Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guest Post: 9 Creative Ways to Help Kids Say I Love You by Susie Monday

 



"Got a tactile-learner? A kid who loves to dance? Or maybe your child really loves color? While every child has a constellation of Sensory Alphabet strengths (shape, color, movement and sound are just a few), your child probably has one or two that really stand out — that you notice in his or her artwork or in elements of his or her collections and activities. Valentine’s Day crafts provide ways for parents to nurture these strengths and help kids say I love you in fun creative ways. Below are craft ideas designed for each element of the Sensory Alphabet.



SHAPE: Is your child’s art always full of shapes? Cut out cookies! Make the process easier and faster by using dough from the grocery store refrigerator case. Find imaginative cookie cutters and combine shapes and words to say I love you in new ways.

SOUND: Let sound-oriented kids make a Valentine’s wind chime with metal, glass and wooden craft store finds. Throw in everyday household items like bowls and plates to create loving symphony.

COLOR: Make "stained glass" cookies with color-loving kids, using bread stick dough. Shape it to make the "leading" on a cookie sheet topped with foil. Use crushed colored sugar candies in the spaces, cook at 350 degrees and let the candies melt. Let cool before peeling off the foil. Experiment with the colors and explore what else can represent love besides red.

MOVEMENT: Have your kids spell out the letters of “I Love You” with their bodies, and then take pictures. These can be used to create a sweet card or frame.

LIGHT: Appoint the light-loving child as the official photographer for holiday events. A lesson in digital app photo editing (PhotoPad is free for the iPad) or in designing digital slideshows or print-on-demand books puts this creative eye into action.

TEXTURE: Make a Valentine’s card that focuses on touch rather than sight. Use bows, ribbons, homemade tassels and other textured embellishments. Feathers and sponge-and-paint prints are fun to cover things with.

SPACE: For little builders, create a giant heart using recycled boxes wrapped in plain paper or Popsicle sticks. Decorate it with stickers, markers, doilies and colored paper. When it’s done create a set of keys, and have your child give them to family and loved ones.

RHYTHM: With your rhythm kid, fill small glass jars (such as baby food jars or small jelly jars) with a tablespoon of different shake-able items such as beans, rice, red-and-green beads, and metal washers. Decorate the lids with foil tied around the tops and stickers for patterns. Shake along to Valentine’s songs.

LINE: A linear thinker loves stories. Put him or her to work making handmade Valentine’s books using photos that tell a story about the great love stories in your family. Start with folded paper with a construction paper cover, hole-punched and tied with string or stitched down the center on the sewing machine for the binding.

Matching a creative thinking strength to the right set of materials and a fun challenge can make it more fun -- and help your child build from his or her strengths."

About the Author:

Susie Monday is an educator and artist and co-author of The Missing Alphabet, A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids, with Susan Marcus and Dr. Cynthia Herbert. Visit her website to learn more at: http:/www.themissingalphabet.com.

 The Missing Alphabet: A Parents' Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids


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Ultimate Mobile Mom Giveaway Event

 

Welcome to the Ultimate Mobile Mom Giveaway sponsored by MobileMom.com, Rakuten.com Shopping, Snugli, and Britax! Before we get to the giveaway I want to introduce to you MobileMom.com! Mobile Mom is a collection of apps for your smartphone that provide pregnancy info on your mobile device — anytime, anywhere! If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, these apps were designed just for you! The following apps are currently available (for FREE!) in the Apple Store and Google Play:
 
Ovulation Calculator — This app will help you determine your most fertile days to increase your chances of conceiving each month.

Due Date Calculator — This app will calculate your due date and keep track of important pregnancy milestones.
 
Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator — Concerned with keeping your weight in check during pregnancy? The Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator will help you stay within your healthy range.

Pregnancy Test — Think you might be pregnant? Determine the likelihood with this intuitive app by answering just a few questions. It’s proven algorithm will provide you with an answers!

Baby Names Finder — Browse through thousands of unique, traditional, and popular names to find the perfect name for your baby! Find out a name’s origin, meaning, popularity and create a list of your favorites to help you narrow it down.

