Erin started this blog to support the military community by offering support, sharing experiences and finding good deals for military families. Get information and conversation about military family life, expat life, no nonsense parenting, and surviving deployment & temporary single parenting.
When you talk about self-defense, the first items that come to mind are tasers and stun guns. They are often regarded as one and the same but there’s a big difference between the two. Try to hold off buying tasers online just yet and read this to know if it is something that will work for you.
How Does a Taser Work?
While both are weapons for self-defense, the big difference between a taser and a stun gun lies in the distance at which it can be administered.
An attacker can be neutralized using a taser from up to 15-feet away. However, it is recommended that the target spread is between 7 to 10-feet for optimum results. The taser lets out probes that are connected to the wires to the direction of the target. These probes are shaped like a spear and can get into the clothing or even skin. They emit electrical current and sends an electric shock.
How Does a Stun Gun Work?
A stun gun, on the other hand, requires physical contact for it to work on the target. It contains two or more prongs, which delivers the electric shock. It works by swiftly overworking the muscles and exhausting its blood sugar. This will result in muscle failure so the target experiences immobilizing pain, shock, and utmost exertion of muscle contractions.
Two of the prongs in the stun gun create an electric arc that you can visibly detect while the other prongs will not be visible to the eye although they carry the same voltage. Using a stun gun requires enough guts since the user has to be in direct contact with the possible attacker. But, it is comfortable to use.
In April, the National Center for Youth Issues published the children’s book: Deployment- One of Our Pieces is Missing.
This is the best children’s book about deployment that I have come across during my time as a military spouse. It covers all aspects of how deployment and military life affect the family, including post deployment reintegration. I highly recommend it for families dealing with deployment.
The story portrays the military family as pieces of a puzzle. When the military member deploys, a piece of the puzzle is missing but when the piece returns, the other pieces have changed shape so the returning member must change shape to fit into the new puzzle.
From the back cover:
I think I’m pretty lucky because I’m part of a military family. It makes me really proud to know my parents are working to keep our country safe.
I get to do stuff other kids don’t.
My life is kinda unique.
I’ve tried on night vision goggles,
and I’ve looked inside a Humvee.
Julia Cook is an award winning children’s book author and her storytelling skills shine in this book. You can buy it here.
I have a copy to giveaway, so leave a comment on this blog post to let me know you want to be entered.
Since 2008, Vet Tix has worked to serve the veteran and military community and achieve our core missions. Among those, is our goal to provide a stress-relieving experience for families to reconnect and strengthen bonds. We understand that veterans, currently serving military, their families and caregivers all face unique stressors, and our littlest VetTixers, military children, are no exception. Approximately 65 percent of all VetTixers have children; these kids are required to exhibit continuous strength and resiliency. Whether it’s frequent goodbyes, the stress of transition, or coping with a parent’s illness or injury, military kids learn what it means to adapt and overcome at a young age. This month, we celebrate them and recognize the Month of the Military Child. Check out some of our favorite photos and testimonials from the month!
To learn how you can both donate and sign up for tickets, visit VetTix.org.
