Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

We hope you and yours have a safe and fun celebration! 

Our family is ringing out the old year with some sports play, music, a bonfire, fireworks, and a menu of black eyed pea chowder and honey corn bread muffins with a treat of cracker toffee candy

Following our decades old tradition, we will be praying out 2014 and praying in the New Year as a family. As a young couple looking to set traditions, Clint and I couldn't think of a better way than to welcome our Lord and Savior into our midst as we ended one year and entered a new one. We wanted to give Him utmost importance and place Him at the head of our celebration. Our older children said our New Year's tradition has helped them see what Clint and I valued the most and has cemented in their hearts that we, as Christians, are to look to the Lord first at all times in all things. 

Psalm 98:1 Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Egg Incubation Power Outage Notes

I just candled the chicken eggs which went through a nine hour power outage on day seven of incubation. Today is day thirteen and the first chance I have had to look at them. I have close to the same percentage as normal (80%) so it does not appear the eggs were affected. I allowed the eggs to rest (no turning) as the incubator temperature level normalized. This was more due to the extra work the outage caused. After the first 24 hours, I rotated as normal. In the past with power outages, we have lost eggs, so I was very pleased to see the "dancing dark blobs!"

If you have a loss of power, give the eggs a chance. A quail breeder acquaintance told me he had a power loss for three days and still had a few quail hatch. 

Ornament Selections

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This is our five youngest children's ornament selections. 
We hadn't taken Brandon and Amanda out at the time the picture was taken.
If you have been following the blog for a while, you can probably figure out who picked out which one.

Emily-shoe (we bought her the Digi lightning Vans that night)
Hannah- if can't figure that out, you haven't been paying attention!
Caleb-tool bag
Joshua-Dr. Who's Tardis

Basket of Bunnies

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They look squished, but they could have easily hopped out. 
This is how they sleep together in their house.

The day I needed to separate our first seventeen rabbits by gender was cold, windy, and damp. I asked one of the children to bring the rabbits inside our spare room to limit our time outdoors. I mark the ears with a permanent marker as M or F. We will keep all of the females of this group for breeding through to next fall.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

More Picts

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We laughed for an hour while he opened this!

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two door mini fridge for his office

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Friday, December 26, 2014

From Our Home

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We hope each of you had a wonderful celebration!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christ-a-must!

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Merry Christ-a-must!

Isaiah 9:6-7 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Air Layering Posts

For the people coming in from Backyard Beekeeping. Welcome! For ease of locating them, here are the four posts on the pear tree/air layering experiment.

Air Layering

Air Layering Fix

Air Layering Results

Pear Tree Update

My Children's Outdoor Charlie Brown Tree

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They talked about this tree for weeks before it was time to cut it down. This is an Asbell Family tradition my children started on their own years ago. It's 100% in their hands. I love seeing what they will come up with each year. I sit back, watch, and enjoy their exuberance and activity!

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Hannah inspecting the brothers' work.

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Caleb found a solution to the tree tipping over (see cinder blocks) and a way to reach the top!
Emily has grown a few inches taller in that last few months!

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at night

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Thank You, Lord, for leading Clint and I to open my womb to Your control so we can experience the great joys of young children in our mid-40's. It was so scary to take that leap of faith, but it has been such an incredible blessing that keeps giving over and over.  I am so very thankful for all You have done in our lives!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Can You Spot and Name Them All?

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Hi Family and Friends,
All seven of our children are in this picture. 
Can you spot them all and name them correctly?
A few of them are challenging, but if you look carefully, you can figure it out.
I'll post the answer tomorrow.

Recipe: Turkey Rub

I used this blend of herbs from The Amateur Gourmet to season my turkeys on Thanksgiving. I doubled it and rubbed it all over and inside the cavity. I lifted the skin and rubbed it between the skin and muscle. It was a HUGE hit, and I was asked for the recipe. I am using this recipe again for our Christmas turkeys.

Happy Birthday, Hannah!

Hannah, you are six today!!!! Thank you so much for blessing our family with your sweet face and precious smile. We love you from your cowgirl boots to your princess tiara! You are as rounded as your sisters with your tea parties to tree climbing! I am so glad we had you! I am so thankful you are a part of our family!

This year, you discovered chickens! You were intrigued when the chicks arrived in the mail. Once they were outside on the ground, you appointed yourself their guardian and friend. I love watching you talk to them and carry them around. I think they love you as much as you love them!

I love watching you when you don't know I am looking. You are always smiling. I enjoy seeing you climb the fence to love on Hot Shot, our pony. Your My Little Pony collection is currently your favorite toy. 

There is so much for you to learn, and do, and see as you grow in this big world God made our home. I hope you always look to the Lord as you take each step. No matter where you are, He will be there with you loving and protecting you.

