Noah’s Reading – March 2009

March 31, 2009 Categories: Books , Homeschooling | Comments Off  

The Fire Within by Chris D’lacey
Garfield Blots Out the Sun by Jim Davis
Garfield’s Seasons Eatings by Jim Davis
The Seventh Garfield Treasury by Jim Davis’
Icefire by Chris D’Lacey

Read Alouds – March 2009

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Monks and Mystics: Chronicles of the Medieval Church by Brandon and Mindy Withrow
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
Family Bible Storybook by Kenneth N. Taylor
Plymouth Pioneers by Colleen L. Reece
The Case for Christ for Kids by Lee Strobel and Rob Suggs
He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado
If You Lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern

Natalie’s Reading – March 2009

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The Clue in the Diary by Carolyn Keene
One False Note: 39 Clues, Book 2 by Gordon Korman
Whispering to Witches by Anna Dale
Peculiar Treasures by Robin Jones Gunn
The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket
The Haunted Dollhouse (Nancy Drew Graphic Novels: Girl Detective #3) by Stefan Petrucha and Sho Murase
The Demon of River Heights (Nancy Drew Graphic Novels: Girl Detective #1) by Stefan Petrucha and Sho Murase
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Nancy’s Mysterious Letter by Nancy Drew
Ninth Key (The Mediator, Book 2) by Meg Cabot
The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket

Josiah’s Reading – March 2009

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The Littles and Their Amazing New Friend by John Peterson
The Littles Go to School by John Peterson
Garfield Weighs In by Jim Davis
Garfield Beefs Up by Jim Davis
The Littles and the Great Halloween Scare by John Peterson

Jonathan’s Reading – March 2009

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Doraemon: Gadget Cat of the Future, Volume 1 by Fujiko E. Fujio
Garfield Beefs Up by Jim Davis
Garfield’s Guide to Everything by Jim Davis
Mad House (Hardy Boys Graphic Novels: Undercover Brothers #3) by Scott Lobdell and Daniel Rendon

Featured DVD: Marley and Me

Categories: Movies , Reviews | 3 Comments  

(Marley and Me was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review.)

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Packed with playful special features, including tons of deleted scenes and irresistible featurettes, Marley & Me is a satisfying treat for the whole family! Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson unleash huge laughs as John and Jenny Grogan, a young couple contemplating the decision to have a baby. Then came Marley…an adorable Labrador pup who flunks obedience school and quickly turns his new home into a disaster area. But as mischievous Marley sees the Grogans through the ups and downs of life and love, they ultimately realize that “the world’s worst dog” truly brings out the best in them.

I think I was the last person to know the story of Marley and Me. I didn’t read the book, or see the movie in the theater. I’m not really a dog person, you see. So I thought this was just a funny, family movie – kind of like Beethoven. I had no idea that both Kevin and I would be wiping away tears at the end.

Owen Wilson plays journalist John Grogan. He and his wife Jenny have just moved to Florida, and bought a house. Jenny seems to be ready to start a family, and as a way to stall her, John buys her a puppy. Marley is the worst dog ever. Really. Only he’s also the best dog ever. Marley’s crazy personality makes for great comedy, but the movie isn’t just about the dog.

Most romantic comedies cover dating and courtship and end with the wedding. But all of us who are married know that’s when the real work begins. I liked that this movie starts with the wedding, and then shows how hard marriage and parenthood can be – especially the years when the children are very young.

Owen Wilson was perfect as John Grogan. I also enjoyed seeing Eric Dane. He basically played a journalist version of Dr. McSteamy, but he’s very nice to look at. Alan Arkin was great as Grogan’s surly editor. The only casting I didn’t care for was Jennifer Aniston as Grogan’s wife, Jenny. I found her performance very boring. I’m not sure if that was the writing – maybe there just wasn’t much character there – or if it was her acting, but I think she could have been replaced with just about anyone and it wouldn’t have changed the movie a bit.

