October's Around Town

SI Stuff:

Friday, October 2

*Movies in the Park: Madagascar 2 -- Rides & popcorn for kids before the show. Free. 7pm – 9pm. Bloomingdale Park. When packing refreshments, attendees are encouraged to bring an item of canned goods to support local food pantries. Sponsored by Councilman Vincent Ignizio, Info:718-984-5151

Saturday, October 3

Soap Box Derby -- Design, build & bring your version of a soap box car. Racers 7+. Trophies in different age groups. Registration 10am. Westerleigh Park. Rain Date 10/10. Info:718-816-6172

Community Fall Festival
-- A great day filled with family funat the College of Staten Island. Magicians, clowns, characters, music, entertainment, face painting & much, much more. Outdoor event. 11am-4pm. Donations go to CSI’s SI Breast Cancer Research Initiative. Info:718-982-2365

Tibetan Festival -- An afternoon of traditional Tibetan crafts, food, and a lecture on Buddhism and the Dharma at the Jaques Marchai Museum of Tibetan Art. 12:00 - 5:00pm Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, students, and members. Info:718-987-3500

Choo-Choo Soul -- As seen on Playhouse Disney. 2:00pm. St. George Theatre, 718-442-2900

*Careers with Animals Workshop Series: Zoo keeper -- Students who are interested in learning more about careers working with animals. 1:30pm. Grades 6-9. Staten Island Zoo, 718-442-3101

*Autumn Moon Festival.-- 6:00 - 9:00pm. NY Chinese Scholar’s Garden. Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 718-448-2500

Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 3 & 4

Historic Richmond Town: Decker Farm Pumpkin Picking. 11am - 4pm. $5/person, $16/family of four. Purchase of pumpkin additional. For more information please Call 718-351-1611

*Annual Citywide Bocce Tournament -- 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. South Beach Wetlands Bocce Courts. Join New Yorkers young and old to test their skills on the bocce courts.

Thursday, October 8

*Read for the Record -- Join us and kids all over the world as we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and create a world’s record. 4 p.m. at the Staten Island Children's Museum Info: 718-273-2060

Saturday, October 10

*Kids & Critters -- at the Staten Island Zoo. Calling all Pre-K and Kindergarten adventure seekers. Meet and learn about animals and their unique adaptations, enjoy snacks, take special tours and make crafts. Registration is limited, so sign up right away. Each session will explore a different topic. 10:00 - 11:30am Info:718-442-3101

*Annual Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival -- 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Carousel for All Children, Willowbrook Park, Staten Island. The prettiest pumpkins prevail in our perfect pumpkin patch! Come ride the Carousel for All Children (tickets: $1.50) before it closes for the season at the end of the month; purchase a pumpkin and then decorate it as you like; balance on the Boy Scout rope bridge; see puppet shows at 1 and 3 pm; check out the sand art by Sandman Matt Long; learn fun nature facts with the Greenbelt environmental educators and NYC Audubon and more! There is no admission charge but fees apply to certain activities.For more information please visit www.sigreenbelt.org. (Rain date Sunday, October 11)

Saturday & Sunday, October 10 & 11

*Open House New York -- Celebrating New York City’s architecture and design with tours, workshops, projects, events, etc. Participants include Historic Richmondtown, The Jaques Marchai Museum of Tibetan Art, Seguine Mansion, Conference House, & more. For more info please go to http://www.ohny.org/weekend/listings.cfm

Monday, October 12

*Northfield Bank Foundation Cool School Holiday - Columbus Day Free Admission to Staten Island Children's Museum 10am - 5pm Info: 718-273-2060

*Dinosaurs and More -- Join dinosaur enthusiast, Richie Mirissis, as he presents some amazing fossils, three- dimensional models, and memorabilia from his vast collection. Take home a special craft that you make! Free with regular admission – DONATION REQUESTED. 1:30-3:30pm Staten Island Zoo Info:718-442-3101

Tuesday, October 13

*The Directors Chair Island Art Expo: Voices -- The Alice Austen House hosts film screenings on lawn (weather permitting) immediately following sunset @ 5:30pm. Enjoy music and refreshments overlooking New York City's skyline. Event will be moved inside in case of rain. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets.

