Monday, March 23, 2015

6 Things to Do at EACH New Duty Station

Yes, I am a newbie Army wife myself. This is my first duty station with the hubby. But definitely not my first duty station period. Remember, I'm a third generation Army brat and we PCS'd A LOT when I was younger. So it was lucky that I picked up some tips for adjusting to your new duty station to employ when we move and also to share with you!


Research Available Housing
Back when my mom and dad were doing the PCSing, we didn't really have social media the way we do now. Having it now makes it that much easier to check out available housing both on and off post. Join the Facebook groups for your new duty station and ask questions; the ones in our group will sometimes even take video of their homes and neighborhoods so that you have a feel for what you're getting into. If you're considering off-post; of course there are tons of helpful sites that will give you information on homes available for rent and for sale. Deciding between neighborhoods?NextGenMilspouse shared an extremely helpful article just this month on picking the right neighborhood for you and your family.

Locate the Shopping!
No, I don't just mean the mall and the nearest Kohls (though those are important too). In case you're not completely sold on the commissary and the PX, you'll want to know where the nearest grocery stores are. The hubby and I, for example, will shop the commissary for meat and during case lot sales. But we prefer Publix and Whole Foods which are about 30 minutes and an hour away respectively. And in case you're PCSing to Ft Stewart and wondering, all the good shopping is about an hour away in Savannah.

Note the Locations of Fire Department, Police Station, Hospital, Etc.
If you're living on post, this information may be taken care of. Your hubby's Sponsor will likely take you guys around to all the pertinent spots and suggest directions. If you'll be living off post, you may want to look up that information yourself just in case. There's nothing more crazy-making than having a family emergency and having to stop to Google the address of the nearest hospital.

Check Out Good Dentists, Car Repairmen, Etc.
This is also where those Facebook groups come in. They are a goldmine for reviews on all kinds of services and companies, so just ask the question! This is also where you should try to request a welcome packet online (contact that City's Chamber of Commerce; they may be able to help you out). On our team, we like to send out welcome packets to prospective clients with all sorts of information about the area.

Research The Schools
No kids? You can go ahead and skip this one. But if you've got them, you've probably already noted this step in your head. Definitely check out the nearest schools; meet with teachers, the Principal and Guidance Counselor, whatever makes you comfortable. I know the Principal at Long County High School came to speak to us one Summer and they actually do tours of the facilities to let parents see exactly what the schools are like.

Figure Out Some Fun Stuff to Do
Of course, for the first few days, you'll be so insanely busy with moving, grocery shopping, etc., that you won't have a lot of time leftover for fun. But inevitably, there will come a time when you're bored to tears and have no idea where to go or what to do. If you're PCSing to Fort Stewart, lucky you, this is where my blog comes in. Otherwise, I would suggest the old Google, the city's name + fun things to do and see what pops up. You may also check the county calendar for upcoming events.

By the way, I've created a post where I address all these points for Fort Stewart, so if you're PCSing here anytime soon, check it out!

Hinesville Lifestyle
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What to do
Where to live

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Friday, March 20, 2015

New Bakery Alert!

I'm huge sweet-aholic so I was super excited to learn there's a new bakery, Angie's Cakes & Sweet Treats, here in Hinesville! My mom and I stopped by yesterday afternoon while running around grabbing video for clients and I'm so glad we did. The owner, Angie, is a Veteran but also a certified pastry chef. So, when you grab a chocolate truffle or one of her sweet, chewy lemon bars, you know your getting a real treat. (I don't know about you, but I hate to waste calories on a dry donut from Walmart or wherever).
Creamy, sugary goodness!
We had one of the lemon bars and a fresh strawberry cupcake. I can't comment on the lemon bars (my mom scarfed it down without even offering me a bite!) but I can tell you the cupcake was life-changing. It was moist and topped with this amazingly thick frosting. And it had that fresh and sweet flavor that can ONLY be achieved through the use of real strawberries. So, suffice it to say, this place is super cute, I'll definitely be back, and YOU should check it out.
 
Yes, I like to take pics with cupcakes. I'm weird like that(:



Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (I mean, need I say more? This place! Especially if you're like me and love a good cupcake)
What to do (the Farmers Market is back!)
Where to live


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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NOT Your Mother's Meat Loaf

**This post contains affiliate links**

I haven't done a favorite recipe post in a while so I decided to do one for you all today. I've actually fixed this meatloaf a few times over the last Summer for my sister and brother-in-law and a couple times this year for the hubby. Everyone says they love it (I'm assuming they're not just lying to me to make me feel good) so I thought I'd share it with you.


