The Nut Job Cracks My Kids Up + Giveaway

TheNutJobToday, The Nut Job comes to BluRay, DVD and Digital HD, starring Will Arnett as Surly, a mischievous squirrel who will stop at nothing to prove himself, at the same time he learns along the way about commitment, sacrifice and what it means to be a true friend.

Surly the squirrel has it all planned out. With the help of his generally useless and silent rat-partner-in-crime, Buddy, food for winter without all the work is all but theirs. They simply have to slip down to the hot-nuts vendor cart that just showed up on the corner, create a small distraction and make off with all the delicious morsels a thieving rodent duo could ever want. Unfortunately for Surley, the Raccoon and his friends aren’t happy about this.

Wow! Did that thing turn out to be a disaster! Thanks to some unfortunate missteps, the cart and its leaky propane tank end up destroying what little food the park community had in reserve. As punishment, the animals banish Surly from the park altogether. But even a cold one-way ticket to a hard city won’t finish him off. Surly the squirrel has only just begun! He’ll show ’em…

The Nut Job has colorful and vibrant animation, and it showcases an all-star cast including Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson and Katherine Heigl. 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, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film will also be available on DIGITAL HD. Be sure to make it part of your family’s home entertainment collection!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our Gang Loves The Little Rascals Save the Day + Giveaway

LittleRascalsSavetheDayThe Little Rascals are back! The beloved comedy series from the earliest days of film featured the wild adventures of Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, Buckwheat, their dog Petey, and the rest of the gang. On April 1, 2014, the all-new story The Little Rascals Save the Day will be released on DVD/Blu-Ray featuring Doris Roberts of “Everyone Loves Raymond” as Grandma.

My kids, ages 7 to 8, laughed at The Little Rascals,  whose highly imaginative approach to the world around them is exemplified in  inventive gadgets and contraptions…well, with a few mistakes, too. 😉 The acting is not necessarily award-winning, BUT I realize that my kids are not film-critics, too.

In The Little Rascals Save the Day, my daughter loved  how they raised money to keep Grandma’s bakery from the bank, who wanted to destroy it. Each of their plans goes hilariously awry, to quote my son, “The best part of the movie is when they turned a pig green.” 🙂LittleRascalsGreenPigThe movie extols the value of friendship, leadership, teamwork, fair play and “lending a helping hand to those in need.” I recommend this movie for kids ages three (3) to eight (8). The Little Rascals Save the Day arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack including Blu-ray, DVD, & DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet next Tuesday, April 1, 2014, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Can’t wait? The Little Rascals Save the Day is also be available on DIGITAL HD right now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

YesVideo: From Memories to Retelling Stories Digitally

YVStoryTourThese past few months, I have been honored to be a YesVideo Storyteller, their ambassador program. Part of the benefits of being a “Storyteller” is traveling to their headquarters in Santa Clara, California, and take a tour of their facilities. Since 1999, YesVideo has been providing services and programs for families to protect and share generations of memories. They believe in designing products that our own families would enjoy and building processes that we would trust to handle our own irreplaceable memories. First, they started out by mailing customers CD-ROMs, then moved toward mailing DVDs and now making it easy to share the memories via email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and NOW even EMBED VIDEOS on your blog. Along with mailing in your “memories,” you can go into a retail drop-off location like Costco and pick up your “stories” within a few weeks.

“YesVideo is the platform for America’s Family Memories,” said YesVideo’s CEO Michael Chang. “17 million tapes will be lost forever this year. YesVideo wants to change this.” YesVideo brings back memories. Their mission is to help families rediscover & share precious moments held on old film reels, VHS tapes,etc. They currently have 1.8 million video in their YesVideo Cloud, which is connected with Amazon Cloud. Did you know that 125 million minutes of video securely via the cloud with 30% of users are sharing with friends and family? AMAZING!YesVideoBarCodesThe YesVideo tour, given by VP of Operations Lisa McCabe, began at the beginning of where “your stories” enter the facility, the loading dock. From the moment they receive your memories, YesVideo understands that you are entrusting us with your precious and irreplaceable “memories.” They assign ever videotapes, etc with a barcode. They take this responsibility extremely seriously and treat your memories as we would treat our own, like gold. So much, that they have installed tons of video cameras in the facilities to ensure the security and safety of each “story.”YesVideoReelsThe video transferring begins of your media. It is truly amazing to see all the reels going. The sounds bring me back to my childhood. 🙂
YesVideoEditingThen, it moves to editing, where they use an algorithm to make chapters in “your stories.” Each chapter a picture is grabbed to be put on your DVD cover.YesVideoLisaMcCabeThen, the edited videos are burnt on your DVD and placed in the YesVideo Cloud. Did you know that YesVideo has the greatest number of VHS players than anywhere in the world?! If you want to donate yours, they are always accepting more. 😉YesVideoPlayersDuring the last step called “Order Fulfillment,” YesVideo brings up your order record and the system lists all of the items that correspond to your order. This list consists includes your original media, DVD disks and cover sheets for the DVDs. We complete the inventory of your order by scanning the barcode on each item in your order. This ensures that we have the correct DVDs matching to each piece of original media. Once YesVideo has fulfilled and sealed your order, it is boxed up and shipped back to you via UPS.YesVideoPackingI personally want to thank the great YesVideo host and hostess of the mostest, Eber Legarreta and Sharleen Reyes. You know how to show people great food and fun places in the Bay area. I also want to thank CEO Michael Chang and VP of Operations Lisa McCabe for taking time out of their busy schedules to show us what makes YesVideo the place where the world should be bring their Family Videos. Thank you!

