How Long Will He Be Home?

I know one common question is how long will my soldier be home before he deploys again?  I wish I had the answer to that million dollar question, I sadly do not.  I have asked around how long National Guard soldiers are home before they deploy again and I got responses anywhere from 6 months to 5 years.  From what I can understand, the goal is to have all National Guard soldiers home for four years, and Reserves home for five years, for every year that they were deployed.  Now, please don’t jump down my throat saying that you know someone who was only home for 6 months, because there are instances where this happens, and keep reading, I will get there.  One important thing to know though, is that the Department of the Defense (DoD) is working to extend the guidelines on the time home between deployments, known as dwell time.

The new policy that the DoD is trying to implement will require the Secretary of Defense to approve deployments that are longer than 400 days, or unit deployments with less than 48 months of dwell time – did you read that?  48 MONTHS of dwell time “guaranteed”!  That is four glorious years.  But please note that I put guaranteed in quotes.  I am positive that there will be exceptions to this, especially for soldiers that change units since this dwell time is being defined as per unit. There are plenty of articles on that discuss the Guard’s dwell time.  One reason for this potential policy change is that it is very hard for civilian employers to hold positions for soldiers when they are gone every other year on a deployment.

Cell Phones in Europe

I’m back after my PSC hiatus! I am now officially living in Germany, and I have a lot of good information to pass along to those of you heading to Europe. One of the first issues with settling in was getting in contact with people. Getting a “handy” in Germany is very easy to do, but there are some differences in cell phones that you should know in order to make the right decision on what kind of phone and plan to buy.

First, if you have a cell phone contract in the U.S., it’s easy to get out of your contract with military orders. As far as using your current phone overseas, it gets a little tricky. Europe uses GSM technology, which is why many times US phones don’t work in Europe. If your phone uses a SIM card, chances are you can get it unlocked and use it in Europe. You can go to your cell phone provider to have it unlocked, or you can look up how to do it  online. T-Mobile uses GSM technology, while Verizon does not. You can tell if your phone uses GSM technology if it contains a SIM card. To check, pop out the battery, and if there’s a little card behind it, then you may be able to use your phone. iPhones and most smartphones contain a SIM card.

Preparing for TTC and IVF

In XX weeks, my husband will be home for R&R, and we plan to TTC once more on our own before going through with IVF. Since deciding to TTC once more on our own, I’ve been making some decisions to try to get my body (and spirit) ready to bake a baby bean. :)

First on my list is to get my ass back into the dance studio and drop these last six-eight pounds. IVF drugs make me bloat and gain weight, so I want to be at my prime weight before I go through that. Exercise also will help with the stress associated with IVF, as well as get my body fit for pregnancy.

Eating healthier has been a challenge, but I am slowly getting back to the old healthy-eating-me. I am working more produce into my diet, avoiding simple sugars as much as possible and trying to eat organic when possible. Eating healthy is definitely easier now that I live in a place with more shopping options. I have found that I love adding more meatless dishes and more fish to my diet. Along with generally eating better, I am also taking prenatals and a calcium supplement on a daily basis.

Living with Food Allergies

Understanding how to handle food allergies can be challenging, especially when a person is allergic to everyday items like eggs or wheat. Food allergies can range from the slightly annoying to the life-threatening. Some people find food allergies by accident, via anaphylactic shock, while others learn from a visit to an allergist.

Familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of anaphylactic shock is especially important if you or someone you know has moderate to severe food allergies, as anaphylactic shock can be fatal. Common signs from are listed below for your reference:

Anaphylactic shock

~The weekend I just experienced was more than I can write in one blog, so I will be breaking this down into several entries~

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I would be attending a retreat sponsored by Operation Homefront’s newest group, . The retreat, Women of Warriors (WOW), was held in Tampa, FL, and was from Friday til Monday. I was fortunate that I was chosen to go on this trip, but I actually had reservations about going. My reservations weren’t because of cost. Although it was a “free” trip to Florida, I know from past Army trips, often times they aren’t worth the hassle of flying, getting reimbursed, and the agenda not pertaining to our situation or helping. My reservations were because the retreat was to which really turned me off because,

It’s not too soon to discuss Halloween, is it? I saw Christmas decorations on sale in Target, so I figure Halloween is quickly approaching. :)

Halloween has become a big deal in our house. I’m not sure when that happened, but costume options are discussed year round. New ideas are raised monthly, and it’s fun. Each of the boys know that they can change their minds as many times as they want to… until I buy the materials needed to make their costumes (I’m a homemade type of gal) – then they’re stuck with whatever their last choice was.

