July 27, 2014

Family Vacation: 6 Hours in Florence

After Pisa and Rome, there was Florence….

I gotta say, this is one of my favorite places I've visited, even though we only spent a short time there. I have a long list of things I'd like to do in the city, so I know the Hubs and I will (hopefully) be spending a four-day weekend there at some point.

Florence is the home of Michelangelo's David. Unfortunately, the line was too long for us to see this beautiful sculpture. Next time, though! Instead, we wandered the streets, shopping and eating our way through town.

The scenery is beautiful. The Fam and I really enjoyed a few relaxing hours here, with nothing particular we had to do. Sometimes this is the best way to visit, don't you think? The next time I visit Florence, I'll take lots of notes and see everything I possible can, I promise. But this time was a laid back event that we all appreciated.

Have you visited Florence yourself? What are your recommendations on places to see and things to do?

I'll be back soon, with tales of our adventures in Paris. Until next time my friends, happy travels!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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July 21, 2014

Family Vacation: Rome

I'm back, ready to continue our journey through Italy… after a couple hours in Pisa, the Fam and I continued onward to the amazing city of Rome!

Hanging out in front of the Colosseum

Rome is quite the metropolitan area, and full of so much history. We definitely could have spent more time there. Everywhere you turn is a ruin of some sort. I think the Hubs and I will go back someday and explore more, but we were happy to see the major sights on this trip. Sadly, the tour we were on wasn't good at all (review coming soon!), but we broke away and enjoyed our time anyway.

The Pantheon
Being silly, and enjoying some gelato!

I find the Italian people as a whole to be extremely friendly. People were willing to help and offer assistance more than once. Our servers at restaurants were especially entertaining. One of them even FaceTimed with us as we chatted with family back in the States!

Joking with our server at dinner
A fitting end to our fun dinner 

The one major concern in Rome is the pickpockets. At least 3 times we were warned by the police to keep extra watch on our purses, etc. I highly recommend using an anti-theft bag, or a waist wallet. Often, the metro is so crowded you will literally be nose-to-nose with other passengers. This is a prime opportunity for pickpockets to grab your stuff. My mum had an issue at one of the basilicas… a small child attempted to unlatch her bag and put his hand in. Luckily, she had an anti-theft purse and he was unable to get in. So be aware, my friends!

Inside the Colosseum

Here are my best travel tips for Rome, with the little bit of experience I now have:

1. Use the metro - Take a little time before your trip, and study the metro map. The system is fairly simple to understand, and it is inexpensive. And it will save your feet a lot of hurt! Rome is quite large, and especially hot during the summer months. Make the most of your time by getting around quickly.

2. Buy advance tickets - The lines at most of the monuments and tourist attractions are outrageous. Buy your tickets in advance if you can, especially for places like the Vatican and the Colosseum. Also, many of these attractions have free entrance on the first Sunday of the month. We visited the Colosseum this way, arriving early and entering for free as soon as they opened. You can save a bit of money this way, if you don't mind waiting in line.

Outside the vatican

3. Appropriate dress - Though Rome is quite hot in the summer, many of the sites (such as the Sistine Chapel) require a dress code for entry. Research the sites you wish to visit, and plan ahead for this. It would be awful to arrive, tickets in hand, yet be unable to visit.

4. Shop for groceries - Rome is a very expensive city to visit. If you can, I highly recommend shopping for groceries. You don't need a full-size kitchen to do this. Although we stayed at a hotel, our room had a refrigerator. We purchased bottled water, yogurt, fruit, sliced meats and cheese, and bread. We tried to eat breakfast in our room, enjoy a large meal late in the afternoon, and then snack on our other purchases at night. This can save you a lot of money!

5. No photos - There are several places where you are not allowed to take photos, including the Sistine Chapel. Circumvent these rules at your own risk. Especially inside certain areas of the Vatican, the security guards have no problem confiscating your equipment and it will likely not be returned. You've been warned.

One of many beautiful ceilings inside
the Vatican… (don't worry, I was
allowed to take pictures in this area!)

6. Gladiators do not take pictures for free - Outside the Colosseum are gladiators, ready and waiting to pose for pictures. But these are not free! Ask first how much the price will be. If you take the photo without discussion, you are then obligated to pay whatever they ask.

