What’s Inside My Second Daily Goodie Box

 What’s Inside My Second Daily Goodie Box

I received my second Daily Goodie Box in the mail a week or so before we headed out on our cruise. It’s taken me a while to be able to post about what goodies were inside the box. I’ve shared about Daily Goodies Box in the past and how I liked the samples enclosed. Check out my the items that were inside my box.

Disclosure: Daily Goodie Box sent me a box to review. Any opinions expressed are my own.

To get started with Daily Goodie Box is very easy. Just head to their website – Daily Goodie Box– and sign with your email. Once you’ve signed up answer any questions they may ask and wait for you to be awarded your own goodie box. Once the box arrives open and enjoy your free products. Return to the site and share your thoughts on the products in the box. It’s that easy.

There were some great items in this Daily Goodie Box. I’ve heard about a few of these products but others I hadn’t heard of before.

The kids immediately snatched the 7-11 Cotton Candy after I took photos of the box. They didn’t wait long at all to devour it. This Slurpee Cotton Candy was a hit in our home and we’ve already started looking for it when we visit local 7-11 stores.

Daily Goodie Box comes with a mix of samples and sometimes full-sized products. Sample size varies from single use to multi-use. One serving of EBOOST Strawberry Kiwi Energy Powder is all it takes to support your natural energy, a brighter mind, and a healthy metabolism. A sample of Goddess Garden Organics green-labeled natural sunscreen. My husband really enjoyed the sample of  Peanut Butter & Co. Mighty Nut Powdered Peanut Butter. It’s was great for making smoothies without having to deal with the sticky mess of actual peanut butter.

The MPWR Skincare sample included in the box is valued at $22. MPWR Skincare is a highly concentrated solution developed to use when and where you need it. It’s a certified organic spot treatment that is perfect for those with sensitive skin. Made with all natural ingredients, you can use Zip, Zap, Gone! as needed to help keep your skin clear and looking its best.

Bakery On Main Bunches of Crunches was the perfect snack to give an energy boost and it was healthy. Scrumptious oat clusters loaded with superfoods, such as Chia seeds and Cacao, are complimented by the ancient grains Amaranth and Millet.

Detox Water is clinically proven to support immune function, healthy digestion, nutrient absorption and youthful-looking skin. This is another great way to start your life on a healthy track.

Adamia Therapeutic Repair Lotion is great for people with sensitive skin issues. It helps repair dry and cracked skin, making it smooth and soft again.

Dude Quick Shower from DUDE Products was amazing. We packed them in our travel bag when we cruised this year and they were perfect. We visited a beach one day and my toddler got sand in hs face. These wipes were a lifesaver on our travels and I absolutely loved them. They were much larger than regular wipes, thicker, and got you very clean.

To learn more about Daily Goodie Box visit the website and sign up. Follow them on Facebook for chances to win goodie boxes when you’re active on their page.

Strawberry Shortcake Teams Up with Budge Studios

Strawberry Shortcake Teams Up with Budge Studios

I love finding new apps for my kids and enjoy. These days there’s something for everyone in the app store. You can find games and activities about your child’s favorite characters and television shows. So when I learned about Strawberry Shortcake partnership with Budge Studios I was excited. Strawberry Shortcake has joined forces again with long time partner Budge Studios on their new app called Budge World! The app went live in the U.S. on Wednesday, March 22nd.

If you’ve never heard of Budge World before, you’re probably wondering exactly what it is, and how does it work. Budge World™ brings access to all the most popular kids characters in one amazing app! Kids will enjoy tons of activities that emphasize creativity, learning, and fun!

What does a subscription to Budge World get you? Subscribing to Budge World gives your family full access to all the content in the app for as long as your subscription is active. Every month, your family can enjoy brand new exclusive content! As an exciting bonus, some additional content only becomes available as kids progress in the game. Rewards and achievements unlock prizes, stickers and new Budge characters. The best part is there are no ads or in-app purchases when you subscribe.

When you first download the Budge App and open the Strawberry Shortcake game you have access to three games. Once we redeemed our subscription we had access to all the games inside that section.

Play-Create-Discover:

  • Top Kid’s Brands – Strawberry Shortcake has its own portal filled with activities
  • New Content Constantly – Get access to new themed lands, new characters to collect, games, learning activities, and more!
  • Inspire Learning – Practice spelling and counting in a fun and engaging way.
  • Earn & Collect – Collect new characters and customize your world with prizes, stickers and more!

