Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Praying for Life

I hadn't expected to post again so quickly, but my friend Brandy shared a story that is too heartbreaking to not share with others.

Ashley is a surrogate who is 21 1/2 weeks pregnant. An ultrasound revealed a cleft lip and palate. These are conditions easily fixed with surgery however, the intended parents want her to terminate the pregnancy.

I don't understand all of the legal ins and outs of how surrogacy works, but how can it be right for them to force her into having an abortion?

I am sure there has to be a way to get out of this situation. It might even cost this family thousands of dollars to repay her fees to the intended parents. Does any one know how to help her? Either to get out of the contract, to convince the intended parents to change their mind, or to meet the financial needs this family will surely have if she breaks the contract and is sued?

Please pray for intended parents up that they might reconsider and make a different choice.
Please pray for the surrogate mother that she will make a choice that honors life.Trees Aren’t the Only Things Worth Saving | Abort73.com
Abort73.com: Abortion Unfiltered

EDIT: I updated the gestational age of the baby up above. I heard from a woman tonight who has the resources to help Ashley find help and that info has been forwarded onto Ashley. Please continue to pray for this situation as it will likely unfold rapidly over the next several days.

Public Service Announcement: Dryer Vent Cleaning

Does your dryer take extra long to dry? Like more than 30 minutes to dry a regular load? Mine used to. In fact, sometimes it would take nearly 2 hours my dryer to get the job done.

Finally, I decided to do something about it. I called a local dryer vent cleaning service and this picture shows just a small part of what they found at the top of my dryer vent. Apparently, the builder of our 2-story town home added these metal shields to prevent debris from falling into the vent. Well, guess what? It also prevented proper venting.


Before I was a mom and before I was a teacher, I was a claims adjuster. I knew before I was even a home owner that clogged dryer vents are one of the leading causes of home fires. You'd think I'd know better. Apparently I didn't.

Please, please, please call and have your dryer vents cleaned. You can just google it with your city name and it will probably find several choices for you. Mine cost $89, though they offered discounts if neighbors had it done at the same time. I've heard it suggested that you can recover this cost in your electric bill because you won't be running your dryer as long. If that happens for us, great. But at least I know that I've taken an important step in protecting my family and my home.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mary's Getting Picky

I offer this conversation as evidence of Mary's on going improvement in the area of speech.

Me: Mary, don't pick your nose.

Mary: Me no pick my nose?

Me: That's right.

Mary: Me pick Mommy nose?


Happy Valentine's Day to all of you. 
I hope you made a good pick!


(PS. You still have time to finish The Husband Project. Be sure to comment and enter to win one of the great prizes!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 5

Y'all are amazing. I can't even begin to tell you how blessed I have been by reading your comments and seeing how you are expressing your love for your husbands. If you've been doing the project with us, but not commenting, take time now to do so. Not only will you encourage other wives, but you'll also be able to enter the drawing for all the great prizes listed below.

In case you missed it, here are links to the rest of the Husband Project assignments: Day 1     Day 2     Day 3     Day 4. Also, if you want more Husband Project inspiration, check out Kathi Lipp's blog, or buy her book.

For the last day of our short blog project, I want you to let your husband know directly what you think of him.

You remember what flirting is, right? Even if you've been married a really long time, you should still flirt with your husband. So, today, send him an email or text message saying something nice and, if maybe a little saucy. For the more adventurous among you, consider sending him a photo of you pretty smile or other feature he admires.

Here are Kathy's tips about how to execute today's assignment:
  • Use an e-card service (hallmark.com or americangreetings.com) to send a cute and flirty note.
  • Don’t know how to text? Ask any teenager in the general vicinity.
  • Most phones have a camera feature where you can send a photo message. Be sure to keep it G rated so that he doesn’t get in trouble at work.
You don't have to leave a comment letting me know what you said. But if you want to be entered to win one of the prizes listed below, then be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form. I'm going to leave it open for the rest of the week in case anyone joined us a little late and needs time to plan or accomplish all five tasks.
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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Making Dinner Time Special

On a typical night, dinner is a pretty casual affair. I make something. We eat it. The mess gets cleaned up (eventually). And it is typically over in about fifteen to twenty minutes. About as long as it takes me prep and make dinner most nights.

