Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Help

My husband and I seldom watch movies.  So our recent movie date was a rarity, much needed and much enjoyed!  I picked The Help based on the storyline, the reviews, and the acclaim the book had received.  We were not disappointed!

Here is a synopsis of the movie in case you haven't seen it yet as taken from the official movie site.

Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon,  “The Help” stars Emma Stone (“Easy A”) as Skeeter, Academy Award®–nominated Viola Davis (“Doubt”) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny—three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s,  who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed —even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times.
Deeply moving, filled with poignancy, humor and hope, “The Help” is a timeless and universal story about the ability to create change.

Click here to view the movie trailer.

The Help was released on August 10, 2011 and was #2 at the box office that weekend followed by three weekends in the #1 position as the the weekends' top grossing movie.

The primary theme of the film is racial discrimination but there are many undercurrent themes.   I love a movie that really makes me think.  You can relate the themes in The Help to your personal and professional life.  Here are a few additional themes that developed a lot of questions for me!

  • Interpersonal skills.  How do I speak to and respect others?  It made me think of all the things I've been reading about in John Maxwell's Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time.  Do I build up the self-esteem of others?   I love how the main character tells a small girl repeatedly "You is smart, you is kind, you is important."
  • Parenting skills. What kind of relationship do I have with my children?  Who has the greatest influence on my kids?  How well do I know my children and meet their needs?
  • Societal and Personal Values.  What values does our society find acceptable?  How do I feel about it?  Do I do the right thing regardless of what everyone else is doing?  Do I have it in me to fight for something I strongly believe in, even if the risk is high?  Am I strong enough to encourage others to do what is right?
This film will make you evaluate yourself on multiple levels!  It would be a great film to use in team building or training.  If you haven't seen it yet, you need to!


You can find the New York Times Bestseller on Amazon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just Between Friends

Yesterday, I told the cashier at Babies R Us that kids are only expensive because we constantly buy things to contain them or their mess!  Times two, of course, at our house and times three or four or more at others!  Much of our gear shows little wear because we move from stage to stage so quickly.  Buying used items saves a bundle and selling our old ones makes money!

Today I finally got my first visit to Just Between Friends Tampa North which I've been hearing about for two years now!  Just Between Friends (JBF) is a giant consignment sale held twice a year for maternity and children's items.  The sale is run by volunteers and merchandise is stocked by community members.  Here in Tampa, it is held in the spring and fall but sales are held all over the country throughout the year.  Click here to  find a location close to you.

To make some money off items collecting dust in your garage and clear space, sign up to be a consignor.  JBF has a special online tagging system that allows you to create an account, make and print tags for your items, and track what is sold.  You can earn up to 70% of your sales versus much smaller percentages at traditional consignment stores.  Click here for additional consignor information.

To pick up items for you and your kiddos, early attendance is key for best selection.  You will find a large selection of toys and clothing.  You will also find strollers, highchairs, larger play equipment, books, bathing, feeding, and potty training items.  Items are inspected for functionality and cleanliness.  You can see the deals many shoppers have already scored by viewing their comments on Facebook.  (Click here.)

Volunteers shop first on Wednesday, then consignors, followed by first time moms who register in advance, and military families.  Thursday and Friday are open to the public.  $2 admission is charged but fliers for free entry are available in local magazines.  Saturday is half price day where many items are marked 50% off and admission is free!

To see an article and news footage from the spring 2011 event click here.  Tampa's ABC Action news was onsite today while I was there and featured a story on today's evening news.  The Tampa North event information is as follows:

The Tampa Bay Baptist Conference Center
15601 Lake Magdalene Blvd., Tampa, FL 33613

Dates & Times-
Thursday 9am -7pm
Friday 9am - 5pm
Saturday 8am - 2pm

The JBF Lakeland event will be held October 21-23, 2011at the Lakeland Center and the next Tampa North event will be held again March 8-10, 2012.

If you'd like to consign at future events, you can sign up and beginning tagging your items now.  Perhaps as you clean out closets for next season, wash and tag each item before boxing so you have less to do last minute!

We all work hard to support our families!  I hope this bit of information makes you money or saves you money.  Be sure to pass the info on to your girlfriends too!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

With the first day of fall arriving this Friday, summer will officially be over.  While those of you in states further north are already experiencing cooler temperatures, those of us in the south are still steamy!  These pumpkin pancakes will be sure to get you into a harvest mood regardless of the temperature outside.

It can be difficult to serve up something new, healthy, or even hot during a rushed morning.  These pumpkin pancakes are quick and easy.  You'll be squeezing in a vegetable serving and your kids will love them!

I originally found a recipe on Allrecipes for pumpkin pancakes from scratch.  When I read through the reviews, someone had posted a simpler recipe using a prepared pancake mix like Aunt Jemina. 

2 1/2 Cup Aunt Jemima Original Pancake Mix
3 TBS brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
1 3/4 cup milk
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 TBS vinegar
1 cup pumpkin puree


  1. In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
**I had to lower the cooking temperature.  At first, the pancakes seemed to darken real fast but stay raw in the middle. 

This recipe was enough to feed my family of 4 two days in a row!  I just reheated the pancakes the next morning.  I also thought I might try adding some raisins or pecans next time.  My little guys ate them as is without syrup.  If you'd like the full recipe from scratch, click here.

"Happy Fall Y'all!"