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Christy Catherine Marshall

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February 18, 2006

Share the Love Award I visited a few new blogs over the weekend (met up with Sally at MomKori’s blog in Japan — that was fun!). I kept seeing this graphic on a few people’s sites. Never heard of it. But you know how we ladies are — I felt kind of left out, like everyone had been to a party but me. So I visited One Woman’s World blog and discovered this new blog award. Cool.

So, I’m reading along recognizing names — my Carnival of Beauty friends … Mind & Media friends … book-loving friends … And there’s me. Surprise. (Who did that?) Somebody nice nominated Mom 2 Mom Connection in the (#5) Best Site Design and (#6) Most Inspiring categories.

Well, thanks. Made my day. These awards are sponsored by One Woman’s World, and here’s what she says about them:

This blog competition is designed to encourage the widening of our reading world, and the fostering of community among women bloggers … The competition is about sharing the love, and honoring excellence. I, for one, am really excited about a lot of the new reads I’m finding!

If you’d like to vote (there are lots of familiar names in the list), go to the Share the Love Blog Awards site. You can vote until Monday, February 20th at 11 pm. Then she will close the polls and announce the five finalists in each category.

I’ve learned the purpose of these awards is to introduce people to new blogs. Last time I checked, there are over 28 millions blogs out there! How else are we going to find like-minded bloggers if we don’t get together every now and then? The other categories are Humor, Makes Me Want to Have Kids, Happiest Blog, Best Writing, Most Meetable in Real Life, Most Thought-Provoking, Best Discussion, Learn Something New Every Day, and Best Commenter.

I’ve discovered some hilarious new blogs — maybe one day I’ll learn how to write funny.

P.S. If you’re checking out my site design, then you’ll have to check out my designer’s portfolio, Lisa Sabin of E. Webscapes. All I did was spend six months agonizing over whether I should start a blog, then three more months of deciding what to call it and what I wanted it to look like, then two or three days of writing/deleting/rewriting my order form. Two weeks later, I’m up and running. Lisa’s always been quick to answer my questions (which have been many). She also designed Mind & Media’s blog and La Shawn Barber’s Corner, among hundreds more.

By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)



I took this test entitled, “What language should you learn?” This was an interesting result. I know how to read and speak some Japanese, but not Chinese. The written languages have some similarities, so it might be something I could pick up someday. But Chinese is a tonal language — it seems really hard to me!

Yet it’s the language of about 1/5 of the world’s population, right? I’ve discovered that studying a language is truly the best way to understand the heart of a culture. I took German two years in high school, French two years in college, and have about four years of formal Japanese study. But I’ve forgotten so much — Use it or lose it, they say! It’s funny how well I can remember the songs we learned …

How about you? Do you speak or read any languages besides English? What’s your native tongue?


You Should Learn Chinese


Surprised? You shouldn’t be – Chinese is perfect for an ambitious person like you.
You’re a natural entrepreneur, and a billion people are waiting to do business with you!



February 17, 2006

A few of you have left comments that you’re learning to FLY or you have been for years. So, I got this GREAT idea — why don’t I compile a list of blogs from women like me who are also interested in FlyLady?

Do you have a blog where you talk about FlyLady? I’d like to visit whenever I need a fresh jolt of inspiration. Please leave me a comment, and I’ll work on compiling something to stay permanent in my sidebar.

We can encourage each other to stay on track with our routines — and offer plenty of grace and humor when life (and children!) get in the way of our perfectionism.

Where did I read this — somebody made a tape of a solid hour of rockin’ housecleaning music? The thought of 300,000 of us FlyBabies in our lace-up shoes and ostrich feather dusters — zipping around the house working and listening to music (with our timers ticking, of course) — just totally cracked me up! Send me some links! And maybe a blurb about why you love FlyLady or where we should look in your blog. (For example, if you have a Technorati tag or category somewhere so we’ll know where to look.)

Have a nice weekend. And remember that God loves you just the way you are — you’re not behind at all in His eyes!

