Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marriage - February 2011 Meeting

I know, I know - every month I tell you that if you weren't at the last MOPs/MOMs meeting you missed something great; well this month is no different!  You once again missed an amazing meeting; but I will fill you in on some great take away points.

First off we were blessed to have Brian Jones the Senior Pastor from Christ Church of the Valley -Royersford, PA and his wife Lisa with us as our guest speakers.  The topic was marriage.  A great topic and 2 great speakers.  Brian and Lisa have been married forever and we considered them to be "experts" on making a marriage work and keeping the spark alive.

There are 4 things that are critical to a successful marriage and they really should be ironed out/agreed upon/discussed within the first 2 years of marriage:
1. Communication - you must fight fair, no below the belt hitting.  Wives don't tell your husbands that his golf game sucks in the middle of a fight, and husbands don't tell your wives that you really don't like her pot roast!  Stick to being a fair fighter; stay on the topic; don't drift to things that aren't relevant to the fight.
2. Money - you must have an agreement on your finances.  You can't have one person who likes to spend like there is no tomorrow and another who is as tight as Scrooge.  You have to meet in the middle and come up with an arrangement that you both can live with.
3. Household Responsibilities - you have to decide who is going to be responsible for what in the household, and it has to be a mutual agreement.  In this area also be flexible; be willing to do something that typically isn't on your "list" if need be.  It doesn't matter who does most of the household work - because as life stages change & shift; the responsibilities will also shift; the important part is that you have an honest discussion and decide together what works for you in your marriage.
4. Sex - you must have a mutually satisfying sexual relationship.  Intimacy is very important in marriage and it is important that you and your spouse are on the same page.  You have to be able to sit down together and discuss what satisfies you and what doesn't.

Here are a few tips to keep your marriage alive and full of spark; these are on-going things that you should continue throughout your marriage:
1. Date Night - if you can do it weekly; that is great; but for many monthly is the only option right now & that is good too.  The main point is to have time to reconnect with your spouse without your children present.  Take a minute to enjoy each others' company.
2. Family Vacations - take great family vacations and don't feel guilty about them.  Vacations as a family are also a time to reconnect, not just with your spouse but with your children as well.  Leave the blackberry, don't check facebook, no tweeting, not even any blogging; just enjoy the time with your family; those moments are precious.
3. Touch - it has been scientifically proven that every human needs at least 25 touches a day; so take time to hug your spouse or give them a kiss.
4. United - always have a united front with your spouse when it comes to your children.  Don't disagree with a decision your spouse has made regarding your children in front of those children.  If you don't agree - make sure you find time to sit down and discuss it; just wait until the kids are out of ear shot!
5. Traditions - create family traditions, have dinner together every night (or as many nights as possible). Pick up the Christmas tree together, make homemade hot chocolate on the 1st snowfall of the year, do something that is going to keep the family connected and together.
6. Privacy - protect your privacy and your spouse's privacy.  There are certain things that should never be shared outside of your marriage.  Also don't bad mouth your spouse to your friends, family, or facebook!

If you want to hear more from Brian come check out one of the 3 services (9, 10:15 & 11:30) on a Sunday morning at CCV !  You can also visit Brian's website and subscribe to receive email updates.

I hope you find some use for these tips.  We really enjoyed having Brian & Lisa there with us sharing their insight and wisdom.  We hope to see you in March when we will be looking at child rearing!!

On Behalf of the CCV MOPs/MOMs Steering Team;
Danielle Verwey

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Interior Design on a Budget - January 2011 Meeting

Hello Ladies!

Hope you were able to make it to the January meeting; if not have no fear I am here to fill you in on what you missed.

We had an amazing panel of interior design experts.  The tips they gave us were great and tips that even someone like me who is the anti-Martha Stewart could follow!

We started the night with a remake of the master bedroom with tips and tricks provided by Jennie Fear of Willow Bean Studio (a local interior design and all things remastered (i.e. turn that old dress into an amazing Christening outfit) company).  Jennie took your everyday average master bedroom and turned it into a room that you want to spend time in.  The room originally had basically one color and it wasn't even a fun color - it was tan....blah right? Well that is where Jennie comes onto the scene to give the room some life.  For under $140 - Jennie changed the curtain color (this added some depth to the room and showed the high ceilings), she made a duvet cover to spruce up the bed, purchased a "designer" pillow from Target, and pulled furniture and pictures from out of storage to give the room the final personal touches that it was missing.  The master bedroom went from average to inviting, it went from blah to bam!  It was an amazing transformation and it was very a simple and cost effective fix.

