A List Maker's Life: March 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So What if it Doesn't Feel Like Spring Yet?

Wordless Wednesday is Hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom (and it has been a long time since I've participated)!
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We Scream for Hudsonville Ice Cream

We had quite an adventure this morning!  Awhile back I wrote a post about my favorite things about our happy town.  In that post I mentioned our hometown ice cream addiction.  Upon reading my entry they generously invited our family to visit the factory and see how Hudsonville Ice Cream is made.
The colorful murals on the walls made this factory look like a fun place to spend the day, and were designed and painted by a local artist Joel Tanis.  In addition to the amazing wall decor, the large storage containers (which hold 90+ bathtubs full of milk and cream) are painted in cheerful sherbet colors.
Mr. Fillipini made it a point to explain to the kids how important math and science are to the production of ice cream. He introduced the kids to one of the Hudsonville team's scientists and their interesting equipment.

Interestingly, we learned that all manufactured ice cream is made up of about 50% air. As Mr. Fillipini joked that really just means we can eat twice as much! Actually, he explained that by adding more than air national or generic brands sell ice cream for less money. Of course, the sacrifice then is FLAVOR! In fact, he mentioned that some brands are not able to use the words ice cream on their containers; based on ingredients they are instead labeled ”dairy treats.”
Other fun facts:
~The ice cream is chilled to 21 degrees and stored in a massive cooler.
~Hollanders breathe easy knowing that our dear Captain Sundae serves Hudsonville Ice Cream.
~Kilwin's brand ice cream is also mixed and packaged in this factory.
~The Hudsonville plant was seriously the cleanest place I have ever been in.  They explained that every vat, tube, pipe, floor, and wall is thoroughly cleaned out daily.
~The ice cream formulators are often sent samples of chocolate, candy, and fudge in the sender's hopes of being added to new blends.
Tucked safely in this cooler, guarded by the happiest dad in Holland, are 6 half-gallons of delicious Hudsonville Ice Cream in different flavors. In fact, two of the flavors are hot off the press and have not been introduced to the public yet! Want to guess what the flavors might be?  Each of the kids got to pick a favorite.  True to my predictions Anne Hope went right for Super Scoop.  Gavin surprised us by picking a vanilla/orange sherbet blend.  He later explained to me his rationale, "Well, mom!  That was the kind of ice cream they were making when we toured the factory, so that is what I wanted to taste."  We also picked up my favorite, Mint Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Covered Cashew.  Yum!

This weekend Hudsonville is hosting an amazing community charity event called "The Coolest Taste to Share EXTRAVAGANZA."  The event will feature tours, tastings, face painting, music, and more.  The proceeds will benefit Kids’ Food Basket is a hunger relief agency in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that provides food insecure children an evening meal each weekday at the end of the school day. The children we serve attend schools where 80% or above of students live at or below the poverty level. Unfortunately, the event is sold out, but to learn more about how you can ensure that children in our communities don’t go to bed hungry please visit their website at, http://www.kidsfoodbasket.org/

Thanks for the great visit Hudsonville!
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Monday, March 22, 2010

Easter Basket Blog Hop

I am really looking forward to an egg-ceptional Easter this year!  I've been busy putting together some sweet baskets that I will be excited to show pictures of after they've been given.  We also have lots of  Easter favorites that I am anxious to prepare, my shopping list is ready.  This week, I'm thinking these mosaic Easter Eggs might make a fun seasonal project for the kids to do.
Believe it or not, I've already received a little Easter treat from Stacey of StaceySays.me.  She sent me this virtual basket in celebration of Spring and Children's Miracle Network.
You see, this Easter, Hershey's is partnering with bloggers to donate $5000 to the Children’s Miracle Network by hosting a blog hop.  For each blog that participates Hershey's will donate $10 to CMN. Helping out is as easy as spreading the word and sharing your virtual baskets with friends.

I'd like to send virtual baskets to these friends:
(If I missed you and you'd love to participate you are more than welcome to join the hop)
~Annie from Knees of My Heart
~Kate from Crazy Chaos
~Summur from Braley Mama
~Jenny from Our Nifty Notebook
~Courtney from Alam mo ny an

Hershey’s Better Basket Blog Hop Rules
1. Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.

2. Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger — you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want!

