Deployment, Military Life

Bucket List Breakdown: Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of my Things to do During Deployment Series! (If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 you can check them out here!) This series is an in depth look at my Deployment Bucket List, a list I made of 100 things to do while my husband was on a 15-month hardship tour to Central America.

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. Each part of this series gives you 20 of the items on my bucket list and how successful (or not) I was at completing each one.

People regularly ask for my advice on things to do during deployment. So, I figured I would lay it all out with as much detail as possible. 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!

Here we go:

20 More Things to do During Deployment

#41 Make 12 New Recipes

a list of 12 new recipes I made during deployment

When my husband is gone we usually eat easy meals (i.e chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and cereal¬†), but I knew that we didn’t want to do that for a year. So, I made it a goal to try at least 1 new recipe each month in an effort to make myself cook more ‘real food’. And IT WORKED! All of these recipes had been pinned to my recipe board on Pinterest for God only knows how long, but now I had an incentive to finally try them.

I forgot to take a picture of each meal, so I just typed them into a note on my phone and took a screen shot of that. All of these recipes turned out pretty good and 5 of them are now regular staples in our dinner rotation. I highly recommend adding this item to your deployment bucket list!

#42 Take a Bubble Bath with Candles

Sylvia Plath quote about bubble baths: There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them.

It’s such a small thing, but it makes a big difference. I’m glad I made the time to take a nice hot bubble bath after my kids went to bed. Deployment is always stressful. It’s important to do anything you can take care of yourself once in a while, even if it’s something as small as a bubble bath. [Sidenote: I didn’t think anyone on my social media would be interested in a picture of my bathtub, so I decided to use this Sylvia Plath quote instead.]

#43 Make a Chore Chart for the Girls

kids' chore charts hanging on the refrigerator

I figured daddy’s deployment would be a good time to start making some good habits and get the kids to help out with the housework some. I had pinned a DIY chore chart on Pinterest and intended to make it. That was until I found these chore charts in the dollar section at Target….score! The kids loved putting a star on a finished task and I loved the extra help around the house.

#44 Re-Decorate Lainey’s Room

collage of mermaid decor in little girl's room

My oldest daughter’s room was in desperate need of a make-over. I figured re-decorating it would be a perfect thing to do during deployment to keep myself busy. I had fun re-vamping old furniture, shopping for decor, and putting together a new ‘mermaid room’ for my sweet girl. It turned out perfect! She loves it and so do I!

#45 Go Geocaching

little girl passing time during deployment by geocaching image of her holding a small geocache that she found

Geocaching is a hobby we discovered at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Thankfully, you can do it just about anywhere, which makes it perfect for military families. It’s a great way to get outside and explore and a great way to pass the time during deployment! This is a picture of my niece holding a small geocache that we found at a park near our house.

#46 Do a Bible Study

Bible studies are a great thing to do during deployment image of Bible and Bible Study book

Bible studies are a great way to learn more about God’s Word and applying it to your daily life. So, I decided to make it a priority and add it to my list of things to do during deployment. This particular study was on the book of James and I found it on Amazon for less than $10. It was great way to start my mornings and taught me so much about this small, but very applicable, book of the Bible.

#47 Go Paddle Boarding

image of woman on a paddle board

A few years ago, my dad bought a paddle board at a yard sale and we have been trying our hand at this difficult activity ever since. Admittedly, I am not the best at paddle-boarding, but I didn’t let that stop me from adding it to my deployment bucket list.

#48 Have a Spa-Night at Home

mom and girls having a spa night at home during deployment

Having a spa day at home was a fun way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon while daddy was deployed. We did face masks, painted our nails, and took bubble baths. They loved doing ‘grown-up’ girly things and it was a sweet way to spend time together with them. No doubt, this will be on deployment bucket lists in the future!

