Browsing Tag



Dear Santa

December 22, 2017

It was a struggle getting the boys to write their letter to Santa this year. B was way too hopped up on dog Christmas cookies to focus and Ruger had a hard time spelling any of the words. But they finally finished it and hopefully it gets to the big guy in time. I figured it couldn’t hurt to add it to the blog too just in case Santa pops in every now and then.

Dear Santa,

Boy have we been good this year! I hope your sleigh is big enough to carry all the squeaky toys because we’ve earned them. We got Rachel through TWO deployments this year which is a lot. We had to be extra needy so she wasn’t bored and didn’t get sad that A was gone. We kept her very busy: playing, barking, destroying things! I mean we did our best to support her hobbies, like cleaning. Plus we made sure she got extra snuggles while she was sleeping. Ruger actually slept on top of her most nights. What a prince, am I right?

We also do a really good job protecting the house from everyone, including the mailman, people walking their dogs, birds and even people who pretend to be Rachel’s friends, but really just want to eat all of our food. Always vigilant, that’s our motto.

And yes, we may have had a few naughty moments this year. Like the time that Ruger chewed up a fake pumpkin that Rachel just bought or ate my warmest sweater. Or the time that I peed on the deck because it was snowing and I didn’t want to step in it. But really, no one is perfect and even though we come very close, I don’t think you should hold it against us.

Since we’ve been so good, we’ve come up with a few things that we’d like for Christmas. Ruger would like as many tennis balls as you can bring him and maybe a new blankie. He carries his blankie around all the time and sometimes he accidentally rips holes in it when he forgets how to walk. Kids, right?

I would like a less embarrassing sweater to wear when it’s cold out. Rachel makes me wear one with a sparkly reindeer on it. How humiliating! And then maybe a new squeaky toy or two (or twenty). I tear through them like Ruger tears through cardboard boxes. Don’t listen to Rachel, the ones with stuffing in them are the best (even if they make a mess).

And then treats. We looooove treats! I know I’m not supposed to eat chicken, but if an entire rotisserie chicken found its way into my stocking, I wouldn’t tell anyone. Wink wink.

We hope you make a stop at our house, Santa!

B and Ruger

Merry Christmas, everyone! I’ll be back at the end of next week with a look back at this crazy year! 

Gift Guides

Gift Guide: Gifts For Couples

December 8, 2017
Gifts for Couples

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

Who still has Christmas shopping to finish up? Yeah, me too. There is just a little over two weeks until the big day and I am still searching for gift ideas for quite a few folks on my list, including quite a few couples. Gifts for couples can be tricky because you’re purchasing one item for two people, but in my searching, I found quite a few good ideas. Hopefully these ideas will make shopping for the couples in your life a bit easier.

Gifts for Couples

I think the key to shopping for couples is to choose one thing they both have in common and focus on purchasing a gift centered on that common interest. That common item doesn’t have to be a hobby necessarily, every couple has their anniversary in common or the need for a little extra help with meal planning.

I pulled together a pretty wide variety of gifts for couples and I would be thrilled to give (or receive), but there are a few items worth spotlighting. First off, those sheets. We actually own those sheets and they are amazing; so soft and a great weight for all seasons.

We’ve also used the 5 Love Languages book as part of our pre-marital counseling and then used the military edition earlier this year. It’s a great way to get conversation flowing between a couple and we found it to be really helpful in loving each other in the best way possible.

You’ve likely seen the night sky print all over social media, but it’s so cool that I had to include it here as well. You can customize the print with your choice of date, time and location for whatever meaningful event you’d like. I think this would be a really cool gift for a recently married (or engaged) couple.

We’ve also used the Sur La Table cooking classes and really enjoy those. If you give a gift card, the recipient can choose the class to attend based on the menu and their tastes. The classes are a lot of fun, you get to eat what you cook and it’s an experience rather than a thing.

And last, but certainly not least, is the Date Night In box. I think this would be such a fun gift for the couple who doesn’t necessarily need stuff. The subscription box is super popular right now so why not give one that’s perfect as gifts for couples?

Other great gifts for couples could include gift cards (think restaurants, home improvement stores or the spa), subscriptions (AmazonPrime, Costco, HelloFresh, etc.) or even free(!) babysitting so the couple could plan their own date night.

