A Busy Couple's Guide to a Great Marriage

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31 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

14 Days of Valentine’s Gift Giving Challenge!

14 Days of Valentine's Day Gift Giving

Today is our last day of our January focus, Spend at least 10 minutes per day together. How did you do? Had any positive changes because of it?

Tomorrow begins our countdown to Valentine’s Day, but because I’m all about the little things, don’t look here for a review of all of the expensive stuff, because I don’t have that kind of money so I don’t own it to review!

Our Valentine’s countdown is all about the little ways you can love your spouse without breaking your pockets. Each day I’ll send you a “gift” to give your spouse leading up to V-Day. But don’t worry, other than taking a little of your time, most of these gifts are FREE. (The ones that aren’t won’t be more than $5, I promise).

Are you up for it? Sign up to get the PDF of your challenge and your daily challenge reminders!

30 January 2014 ~ 2 Comments

Today I’m Telling You This….

I rarely make videos, but I have some exciting news to share with my Making Love in the Microwave friends! Please excuse me for looking a little crazy and out of breath.

 

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28 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

The Zen of Waking Up With Children

The Zen of Waking Up With Children
The Zen of Waking Up With Children

Photo by: cesarastudillo http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/

Mornings.

Mornings are always hard if you’re not a morning person. Mornings are always harder if you’re not a morning person and you have kids at home, especially when you and those kids need to get from home to elsewhere by a certain time.

I am not naturally a morning person. In fact, I think the hardest part of working full time is waking up and getting myself and my children out the door.  Last year I started the book Early to Rise, which helped me start making my mornings a little more peaceful and Zen-like.

The number one way I’ve found that allows for better mornings and therefore better days:

Get up way before your children.

No matter what you have to do, do not let them wake you up.

I always feel a little annoyed when the alarm goes off. But an alarm that sounds and looks like a five-year-old yelling “Mommy I peed in the bed!” is infinitely more annoying.

I would rather have a 5 am morning that looks like this:

smell that aroma

Than a 7 am morning that looks like this:

computer time at home

I was reminded of this last week during one of the snow days. I decided to steal a little more sleep due to being off work. The extra comfort of spending more time in bed was quickly negated by being awakened by the aforementioned five-year-old.

If your kids are young enough, as soon as they’re awake, you’re on. If your kids are anything like mine, as soon as they’re awake they always want, or need…stuff.

So instead of waking up to my shower, my prayer, my lonely cup of coffee, I woke up to stripping and washing bed sheets, running bath water, telling my son to get dressed 40 times before he actually did, and making his breakfast while he tried to convince me that I should let him eat cookies instead.

It was nothing out of the ordinary. It was just the typical morning with children that at some point left me scrambling to get centered again.

Second, I start my morning at night. If I’m dragging at the end of the day, I don’t always master this, but I try to get as much as possible ready at night which in turn makes the mornings less hectic. I pack lunches, pull out clothes—my kids wear uniforms, so this step is pretty easy, and put the stuff I need by the door so that in the event of the unexpected, the little time consuming things are already taken care of.

Third, I stopped trying to do too much. I learned this indirectly from my mother, who was a single mom of three. When I was a kid, my mom didn’t take my sister and I, who went to school across town, to school every day so a couple of times a week, she would get up to take us to breakfast at McDonald’s and drop us off at school. I know that she was trying hard to give us her time and attention, but what I remember most about those mornings was how stressed she seemed, without her ever saying it.

Because of this, my kids eat Pop Tarts for breakfast. A lot. Sue me. I don’t claim to be that crunchy and they always like them. I know that they’re quick enough and we don’t have to fight in the same way that we do when they sometimes like cereal and sometimes don’t, or sometimes like eggs and sometimes hate them. I balance them out with a banana or some healthier item. But I am not making pancakes, or any other big breakfast, during the week. I would rather let them sit down and eat happy pop-tarts than stressed out bacon and eggs. We keep it simple and go all out on Saturdays and Sundays, unless they ask for Pop Tarts then, too.

What’s the hardest part of waking up with children? What tips do you have for managing it? Share in the comments!

 

24 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Best of the Marriage Web: Week of January 19, 2014

Tia and Tamera answer questions about life and family. I love these two. And Larry King. And I especially love when Larry King asks the twins “are you both of mixed race background?”

My husband goes to strip clubs, so why can’t I? Good question. Check out the Ma’at’s answer. 

