Christina Skye’s Code Name Books

On 31 July, 2012, in Good Reads, by Administrator

More book recommendations!

In case you haven’t been able to tell yet, I am a girl who loves her Romance. I just cant resist a good Romance book mixed in with action and mystery. These books were a hit for me, I really could not put these down.  Here is your basic overview of these books “Smart, stubborn heroines and the tough, hunky Navy SEALS assigned to protect them –Christina Skye’s Code Name books deliver fast-paced thrills with sizzling romance! ”

There really is no order in which these go on. The first one i actually read of this series was Code Name: Princess and i read the rest of them after that. They aren’t in any order you can easily read one after another and its not like they pick up where the last one left off. But this is a great read i definitely recommend.  These books are bound to keep you turning the pages and a great way to pass up some time.

To check out these books on amazon click on the image above or click here.

For more information Christina Skye, click here.

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R&R During Times of Deployment

On 31 July, 2012, in Deployments, by Administrator

What to expect on an R&R during a deployment, and ways to make the most of this time as a family. “Rest and Recuperation” visits home during a deployment are looked forward to with great anticipation. R&R is a happy time for couples, children, extended family, and service members. Along with the excitement and happiness, what else should loved ones expect when a service member returns home on a brief leave? What are some ways to prepare and make the most of this time as a family and as a couple? Are there special things to consider if the person is returning home on leave from a conflict or war zone? Following is information that can help.


What to expect as a family
A home leave is a happy time for most families. It can also be an emotional time. Here are some things to expect:

R&R plans can change . It’s not uncommon for the needs of the service or the unit’s mission to override R&R plans. An R&R might be cancelled unexpectedly or delayed for an unknown period of time. Such changes might be good news; sometimes it might mean that the service member is being redeployed and is returning home from active duty sooner than expected. As you plan for or anticipate an upcoming R&R, keep in mind that plans can and do change.

Try to have realistic expectations . It’s normal to have fantasies about what your time together will be like. But try to give up any ideas you may have about homecoming day and R&R and let things happen naturally. In reality, you may have emotional ups and downs during an R&R. You may feel very happy being together again. You may also feel stressed or sad knowing that the leave is short and that the service member will be leaving again, possibly to return to a war zone. You may have emotions that are unexpected, or even difficult to handle. It helps to remember that anxiety is a natural and normal part of getting back together. These mixed emotions pass soon enough and should not interfere with your time together.

The service member will need time to adjust and decompress . He or she may be getting over jet lag, may need to catch up on missed sleep, or may simply need time alone to get used to being home.

If he or she was in a combat zone, the service member may not want to talk much about combat experiences . There may be things he or she is not allowed to talk about. Avoid prying or asking too many questions. Instead, do what you can to help your loved one relax and unwind.
Children may need help reconnecting with the returning service member . For example, younger children may keep their distance from the returning parent at first. You can help by making time for your children to spend time with the returning spouse. Here is a helpful tip from Soldiers Magazine: “Have a true ‘family reunion’ before taking time alone with your spouse.” Children are often more willing to give their parents uninterrupted time together if they have had special time with the returning service member first.

Try to maintain peace and calm at home as much as possible . The service member may have a difficult time with loud noises, loud voices, or a lot of commotion. These may unexpectedly trigger shock reactions or other painful emotions, especially if the person has just returned from a war zone. It is not unheard of for a service member to dive to the floor upon hearing a loud noise; if he or she fears for the safety of those nearby, he or she may take them down to the floor as well.

The returning service member may experience stress-related symptoms if he or she is returning from a combat situation . Traumatic events, such as combat, can trigger nightmares, flashbacks, and feelings of panic, anxiety, nervousness, or irritability. Help is available. Encourage the service member to take advantage of the services and programs available through the military and to seek professional help if necessary. Or seek assistance through the service that brought you this article.
Talk with couples that have been through your situation. They may have valuable suggestions and helpful ideas on how to make the most of an R&R and how to handle the sadness of another goodbye.


Tips for couples
Make an extra effort to be considerate and understanding with one another . Avoid “hot button” issues and topics that you know may lead to an argument or disagreement. This will help you make the most of your precious days together.

