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Bastille Day 2015

July 14, 2015

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In honor of Bastille Day, we always make crepes at our house. Here is an awesome list, by Isara Krieger, of 30 different types you can make. Whether it’s sweet, savory, breakfast, or a cake you’re looking for, there is something for everyone in this delicious crepe tour of the internet.


162 Ways to Make Your Mama Cry

April 22, 2015

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Nine years ago I decided that I would make my mom a little slideshow of photos set to music for Mother’s Day. It was a lot of work. I had to find songs (that were appropriate to play while the pretty little faces of her grandchildren graced the screen), learn a new computer program to put it all together, and get photos from my siblings. But it was well worth it, because she laughed and cried through the whole thing. Then she played it on continuous loop for about three days. After that she carried it around in her purse for two months, and popped it into the DVD player of anyone willing watch it with her (I’m not making this up).

It was truly one of her most treasured posessions. So I have done it every year since. Actually, I missed one year when I was pregnant and very sick and exhausted. I simply couldn’t make myself sit down and put it together. I found out later that she had cried after I left her house that Mother’s Day because it wasn’t there. I have since put that year together and gave it to her late. It may take me a while, but I learn eventually.

The second year I made the video, I realized that one of the hardest things about it is to find the songs. I now spend all year listening for songs that might be appropriate. A lot of my songs are from commercials or the background music in shows or movies (shazam is my best friend). I also use and google. Sometimes I have to edit out parts of songs that are mainly great, but have a section here or there that just doesn’t work (I can guarantee my mom doesn’t want to see a photo of her two-year-old granddaughter while the lyrics, “she smokes pot every day,” are playing). So, here is a list of 162 of my favorite slideshow songs (just keep in mind that you should listen to them entirely first or google they lyrics so you can know if there’s something you might want to edit out).

And if you’re interested in making your own slideshow, I have some tips for you at the end of the post.

