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The struggle of the guest room has been a constant for us. Finding a guest sleeping solution that was both comfortable and functional was necessary. While we love to have visitors, it just didn’t make sense to have a room set up that was not in use. Also moving an extra bedroom suite started to seem crazy. Especially when we PCSed to locations where extra space didn’t exist.

It was time to find another option that could integrate with our daily lives but be available when we had guests. Here are four solutions for accommodating guests we have used and loved!

Not Your Average Air Mattress

While it sounds unappealing, an air mattress was an easy solution to accommodate guests. It is space saving as it can be so easily stored when not in use. We’ve slept on air mattresses purchased from Walmart or similar places while waiting on furniture to be delivered, and while not the most comfortable, they worked to fit the need. Since our parents are frequently guests we knew we didn’t want the typical air mattress that is on the ground as it would be a challenge for them to get off the floor.

Serta EZ Bed is perfect for guests!

We researched some options and found the Serta EZ Bed. It was perfect. The queen bed size is large enough for two people and is tall enough that it is easy to get in and out of bed. Our favorite part is you plug it in and it unpacks it self from the storage case and expands out into a bed on its own. Even better, it has a setting to be firm or soft and can maintain that setting throughout the night while plugged in by automatically adding air as needed. We did opt to purchase a foam topper for the bed to make it feel even less air mattress-like. It just packs away in a roll in the closet next to the air mattress. A win for everyone!

Stackable Beds!

In the last PCS our kids decided to share a room and designate the other room as a playroom. While we still utilize the Serta EZ air mattress at times, we decided to look for furniture for the playroom that could double as guest accommodations. I came across the idea of stackable twin beds at Ikea and fell in love. When stacked, the beds are a perfect place for our kids to read or watch a movie in their playroom. With the addition of some square pillows the stacked bed works like a daybed or deep sofa.

Ikea UTÅKER stackable beds set up as a sofa/day bed in our playroom

We love when cousins or the friends with kids come to visit. This stackable bed makes it easy to have two twin beds in the room for the kids to sleep on. Additionally, stackable beds also allow us to have a large bed available for guests. All we have to do is simply unstack the beds and use the strap to connect them side-by-side. They were cleverly designed to connect without a gap between the two mattresses. It is low to the ground, so purchasing some bed risers for just a few dollars is a great solution. All of our guests have had a great night’s sleep on this Ikea bed!  

Pull Out That Sofa Bed

One other great option for convertible furniture that is easy for guests is the pull out sofa bed. You need a sofa in your living room, so it makes perfect sense to have your temporary guest accommodations in a place that wouldn’t be utilized over night anyway.  I know, when you think of a sofa bed you likely imagine the worst sleep of your life. You probably think of bars uncomfortably pressing into your back all night. Thankfully with the addition of thick foam topper you can make your sofa bed a comfortable place to rest. Simply store the foam topper in a closet when not in use! Check out our favorite 2 and 3 inch topper from Linespa on Amazon!

Modular Sofa Rearranging

Perhaps you don’t like the idea of a pull out sofa, but want to put guests in the living room. Never fear! A modular sofa, like the LoveSac Sactional, may be the perfect solution. The Love Sac Sactional is an adaptable couch that is positionable in a variety of ways – including creating the perfect place for guests to sleep. Visit the LoveSac website to see the varying layout possibilities. While the LoveSac may be perfect for your space, it is by far the most expensive option in our list. Savings Tip: check out the Costco special event dates in your area to find a LoveSac for cheaper!

8 Seats + 10 Sides LoveSac Sactional – Photo from LoveSac.com

If you like the idea of a modular sofa but aren’t ready to take the LoveSac plunge because of pricing, another adaptable option is the GRÖNLID from Ikea. The GRÖNLID is great for families with pets or children since every piece of fabric is individual and you can wash as needed.

Guest are comfortable! What’s next?

Hopefully you now have the perfect set up for your guests! If you are in a rental home or base housing and need some inspiration on decorating your temporary space, check out these 10 Temporary Decorating Ideas to Make Your Rental Feel Like Home.

The post Comfortable and Functional Guest Sleeping Solutions appeared first on Military With Kids.

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A story of the struggles of a military spouse during deployment and finding the grace to persevere.

When we were first married, I remember feeling like the military was our path. We talked about it for a while and with my husband coming from a military family where his dad and uncle were Marines, we felt like it was the obvious choice. My husband wanted to go to medical school and we thought that was the way for us to go. After chatting with them about different options, my husband didn’t feel like that was the right time so we went on with our normal lives.

Fast forward a couple of years. We had been married for just over 5 years. We had our first child and we had just bought our first home. My husband had graduated from college and our career paths had changed a few times. He was working really hard for our family but never seemed content with what he was doing. I remember getting the super strong feeling that we needed to start thinking about the military again and he agreed.

The timing didn’t make a lot of sense, though. We had just bought our first house. We had plans to grow our family. But we couldn’t get this thought out of our minds. So instead of just looking at the Marines, he decided to interview with every branch. After several months and countless conversations with recruiters, he “signed his life away” in November 2015 as a member of the United States Army. Because of the timing of our lives, the desire to still find a civilian career, and the fact that he was almost 30, we chose to go with the Reserves for more “security”. He would still be going away for 6 months for Basic Training and Officer Candidate school and other trainings in the future, but we felt like the Reserves would give us the greatest chance at a “normal” life.

Nothing Goes As Planned

Looking back, I was really naïve to think that any version of military life would give us “normalcy”. It’s a little ironic because I think he’s been away longer than most people who serve in an Active capacity at this point. Things never seem to go according to plan. At least not for our family.

Just a few days after he swore in, we found out I was pregnant. We kind of laughed and did the math. We figured that with the timing of everything, he should be home about two weeks before I was due to deliver. After Basic training, he got held up and couldn’t start his Officer training until he received his security clearance…. It was about 5 weeks. Five long weeks of waiting. He couldn’t come home. He had to stay there. Once it was clear that he was going to miss the birth of this baby, I cried…a lot. But just like any military wife, I had my sob session and then I figured out how I was going to survive. That’s it…none of this “thriving” business… I was literally in survival mode. I was a pregnant mother of a 2 ½-year-old. I was working full-time while my husband was away and now, I was going to deliver a baby without my husband by my side. I just needed to survive until he came home again. This has become the theme for our military lifestyle. Just SURVIVE.

Let’s fast forward a few more years…to right now. The deployment from H-E-double hockey sticks. Our first deployment, too. This deployment was going to be 9+ months. The longest he had been away was just over 6 months. What’s even crazier? He VOLUN-freaking-TEERED. And I was totally fine with it. Anyone not in the military would think we were crazy. Heck, we thought we were crazy. Who would volunteer to be away from their family for up to a year and miss every holiday, anniversary, and birthday?! Well, we did. Happily.

