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Squeeze-in Movie

I thought  my life was busy before MLIT.  Now, I think it is absolutely insane.  I love the MLIT program, I love my kids, and I love my job, but balancing the three has turned into quite a feat.  Free-time and down-time are hard to comeby.  My youngest son needed a little mom time last Saturday – so much that he agreed to run errands with me.  While we were out and about, we saw that Target had The Avengers on sale.  We purchased it, but now I had to figure out when we could squeeze it in.  We came home and I got right to work on an MLIT  assignment.  Watching the movie was quite a motivator and the assignment was quickly completed.  Avengers here I come!

We settled in and started the movie.  To my surprise, my oldest joined us.  Bonus mom-time multiplied.

I am a huge Ironman fan, loved Thor, and was wowed by Captain America.  To see all the characters come together in one movie was amazing, plus the addition of Hawkeye and Black Widow took the superhero factor over the top.  I did not like The Incredible Hulk movie, but his character in this movie was well thought out. My hottie superhero pick would have to be Thor.  The abs, the eyes, and that Australian accent – oo la la.

The movie started out strong pulling all the characters together.  There was a point in the middle that I thought it started to drag, perhaps even went overboard on setting the stage for the action to come.  But let me say, that once the action started, it did not disappoint.  Loki was a convincing villain,  the alien “centipede” carriers were evil, freaky, and fast.

The ending seemed a perfect set-up for an Avengers 2.  It would be astounding if they could line up all those stars for a second round.


Social Media Slam

Lately my life is so busy that watching TV is a luxury.  Every once in awhile between MLIT homework, sporting events, and teacher work, I squeeze in an episode or two of some of my favorite shows.  This past weekend I caught up with America’s Next Top Model (ANTM).  Last year the show’s ratings had taken a dip and CW told Tyra Banks she had to change things up.  Out went Mr. Jay and Miss Jay, along with hottie Nigel Barker.  In came a younger, hottie model judge with an accent, who my daughter swears is dating Tyra. (If so, good for her!)  The show also decided to change up the judging and scoring.  All three judges award points to the contestants each week.  However, this season, a fourth, social media fan score is added in.

I have now watched three episodes and do not care for the social media element.  While they reveal the social media scores, the show displays written comments that were posted as well as video clips fans have uploaded, sharing their opinions personally.  Are you wondering why I have an issue?  Isn’t the world getting more and more techie?  It’s what everyone is doing, right?  Well, having teenagers with phones and facebook accounts, we have had several conversations in our house about remembering the audience.

The fans of ANTM have forgotten the audience.  They feel that they have been given the right to say anything about these girls, no holds barred.  I was shocked by some of the crass, heartless comments made. There really is no recourse for these fans, so kindness and politeness have gone by the wayside.  It almost seems like it could be viewed as encouraged bullying.

I may not continue to watch this season.  This piece and the changes in the judges have changed the feel of the show.  Perhaps I will watch  a few more episodes before making a final decision, or perhaps I will visit the Facebook site for the show and post some kind words for the girls who the public has deemed less than worthy.


The Tribe Has Spoken

I would like to thank Megan from MLIT for inspiring this post.  During our “10 Things to Know About” assignment in our new class, I shared with Megan the fact that I have never missed a season of Survivor.  She was quite surprised. There have been 20 seasons and my husband and I have not missed one!  We have also never missed a season of The Amazing Race.  If I ever get brave enough, The Amazing Race is the show I would most likely audition for.  I am waiting for my niece to turn 21.  My husband would love to audition, but he gets carsick, airsick, and has food allergies, so we are thinking this might not be the adventure for him. 🙂

I freely admit that I am a reality TV nut!  I love, love, love reality TV.  I am usually willing to give any reality show a go, but that does not mean that I will continue to watch it.  Some just don’t make the priority list in the little time I have to watch TV.  Others have a very high priority and, thanks to DVR’s, are faithfully viewed.

Here is a list of my favorites, plus a few that I gave a chance, but chose to pass on.