My daughter especially loved the app. The games were really easy for her at nine years old. I think it’s geared to younger children. There’s a great game that helps with matching, counting, and identifying items. It seems like they are just having fun, but it’s educational as well. My daughter played around in the styling app the most. She loved changing the look and dressing Strawberry up. Overall I think the Budge World app could be a great investment for families with children under five.

Download Budge World today! http://apple.co/2mMwgGn

Bill Condon and Alan Menken Discuss Making Beauty and the Beast #BeOurGuestEvent

Bill Condon and Alan Menken Discuss Making Beauty and the Beast

For as long as I can remember Disney’s animated classic Beauty and the Beast had been my favorite Disney movie of all time. I never thought anything would ever take it’s place. I was wrong. After screening the new live action version of Beauty and the Beast, I officially have a new favorite.

I’m always honored when I have the opportunity to sit down with the film-makers for my favorite movies. It makes me feel more connected to the projects, and when they do well, I feel a personal sense of accomplishment. We were interested in how Condon and Menken got connected to Beauty and the Beast.

AM : I was drawn to the story by Disney. I mean it was basically Howard Ashman and I were working Little Mermaid, it hadn’t been released yet but people were very happy with it and they said how about Beauty and the Beast. We’re interested in doing that next. I have to say Howard and I actually, we had Aladdin but Aladdin had to go back to development because we were a bit to edgy. There was more development work to do on that so Beauty and the Beast then came in and became the next thing we worked on together.

As far as what drew me to it beyond that I mean I gotta go back and credit Howard who looked at the initial story and how you’re gonna turn it into an animated musical then it was a matter of inventing the enchanted objects and inventing a huge ego for Gaston and his posse of nitwits who praise him. So simply because for the structure we needed to put in production numbers and comedy numbers and so it was all those brilliant ideas and I gotta say Howard was so instrumental in that.

BC : There’s this movie, this classic, perfect movie that already exist and for me more than anything it was the score, the chance to really roll around in that music and to restage it, do a kind of new version of it in a live action format but to specially those songs. It just felt to me that, that like a once in a lifetime opportunity.

AM : When I heard that Bill was directing it I didn’t know you. I knew the work you had done but Richard said Bill is a major fan of musical theatre. He loves it so this was oh, he knows the craft. He knows musicals and so that was huge.

The music in the live action film really sealed the deal for me. All of the originals are still in the film. That was huge. There’s also three songs added to the film that adds to the musical journey.

AM: Days in the Sun, before Bill was on as a director, this goes back to about 2008. There was discussions about a movie version of Beauty and actually went as far as early script and when I was in London working on Sister Act Tim was there and I said let’s try, you know, working on a couple of songs. The Days in the Sun, the genesis of that actually began back there as sort of a lullaby moment but once Bill came aboard then that really got reworked, you know, to be a vehicle of so much back story and we’re threading a lot of story to it.

And the other songs I would say they were the song we decide at the beginning. Some moments we followed through on. You know, the actual conception of the songs was yes, here they are. The actual execution was two years of here are these songs, black and blue and we’re gonna reprise it here and we’re gonna put it so a little bit of How Does a Moment Last Forever into the middle of Days in the Sun. We’re gonna take Days in the Sun theme and we’re gonna put it at the top as the Aria and just, you know you begin, you have these threads and you begin to weave with them. I never, by the way I never pull from a trunk, ever.

Director/co-screenwriter Bill Condon on set with Belle (Emma Watson) in Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a live-action adaptation of the studio’s animated classic. The story and characters audiences know and love are brought to life in this stunning cinematic event…a celebration of one of the most beloved stories ever told.

Bill talked to us about how he felt working with the iconic Menken on Beauty and the Beast. He opened up about their work process, and how they created the visual beauty that we’re all falling in love with.

BC : Well for me I was intimidated at our first meeting because here I am and I’m sort of talking about the first possible new song and this is a legendary composer but also it’s a property that as we keep saying is perfect on its own so it’s like okay, gonna tell me we need that but Alan is a direct opposite of that. You know, I think Alan as a man of the theatre, is somebody who craves the dialogue and the collaboration. I think that’s what it’s about and that became clear very, very soon, you know. We just started a conversation, you know, it went on for a couple of years, right?

Next we talked about the challenges they faced of preserving the timeless classic while adding new things into the movie.

