Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Walking with Dinosaurs": DVD release and DINO DAY!

Note: As part of this release, I will be giving away the "Walking with Dinosaurs" DVD to one lucky reader! Please fill out the form below if you are interested in participating in this drawing! Entry form will be open until Tuesday April 1st at 12pm

Even though dinosaurs disappeared over 65 million years ago, they continue to be fascinating to many (including myself); it's interesting to read about the many theories of why dinosaurs went extinct, or how they interacted and the many species that existed...
On March 25th, the movie "Walking with Dinosaurs" was released on DVD and since we didn't get a chance to watch it in theaters, it seemed like a good idea to see at home during one of our family movie nights!
The movie was great; it revolves around "Patchy", a dinosaur that is searching for his big moment; he grows up next to his older brother who always tries to overshadow his accomplishments.  "Patchy" is a friendly guy who has a clear understanding of the true meaning of family and friendship. The movie's animation is pretty awesome and the dinosaurs looked very realistic; the sceneries were also very beautiful and the story was extremely compelling.  If your kid is into dinosaurs, I strongly recommend this movie; it's such a great family film!

As part of the DVD release promotion, we had a "DINO DAY" at home; the girls got to draw dinosaurs, play dino games and learn a bit more about the many species and dinosaur families.. it was quite the day! Here are a few pictures....

Giveaway form:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Saying good bye is never easy....

Irene Colmenares (Sept 19th, 1928- March 25th, 2014)
"If I die today, please know that I had a wonderful life and I am forever thankful for that" is one of the phrases my grandma said to me during one of our many conversations in the course of her deteriorating health journey.
My grandma was a great woman; she was humble, loving, decisive and very giving.  She lived a good life and always knew to be thankful for all of her blessings and appreciate every day that passed. She was a woman of faith and was very confident that the day the Lord called her would be a happy day as she was sure she always gave her all in everything she did and always trusted that God was leading her way...
My grandma and I used to play Scrabble almost daily; I still remember the first time we played...I was a little girl who barely knew how to read and write and she would just let me make up crazy words so I could use all my letters and beat her score! I will miss our Scrabble matches oh so much! It is because of her that I beat most people at "Words with Friends" and she knew that! ;)
Grandma was very sick; she had been struggling for years with a devastating pulmonary insufficiency and had to gasp for air almost daily; she always told me her biggest fear was to die feeling asphyxiated... I promised her I wouldn't let that happen... and I didn't.  When she was admitted to the ER on Monday and was subsequently referred for an ICU consult, I knew the end was near.  As the doctors brought up the DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) conversation, fear took over...with over 10 years of experience in geriatric social work, this scenario was all too familiar for me, I just couldn't believe it was happening to US. Even though I think our family had reached a state of resignation (considering her poor health), no one was ready for her to leave, everyone wanted to hold out hope and pretend she would get out of this one alive.
On Tuesday, I spent all day at her bedside, holding her hand and contemplating her face.  Our family had already made the decision that no aggressive care would be given and we would just let her illness run its course and just make her as comfortable as possible...and so it did, at 5pm my beloved grandma took her last breath and went to be with the Lord; she was surrounded by all of her family and felt our love until the last minute.
Watching my grandma die is one of the most difficult and saddest moments I've ever gone through; my grandma meant SO MUCH to me and she will forever be in my heart. I am happy that I have no regrets when it comes to Grandma..I spent my life telling her how much I loved her; I hugged her almost daily and spoke to her for hours on end...I really enjoyed her!
These past two days have been painful because saying good bye is never easy; knowing that we will no longer play Scrabble or engage in our daily conversations seems so surreal.  I've cried all the tears my eyes could possible cry; I've thought of her, prayed for her and even spoken to her; accepting that she is gone is so awful and I just hope that this pain will go away and turn into some sort of positive emotion that I can use to console myself but for now I'm grieving and I am freely living such grief.
I know you are happy dear Grandma; I know you lived a good life and I am sure you will watch over me for the years to come.  I will forever miss you and remember you as the great woman you were to me and some day we will meet again!
Thank you, Grandma for teaching me that family always comes first, that faith is always a central part of life and that no matter how hard life gets, there is always a reason to smile and be thankful!
I love you with all my heart!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Giveaway: Doc Mcstuffins Mobile Clinic DVD

