Saturday, January 31, 2009

Local Arts at Barnes and Noble

Head out to Champaign's Barnes and Noble to see the amazing students from Franklin Middle School TODAY from 12-4pm!

Portions of sales, accompanied by a special vochure (available at the store), will benefit the school. The students from the arts programs and encore classes will perform or hold demonstrations. Check out more info here. They are great kids...go and show your support.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fitness Friday!

Just FYI...The Fitness Center (located in Champaign, Monticello, and Tuscola) have a special $2 Sale on Monday, February 2nd! The joining fee is only $2!!!! This is the time to join!

More info here.

Cake Day

Mom, we should have cake today.

Yes, Mom. We should have a Star Wars cake.

It should look like a ship.

No, it needs to have Luke Skywalker on it and Darth Vader.

(later in day)
Mom, I want an alligator cake. But it should taste like chocolate.
(while decorating)
Wait, I have the most perfect thing (an American flag).

So here is the Cake Day masterpiece. Cake made by the 3yo. Decorated by the 5yo. Enjoyed by all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Go out!

It is beautiful outside today....lots of soft, white snow glistening in the sunshine. Yes, the morning 'commute' wasn't pretty and my street is yet to be plowed but it is perfect play snow (although not snowman snow just yet).

Even if you don't like to go outside, don't like the cold...take the kids out and play in the snow! So many adults just don't like to head outside...and I hear ya, in the middle of July, my air conditioned living room is more inviting...when its freezing and wet, my dry, warm kitchen seems like a better vantage point. But, we all need fresh air, sunshine, and exercise...not to mention FUN!

Have you made a snow angel in awhile? Have you sledded down your driveway recently? Its really fun.

Bundle up* (sure snowpants are nice but a couple layers of sweats works well, extra socks with good gym shoes, socks for extra hand warmth and dryness) and head out!!! Allow the kids to play and you to let loose. After awhile, hot chocolate is always the perfect finish.

*This is the time to keep an eye on clearance of winter items for next year...pick up snowpants in at least one size larger than your child is currently sizes...and stock up on mittens/gloves (we can rarely find matching ones). And pick function over fashion. Those cute knit gloves last one plunge in the snow.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A question for the class....

Please explain this montage from last night's SAG awards. I thank you in advance.

Two other comments about the show...first, Brad and Angelina get the rude on the red carpet award. And what is the look for award season? Boobs. Lots and lots of boobs. There were a lot of nervous stylists with extra double stick tape around last night.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My favorite time of year...

Its award season! Yes, I watch the Superbowl....I bet on March Madness....and we have new left-handed president...but I LOVE the Oscars (aka the Academy Awards).

And today is the day...the nominations came out. See them here.

First, what makes the Best Picture of the Year or Actor?

It is clear, it is not box office money, trendy casting, budget, or even popularity. And sorry to all those comedies that were made....think dark, dramatic, dirty to win. Its pretty much a mystery to the common public. For this reason some movies and actors are sadly left out(the Dark Knight, Clint Eastwood) or surprisingly included (e.g. Juno, Elle Woods, Tropic Thunder). And the academy loves to be 'historic'...which usually means increasing nominations for Judy Dench, Meryl Streep (who I loved in Mamma Mia but got nominated for Doubt), Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Hanks, and Kate Winslet who are required to be nominated if they produced a film that year (Nicole Kidman usually as well but was not included for Australia). I was surprised that Meryl and Kate were not double nominated...they love that too. I guess they, Pitt and Jolie, are not 'married' but how many other couples have been nominated in the same year? Heath Ledger's Joker, which is fabulous, was a given nomination as well.

So this is what we do...nominations come out. We strategically plan which films to see...the films with the most nominations usually win our tickets. This is also the only time of year I go to Blockbuster. It is like a fun race to complete in the 4-week period. We feel like if we see all the nominations and we can make an informed decision on the winner...that will influence the outcome.

My recommendation...if you are only going to experience one film this season....Slumdog Millionaire...the movie, the soundtrack, the book.
See it on the big screen (the fabulous Art Theater in CU).

I would also track down the documentaries....they are actually usually the best overall films nominated (Netflix, the library, and, in CU, Rentertainment).

On a final most hated category....Best Original Song...which so often goes to a crappy song played over the credits. The best example of this flawed category is Moulin Rouge who was not eligible for any music categories since it was not original music (Come What May was actually written for another project originally), not to mention any movie-version of a musical. This category should clearly be converted to Best USE of Song in a movie.

So...what is your Best Picture, Actor, and Actress picks for 2008 (Oscar nominated or not)?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Its a Brand New Day

Congratulations President Obama....hope is growing fast!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Last Day

Let's take a moment to reflect upon the last eight years of the Bush Administration.....stop crying will really be over tomorrow! Really.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Frugal Friday

My frugal tip of the week is timeliness.

Return library and rental materials on time. Yes, the overdue fee is small but it adds up quick. Many libraries have online systems so you can renew items from home. And remember that it needs to be returned by the time the library closes that day to count.

Pay your bills on time. Mail them at least a week earlier or set up automatic payment. The credit card company doesn't care when you meant to send it...if it is not there on the day...not only do you get a fee but you have to pay finance charges on the balance. I also try to pay bills when I get them in the mail or on payday. Have a designated place for bills in your house so you don't loose or forget about them. Set up automatic payment for all of your regular monthly bills (power, water, cable, mortgage, school loan).

