Monday, June 29, 2009

Things I have Found....

Things I have found in my house this past week:
*Scissors in the dryer

*All the legos in a bottle of apple juice

*A wolfman figurine in the Parmesan cheese

*A whole bottle of conditioner slicking the bathtub

*A cup of lightning bugs wrapped in plastic wrap

*Piles of grass on the carpet under the dining room table

*A lion in the butter dish

Things I am still looking for:
*Smart Card for the Dish Network receiver

*Most of the forks

*My bag of Dove Dark Chocolate Almond candies

*The curtain rods for the boys' windows

*A clean towel when I get out of the shower

Friday, June 26, 2009

Frugal Friday

Summertime can get pretty expensive. Just having the kids home all day can add up on the grocery bill. But I also feel like we go out eat, to play, to travel.

So pick your activities wisely.

Our Top Three Free Summer Activities:
1. The Library!
In addition to the regular amazing offerings of the library (I mean you can just go there and read in the A/C) but most libraries have a great selection of additional activities over the summer. Not to mention, summer reading programs for all ages!

2. Park District Sponsored Concerts!
In CU, both districts offer a few EACH week at various locations and offering a wide variety of music. (see here for Champaign and Urbana listings).

3. The Outdoors!
Play in the yard, turn on the sprinkler (and run through it with your kids), walk to a park, explore a local forest preserve or woods. Sit outside and read, have dinner on the deck, go catch lightning bugs! With or without kids, these things are fun things.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No Means No

Lately, I have gotten very frustrated by my children misunderstanding the word "No".

They will ask me for something (can I have a marshmallow for breakfast? can I stay up late and watch Clone Wars? I can put this book in the microwave? I get a facebook page?), I will clearly respond "No." They will ask again, repeatedly, and I will calmly answer "No" each time. An hour later, they will ask again.

I think "No" is a pretty clear message. Once in awhile I will give reasoning or an alternative to the request.

No means no.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Time...its here!

Sure, its really a couple days away but Mother Nature says it is summer people! This week it is H-O-T! Into the 90's and humid!

We are entering those days when I don't let my kids play outside too long at a time. When every time you step out of your air conditioned house you say "Whew, its hot out here!" When you sweat like a beast in your car that has been sitting in the sunniest spot in the parking lot while you try to roll the windows down as fast as possible. When a popsicle never tasted so good.

I like the idea of in the sun, more free time, I love the pool. And I have just come to accept that fact that I sweat...a lot. But I also can't wait until October when the humidity finally dies down and you get to wear a sweater again.

And despite what is happening outside...this is also the time of year for layering your clothing. The movie theaters, libraries, and grocery stores become so cold you have to remember to bring a coat with you so you don't freeze. And if you don't have A/C, those are the places to hang out.

So stay cool out there and drink lots of water! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Last Chance to be in a Movie, for now!

Film Extras for Leading Ladies Ballroom Competition

When: Saturday, June 20, 9am for most of the day.

Where: Franklin Middle School, 817 N. Harris, Champaign

What: Series of scenes at an amateur, Midwestern ballroom competition

Who: All ages (10 years old and older) and types. We will need at least 100 people for this scene to watch and mingle during the competition. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

What to Bring:

2-3 costume choices within these guidelines:

One scene takes place in early Fall, One scene takes place in early Spring

No Black, white, pinks, bright greens, t-shirts, jeans, logos or trademarks, large prints

Think special occasion or church. Men can wear suits, ties, tuxes, if desired.

Women should wear normal make-up.

Please bring something quiet to do while you are waiting throughout the day (reading material, crosswords). Do not bring ANYTHING that makes ANY noise. Cell phones must be turned off for the duration of filming. We will provide some food and drinks. You may bring your own as well. It will mostly likely be very hot that day, so please make sure to drink lots of water.

Leading Ladies is not responsible for any damaged or stolen property. Consider leaving valuables at home. You will not receive payment or housing for this position. You will receive screen credit.

Participation is subject to crew’s approval.

For more information, contact Jenna at (630)532-7672 or

Let Love Lead

Monday, June 15, 2009

When Babies Attack

While reading an article on the long-term benefits of breastfeeding, I couldn't help but notice the 'related' article, When Babies Attack. It made my laugh because it was so true. I've gotten hurt often by my own children and students...rarely intentional, but painful nonetheless.

You know you are a good parent when your 2yo slams a Thomas the Tank Engine right into your temple so hard your eyes tear up...but you don't scream, or throw the train across the take a deep breath and say "Wow, that really hurt, I'll be right back." You leave the room and head to the bathroom to silently yell and decide if the ER is necessary.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blog Shout Out

Dan at Musings of a Minor Mennonite wrote a post about the movie Leading Ladies and our families. Ha, made my day. Enjoy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fitness Friday

I know its been awhile...partly because I am teaching so many fitness classes!