Saturday & Sunday, October 17 & 18

*The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein -- Listen to the story & create your own Giving Tree. Sat. & Sun., 1, 2 & 3 p.m. at the Staten Island Children's Museum Info: 718-273-2060

Saturday, October 24

*MillionTreesNYC Volunteer Planting Day -- 9:30 a.m.– 3:00 p.m.Join us for our fall volunteer planting event on October 24! We supply the trees, food, and planting equipment - you supply the muscle, care, and community spirit! Planting on Staten Island will be at Ocean Breeze Park, Clove Lakes Park, Father Macris Park, and Wolfe's Pond Park. Info:(212) 360-3435

New York City Stuff

*Free Night of Theater -- On October 1st, Theatre Communications Group will be giving away more than 75,000 tickets for free shows beginning October 15th. There are 21 shows to choose from! http://freenightnyc.net

*Medieval Festival in Fort Tryon Park -- The area around the Cloisters Museum will be transformed into a medieval village on Sunday, October 4, 2009. Hang with knights, jesters, magicians, storytellers, and puppeteers in authentic medieval garb. Featured events will include a Living Chess Game, a Children’s Costume Parade, and a Joust Tournament with knights on horseback, hosted by the WHIDC. 11:30am - 6:00pm

*Sundays Under the Whale: They Might Be Giants -- Grammy-winning rock legends They Might Be Giants perform songs from their new children's album Here Comes Science. Free with admission. Museum of Natural History, October 4.

*Columbus Day Parade -- The Columbus Day Parade will take place on Monday, October 12, 2009. The Columbus Day Parade begins at 11:45 and lasts until 3 p.m. The Columbus Day Parade begins on Fifth Avenue at 44th Street, and continues north along Fifth Avenue to 79th Street.

*Union Square Free Night of Theater Celebration -- Come to celebrate and explore Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway theatre in New York City. Join hundreds of NYC artists, theatre companies and service organizations in a festive celebration with performance, music, costumes, booths, celebrities, politicians and much more. Numerous VIP's have been invited including his honor the Mayor who will issue a proclamation declaring October 15th Free Night of Theater Day in New York. Union Square, 12:00 - 6:00pm. For more info, go to http://www.freenightnyc.net/unionsquare.cfm

Baby Loves Disco Manhattan: boo baby boo -- On Sunday, October 18th, an afternoon dance party featuring real music spun and mixed by real djs blending classic disco tunes From the 70s, & 80s, for toddlers, preschoolers and parents looking for a break from the routine playground circuit. The fun spills out from all corners of the club: bubble machines, baskets of scarves and egg-shakers, a chill-out room (with tents, books and puzzles), diaper changing stations, a full spread of healthy snacks and dancing, LOTS of dancing. Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleeker Street $15 per walking human, in advance, $18 at the door, 12:00 - 3:00pm

*Kids Fest -- Saturday, October 17. 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Madison Square Park, Manhattan Family fun with free music, arts & crafts, costume parade, and more! Please visit www.madisonsquarepark.org for more information.

New York Spa Week -- Get pampered for less at New York's best spas during New York Spa Week from October 12-18. www.spaweek.com

Pretty in Pink -- PrettyCity.com is sponsoring a cheaper alternative to New York Spa Week with $31 beauty treatments at top NYC spas and salons for the entire month of October. Participating salons are also donating to Bright Pink, a non-profit organization devoted to prevention of breast and ovarian cancer in young women.

Big Apple Circus -- The Big Apple Circus returns to New York on October 22nd with an all-new show.

Dino Adventure -- Museum of Natural History. Saturday, October 17, at 2 pm in the Kaufmann Theater, first floor. $8 children; $10 adults.

Woo-oo-wee! Now, there are sooooo many more things goin' on, but quite frankly, Brooklyn alone would make this post forever & ever long, so... I think this is a pretty good place to start. Don't you?

Tomorrow I'll post the Halloween Happenings for Staten Island, and then NYC the very next day after that. Yay!
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Baby Einstein's World Animal Adventure DVD Review

In honor of World Animal Day (October 4th), Baby Einstein is introducing a new video to it's extensive line-up titled Baby Einstein: World Animal Adventure. It coincides with the premiere of World Music, the newly updated look of the site, and even a cool YouTube channel.

The World Animal Adventure DVD brings animals from around the world to your little one, showcasing both new and familiar animals in their natural habitats. Divided into each of the seven continents, the DVD features such friendly beasts as llamas, arctic snow monkeys, painted elephants and even super-cute chipmunks.

