Misconceptions of an Army Recruiter

A few years back when we lived in New Jersey my husband had to preform a job for the Army that he did not sign up to do. He was a detailed recruiter. This means he was selected by the Department of the Army to become a recruiter. He did not apply for recruiting duty or change his MOS (job), they wanted him to be a recruiter. This is not a job that my husband and many other soldiers would pick for themselves but it is a job that needs to be done. What better way to recruit new soldiers than use those doing the job already? Whether they want to be there or not.

Misconceptions of an Army Recruiter | Country Girl Gourmet



Finding New Roads as an Entrepreneur

Military life has all sorts of challenges attached to it. From the crazy deployments and separations  for training and what not to just the various problems that come along with the frequent moves. We learn real quick that we need to be flexible in this life and learn how to adapt and overcome. It is the challenges of military life that has made my family look at what we want and how can we make things better. Being a single income family one of the ways of making things better is trying to do what I could to ease our financial stress. I don’t know where some people get the idea but as a military family we aren’t swimming in money. We have a tight budget we follow. So I would set out on the job front searching for jobs that would work with my husband’s schedule and I could work around our special needs son’s needs.  Over the years I have applied for countless jobs at various duty stations without much luck. I even tried my hand at selling Tupperware and Pampered Chef products at one point.  Making a little bit of money helped me feel like I was contributing to our family.

It has been 10 years since I last sold Tupperware and a lot has changed in our life. The roads we have gone on have varied. I went back to school, I have volunteered, became a military family and veterans advocate, ran a small at home bakery business and helped my husband run his tactical and firearms business. That’s right we found the road to becoming entrepreneurs, a military spouse and veteran entrepreneur if you want to be specific.  It wasn’t always easy and it was a constant learning process but we made it work.

Finding New Roads as an Entrepreneur #chevysalutes #findingnewroads

My business was small but being a cottage food business that was ok since I worked out of my house. Until I was ready to open a brick and mortar store I was fine and I had no plans of doing that while living in El Paso. My husband’s business was run out of our home also which surprises many people. We mainly sold guns, out of our house after all. We had the proper licensing to do so as well as training from the ATF, my husband and I both were federal firearms licensee’s or FFL’s. People would order guns through us or would buy their gun and we would do the transfer. Basically that entailed us receiving the merchandise and properly logging it. Then when the customer would come to pick it up we would call NICS for the background check before we could transfer it to them. I would handle back of the house stuff such as social media, shipping and receiving, product photos and other related issues. While my husband was more so the face of the company and did probably 95% of all of the transfers in addition to ordering merchandise, keeping the books and paying our quarterly taxes and more.

Having our own businesses not only allowed us to be our own bosses but it gave our family the flexibility we needed. It’s not easy finding a job as military spouse. A problem I have dealt with each time we PCS to a new location. When you add in your families dynamics it can be even harder. Having our businesses gave us the best of everything. We could do something that we loved, in markets where there was a need and in the end make a profit that we could in turn invest back in our company in addition to helping relieve some of the financial stress that are family had. It felt good for me to  be able to financially contribute to our family while still being able to be present for them if something would happen.

When we PCS’ed to Fort Bragg my husband did close down shop even though he was successful in El Paso. Heck I still get calls for him and we moved away 2 years ago. From running his business in El Paso he learned that he wanted something more, something more on the lines of a brick and mortar shop and right now he is not ready to take that step. That doesn’t stop him from pointing out different buildings that are for rent. As for myself, the cottage food laws are stricter in North Carolina so there is no more selling baked goods out of my home. Instead I took my brand and found a new road, I jumped in with both feet into the blogging world.  It has taken time and a lot of hard work but I am still able to financially contribute to my family.

I can safely say that the entrepreneur bug has definitely bitten our family. It is a road I am glad that we took. My husband and I both have ideas floating around in our heads for other business ventures. Only time will tell what we will do next and what road we will go down next. Who knows maybe we will open a cupcake and gun shop…hmmm that sounds like it could be interesting.

