PORK = YUM.  I can't believe that there are people in this world that don't eat pork. I can't imagine life without bacon, and not that turkey crap either.  Never eating a fried pork chop?  OMGoodnes!  Never having a pulled pork sandwich - the tragedy!   I know some people think the pig is a dirty, nasty little creature, but dude so are my kids and I still love them! 

When I make pork carnitas I always make extra.  We LOVE left over pork carnitas.  (Thanks again Tracy for sharing your recipe.)  I've used the leftovers for many different things, canrnita flautas (I THOUGHT I had logged my recipe for flautas, BUT when I went to find it to connect the link I can't find it ANYWHERE!!  Did I not give you that recipe?  Really?), burritos, salads and Boy 1 just eats the meat straight without even heating it up. So the other day when I was talking CARNITA talk with Tracy she told me she makes a soup with her leftovers.  GENIUS!  So once again I followed her lead and threw together a pot of soup.   I LOVED it, the kids didn't eat much, but that could have had more to do with the fact that I let them each buy a box of Girl Scout Cookies (with their own money) when a cute little girl scout came around the neighborhood with a wagon full of cookies.  And yes, I let them eat the cookies BEFORE dinner. Not the smartest thing I have even done, but hey, I'm in the business of creating good childhood memories right?  

This is what I threw together and it took all of about 15 minutes!

8 cups chicken broth
3-4 pounds left  over pork carnitas
small onion - diced
juice of 2 limes
3 garlic clove
1 bunch of cilantro
left over black beans
1 can sweet corn
1 TBL Cumin (or more to taste)
1-2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce - chopped
salt to taste

Combine chicken broth and onions, bring to a boil, add all other ingredients, cook for about 15 minutes.  Dinner is DONE!

Toss a few diced fresh tomatoes and some queso fresco cheese on top and you are all set to dig in!  (A little avocado would be good too, I just didn't have any.)

***If you don't have leftover black beans just use:
1 can black beans
1 can chopped green chilis
Stupid easy.
Stupid good.

I've been making this cake for years.  Sometimes I forget about it and I will go years without making it or even thinking about it, but EVERY time I make it (typically when I don't have much time or energy to cook) I wonder WHY I don't make it more often.  And then I remember.  2. STICKS. OF. BUTTER.

1 can cherry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks of butter cut into squares

Preheat oven to 350. Dump cherries & pineapple into a 9x13 pan.  Spread evenly.  Dump cake mix on top, spread evenly.  Place butter pats on top of cake mix.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Eat warm, cold, either way.  You won't be disappointed.

Paula Deen would be proud. 
It's not pretty, and the picture was taken with my camera after several had already dug in, but it is SO GOOD...
Being a new army spouse can be daunting.  You come into a community where they have a lifesyle and language all their own. When I was a new Army spouse, most of the time I had no idea what people were saying.  Army wives, soldiers and my own husband were constantly speaking to me and each other in acronyms.  I would meet new people, start talking to them and they would speak "Army" to me.  I would nod pretending I knew what they were saying.  Now I am 'one of them' and often times I find myself speaking in acronyms. I try to keep my 'early days' in mind and try to explain what I am saying to civilians or newbies.  This Army life can be challenging, and if you don't have a clue what people are saying you just might feel like you are not a part of that inner circle. With that being said, I feel it is my duty as a (cough, cough) seasoned Army spouse to help you with a few of the most common acronyms:

