“The Stray” Review & Giveaway


The Stray is the new story of a dog who saves a family – in more ways than one.  Based on a true story, The Stray is both serious drama and adventure story.  

The whole family will relate to The Stray.  The driving force for much of the story is the oldest son of the family, who is an elementary-aged boy, but his parents’ opposing perspectives on family life are driven home, as well.  Themes of family, love, friendship, and forgiveness run through every scene of this movie.  

That’s the very best aspect of this movie:  the overall theme of the importance of family.  It’s refreshing to see a movie on the big screen that emphasizes this.  You’ll leave inspired to spend more quality time with your family.

The Stray makes this point uniquely, and the story is fascinating.  I don’t want to spoil the plot, so I’ll be very vague, but parts of the movie were hard to watch.  The family was suffering, and I hate to see that.  Events alternately improve and worsen until the resolution, at which point every member of my family had tears streaming down their faces – even one who had never cried at a movie before.

That sadness was necessary, though, to highlight the ultimate sacrifice and joy brought about by that resolution.  Without it, the highs couldn’t have been so great, and they really were great.  They brought the message home and made you appreciate them much more than you ever could have otherwise.  

There were funny parts in the story, and we enjoyed those immensely.  They helped to lighten the mood when it got heavy, and it was done well.

There is a climactic scene that is intense, and so the movie may not be suitable for very young children.  There is suspense and danger, and perhaps some wouldn’t be ready for that; but there is no violence, language issues, or sexual overtones.  It’s one of the cleanest, most inspiring movies I’ve seen in years.

I’d definitely recommend making an outing to see The Stray.

Want to know more? You can watch the movie trailer here!

You can even win tickets to see it for free!  Click here to enter the giveaway for a family pack of tickets.

I received free tickets to see The Stray in theaters opening weekend.  All opinions are my own.

Host a Family Cook-Off Night

Disclosure Pic

We’ve got a new family tradition – we’ve decided to start holding monthly family cook-offs.

The kids are getting really into this.

Earlier in the month we had a grilled-cheese competition for Valentine’s Day.  I baked different kinds of bread, bought a few varieties of cheese, and preheated the griddle.  Everyone made two sandwiches and we tried them all before crowning a winner.

The kids had so much fun that they asked if we could hold a cook-off every month.

Since My Little Man won the first challenge, he got to choose the theme for this one, and he chose pizza.

Our family rules are simple:

  1. Everyone had to use the same kind of pizza dough.
  2. All ingredients in the kitchen are up for grabs, within reason.
  3. Use a reasonable amount of your chosen ingredient.
  4. The winner chooses the theme for the next challenge.
  5. Everyone else cleans up!

I made a double batch of pizza dough and called everyone to the kitchen.

Family Cook-off

My Little Man went first.  He called his ‘Loaded Pizza’ and it had two kinds of cheese, two kinds of sauce, and several types of meat.

Family Cook-off

My Big Helper stuffed her crust with mozzarella and made a meaty pizza, too.  Her daddy went next, and he experimented with sauce and meat combinations.

I made a homemade Alfredo sauce – the recipe will be here on the blog soon – and made a white pizza with Alfredo, mozzarella, Parmesan, chopped broccoli, and bacon.  Haven’t had it in years, and I’ve really missed it!

Then we voted via silent ballot.  One family rule is that you can’t vote for yourself, and we write our top choices on index cards, giving our favorite more points than the others.

Host a Family Cook-Off Night

My Little Man won again!  He was very excited about that.

Family Cook-off

Check out that pizza!

My Little Man won the right to choose March’s theme.  I wonder what he’ll choose?

In reality, these nights are fun, but I’m seeing other benefits from them, too.  The kids are thinking seriously about ingredients and flavor combinations and how to balance trying new things with realistically using food that must be paid for.  My husband is cooking and preparing dishes – some of which he’s never thought about the preparation process.  I’m learning to be more patient in the kitchen and to step back as they all try things they’ve never attempted before.  It’s a good thing for all of us.

Want to host your own family cook-off?  Check out these resources:


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