Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Coordinate a Potluck Event

Have you ever attended a potluck and there were ten variations of macaroni and cheese, but there were only two desserts?  Or a sign up for an event is done at work and your spouse doesn't tell you until 9 pm the night before that he had signed you up to bring a ham?

The gals over at Perfect Potluck ( have created the solution to your problem! The website is very simple to use and easily accessible from a smart phone.

Here is one of my favorite potluck dishes my mom makes: 

A few potluck tips:
  • Take something that is easy to serve. While your grandma's famous key lime pie may be very delicious it also will be hard to serve in a potluck line. An easy solution would be to make your pie in single serving cupcake tins. 
  • Don't forget a serving utensil! I have been to countless events where people bring a wonderful dish, but don't have a way to serve it. If you are going to an event at someone's house it is horribly rude to depend on the host to provide you with something to serve your dish with. Also remember that your silver or black serving spoon probably looks just like mine and ten other people's. A good way to easily identify your spoon is to put a piece of masking tape on the end and write your last name. 
  • Don't take your prized piece of polish pottery that you can't replace. It's sad to say that there is always the possibility that someone may walk off with your dish.  
  • Don't forget the basics. When making a potluck sign up it's easy to list all of the food items needed and forget about the other things you may need like: plates, silverware, napkins, cups and ice. 

- xoxo MB

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

20 Ways to Survive and Thrive During Deployment

Whether you work full time and find yourself bored on the weekends and evenings or you are in-between jobs and need something to fill your days with, I hope that my list is able to help! 

1. Try new foods
If you have been interested in Paleo or a certain type of food take this time while you are cooking for one (or one and some kiddos) and try out new things! My husband will eat whatever I make, but sometimes I feel bad when a recipe goes wrong and we end up having to order pizza or eat soup. And as always, check out pinterest for some neat recipes and ideas!

2. Visit family
For 1/3 of my husbands deployment I went home to visit my family and I loved it! It was great to get out of snowy New York and spend time with my family. My mom is one of my best friends and I really enjoyed getting to go shopping, cooking, going to events, etc. on a daily basis with her. I hadn't lived at home for a long period of time since before college and it was nice to be at home and not feel like I had to cram all the things I wanted to do into a few days.

3. Organize your home
This is something that is still a work in progress for me! The day after my husband left I rearranged my spice cabinet and it made me feel great every time I opened the cabinet and saw the work I had done. Being a military family we move every few years, so in preparation for our next PCS I am already starting to put things into storage containers to help make our next move easier.

A Pinterest creation for my living room!
4. Pinterest!
I. LOVE. PINTEREST! To say I have an obsession is a bit of an understatement ;) It is a great resource of ideas for crafts, decorating, cooking, make up tips... you name it there is probably a pin about it! During this deployment I am looking forward to doing one of those thousand things I have pinned. If you are ever out of ideas feel free to check out my boards:

5. Watch all the movies and TV shows that you love and your husband hates
While my husband is gone I enjoy watching all of the cheesy Hallmark movies (especially the Christmas ones!), "chick flicks" like Sweet Home Alabama and the Wedding Date, and girly TV shows like Desperate Housewives, Gossip Girl and Hart of Dixie. Check out sites like or Netflix or your local library (the post library always has a pretty good selection of movies and TV shows) to watch seasons of TV shows without having to buy them.

My Boykin Spaniel Puppy, Aggie.
6. Get a puppy
Before you say "Mary Beth that's crazy you shouldn't suggest that people get a puppy!" let me explain a few things first. 1) I think that you should consult your spouse before you make any major decision. 2) getting a puppy is a lifelong decision. Once you get a puppy you should be their forever home!
Now I'll explain why getting a puppy is one of the best things I did during deployment: My parents got a puppy about 5 months before my husband left and we loved her! We had decided that we would get a puppy when he got back from Afghanistan. When I contacted the breeder to get on the waiting list for a puppy she told me that they had one girl puppy that was 6 weeks old if I would like her. My husband and I talked about it and we decided that she would be a great deployment companion for me. I got her and I love her so much. She sleeps with me at night and follows me everywhere I go. But while getting a puppy was a great decision for me it may not be the best decision for everyone.

7. Volunteer
Volunteering is a great way to get involved in the community, meet other people and stay busy. One of my favorite places to volunteer is the USO on post.

8. Join the spouses club
The spouses club is another great way to meet other wives! Apart from monthly luncheons they also have clubs and events. I am in the Bunco club for our spouses club and I have really enjoyed going each month. Other types of clubs they have are: lunch bunch, freezer club, book club, quilting group, bunco, movie club and scrapbooking. Every club is different. Sometimes there are officers clubs and enlisted clubs or sometimes they are combined.

9. Read
I love reading! While I was in college I stopped reading as much for pleasure because I had to read a lot for my courses. But now that I have graduated I have found my love for reading again. I look up books I like on and see what they suggest that I might be interested in. Or using sites like to find similar authors. If you don't have a bookstore in your area (sadly, at Fort Drum there isn't a big name bookstore like Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million) check out or you local library.

10. Work out and try classes
Since you have some spare time on your hands, why not use it to improve yourself? The gyms on post are free and they have classes (sometimes for a fee though). I joined the YMCA in our area and I like that it is a bit quieter than the post gym and they have a plethora of classes that are included in the membership. Sometimes classes can be intimidating, but there is no harm in giving it a try and if you don't like it you can leave.

