Mamas on 107.9 Thursday mornings!

wedding-rings.jpgIt’s our responsibility as mamas to “keep it real”, right? So here we go: About 98 percent of the time, relationships between husbands and wives take a hit after the baby or babies are born. As in… not as much time to hang out together and really talk, not as many spontaneous romantic moments, and not nearly as much sleep as we were used to. Mamas get pulled in a zillion different directions and sometimes all we want at the end of the day is some time alone when no one needs anything from us. Sound familiar?

kezaad4.jpgIf so, join us for our Thursday morning radio chat on Magic 107.9 with hosts Jennifer Irwin and Guy Westmoland. We’ll be there from about 7:40 a.m. until around 9 a.m. You can listen to the radio live on your computer by clicking HERE or on the graphic on the right.

Call in to the show because we’d love to hear your thoughts about what it’s like to go from being a couple to a full-fledged family. How did you and your spouse adjust to the change, and what do you do to keep your relationship on track, even in the midst of all those parenting duties? Call in or click the word “comment” below to post your thoughts on the subject.

We don’t claim to be relationship experts… just ordinary mamas facing everyday challenges. But we’ll do our best to talk honestly about some of the following dilemmas that lots of married moms experience after the baby is born:

  • My husband? Is he still here? I’ve got baby tunnel vision right now.
  • Dude, you’re in my space. (Shifting out of “Mom-Mode.”
  • If he loved me, he’d unload the dishwasher! (The dangers of scorekeeping.)
  • My whole life has changed, and he just doesn’t get it. (Identity Crisis)
  • Will we ever get “back to normal”?

Here are some links to helpful articles that address all of these issues. Click on the title of each article to read it in full:

How Children Change a Marriage

Marriage After Baby: Problems and Solutions

Which Comes First? The Marriage or the Kids?

Six Tips for Keeping the Spark Alive in Your Marriage

A Single Mom’s Perspective on Loving Your Husband

What’s Your Love Language?

Tweens & Teens: Life After Children

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“Close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, there’s no place like home.” ~ Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz

Hello all and welcome to the September edition of Tweens & Teens. This month I’ll discuss how your life changes after having children and how those changes affect your relationship with your spouse and/or significant other once your children are tweens and teens.

The first few months after my first son was born were nothing short of pure trauma. I was in school getting my doctorate, my wife was working, and here we are with a child. Loved him! Needed the Prozac!  I thought he would never sleep in his own bed, and I remember telling my wife, “Someone leaves our bed sofa1.jpgtonight. Either me or the kid.” Well, the couch was reasonably comfortable, and she did eventually allow him to sleep in his crib. As you can guess, he cried. A lot. And loud. Ah, the memories.

But, this is when we first learned to work together for something other than ourselves. We made sacrifices for him. We still do. As we’ve grown together as a couple, we have undoubtedly learned that being a biological mother and father doesn’t make you a mom and a dad.

Now that our son is a tween (just turned 12 years – Happy Birthday!), we’re learning something very important. Listen carefully…Right now, I’m teaching my son how a father should treat their children as well as how a husband should treat his wife. Additionally, his mother is teaching him how a wife should be treated by her husband and how a mother should treat her children.

Take a moment and consider what I just said. These are very key points because now is the time that he is learning how to act once he gets married and has children of his own. Remember how desperately we tried not to be like our parents but still managed to do some of the same things we swore we never would do? It’s hard to outrun genetics as well as the memories and experiences that were imprinted on us when we were younger. This is partly why abusive cycles continue. It’s also why functional cycles continue, as well.

As parents, we’re defining “normal” for our children. Just like our parents defined it for us. For some, dysfunctional is normal. That’s why so many people who come through my office tell me, “There’s nothing wrong with my child. I was just like he/she is when I was younger.” Guess what? There IS something wrong because your definition of normal is skewed. This is not judging others, this is simply the truth. Certainly there are times when I say, “You know…you’re right. There is nothing wrong.” I like saying that to families. But, more times than not, I have to tell them that they need to change their family lifestyle and way of thinking.

I’ve also been asked about arguing in front of your children. The first thought that most of you may have argument.gifwould be “Don’t do it”. If yelling, cursing, and belittling is how you and your spouse argue, then I agree. Don’t do that in front of your kids. However, if you argue in a calm manner and it’s more of a discussion than an argument per se, then I think it’s okay to do so in front of them during certain occasions. There will always be times when it’s inappropriate because of the subject matter, etc.

My wife and I rarely yell when we argue. When this occurs, it’s never in front of the children; however, when we are calm, we do allow them to see us argue so that they’ll understand how to “argue fairly”. This most often happens in the car on a long trip when we can’t escape each other. The concept of arguing fairly may seem strange, but we need to teach our children how to discuss opposing topics with others. We’re showing them how to argue fairly and are also sending them a message that it’s perfectly okay to disagree and express your disagreement with others. Within limits. These limits are defined by how they perceive their parents arguing. My wife and I also show affection in front of them. Within limits. They see us hug, hold hands, and tell each other how much we love the other and how sorry we are for hurting walk-the-talk.giftheir feelings.

So, I say this in conclusion. If you want to teach your children how to be a functional parent, husband, wife, friend, etc., you must show them. It’s one thing to tell them how to do something. It’s something entirely different to walk the walk. So try taking a walk sometime…the exercise may do your family some good.

Take care, and I’ll see you next month.

billy

*Click here to read more installments of Tweens & Teens by Dr. Jones.

Life with Ladybug

By Shannon Magsam

velvet-the-horse.jpgIn the middle of the night, it started pouring rain. When I heard the deluge, I immediately thought of Velvet, the gigantic mechanical horse Ladybug got for Christmas when she was 4. I looked out the window and sure enough, Velvet was on the front lawn getting soaked.

