Monday, November 26, 2012

Saying Goodbye

It is with a sad heart that I've decided it's time for me (and all of you), to say "goodbye" to Making Home Work. I've been blogging here for nearly two years, and while I started out with a wealth of family and home information to expound upon, I've found that I've now shared the majority of it.

I know time is valuable, both yours and mine. And rather than having me struggle to come up with topics and then asking you to read less than stellar blog posts, I'm going to stop Making Home Work. I'll still keep the old blog posts up for the time being, and I do enjoy posting new information about my novels. Schooling the Cowboy is coming out next winter, and I'm sure I'll have pictures, stories, and snippets to share with all of you. So I might well post new information when that time comes. I'm continuing to blog both at Regency Reflections and Craftie Ladies of Romance, if you want to come find me in either of those places. But for now, I'm saying goodbye to this blog.

I'll keep my website updated with information about me and my writing: www.naomirawlings.com

And I'll post news to my Author Facebook Page as well: www.facebook.com/author.naomirawlings

If you want to learn more about our guest contributor, Sarah Hammacker, you can reach her and read her excellent parenting blog at www.sarahhamaker.com

Goodby to all of you, and thank you for making my blogging experience both fun and memorable!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Old Family Recipe Cookbook And Thanksgiving Wishes

In honor of Thanksgiving this year, I have a special gift from me and several other Love Inspired Historical authors. It's a digital cookbook of favorite family recipes, with a heartwarming true-life story to accompany each recipe.

In the book you'll find everything from my very own banana pancake recipe to cabbage rolls to hunter's stew.

If you're interested in getting a copy of this book, please leave a comment below with your email address, and I'll be happy to send you a copy. I hope to eventually get this cookbook up on my website, where anyone interested can download it.

And now for what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving: YOU. All of you wonderful blog readers who bless me with your presence and comments and positive spirits. Thank you for taking time to visit Making Home Work, and please take advantage of the cookbook.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Who’s Sorry Now?


Apologizing has become an art form these days, with politicians, celebrities and CEOs saying “I’m sorry” in the public arena for misdeeds. Many times, the sincerity of such apologies are questions, with good cause in some cases. I sometimes shudder to think how all those public mea culpas look to children.

We want our children to apologize when they do something wrong. Usually, they can see—even if they don’t acknowledge—that their actions were not right and therefore an “I’m sorry” is needed.

But what about when the action was an accident, totally unintentional? Then it’s harder for the child to make the connection as to the apology’s necessary, but it doesn’t negate the fact that the apology should still be made.

One way we raise our children to be good citizens is to ensure they take responsibility for both their intentional and accidental actions. Whether they mean to hurt someone—with words or deeds—is not the point, and so many times we as parents get bogged down with the intent of the action. Instead, we should focus on the action’s outcome—hurt feelings or hurt bodies. If our child caused such hurt, whether it’s legitimate or not, whether it was on purpose or not, then the child should apologize.

In our family, we’ve tried to teach our children how to apologize. For instance, “I’m sorry,” isn’t enough. The child must say what he’s apologizing for. The child to whom the apology is given also needs to acknowledge the apology and tender forgiveness—at least verbally—by saying “I forgive you.”

Some wrongs might need more than a verbal apology. I’ve had my girls write letters of apology when they’ve hurt the feelings of a friend. The very act of putting down on paper why they are sorry can help them feel more remorse and also shows the other child their sincerity in the apology.

Children often don’t think to say they’re sorry because they’re still learning not to be self-centered. Helping them follow the Golden Rule—Do unto others as you would have them do unto you—is key to them realizing their need to apologize.

It’s difficult to apologize, because we don’t like to be in the wrong. We should remember that our children are watching us as we do—or don’t, as the case may be—apologize for our own wrongdoings. The more sincere and quick we are to say we’re sorry, the better example we’ll be for our children to follow.

How do you handle it when your child needs to say he’s sorry?

Sarah Hamaker is a certified Leadership Parenting Coach through the John Rosemond Leadership Parenting Coaching Institute. She’s also a freelance writer and editor, and author of Hired@Home, a guide to unlocking women’s work-from-home potential now available on Kindle. Her stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband and four children. Visit her online at www.sarahhamaker.com.