  1. “All I Know” by Five for Fighting
  2. “All Smiles” by Jess Penner
  3. “All the Pennies” by Mindy Gledhill
  4. “Back Home” by Andy Grammer
  5. “Be OK” by Ingrid Michaelson
  6. “Beautiful Baby” by Ryan Innes
  7. “A Beautiful Day” by India.Arie
  8. “Beautiful Day” by Josh Radin (feat. Sheryl Crow)
  9. “Beautiful Inside” by Katie Herzig
  10. “Beautiful Life” by Fisher
  11. “A Beautiful World” by Tim Myers
  12. “Beauty in the World” by Macy Gray
  13. “Before I Knew” by Basia Bulat
  14. “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors
  15. “Best Days” by Eric Hutchison
  16. “Bicycle” by Frances England
  17. “Bicycle Race” by Queen
  18. “Blessed” by Brett Dennen
  19. “Brand New Day” by Tim Myers (feat. Lindsey Ray)
  20. “Brave” by Sara Bareilles
  21. “Bright Whites” by Kishi Bashi
  22. “Brighter than the Sun” by Colbie Caillat
  23. “Cliffs of Dover” by Tamas Szekeres
  24. “Colorful World” by Shayna Rose
  25. “Colors” by Kira Willey
  26. “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars
  27. “Count on Me” by Mat Kearney
  28. “Crazy Beautiful” by Andy Grammer
  29. “Daddy-O” by Frances England
  30. “Doesn’t Get Better than This” by Joy Williams
  31. “Dream” by Priscilla Ahn
  32. “Emmy Lou” by First Aid Kit
  33. “Everybody” by Ingrid Michaelson
  34. “Everyday” by Carly Commando   *instrumental
  35. “Fall for You” by Holley Maher
  36. “Family Tree” by Frances England
  37. “Feel this Moment” by Pitbull (feat. Christina Aguilera)
  38. “First Day of my Life” by David Hodges
  39. “First Day of my Life” by Lisa Loeb
  40. “Forever” by Ben Harper
  41. “Fun in the Sun” by Steve Harwell
  42. “Future History” by Lightning
  43. “Golden” by Holley Maher
  44. “Good Day Sunshine” by the Tremeloes
  45. “The Good Life” by Tim Myers
  46. “Grandma’s Feather Bed” by John Denver
  47. “Grumpy” by Music for Aardvarks
  48. “Hall of Fame” by The Script (feat.
  49. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
  50. “Happy Everafter in Your Eyes” by Ben Harper
  51. “Happy Place” by Oh, Hush! (feat. Hanna Ashbrook)
  52. “Happy Together” by The Turtles
  53. “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles
  54. “Hey Mama” by Mat Kearney
  55. “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers
  56. “Ho Hey” by Nashville Cast (feat. Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella)
  57. “Home” by Phillip Phillips
  58. “I Bet My Life” by Imagine Dragons
  59. “I Bet My Life (ukelele version)” by The Ukelele Boys
  60. “I Feel Happy” by Super Preachers
  61. “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas
  62. “I Lived” by One Republic
  63. “I Was Made for Sunny Days” by the Weepies
  64. “I Was Made for You” by She & HIm
  65. “I Will Live on Islands” by John Rouse
  66. “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons
  67. “I’ll Follow the Sun” by The Beatles
  68. “I’m in Love” by Meiko
  69. “It Snowed” by Meaghan Smith
  70. “Jungle Gym” by Jack Johnson (feat. G. Love)
  71. “Kick Drum Heart” by The Avett Brothers
  72. “L.O.V.E.” by V.V. Brown
  73. “Ladybug Picnic” by Elizabeth Mitchell
  74. “Lazy Afternoon” by Nora and One Left
  75. “Life in Technicolor” by Coldplay   *instrumental
  76. “Life is Beautiful” by ‘Keb ‘Mo
  77. “Life is Better With You” by Michael Franti & Spearhead
  78. “Lit From Underneath” by Andrew Bird   *instrumental
  79. “A Little Love” by Meaghan Smith
  80. “Little Wonders” by Rob Thomas
  81. “The Long Way Home” by Norah Jones
  82. “The Look of Love” by Joy Williams (feat. Tim Myers)
  83. “Love” by Matt White
  84. “Love” by Steven Mudd (feat. Amy Kuney)
  85. “Love is Endless” by Mozella
  86. “Love Me Tender” by Adam Levy & Norah Jones
  87. “Love Somebody” by Schuyler Fisk
  88. “Loving You Tonight” by Andrew Allen
  89. “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds
  90. “Lucky” by Kat Edmonson
  91. “Lucky” by Jason Mraz (feat. Colbie Caillat)
  92. “The Lucky Ones” by Tim Myers
  93. “Lullaby” by Jack Jackson (feat. Matt Costa)
  94. “Made For Each Other” by Emilie Mover
  95. “Making Memories of Us” by Keith Urban
  96. “Mermaid” by Francois-Paul Aiche & H. Scott Salinas   *instrumental
  97. “The Morning Sun” by Nora and One Left
  98. “Music Box Dancer” by Frank Mills   *instrumental
  99. “My Girl” by The Temptations
  100. “My Old Heart” by Anders Osborne
  101. “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts
  102. “Never Quit Loving You” by Jill Barber
  103. “New Soul” by Yael Naim
  104. “Odyssey” by The Wyld   *instrumental
  105. “One Day, Two Day, Three Days Old” by Elizabeth Mitchell
  106. “The Only Place” by Best Coast
  107. “Ordinary Miracle” by Sarah McLachlan
  108. “Pirates” by Francois-Paul Aiche & H. Scott Salinas   *instrumental
  109. “Praan” by Garry Schyman   *instrumental
  110. “Rhytym of Love” by Plain White T’s
  111. “Rock & Roll” by Eric Hutchinson
  112. “Say Hey (I Love You)” by Michael Franti & Spearhead
  113. “Sea of Love” by Cat Power
  114. “Seasons of Love” from “Rent”
  115. “See the Sun” by The Kooks
  116. “She Follows the Sun” by AM 60
  117. “She’s Mine” by Brett Dennen
  118. “Shine On” by Eric Bibb
  119. “The Show” by Lenka
  120. “Simply Wonderful” by Tim Myers
  121. “Snails” by The Format
  122. “Sometimes” by Frances England
  123. “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane
  124. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
  125. “The Sound of Sunshine” by Michael Franti & Spearhead
  126. “Stay Here Forever” by Jewel
  127. “Steal My Kisses” by Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
  128. “Stuck On You” by Meiko
  129. “Summer” by India.Arie
  130. “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” by Lesley Gore
  131. “Surfer Mama” by Kira Willey
  132. “Surfin’ USA” by The Beach Boys
  133. “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee
  134. “Sweet Sweet Baby” by Michelle Featherstone
  135. “Technicolor” by Tim Myers
  136. “Tell the World” by Eric Hutchinson
  137. “These Are Days” by 10,000 Maniacs
  138. “Thirty Reasons” by Octoberman
  139. “This is Home” by Switchfoot
  140. “This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies
  141. “Three Little Birds” by Sean Na’auao (or Bob Marley)
  142. “To Have and To Hold” by Colin Hay
  143. “To Make You Feel My Love” by Mick McAuley & Winifred Horan
  144. “Tonight Tonight” by Hot Chelle Rae
  145. “Tout Doucement” by Feist
  146. “Trouble” by Pink
  147. “Two Year Old Attitude” by Ryan Shupe & The Rubberband
  148. “We Are Young” by Fun (feat. Janelle Monae)
  149. “We Own the Night” by The Wanted
  150. “We’re Going To Be Friends” by Jack Johnson
  151. “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
  152. “Whole Wide World” by Mindy Gledhill
  153. “With My Own Two Hands” by Jack Johnson (feat. Ben Harper)
  154. “The World is a Wonderful Place” by Nora and One Left
  155. “You Always Make Me Smile” by Kyle Andrews
  156. “You and Me” by Sara Watkins
  157. “You Are My Sunshine” by Stine J
  158. “You Make Me Happy” by Lindsey Ray
  159. “You Wear Flowers” by Peter Breinholt
  160. “Your Hand In Mine” by Explosions in the Sky   *instrumental
  161. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman & Lyle Lovett
  162. “1234” by Feist

