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Week 5 – How To Relax During a PCS!

Play, Laugh & Smile.

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Great site to plan a road trip! *Week 5 of A Month to PCS at The Real Sweetheart*

Those three things are key to a relaxing and fun PCS. With the overall process being a tad stressful on everyone, including the kiddos, why not make one of the last steps of the journey a fun one?! So, try out a few of the suggestions below on your next PCS to make it a special, fun and relaxing one!

  • Make your PCS into a Road Trip.

*Try using roadtrippers.com – it’s an amazing site that not only gives you the directions, but also has entertainment, food, historical place suggestions and more! I’m not saying you have to stop at every sight seeing place, but try a couple to make memories!

  • Consider taking extra leave during a PCS.

*Now this one may seem weird, especially considering your spouse is probably taking PCS leave (Permissive TDY) already, but taking an extra 5 days of personal leave can make the PCS more enjoyable due to an extended time frame.

  • Instead of staying at a hotel overnight, try meeting up with family in an area.

*On our way up to Fort Lewis from Reno, we stopped at Blair’s Aunt’s and Uncle’s place in Klamath Falls and stayed the night. Not only was it nice to catch up with them, but also nice to feel welcomed by family in the middle of our move.

  • Pack games or make up games to play in the car.

*This is one that I loved to do when I was younger – the license plate game. Seriously it had me on lookout for hours. What you do is write down the 50 states on a piece of paper, then every time you see a state license plate you check it off your list. Plates from outside of the states like British Columbia were extra points. I never saw an Alaska plate when I was little and it infuriated me! Anywho, just an idea – try this or make one up of your own! Any games are fun!

A fun little box of questions to ask on the road!

A fun little box of questions to ask on the road!

  • Try making road trip question cards or buying some.

*Table Topics conversation starters are too fun! Years ago I bought a set of these to ask my dad questions about the ’70s at dinner time. It was funny to see how he answered, and interesting to see what he would laugh or smile about! Try picking up a Family Edition set or one of their many other fun sets! Both you and your kids will be laughing and (best of all) talking!

So I want to know – what do you do to make a PCS more relaxed or enjoyable?

Lauren

*I can’t believe it’s already been 5 weeks since I started this series and with it being the last post of *A Month of PCS*, stay tuned for June’s mini series going to be announced next Monday! Have a great weekend!

Previous Posts for *A Month of PCS*

Week 1 – The Basics to a PCS!

Week 2 – On or Off Post?

Week 3 – Who Moves Our Things?

Week 4 – Making the Move!

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Army Wife Opinion: Is the Commissary Worth It?

The Commissary.

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To see promotional items or what’s on sale at your commissary, check out http://www.commissaries.com. It’s an awesome site with helpful tips!

I’ve had several discussions with fellow Army wives on whether the commissary is really worth going to. I’ve heard all of the arguments for shopping there – There’s no tax. The prices are cheaper. The meat is better quality. Literally, I’ve heard them all. Yet, I’m still not completely sold on shopping there…

Since I plan our meals out on a monthly basis, I go grocery shopping once a month. This makes sense for us to do, especially considering the first paycheck of the month goes directly to bills and the second one goes to food, gas and our savings. So planning ahead is seriously the best option, but where exactly is more debatable!

Just so you know, here in Lacey, WA – right outside of Fort Lewis – I have several options on where to go grocery shopping:

  • Safeway
  • WinCo
  • Wal-Mart
  • Costco
  • The Commissary

Now, here are some thoughts on the subject from fellow military wives!

“We’ve tried shopping at both for an extended period of time and overall, we have a lower grocery bill at the commissary. Spices are WAY cheaper at Winco though. We also don’t think the quality of meat we got at Winco was as good as the meat at the commissary.”-Cindi

“I shop for most stuff at Wal Mart. Olympia Seafood Market is the best fresh seafood in the area. Winco tends to be cheaper from what I seen but I do not like there family packs of meat or wilted produce. Try Bountiful Baskets for fresh fruit and veggies and whole grain bread; Michaels meats has good freezer packs. All food is tax free. The commissary charges a percentage on everything you buy. The best deal to me at the commissary is tampons.” –Jennifer

“Winco for food. Walmart for household things.” –Brooke

“I shop at winco or Fred Meyer if I have the coupons and get my meats from Costco and paper products. The money I would spend in gas To post I save shopping here.” –Staci

Personally, I don’t shop at the Commissary unless I’m on base. These are my reasons why:

  1. I’m not a “brand” person. So if I can still get a generic box of pasta for 50 cents less than the brand name box of pasta at the commissary, I’ll keep shopping at WinCo.
  2. Proximity. WinCo is close – like 6 minutes away from our apartment. While Safeway is even closer, we only stop there for our favorite ice cream – otherwise it’s too expensive. And while the base isn’t that far away, I still have to get on the freeway, go through the gate and find a parking space along with the other 500 million people there.
  3. Surcharge. I don’t quite fall for the “There’s No Tax!” phrase. When you go to the commissary, there IS a surcharge. And there is no food tax here in Washington. So even though some things I may pick up at WinCo are taxable, I still would rather save the gas money than drive to post to buy groceries with a surcharge.
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Check them out and see which one works best for you!

Now, don’t think I’m bashing the commissary! It does have some great deals – like their cheese! All I can say is – Just Shop Smartly.

Like the wives above, try out some of the different options first then make a decision which works best for you, your family and your budget.

We shop mostly at WinCo, get bulk items at Costco, and misc. items at Big Lots. That’s what works for us – so find out what works for you! Good luck!

Lauren

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Our First Year Captured

A Year.

A month from today, Blair and I have officially been married for a year. It blows my mind how quickly it’s gone by – let only how fast the last six years have flown by! So to remember our first year together and freeze our time here in Washington, we decided to have our photos taken at the beautiful Tolmie State Park by the talented Marjorie Santiago at Sugar Lilies Photography!

Blair and I have always loved looking at old photos of our parents and grandparents, and I can’t wait to have a huge collection of photos for our kids to look at and ask us about. Marjorie’s photos captured exactly what both of us were looking for. And despite it raining some (no surprise there!) and being very cold outside, she got us to laugh while we stayed snuggled close to each other to keep warm!

Below are just a few of our favorites that we wanted to share with our friends and family around the country. Enjoy!

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Marjorie is one of my all time favorite photographers, as well as someone who has become a good friend here in Washington. She’s everything a great photographer is: talented, friendly, creative and a go getter! But, I’m not going to lie, one of the best things about her is that she is a fellow Army wife! I love supporting fellow Army wives and she is definitely one that is majorly deserving of praise for her hard work and beautiful creations!

If you are in the Fort Lewis area, she’s the gal to go to for photos. She has great prices, creates beautiful photos and is always having awesome promotions (her last one was a free mini session for Easter!). To check out more of her work, visit her site here!

Lauren

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P.S. I asked Marjorie if I could use the photo to the right so I could show everyone what the part of Washington we live in looks like. Washington definitely lives up to their nickname “The Evergreen State” – they are everywhere here!

Tolmie is right by the water, and is a fun place to visit if you are up in Washington too. Such a great state park!