Thursday, July 31, 2008

I just don't get it.

I don't understand tanning...I mean like going to a tanning salon and willingly exposing your skin to damaging UV rays. I am one of those white or red people (although for the first time in awhile I do have tanlines). I simply don't get it. Someone clue me in.

And I had to laugh when I saw a TV piece about solar-powered tanning beds....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I am a very forgiving animal lover...we have lots of animals that call our neighborhood home (although why the bunnies say despite the constant harassment from our 2yo, I don't know). This has ruined our dreams of a sunflower house in our backyard. I don't kill bugs in our house but prevent the annoying ones from calling our kitchen home.

But I have a problem with the squirrels who are now stealing my tomatoes off the plant and then perch on top of the swingset to show off their skills....laughing at us inside.

I really wanted tomato on my sandwich today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Long Green Line

When I was in high school, there was one thing that you could count on....a winning cross country team. Every year, we all travel down to Peoria (and eat at Hardee's...which was pretty cool at the time) and cheer on our boys (and girls) on the Long Green Line. 25 state titles...50 yrs of coaching...Couch Newton is a legend (and never learned my first name...always little Wegs).

Some of my classmates have made a documentary appropriately titled The Long Green Line and it is playing at the York Theater in Elmhurst, IL Aug 16-17th! Check it out!

See here for more details and showing dates.

Go Dukes!!

(note: I was going to wait to post this but the Saturday show is almost sold out already!)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Its all wrong...

Ok, I just finished reading The Secret Life of Bees (after my MIL gave me the CD of it years ago). I really liked it...its a great coming-of-age novel. I know they are making a movie of it so I looked up who the cast was...although I was careful not to look this up until after I was done, not to ruin the images in my mind (but I did remember reading who the lead was).

I won't ruin it for anyone else (you can look it up here) but the cast is all wrong. If you have read the book, the great Calendar Sisters, I assumed were older (like 40's-50's, at least). I mean the one woman was a nanny in 1931 and the book is set in the 60's. Well, the cast is very young...far younger than I imagined. The film makers are just wrong.

Although I LOVE to see movies, tv shows, plays based on books I have read, I often read a book if I know a movie is coming sometimes just messes it all up. I can't read a Jesse Stone novel now without seeing Tom Selleck...and Harry Potter (although I think their casting department is fantastic). And of course actors should be able to play any role well....I just can't see some people differently (Nicole Kidman a villan? Robert DeNiro a sweetheart? We watched Juno last night and thought Michael Cera has play a drug addict or something soon or he's doomed).

I also feel a bit betrayed when I see radio personalities...they are never how I imagined.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fitness Friday!

I've noticed that people aren't coming into the gym as much this month...summer has been busy for everyone. Here some things you can do to burn some calories while still hanging out with your family and friends at reunions, weddings, or just chillin' (and remember what you can do in the car on those long drives (bring some weights or a resistance band in the car)).

*Have a dance party or go to a bar with a dance floor and better yet, a live band! (go to outdoor concerts!)
*Go on long walks can catch up or gossip along the way.
*Swim across the lake...or to a raft together.
*Take the row or paddle boat!
*Chase the little kids around! Tickle Monster or Hide-n-Seek!
*Have a leg wrestling competition (a favorite at our family reunion)!
*Karaoke party! Everyone will be dancing!
*Play charades...yes, it will get you moving!
*Contests....most push-ups, crunches, relay races, arm wrestling, Simon says, hula hoop....
*Hit the beach...walking, swimming, Frisbee, sandcastles
*Go to a neighborhood festival...lots of walking from booth to booth

Also, try to drink lots of water and limit the alcohol! Save the calories for that chocolate fountain.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Movie Reviews

Wall-E, rated G

Last week in the heat, I decided to take the kids to see Wall-E. Although I missed some with the multiple bathroom trips, request for food and drink, and monkey business...I like this one. All of Pixar's movies are both amazing technically and sweet in story.

