Monday, April 25, 2011

Marriage Monday: "That," he said, "is the key to our marriage."

I've been reading through a marriage enrichment book and when I came across this cute little story and I just fell in love with the couple and the message. The passage begins by discussing three major ways we can help our spouse and mentions encouragement as one of the key components.

"A couple who were being interviewed on the occasion of their fiftieth wedding anniversary were asked, "To what do you attribute the success of your long marriage?" The husband responded, "Sarah was the first young lady I ever dated. When I proposed her, I was scared stiff. But after the wedding, her dad took me aside and handed me a little package and said, 'Here is all you really need to know.'"
The obvious question was, "And what was in that package?"

Reaching into his pocket, the man pulled out a gold watch and said, 'This is it.' There across the face of the watch, where he could see it a dozen times a day, was written, Say something nice to Sarah. "That," he said, "is the key to our marriage."

Life can sometimes be difficult, but when we receive positive words, we are encouraged to continue pursuing our dreams."

--Excerpt from The Four Seasons of Marriage by Gary Chapman

Great right? I love the wisdom of his new father-in-law. I love that this sweet little old man carried this watch around with him even so many years later. I love that even though it was the same message he was seeing everyday he took it to heart and did it. Everyday. I love that he recognized the importance of encouraging his wife. I love that he realized the huge effect positive interaction had on their marriage.

What did you like about this story?

You can find my other Marriage Monday's here.

*Image found with google images.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eight Years Ago (I Became A Mom)

Eight years ago, it was Easter on April 20th and my first little baby was born.

She's always been curious about the world around her. And kind-hearted.

She loves science, reading and art (she draws like her dad!).

She takes good care of her younger siblings and is a huge help to her mom!

She's very social and friendly. She loves to dance, sing, and play the piano.

Happy 8th Birthday kiddo. I'm sure lucky to be your mom!

*Thanks to Susan Monson Photography for the beautiful photography.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Marriage Monday: Don't Get Stuck in a Rut

Date Night...Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut!!
by Shannan Hardy, M.S.

Sometimes the ruts, or routines of our lives, are good things! If I was a pioneer straggling across the country in the wagon trains, I would have been grateful for the clearly marked path of the wagon wheels that had trudged the way before me! I would load up the wagon, set my course, and be on my way! But getting STUCK in the rut is another thing altogether. Sometimes those grooves would run so deep, it would be almost impossible to change course with a correction, or even get off the trail for a break! Likewise with our Date Nights...

We all look forward to the reprieve of Date Night with great anticipation when we’re battling the often mind-numbing routine that comes along with the joys of parenthood. However, we often we get stuck in a rut with Date Night and suddenly it’s a bit lackluster or maybe even NOT really the enjoyable event it could be! So...if you find yourself going to the same old place for dinner and yet another generic movie for your regular Date’s a way to ‘get out of the rut!’

Try ADS...the Alphabet Dating System...Not as easy as ABC, but close! Start with A, and do something for date night that begins with A; eat Abalone, go to an Art exhibit, ride an Arabian horse! Who knows!! Be creative and come up with something fun to do! Move on to B; go play Basketball, Baseball, or Batting Cages...You get the idea!! Take turns picking the event and on some letters you will have to be VERY creative and maybe even stretch it a bit to fit the category. Really - the idea here is to do something different. And the only rule is...if your spouse chooses it, you gotta do it! So think carefully if you pick manicures, he may pick a WWF or Mixed Martial Arts event!!

Take some time to keep the Date Night fresh, fun, and enjoyable and it will serve it’s intended keep you both connected, enjoying each other, learning new things and engaged in each other’s lives!


A huge thanks to my guest blogger today, Shannan Blum Hardy.

Shannan Blum Hardy received her Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brigham Young University in 1992 and worked full-time as a drug and alcohol counselor before becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom to her children. She is currently divorced and living with her four children in Chino Hills, California. She has re-entered the workplace as a therapist working with children in the public school system and earning hours towards private licensure. Additionally, she is a co-author with her sister-in-law of "ManagerMom: Managing Your Home for Better Parenting" which you can view at She is passionate about parenting, relationships, learning new things, growing and enjoying every moment with delight!

You can find my other Marriage Mondays here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Clubbing at The Depot (The Lost Saint Party with Bree Desapin)

A few of you may know that I was on Bree Despain's street team for The Dark Divine so I got the opportunity to meet with Bree a few times and even had her come out to my book club last year.

Well I couldn't pass up the chance again when The Lost Saint came out.

My cute friends Shauna and Emily helped me out in planning this fun party! Here's a little taste of what we did.