Mr. Peabody & Sherman Cooks Up Timeless Fun!

MrPeabodyShermanMr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous boy Sherman, use their time machine – the WABAC – to go on the most outrageous adventures known to man or dog. But when Sherman takes the WABAC out for a joyride to impress his friend Penny, they accidentally rip a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc on the most important events in world history. Before they forever alter the past, present and future, Mr. Peabody must come to their rescue, ultimately facing the most daunting challenge of any era: figuring out how to be a parent. Together, the time traveling trio will make their mark on history.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman certainly know a thing or two about history. And they themselves are history. They were originally created in the late 1950s for the Peabody’s Improbable History shorts shown on Rocky & His Friends (later The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show). For decades, the two simply drawn characters have entertained us with their flippant look at history, their winking adult asides and their miserably awesome puns.

Peabody’s Improbable History always had a sly sense of fun, but the show’s landmark creativity has turned a tad more crass here. Thankfully, I’m able to say “a tad” instead of “a lot.” Mr. Peabody & Sherman has positive messages about family and friendship. This new WABAC, as it travels to the past, will still trigger smiles in the future.

Run Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
Content Warning: Rated PG

Here’s some delicious timeless recipes for your family to make this spring into summer!MrPeabodyTimelessRecipes

Stories of My Life: Beginning of Motherhood

This is the first post of my STORIES OF MY LIFE series. It makes sense, too, because if this had never happened to me, then I wouldn’t be who I am today. I hope the stories give you hope, inspire you to do things you wouldn’t do and encourage never give up.StoriesofMyLifeMotherhoodI remember that day vividly. The day that my doctor walked into the exam room and said that I would likely not have babies. I was 20, and I was just diagnosed with endometriosis. My heart sank, and a dream crushed. A few years later when I was seriously dating a man, I was completely transparent. I told him that I loved him, but I was unable to have children. He looked at me, and he said what I needed to hear, “Jennifer, I love you just the way you are.” He would soon become my husband.

Fast forward to the fall of 2003. I was late. What?! In disbelief, I took a test. Positive. I went to the doctor, who confirmed that I was, in fact, pregnant. I was sooo excited that I screamed from the rooftops that we were going to have a baby. Then came New Year’s Eve, we were celebrating at our neighbor’s house when my stomach began cramping. 12 weeks pregnant, and we lost our first child the following day. Our hearts sank, and our dream crushed.

9 months later, we found out that I was pregnant again, but this time was different for us. My husband and I were guarded. We were afraid to even celebrate. Oh, but when we heard the heartbeat…when we saw the hands and the feet, we couldn’t help but to be excited. The pregnancy went so smoothly. After 13 weeks, we told everyone. We felt so blessed to have this baby. We didn’t care if it was a boy or girl, which is why we decided to not find out until the day this baby would arrive. Then, the big day came…we were finally going to meet our child. As my baby came into this world, I anxiously looked at my husband to find out, and he looks at me with tears in his eyes, “Meet Jadyn, your daughter.”

I am so thankful that my husband recorded this special moment above. This video captures the beginning of the “Real Posh Mom.” Well, maybe not sooo posh, but it doesn’t get any more real than birth, right?! 😉 I have to admit that I actually never watched this until YesVideo transferred my MiniDV tape into a DVD. One of the greatest parts was watching this with Jadyn. She could see by my expression how much I love her. Thank you, YesVideo, for helping me share my daughter’s birth story.

Disclosure: YesVideo has selected me to be their ambassador, which includes compensation. This post was not reviewed by a 3rd party. All opinions are mine and may not reflect those of the company. 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.” All photos are mine and subject to copyright.

Remember When You Resolved to Get Organized?

YesVideo Transferring Service ReviewDisclosure: YesVideo has selected me to be their ambassador, which includes compensation. This post was not reviewed by a 3rd party. All opinions are mine and may not reflect those of the company. 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.” All photos are mine and subject to copyright.