I fretted over what to do. Should I run out in the rain and haul the huge horse onto the porch? Or just figure the damage was already done and let Velvet’s owner go out and do it herself in the morning? I decided to let her do it. And I’m glad. So often I don’t let her be responsible. I bring in the horse, pick up the dirty dishes, vacuum the bedroom. Things she’s capable of doing and needs to be doing.

So that was our lesson in responsibility this week and I was proud that she went right out and rescued her waterlogged pony without grumbling. Well, she DID mutter something about we should have reminded her Velvet was out there, but she didn’t persist with that line of thought. And I did something that was hard for me: kept my mouth shut.

I so often sabotage my efforts to make her accept more responsibility by yammering on about it. I’d tune me out, too. So, success. (And I think the horse will be OK once she dries out. I hope so, anyway. It was one of the more indulgent things we’ve ever bought.)

After Ladybug had changed her clothes for school (her nightgown was sufficiently soaked to help that responsibility lesson sink in) we hopped into the car for school. On the way, we switched gears and she asked about the age difference between her dad and me. She’s just starting to think about relationships. She mentioned that her husband would simply have to like cats.

We joked that when she started dating she should have a checklist for the boys to fill out before she agrees to go see a movie with them. “Must like cats” was her top requirement.

Then she said she’d also like her dates to be “soft”. When I inquired further, I realized she was referring to the State Farm Commercial. Have you seen it? (It’s embedded below in case you haven’t). When the girl asks for an agent who’s also “sensitive” a boy holding a bunny appears. “It’s a rescue,” he says of the rabbit.

I had to admit I was glad she didn’t go for “dark side” or “hot” boy.

I’m also glad she’s still way too young to need that checklist.

shannonsmthumbnail.jpgShannon Magsam is mom to 8-year-old Ladybug, married to Ladybug’s dad, John, and co-creator of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of Life With Ladybug, click here. Leave a comment if you’re so inclined. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

What We’re Reading: Book about colds, and “beastly” books, too

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It’s that time of year again… the time when the kids are in classrooms with lots of other kids and lots of ah-choo.jpgother germs. And that means somebody is gonna catch a cold and bring it home. So this book, recently profiled in People magazine, caught our attention.

Ah-Choo: The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold

This book is written by  scientist Jennifer Ackerman, who gives us the facts about things like supplements, going outside with a wet head, chicken soup and much more. We’ll definitely be checking this book out for cold and flu season. (Click here to read more about this book on Amazon.com.)

If you’re looking for a good book for the kids, check out these two titles recommended to us by local mom Laurie Marshall. (Her brother Brian Biggs is the illustrator on both of these books, which would be perfect to read in the weeks leading up to Halloween.)

Beastly Rhymes, by Judy Sierra and Brian Biggs

beastly-rhymes.jpgThis book of beastly poems is bound by a cover made of fake green fur! The cover alone will make it extra cool in your kids’ eyes. The reading level on this one looks to be late elementary or early middle-school, but it would also be fun to read it aloud to smaller kids. You can read more about it and see a preview of some of the poems by clicking HERE to go to the Amazon website.

One Beastly Beast, by Garth Nix and Brian Biggs

one-beastly-beast.jpgHere’s another great pre-Halloween read for kids who like fantasy stories. This one is good for kids in grades 3-5. The messages in these stories stay positive, and the circumstances are pretty funny. Click on the book cover on the right to read a review of the book from the School Library Journal and Booklist. (We also like that the price on this hardcover book is great!)

Goodnight Goon, by Michael Rex

goodnight-goon.jpgPerfect for kids who love to be scared (but not too scared), this book is a “petrifying parody” of the popular children’s book “Goodnight Moon“. While the little bunny is a monster in this book, but he’s wearing the right PJ’s and says goodnight to various things around his room. Instead of an old lady whispering “Hush” there’s an old werewolf hollering “Boo!” For grades 1-3.

It’s hard to read if you can’t see the words too clearly! So please keep in mind that this great feature is sponsored by Witherspoon Optometry, owned by Dr. David Witherspoon and Dr. DeAnne Witherspoon. Their practice is located at 5212 Village Parkway in the Village on the Creeks plaza in Rogers. You may also call 479-464-9702 to ask questions or schedule an appointment. Click here to visit them online.

Home Design: Refreshing bedroom ideas

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By Lori Homstad, business owner and mother of two

Most of us need a retreat now and then — an escape from the chores, the noise, the clutter and the demands of parenting. When my boys were little, I often said, “All I need is a good night’s sleep.” I used to say “Calgon, take me away!” But when my little boys tried to turn my bath time into their play time, I changed that expression to “Marriott take me away!”

When we do get a chance to travel, one of the great perks of a nice hotel room is a super comfy bed. We have literally turned mattresses upside down in some hotel rooms just to find out the brand name of the mattress that gave us such a great sleep. Not only is it the firm mattress, luxurious sheets, and heavy cotton comforters that make for a great sleep, it’s also the way those hotel drapes can be pulled shut to create a dark cozy room that makes us snooze late into the morning. The photo below shows an example of pleated draperies which have a blackout liner.

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The good news is that, even when you’re not able to escape to a great hotel, you can turn your own bedroom into the refuge you need and deserve. Your master bedroom should be your personal, pretty, comforting space. A good decorator friend shared this great tip with me: “Why do you have all these photos of your kids in here?” At first I was offended, but then I realized I didn’t want to be reminded of how they looked in EVERY room of my house. We always recommend when decorating a bedroom to leave out the photos of the kids and to bring in a nice photo of you and your spouse, to remind you to spend quality time with one another in this special space of your home.

If you want to recreate that cozy dark hotel room effect, you can do it without spending a ton of money. Blinds don’t always keep out all the light, so try using a “soft treatment.” You can find inexpensive curtains that are easy to install. Our company also offers 100% Room Darkening Blackout Curtains to completely block out all light and give you total privacy. This type of curtain has textured fabric with a triple layer of acrylic foam. They’re also energy efficient and will save you money on this winter’s heating bill. You won’t get a draft in the winter nor too much heat in the summer. (These curtains are also great for media rooms because they’ll prevent sun glare on your TV screen or computer monitor.) Each pair of curtains contains two pinch pleated panels.

