Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Gavin - 16 months
...flowers at the farmer's market
...when the leaves fall
...jumping in leaves
...raking the leaves
...going to school
...long sleeve shirts
...moonlight at night
Fall is after summer!
Anne Hope - 8 months
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
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September 30, 2009 10:11 PM
This time of year I find myself rearranging and reorganizing our home in an attempt to make daily life run more smoothly. It's been especially important this year as we figure out the routines of getting ready for school, working on homework, dressing for dance class, being prepared for long mornings in the car, and more. Consequently, I get pretty excited about new plastic tubs, hooks, baskets, and more.
While shopping All Children's Furniture, which is just one of many CSN stores, I was most interested in their options for enhancing storage space (although they also have TONS of toys available if I were actually ready to start thinking about Christmas shopping). Anyway...
This Three Drawer Hamper (available in natural or cherry wood) would be a helpful addition by our back entrance. I envision one drawer for each of our children. These drawers would be helpful for housing all those important things that we need to grab on the way out the door in the mornings: a green homework folder, pacifier, ballet slippers, shin guards, and more.
Gavin and Anne Hope each have wonderful bookshelves in their bedrooms. They also have a fantastic collection of storybooks, thanks in part to grandparents who certainly value reading and its' importance for life long learning. However, based on seasons , I like to feature several books at a time that all relate to a specific theme. This helpful Canvas Book Shelf would make displaying certain books neat and easy and would be a neat addition to our family room area. I like the way the canvas slings hold books upright and still allow children to get a glimpse of the covers.
Fabric Covered Storage Bins typically grab my attention. The pattern on these bins is contemporary and fun. These look like they'd be a helpful addition in the laundry room. The small one is just the right size to store the trinkets and my tip money (aka pocket change) found while laundering for our family of 5. The medium size basket would be the hold all for children's sized socks that need to be sorted into pairs, and the large basket for adult sized socks. Then I'll give the baskets to Kevin to sort while he's watching Monday night football;) Well...a mama can dream!
We've always laid out clothes for the kids the night before, however so far this year I've found it easier to set out a week's worth at a time and let Gavin and Anne Hope choose from the 5 outfits when getting ready in the morning. This Double Hanging Closet Organizer would fit better in the closet than the stacking plastic drawers we are currently using to hold a week's work of school clothes.
In search of a more formal looking bookshelf, the Badger Basket Bookshelf might be a nice option. I imagine this one in our bedroom, serving as a nightstand to hold our alarm clock, bedside lamp, and pile of half read/in process books.
WIN!! your choice of 1 of these 5 organizational items!
To be entered to win choose as many of the entry options as you would like:
~Leave a comment telling me which of the products above would be most helpful in your home or classroom
~Follow A List Maker's Life
~Subscribe to the RSS feed
~Visit All Children's Furniture and comment here about a product that catches your attention
~Add the following line to one of your blog posts, Facebook status entries, or tweets:
"A List Maker's Life is hosting a get organized giveaway! Check out All Children's Furniture for your favorite brands like Step2, KidKraft, Little Tikes and more! Giveaway ends 10/2!"
This giveaway will close at 10PM EST on October 9th.
Monday, September 28, 2009
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else. 20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26.. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ''In five years, will this matter?".
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
So many lines in this list are meaningful to me. Is there one or two in particular that stands out to you? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!
Friday, September 25, 2009
ONe PiNK FiSH said...
I would probably use it for our family dinner blessing. Or to celebrate the seasons
September 26, 2009 8:02 PM
We love to celebrate our children's special events, milestones, and accomplishments. We often honor the kids individually for demonstrating specific family values. We commemorate these demonstrations with Keys of Happiness presented at dinner time. The keys include values such as: moderation, responsibility, faith, joy, family, honesty, potentioal, compassion, dreams, generosity and more. I think it would be so neat to have a special banner to hang by our dinner table to add to the Keys of Happiness celebration. I have yet to think through exactly what the banner will look like, but I am so excited to have the opportunity to design such a banner to be printed with UPrinting's banner printing service.
These banners are worthy of presenting special photos for weddings, parties, graduations, advertisements, rallies, political campaigns, backdrops, and more. The banners come with heavy metal grommets that make them easy to hang for any event. The durable material and archival ink will ensure that these banners will last for years to come!
