Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Adler Planetarium

We took Nate to the Adler Planetarium yesterday. I hadn’t been there since high school. Lee, Marli and Nate had never been there, so it was a great day for everyone. The weather was absolutely perfect, the sun was shining, there were no frigid windchills to deal with. Do you know how awesome it is to have an aunt who works at the Planetarium? It’s nearly $100 awesome! She gave me the inside scoop on the shows and left my name at the desk so we didn’t have to pay the admission and show fees. They just gave us our tickets, we forked over $2 for a locker, and we were off. There was so much too explore and it was amazingly uncrowded for such a beautiful weekend day. We checked out the “Shoot for the Moon” gallery first, which was chock full of pictures and displays and information on the Apollo and Gemini missions. Then we wandered into the gallery with the display of the original Gemini 12 spacecraft. It was amazing to see the actual piece of history that was flown to space and back. They showed a movie in that gallery explaining the mission and it’s return. I would have stayed longer checking stuff out in there, but we moved on. The next room had lots of hands on stuff for the kids to do. There was videogame-like simulator for landing a spacecraft on the moon. Marli and I crashed big time, but Nate nailed it on his 3rd try. There was a spot for the kids to write down what they would take to the moon in their own survival kit and post it on a wall. Nate would bring a PB&J sandwich; Marli, my little teenage girl, would bring hair stuff, makeup, food and water. Then we pressed on into “The Solar System.” The kids really enjoyed this section, learning about the planets and checking out all the hands-on activities they had in there. We took a break and ate lunch in the cafĂ© over looking the frozen lake. After lunch we wandered downstairs and found the Atwood Sphere. That was really cool. We sat in this little cart that pulled us into a not that big sphere and it closed us in, then the night sky came to life and we learned a little about the night sky over Chicago. We wandered around the galleries down there until it was time for our first show, which was all about black holes. I love their shows! This one was pretty interesting, but the one we went to right after was even better. Night Sky Live was in the Sky Theater. For about 15 minutes before the show there was a guy in there answering any questions people could throw at him. He really got everyone involved. This show is really neat. They show the sky that we see over Chicago on that day. He showed all the constellations, and then put line drawings up so you could see why they chose those figures for each star cluster. I think that might have been my favorite part. I want to stay in there for hours and learn more about it all. We spent way too much money in the gift shop and headed home. I think I scared Lee with my “city” driving. But I just don’t have the patience for his “country” driving in the city, it makes me crazy. The kids have been talking about the day since we got home, so it appears that the trip was a success!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Jonas Brothers

Last Sunday was the concert. We loaded up the car and headed south to Peoria. It wasn’t a bad trip at all. The weather cooperated completely. We got down there in plenty of time. The Peoria Civic Center is a fabulous place to see a concert. They had a great set up for a show that was sure to attract kids of all ages, and their parents. While we did not spend the time waiting there at the facility, when we went back we checked out the digs. There was a Parents Room set up with a bar and TVs and comfy chairs everywhere. We got a kick out of listening to all the girls scream every time they started a new song For a teeny-bopper boy band, the concert lasted a long time. It was definitely worth the money to take them down to this concert. After the concert, we waded through all the people to buy the requisite t-shirts and hit the road. We found the one restaurant still open at 10:15 on a Sunday night, waited 20 minutes for chicken fingers and fries and headed north. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find an open gas station at 11:00 on a Sunday night in the boonies? Once we finally found gas, I went to sleep. I had to be at work at 6:30 the next morning. We dropped Jaimee off in Bradley and headed home. It was almost 2:00 am when we got home. Needless to say, I was pretty useless at work the next day. Oh well, it's the boss' fault for scheduling me to open when he knew about the concert.

Monday, February 18, 2008

He Totally Did It!

Daytona, baby! Newman won!! Yes, I know he got some help from his friends, but what are team mates for if not to push you across the finish line first! Unfortunately I didn't see it on TV, but I did hear it on several radio stations on the drive to Peoria. I yelled and jumped around in my seat while driving down I-74 in the snow. So exciting! Whoo hoo!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tonight's the Night!

It's time for the super cool, Mom-you're-the-best Jonas Brothers concert in Peoria. The weather forecast was scary at first, with predictions of a snow storm to hamper the 2 1/2 hour drive. But now it appears that we will only be dealing with a lot of rain, a little bit of snow and some wind. I'm a Chicago girl, I can handle that! This is what the weather looked like at 6:00 am when I left for work. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Chicago Radar Loop

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Marli's Birthday

Marli's birthday was on Friday. Her 13th birthday! Egads, when did I get old enough to be the mother of a teenager? My mom had the fabulous idea of leaving a bunch of balloons here for Marli for when she got home from school. My sister brought them over and put them right in front of the bathroom door. If you know Marli, you'd know that the first thing she does when she gets home is head for the bathroom, tossing her coat on the floor in one direction, and her bag in the other. It was perfect!


She and her friend Nicole went to a dance at school that evening so we didn’t do cake until later that night. Boy oh boy was that a yummy cake! Even Nate said he liked, which is high praise coming from the pickiest 10 year old I’ve ever met. I took more pictures, but the camera lens was dirty so they looked awful! Thanks, Jennifer, for pointing it out to me and fixing it!


The cake was so good that by 10:30 Sunday night, when I got home from work, they had very generously left me a 1 inch by 1 inch square in the pan.


On Sunday, Mom took Marli shopping for her annual wardrobe revamping. We returned some of her Christmas clothes, then hit the clearance racks. That girl came home with 2 bags full of the cutest bargains we could find in one afternoon. Next Sunday, she and Jaimee are going to see the Jonas Brothers concert. That was her gift from us. She is beside herself with anticipation. She said this was the best birthday ever. Though, she says that every year. She’s pretty easy to please.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Snow Snow Snow

Boy did we get some snow! Boy do I miss my camera! While normally I would have taken tons o’ photos of the kids playing in the snow, I was stuck using Marli’s little point-and-shoot which I have yet to sit down and play with much, so I took a few half-hearted pictures of some snow-play before the Superbowl. Did I mention I miss my camera?



Marli's Birthday Cake

No store-bought, lard-laden, sugar-coated confection for my little girl’s entry into the ranks of “teenager”. No way, Jose! Jennifer showed me a website she found with an amazing recipe for chicken wings and I was sunk. I have been reading this blog for a solid week. I get so easily sucked into these things.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Anyway, the pictures and recipe made this seem like a cinch (and quite yum-a-licious) so I figured I’d give it a try. Yes, I baked a cake from scratch. No boxes involved! Flour, sugar, vanilla, cocoa, and waaaayyy to much butter only. It was so much easier than I ever figured baking from scratch could be! I’m quite proud of myself, actually.


And I didn’t even make a horrible mess. But I am leaving the dishes for someone else to do, darn it!


All that’s left to do is decorate the cake. Marli loves that part, so I may just leave that for her to do when she gets home from school tomorrow.