Anchors Aweigh : April 2016


Recent Reads: April

April provided plenty of opportunities to read, and I wasn't complaining one bit! I managed to read a few more than 3 books, but I like doing these reviews in 3's, so I'll save the extras for next month. 

This month, I discovered Ellen Degeneres audiobooks are thoroughly entertaining and remembered that Lisa Scottoline can do no wrong. Here's what occupied my nightstand this month...

Come Home
By Lisa Scottoline

I think I might have a new favorite author. I read and loved Scottoline's Keep Quiet a few months back and loved Come Home just as much. The story was interesting, hard to predict, and had the perfect number of twists/turns along the way. It's a suspense novel where a woman's ex-husband seemingly commits suicide, but as she delves more into it, things just aren't adding up. I gave this 5 stars and definitely recommend it! It was easily my favorite book I read this month. 

Seriously...I'm Kidding
By Ellen Degeneres

I listened to this as an audiobook on my long drive to Jacksonville. It's actually a very quick read/listen and was over in about 3 hours. I can only speak to the audio version, but because it was read by Ellen Degeneres, I think that added to the humor of it all. It was quite the random hodgepodge of anecdotes, advice, and ramblings, but honestly, Ellen Degeneres could read the dictionary and make it funny. If you're looking for a book with a point or some sort of lesson at the end, this isn't for you. However, if you're looking to be entertained, this book will do just that. 

Can You Keep A Secret?
By Sophie Kinsella

This was my third Sophie Kinsella book after The Undomestic Goddess and I've Got Your Number. I enjoyed the other two more than this one, but this still kept me entertained. The plot centers around a woman who spills every little secret she has to a stranger on a plane on the verge of crashing. The plane doesn't crash, and the stranger ends up being the CEO of the company she works for. It was fun to read, but I wasn't too obsessed with the plot itself. It was just a little underwhelming for my taste. 

What did you read this month?

Mini Shepard's Pie Cups

In all my years of cooking, I have never come across better "man food" than a Shepard's Pie. It has meat and it has potatoes. What more could a guy want? I've mentioned before that I like to make dinners that also serve as great leftovers for lunch the next day. After the husband loved these Chicken Pot Pie Cups so much, I realized I could do the exact same thing with Shepard's Pie! Thus, these Shepard's Pie Cups were born. 

Not only did they make a great dinner, they made even better leftovers the next day. How easy is it to throw 2-3 of these cups into a lunchbox and go? So easy. I liked the cup design because there was really no mess. However, we had some leftover mixture that I served atop a biscuit half the next day (kind of like Chicken a la King), and we loved this variation too. Do what works for your family!

1 can refrigerated biscuits (10-12 count)
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup beef stock
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
1 tsp dried parsley 
1 1/2 cups cooked mashed potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes or 1 box)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. 
2. Flatten and mold a biscuit into each tin and bake 6-8 minutes. If biscuits have risen too much after this, gently press them down while still warm. Set aside. 
3. In a large skillet, brown ground beef and drain any fat. 
4. Stir in salt, pepper, and garlic. 
5. Add flour to the skillet and stir until blended into a paste. 
6. Add beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, and peas and carrots and stir to combine, cooking for 1-2 minutes. 
7. Fill each biscuit tin with meat mixture and top with a large spoonful of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle the tops with parsley. 
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges of biscuits are golden brown. 


Military Mondays: TRICARE Standard

Last week I blogged all about the wonderful world of TRICARE Prime, so today's Military Mondays topic is TRICARE Standard. TRICARE Standard is complicated, and I am the first to admit I don't have all of the answers, but I am going to do my best with the information I do know.

Like last week, I am going to try to stick to the facts and keep my opinions out of it. I was on Prime for 3 years and then switched to Standard when we got pregnant and have been on it ever since. There are pros and cons with both, and you are welcome to email me if you have any questions about my experience with either. :)

Like last Monday, I am going to speak specifically to the active duty spouse side. TRICARE Standard is not available to active duty service members- only their dependents. 