My two-year-old's absolute favorite parts are the animal puppet shows. He giggled every time, and if you've never owned a Baby Einstein video, you should know that you'll be playing it time and again. Which is why my favorite part of the the DVD is the Grow with Me feature, a second viewing mode with added language content and more puppet shows so that your kiddos can get more out of the DVD. For the littlest ones, I think the new Select-A-Segment option would be particularly handy. It shortens the video to either five or ten minutes, or you can set it to play just the puppet shows. (Guess which one we picked.)

The World Animal Adventure DVD is set to original music extra-specially orchestrated for little ears, (hmmm, can you just see the testing rooms?) featuring several global musical styles. I loved the new sounds, though I'm pretty sure Lil' Man had no idea that he was getting a taste of other lands, lol! There's even an intriguing-sounding World Music CD on offer at Baby Einstein.

I really like the early intro to geography, the gorgeous scenic shots and even the cool toys featured. (I'm stoked that they include a handy reference to some of the toys in the bonus menu!) Overall, I'm a fan. My kiddos like it; even my daughter, who gets a kick out of trying to name each animal. The DVD has fostered discussion of different animals within a species, (like artic foxes vs. red foxes) baby names (like colt, chick, kit, cub & joey) and even group names (like herd, flock, brood, & mob). If you've got a 2 to 5 year old, then I highly recommend Baby Einstein's World Animal Adventure DVD.

My only real complaint is the slight inaccuracy of a neighing zebra. Zebra's just don't neigh! They, well, they kinda bark. But that's just me being picky, as DH would say.

In the interest of full disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Baby Einstein and received a World Animal Adventure DVD to facilitate my candid review.
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Did you know about the Recall on Childrens Tylenol?

Um, in case you haven't already heard, (How could you not have heard yet?! It's, like, everywhere!) the makers of Infants and Childrens Tylenol have issued a recall on some 21 of it's products. Though no contaminants were actually found in the product, the bacteria Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia) was found in some of the raw product, *repeat* not the end product. (I'm kinda thinking that means it was in one of the ingredients to be added, or some such...) Though there appears to be no adverse affects from this bacteria for the average kiddo, just a percentage of those with a compromised immune system or lung issue, to be on the very safe side, McNeil Consumer Healthcare is voluntarily recalling the following lots, manufactured between April 2008 and June 2008 :

Lot # Product Description
SBM041, SBM067, SCM037, SDM027, SEM109 Children's Tylenol Plus Cold MS Suspension 4 oz. Grape
SBM042, SCM015, SCM036, SDM034 Children's Tylenol Suspension 4oz. Grape
SBM043, SBM044, SCM029 Children's Tylenol Suspension 4oz. Bubble Gum
SBM045, SCM011, SCM030, SDM035 Children's Tylenol Suspension 4oz. Strawberry
SBM064, SCM033, SDM020 Infant’s Tylenol Grape Suspension Drops 1/4oz.
SBM065, SCM005, SCM006, SDM032 Infant's Tylenol Suspension 1/2oz. Cherry
SBM066, SCM068 Children's Dye Free Suspension 4oz. Cherry
SBM068, SCM035, SCM070, SCM080, SDM005 Children's Tylenol Suspension 4oz. Cherry
SBM069, SBM070, SCM081, SDM006 Children's Tylenol Plus Cough & Runny Nose 4oz. Cherry
SCM012, SCM067, SDM007, SDM068 Infant's Tylenol Suspension Drops 1/2oz. Grape
SCM013, SCM014, SCM069 Children's Tylenol Plus Flu 4oz. Bubble Gum
SCM016, SFM024 Children's Tylenol Plus Cold Suspension 4oz. Grape
SCM017 Children's Tylenol Plus Cough/ST Suspension 4oz. Cherry
SCM082, SDM039, SDM040 Infant's Tylenol Suspension Drops 1oz. Grape
SCM083, SCM084, SDM008 Infant's Tylenol Dye Free Suspension 1oz. Cherry
SDM064 Children’s Tylenol Pediatric Suspension 1oz. Cherry
SDM038, SDM009 Infant's Tylenol Suspension Drops 1oz. Cherry
SDM033 Children's Tylenol Plus Cold/Allergy 4oz. Bubble Gum
SDM078 Infant's Tylenol Drops 1oz. Grape
SCM034 Infant’s Tylenol Grape Suspension Drops H/G 1/2oz.
SDM028 Children's Tylenol Suspension 4oz. Cherry, Hospital Govt.

