Halloween Playlist 2014


I love listening to my Halloween playlist during the month of October! Here’s some songs I added for this year:

  1. Heads Will Roll, Yeah Yeah Yeahs


    Halloween 2012

  2. Halloween, Dave Matthews Band
  3. The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead, XTC
  4. Monsters, Sarah McLachlan
  5. King Tut, Steve Martin & the Toot Uncommons
  6. Werewolf, Five Man Electrical Band
  7. Witchcraft, Frank Sinatra
  8. Candy, Iggy Pop
  9. Back from the Grave, Chromatics
  10. It’s Tricky, Run DMC
  11. Scare Him, Toots & the Maytals
  12. Midnight Rider, The Allman Brothers Band
  13. Caring is Creepy, The Shins
  14. A Nightmare on my Street, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
  15. Dead Man’s Party, Oingo Boingo

Want more Halloween playlist ideas?

See my 2012 and 2013 playlists!

The Kupp Review


Have you heard of The Kupp’ yet? It is a six-ounce glass (with protective silicone sleeve) designed for kids ages 3-10.

These are beautiful and unique kids’ glasses. The Kupp’ is colorful. It is available in four bright colors: blue, orange, red, kupp-product-shotand green. The silicone sleeve is BPA/BPS free.

I love the sleeve. It has a sturdy handle that makes the glass fun to use. Trip pretended he was drinking coffee from a mug. (I didn’t realize how most kids cups don’t have handles, especially once we were out of the sippy cup stage.) The Kupp’ is also attractive and looks better on a dining room table than a plastic cup.

The Kupp’ comes with a challenge. The idea is that each child in the family is assigned a Kupp’. The Kupp’ is their responsibility. They are supposed to put it on the table at mealtimes, clean it, and put it away. The hope is that this will  become a habit and help reduce waste and/or help you reduce the amount of dishwashing. (My husband joked the challenge was not just for the kid.)

I asked Trip which color he wanted. Not surprisingly, he answered, “I want the red one!” And so our challenge began…..

All right, Trip used the red cup consistently. I wasn’t always consistent with enforcing the washing and putting away, though. Trip would have to use a step ladder to wash, and he wouldn’t be able to reach the cabinet without climbing on the counter.

I can personally attest that the silicone sleeve helps protect the glass. Trip never dropped the glass. However, one day I bumped the Kupp’ in the cabinet. It fell onto the counter and bounced to the floor. There wasn’t a chip on the glass.

The Kupp’ is easy to take care of. It is dishwasher safe, and the sleeve doesn’t have to be removed to wash it. Sometimes little debris can get stuck between the glass and the silicone sleeve. But, the sleeve can be removed and replaced really easily.

Overall, we loved the Kupp’! They are gorgeous, kid-friendly glasses. The Kupp’ retails for $16.99.

Connect with Kupp':

Website:   thekupp.com

Twitter:     twitter.com/thekupp

Pinterest:  pinterest.com/thekupp123

Facebook: facebook.com/thekupp

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

What I’m Loving Wednesday


1. Gone Girl 

Gone Girl opened in theaters last weekend. I was excited to see a screening of the movie. I read the book last winter, so I was looking forward to how they put it on the big screen. Usually, the book is so much better than the movie. But, Gone Girl is one movie that holds its own. It’s a dark movie that was punctuated with some derisive laughs.  As the credits rolled, the guy next to me exclaimed, “That was pure evil.”

2.  Houston Zoo

We have a membership to the Houston Zoo. Having the membership allows the family to go when we want throughout the year. I really enjoy that we can go for a couple hours and not feel like we have to stay longer just because we paid a high entrance fee.

Trip and I went to hear one of the Wildlife Speakers, Julian Fennessey of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. Unfortunately, it seems like the situation is bleak for giraffes in the wild. Fennessey and others are working with local scholars and other interested parties in Africa to conserve giraffe populations.

It was an informative and interesting presentation, and I love that Trip is learning and thinking about wildlife. (His question for Dr. Fennessey was “Why do giraffes have different patterns?”)



3. Reading & Writing 

Or rather…hearing and seeing Trip reading and writing! He’s making huge strides in kindergarten, and it makes this mom very, very proud and happy!

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Movie


Trip and I saw a screening of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and it had us both laughing.

The movie is kind of like an inversion of the book by Judith Viorst. Alexander still has bad days, but for one day his familyalex will experience just how terrible, horrible, no good, very bad things can get. This is one case where you can’t really compare the movie to the book.

At the root of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day is the fact the the Cooper family has over scheduled itself. I mean, really…what family has a job interview, a major work project, testing for a driver’s license, high school prom, a school play, and a kid’s birthday party all scheduled on the same day? Oops…The Coopers. Throw in the fact that the alarms malfunctioned, the car won’t start, a kid gets sick, the babysitter cancels… and you’ve got the makings for a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for the Cooper clan.

There are plenty of laughs for both adults and children, although some of it is literally potty humor. (Including a “book reading” with Dick Van Dyke telling some of them!) The movie gets its PG rating for the crude humor and reckless behavior.

