A Great Message for Parents

Moana Movie Review

moana

If you were not planning a trip to the movies this weekend to see Moana (Disney’s newest princess flick), I hope I can change your mind.

I have to confess that I wasn’t super excited about this film. I probably would have skipped it all together, but with Thanksgiving and family in town, Jody wasn’t able to make it so it was a chance for my husband and I to get out on a sort of date night.

We took the baby with us and drove up to Tampa the night before his birthday. It was sort of a date/pre-birthday celebration, and we figured that if the movie wasn’t great, we’d have an hour each way in the car to spend together, which is always fun for us. Plus, little Rhema Joy (who is 3 months old now) tagged along, and Matt and I always enjoy going out with the kids one at a time, even when they are babies. No one can gush over a little Stahlmann baby like we can, and it’s super fun for us to enjoy Rhema together. Besides, this is for sure our last baby until a grandchild comes along, so we relished the chance to soak her in together on our date night.

When the movie started, I was immediately impressed with the aesthetics. It is a gorgeous film, and with a bunch of Hamilton fans in my house, the influence of Lin-Manuel Miranda on the score was not lost on me. Joining with Disney composer-arranger Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i, the lead singer of the South Pacific fusion band Te Vaka, Miranda co-wrote a soundtrack that brings a new sound to the Disney repertoire. My husband is still walking around belting out “You’re Welcome!” — the song that the demi-god Maui sings when we first meet him.

I like a surprise in a movie. Actually, I like a lot of surprises. For me a good movie means characters I care about, a story that raises questions and answers them in sometimes unpredictable ways and a message that either challenges or inspires me. Moana had it all.

The message that resonated with me most was one that Jody and I often share with parents — children are not an extension of their parents; they are their own people with a calling and a purpose that is unique to each one of them. Our job is to help them discover that and prepare them for it. Moana’s parents were too afraid to let her be herself.

moana-1

Here’s the story. Three thousand years before our tale begins, the greatest sailors in the world voyaged across the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, for a millennium, their voyages stopped – and no one in Moana’s world knows just why. Well…almost no one.

Moana’s father is Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison) of Motunui, a remote South Pacific island where the people live in blissful harmony. No one is to travel beyond the reef that encircles the island, but when the fish become scarce and the lush crops begin to wither away, something has to be done. Moana’s feisty (but wise) grandmother tells her the tale of Hawaiian demigod Maui, who stole the magical Heart of Te Fiti. He must be found and the heart returned for life to thrive once again in her village and throughout the lands of the Pacific. Maui is a surprisingly quirky character with his own quest to restore the magical powers of his fish hook.

maui

Their quest is full of adventure, surprises and fun characters, including Tamatoa, a 50-foot crab who hordes bright, shiny things. Voiced by Jemaine Clement, I thought Tamatoa sounded like a mix of Tim Curry and David Bowie. 

moana-tamatoa-fi

If you’re planning to take very little ones, you might want to preview it first. There are a few parts that could be scary.  Also, if your family is sensitive to potty humor, you may find your feathers ruffled once or twice.

For Christian families who are afraid of introducing the polytheistic worldview of Moana’s Polynesian world, I would encourage you to use it as a teaching tool. Learn about this culture together. Compare Moana’s beliefs with your own, and explain why you believe what you do. This is a great opportunity to begin a discussion about apologetics.

Please come back and drop me a line to share your thoughts on the film, and let me know if you liked it as much as I did.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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How Game Theory Can Help Your Family With Time Management

Helping kids develop healthy time management skills

This episode of POP Parenting radio show is all fun and games! Our guest Steve Shenbaum is an expert on game theory and how the principles behind childhood favorites like Hide and Seek can offer families time management tools.

This show is part of a current series on helping kids develop healthy habits. Take a look at the schedule for July, and remember, you can always listen live at 9:00AM ET. If we are not on a radio station local to you, visit our page on Genesis Communications Network, and you can listen streaming. If you’d like to be able to listen to POP Parenting locally, click on the contact button above to let us know, and we’ll tell you how you can help.

Saturday, July 2 — Healthy Habits for the Mind with Jenni & Jody

Saturday, July 9 — Healthy Habits for the Body with Dr. Samantha Brody

Saturday, July 16 — Healthy Habits for the Spirit with Rabbi Elaine Glickman and Pastor Tony Faeth

Saturday, July 23 — Healthy Habits for Organization with author Evan Zislis

Saturday, July 30 — Healthy Habits for Time Management with Steve Schenbaum, founder of Game On.