The main difference between TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Standard is cost plus provider. Prime is completely free, while Standard has costs associated with it. Standard also allows you to choose your provider (doctor), while Prime assigns you a provider.

How It Works

You don't have to apply for TRICARE Standard. As long as you are listed in DEERs, you are eligible. Your military ID acts as your insurance card, and you are free to call and schedule an appointment with your provider.

Switching from Prime to Standard

You can easily switch from Prime to Standard by calling the TRICARE offices. Requests to switch are processed immediately and go into effect at midnight of the same day. Once switched, you could be locked out from re-enrolling in Prime for up to a year, so that's something to keep in mind. For instructions on how to switch from Prime to Standard, click here.

How Much Does It Cost?

Oye. This is a hard question to answer. First of all, you must meet an annual deductible before TRICARE will start paying. That deductible is really small compared to most deductibles and is as follows for active duty dependents:

E4 and below: $50 per individual; no more than $100 per family
E5 and above: $150 per individual; no more than $300 per family

Once you meet your deductible, you will pay a percentage or flat copay for certain services. Some services are still completely covered, but others will have copays. To see a complete list of copays and what is covered, click here.

Of note: Even though you are on TRICARE Standard, you can still choose to have prescriptions filled at the base hospital for free if you have a base hospital nearby.

From what I have learned and experienced, TRICARE Standard is all about coding. As long as your doctor codes your procedure/appointment/etc. as "medically necessary", you won't have to pay anything. I'll use my miscarriage as an example. We lost a baby halfway through the pregnancy. My surgery was medically necessary, so it was covered. That was a $10k surgery, and TRICARE paid for it. Before we lost our baby, we had an amniocentesis done to determine her chromosomal abnormality. This was not medically necessary, so I paid $99 out of pocket. As long as what you are doing is deemed "medically necessary" by your doctor, you should be covered.

I hope this has been informative and helpful for some out there! TRICARE Standard is complicated, and I am by no means an expert, but it's a great alternative if Prime isn't for you. If you have any questions on anything I did or didn't cover, feel free to shoot me an email. :)

Let's Talk About Our Eyes

This post was sponsored by Think About Your Eyes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my review. 

I've always tried to take care of my body. It's the only one I have, after all! I try to eat relatively healthy and exercise almost daily, and I'm a big advocate for keeping SPF on my skin during those summer months. Up until recently, the one aspect of my body I let fall by the wayside is my eyes. 

I went to the eye doctor as a kid but took about a 10 year break thereafter. It just wasn't on my radar. I never had perfect vision, but frankly I thought the issues with my eyes were weird, and I had no idea how to describe them. I could see almost 20/20, but other factors told me there was something off. When I went to 3D movies, nothing jumped out. It was like watching any old movie. I also knew my depth perception was poor. 

In addition to the 3D thing and poor depth perception, my eyes have always been a huge source of insecurity for me. I can only use one eye at a time, and if I rely on the wrong one, my other eye turns severely inward, making me look cross-eyed. 

Fast forward to finally taking myself to the eye doctor, and he was able to diagnose me after a few quick tests. I have alternating esotropia, a condition where I alternate fixation between my right and left eyes. If I use my right eye, my left eye turns inward, and vice versa. In my case, using my right eye only causes my left eye to turn slightly and be hardly noticeable, so I use it exclusively and don't ever alternate to my left. Since I only use one eye at a time, depth perception is out the window, which explains why I can't appreciate 3D images.

Not only did this doctor diagnose something that has been a mystery to me my entire life, but he informed me that there is actually a surgery that can fix it. In a few years, I won't be a candidate for the surgery anymore, so seeing the doctor early was huge. Parker and I are discussing the option of surgery now, but the point is, thanks to going to the eye doctor, we have that option.

Eyes are so often neglected, but I am a huge advocate for eye checks given my history. I am excited to introduce you all to Think About Your Eyes, a national public awareness campaign that promotes the benefits of eye health. Just like our other muscles, our eyes need regular care to maintain maximum performance, and getting annual comprehensive eye exams can make a huge difference.

