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Book Review: Stone Painting for Kids

A cool project for kids is painting stones! This book has a lot of ideas and all the information you need in order to get started – with preparing your stones and what supplies you will need.  There are various techniques featured and different pictures of ideas that you can use for your own stones or to give you ideas to come up with something creative on your own.  For added fun, you can even add googly eyes!  Or paint several different rocks that can create a larger object or animal when they are all placed together!

Stone painting seems to have gotten to be very popular lately and this book is sure to give you some great ideas! I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

This follow-up to the bestselling Art of Stone Painting offers a kid-friendly version of an engaging activity that helps promote creativity. Popular stone artist F. Sehnaz Bac, a seasoned archaeologist who markets her painted Sassi dell’Adriatico (Stones of the Adriatic) on Etsy, presents step-by-step instructions for simple projects, accompanied by full-color photographs. Her introduction explains how to find and choose stones, which kinds of materials and tools are safe for kids to use, how to set up a workspace, simple techniques, and other helpful tips.
A splendid variety of patterns begins with illustrations of basic shapes and designs for human figures and faces, animals, numbers and letters, and natural motifs—flowers, trees, and stars. Other activities include painting stones for games such as tic-tac-toe, chess, and dominoes. Kids will learn lettering techniques for writing names and words on pebbles and how to design holiday-themed decorations. They’ll also discover how to assemble multiple stones for picture-making and story-telling.

 

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Year In Review 2017

Most expensive show:

Most expensive with VIP was John Mayer – $695
Most expensive to GET TO was the Australia / New Zealand run
Most expensive non VIP was NKOTB at Fenway

Least (not free) expensive show:
$25 for Hanson’s Acoustic Storytellers show was the cheapest.

Free shows:
Bon Jovi, O-Town, Kesha, Rick Astley, Lauren Alaina, Andy Grammer, Hanson (x15), The Script

# artists seen: 107
# unique artists seen: 40
# shows seen in CT: 21
# of shows out of state: 41 [15 in a different country]

Show farthest away: Hanson in Australia / New Zealand
Closest show: Stephen Kellogg, Parachute and/or Tyler Hilton and Kate Voegele at Fairfield Theater venues. All very close coming from work!
$$ spent on tickets: $4949
Miles traveled: 65,029

Top 6 shows of the year?

Isaac Hanson’s solo show at BTTI
Hanson’s acoustic storytellers
NKOTB at Fenway
John Mayer in Boston
Hanson in Sydney
Kris Allen Christmas

Total number of shows in 2017? 62

First show of the year?
Hanson in Jamaica

First show with actual tickets:
Bon Jovi

Last show of the year?
Stephen Kellogg

Most surprising show?
Kesha!

Most disappointing?
Freestyle 90s… show #499.

Farthest traveled?
To Australia / New Zealand.

States attended shows in?
(and countries) Australia, Canada, CT, IL, Jamaica, MA, MD, MI, New Zealand, NY, OK, VA

Venue most visited?
American Garden Theater @ EPCOT – 9x.

Band seen the most?
Hanson – 37 times

Best new discovery?
Marie Miller

Bands seen this year that also broke up this year?
None that I know of

Friends made at shows?
Many!

Band members met?
Hanson, O-Town, Stephen Kellogg, Lauren Alaina, Dalton Rapattoni, John Mayer

Best souvenir from a show?
John Mayer VIP laminate. It looks like a guitar pick.

Longest time in line?
Hanson in Chicago, I think. Or maybe one of the Aussie shows.

Shows seen from the barricade [front row]–
O-Town on the boat.. ish.  Hanson Sydney Members Only Event, And a couple of side front rows – Stephen Kellogg, Parachute,

Most shows in one month?
January – 5
February – 4
March – 3
April – 3
May – 4
June – 9
July – 4
August – 2
September – 5
October – 10
November – 7
December  –  4

Once again, October wins!

Most shows in one week? Hanson 9x at Disney, Hanson in Australia

Biggest crowd? NKOTB at Fenway, I think.

Any drunk encounters? Oh, probably. But none that really stand out now. Which I am glad. I never can seem to remember any once I’m looking back.

