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Are you Sleeping Enough? Here’s a Cheat Sheet

What time did your 12-year-old go to bed last night? How about your kindergartner? How about you?

We’re willing to bet, it wasn’t early enough.

While many schools across the country are posting flyers for after school activities, rehearsal schedules, test dates and reminders for money due, one school in Illinois is making a plea: put your kids to bed.

The elementary school has posted a chart of not just recommended hours of sleep, but a handy guide for what time your child needs to go to bed, based on the time they wake up in the morning.

And when you think about it in those terms, no one in your house is sleeping enough.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that school age children through teens snooze nine to 11 hours each night. Adults need seven to nine hours, at a minimum.

If your seventh grader is at the table studying until 9 p.m. and wakes at 5:45 to catch the bus at 6:45, they are not meeting the minimum. And it is just not your child.

A National Sleep Foundation poll found 59 percent of sixth through eighth graders and 87 percent of U.S. high school students were getting less than the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep on school nights.

Throw in there several recent national studies that show teenagers’ brains do not function better until later in the morning and you have the makings of a very long, exhausting day for school kids across the nation.

And it shows.

The same poll found that 20-30 percent of high school students and 6 percent of middle school students fall asleep in school each day.

If your kids don’t hit the sack until later, you are up after them picking up, finalizing details for the next morning and trying to quell a mind that is turning with a very long to do list.

You are probably up earlier than everyone to prep breakfast, lunches, make sure shoes are by the front door and prepare for your own day’s work.

You have to stay up. You have things to do, right?

Nothing will go well the next day if you do not sleep.

Check the schedule put out by this elementary school. What time do you need to hit the hay? When that time comes, do it.

Homework is important. A clean kitchen every day is nice. But sleep is necessary.

Tempted to Cheat on Your Assignments? Don't.

Have you ever cheated on a test? Copied a friend's answer?

You were tired. You studied. You couldn't remember it at that moment, but you knew it.

It was just one. Right? Not a big deal. 

It's a really big deal.

And colleges are not just going to catch you, they are developing technology and changing their methods to catch you.

But unfortunately, you are not the only one they will catch.

Earlier this year Stanford University posted an Academic Cheating Fact Sheet assembled by the Educational Testing Service and the Ad Council's Campaign to Discourage Academic Cheating.

Among the statistics they list, Stanford reports that about 20 percent of college students admitted to cheating in high school during the 1940's. Today between 75 and 98 percent of college students surveyed each year report having cheated in high school.

And cheating comes in all forms.

According to a survey conducted by Rutgers University, of over 63,700 U.S. undergraduate and 9,250 graduate students between 2002 and 2005, cheating is more than simply looking at someone else's answer during a test.

The survey found that:

                        *  36 percent of undergraduates admit to “paraphrasing/copying few sentences from Internet source without footnoting it.”

  • 24 percent of graduate students self report doing the same
  • 38 percent admit to “paraphrasing/copying few sentences from written source without footnoting it.”
    • 25 percent of graduate students self report doing the same
  • 14 percent of students admit to “fabricating/falsifying a bibliography”
    • 7 percent of graduate students self report doing the same
  • 7 percent self report copying materials “almost word for word from a written source without citation.”
    • 4 percent of graduate students self report doing the same
  • 7 percent self report “turning in work done by another.”
    • 3 percent of graduate students self report doing the same
  • 3 percent report “obtaining paper from term paper mill.”
    • 2 percent of graduate students report doing so

Stanford University's fact sheet says that while many advanced students feel their cheating is warranted so that they can get ahead of those who cheat because they cannot keep up, the cheating does not end on graduation day.

Often, those same cheaters continue to take shortcuts in the workplace and even lie on their resume., a provider of on-demand employment background screening, reports that 34 percent of job applicants lie on resumes., reports the most common thing applicants lie about are education, employment dates, job titles and technical skills.

Unfortunately for cheaters both in academia and the workplace, lies are very easy to catch.

Technological advances allow professors to search for previously written term papers and research. Advanced programs also allow professors to see how quickly online students answer questions. If it took them less time to answer than it would for most people to read the question, they may have a cheater.

Employers can follow a virtual trail on nearly every employee by simply Googling the names of previous employers and business associates.

