Friday, October 21, 2011

The Mighty Macs - Movie Review


If you're looking for an uplifting movie to see, I recommend The Mighty Macs, released in theaters today, October 21st. This movie is based on the story of Cathy Rush, the women's basketball coach of Immaculata College in the 1970's. As Rush worked through the many challenges that faced her in her new position, I found myself drawn into the movie. The fact that it is family friendly is always a big plus for me as well.


ABOUT THE MOVIE:
It's 1971. Cathy Rush is a woman ahead of her time ... and she's about to embark on an adventure for the ages. A new era is dawning in the country and in collegiate athletics, where a national champion will be crowned for the first time in women's basketball.
In the lead up to this historical season, major universities are preparing their game plans to win that first title. Meanwhile a tiny all-women's Catholic college in Philadelphia has a more modest goal: find a coach before the season begins. Providentially, Cathy Rush is about to find Immaculata College.
Recently married, Cathy is dealing with the aftermath of a truncated playing career. While cultural norms would have her staying at home, she's willing to do the hard work necessary to help her new team reach their goals—or perhaps she's just trying to achieve her unfulfilled dreams through them.
From the beginning, her challenges are as imposing as the big-school teams Immaculata will face on the court. Cathy learns there is no gymnasium on campus, she receives little support from the school's Mother Superior, and the school is in dire financial straits. To top it off, she may not even have enough players to field a team!
While it appears the Macs don't have a prayer, all hope is not lost. With the help of Sister Sunday—a spunky assistant coach—and the support of a booster club of elderly nuns, Coach Rush creates a new game plan that just might bring the team—and the school—together.
Will this pioneer buck cultural norms and spur her rag-tag team to unexpected heights? Or will her hard-driving ways create a wedge between the coach and everyone around her? One thing's for certain: there's never been anyone like Cathy Rush at Immaculata!

 For more information about the movie, check out the website or the Facebook page. You can also find them on Twitter and YouTube.

Disclosure: I was given the opportunity to preview this movie in exchange for my honest review. The opinions given are entirely my own.

Dora Cake

When Sassy Pants told me she wanted a Dora cake for her birthday, I went on an internet search for Dora cakes. I absolutely love Pinterest; I was able to "pin" several cakes that I liked aspects of so that I could use them for inspiration when making Sassy Pants's cake.

I loved the colors used and the grassy area where the Dora figures were placed. I used this as my basis for Sassy's cake.

I just used a round cake pan and used the pink, orange, and green color combination.


Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!



Today is Sassy Pants's 4th birthday. It doesn't seem possible that she is this old. Feisty and strong-willed, she definitely keeps me on my toes. The girl is a bottomless pit; she can EAT! Even though she is tiny for her age, she could easily eat her weight in goldfish crackers everyday.

Sassy Pants is most definitely a mama's girl. She doesn't like me to be out of her sight for more than a minute and is constantly climbing into my lap or asking me to hold her. (She told me last week that she wouldn't need to be held all the time once she turns 4. Now that she's 4, we'll see how long that will last.)

She also LOVES her big brother. If you ask her who is the best soccer player in the world, her answer is always, "(The Boy)". He adores her too, letting her play in his bedroom with his toys which are off limits to the rest of his sisters.

I'm very blessed to have Sassy Pants in our family. I know that she is probably my last baby, and I try to remember to cherish these days (although I have to admit, I'm not always good at it).

Happy Birthday, Sassy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Weeks in Review - October 3 - 14

I could never join the circus; I'm simply not a very good juggler. Since the beginning of this school year, I've been trying to juggle schooling the small people, being a wife and mom, keeping the house clean, and getting small people to their extra curricular activities. I've yet to figure out how to keep all of those in the air at the same time. So, if any of you have any tips for how to manage everything successfully, please share them with me.

History - We finished the life of Augustus Caesar. I found it fascinating to study the people who were alive during the time Jesus was born. I hope it made the Bible facts a little more tangible to my children, that they could see that the Bible talks about real people who are a part of history and that it isn't just a group of stories.

Science - The Boy was studying simple machines and completed an experiment to determine how to use a lever in the most effective way.
The girls began studying the circulatory system, learning about the various components of blood. I love using Apologia for science; the chapter on blood began by discussing the importance of sacrificial blood in the Bible and how Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Read-Aloud - To go along with our study of the Roman Empire, we have been reading The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare. What a fabulous book! This story of a young Jewish man who wants to avenge the crucifixion death of his father and how hearing Jesus teach touched his life captivated my children.
Image from Amazon.com
1st Grade - Little Red was very excited to begin reading in her Bible Reader. Marie Hazell from My Father's World has retold the Bible stories in easy to read words.
Preschool - Sassy Pants has mastered number recognition, so we are now working on simple addition using number pegs.

Extra-Curricular - The Boy's and Soccer Girl's soccer teams competed in a tournament at the beach. While Soccer Girl's team wasn't successful, they showed a lot of growth that weekend. They learned to play hard in spite of the score, in one game they came back from a 3-0 deficit to lose 4-3. The Boy's team had an amazing weekend, ending with a 1-0 victory in the championship game! In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, both teams wore pink socks that weekend. This meant a lot to me since I lost my mom to breast cancer 6 1/2 years ago. The girls even sprayed their hair pink for the first day. Here are some highlights from that weekend:









The Boy and his coach

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cooper and Me - Review and Giveaway


Cooper and Me is an enchanting book about a little girl's apprehension about her first day of school and her relationship with her best friend, Cooper the dog. Even though her parents tell her about all of the things she'll learn and do at school, she doesn't see how she will be able to face this without Cooper. Her mother comes up with the perfect solution.

