Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Family Movie Night with Smitty, Freddy Frogface, and Donkey X

We have continued our family movie nights with three more releases from Phase 4 Films. The latest films we checked out are Smitty, Freddy Frogface, and Donkey X. Here's is a little bit about each film and my families thoughts.
Smitty was just recently released this July. It is a heartwarming film for the entire family. Starring Peter Fonda, Mira Sorvino and Louis Gossett, Jr., the movie tells the story of thirteen-year-old Ben and his struggling, single mother (Sorvino) who has had enough of her son's mischief. Ben is sent to spend the summer in Iowa on a farm with his estranged grandfather, Jack (Fonda). To help Ben make a friend, Jack gets him a smart farm dog from an animal shelter to keep Ben company and in line. Between the dog and a friendly neighbor (Gossett, Jr.), Ben soon learns life lessons about friendship, family and responsibility.

Smitty has a 94 minute run time and is rated PG. This DVD is available at your local Redbox locations, Target, Walmart, and on Amazon.com.

This is a great family film! I have to admit that it was above my three year old's head and did not keep her attentions, but my husband and I enjoyed it. I would definitely see this movie being a good fit with kids a little older than my daughter and kids into their early teens. I think kids and parents can both relate to this film. I had the feeling that Ben felt misunderstood while his mother felt frustrated. So off he went to stay with his grandfather. I love how he forms and bond and connection with Smitty. The film is very uplifting as it shows Ben's journey to understanding life and his part in it. A true family film!

Freddy Frogface was released this month and centers around ten-year-old Victor and his friends, who not only have to face a world of stern grown-ups but also the town bully, Freddy Frogface. When a circus comes to the sleepy little town, Victor is thrilled at having the chance to perform in a talent show with his dog Sausage. Yet Freddy soon comes up with a sinister plot of his own to spoil Victor's plans.

Freddy Frogface has an 85 minute run time and is rated PG. This DVD is available at you local Redbox locations, Target, Walmart, and on Amazon.com.

With all of the issues with bullying, I was glad to see this film. I think this is a nice movie that is fun, but that touches on a serious topic that opens things up for further discussion. Victor is a child we can all relate to. He has a nice group of friends who are intimidated by a local bully. In this case the bullying takes on an humorous side, rather than a frightening side. But it's the topic at hand that matters. This is a fun film that can be used to help educate young children about bullies and how to handle them.

Another great film released this past month is Donkey X, based on the 400 year old Spanish classic tale "Don Quixote de la Mancha," this tale follows Rucio, the most adventurous, brave, and mischievous donkey of Castile, as he tells the true story of the legendary Don Quixote.  Rucio jumps the the opportunity to join Don Quixote on his quest to battle the Half Moon Knight and overcome the dangerous obstacles that lurk them on the way.

Donkey X has a 90 minute run time and is rated PG. This DVD is available at your local Redbox locations, Walmart, Target, and on Amazon.com.

This movie is full of hilarious adventure that will get the whole family laughing! This might have been my favorite so far and the characters were likable, the story was familiar, and the animation was great. This is a great one for family movie night where a wide age range will be engaged and having fun!

I received these DVD's from Phase 4 for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Family Movie Night with Kiara the Brave and Space Dogs!

I was recently introduced to Phase 4 Films, a company that is releasing 8 new family-friendly films. I am so excited to be working with them to share these films with you just in time to plan some fun movie nights this summer!

This weekend we had some pretty sever thunderstorms with lots of rain. So we were happy to curl up and watch some fun movies as a family. We started with Kiara the Brave and Space Dogs.

Kiara the Brave was released this past June and takes viewers to Dreamzone, a peaceful and magical kingdom under the rule of King Maximus. The serene kingdom faces sudden change when the King is captured and imprisoned by his evil brother, Dreadmis. The King's daughter, courageous Princess Kiara, must conquer evil and restore harmony in Dreamzone, returning her father to the throne.