Finding New Roads as an Entrepreneur #chevysalutes #findingnewroads

Louis Chevrolet and William C. Durant(GM founder) were the entrepreneurs behind Chevrolet and their company has come a long way since it was first formed in 1911. Did you know that GM employs nearly 5,000 veterans and has close to 45,000 current retirees who have served in the military. To help expand this effort, GM Service Technical College is working on a number of initiatives that encourage the hiring of returning veterans. With help from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program, GM is providing dealerships with free access to over 400 Hiring Our Heroes job fairs that connect them to veteran applicants with a diverse array of skills. The Hiring Our Heroes initiative has helped more than 200,000 returning military service members and their spouses find training, career counseling and employment opportunities.
Check out how Chevy is giving back to military families for Military Appreciation Month HERE

Don’t forget to join to join @nextgenmilso and @armywives101 on Twitter on May 27,2015 at 9:00PM for an extra special Military Appreciation Month Twitter Party. It will be a lot of fun plus there will be awesome prizes! Be sure to check it out!


#chevysalutes #findingnewroads


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

Military Life: 8 Tips For Planning a Staycation #ChevySalutes

Being a military family we often have challenges when it comes to planning vacations. With my husband’s job we cannot really plan too far in advance and to make things a little trickier he does not get to pick when he is going to take leave. Unfortunately, many times his vacation days do not line up with the time our kids have off from school. What’s a military family to do? I can tell you what we do. Our family has embraced the staycation.

A staycation is a fun and affordable way to get out and explore what is right where you live or within a few hours. In addition to discovering what was in our own backyard our staycations have taken us to the beach, mountains, national parks, amusement parks and every where in between. Whenever we move to a new duty station one of the first things we figure out once we get settled in is all the cool places we want to go visit.  The next challenge is visiting all of the places we want to go before my husband gets orders to a new duty station. Our staycations are part of how our family finds new roads to bloom where we have been planted. Discovering what is around you is key to falling in love with and loving your duty station.

8 Tips For Planning a Staycation #ChevySalutes

Here are my top 8 tips for planning a Staycation:


8. Research, Research, Research! Thanks to the internet information is at your fingertips. Check with your local visitor bureau and see what is interesting in your area. You can also request visitor guides to be sent to your home.

7. Have a family meeting. Get your entire family involved! Find out what they are interested in seeing and doing.

6. Make a list. Figure out everything you and your family want to do and write it down. Seeing everything you want to do written out can help you decide exactly where you want to go and what you want to do.

5. Set a budget. You may be staying at home but very few things in life are free. Come up with a budget of what you can spend for fuel, food, tickets and whatever other expenses you may incur.

4.Plan Your Itinerary.  Decide on dates and where you are going. Find specials and deals on local attractions. Don’t forget to check your installations Tickets and Tours office!

3. Plan for a road trip. If you are driving an hour or two away from home make sure you everything you need for your family. A car with plenty of room, snacks, your kids favorite toys, electronics and chargers make for a much smoother ride.

2. Check the weather first! Nothing is worse than planning a great outdoor adventure and then it get’s ruined by rain. Check the weather before you leave and reschedule if needed.

1. Have Fun! Above everything a staycation is time to spend time with family and relax. Let loose and have fun! There is no reason to stress while on vacation!

Summer is prime time for staycations and if you are in the market for a new car that would be perfect for your staycation road trips, Chevrolet has a great deal going on in May for Military Appreciation Month. Chevrolet is honoring those in the military with the best discount program out of any car company because Chevrolet feels those who serve deserve a great discount! Chevrolet Military Program is open to  all veterans, this includes Active Duty, Reserves and Retirees and their spouses of all branches (U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard).  An added plus is you can combine this discount with most other current incentives. For instance USAA members also receive an additional $750 private offer.

Have you ever taken a staycation? How do you find new roads when you PCS?


#chevysalutes contest on instagram!

Check out the #ChevySalutes #FindNewRoads Instagram Contest that will run from May 4-17, 2015. Those that enter have the chance to win 1 of 3 prizes (1 grand prize, 2 runners up) by sharing photos or videos that show how their military family finds new roads or how we can support our military service members and their families as they find new roads. Make sure you enter, you never know your picture could be the grand prize winner!

