Monday, August 31, 2015

100 posts!

We did it!
This is the 100th post of Scones and Crackers!
I am so excited to be here and so happy with this blog experience so far. It has been so much fun. I hope you are enjoying reading it as much as I enjoy making it!

You may remember that way back on the 50th post I said that I would be doing a little giveaway when I got to the 100th post. 
The way to gain entries into this giveaway was to comment here on this blog. 
I have been keeping track of comments and as of now Marcia is in the lead with 46 comments! Donna is at 10 and Julie is at 12. 
I am going to allow one week to give you a last chance to go back and comment on any of the blog posts you would like to before we pick a winner. This one counts too! 

Next Monday, the 7th of September, I will put all of the entries into a bowl and then have one of my daughter's pull out a name. 
Good luck!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Let's talk about: Kate Winslet

Kate Elizabeth Winslet was born on October 5, 1975 in Reading, Berkshire, England. 
She was born into an entertaining family. Her parents, Roger and Sally, were both stage actors. Her mother's parents Oliver and Linda Bridges ran the Reading Repertory Theatre, and her Uncle Robert Bridges worked in London's West End theater district. She has three siblings; her sisters Anna and Beth (also actresses) and her brother Joss.

"Mum and dad were very much friends, and up to life. There was no anxiety for anything when I was growing up, they just taught me to be me."

Kate's first professional role was in a commercial for cereal where she was dancing with the Honey Monster. She was eleven years old. When later promoting her film The Holiday, she was interviewed on 'Good Morning America' and they showed a clip of what they thought was her commercial. The clip was actually not of her. She did not point that out to them because she did not want to get the researcher in trouble or embarrass them. 
Around this time she also started acting lessons and that led to her formal training at a performing arts high school. She began to land a few small parts on television sitcoms and appearing on stage in various productions. 
Her first big film was Heavenly Creatures in 1994. She was seventeen. 
The film was the true story about two teenage girls that commit a murder. It was praised by critics but, to be honest, I did not like it. 

She was still relatively unknown although the film got her name out there. She attended an audition the next year for Sense and Sensibility. She made a great impression on Emma Thompson which led her to get the role over all of the other actresses that tried out for it. She won a British Academy award for her portrayal of Marianne Dashwood as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. 
She followed Sense and Sensibility with two more period films, Jude in 1996 and Hamlet, also in 1996. 
The role that made her a household name was playing Rose DeWitt Bukater in James Cameron's Titanic in 1997. She received a Best Actress nomination for this movie as well which made her the youngest actress to ever receive two Academy Award nominations. 
She and Leonardo DiCaprio became very close friends while filming. They alter filmed Revolutionary Road together as well. Her children call him "Uncle Leo."
 "It's very important for me to make the statement that I am English and just because I've done one really big film, it doesn't mean that I don't want to keep a finger in the fantastic British film industry."
"After Titanic, it would have been completely foolish for me to go and try and top that. I'm an English girl, I've always loved England, I've never felt the desire to leave it for any particular reason. And whilst I'm ambitious and care very much about what I do, I'm not competitive. I also don't want to act every day of my life. ... So it was important to me after Titanic to just remind myself of why it was that I was acting in the first place, which is of course because I love it."
After the attention she received for Titanic, Kate wanted to make smaller independent films. She made quite a few small films over the years. After a few years she started making some big films again as well. Over the years she has made some really great films, some very well known and some that haven't been as successful. By 2015 she has been nominated for an Oscar six times. She has won once, a Best Actress Oscar for playing a former concentration camp guard in The Reader in 2008.

"People say to me, "You seem to have made this conscious decision to do independent films." In reality, I haven't. After each movie, I always think, how different can I possibly be?... Is this going to challenge me, is this going to inspire me, and is this going to make me love my job more than I already do?"

In 1998 she married Jim Threapleton, an assistant director. They had a daughter, Mia. 
They divorced in 2001. 
She married director Sam Mendes in 2003. They had a son, Joe. They were also divorced in 2010. 
In 2012, she married Ned Rocknroll. He is Richard Branson's nephew and works for his uncle's space travel company Virgin Galactic as the head of Marketing Promotion and Astronaut Experience. They have a son, Bear. 