P.S. This post will be ongoing — so anytime you happen to find it, you can add to it and I’ll update my permanent list in the sidebar.




February 16, 2006

Mary DeMuth\\\'s Home

We’re chatting with author Mary Demuth again in southern France, though today she’s invited us in for coffee in her lovely French home. If you missed the first part of our interview, you can read it here.

Thanks for joining us at the blogging Carnival yesterday. I’m still full from all that Comfort Food. Now we’re ready for something to read. You’ve recently published two new books for parents. Can you tell us a little about your first one, Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God?

I wrote that book because I was tired of books written for Christian moms and women that were dumbed down and foofy. I wanted an intelligent devotional for moms, one that challenged them at their deepest levels both spiritually and intellectually. It’s written in conjunction with Hearts at Home ministries.

Foofy! Yes, we’re tired of foofy! But why should a mom want to read your book? Are you going to tell us what it’s like to have it all together and make those of us who are scrambling to get through a day feel guilty?

Yes, of course. Parenting should be all about guilt and how terrible we are at measuring up. (laughing) No, seriously. That book is about grace. About running to Jesus when we fail. About the beauty of the journey of parenthood. I pray it is a cup of cold water to moms who are worried and stressed and harried and guilt-ridden.

Sounds refreshing. And I love the title. I’m truly one of those ordinary moms realizing what an extraordinary God we serve. So, what about your latest book that just came out last month — Building the Christian Family You Never Had. It says it’s a “Practical Guide for Pioneer Parents.” Can you tell us what you mean by pioneer parent?

A pioneer parent is a person who grew up in a home she doesn’t want to duplicate. It’s for any parent who fears she’ll make the same mistakes her parents made. It’s for those of us who don’t exactly know what a Christian home looks like because we didn’t see it modeled.

I like the quote you used in the preface of the book from George Bernard Shaw: “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.” Later, you say, “God is our Pioneer Parent, who dances the path before, behind, and beside us.” It seems like your attitude is that you can’t change the past, but you can start fresh with your own family. Is that true?

Yes, it’s true. But starting fresh does involve some pain. We must first look at our past, tell the truth about it, forgive our parents, and allow Jesus to heal us. Then we can start fresh. But healing precedes that new path.

What advice do you have for pioneer moms and dads who feel unsure about raising kids since they grew up in a dysfunctional family? Can you offer them any words of encouragement?

I hope so. This is what God has taught me — something spectacular actually: Our weakness in parenting — all those fears that we’ll duplicate the homes we were raised in — is actually a benefit. Because pioneer parents are keenly aware of our own inabilities, it puts us at an advantage. Because we’re well acquainted with our own lack, we are more apt to run to Jesus for help. So, the hope is, God can be strong in our weakness. Because we know we’re weak, we’re at an advantage, because God loves to work through that weakness.

Wow. That’s something I’m going to have to remember. You talk a lot about healing in this book, as you’ve had some emotional scars from your past. But you also give us ideas of fun things to move forward as a family. Can you tell us about some of your family celebrations that are unique?

We play ‘high low’ around the dinner table every night. We share one high and one low from the day. It’s an expected ritual. It helps us all focus on what happened during the day and also gives us a glimpse into our children’s lives. We also have a prayer blackboard where we list our prayer requests. It’s fun to watch God answer those prayers.

Those are great ideas! We’ll have to try the high/low thing around our table. In your book, you have a chapter called “A Funny Thing Happened While Raising My Kids.” Can you tell us how the role of laughter plays in building up a strong Christian family? What if we’re not comedians?

Laughter is key. Most pioneer parents grew up far too fast and have lost that child-like wonder at the world. I’m far too serious, but I’m learning to let my hair down. I’m certainly not a comedian. But my kids are. One of the things I do is write down all the funny things my kids say so we can remember them. Having fun with our kids is a natural offshoot of learning to take life less seriously.

I love the idea of a notebook — thanks for the reminder. What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you since living in France?

It’s a long story, but you can read all about it in my blog.

