5 Dollars

My life as an at-home momma of 3 amazing kids...it's kind of like shoveling snow in a blizzard.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

JK Rowling web chat transcript

This link will take you to the transcript of a web chat hosted by JK Rowling on Bloomsbury's official website. BEWARE OF SPOILERS.....she answered several questions about Deathly Hallows! Interesting reading. It's fun to see Jo able to speak out and answer all the questions now!

And by the way.....Happy birthday JKR & Harry Potter!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Aquafina = tap water

No wonder I always thought Aquafina tasted nasty. It's really tap water. Honest - click here to read more.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

JKR post-release interviews

DO NOT read these links if you haven't finished the book.

Today Show interviews with JKR - warning SPOILERS!

She covers a lot of stuff that she cut out of the Epilogue.

And this one -http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19935372/
Tells which character that she was going to kill off got the reprieve.

She says she will probably be publishing a "Potter Encyclopedia" after taking a break for a while.

Hilarious song about Deathly Hallows

No spoilers in the song itself (it's about anticipating the book release) but don't read the comments below the video if you haven't finished the book yet.

Accio Deathly Hallows

SYTYCD Weds 7/25

The top 10! The format changed a bit tonight. Everyone got mixed up into new partnerships.

And the new idea of all of them doing the same solo was interesting. From the standpoint of someone trying to critique it, I would have prefered to see those all back to back. But I understand that breaking them up between the couples dances makes better TV. I think having them all do the same solo may help the audience members better understand some of the notes the judges give them because of the comparisons that become possible when we see the same piece of work on different bodies.

Lauren & Pasha - Hip Hop
For once I liked the lighting! The effect with the gobos at the top of the number was very nice. I loved the way it started with the "spider-like" pose. I felt that it was fun, energetic and well syncronized. These two look like a pretty good pairing.

Sabra & Kam - Contemporary
Sabra is just so beautiful! I really think she'll make it to the finale. The lift was beautiful. The roll through into the pose at the end was amazing. I thought it all flowed rather nicely. I did feel that Kam was perhaps holding back a bit? His extension just wasn't there.

Lacey & Danny - Samba
I wasn't sure I would like this pairing at first but they were HOT!!!!! It really looked like Danny was having fun for once. Lacey's footwork was amazing. I thought it was very polished and well performed. Dimitri did a really nice job with the choreography.

Jaimie & Dominic - Viennese Waltz
That was a waltz? Seriously, the choreographer really did these two a HUGE disservice. In no way did that resemble a Viennese Waltz to me. They tried to impose a Latin style on top of a dance that these two aren't used to dancing to begin with. If the style had been "Broadway" then I might have bought it. (After all, they were dancing to Man of La Mancha.) But ugh! Jaimie's use of her skirt was very nice. The lifts were pretty good. Dominic was trying to do some acting and MAN was it BAD. All that mugging and making faces?!

Sara & Neil - Disco
How fun! It was a full out performance. His flip was absolutely amazing, both the elevation and the control he had in his landing were impressive. The low camera angle that the flip was shot from was also a nice choice. The dip with her sassy little hip action was great. And remember, Sara is a B-girl. She handled those high heels like she's been dancing in them all along!

The solos -

Dominic had good energy and was really committed to the piece. His emotion was very powerful and engaging. There was something that was not quite there with his body tension. The emotional connection to the piece made up for the lack of technique for me though.

Lauren really seemed to move well with the music. Her extension on the leap was also very nice. I didn't get the emotional connection with her as well as some of the other dancers.

Nigel finally mentioned those shoulders of Neil's that creep up to his ears all the time! His leaps were amazing though! If only he could achieve the same kind of flow that Danny has when he dances.

Sabra was so passionate. The moment Wade gave them where the music stopped and they had to scream was a huge test of who was really connected to the piece. She dove in head first with complete abandon and absolutely connected best of everyone with that moment. She found that raw, primal emotion inside of her. I think one reason I enjoy watching her so much is that her extension is probably the most amazing of all the girls. That leap was just beautiful. She absolutely eats up the stage as she moves. She was my favorite of all the solos.

I liked the little punch that Kam added in and his reaction to it afterwards. Not much else to say about him though. I don't expect him to make it to the final four.

Lacey did a pretty good job with it but I felt she wasn't really emotionally connected to what she was doing. She didn't have the depth of Sabra and Sara.

