Movie Review – When Calls the Heart: It Begins With Heart


When Calls the Heart It Begins With Heart DVD

I have written about the television series, When Calls the Heart, numerous times on my site. It airs on the Hallmark Channel.

Just released is the DVD, When Calls the Heart: It Begins With Heart. This DVD opens Season 3 of the series.

A lot of changes are happening in Hope Valley.

Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) is trying to win over Jack’s (Daniel Lissing) dog Rip. She feels that if she can win over the dog he will no longer try and come in between her and Jack.

Abigail (Lori Loughlin) tries to find out who is stealing food from her kitchen. What she find is a set of orphan children in need of a home.

Bill (Jack Wagner) still needs to convince Jack that he is innocent of the counterfeiting ring.

Rosemary (Pascale Hutton) is trying to win a contest with the San Francisco Herald.

New arrivals in town end up causing problems for Pastor Frank (Mark Humphrey) as he is trying to win the heart of Abigail.

These are not necessarily new story lines, but rather a continuation of stories/plots that have already played out on the series. If you watch the series regularly then you will be familiar with these story lines, so no further explanation is needed (plus I wouldn’t want to give away too much detail and spoilers).

When Calls the Heart New Year Screen Shot

This DVD is more so for people familiar with the series. As a “newbie” to When Calls the Heart you could watch this, and then continue watching the current season on television, but you might be a little lost without knowing the background of each character and story line.

This is a Hallmark Channel series, which means is suitable for the whole family – although younger children might not “get” the more complex relationships. This is a sweet series filled with likable characters, lovely period clothing and breathtaking scenery. It’s wholesome entertainment and one of the Hallmark Channels most popular series. There are even groups dedicated to the series. I know some of them are called “Hearties.”

The DVD comes with bonus feature with behind the scenes interviews. I personally enjoy behind the scenes features and cast/crew interviews because I feel like it gives you a better appreciation for the show/movie when you learn about what went on to bring it to television and/or the big screen.

Look for When Calls the Heart: It Begins With Heart where ever DVDs are sold.

For more information about the series visit HallmarkChannel.com/When-Calls-The-Heart.

Are you a fan of the series? Which is your favorite character and/or story line?



*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Check out Curious George now on Hulu (giveaway ends 4/25/16)




I am a lifelong fan of Curious George. I started reading books about his many adventure when I was a little girl. My children also became fans when they were young too.

Curious George is an animated series based on the popular books by Margret and H.A. Rey. Aimed at preschool viewers (ages three to five), the goal of the series is to inspire children to explore science, engineering, and math in the world around them. And what better guide is there for this kind of exploration than the world’s most curious monkey?

Did you know that Curious George first appeared in the book Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys that was published in France in 1939? The adventurous monkey has been around for 77 years.

Since the first book, Curious George has gone on to numerous adventures in books, even spinning off into television series and movies.

Now you can find all nine seasons of Curious George, as well as the animated film Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, only on Hulu.

Hulu is THE streaming destination for the best of TV, and a great selection of films. You can stream Hulu almost anywhere, on any device, including gaming consoles, set-top boxes, tablets, mobile phones, computers, Roku, Apple TV and more.

I’ve had the opportunity to watch a few episodes. It really is an adorable show. I wish there was something like this when I was a young girl. I would have watched it all the time.

Even though Curious George is a “kiddie” program, adults can enjoy it too. It’s not boring or too silly. It’s fun, family entertainment.

As with all children’s programming on Hulu, Curious George streams commercial-free.

Here is a brief video about Curious George’s move to Hulu.


Just in case you are not familiar with Hulu.

Hulu is a premium streaming TV destination that offers hundreds of thousands of hours of the best of current season programming, premium original content, films and full seasons of hit series to subscribers with limited commercials for $7.99 per month or commercial free for $11.99 per month. Hulu is the only streaming subscription service that offers current season content from 5 of the 6 largest U.S. broadcast networks. Since its launch in 2008, Hulu has been at the forefront of entertainment and technology and continues to redefine TV by connecting viewers with the stories they love.

I love that Hulu has current seasons of my family’s favorite shows. That way, if we miss an episode of our favorite show we can catch up by watching the missed episode/episodes Hulu. Hulu offers episodes from current seasons from the top networks – ABC, NBC, FOX and the CW. For example, when I missed an episode of The Middle I was able to catch the missed episode the following day on Hulu.

Hulu has a growing library of full prior and upcoming seasons of hit series including  Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Empire, South Park, Seinfeld, CSI, Fargo and The Mindy Project. They also offer blockbuster films from Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate such as Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, Interstellar, Selma, Top Five and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Hulu also offers a great selection of film’s with their partnership with EPIX.

Hulu is priced well and I would consider it “budget friendly.”

