Project Runway, Season 13, Episode 1: The Judges Decide

Welcome back to the runway! So, I missed the first 20 minutes due to kiddo bedtimes but there did not seem to be that much drama. We shall see what happens once inspiration and energy starts to flag…

Judges

Is it just me or does Nina look totally over this?

From what I gather, the designers were given a box of cheap, ugly material to make something for a “Spring collection.” Which is appropriate since this sponsor just screams “high-end fashion”:

redrobin

The designers could trade fabrics but since everything was ugly that did not help anyone very much.

OK… let’s do this. Starting with the vast middle.

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Walking with Dinosaurs — LIVE!

My family and I had the opportunity to see Walking with Dinosaurs at Barclays Center for opening night and it was a thrill!

Walking with Dinosaurs Barclays Center

The show is like a natural history museum comes alive and explodes with the crushing force of the jaw of a tyrannosaurus rex.

Walking with Dinosaurs packs brachiosaurus-sized learning into its entertainment. The show begins back in the Triassic, explaining the vegetation, the geology, and the evolutionary developments that allowed dinosaurs to go on to conquer the earth.
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Know Your Zone

Hurricane Sandy was devastating in this region–some areas near me are still rebuilding. We lost so much but we also saw the strength of our communities.

After years of near-misses, this catastrophe drove home the need for hurricane preparedness in the New York metro area.

The Ad Council and the New York City Office of Emergency Management want New Yorkers to “Know Your Zonein anticipation of the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season on June 1st as part of Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 25-31st).

Although my family lives outside of the New York City limits, my husband helped coordinate the National Guard efforts to manage the emergency shelters in the city. If you live or work in New York City:

The Ready New York Hurricane Guide also contains instructions on how to develop a hurricane disaster plan and secure your home before a storm as well as a map of New York City hurricane evacuation zones.

By taking these steps and sharing them with friends and family, you can help reduce the risks of damage and loss of life if a hurricane strikes the New York area.

know your zone

The Show Must (Not) Go On?

You might think this is satire from a “fake news” site but it isn’t–a Long Island elementary school in the Elwood school district has canceled a kindergarten play because they are “responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills…”

Elwood Kindergarten Play Canceled

Another letter references the unusually high number of missed school days due to snow. Elwood, like the district in which I live, has half day kindergarten. So, morning kindergarten was likely canceled when there were delays. Although missed days in excess of allotted snow days are made up–kindergarten days missed due to delays are not.

However, the reference to “college and career” readiness implies a connection with the demands of the Common Core. Do the administrators at Elwood genuinely believe that a few days spent preparing and performing a school play in kindergarten will affect little Ava’s ability to succeed in college and find a high-paying job? Or are they scared that Brayden will bomb the state tests in third grade because his demanding rehearsal schedule distracted him from test prep? Or are they using these children as pawns to protest the requirements tied to implementation of the Common Core in New York?

Does anyone really believe that a five year old’s time is better spent bubbling in more scantrons?

Whatever is going on in Elwood, this is a sad day in early childhood education.

Walking with Dinosaurs Coming to Barclays Center – Opening Night Discount

Walking with Dinosaurs is coming to Barclays Center and I can feel the excitement–or is that a giant tyrannosaurus rex?

Walking with Dinosaurs Barclays Center

My eldest son is a junior paleontologist who has memorized every episode of the BBC “Walking with Dinosaurs” series and I know he is going to be thrilled to see these dinosaurs–moving, roaring, practically breathing–live! And when the people at Barclays Center say, “live,” they mean it! Using advanced animatronics, Walking with Dinosaurs Live creates the illusion that the audience has been transported back in time to witness real, alive dinosaurs hunting, raising their young, and more.

“Ten species are represented from the entire 200 million year reign of the dinosaurs. The show includes the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the terror of the ancient terrain, as well as the Plateosaurus and Liliensternus from the Triassic period, the Stegosaurus and Allosaurus from the Jurassic period and Torosaurus and Utahraptor from the awesome Cretaceous period. The largest of them, the Brachiosaurus is 36 feet tall, and 56 feet from nose to tail. It took a team of 50 – including engineers, fabricators, skin makers, artists and painters, and animatronic experts – a year to build the production.”

