Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kick Off Summer with the Homefront Giveaway

Its finally Summer! Can you believe it? Feels like we have been waiting an eternity for it to finally come. Day dreaming of the days to finally be able to relax on the beach, or camping with your family, looking at the amazing summer blooms, fireworks on Independence Day and even having the kiddos splashing you in the pool! The Homefront Team wants to welcome summer with you by having the "Kick Off Summer with the Homefront" Giveaway! YUP YUP You read that right, a totally free giveaway! Our team has been itching for summer so bad that we wanted have a giveaway with these great items to bring it in with a BANG! 11 totally free items, including free shipping! So do you want to see what you may be winning? Here is your preview!

Mini Cards featuring the Dunk Designs original illustration, "For Love of Country". Great for Independence Day, to give to a military spouse to show your support, to tuck into your sweethearts bag during any military separations or send in care packages overseas. Perfect size for kids, to help them feel connected during a deployment.

This soft lovey from Camillam's shop! Summer Days Race by as fast as your little one grows. Use this lovey for cleaning spit up, drool or watch your little one become attached to it as a loved companion. Great as a gift also!

Red Bird Chillin' Scarf from Wellsofcreation. Feel free as this bird, the wind blowing in your hair and chilling for the summer with this decorative scarf!

Cool down with this Snickers Notebook by TheChameleonsAttic. Made from a recycled Snicker Ice Cream box, this notebook has 50 blank pages, is wire bound and includes an envelopes in the back for holding coupons or receipts.

This adorable Little Patch Owl chirping in your ear, by mirkah. This little owl ready to perch on your desk, shelf or shoulder and brighten up your day. They are always wondering what you are doing and interested in what you have to say.

Feeling Pink, CrabApple Blossoms 5X7 Fine Photography by CreationsAnew. This 5x7 luster finished photo of Vibrant Pink CrabApple Blossoms is printed from WHCC and comes mounted on a photo board and ready for matting and framing.

All American Reusable On the Go Snack Bag by TerisTreasure. Save the Earth one baggy at a time by using this reusable snack bag. Featuring an American button fabric, lined with a no-rip nylon and closer is a strong velcro. Measures 4 inches by 5.5 inches

Cream and Blue Calico Cat by WanderingWhimsies. This Calico Cat is sewn with an "outward" seam, firmly stuffed, and hand stitched a heart from coordinating fabrics on the body of the cat. These calico cats are so cute tucked up on a shelf, in a cupboard or used as bowl fillers.

Get some amazing sleep with this Green Digi Cam Eye Mask by KristynsKreations. This green digi cam fabric is the same used for the US Marines camouflage uniforms. Makes this eye mask more masculine and perfect for any guy, plus still perfect for any girl to catch those zzzz's in. Reversible and measures 8 inches by 3.25 inches.

Relax in the morning with Oliver's Cherry Twist Loose Tea by DancingBearsTeaHouse. It a real twist on a cherry blend. We've carefully blended a delicate green tea with a gentle black tea with just a hint of cherry and ginger. You will love the aroma. Can also be iced... 4oz package.

A lovely inspirational card, Hope Keeps You Walking by Wellofcreations. I find words spoken at just the right moment can propel a person to strive higher, dig deeper, move forward, this is the perfect card who needs the inspiration!

So here is where your part comes in, simply leave a comment telling us what you are doing for the summer and don't forget to leave your name, contact email or a way to contact you in case you are the winner! The winner will be randomly chosen on the 10th of June and will receive their box soon after you are announced the winner! Good luck and have a great summer everyone!

Best wishes,

The Homefront Team

Saturday, May 30, 2009

We are Experts on Moving...the Move Checklist! by SueRunyonDesigns

This post came about after some chat on the Homefront forum about moving tips. I thought there ought to be enough experience among the members to help out those who are relatively new to military life. After 21 years of military life and nine moves I have a few tips myself. Enjoy! Sue of Sue Runyon Designs


Mirka of FinnfactorArts suggest starting early: “Eating the pantry empty, going through closets and garages and getting rid of junk that has been sitting there unused and selling or donating it.” Leah of winddancerdesigns says: “Re-organize and de-stash anything you can at least six weeks prior to your packing date. This cuts down on unnecessary stuff going into your new home.”

