Spring Brings Winged Marvels

Cardinals are forever brilliant.

Supporting your Military Child

There is no doubt about it. Military children are strong, resilient, and adaptable.  But it can be a very stressful lifestyle and when there are resources that can help transitions, PCSs or deployments just a little easier it is important to share them.  Here are 10 of our favorite resources out there for your family.  Military Family Support is what we are about!

Local Military Discounts & the Community of Sharing

The Military Family is a community of sharing. Where do you go to learn about new schools? Who do I contact to get housing at our new base? What is the best way to handle deployment stress for my children? When do I ask for help?

Sometimes the questions are less serious but still pressing:
  • Where is a military-friendly boarding facility for my pet?
  • Where would a good place be to celebrate our wedding anniversary?
  • Instead of living on base I want to live off.  Is there a military-friendly Realtor or Apartment at the base we are PCSing to?

The Cost of the "Five Finger Discount"

It was a simple project:  put on the new grill flame covers purchased at a big box store. The old ones had rusted and worn out and these replacements would "take a sec to put on " and including time to wash and clean the grill … 15-20 minutes in a busy schedule.  Sounded simple!

Flame covers that were maximum protected
Then came the packaging material on each of the four flame covers - very tough garage scissors were required to cut through the plastic on each one. It was not a simple process and each one seemed to take an hour to open to just remove the product.  Then the brain started working on the cost of the plastic

After some contemplation on why it was wrapped so tight with such tough plastic, I realized that is was an industry standard product. I thought back to when a product like this could be picked up with a simple price tag on it. You carried it to the cash register, the cashier rang it up, buyer paid for it and took it home and installed it. What happened to change this process?

Tips, Tricks, and Photos from Pinterest

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

Care Package Ideas

Create a pillow case for your soldier, sailor, marine, airman or coastie. Iron on a picture of yourself and write cute sayings with a fabric marker!

Our US Military

'Returning Troops Find New Dangers on Civilian Roadways' - Report from USAA. Very Interesting

Military Discounts

Military Discounts in your area - monthly email with local businesses that support the military-families. Easy to sign up.

Military Children - Ways to Support Them

From our friends at MilitaryKidsConnect: If you know a teacher with kids from military families in their classes, please share these resources with them on military life and culture

Military Spouse Employment Resources

Subscribe to our Military Family Newsletter today: http://www.militaryavenue.com/Answers/Signup.aspx

Time for Some Recreation

Hale Koa Hotel, an Armed Forces Recreation Center in Waikiki.

Join us on Pinterest and share in the fun!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com

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Rum Cake Recipe

Moist Rich Rum Cake Company is coming! Now there’s a reason to make dessert. A box yellow cake fancied up creates a cake rich in flavor and pretty as a picture! Back in the storage closet I have a Bundt pan that I save for special occasions… or just when I can THINK of some way to use it. This is perfection.

One More Challenge for Military Personnel! Post Deployment Driving

They just keep adding up for our military folks – challenges that is! But this one is pretty close to home and the safety of our service members and their families should not be compromised. Insurance industry giant, USAA has released the results of a study of post deployment auto accidents for military members and they have tagged a large increase for some groups following deployments.

An educated guess of the results indicates a lot of habits formed while driving in convoys in combat situations (to stay alive) can increase the chances of having an accident at home. So the best convoy and combat drivers may be at risk at home. During a New York city trip to a wounded warrior event a military spouse related how her just returned husband responded to a police officer at the side of the road pointing a radar gun at their vehicle – it was not pretty to say the least.

Afghanistan: “Things are Good, not Great”. DoD Blogger Roundtable

He is what we would call a straight shooter! 

Maj. Gen. John A. Toolan, Jr., U.S. Marine Corps, met with the DoD Blogger Roundtable to discuss Afghanistan after returning from a year in command of U.S. Marines and allied forces in the Helmand and Nimroz provinces of Afghanistan. He provided a sobering but positive perspective of the situation next to the borders of Pakistan and Iran and  the general was ready to share his thoughts on the current events in Afghanistan with the roundtable bloggers.

