Supporting Your Spouse During ALS (Airman Leadership School)

Ahhhh, going back to Anchors & Planes basics today… a new step in the military life. One of my most popular blog series is about Basic Training. After BMT, we headed for Tech, first duty station, multiple deployments, training’s, and most recently ALS (Airman Leadership School.)

My husband tested out of cycle post-recent deployment, and found out he made Staff Sergeant (SSgt / E-5) just a few days after our son was born. It was such a surprise to him, but not to me; he is a natural born servant -hearted leader. So the next steps included several testings, CDC’s and ALS. Your loved one, no matter the branch, may have to take the school at another base. Luckily, we got to stay together this time! His class was on base, so it was only a five minute commune. His time in the class was different then his normal work schedule, so Anakin didn’t get to spend much time with him during the week, but the weekend were our jam (when he wasn’t doing homework.)

Your loved one may mention a few events that are taking place during the class: Class potluck/ BBQ, flag ceremony, and graduation. My husband was very casual in mentioning them, and putting no pressure on me to go to them, but was clear in saying “you’re invited” and “kids welcomed” or “I think kids can’t go.” The BBQ was super casual, and I brought Anakin hoping to meet other new moms… but there were only small handful of spouses. Which was great because everyone wanted to meet our baby, but a little intimidating when the ALS teachers decided to sit with us *tries to act civilized.*

When Anakin and I came back a couple weeks later for the flag ceremony, I was shocked to see only one other spouse there. The ALS teacher and base commander came over to chat and play with Anakin. One looked at Anakin saying, “You won’t remember today, but your daddy will never forget you being here for him.” Y’all, I wanted to cry. No matter how busy I am, how tired I am, how piss-y Anakin is – we will always do whatever it takes to be there for Davis. Sometimes showing support is just showing up.

So unlike my previous posts about supporting your loved one in the military, I am going to ask my husband, Davis, about how he felt the past month…

How did you feel supported by me?
Davis: I felt supported by you watching Anakin all day. Even when I came home, you watched him everyday, all day.

How did you not feel supported?
Davis: I didn’t feel not supported.

Looking back, what would make you not feel supported? Like if I did these things, it would make your time in ALS harder?
Davis: Hmm, complain about schedule. Complain about how much homework I had to do in the beginning. If you didn’t going to graduation without a good reason.

What would be “a good reason” to miss graduation?
Davis: Not having a baby sitter that you trusted, working – stuff like that.

If you could give anyone advice going into ALS, what would it be?
Davis: Take good notes and manage your time wisely.

I hope you enjoyed this post! ALS is short time that plays a big part in our loved one’s military career. Here is a vlog from the day of the flag ceremony and graduation; overall it just shows you it doesn’t matter how your day is going or how you’re dressed – sometimes you gotta just show up!

Davis, I am so thankful for you. For your hard work, for your fatherly heart, for your servant-hearted leadership. I love our beautiful life together, our family – and giving all the glory to God!

Advertisements

SPRING-ing Into Financial Confidence

We are not millionaires.

We are not even hundred thousand-aires.

But we are debt-free, saving growing, single-steady income-aires… with an infant.

This is culturally the year we are supposed to be overwhelmed financially; it is the year of having our first child. Yet, we are working less and saving more… What sets us apart from the newlywed couple we USED to be? Self discipline, greater goals, and smarter work. Open communication and judgement-free conversations that lead to feeling good about our choices and not hiding receipts. Here are my tips on how you can save more for your family for FREE.

We all want a savings but think, “I’ll save next paycheck.” The time to save is NOW. Let this spring – no TODAY- will be the start of your joyful finances! Grab a warm mug, and lets get uncomfortable.

Unsubscribe

Businesses know when payday is around the corner. You’ll notice more going on, and e-mails flooding in for “YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS…”  and boom, you’re suckered into buying toxic candles to last you the rest of the year. Start your spring cleaning by unsubscribing from everything. Including notifications from Amazon Prime! Money for out of season candles or money for vacation? That’s a lot of margaritas on the beach in Mexico that you’re missing out on, just because “well, it was on sale.”

