Saturday, July 4, 2009

"So what the heck? You're welcome! Join us at the picnic! You can eat your fill of all the food you bring yourself. "

Found a GREAT scrapbooking blog, created by a fellow Texan.

Check out Creatively Savvy by Susan Stringfellow. Looks as if she is a Basic Gray, Cosmo Cricket and Graphic 45 fan – all my favorites.

She has some beautiful pages in Red, White and Blue. Go grab some ideas for your picnic, parade or firework pictures.

Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A validation of frugality...

Just saw this on one of my favorite blogs.

“Do you ever see a room and wonder how much it cost to furnish it? Are you amazed at how others are able to find great junk at yard sales and then actually work it into the design of their space? Do you wonder what items people are willing to pay more for and why? Do you want to show off your great finds? Me too!

How fun would it be if we all linked up and Priced our Spaces together? You can show an entire room, a wall or whatever and go into however much depth you feel like revealing. Don't feel like you have to tell the world how much you spent on everything. It's really about encouraging others that good deals are out there and, that there are some things that are worth paying full price for.” Entire post is here.

I’m so doing this. I'm used to shopping frugally. I’ve never added up what a room has cost us. I just always have had comparison prices in my head and know that most everything I’ve bought has been, shall we say, very competitively priced. Think I’ll do the formals for the Party.

We acquired major pieces for these rooms at Rooms to Go outlet and our favorite auction house, Alan Jones. GREAT deals and at least the last time we were at the auction, great chocolate cake and frito chili pie. These are my favorite places for furniture. Many of our friends have furnished rooms and even businesses from Alan Jones. Great people watching at the auction, too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Don't be a Potsie - The Fonz wants to DANCE!

Theatre/Film Wednesday

How about some theatre ON film and musical theatre at that!

Forever Plaid

In over 350 theaters nationwide, on Thursday, July 9, a pre-taped version of the hit musical Forever Plaid will get a one-night screening

This version stars original cast members Larry Raben as Sparky, David Engel as Smudge, and Stan Chandler as Jinx, along with Daniel Reichard as Frankie, while David Hyde Pierce will provide the narration.

“Forever Plaid” is an affectionate revue of the close-harmony ‘guy groups’ (e.g. The Four Aces, The Four Freshmen) that reached the height of their popularity during the 1950s. Personifying the clean-cut genre are the Plaids. This quartet of high-school chums' earnest dreams of recording an album ended in death (literally and indeed, symbolically) in a collision with a bus filled with Catholic schoolgirls on their way to see the Beatles' American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The play begins with the Plaids returning from the afterlife for one final chance at musical glory.

The songs sung during the course of the musical include: "Three Coins in the Fountain"; "Undecided"; "Gotta Be This or That"; "Moments to Remember"; "Crazy 'Bout Ya, Baby"; "No, Not Much"; "Sixteen Tons"; "Chain Gang"; "Perfidia"; "Cry"; "Heart and Soul"; "Lady of Spain"; "Scotland the Brave"; "Shangri-La"; "Rags to Riches"; and "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing".

We’re going, Arlington Parks – are you? And if you are, where will you be? You can get more info at Movie Tickets or Fandango as to where in your area it is being shown.

Be there or be square!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cameron Frye, this one's for you

Something about Books

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
-- Mark Twain

Teaching on a University campus is truly one of the great joys of my life. It has also brought me some surprising challenges. The one that I am continually looking to find the right answer to is how to help my students who HATE to read, particularly the male students.

Now, I could point you to a slew of scholarly journals with articles on why this happens (and there are lots of opinions and lots of reasons). Add to that the predisposition of children and young adults to believe books are outmoded in our “media age” and you have a sea of problems to wade through.

Goodness knows that when I first started teaching, I had no idea what kind of books to recommend to BOYS! Thankfully there are people out there with much better knowledge than I to direct me to wonderful books and resources.