“Thank you so much to Live Nation for allowing me to attend the Bon Jovi concert with my family! My kids had a great time Rocking out at the show at the Prudential Center.”-Ed (U.S. Army veteran)
“It was so awesome to receive these tickets from Fan Fest Walker Stalker Con! Our family sits down together every Sunday night and watches The Walking Dead together, so this was a dream come true experience for the kids to be able to go and meet the stars of the show in person! Thank you!” – Eric (U.S. Army veteran)
“Thank you Creative Artists Agency and Vet Tix for providing tickets to see Peppa! I’ve been super busy with school and it was wonderful to set aside time to take my daughter and her friend out for a play.”- Sara (U.S. Army veteran)
“Thank you so much to AEG and VetTix for allowing my wife and I the opportunity to take my son to his first concert. My daughter had an amazing time and my son was in awe of the whole event. This concert was purely amazing and had four great artists that I have wanted to see. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity. I am forever grateful for being able to share this great time as a family.” – Jonathan (U.S. Navy veteran)
“Thank you so much! My daughter got to experience her first Yankee game thanks to VetTix and bonus – we had great seats!” – Christine (U.S. Coast Guard currently serving)
“As an only parent, there usually isn’t any room or money to go to special events to spend time together – Vet Tix has changed all of that. Because of Vet Tix not only am I able to do these amazing things but my attitude of giving trickles down to others. For the first time I was able to share one of these events with someone special who has come along in my life, So I thank you, you have no idea how this can change someone’s spirit.” –Greg (U.S. Army veteran)
“My daughter loves going to the hockey games. There’s no way we could afford to take a family trip as often as we have to the games without Vet Tix! She’s two and it’s awesome watching her get excited when we tell her that’s where we are going.” –Laken (U.S. Air Force currently serving)
“Thank You Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the opportunity to attend this event. Not only was this an exciting game (almost a no hitter) for me and my family but it was a much needed get away to take our mind off the loss of my mother to cancer a week earlier and especially for my kids who lost a wonderful and loving grandmother.” –Edgar (U.S. Army currently serving)
“Thank you Vet Tix and donors and New York Yankees MLB and the all the Donors involved to make this event happen for me and my family. It was a great game very excited and fun, sunny day too bad 12th inn loss but great game my kids and I we had a blast. Thank you Vettix and donors for all you do and to the NY Yankees MLB Donors thank you” –Ray (U.S. Marine Corps veteran)
“We want to give a huge “Thank You” to Vet Tix and Feld Entertainment for supporting the veteran’s and donating tickets so that we could enjoy Frozen on Ice. The kids loved seeing the movie come alive, especially on a snowy day in Denver. Thank you for your support!”- Ryan (U.S. Navy veteran)
To read more incredible Vet Tix Testimonials, click here, and to learn how you can both donate and sign up for tickets, visit VetTix.org.
BEYOND THE SUN is being released today, May 15, across multiple platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, and TUGG. It is a modern-day tale of hope, faith and courage, based on stories from the Bible. The family movie chronicles the adventures of four young friends in search of G-d. We are at the beginning of the huge summer movie season. Summer means a slew of big blockbusters featuring the biggest Hollywood stars. But this summer, the most inspirational person to hit the big screen may not be The Avengers, Tom Cruise, and even “The Rock.” It’s Pope Francis!!!
The four young friends in the movie are on a search fueled by their faith. As a twelve year old girl, I remember a 24 hour journey I took that changed my life. The idea was to spend a solitary 24 hour period, in the wilderness, to get in touch with who I was, who I wanted to be, and how I planned to get there. It was scary, but also character building and life changing. Twenty four hours is a long time for a child to be alone, especially in the outdoors. The sounds, smells, temperature and the hunger all played a role in my adventure through the day, but most of all, confidence in myself and faith that G-d would keep me safe helped me persevere.
This new film, Beyond the Sun, is a thought-provoking story, highlighted by an appearance by the beloved Pope Francis.
Beyond the Sun - YouTube
Plus, you can enter here to win a trip to Rome to see the Vatican and the Pope for yourself- a once in a lifetime opportunity. In support of the film, AMBI Media Group is holding a special contest where one lucky winner will win an Exclusive Private Tour of the Vatican and Front Row Tickets to an Audience with The Pope For Four!
Also, comment below about a great adventure you’ve had, for a chance to win a gift card to Amazon so you can purchase the movie for yourself!
Resilience is an invaluable trait for everyone; for military families, resilience is essential to emotional survival. Military families are fettered with constant challenges which both necessitate and build resilience in them. One moment that helped me build my resilience is one I remember very clearly from 16 years ago.
