Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday--Happy Halloween!

Excuse me, sir?

(Your bones are showing!)

Is there a doctor in the house?!?!


Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

PINGO and the Playground Bully--Children's Book Review

This is Pingo.

Isn't he cute?!?! 

He is obviously, part-human, part-animal.  He is also the star of Brandon Mull's new book, Pingo and the Playground Bully, published by Shadow Mountain.

This story is all about the everyday happenings on a school playground. Brandon Dorman, the illustrator, brings the story to life with his colorful and imaginative interpretations of Brandon Mull's lively characters.  The story has everything...fictional animals, a dinosaur, a robot, and even a super hero.

Pingo is the imaginary friend of Chad, a second grade boy.  The two often spend recess playing with the other second-graders and their imaginary friends.  Unfortunately, they all had to learn to avoid Jeremy and his imaginary friend Grunt, the class bullies.

Eventually, Pingo steps forward and invites the bullies to join in on their fun.  In the end, Pingo saves the day--Jeremy and Grunt are now part of the gang.  Sometimes all we have to do is push our fears aside and speak up to change our situation.  What a great life lesson!

Bullying is getting a lot of attention lately, thanks to kids who are taking a chance and speaking up to try and change things.  It's never too early to education children about the dangers of bullying.  This book is aimed at young elementary children.

My little one really enjoyed this book.  The characters and beautiful artwork grabbed both of us, sucking us in until the very end.  I plan to take my copy of Pingo to my little one's school librarian.  It will be a great way to introduce the younger children to bullying.

You can purchase this book (and many other great books) published by Shadow Mountain Publishers.  Click here to visit their website's product pages.

*Shadow Mountain supplied a copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.  Thoughts and ideas expressed above are my own.  (L.S.-Oct 2012)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Writer's Workshop--Kiddie Movie Junkie

photo credit:  genrulee17

How many of you moms out there have a favorite kiddie movie?  You know, the one Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks, etc. movie that you can quote line-by-line?  The one go-to movie that you slide into the DVD player when you want everyone to settle down a bit a few moments of peace?  The one movie you push play on and realize halfway through that you're the only one watching?  As a matter of fact, you're the only one in the room and you have no idea where your kids went and what they are doing?

Yeah....you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.  THAT movie.

Kids are so funny.  They get all hyped up over that one certain movie and they watch it over and over again. They can watch that same movie ten times without a break, day after day, week after week, and month after month.  It is a proven fact that young kids learn from repetition, so it makes perfect sense that they start watching movies like this at a very young age.

Or...does it?

The truth is, it's partially our fault.  We are the ones pushing the play button again and again.  At least, in the early years, before they learn how to operate the DVD player.  We watch along with them and we get sucked in by those catchy tunes, lovable characters, and the lessons being taught.  Everything we need all wrapped up in animated goodness.

Happy sigh.

If your kids are close in age, you may have one personal favorite, one special movie that takes you back to those adorable toddler years.  But, if your kids are spaced a little farther apart like mine, you probably find yourself remembering many a kiddie film with great fondness.  It's like remembering old friends...a full library of crazy cartoons filled with life lessons and adult innuendos.

You have to face the reality--you like them, too.

Just as much.

Or... maybe...more.

My first kiddie movie obsession was Beauty and the Beast.  My little girl would bat her lashes and ask for "Booty and the Bees" every day.  How could I deny her the pleasure?  We watched and sang along.  Time and time (and time....infinity) again.  I still get goosies when I think about how I snapped a photo of her with Belle at Disney World last year, nearly 20 years after our her obsession began.   Thumbelina was another of her favorites.  Imagine my excitement when I ran across Jacamo and the gang on Netflix a month ago...

Next came the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  Hee--YAH!  My son *was* a Power Ranger.  He was the Red Ranger, the White Ranger, the Black Ranger, the Blue Ranger....so many costumes.  So serious.  Oh, we watched hundreds of episodes over the years, and all of the movies, too.  I vividly remember walking my tiny little man into the Bartlett theater to see that first Power Ranger movie.  His smile lit up his entire face!  (And my heart, too.)  He moved on to Toy Story for a while and after that, to Nintendo games.

My next son loved, and in NO way does this threaten his impending manhood, Mulan.  He called her Moo-Woo and he was obsessed.  We watched together and learned some Chinese history and the importance of family honor, and that crickets sound a lot like Eddie Murphy when they talk, along with those catchy Disney tunes.   He inherited those Power Ranger videos and costumes from his big brother and spent considerable time and energy jumping and 'hee-yahing' around, but Moo-Woo was special.

The next boy was all about Emperor Kuzco and The Emperor's New Groove.  This movie is loaded with noteworthy lines begging to be repeated for all to enjoy.  Fortunately, a good friend's umm...son (yeah, that's it.  Her son.) was also enamored by Kuzco, so every time we got together, the Kuzco talk and boisterous laughter was thick.  Good times...  Toy Story and those aging Power Ranger costumes were also hits with this boy, but Nintendo grabbed him at a very young age.

My little one was entertained at an early age by far more movies than any of the others due to spending time in the hospital.  Of course, he was very young for most of his stays, but was still in dire need for distraction.  (...Stuffing my hands in my pockets and looking up toward the sky, whistling...)

We He has lots and lots of favorites.  Cars, Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., The Incredibles, Shrek, Balto... I could probably make a list a mile long.  I do believe Toy Story is his all-time favorite.  We've seen all three over and over, and I still tear up when Andy leaves for college.  It was a thrill for both of us to meet Buzz and Woody last year.  It really was...I admit it!   In addition, he's also a sucker for Will Smith movies like Men in Black and Hitch.

I make trips to the Red Box and come home with the latest kiddie movie saying, "That's all I could find."


Maybe, juuusst maybe....*I* like the kiddie movies.

GASP!!  Okay....I confess!  I love kiddie movies!!!

I guess I shouldn't fight it.  I mean, I've been watching kiddie movies for 21 years.  What can anyone expect?  I've been hiding behind my kids all these years.

And since my little one is only SIX, I have an excuse for several years to come.  Although, he is moving on into the super hero movies now.

Anyone up for The Avengers?

Mama’s Losin’ It
*Post inspired by #1 on this week's Writer's Workshop.
 I took the liberty of changing TV show to movie.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday--Gigi's Boy...

Six months old and growing fast...

Toe grabber.

Look at those eyes!

Gigi's boy.

Finger sucker.

Serious face.

Toy chewer.

Happy Boy!

Enough with the camera, Gigi.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wordless Wednesday--Old Red Barn

This is what I see when I stand on my front porch...

It's an awesome view.  

It makes us feel more 'out in the country' than we actually are.

It's peaceful.

I like watching the seasons change around this old barn.

I also enjoy manipulating photographs of this old barn.


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