(If you've read the book hopefully you'll get more of the details we threw in there.)

A group shot of us girls clubbing at The Depot.

You may notice a few extra folks. Nancy kindly brought a version of the Markham Street Monster (plus they fit in nicely with our Halloween theme in the other room) and the other boys in the picture were there volunteering in one of the booths you'll see later.

First things first. In order to get into The Depot we needed our card key to gain access. Nancy was up to her tricky ways again and brought us each one of these snazzy necklace key cards to wear!

We had the party divided into The Depot and the Halloween Carnival. Dinner included Halloween themed food and decorations. Complete with a Caramel Apples dipping station and an assortment of toppings. (I forgot to grab a photo of that.)

We had a few booths for our street fair carnival party. :) This one was palm reading.

Another booth. Trunk or Treat as mentioned in the book. A fun variation of Trick Or Treating.

I think this was my favorite. The Kissing Booth. We had a few Hollywood actor cutouts we had dressed to play Daniel and Talbot as guests in our kissing booth. And the treats were cool minty and hot cinnamon. :)

Our make and take booth was bedazzled stake bookmarks.

Here's our finished projects.

Did I mention that my name appears in the book?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lets Eat Cake (Winners Announced)

With almost 100 votes we had some pretty close races folks! I had so much fun hosting this cake contest! Thanks again to Camiba, Jessica L, Jana, Jessica G., and Tonya for sending in your amazing cakes!

If you were interested in participating check back next week when I announce my next cake contest (so you'll have time to prepare) that I'll be hosting in May!

But now on to the winners!
Just a reminder what was up for grabs.

Chocolate Never Faileth by Annette Lyon
Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs
Defensive Tactics by Steve Westover
Bumpy Landings by Donald Carey
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
The Sapphire Flute by Karen Hoover
Summer In Paris by Michele Ashman Bell
The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
The Diamonds by Ted Michael
Airhead by Meg Cabot
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Swoon at Your Own Risk by Sydney Salter
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
(Those titles that are bolded are SIGNED by the author.)

**A note to the winners. In the original post I said I'd give away a book to the winner and a small prize box to the runners up. I've decided to give you all your choice. So just email me (or leave a comment) with your choice of book or my 'favorite thing box' (I hope that made sense).

Here we go!

Are you ready?

Voted best overall was
Harry Potters The Monster Book of Monsters
created by Jessica G. from the blog Duck Duck Cow

Voted best in the book category was
Dr. Suess Green Eggs and Ham
created by Jana from the blog Hobbies Make Me Happy

Voted best in the 'other' category was
created by Jessica L.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Giveaway Time (Who Needs a New Book?)

Anyone in the mood for a giveaway? Cause I sure am! Donald Carey has kindly offered one of my lucky readers to win a copy of Bumpy Landings. You can check out my review here.

To enter: Leave a comment.

Extra entries: (Each worth 1 entry. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.)

+ Watch the book trailer below and tell me something fun about it or just give props to Don for all his mad lego man skills.
+ Tweet about this contest "I entered to win Bumpy Landings by @writerdc over on @cranberryfries blog " (You can do this once every day. Please copy/paste link(s).)
+ Add this book to your Goodreads 'to-read' list
+ Be a follower of my blog

Contest ends April 18th. Winner announce April 19, 2011.

*Just a reminder: Last day to vote in the cake contest! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Crazy Daze of Motherhood

Title: The Crazy Daze of Motherhood
Author: Jane Isfeld Still
Genre: Humor
Release Date: April, 2011
Publisher: Cedar Fort
ISBN: 9781599554952
Pages: 88

Buy it: Amazon (or Kindle edition)| The Book Depository | Deseret Book
Add it: Goodreads | Shelfari

An excerpt: When my husband and I applied for our marriage license, we simply walked up to the clerk and paid our money. He handed us a little piece of paper and said, “Next.” That was it. There was no interrogation, no screening of any kind. No one asked me if I was an ambulance driver, a paramedic, a dog whisperer, a pest exterminator, a plumber, or an emergency responder of any other ilk, nor if I was ever likely to become one.

My thoughts: This book had me smiling and laughing from the first page thinking of times these things have happened to me on many occasions. Or in some cases, I'm very grateful they haven't happened (yet!) :) The Crazy Daze of Motherhood is a fun, light read filled with short stories that are perfect to read during that quick minute of downtown any mother dreams of. :)

Jane has a great sense of humor telling about all those crazy things her kids or her family (or ok maybe her too. Do moms have to admit to crazy behavior?) have done in the past and helped me look at some of the stressful times in life with fond memories. I think this would be a fun read for any mother (and especially a great mothers day gift!).

