Green Thumbs Are All the Rage This Spring

Spring is the sign of warmer days ahead. The days grow longer, and the nights shorter. The snow starts to melt away, and life comes back to wherever you may be living. Or, it just continues raining every single day, especially if you are living in the pacific northwest like I am.

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Asiatic tiny bee lilies, african marigolds and french marigolds. I planted these while I lived in Virginia. I had much more space there for planting.

Even so, one of my favorite parts of spring’s arrival is starting my summer garden. (Green thumbs are all the rage this spring, after all!) Last year, the only thing I planted was a fuchsia in a container, and sadly the majority of the plant was ruined during a wind storm when the container was knocked off of the stand I had it on. I was never able to bring it back to its original state after that happened.

This year, I may plant fuchsias again, but I have my sights set on new flowers. I am planning on a window box, and am possibly going to build a plant stand for my back yard. I’m most excited about the window box. I found these gorgeous flowers called Ranunculus during trips to a few stores while I was on the search for ideas. They’re more commonly known as Persian Buttercups, and come in a variety of colors. Knowing the location of my window box, I chose a flower that would do well in full sun. I am also planning to buy plant starters rather than tubers.

My dollar princess upright fuchsia. I liked this specific type because I didn

My dollar princess upright fuchsia plant. I liked this variety because I didn’t need a hanging plant container for it, and look at those amazing colors!

We are also planting various herbs this year. I have never really planted anything but flowers before so I am excited to see how it will turn out. Since it is just my husband and I, I am sure we will dry most of the herbs and store them for later use. However, I am sure we will have plenty and it will hopefully save us a little bit of money in the long run. I may even gift some of the herbs, depending on how much of a yield I get.

I am by no means an authority on gardening, but if you are a beginner there are a few things to find out ahead of time. First of all, find out what USDA plant hardiness zone you live in. This will help you figure out when to plant. Most seed packets have it printed on the label, but if you are looking at plant starters, it is also good to have this information ahead of time. Also, most nurseries and stores that have a gardening department have flowers out based on the season and where you live, so it’s almost a no brainer!

Second, decide where you are planning to put your flowers.  I live in a triplex in the middle unit. I don’t have much of a yard, so basically everything I plant this year will be in a container, and most of it will be in full sun. If you are not planting in a container, you need to find out what kind of soil you have in your yard to make sure that anything you plant will survive and become hardy. Also, figure out if you will have lots of sun, partial shade, or only shade. All flowers have different needs to thrive!

If you want to put multiple types of flowers or plants in the same container, find out what companion plants would work best with one another. This will make it much easier for your plants to prosper in the same container together. And, it will make a beautiful set up if you can find flowers that complement one another.

I can’t wait to see my flowers grow, and to spend a little bit more time outside in the sun. Gardening is a great way to de-stress and unwind!

Happy planting and happy spring!

 

What are you looking forward to most about this spring? Do you plant a garden? Sound off in the comments below! 

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My little armybrat

Photo by www.milspouseprose.com

Photo by www.milspouseprose.com

 

To celebrate April, the month of the military child, I dug out this patriotic pic of my sweet son Caden, because he was being so stinkin’ cooperative in my attempt to show just how dearly he loves his mama. (Seriously, the boy proposes just about every day!) I just cannot imagine how these little treasures ever got dubbed the term “army brat.”

So I did some research. Maybe I knew in the back of my mind that the term was an acronym but I really couldn’t remember what it stood for. Come to find out, the term, like many of our military traditions, stem from the British Army.  It stands for:  British Regiment Attached Traveler.

Now that we are getting into PCS season, the term ‘attached traveler’ really comes into play. They are attached and yes they are travelling, to different parts of the world that their civilian peers will likely not experience. Every PCS will affect your child and that may make you as a parent feel out of control. But you have more control than you think. Your children will take their cues from you during the move. During our last move I was getting stressed with the details of planning and was thinking about the future in a negative light. My son picked up on my own fears and started to mirror my own behavior. I was so worried he would be upset with the whole move that I would use the wrong words when discussing future plans.

I would say things like, “Don’t worry, I will make sure the next school you enroll in isn’t a bad one.” (Insert worried mom face with ugly frown lines) Of course all your child will hear from that sentence is: WORRY…BAD SCHOOL AHEAD. What I finally learned to say was, “Your next school will be great and it will be so much fun meeting new friends, finding new parks, playgrounds, etc.” Focusing on positive words isn’t only reserved for the very young, it WORKS on children of all ages, even adults! I quickly learned that replacing any words that could hold a negative connotation, even unintended one’s, like “Don’t worry,” really made an impact on my own internal dialog and happiness.

Of course things are likely to go wrong in any move, but often the worst part of the trip is the anxiety. I recently read a helpful article that gives 15 easy ways to beat anxiety. You can read it here.