Also, make sure your bank account has money in it. Overdraft fees are incredible and you may not even know you are overdrawn. Each transaction produces a fee. You can also avoid this by getting overdraft protection on your account for a small monthly fee (which is smaller than even 1 overdraft penalty fee). Many banks offer online account information...check your account a couple times per week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cold Remedies

After reading an article today saying that Vaporub might not actually do anything (I won't even post the link since there is little validity in the study)....I wondered about the things I do to prevent and cure illness.

When my kids get sick...humidifier, hot chocolate, lots of water, and Vaporub. If they get a fever, they get tylenol...if they can't sleep due to coughing...some cough medicine and add some pillows under their head.

If my kids are sick...I will take a few tablets of Airborne (I think this is purely psychological step) and try to drink a lot of water and rest up. I always run my humidifier during the winter. My dad swears by orange brother drinks husband relies on OTC cold medicine.

Does any of it work? Why do I even do any of those things? Especially viruses just need to run their course.

What are your illness tricks and traditions?

Sunday, January 11, 2009


It is no secret that we love theater, music, and most importantly, musical theater!

This weekend, as my husband helped run the Illinois High School Theater Fest, I took my 12yo and 5yo to see their all-state production of Hairspray. Honestly, it was really good for a group of high schoolers. My 12yo is she absolutely loved it. The 5yo, after needing to go to the bathroom for most of the 1st act...really like it. He mouthed the words to most of the songs. He also gave a nice compare and contrast between the stage and movie versions. So...great job teenagers! you gave a fabulous gift to my little ones...the love of theater!

Next, I recently downloaded Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog soundtrack onto the computer so its been played a lot. This includes a partial dramatization of the show in my living room.

And finally, to finish our theatrical weekend...after having dinner with our friends, it was announced there was going to be show. After we took our seats...all the lights were turned off except their star turtle. A wonderful musical, stunt, dance spectacular was performed. (shows are a very common occurrence at our should be warned).

So I guess we are breeding a new generation of musical theater kids.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Fitness Friday! TEEN FIT!

The Fitness Center in Champaign is offering a free 12-week fitness program for teens ages13-17yo who are obese, diabetic, or at-risk for these conditions....Teen Fit!

Teens will be offered a free 12-week membership to the Fitness Center and take part in a 5-day per week fitness program that will include a variety of fitness classes, strength training, and education in nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle.

The program begins Monday, January 19th through April 12th, Monday-Friday 4-5pm (with unlimited access to the gym on weekends).

Family members of the participants are eligible for special membership rates during the program as well.

Contact Stephanie at 356-1616 or

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Poor People's Netflixs

Just a preface...I love the library.

From what I understand, if you have Netflix, you pay a monthly fee, make a list of the movies you would like to watch and they send them to you when available...when you are done, you send them back. My method, although it does require you to leave your house, is free.

I go online and request all the movies, books, tv shows, cds I would like to enjoy from my library. When they are available, I run in (or send pre-teen daughter in) to the Hold Room at the library, self-check and drive-thru bookdrop to return. What is even forget you even requested a certain movie (as you wait months for your turn) its a wonderful surprise when you get the email informing you something is ready.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pull it together, Illinois

Ok, another post, but I finally read the daily news....

So who will be our senator? You don't want to have a special don't want to accept anyone the Governor accepts....

So we wait until you attempt to impeach Roddy? IF that happens, it may be awhile. (I am astonished that Illinois is so excited to impeach but Bush remains in office without question...yuck!). He is not going to resign.

Unless the laws have changed, our govenor can and should appoint a replacement senator...and according to law, Congress should accept him (Mr. White...are you waiting for the lawsuit?). Burris fully understands what kind of bias any Illinois appointee will have and he has the balls to accept it....

Follow the law, even if our governor didn't at one point (which I honestly doubt)...he's on point on this one. Jesse White is not. Congress has some important things to decide upon right now, I want Illinois to be represented in those decisions.

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Meet Jack...and Rat, my sons' imaginary friends that have a very active life. Today, they went to school with us but sadly fell asleep on the way there so slept in the car. But did go to 'bus' school with the 5yo (but their class is across the hall). Jack, unfortunately, did not want to stay at school so the 3yo held his hand as walked to the car.

This has been going on for a couple weeks. We're not at the point that we have to go back somewhere after forgetting them but....we do have to set a place at the table, leave out a bed, and buckle them up before driving.

So cute.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Money Makes the World Go Round

This year, I think I will talk a lot about money since that is what everyone else is talking about. I will try my hardest to alternate Fitness and Frugal Friday posts. I apparently have gained a reputation of being extremely frugal. And I admit, sometimes I am shocked that we live on what we make but we do and now it is just the norm. the New Year resolution spirit, here is an article from the Chicago Tribune to get you thinking about your budget. The best thing to do to save money is clearly understand your family's economy. Take the time to work it out and this article provides great tips, ideas, and even worksheets for you!

*Our money saving tip of the day is...we paid for the holiday with real money...not credit cards. I don't have to fear next months credit card bill because it will be empty!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009!

I can't believe it is 2009! It seems like yesterday we were all worried about Y2K! Happy New Year to all!

My major resolution for the upcoming year to take care of myself better.
*Take time to enjoy the view
*Go to sleep with dirty dishes in the sink and unfolded laundry in the basket
*Read an extra story to the kids at bedtime even though its late
*Sit down and talk with my hubby each day
*Take an extra minute in the shower to breathe
*Be content to just get places regardless of punctuality
*Read more books and watch more tv
*Workout for myself.
*Take time to chat about our weekends at work on Monday mornings
*Sip my coffee and nibble on chocolate