PCS - Permanent Change Of Station - MOVING, we are MOVING. I don't know why they have the "P" in there because in 2-4 years you will be PCSing again.  Really there is no "P" in the Army.
LES - Leave Earning Statement - REALLY?  It is a pay check stub, however to be able to read it you must take a class.  True Story.
TDY - Temporary Duty, come on folks, it's a business trip!!
***PX & BX - Post Exchange and Base Exchange.  Wal-Mart type store on Military instillations. - Make sure you see notes on Post and Base at the bottom.      
ACU, BDU - Army Combat Uniform, Battle Dress Uniform.  This is what the soldier wears, the CAMOFLAUGE uniform(that seems to be changing every few years now) that makes my heart go pitter patter every time I see my husband in it. 
BAH - Basic Allowance For Housing, if you have been associated with the military for as long as I have you know that is used to be called BAQ which stood for Basic Allowance for Quarters.  This is the amount of the money the military pays you for your housing allowance - I have many friends that think housing is FREE in the Army.  It is not.  You pay for it and your BAH typically does NOT cover your housing cost. 
AWOL - Absent Without Official Leave - this can be used for the teenager as well as the soldier -  "Where is Boy 1?" "I don't know he is AWOL."   For both the soldier and the teenager this means BIG TROUBLE.  
PT - Physical Training - WORK OUT, something soldiers are required to do to start their morning.  Something military mom's do to their children when they are in trouble.  "Do you want me to PT you?!"
CAV - Cavalry!  Not to be confused with the church - Calvary.  The Cavalry - bleed yellow and black.  Need I say more?
TC - Tank Commander - a bad ass soldier.
POV - Privately Owned Vehicle - a soldiers car. Soldier: "Honey, will you bring the POV to me?" Spouse: "Really, what else would I drive, your tank?"  Real conversation - no lie.  
FUBAR -Fucked Up Beyond Any Repair - No more explanation is needed.
CIF -Central Issue Facility - a place to check out extra crap the Army makes your soldier take and the place where you turn the crap back in and when you are PCSing AND when something is missing or it is FUBAR they charge you an arm and a leg. 
CONUS - CONtinental United States - what is wrong with just US?  Really?
OCONUS - Outside the CONtinental United States - O V E R S E A S
MP - Military Police - just as it sounds.  I have nothing smart ass to say here.
CO - Commander - first in charge of a Company, Squadron, Unit, Battalion, Brigade... you get the idea.
XO - Executive Office - second in charge of all things listed above.
NCO - Non-Commissioned Officer. An Enlisted Person With Command Responsibility; Corporal To Command Sergeant
CSM - Command Sergeant Major - One scary MF'er
SF - Special Forces - Cocky soldiers that think they are bad ass.  OK, they are. :o)
MRE - Meal Ready to Eat - They come in brown plastic sealed bags and last F O R E V E R I don't even think they have an expiration date.  If I had to eat them on a regular basis I would never have to worry about that extra 10 pounds.
SOP - Standard Operating Procedure -  A book with directions for everything.  If you do something new, you must write a SOP for it before you do it.
AAR - After Action Review - something you must write AFTER an event, every time. Period.
OPSEC - Operational Security - the shit you can't put on Facebook or talk about on an unsecure phone line
ACS - Army Community Services, a place you to take classes to learn what all this means.

A few other things commonly said:
Household 6 - Hubby has called me Household 6 from day one. Day one I had no idea what that meant, now I do.  It means I AM THE BOSS
Roger that - I've got it, I will comply (or when a wife says this to her military husband she is trying to get him to stop beating a dead horse.)
 I'm Tracking - I am following the story....

For the most part this holds true even though there are a few exceptions to this rule:
Post = ARMY
Base = Air Force / Marines

Please do not confuse these three.  ESPECIALLY if you are a SOLDIER!!!!!  (Or a spouse of a soldier.)

