Project Linus

I'm sure many of you have heard about Disney's "Give a Day, Get a Day" program for 2010 - where you can donate a day of service, and get a free Disney ticket in return. Of course when I learned about this I totally planned on participating, since we're planning a trip to Anaheim for spring break. It didn't turn out to be quite the "soup kitchen" kind of experience that I was looking for, but I' still happy with it. After QUITE a bit of searching on the site where all the service opportunities are listed, I finally settled on a "virtual" activity that we could do in our home - that being making blankets for Project Linus. I signed us right up, went shopping for fleece, and about 5 days later our blankets were shipped. Yippee! M was a SUPER helper, and was great at tying knots. I decided to blanket-stitch one of them, which took me like 8 hours with lots of layers to go through with thick yarn and a dull needle. Ugh. {We tied the rest.} A was sick over the weekend, so her help came in the form of making cards to include with the blankets.

Now I'm just waiting on confirmation from the Project Linus people, and from the Hands On Network to verify our service and send us our free tix! Hopefully all will fall into place in the next week or so. For anyone else interested in this particular service project, email me and I'll help you find it on their website. Like I said, I searched and searched before I found a project we could do with kids ages 6 and up, and something we could accomplish before March. This particular project did cost us some money, first for the materials and then for the shipping this huge box to the other side of the country, but there is something to be said, I guess, for being able to finish it while propped on the couch in front of the TV!


Wet and Slimy? No. Still disgusting? Absolutely YES.

Last Friday night was one of Laveen's educational gifted nights (Did you know I was a gifted parent? Now you do.) They offer stuff like this every so often for the gifted students, and they're always very interesting. Reptile Adventures was brought to us by the quintessential guy you'd EXPECT to bring it to you. Hee hee. Here he is:
He went through all the random facts about lizards and snakes, and lizards versus snakes, and how he acquired several of them. (I wonder if this guy has ever been married, or if anyone WOULD have ever married him, with his reptile obsession. Hmmm... ) Here's M with the iguana...
I digress... I learned all sorts of things - that two of the main differences between snakes and lizards are that snakes don't have chins (enabling them to eat huge animals and people and such) and that lizards have eyelids. And apparently, snakes are NOT wet and slimy as they appear - they are always dry - { but I'm just gonna take his word for that }.
He saved the most impressive snakes and such for last, and finally brought out his huge Anaconda - it's like 16 feet long or something. He brought it out of an ice chest,

and then brought out more,
and then finally it was all on the table. Sheesh!
He had all the kids line up so they could get a chance to touch it... darn, I missed out. **Photoshop tip** By the way, this is how I edit photos when I want to make my kids stand out in a crowd for a scrapbook page. It really helps draw your eye to what you WANT it drawn to, instead of a bunch of strangers. ***

Even though J didn't want to touch the anaconda, he was enthralled by all the little lizards and snakes in the boxes on the stage.


My friend Lisa put on a super cute rootin' tootin' birthday party for her 4-yr-old twins a couple of weeks ago, all planned around a wild western theme. It doesn't hurt to have neighbors with horses living across the street, I guess! Since she's never going to blog about it or post pictures, I thought I would. My kids had so much fun, between making a foamie project, playing games, eating BBQ food - including plateful after plateful of chips, not one but TWO fun cakes, and best of all, riding a real live horse! I thought J would just burst during his turn, he was grinning so big!
Of course, there had to be two cakes for the two boys- a cars-themed "Ka-Chow!" cake for Tristan, and a spiderman cake for Christian. Every present was totally themed toward one or the other boy, including the superhero capes I made for each of them. The Batman cape for Christian turned out really well, if I do say so myself! (THANKS DEIRDRE!) Each of the kids got to rise on one of the horses - they were all on the hunt for "Wild Willy" who had stolen their loot bags. They found him/her, got their awesome loot, and everybody went home on happy trails.


Orlando Auditions.

Better late than never, eh? We had a bit of the good, the bad and the ugly last night.

Let's start with the ugly:

Glittery mirror-face boy. Yikes. And the guy who tried to sing "Amazing Grace" and ended up in handcuffs? Double yikes. Kara's sappy-sweet comment "Honey you sounded like a lawnmower" probably didn't do much for his mood, really. At least he "gave it up to God" Somebody get him a WWJD bracelet for a reminder to do just that, please?