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Breakfast Casserole Recipe from Author Amber Stockton

We're back again today with author Amber Stockton, who has a delicious Breakfast Casserole Recipe to share. If you haven't stopped by our interview yet this week, Amber is giving away a copy of one of her novels. The contest ends Saturday, November 10 at midnight.



Breakfast casserole (can freeze and throw in the oven for 1 hour at any time)

1 package of hash brown potatoes or cubed/diced potatoes (frozen)
1 lb. of bacon or sausage chopped/diced (can substitute ham as well)
1 each of yellow, green, and red bell peppers, gutted and sliced into thin strips (optional)
1 lb. of shredded sharp cheddar
5 eggs broken and mixed
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Coat a 16x9 in. pan in nonstick spray. Dump in potatoes to cover the bottom and spread evenly. Sprinkle in the meat, bell peppers (optional), and shredded cheddar. Pour the eggs over top and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake in an oven at 375 for 45 minutes if ingredients are fresh, or 1 hour if casserole is frozen. Cool and serve.

*****

Colonial Courtships: My Novella (Trading Hearts): Jonathan Ingersoll is a successful merchant trader along the Great (Connecticut) River. When flooding forces him to take sanctuary in an unfamiliar inn along his route, he meets the innkeeper’s daughter, Clara Marie Preston. Immediately attracted to her shy, yet caring spirit and quiet faith, Jonathan makes a point to return. But animosity from her brother gives him pause. Learning the source of the resentment only spurs Jonathan to try that much harder to prove his worth. Doubts are cast upon his character, and his trade sales begin to decrease. When he tracks down the pirates who attacked Clara’s brother and sees justice served, things take a turn for the better. Finally, he can accept the full blessing for a union of marriage and make plans once more for the future.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Amber Stockton

Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning best-selling author, speaker, and virtual assistant who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold 14 books so far with more on the horizon. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards, and in 2009, she was voted #1 favorite new author for Barbour’s Heartsong Presents book club. Read more about her at her web site: www.amberstockton.com.

Tiffany has graciously offered to give away a copy of one of her books. See below for details.

Hi Tiffany! Thanks for being with us today. Why don’t you tell me a bit about your family. How many children do you have, and if they still live at home, how old are they?

I have 2 children, ages 3-1/2 and 1-1/2. They obviously still live at home and are quite under foot. :) They were born exactly 2 years, 1 week, and 1 hour apart. I spoke to my son in utero and told him he had to wait until his sister had her 2nd birthday before he arrived. He listened. :)

Wow, they sure are young. You must stay really busy around the house. Why did you choose to work from home rather than find a job elsewhere?

The spring before we discovered we were pregnant, I lost my job of 11 years due to cut-backs and corporate decision to eliminate me because I earned more than any other equivalent employee in my position. The economy at the time made it nearly impossible to find anything to equal my income, so my husband and I talked it over and we decided I’d increase my work from home. That summer, we learned we were expecting, and it solidified our decision. I’ve been working from home ever since and wouldn’t trade a moment of the opportunity to be with my children every day.

What is the most challenging aspect of working from home while raising children?

Time. I don’t have a lot of it with my children so young right now and so dependent upon me to change diapers, get them dressed or help pick out clothes, prepare all their meals, clean up after them, bathe them, etc. Nap time is what I consider my “sacred” time. I worked very hard once my son started giving up his morning nap to get my two children on the same nap schedule. It doesn’t work every day, as either one of them have been known to take short naps or no nap at all from time to time. However, for the most part, they nap 2 to 2-1/2 hours every afternoon, and that gives me a solid block of time to be as productive as I can be. I also work after they go to bed or first thing in the morning before they wake. I snag whatever time I am able to find.

Oh goodness, do I ever sympathize with you. My two kids are three years apart, and I started seriously writing when my youngest was just four months old. It's hard to get ANY extra work besides mommying and housekeeping done some days. Did you ever get your children involved with your home business? What advice would you give mothers thinking about having their children help with their business?