Over the years I have learned some tricks.

1. Gather Photos

If you’re just doing your only family, then you just need to go through your photos for the year and pick your favorites. If you’re gathering photos from other people, my advice is to start early. I usually send my first email out to my siblings in February. Then I bug them every few weeks until I get their photos. This is getting easier with the cloud, because people can just upload to the cloud (throughout the year, or at the end of the year).

2. Sort The Photos and Look for Trends

Our family has increased greatly in size. That first Mother’s Day my parents had six grandchildren. This year they have eighteen. When I first started doing the slideshow I would painstakingly sit and make sure that each child was represented equally. That is no longer possible. One of the things I have done to make it easier is to divide the slideshow into sections. It makes it so much easier for me to sort the photos (usually upwards of 2,000), and choose the songs that will go with them. I start with a happy, upbeat song that showcases some of the highlights of the year for each family. Then I do one or two songs of everyone waterskiing and surfing together in the summer. I move on to a song (or two) that includes all of the photos with cousins together, or cousins with grandma and grandpa. I always include a song that highlights the kids’ achievements over the year (a special dance performance, winning an award, whatever). Finally, I may throw in a song for something special that happened that year or a song that goes with a trend I saw in the photos. One year I randomly got a photo of almost every family jumping on the bed in a hotel room, so I put them all together to the song “Trouble”, Another year I got a lot of pictures of children being read to by their parents or grandparents, and we also had three people in our family graduate from college. I put all of those together with an instrumental song and interspersed famous quotes about reading and learning.

3. Leave Some Space

I have a sibling (they shall remain anonymous) who is always very last minute about getting photos to me. I used to be finishing up, and then I would get photos from said sibling. I would have to squish them in and they would mess everything up and then I’d spend hours rearranging and retiming it all. Now I just put some dummy spots in the slideshow so that when I get those last minute entries it doesn’t destroy all my work.

I hope you find this a help for your music and slideshow needs!

Happy Peepster 2015!