7. Don't take the roses - Particularly around the Spanish Steps, people try handing you roses. The minute you take it, you've bought it. Don't be fooled by their comments, like: "Oh, just for picture. Take for the picture". As you can see, The Kid wound up overloaded with roses, even though we thought we knew better!


The next time I visit this city, I'll add more tips. Our time there was so short, I didn't learn as much as I hoped. If you've visited other areas of Italy, expect Rome to be different. I've seen many smaller towns, so Rome was a little overwhelming at first. It's quite a bit larger than I expected, crowded, and comes with the usual large city issues. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely worth seeing, but it is best to be prepared.

Until next time my friends, happy travels!

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July 20, 2014

Family Vacation: Two Hours in Pisa

Hi friends! I hope you've been keeping up on the Army Life Facebook page for the last few weeks, because you know I haven't been posting much here. Don't worry, I still love you! I've just been jetting around Europe with The Fam. My mum and kid sis are visiting from the States, and I couldn't wait to show them Europe.

We started off slow, visiting a few places nearby in Germany like the Dachau concentration camp. From there, we booked a trip with a local company to Pisa, Rome, and Florence. My review of the company will be coming later this week, but needless to say… the company was awful. I'm hoping to have a response from them soon, and then I'll have a complete review.

Despite the issues on the trip, we didn't let that get us down! I wanted to share some of the fun we had with you…

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Our bus stopped first in Pisa, home of the Leaning Tower. We only had two hours in this quaint town, so no time to hike the top of the tower. Next time, maybe! We wandered, took our photos, and snagged a quick lunch from a panini truck. On the walk back, we stumbled across the coolest little produce stand where we purchased the best grapes I've ever eaten, seriously.

Igor Mitoraj, Angels exhibition

Proof, we were there! 

Enjoying each other's company

The awesome grape stand, best I have ever
tasted. And such a cool set-up too! 

I'll be back soon with some pictures and tales from the next leg of our trip, Rome! Until then my friends, happy travels…

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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July 17, 2014

Forgetting Your Age…

Yesterday I realized that I couldn't remember how old I am. Seriously. I started subtracting numbers, using my birth year to figure out my actual age. Because I gotta tell ya, I think I stopped counting actual birthdays somewhere around 27.

I know a lot of people who focus on the years that pass them by, and I feel a little bad for them. Is that weird? Sometimes I feel like such a freak because I don't really care if I have grey hair or a couple wrinkles, or… ok, maybe a lot of laugh lines.

My grey hair starting to show! 

But dang it, I earned those!

Of course I've put on a few pounds over the years, and my skin is a little less elastic. Life has been happening around me. There have been sicknesses and hardships. There have been amazing moments and gloriously good times. I've become more healthy in some ways and less healthy in others. Isn't that how life goes? Constant change, constant growth.

I'm worried that society is placing too much emphasis on our age and physical appearance. I don't want the people I love to grow up with that kind of stigma in their minds. And I definitely don't want to waste my time wishing I was still 25, when I could be loving the fact that I'm having a grand adventure at 35!

Wait, maybe it's 36. Who can remember these things??

It's important to be healthy, but why is it so important to be forever young? I honestly wouldn't give up a single moment of life, even the bad spots. I feel like I'm growing into the person I was meant to be, and I don't want to hide it. I'm proud of who I am, and where I'm at. And I'm excited to keep working toward new goals in my future. So, I just want to say this, for those peeps who stress and worry about growing old and getting wrinkles and all that other stuff

It really isn't all that bad. In fact, it's kind of awesome. Here are some of the amazing things about growing "old" that I wouldn't give up for anything (in case you needed a little cheering up):

1. The Hubs and I grow closer everyday and we might finally be beginning to understand each other. It's beautiful and amazing, and I love getting to know him better everyday. Of course, tomorrow I might want dangle him by his toes out an upper-story window, but that's part of the fun.

2. I've built confidence over the years. I'm not the same mess of a person I was at 25. Heck, I barely knew what I would eat from one day to the next, much less who I wanted to be.

3. I have this cool, new relationship with my parents that I never had before. I was always the kid, and was treated as such. Now I'm a grown up, and I can actually be friends with my parents. I love it.