And that concludes your lesson for the day!  Please feel free to leave comments with you favorite Acronyms or sayings! And you SF guys - it was a joke! Don't go all SF on me!  :o)
OH my gosh! I forgot to post about Rosie (the whole Korea thing threw me off for a few days)!!  Last week Girl was worried about Rosie, her Chilean Rose Hair tarantula, she was lethargic and wasn't moving....as it turns out Rosie was getting ready to molt!  We discovered (after the fact) that Chilean Rose Hairs actually lay down webbing before molting.  This is something Texas Brown tarantulas do not do (you remember Guess right - yes we still have him too...).  Anyway, before school one morning Girl came running out of her room saying, Rosie isn't sick - she is molting!  The kiddos got to see most of the molting before they headed to school!  And I must admit it was super cool to watch the process! 
The black part is the "new and improved Rosie" the brown is her old skin.
It took another 10 minutes for her to get this far...
And another 10 minutes to get this far. You can really see her 'fangs' well in this photo.
After 30 minutes she is out! She stayed on her back for about 30 more minutes.
Rosie's old skin!
A few hours after molting
Well, let's not get too carried away, this is the Army and things can change at the drop of a dime!  
Let me start over - It is 'Army' official!  We have ORDERS in hand.  We report to Yongsan, South Korea early this summer! Let the good times roll!!  We are all SO EXCITED to be moving back to Seoul!  Now if I could just convince Tammy, Amanda, Jefanna, Lauren and all my other favorites to come with me all would be good in my world!  I know it will not be the same as last time - I don't have that expectation, people will be different, Hubby's job will be more demanding, he won't be home for dinner as often, he will be traveling a lot more, BUT he won't be being shot at! (As long as the North Koreans behave themselves!)  Dang....that sounds good to say out loud (well, I'm saying it out loud in my head as I type it, does that count?)!  I am so looking forward to: hiking, living at a slower pace, traveling, going to the naked spa, eating street food, going to all the places I missed last time and most of all, having MORE FAMILY TIME!! 

Seoul, get ready....Six In Seoul will be back this summer!
The weather in Central Texas has been crazy nice this January (mid 60's to high 70's) so this past weekend we felt we needed to get outside and do something fun!  The kids were more than ready to hit the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas.  Boy 1 DROVE US to Waco, 1 hour away and I only freaked out one time.  Really! Just one time.  He is becoming quite the good driver and even though I love to drive (I'm a bit of a control freak...) it was nice to sit back and play 'Words With Friends' while he did all the driving! 
Boy 1 hates it that I still make him pose with his siblings for pictures, but what is a mom to do? It would be wrong to have pictures without him!
The Cameron Park Zoo is a quick trip from Fort Hood and a perfect day trip for moms with little ones.  It only took us 3 hours to go through the zoo, but they have some pretty fun things for little people to do! The zoo has two playgrounds, and all the usual; lions and tigers and bears OH MY!  Although we did not see the bears this time - they must have been snoozing out of sight!  OH and another cool thing they have is a tube slide in the otter tank! The kids slide right through where the otters are playing!

The kids and I were trying to figure out how many zoos we have visited over the years and the number is pretty high, we have visited way over 20 zoo, drive thru safaris and wild animal parks (don't even get us started on Aquariums)!  We tried to rank them in order of how we liked them, but had a very hard time doing so - each zoo has its own special qualities.  We LOVED the bird exhibit at the San Antonio Zoo and the San Antonio Zoo is where Girl fell in love with spiders! Drive-thru zoos are always freakishly fun, we loved the Panda's at the San Diego Zoo and Seoul Grand Park had large exhibits for their animals and a stream that ran through the playground, it was a great place to cool off!  In Chiang Mai we got to hold baby monkeys!  We have ridden on  elephants, camels & water buffalo, held snakes, have been too close to Komodo dragons &  COULD have gone in a cage with tigers, but decline, thank you very much - we like being among the living.

Back to the Waco Zoo, it  might not be the biggest but it is worth a trip! 
Yes, I am beautiful, thank you.
What is not to love about the lion fish?
The lions were very spirited on this day; the big guy in this picture was roaring something fierce!
And speaking of lions..... I'm so bored..... Another zoo, another lion...
I'm pretty sure he was looking for a nice appetizer!
OK, this isn't so bad. He is kind of playful!
There were three lions and they were all being very playful!
Isn't he cute?
3 of my monkeys!
Each New Year I try to think of a creative way to become a better person.  A few years back it was to perform random acts of kindness each day. Now mind you, random acts of kindness can cost you NOTHING!  I remember back in the day I would see someone with ROCKIN' shoes and I would think to myself "I LOVE those shoe", or I would see that mom with three kids in toe with two of them screaming their heads off and the third one lost a shoe and the mom has the look of 'dear God, please help me on her face' and I would think 'Oh sweetie, I feel your pain' and I would move on.  But with my new 'resolution' I started saying those things out loud.  I would say to that lady with rockin' shoes, "Wow! I love your shoes" or to that crazed mom I offered a smile and say 'I feel your pain, hang in there sweetie'.   Such simple jesters of kindness can go a long way; it can turn what started out as a bad day into a good day, all from someone being kind. 