While vacationing at Richard Branson's house in the Caribbean, the house caught fire. Branson credits Kate with saving his 90 year old mother by carrying her out of the burning house. Kate has stated that she just carried her down a few steps. She and her husband named their son Bear Blaze because they met in a house fire, or so it has been said. 
She was pregnant with Bear whilst filming A Little Chaos and Divergent. During filming of Divergent they had to creative with the film angles, shooting above her waist, and having her carry things in front of her belly when she started showing sooner than expected.

"There is no way we are going to move out of England. Some might think that we want to live in Hollywood but that is not what we want at all. We will go and live in New York when it is necessary because of work but we prefer to be in England. I'm proud to be English - we both are. It's very important to me to retain that. I am an English girl and I love England. I have never felt the desire to leave. I am still ambitious and I will have to travel and live elsewhere because of that but England is always home."

Kate was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to drama. 
She also shared a Grammy award with Graham Greene in 2000 for the Best Spoken Word Album for Children. 
Her performance as Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in 2004 is ranked #81 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time. 
She received a Star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame on March 17, 2014.

"I was on the tube just before Christmas and this girl turned round to me and said, "Are you Kate Winslet?". And I said, "Well, yes. I am actually." And she said, "And you're getting the tube?". And I said, "Yes." And she said, "Don't you have a big car that drives you around?". And I said, "No". And she was absolutely stunned that I wasn't being driven round in some flash car all the time. It was ludicrous."

Kate prefers to wear boots rather than an other kind of shoe because she has said that it makes her fell like her feet are "firmly on the ground."

My Top 5 favorite Kate Winslet roles: 

#1: Sense and Sensibility

I was a teenager when Sense and Sensibility came out and it was one of my favorite movies instantly. 
 Marianne was my favorite girl character. 
I related to Marianne so much. I was passionate and loved literature and I just felt like I could have been Marianne if I had been born into a different time period. 
Kate became one of my favorite actresses because she did such a good job playing Marianne and making her feel so real to me. 

#2: Titanic

I was just under twenty years old when Titanic came out and Kate had once again given me a character that I could really relate to. Of course I couldn't relate to her time and place and station in life but I definitely felt that angst of wanting to make sure you were living your life for yourself and not just doing what was expected of you by the 'grown ups'. 
She did so well in this movie. 

#3: Finding Neverland

This should be no surprise as I have mentioned this movie before. It is one of my favorite films and I loved Kate in it. 
She plays the role of mother so well. She is still young and beautiful but comes across as very calm and serene in the role of mother. Of course, her character is hearbreaking as well. She is just perfection in this. 

#4: The Holiday

This is one of my very favorite Christmas movies!
Once again, Kate has given us a character that is completely relatable. 
I love watching her journey through this film. 

#5: Divergent

I enjoy this film. It isn't necessarily one of my favorites but I do like it. 
At first when I heard that Kate was playing Jeanine I couldn't really see it. She wasn't anything like I pictured her in my head. But once I saw it I knew that she was perfect for the role. 
It isn't as fun to see her play someone that I don't like, but she does it really well. 

I think Kate Winslet will always be one of my favorite actresses and I am excited to see what she will do next! 

*What is your favorite Kate Winslet film?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Let's Talk About: Below Stairs by Margaret Powell

As it says on the cover this book is "The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir that inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey".
I can see how it did that. 
This memoir is written by Margaret Powell about her time in service.

She went into service in the 1920's at the age of 13. 
She started out as a kitchen maid and eventually worked her way up to being the main household cook (at a different house). She worked at many houses with many families along the way. Some were horrible and some were wonderful. Most fell somewhere in between where they didn't necessarily treat the servants horribly but didn't really treat them fairly.
It was very interesting to read about her experiences and how life was really like for these young girls going into service knowing that their job would basically be their life. They had to be so devoted to their homes and jobs because it took most of their time.

