Friday, June 22, 2018

Pride. Legacy. Family. Rocky Returns This Thanskgiving to Help Creed's Son Go the Distance in and Out of the Ring - Mark Your Calendars! #CreedII


"But it ain't about how hard you hit.  It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”


-Rocky Balboa


Woohoo, the kids are out of school...is this what you are shouting today.  Or, are you counting down the days until they go back to school?  I have shared in the past how I homeschool my girls, and that we homeschool year round.  So, we don't do summer vacation here..even though we slow down our workload and they do summer camps and programs with their friends.  Today, though, we joined kids from public school to celebrate the end of the school year, as the girls finished 3rd grade.  I am so proud of them, as they worked so hard this year, and have accomplished so much.  My girls are only 6.5 and almost 8 (in 3 1/2 weeks), and are going to be starting 4th grade work.  Time sure has flown by, and I still have to pinch myself when I think I have two healthy girls and they are growing so fast.

In addition to celebrating finishing 3rd grade, we also celebrated another year that I am cancer free.  Even though my cancerversary is May 1st, I wait until I see my oncologist, which two weeks ago, to get the all clear with a scope of my nose.  Usually I have my girls stay with my Mom and my Dad will come to Boston with me.  But, this year we did things differently, and I took my girls for the first time to Dana Farber so that they could see my scope being done and hear that I am cancer free for another year.  I waited to tell my girls that I had fought and beat cancer back in 2008, until they were older and could understand.  I didn't want to tell the "c" word and have them scared, thinking I was going to die.  But, they are getting older and see some of the daily struggles I have with long term side effects, and have been asking why I have to deal with them.  So, when I couldn't hide these side effects from them any longer, I sat my girls down and talked about how I got sick before they were born, and how I needed different medicines and treatment to rid my body of cancer.  I let them ask all the questions they had, and reassured them that Mommy has been cancer free for now 10 years, and plan to be for a very very long time...hopefully the rest of my life.

I was hesitant to brings my girls to my Dr.'s appt., but they were curious as to what I did every year when I went to Boston...and I think they just wanted an excuse to have a day trip to Boston. :-)  As we walked into the building, the girls could see men and women of all ages, who were battling cancer or who were survivors.  They noticed some without hair, and asked if I looked like that when I was going through treatment.  There were also a handful of people in wheelchairs who looked worse for wear, and they wondered if I ever looked that bad.  I told them that I was like that near the end of my treatment, but to look at me now. 

My oncologist couldn't believe how big my girls were.  He had never met them, but always asked about them each year when I came for my  annual visit.  Now he was able to put a face with a name.  He could tell the girls were a little scared when they saw the tools and scope that was going to be put up my nose.  He talked to them and described what he was doing, and that Mommy was very strong.  He pointed out the parts of my nose that the girls were seeing on the screen, and they got all happy and had big grins on their faces when he said, no cancer, and congrats on 10 years.  After the girls heard this, they quickly grabbed my phone so that they could call my parents and share the news.  My Dad really wanted to be there as this has become our norm for the past 10 years...so he said as soon as we heard the great news to call him...and, that is what my girls did.  Then, my Dad asked my girls to put my phone on speaker and played a song -- it was Gonna Fly Now from Rocky.   This has become my theme song and celebratory song every year I here "cancer-free."  It was first played on my last day of radiation (40 treatments in total), when I walked out of the radiation room, to celebrate this bump in the road which I gave my all to fight and overcome, and every year since, I fight to stay in remission. 

I couldn't help but smile, as I listened to this song, and saw my girls across from me, also smiling and happy that their Mommy was healthy.  We had a great time in Boston enjoying the day after hearing this wonderful news.  And, that night I watched Rocky on television like I have done the past 10 years after my oncology appt.  When I was done watching the movie, I checked my emails and was happy to see an email about the new CREED II movie, which is set to hit theaters on Wed. November 21st.  I searched the Internet to find a movie trailer to see what the movie would be about.  But, I couldn't find one.  That was, until today, when I was sent the trailer, as a teaser for what is come this fall when Rocky and Creed's son return to "go the distance" to face their biggest challenge yet -- both on and off the ring.

Here is more about the movie, along with the trailer...

PRIDE. LEGACY. FAMILY.

This fall, there is more to lose than a title.


In Theaters Wednesday, November 21st

Official Synopsis:  

"Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family's past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what's worth fighting for, and discover that nothing's more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can't escape your history."