Realize that both partners may need a break . The parent at home with young children may be looking forward to an R&R, too, when the service member returns home. He or she may have been up nights with a cranky baby or a sick toddler and be looking forward to a break from child care. The returning service member may be just as tired and in need of relaxation. Give yourselves as much time as possible to rest and relax together. You’ll enjoy each other more that way.

Hold off giving your returning partner a lengthy “honey do” list . You may be eager to catch up on some of the household or yard jobs that were your spouse’s specialty. But let your spouse rest first. Then start with either the easiest jobs or the most important ones. Be sure your partner understands that you are happy that he or she is back, and that you are not just happy to have another hand to get chores or yard work done.
Expect that your partner or spouse may have changed, even if you have been apart for only a few months . Neither of you is the same person you were before your separation. Both of you may feel more independent. The service member may have changed priorities, especially if friends were wounded or killed as a result of accidents or combat. It may take some time to get reacquainted with one another, especially if your separation was prolonged. Things may feel awkward at first. Spend time getting to know one another again.

Avoid trying to switch gears too much or too quickly in your time together . Family members at home have probably gotten into new patterns and routines while the service member was absent. Trying to return to old patterns — and then back to the new patterns once the R&R is over — is too much to expect of family members. Such changes are difficult enough during a final reunion, when there is much more time to adjust.

Share your feelings . Communication is key to all good relationships and to making your time together the best it can be. Talk about your feelings and encourage your partner to talk. Listen to one another. Spend time together without talking, too. Sometimes just snuggling or giving each other a massage or back rub communicates as much love and affection as words.

Try to accommodate to one another’s needs . You may have different ideas about how you want to spend these days together. You may have different physical or emotional needs and this can sometimes cause tensions or strains in a relationship. For example, one partner may want to rush into sexual intimacy right away while the other isn’t ready. Intimate relations may be awkward at first. Make time to be alone and to talk about your feelings and needs.

Realize that it takes time to rebuild feelings of intimacy . It may not happen in one day. As experts at the National Mental Health Association explain, “Sex can resume immediately, but intimacy takes longer to re-establish.”

Don’t expect an R&R to solve long-standing relationship or marital problems . Couple problems that were there before the R&R will still be there. An R&R isn’t a time to try to solve major problems in your relationship. Instead, try to enjoy your time together as a couple and agree to work on your problems when you have more time together in the future.

Do your best to avoid a “harsh start-up.” In some cases, a partner or spouse may have something on their chest, “bad news” that they feel they must share the moment the returning service member walks in the door or arrives at the airport. Researchers refer to this as a “harsh start-up.” A harsh start-up can spoil an R&R. Once an interaction starts off on a bad note, it’s very hard to turn it around and make things positive. It’s much better to save difficult issues for later on, when you have extended time together as a couple and can work through issues or problems and possibly seek professional assistance.


Making the most of a brief visit home
A colonel describes the common problems he sees during R&Rs: service members spend out of control, eat out of control, and don’t get enough sleep. Here are some ways to avoid such problems and make the most of a home visit:

Communicate ahead of time if possible about how you would like to spend the time that you are together . In phone calls, emails, or letters, share ideas and plans of what you would like to do.

Don’t over-schedule yourselves . Most service members appreciate just being home and being with family at this time. Resist the temptation to do too much. Instead of late-night partying, focus on relaxation, downtime, and spending time together. Focus on doing those things you cannot do while you are apart.

Encourage the returning service member to get enough sleep and to eat well . During times of celebration and when we’re out of our normal routines, there is the temptation to eat and drink too much. It’s better for everyone’s physical and mental health if you all avoid drinking too much alcohol and if you make an effort to stick to a healthy diet. Avoid eating too much fast food and sweets, and avoid foods loaded with sugar and salt. The excitement and stress of being home can lower the body’s immune system, making you more susceptible to catching a cold or the flu. You’ll all feel better and enjoy your time together if you stick to healthy habits as much as possible.

Take lots of pictures or movies of your time together . If you don’t have a camera or camcorder, consider borrowing one from a friend. Another inexpensive solution is to buy a disposable camera; they only cost about five dollars.


A second goodbye
The hardest part of a home leave is in knowing that the visit will end and that another “goodbye” is just around the corner. Here are some ways to make this time easier:

Keep in mind that children may have a hard time understanding why daddy or mommy has to go again . Talk with your children about the upcoming separation, and make sure that the service member spends some special time with each child before leaving again.

