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Fall Tree Craft

By Amy Latta | Children , General

fall tree craft

Fall is in the air, and that means it’s a fun time to do some seasonal craft activities as a family!

Today, I’m excited to share with you a cute autumn craft that’s simple enough to do with even younger kiddos and won’t break the budget.  Take a look:

POM-POM FALL TREES

Materials:
– styrofoam ball {1 per tree}
– assorted pom poms in fall colors
– stick from a real tree
– glue
– air dry clay

Step 1:  Glue your stick to the styrofoam ball.  Push it in and twist a bit so that the stick is firmly inserted, then add some glue to hold it in place.  We used low-temp hot glue so that it dried quickly but wasn’t hot enough to burn little fingers.

Fall Tree Craft

Step 2: Glue pom poms around the entire ball so that it’s totally covered.  Again, we used low-temp hot glue because otherwise this process would take forever.  The adults put a tiny bit of hot glue on the ball, and the kids pressed a pom pom in place, then we repeated that as we worked our way around.

fall tree craft

Fall Tree Craft

Step 3: Create a base for your tree using air-dry clay.

Pom Pom Tree Craft

Step 4: Enjoy!  Use your creations as decorations to bring a little fall color inside your home!

tree craft

Amy Latta is the author of One Artsy Mama, where she shares a variety of project types including home decor, kids’ crafts, sewing, jewelry, and more.  Recently, she published her first e-book, Crochet 101, to help beginners learn basic crochet stitches and techniques.  She is happiest when creating something and enjoys making all kinds of projects with her 5 year old “Little Crafter.” In her spare time, Amy is a professional ballroom, latin, and swing dancer.  When not on the dance floor or crafting, you can probably find her at Starbucks.

A Reality Check for Marriages Gone Flat

By E.J. Smith | Communication , General

Today, I feel like I need to address one of the most insidious myths about troubled marriages.  Ready?

The myth is that trouble marriages appear at random, seemingly out of nowhere.

Reality Check:ID-10044277

Troubled marriages don’t just happen.  They are created.

It might seem like they just happen.  And despite our perceptions to the contrary, the undoing of many marriages is written into the daily grind of life.  With our lives full of commitments—the job, the kids and their 90 hobbies, your 90 hobbies, making time for friends, fixing up the house, paying bills… and then there’s that spouse who is also asking for your attention…

You get the idea– the stress of managing all those hats causes many people to simply check out mentally and emotionally from their lives and subsequently, their marriages.

Pain or Pleasure? 

Honestly, checking out mentally and emotionally is nothing to beat yourself up over.  First off, playing the self-blame game does absolutely nothing to set your relationship back on track. Second, studies have shown that humans will go to great lengths to avoid pain, far greater than even for pleasure.  So it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that people check out for days, weeks, months, or even years, only to wake up one day shocked to see their relationship has gone awry, astray, or just completely flat.

But EJ, I am surely at least partially to blame!

Sure, I’ll give you that.   And to be fair a little humility and a sincere apology are often a welcomed olive branch for a marriage gone flat.  But after…

Quite frankly, you don’t have time for hours upon hours of self-blame.  You’ve got a marriage to resuscitate!

Which leads me back to my point:  flat, passionless, disconnected or otherwise troubled marriages often break down while our attention is elsewhere.  The fact that we co-create our relationships with our partners, however, means we have the power to start changing these relationships just by readjusting our focus.

Action Steps

Just like troubled marriages, good, fulfilling, exciting marriages don’t just happen either.  They’re cultivated when we invest in the relationship with our partner.

So here are 3 Simple Solutions you can implement today:

1) Start talking. 

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It’s fairly common knowledge these days that communication (or lack thereof) between partners is one of the best indicators of the health of the relationship.  So first, ask yourself, “Do I talk to my partner?”

If so– about what?

Is it mostly about the bills, the kids, coordinating schedules, and other surface topics?  These are all conversations that you could have with your accountant, babysitter, or the neighbor up the street.

Do you share genuine secrets, dreams, hopes and stressors—the kind of stuff you shared when you were dating?  Moreover, do you seek to get to know your spouse more?  Or do you just assume you know them so well that you don’t even bother to ask anymore?

Want more? Check out EM.com’s 7 Tips for Talking to Your Spouse.

