I started this blog with one daughter, kept it up with the other, to spend time together doing something we enjoyed.
However, things change and people evolve. My daughters are older, busier, and not as interested in writing.
From now on this blog will be mostly mom with occasional contributions from my daughters and maybe even my husband.
Nothing else will change. We'll still focus on sharing fun places to go, fun things to do, and more, and we would  still love to hear your views too

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tips for Tuesday - TV Shows: Austin and Ally and Oprah: Where Are They Now?

Me -Today I am recommending Austin and Ally on the Disney Channel. I love Austin and Ally. Every week, I look forward to the new episode hoping that Austin and Ally will get back together. It is a really fun show. All the characters are stupid in their own way. Sometimes, it's just plain stupid. Sometimes, it is funny stupid.  Either way it's fun to watch .

Mom - Today I am recommending Oprah:Where Are They Now? on OWN. If you always want to know whatever happened to this person or that person or the other person, this is the show for you. Even if you are not particularly fond of Oprah and you didn't watch her show that much or at all, you should still recognize most if not all of the people featured on this show. Another nice thing about this show is if you did watch the Oprah Winfrey show and there was a guest that you would like to know what happened to, they encourage you to write in and they might  cover that person  on a future show and maybe even have you do the introduction for that segment.

And that's our view.

Where-To-Go Wednesday will be closed this week. Tune in Thursday for another Talking Topic.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Holiday Movies

Me - Holiday movies, wow! I recently saw one version of A Christmas Carol. I didn't like it. I want to see It's A Wonderful Life. On Friends, Phoebe said it should be called "It's a crappy life.", but that's because she didn't watch the whole movie. I like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I like the first Frosty the Snowman. I don't like the second Frosty the Snowman. It's a totally different snowman. I never saw the A Charlie Brown Christmas. I would like to though, I would also like to see I Want A Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown. I once saw part of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It was just okay. I never saw Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I really want to see both versions of Miracle on 34th Street, but they only seem to have them available to watch for pay and not free this year. I saw The Muppets Christmas Carol when I was little. It scared me then. I liked Elf. It was funny. Over all, I haven't seen a lot of Christmas movies, but I like the ones I have seen.

Mom - When I was a kid, every year we watched holiday movies. I loved Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I also liked The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I liked the musical version of A Christmas Carol. I saw it in the movie theater. We recently saw one of the older versions of the story. My husband had loved it when he was a child. After we watch it, even he didn't know why he loved it so much anymore. I have enjoyed other versions of the story though including Scrooged starring Bill Murray. I never saw It's A Wonderful Life until this year although I have seen numerous incarnations of a similar theme in Christmas episodes of various TV series. I like when a show manages to put a unique spin on this theme like in a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory. One of my favorite holiday movies is Miracle on 34th Street especially the original version with Natalie Wood, but I also like the remake with Mara Wilson. Ever year, it seems like they come out with more and more holiday movies. Most of the ones that I have seen aren't as impressive to me as the older classic holiday movies. I don't really watch much holiday movies that much anymore anyway even the ones I like.

And that's our view. What is your favorite holiday movies?

Tune in tomorrow for Tips for Tuesday.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday Special - Somerset Patriots Kids Club

The Somerset  Patriots of  the Atlantic League, an independent professional baseball league have announced the following:

Kids Club Membership is available for only $15.00

Kids club membership includes: 

  6 games
  merchandise gift package, 
  20% discount in the team store

Games Include:

  Sunday June 22 at 10:00 AM Kids Club Field Day
  Monday July 28 at 5:00 PM Sparkee (the mascot)'s 16th Birthday
  Sunday September 21 at 11:00 AM Kids Club Ice Cream Social
  3 additional games of your choice

For more information or to order:

Call 908-252-0700
or go to Somerset Patriots Kids Club

Friday, December 27, 2013

Funny Friday - Who said that?

Me -

When my brother was little, he always used to say that his brain told him to do things.


When Melia was little if we didn't let her do something she  wanted to do she would say that her favorite doll, Boo wanted to do whatever it  was Melia wanted to do hoping that we would change our minds. Like if we said, it was too late to watch TV, she would say "Boo wants to watch TV." Sometimes, she would just say "Boo." and  when we asked "Boo wants to watch TV?" Melia would nod vigorously.

We welcome you to share your funny stories with us. Tune in tomorrow for a Saturday Special.

Me -

When my sister was younger, she decided that my Dad was allergic to red cars and I was allergic to green cars.

Mom -

Aurella (at age 3) to Mommy: If you're not nice to me, I won't tell you what your allergic to.