Kiara the Brave has an 80 minute run time and is rated PG. This film can be found at your local Redbox, Target, Walmart, and at Amazon.com.

I was thrilled with this film! My daughter is currently very into Princess's. Anything with a princess is ok by her! So she was very excited to meet a new princess and go on this adventure. What I loved about this movie is that it portrayed Princess Kiara in such a positive light. She was very brave and obviously cared a great deal about her family. Instead of needing to rely on a prince to save her, she stepped up to save the day and protect her father. What a wonderful message to send to little girls who truly believe in fairy tales!

Space Dogs was also released in June and is an exciting, animated tale based on the true life story of Belka and Strelka, two dogs sent into space in 1960. Belka and Strelka are a circus dog and a rough-and-tumble stray who embark on an out-of-this-world adventure, humbly becoming the most famous canine cosmonauts.

Space Dogs has a run time of 88 minutes and is rated G. This DVD can be found at your local Redbox, Target, Walmart, and on Amazon.com.

I have found that anything with funny, talking dogs is almost always a it with kids. There is just something really humorous about them and Belka and Stelka are no exception. These two sure make for one silly adventure. My daughter really enjoyed this film, and my husband and I also found it entertaining. Again, this movie is filled with good messages for kids. These two have to work together because without team work they would't get themselves back to Earth. They create a wonderful friendship and overcome lots of obstacles together. It's a fun movie for the whole family and perfect for family movie night!

I received these DVD's from Phase 4 for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, July 27, 2012

GUND'S Top Dog Contest!

How awesome is this? GUND is currently running a Top Dog Contest where all you have to do is submit a photo of you adorable pup. If you head to their Facebook page you can submit in one of their 4 categories:

  • Most Beautiful Dog
  • Ugliest Dog
  • "Doganista"/Best Dressed Dog
  • Dog That Most Resembles its Owner
The Grand Prize is definitely the most awesome part.... you could end up with a limited edition model of your dog! Just like Boo, from the "Top Dog" contest.

You must have your entry submitted on GUND'S Facebook page by August 5th. Voting will then take place  from the 6th through the 15th, with the winner being announced the week of August 27th.

Simultaneously with the “Top Dog” Contest on Facebook,GUND will run the “Most Pinteresting Dog” Contest on Pinterest. Consumers will be asked to post their entry on their own pages, “tag” @GUNDMostPinterestingDog and submit the linkto GUND at MostPinterestingDog@GUND.com. 

The “Most Pinteresting Dog” Contest winner will be selected based on the number of times the entry is “liked” on the GUND Pinterest board and the winner will receive a selection of GUND products valued at $250 retail.

For complete rules, see “Top Dog” Contest and “Most Pinteresting Dog” Contest rules at www.GUND.com.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven
101 Stories Miraculous Stories of Signs from Beyond, Amazing Connections, and Love that Doesn't Die
When our loved ones leave this world, our connection with them does not end. Death takes away their physical presence, but not their spirits, and we often sense them after they have gone. Sometimes when we see or hear from them, they give us signs and messages. Sometimes they speak to us in dreams or they appear in different forms. The stories in this book, both religious and secular, will amaze you, giving you new knowledge, insight and awareness about the connection and communication we have with those who have passed on or those who have experienced dying and coming back.

I have been reflecting a lot on how lucky I have been in recent years not to lose anyone very close to me. As both sets of my grandparents get older I have begun to fear the inevitable. The idea of death is frightening and intimidating to me. I hate to think of never being able to see someone you love or speak to them again. The end seems so final. So when I began reading some of the stories in this Chicken Soup for the Soul book I was actually filled with some relief.
The pain of losing a love one can never be minimized and nothing anyone can say can take that pain away. But this book was filled with inspirational stories of learning to live with loss. The idea that someone never really leaves you is powerful. Some of the authors in this book have had experiences in which their loved ones have felt present. Or there was a sign or symbol that they were with them. The book is filled with hope that we can still be connected to those we have lost.

