Category Archives: Things I Love Thursday

Things I Love Thursday – C25K

Some of you may have seen a new ‘study’ that insists women need to work out an hour a day AND be on a diet in order to avoid weight gain as we get older.  This will almost certainly be followed by a ‘study’ that finds women get really freakin’ depressed when they read studies.  An hour? Every day? Not most days – every day? Forget it. If you’re like me it’s not gonna happen every single day and there is no reason to get stressed out about something that isn’t gonna happen.  Let’s just take the “it’s against my religion/day of rest” angle and all agree disregard that study, ok?

If you want to start exercising, you have to start somewhere of course.  In my most recent exercise efforts, I started running.  Slowly. I know it’s annoying to listen (or read) someone talk about running when you’ve tried it and found that it’s just awful, painful, boring and in general, just something you cannot do. I get that – because that was totally me.  Totally me, that is, until a friend of mine recruited a bunch of very unlikely runners and introduced us to the C25K program from Cool Running.  

C25K stands for “Couch to 5K’.  COUCH.  As in – you don’t currently exercise at all because you are sitting on your couch.  The program is 9 weeks long and if you stick with it I am here to tell you that it works.  Can I get an amen from someone else who has tried it?  There is even a free MP3/iPod download that I confess I only used for about 4 weeks and did my own thing but the first couple of weeks it was crucial.  You run when the guy says run, stop when he says stop, and listen to his weird-ish music for 20 minutes, 3 days a week.

I am still not sure if I can say I love running.  I am getting there, but I do know that I would still be on the Couch (Potato) side of the C25K if it weren’t for the program.  For more Things I Love Thursday (and a giveaway!), head over to the Diaper Diaries.



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Spring Break 2010

Time to round up the Spring Break happenings and make some plans.  For those of us sticking around town, let’s use this as a little test-run for summer vacation, when the kids are home.  All the time.  Every single day. That is, unless we plan for them to have tons of enriching, educational experiences.  Or get out of our hair a minute.  Either way is fine.  And because those of us not going on vacation are probably not sticking around because we have so much cash we just cannot figure out how to spend it; I’m talkin’ about free or crazy cheap.

  • If you want to jump right into it that weekend; on Saturday, April 3 the Home Depot Kids Workshop project is a butterfly house.  Not a big fan of butterflies and I prefer they live far away from me, but go for it.  From there, cruise over to  Michael’s, where kids can decorate a pail for Easter Egg Hunts. 
  • So we already know about the Grand Rapids Ballet performance.  If not; click on the link to read more.  Performances are all week. This requires tickets; so be sure to get ahold of some if you plan on going.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakuel will be the featured Flick Film Festival during spring break. 12 and below are free and it’s $3.50 for everyone else.
  • The Grand Rapids Public Library will have a “Spring Break With Fun Geodes” program at most of it’s branches; check the website for the time and date nearest you.  I didn’t see any spring break-specific stuff at Kent District Library, but there are the normal storytimes.
  • This doesn’t really fit into my ‘crazy cheap’ guideline; how about just ‘crazy cool’?  The Kent County Humane Society is having a Spring Break Mini-Camp for kids in grade K-5 on April 7-9.  It’s $35 per ‘camper’. 
  • Grand Rapids Tightwad just posted about a “Week of Cheap Fun” and recommended hitting the Grand Rapids Public Museum on Monday.  Admission is free for Grand Rapids residents – and they do check your ID.  They checked mine anyway, but maybe I just look sketchey.  If you choose to check out the Bug exhibit, you’ll pay $3 extra for that.  I took Maybelle last week, and it was cool but not mind blowing.  To me anyway.  Digging for the 7 stages of a grub worm’s life-cycle in a box of oatmeal really rocked her world.
  • On Tuesday, print off one of these activity guides and head over to the GRAM.  It’s cool.  And free for everyone on Tuesday afternoons.  If you went to another city for Spring Break, and you saw a nice museum like the GRAM that was free on Tuesdays, you would totally go and think it was cool.  Maybe get a rental car for the day if you need to feel like you are from out of town. 
  • Mrs. Betty Ford’s birthday will be celebrated at the Ford Museum on Thursday, April 8.  The museum is free and there is “cake for the first 750 visitors”.  I am totally going because I want to see a cake that will feed 750 people.  And be enriched and whatnot.
  • The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum has it’s Thursday Night $1.50 deal but oh my CROWD – I think I will pass on this.  Maybe we’ll go the week before just to get it out of our system.
  • On Saturday SwissLane Farms has a Dairy Discovery Day.  It’s been a long time since we’ve been there and I’m itchin’ to get back!  There is also a Lowes Build and Grow Workshop that day; kids can build a mini-baseball game. 