Release Date: November 21, 2018

Director: Steven Caple Jr.


Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Wood Harris, Russell Hornsby, Florian "Big Nasty" Munteanu, Andre Ward, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren



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Doesn't this look amazing?  I can't wait for this movie, and will be taking my Dad to the movies with me to see is, as my parents will be visiting for Thanksgiving.  We always watched Rocky after my treatments, and after my annual oncologist appts., and now we will be able to share this big milestone of 10 years cancer free with CREED II.  What a great way to end this year, by watching this movie with my family, who was by my side every step of my cancer journey.  I love how Rocky is by Creed's son's side in this upcoming release to help fight for his dreams, just like Creed helped Rocky during the fight of his life.  This movie is a reminder that family  is key to help you get through difficult challenges and times in your life...and, I know this by personal experience.  Without my family by my side 10 years ago, and pushing when me when I didn't think I could fight anymore, I would be here today to see my girls finish 3rd grade, or me say I am 10 years in remission.  We all have inspirational stories...what is yours? :-)


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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

DISH News: DISH Delivers Netflix to Hotel TVs with EVOLVE






DISH’s EVOLVE delivers Netflix, personalized TV entertainment to in-room guest experience



  • DISH first major pay-TV provider to integrate Netflix into hotel TVs
  • Android-based EVOLVE features Google Play Store, providing additional personalization options, experiences
  • 4K-capable EVOLVE allows hotel guests to watch Netflix’s 4K catalog

Planning to travel this summer with the family, and wish you could take your Netflix with you?  Come on, you know you can't help but binge watch your favorite Netflix Original Series shows, and this streaming service also helps keep the peace with the kids so they don't have to fight over what to watch.  Well, thanks to the news shared by DISH the other day, now you can enjoy Netflix on the go this summer, when you check into a hotel powered by EVOLVE.  

What is EVOLVE you ask?  Well, here is more about this television solution for hotels, as well as more information on how you can enjoy Netflix while away, thanks to DISH...

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"DISH is advancing in-room entertainment by integrating Netflix into its EVOLVE® television solution for hotels in the coming months. Guests staying in hotels powered by EVOLVE will be able to access their personal Netflix account directly from their room’s TV. DISH is the first major pay-TV provider in the U.S. to integrate Netflix into a customized TV solution for the hotel industry.

In addition to Netflix, EVOLVE provides access to thousands of Android TV apps from the Google Play Store, further enhancing the overall in-room experience.


Launched in June 2017, EVOLVE is DISH’s 4K-capable hospitality set-back box that seamlessly integrates Chromecast, streaming apps via the Google Play Store, live linear content, the industry’s best interactive programming guide, and now Netflix into one customizable solution. Powered by SMARTBOX®, DISH’s revolutionary headend video distribution platform for commercial applications, EVOLVE is designed to work with any hotel wiring scenario, as well as existing or upgraded network infrastructures.


“Integrating Netflix on EVOLVE is a win-win for hotel operators and guests alike,” said Alistair Chatwin, vice president of DISH Business. “Hotel operators can further elevate in-room entertainment by providing guests with Netflix’s personalized entertainment experience, and customers can easily pick up what they’ve been watching at home on Netflix from the comfort of their hotel room.”

“With DISH’s EVOLVE, Netflix members can sign into their Netflix account on the hotel room TV in the coming months to watch their favorite Netflix series, documentaries and feature films, or discover new ones, just like they do at home,” said Paul Perryman, vice president of business development at Netflix. “Hotel guests who don’t have a Netflix subscription can easily subscribe via the Netflix app on EVOLVE and immediately begin enjoying titles from our wide assortment of content.”

Because EVOLVE is 4K-capable, guests can watch Netflix’s suite of 4K movies and shows, bringing the clearest resolution to in-room entertainment. This content is accessible when EVOLVE is connected to a 4K TV.

Guests staying in hotels powered by EVOLVE can subscribe to Netflix or sign into their existing account by accessing the Netflix app via the on-screen TV menu. EVOLVE features Chromecast built-in, so guests can also cast their Netflix content from their mobile devices to their hotel room TV. When the guest checks out of the room, their Netflix user credentials will automatically be removed from the system.

Netflix will be available on EVOLVE in the coming months. To learn more, visit www.dish.com/evolve or visit the DISH booth (#1139) at HITEC in Houston from Tuesday, June 19 through Thursday, June 21.


