3 Nov 2010

Happy News - And You Could Win Something!

Guess what?

My sister just got engaged! Eeee! Congratulations to Mel and Ben!
Ben's family and my family have been good friends since the early 80s, so this is all kinds of wonderful and weird. Funny how life sometimes works out, eh?

Internet, let's show them some love!

If you comment below with some marital advice (it doesn't have to be from the 50s!) and / or a note of congratulations for the happy couple, you will be automatically entered in a draw for a chance to win one of three vintage cookbooks from my personal 50s Housewife Experiment collection.

Isn't bribery grand?

Up for grabs are:

  1. The Good Housekeeping Casserole Book - Oven dishes easy to prepare and serve. Includes gut-turning mouthwatering pictures of Beet Pie Alamode, Sandwich Casserolette and Oyster Macaroni Casserole
  2. The Good Housekeeping Quick 'N' Easy Cook Book - Time-saver dishes for today's busy woman. Discover the secrets to making Pennsylvania Pretzel Soup, Jellied Fruit with Speedy Custard Sauce and something misleadingly called Ham Glamour
  3. *My personal favourite* The Good Housekeeping 10 P.M. Cook Book - Refreshments designed with guests in mind. Features recipes for such gastronomical mistakes as Tropical Tuna Mold, Frosted Party Sandwiches and the infamous Frank n' Bean Bake!

Please note that all of these cookbooks are small, softcover, about 68 pages in length, were printed in 1958, are in horrible shape (some tears and stains, loose binding, taped covers) and have no real value. *Wow, what amazing prizes.*

Even if I personally know you (and I probably do thanks to the fact that almost all my readers are related to me and read this blog out of obligation and / or pity) you're still eligible for the draw! If you want to be included, please include some way I can contact / identify you in your post (like linking your name to your website, typing in your e-mail address in the post, signing in to Blogger, or identifying yourself e.g."this is your father, you dorky daughter of mine").

Three winners will be randomly drawn on Thursday, November 11th at 6pm EST. The cookbooks will be randomly awarded to the winners (but feel free to state your preference of which one you'd rather get - if it's possible, I'll try to accommodate!).

Good luck - and get sharing your happy thoughts, good vibes and marital advice for my sister and her fiance!

UPDATE: The wieners have been announced!


Anonymous,  10:46 am, November 03, 2010  

What a cleaver little monkey you are! Great way to get the news out and to celebrate. We don't need another cookbook - I lived through the '50's!

Congratulations to the happy couple and to the happy couples' families!

this is your father, you dorky daughter of mine

psychsarah,  11:15 am, November 03, 2010  

Congrats to your sis and her fiance. How exciting! I suppose my best marital advice is to tell each other you love each other and have some kind of affectionate touch (hug, kiss, hand holding) every day. These little things can keep you close when the world is rushing you around.

I'm morbidly curious to see one of these cookbooks. Hope I win :) (BTW my e-mail is my name @ hotmail.com-don't want to put it in full to avoid the evil spammers)

Katharine,  11:27 am, November 03, 2010  

Congratulations Mel and Ben - you look like a very happy, beautiful couple.

My advice - and it's actually something I learned from this experiment(!!!): Eat dinner together distraction-free and at the table. It's a good opportunity to spend quality time together. My husband and I started doing it and I'm really amazed at the difference it's made.

I'm at shallowhippie [at] gmail [dot] com

Anonymous,  11:38 am, November 03, 2010  

Congratulations to the happy couple! All best wishes to you both. Jen - if I win the cookbook, you have to bring it down!!

Anonymous 11:47 am, November 03, 2010  

Some advice: I would like to say pick your battles, but I have not been able to figure out what's worth fighting about myself. I'm pretty sure I am the anti-50s housewife and launch into full nag. I will say this: make sure you have the same idea of a good time. You're going to be entertaining each other for the next 40 to 60 years, so it helps if you find the same things entertaining. If you're already ascertained that you do indeed have the same idea of fun, then make sure you have some of that fun at your wedding.

lisadelray1,  1:33 pm, November 03, 2010  

My e is that name at hotmail.

