A List Maker's Life: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pirate Treasure

This summer as Gavin celebrated his 5th birthday he received an adorable stuffed pirate puppet. He really enjoys using it to tell his make believe stories. But, even more fun is the look on Gibson's face when Gavin shows him the puppet. He giggles hysterically and it is undeniably contagious. So, for Christmas I wanted to find him a stuffed pirate of his own.

I found something cuter than I could have imagined, perfect for a 1 year old pirate fan, at Growing Tree Toys.

This little mate is made by Manhattan toys, of which we are already huge fans as evidenced by Anne Hope's "fantabulous" Groovy Girl collection.

The Dress Up Pirate Toy is bold and colorful, created with fabrics of multiple textures and prints. He is the perfect size for little hands to carry around, at just 15 inches tall. In stead of being scary or dark like most pirate paraphernalia, Dress Up Pirate has a sweet and a friendly looking parrot pal.

I love that beyond just being cute, this is a toy that teaches. He happens to be a dressing doll with buttons, zippers, hook & loops, pockets, and ties for Gibson to learn to manipulate.

Growing Tree Toys has developmentally labeled, imaginative, colorful, and educational toys for kids of all ages. There site is organized and they stock many toys by well known manufacturers such as KidKraft, Doug & Melissa, Alex Toys, Playmobil, and more. They also carry the season's popular Automoblox that I am considering as part of Gavin's Christmas gift.

If you have any children on your shopping list this season, you will want to take some time to browse Growing Tree Toys. While you are there take a look at their fantastic Deal of the Day. In fact, check in often and buy quickly, as each day one toy will be offered at a significant discount until it is sold out!

Thank you so much to Green Tree Toys for sending this pirate treasure free of charge for the purpose of reviewing him, and their site, on my blog. I am so thankful to them for helping us make a Christmas wish come true.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Soup-er Saturday: The Holiday Ham Challenge

The Ham Challenge giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all of you who linked to recipes for us to try with our leftover ham. The winner, by the luck of the draw, is clallen. I wrote each of the recipes linked on a small slip of paper and let the kids draw. So, enjoy your holiday ham!

Last week I gave you a heads up about today's Soup-er Saturday. Every shared link to a recipe using ham will be an entry into a giveaway for a FREE Holiday Ham from Cook's. Not sure how to prepare a ham? What should you do with ham leftovers? To rub or to glaze? Before I found their helpful site I would have told you to, "Just ask Gramma." However, Cook's has many suggestions for you.

My soup recipe this week has been modified to include ham.


Ham, Cheese & Potato Chowder
3 cups fat free milk
1 can condensed cream of potato soup
2 cups frozen Southern-style hash browns
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of bite sized ham pieces
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

Mix milk and soup in a large saucepan. Stir in hash browns and ham. Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top evenly with cheese and onions. Serve with a whole grain roll or bread. Makes 6 servings.

MckLinky will be active for you to add your ham recipes until December 5th, at which time I will add in the participants from last week's Soup-er Saturday and today's to choose a winner! Your ham will be awarded via gift certificate to be used at your local grocer and will be available to you before Christmas!

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Friday, November 27, 2009

A Tasty Turkey

This year I was asked to add a non-pumpkin dessert to the Thanksgiving meal. Since most everyone else enjoys pumpkin pie I figured the kids and I would be the only ones eating this dessert, so I made something I knew we'd enjoy. I've always been a fruit pizza fan, but wanted to give this one a special turkey twist. The kids thought it was so exciting to see it come together and really look like a turkey.

Fruit Pizza
1 package refrigerated cookie dough (I usually use chocolate chip, but this one is made with sugar cookie dough)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
fruit toppings

Press cookie dough along the bottom of a 12 inch pizza pan. Bake at 350 for 10-14 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Beat cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Spread over the crust. Cover and refrigerate until you are almost ready to serve. Before serving add cut fruit.
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What Will Your Moment Be?

This giveaway is now closed. The winner, chosen by Random.org, is comment #4. Enjoy!
Amanda said...
I would probably use this canvas for a picture of my kiddos showing their affection to one another so one day I can remind them they really did like each other!
November 27, 2009 9:15 PM

'Tis the season when many families attempt the once a year formal family portrait. This year we avoided the photo studio and instead had my dad try his hand at a casual picture of all 5 of us, hopefully looking at the camera. I must say he did nice work.