If you aren't sure how you might use this banner, you may want to contact your child's school, girl scout troop, recreation department, or church group to see if they'd benefit from your banner winnings! I'm sure you won't be turned down on the offer to design and print a free banner for them!
UPrinting is also offering 1 read of A List Maker's Life a 24x36" personalized vinyl banner valued at $62. This giveaway includes FREE shipping to any winner in the US.
Leave a comment telling others how you might use this high quality printed banner!
Earn an additional entry for following A List Maker's Life publicly.
Enter today! This giveaway will close on Friday, October 16th at 10 PM EST.
For a second opportunity to win enter again at Broken Teepee
Great keepsake :) My poster print would be of Nathaniel and Natalie giving each other a kiss!! I just happened to capture this adorable moment on film..and it's in black and white!! I love it!
UPrinting's service and greeting card printing quality is top notch! In the last several months I have been so pleased with the customer service and printing quality I have seen at UPrinting. I'm sure you will also appreciate their product and service. I've already been putting together some "mock ups" of all purpose cards I'd love to have in my greeting card file.
In what I also think is perfect timing. This giveaway will be wrapping up during the first full week of October, when I am also going to be featuring Artistic Albums by Nicole here on A List Maker's Life. She is an amazing digital designer and would be happy to work with you to create the perfect graphic for your customized card, if you'd rather not do your own design work!
To enter to win please leave a comment telling how you plan to use 250 greeting cards! You don't send 250 Christmas cards? Be Creative!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
In our inaugural soccer season we've developed a severe case of spectator spite.
On Saturday mornings we listen as parents (grandparents, aunts, neighbors, siblings, and friends) shout orders, direct plays, give instructions, and groan from the side line. It is simply irritating! The frustrated 5 year olds have no idea who to listen to - the coach or the entire sideline of "assistant coaches." They sulk off the field wondering why everyone is shouting at them and about them. Their unspoken nerves play across their expressions. Why are people they don't even know using their names? Why is the dad who is never even at dinner directing from the sideline?
"Keep your eye on the ball!" "Watch the goal!" "Run faster." "Get up off the grass." "Watch where you're going." "Don't touch the ball!" "Did you see that? They just scored because you were playing with your shin guards!" ...
UGH! What exactly are their expectations after three weeks of play? Are the adults that fiercely competitive? These same spectators will probably be the ones left cluelessly questioning when their little ones decide they don't really want to play soccer anymore because "it's too hard" and "it's not as fun as I thought it would be."
It's a bit hard not to take it personally. Are they frustrated with their children and their attempts on the field, or do they think we've dropped the ball on our coaching responsibilities? We are trying to teach them the basics or recreation, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
We love cheering. The kids love excitement. It's great to hear words of affirmation for ALL of our players from our audience. They are only 5! I even think clapping when the other team scores is warranted. They are just learning. It is supposed to be fun.
This is our first experience with our own child in an organized sport. Please do tell, is this the norm? Note to us: Next year, when we are NOT coaching we will be complimentary of the coaches and control our sideline comments.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Last week was our first edition of Thursday School! We also celebrated Anne Hope's "first day of school" with a back to school breakfast and pictures. She chose pink eggs (ACK!), so your eyes are not deceiving you when you look at this picture.
I was so excited to have the kids at our house to kick off the learning fun. Throughout the year we will be using the Itty Bitty Bookworm's Year 1 Bo curriculum. The first book we planned around was Do You Want to Be My Friend by Eric Carle, which is actually a colorful wordless book. Along with our focus on this book, we worked on: the color red, circles, numbers 1-3, and letters E & F! Now, that's a lot of cram into a short 2 hours, but we tried our best!
|Make a Smilebox scrapbook|
During our morning meeting we sorted shapes into two piles: those that were red circles and those that were not. We also sang calendar songs and talked about the date. During our picture walk through the book, the kid's used toilet paper tube binoculars to search for animals on each page.
In the center area the kids played with an alphabet zoo, used their imaginations in our stuffed animal veterinary clinic, and built homes for plastic animals using mega blocks.
At the teacher table the kids identified all different colored eggs to add to their nests as directed. They also practiced the concepts of longest and shortest as we rolled animal tails of various lengths. Using egg stickers each of the kids carefully filled in a giant letter E.
