Archive for the 'Just for Fun' Category

Halloween Mixtape!

halloweenLeaves rustle and the chill of the autumn breeze tingles your spine. Aliens, superheroes, wild beasts, curious creatures and masked monsters are at every turn – EEK! It’s Halloween! On this magical night of kiddie cosplay, a child’s imagination is king. Our Halloween Mixtape is chock-full of  tunes by musicians who dare your little trick-or-treaters to dream, dress up, be thankful for their treats, share their treasures and of course, dance and sing along like it’s Saturday night, every night. No tricks here, just good jams:

Side A: Boos and Ghouls

  1. UFO – “Did they pull us into space? Or am I just a head-case? Or maybe I’m now part of the alien race?” Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights, from “Bandwagon” 
  2. Superhero You “Doing this, doing that, doing all that we could, using our power for good!” Steve Songs, from “Orangutan Van”
  3. Wild Things – “I love when they do the wild romp in the jungle and the swamp.” Miss Nina, from “Sha Doo Be Doop”
  4. Space Monkey – “If I could hang please from that big piece of cheese, I’d be the first monkey on Mars.” Jambo, from “Hootenanny”
  5. What Do You Wanna Be?“Farmer, doctor, fireman, what do you want to be?” Milkshake, from “Got a Minute?”
  6. Song in the Trees – “There’s a song in my dreams, it’s calling me … it’s singing ‘oooooh.'”  Preschool of Rock, from “Everything Makes a Sound”
  7. Share“Share, you’ll get a turn, too.” Renee & Jeremy from “The Best Foot Forward Series: SHARE!”
  8. Tyrannosaurus “You’re the mightiest beast to ever feast!” Alex & The Kaleidoscope Band, from “I’m So Glad”

Side B: Tricks, Treats and Treasure So Sweet

  1. Tattoo Me“Tattoo me with dragons and skulls that stick right to me.” Recess Monkey, from Deep Sea Diver
  2. Walkin’ The Dog“If you don’t know how to do it, I’ll show you how to walk that dog.” Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble, from “I Like Everything About You (Yes I Do!)”
  3. My Treasure“You’re my treasure, carried you the whole way home to my dresser.” Recess Monkey, from “Desert Island Disc”
  4. Move Like Saturday Night“I can see by the look in your eyes, you’re ready to move like Saturday Ni-i-ight. “ Francis England, from “Blink of an Eye”
  5. Itsy Bitsy Spider“The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider out.” Frankie D & Steven Bernstein, from “15 Songs Every Kid Should Know (and Will Love!)
  6. The Colors of the Sky“When nighttime arrives, the white moon shines above.”  Johnette Downing, from “Reading Rocks”
  7. Only Take What You Need“Choose a little, use it a lot and only take what you need.” Earth Mama, from “The Best Foot Forward Series: Gratitude Attitude”
  8. Whatever I Want To Be “Let’s run around and be just what we want!” Young Avenue Kids, from “Whatever I Want To Be”

CDs

Photo 1: http://mrpottersfuntimeblog.blogspot.com; photo 2: Mommy’s Alright.

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The Tails of Abbygail, Episode 1: Dreams Come True

amoc1hcc8o3ijyamcbf3What little kids don’t daydream their favorite toys will come to life? Movies have been built around  such youthful fantasies (“Toy Story,” anyone?). Abbygail, a spunky little Jack Russell terrier, is no exception.

In the newly released live-action DVD, “Tails of Abbygail: Dreams Come True,”  the protagonist pup Abbygail watches her ultimate dream come true as her toy dogs and horses – including a cotton candy pink poodle, two giant draft horses and a Bernese mountain dog adorably named “Girlfriend” – magically come to life and embark upon an exciting journey with her. Along they way, they meet new furry faces and learn important, relevant lessons relatable to children ages 2-10.

My four-and-a-half year old son went on this 34-minute adventure with Abbygail and her canine and equine companions, completely enchanted with the storyline. When asked who his favorite character is, he naturally said “Abbygail,” and that his favorite parts were when the gang found treasure and threw a party.