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About SMARTBOX
DISH’s SMARTBOX™ features the flexibility to support a custom combination of legacy analog and HD channels at the same property, while easily reconfigured to meet future expansion and technology needs. By enabling new feature downloads via satellite, SMARTBOX can support the latest upgrades without the need for new equipment. With a compact form factor, SMARTBOX takes up considerably less space and uses significantly less power than other solutions.


About DISH
Since 1980, DISH has served as the disruptive force in pay-TV, driving innovation and value on behalf of consumers. By listening to customers and taking bold steps to make TV better, DISH’s award-winning entertainment technology and in-home installation services remain unmatched by competitors. DISH continues to push the industry forward with its over-the-top television service, Sling TV. DISH Network L.L.C. is a wholly owned subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH), a Fortune 250 company. Visit www.dish.com.

Subscribe to DISH email alerts: about.dish.com/alerts
Follow @DISHNews on Twitter: twitter.com/DISHNews


About Netflix
Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with 125 million memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.


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Get Ready to Fall in Love with Alex & Me! - This Inspirational Family-Friendly Movie is Now Available to Own on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital (Review) #AlexandMe #Giveaway #AlexMorgan

Disclosure: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.





Do your kids love soccer?  If so, they are probably all about the World Cup right now.  My youngest daughter loves soccer, as doesn't her Daddy, so they have been recording and watching the games, and were rooting for Mexico the other day when they won.  And, after Mexico won, the girls went outside and practiced their soccer skills, as they countdown the days until they start their week long soccer camp in July.

In addition to watching the World Cup on television, we had a fun soccer themed movie night on Friday, when we watched "Alex & Me," which arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital today.  The movie stars one of my girls' favorite soccer players, world champion soccer star, Alex Morgan.

Here is more about "Alex & Me," in case you have missed the movie trailer that has been airing on television and going around Facebook and other social media channels....


"Teenager Reagan Willis (Agudong) has one dream – to play soccer like her hero, Alex Morgan. Her bedroom is a shrine to all things Alex, including a life-size poster of the Olympic gold medalist. Yet in the Willis house, Reagan lives in the shadow of her prep football superstar brother, Logan. When Reagan fails to make the cut of the premiere local soccer club team and is humiliated by her rival Claire, she’s certain her ship has sailed. But after accidentally hitting her head, Reagan’s poster of Alex Morgan suddenly comes to life and everything changes!
An Olympic Gold Medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion with a penchant for goal scoring, Alex Morgan is one of the top soccer players on the planet, currently playing forward for the United States Women's National Team and the Orlando Pride of the National Women's Soccer League. Away from the field, Morgan is also an accomplished author of “The Kicks” series, a collection of chapter books filled with wonderful messages of empowerment for young girls. The first The Kicks book, “Saving the Team,” debuted at No. 7 on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Eric Champnella (Thunderstruck, Mr. 3000, Eddie) wrote the Alex & Me screenplay and is also making his full-length feature debut as the film’s director. Alex Morgan serves as co-producer. Producers are Mike Karz (Blended) and William Bindley (Mother’s Day). Todd Williams (The Illusionist) is the executive producer.
Jerry Trainor (iCarly) also stars as Nigel, a less-than-reliable youth soccer coach, alongside Matt Cornett (Bella and the Bulldogs) as Reagan’s brother, Logan; Colin Critchley (Legends of the Hidden Temple) as Reagan’s soccer-playing pal, Ben; Chuiti Tiu (Nashville) as Reagan’s mother, Ann Wills; and Jim Klock (True Detective, Scream Queens) as Reagan’s father (and biggest fan), Joe Wills. Jessica Treska (HBO’s upcoming Sharp Objects) plays Reagan’s arch-rival, Claire."
Alex & Me is now available on Blu-ray (SRP $24.98), DVD (SRP $19.98) and Digital (SRP $14.99).
BONUS FEATURES:

• Getting to Know Alex
• Aspire to Inspire: Success in Hard Work
• Soccer, Script to Set: A Playbook on Alex & Me
• Outtake
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I love when family-friendly movies like this have a positive message, and this movie fits the bill, as it really is an uplifting story about a teenager named Reagan who has a passion for soccer and wants to be just like her idol Alex Morgan. But, when she fails to make the top soccer team she is about to give up her dreams.  But, thanks to her passion, drive and support of her family, she realizes that dreams are possible and that you shouldn't give up on them, even if you don't succeed the first time around.  Reagan could have walked away from soccer after failing and being humiliating, but her heart was for the game, and she couldn't give up on her life-long dream to the best, like Alex.

