9 Humorous Holiday Hacks

The holidays are looming.

Some of you out there have already made your list, checked it twice and bought gifts for all those who have been naughty and nice. There are gals who have their holiday meals planned with grocery lists at the ready. Others have already began creating a magnificent Pinterest centerpiece with hopes that guests will talk about it for centuries to come.

If you fall into that category, more power to you sister. You should invite us over for Christmas. I will bring a store-bought veggie tray. And maybe some Wal-Mart cupcakes.

I like beautiful Christmas décor. I love eating delicious food. But girls, we are army wives. As Household 6, we have enough to do without adding more hoopla to our holiday plate. Society’s Pinterest expectations can only be met when the army/kids/husband are all in sync.

Around our house, sometimes the only things “in sync” are the dirty dishes. #SeeWhatIDidThere?

If you ever celebrate the holidays at our house and everything is magazine-ish-styled-gourmet-matchy-matchy, just assume my dormant craft/cooking skills blossomed after one too many cups of eggnog.

Perhaps you identify. If so, never fear.  I have found a way to work smarter instead of harder this holiday season.  All it takes is a bit of creativity, a great sense of humor and refined excuse-making skills.

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Now presenting: 9 Humorous Holiday Hacks

 1. “Arrrggghhh!! I am almost done wrapping these gifts but am four inches short of having enough paper. The stores are closed and I have to give this gift tomorrow.”
Hack: Use newspaper, old magazines, or even the kid’s used coloring book pages if you are desperate. If anyone questions your methods, simply say that you decided to “Go Green.”

 2.“I tried a new recipe and it tastes funky. It is still edible and safe for consumption (I think), but definitely tastes weird.”
Hack: Tell everyone that you wanted to “experiment” with a new type of eating like Vegan or Whole30. If you don’t want to risk them calling you out, (“Wait, Paleo doesn’t use cheese and this thing is smothered with it!”) claim that you are trying to eat “healthier” or that the dish is a “tradition” passed down for 35 generations. If you are really feeling salty, invent a new type of cuisine on the spot. Do this by spelling a holiday food backward and stating it is from a random country. “Yeah, this is called Yekrut from Morocco.”

3. “I gave my sister a pair of blaze orange Crocs and it was just awkward.”
Hack: When a gift is not well-received, always have a sentimental story on standby. “Sis, don’t you remember when we went to the zoo as kids? You were wearing an orange blazer and your favorite animals were the crocodiles.”

 4. “The guests are arriving any minute and my dessert didn’t set up/got dropped/tastes like my husband’s foot smells!”
Hack: Adopt the mantra, “When in doubt, thaw it out.” Chances are, most of your guests won’t be able to tell the difference (or care) that your pecan pie is store bought. If someone extends a compliment, modestly respond by saying,  “Hey thanks. I got the recipe from my friend Sara (Lee) who got it from her sister Betty (Crocker.)”

5.“I tried to get all crafty with the decorations, but now it just looks like Hobby Lobby puked all over my dining room.”
Hack: This is the easiest cover-up in the book. Say your kids helped with making decorations this year. Go into extensive detail about how absolutely adorable they looked in the process. “Little Johnny was so focused that his sweet nose wrinkled and Sally said the glitter was elf workshop dust.” If you don’t have tiny humans of your own, say you were babysitting the neighbor’s kids and the holiday spirit just took over.

6.“Sigh. My kid was ‘that kid’ at the school Christmas program. He/she wouldn’t stop picking nose/pulling out a wedgie/<insert other embarrassing moment here.>”
Hack: Shake it off, friend. Kids will be kids. If someone tries to make you feel bad, just say that you have been encouraging your little ones to be themselves, boogers and wedgies included. You can also blame their behavior on a TV commercial that blipped on the screen before you could change the channel.

 7.“Oh no! Someone got me a gift and I didn’t get them anything! I feel terrible!”
Hack: Two words… Gift Card. Always have on hand a spare gift card to a favorite coffee shop, restaurant or better yet—Target. When someone unexpectedly gives you a gift, receive it graciously then sneak off to the restroom. Whip out the card that you have already placed in a festive holiday envelope, possibly decorated by your “children” (See Hack #5.) Quickly scribble their name on it. If you don’t have a pen, lip/eye liner will do. Bonus: Create a sentimental story to enhance gift credibility. (See Hack #3.)

