Noah’s Reading – June 2009

June 30, 2009 Categories: Books , Homeschooling | Comments Off  

Daniel X: Alien Hunter: A Graphic Novel by James Patterson and Leopoldo Gout
Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection by Bill Watterson
Bone Volume 2: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith

Natalie’s Reading – June 2009

Categories: Books , Homeschooling | Comments Off  

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Trading Places by Claudia Mills
Goodbye, Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
Rising Storm by Erin Hunter
A Moment of Weakness by Karen Kingsbury
Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson
The Haunted Bridge by Carolyn Keene
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Clue of the Tapping Heels by Carolyn Keene
Dark Blue: Color Me Lonely by Melody Carlson
A Dangerous Path (Warriors, Book 5) by Erin Hunter
Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk by Carolyn Keene

Jonathan’s Reading – June 2009

Categories: Books , Homeschooling | Comments Off  

Warrior’s Return by Erin Hunter, Dan Jolley, and James Barry

Featured DVD – and Giveway Info: Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience

Categories: Contests , Movies , Music | 1 Comment  

(Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review.)


Put yourself in the middle of the Jonas Brothers’ motion picture debut with the ultimate Extended 3D Concert Experience only on Blu-ray Hi-Def. It doesn’t get any better than this as Kevin, Joe and Nick invite you inside their personal world for an all-inclusive look at the band. The 3D picture looks so incredible, you’ll think you can reach out and touch the brothers, and the theater-quality sound will have you jumping out of your seat!

This 3D movie event launches music’s hottest trio straight into your living room and includes guest appearances by chart-topping artists Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift!

Secure your backstage pass to this once-in-a-lifetime 3D experience with the Jonas Brothers – complete with exclusive bonus features, including unseen performances, additional songs, and an extra DVD copy of the movie. You’ll feel like you’re part of the Jonas family with this deluxe up-close-and-personal Blu-ray Combo Pack for the ultimate fans!

I asked Natalie to review this DVD, and here’s what she had to say:

“This movie was fairly good, but all the screaming girls were kind of weird. The fans of the Jonas Brothers act like they are their idoll and that they worship them. They almost puke, hyperventilate, and things like that. But above all of that the singing was good. This movie was good in some parts and not so good in others.”

For a chance to win this DVD, click over to my giveaway post at Books and Movies.

Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience is available now on DVD. The special features include two bonus songs and “Up Close & Personal: Inside the Lives of the Jonas Brothers on Tour.”

Featured DVD: Princess Protection Program

Categories: Movies | Comments Off  

(Princess Protection Program was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review.)


Get ready for a hilarious and heartwarming royal reality check in Princess Protection Program, the new smash-hit Disney Channel Original Movie starring Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) and Demi Lovato (Sonny With a Chance)! Plus, this Royal B.F.F. Extended Edition DVD features an insider’s look at the realities and responsibilities of being a real-life princess, and lets you listen in as real-life best friends Selena and Demi dish about their lives on and off the set!

The worlds of royalty and roughing-it collide when the lovely Rosalinda (Lovato) enters the Princess Protection Program and moves in with her new “cousin” Carter (Gomez), a total tomboy. In an unexpected role reversal, “Rosie” learns how to act like an everyday girl and Carter finds her own inner princess. Once they discover what they have in common, they prove that best friends really are forever!

I asked Natalie to review this DVD, and here’s what she had to say:

“I really like this movie! Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato did a great job with this movie. It is really cute and heartwarming. I do recommend this movie for everyone who likes good actresses and singers!”

So, chances are if you have a young girl in your life, she would enjoy this movie, too.

Princess Protection Program is available now on DVD. The special features include “Royal & Loyal BFFs: Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato Reveal Secrets About Their Real-Life Friendship;” “One and the Same” – a music video starring Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato; and “A Royal Reality: A Real-Life Princess Shares the Realities About Gowns, Castles and Her Royal Responsibilities.”

Links for Friday – June 26, 2009

June 26, 2009 Categories: Books , Just for Fun , Movies , Videos | 2 Comments  

Well, summer is officially here – and the weather is finally cooperating. The boys have been in VBS every morning all week. I like the quiet house in the mornings, but the running around gets a bit old after awhile. I’m looking forward to next week being more low-key.

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer vacations! Here are the links I saved to share with you:

~ Buffy vs. Edward – I’ve never watched Buffy, but I still found this video funny.

~ Popular and Unique Soft Drinks From Around the World – I can’t even imagine drinking some of these.

~ Saying More Than We Can Say: Why the Arts Matter Even During a Recession.

~ Deadline: Post-It Stop Motion Film – Some people are so creative – and have a lot of time on their hands!

~ Academy Expands Best Picture Nominees to 10 – Maybe this way movies that people have actually seen will be nominated!