If you have a smaller window, you can achieve the same darkening goal with something simple like a knife-pleated Roman shade for less than $200. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when choosing shades:

•The key to successfully darkening the room with a roman shade is to make certain it’s installed properly.

•For the most finished and professional look, choose a shade which mounts inside your window.

•Ask the sales consultant to show you the shade in your own window so you can see the level of darkness and privacy. There should be no second guessing if you do it this way.

•I recommend cordless options for window treatments if you have children and pets, to prevent choking or strangulation. Cordless shades can be pushed up or pulled down manually.

• Deep fabric colors provide moderate light control; light colors filter and will only diffuse the bright sunlight.

• Objects behind shades in a lighted room are seen as vague shapes.

This photo shows a “Top Down/Bottom Up Shade” which will lower from the top and raise from the top-down-bottom-up.jpgbottom so you can enjoy the light but still maintain privacy. We recommend Top Down/Bottom Up Shades for the following situations:

•Keeping privacy in bathrooms while enjoying natural light

•Eliminating glare on computer screens in offices

•Apartments where you want privacy from neighbors

•Door blinds attached at the bottom (no more bending to release and raise the blind)

The top-down option allows you to lower the shade from the top, combined with the standard bottom-up lift. When you want to reduce glare from a window, just adjust the top down or bottom up portion of the shades to get rid of unwanted glare. The light silk curtains mounted outside hide the cords. This blind is perfect for downstairs rooms that need privacy from the shoulders down. If you love some light and the pretty view of the sky or trees, this is a great, affordable solution.

In homes where owners don’t need or want a complete blackout curtain or a room darkening shade, a plantation shutter will often do the trick. If that’s the option you like best, don’t be afraid to incorporate some color. Pick a shade you really love. Even plantation shutters can be custom painted any color. These custom-color-shutters-in-girls-room.jpgpink shutters in a little girl’s room are perfect for blocking the light, and they’re easy to clean and energy efficient. (See photo at right.)

Here’s a great website to see more wonderful examples of using color in master bedrooms:   http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/bedrooms/

If you notice, most every bedroom window shown at the link above has “soft treatments”. If that’s the look you like, keep in mind that Budget Blinds carries more than 1,000 swatches of linens, cottons, canvas and silk along with some very decorative hardware and curtain rods. We also make custom cornices with matching drapes and beautiful bedding and fabric headboards to create a cohesive look.

Don’t let the vast array of options scare you because we have experienced designers who can help you select the right one for your room. We design, measure and install the window treatments, and one of the perks is that you don’t even have to leave home to get all of this done! (I’m a mama, too, so I know it’s not easy to drag kids around town when they don’t want to help you shop for shades or curtains.) We can also help you coordinate bedding, throw pillows and upholstery. The photo below shows an example of how to coordinate window treatments with the bed comforter which creates a more custom look.

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Our “showroom” is a mobile one, so we’ll bring all the options to your house so you can see how it will look in the room you’re working on. As for price, just remember that we call it “Budget Blinds” for a reason. Great decor doesn’t have to break the bank. We work with budgets all the time, and it CAN be done. Happy decorating!

The Home Design category is sponsored by Budget Blinds of Northwest Arkansas. (Click here to read more about this local company.) For a free in-house design consultation, call their office at 479-751-6655. They bring their mobile showroom to your home, which is SO much easier than trying to remember what your windows look like. Click here to visit their website.

Healthy Mama: Dr. Mom on keeping kids healthy

dr-cara-riley-web-mercy.jpgDr. Cara Riley, D.O., is a new internist at Bentonville Medical Associates, part of Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas. We asked Dr. Riley some questions about keeping kids healthy now that school’s in full swing.

Now that my children are back in school and around lots of other kids, what can I do to help keep them healthy?

Make sure they get to bed on time. Feed them a breakfast with some protein every morning. Protein stabilizes blood sugar and makes their brains work better. Send lunches without processed foods or foods high in sugar and fat. Try tea tree oil shampoo and hair gel for lice tea-tree-oil-shampoo.jpgprevention!

What are some common illnesses you see with school-age children?

  • Common colds
  • Head Lice
  • Stomach Flu
  • Constipation
  • Ear Infections

Most of these are unavoidable but good hand washing, diet, and avoidance techniques can help.

What about common injuries among school-age children?

  •  Ankle Sprains and other various broken bones
  •  Scrapes and cuts
  •  Insect Bites

Once again, mostly unavoidable, but you can coach caution!

Are there any booster shots that my older child needs to get?

As long as you’re keeping up with your yearly well-child checks and flu shots, your kids should be caught up.

Are doctors expecting Swine Flu to be a problem again this year? When is the best time to get the flu shot?

The swine flu vaccine from last year will be incorporated into the seasonal flu shot for this year. Swine flu is expected to still be around this year but will probably not reach pandemic status. Generally I suggest starting flu vaccination at the end of September or the first of October. The only people who need two flu shots are people with chronic illnesses like severe asthma or children that are receiving their first vaccination.

We know you’re a mom, too! Tell us a little about your kids:

I have 2 daughters, Hannah and Abby, who will be 7 and 3 in October. Hannah is a very lively first-grader who goes to Baker Elementary and enjoys piano and karate. Abby is my calmer child who will be starting doll-clothes.jpgWalnut Farm Montessori in September and is currently obsessed with puzzles. We also have a 1-year-old Shih Tzu, Mr. Nibbles, who enjoys attention of any kind, even if it involves being dressed up in doll clothes. :-)

How do you balance the roles of mom and doctor?

Since my husband Phil is a cardiologist, I only work 3 days a week which allows me to have a lot more time to get stuff done at home and spend time with the girls. I also have a great helper, my mother, who is our nanny when I’m at work. I do a fair amount of errand running during lunch, too!

