Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ABC Wednesday--X is for......


According to yourdictionary.com:
The letter X is used in English as a symbolic representation of a kiss. Legend has it that in ancient times, illiterate people signed their names with a cross or an X, and then kissed the signature to indicate that they approve and blessed their signature.

The letter X is the third least common letter in the English language. To make the sound for the symbol X – eks – the English language most often places a vowel, such as the letter ‘e’, before the X, as in the word “example.” True words that begin with the letter X frequently sound as if they start with the letter Z. 

Even in some compound words, especially those found in scientific terminology, the letter X at the beginning of the word is most often pronounced like the letter Z.
English adopted the letter X from Greek and Etruscan roots. You’ll most often find an X at the start of words with Greek origin. You’ll find the letter X used in other languages too, but mostly preceded by a vowel rather than starting a word.

A List of Words that Start with X
The resources section below will guide you towards comprehensive lists of words that start with X. However, here are a few words to get you started:
  • Xanadu (n) - an exotic, luxurious place. This word comes from the poem "Kubla Khan" by Samuel T. Coleridge.
  • Xanax (n) - a pharmaceutical drug that is used to treat depression and anxiety.
  • Xanthic (n) - yellowish in color; having to do with the compound xanthine.
  • Xebec: A xebec is a special three-masted sailing ship used in the Mediterranean.
  • Xenolith (n) - a fragment of a rock embedded inside another rock.
  • Xenon: Scientists call xenon one of the noble gases. It’s odorless, colorless, and found in very small quantities in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Xenophobia (n) - fear or hatred towards foreigners, foreign countries, or anything foreign. Other related words: xenophobic (adj.) and xenophobe (n)
  • Xeric (adj.) - dry or desert like conditions; having very little moisture.
  • Xerography: The word for a process to copy documents is xerography.
  • Xerox: Xerox is the patented process for copying documents, and the name of a corporation. The word Xerox should never be used as a synonym for photocopying a document.
  • Xhosa: Xhosa is the name of the Bantu language, and a name for a member of the Bantu people of South Africa.
  • Xylem: Botanists describe the tubes within the stems of woody plants as xylem. The xylem conducts fluids up the plant, while phloem brings the fluids down.
  • Xylograph (n) - a wood engraving.
  • Xyloid (adj.) - resembling wood; woody.
  • Xylophone: A percussion instrument with wood or metal tubes struck with hammers.
XML: A computer language abbreviation for extensible markup language.

Since we're fresh outta xebex and Xanax, xanadu will have to do.   I think Cancun, Mexico qualifies as an exotic and luxurious place.   Apologies for torturing you with tropical pixs two weeks in a row.    If it's any consolation, we're back in snowy, cold Chi-Town ourselves, and those cerulean waters and soft, white sand beaches seem like a short, sweet dream.

X marks the spot...Click the icon below for more X-citing fun from our friends at ABC Wednesday.

Feed It Forward With Restaurant.Com Through December 31

In the spirit of giving to others, we continue our philanthropy series with Restaurant.com's Feed It Forward.    

ChiIL Mama gave away a $25 gift card from Restaurant.com in December, and now you can get in the givin' groove through new years, too.   Restaurant.com has relaunched a very special program called “Feed It Forward”, now in it's 3rd year.  Feed It Forward is Restaurant.com's way of giving back during the holidays, and they allow the country to give away millions of Restaurant.com Gift Certificates for free, through a special giving site www.Restaurant.com/feeditforward

Here's The Deal:

More than $11MM in Gifts Already Given Through

Feed It Forward
Millions of dollars in certificates have been given nationwide through Feed It Forward™ and the Restaurant.com community of givers continues to spread the spirit of giving this holiday season. Join those who have given for FREE.

Through December 31st, you can give forty (40) FREE $10 Restaurant.com Gift Certificates each day.   Check out their web site for more details and give today.