Basically, consumerism ruins Earth and all living things must be evacuated from the planet. Staying behind is a garbage robot, Wall-E. He collects relics from the trash including a VHS of Hello Dolly which he plays on an iPod (he learns the choreography and everything, ha, ha!). Eventually, another robot is placed on Earth to collect data and look for signs of life...which she does in a small plant growing in a boot...and she finds love and friendship in Wall-E. Yada, yada...more super sweet scenes....they end up on the vessel that holds all the humans who now are completely assisted by robots. So you get to see what happens to humans in this situation and what happens when they find out that life can once again survive on Earth.

Although it has great action and comedy, the story brings up a lot of questions and discussion points for all ages.
I recommend it for everyone and encourage your family to talk about it a lot as well.

I snuck out yesterday and saw this one...its long, this was the first chance I had 3hrs+. I love superhero movies, especially Batman. I recently watched the original of this series...but it wasn't necessary, they cover the basics for newbies. It is great could even call it a film.

The plot is somewhat complicated (but not nearly as hard to follow as the first) but basically villains emerge in Gothem, Batman takes care of it while trying to resolve his own personal issues and relationships. I won't give away who all the villains are but we all know that the Joker makes his first appearance in the series. If you know Batman well enough, you can predict some of the story. Basically...great performances (although my throat hurt listening to Bale's Batman voice), beautiful imagery (Chicago baby!), and great action sequences. All the talk is about Heath Ledger...and he is great. A really interesting interpretation of the classic have to wait it out though (I did want more backstory on this one). I love Michael Caine as well. My only criticism is the third act (which is great) made the movie feel a bit long, especially after my soda in-take. But I liked the last third so much that I wish they cut some from the beginning.

I recommend it to kids over 10yo at least and on the big screen.

If you didn't catch the free viewings of this, you can download it on iTunes or wait for the DVD....but in any case...if you love musicals and/or superheroes....this is awesome. This low-budget, 45min internet film is brilliant. Based on simple superhero/villain principles and Broadway-quality music, we follow Billy as he tries to get his alter-ego Dr. Horrible in the Evil League of Evil while also finding the love of his life. The lyrics are hilarious, the acting and singing it over and over again to get all the jokes. A must-see!

Although there are a couple inappropriate things (the last line in Act II, and some of Capt. Hammer's talk of sex (which was over my little ones heads but not the 11yo))....everyone in my family loved it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend fun

Despite the heat...this was the first couple days of the summer that I wouldn't let the kids outside for more than a couple minutes...except when we went to the pool....we had a lovely weekend.

We finished most of the big sorting in the house and I am enjoying the open space. I especially like my bedroom...I removed all toys and children's books (although the rocking horse seems to like it in there). The clean floor, cleared dresser and desk, made beds. I also cleaned the car! Does anyone know how to easily and cheaply clean the carpets in the car?

My brother and SIL visited. Lots of good food (mango cream pie!) and fun. A trip to Sholem...its so great going with so many adults. I almost didn't want to leave. Both the boys put their heads under the water! We even held our own mini-Olympics---sorry for taking over a swim lane.

My daughter started her tech week for Seussical so she has had some late nights but she got to have some fun as well.

It was fun and I am now really tired. I went into preschool today to help sort toys so we can order what we want but I have until tomorrow night off from exercise work!

Oh and I watched Dr. Horrible several times....LOVE IT! I'm waiting to purchase the DVD instead of buying it on iTunes. Sequels, please!!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

NPH Update

Many of you brought to my attention, Dr. Horrible, an internet musical with NPH and created by Jess and Jed Wheton (Buffy the Vampire, TV series, creators...another favorite of mine). It has been free online but this will end Sunday, July 20th (you will have to pay for a download after that).

Check it out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Funny!

Someone I know....heard that putting clear nail polish on bug bites will help them from itching....we don't have any clear polish so someone is very colorful right now (but not itching).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My love of NPR

In addition to Neil Patrick Harris....I love National Public Radio (NPR)....most often listened to on WILL. I love it all but I especially like This American Life, Says You, Media Matters, and Car Talk.

