Tuesday, June 26, 2007

For your eyes only--the banned Trojan commercial

I'm mostly directing my blogging efforts to my other sites (have you clicked?!), but I couldn't resist sharing what Fox News and CBS would not--the Men are Pigs Trojan ad. Sorry, I'm not hip on embedding videos; you'll have to click here to see it.

Also this related note from the Chicago Foundation for Women:
Abstinence only sex education: IT DOES A BODY BADTell Congress: “No more money for abstinence-only-until-marriage education.” Congress is including abstinence-only education in its recommended budget to make it veto-proof. We join the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States and many others in saying: Don’t use unscientific and unsafe curricula as a carrot to lure anti-choice legislators. Tell the Illinois delegation that abstinence-only funding has to go: CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES NOW.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

MotherTalk Blog Book Tour: Garage Sale America

Garage Sale America
By Bruce Littlefield

I'm delighted to be a part of another MotherTalk Blog Book Tour.

It's the perfect time of year for Bruce Littlefield's Garage Sale America. I'm just warming up for the sale season. I'm not a collector, but I love the idea of finding that diamond in the rough, like a pair of old salt and pepper shakers for my mom, or, when the stars align, getting a great deal on something we need like a music stand for Splinter or golf tees for Smartypants.*

My husband doesn’t understand my attraction to searching through other people’s discarded crap. But Bruce, he gets it. He not only speaks to me in this book, he elevates me. According to Bruce, I’m not merely digging through strangers’ trash, I’m an anthropological voyeuristic warrior. Digging through the soils of pop culture. Yes!

Like Bruce, himself, this book is colorful, fun, and filled with useful tidbits for both buyers and sellers. He clearly knows his stuff when it comes to collectibles and shares a few tips. He clues readers in on things like how to tell reproductions from originals, and how to determine the source material of collectible old buttons. For example, to determine if it’s made from Tortoise shell, rub it with your finger to build up heat and see if it smells like dirty water or dead fish. Hmm…maybe this is why I typically search out things like children’s books, instead.

Get more tips and keep up with Bruce’s latest adventures through his blog.

Garage Sale America goes great with Killer Stuff, Sharon Fiffer’s garage-sale themed murder mystery set right here in north suburban Chicago. I read Killer Stuff a few months ago for my book group and it provided a good context for Garage Sale America. Bakelite! Buttons and smalls! Competing for collectibles! It’s all there.
* I know, golf tees. How much could they cost at the store? But I really like the re-use/recycle aspects of garage sales, too.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Spicing it up with Spatulatta

The boys' remote reporting gigs are now live on Spatulatta, the award-winning by kids/for kids cooking show.

Episode 1 provides an overview of the fabulous Spice House in Evanston along with some seasoning suggestions: http://www.spatulatta.com/remote_reporter/spice_house001.html

In Episode 2 learn how we get lovely cinnamon to sprinkle on our French toast and pumpkin pies. Watch as the boys transform fresh Vietnamese cinnamon bark into a delicate but potent powder that will spice up our next batch of Snickerdoodles: http://www.spatulatta.com/remote_reporter/spice_house002.html

Also, would you help our Spatulatta friends go Big Time by taking this survey? The results may help them get their own PBS show! Won't you please click?

Next up, pack up the Lactaid as our intrepid remote reporters head to a Wisconsin dairy farm to learn the art of artisan cheesemaking.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Smartypants, on reincarnation

Smartypants (age 9) has been thinking about reincarnation. Here's his latest:

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, it's too bad you can't remember your other life. But I guess it has to be that way...otherwise you'd miss your family too much.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Swimsuit season is here!

This past Spring I related the story of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Swimsuit. I also wrote how the brand-new suit found a permanent home with Meagan of Chicago Moms Blog and Equilibrium. For a while there it looked like I traded the swimsuit for my birthday suit until a sharp-eyed Lands’ End online PR hack read my post and decided to give me another go at a Lands' End suit.

