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  • February 26, 2010 5:11 am

I think I have found the answer I’ve been searching for with my meal planning woes.

My husband made note of the website listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio show (which is another post altogether).  But, he was intrigued with what the site had to offer, attacking meal planning with a menu based on grocery store (and Wal Mart) sales.  Just to list a few of its bragging rights:

E-Mealz plans are…

…are written and created by REAL moms with REAL families
…are balanced and family friendly
…are as easy as possible, but delicious and kid tested!
…consist of favorite recipes collected from hundreds of moms
…come with an organized, aisle by aisle grocery list
…are for 4 to 6 people
…are based on the current week sales at your grocery
…are priced at approximately $75 per week
…Two person plans average $35 total per week

There are also a variety of meal planning options, from low-fat to vegetarian, so there really is something for every lifestyle.  But, there is a catch.  The site costs $5/month, but with the savings from sticking to a grocery list of items that will only be used in menus you have in mind, I’m thinking it’s worth it.  Plus, so far, I’m being forced to branch out of my comfort zone of foods-even buying shrimp this week.  I haven’t actually braved that recipe yet, but I’m going to try!

Take a peek, and let me know what you think.  :)

A Star Trek Education

  • January 31, 2010 8:28 pm

Friday, we rented the new Star Trek for Family Movie Night, and it was awesome!  It was so awesome, we watched it again Saturday morning before our usual basketball game extravaganza.  The plot centered around the original cast, and how that cast became a crew and friends aboard The Enterprise.  The new actors in the original character roles did a fantastic job portraying the essence of those characters, and it made us fall in love with them all over again.

I’m not a true “Trekkie,” but my dad is, so the Star Trek theme song was always background noise in our house.  I knew about Spock, Captain Kirk, Scotty, Bones, and about going where no man has gone before.  I can incorporate the phrases “beam me up Scottie,” and “I’m givin’ her all she’s got” into my everyday language, and after watching this new version of an old favorite, my husband and I decided we needed to pass on the tradition to our kids.

This weekend seemed like the perfect time to enhance their Star Trek education, since the weather temperatures can’t seem to find their way above freezing.   So, we turned Family Movie Night into Family Movie Weekend.  My dad (the Trekkie) owns the complete set of Star Trek movies, so we quickly confiscated them, and set about for a day of cozy, complete with popcorn and pillows.  We gave the kids some background information about how we watched the TV show when we were kids, and how these movies were released during that time way back in the EIGHTIES.  We started at the beginning with the original movie, but alas, it didn’t quite hold the kids’ attention.  To be honest, I struggled a little with that one.  I guess movie making has changed just a little in the last thirty-ish years.  We moved through the second and third movies throughout the day, with the kids coming in and out of the living room as my husband made fire, and I worked on an online defensive driving class.  Tonight, we finished up the fourth movie, The Voyage Home.  In that movie, the crew traveled back in time to 1986 to retrieve humpback whales to save the 23rd Century earth.  It’s by far my favorite of the bunch, and the kids laughed watching Spock navigate the roads of a punkrocker San Fransisco as he learned to cuss.  They also loved saving the whales.  I think we’re doing good work here.  Serious societal education in progress.

Because, they too, need to live long and prosper.

Motherhood-a movie review

  • January 25, 2010 9:11 am


My husband rented this movie for me over the weekend thinking that it would be something totally up my alley:  a story of a stay-at-home-amateur-writer-to-be mom.  It was a nice gesture on his part, and in theory, he was totally right.  This would be something right up my alley, and the story had so much potential.  It tried to show the everyday excruciatingly disheveling mundane tasks that moms stomp through on a daily basis, but just came up a little short.  At one point, Uma Thurman pushed her bike through the streets of New York City, sweating as she carried about 10 plastic sacks full of ” crap” for her daughter’s birthday party.  While I could definitely relate to that, all I could think about was what a whipping it must be to live in New York City.   Intermingled in the whippingness of living in the city were Uma’s own thoughts on how to still believe in herself, do something for herself, and yet give so much of herself to her children and her family.  Again, great potential, but a fizzling disappointment.  In the end, we see the family celebrating their daughter’s 6th birthday, and are left with some warm, fuzzy, and yes, almost sappy thoughts on motherhood in general which did leave me with a few tears in my eyes, but there was potential here for big huge snotty tears-the kind only a mother could love.

Coraline-a review

  • November 22, 2009 9:17 pm


Last night, my husband rented Coraline for Family Movie Night.  My daughter has wanted to see this movie since its first preview; the boys did not have an opinion, but I did.  It did NOT look like the kind of movie that would leave any of us with warm fuzzies, and more like a movie Tim Burton would enjoy.  But, I was outvoted, overruled, and more importantly, absent during the movie rental process.  So, I went with it.

