Coupon crazed

I recently had the pleasure of attending Army Wife Network's "Coupon Boot Camp Webinar", supported in part by the Commissary Shopper.

I have to admit while I was sitting through it, two days for a couple hours each day, I began to question what I was being taught compared to what I already knew.  Pretty basic stuff.  But it was an opportunity to educate myself and I took it all in, reaffirming mostly and taking in a few bits and pieces as well.  (As an example, I had no idea you could use a manufacturer coupon and a BJ's coupon on the same item ... two coupons for one item; TOO cool!)

But then yesterday a package came in the mail.  I love mail (well not the bill kind of mail).  But I most certainly love an unexpected package.  What was in the package though made my heart skip a beat.  I love being organized.  But it takes time.  The more I fall out of organization, with the excuse of a lack of time, the worse things get and the more time I spend trying to find what I need NOW.  It's an awful cycle.  Coupons clearly fall into this area.

Tips, Tricks, and Photos from Pinterest

A few of my favorite tips, tricks and photos for the week:

Images of our US Military and Families:

Pets are family, too

April - Month of the Military Child:

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

Military Family Financial Readiness:

Amazing budgeting worksheet from I especially like the 'Save to Spend' section which encourages saving for 'fun money', 'household projects' & retirement

Healthy Living:

Nature’s Best Stress Soothers: Chill out by adding these four foods to your daily diet. Any excuse to eat chocolate is a good excuse to me.

Preparing for your next PCS:

Peak Moving Season Tips

Join us on Pinterest and share in the fun!

- Leanne from

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Dedicated Dads and Moms and the Month of the Military Child

April is Month of the Military Child and it is a very appropriate recognition: therefore, a big shout out and thank you to these patriots! They have certainly served our nation in their many sacrifices and the challenges they face as children of active duty, reserve and guard parents. So just before that month of recognition I thought maybe we should recognize another group of folks that are rarely mentioned in the media or at the Department of Defense. In fact, unless there is a tragedy it is a like a silent majority type of group.

The parents of our soldiers, airmen, marines, coasties and sailors have raised children that are willing and able to serve! They are the ones who pray for, think about and fear for the very lives of their children who are serving this great nation while at war. Most citizens do not understand or know the fear of a deployment to a combat zone or just every day military operations.

It was a long time ago when my dad let me off at the recruiting station in Indianapolis to start a journey that resulted in a life of service to my country. I never heard a word of complaint from my family even when we frequently missed seeing them during family gatherings. They were concerned about my safety, held me up in their prayers and let us know when we did make it back to the old stomping grounds that we were appreciated and missed. So say thank you to the parents/family of our service members the next time you have the opportunity and remember that April is Month of the Military Child.

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Tasty Tuesday: Asparagus & Bacon Bundles

There are some foods I love. Bacon happens to be at the top of the list. Bacon makes /anything/ taste better I'm pretty convinced. (Ice cream, also at the top of that favorite list, might be the exception while I think about it.)

Another favorite ... crispy, fresh asparagus.  I LOVE asparagus but I'm picky about it.  I don't like cold asparagus it has to be fresh off the grill, the range or the broiler.  I don't like limp asparagus either.  None of the frozen, boiled stuff for me, like Mom always served at Thanksgiving, ergo I was quite convinced till recently that I hated it.  Now that fresh asparagus is starting to make it's way into the grocery store I am pumped!

Enter the medley of Bacon and Asparagus.  A bundle (or two) for each person at the table makes for an easy way to not have leftovers.  This is a quick and easy fresh recipe your whole family will enjoy (or at least the asparagus lovers like me!)

Ah the memories...

I am coming up on a milestone, my twenty-year High School graduation-anniversary.  Some would say 20 year High School Reunion but, alas, there will be none of that for us.  I graduated from a small DoD School at the now closed Keflavik NAS, Iceland.

Thank you for the memories! Funny how this post from Wife on the Roller Coaster suddenly triggered one for me out of the blue. June 7, 1992, I graduated from high school in the middle of my /final/ pcs as a military-brat. We hopped on a plane back to the states June 10, 1992. There were moves after high school. Mom and Dad PCSed two times while I was in college (and once more after I graduated college) but this was the last one that I was a major part of.