You can find the lot numbers on the bottom of the box and also on the sticker that surrounds the bottle. If you have one of these affected bottles, you should contact the company at 1-800-962-5357 and they will (gladly) send you a new bottle.

I'm pretty dang impressed with McNeil for stepping up like this. The only real gain for them is a mild uptick in public approval. Despite my own feigned shock earlier, most people likely won't know the difference, anyway. So, go you, makers of Tylenol. Thanks for caring.
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Cool Stuff to do this weekend!

If you live in the Metro NY area, that is, lol!

Saturday, September 26, 2009 is Smithsonian's Museum Day; with hundreds upon hundreds of participating museums offering free admission. To check out the New York area offerings, click here. First things first, you absolutely MUST bring this card with you, it guarantees admission for you and a guest. There are many participating child-friendly spots, but I plan on getting a babysitter for the kids and making a day of it with my honey. With sooooo many museums to choose from, I'm absolutely sure that we'll find something we'll both enjoy!

Then we can follow that up by joining the Great American Dine Out! Some 4,000 restaurants will be directing a percentage of sales to helping end childhood hunger in America. (Actually you can go any day this week, and please, please do!) For New York area restaurants, click here. I'd like to check out Good Restaurant in Greenwich Village, the House-Smoked BBQ Pulled Pork with stone-ground cheddar jalapeno grits sounds completely amazing. Though I might have to go for Brunch, just so I can try the Good Morning Martini! Whoo-wee!

Then there's the Stone Street Oyster Fest, sponsored by Ulysses Folk House, with as much music and oysters as you can stand!

Or you could even check out The Lexington Street Fair, on Sunday, from 10am-6pm, on Lexington Avenue from 34th Street to 42nd Street.

you could ogle the goods at the Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction at Shubert Alley and W. 44th Street. See the stars of Broadway at the Celebrity Table , where they'll be exchanging autographs and photo opps for donations to Broadway Cares.

Don't forget the Flea Market in the Village hosted by Historic Richmondtown in Staten Island, from 10 am - 5pm!

And that should wrap it up nicely, doncha think?
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Menu Planning, Take Two

I'm trying this sucker all over again! I have a whole new system, and by golly, I'm gonna do it!

Monday: Gramps' Famous Chili (One of the many benefits of moving so close to family is the food!)

Tuesday: Crockpot Lasagna, recipe courtesy of Living Locurto, though I'll be switching out the turkey for lean ground beef.

Wednesday: Garlic Dijon Dump Chicken with steamed California Mix vegetables, and brown rice. Thanks to Soopermom for the chicken recipe.
*updated I somehow managed to miss the fact that I had no dijon mustard, so instead I made a one-pan meal with the chicken, veggies and an onion sauce.

Thursday: Foil Packet Tilapia with glazed carrots and rice pilaf. Recipe for the fish can be found at A Year of Slow Cooking.
*I used flounder instead of tilapia, and went with roasted red potatoes instead of the pilaf. Apparently we've been eating an awful lot of rice lately!

Friday: Crockpot Hashbrown Casserole, 'cause it's game night and I'm gonna need my strength! Thanks again to Stephanie O'Dea for this one.

Saturday: Eating out, see tomorrow's post for details about all the amazing stuff going down this weekend!

Sunday: Rigatoni and Marinara, fresh Italian bread. Easy, reliable, yummy.

Yay! I did it! Thanks orgjunkie.com for getting me back in the spirit...
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So... the book review thing

If you know me, you know that what I do, is read. I read voraciously, endlessly. I heart books in such a big way that I have honestly grieved when I finish a good book, (though it doesn't stop me from staying up until 3am to do it!)

At any rate, you may have noticed the recent inclusion of a number of book reviews on O'Joy of my life... I'd like to make it a regular part of my line-up; and hopefully in the not-too-near-future, I may even branch into a secondary blog, devoted solely to books.

Now you may be wondering why I didn't just do that in the first place, way back in '06 when I started this here blog-thang. Honestly, I didn't think I'd keep up with it this long. Or that I'd enjoy it so much. In fact I've become rather fond of my little spot her in the blog-world. It's given me an outlet I didn't even know I needed. So thanks. Really.