By getting that annual eye exam, eye problems can be detected at their early stages when they're most treatable. Visit the Think About Your Eyes eye care professional locator to find an eye doctor near you and schedule an exam.

I need to keep my eyes strong so I can stare at this furry girl all day. ;)

Have you been to the eye doctor recently?

Ski Pants & Sperrys

The minute we bought our house, Parker started talking about going kayaking in the lake behind our neighborhood. He hasn't stopped since, and we moved in almost a year ago! That's dedication. We didn't get around to it last summer, and it's been way too cold lately to even think about it. #ThanksEastCoastWinter

This past weekend, the sun was scheduled to be out, so we decided to finally go for it. The sun was most definitely out, but we forgot to check the windchill. 50 degree weather doesn't scream "go kayaking today", but we made the most of it and had a total blast! When the water is that cold, it's pretty much operation don't-fall-in. We didn't fall in, so I am calling the day a complete success. 

We brought along the trusty GoPro and relied on that for pictures. The last time we went kayaking, Parker's phone went swimming and drowned. Needless to say, we were a little overprotective of our phones this time around. The phones were fine, and the GoPro got some fun shots and videos!

We chose full on winter clothing for our kayaking adventure, which seemed a little contradictory, but man were were thankful when that cold water started splashing our legs! We wore ski pants for warmth (Parker opted for hiking pants and regretted it later when they weren't as warm) and Sperrys because we were on a boat. When on a boat, one must wear Sperrys. Yes. 

We are waiting on our awards for Most Fashionable Kayakers. I'm sure they'll be here any day now...

I have to say, if you're going kayaking with a buddy, a 2 person kayak is totally the way to go. If I didn't feel like paddling, I'd just rest my little arms, enjoy the view, and let the man do all the work. #winning

Since I was in front, there were definitely times that Parker stopped paddling without my knowing. You can imagine how quickly we got around with my little arms doing all the paddling for both of us. Not so quick. 

We saw turtles and ducks, but the coolest sighting was a bald eagle that flew directly over us! It was definitely the closest I have ever seen one in real life, and we were so excited!

Since it was so chilly, we only stayed out there about an hour, but we were so glad to finally cross kayaking off of our to-do list! We were also so glad that the kayak didn't fall off our car/harm our car/harm another car while we were transporting it to and from base. That in itself felt like a small victory. 

There's no one else I'd rather rock ski pants and Sperrys with than this stud. Spring kayaking trip is in the books!

5 Things To Do For Your Car Before Your Husband Deploys

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerCarCare #CollectiveBias

I've mentioned here and there that we have an upcoming deployment on our hands. This is the first deployment for us, so we are navigating foreign territory and just trying to keep our heads above water. There is so much we have to do/prep for before he goes!

One of the big things I've been worried about is the car. When it comes to cars, I know next to nothing. Here is everything I know about the old automobile:

1. Gas makes it go
2. The key makes it start

As you can see, it's a short list. I really want to avoid car issues if at all possible, so we are trying to proactively make sure Parker takes care of any car-related maintenance. In light of this, I came up with a checklist of things I need to do to my car before he deploys. I figure it's better to be proactive than reactive!

1. Change Your Air Filter

Raise your hand if you knew your car had an air filter that serves as the engine's first line of defense. 

Bueller? ... Bueller?

I had no idea either, but I'm glad I figured it out! A clean air filter improves airflow while preventing dirt and dust from entering and damaging the engine. While at Walmart, Parker picked up the FRAM Extra Guard Air Filter that is specifically designed for the make/model of my car. 

Dirty filters restrict airflow, which can contribute to decreased acceleration, horsepower, and reduced overall performance. In the same way, a clean air filter can increase acceleration, horsepower, and improve overall engine performance. It was definitely an eye opener comparing my old filter to my new one. Eesh!

It was super simple and took about 5 minutes to install the new filter. I located the FRAM Extra Guard Air Filter for my car at Walmart, Parker installed it, and I was good to go. Boom. Done. Change your air filter, folks!

2. Update Your Registration 

If your registration is going to expire before your husband returns, just go ahead and update it early. That way it's done and one less thing you'll have to worry about. 