On December 24, 2002, Horatio called to tell me that his ship’s deployment, scheduled for late spring, had been moved up and he was deploying to the Middle East on January 6th, instead. The ship had just returned from conflict in March of that year, so this was especially heartbreaking news. I was walking through Sears Department Store, after having portraits taken of my then four year old and two year old sons when I got this news. I remember the moment quite vividly. My heart sunk to my gut and I wanted to crumble. But, there I was, in the middle of a store with my two small children, so I stood up straight and continued on my way. I immediately turned my focus to the tasks that lay before me. We were due to relocate from Bremerton, WA to Leavenworth, KS in less than six months. With Horatio departing for deployment, I had to come up with a plan that would best support our whole family. After hurried, but thoughtful, discussion we decided that the best way to handle this was to quickly arrange to move out of our Washington house and into my parents’ home for the duration of the deployment so that we could easily relocate to Kansas immediately upon his return. This meant multiple phone calls and emails to schedule the movers, transport of our vehicles, and find preschools in my hometown; not to mention mentally preparing for yet another long separation from my husband/ my children’s father. In this case, resilience was key to avoiding a complete breakdown. The experience required resilience but also helped to build it for future episodes. An element of resilience is the ability to react with a plan to move forward. By focusing on the way ahead, one can avoid a meltdown and a crippling reaction to a potentially devastating turn of events. This ability is an invaluably essential skill for military families. Consciously building this strength can help to fortify military families against the many obstacles thrown their way.
The young women in the true story told in the soon to open movie, The Miracle Season, show great resilience. The movie is based on the inspiring story of West High School women’s volleyball team. After the tragic death of the school’s star player, Caroline “Line” Found, the remaining team players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hope of winning the state championship. It is a story of resilience and strength.
The film opens in theaters on April 6 and stars Helen Hunt, William Hurt, Danika Yarosh, and Erin Moriarty. Don’t miss it!
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to revisit an issue I wrote about one year ago. Last March, soon after Horatio left for three months, Dwight tried to persuade us to let him get a moped for transportation. Horatio and I gave a firm “no.”
Well, after a great deal of careful consideration, we changed our minds. We know the dangers, of course, and worry every time he ventures out on the vehicle, but we also trust Dwight not to just be careful, but to be aggressively defensive in his driving. We are all well aware of the driving hazards in our host country.
Like most 17 year olds, Dwight has a very active life: school, clubs, two sports, girlfriend, etc. Horatio and I agreed that there is value to Dwight having his own mode of transportation. If we lived in the US, he’d have access to a car, but that’s not an option here. In China, a battery operated moped is a common mode of transportation for teenagers and adults, alike. The speed is limited, as is the distance one can travel.
We sat down and wrote a contract that Dwight signed. We listed all of the rules, which include: a set radius (about 2 miles) in which he can ride, as well as an agreement to always wear, and fasten, the helmet that we ordered from the US. Dwight knows that if he ever breaks the rules of safety, he will no longer have access to the moped. Most people here do not wear helmets when riding mopeds or bikes! He wears the helmet every time he gets on the moped, even if he is just going a hundred yards. It’s non-negotiable.
He’s been driving for a few months now, and it has been really nice for him and us. Dwight has the freedom to do all of the activities, back and forth, that he wants, and we carefully monitor his comings and goings via texts and Apple’s helpful Find Friends app.
I know there is a lot of judgement out there and I’m sure many people will warn me that this was a terrible decision. For us, though, it feels right, and we will be careful and have faith that Dwight will stay safe.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved when a book I’ve read is made into a movie, and A Wrinkle In Time definitely fits the category. I can remember reading and re-reading the book throughout my childhood, and now it is a major motion picture with an amazing cast.
From visionary director, Ava DuVernay, comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic that takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light, good versus evil, and ultimately, the triumph of love. The film stars Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and Storm Reid as “Meg Murry.” A Wrinkle In Time opens in theaters March 9, 2018
A Wrinkle in Time Official US Trailer - YouTube
An otherworldly stranger appears at the door of the Wallace’s house as Meg, her little brother Charles, and their mom are enjoying a stormy night snack. The stranger was blown off course and tells them about a “tesseract”, which is a wrinkle in time. Meg’s dad had been experimenting with time travel when he suddenly disappeared. Meg, Charles, and their friend Calvin are challenged to outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for Meg and Charles’s father.