Right now, no. They are too young. But I do encourage them to help me with little things like taping up mailing envelopes, carrying books and other items to the car when we have to make a run to the post office or other errands, and I explain to them the importance of mommy needing to focus on work sometimes while they are awake. I have been blessed with two children who play well together (when they aren’t engaging in typical sibling squabbles) or independently, so when I have a pressing need to complete a task for the publisher for whom I’m a virtual assistant, or work that needs to be done for my writing career, I can usually complete it without too much discipline interruptions. I pray it remains this way and only improves as my children get older. It would be wonderful to have their help with my work at home when they are old enough to be involved.

If you're married, what challenges did working from home present to your marriage, and how did you compensate?
Again, it’s the time. Because I work first thing in the morning, during nap time, and after the children go to bed, my husband and I often have to schedule “us” time. We were both single for the entire decade of our 20’s, and we’ve only been married 5 years this year, so we’re still fairly new at this. However, he is a gamer and when I am busy, he disappears into his gaming world, often not communicating to me that he’d like to spend time together. I try to remember to schedule that time, but removing the spontaneity has forced us to be creative in other ways for our time together. And we often have the conversation about communication to remind each other of the importance of letting the other one know how we feel. We’re both guilty of slipping into our “single” mindset, so it’s a daily practice.

If you could start all over again, what would you do differently? What would you do the same?

I often tell people I see every day why authors wait until their children are older before getting started with a writing career. It certainly wasn’t in MY plan to have a career first then a husband and children. My goal was husband and family then career, but God obviously had another plan…and a unique sense of humor. I’ve had to adapt. I’m not sure I’d go back to my original plan or not, as my life now is giving me a substantial amount of content for my speaking career, and it’s forcing me to depend on others to help me through this where if I had it my way, I might not have reached out as much as I do.


As for what I would do the same? That’s easy. I’d choose again to stay home with my children.

I completely understand. It's so hard to find writing time with little kids running around. And I think it's even worse for unpublished writers. I really think if I didn't get my first book contract for Sanctuary for a Lady when I did, I wouldn't still be writing. It took so much of my energy away from my family, and I wasn't even getting paid for it! That's hard. Is it worth it? What keeps you home instead of having an outside career? 


Most definitely! I knew at a young age I only wanted to be a wife and mother, but nearly 15 years of work outside the home helped me see I also needed to work. God provided the means and the opportunity for me to have it all and stay home. It’s a tremendous blessing in so many ways


Oh goodness, are we every opposite. I WOULD have chosen that career before marrying and becoming a mom. But God had different plans, and I found myself pregnant after only nine months of marriage.

*****
Tiffany has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of one of her books to one lucky winner this week. To enter the contest, you need to answer Tiffany's question in the comment section below. The giveaway will end Saturday, November 10 at midnight. Tiffany will be back with us again on Thursday, sharing her breakfast casserole recipe. Yummy!

So, Tiffany's question for you to answer is . . . What do you see as one positive and negative aspect of working from home. Why?

Keep in mind you'll need to answer this question to be entered in the giveaway.

In the meantime, take a look at one of her new novels out this month, Stealing Hearts.

When Grace Baxton comes face-to-face with the thief who broke into her uncle's home, she isn't prepared for meeting Andrew Bradenton—not a young boy out to cause trouble and no hardened criminal, either. The judge sentences Andrew Bradenton to work for the Baxton family, and being forced to see him almost daily, Grace struggles with forgiveness. Out of guilt, Andrew offers to help Grace search for an heirloom book. When a handsome stranger appears with the book in hand, warming Grace's heart and finding favor with her uncle, Grace is torn over her growing attraction for both men. Andrew tries to prove the stranger is up to no good, but after key documents and money go missing from her uncle's safe, Andrew is seen as the guilty party. Will Grace discover the truth in time?


Monday, October 29, 2012

Children's Book Review: The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear

This is a book that I remember from when I was growing up. It was first published in the 1980s (a year before I was born), and has since sold over a million copies. I remember sitting on the couch reading it with my mother, and now I have the privilege of reading it to my own children. And oh how fun it is to see my children fall in love with the story!

So how does a little mouse hide his red ripe strawberry from the big hungry bear? Well, there are numerous ways that include everything from disguises to armed guards, but you'll have to read the book to discover the best way to protect a strawberry. And watch out, because you just might meet a fox along the way!