My family really enjoyed this movie, especially my youngest who said she wants to be like Alex Morgan, too.  She thought Reagan was lucky to be able to meet her idol and loved how with practice and dedication Reagan got better at soccer.  The girls also loved how she didn't give up on her dream. They said they have good and bad days at soccer practice, but couldn't imagine not playing soccer.  It is a hobby my girls have in common with my husband and many of their friends, and practice, practice, practice is the only way they have gotten better, along with dreaming big, just like Reagan.

If you are looking for a great family-friendly movie to share with your family, especially if you have kids (both boys and girls) who love soccer, then you will definitely want to watch "Alex & Me" which is available now.

Before you enter to win a copy of this movie (read on to learn how to enter my giveaway), why not try your hand at making your own fun Soccer Emoji, with the Alex & Me Blog App below.

Choose your look, signature soccer move, and fun catchphrase!




  What You Can Do with the Fun Alex & Me Soccer Emoji Creator Blog App:
• Create your own Soccer Emoji and share it with the world! Pick your player's look, signature move, and fun tagline.
• Setting goals is key to success, and the sooner your kids learn that the better they'll be prepared for life. Download the Family Goal Chart and have your kids set and mark off goals.


---GIVEAWAY---



Want to win a copy of this new release?  Thanks to the folks at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, one lucky reader will have a chance to win a DVD copy of the movie, to share with their family.

To enter, please complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.
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Friday, June 15, 2018

6 Things I Love About Fairfield County, Connecticut



Image Credit: Pixabay

6 Things I Love About Fairfield

Back in 2007, my husband and I were looking to make a move, and find a house where we could call our own, and eventually raise our children in. Both of us had lived in MA prior, but we were looking for a change. We found ourselves visiting quaint CT towns on the weekends, so our house hunting search led us to CT. While we wished we could have looked at the Fairfield county area, we had to stay closer to the MA border as that is where we both worked, and would be an easier commute for us. We eventually found a home in the Quiet Corner of CT, and later started a family. We love being able to call CT home, and love being able to do day trips with our two girls -- usually to the Fairfield County area. Below are just some of our favorite "hidden gems" spots worth checking out, if you are in or near the CT area this summer, or planning a trip to CT soon. I hope you enjoy your visit to CT just as much as we love calling it home. :-)

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The quintessential New England town, Fairfield truly offers it all, with everything from picturesque scenery and historic delights to cultural attractions, a thriving food scene and a wide range of shopping venues. In 2014, Money magazine selected the city as One of the Best Places to Live in the entire nation.

No matter what the season, there’s something to love about owning CT real estate in Fairfield.

The Beaches

Fairfield boasts five miles of beautiful coastline along the Long Island Sound, including Jennings Beach with its 27 acres of glistening sands. It’s the prime spot for catching the annual 4th of July Fireworks display, learning how to swim with summer lessons offered, and right next door is the “Sand Castle Playground” and a skate park. Penfield Beach is fabulous for picnics and barbecues with tables and grills set up right on the sand. It also hosts a long stretch of sandy beach, a concession stand that sells snacks, and a playground.

Lake Mohegan

Not only can you enjoy saltwater shores in Fairfield, but a fabulous freshwater swimming spot: Lake Mohegan. It has a large sandy beach, and during the summer months the swimming area is staffed with a lifeguard. The scenic 2.5-mile loop trail that winds around the lake showcases a waterfall, and in autumn, the alder trees with their fiery red, vibrant orange and golden yellow leaves, create an especially postcard-perfect scene.

The Historic District 

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Fairfield Historic District is lined with exceptional examples of Colonial, Federalist and Victorian architecture. It’s like taking a walk back in time when you stroll the streets here. The 1780 Town Hall Green, “Rising Sun Tavern” once sheltered some rather prominent visitors during the post-revolutionary period. Today, visitors can enjoy an immersive experience, becoming a local while sitting at one of the tavern tables and even reading a newspaper from two hundred years ago.

The district includes some 75 buildings in various architectural styles, especially fascinating as the focal point for the first English settlement in the area, and an important British target during the American Revolution.

