A List Maker's Life: July 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Do You Need a Blogging Break?

Check out BreakPal!

Break Pal is an online fitness program and community. At intervals of your choosing, BreakPal pops up on the computer screen with a reminder to take an exercise break. The program links you to exercise videos of your choice, from simple stretches to high instensity activities. Martials arts, aerobics, yoga, Tai Chi, and Chi Kung (I had no idea what that was 3 weeks ago!) are currently available. New lessons are being added all the time. Tutorial videos give step by step instructions as you go through a workout of choice. The community part of BreakPal allows users to be in touch with, and encouraged by, others who are also trying to stay in shape. The option is available to link your BreakPal account to your Twitter updates.

As a SAHM I am not tied to a busy desk job, however I do spend a fair amount of time on the computer working on ABC & 123. As I work, a little talking widget pops up every 30 minutes to remind me to take an exercise break. To be honest, if I’ve been on the computer 30 minutes, and BreakPal has to remind me I need to do a quick workout, it’s time for me to do it and turn off the computer for awhile. Nap time is only so long around here, and there are many goals to accomplish in that window, you know!

I’ll admit at first it sounded pretty crazy to me, I do not want my exercise to come exclusively from online videos. Of course, it is important for me to also be active with the kids as we walk, ride bikes, and play. Yet, with BreakPal I have been learning fun moves and stretches during my 3 minute workouts that help me to make the most of the moments when I am working on the computer.

I absolutely see the important benefits of this type of fitness program for employee health in an office environment. BreakPal would be especially helpful for in a setting where employees spend the majority of their day on the computer. If you happen to work in an office environment that would benefit from a worksite wellness program I'd be happy to put you in touch with Phil from BreakPal.

To consider the positive impact BreakPal might have on your computer routines & your personal health take a minute to create a trial account.

Perhaps you’d enjoy learning more by joining the Break Pal Facebook group or reading Liz’s BreakPal blog. Leave Liz and Phil a comment if you get a chance. They would appreciate hearing your feedback on their innovative site.

Here's the deal, BreakPal is available to individuals for a fee of $9.95 a month (a good price if you are committed to using it consistently). However, BreakPal would love to give one of you a break today! They have offered to give a lifetime premium membership to one reader of A List Maker’s Life.

Leave a comment here for your chance to win.

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The winner of the Smelly Washer giveaway is...
Result: 9 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Jenn I've never thought of cleaning my washing machine.
It is 8 years old and could probably use a good soaking/rinse!
July 23, 2009 4:12 PM

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

From the Garden

Enjoying the fruits flowers of Kevin's landscaping labors!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Holland A"Quiet"Center

We were set to spend a few hours swimming with friends in a backyard pool. Gavin and Anne Hope were ecstatic about the prospect. So much so that Anne Hope wore her bathing suit to bed last night, so she was "ready to go fast to the pool in the morning."

When we woke today the sky was gray and cloudy. The rain seemed imminent. After a bit of a conference call with our friends it became apparent that a reschedule was necessary.

Oh Dear...
What in the world do I do with my bathing suit clad clan already packed in the backseat?

Aquatic Center to the rescue.
It just so happens that preschool swim time at the indoor splash pad was at just the right time. Thank goodness!

Never mind that while we were splish, splashing at the indoor playground the clouds cleared, the sun came out, and the rain NEVER showed.
Oh well!

Gavin declared the day to be "A Blast!"
Anne Hope loved the "warm water at the Aquiet Center."
Gibson put on quite a display of bravery as he continuously crawled in as deep as he could go and still keep his head above water.

And so, our day was salvaged.
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Monday, July 27, 2009

What Does Google Know About Me?

Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search
Katie needs hula lessons!
Too bad I missed my chance this week when I was invited.
Monica??? Any more classes coming up soon?