I think that this book would be a tremendous help to someone going through the grieving process. But it was also a big help to me, someone who fortunately is not going through grief. I have a true fear of death, of losing someone, and this book truly helped me put some things in perspective.

I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Baby Update!

We are well into the second trimester over here and I am waiting for that burst of energy that everyone keeps talking about. For some reason I find myself as worn out as I was during the first trimester. I did bring it up with my doctor, as I find myself going to bed at 8:00 every night! He seemed fine with this and said that I can also blame the heat and the fact that I have a three year old to tend to. I suppose that makes sense.

Aside from the exhaustion, everything is going well! My body seems to remember being pregnant and has settled in to it's stretched out state with quite the bump showing at only 19 weeks. I will try and get a picture to post soon. The only complaint I have with the big belly is that sleeping is already becoming uncomfortable. That didn't happen until much later on with my first!

I had a dr's appointment yesterday and he measured my belly. Then he looked at me and asked how much my first baby weighed. I answered with the shocking 9 pounds 11 ounces. He then smiled and said, "yup, you are right on track for another 9 pound baby." I have mixed feeling about this. I much prefer the baby be bigger rather than underweight. I did feel that my daughter came out very strong since she was so big. But I also feel like I missed the whole "newborn" phase. Some 2 month olds are only 9 pounds! Well, as long as he's healthy I will be happy!

I guess that's it for updates for now. I am enjoying an uneventful pregnancy and will post again soon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Golf Pro in Training!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Get in the Halloween Spirit with PureCostumes.com

As I start to see all the back to school ads my mind goes to one thing... Halloween! Halloween is a favorite holiday of mine. As a child I enjoyed dressing up so much that it lasted all year. I had a huge box filled with all kinds of costumes and accessories that I would pull out on any day to transform myself into a princess or a pirate or even a chef. But all of that dressing up led up to one magical day that I could be anything that I wanted and wear it for the world to see!

I am sharing my love for Halloween with my daughter now, and she has truly been following in my footsteps. She also has a box filled with costumes from Halloweens past or things that I just picked up to help encourage her imagination. So now we are setting out on the ever important task of picking the perfect costume.

With a three year old settling on a costume can be quite the task. As I browsed PureCostumes.com I was excited with the selection. I started in the kids costumes where I was happy to see an easy to navigate side bar with categories. This way I could quickly head into areas of interest for my daughter. The two categories that jumped out for me were Fairy Tale Costumes and Princess Costumes.

A big character of interest for my daughter this year is Merida from Brave. This was her first movie that she saw in the theater and she has been talking about the it for weeks!
But I have a thing for monster and my eye was caught by the Monster Miss costume. How adorable is that?!?
Whatever type of costume you are looking for, for a child or an adult, you are sure to find it at PureCostumes.com. They have a great selection that is sure to get you in the Halloween spirit! And with their FREE Shipping during the month of July you might as well get a head start on your shopping!

Be sure to check out their website, as well as follow them on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news and sales.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

A visit with one of her favorite characters!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Purex - Let's Be Honest Contest and Giveaway!

Purex has become a new staple in our house. I have had the privelage of trying their new products as they come out and have been loving them so much that they are the first brand I go to when shopping for laundry detergent. 

Not only have I found their products to be great, but I have also come to love the company. They understand the demands on moms and how laundry is just another item on the endless "to-do" list. They keep this in mind when creating great products that save time and money. But they also keep it light and humorous. 

Right now Purex has a fun campaign going called "Let's Be Honest." Over at their YouTube site you can view videos that we can all relate to and have a little laugh about.  Each video is short and is sure to make you smile. Check out one of my favorites:
I think that is brilliant and I am going to have to plan a "deep cleaning" of my bathroom really soon!

Purex is offering three of my lucky readers a coupon for a free bottle of Purex! Enter below.

*I received free product coupons to facilitate this giveaway. No other compensation was exchanged and all opinions expressed were my own.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pink or Blue?

It's gonna be a BOY!

