Monday, March 31, 2008


I find that when I am reading books now...I often take a look at the copywright date. Because times, especially technology, has changed so much in the past 10 years...I need to set the right time frame. I'll be reading a thriller and will ask...why don't you just use your cell phone! well, because they didn't exist.

Just an observation.

Awesome Idea of the Day!

Here is a great idea from Misc. and co to make your own reusable grocery bags (or bags for anything! a way to save your kid's favorite outgrown shirt).

Check it out!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ahh...the 4 Year Old.

Well, its been going on for a long time....our 4yo is anti-poop. Ever since we started potty training, he just refuses to poop. After painful constipation, medication, diet changes, positive reinforcement, punishment...still doesn't like to poop, especially not in the toilet. He's 4 1/2 yos...he has been peeing in the toilet for 2 years and doesn't wear anything at night. But where he used to just hold it in for days and then sit all day on the he just poops in his pants. I hate it. Besides it is absolutely gross....I just don't know what to do.

Yesterday, after a long and angry tantrum by all involved...he eventually cleaned himself, his clothes, and the bathroom up. Only to do it again later in the day...more crying and then cleaning up. So, I guess I plan to try to calming insist that if he is going to poop in his pants that he has to clean it up... Any suggestions?

*Note that the 2yo is fully potty training during the day (he can do the whole thing completely on his own and in 'privacy please').

And we are in the 'hard of hearing' stage of childhood. I remember my oldest in this phase as well but it is still equally annoying. Basically, whatever I say to my 4yo I must repeat at least 3 times (He says 'what?' before I even finish the sentence). I could say anything those first 2 times....he will ask for it be repeated. Another mom at school says hers is doing the same thing. Could it be a conspiracy?

Our middle child really challenges us and he has changed a lot of my parenting tactics for good and, sometimes, bad. He even has impacted my decision to go back to work (I turned down a job last fall because I knew I wouldn't have the energy). Some kids are just more work than others but it is all good the end of the day with a piece of dark chocolate and a glass of wine.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fitness Friday!!!

Jump around!

Jumping rope is one of the best and most complete exercises around. All you need a medium weight can buy a jump rope for a couple dollars at many stores. It is also extremely portable...take it anywhere!

Jumping rope does take some practice but once you get into will burn 3x as many calories as running! Plus you can do it for as little as 5 mins and get a good workout. can do it as a family!

Jump rope individually with your kids...have jumping contests (how many jumps in a minute, craziest trick, who can jump the longest or highest). Or jump all together...get a long rope and have two people (or 1 and a fence) twirl and one jump. Want to get fancy...double dutch!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


*We got our tax refund! Youpi! We have no plans for it except to try not to spend it. Can't wait for our 'relief' check.

*In the past 2 weeks we have had our power shut off for 45mins and our road closed for 2 days...without any notice from the respective companies. What a pain.

*Looks like the potholes in town are finally being filled!

*Make sure to buy your pool passes before the pools open...there is a reasonable discount. Check out Champaign Park District for more. There are a lot of changes to the Urbana Park District summer schedule so check things out.

*There is a film, Stories of Us, about bullying created by the 8th graders at Franklin MS in Champaign playing at the Virginia on Friday at 7pm...its free.

*I watched Elizabeth: The Golden Age (good, I love historical movies, and I loved the first one. The DVD extras are good...about the cathedrals, etc.) and Gone, Baby, Gone (it was very good, a really good conversation starter and Casey Affleck was great, but I hope you like the F-word..I think it is in every sentence).

*Head to the library on Friday! Urbana is having the Fairy Ball and Champaign is showing Harry Potter 1...both begin at 6pm.