BC : I think again it was always about revealing more. It wasn’t about reinventing. So it was like you start to bring it into the real world and you start to ask questions that didn’t matter in the animated film. How did Belle and Maurice wind up in this village. What happened to her mother? How did the Prince become such a dissolute figure that he was worthy of being cursed, you know? And, it’s interesting you start asking those questions and you start to bat around what the possible answers are. Then you’re making something different but I think for me I could ever really rely on my own kind of reverence for the original film in knowing when you’re changing something or going too far. You know, I hope never to cross that line.

Emma Watson as Belle in Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a live-action adaptation of the studio’s classic animated film.

When you see the film, you know that Emma Watson was the perfect choice for Belle. I can’t think of a single actress that would have pulled it off so well. We asked Condon how did he know she was his Belle.

BC : Well I suspected it was just seeing her in Harry Potter. It seemed like that was a perfect kind of connection to a 21st century Belle. Then we met. I was shooting a movie called Mr. Holmes. We met for an hour and the thing that I loved was how much she loved the original movie and how much she wanted to play the part and she came with a whole pile of books because I was late because I was shooting and she was in the middle of reading so there she was. And then the only question really became she’s never sung professionally before. She needed to answer that question for herself too. She wanted to go off.

It was Christmas holiday and she said you go out and get a script together you can send it to me. We made a handshake deal and Emma’s gonna go off and make a tape and explore her voice and that was the thing, that kind of scary moment. To me it’s more intimate than taking your clothes when you first hear somebody sing even in a karaoke session. It’s like oh, my god, that’s the sound that comes out of you. We’ve seen that a few time in movies too but, but, for her the voice, her voice is so much a continuation of who she is and how she speaks and there was clearly this kind of sweetness to it and clarity to it that made it seem like it was gonna be a different Belle but I was gonna be a really satisfying one.

AM : She was a little terrified. I mean no bones about it and we made sure she had her vocal coach. I had Michael Kosarin, my musical director. Bill was actually at the sessions. This is not necessarily it always is but it’s so helpful because she was I think really intimidated by me. I don’t know why. Possibly because of me being the composer I don’t think she wanted to be that vulnerable in front of me so I really hung back, you know, in the control room and in the back of the control room. And we also had a guy named Matt Sullivan who is a music supervisor and just gave, had to give Emma the space to just find her voice and work on it and work on it and she did and Dan was similar. He also was, you know, it was new for both of them.

You always seem to know all the answers in hindsight. Of course that works because you’ve already been thought it. We asked the men what advice would they give to their younger selves.

AM : What would I tell? Well, it’s just stuff I’ve learned. I mean one of the most important things I learned in my career was it’s not about me. It’s about the characters and the story and don’t ever fall in love with your own material. Let other people fall in love with it if they want and if you have a note, the best way to address a note is to go okay, and just do it because you’re part of a thing that’s larger than you and the more, that’s what’s great about musical theater also.

The more that you’re recognizing that you’re part is bigger than you and you are a part of that and just stay in the process that you can survive. I mean the most tragic thing and you can see this too is people who go I wrote this wonderful music. I don’t know why it wasn’t a hit. I gotta try. I gotta keep working. I don’t understand why they didn’t like it. It’s just tragic. Don’t try it out. Push it aside and go on to something else. Write another musical and another and another. Just move on and don’t get stuck being the nurse mate to your own material.

Our final question was to Menken, music has a way to molding our lives, and speaking to us on an emotional level. We asked how does it feel when he hears stories of how his music impacted others.

AM : It’s unreal. It’s unreal. It gives me, frankly it gives me more of a sense of what we think of a collective consciousness, that we’re all a part of a collective consciousness because, we as artists are conduits for emotion and for things they really come through us. I mean god knows we shape them and so I just feel very blessed honestly, blessed that I’m a vehicle for that when I sometimes. That’s amazing and wonderful because basically I was a kid who liked to practice the piano and I was a nervous kid with an ulcer and I just was a dreamer and then somehow I found that writing songs was really composing was where my brain would settle and I just did it and did it and did it and now it has an impact on people like that and that’s I’m just living my life and it’s had that effect and wow.

Beauty and the Beast is now playing in theaters everywhere. Be sure to grab your tickets and enjoy during opening weekend. Download the Atom App and earn a $5 gift with you buy two tickets with code BEAUTY.

About Beauty and the Beast:

The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” a live-action adaption on of the studio’s animated classic featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast, including: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Hattie Morahan and Nathan Mack with Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

Directed by Bill Condon and based on the 1991 animated film “Beauty and the Beast,” the screenplay is written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos. Alan Menken provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman as well as three new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice. The film is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman, p.g.a. and Todd Lieberman, p.g.a with Jeffrey Silver, Thomas Schumacher and Don Hahn serving as executive producers.

