Thursday, February 14, 2008

Interview with a Mom - Karen Ehman

Today I have a special treat - an interview with author Karen Ehman. Karen has written the newest Hearts at Home logo book, titled The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized. Honestly, this is one of the best organizational books I've read because it does not advocate a one-size fits all strategy. Instead Karen helps you find the way to an organized household that best fits your family. It is a very motivating read!

I am also excited to announce that Karen has offered to give away a signed copy of her book! So, if you want to win leave a comment by Tuesday February 19 at 5 pm. If you need something to comment about, feel free to share a special Valentine memory!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
I've been married for 21 years to my college sweetheart, Todd. We have three sometimes quarrelsome but mostly charming children: Mackenzie 16- a drama queen and volleyball player; Mitchell 13- a southpaw pitcher and wanna-be guitarist; and Spencer- a wise guy, family clown who loves art and any sport.

Tell us a little bit about your new book The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized.
This book tackles both time and home management and helps you to craft your own plan to take care of the “have-tos” of life in an efficient manner so you can get around to the “want-tos” of life– spending time with God, connecting with your husband, playing with your little ones, hanging out with your teens, reaching out to that neighbor, pampering a friend or just getting around to reading the book, working on the scrapbook or some other hobby venture. It is full of doable ideas, uplifting encouragement, lighthearted laughter and practical strategies, as well as simple, family-friendly recipes.

Why do you love being a mom?I love being a mom because it is where I feel the most dependent on God. It is such an important role in the lives of my children and I want to make sure they don't end up on the Dr. Phil show someday. So, I have to lean hard on God!

What has been the most challenging part about being a mom for you?Having other people living in my home mess up my stuff! Just as soon as I get all my ducks in a row, one of them wanders by and knocks most of them down!

What advice do you have for moms in the preschool years?
I know it sounds like a broken record....but cherish each moment- even the ordinary ones. I can't believe my daughter will be a senior next year. It seems like just a year or two ago she was four. God resides in the ordinary. Drink in the moments on purpose. Someday you will not have children in your home and you'll wish terribly that you did! But also, make some alone time for yourself. It will enable you to return home and be a more relaxed mom.

How have you learned to combat "cabin fever" (defined as being confined in the home with small children during the long winter months)?Lots of library books read out loud. Lots of trips to McDonald's so they could jump in the balls while I sorted coupons, paid the bills or even read my Bible. They were happy. I got something done. Lots of play dates with other moms. We visited while the kids goofed off and occasionally, we'd save up money to go to a hotel for the weekend. We'd order pizza, eat snacks, play in the pool and crank the heat up high in our room since we weren't paying the heat bill! The kids looked so forward to a weekend like that each year. When they were sleeping, we'd take a baby monitor and go down to the lobby and have coffee and talk.

What do you like to listen to in your car (music, talk radio, nothing, etc.)?Talk radio or country music. Unless my kids are with me. Then it is TobyMac, Casting Crowns, Sara Groves or Carrie Underwood off of one of their cds. They pop them in before I can turn on the Sean Hannity show!

Share one good “mom tip” that you have learned over the years.As soon as you are pregnant with your first child, buy every pair of ice skates, roller blades and snow pants that you find at garage sales. You will use them all someday.

Do you have any parting advice for young moms?
Do not stress if you can't have a regular quiet time with God for an hour each morning. Meet Him in the everyday. Pray for your kids while you fold their laundry, read a short devotional in the bathroom, pray for others as you wash the dishes, read the Bible while you nurse the baby for a few minutes. He knows how busy you are and will meet with you all through the day.

Thanks Karen!


Mindy said...

That book sounds great! I would love to read it!

A special Valentine's Day memory...can I use this year?! Last week my wonderful husband offered to clean up the kitchen and Noah after supper while I took a nice long warm shower. After I got out of the bathroom he suprised me with my favorite massuese setting up in our living room for an hour long massage! I am 35 weeks pregnant so it was pretty much the best gift ever! It felt so good to be pampered!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Thanks for the interview Karen and Megan. I especially love the advice of buying any garage sale snowpants or roller blades, so true! You just can't have enough!