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Tyler Hilton & Kate Voegele

Last year Tyler and Kate’s tour was in December at the Wolf’s Den.  This year it was at one of my favorite little venues, The Fairfield Theater.  I had seen Tyler there before but Kate had never played there before but really liked the “vibe”.  Throughout the show Kate kept using the word and mentioned how it was driving her husband crazy but she just couldn’t come up with a better word when she wanted to use it.  The setlist for this show was short, but there was a lot of chatting/bantering/joking going around between songs.  The two had just gotten back from a tour in Australia and were talking about how the Australians say everything so differently and some of the slang words that they had picked up while they were there.  For this set they alternate between Tyler songs and Kate songs and then throw in a few fun duets as well. They ended their set with their take on “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and I am pretty sure it was a role reversal.  This show was a ton of fun and I hope they continue to come through Connecticut if they continue to tour together (or even separately) because they are always so much fun to see live!  It’s crazy to think that I first saw Tyler back in 2004! Wow!

 

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Hanson Chicago – Finally It’s Christmas Tour

Hanson in Chicago was another crazy weekend. Once again I had a super crazy early flight after a concert the night before.  I got into Chicago around 8am, met up with my friends who were already there for the Friday show the night before and we did all sorts of sight seeing like going to Macy’s windows, The Bean, Millenium Park’s Christmas Tree, Target, and an insane crazy insane Christmas Market that had more people in an area than I ever wanted to be with so we did not stick around very long.  We also decorated stockings that we were going to hang from the VIP box we had purchased. It was a crazy plan and one that we just hoped would work out. That evening we went to Lou Malnati’s for some deep dish pizza which even though I am not a pizza fan I had to try and I have to say I was impressed.  Maybe the problem is I need to trade in my New Haven style pizza for some Chicago style.

The morning of the show we didn’t need to bother waiting in line since we had the box, so we went to the Hancock building and did “TILT” Now, my biggest fear is falling so leaning 45 degrees out of a window of the 90-something-ish floor of a building was a major challenge for me (especially when I have little to no upper body strength and had to try and hold my self up as well) but I did it. Do, Go, Be, right?  Then we went to Navy Pier and rode the ferris wheel.  After the first go-around we were like “Once, that’s it? Rip off!” By the time we actually went around a 3rd time we were pretty happy with it letting us off then, but it was a fun way to see the city.

That evening was the Christmas show and everyone was tweeting the guys asking for Happy Christmas.  They hadn’t played it since that first show in Toronto but usually Chicago shows get something special so I was hoping that would be it.  No such luck, though 🙁  (And then they did it the 2 shows after. I missed 4 shows on this tour and they played it at 3/4 of those shows. Thanks guys, really.)  Our stockings worked out quite well and in the photo gallery you can see Taylor pointing them out.  The setlist for this show was pretty much the same as the rest, but during the encore the techs were putting towels over Taylor’s keyboard and some of Ike’s pedals.  What was that all about? What did it mean?  Well – there was SNOW! During Blue Christmas.  So even though the setlist was basically the same – each of the 4 shows I went to being a little bit different, and that is why I keep going to multiple shows on a tour.

After the show we hung around in hopes of getting photos with the guys, but unfortunately all we did was see them drive off 🙁 They ended up tweeting that they had an early flight out to Los Angeles and couldn’t stick around.  0-2 on bus attempts. At least it was not as cold as when we waited in Toronto!

Finally It’s Christmas
What Christmas Means To Me
Little Saint Nick
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
Run Rudolph Run
Please Come Home For Christmas
At Christmas
Someday At Christmas
White Christmas (acapella)
Joy To The Mountain (acapella)
Peace On Earth
Christmas Time
Wonderful Christmas Time / Come On It’s Christmas
Merry Christmas Baby
Winter Wonderland
All I Want For Christmas Is You
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
‘Til New Years Night
Everybody Knows The Claus

Encore:
Blue Christmas (With snow!)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

 

 

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Kris Allen Christmas Tour

Last year Kris Allen did a mini Christmas show at the mall, this year he went on a full fledged Christmas tour – complete with a Christmas Tree (Or Kris-mas tree?) on stage with him.  This show fell right in the middle of my mini Hanson tour and I chose to see Kris instead of see both Hanson shows in Chicago.  Turns out, despite getting little sleep after the show and making things all around exhausting for myself, I made the right choice.

