Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Research suggests that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags equaling 100 million tonnes are consumed worldwide each year, The 10% that wind up polluting our oceans have caused a plastic vortex to accumulate in the North East Pacific Ocean, just North of Hawaii. In the calm center of the vortex, plastic accumulates and is now the size of Texas. Check out this great animation of the ocean currents here.
The city of San Francisco will be first city in the U.S. to take a stand and ban plastic bags in large markets and pharmacies. But what can a crafter do to help the cause? Round up the bags you do have laying around in the house or collect them from neighbors and friends to start reusing plastic bags for your next craft project.
I found this great tutorial on how to make plastic bag yarn and I now plan on making a few reusable grocery totes... And maybe a rug if I can find enough green and blue bags.
The bags I use are thin shopping bags with handles. They come mostly in white, greys, blues and greens. Occassionally I find a pink,red or orange bag but these are very rare. Make sure the bags are clean. Wash and dry if necessary.
Wind the yarn up into balls.
The new, increased benefits will be free to enroll (instead of the $1200 My husband shelled out, which he's not gettin back). You are 100% eligible with 3 years of post 9/11 service, excluding service requirements from ROTC and service academies (check the link for full details).
Benefits will likely now be transferable to one dependent, unfortunately for us. Mike's already had to tap into his because he's taking more classes then the Marine Corps will allow.
Friday, June 27, 2008
The American Red Cross is warning military families about a scam that puts a Marine's identity at risk.
The group says scam artists are contacting military spouses, saying they word for the "Red Cross." The caller tells the spouse, their loved one has been injured in Iraq and has been transported to a hospital in Germany. However, before doctors can treat him, the caller says, they need to complete paperwork. The caller asks for the Marine's social security number and birth date.
The American Red Cross says their workers or uniformed service members from your local base do not directly contact families or dependents of servicemen and women.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
No but really, we drove around for over a hour looking for a parking spot. We finally found one 2-3 blocks from the White House. We walk all the way to the White House and just as we begin to walk across the street it just starts pouring rain!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
*Go out for lunch instead of dinner! Many restaurants have different menus which are slightly smaller portions of dinner entrees at a cheaper price.
*Try your local diner for dinner out. I am from New Jersey, which is HUGE on diners, so I am practically obligated to bring these up! They have continental menus which means everyone is bound to find something they like. They are fairly cheap, even if you go all out and order everything from soup to nuts!
*Order an appetizer for your meal. Most restaurants have an awesome selection of yummy starters that are so large they'd make a great dinner. Some even have mini version of their signature sandwiches or pasta dishes. Add a little fresh bread and you have a wonderful meal!
*Go the soup and salad route. This is another way to fill up and enjoy the ambiance of a nice restaurant without spending a lot of dough.
*Resist the temptation to order drinks. They are a complete ripoff. $5-7 for one glass of wine or one beer is insane! $2-3 for a soda is equally ridiculous when you pay less than that for a 2 Liter bottle. Order up some water with lemon instead!
*Of course you could also go to a BYOB place...most readily supply an ice bucket and glasses while you dine in.
*Be on the lookout for coupons for local restaurants for extra savings on your bill. Coupon mailers like Valpak are good sources, as well as local newspapers, the phone book, and hotel and business lobbies.
*Buy one of those Entertainment Books. Many of the restaurants featured in ours are for Buy One Get One Free. If you wait a few months into the new year you can get it for at least 50% off. http://www.entertainment.com/discount/home.shtml
*Mystery shop! While I was on maternity leave, I signed up to be a Mystery Shopper and they paid me to visit various places, including restaurants. Not only did I get paid to eat out with my hubby, they also reimbursed us for our meals. Not bad, eh?
*Check out http://www.restaurant.com/for deals, too! You can often find $25 gift certificates for only $10 on their site. I know it sounds strange, but I have tried it and they are legit.
*If you are headed out with the kiddos in tow, check out when the restaurants have Kids Eat Free Nights.
*Sign up for chain restaurants' rewards clubs or email services and reap the benefits of online coupons.
*Have dessert elsewhere. Why pay $7 for a tiny gourmet dessert when you can get ice cream for a third of the price? Or hit up a bakery on the way home!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The following businesses are known for offering discounts, but not all locations may participate:
Travel and Leisure
Monday, June 16, 2008
- Create a financial budget to help you save
- See what free military financial services are offered at your installation.