3. Get An Inspection

Take your car in for an inspection. The mechanic will be able to tell you everything you need to do in the next few months or at least everything they recommend. If you're like me and have no clue what they're talking about and tend to feel like you're getting scammed, this is where your husband comes in. Having the inspection before he leaves means he can advise you what is necessary and what isn't. 

4. Change Your Oil

Get a fresh oil change before he leaves so you'll have a few months once he's gone before you have to worry about it again. The goal is to spend as little time at the dealership or mechanic as possible. 

5. Rotate Your Tires

This is another little thing that just needs to be done every once in a while. I like to rotate my tires and have my oil changed in the same trip to keep the hassle at a minimum. Rotating your tires keeps one pair from running out faster than the other pair, or so I am told. Again, I'm clueless!

Those are my top 5! There are other proactive things you can do like change the wiper blades and give the car a thorough cleaning and wax, but these 5 are the things we are aiming to have done before he leaves. 

Ladies who have gone through deployment, I'd love to hear your car tips! For anyone looking to get a jump start on car maintenance, stop by your local Walmart and pick up the FRAM Extra Guard Air Filter

10 Minute Basil Pesto Pasta

I have always been a pasta lover. 


I don't make it every night or even every week, but when I do make it, I gobble that stuff up! I typically have to chock it full of meat and veggies to keep the husband satisfied, but when he is away, I like to get back to the basics. 

This recipe is just that: basic, simple, fresh, delicious. 

I know it's pasta, but I really did not feel guilty eating it. I used whole wheat rotini and fresh, healthy ingredients for the sauce. For those weeknights when the husband is away, I will definitely be turing back to this simple little treat! Bonus: it took less than 10 minutes to prep. That's my kind of dinner!

1 bunch of fresh basil 
1/3 cup pine nuts
4 tsp minced garlic
1 avocado, peeled and seeded
16 oz box of your favorite pasta (I chose whole wheat rotini)
2/3 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, and set aside. 
2. Meanwhile, add basil, pine nuts, minced garlic, avocado and EVOO to your blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. 
3. Pour basil mixture over your noodles and stir to combine. Garnish with a few additional pine nuts and serve!


Military Mondays: TRICARE Prime

I have been putting off writing about TRICARE because frankly, I could write a novel about TRICARE and still not cover it all. For those that don't know, TRICARE is the health insurance all military (active duty, dependents, retirees, and select reservists) are eligible to receive.

To keep things somewhat simple, we are just going to talk about TRICARE for active duty and dependents. There are two forms of TRICARE: Prime and Standard. Put simply, TRICARE Prime means you are assigned a primary care manager (PCM) at a specific hospital, typically the base hospital or a clinic off base. Standard means you can choose your own doctor. 

Active duty members must use Prime if they are in a Prime service area. Dependents, however, can choose either. TRICARE Prime offers fewer out-of-pocket expenses than TRICARE Standard but less freedom of choice for providers. 

Today's Military Mondays post is going to be all about the wonderful world of TRICARE Prime. 

A few notes before we get started:

This information is specific to active duty dependents. Costs/details/enrollment will differ from the information below for retirees, reservists, etc. 

Dental is handled separately. There is no such thing as Prime/Standard for dental coverage, and I will talk about that in a different post.

People usually have a strong opinion one way or the other on Prime vs. Standard. I was on Prime for 3 years and then switched to Standard when I got pregnant 2 years ago. There are pros and cons to both, but I'm going to leave my opinions out of it and just go with the facts. Feel free to email me if you have any questions about my personal experience with either Prime or Standard. :)

Enrolling in TRICARE Prime

Click here to enroll in TRICARE Prime. 

Military hospitals and clinics can be both on and off base and are called MTFs (Military Treatment Facilities). Once you click the above link to enroll in TRICARE Prime, you need to select your MTF. Click here to enter your zip code and choose a MTF. In my case, a mixture of base hospitals and off-base clinics pop up as options. 

