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Military Spouse Profile: Rebecca From What Rebecca Thinks

September 1, 2017

There are so many amazing military spouses out there kicking butt on a daily basis that deserve to be recognized and I’m excited to feature one of them each month with my Military Spouse Profile series. If you’re interested in sharing your story (or know someone who might), please send me an email!

Introduce yourself to my readers! Tell us a little bit about who you are.

Hi! I’m Rebecca, a freelance writer, Army wife, and mom of three. My day consists of coffee, reading in various forms, writing, and mother-ing. My wonderful husband and I strive to make life a learning experience for our kids, which currently has led to discussions about US geography, and Navajo code talkers at the dinner table.

When I have some time to myself, I enjoy quilting while listening to a good book, preparing freezer meals so I don’t have to cook each night, and getting back to the world of CrossFit. Did I mention I like coffee?

What inspired you to start blogging?

When I was working in Army transition assistance, it was a very hot topic in the community, and I was encouraged to write about it. Then I moved to military family issues and parenting.

What’s the main message you hope your blog shares with your readers?

I’m not a traditional blogger, as my writing mostly appears elsewhere, but I hope that when I bring military family issues to the eye of the general public, it helps to make the lifestyle a bit more understandable. Overall, my hope is to inspire and help readers.

What is your favorite part of being a military spouse?

The travel. I’m coming off a big move, after being in AZ for almost 5 years, and as hard as it has been to leave that life behind, it’s exciting to look forward. I love exploring a new place, setting up a new house, and spending that interim time with my family.

Tell us a little bit about your journey as a military spouse-the ups and downs, lessons learned, etc.

I married my husband about 4 years into his career. He’d already deployed twice to Iraq and I had no idea what was coming. The first year we spent together in a training environment. Then we went overseas. I “grew up” in Germany alongside some of the strongest spouses the military has ever known. From the day we left Germany, I have tried to be to other spouses what they were to me: a rock, a shoulder to cry on, and a resource.

We’ve had three kids, endured 4 deployments, numerous TDYs, and one very long and trying assignment. We’ve been married 10 ½ years, moved 5 times, gotten a degree each, and adjusted more times than I can count. There’s no question in my mind that this is where we are supposed to be, together.

What’s the number one piece of advice you would give a new military spouse?

Ask questions! Even the stupid ones. The more you know, the better prepared you will be.

What or who has been the biggest help or source of support to you in your role as a military spouse?

Senior spouses. We owe so much to the ones who have blazed the path before us. They did all of what we do now (and more!) with so much less. The family programs we have now? They fought for.

Do you have a favorite place the military has taken you? What is it and why?

Wiesbaden, Germany will always hold a special place in my heart. For the reasons mentioned above mostly. I loved living in Europe, finding myself, rooting my marriage, and starting my family there.

Just for fun:

  • Favorite Netflix binge-worthy watch? Anything related to the Tudors
  • What’s your favorite hobby? Sewing 
  • Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate!
  • Tell us a random fact about yourself. I love audiobooks, especially WEB Griffin books.

Many thanks to Rebecca for sharing her story! I have followed Rebecca for quite some time and am always blown away by what a great resource she is. If you’re a new military spouse (or even a seasoned one), follow her and learn from her experiences. Plus, her little ones are so stinking cute. You can find Rebecca on her blog, Facebook, TwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Care Packages

Care Packages Beyond The Military

August 30, 2017

Care packages and the military are so closely linked that most folks probably view them as going hand-in-hand. They aren’t wrong: deployed troops probably receive the majority of care packages. But once you get into the rhythm of sending care packages, you start to realize just how many people in your life could benefit from one!

#carepackages don't have to be just for the #military. There are so many people in your life who would benefit from… Click To Tweet

Military spouses

On one hand, this is the most obvious group to need a care package, but we’re often the ones to get overlooked. Take it from me, deployments (or even shorter term separations) are difficult and sometimes there can be very few bright spots. But getting notes in the mail or a basket of cookies on the porch are definitely bright spots.

Things you could include in a military spouse care package: an encouraging note, a gift card for a meal, a coupon to babysit little ones, a relaxing candle, some chocolate and maybe even a bottle of wine. But really, it’s the thought that counts. Knowing that someone is thinking of you and recognizes that you’re going through a difficult time is so appreciated.

Short on time or craftiness? Luckily, companies like The Six Box and MilSO Box are ready to send a pre-filled care package to the military spouse in your life.

Students

My timeline has been filled with lots of back to school photos, all the way from pre-school to college, and they got me thinking. When I was away at college, I was pretty homesick for the first few weeks (ok, maybe closer to the first few months) and would have loved to have a little taste of home show up in my mailbox. This just screams care package opportunity!

You could pack: homemade food or baked goods (depending on the distance/travel time), letters from family at home, photos, favorite snacks or drinks and maybe even a few study aides.

Missionaries

Much like military personnel, missionaries can be away from home for extended periods of time. Why wouldn’t they enjoy a few comforts from home?

Similar to military care packages, missionary care packages are best if they include things the recipient loves. Snacks, music or books are great things to send. You could also include practical things like clothing, mini alarm clocks, sewing kits and toiletries.

New parents

Show me a new parent who feels completely in control of everything happening in their life and I will show you B’s new talent: pulling coins out of Roogie’s ears. Bottom line is that new parents would definitely appreciate a care package.

You could certainly include baby necessities (like diapers and wipes), but consider sending things that are more for the parents. Maybe it’s a pre-cooked dinner or a gift card for take out to ease the burden at dinnertime. Extra coffee, a new movie to watch when the baby won’t sleep, pain relievers for the headaches that will come and maybe an adult beverage or two would be very welcome.