My valentine hubby IS a romantic which I LOVE about him!! This year was sweet...he bought 3 different valentine cards and had them mailed from different romantic cities...the first was Bridal Veil, OR, then Loveland, CO, today I got one from Romance, AZ. I didn't even know you could do this! Such thoughtfulness and time :-) I love you, babe!


Amber said...

A couple years ago Ryan and I were talking and both had to share what would be a meaningful and romantic thing we could do for eachother - I had to say what would be fun for me to have Ryan do and vice versa. I told Ryan how I thought it would be fun to be whisked away to a planned get away I knew nothing about. I then forgot all about it . . .

Well last valentine's day I was in school and pregnant - I came home kind of late and Ryan met me at the door. WIthout saying a word he handed me an email confirmation for a hotel up in chicago. My ever practical mind instead of relishing the moment started freaking out about school the next day and all I had to do and was trying to figure out how I was going to get excited about the night (See - us girls ask for spontanity and then are AWFUL at it). WIthout saying a word, Ryan handed me another email. He had emailed all my professors and cleared it for me to be gone and not have to worry about any of my responsibilities there. WOW -that was a gift! He had a suitcase packed and we got in the car and headed to chicago. It was such a fun surprise and a great night away!

christine said...

We're not big into 'holidays' so usually we say to one another the day prior, "I didn't do/get you anything. You're okay with that, right?" Well...this year, that all changed! Before he left for work this morning, I was invited to meet him at Lowe's at 8PM tonight to pick out window blinds. :)

Kristy said...

Thanks for the great interview!

As odd as it is, one of my favorite Valentine's Days was two years ago. We had just brought Cade home from Korea 10 days before so we ordered in Chili's. It was so special to have our long-awaited little guy there that we loved spending the time with him.

Not very romantic, eh? Actually, part of this year's Valentine gift was Ben was up for an HOUR last night with Cole (who is sick); usually I take the shift after 1 pm but he did it and let me sleep. Aahhh, the things we appreciate now have changed, han't they?

megs @ whadusay said...

Christine - that is great (even Lowes can be romantic as long as you are together)! Its funny, Kory and I are going out on a date tonight. We don't know where yet, but last night we were watching TV and saw a commercial for double steakburgers and french fries for $2.99 at Steak and Shake. At the same time, we looked at each other and said - that is where we should go! Not very romantic, but cheap! Still not sure where we will go, if waits are long we may end up at Steak and Shake!

Brooke said...

Good interview, and the book sounds neat too!

My favorite Valentine's memory was our first married Valentines Day... Andy called me at home while he was at work and told me where to find my first clue in the phone book... which took me to the flower shop, which had a clue to take me to the next place, etc... and it ended up meeting him at work to be together for the evening. It meant so much- not the gifts along the way, but the time he took to write the clues, stop at each place, etc. I was overwhelmed! So fun.

Marla H. said...

The book does sound great!
I would have to say my fav Valentine memory was last year, when we were in FL. Andy booked a hotel on the beach and we stayed there for the night (child-free)!
Marla H

Jami said...

Karen and Megan - thanks so much! I'm signed up for one of your workshops at Hearts this year Karen, so I hope to meet you!

8 years ago today, we went on our very first date to Olive Garden! It was a VERY special night...and we've continued the tradition...every year since then! :)

Jami said...

by the way, Jill - your Andy is quite the romantic. I LOVE that idea!! :)

Katie said...

What a great interview, I love reading your interviews, they are so real and make you feel like you are a good momma. I could use that book, I would love to read it too.

Valentine Memory- Jason sent flowers this year, but he is sick with a HIGH fever and he went to the florist to sign and fill out the card himself. He does send or give flowers often, so I always feel special when I get them. On the card he always writes something nice and from the heart.

Kristy said...

