Need Help Customizing Menu

I've been playing with the code for the Panino theme for awhile now and have made some progress, but I still can't get the menu to cooperate with me. I'd like to have it work similar to this but am having trouble with a few things:

• getting the entire block surrounding an item on main menu bar to change color on hover
- I've only been able to get the color to change surrounding the text, not including the padding to the edge as in link
• having the submenu be flat against the main bar and slide in/up smoothly
- Right now, it seems "flash" in. I can't have this, I run a blog for epilepsy. I tried slowing the ease in/out but haven't had success.

I'd appreciate any help. I'm opening the site for support. Thanks.