Monday, May 30, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2 - Movie Review

If you liked the first Kung Fu Panda, you will like the second one. Although, it doesn't supersede the first animation, it doesn't really fall short of it either. It ranks just about the same, which is saying much in regards to sequels. It starts off a bit corny and the producers really drove home about Po's appetite and weight. We know he loves food and is fat, but they overplay those facts quiet a bit.

SPOILER ALERT: The movie focuses on Po's new life as the Dragon Warrior and his recent battle to discover where he comes from. It is obvious that his dad really isn't the Goose and Po asks his dad how he came to be his dad. Po then learns that his true family gave him up due to a prophecy about a panda stopping the then-future ruler from taking the throne. Due to the prophecy the evil albino peacock Lord Shen has all pandas killed, but Po's mother hides little baby Po in a crate of radishes where later on, Po's goose dad finds him and decides to adopt him. At the end of the movie it is insinuated that a Kung Fu Panda 3 will be in the making because we find out that Po's dad is really alive living in a panda community.

The movie touches on the beauty of adoption and the pain and sacrifice of parents giving up their children for their safety and betterment. It also reveals that anger and grudges hurt no one more that those that hold on to them. It insinuates (to those that are really paying attention) the power forgiveness and the bitterness an unforgiving heart can produce.

All the Furious 5 are in the sequel as well as Master Shifu. We see a more tender side of Master Tigress and there are plenty of laughs throughout the movie. 

There are plenty of fight scenes to keep the kids entertained and there is no vulgar language in it. There are a couple of "toilet" jokes, but nothing to graphic. The color schemes are great to keep the littler ones attention and there are some very tender moments of love, sacrifice and true inner peace. Overall it was a fun movie for the whole family.

Again if you like the first one, you will like the second. Although the second one was more of a tear-jerker for me. Yes I cried okay!!!

Kung Fu Panda 2 is rated PG for sequence of martial art action and mild violence

Running Time: 91 minutes

Rating: Rami (my 8 year old) gives it 9.5 out of 10 stars.  I give it a 7.5 out of 10 stars.

Hope you enjoy!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thor - Movie Review

Unfortunately, I do not know too much on Norse and Celtic mythology, but you don't really have to know much to understand and enjoy the new Marvel movie that came out. 

The movie "Thor" is based on Marvel's (Stan Lee's) comic book adaptation of the Norse god.

The movie stars great actors like Anthony Hopkins,  Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgard so the acting in the movie isn't as cheesy as Spiderman 3 was starting to get.  Although, if you are not into science fiction, the movie can be a bit too fantastical due to the fact that we are given two settings. One on earth and the other in Asgard, which is Thor's realm and home. It was a bit difficult to take Asgard too seriously just because most of us do not know much of Norse mythology.

There is some pretty good fight scenes, but nothing spectacular that we expect to see in "summer" releases. There was no awe factor to the effects and the plot was a bit predictable. Thor starts off as a rebellious, egocentric, war-thirsty son of the god Odin and predictably ends up tamed, humble and peace-loving. All, of course, with the help of the beautiful Jane played by Natalie Portman.

There are some pretty funny scenes and the lack of foul language and sexuality was very refreshing. There is one prolonged scene of a very cut and muscular Thor wandering around shirtless, but other than that, the movie is very clean regarding nudity, partial nudity or over sexualized comic-book attire.

The movie is rated PG-13 due to sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence.

I believe the Frost Giants can be a bit scary for smaller children as well as the monster at the beginning of the movie. There are a couple of scenes involving drinking and Thor gets drunk with the scientist Eric on earth. There is a very romantic kiss when Thor says goodbye to Jane. He kisses her on the hand (such a gentleman!), but she reaches for him and gives him a pretty good smooch. Other than that, the movie is clean, but not what I expected.

The movie is 130 minutes long.

IMPORTANT: Make sure to stay after ALL the credits are over. There is an important scene at the end regarding the Avenger's upcoming film.

STARS: I give it 6.5 stars out of 10. Rami gives it 10. I guess we know what my son is going to want to be this Halloween!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Apple Crisp

I had some apples that I was afraid would not last too much longer and I would have hated to have to thrown them away, or  give them to our chickens. So I looked up a recipe in a cook book that was given to me. I just love this cookbook! It's the Betty Crocker Cookbook, New Edition. I have used this cookbook for entrees and some sides.

Here is the recipe:

4 Medium tart cooking apples, sliced
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup all-purpose flour (self-rising flour can be used)
1/2 Cup quick cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 Cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 Teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening
2. Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over apples.
3. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork

Options: Serve with ice cream!!!!

My Modifications - * I didn't have tart apples, I used what I had, which I think were gala apples. *I ran out of brown sugar half way through because my husband went cookie crazy and baked a lot, so I used plain white sugar instead. *I first coated the sliced apples with some sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Then I  placed them in the greased baked dish. * I doubled the crisp part of the recipe. I just love me some apple crisp crisp!

Hope you enjoy this recipe! Perfect for those cool days that sneek up on us sometimes!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pretty Finds

 I just love going to local flea markets and small quaint shops! Here are some very happy finds!