My best wishes to your sister and her fiance! I married a man I knew from childhood and reconnected with too - it was meant to be!!

Would love one of the cookbooks - especially the 10pm one!

Bootzey 1:53 pm, November 03, 2010  


Remember how you feel right now. Find a way to preserve it so that you can tap into it when the other person lays on your last nerve.


Make a decision to stay together, meaning that divorce will NEVER be an option under any circumstances. That will put things into perspective. i.e. you will learn not to take someone's side in an argument that will not be there with you at night when you get home together.

A lifetime of joy and frivolity to the happy couple!

ChefJoAnna[@]gmail[.]com 2:37 pm, November 03, 2010  

Congratulations to the happy couple!

We've been married for 16 years, but we still get mistaken for newlyweds. Here's my advice on how we've stuck it out through thick & thin:

Realize that you're a TEAM and that you need to have the same playbook. When the sparkles and rainbows fade, you must remember that individually, you won't succeed. You'll be happiest if both of you are playing to "win" as a team. If you approach your life's choices, (from career/money to housework) as trying to make the best long-term decisions for BOTH of you, you'll be better off.

P. S. I wish someone had told me that if you want something done a certain way, just do it yourself. He may never fold towels 'just right', but maybe one day you'll decide that perfectly-folded towels aren't that big of a deal. (they're not!!!!)

Colleen 3:23 pm, November 03, 2010  

Congratulations! What a handsome couple.

Marital advice...hmm...

Celebrate the things your partner is and don't dwell on what they aren't.

Unknown 4:36 pm, November 03, 2010  

Congratulations to the happy couple! Wish you both the best!

Advice: Go to bed mad. Sometimes you need to sleep on the fight and then pick it up in the morning when you're not sleep deprived.

Unknown 4:55 pm, November 03, 2010  

Hello and congratulations Mel and Ben!! I've only been married one month (yesterday was a month!) so my marital advice repertoire is still under construction. But I will offer this: unless your parents are paying or you are both very well off - elope or have a small wedding.

Seriously. After 1 1/2 years of planning a sane, personal, "budget-friendly" (only a backyard BBQ is actually budget-friendly) $20,000 wedding the day came and went and I don't feel like I actually got to experience the damn thing. The most stand-out, important parts of the wedding were when I walked down the aisle and when we read our vows. After that time sped up ten fold and I think I blacked out b/c my corset dress was so flipping tight.

We're very family oriented so it seemed logical to share such a big day with them - but I feel like I didn't even see anyone.

Anyway. I'm definitely not trying to be bossy, but please reconsider the entire wedding thing. You might be surprised at how happy you'd be with an alternative (very small wedding/elopement) you might otherwise think is blasphemous.

Jen: please don't yell at me, I am not trying to get your sister to run away and not let you be a matron of honor!! If she elopes to Tuscany, like I wanted, I hope she gives you a head's up :-)


End line.

(Can you catch the uber dorky sci-fi ref right there? T.V. show, filmed in Canada, three words: what is it?)

LRitta,  5:22 pm, November 03, 2010  

A favorite proffessor of my husband and I told us this:

When she and her husband "fight" they get out a pair of foam pool noodles and whack eachother until they are in love again.

We substituted nerf swords, and it's the best advice we ever got. I don't need your beloved cookbooks...I have the my very own Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

Not Mike Turner or Bjorn 5:41 pm, November 03, 2010  

Hey that's us in the picture!! I think the best advice is to follow the advice of the people who commented below.
Also, Thanks for the well wishes folks!

Foxy Renard 7:07 pm, November 03, 2010  

Yay Mel! And Ben, who I haven't met, but am certain must be excellent to be permanently attached to such delightful company!

Best advice: be silly, be weird, be fun.