Sometimes, I like to make dinner time more special by making fancy food. You know, things that require sauteing and deglazing and stuff. But I don't always have time for all that. Other times, it is easier to make a simple meal, and dress it up. That is what I did for a recent dinner.

In this case, I took a simple meal of soup, salad, and warm bread and treated it like a restaurant meal. When the family came home I immediately welcomed them to the "Sabin Restaurant" and led them to their seats. I used a cheery, over the top greeter voice to set the tone. I also let the girls use my Fiestaware and cups without lids (BIG deal in my house!). I busted out my Crate & Barrel cloth napkins and my favorite Pandora jazz channel was playing quietly in the background to establish some ambiance.

I also thought of some conversation topics more interesting than, "tell me about your day." The best part of the conversation was between Mary and I.
Me: If you could be any animal, what would you be?
Mary: (without hesitation) Mon-ee (monkey)
Me: Why would you want to be a monkey?
Mary: Ing (swing, which she also signed)
She really is the most hilarious 2 year old I know!

Now, back to the food... The soup was chosen for me. It is a newer product called Bertolli Meal Soup that is purchased from the frozen food section. I chose the Roasted Chicken with Rotini Pasta flavor. It was easy to make on the stove top and honestly had the taste of homemade soup. But don't lie and say you made it yourself. Because if you do that, your next bite will be too hot and you'll burn your tongue. Or something like that.

Bertolli gave me a challenge to "make dinner special" in 60 minutes or less. Ha! I did it in less than 30 minutes. This is what I started with, a messy table covered with stuff that belonged some where else.

And this is what my family came home to.

Charlotte really got into the idea that we were dining at the "Sabin Restaurant," and insisted on being referred to as a guest. She also kept referring to me as "owner."

As for the soup... it was really good and more filling than I expected it to be. Flavor wise, this is definitely comparable to some of the best soups I've been served in restaurants. I even caught Bruce spooning the broth left in his bowl (no, not that kind of spooning!). This is highly unusual for him because the broth is often his least favorite part of the soup. (Yes, he's odd like that.) The only drawback for me is that it cost almost $7 for a bag, which serves 2 people. They are generous servings and more than you'd find from a canned soup, but this is still a pricey convenience item if you ask me.

In case you are interested in trying this yourself, I am giving away a coupon for a free bag of Bertolli Meal soup as part of the 5-part Husband Project. You can enter to win by participating in the challenge at least one day.

How do you make dinner time special?

Also, you can learn more about the Bertolli Meal Soups via the Bertolli websiteFacebook or Twitter.

FTC Disclosure: I did receive free soup and compensation for this post. All opinions are my own (or Bruce's) and I really did burn my tongue on my soup.

The Husband Project - Day 4

It's been 3 days since we started this project together. Isn't Kathi Lipp amazing for coming up with such simple ways for us to connect with our husbands? In her book, the full project is 21 days plus bonus projects that will really blow your husband out of the water. Trust me, even if you have a good marriage, it can always be better. I highly recommend you consider buying the book even if you don't win the giveaway.

Someone once asked me if this was similar to The Love Dare. I haven't read that book, but based on what I saw in the movie, I'd have to say yes, but... The Husband Project is much simpler. There is no need for dramatic moves like spending your life savings. Almost all of the projects can be done without spending any more money than you might normally do in the course of serving dinner to your family. Plus, The Husband Project is hilarious. Kathi Lipp is truly one of the funniest people I know.

Today's project is meant to remind you that sometimes the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.