Make sure to connect with Chevrolet on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and follow the #chevysalutes #FindNewRoads hashtags. You can also check out to learn more about Chevrolet’s military discount program during Military Appreciation Month


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

American Sniper : A Military Spouse’s Perspective

American Sniper has been out for a couple weeks now and I finally went to see it. My husband had no real desire to see the movie (or any military related movie in general) but an opportunity arose when I had the chance to go to a private viewing for Team Red, White and Blue Fort Bragg. What can I say, I was curious.  So, I avoided the various blog posts floating around critiquing the movie and went with an open mind.  Along with a bit of wonder about why the audience was so quiet at the end.

American Sniper: A Military Spouse's Perspective

As a spouse of an Army soldier I kind of knew what I was getting into. I “know” what my husband’s job is and the kinds of things he does while deployed. Well, to a degree. I am not there to see with my own eyes what he has seen and we do not really talk about it. That may sound completely insane to some people but we don’t. It is what works for us.  My husband is also not that soldier that goes around telling others his old war stories either. Many Army guys are the same way. The subject of war is delicate and personal, each soldier has there own story.

While we may not speak in depth of what happens over there I do know bits and pieces. There are the spouses who do talk about things in depth with their soldier and blurt out things at coffees. To my husband showing me a Facebook message from a distraught mother who had lost her son and him not sure how to reply. I know enough. I know enough to know my husband goes out on missions where he may or may not have been involved in a fire fight. I know he has been shot at and he has shot at others. He has seen things blown up right in front of him. He has seen death. The death of his brothers and the other casualties of war, the bad guys to the innocent. His eyes have seen much in his four deployments to the sandbox.

As an Army spouse, I know all to well what the hardships are like. My husband and I got married when we did because he may or may not be deploying. His company commander even gave him the day off to get married. Four months later he was deployed to Kosovo. That was in 1999. That was our first taste of deployment. It wasn’t until after 9/11 that deployments became a regular word in our household. My husband deployed back to back with little down town in between. When there was down time he was either training or away at a school. It was just me and my boys. My husband and I joked that he was just some guy who visited.  He liked deploying. It was what he joined the Army to do. It is what he trained for. He’s really good at his job too. Did war change him? Yes, how could a soldier that has seen and been in combat not change.

Life without my husband wasn’t always easy. I managed because what else was I suppose to do, just cry? I pulled up my big girl panties and dealt with whatever was being handed to me. I had high risk pregnancies, had surgery, dealt with getting my second son diagnosed with autism, sick kids and whatever else came my way. Trust me there was a lot. Me and Murphy, we go way back. I won’t even mention the times when I was on pins and needles hoping to hear from my husband after something horrible had happened. I’ve been called stoic more than once but we all have our breaking points. I’ll just say the shower is an awesome place to cry it out. I know i’m not the only military spouse that has done that.

This has just been our life. Five total deployments, four to the sandbox and with a few more years left to retirement who knows if there will be another one. So I fully knew what I was getting into when I sat down to watch American Sniper. I watched and there were funny parts, things I could relate to as a spouse and things I imagined were similar to what my soldier may have experienced. The movie had many similarities to my own life. Yes, there were things that may have been exaggerated but overall it was a good movie. If I had one wish for it, I wish they would of dove further into the subjects. Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper did good but I left wanting more of the story. Simply because I know so much more is there.

The movie ended on a somber note, with Chris Kyle leaving to take a struggling vet out. Then a statement of how he had passed and then actual footage from his funeral and all of the support he had and then it was over. No happy ending, just a somber reminder and a silent audience with many in tears.

If anything American Sniper is a good reminder to all of those out there who have forgotten what exactly our soldiers do for their freedom. The movie also gives a taste of what spouses live through that isn’t all rainbows and sparkles. It brings light to the issue of PTSD. Many of our soldiers experience so much when deployed. Over the years at war the military has gotten better about reintegration but the process is not foolproof. There are many programs out there to help returning vets. We lose far too many soldiers each day, an estimated 22 a day if you want to be particular. In my opinion that is far too many. There is so much that we can do to help our veterans. It is just a matter of doing it.

Interested in more ways to help Veterans check these great organizations.