In fact, I may consider enlarging one of my family favorites, using Online Poster Printing. That is, if I don't use another special 1 year photo or the wedding group shot I've always wished I would have framed for our room.

The Silly Version


Love is Where You Find It

Too bad Yelp doesn't have a service for reviewing my photos and telling me which one to choose! Anyway...
It's your turn to dream of what special moment you'd like to enlarge. To be entered to WIN a 16x20 Canvas Print all you must do is leave a comment before December 5 suggesting how you might use your rolled canvas. If you blog or tweet about this giveaway please feel free to enter a second and third comment. Thanks for spreading the word!
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Thank you to Online Poster Printing for offering me a free 16x20 for posting this giveaway. I will look forward to choosing how I will use it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It is not lost on us that in 2009 many of our friends and neighbors have suffered through underemployment and unemployment. It is a difficult time for many here in Michigan. "In many situations jobs have been eliminated, benefits have been reduced, and work place tensions are high because of financial stress.

Yet, we have been blessed beyond expectation with Kevin's new job, which happens to be at my fave alma mater;). He has a job he loves. A job he looks forward to going to each day. A job with built in friends for life. A job made for him.

For this, we give thanks!

There are sweet babies, similar in age to our own, who have faced severe health scenarios in 2009; wives and mothers have been struck by tragedy, impacting the lives of all those in their influence. Many families may likely spend this holiday in a hospital surrounded by the scary and unfamiliar.

Yet, our dear babe has grown and developed right on schedule with nothing more than the occasional fever. His siblings, Gavin & Anne Hope, are happy, healthy, learners, thinkers, and lovers of life. Kevin and I appreciate each day we live free of debilitating health issues of our own.

For this, we give thanks!

People around our country find themselves losing their homes or relying on shelters this Thanksgiving. Worldwide, meeting the needs of daily nourishment is a constant struggle.

Yet, we find ourselves with plenty to eat and the means to prepare it to our tastes. We enjoy a cozy home with rooms and beds for all. We have running water for all seasons and heat in the winter. Most importantly, we have an eternal home to look forward to.

For this, we give thanks!

Hands to hold.
Voices to speak.
Teachers to nurture.
Parents to encourage.

For all we have & have to look forward to, we give thanks!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fit for a Squirrel

When I saw this idea on Pink and Green Mama I envisioned a large clear bowl full of colorful acorns and oak leaves - big enough for a showy centerpiece.

Who knew it'd be so tricky to find the stinkin' acorns? They are often found in fall motif, but in reality by Thanksgiving the squirrels have their acorns safely buried under leaves, mud, and gunk. Most of them we found were too decomposed to recognize in our project.

Interestingly, acorns are only found on adult trees and are often used to symbolize patience or hard work. Appropriate.

After a bit of exploring, here is the acorn "gold" the kids and I managed to hunt down.

Never-the-less it was a fun venture and is an unusual addition to our Thanksgiving decorations.
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Sailing on the Silly Ship

Our crazy rendition of Mayflower head gear in honor of Thanksgiving.

Back story:
Before this picture the kids had also just finished putting together chocolate marshmallow Pilgrim hats, as evidenced by the ring around the mouth on these 2 monkeys! They also insisted on sitting in water, which is why the blue blanket is draped over the couch for some of the pictures. You'll also notice that Gavin made his hat reversible so he could tell the Thanksgiving story with it. And overall they thought the whole thing was quite hysterical!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Too Good Not to Share

My Christmas cards are signed, sealed, and ready to send thanks to the personalized greeting card printing at UPrinting and designer labels from Tiny Prints. However, this offer is too good to pass by. I was glad Michelle took the time to share it with me, so I must pass it on to you!

100 Free 4x8 or 5x7 photo cards with envelopes!

I used this stellar deal to make glossy fliers for advertising the upcoming Cherry Lane Preschool Gift Gallery.

This is not the final product, just the photo design I dropped into a pre-made card.

The codes really work. When I ordered they were also offering free shipping, however I have heard through others that used it more recently that they have added a $3 shipping fee. There is still time for you to order using the coupon codes. The deadline is November 30th.

