A List Maker's Life: April 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tip Toe Into Spring

During the next week in our little town we welcome junk food wagons galore, artwork, concerts, craft fairs, pigs-in-a-blanket, traffic, daily parades, fireworks, evening dances, carnival rides, bleachers, blanket lined streets, wooden shoes, and adorable kids in costumes. 
But, don't miss it...
the real festival is in the rows and rows of tulips
celebrating all the colors of creation
smiling in the sunshine
 slowing down to survey the promising scene
and smelling the sweetness of spring


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Thanks to Beth for encouraging me to get out and enjoy Spring with my kids and my camera!
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Knit Together

Tonight I'm unwinding from a productive weekend away at a lovely Lake Michigan cottage.

Friday evening I worked on our 2010 family album, laying out all of our pictures from New Years Day - Kevin's April birthday.  A 30+ page accomplishment, having this album up to date feels great.  One of the Easter pages I put together became an instant favorite.  Instead of adding it to the album right away I put it in a 12x12 page frame to hang on the wall.
Saturday I experimented with an adorable primary color, little boy themed kit for Gibson's 1 year book.  I won't attach the pictures on the interior pages until the night before his second birthday; to be sure I include all the "Best Of-s" for the year.  However, I taped down the background layouts for all 24 pages of his album using a simple template I created.  Each page has an 8 inch circle cut off center, layered over patterned paper, and embellished with two pieces of paper ribbon.  Here on the title page you can see a glimpse of the reoccurring design.
Sunday, having finished all of my must-dos for the scrapping weekend, I began searching for theme and title ideas for our newest baby's album. My mom has already gifted me with a beautiful album for this babe and I am looking forward to creating the pages on my digital program.  Since we have an ultrasound coming up in a few weeks, this seemed to be an appropriate layout to begin designing.  With inspiration from a title site that listed a familiar Bible verse, which applies well to pregnancy, I put together this digital page.  I love the way it turned out and will look forward to adding pictures of our precious baby's profile!
The weekend was a wonderful getaway.  It was great to spend time with good friends. 

To visit, to collaborate on ideas, to catch up, to learn to something new, to organize, to share stories, to indulge, to rest, to capture moments.

To knit our lives together with special new memories.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Business Card Giveaway from UPrinting

Update:  This giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to comment #4, Stephanie.

Last summer I had the opportunity to order a set of 500 business cards from UPrinting.  I made cards for A List Maker's Life to bring with me to blog events and conferences.  It was fun to put together a custom design that matched my blog design and I love that my cards have color on both sides.
With the kick off of my most recent projects, Accessories Inspired on etsy & Accessories Assembled home get togethers, I am back in the market for some adorable custom designed business cards.  I look forward to having them printed by UPrinting as I trust the professional quality.

{two of my current etsy shop favorites}

What about you? 
Do you have a project up your sleeve that you'd love to advertise?  Do you have your blog cards ready for BlogHer '10? Would your family benefit from putting together a play date "calling card?"  Perhaps you'd like to use these cards to put together some adorable 2-sided square gift tags.  Whatever your pleasure, this is your opportunity!

GIVEAWAY
Uprinting is offering one reader of A List Maker's Life an order of 500 custom business cards.
The winner may choose from one of three card sizes 2 x 3.5”, 2 x 2” (square card) or 1.75 x 3.5” (slim card).  Cards will be printed on your choice of papers as well: 14 pt gloss cardstock, 14 pt matte cardstock or 13 pt recycled uncoated cardstock.

To be entered to win please leave a comment on this post.  I'd love to hear what you might want to put on your cards!

Shipping is free and your order will be printed within 3 business days.
This giveaway is limited to US residents only - 18 and older.
Entry will close at 10 PM EST on April 27th.

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Disclosure:  Thank you to UPrinting for extending the offer for this giveaway here.  In exchange for my time in posting this giveaway they have offered to give me a set of business cards as well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sweet Refreshment

The other night my mom arrived with a trunk full of tulips. 
Blooming in many beautiful shades. 
Still attached to their bulbs.
In any other month, in any other town this would simply be a lovely surprise.  Yet, in our little town where there is a hefty fine for damaging, stepping on, or picking a tulip my first reaction was shock.
"Where in the world did you dig up a trunk full of tulips? Seriously, close the trunk before the tulip police find us!"