Team Red, White and Blue


Semper Fi Fund

Fisher House

Mission Continues

Team Rubicon

and HERE is a list from Veteran’s Affairs (VA) from 2013-2014

Veterans Day Everyday

When speaking about veterans many have heard, “A Veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable ‘To My Country’ for an amount “up to and including my life.”  I have been blessed to have veterans in my life and I am beyond thankful for all that they have done.  Both of my grandfathers served in the Army and fought in World War 2 and I am married to my favorite veteran who is a soldier in the US Army.

Veterans Day Everyday |Country Girl Gormet


Dear Murphy…




I am a well seasoned military spouse but with that said there is something that no one ever told me about when it comes to military life. It is best known as Murphy’s Law of Military Spouses. This is basically when your spouse is away anything will and can happen and I mean anything. If it can break, it will break. If you or your child are going to get sick and/or injured, you will get sick and/or injured. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong. Murphy doesn’t care if your spouse is in the field for a week, TDY for a month or deployed. Murphy doesn’t discriminate. Murphy doesn’t care what your spouses rank is. Murphy just knows when your spouse is gone and invites themselves over for a vacation.
Dear Murphy... | Country Girl Gourmet


So now that I have explained what Murphy’s Law of Military Spouses is let me give you some examples of Murphy’s handy work. Over the last 15 years I have experienced it all. During my husband’s last deployment friends and I were going through similar problems at the same time. It was oddly coincidental when a group of us all had broken washing machines or were driving rental cars all at the same time. Dear Murphy… Why must you be so mean?

Here are probably the top ways that Murphy likes to make it’s presence known in no particular order:

1. Major Appliances and Home Issues

Murphy likes appliances. Washer’s, Dryers, Dishwashers, Ovens and more.  Air conditioning and heating systems are always a fun things that Murphy likes to break. Appliances will all of the sudden start making weird noises, blow up, leak or just all out quit working.  Pipes start leaking, and toilets have all sorts of issues. Murphy really likes to do his best to make things go awry at home. Leaving you to fix the problem (Google and Youtube are your friends) while other times you need to call a repair person or just replace the appliance.

2. Illness

Somebody will get sick especially if you have kids and because you have taught your kid’s to share, they will share their germs. If Murphy is really nice he will bring the stomach flu to your house and it will hit in the middle of the night.  They will get sick in their bed, then on the carpet on the way to the bathroom and once you think they are better and asleep in your bed. They will throw up in your bed. The next morning they will be better but you will now be sick. Be warned if Murphy really likes you he will have multiple children getting sick at the same time. Trust me it is so much fun, yes that is sarcasm.

3. Emergency Room

I have joked that when my husband is away that I needed a frequent customer card when it comes to emergency room visits. I am thankful for Tricare in this department. Somehow someone always ends up in the emergency room. Whether it is a kid getting hurt somehow,appendicitis  or something else. At one point or another somehow you will probably end up here.

4. Family Emergencies
Extended family emergencies are not out of the spectrum of things that Murphy dabbles in. From an extended family member getting severely ill to passing away. These type of emergencies are common.

5. Spiders, Bugs and Rodent’s, Oh My!

Murphy loves little critters! Especially little or not so little critters that make you want to scream. While your spouse is away you will deal with the biggest spiders you have ever seen. Fire ant’s will take over your yard and no amount of Amdro will get rid of them. You may have a pest person or use Ortho Home Defense religiously but bugs seem to keep finding their way in. Let us not forget about slithering things and little mice. Ugh, the hairs on my neck are sticking up just thinking about it.

6. Technology Problems

When your spouse goes away Murphy likes to play with all your gadgets that connect you to the world and your spouse. Your cable or satellite will go out. Your phone will decide to quit working, even if it is only a couple days old. Your hard drive will crash and your computer will give you the blue screen of death.

7. Natural Disasters

While your spouse is away the weather may get a bit crazy. There may be really bad storms that bring tornado’s, lightning strikes and floods. In the summertime there may be a hurricane. In the winter unusually cold weather and snowstorms. Sandstorm’s that bring brown out conditions. Murphy may shake things up and there will be an earthquake. Weather happens and when it happens it can bring along with it it’s own weather related problems from frozen pipes to leaking roofs.

8. Pet Emergencies

If you have pets know they are not immune from the wrath of Murphy. They will get sick or your never has an accident dog will have an accident. They may eat things that they shouldn’t, like that cute new pair of shoes, when they have never chewed up a thing in the past.