Pregnancy Talk — This app hasn’t been released yet but it’s coming soon! Find friendship and support from other moms during the most important time in your life. Join the Pregnancy Talk community for 24/7 access to moms who are going through or have been through the same things you are! Ask questions, give advice based on your own experiences and more! If you have any friends that are pregnant or trying to conceive, please pass this info along to them — I’m sure they’d appreciate it!

So, what three things does every mobile mom need? A carseat, a baby carrier and a great diaper bag! Read on to find out more about what we are giving away.



Well made and versatile, the Britax Baby Carrier is a must-have for moms and dads alike. The adjustable waist belt is one size fits all (22 inches to 56 inches) making it easy to switch from one parent to another. It is designed to distribute weight across shoulders, back and hips for comfort and extended wear. A removable infant insert makes the carrier suitable for infants from 8 pounds to toddlers up to 32 pounds. The Britax Baby Carrier features multiple carrying positions, one handed buckles and snaps for ease of use and harness straps that adjust in front for a customized fit. These are just a few of the many features of the baby carrier. Britax really has thought of everything! Also available in an organic version, the Britax Baby Carrier retails for around $129. For more information visit www.britax.com.


Snugli has just introduced a new line of car seats that feature OUTLAST temperature management technology designed to keep children safe and comfortable by maintaining their ideal body temperature. This technology has the ability to absorb and store excess heat to reduce overheating. Similarly, when the child’s temperature drops, the car seat’s stored heat is released always keeping the child comfortable. The Snugli All-In-One Carseat which accommodates children ranging from 5-110 pounds (internal harness up to 65 lbs) features 3 layers of side impact foam technology to reduce side impact crash forces by 50%. The LATCH system connectors allows quick and easy installation while the TruTether feature gives you peace of mind with it’s green indicator which notifies you when the tether has been properly tightened. This carseat also features 3 position incline. You can find out more about Snugli Carseats by visiting www.snugli.com 





Last but not least, you’ll find just about everything you need for baby at Rakuten.com Shopping, including a number of top of the line diaper bags, such as this Coach Signature Stripe diaper bag, to make sure you're stylish while on the go. In fact, Rakuten.com Shopping is providing one lucky winner with $500 worth of Rakuten Super Points to shop for all your baby necessities, through the convenience and ease of shopping online, if you win the Ultimate Mobile Mom Giveaway! To learn more and experience great prices and a convenient shopping experience for yourself, visit www.rakuten.com or @RakutenShopping on Twitter. Feeling lucky? Enter to win all three of these great prizes by filling out the form below. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: This is a sponsored giveaway. Inspired by Savannah is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.
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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood with Jason Mraz this Valentine's Day!



There’s even more to love in the Neighborhood!

"This Valentine’s Day, multi-Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum pop artist Jason Mraz brings his signature sound to the hit television series for preschoolers, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood!  “You Are Special,” an all-new episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood premieres nationally on PBS KIDS, Thursday, February 14 (check local listings).

Children’s television visionary Fred Rogers has long been an inspiration to Mraz, who even performs the theme from the beloved Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood at some of his concerts.  Now, with the upcoming special episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Mraz will help bring Rogers’ timely message of love and acceptance to a new generation of preschoolers and families nationwide!  The world-renowned musician has recorded the opening and closing tunes – “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and “It’s Such a Good Feeling” – classic songs penned and originally performed by Rogers himself.  The (very lovable!) episode also features a sweet strategy for young viewers, one that was near and dear to Rogers’ own heart: “I like you just the way you are.” 

