Charming Military Story Contest

The company I am a consultant for, Nomades, recently had a share your story contest about your favorite charm. In case you are new to my blog, Nomades is a charm and jewelry company started by Military Wives that wanted to share their story in the form of charms. The charm companies really didn’t represent us, so they took matters into their own hands and started this amazing company.

Consultants and customers alike were encouraged to participate. I submitted my story, it was short and sweet, it didn’t get picked (insert sad face here), but I write a blog! I can share it anyway, woot woot.

Here is my bracelet so far.

IMG_0966Pretty awesome right? I love the We Also Serve charm, it’s the American flag with the crossed wedding rings. It shares the spotlight with the USMC and Army beaded spacers that represent my husband’s and my service. But Although I think of these three as one, they are three separate pieces, not meeting the criteria of the contest. So I stared and thought, and stared some more. Then I realized my favorite was the Family Ties spacer. It was a special for the Month of November, and I immediately ordered it for myself. It consists of four little paper doll cutouts, holding hands, with teeny heart spaces on each chest.

Why is this one my favorite? Each charm has a meaning, evokes a memory or emotion. These four little guys remind me of our children. We are a blended family, blending our families to become one. My kids can describe one another as full, half, or step siblings, but they simply call each other brother and sister. Since we married, the kids have fallen into step like a silent drill team, not missing a beat, as if they were always together. Our extended families have opened their hearts to us, referring to our children as Niece, Nephew, Grandchild, and Great Grandchild. They hold no difference between blood and step relation. Just like these little figures are bonded together with open hearts, so is our family.

In case you would like to browse the catalogue, click here.

Have a Crafty Day!

Let’s Trade

I have been amazed to discover the amount of talented military spouses that surround me. There are Facebook pages dedicated to sharing talents throughout the base. So what happens when money is tight for the holiday season and you find something that you just HAVE to have. If it’s between crafty folk, or those with other talents, we barter and trade.

This is fun, but can be hazardess depending on the people you’re dealing with. One of my very talented Facebook friends who makes splendid cakes, had a run in with someone that wanted to trade (we’ll call her the requester), but didn’t have anything my friend wanted. A trade has to be agreed upon by both parties, and the value has to be equivalent. My friend told the requester, thank you but I do not need or want any of that. This produced anger, frustration and a little vindictive behavior on the part of the requester. My poor friend was in disbelief, and shared her experience with us (Thanks for the blogging fuel).

It stands to reason, that if you want a product, and someone is willing to trade, but the value is not equal, then a monetary supplement is the only solution. Additionally, if you are requesting a service or product, you would be prepared to pay, like in any other transaction, so the behavior of the requester is just bad form!

Luckily, I have had only positive experiences with trading. I saw this crafters work through one of the many crafting groups and we made a great trade. She makes paper products, candy wrapper purses/headbands, and paper ornaments; her Facebook page is Twisted Parchment.

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Aren’t they fabulous? I got 6! She was very excited to trade for a rainbow of crochet butterflies to finish off a blanket she made previously.

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What a trade! My sister first introduced me to these 3-D butterflies in her blog Chucks for Chancho. This butterfly pattern can be found here (must convert to U.S. terms, but she tells you how).

Have a Crafty Day!

Catching Up

I have been neglecting my blog a little bit, so these next few days I will be catching up on my posting.

With the holiday season over, and the character hat requests slowing down, my sis and I have decided to take a break from our “made to order” items to experiment with new projects and ideas. We are also taking that time to just live a little. I wanted to share some of my gifts that I know you all will appreciate.

My husband found me this fabulous t-shirt from Busted Tees. I love, love, LOVE it, and I love him for accepting me as a yarnie =)

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Here is the link to purchase it, but there are no shirts for crocheters, sad. So since my husband is a very talented crafter as well (don’t tell him I told you), he hand-stamped me this keychain.

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By far my favorite gift is my Nomades bracelet. I posted awhile back about becoming an Independent Nomades Consultant. I simply adore the product, and it is perfect for any Patriot and anyone associated with the military. I was finally able to put together a bracelet that summed up our life together thus far.