Once you pick your MTF, you may enroll in TRICARE Prime either online, by phone, or snail mail. This is nice, yall. When I enrolled 5 years ago, I had to do it in person on base. You can find the instructions on how to do each here

Your part is now done. You will be notified once your enrollment has been processed. You will then receive your PCM's name and phone number and instructions on how to download your enrollment card. Once enrolled, you may begin seeing your PCM immediately. 

How It Works

Your PCM is just that, your primary care manager. Once you enroll in TRICARE Prime, you have to see your PCM first. They will assess your health care needs and refer you to specialty doctors if necessary. For specialty care to be covered, it must be arranged and approved by your PCM. For example, if you are struggling with infertility, your PCM must recommend fertility specialists and treatment. Your PCM also maintains your health records and files your claims with TRICARE. You must go through your PCM before you receive any care or treatment. 

If you do not like your PCM, you may request to switch. As long as your requested PCM is accepting new patients, you will be switched in up to 6 business days. 

What You Will Have To Pay For

Short answer: nothing. 

Dependents don't have to pay for anything, so long as you go through your PCM and he/she approves any care/treatment. Appointments, procedures, surgeries, childbirth, prescriptions, x-rays... all free!


Currently, you must receive a referral to see any doctor besides your PCM. However, starting May 23rd, TRICARE Prime users will be allowed to use in-network urgent care providers without receiving authorization from the PCM. Eligible Prime members will be given 2 free visits per year to urgent care facilities without the pre-approval of your PCM. You can read more about this here

I hope this post has been informative for any new or soon-to-be military spouses! In the coming weeks, we will talk about the complicated phenomenon that is TRICARE Standard. If you have any questions about my experience with Prime or anything else, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.

Favorite Weekend Tradition: Stress Free Saturday

With the weekend upon us once again (can I get an amen?!), I want to share about my favorite weekend tradition. 

Stress free Saturday. 

Many of you have heard in the Bible that God rested on the seventh day of creation and set aside that day for us to rest and worship him as well. 

"There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is the day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord." - Leviticus 23:3

A lot of people assume this day of rest needs to be on Sunday, but nowhere in the Bible does it say the sabbath has to be on a Sunday. Sunday is my busiest day of the weekend. We go to church, I go to the grocery store or run any errands I need to for the week, catch up on blogging, cook dinner, etc. etc. Sundays really are not all that relaxing for me, but Saturdays are. 

A few girls in my Bible study were talking about stress free Saturday (their way of taking the sabbath), and I was so excited to start trying to make that a tradition in my home as well. Whether I was hanging out with friends, doing yard work with the husband, or binge watching Netflix, I was going to take this one day to ban all stress from my life. 

Here are a few pictures of what stress free Saturday tends to look like for me:

I have been doing this for several months, and yall, I am obsessed with my stress free Saturdays! I challenge each of you to pick a day of the week (doesn't have to be Saturday) to relax your mind and body. Life is stressful, but I refuse to let that stress creep in on my beloved Saturday!

Our Week In Jax

This post could have also been titled "Way too many pictures of our dog on the beach". If you're new around here, we are pretty obsessed with our pup.

Moving on...

Parker was gone the last few weeks for Navy training in Jacksonville, Florida. Missing your better half is never fun, but we knew it was coming and planned to take it for what it was and see each other on the flip side.

Somehow, about halfway through the separation, we decided it would be fun for me to visit for a few days. He was busy every day during the day but typically had evenings somewhat free. I'd never been to Jacksonville, and since I can work from the hotel, Jenny and I decided to drive down on a whim! Why not?!

I am so glad we did! Aside from two long nine hour drives by myself (Jenny's cute, but she's not much of a conversationalist), it was the most perfect week! We both worked during the day and did date night in the evenings exploring a new city.

Here's our week together, according to my iPhone:

Two girls so over being in the car and ready to see their favorite guy! (We were stopped for food when I snapped the pic- no selfies and driving here.) :)

The hotel was right on the beach, so daily family walks along the water became our jam. As much as Parker and I loved it, Jenny loved it 10 times more. That pup is obsessed with the sand and ocean!