How do you feel being a parent affects the way you practice medicine?

Well I certainly empathize with young parents who are going through the same rigorous young child years that I am. However, as I am an internist, the majority of my patients are older than me, so I end up getting a lot of advice!

How long have you lived in NWA?

I grew up in Springdale and graduated from Springdale High School in 1992 and then the University of Arkansas in 1996. I spent 12 years in Tulsa, OK, getting my medical training and then waiting for my husband to finish his training. When we (finally) got done, I wanted to move back to NWA to be close to family. I also thought it would be a good place to raise our children.

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NWA Events: Baron Meed fundraiser, The Titus Task 5K and a garage sale!

baronmeek.jpegNWAMotherlode readers are always great to let us know about fundraisers and events to help others in the region. Here are a few worthy causes you can help with in the next two weeks:

Baron Meek Fundraiser, Oct. 2:

Whitney Taylor recently told us about an amazing 9-year-old boy from Siloam Springs who needs our help.

There will be a fundraiser to help Baron Meek (pictured at right) and his family with medical expenses on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The fundraiser will be at the James Butts Baseball Complex in Siloam Springs. There will be a kickball tournament, a Home Run Derby, a Bounce House for the kids, pizza and hot dogs, a bake sale, a raffle for lots of items including an ipod touch, and much more!

Baron had been hospitalized for a few weeks. He kept having strokes, but doctors couldn’t figure out the cause. He was first sent to the Siloam Springs Hospital, then to the Tulsa Hospital, Whitney said.

About a week ago, Baron was flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital and doctors now believe he may have sickle cell disease. He was able to come home for now.

If you can’t make it to the event on Oct. 2, donations are also being accepted at Signature Bank, c/o the Baron Meek Recovery Account.

Thanks in advance for helping this NWA family! Click HERE to follow Baron’s story on his Facebook page.

Garage/Bake Sale to assist adopting family, Oct. 9:

Fayetteville residents Aly and Kirk Kirkpatrick have adopted a daughter, Janie, from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kirk will be leaving Fayetteville and flying there on Oct. 10 to pick her up. His trip will be much longer than the family originally anticipated. Instead of 7-10 days it looks like Kirk might be gone for 6 weeks.

“As you can imagine, we are delighted that our daughter is finally coming home but anticipate that the time spent apart will be stressful on our family in many ways,” Aly said.

For example, the family hadn’t planned on an additional 4-½ weeks of hotels, meals and other miscellaneous expenses. To help defray these unexpected expenses there will be a Garage Sale & Bake Sale Fundraiser on Saturday, October 9, at 3577 East Madison Drive in Fayetteville. The sale will be from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., everything half price after noon.

They need both garage sale items and baked goods to have a successful sale. If you’re interested in helping donate items for the garage/bake sale, contact the Kirkpatricks directly at kirkpatrickar@hotmail.com or by calling 479-251-8446.

The Titus Task 5K, Oct. 16

We’d also like to tell you about The Titus Task’s annual 5K in Siloam Springs.

The Titus Task is a non-profit, 501c3 organization with 100% of the donations given to The Titus Task being used to pursue a future for orphans.

On Saturday, October 16th, The Titus Task will be holding its 2nd Annual 5k race and 1mile family fun run, as well 4×400 family relay event that has been added to the race activities this year.

RACE DETAILS:

  • The Titus Task 5K/1Mile Fun Run and 4×4 Family Relay
  • Saturday October 16
  • Registration 7:30-8:15AM (Pre-registration preferred)
  • 5K starts at 8:30, other events to follow
  • Downtown Siloam Springs
  • Historic Fountain at East Main and Broadway
  • Details and Registration form at www.thetitustask.com

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Drama for Mama: Desperate Housewives

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Those crazy housewives are at it again. If you’ve missed the domestic divas of Wisteria Lane, you’ll be glad to know that Desperate Housewives premiered its new season on Sunday night. Forgot to set your TiVo or DVR? No worries. Here’s what you missed:

Lynette: You may remember that Lynette had a baby girl at the end of last season. Now she’s home lynette.jpgfrom the hospital and in full newborn mode — as in the house is a mess and the rest of the family is wondering when she’s going to catch up on all that stuff she usually does. But she says she is done being the perfect mom and is just focusing on the baby. But then she gets a call from Renee, an old college friend, who says she is coming to visit. Lynette shifts into Supermom mode and creates the perfect picture of domestic bliss in time for her friend’s arrival. This marks the entrance of actress Vanessa Williams (formerly of Ugly Betty). We hear she’ll be a regular on the show this season.

She and Lynette trade friendly and not-so-friendly barbs about each other’s choice of lifestyle. But then Renee takes it too far when she insinuates that Lynette hasn’t become successful. Lynette was telling her to get out when Renee admits that she is there because she caught her famous husband cheating on her and he chose to stay with the other woman. From the looks of it so far, Renee will bring a lot of Wilhelmina’s qualities to Wisteria Lane — high fashion and a sharp tongue. Should be interesting.

Susan: At the end of last season, Susan and Mike had unknowingly rented their house on Wisteria Lane susan.jpgto Paul Young, the creepy guy who just got out of jail when police discovered that the woman he murdered wasn’t actually dead. Ooops. The neighbors are all buzzing about why he has come back to Wisteria Lane, where nobody believed he was innocent during his trial. What they don’t know is that he has come back for revenge, and we’ll have to wait to see who’ll be the first to get it.

Still struggling financially, Susan and Mike are trying to figure out how to earn enough money to get their house back. Susan meets the apartment building’s landlord and discovers that she is running a website where people pay to watch women clean the house while wearing lingerie (as if that actually happens). The site is called something like “Va-Va-Va-Broom.” :-) The landlord tells Susan she could make great money by being one of the scantily clad cleaners on the site. She says no. But when Mike says he may take a temporary job in Alaska to make extra money, Susan reconsiders and tells the landlord she’ll do it. But Mike doesn’t know… yet.