In actuality, the blooms were part of a greenhouse dump load on a friend's property. What a pitiful site to see piles of tulips, in their prime, left in a field to die.  Dramatic 'huh?  Anyway, mom saved them.  We cut many to bring in and filled vases for each room in the house. Sweet spring refreshment. 
The rest of the bulbs and their leaves are waiting in the wheelbarrow to yellow until they can be labeled, packed, and stored for fall planting. Next year we will be sure to leave them on display in our flower beds through Tulip Time (which kicks off here on Thursday)!
And for now, I'm off to a weekend away at a lovely beach cottage with a group of friends.  It should be a great time of crafting, visiting, snacking, and refreshing.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

French Silk Pie Without The Raw Eggs

Yesterday I was on a frantic search to find a French Silk Pie recipe to put together for Kevin's birthday.  Thinking my sure solution was a good ole Google search, that's the route I tried.  However, all the recipes I pulled up contained raw eggs.  Didn't sound too healthy for the expecting momma or her little loves.  So, I took my plea to Twitter.  (A most amazing resource, by the way)

"Got a request for French Silk Pie for my husband's b'day tomorrow. Any tried and true recipes to share? please!"

Wouldn't you know, the perfect reply came from my real life friend and neighbor of all people! Maybe my "sure solution" should have been to pick up my phone:) Jodi had just given this recipe a test run on Easter and said the filling was delish.  After making it for Kevin last night, we would agree!

Wish I had a nice picture of a beautiful pie to show you, but someone snuck a finger or two in before I had a chance...
Ingredients:
~9 inch graham cracker crust
~2 oz can evaporated milk
~2 egg yolks
~1 bag of chocolate chips

Instructions:
Whisk evaporated milk and eggs yolks in a sauce pan on medium low.  Stir until it begins to thicken, but do not boil.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until smooth.  Pour hot mixture into the crust and refrigerate.

YUM!

By the way, it's nothing short of a miracle that I'm posting about chocolate without losing my dinner & that I'm still awake after 9:00 PM:)  Things are looking up!
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This Dad

In the last 15 weeks this dad has taken on a whole slew of new responsibilities. 
~In addition to kitchen clean up and dish duty, he has learned to fend for himself on the days there isn't much on the table. 
~He has taken on our laundry pile as we continue our 3 loads a day habit.
~He happily entertains the kids while I entertain a 7 o' clock bedtime.
~He incorporated grocery shopping into his weekend routine.
~He has changed his shampoo, soap, shaving cream, and deodorant scents several times in an attempt to please.
~He puts up with our new two hour afternoon nap routine without asking "What'd you do all day?"
~He tackled the windows, walls, tub, toilet, and floors with gusto just in time for the Spring sunshine.

All this while experiencing some sympathy symptoms of his own.

While keeping a secret (which has never been his strength) until we were ready to share it with you.
Share what, you ask?

...this dad will forever more be the father to 4!

And so, this dad deserves the happiest birthday of all. 
Happy Birthday Kevin!
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Disclosure: For those who thought we were holding out on you with the etsy unveling, this is probably even more shocking.  Sorry.  We just like to wait freakishly long to share new baby news.  In addition, in danger of sounding spoiled and lazy, I will clarify that as I've slowly started to feel better the daddy-dos have been incorporated back in my lists.  Despite the uncomfortable symptoms mentioned in this post, we are thrilled and anxious to welcome our new arrival in early October!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Tisket, A Tasket


A secret in a basket.
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Friday, April 9, 2010

An Etsy Unveiling

After several months of crafting, scheming, and photographing I am excited to announce that I've opened an etsy shop featuring handmade necklaces.  The shop, Accessories Inspired, is filled with jewelry treasures repurposed for new fashion life.  Most of the necklaces are modeled after the soft lines seen in this season's catalogs and store fronts. 