Next we moved onto accent pieces and our experts were Sara Heacock and Tricia Dimitri.
Some of the tips that Tricia gave us included:
 - making your own picture mats using poster board.  You cut the poster board down to the size you need and then you use double sided tape to mount your picture and then put it in the frame.  You can even use a frame that you find at a thrift store or yard sale - just spray paint it to match your home decor.
- you can mount your pictures on foam board.  The board can be purchased from Michael's or AC Moore for around $3 and then you use an Excto knife to cut the board into sizes that you want.  Once you have the board cut into the size you want, you can then spray paint the board to match your decor - in her case Tricia did black; once the paint is dry print your pictures out, use a paper cutter to trim them down to the exact size you want, and then mount them to the board using an all purpose spray adhesive.  You can then hang the pictures on your wall using the Velcro that doesn't damage walls, this way you can hang your pictures and not have to worry about fixing nail holes in the future.
- you can pick up some tiles from Lowes or Home Depot and make those into "designer" coasters.  You take a regular paper napkin (if you want to get really fancy - find one that has your initial on it); cut it down to fit the tile, then you take some mod podge and cover napkin & the tile.  Now the mod podge comes out white but it dries clear, so don't be alarmed.  To finish off your coasters all you need is either the small felt circles or some felt material - use a hot glue gun if you buy the felt material, or if you use the small felt circles they come with an adhesive backing.  Mount the felt on the bottom of the tile so that you don't scratch your tables.

Some tips provided by Sara Heacock:
- you can find a cheap lamp at the thrift store or goodwill, all it takes to spruce it up is some spray paint and a new lamp shade, and some ribbon.  You spray paint the lamp to match the room you are going to use it in, then you take your lamp shade and using a hole punch - punch holes all around the top of the lampshade as well the bottom in the lampshade.  You can then take a ribbon (if in a little boy's room blue, or whatever color you choose) and then you lace the ribbon through the holes and tie it in a bow once you are complete.  You now have a new lamp for very little cost, and if you have a boy and then have a girl, all you have to do is change the ribbon and you have a whole new lamp!
- everyone loves those wrap around pictures that are on canvas - but no one really wants to spend the money to get them.  So the solution is to go to the arts & crafts store (Michael's, AC Moore, etc.) pick up a canvas (like the kind an artist would paint on).  Also pick up some fabric paper (now this can be a little expensive, its approx $16 for the package).  Print your picture out on the fabric paper; peel off and then put on the canvas - use an all purpose adhesive to seal the picture.  Now you have your own canvas photo!
- what about cake stands?  Do you ever entertain and think man I don't have enough cake stands, or I wish I had something to display these cupcakes on?  Well thanks to Sara - now you have a simple and cost effective way to solve that problem.  If you go to the goodwill or thrift store you can pick up candle stick holders for under a dollar, then you can also find a saucer or small plate.  If the design or color of the plate doesn't match you can always spray paint it; once the plate is dry (oh you can also paint the candle stick holder too if needed); use some glass adhesive (E6000) and stick the plate on the top of the candle stick holder.  Voila - you have a new cake stand!  

If you want to see some pictures of all of the wonderful pieces come and check out our pictures on Facebook!

Here are some blogs that inspire Tricia:

Well ladies if you missed this meeting, you did miss some great tips and some great fun; but don't feel dismayed - we meet again next month and cover another amazing topic - love & marriage!  Our guests next month are Brian and Lisa Jones.  Hope to see you there!!!

On Behalf of the CCV MOPs/MOMs Steering Team,
Danielle Verwey

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chritmas Party - December 2010

Well who can believe that its the time of year where we start exchanging gifts, and making cookies, and taking Christmas card did the year fly by so fast?

Our meeting this month was a time to celebrate, have fun, but also give back.  We took the opportunity to make cards for the military.  The cards we made will go to the families of military personnel and they will be able to write their own messages inside and then mail them to family.  We provided the cards, the envelopes, even the stamps, and in the process I think we all remembered what we already knew, but often times forget - the holiday season is about more than the craziness of the commercialized holiday.  It was nice to know that we were helping families with loved ones in the military, giving them a small little piece of their family.

In addition to taking time to make the cards, we also enjoyed some great food, music and gift exchanges.  There are lots of pictures from the night over on our facebook page - please feel free to check it out!

We hope to see you at the next meeting on January 19th; when the topic is Decorating on a Budget!  We are going to have a panel of experts who will give you some tips and ideas of things you can do at home on your own that won't break the bank!

Have a Blessed Holiday Season!!

