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Rachel

Care Packages

PCS Care Package

September 20, 2017
PCS Care Package

It’s easy to get stuck in a care package rut: they’re for deployed troops and come in decorated flat rate boxes based on some sort of theme. All of that is 100% true of course, but there are so many other groups who would enjoy a care package! Luckily military spouses don’t have to look too far for another care package recipient: new neighbors. A PCS care package is the perfect way to welcome a new neighbor to the ‘hood.

PCS Care Package Ideas

PCS Care Package

Squeaky clean PCS Care Package

Moving is a chore, am I right? Whether you’re just changing houses or going to another state, the entire process is exhausting. Just when you think that all the work is done, you realize that the previous owners maybe didn’t leave things as clean as you’d like them. So add one more thing to your already packed to-do list!

A great PCS care package for a new neighbor would be a basket (or bucket) of cleaning supplies to help that process along. Everything from tile cleaner to sponges to paper towels help get a new house in squeaky clean shape. Add in a nice scented candle to make it feel homier and you’ve really helped them feel welcome!

Live like a local PCS Care Package

Military families often move to a new home without really knowing a whole lot about the surrounding area. Where the United States of America tells us to go, we go. It doesn’t matter if they have decent Chinese food or a grocery store we’re familiar with. Help them learn the ropes of their new home with a PCS care package full of local area resources.

Menus from local restaurants (and maybe a gift card or two), a guidebook with fun locations and activities for the family and your recommendations for grocery stores, dry cleaners and so on would be great things to add to this care package.

PCS Care Package

Dinner’s covered PCS Care Package

When I move, the first room that has to be unpacked is the kitchen because if I can’t eat a normal meal, I get very cranky. But if you’ve just moved across the country (or to another country), grocery shopping and figuring out what to eat for dinner is probably the last thing on your mind. You can help your new neighbors by showing up with dinner in a basket!

This particular PCS care package has a few different variations: bring the ingredients and a recipe like in the picture, bring something fully prepared that all they need to do is heat or bring a few gift cards to local places so they can choose when to use them.

Or if you want to go super simple: show up with pizza and paper plates. You’ll still meet the new folks and be the hero at dinnertime!

Take a little piece of home with you PCS Care Package

For every new neighbor that arrives, you have to say goodbye to someone you’ve gotten to know pretty well. You can send your neighbor off to their new home with a few pieces of the place they’re leaving behind. A coffee table book with famous scenes from the town (or state) along with a few unique foods are great contents for this PCS care package.

A PCS care package is a great way to welcome new neighbors, something military families have plenty of! Have you ever given or received a PCS care package and what made it great?

Deployment

Surviving Hard Deployment Days

September 18, 2017

It’s so important to live your best life, no matter what curveballs the military throws at you, including deployment.  It’s why believe so strongly in thriving during deployment, something I work to achieve each time my husband is gone and something I hope to help other military spouses do as well. But let’s be real here, not every day is a “kick butt, take names, be a rockstar at life” kind of day even in the best of circumstances. When you add a deployment into the mix, there are bound to be some hard days.

I don’t talk about hard deployment days that often, not because they don’t happen or because they are not worth sharing. I’ve always tried to look on the positive side of most things, including deployment. That doesn’t really gel with detailing my bad deployment days, but I think only posting the good stuff really gives the wrong impression.

Because no matter how many cute care packages I make, the days are still lonely and the nights are even lonelier. I can tell myself that A will be home soon until I’m blue in the face, but that doesn’t do me a whole lot of good when the dog is sick in the middle of the night. It doesn’t matter how busy I am or how many people I surround myself with, my heart still aches when I remember that my favorite person in the world isn’t coming home tonight.

Hard deployment days happen to me probably more often than I would like to admit. Or at least, more often than old me would have wanted to admit. They have a way of taking even the most pulled together, confident people and turning them into big ol’ hot messes. You think that maybe you aren’t cut out for this life. You reach for the wine or the chocolate or maybe you shed a tear or two. You’re not sure you can do this whole deployment thing anymore.

But eventually it’s tomorrow and you get up and get on with it, not because you necessarily want to, but because you have to. Life doesn’t stop because you’re going through a deployment and you can’t stop because you’ve had a hard deployment day. When I remind myself of that, when I force myself to use the little kernel of inner strength I have left, when I put on my big girl panties and just get on with it, that’s when I beat the hard deployment days.

Life doesn't stop because you're going through a deployment and you can't stop because you've had a… Click To Tweet

Deployment is hard; it will always be hard and sometimes that catches up with you in a perfect you-know-what storm of awful. It happens to all of us, whether we’re on deployment #1 or deployment #21. But you can survive them and get back to thriving during deployment. In the end, you are stronger than even the hardest of deployment days. Remember that.