Snack time seemed to the the highlight for all three kiddos. I put together a giant dice with the numbers 1, 2, and 3 on the sides. They took turns rolling the dice and counting out as many jelly bean eggs as the rolled number to add to their peanut butter & marshmallow nests. Tasty counting motivation.
For our craft time the kids built nests with all sorts of materials found in our art cabinet and out back yard. They piled the nest building materials onto formula can lids and topped them off with LOTS of Elmer's glue. During the nest building I spent time building pom-pom birds with each child one-on-one. They turned out cute.
We ended our class with a quick "journal write" - read sentence dictation and scribble - about our favorite part of the morning. Next time I hope to be a little more smooth with an actual closing meeting and wrap up at the end, but teaching is always a learning experience for both the adults and the kids:)
Anne Hope is anxiously anticipating her second week of Thursday school at her buddy Malachi's house. This week's book will be "ABC I Like Me."
Thursday, September 17, 2009
This photo is one of my all time favorite captured moments! We were vacationing in St. Joseph, Michigan the summer after Anne Hope was born. At the time she was 4 months old and Gavin had just turned 2. He was so thrilled to have the whole beach to explore. Feeling so independent, he didn't realize we were just steps behind if he were to need us.
3 years later it's still a special picture. He's still a special boy. He is learning more about independence each day. And we are still standing by in case he is to need us.
This picture will be my poster perfect reminder. Large Format Posters has offered one of you, my readers, to also create your own 18x24" photo quality poster print. One winner will have the option to create a photo enlargement or customized poster for FREE! In fact, it's totally FREE. There will be no shipping or handling fees associated with this large format printing giveaway - none!
Please enter by leaving a comment with your own ideas for creating a poster print. Many of you may be interested making a poster of something you mentioned during my recent Wall Graphic contest:)
Enter today! This giveaway will end next Thursday, September 24th @ 10:oo PM EST.
This giveaway is open to US residents only.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
For weeks Anne Hope has tirelessly counted down the days until this, her first day of dance class. Her outfit has been set out and ready and her new shoes packed in her pink bag. She bounded down the stairs with an extra spring in her step early this morning, rearing to go!
"Please don't stop at Target after we drop of Gavin, Mom. Drive right to my dance class!" she directed.
Upon arrival we were greeted by lots of other frilly pink princesses in brand new dancing gear. We gathered in the studio for announcements before the parents were instructed to leave the room during the class. I watched as Anne Hope plopped herself in the corner. I listened as she told her teacher, "I'm just here to watch." I waited in the lobby. I peeked in several times to see her still peering out of the corner as the rest of the little ladies followed each and every teacher directive.
As they filed out of class, 45 minutes later, Anne Hope came out with a firm grip on her teacher's hand. Already knowing exactly how the hour went, as far as her participation, I still ventured to ask," How was dance class?"
"It's so fun. I love it! I watched my teacher with the pretty blond hair the whole time. Maybe next week I will be able to dance too."
Oh Dear! I guess she needs a little time to warm up to all things new. We will be anxious to see what she does for her preschool teacher tomorrow;)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Interpret as you may:
~You gotta give me more time for thinking about it
~Sorry I was acting
~I'm allergic to night
~The crust on my grilled cheese tastes like carpet remnants
~Man, I should have eaten another bowl of cereal before this soccer game
~My teacher's a pretty quick movin' gal
~It's soaking hot outside
~I hope Gibson grows up before me so I will be the ONLY kid in this family for once
~Oh Gibson, you're just as sweet as a banana slice. I'm gonna eat you up
We wonder where he gets this stuff!
On a side note...
One of Gavin's first day of school pictures (the one I posted here with all the kids lined up to head into the building for the first time) is in a local radio station's online contest. The picture with the highest rating will win a $500 photo shoot with a professional photographer. So far our photo has the highest number of votes, but the winner will be the picture with the highest rating. The station has just extended the voting deadline and competition is tightening up! If you get a chance to vote we'll owe you one in the future!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Comment # 3
I'd love to get a pretty nature picture printed to put above my daughter's crib :D
Pick me, pick me! I would love a large graphic of a tree to go in our living room to help promote all the keys to happiness.
Please contact me with the email address you'd like your prize to go to.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
It isn’t as much about how quickly he’s grown and how hard it is to believe the last 5 years have come and gone. It’s not difficult because we are concerned about how he will to academically and behaviorally. It’s not even because he is unprepared or unwilling to take this next step.