One of my favorites is Guys Read – here’s a little of their press release

“GUYS READ is a web-based nonprofit literacy initiative for boys founded by Jon Scieszka. It is a sponsored program of the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Statistics and anecdotal evidence shows that boys are having trouble reading. The basic idea of GUYS READ is that boys can be motivated to read by connecting with texts they will want to read.

What boys like to read is not often the same as what they are required to read. Literary fiction is the mainstay of required school reading. Yet boys often prefer non-fiction, humor, information, comics/graphic novels, and more humor.”

Makes sense, no?

Even though I don’t have any brothers, my sister and I were the only girls on either side of the family until my teen years and I learned to climb trees and play war with the best of the cousins. After all, I was the inventor of the “sweet gum ball grenade”

(you roll one of those dried out prickly seed pods in pea gravel and then pack wet sand around it – explodes on impact! What I lacked in physical prowess, I more than made up for in sneaky.) Surely I can connect to these students in some way.

My challenge is that in my Oral Interpretation classes, some of what might be more appealing for them to read doesn’t work well with performance.

One of my favorite non-fiction topics is WWII history – I thought that might appeal to some of the guys and be a good place for me to start. So I set out on a search for great Children’s and YA literature focusing on that topic.

Here is what I’ve found.

That's one list on one topic. I develop more as I get input from my students. As always, I’m open to suggestions – class starts next week. Any theme is fair game, just needs to be children’s or YA. What could you suggest for my guys in these categories? Non-fiction, fiction, humor, and information

And finally a shout out to Jen Robinson and her Book Page. This will be a wonderful resource for me and my students for years to come.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lucy and Dinos and Art, OH MY!

Science Sunday

Photo by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Here’s a title for you – Paleoartist, i.e. artists using fossil remains and/or Paleontological study to inform their art. Art that is dependent on Science. I love it already.

Let me introduce you to Viktor Deak. I want to sit in his studio and just watch him work for a day. Watch this great video from the NY Times and then check out his personal website.

Then, if you are a geek like me, troll through this page from the American Museum of Natural History. And for good measure look at the exhibit information on Lucy that just opened in NYC. Note to my buds who live in the area – if you go see this (or the Titanic Exhibit) I expect a full report. We’ve been talking about a trip to the city, but just don’t know when we will get to go. So many things I’d like to see.

And finally, because I now have a family connection that has opened my eyes to the video gaming world, see what you can do if you have a bent for Paleoart in the iPhone app world. (There is an app for EVERYTHING.)

There, that should keep you busy for a while.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Competitive Baking

"I always had the will to win. I felt it baking cookies. They had to be the best cookies anyone baked."

Bette Davis

Home Ec. 101 Saturday

I have to be honest and tell you that I don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I don’t enjoy cooking – there – I said it. And fortunately, I don’t have to because for the last 20 years Himself has taken the baton. I am very spoiled because a) he loves doing it and b) he’s GOOD at it.

BUT – I do like to bake. And the more creative I can get, the better.

A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to this blog – Bakerella. AMAZING stuff and great directions and links and totally DOABLE projects.

Case in point.

Just look what you can do with cupcakes, brownies and sugar cookies.

Yep – that’s my kitchen. I made those (Himself did the sugar cookie French fries, ‘cause he wanted to play, too!) I am not a purist and used my favorite boxed mixes. Here is the direct link to the Bakerella instructions.

Sooooo cute – didn’t take any special tools. I used a juice glass instead of the cookie cutter. And I opted out of using icing for the lettuce, mustard and ketchup. My family is picky and wouldn't have enjoyed the icing on the brownies. Only thing that I didn’t have in the pantry was sesame seeds and sugar cookie mix. Had all the paper products (card stock, tracing paper) to use with the templates. Easy peasy. Got to bake AND paper craft. (Made me giddy!!!)

Check out some of her Christmas creations. You'll love them.

And to quote my favorite renegade chef, “Do it bigger, do it better, do it AWESOME”.