Living It – Week 23

Jokes and Quotes – Tip #53


Last week I was at a retirement and rather than having a typical party we were at a comedy club – we all needed a laugh so it was perfect.  There was a woman there that had me in tears.  I was laughing and laughing and so were my colleagues.  I swear that I am still renewed from that a week later!

I laugh every day – if I didn’t I would openly weep and that isn’t nearly as fun.  This week I really took a good look at what I do to find happiness and moments of hilarity in all the chaos.

* I will go onto the computer each day to find funny pictures to put on the staff bulletin (I often get distracted and end up looking insane because I am laughing out loud and no one is around)

* I have a tear off calendar of funny sayings and at least a few times a week we all find it funny.  I also keep the gems, cut the date off and use them to put in staff mailboxes or into my kids’ bags

* My kids and I find funny things to laugh about together at dinner (usually about our what ridiculous things happened to us in the day).  I ask questions like, “What is the funniest part of your day?”, “Who made you laugh today?”, “What is the weirdest thing you saw?”

* We try to find funny movies or TV shows that will make us laugh too (we watch them together once a week – The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are loved in our house)

* My daughter learned about Pinterest a month ago and we now send each other funny pictures

* Before getting up each morning I think about all the things in my life that are good.  I start my day off grateful (I am not going to lie, it can end in a slightly less positive way and others days I am too tired to feel anything except like having a large glass of wine but starting this way changes how I approach things)

* I surround myself with people that also bring happiness and laughter and limit my time with people who cannot see the bright side.  I am lucky enough to have friends and co-workers that spend very little time telling me about all the things that aren’t working or at least are able to have a laugh about how it all fell apart

* This week I also followed my own advice and put jokes and quotes in my kids lunches and in funny places around the house.  It was really nice to hear giggles or to think of them laughing as they opened their lunch

Through this deployment, I have made it my mission to laugh, find the positives and not harp on all that is annoying, frustrating, resentment causing, or just plain maddening (there is plenty of that but no one really wants to hear about it all the time).  While I acknowledge those feelings and don’t ignore them completely,  I don’t let them define the day either.  Being bitter and twisted isn’t going to help my kids or make those around me want to be there.  Laugh – it is free and there are always people that have it harder than you do.

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Living It – Week 11

Hide Pictures – Tip #68


This is advice of mine that I followed just last week.  I had my husband pull four faces as I snapped pictures and then had multiple copies printed of each.  I got card stock cutouts and spent a few minutes writing phrases, comments and requests and attaching them to the different faces of their Dad!  I not only had a big laugh doing it but already it has paid off!  There is one in the fridge reminding them to listen to me, one by the recycling asking them to take it out, one in the linen closet reminding them to put their laundry away, there are ones in their rooms telling them how much they are loved and I have even hidden some in winter coat pockets for them to find in a few weeks time.  There have already been several smiles and laughs about it.  It is just another fun way of reminding them they are loved, that he is never too far away and that he can nag too!

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This one is in the bathroom on the inside of the cupboard – I hear giggles on a regular basis!


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1001 Tips for Military Families – Tip #450

While You Are Away Candy Jar 

Full jar ready for our next deployment!

Full jar ready for our next deployment!

As we are preparing our kids for another deployment it was funny to hear about the things they remembered from the last time… deployment quilts, a vacation in Florida, having great pictures of all of us taken before he left and most importantly… the candy jar!  There are few easier and more effective ways (that I know of) to countdown the days and time passing.  Due to the fact that this deployment is longer, that my kids are older and a jelly bean a day isn’t going to cut it (like when they were younger) – I had to go out and buy a bigger jar.  Thankfully, it is Halloween time so finding candy in smaller sizes didn’t cost a fortune and was easy to find.  I bought fabric paint at Walmart and marked four depths on the jar (“It is going to be awhile”, “Making progress”, “Still Waiting”, “Nearly home”).  I also put extra candy in as we have no idea about return dates.  While our dentist will probably not be pleased this is something easy to do and is a small treat for surviving each day without their Dad.  It took less than 30mins to put together too which is a bonus when we are madly trying to cram a thousand and one things into 2 days!

The lid!

The lid!

