A List Maker's Life: January 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Choice is the first in a new series of books written about Amish life. The series, written by Suzanne Woods Fisher, is called Lancaster County Secrets. The main character, Carrie Weaver appears at first to be less than grounded. She prepares to leave her Amish heritage to elope with Solomon Riehl.  Solomon who was raised Amish has already left his roots to play baseball professionally.  When the opportunity falls apart for them, Carrie is left broken hearted and searching for love, belonging, and a future.  As she discovers her options and opportunities she makes significant choices.  As life would have it, her choices develop her foundation and purpose, making her stronger for them.

I have read and enjoyed series by other authors set in the same culture and time period, but found this book to be refreshing.  Fisher brought new perspective that made it comfortable, yet entertaining, to return to a book in a similar setting.  The characters were endearing and believable.  At times I struggled to relate to the outward simplicity despite the intense internal struggles, grief, and loss.  Eye opening, for sure. I will look forward to checking back in with these characters in the books to come.  Yet I appreciated that this title stood out on it own and ended with a clear resolution, instead of a frustrating cliff hanger. 

Book Bomb and Author's Talk with Suzanne Woods FisherLitfuse will be hosting both a Facebook Party on February 15th.  You are welcome to join the event to chat with the author and have a chance to win prizes by answering trivia questions.  In fact, Suzanne Woods Fisher will be telling the story behind The Choice, answering questions about the book, and sharing about her other upcoming releases. 
In addition, if you purchase a copy of The Choice during the Book Bomb on the 15th you will be entered to win an Amazon gift certificate.

Thanks to Litfuse Group for sending me a complimentary copy of The Choice to review for this post.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Fun Facts- For the Little Buns

Did you know?

~Starting today you can request a free sample pack of the new Pampers Cruisers high performance diaper with Dry Max on Pampers.com. With your sample comes an exciting opportunity to win a year's supply of diapers.  If your sample comes with a diaper stamped Team USA  - you win!

~To celebrate the launch of the new diaper, athletes' families will be outfitted with Team USA Cruisers for the Winter Olympics.

~A Pampers giveaway is coming to a blog near you - well this one right here to be exact.

For all you mommas with little babes, I thought you might want to know!
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Disclosure:  Pampers has asked me to work with them to get the word out about the new Dry Lock diaper.  As many of you know, for the most part we cloth diaper our little Gibson. If you didn't know I will look forward to telling you more about our diaper diary sometime.  However, when we are planning to be out and about or vacationing we use disposables as a back up.  Up to this point I have not used Pampers, but will be sent a sample to review before I post my giveaway in March.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Colorful Life

After the kids are bathed

and tucked in for the night

Kevin and I look forward to
laughing and talking...

watching and thinking...

us time...

...in color!
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The game pictured here is called ColorKu, it along with its' partner game Tic Tac Ku, have quickly become faves.  In sharing it here, I was in no way compensated.  I've done so just for the love of the game and the COLORS!  For more You Capture Color posts head over to I Should Be Folding Laundry!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Last night I went out with friends. 
I hope you know the kind.
Willing to cancel a hair appointment
drive from out of town on a "school night"
and travel to the ends of the earth,
but for now are just happy
to share a chocolate chip cookie.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

God's Little Princess by Sheila Walsh

God's Little Princess Devotional Bible, as it is called by author Sheila Walsh, is written specifically for girls between the ages of four and seven.  The book includes easy to read scripture selections which are taken from the International Childrens Bible.  Passages of scripture are intertwined with fun features to grab their attention and to speak to a child's heart.  The character seen throughout this Bible is Gigi, known by some because of her appearance in her own books about her adventures as God's Little Princess.

Features include: Down In My Heart (scripture memory suggestions), Beauty Secrets, Bible Princesses (women who made a difference), Take a Bow  (bible focused role plays), I Adore You (worship songs), Princess Charming (manners), Worthy of Love (tips for loving your family and friends), and  Royal Truths (basic values).

In our home we already had several Bibles for little boys, but this is the first we've seen specifically intended for young girls. I was anxious to take a look as we are currently doing our best to raise a confident and Godly little lady (who is so close to being 4)!  With it sparkly, inset jeweled, cover it was difficult for Anne Hope to resist opening the book immediately.  The inside proved to also be adorable with its' age appropriate graphics and pages designed in shades of pink and purple.