So, the first time I came across this recipe, I was kind of reluctant to try it. I've had meatloaf once or twice that was actually pretty good (once, when my cousin made it when she visited us in Arizona) but too many times to count where it was... awful. But we were kind of in a food rut (you know, pasta or veggie burgers every other night) and something had to give so I gave it a shot. I made a few key changes because, as previously mentioned, the hubby and I like a little more flavor than most.

Number one, I used flavored saltines instead of plain ones. I found these Rosemary & Olive Oil ones in Walmart for around three bucks.


Tossed them into my food processor with everything and went to town. Number two, I put the ketchup and brown sugar on TOP of the loaf instead of in the bottom. Read that advice in the comments and I had to agree. I just couldn't see being able to get all of that flavor by sticking everything in the bottom. Also note: in case you're a super novice cook like me and wondering if you HAVE to use the specified Dutch oven or 7x9 dish or whatever. NOPE. I used my old faithful Rachel Ray casserole dish and everything turned out just fine. Better than fine, actually. It was perfectly moist and perfectly seasoned. I think the last time I cooked this dish, we added baked sweet potato, and steamed mixed veggies.
By the way, I totally switched up the order. You're supposed to do ketchup first and THEN the brown sugar!

What's your favorite way to cook meatloaf? Tell me below!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat
What to do (sounds fun, right?)
Where to live



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Monday, March 16, 2015

Love This Place! 5 Spot- Savannah Review

So I've been to the 5 Spot now several times and I'm just now getting around to doing a quick review (I know, bad blogger!). Anyway, the first time I went was last year with my sister and brother-in-law just before New Years. I'd heard about it on Facebook, etc. and convinced them to check it out with me. I had this amazing chicken salad croissant and a side of beer-battered truffle oil French fries (yes they're basically a heart attack waiting to happen and yes, they're as yummy as they sound!). My brother-in-law ordered the Chorizo dip as an appetizer to share (of which I was too busy scarfing down to grab a pic) Just know that it was warm, creamy and just about perfect. I definitely recommend ordering.

The last time I went I had a BLT which was just as good as the croissant and this chocolate brownie that was downright life-changing. If you're picturing a small, brown, dry square that you may get at other restaurants, think again. That brownie was basically a slice of heaven. And topped of with salted caramel ice cream and syrup which complimented the chocolate quite nicely.

The place itself is pretty easy to find, located right on Habersham, not technically downtown but away from the hustle and bustle of the main drag, Abercorn St. There's a cute little pet shop across the street which I've been meaning to take a peek into as well as a yoga spot. Perfect to pop in during a day of shopping or maybe a lazy Sunday, as I've read they do brunch as well.

Another thing I appreciate about this place: everyone, from the lady that greets you at the front to the waitresses, is super nice and helpful. And we're always seated in less than 10 minutes (I have "hangry" issues, so this is important to me).


Have you checked out the 5 Spot? What'd you think? Tell me below!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (here of course! And then come back and post pics!)
What to do
Where to live

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thankful Thursdays!





So this week's post is a little different. I reached out to my awesome Facebook friends to find out what they're thankful for. It's always nice to reflect on one's own life for positivity but I love hearing from friends and acquaintances about what they're enjoying in their lives as well. Hopefully these gems will bring a smile your face as they did mine:


I complain about bills all of the time, but this week I am thankful to even have the $ to pay those bills-- Tamra


I hear a lot of people complain about the heat but just a few days ago it was too cold. I'm actually thankful for this weather, I love this time of year -- Zshmara


I'm thankful for having a family that supports me in all my endeavors! -- Hillary


Salvation -- Tim


Is Girl Scout cookies a legit answer? Lol --Brittany


I'm thankful for life-- Delvon


As for me; this week, I'm thankful that the hubby only has a few more days in the field, can't wait to see him. Although Girl Scout cookies are definitely a close second!


What about you? What are you thankful for this week?



Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat (grabbing dinner here tomorrow night. Review coming soon!)
What to do
Where to live


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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

5 Reasons You Should Totally Marry a Soldier

Or date one! If you're single and reading this, dating a soldier is definitely an option. And to be clear, I'm not knocking firemen or businessmen or those that work in retail. This list is, admittedly, biased and based completely on my experiences with my own soldier. BUT there's some good stuff in here, I promise! So, without further ado, five reasons to marry a soldier:


He's Typically Down For Whatever You Have Planned
I know with the hubby, he's usually cool with letting me plan everything from dinner, to where we vacation, to what we actually do on said vacation. Which works for me because I'm a planner. We went to Disneyworld last month and you better believe I'd had that particular trip planned down to the minute for the last three months or so. The one time neither of us planned anything was last Fall at Myrtle Beach and it was kind of a disaster. I was trying to give him a break and be more of a "go-with-the-flow kind of gal" and the hubby finally looked at me and said, "I think next time, you should just do your planning thing". Enough said!

