02 September 2013

Scholarships for Military Dependents

A Texas Program for Veterans

Veterans who are returning home to Texas are in for a lot of luck. Recently, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced that they awarding over $1 million to financially support the College Credit For Heroes workforce development grant at over nine different colleges and universities throughout Texas. This workforce development grant, launched in 2011, was created to help translate the skills and knowledge of military servicemen and servicewomen into college course credit. This is done to allow easy transition into the workforce.

Texas Governor Rick Perry believes that expanding this program will help returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan find ease when looking for jobs. Expanding this program allows servicemen to quickly obtain degrees and certifications that make them easily employable after leaving the military. Transitioning from civilian life after spending years away from home can be rough for some. However, programs like College Credit for Heroes creates sustainable workforce re-entry pathways for those who are serving the country overseas.

Central Texas College has played an integral role in expanding the program. They developed the College Credit for Heroes web portal, CollegeCreditforHeroes.org; a site that allows veterans to connect with variety of partner higher education institutions in Texas. Texas is home to over 400,000 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans and they have the experience and skill-set necessary to readily enter the workforce. Programs like this give veterans the opportunity to connect with employers immediately after leaving service and start a new civilian life.

Whether or not you are a Texas resident - there are other resources you should consider after returning home from overseas. For starters, the US Department of Education is a great resource to scour in order to look for scholarships, fellowships and other funding opportunities to go back to school. There is even the possibility to find a
scholarship for military dependents. If are a serviceman or servicewoman with teenagers on the verge of going to college; there are funding opportunities available through various nonprofit agencies that provide transition counseling services to veterans and their families.

Also, the Obama Administration has taken great steps to reduce student debt, especially for those who have served in the armed forces. Veterans have the opportunity to seek student loan forgiveness for pursuing careers in the military and other nonprofit organizations. Also, veterans should look into state-based scholarship programs. States like New York and Illinois provide education assistance to veterans and their families.

28 January 2013

Valentine Pretzel, Hersheys Kiss, M&M treats

 This is a fun activity to do on a cold or rainy day.  Colors can be modified for any holiday.  Kids of practically every age can get involved in making this fun treat.

These treats are salty and sweet and make delicious and cute Valentine treats to share and enjoy. Enlist the help of your kids.

What you'll need

  • Bite-size, knot pretzels (they look a bit like hearts)
  • Hershey's Kisses (you choose your favorite type)
  • M&M's candy (valentines colors or other to suit the season)

How to make magic happen

  1. Heat the oven to 200 F. Set bite-size, twisted knot pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss.
  2. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes until the chocolate looks shiny but retains its shape.  Kisses will feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M&M's candy into the center of each Kiss.
  3. Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 15 minutes. Enjoy and Share!

    We made half with classic milk chocolate kisses and milk chocolate M&Ms and half with dark chocolate kisses and dark chocolate M&Ms. 100% Delicious!

04 January 2013

Parenting is the Problem

Here's my take on how we can prevent future mass tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook.  It's all about parenting practices, reinforced with responsible gun ownership.

Read all about it on Yahoo: Parenting is the Problem

03 January 2013

Détente in the Mommy Wars

I am very opinionated when it comes to parenting.  

I know this about myself.  I have a blog for it.  It's no big mystery.  My friends and family know me as the Been There Done That Mom for a reason.  I do, however, in my daily life, usually keep my mouth shut, unless my opinion is solicited.  Parenting styles differ, and one can never tell where another parent is coming from, so standard parenting guidance might not apply.  

I am quite happy to offer my assistance whenever I am asked, and while I do sometimes get paid for it, most often, the advice I give is free.

I take umbrage, though, when advice is given to me, unsolicited.  I am particularly put-off when said advice is regarding my youngest.  After all, I have Been There and Done That three times already.  Any mistakes I've made, I am probably going to make again with my fourth.  Fair is fair.

So, last week, in the parent waiting area at my youngest child's preschool, when a well-meaning grandmotherly-type inserted herself into a battle of wills I was having with my nearly 5 year old, Harold, I could barely contain my inner mommy warrior.  She ignited a fire in me and I was ready for battle.

It was Harold's beloved teacher's birthday and all of the kids were signing her card.  Harold is a feisty young lad and despite the fact that he signs his name in his classroom as he enters each day, he decided he didn't want to do it right then.  Like many children his age, Harold can be pretty grumpy when I pick him up from school.  Just two months into the school year, he has yet to adjust to the schedule of having school every morning and since he gets wound up and overtired, he doesn't get as much sleep as he needs.   I know that crabbiness is a natural byproduct of a busy schedule for a four year old.  I have learned to cope with it, though, and have set techniques I use to deal with his mood.

So, when the 60 something woman sitting at the table where Harold held the pen in his hand, refusing to put said pen to paper, inserted herself into the situation, I snapped.  She boldly told me to just let it go and write it for him.  She went on to say that she had raised her kids already and knew that it is just easier to write it for them and pretend they did it themselves.  I think it was her high and mighty tone, accompanied by an eye roll, and her insinuation that she had experience with preschoolers that I did not, was what set me off.

In hindsight, I know that I should have just smiled and kept my mouth shut but, wrong time-wrong place, I guess and I was not to be shut down this time.  I responded quickly, telling her this was my fourth preschooler and that I too had, on occasion, signed my children's names for them.  But, once I tell one of my kids to do something, I don't back down.  It's a basic rule of parenting.  'No means no' and 'do it means do it now'!  I resented her conceited air and was insulted by her rush to judgement and insertion of what I am sure she deemed as words of wisdom.

My words of wisdom when it comes to parenting advice: Keep it to yourself unless you are asked for it or a child is in danger.  Last week's unpleasant experience has driven that philosophy home for me.  If I ever offered unsolicited, unwanted, parenting advice, and I am sure I have, I apologize.  I meant no offense.  I will continue to do it in print, but will keep my thoughts to myself when I am away from my computer.  I do not want to contribute to the oft referenced 'mommy wars,' which are a waste of time and energy. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are fighting an actual war right now.  "Mommies" should exert their energy where it is needed, raising their kids to be good citizens of the world, rather than battling each other on the homefront.

In the end, I broke my rule of 'no means no' and 'do it means do it now' because the basic rule my own dear mother taught me, 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything,' guided my actions.  I figured it was better to get it done and get out, before I said something I might, or might not regret, but that's another story altogether.