Personally, although this book is called a Bible, I would consider it more specifically a devotional.  The individual lessons are organized in order of the  books of the bible from which they come.  However, as we teach our children that all scripture is God breathed and useful, one must admit that this collection brings in a lot of outside information and perspective that is useful, but not original to biblical text.  The extras could be considered similar to the study notes in a Bible.

In all honesty, my opinion of Gigi books in general is that they are not high quality literature.  The writing is a little flat, yet the Fancy Nancy type character is a sure win with my three year old.  I often consider "Princess" to be a patronizing nickname used to inappropriately excuse annoying and sometimes self-centered little girl behavior.  Yet, this book is a great reminder that being a princess is so much more, it is a reason to act with appropriate manners, to understand why we desire to live out our values, and to celebrate the truth that we are the daughters of a king - The King of kings!

Appropriately Titled?
Debate aside, God's Little Princess is a charming collection of beneficial lessons and an enjoyable read.

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Thank you to Book Sneeze for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review here, as well as one a consumer website.

Monday, January 25, 2010


A week's worth of tweets that didn't make the cut:

Mr. Gibson hums when he eats and sings himself to sleep. #you'regonnamissthis

Having so much fun planning a scrapbooking retreat for my local chicas.  How many ladies might we fit into a cottage that sleeps 10? #shenaniganizer

There was major poverty & devastation in Haiti even before the recent tragedy, yet I'm thankful this has raised awareness of a significant problem! #howmanyorphanscanwefitinourhome

I borrowed Kev's iTouch 2 take 2 the gym & found myself sitting next to someone 10 years younger than me listening to a group that was popular before she was born #totallyembarrasedbymyplaylist

"Where's Gibson? I just want to snuggle him and smell him." #sogladheloveshislittlebrother

Just when you think it's time to move on to restoration & healing the ground shakes again  #morethanjusthaiti

To my dear children, who I swear aren't completely unsupervised, flushing the iPod is not a valid way to celebrate momma's birthday #birthdaysareoverrated

On the way to a party for her 4yo friend "Mom, I will be quiet & have fun.  And if anyone tells me I have the most beautiful eyes they've ever seen I will say 'Thank You' instead of 'I Know'." #raisingoneconfidentprincess
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Break for the Broken Hearted

Opening up to the bigger audience of social media has opened me up

Open for bigger good news
bigger joy
bigger laughs
bigger inspiration

Yet also discovering bigger sorrow
more cancer, death, childhood illness, addiction, abuse, and job loss

Yes, there is bigger pain
which brings a bigger perspective
and a much bigger opportunity for influence

Opening up to loving others in a big way is also opening my heart
to be broken.

It's a process where I am beginning to see that in caring I am losing pieces of myself.  However, in presenting the pieces to the One who teaches us to let our hearts break we find ourselves restored - bigger.
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Ladybugs N Butterflies

Other than the prerequisites that my toes need a fresh coat of polish before I wear flip flops, and my wardrobe needs a few pieces of pink, a feminine fashionista I am not!

Perhaps much to my mom's dismay it appeared until now that her shopping gene was lost. But as fate, or God's sense of humor, would have it that little genetic code just skipped a generation.
I am raising a mini model for whom accessories matter.

Actually, accessories = all important!
Shiny belt charms, glittery lip gloss, jewels, and hair baubles.
Anne Hope's philosophy is "the more pretties the better!"

Her mission is to instill in me a new appreciation for all things girly.
So, naturally, upon discovering Ladybugs N  Butterflies we declared it Hope's headquarters.

Ladybugs N' Butterflies carries boutique quality hair accessories.  They have an outstanding collection of clips, headbands, and pony o's.   They have sweet embellishments in all of their lines: solid colors, bows, flowers, adorable animals, holiday, and cutie fruities. 

If you've ever shopped for hair goodies for the little lady in your life you will appreciate that Ladybugs N' Butterflies allows you to build your own accessory.  After you choose your favorite embellishment, you are given color options, and a choice of clip styles: Alligator Pinch Clips (with an extra piece of grip material), Snap clips, French Barrettes, or Elastic Pony O's. They also offer a headband. The type of clip in relation to your little one's hair texture, really does make a difference in how well it will hold.

