Major Life Hacks From A Military Momma! How To Streamline The Moving Process And Make Friends Easily!

 

My name is Lorin Beier, and I’ve been married to an Air Force pilot for 11 years. We’ve moved 8 times to 6 cities and one foreign country. At any given time, I’ve got friends on just about every continent, in 10+ countries. We’ve got 3 kids who were born in Alabama, Japan and Georgia; and one on the way.

 

Over the years, I’ve gained some insight that I want to share with you! How about some moving tips?!

 

Moving Tips

  1. Valuables in your trunk! Our first set of movers taught us that. Jewelry, personal papers, etc.  Keep those in your possession!
  2. Plastic totes. We bought 30 from Big Lots and they lasted us through 4 moves and we lent them to a friend for her move as well. It was a tad expensive to do, but I really don’t have to save or buy new boxes every move.
  3. If you prepack, use your linens! Also, paper plates in between your dishes works great.
  4. Label your boxes by room. Make sure the movers place the boxes in the correct room at the new house. It’ll make the unpacking way easier.
  5. Take out your trash. They will pack it. Including dirty diapers {gag.}. I remember thinking surely, they know there’s TRASH in the cans, but if it’s not nailed to the floor, it’s gotta go in the truck or the crate. They’ll also pack drain stoppers, the rack in the dishwasher, and water hoses with water still in there. But heaven forbid they pack non-perishables.

 

Making new friends

In the military spouse world, we call this friend dating. Often times when you get somewhere you have to decide on someone very quickly to be your go-to person for those emergency contacts.

 

  1. Find a church!! And look what social opportunities they have. Whether it’s a mom’s group, playgroup, bible study or couples social group.
  2. Ask ol’ Facebook who you already know in the new location. An option would be to search for ‘Name of City’ Play group, or Mom’s Group.
  3. Once you get your kids in activities, try to recognize other parents who are there often and introduce yourself.
  4. Try to befriend your kids’ friends’ parents at school.
  5. Good golly, go meet your neighbors. Nothing says hello like a box of cookies! We have an inflatable, when we blow it up in the front yard, kids come out of the woodwork.  Great way to meet their parents too!

 

How to help kids adjust

This might be the hardest thing. Sure it’s hard on you leaving familiarity, friends and comfort zone. But, depending on kids’ ages, it’ll be nothing or the hardest thing they’ve ever gone through. And I think it all depends on your kids, their maturity level and your parenting skills.

 

  1. Start early. I will prepare them for an upcoming move several months in advance. Sometimes I know where we’re going, sometimes not. But we will play the “what type of house” will we live in next game. My son’s vote is a red pizza cabin mountain house. My daughter thinks it’ll be a yellow beach house.
  2. Look up their school and find an activity they can join. Special interest groups are instant friends with similar likes.
  3. Google the new city and what to expect. Will there be mountains or a beach? How about an aquarium or skating rink? Of course, find a Mexican restaurant, cause mama needs a margarita.
  4. Find fun things to do. For the first several weekends we will pretend to be tourists. Go find fun places, parks and restaurants, no chains!
  5. If you get farewells, I’d suggest giving stationary and switching addresses; so the kids can have a pen pal. Shoot, that would be great as an adult. It’s really cool at Christmas time getting cards from all over the world.

 

I know the inevitable will happen and the kids will get sad. My daughter is 6.5 and I think this is her first move out of 5, that she fully understands what is happening. Best advice I ever got was to let the kids be sad. Let them cry and feel the weight of the moment. But its really important that they don’t stay there. Kids are more resilient than you think.  It’s going to be fine, momma!

Guest Contributor & World Traveler,

Lorin Beier

 

 

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Sneak Peak Inside Our Winter Wonderland; Tips For Creating A Spectactular Christmas Tree

Ok, Y’all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, we’re not taking a trip to Disney World…..but we are decorating our home for the Holidays.  There is nothing, literally nothing, that I love more than creating a cozy, warm, festive environment for my family during the Christmas season.  Some people, ok…my husband, would say that I go a little over the top.  And you know what, he’s probably right, I am a little on the extreme OCD side.  But I figure there are a lot worse things that I could obsess over.  Honestly, I get it from my momma…and her momma too.  It’s basically a family tradition to over decorate in anticipation of the arrival of Jolly Ole Saint Nick.  As annoying as it may be, my overall goal is to make my house feel like the North Pole.  Not only do I love it, but my kids love it too.  Watching their little faces light up makes every second of decorating and preparation worth it.

