serve too,” Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, wrote in a blog today titled “Month of the Military Child: Kids Serve Too.” Each April, Americans pause to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of the nation’s 1.8 million military children and youth during Month of the Military Child. ...

Mrs. Mullen: Military Children Deserve Respect, Support: Military children need and deserve the nation’s utmost respect and support as they continue to weather a decade of war, the wife of the nation’s top military officer said here yesterday.  “I do not believe, and have not believed for quite some time, that there are many issues more important to the future of our armed forces -- indeed to the future of our country -- than those confronting military children today,” said Deborah Mullen, wife of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. ...

DOD Celebrates Month of the Military Child: Children of U.S. service members around the world will be honored throughout the month for their contributions to their families’ well-being and sacrifices on behalf of the nation, a Defense Department official said. Each April, Americans pause to recognize the nation’s 1.8 million military children during the Month of the Military Child, which marks its 25th anniversary this year.  “It’s really exciting that the Department of Defense, the White House and civic leaders recognize the sacrifices that military children make,” Barbara Thompson ...

PCS
How to Prepare Your Kids for a Move: Moving is a major life event for adults — and even more so for children. As you plan your move, follow these pointers to help smooth their transition to a new community. Explain why you're moving. As candidly and clearly as possible, let your children know what's prompting the move.  Acknowledge their feelings. It's only natural for your child to feel anxious about a move — after all, you probably are, too. ...

Moving is Good for Your Kids After All: When you're in the thick of moving with your family, you probably aren't spending a lot of time focusing on the long-term effects of moving with your kids. Changing schools, friends, neighborhoods, patterns — it all gets thrown up in the air and becomes something of a scramble to pull it all back together again in the new place. It can get a little rough at times. There is a bright side, though. It probably shows in little flashes as the kids are growing up, but it doesn't reach its full radiance until they're grown. ...

Finding the Positive in Goodbye: As a Military-Brat I know the pain that can be found in saying 'goodbye', whether a PCS on my family's part or a friend's family moving away. The tears, the fear of the future, the feeling of losing friends for forever. There was nothing easy about it but I do believe it influenced who I am, for the better. In 1984 my family PCSed from Lubbock, Texas (since closed Reese AFB) to Scott AFB, Illinois. I had my first real best-friend in Lubbock and it was my first real 'goodbye'. ...

Youth and Moving: Moving is a way of life for military families. They know that just as they are finally starting to feel settled, they are likely to receive orders to move on to a new duty station. However, with the frenzy of packing boxes and making plans, the difficulties experienced by military children and youth can sometimes go overlooked. Fortunately, there are a number of programs and services available to support military youth throughout the relocation process. ...

Helpful Moving Tips - Moving with Teenagers: Pre-Move -> Facts about Teens: Female teenagers are the group most affected by relocation, followed by all high school seniors. Teenagers are independent. We as parents tend to think that they will handle the move "like an adult", but they are still in the process of letting go. Teenagers are unwilling to accept our advice easily. We tend to back off if we encounter any resistance from our teens - don't. Stay the course.  Things we can do to assist teens: ...

School
From the Military Child Education Coalition: Education Resource Center: Welcome to the MCEC Education Resource Center. The Center is a compilation of resources in one location for all fifty states, DoDEA, and Washington, D.C. It provides information about state school requirements and resources by each individual state, or you can identify specific resource areas that you wish to research in one or more states. Resource areas include the following ...

Surviving as the New Kid on the Block: Coping with the First Day at School: While you are dealing with the movers, the boxes, the new house, and getting settled after a move, your child is dealing with unseen fears, anxieties, and expectations. Just like you, your child has moved to a new place and given up old friends and old habits. He or she also needs to make new friends and find new places to hang out. Add to that the stress of starting a brand new school. It's just another day in the life of a military child. ...


Military Families Gain Access to Free, Online Tutoring: The Defense Department has launched a free, online tutoring service for servicemembers and their families. The site – http://www.tutor.com/military -- offers round-the-clock professional tutors who can assist with homework, studying, test preparation, resume writing and more. Marine Corps and Army families have had access to the program for more than a year. Seeing the value, Defense Department officials decided to expand the service to encompass all servicemembers and their families, officials said. ...


Exchange Rewards those who ‘Made the Grade’: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, military children, especially those with deployed parents, face unique stresses that often result in higher rates of school absenteeism and failure. Keeping these unique challenges in mind, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service established an exclusive educational rewards program that continues to receive high marks from students and parents alike. ...


Mental Health
Helping Your Child Handle Stress: All children experience stress at times. One of the best ways to help your child cope is to be aware of how he or she is feeling and to provide ongoing support and encouragement. ...

Coping with stress: The other day my 1st grader got off the bus, dragged himself into the house, snagged a snack and sat down for homework. All routine. Except for the awful look of frustration on his face. After inquiring what was wrong I was informed that the bus-driver was a sub that afternoon and she was MEAN. Grumble, Grumble, back to homework. Couple minutes later I look back and there were tears streaming down his face. More questions and he is still very-focused on that mean bus-driver, clearly homework was not in the forefront of his mind. ...

Deployment
Support for Military Children and Families: Children who experience a parent’s deployment can have trouble coping, especially when mom or dad returns home with an injury – or doesn’t return home at all. During the Month of the Military Child, the MHS will offer a number of different informational resources to educate military families, supporters and caregivers on the unique challenges military children present. Some of the unique programs promoted by the MHS include ...

Study Explores Deployment Impact on Older Children: Children in military families experience emotional and behavioral difficulties above national averages, a study has revealed. The Rand Corp. study, commissioned by the National Military Family Association, explored how older children from military families deal with the deployment of a parent. The results were published in the journal Pediatrics on Dec. 7. The study surveyed 1,500 military children, ages 11 to 17, from across the nation and their non-deployed parent or caregiver. ...

From the Military Education Coalition: Deployment / Separation: Deployment can be a difficult time, for both the adults being deployed and the families they are leaving behind. Children face a host of special issues when one or both of their parents are deployed. How to prepare our children and stay involved in their education during deployment... This booklet was created to help parents and educators, two groups who care deeply about children and support children during this potentially stressful time. ...

Military Children Can Attend Free Camp: Military parents seeking a fun -- and free -- summer camp option for their children should check out the National Military Family Association’s Operation Purple Summer Camp program.  The association developed the camps to support military children ages 7 to 17 dealing with the stressors of war, according to an association news release. Now in its eighth year, the program will host more than 3,500 children during 40 weeks of camp in 25 states, as well as one overseas location this summer. ...

 
Other MilitaryAvenue Resources:


More Great MilitaryAvenue.com content:
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Our Letters to You, MilitaryAvenue.com's Military Family Blog
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Moving Tools, Our Moving and Relocation Tools for Military Families











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