New neighbors/homeowners

What better way to meet new people than by showing up with presents? A care package for your new neighbor is a great way to make new friends. A pre-made meal is a nice option, but I’d opt for the ingredients to make a meal, especially if you don’t know their tastes/dietary restrictions. Cleaning supplies, a gift card to your favorite restaurant in town, tips on the best eats and activities and a welcome note are also great additions.

Those in need

Whether they’re sick, injured or just went through a natural disaster, there are so many people who could benefit from a little extra love.  Obviously the key here is to send things the recipient can actually use in the present moment so contents would change based on each situation.  Make sure to think practically when you pack this care package. While very thoughtful, oven-ready meals won’t do someone much good if they don’t have access to an oven.

The beauty of care packages is that they allow you to give no matter how far you may be from someone. There’s a level of connection there that is hard to match when you’re separated.  So many people in your life would benefit from a little extra love and care packages are perfect ways to share that.

In the spirit of sharing a little extra love, I want to add a quick note about helping those affected by Harvey in Texas. I grew up in Houston and many friends still live there so the devastating flooding has really hit close to home for me. The people of Houston are strong and will get through this, but they can’t do it alone. If you are able to give, please consider doing so.  Organizations the American Red Cross are great and reliable ways to give, but I hope you’ll donate wherever you feel a connection. If a monetary donation isn’t possible for you right now, please consider sharing my message with your friends and family.

Care Packages Countdowns & Cupcakes Store

Halloween Care Package

August 28, 2017
Halloween Care Package

Boo! Scared ya didn’t I? Don’t worry, that will be the only scary moment in this blog post. Because let’s be honest, my new Halloween care package is way too cute to be scary!

If you know me at all, you know that I love a good pun and when I started brainstorming my Halloween care package, I kept coming back to this one. Now that it’s all done, I’m so happy that I went with it! It’s cute, a little romantic and perfect for Halloween.

Halloween Care Package Flaps

I opted to alternate colors for the flaps to really drive home the Halloween theme. Plus I think the cut out pieces really stand out against their background color.  The flaps play off the bottom paper very well and make the whole thing come together.

But as much as I love the overall look of the box, there is one element that I love above and beyond the rest. I bet you can’t guess.

Oh. You guessed the sparkly cutouts. Well yes, that is my favorite part. But can you really blame me? There’s something about a Halloween care package that screams for glitter. Of course, I’d argue that every care package needs a touch of glitter.

Halloween Care Package

My Halloween care package is available for sale in my Etsy shop. As always, it ships for free and 10% of each sale is donated to an organization that supports military families.

Care Packages

Recent Care Package Finds

August 23, 2017

You know you’re a military spouse when…you constantly shop for care package contents. No matter how far along we are in a deployment, I still go down each aisle in the store with a care package mentality. I have a hard time not grabbing a few things each time!

And while this habit may seem a little ridiculous, it has led me to find a lot of really great care package contents. Sending new and different things makes each care package a little more exciting, plus when you decorate your boxes with different themes, you have to find new stuff to fit them!

Over this deployment, I’ve really tried to find different items to send to A and have been pretty successful. The key to finding new care package items is to shop in new places. Different grocery stores, specialty shops and even bulk stores can offer unique products.

The food situation isn’t the best where A is right now, so I’ve been trying to find on-the-go meals he can make himself with limited kitchen access. These microwavable pasta meals have been a good solution. I send just one in each of his boxes because they aren’t necessarily the healthiest thing in the world. But considering that they’re shelf stable and ready to eat in just minutes, I consider them ok.

So these maybe aren’t technically a new find, but I haven’t sent them in a care package before this time. A really likes oatmeal for breakfast, but doesn’t have a way to make it overseas. These eliminate the need for dishes, but are still filling.

These guys have been A’s hands down favorites. I got these originally at World Market as an impulse buy, but have since purchased more at Lowe’s Foods.  They come in a variety of different meats and flavors and are semi-decent nutritionally speaking. They are a bit on the pricey side compared to other beef jerky, but I think it’s worth the little bit of extra money.

Last, but not least, these protein shakes. I’ve sent a variety of different brands, all chocolate, and A likes them all. He says they double as a dessert/late night snack. I also enjoy dessert/late night snacks while A is deployed, but mine definitely do not have 26g of protein. They can get a bit pricey, but you can usually find them on sale, which is when I buy them.

I am always on the lookout for new and different things to put in my husband’s care packages. What unique items have you sent in care packages lately?

Care Packages Countdowns & Cupcakes Store

Camping Care Package

August 21, 2017
Camping Care Package

This will probably come as no shock to those of you who know me in real life, but before I met A, I wasn’t terribly outdoorsy. I may have liked being outside, but something like camping would not have even been in the realm of possibility. Until A convinced me to go camping. We had the best time and it’s something we plan to do regularly when he gets home.  I tried to capture all the fun of that trip in my new camping care package.

I selected shimmery blue paper for my night sky and think everything really pops against it. The sparkly stars remind me so much of our weekend in the woods and catching glimpses of the sky through the trees. In our case, we had both dogs packed into the tent and made a lot of s’mores over our campfire.

I love this entire camping care package so much, but my favorite part may be the two decorated flaps. The hammock and deer are just so stinking precious! They add a touch of romance to the box because when you’re camping (and don’t have two dogs in the tent with you), it can be a little romantic.

If you’re loved one enjoys the great outdoors, then this would be the perfect care package for them.  You could send trail mix, beef jerky, s’mores flavored snacks and even a pine air freshener to make them feel like they’re relaxing in the forest.

This camping care package is available in my shop right now. As always, it ships free and 10% of your total is donated to an organization that supports military families.