Bree: This was Orson’s farewell episode. He and Bree are separated now, and she’s pretty depressed. bree.jpgOrson said she should start a project, but she said that she needed to sit with her feelings and figure out what to do with the rest of her life. (Remember she got blackmailed into selling her company to her dead husband’s illegitimate son last season.) She also confessed the reason behind the blackmail to Gabby. Bree’s son Andrew was the one who hit Carlos’ mother with his car when he was only 16, and Bree has been covering up for him ever since. When Gabby heard the news, she was devastated about what it would do to Carlos and their family. She decided it was a secret that she’d keep from him.

Gabby: Speaking of secrets, Gabby has no idea that Carlos is keeping the mother of all secrets from her. gabby.jpgIn this season premiere, we find out that Gabby and Carlos first child, 8-year-old Juanita, is not actually their biological child!!! An alcoholic nurse at the hospital switched the ID bracelets when Juanita was born, and some other couple took Gabby’s biological daughter home. The hospital hasn’t tracked down the other family yet, but a hospital attorney did tell Carlos. After thinking it over for a day, he told the hospital attorney that there are two options: Carlos sells them for millions, or the hospital execs make this switcheroo mess go away, as in “never tell anyone”, especially Gabby. He decides that this kind of news would ruin her life.

feather-duster.jpgPreviews: Next week, it looks like Mike will walk in on his wife doing a little naughty house-cleaning for the Web-cam on her computer. Gabby gets some emotional news while standing in a hospital room. And Bree starts eyeballing her hot handy man who’s helping her renovate the living room. (What is it with the gardeners, painters and handymen on this show? Ever notice how they all look like male models?)

Great Date Giveaway: Dinner and Tickets to see Chris Isaak!

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UPDATE: Congratulations to Becky Lampson, winner of the Great Date Giveaway this week! Thanks for sharing concert memories. We loved reading them :)

In need of a good date night out with your sweetie? Or maybe a fun girls’ night out where you’d get to swoon over a certain Mr. Chris Isaak in concert?

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And what would a date night be without a visit to one of your favorite Italian restaurants, Bordinos on bordinos2.jpgDickson Street? The mom who wins this giveaway will be treated to a fabulous dinner at Bordinos and can then skip across the street to the Walton Arts Center to pick up her two free tickets to the Chris Isaak concert on Tuesday, October 12th at 7 p.m.

Chris Isaak is the crooner known for his retro voice and style and is also famous for songs including “Wicked Game,” “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing,” “Don’t Make Me Dream About You,” “Somebody’s Crying,” “Can’t Do a Thing to Stop Me,” “Go Walking Down There.

Chris Isaak has also appeared in movies including Married to the Mob, Silence of the Lambs, and That Thing You Do.

Tickets to the concert range in price from $48 to $88 per ticket, so this ticket giveaway combined with the $50 gift card from Bordinos makes this package a value of more than $150. Plus it gives you the perfect reason to go out on the town!

How to enter: To throw your name in the hat for the Great Date Giveaway, click the comment button below and tell us when was the last time you saw a musician in concert. Or what was your favorite concert of all time? (About 15 years ago, I saw Billy Joel and Elton John in concert in Little Rock, and it was awesome!) You can also e-mail your comments to us at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

To increase your odds: Send a note about this giveaway to your friends, and we’ll give you an extra chance to win for each person you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

Click here for more ticket information from the Walton Arts Center website or call 479-443-5600.

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Exercise for the mom who has NO MORE TIME!

Okay, I’ll admit it. Sometimes I feel like I can’t workout or go to the gym or walk the neighborhood or get on the treadmill because I have other stuff that just has to get done first. Even though I know I shouldn’t put it off until I have more time (which is never), I often feel like the kids, my work and the house have to be taken care of first. And, as we all know, that’s an all-day job. So… what’s a mama to do?

squeeze-it-in-girl.jpgWell, I stumbled across this website the other day and bookmarked it immediately because I think this is an exercise theory I can get on board with. It’s called SqueezeItIn.com, and it basically gives you lots of different ways to incorporate exercise moves into the things you’re already doing throughout the day — like the laundry, grocery shopping, drying your hair, cooking and watching television. If you’re into multi-tasking, this will make a lot of sense to you!

The founders of the website are also mothers who suggest that we “let life be our workout.” The website is really cute and comes with videos that show you how to do the exercise moves correctly. It also says that “Studies show that three 10-minute bursts of activity throughout your day may have the same impact as one continuous 30-minute workout.”

squeeze-iphone-pic.jpgIn a perfect world, I would always prioritize my workout, spring out of bed and get it done at 5 a.m. before the rest of the world wakes up. But in my real world, doing ab squeezes for 10 minutes while typing out a website post is better than nothing, right? Click here to check out the Squeeze It In website. You can also read more about the program in Southern Living magazine. (Attention iPhone mamas, there’s also a free app for this! Check the App Store and search for Squeeze It In.)

Mealtime Mama: Your kiddo may be a foodie

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By Lyndi at nwafoodie.com

lynie-nwafoodie-resized.jpgIn the mornings when you are packing lunches, does your child ask for duck liver pate, grilled asparagus with hollandaise sauce, or perhaps warmed figs stuffed with mascarpone and drizzled with agave nectar? 

No? Okay, so we’ve established that your kiddo may not be a food-snob or a gourmand, but perhaps he or she is a foodie?

A “foodie” is someone who is open to trying new food experiences and enjoys slight changes in the average everyday food journey.

Here are three of my go-to foodie-inspired recipes that just may spark the foodie in your kids… and in you!

Happy eating!

Caprese salad for a Crowd

This is a pretty dish that introduces the purity of flavor that comes from simple ingredients: tomatoes, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and mozzarella.

lyndis-caprese-salad-resized.jpgServes 9-12

6 large tomatoes (leave at room temperature so they won’t get mealy)

2 soft mozzarella balls

Basil

Salt

Pepper

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

DIRECTIONS: Slice the tomatoes into ½” thick slices.  Lightly salt and set aside.