DIY

Look at everything with DIY googles. Making your own coffee at home cost less money and time then going to a Starbucks. Doing your own nails cost less money and time then going to the nail salon. Doing your own wall art cost less then the Pottery Barn must-haves. Upcycling furniture cost less money and takes less time then going out for new items. This is a great way to learn new skills! This year I learned to cut my husband’s hair, tone my own hair, and sew baby items for Anakin. The little things add up, which is how we were able to afford a recent trip to Texas for a friend’s wedding!

Host

If you have friends that are only available to meet for brunch, lunch, coffee, dinner, drinks, movies, etc – invite them over. Make a pot of coffee, have a BBQ and jump on Vudu. This can save on food, drinks, entertainment tickets, parking fees, toll fees, baby sitters, and unfortunately more. I am the biggest fan of brunch occasionally, but a bigger fan of authentic and real friendships. Friends want you to succeed, and will be understanding to a change of scenery!

Never Pay Full Price

Shopping consignment and thrift stores saved us big time with baby items and furniture. If you are in a store and want something, try seeing if there is a coupon online. My favorite brand Free People can be found in Marshall’s for nearly 40% – 60% cheaper! Today, I got $80 worth of Too Faced make-up for under $35 at Macy’s (two full sized products, and three freebies!) Shop smart and save. I try to make sure that if I am coupon-less, I am at least supporting locals. Buying bulk and using the calculator app on your phone is also a great tip for groceries! Keep your eyes out on unit pricing and adding up your items so check out isn’t uncomfortable if you’re out of budget.

Overall, we have to have strict black and white goals. What are our wants? What are our needs? And what are we spending our money on that is neither a want or a need? For us, it was easy to cut out cable TV, the bulls-eye section at Target, and presliced fruit. It turns out I also don’t need to have a high maintenance hair color and my husband doesn’t need more video games… that is until Anakin can be his Player #2.

And like always, you get what you pay for. I may have a cheaper hair appointment, but I still get it trimmed by someone I trust. Forever 21 may have the cheaper price tags, but I want to invest in pieces that don’t shred in the dryer and can handle baby fluids. We want to make sure our bodies are well fed with healthy food, and that we have a mindset of investing in our future. There is no authentic, genuine, and joyful future in impressing anyone with things we can’t truly afford.

I hope these tips are both encouraging and helpful towards being mindful and confident in your spending this year! If you have any other changes others can make for free, feel free to leave them in the comments!

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:21

MILITARY GIVEAWAY! #12strongmovie

I am so excited to be partnering with Warner Bros. Pictures this week for an EPIC giveaway in celebration of 12 Strong opening this weekend! One winner will be selected to win a $50 Fandango gift card to see the film in theaters and a military style 12 Strong Sweatshirt *insert heavy breathing over Hemsworth.*  THIS IS SO EXCITING! Anchors and Planes was born on my first day of supporting my husband through basic training and has featured care packages, life changes, and growth woven through the years of training, moves, and deployments over the past four years. I am so thankful to share this movie and giveaway that tells a part of our service member’s truth and reality.

Heart of a hero. Courage of a warrior. 12 Strong is in theaters Friday.

ABOUT THE MOVIE

Chris Hemsworth (“Thor,” “The Avengers” films) and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road,” “Nocturnal Animals”) star in “12 Strong,” a powerful new war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Based on Doug Stanton’s best-selling book, “Horse Soldiers,” it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.

“12 Strong” is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghani horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.

Rated R for war violence and language throughout.

Visit the Official Website|| Like ’12 Strong’ on Facebook ||Follow on Twitter and Instagram

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A soldier is as strong as his word. Tickets on sale now for #12StrongMovie: bit.ly/12strongtix

12STRONG-Tickets

 

Giveaway Details:

This giveaway is unlike any other giveaway I’ve done so far! Instead of entering yourself to win, you are going to nominate an active duty service member or veteran from ANY BRANCH to win this prize!