I just love this kind of metal. It looks so cowboyish and gives a feeling that some things can last for a long time. I just want to brew some strong coffee using this coffee pot and an open fire and maybe ride into the sunset!

I saw this little guy in a little corner all alone. I just love the colors he has. After I cleaned him up, he was even more colorful. I just love roosters! He is about 2 inches tall and only cost me 25 cents!

Here is a little egg basket I found. Our cat, Percy, also liked it!

I just love old books. This one is a third edition of Louisa May Alcott's, "Under the Lilacs". The cover is so detailed and is covered with different scenes found in the book! Only $1.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Obama killed Osama?

Osama Bin Laden is dead! When I first saw the headline, my first reaction was that it was some kind of joke. Then I started thinking it was a publicity stunt to boost the President Obama's popularity. Then it sunk in - he IS dead. After such a long time, they have found and killed the man who took credit for killing over 3000 Americans on U.S. soil. My initial reaction after it "sunk in" was one of contentment and that there would finally be some sort of closure to so many. Although the fight against terrorism and the rise of hatred towards the U.S. will always exist and continue, I felt proud that our military and our intelligence succeeded in finding and killing this very evil and twisted man. But as a Christian I checked myself to make sure that my joy for this man's death wasn't causing me to sin in a subtle way. (We all know that Satan is a subtle worker. He usually never introduces sin to us by blaring a sound horn while holding a bright sign showing us the sin). He manipulates our sensitivities and our pain and biases and adds fuel to small and apparently innocent thoughts.  So, I thought for a moment if my joy for the death of this man was in-tune with the Holy Spirit. Unless, Bin Laden repented and believed and trusted in Jesus before he died, (which I don't think he did), this man will be judged and sent to Hell. I find it hard to believe that Jesus will be greeting Osama in Heaven and saying "Well done! My good and faithful servant" and THAT, as a Christian, breaks my heart. To my surprise, I did not want this man to go to Hell. Could you imgine if somehow or another, Osama repented and started spreading the gospel?! What a testimony! What a Pauline testimony!! The former persecutor of Christians (that is why he hates America so much, regardless of what others say) is now sharing his faith in Christ! Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Even though this man "deserves" hell, LIKE YOU AND ME, I don't think truly in my heart, I want anyone to go there.

Please do not get me wrong. We are inhabitants of this world and soon-to-be inhabitants of the next world. The best thing for this world was for this man to have been shot and killed, and maybe even interrogated before hand. There are rules in this world that must be followed to keep us safe. There is nothing wrong with wanting security for our families and ourselves as long as we understand that we truly aren't secure without Jesus. Persecuted Christians seek shelter and protection for their families, but never at the cost of denying their Jesus. And that is how we must view the death of this man. That he broke the rules and humanitarian laws of this world in the name of his false god allah and paid the price for his terrorist and brutal behavior. Jesus said in Matthew 25:52  that those who live/use a sword, will die by a sword. Jesus wasn't stating a spiritual law, but a law of this world. Osama lived for violence and terror and in the end he died violently and most likely in terror.  Galatians 6:7-8 says - Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Osama reaped what he sowed, just as we reap what we sow. If  the U.S. wouldn't have gotten him, someone else would have. This man had sowing violence and terror packed down to an art.

Osama lived by the rules of his evil heart and paid for it violently with his life. As a Christian, my heart hurts that another has gone to Hell. As an American, I am glad the man is gone and no longer able to concoct plans to destroy Christians and Americans. 

As an American Christian, I must always weigh my thoughts and feelings, because my allegiance is firstly to the Kingdom of Heaven and my beloved King Jesus. Then and only then, does the United States of America come into my devotion. Because, if push came to shove and the U.S. outlawed worshiping Jesus, I would instantly become a criminal. If the U.S. started banning my right to religious freedom, "pledging allegiance" to such a horrid country would not come out of my lips. It is great and wonderful that we live in a nation that hasn't oppressed its citizens from worshiping Jesus, YET!

I will always be proud of being an American, as long America continues with the Christian values it was founded on. And I will fervently fight to keep it a nation UNDER God.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Single Mom Life - Book Review

 I just finished reading this book yesterday and frankly I should have read it when I was a single mom! What an honest book! Angela touches on subjects that most single moms would be afraid to mention because of the probability of making themselves too vulnerable. There is a necessity to build walls and barriers for single moms. We build walls to keep us "strong". We build walls around our children. We work, we tire, we try to keep it organized and speaking of our loneliness is taboo. I remember the woman I was when I was divorced and hurting and struggling to be both mom and dad. But I am thankful that my Lord got me through it.

Angela Thomas takes you by the hand in this book and guides you through life as a single mom. Not as an outsider looking in, but as someone who is at the same place. The shame, the loneliness, the hardships and the joys are all talked about in this book. She gives practical advice and her blunt way of speaking has you laughing at loud sometimes.

If you are a single mom, or even were a single mom, I recommend this book. It would surely  help any single mom out there or help the woman who has found love again through marriage, help other single moms. The battle can be lonely and the battle usually is hard. We need all the help we can get!

You can buy the book here