*I am the official winner of the Longest Distance Award from our family's 1st Annual Egg Throwing Competition! We all decorated dyed eggs with markers, pipe cleaners, stickers, etc. then closed our eyes, spun around, and threw them. My step-father won most artistic, best integrity, and best in show. My 4yo won best sportsmanship (thanks to his Spiderman sweatband). Thank you all for your support!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bush's War

To cap off our Spring Break, my husband and I watched Frontline's Bush's War about the ongoing war with Iraq. It is fascinating. I am again and again amazed at what happens behind closed doors in the White House. I will never go into politics even though I love investigating policy issues. Its a dirty business. The next president will have his or her hands full sorting out the mess that has been created the past 8 years...the covert changes to policies and procedures is frightening.

So, if you really need another reason to frown upon the current presidential administration....check it out on TV or online.

In lighter TV viewing, Dancing with the Stars is shaping into a good season. Check that out online as well!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Fitness Friday!

Besides watching basketball all day....

Do some weight training....

You can purchase weight sets at any major store and quite affordably. If you are only buying one size...5lb...if more...3lb, 5lb, 8lb, and 10lb.

But you don't have to buy anything. Apple juice bottles, a gallon of milk, ream of paper, your children, full laundry basket....these all make great weights...and I am sure you have them in your house right now.

You want to aim for 8-12 repetitions for each muscle. Once you are 'in training' you can add additional sets.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring! and a movie review!

Yes, it is officially Spring! and today the weather was amazing (ignore the forecast for snow this weekend).

So, we made it to Horton Hears a Who (88mins, rated G) on a raining Monday. I only took the 4yo and 11yo since I was going alone and our youngest does not have a good movie record (and I had previously read it was 1hr 50mins). Overall, very enjoyable.

One thing I love about Dr. Seuss books is the mostly black and white line drawings...of course this movie is computer-animated and very colorful but appropriately so. Horton is adorable on his quest to save the Who-ville despite being tracked by an angry and controlling kangaroo. If you listen to the dialogue, the things she says are somewhat profound and clearly allude to historical perspectives (what would happen if the kids (e.g. women, minorities) thought for themselves, and later, a clear allusion of lynching). The major theme...a person is a person no matter how made very clear. Obviously, those references are over my 4yo's head but the major points are clear and good talking points later. The cast is great, the pacing good, some funny and some touching moments. My only major criticism is the use of the word "boob," which is used a lot (not meaning breast but idiot). Like my kids need to be encouraged to use inappropriate words more (we are in potty talking phase here).

My 11yo liked it, my 4yo said he could watch it everyday, and I found it very watchable (but not necessarily as enjoyable as say the Incredibles or Enchanted). I recommend it for kids 3+. I recommend the original book for everyone!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Preschool In Town

For those of you looking a preschool or daycare program for the fall...NOW is the time! In the CU area, you can contact Child Care Resource Center for information on area preschools and daycares, as well as financial assistance information. Other centers are usually available for each county. Remember to check out school district programs as well.

There is new school in town...Faithful Friends Preschool at Faith United Methodist Church in Champaign. It is a play-based preschool program for 2-5 year olds that runs M-F from 9am-12pm. There are 2, 3, 5 day options available. Although the program is located at a church, the program welcomes families of any or no religion. The facilities are great and materials will be abundance. It will be a great program. The prices are on par with others in the area. You might even see me and my kids there in the fall.

Contact Julie at or 359-3631 X 22.
No website up yet.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pick Pocket

Things found in my coat pocket yesterday....
3 rocks
1 plastic ladybug
2 coat buttons
1 shopping list
3 movie tickets
1 kleenx, slightly used
1 broken pencil
1 strip of rainbow smiley face stickers

Always be prepared.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Break

First of all...what happened to Spring? It was fabulous last its cold and is supposed to rain for the next 2 days. Oh well...library here we come. Our other plans include heading over the Jarling's Custard Cup (which recently opened for the season...we used to go opening day each year but we haven't made it yet). We want to see Horton Hears a Who. We already watched Mr. Magorium's Wonder Imporium (not bad, not great) for Movie Night. The oldest is going to Camp Grandparents for half the week. We are hosting Rites of Spring here next weekend (aka Easter minus the religious aspects).