Before the show I had VIP with a few others, he sang “River” we talked a bit about Thanksgiving and how Kris had gone vegetarian and thought he might have wanted some meet during Thanksgiving but was still able to avoid it due to all the yummy veggies that were around.  I asked if his kids were excited for Christmas and he said his daughter was still too young to understand it and his son seemed more excited about Halloween – he was Buzz Lightyear and was still running around in his costume even the night before Kris left for the tour – wings and all!  He also mentioned the setlist was almost entirely Christmas songs with the exception of 3 of his songs that he tried to rework to make more Christmasy (which he did a pretty great job with, I think).

Opening for the show was Marie Miller who was just a joy to watch and has an amazing voice. I really enjoyed her set and picked up her album after the show and got the chance to chat with her a bit… so look for a review of that CD coming at some point. (Although considering how late this post is and how I haven’t even started my Christmas CD reviews, it may be a while…)  Kris also joined her for a song called “Wasting Away”.

The highlight for me had to be “Please Come Home For Christmas” it was so, so, so good. (And Zac sings this on the Hanson tour so you know it had to have been for me to love a different version!!)  He started and ended the set with the same song – Somethin’ About Christmas Morning which I thought was a really nice touch and really made the set come full circle.  After one song somehow it came out that it was one of the girls in the audience’s birthdays… after more questioning Kris found out that it was not ACTUALLY her birthday that DAY but she was celebrating it by being at his show and then somehow it ended up with Kris making a joke about “Fake News” and then cracking himself up.  I probably just did an absolutely horrible job of describing it, but it was hilarious if you were there.

My other favorite moment was how during “Just Like Snow” he told a story about how they went to a cabin for Christmas one year and it doesn’t really snow in Arkansas and he woke up and there was a lot of snow and to him that was Christmas.  Then he went back into the song – AND IT STARTED SNOWING.  It was just the most perfect moment and I was in awe.

Something About Christmas Morning
Here Comes Santa Claus
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree
Baby It Ain’t Christmas Without You
Happy Birthday
Peace and Happiness
Monster / You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Jingle Bells (w/ Marie Miller)
O Holy Night
Holly Jolly Christmas
The Christmas Song
Winter Wonderland
If We Keep Doing Nothing / Joy To The World
Please Come Home For Christmas
Mommy, Is There More Than Just One Santa Claus?
Live Like We’re Dying
Baby Won’t You Wait Until the New Year
Just Like Snow
Silent Night
Something About Christmas Morning

 

These videos are not mine, but you can see a couple of my favorite moments…

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Hanson in NYC for 2 nights of Finally It’s Christmas

Hanson did two nights in New York City for their Finally It’s Christmas tour.  Once I saw that the setlist was almost entirely Finally It’s Christmas + Snowed In every night, I wasn’t sure how they were going to mix up the two nights, but they managed!  At the first night, I was able to get “Peace On Earth” added to my heard live list. Unfortunately even after 2 more nights, still no Happy Christmas so I’d have one chance left in Chicago!  Taylor seemed to flub the words to a couple of songs night one – Someday at Christmas and I can’t recall the other one.  Then they even had to stop and completely start a song over because half of the guys on stage started playing “Please Come Home For Christmas” and the other half, “Baby Please Come Home” – it’s amazing how many of the songs in the set were similarly named.   The crowd was a lot better than the Toronto crowd but there did seem to be some girls who had never seen the band before going crazy like it was 1997. I thought we got that out of our systems on the Middle of Everywhere “comeback / reunion” tour, but I guess not!

The second night we were waiting around because our seats were on the aisle and we didn’t want to sit down only to have to stand up a million and one times to let people in our rows.  While we were waiting, Mark Hudson walked by us. I freaked out and then wondered if he would end up joining the guys on stage for a song – and he did! Actually 2 songs. Well, really, 3 if you count the medley.  I don’t think they were expecting him to stick around for the Wonderful Christmas Time / Come On It’s Christmas medley, but he did and was quite entertaining.  I’ll trade in Happy Christmas for 2 special guest songs any day – but was really, really hoping it meant I’d be hearing it in Chicago!