Over the course of our 2.5-ish years in the Army Reserves, we had come to realize that we actually enjoy military life and all that is has to offer. More than that, I saw something my husband was growing to love and appreciate. We had been married 8+ years and the only time I saw him get really excited about something career-oriented was when we talked about the military. So, we made the decision together that if the opportunity ever came up for him to deploy, we’d take it. We would sacrifice however many months of our lives together for a few solid reasons:

  • He would gain experience he wouldn’t otherwise get by just going to drill every month.
  • He would gain insight into what Active duty life which is a big desire of ours.
  • We knew this was the best decision at this time for our family from a career and financial perspective.

In May 2018, he came home from work and said he received an email asking for someone of his job and rank to aid in a 9-month deployment overseas. We had already talked about it so the decision was easy. Now let me tell you that I have NEVER – and I mean NEVER – seen my husband more enthusiastic and excited about something as he was when he said yes to this deployment. He’s always wanted to serve others and as a wife, I just wanted him to be happy. Not to mention, I was pretty dang proud in that moment.

He left in July 2018. The day he left was one I’ll never forget. It was so hard. So, so hard. My kids were having meltdowns. I was having meltdowns. It just sucked. Plain and simple.  We thought we had done everything to prepare for this deployment but I quickly realized, you can’t ever really be prepared. I remember thinking to myself “you had a freaking baby without him, you can do anything!” That night, I remember lying in bed scrolling through my phone just trying to ignore the loneliness I was feeling. I remember my sister posting on social media about his departure and she shared some truths that, at the time, I didn’t even realize would become my reality. Here is what she wrote:

“… My sweet sister delivered her little girl without her husband the last time he was deployed and today he leaves for his longest assignment and is headed overseas. My sister will do the first day of school, kindergarten homework, bath time, bedtime, story time, fun days, hard days, sick days, and vacations, dentist appts, doctors appts, parent-teacher conferences, housework, yard work, swim lessons, bike lessons, scraped knees, and hurt feelings all while her husband serves our country (and while she works full time to help support her family!). She CAN DO HARD THINGS! She is STRONG. She is BRAVE. She is PROUD.”

I cried myself to sleep that night. I was so overwhelmed by the weight of what was going to come my way these next 9 months. I had no idea how right my sister was. She isn’t military. She has never been in any situation even remotely similar to what I was about to experience but I knew in my heart, she had a firm understanding of all a military wife and military children go through when their parent leaves to serve our country.

Military life is never convenient

I’ve always thought I was a pretty adaptable person that could handle pretty much anything life threw at me. Little did I know that this trait was going to be tested more than ever during his deployment.

Before we learned he’d be leaving, we tried to grow our family. Once we learned of this deployment, we realized that our family would have to be put on hold and we stopped trying for another child. We took the remaining time to build memories for our kids (ages 4 and 2) doing things like road trips and vacations and extra “crazy time” to wrestle with dad before bed each night. These things have been great for our kids and the memories help, but it’s still so hard when curveballs get thrown at us.

Two weeks after he left, on our daughter’s 2nd birthday, I got a positive pregnancy test. See, I told you… nothing about a deployment is convenient. I laughed. Then cried. Then laughed some more. Truth is, I was SO ready for this. I had done it before, I could do it again. Right? I wanted a baby anyway. So, what if the timing isn’t perfect, I thought. I called him that night and we both just laughed. Two weeks later, my excitement turned to dread. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I quickly became stressed and worried and VERY cautious. Suddenly I felt very scared. Within the next week, after several doctor’s appointments, bloodwork, and ultrasounds, I miscarried.

WHY?! Why would I have this strong desire to bring another child into the world, put that on hold so my husband could leave our family to serve our country, get blessed with a surprise baby just to have it taken from me?! While he was away, no less! WHY me?! WHY now?!

An emotional turning point

I felt so isolated, empty and depressed. I was angry…so, so angry.  I remember going to church and feeling the most alone I had ever felt in my entire life. I remember looking around the room and just thinking that not a single soul in that room will ever feel the exact pain I was feeling in that moment. Sure people have experienced loss, but I’d put money on none of them experiencing it in this capacity.

I thought about what my sister had written. About everything I’d experience while he was away. This was not on that list, but her list was actually so inspired. She has never been through anything even remotely like this deployment. She had no idea what life would really be like but she wasn’t too far off with the things she wrote. The only way she had just a solid understanding of what was ahead of me was because of her personal experiences as a mom but also through her research and learning from others’ experiences.

I started thinking about those people that “would never understand”. What if I helped them? What if I shared insight into what it’s really like so they can try to empathize with that pain, or try to relate to me on some level? I wanted my friends and family, and even complete strangers, to know what this life brings. I wanted people to see the good and the bad of the sacrifices we make daily. It was at this point in my struggle that I felt like no matter what military life or this deployment threw in my direction, I was going to look for the lesson to be learned and share that with whoever needed to hear it.

This miscarriage happened one month into our deployment. I had two kids depending on me to raise them and be strong when we were all struggling equally. I believed I had to hold myself together for them and be strong but it helped me to share my journey with anyone willing to listen so I could A) have a support system and B) allow others to know there was someone else struggling just like them.

Holding space for my kids’ emotions

While I felt the need to be strong for my kids, I still felt strongly that they needed to see mom have hard days. My five-year-old and I talk a lot about how it’s okay to not be okay all the time. While I enjoy sharing my journey with others, I’ve just recently realized the importance of sharing my struggles with my children so they know they’re not alone either.

Military children are some of the strongest humans you’ll ever meet on this earth. They are wise and brave and they go through things other children will never experience. It’s a lot for a little mind to understand that daddy is gone and he will come home but you can’t tell them when or why he’s away or what he’s doing. It’s hard for anyone, let alone a child. I believe with my whole heart that my children need to know that it’s totally normal to have problems and to share them so it doesn’t build up inside. I believe that teaching our children that it’s okay to talk about their struggles will make a huge difference in their future. If more people talk and share their journeys (including our children), then so many people will be benefited from knowing they’re not alone in their struggles.

I also want to say that I don’t share everything with my children. I don’t break down and cry to them every time I feel defeated. I do, however, make sure they get a healthy balance from me. Mommy is not a robot. Mommy has feelings and mommy isn’t always brave and strong and they don’t have to be either.

Giving myself grace

I’ve also given myself a lot of grace over the last year. Pre-deployment I was an uptight, bossy, perfectionist. I owe this deployment for giving me the opportunity to learn that it’s okay to be a hot mess every once in a while. It’s allowed me the chance to play more with my children and clean my house less. I’ve learned to pay more attention to the little things and drop the housework to play outside or go on a walk.

Obviously, the start of this deployment was the worst experience of my life but the rest of it hasn’t been a cakewalk either.  Looking back at my sister’s social media post, she says “…My sister will do the first day of school, kindergarten homework, bath time, bedtime, story time, fun days, hard days, sick days, and vacations, dentist appts, doctors appts, parent-teacher conferences, housework, yard work, swim lessons, bike lessons, scraped knees, and hurt feelings all while her husband serves our country (and while she works full time to help support her family!”

