Saturday, October 30, 2010

holiday gift guide: strawberry shortcake (w/giveaway)

around here, we have already had a great deal of discussion about what everyone wants for christmas this year.  besides various toys, everyone likes to get a new movie to watch for our weekly sunday night movie event.

this year, strawberry shortcake has been a busy little lady.  she has released not one but two new movies.  strawberry shortcake is always a hit around here so everyone will be watching berrywood here we come and the full-length cgi feature, the glimmerberry ball movie.

the glimmerberry ball movie is great for christmas.  in this movie, the girls prepare to celebrate the coming of winter with a secret gift exchange and a festive winter ball.  unfortunately, someone destroys their decorations and the girls all carve the same design in the Glimmerberry Ball lantern event, so they have some mysteries to solve before they can fully enjoy the celebration.

in berrywood here we come, first, the girls go visit a movie star friend of strawberry shortcake named limelight. unfortunately, they need to work together to convince limelight realize that everyone can shine – because everyone is a star!  in part two, hooray for berrywood! strawberry and friends bring their berrywood experience home and help re-open a local theater.

i know my girls are going to be excited to find both these movies under the tree (and tate won't admit it, but he'll enjoy watching these with the girls as well!

i have a copy of each to giveaway to two wonderful readers.  just leave a comment here telling me who you would love to share one of these movies with this holiday season!  i will draw two winners using on november 18, in honor of my sister's birthday.

i received information and copies of both these movies for the purpose of this review.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

holiday gift guide: harriet the spy: blog wars review

if there is one book i read over and over again when i was growing up, it was harriet the spy.  there was something about that melancholy goodness that satisfied some need in me.  i would have loved a movie version.

harriet the spy: blog wars is a little different than i would have imagined harriet the spy when i was growing up.  however, we all really enjoyed this modernized movie version. 

i was a little worried about the age appropriateness.  tate and tessa weren't as into it as zoe was.  i would probably recommend this more for 9-10 year olds.  but bill and i enjoyed it as much as zoe did.  i think this is a great family film.  it has a good lesson and a fun plotline.

this would make a great gift this holiday season for the preteen girl on your list!

i received a free copy of this movie for the purpose of this review.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

holiday gift guide: goosebumps and garfield

if you want to know the honest truth, i let my kids watch a couple episodes of garfield, and he isn't my favorite.  i know, we watched looney tunes and tom and jerry with no terrible side effects that i can identify.  so why don't i like my kids to watch shows with characters that aren't nice to each other?  i recognize that we don't live in a barney type of world, yet i want my kids to be exposed to that kind of falsehood rather than the garfield falsehood.

anyway, if you don't have the same neurotic hangups that i do, you may want to think about getting the garfield odie oh! show for someone for christmas.  i will admit, there is a bit of nostalgia for me, hearing that trademark garfield voice...maybe you feel the same way.

for those preteen boys on your list, may i suggest goosebumps, the blob that ate everyone and go eat worms for a disgusting and creepy gift they're sure to love.  even though these aren't the kind of movies my kids usually watch, the cgi animation looks pretty cool.
i will be having more suggestions for your holiday gift guide.  after all, i aim to be helpful this holiday season!

i received free copies of these movies for the purpose of this review.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

halloween special: star wars: clone wars online game

if you like star wars, and if you have been hoping that you can get online to enjoy participating in star wars games, and, if the icing on the cake would be that this game included some spooky halloween elements, all your wishes have now come true!

this halloween, the sony online games are adding halloween elements to their games, including star wars: clone wars.

give it a try!  (just don't tell bill about it...he doesn't need any more time-wasters!)

Friday, October 29, 2010

toy story 3 election event

if you live in the vicinity of naperville, and are free on tuesday, november 2, from 2-6 pm, take your kids over to blockbuster (3204 s. route 59) for an election day event.  celebrate the release of toy story 3, buy a copy for yourself, and let your kids vote for their favorite character.  

your kids can enjoy cake, cookies and beverages, get their faces painted and participate in a costume contest.  (and if you need a gift idea for me, this would be it!).  rsvp at this facebook page

i received this information from pr chicago to pass on to you with no compensation for myself.

holiday gift guide: glee, the complete first season

by the time the kids get put to bed at night, most of the good shows on tv are over and done.  this means we miss out on a lot of the great shows that people are talking about.