April 15, 2015

I tried to think of a few words to describe this year’s Easter Peeps competition. Some thoughts are: amazing, interactive, detailed, creative, HUGE, destroyed by Audrey. Maybe you will have an idea of how to describe them after taking a look?


First Place: Peepriodic Table of Peeps by Joshua


There was really only one photo that I could take of this one. It was all about the concept, not so much on detail. But don’t let that fool you into believing that it wasn’t agonized over. Trust me. Every single peep was analyzed for its ability to accurately represent the element for which it was chosen. Trust me. The fact that it won first place is a testament to the fact that we hang out with a lot of science nerds.

Second Place: Peep Park by Lucas


Inspired by a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm earlier this year, coupled with a balsa wood bridge that Lucas made for woodshop, this one is so full of detail it’s hard to know where to start.


How about we start with the roller coaster, “Bunny Blaze”? This roller coaster goes so fast that the bunnies’ ears are swept back by the shear force of it. Know how? Carefully placed wires. Also, notice the little trash can made of foam. Details, people.


Don’t believe me that the coaster is high? Just look at how this guy practically needs to lie down on the ground to see the top!


No trip to Peep Park is complete without taking a ride on the River O’ Peeps. Further proof that you can use hot glue to make just about anything.


A worker hands out maps. I didn’t get a good photo of it, but know that he is wearing a shirt with the Peep Park logo on it.


This peep relaxes on a handmade bench while trying to figure out how to get to his friends.


Hungry? Head on in to Bon Appepeep for a bite to eat.


Or you can also go to the Peepcorn stand. One of the peeps there is reading a newspaper.


And if you thought I was kidding about the detail, this is the picture on the wall of “Bon Appepeep,” a recreation of a famous painting (but it uses peeps).

Third Place: Peep Drive-In by Becca, Emily, and Olivia


This was their first year in the competition, but that didn’t stop them from bringing their “A” game. They created a trip to the drive-in with their peeps, which happens to be one of our favorite things to do with them (the drive-in, that is).


It boasted an actual showing of “Big Hero 6”. As you can imagine, the kids clamored around this one.


Chick’s Night Out?


Snuggling up on the hood of their car.


The littlest peep has to do whatever he can to get a good view.


Don’t forget a trip to the snack bar. Thankfully, they weren’t selling peeps.

Other Incredible Entries


Peeper Pan by Olivia


Loving the Elizabeth Tower (also known as Big Ben). And do you see how they look they are actually flying? Well, Peter, Wendy, Michael, and John are affixed with fishing wire to create the illusion.


And don’t forget the sprinkling of pixie dust!



Georgia O’Peep by Kate.

She is painting at her house. One of my favorite things about this one is that it was entirely Kate’s, from conception to completion. Kate even got to see a real painting of Georgia O’Keefe’s during spring break at a museum in San Francisco. It was pretty cool.


Kate wanted Georgia to be pink (because she’s a girl), and with a flower in her hair (to further establish that fact).


My only direct involvement in the diorama was cutting the palette from balsa wood. We draw the line at seven-year-olds wielding exact-o knives. But Kate meticulously placed the blobs of paint using toothpicks (these were later smeared together by Audrey while it was drying. Her first move in what would be a long history of peep diorama destruction).

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Kate also printed and cut out famous O’Keefe paintings for the walls, and crafted a vase of flowers out of clay.

ADULT COMPETITION: I’m not going to lie, it was pretty fierce this year.

First Place: Chess Peeps by Mark and Kim


This full-sized chess board was creative, beautiful, and fully functional. They glued each peep to a little metal washer so that they would stand up and still be able to be moved around the board (very inventive).


The pieces were so cool!


King Peeps and Queen Peeps


Bishops and Knights


and Rooks. I forgot to get a close-up of the pawns, but they were equally cute. Maybe you can spy them in another photo?


This is a close view of the border that went around the board. So lovely and evocative of spring.


I saw people sitting around this one playing chess all day.

Second Place: Everything is Awesome by Carl and Pat


This one also boasted an i-pad mini for viewing a clip of the movie.


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as was Wild Style peep.