 8. “I totally botched my lines in the Christmas play. I am not sure what I said, but I think it was a quote from ‘Scrubs’ instead of something they said at the manger scene in Bethlehem.”
Hack: Casually mention that you are taking an improv class and whatever you said during the play “Just felt right.” All those Saturdays pretending to be the next “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” star are sure paying off.

 9. “I thought I made it through the holidays with no big mistakes, but it is now the middle of January and  I never sent out our holiday postcard! ”
Hack: Send out your letter/card anyway, just put a little heart sticker in the corner and that says, “Happy Valentines Day! May the love we feel at Christmas be with you year round” or a similarly convincing statement. Better yet, engage Hack #1, go green and skip sending them out all together. Share a blog or send an email instead.

Hang onto these hacks and before you know it, everyone will want to know your “secrets” for a stress-free, seamless holiday season. #IsItNewYearsYet?

PS– What humorous holiday hacks would you add to the list? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment.

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I Love Birthdays!

 

IMG_2946It’s November, which is my birthday month! I love birthdays! Not because of gifts, I surely don’t need anymore “stuff.”

In fact, we don’t do gifts at our house for birthdays. Instead, we collect donations for various charities. My family has done this for a while now and we love picking a charity, collecting the donations instead of getting birthday gifts, and taking the donations to the charity. For our family, birthdays are about celebrating the gift of life with those we love.
We have collected donations for animal shelters, food pantries, coins for cancer, and items for local military base retail shops. The joy of giving to others far outweighs any “stuff” that we can collect.

 

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I am getting older and that’s okay to me. Some people dread getting older, but I live by this quote: “Don’t dread getting older, some are never given the privilege.”

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer for the first time at the age of 32. I have since battled it twice. It’s an eye opening experience.

Before my cancer, I didn’t want to be older and birthdays were just the reminder that I was going to get older no matter how much I tried to avoid it, but then I was told that I might not live to see the age of 33. Suddenly, my goal became to make it to another birthday.

Now, here I am. I am going to be 37 this month and I love it! It’s another year to be with my family. It’s another year to help others. It’s another year to celebrate life. It’s another year that the cancer has lost!

Ryan

I hope that each of you enjoys each day and that you celebrate life! Right now, I simply want to live and grow old. That is my birthday wish every year now. Cheers to turning 37 years old and loving it!

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German Turkey and Mashed Potatoes

SONY DSCI’m a horrible cook and honestly I just don’t like cooking.  I think even the best of cooks can have their snafus from time to time, so those of us who fall on the other end of the spectrum probably have a few more stories.  Not every cooking ‘experience’ is due to inability to cook, but rather a language barrier.

Our first Christmas in Germany, which was also our first Christmas being married, was a little interesting.  Since we didn’t have a freezer, we weren’t able to buy our bird ahead of time.  All the turkeys and hams had sold out weeks before Christmas, so we decided to go off post to one of the German grocery stores.  We had shopped a number of times off post, so we were pretty confident in our ability to find a turkey.  The next day, as my husband prepped the bird, the single soldiers started showing up for dinner.  When it came time to cut the ‘turkey’, we noticed the meat was pretty dark.  Everyone liked it, so we didn’t think anything of it until we looked at the label and realized it was actually duck.  We all had a good laugh about it and it’s been one of those funny Christmas stories ever since.

Mashed potatoes….  this is a story that my mom loves to tell.  A little over ten years ago, I had moved out of my parents house.  Given my previously mentioned lack of cooking ability, I was sticking to the easy meals like Hamburger Helper.  A few nights before Thanksgiving I decided to try to make some mashed potatoes.  I peeled and cubed the potatoes, then I put them in the pan.  I proceeded to mash and mash and mash until my hands started getting blisters on them.  I couldn’t understand why it was always so easy for my mom.  I knew she always added milk so I tried that, but it didn’t help.  I finally gave up on them after about 30 minutes of mashing.  The next day I was talking to my mom and asked her how she had made her mashed potatoes.  She told me she peeled them, cubed them, boiled them and then mashed them.  I had missed one very important step, the BOILING!  Needless to say, I not only learned a painful lesson, but it’s one that is still being told today.

What holiday cooking mishaps have you experienced! Share with us in the comments! 

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5 Reasons to be Thankful for Fellow Army Spouses

awnnov145 Reasons to be Thankful for Fellow Army Spouses

  1. Having a Friend in Every State

There is nothing better than being able to go to any state and have a friend. Our friends may only be in our geographic location for a short time, but they are always a trip away. Your Christmas card list tends to have every state in the Union. There is also something absolutely wonderful about the Army community that allows our families to be apart from our friends for long periods of time, and be able to reconnect like we saw them yesterday!