4. I've been traveling around the world for a while now, something I could barely even conceive of doing in my early 20s. There was no money for that kind of thing, you know? Now I see and do so much more, and it's opened my eyes to a whole different perspective on life.

5. I have the chance to offer things to my younger siblings that I never had a chance to experience at their age. Travel and adventure mostly, but hopefully they learn from some of my mistakes as well.

6. What they say is true… with age (and experience) comes wisdom. I totally didn't believe people when they said this, but it is most definitely true. As I've aged, I learned to handle my emotions betters. I control them, not the other way around… most of the time.

7. I don't sweat the small stuff much. As life progresses, you realize how unimportant some things are. Little things that seemed like such a big deal are small potatoes when compared with the bigger crises in life. I learned this lesson well during deployment. There was no greater fear for me, not even my own health issues, that has made such an impact.

8. I might not be working currently, but I've found work I love. When I was younger I tried so many avenues, constantly searching for the thing that fit me best. Well, now I have it! And several hobbies I love as well.

9. As I aged, I've learned to accept myself. Too often we spend time trying to be someone we're not. With age, we hopefully learn to be happy with who we are. This acceptance of self also gives us the compassion to accept others as they are.

10. Since I made LOTS of mistakes in my 20s, I figure I won't be making those again (hopefully!). Learning from all those screw ups has actually made me a much more productive adult. Who knew?!

11. My focus has both grown and narrowed. Contradictory I know, but still true. I've expanded my world view, which has actually allowed me to narrow my personal focus to those things I feel the most strongly about. You can't fix all the problems of the world at once, but dang if I didn't try in my late teens and 20s. As I grow older, I'm learning to focus as much at home as elsewhere. Real change starts with you, and those closest to you.

12. This might not apply to everyone as we all have varying beliefs, but I find myself in closer relationship with God as I age. This improves all aspects of my life, and is responsible for everything I've learned. I didn't have as much time for God when I was younger. I always believed, and I knew in my heart that God existed, I just didn't feel the need to pursue that relationship unless I was in trouble. Now, I rely on that connection everyday, not just in extreme circumstances. I can't even begin to explain how much joy that relationship brings me.

There are so many more benefits to the years as they come, I can't wait to discover them all for myself. So, the next time you're looking in the mirror and worried about your wrinkles or your saggy skin, or your grey hairs, remember this:

You are beautiful. You are wise. You are so much more than a grey hair or a wrinkle. The physical signs of aging do not define you. You define yourself. Choose what you want to be.

Until next time, my friends!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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July 15, 2014

OCONUS PCS: Learning the Language

PCSing to a foreign country can be quite intimidating. You don't know the language, the customs, the culture. You can't read the signs. Everything is based on the metric system, from road distance to recipes.

It's a lot to process in a short amount of time, I know. But a few simple tips can help you get around so much better. I find that many Americans move to Germany and never learn the language at all. They may be able to say hello (which can be done about a dozen different ways), and they probably know how to say, 'Do you speak English?' (Sprekenzie English?).

This is NOT enough, peeps.

How many Americans do you hear complaining about those in our own country who don't speak English? Let us not be hypocrites, my friends. I know I'm taking a slightly aggressive stance here, but I find it rude to reside in someone's country and not at least attempt to speak with them in their own language. I'm certainly no expert, and I definitely can't speak fluent German. But I'm doing my best to communicate in the national language where I can, and I am so appreciative of those locals that do speak English.

Don't let a foreign language overwhelm you. You don't need to be fluent. You don't even need proper grammar (though it's a bonus, and you should graduate to proper grammar at some point). You really just need to try. You won't believe how much a little effort is appreciated and rewarded.

So, with that in mind, here are my tips to make your transition a little easier…

1. Rosetta Stone - this used to be offered free to military members until just a few years ago. Unfortunately, the program was cut when new management took over. However, I suggest looking into discounts, borrowing from friends, checking your library. Often, people moving away will be selling their program, so check yard sale pages. This is a great program that lets you learn at your own pace, and in a extremely simple way. If I can do it, so can you, right? I started before we left to move, but I have to be honest... I've been slacking since we arrived. There is so much to see and do! I'm catching up now though. So I suggest learning the basics before your move if you can.

2. Alternatives to Rosetta Stone - there are many apps and online classrooms that are cheaper alternatives to Rosetta Stone. Check out Live Mocha, DuoLingo, 50 Languages app, or Busuu. Check out the app store on your phone for even more options!