In late December I started putting together some layered pieces to give as gifts.  Finding special pieces and grouping them appropriately quickly became an addictive hobby.  I gained confidence and momentum after giving one to my friend Stephanie for her birthday.
Picture from Stephanie Precourt of Adventures in Babywearing

Doesn't it look lovely on her!  Bolstered by the encouraging comments from many I decided to make more.  In the meantime a talented photographer, designer, and busy mom - Beth - offered to photograph my initial inventory if I started an etsy shop.  I am so appreciative of all the time and effort she put into the photos and editing.  I was also thrilled to be able to donate six of the necklaces from my initial stock to Megan for use in her Walk for the Cure auction. 

Picture taken by Beth Fletcher of I Should Be Folding Laundry

Now, I'm excited to show them to the rest of you!  You will notice a mixture of felt and fabric flowers on the necklaces.  As the seasons changed so have my creations. 
Maybe you'll find just the combination to give new life to one of your favorite spring or summer outfits! Thanks for taking a look.
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Let's Toast To It - A Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to all of you who entered.  The winner, chosen by Random.org, is comment #30!

Stephanie said...

Thank you for the chance at winning this great looking toaster :)


When cereal is running low at our house the breakfast of choice is toast.  Not my favorite mornings, as I end up stationed by the toaster for what seems like hours to get enough pieces for the kids that aren't too squished, too white, too burned, or too stuck. Which lead me to a conversation with my mom about the perfect toaster.  Is there such a thing?

Is there any toaster, anywhere, that consistently makes just the right shade of toast in a reasonable amount of time? Will it fits bagels and waffles, yet not totally swallow up a regular little piece of bread?  Do they make crumb traps that actually keep the crumbs in until it is emptied?

This lovely toaster looks like a likely candidate to fit the bill.  

Features:
~auto shutoff
~extra-wide slots
~easy-clean crumb tray
~shade selector
~one-touch smart functions buttons
~expert performance

CSN Stores has offered this toaster as a giveaway for one of my dear readers.  To be entered to win simply leave a comment on this post.  If you'd like extra entries you may leave additional comments letting me know that you follow this blog, subscribe to this blog, and/or shared this giveaway information on your blog, twitter, or facebook. (Please include a direct link to this post).

Entires for this giveaway will be accepted until the giveaway closes on Friday, April 16th!

Will this toaster meet your expectations?  You'll have to let me know! If it works for you I might have to invest in one for our kitchen.  Then on toast breakfast mornings we will still have time for laying out clothes, making kids beds, and combing their hairs before heading out to school.
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Disclaimer: The Hamilton Beach toaster being given away in this post has been provided by CSN Stores, in exchange for a text link in the post above.  It will be shipped directly to the winner of the giveaway.  I have not seen or tried the product for myself.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Do Babies Sleep Walk?

A couple weeks ago in a fit of spring cleaning, Kevin and I were on a mission to spruce up and rearrange the rooms in our home.  I set about on the nursery certain that was a room I could handle on my own.  However, as I shoved the crib out the way to mop underneath the stinkin' thing fell apart.  Leaving us to wonder how one of the most expensive pieces of furniture we've bought in our married life, assuming it met upmost safety standards for our three little babes could possibly fall apart.  Anyway, instead of heading to the store for new hardware to hold it together we decided it was time for Gibson to graduate to his toddler bed.  Many months ahead of schedule we hauled it out of the basement.

As we tuck him in at night in his big boy bed, Gibson seems very comfortable.  He adapted very quickly to not having side rails and we have had very little trouble with him getting out of bed on his own at nap times or when we first put him down for the night. 

However, several nights ago Kevin got up in the middle of the night to check on Gibson to find that he was not in his bed.  In a panic he began a search of the house and was surprised to find him fast asleep on the top step leading into the other kids' bedrooms.  We found it quite adorable that he wanted so much to be close to the kids, yet quite frightening that he was dangling off the top of our steep steps.
Quite sure it was an isolated incident we didn't change our routine for securing his room for the night.  However, it wasn't many days later that it happened again. 
This time Gibson made it a bit further into the room and was snuggled up under Gavin's bed. 
 For his sweet sake, we couldn't resist tucking them in together for the rest of the night.
Since then, our solution for the sleepy walker has been the addition of a baby gate in front of his bedroom door.  But, our little lovey has made it clear that when in search of comfort his big brother is the key.
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This post is linked to this week's You Capture: Comfort challenge, which is being hosted by Keli while Beth enjoys her sweet & new baby boy