Danny gave the piece a much smoother flow than the others. I felt he got off rhythm just a little bit towards the middle, but he recovered it. And of course his elevation in the leap was probably the best of all the dancers. That boy can SOAR! Of the boys, he made the best use of the space, really covering the stage well. But once again I think he was emotionally hollow. His scream was so fake, something that seemed imposed on him instead of something that came from deep inside of him. I still want to see Mia get her hands on this boy and break down his emotional core.

Sara had a wonderful emotional connection to the piece.

Pasha did OK with it, but not fabulous. I didn't feel the emotional connection with him. I didn't particuarly care for how Jaimie danced it.

I'm predicting Jaimie and either Dominic or Pasha will be the ones who go home tonight.

9/11 rescue dog dies of cancer

Jake, a 12 year old black Labrador rescue dog who searched among the smoking debris of 9/11 and the flooded rubble after Hurricane Katrina, has died of cancer. He was put to sleep Wednesday after a last stroll through the fields and a dip in the creek near his home in Oakley, Utah. Jake and his owner, Mary Flood, worked together as members of Utah Task Force 1, a federal search-and-rescue team.

RIP Jake - and thank you so much for your service to mankind!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Only 200 of an expected 620 students show for 1st day of school

Indianapolis Star article on school attendance.

Marshall Middle School has gone to a year round schedule and added an extra 25 days of teaching time in an attempt to improve test scores, which have been below federal standards. Monday was to be the first day of school for these students. Only about 200 of an expected 620 Marshall students showed up on Monday, with attendance jumping to 275 students on Tuesday.


What do you think of this article? I'm totally shocked that parents could actually claim they don't know when their child was due to start school? How can you be so uninvolved in your child's life to not know or care?

Parental involvement is VERY MUCH key to helping children succeed in school. What more can schools and PTA's be doing to improve parental involvement in the school systems?

Many of these parents are working two or three jobs and are still worried about putting food on the table or a roof over their heads, so somehow homework and reading books kind of gets lost. That's unfortunate, because they are just contributing to the cycle and dooming their kids to the same minimum wage, dead-end life. What can be done to convey the importance of a good education and good attendance to parents who either don't have time to be involved or just plain don't care? The teachers can't teach the kids if they are sitting at home on the couch in front of the TV instead of seated at a desk in the classroom. And if the parents don't show that they value education, the kids aren't going to care.

Maybe this is where the community comes in to help support the family? Neighborhood study groups with a parent who *IS* able to be at home? Grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. acting in proxy for the parents? After school tutoring opportunities? (Maybe high school honor society kids could earn community service time by tutoring MS and grade school kids?) Employers allowing paid time off for a parent/teacher conference twice a year?

Any other thoughts out there on this subject?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Book in hand!

Keithen and I went to one of the midnight release parties for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on Friday night. I dressed as Bellatrix and of course he was Harry. We got our book and were on our way to the car by 12:15. I wish I had thought to get a picture of him holding the book before we left the store. He read the chapter titles by the light of his glow stick on the way home. He was exhausted and went right to bed. I stayed up for a while and read the first couple of chapters. I'm about half-way through it right now, hoping to finish it before he goes to school tomorrow so he can read it on the bus.

(Some of the pix have a bit of a weird cloud because we didn't realize the lens was dirty.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Room of Requirement is now open!

JKR has once again opened the Room of Requirement on her webpage. Click on the eraser on her desktop then click on the door handle.

Within hours you will know what happens to Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest in their final adventure. All the secrets I have been carrying around for so long will be yours, too, and those who guessed correctly will be vindicated, and those who guessed wrongly will not, I hope, be too disappointed! As for me, I feel a heady mixture of excitement, nerves and relief. 'Deathly Hallows' remains my favourite of the series, even after several re-reads; I cannot wait to share it with the readers who have stuck with me through six previous books.

SYTYCD Results 7/19

I was surprised that Danny and Anya wound up in the bottom three last night. I thought their foxtrot was the best number Wednesday night. Not at all surprised about Hok and Jamie and Lauren and Neil being in the bottom three.

Yesterday I said I was hoping for Anya to go home, but expected it to be Lauren and Neil who were sent packing. I thought the judges would want to keep Hok for the tour, even though I don't think he has it to win the whole competition. I ended up in agreement with the judges last night when they chose to cut Anya and Hok. Lauren and Neil blew my socks off with their solos.....totally reminded me why they were there. While Hok can move like he's made of rubber, he simply doesn't have the versitility to make it to the final four and Anya doesn't have the strong solo skills needed to win it all. While I'm sad to see them go, I think it was the right choice.

So.....new partners next week! I'm realling hoping to see Neil and Sabra together.

Thank You JKR!