"[your name] looks like"
Katie looks like an oompa loompa
Google can not tell a lie

"[your name] wants"
Katie wants a new post
Yeah, how about from Shelby, Michelle, Heidi, Amy, Emily, and You!

"[your name] does"
Katie does certainly not do enough work
Well, I better get back to work soon before I get a bad rep for being lazy.

"[your name] hates"
Katie hates Hillary Nutcrackers
Yeah, I'm sure if I'd ever seen a Hillary Nutcracker I would hate it.

"[your name] asks"
Katie asks Why Sexism Against Men is Abhorrent to Saudis
There goes Katie Couric asking those intelligent type questions for the rest of us Katies

"[your name] likes"
Katie likes this boy…but,
Actually, there are like 3 boys I really adore!

"[your name] eats"
Katie eats a potato bug
Sounds nasty. I thought for sure it would say CHOCOLATE!

"[your name] wears"
Katie wears short shorts
Although, #2 was Katie wears the trousers in our family
Which one do you agree with?

"[your name] was arrested for"
Katie was arrested for throwing a cue ball at a mirror in the bar
Now, that is big time 'huh?

"[your name] loves"
Katie loves pain
Maybe, it should have said "public humiliation through goofy memes"

If you give this one a try, I'd love to read it. Leave me a link in the comments.
Thanks to Shana for sharing this silly meme.
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

What's He REALLY Thinking? by Paula Rinehart

Why do they do what they do?
What do they struggle with?
How do men change?
What makes men hurt?

It's safe to say there are few ladies who would consider themselves "a relational genius" when it comes to the men in their lives. What's He Really Thinking by Paula Rinehart is a guide to the male psyche for those of us who have a thing or two to learn. While exploring the key topics of: expectations, respect, conflict, conversation, and intimacy, the book intertwines contemporary culture, personal stories, useful suggestions, and biblical truths.

I'll admit to being a bit skeptical of a book about how men think that was written by a woman. Yet, as I read, it became evident that Paula has put together a fantastic resource based on her time researching, and gaining knowledge from her relationships with men. As with anything we read, certain statements may not apply to ALL men. This is recognized and addressed with an appendix full of appropriate conversation starters to help the reader find out what their man is really thinking about each topic.

Several statements from the text inspired to consider the way I react and interact with my husband:

When speaking of conflict Rinehart compares specific issues to the walk in closet in a home. We don't live there, but once in a while we have to go in, take something off the shelf, and spend time dealing with it together. The whole issue may not be handled in one setting and will have to be revisited, which is fine. As long as we are both able to put that issue back on the shelf for the time being and continue living happily in the other rooms of our home.

"Each man has his own mix of strengths and weaknesses...you don't get a particular strength unless you accept its' corresponding weakness."

"When talking of invalidation Rinehart says, "Stopping long enough to validate (his) feelings, experiences, or opinions ~ even if you don't totally agree - gives him permission to go beyond those thoughts and feelings...to entertain new possibilities."

This book has so many helpful points on understanding the men in our lives. What He's Really Thinking is a useful read for personal reflection, and an appropriate choice for a ladies group study. Discussion questions are provided for readers as they explore each chapter.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Salads: Special Edition

This is just too great not to show my Saturday Salad friends before we resume our sharing in September!! You all know how much I love salads. The best salad recipes are those that can be assembled with easy-to-find ingredients and prepackaged greens. Right?

Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler

Jennifer has compiled a tasty collection of more than 100 salad recipes in one great resource.
To simplify your prep work, each of the recipes is made with a variety of prepackaged greens.

The book includes several of our family favorites which is great because I will be able to get rid of the loose recipe cards floating around the kitchen. However, there are also many new salad recipes we are sure to enjoy! Dressing recipes are included for many of the salads as well. It would be great to have delicious handmade dressings on hand for the lunches when I just throw some greens in a bowl. Yum!

Unlike many of the salads I've featured on Saturday Salads, all of Jennifer's salads actually have greens as their base. What a concept (smiles!)