Mirka also says “Another thing was that we visited our new location a month early and found a place to stay. That way I knew to get rid of some big furniture before the move since it was not going to fit in the new house. Craigslist is a good place to sell unwanted furniture in good condition. I also started a list of places on the fridge door early of places to remember to change our address at. Every time I received a magazine, letter or bill (junk mail excluded), I would know that would be a place to contact for change of address and write it on the list. Then a month before we moved, I just went down the list and changed our address everywhere. Most subscriptions and companies you can just do online.” If moving into base housing you should be able to find floor plans on the installation’s website.

If you have pets and are going to any quarantine areas such as England, Japan and Hawaii (most island locations), get started right away on working through the quarantine regulations. This can take months! In fact, if you have a pet and there is any possibility you may be sent to a quarantine area, you should consider having a microchip implanted during your next vet visit to cut a couple of weeks of waiting time off the process.

Leah also says: “Make contact with the moving company early. This is especially crucial when dealing with military PCS moves. Make friends with your moving company consultant. More than likely this will be a person familiar with military personnel. This is the person who you would contact in the event of any problems with packing, moving or un-packing.” Your consultant can let you know what they will and will not move (such as liquids, plants, batteries, light bulbs or ammo) and answer your questions about what to expect. If doing an overseas move you may have several different moving companies to coordinate. Also note that it is entirely possible that someone from the TMO office will stop by at some point during your moving day(s) for an impromptu inspection of how the movers are doing.

Deal with your paperwork and media. Remember to go through your bank statements, utility bills and the like and shred old documents. Check with an accountant to decide what is necessary to keep. Then set aside important documents to hand carry. I like to keep the last statement for every credit card, bank, utility, insurance, etc so I have account numbers and contact info for everything. Also take with you your passports, marriage license, list of addresses and phone numbers for friends and family, birth certificates, immunization records, appraisals, power of attorneys, last LES, school records, social security cards, pet records, wills, titles, registrations, deeds, copies of orders, drivers licenses, moving documents, checkbooks, medical records, and so on. You should also have copies elsewhere in a safe place such as with a family member. I have copies in my Dad’s safe where I could call him and get them if I needed. They can also be scanned and given to someone on a disk. Video tape the contents of your home (including inside closets and cupboards, patio items, garage, attics, storage units, office space at work for professional gear and garden sheds) and hand carry the tape with you. A few years ago during a PCS they lost all of our household goods for an entire month after the last cut off date they were due to be delivered. If we had never seen any of that stuff again at least we would have had a tape of it all for insurance purposes. Make a backup of all your computer files and hand carry that with you. All of these hand carry items should fit nicely in one accordion style folder. Include a blank pad of stationary and a pen for taking notes, a few envelopes and some stamps. Unless you are just moving locally you’ll be surprise how often these things will come in handy for setting up new accounts, filling out loan documents, enrolling kids in school, licensing pets, adjusting insurance, changing addresses, signing leases, etc. If you are flying to your destination, put this in your carry-on and guard it closely! If driving, take this inside with you every night! Even if you are not PCSing soon, this is something you should have ready to grab as part of your family’s disaster preparedness kit and update it every six months.