And btw, when I do go for the secondary blog, what do you think I should name it?
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Are you scared of that piggy flu?

Hoo-boy! DH'll probably blow a gasket, 'cause he definitely feels like I'm not taking this too seriously. I mean, the media hysteria about it just turns me off. In fact, the more often they report about something, the less likely I am to watch the bloody reports. But when even the newspeople are catching it, well... hey, maybe there's something to this!

Seriously folks, regular old Seasonal flu affects between 340 million – 1 billion people worldwide each year. Of those, just about .05% (or 250 – 500,000) end in fatalities.

This "novel H1N1" strain? Well, it does seem to be moving pretty dang quickly. And it is far and away the most occurring flu this year. From initial outbreak in April to date, there have been 277,607 cases reported to the World Health Organization, with 3,205 deaths globally attributed to the novel H1N1 virus.

Remember though, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cases worldwide were usually mild, and most hospitalizations and deaths are persons that also had underlying conditions such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, or a weakened immune system.

But it's still a pretty big deal, so here's how to handle it. Ready folks?

What is the big deal anyway? FluFacts.com has all of that...

The CDC updates weekly with the who, what, when, and wheres. Check it out: FluView
and they've even got a printable Parents Guide.

Got questions about how to handle your kiddos? Don't Play With The Flu can help.

Here's a link to a super shopping list for Flu Prevention, courtesy of MomsLoveShopping.com: FluShoppingList.pdf

My best advice. Wash your hands with plain old soap and water. It's actually better than using anti-bac, because the "Swine Flu" just isn't a bacterium. I'm just saying.
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Disney on Ice is coming to the New York area!

This coming November, Disney on Ice will be arriving in New York. Are you coming? I know I'm going to be there! My kids are huge fans, and so is my Grandma. In fact, we'll be going just so she can have an excuse to be there, lol! I'm especially excited about the Halloween Haunt with the Disney Villains in the Celebrations! show. (They were always my fave. Everyone else wanted to be Sleeping Beauty... I wanted to be Maleficent. Go figure.)

Check out Disney On Ice presents Celebrations! at: (see below for show description)

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum (Uniondale, NY) November 10th - 15th
Prudential Center (Newark, NJ) - November 18th - 22nd
IZOD Center (East Rutherford, NJ) - November 24th - 29th

Mom Central (You know I love them!) is excited to extend the following special family offers; look for the box marked "MC Promotion" when purchasing tickets:
  • Offer #1: Get 4 tickets for just $44 by entering the code "MOM" at select ticketing channels. Offer good on all weekday performances, which includes all weekday evening and Friday matinee performances; minimum purchase of 4 tickets required; additional tickets above 4 can be purchased at $11 each.*
  • Offer #2: All weekend performance tickets will be $4 off the original price*
  • Offer #3: Get the best Front Row and VIP seats available – We have reserved seats in the Front Row and VIP sections just for you! No discounts available on these seats. Use the code MOM.
*Not valid on Front Row or VIP seats or combinable with other offers including opening night offers. Other fees may apply.

The above offers are good in the following cities: (Just in case you're not in the NYC metro area!)

  • St. Louis: September 3-6, 2009
  • Chicago: September 8-13, 2009
  • Sunrise: September 17-20, 2009
  • Dayton/Cincinnati: September 17-27, 2009
  • Miami: September 23-27, 2009
  • Auburn Hills: September 30 – October 4, 2009
  • Charlotte: October 8-11, 2009
  • Philadelphia: October 14-18, 2009
  • Atlanta: October 14-18, 2009
  • Oakland/San Jose: October 14-25, 2009
  • Fairfax: October 21-25, 2009
  • Sacramento: October 28 – November 1, 2009
  • Baltimore: October 28 – November 1, 2009
  • Uniondale: November 10-15, 2009
  • Houston: November 11-15, 2009
  • NYC: November 17-22, 2009
  • East Rutherford: November 24-29, 2009
  • Denver/Broomfield: December 3-13, 2009 *available for purchase on 9/12/09
  • St. Paul: December 9-13, 2009
  • Los Angeles: December 17-20, 2009
  • Toronto: December 18-27, 2009
  • Anaheim: December 22-27, 2009
  • Philadelphia: December 23 – January 3, 2010 *available for purchase on 10/12/09
  • Boston: December 26-29, 2009 *available for purchase on 9/3/09
  • Ontario: December 30 – January 3, 2010
  • Cleveland: January 8 -18, 2009 *available for presale on 10/2/09

Shows coming this fall & winter:

Disney On Ice presents Celebrations!: It's one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends! Enjoy a winter wonderland with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains, a Very Merry Unbirthday Party, a Royal Ball with the Disney Princesses and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe. Come join the party when this spectacular ice show visits your hometown!

Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy: Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favorite Disney stories at Disney On Ice Worlds of Fantasy Thrill to high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney/Pixar's CARS race across the ice. Dive into The Little Mermaid's enchanting undersea kingdom and experience the 'Circle of Life' with The Lion King. Then enter the mystical world of Pixie Hollow with Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies as they reveal the magic that lies within! From wheels to waves, Pride Lands to pixie dust, your family's favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy with dazzling skating, special effects and beloved characters certain to create a lifetime of memories.

Special Bonus! Come see a Disney princess and a dazzling display of gorgeous gowns at the Disney Princess Pre-Show starting one hour before show time! Complimentary to all ticket holders.

Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic: Join the celebration as 65 of Disney's unforgettable characters from 18 beloved stories come to life in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic! You'll be captivated by the one and only Mickey Mouse, the irresistible Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio and all the Disney Princesses. Be thrilled by exciting moments from The Lion King; Mulan; and Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Toy Story films; in a skating spectacular filled with magical Disney moments you'll remember forever as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic!<

Disney On Ice presents Princess Classics: Dreams really do come true! Disney On Ice is proud to bring you a dazzling tale of hope, heart, heroism and hilarity as Disney On Ice presents Princess Classics. This stunning spectacle is an awe-inspiring and fun-filled journey to the magical lands of Disney's classic fairy tales. Travel to a kingdom under the sea, an enchanted palace in France, an Arabian castle and more! Enter the fantasy worlds of your favorite Disney princesses – Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Mulan and Snow White – as they bring magic to your city in this royal skating extravaganza. To learn more about Disney On Ice shows touring the country this year and to find shows in your area, visit the Disney On Ice site. And don't forget to use the special discount code when purchasing tickets online!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Feld Entertainment. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.
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Vote for Signing Time!

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Do you remember Clara?

The great depression era kitchen goddess, Clara Cannucciari has released her much-awaited cookbook, Clara's Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression. It's a practicum for feeding your family for less, and stock-full of her trademark thrifty, loving bites of wisdom.

Isn't she wonderful? I posted about her before, here, because I am so enamored of her! Find out more about this amazing lady @ GreatDepressionCooking.com I'm super excited about the release of this cookbook! Please look for it at Amazon.com
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I was living in East Orange, NJ when the world changed. I was on my way to work when the radio announcer went ballistic. I watched as the sky above the city turned black. Just two days before, I'd guided an out-of-town friend through the city of New York, taking him to all my old haunts. One of our first stops? The World Trade Center. It was right about 9 am. But for the grace of God, my friends...

In fact, my family has many such stories. My cousin left late that morning, my uncle had recently been promoted and moved into a different building, etc. Many families weren't as lucky.

New Yorkers refuse to forget what happened here eight years ago, and throughout the city you'll find many ways they commemorate their losses. Here is just a small sample:

Tonight, Musicians for Harmony will present it's 8th annual Concert For Peace, promoting peace through music at the Merkin Concert Hall at Kauffman Center.

Trinity Church begins it's vigil & labrynth walk at midnight and lasts through 6:00am.

Tomorrow, at 8:46am, New Yorkers will gather at Ground Zero to remember their loved ones. Each name will be read, all 2,800 of them; and each relevant moment will be marked by silence. The ceremony will be attended by several branches of service, and though the EMT's aren't being honored, I've heard that many will be there in uniform in memory of their fallen comrades, among them my uncle.

St. Patrick's Cathedral will hold a special mass honoring the fallen firefighters of the FDNY at 10:30am.

The September Concert, which spans 12 countries and 41 US cities, has dozens of concerts scheduled in Manhattan, among them the National Dance Institute children performing "Imagine" inspired by John Lennon at Rockefeller Center at 5pm and Ashford & Simpson's Sugar Bar hosts The Heart Of Jazz from 4 - 8 pm, an improv jazz concert featuring more than forty NYC jazz artists.

