Thursday, March 24, 2011

Resource Thursday: Childcare Coupons

One of Camp Lejeune's best-kept secrets is the availability of coupons for FREE childcare! Every $50 you spend at the Exchange or the Annex qualifies you for a coupon for one free night of childcare at the Saturday Night program. And if you spend more than $50, you get additional coupons. So if you are making a large purchase like electronics, appliances, or furniture, you could get several coupons at once. Think of all the date night possibilities! All you have to do is take your receipt on the same day of purchase to the customer service desk in the Main Exchange. They will record your purchase and give you the coupons.
The Saturday Night Childcare program is run every Saturday from 6 PM- 11 PM at the Terrawa Terrace CDC and Youth Pavilion. Reservations can be made starting on Monday the week ahead, and they fill up quickly, so call as early in the week as possible! We have used the Saturday night care at the CDC many times for both our children. They will be placed in an age-appropriate room with certified staff members. You are expected to feed your children dinner before dropping them off, so you just need to include a snack and juice in their bag, along with diapers, bottles, or change of clothes for young children. After playtime and snack, the staff members will put them to bed in cribs or on cots, then turn down the lights and play soothing music. Unfortunately, my kids don't sleep well there, so we always pick them up well before 11 PM, but you have the option to get them anytime up until 11. This gives you time to go out to dinner, see a movie, go to a friend's house, whatever! It is great for getting a break during deployments, and since I always use the free coupons, I never feel guilty about getting some time for myself. If you don't have any coupons, you can pay $3 per hour per child. I highly recommend this program! What a great reward, especially if you were already planning to make purchases at the Exchange!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Making Memories

Last weekend was all about family time. With Dan leaving for training next week, it was one of the last weekends we will have to relax and enjoy. Then there's training, and more training, and deployment. Our time together is dwindling down, even though the deployment isn't for several months still! But since Dan was gone for all the winter and spring last year, we are trying to treasure this time together and make the most of what is left.
So on Saturday, instead of sleeping in, Daddy got up early and made "yellow eggs" (scrambled eggs) for the kids. They love our big pancake/egg brunches! Then we went off to the toy store to get Daddy's early birthday present for Sophia-- roller blades! I didn't know they made inline skates for 2-year-olds, but we found some. They slide on over her shoes, and have a few wheel settings so we can limit her rolling abilities. But she actually does pretty well on them, and is already learning how to roll forward instead of just clomping around on them. She and Daddy had SOOO much fun playing with them.
That evening, we were celebrating Dan's birthday, so we had a friend come over to the house to stay with the kids. We put them down a little early, then drove down to Wilmington for dinner. It's about an hour away, so we only get down there once or twice a year, but the historic district right on the waterfront is pretty special. I had reserved a table for 2 on our own private balcony overlooking the water, at a restaurant vaguely reminiscent of old New Orleans. It was WONDERFUL! Right next door is a French cafe with a sofa lounge upstairs, so we went there after dinner to just hang out and relax. Alas, no drinks for pregnant me. :-( But it was s refreshing to get out without the kids and spend time together and feel like ADULTS! There were no highchairs in sight, and everyone else there was older than us--a rare occurrence in Jacksonville!
It was a lovely day, and a great way to celebrate his birthday. Whether or not he is home from deployment in time for his birthday next year, I hope we can treasure those memories throughout the next year!