Still think you need to cheat to get ahead? Don't. As a student or professional, eventually, the lies will catch up with you.

Schools Back! Just Keep Moving Forward

Anyone else exhausted?

If your kids started school this week, I'm willing to bet you are propping your eyelids open this morning with the help of a cup of coffee.

Because they didn't just start school. They also probably started football practice, cheer practice, dance lessons. You had to fill out paperwork on the first day, the second day, the third day. You had to mark school picture days and homecoming on the calendar.

Shoes and clothes that were set out nicely in preparation for the first day of class are now being dug out of the laundry basket in a hasty game of, where is my uniform shirt?

Lunches made with care and proper proportions, set out the night before are now hastily being thrown together in the morning with a stern reminder to just eat what they give you in the lunch line and be happy you eat at all.

You were probably late for work, at least once.

You have already probably had to re-arrange your schedule to account for an upcoming cross country meet or meet the teacher night you were not aware of.

You have probably definitely missed your work out, at least once.

And you have fallen into bed without brushing your teeth more than you would like to admit.

It's ok.

The first day of school means big changes for our children, and, for us.

Gone are the days of mismatched summer clothes and eating dinner at 8 p.m. They can't take naps at summer day care anymore and they are raging baby bears when we wake them at 6:30 now in time for the bus.

We are hustling to keep up with all the havoc that comes with a school schedule: Early up, late to bed after fights over homework and extra-curricular activity events. Papers shuffle between school and home, there are emails, lots of them, and reminders from coaches, counselors, principals and bus drivers.

It. Is. A lot.

And it is ok to be tired.

And it is ok to miss your workout. Or shove your kids a birthday cake flavored PopTart instead of the perfectly nutritious egg and red pepper burrito you had envisioned the night before.

It is ok to make them eat in the lunchroom and wear a uniform with a small stain from the day before.

It is ok to not be perfect.

It is ok to be tired. It is acceptable to simply say, I'm going to try again tomorrow.

And tomorrow, and every day after, it will get better.

Scholarship Money and Military Spouse Friendly

Still deciding whether or not you should go back to school and earn your degree?

What is stopping you?

Not enough money for tuition? Might PCS soon? Deployment coming?

Bryant & Stratton College not only understands the busy life of the military spouse, but will be there to support you every step of the way.

And, military spouses who attend Bryant & Stratton automatically qualify for a $6,000 scholarship to work towards their online degree.

The school offers associates degree in dozens of portable jobs perfect for on the move military families, including accounting, criminal justice and medical reimbursement and coding, among others. Bryant & Stratton also offers dozens of Bachelor degree programs in the same fields as well as management, financial services and health services. Check out their website for a full list of degree fields.

Classes are online, professors, tutoring and the library are all available via online and phone. If you are on the move with a PCS, your class moves with you.

There is no better time than now. Let Bryant & Stratton College help you achieve your goals.

To learn more, please visit

Or call 1-800-895-1738. Start your career today!

September Spouse Hiring Fairs

Looking for a job? There are employers looking for you! Yes, specifically for military spouses.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosts hiring fairs around the nation every single month to help match military spouses with the companies who want to hire them.

Check out this month’s list below or visit to find all the military spouse hiring fairs being held for the next few months.

Don’t forget to register!

Sept. 3

Washington D.C.


Sept. 10

New York City


Virtual Job Fair


Sept. 12

Lansing, MI


Sept. 15

Jacksonville, FL


Sept. 16

Pittsburgh, PA


Sept. 17

Las Vegas, NV


Sept. 24

San Antonio, TX


Oct. 1

San Diego, CA


Heading to the Open Road? Bring Your Military Atlas

Mandy Rebmann

Planning a family road trip? 

Your first stop should be your base’s PX to pick up your copy of United States Military Road Atlas.  Sold for around $20 in the PX or the book section of Clothing and Sales, this book is an invaluable source for the military traveler.  Just about everything you need to know about saving money on the road is in there. 

Our family loves to travel.  For me, nothing beats the freedom of the open road.  It’s not for everyone, but I love spending hours in the car seeing America. 

