New Movie Release – My All American

My husband and I love to watch movies on the weekends. Sometimes we watch two movies on Saturday and two on Sunday. So when we hear about a new movie release, we either pick it up at the store (if it’s one we want to own) or we rent it at Redbox or Family Video (yes…we still have a video store)! The latest movie we watched this past weekend, My All American, is definitely one that we are happy to own. It’s one of those movies you could watch over and over again.

*I received the following movie for the purpose of this review. All opinions are 100% my own*

movie release

My All Americanmovie release, starring Aaron Eckhart is about the true story of Freddie Steinmark, the unlikely football hero that faced unexpected challenges with grit and grace. Despite his size and being deemed by all as being too short to be an athlete, Freddie dreams of playing football and is able to get noticed by legendary coach Darrell Royal. This eventually leads to a college scholarship to play football. With a victorious season within his grasp, Freddie receives a shocking medical diagnosis and it’s through this diagnosis that he, and everyone else, see just how much heart Freddie truly has.

About the Movie Release

My All American is coming to Digital HD, Blu-ray™ combo pack, DVD and On Demand on February 23, 2016. Like to purchase new movie releases, but not sure which copy to get, maybe this will help:

  • Blu-ray™ unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
  • DVD offers the flexibility and convenience of playing movies in more places, both at home and away.
  • Digital HD with UltraViolet™ lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.

Blu-ray™ and DVD Bonus Features

  • Spirit of Freddie Steinmark – Learn how the story of the true life hero who inspired the film was brought to the big screen.
  • A Look Inside – A behind the scenes look at the film featuring interviews with Aaron Eckhart, Finn Wittrock, and writer/director Angelo Pizzo.

Both my husband and I really enjoyed this movie. The message of the movie is one that we would love to instill in our children. Be sure to pick up your copy on February 23, 2016!

What 2016 movie release are you looking forward to?

The Use of Therapy Dogs After Traumatic Events

After the traumatic events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012, therapy dogs were brought in to help provide comfort for the grieving children and adults. The dogs sat by the children as they read books to them, petted them and even talked to them. Not only did they provide a calming and peaceful environment for the children, but it helped the teachers too. The family of Charlotte Bacon, a precious little girl that lost her life that horrific December day, saw the comfort the therapy dogs brought to the children, they were convinced their beautiful daughter had something to do with that because she had an immense love for animals, and they decided to start the non-profit organization, Charlotte’s Litter.

therapy dogs

Charlotte on the 1st day of school

Using Therapy Dogs through Charlotte’s Litter

Charlotte’s Litter sets out to advocate for and support appropriate therapy dog programs in educational and societal settings. They do this by helping to connect resources and experienced people, as well as providing input and guidance to parents and educators. Research has shown that the use of therapy dogs helps the physical, social, cognitive, emotional and environmental needs of children. For more information about Charlotte’s Litter and how you can get a program started in your community, visit

therapy dogs

As you can imagine, the Bacon family grieve every single day for their beautiful daughter. In addition to starting Charlotte’s Litter, two books have been published to help provide information about the amazing use of therapy dogs in the healing process.

Good Dogs, Great Listeners: The Story of Charlotte, Lily and the Littertherapy dogs
The Dogs of Newtowntherapy dogs
therapy dogs

I had the pleasure of receiving a copy of  Good Dogs, Great Listeners: The Story of Charlotte, Lily, and the Litter. This book is a beautiful story of a little girl and her love for her dog. In the story, Charlotte finds herself on many grand adventures with her dog Lily. However, one day, on one of those grand adventures, Lily gets hurt. Charlotte uses her love, imagination and a new found love for reading, to nurse Lily back to health.

Both books are perfect as a stand alone book, but they are also used in conjunction with the Charlotte’s Litter Program.

5 Non Candy Valentine’s Day Ideas

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and if you have a kid in elementary school, you know they are getting ready to start filling out Valentine’s for all of the kids in their class. I don’t know about you, but I am hoping that I can stray Bella away from all the candy options and do something a little more homemade and fun! With all the different food allergies in classrooms these days, I would hate for a kid to go home with a box full of things he/she couldn’t eat. How sad is that? If you are looking for non candy Valentine’s ideas, then keep reading! I found some good ones!

non candy valentine's collage

Non Candy Valentine’s Day Ideas!

non candy valentine's pencil

Aren’t these cute? And they are so easy to make! Head on over to Simply Being Mommy for a great printable (makes it soooo much easier for you! Your welcome!) and because I love you all so much, I found a 3 dozen assortment of Valentine’s Pencils that you can order on Amazon and BAM! You’re done! Just put the kids names on it and you have that project done without leaving the house!

non candy valentines puffs

I absolutely LOVE these! You can get the little puffs at your local craft store (and just order these Foam Heart Stickers. I think these are cheaper than the craft store). Head over to Momdot to find out how she put these cute things together for the kids in her daughters class. I can tell you right now, Bella would want to make these!!