This Week’s Show Topic

 

time management for kids

This week on POP Parenting, we are talking to Steve Shenbaum, founder of Bradenton, Florida based game on Nationone of the most respected firms in communication, character development, leadership, and teambuilding training. Through a groundbreaking, game-based training technique, called MILE™, game on’s program harnesses the positive power of Mystery, Incentive, Laughter, and Empowerment to create immediate improvement people can see, feel, and measure.

game on Large

 

The impressive client list of game on includes

  • NASCAR
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • 2015 USWNT World Cup Champs
  • 2015 NCAA Champion FSU Women’s Soccer
  • University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball
  • United States Olympic Committee
  • NBA Rookie Transition Program
  • USO
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • All four branches of the military

In the episode, Steve offers practical advise for helping families develop healthy time management habits through the understanding and use of game theory. We had a blast with Steve in the studio, and you are sure to have fun too as you listen and gather some new tips and tools. Be sure to click on the podcast link below and listen.

 

Caught in the Act

This week’s “Caught in the Act” is a mom who created an amazing way to celebrate her daughter’s 16th birthday. Cynthia Schrock tells us about this unique way to honor a child and to touch their heart. Cynthia has written a book about it. The Ultimate Gift of a Birthday is available on Amazon. Have a listen to this inspiring segment, and then check out her book!

Cynthia Schrock

ultimate gift

Brother, Brother Music

brother brother

Hey, if you dig the sound of POP Parenting, we encourage you to check out Brother Brother! They are a super fun two-man Indie Americana band comprised of brothers Bradley and Brett Anderson. They have a new album coming out soon, and we have had the chance to hear some of it — it’s awesome! So go visit them, like them on Facebook and check out their music.

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with nine kids between them (ages 4 to 28) and #10 due in August. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to parent on purpose.

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The Family Movie is Back!

A Review of Disney's Pete's Dragon

Petet's Dragon

My oldest son Griffyn and I had the pleasure of pre-screening Pete’s Dragon. If you are looking for a family movie, this one cannot be missed. Think back to all your past favorites from the 70’s and 80’s, this movie has captured that magic. The family movie is back!

Directed by David Lowery with a screenplay by Toby Halbrooks, this movie is a surprising success. Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), a woodcarver, delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. His daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) believes these are just tall tales, until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley), a 10-year-old orphan who says he lives in the woods with a giant, friendly dragon. With help from a young girl named Natalie (Oona Laurence), Grace sets out to investigate if this fantastic claim could be true.

Although the timeframe isn’t explicitly mentioned, it seems several decades removed from now. This was the first thing that struck me. The story is wrapped in a more modern setting than the original, but it’s still removed from the present — a simpler time with no electronic distractions where a simple children’s book can shine as a plot device for the story. And all this before we ever meet the dragon. As we held our breath hoping that the reveal wouldn’t disappoint, we were greeted on screen by a perfect CGI beast with a nod to the sweetness and goofy personality of the original. We wanted to take Elliot home with us. Being a fan of the first, I can’t help but make comparisons. All of the essential elements are there but re-imagined and retold in a way that merely hints at its predecessor.

Since this iteration is not a musical, we see the story unfold in a different way, but the pacing is perfect. The movie never drags, nor does it run away with fiery explosions and window dressing. The story is key, and it’s a moving story of relationship and trust that will find even the most stoic tough guy wiping “that thing out of his eye” from time to time. The only downside that we detected was the 3-D. Some of the effects were decent, especially with the dragon, but on the whole, it was so underused that it’s not worth the upgrade.

If you are going out to the movies this weekend, do not miss this one. It is a must see that delivers on the magic which will make you see the world a little differently.

Matthew Stahlmann

Matthew Stahlmann is Jenni's husband. Together they have seven amazing kids. A lead guitar player for more than 25 years, Matt is passionate about music and worship.

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Ready to Join the Clutter Free Revolution?

Helping kids develop healthy organizational habits

Food ingredients and green herbs on modern kitchen countertop.

This week’s POP Parenting radio show is going to help bring freedom to families all over the U.S.! We are continuing a series on helping kids develop healthy habits with a look at creating healthy organizational habits, and our guest author Evan Zislis has inspiring and practical ideas that will help families better manage “stuff” and in the process, improve family relationships.

This show is part of a current series on helping kids develop healthy habits. Take a look at the schedule for July, and remember, you can always listen live at 9:00AM ET. If we are not on a radio station local to you, visit our page on Genesis Communications Network, and you can listen streaming. If you’d like to be able to listen to POP Parenting locally, click on the contact button above to let us know, and we’ll tell you how you can help.

Saturday, July 2 — Healthy Habits for the Mind with Jenni & Jody

Saturday, July 9 — Healthy Habits for the Body with Dr. Samantha Brody

Saturday, July 16 — Healthy Habits for the Spirit with Rabbi Elaine Glickman and Pastor Tony Faeth

Saturday, July 23 — Healthy Habits for Organization with author Evan Zislis

Saturday, July 30 — Healthy Habits for Time Management with Steve Schenbaum, founder of Game On.