- Do not use credit cards.
- Stop purchasing frivolous, impulse items.
- Don't buy anything just because it is on sale.
- Occasionally buy generic or non-name brand merchandise.
- Don't eat out as much as you'd like to.
- Do more activities at home (you wont be out spending!)
- Invest the money you save so that it earns money too.
- Stay busy - you have less time to spend money.
- Stop smoking.
- Don't try to compete with your friends and neighbors.
- Shop for clothes at thrift shops (especially for kids).
- Pay bills online. Its safe and I save $50 a year on stamps.
- Learn to refinish furniture or decorate with paint
- Buy a bread maker and make your own bread. Healthier & cheaper than $2.00 a loaf!
- Cancel magazine subscriptions. Read them at the library instead.
- Check out library books instead of buying them.
- If you wash your hair every day you don't need to lather twice. Saves shampoo!
- Buy only clothing not requiring dry cleaning.
- Get 3-6 quotes anytime shopping for item over $100.
- Shop tax-free at your local Exchange and don’t forget that they price match!
- Stay stylish by buying basic solid tees and skirts & then adding trendy accessories.
- Recycle plastic bags you receive at the grocery store for trash.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in season. They are less expensive and taste better.
- Shop your local commissary – you could save over hundreds a year!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
• Paint is an inexpensive and dramatic way to change the look of a room. However, keep in mind that most military housing regulations require you to return the walls to the exact color before you move out. • An iron wall grille adds rich architectural detailing to any room.
• Fabric can be used as a wall covering when applied with liquid starch and easily removable.
• Borders add special detail to the room. There are many removable/reusable styles on the market. Wallies and Peel-n-stick graphics are other options.
• Stenciling is a unique way of adding color and personalization to a room.
• Curtains can make a big visual impact. Drapes are beautiful but can be pricey and may not be long enough to fit the widows in your next house. To avoid the extra cost and frustration, top treatments are more practical. Valances or no sew/low sew treatments are simple and look great.
• You can use floral garland or scrolled metal swags as window accents. You can also arrange multiple vines around a small room, like a bedroom or bathroom, this makes a great “country garden” feel, and can be taken along to any new duty station.
• If you have a window that you would like to cover for privacy reasons or to block an unwanted view, you may want to try a decorative window tint. They can be cut to size, easy to apply, and are reusable.
• Choose pieces that are timeless and will mix and match with what you already have. Most military quarters are cramped on space and have limited storage so try to buy multipurpose furniture. Some examples are ottomans, sofa-beds, armoires, extendable tables, and “all-in-one” loft units
• Throw pillows and inexpensive table linens that coordinate with your window treatments tie in the overall style of a room and are a great way of adding color, texture, and pattern.
• Select small appliances that are neutral in color and will match with any kitchen design. Stainless steel or chrome is a safe bet because it matches both black and white large appliances equally.
• If you put S-hooks from a chain hanging from your ceiling in a corner of your kitchen, you can store your pots and pans in a fashionable manner, save cabinet space, and still keep from making irreversible damage to your housing unit.
• Freshen up outdated cabinetry by adding new drawer pulls and replacing cabinet knobs. Remember to switch back to the old ones before you sign out.
• Change out the boring, standard light fixture and replace it with something more sophisticated and stylish. A chandelier in the dining area can become a focal attraction for the whole room. There are many affordable options and they can be taken down easily when you leave and used in your next home.
• Military housing often times does not provide enough lighting. An easy and portable solution is to install under cabinet lighting. These come in very handy and are perfect for kitchens, offices, bookshelves, and closets.
• If you don’t have ceiling fans in your quarters, you may want to consider installing them. They’re affordable and not only bring relief from the heat but also contribute to a room’s ambience by simulating a calming breeze.
Accessories & Home Accents
• Framed photos are a link to where you have been and who you are related to! Pictures will be an unchanging decoration. It also give your kids a visual sense of “family” so they and will recognize them on your next leave home!
• Candles make a room feel warm and inviting. There are lots of great ideas for displaying them here .
• Mirrors are not only practical but can be lovely works of art, enhancing your home in many useful ways. Artwork is another great way to incorporate color and visual appeal.