for people like us, a great holiday gift idea is television episodes on dvd.  that way, we have the viewing pleasure without commercial interruption.  we can, however, pause for child interruption and still not miss anything.

i had heard a lot of positive reviews about the show, glee, but never had the opportunity to watch it for myself.  now that i have the dvds, bill and i have both become glee fanatics.  almost against our will, we found ourselves drawn into the plot.  now we can't wait for season two to come out on dvd.

if you are looking for a fun gift for a special couple, think about giving the gift of glee.  trust me, they'll thank you for it!

i received a copy of the season one episodes of glee for the purpose of this review.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

the hills are alive...again! the sound of music re-released!

quick, finish this line, "raindrops on roses, whiskers on .                         ."

this year marks the 45th anniversary of the sound of music.   on november 2, the blu-ray version of the movie will be released.  as you consider whether you should put it on your holiday wish list or go ahead and buy it immediately for yourself, make sure you don't miss some of the fun events connected to the movie release.

Oprah Cast Reunion
For the first time in 45 years, the entire cast of The Sound of Music will gather for a once-in-a-lifetime reunion on the “Oprah” show stage on Friday, October 28, 2010.  The show will also include a performance from the singing group The von Trapp Children, which features members of the real von Trapp family.

VH1 Holiday Gala
On Monday, November 8th, the VH1 Save The Music Foundation will honor, a living legend, JULIE ANDREWS along with previously announced Grammy® Award Winners John Legend, John Mayer and The ASCAP Foundation. The program for the evening will celebrate music as universal language that shapes our life stories and include a special tribute to the 45th Anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music.

Anniversary CD
To mark the 45th Anniversary of the most popular movie musical of all time, Legacy Recordings, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment are proud to announce the release THE SOUND OF MUSIC: 45th ANNIVERSARY EDITION.  The CD will include the soundtrack from the much-loved film, plus a vibrant new recording of the film’s signature tune, “My Favorite Things,” sung by Lea Michele from the popular FOX-TV series GLEE.

Theatrical Re-release and Sing-A-Long Event
For the first time since 1973, The Sound of Music twirls back into nearly 500 theaters nationwide in stunning high definition to commemorate the beloved musical’s 45th anniversary. The Sound of Music Sing-Along Event includes the sing-along version of the fully restored feature with classic songs that have delighted fans for decades, such as “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” “The Sound of Music,” “Edelweiss,” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”

i didn't receive anything for giving you this information.  i just thought you would like to know.  after all, how can you possibly miss seeing the movie in the theater and singing along with fans who love the movie as much as you do!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

kt tunstall tiger suit review

if there is one thing i need if i'm going to be working hard (like unpacking box after box after box) it is some energizing music to keep me going.  kt tunstall's new album tiger suit definitely fit the bill for me. 

i had not previously heard of the scottish-born singer and songwriter, even though this is her third album to be released.  sometimes i feel so out-of-touch with the latest and greatest singers so i was happy to give this album a listen.

i have really enjoyed it.  the music isn't so 'hard' that i have to worry about blasting the neighbors upstairs.  it does, however, have enough energy and enthusiasm to make even my most mundane chores (folding laundry, anyone?) more enjoyable.

i even decided to play the album when the kids came home from school.  i think we all were in better moods as a result!  if anything can help keep some sanity in our home during the 'witching hour' between school and supper, it gets high marks in my book.  kt tunstall's album definitely did the job for us. 

if you would like to check kt tunstall out for yourself, you can see her video here.  check out her official website here.  she's on tour now so she may even be coming to a town near you soon!

i received a free copy of the tiger suit album and the information about kt tunstall from the one2one network for the purpose of this review.  regardless, the opinions expressed here are purely my own.

Friday, October 15, 2010

adventures in odyssey cd collection

if there is one thing we have learned in our eight years of parenting, it is how to keep everyone occupied and entertained for long car trips.  one of the best things we can do (if we don't want them to watch movies the entire time!) is to have a book or story on cd.  for our latest trek to michigan, we had the excitement of a new adventures in odyssey cd collection:  cause and effect (it retails for $24.99 but is only $16.49 right now at amazon).

since i enjoyed listening to episodes of adventures in odyssey when i was growing up, it is hard for me to believe that focus on the family is still producing episodes.  this collection makes number 52 for returning characters like whit, connie and eugene.

