Hi – I’m still here

March 27, 2010 Categories: All About Me | Comments Off  

So, let’s see, what’s going on?

~ Still going to the “new” church – and enjoying it. The kids like it, and I like being in a women’s group again – a small women’s group that includes real, authentic women who love God – no fake “everything’s peachy because we have Jesus” types.

~ My grandma is here visiting from Vancouver, staying with my folks. We’re hoping she will stay, as it doesn’t seem she’s getting the best of care with the relatives she’s currently staying with. It’s hard to see how much she has aged since the last time I saw her.

~ We’re on spring break from homeschooling for the next week – a break that is greatly needed by all of us, but mostly me.

~ The Extreme Health Makeover I embarked on last fall turned out to be major on the extreme, minor on the makeover – but still had a major effect on me, mostly on my mental health and helping to dig up the reasons why I eat compulsively. I’m in counseling with a lady at church. I’ll write a longer post about this later when things are more sorted in my head.

Lots going on at Books and Movies, as usual:

~ Movie meme
~ Book Review: The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen
~ Book Review: Stealing Athena by Karen Essex
~ Book Review: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
~ Help me prioritize my “I have to read this now!” books
~ Deep bookish questions meme
~ Book Review: An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor
~ March Shelf-Cleaning Giveaway
~ Book Review: We Are the Children: Keepers of the School, Book 1 by Andrew Clements
~ Movie Review: The Princess and the Frog

If you’re on Facebook, I have set up a page for Books and Movies – feel free to “become a fan.” :)

Books and Movies link

March 11, 2010 Categories: Books , Movies | Comments Off  

~ Guest post: Lynn Cullen, author of The Creation of Eve
~ Book Review: The Creation of Eve by Lynn Cullen
~ Book Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn
~ Mini-review: Going Bovine by Libba Bray, Down the Long Hills by Louis L’Amour, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, and The Game by Laurie R. King
~ Movie Review: Old Dogs
~ Movie Review: Amelia
~ Bedtime reading rituals
~ Mini-reviews: Nine Horses: Poems by Billy Collins and The Diary of Pelly D by L.J. Adlington
~ Book Review: The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg
~ Blogsplash: Thaw by Fiona Robyn
~ Cover issues: plus-sized characters
~ Faith ‘n’ Fiction Saturday: Round table discussion of Claudia Mair Burney’s Wounded
~ Found in the pages of Bookmarks Magazine, March/April 2010 issue
~ Book Review: Life Studies: Short Stories by Susan Vreeland
~ Whatcha Watchin’? Wednesday: FlashForward, Part One, Season One
~ Book Review: At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays by Anne Fadiman
~ Movie Review: Everybody’s Fine

Featured DVD: Ponyo

March 8, 2010 Categories: Movies | Comments Off  

Welcome to a world where anything is possible! Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away), and legendary filmmaker John Lasseter together with Disney bring to life a heartwarming and imaginative telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale The Little Mermaid. And now it’s even more thrilling through the magic of Blu-ray with never-before-seen bonus features that take you on a journey deep into the film’s enchanted world!

A young boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish named Ponyo, and they embark on a fantastic journey of friendship and discovery before Ponyo’s father, a powerful sorcerer, forces her to return to her home in the sea. In her quest to become human and reunite with Sosuke, Ponyo stumbles upon and releases her father’s magical Water of Life and triggers a gigantic storm. Now balance must be restored to the world they all cherish.

Ponyo will delight your family with its timeless story, and on Blu-ray it will dazzle your senses with its enhanced high definition picture and sound.

Noah’s review: This was more aimed at younger children than Miyazaki’s other movies. It wasn’t one of his best. 3 and a half stars.

Jonathan’s review: I think it’s the best movie about a fish I’ve ever seen. I liked it a bunch. 5 stars.

Ponyo is available now on DVD. The DVD special features include a story board feature and a behind the scenes feature.

(Disclosure: Ponyo was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on it and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small commission.)

Featured DVD: My Neighbor Totoro

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Visionary and Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away) has created a heartwarming, music-filled and wonderful world in My Neighbor Totoro, a delightfully animated family adventure. And now – exclusively in this 2-Disc Special Edition DVD – never-before-seen bonus features reveal even more of Totoro’s fantastic world!

Follow the adventures of Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei when they move into a new home in the countryside. To their delight, they discover that their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit called Totoro – who can be seen only through the eyes of a child. Totoro introduces them to extraordinary characters – including a cat that doubles as a bus! – and takes them on an incredible journey.

Bring home My Neighbor Totoro from Studio Ghibli and Disney for your family’s DVD library and experience the timeless classic film Roger Ebert calls “one of the very few that come along that are magical for all ages.”