non candy valentine's star wars

Star Wars is HUGE in my daughters class right now (3rd grade). She is always coming home telling me that they played Star Wars on recess! Head on over to A Grande Life for the adorable printable. Of course, like the other non-candy Valentine’s ideas, I found glow sticks on Amazon. You have more than enough for your child’s class and you can save some for fun this summer!

non candy valentine's window cling

These are SO CUTE! Milk and Cuddles has a great printable on their site for you to use. Every kid loves window clings! Shoot…my kids are 9 and 11 and they both like window clings too! My 9 year old is forever asking me if we can buy them and put them up! I found these Valentine’s Day Gel Clings on Amazon. I really like the monkey’s!

non candy valentine's applesauce

Now…I know this one is a food item (it’s not candy!!), but the pouches I’ve seen say they are gluten free, dairy free, nut free, etc. If your child’s school is like mine, the teacher usually posts on the door “this is a X free zone” so anyone coming in knows what allergies are in the room. I just had to include this adorable idea that Eat Craft Parent came up with. The Fruit Me Up applesauce pouches I found on Amazon are not only a good price, but they contain JUST apples. How great is that?!?

If you would liked these non candy Valentine’s day ideas and would like to see some other Valentine’s day ideas, please check out:

Alternatives to Store Bought Valentine’s

More Alternatives to Store Bought Valentine’s


Captive – a Movie About Faith Over Fear

On the weekends my husband and I like to watch movies. We don’t go out all that often so, more times than not, we wait for those blockbuster hits to get to Redbox or Family Video (yes there are still movie rental places). I like a wide variety of movies, but my favorite are those that are based off true events. I like seeing the updates at the end. Sometimes they make me very happy to read and other times I get upset with how life turned out for some people. So when I was asked if I wanted to review the movie Captive, I knew right away it was a big fat yes. Captive is based on an inspiring true story.

*I receive a copy of the movie Captive for the purpose of this review. All opinions are 100% my own*

movie captive

About Captive

Based on a miraculous true story about the power of faith, Captive is an “amazing, inspiring” drama about the spiritual collision of two lost souls. Brian Nichols, on the run from police and desperate to make contact with his newborn son, takes recently widowed mother Ashley Smith hostage in her own apartment. Fearing for her life and desperately hoping to see her daughter again, she turns to Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life for guidance. Ashley and her captor face a crossroads where they discover hope and light in the midst of despair in the moving film that Dick Rolfe, CEO, Dove Foundation has hailed as “powerful”.

I really enjoyed the movie. I felt that they did a really great job portraying the events of Ashley Smith being taken hostage and the roadblocks that popped up along the way. In case you are like me and had never heard of this story before, I don’t want to give too much away. However, Captive is an amazing story of faith and hope and one that I think everyone should take the time to watch. For more information about the movie, you can visit their official website, Facebook page and Twitter page. The movie is rated PG-13 (for mature thematic elements and substance abuse).

Book Series You Must Read in 2016

One of my goals for 2016 is to make more time for me to do something I enjoy, which is reading. It’s funny the things we remember, but when I was a kid, I remember someone dropping a couple large paper bags FILLED with books over. There were all kinds of books in that bag. My favorite were the Choose Your Own Adventure books! I remember my mom bringing the bag to me and me digging through it and laying on a lawn chair on our deck and just reading for hours. Literally…hours. The day I got my library card was one of the happiest days ever. With that card I didn’t have to wait until my birthday or a holiday to get new books…I could check out as many books as I wanted and keep them for 3 weeks! And believe me, I checked out STACKS of books every 3 weeks. Especially all the must read book series for tweens and teens!

book series

Both of my kids have a love for reading. Bella will usually only check out books about animals, the weather, science experiments, etc. She has been known to say, “I only read non-fiction books because I want to learn something from what I read“. Zack, on the other hand, very much enjoys fiction books. He loves reading the Percy Jackson books and graphic novels (though I do have to thumb through those to make sure they are appropriate…sometimes they are not)!

I no longer go to the library for my own books. Last year, for my birthday, my husband got me a Kindle Paperwhite and let me tell you, it is probably the best present I’ve ever gotten! I use it every single day, multiple times a day. It especially comes in handy while I wait for my kids during their sport practices or in the parking lot while I wait for my son to get out of school. Besides having multiple books stored on the Kindle at one time, it fits in my purse, weighs very little, AND I only have to charge it about once a month. Sometimes twice, but not normally!

I’ve always been one to gravitate towards series books and that has held true all throughout my life. I get very invested in the characters and want to continue to read about them long past that book ending. So when I found out about a book series that had 21 books already out (and one coming out on January 22nd), it sounded too good to be true! There is nothing I hate more than getting invested in a book series and having to wait months or even years for the next book to come out. This book series is A Shade Of Vampire. They are super quick reads. In fact…I started the first book on December 3rd and finished the 21st book a few days ago. I literally could not put them down! And…once you finish those, you can also check out A Shade of Kiev and A Shade of Dragons. Both are a spin-off book series from A Shade of Vampire!

What is your favorite book series?