 
One (1) winner receives:
  • $50 Fandango gift card to see the film in theaters
  • 12 Strong Sweatshirt
 Rules:
You are welcome to nominate multiple people, just make sure they are in separate comments! 
Giveaway closes in 48 hours. Open to US mailing addresses only#12StrongMovie #WBsponsored
12Strong-Sweatshirt_preview

Deployment Homecoming DIY’s (Round 2)

Again, if you are stumbling upon this blog post, it is most likely because someone you love is coming home.

home·com·ing
noun
  1. an instance of returning home.
    2. a chance to make a beer bucket, or cute sign, shave your legs, and buy sexy lingerie

 

 

 

The Beer Bucket.

16 bottled beer,

drink bucket (dollar spot at Target)

American flag

ice

(DIY banner for photographic effects)

 

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetProcessed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Sign 1

desired board

letter stickers

tape for boarder

 

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Home Decor

Dollar spot at target, yay independence day near homecoming!

 

 

Pets

Patriotic bandannas

DIY sign

IMG_3643CFLIMG_3678CFLIMG_3689CFL

 

It’s not about the amount of time they have been gone,

the things that went wrong while they were gone,

or the right things they happened to miss.

WHAT MATTERS IS THEY’RE FINALLY HOME.

Related Post: Deployment Homecoming DIY’s (Round 1)
Things You Should NEVER Say To A Military Wife… And Things That You Should.
Five Things To Know About Long Distance Relationships (Military and Missions)

How To: Military Care Package (Birthday Themed)

You guys! Where has the time gone?! Another deployment… already?! A lot has changed since my last blog post: new home, new deployment, new human being growing inside of me. Casual things in the military wife life.

I am so excited and blessed to finally pour my heart into Anchors and Planes as a new mummy-to-be, but first things first, it’s my lovely airman’s birthday! As all deployments go, there are missed holidays and seasons, but that shouldn’t keep us from a celebratory project.

This post will hands down be the least expensive, creative, and most boring care package made yet… the first trimester did not treat me well. However, this is perfect if you’re on a budget or have fun sending things “just because you love them.”

Theme:Birthday
 Same as a few of my other boxes, I used scrapbook paper to cover the wings of the box completely ($2), sticker letterss to say, “Happy Birthday” ($5), and red, white and blue ribbon for… no reason, ribbon is awesome ($3).🙂
Inside are large things my husband asked for, with a smaller items being surprise gifts.
  • Sweatpants
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • GQ magazine
  • Star Wars puzzle
  • Multiple sauces and seasoning
  • Snacks and candy
  • Energy drinks: 5 HR energy shots

HBDpackage2

Total weight: 0 lbs. (Flat rate box – $18)

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

IMG_20170225_123810_897

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

 

I hope this inspires you to spoil those you love, and spoil them well. We never know when our last day will be, so don’t hold love back from anyone ❤ Happy birthday to my amazing husband, and may our troops, you, and your loved ones be blessed in the name of Jesus!

Xoxo – Angel

 

Christmas Care Package Post: Click here.

Thanksgiving Care Package Post: Click here.

Halloween Care Package Post: Click here.

Deployment Homecoming DIY’s

If you are stumbling upon this blog post, it is most likely because someone you love is coming home.

home·com·ing
noun
  1. an instance of returning home.
    2. a chance to make a beer cake, or cute sign, shave your legs, and buy sexy lingerie

12662440_882656695164998_6712595881387459934_n

The Beer Cake.