This cookbook is divided into 9 sections. We've been sampling from several sections already:


I was able to throw together the Mandarin Chicken Salad right away ingredients stashed in the pantry. Quick & Tasty.


Page 47 has a recipe for BBQ Chicken Salad with Black Bean and Corn Salsa. This salad makes a fantastic meal - filling enough for Kevin. In fact, we packed the pieces for this one into Tupperware containers and assembled it on site while we were camping. We did grill the chicken ahead of time and cut it into chunks for the kids.


Page 74 has a BBQ Pulled Pork Salad. My family enjoys pulled pork and I often through a pork roast in the crock pot in the morning, add BBQ sauce in the afternoon, and serve for dinner on buns. I LOVE the idea of serving it on a salad instead!

Page 153 features Watermelon and Arugula Salad. My nickname for this salad is Triple Summer Delight because it includes 3 of my summer salad topping favorites: pine nuts, feta, and watermelon.
~Beans, Grains, Rice & Pasta

Page 211 shares the recipe for Crunchy Cole Slaw made with ramen noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds. This recipe is similar to the winner of June's Iron Chef competition. It is a nice salad to bring to a picnic.

If you love a salad in any season, Simply Salads will be a delicious addition to repertoire.post signature

Friday, July 24, 2009


He chewed...

and chewed...

and chewed...

and chewed!

Now, his first tooth is FINALLY through!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Picnic Table Talk: Organizing

These 4 organizational tips have helped me to get a little control over the paper clutter in our kitchen, make it easier to find new activities & favorite recipes, and save our family a little bit of time and space.

1. Meal Plan Albums

I organized our favorite recipes into plastic 4x6 picture albums. These are the recipes we use most often. Notice the blue writing on the pages. Using a wipe off marker I made notes about which side dish recipes work best with each recipe and where to find those recipes.

2. Recipe Binder

The recipes already printed & cut from magazines are now sorted by meal course in this binder. Each recipe is in it's own plastic page protector for quick wipe offs during cooking accidents. I also printed my online recipes and added them to this binder.

3. Tips & Activities

Stuck in with my recipe collection were the many magazine activity ideas I have been saving to try with the kids. Those that were too large for notecards are now safely stored in their own page protectors in the "Tips" binder

4. Activity Notecards

The suggestions that were small enough to be filed have been glued to 3x5 notecards. The picture of each ideas is on the front of the card and the instructions are on the back. These are sorted into very general catagories: games, learning activities, science experiments, kids crafts, adult crafts, and home-making tips.

This is a shortened version of an original post from March.
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Got Laundry?

Although it isn't very old, our wash machine is prone to a little stink.
The poor thing has most recently seen piles of campfire scented textiles,
in addition to it's daily load of Bum Genius' one sizes.
What's a momma, and her most trusty machine, to do?
Smelly Washer to the rescue!

Seriously, this all natural odor eliminator does the trick. It freshens up the washing machine with a little help from the hot water and agitator. My only part in the process was a mandatory overnight break from doing laundry while Smelly Washer did its' thing. With a once weekly use a single bottle will keep my machine smelling clean for a year.

Take a look at the Smelly Washer website to learn more. If you're interested, you can also read tips on cleaning and maintaining other household appliances as well. While you are there, pick up a bottle of Smelly Washer for yourself. A List Maker's Life readers will receive 10% off any purchase between now and next Thursday with the coupon code "k2andkids"

Hey, I'm not just filling you in on my stinky washing machine. Nope. I'm also offering you a bottle of your own Smelly Washer good for 24 clean washing machine treatments. Leave a comment here to be entered to win! Giveaway ends 10PM on Thursday, July 30th.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Shore Things

~The sun rises & the sun sets
~If you forget to turn, you will burn

~Digging a giant beach hole is fun for kids of all ages
~The sound of the fog horn is quite possibly more peaceful than a lullaby

~Lunch on the beach comes with a little crunch
~Sand is the perfect fill for every little crack

~Take advantage of the moments (temps might change with the tides)
~If you feed one seagull, the whole clan will attack
~Don’t build your house on the sandy land

~Sunscreen + Sand = Sun Burn Exfoliation
~Each day is a gift

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Camping Part 2 - Arctic Circle

Well, maybe not!
But, with the crazy chilly temperatures we are having in the middle of July we might as well have been in the frozen tundra. Thank goodness for the foresight to pack long sleeves and jeans!