Do you write every day? How do you balance your career with your family?

Yes, I write every day. I have a schedule. I usually write about 20-30 hours a week depending on my deadline. I try not to let my writing interfere with my children, as I write while they’re in school. It’s still hard for me, though, to pull myself away from the computer when I’m in the middle of a thought or idea. I’m learning.

You seem to have an interest in helping out new writers. Can you tell us a little about the newsletter you write every month? How can we sign up for it?

It’s called the RelevantProse Newsletter and comes in the inbox the first of every month. It’s usually about 8 pages long, full of practical writing advice and spiritual insights. I write about the business and craft of writing. You can sign up for it on my website.

And now, to wrap things up, can you tell us your best piece of advice on making our home Christ-centered?

Pray. Be authentic. Apologize to your children when you yell. Pray some more.

Wow. How inspiring! Thanks for sharing so many great ideas with us, Mary. Your books look like wonderful resources for parents. Au revoir.

Au revoir!

****************

If you have a minute, you simply must go read Mary’s hilarious story, The Boy Without a Costume. The ending really made me laugh! And if you love good women’s fiction, Mary has a new novel out called Watching the Tree Limbs.




February 15, 2006


Thanks for your response to my desperate plea for vegetables yesterday. Now I can offer you a well-rounded buffet with a feast of recipes from eleven bloggers and two friends of Mom 2 Mom (plus one of my most often-requested recipes. And another blogger’s link I couldn’t resist passing along.)

I really enjoyed serving as your hostess this week. Once again, the biggest thanks goes to Sallie at Two Talent Living for sponsoring the Carnival — out of 27 million blogs out there, she’s helped us find some like-minded friends.

If I’ve missed anyone, please email me or send me a comment — my server seems to be a bit overzealous lately in blocking some messages — so I hope I haven’t missed yours.

Well, I wish I could spiff up this place a little bit, set out a tablecloth, or something. Hope you enjoy the potluck!

Thank you, Lord, for lavishing your love upon us through fellowship with other women who enjoy writing online. Your grace is overwhelming. Help us to continue encouraging each other to shine our lights into the world through our words. Bless our food today — and give us the wisdom and energy we need to prepare good meals for our families. Amen.

In her entry, Food for Body & Soul, Iris at Sting My Heart reminds us, “Although food for the body is essential for living, we as Christians need to feed on a different kind of food.” You’ll enjoy her mouth-watering recipe for Philly Steak Sandwiches here.

What better way to share a recipe than through step-by-step photographs? That’s what Bethany at A Picturesque Life has done for us, sharing a recipe she loves making with her children. In her post, Monkeying Around and Making Monkey Bread, their smiling faces will inspire us all to try this with our own families.

From across the Atlantic in the south of France, Mary of Relevant Prose sends us her Tres Vite Cinnamon Rolls, which she enjoys making with her teenage daughter. And in case that’s not enough for us, she’s also included a whole page of links to her favorite recipes, which are sprinkled throughout her blog.

For those of us with busy evening schedules, Trish of Simplifying Motherhood sends us her kid-friendly Parmesan Chicken Sandwiches. Even though her husband’s baseball schedule is hectic, she still places a top priority on sitting down for nightly family suppers.

And just when we were about to run out of ideas of what to do with a package of cream cheese, Marla of Just Marla offers us nine delighful recipes in her Ode to Cream Cheese. In case you’re wondering, she says, “Yep, the pictures were taken by me of actual food I made and ate.” It looks like she’s on her way to making her own cookbook someday.

Although Blair of Scribblings by Blair claims she doesn’t have a knack for cooking, she does have an incredible gift of writing. Get out your hankies when you read how she found the perfect way to enjoy Chicken ‘n’ Biscuits with her husband in A Valentine Memory.

In honor of her grandmother who recently passed away, Carrie from Of Christian Women shares a recipe for Pistachio Jello Salad. In her post, The Love in Food, she writes, “My Grandmother was a very family-oriented person who enjoyed showing her love through keeping her family well-fed. Being at my Grandparents house was like a never-ending feast … You really could almost taste the love.”