The logistics of every move is different, but all moves are difficult and exhausting. Whether you are doing a door to door move across town or a complicated overseas move with fast and slow shipments, storage shipments, airline baggage and mailed items to sort and organize, it pays to plan ahead. Make a comprehensive list of items that are basic to your family’s comfort and that you are likely to need immediately upon arrival. Then figure out how and where things need to be packed (in your vehicle, with the movers, fast overseas shipment, suitcase, etc.). TerryAnn says: Get an express shipment sent that is full of all those “camping out” things. That way you can get into housing as soon as it is available and start living there right away. Hotel living sucks and is expensive! You don’t always get totally reimbursed.” This is especially true if you have pets. Julie from Jubillie writes: “Do not forget to keep stuff to live with/off of until you get your stuff delivered. The closing on our house was backed up by over a month. We did not have clothes or home goods to last us for so long!” If your comfort items must go with your household goods sort them separately and have your packers box them up. Then grab a colorful marker and write “OPEN FIRST” on every side of those boxes so you will be able to find them immediately. Here is a list of some items that may be needed or appreciated right away:

Air mattress(es)
Shower curtain/rings
Bath mat/towels
Toilet paper
Paper towels
Basic kitchen items: pots, frying pan, plastic ware, gallon container for iced tea/drink mixes, Ziploc bags, dish cloths and towels, paper plates, bowls, cups, utensils, knives, can opener, coffee maker, toaster, coffee filters, trash bags, aluminum foil (I have often baked entire meals in aluminum foil packets during a PCS), etc
Cans of soup, cocoa, coffee, tea, drink mixes, sweetener
Pet items including food
Lawn chairs
Small TV
Extra clothing/umbrellas/swimwear/uniforms
Iron (you can iron on a countertop covered with a thick towel)
Phone chargers
Blank cards for thank you notes—often needed for nice welcome gestures from people
Night lights
Magnets for the fridge
Maps and info for your new location
Laptop computer
Camera—handy for documenting moving damage
Baby items: stroller, pac n play, extra diapers, baby food, etc
Box openers
Basic tools
Window coverings if needed right away

TerryAnn says: “Store that extra car or sell it before you leave, it will never just be OK left at the “uncles house” or parked at grandma’s (lessons learned the hard way). Get information from the local Chamber of Commerce at the new place (maps, brochures and coupons for local eateries. It’s a quick way to find your way around and get familiar with your new area.”

Set aside a place for all the items the movers aren’t supposed to take. This can be inside your vehicle, at a neighbor’s house or somewhere in your home. We often find it most convenient to clear out one bathroom and stash all of the stuff that should stay with the home such as the appliance manuals, keys, garage door remotes, homeowner’s association info, phonebooks and paint. Then we put the suitcase items and anything we haven’t yet packed in vehicles in there (along with the cat) when the movers come and we lock the door.

I have handmade quilts and other nice textiles and have to take special care with those items at moving time. Movers will use anything soft like that as extra packing material around other items. If you don’t want your grandmother’s quilt wrapped around your dining room chair as a packing blanket or absorbing acids from the packing box, I suggest you place it inside an old pillow case before the movers arrive.

Items such as dishes, and utensils need to be washed after moving since they’ve been handled and dumped into boxes. It’s often a lot of work to wash all your kitchen items. Other items are small and hard for the movers to pack without them rattling around in the box. I recommend buying some large one or two gallon bags and putting your utensils, small kitchen items, desk drawer items, junk drawer items, pens and pencils, your undies, costume jewelry and other things you don’t want the movers touching or to be loose in a box inside the bags. It will save you a lot of work at the other end.

At some point you will find yourself moving a refrigerator. This can be a huge problem because they can smell horrible inside once you unplug them and put them on a hot truck! At least 24 hours prior to the move you should empty it out and clean it thoroughly. Then spritz it inside with either bleach water or straight white vinegar to kill germs and let it dry with the door open overnight (if you have pets or young children, take care they don’t climb inside). You do not want any moisture left inside. Kristyn of KristynsKreations suggests tying fresh coffee grounds up in a coffee filter (use a rubber band) and putting several inside the fridge and freezer to absorb odors. I have also done this with good results in the past.

If you have items such as antiques or artwork that are of particular value, you should have them appraised by a certified appraiser and contact your insurance company for extra coverage. If your grandmother’s Limoges platter is broken, the movers will just reimburse you the cost of any ole platter from Target and they’ll probably figure in depreciation because it wasn’t brand new.