Mommy: Is it good to be allergic to something?

Aurella: Yes.

 We welcome you to share your funny stories with us. Tune in Monday for another Talking Topic.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Songs

Me - Holiday songs, wow! I like holiday songs. I like Halloween songs like Purple People Eater, and Ghostbusters, and Monster Mash. I like the Passover song Dayenu. I like Channukah songs like Driedel, Driedel, Dreidel. I also like Christmas songs. There are more of them than any other holiday songs. I like Deck the Halls. I like We Need a Little Christmas. I like Jingle Bells. I like All I Want for Christmas is You. I like Extraordinary Merry Christmas. I like Let It Snow. I like Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I like Christmas Wrapping. I like Do They Know It's Christmas. I like Baby It's Cold Outside. I like Last Christmas. I like O Christmas Tree. I like Your're a Mean One Mr. Grinch. I like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I like Frosty the Snowman. I like other ones that I can't remember right now. The only one I can think of now that I don't like is Blue Christmas.  I love holiday songs!

Mom - Most holidays have a song or two or at least one or two really good/ and or well known songs. New Year's has Auld Lang Syne. Valentines Day has My Funny Valentine and the song Valentine by Jim Brickman which happens to be my wedding song. Easter has Here Comes Peter Cottontail. Passover has Dayenu. Channukah has Driedel, Driedel, Driedel and the Adam Sandler Channukah songs. Christmas has a lot of songs. Some of them I like. I like Winter Wonderland. I like Silver Bells. I like Jingle Bell Rock. I like Feliz Navidad. I like the instrumental version of Sleigh Ride. My grandma was a teacher, and she used to play that ever year with her class. I like The Most Wonderful Time of the Year but more for the Back to School Staples commercial than as Christmas song. I like most of the songs Melia mentioned. Other ones I don't like so much. I don't like Hark the Herald Angels Sing. I don't like The First Noel. I don't like White Christmas. I don't like Silent Night. My grandmother never liked the song Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. I just think the Twelve Days of Christmas is okay although I do go around singing the line "and a Partridge in a pear tree" quite often as my family will tell you. Other songs I am undecided about including  Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa ClausI am sure there are many other Christmas songs too many to remember and too many name. The one thing they all have in common is that by the time New Years rolls around, I am entirely sick of all of them even the ones I like.

And that's our view. What is your favorite holiday song?

Tune in tomorrow for Funny Friday.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Where-To-Go Wednesday - Disney on Ice

What: Disney on Ice

Where: Various Locations

Who: 3 and up

Our view: If your kids are big Disney fans and you can't make it to Disney, Disney on Ice is a nice alternative and a unique way for your children to see their favorite Disney characters live. One nice thing about Disney on Ice Shows is that they travel around so chances are there will be one at some point at at location near you. Another nice thing is that they are always changing. Sometimes they run a particular story like Toy Story on Ice or Monsters, Inc. on Ice, or High School Musical on Ice or whatever. Other times they run a show that is a combination of several shows, such as, Disney on Ice Worlds of Fantasy, Disney on Ice Princess Wishes or Disney on Ice 100 Years of Magic. However, the downside to these combined shows is that if your child doesn't like any of the stories covered, they might get bored during that portion of the show. That is also why we don't recommend children under 3 because children younger than this may not have the attention span to sit through the show. Children older than 8 or 9, may also be bored with the show. Disney on Ice shows, such as, High School Musical on Ice, which appeal to older kids are rare. Another problem with Disney on Ice is that like with all Disney things, they are heavily merchandised and from the moment you walk in until you leave you will bombarded with various toys, souvenir books, etc. for you to buy.  For more information, to find out when the latest Disney on Ice show is coming to a town near you and/or to find out how to order tickets go to disneyonice.com.

And that's our view. Tune in tomorrow for another Talking Topic.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tips for Tuesday - Apps. and Web-Sites: Celebrity Pop and 20/20 Research

Me - Today I am recommending Celebrity Pop. It is a fun game. You try and guess the celebrities based on pictures of them when they were younger. It is a lot of fun to guess who is who and see what celebrities looked like way back before they were famous.

Mom - Today I am recommending 20/20 research. It isn't always easy to qualify for their surveys but when you do they are usually several days long and pay well. Also, they are not one of those surveys where you have to answer a ton of questions before you are finally told that you don't qualify for a survey. Their qualifiers are relatively easy to get through and you are told whether you qualify or not rather quickly. They also don't bombard your inbox with a ton of  e-mails regarding surveys that you ultimately won't qualify for anyway. I would highly recommend 20/20 Research. For more information or to sign up go to https://www.2020panel.com/.