3. Link back to the person who gave you an Easter Basket.

4. Let each person you are giving a Virtual Basket know you have given them a Basket.

5. Leave your link at BetterBasket.info/BlogHop in the comment section. You can also find the official rules of this #betterbasket blog hop and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there.

6. Hershey’s is donating $10 per blog participating in the Better Basket Blog Hop to Children’s Miracle Network (up to a total of $5000 by blog posts written by April 4, 2010).

7. Please note that only one blog post per blog url will count towards the donation.
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just Keep Swimming

We've had a trying couple of weeks in our home.  More than a few times I've muttered to myself, or sang aloud to the kids, "Just Keep Swimming." During yesterday's performance of Finding Nemo, Dory swam out exclaiming her famous line.  Gavin's face lit up as he turned to me, "Mom, they used your words in the show!"
When we won a family pack of tickets to Disney on Ice, courtesy of Stacey and Feld Entertainment, I knew the kids would flip!  True to our prediction, they loved the show and sat attentively mesmerized for the entire two hour performance.
What I didn't know was how much Kevin and I would enjoy the show as well!  In true Disney fashion, the costumes were elaborate.  The set was colorful.  The story was cleverly portrayed.  The showmanship was very professional.  We all loved it and will count this as a March highlight!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Although I do not believe we are even a wee bit Irish, today we are enjoying all things green.

The sun is shining and nature is singing in shades of green outside our (brand new picture) window.
When we got dressed this AM, I pulled the tags off a (never been out of the closet) green sweater and pinned felt shamrocks to Anne Hope’s dance costume and Gavin’s favorite character day outfit.
There has been cabbage and Corned Beef Brisket simmering in our Dutch oven for hours.
And this little leprechaun is sampling his first ever Shamrock Shake.
More precious to me than the gold at the end of the rainbow.
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Napping Day with a Protect-a-Bed Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to Red Fuzzy Cow, who is the winner chosen by Random.org.  Thanks so much to all of you who entered!
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Seriously, today is National Napping Day!  In my book that's better than a birthday! I've been told I have valued sleep more than most since the day I was born.  Although I don't get a daily nap myself, I've tried my best to instill in the kids the importance of a rest time.  Many ask how it is that I still have all three kids napping on the same schedule every afternoon.  Ah, it's magical!
And today, in honor of the holiday, I happily joined them!

Protect-A-Bed® supports the art of napping on National Napping Day. According to their site:

Napping is an art – an art studies show bolsters health and creativity. History has produced a legion of great nappers. Among them are Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Edison and Lord Byron, who after sweet slumbers achieved great feats of art, science and literature.

Is this a coincidence – this combination of greatness and napping? On this Napping Day, we at Protect-A-Bed think not. Napping Day is the first Monday after daylight saving time begins. It’s the day when the majority of us, a bit weary from losing an hour of sleep, desperately long for a short siesta. And, we here at Protect-A-Bed believe you should cave to that longing.

Studies abound tout the benefits of napping, from enhancing memory and learning, to improving work performance, and increasing mental acuity and overall health. That’s why on the first Monday after daylight saving time begins, it’s fitting to celebrate the benefits of the nap and those who take them.

Protect-A-Bed offers protective bedding products to create a Healthy Sleep Zone. The unique technology featured in Protect-A-Bed’s mattress and pillow protectors was developed in South Africa and is now a worldwide leader in mattress protection innovation. The company developed the proprietary Miracle Membrane® and patented Bug Lock® and Secure Seal®, which help create a dry, bed bug free, anti-allergy sleep zone for people of all ages.

I am pleased to be hosting a giveaway, in honor of National Napping Day, for one lucky reader to win a Queen Size Protect-A-Bed Premium Mattress Protector. See rules below to enter today.

MANDATORY ENTRY RULE – Tell me in a comment  - When is the last time you had a nap?

~1 Extra Entry – Tweet this giveaway. Copy and paste – @listladykatie is giving away a Queen Size Protect-A-Bed Mattress Protector! Check it out here http://bit.ly/9J4wO7. Then come back and leave the direct link to your tweet.
~1 Extra Entry – Friend me on Google Friend Connect on sidebar and leave a separate comment that you did.
~2 Extra Entries – Write a post on your blog linking to my blog.

