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Maybe you were impressed with the glamour of the 2010 Academy Awards this year, or maybe you were impressed with the winners. Maybe not. But there was one winner’s that I’m sure all moms watching were impressed with and that was Sandra Bullock’s for Best Actresss. She thanked “all the moms who take care of the children and the babies no matter where they come from” and then went on to thank her own Mom. It brought a tear to my eye, that’s for sure. Actually, just watching it again now has brought a few more.
Here it is, in case you missed it.
I recently had the opportunity to see the feature film Babies at a press screening and found myself thinking about it long afterwards. This sweet documentary follows the milestones in the lives of four babies (Ponijao in Nambia, Mari in Japan, Bayar in Mongolia and Hattie in California) from birth to just past their first birthdays. Shot in a style similar to the stunning feature, Baraka, where music and visuals dominate over dialogue, it is currently in theatres across the country.
My ‘mom’ perspective allowed me to appreciate the concept of milestones. As a first-time mom of an ‘almost’ two-year old, milestones are things I find myself looking at as though through a magnifying glass: when should Ally be smiling, eating, crawling, walking, talking…is she behind? Ahead? On schedule? And while those milestones eventually came, they were always linked with a range of emotions.
Babies shows us four gorgeous little ones in completely different landscapes who all reach these same milestones. Whether it’s little Bayar climbing up on a barrel surrounded by cows, or Hattie crawling after the cat in their sunny home, they’re all the same. It made me truly appreciate the instincts and curiosity of babies, no matter where (or how) they are raised. The film allowed me to enjoy the milestones of these sweet kids and reflect on my daughter’s. It also made me relax a little and recognize that babies are more resilient than we realize, and sometimes it’s okay to sit back and just watch them grow.
You can find more information about the film on the official Babies site.
When the snow (or rain) comes a-fallin’, the kids are snuggled next to you (or in their beds) and the night sky is that lovely blanket filled with dreams of the holidays, there’s nothing better than putting on a film to embrace the seasonal mood. So since all of us at SavvyHQ have been enjoying sharing our fave baking recipes with you, we thought we’d compile our list of top holiday films that get us into the spirit of things.
Here are our picks (in no particular order):
What are your favourite holiday movies?
Anyone who knows me and my family knows that we love movies. Our home is a virtual video store dating back to the classics. So needless to say, as soon as our daughter was old enough to sit through a movie at the theatre, we were the first in line for tickets and popcorn.
Zookeeper, starring Kevin James and Rosario Dawson, and featuring the voice talents of Sylvester Stallone, Cher, Adam Sandler, Nick Nolte, John Favreau (and more), hit the theatres this past weekend. The story follows Griffin Keyes five years after he’s dumped by his shallow girlfriend, and is now the head zookeeper, loved by staff and animals alike. He spies his ex again during his brother’s upcoming nuptial celebrations and decides to try and win her back—with the help of the talking animals in his zoo and an attractive zoo vet. He soon realizes, however, that the true loves of his life are his job and the beautiful vet who appreciates him for who he is.
Part romantic comedy, part kids’ film, Zookeeper flips back and forth from Griffin’s quest for love and his funny antics with the animals. Moms will appreciate the romantic comedy side. The animal antics are cute—but the fave definitely involved the gorilla and a night out at T.G.I. Friday’s. There is no rude, silly humour and as always, the animation was wonderfully done, so don’t be surprised if your younger kids begin to expect their zoo friends to speak up on your next visit to the zoo.
Zookeeper is best for school-aged kids who can handle sitting through the romantic scenes waiting for the animals to return.
And that’s the whole (zoo) story.
Zookeeper is currently in theatres across Canada. For more information, visit Sony Pictures.
Angela Flood, part of our sales team, shared her experiences of the last of the great Harry Potter series when she and her kids went on opening night:
“It’s been a week since I experienced the midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 with my children and the magic is still very much alive in our house.
I am not sure if it was the anticipation of the event, the full moon (they do not miss a trick) on a brilliant summer night in Toronto, the throngs of people young and old dressed for the show, or the sheer magic of the story that made the Harry Potter viewing one of the most talked about events in our home.