Margaret always wanted more and I really admired how she worked hard and made it happen for herself. 
I only gave it three stars on Goodreads and that was only because of writing style. 
While I enjoyed reading the memoir, I felt like I was reading a diary that had been written while she was still a teenager. The voice and the way it was told felt so young. 
As a result of that it didn't always hold my interest and I did have to make myself sit down to read it (even though I found it interesting) as opposed to some memoirs where you can't tear yourself away. 

I think that if you are a fan of either television show mentioned that you will enjoy it. 

*Have you read this yet?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Let's talk about: Downton Abbey Season Three

I wanted to sit down after having finished season three of Downton Abbey with my mom and do an overview of the season much like I did with season two. 
But I can hardly bring myself to do it.
Because although there were so many things that happened this season (good and bad) they are all overshadowed by the two events that broke my heart!

*Major Spoilers Ahead*




At this point in the show I had exactly two main favorite characters. 
There were a lot of characters I loved (and still do) but two that I just adored. 
Sybil and Matthew.

Let's talk about Sybil. 
Sybil is the most beautiful (in my opinion), kind, and generous of the sisters. 
I love her and Tom together. 
I was so happy that they were having a baby and that they ended up back at Downton. 
Then that episode. 

We were given this wonderful moment of Tom and Sybil with their adorable little baby girl. 
But then you knew there was too much build up and drama to have her just have the baby and then be okay so I was very nervous. 
And for good reason.
Losing Sybil was absolutely heartbreaking. 
Made the more so, I think, because of the incredibly heart wrenching acting of Allen Leech. 

Then we get the reactions from the rest of the house and that just added to it. Sybil was a character that was loved by everyone. You know that you have lost a good person when even Thomas, who sometimes can be so heartless, is heartbroken. 

So we dealt with this heartbreak. 
We moved on. 
Mary finally gets pregnant. 
Everything is looking up. 
I don't think I am alone in the fact that I was worried that something was going to happen to the baby or Mary after what they did to us with Sybil. Every time she acted a little off  I worried. 
Then I was on a friend's blog and saw a comment that said that Matthew died. 
I didn't want to believe it so I let myself believe that they would end the episode and season on a cliff hanger to make us think that he died.
 I was waiting for the rest of the season to see what would happen. 

Then Mary had their baby. 

This was such a beautiful moment with this little family. 
You are allowed to be so happy for them while you are watching. 
Then he started driving home. And I just knew.....
Then it happened. 
I was still waiting for the credits to roll and we wouldn't know for sure.
Then they showed him. And I knew he was really dead. 
And I lost it.
I have to say that is the hardest I have ever cried over a fictional character. 
It was bad. 

This time, watching with my mom, I didn't cry quite as hard. But I did still cry. 
It is just so, so sad. 

Oh Downton, why did you have to break my heart like this?

*Did you know what was coming when you watched Season three?
*Which was the hardest death for you?
*Did you cry as hard as I did?

Let's talk about: Back to School!

 I know I have posted this video before but I am going to post it again!
My 4th grader started school last week and my youngest just started Kindergarten today! 
I always loved Back to School time (am I a freak?) because it meant seeing friends and getting new school supplies which is one of my favorite things!
So in honor of back to school season I wanted to re-post this video explaining a little bit about the British school system. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Let's talk about: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part one

We are almost at the end of our Harry Potter summer journey. 
We have finished Deathly Hallows, part one and will be finishing the second part this weekend. 
I think they did an especially good job on these last two movies. 
I have heard people complain about movies being broken up into two since it has become a popular thing to do... but you know what? I like it when they do it! I don't particularly like waiting a year in between for them to come out, but I love that they can add more of the story. 
I mean, they still left stuff out. They still had to change some things to make it short enough for two films so I can't imagine if they had only made one film for this book. 

*Spoilers ahead*

We start out with Harry about to leave the Dursley's home for the last time. 
I do kind of wish that they had shown the character growth of Dudley. 
I wish they had given him his line, "I don't think you are a waste of space."

I loved the Seven Harry's scene. It is so funny and they executed it so well. Major props to Daniel Radcliffe for having to play seven different characters in this scene!

 Along the journey to the Burrow we lose a few characters. 
Maddy could not come in the room until Hedwig's death was over. She did not want to see it. 