• Rugs cut down on the echo and cover hard, cold, bare floors. They really soften up the boring tile and dress up hard wood. Naturals (like wool sisals, woven sea grass, or jute) in muted patterns are usually safe bets.
• Use baskets and decorative containers for extra storage and to help keep clutter under control and out of sight.
• Buying real plants can be expensive every time you move. Another option is to invest in high quality silk flowers and plants. Look for sales, buy per season and change accordingly. When you move, the greenery moves with you.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
We went to this uber cute place called Pigtails & Crew Cuts. They did such an awesome job with her. For as much as she HATES her hair being touched, I was just floored when she didn't fuss, pull away or seem to care at all that her hair was being brushed, cut and styled.
Friday, June 13, 2008
I saw this come across the The Military Report over at Military.com
"U.S. Representative John Carter (R- Fort Hood) introduced the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (H.R. 6070) in the House, which would amend the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA). SCRA gives servicemembers the ability to maintain a home of residency, regardless of placement by military orders, which has given servicemembers tax relief and also made a change in driver’s licenses and vehicle registration unnecessary. The bill gives military spouses the same benefits as they relocate with their active-duty spouses."
I personally never really had to worry about the issue with driver’s licenses and vehicle registration due to CA (my state of residence) already having a law similar to this. I hope that Congress can get off their butts and get this voted on, approved and signed by Pres Bush very soon.
Lots of military spouses could use a law like this. I commend Rep Carter for putting together something like this for us Milspouses! We all know how hard we work and sacrifice for our military husbands but its nice to know that others (especially those in Congress) appreciate it too!
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The majority of Base Housing has been bought out by a PPV company. Most of Marine Corps and Navy housing is owned by Lincoln Military Housing. Luckly the majority have the houses have been newly renovated if not completely re-built. The recent renovations have included new flooring, fixtures, window treatments, and complete bathroom and kitchen overhauls.
But before you decide make up your mind there's a few questions to ask yourself:
How long will it take to get in? Waiting lists vary depending on the number of available units. Refer to the local housing office where you'll be stationed to find out the average wait time. Remember that these are only estimates, it's possible for the list to go much faster than the amount of time quoted. Your position on a housing waiting list is determined by the date on which you detached from your previous command. This is referred to as your control date. In our time in the Marine Corps we've seen no waiting list, and list as long as 2.5 YEARS!
What about Basic Allowance for Housing? Though BAH is not given to those living in military quarters, consider the savings on such things as rent payments exceeding your BAH allowance, gas and/or electric bills, garbage pickup fees, and security and pet deposits.
It's advisable to get on the list regardless of whether you've decided to move into military housing or not. You can change your mind, and you're not obligated to accept quarters when they become available.
Are pets allowed in housing? Policies vary with each housing office, but often families with pets can live in designated sections. Check out the specific policies for your prospective area.
Contracted companies provide regular grounds maintenance in most housing areas, ensuring pleasant surroundings for you to enjoy. You only have to maintain your designated yard. Housing offices encourage your gardening skills with regularly scheduled presentations of yard upkeep awards. Just be sure to get clearance before doing any serious planting.
Leaky faucet? Not a problem. Maintenance crews are on duty around the clock, usually handling repairs within a short time, if not the same day, depending on severity. Fun things you might find in your housing community may include but are not limited to:
• Community centers for children with loads of regularly scheduled activities
• Neighborhood playgrounds
• Community garden plots
• Youth sports leagues
Possibly the greatest benefit of living in military housing is being among people who understand you and your life as a military family. Lifelong friendships are often forged as you share the unique experiences of military life. Your neighbors may very well be an immediate source of support in your new surroundings, and that should put you at ease.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Here are some very respectable gifts for just $10 or less!
1. Magazine subscriptions are great because there so many nice ones to choose from and they are written for almost any interest you can dream of. I like to use this deal site to order mine. http://www.bestdealmagazines.com/
2. Throw together a coffee lover’s gift basket. Get a jumbo mug and gather some coffee selections, dry coffee creamers/flavorings, and maybe some sort of treat to go along with it like biscotti or cookies. For tea lovers you can include some herbal teas, honey, and tea biscuits. For cocoa lovers you might go with mini marshmallows and chocolate covered stirring spoons. The possibilities are endless!
3. A small potted plant is the gift that keeps on giving. While flowers will wilt and die within a week, the gift of a houseplant will keep going and going!