A big part of the peeps diorama competition is knowing your audience. They played to the kids vote, and also those who are sticklers about details. Pat didn’t like the way the peeps had white edges where they were ripped apart when removed from the package, so she painstakingly painted the white spots and covered them with glue and colored sugar to match. Now that is dedication!

Third Place: PeFossep Ball by Mike and Lisa


Wow! Uhm, wow! We started getting some hints a week or two ago that this one was going to be big. When they told us they were bringing their own table for it, we knew they weren’t kidding about the size.


It’s full-sized and fully functional! But that doesn’t mean the details are lacking. Oh, no, quite the contrary.


Keeping score is done with the jelly bean scorekeeper.


After each goal, the ball comes out the ball return.


And if you need to decide who is going first, you just flip the special coin. You could get heads…


or tails.


Sponsors line the arena. The paddles are made with peeps suckers.


Here are the blueprints in case you want to make your own.


By the way, they had to take two cars so that they could kick their kids out in order to fit the peeps diorama in. At least they have their priorities straight. Also, their entry included a full page of rules so that nobody could cheat.



So, I’ve always kind of wanted to do the Wizard of Oz for a peeps diorama. Sarah, you have ruined my chances of ever doing it. There is no way I could ever compare to what happened here. Like, ever. The characters and detail were impeccable. Not to mention the copious amounts of glitter. I don’t even want to know what their kitchen table looked like after this was assembled. They’ll still be finding glitter in odd places come Christmas.


Once upon a time there was a wicked witch who had a house fall on her.


Dorothy, the only peep (to my knowledge) in our competition to have hair.


The cowardly lion. (You can find some weird stuff at the craft store.)


The scarecrow.


The tin man (he was a little hard to get a good shot of). He’d better not get too close to an open flame wrapped in all that tin foil. He is just asking to be a peeps s’more!


The wizard is hiding (and he said the lion was cowardly)!


The witch.


She actually melts!


Don’t forget about the Lollipeep Guild! I didn’t ask what she did for their little hair swirls. Are they burned? If so, I’m quite impressed. The grass is green rice!


And of course, Glinda the Good Witch. She looks fetching in her cellophane and glitter outfit. In fact, this whole diorama contained some of the best dressed peeps I have ever seen (if you’ve never tried to dress a peep, you might not know this, but it’s quite awkward. The scale and shape of them makes them difficult fashion models).


Well, you know I love a good wordplay. This one by Robert just made me laugh!


Moses Peep.


Can’t you just hear Charlton Heston saying it?

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Quick, little Israelite peeps! Get through the sea! What do you think of that bunny fish? Pretty creative if you ask me.


Do you remember what I was saying about dressing peeps? Kathy’s wedding party peeps are dressed to the nines using hair bows (and probably markers).


The best man and ring bearer (oops – dropped the rings).


That’s better. Don’t you love their little flowers?


The bride and maid of honor. She came straight from her quinceanera. Just kidding!


The getaway car


And the guests. I love the handmade benches too!


And they lived hap-peep-ly ever after.


Our friends who are recent transplants from Las Vegas brought us an amazing entry that made us wonder if they haven’t been secretly making peeps dioramas their whole lives. Seriously, this is your first time?


Chris and Lynn’s Blue Peep Group delighted us with lots of photoshop work,


and peeps who were hand dipped in chocolate and then frozen to look like they were wearing black suits. I never got the story on the drums, but they look like hand-dipped Oreos maybe?


I haven’t seen the show, but I’m told that they throw big balls out into the audience (hence the gumballs).


Everyone in the audience is on a date. See the bunnies with their chicks? So clever!


They told us to watch out, because next year they are going to really bring it.


Uhmmm… going to? I think they already did!


This racetrack entry by Greg and Vikki has my vote for most creative use of edible materials.


Twinkies, marshmallows, and pretzels. Almost everything was edible.


Start your engines!


He needs to learn from Lightning McQueen – you should take a pit stop before your tires burned up!


Another wheel tragedy.


Spare tires.


What about the fans watching from their RVs in the center of the track? Hilarious!


I guess Twinkies are back, but the pretzel steering wheels were the best.