I love the storyline of our main three getting ready to go on a quest rather than back to school for their last year and I found myself thinking about them during the will reading scene. 
As they sat on the couch together I kept thinking about how friends come into your life. How one day you don't know someone and then years later they have become a huge part of your life. 
That was done so well with these three. We watch them grow over the years from young kids just showing up for an education to three teenagers leaving childhood behind to save everyone. Their personalities are so different and yet complement each other so well. 
These three actors personified the characters they were playing. 
It feels so genuine.

I have always loved all three characters but Hermione is my favorite. Maybe it's because I am a bookworm and I love learning so I always related the most to her. 
But I also loved those boys. 
In this story, first in the books and then in this film, I think we see how each of them deal with the fear and sacrifice they will be facing. 
Harry worries about everyone. He doesn't have a family to speak of (the Dursleys hardly feel like family). He has already lost his. But he has all of these people that are like family to him that are now risking their lives for this cause that he feels is his fault and responsibility. He has the weight of their world on his shoulders. 
Ron wants to be there for his friends but he also has to worry about what is going on back at home. He has such a large family and has to worry about each one of them, wondering if he will ever see them again. He also deals with so much self doubt. I think he often feels like he is the one that shouldn't be there. The one that can't contribute. And yet he does. He is such an important part of their trio.
And Hermione, in what I think is an often glossed over sacrifice, erases herself entirely from her parents memories to protect them. I often have thought about that and how hard that would be. 
She knows that not only is it probable that she might never see them again, but if something happens to her they won't even care because they won't remember her. That would have been a heartbreaking decision to make.

Of course, the film moves on quickly with their quest for the horcruxes.
I won't go through everything but I will mention one of my favorite parts. 
I think their depiction of the Tale of the Three Brothers and the Deathly Hallows was brilliant. 
I love the animation that they used and the fact that they just didn't tell us the story but showed it in such a creative way. 
Abi said, "Well, that was creepier than I imagined it when you were reading it!"
And it really is. But it is awesome.

I wish I could talk about so much more of the film but that would take so long!
I will leave with one other thought I had on seeing this film the first time and that is...
Dang. Scabior is cute. Too bad he is such a bad guy. 

Am I right? Or... am I the only one that thought this??

I think they ended it at a good spot in the story that left us dying to see the rest! So glad that our daughters don't have to wait as long in between parts as I did!

Here is the original trailer:

*Did you like this film? 
*What were your favorite parts?
*Are there any parts they left out that you really missed?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Let's talk about: David Tennant

David Tennant was born on April 18, 1971 in Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland.
 At that time his name was David McDonald. He would later choose his acting surname from Neil Tennant, singer of the Pet Shop Boys. He learned that he would have to change his professional name in order to join the actors' union, Equity, because there was already a David McDonald registered with them. He was reading an interview with Neil Tennant and decided to go with that. 

When he was about 3-4 years old he decided he wanted to become an actor because of his love of the show Doctor Who
"I was hugely formed by stories I was told as a child whether that was in a book, the cinema, theatre or television and probably television more than any medium is what influenced me as a child and formed my response to literature, story-telling and, therefore, the world around me.
I remember a conversation with my parents about who the people on the TV were, and learning they were actors and they acted out this story and just thinking that was the most fantastic notion, and that's what I want to do."

He attended Paisley Grammar school and during his years there he wrote about how he wanted to become a professional actor and play the role of the Doctor on Doctor Who
I think that is amazing. In my opinion it really adds something magical to his future career. 

His first acting job came when he was 16.  He attended the youth group theater run by the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama on the weekends (now RSAMD). He was the youngest student to ever win a place at the school and started as a full time drama student when he was 17. 

" Drama school is a pretty intense experience and I think it changes who you are. I think I grew up at drama school (which was fairly useful personally as much as professionally) and I certainly got exposed to a huge range of ideas, techniques, and practices that I had no previous experience of. I wouldn't have known what I was doing as an actor if I hadn't gone."

He worked regularly in theater and television after leaving drama school. His first big break was in 1994 when he played the lead role in the Scottish drama, Takin' Over the Asylum. He then moved to London. He spent several years as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and was very successful there. He began to make a name for himself with his roles in the TV dramas Blackpool and Casanova. 
In 2003 he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actor of 2002 for his role in Lobby Hero performed at the Donmar Warehouse and the New Ambassador's Theatre's. 