right away the whole family got caught up in the mysterious events at the clock tower.  the miles flew by as we waited to hear how the mystery would be solved.  on the return trip, we waited to hear another mystery solved involving a "phantom of the school play."  i was surprised that stories didn't scare anyone; they seem to keep everyone at a healthy level of suspense without crossing the line into fearfulness.

as it gets closer to thanksgiving and the holidays, i'm sure we will enjoy the "thankstaking story" episode and "white elephant gift."  hopefully these episodes will help us to have a successful and enjoyable 8-hour trip to tennessee.

these stories are actually geared for children age 8 and above.  sometimes as bill and i listen, we wonder if the issues addressed are too mature for tessa and tate.  they don't seem to notice themselves.  tate has asked repeatedly to hear the clock tower episode again, in spite of its description of unrequited love.

if you are already looking for great christmas gift ideas, i would say you can't go wrong with the adventures in odyssey collection, cause and effect.  we'll be listening to it again and again.

i received a free copy of the collection from tyndale publishers for the purpose of this review.  the information presented here comes from them but the opinions expressed here are purely my own.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the greatest show on earth...back in town

it's true...the circus is coming back to chicago.  after reading the program from last year's circus so many times that we all have it memorized, we are ready to experience the sights, sounds and smells once again.

how do you go about celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of legendary p.t. barnum?  you make the greatest show on earth even greater!  the performers of the show do this by challenging the expected, exceeding expected limits and highlighting extraordinary skills and talents as they seek to answer the question, "what special wonders create the 'greatest show on earth'?"

some possible "wonders" to answer the question include trapeze artists who will try to master the quadruple somersault, a feat not previously mastered in three decades;  three contortionists manage to fit themselves into a cube the size of a milk crate; or the mighty meetal, the strongest man in the world, who will lift over 1,200 pounds.

of course the show would not be complete without animals.  in addition to the asian elephants, we'll see horses, tigers (tate's favorite!) pygmy and nubian goats, as well as a rare watusi.

of course, chicago area residents will not want to miss a show like this.  you have two different options for viewing this incredible program.  november 4-14, the show will be at the allstate arena.  november 17-28, the show will then move to the united center.

don't miss out on the special discount.  by entering "mom" into the mc promotions box at ticketmaster, you can get a four-pack of tickets for $44 monday through thursday and for the friday matinees.  for weekend shows, you can get $4 off each ticket using the same code.  we'll be there november 17 so we'll watch for you then if you make it!

our family will receive free tickets to the show in exchange for passing on this information to you. all information shared here comes from the feld family entertainment group. the opinions expressed here are purely my own.

smelly washer winner!

we have a winner of the smelly washer towel cleaner!

congratulations lili!  (you know that you are going to need to share some of this with your mom!)

for the rest of you, there is still time to enter the giveaway of photo cards or a blog layout.  check it out!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"life as we know it" review

whether date night is a regularly scheduled event for you or a once-a-year treat, this is the weekend to get a babysitter and treat yourselves to a fun movie.  in the midst of packing and dodging boxes, bill and i took advantage of an opportunity to view a screening of life as we know it at northwestern university.  with all the stress we were dealing with as a result of our move, this movie provided much needed feel-good and comic relief.

holly (katherine heigl) gets set up with messer (josh duhamel) in what turns out to be one of the worst blind dates in history.  unfortunately, the tragic death of their best friends brings them together again as they are left to care for their goddaughter together.  it is our pleasure to watch them experience the ups and downs of parenting and juggling busy work schedules and date nights.  together they discover what really matters in coming together as a family.

at first i thought that this movie seemed to have a pretty predictable plot.  from the trailer, i thought i would know everything that was going to happen when i watched the movie.  i was pleasantly surprised, however, to discover that there were enough plot twists and unexpected developments to keep me intrigued and interested throughout the movie.  supporting characters provide plenty of comedic moments as well. even bill enjoyed the movie, and he is a tough customer to please!  all in all this is a great date movie.  (even the college kids that made up the audience of the screening laughed loud and hard throughout--albeit at different things than we as parents laughed at!).

greg berlanti (tv's brothers and sisters and everwood) directed this movie.  i think he has demonstrated a great ability to get into the heart of his characters and bring us along for a heartwarming ride.

so get a babysitter and have a great night at the movies!

bill and i were invited to a free screening of this movie.  we will receive a gift card as a thank you for writing this review.  regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own.

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