Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review: The Magic Room

I recently read The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow, for BlogHer Book Club.

I wanted to like this book. The premise sounded great. Subtitled "A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters," The Magic Room centers around Becker's Bridal, a successful bridal shop in the small town of Fowler, Michigan. Zaslow shares stories of brides who come to Becker's for their dresses. (Part of the experience is trying on favorite gowns in the store's mirrored "Magic Room.") He also focuses on the Becker family who has owned and operated the shop for generations.

Parts of the book really captured my attention. I was interested in the family dynamics of the Beckers in particular, and how they've been affected by the often all-consuming family business.

In general, though, I felt the author tried to do too much with the book. He'd obviously done his research; he shared plenty of statistics about marriage. But in a book that purports to be "About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters," the statistics somehow seemed to get in the way. Each story, about each family, was interesting...yet there were too many. I found myself getting mixed up as Zaslow jumped from one story to another.

If Zaslow had simply made this a story about the Becker family--perhaps with short anecdotes about their clients and occasional statistics about marriage--then The Magic Room might have been more magical...or at least more focused.

To read more about The Magic Room, check out the book's BlogHer Book Club page here.

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary digital copy of the book, and a small stipend for participating in this program and providing my honest opinions.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Crafty Gift

During the fall, our women at church did a Secret Sister gift exchange. We were matched up anonymously, and brought small gifts to church for each other twice a month. At the beginning of December, we had a party to wrap up the program, and to reveal the matches. We called the program "LIFE Givers," with LIFE standing for "Love Is For Everyone."

I was bringing gifts to a friend whose last name is Mullens. I found a blank tin wall hanger-thingy (already painted red with a white border), picked up some green paint and a silver metallic pen, and also purchased a neat little Christmas tree rhinestone sticker. Here's the finished product!


And a close-up of the cool Christmas tree:


My friend opened it and said, "I love it!" Whew! It's always great when a handmade gift is well-received!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pregnancy update!

Well, folks, tomorrow is a big milestone...12 weeks pregnant! Woo hoo!

Thankfully, my first trimester of pregnancy doesn't tend to be miserable. But it's also certainly not when I'm feeling my best. I get queasy, tired, and sometimes pretty cranky. Thankfully, over the last few weeks, those symptoms have been gradually dissipating. I'm feeling much more like myself again these days! And "myself" is a pretty good person to feel like!

I have been released from the fertility center, and we are now going to the birthing center where Zoodle was born. Ann and I had our first prenatal appointment there yesterday, and it was wonderful. The midwife we met with was awesome! She wants to give Ann and me the type of pregnancy and birth we both want--in which everyone treats Ann as the mother. We will meet with the other midwives throughout the pregnancy, and I expect them to all be totally supportive!

I have gained a few pounds...and boy does the belly pop out faster with baby #3! I'm enjoying my little bump and looking forward to its continued growth!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Elf Elephant

Friday night The Engineer and I will be headed to his company's annual holiday party. We're each supposed to bring a white elephant gift. Like so many other white elephant gift exchanges, there are "good gifts" and "funny gifts." I hope that the hat I made fits both categories!

This is a fun "elf hat." It can be worn slouched in the back (for your inner fashionista)...

Photobucket Photobucket

...or flopped to the side (for your inner ELF!)


Hopefully it'll be a hit!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A unique way to countdown to Christmas

I'll be honest--We are a Christian family, but boy do I have a hard time keeping my focus on Christ during Christmas. Yesterday in the car, Zoodle was asking me where Santa lives. I'm not anti-Santa, but it would be kinda cool if he was as interested in Jesus' birth as he is in Santa's house!

One of my blogging friends, Lara, posted a link on Facebook today that looked intriguing. It was for an e-book called Truth is in Tinsel by Amanda White. After checking it out, I purchased my own copy for $4.99.

The book is broken up into 24 days, and we'll start it today. Each day includes a short Scripture reading, points to discuss, and a simple craft. Each craft is an ornament for the tree. (Today's craft looks really fun--a candle made with tissue paper and construction paper.) There's even a "picture and word clue" for the kids to listen to during each daily Bible reading, and when they hear it, we'll take a strip of paper with that word on it (included in the book) and add it to a paper chain.

It's a PDF download, so you don't need a Kindle or other e-book reader to read the book. (And while it's in color, I just now printed it on my black-and-white printer and I'm pretty sure that'll work fine.) It's $4.99, and I think it'll be a really good way for me to help my kids think about the birth of Jesus, and what He means in our lives. They get plenty of Santa information from other sources. This year I'd like them to learn more about Jesus at home!

Click here to check out Truth in the Tinsel. You can even download one day for free.

Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this blog post, and I purchased my own copy of the e-book.