The Bible says children are a reward. You definitely make Daddy and I feel rewarded every day. There is nothing sweeter to us than our children's hugs and you give those out liberally. Every day with you is a day of joy, joy, joy!

When we asked you what you wanted for your birthday this year, you said "a chicken!" Daddy and I put our heads together to see how we could make that work. We and a few of your siblings worked very hard on your special birthday present! We hope you like it! 

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart! Second only to Jesus' arrival in the world, you are the best Christmas present your Daddy and I ever received!

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wondering When God Will Answer? Get Moving

I am so thankful to Nancy Campbell and Above Rubies for the incredible testimony and blessing they have been in my life over the decades. Here is an example of a short lesson you will find on their website, magazine, or through Facebook.  If you subscribe to the magazine, please consider contributing to their ministry. 


I have always loved the testimony of Abraham's servant when he went to find a bride for Isaac. "I being in the way the Lord led me," he testified He didn't have dreams, visions, or lightning in the sky. He just obeyed his master, Abraham, who told him to go back to Haran and find a bride there.
Are you looking for God's guidance and for Him to show you His will? Don't sit around waiting. God steers a moving vessel. Do what is at hand. If God has blessed you with children, you are in the perfect will of God as you embrace mothering your children in your home. Be obedient. He will gently lead you according to His will as you fulfill what He has given to you now.
God led Abraham's servant as he walked along his obedient way. You can trust God to guide you also as you keep being obedient to God's truth. No guidance comes without obedience.
Love from Nancy"

If you are asking God to answer your prayers, take a step of faith in the right direction and see if doors are opened to you.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Is It Death without Dignity or Is It Humility to Submit?

Tricia died last night.

I did not know Tricia Baines personally. I did know of her through many hometown friends of mine who were related and also through mutual friends we shared. Her loved ones were frequently asking for intercession for Tricia. Because of that, I got to know her from afar over the last couple of years. I feel a loss and am sad over the death of a woman I have never met but somehow reached into my life and gave to me too.

Dignity is defined as "a sense of pride in oneself; self-respect." A sense of pride can be a good and healthy thing if it aligns with how God wants us to see ourselves. But, as Christians, our pride should never tell us we know better than the Most High.

Tricia's sister, Tammy, wrote an article which is asking to the reader look beyond the lack of dignity to see a stunning soul who was humble enough to submit to the authority of the Lord and endure. She encourages you to put on eternal lenses and take another look at a controversial subject.

"A death without dignity allows others to share God's love. It brings light into a dark world, and invites God to lean in close to those who are hurting to feel His presence. read the rest here: The Right to Life

My sincerest condolences to all of Tricia's loved ones. I am praying for you.

Our Christmas Tree

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When I was a child, I got to hang one or two ornaments on the tree and was told exactly where and how to hang them. The tree had to look "just so." There is nothing wrong with that, but I really didn't enjoy the tree decorating as a child. It wasn't a family thing as my father was rarely present for it. It was a stressful time for me, and I felt like nothing I did was good enough. 

As a mom, I wanted decorating our Christmas tree to bring us closer as a family. So, each year, I hand out the ornaments and let the children have at it. They talk to each other, laugh, and help each other. They tell stories of each ornament or look for the ones they made over the years. As a result, our tree looks nothing like a department store tree! It looks a bit crazy, but there is joy, love, and togetherness in the room! Unlike the bland perfect trees, I get warm and fuzzy inside when I gaze upon our very imperfect tree because of the memories we made together.

Take every opportunity to build your families, mamas. There are plenty of things which will tear at your family: desire for control, competing with others, a sense of entitlement, expectations that can't be met, jealousy, resentment, anger, greed, gossip, etc. It's in these seemingly insignificant moments, like decorating a Christmas tree, that big things are being built or torn apart. Merry Christ-a-must!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Free Kindle Book on Chickens

This was free on the day and time I posted it. 
Be sure to check price before downloading.

Article: 36 Things I Know After 36 Years of Marriage

This article contains a lot of great advice for spouses.
35. Learning how to make up is essential since you'll never, ever, get to a point where neither one of you screws up.
36. One of you has to go first. Apologize first. Be vulnerable first. Yield first. Forgive first. Why not let that person be you?

read the rest here


When we were gathering the wood early November, Caleb discovered he is finally heavy enough to start the mower! I asked him to see if he could use it to go to the back of the property to get something we forgot. "I don't weigh enough to start it, remember?" "Caleb, honey, you have gained weight since spring. Try it again and see if it will work." He was so happy!

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I so love this smile!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

She's Very Helpful! LOL!

I tell my children to find ways to "be helpful" to the family. Hannah (5) found a way:

"Mom, I am very helpful! I found a pot holder that was made of hair ties! Someone used all of those hair ties, a big pile of them, to make a pot holder! So, I took it apart and now we have lots of hair ties!!!"