9. Car Problems

Murphy loves cars! Murphy loves messing with cars in a wide variety of ways. Murphy likes making cars break in many different ways from a flat tire to leaving you stuck with an empty tank on the side of the road even though the gas gauge said you had a quarter tank still. When Murphy doesn’t surprise you with the check engine light he may surprise you in other ways. You may find yourself in your first car accident from a simple fender bender to worse.

10. Financial and Legal Problems

Last but not least Murphy likes to monkey with financial and legal issues. There may be problems with paychecks to credit card numbers being stolen. Then again there is the part where you are emptying your wallet to pay for all the things that go wrongThen there are a whole slew of legal issues that may come up. For me I was actually being sued by an old doctor I had not seen in like 4 years due to a Tricare mistake. Odd stuff happens.


These things along with others just happen as soon as your spouse leaves. You can try to prevent them but that doesn’t usually help. If something is going to happen it will, that’s life. There is no telling how many times Murphy is going to bother you and interfere with your normal life. It can be annoyances all day long, something new every day of the week or a new problem every month. I have yet to decide which type of annoyance is the best and/or worse. All you can really say is Dear Murphy… You suck!  While it does suck you need to know Murphy is also helping you! When Murphy strikes you have two options, break down or put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Life happens and it continues to keep going and your problem will still be there if you break down. So while breaking down is understandable and venting is good for you, the problem will still be there and you need to deal with it. Dealing with all the problems that Murphy brings you teaches you to learn how to adapt and helps build your resilience! So, Dear Murphy… Thank you  for making me a stronger person!




You know those mundane everyday things we do without thinking? For instance, for myself that includes the fight with daughter about school picture day clothes and hair, as I make 4 lunches and get my 4 monsters ready for a day of school, those things. Thirteen years ago today so many of us were doing those same things. We were going about our daily life without question or worry. I was getting ready for my first OB appointment with kid number 2. My husband was at work, doing Army guy things. Then in a moment, life changed.

Alike many, our life changed immensely on 9/11.  My husband left less than a month later for desert training and was deployed to Afghanistan by January 2003. It was not his first deployment but a deployment with a new mission,war.  It was a completely different mind process than his previous deployment. When he went to Kosovo in 1999 it was for a NATO mission and although it could happen the bad things we now know of deployment were not in the forefront of our minds. Every single bad thing you could think of was now on the minds of countless military spouses.  When you heard a deployment was on the horizon a series of what ifs starting racking your mind. Like the big one, “what if something happens to my husband, how would I handle it”. It became a series of plans set up in the back of your head. With these changes others changes are made these changes to how you see life.

Life was no longer the just day to day, it became something more. It became looking at each and every day and just being thankful and living for the day. Yes, scary things happen in this thing called life and there are scary people out there but you can’t just stop and let them take over your life.  You have to go on. You can’t stop because something bad may happen. When you do that you let the bad guys win. Life for my family became about spending time together. This is so  important for us because we never know when Daddy may have to go away.  Every birthday, anniversary and holiday we are together is extra special because we know the next one we may not be all together.  Doing errands together, vacations, family fun nights it’s all about spending time together.

There is still worry about things that we cannot control but it is followed by what will be will be. Along with a sprinkling of how important is this in the big scheme of things, does it really matter? We have learned to live and let go. Well, at least the best that we can.

9-11 Reflections | Country Girl Gourmet

I am a face of military spouse unemployment

I am a face of military spouse unemployment. One in four military spouses are looking for a job. I am that one. I am part of the 26% military spouse unemployment rate which is higher than the national average, 7.4% (as of August 2013).

It is a hard and depressing task trying to find a job. Thankfully there are resources to help military spouses get a job. I will say they are varied by installation. I have personally gone for help. I went to ACS and was offered resume assistance and to my surprise my resume was good. I can thank Blue Star Families Resume Tool Kit for that help.  Another place to check out is Hiring our Hereos, they offer a variety of tools to help military spouses land a job from resume building to job fairs.

My days start out similar as my job right now is to find a job. I carefully search through sites such as and local classifieds in search of a job. I spend my mornings applying online and sending in my resume. I cannot begin to tell you how many jobs I have applied for at this point because I have lost count but I can tell you how many employers have contacted me, one.