We will see you in the New Year!!

Danielle Verwey
on behlf of the MOPs/MOMs Steering Team

Shopping on a Budget - November 2010

Ladies, ladies, ladies..... if you weren't able to make it to our October meeting, you missed a great meeting!!  We were privileged to have Diane Ma aka The Coupon Lady join us and provide some very useful information!

There were so many great tips.  Diane gave tips on everything from where to shop, to how to stack coupons (I didn't even know such a thing existed!).  A good way to get started is to look at some of the online sites and blogs that blog all about coupons.  The websites, often tell you who has what on sale, and where to find the coupon to use in order to get the best price.

Here are some highlights from the meeting:
- if you do not currently get the newspaper, check with your neighbors and see if they are willing to give you the coupon section.
- you have to think small to get the bigger and better deals. Buying in bulk is not always the best way to go.   For example if you have a coupon for a $1 off, and you purchase a trial size (if they don't have the size you really want, or the kind you really want), and since most trial sizes do not cost more than $2, you get it for a dollar or sometimes almost completely free.
- if you bring your own bags to Target you get 5 cents off of your order.
- Target will price match, if you can show them the item at another store at a cheaper price.
- if the store has a coupon kiosk make sure to scan your shopper card to receive your personalized coupons.
- if you have the Wegman's coupons (the ones they mail to your house), and they are getting ready to expire (its the end of the week) - they will allow you to use the coupons even if you are not purchasing the item that the coupon is for.  For example the coupons expire on Saturdays, you go in Saturday afternoon and you have a coupon for a $1 off a health & beauty item, but you don't buy any health & beauty items - normally you would just toss the coupon into the recycling when you got home; now you don't have to; give the coupon to the cashier and they will still take $1 off off your order!  Now all of those coupons can be used.
- Wegman's also gives 2 free item coupons each week as long as you spend more than $10, normally if its not something we use, I would just toss the coupon, however you can take those free items and store them in your pantry and then make a donation to a local food bank!
- Bed, Bath & Beyond will accept expired coupons.
- Bye, Bye Baby will accept Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons.
- use the coupon blogger websites, they have done most of the work for you!  They often will tell you which stores are offering the best deals, and even where to find the coupon sometimes.

Check-out Tips:
There are a lot of cashiers that do not like deal with coupons, or multiple orders. Here are some tips for checking out without much hassle.
- look for someone who is smiling, generally they are already in a good mood and won't mind.
- weekend or evening shopping look for a young male (teenager/college age); most times they don't care, they just ring up your items and move along, no hassle.

Couponing Websites:
Here are some of couponing websites and blogs that are worth checking out
- - has great posts one of Diane's favorites
- - has a great post for Giant each week
- - has good Acme post each week
- - printable coupons
- - printable coupons

There are many more blogs and websites out there.  Diane Ma will be leading a small group that goes over the fine art of saving.  If you would like more info please contact Alyssa Dourte - Director of Group Life at Christ Church of the Valley.

Have a blessed day!!

Danielle Verwey
on behalf of the MOPs/MOMs Steering Team

Friday, October 22, 2010

Women's Health - October 2010 Meeting

Hi Ladies!!!

I hope you were able to join us for our October meeting, if you were unable to make it, here is a brief recap.

We were blessed to have Ruth Sill a wonderful OB/GYN nurse who has over 35+ years of experience.  Ruth was able to share some of her experiences as a nurse as well as a case manager, and also give us some good everyday tips and things to remember as moms and as women.

A key thing we need to remember as moms is that we have to take time to take care of ourselves.  We remember to get our kids regular checkups, and their shots/vaccinations; but how often do we neglect ourselves because there just isn't enough time.  If we fall ill, we will not be able to care for our children or our spouses, so its very important that we remember to make time for ourselves.

In addition to our physical health, it is also important to take time for our mental health.  There is no shame or guilt in needing to talk to professional about our mental health.  As Ruth pointed out, if we were having stomach pains we would go to see a physician, why is it that when we are experiencing mental pain, such as sadness, unexplained anger, mood swings, we ignore those.  Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

As mothers we also tend to neglect our exercise and diet, we are often too busy caring for our children. We may grab a quick unhealthy snack, or skip our workouts just because our children have taken over most aspects of our day.  We have to teach our children to have a healthy body image, good nutrition and good eating habits.  What we are showing them by example, they will remember and follow when they can make their own choices.  So even if you feel as though you don't have time to workout or eat a healthy meal, think about your little ones and how they look up to you, and emulate your actions.