All in all, this is one of my favorite children's books, and both of my boys (who are different ages and have very different tastes) love this story as well. I suggest you get a copy for your own bookshelf, or at least rent it from the local library. Our library has puppets that go along with this story as well, and my kids love playing with the mouse and strawberry.


So now I'm curious. How many of you remember this book from your childhood days?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"Hurried Mom's" Dinner Recipe from Carla Gade

We're back today with a quick, easy dinner recipe from Author Carla Olson Gade. Actually, she gave us two recipes. And I must admit, as easy as the second recipe is, the first just my style:

Stouffer’s Chicken Alfredo. Stick it in the microwave for 10 minutes and ta da! LOL!
 

Hurried Mom’s Dinner:
1 porkshop, 
2 peeled whole carrots (trim ends off, cut in half, slice down the middle), 
1 medium potato (cut in half). 

Wrap ingredients in aluminum foil and bake until done, about 30 minutes. Serve in foil, no plates needed.

Thanks for sharing those quick, easy ideas with us, Carla. I think every mom on the planet need a few of those back up meals in her arsenal (along with coupons for the local pizza place).

Don't forget we featured an interview with Carla Olson Gade on Monday, and we're giving away a copy of Colonial Courtships to one lucky commenter. If you haven't entered the giveaway yet, be sure to stop by and leave a comment. The contest ends on Saturday, October 27, at midnight.

Unexpected adventure has the four Ingersoll brothers rethinking their futures. But will it thwart their plans for good or bring about four colonial courtships? 

Carving a Future - Connecticut, 1753:  Ship figurehead carver Nathaniel Ingersoll has apprenticed for many years under his Uncle Phineas and hopes to become a master ship carver in his own right. Constance Starling was spirited away from England to the Connecticut coast as an indentured servant, arriving too ill for anyone to accept her. When Nathaniel takes pity on her, he purchases her contract. Has he jeopardized the future he has worked so hard to achieve for the welfare of a weakly servant?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Author Carla Olson Gade

I've got a fun guest to introduce to you today. Her name is Carla Olson Gade, and she's the author of The Shadow Catcher's Daughter as well as the novella Carving a Future in a brand new novella collection from Barbour Publishing, called Colonial Courtships.

I first met Carla last year sometime. It seems that we both got our book contracts, her for The Shadow Catcher's Daughter and me for Sanctuary for a Lady, around the same time. And that's how we hooked up. Carla will be giving away one copy of Colonial Courtships to a commenter. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment with your email address at the end of the post. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Tell me a bit about your family. How many children do you have, and if they still live at home, how old are they? 

I live in central Maine with my husband, Brad. We have two sons, Brandon (24), and Justin (25) who live nearby, but have their own apartments. Justin is going to be a dad in the spring, so I’ll be a Nana!

Why did you choose to work from home rather than find a job elsewhere?

For the most part I was a stay at home mom while my children grew up. I occasionally had a part-time job, including paid ministry work, and did home day-care for a time. When they were older, I worked from home as a web designer for many years, and taught adult education courses. It was important for me to be the primary caregiver for my children. I also home schooled my children for several years, as it was important to me to be involved in their education. After my boys grew up, I worked part-time for an adult literacy agency. Even though finances were tight, I have never regretted my time spent working “inside the home” and I commend moms who can do so, though I know it is not always possible.

What is the most challenging aspect of working from home while raising children?

When my sons were small, I started writing fiction as a hobby with dreams that perhaps someday I might get published. But, given our family circumstances, I had to put some of my dreams on hold, although I still enjoyed writing occasionally, and wrote a newsletter for young mothers. It is important to keep in step with the Lord for his timing for our goals and specific needs of our family.

Over-commitment is something to be wary of for a mom at home, be it part-time work, volunteer activities, or children’s activities. When I do something, I tend to go into overdrive and hyper-focus and I knew my kids sensed my frustration when I felt they were interrupting me. My “just one minute” mantra didn’t cut it. Children don’t like to be interrupted either, but we tend to disregard that. Practically speaking, we learned to give each other time to switch gears while displaying the proper attitude: they knew they were ultimately my top priority, and they need to show respectful obedience. Balance, pacing, respect. And showing by example how to make a discerning choice by not saying yes to everything that comes along so we can better concentrate on our true purpose and not be distracted by the busyness. It’s also important for them to understand what your work looks like, so they know when mom is working or not, especially true when you do computer work.