I was ecstatic as the employer was a organization and job was something I was all to familiar with, working with military families. What I didn’t know at the time was how much the job interview process has changed since my last job over 10 years ago. It was no longer a simple interview but a serious of interviews and steps and Skype. I may be a military spouse but I never used Skype while my husband was away. He was typically places where it didn’t work well. Adapt and overcome I can do this.

My first step was to turn myself from SAHM of four kiddos to looking like someone an organization wanted to hire. Goodbye super long, seriously it touched my butt hair and natural dirty blonde ombre. I have to say this getting a job thing was turning expensive. $165 plus tip later my hair was done. Next step was to find a professional outfit. While I have business clothes  from the volunteer work I have done, you constantly read dress to impress when searching about what to do for a job interview.

Can I keep the flip flops?
Can I keep the flip flops?

So I looked ready and I read up online on what to do and expect at a job interview. It had been over 10 years since my last job interview and 14 years since my last professional position. I was ready. I went to the interview and it was unlike any interview I had ever had. The questions were not the “what is your worst trait” or “why do you want to work for us”.  The questions were more geared to how I handled situations. There were questions I had a hard time answering since I had not worked in over 10 years and the majority of my volunteer work was with my husbands’s work. When I was a FRG leader my boss was my husband’s boss i’m sorry there is a degree of respect there. It was his program not mine, I could only suggest things. If I ran into a problem I just adapted and overcame. Adapt and overcome is the root of military life.  I did my best but left unsure of how I did, I made the interviewer laugh so that had to be good right? My gut though wasn’t talking to me but it was all good.  I still had another interview to get through, the Skype one.

This Skyping had me all types of nervous. I read up about it and of course everyone seemed to have their own opinion. A few things stayed the same you needed good light, a neutral background, dress to impress ,to look at the camera not your screen and to test Skype out before your actual interview. I was ready as I could be.
Photo on 9-12-13 at 10.59 AM #2So I Skyped and the interview was much the same as the first. I have to say it was an interesting experience. Although she warned me that she would be typing also it was a bit distracting that the interviewer had their head turned away and in the computer nearly the entire time. Skype may be an awesome tool for the interview process but in my opinion it only works as well as the users. You cannot have one person giving their 100% while the other’s body language tells another story. Maybe that’s just me though.
So I was then left to send my interview thank you’s and to wait. My gut was telling me I didn’t get the job after the Skype interview and 3 weeks later I was told they didn’t want me to ride their bus. My gut was right. I was upset, it is rejection after all. While it may be taboo for me to write about this experience since I am still actively looking for employment. I can look at the positive in this. I learned a lot through this process about what I would do differently in the future. Everything happens for a reason and there has to be something better for me down the road. I want to be that spouse that says look what I was able to turn my volunteer work into. I am determined to be one of those positive stories.


Government Shutdown and Military Families: What you need to know

It has happened, a government shutdown.

(Posted on October 1, 2013 at 9:29 AM)

Thankfully HR 3210, Pay our Military Act has been passed by the House, Senate and signed by the president,  soldier (and some federal employees) pay is one less thing to worry about. This said there are other issues that come with a government shutdown.

For a basic rundown on the shutdown check out THIS link from You can even call them at 1-800-FED-INFO if you have questions.

Now for the rest… How does this affect military families? I will do my best to keep things up to date here so it is all in one place.

Staying Connected

Do you keep up to date with various government agencies via Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets? If so thank’s to the shutdown you will not be able to. You will see some sort of variation of this message:

“Due to the #governmentshutdown, XXX will not be active on social media or replying to comments…. ”

Although in some cases there are active duty soldiers attempting to keep up DOD pages not all pages will be updated. You can keep up to date by checking their websites for shutdown updates. Here are the different military branches-


Air Force



Coast Guard does not having anything posted at this time in regards to the shutdown.

National Guard

Are you a veteran? Check out  the Department of Veteran’s Affairs page for the latest information.

Military One Source (800-342-9647) remains open and fully operational.