We invite you to share the love and celebrate the important message of this extra-adorable show with the little ones in your life via these fun tips inspired by Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and the new episode, “You Are Special”:

·         Make a Valentine!  Help your child create a very special Valentine for a very special someone who is important to them.  It can be a relative, teacher, friend - or another “neighbor” who they care about.  Be sure to include what makes that person so wonderful!
·         Sing a Song!  Daniel Tiger loves to sing songs!  Have your child write their own lyrics to the classic “You are Special” tune and invite them to sing it to an extra-special friend or relative
·         Take a Valentine’s Day Walk!  Stroll through your own neighborhood just like Daniel and Dad do together in the new episode, stopping to say “hello” to all the neighbors and friends you meet along the way
·         Create a “You Are Special” List!  Think about it together and write down some of the unique things that make each family member or friend so special and lovable

And don’t forget to tune-in to “You Are Special”!  Watching this endearing episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is the perfect way for preschoolers and families to celebrate the Valentine’s Day holiday together!"
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This is 40 Arriving on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Copy on March 22, 2013 -- Pre-order Your Copy Now



From The Director Of Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Comes The Newest, Laugh-out-Loud Comedy
Starring Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Segel, Megan Fox, Albert Brooks and John Lithgow
 
This is 40
 
“High-spirited and hilarious” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
 
Coming to Blu-ray Combo Pack with Unrated Version, DVD, Digital Copy & UltraViolet, on March 22, 2013
 
 
"A midlife milestone sends a long-married couple  into an uproarious tailspin in This is 40, coming to Blu-rayCombo Pack, DVD and On Demand on March 22, 2013, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Audiences fell in love with contentiously loving couple Pete and Debbie in Judd Apatow’s comedy sensation Knocked Up. Five years later Apatow reunites with his hilarious creations as Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann reprise their roles as husband and wife balancing the challenges and rewards of marriage and parenthood with the milestone of turning 40. The Blu-ray Combo Pack includes a hilarious unrated edition along with more than an hour of extended and additional scenes, backstage documentaries andcommentary by the cast and of the raucous and raunchy comedy that Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman says is “laugh-out-loud funny.”
 
The Blu-rayCombo Pack allows consumers to view This Is 40 anytime, anywhere on the platform of their choice. It includes a Blu-raydisc, a DVD, a Digital Copy and UltraViolet for the ultimate, complete viewing experience.
·           Blu-raydisc unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring perfect hi-def picture and hi-def sound.
·           DVD offers the flexibility and convenience of playing movies in more places, both at home and away.
·           Digital Copy provides consumers with a choice of formats from a variety of partners, including options to watch on iPhone®, Android, computers and more.
·           UltraVioletis a revolutionary new way for consumers to collect their movies and TV shows in the cloud. UltraViolet lets consumers instantly stream and download to tablets, smartphones, computers and TVs. Now available in both the United States and Canada.
 
Paul Rudd (I Love You Man, Role Models) and Leslie Mann (The Change-Up, Funny People) head up a stellar comedy cast that includes Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Megan Fox (Transformers), John Lithgow (Rise of the Planet of the Ape, Terms of Endearment) and Albert Brooks (Broadcast News, Drive), with Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids), Iris Apatow (Funny People), Maude Apatow (Knocked Up), Annie Mumolo, (Bridesmaids), Robert Smigel (You Don’t Mess With the Zohan), Charlyne Yi (Knocked Up) and Lena Dunham (“Girls”).

Bonus Features Exclusive to the Blu-rayTM
·               Unrated Edition
·               The Making Of This Is 40
·               This Is Albert Brooks (At Work)
·               Graham Parker & The Rumour: Long Emotional Ride
·               Brooks-O-Rama
·               Biking With Barry
·               Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
·               Kids On The Loose 3
·               Bodies By Jason Commercial
·               Fresh Air With Terry Gross
·               Deleted, Extended & Alternate Scenes
·               Over A Half Hour of Music with Graham Parker and the Rumour, and Ryan Adams
 
Bonus Features on Both the Blu-rayTM and DVD
·               Gag Reel
·               Line-O-Rama
·               More Deleted Scenes
·               More Music from Graham Parker and the Rumour, and Ryan Adams
·               Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Judd Apatow
 
SYNOPSIS
From the director of Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin comes an unfiltered, comedic look inside the life of an American family. After years of marriage, Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are approaching a milestone meltdown. As they try to balance romance, careers, parents and children in their own hilarious ways, they must also figure out how to enjoy the rest of their lives. Featuring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Segel, Megan Fox, John Lithgow and Albert Brooks, This is 40 is a candid and heartwarming comedy about the challenges and rewards of marriage and parenthood in the modern age."
 