In her post, No Comfort in Chocolate, Carmen of Full Contact Christ-Centric Living once again delights us with her wit and wisdom. After a bizarre, chocolate-provoked experience, she learned why she finds comfort in foods that build her body and give her energy while tasting great. She offers us gorgeous pictures of God-made fruit, along with a tantelizing recipe for Fruit and Kefir Smoothie — yum!

Now, in case we’re feeling overwhelmed by nightly dinner preparations, Carol of She Lives shares her secret for keeping her family fed without a lot of fuss. She Lives, but not to cook. In her post, She’s Not All She’s Crocked Up to Be, Carol gives us several easy, down-home recipes that will entice us to dust off our crockpots and simmer something Texan.

Patricia of Pollywog Creek Porch shares a recent article that says, “Research now suggests that calling a food a comfort food has less to do with its qualities than with its ability to trigger happy memories and feelings.” On that note, her mind is filled with happy memories of serving her family Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins in her post, Comfort Food.

In her post, Connoisseur…of Good Food, Deb of Mountain Musings offers us a mouth-watering casserole that will inspire us to whip out the shoepeg corn and green beans. She does offer us this warning: “Unfortunately, I have learned that this dish is probably not for husbands and sons…so just take it to an occasional gathering so you can be sure to enjoy it every now and then.” A potluck club special here.

And rounding up this delicious buffet, I’m bringing you a collection of favorites from friends of Mom 2 Mom Connection. Lou Alice shares her Southern hospitality with a creamy grits recipe that is delicious paired with baked salmon. Lisa will keep you busy enjoying recipes she’s collected over the years from her family and favorite restaurants, including Chicken Divan, Roast beef with New Potatoes and Carrots, Chicken Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, Tossed Salad, Breakfast Casserole, Broccoli Salad, and Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries.

I’ll also add in my recipe that brings me a ton of traffic from the search engines. Guess what most moms in the world are dishing up for their families? You got it — a new spin on good ol’ Macaroni and Cheese.

And I can’t let this Carnival go by without a link to one of my all-time favorite posts — I hope she doesn’t mind — it’s Sallie’s cache of homemade recipes from her classic post, My Quest to Eat at Home.

There you have it, ladies! A true Potluck Club. Let’s eat!




Here are several tried-and-true recipes that are sure to make you the Belle of the Buffet at your next Sunday School potluck.

Submitted by Lou Alice:

LAURA’S GRITS

(4-6 servings)
1 can chicken broth
½ cup cream
2 T. Butter
½ cup quick grits (NOT instant grits)
Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack cheese

Mix liquids in pan, Bring to a boil. Add grits and let rise to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer for 5-7 minutes. Add grated cheese. Stir until blended. Serve immediately. (4-6 servings)

*********************************

Lisa has gone through her recipe file and compiled a list of her absolute favorites. This should keep us busy for a few meals!

MT. VERNON GARDEN CLUB’S CHICKEN DIVAN
Grandmama made this delicious recipe for many of her friends that were sick, tired, or just were in need of some good cheer. This is an excellent casserole to take to friends who are pregnant, sick, or that have a new baby.

2 (10 oz.) packages of frozen broccoli
2 cups of cooked chicken, cubed
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
package of silvered almonds
i tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Arrange cooked broccoli in greased casserole. Top with cubed chicken. Combine remaining ingredients, except for cheese and bread crumbs. Pour over chicken. Top with cheese and bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly. Enjoy!

ROAST BEEF WITH NEW POTATOES AND CARROTS
This is one of my husband’s favorite meals. I love it because it cooks all day in the crockpot, and when I come home from work, dinner is ready.

London Broil
4-6 New potatoes, washed, quartered, and with the skins remaining
1 bag of baby carrots
Meat tenderizer
1 bay leaf

Fill the crockpot halfway with water. Stab the London Broil with meat tenderizer. Place the roast into the crockpot. Wash and slice the new potatoes, and place into the crockpot. Wash the carrots and place into the crockpot. Place the bay leaf on top of the roast. Cook on high for the first hour then turn down to low. Cook for about 6-8 hours.

