Works For Me: Medicine Spoons

The regular hostess of WFMW, Kristen from We Are THAT Family, is (as we speak!) en route to Kenya with Compassion International. Don’t miss her trip updates at her blog–I know she’s about to experience some powerful things.

This week and next, I’ll be temporarily hosting Works-For-Me Wednesday–let’s see if I remember how to drive this bus!

My tip is a quick one. Not too long ago, I was scrounging around for a measuring spoon. In this house, the measuring spoons all mysteriously migrate to the bathtub or the sandbox, so I couldn’t find one. Instead, I grabbed one of these dealies out of the drawer:

Thanks to the revolving door of ear infections in this family, we have just a few (dozen) of these spoons. You know what? It turns out they measure spices/oil/etc much better than traditional measuring spoons, because the overflow doesn’t come spilling over the sides, as in a spoon.

(In fact, the last time my mother-in-law was in town, she saw me doing this in my kitchen and said, “You should post that on the Wednesday thing on your blog.” So hi, Gego–this one’s for you!)

Have a WFMW tip you’d like to share? Please enter your link below (if you’re a newbie, you can read the WFMW guidelines here). Please note that this list will be closed to new links after a few days, to ward off spammers.

All About the Book (Links Fixed Now–Sorry!)

SO. The book is here. (Stay tuned to the end for a chance to win a free copy.)

Bookimage If you’re new here, here’s the scoop: In early July I contracted with Wiley to write TypePad For Dummies. I have years of experience with TypePad (and, come to think of it, years of experience being a dummy), so it was a great fit. The absolute icing on the cake was getting to co-author the book with my dear friend (and mucho accomplished technical writer) Melanie.

Fast forward roughly seven months (and more nights of carryout than any family could possibly be expected to endure), and Melanie and I are standing in my kitchen, jaws on the floor, a real-live book with our real-live names in our real-live hands. It was a big day.

During the process, we didn’t blog many particulars about the book (mostly because we were so tied up in the crazy demands of meeting deadlines). If particulars are the type of thing that float your boat, here (finally!) is a more detailed run-down of what you can expect to find in TypePad For Dummies:

  • For true beginners, our first chapter explains some basic blogging concepts and technologies (including RSS feeds, SEO, and hosting), quickly getting you up to speed so you can follow along with the rest of the book.
  • An in-depth look at what TypePad is and where it came from, with a comprehensive list of features (pros and cons) that set TypePad apart from other blogging platforms. We explain the different pricing levels and tell you how you can decide which one works for you, and we walk you through the sign-up process.
  • We take you item-by-item through the TypePad dashboard (you TypePad users know that it’s changed significantly over the last few months, and we document the very latest changes at the time of publication). We explain how to manage your account and tell you where to go for help (hint: you don’t have to go far. TypePad is known for its stellar customer service, and we tell you how to get the most out of it.)
  • We tell you how to set up your blog and write a post, explaining the ins and outs of every element of your Compose Editor. We show you how to format text, insert files (video, photos, etc.), maximize your use of categories, use trackbacks, and more. We even discuss how to handle writers’ block–we’ve all been there.
  • All of Chapter 7 is devoted to the topic of comments–how to format them, how to get more, and how to not let them stress you out.
  • Two whole chapters in the book are devoted entirely to blog design,
    from the basics (how to use standard themes) to the much more advanced
    (how to tweak your own CSS for a custom look).


(Not really.)

But the book does go on to address dozens of other TypePad-related issues, including TypeLists (one of my personal favorites of all of TypePad’s features), photo albums, social media, blog monetization, importing/exporting, domain mapping, stat counters, and blog etiquette. In one of my favorite chapters of the book, we highlight ten highly-accomplished TypePad bloggers, hearing directly from them about their best blogging strategies (seriously, don’t miss that chapter!)

This is all still just a sampling. Melanie and I worked so hard to give a thorough and detailed explanation of TypePad’s service, going step-by-step, and keeping the technical jargon to a minimum. The book is chock-full of clear, step-by-step tutorials, the kind Melanie’s famous for. We’re really proud of how it turned out.