Just ask Audrey, who pulled off and ate each and every one of them while nobody was looking; making this the second diorama she set her destructive hand to.

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This was my entry. I chose Charlotte’s Web because I wanted to play around with some handcut paper from a book. I only used paper, glue, wire, and ribbon in mine.

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Here are Fern and Wilbur. You can see that she has made a flower wreath for him.

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The trees were my favorite part. They were cut out of the pages of the book, and folded to stand up, then supported with paper-wrapped wires.

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I’ll give it to you straight – the sheep were a crime against peeps; each one created by cutting the heads off two chicks and gluing to the back of another chick to create the fluff. Sorry, little peeps!

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I had fun making it and was happy with the way it turned out. And that’s all you can really ask of a peeps diorama.


St. Peeps Island, by Scott, was most impressive in that he used things found in nature or found around our house. He only purchased raffia and dry ice. Don’t you love the little hula girls? M&M’s for coconut bras (yes, we almost always have those at our house – don’t you judge me!), the raffia that was meticulously cut and placed with tweezers along a line of glue, and flowers that were sourced from our backyard.


The surfboard is a popsicle stick that was stained (with actual stain) and a moai drawn on with a Sharpie marker. The sand is from the beach in Santa Cruz.


The trees were made of fronds cut from paper which were glued to sticks wrapped with floral tape. The coconuts were little nuts found at the park. Amazing, right?


Now let’s talk about the canoe. It’s made from bark we found on a family bike ride. The oars are cocktail forks that were shaped and then stained. The breadfruit are also little seeds found at the park. The fishing net is part of the tulle used for last year’s soccer goals. The water is spackle and paint.


It’s super cool, right?


But that’s not all. The volcano (paper mache and leftover paint from one of our walls) actually erupts. First it was just smoking a bit with dry ice.


Then it actually erupted with dry ice bubbles.


After several eruptions (and kids mauling it), it was pretty trashed. But it was oh, so cool and interactive!


By the way, Audrey eventually got her hands on it too. She pulled the hula girls out and started playing. One second, she was playing with them. The next second, not so much. She ate the heads and coconut bras right off them (glue and all).

She was definitely a destructive force in this year’s competition. You don’t even want to know what the Peepriodic Table looks like right now.

It was another great year!

Scrapbooking – There’s an App for That

November 2, 2014



This is my new obsession! I used the Project Life app to make these scrapbook pages. You can use the photos on your phone or in your Dropbox. Once you get the hang of it, it’s super fast and easy to make a cute page! I love being able to have something productive to do while I’m waiting in the car or at the doctor’s office.

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2014


The other day my neighbor told me that her friend calls her sewing machine the “Halloween Machine” because that was the only time she ever used it. I use mine a little more than once a year, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like much more. The Halloween machine has been very busy over the last month, and I’m happy to report that I didn’t use any patterns this year, but made all my own instead.

Happy Halloween from Darth (no masks were allowed at the carnival where this picture was taken), Qui Gon Jinn, Elsa, and Anna.

It’s Like They Know Us

September 25, 2014

Motherhood: glamour, beauty, and pure simplicity. Right? For a funny take on parenting that uses pictures from ads and magazine articles, take a look at “It’s Like They Know Us.”

Word Crimes

September 18, 2014

I am loving that Weird Al is making a comeback! I’m not sure how he looks exactly the same as twenty-five years ago, but I’m happy he’s still doing his parodies. “Word Crimes” is a new favorite. I’ll admit that my grammar isn’t perfect. I do try to re-learn all those rules from seventh grade English class and use them properly. The only rule I ignore outright is good vs. well. I have tried for the past fifteen years to say, “I’m well,” instead of, “I’m good,” but I always feel so stiff and snobby when I say that. I know I should overcome the peer pressure and just say it properly, but then all my insecurities of seventh grade come rushing back. If you need to brush up on your grammar a little bit, go watch “Word Crimes” here. Then when you’re done, you’ll need to laugh some more, so go watch “White and Nerdy” here. Then you might need to go to the bathroom first (so you don’t pee your pants), and then come back and watch this. Don’t you love Donny Osmond?