A List Maker's Life: February 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Easy Tea Party Cakes

In planning for last week's princess tea party I had it in mind to make cupcakes with small crown toppers.  However, after picking out the perfect tea party dishes I realized a full size cupcake would be the only thing to fit on the little ladies' dainty {that's the fancy word for delicately charming} plates.  So, we went on a grocery aisle search for a sweet alternative. 

With a little scoping Anne Hope and I found just the right ingredients for our own version of petits fours glacés{that's the fancy word for bite size, iced confections served as desserts}. 

The Shopping List

~Oreo Cakesters {we used the yellow cake version in the 100 Calorie Pack size}
~White chocolate melting candy
~Icings & Decorations

The To-Dos

~Melt down the white chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat {if the water touches the bottom of the top boil pan and/or boils, the chocolate burns quickly}
~While you're waiting, unwrap the mini cakes and lay them out on wax paper
~Dip one Cakester at a time
~Spoon around in chocolate to fully cover
~Fish out {completely un-fancy word there, 'huh?}with a spoon and tap on the side of the bowl until covered smoothly
~Leave to cool on wax paper
~Once cool, decorate petits fours with icings and more.

Appréciez!
{that's the fancy word for Enjoy}

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's Shaping Up to Be Quite a Special Day

In celebration of our Anne Hope's 4th birthday we have a little princess themed tea party taking shape.

{circles}
{rectangles}
{flowers}
{stars}
{spheres}
{my heart}
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This post is linked to You Capture: Shapes. Even if it is a bit of a stretch...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

All Things Hidden by Tricia Goyer

All Things Hidden is the eighteenth book in a continuing series called Home to Heather Creek.  Charlotte Stevenson, who is raising her grandchildren on the family farm, with the help of her circle of friends and her husband Bob gets caught up in a mystery of history.  While cleaning out the basement of Bedford Community Church Charlotte comes across a tattered and yellowed newspaper article. The clipping, published more than a century ago, implicates her great-great-grandfather in the loss of funds intended to help finish building the church. Now, she feels as if the past has come back to haunt her.

Meanwhile, her grandchildren are busy making history of their own.  Sam is spending time with a new girl in town-and is keeping secrets about where they go. Christopher is trying to get an article published in the local paper.  Emily reluctantly partners with a foreign exchange student on a class project and eventually comes to see that they're not that different after all. Throughout their activities, old secrets are brought to light and the entire family is reminded that the truth is sometimes more complicated than it seems.

The author, Tricia Goyer is the author of many books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. She writes for publications such as Today's Christian Woman and Focus on the Family.  She also speaks to women's groups nationwide, and has been a presenter at the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) national convention.
I found All Things Hidden to be a simple, lighthearted story.  As it bounces between the experiences of two different generations, it would be an appropriate read for both teen and adult women.  Tricia's style of creating setting and building the plot drew me in to the book. The lessons I will take from this heart warming story are to look for clues in life, pay attention to wisdom from unexpected people, take time to listen to myself, and figure out where all those clues lead.


All Things Hidden is available for purchase at Guideposts.
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Thank you to LitFuse for sending me a complimentary copy of All Things Hidden for my participation in this blog tour

Friday, February 19, 2010

Just Happy to Be Here

After graduating from Hope, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving Holland.  Lucky for me, even before I had secured a teaching position in our little town Kevin agreed to make our home here.  The decision would leave him driving about an hour to and from work each day.  What a guy.  Thankfully, my ideal teaching position, in my ideal district, found me.

Ten years later we find ourselves more than happy with our choice to live here.  In fact, after several years of my status as a SAHM we discussed, and quite frankly feared, a move closer to Kevin's job was logical in order to save on gas money and family time.  In our conversations we'd try to convince ourselves that it was time to move on. Why not?

Nothing was tying us to Holland
except...
...the friendly neighbors
...play grounds within walking distance of every direction of our home
...community recreation opportunities
...bike trails from just about anywhere all leading to the beach

...the most photographed lighthouse on the Great Lakes
...innovative long term development plans
...adorable downtown shopping with heated sidewalks
...our cozy home
...our dangerous proximity to the Hudsonville ice cream plant
...familiar faces, small town connections
...the history, culture, and diversity
...streets lined with well maintained tulip beds

...well defined seasons with special expectations for each
...a holiday light parade
...traditional college events in the fall
...a fabulous summer market
...a spring festival that brings us out like nothing else
...a connection to the alumnus groups and activities

...our doctors, our dentist, our grocery store, our favorite restaurants, and our church. 