This giveaway will run through 10PM EST on March 29. Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

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Disclosure: I will be receiving a Queen Size Protect-A-Bed Premium Mattress Cover from Protect-A-Bed as well as one to giveaway to one of my readers as part of a campaign for Global Influence.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Car Wash

This Carwash, made by Sassy, is a bath time toy perfect for our little boy.  Cars can drive down ramps, be pushed up roads, and cleaned with a yellow shower head that squirts tub water. The Carwash also features a detachable floating car ferry, a truck that scoops water, a car that strains water, and a third vehicle that squirts.

This bath toy helps develop motor skills as Gibson has the opportunity to squeeze, drive and bang the cars. The cars also pour, scoop and squirt the water.

My favorite feature? At the end of bath time, all the pieces store in a drainable mesh pocket and the whole toy hangs on a small hook in our shower.
This toy is safe for children from birth and up, yet it is specifically geared toward 9 month old children
All three of our kids wanted a chance at a bath with this new toy.
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Disclosure: Ebeanstalk is a toy website dedicated to selecting the best toys by age and kids toys. The in-home feedback of bloggers and moms like me around the country help to make sure ebeanstalk continues to provide the best educational toys for your child. Ebeanstalk has given us the product shown here in exchange for my honest opinion

Monday, March 8, 2010

Somewhat Silent

Kevin just pointed out to me that it's been awhile since I've posted on A List Maker's Life.  Yes, I guess its been quieter than normal. 

There are times I have ideas swirling through my mind endlessly, just waiting for the kids' nap time (my me time) to put them together here. 
Other times ideas swirl just as effortlessly, but I think more about keeping them for myself.  Processing more carefully what I want to share in detail, I think about our family and friends taking interest in conversation with us rather than reading our life like a list.  Does that make sense?  Maybe only to me, but that's where I'm at today. 

Although I may not be writing about it all, we're doing well and life is happening.

~We have a brand new, chubby cheeked, fuzzy headed, yummy smelling nephew.
~Anne Hope had her 4 year "get ready for school even though we don't have know where the heck she'll be going" physical.
~Gibson is gearing up for ear tube surgery later this week.
~ABC & 123 is anticipating a 1 year birthday in a few short days and I'm looking forward to celebrating and to making some little changes there.
~There's another little project I've been working on that I look forward to showing you soon.
~Our snow is melting!
~I enjoyed  reconnecting with some sweet sisters Friday and a date night with Kevin on Saturday.
~We recently attended Gavin's parent teacher conference and are currently weighing our options for his first grade placement next year.

Good life and Life life, it's happening. 
Hope this finds you living life too!
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Building Relationships

Update: This giveaway is now closed.  The winner according to Random.org is comment #7,

Rach said...
now *this* sounds like a giveaway just for me! :)
March 3, 2010 6:46 PM
I've been reading two new books about developing stronger relationships - relationships with our mothers, daughters, and our Father - Mother Daughter Duet & Dancing With My Father .  Through biblical insights, and real-life stories, these books are an encouragement to find joy in both earthly and eternal relationships.

Mother Daughter Duet by Cheri Fuller

Award-winning author Cheri Fuller and her daughter, Ali Plum, have discovered the keys to a healthy relationship. In Mother-Daughter Duet they share their story—each from her own perspective—in which they have experienced distance and tension, growth and challenge, and, ultimately, acceptance and harmony. Filled with personal anecdotes and based on several basic principles (letting go; listening; respect; setting boundaries; and more), Mother-Daughter Duet helps moms repair the breach so that daughters want to draw close.

I found this book to be current and relevant.  In the chapter on generational differences I read descriptions of my generation that I found to be spot on.  They explained that mothers who are critical would view our generation as unable to communicate face to face because we choose to share important conversations via text, not as hard working as previous generations, and unable to face reality.  Yet, an encouraging mother would focus on the strengths of our generation: the ability to talk about issues with honesty, a lack of pretense, a refreshing lack of focus on physical appearance, the desire to stay closely connected with girlfriends by planning regular getaways, and a clearer sense of boundaries.

As I read this book I couldn't help by but incredibly grateful for the way my mom has built our adult relationship.  Her example should be a model for me in my future relationship with Anne Hope, however since she hasn't written done all of her secrets to success I'm glad to have the wisdom from this book.
Dancing With My Father by Sally Clarkson

The reality of living in a broken, fallen world can leave women feeling overcome by fear, guilt, and weariness. In the midst of it all some women develop  numbness to any sense of joy.  With the voice of a wise and kind mentor, the author reveals how, by getting in tune with the rhythm of God’s presence, women can nurture an inner attitude of anticipation and celebration even in the stressful seasons of life.