Having a little girl gives reason to shop adorable boutiques.
Reason to appreciate unique accessories.
Maybe I do have the fashion gene, buried under a few years of frugal.  Hmmm....
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Thank you so much to Ladybugs N Butterflies for sending Anne Hope the Emma Elizabeth (on an alligator clip) and the brown Alexandra Lane (on a snap clip) for this review.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm In Charge of Celebrations

As I'm sure you've imagined, my recent retreat featured a gorgeous spread of "forget about the calories" worthy cupcakes.  They were rumored to be most delicious. Yet, for the most part the secret of the Oreo Truffles has been kept quiet under white chocolate wraps.  Subsequently, as with most forbidden fruits, it's all I can do not to wish for just one more taste.  However, even more secretive than trufflegate itself is the keeper of the recipe. She's left me no choice but to search the whole world wide web over to find just the right recipe.  Although I fear they are not exactly the same, I made some today...

...in celebration!
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Note: This post title is taken from a picture book I used to enjoy with the students in my classroom, written by Byrd Baylor.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Love is in the House

What is love
that we haphazardly

toss it to the side

and disregard it
during the day

but as we settle in at night
realize we can't possibly be without

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This week's You Capture theme was Love Around the House. 
Check out the link party for more pictures and interpretations of the theme!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Baby Steps

Each tentative step forward requires great effort and great encouragement in return.

Finding an appropriate motivator could possibly make all the difference in the world.

A stumble leaves us clamoring for the familiar.
And while the familiar may be faster and more comforable, it may also paralyze progress.

The occassional slip and fall may require reassurance and a hug, yet we must not let it keep us from trying again.

With sufficient practice each day brings more confidence than the day before.

Where are your baby steps taking you?
Where do you hope to go?
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Disclaimer: Please excuse my amateur video uploading skills. My next step will have to be to learn how to rotate video. Also apologizing here for the super squeaky, high pitched momma voice I've subjected you to if you've taken the time to click on our videos. And finally, if you've seen one you've seen them all (unless you're the Gram)!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

In a moment of vulnerability I found myself making an unplanned self actualization and speaking it without censor.

"I’ve come to realize I hide behind my lists,
behind my organization,
behind my daily agendas
Admittedly unwilling to go beneath the surface
to all that seems safer there."

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Listen Thoughtfully

As I traveled along through long hours to my destination, a quick stop was in order.  Why was I left wandering past exit after exit?  Without the enthusiastic McDonald's pleas, coming from the car seats, I hardly knew what to choose.

Likewise, that song on the radio I really wasn't enjoying didn't need to be played in its' entirety.  In fact it didn't need to be on at all. Yet, amidst the recognition of this great opportunity for self selection, I hesitated to forward through someone else's favorite. 

The time with myself in the quiet of the car, while the world whizzed by outside the window, gave way to realization. I rarely listen thoughtfully. 

As my mind explores personal opinions, thoughts, and desires.  To my wishes, hopes, and dreams. To reflections on each situation. To the replays of interactions with others. To the processing of all the meaning that may have been lost in the rush of the moment - I must listen.

To find my voice.

If I can't even hear myself how do I expect to be able to process what others want to share, to understand with my heart, and to act with compassion?

In the everyday that is life, I will continue the journey of really hearing from all who take the time to share their thoughts, their experiences, their joys, their triumphs, and their fears. 

And to listen
to that still small voice
that longs to be heard.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Thanks

Adorable felt flower headband, a gift from Briana.
Awesome name tag strap, sewn with sweetness by Kim.
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The House That Dr. Love Built*

photo by Hyacynth

Every introduction had its' own special. 
Every conversation its' own story to tell.
Although this is just a finger dipped in the icing,
here are a few of the lessons I've taken from the lodge.

~Simple is always sweetest.
~Take time to intentionally slow down.  Even superheroes need time off.
~Be transparent. Are you who you want to be?
~Find strength in friendships both near and far.
~Just Write!