Anonymous,  7:55 pm, November 03, 2010  

advice for the soon to be married? ... okay, check this ... ignore all that 'don't go to bed until you resolve the fight and kiss and make up' ... BAD FRIKKIN ADVICE ... tired people don't think straight ... their auto-censor goes wonky and the risk of saying things that can not be unsaid rises exponentially ... if its 15 miinutes past bedtime and both sides are still dug in, one of you have to be just 0.01% bigger and say the following, out loud, and mean it ... "look, i am really opposed to every single thing you are saying and doing right now. i am not giving in one inch. but i knoiw that deep down i loive you and i even know that deep down you love me and that we both want to get past this. but it aint gonna happen tonight ... so let's let the trust we have that we will get through it tomorrow when we are both rested and in a more stable emotional situation be enough to just go to sleep." ... okay, you can use your own words .. but you get it ... DON'T FIGHT WHILE TIRED ... just reaffirm the foundation of the relationship is strong enough to endure one night of being angry ...

i learned this the hard way but since we've been doing it,we fight less and get over it quicker ... married 23 years and it gets better every year despite life's curveballs

anyway, good luck, and enjoy the fact that you are both ridiculously good looking ...

Our Life With Two Boys 8:24 pm, November 03, 2010  

umh, random... that's the last face i ever expected to see on your blog... my husband use to play in a band with Ben... in fact, we still have his white capo from a garage party a few years ago...

congrats, Ben and Mel! my advice is to leave room for your own interests... and if you think your partner is slacking on that front, push them out the door... having individual interests makes things more interesting...

you can contact me via H!, should i win...

Anonymous,  9:01 pm, November 03, 2010  

Hi Jen! I forget exactly how I came to your blog, but it was via the 50's housewife experiment. The combination of relating to your writing voice with myself in marriage ("why I am the best wife ever" is AWESOME) and the experiment itself (which does have relevancy in modern marriage!!) has me following and referring your blog to many like minded friends-and I never follow blogs.

That being said, I'd LOVE to give advice to your sister. I've been married for three years next month, and as a military wife who encounters MANY newlyweds, the best advice I give is: The first year is actually really hard; it's not all lovey dovey newleyweds, you're getting accustomed to a lot of new things-do not fret, it will be ok!! It's all in how you deal with the hurdles that counts. Best!!


Ps-I so want a cookbook, I am a chef and I LOVE vintage cookbooks

Hannah P 12:28 am, November 04, 2010  


My marital advice: Stay close to your friends, give love freely, and allow yourself to open up completely. Fights are not bad -- allowing them to be useful lets your marriage become more bound to the earth.

Best of luck!

yogahz 10:49 am, November 04, 2010  


My advice is, listen when your partner is talking. Don't be thinking about the next thing that you're going to say, give yourself over to listening to them and have an open mind about the point they're making.

Lauren 12:23 pm, November 04, 2010  

Awesome blog, but think I might have to join the ranks of unemployed-because-I-weed-myself-in-the-office if I read any more at work.

I've actually followed some of your marital advice - eating a meal together and then playing cards together (even if you don't know the rules) beats the hell out of sharing a sofa while on the internet.

I'd also say that whenever you get mad, tell the other person why. "I'm upset because you x, it's made me feel y and I'd like you to z". It makes arguments shorter and and you don't have to decode sighs and slammed doors.
Also remember that men physically can't see dust on things like skirting boards, or wet towels on the floor. Make chores nice and specific so you don't have to go back and do it properly!

Anonymous,  7:47 pm, November 04, 2010  

Found your blog through the msn 'my married life' link to the housewives experiment and I'm totally hooked! As far as marriage advice...the song "Wives and Lovers" provides a very good roadmap for any decent wife ;-)


~Another Mel

dinah34 10:44 pm, November 04, 2010  

congratulations! weeee!!!

my advice? elope. have a party afterwards.

oh wait...that's not advice about marriage...just on how to get married. :p

my marriage advice? just take everything day by day & always remember the small things. :)

dinah34 10:45 pm, November 04, 2010  

oh darnit...i forgot to say you can contact me on H if i win the precious 1950's cookbook. :)

Pinky,  11:58 am, November 05, 2010  

Dearest Jen P-B,

Although your cookbooks scare me, I am excited for your sister who I met twice. Congrats Mel and Ben!