Early last week I challenged my kids to perform random acts of kindness towards one person at school AND  towards EACH SIBLING each day.  I told them we would talk about what we all did at dinner that night.  Well, that didn't work very well because as soon as I picked the kids they couldn't WAIT to tell me what kindness act they performed!  Here are a few acts of kindness they passed on last week:
*Boy 3 asks two kids to be his friend while playing on the playground and then he played tag with them. (He still does not know their names and that was on Tuesday! :)
*Girl ask a little girl that always plays by herself to play come play with her and her friends.
*Boy 2 helped a little boy with his math.
*On lollipop day each child took extra money (their own money) to buy lollipops for kids that didn't bring money to school.
*Boy 2 told a girl he liked her shirt.
*Boy 3 gave his teacher a fossil.
Boy 1 even got into it, his act of kindness is the same each day though - he tells random girls that they are pretty.  Yeah, remember - he is 15.

The kids did great with acts of kindness towards friends and people they don't know.  However it was harder for them to perform act of kindness towards their siblings.  When I started thinking about this it made me realize that it is the same is true for me.  Why am I not nicer to the people I love? Sure, I do act of kindness towards people I love, BUT I don't typically go out of my way to do extra acts of kindness for the people I love.  For example, I send my husband a care package every week or so, but I never include a note telling him how much he means to me.  I just brush it off as "I am too busy, and he knows how I feel - I'm sending him a package - that is enough".  But does he? And really, how long does it take to write a note?  And for the kids, yes, I do all kinds of things for them day in and day out, but do I make them feel special by showing them that extra kindness?  Sometimes, but I can totally improve on it.  This New Year, I am going to work on 'acts of kindness' towards my family.  Last night for example, I let the kids wrestle in the living room, I didn't freak out about the noise level (I have issues with noise - I know, I know) and even got in on the action and guess what - it was FUN! 

If you are interested in getting in on the fun, here are a few more ideas:
Make cookies for your neighbors for no reason.
Make dinner for a family that has a busy night.
Hold the door open for strangers.
Wake up before your spouse and make coffee for them.
Next time you find yourself in a drive-thru buy an extra meal for the homeless person on the corner.
Offer free babysitting for a mom that would never ask.
Help someone with their yard work.
Let someone go in front of you in line.
Bake cookies for your mail carrier, UPS person, garbage collector...(you get the idea)
Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life, or tell them in person.
Write a letter.
Write your child a letter and put it in the mail.
Have a busy friend and you are going to the grocery store?  Call and ask if you can pick something up for them.
Pick up trash that didn't make it to a trash can.
Put love notes in your husband's lunchbox.
Put love notes in your child's lunchbox.
Leave a generous tip!
Pay someone a compliment at least once a day!
Thank a soldier.
Say Good Morning to strangers (with a smile on your face!)
Send flowers for no reason.
Thank a firefighter.
Coach a youth sports team.
Put coins in a stranger's parking meter.
Donate used clothes.
Donate blood.
Invite someone who is alone over for dinner.
Send a little something special to your child's teacher to thank them for what they do.
Visit a retirement home.
Thank a police officer.
Make a love note for your child with crayons and construction paper, just like they do for you.
Do art projects that are messy with your children. (And don't fret about the cleanup!)
Breakfast in bed!

