Sunday, December 30, 2007

What Happened to Baby?

Yesterday, I finally put away all remaining baby items in my house. I boxed up all the true baby toys...even though they still get played with from time to time. I took out all the onesies...since the 'baby' is potty trained (!). I took all the receiving blankets out of the closet...we use them in the summertime. I took all those cute hooded-towels out of the bathroom...and replaced them with big kid hoodies.

So, we have no baby here anymore. Although the 2yo sits on my lap and says "Mommy's baby." It wasn't sad...but just a moment to reflect. And, of course, my husband starts talking about another baby....ha!

Now if we could only get rid of all the diapers...we are close.

And the nursing...

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

So many people vow to get in shape for the New Year...and the Fitness Center in Champaign and Monticello is offering a great deal to help you achieve that goal.

For 1 day only...join the FC for $1!
New Year's Day from 11am-4pm sign up for just $1!

They are also starting a Lost It at the Club weight loss and fitness program in January. We'll help you lose those holiday pounds.

Obviously, we love the FC (I work there and have worked out there for years). It is a great family-orientated gym with free, on-site childcare! Lots of classes, cardio machines, weights, personal trainers, special programs...and more.

Check it out. Stop in and take a tour or stay for a class. Just think...the gym is the only place to take a shower without anyone bothering you.

Joining a gym can be expensive but if you look for the right time to join, it can be great. Many gyms offer special deals in out for them. It is an investment in your health and well-being and will save you money in medical costs in the future.

**If you don't want to join a gym but need something to get your going...check out Discovery Health's National Body Challenge or Sparks People. These are both free programs to help you integrate exercise and healthy eating into your life.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holidays!

We're out to see the family for the holidays! Everyone have a great and safe holiday!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Movie Review: Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tim Burton, R, 1hr 56min

So, I took the opportunity to have some me-time before the big holiday. So, I headed to the movies. I was so excited to see this movie...that I broke the plan to see it with my husband. There I go...battle shopping traffic...get carded while buying my some over-buttered popcorn....sit through way too many commercials and previews (mostly horror movies and Mamma Mia!)...and a long music video....finally it starts.

The music starts and distinct Sweeney whistle....but I'm ok with that. Eliminating the chorus of the cast allows the film to seem less-musically (although the songs were seemlessly evoked throughout the film). Opening credits are great...very excited.

This revenge story takes place in a dark and dirty London...on Fleet Street. Sweeney was deceptively imprisoned by the local judge so that he could have his pretty wife. Fast forward 15 years...Sweeney is back, wife is gone, their daughter is in the charge of the judge. Sweeney is mad and he's not going to take it anymore.

Acting as a barber, which he was in his previous life, he waits for his opportunity to take vengeance on the judge and be reunited with his family. Well, things take some bad and bloody turns. Helping with the bloody part is Mrs. Lovett, a local baker and apparent owner of Sweeney's former home and shop. She develops an innovative way to help Sweeney. It is filled with villains and it takes a lot of thought to understand who is really the worst (but that's another discussion) That's the plot in a nutshell and without giving much away.

This is one of my favorite musicals...I almost obsess over it. I really liked the adaptation. It took some things out, of course, but I understand why and it worked (however, the lovers' duet "Kiss Me" was sorely missed). It also added some dialogue to beef up the plot (since they took out the long songs and I guess viewers need everything explained to them). The visual aspects were amazing...the sets, cinematography, editing....great. It basically looks like an old movie...almost in black and white.

The casting was a bit off, however. I love Johnny Depp...normally! And he actually did an ok job as Sweeney. His singing isn't Broadway...more rock-n-roll but it worked. What bothered me was that he had the same expression on his face the whole movie. Helena Bonham-Carter was very poorly cast. She can't sing, she's too pretty, she has no comedic skills. What a waste of a part. Alan Rickman was good...can't sing (which ruined one of the most beautiful songs ever written, "Pretty Women"). Timothy Spall was as creepy as ever. The problem in these last three that they are playing the same roles in the same way we have already seen them in (Have you seen Harry Potter? Fight Club? Corpse Bride?). Sacha Baron Cohen does a great job in his character cameo (you should tuck next time). The three new comers playing Toby, Anthony, and Johanna were great. Strong, strong singing and solid acting.

Overall, it was an acceptable adaptation for this masterpiece by Stephen Sondheim....except for one thing...BLOOD! It was excessive, unnecessary, and literally-nauseating. It was ridiculous. I couldn't watch it and it pretty much ruined what would have been a pretty good movie. If Burton was going for the old, horror movie genre, as he said in interviews, there would have been NO blood. And you just didn't need it. It took it from a great story with singing to a gore-fest (and I like horror movies). One particular death is so violent...I just waited with my head down. I've seen this story many don't need the gore. I would say just close your eyes and listen the music...but I don't know if I recommend that either...head to the bathroom.