Did you ever get your children involved with your home business? What advice would you give mothers thinking about having their children help with their business? 

My children often helped with ministry projects, entrepreneurial activities, and business. I wanted them to feel like they were contributing, too, and that their participation was valuable. Both of my sons were hired to help out on occasion. One of my sons did some graphic design and computer work for me, giving him an opportunity to earn monetary compensation for his talents. And when we directed youth camps, everyone had a job. One son worked in the kitchen, another ran the camp store. As adults they are often complimented–and rewarded–for their strong work ethic and helpful attitudes. That, they learned at home!

If you're married, what challenges did working from home present to your marriage, and how did you compensate?
My husband was more objective than about how much I could handle. I have a lot of health issues, and as I said earlier would sometimes take on too much. My enthusiasm didn’t always match my physical state of being. It is important to consider your husband’s opinion and develop a realistic plan for meeting goals together. Nothing can breed resentment quicker, though I am happy to have a very supportive and considerate huz! I found that communication is really important to coordinate schedules and family responsibilities. When you work at home, it affects your husband, too. One thing that helps is setting work hours that fit your family’s and marriage's style.

If you could start all over again, what would you do differently? What would you do the same? 

Be more discerning about how I spent my time and not get so exhausted. But for the most part, I’m happy to have homeschooled my sons for as long as I did, and that I was around when they were teenagers. I’m glad I was able to teach them the benefit of working and serving together with their family and others. One thing I’d do exactly the same is belong a mother’s support group as I did when my boys were young (I was a co-founder and also led a mother’s Bible study). It enriched my life and was invaluable.

Is it worth it? What keeps you home instead of having an outside career?

Yes, it was worth it! I cherish the time I was able to spend at home with my children and now that I have an empty nest, I miss them so much. Since I’m such a homebody though, I’m happy that now I can write full-time as a career from my home office.

Thank you for that lovely interview, Carla! We're so pleased to have you with us this week. Carla will be with us again on Thursday to share a quick recipe. In the meantime, don't forget to leave a comment with an email address for a chance to win a copy of Colonial Courtships. The giveaway will end Saturday, October 27, at Midnight. 
  
Unexpected adventure has the four Ingersoll brothers rethinking their futures. But will it thwart their plans for good or bring about four colonial courtships? 


Carving a Future - Connecticut, 1753:  Ship figurehead carver Nathaniel Ingersoll has apprenticed for many years under his Uncle Phineas and hopes to become a master ship carver in his own right. Constance Starling was spirited away from England to the Connecticut coast as an indentured servant, arriving too ill for anyone to accept her. When Nathaniel takes pity on her, he purchases her contract. Has he jeopardized the future he has worked so hard to achieve for the welfare of a weakly servant?




Monday, October 15, 2012

The Benefits of Exercising

As moms, we often find our schedules filled to the brim with our children and their activities, housework, meals, personal projects and the list goes on. One thing we busy moms often leave out of our schedules is a little thing called . . .

Exercise.

Yes, that's right exercise. Some days I'm so busy that exercise seems like it should a swear word. But it isn't. It's a time-consuming but beneficial habit that each and every one of us should make time for at least twice a week.

Don't believe me? People who exercise regularly:

1. Maintain better control of their weight.
2. Reduce their chances of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
3. Have more energy.
4. Get better sleep.
5. Have better psychological health.
6. Maintain healthier bones, muscles and joints.

Oftentimes in our quests to take good care of our families, we forget to take good care of ourselves. But in truth, the whole family benefits when mama is healthy, happy, and well rested. Exercise is key to all three of those things. So if you're not already making time to exercise two or three times a week, make some!

I'll have some fun exercise ideas posted later in the week. In the meantime, pencil in a couple hours of exercise this week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Friend Me (Not)


Friend me, friend me not. 
Should you or should you not be your child’s friend is one of the biggest modern parenting questions. Many parents use the framework “Will my child still like me if I do X?” before making any decision, whether consciously or unconsciously. And having a child scream at you, “I hate you,” and run off crying to her room can devastate most parents.