The most fun random act of kindness was at a Starbucks one day last year.  I was inside the store; I was at the front of the line paying for my coffee.  I looked up as a car was driving away and I told the cashier I wanted to pay the bill for the next person that came through the drive-thru.  I did, they were very thankful and they paid it forward to the next person in the drive-thru, and then same with the next car!  This continued through SEVEN CARS!!!  Inside Starbucks everyone was going wild! The cashier would announce "It happened again" and the inside folks would get all excited!  That was a fun random act of kindness. 

Now go out and make someone's day!
Yes, I said FRIED CHEESE. 

Seriously, who doesn't love something fried every once in a while?  And tell me, what child doesn't LOVE fried cheese?  It is a special treat when the kids come home from school and their afternoon snack is fried cheese. Yes, making anything fried is a little daunting and the grease splatters alone will send an OCD mom into a cleaning fit.  (That is why I invite my OCD friends over on fried cheese days!) But if you can get over the mess, the smile on your kids face will be worth cleaning grease splatters off the ceiling.

16oz block of mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup flour
4 eggs
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
6 cups of vegetable oil
Marinara sauce for dipping (Rao's is my favorite!)

Take your block of mozzarella cheese and cut it into about 1/4 inch rectangles.

You will need 3 shallow bowls for battering the cheese.
Bowl #1 - 1/2 cup of flour
Bowl #2 - 4 eggs, beaten
Bowl #3 - 2 cups Italian bread crumbs, just putting 1 cup a time in the bowl.

Coat the cheese sticks in flour (this helps the egg stick to the cheese), then dip in eggs and then coat with breadcrumbs (making sure to cover the ends).  If you like thicker coatings re-dip in egg, then in breadcrumbs again.  Batter all cheese the cheese sticks first and have them ready to go when it is time to cook.

Heat your vegetable oil to 350 degrees and fry cheese for 30 to 45 seconds on each side; it will be a golden brown, and voilà!  You have beautifully fried cheese sticks in no time! 
You kids will LOVE you for it!  ♥
**For an adult version, this recipe works really well with fresh mozzarella, and it is oh so freaking good! :)
As an 'experienced' (notice I did not say senior) military spouse I always feel for and try to encourage those going through their first deployment, making their first military move, or even sending the love of their life off to train for a few weeks that very first time. I remembered the first time I sent my hubby off.  It was torture.  I made a big Thermos full of coffee for him (which I learn later that I forgot to put the inside cap on so he ended up spilling hot coffee everywhere), loaded him up with baked goodies and I had NO IDEA how I was going to let him go. I was standing outside in a parking lot in the dark in Fort Knox, Kentucky crying like a baby.  What on earth was I going to do with myself living in a state where I didn't know many people, had no family and now the love of my life just pulled away in a big white bus and he was going to be gone for TWO WHOLE WEEKS! Today, two weeks is over in the blink of an eye, what I would give for a two week TDY (temporary duty station, aka business trip for you civilians). 

Today  I try to encourage that young or new spouse by letting her know that it gets easier, and someday they will appreciate when their spouse goes TDY for a couple of weeks.  Honestly, the first time I heard this I thought - I thought, 'she must not love her husband as much I love my guy.  How can she ever think I will get use to this?!'  OH! How I thought this spouse was HORRIBLE!  Little did I know that 20 years later I would be that horrible woman telling you, "You will get used to it, and at times you will even welcome it".  Military life can be hard at times, but you must learn that from everything you go through there is a lesson, at the time it may seem like the hardest thing you have ever done, but if you take that lesson and just try a little to pull the good from it the next time you will be better equipped to handle that separation, that move, that sick child or whatever the case may be. That first time without my Hubby felt like the hardest time of my life.  Little did I know it was just preparation for 4 long deployments and many shorts separations in between.  (By short I mean 2 weeks - 3 months.)