I don't really care much for cars...but those Click & Clack Brothers are hilarious. And they now have a caroon show...yes, that's right. Click & Clack's As the Wrench Turns. I caught it tonight...but I only lasted a couple minutes. Originally when I heard they would be on TV, I thought it would a filmed-version of their radio show...but no...this is a sit-com style cartoon show...on PBS. Sorry, guys...maybe the kids might like it but I don't.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My NPH Obsession

Ha, Ha. I love Doogie!

Monday, July 14, 2008

More quick thoughts...

*I am soooo glad that the Bragelina babies were finally born...can we stop talking about them?

*Did anyone watch Miss Universe last night? We were flipping around while watching Next Food Network Star (actually waiting for one of us to put Dan in Real Life in the DVD player). Well, wow...those dresses and then Miss USA falls on her butt! It was great. They should have a Real pageant...meaning no fake nails, teeth, hair, tans, boobs..... Why do we still have these?

*The weather was amazing yesterday!!! Yardwork, done!

Monday Morning Quickies...

*Went to hub's company the time we got there food and drink was scarce and there was a storm approaching. Quick kids eat your chips, cookies, and cotton candy...jump in bouncy house....head to the pool...please don't puke (no one did...we got to spend about an hour at the pool before the storm actually came).

*I actually went to the picnic after having a mini-meltdown about how they pay him and the health benefits suck (he works in the health industry). All is mended now...well, I realized the errors made in my ER bill and will have them fixed on Monday...he still should get paid more.

*We saw a juggler, The Truly Remarkable Loon, at the library this week. He was really funny and the kids loved the show. He talked a bit too much for my 2yo but the 4yo is now throwing everything in the air. I highly recommend checking him out (he shows a lot in WI and IL).

*My little ones have reached their summer reading goal!

*Just realized we never got our tuition deposit from our former preschool, despite documents given to us, we have to put in a special request to get it back. Lovely.

*Watched Xanadu last night on my brother's recommendation...well, I can see how it is fun as a Broadway show but Gene Kelly, why? Why exactly is ONJ rollerskating? Interesting fact, the movie is choreographed by Kenny Ortega (if you don't know who that is, you obviously don't have kids in the house). Check it out on hulu.
Also watched Batman Begins to freshen up for The Dark Knight. I love Batman...I think the original TV series films are my favorites.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fitness Friday!

First of all...its nice and hot outside now so please drink extra water and try to workout outside in the morning or head inside.

Secondly, let's talk fashion.

1. Have you seen the kids' workout clothes at target? Although cute, silly.

2. You really don't have to buy specific workout clothes, however, you should try to wear either cotton or wicking fabrics. Wear clothes that are comfortable and the right size (too big or too small and you might chafe).

3. Ladies...invest in a couple good sport bras. If you are nursing or have a larger chest, double up.

4. Don't spend a fortune! You will get tired of your workout clothes, trends change, and you will eventually be unable to get the smell out (although a little vinegar and the hot cycle help). I like Target, Gordman's, and Kohl's. We have a Nike outlet not far from here as well. Costco sells nice cotton tanks as well.

5. Invest in good shoes. Your shoes can make or break a workout. You will feel bad or rundown shoes in your whole body. Get a good pair on sale (New Balance in Urbana is having their annual clearance this month!) and only wear them to work out. Replace them at least once a year or depending on your routine (you should be able to feel back or hip ache).

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Call for ideas

We are going on a very long car trip next month...8hrs at least each way.

Please give me your best car survival tips. (we are not bringing a DVD player with us)


Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Great Toy Sort

Well, last summer we had dreams that our basement would be refinished and most of the kids toys would be down there...a year later...not even close (sorry, hub). But the toys have taken over, especially since the kids got out of school. So I finally, today, am actually boxing up about a third to half of the toys and putting them in storage.

If no one hears from me by Tuesday...send help.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

"We had a very America Day."

We had a great, Americana, family-full Independence Day.