Must See’s:

  1. Survivor
  2. The Amazing Race
  3. Project Runway
  4. Hell’s Kitchen (Would love to eat here.)
  5. Chopped
  6. America’s Got Talent
  7. So You Think You Can Dance
  8. America’s Next Top Model
  9. Biggest Loser
  10. Worst Cooks In America (This show made me realize that anyone can cook!)
  11. Dance Moms (How she stays in business I do not know.)

I tried and passed on:

  1. Jersey Shore
  2. Big Brother
  3. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo (My daughter made me try it.)
  4. Toddlers and Tiaras
  5. Beverly Hills Nannies
  6. The Great Escape

Let me know if there are any reality TV shows that I need to give a try.  And I will keep you posted on the upcoming season of Survivor.  It starts in September.  The Tribe has spoken!


A Bomb, Lots of Boxes, and a Bat

I feel like I have not blogged forever and I have utmost respect for those out there who post everyday.  Right now I am just trying to keep up with life.
Before I do my review (yes, there is one coming), I need to update all my MLIT friends and my family on the happy chaos that has occurred recently.

First, my oldest son was released by the doctor (from the stress fracture in his spine) to participate in his high school soccer tryouts.  These were last Wednesday thru Friday.  His dad and I were nervous wrecks as he is a goalkeeper and knew this would be a true test of the healing process.  His muscles are feeling the lack of exercise all summer, but he almost made me cry when he said, “Mom, it feels so good to be back in the net!”  We think he wasn’t counting on being able to play due to his back, and was relieved when his back and body held up.
Second, my daughter had her first-ever high school tryouts for volleyball. The girls were told up front that there would be cuts.  She was so nervous, but she made the freshman team and is a happy camper.

Next to the big news.  Last Thursday I found out that my position for this school year will be changing.  I will be in ONE classroom teaching kindergarten in the morning and KED in the afternoon.  I am so excited and extremely (but happily) stressed.  This is what my room looked like after I took all my belongings out of my reading room and added them to my already full KED room.  It looked like a bomb had gone off and there were boxes everywhere.

I have spent this entire weekend trying to sort  store the items for two classrooms into one.  It has been a little crazy, but my dear mom came into help me both days.  My youngest son took down all the bulletin boards for me in my reading room – he even removed all the staples.  I still have a lot of work to do and homework for Monday the 20th (my reluctant reader homework), but I am so happy to be back in Kindergarten full-time.  My co-worker and I are looking forward to planning together!

Finally to the review, my husband and I have now been happily married for 20 years.  A week ago we went to dinner to celebrate at Wildfire (so yummy) and then to a movie.  We decided to go see …

I love all the Batman movie series, but have not made up my mind about who is the best Batman and which series I like the best.  My husband and I were a little daunted by the running time of this movie (2 hours, 45 minutes), but with our bellies full and our evening out still young, we settled in.  This movie was entertaining and action packed; however, I must say that I found it quite violent – in almost a sadistic way.  The villain, Bane, seemed to find great pleasure in breaking necks, choking people to death, and beating the snot out of Batman.  This movie is darker than the first two in this series, and I am wondering how close it came to receiving an R rating.  Christian Bale was great again, but I almost laugh each time he talks as Batman – his fake, deep voice is comical.  My favorite character is Alfred, played by Michael Caine.  He creates such an emotional connection with his role in the movie.

With my happy chaos, I am not sure when my husband and I will be able to arrange another date night, but there are some good movies coming out.  I would love to go see…


Taste of Chicago

My family went to Taste of Chicago today and I realized that I wanted to review the Taste on my blog. I had thought I would only review movies and TV shows – but I now know that it will be more.

Every summer for the last 18 years, my husband and I have attended Taste of Chicago.  As each of our children turned 11, we included them in our trip.  We love to expose them to the many cultures, people, and food that the Taste offers.

This year some major changes were made to the Taste.  There were 20 less vendors, vendors were only allowed on one side of the street, and instead of being over the 4th of July for 10 days, it began today and will only run for 5 days.

On the train ride home my children, husband, brother-in-law Dean, and I began talking about our day.