About Cooper and Me:

Cooper and Me was illustrated by 11-year-old Alexa Peters and co-written with her mother, Monique Peters.  The idea was inspired by Alexa's own experiences on her first day of school.  A talented young artist and writer, Alexa wanted to give back to others in a meaningful way through her art.  Starting at a very young age, Alexa created illustrated stories about her daily experiences, and from the pages of her sketchbooks came the idea for her first book, Cooper and Me

Through rhythmic verses, Cooper and Me tells the story of a young girl who is nervous as her first day of school approaches.  She is frightened about leaving home and doesn't want to go without her best friend, her dog Cooper. Fortunately her mother finds the perfect solution to help the little girl overcome her fears – a small replica of her beloved pet she can take to school with her.  In Cooper and Me, the story of a child’s fears about starting school has evolved into a timeless tale about overcoming separation anxiety and trying new things – basic emotions all people experience throughout their lives – but this time, written by a child, for children.

The story behind Cooper and Me also offers an inspiring example of families working together to help others.  In addition to helping young children gain emotional resilience and confidence through their books, Alexa and mom Monique wanted to go beyond that to help less fortunate kids.  Their search for an organization to which they could donate a portion of the proceeds from the Cooper and Me book led to a charitable alliance with the Happy Hearts Fund, founded and run by Petra Nemcova, the supermodel who was directly affected by the tsunami in Thailand. Happy Hearts improves children’s lives through education and sustainable programs in natural disaster areas.

I love the fact that this book was written and illustrated by a child the same age as The Boy. I used the book as a read-aloud with Little Red (age 6) and Sassy (age 3). They loved it, and it opened up the opportunity to discuss the kind of things they could do when they feel nervous about doing something new. Sassy has been having a difficult time when we drop her off at the church nursery, and we were able to use the situation in this book to talk about how we can make things easier for her.

This book is available the Cooper and Me website for $12.99, and there are other Cooper and Me books and products available as well. In addition, I have one available for one of my lucky readers. The giveaway will run through 11:59 pm, Sunday, October 23. The winner will be announced the morning of October 24th.



To enter the giveaway, simply visit the Cooper and Me website and come back here and leave me a comment telling me about one of their other items available.


For additional entries,
  • Follow me via Google Friend Connect on the right side of the page. (Leave 1 comment)
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook. (Leave 1 comment)
  • Tweet this giveaway on Twitter. (Leave 1 comment)
  • Blog about this giveaway. (Leave 1 comment) 
"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Week in Review - Sept 19-30

I'm so far behind that I'm combining 2 weeks of reviews into 1. Not only that, but I'm not counting my weeks any more because I keep losing count. I'm pitiful.

History - We are still reading Augustus Caesar's World. We learned about how Augustus commissioned Virgil to write the Aeneid to preserve the religion of the Romans. We also discussed how the months and days were named.

Science - The Boy finished up his study of the scientific method with a couple of experiments exploring the effect of weight on the free fall of objects.

The girls finished up their study of the digestive system and created a pocket book, writing facts on cut-outs of food to place in the mouth.
They began their study of the respiratory system.

Writing - We are using IEW this year, and I'm seeing tremendous improvement in the twins' writing. Ballerina, who used to despise writing, actually seems to enjoy it using this approach. I'm using IEW at home with both her and The Boy, and Soccer Girl is doing an IEW class at our co-op.
1st Grade - Little Red is still plugging away at learning to read. She's starting to use context clues to help figure out words, in addition to sounding them out. It's exciting to see her able to read some of the easy reading books she checked out from the library.


Preschool - Sassy Pants was excited to get to use the new Carlito C. Caterpillar's MathHouse Game Card set that I received to review. You can read more about them here. She especially loved getting to eat the manipulatives (M&M's). She had her mouth stuffed full.

Co-Op - I mentioned that Soccer Girl is taking an IEW class at co-op. I love our co-op! The ladies (and gentlemen) who teach are such a wonderful group. Sassy is still going through a clingy phase, so dropping her off at her first class usually draws some tears, but once she's in there, she has a blast the rest of the morning.
Little Red's classes are
  • The Magic School Bus - a science class based on the videos and books
  • Literature Pockets
  • Worship and Wonder - where they learn stories from the Bible.
Ballerina's classes are
  • American Girl History - which she loves since she loves the American Girl books
  • A Trip Around the World - a world geography class
  • Worship and Wonder with Caelin
Soccer Girl's classes are
  • Spanish
  • IEW
  • Meet the Masters - an art class based on the paintings of the masters
The Boy's classes are
  • Art
  • Apologetics
  • US Geography 
 In The Boy's Art class, he had to do a pencil sketch of our house. Of course, when he went out to do his sketch, Soccer Girl had to go also.


Homeschool Soccer - Our homeschool soccer team is doing amazing this year! We went from not winning a game last year to now we have a 3-1 start. The Boy's done a great job, scoring 7 of our 9 goals.
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