Archives for April 2014

When Calls the Heart Hallmark Series Based on Books by Janette Oke

when calls the heartRecently, I received a copy of When Calls the Heart: Episode 1: Lost & Found from a Hallmark Series based on Janette Oke’s bestselling book series about the Canadian West. Michael Landon, Jr. is the executive producer and director.

If you don’t get the Hallmark channel, you can buy the DVD series: When Calls the Heart – Lost & Found DVD
or pay per episode to watch the series on Amazon Instant Video: When Calls The Heart Season 1 [HD].


“When Calls the Heart” tells the captivating story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a young teacher accustomed to her high society life, who receives her first classroom assignment in Coal Valley, a small coalmining town where life is simple, but often fraught with challenges. Lori Loughlin plays Abigail Stanton, a wife and mother whose husband, the foreman of the mine, along with a dozen other miners, has just been killed in an explosion. The newly widowed women find their faith is tested when they must go to work in the mines to keep a roof over their heads. Elizabeth charms most everyone in Coal Valley, except Constable Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing) who believes Thatcher’s wealthy father has doomed the lawman’s career by insisting he be assigned in town to protect the shipping magnate’s daughter. Living in a 19th century coal town, Elizabeth will have to learn the ways of the frontier if she wishes to thrive in the rural west on her own.


This series offers just the right mix of lovable characters who draw you into the plot and keep you watching as the action unfolds. It’s a great multi-generational show that appeals to young and old. You cheer for the hurting and boo the bad guys. It’s a classic tale that is winsome in a well-made fashion.




To Keep or Return #GoogleGlass . That is the question…

Google Glass

Today is my first full day with Google Glass and as I sit here tethered to my computer, charging the device which seems to have a very short battery life, I am already wondering how soon I should pack up this cool new technology and send it back despite its promising application. Buyers remorse is already setting in.

Google Glass created an air of scarcity when they allowed a select group to opt-in as Beta testers or Google Explorers who still had to pay for the opportunity but would be able to give suggestions and try apps for the first time. As an adjunct professor and avid use of media, I can officially say I was sucked in like  Dorothy to the Land of Oz.

I have never paid for a Mac or iPhone (preferring the less expensive and equally effective Dell for my laptop and MotoX for my smartphone) but somehow this caught me eye as something cool – something to try and to be one of the first testers – I got sucked into the idea of exclusivity – “early adopter” a point at which the price doesn’t yet match the usefulness of the device.



In case it’s not obvious, you do need a smartphone to tether to for calls, etc. Of course, you are required to have a Google account and need to buy through Google wallet.

Set-up was easy but swiping  and clicking between options gets a bit confusing. It’s going to take practice. Basically, you can tap & swipe the device to select several choices (including do a Google search, take a picture, take a video, make a call via BlueTooth with your phone, search Google via Wifi and more as apps like games & recipes are added). You can also train it to respond to voice commands (which I have to say really annoys the people around me but could be quite useful if I can get it to learn that I am searching for an Easter dessert not an Easter desert.)

As for navigation, sometimes you get lost and aren’t quite sure how to get back to where you started – time to revisit the instruction videos. The wink to take a picture is pretty cool but has my husband and kids running for cover when I turn their way with the glasses on. I also like that the screen shades when you go into the light. The picture here shows clip-on shades as well but the actual device is a wire frame that does not have glass.

I do like the recipe app but I need to figure out why the ingredients aren’t on the first swipe page. More research.

I am giving myself a week or two to try it. If either I don’t have the time to research and make it more useful, it’s gotta go back. The price is still giving me hives. My husband is already saying it needs to go back despite his infinite love for technology (remember he’s the one that insisted we stick with Windows and Android based devices).

UPDATE: Day 2: Return has been initiated. Despite some promising apps, the functionality is too redundant against all the other technology I have for my purposes and the price makes me too nervous to take it out where it would probably be more useful – like price shopping, research, etc. Hope the price comes down ALOT so I can try it again without worrying about every move.


RIO 2 Opens in Theaters: Interview with Carlos Saldanha


carlos saldanha

RIO 2 opened in theaters across the country this weekend to sell-out crowds and kids ready for sun and fun. Last week, my daughters and I had the unique opportunity of interviewing the Rio 2 director, Carlos Saldanha after attending a screening of the movie a couple of days before.

While other interviewers were going after pieces focusing on Saldanha’s environmental bent towards climate change awareness and tree hugging tendencies to his desire to share his Brazilian heritage with the world, we decided to find out what a director might be able to share with another budding film director, my daughter, and to get a verbal peek behind the scenes of the production process in general.