A glimpse at the obstacles faced

You guys… I have done it ALL! (and then some). In the last 8 months:

  • I’ve sent my oldest off to kindergarten while trying to balance homework, parent-teacher conferences, learning to read all while working 40 hours a week and spending maybe TWO hours with him each night.
  • We had our fair share of bath time and bedtime arguments over what pajamas to wear, what books to read, who gets to sleep in mom’s bed, etc.
  • We’ve had more sicknesses, emergencies, and doctor’s visits than we’ve had in our entire 5 years of being a family and I am not exaggerating!
  • We have experienced: miscarriage bloodwork and ultrasound, Pneumonia, multiple colds and episodes of croup, 6 x-rays between the three of us, one set of stitches, two swallowed earrings (x2 – yes, she did it TWICE), scraped knees, ear infections, broken nose, broken finger, and probably several other things that I just can’t remember.
  • We endured some emotional and physical trauma that lead to therapy for my oldest to work through some things. It was at that time I was told that my 5-year-old battles anxiety – probably as a result of his dad being away.
  • I was laid off from a job I loved that helped our family significantly.

I don’t share all of that for pity or to bring fear to anyone going through, or about to go through, a deployment.

Its been a learning process

I share for this reason: Everything I have endured in the past 8 months, I have learned from. Everything has happened in its own time and there is a lesson to be learned from it all. In her recent documentary “Made for More”, Rachel Hollis says that “Everything does NOT happen for a reason. Terrible things happen to great people and there may not be a reason for it but you CAN find meaning in it all.” I try to remember this every time I think “Why me?!” because there may not really be a reason, but something for me to learn or share from it all. Everything I’ve experienced, I’ve shared and it’s helped me realize that I have so much support when I felt so alone just a few months ago.

Almost done!

There is no way I could have planned for any of this and it’s true that I have been in complete survival mode from day one, but guess what? I’m almost done. I’m a survivor of my trials and struggles. My children are survivors and some of the strongest people I know. I felt so alone from day one. I felt even more alone when new obstacles to overcome appeared week after week.

What I have learned from these struggles is to just take each day one day at a time and give myself some grace. I don’t have to have it all together all the time and I don’t have to portray my life as though I do. Sharing these struggles will give so many others a better perspective on what military families go through regularly. The day I sat in church and felt so alone and isolated was the day I decided that my pain would benefit others.  No matter what your struggle is, whether it’s deployment, a career change, child loss or anything else that seems too hard or daunting, you are stronger than you think. You will get through this!

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Approximately two million military children have experienced a parental deployment since 2001. While deployment is a shared reality for military children, the experience is very individual for each child.

Helping your child through a deployment is a big job for the parent who remains at home. Understanding the child’s perspective and the emotions your child may be feeling as a separation occurs can be vital in helping your child through deployment. A great tool for helping your child with the emotions during deployment is reading together. Using the book Daddy Left with Mr. Army, by Chandelle Walker, a family child from any branch of the military can easily relate to the child’s perspective of the feelings experienced during a time of separation.

As an Army wife who has persevered through five yearlong deployments with kids who ranged from toddlers to tweens, Chandelle uses her family’s experiences to help others facing the same separation. While there are many ideas in the Daddy Left with Mr. Army book, Chandelle shared with us three of her favorite tips to help children with an upcoming parent deployment:

Daddy Photo Album

Find pictures of just Daddy (Mommy) and your child or of Daddy alone.  Make a special ‘Daddy Photo Album’ for your child.  Have Daddy write a special message at the front of the album so when the child looks through the photo album, they also have a message from Dad just for them.

“Open When” Cards

Have Dad (or Mom) write ‘Open When’ cards for each child.  These are more like letters but for a certain event or time the child(ren) may especially need to hear from Dad (Mom).  You can make these cards for holidays, birthday, special events that the parent will miss during the deployment, when the child might be sad or need a joke, for losing a tooth or when needing encouragement just from that parent.  It could be a child’s first soccer/baseball game or for a great report card, etc.  Find days in the upcoming year when you know it would have been especially great to have the deployed parent be there and write the cards for those times.

Another example was last year when my husband was in Korea, my daughter turned 16 so my husband wrote her a special  ‘Open When’ card for her Sweet 16th birthday & for before her first date.

A Special Gift

Have Dad (Mom) pick out a special item your child will love to help them remember and think of him/her each time they see it.  For example, my husband gave our daughter a pretty heart necklace each time he deployed and she would refer to them as her ‘Daddy Deployment Necklaces.’  Another time he had dog tags personalized with a special message for each child.

More Fun Ideas

We love how simple but meaningful each of these ideas are! Do you have a deployment coming up in your family? I strongly suggest you order Daddy Left with Mr. Army as a resource to share with your child and to provide you with even more fun ideas from Chandelle for your family’s time of separation.

To learn more about Chandelle’s adventure as an Army wife and how Daddy Left with Mr. Army came to be, visit the Kids Books by Chandelle website today!

The post Tips to Help Children with Deployment appeared first on Military With Kids.

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I’ll never forget the Summer of 2012. My husband signed his life to the Army and within a month we also found out I was pregnant. As my belly grew the time for Basic Training and AIT drew closer and I wondered if he’d be home in time for our daughter’s birth. I can happily say it all worked out, but 5½ months apart while pregnant was no walk in the park! 

As the years went on more training was required which meant more separation. You’d think I would have figured out how to manage the time apart quickly, but it wasn’t until the fourth year of our Army journey that it all really started to click. That summer Austin was going to be gone for three months on the other side of the country leaving me at home with our 4, 3, and 1 year old daughters. 

It was a perfect storm; I was reaching a point in life where I knew I either had to make some intentional changes to be happy or accept more misery than I wanted. At least that’s how I felt when that summer started. In the midst of it all I discovered three imperatives to thriving during our time apart that have helped me: setting a routine, knowing what fulfills me, and asking for help. 

Setting A Routine

At first, right after he left, the girls and I just did whatever sounded fun. Maybe it’s because I was living close to siblings making cousin time easy and accessible. Maybe it’s because it was summer and that’s supposed to be all about fun. No stress, no schedules. Right? Well that quickly turned into chaotic days. I felt frantic and like I wasn’t in control of anything.

Thankfully that changed. I can remember the exact moment when it hit me. I was sitting in a mountain of laundry thinking about how dirty the bathroom was and if the pile of dishes in the sink didn’t get washed that meant breakfast would be served directly on the table. Then this thought came to me: “Fun wouldn’t cease to exist for my girls if I put parameters on what we did and when we did it.”

