Making a Believer Out of Your Kid


She’sssss backkk!

It’s hard when you have children who have a compromised pretend and imaginary minds to engage them in play. Last year, the Elf on the Shelf was a major holiday event. I had debated a few months prior whether or not to participate. Bug only thinks in black and white and has a difficult time with make believe. He is too smart for his age. I know with a lot of ASD children it is the same way. It’s not that they may not believe in the holiday magic, it’s more they just don’t have the capacity to do so. It’s confusing to them and it’s intangible to the eyes and mind. How do you believe in something you can’t see? How do you make someone believe? Well, you can’t. But all you can do it try. So I decided to try. Up until that point my kids really didn’t know who or what Santa was. Between their age and the ASD, they really hadn’t been impregnanted with the whole “holiday magic” ideals. But isn’t that what we as parents are here for- to be teachers to our children; from teaching the facts of life to the magic of dreams.

So, without further ado- here’s Holly!
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Last year, Hubs was away and was not able to participate. I am so flipping excited he will be home this year to help with the shanagans. So to start out the season right- a letter from Santa deliver by Holly. The envelope is a cute little addition (printable PDF pinned on our Pinterest board) from The Fancy Yancey’s blog. The letter (also printable PDF pinned on our Pinterest account) dictates a few reminders to the kids about the rules.

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I’ll post as often as I am able to her daily nuances. Check my Instagram feed for all her actions and check out our Pinterest for links to cool Elf related creative ideas.

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Foodie Friday…Anyone else stuffed?


Well, it’s good to be back.  This is my first post in over a month and a half, (thanks for picking up my slack, motherofchaos3), and I have  missed it.  There’s been lots going on, but that’s a story for another day.  For now, I’ll share my grandma’s cranberry salad recipe.  She was a farmer’s wife, and the mother of 13.  Nope, that wasn’t a typo 🙂 This recipe is easy, inexpensive, and adds lots of color to the table.  And it’s yummy, of course!

Grandma’s Cranberry Salad

16 oz. can of whole berry cranberry sauce

small can of crushed pineapple, drained

10 oz. bag of miniature marshmallows

one cup of cool whip (or more if you like!)

I also like this recipe because it can be made the night before a big meal.  Just mix together the cranberry sauce, pineapple, and marshmallows.  

cranberry pineapple canscranberry and pineapple mixed togethereverthing but cool whip

Put them in a covered container and refrigerate them overnight.  Just before you’re ready to serve your meal the next day, stir in the cool whip until well mixed.  

dollops of cool whip cool whip mixed in

That’s it!  So easy and delicious.  The cranberries make it a logical choice for Thanksgiving or the Christmas holiday meals, but the color makes it a great option for Valentine’s Day too.  

done close up

Have a great day, I’m off for a tryptophan induced nap 🙂 

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Mommy Moment Mondays: Check Your Pockets!


Oh the things your find in your washing machine. Things that should not be in your washing machine. Things your children put in their pockets that end up in the washing machine. And millions of other things that end up in the trash that shouldn’t be, the fridge that shouldn’t be, and under beds that shouldn’t be. As moms, we all have these experiences. I remember to stay calm, and you should too. Why? Because up until that point, your child has no idea it is wrong to put anything that doesn’t belong in those place. For example, this is what I found in my washing machine this morning.

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My child had no idea it was wrong to not check your pockets before putting your dirty clothes in the laundry basket. Why? Because I never taught her to check her pockets for little treasures. So before I ran my mouth and went off the handle, I had to take a breath and realize she didn’t do it out of malice, but did it out of naiveness.

That small pause made me think about a lot of things. What else was I getting angry at my children for when it was pure innocence on their part instead of the deviousness I felt it was? Probably a whole hell of a lot of things. My children are smart, smarter than you think, smarter than I think. There are times I don’t give them enough credit and times I forget how little they are. So this morning after I discovered all her little treasures in the washer, I smiled, laughed and showed Hubs.

This afternoon when she gets home from school I will shower her what I found. I will bite my tongue and hold back my irritatedness, and calmly explain to all my children to check their pockets before putting their dirty clothes in the basket (and hope Hubs is within ear shot). And then, along with the dirty laundry hiding under her bed, and empty cups of now cottage cheese I found while cleaning out her toy box, I will explain to all of them (for the umteithbillion time) where our dirty dishes and clothes go. Why? There is still innocence in my children.  They have not reached the age  of maliciousness (maybe I’m the naive one) .

Tricare and Therapy Thursday: Medical Radius


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When we were awaiting orders we dreamed at all the amazing possibilities for our first duty station. I never dreamed I would ever move away from my home town, let alone, home state. Then there we were waiting to see if we would be moving to another country. When the word came in it was a like a bomb had gone off. We didn’t know what to think or how to react. We were scrambling to pick up the pieces and quickly get our affairs in order. We didn’t get Germany as we had always dreamed, and what we did wasn’t even on our radio as a possibility. But there we were faced with a realization we needed to get packing… and fast.

One of the steps you take when moving to a new base is often clearing EFMP. If you don’t know what EFMP is, take a quick read over at a article we wrote a while back.  For the rest of us, lets move on.

During our personal process of EFMP screening when leaving our last post we had to go through the EFMP clearance process. What we told was a scary realization we had not realized was going to be a issue. Due to the medical radius of the base we were currently at, we, as dependents, were told we could never reside there again (there are always ways around this). Why? The medical radius for that particular base was 40 miles. Care for my child had to be within those 40 miles. It was not! It was a 3 hour one way drive to a larger city to find the medical specialty he needed for care and his weekly medical treatments. That’s right folks. I was drive 3 hours one way for a 30 minute appointment 2-4 times a week! A WEEK!!!!!