I can’t wait to see this film and I have a Fandango Gift Card to give away to one reader to see it, as well!
Comment on the post with what book you’d like to see made into a movie and I will choose a winner on Sunday, March 11.
The second amendment is sacred. Wait… Not it’s not.
Life is sacred. It’s that simple.
Gun laws must be amended and enforced, and gun culture in the US needs to evolve. Gun advocates will cry foul. Gun advocates will say the government cannot infringe on their rights to own guns. According to the Constitution, we have a right to keep and bare arms, but the Constitution does not specify what type of guns. I’m not an expert on guns, I’m not opposed to individuals owning them responsibly, but I know I’m not alone in my thinking knowledge that citizens should not have a right to own semi-automatic firearms. Outside of First Responders and the Military, no one needs these weapons.
Too many innocent people: adults and children, have died needlessly due to the easy availability and accessibility of these deadly weapons. There’s nothing to debate. It is unconscionable that existing gun laws are not enforced. Laws limiting the sale of weapons are already on the books, but they aren’t being administered. It is a travesty that it’s easier to buy a gun than a six pack of beer in some states. As a nation, we must insist that our lawmakers change the laws, ban assault weapons and rid them from the open market. Follow the examples of Great Britain and Australia. Ban the weapons, rid our society of these mass shooting tragedies.
This is not an argument about mental illness. That’s a separate discussion. No one, no matter what their mental health status, should be able to buy a weapon of such destruction.
Tell your Senators and Representatives you will not vote for them if they don’t support and pass new gun legislation that aims to prevent further massacres.
When you’re a kid, Valentine’s Day usually means: “class party” — an opportunity to deck the classroom walls and desks with an abundance of pink and red heart-shaped cut-outs and frills, amid an assortment of holiday cookies and candies and cupcakes. But when you’re a Military Kid, it can also mean spending time away from someone you love while they’re on deployment.
So how do you share the love with a parent, grandparent, or other family member across the miles? Well, for kids… it’s easier than you may think to pull together a loving sentiment and send it off. All you have to do is look at them, and you’ll know exactly what their loved one would want most from them —a connection.
Here’s a little inspiration to get you started — 7 ways to help your Military Kids show their love from afar — and all of them are totally personal and meaningful.
Mail a Hug
There’s nothing quite like your child’s warm, loving hug. But how can they give one to someone who is too far away to receive it in person? Try this idea: Trace your kids’ hands on felt, cut out the shape and attach to ribbon or string that matches the length of their arms. Then mail it off. Ta-da! Instant hug from afar. Need the full how-to or to get inspired on what can accompany this cute craft? Get instructions here.
Kids really do say some of the most meaningful things. They speak from their hearts without censorship. Why not capture their sentiments in a letter to a parent or family member who is far away? It doesn’t matter if your child is too young to write, have them color in the stationery page. Then, let them dictate their message to you as you write it out for them. Or, let them show off their own penmanship and spelling skills by writing it themselves. Need some cute Valentine’s Day letterhead? Get templates here.
One way kindergarten kids tend to celebrate Valentine’s Day is with a school choral program where their parents come listen to cute, love-filled songs in honor of the holiday. But when a parent isn’t there, they miss out on hearing this kind of sentiment. Never fear! You can help your kids learn the songs at home and sing them into a recording device that can be sent to someone who is far away — whether it’s a parent or grandparent or anyone else who matters to them. For a start, check out this classic kids’ showtune: Skinnamarink.