Tune in tomorrow for Where-To-Go Wednesday. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

What We Look Forward to Over Winter Break

Me - What I look forward to over winter break, wow! Over winter break, I look forward to a lot of things. I look forward to sleeping late. I look forward to wearing pajamas all day long. I look forward to not having to go to school. I look forward to spending time with my family. I look forward to spending time with my kittens I look forward to not having schoolwork. I look forward to not having homework. I look forward to not having tests, quizzes and projects. I look forward to watching lots of movies and TV. I look forward to getting presents. I look forward to New Year's Eve. I look forward to staying up until  midnight. I look forward to sleeping by the fire with my family. I love making New Year's videos. I look forward to it being closer to my birthday. I will be able to start my annual birthday countdown then. I can't wait for winter break!

Mom- Over winter break, I look forward to so many things. I look forward to not having to get up in the morning. I look forward to not having to go out in the cold. I look forward to pajama days. I look forward to all four of us cuddled up in the big king-sized bed watching movies. I look forward to getting caught up on my e-mail. Well that, will never happen, but it is a nice thought. I look forward to getting my house organized and straightened up. Well, I don't actually look forward to that. It is is just something I need to do. I look forward to  renewing our family tradition of going to the movies either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We used to go to the movies on Christmas Day when I was a kid. Now, my parents spend Christmas in Atlantic City. My husband and I and our girls either spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day by ourselves or we  spend one of them with our best friends. This is not really as sad as it sounds because we don't actually celebrate Christmas. When my husband and I were first together we used to spend Christmas Eve at the movies with our best friends. Since our girls were born, we haven't really kept up the tradition, however. I l also look forward to taking New Year's videos of our girls. That is another family tradition I will be glad to get back to. Last year, we had unexpected guests for New Year's so we didn't take our usual videos. We intended to do it some time after New Year's but somehow never got to it.  I am sure that I will not get to everything I want to do over break this year either, but at least I  will get to some of it.

And that's our view. What are you looking forward to?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday Special- Coming soon - Bronx Bombers

Bronx Bombers
A New American Play
Circle in the Square Theater
New York, New York

Previews starting January 10.

If you are a theater fan, if you are a sports fan, or if you are a New York Yankees  you won't to miss the new play Bronx Bombers. The show features actors appearing as famous Yankee players  and managers including: 
Babe Ruth
 Lou Gehrig
Derek Jeter
Reggie Jackson
Elston Howard
Mickey Mantle
Billy  Martin
Yogi Berra

MVP Experiences available including:

Preshow autograph signings
Exclusive Talkbacks with Yankee players and historians

For more information go to bronxbombersplay.combroadway.com,  or yankees.com.

We will also be featuring more about Bronx Bombers as well as a review in future posts.

Tune in Monday for another Talking Topic. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Funny Friday - When I Grow Up

Me -

When I was little I said I wanted to be a turtle when I grew up.

Mom -

When Aurella was in pre-k and they asked all the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, Aurella said "Dora."

We welcome you to share your funny stories with us. Tune in tomorrow for a Saturday Special.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Laurie Berkner Concert

Me - Laurie Berkner concert, okay. When I was little, I loved Laurie Berkner. The whole reason I got into her was because my Mom and Dad were sick of listening to Barney over and over again. I loved watching Noggin, and they played some Laurie Berkner songs between shows. We liked her songs so my Mom convinced me to get a Laurie Berkner CD. So I did, and we all loved it.  I went to three Laurie Berkner concerts when I was little. Although by now even my little sister is getting too old for Laurie Berkner, we went to one more concert for old time's sake. I like the way Laurie Berkner talks to the audience and makes each person think she is talking to him or her. Her songs are  fun. I like that at her concert she plays a good mix of her old popular songs and new songs. Her music is fun. It keeps kids very entertained. At this concert, we got to meet Laurie at a meet and greet. She was nice, but I felt kind of strange because I felt too old to be at the concert. I felt like all the little kids were staring at me wondering what I was doing there. I did have fun at the concert even though I felt out of place. Nobody can go to a Laurie Berkner concert and not have any fun. When I grow up and have kids of my own, I can't wait to share her music with my kids.

