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One thing you wish you had known before moving overseas to Germany

Dillenburg in the Evening
Werner Kunz / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I am on a multitude of different overseas Facebook pages, many of them listed here.  Every once in awhile a good conversation comes along that bares repeating.  This is one such conversation.  If there was ONE THING you had known before moving overseas, what would it be?  See below for some good answers.

Ask VMW: What is a “Tagesmutter” and why would I want one? (plus other resources to find help not just for children)

ARMS OF LOVE
johnb/Derbys/UK. / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

I recently received this question again and thought I would answer it here:

“I keep hearing from my friends who are German about a ‘Tagesmutter’, some kind of in home daycare that is not the same as preschool?  They tell me it’s super cheap because of subsidies from the government?  Can you tell me more about it?”

Note:  Be sure to see below where you can also search for au pairs, babysitters, nannies, eldercare, housekeeping, handymen, garden help, after school care (German and English), etc.

Best Military Spouse Gifts

glass blocks

There is just something special about being a military spouse.  I have no frame of reference, as I’ve never been a civilian spouse…in fact, I’ve never been a civilian period.  Military spouses are some of the most thoughtful, caring and GIVING individuals.  My mother, also a military spouse, had a gift closet.  I have had a gift closet for years.  Yes, I buy things on sale just to be added to the closet, along with giftbags, tissue paper, wrapping paper and tape.  I don’t go anywhere or get invited anywhere without bringing some kind of gift with me….whether it’s an edible or a keepsake…just like most military spouses I know.  Now that my husband is in his third command position, I feel it is important to hand over something tangible to someone as a thank you, a welcome, a farewell and at other opportunities along the way.  I had a Navy officer tell me the Navy actually has “special pay” for being a commander.  What?  In the Army, you get nothing special.  Everything comes out of your own paycheck.  Even unit pins, which I like to give out to guests of the unit and outside volunteers along with new command spouses, the funds come out of our own pockets.  It’s just important to acknowledge their service AND to make them feel like they are a part of a team.  I thought I would collect the websites where I like to purchase military spouse specific gifts.

Best things about being stationed in SHAPE, Belgium

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It’s now been almost two years since my husband was stationed in SHAPE, Belgium.  It was definitely a unique assignment.  There was a US Army base at Chievres and then a NATO base with soldiers and servicemembers from dozens of different European nationalities only 30 minutes away.  It was an adjustment to say the least adapting to a NATO environment.  There were different rules.  There were different ways of doing things not only because of the NATO environment but also because it was Belgium, which was so unlike Germany, our previous assignment.  I did enjoy my time there.  So much that I still frequent a Facebook page dedicated to SHAPE where someone recently asked what the best thing was about being there.  Here are their answers along with what I thought was unique about being there.

Product Review: I am now a Warrior Princess!

My new favorite footcare kit

My new favorite footcare kit

Okay, so not really…but, I was recently given a chance to try these skincare products.  At first I thought, “how many different skincare products can I actually try out and why?”.  Then I went to the website and read a little bit about this product line and read that their products all are formulated without parabens, synthetic dyes, or sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, plus they try to use the most high quality ingredients.  Well that got me thinking that I would give them a try.  Here’s how I fared.

Blog Round Up #60 – Where has it been?

London skyline. Skyline de Londres.
J. A. Alcaide / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I don’t know where it’s been but certainly not here!  I’ve been dutifully bookmarking and noting all my favorite posts…and then not writing about them!  Here are my latest helpful favorites!

The Rittersport Chocolate Experience (discount chocolate & making your own)

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I used to envy my two friends who lived in Waldenbuch, Germany.  You see, when the wind was just right chocolatey heaven would float into their open windows!  They lived within aroma distance of the famous Rittersport Chocolate Factory…in my opinion the best chocolate anywhere in Germany, possibly the world!  I grew up with it as a child, as my grandfather who had a candy, cookie, coffee and alcohol (yeah, weird huh) wholesale business in Germany…okay, can you say dream job for Opa to have….I used to literally crawl around the huge warehouse shelves and pick out my favorites, count the varieties at inventory time and accompany my grandpa in his van as he distributed the goodies to local stores and restaurants (this was in the days before supermarkets).  But I digress.  We used to have all the Rittersport favorites, and I’m pleased to say they still have my favorites today and then some.  If you want an absolute fun outgoing and chocolate experience, let me tell you all the things you can do at Rittersport, both for adults and children!  And it’s only about 15 minutes from Panzer Kaserne in Boeblingen.

Find housing in your milcommunity overseas (replaces ahrn.com)

Dressed to Kill...
Collin Key / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

They’ve told us for a few months now that ahrn.com will be going away due to budget cuts.  But the good news, is IMCOM has come up with a new site that is very user friendly the overseas housing offices are using to upload their housing inventory.

What are your BEST travel budgeting tips?

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Juliet’s balcony in Verona, Italy.

The other day, a friend asked me how I save money on our family travels.  Yeah, I have already talked about some of the websites and resources I use to book cheap stuff to begin with but what about when you’re on the road and want to save some more or find some more ways to squeeze money out of that deal?  How does your family save then?   Let’s see if we can come up with a big list!

I am back now

Doing my most favorite thing in the world....

Doing my most favorite thing in the world….

Apparently all the spammers commenting on my blog shut it down…yet again!  Why they bother with my little blog, I just don’t know!  Thankfully, tech support at my hosting site helped me to wade thru all the traffic.  I think I have it fixed.  I hope I have it fixed.  I’d like to spend more time on the blog in the new year:-)  Sorry you couldn’t access my blog the last few days:-(  I’m off skiing but when I’m back, I’m sure I’ll have more to say about Army life, the life of a spouse and my favorite subject…traveling….along with all the other life lessons life has to offer!  I want to wish my readers all the best and if you have Facebook, be sure to visit this blog’s Facebook page as there is more activity there than here!

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