Marley and Me is available now on DVD. The Two-Disc Bad Dog edition bonus features include: deleted scenes; “Finding Marley” featurette; a gag reel, and more.

Happy Anniversary, Honey

Categories: Marriage | 8 Comments  

As of today, Kevin and I have been married for 14 years. Fourteen years, four children, six moves. Isn’t it amazing how your life can change in such a relatively short time?

Anyway, honey, Happy Anniversary! Here’s to 40 or 50 more. :) I love you.

Featured DVD: Slumdog Millionaire

March 30, 2009 Categories: Movies , Reviews | 4 Comments  

(Slumdog Millionaire was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review.)

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Jamal Malik (Patel), an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika (Pinto), the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. Each chapter of Jamal’s increasingly layered story reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible questions. But one question remains a mystery: what is this young man with no apparent desire for riches really doing on the game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out. At the heart of its exuberant storytelling lies the intriguing question of how anyone comes to know the things they know about life and love.

Slumdog Millionaire is a movie that deserves the hype and the awards it has won. It’s heart-breaking to see the way people in other parts of the world are forced to live – and that fact is made even more poignant when you realize that the children in the movie were actually living in the slums and dumps where the movie was filmed.

The cast was extraordinarily talented, from the stars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, down to the children playing their younger versions. It was courageous of director Danny Boyle to film the movie with actors no one will recognize, and his choice to do so makes the film seem even more real – there are no familiar faces pulling you out of the experience.

The over-all message of the film is one of hope and courage. Jamal’s determination to find Latika and to rise above his surroundings is truly inspirational.

I do have one complaint – and it’s not just about this film in particular, but all films that include subtitles. Not everyone has giant-screen TVs, and when the subtitles are small or poorly-colored, it can make the viewing experience frustrating. There were many times when I had to pause the DVD so that my husband and I could figure out what the subtitles were saying.

Slumdog Millionaire will be available on DVD on March 31st. The DVD special features include deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, and more.

Bookish stuff – and a giveaway

March 28, 2009 Categories: Books , Contests | 1 Comment  

For those of you who miss my bookish posts, here are some links to book-related stuff I’ve posted at Books and Movies:

~ A list of my favorite mystery series

~ A review of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

~ A list of my favorite audiobooks

~ A giveaway of The Laws of Harmony by Judith R. Hendricks

Links for Friday

March 27, 2009 Categories: Faith , Funnies , Homeschooling , Movies , Poetry , Television , This and That | 4 Comments  

Some random thoughts:

I love spring, but I would love it even more if someone could invent jeans that completely repel grass stains.

I think it’s sad that it has been necessary for the staff at Subway to put up a sign that says, “Please refrain from using your cell phone while placing your sandwich order.”

How is it possible that I’m purchasing fall curriculum for a 7th grader?

I am very proud of Kevin, who gave up chewing tobacco eleven days ago.

I re-connected with an old friend/flame on Facebook. How is it fair that he looks exactly the same as he did the last time I saw him – 16 years ago?

I hate that my sisters live so far away from me. I miss them.

PG-rated movies from the 1970s and 1980s are a lot more adult than PG movies made recently.

I’m going to be very angry if NBC cancels Life.

And now, some links:

~ Anne Hathaway will play Judy Garland in a biopic. Brilliant casting, in my opinion!

~ 1 More Chapter has the new trailer for Terminator Salvation. Can’t wait to see this one.

~ Take Your Vitamin Z has the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are.

~ Any of you moms Twitter? You’ll get a kick out of this comic.

~ Does Satan exist? If that topic fascinates you, check out the Nightline Face-off on this topic, in which Christians Pastor Mark Driscoll and Annie Lobert debate Deepak Chopra and Bishop Carlton Pearson.

~ This little girl singing The Lord’s Prayer is adorable.

~ April is National Poetry Month. If you’d like to receive poetry in your inbox every day during April, you can sign up at Poets.org and Borzoi Reader.