Another option for keeping up to date is staying in contact with your Family Readiness Group/ Key Spouse/Ombudsman.
**update October 5, 2013** From the Department of Defense Facebook:

“BREAKING NEWS: #DefenseSecretary Chuck Hagel has announced that most Defense Department civilian workers put on emergency furlough as a result of the #GovernmentShutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week. Read his full statement here,

Shopping/Dining/Recreation on Military Installations

As of October 2nd 2013 stateside Commissaries will be closed until further notice. Overseas Commissaries will remain open.

**Update October 5,2013** Some Commissaries are reopening this week thanks to a new order from the Secretary of Defense. You can read more in THIS article from SpouseBuzz.

**Update October 3, 2013** Sam’s Club will be offering free memberships while the commissary is closed. Check out THIS article from Spousebuzz for more details.

AAFES, Class 6, food courts and gas stations will be open

NAF (Non- appropriated funds) food and beverage facilities will be open (ex. bowling alley and golf course).

MWR Pools and Gyms remain open on most installations.  Intramural sports and youth activities seem to vary from installation to installation. If they are closed at your installation please comment and let me know.

Installation libraries should be open but hours may be reduced.

Running in the Marin Corp Marathon or Army Ten Miler? Both events will still be going on. Look HERE for more information.

Military Healthcare

Each installation will put out information about changes they need to implement in regards to the operation of MTF’s and clinics. If you see a civilian PCM you should not see any changes. If in doubt call to confirm your appointment.

Military Health System/ has released THIS statement

Tricare has released THIS statement.

Money Matters

As previously mentioned military members and some dod employees will be paid thanks to the HR 3210, Pay our Military Act.

**update Oct 4, 2013*** Please check THIS link from DFAS in regards to pay earned after 30 September 2013.

**update Oct 8,2013*** DFAS has released this statement:
Military members: Final guidance on making military pay under the Pay Our Military Act was received from the DoD late yesterday. Normal pay and allowances have been processed and you will receive them in you mid-month pay. The amount reflected in your mid-month statement will be deposited.

Please check out their Facebook for other statements about pay.

If you have questions regarding  Civilian or Military pay check out Defense Finance and Accounting Service/DFAS

Furloughed employee’s look  HERE  for info about Unemployment Compensation.

Curious about which member’s of Congress giving up their pay during this time? Click HERE.


Child Development Centers (CDC) remain open but on some installation’s School Age Centers and Youth Centers may close. Check with your installation before you go.

Military Acadamies have been hit by the shutdown in a variety of ways. For more information check out their various pages for updates:

DODEA schools will remain open.

THIS article explains what is going on at military service academies including links to their pages.

Tuition Assistance (TA) has been suspended
Post 9/11 GI Bill information is HERE

My Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) financial assistance requests will not be approved but spouses with an already approved financial assistance request prior to Oct. 1, 2013 will have their approved requests honored so they can attend class.

Education Centers will be closed

Other Support Services

Family Support Centers and ACS (Army Community Service) will have limited operability. Some departments will be open. Call before you go!

Survivor outreach services information can be found HERE.

**update October 8,2013**Fisher House is stepping up to take care of families who have lost a loved one

The Military and Family Life Counselor (MFLC) program will continue.

Everything Else

Drill has been cancelled for Guard and Reserve units. For more information look HERE.

For families who use WIC need to prepare themselves for a possible for a possible halt in service. Some states have state funds that help supplement the program while others rely on government aid.

**update Oct 8,2013** In North Carolina WIC benefits have been suspended. REad more info HERE.

National parks, monuments and museums are all closed.

I will do my best to keep this page updated as I find out more information (such as concrete information regarding PCS orders). There are a few things that are still uncertain. We can only hope things will be resolved quickly but if not I will help you stay as informed about what is going on to the best of my ability.

This is a follow up to the blog post Government Shutdown Military Family 411

Government Shutdown Military Family 411

It is coming. Well at least it looks that way, a government shutdown.  Get ready to embrace the suck. Here are some tips to get through the coming weeks.

What is shutting down?

Many people don’t realize the bigger picture and what all a government shutdown may include. It is not just the military as many may think as they have been used as political and media pawns. This issue is big and has ripple down effects. It affects not only the Department of Defense but the National Park Service, various departments of Homeland Security, federal courts and more. You can look HERE for a list of agencies that will or could be affected.