MIMI’S FAMOUS CHICKEN SALAD
This is from a little restaurant in my husband’s hometown. They have the best chicken salad!

4 whole chicken breasts, bone in
Mayonnaise, Hellmann’s
1-2 T. celery seed
Pickle relish
Salt
Pepper (I use white pepper.)

Boil chicken until tender. Let cool, cut in bite-size pieces. Place chicken in mixing bowl. Add just enough mayonnaise to moisten chicken. Add 1-2 tablespoons celery seed. Add 1/2 cup of pickle relish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix together. If salad seems too dry add more mayonnaise or pickle relish. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. We serve a big scoop of chicken salad on a bed of leaf lettuce with fresh fruit and poppy seed dressing and a muffin. We also serve our chicken salad on a fresh croissant. Delicious!

MIMI’S POPPY SEED DRESSING

1 1/2 c. white vinegar
2 c.. sugar
1/2 sm. onion, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. poppy seed
1 c. mayonnaise
3 c. salad oil (Wesson oil or Crisco oil)

Mix in blender or food processor on high speed. Great on fruit salads! We have many customers who request this dressing with other salads as well! Delicious on fried chicken salad. Make some extra for gifts at Christmas!

TOSSED SALAD A LA LYNDA
Mom made this salad for our engagement dinner, and it was wonderful! My mother-in-law insisted on getting this recipe.

1 head of Boston lettuce
As much Iceberg lettuce on hand
1 Carrot, grated
(Other raw vegetables as your refrigerator provides)

Have available:

Black olives
Croutons
Cheddar Cheese

Dressing:

1/2 cup oil
1 cup salad vinegar
1 pkg Hidden Valley Ranch dressing
Pour dressing over salad. Add croutons, black olives, and grated Cheddar cheese. Toss and serve!

MOM’S BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
Mom & Dad always serve this wonderful casserole for Christmas brunch along with sparkling grape juice. It brings back fond childhood Christmas memories.

Chicken, sausage, or ground beef
Seasoned croutons
4-5 eggs
4 cups of milk
Cheddar cheese, grated

In an 8″ x 12″ casserole dish (Pyrex), layer cooked meat, chicken, sausage, or ground beef. Next, place a layer of seasoned croutons over the meat. Mix in a blender or beat by hand, 4-5 eggs, 4 cups of milk, grated cheese. Pour the mixture over the top of the meat and croutons. Let stand overnight. Bake in the oven for an hour at 350 the next morning (Christmas morning).

BROCCOLI SALAD
I make this for many family gatherings. Everyone always loves it — enjoy!

4 cups of chopped broccoli
1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup bacos or 4 strips bacon (I use turkey bacon)
i cup raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Mix all ingredients tgoether except bacon. Stir in bacon just before serving. This salad can be prepared the day before serving.

CHOCOLATE-DIPPED STRAWBERRIES
Chocolate-dipped strawberries capture the essence of celebrating Valentine’s Day. In the spring, I love picking fresh strawberries and making this. This is a crowd pleaser!

One 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or liquer (optional)
2 pints strawberries, washed but left unstemmed

1. Place the chocolate chips and milk in a 3-cup glass dish. Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir. If not completely melted, microwave for 15 seconds more; stir. Repeat if necessary. When completely melted, stir in the sweetened condensed milk or vanilla extract or liquer, if using.

2. When ready to serve, reheat in the microwave over low power untll warm. Place in the fondue pot over a very low flame and surround with strawberries and pound cake, if using. Have someone stir the pot as needed to keep the sauce from scorching.

CORN CASSEROLE

This is a recipe from my aunt, who is a wonderful cook. It is easy to make and tastes divine.
1 can of sweet, cream corn
1 can of kernel corn
i pkg of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 cup of milk
1 pkg of sour cream
Cheddar Cheese, grated

Mix together and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!