Hello mommies!
Do your little ones enjoy "Doc Mcstuffins" and all of her friends?  Do you know any of the songs and character names? Do you think the sweet Doc is a fun friend for all?
If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then this giveaway is for you!
The following items will be given away to some of the readers who complete the following survey:
* Doc Mcstuffins DVD (features 5 episodes)
* Doc Mcstuffins Play-Doh set
* Doc Mcstuffins doctor piece
Please submit your answers and you will be contacted shortly to let you know if you've won. I'm so eager to give these goodies away!!!  Please keep in mind that all answers are strictly confidential and the results will NOT be published on this blog!
Entry form will close on Wednesday March 26th at 12pm and winners will be contacted shortly after!
 Happy Blogging!

Update: Form has been closed.  Winners have been contacted and prizes have been mailed out. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Movie Review: "Muppets Most Wanted"

I'm usually on the fence when it comes to movies that mix people and puppets or cartoons, but the Muppets are a classic so I caved and took the girls to see "Muppets Most Wanted", which opened today!
The movie features a couple of my least favorite actors (Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey), so it's hard to like it from the get go, however I will try to be as objective as possible about this review.
The story revolves around "Constantine", a dangerous criminal and Kermit impostor, who tries to use the Muppet gang for evil purposes (stealing some valuable jewels in London) with the help of  Mr. BadGuy. The Muppets are on their world tour, being co-managed by Mr. BadGuy and Kermit ends up in the jail from which Constantine escaped when his identity is mixed up with the other guy's and the Muppets go through some tribulations as they are cheated by the bad guys. They then realize that Kermit has been replaced and get on a hunt to find him.
The story is bit lame and the movie's pace is relatively slow; it was a bit "sleepy" for my taste and I think the character development was lacking a bit; although I did appreciate the scenes from some of my favorite European cities in Germany, Spain and England.
Of course the movie explores several key concepts such as friendship, love, trust and others but it was missing "something" and even the girls thought it was a bit redundant.
I also feel like they could have included some more musical numbers or more appealing story lines, or even funnier scenes.  There were some funny cameos (Usher, Zach Galifianakis and a few others), but I felt like it never really took off and it barely got my attention.  I think the movie had potential but it definitely did not meet my expectations!
This one gets 2 out of 4 stars in my book! Not worth a trip to the theater in my opinion!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Trip to San Francisco

The city of San Francisco has a special place in my heart; not only is it one of the most beautiful cities in the world (yes, I think so!) but it is also the place where we honeymooned and spent our first few days as a married many great memories were made in that place back in 2005 and we wanted to make some more in 2014!
This particular trip to San Francisco was extra special because we got to take our kids and show them all the special spots we visited during our honeymoon; in a way we were "re-enacting" a lot of our experiences and transferring our love for that city to them.. and boy did it work.. the girls were instantly IN LOVE with this beautiful place and thoroughly enjoyed visiting all the hot spots in San Fran... they really are pros at this traveling thing! (proud mommy here!)...
During our trip we also visited the Google Headquarters in Mountain View (thank you, daddy!) and met some of daddy's co-workers; it was so cool to visit the famous Googleplex and see some of the Google philosophy in action! I even got to ride a Google bike..that was fun! The girls loved it too! :)
Here are some pictures:

This is Fisherman's Wharf, where we ate some of the most delicious clam chowder ever! yum!

Us with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.. what a beautiful sight!

...and I LOVE this picture.. such a timeless image!

Lombard St aka "the crookedest street in America"

A couple of pictures from the Google campus.. 