Overall, it is a good scary is an ok musical. I wish that Burton would have either taken the story and made a good horror flick OR taken the musical and made a great film. It will introduce great music to those who would otherwise not but it will also expose those musical fans to some yuck (I'm talking to you, Mom!). And it is unfortunate that the singing (which can be fabulous even despite the morbid subject matter) was not strong enough (hey, the stage version is coming to Chicago in the spring). And I missed the comedy (yes, there is some...just listen). Don't buy the movie soundtrack...get the original with Angela Landsbury!

If you love Sondheim(this is his masterpiece) or Sweeney or horror movies...check it out...just be prepared.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays from our Polish Family to yours

This is my new favorite Slovenian pop music group....Atomik Harmonik!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good for TV but...

Comedy Central announced today that the Daily Show and the Colbert Report will go back into production next month. This is great! I absolutely LOVE the Daily Show. Besides the fact it is a fabulous show...and a reasonable news was a strong part of my evening routine. At 10pm I flip between WCIA (local news), Jon Stewart, and E! News (yes, I'm not embarrassed).

But....they are returning without their striking writers. I wish they could resolve the issues and allow the writers to work happy. Continuing on without these writers defeats the purpose of the strike a bit. I'm sure it was a difficult decision.

Let's hope that this work out...for the sake of all those tired parents who need a bit of TV to keep the inner-peace.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cute Holiday Fare

If you want to experience something super cute...check out BT Washington Elementary's Nutcracker...tomorrow (Tuesday) at 945am and 2pm. The free how is about 45mins long.

Mr. Bob Smith does a fabulous job creating this musical version of the ballet. The cast includes every student (that's about 240 kids) and even a special appearance by the principal.

This great arts program produces several shows a year. The spring musical is always a winner. Check out this hidden gem of Champaign!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Yes, we have snow here...a lot of snow. Not enough to close the city but enough to need to shovel and play in. We had already made a snowman by noon yesterday (although he got covered through the night).

And the snow brought us some winter parents. Ok, none of our family lives within a reasonable distance from here...and most of our good friends have moved we never have anyone drop in. But Mom was in Decatur and the weather dictated a stop. So the kids got to stay up a little late and play with Grandma and Grandpa.

We had chocolate chip cookies and chatted. Sleepover with a pancake breakfast. It was super nice. Thanks Mom!

Did I mention she left her People Magazine for me?!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sale Alert!

Haven't finished shopping yet? Need something big?

Meijer is having a Super Sale Saturday ONLY!
This is a good time to buy shoes! Plus you can use Santa bucks and get more savings.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


*Anyone returned a book to the CPL yet?
The new book drop (located on Healy) is automated...just drive up and a voice will tell you what to do. I was so excited that I returned a DVD case without the movie in it.

*I hate going to the store to find only green bananas. In my sadness, I had to buy some apple donuts...which were delicious...maybe even better than Curtis Orchard's.

*Most TV shows are in reruns indefinitely I put some DVD sets on hold at the library...the lists are in the hundreds. Maybe I will get them before the strike ends. We have The Office, Arrested Development, and The Simpsons. And are you ready for some...I mean a lot...of reality shows? I miss the Daily Show the most.

*More people at the gym this break, cookie guilt? I don't mind, I love teaching larger classes.

*Had some basil tofu from Basil Thai (Urbana) this was so spicy! It helped my stuffy nose. It was still good but whoa!

*Christmas shopping done for all the little ones in my life! Gotta love Amazon!

*Golden Globe Award nominations came out today. I never understand how movies that aren't even open can be eligible for nominations. I also watched a documentary about these awards so I don't think they hold much weight...but award shows are always fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Movie Review: Sicko

I actually rented this movie a couple weeks ago...exclusively at Blockbuster (whatever that means...the waitlist at the library is super long).

So...Michael Moore's newest documentary, Sicko, is about failing US healthcare system. He does not examine the public aid programs (e.g. Medicaid or Medicare) but the private health care companies...particularly in the middle class. He takes a look at what is happening in the US and compares it to what is happening in other countries...particularly socialist countries. The basic idea of the societies portrayed is....emotionally and physically happy citizens are more productive and effective citizens.

Yes, I said it....socialist! Socialism has a lot to offer the US. Yes, it is communism but do any of us really know what that is? Immediately Americans think the Red Scare, Berlin, China...evil. Well, socialism or communism is simply based on the idea of community and living in a collective society. This means that everyone takes care of everyone else thus creating a happy and productive society. The US is not this way. We are an independent society that values self-control and competition. Not that we are not concerned for society as a whole, but we really want what is best for ourselves first. This is a topic that I could talk about and link to SO many things but I will save that for a later post.