For me, it’s about giving up control. It’s about who and what will influence Gavin from day to day. It’s about trusting others. It’s about knowing there will be ups and downs, good days and bad days. Knowing that some kids will be friendly when he extends the invitation, and others may turn him down. It’s about celebrating the activities where he feels great success, and guiding him to solutions when he struggles.
It’s about letting go.
He is going to meet new friends. He has a fantastic teacher. He is in a great school. He is safe. He has neighbors, aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas praying for him. Throughout his schooling adventures he will laugh. He will beam with pride. He will smile. He will cry. And so will I.
But today, we are looking ahead!
This inspirational book identifies many fears we experience in daily life. Fear of: insignificance, worst case scenarios, death, what's next, violence, financial despair, protecting our children, disappointing God, global calamity, and overwhelming challenges plague all of us at some time or another. Max Lucado's scripturally sound writing directs readers to God's encouragement for overcoming fear. He also outlines 8 helpful worry stoppers. The book wraps up with a wonderful discussion guide. Each chapter's lesson is divided into three parts: examining fear, exposing fear, and battling fear.
Lucado points out that Jesus has equipped each of us with farsighted courage. You may know it as faith. Courage teaches us to offer our fears to God. Courage prays. When our faith is great, our fears are not.
While reading this book I recognized that I am a "Worst Case Scenario" worrier and most of my fears relate to protecting my kids. However, I don't want my personal fears and worries to hold back my family and limit my children. If paralyzed by fear, we may miss out on amazing blessings intended for us. The book explains that it is impossible to be both happy & afraid, confident & afraid, or merciful & afraid.
Lucado suggests living between Pollyanna optimism and Chicken Little gloom and doom, "there lies the level-headed, clear thinking, still believing..." I loved this line and will strive to be a level-headed, clear thinking, still believing mom, wife, daughter and friend who is refused to be defined by fears.
One of the lessons I've taken from the book is the benefit of redirecting our fearful thoughts to reminders from songs and scriptures. A few specifically ring through my mind each time I happen by and glance at the book's cover.
"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the Lord has given us His Power!"
"Fear Not! For I am with you."
"I'm not afraid..." Newsboys
May you find the farsighted courage you need for today!
For fear never...
...put the house up for sale trusting that God had something better.
...called on the exciting year round job opportunity.
...signed up for the final three courses in a MA program
...picked up a pen to write that book hanging out in someone's imagination.
...sent a confident and well prepared 5 year old off to his first day of Kindergarten with a smile!
Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing for providing this book for my review as part of their book review bloggers program.
This verse is the premise for Dr. Eggerich's book, Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires and the Respect He Desperately Needs, as well as his marital counseling ministry.
After reading this verse Emerson concluded the primary need in a relationship for women is unconditional love, while men desire unconditional respect. He teaches wives the more respect you give, the more love you will get in return. Conversely, husbands, the more love you show the more you will be respected. Throughout the book, Eggerichs sites many examples of people he has worked with who have restored or revitalized their own marriages by recognizing the principles of Love and Respect and acting on it.
Love and Respect is divided into three sections, each describing a relationship cycle: The Crazy Cycle, The Energizing Cycle, and The Rewarding Cycle. The Crazy Cycle demonstrates how difficult it is for women to respect their husbands if they feel unloved, and how unloving a man will treat his wife if he feels disrespected. Dr. Eggerich's motivates readers to step out of the Crazy Cycle into the Energizing Cycle where a respected husband will react with increasing love and a loved wife will build up her husband with unconditional respect. The book specifically lays out 7 things men can do to be more loving to their wives, using the acronym C.O.U.C.H.E.S., as well as 6 things (C.H.A.I.R.S.) women can do to show respect. The Rewarding Cycle points couples to the ultimate goal of living out a marriage that is pleasing to God.
As I wrapped up this book last night I reflected on how I respect Kevin. Throughout our daily routine my actions often display respect, yet how often do I put, "I Respect You!" into words? I recognized the importance when Kevin came in feeling a bit discouraged about something else, and asked, "Why do you love me?" I realized what he was really asking was, "What do you respect about me?" I was able to answer in a way that better met his emotional and relational needs in that moment.