Sitting at the end of the conference table, Saldanha was very gracious as my daughter peppered him with all sorts of questions and even shared some cell-phone footage of various musicians in the sound booth filling the space with their passionate gestures as their sounds were captured and translated into animation by the next stage of artists.

For school, it was important to my daughter to note that Saldanha attended the MFA program at New York’s School of Visual Arts, where he graduated with honors in 1993, after completing two animated shorts, “The Adventures of Korky, the Corkscrew” (1992) and “Time For Love” (1993).

When my daughter asked Saldanha about getting started, he said that you can attend a lot of great colleges but it’s what you do with what you have available to you that matters, after sharing how many fellow students did not use all the resources they could have in the program he attended despite great teachers and great labs. Saldanha shared that deciding which direction to go is about what you truly want to do. He chose to pursue animation and loved the field after originally getting a computer science degree.

Every time we go to an interview like this, I justify the time it takes out of my schedule because of how excited my daughter is to learn about a craft that takes a unique blend of training, talent and genius to craft a fun movie that kids and parents can enjoy.

My daughter asked Saldanha how you go about achieving that balance to reach multi-generational audiences. Answering her, he said he makes movies he can enjoy too and has fun watching, naming Gaby the frog as one of his favorite characters in Rio 2. He also shared how Nigel’s character got darker and darker as they progressed and he had to lighten up the scenes so it could work. All of these decisions are what make a movie take on a life of its own as the project progresses over what typically takes 3 years to complete.

Saldanha obviously enjoyed the process and you see his passion infusing into the whole process when you watch the film, which in my opinion actually outshines the first one with vast Amazon scenery and song incorporating all the elements of the diverse jungle that it is.

Carlos Saldanha is a Brazilian director of animated films who works with Blue Sky Studios. He was the director of Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Rio, and the co-director of Ice Age and Robots.


It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they’re hurtled Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all: his father-in-law. By Twentieth Century Fox

The Official Trailer:


GIVEAWAY: Enter to win The Nut Job DVD/Blu-ray/Digital HD Combo Pack

The Nut Job BluRay

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below to win one of several copies of The Nut Job combo pack – available in Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD.


Surly, a curmudgeon, independent squirrel is banished from his park and forced to survive in the city. Lucky for him, he stumbles on the one thing that may be able to save his life, and the rest of park community, as they gear up for winter – Maury’s Nut Store. The Nut Job comes to Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray Combo Pack including Blu-ray, DVD, & DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet as well as On Demand on April 15, 2014, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film will also be available on DIGITAL HD one week early on April 8, 2014

If you don’t want to wait, you can also buy The Nut Job (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet) on Amazon

or in local stores near you.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


A MUST-SEE: Moms’ Night Out Movie Coming to Theaters May 9

mnomovie If you are a mom, have a mom, are a husband to a mom, a sister to a mom, a brother to a mom or have any other relationship with a mom, you must see the movie Moms’ Night Out. Or, if you are simply a frequenter of tattoo parlors, you may just like seeing Trace Adkins in action as well.

This last week, I actually enjoy three ladies’ nights and in the middle was the movie screening of Moms’ Night Out. I had read that it had Christian values-based overtones and I have watched enough low budget good intention films to worry about film quality but this movie blows all those expectations out of the water.

Allyson, the main character played by Sarah Drew of Grey’s Anatomy fame, begins (intentionally) a little over the top in her perfectionist tendencies and she does something I never found myself doing as my kids were growing up – staying awake because the house is messy. I sleep well – perhaps too well.

In the movie, Allyson invites her best friend and the pastor’s wife, played by the ever fun Patricia Heaton, out on a girl’s night out which does NOT go according to the plan and much hilarity ensues in a fast-paced fun series of bad coincidences that lands most of the characters behind bars.

Patricia Heaton smoothly contributes her relatable warm personality and slapstick “awkwardly humble” schtick to create a “poking fun” look at life as the pastor’s wife in the middle of an overall message blast that we are enough for God as we are and that Jesus loves us for who we are – so slow down, breath and appreciate the beautiful mess of life.

Also featured in the movie was the team blogsite (In) Courage – one of my favorite. Want daily women’s devotionals sent directly to your inbox? Subscribe to their feed via email and you will be blessed.

This a great movie to take friends and family and perhaps a stranger or two. Moms’ Night Out officially arrives in theaters May 9 – just in time for Mother’s Day! What a great gift idea.

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Enter to win the chance for two to fly out to LA to see the premiere!