February 14, 2006

I hope you’re all having a FANTABULOUS Valentine’s Day. I know I am! In fact, I’ve been way too busy to get this Carnival ready to post — so guess what? That means you’ve still got several more hours to “Send Me the Recipes.” The deadline is usually 3 pm — but if you’ve been as swamped as I am in chocolate Valentines and heart-shaped lollipops — and kids bouncing off the ceiling — then don’t despair. Just send me something by 8 pm. That’s when things should settle back down over here.

May God bless you with a day filled with love and refreshment. Thanks for stopping in!
🙂

P.S. We really need some vegetables to go with this potluck!

By: Heather Ivester in: Writing | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (3)



Well, you thought you’d just click into my blog today to see what I’m rambling about … but I’ve got a surprise for you. Slip on your seatbelt and prepare for take-off. We’re outta here.

We’re meeting author Mary DeMuth at a tiny café nestled along the French Riviera — oui, elle habite en France. She’s joining us on her blog tour, as she’s telling the world about her life as a mom, missionary, and author of several new books.

Hi, Mary.

BONJOUR mes amies!

So, what do you suggest we order from the menu?

Well, I think you’d like the chocolat chaude (hot chocolate) for starters, then let’s have salade chevre chaud — my favorite salad—it’s a tossed green salad with tomatoes, little toasts and baked goat cheese. Then I’d like veal with some sort of cream sauce and you might enjoy the steak with béarnaise sauce. And molten chocolate cake for dessert. We can people watch while we try not to let all the cigarette smoke choke us!

Mmm … OK … I’m sipping the chocolate now and waving away the smoke. I can feel the warm Riviera sun on my back — and I’m wishing I remembered more of my college French. So, tell us, Mary, how did you and your family end up moving from Texas to France?

Well, on our ten-year anniversary (five years ago), my husband surprised me with a trip to Paris. Whenever we tell this story to other married couples, I see the wives elbow their husbands!

If my husband were here, he’d get the elbow about now. Sounds romantic.

(Laughs) While we were there, we felt such a burden for Europe, something missiologists are now calling the Lost Continent. We couldn’t find a church anywhere, though we’ve now discovered a few. We could really sense the lostness.

So after you came home, did you have some idea you might go back?

We gave it some serious thought. Patrick was three years away from finishing his master’s in theology at Dallas Seminary. He wanted to graduate with a goal in mind — so Europe — France in particular, became our goal.

Sounds wonderful. But how did you figure out a way to get over there?

We eventually met up with an amazing and like-minded missions agency that specializes in planting relevant churches in postmodern Europe. Patrick graduated in May of 2004 and we were on the field that August. We’ve been here a year and a half. With a team of people, we’re planting a church.

Wow. You’re living a dream life — in France! But did you have any culture shock once you got over there?

Um. Yeah. Big time.

Can you tell us what was your biggest adjustment?

Grocery shopping. Laundering. Not understanding the language. Everything. It’s very disconcerting to move to another culture, particularly one you think is western and therefore similar to your own. But it’s not at all similar. You can read a few of my early essays about France in my blog.

I’ll have to check them out. I have trouble thinking beyond the Eiffel Tower and Madeline. So, tell us about your family. Do they go to school over there?

Our youngest two, Aidan (10) and Julia (7) attend a French public school.

Do they speak French in school?

Yes, they speak very good French now, but you can imagine how terrible it was for them when they first moved to France, not speaking a lick of French. They correct my pronunciation all the time! Our eldest, Sophie (13), goes to an International school that we THOUGHT would be in English. Turns out, that wasn’t true. Most of her classes are in French. She speaks very well too.

That’s amazing. They’re getting such a unique experience. Well, I’m sorry, but we Mom 2 Mom readers have to head back home now — I think my thoughts will be drifting to the French Riviera all day. You have a beautiful family, Mary. Au revoir!

Au revoir!