How about a giveaway? Courtesy of the kind of folks at TypePad, I’m giving away a FREE YEAR OF TYPEPAD (roughly a $145 value) and several copies of the book. To enter (I promise, it’s easy) just click over here to my giveaway blog. 

For those of you who have already ordered copies, and for the countless readers who dropped notes of encouragement during the daunting writing process, thank you for your encouragement! A very special thanks to the bloggers we featured in the book–there’s some good stuff there:

Career Hub
Eat Local Challenge
Economist’s View
Hey There’s a Dead Guy In the Living Room (how much do you love that title?)
Money Saving Mom
Raisin Toast
Smart Dog
HELLO My Name Is Heather
Build a Better Blog

To the folks at Six Apart (TypePad’s parent company) who have offered support and encouragement–our hearty thanks to you as well.

Remember: comments left at this post cannot count as a contest entry–you must visit my giveaway blog to be counted (sorry for the extra click–advertising regulations, etc etc…)!


5:07   The five-year-old climbs into my bed, wraps every one of her limbs around every one of my limbs, and kicks off all the covers.

5:08   I pull the covers back up.

5:11   She kicks them back down.

5:11   I pull them back up, and in a spirit of tenderness (or maybe it was grouchiness, I can't really remember) I suggest she stop it RIGHT NOW.

6:30   The alarm goes off–NPR, on my clock radio. Waking up to NPR basically causes me to move from nighttime sleep straight into a good nap. Probably not a good plan, now that I think of it.

6:41   I get out of bed, stepping on at least four chunks of dried plaster en route to the shower.

6:42   Shower time.

7:15   I head downstairs to find that my 12-year-old son is dressed, fed, clean, and cheerful, and he's sitting at the table reading.  I scratch my head.

7:16   I let out the dog and pour a Diet Coke (for me, not the dog).

7:25   The five-year-old sleepily wanders in. The 12-year-old immediately hops up and offers to fix breakfast for her. I walk over to him, embrace him with both arms, and I gently ask him if aliens invaded his body overnight.

7:32   In wet hair and a bathrobe, I drive my son to the bus stop, while remembering all the times I swore I'd never drive my kids to the bus stop in wet hair and a bathrobe. 

7:34   He makes me belly laugh, no small feat before 9 a.m. I love that boy.

7:40   Back home to find Hubs eating breakfast with our five-year-old daughter, the only member of this family who is chatty and energetic in the morning.  She is debating, aloud, the merits of pigtails versus ponytails.

7:45   Wake up the other boys and fix them breakfast. Think to myself that I don't know who invented Pancakes On a Stick, but I'd like to shake his hand.

7:51   Kiss Hubs goodbye.

7:56   The five-year-old shrieks in horror at a fly that is buzzing around our kitchen table, and she runs to get the water squirt bottle in self defense.

8:03   The eleven-year-old got a new haircut the night before, so I help him figure out the best way to fix it.

8:04   It evolves into a discussion about hair product and proper blow-drying technique.

8:07   It evolves further into a talk about some of the changes your body goes through during puberty.

8:08   I realize I might need some more caffeine.

8:11   The five-year-old has now coated every surface in my kitchen with water, while singing "I'm In the Lord's Army".

8:17   Attack the eight-year-old with a ferocious hug, because when his face is still sleep-puffy, he looks just like my baby, and a hug attack is the only logical response.

8:29   Out the door with the boys and a still-pajama'd girl.

8:38   Pull up to the school. "I-love-you-Be-good-Did-you-get-your-lunch-money?-Don't-forget-to-turn-in-that-yellow-permission-slip-Where's-your-coat?-I'll-see-you-after-school-May-the-Lord-bless-you-and-keep-you-may-He-make-His-face-to-shine-upon-you…."

8:39   Sit and breathe, and listen to my daughter sing a song she is making up about a fairy named Crystal Rainbow who wanted to be on American Idol but then a big fly came up and ate her.