Noah’s review: My Neighbor Totoro is a very good children’s move. I liked it because of the imagination behind the creatures, but I would suggest this more for younger kids than me. 3 and a half stars.

Jonathan’s review: My Neighbor Totoro is the best movie about moving into a new home. 5 stars.

Josiah’s review: This was just okay. 3 stars.

My Neighbor Totoro (Two-Disc Special Edition) is available now on DVD. The DVD special features include a behind-the-scenes featurette.

(Disclosure: My Neighbor Totoro was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on the link and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small percentage in commission.)

Featured DVD: Castle in the Sky

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Introduce your entire family to Castle in the Sky, featuring a timeless story of courage and friendship with stunning animation from acclaimed Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away). Plus, this 2-Disc Special Edition DVD includes never-before-seen bonus features that transport you deeper into the film’s amazing world!

This high-flying adventure begins when Pazu, an engineer’s apprentice, finds a young girl, Sheeta, floating down from the sky, wearing a glowing pendant. Together, they discover both are searching for a legendary floating castle, Laputa, and vow to unravel the mystery of the luminous crystal around Sheeta’s neck. Their quest won’t be easy, however. There are greedy air pirates, secret government agents and astounding obstacles to keep them from the truth – and from each other.

Add Castle in the Sky to your DVD library, and this magical and uplifting classic from Studio Ghibli and Disney will thrill and amaze your family for years to come.

Noah’s review: Castle in the Sky is my most favorite Hayao Miyazaki movie. It’s about a girl named Sheeta and her magical blue necklace. I like Mayazaki’s animation, especially his backgrounds and how the airships are designed. 5 out of 5 stars

Jonathan’s review: I like the part when they became members of the Dola gang – the pirates. 4 and a half stars.

Josiah’s review:I don’t really like this one as much. 2 stars.

Castle in the Sky: Special Edition – 2 Disc DVD is available now on DVD. The DVD special features include a featurette about the studio and an introduction by John Lasseter.

(Disclosure: Castle in the Sky was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on the link and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small percentage in commission.)

Featured DVD: Kiki’s Delivery Service

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Discover Kiki’s Delivery Service, a fantastic coming-of-age tale full of magic, adventure and self-discovery from the sensational imagination of Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki (2002, Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away). And now you can explore even more of Kiki’s amazing world through never-before-seen bonus features – exclusively in this 2-Disc Special Edition DVD!

Kiki is an enterprising young girl who must follow tradition to become a full-fledged witch. Venturing out with only her black cat, Jiji, Kiki flies off for the adventure of a lifetime. Landing in a far-off city, she sets up a high-flying delivery service and begins a wonderful experience of independence and responsibility as she finds her place in the world.

Bring home Kiki’s Delivery Service from Studio Ghibli and Disney for your family’s DVD library and share Kiki’s high-flying adventure again and again.

Noah’s review: Kiki’s Delivery Service is about a young girl who is a witch in training. It is a tradition that when all witches turn thirteen, they must go away from home for their training. This movie about her training in a new city and the people she meets. 4 out of 5 stars.

Jonathan’s review: I like how all of the animation and graphics are done. 5 stars.

Josiah’s review: Jiji, the cat, is my favorite part. 5 out of 5 stars.

Kiki’s Delivery Service: Special Edition – 2-Disc DVD is available now on DVD. The DVD special features include a featurette taking the viewer into the world of the film, and an introduction by John Lasseter.

(Disclosure: Kiki’s Delivery Service was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on the link and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small percentage in commission.)

Featured DVD: Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey

March 3, 2010 Categories: Movies | Comments Off  


The world’s most beloved and inquisitive monkey is back in Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, the fun-filled sequel to the hit animated movie. Join Curious George and The Man with the Yellow Hat as they set out on a madcap cross-country adventure to reunite Kayla, a homesick elephant, with her family. This unlikely trio faces all types of comic calamities and colorful characters and in the end learn that with family, friends and determination you can achieve anything. Featuring the voices of Tim Curry, Matt Lauer, Jamie Kennedy and Jerry Lewis, Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, “proves that family, friends – and curiosity – are number one.” (Francine Brokaw, “Los Angeles Family Magazine.”

My kids loved the first Curious George film, and have watched it several times. This sequel didn’t quite keep their attention or focus in the same way. And I don’t know if that’s just because my kids are getting older or because it wasn’t quite as good. I do know that I missed the original voices of Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore.

Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey is available now on DVD. The special features include two never-before-seen episodes of the TV series.

(Disclosure: Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of this feature. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on it and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small commission.)