Once Upon A Time Atlanta

20May2015 Filed under: blah-blah-blog

Our family loves The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. It’s always worth a trip into the city to spend a few hours at this fun locale, but this summer they’re offering a fairy-tale exhibit that will no doubt appeal to literary buffs of all ages–like me!

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“Once Upon a Time” is a hands-on, educational exhibit that brings the magic of fairy tales to life. Featuring colorful, gorgeously illustrated giant books that children literally walk, crawl or slide through, all of the exhibit’s scenes are culled from seven of the world’s most famous fairy tales: Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Elves and the Shoemaker, Jack and the Beanstalk, Thumbelina, Anasi and the Talking Melon and Lon Po Po.

Without giving too much away, here are some highlights from my son Jonah’s trip through this larger-than-life library.

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Cinderella’s carriage was a huge hit with all the kids. The seats bounce up and down with a delightful banging sound, and a video plays in the window to make it appear that you’re riding through the countryside. And there’s a chest nearby full of royal crowns and costumes to add authenticity to the experience.

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The simple tunnel through “Thumbelina” was one of Jonah’s favorites. He scurried in and out like a little mouse over and over again. With kids, it’s often the simple things, isn’t it?

“Once Upon a Time” is full of little hiding places, such as this little cove tucked under the “Jack and the Beanstalk” slide.

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After hiding, he counted the giant’s golden coins, and then made a few more trips up and down the beanstalk…

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Next, we stepped over into Beauty and the Beast, where Jonah entertained us on Belle’s harpsichord and the two of us sat down to a feast served on real pewter dishes. Other kids seemed amused that an adult had sat down, and they all started “waiting” on me, pouring pretend drinks and calling me “M’lady”. I think I had more fun than the kids!

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Other storybook fun included creating our own fairy tale on a computer, finding hidden fairies and raising the wolf from Lon Po Po up and down in his basket.

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“Once Upon a Time” runs through July 26th, and though the museum is usually closed on Wednesdays, it’s open seven days a week through summer break. My only advice for visiting on a weekday is to come after noon. Though they close at 4:00, (5:00 on Saturday and Sunday) even arriving as late as 1:00 will give you plenty of time to enjoy all the attractions without all the heavy crowds that sometimes appear at their 10:00 opening time. We arrived a little before 11:00 to find several day care and school groups already there. My son has some sensory issues, and after an hour or so, had a major meltdown from people overload. (I don’t have sensory issues, and it was almost too much for me, too.) I should note that the museum provides several “quiet zones” for kids to decompress, and if sound sensitivity is a problem, the vending machine room is virtually soundproof.

By 1:30, the crowd had substantially diminished. That’s when the fun kicked in again and we enjoyed all our favorite permanent exhibits, such as the sandbox, treehouse and the crane.

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We ended the day with everyone dog-piling into the garden and tossing stuffed vegetables at one another.

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I think Jonah is daydreaming about when he’ll get to come back again.

#OnceUponATime #OUATMediaWeek2015

 

Thoughts on Writing

12Apr2015 Filed under: blah-blah-blog
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There is no great writing, only great rewriting. ~ Justice Louis Brandeis

I realized earlier today that the last magazine article I submitted had been rewritten at least twenty times.

Twenty times!

It started out as a 500-word newspaper column, printed almost nine years ago, when I was a total newbie to writing and absolutely terrified of what people were going to think about what I had to say.

When I re-read it last week, I could feel all of that old, perfectionistic tension oozing out between the words. Though I still love and value the idea that sparked the piece, reading it again so many years later was almost painful. It really wasn’t good, at all (despite the fact that hours and hours and at least a dozen revisions must’ve gone into that draft, and an editor found it print-worthy).

The piece I submitted to the magazine barely resembles that first article. I almost completely rewrote it, keeping just one whole original sentence and half of another one. It’s now more insightful, but less rambling. It flows easily with a more personal voice, instead of the choppy “just the facts, ma’am” flavor of the original.