Slice the mozzarella balls into thin slices.  The idea is to have one slice of mozzarella for each slice of tomato.

Wash the basil and tear off enough leaves so that you have one for each slice of tomato. 

Now you are going to arrange the salad: tomato, mozzarella, basil, tomato, mozzarella, basil, tomato, mozzarella, basil… continue until you run out of tomatoes.

In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.  Wisk and add pepper to taste.

Last step:  Drizzle the olive oil mixture so that each tomato and mozzarella receives a lick.  Let it set to soak in the goodness of the dressing.

Serve and wait for all the ooohhhhs and ahhhhhhs.

Easy, Creamy, Satisfying Shitake Mushroom Soup with Thyme

Yes, it is quickly becoming that time of year again where soup soothes the soul. Carrots can be easily substituted for the mushrooms and will add a sweetness to the soup that will delight your palate.

lyndis-shitake-soup-resized.jpg1 white onion, chopped

1 large shallot, chopped (or 2 white onions if you do not have any shallots on hand.  But then, of course you have shallots on hand, right?  They are essential!)

3 tablespoons salted butter

3 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped

11 shitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped (or, substitute mushrooms with 6 cups of chopped carrots)

6 cups chicken broth (easy tip:  save the carcass from your rotisserie chicken dinner and boil with water to make an inexpensive broth!)

Sprig of thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: Heat butter in dutch oven over medium heat.

Add onions and shallots with thyme and stir lightly until soft, approximately 5 minutes.

Add mushrooms and stir.

Add potatoes with pinch of salt, approximately 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth and turn up heat to medium-high until boil.  Leave uncovered.

Once boiling, turn down heat to low and cover for 30 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove thyme sprig.

To achieve the “creamy” texture of this easy, creamy, satisfying shitake mushroom soup with thyme, puree in blender. 

Baked Risotto

Do your kids love creamy, ooey gooey foods?  Risotto rice may just hit the spot!  Don’t let what you’ve heard about risotto scare you away. This is an easy, no stirring recipe that finishes perfectly every time.

lyndis-risotto-resized.jpgServes 6 to 8

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, minced

Salt

3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon) (I use the minced garlic in jars)

Large pinch saffron (optional) (I add this every time and it works like a charm, ahhh aromatics!)

2 cups Arborio rice

4 ¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup dry white wine (helpful hint:  one 187ml bottle = 1 cup)

2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

Gound black pepper

DIRECTIONS: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saffron, if using, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook until the grain edges are transparent, about 4 minutes.

Stir in 3 ½ cups of the chicken broth and the wine. Cover the pot, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Place the pot in the oven and bake the rice until it is tender and no water remains, about 20 minutes.

Just before removing the risotto from the oven, microwave the remaining 1 ¼ cups broth in a covered microwave-safe bowl on high power until hot. Remove the risotto from the oven and stir in the hot broth and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated (Check them out at www.cooksillustrated.com They personally changed my life by teaching me how to cook!) To see more of Lyndi’s recipes or read more about her foodie experiences in Northwest Arkansas, click here. spicycow2thumbnail.jpg

Mamas, we know you appreciate Chick-fil-A as much as we do on those days we just DON’T want to cook! And if you’re watching your weight, we love that they have a nutrition guide that includes a meal calculator, diabetic exchange and more useful information. CLICK HERE to go that section of the national website. We’ll see you near the play area!

Devotion in Motion: Grocery Store Feet

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10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean….” ~ John 13:10a  (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

The teenagers at my church really lift my spirits because they’re always making me laugh. After a nine-day trip to Youth Conference and a 10-hour trip home in the July heat, they piled out of the van very smelly and grubby. One young man sat down on a lawn chair and propped up his bare feet, exposing the dark layer of ground-in grime on his bare soles. His friend said, “Oooh, look at him.  He has “grocery store feet.”

I laughed out loud because I immediately knew what he was talking about without any need for explanation. A person with “grocery store feet” has feet that look like he spent the day walking barefoot grocery-cart-wheel.jpgin the local Winn-Dixie. I especially thought of the grocery stores of years long gone by. When I was a child, grocery stores in small towns often had unfinished concrete floors. Although the flooring started out with the light grey color of fresh cement, over time they became coated with a layer of oily grunge left behind by daily traffic, the black rubber wheels of the shopping carts, and daily use of an oil-based sweeping compound. Just a few barefooted steps across these floors, and your feet became oil-stained dirt magnets. I don’t think you could scrub it off. You’d probably have to wait for it to “wear” off. You had Grocery Store Feet.

Even though the people in Bible times didn’t have grocery stores, they still had a problem with dirty feet. Everybody wore sandals, and they walked everywhere they went. When you went to visit at someone’s home, the host would have the lowest servant in the house bring water to wash your feet. Even though you’d taken a bath before you walked to the party, by the time you got there, your feet were dirty.

jesus-washing-feet.jpgIn John Chapter 13, Jesus Christ, the Son of God took a bowl of water and began to wash His disciples’ feet. The Creator of the world had stooped to perform the task of the lowliest bondservant. At first, Simon Peter refused to let the Lord was his feet. Jesus told him that unless He washed Peter, the disciple would have no part with Him. So, then, the ever-impetuous disciple said that if that were the case, then Jesus should wash Peter’s head and hands also. In the Scripture lesson (at the top), Jesus said that a person who has had a bath did not need to bathe again. He only needs to wash his feet, and he would be clean again.

I want to tell you how I believe this teaching applies to us today. When we come to saving faith in Jesus Christ and are baptized into Him, entrusting our lives to Him, He cleanses us. We’ve had a bath, and we are clean. When we go into the Lord’s house, repenting of our sins and receiving Holy Communion, it is there that we spiritually wash our feet. We do not need a bath again because we are clean. But we must spiritually wash our feet—because that’s the part of us that comes in contact with the world.