This was not your typical high school graduation.  There I was graduating from high school and our household goods in a crate bound from Keflavik NAS, Iceland to Annandale, Virginia.  Not only was I saying good-bye to high school friends, most for a final time (although I did and continue to get together with some of my closest friends) but I was also saying good bye to a house, a lifestyle, closing a chapter in my military-brat life all in the span of a few days. Funny the impact those three little letters, PCS, have on a military family… ah the memories.

Would I change anything as a Military Brat?  Not a chance!  Do I know I missed out on some of the stability of your typical American-Child.  You know I do.  Sometimes I wish I had that stability.  But then I remember what I've seen, what I've done, where I have travelled, who I have met.  Nope, I wouldn't change a thing!

Operation Purple Camp and your Military Child

Flashlights, extra socks, money for the Canteen, shoes that can get dirty, a bar of soap (that may or may not ever get used), a sleeping bag... all the makings of great memories, new friends, growing older.  My nine-year old is registered for a week long summer camp.  His first time away for an entire week, away from home, away from family, away from /mom/.  (Emphasis made my mom herself)

Can I tell you how excited he is?  He is pumped!

Operation Purple Camp is accepting applications.  If you have a military-brat between ages 7 and 17 jump at this chance.  They are accepting applications from now through April 19th.  This is a great chance for the kids to spend time with other military kids, away from the stress of home, making new friends from around the country.  Best of all, it is free!

Operation Purple camps offer a free week of summer fun for military kids with parents who have been, are currently, or will be deployed. The goal of the Operation Purple camp program is to give military children tools to help deal with the stresses that result from a parent’s deployment, through a memorable camp experience in a “purple” environment. Operation Purple camps are open to military children of all ranks and Services: active and reserve components—and give priority to children whose parents are in a deployment phase between September 2011 and December 2012.

My son is not doing the Operation Purple Camp as we have an opportunity to attend a great camp, Camp Ligonier, through our church.  However, if you are eligible to apply for a free camp through Operation Purple all I can say is get those dirty shoes ready, find extra socks that you quite possible won't see again, and perhaps pack the underwear that won't get changed all week.  Apply today!

- Leanne from

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April - Month of the Military Child

I have a few favorite pictures.
Each with a story to tell.
Each with a sentiment to share.

Did you know April is Month of the Military Child?  These are four of my favorite military-brats.  I am a military-brat as well.  "Brat-hood" has defined who we are.

We have started a board on Pinterest celebrating our US Military children.  I would love to add your child's story.  Share a photo and tell me what makes them a 'brat'.  What makes them shine? What makes you so very proud of them?  Use one word or several.  Send your submission as an email ( or post it on our Facebook wall at .  As "Month of the Military Child" approaches let's show America how proud we are of own children as a great reminder of how important it is to Support Our Troops.

- Leanne from

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“The Doctor is in – Become an Engaged Patient”

Many of us avoid the doctor for years but there will be a time when all of sudden a family member or even yourself becomes a patient with more than a cold or the flu. You should have information on how best to be a good, no, great patient. As an aircrew member I enjoyed years of doing an annual physical and saying thank you and being on my way. We did deal with a chronic illness for one child but overall we had fantastic health and enjoyed using the military medical care system with few exceptions.

When I saw this article on DoDLive, I wanted to see what the author had to say: “The Doctor is in – Become an Engaged Patient”. I had just finished my last physical therapy in the morning. After almost a year of care and effort on my part I was feeling pretty confident again.  I had learned a new term NED,  No Evidence of Disease, and after one positive report after another I wanted to see what I had done right or wrong during the last 18 months of treatment for sarcoma cancer.

Facebook Lists & Military Support

Have you heard of Facebook's new list feature? Facebook lists are a great way of consolidating different groups of related information.  You can create your own or subscribe to other public lists.  This is a great way to stay informed and that is certainly one of MilitaryAvenue's goals.  Helping the military family stay Informed and Empowered:

If you would like to empower, educate and stay informed be sure to subscribe to one or more of these lists:

Military & Family Empowerment - General Military Facebook pages like United Through Reading, Flat Daddies, The Commissary, Department of Defense and more.  Subscribe today: Simply click on the link and then click on Subscribe in the upper right hand corner.

A Military Spouse Who Cares about the Finances of Military Families - Why She Recommends the FINRA Internship

“God wanted me to help people”

MilitaryAvenue’s team frequently gets to meet, talk to and get to know some wonderful military members, family members and supporters. This morning we met a passionate military spouse who has served members of the Air Force, Army and Coast Guard during her military travels and career! Mitchia (Shay) D. Tull-Cook talked to me this morning about her experiences after she was accepted into the FINRA financial internship program for military spouses!