Night 1

Finally It’s Christmas
What Christmas Means To Me
Little Saint Nick
Winter Wonderland
Run Rudolph Run
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Someday At Christmas
At Christmas
Christmas Time
White Christmas (acapella)
Joy To The Mountain (acapella)
Silent Night Medley
Peace On Earth
Merry Christmas Baby
Please Come Home For Christmas
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
Wonderful Christmas Time / Come On It’s Christmas
All I Want For Christmas Is You
‘Til New Years Night
Everybody Knows The Claus

Encore:
Blue Christmas
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Night 2 :

Finally It’s Christmas
What Christmas Means To Me
Little Saint Nick
Winter Wonderland
Run Rudolph Run
Please Come Home For Christmas
Someday At Christmas
At Christmas
White Christmas (acapella)
Joy To The Mountain (acapella)
Peace On Earth
Christmas Time (With Mark Hudson)
Wonderful Christmas Time / Come On It’s Christmas (With Mark Hudson)
Merry Christmas Baby
All I Want For Christmas Is You
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
‘Til New Years Night
Everybody Knows The Claus

Encore:
Blue Christmas
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

 

 

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Hanson Christmas in Toronto

After a fun Friday with 98* it was off to Toronto. I flew there in the tiniest plane I had ever been on – it was 9 rows and every seat was both a window AND an aisle.  The two ladies in front of me were freaking me the eff out because they were convinced the pilot did not know what he was doing and that we did not have any flotation devices.  Shortly after making it through customs I found Maribeth and we figured out the best course of action to get to our hotel from the airport – which turned out to be a cab because uber was not cooperating and was showing as more expensive.  After dropping our stuff off at the hotel we stopped at a Starbucks to attempt to get WiFi (it failed) and then decided to walk to the CN Tower which was my pick for our activity. I had already climbed a tower in New Zealand, so why not go for another one.  This time though, I decided to try and face my fear and was going to stand (and lay and walk!) on the see through floor.  After we did a loop around the tower and took photos with all the giant Moose and Bears in the gift shop, we ubered to a Christmas Market which was Maribeth’s choice for the day.  We snacked on poutine and had a pretzel bigger than our heads that was dipped in chocolate and had some fun walking around and people watching. We attempted to uber again but our driver canceled on us and then we got a cab back to the hotel before ubering to the concert venue for the show.

We had 5th row for the show and it was a lot of fun.  I had tried to not be spoiled so I did not look at the setlist from the night before, but after the show I was told that they did ALL the songs from both Snowed In and Finally It’s Christmas the night before but had skipped “Happy Christmas” and “Peace on Earth” on our night.  Of course.  But at least after 20 years I had finally heard all of Snowed In live!

I have to say the crowd at this show was one of the worst I had ever seen. (Heard?) They kept screaming out and just being overall very rude during the course of the show (you can see in one of my photos Taylor telling the crowd to “shh”)  I am not sure if this accounted for the shorter set or not, but the guys also did not bother to come out to chat with those of us waiting by the van/bus in the absolute freezing cold when the night before all 3 of them had come out 🙁   Isaac forgot the words to Run Rudolph Run and ended up singing about the boy child wanting a baby doll.  Ehh, close enough 😉

Leaving Toronto we were in this itty bitty airport that we absolutely LOVED – free snacks and we had to take a ferry to get to it! We pretended we were rich 😉  Then we had a layover in Montreal where we were able to get some lunch before saying our goodbyes as Maribeth and I went our separate ways on our flights home – but knowing we’d see each other in a week to do it all over again.

Finally It’s Christmas
What Christmas Means To Me
Little Saint Nick
Winter Wonderland
Run Rudolph Run
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Someday At Christmas
At Christmas
Christmas Time
White Christmas (acapella)
Joy To The Mountain (acapella)
Silent Night Medley
Blue Christmas
Please Come Home For Christmas
Merry Christmas Baby
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree
Wonderful Christmas Time / Come On It’s Christmas
All I Want For Christmas Is You
Everybody Knows The Claus

Encore:
‘Til New Years Night
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

 

 

 

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98 Degrees at Christmas

Black Friday rather than go shopping we decided to head up to Foxwoods for a little 98 degrees VIP.  When we got in for soundcheck we found that ABC News was there recording a segment (still not sure when/if it will air or if we missed it!)  Drew was explaining that what they hear in their in-ears for the soundcheck and the show is a lot different than what we hear and that if he wanted to not hear Nick at all the whole show, he could do that.  The brothers seemed to be fighting the whole soundcheck and it even carried into the show a bit as well, which made for lots of laughs.  They talked about their time in the Christmas parade and how their smiles froze to their face because it was so cold out.  Then it was time for the M&G. I was really, really disappointed that we paid so much for this opportunity, only to have the photo taken on a CELL PHONE.