There's a good chance you are the one primarily responsible for planning, making, and serving dinner to your family. And there's a good chance you make casseroles and salads and other "lady food" that your husband eats because he's hungry and it is in front of him. You probably make the best tuna casserole on the block. But for most men, that is not going to cut it. That is not man food. (Yes, I'm relying on a stereotype. It exists for a reason... most men would prefer a juicy burger and steak fries to a tuna casserole.)

For Bruce, since starting the Husband Project last fall, I've tried to serve "Man Food" once a week. That means hot wings, hamburgers, meatloaf, fried chicken... all of his favorite foods. Foods that cost a little more to prepare because they are heavy on the meat. Foods that make up for Meatless Monday and Salad Tuesday.

Kathi encourages us to think outside the box and shows other ways to accomplish today's project.

  • Get his favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s and hide it behind the frozen chicken. Even if you buy it on Tuesday, you’ll have it ready and waiting for his special night later in the week.
  • Is there a certain cut of meat that your husband loves? How about having the butcher cut something just for him? Most supermarkets will even do the marinade for you – one less thing to think about.
  • Is there a certain candy that your husband loves from his childhood? Check out www.candywarehouse.com. They have all the nostalgic candy you could want (Black Jack Gum, anyone?) while also carrying any modern favorite you could be looking for.
  • My husband’s family loves something called “noodles and mashed potatoes” (we lovingly refer to it as “The Starch Fest”). I learned how to make this special dish just for him.
  • My guy loves the smell of baking almost as much as he enjoys eating the treat. Have some brownies in the oven when he gets home from work or working out. (I know, it negates the workout, but isn’t chocolate always worth it?)
  • Our friend Scott mentioned that he loves cranberry sauce, but eats it only at Thanksgiving. His wife intentionally made the holiday treat for him this past July.
  • Are you a wife who is an expert at low-cal salads and other forms of chick-food? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Man Food at www.kathilipp.com for ideas

How are you going to declare your culinary love for your husband? What special treat is going to be all his today? Leave a comment to let us know and then make sure to complete the rafflecopter form to be officially entered to win one of several great prizes!


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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: Tiecoon.com

If I receive a product to review that I'm not absolutely thrilled with, I usually beg off the review with a polite email to my contact. Generally speaking, I only share items with you that I really like.

But this time, since I had already listed the prize as part of my Husband Project, I felt obligated to carry on with the review.

So I started thinking about how I could share this with you in a way that would make you excited to win the prize. So, here's my review of the Tiecoon.com Jon Vandyk striped navy tie and hanky that I received.

This tie is great for the following things:
  • kid's dress up (because it's cheap)
  • messy men (because it's polyester)
  • woman's accessory (because you can only pull this look off so many times)
  • photo prop (because who needs a silk photo prop?)
So, if you need a tie for any of those reasons, then Tiecoon.com is a reasonable choice. Shipping for 1 tie was about $4 to my house, but your mileage may vary. Plus, the variety of their tie selection is pretty impressive.

Remember, if you want a chance to win 1 of 4 $25 Tiecoon gift cards, be sure to participate in The Husband Project. I've already got the first 3 days posted so you still have some time to get in it to win it!

FTC Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
<a href="http://www.tomoson.com/?code=CONTESTab739b9148fc66c94472053de864b77e">Sponsored by Tomoson.com</a>

The Husband Project - Day 3

2 days down ladies! What are your husband's thinking? I've heard from so many of you who said this project came at just the right time. Doesn't it feel good to do things that make our husbands feel good? I'm glad you agree. Let's see what Kathi Lipp has come up with for day 3 of our blog project!


Oh, this is an easy one, especially if you are both active on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Heck, if you have a blog, why not write a post about him and make sure to leave your screen open so he sees it.

My husband's love language is words of affirmation so this is a pretty important project for me. I wish I could tell you his love tank is always full because of the loving words I use to and about him. But that isn't the case. The Husband Project is as much for me as it is for any of you. 

