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 Fun (7)


$10 Red Sox military tickets UPDATE

One of our most popular blog posts over the past six years is “$10 Red Sox Tickets: A offer even a Yankee fan will love.” In fact, we get many emails every baseball season asking: Is this offer still valid? The answer is YES!

My husband and I attended two games at Fenway Park this past week, and SRO tickets for active duty military (ID mandatory) were available at both. (Read our original post here.) These are a few new tips from our trip: 

Tuesday, July 26th, 7:10 p.m. game, Red Sox v. Detroit Tigers: We arrived two hours before the game to stand in the military/Will Call line at Gate B. There were about 40 people in line, and many of those people were civilians picking up pre-purchased tickets. We got two SRO tickets, below

A few things have changed since our initial post in 2010. 

  1. The window at Gate B opens 90 minutes before game time, not 2 hours before game time.
  2. There are no longer signs taped to the box office windows giving details of the military SRO tickets. You also won’t find any information about this offer on the official Red Sox website. Don’t let that stop you. The offer is real.  
  3. Be sure to get in the correct line. When we were at Fenway this week, there was a huge line of people who already had tickets waiting to get into the park through Gate B. You don’t want to be in that line. You want to be in the (usually shorter) line against the brick wall for the Gate B ticket window

 Red Sox military SRO tickets from July 2016.

Wednesday, July 26th, 1:35 p.m. game, Red Sox v. Detroit Tigers: We’d been out and about in Boston and didn’t decide to go to the game until the fourth inning. We walked up to Gate B behind another military couple, who also were buying $10 SRO tickets. There were still SRO military tickets left. Score!

My husband gave the attendant his military ID and a credit card, and she gave him back two tickets. We walked into Fenway, only to discover that the clerk had upgraded us. Instead of giving us SRO tickets, she gave us two seats in the Left Field Pavilion. Plus, she hadn’t charged our card. Awesome! This is the second time over the years that has happened to us. Here’s the deal: Every so often, ticket holders who aren’t using their seats will leave their tickets to be given — for free — to military members. You can’t ask for these tickets. It appears that it’s up to the clerks to decide who to surprise with the tickets. So be nice to whoever waits on you at Gate B! 


Just for Fun: Have you wondered what you *look* like online?

What does your online self look like to a computer? To find out, pop over to Aaron Zinman’s Personas project, which was part of an exhibit held at the MIT Museum in Massachusetts. Type in your name and the free program will comb the Internet looking for related data, then use it to create a color-coded bar that visually represents who you appear to be online. It’s an interesting idea and a fun way to spend five minutes — and the colorful output reminds me of ribbons on a military uniform. 

Click to enlarge.

Of course, the computer can’t differentiate between people with the same name online, which can skew the results. And although my last name is unique (I don’t know of any other Hofmann-Bourques out there), the fact is that as a writer I have a number of articles posted online on a lot of different topics, and they don’t necessarily reflect who I am as a person. My ribbonabove, includes some odd categories, such as aggression. I find it amusing that while “military” shows up as one of my biggest categories, my husband, Kyle — who’s actually in the Army — doesn’t have anything military associated with his name, below. Then again, he has a uniform pinned with real ribbons, so he wins.

Click to enlarge.

Check it out for yourself and please share: What does your “ribbon” look like? 


The L&S Cupcake Club: Adventures in cupcakes part two

A big thanks to Army spouses and bloggers Lola and Samantha, who created the online L&S Cupcake Club. It is deliciously fun! For this month’s club, I whipped up the Applesauce Spice Cupcakes. (Actually, I had to make two different batches because I forgot to add brown sugar to the cake batter during my first attempt.) So how did take two turn out?

  • I wasn’t a huge fan of the applesauce spice flavor, but that’s probably just because I’m a chocolate fanatic who believes (almost) any recipe can be made better with cocoa. 
  • The icing was very thin. Although it dripped off most of my cupcakes in not-so-pretty ways, it created — quite accidentally — a heart on this one (below). Sweet! 
  • Bottom line: I love any excuse to try new recipes, especially when they’re based around sugar. Join the L&S Cupcake Club fun next month if you too want a reason to bake. I’ll be there.