Barclays Center is hosting Walking with Dinosaurs Live July 16 – July 20 (9 Total Shows): July 16 at 7PM, July 17 at 7PM, July 18 at 10:30AM & 7PM, July 19 at 11AM, 3PM & 7PM, July 20 at 1PM & 5PM. Tickets are available for $99, $75, $55, $35, with special opening night tickets for just $30 (valid on $55 & $35 price points). Group Ticket discounts of over $20 per ticket are also available for groups of 12+.

Buy Tickets: Tickets for Walking with Dinosaurs at Barclays Center are on sale now and can be purchased online via Ticketmaster or by calling 800-745-3000. For more information about the show, visit: http://www.dinosaurlive.com/

Walking with Dinosaurs Arena Spectacular

Disclosure: As a member of the press, I am receiving tickets to attend opening night of Walking with Dinosaurs at Barclays Center and share my experiences with you.

Drill Gremlins

The drill gremlins (the slightly less nasty cousins of the deployment gremlins) were out in full force this past weekend.

husband-on-drill-here-let-me-get-that

First, I got stuck on the icy roadways. Only a fortuitously placed tree stopped my car from falling into a ditch. I spent two hours trying to dig the car out and broke a shovel in the process. I carefully dug out each wheel, rocked the car back and forth, and made some progress only to get stuck again in a new spot. Finally, I straightened out, backed down, got a “running start” and freed myself.

That night, I had to find the energy to take my daughter to the sweetheart dance. A lot of fun but I was wiped out.

The next morning, we rushed out to take my son to soccer practice (which he normally does with my husband). When we returned, we had no heat and I had to do battle with our oil company. They were supposed to deliver the day before and didn’t. The kids were freezing but we had to stay home so the mechanic could restart the heater.

Do you find that when your spouse is away lots of little things break and go wrong? I’m not sure if more things go on the fritz or if it just seems that way because he isn’t here to help fix the problems!

Best Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix

Best Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix

 

Looking for a new nut mix recipe for a party this weekend? If you like spicy nut mixes, this one is the best nut mix around! Many years back, a friend served this amazing Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix and I immediately begged for the recipe! She said that EVERYONE reacts this way and shared this with me.

“Best Sweet and Spicy Nut Mix”

Ingredients:

1 lb mixed nuts (unsalted)
3 tsp melted butter
2 T fresh rosemary
2 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  • Toast the nuts at 350 for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile mix the other ingredients.
  • When nuts are done, pour the butter mixture over them and stir. A really good way to mix it up is to put the nuts in a Tupperware container, put on the lid and shake!

Frozen Themed Guest Suite and Activity Cave at Quebec City’s Hôtel de Glace

I haven’t seen Frozen, yet, because I let my parents have the privilege of taking the kids…but I hear it is stupendous and can’t wait to watch on DVD.

In what may be one of the most clever tie-ins to a movie (though I am waiting to hear that Disney World’s Blizzard Beach is getting a Frozen make-over), Disney announced a Frozen-inspired suite and activity cave at Quebec City’s Ice Hotel.

Frozen Ice Hotel Suite

Hit it, press release:

Today, Walt Disney Studios has unveiled the first images from the Frozen-inspired suite at Quebec City’s famed Hôtel de Glace, in celebration of Disney’s “FROZEN” Blu-ray & Digital HD release.

Created entirely out of sculpted ice and snow and supervised by the film’s art director Michael Giaimo, the “Frozen Suite” is modeled after Anna & Elsa’s bedrooms. The collaboration will also include a “Frozen Activity Cave” bringing the wonder of Disney’s wintry tale to life like never before. The suite will be unveiled this weekend and remain open through March 23.

I love traveling and in the BC (before children) era I used to be pretty adventurous…but an ice hotel just is not on my bucket list. You sleep wrapped up in a super-warm thermal cocoon-like sleeping bag. Extreme temperatures just isn’t my thing. I would definitely be interested in visiting for a few hours, though, just to see it. How about you?

Twin Day for Spirit Week: A Bit of Fun or Exclusionary?

Earlier in the year, my daughter brought the “Spirit Week” flyer home with the list of daily “themes.” This year, there was a new addition, “Twin Day” was slotted instead of the wacky hair or crazy hat day that we had last year.

the-shining-movie-the-grady-twins

Our school has spirit weeks several times a year and they are always fun. A number of parents grumbled about the “literary character day” last year but my daughter went as Dorothy and had a lot of fun with it.

Something about “Twin Day” sent my mama-sense tingling, however.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2014 Family Portrait Small

 

From me and mine to you and yours…Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014!

 

Happy Holidays 2014 Kids

Happy Holidays 2014 Me and Kids