A List Maker's Life: 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Annual Check Up

 Every year we play a little game with our family and friends.  We put our heads together in anticipation of what the new year will bring.  A new game will start tomorrow, but for today let's see how we did on
predictions for 2009. 

Katie's Predictions:
~Kevin will cry on Gavin’s first day of Kindergartendepends on who you ask...that’s a close call
~Another great grandbaby for Kevin's grandma yes, and another on the way
~Gibson will be the first of our kids to say “Mom” for his first wordfinally one of my kids said mama first!
~Michelle Obama will wear a red dress for the inaugurationbummer, she chose yellow
Brad & Angelina will add to their family again (x2)guess not
~Baby Boy Wojcik will be born on March 7 - Sweet Henry arrived on March 6
Gavin will learn how to readHe’s doin’ it!
Someone in the family will get a new jobPraise the Lord!!!
~Anne Hope will learn to ride a 2-wheelershe practiced, but went back to the comfort of training wheels
~The Lions will win 9 games in '09were we dreaming when we wrote these?
~Kevin's extended family will celebrate an engagementmaybe New Year’s Eve? Katie’s family had 3 engagements and 2 weddings to celebrate in ’09 though.

Kevin's Predictions:
~The Lions make the playoffs in '09sorry Kevy
Katie will cry when Anne Hope goes to preschooldidn’t even let Anne Hope go to preschool…
~ Gas will shoot to $5 a gallonactually went down
President Obama will walk on waterwell, yeah!
~The new great grand baby will NOT be from uscorrect-o!
~Governor Granholm will let her hair grow out, thereby getting rid of the boy look - who knew you were so opinionated about hair fashion, Kev?
The Iraqi shoe thrower will get a 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer - nope, he's in obscurity
~President Obama will heal the sick of course
Michigan State will go to the Rose Bowl - bummer for the Spartans
Anne Hope will finally learn to "go on the potty"thank goodness, 2 in cloth diapers would be really hard on our washing machine
Shine, by the Newsboys, will continue to be played as a great hit on JQ99you ask and you shall receive, now would you like to hear Big House?
~Granholm will continue to stun us with her economic decisions - true
~The Office will still be very popular, even though I totally don't get it - true

Those were our predictions. 
Here are a few more taken from the January '09 comments.

From Mom & Dad:
~The Lions will waste their draft picks on another receiver - not this time, they got a quarterback
~The Shack will be made into a movie - not yet, but I'm sure it's in the works
~MI will raise gas taxes - no, thank goodness
~The American Idol winner will be a girl - not this year, the show featured strong male contestants and came down to a man on man finale.

From the Schweris:
~The Lions will only win one game  - they've squeaked out 2 wins
~Someone will stop smoking - I hope so

From the Andersons:
~ For the first time since 2004, Pete & Amy will have a year free of car accidents - none that we heard about
~ Peyton will be walking by the end of February - think so, he walks like a champ now
~The Tigers will regroup and win The World Series - sorry Michigan
~Pete and Amy will FINALLY paint their house - and Kevin will do an amazing job helping us with the patio. :)  The garage is painted & the patio looks great!

We hope you'll check back tomorrow to weigh in with your predictions for 2010!
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas '09

Only one word describes how magnificent, joyous, and sparkly our Christmas was...

Sharing time and gifts with our families
Playing games: ColorKu, Quartile, Argh, and Ooga
Legos Galore!
Experiencing it all through the eyes of our children, it was especially fun to see Gibson enjoy the excitement of the morning for the first time.
Nights sparkling with quiet Christmas lights

Days filled with laughter and delight
It's a Wonderful Life viewing during our late night wrapping extravaganza
Fancy Nancy, Polly Pockets, and Strawberry Shortcakes
Endless sweet treats: homemade ice cream, coconut candy, heath bar bark, and frosted sugar cookies
Reading the Christmas story and other favorite holiday books
Oodles of new treasures to open and organize
Unexpected surprises: iTouch, Digital Recorder, Cupcake Package, and Pottery Barn
Slick, new snow sleds just waiting for a fresh coat of fluff on top of the slippery slush

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Friday, December 25, 2009


And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 
Luke 1:14 

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Snow

Each flake unique in its’ perfection
Lightly dusting branches and limbs
Covering imperfection
Changing our landscapes
Quiet, soft and slow

How quickly do we rush
to shovel the snow to the side,
to keep moving
to keep up the hustle and bustle

This season may we choose instead to delight in
the majesty and power
the beauty and wonder

Let it cover us with a sense
of comfort
of quiet
of home for the holidays

Happy Winter!
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Prince of Peace

You  are the one that we praise
You are the one we adore
You bring the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for
Oh, our hearts always hunger for

For God sent his son into the world not to judge,
but to save the world through him.
John 3:17

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

O Come Let Us Adore Him

Gavin carefully rearranged our nativity today. 
He insists this is the way it really should be.
And really, he's right.

