Pride and Prejudice

February 28, 2006 Categories: Movies , Reviews | Comments Off  

(I was given the DVD Pride and Prejudice free of charge by Special Ops Media in order to review it.)

I haven’t read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice yet – thought it is on my reading list for this year. After watching this beautifully romantic movie, I plan on starting it very soon.

Most of you know the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, so I won’t retell it now. I want to talk about the movie. This was one of the most beautifully filmed movies I’ve ever seen. I know I was given the movie free of charge, but I think I’ve proven with my Mind and Media reviews that I try to go into any book or movie I’m reviewing with some objectivity. Trust me when I say this movie is beautiful. In so many movies set in England we are given the idea that it is always cold and wet, and never stops raining. Yes, there was rain in Pride and Prejudice. But there were also sun-drenched gorgeous scenes.

Mr. Darcy’s Pemberly estate on the “well-stocked” lake was particularly beautiful. And the scenes on the Bennett’s farm were quaint and charming. The costumes were very well-done, and so was the casting.

One of the special features on the DVD is HBO’s First Look at the filming of the movie. Keira Knightley, who plays Elizabeth Bennett, talks about how every girl or woman who reads Pride and Prejudice feels like she owns the character of Elizabeth. They have very definite ideas of what she’s like and how she should be portrayed. And in fact, when this movie was first released in the theaters, I remember reading on more than one blog that people were unhappy with the casting of Ms. Knightley as Lizzie.

Since I haven’t read the book, I didn’t have this experience. I believed Ms. Knightley as Lizzie – she portrayed her as very real, straightforward, and human. And Matthew McFadyen, who played Mr. Darcy, was equally well-chosen. Definitely a good pick. A handsome choice. Ahem.

The only casting I questioned as I started watching the movie was Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennett. I’ve been watching Commander in Chief this season, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to see him as an English country gentleman. That fear was unfounded – after the first scene, all I saw was Mr. Bennett.

This movie is not only beautiful, it is suffused with romance. The scene where Elizabeth is standing in the field in the pre-dawn fog and Mr. Darcy comes striding toward her across the field, the wind blowing his hair… And then when they come together and he leans his forehead down to touch hers, and the sun rises behind them – I love moments like that.

I definitely recommend this movie to all lovers of Austen and all lovers of romance in general.

The DVD includes many special features, including a portrait of the Bennett family, a short feature about Jane Austen, and HBO’s First Look.

Visit the official Pride and Prejudice DVD site to view a preview, pre-order the DVD, see pictures of the production and see Behind the Scenes. The DVD releases on February 28th.

Read Alouds for February 2006

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The Emperor’s Egg by Martin Jenkins
Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea by Cynthia Rylant
I Am by Eleanor Schick
The Donkey and the Rock by Demi
Altoona Baboona by Janie Bynum
The Toolbox by Anne Rockwell
My Pet Hamster by Anne Rockwell
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen
Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim

Noah’s Reading – February 2006

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Grizzly Rescue, The Danger Joe Show #1 by Susan Schade
The Knight at Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne

Natalie’s Reading – February 2006

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Real Me

February 27, 2006 Categories: All About Me , This and That | Comments Off  

In honor of Randi‘s Friday challenge, here’s a list of things I did today that I wouldn’t normally post about. Sorry, no pictures – my husband is the digital genius around our house and he’s working today.

Today, I:

~ sat on the couch and worried that I would have another reaction to the antibiotics until I was so anxious I wasn’t sure if I was reacting or having a panic attack.

~ swept and mopped a kitchen floor that hadn’t been swept or mopped in two weeks.

~ cleared a space on our dining room table for Jonathan to do his handwriting. The table is completely covered – with school books, valentine’s cards that never got finished, crayons, pieces of Megaman and other assorted toys, piles and piles of school papers that need to be filed, etc. We haven’t eaten dinner on our dining room table in a long time.

~ yelled at my kids to stop yelling at each other.

~ walked past a stinky hamster cage umpteen times and thought, “I’ll ask Kevin to clean it tonight.”

~ added yet another two loads of laundry to the stack of washed and dried but not folded clothes.

~ sat down at the computer to blog instead of cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming the living room.

~ read my Bible this morning with my mind wandering and focused on anything but God.

As I read back over this list, I am so glad God is gracious. And I am so glad there are other ladies out there who will be getting real today, and I won’t be left half-naked all by myself!

And one surprising thing about myself? I have never washed a window since we moved into this house. I’m not proud, but that’s the way it is.

P.S. Someone found me today by googling “brain vacuuming alien”. Maybe that’s what happened to me!

Our New Addition

February 25, 2006 Categories: Kid Stuff , This and That | Comments Off  

When Kevin and I came home from our weekend getaway last Sunday, we brought home a surprise for the kids. One of these:

The kids have been talking about getting a hamster for about six months now. We thought it was just a phase, but it didn’t go away – and then they started researching and checking out every book on hamsters the library had. We realized they were serious, so we brought home a Syrian golden short-haired hamster.