 

  1. 3 Degrees of Separation of Every Army Spouse

I know there are 6 degrees of separation for Kevin Bacon, but the Army spouse community has it down to 3. I cannot tell you how many times I have been talking about a wonderful Army spouse and everyone in the room knows them too! It makes networking during a PCS so much easier. There are so many wonderful organizations and groups that are filled with Army spouses willing to volunteer, aid, and create a family away from home.

 

  1. You always have Battle Buddies

There are inevitable tough times to face as an Army spouse, but you can always count on a battle buddy to be there for you. During deployments they are there for a supportive ear and even a good cry if need be. During the good times your battle buddies are there to celebrate with you, and to cherish every homecoming and milestone.

 

  1. Who Doesn’t Love a Good Ball

Who doesn’t love a good ball with the hubby or wife, but it’s also a great time for the spouses to have a fabulous night and look stunning. There is nothing better than getting all dressed up and enjoying the night with some of your favorite people. A ball is also a great time to possibly meet some Army spouses if you are not able to attend day events. We are all in this together, and believe me it’s better out there with a battle buddy.

 

  1. There is no one else that can be more supportive and kind.

There are wonderful people in this world, but I happen to think the majority of them belong to the Army family in one way or another.  I have personally met some of the nicest, supportive, kind, and generous people during my time as an Army wife. I will admit that it may not always be roses and sunshine, but without a doubt the good far outweighs the bad. There are resilient and strong men and women out there….. and they are called Army spouses.

Why are you thankful for Army spouses?  Share with us in the comments below! 

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Are You Thankful for the Army?

Hey y’all!

This is the perfect time of year to let everyone know the things I am thankful for. Being a military family, it seems like there’s more to worry about than to be thankful for, and some days I have to really dig deep to help me find something. Today, I’m making a list of all the things that the Army has given us to be thankful for.

(1) I’m thankful for our ability to travel. The Army picks out a spot where my husband is most needed and sends us on our way. I’m thankful for the trip there as a family, the new places that we get to explore and become familiar with and the many trips that we take to see our families during vacation time. Without the Army, I wouldn’t have seen half of the things I’ve seen!

(2) I’m thankful for a paycheck. I know I can count on it two times a month. While, in recent months, it hasn’t always been a consistent amount, I’m comforted in knowing that there will still be money coming in to feed my family and keep us in shelter.

(3) I’m thankful for health care that we can afford. When one of my children are sick, I don’t hesitate to take them to see a doctor, because I know the Army has offered us a secure, affordable health care plan in thanks for the job my husband does.

(4) I’m thankful for new friends, for both the adults and children. We have met some really wonderful people on our journey; people that I know we wouldn’t have met otherwise. These people have helped shape who we’ve become as a military family.

thankful for army

(5) I’m thankful for diversity for my children. The world can be a close minded place, especially for people who have never traveled and met new people. I’m glad that my children have had the chance to meet people from all corners of the globe. It shows them that everyone is different, but we’ve all got something to teach each other.

(6) I’m thankful that the Army has made me dig down deep and find my strength and independence. I’ve done things that I would never have thought a woman should do and I’ve done a lot of them all by myself. I don’t even freak out now when something needs to be done, because I know I’m strong enough to handle whatever comes my way. If I’d never experienced being away from husband, I probably wouldn’t have found that strength.

(7) I’m thankful that the Army has taught me new ways to communicate. When your spouse is deployed, you don’t get a lot of phone calls, so while talking is one way to communicate, I’ve also learned that love letters and special boxes filled with love go a long way too.

(8) I’m thankful for patience. The Army has taught me that nothing ever happens when I want it too, but it will happen eventually. The Army is also why I don’t make plans more than a week in advance.

(9) I’m thankful that the Army has given me a sense of adventure. You have to be willing to travel anywhere and not always at the most convenient time. PCS in the dead of winter? Sure, I wanted to see how well my new snow boots work anyway!

(10)  I’m thankful for recruiting duty. It has allowed my husband to stay stateside and be with the children as they have grown.

(11) I’m thankful for commissaries and PX’s. Case-Lot-Sales, enough said!

(12) Finally, I’m thankful that there is an Army that we are free to choose to serve in. I’m thankful for the men and women who have signed up and chosen this difficult career. I’m thankful for their families that love and support them through their service. Thank you to each and every one of you for your sacrifices.

So, are you thankful for the Army? What one thing are you most thankful for this year?

 

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