I know not everyone likes their husband all of the time, but here are Kathi's suggestions for finding something nice to say about him.
Who are the important people in your husband’s life? Your kids, his parents, his friends? Be intentional about who you chat with when you brag on him – it’s almost as important as actually doing it. Having a hard time coming up with something? I still brag on my guy for things he did years ago. He loves when I tell the story of how brilliantly he proposed (there were waterfalls and stuffed portabella mushrooms involved…). Here are some other areas to think about when crafting your brag:
  • His parenting skills
  • His patience level
  • The way he treats your mom
  • His culinary ability
  • His job
  • His loyalty to you
I really like the advice about using something from year's ago. Of course, you can't do this EVERY time you say something nice about him, but it can remind you of earlier times and help you recapture some of that experience. Life can be draining and remembering the good times is a great way to get through the hard times.

Leave a comment and let me know how you bragged on your husband. And make sure to keep track of your giveaway entries via the Rafflecopter widget below! That's how I'll be choosing a winner of all the great prizes!


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Friday, February 10, 2012

Memorable Gifts

When I was a little girl, my family experienced the unpleasantness of divorce. As is normal in these situations, every one hurt and mourned for what was lost. Of course,  I can't speak for anyone's experience but my own. And I know that it hurt. It was hard to be separated from one parent or the other on opposite weekends.

But I always remember something my mom did to make it a little easier. She gave me a bear. It was a small stuffed bear with rainbow fur. And she told me that the rainbow was a promise that things would get better.

My mom has always been a good gift giver. She's thoughtful and likes to think about how the recipient will use the gift. I try to be like her in this way.

This month, DaySpring (in)spired Deals helped me give a special gift to my husband. They sent me this set of Mr. & Mrs. mugs. What makes these thoughtful is that the inside rim is printed with "I found the one my heart loves. Song of Solomon 3:4" 

We have a lot of coffee mugs around here, but most of them are of the plain or promotional variety. It is nice to drink out of this cup a few mornings a week (because let's be honest, it's not always cleaned right away) and feel a smile sweep over my face not because my coffee is good (it is), but because I am reminded about the good man who paid for my coffee.


If you'd like the chance to win a $35 gift certificate to DaySpring so you can pick out the perfect gift, be sure to participate in the Husband Project this week.

What about you? What is the most treasured or memorable gift you’ve received or given?

FTC Disclosure: I received a Mr. & Mrs. gift package in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

The Husband Project - Day 2

Let me just say I had fun reading your comments from Day 1 of the Husband Project. I am sure some of your husbands were shocked at the extra 30-minutes they suddenly had on their hands. Of course, some of you are already on this and it is part of your regular family routine.

For day 2, we are going to reconnect with something our husband's did before we got married.


This might be a tricky one, so if you need all weekend to make it happen, go right ahead. It was mostly easy to figure out how I wanted to do this assignment because my husband loves motorcycles. He has been riding since he was 15 and a motorcycle has been his primary form of transportation for almost our entire marriage.  At least once a year he takes off on his bike for a 2-5 day trip and has been some pretty amazing places.

While I am not yet ready for him to go off on a 3-4 week Alaskan motorcycle trip, I do want to make sure he enjoys his motorcycle as a hobby and not just a form of transportation. For this project, I did two things. First, I suggested a day trip on his motorcycle by himself since we weren't in a position for him to be gone the whole weekend. And I also asked if we could ride the bike on a date night after we dropped the girls off at a friend's house. We circled back to our place and hopped on the bike, just like we did before we were married or had kids.

Kathi Lipp, the author and creator of The Husband Project, offers this creative advice for how to make today's assignment work in your marriage:

  • Many a man’s hobby has gone by the wayside due to matrimony. Is it possible that it’s time you learned to golf or fly fish? Don’t try to beat him, just join him.
  • Possibly the only thing your husband would enjoy more than playing chess with you is teaching you how to play chess.  Ask for a lesson so he can teach you something that he is an expert at (or really loves). Just your willingness to learn will be a huge boost to your guy.
  • Pick up a magazine about your guy’s now dormant hobby. Ask him questions about why he loves it so much. Learn a couple of technical terms so that you are better able to discuss it.
  • Do a little research. Find out what the definitive website is on your husband’s favorite subject. Maybe there’s an event in town, a lecture to attend, or a game to watch.
Now, I want you to leave a comment with your plan for making Project Day 2 happen. Then, be sure to fill out the rafflecopter to enter to win lots of great goodies!