Celebrating opening of new women's center
See Photo Credit Below
Imagine a new cell phone network connecting villages, additional and improved roads laid down to make it possible for farmers and villagers to connect, the Kajaki dam controlled by the Afghan government and providing power and irrigation for the villagers, a security situation improved to the point that the Afghan government is seen as "the winning side" and you have described what the Marines, allies and Afghan security have done in the last year in two critical provinces!

Where Do You Find Your Release?

Healthy Living
Stress Fighting
Blood Pressure Lowering
Calorie Burning
Mood Lifting
Sweat Inducing
Heart beat Raising
Smile Creating
Laughter Making

How the U.S. is Helping Others! Pacific Partnership, DoD Blogger Roundtable

USNS Mercy off Indonesian Coast - Photo Credit Below
It was a visual I clearly saw as Captain James Morgan reminded us of the 2004 massive earthquake and tsunami and the tragic events and impact on the Indian Ocean countries (has it really been almost eight years?). The destruction and human misery was beyond our understanding. The plight of the survivors with no water, no food, raw sewage everywhere, clothes sometimes stripped off them and trying to find family members who had been separated was just heart rendering. The fantastic international response also reminded me of the Haitian earthquake and how the US military supported the effort to save lives and give the Haitian people hope! We blogged the story for our military families numerous times including an interview with Lt General Keen, the Task Force Commander. 

Captain James Morgan
During a DoD Blogger Roundtable yesterday US Navy Captain James Morgan told us how the US was preparing and coordinating for humanitarian responses in Southeast Asia. The tsunami in 2004 had demonstrated that the humanitarian response by numerous nations and non-governmental organizations needed to be better organized. The Pacific Partnership exercise was the child of this effort to assist and it kicked off in 2006, dedicated to host nation and NGO participation. The Department of Defense press information said,

Holocaust Remembrance Day

We have to remember, always, but it's never easy.
- Alberto Israel, survivor of Auschwitz

Mother's Day Greetings in the Stars and Stripes

When we think about soldiers, sailors, marines, coasties, airmen on Mother's Day we most often think about the mom sitting back at home hoping their Hero is safe and out of harm's way.  Not often do we think about that Hero thinking of her own children who are back home and missing them to pieces. But it is true.  Women comprise 200,888 or 14.3 percent of the DoD Active Duty force.  (She Serves, too)  I'm sure they could use a message of support this upcoming Mother's Day!

Month of the Military Child - How Do You Influence Your Military Child/Grandchild?

I had a lesson taught by a small loving act during this Month of the Military Child. A package arrived in the mail from @MilAve_Leanne and when I opened it, I was humbled by what I saw.  The art work was a future Monet or Picasso and the words were clearly a Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy to be.

Craft Stick Fun

A simple art project.  Simple smiles.  Simply fun!

As my boys are getting older projects at school have grown more and more complex.  In the process I have picked up a few art-project supplies kept tucked away for a rainy day.  Popsicle sticks were needed for a diorama of Iceland.  Pipe cleaners were needed for a science experiment involving borax.  Markers are kept out of reach of a toddler.  Glue, scissors and paper all quickly rounded up.  All this is the the perfect making for a morning of fun.

6th Annual Milbloggies Nominations

Honor, Respect, Pride

Great descriptions of our soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, coasties and, yes, families.

At this moment it also humbly describes us, our blog, 'Our Letters to You', a military family blog: honored, respected and we are very proud.

We are honored! Our 'Military-Family Blog' has been nominated as one of the Top 10 Blogs for US Military Support by Military.com. That is what we are all about; supporting you, the military family. 