 

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Book Review: The Runner by A. Wayne Gill



Runner+Book+Cover

Synopsis:
What happens when a brilliant attorney combines his legal knowledge with his insight into relationship? Well, imagine Nicholas Sparks and John Grisham got together and decided to write a novel. Wayne Gill's The Runner is the story of a preacher's son who foregoes a path to the pulpit for law school in the city. 
Michael Knight has the perfect life - a perfect family, a perfect relationship and a perfect future. Groomed to follow in his father's footsteps, Michael's career as a preacher is laid out before him. But he has a secret that will take him from being a small town preacher's kid to the heart of the big city, where everything seems golden, glittery and glamorous. When he gets the opportunity of a lifetime, Michael glimpses a future of power, influence and wealth. The whole world is his for the taking, but at what cost? Will he trade in all he has been for all he could become?"
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My Thoughts:
 I love reading books by authors I am not familiar with, especially when they are part of a series.  So, when the folks at Glass Road Public Relations reached out last month to see if I wanted to be apart of their book blog tour for A. Wayne Gill's upcoming release, "The Runner: Book One in the Michael Knight Series.  The synopsis alone got me excited about this book, and I couldn't wait to read it.  And, once I did receive the review copy, I found it hard to put down, and finished the book in one day.

If you love suspense and thriller type books, then you will thoroughly enjoy A. Wayne Gill's book about Michael Knight, the perfect man -- or, is he?  While his family wants him to follow in his father's footsteps of becoming a preach, Michael has other desires, which include becoming a lawyer.  Will he turn his back on his family to achieve his own goals in life, or will be settle and become a small town preacher like everyone wants him to be.  This page turning will have on the edge of your seat as you wonder which path Michael finally chooses and how this will impact his life, and those he loves.

I am not going to spoil the ending of this first, in what I hope, will be many more books in the Michael Knight series.  I will say, however, that all the characters are filled with intrigue and are described in such a way, you can't help but want to learn more about them and their inner thinking, and how they play a part in Michael Knight's life and decisions.

This is one book I will definitely be sharing with my book club, and one you should consider picking up and reading today. You will not be disappointed!

About the Author
Wayne Gill When he isn't crafting legal dramas, Wayne Gill serves as CEO and Managing Partner of Gill Dion & Forsyth P.A., a law firm with offices in Florida and Georgia that serves some of the top companies in the world, including AT&T, Hilton Hotels Corporation, SunTrust Bank, and American Express.
This husband and father earned his B.A. in English from Trinity College and law degree from George Washington University. His first book, Tales My Grandma Told Me - a Business Diversity Fable, has been referred to as the "Bible" of supplier diversity.

Wayne has been recognized among the 50 Most Powerful Black Professionals in South Florida and the Who's Who in Black South Florida. He's received Macy's Crystal Award for Outstanding Minority Business Advocacy, and he's received several honors from NMSDC affiliates and the local Bar Associations. In 2002, he received Northwood University's Arthur E. Turner Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Betterment of Mankind. He is a board member of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County and Secretary of the Board for The Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council.

While practicing law, running a successful law firm, and writing novels keeps him super busy, Wayne is also a passionate, committed co-founder and legal advisor to Oasis Compassion Agency, a non-profit empowerment agency for the disadvantaged. 


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Arriving on Blu-ray for the First Time in March from Echo Bridge Entertainment (Review)


I have finally jumped on the bandwagon and purchased a Blu-ray player.  I know, I know, they have been out for a while.  But, those close to me know I don't like change, including updating electronics.  It took me awhile to switch to the DVD player -- and, I have to admit, I still love using the VHS player to let the girls watch some of my old children's movies I collected and watched over the years.  But, with the purchase of a Blu-ray player comes deciding which new movies to buy, and which of my all-time favorite movies to update and buy on Blu-ray player.  With that being said, I was excited to hear that Echo Bridge Entertainment was releasing a few of my favorite titles on Blu-ray for the first time .  