The Culture

Fairfield is home to both Sacred Heart University and Fairfield University which hosts lectures, musical, dance and theatrical performances, as well as sporting events, including football, basketball, baseball, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, swimming and more. The Fairfield University Art Museum showcases a variety of rotating exhibitions and a permanent collection featuring European and American drawings, prints, paintings and photographs, along with Pre-Columbian, African and Asian objects. The city’s Fairfield Theatre offers comedy, live music and community theater too.

The Dining Scene

There’s a thriving food scene in Fairfield and throughout the county, which offers everything from casual to fine eateries, outdoor cafes and historic taverns. There are dozens of restaurants here, including favorites like Liana’s Trattoria, a long-time staple serving homemade Italian, Wilson’s Holy Smoke BBQ which serves up all the classics, and Fin Japanese Restaurant renowned for its sushi.

It’s Easy to Get Almost Anywhere From Fairfield

Living in Fairfield, it’s easy to get to just about anywhere you need to go. You’ll have a wealth of transportation options available to you, and you’re more likely to enjoy a shorter commute too. The city is home to Fortune 500 companies Bigelow Tea and General Electric, while also hosting three train stations on the Metro North New Haven to Grand Central Terminal line as well as multiple access points to Interstate 95 and Merritt Parkway. 


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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Civil War Buffs Will Love the New "Civil War 360" DVD from Public Media Distribution (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a screener copy from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.



SEE AMERICA’S CIVIL WAR LIKE
NEVER BEFORE IN




Available Now on Digital HD and DVD from Public Media Distribution
Click Here to View a Preview of the Program

"Public Media Distribution, LLC recently released the program “CIVIL WAR 360,” a powerfully moving three-part documentary miniseries that explores one of the most divisive eras in American history from multiple perspectives. Celebrity hosts Ashley Judd (“The Union”), Trace Adkins (“The Confederacy”), and Dennis Haysbert (“Fight For Freedom”) each helm an hour-long program that takes viewers back to a time when their ancestors – and those of many viewers -- were involved in the conflict. Through exploration of iconic and often poignant Smithsonian artifacts, the hosts gain insight into their own family’s experiences and uncover new dimensions of our nation’s history.

CIVIL WAR 360” is now available to own on DVD  as of May 1, 2018. The run time of the program is approximately 180 minutes and the SRP is $19.99 The program is also available for digital download.

Descriptions of each of the episodes are listed below:

Fight for Freedom
In some ways, the story that acclaimed actor Dennis Haysbert tells is perhaps the least known of all, but it is an agonizing and heroic account of a great struggle for freedom. Haysbert experiences painful reminders of this struggle firsthand as he encounters Smithsonian treasures: a ship’s manifest listing a cargo of slaves, the inkwell Lincoln used to write the Emancipation Proclamation, and a hymnal owned by Harriet Tubman.  As Haysbert traces his ancestry back to enslaved people in America’s deep South, we are transported back to the brutal and complicated time when those with the most to gain also had the most to lose.  For Haysbert the lesser known stories, especially of individual courage, are the most inspiring, “So many people stood up and fought together to make this country a free country. It just gave me a different perspective on what our country is about and what we can be.”

The Confederacy
Hosted by award-winning country music star Trace Adkins, this program begins back in 1861, when the South made the radical decision to leave the Union and form a new nation.  While honoring the experiences of everyday soldiers like his great-great grandfather, a Confederate infantryman from Louisiana, Adkins explores music, art, and firearm collections at the Smithsonian Institution. Said Adkins: “I’ve had a real personal connection with the Civil War ever since I was a kid. This is our last best chance to raise awareness. The battlefields, the guns, the pikes, the uniforms and flags – all these things are all that we have left from that pivotal period in this nation’s history.  They should be treated as treasures, and we should try to preserve them and save them for future generations. Because it’s impossible to know who you are if you don’t know your history, or where you’ve come from, or what you’ve done.”

The Union
It’s common knowledge who won the Civil War. But 150 years ago, a Union victory was anything but guaranteed. Acclaimed actress Ashley Judd seeks to understand the experiences of two of her great-great-great grandfathers, both Union soldiers from Kentucky. In the program Judd remarks: “I hope it inspires people to take a look at their own family history, and learn the interesting stories that can help enlighten them as well as move their hearts.”  Judd is visibly moved when she examines field surgical instruments, a Union private’s letter home about life in Kentucky, and battered dishes from Libby Prison - all providing glimpses of daily life during the grinding war."