To partly promote myself and to tell you about something I care deeply about....drumming.

Drumming is an amazing exercise for your body...but more so your brain and soul.

I teach a cardio-drumming fitness class, Drums Alive. For grown ups, we use large balance balls and step risers to create a drum. Add some drum sticks and you have a fabulous drum set! I combine basic drumming techniques, dance, and fitness into a great workout. I use very easy choreography and outstanding music for all over the world to create a group hour of fun (and fitness)! And yes, you will sweat!

For the kiddos, I use five-gallon buckets turned upside-down and dowel rods. We also have different sizes of other Tupperware containers. We turn on music (which is always playing in my classroom) and let them feel the beat. Although I might give some direction once in awhile, often the kids take it upon themselves to arrange the drums in groups or a circle and experiment hitting the drum in different ways.

So besides the obvious physical benefits of drumming....drumming is fantastic for your brain. It increases pathways between the left and right side, improves coordination, rhythm, reduces stress, releases endorphins. Additionally, drumming is an amazing social activity. I have kids who rarely participate in 'group time' always head over once someone brings out the drums to join the circle. And there is nothing like feeling silly all together with a group of adults!

Come to a class....head to a drum circle (check your local entertainment papers)...pull out the pots and pans and wooden spoons.....pound on the table...have fun!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I think I've done things right when...

Since we were out (after storytime at the library), we decided should just go to the grocery store. I know we need some things but I have no list and two little boys with me. Let's go!

So I forget to buy milk and toilet paper but....

The boys picked out a lot more items than I usually allow (usually they get 2 items (1 free choice, 1 mom-approved). Here are the 'treats' my kids picked out today:
*garlic and herb crackers
*chocolate doughnuts
*berry yogurt smoothies
*trix yogurts
*Kix cereal
*Munster cheese

There is nothing better than having a kid yell: I want to hold my tofu!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Soundtrack of my life

I love music and my favorite albums to listen to are soundtracks from movies or musicals....especially in the car where you can belt it all out and no one, except your children, have to suffer through it. My favorite time to listen is on long rides, like I took this weekend.

As a kid, we had 3 choices...Cats, The Big Chill, and Footloose. That was it, so naturally, I can sing every song word for word.

Since then I have expanded my repertoire. Here are my top favorites, in no particular order:
Boogie Nights (both albums)
Moulin Rouge (both albums)
Slumdog Millionaire
Avenue Q (not with the kids in the car)
Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood
Chicago (the musical)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Reality Bites
Forrest Gump
Shrek (all three)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Make sure to cut your grass..its really important

This was my response to a notice I received in the mail today from the always lovely City of Champaign.

I am writing to complain about a violation we have apparently committed. We received a notice today about MC 22-302.1(b)(6). So, basically I have the city telling us our grass in our backyard is too long.

There are many reasons I think this is absolutely ridiculous but I understand that there must be city codes to make sure we are all safe, clean, and most of all, attractive.

But please consider that since it is Spring and we have had increased amounts of rain, keeping the grass maintained is a chore for all households. Also, consider that my husband and I both work two jobs to support our family of five and are currently without a lawnmower. In the past three weeks that we have be unable to attend to our lawn, we have not had the time or financial resources to even purchase a new mower, let alone, mow the grass twice a week (which is our neighbors' preference).

In our lives right now, maintaining our lawn to our neighbors' desires and keeping it 'attractive' for the city is not a top priority for our family. We are more concerned about paying our mortgage, buying groceries, and trying to find some quality time to spend together. Additionally, our family makes a point to contribute to the community in many ways. The paramedic arriving at a car accident, that's my husband. That teacher guiding your child through life, that's me. The kid raising money for community organizations, that's my daughter. The kids picking up garbage on their way to the park, those are my sons. But apparently, we are also the ones with a yard out-of-view from the street that is too long for the city's liking.

We will try our hardest to meet the deadline specified in the notice. However, before handing out fines and filing liens on our property, consider the bigger picture of life, family, and community.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Be a movie extra NOW!

Head over to the Rialto Theater, Champaign TODAY and/or tomorrow to be a movie extra!

We are filming a fabulous series of dance scenes with Benji Schwimmer of So You Think You Can Dance! Swing dancing, club dancing, standing at the bar...come on out and have some fun!

We would love people there all day (12pm-12am) but if you can only make it from 6pm-12am, that is perfect!

It is really fun and an amazing process to see! Get a sitter and have a free date night or evening with the girls! Bring your friends!

See here for more details on what to wear.
The Rialto is located at 123 W. Church, inside the Robeson Building, across from the Art Theater.