September 8, 2014

Meet The Members Monday - Quinton W.

My name is Quinton Ward and I am the Men’s group Chair. My wife’s name is Chloe Ward and we have been married for 5 years. I am a retired U.S. Army veteran and my wife is an Air force 2nd year. I am a military brat so I’m not really from anywhere but my wife calls Atlanta home. We have 2 service dogs and a clowder of cats living with us and we do not have any children. Before coming to USU we lived in Baton Rouge LA where my wife attended LSU. I went to school for computer networking and now work at USU in the education reform office. My wife and I love to travel and are huge foodies. We love living here in the D.C. area because of the diversity in cuisine. In the military I was an instructor and a career counselor, I supported soldiers in helping them get to and pay for college. My wife and I just purchased our first home in Kensington and we will soon start renovations while she is away for clerkship rotations.

September 1, 2014

What is a Spouses Club Anyways?

Spouses’ Clubs: What are they good for? 

A few months ago, I came across an article from Military Spouse magazine posing the same question. I realized that 2 years ago, spouses’ groups were a foreign concept to me and it was the question I asked myself. I am now honored to be the president of this social club that is more than a social club, and a support system that is more than just a support system.

The author of that article gave a number of reasons to join a spouses’ group including support and socialization, helping new members, giving back to your community and for just plain FUN. I definitely recommend checking out the great points she makes about spouses’ clubs in general. 

But if you are here on this blog, you may be asking: 

What makes the USU Student Spouses Club different? 

The USU Student Spouses Club is a very unique group because there is no other military medical school (Uniformed Services University). Our students and military members are of all different ages, backgrounds, and experiences. Some are fresh out of college with minimal military experience while others had careers as medics, pilots, Rangers, and SEALs. In turn, that also makes for a very diverse group of spouses with a wealth of expertise and experience. But no matter what your background, we are all figuring out this military medical school thing together. No one comes in knowing what it is like to be a military medical student or spouse. The spouses club is here to help you adjust to this unique military environment, and any question you have is probably one we’ve all had too. So just ask! 

What else does being involved offer me? 

Most simply put, the SSC and all spouses clubs are communities, and many people find friends for life - whether through social events, play dates, or philanthropy events and support while your spouse is away. In the SSC, this can include traveling together on rotations, and always includes home-cooked meals for a new birth or adoption, as well as info sessions for each stage of the medical school experience. 

Philanthropy is also a big part of this club. We have been lucky enough to head up our very own event for the past couple of years, the SSC Wounded Warrior Run, but are looking to scale down the scope of the event this year to allow us to focus on other areas of our community as well.

The spouses club may sound like your grandmother's bridge club, but what's in a name? You don’t have to be a ‘spouse’ to be a part of the club, you don’t have to have children to get something out of it, and there are certainly no age/gender restrictions. We welcome girlfriends and boyfriends, fiancés and fiancées, wives and husbands.

In the end, the spouses club is what you make of it. If you are looking to learn more about the military or medical school life, we have that. If you are looking for a new friend group or play date buddies, a way to learn about, help and give back to your community we have that too.

 Any questions? All you have to do is ask!

August 21, 2014

Recipe Spotlight: Garbanzo Bean Cookies

Don't knock it 'til you've tried it!

Beans may be the last thing that come to your mind when you think 'dessert' but you also probably haven't tried this recipe. Plus, they are perfect for a vegan or gluten free diet- no flour, no oil, no eggs!

Here's what you'll need:

·         1 Can- Garbanzo Beans

·         2 tsp  - Vanilla Extract

·         1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp - Peanut Butter

·         1/4 Cup - Honey

·         1 tsp- Baking Powder

·         Pinch of salt

·         1/2 Cup - Chocolate Chips (there are vegan chocolate chip available- or any other chip you'd like! We'll admit we used Ghiradelli!)

Here's how you make it happen:

·         Preheat the oven to 350F

·         Mix all the ingredients except for the chips in a food processor

·         Stir in chips

·         Spoon balls of dough onto cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes

And that’s it! Thanks Kristen for branching out of your comfort zone to try a new recipe and a dessert we won't feel too guilty about eating for breakfast!