Comfort To The People-Free Furnace Nominations Accepted Through 12/31!

Check out the promotion below to bring comfort to the people, and make a significant difference in warming people's hearts and homes.   With the economy still sluggish and many out of work, the chilly Chicago winters can be particularly brutal.   Old, drafty homes and ancient, inefficient furnaces are especially rough on the elderly and those with small children and low incomes.   Up to 63 furnaces will be given away to those in need.   Nominations are accepted through December 31st. 

**Note--boilers are not included, so if you are nominating someone else, make sure they have forced air heat and not radiators.

Between now and December 31st, 2010; nominate yourself, friend, neighbor, coworker, or loved one for a FREE FURNACE!  Comfort 247.com is giving away up to 63 furnaces to homeowners located in Illinois and Indiana through their Comfort To The People Promotion. The Contest is open to residents of Illinois or Indiana who are eighteen (18) years of age and older at the time of entry and reside within a twenty (20) mile radius of a Comfort247.com Dealer.  I hope you’ll be able to help get the word out!

There is no commitment to purchase, and all you have to do is submit a brief blurb, (less than 500 words) telling us why you, or someone you know deserves a free furnace. Entry is very simple and even a  2-3 sentence submission will do!  Entry and additional details can be found at http://www.comfort24-7.com/comfort2thepeople.

Happy Holidays From Our Family To Yours

Sagezilla and Du (in his Swedish hockey jersey) at 
The Swedish Museum in Chicago for breakfast with Tomten

We're taking a break this week, after our huge holiday give aways the past several weeks.   We'll be relaxing with family and friends and I'll just be putting up a few posts. 

We will be posting our own Kindie Best Of 2010 list, along with other best of and Grammy lists.   We'll also highlight a few timely philanthropic opportunities, since we're huge fans of paying it forward and helping others.   Relax and enjoy your holiday week and we look forward to your readership in 2011.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mellow Yellow Critter Christmas

Amid all the holiday hustle, we took time to remember our four legged and feathered friends.   The kids sprinkled oatmeal on our snowy front yard, studded with glitter, so the sparkle would catch the eye of Santa's reindeer.   Inside they left cocoa and homemade cookies for the big guy, and two bowls of oats and baby carrots for his hard workin' herd.

Christmas morning, the kids were elated to find the cookies and reindeer chow mostly gone and their stockings full.  They were also excited to find two paint-your-own bird feeders.   Santa even remembered to leave toys and treats for our 3 dogs!   We're so happy they still believe in Christmas magic, mythical creatures, and flying reindeer for another year.

We learn some of our truest lessons from our 3 hairy children, Alia Serendipity, Nakama, and Igraine the Brave.   Dogs know how to be mellow!   They're pack animals, loyal and wonderful to their families.   They love to eat a lot, play hard, and nap a lot.   It's a good life.   Hope everyone's holidays are full of more of all of the above.

Click on the image below to check out more Mellow Yellow fun.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ABC Wednesday--W is for......


We're so happy and lucky to be sitting right on the waterfront in Cancun, Mexico today!   Tomorrow it's back to cold and snowy Chicago.   Click below for more W fun.

Win Gifts With A Combined Worth Over $120--And The Winners Are...

1.  Train your brain--Win Mega Bloks Thomas and Friends-Misty Island Rescue (3+)--Value $49.99--Cayetano C., Chicago

2.  Redesigned Classics--Win either a YomegaMaverick-aluminum high speed ball bearing Yo-Yo for advanced play ($29.95)  These are so HOT they're outta stock, but we have one for YOU.--Tyler M., U of I


3.  OR a Gamma Brain-smart switch Yo-Yo ($19.95) beginner to advanced.   Both come with an extra bonus-world's best instructional Yo-Yo DVD included.  (8 to adult)--Connor M., Wheeling, IL

4.  Green Christmas--Win a Bright Bin--eco-friendly lunch box!  ($18.95)--Melody J., Chicago

Congrats to everyone who entered.   Happy Holidays!!