Be aware that there is often tension in families before separations and goodbyes . This is normal. But the tension can also taint the joy of being together again. Try to focus on the here and now and the happiness you are having together rather than the goodbyes to come.

Keep the focus on enjoying one another . Try to stay focused in the moment. Take the days one at a time. And try not to let the pending departure preoccupy your thoughts. Planning ahead for the departure is important, but don’t let it take away from your happy time together.

Take advantage of the services and programs available to you through the military if you could use support . There are organizations and clubs for spouses, such as the Key Volunteer Network, military family support groups, online support groups, and support groups that meet in person. If you live on or near a military installation, consider using one of the many support services available to you, including the installation chaplain. Resources and information are also available through the service that brought you this article.

Marine Corps Ball Etiquette

On 31 July, 2012, in Marine Corps Ball, by Administrator

The Marine Corps Ball, also known as the Birthday Ball, is the one of the biggest event for the Marine Corps.  Its the birthday celebration of the Marine Corps. The birth date of the United States Marine Corps is 10 November 1775.  Every year the Marine Corps celebrates it’s birthday with a Formal Ball.  Marine Corps birthday celebrations are not required on any specific day and are usually planned for a time when maximum participation is available.

Since this is a Formal Ball, a certain Etiquette is expected of all Marines and their guests. The Ball can be an exciting and stressful time for us ladies. Finding that right dress that isn’t too over the top and then isn’t too under dressed, and then of course making sure that we dont do anything that isn’t okay. Its a stressful time and we get slammed with tons of questions months in advanced of the Balls. Hopefully this section will help with some of your questions. Below we have some Marine Corps Ball Etiquette listed for you. This will give you an idea of how you need to dress and behave while at the Ball. Keep in mind, this is a Formal Ball and a big celebration for your Marine, chances are you are going to be around a lot of high ranking Marines.

Marine Corps Ball Etiquette
There are certain guidelines that should be observed in order to attend this prestigious event. The Marine Corps Birthday Ball is NOT open to the general public, it is by Invitation ONLY.


-Attendance-
In order to attend a Marine Corps Ball you must be:

  1. a. Active duty Marine
  2. b. Marine Reservist
  3. c. Retired or separated Marine OR
  4. d. A guest of one of the above.

If you are a retired or separated Marine it is recommended that you make liaison with the respective Units Ball Coordinator to obtain authorization prior to purchasing your tickets. Failure to do so, can and may be construed as a donation on your behalf for the tickets purhased and refunds are optional. The Units respective Ball Coordinator has the final authority on who is able to attend.


-Attire-

Marines: Regardless of status (active or reserve) are required to where Dress Blues “Alpha” or “Bravo” (pending CO’s direction) or Service “Alpha” if the Dress Blue uniform is not owned. Most Commands require female Marines to wear the respective uniform through the Ceremony, at which point they may be allowed to change in to a formal gown for the remainder of the evening.
Retired Marines: Have the option of wearing the respective uniform or appropriate tuxedo.

Separated/Former Marines and Male Guest:Should wear an appropriate tuxedo or suit and tie.

Female Guests: Should wear a formal gown or appropriate dress that extends below the knee line. *We will have more information in this section regarding ball dresses*


-Buying Tickets-

The Ball Coordinator of the respective Unit has final authority on all personnel attending. In many cases this pretty much means you might have to really get on your Marine and remind him about getting tickets :)


-Social Hourt-

Traditionally there is a one hour period of time before the Ceremony portion of the event begins where attendees are able to socialize. This is a good time to introduce your guest(s) to the Commanding Officer, Executive Officer, Sergeant Major and Guest of Honor of the event. Drinks are normally available (just keep yourself in check) as well as the designated area for smoking.


-Smoking-

If you are a smoker it is recommended you smoke in the designated areas only. DO NOT LIGHT UP until you know where it is. Each location has their own so make sure you find it, if needed. Smoking is generally acceptable before and after the ceremony but NOT DURING.


-Seating-

Seating is selected by each Registered User (RU) upon completing the transaction for purchase of tickets. RU’s will be able to view the ballroom layout and see who is sitting at the tables PRIOR to paying for tickets however, selection is only available AFTER payment has been made. RU’s may move their respective seats, to include their guests, to any available seat at any time prior to printing Invitation. If the Invitation has been printed and you need to be moved you must contact the BC.