This March, fans of the following three movies can finally purchase and enjoy them when they become available on Blu-ray:

Down to You Music of the HeartPlaying By Heart

One of the reasons I love these movies so much is that I saw them with my now-husband as date night flicks when we were dating, and also enjoyed them with girlfriends when we had girls-night in pampering parties.  Who doesn't like to watch a romantic comedy or inspirational movie every once in a while.  And, with these titles you will surely be entertained and walk away with a good feeling.  I can't tell you how many movies I have seen recently and felt like I wasted my money and time on.  The plot was nothing to write home about, and the actors really didn't move me or make me feel like they were excited about the role they were playing.  But, with these three upcoming Blu-ray releases from Echo Bridge Entertainment, you will find yourself wanting to watch these movies over and over again.  Don't worry, I am not going to bore you with a review of each, as they have out for years and there have been countless written and video reviews done on them.  I just wanted to make you aware of these upcoming Blu-ray movies, so that you can mark your calendars and pick up when they become available in March -- or, better yet, pre-order them now and sit back and wait for them to arrive).  

Disclosure:  I was sent copies of these titles from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.



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Chobani Introduces New Products for 2013, Including New Chobani Flip Flavors (Review)




Have you tried the new products from Chobani?  Recently, they announced the following new products that would be hitting store shelves this month:


– Chobani Bite: A perfectly portioned, crave-worthy snack that hits the spot.

– Chobani Champions Tubes: Greek low-fat yogurt blended with real fruit available in grab-and-go tubes for kids to enjoy wherever they go.

– Chobani Flip: Authentic strained Greek yogurt paired with crunchy mix-ins let you flip and create your perfect mix.

– New 6oz. Chobani Flavors: Countlessly requested fan-favorites, Pear and Banana.

I recently had the opportunity to try out the two new Chobani Flip yogurt flavors in Vanilla Chocolate Raspberry and Honey Banana flavors with my family, and they were a hit.  We have been fans of Chobani since they were introduced in stores, and love how great this Greek yogurt tastes.  As a mom, I love how they offer products for both children and adults to enjoy.  If you were to look in our refrigerator right now, you would see an entire shelf dedicated to Chobani yogurt.  While the girls love Chobani Champions, which is made up of Greek low-fat yogurt and real fruit, it makes for a great snack mid morning or in the afternoon.  Even though my oldest daughter, Savannah, is a picky eater, she loves all the Chobani products I have tried with her - including the new Chobani flip yogurt flavors.  Note: Chobani flip also comes in the following flavors


  • Vanilla Golden Crunch — Vanilla non-fat yogurt with cornflakes, honey oats and pecans
  • Key Lime Crumble — Key Lime low-fat yogurt with graham crumble and white chocolate
  • Strawberry Sunrise — Strawberry non-fat yogurt with honey oats
  • Almond Coco Loco — Coconut low-fat yogurt with dark chocolate and sliced toasted almonds.


As a busy mom on the go, who sometimes doesn't have time to sit down and have a healthy breakfast or lunch, I love how I can grab these Chobani Flip yogurts.  And, they fit great in the cooler bag, in case I have to bring snacks for on the go.  While the girls love to have me pour the mix in crunches or fruit into the yogurt and mix it all together, I preferred to scoop up the authentic strained Greek yogurt and dip it in the flip cup for a sweet treat.  Out of the two flavors I was sent from the folks at Chobani to review, Vanilla Chocolate Raspberry and Honey Banana, I have to say my favorite was the honey banana.  The combination of the sweetness of the honey and bananas, mixed with the Greek yogurt, made a yummy treat.  It tastes so good, you would think that it wouldn't be healthy for you -- but, it is -- which I love!!! :-)  And, go figure, my daughters and husband preferred the vanilla chocolate raspberry. My husband is a fan of raspberry, while the girls, like their Mommy, love chocolate.  They especially loved the crunchy pieces of chocolate, which melted in their mouth.  This is one snack I don't mind have the girls ask for more. :-)

So, if your family is a fan of the Chobani brand, or wants to try some great new Greek yogurt products for 2013, why not pick up the Chobani Flip yogurt cups, or other new products from Chobani the next time you head to the market.  They make for a great lunch box snack for both children and adults, and are great for busy moms looking for a delicious snack that can enjoyed on the go, or when you don't have time to sit down and enjoy a meal.