If you’d like a good laugh to relieve some stress, click on an older buzzfeed article that had me cracking up here which details “25 signs that you grew up as a military brat.”

And don’t forget to hug your child, especially if your impending move is causing a face like THIS:

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AWTR Show 468: How Much Is Too Much? Raising Children in Age of Overindulgence

Presents Army Wife Talk Radio

Army Wife Talk Radio is the leading internet talk radio show for Army wives, by Army wives. AWTR is hosted by the Army Wife Network Core Team – www.ArmyWifeNetwork.com. AWTR guests bring exciting, relevant topics and resources to the attention of our military families. 

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PWTM: USAG Benelux-Schinnen, Netherlands

USAG

This month’s Post With the Most at Army Wife Network is USAG Benelux-Schinnen, Netherlands. USAG Benelux-Schinnen is located in Schinnen, Netherlands, tucked away in the southeastern providence of Limburg. As the most widely dispersed USAG in USAREUR, it provides logistical support over 139,000 square kilometers for personnel spread across 17 different locations. It serves over 5,000 service members, DoD civilians and their family members throughout the Tri-Boarder area.

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USAG Benelux-Schinnen’s mission is to provide Base Operations to joint military, civilians and their families, to include interagency community members with a quality go life equal to their quality of service. Their vision is to provide consistent, quality services that serve as a force multiplier for supported organizations and materially enhance U.S. community and family well-being and readiness while contributing to the reputation of the U.S. as a valued partner within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Never been to the Netherlands? No worries. There is PLENTY to do! Museums, lakes, castles, national parks, historic sites, and breweries are just waiting to be explored! Make sure to check out our off-post bucket list over at the full PWTM segment here.

Netherlands-lake

castle in netherlands

heinekin brewery

If you are PCSing to USAG Benelux-Schinnen, Netherlands, make sure to check out the posts’ full moving checklist. While the base doesn’t have on-post housing - the home you live in will be located among the host nation neighbors. A complete housing manual for USAG Benelux-Schinnen can be found here - and be sure to check out AWN’s PCS Guide or some of our blogger’s PCSing tips here and here.

Visit our full Post with the Most segment to learn about major units at USAG Benelux-Schinnen, as well as housing information, schools, army services and other off post information.

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When the Going Gets Tough

All right friends… Time for a little bit of audience interaction.

How would you complete the following phrase?

When the going gets tough…

A) I get stressed/frustrated/annoyed
B) I dive into the biggest bag of chocolate available
C) I hid in the nearest closet (with or without aforementioned bag of chocolate)
D) I keep going

Got your answer? Great. If I am being completely honest (which is what I try to do ’round these parts) I would have to say my answer would encompass All of the Above.

(I know. Sorry that wasn’t an option in the multiple choice. Just chalk it up to writer’s liberties.)

We all know that being an army wife and loving our soldier is not an easy job. Sure, it has its wonderful, rewarding, romantic moments, but this life that we have been called to also has those grit-your-teeth-hold-back-tears-I-need-chocolate tough moments.

Tough situations build strong people.

Photo Courtesy Deep Life Quotes via Flickr

So what do we do when those moments hit? Just like our multiple choice answers, we have several options that are  a combination of them all.

Here are a few tips of what to do when plans changes, the hubby is gone, the kids are sick, the car won’t start and things are just down right tough.

When the going gets tough… It is ok to take a time out– just don’t quit. We live in an all-or-nothing world. It is a world that says if you need to hit the pause button, then you are a failure. You might as well just throw in the towel. I totally don’t agree. We all need little time-outs when the going gets tough. It might just be taking some time to pray during the kids’ nap time. Or it might be doing something just for ourself before the kiddos come home from school. Or perhaps our T/O is putting the hubs or someone we trust in charge of our little ones, grabbing that bag of chocolate and locking ourself in the bathroom, soaking in the tub for 30 minutes to recharge our hearts. Then you can get your game face back on and go at it again.

When the going gets tough… We can (and should!) ask for help. Sisters, there is NO SHAME in asking for help when things are piling up. It could be doing something simple, like having one of the neighbor kids mow the backyard for $10 every two weeks. Or asking for help might be reaching out to your church to see if they might be able to provide a meal or two so you can get through the tough season. It could even be doing some babysitting swapping so you can have a break.

When the going gets tough… Remember it won’t last forever. We all have hard seasons in life– seasons of sickness, deployment, unknowns of our future, you name it. But we must remember to take it at face value– it is just a season and won’t last forever. This tip is really hard to remember in the moment but oh-so-important.

So dear sisters, if you are in a season of tough stuff, take these tips to heart… And know that when the going gets tough– we can keep going…

With or without our bag of chocolate.

Pressing on,

Initials Signature Blog

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” ~John Quincy Adams

PS: Sweet sisters, if you are in a tough season and need some encouragement, I would love to lend a
listening ear. Feel free to stop by my ministry website or you can get connected on my Facebook Page. 

 

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