36 bottled beer,

two platforms (mine was a salad bowl and Tupperware)

American flag duct-tape

topped with an American flag

(Pom poms for photographic effects)

12645194_882656775164990_3299623218317454540_n12592675_882656735164994_3151873409568392621_n

Sign #1

Navy Blue pre-cut foam board

White Glitter

White marker (I used chalk board markers)

12642438_882656878498313_1677908105075225210_n

Sign #2

Table runner paper

*wrap around center of the door and tape*

White markers

12647003_882656811831653_7129941475560879909_n

Sign #3

Reverse side of table runner paper

Marker

Sense of humor

 

It’s not about the amount of time they have been gone,
the things that went wrong while they were gone,
or the right things they happened to miss.
What matters is they’re finally home.

anchorsandplanespostdiy

How To: Military Care Package (Christmas Themed)

Okay. I have no idea what I’m most happy about:

  1. I’m off work the next two days.
  2. Elf is playing on the TV right now.
  3. I’m on my second beer.
  4. I applied for a house this week.
  5. My Christmas packages arrived safely to the middle east!

I am so excited to FINALLY be sharing the mother of all care package ideas, CHRISTMAS! *Praise break* In this post, I’ll show you not one, not two, but THREE packages I put together for my husband, troops, and my family! If you have a loved one deployed, in school, or just far away, I hope this helps inspire you to send love via care packages!

boxes

Theme: Christmas // Holiday Gifts
My husband’s is the only one with decorated “flaps” (?) Whatever they’re called. The wings on boxes that unveil awesome stuff. I used scrapbook paper to cover them completely, metallic stickers to say, “Dear Deployment, LET HIM GOOOO!” *Frozen dance break*, Olaf and snowflake stickers, along with a picture of us 🙂
Inside the box is a burlap bag and many gifts! Our puppy helped me out a little… gifts
I made sure to include a gift for new years and our anniversary in January! The gifts were dated up to 12 days, making them the “12 Days of Christmas.” So everyday he has a gift to look forward to, with the last one being (hopefully) his favorite! (Total weight: 50 LBS)  Feel free to ask in the comment section for gift ideas, but for now, I’ll move onto what was in the package for our troops!
cookies
  • Instant soups
  • Mac n cheese
  • Crackers
  • Oatmeal (instant)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Beef Jerky
  • Almonds & Walnuts
  • Breakfast Teas & Stress Relief Teas
  • Hot Coco
  • Candy Canes
  • & 150 + Homemade cookies (Chocolate chip, sugar, mint chocolate chip, pumpkin spice, and snicker doodle)

Total weight: 40 lbs.

Thank you to everyone who helped with this package, and to my beautiful mom, sister, and niece (along with her girl scout troop) for sending their own packages with just as much, if not more to our troops!

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

As for my family’s package, I sent two packages to California. One to “mom’s side” and one to “dad’s side.” Instead of ordering online, or sending gift cards, I wanted to personally wrap each gift with a photo that comes to mind when I think of them.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Grandma Toni at Kristi’s Wedding 2015

Okay, and maybe all of my gifts are from Nordstrom… Sorry hunny!

I hope this inspires you to spoil those you love, and spoil them well. We never know when our last day will be, so don’t hold love back from anyone ❤ Happy Holiday and may our troops, you, and your loved ones be blessed in the name of Jesus!

Xoxo – Angel

ending

Thanksgiving Care Package Post: Click here.

Halloween Care Package Post: Click here.

How To: Military Care Package (Thanksgiving Themed)

First off, happy Veterans Day! May we be honoring those who have served in the United States Armed Forces not only today, but everyday. Thank you to my father-in-law (Navy) and my cousin’s dual military marriage (USAF) along with those currently serving (and will one day be veterans), my husband (USAF) and brother-in-law (ARMY.) May your day be blessed!

Now, onto the post...

I am so excited to be sending a second care package! Even though it hasn’t arrived yet, my airman already knows what’s in it, so I wanted to post early to give y’all some new ideas! If you have a loved one deployed, in school, or just far away, I hope this helps inspire you to send love via care packages!