In 2005, his childhood dream finally came to fruition. 
David was chosen to play the role of the Doctor on Doctor Who

 " I have such fond memories of watching 'Doctor Who' when I was a kid and growing up, that if I've left anybody anywhere with memories as fond, then I feel like I've done my job. "

He was the Doctor from 2005-2010 which makes him one of the longest running doctors. 
He brought something really special to this role. His quirkiness and excitement made him so much fun to watch. He really became the Doctor. It doesn't feel like he is playing a character. I think he swept us all away in the Tardis with him. We didn't want him to go.

He met his wife, Georgia Moffett, on the set of Doctor Who in November of 2007 when she played the role of his daughter.  In real life she is the daughter of former Doctor actor Peter Davison. They were married in 2011. He adopted her son, Tyler, and they have had two children together.

"If you can sell that you're the King of Scotland, or Henry V on a tiny stage in a studio theatre somewhere, then you can probably sell that you're a starship captain or a time traveler.
I've been quite lucky in that I've managed to tick off a few of my dream roles, really. Beyond that, you wait for the next script to come in that will have the dream role that you don't know exists yet, I suppose."

David has continued to do movies, television, and theater. 
In 2009 so many people wanted to seem him in the Royal Shakespearean Company Production of Hamlet that the London run at the Novello Theater sold out in three hours. 
He won the 2009 Critics Choice Award for Best Shakespearean Performance for this role.

" I love characters who are clever and smart, and you have to run to catch up with. I think there's something very appealing and rather heroic in that."

I haven't seen a lot of David's work yet. I have a lot of watching to do! But I do have two other favorites that he was in besides Doctor Who.
These should come as no surprise to anyone. 
They are:

1. Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:

Obviously not because I like the character but because he was so good at playing him. 

2. James Arber in The Decoy Bride:



I have already expressed my love for this film on the blog. He is fantastic in it. 

I can't wait to see more from David! He is truly a tremendous talent!

*What are your favorite films and television shows starring David Tennant?
*Have you watched him as the Doctor?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling

 We did it! 
We set a goal to try to finish the entire Harry Potter series this summer and we did it!
My oldest started back at school today and we finished the book this past weekend, just in time. 

Reading this series has opened my eyes again to just how much I adore these books. 
J.K Rowling has created a world and characters that will live forever. There is no doubt in my mind that children and adults alike will be devouring this story for generations and it will always feel new and fresh and exciting. 
As for Deathly Hallows itself, I love this book. 
I think that she did a great job of wrapping up all of the main story lines and bringing us to a satisfying conclusion for the Boy that Lived and his friends. 
Our daughters felt the same way. 

SPOILERS AHEAD: Do not read the rest of the post unless you have read the books, have seen the movies and so you know the ending, or don't care about being spoiled!




The girls really loved this book but this was the first one that got Maddy crying. She has been sad about some of the deaths but she hadn't cried until Hedwig. 
She was so torn up. 
Abi found many reasons to cry in this one, just like me. 
For Abi, the hardest death of all came toward the end of the book. 
Fred and George were two of her very favorite characters. Perhaps only following the main three of Hermione, Ron, and Harry (in that order), so it is no surprise that Fred's death was a hard blow for her.
She still loved the entire series though and has become quite the Potter junkie now. 
We all went onto Pottermore immediately to be sorted. Abi and I both got Hufflepuff and Maddy got Slytherin. Neither were very happy with this outcome and asked to do the test one more time. I told Maddy she had to answer the questions honestly because the first time she was trying to be funny with answers like wanting power and to be envied, etc. 
I didn't mind being Hufflepuff too much (yellow is my favorite color after all) but decided I would retake it as well. Now all  three of us have been sorted into Gryffindor. They were very excited about this, and I was too. When Doug got home we did the test on him as well and he was put into Ravenclaw which he was happy about. 