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The Language of Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Last Saturday Kevin and I took the whole gang to the grocery store together. It's actually quite a relief for me to have the help, and the extra cart. However, we weren't finding everything we needed at Meijer. I suggested we run to the other store quickly before heading home, "Do you think the kids can handle it?"

"Well, I could just stay in the car with them while they listen to their book on tape. If you can run in alone," he suggested.

"That would be fantastic, Kev, thanks!"

As we drove out of the parking lot Kevin turned right (toward home), instead of left (toward the other store). "Aren't we stopping at the store?" I wondered aloud.

"No, you never said that's what we were going to do. You just said that'd be fantastic."

And that, my friends, would be a classic K2 miscommunication. Please tell me you can relate?!?!?

Not surprising, communication is said to be the #1 problem in marriage. In his newest book, The Language of Love & Respect: Cracking the communication code with your mate, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs seeks to provide a revolutionary solution to the marital communication break down. This book is a follow up to his best-selling title, Love and Respect.

Emerson explains how men and women were designed by God to have completely different methods for communication. While men often say just what they are thinking and mean just what they say; women often read between the lines, applying their God given sensitivity to the message, and interpreting things to have a different meaning.

For instance, on his way home from work Kevin will often ask "What's for dinner?" He really means, "What is for dinner? I'd like to get my taste buds ready." What I hear is,

"What in the world is for dinner tonight? I hope you've taken the time to think about the fact that we are going to need to eat in just a few minutes when I get there and it better be something that looks and tastes good to me."

Instead of respectfully responding, "We're going to have grilled chicken and salad."

I usually say some version of, "I don't know. I guess you'll find have to wait and find out when you get here." Ah! So much to learn...

This book is devoted to understanding the differences between "pink and blue" communication. Eggerichs gives many suggestions for how to speak in ways that show love and respect, using words that are forgiving, truthful, and uplifting. He further explains the importance of being thankful, speaking from scripture, and demonstrating faithfulness in our speech and our actions.

When reviewing Love and Respect I mentioned that the book was full of good theory and practice, but I kept hoping to read further to find the "how to" of daily communication. The Language of Love & Respect is just the next step I was left wishing for before. The book is packed with suggestions, and perhaps almost too many examples. Yet after reading it, we are armed with loads of knowledge regarding our communication differences and ready to take the practical steps to learning to speak to each other in our distinctly different languages. Our goal will be to find mutual understanding to keep our marriage happy and healthy in the many years to come!

P.S. I'll let you know what happens next time we go to the grocery store together :)

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Thanks to Thomas Nelson for allowing me to review this book as part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger program.

Monday, November 23, 2009

From the Pages of Our Life

Ever wonder what I do with the review books that I'm not crazy about?

Just kidding!
Well, kind of.

Thanks to this clever video tutorial from Living with Lindsay I spent my Grey's Anatomy hour last week multi-tasking (as if it wasn't enough to keep up with their insane, shoving 3 months worth of holidays into 1 episode, drama).

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Soup-er Saturday: Cheesy Vegetable & Ham

Happy Saturday!
Perhaps you will {heart} this creamy, rich and simple to prepare soup. Even if you don't sample the soup, you'll want to stick around long enough to read about my Soup-er Challenge!

Velvety Vegetable Cheese (and Ham) Soup

1- 160z. frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot mix
2 - 14oz. cans of fat free reduced-sodium chicken broth
12 oz. pasteurized prepared cheese product (ie: Velvetta), cut up
Your holiday ham left overs cut into bite size pieces

Place veggies and broth in a large saucepan. Cover. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Mash vegetable with a potato masher to the desired consistency.Stir in cheese and ham. Cook 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and soup is thoroughly heated. Stir frequently.

Makes 6 - 1 cup servings

Our family has made this soup in the past, however we have not added ham to it until now. Cook's ham has generously sent us one of their delicious holiday hams. They are also offering 1 to you (valued at $30)! Cook's hams are "always good to the bone." If you win, you will actually have a choice of bone-in ham, ham steaks, spiral sliced ham, or corned beef brisket.

