Saturday, February 27, 2010

whip it review

although i absolutely loved the movie juno, i felt very skeptical about the movie whip it. for some reason, it just struck me as a movie high school kids would like with some cheap romance, and girly athleticism.

i am here to confess that i was absolutely wrong.  bill and i both really enjoyed watching whip it.  in this movie, ellen page plays bliss cavendar, a misfit in her town and in her family.  unable to win the beauty pageants her mother has tried to groom her for, and outside of the "cool group" at school, bliss tries to find her identity in a tiny texas town.  when she discovers she has an ability for skating roller-derby style, things begin to take shape for her.  she keeps her derby identity secret from her family and her family identity secret from her derby friends for as long as she can, but soon her worlds collide.

i thought this movie had a great plot, a star-studded cast (including drew barrymore, marcia gay harden, juliette lewis, daniel stern and jimmy fallon), and some hilarious moments.  it was a much better exploration of the difficulties of coming-of-age than i expected to find.

i would be happy to recommend whip it.  if you are as skeptical as i was, you should give it a shot.  you may be as pleasantly surprised as i was!


i received a copy of this movie to review from 20th centry fox home entertainment through bender/helper impact.  the opinions expressed here are purely my own.  i do not get any compensation for this review unless you buy it using my link on amazon, who has promised to compensate me for giving you the link.

amelia review and giveaway

i recently had the opportunity to view the movie amelia.  i have to admit, i wasn't really sure what to expect.  when zoe and i learned that amelia earhart was a hero of kit kittredge, we read a book from the library about her.  unfortunately, very few of the details of her life stuck in my mind!

the movie starts with her flying the plane for her bold, 'round-the-world trip.  throughout the trip, she flashes back to various points of her life, including the introduction, wooing, and marriage to her husband george putnam.  their relationship survived her commitment to flying as well as a secret affair.

i have to admit, i was a little bit disillusioned with the person of amelia earhart.  i didn't really know that much about her personal life.  but i have to admit that she had a world of impact and the view of women at the time, as well as in creating a world where women could be taken seriously as pilots.  i would imagine that her influence spread into other areas where women needed to be taken seriously as well.

i was very impressed with the acting ability of academy award winner hilary swank and golden globe winner richard gere.  it was also a surprise to find ewan mcgregor showing up for a fairly significant role.  i think that this movie has some very good acting.  i was a little disappointed with the slow development of the plot.  whether it was because i was hoping to go into labor at the time or not, i found it a little hard to follow at times.

regardless, i have three copies of amelia to offer to you, my faithful readers.  if you would be interested in having your own copy of this movie, just leave me a comment below telling me one thing you know (off the top of your head) about amelia earhart.  (u.s. residents only).  i will select a winner using random.org on march 6.  make sure you leave me an email address so i can get in touch with you if you win.

i received a copy of this movie to review from twentiety century fox home entertainment through bender/helper impact. all the opinions expressed here are purely my own. if you use my link to buy the movie from amazon, i think i might get a little income.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

iron man: armored adventures (volume 2) review

at long last, the much-awaited (at least in this house!) sequel to the iron man adventures series has arrived.  bill and i thoroughly enjoyed the first series, and we have been waiting expectantly for this second volume.

this time the adventures of tony stark and his friends are filled with even bigger challenges, more secrets and more intense showdowns with the appearance to two new villains, living laser and madam masque.

tony stark continues to show his genius as he develops armor even more adaptable for his needs and unveils two brand-new suits.  he takes seriously his duty to save the world from evil, no matter what sacrifice might be required.

while these episodes are definitely more suitable for older boys and girls, i think it is great to have a hero who makes an admirable role-model, while providing a great story line that is filled with action and adventure, and even some fun-filled humor.  if you are looking for a fun series for your older kids, iron man: armored adventures, volume 2 is definitely a great choice.

it just so happens that i have 3 copies to giveaway as well.  if you think this is something you and your family might be interested in, please leave me a comment below telling me who your favorite superhero is.  i will randomly draw 3 winners from the comments on february 28.  (united state residents only please).

i received a free copy of this series to review from marvel animation, method films, genius products and vivendi entertainment through bender/helper impact.  the opinions expressed here are my own however.  the links here are amazon links and i might get some money if you buy the video using my link.  i promise to use it wisely.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

my new secret weapon...