I have been married for 586 days (according to my iPhone app). My simplest advice is just to do nice things for each other. Like, simple things... I'm not talking big flowers and gifts, but like, sometimes I get a call saying 'I'm waiting outside your office to drive you home' b/c the hub-unit KNOWS I hate the streetcar. And I will occasionally bring him home something that he mentioned in passing. Little, maybe dumb stuff but it shows we are thinking of each other and want to brighten each other's days.

Lots of great advice on here!

purplepretzel,  7:18 pm, November 05, 2010  

Congratulations to your sister and her future husband.

I'm not married yet, but my parents had a long and successful marriage. From them, I'd say the best thing to do is to always be willing to say the other person is right when they're right. Stubbornness will get you nowhere!

My e-mail is the name at yahoo dot com. Hope I win! Love your blog and am so happy to have come across it!

Nikki 3:28 am, November 06, 2010  

First off....Congratulations to your sister and her fiance! What a happy and exciting time they are in!

Now for the marital advice. Dum, dum, dum! The most important thing to do, in my opinion, is to lovingly touch each other every day. Punches, shoves, and arm fat pinches do NOT count here! Say I love you, and treat your husband like he is your boyfriend, and just try to keep that love feeling new.

There you have it....

my email is m0mmy0f3dds@yahoo.com

Suzy 3:42 am, November 06, 2010  

My advice is you can go to bed angry, better to argue when you are rested and not as likely to throw in unrelated things.

Also, make sure you tell each other you love one another as often as possible. 12 years of marriage and we still say it at least a dozen times a day.

May,  12:28 pm, November 08, 2010  


For your sister and your brother-in-law to be, I would say to try to have as much fun together as possible. People who are able to see the humor in tough situations tend to make it through them better than others. If you can make each other laugh, you'll probably get through things alright.

I said it in my other comment, but I love your blog. Thanks for the laughs and the insights.

For the contest entry, I'm mighty dot may at gmail.

hippychic 10:02 am, November 09, 2010  

Congratulations to your sister and her betrothed! The best advice I got was from my mom. She suggested that Todd and I wait at least a year before trying to have kids. Even though we'd dated for two years and already lived together for one, it was important that we really get to know each other as spouses before bringing a tiny human into the mix.

Robyn 11:22 pm, November 10, 2010  

Honestly? The whole sharing meals thing is really important to me. We tend to only have dinner together, and on weekends often eat on the couch, but being able to sit across the table from one another makes me feel like a real person.

Sitting next to each other is better than nothing, but it makes me feel like I'm in a bar. Across a table is best if you can swing it.

Melissa O. 9:37 am, November 11, 2010  

Congratulations happy couple! My advice is kind of boring, have a money conversation. My hubby and I had lots of those before getting married, and it has helped a lot. We both look at money completely differently. He's a saver (think Scrooge McDuck), and I like to enjoy thinks...but as cheaply as possible. We still have squabbles about money, but we each know where the other is coming from and go from there.

Have a blissful married life!

Just in case I win: melissaoksanen@gmail.com :)

Melissa O. 9:38 am, November 11, 2010  

Um, that was supposed to say, I enjoy things, not thinks.

Anton 1:10 pm, November 11, 2010  

Congratulations Mel and Ben - may you have a joyful future. I hope that you will have the honest, open communication that allows you to talk about everything and anything. Being able to express yourself and being able to listen to your partner are some of the most useful skills to have. That's the thing I cherish most about my marriage. We talk to each other every night about things serious or silly without reservation. It is the best part of the day.

Yay for cookbooks. I love them, and collect the often bizarre and hilarious spiral bound kind often sold as fundraiser items for schools, churches, whatever.

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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