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Low Carb Chicken Bacon Chowder

Chicken Bacon Crock Pot Chowder

Clint and I love cooking together and made this in early November. It is hearty and has a nice blend of flavors. It freezes well and makes a nice grab and heat meal for busy evenings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cooking on the Woodstove Season!

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Yes, you can cook on a regular wood stove. You can raise and lower the temperature by using cast iron trivets or even by turning another cast iron pot over and cooking on that. These are the trivets I have for this purpose.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Video: 10 Life Hacks You Need To Know For Christmas!

I'll be trying the wrapping paper holder!

So Blessed, So Thankful!

So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 
Psalm 63:4

Thank You Lord for being WHO and ALL You are!!
 I rejoice in YOU!
I am blessed to know YOU and am so thankful for my relationship with YOU!

Merry Christ-a-must!!

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When I was a newly married wife, I put Merry Christ-a-must as a greeting in our Christmas cards for family and friends. Many people, including my mother in law, told me they loved the sentiment and asked if I minded if they copied it. It is really neat to still have some of them using it in cards to us today!

Shared with Me

A man I came across while at an amusement park shared that he has Rheumatoid Arthritis. He excitedly shared that he hasn't had any flare ups since using frankincense and boswellia. He said this worked for him after traditional medicine did not work to stop the painful flare ups.  He listed several drug names and therapies he tried, but I can't recall them. He confided that he was afraid of herbal medicine and researched the two herbs off and on for a year before he tried them in desperation. I wanted to pass the info along in case it was of use to others. He was approximately 75 years old and looked fit as a fiddle. He was a lively and entertaining man. I never would have guessed he had RA! His happy wife could not stop talking about how big the difference was. Since members of my extended family have RA, I am mentally filing this away for "just in case." If you have tried these herbs consistently for three months or longer, please write me (see top of page or side bar) and let me know how they worked for you.

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Time Out with Mom and Dad

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Bethany mesmerized by a colorful Christmas tree

Several times a year, Clint and I take each of our children out to spend one on one time with them. We try to do this once a month, but delays happen due to our schedules. We take them to a restaurant and then do some shopping. This is a time where we focus solely on that child and listen to their hearts. We give positive feedback on their strong areas and give encouragement on their weak areas. We ask them how we as parents are doing and ask for areas we can improve. We usually buy them something they need as well as a small "want." We have done this since Joshua was born and still include our adult children. Our children gave these dates a name: "My Time Out with Mom and Dad." 

This month, we took our children to the Christmas Mouse, a year round, beautifully decorated Christmas themed store. For fun, we led each of them blindfolded into the shop! Well, first, we had them remove the blindfolds to see the Wendy's Drive Thru next door! LOL! Then, we covered their eyes again and led them into the store, and put them in front of a tree. As we led them in, we told them stories about how I use to lead the blind. As they looked around the shop, we told them stories about Midge, their grandmother, who loved the store. We then let them pick out one ornament that would remind them of their night out with us every time they saw it. It was so much fun for Clint and I to watch them go through the large store, upstairs and down, to find just the right ornament. Our children have thanked us over and over for doing this for them.

No matter how good you think you are as a leader the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better - because your job is to try to help everybody else get better. Dr. Jim Kim

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Real Power

God resists the proud, but favors the humble. There is so much power in admitting our weaknesses and helplessness before the Lord and crying out for His help. "Be weak and My power will help you." It's contrary to how we think, but it's God's way. There are so many areas of life to which this applies. 

It is such a simple weak and rely on the Lord's might. Yet, we strive so hard against it because of our pride...we WANT to be bigger than we really are. Self-righteous pride puffs us up. 

"No man can put on the robes of Christ’s righteousness till he has taken off his own." Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A German Shepherd and a Panther

author unknown
A German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. 

The old German Shepherd thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in big trouble now!" 

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. 

Just as the panther is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder if there are any more around here?" 

Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. 

"Whew!" says the panther, "That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes. The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther.
The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!" 

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?" But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says... "Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"
Moral of this story... Don't mess with the old dogs. Age (wisdom) and skill will always overcome youth and treachery!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Article: Want to Run with the In Crowd?

How to Get Over Clicks and Get Real Community

"Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
"Everyone is on the outside of something.
But that is only half the story.
We are all on the inside of something often without even realizing it."
Read the rest here. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Congratulations Diana!

Congratulations to Diana of Whining Puker on the newest addition to your family! We received an early sneak peak of her beautiful blessing, but you will have to visit her page to see pictures and to read the exciting way her baby arrived! She also wanted to share what worked for her in controlling her Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

She Makes Us Laugh!