The movie stars Steve Carell (pirate shirt wearing, kangaroo hunter, fommy), Jennifer Garner (just trying to get to work on time), Ed Oxenbould (just wants to have a good day and do a report on Australia), Dylan Minnette (“Wreck It Ralph” accident-prone teen just trying to please a demanding girlfriend and #Blessed), and Kerris Dorsey (cough syrup guzzling Peter Pan) as the Coopers. There are also appearances by Donald Glover, Jennifer Coolidge, Dick Van Dyke, and an ensemble of authentic Australian cowboys.

Barre Fitness with Jessica Smith Review


Another Jessica Smith review! I received a complimentary copy of Barre Fitness for review. Also, I’ve marked Amazon Associate links (*).

I really do love Jessica Smith workouts! Her routines are varied. There are many different styles–dance, walking, barre, yoga…

Barre Fitness includes three ballet-inspired workouts. Each workout is 20 minutes and are done without shoes. The description of each workout from the cover:

CARDIO BALLET (20 Minutes) Forget that boring treadmill; burn calories with the grace of a barreballerina! This fat-burning, ballet-inspired session works up a surprising sweat in a small amount of space, no equipment required.

BARRE BURN (20 Minutes) Lift, shape and define your entire body with this cardio sculpting barre workout. A sturdy chair and a set of light hand weights (2- to 8-pounds, depending on level) are recommended for this routine.

FLOOR BARRE (20 Minutes) Cinch, tighten and stretch – without ever leaving the ground – with this total body conditioning routine. A mat and a small soft ball or pillow are recommended for this workout.

The Cardio Ballet workout is more challenging than expected. It is at an intermediate level. There are some jumps, but Jessica demonstrates modifications. Jessica also reminds you that no one expects you to be a perfect dancer! But, in the privacy of your own home you can kind of start to feel like one!

Barre Burn is a standing workout. There are strength moves that also work balance and coordination, and you can start to feel the burn. As Jessica says, “Burning means it’s working. That’s our motto with barre.”

The final segment, Floor Barre, is done on the floor. I used a mini stability ball*. Whew! This one works your abs! (“Hello abs!”)

Jessica is always friendly and gives great cues and modifications. Her chatter is sometimes spontaneous and good for a chuckle. At one point, she indicates that something should be where your back pocket was if you’re wearing jeans. She stops for a second and adds, “I’m sure you’re wearing pants, just not jeans, right now.”

Barre Fitness is available at Jessica Smith’s website.

Jessica Smith also offers great (FREE) workouts on her YouTube channel.

Here’s another one to use that mini stability ball:


The Maze Runner Movie


I saw a screening of The Maze Runner in Houston last week.

The Maze Runner was directed by Wes Ball. While the movie departs in places from the YA novel by James Dashner, it was thrilling to watch. The cast (check them out on IMDb) did a nice job of bringing the Glade and the Maze to life on the big screen. For most of the movie, the onscreen personalities are a group of teenage males. They are stuck in The Glade and have built a functioning society in a mysterious setting surrounded by the Maze. It may remind you of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, but in The Maze Runner, the terror comes from without instead of within.

The movie reminded me of an M. Night Shyamalan film, especially movies like Signs and The Village. There was the physical presence of danger, but there was also a psychological element. I don’t usually watch movies from the horror genre (unless they are 1930s classics), so this PG-13 film was about as scary as I like my movies.

The Maze Runner will be in theaters September 19.

Galveston & Moody Gardens


We took a trip to Galveston the weekend before school started. (Trip is in kindergarten now!) We stayed at Moody Gardens, and basically did everything they have to offer: an indoor rainforest, an aquarium, a ‘discovery’ pyramid, moves in 3-D and 4-D, and a ride on a replica sternwheeler. And, of course, the water park! (Ropes course and zip line will have to wait for another visit!)

We had one-day passes for Saturday. I thought it was going to be exhausting, but it was actually really fun. Moody Gardens may have a lot of attractions, but it wasn’t sprawling. It was easy to get from one place to the next. (Plus they had shuttles running.) Staying at the resort, we were able to use the water park all weekend. The water park was just about right for Trip (5yo). He could do almost everything (he didn’t make the height requirement for the big water slides).

The ride on the replica steamboat, the Colonel, was fun. I spend a lot of my time researching/writing about/thinking about steamboats, so it was fun to have Trip ride on a replica. You can sign up to have your kid in a drawing to be an “honorary captain,” and Trip won! He received a few tokens of the trip as Captain. He was quite happy to take charge and play captain with my husband, mother-in-law, and me as his crew.

Enjoyed the aquarium and the rainforest immensely. You can see why:





The movies provided a nice break. The 4-D movie was a truncated version of Rio (brilliant idea…20-minute summaries should be available of more movies!!!), and we saw Galapagos in 3D.

I also reluctantly went to the Discovery Dome exhibit of “Real Pirates.” Only went because it was part of the ticket. My issue with this exhibit is that it profits treasure hunters. From an archaeological standpoint, the work on the Whydah (which is the focus of the exhibit) was questionable. Investors in the commercial recovery of artifacts from the ship were hoping to profit from gold and treasure reportedly on the ship. These commercial attempts to find lost treasure on ships just do not pan out. Yes, there are ships to be found, but the rumored treasure just isn’t there. Artifacts do have historical value, which leads to the creation of museums/exhibits like “Real Pirates.” It turns historical intrigue into financial gain. That being said, the exhibit is slick and nicely put together. Okay, stepping off my archaeology soapbox now. I could go on, but remember when I said I research and write about steamboats? I have to get back to that now…