This week I look forward to unpacking what each of these lessons means to me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

It Doesn't Get Much Sweeter Than This

photo from cupcake10

Sophisticated Cupcakes
Stylish & Boy Crazy Cupcakes
Kind Hearted Cupcakes
Generous Cupcakes
Fantastically Funny Cupcakes
Stunning Cupcakes
Thoughtful Cupcakes
Glowing Cupcakes
Coordinated Cupcakes
Enthusiastic Cupcakes
Compassionate Cupcakes
Rockstar Cupcakes
Eloquent Cupcakes
Expressive Cupcakes
Resourceful Cupcakes
O So Cute Cupcakes
Soft Spoken Cupcakes
Friendly Cupcakes
Warm Cupcakes
Classy Cupcakes
Extraordinary Cupcakes
Fun Cupcakes
Strong Cupcakes
Creative Cupcakes
Intriguing Cupcakes
Honest Cupcakes
Welcoming Cupcakes

To all of you, who are all of these.
With love.
From this appreciative, reflective, and out of my league cupcake,
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I'm slowly digesting a weekend of sweet, rich Cupcake 10 joy!  I have so much to say, and will in time, but for now a yummy picture with Ivy & Steph.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

So Excited!

10 Things on My Packing List for Cupcake 10:

~My computer, my camera, and (if I have any luck convincing him) Kevin's iTouch
~A small trinket for each of the sweet cupcakes I will meet
~Annie's expert directions, her GPS system, and a couple new books on tape in anticipation of smooth traveling
~A car emergency kit, courtesy of my anxious husband, in case the travel isn't so smooth
~Cozy, hopefully comfy, clothes and a few fun accessories
~Magazines, a book, and a project for the post-cupcake quiet time
~A crock pot brimming with hot fruit soup & a cheesy chicken appetizer plate
~Birthday wishes for several other January birthday friends
~An empty notebook for recording ideas, thoughts, inspiration, questions, answers, quotes...
~Smiles, enthusiasm, and a fair share of nerves!

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Blissfully Blessed (& Frugal Besides)

The beginning of a new year is a fantastic time to re-examine household spending and focus on our tried and true tips for living within our means.

Don’t Buy Extras– A fabulous coupon, close out sale, interest rate, or membership is disappointing if it tricks you into an unnecessary purchase? Sorry Art Van I’ll probably skip out on your "BIGGEST SALE ‘EVAH!"

Stay Organized - Know what you have and where it is for easy use.
Visit The Library – Put holds on upcoming releases to still be the first to read a well anticipated book, hear a new CD, or watch a DVD free of charge.

Appreciate Shabby Chic – If the furniture is looking a little rough just scuff it up more purposefully.
Explore Your City – Find simple family fun near your own hometown. During the summer the kids and I joined our neighbors for city bus rides and splashing in the downtown fountains.

Think Outside the Box - Make the most of limited space and money. We found an inexpensive solution for our bathroom storage problem.
Set Up Co-ops – Organize a neighborhood free sale to trade goods, child care, services, kid crafts, clothes and accessories with friends. This year we coordinated a co-op preschool amongst friends and took turns teaching in our homes. The children learned valuable lessons, while having loads of fun, and we avoided costly preschool tuition.

Do It Yourself – My handy husband helps us with routine car maintenance, home repairs, and consistent yard work. By cloth diapering we’ve also saved money with just a bit of extra laundry required.

Grow Fresh- Decorate your kitchen windowsill with potted herbs, always recipe ready.

Discover Resale Stores – In a storm of giveaway luck I won two lovely canvas prints. Professional framing would have been out of our budget, however checking out thrift store options we found great glass and sturdy frames. With a little time and a great can of spray paint our wall art became an inexpensive reality
Network, Ask Questions, and Take Suggestions- Reach out to blissfully frugal friends! Social media opens up a whole new world of ideas, recipes, and inspiration.

Plan Ahead – The weeks I set our family up with a menu, and a thorough shopping list, we save money at both the grocery store and the drive-thrus.

Repurpose – I’ve been crafting discarded jewelry into quirky cute necklaces: a creative outlet and a stash of gift giving options.
Change Your Perspective – Recognize all you already have. We’re often reminded in our “momentary poverty” we are still wealthier than 90% of the world! We also enjoy keeping a journal recording our unexpected blessings.