Although we were not able to spend much time hanging out in the water, we did relax and read in the sand. I finally finished a few half-read treasures that have been hanging out on my nightstand for months. I also really enjoyed reading The Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn. Steph sent this one my way right before we left for vacation. It’s full of inspiration and useful tips for families with 3 or more children.

One specific quote from the book is especially appropriate in recapping our week long adventure.

“When camping…the best of times happen shoulder to shoulder with the frustrating ones, and it is anyone’s guess which you’ll encounter in the next second.”

To that I say “No Kidding!”

Gibson became irreversibly spoiled by our new carrier. It sure is comfy to wear and he loves to hitch a ride with anyone who will wear him. Now that we are home he is having a bit of trouble re-adjusting to playing on his own on the floor.

Now, for the List Maker’s Family Vacation highlights:
~ My favorite quote of the week was from Anne Hope, “Mom, look the sun is finally awake!”
~We enjoyed lots of yummy treats: Whippy Dip, Cosmic Candy, and Smores

~I spent a special early morning walking the beach with Gibson and watching the sun rise over the dune.

~A hysterical highlight was when Gavin got himself stuck in the women’s bathroom - although, it wasn't too funny at the time!

~ On the way to Pentwater we stopped for a ride on the Mac Woods Dune Rides. The kids really loved it. Gibson made engine noises with his lips whenever the buggy was in motion.

~ On the way home from Pentwater we stopped back in Silver Lake to climb the 130 steps to the top of the Little Sable Lighthouse - What a neat view!
~Catching up on R & R & not having to stick to a schedule
~Walking the trails at Ludington State Park, as Gavin asked questions about every single historical marker on the Hamlin Village Trail
~Kevin and I enjoyed some adult time visiting around the fire with our friends.

Overall, we had a pleasant week away from the routines of work and home!
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Monday, July 20, 2009

My Favorite Dessert Recipe

Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Crust:
Melt 1/3 cup butter & 6 oz. of chocolate chips together
Remove from heat
Stir in 2-1/2 cups of Rice Krispies
Press into the bottom of a greased 9" pie pan

Pie Filling:
8 oz. softened cream cheese
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
3 Tbl. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Cool Whip

Beat the cream cheese until it is fluffy
Beat in condensed milk and peanut butter until smooth
Stir in lemon and vanilla
Fold in whipped cream
Fold into the chocolate pie crust

Drizzle the top of the pie with chocolate syrup before serving
Use a knife to swirl the drizzles around the top of the pie

Enjoy a SUPER sweet treat!
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What is your favorite recipe?

MckLinky Blog Hop

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Did You Know?

Coming up with three things that no one knows about me is a bit tricky. Looking back, it seems I blather about myself quite often here on A List Maker's Life. But, here's a try - three new pieces of random.

~This beautiful mei tai, from Cuddling Baby, arrived in my mail this week. This carrier has been on my wish list for awhile. I finally figured between summer camping adventures and the upcoming soccer season it was no longer a want, but a need - right?!?!

~I've never left Target with only the item I went intending to buy in my cart. Wait...has anyone??

~In honor of Kevin's first day of vacation I made bran muffins for his breakfast. They are a favorite for him. Me? After seeing what goes into them, I can't bring myself to give them even a little nibble.

I'm looking forward to finding out all sorts of "Did You Knows" from other MckLinky hoppers!

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