Thursday, January 31, 2008

Winter Weather Closings

Pretty much everything in the CU area is closed tonight and tomorrow...including schools, libraries, and city offices. Please check things before going out. Please be safe out there!

News Gazette and all other news sources have current updates!

Enjoy the snow!

We are having snowcones (bowl of fresh fallen snow topped with chocolate sauce or vanilla syrup!).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State of the Union...

Well, its official. only 356 more days of the Bush year at this time we will be talking about another president's first address to the nation.

Here is a copy of Bush's final State of the Union.

And the Democratice response.

Basically, I think nothing significant will happen policy-wise in the next year. Bush vows to veto anything that requires increased taxes (where have we heard that new taxes). And besides pissing off the Democrats with huge funding cuts (I wonder what programs will have cuts?), they won't pass any legislation for the Republicans.

Bush really wants to be an active last-year president but all I say is...Lame Ducky.

Monday, January 28, 2008


*I did see some of the SAG's last between looking all over for a pacifier so the 2yo would go to sleep. I'm happy The Office and 30 Rock got some recognition. I've never seen the Soprano's so I don't know what is so great about them. Of course...Old Country did well...but I have no plans on seeing it. Julie Christie seemed a bit disoriented last night...still in character? I think of her as Lara.

*I haven't commented on it yet but Heath Ledger's death really bothers me. Perhaps its because he is younger than me or that he is a dad. But I was almost in tears during the Daniel Day Lewis' tribute to him as well as the photo montage.

*Found out today I need to redo a root canal and crown from 10 years ago...doesn't that sound like fun!

*Thinking about a Sam's Club membership...any thoughts?

*Watched the documentary Hairworld yesterday. Its like the Olympics of hair styling. If you didn't know it, you might think it was the sequel to Waiting for Guffman (one of the characters is just like Parker Posey's). But was fascinating.

*Saw the Brazilian music group Desafinado at the library. They are awesome! Something about Portuguese is so beautiful.

*Listened to one of my favorite NPR shows yesterday too...Says You. I just love that show! Oh course, Prairie Home Companion is a favorite as well...but I don't always catch it.

*Got our tickets for the 3D Hannah Montana concert at the Beverly. There are $15 (which is more than a movie but far less than a concert). My husband and I have to draw straws to see which is forced to go. FYI, Go Diego Go Live! is coming to the Assembly Hall Feb 25-26th.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I've been really busy with work this week so I haven't had a chance to chat about my favorite awards show...the Oscars! It is really important to me...and I have no idea why.

This Tuesday at the crack of dawn (why do they do that?) the nominations were announced. It was actually a really good year for movies and actors so I am not surprised that a lot of people feel left out. There weren't really any major surprises (ok, Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth? and wasn't Philip Seymour Hoffman in a couple other better movies?).

The music categories are always flawed. Because in order to be eligible to be nominated the music must be original to that specific movie, so many movies with great music and use of music are eliminated (hello! Moulin Rouge!!). The category really should be 'best USE of music'. This year Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, and Juno get snubbed. Overall, no musicals will ever get a Best Song or Best Score Oscar unless it is an original musical (which is rare). Of course, the loop hole is getting nominated for the song that runs over the credits (maybe that should be its own category..."Best Song that No One Really Listens To and You Just Wrote So You Could Be Nominated for an Oscar").

I really expected something from Hairspray to be nominated (John Travolta (supporting actor), Nikki Blonski (best actress), or the song 'Ladies' Choice'). I expected at least an artistic nomination. I also expected a song from Walk Hard to be nominated. Instead, 3 out of 5 songs came from Enchanted.

And I am always bummed that I never even have the opportunity to see the short films or documentaries. Thanks to Michael Moore and Al Gore, full-length documentaries have gained some shelf space at the movie store but still. And foreign language films?!!

So, the challenge now is to see as many nominated movies as possible. My husband and I love this part. I have reserved as many as possible from the library but there is a big list. And many aren't on DVD or theaters. I also don't really want to see some (sorry No Country for Old hub will see it and tell me).

Another challenge is to party! We'll talk about party ideas closer to the date (and after confirmation that show will go on!). Check out Champaign Taste's Annual Oscar Recipe Contest!

*note that I did not link any of the movies but please feel free to check them out on Rottentomatoes or Wikipedia!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oh baby, its cold outside...

Yes, it is cold today. The forecast makes a hopeful 11F high for the day. But is it colder today than many other January/February days? I didn't think so. So, why did the area schools close today? I haven't the faintest.