It is so much fun to share this passion with the kids and be able to talk to them about all of the many themes and life parallels in these stories. Harry Potter really is one of a kind. There is so much fantasy out there (and I for one LOVE fantasy) but nothing quite like Harry Potter, in my opinion. 
I think that this story will stay with them throughout their lives the way the important books from my childhood did for me. (Anne of Greeen Gables, The Westing Game, The Phantom Tollbooth, Little Women... etc) I can't wait to see how they will re-visit the series through their life and how it will be a little different each time. 
Because that is another thing I have realized during this read through. Every time I have re-read these books they mean something new to me. And this time was probably the most meaningful aside from the first time I read them. Reading them out loud made me notice things I had just skimmed over before or hadn't taken much notice of. I read things I had forgotten about. I was way more emotional about the deaths than I had been previously, especially when I would see tears welling up in Abi's eyes. She ran over to me for a hug when Lupin and Tonks died mainly for my sake than hers as she knew that Lupin is one of my very favorite characters. 
And I loved getting to Snape's chapter. She turned to me and said, "So Snape was really good all along?" This led to quite a discussion about how he did have a not so good past as a death eater and what drove him to risk his life on such an intense level for so many years, playing the spy. 
We also talked about what it would be like to let so many of your peers think the worst of you as he had to do after Dumbledore's death. How hard that would have been to be so hated by so many knowing all along that what they believed to be true wasn't. 
There really is SO much to talk about once you come to the conclusion of this series. 

We will be finishing up the movies this week and sometime in the next month we will have our Harry Potter party. I will be sure to post about that when the time comes!
I strongly encourage you to pick up these books!
If it has been a while since you have read them- read them again!
If you think your kids would enjoy them (if you have kids) read them to them!
Make it a family affair. My husband had never read them either and while he wasn't here for every chapter we read, he was here for a lot of it and enjoyed learning more than the movies offer. 

Thanks for coming on this summer journey with me!

 *Did you read the series this summer? 
*Do you plan on reading it again anytime soon? 
*Which death was the hardest for you?
*What are your favorite things about the Harry Potter series?

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Short Break!

This week we will be taking a short break from Scones and Crackers. 
My 9 year old starts school next week and our 5 year old starts the week after. 
We have a ton to do in getting prepared and to spend the last week really getting the most out of our time left. 
I will be back next week!


Friday, August 7, 2015

Let's talk about: Paddington

Last week we rented Paddington from Redbox. 
To be honest, I didn't really think I would love it that much. I just wasn't sure what to expect. 
I was so surprised. 
We all LOVED it. 
In fact, barely over a week later, I now own it. 

Paddington is based on the books about Paddington Bear by Michael Bond. The books were so popular that they have been translated into 30 languages and sold more than 30 million copies. In fact, in 2012 Paddington Bear was honored as Britain's "Favorite Animated Character Ever" at the British Animated Awards. 
Many of the people involved in the movie loved this character and I think that is why it worked so well. 
Hugh Bonneville, (Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey) who plays the father, said that he was nervous about joining the film because "Paddington is a part of the DNA of the UK. I don't want my childhood being messed with. He's such a a vivid character for so many people, certainly in Britain. So I was very nervous when I started reading but within a page I was laughing out loud and was reminded of all the charming innocence and the warmth that Michael Bond put on the page."

Nicole Kidman, though she plays the villain, also grew up with Paddington. She said that her childhood wish was to have Paddington Bear live at her home. She said that to participate in this film is the closest she will ever come to realize it. 
And perhaps the most important words of approval come from the creator himself, Michael Bond, and his daughter Karen Jankel. 
Michael Bond said that he was nervous about the project of turning his character into a live action feature. However, he said he was convinced after seeing half a minute of test footage. 
His daughter, Karen was almost moved to tears after the first screening and said, "For me, it was bringing to life the bear that was so real to me. And I think they got it absolutely right."
Michael Bond even has a cameo in the film. When the family are driving down the road in a taxi, Paddington looks into a cafe and a man inside raises a glass to him. That was Michael Bond. 