For the main set, it was broken up into parts where they’d do 3-4 Christmas songs and then end it with a 98 degrees single.  At first I found it a bit weird to be at a full out Christmas show, but by the end I wanted more. (So it was a good thing I’d be up at 3am and off to the airport for another show)  I was quite surprised and entertained when they went from Una Noche into Feliz Navidad (but it was such a perfect transition, how did I not expect it?!) I also was particularly entertained by their You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch into Do You Want To Build a Snowman into the Lachey brothers singing (and dancing!) to Let It Go.

They did a great job with the set design, the setlist and everything with this show. I was really impressed with it and glad that I was able to make it out to a show.  Hopefully some more touring (and maybe some more albums) are in their future as their shows are always a ton of fun…

 

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Rhode Island Comic Con

I’ve done a couple days of Comic Cons before but never a full fledged weekend. But when Rhode Island Comic Con kept adding more and more of my favorites, a couple of my house elves and I decided we had to do it.  Friday afternoon the show kicked off and we started it off by meeting Elijah Wood and Sean Astin and then heading over to the LOTR panel.  The next morning I got up bright and early to make sure that we got there in time for me to get my photo with Sean Astin and Elijah Wood.  We also met Jason Isaacs of Harry Potter (and many other things) and then my friends opted to go to Jason Isaacs panel while I somehow got myself in the middle of all the Stranger Things insanity trying to get into that panel.  They had chosen the smaller of the two rooms for the panel, and last second decided to switch into the larger one because there was just so, so, so many people that wanted in – the whole upstairs area was just jam packed.  I ended up making it in and it was so hilarious and so much fun – aside from the grown ass woman that fell on my lap trying to rush into the seat next to me… really?  We closed out the night with our Jason Isaacs photo-ops and were ready to head back again for day 3. My friend and I fell in love with Sean Astin so we added a photo op with him for our last day and went through his autograph line again.  My NSYNC girls met me to meet Joey Fatone (although I will admit I walked past his booth and giggled many, many times before actually going over to talk to him Sunday)  I finally made it to the line for Gaten Matarazzo when it wasn’t completely shut off for way too many people wanting to meet him and not enough room… we had our photo ops with Joey (probably my fave op, ever) and closed out the weekend watching the cosplay costume contest.  The weekend was a ton of fun and we are looking forward to seeing what guests will be there next year!

 

 

 

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Book Review: Lalylala’s Beetles Bugs and Butterflies

This is another great crochet story, featuring the 3 Bs, Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies.  In addition to being a story about the life of a butterfly (which I did a report on when I was in kindergarten so it is a topic near and dear to my heart), there are also patterns for the bugs that you see featured throughout the book.  I think that my favorite is the Caterpillars and Peacock butterfly, although they are all pretty stinking cute (yes, even the maggots). Every time I read one of these books I wish I knew how to crochet – one of these days I’m going to have to sit down and figure it out!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

 

Hello bug lovers and crochet adventurers!

Grab your research equipment (magnifying glass, flask of tea, crochet hook, scissors and yarn) and follow us into a world full of magic and science, a microcosm of tiny creatures and big dreams! In this book you will find not only a charming selection of crochet patterns to create scrabbling beetles, beautiful bugs and fluttering butterfly crochet amigurumi, but also a wonderful story to read out loud and ponder on: a tale about growing up; accepting change and the power of dreams.

Watch tiny creatures hatching from their eggs, look on as they munch through a green world, and be astonished at their marvelous transformations when they finally slip out of their cocoons. The wings and hats are interchangeable so you can use the patterns in this book to create new outfits for your little insect friends. Give your caterpillar a new set of wings for every day of the week, or cover your beetle in the most colourful wing suits. Be inspired by nature to make creatures of your own creation. It’s a great little world full of possibilities. We wish you lots of fun on your journey of discovery and learning!

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