Mom - This past weekend was a little bittersweet for me. We went to our fourth and last Laurie Berkner concert. My kids are actually too old for Laurie already, but we had the opportunity to meet her at the concert and we wanted to go and tell her how much we loved her and enjoyed her music over the years. The concert did not disappoint. We all managed to enjoy ourselves despite my daughters' feelings that they are too old for Laurie Berkner. My daughters also really enjoyed the reactions of all the little kids around them to Laurie's music in the way that I enjoyed their reactions to her music when they were younger. The band plays a nice mix of music from the old albums and music from the new albums as well as standard children's songs and original songs. As a result, we were familiar with most of the music. In addition to favorite songs that they play at all their concerts, the other songs vary but unlike most groups who often concentrate on playing only the hits and music from their current album, the Laurie Berkner band might play any song from any of their albums at any time. That is one thing I always liked about them. After the concert, we had the opportunity to meet Laurie, speak with her, get autographs and have our picture taken with her. My girls especially Melia felt funny about it. However, I am happy we had the opportunity to meet her and tell her how much we loved her music over the years. She was a lovely gracious person too, and I am really glad I had the opportunity to meet her and speak to her. In the end, I think my girls were glad to have had the opportunity to meet her as well. Now, I feel a little sad not only because I actually enjoyed going to Laurie Berkner's concerts and listening to her music with my children over the years, but because it is just another sign that my children are getting older. While I always love my children and  try to appreciate them at every age, sometimes I really miss when they were little.

And that's our view. Who is your favorite children's singer now or when you were a kid?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Where-To-Go -Wednesday -Laurie Berkner Concert

What: Laurie Berkner Concert

Where: Various Locations

Who:  Birth to about age 6

Our view: If you want to go to a concert that your young children will enjoy but that isn't annoying for parents either, go see the Laurie Berkner band. Of course, it can be loud at times after all, it is a room full of little kids and it is a concert. However, it is still a lot of fun. Also, the nice thing is that the loudness generally comes from the band and the singing of the band members as well as the audience singing along. You don't find a lot of screaming, crying children at Laurie Berkner concerts. They are usually too enthralled to be bored or unhappy. The songs are a good mix of standard children's songs and the band's original music.  The band makes all of the songs equally fun with hand movements and props and talking to the audience among other things.  Laurie really has a way of making each child think she is talking directly to him or her.  To make memories that you will cherish,  even long after your kids might not remember or admit to, go to a Laurie Berkner concert.

And that's our view. For more, information and/or to find out when the band is playing near you go to laurieberkner.com. For even more about Laurie Berkner concerts see tomorrow's Talking Topics post.

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets to a Laurie Berkner concert. The opinions expressed here are our own based on our experiences at this Laurie Berkner concert as well as previous Laurie Berkner concerts we have been to in the past.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tips for Tuesday - Movies: The Absent Minded Professor and About Time

Me - Today I am recommending The Absent Minded Professor, the original black and white version starring Fred MacMurray not the remake Flubber starring Robin Willliams. It was a good movie. It was funny. It is about a professor who invents Flubber. Flubber is a substance which makes things fly. The characters and situations are all really funny. I laughed through the whole movie. If you have never seen it and you like a funny movie, I would definitely recommend it.

Mom - Today I am recommending About Time. Even though, there have been plenty of movies about time travel this one puts a new spin on the genre. Even though this is Rachel McAdams' third movie about time travel, it is not quite like either of her other ones. About Time is about Tim who discovers he has the ability to go back in time and Mary the love of his life who he  meets not once, not twice, but three times.  It a good well acted story.  I also like that it not entirely predictable. If you are looking for a sweet love story, I would recommend this one.

And that's our view. Tune in tomorrow for Where-To-Go Wednesday.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Decorations

Me -Holiday, decorations, wow! My family never decorates for any holidays. Some people decorate like crazy. They decorate for Halloween and other holidays and even Thanksgiving and especially for Christmas. We put up a menorah for Chanukah but we don't decorate for any other holidays the rest of the year. I don't really care. I never really thought about it that much because we just have never done it. I don't mind other people's decorations as long they are not loud. Once we had neighbors who had Christmas decorations that played music. It was so loud you could hear it from inside our house. Luckily, they only lived near us for one Christmas season. Anyway, other than their loud Christmas decorations they were nice. I like to look at houses decorated for the holidays. I don't like it when they are decorated too much. If there are lots and lots and lots of lights sometimes it hurts my eyes. My favorite holiday decorations are the light up reindeer. They are pretty. My next door neighbors had light up reindeer that moved. Over all, I like holiday decorations.