Dear mamas, every new week starts with a new Lord’s Day. This sin-sick world that you are raising your babies in is becoming dirtier all the time. Why not take them to the Lord’s House today? The Church is the place that Jesus can cleanse us “with the washing of water by the Word.”(Ephesians 5:26) And, as you know, there really is no better feeling than that of being clean.

john2.jpgDr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 25 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 19) and Seth (age 16) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the teenagers also make the Preacher laugh by referring to a person’s thin, seedy mustache as a “molestache.” See example below.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to extramailbox@juno.com.

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The Rockwood Files: My Inner Girl

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

Here’s an ugly little secret we mothers try to deny, even to ourselves: Sometimes we buy our daughters a few extra things we probably shouldn’t.

Is it because we like the girls more? No. We love all our kids the same. Is it because the girls just need butterfly-dress.jpgmore stuff? Maybe sometimes they do, but that’s not the reason, either. It’s because deep down, underneath our mature, practical mommy selves, there lives a little girl. And that little girl is wildly attracted to glittery purses, super-soft stuffed animals and precious little outfits with cherries or butterflies on them. Sometimes when we’re innocently walking down store aisles, that little girl sneaks out and starts shopping.

I know this because it has happened to me. A few weeks ago, I was pushing 3-year-old Kate around in the shopping cart at Wal-Mart. She was singing the lyrics to “Be Our Guest” for the one-thousandth time. (We saw a musical production of Beauty and the Beast on stage a few months ago, and she has been obsessed with the story and the songs ever since.)

I was heading toward the back of the store, fully intending to walk right on past the toy aisle without pausing. But then Kate pointed and called out so loudly that it startled me, and I turned to see what had caught her attention. “Beauty!” she said, her eyes wide with excitement. “Mama, it’s Belle from Beauty and the Beast!”

I couldn’t see exactly what she was talking about, but I was sure she was right because 3-year-old girls can spot a Disney princess from 50 yards away. I knew that, if we didn’t turn down that toy aisle, there would be much weeping and gnashing of teeth. So I agreed to push the cart down the aisle so she could get a closer look, but first I issued this warning: “Okay, we’ll go see what it is but we’re just going to look, okay? Only looking, not getting. You understand?” She nodded her agreement and we turned down the Barbie aisle.

barbie-logo.jpgHere’s the thing about Barbie. She is, without a doubt, the most cloned woman on the face of the Earth. When I was a girl, there were only a couple of Barbies to collect – a blonde and a brunette. Of course, Ken was there, too, and there was the famous Barbie car. But I could fit my entire Barbie collection into one shoebox.

These days, you’d need a shoebox the size of Texas Stadium to store a complete Barbie collection. Not only has Barbie had 80 different occupations over the years, she also now has pets, furniture and bath-version Barbies whose clothes turn different colors when you dip them in the tub. And let’s not even get started on the clothes. Since her debut, Barbie has had about one billion (yes, that says billion) pieces of clothing and shoes produced for her and her friends.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised when we discovered that Kate’s favorite Disney movie has its own Barbie. She wears a beautiful yellow gown, just like her namesake in the movie. I picked her up and barbie-belle.jpghanded her to Kate, who noticed that she also comes with a rose-shaped magic wand. The package also had a button marked “Try me!” so I did, purely out of curiosity. When I pushed it, the familiar theme song from Beauty and Beast began to play and then red roses bloomed out from the yellow ball gown. Suddenly my eyes got as wide as Kate’s did.

“Oh! Look at the flowers,” Kate said. Then, in a tone of awe and reverence, she added softly, “Mama, I love her.”

And, as much as I hate to admit it, a little part of me loved her, too. My inner girl was seduced by the combination of nostalgia and new technology. When I was little, Barbie didn’t even have a belly button. And now she has roses magically blooming on her ball gown. Will wonders never cease?

I was torn. Inside my head, the Practical Mom side of me sternly said, “We did not come here to get a Barbie. We came here for milk, bread and cereal. Step away from the doll.” But it was very hard to hear what Practical Mom was saying because my Inner Girl was a lot louder and more insistent: “She plays music and has a magic wand that makes ROSES BLOOM ON HER DRESS! Are you kidding me? We HAVE to bring her home!”

I stood there for a few moments, as my Inner Girl and Practical Mom duked it out. Wisely, Kate did not plead or beg for the Barbie. She just sat there quietly adoring it, which softened up the Practical Mom just enough for the Inner Girl to win the day.

“Okay, we’ll get her, but only this one time,” I said firmly. “We are not going to get a Barbie every time we go grocery shopping. You understand?” And as the words came out of my mouth, I wasn’t surrockwoodheadshot2010compressed2.jpge if I was saying them to her or to me. Either way, I hope both of us were listening.

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here.  

Fashion Mama: Military Style

By Michelle Thompson, nwaMotherlode.com fashion editor

ATTENTIONHot trend on Deck!!! There are so many  fabulous fashion trends this season, that it is difficult to know which ones to embrace. One of my absolute favorite trends of this fall season is the modern-military inspired items.

The items that I chose to share with you will have you fit for fall without looking like you’re headed for battle. Like I’ve mentioned before, don’t take the trend head to toe; it is just too much, and it won’t make the fashion savvy statement you’re looking for. One to two military items, tops!! These pieces are everything from funky to polished sophistication, so be bold and have fun with it.

symone-booty.jpg1. You know how I love a fabulous shoe, and this one so does not disappoint. Wear these lovelies with a darling dress, leggings and a tunic, or dark skinny jeans.  The Symone bootie is available at Marciano.com for a $248.00. A bit of a splurge, I know, but too fabulous not to mention.