8:40   Realize that I am profoundly blessed. Sleepy, but blessed.

Mark Your Calendars For February 27th!

One month following the 7.1 earthquake that struck Haiti, an all-star cast of musicians is gathering for Help Haiti Live, a two-city ticketed concert event taking place on February 27th, 2010 to benefit Compassion International’s Haiti disaster relief fund.

Don't live in LA or Nashville? Watch the concerts for free (streaming live) on the 27th at Help Haiti Live website. Go ahead and bring your wallet, though–at the website you'll be given a chance to donate to Compassion's work in Haiti. If you've not already done so, this will be the perfect opportunity.

One hundred percent of on-line donations through will go to Compassion International’s Haiti disaster relief fund. One hundred percent of net proceeds from ticket sales will go to the same place.

Some of the artists participating in this concert include Jars of Clay, Amy Grant, and two of my personal favorites: Dave Barnes (*squeal*), and Alison Krauss and Union Station (*double squeal*). This will be a spectacular night of music for a great cause–I'll be watching live. Join me!

Help Haiti February 27th – from Compassion International on Vimeo.


It's Valentine's Day. This afternoon Hubs and I climbed the stairs, closed our bedroom door and…

…finished scraping the popcorn off our master bathroom ceiling.

Who needs roses when you can have soggy chunks of plaster in your hair?

We're generally not impulsive remodelers–when we've tackled projects in the past, we've usually thought them through very carefully, with a budget and a plan in place. Early last week we began to wonder how hard it would be to strip our old wallpaper, which led to a wondering about how much bathtub refinishing costs, which led to a wondering about whether we could remove a doorway. Ten days later, my bathroom looks like this:


So, it would appear we're remodeling the bathroom.

I am learning many things in this little adventure, chief among them that plumbers are expensive, sledgehammers are surprisingly therapeutic, and wallpaper glue is forever. And I am reminded, with much thankfulness, that I'd rather spend an afternoon inhaling sheetrock dust with him than sitting at a candlelit table with anybody else. Come to think of it, maybe we should've written that into our wedding vows.

Happy Valentine's Day, Hubs. Thanks for the drywall and the babies and the sanity and for looking so dang good in a tool belt.

These Are the Things That Keep Me Up At Night

I am bizarrely fascinated by pronunciation.

(Let us pause to absorb the geekiness of that previous sentence. Carry on.)

Sometimes the differences are endearing.  I love to hear my dear British friend Yvonne say "garage" to rhyme with "carriage". I think it's adorable that my dad puts another "L" in "alleluia" (he says "alleluLia"). It's great fun that Hubs and I have bickered for 15 years over the right way to say "thorough" (he says "THUR-oh", I say "THUR-uh") and "roof" (his rhymes with "aloof", mine rhymes with "hoof").

But I don't always find it entertaining; sometimes I climb up on my pronunciation high horse. I visibly wince when someone pronounces "realtor" as "REAL-it-or". (Side note: This weekend I spoke to a real estate agent, of all people, who didn't say it the right way. I bit my tongue and resisted the urge to shout, "RESPECT YOURSELF, MAN!")  My Republican heart cracked a little every time Dubya said "NOOK-yuh-lur". And back in my office days I had a boss who insisted on saying "fLustrated" instead of "fRustrated", and I may or may not have made faces behind his back.

Since I am entirely inconsistent in my pronunciation moral authority, I don't feel qualified to make a stand on the following issue: the "r" in February. I've always said "FEB-yoo-ary"; in fact, I have a vague memory
of being taught in elementary school that the "r" is supposed
to remain silent. More and more, though, I seem to be encountering people who say "FEB-roo-ary". (And it's not pretty.  I think "FEB-roo-ary" sounds a little like the speaker
just had some painful dental work done, but she still has Novacaine and Valium in her system.)

This site says you should include the "r", this one says you can keep it silent. I hope those r-sayers are wrong, because I think I'm too forgetful and stubborn to make the switch.

How do you say it? Blog Poll