Gifts for couples can be tricky, but there is a great present out there for every couple on your list. What’s the best couples’ gift you’ve ever received?

Care Packages

Christmas Care Package Contents

November 29, 2017
Christmas Care Package Contents

With heavier mail volume than the rest of the year, shipping times can get longer around the holidays, That’s it’s recommended that your box is in the mail by as early as December 4 for some APO zip codes. Hopefully you’re almost ready to put your holiday care package in the mail, but just in case you still have some room in your box, here are some fun Christmas care package contents you could include!

I may be a little biased because I do love the holiday, but I think Christmas care packages may be the easiest to fill.  There are so many possible Christmas care package contents that easily fit and ship in a flat rate box. The most important thing with filling a Christmas care package (or any care package really) is to choose things that your loved one enjoys, even if something fits the theme better.

The best part about almost all of these Christmas care package contents is that you could easily use them to fill a stocking and have that be the only thing in the box. Your loved one can hang their stocking up until Christmas Day and have lots of goodies to open.  I also like the idea of filling mini stockings with small things like candy canes and hot cocoa packets for your loved one to share with folks. I did that when A was deployed last Christmas and I think he got as much joy out of playing Santa as his co-workers did getting their own stocking.

While there are plenty of food items to put in a Christmas care package, I think there are some fun non-food Christmas care package contents as well. Christmas movies are always a good idea and you can usually find them fairly cheap if you keep an eye out. I wouldn’t necessarily send large, very expensive or very sentimental gifts, I think a few smaller presents are a great idea. Things like a new book, t-shirt, hat, coffee mug or even the fun NERF football are good additions.

You could also include plenty of Christmas cards from friends and family, Christmas music and other decorations for your loved one’s room. I absolutely love that little mini tree and hope every Christmas care package heading overseas has one, complete with mini decorations! Fill any extra space with jingle bells so it sounds like the holidays too!

A deployment during Christmas is never the ideal and your loved one would most certainly rather be home with you. But a fun and festive care package filled with contents that he or she will love goes a long way to brightening up the holiday overseas.

What kinds of things have you sent in a Christmas care package?

Want even more care package ideas? I have a whole section about them!

Gift Guides

Black Friday Guide: Military Spouse Owned Businesses

November 24, 2017

Raise your hand if you’re having leftover pie for breakfast this morning! Yeah, me too. But it has apples in it so it’s not THAT bad. While I have dessert for breakfast, I’m probably going to knock out some Christmas shopping from the comfort of my own sofa. While shopping at any time of the year, but especially for Christmas, I like to purchase products or from stores that I believe in and there is no one I believe in more than military spouses. So as you’re doing your Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday shopping, consider supporting some of these fantastic military spouse owned businesses!

I’ve selected an item from each of my featured military spouse owned businesses that I would love to give or receive as a gift this year, but each shop has so many fantastic products that I think you’ll find something for just about everyone on your list. Plus so many of these shops have great sales over the next few days so you’ll save money and support some wonderful people.

Isn’t it amazing and kind of ridiculously awesome that all of these products are made by military spouses? The wide variety of different military spouse owned businesses is almost as broad as the wide variety of people in the military community. I hope you consider supporting as many of them as possible!

“Kind is the new cool” kids’ shirt: I absolutely love this shirt for a little one! It’s so much better than another toy and has a good message to it.

“Bless your heart” pillow: Growing up in Texas makes one very familiar with this saying so I chuckled when I scrolled past this pillow. This shop has so many designs that you could certainly find something for just about every person on your list, Southern or not!

Infinity scarf: This is a great girlfriend gift because it’s on sale right now for only $7.99! You don’t have to worry about sizing, it comes in a variety of colors and looks so dang cozy.

Wine bottle candle: I’m a big scented candle fan, especially during the holidays. These holiday-scented candles would add a little extra festivity to a home and they come in recycled wine bottle!

“15 Years of War”: I have heard so many wonderful things about this book! It’s on my own list and is currently $16.95 instead of $19.95. P.S. This link is an affiliate link, which means if you purchase through the link, I receive a small commission for your purchase.