Kids grow up so fast! Handprints and footprints are a great way to document the different stages of their lives. And, to someone who is far away, it’s also way to help track your kids’ progress and reset expectations for how big they’ll be next time they get to see them. And, for Valentine’s Day, two feet put together just happen to mimic a heart shape that you can use to decorate a card or other lovable project. Get ideas for this DIY here.
All kids are artists, right? Well… some of the drawings your kids come up with can be spectacularly… interesting. Now you can capture them as a permanent keepsake by having them translated from paper to metal. Imagine a picture of your house drawn by your child, transferred into a lasting gift that be carried wherever you go? Ormaybe a loving saying, or image of a favorite pet? The options are almost endless. See what Formia Design’s shop can do to help your child share the love.
When you can’t be there to snuggle up with the one you love, the next best thing just may be to blow a kiss in their direction. This cute creation is another opportunity to trace your child’s hand and let them write out a special message to the parent they are missing. Take a photo of them wearing a holiday-worthy outfit, cut it out and paste it to a card, then apply a cut-out hand to send a loving message that will bridge the miles. Get the complete how-to.
Love the beauty of flowers, but wish they lasted longer than a few days? These will! And your kids will love making up a bunch of little pompoms in all sorts of sweet candy colors. Glue them to a stem, wrap the bundle in ribbon, and you’ll have a perfect posy that can be sent off for safe keeping with someone who’s off in faraway places. Get the instructions here, then get crafty!
Cathleen Karlsson is the daughter of a retired Navy Captain. Growing up, she lived with her family in a handful of Midwestern and East Coast states before earning her B.A. in fiction at the University of Pittsburgh. She has worked as a copywriter in several advertising and online media roles, including her current role as the Managing Editor for SpouseLink, created by AAFMAA. Outside the office, Cathleen volunteers with a homeless animal shelter and serves as the marketing manager and a board member for a local ballet company. She enjoys being creative and spending time with her daughter through dance, sewing and crafts, and home decor activities.
Our President’s vision of a military parade, which he calls ‘a tribute to American military members and veterans’, if realized, would be more akin to a taunting than a tribute. Such a display of military force is suitable in Beijing, Moscow or Pyongyang, not Washington DC. It is simply not the image the United States should project.
The United States does not need to show its adversaries the physical might of its military. Our strength and world leadership are well known across the globe. To exhibit our Forces in a dramatic display is counterintuitive to the inherent goal of our country. Not only is the visual exhibition unnecessary, it is vile and not the message we want to send to the world.
What the United States needs to project right now is an image of a powerful peacemaker. We can do this by keeping our Forces on the front lines to protect the US, as well as others who need our assistance. American Servicemen and women are stationed around the world, protecting our interests, and attempting to preserve peace and order. Such great endeavors require extreme intellectual focus by our leaders, as well as a massive, dedicated, budget.
Our government struggles to finance its current programs. Funding a multimillion dollar military parade, similar to the $12 million spent on the celebration demonstrating the force of the United States in the Gulf War in 1991, would be an inappropriately huge waste of resources. Parades such as these are disruptive to the military. The gross amount of money wasted could go to much needed programs, including our continued international endeavors, as well as ventures to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other war injuries, in present troops and veterans. Recent analysis shows that the suicide rate of military members and veterans is double that of civilians in the United States. Our funding and intellectual resources are better spent on these current, critical issues.
A military parade, such as the farce envisioned by our President, requires months of training by thousands of troops, millions of dollars of funding pulled from other efforts, and is a drain on everything in its wake, from the local Washington DC infrastructure and government, to the thousands of troops who would have to refocus their essential training to what amounts to a grand performance.
“… confidence is silent and insecurity is loud,” said Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, when voicing deep opposition to the idea of a parade. “America is the most powerful country in all of human history; (we) don’t need to show it off.”
The United States of America is better than this potential circus. We are not a dictatorship. Our President is neither an autocrat nor a despot. The American people should stand up and prevent our already fractured image from being dragged deeper into absurdity.
Take a stand. Contact your Senators and Member of Congress.