Call in your favors and be a good friend. If you have a friend who can watch your kids and/or dog during your move ask them—especially on truck loading day. On that day men will be walking backward carrying heavy items so having young children and pets under foot can be dangerous. Also your doors will be wide open for hours. If you have a friend who is moving, offer to help out with child and pet care, a place to stay a few nights, loan of a vacuum or other cleaning supplies, help them clean, or fix a hot meal in your slow cooker for when the movers are done for the night. It is appreciated!


TerryAnn says: “If you are moving locally, move the food first! Then camp out in the new house as you move. This makes sure you are getting things over there as fast as you can. Forward your mail at the post office right away. Don’t wait on this one, the new address will be sure to get your mail and you won’t miss any bills. If you need to hang drapes or blinds, go ahead and do so in the first week, or order them through JCPenneys (they have the best made to order) you can hang them, then take your time about unpacking because the neighbors can’t see the mess!”

Julie says: “Use the packers. Let them pack. I am a control freak and was really opposed to letting someone else pack up my stuff. But the back pain avoided alone was worth letting go of my control.”

Almost everyone gave me this tip in one form or another: WATCH THE MOVERS! Julie says “Watch the packers. Closely. I am not saying that anything was “stolen” but I had two things that did not make it to the new house and several others that were broken. I took as much with me in my own car, the rest I had to just let go.” Leah says “WATCH the packers like a HAWK. Seriously, do not turn your back on them for a moment. I ended up with an open box of baking soda packed into a box with all my wedding china. What a mess!” Beth from TheYarnChick told me they packed an apple in one of her boxes. Yep, imagine the rotten surprise she got at the other end. I’ve also heard of them packing wet towels and trash as well as the drain from the sink that should stay with the house and things like that. Remember to hand carry any small items of particular value such as jewelry, coin collections or your kid’s allowance that is tucked away in the dresser drawer. Kandyce of wastenotwhimsy says to watch how they pack softer items like baskets, photo albums, lampshades and the like. They often do not take care to keep them from being crushed. I have also found this to be true.

You are allowed to write on your own boxes. I’ve had movers label every single kitchen box “pots and pans” regardless of what was in them. I’ve also had boxes labeled in Korean. Don’t write anything like “fine Wedgewood china,” “Grandma’s pearls,” “rare coin collection” or even “Wii” or you are unlikely to see it again. Labels like “flatware,” “stemware,” “Ryan’s winter coats,” and “kid’s books” can be very helpful.

Make sure the movers make detailed notes on your inventory and do not sign it until you look it over carefully. If something is lost or damaged, they won’t reimburse you for a 37” Sony flat screen if it just says TV. Also make them put the serial numbers on the inventory sheet. We save all our appliance boxes for things like TVs and computers and write the serial numbers on the outside of those boxes so the movers can find them easily even if they’ve already sealed the box.

Leah says: “Make sure you have a contact (cell) number for the driver who will be transporting your things. This saved me days of storage time since I was able to keep track of where my stuff was.”

Beth suggested having Ziploc bags and sharpie markers on hand for the movers to use to put hardware in for furniture they take apart. Write on the baggies and have them tape it inside a drawer or somewhere on that furniture or hand carry the hardware yourself. She says that her movers once threw the hardware for all their furniture together in one bag! In 21 years I’ve never had any movers who actually had bags available for hardware. They normally just toss it loose in a drawer or box or tape it on.

If you have packed any boxes yourself, the movers will not claim any responsibility for the items if they are damaged. If you do not seal them and they can inspect the packing job before taping them up, they may.

And what about the movers? They work hard. How should you treat them during the day(s) they are at your home? At the very least you should keep them well supplied with cool drinks and snacks. I usually fill the fridge or cooler with a lot of bottles of water, sports drinks and sodas. I also have donuts in the morning and cookies the rest of the day for them for their breaks. Some people offer them lunch and others do not. That is totally up to you. Truck loading day tends to take a long time at our house so we will normally send out for some dinner for everyone on that day as they stay late to finish. Once again, that is not expected, it’s up to each family. Learn their names and let them know which bathroom they can use so they don’t have to ask. Most companies require them to ask first.