You probably don’t belong on an episode of Hoarders, but there’s a good chance your closet could use a little more organization. With a place for everything and everything in its place, you’ll spend less time looking for things, feel more relaxed and make more time enjoying life. As I mentioned here, YesVideo helps you with “your stories,” a.k.a. your old video tapes, digital camcorder tapes, reels and photos; and, moves you forward to “the Digital age.”

As a YesVideo Storyteller, I am give the opportunity to review its transfer service, which couldn’t have been easier to use.  Personally, I think the hardest part of the process was for me to find all my VHS and miniDV tapes. I have been in a constant state of moving, which means a lot of my “personal yet archaic belongings” are in boxes labeled “Office.” Sorry…I digress. I found them all, and so begins my mystery.  I have NO IDEA what are on these tapes. Ooh, I am getting excited. I logged on to YesVideo and clicked the “Order Now” button.  I chose to ship my items directly to YesVideo, but they also have a service where you can drop items off at retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Costco and many more. A couple days later, UPS dropped off EasyShip Kit with all the packing materials that I needed including the preprinted packing slip. I drop it off at my local UPS store, and that’s all. It was so easy!YesVideo EasyShip KitOne week later, I received an email confirmation that my order had been received. Oh, the excitement is growing and so is my suspense in knowing what was on my tapes. I received another email within a couple week telling me that my order was complete. At that time, I could go online to view the digitized videos! YesVideo also sent an email informing me that my order had shipped.

The mystery is about to be solved! I grabbed a cup of coffee and a cookies, and I logged into my YesVideo account to see what were on the tapes. And, as soon as I began watching, I remembered, Oh, and I teared up with joy at all the sweet memories of life. The videos werre in excellent condition. My daughter heard familiar sounds and joined me as we viewed this personal story of our lives. In the next couple of months, I will share some of these special “stories” with you and why they made us laugh and cry in a series called “Stories of My Life.” I hope you enjoy this personal series and the videos that accompany it. 🙂YesVideoOnlineWhy should old videos should be converted to digital?

  • The footage from videotape no longer breaks down.
  • Videos become easy to watch. DVD menus with chapter pictures mean no more fast-forwarding or rewinding!
  • VCRs and old projectors are no longer needed.
  • Your memories are organized into a neat library of DVDs and digitally on MemorySafe.

Are you ready to try out the YesVideo Transfer Service?
Then, join 7 million other families who have trusted YesVideo by going to their site YesVideo. Connect on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram too!

8 EASY Steps to Transfer Home Movies to Your Computer

Videotape Transfer ServiceDisclosure: YesVideo has selected me to be their ambassador, which includes compensation. This post was not reviewed by a 3rd party. All opinions are mine and may not reflect those of the company. 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.” All photos are mine and subject to copyright.

Unlike your old vinyl record collection, those VHS tapes you stored away in the back of your closet or in boxes aren’t going to see a comeback in popularity. There are no videophiles celebrating the superior experience and devotion of these analog tapes. No, VHS is a dying commonplace that fully deserves to be put in its grave.

But, don’t just throw away your videotapes or reels yet. Why not modernize those them into digital copy?! Let me introduce you to YesVideo! For 15 years, YesVideo has helped families protect and share generations of memories, and they are now the largest and most trusted home movies transfer service worldwide. My family is preparing for a BIG MOVE soon, and I am preparing by downsizing and decluttering. YesVideo is the perfect service for us, so my family can relive those special moments forever, from here or abroad!

Let’s take a moment to archive any sentimental home movies you still have on tape. Honestly, those really should be the only VHS tapes you’re still holding on to. Whatever horrible ’80s sitcom you taped religiously has since been reissued in crisp digital detail, so don’t waste your time (or possibly break the law) by recording it to your computer.

YesVideo has made the process of transferring those home movies over to your computer  SIMPLE.
1. Order online here.
2. YesVideo will mail you their EasyShip Kit.YesVideo EasyShip Kit 3. Open the EasyShip Kit. Fill out the Customer ID card enclosed in the kit.
4. Include the Customer ID card and videotapes or film reels inside the kit.YesVideo Packed 5. Tape & seal the box on all sides.
6. Drop off at your nearest UPS dropoff location.
7. With 15-day turnaround, watch, share and edit your home movies online with free storage.
8. Choose and edit the scenes you want into your own masterpiece.

The Lord of the Rings Pops With Dallas Summer Musicals

LOTR at DSMTravel to Middle Earth with Frodo and the rest of the fellowship for a LIVE concert on November 8-10, 2013. Join my family, thanks to the Dallas Summer Musicals, as we see the Dallas POPS perform the entire Howard Shore’s score for Lord of the Rings-The Fellowship of the Ring with the full movie projected on a larger than life screen.

