Monthly Archives: February 2009

What to do this weekend?

Any plans for the weekend? We’re chillaxin’ with some movies tonight and saying our final goodbyes to Couchy Jones, Beloved Fish.  He passed away last night, apparently early in the evening because the whole house was stunk up pretty good this morning.

The on Saturday, my husband has a 6:00 AM, two hour long spin classbecause he is a nut job. Meijer is having a “Dr Seuss Birthday Event” from 11-2, with half price Dr. Seuss books (most of them are $8.99, I checked already), free stickers, coloring books, and activities. Then a little later, we will be helping out with the “Strong Fathers” event at the downtown YMCA.

Also this weekend is the Downtown Winter Rail Jam Festival at the BOB.  This is right up our alley – food, music, and a huge 30 foot snow pile covered ramp for us to watch people of all abilities master or splatter all over it.  Check out this website for more information.

Have a great weekend, hope we see you around!


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Lazy Literacy

tiltA teacher-friend of mine once told me I was ‘such a literacy extender’.  I wasn’t quite certain if this was an insult or compliment, but I didn’t want to sound stupid so I just said, ‘mmm hmm’.  Honestly I’m still not 100% clear on what that means, but I know it’s a good thing. It means I like books, and stuff. And I do what I can to make my kids like books, and stuff.

I also believe there is a very fine line between laziness and efficiency.  In the words of my beloved second cousin-in-law thrice removed Johnny Cash, I walk the line.  My husband and I both make a very conscious commitment to read to our kids quite a bit, but there are times that we just cannot sit on the couch and read another book with them. 

Enter books on DVD.  The kids cozy up on the couch or their bean bags, and we choose a book/DVD combo. They take turns holding the book and turning the pages, and if I may submit my completely unbiased opinion; it is the sweetest sight on earth. 

I bullied my way into being the Scholastic Order Coordinator (as you can imagine – there was a huge line) for A.P.’s class.  I scope out the cheap DVD/book deals that come out once in a while, or pick them up at the Scholastic Warehouse Sales.  I come from a long line of ‘literacy extenders’ and my family is always happy to give these as gifts too, so we have a  nice little library.

Another lazy and/or efficient way to outsource reading to my kids is at library or bookstore reading times.  This adds the extra bonus of possibly sneaking away for 2 minutes to look at the latest issue of Literacy Extenders Monthly Magazine, or another periodical of your choice.

If you in Grand Rapids, look at your local library branch for times, or check out one of the bookstore storytimes around town. This  list was completely ripped off from the Grand Rapids Press Books Calendar:

  • Monday, 10:30 AM Schuler Books/28th Street, Baker Book House, Pooh’s Corner, Barnes & Noble/Kentwood
  • Tuesday, 10:30 AM Barnes & Noble/Rivertown
  • Wednesday 10:30 AM Baker Book House, Pooh’s Corner
  • Thursday 10:30 AM Baker Book House, Barnes & Noble/Kentwood and Rivertown
  • Friday 10:30 AM Barnes & Noble/Kentwood, Pooh’s Corner
  • Saturday 10:30 AM Pooh’s Corner, 11:00 AM Schuler Books 28th Street and Alpine

For more Things I Love Thursday, and a pretty sweet giveaway, check out the The Diaper Diaries.


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The Road To Easter

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday in our church, and today we will be making a little craft to take us through Lent.  I meant to do this Saturday, but we had a lot going on.  I hope we don’t have to leave out the important Mardi Gras tradition of shoving a few jelly filled donuts in our faces.  We are partial to the Paczki’s from Marge’s Donut Den but they are available everywhere.

A five year old boy in the house means that anything car-related is pretty much a good bet for him. And a younger sister in the house means anything her big brother thinks is fun is a good bet for her.  It’s not often that the Catholic Liturgical calendar can be expressed through a car activity, and I’m sure this will be a big hit. 

Domestic-Church has a guide to a ‘Lent Car’ on its website.  Scroll down to “Road To Easter”. I’m not going to run out and buy anything for this project, I’m just going to tape some paper together, draw the ‘map’ on it, and stick it on the wall. 

I’ll just cut out two cars and let the kids decorate it them, then also print and cut out the weekly symbols that get attached to the map.  There are also some suggested activities that I like too.  I think I’ll just keep the glue sticks handy and move them along the cars every few days.

Now, off to Marge’s for a post-craft treat!


Filed under Country Day Homeschool, Something to Make Saturday

Menu Plan Monday


When I finished working in January, I asked Cleavermama/Bowling Alley Brunch/wonderful friend/boss, “So, how long until my life returns to normal”?  She gave me the same look the nurse gave me when I asked her, 2 days after having AP, “How long until I lose the baby weight?”.  It’s the kind of look that feels like someone just patted you on the head and said, “Oh, honey.”

She said around mid-February, she starts getting back into the swing of things.  For the first time in… um, months? I am planning our menu and blogging about it to boot.  This week starts Lent, so there will be more meatless dishes. Also everything you hear about the Unemployment Office is true. They are a MESS.  My husband’s layoff/work/layoff/work schedule is throwing the whole system into a tizzy, so a few extra nights of ‘rice & beans’ is welcome.

Here’s our tasty week. Well, here’s our week with great hope that it will indeed be tasty.  For more Menu Plan Monday, check out I’m an Organizing Junkie.


Taco Style Lentils & Rice – I’ve made this before and everyone likes it.  For some reason,  my printed-off copy of this recipe has a lentil stuck inside the plastic page covering.  It’s gross.

Texas Pinto Beans – these are SO good!!  If you haven’t cooked with dried beans but you want to (and you should want to:  they are cheaper, you can control the ‘mushiness’, and cut down the salt) this is a great first recipe.