At a writer’s conference years ago, I was advised to edit the stories I’ve already written and submit them anew. So, I’m taking that advice and doing that now. It only took me the better part of a decade to take the leap, but I’m finally at a place in life where I’ve gathered enough confidence to give it a go. I figure, “Why not? What’s the worst anyone can do? Mark it up in red pen and send it back?”

Hey, let them do that. Then I’ll learn something to make it better, and I’ll rewrite it.

Again.

And probably again.

 

 

Blue Man Group Dazzles Atlanta

8Apr2015 Filed under: blah-blah-blog
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Blue Man Group is on its first U.S. theatrical tour, and Broadway in Atlanta has brought them here! Trust me — you don’t want to miss this!

It’s a little hard to explain what you’re in for. Toss together percussive techno music, special effects, a load of laughter and some crowd interaction and you’ll get an idea of what the show is like.

My son Eli and I got to go the opening performance tonight and we both agree — Blue Man Group is something you have to see live at least once.

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Of course, as we were walking out of the theater, we were talking about the next time we see them. So I’m pretty sure this isn’t the last time we’ll partake of their brand of wonderfully wacky weirdness.

The video below gives you a little taste of what we enjoyed tonight:

I think our favorite part was near the end, when they released the giant balloons into the audience. Eli got to bounce one, but it fell just beyond the reach of my fingertips. Dangit!

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Blue Man Group is a delightful dash of craziness in a world that takes itself far too seriously. Showing at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta now through April 12th, the time to catch this amazing performance is short.

So go, go while you have the chance!

Mysterious Candy Recipe

4Apr2015 Filed under: blah-blah-blog, Kari's Kitchen

This recipe, scribbled onto an envelope, fell out of a community cookbook that belonged to my grandmother.

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It’s so poignant to see her handwriting again. We called her Honey, and I miss her sweetness every single day. She taught me most of what I know about cooking. Even so, I can’t quite figure this one out.

Mysteriously titled “Candy”, I’ll copy it here since the picture is a bit hard to read:

  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 3/4 c. dark Karo sirup
  • 1/2 c. hot water
  • pinch salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 c. chopped nuts
  • Mix sugar, Karo sirup, water and salt. Cook until it forms hard ball in cold water.
  • Candy

Well, at least Honey told us it was candy! LOL

At first I thought, divinity? But whoever heard of divinity made of brown sugar and dark Karo syrup?

Then I thought pralines, but there’s no butter. And I don’t think pralines contain eggs, do they?

I tried typing the ingredients into Google, but nothing came up.

Can anyone help me figure out what this is? And what in the world is done with the egg whites and nuts?

Thanks for leaving a comment if you have any ideas for me.

Star Wars Invades Legoland Atlanta

25Mar2015 Filed under: blah-blah-blog
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If you have any Star Wars fans in the house, there’s something new in Atlanta to check out. Legoland Discovery Center has unveiled a new Star Wars Episode 1 Miniland exhibit and it’s quite impressive. With special light and fog effects and interactive displays, it really captures the spirit of the films and draws fans into the experience.

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We were invited to attend the display’s opening last weekend, and it just so happened to coincide with my son Eli’s 13th birthday. His love of all things Lego and Star Wars goes back to toddlerhood. When he was six, he wrote a letter to Carrie Fisher (he had a major crush on Princess Leia) and she sent this autographed photo back to him.

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So you can see — the love goes back a long, long time!

I don’t know which experience thrilled Eli more: receiving Princess Leia’s autograph, or hugging Darth Vader on his actual birthday.

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Probably hugging ol’ Darth….

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As you can see, there were several costumed characters milling about and interacting with the crowd.

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Eli also enjoyed an opportunity to help build a giant Darth Vader Lego figure.

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We will have to go back and see their finished work, as the display runs through the end of 2015.

Legoland is located on the top floor of Phipps Plaza in Buckhead. Parking is free, and you can save $5 off admission by  purchasing tickets in advance online.