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Emily Joy
aka Hannah's beloved Yiddee

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Condolences to Fred's Family

Fred Washington

Our condolences to Fred's family. We are so very sorry. Fred was a kind man who befriended Brandon when Brandon started his first job. The two became good friends. I can remember many times Brandon shared with me a conversation he had with Fred. We appreciated Fred's genuine interest and encouragement to our son. We are very thankful for Fred contributing to our son's life with praise and encouragement to achieve. 

Our hearts go out to all of his family and friends, but especially to his wife, Angel, and his brother, George. May God comfort, sustain, and pour out blessings upon you. 

Another New to Me

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Quail eggs are very pretty.
They can have greenish or bluish hues to them also.

This year has been full of adventures and new experiences. Life has been exciting and very fulfilling in many different areas! In early November, I had another first for me: I hatched out quail from my own quail's eggs! 

I had raised quail from chicks before but had to give them up due to a rough pregnancy before I got any eggs. My first several attempts were a fail due to young birds and infertile eggs. Then, ONE hatched a few days early ...and it fell into the water pan and drowned! Argh! I was discouraged! 

Finally, one morning, 
I opened the door to check the humidity and shut it quickly to keep the temperature from dropping. Wait a minute! What?!! Did I see?! I opened the door again! PTL-Success! I had four quail hatched and more pipping!

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Texas A&M Quail
These are very gentle birds that are easy to work with and grow a few ounces larger than the Georgia Giant.

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Georgia Giant Quail
egg, chicks, quarter for size comparison

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Texas A&M
quail a few weeks old in foreground

Numbers 11:32 And the people stood up all that day, and all [that] night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread [them] all abroad for themselves round about the camp.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Article: Pregnant After a Brutal Rape and Encouraged to Abort, Here’s How My Husband and I Responded

This is an incredible story of something beautiful from something horrible. Her husband's answer was perfect.

Pregnant After a Brutal Rape and Encouraged to Abort, Here’s How My Husband and I Responded

Same Work, Same People, Big Changes

pictures were taken late Oct
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That's my biggest job...watching out for everyone's safety.
Clint counts on me to stay between him and the children.
If he sees me clear, he knows they are too and can focus on what he's doing.

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I toss the logs to where the children can get them, put smaller pieces in a pile for easier pick up later, pull out limbs Clint's cut to get them out from under his feet, watch for poison ivy (that vile weed!!), keep the process moving, watch for safety with the mowers, try to capture a few pictures, keep pets clear of the work area, and keep an eye on energy levels and attitudes. Hunger and fatigue will make a person grumpy, and grumpy people aren't fun to work around! If it isn't fun for all, it isn't fun at all!

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They were so happy to be able to contribute this year. 
They were a big help!

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Caleb coming back from a chainsaw refuel.
I think he jumps at the chance to do this just so he can talk to his Dad for a few minutes.
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rolling logs I've thrown into the clearing to the area where Joshua and Amanda will pick them up

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While I rested, I tried to get a picture of all of them in a row.
I did not succeed. This was the only picture I could get with all of the four "rollers" in it.

Gathering our own wood allows us to go on an extra trip each year. However, working hard like this as a family has bonded us closer than any of those trips.

After a long, hard day like this, I try to reward everyone with a nice meal and dessert followed by a quiet activity. It is very satisfying watching the wood pile grow knowing WE, TEAM ASBELL, accomplished that together.

Proverbs 14:32 In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

I Thessalonians 4:11-12 And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

Monday, December 08, 2014

InStyler Hair Tools

We have tested and reviewed dozens of products over the years when vendors, companies, and inventors have offered to give us their product for free in exchange for an honest review. Sometimes we have been disappointed when the packages would arrive and the freebie turned out to be much less than how it was promoted or did not performed as stated. This is not the case with Instyler tools. They promised nice freebies in exchange for a review and wow, did they deliver! I have posted the reviews on the required website as agreed but wanted to share here in our blog too. Everyone who tested it has long hair and uses hair tools frequently. We were all thrilled with the experience!

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We received over $200 in products to sample and share with our family and friends. We received the Instyler TULIP Auto Curler, Ionic Styler Pro, Max 2 Way Rotating Iron.

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One of our guests, my daughter Amanda, is a licensed cosmetologist and said the tools were of great quality and performed as they should. For making us ladies over, we gifted her with the tools.

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Instyler TULIP Auto Curler in action
It was very easy to use! It curled the hair very quickly!
Due to experiences with other curling irons, we were concerned with hair getting stuck in the tool. We did not experience this with the TULIP.

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The curler took very straight hair and made a beautiful cascade of curls!

InStyler was a brand we had never heard of before, but we will be keeping an eye out for their products after this positive experience. All of the tools performed as promised and we were very pleased! Thank you, InStyler, for giving us and our friends a great excuse to get together and have some fun!

If you are on the fence about gifting someone with an InStyler tool, we hope this convinces you to go ahead and give them a try. We were very pleased with our experience!