Disclosure: I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Dove Family-Approved Films from Echolight Studios (Review)





I recently stumbled across another family-friendly faith based film studio that offers a wonderful selection of movies the whole family can enjoy together.  So, when I reached out and was sent the following three recent releases from Echolight Studios, I couldn't wait to watch them and see how they compared to other film studios I have worked with.  Here is more about each of the movies I was sent, along with my thoughts on each.


The Perfect Stranger 
Buy now for only $


Synopsis:

"Nikki should be happy. She is a successful lawyer with a beautiful daughter and a husband she cherishes. From the outside looking in, everything about her life seems perfect. But in reality, Nikki is suffering. The cracks beneath the surface have reached her heart, and she longs for a love more pure than any she can find on earth. Her desperate search proves fruitless until the day a mysterious invitation arrives. 

"You are invited to dinner with Jesus Christ."

It has to be a joke. Logic tells her it’s impossible. Wanting to unmask the culprit behind the prank, Nikki decides to play along. The man she finds waiting at the restaurant will change her life forever. 

From Kelly’s Filmworks and director Jefferson Moore, this inspirational film about Christ’s unconditional love is based on David Gregory’s bestselling novel Dinner with a Perfect Stranger."


My Thoughts:

After watching 1 Message, which is directed by Jefferson Moore, I have become an instant of his work. So, I was excited to see that he also directed this title.  This movie is the sequel to the 2006 film, "The Perfect Stranger, and picks up 10 years later.  We find Nikki Cominsky's daughter, Sarah, who is now 19 years of age, heading off to college.  If you haven't seen the first movie, don't worry, you will still enjoy this one.  I had seen the original movies years ago, but forgot a lot of the details.  We find Sarah at a spiritual crossroads, when she thrown for a loop when her mom tells her that she once had dinner with the Almighty Himself.  Thinking her moms in nuts, she strikes up a conversation with a stranger to discuss religion and the questions she has around her personal beliefs and faith as a whole. 

I know for me personally, that I found myself at a spiritual crossroads when I was diagnosed with cancer back in 2008, after having most of my relatives unsuccessful battle cancer.  I wondered why this was happening to me.  This movie made me wonder what I would ask the Lord if I was able to sit down to dinner with him, like Sarah's mom supposedly did.  It should would make for a unique and lasting memory for sure. 

Usually sequels flop, but I have to say that this one worked, as it centered around Sarah and her personal struggles with her faith.  It was very enjoyable and would definitely open up a fun discussion with those who watch it, as to what they would ask the Almighty Himself if they were to have dinner with him.

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1 Message
Synopsis:

"She was broken, betrayed, and finished with life. But life wasn’t finished with her.

Becca had it all: beauty, a successful fiancĂ©, and the job of her dreams. Everything was going according to her plan until the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the blink of an eye, her entire life came crashing down around her. The fiancĂ© ran off with some new fling. The dream job wouldn’t wait for her to get better. The toll cancer took on her body made her feel like less than a woman. Broken and alone, she refused to leave the house. She wanted cancer to finish what it started. But in her darkest hour, she found a mysterious ray of hope in the most unlikely of places.

Kelly’s Filmworks and director Jefferson Moore (Clancy) present this inspiring story of a shattered woman who discovers the resilience to keep living in the message of a man she’s never even met. Also starring: Ashley Kate Adams (Royal Pains), Mark Smeby (The Perfect Gift), and Matt Wallace (Forrest Gump)."


My Thoughts:



Out of the three movies I was sent to review from Echolight Studios, I have to say that this was the most difficult to watch, as I went through cancer myself back in 2008.  Even though my cancer was not breast cancer, anyone who has dealt with cancer personally or had a close family member go through it, know how difficult and life changing a cancer diagnosis is.  I found myself crying from the start, and continued to reach for tissues during the entire film, which was almost 2 1/2 hours in length.  Now you would think that because it was this long, it would grow tiring, but quite the contrary.  You were brought along as Becca deals with her diagnosis, treatment and recovery -- which is a long and grueling process physically, emotionally and mentally.  And, unlike other feel-good movies that you think you know how it will end, this movie throws you for a loop.  Don't worry, I will not tell you what happens.  Just know that when you watch this, what you think will happen throughout the film, doesn't -- making the 2 1/2 hours fly by. 