Shay was truly passionate about the need to support the troops with financial assistance. She said that young folks across the board during wartime needed help. Maintaining financial communication during long deployments is tough and maintaining the household and finances for a young military spouse can be challenging. FINRA trained financial counselors can help these patriots during these tough times. If you have a passion to assist others, Shay said this is a great way to get involved!

A Little Bar of Soap and Our Values

We are a country of generations, framed by them, marked by music we loved as teenagers, wars fought in each and of course, TV programs that we enjoyed. Each marks a different view of life and values in many ways as well. We find causes, issues that make us get involved and each is based on when we grew up.   Breast cancer awareness, the environment, Vietnam, the housing crisis, each mark a generation most involved or responsive to their cause or issues.  New issues and causes can appear for each generation at any time and I have found a new one to write about today.   

Frequently generations disagree on the values and direction we are going.  The younger look ahead to new adventures, the older frequently look back at theirs and the middle just tries to keep up with their hectic schedules.

For the Health of It

I just ran across a video that I had to share with you.  It is about 9 minutes long but it is going to suck you in.  Go ahead watch it.  I'll be right here waiting:

The Joy in Voting

Mom got to participate in one of the most basic &
important rights as a proud-American and I got a
sticker AND a cookie. Win-Win!

Learn more about the importance of voting as an American Military Family and how to get it done:

- Leanne from

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Cutting Military Benefits - How Far Can We Go to Protect Them

Being part of the military community is like being a piece of meat in a sandwich!  The President is Commander in Chief and proposes the defense budget but Congress must approve it.  In the meantime the military community is caught in the middle of these "discussions".

We can be part of this political discourse but are extremely limited by law while on active duty.  How far can a military family member or retiree go during discussions about military "stuff".  Budgets, strategies, deployments, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), etc come to mind.  We try to be as politically neutral as possible with MilitaryAvenue's articles, blogs, tweets and pins.  But this one Pin just brought a hot item to the forefront and we "pinned" it on Pintrest.  It has become one of our most popular Pins but I found it a bit controversial as it takes on the President's Budget (See Budget Proposal’s Tough Cuts ‘Absolutely Necessary,’ Obama Says) while dividing Americans.

Organizing The Road Trip

The Road Trip.  Part of the Great American Military-Family Experience, right?  We do it to PCS across the country.  We do it to visit family and friends who we moved away from so many years ago, a visit home.  We do it to for some R&R, to get out and see parts of the country so many American families will never see.  The Road Trip, it is part of the 'American Military Family' definition.

So how do you prepare for such a great part of your experience as a military-family?  I recently ran across some great posts that I thought I would share with you.  Whether you will be travelling next week or not for a few months put these ideas away.  After all an organized-trip is a smooth-trip!

Praying for My Children

Praying for our children, it is one of the most important things that I feel a mother can do for their sons and daughters.    Sometimes though I'm at a loss of words, a jumble of thought, even a perceived lack of time.  However, I ran across this printable 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children that has added new life to my prayer life.

Troopons - Coupons for Troops

I support Troopons: Coupons for Troops Have you heard of Troopons?  This is a great opportunity for those of us that live CONUS to support our fellow military-families that are overseas.  All you do is clip coupons that you won't need, or send coupons that are about to expire to this small-business and they will send them to those that can use them.

"Commissaries located in foreign overseas areas accept coupons up to six months after the expiration date stated on a coupon." - Do commissaries accept coupons?  Troopons is an easy way to help extend the dollar to those military-families that can use it.  What a fantastic idea!

There are certain restrictions, for instance Troopons can't accept food stamps or store-coupons but you can learn more at their site.  All of the rules and restrictions are spelled out nicely:  Troopons - Coupons for Troops.

Happy clipping!

- Leanne from

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Three Veterans in the Same Room

US Marines DoD Photo
Our country has a problem with military service.  Less than 1% of our population is physically and mentally capable of serving in the armed forces!    An interesting statistic but it does not hit home to most Americans. Then we find after serving so many can not find employment. Finding those who have successfully transitioned is always a great story.

Last night during a medical test at the University of Michigan Cancer Center, it was surprising to find three veterans in the same room and two of them were employed there as technicians! One an Army retiree, served 26 years; the second, a former Marine (well always a Marine right?) who served 4 years and myself (an Air Force retiree) in the same room together. 

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