Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wounded Warrior Project REALLY DOES Help Wounded Soldiers/Vets & Their Families!


Wounded Warrior Project
I just wanted to take this time to talk about something that really has bothered me. I have been seeing a lot of negative postings on social media in regards to the Wounded Warrior Project. I will first say that my husband is a 2-time combat wounded, Purple Heart recipient (Medically Retired) Veteran of the Iraq & Afghanistan Wars. My husband, our children, and I are all alumni of the Wounded Warrior Project; therefore, I speak from personal experience with the program.

Wounded Warrior Project was started to help comfort our wounded-in-action military members while they were being hospitalized for their wounds. Volunteers would hand out care packages that had toiletries and other items that the service members would need while in the hospital. The care packages were to help the wounded know that someone was there for him or her and that someone cared. When my husband was wounded in action in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2013, he was hospitalized for a few days. While he was there, he received one of these care packages. In fact, he still has most of the stuff that came in that care package.

Wounded Warrior Project not only helps our heroes with VA claims, financial help when needed, help finding jobs, mentoring, therapeutic events, caregiver support, combat stress aide, and many other topics, but they also offer family-bonding events/warrior-bonding events/caregiver-bonding events for the family, warrior and caregiver! We have been blessed by Wounded Warrior Project and given the opportunity to take some amazing trips with Wounded Warrior Project, all expenses and travel were always provided, and not only did we have some absolutely wonderful times but also met some amazing friends too!

Some people feel the need to spread propaganda around that speaks negatively about Wounded Warrior Project, but I want to speak, as someone WWP has helped, to let everyone know that this is one organization that stands behind its mission and purpose!

*** Wounded Warrior Project did NOT pay me or ask me to endorse their organization or to write this blog post about their organization. I did this on my own. I am a PROUD supporter and alumni of Wounded Warrior Project!***

Here is a list of just some of the things we have done with WWP so far:
  • Swimming with the dolphins in the Florida Keys (family event)
  • Winter Soiree Formal Ball with overnight stay & delicious 5 star-waiter-served food & drinks (couples event)
  • Private theater-screening of "The Nut Job" (family event)
  • Easter egg hunt at Callaway Gardens, GA (family event)
  • Caregivers Spa Retreat (Fri-Sun) at 5 star ocean-side spa resort with spa treatments in Mobile, Alabama (caregiver only event)
  • 5 Day trip to Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, New York to learn to cook fine dining/5 star food from top chefs (couples event- unfortunately, our stay was cut short due to a health issue, so we only got to stay for 1-1/2 days)
Here's a glimpse (with photos) of some of the stuff we have done!

****Culinary Institute of America, Poughkeepsie, NY****
My husband and I, in our CIA/WWP chef uniforms, waiting for class to start
One of the cafeterias- used to be a monastery a lifetime ago


My husband and I preparing to cook!



Some of the food that our team made!

 Our bag of goodies that CIA and WWP gave us to take home!


        ****Caregiver Spa Resort Retreat****              














I had such a blast sailing!

Everyone had so much fun!

WWP loaded us ladies up with some wonderful spa and relaxation gifts!

One portion of the beautiful Grand Hotel Marriott, where we stayed.

I absolutely LOVED the spa day!

Our beautiful farewell dinner!
****Swimming with Dolphins (family trip) in Florida Keys****
 
Our daughter kissing our dolphin Santini

My husband swimming with Santini

Here I am swimming with Santini!
Our family with Santini, our dolphin!

Our son kissing Santini

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

MONEY TIP: How to Find Out If Money is Owed to YOU!!!

Just a tip: If you get bored some time, do a Google search for "(state you live in or every state you have lived in) unclaimed assets." For example, Kansas unclaimed assets. Click on the link for the state treasury dept or whatever dept controls the unclaimed assets for that state. Once you get to the site, do a search of your name and every name you have ever legally gone by, to see if you have UNCLAIMED money!!! It's free to do. Unclaimed money can be money that was left in a bank account that you closed, money refund from canceled utilities, money from overpayments on taxes, etc. You can then file a claim (with proof of identity and address) to get that money back.

Blue Star Museum Visit Review- Madison Children's Museum, Madison, Wisconsin

As an active military-turned wounded warrior-medically retired- Veteran family, we have learned about a lot of different programs that are geared towards helping our wounded military members, our active military members, our Veterans, and their families. Each program offers different opportunities. One of these programs is called Blue Star Museums.

According to the Blue Star Museums website, the program is described as a collaboration between Blue Star Families , which is the actual organization that Blue Star Museums falls under, the National Endowment for the Arts, the DOD, and more than 2,000 participating museums throughout the United States of America. These museums offer FREE ADMISSION to military families from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This program has been in effect for a few years.

Every year, my family and I try to take advantage of this great offer! We absolutely LOVE museums of all kinds.

This year, we have not utilized the Blue Star Museum offer, however, we have visited several of the "Blue Star Museums" for free through other local military events in our area. We live in Wisconsin. The major cities that we are near are Madison, Milwaukee and Racine.

Our daughter and I recently attended a parent-child summer weekend camp (for military kids) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While we were at the camp, which was operated by another military family non-profit, we were taken on a couple of museum trips as a group. One of the museums that we visited was also a Blue Star Museum, so I am writing my review on that particular museum.

The outside of the building
The entry way
The Madison Children's Museum is very cool! It is an amazingly creative museum, which brings together science, technology, the arts, crafting, and physical play to encourage children to want to learn. Every child (and parent), who was on the trip with us, had an amazing time! There is absolutely NO POSSIBLE WAY to be bored at this museum! It has 2 floors of excitement, then after you have experienced all the fun you could possibly enjoy, you can take a trip up to the ROOF and visit their ROOFTOP garden and the animal sanctuary they have. Oh, and when you are on the rooftop, make sure you have your camera ready because you can see the state capitol building directly across the street, and it makes for some amazing photos! They also have a play area just for toddlers, which is always nice for the wee ones! There is even an ice cream shop and gift shop inside the museum.

The museum is not too far from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, so if you are planning a trip to visit the university, stop by the museum! Madison Children's Museum hosts many different events and "free" days (for all public) throughout the year. They even host a benefit that includes American Girl Dolls. They are open Monday-Sunday 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM (CST).

To find out more about the museum, check out their website by clicking the link above! Until then, check out the photos below of our trip there!


All the kids playing at the fountain
Tot Playland
Some of the fun and crazy stuff they had hanging from the ceiling
 

The human-powered hamster wheel

More imagination play

This aircraft has a music maker inside of it. Kids can create their own music.

My daughter loved the arts and crafts room,
but she's an artist and crafter, so that is a given! LOL




The technology area were designed to be a blast into the past.
They even had a functioning pin ball machine.

Play restaurant

More techie stuff

This is a tube slide that the kids can climb through and slide down.

Fun photo op!

Wall of tracks

So much beautiful art and bright colors!

Rooftop!!!







 









 
 



Such a beautiful view atop the roof top.
Look at the capitol building of Wisconsin behind us!



collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 through Labor Day, September 1, 2014 - See more at: http://arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums#!WI
collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 through Labor Day, September 1, 2014 - See more at: http://arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums#!WI
collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 through Labor Day, September 1, 2014 - See more at: http://arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums#!WI
collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 through Labor Day, September 1, 2014 - See more at: http://arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums#!WI
collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, from Memorial Day, May 26, 2014 through Labor Day, September 1, 2014 - See more at: http://arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums#!WI

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