Her name is Lucy – after Lucy Pevensie. Kevin and I named her on the way home so that we could avoid the issue of four kids wanting to give her four different names. I have to admit she’s pretty sweet. I’m not much of an animal person – never have been – but she’s good-natured and gentle. She’d been in the Pet Smart store for several months and was already accustomed to being handled and being around lots of people and loud noises. Her neighbor was a huge parrot that barks like a dog!

The kids are enamored. Josiah goes around the house saying, “Lucy is the smartest, best, most wonderful hamster in the whole world.” She is the best surprise we’ve ever brought home for the kids.

On the health front, I think I’m getting better. I have been feeling close to normal and then had a few bad hours this afternoon, with the shakiness and panic and nausea returning. It has since passed, and I am hoping that was the last of it. I’m exhausted and heading off to bed. Have a great weekend!

Review of The Witness

February 23, 2006 Categories: Books , Reviews | Comments Off  

(The Witness was provided to me free of charge by Mind and Media, who received it from the publisher for the purpose of being reviewed.)

When I was packing for a weekend getaway with Kevin – no kids! – I knew that Dee Henderson’s latest novel, The Witness would be the perfect book to bring along. I wasn’t disappointed. Fast-paced, entertaining, and suspenseful, this book kept me hooked until I turned the last page.

The Witness is a romantic thriller about a woman named Amy who witnessed a violent murder. She goes into hiding to protect herself, her family, and the evidence she possesses. Her two sisters believe she is dead.

Fast-forward eight years. Her sisters have been thrust into the limelight and Amy knows that it won’t be long until the people pursuing her are pursuing them. Amy is forced to make a decision regarding her own desire to remain hidden.

Throw into the mix a heroic, handsome chief of police and two homicide detectives, and you have the ingredients for a fun, thrilling read. I have enjoyed all of Ms. Henderson’s books, and this one was no exception. If you like murder mysteries, thrillers, or romance novels, I highly recommend The Witness.

Ode to Barnes & Noble

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Barnes & Noble
Emporium divine
Oh, if all your treasures
Could only be mine

Biography, History
Sci-Fi and Lit
Gardening, Parenting
Humor and Wit

Row upon row
Of treasures galore
Cinnamon dulce lattes
Oh, what a store

One request I make
Since your books I will buy
In your restrooms
Could you please stock two-ply?

Kevin and I visited B&N when we were away for our weekend. Here’s our haul:

For me:
Good Grief by Lolly Winston
To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian by Stephen Ambrose
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

For Kevin:
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly
A World War II book that I can’t remember the title of

For Natalie:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

For Noah:
Tale of the Toa: Bionicle Chronicles # 1 by Cathy Kapka

Quick Update and Two Articles

February 21, 2006 Categories: All About Me , Writing | Comments Off  

Update: I went to see my doctor this morning and he gave me a prescription for some more antihistamines. If that doesn’t work, steroids would be next. Please pray the antihistamines work – I don’t like the idea of taking steroids, what with all the yucky side effects. He said that the medication I reacted to can stay in my system for up to three weeks – it takes that long for the liver and kidneys to flush it all the way out. So antihistamines for at least one more week and then see how I’m doing. Thank you for all your prayers – and if you have time, a few more that the antihistamines work and my body flushes all the bad stuff out quickly would be so appreciated.

Two more articles up at Club Mom:

Confessions of a Semi-Organized Homeschooler
Dealing With Difficult Days

There is a typo (a misplaced comma) in the second article – I’m trying to reach editorial staff to get it fixed.

I’m off to spend some time with the kids – school and everything has been put on hold while I’ve felt so yucky, and I’m hoping to get back to a (sort of) normal routine. As normal as it gets around here, anyway. Have a great day!

Not Quite Normal

February 20, 2006 Categories: All About Me , This and That | Comments Off  

Thank you for your prayers and comments. The antihistamine the doctor gave me worked well enough that Kevin and I enjoyed our weekend, but she only gave me enough for three days. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t take any, and I woke up at 2 a.m. this morning with a horrible reaction again: nausea, weakness, hives, and trembling so bad I shook the bed for 40 minutes. It took three doses of Benadryl to stop it. I’ve been on Benadryl all day today, which makes me feel groggy and loopy, but I couldn’t get into the doctor to get the non-drowsy antihistamine because the clinic was closed for President’s Day. Of course. Kevin was wonderful and stayed home today and dealt with kids and meals and such. My Dad’s on standby for tomorrow to watch the kids when I go to the doctor and if I have a bad reaction again. Continued prayers would be appreciated. I know that this will pass, but in the meantime I’m emotionally at a low. It’s quite an unpleasant reaction. Thank God, I’ve been able to keep the panic at bay and haven’t had any panic attacks today. I hope to be back to normal soon and will post more about our trip.