So the questions come. I know your thinking them.

1) How were you still stationed at the post if you were traveling outside the medical radius that often for care?

Our son was diagnosed with his medical condition after we had been stationed at the base. They were in a frantic search for someone in the state to be able to manage his care. Due to the isolated location of the base, honestly, there was no medical care within the 40 miles. So (here is where an exception comes in), somewhere along the lines they approved his EFMP paperwork that stated he needed said medical care outside of the radius. It seems however, some where along the way no one really noticed how far we were driving. Upon exiting and pcsing from said base, this is when they caught it and said there was no way we could live there as dependents.

2) If you can’t live there as dependents what happens if your spouse is stationed there?

Great question. No real answer. We have yet to reach that point, but I have a feeling we are going to get our answer shortly. Due to the high specialty of the medical care Bug needs and the combination of the MOS Hubs does, we are very limited to bases that can accommodate both. We are literally currently trying to figure this out. However, from I have have been told in the past it would resemble something like an unaccompanied tour for Hubs. Which will not fly with me. Sorry, but separating me and three small children (all requiring specialized care) from my husband will require you to sedate me and lock me up. All that will do is create more hardship on my family. I would rather drive 3 hours for a 30 min appointment to be able to keep our family together. But there in lines a greater question- would staying together do you more harm than good?

3) What is the medical radius for my base?

In order to find that out you will need to contact your base or your gaining base EFMP office. Every base is different. Some bases have larger radius than others.

4) What will happen if you can’t find a base with medical needs and your husbands job?

Another amazing question and another one I am in the process of discovering. Where there is a will there is a way. The way? Talking to my children’s doctors and explaining to them the situation.  If we are having this issues, I am sure other families in the past have had similar if not the same issues. And I am sure the mommy in that family was just as feisty as me to find a way to make it all happen.

5) Do you want to move?

That is the question of the year. I have also wrote about this a bit earlier this year; the first time we were told we were pcsing (which was a lie!). We are now facing the same situation again, just a different base. Yes, we want to move. There are so many reasons that will end up being another post.

Ideally in the end we will move to a base that will have both the medical care we need and Hubs job. Realistically that will probably never happen and we might be stuck in paradise forever. If not paradise forever, then an base with limited medical access that will require weekly road trips but our family will be together.

Wordy Wednesday: OHI Card


You’ll get a two-for-one today! I could spam you with two different blog posts, but I decided to combine them for your viewing pleasure. If your looking for the link-up from Scattered Seashells, scroll a little further down. Otherwise, enjoy Wordy Wednesday’s topic OHI cards.

OHI Cards: OHI (other health insurance) cards are cards printed off by your doctors office proving you have filled out the DD form 2569 (because we all know what that is). Since we fill out millions of forms in the Army, here is a explanation of DD form 2569.

Per the Army’s website for Andrew Rader U.S. Army Health Clinic “The Third Party Collection (TPC) Program was legislated by Congress in 1986. It obligates Department of Defense (DoD) Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) to bill private health insurance carriers such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Mail Handlers, Aetna, etc., for the cost of medical care furnished to retirees and family members covered by their own health insurance policies. This includes all medical benefits such as inpatient care, outpatient care, and ancillary services such as pharmacy items.”

 The cards need to be renewed yearly, sometimes more often based on reason. I have had to fill this thing out probably 10 times this year. We are on Tricare Prime and have no other insurance. We are told we need to carry this card with us at all times and hand it over with our ID’s when checking into the doctors office or at the pharmacy. However, I have never been asked for said card except at the OB clinic at a major Army hospital here. Our local Army clinics have never requested to see it and have never had me fill out the forms. From my understanding this is Army wife policy. However, you will need to verify with your PCM or clinic in regards to their local policies.

Private health insurance policies are billed, that is why we use the term “Third Party”. MTFs can only collect for services covered by your third party health insurance plan according to your benefits with the plan.

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Saw this new link up from a blogger I follow. It seemed to go hand in hand with another challenge I did last week in regards to “a day in the life” sorts. I love documenting everything I did that day. I really wanted people to see what a typical day was to me (and it was a pretty easy day). About 20 photos later I was done. Here is a sneak peek into my day on November 13, 2013 followed by my answers to this weeks link up.
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The Pearl & The Pilot

Post #1 – Routines

What is your typical daily routine/schedule like? It is literally chaos organized. It looks messy, there are clothes flying in the morning, food on the floor from breakfast, running to school and the day ends on just about the same way it started. Get up, get dressed, eat, kids to school, errands and cleaning, pick up kid, feed kids lunch, go get other kid, home in time for therapists, dinner, bath, book, and bed.

What things do you do weekly/monthly in addition to daily? I am the assistant co-leader for our base MOPS, the FRG leader for my husbands troop, co-author of a blog, trying to write a book and scheduling therapists and doctors appointments.

How does your spouse’s schedule impact your daily routine? His schedule is never the same. Some days he is up and gone by 4 other days he doesn’t get home until midnight. Other days we is told he won’t even be coming home the next day. It’s never the same and never predictable. Thus, I can never rely on him being home to help with the kids or attend a appointment.

How do you balance having a clean home and making memories with your children?
Horribly. I hate cleaning my bathrooms. So I ignore them. I’m in the process of teaching my children household responsibilities. Cleaning the bathroom is a task we have already started on. I had kids for free child labor right? Jk. I vacuum and mop every day. We have all wooden floors and like in a place were it is customary to take your shoes off in the home. I hate walking barefoot on the floors and I’m sure others are the same way. I have also introduced my kids the the stick vac. So when I am cleaning they are too. Never too young to teach them.