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Theme: Military // Thanksgiving
I covered the interior of the box completely with scrap-booking paper from Michael’s Arts & Crafts ($1), and wrote on top of it using a white pen.
  • Packs of cigarettes
  • Chewing tobacco logs
  • New socks
  • “Open When” Letters
  • Basketball shorts
  • Face wipes
  • Candies

Total weight: 4 lbs.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

For Christmas, I am getting together giant care packages to send out to the middle east for my husband and our troops! If it is on your heart to bless the men and women who serve (especially during the holidays) please let me know! You can e-mail me at angel.mcclung@yahoo.com My big packages will be sent on Nov. 20th from Florida!

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Halloween Care Package Post: Click here.

carepackage22

How To: Military Care Package (Halloween Themed)

Praise the lamb! My first care package to my deployed Airman arrived safely! This was my first care package I have ever sent anyone, so I was very nervous. If you have a loved one deployed, in school, or just far away, I hope this helps inspire you to send love via care packages!
carepackage22
Theme: Nightmare Before Christmas / Spooky
I covered the interior of the box completely with colored papers, and drew the Jack & Sally by freehand (google images for references)
  • Oatmeal Cream Cookies (1 box)
  • 5HR Energy Shots (2)
  • Candies (assorted, non-meltable)
  • Peanut Butter (4 to-go cups)
  • Men’s Health Magazine
  • Beef Jerkey
  • “Open When:” Letters
  • Notebook
  • Pens
  • Post-workout Formula
  • Body Wipes for Sports
  • Homemade Cookies
  • Word Search
  • Ibuprofen
  • Pain Killers (PM)

Topped off the box with Halloween decorations (my husband is terrified of spiders) just for for fun 🙂

Just because you’re not with the ones you love, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the little things!

Every time I go to a store, I try to buy at least one thing for my husband that reminds me of him. Things that will bring him joy in the midst of working so hard for our freedom… it’s the least I could do ❤

carepackage1

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Things You Should NEVER Say To A Military Wife… And Things That You Should.

Things You Should NEVER Say To A Military Wife…

“I could never do it.” Really? You could never do it? I’m sure if the one you loved was in uniform, you’d find a way to “do it.” Military spouses don’t have a special powers, we just are ordinary people who love extraordinarily awesome servicemen.

“Deployment will go by so fast.” The only person I trust saying this, is the one who’s husband just came back. Anyone else… no.

“At least he’s not deployed for (name longer time).” Please belittle my situation. I beg of you, it’s my favorite to know you think what I am going through is chump change. It doesn’t matter if it’s 6 months or a year, missing your spouse is awful no matter how long or “little” the deployment.

“You chose this life.” I didn’t choose this life. I chose to love and support my husband, and this life just happened to be apart of it. People choose what coffee to order, what to paint the wall, what goes on a playlist. They don’t choose Christmas alone watching Dear John, while drinking a bottle of Chardonnay and eating a large margarita pizza.

“Does your husband, like, shoot people?” He doesn’t, and if he did, I would still say he doesn’t. But you know what? Someone does. And they fight for your freedom to ask me that stupid question.

“Where is he exactly? Where is that? When does he leave? When does he get back?” I know that most people who ask these have great intentions, but seriously… if you’re supposed to know, you’d know. And if you do know, you should know that you’re not supposed to post it. Lose lips sink ships, y’all.

“I know just how you feel, my boyfriend has business trips all the time.” Cool story bro, tell it again.

“You guys should wait to have kids. You know, until your husband is out of the military.” I suppose we shouldn’t ever invest into anything, ever because of the military? No, life goes on. Even if your family is across the country or you’re stationed overseas, life is to lived! So go buy your first nice car, finish school, start your career, and/or start a family because life is beautiful.

… And Things That You Should.

“Please thank your husband for his service, and thank you for supporting him.” *hold back tears and feel proud* My pleasure M’am.

“Here’s a bottle of wine.” *hold back tears and feel proud* My pleasure M’am.