The bad:

Pants on the ground? Nope. "My pants done ripped!" more like it. The guy who learned to dance from his stripper friends, oh, excuse me, "adult entertainer" friends. I can't believe they put him through to Hollywood, his voice certainly didn't deserve it!

The Jersey sisters - oh, gag. They're not nearly as annoying as Tatiana from last year, oh, the painful memories, but I still don't want to see ONE MORE SECOND of them. Again, I don't think they deserved their golden tickets! I wonder what I would look like with that much makeup and hair product... hmmm...

Other golden ticket winners who weren't my favorite? Seth Rollins, the father of the autistic kid who didn't seem a bit autistic (did he to you?) and the bank robber Matt Lawrence. Come on, neither one of these guys even come CLOSE to having the charm of last season's Michael Sarver, sigh, do you remember him?

And finally, the good:

Beatboxer Jay Stone, or as I like to call him, Blake Lewis, Part Two. This guy will be fun to watch! I don't remember what the heck song he did, but I remember it was COOL!

Jermaine Purifoy - Aaaah, how nice was this guy? Loved him about as much as Kristin and Randy did. I wanted to listen to him all night, forget the crazies! I predict top 10 for Jermaine!

Just one annoyance for this review tonight - I'm so tired of the judges saying "one thousand, million, billion percent yes!" Geez. Seems like all of them have picked up on it now. "Yes" would suffice. Even "100% yes" or "Brilliant voice, you're through to Hollywood." I'm even missing "You got mad skills, Dawg!" aren't you??


Chicago auditions.

Yawn. Am I right? Granted, I missed the first ten minutes because of a DVR user error, (that would be me) but the rest of it just wasn't. that. memorable. There are only two people I'm hopeful for: one, the girl who's been to Hollywood twice before, in seasons 7 and 8... Angela something-or-other who doesn't pay her traffic tickets, and two, John Park, that semi-asian-looking (?) college kid who Shania Twain liked (and was awkwardly hot for). There was a blur of golden tickets given to people we barely even heard sing, uh, what were their names again?? Are Idol producers just lazy? Or do they not feel people are airtime-worthy unless they have some sad, heart-wrenching back story? I'd like to have some minimal face time on every golden ticket winner. Is that too much to ask? You'd think with only 13 going through that we'd see more of them in an hour!

These early audition episodes are so formulaic... you know RIGHT AWAY whether the person's a crazy or got a brilliant voice depending on where they're shooting the footage - at home? Hollywood-bound. Showing videos from when they were a kid? Hollywood. At their work? Ditto. In the lobby or hotel bathroom? Crazy.

Sorry Chicago, you were just plain boring! Sigh. You know I'm going to keep watching anyway. ESPECIALLY TONIGHT! Can I get a big WHOOP WHOOP for guest judge Kristin Chenoweth tonight??



J is not feeling well, has not eaten and has had a fever for the past 24 hours. I'd like to hibernate at home until all is well and not infect anyone else we know... Should give me plenty of opportunity to clean my house, except that I have no motivation to do so...ha! I have lots of projects started that need attending to as well, lots of errands and returns to get done, and some paperwork at home that needs attention. Sigh. Seems like the only things I'm getting done lately are cooking and laundry - oh, and I read another book. Reading is such a nasty habit for me...


Atlanta auditions.

It's taken me a bit to get to my computer this morning because I was finishing s book... sniff, sniff... anyone read "Dear John" ? I had no idea it was so sad! I will definitely be needing a Coke Zero and some chocolate to pick me up today. Who wants a girls trip to the movie? It comes out in February...

I digress. Okay - Recap from City #2 - the big ATL -

Though I wasn't completely overwhelmed with the overall presentation last night, there were a few memorable one-liners, like from the "Skii-bo-ski, baby! Skii-bo-ski!" guy. How about "I'm gonna ride on an aero-plane!" or the twangy "I think it's CUTE! I can always lose the guitar...!"