3. Phrase books - these are super handy to carry around with you on the go. Bookmark sections that are most useful to you. For example, before you go out to dinner, highlight common phrases you might need such as, "I'd like a glass of…", or  "Check please…"

4. Translator Apps - these are fantastic if you carry an internet plan on your phone. They are especially great for reading menus. Many, such as Pixter Scanner and Word Lens, use your camera to scan the page and provide possible translations. Or, try voice recognition translators like iTranslate.

5. Do some research - If you're headed somewhere specific, to complete a specific task, try a little research first. Google translate is an excellent resource. Let me explain what I mean: I want to go to the hardware store to make copies of my house keys. Rather than showing up, bumbling around, and asking everyone if they speak English, take the time to do a bit of research. Use Google translate to write down what you want, then show this to the store clerks if necessary. You can also write down other basic phrases to help you out.

6. ACS classes - Often, your local ACS (Army Community Services) will offer several weeks of introductory language skills. These are free classes, people! Sign up, go, absorb, and spend time with people who are in the same boat as you. This is a great opportunity to share and ask questions of a real, live person.

7. Conversation Clubs - I don't know about other posts, but Hohenfels offers a conversation club through the library. Check your post for similar groups!

8. Make friends with people who speak the language - I've met several spouses just on my street who speak German, either because this is their original home or because they've learned over time. If your friends are fairly fluent, ask them to teach you phrases when you're on the town. Don't let them speak for you, this is very important!!! Ask, repeat it to them, then use the phrase yourself. You won't believe how quickly you pick things up simply by doing them in context.

9.  Take a Class - there are lots of colleges that offer online language classes. Sign up for one, or look for one locally.

10. Ask the gate guards (or local civilians that work on post) for phrases - Every time I'm at the grocery store, or coming through the gate, or getting my car looked at… all these are great opportunities to ask questions! Simply say, "How do I say this in German?" I've learned lots of new words this way, and it helps to use them in context like that.

11. Use Your Words! - Don't be afraid to use your skills, however awkward they may be. You won't improve unless you try. Believe it or not, people appreciate your effort. It doesn't matter if your grammar is wrong, or if you sound like a child just learning to speak. If you can't say the full sentence, then at least use the words you know. This not only helps you remember, but also shows people that you want to make an effort to communicate in their language.

12. Practice at Home and in Your Head - Seriously people, I started speaking to my dog in German at home! It helps to say the words out loud, and learn basic phrases that I use all the time. I taught my Lucy dog to sit and lay down in German. I also learned to say "in a minute", haha. And I learned the words for breakfast and dinner this way. The Hubs and I try to use German phrases at home when we can as well. I don't just talk to the dog, I swear!

13. Learn my favorite phrase - Ok, so seriously... no laughing, ok??? But when the Hubs and I found out we were moving to Germany, I learned this phrase first. "Ich bin ein dummer Amerikaner, bitte helfen Sie mir. Sprechen Sie Englisch?" which basically means, "I'm a stupid American, please help me. Do you speak English?" 

I'll wait until you stop laughing.

Seriously though, this works!! I say it with a big smile on my face, and I shrug my shoulders. Most people find it hilarious, and they're ready to be instant friends. Don't discount the use of humor to help you get around.

14. Get a Tutor - If you're having an especially difficult time learning even the most basic phrases, you can always hire a one-on-one tutor. This kind of focused attention is great for people who have a hard time picking up languages.

15. Watch TV, Listen to the Radio, and Read Magazines - This works!!! Turn your TV to the local channels and let it play all day long in the background. Sit down and watch shows, even though you may not know what they're saying at first. Tune your radio to a German station, and buy local magazines that you can translate at home. You'll really start to pick up phrases quickly this way.

16. Post It Notes - This may make your house look a little crazy for a while, but I once used post-it notes to label objects in my house. This helps with your vocabulary a lot. Every time I opened a cabinet or looked in the mirror, I said the corresponding vocabulary word. I'm a really visual person, so this was a huge help to me when I tried learning Italian a few years ago.

17. Children's Books - These are a great way to learn the basics of a language. Go to your local library and check out books in the language you're trying to learn. You'll be surprised how much this helps you.