4. Craft stores can set you up with a really nice picture frame if you use their weekly coupons (often found for 40-50% off). Then simply slide in an enlargement of a great photo of you, your family, or whatever is appropriate for the occasion. Enlargements can be cheaply obtained from Walmart or even your local grocery or drug store.
5. Books are an awesome gift! Barnes and Noble always has a huge area reserved up front in their store for bargain books. Dollar stores often get nice hardcover recipe books, biographies, and fiction selections that are overstocks. Amazon is another great site for scoping out some cheap books. As a former teacher, I believe there is a book for everyone! Still haven’t found one you think is the right book for the right price? Try ebay’s sister site http://www.half.ebay.com/.
6. Put together a movie watcher kit. A big ole popcorn bowl, a couple of packs of microwave popcorn, some tasty candy, and a $5 movie rental card will do the trick!
7. Stationary is a timeless gift. Some fancy notecards, paper, and matching envelopes can be found at Target inexpensively.
8. A talented write or great thinker will love a new journal with a new pen!
9. Make a gift in a jar! Fill a mason jar with the dry ingredients or your favorite cookie or yummy baked good, yummy soup, or bread mix. Attach a card with the recipe and decorate with some crafty bits. For inspiration check out http://organizedchristmas.com/index-gifts-in-a-jar.
10. Last but not least any baked good made with love in your own kitchen is a wonderful gift appreciated by one and all! It shows you care enough to put in the time and effort to share something and enjoyable.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
This one girls got a kid who's 8 months 1 week and 3 days old and she's due next month.
One girls got a kid that turns one in a couple weeks and she's due any day now.
Another girl just had a baby the last week of April and just found out she's pregnant AGAIN. (that's who sparked this whole rant)
Another girl has a 3 month old and is 3 months pregnant (what, ya do it in the hospital? Cuz I don't know any other way that could work out)
But I think this one tops them all... ANOTHER girl has a 2 year old by a soldiger, a 6 month old from her Marine ex-husband and is 4 months pregnant with a Sailor's kid... And she honest to God think's that it's funny that there's gunna be branch rilvery between the kids... Seriously? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? You think "branch rivelery" is the only thing you got to worry about? Don't think the kids will question Mommy being a whore and gettin knocked up by 3 guys in the matter of 2 and a half years?
Is no one following the "no sex for 6 weeks" rule anymore? Seriously, I don't understand how someone could even want to go have sex a couple weeks or even a month after havin a kid. Let alone ALLOW yourself to get pregnant again. I have no idea if any of these 2nd babies were planned... But considering the timing, I can only assume not.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
So 2 months ago the moving company (well the adjuster company working on behalf of the movers) tried throwing a $1227.98 settlement at us. I wasn't happy cuz they conveniently didn't list our $25 tea kettle and then they tried claiming that the damaged caused to our $35 lamp shade wasn't caused by the moving company.
PLUS then we had issues cuz we were asking $250 for a BRAND NEW (used twice) printer/scanner/fax and they were bitching cuz they thought it could be fixed for cheaper. They were offering us $100, we finally settled on that... But then when they sent over the final paperwork they had lowered it to a $50 settlement on the printer (that was completely not acceptable).
So FINALLY they get back to Mike last week, they say that they lost all the pictures that the adjuster came and took of the lampshade and tea kettle... Which sucks, cuz after 6 months of storing broken crap, I had gone and thrown half of it out (including the tea kettle) so they're not wanting to give us the $25 from that cuz I no longer have it. UGH.
THEN they say they're stickin by their $50 settlement on the printer and if we wanted more we'd have to go out and get a quote from a repair company... Well let me tell you, they would have been a lot better off settling for our $100 asking price. Because that printer is last years model and the parts have been discontinued... It's actually cheaper to replace the printer (which they've told us over and over that they WILL not do, they will only pay to repair it) well that's fine... The cost to repair it was quoted as $274.34 by Epson.
We sent over the dispute paperwork, including the printer quote and a few pics of my broken lamp shade on Friday. Mike called today and was told they will have a response by the end of the week. Ugh! I am just soooooo sick of this. Seriously, anyone who is ever assigned "Covan" as a moving company, ask TMO for a different company (yes you can do that)... This company and the other companies they contract out to are so shady, it's not even funny.