Gemstone bangle: I’m a huge fan of these rough gemstones lately. They’re pretty and feminine, but not too sparkly. This one is currently only $10.50 making it a great stocking stuffer or friend present.

“Behind the Scenes” book: I genuinely enjoy reading books by and about military spouses and this one meets both criteria! I’m adding this to my own Christmas list and hope to share more about it soon. P.S. This link is an affiliate link, which means if you purchase through the link, I receive a small commission for your purchase.

Custom coasters: I’ve followed Nomadic Nation for quite some time and absolutely love their stuff! The custom cuff links almost made the list, but the coasters are a great gift for guys and gals. I could definitely see these as a stocking stuffer for my husband.

Filthy animal onesie: There’s something about a baby that makes me want to buy all the funny onesies and this one is no exception! If you have a new baby (or a soon-to-be new baby) in your life, I think I’ve got you covered with this bad boy.

Dog collar: You can’t forget your four-legged family members at Christmas time and this shop won’t let you! I love the orange gingham collar and could see both Roogie and B rocking one. And with them being 25% off this week, I could easily snag two.

Grant tote bag: Ok, I have to gush about this bag. I met the R.Riveter ladies at the Military Influencers Conference and immediately wanted my own bag! I got this style (in a slightly different color) for my birthday and cannot get over how well made it is! It holds everything I need for work and still has room left over. Right now, they’re offering tiered savings based on how much you spend. This bag would get $75 off and free shipping through 11/26.

Insulated wine tumbler: So this bad boy comes in a huge variety of colors, but of course, I chose the orange one! You can get these monogrammed at no extra cost, which would be so stinking cute! I’m not sure you can beat this for the wine enthusiast in your life. Use the code BLACKFRIDAY2017 for 25% everything in their shop.

Knot bangle: If you’re not into the gemstone look, this knot bangle is also very pretty! I think it’s intended to be a bridesmaid’s gift, but for close girlfriends or maybe sisters/sisters-in-law? Perfection.

Lavender bath bomb: Here’s another great girlfriend gift because of the wallet-friendly price point! Plus who doesn’t need a little extra relaxation?

“Together is our favorite place to be” sign: The military lifestyle sends you to all corners of the earth, so home quickly becomes where your people are. This sign perfectly captures that in my opinion. It would look beautiful in any home and could even be a nice housewarming present.

Two additional gift ideas are courtesy of the Six Box and Rosie Planner. Both companies are military spouse owned businesses and create products specifically for military spouses.

There you have it! This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to military spouse owned businesses that are ready to help you complete your Christmas shopping. Consider supporting one (or more then one) of these fantastic entrepreneurs this year.

Care Packages Countdowns & Cupcakes Store

Christmas Care Package

October 16, 2017
Christmas care package

I know what you’re thinking: “Rachel, it’s only October, why are you posting about a Christmas care package?” Well for a few reasons, but mainly because I’m so stinking excited about how my Christmas care package came out and I couldn’t wait any longer to share it with you.

I modeled this new listing after my husband’s Christmas care package from last year, but secretly may like this one even more! I added “ho ho ho” to the bottom paper instead of keeping it plain and really think it completes the whole look. Otherwise though, the bottom is very simple to keep the attention on the flaps. And they sure are beauties!

Christmas Care Package

The red plaid paper I chose for the flaps just screams holidays to me. I can picture it as a blanket, all snuggled on the sofa in front of the fire. The cut out pieces pop so well against the red. I opted to use gold foil for a large portion of the details and think they really drive home the holiday feel.

Christmas Care Package

The tree is decorated with a combination of gold ornaments and candy canes. The mirror effect of the ornaments almost gives you the illusion of the tree having lights on it. It’s the next best thing to being home in front of your own Christmas tree.

Christmas Care Package

What’s a Christmas tree without presents? I chose a holly print with green and red in it to tie into the other colors of the Christmas care package. Then I topped each present off with a gold bow. The whole picture has a very traditional Christmas feel and I love it!

Shipping times tend to get longer around the holidays so make sure to send out your Christmas care package with plenty of time to spare.  This Christmas care package is currently available in my shop and ships within a week (for free). As always, 10% of each purchase is donated to an organization that supports military families.