  • For $7.99 a month, the Hulu subscription service offers premium programming anytime with limited commercials.
  • For $11.99 a month, you can watch Hulu’s premium programming with no commercials.
  • For an additional $8.99 per month, Hulu subscribers can add SHOWTIME to their subscription.

Did you know that you can get a FREE 1-month trial of Hulu? You can watch your favorite Curious George episodes, and more, with your free 1-month trial. Visit Hulu.com to start your free 1-month trial today – for a limited time only.

You can also check out Hulu on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. Check out the hashtag #CuriousGeorgeonHulu to see what others are saying about the adventurous little monkey’s move to Hulu.


In honor of Curious George moving to Hulu, I have a fun giveaway for a lucky reader. The giveaway consists of:

  • 3-month Hulu gift subscription
  • Curious George Youth T-shirt 

Prizing valued at $38.97. Prizing courtesy of Hulu.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on April 25, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will need to reply within three days or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this prize package?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I will be receiving the same prize package in exchange for my participation. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. Hulu will be providing the prize package. 

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Hallmark Channel’ Hearts of Spring airs this Saturday at 9:00 PM EST/PST


A famous mommy blogger faces an empty nest as her daughter prepares to go away to college. When she turns to her blog for advice, she finds herself on the attack by a reader who has conflicting opinions. While she deals with him online, offline she finally meets a great single dad and sparks start to fly. What she doesn't know is that the confrontational reader and the adorable single dad are, in fact, the same person. Photo: Lisa Whelchel Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Airing on the Hallmark Channel on Saturday, April 9, 2016, is the film Hearts of Spring. The film stars Lisa Whelchel (Facts of Life) and Michael Shanks (Stargate).

A famous mom blogger finds herself being attacked by a reader who has conflicting advice. While she deals with him online, offline she finally meets a great single dad and sparks start to fly. When she finds out that they are in fact the same person, her whole world gets turned upside down. Stars Lisa Whelchel and Michael Shanks.

Check out the film’s trailer.


I had the opportunity to screen the film before it’s air date.

I found this movie interesting in many ways. First and foremost, Lisa Whelchel’s character, Carly, is a “mommy blogger.” She writes a blog about her life as a single parent. I happen to be grouped in with the “mommy blogger” niche, and I know plenty of wonderful mommy bloggers (daddy bloggers too!). I found that aspect of the film interesting. She even attended conferences and spoke about how important her blog and her blog readers are to her. I feel the same way.

Lisa is a mom blogger herself. Not only did she create and co-produce Hearts of Spring, she’s also a mother of three and one of the first parenting bloggers to begin sharing her experiences with other mothers online in 2000. Lisa is a passionate believer in the influence mothers can have on new mothers, children, those looking for answers, and mothers who just need to know they are not alone on the magical journey of motherhood.


I can also relate to her character in the film because she’s the mother of a young teen about to set off from college – or where ever her life takes her – after she graduates college. Lisa’s character in the film is reluctant to have her daughter go away to college – or even travel overseas after graduation. As a mom to a young daughter who is already in college, I can totally relate. Our daughter keeps talking about transferring to another college after she graduates from our local community college this time next year. I am very hesitant to let her go far away. She is my first born, and only daughter, and the thought of her living far away and not being able to see her every day breaks my heart.

As far as the story line goes, it’s not only a sweet story, it’s also believable. I don’t like stories that seem too good to be true, or completely unrealistic. I like that the story in this film could happen in real life.

The characters are very likable – even the secondary/supporting cast.

This is also NOT a sugary-sweet film. I like that there is a bit of “drama” in the film and that its not all “sunshine and rainbows.” Dare I say that even my husband might enjoy this film.

Hearts of Spring airs on the Hallmark Channel Saturday, April 9th at 9:00 PM EST/PST. Please check your local television guide for the channel.

If you would like to learn more about this film visit www.HallmarkChannel.com/Hearts-of-Spring.

Did you watch the trailer? What did you think about the film? Will you be watching?



*I had access to an advanced screener in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Siblings… and what to watch on television



Me and my “sister” (biological aunt)

Whenever someone asks me if I am an only child, the youngest or the oldest I have to answer “yes” to all three of them. Confusing, isn’t it?

I am my father’s only biological child. I was raised by my paternal grandparents. My biological aunt and uncle were my sister and brother. That would make me the youngest. It wasn’t until a month or so ago that I found my maternal aunt who told me I have FOUR younger brothers. That makes me the oldest of my half-brothers, even though I have never met them and chances are I never will (one passed away at birth).

What is it about siblings where they have to quibble over the silliest things.

I have a son and daughter. They are two and a half years apart in age. They get along better now that they are teenagers (16 1/2 and almost 19), but they still fight over the silliest things.