So that’s what I did. I created a weekly and daily flow—a routine—not a schedule. I like to call it a flow because young children don’t really understand the concept of time (and maybe its just my girls, but they seem to make almost everything take longer than it has to). So I didn’t get too strict, but I became determined to set a routine for a few simple things: 

  • Exercise was a must; the first thing in the morning, kids asleep or awake didn’t matter
  • Play Time needed to be on my time, not someone else’s time
  • Quiet Time became a mandatory hour for everyone in the house
  • One hour a day was set aside for housework
  • Grocery shopping/errands were done on a certain day of the week, every week

It was about structure and being intentional with my day’s routine which restored some sense of control in my life. Once I had that feeling my sanity started to level and I felt more like a normal person again! 

Knowing What Fulfills Me

Speaking of sanity, I realized a while back that my husband is the biggest factor in keeping mine in check. The way he talks me through things, validates me, and his very presence keeps me grounded some days. So when a big separation comes like that summer my sanity can go right out the window. I’ve learned that I can’t just give to my husband, give to my children, and give to my country without filling myself back up in a self-sustaining way. 

It’s actually been a fun experiment to become more self-aware of what drains me versus what makes my heart full like the Grinch’s when he realized the meaning of Christmas. A lot of the things people talk about being fulfilling don’t do it for me (getting my nails done, taking a bubble bath, binging Netflix, all the classic female things). Those are nice and enjoyable, but afterwards I don’t feel anymore ready for life’s challenges than I did before. 

I need things that fulfill me, so what works for me might not work for others. But that’s the point: to be self-aware enough to know what fills you up. Here’s some of my list:

  • Gardening fruits, vegetables, and beautiful flowers
  • Listening to podcasts about people’s stories or personal development
  • Walks (especially in the sunshine)
  • Playing piano
  • Dance parties in my kitchen (by myself, with my girls, doesn’t matter)
  • Training for a race
Asking For Help

This is where I’ve probably struggled the most in my life, and the times my husband is away is no exception. I am a capable, strong woman. My mom has instilled that in me since I was born, and I know it’s true. But to be a strong, capable woman does not mean you have to do everything alone. I’ve actually come to realize it’s the opposite. 

That summer my husband was training life threw a few curve balls at me. A broken down car, a daughter needing stitches, kids getting sick, dealing with a pestering neighbor, and trying to console a sweet girl having night terrors were a few of them. In the middle of all this I learned that its ok to ask for help, and it’s ok to accept help when it’s offered.

I remember someone from church saying to me, “Let me know if you need anything.” Instead of being stubborn and just saying, “Ok,” I said, “I really need someone to watch the kids for an hour and a half every few days so I can go running by myself. Do you know anyone?” And he did, and running never felt better! No one will judge you for needing help (at least no one you want in your life). No one will wonder why you need that specific thing. It doesn’t mean you can’t handle life, it just means that you are sane enough to see that sometimes it takes a village to care for your needs. You don’t have to do it alone. Ever.

Thrive

Now, seven years later, history is repeating itself. Last summer Austin switched to Active Duty, a month later we found out we were pregnant again (4th girl), and he’s likely deploying soon after she’s born. So another separation looms around the corner. Do I have everything figured out as a waiting warrior? No. Do I feel like the next separation will breeze on by? No. Will something new or unexpected happen? I count on it. And this time I know how to thrive instead of just survive.


Michelle Bowler was born and raised in Carlsbad, CA. She received her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University—Idaho in 2014 and is the mom of 3 girls. As an Army wife of 6+ years Michelle is the founder of The Waiting Warriors podcast, blog, and social media which help military and first responder loved one’s know how to thrive in their life of supporting service.

Connect with Michelle on Instagram @thewaitingwarrior and for more great insights be sure to visit The Waiting Warriors website and subscribe to her podcasts!

The post How I Thrive During Times of Separation appeared first on Military With Kids.

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Taking a road trip or traveling with your kids can be really challenging.  I always suggest having a packing list and making sure you are prepared well in advance before your journey.  The military provides a unique opportunity for military families to travel both CONUS and OCONUS.  Personally, we’ve taken advantage of bad duty stations and made them great by traveling within the local area.  We’ve seen and done things I could have never imagined doing like visiting the Great Sand Dunes National Park or staring in awe at the architectural feat of building Mount Rushmore.  With these journeys comes some challenges from the littlest members of my family.  Kids make travel both entertaining and meaningful, while at the same time extremely stressful and anxiety-inducing.

As I’ve said before traveling with kids can be a challenge.  However, to help alleviate some of the difficulties in traveling with kids I’ve turned to military lodging to make parts of the journey easier.  It isn’t always feasible to stop at a military base but there is a fairly good chance you’ll drive past one.  For instance, we stopped at F.E. Warren AFB on the way to Rapid City, SD (which also has a base Ellsworth AFB.).

I decided, whenever possible to stay in military lodging because of a few things. First, there is always a Base Exchange, Commissary, Shopette, and Gas Station.  We use these services while on a road trip to stock up on snacks, get diapers if we need them and get a little bit more affordable gas.  I know that all of these services will always be on a military base albeit the service of each facility is subjective to the mission of the base.  It just makes it a little easier for us, that way we aren’t consulting a GPS service attempting to find a Walmart or Target.   Additionally, we know the products and in general where to find them at an Exchange or Commissary.  It also makes it feel a little bit like home because of them.

Second, lodging on military bases is often pretty affordable as we all know.  In most cases lodging hs relatively new, this is not always the case but in my experience, a lot of the Air Force Lodging has recently been renovated.  In general Air Force Lodging is clean and roomy, most definitely roomier than what you’d get at a comparable hotel off base.  I have to say I’ve been highly impressed with Navy Lodges as well.  Often times they have granite sinks, kitchenettes, and comfy beds.  To add to that IHG hotels have been popping up on Army bases which make the quality of the lodging a lot better than it was when the military was in charge of it.  These hotels are specially called IHG hotels, however, off base, it can be a number of chain hotels such as The Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, and Historia Collection.  IHG hotels participate in a rewards program which, guess what?  The military can take advantage of when staying at an IHG hotel both on and off base.

The third reason I choose to stay at military lodging when on road trips and sometimes when traveling internationally, is PLAYGROUNDS.  Even, if we choose to skip staying the night at military lodging on our road trips, I’ll make an exception to stop at a military base just for the playground.  Due to the privatization of housing, a lot of the playgrounds have been rebuilt and are fair quality.  I take some time to stop at the food court at the Base Exchange and then let our boys run around at the playground for a bit before we hit the road again.  Naturally, this works better when we are staying at military lodging.  However, stopping at a playground on a military base gets all the wiggles out and makes continuing on your journey just a little bit easier.

Finally, I am a travel agent and as such, I take it upon myself to always do a TON of research before any trip we take.  I will always check to see if there is a Blue Star Families museum at one of our stops.  I consult the ITT website at the base we stop at to find any events my family would be interested in or to pick up discount tickets to a local attraction.

Generally, stopping at a military base makes traveling with your kids a lot easier.  There are so many amenities that make it worth a stop.  These amenities are ones you are more than likely already used to from your duty station.  You can except the same quality of rooms and in the case of IHG you’ll enjoy a free breakfast.  Naturally, I wouldn’t say go completely out of your way to take advantage of a stay at a military hotel.  However, I would really encourage you to stay at one if it is on the way.  You really have nothing to lose!