  • The vendors on only one side of the street:  This made for wide open spaces for people to walk, allowed more room for strollers/wagons, and helped one to avoid feeling smothered by a throng of people.
  • Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill – my favorite foods of the day: Tequila-lime Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast Taco and the 1/2 Tamale Wrapped in Corn Silk.
  • The variety of ethnic foods from many cultures: Taste of Chicago gives you the opportunity to try new foods you may never experience otherwise. My husband tried Korean food for the first time. The Chap Chae was his favorite dish of the day.
  • The cleanliness of this event: Chicago does a great job of running this event and keeping things clean.


  •  The smaller number of vendors:  Large crowds visiting less vendors meant longer lines.  Some lines went halfway across the street.  People strolling had to walk through the lines and this created a little confusion and opportunities for cutting in line.  The smaller number of vendors also meant needing less time to make the rounds of the tents.  It normally takes us 2-3 hours to make an entire circuit.  This year we were done in 1 1/2 hours. That’s okay if you work downtown and are visiting on your lunch hour; but not okay if you spent money for 5 people to travel downtown for the day.
  • The price increases: Metra’s train fare increase and the increased prices of food made this a costly family event.  In the past, “taste portions” were 2-4 tickets, with most averaging 3 tickets ($1.50). This year, “taste portions” were 4 or 5 tickets ($2.00-$2.50). We did not see any 3 ticket “taste portions.” The cost of drinks also went up substantially. From 3 tickets to 5 tickets. And in case you are wondering – “taste portions” are smaller amounts of an entree dish.  This is perfect if you want to be adventurous and try small amounts of several dishes.


  • Hearing Jennifer Hudson doing her sound check while we walked the Taste.
  • Being two feet away from Mayor Rahm Emanuel: His body guards protected him while he shook hands with both the vendors and the public.  See pictures below.
  • Time spent with my family
  • refreshing our tired feet in the dangling creek (in the gardens across the street from Taste)

If you would like more information on The Taste of Chicago, visit:

Taste of Chicago


Laughter is the best medicine!

My oldest son, Nolan, is in a back brace for the summer.  Overuse in high jump and pole vault have laid him low this summer.  He is allowed movies, TV, and books.  He can also do light activities such as frisbee, walking, and swimming now, but it is definitely not the summer envisioned by a 16-year-old boy.

My niece, Samantha, my daughter, Hannah, and I are trying to put together a comedy movie night for the family to get Nolan through this final stretch of summer.  I am a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine.  We are trying to come up with a list of our favorite comedies with the stipulation that the movies need to be for the age range of 12-years-old on up.  This has proved to be the tricky part.

So far this is our list:

Samantha – The Airplane Series                            Kyle – Dodgeball

For 18+ The Sitter

Suz (me) – Happy Gilmore, Meatballs               Hannah – House Bunny

For 18+ Stripes, Caddy Shack, Revenge of the Nerds, Police Academy


I would love to know others’ opinions as to what movies make them laugh the most.  All are welcome to contribute, no judgements passed!  Please just share!




A Little History

Since I can remember I have been a HUGE fan of TV and movies.  As a child I could recite the week’s evening line-up (times included) for all the major networks.  Lucky for me, there were really only 3 major channels back then.  I was obsessed with Star Wars and planned on marrying Mark Hamill.  If he wasn’t available I was going to marry Pierce Brosnan because Remington Steele was the best show ever!  I know you are laughing.  It’s okay, I am too.

As I moved into adulthood, movies remained an important part of my life.  While we were dating, my husband and I enjoyed seeing movies together on campus at Bradley University.  It was at Bradley that, for the first time, I walked out of a movie.  Not because it was poorly made, but because I was so disturbed mentally and emotionally.  The movie was Flatliners with Kiefer Sutherland and Julia Roberts.  If I told you why I was so disturbed, I would spoil the movie, but if you are a person that likes to be creeped out – this is a movie for you.

Movies and TV have now become family events.  I have three children.  Nolan is 16, Hannah is 14, and Kyle is 12.  Their personalities are very unique and their tastes in movies and TV has become just as diversified.  Nolan is my action or comedy kid. Hannah loves anything with Channing Tatum and then leans toward dance movies or chic flicks. Kyle has eclectic tastes and is usually willing to see almost anything.