The fun continues with four more episodes from the award-winning “Tails of Abbygail” series. For more, visit weloveabby.com and be sure to like facebook.com/thetailsofabbygail on Facebook!

Big Ole Blogroll

Clockwise: Samantha Irby, Samantha Moeller, Tavi Gevinson, Jessica Hopper, Nikki McClure, BUST magazine.

A friend asked me how I find good writers and blogs – the short answer is via recommendations from friends and strangers I follow on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Tumblr, etc. So below is a list of things that make my time on the webz a little nicer. (Find a blogroll of more great parenting blogs, blogs of my real-life friends, etc., in the lower right margin!)

I’ll keep this updated as I find more lovable things on the trois dubs:

MUSIC
Chris Weingarten: http://1000timesyes.com
Jessica Hopper: http://tiny.abstractdynamics.org
Maura Johnston: http://maura.tumblr.com
Sound Opinions: http://soundopinions.tumblr.com

STYLE
Tavi Gevinson: www.thestylerookie.com
Tula Jeng: www.whorange.net
Alexandria Crahan: http://bluefeatherstyle.blogspot.com
Lula: http://lulamag.com
Papercut: http://www.papercutmag.com

LADY WRITERS
Samantha Irby: bitchesgottaeat.blogspot.com
Anna Goldfarb: www.shmittenkitten.com and shloobykitten.tumblr.com
Emily McCombs: www.xojane.com/author/emily
Kelly Oxford: http://kellyoxford.tumblr.com
Lesley M. M. Blume: http://www.lesleymmblume.com
Miranda July: mirandajuly.com
Diablo Cody: https://twitter.com/diablocody
Amy Sedaris: http://www.amysedarisrocks.com

OTHER READING/VIEWING
Rookie Mag: www.rookiemag.com
BUST: www.bust.com
Granta: www.granta.com
Al Burian: www.alburian.com
It’s That Bitch Brittany: http://itsthatbitchbrittany.tumblr.com

MOM STUFF
Samantha Moeller: www.thehipstermom.com
Mommit (advice): http://www.reddit.com/r/Mommit

ART/COMICS
F Yeah Ghost World: http://fuckyeahghostworld.tumblr.com
Blown New Yorker Covers: http://blowncovers.com
Sam McKenzie: http://samsamsamsam.com
Nikki McClure: nikkimcclure.com
Julie Doucet: www.juliedoucet.net
Daniel Clowes: http://danielclowes.blogspot.com

What blogs/writers do you follow?

(Kick Out the) Summer Kid Jams

Mommy’s Alright’s summer jamz record collection …


(1) “In Tents,” Recess Monkey – Sideshows, freaks, geeks, animals, magicians and fortunetellers … come one, come all – the circus is in town!


(2) “Someone Else’s Shoes” from the Best Foot Forward Series/Recess Music – Ah, empathy. Kindness. Respect. They’re not always easy concepts for kids, but they’re all encouraged in these 15 tracks.


(3) “Backseat Driver,” The Cat’s Pajamas – “Juice box jams and car seat choreography.” Yep, that about sums it up. Great storytelling and funky grooves are great for road trips or just a jaunt to the playground.


(4) “Picasso, That’s Who! And So Can You!” Hope Harris – Each track spotlights a different artist from Bearden to O’Keeffe – exploring his or her style through lyrics and music.


(5) “World of Wonder,” Alison Faith Levy – It’s preschool pop with originals and a few classics for good measure (“Itsy Bitsy Spider”).


(6) “Sing Loud! Music for Families,” Melissa Green – These are upbeat ditties the entire family can appreciate with some fun covers like “Free to Be … You and Me” and a quintessential summer jam, “We Got The Beat” (featuring Brooke Shields – Iknowright?!).


(7) KinderAngst – These bratty bubblegum, pop-punk songs perfectly capture the sound of kids being kids. Frenemy jam “Let’s Play” has L7 written all over it. And holy smokes, Debbie Harry’s “Do It Yourself” is a sweet little ska tune. This will be in heavy rotation!

(Opening photo: still from Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom)

Where I’m From

I am from the rumble of freight trains, the Land of Lincoln, lunch buckets, big shoulders and Statesville.