We started with our neighborhood parade and potluck. It is a supercute 4-block parade full of a miscellaneous band, variety of pets, and lots of kids on bikes. Our 4yo rode his bike holding a flag the entire time. Complete with hot dogs, a water balloon toss, talking with friends. (loved that the party had a garbage and a compost bin)

Run home...make potato salad and blueberry jam for dinner. Then pack picnic for the big Champaign County parade through the university. We got a great spot so we could sit in the back of our van. It was a bit long but great to see all the marching bands, politicians, fire trucks, and local organizations. (note: we were obviously sitting in the conservative section, us being the only ones cheering for the democrats, gay rights group, etc. and booing (internally) the gun rights groups and Tim Johnson). I even felt almost emotional when the many young soldiers walked by...but that's another post.

Back home...relax. Kids play outside, once dinner was in good shape I actually laid down a bit. Then dinner (corn on the cob, sloppy joes, baked beans, and potato salad...blueberry shortcake for dessert). Keep kids busy until we headed to the fireworks.

It was a great fireworks show. While we jeans and sweatshirts...the kids caught lots of fireflies and played Uno. The kids ooohed and aaahed over the fireworks. Rush back to the car to try to get out before midnight. One kid was asleep before we left the parking lot...the others minutes after we got home.
The weather was perfect and it was a great day. I hope you all had a great holiday as well.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Deep Breaths.....

Despite the fact it was really bedtime and we had already had a long day complete with library storytime and a quick trip to the pool...and no naps...we really wanted to go to the concert in the park to support our neighbor and our local park (they've never hosted a concert there before and we want them to do it again).

Get everyone dressed (somehow everyone was naked after dinner) proper transportation (stroller, bike, feet). Overall, things are going well. We didn't even think about bring anything to sit on...but that didn't matter since I only sat for minutes...the boys spent the time running the inflatable obstacle course...over and over.

And then it hit 8pm. Something happens to my kids at that hour. Whenever I let them stay a movie, out to dinner, concert, etc...all is great and then ding, dong...the spell is broken. The 2yo starts falling asleep. And the 4yo starts screaming (he wanted to go 1 more time, play at the park, ride in the stroller, ride his bike).

My basic strategy after an initial assessment, is to give them a reasonable choice...and then let them cry it out until they can realize that nothing is going to happen and they stop. There have been many time where I can be seen holding the hand of a screaming child as we walk through the zoo or grocery store. Or I will be standing patiently next to a child crying laid out on the floor of the mall or library. But, it works. They calm themselves down and then and talk to me about their desires (and I can explain why it didn't happen with that behavior).

Well, let me apologize to the entire park and our block...for he screamed the whole 2 blocks home...and until he literally dropped in his bed about 30mins later.

Its takes some deep breaths and extreme patience to endure the tantrum of a determined youngster...but I can do it.

(Hey, Katherine, I thought that might have been you and your little one at the concert...but my busy little ones kept me from saying hi...sorry)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Money Makes the World Go Round

So, about a year ago my husband quit his 9-5 office job to become a paramedic. Knowingly, we cut our income in half but it would be ok. So my hub works 2 jobs, I work a bit as well...we should be ok...if the economy had stayed stable.

I took a look at things. In the past few years....our power/gas, water, garbage, property taxes, dr visit and prescription co-pays, and, of course, gas have gone up significantly. Most of them by at least 25% if not 50%. Food prices have gone up as well...but oddly we haven't seen a huge change in our grocery bills (I think the diaper money just got reabsorbed).

I've said it before, even if my hub would have stayed full-time at the university, his salary would not have gone up 25% to make up for the inflation. How are people paying the bills? I am extremely good with money and budgeting plus I keep money for emergencies, etc. I would rather be able to pay for our expenses directly from our income but that isn't possible. But so many people live paycheck to paycheck...and on credit cards. People will paying off the past few years for the next 20.

And now you hear that major corporations are suffering too...the car industry is in trouble, the airlines are making travel ridiculous, the housing/building market....and the cost of last months weather has been devastating not only individuals and families but towns' economies.

The current economy is frightening. I've written my governmental representatives but what can they do? (Not to mention my senator has been pretty busy the past year...remember us in Illinois?? the ones you are supposed to be representing?)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Blues in the Park

Come check out my neighbor play in Kilborn Alley on Wednesday at 630pm at Spaulding Park! Fun and free for the whole family!!