Fifty years ago, parents didn’t worry about whether or not their children liked them. Fifty years ago, parents realized that being a good parent wasn’t going to be popular with the kids. Fifty years ago, parents knew that when a child yelled “I hate you,” it generally meant they were doing the right thing.

We need to realize that we shouldn’t worry so much about having our children’s approval. Keep in mind that by not concerning yourself with being liked by your kids, you will be a much more effective leader in your home. Someone needs to do the heavy lifting when it comes to the discipline and decision-making that is part of the growing-up process.  

Remember, the right decisions are not going to be popular. Who ever heard of a child protesting vehemently when you told him he was going out for ice cream? Children only protest when they don’t like the decision.

You as a parent should expect that one day, your child will shout to you the heart-rending words “I hate you”—because that’s what all kids do at some point. Children may say they don’t like you, but if you think about when they utter those words, it’s usually because they disagree with whatever decision (or consequence) you’ve just delivered. The reality is, you are giving them what they need, even though they can’t express it (and probably won’t appreciate it) until they are parents themselves.

Whenever the need to be liked by your children hits you, think about the future. Doing our job as leaders when our kids are under 18 lays the foundation for a lifetime of friendship. We only have a mere 18 years to train and mentor our kids, but many times over to be their friend when they become adults.

My mother and I clashed some during the teen years, and there were times when I—much to my embarrassment now—hollered that I hated her. Today, I’m grateful for the many years we’ve had of sweet friendship, of sharing and laughing and praying together, of being mother and daughter, yet friends as well. Years that I hope will continue well into the future.

So preserve in your calling as a parent, the authority in the home, by fixing your eyes on the long term goal instead of a short-term gain of being liked by your kids all the time. If we focus on raising responsible, caring, emancipated adults, we will have done our job well—and found a new friend in our grown children.

How do you handle unpopular decisions with your children?

Sarah Hamaker is a certified Leadership Parenting Coach™ through the John Rosemond Leadership Parenting Coaching Institute. She’s also a freelance writer/editor, author of Hired@Home and her stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband and four children. Visit her online at www.sarahhamaker.com, and follow her on Twitter @novaparentcoach. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Spotlight: The Daughters of Bainbridge House Series by Laurie Alice Eakes

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to take a few minutes today to spotlight a series I've been reading, The Daughters of Bainbrigde House by Laurie Alice Eakes. This series is set during the British Regency period, which occurred in England from 1811-1820. While the secular romance market is filled with Regency Romance writers such as Julia Quinn, Loretta Chase, Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverly, Eloisa James, and the list goes on, the inspirational fiction market has seen only a handful of authors write about this period.

Julie Klassen is one of the more recognized inspirational Regency authors. Her books have won numerous awards and hit the Christian Booksellers Association's bestseller list. Laurie Alice Eakes is another inspirational Regency author whose books are quickly gaining in popularity.

In the Daughters of Bainbridge House Series, the three heroines are sisters, and also daughters of a rather controlling and politically ambitious baron, who manages to muck around in his daughter's love lives a little too often. Here's more about the books:

Book 1: A Necessary Deception 

 When young widow Lady Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreamed he would turn up in her parlor. But just as the London Season is getting under way, there he is, along with a few other questionable personages. While she should be focused on helping her headstrong younger sister prepare for her entrĂ© into London society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting her family in danger?

Readers will enjoy being drawn into this world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades. Author Laurie Alice Eakes whisks readers through the drawing rooms of London amid the sound of rustling gowns on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past and let love guide the future.


 
Book 2: A Flight of Fancy

Cassandra Bainbridge may be a bit of a bluestocking, but when Geoffrey Giles is near, love seems a fine alternative to passion for Greek and the physics of flight. With his dashing good looks and undying devotion to her, the earl of Whittaker sets Cassandra's heart racing with his very presence. It seems his only flaw is his distaste for ballooning, the obsession that consumes so much of her thoughts.

When a terrible accident compels her to end her betrothal, Cassandra heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. With time on her hands and good friends to help her, she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when Lord Whittaker slips back into her life, will she have to choose between him and her dream?


