Movie Review - Snowmen

~ Posted on Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 10:45 AM ~

I always thought being a SAHM means I'm going to have a hard time going out to watch movies... what more with 2 kids now... and what do you know, few days ago, I received a pitch to participate in a special online “sneak peek” screening of this upcoming film, Snowmen, which opens in selected theaters nationwide October 21 (in US I think) and so below is my review for the movie:

Title:  Snowmen 
Director: Robert Kirbyson
Executive Producers:  Bill O’Kane, Ray Liotta, Diane Hendricks, Tina Segel
Producers:  Stephen McEveety, David Segel, John Shepherd
Screenwriters:  Robert Kirbyson
Cast: Bobby Coleman, Josh Flitter, Ray Liotta, Christopher Lloyd, Bobb’e J. Thompson, Christian Martyn, Doug E. Doug,
Beverly Mitchell
Release Date: 10/21/11 (Theatrical), 11/29/11 (VOD)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Rated: PG

Synopsis of the movie:
"SNOWMEN is a humorous and heartfelt coming-of-age story about three unlikely heroes and the winter that changed their lives forever. After a surprising discovery in the snow catapults three small-town boys into the spotlight, the best friends hatch a plan to be remembered forever by setting a Guinness World Records® title. Along the way, the trio battles schoolyard bullies, unites their community and discovers that - while fame may be fleeting - true friendship lasts forever.

The film stars Bobby Coleman (Last Song), Ray Liotta (Wild Hogs), Bobb’e J. Thompson (Role Models), Josh Flitter (Ace Ventura Jr) and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future)."

Awards & Accolades:

* Audience Award at the 2011 Dallas International Film Festival and at the Tribeca Film Festival
* Best Feature Film at the 2011 SPROCKETS Toronto International Film Festival for Children and Youth
* Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award
* The Dove Foundation and the Parents Television Council also gave the film their seals of approval

I was initially confused when I googled for more info on this movie as imdb website showed that this movie was released in 2010. My hubby was like 'Why ask you to review when it's already released?' and then I read the website link on the pitch email and found out this movie is a new one scheduled for release on Oct 21 this year. I still don't know what went wrong with the details on imdb website though...

How I rate this movie?

Storyline: Unique and it got my toddler's attention since we live in a country where there is NO snow at all and the fact that most of time, the movie features the 3 kids... Hubby told me that this movie has Disney written all over it (as it family-friendly and with meaningful lessons to be learned from the movie) and for me, I like some of the lines in the movie, for example when Bobby Coleman (one of the 3 main characters in the movie) said that he wants his life to be meaningful unlike the snowman - kinda like you just build it and after it melts away, there's nothing left to be remembered of.

Ben watching the movie...

Casts: I can only recognise Ray Liotta (from Wild Hogs) and was a bit surprised when hubby asked 'Isn't that guy from Back to Future?' and I was like 'Huh? Which one?' and then realised which one he talked about. Anyway, that aside, I think the casts in the movies are good.

Memorable Scene: I particularly like the scene where Bobby Coleman fell and got trapped under the ice and his friends all risked and tried to save him. I get teary eyed at that scene actually!

Overall Impact: A feel good movie with inspiring lessons to learn, perfect for family viewing especially!

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with the link and authorised password to view the movie online in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine.

Book Review - Enemies of the Heart (Andy Stanley)

~ Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 5:55 PM ~

This is the first book I requested under the Blogging for Books program with WalterBrook Multnomah Publishing and below is my review for the "Enemies of the Heart" book by Andy Stanley:

Title: Enemies of the Heart: Breaking Free from the Four Emotions That Control You
Author: Andy Stanley

Publisher:  Multnomah Books; Reprint edition (June 21, 2011)
ISBN-13/-10: 978-1601421456 / 1601421451
Paperback: 224 pages
Dimension: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches

Description from the product page:
"Are you afraid to look inside? Break free from the destructive power of guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy.

Divorce. Job loss. Estrangement from family members. Broken friendships. The difficult circumstances you are dealing with today are likely being fed by one of four emotional forces that compels you to act in undesirable ways, sometimes even against your will.

Andy Stanley explores each of these destructive forces-guilt, anger, greed, and jealousy-and how they infiltrate your life and damage your relationships. He says that, left unchallenged they have the power to destroy your home, your career, and your friendships.

In Enemies of the Heart, Andy offers practical, biblical direction to help you fight back, to take charge of those feelings that mysteriously control you, and to restore your broken relationships. Includes a six-week discussion guide-a valuable resource for small groups!