The New York Buddhist Church begins it's annual Floating Lanterns Ceremony at Pier 40 at West Houston Street and the Hudson River.

Finally, at sunset, the "Tribute in Light" will return, lighting up the sky in place of World Trade buildings 1 &2 throughout the night.

September 11th has also been declared the National Day of Service & Remembrance, so check out 911dayofservice.org to find out how you can get involved... There's everything from park cleanup, to mentoring, feeding the hungry, you name it. Get involved! Please, let us not forget the lessons we learned from this terrible tragedy.

Remember: Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God. "

God bless you all...
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She's just a little girl

My sweet little girl started school today. There were tears, and begging, and even some hair-pulling. Oh, no, not from my kid. LivvieBug was fairly anxious for us to clear out so school could get started. She practically pushed us out of the classroom!

But I was a little jealous of that harried looking mom whose soothing voice and loving touch were doing squat to calm her own kiddo down. Her daughter was actually sad at the prospect of being without her parent. Mine couldn't wait. "Why, oh why doesn't she need me anymore?"

Oh, and she was adorable. Her new short hair (courtesy of an unsupervised pair of safety scissors, ... learned my lesson with that one!) bounced merrily as she sidled up to each classmate lined up with her. She introduced herself to each of their parents as well, soliciting comments about her backpack, bus-pass, room number, and even offered her phone number to someone's younger sibling. (She's been practicing for a while now, and the shy little one apparently seemed like an appreciative audience.)

Pure Unadulterated Joy

My Bug is smart as a whip, and a total social butterfly. I know she's ready. She knows she's ready. But man, oh man... Like DH says, (in the most wistful way) "she's just a little girl". *Sigh*
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Max Lucado's Fearless Book Review

The venerated Max Lucado is back with a seemingly simple premise.

"Imagine your life without fear" is the tagline for his new work, Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear. The pastor and author of more than 80 (80!!!) books exhorts his fellow Christians to utilize Jesus' teachings and stop worshiping safety.

Publisher's (Thomas Nelson) Description:

Each sunrise seems to bring fresh reasons for fear.

They're talking layoffs at work, slowdowns in the economy, flare-ups in the Middle East, turnovers at headquarters, downturns in the housing market, upswings in global warming. The plague of our day, terrorism, begins with the word terror. Fear, it seems, has taken up a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversized and rude, fear herds us into a prison of unlocked doors. Wouldn't it be great to walk out?

Imagine your life, wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, or doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, where you could trust more and fear less.

Can you imagine your life without fear?

I'm a fan of Lucado's writing style, it's smooth and personal, never overwhelming, even when he's getting deep into the place I live. I can't think of anyone I wouldn't recommend Fearless to. It's a fast read, and thought-provoking. I actually made use of the highlighting function on my Kindle several times throughout the book.

Divided into chapters with titles like "God's ticked off at me" and "There's a dragon in my closet" Lucado's gentle humor permeates this lesson of trust and faith in God's presence. As the man says, "be not afraid" (and variations thereof) appears 21 times throughout the gospels. It is Jesus' most repeated command.

My favorite chapter is easily "What if things get worse?" Lucado makes no bones about the fact that in many ways, it's a madhouse out there. He reminds us that the disciples were warned that the going was going to get rough. Being a Christian doesn't make you bullet-proof. (I've met several people who actually think that!) In other words, bad things happen to good people. Faith and even fearlessness won't keep you from getting cancer, or from getting mugged, but it will get you on the subway day after day, with a spring in your step, no less.

There is just one acceptable fear. Lucado references a quote from Ellen F. Davis' Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament: ‘Fear of the Lord’ is the deeply sane recognition that we are not God." Um, can I get an amen?

Replete with a study guide, Fearless is sure to be the next small-group sensation, and I hope that each of you gets in on this one. You can pick up copy at Thomas Nelson or Amazon.com.

The only drawback? I'm not crazy about the merchandising. There are cards, calenders, lesson plans, childrens' books, audio, etc. all ready to launch today as well. The book itself ends with about eight pages of ads for sundry items that can be purchased in conjunction with Fearless. Sorry, I'm just not too cool with that...

In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a copy of Fearless by Max Lucado to review by Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for a fair and objective review. I did not take payment from the publisher or author of this book beyond a copy of the book in question.
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