Why I Love Pinterest

A New View from My Kitchen Window

From here
(someone else's idea):

To here
(brought to life in my kitchen window):

"A Passion and Desire to Get Things Done Right" DoD Blogger Roundtable

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been tough on the men and women of our armed services! We have suffered casualties, multiple long deployments and families have sacrificed too with impacts on spouse employment, child care help from a spouse, missed /holidays/birthdays/anniversaries, etc. But often we forget about the equipment that is used to fight and protect our combatants.

AH-64 - See below for photo credit
The desert environment has been particularly hard on all the services’ equipment and will need to be taken care in an austere budget time frame. From ground transportation vehicles, to helicopters, other aircraft, weapons and ground equipment like generators the toll has been heavy. Extended flying hours, on the road hours, weapon usage, run time on generators and more have left our equipment (that provides our fighting force an edge) with down time and repair needs. In some cases, equipment needs to be replaced completely. To do less America is to say, I do not support my service members’ safety but I want you on forefront without the right equipment.

Maj Gen Tony Cucolo See below for photo credit

The DoD Blogger Roundtable met with Army Major General Tony Cucolo to discuss the equipment issues for all three Army components: Active, National Guard and Reserve. General Cucolo is the Director of Force Development and is responsible for updating and maintaining Army equipment. He brought his team to discuss the status of Army equipment and how the Army was responding to this need. The general made one thing clear: The Army staff at the Pentagon is involved and cares! They are combat veterans and have a “passion and desire to get things done right”. Some have children that are deployed now too!

Fighting Cancer Before It Starts

It was a routine medical appointment, with routine questions.  My blood work looked good, my blood pressure was great.  My weight... I had gained a few pounds over the winter but for me it's the typical winter gain that I'll lose with summer activity.  I was a healthy 38 year old.

This was a new doctor for me.  She started asking family history and cancer was mentioned time and time again.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States but fortunately, many common types of cancer are treatable if detected early.

Month of the Military Child and a Get Together

The Month of the Military Child provides a great focus on a special group of Americans!  One unique way to enjoy military kids: Good friends traveling across many miles to see each other.  Military brats will always find a way to get together. 

MilitaryAvenue's Dan had very special guests:  friends from high school and on into adult hood. Both guys were young when they met at Keflavik Naval Air Station, Iceland and when follow on PCS assignments for their parents brought them together again in Virginia, the friendship bonded. Now, both have wonderful children of their own which we held, hugged, laughed about and told stories before we digressed into military experiences.

The guest, Matt had attended a service academy and then went into a career track that frequently put him into harm’s way. His spouse, also a family friend, had met him at the academy and went into a career track that made it hard for the two of them to be together, so Jana had joined the reserves after a lengthy active duty stint. They had a beautiful military child and you could see the pride in their eyes.  They had traveled to Michigan to be part of a remembrance program for a fallen hero and took the opportunity to visit Dan's family and eat, talk and share.  

Perfectly Sweet Healthy Birthday Snack

A very Happy Birthday to my middle-son today!  7 years old and I feel like he should be turning 3 or 4.  How does time pass so quickly?

Every child loves to bring in a sweet treat to school to celebrate their special day.  Before Spring Break I sent in a note to his teacher asking if I could send in cupcakes, a sweet-tooth favorite for the birthday boy.  The note that came home was a bit disappointing.  "We would love a birthday treat, but please send in something healthy."  Humph...  My thought, 'Come on! It is a Birthday!'  But I polled Facebook friends for a healthy, yummy treat that would satisfy my Birthday Boy's Sweet Tooth.  I'm all about eating, being, living healthy, admittedly, so I thought, "We'll make this work."

Support Military Kids! Wear Purple Friday, April 13th

I am blessed to be the Mom of four extraordinary military-brats.

J is a senior in high school this year and ready to take on the world.  The college has been chosen, the degree has been picked.  He is ready to go. go. go!

E, 9 years old embodies adaptability. Books, video games, kickball, legos, friends, quiet-time; if it is available he wants to do it.

C, celebrating his 7th birthday next week, loves riding his bike around our neighborhood whenever he gets the chance.  He likes to feel the wind on his face.  Give him activity and he is a happy boy.

