Jathan And Heather Embrace The Magic Of New England [PHOTOS]

New Bedford sunset

New Bedford sunset (Photo by Jathan Fink/Jadeworks Entertainment)

Moving always forces a family to make all kinds of adjustments, and our new home is only one of the many we are going to need to get used to. In January, we told you that we would be moving to New England with a job transfer. Well, in February we drove across the country, outrunning a winter storm that nipped at our heels the entire way. Then on March 1 we finally moved into our new home in Massachusetts.  Read more of this post

Celebrate our planet this April

April 2011

Earth Day is in our hands 2011

Earth Day is celebrated worldwide on April 22, although it may be commemorated on other dates in your community.

Dear friends,

Despite tax season, April is a fun month. The weather is generally a little warmer, spring is officially in full swing, and people’s spirits are generally much better than they were during the chilly winter months. Plus there are several great events to look forward to!

As we’ve told you before, one of our favorite charities is the Nature Conservancy, whose motto is “Protecting nature. Preserving life.” This year in celebration of Earth Day (on April 22nd), they are encouraging all of us to get outside, have fun and explore nature as a family. They’re also urging people to “picnic for the planet,” by hosting picnic meetups in 199 cities around the globe.

The Earth Day Network is also urging people to pledge to live and act sustainably. You can find great resources about how to reduce your carbon footprint on their Website, find ways to get involved and can even make donations to the cause.

But Earth Day also means the release of a brand new film from Disneynature, African Cats! The film follows two feline families striving to make a home in the wildest place on earth. See African Cats during opening week, and Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to protect the savanna these cats call home. And before you watch the movie, be sure to visit the African Cats Website for educational information and downloads that can help you teach your children about the science and geography themes in the film.

And if you’re in Cincinnati, you can join us down at Sawyer Point at noon on Saturday, April 16th for the 41st Anniversary Celebration of Earth Day! There will be tons of stuff to see and do for the entire family, including animal presentations featuring an aquarium and petting zoo, a rock-climbing wall, great food and live music.

Then, on Friday, April 29th, head on down to Great American Ball Park for UC Night at the Reds! The Reds will take on the Florida Marlins and the park will be packed with UC alumni. Buy reduced rate tickets, then be sure to show up early for the pre-game activities and FREE giveaways in the Reds fan zone!

The reptile house at the Cincinnati Zoo during Zoo Blooms

Color explodes at the Cincinnati Zoo during Zoo Blooms throughout the April 2011.

Get out your garden gear and prepare to plant a tree, because the 29th is also Arbor Day. For those of you who aren’t sure what the Arbor Day Foundation is or how the day gained popularity across America, you can check out two articles Jathan wrote last year about the trees in our lives and the origins of Arbor Day on his philanthropy blog, Some People’s Lives.

April is also a great time to start planning your summer garden. You can visit the Cincinnati Zoo for ideas during the entire month of April as the park explodes with color during Zoo Blooms. This event always fuels our imaginations, particularly since spring makes us anxious to plant tons of herbs, veggies and flowers of our own. Because we plant the majority of these plants in containers, be sure to watch for a future blog post about that. We’ll give you some great tips on gardening, including inexpensive ways to make your yard look phenomenal!

And in case you missed them, be sure to explore our site for great food ideas, including everything from kitchen basics like heart-healthy Chicken Broth to our favorite Southern Fried and Southern Barbecued Chicken recipes. Then check out family favorites like Tomato Soup with Mozzarella Croutons, Classic Cinnamon Buns and No-Bake Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Cookies. If you love Italian cuisine, try our authentic Italian Minestrone and Rigatoni with Rapid Ragu. For something spicy, kick up the heat with Hoppin’ John, a traditional Southern dish with just the right amount of heat. There’s something for everyone on Jathan & Heather!

So what are you waiting for? Get outside, commune with nature, plant a tree, take a picnic, watch a game, or plan your garden. It’s spring, and there is no better time to enjoy the great outdoors!

Love,
Jathan & Heather

p.s. Watch the preview to African Cats below!

Five feel-good, fun family films

When we were children, we created some of our favorite memories on Sunday nights when the family gathered around the television with steaming cups of cocoa and big bowls of popcorn to watch movies on the Wonderful World of Disney and later on the Disney Sunday Movie series in the mid-80s. (Click here for a Wonderful World of Disney trivia quiz.)