And today is St. Patrick's Day! Read an interesting history about this holiday at Teahm Beahm. I am Irish so I usually like to do something but I'm too tired today. I do enjoy a good ruben from Courier Cafe and Irish soda bread from Great Harvest. Perhaps some shepard's pie may end up on the table.

But think of the day as Green Day...think of 2 ways to make your life a little greener (change those light bulbs, plan a compost, buy a push mower, walk or bike to work.....).

Saturday, March 15, 2008

TV Treasure!

My hub...who spends countless hours at work waiting for someone to have an emergency...told me about Hulu. It is a website that has tons of full and partial television programs and movies. So you feel like a little WKRP in Cincinnati tonight...there you go. The kids need something to do on a rainy day...All Dogs Go to Heaven. Current and older items right at your finger tips!

So, with this, Tivo/DVR, network online episodes, iTunes Store, DVD's....who is going to watch convention TV anymore?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fitness Friday!

Go for a walk!

The weather is turning nice...take 20 mins after dinner and take a walk...alone or with the whole family. Leave the dishes, baths can wait. Or try to get in a walk before the kids wake up...while the town is quiet and cool.


I was tagged by Chambana Fanna Fo Fanna and Soy is the New Black...

Here are 5 interesting things about me:
1. I am a fountain of useless knowledge...especially pop culture. I have a strange knack for remembering little details about everything (this was good skill in school). And if I can't remember an actor's name or sitcom plot...I think about it all day until it pops in my brain. My husband likes to turn on Seinfeld just for a second and see if I can tell him all the plot lines in the episode.

2. I cook a lot...I actually got accepted into culinary school for college (similar to Soy!) but I decided that the life of a chef wasn't the best idea. But I still love learning new cooking skills and always think of ways to make it a reasonable profession.

3. I come from a HUGE family. I only have 2 brothers but my mom's family is especially large (we are ranging in the 70's I think). And get this....until a few years ago, we all went on vacation together annually! Now its only every 3 years. We still get together for major holidays and weddings (for our wedding, just family and friends, we had 200 people).

4. I was 18yo when I had my first baby...I still got my bachelor's and master's degree (all in 6 years), married my high school sweetheart, and own a house in fabulous Central Illinois....livin' the dream, baby.

5. I balance my love of musical theater with football (and sometimes basketball). I especially like college sports (March Madness is coming!!).

I tagged A Mom's Life, Neat Shots and More, Little Blog on the Prairie, Pammie Cakes, and Ladybug's Picnic.

Link to your tagger and post these rules.
Share 5 facts about yourself.
Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quickie Round Up

We have been REALLY busy lately....

First of all...what is all that green stuff on the ground....I don't remember what its called, I haven't seen it in so long!

*We had a really busy past Saturday.
11yo went to Anime drawing workshop at the library with a Chicago-based illustrator...awesome and FREE!

2 and 4 yo and Mom went to Lincoln Square Mall for Read Across America. Super fun, well-organized, and great day to spend reading, doing literacy and other fun activities, and finding out about all the areas' early childhood services/businesses. Super Why was there! And it was FREE!

Dad was at Bergner's at other mall for a promotional event..we stopped by and met Andy the Ambulance, decorated cookies, got tattoos, egg hunt, fun photos, was also FREE (they did hope we would buy some clothes...but we didn't...ha, ha!).

Then in pm, Mom and the 11yo (plus Dad who was working the event), went to Krannert to see Diavolo (crazy, awesome good dance group out of LA) and stayed for the Talk Back session afterwards...and that was also FREE (go KCPA staff!).

*Sunday was filled with family and fun for the rest of the fam while I drove to Peoria for an all-day workshop and certification for fitness instructors (and with the time change and late night out (ok, it was like 11pm)...I was SOOO tired.