During our trip we also got to meet my friend Amanda and her kids Eli and Lexi. 
This was one of my favorite parts of the trip since I have known Amanda for over 7 years; we met on the "What to Expect" pregnancy forum and have been in contact ever since.  It is always so special to see how the online chemistry translates into real life connection; this one was a hit! (Thank you, Amanda and kids for a wonderful afternoon)

This is a picture taken by Olivia.. we were in Sausalito.. (I love that place too!)

I met up with my long time friend Diana, who also lives in San Francisco.  We visited the Bay Area Discovery Museum; definitely a great place for young children!

Here's a couple of pictures at the Levi's Plaza... the day was gorgeous and the pictures definitely show that....

..and of course us hanging from a (non-moving) cable car.. one of my favorite things to do in San Francisco!  

In the end, I was sad to leave the city.; the weather was amazing, people were friendly, food was delicious and everything was fun...I hope to be back very soon! What a great trip that was!

Traveling jetBlue & Virgin America

This past weekend we traveled to San Francisco (post to come) and due to flight schedules, we used two different airlines for our journey. 
On the way to San Francisco, we flew Virgin America and then jetBlue on the way back. 
Even though I rarely review products and services on my blog, I feel compelled to talk about how wonderful these two airlines were during our trip and how special we felt as passengers in this day where most airplanes feel like cheap buses and more often than not, staff members on long flights aren't precisely peachy at all times. 
Virgin America's experience was definitely unique! The check in process was amazing as the staff was very friendly and attentive; they quickly wrapped up my car seats in a durable plastic bags and labeled everything very clearly.  They do charge $25 per bag, but the service is definitely worth it. I was traveling along with both girls (Iggy was already in San Fran) so the staff was particularly considerate and placed us in strategic seats (close to the front).  We were able to board before everyone else so that was definitely a huge plus.  The plane features very comfortable seats, a TV set in every seat and a very entertaining security video (cute jingle and all!).  Perfect experience! Highly recommended. 

On the way back to Florida, we flew jetBlue.  By this time we were all together (Iggy was coming back with us), so the experience was bound to be less traumatic. Again, check in process was prompt and courteous and this time, NO FEE for the bag; each passenger gets their first bag for free, which is awesome since most airlines do charge some. 
Again, the seats were incredibly comfortable and each had a TV set as well.  Service was great and again, the staff was very attentive to our needs as a family with young children. 

I am very pleased with the service that each of this airlines had to offer. 
We're frequent travelers and often end up with a bad taste in our mouths when it comes to airlines. 
This time, I am very happy to say that our traveling experience was that much better because of these two airlines. 
Way to Go Virgin and jetBlue! :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Movie review: "Mr. Peabody and Sherman"

Even though "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" doesn't come out until March 7th, we were able to watch it as part of a special screening for Miami bloggers; the event was a great opportunity to enjoy some time with the kids and get ahead with upcoming animated movies! :)
Let me start by saying that I don't get paid to review movies, so there's no room to be biased... so I must say this movie was pretty awesome!
When it comes to animated movies, I rarely deviate from Disney or Pixar, but I must admit DreamWorks did a great job developing the story of Mr. Peabody and his son Sherman.
The storyline describes the relationship between a dog and his adopted son and how they both feed off each other's brilliant brains. It involves a time machine (aka "The Way Back"), which they use to travel through history and explore important events in the past while learning from them.
The plot provides great background regarding how Mr. Peabody and Sherman came about and why they are so important to each other throughout the whole movie.
It also involves some other candid characters that make the movie that much cuter and hilarious.
I liked the fact that the movie is fast paced so there's no chance to get bored while watching it; and although some younger kids might get confused with the "issues with the time continuum" and other terms about the time machine, I will say that it was easy to follow (and a great history lesson, too!). It is also incredibly entertaining and funny and offers a great lesson of love and compassion... definitely a win-win movie!
I strongly recommend this cute little flick.... this one gets 4 out of 4 stars in my book! :)