ALL of 2010 leading up to this point, Stinky has talked about being the Grinch for Halloween. I thought this was such a great idea and was SO excited to be making that costume. Then a couple of weeks ago he came home talking about zombies and the Reaper. I smell his friends’ influences in this, but it’s his costume, and I have no objections, so the Reaper is now the official costume.

I found a version of the following recipe for Vegetarian Paella in an issue of the magazine Prevention. With the crushed red pepper, it’s a little on the spicy side, so adjust according to your tastes. It’s a great last-minute meal for me, because I like to adjust the types and quantities of vegetables I use. Just last week, I made this for dinner and tossed in some seasonal squash – it was fantastic! I always use brown rice for this recipe which makes it a very filling (and cost-effective!) main course.

Vegetarian Paella
Nutrition Facts: CALORIES 319.1 CAL, FAT 8.4 G, SATURATED FAT 1.3 G, CHOLESTEROL 0 MG, SODIUM 699 MG, CARBOHYDRATES 52.2 G, TOTAL SUGARS 4.8 G, DIETARY FIBER 6.7 G, PROTEIN 11.1 G. Makes 6 servings.

Meatless Monday: Making it Easy

When my husband and I decided to start eating more meatless meals, I overwhelmed myself looking for recipes and dishes. It seemed that all I was finding were recipes and dishes that required actual work and preparation. I enjoy cooking, but it’s difficult for me to put together nice meals during the work week since I work full times. I was feeling a bit disappointed until I had an “Aha!” moment – my meatless dishes could be as easy as my meat meals.

One of my go to ideas for easy meatless meals are Mexican dishes. In our house, we love soft tacos for dinner. I serve them with a side of refried beans and Spanish rice. I’ve learned that having black bean soft tacos are an easy and delicious meatless option. Just rinse, drain and heat the beans, then use them in place of your normal meat filling. It is seriously yummy, and it satisfies my husband the meat lover. You can use black beans in place of meat for crunchy tacos, tostadas and quesadillas as well.

The Importance of Loving Exercise

I am the first to admit that exercise is not necessarily something that I’ve always loved to do…until now. I used to MAKE myself go to the gym and sweat through a treadmill run/walk and then a weight routine. I do not like weights, at all. I enjoy running but unfortunately my feet do not, damn plantar fasciitis.

A few months ago, a dear friend of mine introduced me to Zumba. I am now in love. I joined the dance studio and now I regularly do Zumba, Zumba Toning, TRX and other classes that are offered there. The hour(s) that I’m there fly by, and I don’t feel like I’m exercising. Not to say that it isn’t challenging, but I’m having so much fun that I forget that it’s actual exercise. I am also making friends there and since it’s 99.9% women there (I’ve actually only seen one man in the classes and he’s old enough to be my dad) I don’t worry about being ogled and hit on while I’m working out.

My Evolution as a Mom

When I had my first baby, I was short to temper and quick to impatience. I was more concentrated on everything LOOKING perfect, rather than being okay. I cooked and cleaned and did laundry all. Day. Long. While a sweet-tempered, patient baby sat waiting for my attention. When I should have been coaxing grins and playing peek-a-boo, I was mopping (again) and cooking (myself into a frenzy).

When my second baby came along, I recognized what I had done and tried to rectify things. I could maintain perfect, while still giving my children the attention they need. I worked outside the home, full time, then I’d run home, play with two precious little boys, make an ok dinner, bathtime and bedtime routines, and then I was up late cleaning and laundry and paying bills, and… you get the point. I was tired and run down and, once again, short to temper and quick to impatience. Obviously no one benefits this way.

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