Monday, May 28, 2012

Satisfaction guaranteed

The winner of Almost Amish is my mom! Only three people entered, so the odds for each of them were pretty high!

In the past month I have twice felt empowered as a consumer when I called a company to complain about a
dissatisfying product. I have not often offered companies feedback on things I purchase, and I realize that much of what customer service reps hear is negative. I remember one time in college that I decided to call the company who made the cookies I'd just polished off to thank them for how yummy they were. I think the person I talked to was quite surprised that it was the only reason I'd called! I haven't done that since, but I am glad I took the time to call two different companies recently when I wanted to follow through on a product's guarantee.

The first product was a package of socks I bought for Nathan. Now granted, he is very hard on socks--and all clothes for that matter!--but almost all of these socks quickly developed holes in the same area (near his ankle), and I was disappointed in the quality. I contacted the company, and they mailed me a replacement package within a couple weeks.

Bolstered by that success, when I noticed my package of romaine lettuce was almost entirely brown several days prior to the "best by" date, I looked on the back and noticed a satisfaction guaranteed policy. The rep I spoke with was very kind and apologetic, and she mailed me several coupons for free and discounted produce. I hated to waste the first package, but I was once again thankful for the action taken.

I am glad I took the time to call in each of these instances. I want to be ethical and not take advantage of companies, but in cases like the above, I also want to offer feedback, especially since these are two companies whom I support on a regular basis.

Have you ever called to compliment or complain about something you've purchased?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Almost Amish

I am hosting my second book giveaway today. The winner of Far from Here is Allie! (Allie, please email me your mailing info--thanks!)

Today's book giveaway is Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth. I have read three books written by Nancy and/or her husband Matthew, and I am always challenged by their example.

From Amazon, "Building on the basic principles of Amish life, Nancy Sleeth shows readers how making conscious choices to limit (and in some cases eliminate) technology’s hold on our lives and getting back to basics can help us lead calmer, more focused, less harried lives that result in stronger, deeper relationships with our families, friends, and God."

I didn't love the book (for one thing, some of Sleeth's examples felt like a stretch to me), but I am glad I read it. I think it's always beneficial to be encouraged to live more simply.

If you would like to win a copy of this book, please leave a comment on this post. A winner will be drawn Friday. I'm curious if you read more fiction, non-fiction, or a balanced mix of the two? I've stated before that I tend heavily towards non-fiction, but I do enjoy a good novel now and then. 


Monday, May 21, 2012

Far from Here

I'm pleased to be hosting two book giveaways this week from authors I've mentioned here before, and even more exciting because the authors themselves are donating the books!

First up, a new novel from Nicole Baart:

Nicole is a fellow Iowan who lives in a neighboring town, and I've had the privilege to talk with her on a couple different occasions. I even asked her to speak at our local MOPS group this past year, and she was as articulate a speaker as she is a writer.

I read Nicole's first two novels a few years ago, and I confess I don't remember much about the stories. This newest one, however, I COULD NOT put down. I emailed Nicole immediately after closing the cover on the last page, and I told her I was blown away by the story and amazed by her talent. This story was a great read, and I think it would also make a compelling movie. Achingly real characters and a plot that draws you in so that you just have to know what happens next.

I will caution that this book is rated PG-13 for language and mature themes. Nicole's initial books were published by Tyndale, but she went a different route with this one. You can find a synopsis and additional reviews by clicking on the above link.

If you would like to be entered to win this book, please leave a comment on this post. I'd love to hear what you've been reading! A winner will be selected on Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The merry month of May

Here are some special things that have happened this month:

Nathan graduated from preschool! It was a very cute program. All of the kids sang several songs, and then each individual recited a Bible verse. Nathan and his class learned 26 verses this year, one for every letter of the alphabet! Here's Nathan sharing the "W" verse: "We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Mother's Day was a fun day spent together that was made even more meaningful because we dedicated Naomi to the Lord that morning!

Some friends from church blessed us by passing on their Power Wheels tractor. This look says it all!

We're having gorgeous weather this week--love it!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A banner day

Before Natalie was born, I made a cute name banner to hang over her crib. (I strongly encourage you to click to this post not only to see the banner, but also to see Nathan's adorable hair at age 2 1/2!)

Moving Natalie in with Nathan was something we'd planned to do before Naomi was born, but that was one of many things that did not go as expected. My parents helped move Natalie's stuff, including the name banner, into her new room, so that left the crib wall vacant in what became Naomi's room. I didn't have an exact plan for what to put there, but I had the materials: A friend gave me a cute fabric banner (Thanks, Sara!), which I wanted to make a little more girly, and I knew I wanted to use the name letters that were on the door to Naomi's room in the hospital. The other part of my plan was to enlist Monica's help. We all know she is so gifted in the crafting department!

Here is a pic of the banner in its original state. Monica took one look, and she was instantly inspired!

She rummaged through my ribbon bin (which I, ahem, add to but rarely take from) and found a long, wide pink ribbon to cover up the brown. She then asked for some pink paint, and proceed to dab over the brown dots on the pennants. After applying pink paint and gluing the ribbon, we then glued Naomi's special name letters onto the triangles. I absolutely love how this turned out! It cost nothing to make (unless you count the hospital stay--yikes!) and it makes me smile every time I see it. What a fun project to make with my sister!

(Note that the letters show up better if you see it in person.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Monica took some beautiful pictures of Naomi that I wanted to share:

 What a sweetie! Today she is 10 weeks old. She is up to almost 9 pounds--praise the Lord!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sisterly love

Back in January when we learned that my pregnancy complications were more serious, Monica began talking about making a solo trip to see me. Her original plan was to fly to MN while I was in the hospital, but we both decided a later time would probably work out better. I'm so glad she didn't buy a ticket then, because the dates she had planned to come was the weekend after Naomi was born, and I wasn't up for visitors then.

Late April worked well in Monica's homeschool schedule, and so she booked her flights. It is very hard living so far away from each other, and usually when we see each other it's very busy with activities, taking care of our kids, and there are usually additional family members present. While that is wonderful in its own way, this was a particularly special time because Monica came by herself. I had made a list of a few fun things to do together and also some projects to work on, and we not only did all of that, but we had some extra time to just hang out as well. It was so good for my heart to have her here!

We went on numerous walks, went to a couple thrift/consignment stores, watched several movies (The Christmas Lodge, October Baby, and the first two episodes of Downton Abbey Season One.), did some crafty stuff (which I'll share more about later), prepared food together, played games, snuggled with Naomi, etc. Lovely.

Here are a few pictures of our time together. Thanks for coming, Monica. Love you so much!

Aunt Monica with the older two
And with the youngest
Sister time
Posing in the beautiful tulips (Do you see Naomi's little head?! She LOVES being carried this way.)     

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Thanks for all your comments on my blogiversary post. It was interesting to see how long you've been reading! The giveaway winner is #7: my sister-in-law, Kristin. Congrats, Kristin!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I can hardly believe it's been FIVE years since I wrote my first blog post. Though my recent posts have all been personal updates about our family, I do hope someday soon to also resume writing about other topics that are important to me. As you can imagine, I did a fair amount of reading while on hospitalized bed rest, and a couple of them were quite thought-provoking.

I know some of you have been reading here since the very beginning, and others have joined in along the way. I would be so interested to hear how long you've been reading, if you have an idea of the time frame. Would you please leave me a comment and let me know approximately when you started reading here?

In thanks for your comment, and because I have a tradition of giving something away on my "blogiversary," I will draw a random number sometime on Saturday, and that commenter will receive a FIVE-dollar gift card to Amazon.

Thanks for reading!