* Previously released as "It Came from Within""

I was immediately attracted to this book when I read the following:

 Guilt = I owe you
Anger = You owe me
Greed = I owe me
Jealousy = God owes me

Wow.... that just strikes it! I mean, just pause for a moment and think through each of the negative habits above and reflect on it.

I also enjoyed reading the chapters related to forgiveness. The author asked us to confront what makes us angry and to forgive the person and restate the decision that he or she does not owe us anything anymore. He further reminded us that you don't forgive because the other person deserves it, you forgive because you've been forgiven by our Father above. As I read through this chapter, I was reminded of a few personal experiences (which honestly, I have really really forgiven the person and move on) I like the sentence from page 104 where it says "Blaming won't make us better. Holding out for an apology won't either. The cure is forgiveness."

I also enjoyed reading the habits listed to change the enemies of the heart which is to: confess, forgive, give and celebrate.

I would highly recommend you to get this book, heck, buy more as a gift to your loved ones and friends!

You can get this book from WalterBrook Multnomah website, Amazon and many more.

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with the softcopy of the book by WalterBrook Multnomah in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine. And if you'd like to read my previous book reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My Book Reviews"

Money Matter$

~ Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 1:48 PM ~

As a SAHM for 2 years now, I would like to share how finances affect our parenting. Before I begin, I would like to clarify that we're not that dirt poor until we can't afford to buy anything, but as a parent now, we think the following items listed have indeed helped us save lots of money, enabling us to spend it on items which we really need and are of better use.

1. We gladly accept hand-me-down items!

* Image from Google search

Since we became a parent, we really love getting hand-me-downs from our relatives, friends and even ex-colleagues. You have no idea how much we save from not needing to buy bath tubs, toys, books, clothings, shoes, sandals, playpen, even a baby crib (which we used less than 1 week for Ben before we decided to co-sleep). All the money saved from not needing to buy things like this are better use to buy better quality food and necessities for the family.

* Our Point: You don't need to buy branded or new things when you can still make use (reuse) of old things. Recycle, recyle, recycle! And just because you are using hand-me-down stuff doesn't mean you are poor, just that you'd rather save the money for something better and appreciate that the old stuff can still be reused!

2. We are into DIY-ing some of Ben's stuff!

* Image from Google search

My regular blog readers would have read my post about my hubby's 1st DIY playmat and 2nd DIY playmat for Ben. Initially I was thinking of learning to make it using felt but that would take time (to learn a new craft) and money (to buy the supplies). In the end, hubby decided to use cardboards instead and we saved money from these DIY projects! My MIL also made and sewed some of Ben's pillows and bolsters herself.

* Our Point: We don't always have to buy new toys for our kids. We can make it ourselves and cultivate a sense of independence and creativity in our children to imagine and create things themselves! Also, by DIY-ing the toys, we are also recycling products like cardboards etc.

3. We are into preparing and making our own baby foods

Ben having pureed carrots...

When Ben was ready for solids at 6 months old, we bought a small tin of Nestle rice cereal  to mix with my breastmilk for him to try out. After that, we decided to prepare Ben's food ourselves. Meaning, we buy the ingredients from the grocery store and prepare it in batches and freeze it. It saves us money and we are more at ease knowing what went into the food Ben ate.

* Our Point: Just because it is soooooo convenient (I know this cos we bought that 1 small tin of Nestle rice cereal to try out. Guilty I agree!) to get baby food outside doesn't mean we should just buy it to save time and work. If you can, make and prepare the food yourself and it will save you more money and you will have peace of mind knowing what goes into the food that you are feeding to your child!

4. We are into breastfeeding

Seriously, breastfeeding really helped us save LOTS of money. We don't have to think of what formula powder, what bottles, what steriliser, what utensils etc etc to get. Of course, I am so thankful I am able to breastfeed Ben (he's 31 months old now btw) for so long and even now, by tandem nursing him and baby Alyson!

Me tandem nursing Ben and Alyson on the 1st night I was back from hospital...

* Our Point: If you can, do try to breastfeed your child, no matter how long you can do so, just give it a try! I get really frustrated hearing new mums (or mums to be) giving up or not even giving breastfeeding a try! Such a waste!!!

** Read: Ecclesiastes 7:12 (NIV), Hebrews 13:5 (NIV), Psalm 4:5 (NIV)