18. Practice with Friends - When you PCS to a new place, remember that you're not the only person experiencing these language barriers. All of us are in the same boat! Practice with your new friends and help each other. Having a supportive group of people, who are focused on the same goal as you, is huge.

19. Last, but not least… have fun!! Don't make learning the language an awful thing. This doesn't have to be like school, or some dreaded task you have to accomplish. Honest to God, I usually reward myself for every ten new words learned by teaching myself a dirty word in my new language. This may not be your method, but it makes me laugh and I love it. Or I let myself pick out some great pair of earrings I really wanted, and when I reach my goal I get them. Find what makes you happy, and do it.

UPDATE: Here's an extra tip shared from fellow blogger, Kimmy in Germany! She says, "I'll add one more to your list: classical radio stations (like BR-Klassik) have news on the hour every hour, and it's delivered in a nice clear, slow, and soothing pace. I've learned a lot this way, and from many others you describe." I think this is an absolutely fantastic idea. Unplug your iPod and tune those stations locally… I'm going to do this today!

So that's all for now my friends. I hope some of these tips, however unconventional, help you out. If you've got some ideas and suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments below. I love hearing from you. And remember, you're not alone in your language struggles. Hubs and I have been in Germany nearly a year, and I'm just now comfortable ordering food in restaurants. What's important is that you try.

Until next time, happy learning!

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July 7, 2014

Nectarine, Prosciutto, and Ricotta Crostini

I am a fan of all things finger food. And appetizers. I love appetizers. Seriously, I'd rather have a sampling of appetizers as my meal than anything else. The Hubs thinks I'm a bit nutty, but he tolerates it. Especially since he gets to eat all of my appetizer creations.

My latest obsession is this Nectarine, Prosciutto, and Ricotta crostini. I've made it three times already! After cooking up my fried egg pizza, I had a lot of ricotta cheese left over. Since I don't like waste, it had to go somewhere. Hence, this yummy deliciousness came to be:

Melon and prosciutto are a common flavor combination in Italy. I took it a step further here, and the results were awesome. The best part is it's super simple to make, but party guests would think you slaved away creating this. I'm definitely making this for my next get together.

The ingredients

To get started, slice a baguette into 20-24 slices. I bought mine at our local bakery, but you can use one you've made from scratch as well. Brush one side of the baguette slices with butter (or spray with cooking spray). Toast under your broiler until lightly browned.

Let the crostini cool slightly, then spread ½ - 1 teaspoon of ricotta on each piece. You want a nice layer, not too thick and not too thin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add ½ slice of prosciutto to each crostini. Then top with some sliced nectarine, about 2 thin slices per piece. Drizzle with a little honey, sprinkle with basil, and viola!  You have magic.On some of my crostini, I replaced the nectarine with thin slices of green apple, and it was also magic, yay!

This recipe is so simple, even the Hubs can make it! And it's delicious too.

Try it out for your next party. Or, if you're like me, have it for dinner tonight. Until next time my friends, happy cooking! As always, the standard recipe is below.

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The Standard Form:

Nectarine, Prosciutto, and Ricotta Crostini


1 baguette, sliced into 20-24 pieces
2 large nectarines, thinly sliced
½ cup ricotta cheese
12 slices prosciutto, cut in half
Honey, for drizzling
30 basil leaves, chiffonade
Salt and pepper, to taste


Brush the baguette slices with some butter, or spray with cooking spray. Toast the baguette slices under your broiler until lightly browned. Cool for a few minutes.

Spread each baguette slice with ½ - 1 teaspoon of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then top each crostini with ½ piece of prosciutto. Evenly distribute your thinly sliced nectarines over the prosciutto. I usually have enough to use two slices per crostini. Drizzle the nectarines with honey, then sprinkle the basil over the top.


July 3, 2014

The Big List of "Welcome Home" Signs

Homecomings are, without a doubt, one of the best moments you can ever experience. People everywhere tear up watching these reunions, even if they've never been there and have no idea what it's like being related to a soldier. As a spouse you've worried, and waited, and worried some more. There have been sleepless nights and days when you just knew you couldn't do it anymore. But then you did. And you got through.