Are your New Year’s Resolutions falling apart because of loopholes? Gretchen Rubin talks about the “tomorrow loophole” at the Happiness Project. 

Justin and Trish Davis let us in on two mistakes couples make when trying to improve their marriage. I am guilty. You probably are too.

Your super-cute Instagram photos don’t have to live forever in cyberspace. Simplicity in the Suburbs gives a cute way to preserve them that I’m stealing and putting on my Christmas/Mother’s Day/Birthday gift buying/project list.

This wasn’t posted this week, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it and I love it. Love and Respect Now shares some insight for Newly Married Men and Déja Vu Conversations .

Sex with “Glass?” No. No thank you.

These two words can end an argument. For realz. Find out what they are at Hitched Magazine.

 

23 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

National Compliment Day is Friday, January 24

National Compliment Day

National Compliment Day

Tomorrow, January 24 2014, is National Compliment Day. It’s okay if you’ve never heard of this day. It shouldn’t stop you from participating. It’s a completely gift-free holiday as it doesn’t cost you anything to say something nice to someone else.

The goal for the day is to give a compliment to at least five people. This will be pretty easy for some of you. For me, I’m pretty quiet in real life. I observe, and then tend to keep those observations to myself, even when they’re positive. Since one of my personal goals is to speak up more, this will be a good challenge for me.

I’m taking it a step further and instead of giving compliments to five random people, I’m giving myself a goal of giving a compliment to the five people on this list:

My husband

My kids

A coworker

A stranger

Someone I don’t like

 

Will you join me in giving compliments to five people tomorrow? You don’t have to use my list, but make one of those people your spouse. Compliment the others you choose, but it’s a good idea to compliment someone you usually wouldn’t.

And make sure to be genuine. Just about everyone has something nice you can say about them.

Are you up for the challenge? Let me know in the comments! I’ll check back in tomorrow to make sure that you completed the task.

 

21 January 2014 ~ 2 Comments

One Thing You Need to Do Before You Send a Cute Text

Love text with hearts

Today I decided to follow one of my recipes in the book and sent a love text to my husband. To keep it simple, I sent this:

Love text with hearts

About an hour later, my phone rang and this happened:

Me: Hey!

Husband: WTH are you asking me?

Me: What are you talking about?

Husband: Why did you send me a bunch of question marks?

Today’s tip: make sure your phones are compatible before you try to be cute via text. I still should get an “A” for effort though.

 

 

17 January 2014 ~ 5 Comments

Best of the Marriage Web: Week of January 12th 2014

It’s been a little while since I shared some of my favorite picks from around the marriage web, but I’m back at it! Check out some of the best snippets of advice for married couples this week.

Sheila Wray Gregoire says to “Just Jump Him!”  I love how the wife is spending time calculating how much sleep she’ll get around the :36 second mark…. because I would never do that…*snicker*.

Real Simple is challenging folks to get real and show their less than productive moments on the internet. I say unwinding a little bit, especially with the ones you love, is productive too.

Eat up! 10 surprising foods that affect your sex drive at BMWK.

Couples open up to The Marriage Bed about porn use and attitudes in marriage. The results of the survey might surprise you.

Wake. Stretch. Brush. Love. Find out what the Happiest Couples do Before Breakfast in this Babble piece by Alisa Bowman.

Every woman loves the Big O, but sometimes we’re okay without it. Hot Holy Humorous explains why.

“We don’t forgive our spouse based on the severity of their offense, how it made us feel, nor according to how well we remember it. We forgive our spouse based on the fact that God forgave us.” A sometimes hard, always true message from Marriage Works.

15 January 2014 ~ 2 Comments

The Shocking Truth About The Secret to a Happy Marriage

Happy Wives Club Blog Tour

This post is part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!  

For this part of the Happy Wives Club Blog Tour, I was prompted to write about my secret to a happy marriage.

But the truth is that I don’t have one. Just like everyone else, I wish I had some magic key that I could turn that would guarantee that my husband and I would make it from here to forever. But I don’t. I have no insider knowledge, no ancient secret, no whisperings that I’m holding close to my vest.

I’m also not part of a veteran couple. It’s possible that in the seven years since we walked down the aisle, no one has bothered to share their secrets for what makes a marriage great. I don’t believe that, though. Maybe someday I’ll be proven wrong, but for now I stand by the belief that the “secret” just doesn’t exist.