Dina is a coffee loving veteran, military spouse, and mom to boys.  A travel advisor and family travel journalist.  She shares her love of travel and helps families plan dream vacations. Let Dina help you book your next family adventure by visiting her at www.kithandkintravels.com 

The post Traveling with Kids Made Easy with Military Lodging appeared first on Military With Kids.

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Having a positive mindset is a game changer when it comes to difficult situations.  I think creating this type of mindset early on in children can only set them up for success, allow for calmer decision-making skills, and a better acceptance to change.  Life has many curve balls for you, no matter the plan you have for yourself.  As kids navigate through these curve balls, big or small, creating a way to look at this in a positive light will give the whole experience a different meaning. 

As an adult, I think there are situations we can look back at and think, if I had handled that differently the outcome would have been different or I could have really enjoyed that time instead of worrying about it or being mad about the things I couldn’t change.  I teach my kids that we have a choice in how we want something to go.  We can choose to be upset about something that didn’t go how we planned OR we can look at the situation, find the good in it and focus on that.  When we talk about the good in a situation it tends to calm my kiddos down, and myself if I’m being perfectly honest, and the situation takes on a whole new light.

I wrote the book, The Great Big Move:  A Surprisingly Exciting Adventure, with all of this in mind.  Change is hard, scary, and uncomfortable but it can also be exciting, adventurous and really great!  When change in the form of moving is a frequent occurrence, it is so important to embrace all that comes with it in order to take in all of the good it has to offer.  Being sad and upset is absolutely OK, too.

Situational Positivity

Being positive about a situation does not mean you aren’t allowed to experience the other side of the emotions.  I stress to my kids that they can absolutely be sad about a situation, it is so important to run through all of the emotions and express them.   I think if you find that silver lining and make that your main focus after letting out the tears or fears, that is what will help lead to a healthy expression of these emotions.  But you can give a safety net of positivity to fall back on and help bounce you back up!

In my book, Katie Harlow does just that when she finds out she is going to move for a third time.  She remembers all of the things she has missed from her previous moves and how she felt sad when she left all of it.  She then thinks about all of the things she will miss when she moves from where she is now.  She quickly realizes that if she hadn’t experienced these previous moves, she would have never discovered all of the fun things she has in her life now at her current home.  She sees that each move has given her amazing friends and experiences that she won’t lose when she leaves them, but she is able to put those memories in her treasure chest that she will have forever and can develop great ways to keep-in-touch. She then becomes super excited for all of the new discoveries she will make next.

Surprisingly Exciting Adventures

I call these kind of adventures ‘Surprisingly Exciting Adventures’!  Those are the best kind, aren’t they?  When you are in a moment that isn’t what you had planned or didn’t know was coming, and all of a sudden you are presented with all of these wonderful things you had no idea you were missing out on! 

For me a lot of times those ‘things’ aren’t actually things at all but come in the form of gratefulness, patience, a positive outlook, understanding, joy, friends, memories, laughter and so many more!  I think there is nothing better than teaching our kids to have this type of attitude. This world is full of change, and if we can give our kids the foundation of looking at situations with a positive perspective, just imagine what they can do with it!

Meghan is a mom to two girls, Karsyn (8) and Hartlyn (6) and has been married for 13 years.  They are a former military family and are now embracing life on the civilian side! Her girls are her true inspiration for everything she writes and creates – from their adventures and imaginative play to the messages she tries to convey to them on a daily basis. Writing has been an amazing outlet for Meghan and she really hopes to help families have fun stories to read while creating a positive outlook and a mindset to make the best out of everything!

Visit www.meghanmariegeary.com to learn more about Meghan and get info about her upcoming books! Connect with Meghan on Facebook at Meghan Marie Geary-Author or on Instagram @meghan.m.geary

Order your copy of Meghan Marie Geary’s book, The Great Big Move: A Surprisingly Exciting Adventure today!

Read how Meghan went from Mom with an Idea to a published author!

The post Helping Kids Find a Positive Perspective appeared first on Military With Kids.

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It is almost shocking how quickly my school pickup parent questioning jumped to “What did you learn at school today?” It was as if it was a preprogrammed question in my mom brain.

Every parent wants to raise a kind kid. I am no different. While I am interested in what my children are learning academically, being the smartest child in the class is not a goal I have for my boys. They are both very bright, and don’t get me wrong, they will be pushed academically – I already have to hold back my tiger mom inner self – but it is far more important to me that my boys are known by their kindness than their achievements.

In order to show my kids that I value their kindness, I reprogrammed my daily after-school questioning. Now, instead of asking what they did at school or what they learned, I ask, “How were you kind today?” With one simple question even my little guys have shifted their perspective.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

While they are still young, their acts of kindness are usually something very simple such as sharing a toy, opening a door for someone or making a new friend. Holding my children accountable for kindness has my guys looking for new ways to be kind and in turn it is empowering them to make a difference in their world. Each day I look forward to picking them up after school as our kindness questions provides me a glimpse into the world through their eyes. I love that this simple shift allows me the opportunity to see the greatness within each of my boys come alive.

But my child is a middle school or high school student…

Who needs kindness encouraged more in their lives than teenagers? You can start this shift in questioning at anytime! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see your child’s heart for others.

Prepare yourself parents!

I strongly suggest all parents try this simple method. I do need to caution you though. Once you being asking your children of any age how they were kind, your kids will turn the question on you. Prepare yourself parents! Your children will also challenge you to be kind.

The post Raising Kind Kids appeared first on Military With Kids.

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Military With Kids by Dina Farmer - 1M ago

This is no big secret and is part of the territory.  As a veteran and a military spouse for the last 12 years, I’ve gone on and lived through my fair share of deployments, remote tours, and TDYs.  

As a spouse you can’t go on deployment with your spouse, it’s impossible and dangerous don’t do it.  

However, you can travel in conjunction with your spouse when they go on remote tours and most especially on a TDY.  This temporary duty assignment can sometimes be to some pretty amazing places like Hawai’i, Japan or Orlando!  With this in mind, there are some things to consider when visiting your spouse while they are on TDY or a remote tour.  

I can’t stress enough that you need to plan well in advance for going about this.  Please don’t try to show up with no plans whatsoever.  TDY’s can be as short as just a couple of days and as long as a couple of months.  Make sure you have can afford to be away from home if it is a long TDY.  

TDYs can be really draining on the wallet.

You’ll have to determine if it is feasible to eat out every night for the long term too.  Many TDY locations don’t include kitchens or kitchenettes.  As such, even though your spouse’s meals will be covered by the military yours will not.  Treat this as a vacation for you and not for your spouse.  Additionally, remember the military will not pay for your travel to your spouse or in some cases you are unable to stay in quarters or lodging with your spouse.  Finally, you may have to add in a rental car as well especially if your spouse isn’t authorized a rental car during their TDY.  So, you’ll have to add to your costs to travel, lodging and transportation.  This can become a very costly vacation if you don’t plan well in advance.  

