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Committed: The Ties that Bond

with Angella Dykstra

I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.

Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.

Kids and Censorship: How Much is Too Much?

Categories: Uncategorized, children

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I have three kids, aged eleven, nine, and seven. My poor oldest child is the guinea pig when it comes to parenting (as were both his Dad and I). He’s the one who is on the front lines of growing up and we are charged with making sure everything he is exposed to is age-appropriate.

The flip-side of that coin is that he has two younger siblings who live in the same house that he does. He’s old enough to watch/play some things that they are not and how do we balance it? We balance it like it happens in every family (Or, most of them) since the beginning of time. The rules are rigid for the first born, they become a little less strict for the second-born, and the third child has free reign to everything.(We’re not that free with our second and third kids, but it’s definitely a little bit looser.)
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The Benefits Of A Chore Chart

Categories: Uncategorized, children, family, finances

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My middle child — a son — is turning nine years old this weekend. Nine! Years! Old! It’s pretty crazy and awesome and a little bit unbelievable. With him turning nine, it means that in two months, his younger sister will turn seven (!) and two months after that his older brother will turn eleven (!!).

We’ve always encouraged/coerced our kids into helping out around the house. They set the table, they clean up their dishes after breakfast/lunch/dinner, and they help me put away their clean clothes. They have a number of other responsibilities as well and being kids means that they can sometimes “forget” what they need to do and so my husband and I sat down this past spring and made up a chore chart.


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5 tips for communicating without conflict

Categories: Uncategorized, communication, marriage

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My husband and I have a lot in common, which is how we ended up being married (Thirteen years this May!). We also have a lot of differences. He is in introvert and I am am introverted extrovert. We have similar, and also different, love languages.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years about communicating without conflict.


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Truth: Marriage takes work

Categories: Uncategorized, communication, marriage

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I love awards shows — I have ever since I was a kid — and the two of my three kids who (look like me, and) are wired like me love them too. The three of us sat on the couch with a huge bowl of popcorn and watched the Oscars this past Sunday night. I won’t get into the fact how I think they had the worst host ever or how it seemed to drag on and on and on with irrelevant content (See: All the Dreamgirls stuff), but there were some good moments. Most of them on Twitter, but that’s for another post.

There seems to be some uproar over Ben Affleck’s statement when thanking his wife Jennifer Garner.


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5 ways to survive the holidays with your in-laws

Categories: Uncategorized, family, holidays

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We’re in the midst of Thanksgiving weekend and Christmas is mere weeks (weeks!) away. There is also Hannukah and other holidays that my family does not participate in, but which we respect your family’s right to. With all of these holidays crammed into such a short amount of time (weeks!), it means that you’re going to be spending at least one dinner with extended family. You might even be trekking for many miles with cranky children, only to have horrible sleeps on spring-loaded hide-a-bed mattresses, and then trying to smile nicely when your husband’s mother asks you if you’re taking a break from working out, because your face seems a bit ‘puffy.’

Never fear! I have five tips to help you survive the holidays with your in-laws, be they the woman who birthed your husband, or creepy/drunk Uncle Ted.


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How to stop fighting about money

Categories: Uncategorized, finances

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Money has been one thing that hasn’t been a stress in our relationship until recently. We both have jobs and we’re both pretty frugal, but we have felt the crunch in the current economy. There have been some moments where it … hasn’t been pretty. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when talking about money:


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Who are your marriage ‘mentors’?

Categories: Uncategorized, communication, marriage

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Many of my friends have great marriages and they attribute it to their parents. Said parents have been married for decades, have modeled great marriages, and have supported their kids in their own marriages.

My Dad has been married five times (I have eight siblings from the first three marriages) and my Mom has been married three times. That’s six divorces between them, if you’re counting.


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Did you have a ‘friendly’ divorce?

Categories: Uncategorized, divorce, family, marriage

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While I have never been divorced, I am a child with divorced parents. They have each been divorced a couple of times over, and I wouldn’t call their splits ‘friendly’. Well, except for my Dad’s divorce from his third wife, who I call Mom (It’s complicated). It was a rocky split at the beginning, but they have worked out a pretty good system for parenting their four kids. They are in no way BFF’s, nor do they hang out, but they don’t harbor anger and vent it in front of the kids.


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Who is the better parent?

Categories: Uncategorized, family, marriage

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The Internet has been aflame this week with incendiary posts. Time magazine’s cover photo got Twitter/Facebook/blogs all aflutter with their takes on if women were “Mom enough.” Yesterday’s post over at Babble about ‘Top 10 Things Mothers Do Better Than Fathers’ got all of the Dads’ panties (Do Dads wear panties?) in a knot.

It’s 2012, people. Two thousand and twelve, twenty-twelve, however you pronounce it.

There are people who are stuck in stereotypes from fifty years ago, and God bless them. I hope they are happy.


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Who instigated your first kiss?

Categories: Uncategorized, dating, love

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This past Sunday I watched my husband, in character as a street cleaner in Jerusalem, talking about Passover in a monologue/skit that he dreamed up and performed. He gets up in front of over 400 people every Sunday to do an object lesson (Sometimes it’s Coca-Cola and Mentos, sometimes there’s fire involved, you get the idea)(He surprises everyone every week). I feel like he surprises me the most every week, because he never tells me what tricks he has up his sleeve ahead of me watching with everyone else. I’ve been married to him for almost twelve years and the young punk I married would not be standing up there, so comfortable in his skin and his role and doing the crazy things he does.


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