I start off my recent book, Making Love in the Microwave: A Busy Couple’s Guide to a Great Marriage offering my thoughts about secrets:

Secrets are enticing to us. We all want that one magic thing that will create results, often without a lot of work. We all want to believe that there is this one thing that only a couple of people know that we don’t know that will get us from point A to point Z. Just spend anytime web surfing and you’ll find ancient secrets to everything; banish belly fat, get rid of wrinkles, become a millionaire—for a price.

Here is a secret: There is no secret. In fact, the secret answer to just about any question you can come up with is “work.” If there were a secret to weight loss, Oprah can’t afford it, so why do you think you can get it for $29.99? The secret to losing weight is to eat less and move more. All of the different renderings of the “secret” are just plans: ways to eat less and move more in ways that work for you.

That’s it. I haven’t been clued in on something that no one else knows. I do my best to keep God as my focus and to be guided by what’s right and not my own will. I work to understand my husband. I work to sacrifice my immediate pleasure for long term success. I work to make time for romance and to keep my husband as a priority in spite of the busy life we share.

I work hard. He works hard. We fail, sometimes miserably. And then we pull ourselves together and try again. And the harder we work, the stronger we become. There are a whole lot of people in this world who have been working a whole lot longer than us, and are a whole lot better because of it.

My secret to a happy marriage is the worst kept secret that ever was. I love my husband fiercely and I work hard to keep it that way.

What is your secret to a happy marriage?

Fawn Weaver, the founder of the Happy Wives Club wrote a book about the best marriage secrets the world has to offer. They say the book is like “Eat, Pray, Love meets The 5 Love Languages.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy HERE. 

09 January 2014 ~ 4 Comments

How to Get Rid of a Cold Without Cold Medicine

Kick that Cold

Kick that Cold

Every winter, at least once, I end up with a cold that leaves me down for the count. And because I refuse to let this meme go….

aint-nobody-got-time-for-that

Let me backtrack.

I work at a Pre-K-12 school full-time. These institutions are also known as the places where death germs from hell go to thrive. I have been sick before many times in my life, but I think I was sick more times during my first year working at a school than I had been in my entire life before then.

Add to that the fact that I have two little germ carriers of my own at home and you may begin to understand why the death cold always manages to capture me in its grip. That is, until last winter, when I decided to take action.

I am not anti-medicine, but because even non-drowsy cold medicine still makes me drowsy, I wanted to find something that would help ease my cold symptoms without having to rely on meds to keep me going. My doctor suggested I try a nasal rinse, and I know a lot of people swear by it, but in addition to realizing that I’m not particularly fond of pouring water into my nose, and am deathly afraid of brain sucking amoebas, I found the effects to be about as long-lasting as holding my face over a sink full of steaming water—not very.

So after finding a few cold remedy recipes online I combined a few of them to create my own “kick that cold” tea.

Disclaimer: I’m not a recipe writer, nor am I that great about measuring. For this recipe however, your sizes aren’t as important as your ingredients.

Ingredients:

Water
Sliced ginger root
One chopped garlic clove
A lemon
Honey to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Tbsp. of cinnamon
Tea bag (s) of your choosing

Directions:

Boil a pot of water. I typically use a large pot and fill it with 2.5 of the jars below so that I can save for the rest of the day and week.

Old applesauce jar filled with tea

Old Applesauce Jar

After water has been brought to a boil, remove from heat. Add the ginger root and tea bag. I usually slice up the whole root pictured above. I like to use lemon tea, sometimes I use mint, but use whatever flavor you like. Use two teabags for stronger tea. Let steep covered for about 20 minutes.

Once the mixture has finished steeping, remove the tea bags and add garlic.

Squeeze 1/3 to ½ of the lemon into a mug. Pour the tea mixture into your mug.

Add honey and cinnamon to taste. Add dash of cayenne pepper.

I typically store the remaining mixture in my large glass jugs. At the first sign of a cold, I drink the tea two to three times per day and start feeling the results pretty much immediately. Afterward I try to drink it daily during the winter months. Ever since I’ve added this to my routine last winter, I’m happy to report I’ve kept the death cold at bay. (knock on wood).

I’ll get the rest of my family to try it too….

Someday.

 

 

 

 

 

08 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Love is An Ideal Thing

Love is an ideal thing

 

Saw this quote and loved the message. Are you constantly comparing your marriage to the ideal, or appreciating your reality today?