Do some research before you go on TDY with your spouse.  Again, remember this is a vacation for you and not your spouse.  As such, your spouse is and will be working during the entire TDY, I say this from experience.  Typically, I will poll spouses at my current base to see if any of them have been to the TDY location.  If not, then I’ll dig a little more by doing a google search and working with my network of fellow milspo and veteran travel agents.  This way you have something to do and you aren’t stuck in your hotel room the entire time. 

Be brave and adventurous and explore this new city! 

If you go to Orlando why not try a solo trip to Walt Disney World?  It’s worth it on so many levels!  If you have kids you can brave it and I have so many tips and advice to help you out with that if you are lucky to experience a TDY there!  

As military spouses, we have very unique opportunities to travel around the world.  Take these moments and treasure them.  It can be a little tricky to travel with your spouse to their TDY location but it is completely possible as long as you plan properly and embrace doing some of your vacationing alone or alone with your kids.  

Have you traveled to your spouses TDY location?  What tips do you have to make it easier? Reach out and let me know!

Dina is a Coffee-loving milspo, boy mom, travel advisor, and family travel journalist.  She loves to travel and helps families plan dream vacations around the world. Let Dina help you book your next family adventure by visiting her at www.kithandkintravels.com 

The post TDY With Your Spouse appeared first on Military With Kids.

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“I should write a book about that!” This was the thought I had on one of our many road trips last summer. I don’t know about you but I do my best thinking in the car! This thought was triggered by the idea that a move was on the horizon for our family. It wasn’t our first move, but I was struggling with the idea of having to go through it again.

At this time, I wasn’t a writer by any means, I mean I wrote books when I was a kid and have always thought about turning my kiddos’ imaginative stories into a book one day. I tucked my thought of writing the book away as we spent a few weeks contemplating the move, going through pros and cons of every aspect. In the end, we decided to delay the move as it just wasn’t the right time. I felt relieved because the stress of that, for the time being, had gone away.

I put the girls to bed one night and I remember the thought of writing this story came into my head again, I went and got a notebook and a pen and started writing away. It was like that itch in my brain that needed to be scratched, I just needed to get these words out on paper! I read it over and over again and loved how it all came together.

I have written a story, but what do I do now?

So now I tucked the notebook away because I had no idea what to do next. This is when a chain of events happened that really got the ball rolling. An acquaintance of mine had posted on social media that she had written a book! I was so excited for her and at the same time thought it was a crazy coincidence that I had been thinking of doing the same and even had my story tucked away in a notebook. I had just got done reading, The Alchemist, if you haven’t read it, go grab yourself a copy! The main take away I got from it was don’t ignore the signs, the signs that can come in all different forms, if it pulls your heart and mind in a certain direction, allow yourself to follow it. I took this social media post from this person as my sign.

I reached out to her and she gave me all of the information she had on self-publishing and the process in which she took. It was a wealth of knowledge that I knew nothing about. I took her experiences and started doing my own research and the book just started falling into place. It was literally this ball that just started rolling and it couldn’t be stopped. Before I knew it, I had a book in my hands. It was a ton of work and there were a lot of hours that went into it but it was so exciting!

Doing something creative is important for a mom!

I was a stay-at-home mom and had just left my career about 8 months prior. So, I was soaking up the ability to be home with my kids and enjoying the decrease stress of having to work outside of our home. I wasn’t looking to make work for myself or begin a new career or anything like that. But you know what, I realize now that I did really just need something for myself.

Being a mom is so incredibly fulfilling for me but I think the piece that I have always been missing is that part of doing something for me just because I wanted to. This process was slightly therapeutic for me. I was able to translate some feelings I had into real words that not only my daughters could read but other parents and kids as well.

I was able to learn new things and have a creative outlet that I didn’t know I needed. The best part you guys, having my girls watch the whole thing unfold. They were so excited about the book and started asking me about the process and when the next one would come. I loved having them see me work towards something that I created on my own.

But where do I begin?

I literally went from knowing nothing about this process to now working on my third creation and have been able to help four other women who were just like me. They came up to me and said, “I’ve had this idea of a book but didn’t know how to do it!” Talk about the most amazing feeling ever! Now I was able to pay it forward and share everything I have learned with these women who now have a book published or are in the middle of working on it! You just never know when one of your actions or words can be someone else’s “sign”.

I know in the midst of motherhood sometimes thinking of yourself is a very hard thing to do. But I would like to tell you that if you have something in your head, a thought, an idea, anything that continues to show up and pull at you but you don’t know where to start . . . start it!

It could be as small as writing it down so that the thought is out of your head.

That’s one step closer!

Just go for it!

The littlest, tiniest step could be the one thing that catapults you into something bigger. This has been the most amazing thing for me and I am so excited to see where it goes. I want my kids to see that no matter your age or certain stage of life you are in, you can still start something new and work towards new goals.

And guess what? That move that we delayed and had me kind of stressed and overwhelmed, and made me even think of writing the book-well now it’s happening. The strangest thing is that I am much more comfortable with it and ready for it. I really think writing this book to help my kids, actually helped me a little more! It’s kind of amazing how one thing can lead to another in the most unexpected ways!

Meghan is a mom to two girls, Karsyn (8) and Hartlyn (6) and has been married for 13 years.  They are a former military family and are now embracing life on the civilian side! Her girls are her true inspiration for everything she writes and creates – from their adventures and imaginative play to the messages she tries to convey to them on a daily basis. Writing has been an amazing outlet for Meghan and she really hopes to help families have fun stories to read while creating a positive outlook and a mindset to make the best out of everything! Writing has been an amazing outlet for Meghan and she really hopes to help families have fun stories to read while creating a positive outlook and a mindset to make the best out of everything!

Visit www.meghanmariegeary.com to learn more about Meghan and get info about her upcoming books! Connect with Meghan on Facebook at Meghan Marie Geary-Author or on Instagram @meghan.m.geary 

Order your copy of Meghan Marie Geary’s book, The Great Big Move: A Surprisingly Exciting Adventure today!

The post From Mom with an Idea to Published Author appeared first on Military With Kids.

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A new year is underway which means it is time to jump into scholarship season! Organizations and foundations are eager to provide funding for your military child to pursue further education. The first quarter of a new year is when most scholarship applications open and deadlines will approach quickly, so encouraging your child to be on top of each application is vital!

We hope this list of over 100 scholarships for military kids will be a help to your family. Best of luck to your soon-to-be graduate this scholarship season!

American Legion Auxiliary Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship – Three $5,000 scholarships are awarded annually per geographic division, for a total of 15 scholarships. These scholarships are for undergraduate study only at a four-year accredited college or university, and may be used for tuition, books, fees, room, and board. 