This Week’s Show Topic

Evan-Zislis

This week on POP Parenting, we are talking to professional organizer Evan Zislis, author of Clutter Free Revolution: Simply Your Stuff, Organize Your Life & Save the World.

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In the episode, Evan offers practical advise for implement his simple 3-step method for organization:

  1. Clear out
  2. Get Organized
  3. Design Beautifully Inspiring Spaces

For a free resource from Evan to help you get started, click here!

He also talks about why it’s so difficult for some families to get organized and how the disorganization of stuff contributes to unhealthy family dynamics. This is one episode you don’t want to miss!

Caught in the Act

This week’s “Caught in the Act” was nominated by Angelia Anderson (from last week’s Caught in the Act), mom of Brother Brother duo Bradley and Brett Anderson. Angelia suggested we talk to Susan Owen — a homeschool mom of three daughters who have all now graduated. Susan and her family have been working with Education First, a foreign exchange student program, for the past decade. Susan talks to us about how the experience has opened the world for her family!

Susan Owen

Susan Owen

Brother Brother Music

brother brother

Hey, if you dig the new sound of POP Parenting, we encourage you to check out Brother Brother! They are a super fun two-man Indie Americana band comprised of brothers Bradley and Brett Anderson. They have a new album coming out soon, and we have had the chance to hear some of it — it’s awesome! So go visit them, like them on Facebook and check out their music.

 

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with nine kids between them (ages 4 to 28) and #10 due in August. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to parent on purpose.

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Developing Healthy Habits for Kids’ Spirits

This week on POP Parenting radio

healthy habits for kids spirits

This week on POP Parenting Radio, we are continuing a series on helping kids develop healthy habits with a look at creating healthy habits for the spirit.

Take a look at the schedule for July, and remember, you can always listen live at 9:00AM ET. If we are not on a radio station local to you, visit our page on Genesis Communications Network, and you can listen streaming. If you’d like to be able to listen to POP Parenting locally, click on the contact button above to let us know, and we’ll tell you how you can help.

Jenni and Jody

Jenni and Jody are Christian, homeschooling moms with nine kids between them (ages 4 to 28) and #10 due in August. Together they host a weekly syndicated parenting radio show, write a weekly newspaper column, freelance for a variety of publications, teach parenting and homeschooling workshops and seminars, speak at conventions and conferences and coach individual families. They are passionate about encouraging and equipping families to parent on purpose.

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Developing Healthy Body Habits in Kids

This week on POP Parenting Radio

This week on POP Parenting Radio, we are continuing a series on helping kids develop healthy habits with a look at creating healthy habits for the body.

Last week, we kicked off the series with a look at developing healthy habits for the mind, and this Saturday we will talk about healthy habits for the spirit (be sure to tune in).

Take a look at the schedule for July, and remember, you can always listen live at 9:00AM ET. If we are not on a radio station local to you, visit our page on Genesis Communications Network, and you can listen streaming. If you’d like to be able to listen to POP Parenting locally, click on the contact button above to let us know, and we’ll tell you how you can help.

Saturday, July 2 — Healthy Habits for the Mind with Jenni & Jody

Saturday, July 9 — Healthy Habits for the Body with Dr. Samantha Brody

Saturday, July 16 — Healthy Habits for the Spirit with Rabbi Elaine Glickman and Pastor Tony Faeth

Saturday, July 23 — Healthy Habits for Organization with author Evan Zislis

Saturday, July 30 — Healthy Habits for Time Management with Steve Schenbaum, founder of Game On.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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Does Your Child Have a Growth Mindset?

Helping Kids Create Healthy Habits for the Mind on POP Parenting Radio

growth mindset

This week on POP Parenting Radio, we kicked off a new series on helping kids develop healthy habits with a look at creating healthy habits for the mind.

Over the past year or so, Jody and I have been super interested in studying habits. I guess it started when we read the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. So much of what we do in life is driven by habit — and that can be both good and bad.

So for the month of July, we are talking about helping kids develop good habits. Take a look at the schedule, and remember, you can always listen live at 9:00AM ET. If we are not on a radio station local to you, visit our page on Genesis Communications Network and you can listen streaming. If you’d like to be able to listen to POP Parenting locally, click on the contact button above to let us know, and we’ll tell you how you can help.

Saturday, July 2 — Healthy Habits for the Mind with Jenni & Jody (podcast is included below)

Saturday, July 9 — Healthy Habits for the Body with Dr. Samantha Brody

Saturday, July 16 — Healthy Habits for the Spirit with Rabbi Elaine Glickman and Pastor Tony Faeth

Saturday, July 23 — Healthy Habits for Organization with author Evan Zislis

Saturday, July 30 — Healthy Habits for Time Management (guest TBA)

This Week’s Show Topic

During this week’s episode, we talked about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, and why is it critical to groom a growth mindset in our children. The concept for this episode came from the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, and in the third and fourth segments we offer some practical tips for cultivating a growth mindset.