Mom - We are not really big on decorating for the holidays. I do enjoy looking at other people's decorations, however. At least for the most part I do. Some people just go way overboard. Some people not only decorate for holidays like Christmas, Halloween and Valetine's Day, they even decorate for things that aren't even holidays at all like the Superbowl or even just a regular football game. Also, some people just don't totally over do the decorations. I don't like it when people's decorations could light up the whole neighborhood. I also don't like it when people's lawns are completely filled up with those  blow up decorations. In general, I like those type of decorations. Some of them are really cute. However, when people have a lawn full of them it doesn't look cute. It just looks like a big mess. I also don't like those blow up decorations that are deflated during the day and look like just a bunch of trash on somebody's lawn. I also don't like noisy decorations. I especially don't like noisy decorations that I can hear loudly in my house until 11:00 at night or 12:00 in the morning every day from Thanksgiving through New Year's. In general,  I don't mind holiday decorations and they can really brighten up a neighborhood (no pun intended), but with decorations like with most things, I think moderation is best.

And that's our view. How much do you decorate for the holidays?

Tune in tomorrow for Tips for Tuesday.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Funny Friday - That's My Age

Me -

When we are at the beach once, Melia wanted to know why she didn't have a beach bracelet.

"You're free." I said.

"No, I'm not." she replied, "I'm 4 1/2."

Mom -

Mommy: My birthday is next.

Melia: And you're going to be 2.

Mommy: No I'm not.

Melia: Oh, yeah. I'm 2.

We welcome you to share funny your funny stories. Tune in Monday for another Talking Topic.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Amazon vs. E-Bay

Me - Amazon vs. E-Bay, wow! I love Amazon and E-Bay! They are some of the best inventions ever.  I love Amazon they have almost everything and it's usually new. On E-bay almost everything is used but sometimes the prices are cheaper. Both have lots and lots of items and they are both useful and fun. They have toys for me and my sister, tools for my Dad, and CDs for my Mom. I use them both a lot. Often as soon as I hear of something I want,  I look it up on Amazon and E-bay to find out how much it  would cost me to buy. On Amazon, you can get items that are very rare, but on e-bay you can too. My Mom has Amazon Prime so when I order things, they come in two days. When I order things from E-bay, it usually takes several weeks. In some ways, they are total opposites, in other ways they are a lot a like.

Mom - I love Amazon and E-bay! Between them you can find just about everything you could possibly want, and you can pay for it all with virtual money. On Amazon, you can pay with Amazon gift codes which you can earn for doing surveys and things. On Paypal, you can pay with money in your Paypal account which you can earn by doing things or selling things on the web. I like that on Amazon the price is whatever the price is. I like that on E-bay prices are flexible because you can bid on items and so you may be able to get something for a lot cheaper than you would otherwise. I like that on Amazon, you just buy what you want and it is yours. I don't like having to win something on E-bay because the more popular or rare it is the more likely that someone else will come in at the last minute and outbid you. Amazon has excellent customer service. They respond quickly to problems, and I have never had a problem with them that has not be resolved satisfactorily. E-bay has good customer service. It takes a little longer to get a problem resolved because first you have to file a grievance, but I have never had a problem with them either that wasn't satisfactorily resolved. Both Amazon and E-bay make my life so much more fun. I could spend hours just looking things up on them both. Both Amazon and E-bay make my life easier when I need to get something especially if it is something older or something rare. However, the one thing that would make my life even easier is if Amazon started accepting Paypal and/or E-bay started accepting Amazon codes. I know this will never happen because they are in competition. Too bad.

And that's our view. Do you prefer Amazon or E-bay?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Where-To-Go Wednesday - Holiday Window Display Viewing

What: Holiday Window Viewing

Where: Various Locations

Who: All ages

Our view: If you live near or are visiting a big city for the holidays a fun thing to do is go and see the elaborate holiday window displays. One of the best places to do that is New York City. Holiday windows in New York are usually well worth seeing. They go well beyond your average lights, tinsel and trees. Each store's windows are decorated around a particular theme which varies from year to year and store to store, and they may even include such things as music, Disney like animatronic figures and other things. This year stores with windows worth viewing include the following:

Bloomingdales  located at 1000 Third Avenue featuring holiday shopping around the globe.

Henri Bendel  located at 712 Fifth Avenue featuring work of the great illustrator, Al Hirschfeld.

Lord & Taylor  located at 424 Fifth Avenue featuring vintage New York City holiday scenes

Barney's New York  located at 660 Madison Avenue featuring 3-D mapping,light projections, and performers from the Upright Citizens Brigade/

Macy's located at 151 W. 34th Street featuring the magic of dreams through the eyes of a young boy

Saks Fifth Avenue  located at 611 Fifth Avenue featuring the Saks Fifth Avenue yeti

Bergdorf Goodman located at 754 Fifth Avenue featuring various holidays depicted in frozen dioramas of ice and snow.