Christmas Tour of Our Home

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Here's a mini visual tour of our Merry Christmas house highlights. Our Christmas displays are a bit non-traditional as I am not a big red and green fan, and those colors don't blend in very nicely with our periwinkle walls.

My favorite Christmas box to pull out and set up is the nativity. I love the Willow Tree collection and look forward to seeing each piece as I unwrap it. As you can see, the angels within the kid's reach are a bit haphazard as they get rearranged daily.

This is our massive concolor fir tree, courtesy of Hope College. It is seriously taking up a quarter of the floor space in our little living room. We don't have near enough ornaments to adorn the branches, but it is perfectly fine with me to just have its' lovely fresh scent in our home with or without added decor.

I love having my night light tree in our bedroom during December, it's the one holiday accent I miss the most come January 1.

We do have a wee bit o' red in our front entry way. The kids put their special messages in the Santa pillow for Mipsy to deliver when she heads off to the North Pole.

This special Santa was made of paper mache, by my Gram, and given to Kevin on our first Christmas together.

Our colorful, pencil tree stands in the back porch. It holds all of our favorite childhood ornaments, as well as the kids' treasures. Much to Gavin's disappointment you will notice it is topped with a candy cane bow. He has told me time and time again that a tree isn't a Christmas tree without a star. Guess I'll have to do something about that next year! The snowballs hanging in the window were a fun, but messy, project we worked on last week.

Finally, here is a small display of my angel collection. I picked a few favorite pieces to put out this year. I've also put a few of my favorite ornaments (that I didn't think would be safe on the tree this year) on the angel shelf.

Here is our countdown to Christmas chains - a long standing family tradition. This year's display board is a bit silly, but I couldn't resist hanging the kid's wish lists under the colorful illustration from David Shannon's Too Many Toys.

And that's how we've decked the halls this holiday. 
Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

That's Just The Way It Is

On a typical evening between seven and eight you'll find our family hanging out together in the basement playroom.  It's usually a pretty rowdy event with balls flying, play food cooking, block building, and project making.  All the while, Kevin spins the iTunes per our requests.  Tonight, with all in attendance Gibson took a break from bouncin' his bootie to the beat of...2pac to take his first 3 steps!  Watch out world -  not only can he groove, but now he can move!

Here's a little list of some other Gibson fun facts:
~When he takes a break from his goofy grunting his favorite words are Hi, Momma, Dada, Gabby, Ope, and Bye
~His favorite activity is sitting in the dishwasher - seriously, it's the only sure fire cure for the 4 o'clock witching hour.
~His favorite food is bananas (peaches are a close second)
~His favorite toys are a plastic soup ladle and spatula
~He is sporting a new tooth, #5
~He is fascinated by the Christmas tree, but has learned to look and not touch after breaking 3 ornaments (Gavin has the record for 4 so far this year...)
~He has perfected his courtesy laugh (which is quite necessary for surviving daddy's sarcastic sense of humor).  And, his goofy courtesy laugh can inspire full on belly laughs in the rest of us!

Speaking of dancing, today we enjoyed Anne Hope's final dance class of the season where the kids performed in front of their adoring audience. It was quite hysterical to see more cameras in the room then pretty pink dancers.  You may recall Anne Hope's first dance class where she held down the floor for the entire hour.  Thankfully, she's come quite a way in her confidence and skill and was able to show off a bit today with a room full of adults watching.  Of course, Kevin and I thought she was pretty stinkin' cute!

According to Gavin, all the news of the
day has left him "feeling pretty jolly!"

So, for now that's just the way it is.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

for GIRLS Only! by Carolyn Larsen

This spunky and adorable devotional book,  For Girls Only! Devotions is written by Carolyn Larsen, speaker and author of 40 children's books.  Written for 8-12 year olds, this book addresses issues typical to tweens in its' 60 lessons.  Topics include: gossiping, accepting others, being positive, practicing patience, getting along with siblings, deciphering the truth, peer pressure, and so much more.

More than just telling young ladies what the Bible says about each of these issues the book makes connections to scripture with contemporary stories, fun quotes, self check quizes, and application to-do lists.  All of these tools are prepared to bring faith to life for young readers.  There are also illustrations on every page to add to the interest of the devotion. I'd explain the art work, done by Leah Sutherland, to be sassy and whimsical.