Gigi's Hugest Announcement

As you may have read here before, Gigi is a fan favorite for our four year old.  Anne Hope considers her the DVD equivalent of Fancy Nancy and was thrilled upon receiving this edition called Gigi’s Hugest Announcement from Thomas Nelson. This DVD contains two stories written by Sheila Walsh The Royal Tea Party and The Pink Ballerina.

In The Royal Tea Party Gigi has to find a way to share an exciting announcement with her best friend Frances. With the help of her well fed kitten Lord Fluffy, who would prefer to be called Lady,  Gigi sets out to find the perfect way to tell Frances that she is also a princess.  Gigi brainstorms several scenarios, but things don’t go according to her plan. In her frustration, Gigi comes to the realization that despite things that take our message off track God does not want us to give up on our friends.  She continues with her plan to create the perfect tea party setting for her grand announcement.

In the second episode, The Pink Ballerina, Gigi is on a mission to find a way to live out the new bible verse she has learned "praise the Lord with song and dance."  She anxiously signs up for dance lessons with her friend Frances, but finds out that dancing is not her strength.  In the end, Gigi learns that doing things perfectly is not necessary for earning God’s love. Rather she discovers that God is most proud when we show love to others.

Gigi is sweet, smiley, and totally girly.  The kids really enjoy the story lines, cartoon portrayals, and valuable lessons.  All in all this DVD is a fun choice for young princesses (and princes) even if Gigi's voice grates just a wee bit on this momma.

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Thanks to BookSneeze.com for sending this DVD in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gifted

Several months ago, with my fingers crossed, I entered a giveaway on one of my favorite blogs.  The blog owner, Kris has become a friend as we've communicated back and forth.  She is amazingly kind, gifted, and creative.  In addition to the wonderful tips and ideas she shares on Jesse Kate Designs, she is also the site manager of SWAKembroidery.com, team member of  YouCanMakeThis.com, and now co-host of theDIYdish.com

You can only imagine how thrilled I was when I was chosen as the giveaway winner and Kris offered to make an individualized pillow for each of my kids.  So, in her freetime (ha!) she got busy sewing three detailed, thoughtful, unique, room-matchy, name pillows for our little ones.
I've been anxious to show you her beautiful work, but had to wait for their big reveal in our house on Easter morning.  The kids love them.  Anne Hope was especially thrilled to see "all 8 of her letters" on one big pillow.
Thank you so very much Kris. 
We appreciate all of your effort to make these gifts so special!

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This Little Prayer of Mine

I know you're up in heaven God,
and can hear my voice from there.
I'm just a little child.
Will you answer my short prayer?

So begins this sweet prayer affirming that God is ready and listening to us, no matter our age.

As parents we long for our children to understand that their heavenly Father is just a prayer away.  We want them to understand that talking to him as simple as a conversation with their friends and family.  There is no special saying, big words, or memorized verse necessary.
With age appropriate rhymes and lovely illustrations, This Little Prayer of Mine assures children that God is always near--watching, listening, caring, and eager to respond to their requests. The book subtly teaches young children that prayer is more than just asking for things, it is also about sharing feelings of thanksgiving, joy, sadness, uncertainty, and more.  

I appreciate how DeStefano's book sounds like a likely conversation between a child and God.  Using the beautiful illustrations by Mark Elliot, featuring young children at work and play, my children were able to interpret the expressions and put them into words.  More importantly, through the text my children were reminded that they can trust God to care for every detail of their lives no matter what the future holds. This book is available for purchase at Random House for 12.99.

For puppies, pies, and ice cream,
my family and my friends.
But most of all I'm grateful
 for you love that never ends.
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Thank you to Random House for sending me a complimentary copy of this book for review.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Alive

Even the smallest miracle whispers,
He lives.

We had a wonderful Easter celebrating as a family. 
 I will look forward to sharing more pictures and stories soon.
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