Book 3: A Reluctant Courtship

A Reluctant Courtship releases in October 1213 and will tell the story of the youngest and most beautiful Bainbridge daughter, Honore. Honore, for all her beauty though, seems rather cursed in love and always tangles with the wrong men. It will be refreshing to see her get things right when she finally has her own story!
*****

This week, at Regency Reflections (where I blog once a month  with the author of the Bainbridge House series), we're having a giant party to celebrate the release of A Flight of Fancy. The author is giving away a Regency gift basket complete with tea, cookies, and even an amazon gift card. To enter the giveaway, you'll need to participate in the fun little Regency quiz we're giving. So if you've got a few minutes, head on over and join the party!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Balancing Motherhood and Expectations: Part 2

On Monday, I blogged on Balancing Motherhood and Expectations, wherein I outlined three things we can do when other people's expectations seem to overwhelm us. Today I've got two more tips to share, plus a little story, about how sometimes life conspires against us, even when we really try our best to meet expectations. These tips continue from the first blog post, which is why they're numbered 4 and 5.

4. Accept help without grudging.

For certain personalities (like mine!) accepting help can be hard. When someone offers to help us, we feel like we're only getting help because were a bit of a failure and our previous efforts aren't good enough. If we were good wives, mothers, etc., then no one would ever offer to help with anything.

Whatever you do, don't fall into this thought pattern. It's a lie, and believing it will bring you little happiness. If you're a mom who gets up every morning and works for her family, if you make choices based on what's best for your children and husband, then you are NOT a failure, regardless of how sticky your kitchen cabinets are, or that there's a mess underneath the kitchen table--where you swept fifteen minutes ago.

Most offers of help are genuine. Have you ever offered to help a friend or loved one and then had a great time doing so? I know I have. The truth is, when someone sees you in need and offers to help, accepting that help can mean blessings not just for you, but also for them. So the next time someone sees a need in your life and offers to help, realize the person is likely trying to be a blessing, not viewing you as a failure. Every person on the planet needs a helping hand once in a while. You're far from the only one!

5. Realize that your efforts will not always go according to plan.

If we live isolated on a mountaintop with only bears and wolves to keep us company, we might find that we can control everything that happens to us . . . or mostly everything. Because if you really lived on such a mountaintop, there would still be threat of wildfire, avalanche, bear and wolf attacks, and the like.

When we live in busy households and share bathrooms, living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, etc. with our children and spouse, our hard work and efforts don't always turn out the way we expect them too. People move that important bill from the table to the counter, and kids spill juice on that thank you note you finally got around to writing. Don't get frustrated. Instead take a deep breath and understand that plans sometimes change because of others in your family.

*****

So, now for my funny story. Last week I FINALLY got around to writing a thank you note, filling out a survey form, and typing a response letter about a book I'd been given to analyze. Keep in mind I should have had these letters written at least three weeks earlier, if not a month. But I blocked out time in my schedule, got everything written, printed, stuffed in an envelope, addressed, and sealed. But I didn't have any stamps. So I left the letter on a corner of the table that usually remains undisturbed.

Had I remembered to get stamps the next day, the letter could have gotten in the mail as it should. Unfortunately I forgot. And forgot and forgot and forgot. At some point in my forgetfulness, I set a water bottle beside the envelop. No big deal.

Except the water bottle leaked. All over my nice, perfect letter. When I held the bottle up to figure out why there was water all over my table, I discovered a subtle crack in the metal along the bottom.

So then I was stuck rewriting and printing everything. The letter got in the mail an entire week late. And as I was going through the process of re-mailing everything to a sweet older couple who probably expected to hear back from me four weeks ago, I decided that I wasn't going to feel guilty about what happened. I'm a mom with two little boys and a very busy life. It while was kind of that couple to buy me lunch, give me a book, and ask my opinion on it, responding to them took a lot of time.

Time that is precious. Time I didn't have. And time I don't regularly allot, because I'm a mom who writes, not a business woman who happens to have children.

But every night when I go to bed, and even twenty and thirty years from now, I don't and won't regret my decision to be a wife and mom first. Because my family is more important than keeping some acquaintances happy.