My whole family is SOOO excited to experience one of our favorite movies in a completely new way! This one-of-a-kind concert event includes the Dallas POPS, 150 person chorus, full movie and more. The concerts will take place at the Music Hall at Fair Park on November 8-10, 2013. Buy your tickets here.

Run Time: 3 hours 30 minutes (including intermission)
Content Warning: Rated PG-13

The Music Hall at Fair Park
909 1st Ave.
Dallas, TX 75210

DSM 13/14 Schedule

The Blacklist Brings Excitement Back to NBC

1904164_455217901272739_1544250301_nNBC saves it’s 9PM spot with new show called, The Blacklist, featuring James Spader as Raymond “Red” Reddington. Red oozes felonious activity. His wardrobe (complete with black fedora) exudes fashionable evil. Even his nickname—Concierge of Crime—seems to channel comic book villainy.

So, why would Red work with the FBI?

Turns out he has a list (that’d be the blacklist, naturally) of the world’s most dangerous criminals—guys so good at being bad that the FBI doesn’t even know about them yet. He’ll only work with newbie criminal profiler Elizabeth Keen. He’s obsessed with Liz for some reason and seems to know an awful lot about her past.

The Blacklist is both a clever and contrived crime thriller. It seems predicated on the predator-prey dynamic between Red and Liz—a relationship built on mutual respect and distrust. If The Blacklist feels, at times, a little like Silence of the Lambs, with the interplay between the good-girl detective and the very bad-man criminal, it does not indulge that movie’s serial killer depravity. Red is a wicked white-collar criminal and agent of global terrorism, but he’s no up-close-and-personal serial killer. As such, we do not suffer the same level of grotesquery we do in Hannibal, Dexter or The Following.

I’d recommend The Blacklist for ages 14 years-old and older, as this is still a violent show, and sometimes extremely so—with none of the resulting pain and gore hidden from viewers.

Learn How They Make TV Magic

IMG_8001Did you ever watch a movie or television show and wonder what goes on behind the scenes? Well, this past week when I was in Atlanta for a conference, my good friend Dwan of MommaDJane suggested that we visit the Covington, Georgia, where they shoot The Vampire Diaries along with other TV shows and movies.

Dwan had found a Vampires Diaries tour offered, so on impulse, we paid for the tour, rented a car and headed 45 minutes south of Atlanta to a small town called Covington. Our tour started off at the Mystic Grill, which is now actually turning into a REAL restaurant for the public to enjoy. I mean, how cool is that?! The expected opening date for the Mystic grill is at the end of 2013 or early 2014.Mystic GrillOur tour guide also plays an extra for The Vampire Diaries, so she had many stories from the set. She also told us many little things about the actors, too.  We walked around the square with a dozen other fans, took lots of pictures and jumped in and out of the rental car many times to take pictures of the homes and locations.

Sheriff's OfficeMystic Falls Court House & Sheriff Forbes Office (2nd Floor)

Alaric's ApartmentAlaric’s Apartment (2nd Floor)

Dr Gilbert's OfficeDr. Gilbert’s Office

IMG_8037This is the Lockwood Manor from Flashback Episode. It is actually Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast Inn that I highly recommend you staying at if you are passing through Covington, Georgia.

Matt's HouseMatt & Vicki’s House

Gram's HouseSheila Bennett’s House, also known as Bonnie Bennett’s Grams
Isobel's HouseIsobel’s House (Elena’s birth mother)
Lockwood Mansion“Lockwood Mansion” is home to the real Worthington Manor. The front is gorgeous, BUT the backyard is breathless. It is the scene of many of the outdoor shots for the show. You truly have to see it to believe it.
Elena's HouseElena’s and Jeremy’s House

Caroline's HouseCaroline’s House

By the way, you do not need to pay for the tour to see all these sites, minus the grounds tour of the Lockwood Mansion also know as Worthington Manor. I have to say that the “backstage” tour of this house was truly AWE-mazing! If only we all have private ponds and grand gardens in our backyards. 😉 The Covington Visitor Center has a FREE map of all the locations plus other areas where TV and films have been shot there. The people of Covington are very friendly, so do not be afraid to ask them any question. Oh, and you should stop by Scoops in the town square for a sweet treat, where the stars go between shots. Also, you can head a block away from the town square to Bradley’s BBQ and have a “vamped out” burger. It is off-the-menu and completes the whole tour experience. 😉

Finally, The Originals (The Vampire Diaries spin-off) is shooting 15 minutes away in a town called Conyers, Georgia. Here are some final shots that I took when we drove through town in hopes to see them shooting. Oh, and on this trip I discovered one of my new favorite travel sites, On Location Vacations, where you can see where they are filming TV shows and movies. You can thank me later. 😉The Originals