AMVETS’ Scholarships – Two scholarships are specific to children/grandchildren of Veterans, Active Duty, Guard/Reserves who are currently High School seniors.

Daughters of the Cincinnati Scholarship – Awarded to daughters of career commissioned officers in the United States armed services. Selection based on both merit and financial need.

Delta Dental Grants – Funded by a grant from Delta Dental, this program provides scholarships and grants to military spouses, military dependents, and transitioning service members for the advancement of oral health and wellness. Eligible applicants may be pursuing a wide range of programs such as dentistry, nursing, home healthcare aid, or caregiver training. Five grants in the amount of $2,000 each will be awarded.

Military Child of the Year Award – The annual awards will recognize seven outstanding young people ages 13 to 18. Six of them will represent a branch of the armed forces — the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard — for their scholarship, volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life. The seventh award is the Military Child of the Year® Award for Innovation presented by Booz Allen Hamilton. This award goes to a military child who has designed a bold and creative solution to address a local, regional or global challenge.

Military Commanders Scholarship Fund – a scholarship program to assist children of select active duty, reserve, National Guard or retired members of the United States military who plan to continue their education in college. Scholarships are offered each year for full-time study at an accredited institution of the student’s choice. If selected as a recipient, the student will receive a $5,000 award. Provided there are qualified applicants, two awards will be given per branch of service (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard). Awards are one time only and not renewable.

National Youth Achievement Program – Jewish War Veterans – The National Youth Achievement Program is for high school seniors who are direct descendants of members of the Jewish War Veterans of U.S.A.  Applicants must be accepted by an accredited college, university or hospital school of nursing entering into the freshman year in the Fall Semester.

NCOA Scholarship Fund – Established in 1970, its single purpose is to help dependents of NCOA members continue their education beyond high school. To date, the Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $1.5 million in non-repayable scholarships.

Scholarships for Military Children – The Scholarships for Military Children Program was created to recognize the contributions of military Families to the readiness of the fighting force and to celebrate the role of the commissary in the military Family community. If your mother or father is active duty, reserve/guard, or retired military personnel or you are the survivor of a deceased member, and you have a military dependent I.D. card you can apply!

Thanks USA Scholarship – Must be a dependent child, age 24 and under (as of application deadline). Must be current high school senior or graduate who plan to enroll or student who are already enrolled in a full-time undergraduate course of study at an accredited two- or four-year college or university, or vocational or technical school for the academic year. Need to have at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average (GPA) on a 4.00 scale or its equivalent on their relevant academic record (e.g., high school record for incoming freshmen or post-secondary school record for those already enrolled in a college, university, or vocational or technical school).

The Bonsai Finance Veteran’s Scholarship The scholarship celebrates veteran and dependent students who strive for excellence in their lives and provides a one-time payment of $2,500 for current or future education costs.

Military Branch SpecificArmy

MG James Ursano Scholarship Fund – The MG James Ursano Scholarship Program is a need-based scholarship program established to assist children of Army Soldiers in obtaining their first undergraduate degree. Applicants must reapply each year and may receive assistance for up to four academic years as long as they meet the eligibility criteria explained in the document below.

Women’s Army Corps Veterans’ Association Scholarship – The Women’s Army Corps Veterans Association Scholarship has been established to recognize relatives of Army Service Women. This scholarship is based upon academic achievement and leadership as expressed through co-curricular activities and community involvement. A $1500.00 scholarship will be given annually.

Air Force

AFAS Merit Scholarship – Each year, Air Force Aid Society awards a minimum of 10 Merit Scholarships. These $5,000 scholarships are available to dependent children and spouses of active duty and retired Airmen who demonstrate outstanding academic potential based on GPA.

Colonel Aaron Burgstein Memorial Scholarship – The Colonel Aaron Burgstein Memorial Scholarship was established to aid minor dependents of (officer or enlisted) Active Duty, veteran, or retired service members; reservists; or National Guard members of all branches pursuing a degree at an accredited college or university. Priority is given to dependents whose parent or guardian served for eight or more years, who have had a parent die while serving on Active Duty, or who have a parent classified as a wounded warrior through the Air Force Wounded Warrior program. One scholarship in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded annually.

Col. Romeo and Josephine Bass Ferretti Scholarship – This scholarship is made possible by a bequest from the estate of Lt. Col. Romeo and Josephine Bass Ferretti, and was established for minor dependents of Air Force Active Duty, Reserve, or Air National Guard enlisted Airmen pursuing an undergraduate STEM degree. A committee will award $5,000 to a student based upon several factors, including academics, character, and financial need.

General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant – The General Henry H. Arnold Education Grant program is the centerpiece of AFAS education support. The application process for the Arnold Education Grant serves as the platform for other key education support opportunities at the Society. The Arnold Education Grant is competitive in its needs-based selection criteria and is uniquely tailored to recognize the proper weighing of family income and education costs. Grants ranging from $500 to $4,000 are awarded to eligible Air Force dependents each year. The specific amount awarded correlates to a student’s particular level of financial need.

John C. and Blanche Lee Lindsay Memorial Scholarship – This scholarship was made possible by a bequest from Mrs. Elizabeth L. Lindsay, widow of Lt. Col. John Lindsay, in memory of their children John C. and Blanche Lee Lindsay who passed away before Lt. Col. and Mrs. Lindsay. One $2,500 scholarship will be awarded annually to a child of members of the United States Air Force who are pursuing a college degree.

Navy

Anchor Scholarship Foundation – Anchor Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships to eligible family members (children and spouses) of active duty, retired, and honorably discharged Surface Navy personnel. In the past 37years , Anchor Scholarship Foundation has awarded over $1,000,000 in scholarships to over 1,000 recipients. Anchor scholarships are awarded based upon an equal weighting of academic performance, character, extracurricular activities and financial need.

Dolphin Scholarship – Dolphin Scholarship Foundation grants are available, on a competitive basis, to high school or college children/stepchildren and spouses of members or former members of the submarine force or those who have served in submarine support activities.

EOD Warrior Foundation Scholarship – EOD Warrior Foundation Scholarships are awarded to EOD family members to assist with tuition, books and fees at two- and four-year colleges. Priority is given to family members of fallen and wounded EOD warriors and remaining scholarship funds are awarded competitively to eligible students, based on academic merit, community involvement and other criteria.

Fleet Reserve Association Education Foundation (Navy & Marines) – FRA believes that educating our service members, veterans and their families is important for their futures, as well as the future of our country. In addition to FRA’s longstanding advocacy for enhanced DoD and VA education benefits, the FRA Education Foundation was established to support the needs of individuals pursuing higher education. FRA’s Education Foundation sponsors a generous scholarship program that helps deserving students reach their educational and professional goals by presenting awards of up to $5,000 to individuals pursuing college and graduate degrees.

