Monthly Archives: May 2008

Things to Do Thursday

I’ve updated the Calendar with some ongoing events and links, as well as added more summer dates for fun things around town.

This weekend, we are headed to Lansing (again! This will be two weeks in a row for me!) for the “Be A Tourist In Your Own Town” event.  For $1, we bought a passport which will allow us admission to a ton of museums, activities, and events.  Of course there is the gas to get to Lansing, but I still think we’re coming out ahead. Once we get there, we can just take a bus for $0.50 (all day) around town.

I’m still trying to narrow down what we should do, but I’m most excited about:

There is more, check out Big Binder’s Calendar for a link.  Have a great week!


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Filed under Things to do Thursday

The Best News Since Hockey Season Ended

I know a few of you took advantage of the great deal my friend Jill told me about – the one where you could trade in a used Griffin’s ticket for a free service at Douglas J Aveda Institute

An event called, “The Mane Event”, brings back free haircuts for doing fun things with our kids.  According to GR Now and Grand Rapids Family Magazine, this event will be held Thursday, June 18 from 11:00am-3:00pm. **Correction: This is Thursday June 19th from 11:00am-3:00pm.**

You can go to the Zoo and see the new lions exhibit, which is brought to you by Bissell in case that fact somehow managed to escape you (but I doubt it…)

You can also visit the Douglas J. Aveda Institute for face painting and fun “mane”-styling for kids, and a little pampering for grown-ups.  Also, you can play at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and make a Lion Mane Mask to take home.

There is free parking at the Zoo and a trolley will be running  between all 3 locations with snacks and prizes. Here is the best part – receive a gift certificate for a complimentary haircut from the Douglas J Aveda Institute so kids and adults can come back and get their “manes” tamed!”

I hereby award Douglas J. Aveda Institute the Big Binder Community Involvement award.  I hereby award myself the right to make up awards as I see fit.

Tickets are $8 per person ages 2 years old and above.  Children under 2 are free. John Ball Zoo and GRCM Pals members receive $2 off.  That’s a lot for six bucks. Advance tickets are available. Call John Ball Zoo at (616) 336-4300 or visit the Douglas J Aveda Institute at 138 Commerce Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids.


Filed under Breaking News

Menu Plan Monday

I’m still monkeying around with my ‘whole’ menu plan.  I think it’s easier to have a list of possible breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, and then plan the actual dinner because it usually has to be defrosted or tossed in the crock pot or something.  We’re still stuck in fruits and veggies on the Food Pyramid- I will not rest until we have our 5 a day!

Here’s what we have in the lineup this week:

Breakfasts (all served with some type of fruit):

  • Steel cut oats – my sister took me to a store in Lansing that sells these for $0.69 a pound!! I jumped up and down in the store. I’m going to try soaking them the night before, because the soaked oatmeal was wonderful last week.
  • Cereal
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • English Muffins with Cream Cheese
  • Eggs

Lunches (served with a fruit or veggie):

  • Mac & Cheese
  • PB&J
  • Skinny Dip – salsa mixed with cottage cheese, then dipped in tortilla chips.
  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Lunchmeat sandwiches


  • Celery and carrots with dip
  • Yogurt (vanilla, with a little strawberry jam mixed in)
  • Apples with peanut butter
  • Popcorn
  • Popcicles
  • Pumpkin Bread – Recipe from Southern Living.
  • Smoothies

MONDAY – is over 🙂


Chicken Coleslaw Wraps (with a few modifications. Mainly, skip the pineapple).

Mixed greens salad.


Baked Potato with bacon, cheese, sour cream, and fresh chives. We have a ton of them growing in our front yard!

Corn Chowder.


Chicken Noodle Soup (Already made this and is in the freezer)

Fresh bread or rolls

Green Beans


Stromboli (same recipe I made before)

Fruit Salad

For more menu ideas, head over to I’m An Organizing Junkie!


Filed under Menu Plan Monday

Put A Lid On It!

PALOIB300.jpgEarlier this week, when it was grey and cold and cloudy, A.P. asked me if, since it was ‘winter again’, could we go to a hockey game? Sadly, we have to wait until October.  That is not going to stop me from making today’s Feature Friday “Put A Lid On It’. 

It’s a program to encourage kids to always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter, skateboard, or skating.  If you’ve been reading a while, you might have seen this subject pop up a few times.  The biking/scooting/skating season is here, and even if your kid is little and riding around on a tricycle, please get them in the habit of wearing a helmet.  It’s a lot easier than trying to convince them when they’re older that they need one. 

If your kids pledge to always wear a helmet, Griff will send them a voucher for two free tickets.  The website is here.  I had a problem with the form when I tried to enter both kids, and I sent an email asking to add them both.  They oblidged immediately, and sent a voucher for both kids; so we now have at least one free Griffins game waiting for us when it is really hockey season, and it doesn’t just look like it outside.

If your kids need helmets, you can go to the Madison Square Branch or Van Belkum Branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library on Saturday, June 14 from 1:00 to 3:00.  They have 30 helmets at each location to give away.  Call Safe Kids of Greater Grand Rapids at 616 391-SAFE for more information.