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Me from the Marine Corps, him from the Army, represented by the USMC/ARMY beaded spacers. A charm for our marriage, rightfully called the “We also serve” charm for the military  spouse. The postcard with the inscription “Miles apart, together at heart” when he was deployed this past year. Our little family (my favorite) and the 82nd Airborne charm. As our life changes with each experience or move, I can add to my bracelet. Here is the link to an online catalogue for your shopping pleasure.

I am a lucky gal!

Have a Crafty Day!

Losing Half of Myself

I’m going to go off of the crafty portion that I’m known for with this post, but it is something that all women, Mothers, and those of us that craft battle with…WEIGHT! Dun-dun-duuuun!

As crafters, we have a predominantly sedentary “job.” Unless you have a job that you can do while exercising, professional sports entertainer is the only thing that comes to mind, the only payment we get from watching our weight is being healthy, and the satisfaction of liking the way our clothes fit; better yet, liking the way we look in the buff =)

My battle with weight cycles around 3 key issues:

1. Being pregnant and having children take a toll on your body. The older you are, the harder it is to get that baby weight off.

2. Diet. I am a self proclaimed foodie, I love food! All types of food, and lots of it.

3. Time to exercise. I mean, who has it? Between taking care of the kids, making meals, doing housework, and finding time to sit with my yarn and make string pretty, I’m up till all hours of the night.

So here’s my before and after:

IMG_0216From a size 16 to a size 8!!!

Literally half of myself. How did I do it? Well I am not a trainer, or medical professional, but I will share the things that I did for my radical transformation. I hope it can help you like it helped me.

First let me say this DID NOT happen quickly, it has been a year and a half of hard work and changing many aspects of my diet. So if you want a get skinny quick answer…good luck with that, but it isn’t here.

The photo on the left was taken before I started getting serious about losing the weight I had accumulated from my last pregnancy, and I have to say seeing that photo was my “a-ha” moment. My husband was deployed to Afghanistan and I did not want him to come home to that photo. I needed to make some changes, and I needed help.

I became good friends with a Beachbody coach. Don’t laugh or snicker, home fitness plans work IF you follow the program, to be honest I did not follow my first program to the letter, but I LOVE the DVDs. Turbo Fire got me started, I saw dramatic differences with Hip Hop Abs.  You can read about my coach’s transformation here, she is fabulous, high energy, and truly dedicated to me and my fitness goals. Unlike a personal trainer, where you only have their attention if you pay, once Nancy is your coach she doesn’t leave your side. I haven’t ordered a program for about a year, I moved across the country, and my girl has not abandoned me. She calls me often, posts workouts and reminders, and gives me motivation daily. This was something I could do to burn those nasty things called calories, make time for without having to go anywhere, and still take care of my baby.

Then I looked at what I was eating and why I eat it. Have you said or heard “make sure you eat everything on your plate.” I’ve heard it, I’ve said it, but why? So we don’t waste food, yes, but if we don’t eat OUR food are those starving children in 3rd world countries not going to starve? Ummm…..NO! This steams from our parents, and our parent’s parents living through tough times and the Depression where you ate all your food because they didn’t know when they were going to eat again. Is there a light bulb turning on? This mentality, although very relevant in their time, has only developed confusion and eating disorders in our time.

I increased my fruits and vegetables, A LOT! Converted to whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice. These are HUGE changes, I did them gradually. I even tried Beachbody’s Shakeology for awhile and really loved the feeling and energy it gave me. Some key food advice from Nancy, don’t deny yourself the food you love, just don’t keep it in the house. Go out and buy one cookie from the bakery, instead of the bag of Oreos. Go out and buy a fountain drink from 7Eleven, medium size, filled 3/4 of the way with ice, instead of the 24 pack or 2-liter of Coke. This way you don’t feel like your missing out and you don’t have these high calorie items at arms reach. SMART RIGHT?

Now I only walk to pick up my kids from school, I try to exercise regularly. I joined a stroller fitness class and it doubles as a play date for my almost 3 year old. I finally have a handle on eating healthier and I am keeping the weight off. I hope some, or maybe all of these tips can assist in your weight management.