2) Invest in Yourself

Chances are that when you and your spouse first started dating, you invested a little more in aesthetics—physical appearance, keeping your space neat and clean—and in personal interests.  A lot of people would refer to this as the “Honeymoon Phase.” And yes, eventually Prince Charming reveals his physical inability to put socks in the hamper, and Princess Charming reveals that flipflops and yoga pants make up more of her wardrobe than originally thought.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with getting “comfortable” around your spouse, sometimes folks use “comfort” (or even necessity) as a reason to stop investing in themselves whatsoever.

Chances are, your spouse found something about you that was interesting, enticing, and intriguing when you first met.  You had individual interests, thoughts, dreams and activities.  If those have fallen by the wayside, it might be time to invest some personal time in rediscovering them.  Allowing yourself to find passion and joy in life may ultimately re-light the intrigue and passion that initially brought you together.

3)  Grow Together

Of course you can’t just grow as an individual if you want to save your marriage.  Great marriages also possess the quality of couples growing together as well. Share a new experience.  Go to an outdoor concert together.  Agree to pick different activities from each other’s areas of interest—or possibly something entirely new.

Play!

Rediscover the joys of spending time with the person who vowed to accept you and all your quirky weirdness. While you’re at it, remember that you vowed to accept all their quirky weirdness too.  And if all else fails… consider attending couples counseling together.

A Reality Check for Marriages Gone Flat.001

Vote for Your Favorite Marriage Blog 2011!

By Dustin | General

Vote for Engaged Marriage!It’s time once again to vote for your favorite marriage blog!

My cyber-buddy and fellow marriage supporter Stu at Stupendous Marriage is composing a list of the Top 10 Marriage Blogs 2011, and I would love it if you can help by taking a minute to vote.

On the two previous years’ lists, you voted Engaged Marriage into the Top Ten.  As it turned out, this really helped us grow our community because people searching for online marriage advice would find Stu’s list, see Engaged Marriage and click over to check us out.

Once they were here and had the chance to interact with you fine folks, they were hooked! 🙂

How to Vote for your Favorite Marriage Blog:

1. Click here to find the short voting form.  It will take you around 15 seconds to vote.
2. One vote per person…but you can encourage your friends to vote.
3. Voting closes at midnight December 4th (but you should vote now so you don’t forget).
4. That’s it!

Thank you for helping out with this. Of course, I would love it if you voted for Engaged Marriage, but I won’t be offended if you choose a blog that you enjoy a bit more.

If you do vote for Engaged Marriage and you’d like to encourage others to join you, here’s a short message you can share on Twitter or Facebook:

I just voted for Engaged Marriage (@EngagedMarriage) as a Top Marriage Blog for 2011. You should too! http://bit.ly/taPVnZ

I think there is a real need for this kind of list, and it is so great to have a central resource to find all of the best marriage-rocking content on the web.

Remember, you have to click over to Stupendous Marriage to post your vote. It only takes a few seconds.

Thanks!

(photo source)

Retreat! But Don’t Miss This Giveaway

By Dustin | General

I hope everyone is enjoying a great weekend with your family.  I am going to keep today’s post very short because Bethany and I are currently away presenting (and attending) a fantastic marriage retreat.

I highly recommend you do the same as soon as you get the opportunity.  It’s such a renewal to our intimacy and our vigor for life…and that’s no exaggeration.

By the way, I wrote this post in advance of our departure, so don’t worry – I’m not using my laptop during our retreat weekend! 🙂

Awesome Giveaway

I wanted to mention that there is a great giveaway going on over at Fit Marriage this week.  We are releasing our Thrive90 Fitness program, which is perfect for busy married couples.

To celebrate the big occasion, we’re adding a major bonus to those that purchase the program this week only.

AND we’re giving away two copies, and it’s super easy to enter.  Just visit the link below for all the details:

-> Click here to access the Thrive90 giveaway at Fit Marriage! <-

Thanks!

One final word: thanks.

This community means the world to me, and you have such a big, positive impact on our marriage.

When I prepare for events like this weekend’s retreat, it reminds of how much I enjoy interacting with other proactive couples.  And, in my humble opinion, Engaged Marriage is the best place on the planet to do that!

Wishing You All a Merry, Merry Christmas

By Dustin | General

As we get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus and reflect back on the year that we’ve shared, I’m amazed at all that 2010 has held both personally and here at Engaged Marriage.

It’s no exaggeration to say that I consider our community to be an extension of my family.  Thank you for letting me share so much and for the amazing feedback and support that you continue to provide on a daily basis.

As a little gift, I’d like to share a great Christmas music video that I found over at the site of my cyber-friends Tom and Debi of The Romantic Vineyard.  Enjoy!

May God Continue to Bless You and Yours!

Dustin