I realize decorating isn’t everybody’s thing.  I know some of you mommas are lucky to get one tree up and practically dread every minute of it.  And that’s ok too!  But i’m here today to share a few tips and tricks with you to hopefully make your decorating a little more enjoyable.  Here’s a sneak peak of my trees!

 

The North Pole Tree

This tree is my absolute FAVORITE!  It has all of our special family ornaments on it, which includes my kids homemade ornaments!  (Every year I sob when I get them out and all.the.memories come rushing back.  Whhhhy do my babies have to grow up?!)  We also refer to this tree as the “everything but the kitchen sink tree” because it has all the things on it.  It has more items ‘coming out of the tree’ than hanging on the tree.  It even has peacock feathers.  (Here’s a hint:  ANYTHING can go on a tree – and I mean anything!)

 

The Winter Wonderland Tree

This tree has evolved over the years.  It started out very simple and each year I add a few new things; it’s just taken on a life of it’s own.  It is “matchy-matchy” but it’s fun and it goes in our formal living room (well, as formal as it gets around here.  Let’s be honest; there’s still unfolded laundry on that couch 67% of the time.)

 

The Candy Land Tree

The Candy Land tree is a close second-favorite for me.  I created this tree for my girls because it screams all things feminine, fun and fantasy land.  This is a white tree with colored lights and looks like it walked right off the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Because this tree is less traditional, we usually keep it up much longer than a regular tree.  We always keep it up until Valentines Day and, one year, my kids convinced me to keep it up until Easter.  I should probably be embarrassed, but i’m not.

 

The Angel Tree

This tree is a new addition this year that I created for my momma.  As many of you know, my dad passed away in October.  The holidays are going to be very difficult without him this year.  In his memory, I created an Angel tree so he can be with us for Christmas.  (Keep us in your thoughts and prayers – it’s going to be hard; he was hero.)

 

Decorating Tips

  1. Organization really is key.  Make sure to store decorations, lights, etc away in a neat, organized fashion.  Also, be certain to label your totes so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for next year.
  2. There is nothing more frustrating than tangled Christmas lights – but, here’s a life hack.  Wrap the Christmas lights around a piece of cardboard.  When the lights have been wrapped firmly, plug the ends of the lights together to keep them snug on the cardboard.  This makes unwrapping the lights next year a breeze!
  3. When you take your tree down, make sure to place the items in the tote in the same order you take them off the tree.  By doing this, next year, the items that you need first will be on the top of the tote.
  4. Always keep crafting/floral wire handy.  I’m constantly wiring things in my tree if I can’t get them to stay with Christmas hooks.  You can buy green floral wire that’s the same exact color of the tree.  Total game changer.
  5. Before you start hanging ornaments, make sure your tree is level and sturdy.  If your tree is leaning to one side, you can place a small children’s book under one leg of the tree until you make it appear level.
  6. Another hack is wiring your tree to the wall.  I have two very small nails in my baseboards.  I wrap floral wire around the base of the tree and attach it to the nail in the wall.  This will hopefully keep the tree from being turned over by animals or small children.
  7. After building/fluffing the tree and applying the lights, my next step is to always put on the tree topper.  I use unorthodox tree toppers – never your normal tree toppers.  But I feel like it’s much easier to decorate the tree when the tree topper is already situated.  If you do the tree topper last you’ve always left too much room or not enough room.  This takes the guessing game out of things!
  8. To give the tree a three dimensional look, I love to have items sticking out of my tree.  I usually use glittery sticks, candy canes, snow balls, etc.  Basically anything that’s cute and I have on hand.  My favorite thing about building trees is to be creative and put unconventional items on the tree.  Don’t be scared to step outside the normal Christmas tree box.
  9. If you’re wanting to create a new tree theme, I suggest that you turn to Pinterest and find some tree inspiration.  Sketch out your ideas before you head to Hobby Lobby.  Once you get there, all of the options will be so overwhelming you’ll definitely want to have a plan up front.
  10. When starting a new tree theme, it can be really expensive (especially fancy ornaments.)  A cheap, yet pretty, way to take up some of that extra tree space is to use ribbon.  I like to use it in a fluffed, looped pattern all over the tree.  Make the pattern random for a more trendy look.

Cheers to a wonderful holiday season, my friends!  I hope your Christmas is filled with love and laughter.

 

XOXO,

Jill

 

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