Love and Respect is a powerful book for building up your spouse and your marriage.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson's Book Review Bloggers program for providing this book for review.
Monday, September 7, 2009
We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
We've each been uniquely designed to carry out our own work; perfectly formed for specific God given responsibilities. Our potter has given us form, strength, and durability necessary for our duty.
"Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?"
Without our potter to shape and mold us, we would be without purpose. As humans we struggle at times with whether we're correctly utilizing the vessel we've been given. We dream of noble purpose while performing mundane tasks, yet wish for common duties when given the responsibilities of noble purpose.
Our job is to find beauty in the way we've been crafted, joy in the gifts we've been given, and fulfillment in the duties for which we've been designed.
At this point I find my own vessel in common use. My day to day work is nothing glamorous, showy, or worthy of public display. Yet, the work I do is necessary for the well being of my family.
Kevin finds his pot in common use as well as he labors in service to others creating masterpieces out of earth and clay. Last week marked the anniversary of his 12th year of dedicated service to GreenCo. I am proud of his commitment to his job, the work ethic he is modeling for our children, and the way he has provided for our family.
There may come a time in our future where we need to re-evaluate our circumstances and reconsider what work we are equipped to do.
We may wear thin on the bottom.
Our edges may begin to chip.
It's possible we'll take on an unfortunate crack that can not be ignored.
"...so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him."
Thank God we are His work in progress. He isn't done shaping and molding. Along the way He will refine us, our purpose may evolve. Perhaps the reshaping will require a bit of time in the kiln. Time to refocus priorities and redefine purpose.
In common use or noble purpose, today we think of all who work.
All who are a work in progress.
All whose contributions build strength, prosperity, and well-being for our country, our families, and eternity.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The Engbers Family said...
Oh, I'd love some cards! I don't have a fancy etsy shop or anything but this could be the motivation I need. There are some of my sewing projects (mostly baby items) posted on my blog, under the labels crafts and sewing.www.engbers-family.blogspot.comThanks for the chance to win!
Rebecca. Harlan, IN said...
"Rescued and Restored" is the name of my pastor/husband's hobby. Whether rescuing and restoring lives, furniture, or neglected properties, his efforts would be official with a bevy of business cards!
Disappointed that you weren't a winner this time? Believe it or not UPrinting has already extended another offer for me to pass on to you! This one is appropriate for ALL of us, even if you don't have a business to promote.
A new product is being rolled out on UPrinting.com, it is an innovative adhesive fabric Wall Graphic. Imagine a huge sticker that you can peel and stick on any flat surface! With Wall Graphics you can print photos, artwork, or patterns in great detail.
...a special family quote or motto hanging in the family room
...a list of responsibilities for cleaning up the playroom hanging near the door
...an encouraging or inspiring verse hanging on the inside of the bathroom door
...a picture reminder of your summer highlight stuck to the front of the fridge
...a zoomed in picture from nature to decorate a blank wall
...a classic silhouette to display in the living room
...a black and white favorite blown up for the bedroom
...a reminder or agenda for an elementary classroom stuck to the white board
...a "Come on In - The Party's Here!" sticker on the front entry for a big event
...an eye catching advertisement stuck to a store front window
...a family monogram hanging in the entry way
...so MANY possibilities!!!
I'm still debating which option I'll choose for our home, but I am anxious to give a Wall Graphic a try!
UPrinting is offering 2 24”x 24” Wall Graphic to the readers of A List Maker's Life.
To enter simply leave a comment here suggesting something you might like to display on a 24x24 Wall Graphic. Dream Big!
Entries will be accepted until Saturday, September 11 at 10 PM EST.
Note: Winners will be required to pay a $5 handling fee, but shipping is free. This giveaway is open to US residents only.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Last Thursday we spent an exciting morning museum hopping with friends in downtown Grand Rapids. The kid's used their imagination for hours in the Children's Museum's Aunt Daisy's Farm exhibit.
Next, we headed to the VanAndel Museum for a picnic lunch with a view and a carousel ride. At the beginning of the summer I couldn't bribe the kids enough to give the carousel a try, but here we are 3 months later and Gavin and Anne Hope both enjoy the colorful, spinning classic.
Before heading home we splashed and ran around the fountains at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.
The morning was a great reminder of all the fun that is to be had in our own backyards.