So, I ask some of my military sisters a simple question:  If you had one piece of advice for a young or new military spouse what would it be?  Here are some of the answers I received:

*Learn from those who have gone before you....there is something to be said for experience. ~ Marla
*Have a really good sense of humor! ~ Barb
*Turtle, Turtle. Be like a turtle. A turtle has to stick their neck out to move forward. To a young military spouse the Army life can be daunting; however, if you just stick your neck out a little, you will move forward in your Army life. ~ Krista
*Army is a culture/a lifestyle...when given lemons make lemonade.  You have the choice of becoming part of the resolution or part of the problem. ~ Carmen
*Be positive and surround yourself with positive people. ~ LeAnn
*Every time you move, remember that you only get out of a place what you’re willing to give it....so jump in, make friends, volunteer for your favorite causes and explore! If you wait too long, it's time to move and you've missed it. ~ Kelly
*This is a journey you have to embrace. Flexibility and a positive attitude is a must. It is up to you to make each situation the best for you and your family. ~Yvonne
*Always count your blessings, dwelling on the good stuff helps get you through the hard stuff. ~ Rachel
*Mine would be tell her to run...haha just kidding, I agree getting involved is key, also be prepared, so many women are shocked when hubby has to leave for work, be prepared for it and it will be easier to get through it! ~ Lauren
*I would tell her to be supportive but not to lose herself and her interests. Surround yourself with a great group of women that will build you up. Also, PATIENCE (I still need to work on that one)! ~ Rebecca
*So far, the one insight I have is always have a back-up plan, especially if you have kids. ~ Sara
*I think it is imperative to say never stop talking with your spouse especially when the conversations get hard. Too much time apart without really talking equals a breakdown in the marriage. Keep talking!!! ~ Tammy
*I would say the same thing and add to try to get plugged into a church as well. ~ Tori
*Also, embrace change, don't fight it. Everything changes, so the more you fight it; the harder it will be on you and your family. It is important to be flexible and understand that things won't always go in the direction you have
planned out. And even though I do work, I still want to be involved as much as possible, so I am always willing to volunteer. ~ Sara
*Stay true to yourself. Find a hobby, a passion, go back to school. Don’t lose yourself, just because you are a military spouse does not mean you do not have an identity! ;) Stay strong but remember it’s ok to cry. Find a battle buddy to help get you through the bad times and laugh through the great times. Reach out to our families of the Fallen & Wounded Warriors in any way possible. Lastly, don’t be too hard on the FRG leaders both good and bad. I have learned so much from both types.  ~ Liz
*I am still a young spouse, the ranks we've went through, Wow! I would tell her to not be that wife. You know the one who flashes her husband’s rank and think she wears it on her chest as well. Rank does get things accomplished
quick but so does kindness and hard work. Most would never guess that I am an officer’s wife. In James there is a scripture that says be humble and he will take care of you. If it wasn't for a LTC wife that told me when my husband
commissioned to not be "that wife" it would have been very easy to let the maxed put pay grade for prior service and the rank of my husband to go to my head. I can definitely tell we are more respected and trusted by everyone in my hubby's unit for our approach to the army system. ~ Rachel
*Be yourself! A little humility goes a long way - learn to go with the flow, which goes in line with being flexible (like a freaking Chinese acrobat!!) don't sweat the small stuff and most importantly - have a sense of humor!! Seriously, some of this stuff you can't make up!! I'm writing a book someday! ~ Allison
*I think everyone's nailed it on the head. Along with everyone else's wonderful advice I’ve always said to avoid becoming one's own island. It’s really what everyone else has said (along with remaining flexible, patient,
etc.). regardless of ...how independent i am i still get involved in the community, i have created wonderful
friendships, I’ve taken advantage of what the local area has to offer, etc. also, along with being flexible, i think spouses need to keep in mind that becoming bitter and angry at the Army due to the pace of training, deployments
etc. only hurts yourself and your family. It will color everything you do, everything you say, the relationships you create. Embrace those separations as periods of growth, as opportunities to strengthen the bonds of your marriage. If
you are exhibiting negativity it's only going to make things harder on your family, including your soldier. I’ve seen too many wonderful ladies be consumed by rage and bitterness and it's just not pretty. Take the time to revel in unique Army traditions, and create new ones for your family. Embrace change, it's inevitable. From the get go plan for periods of separation: understand your bills, finances, how to take care of the car, be willing to undertake all the household chores without labeling some his/hers because chances are from time to time you'll be handling most or all of it by yourself. And don't forget to take care of yourself!  ~ Laura
*I always tell them, "it is what you make it.” If you complain about your current post, deployment, etc. then of course it will be miserable. Seize the opportunity to explore new things and new cultures and make the best of it. As I look back in my 20 years as an army wife, I know there were times that I was that complaining young wife, but now, I cherish all those memoriesas we begin a new chapter in the world of retirement. :) ~Andrea
*The suggestions to volunteer and get involved are spot on, but also recognize when you need to say "no" to take care of yourself or your family. I don't have nearly as much experience as a military wife as some of you do, and only had tomake it through one long deployment/activation, but that advice was helpful to me and has been helpful in
the civilian world, as well. Also, feel free to be protective of your family's time together. After a return from deployment, there will be lots of people who want to see your soldier right away, but feel free to take a few days, if you feel you need to, to reunite as a family first, before making all kinds of plans with extended family and friends. ~ Lara
*After almost 25 years as a military spouse I can say that my walk with God and lots of laughter got me through even the toughest times and remembering that so you think, so you act, so you are. Got me through 14 deployments and I'm still sane! : ) ~ Therisa
*Put God first. Reach out to your "sister spouses". Embrace the WONDERFUL Army family and life style (although challenging at times) by taking advantage of and... appreciating your benefits and locations. Be involved, be prepared, and don’t lose yourself in your hubby's job or position! On a practical note: when you PCS unpack and set up as quickly as possible so you can get out and jump into your community! As a former Army brat and current Army spouse, I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to live this lifestyle! ~ Tammy
*My advice would be to enjoy the ride. You meet amazing people along the way, a true family. This life is NOT for the timid, step out of your box and embrace it. Always remember where you came from, but the road that lies ahead will be just as fun. Most important teach your children to embrace this life as well; they will be much better people in the long run. ARMY STRONG! ~ Lori
*Become explorers wherever you are stationed, there are amazing little spots even in the middle of the desert. ~ Cat
*Get it in writing! Know exactly who gave you the wrong information! ~ Stine

