Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Camp at Utah Children's Theater

When we got invited to attend a week of Summer Camp at Utah Children's Theater, I immediately knew which kid would benefit from it the most. Lilly is the middle girl and she's my quietest, shyest kid but she also loves going to the plays at the theater and she has a fabulously rich imagination. She was either going to love it or hate it.

Because of scheduling conflicts, Lilly slept over at her grandparents' house so that they could take her to camp that first morning. Lilly was so nervous/excited about going to theater camp that she had trouble falling asleep and woke Gramps up at 6:00 in the morning, ready to go.

The staff at Utah Children's Theater was fabulous and made her feel welcome right away. She made a friend and had so much fun that Lilly couldn't stop talking all evening. She was making props; planning her pirate costume and thinking of plot lines.

Lilly had the most fabulous week. She learned about stage direction and worked at projecting her voice (never a problem at home but she's usually pretty quiet around people at church, school and even extended family). She memorized her lines and really looked forward to her recital at the end of the week. She was super excited to be a pirate.

Theater camp gave Lilly a chance to shine instead of being in the shadow of her big sister and overwhelmed by her louder, younger sister. She felt confident on stage and is excited to go to theater camp again.

We were all impressed by the quality of the performance that these kids put together in only a week. The staff and teachers were always thoughtful, fun and encouraging as well as knowledgeable. The kids seemed to respond well to them. I love that the kids got a chance to come up with the storyline of the play and Lilly was thrilled to pick her own name : Bonbottom.

When I asked Lilly if there was anything that she didn't enjoy about theater camp she said "Nothing. I wish I could go again this week." I'm so glad my shy kid could have a chance to blossom and perform. Even my dad commented that she seemed to be less in her shell at a family party this weekend. The change is definitely noticeable. I'm so glad.

Summer camps at Utah Children's Theater will continue to run throughout June, July and August and there is still space for your future actors to enroll.

Contact :
Utah Children’s Theatre
3605 South State Street
South Salt Lake, UT 84115

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hotel Moscow - Book Review

From the cover :
  • From the author of Jerusalem Maiden comes a mesmerizing, thought-provoking novel that tells the riveting story of an American woman—the daughter of Holocaust survivors—who travels to Russia shortly after the fall of communism, and finds herself embroiled in a perilous mafia conspiracy that could irrevocably destroy her life.
Brooke Fielding, a thirty-eight year old New York investment manager and daughter of Jewish Holocaust survivors, finds her life suddenly upended in late September 1993 when her job is unexpectedly put in jeopardy. Brooke accepts an invitation to join a friend on a mission to Moscow to teach entrepreneurial skills to Russian business women, which will also give her a chance to gain expertise in the new, vast emerging Russian market. Though excited by the opportunity to save her job and be one of the first Americans to visit Russia after the fall of communism, she also wonders what awaits her in the country that persecuted her mother just a generation ago.
Inspired by the women she meets, Brooke becomes committed to helping them investigate the crime that threatens their businesses. But as the uprising of the Russian parliament against President Boris Yeltsin turns Moscow into a volatile war zone, Brooke will find that her involvement comes at a high cost. For in a city where “capitalism” is still a dirty word, where neighbors spy on neighbors and the new economy is in the hands of a few dangerous men, nothing Brooke does goes unnoticed—and a mistake in her past may now compromise her future.
A moving, poignant, and rich novel, Hotel Moscow is an eye-opening portrait of post-communist Russia and a profound exploration of faith, family, and heritage.
My thoughts :
The book takes place during in 1993. That year, I started college and while I was aware of the historical events taking place in Russia, I only saw them from the perspective of rejoicing that communism had fallen. In Hotel Moscow by Talia Carner, the struggle for the Russians to adjust to Capitalism from Communism is shown clearly through the lives of her characters in this impressive and fascinating novel. The mafia uses torture and violence to intimidate and women are especially vulnerable during this time.
The characters are developed and emotional and hope to improve their world. Though sometimes the pacing stalls while the history and details of the culture and business practices are shared, I was completely fascinated by Hotel Moscow and highly recommend it as a great read.

About Talia CarnerTalia Carner

Talia Carner is the former publisher of Savvy Woman magazine and a lecturer at international women's economic forums. This is her fourth novel.
Visit Talia at her website, taliacarner.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
I am part of the TLC Book Tour for Hotel Moscow which is published by William Morrow and released in June 2015. You can find a list to read other reviews on the tour at : TLC Book Tours

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Cokeville Miracle Movie

As a child my family frequently traveled from our home in Eastern Utah to visit my grandparents in Star Valley, Wyoming. On our way we drove through the small town of Cokeville and I recall my dad telling me about the hostage and bombing situation at the Cokeville Elementary School and the miracles that took place that day. In my child brain, I processed this story as if it had happened "long ago" and only realized that my dad was telling me this story only a year or so after it happened. Even so, it was memorable and emotional and I never went to Star Valley without thinking of the inspiring people in that town.

Now, The Cokeville Miracle tells their story in their way.
On June 5th the movie opens in 
select theaters across the United States.

Rand and I had the chance to preview the movie about a month ago. We were completely enthralled in the storytelling and the development of the characters. As a mother of young children, the story is harrowing and I definitely needed tissue. There are moments in the film where I literally sobbed. It is at times frightening and I wouldn't take my young children to see it. But, what the movie does so well is tell the spiritual and miraculous events that occurred that day as a community came together.

T.C. Christensen is at the height of his skills as a movie maker. The Cokeville Miracle is a beautiful tribute to the survivors of the horrific events on that May 1986 day. It does a great job of showing the power of prayer. It shows the innocence of children and the preciousness of their lives and faith. 

 Be sure to #seemiracles on June 5th.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Winner of Sisters of Heart and Snow

When will I learn to always have give-away contests run through the weekend? I never remember to actually announce the winner on Saturdays. Maybe next time, I will remember. Remind me, OK?

Anyway, the winner of a copy of Sisters of Heart and Snow is...

Anonymous or better known as SuzyQ4PR

Congratulations! Send me a message with your information by Friday, June 5th so I can send your next best read.