So, in actuality we found ourselves weighing all these things against our desire to cut down on commuting.

This week when the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index  named our beloved town the #2 happiest place to live in America — right between #1 Boulder, Colorado and #3 Honolulu, Hawaii we weren't surprised.  It appears the rest of the world is about to take note of what we've got going here in Holland. Ironically, we're living tucked between our ideal vacation locations (Kev is a mountain man, I prefer the ocean).

The media came to see what Holland is all about and reported their findings in a segment called, Welcome to Happytown.  As nature would have it the cameras were greeted by a typical lakeshore snow event.  Our gray sky kind of day.  While the report focuses more than we do on the weather conditions, and only scratches at the surface of what makes Holland a happy place, it does talk of the heart of the city.  The Mayor, Kurt Dykstra speaks to the "can't take away our joy" attitude when he states,
"If a small community located in the state with the worst economy can feel good about itself, seems to me we've got hope in the country." 

Ah Yes!
Holland is our happy place. 
The place we plan to stay.
And, as if in celebration our blue skies and bright sunshine have decided to move back to town - just in time.
Now, what do you say?
Wanna get happy?
Oh please come visit!
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Kiss the Girl

Next week Thursday this little lovey will celebrate four years of kisses.  We figure she has had at the very least 2, 920 of them planted on her sweet girly face. Certainly because she is loved beyond measure, but also because she just happens to have the most kissable cheeks. In fact, Anne Hope wears her heart on her cheek. Her own permanent kiss mark in the shape of a heart. True story.
{kisses treasured}
{kisses shared}
 {a kiss reminder}

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This post is linked to You Capture: Kisses!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Warmth

Sitting by the fireplace at mom and dad's house
The smell of baking cookies
Flipping through our wedding photos
The colors of fall
A special heart breakfast for my Valentines
My favorite fuzzy, floral mittens
The kids giggling in the back seat of the car
Unsolicited "I Love Yous"
Selah in my CD player
Walking the shoreline during a summer sunset
My heart is warmed by these thoughts
even though my toes are still chilly

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Doing Life Together*

We all desire a sense of community.  Unfortunately for most of us we leave it behind when we move out of the dorm.  For the most part, gone are the days of eating together in our jammies, dropping by unexpectedly to offer a study break or heart to heart, grocery shopping in groups, and solving lifes problems next to the bathroom sink with toothbrushes still in hand.

Why do we close the door on community, the kind we loved and often still long for, as we build our families?
Is there a sense of vulnerability?  Are we hesitant to open ourselves to judgment, questioning, criticism?  Perhaps we are worried about expectations, jaded by relationship disappointments, or just afraid to spread ourselves too thin in a world where our immediate family needs - deserves - so much of our time.

Excuses? Realities? Maybe.

Yet, I have hope for the kind of life where we...

...take a fussy baby from the arms of a friend to offer a moment of relief and kindness.
...throw an extra car seat in the van for an unplanned play date, giving another momma the gift of an errand with one less buckle to strap on and off.
...put together a spur of the moment dinner visit and care little about what's served, but a lot about what's said.
...celebrate the little (and not-so-little) milestones that may (or may not) be posted on facebook.
...plan for summer vacations together.
...share recipes, clothes, and secrets.
....sit on the edge of the tub with each other as we bathe our kids.
...are willing to speak the hard truths to sharpen one another.
...drop by just to pass on the latest magazines and greatest books as soon as we've finished reading them.
...talk candidly with each other even on topics where we don't have the same thoughts, opinions, and conclusions.