L is 20 months and full of SPUNK!  He is already trying to keep up with his older brothers and thinks he is 20 months going on 18.  To say life is wild and crazy around here is an understatement.

Captain Barry Crawford, another American Hero! DoD Blogger Roundtable

Today is a big day for an American hero. Captain Barry Crawford will be receiving the nation’s second highest award for combat valor - the Air Force Cross (each service has an equivalent). In front of friends, his special tactics team members, fellow military personnel and distinguished visitors, Captain Crawford will be recognized for his heroism on the battlefield in Afghanistan. His coolness under fire helped deliver ordnance from the skies to assist his special operations team and Afghan commandos and prevented them from being overrun!

The Air Force special tactics officer is credited with saving many Afghan and US soldiers’ lives during that pitched 12 hour battle for control of an Afghan village, surrounding high elevations and denying the Taliban unchallenged access. He described the Afghan commandos that were the preponderance of the allied fighting force that day as “ferocious fighters”.

Pride in the Military Child

What has been your proudest moment as the parent of a military child?

We will draw a random winner from a military-family that comments with their proud moment.  The winner will receive a $60 Character Basket from Nickelodeon Suites!

Just a little Housekeeping:* Please leave your email address in your comment, or send and email to leanne@militaryavenue.com with your email address and which comment is yours so we can notify you if you are the winner. One entry per giveaway per email address.

* We will randomly select one winner (using Random.org) from all our military-families that enter on Monday, April 16th at 10am EST. We must hear back from you by Thursday, April 19th.

* You must be over the age of 18 to be eligible to win. Moms & Dads enter today so that we can send you a gift package to give to the military-child in your life! This giveaway is intended for military-families, please respect our desire to honor military-children during 'Month of the Military Child'.

* If you also subscribe to our Military Family Newsletter (sign up here) you will be eligible for our Friday drawing of a $20 Gift Card to Wal*Mart from SitterCity. We will be having this drawing each Friday during the month of April.

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Easter Preparations

The eggs are boiled for dyeing tonight:

The potato salad for the big pot-luck get together tomorrow is in the works:

New Easter clothes are purchased.  My boys will be dashing:

There is something about a holiday that is a bit rejuvenating.

What do you do to prepare for Easter?

Up from the grave He arose;
with a mighty triumph o'er His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
and He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com
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How do you describe your military-child? Month of the Military Child Giveaway

There are many words I use to describe a cake: delicious, moist, sweet.  However, if you ask any of my four military-brats they would probably tell you YUMMY!  And seriously what better adjective is out there for food?!

We want to send your military-children a cake to celebrate Month of the Military Child.  Debora from Wire A Cake has donated her time, talent and resources to this giveaway.  All you have to do to enter is answer the question ...

Tell us
What word best describes your military child or children?
Cool, Resilient, Sympathetic, Smoochable would be choices for my own.

Just a little Housekeeping:

* Please leave your email address in your comment, or send and email to leanne@militaryavenue.com with your email address and which comment is yours so we can notify you if you are the winner.  One entry per email address.

* We will randomly select one winner (using Random.org) from all our military-families that enter on Thursday, April 12th at 10am EST.   We must hear back from you by Monday, April 16th.

* You must be over the age of 18 to be eligible to win.  Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Grandpas and Grandmas enter today so that we can send you a cake to give to the military-child in your life!  This giveaway is intended for military-families, please respect our desire to honor military-children during 'Month of the Military Child'.

* If you also subscribe to our Military Family Newsletter (sign up here) you will be eligible for our Friday drawing of a $20 Gift Card to Wal*Mart from SitterCity.  We will be having this drawing each Friday during the month of April.

PS: Wire A Cake can send a cake to your deployed loved one!  Learn more: http://www.wireacake.com/

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The Military Child's Creed

Don't forget this week we are asking: "You know you are a military brat when.."   Answer here for our first giveaway and watch for more.

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