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Living It – Week Five

Tip # 46 – Emergency Kits

So…  I did follow my own advice when I wrote the book but since then life has zoomed by and I have never updated the kits!  Recently, I discovered that most things were missing or useless. Of course, I discovered this when a short, but violent, storm came through our area we were without power for several days. Over the years people in my family had obviously helped themselves to the batteries, the water had expired (didn’t even know water had an expiry date), the flashlights had been used for camping and never returned and the entertainment type things I had added would have been great when they were younger… Needless to say that scrambling around in the pitch dark, listening to complaints about how bored they are and trying to ignore questions about when the power is going to come on nearly sent me over the edge.

This time we had to weigh the cost of buying a generator with the cost of replacing all the food in the fridge and freezer. We bought one and while it was an expense we can’t really afford, we couldn’t afford to lose all the food. There is also,now, the comfort of knowing that we have it now for the next emergency (hopefully there won’t be one but the weather in our world today is definitely changing and causing havoc no matter where you are).  This weekend we are going to go through our emergency supplies and re-do the bins so that I am actually back to following my own advice!

Emergency Kit Suggestions:

– Waterproof matches

– Flashlights

– Additional batteries

– Plug in phone (it works in a power outage)

– Battery powered or wind up radio

– Candles

– Pack of cards/board game

– Hard candy or gum (helps to distract)

– Non perishable food

– Emergency blankets

– Glow sticks

– Headlamps

– Pen and paper

– Extension cords (need them to use the generator and keep it outside)

– Ziplock bags, garbage bags

– String

– First aid kit

Emergency Kits

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1001 Tips for Military Families – #439

Anxiety and Desensitization – Tip #439

Anxiety disorders are everywhere in our world and particularly in our military lives.  There is a lot to be anxious about – change, deployments, re-integrations, new communities, school, work, and so on.  I have been working with several students on a program that seems too simple and easy to be effective and yet it is – I believe that this would be effective with every member of your family (regardless of age).  Desensitization activities are significantly impacting our students’ ability to function, move forward positively from an anxious moment and do things that at one time would have paralyzed them and completely derailed their day.  These activities can be done just about everywhere and the idea is not to do them all but find one or two that they are comfortable doing and do them when anxiety is beginning to peak.  Make sure you have a timer as 30-60 seconds is longer than you think!

Desentization Activities:

* Shake your head from side to side for 30seconds

* Lower your head between your legs, then lift it.  Repeat motion for 30 seconds

* Run in place wearing a heavy jacket for 60 seconds

* Run in place for 60 seconds

* Hold your breath for 30 seconds or as long as you can

* Tense major muscles – particularly your abdomen – for 60 seconds or as long as you can

* Spin while you sit in a swivel chair for 60 seconds or a tire swing

* Breathe rapidly for up to 60 seconds

* Breathe through a narrow straw for 120 seconds

* Stare at yourself in a mirror for 90 seconds

* Hang upside down on monkey bars for 30 seconds

* Rub your stomach and pat your head for 60 seconds

* Two inhales through your nose in a row for each exhale for 30seconds

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1001 Tips for Military Families – #430

PreDeployment: When & What To Tell – Tip #430

It is hard to know how soon and how much to tell your family and friends that someone they love and care about is going to be away for a long time, without a definite return date and to a place where they are going to be potentially in danger on a regular basis.  There is no right or wrong answer but there are a few tips to breaking the news that you may find helpful.


Don’t be in a rush or distracted when you decide to tell others about the deployment

Be as positive as possible about the deployment before telling anyone else

Don’t share too much all at once. This will give them time to process the absence before thinking about all the other worries and concerns

Give the news during a period of time when you know you are going to be spending a lot of time together

If you have not been given a lot of time don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to give information as quickly as possible and as much as possible. Present the absence and answer their questions first

Have strategies for coping with the absence in place before talking about it (Mom is going away for the next 6 months for work but we are going to be able to write to her everyday or we are really going to miss her but one way we are going to be able to stay in touch is…)

Begin to talk about what your family member is going to miss (Christmas, birthdays, etc.) and how you going to celebrate these things in their absence

Answer questions honestly and calmly (they will know when you are lying and if you aren’t calm, they won’t be either)

Listen to what they are saying, repeat back to them what you think they are saying and then don’t offer a lot of solutions. Sometimes your family just wants to feel heard and they will often say more when you aren’t jumping to find solutions.

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1001 Tips for Military Families – #404

How To/When To – Tip #404

There are a ton of things that my husband does that I only realize he does when he is gone.  I admit to taking him for granted at times… okay, quite often.  I realized on his last deployment that I need to know what he does and when so we made a list that I hope you will also find helpful too whether you deployed or not, this can be a useful log and keep a busy family on track!

For a full sized copy of the chart, go to:

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