The kind of life where we take our everyday, ordinary
and do it together!
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*My post title is borrowed from Kelly's blog. The more I think about her blog's title, the more I love all that it implies.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Play: A Child's Work

In great exploration, there are great observations
Bubbles: They last only a moment before bursting
& are easily popped with the slightest touch
Bubbles: The bigger they get the more fragile they become
Bubbles: Some need a little extra wind to rise & some fail to rise at all
Bubbles: Appear most colorful when they are the weakest
As I watch these little faces framed in floating iridescent
I take time to appreciate my life's work.
I realize the moments pass by in the blink of an eye
Each one fragile & beautiful

Without exploration there is nothing
Without exploration what lessons would be lost?
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Thanks to Beth for encouraging me to look for unique moments to capture on camera in this week's You Capture challenge!  Thinking of her now especially as she is working on a big project for me (more to come on that...) and anticipating the "work" of delivering her fifth little love soon!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Take Note

Update: This giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations Shana (comment #9 chosen by Random.org)!
Shana said...
I became a fan of Carolina Pad on facebook. shana0923

For a list making, note taking gal like myself  there isn't much that is more exciting than a big box full of stationary and office goodies.

If you live in the Midwest, you are no stranger to Meijer stores.  Meijer and Fred Meyer Stores have recently teamed up with Carolina Pad to test the new Organize Me Spinner Racks for merchandising new selections of everyday paper products.  The racks offer a variety of extraordinary designs from four new collections: In the Navy, Carnival, Provence, and Urban Mix.



Each of these featured collection designs really are fabulous, but I especially loved the Provence design with its' traditional meets contemporary look, and slightly muted colors. 
The mini notebook and weekly undated desk calendar are my favorite products for everyday usefulness.  I keep the notebook in my purse to keep track of thoughts and kid quotes.  As you can see below, I have yet to open the In the Navy undated calendar pack because I am still using an older design of the same product, but I love the unlined space for organizing our day to day to-dos.
With the Spinner Racks, Carolina Pad has also introduced some new product formats, such as clip boards and mini-clutches.  I personally like the clipboard which is made of a durable, wipe-off material and holds a pad of coordinated lined note paper.
One reader of A List Maker's Life will win a sample package of the new products similar to the fantastic package I received from Carolina Pad. 
To be entered to win simply leave your comment here.
For an additional entry follow Carolina Pad on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.
Entry will be open on this giveaway until 10 PM EST on February 19th.

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To be eligible to win you must not have won a Carolina Pad  giveaway in the last 30 days.  Thanks to Carolina Pad for offering me the opportunity to review their products and host this giveaway.  I have not been paid for my opinion, yet have thoroughly enjoyed the sample products they have given me, all shown above.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rehashing- part 2

Today I was told I looked tired and ornery #howabout2positivecommentsnowhoney

"Good thing Gram didn't get in the way of this picture with her thumb," says Anne Hope. #photographyskillsseriouslyinquestion

If I don't have my tweet deck open I won't see all the #blissdom updates and want to pout #stillfightingjealousy

This morning while I was blow drying my hair the outlet started to smoke #badhairdaycourtesyofnearhousefire
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Glittery Activity, Without the Glittery Mess


For this week's Thursday school Anne Hope and I put together a fine motor exploration that sparkles!
We're looking forward to giving it a try with our preschool friends as we practice the letter J, the number 13, and the heart shape.
Materials:
Ziplock bags
Hair gel
Glitter

Assembly:
Squeeze hair gel into a baggie.  Shake the glitter into the gel.  Squeeze out the extra air before zipping the bag.  Work the ingredients in together.

Suggestions:
~Lay the baggie over pre-made cards printed with shapes, numbers, or letters to trace.
~Encourage your child to make straight, squiggly, wavy, or zig zag lines
~Lightly press plastic cookie cutters into the bag to make designs
~Make handprints.
~Talk about a pattern and have your child draw what comes next.  Ex. xx o xx o xx __
~Give your child addition, subtraction, or multiplication problems to solve.  Have them write and erase their answers in the glitter goo.
~Place the bag on top of large font titles in magazines to practice tracing core words such as: I, a, and, the, like, etc.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

According to Him

"Mom, you are the greatest mom I've ever had!"

Wow, thanks Gavin. 
{thinking to myself}That is almost a compliment.

Seconds later, after I just happened to have an answer to his burning question, he asked another, "Mom, why do you know everything?"

Well, Gavin
{with a hint of sarcasm} that's because I'm also the smartest mom you ever had.

"Guess you're not too smart mom or you would know that Grandpa is the smartest.  He knows EVERYthing and I'm pretty sure he taught you everything you know."
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