Even though watching any movie about cancer is tough for me, as I am only 4 years out of treatment, and it is still fresh in my mind, it was refreshing to see how director, Jefferson Moore, presented the story, and how well Ashley Kate Adams, who plays the lead character, Becca, really stole the show.  I will definitely be watching this movie again, as well as sharing it with family and friends.  It really makes you appreciate your life and opens your eyes in case you haven't experiences cancer firsthand, so you can see what those who have, have gone through and continue to go through.  And, I will also be picking up the book that this movie was based on to read, as I love seeing how books and movies differ.


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 Welcome to Paradise
Synopsis:

"You'll have to use your heart to get there.

Crystal Bernard (Wings), Brad Stine (Christmas with a Capital C), and Brian Dennehy (The Ultimate Gift, Cocoon), star in this wholesome, light-hearted feature that reminds us how love and acceptance go a long way in showing our faith.

Debbie Laramie uproots her home in Dallas when she's transferred to a small church in the sleepy town of Paradise, Texas. Once there, Debbie and her teenage son brave a bumpy road as they adjust to a community in need of a guide back to God. The plucky pastor's unique approach to church life polarizes the members even more—until a catastrophic chain of events leaves them without a building at all. An old barn is their only chance to keep the church alive. With the help of her supporters—and even a few naysayers—Debbie turns a humbling challenge into an opportunity to breathe new life into the community and inspires her new church to trust in her and God's plan."


My Thoughts:

Remember Crystal Bernard from the popular television series, Wings?  Well, if you are fan of her acting, you will want to watch her in this inspirational movie, in which she plays a big-city pastor who is uprooted to the small town of Paradise.  There she finds a town in desperate need of direction and lesson in compassion. Will she be up for the challenge?  Or, will she also turn her back on those in need and go back to the big city, which she and her teen son are used to?  Don't worry, I am not going to ruin the ending for.  You will just have to pick up a copy of this DVD to find out for yourself.  I will say, however, that this movie does an exceptional job that will really inspire you and have you talking to your family about its lessons in love, faith, forgiveness, helping thy neighbor, just to name a few. 

Since receiving this movie to review, we have seen it a few times, as it is that good.  It is always nice to see Crystal Bernard in movies, and she does a great job playing Debbie Laramie.  Her character makes you wish you were apart of her congregation. :-)


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Overall, all three titles from Echolight Studios was a joy to watch.  And, I am so happy to have another outlet for Dove-approved family friendly movies.  So, if you enjoy these types of films just as much as my family does, why not pick up copies of the above titles, or see other movies which Echolight Studios has available.  I can't wait to check out the following releases from them --

3 Day TestClancy25 Hill


If you get a chance to see these movies from Echolight Studios, please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts, as well as other Echolight Studios movie suggestions.  Family movie night is so much more enjoyable when you can watch wholesome family movies like these, and not have to worry about censoring or forwarding through inappropriate scenes that you don't want the little ones to sees.

Disclosure: I was sent samples of the above DVDs from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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Must Have Items for the Cold and Flu Season for Parents with Little Ones (Review)



8750_Safety1st_Logo_hires

"It’s no secret this cold and flu season is predicted to be one of the worst.  According to a recent report by the CDC, 47 states have already reported widespread geographic influenza activity!  As you may know, I also work with Safety 1st who can’t “cure” the flu, but it just launched its NEW line of Advanced Solutions infant and toddler health products which contain custom educational materials developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
There are 12 products in the Advanced Solutions line, and the information AAP developed exclusively for Safety 1st will cover topics such as temperature-taking, fever management, nasal congestion, newborn care, first aid, oral care, and nail care. 
A few of the new items include: 