My Thoughts:

My husband and I watched this last week and loved how viewers are given a panoramic view of the Civil War.  You are transported back 150 years and are shared different perspectives of this era to help you better understand the Civil War.  Like other Smithsonian Channel programs, this one goes into more detail about this period in time and not just an overview like we get in school.  Everything is discussed and we get to experience interesting stories that will move you and appreciate how what happened 150 years ago helped shaped the country we are today.

If you are a Civil War buff or just like history in general, then you will want to check out this new DVD, Civil War 360, available now on DVD and Digital HD.

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About Smithsonian Channel
Smithsonian Channel™, owned by Smithsonian Networks™, a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment across multiple platforms. Smithsonian Channel combines the storytelling prowess of SHOWTIME® with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian, to create award-winning programming that shines new light on popular genres such as air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture. Among the network’s offerings are series including Aerial America, America in Color, First Ladies Revealed, Polar Bear Town, The Lost Tapes, Amazing Monkeys, America’s Secret Space Heroes, Mighty Ships, Mighty Planes and Air Disasters, as well as critically-acclaimed specials that include Titanic’s Fatal Fire, The Obama Years: the Power of Words, Nightmare on Everest, Diana and the Paparazzi, Diana: the Day We Said Goodbye and Flying High with Phil Keoghan. Smithsonian Networks also operates Smithsonian Earth™, through SN Digital LLC., a new subscription video streaming service delivering spectacular original nature and wildlife content. To learn more, go to www.smithsonianchannel.com, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Public Media Distribution, LLC
Public Media Distribution, LLC, is a leading media distributor both domestically and internationally. We offer high-quality, distinctive programs to our customers, including documentaries (The Sixties), dramas (Fortitude), and popular children’s programming under the SkipRope brand (Kate & Mim-Mim) in multiple formats including DVD, Blu-ray, digital download, and digital streaming. 


CIVIL WAR 360
Street Date: May 1, 2018
Genre: Documentary
Run Time: Approximately 180 minutes on 1 disc
SRP: DVD, $19.99
Format: DVD and Digital HD

Disclosure: I was sent a screener copy from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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DISH NEWS: DISH Presents New Amazon Alexa Controls for Hopper




DISH Hopper + Amazon Alexa 
Even Better Together



Easily Control TV with your voice 
Only Dish + Amazon Alexa gives you hands-free control of the Hopper

 
- Adds new Alexa voice control capabilities for Hopper, Hopper Duo, Joey and Wally
- Customers can now set a recording, launch apps like Netflix and YouTube, and open menus like Home, Guide and DVR using their voice
- Compatible with Alexa-enabled devices, including the new Fire TV Cube
"DISH today introduced new Amazon Alexa voice capabilities that give customers the ability to set recordings, launch apps and navigate menus on Hopper family set-top boxes. This update enhances the Hands-Free TV™ experience by building on DISH's existing Alexa voice functions, including the ability to play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and search content.



"We are working to create the best Hands-Free TV options for our customers, and these new voice capabilities are an important step in that direction," said Niraj Desai, DISH vice president of product management. "DISH customers already love the convenience that our Alexa compatibility brings to their home, so we're continuously identifying popular voice commands to enhance that experience."

In April 2017DISH became the first pay-TV provider to offer direct compatibility with Amazon Alexa. In October 2017, the company unveiled whole-home Hands-Free TV by extending Alexa support to all Joey clients.

DISH's Alexa capabilities

DISH customers can ask Alexa to navigate, play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and search content based on channel, title, actor or genre. With DISH's newest update, customers can also use Alexa to set recordings, launch apps like Game Finder, Netflix, Pandora and YouTube, and easily access the Home, Guide, DVR, On Demand, Settings and Help menus.

Examples of DISH's new Alexa commands include:

  • "Alexa, record this"
  • "Alexa, launch Netflix"
  • "Alexa, open Game Finder"
  • "Alexa, go to my Home Screen"
  • "Alexa, go to my DVR"
All DISH customers with an internet-connected Hopper DVR (all generations), Hopper Duo, Joey (all models) or Wally can ask Alexa to control their TV content after pairing with an Amazon Echo, Echo Show, Echo Dot, Fire TV Cube  or another Alexa-enabled device. Each DISH set-top box must be paired with its own Alexa device.