He Loves and Appreciates Family Time
I am super close with my own family. So when I was dating, finding someone that was as close with their family as I was with mine was a huge must. We're lucky to live so close to both of our families, and the hubby not only enjoys spending time with his folks but with mine as well. I think when you spend so much time any given year away from your family (going into the field, 24hr duty, deploying, or even just getting stuck working late which my hubby experienced for a while) you learn to value any time you can spend with them that much more. This makes for amazing quality time for us but also tons of opportunities to hang out with his folks and mine.

You Can't Beat Those Perks!
No, I'm not about to talk to you about Tricare or shopping at the commissary. One of the perks the hubby and I have both enjoyed are the couples retreats. I'm still a newbie, don't get me wrong. But it seems to me, the days of "if the Military wanted you to have a family, they would have issued you one" are long gone. Yes, of course, there are still crappy things we have to deal with, but I love the programs that are in place specifically to help work on the bond between the soldier and his or her spouse. And most of these programs are FREE to participate. The last one we went to was all about strong communication and setting goals for our family and it was at a beautiful hotel in Florida. Definitely looking forward to the next one.

He's In Shape!
Kidding! ...kind of. If you're already married to a soldier, you know about the five-day-a-week PT thing. My hubby works his butt off every morning and sometimes in the evenings too. I don't know about you but that inspires me to get my own butt in the gym every once in a while. Full disclosure: I am in know way saying you should feel obligated to work out or crappy about yourself if you're not a lean, mean, fitness machine. But we all know getting active a few times a week works wonders for your body and my hubby definitely inspires me to do so. A few times, we've even done a few of his PT workouts together (NOT for the faint of heart, let me tell you).

He Encourages Your "Me Time"
I was speaking with a friend the other day about her relationship; one of her favorite things about her hubby is that he encourages her to spend time doing things just for herself. Of course, it's not just soldiers that understand the importance of their spouses having their own personal time. But so much of being married to a soldier, no matter what branch, is all about doing what you're supposed to do, when you're supposed to do it, and where you're supposed to do it. No questions asked. I can only imagine how irritating it can be for the soldier; I know as a Spouse we get pretty tired of it. So it's nice to have that time every once in a while when you what YOU want for no other reason than your own pure enjoyment. And it's awesome to have a spouse that supports that.

Up next, Soldiers in their natural habitat and how to snag them! Joking! What are the some of the things you love about being married to your soldier? Tell me all about it!

Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat
What to do (in case you're considering checking out Disney now that the weather has warmed!)
Where to live

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Monday, March 9, 2015

March Obsessions!

So excited for this month!

Color Runs!!
So I'm finally doing it! I'm running a 5k this year. I've already started my training (the Couch to 5k app; if you haven't already tried it, know that it really does work!) so I'll for sure be prepared this time. I'm sure you've probably heard of a Color Run before, but in case you haven't, it's basically described as the "happiest 5k on the planet". They're not timed and, at every kilometer, you get doused in different colors so that you look like a rainbow by the time you get to the finish. This year's Color Run in Savannah will include glitter which I'm super excited about. I'm running with the Fort Stewart Fit Club group (if you're reading this and you live here, feel free to register with us and snag that discount!). FYI promotional pricing ends on the 15th of this month. See you in May!



Farmers Markets are BACK!
So you know by now, I'm obsessed with Farmers Markets. Which is why I'm super excited that the one here in Hinesville officially re-opened last Thursday. I love the Bountiful Baskets program as well, but the last couple of baskets have gone completely to waste because the hubby and I can never eat/ can/ freeze fast enough. I want to continue eating healthier, so I figure shopping at the Farmers Market will be much smaller quantities; therefore, much easier to consume as quickly as possible. (Check here for a Farmers Market near you)

First Day of Spring
So it's a little under two weeks away and I must say, thank God! I don't know about you, but I'm so entirely over this crappy weather. If you're reading this and you're stationed somewhere up North, than I'll kindly shut up; I know you've dealt with way worse than anything down here. If you're living here, you know we don't really have Spring in Southern Georgia. It'll be cold every day and then one day the switch will flip, and it'll be warm! Totally waiting on that switch to flip.


Hinesville Lifestyle
Where to eat
What to do
Where to live


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