Naval Enlisted Reserve Association NERA/USAA Scholarship – NERA/USAA College Scholarship Program recognizes the service to the United States and sacrifices by Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Reserve component members, retirees and their families.  These scholarships are made possible by generous grants from USAA  and additional donations from NERA and its members.

Navy League Foundation – College should never be out of reach for a family member of the sea services. The Navy League Foundation guarantees this support by awarding scholarships to high school seniors who will attend college in the fall. Navy League Foundation scholarships are available to children and grandchildren of veterans or active duty sea service men and women, as well as members of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

Navy Seal Foundation – The Navy SEAL Foundation is pleased to offer scholarship opportunities to NSW active duty service members, their spouses and dependent children, children of qualifying former NSW service members, as well as our SEAL and SWCC post-9/11 veterans. These scholarships are provided as an effort to bridge the gap between the desired level of education and the current level of education of NSW service members. The scholarship opportunities include one to four-year grants for education, vocational, certificate and leadership programs. The educational scholarships are to post-secondary programs, such as Bachelors or Associates Degrees, and also include graduate degree scholarship opportunities for qualifying applicants.

Navy Supply Corps Foundation – The scholarship program, which was the basis for the Foundation’s formation three decades ago, was established to provide children of qualifying Supply Corps personnel financial assistance to pursue a college education. Today, any family member (child, grandchild or spouse) of a qualifying Supply Corps officer and child or spouse of a supply enlisted member (active duty, reservist, or retired) is eligible for consideration to receive financial assistance for undergraduate studies at an accredited two or four-year post-secondary school institution.

Navy Wives Club of America – Scholarship Foundation of the Navy Wives Clubs of America, Inc. – up to 30 scholarships granted annually. The grants are presented with the knowledge that no repayment is expected from the recipient. Those eligible for the grants are the natural born, legally adopted or stepson or daughter of an Enlisted member of the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard on active duty, or retired with pay or the son or daughter of a deceased member of these categories. Applicants must have a valid dependent’s I. D. card (United States Uniformed Services Identification and Privileges Card). Applicants must show basis of need for financial assistance, have a scholastic standing of at least a 2.5 grade point average (GPA), and be a graduate of an accredited high school or its equivalent or will qualify for graduation prior to beginning eligibility for assistance. The grants may be used for tuition, room and board, fees and books. The grants are for tuition, room and board, fees and books.

Tailhook Education Foundation – TEF awards over 100 scholarships annually ranging from $2,500 to $15,000 per year. A number of our TEF grants are awarded to students pursing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math) curriculum. All TEF grants assist Naval Aviation legacy undergraduate students obtain a higher education.

Wings Over America Scholarship – Our mission is to provide college scholarships to dependent children and spouses of all US Navy personnel – officer and enlisted – active duty, retired, honorably discharged or deceased who served within Naval Air Forces. Recipients are selected on the basis of scholastic merit, community service, extra-curricular activities and character. Wings Over America annually sponsors fifty scholarships to students who have chosen to continue their education. Our scholarships include community college, trade & technical school as well as traditional college scholarships. We have annual and renewable scholarships and also administer scholarships for other naval aviation groups.

Marines

Fleet Reserve Association Education Foundation (Navy & Marines) – FRA believes that educating our service members, veterans and their families is important for their futures, as well as the future of our country. In addition to FRA’s longstanding advocacy for enhanced DoD and VA education benefits, the FRA Education Foundation was established to support the needs of individuals pursuing higher education. FRA’s Education Foundation sponsors a generous scholarship program that helps deserving students reach their educational and professional goals by presenting awards of up to $5,000 to individuals pursuing college and graduate degrees.

Force Recon Association Scholarship – Applicant must be a Member of the Force Recon Association in good standing or be a family Member of a Member in good standing, or in the family of a deceased member.

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation – Applicants must be the child of one of the following: Active duty, reserve, or veteran U.S. Marine, a Marine killed while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Active duty, reserve, or veteran U.S. Navy Corpsman who is/was attached to a U.S. Marine unit, A Navy Corpsman attached to a Marine unit that was killed while serving in the U.S. Navy. Additionally, applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria: GPA of at least 2.00 (on a 4.00 scale) and Family adjusted gross income for the tax year that does not exceed $100,000.

Marine Corps Tankers Association Scholarship – The Marine Corps Tankers Association, as one of its core functions, offers a college scholarship program for Marines and Sailors who served in Marine Corps Tank Battalions and their eligible dependents. Service members or a former service member must be able to establish their assignment and service with Marine Corps Tank Battalion by official records. To be eligible, dependents must be able to establish a parent or grandparent who served in a Marine Corps Tank Battalion.  Relationships beyond grandparents are not considered for awards.

MGYSGT George T Curtis Scholarship – USMC/Combat Helicopter & Tiltrotor Association has established its’ own scholarship program for children/grandchildren of current POPASMOKE members and for spouses of active duty who are paid members.

Women’s Marines Association Scholarship – Its purpose is to award grants to qualified applicants sponsored by WMA MEMBERS. These grants may be used at any accredited college, university or college level trade school.

Coast Guard

Captain Ernest W. Fox Perpetual Scholarship – This application is intended for qualified active duty Coast Guard, civil service employee personnel or their dependents at the Coast Guard Aviation Logistic Center. The scholarship will be used for preparatory, collegiate, postgraduate, professional and vocational education, formal or informal training which develops the talents and potential of the beneficiary.

Coast Guard Exchange Scholarship Program – Scholarships to students who are dependents of Coast Guard active duty, reserve, and military retired members, current civilian NAF and APF employees, and current Coast Guard Auxiliarists that meet eligibility requirements.

Coast Guard Foundation’s United Services Automobile Association (USAA) Reserve Scholarship – The Coast Guard Foundation’s United Services Automobile Association (USAA) Reserve Scholarship provides education support to both Reservists and their family members who are pursuing higher education opportunities. Our assistance helps to make up the difference to pay for things like books, lab fees, and technical equipment opening the doors of opportunity to so many Coast Guard families. Expensive textbooks and other out-of-pocket fees can put a college degree out of reach for many Coast Guard families, especially those who are supporting children. We award scholarships based not only on an applicant’s financial need, but also on scholastic promise, motivation, moral character, good citizenship and leadership qualities.

Children of Enlisted Coast Guard Members – If you are the child of an active duty, retired, or active reserve Coast Guard member you are eligible to apply. Successful applicants can expect awards ranging between $1,000 to $5,000.

John A. Keller Scholarship – Available to dependents of members in good standing of the Chief Warrant Officers Association.

Dependent of Deceased or Disabled Veteran

Children of Fallen Coast Guard Heroes – A college education is the key to the American Dream, opening the door to a world of opportunities. This is why the Coast Guard Foundation’s education support is one of the most meaningful ways we show Coast Guard families we value their service, and there is no program which highlights this more than the Fallen Heroes Scholarship.

Folded Flag Foundation – Eligible recipients must be the spouse (all ages) or child (under the age of 26) of a member of the U.S. military who died as..

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