If you missed the meeting and didn't get to try with us, try it at home and let us know what you think!

June 22, 2014

Girl's Night Out - reblog by Sarah K.

Today's post is  reblogged from Sarah's blog, Adventures of a Recent Grad (Thanks, Sarah!). In this post, she shares about a girl's night out in Bethesda. We thought you might like some ideas, too. What do you like to do with your friends in the area? Leave your ideas in the comments below!

Since rotations keep stealing our husbands away, my friend and I decided to go out on the town for some much needed girl time. We went over to Connecticut Avenue to hang out at Politics and Prose Bookstore and then we wandered next door to Comet Ping Pong for some pizza.

Politics and Prose is a sanctuary for book lovers. It has that wonderful ahhhhh.... feeling when you step through the door and is one of the must-see bookstores in America. For such a large bookstore, this place loses none of the cozy, independent book-seller vibes. The book islands throughout the store are overflowing with interesting titles that bring back elementary school memories of DEAR time (Drop Everything and Read). The store features an extensive calendar of events that are free to the public. This is one of the things I love about D.C. There is a really nice collection of free stuff to do here which makes up for some of the overpriced food. Anyway, you can come out almost every night of the year for a book signing or an author lecture, and they occasionally hold multiple events in a day. Politics and Prose also hosts a series of book clubs in their store; you can purchase your book for 20% off and then come for a free book discussion with one of 20 different groups. The highlight of my trip was meeting the Espresso Book Machine. It prints books from start to finish right before your very eyes in ten minutes or less. How cool is that? I recommend printing yourself a book when you come to visit, and don't forget to check out the sale selections on the lower level!


Back when E and I visited R & R Taqueria, I set a goal to visit local gems featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives to satisfy my inner foodie and explore the different hometowns we'll have through a career in the military. Comet Ping Pong has been next on the list for a while, so you can imagine how excited I was when I realized it was right next to the bookstore we were visiting! The photo above features the front dining area. Yes, it does look that dingy inside, but it sets the perfect tone for the laid-back pizza joint. If you walk all the way to the back, you will find the namesake ping pong tables. We were there late-ish on a Sunday night, so it was not too crowded and we had no trouble securing a table for pizza or ping pong. The main attractions on the menu are pizza and beer. Our waitress told us the bread sticks weren't that great when we were looking at appetizers, but the pizza came highly recommended. Prices are $14 for a specialty personal-sized pizza and they start at $8 for your basic cheese pizza with additional toppings costing $1-$4. I was a little sad at first that I would not be getting a giant pizza, but the quality more that made up for any qualms about quantity. Each pizza featured generous amounts of toppings and the crust was just right. Get the melted onions on your pizza! They are awesome. I would definitely like to go back for a longer visit and more pizza to do this menu justice.

June 16, 2014

Summer Reading Programs - by Emily R.

Montgomery County Libraries
Summer is here! 
As a kid, I was a big nerd (ok, so I still am) and I always looked forward to the library's summer reading program.  This area has very well funded libraries, and the summer programs and events can be amazing.  Last year I took my kids to see a dog trick show, meet farm animals, see acting groups and more.  It is easy to sign up for the library's reading program, either online or at the library and it looks like this year's prize is a lunch bag.  But, this is probably the least exciting summer reading opportunity.
B&O Railroad Museum
Last year, my son and I discovered two amazing programs.   The first is through the B&O railroad museum in Baltimore. You can print out a reading journal from their website and then read 10 books about trains before your visit to the museum.  The reading journal has suggestions, but you are free to pick your own titles.  The prize is picking out a book, under a certain dollar amount, from the gift shop.  What's even better?  During the summer, if you show your military ID you get in free as part of the Blue Star Museums program.  This was perfect for my son, a train enthusiast, even at age 3.
Montgomery County Agricultural Fair
he other amazing program we stumbled upon was through the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair.  Most,
if not all, of the libraries will have a special event in July where you can come and meet the 4H fair royalty and a farm animal.  You may need to get tickets in advance, depending on your library, but this is worth it.  The event was great with learning segments, crafts, petting a goat, and my son received a great goody bag with all sorts of animal themed art supplies.  Also in his goody bag: a card for the fair's summer reading program.  After reading 5 books about farm animals, we visited the children's area at the fair and my son received coupons for a free soda (we opted for lemonade), a free ice cream cone and a free fair ride.  It was the perfect way to make a day at the fair extra fun, without the extra cost.  Kids as young as 2 are allowed to participate, and if you can't make it to a library event, you can stop by the fair office to pick up a card to track your reading on.
Has anyone else found a summer reading program they just love?