To be entered to win you'll want to plan ahead for next week's Soup-er Saturday. Prepare a post about ANY recipe that is fabulous for making good use of your leftover holiday hams. It does not have to be a soup recipe, although you can expect to see a soup or salad recipe from me. If you do not have a blog where you can post your recipe, feel free to email it to me and I will include it for you! I'd like everyone to have a chance to win! For some cooking inspiration you might want to start by checking out the sample recipes from Cook's.

Even if you are not a ham-eating family, this would be a lovely gift to give to a neighbor or a family in need this season!

For this week, if you have a soup recipe to link to, please do! Consider it an additional entry into next week's giveaway!

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How Fresh Are Your Towels?

This giveaway is now closed. The winner is...
"Result: 8 Powered by RANDOM.ORG"
DENISE ! We will look forward to hearing how Smelly Towels works for you!

Perhaps you remember early this summer when I introduced you to Smelly Washer? Well, the Smelly Washer, Inc. is at it again with a new product to keep your machine and your towels smelling spiffy.
Smelly Towel Cleaner

While our family's solution to grubby towels was to buy new ones, Smelly Towel probably would have given them new life. It promises to remove all towel odor with its' natural, easy to use formula.

Would you love to give it a try and let us know how it works for you? Smelly Washer has offered a 24 treatment bottle of Smelly Towel Cleaner to one of my followers. To be entered to win all you must do is leave a comment letting me know that you are a follower. That's it!

This giveaway will be open until December 1st.

Now, if you'll excuse me I better get back to my laundry...
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

his story

When Gavin came home from school today he started a conversation that seemed like it would be just another ordinary after school chat.

"Mom, today someone in my class asked Mrs. McCormick how moms get their babies. But, I already know all about that."


"Yeah, God puts a baby in a mommy's tummy. Just like he can put Jesus in my heart."

Is Jesus in your heart?

"Dear Jesus, please come into my heart. Amen. He is now mom!"

That sure wasn't how I'd envisioned his conversation would progress. Last time we talked about Jesus living in his heart Gavin insisted that it was something he "needed more time to think about." A reminder that it's not about our timing, it's about His.

And now this is his story!

"If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.

P.S. Don't worry - when he's a little older we'll fill him in on the whole baby thing...)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Key to Shopping for Men?

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winner, chosen by Random.org #17!

podi66 said...
Tweeted again @jodilynnsnyder
November 20, 2009 12:46 PM

Looks like it pays to enter with those daily tweets. Contact me with your email address and I will send your shipping information off to Wholesale Key Chain. Enjoy!

I don't know if I'm alone in saying this, but it is always trickier to find the right gifts to give the many men in our family. In fact, Kevin's wish list this year is painfully simple. At this point he has listed:
~white socks

Seriously, Kev! I think we can do a little more than that for you! I can think of a few other items to add to his list, like perhaps:
~iPod that actually charges
~Professional (read: anyone other than me) haircut
~Hope college gear (which is tricky because he would have to buy it for himself)

My guy, Gav, Christmas morning 2007

Needless to say, I'm still brainstorming for Kevin (and our dads, brothers, nephew, and sons...). So, when a message from Wholesale Keychain popped up in my inbox I was curious to see if there may be any manly gift ideas to be had on their site.

Car keys, electronics, gadgets - there must be some shopping inspiration here.

Recently, while helping Kevin update his resume' I discovered that his flashdrive is duct taped together and no longer hangs by it's lanyard, making it impossible to find when it's misplaced. It would be fun to engrave a silly message on a customizable USB keychain that would keep his documents safe & be easier to keep track of.

I also like the idea of buying a digital photo frame keychain. This one holds up to 100 pictures. It includes a charging cord and an cord for transferring pictures from your computer to your key chain. There are several styles available, but I specifically liked the leather strap. The viewing screen is 1.5 inches long. This key chain could make promoting a business, sharing the latest landscape job, bragging about grandchildren, or viewing vacation snapshots an on-the-go event.

Mini versions of classic games like Operation, Monopoly, Hungry Hippo, and a Barrel of Monkeys would make unique (and appropriately sized) stocking stuffers. Other options include: sports team logos, bottle openers, laser pointers, and more.