Something to not only fit, but flatter my petite, increasingly curvy figure. If anyone can make a suit capable of camouflaging my untucked tummy, as well as boosting my bosom and my backside, it's Lands' End.

Shopping with my BFF...Me!

Gift card in hand, I dove into LandsEnd.com where, like Narcissus, I spent most of the time ogling myself. Well, not me exactly, my avatar, My Virtual Model. So fun and definitely worth a try.

You customize a model-everything from skin tone to hair color and styles. And you can play around with the weight. How would I look if I lost those 10 pounds I'm always talking about? Hey, pretty good! What if I gained 50? Whoa! What if I went blond? Or gray? My virtual model even convinced me to try a new hairstyle.

Back to bathing suits, your virtual model will try on any bathing suit (or other clothing item) without complaint. No worries about who's tried it on already, or those scratchy hygiene shields; no risk of spotting new varicose veins or cellulite in the three-way mirror--I love it!

Does size matter?

I had some questions about fit, but the website addressed many of them. I’m only 5 feet tall, and I was a bit disappointed when my options narrowed for petites. But then I learned that size, height at least, doesn't matter.

It's all about torso length when it comes to a proper swimsuit fit. The torso is the length of the body from the shoulders to the crotch and back to the starting point. According to the website, the right suit torso length means less sagging and slipping straps.

Michele Casper, Swim Fit expert and former stylist for Lands’ End, explained it to me via a personal e-mail: The key to finding a perfect fit is four measurements - bust, waist, hips and torso. There is a great video to watch on the Lands' End swim community site on how to measure for a swimsuit. The torso measurement will determine if a person needs a petite, regular or long torso. This choice has nothing to do with height. Rather, it is a measurement of the trunk of the body which is covered by a swimsuit.

For a petite torso, keep two-piece suits in mind as a great option, especially the tankini since it provides the coverage of a one-piece, but the freedom and comfort of a two-piece suit.

I've been avoiding a date with my tape measure, plus I'm having too much fun going on virtual yo-yo diets and I keep getting distracted by the fun reads over at the Lands' End Community Pool. But I promise to return soon to tell you about my new suit.

In the meantime, hurry over here to enter a contest which may net you a Lands' End credit large enough to suit up your whole family in style!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Water Bombs

School ended on Thursday and, as anticipated, we've already tried something new from the Dangerous Book for Boys. We made water bombs out of paper (wihtout help from DH, I should add).

Finally, a new use for the reams of scratch paper I bring home from the office each week.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Gifted Ed gets its day in court...Supreme Court

This is big, people.

I recently heard about a family who was petitioning their public school district to pay for school their special needs son to attend a private school. Yeah, right, I laughed. No way that's gonna happen. No way, because the child in question was gifted, not severely delayed, disabled, ill or autistic.

After two disappointing years in public school we transferred Smartypants to a private school for gifted kids. This move is among the best things we've ever done for him. But it's expensive and only getting more costly.

I snooped around in the gifted community. Any chance we could get our public school to pay tuition-even just cough up the per-pupil expenditure? No. Never. Well, maybe when cows fly. Guess why? Because gifted children are not legally entitled to an education that meets their special needs or helps them reach their potential. Forget that he learned very little, had almost no friends and was becoming increasingly depressed.

Guess how much Illinois spent on gifted education last year? Don't think too hard, the answer is nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. How nice to hear on today's morning news that our legislators voted raises for themselves yesterday. Grrrr.

So anyway, one brave, persistent mom sued the state of California to get them to pay for her young son to go to college. The Supreme Court is hearing the case now. You can read the details here.

These are the questions presented for review:
1) Does the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) expressly preclude any determination that an extremely gifted child is a "special needs" child capable of being qualified for funding related to his or her individual educational needs?

2. Does the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) exclude extremely gifted children from receiving publicly funded education tailored to their highly specialized psycho-social needs?

I've been wondering these things for years. It will be nice to finally get some answers.