One of my favorite stories she told was about how kids bombard you the minute you pick up the phone. She starts the chapter, "Unless you're dead, don't bother me when I'm on the telephone!" I couldn't stop laughing out loud!

Check out Janes blog:
You can win a fun prize from Jane to help celebrate the release of her book. Just go to her blog at ( and become a follower, and then leave her a comment and tell her that you're a new follower. You could win:

1. Mother's Daze basket, soap, chocolate, lotion, decorative candles, and recipe cards
2. Box of blank cards with a smattering of Canadian chocolate
3. Chocolate

*I was given a copy of this book for my honest review.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Back When You Were Easier To Love

April 28th, 2011
The Kings English
1511 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City
7:00 PM

Back When You Were Easier To Love by Emily Wing Smith (my review to come next week!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pass Out Your Cards People

I'm helping to promote that The UPS Store Utah is giving away 500 free business cards. You get to design your own, send it to theupsstoreutah (at) gmail (dot) com and they'll post it up on their facebook wall. The card / design with the most likes will win 500 business cards! They'll also pick their favorite to win 250 cards!

So get designing! The contest is open until April 15th so be sure to send it in early so you can get some votes.

(All the details are here on their wall.)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Taylor Swift Today Was a Fairytale

Check out this music video my neighbor Paul and his son Ethan helped to make.
(Today is a Fairytale by Taylor Swift)

Then watch this. :)

They'd love a little comment love. Go their webpage, Mainstay Pro and click on "Taylor Swift Music Video" up in the top right of the page to leave a quick comment. :) Thanks!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cake Contest: VOTING OPEN!

Oh I'm so excited! I had so much fun seeing all these great creations coming in!
Thanks so much to Camiba, Jessica L, Jana, Jessica G., and Tonya for sending in your amazing cakes!

Voting is now open, and will remain open for one week (April 13, 2011). Instructions are at the end.


To vote please fill out this form:
*If you can't find the 'submit' button click on the form and use your arrow keys to scroll down. I'm sorry, this is my first time trying out a form and once I make it I can't change it. Ooops :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Marriage Monday: Love is a Process

"Love demands action if it is to be continuing. Love is a process."
--Marvin J. Ashton

I think, when this quote was spoken he meant being active in general (there's a lot to be said for a couple or person who recognizes this and isn't lazy in their relationships). Action is action.

But it got me wondering, Have you thought about what sort of action your spouse would most appreciate? Perhaps a little knowledge on The Love Languages would help maximize make your efforts.

You can see my other Marriage Mondays here.

Image found on google images.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Online Friends to the Rescue!

I got a brand new shirt and at the end of the day I noticed a fun pink line down the middle of the front. ACK! So of course I enlisted the help of my wonderful Twitter and Facebook friends.

A lot of GREAT responses!

Seems like everyone was on the same page.
So many good ideas but I decided to try the one I had on hand first. If that didn't work I'd move along to the next one.

It worked!

I used a little hair spray and viola!

Thanks you guys!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Meeting Markus Zusak

I've been to a lot of author events and had the chance to listen to a lot of great people speak.

So with that in mind, let me tell you just how much I LOVED getting to hear Markus Zusak speak last week. When I got a chance to talk to him I asked him if while he was in the states (he's from Australia) if he was able to visit any other places or having any other signings and he said Pennsylvania and Ohio (I think it was).

I'll be honest. I've heard A LOT about his more popular book The Book Thief, but I haven't read it. Yet. I own it. And I plan on reading it this year. I even started another one of his, I am the Messenger and I'm really enjoying it!

He was so engaging and funny and cute and that accent. I love accents.

He told this great story (some video below) of a childhood memory between him and his brother and at the end told us he used that story to make a point of how he writes. He said the details he included are important to writing and creating a story because it's what makes you own the story. It's also important because it's what makes it believable and real to the person listening /reading it.

I can not believe how long he stayed to sign books. He finished his talk around 7pm and I was in the first 75 people and we finally made it through in about 1.5 hours or so (and that was with everyone only getting to have 2 books signed). My friend Karen's son was there and was one of the last few people to get signed and left around 1am! He was so so nice though and wrote a few sentences (and even drew pictures) in everyones books.

Plus it was fun to go with a bunch of people I knew!
Pictured above (front row: me, Jenni, Rachel, Jamie back row: Becca, Amy, Esther, Olivia)

And just so you can enjoy his accent as much as I did I got you all some video to watch.

(If the videos are too big for my blog you can click on here for video 1 and here for video 2.)