Champaign Public Schools used to have the reputation of NEVER closing...unless we have severe feets of snow. I've been involved with the Champaign schools the past 8 years or so and I can't remember many weather-related school closings (what we used to call 'snow days'...because they would only close when there was way too much snow). I used to think it was odd that the surrounding rural schools close often on the mere thought of bad weather. This year Champaign has closed when it was too hot and, now, when it is too cold. With two equally hot days, one will be open and one closed. Schools will be open tomorrow.

Actually, I understand closing in the fall since so many schools lack a/c but they all have heat. The kids walked to the bus stop last winter. Overall, I am just irritated that the schools have just decided to close school without any consistency. I have written them to urge them to establish weather-related guidelines (e.g. temperature, heat index, wind chill) but have gotten no response. Parents can't predict when the schools will be closed. I wonder how many kids were left waiting for the buses that never came this morning...and their parents had already left for work.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Movie Review: Veggie Tales

Veggie Tales: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (G, 85 mins)

I was a bit resistant to seeing this movie although I know my kids like Veggies Tales and pirates...the VT DVD's are overtly Christian. But this first full-length film did not directly mention the Lord or Jesus...but obviously based its stories on basic morality tales.

We took 3 young ones (5yo, 4yo, 2yo)...loaded up with popcorn, lemonade, and fruit snacks...and headed into the dark. No one can dispute these limbless vegetables are adorable. They sing, tell jokes, and tell a good story. The story revolves around a group of dinner theater waiters (who are performing a pirate play) being transported into a pirate adventure complete with saving a princess and taking down the bad, oddly formed bad pirate.

Our favorite part is when one VT comes face to face with his favorite snack food...cheese puffs (which happen to be a favorite here as well). I also really enjoyed the music video over the credits (a take on B-52's Rock Lobster...Rock Monster).

Overall, it was enjoyable. The older two really like it. Mine said it was his favorite pirate movie. Our 2yo was more interested in climbing the seats and railings at the theater...but did do some dancing in his seat. For is entertaining enough to get through it (some jokes only adults will get) but not nearly as enjoyable as some other animated films (e.g. Pixar flicks, Shreks).

I recommend it for kids 3-6yo. The theater might be fun but not necessary to enjoy it. I'm sure it will be checked out on DVD by us at some point.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Family of the Future

My mom's family had their holiday party this weekend. So, we gathered a small group together (about 40 or so) ranging in age from 9mons to 60yrs...three generations. We ate lots of food...lots of chocolate. Played a gifting game. Talked. The kids ran around allowing the tired parents a chance to eat and talk with other adults. My uncle entertained them for hours playing monster/hide-n-seek.

The interesting thing....we organized the party over the internet! We started a family website at So far, we have been very active posting recipes, family news, photos, media reviews/recommendations, contact info, birthdays. And we easily planned our potlock dinner!

Your family should check it out...

Friday, January 18, 2008

We are a NPR Family

Listen to my mom and brother create sweet smells on NPR...the Power of Scent.

We listen to enough NPR as a is only fitting someone finally got on a show!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Its coming down...

The old Champaign Public Library is finally coming down. We have watched them tear out the inside for a bit now but today we sat in the car and in the new library and watched them really tear down the walls and ceiling. My 4yo named all the machines.

Cheap entertainment...check it out this week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nap Time

Well least someone got a nap.

First, I ran to the store to pick up the usual (milk and bananas). My hub was supposed to eat lunch and put the 2yo down for a nap. I come back....2yo is naked...4yo watching tv...hub is sleeping on the couch....

So, I decided to just take over...obviously he was tired. I take the boys upstairs. Diapers, read books, rock and sing a little. They are quiet but not asleep. So, I decide to lay down with them. I fall asleep (something I rarely do while the kids are awake). I am conscious enough to know they they had both gotten up and were playing quietly in the bedroom. How nice, they let me sleep. Eventually though they left the room...later finding out that they woke up Dad and were playing downstairs.

Well, at least the adults had naptime.

Monday, January 14, 2008


The weather has turned a bit cold again and the boys don't start school until movies have been a popular activity around here. Today alone we have watched three different types of animated films (none in their entirety).

My early-riser wanted to watch Cars this morning and what's this tired mom to do...go ahead. So, this is a Pixar movie....I love their films...they are some of my favorite movies from the past 10 years (The Incredibles, Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Bug's Life....). Pixar films are computer animated. And its truly amazing and in the beginning, it was really cool. Now all the films are computer animated so it is not as amazing but still good.