Our evenings consisted of eating, walking around Jacksonville's town center, and maybe catching a movie. So simple and relaxing. I'd love to say that we ate healthy while we were out, but that was definitely not the case. One should enjoy vacation, am I right?! We ate local the whole time except for a quick stop at Zaxby's. Our movie was starting soon and we'd never been to Zaxby's, so it was the perfect night to give it a shot!

Side note: I mentioned we caught a couple of movies. Jacksonville's AMC Regency movie theater is the The seats were oversized, leather, and fully reclined. Jacksonville locals are so lucky! We saw 10 Cloverfield Lane earlier in the week and picked a movie at random on our last night (Hello, My Name Is Doris) just so we could go back to that theater. Heaven!

Parker was still in Jax for work, so it was a lot of Jenny and I doing our own thing. I knew this going in and was perfectly content hanging out with my best girl on the beach while Parker fulfilled his obligations. 

Overall, the week was a gift that we weren't expecting to get. These next few weeks are precious, and it feels like we just got a bonus week at the beach. Separation stinks and Navy life can be tough, but when you get the opportunity to spend time together, you take it. Don't overthink it. Don't worry about the travel or planning or any of it. Just go. It's worth it every time.

Bloggers: How To Add Instagram To Your Blog The Right Way

I am by no means an expert on blogging gadgets and HTML coding, but when I figure out a cool trick, I want to pass it along. This post is for bloggers, so if that's not you, feel free to skip this one. We will be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. ;)

Several months ago, I posted a tutorial for bloggers to add the Instagram widget to your sidebar. This is becoming increasingly popular and is a fun feature for all types of blogs.

Yall, I have to apologize. That tutorial I shared months ago will work, but it's not the optimal way to go about this. You see, that method uses intagme, which lets readers see your pictures, but it doesn't enable them to like pictures or follow you. What's the point, right?

Inefficient. Doesn't let readers connect with you. Let's fix it.

We want the Instagram gadget to take readers directly to Instagram, where they can follow you, see your feed, and like your pictures.

Today, I am going to show you how to add Instagram to your sidebar the right way.

Step 1: Head over to

Step 2: Enter your Instagram username where indicated and a hashtag if you have one. You will probably leave the hashtag blank, but if you're an Etsy shop or participate in a linkup, then you might want to enter a hashtag.

For the GRID effect:

- Select GRID
- Enter the number of columns you want
- Enter the number of rows you want
- Select your image hover effect
- Click "Preview" and then "Get Code!"

For the SLIDESHOW effect:

- Enter your desired number of photos that can be shown (I recommend 60)
- Select your image hover effect
- Click "Preview" and then "Get Code!"

For the COLUMN effect:

- Select COLUMN
- Enter the number of columns you want
- Enter the number of photos you want to be shown at a time
- Click "Preview" and then "Get Code!"

Now you are ready to install your code!

Since I use Blogger, I am not sure how to add the code to Wordpress blogs. However, for Blogger, here's what you need to do:

- Select Layout on the left side of the page
- Click "Add a Gadget" on your sidebar

- Click "Add HTML/JavaScript"
- Paste your code, and click "Save"
- Your Instagram gadget will now appear at the top of your sidebar. Drag the gadget to the position you want it to appear on your sidebar, and click "Save Arrangement"

Done, done, and done! Let me know if you have any questions. I am happy to help!

To follow me on Instagram, click my Instagram widget at the top of my sidebar or go here

Skinny Enchiladas

Oh Mexican food, I couldn't love you more. Mexican food just gets me. I have made dozens of enchilada recipes but am always on the hunt for new ways to mix it up. 

These skinny enchiladas are better for you than most enchilada recipes. I have a hard time saying they are healthy because "healthy" means something different to different people. I will say that I really didn't feel guilty about eating them, and I will be making them again and again!

Since I was making these for the husband, I used ground beef. He's a big beef fan and really prefers it over the healthier ground turkey option. I admit, it does taste better. If I were making them for myself, I would probably use ground turkey just to keep the calorie count lower. You do what works for your family!