As a pre-teen I LOVED taking the little quizzes that were featured in my favorite magazines, in fact I also quite enjoyed creating them for my friends to take.  I can see how this element would draw young girls into the book and it's stories.  Although, at this point in my life it is a little hysterical to try to put myself in a 10 year old mindset as I read the lessons, I do believe they are engaging and age appropriate.  My favorite feature of each lesson is the application to-do list suggestions (of course)!

To give you a little glimpse of what that looks like here is a sample from the lesson titled Hero Worship.
"When Savannah was making good choices and being kind, Lauren was too.  But when Savannah treated other people poorly...Lauren's hero worship got her into trouble.  Sometimes being just like Savannah was not a good thing.  While there is a temptation to model yourself after someone you admire, that should never be taken to an extreme."

Things to Do:
Make a list of people you look up to and the qualities you admire in them.  Are there things you shouldn't worry about imitating?  Are there behaviors that would be worthwhile to imitate?

Overall, I think this book would be a nice encouragement to a tween girl who is interested in growing spiritually as she ages physically. 

However, I can't help but comment on how glad I am to not have any pre-teen-ish drama in our household yet!

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Thank you to Tyndale House for providing me a complimentary copy of this devotional.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Santa Called Me!!

My children are not fans of any characters in costume, which makes mall shopping in December even more frightening. "It's okay if we see Santa's boots from far away mom, but I don't want to go near his line."I also read an article during the HINI hysteria about the danger of flu spread during the traditional Santa visits.

Yet, our kids are at a fun age for enjoying the magic of Christmas. So, I was very excited to learn about Santa Speaking. Santa Speaking offers live phone calls from Santa to your child.

And tonight Santa called Anne Hope.

When I set up the call I was given a list of specific questions to help Santa sound authentic in his conversation. The questions included things such as: what has your child worked hard at this year, what are some of his/her favorites, what important events have happened in his/her life in the past year, what is on his/her Christmas list for this year. The person who places the order is able to update and edit any of the information provided up until the day of the call.

When Santa called, Anne Hope completely freaked out (as I should probably have predicted). She handed the phone to daddy and screamed in panic when we handed it back. Santa patiently waited out the storm as we explained that she may prefer to talk on speaker phone. She settled down and listened carefully as Santa told her he understood that she might be shy since they had never talked before. As she warmed up they chatted about what she is learning in her preschool play dates, how she is treating her brothers, and what she is hoping to find under the tree on Christmas morning. Santa also asked Anne Hope what type of treats he might be able to expect when he visits on Christmas Eve. He ended the call by encouraging her to head to bed early since we were sure to be toward the beginning of his Christmas route.

By the time the call ended she was giddy with excitement and insisted on calling all of her grands to report all of her news. Way to go Santa!

Even though we ended up hearing the entire conversation because we resorted to speakerphone, I am still excited to receive the MP3 recording of the call that Santa Speaking sends as a memento of the event. The kindness in his voice and the sweet words he said reminded me of the way I remember Santa from my childhood. This service is a hit with our family. I will be sure to add this address to my files and save our family the stress of the mall Santa visits for years to come!

You'll want to schedule your call soon as Santa's schedule fills up quickly for the week before Christmas.
However, for a chance to win a free call head over to ABC & 123 to enter our giveaway!
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Santa Speaking offered our family a free call for the purpose of reviewing their service on ABC & 123.  Since it was a fun experience for all of us I was excited to post it here on ALML too!

Gavin's Song List

Gavin is quite the little music critic, and he has just made a declaration of the Top 5 Christmas songs for this year!

#5 - The Rockin' Sleigh Ride (relient K)
#4 - Rump, Bum, Bum, Bum, Bum (That's be little drummer boy)
#3 - Most Wonderful Time
#2 - Away in the Manger
#1- And Gloria (The Grooters and Beal One)

"Those are my best Christmas songs, Mom."

"And, she's my best sister!"

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Ready to Fly

We had a great family fun night and now our traditional (see 2008) mixed up reindeer family is ready for Christmas.

Without further explanation, we now introduce the 2009 crew:

Dopey (Dad & Hope-y)
Gopey (Gavin & Hope-y)
Movin (Mom & Gavin)
Mopson (Mom & Gibson)
and Dabsin (Dad & Gavin)

The painting and printing process has gotten so much easier as the kids have gotten older.  In fact, the traditional mess actually seemed quite minimal.  More than the fact that the hands and feet have grown significantly this year, Kevin and I were amazed that Gavin was the one to write all the names for the mixed up drawing (we each use our own foot and draw to find out whose hands we will add).

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You Can Make This! Christmas Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations  Braley Mama & Stephanie! Happy Creating!
Making a handmade Christmas is easier than you may think! Throughout the last several weeks I've been checking in on the ladies of You Can Make This and their clever gift giving and decorating idea tutorials.With the holidays just around the corner, there is still plenty of time to check out their quick and easy gift ideas for friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even family memebers.