Then, the ever-lovin' Christmas 4yo wanted to watch some good ole' Rankin/Bass claymation. Compared to Cars, the animation is so simple. However, I think there is something around the look that immediately brings out the kids in all of us...remembering watching them on TV each December. And imagine the work to make those films....repositioning every movement. Amazing.

Now, after deciding he wanted to fix something, our 4yo fixed the VCR (which has been broken for months...despite several investigations, I missed the AA battery sitting right inside, I suppose I should have used the werewolf flashlight earlier). For a reward, he picked out a video...Aladdin. Aladdin was one of the first Disney movies to include some computer animation...but just backgrounds. The rest is hand drawn. Again, an amazing task. You can really tell that it is done by hand.

Anyways...what is this about...I don't know. I think is just amazing how times have changed. And how important is it to remember all the types of films from the past...yes, some are only on videotape (which I like better...they last forever, unlike DVD's that get ruined so easily). The library is still renting videos but I guess not for long. In the Friends of the Library shop at the new library you can buy used videos for cheap (like $1!).

Saturday, January 12, 2008

TV Tidbits

It is no secret that I love TV...I don't watch a ton...but I do watch something everyday. I really like to sit down after the kids are asleep and just chill out before bed (that of which I then read).

So....I used to love reality shows but they have lost their appeal for me. However, did I fall upon a guilty pleasure this week. Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew on VH1. Dr. Drew of Love Line and other media fame...who also happens to be a real addictions specialist, takes 8 B to Z list celebrities into rehab. Besides the fact, I can't believe some of them are alive...I am interested to watch them get better...if they make it. I hope the show will touch other addicts and persuade them to get help. Just watching Jeff Conaway (of Grease and Taxi)...would be enough to get me clean if I was an addict of any kind. I almost feel guilty about watching this private moment in their lives...but I do feel the need to watch. I like Intervention as well.

USA Network has started its season last night with new episodes of Monk and Psych...preceded by a Psych marathon (Monk marathon on Sunday). I like Monk but it, as Psych, is a bit formulaic. But enjoyable nonetheless. Psych is really fun for people my age...there are many, many 80's and early 90's references. And the leads are so cute.

On the kid front....since we've had no school, we've had a thorough survey of children's programming. We are favoring the PBS offerings right now. While Sesame Street is still a strong favorite for the 4yo really likes the new superhero-inspired shows Super Why and Word Girl. Word World is another literacy-based PBS show that is entertaining. I also like that they have filled in the shows with preschool-like activities from Hooper and Miss Lori.

My 11yo is in the in-between stage of TV watching...when we pry the DS out of her hands. She isn't into the kiddie shows really...nothing animated, really. So she is into Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. I don't really like either...not that they are bad, but they are not as entertaining (unlike the animated shows which I think are written with jokes for parents). She is also interested in watching what I she likes Monk, CSI, 30 Rock, the Office etc. We just have monitor which episodes are appropriate (not a lot of CSI's) and watch with her.

The hub is still watching election coverage on CNN!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quickies from the Sickie

*I really want my computer back. We sent it in to get it fixed (motherboard problem..whatever that is...maybe there will replace the missing keys the 2yo took off). So, I have use of my hubby's computer...when he is home. Its been forever...ok, about 2 weeks.

*I am already tired of election coverage. Ok, I watched the last Democratic chance really. But my husband wanted to watch the tv all night for the NH primary. This is ridiculous. The actual presidential election is in November! Then there's the 'emotional' breakdown of Hillary. If that is what we are calling emotional...then I am hysterical most of the time. Was it fake? Did it win NH for her? Did women eat it up? Who will ever know...who will even care in a couple weeks. I've heard everyone's speech... Honestly, from what Anderson Cooper favorite CNN host (ok, I like to look at him more than anything else), there is no clear candidate on either side. And I really like a little bit of each of them (I really ignore the Republicans, sorry). I wish they would pretend like they get a long and were a team (which after Feb they will). Looks like Edwards may be our next VP.

*All I want is to watch some mindless TV before bed...too bad. Couldn't they at least run some reruns? At least Jon Stewart is back!

*I have been feeling terrible lately. First of all...I am NOT pregnant...I don't want any emails telling me I am or family rumors going around. But I sure feel like it. Actually my hormones are crazy right now because I have finally begun to wean the little milkaholic. I have been pregnant and nursing for 5 years now. To finally stop is a big change...and my body is not adjusting well. The dr can give me more artificial hormones to, thanks. I will just ride it out...

*Went to the library was lovely. Very quiet and relaxing. The kids still wanted to walk all over (the little one looking for Clifford). We sat, read, and played for over an hour. Then we watched the digger clean out the old library.