Do you have hard deployment days? How do you survive them?

Loving Lately

Loving Lately: September 2017

September 15, 2017

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m so looking forward to my last quiet-ish weekend of the month and hope to fit in some R&R between cleaning, dog loving and business stuff. Between a work conference next weekend and then a huge event the last weekend, this month is practically over! We’re getting close to homecoming, y’all!

Four random thoughts this week:

1) I’ve mentioned this briefly in my Instagram stories, but I’m currently doing a massive purge of my house and getting rid of the same number of items as the day of the month. So today I’m getting rid of 15 things. At first I thought it was going to be really hard, but I’ve actually found that I have MORE than enough stuff to purge. Once you begin looking at things with a critical eye, you would be surprised how much you’re ok parting with.

2) Did you see the news that Joanna Gaines is bringing her style to Target? AH! Just take all my money and be done with it. I cannot wait for Hearth & Hand to hit the shelves just in time for my anniversary, birthday and Christmas!

3) If you have pets and haven’t tried Chewy.com to buy supplies, you need to! We’ve started using it recently for food, toys as well flea and tick meds and have been so pleased! Everything is significantly cheaper than if you purchased it from the pet store and it shows up to your door. As someone who has to purchase 30+ pound bags of dog food on the regular, that alone is worth a thousand wiener dog kisses. This is totally not sponsored in any way; I just believe in sharing good stuff when I find it!

4) Speaking of dogs, do any of you out there have a GSP (or similar breed) with super sensitive skin? Poor Ruger is experiencing some allergies on his chest and we are all stumped as to the cause. We’re hoping to figure it out soon so please share any experience you have!

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Care Packages

Anniversary Pun Care Package

September 13, 2017
Anniversary Pun Care Package

Some of you may remember that last month A and I celebrated our five year dating anniversary. Well technically, we’re waiting to celebrate it because A is currently deployed, but I made sure he was still feeling the love thanks to my anniversary pun care package.

Even before A left, I knew that I wanted this box to be food themed, mainly because there are so many cute food puns out there! I chose four of my favorites and started cutting out all the pieces. This is probably the most labor intensive box I’ve sent him so far because each flap had multiple layers, but the end result is so worth it!

Anniversary Pun Care Package

I picked a dark blue as the background for this anniversary pun care package so that everything would pop against it. Plus dark blue is my husband’s favorite color so I couldn’t really go wrong! This was the rare care package that I opted to not wrap all of its contents and instead covered the top with a layer of tissue paper. Truth be told I was running a bit short on time and couldn’t find the right color paper to go with everything. I ended up really liking the blank slate the white tissue paper gave me; it made sure your attention went right to the box’s flaps!

Anniversary Pun Care Package

I packed this box full of goodies, including a microwavable mac and cheese dinner to remind him of our first date, but my favorite was definitely the personalized book I made! I used a company called LoveBook and it could not have been easier! The website has a bunch of pre-made templates, but you can edit them to fit your relationship. I put together a paperback story of our relationship and absolutely loved the way it turned out.  If you haven’t given LoveBook a try, definitely give it a shot. (P.S. this is totally not a sponsored post. I just really loved my book!)

I know I say this a lot, but this anniversary pun care package may be my favorite one yet! I so wish we could have celebrated five years as a couple together, but this care package was a nice placeholder under we can be together again.

Lifestyle

Sixteen Years Ago

September 11, 2017

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world. -President George W. Bush on September 11, 2001

Each generation has a moment that will forever be seared into their memory: where they were, how they found out, how they felt. For many people my age, it’s the morning of September 11, 2001. I will forever remember exactly where I stood and who I was speaking to sixteen years ago when I learned that the country was under attack. While that day should never be forgotten, it’s the days that came after (and those still to come) that I view as equally important.

Those terrorist attacks scared us; that’s what they were meant to do. But it’s what we do with that fear that matters.  Each time fear is expressed as hate or mistrust, the bad guys win. Each day that someone chooses to be afraid of their fellow American instead of trying to understand them, a point goes in the wrong column. Lately, it seems like a lot of points are getting scored against us. It may be sixteen years later and we may have “won” in terms of the history books, but we still have quite a bit of work left to do.

The heroes of September 11th did not care whether the people they saved were black or white, Muslim or Christian, liberals or conservative, gay or straight. They went directly into the face of danger to save their fellow Americans because all that other stuff didn’t matter. When we pause to remember all that day meant, let’s remember that the “other stuff” doesn’t matter, no matter how often people try to say it does.

Sixteen years later, let’s continue to show the world the best of America, not just in times of tragedy. Let’s ask instead of assuming, love instead of hate and seek to understand instead of relying on stereotypes. May we never forget the horrible events of the day, but may we always more easily remember how the best of America is still within each of us.