About a year ago, when our daughter was just over one, we took our first family vacation and visited the amazing state of California.  Wanting to hit as many of the major cities as possible in the nine days we were there, we planned a whirlwind tour starting and ending in San Francisco - the most expensive city for both housing and hotels, where even “cheap” hotel rooms can run you upwards of $200 a night. 

After a couple days visiting California’s truly awe-inspiring National Parks, Yosemite and Sequoia, we spent a couple days in Los Angeles then headed up the coast and flew back out of the city by the bay.

A 1,000 mile drive in nine days in a compact car with a one-year-old in the back?  It may not have been the best idea we’ve ever had, but we forged ahead. 

When it came time to plan, we went right to the atlas to plot our course.  In addition to all the usual information on the map, the atlas also showed us the location of all military bases.  Most bases have lodging available, which based on availability, can be reserved for leisure travel.  So instead of paying $200-$300 a night for a hotel in San Francisco, we stayed nearby at Travis Air Force Base and paid less than $70. 

The quality of the hotels varied from base to base, but ranged from acceptable to quite nice in some cases.  It took a bit of planning, and sometimes the bases we stayed at were slightly out of the way.  But,by using military lodging for seven of the nine nights, it saved us over a thousand dollars. 

The atlas is pretty easy to use. Once you determine where you want to visit, just identify a nearby base.  Then you can look up in the back of the book what recreation and travel options they have.  It lists other travel-friendly features, such as fitness facilities, food options, car rentals, and ticket offices.  We were able to get our tickets to Disneyland right at Travis AFB. 

And as it turned out, our daughter was a great traveler.  The only time she ever gave us any grief was in San Jose, at the Winchester Mystery House.  Apparently, a walking tour of an old Victorian house wasn’t the most fascinating thing for a one-year-old.  Who would’ve guessed?

Happy Travels!


Families Spending Less on School Supplies This Year

Still checking the items off on your child’s school supply list? Still searching for the best deals?

So is everyone else.

A recent survey by the National Retail Federation shows that families are trying to spend less on back to school shopping this year. The survey found that average families will spend $634.78, down from last year’s average of $688.62.

Still, nationwide, back to school sales are expected to top $26.7 billion. And that’s not just money spent on paper and pencils.

Clothing and accessories top those lists, followed by electronics.

While most surveys found that parents spend an average of $100 per child, a Capital One survey found that as many as 21 percent spend $200 per child. The same 21 percent of parents, by the way, spend more each year on supplies than they save each year for their child’s college education.

And for those kids headed off to college, the back to school price tag is higher.

Families are expected to spend on average $836.83 for college supplies this year, down from last year’s average of $907.22, according to the National Retailers Association.

And, the best thing parents have to look forward to once school begins, besides that quiet cup of coffee after the bus leaves in the morning, is replacing all the perfect, new, school supplies.  

A report by shows that 80 percent of children will lose not just their pencils, but lunch boxes and clothing too.

The number one item lost throughout the school year: hats and gloves. Followed closely by school supplies, jackets and lunch boxes.

With that in mind, it may be time to hit those buy one, get one free sales. Happy Shopping!


Cheating Website Security Breach May Expose Military Members Too

You've all heard the news. Hackers of the website, Ashley Madison, which helps married folks have affairs, have released users' names.

The jokes and scathing remarks have been centered on reality tv star, and ultra conservative, Josh Duggar who was listed as a user.

But what you may have missed in all that snickering was the fact that there are allegedly a lot of military email addresses listed with Duggar's.

The hack revealed 37 million users on the site. Among those, an unofficial count includes 6,788 addresses ending in "" addresses, 1,665 ending in "," 809 ending in "" (for U.S. Marine Corps) and 206 addresses ending in the newer domain ""

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the largest, non-military federal user of Ashley Madison, with 104 emails from the "" domain found in the list. Another 88 emails were from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and 45 were from the Department of Homeland Security.

What does this mean for military families? There may be a lot of very, very hard times ahead.

Inevitably, many of these emails are legitimate. The owners are using the site. They are having affairs. They are lying. They are cheating.

And military spouses are going to find out in the worst way possible, along with the entire nation who can also see her husband's email listed.