Harry Potter has prompted so many discussions on so many levels. The blood relationship between Harry and Voldemort launched an entire dinnertime conversation about family lineage. The character transformation of Neville Longbottom from shy and introverted to outright hero demonstrated anyone can achieve greatness. The sheer magnitude of the franchise has generated conversations about entrepreneurship and the business of movie making. Reading the reviews of movie critics has encouraged our children to formulate their own opinions and mini movie critiques. And there have been many a conversation about certain scenes in the movie straying from the book that will forever reign as the authoritative source for all things Potter.
The sad thing is that this movie marks the end of an incredible series that was launched in June 1997. Over these past 14 years, I have watched my three children be entertained for endless hours by the books and movies. It is a magical thing that Harry Potter has created and that magic will forever be part of their childhoods.”
We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Angela, and thanks for sharing.
Our national account manager, Maggie Dymond, shares her experience viewing The Smurfs on a recent date night with the special (little) man in her life.
The Smurfs have made their 3D debut and they don’t disappoint! Their movie, The Smurfs, was a huge hit with my five-year-old son who enjoyed it from beginning to end. (He also enjoyed telling the bus driver, who drove us to the movie theatre, that he was on a date with his mom, and of course, the huge bag of licorice we bought on arrival!)
The classically animated, lovable blue creatures are chased out of their magical village by the evil wizard, Gargamel (played by Hank Azaria), and end up in New York City. We follow their antics as they try to make their way back home. It’s full of fun, adventure and the kind of silliness the under ten crowd is sure to love
The underlying message is a valuable one, promoting the importance of family and sticking together.
It’s definitely a fun way to spend an hour and a half!
For more Smurf fun, check out our Very Smurfy Book Contest.
We’re all big readers at Savvy HQ, and since we recommended The Help last year, most of us have read it in the office. It was no surprise that when we were invited to the pre-screenings of the just-released-today movie, all hands went up.
Here’s what the SavvyMoms thought of the movie.
I was uncharacteristically excited about seeing the movie of a book I just finished reading days before. My experience has always been that the book is better than the movie, so I prepared myself for that and went in with realistic expectations. Still, I was curious to see who they would cast for the characters I had grown to love (and seriously dislike).
I am so pleased to say that I was not let down. The cast was well chosen, the setting was perfect and the wardrobes were kitschy and hilarious.
It’s tough to say that a movie is better than a book because I feel a statement like that doesn’t do justice to the book. For me, the book’s beauty was in its simplicity, in the unique way Kathryn Stockett presented the women and their complicated relationships. I couldn’t help but recognize the power and strength of their relationships—the power of the early social networks.
Having just finished the book, the women’s characters were still fresh in my mind so I felt as if I was meeting my friends. Maybe that’s what it’s like on a first date with someone you met online? Maybe not.
Go see the movie and let me know what you think. I hope you liked it as much as I did.
I loved the movie. I thought it balanced the volatile history of what was going on in Jackson, Mississippi and the United States at the time with what was happening in the homes and lives of the women who lived there. I thought the acting was amazing and felt it stayed very true to the book. There was a lot to cram into a two hour movie, so in some spots it felt a little rushed and there were a few elements to the book that I missed, but overall I thought it was really good. I would definitely see it again!
From Angela Flood, Director of Business Development:
Having read the book quite a while ago, I was well versed in the story of The Help. Although I enjoyed the book and found the story tender, I was not wowed by the writing, something that surprised me given its immense popularity. I was, however, wowed by the movie. I loved the number of fresh, relatively new faces –Jessica Chastain (my favorite), and the very likable Emma Stone –surrounded by stellar actresses (Cicely Tyson, Sissy Spacek and Viola Davis). I loved how they captured the 60s in the clothes, the constant smoking and curlers at the breakfast table, the ads in the grocery stores, the days of afternoon cocktails and bridge games, and the lack of technical, time warping special effects. And I loved how it reminded us of the importance of respecting everyone who we interact with everyday.
This week I enjoyed another date night with my five year-old son, Will. This time we were off to Arthur Christmas with complimentary tickets provided to us at SavvyMom through Sony Pictures (the perks of a savvy job).
Will loves movie night (as do I). He loves the late night, the licorice treat, the special one-on-one time with Mom.
I love smelling his hair as he sits on my lap, wrapping my arms around his middle and holding his little hand (that’s getting bigger and bigger with each passing date). And I love feeling his entire body shake with laughter.