From now until November 30th, Wholesale Key Chain is offering the readers of A List Maker's Life 10% off any order. Hop over, check them out, and check off some of the names on your shopping list. In addition to the coupon code, Wholesale Key Chain is offering the chance to WIN a Digital Photo Frame.

To be entered to win please leave a comment for each of the entry options you choose from the list below:

~Follow A List Maker's life (1 entry)
~Visit Wholesale Key Chain and mention something that catches your eye (1 entry)
~Suggest a gift item appropriate for men and/or tell us what you think is the key to shopping for men? (1 entry)
~Purchase a gift item from Wholesale Keychain (5 entries)
~Tweet about this giveaway (1 entry daily)

This giveaway is open until Monday, November 30th at 10 PM EST.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Autumn Beauty & My Baby

To commemorate Gibson's first birthday we took him to the scenic Spring Grove Park to be photographed by Tara, from Noonday Photography. She did a beautiful job capturing the sights of autumn and our sweet, smiling babe's personality.

Tara has given us the rights to print any of the pictures from our shoot as we please. As perfect timing would have it, I just won a 16x20 rolled canvas print from a generous blog giveaway. We would love your opinions as to which of our favorites (the 4 above) would be the best to enlarge. If you'd leave your vote in the comments, that's be awesome. Thanks!

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Perfume Diaries

Imagine you're on a beach. The warm rays are beating down on you. There is nothing on the agenda for days, save for sunbathing and sleeping in. Leslie Blodgett has captured the ultimate vacation through fragrance with this intoxicating blend of creamy sensuality, dreamy florals and sexy musks. Glowing, gorgeous sun-kissed skin that just begs to be touched is at the heart of this limited-edition scent, created exclusively for Sephora.

Bare Skin, is the first fragrance from Leslie Blodgett Perfume Diaries, a limited edition fragrance collection created exclusively for Sephora.

Having kept journals since she was a young girl, Leslie has captured the essence of every trip she has taken through the pages of her journals. Bare Skin, the first scent in her series, is reminiscent of her experience during a trip to Mexico. “When I have an experience, I like to have a scent behind it. Bare Skin, which is what Mexico reminds me of, is the way you feel when the sun is beating down on you during the day, but then you go out at night and you’re still sizzling from the warmth of the day which mingles with the night air and the music.”

The fragrance is comprised of black pepper, freesia, anise, iris, vanilla orchid, plumeria, patchouli, sandalwood, labdanum, and musk. I appreciate the freesia, iris, vanilla orchid smells that are evident at first. These scents are easy to associate with a sunny day at the shore. However, as the perfume ages on my skin the evening tones, sandalwood and musk, become more evident.

Bare Skin gives an overall "warm" feeling, but it is more of a cozy fall warm than the sunny day at the beach I was hoping to smell. My ideal day by the sea fragrance would be soft, clean, pure, and crisp.

Although it is not my personal favorite scent, upon reading other reviews of Bare Skin, I see that it appeals to other women who truly appreciate the sensual musk. So, while you may take some stock in my review it may be necessary for you to give it a try for yourself to know if it fits your personality and fragrance preference.

Which leads to some questions:
~What are your favorite scents?
~Do you currently have an all purpose perfume or do you change it up based on the activities of the day?
~What elements are must haves in a fragrance you would choose to wear?

Bare Skin skin is available for purchase at Sephora.com and in department stores across the country.
Thank you to Sephora for sendng me a sample of Bare Skin.post signature

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Birthday Celebration Photo Project

Tomorrow is my Gram's birthday. For her 75th birthday our family put together a digital photo book compiling notes, quotes, thoughts, and stories about Gram. Her siblings, friends, children, cousins, grandchildren, and great grand children contributed photos and stories that were included in the pages.

Below are the pages our family put together for the book. If you enlarge these pages you will read that Gram spends lots of time building meaningful memories for us.

She is a wonderful cook.

She puts extra love and effort into making a big deal about the all of life's celebrations.
She keeps special toys and treasures available for the kids.

She is full of grace.

And she is our dear Anne Hope's namesake.
Happy Birthday Gram! We Love You!

Visit Heidi at Blue Eyed Blessing to check out more neat photo projects submitted as part of the monthly craft challenge.