An American Girl: McKenna Shoots For the Stars

American Girl dolls and books were just starting to become really popular when I was a kid. I was around for the originals like Kirsten, Molly, and Samantha. But since my day they have grown into a hugely popular and hot commodity for young girls. From the books to the movies to the dolls and accessories. Not to mention the stores where you could spend hours browsing the huge selection of items! I can't wait to take my daughter to one of the stores for her first visit!

When I was offered the opportunity to host a part in honor of the release of McKenna Shoots for the Stars I jumped at the chance. I was anxious to see what the modern dolls were all about since I am really only familiar with the historical ones. So we gathered up some of the girls and their dolls and had a great afternoon of watching the movie, playing with dolls, and eating lots of snacks. It was the perfect day!

I was very impressed with McKenna and her story. I watched the two older girls (ages 7 and 10) as they watched the movie. They were so interested in what was happening and could easily fill me in when I missed something. They were also having side conversations about what was happening in the movie. They were the perfect ages for this movie.

McKenna is a character that lots of young girls can relate to. She's really into gymnastics and is putting her heart and soul into being the best she can be. But of course life gets in the way. With an injury and grades that are slipping, McKenna faces challenges with herself, her parents, and her friends. Throughout this film you watch a young girl who is vulnerable in so many ways rise to the occasion and overcome many challenges. This film sends positive messages about making school a priority, being honest with friends and working through problems, accepting everyone, and believing in yourself.

You can find this fun movie at Walmart, the American Girl Stores, and at AmericanGirl.com.

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I received a copy of this DVD and a movie kit for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Something to Make You Smile

I had a rough day at work yesterday... so my husband pulled this up on the computer to make me smile. Seriously, it's adorable. It definitely made me smile!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pear Tree Greetings - Party Invitations

If there is one thing I love it's throwing a good party! I look for reasons to throw parties just so I can get all my friends and family together for some food and fun. Of course the starting point is picking a theme. All of my parties are totally focused on a theme from the invitations to the decorations to the music. I love how you can pull it all together with just one fun idea!

When picking a theme I usually begin by browsing invitations. Pear Tree Greetings is a great place to start the creative juices flowing. They have an amazing selection of party invitations.
How cute are these invitations for a movie night? This invitation can put everyone in the mood and help you create a movie theater experience from the food (popcorn of course.... candy in boxes.... endless possibilities) to the decorations.
This invite caught my eye as we are right smack in the middle of summer. A BBQ is the perfect excuse to have people over and keep it simple. Break out the grill and fix up some burgers. You can even ask everyone to bring a side dish or dessert and keep it really easy on yourself!

Pear Tree has tons of ideas on the website and you can find even more on their Pinterest.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bun in the Oven

You may have noticed my slacking on getting posts out as often as I used to. I am happy to say that I have been so lax with my blog for good reason. I have been busy cooking.... a bun in the oven! Yes, our family of three is excited to become a family of four!

Things have been going really well with this pregnancy. Aside from some all day nauseous I have been feeling good. I think the toughest part has been pure exhaustion. All I want to do these days is sleep! I was hoping the second trimester would bring about some energy, but I'm still a walking zombie. It's definitely better.... but I am still napping in the afternoon while my little one naps and hitting the sack for the night shortly after she does. So my productivity level has gone down... way down... in many ways. Boy does my house need a good cleaning! And I haven't cooked a full home cooked meal in weeks. But I'm happy to be taking it easy and enjoy this time. I will get back to cooking and cleaning before I know it!

But of course I have some exciting things lined up for the next few weeks! I will be getting to those reviews and giveaways soon. And of course I will be sharing and updating as my life continues to change with this new addition!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July yesterday! We had a beautiful day celebrating with family and friends at a BBQ on the lake. We swam, we ate good food, and we laughed a lot! Here is a fun treat we made to make the day even more festive.....

These are so easy, taste great, and look fabulous! Simply dip in the strawberries in melted white chocolate and then immediately dip the tips into blue sprinkles. Fun and easy!