He’s been wanting to see Arthur Christmas for quite some time now, ever since the billboard ad went up outside my mother’s condo. In fact, on several occasions he has reminded me of the November 23 release date (which makes me laugh). There was a lot of excitement leading up to this date—and let me tell you, it did not disappoint as Arthur Christmas was a huge hit.
How does Santa deliver all those presents in one night? It’s an age-old question that curious little minds all over the world have been asking for generations…a question that I have never been able to answer all that well myself. Now parents have their answer and it’s delivered in a clever, funny and original way in the movie.
How have you answered the question of how Santa is able to deliver ALL those gifts to ALL those children in one night? We would love to know.
There is much to report. Google’s self-driving car, pregnancy must-haves, more Fifty Shades of Grey, mason jars and sandwich bags—they all caught my attention this week.
1. The movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting is coming out next week. With a star studded cast (Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez), it’s sure to be a hit with moms. We’re excited—especially after we received a nice big package to the office promoting the movie. What did we find inside the box? Condoms and a Trojan Vibrating Touch (that would be a mini-vibrator that attaches to your finger—yes). Pregnancy must–haves? The promoters did include a few other items such as a very large pickle, a First Response pregnancy kit and some Nair hair removal products. I’m not sure about all of you, but pregnancy seems a whole lot more fun than what my memory serves. Babymoon, anyone?
2. Google just announced that the first ever self-driving car passed its drivers test. Let’s review. A car that drives itself. Think of the hands-free opportunities this provides for moms. Did the baby keep you up all night? Have a nap in your car. Hungry toddlers, dropped toys and sibling spats can all be solved without having to turn around and drive off the road. Finally, all that pesky traffic isn’t your problem. You can watch a movie with your kids, text, sext, read, apply makeup, surf and parent all at the same time. A world of opportunity awaits you in your car. Note that you have to live in Nevada first—it’s the only state that will allow it for now. (Side bar: what would we do without the state of Nevada?)
3. The fascination with Fifty Shades of Grey just isn’t going away anytime soon. Apparently, well over 2,000,000 copies of the book have been sold and even more on Kindle. Here’s a hilarious skit on SNL I wanted to share with you. Is mommy porn the new reality TV? I suppose things could be worse.
4. Have you stuffed anything into a mason jar recently? If you have, then apparently you’re on trend. Foodies and decorators can’t get enough of this classic container. It seems that everywhere I look these days, I see them. What’s amazing is the speed at which their popularity has risen. Should we be crediting Pinterest for this? Whatever the reason, I’m definitely going to dig out my old jars and use them.
5. Worried about your kids’ lunch getting stolen or traded? Tired of not being able to control the lunch situation? Make sure they eat what you pack with these handy disposables. The Anti-Theft Lunch Bags might not be the most eco-friendly option but you can be sure nobody else will touch your kids’ lunch. Helicopter mom or hilarious mom?
It’s been a wild week. Even with all the celebrations around our nation’s birthday, there is a lot to report. Here’s what was on my radar.
1. The most compelling subject line from a press release I have received—ever (keep in mind that I am a parenting editor so the stuff doesn’t usually get that racy)—was this: ‘Sunscreen Can Stunt Penis Growth in Boys—Yes, It’s True According to Dr. Martha Howard.’ I haven’t done the research to enquire if there is any basis for this claim, but I did want to share the fact that this is the latest in our world of everything-is-bad-for-your-kids these days.
2. Another headline that caught my eye was this one: ‘Married Women Applaud Magic Mike & 50 Shades Movement.’ So there is a movement now? And why just married women? Apparently only married women aren’t having sex. Everyone else is. The press release goes on to say that married women are entering into a new age of renewed sexual revolution after the recent success of 50 Shades Of Grey, which opened up deep fantasies for women. Now the premiere of the movie Magic Mike is prompting middle-aged women to celebrate their ability to enjoy sexual and erotic media openly, the way men have been doing for centuries. That’s what the press release said. Not me. Just to be clear.
3. There is even more in the world of bad sportsman-like behaviour. If you haven’t already seen this video—just watch. A real life coach tripped a player on the opposing team at the final handshake on the ice. The handshake is the part of the game that reinforces respect, honour and good sportsmanship. The coach will be charged with assault (as he should), but I wish there was a charge we could impose on people who are consistently assaulting the principles of sport.