Seeking cultural enrichment makes me hungry. Fortunately, GRCC’s spring break already happened.  This means we can partake in yummy, inexpensive food from  Art & Bev’s,  or yummy, more expensive (but still an awesome value) from The Heritage, both on the campus of GRCC and are open Tuesday through Friday during lunch hours.  Neither are open during the summer; in fact they both close mid-April so now is the time!

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Palazzolo – Mi Amor!

After deliberating for a few years, we finally realized that A.P. was never going to grow into his tonsils. They just kept getting bigger along with the rest of him, so it was time.  They were huge, and they were causing problems.  They needed to come out. 

We set up the surgery in July when my husband would have some time off work.  I am really good with people when they are sick (completely missed my calling as a nurse), but I knew I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything else.  The worst part was watching A.P. go under.  The anesthesiologist told me afterward he kind of ‘feels a parent out’ during the consultation and determines whether or not they are going to freak out.  If they seem like they’ll be able to hold it together, they can come in and be with their kid.

I passed the test.  I got to stay and watch my son have weird seizures and hold his legs down.  Lucky me.

Let’s move on to the best part of this experience; which was, of course, the treats.  We had a freezer full of fruit bars, ice-cream, and jello.  A.P. wouldn’t eat more than a bite of any of them. He had been prescribed OxyContin, but didn’t agree with Rush Limbaugh’s positive assessment of it and refused to take it.  His throat hurt, and nothing was worth swallowing.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that Palazzolo’s Lemon Custard Gelato was the first thing he ate in a few days.  Not only that; he ate half the container.  I was really relieved when I looked at the ingredients and they were all completely natural. 

It is a special treat for us now.  I can only find it at Family Fare and not every store carries it.  I couldn’t believe it when I saw that it was made in Fennville.  The website makes me drool and I am jealous of anyone who has access to all 600 flavors. Road trip!

For more Things I Love Thursday check out the Diaper Diaries.


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Things To Do Thursday

Anything fun planned for the weekend? I am trying to pick between a few goodies.  I thought February was supposed to be boring!

  • At Breton Village Mall, the Cabin Fever Reliever is Saturday from 10:30-12.  Joel Tanis (from Come On Over!) will be there, as well as a ‘group art project’, musical activities, and reading games.
  • If you were thinking more outside-ish stuff, there is a Winter Family Day at Meijer Gardens on Saturday from 1-3.  They always put on a good event, but I know it’s one of the pricier places if  you don’t have a membership, maybe you could check out a membership from the Grand Rapids Public Library for the day.
  • Also on Saturday from 11-3 is the 8th Annual (I think I’ve been to almost every one of them!) GRCC Family Matters Event.  It gets bigger and better every year.  It’s swag city for kids, seriously take a bag for all the little goodies they will get.  It’s free, but there is a $3 charge for parking.

The “Planning Meeting” for the my husband’s annual Insane Bike Ride To the Mackinaw Bridge is Saturday at my house, so I need to spend a few minutes figuring out what to feed a flock? gaggle? pelleton? – whatever you call a group of crazy bikers – for dinner.

We have been keeping Sundays pretty low key for a few months and are really seeing the value of a day of rest.  We’re going to a Griffins game on Sunday though – one of those nice afternoon matinees.  GO GRIFFINS! By the way, my kids think Finn is Griff’s wife.  They also think Robin is Batman’s wife, so we have some clarifications to make.  Anyway…the library is good to us… see if you can check out tickets from Grand Rapids Public, or show your Grand Rapids Public Library or Kent District Library Card at the box office on to get a lower bowl ticket for $10.

Another good reason to forgo your rest is Taste of Soul Sunday, a celebration of African American Culture at the main library downtown. For more weekend ideas, check out GR Kids and GR Now.


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Things I Love Thursday – Cherries!!

I have food hunches.  I love honey, and had a hunch for a long time that it was more than just another way to sweeten food.  I knew it was good for me.  I also had hunches that popcorn, coffee, dark chocolate, and red wine had health benefits long before the experts did.  I love cherries, too. I have been patiently waiting for cherries to have their day. Not that anyone ever cautioned against the evils of cherries (that I am aware of), but outside of Traverse City, Michigan one seldom hears a rave about them either.

That us, until this week. I attended a Twitter party about the awesomeness of cherries. It’s like I’m some kind of miracle food barometer.  What’s next you ask? You with your bated breath, and your grocery list in hand? It’s molasses, but let’s stick to cherries and let them have their 15 minutes of fame.

My cherry adoration was really kicked up a notch when I learned that they can reduce inflammation and are supposed to be good for runners.  I’ve become a runner, you see.  Or as I refer to myself – a trotter.  Not as in Harlem Globe.  Not as in hot-to.  As in:  I am ridiculously slow.  There is only one girl at the gym that runs slower than I do, and I felt smug about that, but then I realized she had something wrong with her leg.  So, the cherry anti-inflammatory recovery might not be as crucial to me as it is to others but I like having a justification for buying cherry juice (it’s expensive!) and drinking it straight. 