Back to the movie...which you should all see regardless of your political orientation. It is a fabulous film to discover what other countries do (how and why they do). Compare and contrast to the US in anyway you see fit. Of course, Moore shows us what would support his message (good quality healthcare for all) but this is not a flaw (as many conservatives have stated). If you saw the movie in theaters, get the DVD and watch the extras (especially what is happening in Norway!).

See it, talk about it, let it push you into action.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Why Christmas May Never Come

I told my family last week that I refuse to put up the Christmas tree or any other major decorations until the house is cleaned up. The tree fills up our main room so much that I can't have the usual floor of crap on top of it. hasn't happened yet. It might not. I am trying hard to stand my ground. We'll see.

I'm apparently now The Grinch. Well since I usually do all the decorating, baking, and shopping, I have that control.

Bah Humbug!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Last Look at the Library

Yesterday we went to the Champaign Library for the last time. I was planning on heading over there today for one last time but with the weather and illness, I think we will stay home. For those of you that don't know...the main branch of the Champaign Library is closing today for 4 weeks in order to get our brand new library ready.

It was really busy, at one point, the check out line was to the cd's. And it was apparent they had started to pack up. To my kids disappointment, they are not doing the reading programs this month but the librarians are happy to talk to your kids about the books they have read. The Max Words were still in play, however ("cold" and "help" were the boys' words). Mike was really excited to tell us all about the move and demolition of the old building (which should start in about 10 days...we plan on parking on the street and watching a lot).

Of course, we love the library. And it is not just the oodles of free materials available for us. Its the people and the activities. The librarians are fabulous and so helpful. And they offer such wonderful programs for all ages. It is truly a gift to the community....any community.

We will miss that old, ugly, small building but the new one will be so great! It will be a long month for us but perhaps we will make the change to the other city libraries.

Today's NG article about the library.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Great Cookie Debate

Every year I debate whether or not I should make holiday cookie trays to give out. I enjoy baking cookies and making candies. I love planning, making, and decorating. And people like them...I have those who wait for them each year. is time consuming and costs some money. Also, I end up eating the treats as well. My husband actually looks forward to 'awful' task of being quality control. I also have fewer people to give trays to (since most of our friends have moved out of the area). I feel a little bad contributing to the mass consumption of fat and calories over the holidays.

So, who else out there makes cookie trays, etc? Should I continue (this is where the receivers of said cookie trays should chime in)? Would it still be the holidays without cookies? If so, what cookies should I make?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Hanukkah to all!

I hope everyone enjoyed the first night of lights...and latkes!

Mixed veggie latkes (pancakes)
1 white potato
1 sweet potato, peeled
1 carrot
1 small onion
(other veggies to add....beets, zucchini, squash, apple)
1-2 eggs or egg substitute
2-4 tablespoons flour

Grate all veggies into a large bowl. Drain any excess liquid that accumulates. Add flour, egg, and salt/pepper. Combine. You want enough egg and flour to coat but not make the mixture drippy. In large skillet, put 1/2-1 in of vegetable oil. Heat for a few minutes (if you place a wooden spoon in it should have tiny bubbles around it). Place spoonfuls of mixture in oil, flattening out into pancake. Cook 2-4 mins until brown. Flip and repeat. Place on paper towels to drain. Serve with applesauce, sour cream, or plain yogurt. Makes about 12 pancakes.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Call for Information

With my hubby's job change....came insurance change. So we had to switch out of Carle--Dr. Hill, Dr. Shepard, Dr. Kala (sob, sob). So, I have tried two Christie docs and didn't like either one (ok, I liked the one doc but the wait was an hour....that can't happen with three kids).

Anyone have any non-Carle peds or family practice doctors they can recommend?


Monday, December 03, 2007

Holiday Spirit

Nothing like some freezing rain and ice to put you in that holiday mood! Having canceled the Holiday Parade, we had to do something around here to make up for it. So....a holiday movie and pizza did the trick.

There are so many holiday movies out there and many of the stations are showing them...a lot...and even the not-so-good ones. (check out ABC Family for a fest of holiday films).

There are a few films/shows that I have to watch or its not right...and have since made my children watch.

Here are my Top 5 Holiday Films
1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (on CBS on Tues, 12/4, 7pm!)
2. The Santa Clause
3. White Christmas
4. A Christmas Story
5. Its A Wonderful Life

My kids Top 5
1. Rudolph
2. Frosty (Fri 12/7, 7pm, CBS)
3. Polar Express (at the Virginia this weekend, and on tv (ABC Family))
4. The Santa Clause (showing on the Disney Channel this month)
5. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (that was on last week)

What are your can't miss movies?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Still Crazy After All These Years

Howdy Y'all. This is Jenna's husband David, secretly infiltrating her blog. This week we've celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary, and I've written all about it over at my blog, La Tete du Roi. I just wanted to publicly say 'Happy Anniversary Jenna!', and welcome all of you to have a look at a bit more about us, including all the music that inspired our wedding, by clicking the link above. Love you dear! G'day!