ChiIL Mama's Bodacious Book Blitz--And The Winners Are...

Rebecca E. of Wheaton is our big winner of 3 Dead Princes AND the CD Woebegone by Danbert Nobacon, autographed by illustrator Alex Cox.

Jackie W. of Chicago is our big winner of The Zinester's Guide to New York City (or zg2nyc), signed by Ayun Halliday.   Big congrats to you both.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What's Under Our Tree-Part 2

What's great, green, retro, metro, funky and fun?

If you're still stuck on gift giving ideas, we can help.   Here's part 2 of our quick guide to some quirky, unique and newly released gifts that are sure to please.
Here are the best we discovered at Chicago Toy and Game FairChild's Play Holiday Blogger Brunch, and on our own.

If you missed our Toy and Game recap, click HERE.

Now for what's under our tree:

Today we bring you parts 3-5 in our recommended gift list.

Third--Gifts That Grow Your Brain:

Scruble Cube--We love this great word game and puzzle, with all the vocab. building powers of scrabble without all those pesky little tiles to lose!   Highly recommended.

Dig It-Roman Town--These guys have an award winning archeology computer game the kids will really dig.   Highly recommended.

Thelittlegreenmoneymachine--future entrepreneurs get a leg up with money managing play and kid sized businesses that can really make money.   Check it out and maybe an MBA is more likely than a Mom's Basement Ambition for your business savvy offspring. 

Bananagrams.com-- (apples & pears)--More witty word play so the fruits of your game days will grow future wordsmiths.   Bananagrams in an award winning anagram game we bought last year, and love.   Now bananagrams has been fruitful and multiplied.   New additions appletters and pairs in pears.

Fourth--Planes, trains and automobiles...

both of our kids thoroughly enjoyed imaginative play with their big train table and Thomas The Tank Engine.   The also spent hours creating with Mega Bloks.   Now, they've merged together, for twice the fun for little ones!   Enter here at ChiIL Mama through Tuesday midnight to win your own set! 

Roadrippers-Road Rockin' Rides (3+)--We recently met up with Toy Stateat The Child's Play Blogger Brunch and were introduced to their fun line of vehicles.   I thought Du-Jay and Sagezilla were a bit old for their smaller toys, but they have been rockin' the little cars.   Zilla's plays Funky Town, which she never tires of.  What's ChiIL Mama's favorite feature?   The bigger vehicles have a mute button, so those batteries don't have to mysteriously disappear behind the couch to preserve your sanity.

Fifth--For the big kids:

Mama's Little Helper--Macbook Pro--What can I say.   After using windows for decades, we're converts.   We got a Mac laptop 3 years ago and never looked back.   We named the white one Yeti.   This Christmas we're adding a sleek, silver MacBook Pro, named Sasquatch, to the family.

DVD's--david bowie rare and unseen and The Sacred Triangle:  Bowie Iggy & Lou 1971-1973--Gotta respect your elders.   Introduce your older punk kin to Bowie, Iggy and Lou with these sweet DVDs.

Reckless by Cornelia Funke and Adam Watts' CD, Murder Yesterday with the song, Reckless.--We're huge fans of Cornelia Funke's prolific writing and vivid imagination.    The author of Dragon Rider and The Inkheart Series has released another winner with Reckless, a book she co-wrote over 2 years with .   We'll have a full Reckless review and a bunch of photos from her recent book release tour, in early 2011.   We even have an Adam Watts CD featuring the tune, Reckless, inspired by the book.

Remember to enter to win the 4 great toys at the top of this post and our signed books by Ayun Halliday and Danbert Nobacon (signed by illustrator/filmmaker Alex Cox).   Entries accepted through midnight Tuesday.   Enter HERE at the bottom of the post for the toys.   Enter HERE for the autographed books.   Enter both contests-one entry per person per week.   Good luck!