The Strength Behind the Strong website. Proudly supporting our friends and family in the U.S. military, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.


The Strength Behind The Strong was founded by Christine Hofmann-Bourque, who is proud to have a husband in the Army, three brothers in the Navy and Army, and a sister-in-law in the Army. Christine is also a professional journalist. Read our first post to find out why this website is so close to her heart. More >>

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Entries in Celebrations (3)


Giveaway! Win this “support our troops” Swarovski crystal bracelet

Because this week is our six-month website anniversary — and because we just passed 500 fans on Facebook, and because we’ve had so much fun meeting supporters of our military men and women from around the world — we’re giving away one oh-so-pretty Troop Awareness bracelet ($79) from the jewelry shop Elisa Ilana. The elegant, glittery bracelet features yellow Swarovski crystal — a nod to yellow support ribbons — plus rhodium silver and 14kt gold-filled accents. What’s not to love? Plus sales of the bracelet help a cause we hold near and dear: Elisa Ilana donates 10 percent of its proceeds to support groups for spouses of deployed troops. 

Enter our giveaway to win this Troop Awareness bracelet! Image is copyright © Elisa Ilana (

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post that answers this question:
 “What is your favorite patriotic song?”  

It’s tough to choose just one, isn’t it? On my top 10 list is Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” I don’t care that some people think the song is hokey — I love it!


  1. One entry per person, please. 
  2. Facebook fans of The Strength Behind the Strong will get one bonus entry (for two entries total) if you also write in the comments below that you are a fan of us on Facebook. (Go here to “like” us, if you haven’t already.) After telling us your favorite patriotic song, just add “I’m also a fan on Facebook” to your comment. We will count it as two entries; you do not need to submit two separate comments.
  3. Include a valid email address where requested in the comment form. Your email address will NOT be published.
  4. The deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 25, 2010.
  5. You must have a U.S. or APO/AE address for shipping purposes. 
  6. One entry will be selected at random and announced on the website on Thursday, August 26, 2010.

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Happy Independence Day

The Fourth of July takes on a special significance when our friends and family members are in the military. We understand in a very personal way the sacrifices generations of men and women have made to build this great country. Today we think of all those who are serving our country overseas, far from our picnics and fireworks. We especially remember the soldiers of the 108th MP Company out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who are still many months away from returning from Iraq. 

This “Until Then” video tribute was sent to me during my husband’s first deployment to Iraq in 2006. If the angelic voices of the Brigham Young University choirs singing “Homeward Bound” don’t tug at your heart, then the images of our military men and women certainly will. Happy Independence Day!

Image of screenshot of the 'Until Then' military tribute video. From view the “Until Then” video (above) — plus other military tributes — visit, then click ”tributes."


Cookies with a Message (and five tricks you need to know to avoid baking disaster)

I’ve never liked to eat my own words, until now. But when I spotted the adorable, customizable ‘Message in a Cookie’ Cookie Cutters in the Williams-Sonoma catalog, I had to have them. Right away. And since we’re gearing up to make care packages for our Adopt an MP effort, this week seemed like an excellent time to try them out. (Join us! We still need volunteers.) So what could go wrong? Let me spell it out for you: P-L-E-N-T-Y. But if you avoid my mistakes, these cookies will become your new favorites — and a clever addition to an R&R or good-luck-in-boot-camp party.

These make-your-own-message cookie cutters are $19.95 at Williams-Sonoma.

The cookie cutter kit includes three cookie cutters: one heart, one star, and one scalloped rectangle. It also includes three full sets of alphabet letters, plus extras of popular letters, such as “s.” You can use those individual letters to make custom messages like “We missed u Private” or “Hooah CPT More.” Aren’t these cookies the cutest things ever? 

The tinted dough is fun and festive, but uncolored dough would be pretty too.

For perfectly pretty cookies the first time, follow these five tips.
#1. Watch your ABCs—and Es. Trouble can ensue because the individual letters must be slid into place backward and in reverse — essentially their mirror image — so that when they are stamped into cookies they read like English, not Pig Latin. Can you spot the two errors below? 

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