Homemade cupcake with inadvertent heart shape on top. From


New! Show off our fun, fabulous (and free!) website buttons

Go ahead, grab us! Or at least grab our buttons! If you have a blog or website — and you like ours — please check out our fun new buttons. Show the world that you are The Strength Behind the Strong! Head over to our “Grab our buttons” page to pick your favorite. Each one (shown below) represents a different branch of the military. (Why are there two Navy buttons? Read our “Grab our buttons” page for the family drama behind the color picks.) Coming soon, we’ll have a page of our favorite buttons from other websites. Enjoy!

 Image of's logo in red, white and blue, followed by the logo rendered in the colors of the various branches of the U.S. Military. Army (green and gold), Navy (navy blue and gold, and navy blue and sky blue), Air Force (sky blue and pale blue), Marine Corps (red and gold), and Coast Guard (warm blue and orange). From



Need a nudge to tackle your to-do list? Get nagged (for free!) with HassleMe

Do you sometimes wish you had a personal drill sergeant barking orders at you? “Send a postcard every week to your best friend in boot camp!” “Put up posts on your family’s deployment blog every three days!” “Eat something other than chocolate when your husband is gone for field training!” (Hey, don’t judge.) The clever folks over at the British website have you covered. Their motto says it all: “Because sometimes in life, you just need to be nagged.” Simply enter your email address, plus what you want to be hassled about, and how often. To keep you motivated — and on your toes — you will get hassled by email at irregular times. 

HassleMe loves to nag so much, it even does it for free. 

Screenshot of's form for setting up an automatic 'hassle'. From

So, spill: What do you need to be nagged about?


Three! Two! One! Military countdown clocks herald good times (and two are free) 

What important event is on your calendar this year? Your sister’s graduation from boot camp? A friend coming home on leave from Afghanistan? Track the time until day zero with these three countdown clocks for your phone, computer, and desk.

#1. Big Day Lite App 
Use it: On your iPhone
Monitor the “days until” your special occasion with the free Big Day Lite app, which you can customize with a title and your favorite picture. (We are partial to any photo with camo or babies.) There also is a paid version of this app called Big Day, which costs 99 cents; it has a few more bells and whistles and allows you to count down to multiple dates. But we found the free (“Lite”) version to be all we needed. Download Big Day Lite from iTunes.

Add your own photo and description to the free Big Day Lite iPhone app, which makes it doubly fun to count down to a special occasion.

#2. Soldier Countdown Clock
Use it: On Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and more
Price: Free 
Copy and paste the free HTML code from into your blog or social networking site so your friends can count down the remaining days, hours, minutes, and seconds along with you. Note: For OPSEC reasons, don’t post specific countdown information about deployments on websites or blogs that can be read by the general public. Instead, consider counting up (instead of down), tracking the number of days your loved one has been gone.

Click to read more ...


$10 Red Sox Tickets: An offer even a Yankee fan will love

Call up your best buddy who’s heading off to boot camp, or your son who’s back from Iraq, and tell him you’d love to spend some quality time together this summer at historic Fenway Park in Boston. Juice up the deal by offering to pay for a pair of Red Sox tickets. Just be sure your soldier/sailor/airman/marine brings an active duty military ID so the two of you can score discounted tickets for $10 each. (Regular prices can be $50, $75, or much more.) Singing “Sweet Caroline” in the 8th inning — a Red Sox tradition — is that much sweeter when it costs less than three beers to get into the park.

Play ball! The view is great from this $10 SRO section at Fenway Park. Here’s the deal: At every regular season game, the Boston Red Sox set aside SRO (standing room only) tickets for active duty military personnel. The number of tickets varies, but it’s often around 200. Each serviceman or servicewoman can purchase a maximum of two tickets per game — one for them, one for you — at $10 each. It’s just one way the Red Sox say “thank you” to our military.

Here’s what you need to know before you head to the ballpark:

  • Military SRO tickets go on sale two hours before game time. The ticket booth is at Gate B. Each person with an active duty military ID can buy two tickets. (Yes, they check IDs.)

Click to read more ...