#49 Video the Girls Seeing Heff for the 1st Time

girls seeing dad for the first time since deployment

I have seen so many sweet homecoming videos of parents coming home from deployment and now we have one of our own. [I couldn’t get the video loaded on here, however, this is a still frame from the video.] I watch this video from time to time and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

#50 Go to a Festival

things to do during deployment: go to local festivals

No matter where you live, there is bound to be some kind of festival that happens throughout the year. Florida’s panhandle has several festivals, but one that the whole family can enjoy is the Peanut Festival in Dothan, AL. This festival last for 2 weeks and has fair rides, concerts, contests, and our favorite the demolition derby.

#51 Make Pumpkin Rolls

girls helping mom make pumpkin rolls during deployment

When I was a teenager, I spent hours in the kitchen with my granny as she taught me how to make her infamous pumpkin rolls. Now, every year before Thanksgiving, I spend a few hours making pumpkin rolls to take to family gatherings. I couldn’t pass up the chance to let the girls help me this year. They love baking {aka licking the spoon} and were excited about helping me with this holiday chore.

#52 Make a Gingerbread House

girls making gingerbread houses

Another holiday tradition that made it onto the list was making gingerbread houses. We usually make one at home, but the girls’ schools had a day for parents to come make a gingerbread house with the kids, so that’s where these pictures were taken. The girls were excited that there were 2 gingerbread houses this year and I was glad to spend a little bit of one on one time with them, since that is so rare, especially during deployment.

#53 Learn How to Highlight & Contour with Make-Up

things to do during deployment: learn how to highlight and contour with makeup

After spending wayyy too much time on Pinterest and Youtube watching make-up tutorials, I went out and bought highlighting and countouring ‘sticks’. I tried my best to put it on and blend it in exactly how the Insta-girls do, but I don’t think it worked out. I don’t think I looked terrible, but honestly the only difference I could tell in my make-up that day was that I had way more coverage. I’ve tried it several times since and always come out with the same look. Perhaps I’m blending too much or wearing the wrong colors? I don’t know, but I’m glad that I finally tried it.

#54 Re-Connect with an Old Friend

I had the best intention to spend time catching up with old friends when I moved back to my hometown. However, between the jobs that I picked up, kids, and just general aggravating life, I never ended up setting up a successful get-together. However, we had a sort-of impromptu 10-year class reunion and I got to see some faces I hadn’t seen since I high school.

#55 Go to the Gym

My small town has one gym and unfortunately, it does not have childcare. Therefore, the gym never happened.

#56 Celebrate Valentine’s Day

things to do during deployment: celebrate Valentine's Day even if you have to celebrate alone

I had plans to host a small Valentine’s party for the kids at my house. However, those plans were crushed when I took my youngest daughter to the doctor on Valentine’s Day and her strep test came back positive. I made little gift bags for the girls and we watched cartoons and ate candy all afternoon.

#57 Take the Kids to Wonder Works in Panama City

While we spent many days at the beach, we never made the time to try out Wonder Works. However, it is still something I plan to do, maybe sometime in the future when we go home on leave.

#58 Adopt a Christmas Angel

try adopting a Christmas angel during deployment

This is one of my favorite items on the whole list! With the extra jobs that I picked up, we had a little extra money during the holidays. I thought it would be fun to adopt a Christmas angel at a local charity. We ‘adopted’ a 7-year-old girl who’s list consisted of Shopkins, art stuff, and a baby doll. The girls and I went shopping together to pick out her gifts and we went a little overboard! But we had fun and I feel like it taught the kids a valuable lesson on giving to others.

#59 Train for a 10k

It’s obvious that I made this list before my husband left the country, when I was naive enough to think that I would be home all day while the kids were in school and would have time to work out. I figured I would first train for 5k and then a 10k, but that just didn’t happen.

#60 Go to the Movies

girls and dad going to the movies

My husband had to attend training for a few weeks at Fort Bliss, Texas. So, the girls and I (plus my niece) flew out to El Paso to see him while he was there. If you have ever been to El Paso in July, then you know that going to see a movie during the day is about the coolest thing you can do. Watching Finding Dory in the air conditioned theater was a welcome break from the Texas heat.

Complete: 48

Incomplete: 12

I was able to complete 17 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 4 of the Bucket List Breakdown!

Things to do During Deployment: Part 3
Things to Do During Deployment: Part 3