Have a Crafty Day! 

Going to a DOD School

We are headed into the 2nd week of school. So far I am really impressed. My husband kept assuring me that the Department of Defense (DOD) schools are highly ranked, but there’s a difference between knowing and KNOWING.

At first I thought it highly odd because they have a Primary school (Pre K-2nd grade), an Intermediate school (3rd-5th grade), and the standard Middle school (6th-8th). My nerves were shot, I really liked my kid’s school in California, not only were they changing schools but they wouldn’t be able to support each other since one was going to Middle school! We were all very nervous. Then we meet my daughter’s 4th grade teacher. She is a retired Sergeant Major and her job in the Army?….MILITARY POLICE! I’m not going to lie, home schooling sounded really good. During our meet and greet she shared that her students generally raise their test scores greatly from the beginning to end of the school year; she said things like “I won’t waste your child’s time.” My daughter gave me this look like “SAVE ME!”

Well my daughter really enjoys her teacher. She has a lot of “war stories” she shares with the class that my daughter finds fascinating. My daughter said when she starts telling her stories she gets really serious, her voice changes, and she talks like she’s mad but she isn’t. I noticed this too, any time you talk to former military and they “talk shop” (about their career, experience, etc) there is this undeniable intensity that overcomes their persona, even their posture changes. Try it, it’s amazing!

On to my son’s open house. He has 7 classes. I remember only 6for Middle school. He starts school at 8:00am on the dot, out at 3pm, and has to wear a uniform. They have the grades broken into teams, still figuring that one out (I think it’s just for lunch and locker schedule). His teachers all seemed very nice and comforting, and we ran through his class schedule twice but he still got lost on the first day. First thing this morning I received a call from his math teacher, uh-oh right? Nope, she called me because she noticed he is on a completely different level then his peers and she wanted to discuss moving him into the advanced program, which will change his class schedule. I knew this was going to happen once his records were transferred, but after 1 week and they are already taking action…WOW. I mean this lady has 7 classes packed with students and she is able to evaluate them in a week? They are on point over here.

Here is some education humor for you.

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Have a Crafty Day!

 

 

 

Dealing with Grief

These past couple of weeks have been difficult for me, my family has experienced some loss.

The last Friday of September my Aunt called me, which was odd because we usually Facebook. She called to inform me that my other Auntie, her and my Mom’s younger sister, passed away a few short hours ago. I proceeded, not to process this information, but do my part in the family phone tree. My Momma was getting some much needed rest on her day off from work so was not answering her phone. I then phoned my brother and sister (from that side of the family, I have a very confusing and blended family tree that warrants explanation….another time).

Being a military wife, I left my family and followed my husband. So I am not there to share in the grieving process. All the way on the opposite coast, with 3 children, I can’t just pick up and be there. That is one of the most difficult parts. I feel isolated in my grief. My husband did not know her, my eldest does not remember her, and the phone gives so little comfort.

We all deal with grief differently. Some call on their friends, Jack, Johnny, and Jose, to help them through it. Some become emotional and sentimental, ensuring their family that is still on this Earth know their love for them before it’s too late, in the case of my Bro. Some are like my sister, overly motherly by nature, the curse of the eldest female child, but when tragedy strikes she goes into hyper drive. Ensuring everyone else is alright and putting her emotional needs on the back burner. Me? Well I stay in denial for awhile. I like to suggest it’s called focusing on living…..it’s denial. I surround myself with projects and chores, keeping pre-occupied enough NOT to think about it until there is nothing left to do and I am forced to face reality.

Then there’s my Momma. We should all take a page out of her big book of grieving. She takes a day or so, a good hard day, and grieves for herself. She grieves for the hole in her heart and life that not having her sister around brings. She grieves for all the time not spent, words not said, future not shared, and then she stops. She just….stops….and celebrates. She celebrates the life of my Auntie, her accomplishments, her children and her memory. She celebrates the belief that my Auntie’s soul is in Paradise. She finishes grieving her lose and celebrates that my Auntie has reunited with others that have passed on before her. Such is my Momma’s belief, and it is a good, kind, beautiful one.

loveauntie