My honey is a romantic! He has started some very special Valentine traditions lately! He came home tonight with one pink carnation for each of his 'little girls', and a beautiful boquet for me. :) And for dinner, the last 2 years he has bought all the groceries and cooked dinner for us! We 'plan ahead' to make sure all the kids are ready for bed early (no or little nap), and as I get them to bed he is preparing the dinner. (usually grills-tonight was fillet minon...mmmmmm) Once I had the last one to bed tonight, he had the table set & candles lit! We had a wonderful meal with NO interuptions in our OWN home! Sometimes a movie follows, but not tonight. (neither of us thought we'd be able to stay awake...sad huh?)
I appreciated your interview with Karen & am anxious to read her new book! If I'm not the lucky winner, I might just have to purchace it at H@H! I'm curious...where'd you end up eating tonight?!?

megs @ whadusay said...

Well we didn't go to Steak and Shake (although it was tempting)! I had a coupon to Bennigan's so that was where we headed.

Jodie Wolfe said...

I sure could use this book to help me become better organized! :)

Jodie Wolfe said...

Oops - forgot the Valentine's memory. A favorite for me was when our church did a Valentine's Sweetheart dinner. I don't think we had so much fun and laughed as much with other couples, then we did that night.

michelle said...

I just found out about this book from the Urban Homemaker, which in turn lead me to Karen's blog and finally here. This sounds like such a great book and something I could really use. I am in the process of trying to declutter our home right now, but it is kind of hit and miss.

A special Valentine memory I have was from the year that my husband had to be gone on a long business trip overseas, which extended through Valentine's Day. My husband's boss knew he was very busy and sent me a dozen roses in my husband's name so that my husband was "covered." I always found that amusing, as my husband and I rarely exchange any kind of gifts or flowers for Valentine's Day. It was a pleasant surprise going to the door and finding a beautiful arrangement.

michelle (at) northofthe49 (dot) com

windycindy said...

Hi, Please enter me in this drawing for this fantastic book. If anyone needs organizing help throughout their home, it is me! I have stacks of boxes, papers, and magazines everywhere. I give up because I don't know where to begin!!!!! I will make my Valentine memory short. Before I became a SAHM, I worked as a teacher's assistant with a second grade boy who was epileptic. He became epileptic after falling out a grocery cart as a toddler. Every day, N.and I would
go round and round. He would use his illness as a way to try and get
out of his schoolwork. I knew he was there to learn. The day for the class Valentine's Day party came around and I knew not to expect anything from him! N. entered the classroom and walked up to me. He handed me the most adorable card with his signature done in the best way he knew how! He passed away in his teens from a brain surgery gone wrong. I still have his card. Thanks,Cindi

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to get this book! Thanks for the interview! I love the tip about meeting with God during the day while doing the mundane everyday things.

My Valentines memory - I actually don't really like V-Day... call me a cynic but it's too much "demanded" romance. But I do have one special memory. We were in Cancun over V-Day a few years ago (before kids) and had a candlelight dinner in a beach restaurant, which was a big tiki hut. So romantic to listen to the waves rolling in while we ate dinner together.

Sharing the Blessings said...

Looks like a great book!

I don't have any extra-ordinary V-day stories as my husband is not much of a romantic, although he always sends me flowers at work, which is nice to know he was thinking of me. But this year Mark and Jill Savage hosted their ABC's of Marriage on the 15th and 16th in our town and he agreed to go with me, which is a big step for him. So it was a wonderful Valentine's gift for both of us this year to spend time alone together to reconnect and refresh our relationship with some new tips.

Tami said...

wow looks like I'm just making it in the nick of time! :) i just spent my entire day cleaning my room and thinking, how can i never seem to stay on top of being organized?! it looks like a great book...on that should probably be in my library...then again, that may make fore more clutter. :)
valentine's memory? the year my dad brought home roses for my mom and flowers for us girls...that was in japan. i think i was about 5 years old. i still remember it. :)