I am from the brown brick-and-cedar ranch – the one with a seasonal wreath on the front door and a garage perpetually clacking with car projects.

I am from the dooryard violet, tall corn and lush soybean, a glittery metropolis by a great lake.

I am from Gallaghers and Stahoviaks, Geri and Jerry and Mary Lou and Bernie – generous and care-taking, hard-working and driven.

I am from proud Irish farmers and determined Scot-German laborers.

From “walk in like you own the place” and “what can I do to help?”

I am from Catholics, entirely – from parishes like St. Raymond’s, St. Mary’s St. Patrick’s.

From the Guild Ship Lucy to Manhattan, Ill., corned beef and cabbage, and draught beer.

I am from the wood-paneled living room walls dotted with family portraits, vintage Coca-Cola ads and owl art. I am from the trippy apple wallpaper in the kitchen on Galena Drive; gold shag carpet, olive green appliances, the forbidden fronch room. I am from fire and famine and depression and war. I am from kitsch and love food and Duct Tape and fast cars. I am from the very best.

Well, that was a lot of fun. Thanks Kate, for the inspirational blog, and Fred First for the template. Your turn.

Record Store Day: The Haul

Observing Record Store Day at Rainbow Records in Barrington, Ill., on a rainy and windy April afternoon.

Funny little 45 featuring Grover doing disco. Ollz could use a lesson in proper vinyl handling.

Ollz loved this double vinyl featuring the greatest hits from Motown. I considered it.

The record haul. Rainbow Records only sells second hand, so none of the special Record Store Day new releases I’ve been hearing about online were available. No matter. The vibe in the store was upbeat, everyone gushed over Ollz and the owner approved of my “Good Morning Vietnam” selection. Plus, there wasn’t a line out the door as reported at many Chicago stores.

Playing Catch Up

Hi! Remember moi? I’ve been pretty busy over here with the dayjob, but rest assured, I have lots of blog ideas for February. Before I can move on, I have to catch you up on what’s been going on in Ollieland. So here’s a pictorial review:

First Show – We went to see The Boogers (“Ramones meets Mother Goose”) at Schubas in January. I wish I could say we stayed for the entire set, but Ollie was a little sensitive to the noise (he wasn’t the only one). But we had a great time anyway, scored a t-shirt and had all the tater tots we could snarf next door at Harmony Grill. I highly recommend checking out The Boogers, especially if you’re a punk rock parent like me. After the show, we headed across the street to Uncle Fun, one of my favorite shops in Chicago – full of curios, tchotchkes, pranks, toys and books. Our haul included a Homies lunchbox (for Kate), a pooping pig (Ollie is quite smitten with this), wind-up chattering teeth and two plastic double-finger rings for me.

Terrific Twos – The rock star 2nd birthday party was a blast. Auntie Coco knocked the record cake out of the park as predicted. Great pizzas from Nick’s.

 

 

 

Baby’s First Blizzard – We had two super snow days after Mother Nature dumped almost two feet of snow on the Chicago area. Ollie could not get enough of snowball throwing and climbing the drifts.  We couldn’t get enough of him being naturally cute with his rosy cheeks and nose. Another item of note, we were all thankfully shoveled out in time for a weekend playdate with Judys – Ollz made a great new friend, Mylo.

 

 

 

Going for a Spin – Ollie’s vintage Fisher-Price record player finally came. It’s pretty fantastic. He’s a bit small to play it himself, but we enjoyed “The Fox and the Hound” on vinyl – and I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of it – old 45s sound wonderfully tinny and crackly. Also for his b-day Auntie Coco got him the retro record player toy that he has manhandled to the point that it half works. We have fun singing oldies like “Camptown Races” and “Hickory Dickory Dock.” How bad is it that the Andrew Dice Clay versions of some of these nursery rhymes are the ones I remember best?

 

Famous Babe – Ollie’s mug was featured on the homepage of ChicagoParent.com to promote local snowbaby pics in the site’s photo gallery. After the blizzard, they used it again to encourage parents to send blizzard baby pics. This is validation that we’re not too biased – Ollie is unarguably cute.


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