Siblings 1

When they were younger (even as far as a year or two ago) they would fight over what to watch on television. It’s not that my son watches much t.v. (he honestly doesn’t), but he does like to watch CNN, MSNBC and The Weather Channel (odd choices for a teen boy, but he likes what he likes). My daughter on the other hand loves to watch t.v. and she is totally into hows like One Tree Hill, the O.C and Degrassi. She’s watched the seasons over and over again on Netflix. They are not my son’s “cup of tea,” but he tend to give into her (they share one of the t.v.’s) so the poor boy probably knows every episode by heart. LOL!

Even when it comes to Family Movie Night it can be a struggle because my kids are into totally different things. I tend to pick the movie so as not to have to deal with their squabbling at on another.

Siblings 2

Did you know that April 10, 2016 is National Sibling Day?

Netflix wants siblings everywhere, no matter what their television preferences are, to get along and find shows they can enjoy – dare I say – together.

This month, Netflix has created two different playlists that siblings can choose from in hopes that they enjoy watching the programs together.

One of the playlists is “Tale of Two Distant Ages” and the other is “Sugar and Spice.”

Both lists have a nice variety of programs and movies. Some I know are favorites of my children, others they haven’t seen yet but I think they might enjoy.

Netflix Siblings Day

Both playlists are geared more towards children and younger teens, but I know my kids both enjoy movies and shows such as Daddy Day Care, The Croods, Cupcake Wars and Fuller House.

To make it even easier to find quality entertainment sibling of all ages can enjoy (parents too!), Netflix also included two other lists – “Meet in the Middle” and “Much Watch TV.”

Out of all four lists, the one that would best suit my kids is “Must Watch TV.” My daughter already watches some of the shows on the list (Parks and Recreation and New Girl).

If your kids still need help deciding what to watch, Netflix has created a special “Fortune Teller” to make things a little easier. Fortune Tellers go by other names too like “Cootie Catcher.” I make these ALL THE TIME for the kids I work with. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t make at least one of them.

Netflix Fortune Teller

You can find the directions to make Netflix’s Fortune Teller HERE.

I might just have to use this the next time we are trying to decide what to watch for Family Movie Night. I might even use it to decide what to have for dinner and/or what to do on the weekends. LOL!

When it comes to deciding what to watch on television, how did you and your sibling/siblings decide? If you have children, how do they decide what to watch?

I always love to hear from readers. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

If you would like to learn more about Netflix simply visit Netflix.com. You can also check them out on social media.



*I have partnered with Netflix to bring you this information. I have received free service and promotional products in exchange for my participation. There is no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Secrets of the Dead: The Alcatraz Escape airing Tuesday, March 29th at 9 p.m. on PBS



Have you ever seen the film Escape from Alcatraz staring Clint Eastwood as bank robber Frank Morris? In the film Morris and the Anglin brothers, Clarence and John, escaped from the island prison Alcatraz.

Did the movie get their escape right, or wrong?

A team of Dutch scientists set out out to prove if it was possible to escape from Alcatraz in a new documentary airing on Tuesday, March 29th at 9:00 PM EST (check local listings) called Secrets of the Dead: The Alcatraz Escape.

Here is the documentary’s trailer.


Using modern technology and 3D models, a team of Dutch scientists – Olivier Hoes, Rolf Hut, and Fedor Baart – set out to prove if the three men could have survived their escape and shed new light on this decades old mystery.

The documentary features interviews with Jolene Babyak, who, as the daughter of an associate warden, grew up on Alcatraz and was there the night of the escape; US Marshal Michael Dyke, currently in charge of the still-open case; and Patrick Mahoney, who was an Alcatraz prison guard from 1956 until 1963, among others.

Using old tidal charts, the scientists built a 3D model that recreated the bay’s currents on the night of the escape over 50 years ago. Determining these precise tidal movements was the first step to unraveling the mystery of what happened to Morris and the Anglin brothers. The next involved calling in an expert in particle tracking.

According to the documentary, what the scientists discovered is the first scientific proof the men could have survived the escape. Their work has revealed that the prisoners’ success depended on what time they left the island. “The actual finding is that they could use the tides to leave Alcatraz just on time so that they didn’t have to paddle that far,” says Hoes. “So Horseshoe Bay was the most likely destination, according to our research and not Angel Island.” Conventional wisdom has always held that the men headed for Angel Island, the nearest landmass.

Armed with their findings, the Dutchmen put their theory to the test. They construct a raft and makeshift paddles and then launch into the bay in the same tidal conditions the inmates faced in 1962.

Will they make it through the treacherous waters to safety or be swept out to sea? And can they prove once and for all what happened to the escapees? The Alcatraz Escape presents the clearest answers yet to these questions.