Brother Brother Music

Hey, if you dig the new sound of POP Parenting, we encourage you to check out Brother Brother! They are a super fun two-man Indie Americana band comprised of brothers Bradley and Brett Anderson. They have a new album coming out soon, and we have had the chance to hear some of it — it’s awesome! So go visit them, like them on Facebook and check out their music.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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Un-Ashamed

A book review

unashamed

So this is a difficult review for me to write. When I saw the opportunity to review Un-Ashamed: Healing our Brokenness and Finding Freedom From Shame by writer, counselor and speaker Heather Davis Nelson, I jumped at the chance because Jody and I have spent the past few years really examining the whole concept of shame and how it so deeply affects our culture.

I rarely ever agree to do adult book reviews, primarily because I am usually too busy to commit to finish a particular book by a certain deadline but also because reading is my refuge from a busy day — it’s my dessert at the end of a long to do list, and I don’t want to devote that time to something I can’t relish and digest slowly, at my own pace.

I made an exception for this book because it tackled a subject that I find compelling and from a biblical perspective — all the better!

Nelson seems to have written the book partly in response to Brené Brown’s research and writing on shame but with a biblical answer to the pervasive issue, as well as out of her own personal battles with shame, many of which she doesn’t seem to have overcome. She writes, “I am a people-pleaser by nature and practice, and writing publicly terrifies me because of the fear of criticism and judgement. I want my words to be beautiful and perfect. And yet — like every other part of my life — they won’t be and they cannot be.”

Her transparency is admirable, but it makes it all the more difficult to write this review.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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Would a Worm Go on a Walk

A Children's Book Review

would a worm go on a walk

I have a 4-year-old, and when I saw the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at it. The bright colors of the cover, and the title intrigued me, and since Matty Jay is really into picture books right now, I thought we would be perfect candidates to review this colorful story written by Hannah C. Hall and illustrated by Bill Bolton.

Would a worm go on walk? Would a piglet play piano? Would a lion be a lifeguard? Well, no, because that’s not how God made them!

Matty and I loved the silliness of each animal question, and I really appreciated the alliteration, especially since this is the early reading season for him. The message that God gave all the animals — and us too — unique qualities and special strengths is a good one. Would a worm go on a walk

But hands down, the illustrations sell this book. The bright colors and silly depictions — like a ladybug applying lipstick and a possum at a ballet bar — are really engaging for young eyes and minds. Plus, if you have early readers, this would be a fun one for them to attempt on their own.

I definitely recommend this book for your toddlers, pre-schoolers and early elementary kiddos. If you’re interested in getting one for free, leave a comment below (on the jenniandjody website, not on Facebook), and you will be entered to win your very own copy.


Disclosure

(In accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.

If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

 

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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Planning to See “The BFG” This Weekend?

Movie Review of Disney’s The BFG

the bfg

Earlier this week Jody and I had the chance to attend a pre-screening of Disney’s new movie The BFG. The film opens tonight in theaters everywhere, and if you’re looking for a family movie this weekend, this might be a good option.

The BFG is the story of 10-year-old orphan Sophie and a 24-foot giant with enormous and expressive ears, a keen sense of smell and an oogly-googly vocabulary. The giant, known as BFG (for Big Friendly Giant) kidnaps the precocious Sophie from a London orphanage and brings her to Giant Country, inhabited by human-eating giants twice the size of the BFG. The two become fast friends, but threats from the other giants propel them on a journey that includes Buckingham Palace, the Queen of England and the Royal Army.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, the Disney film brings to life Roald Dahl’s book with breathtaking cinematography and animation. It’s a very sweet story about the unexpected friendship of two lonely souls. Kids are likely to be fascinated by the scenery and tickled by some of the humor, especially the scenes with explosive, phosphorescent flatulence.

Although we both enjoyed the tenderhearted film, Jody and I also thought it was a bit slow. However, its visual splendor still makes it theater worthy. Sophie and BFG’s magical visit to the gossamer and luminescent Dream Country alone makes it worth a trip to the big screen. So if you don’t have extraordinary plans for the Fourth of July weekend or if it happens to be raining in your neck of the woods at any point, pack up the family and head to the theatre to see Disney’s The BFG.

Jenni Stahlmann

Jenni Stahlmann is the mom of six kids (ages 4 to 18) with #7 due in August and one on the autism spectrum. She and her husband Matthew homeschool the whole brood. Jenni has been a journalist for more than 20 years, having covered government, business and family issues for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Currently, she and Jody co-host a weekly syndicated radio show, write a weekly newspaper column and freelance articles and speak at churches, political groups and homeschool conventions about parenting on purpose.

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