The final point that Ruth touched on and in my opinion the most important; was spiritual health.  Just as we are going to start taking time for our mental and physical health, we also need to start taking time for our spiritual health.  Taking a few minutes a day, to do a daily devotional, or read a brief piece of scripture from the Bible, can benefit not only you, but your family as well.  Having a solid spiritual foundation will help get you through the lows and highs that life throws at you.  You will also once again be leading your family by example.  What better example could you set, then showing your children that you have a growing and thriving relationship with our Heavenly Father.

If you have any questions or would just like to talk to someone please send me an email and I will connect you with the right people if I am unable to help you.

Our next meeting is scheduled for November 17th and the topic is Shopping on a Budget!  What a great topic to head into the holiday season!!  We will be doing a coupon exchange during this meeting, so please bring any coupons that you would like to exchange.  We will also be collecting canned goods to donate to the local food bank.

I hope to see you in November!!

Till Next Time,

Danielle Verwey on behalf of the CCV MOPs/MOMs Group

Meet the Steering Team

In case you missed the 1st meting, or you were chatting with friends and missed the introductions - we just wanted to make sure that you knew everyone on the Steering Team, and a little something special about them.

Alyssa Dourte - Coordinator

I’m the mom of 2 boys, Jacob who is 6 and Lukas who is 2.  I’ve been married to Ben for 13 years.  I am the Director of Group Life at CCV and got involved with MOPS and MOMS because of how passionate I am about connecting moms for the purpose of growing friendships and relationships with God. I love the support system and camaraderie the MOPS and MOMS groups provide.

Danielle Verwey - PR

I am the mom of 3 boys, Paul (15), Dylan (6), and Gabriel (2).  I have been with my husband Paul for the last 17 years and its been a fun filled ride!  I currently work full but have the luxury of working from my home office.  We recently moved to Harleysville from Richmond, VA.  It has been a blessing to find CCV and the MOPs/MOMs group.  I wanted to be a part of the group and the steering committee because I love the connection, I love feeling connected to other moms and helping them get connected; hence why I am helping with the PR - specifically blogging.  I love to be "in the know", so this is a great role for me!  I am so excited to be able to share our upcoming events and track our fun memories.

Stay tuned for more Steering Team Updates!

Steering Team Members:
 - Alyssa Dourte
 - Dena Monastero
 - Megan Reischel
 - Kristin Rubino
 - Janine Stephans
Discussion Group Leader:
 - Deb Suessmuth
 - Rosemary Schroyer
Creative Activities:
 - Becky Baumgardner
 - Michelle Hanna
 - Danielle Verwey
 - Sarah Whitney
 - Amy Bellaire
 - Rochelle Nesspor
Mentor Moms:
 - Wilma Balent
 - Meg Reimer
 - Leanne Stolpe
 - Jennifer Thompson

Thursday, September 30, 2010

September 2010 - MOPs/MOMs Meeting Recap

In case you missed the September 2010 meeting, here is a recap of the events provided by our MOPs/MOMs Coordinator & guest blogger Alyssa Dourte!

Our first meeting was a huge success thanks to the Steering Team and everyone who attended!  We are so glad you were all there! We had nearly 40 moms attend even on a big back to school night.  An extra special thank you to Kristin and Janine for the wonderful dinner they made for us and the fun “get to know you” games and prizes.  A very special thank you to Becky and Michelle for the beautiful table set up and for introducing us to BeadforLife.  And, a special thank you to Megan for the name tag craft preparation. 

At the September meeting, we had the opportunity to share a meal, meet new friends, and get to know more about old friends.  Steering Team introductions were made and the 2010-2011 Calendar was shared with the group.  We are so excited for this year and we welcome your support and help in any area that interests you! After dinner, introductions, and games, we had the chance to personalize a name tag that goes with the MOPS theme for this year, “The Art and Science of Mothering.” Each name tag includes the number and gender of children that each mom has, which table each mom is assigned to, and the BeadforLife beads each mom chose to decorate it with. Each mom also had the opportunity to leave the meeting with a box from Operation Christmas Child to fill and bring back to the next meeting.  All 50 boxes were taken, thank you!!

If you did not turn in your MOPS or MOMS registration form and fee, please remember to give it to one of the Steering Team members next time you see them or bring it to next month’s meeting on Oct. 20th.

If you weren’t able to be with us at the September meeting, we are looking forward to having you next month, on Oct. 20th, for our Women’s Health meeting!  Bring your friends, bring your Operation Christmas Child boxes, and be ready to see what color table you will be sitting at!

Thanks again for being there last night!

Alyssa Dourte