This book is set up like a devotional in that it incorporates scripture, discussion questions, and reflection prayers with each chapter.  Dancing with My Father is truly an encouragement to read as defines a true purpose and refines passions -especially in the midst of the daily routines and sometimes overwhelming to-dos. I really enjoyed the chapter that addressed how our own joy is made complete when it is shared.  There is also an important reminder in the message that happiness often focuses on me and what I am able to have and do, where joy is about what I am able to give to others.  Sally also speaks right to me when she encourages being fully engaged and dancing through daily duties, instead of trudging with drudgery through the things that seem mundane.

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group has provided a copy of each of these books for giveaway here on A List Maker's Life.  To be entered to win this 2 book set, please leave a comment on this post before Thursday, March 11th at 10 PM EST.

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These books were provided for my review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Get Back Up Again

Early this winter Gavin expressed an interest in ice skating.  Kevin took him to our friends' backyard rink where he confidently found his way around the ice pushing a small chair.  When his school sent home a flyer inviting the kids to a lesson at a local indoor hockey rink he made sure we added the event to our calendar.  

When we arrived we were all a bit overwhelmed to see how very many children were also interested in learning to skate, likely fueled by the Winter Olympic hype.  Anne Hope completely freaked opted out as soon as she saw the crowds, leaving Gavin to brave it alone.  Brave it he did, even without the safety of a chair to push.  We were so proud of his effort and his willingness to keep at it.

Fast forward to this weekend.  Gavin's great buddy, Jeremy, was looking out for him when a copy of tobyMac's newest album Tonight came across his desk at the radio station.  He set it aside to be sure we had a copy.  When he brought it over and we were all pretty excited.  Gavin put it in right away and a family dance party ensued.  The catchy tune to song #2 became a quick favorite.  After listening a few times Gavin happily explained, "You know that song is so true.  It's like when things go wrong we can just get back up again and God will help us do it.  Like when I tried ice skating."
We lose our way,
We get back up again
It's never too late to get back up again,
One day you will shine again,
You may be knocked down,
But not out forever.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Go For Gold

This giveaway is now closed.  The winner, chosen by Random.org is comment #7, Lindsay!  Enjoy!
As the 2010 Winter Olympics closed ceremonies last night the US Olympic team had 37 medals - an impressive first place ranking in the medal count.  It has been exciting to watch the athletes excel in many winter sports. Since the opening ceremonies two weeks ago, I have been experimenting with a bit of an Olympic challenge myself and I'm ready to hand out another medal for performance excellence. 

While we typically use cloth diapers for our {almost} 16 month old, I was thrilled to give the new Pampers Dry Max technology a try.  They have redesigned the Cruisers diapers for higher performance.  They've made them significantly thinner (20%), yet they work better than ever.  The new material included is called Dry Max and Pampers claims it locks away wetness for up to 12 hours. The diapers have a soft outer cover for comfort, they have a tapered design, and are decorated with Sesame Street® characters.

I was impressed with how thin the diapers really were.  We saw a big difference in the way Gibson's clothes fit in comparison to his big ol' cloth diaper bum - which meant we got a little extra wear out of the 12 month jeans I thought he'd outgrown!  In all honesty, before cloth diapering our youngest we used every brand BUT Pampers. Simply because I have a difficult time with the way they smell (before they are loaded...). However, the convenience and performance of the made over editions might just help me get over my scented diaper issue.  I was pleasantly surprised at how lightweight the diapers felt when "full."  In fact, I think I left him in them up to 2 hours longer than our typical diapers because they never seemed wet. 

Pampers with Dry Max officially hit store shelves in March, giving you with diapered babes a chance to try them for yourself.  However, they are also offering a reader of A List Maker's Life a redeemable coupon for a free week's supply of the all-new Cruisers with Dry Max AND a Liz Lange diaper clutch.

To be entered to win, leave a comment here! 
I'd love to hear what diapers you currently use and/or what excites you about this new option.
Entry will be open to US Residents only until Friday, March 12th at 10PM EST.
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Many thanks to Pampers and American Pop Digital for allowing me to participate in this trial and giveaway.  The samples they have sent were not sent with the intent to be a payment for my favorable review, instead as a chance to hear my honest opinions.