Holiday displays run through early January. For more information about any of the specific displays  call the specific store and/or visit their web-site. Remember that the lines to view the displays can be quite long and slow moving so you may not want to take very young children or children who are easily bored.

And that's our view. Tune in tomorrow for another Talking Topic.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tips for Tuesday - Books: Silver Linings Playbook and Castaways

Me - Today I am recommending Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. This is one of my favorite books. It was so good. I read it in two days. It was really very different from the movie but they were both good. The book (and the movie) is about a guy who gets out of a mental institution and wants to be reunited with his ex-wife who has a restraining order against him. When his best friend's sister-in-law comes into his life, he finds things going a lot different than he planned. I would definitely recommend reading this book.

Mom - Today I am recommending Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand. Castaways is a book about a group of four couples who are best friends. It is about the many different ways all the others are affected when one couple Greg and Tess McAvoy die in a boating accident. There is Andrea, the older cousin, who was sort of like a mother to Tess and her husband the chief of police whose job it is to hold everyone together. There is fun loving Delia and her steady husband Jeffrey. There is drugged up Phoebe and her calm and cool husband Addison.  It is about the way these people come together and the ways they grow apart. It is about the ways they grow and the ways they change as a result of what happens to their friends.  Even though all of the characters can be annoying a times, they all have redeeming factors that makes them ultimately likeable. All in all, I would definitely recommend this book.

And that's our view.  Tune in tomorrow for Where-To-Go Wednesday.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Sound of Music Live

Me - The Sound of Music Live, wow! Carrie Underwood is a terrible actress. She sings good though, and she is pretty. The captain was really good. I liked all of the children except Brigitta. Gretyl was adorable. She was not as cute as Gretyl in the movie, however. The rest of the people in the cast were fine. Audra McDonald was really good. Compared to Audra McDonald, Carrie Underwood is like a little squeaky mouse to Audra's lion. All of the acting in the show was good except for Carrie. Liesel reminded me of the daughter in the TV show, Mom. I missed Charmian Carr's bright blue eyes from the movie. For me that is a big part of Liesel. The singing was all good. Mostly, I didn't like the set. I didn't like the hill they climbed up at the end. It didn't look enough like a really hill. It wasn't high enough, and it didn't look enough like the one in the movie. I didn't like the house because it wasn't spacy enough. Also, there were too many staircases and too many doors. Also, I didn't like that the party scene took place outside.  I didn't like that they hid in the garden of the abbey near the end of the show and you could see the inside of the abbey from where they were hiding. I liked the lines and the placement of the songs better in the movie too. I also like the kids and Maria better in the movie. The costumes overall were okay. I did like that the drapes that the childen's outfits were made out of were much prettier in this version than in the movie. The whole thing wasn't bad, and I enjoyed it, but overall, I liked the movie much better.

Mom - I have always loved The Sound of Music. It was the first movie I saw and my favorite ever since. I couldn't wait to see the new TV version. Over all, it mostly lived up to my expectations. The acting was good. The singing was wonderful. I was very disappointed in Carrie Underwood though. She is beautiful and so is her singing, but she is no actress. I am not one of those hate tweeters.  I reserved judgment until I actually saw the show, but have to say that that I agree with the real Von Trapp family in their feeling that the part certainly could have been cast better. I mean Carrie Underwood is not the worst actress in the world. I have seen many that are worse. However, she does not have much range. Her emotions go from A to B instead of from A to Z. In a cast of mostly Broadway veterans, Carrie's lack of acting talent really stood out even more. Other than that I enjoyed this version of the The Sound of Music. Stephen Moyer as the Captain may not have been as formidable as Christopher Plummer in the movie, but he was very good in the part. He made the character a bit more likeable right from the start than I ever remember him being before. From my understanding from having read the autobiography of the Von Trapp family's real oldest daughter, I think they would have liked that better than the way their father was portrayed in the movie. The children were cute and sang well and for the most part acted well. I kind of liked Angela Cartwright in the movie a little better as Brigitta though. She seemed a little more knowing and a little less bratty than the young actress who played the part here. The other main actors were good. Christian Borle seemed a little more aloof and less of  a comic relief character than Max in the movie. Laura Benanti seemed a less evil  slightly more likeable countess. Although, she had and Max had two songs here unlike in the movie overall, I did not think her character was developed as well. She didn't leave because the Captain was in love with Maria. She left more of because of a political disagreement. Dramatically, it works better the other way as in the movie. Audra McDonald as the countess was wonderful as always. There is a reason she has won 5 Tony Awards. She made me really care about a song (Climb Every Mountain) and character that I had never really thought about much before. Everything that comes out of her mouth sounds beautiful whether she is singing or just talking. Her scenes with Carrie Underwood made Carrie's lack of talent stand out even more.The sets were well done. The costumes were good. I did not like that for the most part they stuck to the original version of the show because I feel like the placement of the songs and certain things was better in the movie then in that version. A revivial of the show that I saw on Broadway about 15 years ago or so stuck to the revised version of the movie, and I enjoyed that. Ironically, Laura Benanti who played the Baroness here played Maria in that version when I saw it. However, when I have seen the show in community theater once or twice they always stuck to the original stage version as well. Anyway, over all I enjoyed this verison, but it could never even come close to replacing my love for the movie. For me, if they now start to have more live theater on television as a result of this venture having been a success that will be the best thing to come out of this experience, and I will be happy and grateful for it.