A couple of bright spots - I liked that Jermaine-church-singer guy, who takes care of his momma and sang What if God was one of us"... I can already hear Randy saying "You made that song your OWN, DAWG!" regarding his future performances... (But WAIT, have we even heard the word "Dawg" yet this season? Eek! Could it be dead????!!!) I also liked "Miss Congeniality" who sang the Titanic song. But let's be honest, I don't think either of these will make it to the top 12 - - and the girl from Vonore, Tennessee - you know, the bridge jumper? That's just a crying episode waiting to happen in Hollywood when she doesn't make it through.

Seems like the show last night spent ALL its time on the bad singers, and hardly any at all on the talented ones. I mean come ON - I had no patience for that fake montage of the hick "almost" getting killed over and over again... sigh!

Highlight of my night, by far, was:

"Pants on the ground, pants on the ground... lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground!" Ha! How much did you love this guy? It's another William Hung in the making, I tell ya! So fun! I loved the judges singing with him... And how awesome was it that the whole Idol crowd in the lobby of the building was singing it too???? GREAT! This will definitely be brought back in the finale, you can count on it! I don't know if it will be as wonderful as the guy singing "You are my brother, my best friend forever" along with the USC marching band from season 7, and not as hilarious as Kara singing with bikini girl from last year, but I'm sure they'll come up with something almost as good. Peace out 'til next week...


Boston auditions.

Last night was the season 9 premiere of Idol - I was expecting great things - and Boston did not disappoint! N and I often comment about how brilliant the editing is on that show. Last night, again, I was shaking my head in amazement! If nothing else, you should really pay attention to the MUSIC they play for all the crazy contestants, it's a perfect fit every time!

I know you're just dying for my recap, so here it is...

First, the crazies:

Okay, really, the very first girl, you know, the jumping-up-and-down-Idol-video-game-winning-pink-shirt girl? Someone please, please, give me her street address so I can go buy her a Downeast Basics undershirt and mail it to her! Oh, it was paining me to hear her keep calling Kara "Paula" too!

Speaking of editing, how AWESOME was the slow-motion sequence of the "deeply spiritual" blonde guy blowing the flower... and then the camera following it as it fell limply to the ground... Laughing. Out. Loud.

Serial killer Clark Kent... What was Kara's comment? Have you ever had a girlfriend?? Ha!

Next, to those I liked:

I LOVE the Italian guy. He's going to be a fun one! Amadeo Diricco - how can you not love the name??

I also loved the Long Island scat-singing girl who offered an awesome "Wicked Witch is dead" rendition...

WOW, how many of my single friends would I like to set up with that hottie Justin Williams? Did anyone else crack up at the picture of him in his GARMENT TOP in the hospital? HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Oh, and I loved his voice, too - he's got skills... how do I not remember him from last season's Hollywood week? He must not have gotten a lot of airtime last year...

There was a plethora of the feel-good stories, besides the mormon cancer survivor, that is... how about the girl whose grandma is dying of Alzheimers... she was awesome singing "At Last" ... and the big sister of the Down syndrome brothers was totally sweet...

I also liked the Codzilla speedboat actor dude, but there's NO way he'll make it through Hollywood week.

And the confusing:

That Tyler guy, drum-playing, Justin Guarini-hairdo-wearing, fell-out-of-a-tree-broken-wrists guy - What? Seriously? THEY PUT HIM THROUGH BECAUSE THEY LIKED HIS PANTS! Give me a break.

And hey, "Womanizer" dude! Stop dancing! You're making us all nervous!


Three short days

until IDOL! Though I'm not sure at ALL about Ellen being a judge, and I will miss Paula's drunken blubbering, I'm still excited!



They're ON!

And so begins our era of orthodontia. We take donations in the form of cash, check or paypal. Thanks.
A was great in her first "real" appointment, and was so excited to pick out BLUE rubber bands (even though Mommy tried to dissuade her, and go for silver). The office we went to gives out tokens at each appointment, for keeping her teeth clean, braces cared for, etc... A is hoping she can earn enough tokens to get the big prize = a DS - And, looking at this snaggletooth smile, I'm thinking she might actually go often enough to actually earn it. We'll fix all the craziness happening on the bottom teeth first, and then once she gets more teeth in on the top, we can start all of that too. Fun fun!