Banana/strawberry/yogurt smoothies


Stuffed Pepper Casserole

OK I am making this up a little.  I have a jar of gourmet roasted red peppers I got at GB Russo’s months ago and have completely forgotten my original intention for its use.  So I will combine that with a pound of browned ground beef/pork mix I found on sale at the store, and all of the leftover rice from the past week or so that I threw in the freezer.  Then I’ll mix in a small can of tomato paste, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and about 2 cups of grated parmesan cheese.  I’ll just toss it in a casserole dish and bake it at the standard 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  I’ll serve this with a side of canned (from this summer) peaches.


Mural Of Flavor Breaded Tilapiathis recipe is from Penzy’s Spices.  My sister in law gave me some of that Mural of Flavor and I put it on everything now.  We’ll also have cooked broccoli, and home-made applesauce.


Home-made pizza.  I’ll just make some dough in the bread-maker and top with peperoni and olives on one, and bacon and banana pepper on the other.  A.P.’s class is doing a ‘pizza parlor’ theme so I know I’ll get some good help! We’ll also have popcicles made from the leftover smoothies.


Home-made macaroni and cheese.  I am dangerous with this recipe. I could eat the whole thing. In fact, I think I have.  It was my Grandmother’s recipe, which my cousin gave me this summer and I have made about 30 times since.  This recipe is enough for 2 meals, so I freeze half for later.

  • 1 large box (16 oz) macaroni – shells, elbows, whatever.
  • 16 oz. container sour cream
  • 16 oz small curd cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 stick of butter cut up
  • 2 lbs sharp cheddar cheese, shredded.  A note of personal persnickitiess – I like to shred my own cheese when I’m baking it, or it just doesn’t melt right. All of those yummy stabilizers they use in shredded cheese don’t work.

Put in a casserole dish and bake at 350 uncovered for one hour.

Here is a snack we have also come to love.  Thanks to my friend Jill, who passed along the recipe. 

No Bake Granola Flax Treats

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 cups marshmallows
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers (8 crackers, one ‘pack’).  The recipe says cinnamon, but I don’t think it makes a big difference.
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or any dried fruit)
  • 1/2 cup dried roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  1. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.  Add marshmallows, stir continuously until melted and mixture is smooth, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in oats, graham crumbs, cranberries, sunflower seeds and flax seed until thoroughly mixed.
  3. With greased fingers, press mixture into greased 8×8 inch glass baking dish.
  4. Cool completely.  Makes 12 pieces.

We just made some with dried apricot and almonds instead of cranberries and sunflower seeds… so… good.  You’ll feel morally superior for feeding your children flax seed too. 




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Take Care

Priority Health, while no longer sponsoring the Priority Health Classic Bike Race , is trying to make you healthier.  Maranda’s website has some information about community classes offered for free.  Here are the dates and classes; more info is available on the Priority Health Website.

  • February 26 – Weight Training Made Easy. 
  • March 4 – Golf Fitness. 
  • March 10 – Eating Well Made Simple. 
  • March 24 – Core Stability. 

Speaking of the Priority Health Classic (and Maranda), I have some follow up news.  I was at a loss, so I wrote to Maranda asking what to do about the bike race.  She (or her secretary) wrote me back and said,

Thank you for your interest in this wonderful event! I think it will
still take place but they’ll have a new title sponsor. Keep watching
WOOD TV and we’ll let you know once we hear something!
Take care-
Maranda PS. Your blog is so sweet.  I get all my ideas from you.  If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t know what was going on in town. You are so awesome.

Aww, thanks Maranda! Love you too!


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It’s Dino MITE

I am ready for the righteous Dinosaurs Exhibit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum that opens this weekend. But… my husband is unemployed (yep, again) and it’s totally cramping our style.  That’s all right though – I am full of jive talk and hip to all the stuff in town  that won’t cost a c-note. You dig? Good. Imbibe in my scribe. Let me lay it on you.

Get the party started by heading over to Grand Rapids Christian High School for the free parenting conference, Celebrating the Family“.  More details in Big Binder’s calendar and here is a link to the brochure.  It’s from 8:15 to 12:15 am.

Swing home, grab your kids, and head down to GRCC for the Family Matters event.  The Ford Fieldhouse will be filled with all the stuff kids dig – inflatables, balloon artists, and tables full of candy for them to swipe while you rap with the folks frontin’ for their fine organizations. 

When you’re done there, cruise over to Schuler Books on 28th Street to see that Paleo Joe character at 3:00.  He’ll also be at the Museum , but see him here for free.  If you have some extra cash in your pocket, get a few of his Dinosaur Detective Club books.  If you’re like me, check them out from the library.  

If you’re too pooped on Saturday, wait until Sunday. The same program will be at the Alpine location at the same time. Also on Sunday is the Grand Rapids Public Library’s Taste of Soul Sunday, with a full day of food, stories, and activities.  It’s going to be out of this world, man.

Mellow out on Monday, then remember IHOP’s Free Pancake Day on Tuesday (a link with more info is on the Calendar).  If you just can’t sit still, you can check out the Dinosaur Romp at the Grandville Library at 6:30 PM. Don’t worry though, that program is going to be at several different KDL locations over the next several weeks. 

If you can’t afford the Dinosaurs Exhibit admission be patient.  You can get free admission to the museum on Mondays if you’re a Grand Rapids resident. You’ll still have to pay $2.00 for the exhibit.  If you wait until March 10th and you have a Kindergartner in Grand Rapids Public Schools, you are invited to “Kindergarten Here I Come” at the museum.  Here is another link. Hang in there for more details; I’m not sure if admission to the dino exhibit is free or not yet.

Hope all you cool cats have a good weekend. You got the haps in G-Raps, now don’t be a square!


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