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Husband Project - Day 1

I am not a perfect wife. I make mistakes and get selfish. I put my own needs above my husband's needs plenty. Last Spring I was looking for some help in changing this and my friend Shawna Lee suggested The Husband Project. I took her advice and it worked to adjust my attitude towards one of service towards my husband and not one of entitlement. I finally feel ready to share it with all of you and invite you to do it with me.

The only reason I feel confident sharing this advice with you is because I know it works. And I know it works because I have done everything I am going to share with you. I've seen the change in my house when I do these things and it was good.

We are going to take a 5-day journey together. Five days of loving our husbands intentionally in ways that mean something to them. This won't be about us and our needs, it will be about meeting 1 of his needs each day. Each day I'll share 1 "project" that we will do together. I'll share how it worked out for me and my husband and ask you to do the same. There will be happy times. There will be frustration. There will be lots of love. AND, there will be prizes! You have to play along at least 1 day to be eligible to win the prizes.

Let me introduce you to my friend and the creative genius who came up with this idea - Kathi Lipp. She wrote the book that makes husband's every where happy - The Husband Project - 21 Days of Loving Your Man on Purpose and with a Plan. Our 5-day project was designed by her to introduce this idea to as many wives as possible. At the end of the project, I'll be giving away a copy of this book along with lots of other goodies! 

Let's get started with the first project! Try to do this tonight if you can.

Would he like to be left alone to rest and rejuvenate, or does he want some undivided attention from you? What would show him you value his work and want him to feel like home is a safe place?
My husband has a 50 minute commute home at the end of his day. He spends all day with 7th graders and really needs that quiet time on his motorcycle to help ease his transition. Does that mean he is ready to deal with cranky, hungry children when he walks in the door? No. So, every now and again, I let him know in the morning that when he comes home, I want him to head straight upstairs to decompress for 30 minutes or so. 

Already, some of you have come up with all sorts of excuses as to why you just can't do this. That's okay. Kathi has suggested some ways you can make this work for you, even if hubby works from home:
  • My friend, Joann, purposely scheduled her daughter’s dance classes twice a week at the same hour that her husband gets home from work. That way, her hubby comes home to an empty house. He gets some quiet, and she gets a more peaceful man.
  • One husband has his workshop out in the garage. His wife encourages him to go and hang out there for a while before dinner. (Since starting this arrangement, her husband has started helping out with the after-dinner clean up. Nice side benefit.)
  • Crockpots are The Husband Project’s best friend. Set your crockpot to be finished thirty minutes after your husband gets home from work. Let him know that you don’t need anything until dinner is ready. Don’t know a crockpot from a flower pot? Check out the recipes in The Ultimate Guide to Man Food at www.kathilipp.com.
  • Does your husband already have a great transition routine after getting home? Find some other little thing to bless that time. Maybe it’s making sure the TV is available, his favorite sweats are clean and ready to be changed into, or there’s a cold soda waiting for him in the fridge. It may be so small that he doesn’t even notice. That’s okay – you’ll know what you did.
  • What if your husband works from home? Maybe the best way to help him relax is to ask what he would like the schedule to be. Does he want dinner before or after he gets some time to recharge? Ask him what would make his night better.
So there's your assignment for today - bless your husband with 30 minutes of his transitional time to do with as he pleases. You don't have to do it every day. Just one day. Just 30 minutes.

Leave a comment to let me know how you plan to complete this assignment. Or if you've done it already, how did it go? Do you have any tips or advice for other wives? Each comment counts towards an entry into a great prize pack that I'll reveal more of as the days go by.


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