If you are to be seated at a VIP table, select any table and notify the BC of the respective event for proper placement. The only person that may move selected seating is the BC of the event. RU’s will be notified via email if the seating selection has been modified.


-Ceremony-

There will be plenty of notice before the Ceremony begin but it is advised that you be seated at your table prior to the beginning of the ceremony. It is a common courtesy not to have conversations during the ceremony, have them before or after but not during. Photography during the ceremony may be acceptable providing you do not interrupt or block someone else’s view in the process. Check to ensure photography is acceptable.


-Commandant of the Marine Corps Message-

Immediately following the ceremony a video message is played from the current Commandant of the Marine Corps. Please observe the same common courtesies during this portion of the evening as for the Ceremony.


-Dinner-

If the event is serving a dinner entree it is usually served immediately following the ceremony. Some Units may offer a choice of entree to accommodate most. However, if you have food allergies or will be bringing a guest who does you may contact the respective Units Ball Coordinator to inquire if they have alternatives.

It is also recommended you wait until everyone at the table has been served their meal before partaking. Be advised most units have Chaplain who says a prayer before the meal is served. Finally it is polite to wait until the highest ranking person at the table starts eating before you do.


-Entertainment-

Depending upon the unit, entertainment will vary from a live band or singer to a DJ. Early in the evening dancing, appropriate for a Ball, is acceptable however, as the evening progresses use your best judgment.

 

Again, be sure to keep on checking back here for more information and also more dress tips for the Marine Corps Ball. Hopefully, this information has helped you. If you do have any questions that were not answered or any comments you wish to make, feel free to do so below.

Journals – Great for Deployments!

On 12 July, 2012, in Cafepress Shop, by Administrator

Journals are wonderful for deployments! No.. Really they are!

Journals are great to keep your every day thoughts in while your sweetheart is away, and the way they can be used in doing that varies. Some tell their feelings, rants, vents, day to day life, and things that they are just going through and experience throughout the deployment. Others, can use it as a way to feel like you are actually being able to talk to your SO (Significant Other). Writing in the journal as if you are speaking to him – it kind of makes it seem like he is almost there and able to keep up with your day to day life, and something else to keep in mind if you are comfortable in doing this you can also send the journal to him or show him when he gets home.


We have tons of Journal designs for you to choose from, but isn’t it better to have something a bit more personal? After all, this is a journal we are talking about here, those are suppose to be personal right? :)
Why not get a Custom Journal? Get something that means more to you, add some pictures, names, sayings, quotes, anything you want! Why not? It doesn’t cost extra! All Custom Orders done at our shops are at NO Extra Charge. Why not take advantage of that!

Flip Flops Anyone?

On 12 July, 2012, in Cafepress Shop, by Administrator

Flip Flops Anyone? We have tons of Flip Flops Designs in our shop. Flip Flips are just one of the many many new additional products that Cafepress has introduced. We also have tons of Electornic Cases that are new as well and will be getting some designs with those added up soon :)

Till then, if you have any suggestions for us or ideas of what you would like to see. Let us know!

Deployment Checklist

On 14 November, 2011, in Deployments, by Administrator

Deployment Checklist

General
Attend mobilization meetings and take notes
Know the exact name of unit
Know the names and ranks of chain of command
Have a copy of your service member’s orders
Know service member’s travel itinerary
Know service member’s full name, social security number, and complete military address
Have emergency plans in place

Your Finances
Plan ahead
Discuss what and when bills are due, where receipts are kept, etc.
Have enough saved
Create family budget
Plan for Military Tax Preparation 

Around the House
Extra set of car keys
List of repair persons to call
Location of utility (water/electricity/gas) shut off valves
Know your neighbors

Family Matters
Child care plan
Elder care plan
Emergency plan for pets

Legal Affairs
Have Will
Have Power of Attorney
Have Military I.D.

Communications
Pre-addressed, stamped post cards, pens
Seek counseling if necessary

Red Cross
Know how to contact your local American Red Cross
Know name of local Red Cross
Know address of local Red Cross
Know telephone numbers
Duty hours
After-duty hours