Big Mistake.

This is another movie based on a book, which seems like a good premise, but more and more these movies are turning out well deserved PG ratings instead of simplistic family friendly cinematic adventures for ALL AGES.  Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is no exception.  This graphic novel won many awards, and being adapted into a movie by director Henry Selick, was an accomplishment on its own.  Therefore, I know the literary community accepted this book, and the cinematic community applauded this movie.  But, as part of just the plain old Mom Community, I can’t do either.

Without spoiling too much of the plot, this story follows a young girl as she explores her “new”, albeit historically old house.  Her parents are self-made workaholics whom mostly ignore her so they can complete their gardening catalog, leaving Coraline to her own devices, thoughts, and dreams.  She finds a “secret” door in this old house, and eagerly opens it one afternoon only to find it bricked closed.  Completely bummed, she retreats to her bedroom and “boring” toys.  Later that night, she follows a mouse as he leads her back to that same door, revealing a secret tunnel to an alternative world.  She bravely crawls through the tunnel to find a mirrored world of her own, only….better.  The house is cleaner, happier, and more festive.  Her “other parents” are more attentive, cook delicious meals, and cater to her every need.  They garden together, they shop together, and her mother arranges daily entertainment with the neighbors.  There’s just one tiny little catch:  they have buttons for eyes.  Which, I guess, in and of itself isn’t that odd, but it does provide a freaky moment here and there as Coraline visits the “other world” trying to decide if it’s better than her own.  One afternoon, again frustrated with her “real parents,” she retreats to the other world, and her “other parents” reveal a secret.  She can stay forever!  Forever in this dream-like place where everything is seemingly perfect, but there is again just that one catch.  She will need to replace her own eyes with buttons. 

This is the point in the movie that all three kids (and, if I’m honest, me) began hiding our eyes at regular intervals until the movie was finally over.  I had to talk my six-year-old off the ledge as he fretted over the safety of Coraline’s parents, and wanted to retreat to his own “safe bedroom.”  Maybe I should have just turned off the movie, and given up on Family Movie Night for one Saturday, but I pressed onward with the hope that this might show him that “everything works out in the end.”  And, I was seriously crossing my fingers that this was an animated adventure that would prove me correct. 

I can say without spoiling anything, that it did work out in the end.  But, in doing  a little research for this post, I realized the book/movie is categorized as fantasy/horror.  A horror?  Yikes.  No wonder it had such a huge creepy factor.  It was a kids HORROR movie.  Good grief.

This seems to be a new trend in animated features, not necessarily the horror factor, but the increased PG ratings, or mature content in general.  Most recently, I shared my thoughts about Where the Wild Things Are, and Kristen over at Shelf Space discussed the newly released Christmas Carol.  So, what’s the deal?  Are the happy-go-lucky days of movies like The Fox and the Hound or 101 Dalmations long gone?  Are we more concerned with fancy computer animation (that in some ways increases the creepy factor) than a feel-good family friendly flick?  Or am I already too old-fashioned, and moaning about what “kids these days” like.

Golly gee, I hope not, but in the future, we might just revisit our own movie shelves instead of taking a chance on one of these new-fangled cartoons.

Same Kind of Different as Me

  • September 3, 2009 8:35 pm

same kind

My book club met tonight to discuss Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.  It’s an amazing story outlining one couple’s dedication to ministering to the homeless in Fort Worth.  Through their service at the Union Gospel Mission, the couple established a friendship with one of the homeless men.  A friendship that would change their lives forever. 

I am all about relationships, friendships and connections.  For me, it’s these experiences that define our daily lives, our ourselves, and our existence.  So, to read this true story, and to match that story with the concrete landmarks that I know in Fort Worth, was overwhelming.  Some moments in life, through books, movies or just everyday occurences change you forever.  Sometimes big changes, sometimes little changes, but those changes affect your core, and curve your path.  This book did that for me.  It startled me into reality; some parts of which I didn’t realize, or want to realize, and others of which I just ignored.  Either way, the jolt was good for me.  I need reminders of “the big picture.”  I need little nudges about the “stuff in the middle.”  Otherwise, I get caught up in my own to-dos, my own schedule, and my own life.  In the meantime, I’ve survived, but not really lived.

If you have a few minutes over the long weekend, pick up this little gem.  Think of your legacy to your children, and how they will know you lived everyday with intent, purpose, and love.  Think of how we are all different, but under the surface, so much the same.