At Books and Movies lately:

~ Favorite children’s novels, part one
~ Me and My Books Meme
~ Found in the pages of Bookmarks Magazine July/August Issue
~ Book review: The Wet Nurse’s Tale by Erica Eisdorfer
~ Favorite contemporary fiction, part three
~ Book review: Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted
~ Book review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
~ Book review: Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
~ Book review: Back Creek by Leslie Goetsch

The birds and the bees

June 24, 2009 Categories: Kid Stuff | 5 Comments  

First off, anyone know why they call it that? The whole sex thing, I mean – who decided to use that nickname? It’s just a bit weird.

Last summer, Kevin had the talk with Noah. He had just turned 10 and was starting to ask questions; it was time. Kevin took him camping, just the two of them, and read this book aloud to him. When they returned from their camping trip, Noah informed me that he had made an important decision: he was never getting married.

A while ago, Noah told my dad about his decision. Dad said, “That’s what I said when I was your age.” Noah asked him what happened, since obviously Papa is married. Dad said, “Well, I saw your Grandma, and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of her.”

Fast-forward to this week. The three boys are going to Vacation Bible School at a church that we don’t attend, but that puts on a wonderful VBS and invites all the children in town. Each year, the kids go and have a great time. Noah has always had a bit of a crush on a certain girl that he only sees during VBS week.

Today, on the way home from VBS, Noah said, “Mom, I’m trying really hard not to look at (insert girl’s name) anymore.” When I asked why, he said, “Because I don’t want to make the same mistake Papa did!” :)

Movie mini-reviews

June 22, 2009 Categories: Movies | 2 Comments  

Here are some of the movies we’ve watched lately:

takingchanceTaking Chance is a true story, taken from the journal of Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl. Strobl, played brilliantly by Kevin Bacon, volunteered to accompany PFC Chance Phelps home to his final resting place after the 19-year-old was killed in action in Iraq. As the war in Iraq continues, it is important for stories such as this one to be told. The men and women who are serving our country deserve great respect, and the ones who pay the ultimate price should be given the highest honor. This is a very emotional movie, and yet one that I think everyone should see. 5 out of 5 bags of popcorn.

grantorinoGran Torino stars Clint Eastwood as Korean War vet Walt Kowalski, a widower living in his own world of bitterness and shame. He is extremely prejudiced and wants nothing to do with immigrants, until he becomes the hero of his Hmong neighbors, whether he likes it or not. Eastwood directed this heartbreakingly honest film about prejudice and forgiveness and redemption. If only all of us could be so productive at age 79. 5 out of 5 bags of popcorn.

theinternational The International is a thriller set in the high stakes world of international banking. Clive Owen is an Interpol agent and Naomi Watts is a New York Assistant DA; they are working together to bring down a bank that funds arms deals and wars in developing countries. This is a realistic thriller – it ends in the way it would in the real world, not necessarily with all of the right people brought to justice. It is well-acted and intricately-plotted, and the shootout scene in the Guggenheim shouldn’t be missed (although it’s not for the squeamish). 4 out of 5 bags of popcorn.

musicwithinMusic Within is the true story of Richard Pimentel, a young man gifted with public speaking who returns from the Vietnam War without his hearing. He finds that many doors are now closed to him as a disabled individual. His work on behalf of the disabled helped bring about the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which gives the disabled legal protection from discrimination. Pimentel is played by Ron Livingston, one of the most underrated actors of my generation, in my opinion. Michael Sheen is also outstanding as Pimentel’s friend with cerebral palsy. 5 out of 5 stars.

sevenpoundsI don’t even know what to say about Seven Pounds. I love Will Smith, but he should have passed on this one. His acting, as well as that of Rosario Dawson, is fantastic, but the film is so depressing that it wasn’t worth watching it. Add to that the fact that I saw the “twist” coming about halfway through, and the film just doesn’t work. 1 out of 5 bags of popcorn.

Happy Father’s Day, Kevin!

June 21, 2009 Categories: Holidays | 2 Comments  


Thanks for being such a great dad to our brood. They’re blessed to have you. I love you!

Summertime gratitude…

June 18, 2009 Categories: This and That | 2 Comments  


… for kids who smell like grass and sunshine and chlorine.

… for less laundry, because shorts and t-shirts take up much less room in the washer, and because grass-stained knees on people are much easier to clean than grass-stained knees on jeans.

… for Vacation Bible School mornings when I get some much-needed kid-less time.

… for a wonderful rural library district that provides fantastic programs during the summer, like the wonderful quartet we heard play yesterday: jazz, swing, ragtime, showtunes, movie music. The kids loved it; and they learned the variations of soprano, alto, and tenor sax, what makes an oboe different from a clarinet, and how a bassoon works.

… for a husband who doesn’t begrudge me afternoons of downtime during our summer break from homeschooling – even if it means the house isn’t that much cleaner than it was during the school year.

… for dinners off the grill.

… for a beautiful city park with picnic tables in the shade that are perfect for lesson planning.

… for lots and lots more time for reading.