Other things...
*What the F#*@ happened to gas prices?! I know the price of the barrel is at an all time high....we definately can't afford that second car now (yes, we only own 1 car).

*Can someone remove all the black, ugly snow piles from around town...they are dampening my Springy outlook. And while they're on it...fix the potholes on University...its like a video game.

*FYI, if anyone is looking into preschools/daycares for next fall...NOW is the time. Most places have applications due between March and April.

*Has anyone seen Your Momma Don't Dance on Lifetime? Its like a bad car is so bad but you have to watch.

Finally...Happy Birthday to my loving Hubby!
The kids decorated the dining room for dinner and sang the cutest version of Happy Birthday ever. Then my husband fell asleep on the couch...and slept for 11hrs! Now that's a great birthday present!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mom Brain....its official!

There was a video (which I did try to embed, sorry) on today about Momnesia (Mom Brain). So, it is confirmed that mommies do lose some mental functioning after becoming parents.

I know I have. I used to be a pretty studious I have been reduced to the People Magazine crossword (which will stump me once in awhile). It takes me longer to read anything nonfiction and I often cannot think of the (you like "Do you want water or....what white stuff....from cows....what is it?"). I've even forgotten some appointments and birthday (that's why I can't live without my frig calendar now).

So, I have been playing Brain Age regularly and am officially a Sudoku nut (I have to do it everyday!).

What has been your greatest Mom Brain moment (even if you're not a mom)?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Fitness Friday!

While watching TV, take the commercial breaks to burn some calories...
Either take the 2 mins to....
Do a toning exercise (push ups, crunches, planks, weight or resistence training)*
Do a cardio interval (jog in place, jumping jacks, run up and down the stairs, skip around the house)

Do the activity for the ENTIRE break and do something EVERY break.

For a 30min show that's about 8mins of exercise or 20mins for 1hr program!

*See Sparks People for easy toning exercises.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Why men will eventually be extinct...

I was at Bed Bath and Beyond with my 4yo ubershopper (shopping for Dad's bday gift...we didn't buy anything, honey)...and we happened upon this.....Homedics Quad Roller Massaging Chair. It wasn't like the vibrating massagers out there (I hate those)...this has these balls in it that really knead into your back. I could have sat ALL day.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The weather is frightful....again

So I am sitting at home looking out the window and listening to the sleet and snow pour down....thinking why do I have to go out again?! Maybe I should have kept the kids home today...although it was fine earlier. And then I have to go to work this evening. Yuck!

But I did see a good sign of spring yesterday....a couple big, fat bunnies in my yard. We have lots in our neighborhood. I assume they are pregnant with some cute little spring babies. I hope they are not iced over today...and got the veggies I left for them last night.

Monday, March 03, 2008


*I haven't had a lot of computer time since our 4yo has taken it over. He has discovered computer games....and figured them out quickly. Needs no help...nor wants it. We have to set timers and pry him off it.

*We have watched some good family films lately. The Game Plan (see previous review) and Surf's Up. I really liked Surf's Up...this animockumentary about the penguin surf circuit is actually very clever and funny. It has lots of little jokes for the adults and lots of action for everyone.

*In my pathetic sick week, I read the new James Patterson Women's Murder Club 7th Heaven. It was a good read (so much better than You've Been Warned...that one was terrible!). See my book list at the bottom for more details. I also watched Hide and Seek (why, Bobby?) and Wedding Crashers (I love that one!). And some ESPN coverage of cheerleading competitions.

*A lot of potty talk about here....the boys talk about their special parts ALL the time. We tell our 4yo about privacy but our 2yo doesn't care...he thinks its funny. Let's hope they don't make pp jokes at school.

*Our 11yo starts ISATs today (Illinois' standardized testing). The school is making a big deal out of it but we aren't. I'm not worried about her scores plus I don't want her to feel like her life is on the line. Sen. Obama says he will eliminate these high-stakes testing....interesting.

*Mother Nature is was so beautiful here is supposed to snow later in the week.