12 corn tortillas
10 oz can enchilada sauce
1 lb ground turkey or lean ground beef, fully cooked and seasoned with a pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups low fat cheddar cheese, shredded
10 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. 
2. Wrap corn tortillas in a dish towel and sprinkle the towel lightly with water on the top and bottom. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. 
3. Pour your enchilada sauce into a bowl, and dip each tortilla into the enchilada sauce. 
4. Place 2-3 Tbsp of meat into each tortilla along with cheese, bell peppers, and onions. Roll up to form an enchilada and place in your greased pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas. 
5. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas. 
6. Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheese on top. 
7. Bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. 


Military Mondays: Common Military Acronyms

It's Monday, which means we are back for another installment of Military Mondays! Today we are going to talk about acronyms. Oye. Most businesses and fields use acronyms, but for every one acronym in a civilian job, the military has 50. Good grief, it's kind of ridiculous. 

As a military spouse, it's a daily struggle to understand what the heck our husbands are talking about. If I had a nickel for every time I asked Parker "What's that mean?", I'd be a very wealthy woman. Even after 5 years in the military, I still learn a new term on the regular. I'll never know what they all mean (let's face it, no one will), but I do want to share a few of the most common acronyms I have heard. 

Today, we are going to look at 25 of the most commonly used acronyms. This list makes up approximately 0.0001% of all military acronyms. Each branch has hundreds more that are specific to only that branch, and the list goes on from there. A lot of the acronyms we use in our home are Naval Aviation-specific and won't apply to most, but these 25 below can be heard just about anywhere...

BAH- Basic Allowance for Housing (the amount you get per paycheck for housing expenses)

CAC- Common Access Card (military-issued identification card)

CO- Commanding Officer (the officer in charge of the squadron/unit)

CONUS- Continental United States

DEERS- Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (the system you enroll in to be eligible for benefits)

DET- detachment (a smaller military unit)

DOD- Department of Defense

DITY- Do It Yourself Move (when you elect to move yourselves rather than have the military do it)

FITREP- Fitness Report (annual evaluation for officers)

FNG- F***ing New Guy (typically referring to the new member of a squadron or unit)

FTX- Field Training Exercise

ITT- Information, Tickets, and Tours (a place to get discounted or free tickets to theme parks, zoos, cruises, etc.)

JAG- Judge Advocate General (military lawyers)

Milso- Military Spouse

MRE- Meal Ready To Eat (freeze-dried meals eaten in the field)

MWR- Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (comprehensive network of support and leisure services designed to enhance the lives of military members, their families, civilian employees, and military retirees)

NEX- Navy Exchange (almost like a mini mall, the Navy equivalent for the AAFES)

OCONUS- Outside the Continental United States

OCS- Officer Candidate School 

PAO- Public Affairs Officer

PCS- Permanent Change of Station (a fancy way of saying you're moving)

PRT/PFT- Physical Readiness Test/Physical Fitness Test (a fitness test typically administered every 6 months)

SERE- Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (training to prepare military members in case they are ever captured in enemy territory)

TDY- Temporary Duty 

XO- Executive Officer (second in command to the CO of the squadron/unit)

Freeze Frame Time

Once in a blue moon, I get the overwhelming desire to just freeze frame time. I distinctly remember the last time I felt this way. We were living in Corpus Christi and just having the time of our lives. Life was wonderfully simple, and we were living on love for each other and a brown dog. I just wanted to bottle it up.

Fast forward 2 years later, and I want the same thing again. I just want to freeze frame time. There is something kind of cool about an impending deployment in that it really makes you appreciate every moment you have together. The moments are passing by quickly, but they sure are sweet right now. 

Jenny and I spent the week in Florida with Parker while he was doing Navy training, and I just wanted it to last forever! We took evenings walks on the beach, and as I snapped picture after picture of Parker and the Jen pup running around in the sand, happy and carefree, I got the overwhelming desire to freeze frame time. 

Ready or not, life is changing soon. We will embrace the change and learn how to thrive in the new circumstances. I do believe that. Right now though, I sure do wish we could freeze frame time. 


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