This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com.
I didn’t grow up in a military family. In fact, I knew very little about the military until I started dating John. (And then, oh boy, did I learn A LOT in a little bit of time.)
But I did grow up in a family that prepared me to live military life. I grew up with parents who taught me important skills and mindsets like resiliency, empathy, and organization. But they also taught me one other thing about life that really made my military journey a lot easier.
They taught me about creating (and finding) magic in the ordinary. It didn’t cost a lot of money; sometimes it was just a sprinkler in the backyard or eating waffles and ice cream for breakfast on a hot summer morning. It was more about the attitude and excitement and less about the actual thing.
The happiest military spouses I know know how to create and find magic in the ordinary, too. They’re the ones that summon a deep joy for life. They’re the ones that find ways to make life a little easier because they see life as an adventure. They celebrate the little things.
You can do that too. Here are six ideas to get you started…
1. Go on a mini road trip
Deployment is hard on everyone in the family. It’s easy to get into the same rote patterns and to just try to make it through the day or the week or the month. Sometimes everyone needs a little bit of magic. Pack up the kids for a surprise road trip. You don’t have to go far– you just need to go somewhere that is a little out of your ordinary. Maybe that means heading to the dollar store, grabbing a few kite kits, and heading to a park you’ve never visited. Maybe it means going to the movies in the middle of the day just because. Maybe it means going to that froyo place or hiking a bike trail or just driving across town to another playground. As the mom or dad, you get to set the tone for how cool (or lame) this trip is. Your kids will follow and they’ll remember that little piece of magic you gave them forever.
2. Enjoy Italian vineyards
Unless you’re one of the few, super lucky military spouses who are actually stationed in Italy, most of us have to settle with a little imagination. Grab a bottle of your favorite Italian wine and a wine glass. Pull up a playlist like this one and relax outside on your balcony or patio for a few minutes. If you have a little more time, fix yourself a plate of bruschetta, too.
Not sure what wine to pick? Cavit Rose is a lovely imported Italian wine that is crisp with fruity tones. It pairs really nicely with fish and white meats like chicken and pork, but you can also just enjoy it alone or in a cocktail. (Here are 25 fun cocktails that are perfect for rose wine.)
3. Be a little fancy
Never use that beautiful vase? Or maybe it’s the platter from your wedding. Is it a recipe you’ve been holding off trying? Do the thing now. Buy flowers for yourself and put them in that vase you love but never use. Bake a cake (or buy one) and slide it onto that platter that’s just collecting dust. Try the tough recipe. Or do something else that is just a little bit out of your ordinary; something that is just a little bit “much”. Because honestly, it’s fun being a little over the top sometimes.
4. Indulge with a magazine
One of my favorite ways to unwind and take a mental vacation is to splurge on a pretty expensive magazine called CrossStitcher. It’s British and imported (and comes with a cross stitch kit in every issue). It is not cheap, but I set it aside for a Friday or Saturday after a long week. It’s a beautiful magazine that just feels so luxurious to read… and it really makes me feel like I’m on vacation while I’m reading it. The anticipation of getting to page through my favorite magazine helps me get through rough weeks. Pick up your favorite magazine–or maybe one that you’d love to read but never buy– and set aside thirty minutes that’s just for you. Make it luxurious. Take a bubble bath and read or pour yourself a drink (maybe Cavit Rose?) and enjoy the simple pleasure of just being.
5. Break a rule
Maybe you have a “no food in the living room rule.” Or a “no dessert before dinner” rule. Maybe you have strict bedtimes. Or maybe it’s something else. Surprise the family by breaking one of those rules–intentionally–and with a plan. No food in the living room? Have a picnic in the living room while you watch Coco on Netflix. (If you’re worried about the mess, spread a blanket just like a real picnic.) No dessert before dinner? Pick a hot day and have an ice cream bar FOR dinner. Strict bedtimes? Just this once, play glow-in-the-dark tag in the backyard wayyyy after lights are usually out. Breaking a rule with a fun alternative might just be the zing your family needs to get over a difficult bump in a deployment.
6. Try something new
It’s super easy to get into a rut during deployment. Same food. Same routine. Same frustrations. Rinse. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. The good thing is that it’s also super easy to get out of a rut and do something different. One of my favorite ways to do that is by bringing home a new food to try–something exotic that you might not otherwise try, like My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream. Mochi is a sweet Japanese rice dough that is wrapped around ice cream.
(I like the strawberry ones, but there are bunch of different flavors ranging green tea to salted caramel.) They’re light treats that can be shared as a family (one box comes with six mochi ice creams in them). And you can grab a $1 rebate through Ibota right now. (If you don’t know about Ibotta, you can learn more about it here.)