Give It Away - Pass down clothes and unused treasures, it’s likely others will do the same in return.

When we share from our abundance with those around us we are blessed beyond our hopes and dreams. Blissfully, more than we could ask or even imagine…
Ephesians 3:20

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P.S. Look for Unique Opportunities
Write a post about Blissful Frugality and enter it at Inexpensively.
I’d be blissfully excited if my frugality paid off and I won a ticket to Blissdom!

Out of the Mouths of My Babes

10 Things the Kids Have Said Recently:

~"Me Too" - this one isn't new, Anne Hope says this to just about everything Gavin says or does
~"Stay it There" - Anne Hope's version of  "Leave it Here"
~"Go Him Down" - Get Gibson out of our room!!!
~While coloring together in the kitchen I had to tell the kids I'd hear enough potty talk, to which Anne Hope replied, "Come on Gavin, let's go talk in the bathroom."
~"Come on dad, we all know mom is the boss" - wish I could recall the conversation leading up to this insight from Gavin
~"Please, please don't make me eat the pea soup!!" After watching us eat it Anne Hope asked with great concern, "Is there really pee in it?"
~Anne Hope to Gavin, "When we grow up, you be the daddy and I'll be the dog."
~While listening to the radio and trying to convince me to make scrambled eggs for lunch, "This sounds like a great tune for eating eggs."
~"Ugh, This tastes like Walmart!"  I can only imagine how hard that was on the little taste buds
~"Oh, Jingle Bells!"  A mom approved alternative to Oh, S#@*! (This, thankfully hasn't come out of their mouths yet!)
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Turn It Up

The 10 Most Played Songs in my iTunes Library

~Glorified by Jared Anderson
~What Do I Know of Holy by Addison Road
~I Wish by Nicole C Mullen
~I Never Told You by Colbie Calliat
~Twice as Good by Sara Groves
~Love Story by Taylor Swift
~Lollipop by Mika
~Pat, Pat, Patty Pat by Bert and Ernie
~My Desire by Jeremy Camp
~Revelation Song by Kari Jobe

What are you listening to?
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Monday, January 4, 2010

For Today

10 Things to be Happy about Right Now

~A cozy, warm house
~New toys that give playtime new life
~Getting in and out of an errand in the time that was allotted for it, instead of being 10 minutes late for the next commitment (it's a rarity for sure)
~A craft project to look forward to
~Re-reading a pile of holiday greeting cards from friendly faces
~A new perspective & a fresh start
~A Creative Memories delivery waiting to be opened
~Monkey (Gibson's must have) has been found, it isn't lost in grocery cart land like we feared
~Naptime for my three little loves
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

On the Agenda

10 Things I'm looking forward to in this first full week of 2010!

~Teaching Anne Hope's Thursday School and watching her start up the second session of dance class
~Playing Kevin in a few rounds of  Tic-Tac-Ku
~Finishing my 2009 scrapbook
~A few afternoon visits to the Dow
~Reading with the kids in Gavin's class again
~Getting ABC & 123 back up and running
~Playing with the kids in the snow
~A Diet Coke (I will really be looking foward to this since I'm trying to start a healthier habit of only one a week )
~The first episode of the Bachelor (please, no stone slinging!)
~Cupcake 10!!
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Our New Year Traditions

In addition to our game of predictions, we have a few other favorite New Year's traditions

On New Year's Eve we spending time cutting, collaging, and pasting together a small Year in Review poster.  Everyone cuts and contributes.

While we cut we enjoy homemade cocoa.  In fact, each year we try a different recipe.

Creamy Dreamy Hot Chocolate
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 cups hot water

Combine first four ingredients in a large saucepan; mix well.  Over medium heat, slowly stir in water.  Cook until heated through, stirring frequently.

We celebrate with a Charm Cake of sorts where each of us finds a fortune for the New Year.  This year we tried a version of Charm Pops from Bakerella and the kids helped write a fortune that corresponded with each of our charms.

New Year's Day is spent Wishing, Hoping, and Dreaming of what is to come (our family's version of resolutions) and sledding! 

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