On Thursday Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said service members who have used the site could face disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Use of an official computer or email account to access pornography or register on sites like as well as adultery are punishable under the UCMJ.

"Yes, the services are looking into it as well they should be," Carter said.

So, while you are snickering under your breath, remember, lives are being destroyed. Lies are unraveling and military spouses who may be acquaintances or dear friends are dealing with the most difficult hardship they have ever faced.

Be kind. Be gentle. Be there to help, not mock.

You never know when a skeleton may come tumbling out of your own family's closet.

Volunteering May Kill Me

I know, it sounds dramatic. The thing is, though, I have a bit of a problem: I can’t say no.

Now please, don’t misunderstand. There is a significant amount of time that I am known as “that mean chick” or “that really loud blonde over there”. But at the end of the day, I have this drive to help people … even if it means that my own schedule takes a serious beating.

It was a bit of a deluge, really. First it was the need for a company Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader. Our unit is a bit of a specialized one, which means that traditional civilian roles aren’t necessarily something that come with the package. We are not so different, though, that we do not have soldiers and family members who deserve to know silly things like who-what-when-and-where. So I became the who-what-when-where meeting person. Turns out, there are a lot of duties and responsibilities when you’re that person. Sigh.

Next, the Army did away with the Family Readiness Support Assistant (FRSA) position. The FRSA for most units were superheroes. They maintained contacts and networking information for every group/company/organization that wants to donate goods or time or money or services to military personnel and their families. Until the position was nixed, I worked hand in hand with the FRSA, and was able to use her networking prowess to secure great and wonderful things for my company.

Unfortunately, without the FRSA’s help, I’m a bit like a blindfolded toddler in a knife factory. There are memos and regulations and legal audits (oh my), and a misstep in any of those categories can put a lot of people in some very hot water.

The moral (dilemma?) of this super whiny story is that my full course load starts in five days, and I won’t have the freedom to drop what I’m doing to organize and complete a Sno-Cone sale, and then co-host a school supply giveaway the following morning. Not without my grades suffering, anyway.

Anyone else in over their head in the Olympic sized volunteer pool willing to give some advice?

I sure could use it.

Cool Jobs: Embroidering and Sewing Entrepreneur

How could you not love Etsy? So many fabulous, creative, handmade items in one place. Like a craft fair without the lines and bad parking.

I ordered a garden flag last winter and immediately looked up the artist on Facebook once the product arrived. I wanted to give her a big, online "like" and a thank you for the prompt delivery. I was pleased as punch to learn from her profile that my super cute new flag was also born of the imagination and creativity of a military spouse.

Jennifer Gonzales has been a Marine Corps wife for eight years. She and her husband, who has served for 14 years, were high school sweethearts.

Jennifer said she had a lifelong love of sewing and wanted to try out embroidery. So, on her fifth wedding anniversary when her husband was out in the field, she found a great deal on an embroidery machine and couldn't pass it up. And like a lot of us, her husband bought her the perfect gift, even if he didn't know it right away. Wink, wink!

The machine would soon prove to pay for itself. Jennifer got right to work embroidering "everything she could." Soon, she was selling keychains attached to a pocket that could hold a license, debit card and other small cards.

Jen's Sew Cute Creations was born.

We spent a few minutes with Jennifer getting to know her and her business. Here is what she has to say about being a small business owner and a military spouse:

What additional businesses challenges do you face because of the requirements that come with military life?

"Scheduling is hard for me sometimes because I like to work when the kids are in bed or if my husband takes them to do something. Sometimes he has to work late, has duty or is in the field and it may be a last minute schedule change for him so I have to figure out how to adjust."

What is the best thing about  being a military spouse business owner?

"I think the networking with other spouses is great! Being a military spouse you seem to have an unspoken bond with other military spouses and we all like to help each other out by buying from each other and spreading the word about businesses we have used." 

What is the number one piece of advice you would give to military spouses who are considering opening their own small business?

"If you like to do something, then just go for it! Start off small and advertise, advertise, advertise!  Don't be discouraged if you're not selling right away, but also know your limits and when to stop taking orders so you're not overwhelmed with this new adventure!"

Find Jen's Sew Cute Creations on Etsy at:

or on Facebook at:


For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.