Times have changed a bit since then, and family films have become big business with many studios besides Disney making big-budget movies like the Harry Potter and Shrek franchises. In fact, there are so many of these movies now, that many of them seem to get lost in the shuffle. So here are some of our favorites, ones that you may have missed.

Finally, we hope you’ll write and tell us about some of your family favorites too. We’ll post some of your comments in a future article.

Love,
Jathan & Heather

Jathan & Heather’s Family Film Favorites

Meet the Robinsons

Meet the Robinsons on Blu-ray disc

Rated: G

Lewis is a brilliant young inventor who sets off on a time-traveling quest to save the future and find the family he never knew. With the help of the wonderfully wacky Robinson family, Lewis learns to keep moving forward and never stop believing in himself.

Critics praised this Disney “masterpiece” (John Anderson, Newsday) as “a dazzling vision of the future” (Leah Rozen, People). We loved it because it is both hilarious and touching. But more importantly, it teaches us all a lesson about the importance of perseverance.

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Rated: G

Kit Kittridge: An American Girl now on DVD

When the Great Depression strikes, nine-year-old Kit Kittredge (played by Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin) has to say goodbye to her father when he leaves to find work. In order to save her family home, she and her mother must take in boarders. When one of the guests is accused of stealing her mother’s lockbox, Kit must sniff out the real story to exonerate her new friend.

Rex Reed (The New York Observer) called this movie “enchanting” and said that it “spells entertainment with a capital E.” We loved the superior cast, which includes Julia Ormond, Chris O’Donnell, Jane Krakowski, Joan Cusack and Stanley Tucci. Together, they weave a story about the importance of family, friendship and truth.

Radio

Rated: PG

Radio: Inspired By A True Story

Based on an amazing real life story, Radio shows how Robert ‘Radio’ Kennedy, the man no one understood, became the coach no one could live without. Academy Award Winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. (1997, Best Supporting Actor, Jerry Maguire) and the phenomenal Ed Harris (Pollock) play two coaches who inspire a football team to become champions and a town to open their hearts in this heartwarming, heroic film.

Critics called Radio “a triumph” (Earl Dittman, Wireless Magazine), “a treasure” (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times), and “a definite must for the entire family” (Bonnie Laufer, Tribute TV). We loved this film because it is filled with both comic and touching moments, but above all because it teaches us a powerful lesson about the potential within us all.

August Rush

Rated: PG

August Rush is now available on DVD and Blu-ray

There’s music in the wind and sky. And there’s hope. A young boy named August Rush can hear it, and you will too as you join him on a journey to New York City to find the parents he was separated from years earlier. And along the way, he will also discover the musical genius hidden within him. Starring Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrance Howard and Robin Williams, August Rush will make you “believe in music the way some people believe in fairy tales.”

Mark S. Allen (CBS-TV) says, “Your heart will be singing and your spirit will soar!” We say that you will laugh, cry, and cheer with this young boy who never stops believing in himself and the dream within his heart.

Robots

Rated: PG

Robots is now available on DVD

With the help of his misfit mechanical friends, a small town robot named Rodney embarks on the adventure of a lifetime as he heads for the big city to pursue his dreams—and ultimately prove that anyone can shine no matter what they’re made of. Featuring the voice talents of Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks, Amanda Bynes, Drew Carey, Jim Broadbent and Robin Williams, Robots is a dazzling, fun-filled feast for the eyes and a riveting good time for all ages!

Critics hailed the film as “Thrilling! Funny! Terrific!” (Larry King) and “fun and imaginative” (New York Daily News). We love this offbeat animated comedy because it is hilarious, irreverent and filled with great music and real Hollywood magic.

Gershwin: Two Ways

George Gershwin

Celebrate George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue this winter.

Music has always been a big part of our lives. As children, Heather learned to play the violin, while I spent years taking piano lessons.

Whether you’re singing in the choir, or learning to play an instrument, you’re bound to discover various composers whose works stick with you. Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and Mozart. As young musicians, we learned something from each of them.

But it was George Gershwin’s masterpiece, “Rhapsody in Blue,” that captured my imagination from the first time I heard it. And Gershwin’s music continues to wow me to this day. Read more of this post