White Sands
There will be no going to White Sands if there is a government shutdown.

Money Matters

Being a military family this issue hits us hard as it does many other military and federal employee families. The number one issue that we worry about is not getting that paycheck on October 15th. That means for some dipping into their emergency fund something that I cannot stress the importance of. While yes it is for emergencies I know when we started our fund we thought about our trucks breaking down, major appliances breaking and things of that nature. Not a government shut down where my husband would not be getting a paycheck. Other families are not as lucky though as many families live pay check to paycheck. Thankfully some banks and credit unions such as USAA, Navy federal , Pacific Marine Credit Union, Marine Federal Credit Union, Service Credit Union, Belvoir Credit Union, Air Force Credit Union, First Command, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union are offering payroll advances and zero or low interest loans to help at this time. If your bank is not listed here contact them and see if they offer any assistance. Some banks such as US Bank and First Light Credit Union offer programs for military families.  I do suggest staying away from  non-bank payday/cash advance locations.  If needed Army Emergency Relief (AER), Air Force Aid Society (AFAS), Navy- Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA) will all be available  if you need assistance. The Red Cross and Operation Homefront also offer financial assistance for military families.

Paying bills

It is what it is and figuring out what to do with your bills comes next.You need to figure out how to pay your rent/mortgage, electric bill, water and other bills. The best policy here is to be proactive and call and contact your creditors. They may be able to work with you they may not.  You never know what they can offer unless you call. The worst thing they can do is say no. Remember the organizations listed above that can help you.

Gas Money

car money

So your soldier still needs to go to work without getting paid, what can you do about gas money? Start a carpool with other families in your area.  Yes it sucks that they have to go to work and not have the money to go but what are you going to do? You make it work. It’s all about rolling with the punches.

Feeding your Family


I am constantly looking for ways to feed my family for less and a looming government shutdown has me looking at where I can cut back especially since the commissary will be closed. A good place to start is to create a meal plan and stick to it. This helps you when it comes time to make a grocery list and when it comes time to shop. To help you meal plan use your grocery store ads and buy what is on sale. To save more money use coupons.

Here are a few healthy and economical foods:

Water, healthier and cheaper than soda and other sweetened drinks.

Eat Beans, they are economical, full of protein and fiber.

Brown Rice, whole grain and full of vitamins

Sweet Potatoes, low in calories and full of vitamins like Vitamin A and C.

Frozen Veggies, steam instead of boil to avoid nutrient loss.

Kale and other leafy greens (cabbage,spinach,collards), are nutrient rich and full of vitamins and can be prepared several different ways.

Plain Yogurt, you can mix in various things to change it up such as honey and fruits. If you use greek yogurt you will have added protein.

Peanut Butter and other nut butters, a great protein source and heart healthy unsaturated fats

Eggs, Great protein source and full of other nutrients.

Oatmeal (old fashioned oats) Heart healthy and helps lower bad cholesterol.

Final Thoughts on Money

It is time to prioritize what is important and to budget, budget,budget! There will be things that you cannot get around spending money on  and you need to allow room in your budget for these expenses. Just as you need to remember to allow for emergencies.  Be smart about your money choices. Ask yourself do I really need Starbucks or can I make it myself at home. Check out these copycat recipes to try it at home. Pinterest is a great place to look to find copycat recipes, handy household money saving tips and more. You can do this with style and grace. After all military families are special. We can take on any challenge that is sent our way.

Everything Else

Just a few final tid bits on a possible government shutdown that we currently know:

Quality of life will be affected. There is no way around it.

There will be reduced support services on post as many civilian employees are furloughed. These services will vary from installation to installation.

Your soldier will still be at work but PCS’s, TDY’s, schools and training may be disrupted.

Death gratuities to those who die on active duty during this time would not be paid.

There will be various effects to healthcare on installations that may vary from installation to installation.

As previously stated, stateside commissaries would be closed.

What else can be done?

The time is ticking down but your voice is important! Let your elected officials know how you feel!

Find your representative HERE

Find  your senator HERE

Click HERE to contact  the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services

Want to contact the president or vice president? Click HERE




A follow up to this blog is- Government Shutdown and Military Families: What you need to know