So what about you? Do you ever find yourself questioning your priorities about motherhood?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Balancing Motherhood and Expectations

Everyone has expectations of us, whether they be our husband or child; boss, parents, or in-laws. As mothers with busy lives, we often find ourselves with not only a long list of housework and children's needs to care for, but with an equally long list of other people's expectations.

Your mother comes to visit, and she expects your house to be clean. Your in-laws come, and they expect your house to be clean. You have friends over for dinner, and they expect your house to be clean. You get together with a new acquaintance so your kids can have a play date, and she leaves in a huff after your son pushes hers.

Yesterday we had a potluck at church, and everyone there expected me to be in the kitchen, smiling as I took food, cut the deserts and dishes that hadn't been cut, find spoons and spatulas for various dishes, and the list goes on.

And often times as mothers, we're supposed to live up to these expectations while the our kids our off playing quietly in a corner. Heaven forbid they get up and run around, or that they get bored and leave that perfect little corner, or that they get mad and start fighting with one another.

So how do we handle everybody else's expectations while still mothering our own children?

1. Focus on your priorities.
Priorities can open up a whole other discussion, but as a wife and mother, your first priority should be your husband, and the next should be your children. You only get one chance to raise your kids, and then they're off on their own, making decisions based on the principles they learned throughout their childhood. So next time someone calls needing you to make something for the bake off, ask yourself if you can feasibly do that task, or if your kids will suffer by being shoved off into some corner.

2. Be polite but firm.
When some well intentioned person (or even a vicious one) starts lecturing you about how your raising your children wrong, or your mother-in-law visits and goes immediately starts washing the fronts of your sticky cupboards, be polite and gently remind that person that keeping them happy isn't your primary goal in life.

3. Don't feel guilty.
Realize that some expectations simply won't get met, and don't feel guilty for putting your family first. You're accountable to God for how you handle your family, not for how many times you make the nosy neighbor across the street smile.


On Thursday I'll be sharing a fun story about how motherhood and expectations conflicted for me last week. But first I have some questions for you. What's the most unreasonable thing a person's ever expected of you? How do you handle other people's rigorous expectations?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Announcing an Interview and Giveaway with Author Abby Gaines

This past winter, I read The Earl's Mistaken Bride by Author Abby Gaines. That was the first of the Parson's Daughters series from Love Inspired Historical. And the book starts when one of a parson's daughters gets tricked into a marriage by her younger sister. A super fun story that I enjoyed the entire way through!

Now the next book in the series is out, and it's entitled, The Governess and Mr. Granville:


Dominic Granville needs a wife—whether he wants one or not! And governess Serena Somerton intends to find one for him. A marriage of convenience would provide the wealthy widower’s five children with a mother’s tender care. And yet none of Dominic’s prospective brides can meet Serena’s increasingly high standards. 
 
Dominic can’t imagine why his sister hired such an unconventional, outspoken governess. Yet Miss Somerton’s quirks can’t curb his growing interest in this spirited young woman. His imperfect governess could be his ideal wife…

While I don't have an interview and giveaway here on Making Home Work, I am hosting one over at Regency Reflections this week. Make sure to stop by, say hi to Abby, and enter the giveaway if you have time. http://christianregency.com/blog/2012/09/26/interview-with-regency-romance-author-abby-gaines/

Monday, September 24, 2012

Raising Children--Quotes

I've got some inspiring quotes about children today. As I scoured the internet looking these up, I found lots more to share. So I'll have others coming over the next few weeks. Enjoy!

*****

“Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children.”
Rosaleen Dickson

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” 
Dr. Haim Ginott

“Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes, they forgive them”
Oscar Wilde

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas”
Anonymous

"Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future”
John F. Kennedy

"Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardour, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision."
Aldous Huxley

"The best way to keep children home is to make the home a pleasant atmosphere--and let the air out of the tires."
Dorothy Parker

"It goes without saying that you should never have more children than you have car windows."
Erma Bombeck
"Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man."
Rabindranath Tagore

"The people hardest to convince they're at the retirement age are children at bedtime."
Shannon Fife
"Children spell "love," T-I-M-E."
Dr Anthony P Whitman
"Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family."
George Bernard Shaw