The movie was produced by David Heyman (Harry Potter) and written by Paul King and Hamish McColl but Emma Thompson also did an uncredited polishing of the script. 
They have brought this bear to life for all of us. 
The movie begins in Darkest Peru. We meet Paddington's family and then Paddington himself before following him to London where a family finds him at Paddington Station and takes him home. 
I think this will be a family classic. It was funny, heartwarming, and so well acted in a way not all family movies are. 
Our daughters were laughing so hard they were rolling around on the ground during a certain bathroom scene.

A lot of the time when I watch a movie that has a kid or an animal (usually a dog it seems) that causes a lot of chaos and mess in a house, I get stressed out and I don't enjoy it. 
But this one honestly made me laugh. 
And I loved Paddington even though he was always causing trouble. 
Even my husband, who did not expect to like it at all, enjoyed it and afterward said that he thought it was a really good movie. 
 This movie is appropriate for all audiences and will, I'm sure, be one that almost every child and family will love. 

Check it out!!
Here is the trailer... but if you don't want to be spoiled for things that happen in the movie, don't watch it. It shows a lot of the film. 

*Have you seen Paddington*Have you read the books? *How did you like it?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Let's talk about: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling

 We finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this week. 
We are so close to hitting our goal of finishing the entire Harry Potter series this summer. 
The girls still have two weeks until school starts so I am pretty sure we will make it!

Once again, they loved this book. 
However, the ending was hard on Abi. She told me that she would have given the book 700 stars but because of the death of one of her favorite characters, she had to deduct 696 stars and give it only 4. But she still enjoyed it a lot. She really liked it when Harry and Ginny finally got together. 
Maddy said she gave it 5 stars... so realistic stars around here this week!

I think this book is so good. I love the concept of the Horcruxes and the build up to finding out about them. I think the glimpses into Voldemort's past are especially interesting. It is all such a great lead up to that final book which I can't wait to share with Abi and Maddy. 
I also really loved, after the shaky relationship with Dumbledore in the last book, how it builds that relationship back up.

 Once again, so fun to see the story through my kids' eyes as I read this one!
Now, speaking of Harry Potter, I just saw this shirt. Pretty sure I need it. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Let's talk about: A Young Doctor's Notebook

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I sat down to watch the first episode of A Young Doctor's Notebook starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe. 
I had heard about it in passing but only really knew that it was a BBC television show. 

Jon and Daniel play the same character. 
Jon Hamm is the Older Doctor. 
Daniel Radcliffe is the Younger Doctor. 

The first episode begins with the Older Doctor at his desk looking at his journal's. 
It takes us back in time to the early 20th century when the Younger Doctor arrives in a small village in Russia to work in the small hospital.
At first I was a little confused as Jon Hamm was in the hospital too.. but then I realized it was the Older Doctor and Younger Doctor interacting with each other much like we think back to a time in our own lives or look forward to later in life. Slightly strange but quite funny. 
As they interact they argue constantly. 
The episodes are a little under 30 minutes each and I have just watched the first one so far but I found it to be pretty entertaining. The acting is fantastic. It is pretty ridiculously funny. 
But it also had a few cringe worthy moments. 
The very end of the episode had a very unfortunate tooth pulling moment with lots of blood and I may not have been able to look again until it was over. 
I would say that if you are like me and get grossed out easily this may not be the show for you. But if you don't mind that and want something interesting and funny, check it out.

The series is based on the stories of Mikhail Bulgakov.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Let's talk about: Jelly Babies

There are a lot of references to Jelly Babies on Doctor Who. 
I always wondered what they were and what they tasted like. 
The last time I was at London Market they had some so I picked up a bag. 
This past week as my daughters and I were studying the United Kingdom in our summer Geography lessons, we finally tried them. 
They looked like large gummy bears, but in the shape of people (kind of), covered with a white dust. 

It is really hard to describe what these tasted like. 
They were kind of firm on the outside and more chewy on the inside but not chewy in the way that any of our American candy I can think of is chewy. The closest thing I can compare it to would be those fruit flavored candies that look like orange slices. 
The flavor was sweet but not too sweet. 
We all liked the red and orange ones best as well as the blue and purple ones least. 
My main feeling about these was that while they tasted fine they wouldn't be something I would necessarily pick up again. Not bad but not something to be really excited about either.

*Have you tried Jelly Babies?
*If so, did you like them?