When you check out You Can Make This and learn some fun new techniques, tips, and ideas not only for the people on your list, but also creative ways to decorate your home! You Can Make This has created a free download for some fun gift tags. Each of them coordinate with ideas found as part of the DIY Gift Giving Series videos that can be found at You Can Make This Blog , as well as designs and patterns found at SWAK embroidery.

You can also enter to win hundreds of dollars in gift certificates just for watching the videos that are part of the DIY Gift Giving Series and answering a question on the You Can Make This blog! Here's a very clever Whisk You A Merry Kissmas gift idea.

My personal favorite do it yourself video was the tutorial on setting up a whimsical Christmas Eve dinner.

One of my favorite You Can Make This projects is the adorable personalized name pillows.  The ebook comes with the pattern, alphabet cut outs, and easy instructions.

WIN! You Can Make This is generously offering giveaway bundles to two readers of A List Maker's Life!

The giveaway packages each include downloadable instructions for making these adorable Kimberbell Kids 24" Dolls along with their clothes and assessories.  These are the a perfect cuddly pal for lighting up the eyes of the little ladies in your life on Christmas morning.

This giveaway is open for your entries until 10 PM EST on December 18th!  To enter please leave separate comments for as many of the options as you'd like:
~Leave a comment telling us about a homemade gifts you are putting together
~What YCMT project would you like to try?
~Follow A List Maker's Life
~Comment on one of the great posts on You Can Make This' Blog
~Tweet or FB about this giveaway
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Thanks to You Can Make This for offering me an ebook of my choice.  I will look forward to choosing one and testing out the "easy" part of the description:)

The One Year Did You Know Devotions 2 by Nancy Hill

The One Year Did You Know Devotions 2 from Tyndale House Publishers was written by former teacher Nancy Hill.  This daily devotional was specifically written for 6-10 year olds, but after reviewing it I'm sure kids of all ages will enjoy the fun facts presented in the book.  Each page holds an unusual question to capture kids' attention and help them make important connections to truths from the Bible.   There are 365 interesting answers to trivia questions such as:
~What in the world was a "Dial-a-Fish"
~How did a young person name a former planet?
~How did a frog help invent the battery?

Kevin and I have tried several different evening devotion type books to begin to introduce the kids to important lessons from the bible.  However, we've struggled to find something that is written in a length and language easy enough for the kids to attend to. Being that Gavin is a curious 5 year old we think he is going to really enjoy this new option.  The lessons are short (read in 2-4 minutes), interesting, and to the point.  This will become our dinner time devotional for 2010, yet my inquiring mind couldn't wait for January1 to start the first lesson. I actually enjoyed looking ahead and reading through all 365 questions and answers, all the while interrupting his reading by shouting, "Kevin Kevin did you know?"

I'm certain our kids are going to really get into this book and learn loads from it in the coming year!
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Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book to use in my review.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Silly Snowmen Craft Kit

Thank you Darcy, from Smart Bottom Enterprises for the fantastic holiday prize!  I was first introduced to Darcy's great kid craft kits this summer when I had the opportunity to review her product for ABC & 123.  When she recently hosted a giveaway I anxiously entered in all possible ways to win the adorable snowman kit and was lucky enough to win!!

Since I used up my off the cuff snow day projects yesterday, I was thrilled to have a craft ready to pull out and put together for this snowy, blowy day.

I love the step by step directions, with pictures, as well as the matching labels on each small materials baggie.  Darcy really thinks of everything to ensure smooth crafting.  The only thing we needed to supply for this craft was scissors and a black sharpie.

Smart Bottom Enterprises has an Etsy store with kits for all seasons and skill levels.  She will even put together kits for large groups, like children at a birthday party or school classroom.

Thanks again Darcy for the snowy day fun!

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Disappearing Sweets

We still have leftover Halloween candy hanging around our house, and now the Christmas treats are starting to roll in.  With some extra time to play we decided to turn our leftovers into a scientific experiment. 
Gavin and Anne Hope each had 2 experiements up and running. 

~left over candy
~various liquids: milk, water, vinegar
~pens & notebooks
~inquiring minds

Choose a candy
Set up an experimental design
Write a prediction for what might happen
Mix the experiment
Let is set
Write observations
Repeat & Have Fun!

In our mini experiements we found that all of the candies we chose eventually disolved.  The treats in water disolved more quickly than milk.  The vinegar didn't seem to speed the process like we had hypothsized.  Anne Hope was most fascinated by watching the liquids turn pink.

On a snow day side note: We didn't venture out to get any, but it might be fun to add snow to a bowl to see what kinds of predictions and results the kids come up with.
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