  • Safety 1st Advanced Solutions TALKING Ear Thermometer: This thermometer gives parents quick, accurate 1-second readings and Fever Light™ Ring technology that shines red to alert when a fever is detected.  The TALKING Ear Thermometer offers the option of having the measured temperature "spoken" aloud – in English or Espanol – or not audibly reported. It retails for $39.99.
  • Safety 1st Advanced Solutions One-Way Nasal Aspirator: A traditional aspirator must be positioned in the nostrils multiple times to clear congestion, but the One-Way Nasal Aspirator allows parents to position the bulb in each nostril only once.  The innovative two-valve design keeps everything moving in one direction only, into the aspirator through the tip. Pump the bottom of the aspirator bulb with thumb until the job is complete. It retails for $4.99.


  • Safety 1st Advanced Solutions Smooth Clip Nail Clippers: Smooth Clip Nail Clippers have a unique clear guard that prevents accidental side-to-side rotation of handle, helps catch nail clippings and does not obstruct the view of baby's fingertips.  Soft-touch material on the clippers helps give parents a secure grip of clippers, and an emery board storage compartment underneath the clippers keeps one emery board handy for smoothing any rough edges left behind after clipping."

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My Thoughts:

I don't know about you, but one of the things I find difficult is cutting my children's nails.  Ever since they were little, it has become a task in itself to get them to sit still long enough for me to clip their nails.  And, I can't get over how quickly they grow back once I finally get them trimmed.  

When the girls were small, I would wait until they were fast asleep and try to clip them in their dark bedrooms, with only the light from the nigh light to help me -- not fun!  I even had my husband try and hold a flashlight near their fingers so that I could see better in order to clip them without cutting their nails to short.  But, the flashlight emitted too much light that it made it difficult to see and trim and their nails.  

So, I have been looking for a pair of nail clippers that would not offer a sturdy grip, but also not dull easy and cause hang nails, like other baby nail clippers I have used.  I also wanted to find a nail clipper that would not scare the girls, and hopefully make it so that I could cut their nails in the daylight, instead of in the cloak of darkness. :-)

Finally, I have found just the right nail clippers with the new Safety 1st Advanced Solutions Smooth Clip Nail Clippers.  And, as an added bonus, these clippers also catch nail clippings.  This is one reason why Savannah is squeamish about having me cut her nails -- as she doesn't like to see the nail clippers.  After a few trial runs with this new nail clipper, the girls have finally warmed up to it, and don't mind me clipping their nails.  As an added reward for sitting still for me, they not only get a hug, kiss and high five for a job well done, but they get a sticker for their sticker book, to show that they were big girls. :-)  Savannah, the avid sticker collector, loves this added bonus to having her nails trimmed.


And, as for the talking ear thermometer, I hoped I wouldn't have to use it this winter, but like I have shared, we have been hit with the stomach flu and a nasty head cold, which had left everyone in the house with fevers and feeling lousy for the better part of the month.  While Savannah doesn't mind me taking her temperature, Arabella is not as cooperative.  I liked how this thermometer could speak her temperature in about 1 sec.  And, if she has a fever, this new ear thermometer alerts me by having the Fever Light Ring shine red, indicating a fever.

What Mom doesn't love having a dual purpose product?  Well, this ear thermometer can also be used to test the temperature of bath water and your child's food in 1 sec.  I love this feature, and have tried it with the bath water -- it really does work. :-)

So, even though we dread the winter weather as it means many families get sick with the flu or a cold, it is always better to be safe than sorry. I make a point in the fall to stock our medicine cabinet and now feel more at ease that I have a nail clipper for the girls that actually works and they don't mind, but most importantly, I have a thermometer that in not invasive and offers up an accurate reading in 1 sec.  


---BUY NOW---
 
These and other Safety 1st products are available at Target, as well as through online retailers including the Safety 1st website.  If you are looking for just the right gift to give a new or expectant mom, why not pick up a few of these baby must-haves, as they will really make Mom's life a little easier -- I know, firsthand, as these two products have helped me out with the girls. :-)


Disclosure:  I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.
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