And that's our view. Would you like to more televised theater? Why or why not?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday Special - genZ


GenZ Read Together (www.genZreadtogether.com) emails wonderful real-life stories and activities each day to parents’ smartphones, tablets or computers. Whether it's at breakfast, bus stop, or bedtime -- GenZ makes it convenient to read about amazing people, places and things.  
Created by educators and award-winning children's writers, stories are written at two levels, for children in grades K-2 and 3-5.  Titles include:
The Atocha (world's greatest treasure hunter), Captain Sully Saves the Day, The Chilean Miners' Rescue, Wilt Scores 100 Points!, Owen and Mzee - an Unusual Friendship, The Invention of Velcro, and hundreds more!
Our readers receive a FREE Trial Subscription (no cc required) to GenZ Read Together!  CLICK HERE and Use Promo Code: A191

Friday, December 6, 2013

Funny Fridays - Party Time

Me -

My cat, Callie, was sitting on my parents bed, and I said to her, "Come on Callie, party in my room!", and she immediately jumped off the bed and ran into my room.

Mom -

One night when Aurella was supposed to be sleeping she came into our room and said to my husband and I  "You invited me to the party so I came."

We welcome you to share your funny stories with us.  Tune in Monday for another Talking Topic.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Liberty Science Center

Me - The Liberty Science Center, wow! The Liberty Science Center was really fun! They had lots of interactive exhibits. They had fun games. They had videos to watch. Even though you were actually learning things, you actually had fun. Me and my sister go to do an experiment together. It was about the Hudson River estuary. We learned about the difference between saltwater and freshwater. It was fun. Now, I am inspired to do more experiments at home. There was a place where you could stand on a picture of a footprint, and it would tell you how tall you were. There was a place where you could time how long you could hang from a bar. I was able to hang for 24 seconds. There was a place where you could make a giant bubble. There was a place you could make a giant graffiti picture.You could even e-mail to yourself or anybody else. I learned to speak Chinese and made a video except we couldn't find it to watch it. I already forgot what I learned anyway. I also made a Spanish video but I didn't really talk Spanish in it. I just said "I love cupcakes." I learn enough Spanish in school. There were living  animals too. There were some really giant fish. There were these cute little animals that looked like chinchillas. There were this strange creepy alligator turtle. There were lots of frogs. There were some cute monkeys. I decided to name one Chuck. He was cute. I wish I could have take him with me. I asked my Dad if I could get one. He wouldn't let me. They had an exhibit that was like a football training camp. You had to jump over hurdles, jump as high as you could, jump as far as you could, throw a football and kick a football. It was fun even though I don't like football. They also had a Bob the Builder room for little kids. Everything about the Liberty Science Center was fun except the Bob the Builder room and one doctor exhibit that didn't work at all. I definitely would go there again.

Mom - The Liberty Science Center is a really fun place. It is not just for scientists and/or  people interested in science. Nobody in our family ever really liked science all that much, and we all had a great time at the museum . We got to learn a little Chinese. We got to learn some sign language. We got to learn about all the germs lurking in our kitchen. We got to create a graffiti picture and e-mail it to ourselves. We got to make a giant bubble. We got to see cute Tamarin monkeys, a scary Tarantula, and even an odd half alligator half turtle among other creatures.  We got to control a giant Rubik's cube by computer. My girls got to see how far they could jump and how high they could jump. They went through a pitch black maze using only their sense of touch. They climbed a rock wall. They practiced on a simulator used by surgeons-in-training. They even got to do an experiment regarding the Hudson estuary where they learned about the differences between freshwater, saltwater and brackish water. These were just a few of the highlights of our visit. There was so much more that we got to do and see at the Center as well.We had so much fun there that three plus hours there went by in no time at all. I'm sorry it took us so many years of talking about visiting to finally get there. I hope it doesn't take us as long before we have a chance to go back.