as my countdown continues, i am trying to remind myself that basically i will just be trading one set of problems for another. but this time around, i have a secret weapon in my arsenal against sleep deprivation.

steaz teas has an energy drink that is different from any other energy drink out there. they use healthy, all-natural ingredients to provide an energy burst to carry you through the most exhausting moments of your day. the makers of steaz hated to think about all the unhealthy, unnatural ingredients that people were subjected to in the quest for a caffeinated beverage. they searched the world to come up with this drink that not only gives you a healthy boost of energy, but tastes great too.

at christmas, bill's aunt molly told us that she had stopped at one of those smoothie places and decided to get an "energy shot" added to her drink.  before she knew it, she was in the hospital having a severe allergic reaction.  the doctor told her that they are seeing more and more people coming in with allergic reactions to red bull and other energy drinks.  there is no need to worry about that with the steaz drink because they only use natural ingredients.

i had an opportunity to eat dinner with the co-founder of steaz teaz, eric schnell.  i was impressed with his commitment to find a healthier choice for soft drinks, as well as his commitment to fair trade, honest wages, and empowering the people who provide the ingredients for the drinks.  his commitment is so strong that he insists on including a picture of some of his farmers on the cans of tea themselves, so we can "get to know" the people who are working to provide us with our drinks.

as a result of his commitment, steaz drinks are certified fair trade, something that has become important to me as awareness grows about slavery and other unfair trade practices among tea providers.  they are also certified organic and certified vegan if those are concerns for you.

if you aren't in need of high energy, steaz also makes some other delicious beverages that are healthier than colas or other tea drinks that may wet your whistle.  steaz iced teaz come in a wide variety of flavors.  my favorite is green tea/blueberry/pomegranate.  i found the flavor just right and quite refreshing.  you can also choose from green tea/peach, green tea/lemon, black tea/lemon, green tea/mint and white tea/lime/pomegranate.  be warned that i found the lightly (and naturally) sweetened versions much tastier than the unsweetened version (maybe that is just because i have been heavily indoctrinated by the southern, "sweet tea" culture).

if a diet version is more your speed, steaz also makes sparkling teaz that are zero calories.  these come in raspberry, orange, blueberry and black cherry.  these are probably my favorite because i love a carbonated beverage but don't like the way i feel after drinking a soda and especially after drinking a diet soda.

they also make a regular sparkling tea available in lime, raspberry, root beer and orange.  i have not had the benefit of trying these yet, but i would love to sample the root beer.

steaz teas are available at whole foods and target.  i would love to tell you more about them, but all of a sudden, i am experiencing a strong craving to go get one for myself (and nobody wants to fight a pregnancy craving, especially at this stage of pregnancy!).

i was treated to dinner with co-founder, eric schnell, and one of his regional managers to learn more about steaz teaz.  they also sent me home with a bag full of samples and a gift card to whole foods.  i have been in no other way compensated for this review, and the opinions expressed here are purely my own.

Monday, February 15, 2010

auto-b-good, in the land of odds, dvd review

InthelandofOdds.jpg picture by mamabzzif you are like me and sometimes question the content and values expressed by the cartoons on tv, then you will like the auto-b-good, in the land of odds, dvd, put out by rising star studios.

this dvd ($7.99) has three episodes that each focus on an important moral or life lesson.  in the first one, johnny equates being dependable with being boring.  the "land of odds" quickly convinces him that dependability can be a good characteristic for everyone.

in another episode, cali gets a job so she can have more money for her true love--shopping.  the problem is, she shifts the responsibility onto her friends with disastrous results.  as a result, she learns the value of following through responsibly on a commitment.

in the last episode, the cars learn the value of goodwill as they see if "one small thought" can hold together their friendships. 

this dvd also includes two bonus episodes that highlight the values of "consideration" for others and "obedience" to the rules.

the girls loved watching this dvd.  zoe (age 7) has even asked to watch it again.  i thought my two-year-old would sit enraptured, given his love for the movie cars.  somehow, his interest didn't last for long.  i would probably just show him one episode at a time in the future--even though the total dvd running time is about 50 minutes, he would probably enjoy a shorter viewing time better. it makes sense that the recommended age for this dvd series is ages 3-7.

for me, while i didn't find the plot lines and character development completely gripping for myself, it was nice to know that i was letting the kids watch something that had good values.  in fact, later in the day, after they watched the video i was able to refer to the episode on "goodwill" as we talked about assuming the best about others, instead of immediately believing the worst about their intentions and actions.