Filed under Feature Friday

Java Jive + Cold Turkey = JIVE TURKEY

Yes, it is Friday.  I’m a little off this week.  Wednesday was the rally, then Thursday, I did something really, really, REALLY stupid.

I ran out of coffee.

Please allow me to explain how the world is divided. First, it is divided into coffee and non-coffee drinkers.  I can’t even make sense of the people who don’t drink coffee, but I am open minded. I’m sure they lead very rich and full lives.  Second, it is divided into French Press people, and all other means of production, ranging from instant to good ole’ Mr. Coffee pots.

And last, and probably the most important is a subdivision of the French Pressers – those of us who grind beans in the store, and those of us who grind them at home.  I am in the latter group. There is another name for us:  addict.

I heard someone speak a few weeks back about managing stress, and she said that if we drink a lot of coffee we should try going without for three days and “see how tired we really are”.  I let my supply of beans run out and decided Thursday was my day.  I made it all the way until 10:00 AM, when I swung by Mc Donald’s for a little crutch.  I was tired (so she was right!) but hanging in there until about 4:00 when I hit the wall.  Hard.  The headache set in and I knew this was not going to work.  I mustered all of the energy I had and got myself to Dunkin’ Donuts, where I fixed myself up with a nice, hot coffee, and two bags of whole bean regular.

It wasn’t over.  My addiction was going to make me pay.  I finally surrendered and took way too much Tylenol and went to bed.  At 9:00. I wanted to read, but it hurt my eyeballs to move.  A horrible, shaky, nauseated night ensued and I still don’t even feel right today. You are too much for me coffee… I wish I knew how to quit you.

Other than that, I had a fantastic week last week. I found myself car-less on Saturday. Well, not really. I had a car, but no license, or keys. Those went to work with my husband. We walked down to the library, and picked a few books.  We stepped outside for the return trip home and found out that in the meantime, a little Alger Heights street party had been set up! It was great! All of the stores had samples and treats and goodies, and there was a fire truck, and face panting… the works! It was free and just a perfect suprise I would have missed had I been able to drive instead.

Sunday at church was memorable also. Our priest was addressing the high school graduates. He said two things. First, he said,

“this is your home. Please, come and visit when you can. Second, hold on to your heart. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it isn’t big enough, or good enough.  Your heart is where your God lives – don’t let go of it.”

I actually cried, and couldn’t help thinking of my own kids and praying that they get the same message when they first leave home. A few minutes later, A.P.’s WOW (Wee Ones Worship) class came out and sang for everyone. A.P. is great with sign language, as this was about the only way we could communicate with him for a few years. They did a sign language-ish (not really ASL, but cute kid stuff) thing with the song.  He was front and center!

Finally! Vindication for the Preschool Christmas program, where he was in back and not visible to us at all.  He did, however, know exactly where we were and peeked out to wave at us, because Maybelle yelled his name, and the name of all of his classmates, the entire time. After church we drove down to Binder Park Zoo. I love that place, and it was nice to be there on a perfectly sunny, but not hot day.

On Tuesday we had an appointment on the north side of town, so we stopped by  the new Super Wal-Mart.  The old, Not So Super Wal-Mart is being demolished, and the new store is right behind it. This causes kind of a parking problem so they have trolleys and golf carts to shuttle people from the parking lot to the store. It’s sweet.  My kids loved it, and I don’t shop there often but I totally would if they drove my lazy self right to my car every time!

I managed to cry only a little during the Preschool Picnic on Thursday, but that may have been due to wishing I had gotten a large coffee, rather than a medium.  Today we had a family picnic in a park for dinner, and tomorrow I am taking off to visit my sister in Lansing for a girls weekend and I am very excited about that.  Monday we will head up to Coopersville for the Troop Train, and we look forward to enjoying our first week of summer.  Head over to Big Binder’s Calendar for the latest in fun stuff!



Filed under Things to do Thursday

Great Beginnings Camp

When A.P. was all of two, I got a Bright Beginnings Newsletter that mentioned Great Beginnings Camp.  It was a few dollars, maybe $5.  It was the best $5 I spent all summer. 

Great Beginnings Camp is at Grandville’s Central Elementary, which is a little bit of a haul for us.  The next year, it was free.  It is free again this year, too. Even with gas prices rising, it is still worth the drive for us.  It is a Bright Beginnings playgroup on steroids.  There are all kinds of crafts – good ones – the kind you would pay for if you had to.  Messy, yes, but great materials the kids love and the best part of course is that it’s not at your house. There are activities and games, and then also a snack and circle time.  This will be our third year attending.

You need to sign up with Grandville Community Education, but you do not need to be a resident of Grandville.  Here is a link to a PDF of the Summer Programs guide.  The Great Beginnings camp is on page 8. There are two sessions to choose from. Look at page 2 for registration information.  The registration form is on page 12.  Call the Grandville Community Education (616) 254-6553 if you have questions.

I love this program, and when I called last it wasn’t full yet.  Go! Sign up! I’ll see you there 🙂



Filed under Breaking News, Tasty Tuesday