Deployment, Military Life

Bucket List Breakdown: Part 1

If you have been following this blog for long, then you are probably familiar with my Deployment Bucket List. I started it when my husband left on a 15-month hardship tour to Central America. I made a bucket list of 100 things to do during deployment to keep me and the kids busy.

Although the Deployment Bucket List was one of the first things I published on the blog, I get questions about it all the time. So, I figured I would detail each bucket list item individually.

Since explaining all 100 items here would create the longest post everrr, I am breaking the list up into a series of 5-parts. Hopefully, it will help answer a lot of the questions that I get and inspire you to make a Deployment Bucket List of your own.

The Deployment Bucket List

Things to do During Deployment: a list of 100 things to do while your spouse is deployed

Make sure you print out a copy of your bucket list and put it on your wall to help keep you motivated!

#1 Send Heff 12 Care Packages

Things to do during Deployment: send care packages

One of the best things you can do during deployment to show your service member that you are thinking of them is to send them packages from home.

Initially, my husband’s tour was only going to be a year long. My goal was to send him a package each month. However, his tour was extended  But this gave me a bit of much-needed ‘wiggle room’ for when I didn’t get packages in the mail on time.

You can see all the packages I sent him and what I put in them in this post.

#2 Learn Spanish

Things to do During Deployment: Learn Spanish Using the Duolingo App

Learning a second language has been a goal of mine for years, but I never took the time to actually do it. So, I thought why not during this deployment?

I can’t say that I became completely fluent in Spanish during this tour. However, I learned enough Spanish to get around, order food, and {sort of} negotiate prices, during my trips to Honduras. And I consider that a win!

I used a couple of different resources to teach myself Spanish, but, by far, the best one was the Duolingo app. I ‘played’ on this app during my free time and it helped tremendously in expanding my vocabulary. And the best part: it’s totally free!

#3 Do Something I’ve Never Done Before

Deployment Bucket List: do something I've never done before, ride in a helicopter at Marvel of Flight in DeFuniak Springs, FL

When I put #3 on the list, I didn’t have any idea what it would entail. I just wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. When I flew in a helicopter for the first time, I knew that this requirement had been fulfilled.

Every April, DeFuniak Springs (my hometown) hosts the Marvel of Flight Fly In & Expo, a two-day event full of unique aircrafts, guest speakers, and vendors. They also offer, helicopter rides. Since this was my first experience in a helicopter, I was able to check this item off of the bucket list!

#4 Go to the Beach

Things to do During Deployment: go to the beach, a trip to Grayton Beach, FL

Since I lived in Florida during this hardship tour, going to the beach was a pretty regular occurrence. Checking this item off of the list was easy and fun! (Having ‘easy items’ on your bucket list is a must!)

#5 Have a Sleepover with Lexy

Deployment Bucket List: have a sleepover

Before this tour, my kids had never lived ‘at home’. So, living close our extended family and being able to have a sleepover with their big cousin was the best thing in the world to them. Sleepovers with my niece quickly became a pretty regular occurrence. One that we miss, so much, now that we’re in another state again. One of the best things to do during deployment is to spend time with family 

#6 Read 12 Books

Deployment Bucket List: Read 12 Books

Reading has been one of my favorite pastimes since I was a kid. I read a lot anyway, so why not add it to the bucket list? Throughout this deployment, I made the time to read these 12 books.

#7 Save Money

Deployment Bucket List: save money

Every military couple knows that the one of the best things to do during deployment is to save money. Since a hardship tour isn’t technically a deployment, my husband didn’t receive typical ‘deployment pay’. However, we had a goal in mind and were able to reach it before he returned home!

I made this graph and taped it inside my planner to help us track our savings progress. Coloring in those little squares each time I made a bank deposit was soooo satisfying!

#8 Make at Least One Trip to Honduras

Deployment Bucket List: make at least one trip to Honduras, my visit to the Island of Roatan

While, this hardship tour was not command-sponsored, I was still able to visit my husband during his time at Soto Cano. Thankfully, I was able to visit him twice during this tour. On my first visit, we stayed for a week on Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras. (You can read about our magical trip here!) It was truly the experience of a lifetime! And being able to spend time together was MUCH needed during this long separation. I’ll never regret adding #8 to the bucket list!