if you want to take a look for yourself, check out the video on youtube.  if your kids like what they see, they can have more fun on the auto-b-good website, where they can join the "car club" among other activities.

this is a mama buzz review.  i received a complimentary copy of the dvd from rising star studios for the purpose of doing this review.  the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

thinking about money...

sometimes it seems like all i do is think about money.  it seems like almost everything we can do for fun as a family costs at least a little money.  we have been blessed to do as much as we have been able to do on our limited income, but it is still something that occupies my mind.

kodak and juiceboxjungle (from the ad over on your right) sponsored me to write a post about what I'd do with a surprise extra $100 if someone handed it to me next month.  i'm pretty sure that i could spend it all too quickly.


i would love to say that i would be altruistic and donate it to some charity, particularly for the people of haiti.  definitely, it would be great to give a portion of it to something like that.


i've also thought about some fun post-delivery clothes.  i'm definitely tired of maternity clothes but i know it is going to be awhile before i can fit into anything else after the baby comes.  i had lost almost all of my previous baby weight before i got pregnant (it might just be true that you can lose weight from "chasing" after kids all day).  i got rid of almost all my clothes that had gotten too big.  i might just have to keep wearing the rubber band to hold my pants together for awhile longer...


of course, i could just blow the whole wad on diapers.  i'm pretty sure that is going to be our biggest expense for awhile.  we've gotten used to changing tate's diapers just a couple times a day.  i'm sure we are in for a little diaper shock when this baby comes.


if someone truly were to give me $100 for anything i want, i know exactly what i would do.  i would get a better haircut (don't even get me started on how bad my latest one was) that would make me feel like a cool, hip mama (if that is possible) and, if there was any left, a manicure.  i just have been having a desire to make the parts of me beautiful that i actually can have some control over!


kodak has some information in the ad about how you can save money on printer ink.  if this is something you haven't given some thought to before, you might just want to check out what they have to say...

nescafe winner!

well, i gave it an extra week to see if anyone else wanted a chance to try some delicious instant coffee packets. everyone must want to rush right out and buy their own instead of waiting for them to come in the mail!

our winner is...
 

congratulations cheryl f. from laughing ladybug!  i hope you enjoy your samples!

Monday, February 1, 2010

words that rhyme with orange cd review

we are a music-crazy family. we often have to deal with battles over what to listen to in the car and what to listen to at night and naptime. since we received this cd, however, our battles have decidedly lessened. everyone in the family (even mom and dad) can agree on listening to this cd.

peppy music, clever (i mean, very clever) lyrics all make this cd a family favorite.  the kids' favorite song, as best as i can tell, seems to be "happy to be me."  when i sampled the cd here, i had played the song for all of two seconds before tessa started dancing and asking me to turn it up.  i figured that was a good sign.  since we received it in the mail, "juicebox" and "lionmonkeybacondonkey" have joined the list of favorites.

my personal favorite (i've declared it our family theme song) is "the sound of whining" in which we are reminded that "no one likes to hear the sound of whining / whining makes you want to plug your ears and run away / everything sounds better when you're smiling / so no more whining today."  i also love, love, love the song "more," a love song to a child, which i would love to learn well enough to sing to the baby when it comes.  i have to admit that the song, "don't do it" makes me a little sick to my stomach, but i do appreciate the message, particularly as this has been a problem in the past (you'll just have to get the cd to know what i'm talking about!).

i feel like i say this every time, but this is honestly a cd that i am happy to listen to over and over again (unlike this one).  even bill commented (out of the blue) the other day that he really appreciates the clever lyrics of the songs on this cd.  this is definitely a cd that falls in the category of "family favorite."

how do you get it for yourself?  since this is an independent and self-produced cd, you can't find it in stores.  you can, however, find it (and a sample) on ross king's website, as well as on i-tunes and through amazon


the cd is $12.00 from ross king direct, but the download is $9.99 from i-tunes and only $7.99 from amazon. i can honestly say that, though the recommended ages are 2-12, your whole family will be glad to have this cd in their collection.

our family received a copy of this cd from ross king for the purpose of this mama buzz review. regardless, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are purely my own. also, if you use my link to amazon to purchase this cd, they have promised me a token of commission.

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