Check the inventory carefully before you sign it and check everywhere in the house for left items. Beth says they left a dishwasher full of dishes once. Be sure to check the top shelves in closets and cupboards and the back of drawers. Make sure they note any damage they have caused to the home while taking out furniture or any damage done to items while packing or loading.AFTER:

One of you should have copies of all the inventory sheets and check off each box or item as they bring it into your home. Do not sign the inventory sheet at the end of the day until all items have been accounted for. Also do not sign it until you have noted down any apparent damage to items or to the home.

After so many moves I’ve come to despise the very sight of brown cardboard boxes. The movers do not like you to know this, but most of them are under contract to unpack ALL boxes and take away the empties on delivery day if you ask them to—check with TMO to be sure. Naturally, they won’t mention it and do not want to do it. But it will save you A LOT of work and they are being paid for it. If you expect them to do this, please let them know UP FRONT. Don’t spring it on them at the end of a hard day when they just want to go home. If you let them know they often send extra people at the end of the day to help out. None of the boxes should be unpacked until all inventory items have been checked off the sheets. At this point, usually my whole family joins in to unpack boxes and help put furniture back together for a while. At some point there is never enough room left in the kitchen to unpack any more boxes so I send them home before those are all done.

If you would rather they did not unpack the boxes you can send the movers on their way. They are usually required to come back and collect the broken down empties if you call them to do it later. However, moving boxes are not cheap—just check the prices on the U-Haul website. You can break down your boxes and list them on Craigslist and get some cash for them if you want to go to the trouble. There are always people looking for used moving boxes.

Leah says: “Unpack and set up beds and make them FIRST once you arrive at your new location. This way you have somewhere to fall once you quit for the day.”

Deb of LilacAve says: “Save the receipts to claim on your taxes if the military will not reimburse you for lost and damaged items.”

Julie writes: “Accept that there are things that will go wrong and you cannot control (this was the hardest for me personally).”

I also found good comprehensive military moving checklists at

I hope this has been helpful to you. Sue (Sue Runyon Designs)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day THANK YOU by ByCoco

As military spouses, we understand the reality and purpose of Memorial Day, is more than picnics, Barbeques, and a 3 day holiday.

Our team member ByCoco started the following thread on Etsy, that we thought was a great tribute this Memorial Day.

"Happy Memorial Day! Hug a service member for me and tell them I said THANK YOU!This post is intended to gather "Thank You's" so people who know troops and vets can share our appreciation for their big and heroic as well as small everyday sacrifices. "