2. This dress, oh this dress; it just makes me happy.  It fits so perfectly. And, of course I must mention that it would look fabulous with the shoes from #1. The dress (pictured below) really doesn’t demand a lot for accessories, because it is so embellished around the neck. Great earrings and a bold bracelet would be plenty to bring it all together. It is also available in black. Available at Francesca’s Collections at Pinnacle Promenade for $44.

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3. This is such a polished, gorgeous way to wear this trend for fall. The coat (pictured below) is one of those fashion go-to items that you always feel great in every time you wear it. It’s available at White House Black Market at Pinnacle Promenade for $188.

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 4. This is my less-expensive choice for the military jacket, but it is equally as fabulous. So fun with a crisp white shirt underneath and talk sleek saddle-leather brown boots over your favorite skinnies. It would look oh so perfect paired with the earring from #5. It’s available at Target for $24.99.

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earring.jpg 5. These earrings (pictured right) are the perfect accompaniment to your modern-military look. They look completely stylish, without going too trendy and over-the-top.

6. Even our beloved Uggs (below) are jumping on the military trend. You can find these at Zappos.com for $200uggs.jpg.

 

pin.jpg 7. This pin (at right) is perfect for updating one of your basics to make it fashion ready for fall. Just add it to your favorite sweater, jacket, or vest and voila!, you are on trend for the season. It’s available at Fossil.com for $26.

8. This is such a versatile piece for your wardrobe and it has the added bonus of being gray, which is such a hot color for fall (pictured below). It is available at White House Black Market at Pinnacle Hills Promenade for $108.

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michelle-thompson-fashion-editor.JPGMichelle Thompson is mom to two beautiful daughters, Macy and Brooklyn, and is nwaMotherlode’s Fashion Mama editor. Look for new articles from Michelle on the last Friday of the month. To read more about this local fashionista/mom/marathon runner, click here. To read her previous articles, click here.

Inside His Head: Boys and their toys

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Time for another installment of  “Inside His Head”! This month’s question is about husbands, money and the toys they still enjoy.

If you’ve got a question for our anonymous panel of husbands, send it to mamas@nwaMotherlode.com and it could be answered in this monthly feature.

Q: In our relationship, I’d say that I’m the saver and my husband is the spender. He recently bought a new “toy” for himself that was pretty expensive and didn’t talk it over with me first. We normally talk about it if one of us is going to spend over about maybe $200. Would you consider it unreasonable if your wife expected you to talk to her first about buying gear/gadgets/toys for yourself?

greg1thumbnail.jpgGRAY: Like the dieter who longs for a cheeseburger while they spoon another bite of grapefruit from its rind, everyone ought to indulge a little from time to time. Rewarding ourselves is what makes life fun and makes shouldering the long-term goals less burdensome. OK, with that out of the way, let me share the accompanying rules:

The Real Price: If, like a college student racking up a credit card charges, buying the toy compromises your lifestyle it’s a poor choice. The price could be not reaching a savings goal you talked about or not
having enough in next week’s grocery budget, but if the real price exceeds the actual cost then you’ve crossed the line.

Recognize Rudeness: While being indulgent in moderation is a good thing, know the difference between indulgence and being inconsiderate. You might ask yourself when your partner last got rewarded for doing everything they do. If you continually go out and get toys for yourself, you might find they’re of little solace if that’s all you end up with. Always be truthful with yourself about how you’d feel if
the tables were turned and let it be your guide.

And don’t forget those hackneyed phrases like “good things come to those who wait,” because now that you’ve bought that toy, you’ve also eliminated an excellent birthday or holiday gift for someone to surprise you with. Sometimes it’s good to sit back and eat another grapefruit. Not only is it good for you, but it makes that cheeseburger taste even better when you get there.

johnthumbnail1.jpgMAVERICK: Generally speaking, yeah, it’s unreasonable.

What men hear when women expect them to justify their hobby expenses is simple: I don’t want you to have any fun.

Most guys have hobbies and hobbies cost money. If the hobby keeps him happy and engaged and he’s not putting your family in a financial bind with his spending, does it really matter that he doles out more money on stuff and toys than you do?

When you’re talking spending money for hobbies or other pursuits, neither spouse should have to justify choices to the other — as long as those costs aren’t cutting into family bills, perks like vacations or serious stuff like retirement. Just because one spouse doesn’t do anything, or has low cost hobbies, say, watching paint dry, it should not preclude the other spouse from spending some cash in search of fun.

And remember, men’s hobbies tend to focus on things that have tangible value, so the toys and gear become assets. A $500 rifle will be a $500 rifle forever, or maybe will go up in value.

In turn, lots of guys will sell old toys to pay for new ones. For example, if your husband buys a $2,000 set of golf clubs but he sells his old ones for $1,500, he’s only really spent $500.

Sure he laid out some cash for the clubs but if he uses them for years, and it keeps him off the couch and sane, they more than pay for themselves.

Ask yourself, does his spending the money bug you or is it that he won’t be at home with you on Saturday afternoon? Also, is the satisfaction of busting your husband’s chops over the purchase worth him thinking you’re a killjoy or better yet, his mom?

If so, by all means quibble. You may be technically right but it still isn’t reasonable.

marty3thumbnail.jpgMAX: “In the old days a man who saved money was a miser; nowadays he’s a wonder.”
~  Unknown

Since your husband’s toy purchase was apparently a one-time thing, I wouldn’t overly concern myself with it. You said you and your husband normally discuss big-ticket items so chalk this toy up to an impulse buy.

My wife and I have a similar rule but I trust her to buy whatever she thinks she or the family needs/wants. If that happens to be a trunkload of clothes and shoes that cost $300, then so be it.
These spur-of-the-moment purchases are only problematic if they are causing pressure on your family’s financial situation. That could lead to erosion of trust and bigger problems.

If that is what is happening here, i.e. the recent toy is just the latest in a long line of impulse buys in which your husband has bypassed you, then I agree it’s worth talking to him about.

To read more Inside His Head, click here.

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