Homecoming is the culmination of all those emotions. If you're like me, you worry over it and nitpick at the details. You focus so much on that one moment, you drive yourself crazy. Sometimes I don't think we can help it. What are you going to wear? What will the kids wear? Decorate the house, yay or nay? Homecoming party? Probably not. Do I bake a cake? Do I have sexy lingerie??

Yep, all those thoughts and a million more are in there. Luckily, I'm here to help! I worried over creating a sign for homecoming, but had no idea what to say. I'm hoping this list will relieve a little stress for someone else out there who has the same worries I did. Please add your ideas in the comments too, you know I love hearing from you!

And always remember that no matter what you do, your soldier will be so happy to see you, nothing else really matters.

Signs For Your Door/Yard:

1. Do Not Disturb, Welcoming Home My Hero!

2. Free Welcome Banners from Build A Sign (thanks to Kimberly Connerly for her suggestion!)

3. Always Under the Same Stars, Finally Under the Same Roof!

4. (Fill in the blank) Days Away, Our Hero is Home Today!

5.  Use glowsticks to create a welcome home message on your lawn or door

6. Use stencils and flour to create a welcome home sign on your lawn

Signs for the Runway (picking your soldier up at the airfield):

1.  His Eyes Are (fill in blank), His Boots Are Tan, Out Of My Way, So I Can Kiss My Man!

2. I'd Wait For You Forever, But (fill in length of deployment) Was Long Enough!

3. Home is Where the Heart Is, and Mine is Finally Back!

4. It's Been (fill in the blank) Days Since You Hugged Me, That Streak Ends Now!

5. After (fill in the blank) Days, You're Right Where You Need To Be, Welcome Home!

6. (Fill in name of soldier), I Hope You're Ready For Our 2nd (or 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc) First Kiss!

7. Missed Me, Missed Me, Now You Gotta Kiss Me!

8. We've Waited (fill in the blank) Days For This Moment, Welcome Home!

9. The Longer The Wait, The Sweeter The Kiss. I've Waited (fill in the blank) Days For This!

10. For (Fill in the blank) Months I Held You In My Heart, Today I Hold You In My Arms

11. I'm Here to Pick Up My Hero!

12. Our Missing Puzzle Piece Is Finally Home!

13. (Fill in soldier's name), Get Your Hugs Here!

14. (Fill in the Blank) Sleepless Nights,
      (Fill in the blank) Hours Trying To Stay Busy,
      (Fill in the blank) Minutes Of My Phone on the Loudest Ring Possible,
      (Fill in the blank) Seconds Waiting For You To Come Home….
      Seeing You For the First Time in Countless Months = PRICELESS 

15. (Fill in the blank) Months
      (Fill in the blank) Days
      (Fill in the blank) Hours
      (Fill in the blank) Minutes
      (Fill in the blank) Seconds

       You Are Worth The Wait! 

16. Together Forever, Never Apart, Maybe In Distance, But Never in The Heart!

17. Home of the Free, Because of the Brave. Welcome Home (fill in the blank)!

18. Now That You're Home, Here is Your Honey Do List: Hug Me, Hold Me, Kiss Me!

19. Happiness is in the Arms of My Soldier, Welcome Home!

20. My Husband = My Hero. Welcome Home!

21. For medics: Hey Doc (fill in the blank), Can You Take a Look at This?

22. I Was There The Day You Left, and I'm Here to Welcome You Home!

23. Forget the Knight in Shining Armor, I'll Take My Soldier!

24. Here To Pick Up The Love Of My Life!

25. (Fill in the blank) Months Was Nothing Since We Have Forever!

26. I Love My Soldier, Welcome Home (fill in the blank)!

27. Blessed to Welcome Home Our Hero!

28. (Fill in soldier's rank/name), Your Mrs. Needs Some Kisses!

29. (Fill in the blank) Nights of Waiting, Praying, and Dreaming for This Moment… Welcome Home, Soldier!