Friday, May 8, 2009

Swimming the Deep End of the Marketing Pool by MrsDStahl

With the type of advertising I am involved with it requires the endurance and stamina it would to stay afloat in the deep end of the pool.As opposed to the shallow end, in which most “swimmers” are treading lightly in safety and comfort as their toes touch the bottom to guarantee their head never dips below.Unaware of how long they can tread in the deep end without sinking to the bottom. Yes there are a few other fish in the shallow end that may take bites but for the big bites you must swim to open, deep, waters.One thing that is important to wrap your mind around is this:“Successful marketing is a gamble”There is no way to guarantee you attempts at bringing in customers are going to assure accomplishment. Nor is there any way to know how long you can hold out in the deep end.
With that being said, who is up for the challenge?
As I touched on a bit earlier I advertise with the Perfect Wedding Guide (PWG) which is a comprehensive guide to wedding and honeymoon services in the area and across the United States. Our brides are looking for the very best in the wedding industry. With this not so small bill for advertising I believed marketing with them would sure to be an instant success. Besides, after a year of owning my own business all I had learned taught me the importance of reaching my target market. With this being my target audience I began advertising a month ago and have had 1 bride out of 672 decide to go with me as her wedding invitation creator. Believe me I could not have been more honored as I do enjoy working with brides and helping them create a beautiful day.
However, I got to thinking. With all the blogging, promotional advertising, specials and free giveaways I was offer I had been a bit puzzled by the current return of my advertising investment.
I have never been one to be afraid to ask for help. In fact I pride my recent success on the changes I have made due to all the constructive criticism I have received in the past year. So I emailed the assistant to the owner of the PWG, explained my dilemma and clarified I was open to an analysis from her. As the assistant she is able to see all the email campaigns I had mailed out in the past month, 9 total, and offer her expert advice.
Graciously she responded back with all the right things I had been doing. Which include keeping it emails short and precise, having dazzling photos and offering up advice to DIY’ers.
She then went on to explain due to the markets current status there is a desire for brides to put on a budget friendly wedding without sacrificing quality and the “Wow” factor.
She asked me if I ever thought about offering an open forum class or even a “Tupperware” style party in which the wedding party has a “gals” night hosted by me where I would teach them how to help the bride create all her paper wedding accessories for one fee.
One word: Ingenious!
I recently took TimothyAdams 5 day course on the secrets of marketing success. In one of the installments he covered being an “expert” in your field. I loved the idea but wasn’t sure on how to execute a marketing plan that involved something other than making a “How to” video to post on Youtube, or selling digital files with directions through my etsy shop. Now I have it and have begun work on having brides register for a “seminar” style class at an undisclosed location downtown.
Now: to get the brides to register. Since I have all this contact information I have taken the easy route of emailing our brides once a week. The PWG assistant made a point to stress the fact I MUST call them. “Most brides do not mind that you call them, most of the time they won't call you because they simply just do not know what to ask and feel relieved when you make the first move.”
Optimistic about the outcome, I will be spending the next week swimming into deeper waters and catching my big fish.
Find a way to make a splash with your business today!
To see more of MrsDStahl, check out her blog and Etsy Shop:

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Mother's Day Gift Guide

As many of you know, Mother's Day is coming quickly upon us, actually on May 10th. Today and for the next few days is the perfect amount of time to do your Handmade shopping and having them delivered just in time for your Mother on her special day!

Here are some great gifts from the Homefront Team that may make her special day extra special!

6 Tiny Initial Tag Hand Stamped Mother's Necklace by Sissy's Pretties. This amazing necklace is hand stamped with all the initials of the children your mother has had. What is the best way to keep her children close to her heart by wearing this special personalized necklace. Please check out her shop for more details and selections.

Flower blossom boxed soap sample by swanmountainsoaps. Comes sweetly enclosed by a tulip paper box. This shop is exploding with amazing handmade soaps that is sure to delight your mother, not just on Mother's Day.

Nicole's Gift Sampler by nikid. This gift sampler is a two (2) Lb. assortment of any items from the shop! This shop is a must see but I will have to warn you, your may be highly tempted to throw out your diet and indulge in these mouth watering treats!

A 4x6 Photo Card -Mothers Day- Softy Pink CrabApple Blossoms by CreationsAnew. I just had to add this shop to the Gift Guide simply because I bought these cards for Mother's Day last year. The quality and vivid photos are top notch plus, the recipients absolutely adored them. CreationsAnew has not only amazing photo cards but also prints, memo pads, desk sets.. the list keeps going!

1/2 oz Package your choice of 5 Black Greens Blended and Signature teas .5oz by Dancing Bears Tea House. What is better then giving your Mom a large selection of teas for days of relaxation? I know every Mom just wants that huge gift... this sampler is the perfect gift that spells R-E-L-A-X! DancingBearsTeaHouse not only sells amazing teas, the shop also sells vintage tea ware!
Black n Ivory Flowers Eyemask by KrystynsKreations. Talking about relaxation, this is the perfect way to guarantee your Mom has an amazing night sleep! KrystynsKreations has a nice selection of eyemasks and crocheted items such as scarfs and blankets.

If you would like to look at the pages of Homefront Team handmade items please go to, search handmade and type in Homefront Team. Thanks you for your continued support! Happy Mother's Day to all those amazing Mom's out there, including yours!
Take Care,
Teri aka Teristreasure
The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. ~Rajneesh