December 18, 2017

What our puppy has taught the kids about parenting


When I was 6-years-old my parents told my three sisters and me we were adopting a baby boy. When I got off the school bus the day of our much-anticipated special delivery my mom was there to greet us. “Meet your new little brother,” she smiled, pointing to what would become our faithful companion for… Read more

The best summer school

summer lessons

By Julie Samrick As we sat around the campfire last weekend I pulled out an old Girl Scout goody for the 11 kids in our party. My Aunt Tilly, she died last night, she died last night, did she die?   At first the kids didn’t know what I meant, or why sometimes the answer… Read more

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is much more than its title


Overall Kid Focused grade: A- Rated PG Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes   By Julie Samrick   Since dragons were banned, then accepted, in the first How to Train Your Dragon movie, dragon racing has become the Vikings’ favorite pastime in its sequel, How To Train Your Dragon 2.   The son of Chief… Read more

Growing up shouldn’t be easy

growing up shouldn't be easy

…Between delivering a few commencement addresses and listening to many more, here is what I believe graduates need to hear today. 1. Earn everything. It’s true that graduates today face a rough economy. Americans in their early 20s have to contend with a 10.6 percent unemployment rate — that’s twice the rate among people age… Read more

I wanna be like Stephen Colbert’s mom

Stephen Colbert's mom

By Lowry Manders What I know for sure…every mother leaves a legacy. Last night on the Colbert Report (a favorite show for me and Dustin), Stephen broke character to pay a loving tribute to his mother, Lorna Colbert, who died last week at age 92. She was the mother of 11 children, and left them quite… Read more

16 Summer Lessons

summer lessons

  By Julie Samrick With the exception of homeschooling families, there just isn’t as much time to hang out with kids during the traditional school year like there is during summer vacation. When my older three kids were younger, they’d learn many things by osmosis, or simply by hanging out with me all day. We’d… Read more

New Movie Not Quite “Epic” But Good


By Julie Samrick   Epic is a mixture of several stories we’ve seen before– The Littles, Avatar, The Wizard of Oz, and Honey I Shrunk The Kids.    The film is set when teenager Mary Katherine (aka M.K., played by Amanda Seyfried) goes to live with her eccentric father (Jason Sudeikis) after her mother dies… Read more

‘Iron Man 3′ Isn’t So Steely After All

Iron Man 3

By Julie Samrick It’s hard to keep movie spinoffs fresh, and so is the case with Iron Man 3.   Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark, defense contractor turned Iron Man in the third installment of the popular comic book series.  In the first Iron Man we see his bumpy transformation into… Read more

Jackie Robinson Movie ’42’ is a Great American Story

Jackie Robinson movie '42'

By Julie Samrick “Post World War II, life in the United States was returning to normal and baseball was proof positive that democracy was real,” opens the narrator of “42,” the new biopic of Jackie Robinson’s career as the first black professional baseball player. Fittingly, the film was released on Friday, April 12th, on what… Read more

“The Croods” Become Less So With a Little Modern Help

The Croods

By Julie Samrick The Croods are the Flintstones of our time, a modern stone-age family (and I foresee the family Halloween costume of 2013, just like The Incredibles were a few years back).  The father of the clan, Grug Crood (voiced by Nicolas Cage), has worked hard to keep his Neanderthal wife, children, and mother-in-law… Read more