Enjoy the ride of your life....Army Familes, Army Strong!
I like good things. Good friends, good coffee, good vacations, good children, good teachers, good food, good spices ( I could go on and on here) and as we all know, good food and good spices go hand in hand.  I didn't always know that - the first person to introduce me to 'good spices' was my fried Lori.  We were in cooking group together back at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and Lori is a FABULOUS cook - I wanted to be able to cook like her so I took note!  Lori was sort of my cooking (and organizing) mentor while living in Kansas and even though  I haven't seen Lori in years I think of her often. I thought of her last night as I cleaned and reorganized my pantry, I think of her when I make certain dishes, like Pecan Crusted Chicken with Lemon-Ginger Sauce (she taught me the way of the sauce!), and I think of her every time I use a Penzey spice.  I remember the first time she showed me her spice drawer and had me smell different spices.  It really is remarkable what even dried fresh spices (seems like an oxymoron) can do for a dish.  When a recipe calls for basil or rosemary I always try to us fresh-fresh, not dried-fresh, but when I don't have fresh-fresh on hand Penzeys is always there for me. 
At Penzeys in Austin
Anyway - you might be asking what is so special about Penzeys spices?  Penzeys carries over 250 different spices and they have farms all over the world and they package their spices and send them to their stores right after they are dried.  They don't sit around losing flavor waiting to be shipped here and there. (Seriously, I don't work for them!) The other thing I love about Penzeys is that they have different size jars if you don't use something very often you can buy a mini-jar - use lots of something else, buy a full size jar - AND once your jar is empty, don't toss it - just buy a refill! (I try to do my part to help save the environment.) OK, and just one more thing I love about Penzys is that they ship to APO addresses! 
Inside the Austin store
They have all kinds of yummy extracts and they have open jars of everything for you to smell.
Refill packs