And that's our view. Tune in tomorrow for Funny Friday.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Where-To-Go Wednesday - Liberty Science Center

What: The Liberty Science Center

Where:222 Jersey City Blvd.
           Jersey City, NJ

Who: All ages

Our view: The Liberty Science Center is a place that makes learning so fun kids won't even realize that they they are learning. Four floors and twelve galleries of hundreds of mostly hands on exhibits provides something to interest just about everyone.The Touch Tunnel, a pitch black maze; a da Vinci surgical robot surgery exhibit and a giant Rubik's cube are just some of the highlights. There are live animals. There  are IMAX and RealD 3D movies which include fiction features, such as, The Polar Express and non-fiction, such as, Great White Shark. Some exhibits are permanent; others are only available for a limited time. Small children will love the  Bob the Builder Project Build It exhibit running now through April 2014. Here they can pretend to drive one of Bob's vehicles or build a machine shelter among other things. Sports fans will love the current exhibit simulating an NFL training camp  which runs through March 2014. There is almost too much to see and do at the Liberty Science Center. There is so much to see and do it can be a bit overwhelming at times. It is also hard to keep track of it all and remember what you've seen and done as you go along. Tickets are available at different prices for adults 13 and over, kids 2-12, and for seniors. Prices also vary depending on whether you want general admission tickets, general admission tickets plus tickets to one movie, general admission tickets plus tickets to two movies, or just movie tickets. There is also occasional special programming available at varying prices. For more information, to buy tickets on-line or to find out what exhibits are currently available go to http://lsc.org/.

And that's our view . For more about The Liberty Science Center see tomorrow's Talking Topic post.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tips for Tuesday - Apps and Web-Sites: Candy Crush and Daily Break

Me - Today I am recommending Candy Crush. It is a fun game. It is like Bejeweled. You have to switch the candy around to make three in a row or more. If you get five in a row, you get a donut. It is fun for all ages even my grandfather plays it.

Mom - Today I am recommending  Daily Break where you take challenges. Challenges are trivia and games about fashion, music, sports and stuff. By doing challenges you can earn prizes such as Amazon gift cards or other things.Sometimes, challenge winners are chosen randomly and sometimes, they are chosen based on top scores or by a vote. You can also earn coins which can be traded in to enter sweepstakes. You also get daily spins where you can earn more coins. You can also earn runner-up prizes by sharing. You won't necessarily win a lot with Daily Break but it is a fun site. To learn more or sign up go to dailybreak.com.

And that's our view. Tune in tomorrow for Where-To-Go Wednesday.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Kinds of Movies We Like

Me - Movie genres, wow! I don't like horror movies. I don't like action movies. I don't like adventure movies. I like comedies. I like chick flicks. I like romance movies. I sometimes like dramas, and I sometimes like documentaries it depends what they are about. I don't like science fiction. I don't like war movies. I don't like westerns. I like musicals. I like mysteries but not criminal mysteries. I like some animated movies and I don't like some. I don't like foreign films because I don't like subtitles. I don't like silent movies because they are boring. Over all, I don't have a favorite kind of movie.

Mom - I don't like horror movies. I like some science fiction but not all. I like movies like ET and the Harry Potter movies, but I don't like movies about futuristic worlds and stuff like that. I am also not into all those vampire movies. I like comedies but not stupid comedies. My favorite kind of  comedies are romantic comedies. I like dramas even dramas that are sad. I don't like dramas that don't make any sense, but those usually fall under the science fiction category anyway. I like documentaries depending on the topic. I like animated movies if they are well made like Pixar or Disney type animated movies and if they are not really stupid. I like foreign films depending on the topic because who wants to sit there and read subtitles if the movies is not any good anyway. I sometimes like action movies and sometimes don't but they are not my favorite. The same with adventure movies. In general, I don't like war movies or westerns, but there have been a few that I have liked. I don't like war movies that are just about killing, I only like ones that have some deeper meaning than that. I love love love musicals! They are my favorite kind of movie. This does not mean I have loved every musical ever made. There have been some really bad ones. Then, again there have been some really great ones too. I guess you can pretty much say that about every genre of movie though.

And that's our view. What is your favorite kind of movie?

Tune in tomorrow for Tips for Tuesday.