June 9, 2014

Meet the Members Mondays: Robyn R

Howdy folks!
I’m Robyn Rowley. My husband Dallin is in the Army and is about done with his first year. We are thriving out here on the east coast and can’t believe we were missing out all these years while living in California and Utah.

We love food, and our grocery budget is probably much higher than it should be. We sacrifice luxuries like cable and keeping the thermostat at 72 degrees so that we can afford to buy ridiculously expensive but ridiculously delicious delicacies, like pine nuts. We are mostly whole food, plant-based, which means that we stuff veggies in the meat and cheese drawer to fit all the produce in our fridge. Our seven month old baby girl likes to eat fresh garlic and caramelized onions, so we’re pretty sure she’s ours.

We love to bike. Last summer I seriously considered getting rid of our car and biking everywhere. Somehow we winded up buying a brand new car in April, so that didn’t pan out, but I still love to bike every day and it is my dream to someday be a car-less family.

I’m aware that at this point I probably sound like a hippie. Rest assured that I’m not.

My dad is a percussion professor, and we had a family steel band growing up. Remember the street musician who starts off “How Does She Know” in the movie Enchanted? That’s what I play. It’s the highest paying job I have ever had, which means I made more money when I was 9 than I do now that I am 27. NBD.

My current job is pretty sweet though. I am raising another human being, and when she’s sleeping, I work for a healthcare IT research firm. I can work as much or as little as I want, whenever I want, and it pays well. I learn a lot and absolutely love it. The raising another human being part of my work doesn’t pay in dollars, but I’m pretty content to be adored by her (I know that won’t last into the teenage years…).

We love being at USUHS. There is a very welcoming, community feel, and I think much of the credit goes to the SSC. So far we are liking the military experience and are excited for the crazy years ahead.

June 2, 2014

Meet the Members Mondays: Christina M

Hi!  My name is Christina MacGregor and my husband, Rob is an Air Force MS-4.  We are proud parents to Katie (6), Sarah (4), Audrey (3) and Robbie (10 months).  I was born an Indiana Hoosier, but transplanted to South Carolina at age 12.  My parents still live there, so it has been nice having them a bit accessible. 
I graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1999, and I met Rob while I was “awaiting pilot training” at Moody AFB, GA.  He was an A-10 pilot there.  4 months later, we were dating.  Over the next 5.5 years we dated long distance as I moved away to ultimately became an F-16 pilot and he moved away to do an overseas tour with the Army and then back to the A-10.  It was New Years’ Eve Day of 2005, 4 days before I was deploying to Iraq when he asked me to marry him. 

We spent the next 6 years hanging out in NC and Germany, and then separating from active duty at the same time (dual income Majors to dual unemployed is a bit shocking to say the least).  I was blessed to find and begin my lia sophia business and used it to supplement our income while working as a hotel sales manager and doing my AF Reserve duty while Rob attended school for his prerequisites. 
USUHS is exactly what we prayed for as this opportunity allows Rob to retire with 30 years of service by the time the commitment is over!  What a shock it was to me, though…moving to Bethesda with a 3 year old, 20 month old and 7 week old was hard enough.  Add to that becoming a stay-at-home-mom for the first time ever….and a “dependent” spouse.  From then until now, I have finally figured out that I am happiest when I can work a little…so I am doing more AF Reserve duties and running my lia sophia business with the help of a nanny.  I love the flexibility both of those jobs provide! 

So, it was never an option for me to not be involved in the SSC.  I searched it out before PCSing as I will with every base we move to in the future.  In my humble opinion, there is never a reason to NOT get connected.  You never know when you are going to need something OR even better, when someone else is going to need something that you can provide.  “It takes a village” to raise children…most civilians have their families nearby.  We have each other.