#9 Spend the Day in Pensacola

Deployment Bucket List: spend the day in Pensacola

Despite living an hour away from Pensacola for the first 20 years of my life, I never really spent much time there. So, I added it to the bucket list. The girls and I had the best day seeing some of Pensacola’s historic sights (you can read about our adventure here). The Pensacola Lighthouse was just the first stop during our day in this beautiful, beachy city!

#10 Watch Lexy’s  Cheer Competitions

Deployment Bucket List: watch cheer competitions

As you’ve probably gathered, Lexy is my niece. She is on a competition cheerleading team that participates in competitions throughout the southeast. Unfortunately, we have only been able to see one of her competitions.So, while we were home we took full advantage of being able to go watch her compete.

#11 Go to Church

Deployment Bucket List: go to church

Before we left Fort Polk, I became involved in PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) at the chapel on post. I loved the Bible studies and fellowship with other military spouses. When I moved back home, I was lucky to find a church that my girls and I loved and were able to get involved in.

#12 Do 3 Pinterest Crafts

Deployment Bucket List: do 3 Pinterest crafts

Crafts are something that I enjoy, despite how much my family and friends tease me about it. There is no shame in my Martha Stewart game! Naturally, crafting was among my list of things to do during deployment. These were some of the DIY Christmas ornaments that I did with the kids for our ‘outdoor Christmas tree’.

#13 Color Easter Eggs

Deployment Bucket List: color Easter eggs

Coloring eggs is an Easter tradition at our house. Even though it’s something we do every year, I put it on the bucket list as a ‘freebie’ to remind us that even though we are counting the days away, life doesn’t just stop because daddy is gone.

#14 Train for a 5k

Sadly, this is the first bucket list item that I did not complete. A valiant attempt was made when I downloaded the Couch to 5k app on my phone and followed its program for several weeks. I didn’t completely finish it though. Therefore, it doesn’t ‘count’.

#15 Finish Lainey’s Baby Scrapbook

This was another item that did not get completed. I did work on it several times throughout the year and made plenty of progress. But since it’s not technically complete, it also doesn’t ‘count’.

#16 Read One Classic Piece of Literature

While I do a lot of reading, I have not read many classic pieces of literature. I hoped to motivate myself to finally read some by putting it on the Deployment Bucket List. That unfortunately did not work out like I had planned 

#17 Host a Craft Night

When making the Deployment Bucket List, I had grand plans to host a craft night at my house. I was going to invite over some friends and family and maybe put together a new wreath. However, between the kids, the new jobs, and just life in general, craft night didn’t work out 

#18 Get a Pedicure

Deployment Bucket List: get a pedicure

Oh how I long to be one of those women that has her life together, right down to her manicured hands and pedicured feet. However, I’m more of a frugal-slap-on-some-pink-polish-yourself-kind-of-woman. Getting a pedicure is a luxury that I don’t get very often. So I put it on the bucket list to remind me to treat myself.

Also, I very rarely have a babysitter. That meant when I went to the ‘nail shop’, my girls had to tag along They thought getting their nails done by a professional was fabulous. It was fun way to spend our afternoon!

#19 Visit a State Park I Haven’t Been to Before

Deployment Bucket List: visit a state park I've never been to before

There are so many great places to explore in the Florida Panhandle. I added #19 to the list as a reminder to get out and explore more. This lead us to Falling Waters State Park in Chipley – home to Florida’s highest waterfall.

We had a blast walking over sinkholes, seeing the waterfall, and swimming in the lake. We will definitely be visiting this park again in the future!

#20 Run 365 Miles

As I stated before, I very rarely have a babysitter. So having the time to run without the kids was nearly impossible. And running with them is entirely impossible. I did manage to log some miles during this tour. However, it was closer to the 100-mile mark than the 300-mile mark, thus this item was left incomplete.

Complete: 15

Incomplete: 5

I was able to complete 15 out of these 20 items on my Deployment Bucket List! I knew when I began that I might not complete every item, but that didn’t stop me from trying.

Having a list of things to do during deployment motivated me to get out and do more. It encouraged me to spend more time with the people I love. And it helped pass the time until our family was together again. I encourage every military family to make a list of things to do during deployment!

Make sure you check back next week for Part 2 of the Bucket List Breakdown!

Things to do during deployment: part 1
Things to do During Deployment: Part 1