For more information about the Alexa integration with DISH, including possible commands and set-up instructions, visit www.dish.com/AmazonAlexaIntegration."

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About DISHSince 1980, DISH has served as the disruptive force in pay-TV, driving innovation and value on behalf of consumers. By listening to customers and taking bold steps to make TV better, DISH's award-winning entertainment technology and in-home installation services remain unmatched by competitors. DISH continues to push the industry forward with its over-the-top television service, Sling TV. DISH Network L.L.C. is a wholly owned subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH), a Fortune 250 company. Visit www.dish.com.
Subscribe to DISH email alerts: about.dish.com/alerts
Follow @DISHNews on Twitter: twitter.com/DISHNews
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Your Kids Will Love Watching Their Vegetables Grow from Seed to Table with the New Miracle-Gro Kids Garden Kits (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.




My girls are all about gardening this year.  Last year we did some seed planting, but I was left to tend to their plants and transplant them into the garden when ready and care for them afterwards.  But, thanks to a few homeschool gardening classes where the girls made fairy and butterfly gardens and started seedlings for their summer gardens, they are hooked and now want to have their own garden area in our yard to grow vegetables and flowers they like. :-)

These are the fairy and butterfly gardens they made, along with grass seed caterpillars in the blue tulle.



Here is a picture I took the other day of the two garden beds I set up for the girls.  You can tell they didn't get their green thumbs from me, as usually I only have 1-2 successful vegetables growing after moving the seedlings into the garden bed.  



The girls told me that they secret soil that is making their vegetables take off...and based on what I am seeing when I go to water them each day, I am starting to believe it.  What you see is only a few weeks of growing, which is amazing.

In addition to having their own garden plots to take care of outside, my girls also have new seedlings and pots going in the house. They started an herb garden so that they can grow their own basil and parley for garnish for their weekly pasta dishes they help me make. And, Bella is trying to grow mint to add a little flavor to our summer drinks so they are more refreshing (her words, not mine!).  In addition to the herb gardens they just started, the girls also set up the Miracle-Gro Kids: My First Garden we were recently sent to review.

Miracle-Gro Kids My First Garden by Horizon Group USA

Even though this is not their first garden to take care, it was the first time they painted a metal garden tin planter.  They had painted the terra cotta pots in the past and added a plant for Mother's Day, but we never thought to paint the metal planters we had.  What a great idea!   And, thanks to the new Miracle-Gro Kids: My First Garden kit you get everything you need to help your children start and take care of their own garden.

Included in the kit is the metal tin planter, paint and paintbrush, 2 large soil discs, 3 seed packets (for basil, green peppers and green beans), along with wooden identifier sticks so you know which plants are which. 


They recommend to soak the seeds in water for a half hour before planting.  I have never done so am eager to see how this makes a difference.


My girls were so excited to paint their tin planter, and tried copying the planter on he box of the kit.  Unfortunately their sun didnt' come out like the one on the box, so they turned it into a beautiful yellow flower.  But, when all was said and done, they were happy with their painted tin and couldn't wait to plant their three 3 packets and watch them grow. 


Included in the box is an easy to follow instruction sheet which breaks down each and every step, making it easy for even novice gardeners or non-gardeners to set up a first garden with their children.  And, from experience, the three plants included in the kit are the easiest the grow and you start seeing the sprouts sooner than other plants, which will get your kids excited about their gardens and wanting to take care of them more in hopes to harvest green peppers and green beans later in the summer, along with picking a few basil leaves to add to your homemade pizza or pasta sauces.



We just set up our Miracle-Gro Kids: My First Garden, so we don't have much to show in terms of sprouts. But, the girls loved the process of painting and planting their seeds, and like their other gardens and pots they tend to daily, this new garden is also getting their TLC. 


If you have always wanted to have a little garden with your children, but didn't know where to start, or thought it would be a hassle, but I am here to say that this is the not the case with the new Miracle-Gro Kids: My First Garden kit.  It includes everything you need to make gardening with your kids a fun and stress free experience.

To learn more about the Miracle-Gro Kids: My First Garden kit or to your own kit, head on over to: https://www.horizongroupusa.com/outdoors/miracle-gro/ .  You will find this kit, as well as other Miracle-Gro Kids growing kits available.  

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I am thinking to pick up the see-through planter so that the girls can view their plants growing.  


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They would think that would be neat.





Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.


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