30. Postage for Care Packages: $ (fill in dollar amount)
      Phone Cards & Internet Packages: $ (fill in dollar amount)
      Paints and Supplies for this Sign: $ (fill in dollar amount)
      Holding You For the First Time in (fill in the blank) months: PRICELESS

31. Dreams Do Come True, Welcome Home, I've Missed You!

32. Welcome Home Husband, Father, and Hero. We Missed You!

Signs for Kids:

1. I've Waited My Whole Life to Meet You

2. Red, white, and blue welcome sign with kid's handprints as the border. "These Are The Hands That Prayed For Your Safe Return"

3. Outta My Way, I Get My Daddy (or Mommy) Back Today!

4. Hand Over My Daddy (or Mommy)!

5. I Just Met You, And This Is Crazy, But I'm Your Son/Daughter!

6. Welcome Home Daddy/Mommy! I Spent (fill in the blank) Days Missing You!

7. Warning: My Daddy/Mommy Is Here, and I'll Run You Over To Get To Him!

8. I'm Meeting My Daddy For the First Time Today!

9. You Owe Mom 1,222 Diaper Changes!

10. He's Not Just My Daddy, He's My Hero!

11. Welcome Home Daddy! I Took Care of Mommy While You Were Gone :)

12. Welcome Home Daddy/Mommy, Look How Big I've Gotten!

13. You Left Behind One Heart, but Now You're Coming Home to Two! (For babies born during deployments)

14. I'm Daddy's Princess, and He's My Hero

15. Come and Meet Your Mini-Me!

16. Daddy, Get Your Hugs and Kisses Here! (with an arrow pointing down to the child)

17. (Fill in the blank) Days Old, and Ready To Meet My Daddy!

Decorate Your Car:

1. If I'm speeding, it's because I'm on my way to pick up my soldier!

2. Move it or lose it, our daddy is coming home today!

3. Half My Heart is Coming Home Today!

4. Today We Welcome Home Our Heroes!

5. Beep, Beep, Outta My Way, Daddy's Coming Home Today!

And now for the last list. The, ahem… dirty and flirty signs. A lot of people don't like seeing these at homecomings, and I can't blame them. After all, there are lots of little kids around. And seriously peeps, some things should be private. BUT, you could always hang these in the hallway leading to your bedroom, haha. So here goes…

For the Home/Bedroom:

1. I Can't Wait To Untie Your Boots and Find Your Camo All Over My Floor!

2. If You Think (Afghanistan/Iraq) Was Hot, Wait Until Tonight!

3. Welcome Home Honey, I Hope You Slept on the Plane!

4, Welcome Home, Are You Ready to be Debriefed and Boarded?

5. Next Mission: Operation Nookie (and you're in command!)

6. Welcome Home, I Can't Wait To Get My Hands on You!

7. I'm Glad To Have You Back, Now Let's Jump in the Sack!

8. 1, 2, 3, 4… Let Those ACUs Hit The Floor!

9. 1 Faithful Wife + 1 Deployed Soldier = Babysitter Needed!

10.  Job Well Done, Come and Get Your Reward!

I hope these lists help someone out there. I'll be back with more homecoming posts, hopefully soon. Until next time, my friends!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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July 1, 2014

Cooking with The Kid

I love having someone to share the kitchen with when The Kid visits. She's a total natural… though she does complain about touching raw chicken. Apparently, this is icky.

The Kid in my chef hat
We're traveling a lot whilst she's visiting, but there is downtime in between. We fill that time with food and games, and other fun stuff. So far, The Kid has learned to make an amazing grilled cheese (ham and gouda on brioche bread), how to fry an egg, and last night we tackled my BBQ Chicken Pizza recipe

Raw chicken is icky

We even made a family breakfast one morning (with some help from the Hubs), that included a blueberry compote for our pancakes! The Kid kicks some serious butt in the kitchen. 

I know this might seem like a weird kind of happy to some, especially for those who hate cooking. But for me, the kitchen is the heart of the home. I always helped my dad in the kitchen, and it was so much fun. Meals (and the time it took to prepare them) were family time. Food brought everyone together at the same time and the same place, for at least an hour. We talked, we laughed…. we were involved in each other's lives. The rest of the day we might be working or running errands or whatever. But at dinner, we were together. 

I love carrying on this tradition with The Kid. She picks the music, I pick the food. We joke. We laugh. We occasionally throw food. It's fantastic.

We also take bizarre kitchen selfies as a form of entertainment.

The Kid

Me and The Fam are leaving for Rome in a few days, so keep up with our adventures on the Army Life Facebook page! I'll keep posting here as well, when I can. In the meantime, enjoy your own summer holiday, and maybe cook a meal together….

Until next time my friends, happy cooking!  

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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