*I am now Sudoku-addicted. But I can't do it with a lot of noise around so I do one set after the kids are tucked in. Then I make myself put it away.

*Happy 80th Birthday to my Grandma today...she's sitting in Vegas at the slot machines. You go girl!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Lovin' the Library

If you read this blog on a regular basis at know that I have talked about the new city library a lot...and you know that I am a library-junkie. And finally opened!

Well, I think everyone in the CU area was there at some point on Sunday from 1-6pm. It was packed...I have never seen that many people at the library...any library. Cars were parked everywhere...there were lines for everything. It was quite an amazing thing really...a community so excited about a library...I mean its a place for reading, quiet, and learning.

It is pretty amazing itself. Three floors...lots of windows....tons more materials....a Friends of the Library store...a sorting room (what happens after the book drop?)...self-check out...wireless game rental.

I'll tell you the highlights from each of our family members...
2yo: Clifford was there and the light show on the Children's Desk (I actually think he was a little disorientated...when we told him he could pick out a book...he looked confused...or maybe it was the penguin-hatted librarians).

4yo: The vents and the elevators

11yo: The Wii in the Teen room...we'll never see her in the children's section again

The hubby: The sorting room

The mom: The numerous places I could come and cuddle up to read (there are many!) and the free rentals yesterday

We can't wait to go back and just enjoy it...really find our new library routine. I can't wait to spend time there alone.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New CU Blogs

Welcome to the CU Blogging Community

The Everyday Dad

Misc. and Co.


Thanks Soy Is the New Black for the tip off.

Champaign Public Library Opens Tomorrow!

The main branch of the CPL opens tomorrow, Sunday, at 1pm.

There is a big party all day long (1-6pm) stop by and check it out (no pun intended). There is an opening ceremony at 1pm but activities all day. Warning....parking might be messy.

The other day I sat in my car with my 4 yo and watched a Bobcat (the machine not the animal) tear out the insides of the old library. It was cool. The outside walls should be coming down soon.

I'm so excited, of course...dealing with the reservation system has been a mess for us...and the librarians are ready to get out of the wobbling Bookmobile.

Friday, January 04, 2008

In the News!

The big news today is....

Britney Spears has lost it...her mind, body, and her boys. You can read about it here.

Poor Britney...let's hope that she can get some good help and move on with her life. Let's also hope that her sons receive the care they need. I hope they have a therapy fund. What will happen with Jamie Lynn's baby? So sad....

I bet you thought I would be talking about the Iowa Caucus didn't you. Ok, let's talk about that. What is this crazy process anyways? I just don't understand the validity of this long process of caucuses...followed by primaries (which some are parties aren't allowing)...followed by the party making whatever decision they want anyways. I suppose if I was going to pick a state to clearly represent the US...Iowa, Wyoming, and New Hampshire would be on the top of the list. I mean they are so diverse ethnically, economically, linguistically, politically.....

Its not like this is an important decision or anything...just the US Presidency.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year's Quickies

Happy 2008 to you all!!

I hope this new year brings you good health and happiness!

Some Quickies for this week....
*We still love you Illinois football players...the Rose Bowl will be there again...some day.

*Our 11yo daughter and her friend stayed up way past me on New Year's Eve...pathetic? I don't think so, I knew I had to get up whenever the boys did...I think is was smart.

*Illinois is SMOKE FREE!!! At last...too bad, Mayor.

*Chicago has established a bottled-water tax...suburban water smuggling to come! I can't believe people are complaining about this....people feel like that won't be able to drink water anymore! Please people.

*Last day of winter break for the school-age set! My daughter has had a lovely break but she can go back the very least to help me figure out what day it is.

*My 11yo got a Nintendo DS for Christmas. And my hubby got Brain Age 2 for me...I am apparently not as smart as I used to be but with daily training, I can be smart again! I also started playing Sudoku on it...I am hooked.

*Saw The Golden Compass movie. Overall, it was very good. I loved the books and, obviously, so many things were left out of the film, but they did a good job at the main story. The prologue is a bit confusing if you don't know it or aren't really listening but its ok. The costumes and sets are beautiful and the lead, Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra, is fantastic. Recommended for those over 10yo.

*Watched Subdivide and Conquer on The Documentary Channel last night...fascinating. Try to catch it.

*I am happy to say that I watched the entire series of Arrested Development over the past three weeks...the whole Season 3 on my sick day this week. Love that show!!! It is even better if you watch it all at once...the inside jokes are great! Shame on you Fox for taking it away from us.