JK Rowling said this about including deaths in the final book, "I think children are very scared of this stuff even if they haven’t experienced it, and I think the way to meet that is head-on. I absolutely believe, as a writer and as a parent, that the solution is not to pretend things don’t happen but to examine them in a loving, safe way."

How very relevent for our family right now as my oldest, our big HP fan, is struggling terribly with the possibility that his favorite Grandparent may not be with us much longer.



Thursday, July 19, 2007

First day of school

Yes. You read that right. Today was the first day of school. Remember, we go year round. It was a very rainy morning so our traditional first day pictures in front of the house didn't go so well. (Note the one of everyone hiding in the back of my van while waiting for the bus!)
I spent my morning at Kaylee's school helping to get everyone to the right classrooms and helping her old Kindergarten teacher organize supplies. Tomorrow I'll help the Kindergarten students get to the right class as it'll be their first time off the bus. Then on Monday I'm helping Kaylee's teacher with some copying before Back to School night.
They both seem to like their new teachers so far. I think that Keithen's homework load is going to be really tough in third grade. He is excited that they get to use Palm Pilots this year though.


New post on JKR's website

From JK Rowling's website:

July 18th
We are almost there! as launch night looms, let's all, please, ignore the misinformation popping up on the web and in the press on the plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'd like to ask everyone who calls themselves a Potter fan to help preserve the secrecy of the plot for all those who are looking forward to readiing the book at the same time on publication day. In a very short time you will know EVERYTHING!


SYTYCD Weds 7/19

Sabra & Dominic - Jive
They were high energy for sure! He really has always been a very dependable partner, which is amazing since he's not used to dancing with a partner! The floor sweep wasn't quite there, but over all it was pretty good. Loved her dress.

Jamie & Hok - Broadway
Jamie's extension and energy were wonderful to watch. Her movement was very fluid. I didn't quite get that Hok's character was supposed to be an old man from the performance. He seemed more childish to me instead. Honestly, I place at least some of the fault for that on the choreography though. I don't know that the movement leant itself to the character he was asked to portray. I expect they will be in the bottom three this week.

Sara and Pasha - Jazz
The use of the suspenders was very clever. The retro clothes were a bit scarey though! There was some nice, stylized movement here and the piece seemed to have a strong pulse to it. There lines were nice. I liked the section where they were walking but kind-of leaning over backwards at the same time. Very fun to watch.

Lauren and Neil - Contemporary with Mia
I really had mixed feelings about this piece. I've gone back and watched it again to try to figure out how I feel about it and I'm still not sure. I know I hated the costumes. I found the colors of those gloves disturbing and distracting.....the green was a bit too "medical" to me and the yellow ones looked like they should be doing dishes or scrubbing toilets or something. And I *hate* anytime I can't see faces.....so the goggles bothered me a lot. When I can't see faces or eyes, I feel distanced from the piece. I think it creates a wall between the performer and the audience. It seemed very dehumanizing to me. The syncronization was pretty well done when it came to little things like the hand tics, but I felt there were some much larger movements that were not well-matched. I loved the part where he flipped her over him from behind. I have a feeling that they will end up in the bottom three this week.....mostly due to the choreography that was thrown at them. (I hate to say that because Mia is usually my favorite choreographer!)

Anya and Danny - foxtrot
YES! YES! YES! FINALLY I felt like Danny was more connected and grounded. (And I thought he had to pull Mia for it to happen. Big KUDOS to choreographer Jean-Marc Genereux. I don't know what he told the boy, but it CLICKED!) Wade was RIGHT ON when he talked about dancing from the outside in vs from the inside out. THAT is what we needed to hear about Danny. It was like Wade was channeling my thoughts. Danny was much more natural and accessble this week. The dip behind him was lovely. As always, his extension in the leaps is astounding. It was like watching an old classic movie.....very "Fred and Ginger" and totally classy!

Lacey & Kameron - Hip Hop
What was up with the costumes? I didn't understand why she was in a cheerleader outfit but had a necktie on too? Lacey was very sexy. There was something about this routine that just didn't "click" for me. They weren't as polished as usual. And what the heck with Lacey sitting down to watch him dance? Kam, honey, if you get a solo you've got to work it more than that! This was the first time I didn't really care for their number. Sad to say that they will most likely be in the bottom three.

I would like to see Anya go home before the top 10, but I think she's actually safe after last night. My guess is that Lauren and Neil will be going home tonight.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Warning - watch what you click!

Be careful what you click. I saw a link from another site today that took me to actual scanned pages of the real Deathly Hallows book. Real spoilers are getting out already. *Sniff*


Just 3.5 days!