Mary Demuth

We’ll be joining Mary DeMuth again on Thursday to hear all about her new books. Not one, not two, but three! She’s been busy — writing a devotional, a parenting book, and a novel (the first in a series.) She’ll give us the scoop on how she manages her dual roles as mom and author. Meanwhile, you can hang out with her in the blogosphere at her Relevant Blog. C’est magnifique!




February 13, 2006

Curious George

Have you seen Curious George yet? We’ve read the books for years — they’re always adorable. So of course we wanted to see the movie, especially since Ron Howard co-produced it.

But still — a cartoon? I thought I might just sit and relax while my kids smacked popcorn. Two hours of bliss without having to think. Maybe even a guilt-free snooze.

Well, I was wrong. I really got into this movie. It’s wonderful!

Our theater was jam-packed with parents and grandparents taking their kids — just like the Narnia theater. We’ve all paid top dollar to see a G-rated movie.

What’s surprising is how much the plot captivated me. I identified with The Man in the Yellow Hat. He liked things just the way they were (boring), but they couldn’t stay that way forever. The museum where he worked was about to go under financially, and he was sent on an exedition to Africa to find something spectacular. Yet he didn’t find what he was looking for.

Instead, he found George.

One thing after another seems to take a turn for the worse in this man’s life. Disappointments. Messes to clean up. Every parent watching this movie knows who Curious George represents (they’re probably having to slip out of the theater to take him to the bathroom or clean up his popcorn that got spilled.)

But what happens is an adventure. Pure delight! Curious George and his silly antics get the man going places he never intended … but he’s not alone anymore. He’s no longer living for himself — he’s become a parent.

My husband and I always enjoy watching the “transformation” that takes place when someone we know becomes a new parent. Suddenly, their time is no longer their own — they look tired, frazzled even. The mom’s carrying a diaper bag instead of a designer purse. The dad’s become an expert at bouncing a baby and singing lullabies. They’re running a few minutes late … and understanding what it’s like to live in “baby time.”

Life is an adventure with children — they keep you busy cleaning up after them, and you go places you didn’t expect — but you begin to see the world through their eyes. You become a child all over again. This is what it was like to watch The Man in the Yellow Hat learn to bring George into his world.

I hope theaters were packed around the country, and Hollywood will make us more movies that we can take our kids to see — wholeheartedly — no crude jokes, no squeamish scenes. The music was aimed for my generation, and the voices of Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore made me feel like it was a “grown-up” movie.

I recently learned about the author/illustrator Rey’s story of escape during World War II. I read this in The Writing Life:

In 1940, the German Nazi army was marching toward Paris, France and people were fleeing with the clothes on their back. Two unknown Jewish artists gathered a few belongings and got on bicycles to flee away from the German Army. Among their limited possessions, Hans and Margaret Rey carried their unpublished watercolor drawings. Eventually these drawings became the first Curious George book. Today more than 30 million Curious George books have been sold worldwide.

A little monkey — riding on a bicycle — escaping the terrors of war. Something unplanned, unexpected, a detour … I think I’ve got to learn more about the Reys. How did they get the idea for a monkey named George? What were their childhoods like? How did this dream take off? This story fascinates me … I’m curious.

I know the movie will give a big boost to book sales for Houghton Mifflin — everybody’s going to fall in love with this little monkey.

By: Heather Ivester in: Movies | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (3)



My table is empty … and I’m ready for a feast! A buffet of beautiful food writing. Recipes. Delicious ideas.

If you’ve never entered the Carnival before, this is your week! It’s sponsored by Sallie of Two Talent Living, but I’m the hostess for this week’s topic of Comfort Food.

Don’t be bashful. Remember the post I wrote about food writing? You can do this. I especially want your recipes if you don’t live in the U.S. Let’s make this an international potluck!

If you have a blog, post your recipe today or tomorrow, then send me the link in an email by 3 pm on Valentine’s Day, including a brief one- or two-sentence description. If you don’t have a blog, just email me your recipe, and I’ll post it with mine.
heatherivester at bellsouth dot net.

Let’s have a feast of great food and great writing!