11. Go out with friends
One of my favorite things is to grab a meal or drinks with some friends. I don't like eating out alone. Going with some pals is a fun way to try out new restaurants and enjoy the company of your friends. Check out if one of your local bars or restaurants has a trivia night!

12. Decorate and send care packages
If you have checked out the other posts on my blog, you can see that I really enjoy decorating the care packages that I send to my husband. I like thinking up themes, buying the items to go inside and watching a movie while I decorate the panels. Do I decorate every box? No, I've decorated about half of the ones I have sent. But when I have the time, I do like decorating them.

13. Decorate your home 
This is something I am still working on! As a military family that moves quite often sometimes it takes me a while to hang things up, especially when I know we will only be at a location for 2-3 years or even just 6 months! But deployment is a great time to decorate, redecorate and try out moving furniture in different places to see how you like it.

Another Pinterest inspired craft to decorate my living room
14. Craft 
As much as I love pinterest, I also love crafting! I am not an artist at all... But I really enjoy creating something for my home (like in the picture above) or making something with my sewing machine. It's relaxing to me and a great way to spend an afternoon!

15. Relax
I think it is great to stay busy. It's a great distraction and keeps you going and makes you get out of your house. But at the same time remember to take time for yourself and take care of you! If you are always go, go, go, eventually you will crash. To me relaxing is wearing comfortable PJ's and watching a season of a TV show or getting a massage or a pedicure. But whatever it is to you, do it!

An ACS canning class that I participated in.
16. Take a class at ACS 
The picture above was published in the Post newspaper about an ACS canning class that I took (I'm the blonde in the tan sweater cutting apples). I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot. ACS has lots of fun classes and events like sewing, cooking, book clubs, etc. They are a great source of information about military life! If you are new to being a military wife look into some of the classes they have about military life.

17. Start a blog/keep a journal
When I started my blog I thought that the only people that would ever see it were my mom and my husband. But it has really been enjoyable to write posts and hear what you guys think! Your blog doesn't have to turn you into the Pioneer Woman (she originally started out with a blog) it could just be something you do for yourself. Write about what your passionate about and what you know! Or if keeping a blog isn't really your thing try journaling. It can be a great way to capture your thoughts and it's really neat to look back and see what you have written.

18. Set goals. Both short and long term
Goals are a great way to pass time during deployment and give you things to work towards and look forward to. And, of course, celebrate when you reach your goals. Whether you want to lose weight or you are working towards a degree making short term goals can help you get to where you want to be.

My cute calender from Target that helps keep me organized.
19. Keep a calendar 
For me a calender serves two main purposes. 1) To remind me of things I have to do. And 2) Helps me look forward to events. I'll admit sometimes I use the calender in my phone rather than my paper planner, but either way I like being able to look at my calender and see that "in 5 day's we will be 1/4 done with the deployment" or that "my roommate from college's wedding is in exactly 9 months and I need to get my butt in gear on working out!". Having dates and events written down helps give me a visual of what is coming up. And I also enjoy looking back and seeing all that I have done and accomplished. 
I made a calender for my husband of all the holidays, birthdays and special events while he is gone. I did the math to figure out when all of the major countdown dates, like 1/4 done, 1/3 done, 1/2 done, etc. should be and put them in my phone and calender so I have little milestones to look forward to.

20. Join a church/small group/PWOC
I really enjoy going to the Protestant Women of the Chapel bible study on post. It has allowed me to meet some really great women and form some sweet friendships. My bible study group was a great source of support before and after my husband deployed. They also have Catholic Women of the Chapel, as well as resources for women of other faiths at the post chapel.

I hope that my list has been helpful to you! My husband's deployment is only partially over, so be on the look out for "20 Ways to Survive and Thrive During Deployment: Part 2" in the near future! :)

- xoxo MB

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Howdy! I am an army wife currently living at Fort Drum, NY. I am a proud army brat! I met my husband while we were both cadets in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M.

I originally got the idea to start a blog after talking to one of my sweet friends from Texas A&M. Her fiancé was going to join the Air Force as an EOD tech and she wanted to know what life was like as an EOD wife. I wished that I had kept a blog so that I could easily share with her what life is like.

After some of my care package pins gained popularity on pinterest I decided to take the plunge and share my thoughts with the world through a blog. I hope you enjoy it! I love hearing from you guys! Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. :)
-xoxo MB

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Best Deployment Countdown iPhone Apps

I have searched the App Store for the best free countdown apps. Here are my top 3:

1. Doing Time. This is my favorite App. I really enjoy watching the percentage change as the days pass by. The only downside to this app is you can only track one event at a time. UPDATE: After updates, you now can track multiple events. Which makes this app even more useful and fabulous! 


2. Countdown. I also like this app for tracking a single event. Different from the "doing time" app, it allows you to see how many months are left in your countdown.


3. Countdown +. I like this app for tracking multiple events at one time. On my list I have a countdown to my college roommates wedding, the Disney princess half marathon weekend (we are doing the 10k though :), and my husband coming home.

-xoxo MB

Love > Distance Care Package

Superhero Care Package

Christmas Care Package