In just 3 and 1/2 days I'll holding the 7th book in my hands. Well.....actually probably wrestling with Keithen and Matt over which one of us gets to read it and how long we get to keep it before passing it to the other for a while! LOL! Keithen keeps asking what day it is and what day the book comes out.

I've seen a few potential spoilers online, but honestly, none of them seemed legitimate to me. I don't believe anything I've read about how the series ends right now. I'm going to try to stay away from spoilers from now until I finish the book.

I saw an article about Jim Dale, the voice of the Harry Potter audiobooks, today. He says, “It’s a surprise ending."


Thursday, July 12, 2007

SYTYCD Weds 7/11

Kameron & Lacey - Hustle -
Her costume was certainly interesting! They had great energy and as always, a great connection. He did a nice job but she really out-danced him this time.

Cedric & Shauna - Mambo -
I had mixed feelings on this one. First off, I hated her dress. Her spins were amazing. I thought the heel-toe combination towards the end was pretty well done. I thought there were some points earlier in the number where he was maybe a bit slow? Maybe tentative, as if he is unsure of what he's doing? I never realized how long this boy's legs are until tonight! He did better than I expected, but nothing amazing.

Danny & Anya - Contemporary -
I loved the bit of staccato movement with her fists. As always, love to watch the extension on those long and graceful legs of his. The boy absolutely soars when he leaps.....such elevation! Technically he was fabulous, but his passion paled in comparison to Anya.

Pasha & Sara - West Coast Swing (choreographed by Benji!) -
WOW! It was polished, energetic and so much FUN to watch! The flips were great. This was a true performance. And remember.....she's a b-girl! Best number of the night. I think he was channeling Benji, LOL! They are totally safe.

Dominic & Sabra - Hip Hop (choreographed by Shane) -
I love when Shane does hip hop like this. He told a story with the movement. They were polished, sexy, emotive and totally connected. Very fun to watch. My other favorite number of the evening.

Hok & Jaimie - Waltz -
What a beautiful dress! I didn't know what to expect out of Hok with this style. I thought he handled it fairly well, but my focus really was onher for nearly the whole thing. I love the story behind it and that it came full-circle, ending like it started. I think it was some of the better stage lighting we've seen on the show as well. (Normally not a big fan of the way the show is lit.)

Neil & Lauren - Jazz -
This seemed more like a musical theatre piece than an actual dance. Very campy and more acted than danced. I did like the part where he chased her upstage with those big, long, exaggerated, cartoon-character-like steps. Didn't care for his jacket at the top. It was so overly large on him I felt that I lost some of his movement. You certainly know Wade's work when you see it.....a twisted Bob Fosse. I'd hate to know what this man dreams about!

My bottom 3 - Hard to choose this week!
Hok & Jaimie
Neil & Lauren
Cedric & Shauna

Expect (hope!) to see Lauren & Cedric go this week.

I think next week should be the final week of couples dances as well....then we go on to solos!


Sunday, July 08, 2007

JKR broke down in tears towards the end


The article linked above reveals that JK Rowling broke down in tears near the end of finishing Deathly Hallows. "When I finished one chapter near the end I absolutely howled," she says.

She also reveals that "scar" is no longer the last word of the final book. Rowling says, "Scar is quite near the end, but it's not the last word."

Gulp. That makes me worried for Harry. You don't think she'd really kill him off, do you?


Saturday, July 07, 2007


Here's hoping 07/07/07 is a lucky day for everyone!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

First look at OotP

Here is a YouTube link to the HBO First Look at Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix.

It's in two parts:

Click this link for part 1

Click this link for part 2

Catching up......

Another zoo trip -

We visited the zoo again. We got to express our sympathy to the dolphin trainers for their loss. One of the trainers tried to explain to Keithen why Phoenix died. We got to see the Colts cheerleaders at the dolphin show, which Ruby loved about as much as the animals! Kaylee really seems to love the goats for some reason. And of course the sprinkler area was the biggest hit of the day, as usual.

A little theatre -

Keithen did a week long theatre camp through his school. They performed "Beauty and the Beast" and he played the Prince. Ah.....my sweet prince. :-) Doesn't he look handsome?! Keithen and Kaylee will be doing a theatre workshop at the library this weekend with IRT.