I had the opportunity to screen the film before it aired.

I’ve been past Alcatraz on a boat about 30+ years ago. I knew someone had escaped from there, but I didn’t really know any of the details behind it.

It was interesting to get some insight into the prison as well as rare footage/images.

I would think escaping from the prison over the water would be easier than breaking out of the prison to begin with, but I never gave the frigid water, strong waves and sharks a consideration.

I found it truly fascinating how these Dutch scientists could use modern technology and 3D models to recreate how they believe the escape transpired. It’s amazing how they were able to accomplish it.

I won’t give any specific details, but lets just say if you are into historical things and how technology is used to solve mysteries, you will totally enjoy this documentary.

Secrets of the Dead: The Alcatraz Escape airing Tuesday, March 29th at 9 p.m. on PBS. Please check your local television guide for channel and air time.



*I received a free screener in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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The journey starts with the very first block…


LEGO House

My husband’s LEGO house

When you were a child, did you enjoy playing with LEGO blocks?

As a child I don’t recall owning actual LEGOs, but I did have similar blocks made by Playskool. I remember that I played with them all the time. I loved building houses and skyscrapers with them. I even built barns for my miniature plastic animals.

LEGOs have come a long way over the years. They are more than just plastic bricks. They can be transformed into just about anything including entire city blocks, Star Wars space ships, pirate ships and so much more.

My kids enjoyed playing with LEGOs when they were younger. In fact, my teenage son still owns a lot of his LEGO pieces and my husband even has a LEGO house set that he takes out from time to time and builds a different house with.

The great thing about LEGOs is that a fantastical journey can begin with your very first block. You don’t have to follow instructions (unless you are trying to make something specific). You can let your imagination run while and create anything you want with them.

I have a funny LEGO story. One day when our kid were younger my daughter was getting down off the bed, not knowing that my son had his box of LEGOs placed just below the bed. When our daughter went to leave the room she tripped over the box and the LEGOs went everywhere! She was so embarrassed that she just lied there. My husband likened it to a crime scene and used our son’s construction cones to outline her body like the Police would with a crime victim. It became known as the “LEGO incident.” To this day our daughter is too embarrassed to talk about it. My husband and I always get a good chuckle out of it.


I work with young children from grade 1st – 7th. They all enjoy playing with the LEGO sets that we have at both of the locations where I work. We try and rotate the toys and games so that the children don’t get bored with things, but the LEGO bricks are always out on the tables because the kids enjoy playing with them every day.

As I mentioned earlier, there is so much you can do with LEGO bricks. You can truly let your imagination go wild with them.

This month Netflix has launched two new LEGO themed programs that are sure to excite LEGO fans – both young and old.

The new show are LEGO Bionicle and LEGO Friends.



I like the LEGO Friends sets. They are geared more towards girls. Growing up I was a “Tom boy” so I enjoyed playing with toys that were made for boys. Who says girl don’t like to build and create just as much as boys do? The girls I work with enjoy playing with the LEGO sets as much as the boys do.

As is the new shows weren’t cool enough, Netflix also has three other LEGO inspired series available.


Netflix was kind enough to send us a couple of LEGO sets to enjoy. Sadly, my chubby little fingers are not as nimble as they used to be, so I have a hard time putting the piece together. Our daughter is too busy with work, school, her boyfriend and social life to stay home and build LEGOs with me. Sigh… And my son has been busy with school.

Since my kids don’t have time to enjoy these cool sets I am going to bring them to work with me and let the kids I work with – ones I know LOVE LEGOs – enjoy these sets.

LEGO Bionicle

LEGO Friends

I took the time to check out the new LEGO series on Netflix. I actually enjoyed LEGO Friends. I think the stories are really sweet and the characters are likable. Although it’s geared more toward girls (in my opinion), I think boys can enjoy the show just as much.

Bionicle is about a bunch of robots. It’s not really my “cup of tea,” but if you and your child enjoy things like Transformers, you should enjoy this show.

LEGO City is also a fun series. I started to watch that one too. I love how they personalize the “mini figs.” It’s a funny show too.

Netflix has added more fun new shows and movies to their ever expanding line up. New this month include:

New PW

Don’t forget about Fuller House, which also recently started to air on Netflix. My family and I have watched almost the entire first season already.

I have to laugh when I hear the kids I work with talking about Fuller House. Most of them were not even born when Full House was on the air.

Are you a fan of LEGOs? Have you seen any of the new (or current) LEGO series yet? Do you have a favorite?

If you would like to learn more about Netlfix simply visit Netflix.com. You can also check them out on social media.



*I have partnered with Netflix to bring you this information. I have received free service and promotional products in exchange for my participation. There is no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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