Choose Cherries has more information and recipes but I am suspicious that they are in Lansing, which those of you who are not from Michigan will be surprised to learn that it, and not Detroit, is the capital.  Of the State.  The Cherry Capital is Traverse City.  They pretty much celebrate cherries year ’round up there.  In the summer, they have the Cherry Festival.  This includes fun things like a cherry pit spitting contest.  In the winter, they have Winterfest, which includes fun things like a cherry pit spitting contest.  I don’t know what else they do.  As long as they keep the cherries coming, I don’t care, either.

For more Things I Love Thursday, visit the Diaper Diaries.


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Things I Love Thursday – Pretending I’m A Homeschooler

Well, hi there! I’m back! Work is over.  It has been for a month actually.  As much as I wanted to dive back into Big Binder – I had some home-work to do.  First, I had to fix my kids.  They got used to being in a large group of loud and semi-naughty kids with a fairly dispassionate adult tending to them.  We had some attitude adjustments to make. More difficult was re-adjusting their appetites.  Do you KNOW what they feed kids in daycare? It’s gross.  Everything is sort of a pale yellow color and exactly the same consistency.  I still get a little ‘bleccchh’ shiver when I think about it.

I think it’s only fitting that I re-emerge into the blogging world on a day I can participate in Things I Love Thursday.  Jill was one of several people who talked to me or took the time to write and encourage me to get off my butt and fire up Big Binder again.  It’s amazing to be thanked and encouraged to do what you love, so a big thank you to everyone who showed me the love and kept checking back in to see if I had started writing again.

My kids are both in half-day programs at school, so we have a lot of time for fun things in the afternoons.  Fortunately, living in what I think must be the homeschool capital of the universe, there is a lot going on.  It began to dawn on me that homeschooled kids go to a lot of performances, presentations, and seminars.  And then it dawned on me that although I send my kids to school, I am also a homeschooler.  Kind of. Well, sort of. OK maybe it’s a bit of a stretch, but I can live with that.

A few weeks ago, I called and got tickets to the ‘school’ performance of the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Lollipop Concert, Hansel and Gretel.  This was WAY better than going to the Saturday morning performance – it wasn’t as crowded and the majority of the kids showed up on busses so we got a way better parking spot.  The next performance is Ferdinand the Bull,  a book my kids love so we are not going to miss this, (even if we have to go to the Saturday performance.)  Just call the Symphony and ask when the school performances are, and get your tickets directly from them.

Next month, we are going to some homeschool programs at Blandford Nature Center.  Click on their website, then go to “Education Programs”, then “Homeschool Programs”.  I have two websites I like for finding more ‘homeschool’ opportunities.  First is Grand Rapids Learning Exchange.  It is really thorough and is a fantastic resource.  Next is the Homeschool Building website, although I just look at the calendar.  I don’t have enough guts to show up to anything – I’d be sniffed out as a phony in a second.  But seriously; why should the homeschoolers have all the fun 🙂 ?  For more Things I Love Thursday, check out the Diaper Diaries.


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Scholastic Issues

Is it awful that I dive into A.P. and Maybelle’s school folders every day before they’re even home from school? Or that I’m jonesing for a folder-fix since we’ve been home all week? I want it all.  The newsletters, the popcorn-day order forms, the crappy (did I say crappy? I meant fantastic) artwork.  But most of all…. the Scholastic order forms. 

 I heart Scholastic.  I remember being in elementary school, and being excited about getting the Scholastic order forms.  I’m not usually a big sucker for marketing but if kids books are involved, forget it.  I’m the sucker-est sucker in the world.  In fact, last year I was so distraught that A.P.’s class didn’t have a Scholastic order form by the end of the first week I asked the teacher what the deal was.  She said she “just didn’t like to organize that stuff” so naturally, I took over and became the Scholastic Coordinator.  Not a real resume-builder, but I  must…have… more… children’s…books.

When I worked with the room mother to plan a party, I made sure a gift for the teacher was in the budget.  And I made sure that gift was a book.  See? It’s a real problem I have.  It’s so bad that I might even buy SunnyD in order to get 20 free books for my kids’ classrooms.  I am not sure exactly what SunnyD is:   Juice? Pop? Some sort of Tang-like substance? My only experience with it is when a woman looked at me very scornfully for having my kids in a Meijer Movie Kart while piling Pop Tarts and SunnyD in her regular cart and her kids yelled their heads off.  Not the best association. 

Until they teamed up with Scholastic, which can wash away a multitude of sins.  In exchange for 20 SunnyD labels, Scholastic will donate 20 books.  The program is called SunnyD Book Spree.  I think that is awesome, and will promptly start loading SunnyD into my Movie Kart with the expectation of scornful, disapproving looks from everyone.  It’s worth, it, because I love Scholastic.  For more Things I Love Thursday, go see Jill, who just had a really cute baby I want to meet in person but must wait until Germ-fest ’09 has passed.


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