Playing and learning -

I've been trying to convince Keithen to spend more time on his summer learning packet for school. He's going to end up doing 6 weeks worth of work in a couple of days if he doesn't get it in gear. Ruby has been working on counting to 20. She got all her little number cards lined up on her own. I just had to switch 16 and 19 for her. Kaylee has been spending a lot of time working on a math workbook I gave her. We've had bunnies visiting our yard nearly every day. Kaylee was excited to catch a toad and have a pet for a day.....until he peed on her! LOL! They love balancing on the wall Matt built in the back yard.

Vacation Bible School -

The kids were invited to attend Vacation Bible School at the church where Keithen plays winter soccer. They had a really good time. They had a "spy kids" type theme with "missions" to complete each night. They also enjoyed getting to sing a lot. And of course Kaylee enjoyed creating the Nile River in her classroom. Yes.....she drew a tree frog in it of course!

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"My tooth hurts"

Kaylee just came to me and said, "My tooth hurts." I stuck my finger in there and sure enough, it's loose. When I told her it was wiggly, she immdiately replied......"I'm gonna go get an apple!" LOL! Maybe it will fall out before school starts back up. (Just two more weeks from today!)

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Harry Potter 7 - Predictions!

My theories about the Horcruxes:

- The diary from "Chamber of Secrets" (already destroyed by Harry)

- Marvolo Gaunt's ring (already destroyed by Dumbledore)

- Slytherin's locket (NOT the locket that Harry and Dumbledore found, which was a fake. The real one was stolen by RAB - the younger brother of Sirius.....Regulus Black. This is actually the heavy locket found when cleaning out the parlor at Grimmauld Place. It is probably still there, in Kreacher's little hiding spot.)

- Helga Hufflepuff's cup which was stolen from Hepzibah Smith by Tom Riddle. Riddle (Voldemort) murdered Hepzibah to steal the cup and create the horcrux. This may be in a vault at Gringotts. (See the cover of the UK edition of book 7.)

- A relic belonging to Godric Gryffindor or Rowena Ravenclaw. Dumbledore has said that all of Gryffindor's relics are safe at Hogwarts (the sword and the hat). JK Rowling has stated that the sorting hat is NOT a horcrux. This leads me to believe that it must be something that belonged to Ravenclaw. She designed the moving staircases at Hogwarts. Is it possible that the horcrux made from one of her relics is somehow hidden under one of the staircases? I think it's very likely that we have seen whatever this item is somewhere at the school. If we haven't.....the ghosts or house elves have and one of them will tell Harry.

- Nagini, the huge snake, is the final horcrux. I think that this is true because, when she attacked Mr. Weasley in book 5, Harry saw it happen as if he were in the snake. Because of the special connection that he has with Voldemort now that his blood is in Voldemort, he was able to see through Nagini's eyes since she holds part of Voldemort's soul. I think that Nagini became a horcrux when voldemort murdered Frank Bryce.

JK Rowling has said that 2 characters will die in book 7. Who do you think will die?

I think that Snape and Voldemort will die. I think that we will finally see that Snape is a good guy when he sacrifices his own life to save Harry from Voldemort. Then Harry will go on to duel with Voldemort and he will win. At the end of "Goblet of Fire" when Harry tells Dumbledore that Voldemort can now touch him without hurting himself, Harry sees "a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore's eyes." This was because Dumbledore knew that having Harry's blood in Voldemort's body would somehow make him vulnerable, allowing Harry to win.

My 7 things that will happen in book 7:

1 - Bill and Fleur's wedding. Possibly held in the garden of the Weasley home.

2 - Harry will return to Godric's Hollow after the wedding to visit his parent's graves. We may find out more about Harry's grandparents and also more about his parents, possibly what they did for a living? The final battle may also take place there, bringing the story full-circle.

3 - We will find out what is behind the veil in the Ministry of Magic. If the final battle isn't in Godric's Hollow, it will be behind the veil.

4 - Many characters in the books mention how much Harry's eyes look like his mother's. JK Rowling has also said that Harry "has his mother's eyes and that's very important in a future book." On the USA cover of book 7, Harry does not have a wand. Will something about his eyes play into his ability to do magic without holding a wand or saying spells aloud?

5 - Dumbledore is definately dead. (Sorry folks.....it had to happen so that Harry can go forth on his own.) We will see his portrait speak and give important advice or instructions. Perhaps he will help in the search for Ravenclaw's relic?

6 - Harry will turn 17 and pass his apparation test.

7 - We will see Sirius' flying motorcycle again. (Could Mr. Weasley have it hidden away somewhere?)


Help send a family to Disney

Please take the time to click over and vote for Molly and family. Molly is autistic and has made great social leaps when she's been to Disney in the past. Please vote for Molly so her family can get the money they need for their trip.