4. In more positive news, someone sent me this video which I thought was a good reminder to maintain a positive attitude about innovation. The pace of change is fast these days and it’s tough to keep up. Sometimes we get cynical. This might help curb that.
5. Here’s a gift idea that is just the worst. I’ve seen these in a smaller version being used for babies in the NICU. But this version of the boyfriend pillow is just bad.
It was a wild and crazy week, what with Sandy blowing through town and leaving her wreckage. Fortunately we were left unscathed, and I’m truly grateful, but there was more that crossed my desk this week.
1. Last week on SavvyMom, we featured Wacky or Wonderful items for kids and babies. Then I came across this hilarious kids’ pacifier with a fake moustache attached. It’s so awful it’s almost cute. Would you buy this for your little angel?
2. Were you prepared for the worst on Monday night? We found some flashlights and batteries at home in case the power went out but my concern was primarily with our neighbours to the South with homes lined up along the U.S. East Coast. Of course, the only thing my kids cared about was missing school the next day (suckers, they had to go). So I took the opportunity to turn Sandy into a teaching moment—my kids just love these—and talked about having more respect for nature. I noticed from some of your Facebook updates that you did too. You never know how much of these lectures get absorbed, but for a nano second you feel like a better parent. Did you talk to your kids about the storm? What life lessons did you impart?
3. Speaking of life lessons, I came across this Ellen skit last week (although it has been around for a while now). She has some classic maternal advice to dish out to young women about the BIC Pen for ladies. She is hilarious but watch it until the end for the commercial.
4. If you like hilarious videos (and who doesn’t), then you’ll appreciate this Dora the Explorer movie spoof that has been circulating. Any parent with young children who has had to sit through countless Dora episodes will appreciate this video. Watch it and weep! Have you seen Swiper?
5. I do appreciate the advances we have made in technology, especially with respect to how they enable us to streamline everything. Take the modern playdate, for example. Most parents don’t love them for various reasons, but they are a part of preschool life. If only we could make them easier to organize and cut out the middle man, we’d be set. Wait—there’s an app for that. No more humans required.
Have a great week.
It’s a short week for most moms with the long weekend ahead, so I’ll be brief. There is a lot to report and reflect on—drinking and driving, an app that tells you when to take a pee break, home organizing solutions and restaurants promoting well-behaved kids. What is the world coming to?
1. Our food editor, Jan Scott, wrote an interesting post this week about a restaurant in the US that offers a discount to families if their children are well behaved. Apparently this is a topic of much debate. Who is the judge of good behaviour and what are the criteria? What about the parents whose children are not well behaved? What do they get? If you ask me, it’s obvious when kids are poorly behaved, and the parents should be pretty aware of the situation when it happens (hello, temper tantrums, throwing food, running around the resto and tripping wait staff…). I might not be popular for saying this but I don’t think there is ever anything wrong with rewarding good behaviour. I like the idea. There, I said it. And for the record, my kids would never have qualified for the discount.
2. If you’re worried about saying please and thank you at the table right now, enjoy it while it lasts because here is a story that reminds us that tough love keeps getting tougher as the kids grow up. A Wyoming mom decided to sell her son’s pick-up truck as a punishment for drinking and driving. Her classified ad in the local paper went viral on Facebook where she generated a lot of support and attention for her actions. For the son, it might be the tough way to learn a lesson, but it could have been a lot tougher. As Lisa Belkin states in her Huffington Post article, he should write his mother a thank you note one day.
3. I’m doing some upgrades to my house this winter which is forcing me to reorganize a lot of my belongings. I think that’s why a product like this sock drawer organizer caught my attention this week. It would be even better if it were able to spit the socks out of the dryer like that first—all matched up and folded, ready for the sock drawer. That’s my idea of sock heaven.
4. Speaking of heaven, the Oscars are coming up and with so many movies to see before the big night we want to be prepared. But for those of us with small bladders who constantly fret over missing the best part because we were in the loo, there’s an app for that. It’s called RunPee and for $1 you can download it onto your iPhone or iPad and find out the best time to run out and pee during the movie. That doesn’t mean you should say yes to that 32-ounce Diet Coke, though.
5. Here’s a ‘super’ image of a dad and son in the hardware store that was making the rounds this week. What a hero. I thought I would share.
Have a great week.