Love Stories, Bravery, Diversity Makes New Beauty and the Beast A Must See #BeOurGuestEvent

Love Stories, Bravery, Diversity Makes New Beauty and the Beast A Must See

Disney’s new live action film, Beauty and the Beast is now playing in theaters everywhere. I’ve been waiting to see this movie since they announced that Emma Watson was slated to play Belle. Beauty and the Beast has been my favorite Disney movie of all time. I’ve always felt like Belle was my spirit princess, so attending the #BeOurGuestEvent was life changing for me.

I remember the chills I felt watching the teaser trailer months ago. Just seeing that iconic rose brought back so many memories of the animated version of the film.

We screened the movie the same day we arrived in town. My body was still on east coast time but I was determined to enjoy it to the fullest. It was amazing. There were moments when there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. I wanted to immediately see it again after the first time. There are so many things I could say about the film to encourage you to see the film. Here’s eight reasons why I loved the film and why I think you’ll want to see it as well.

8 Reasons Why I Loved Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson as Belle in Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a live-action adaptation of the studio’s classic animated film.

Emma Watson Nails Belle

There was never a doubt in my mind that Watson could pull off the iconic character of Belle. She seemed like she was born to play this role. Before screening the movie someone mentioned if I was worried about her singing. I’d never actually thought about her singing at all. After seeing the movie I have to say she did an awesome job with the singing. During our interview with Emma and Dan, she talked about how hard she worked on her voice to prove to Disney that she was committed to the role and that she could indeed sing.

The mantel clock Cogsworth, the teapot Mrs. Potts, Lumiere the candelabra and the feather duster Plumette live in an enchanted castle in Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST the live-action adaptation of the studio’s animated classic directed by Bill Condon.

New Animation Effects Brings Supporting Cast to Life

As you can imagine it’s not easy to bring to life moving and talking furniture and household items to life. For the movie, Disney filmmakers started working with a new technique to animate the items. They looked amazing in the movie. My personal favorite was Plumette. I loved the new look she received versus the animated version.

Luke Evans stars as Gaston and Josh Gad as Le Fou in Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, a live-action adaptation of the studio’s animated classic directed by Bill Condon which brings the story and characters audiences know and love to life.

Luke Evans and Josh Gad Steals Hearts as Gaston and Le Fou

These guys probably have one of the best bromances I’ve seen in movie history. Evans and Gad did an amazing job bringing these characters to life in a grand way. They really are the bad guys we love to hate in the film. Be prepared to sing when the tavern scene appears in the film. I couldn’t help myself when I saw the film.

All the Original Songs You Love Plus Three New Ones

Since I mentioned singing I have to take about the music. If you’re worried about them not staying true to the film don’t worry. All of the original songs appear in the live action version. There are also three new songs added to the film. The supporting cast gets a song, along with a solo for the Beast. The new songs include:

  • How Does A Moment Last Forever
  • Days in the Sun
  • Evermore

You can purchase the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack in stores or stream it online from iTunes or your preferred streaming service.

There Are Several Love Stories

In the original animated feature, we know that Belle and the Beast fall in love. Gaston thinks he likes Belle, but I believe he wants he because he can’t have her. In the live action film, we see the love story of Lumiere the candelabra and the feather duster Plumette expanded. There’s also additional romances with other items in the enchanted castle.

Diversity & Interracial Couples

Disney did an amazing job adding such a diverse cast for this film by way of supporting actors. During our interview with Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Audra McDonald, we talked about the inclusion of not one but two interracial couples. I love seeing positive images of love in films, and I hope people recognize the beauty in these stories.

The Lesson on Acceptance

One of my favorite quotes during our interviews came from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, when we asked what she hoped people take away from the film, she stated “I hope that people will get swept up in the romance and the music is just so iconic. I love the message that beauty is found within, it’s an oldie but a goodie. But, I think really for this film the idea to look a little deeper, see the human within each and every person even if the exterior is something that intimidates you or you’re not familiar with. There’s always a human underneath it all. And I think to try to connect to somebody’s soul, is really important.” 

It Stays True to the Original

What I loved the most about this version of the movie is that it was very true to the original. From the opening scene with Belle’s song. I was immediately drawn into the story. I loved it just as much as the original and at times even more. It reminded me of my childhood all over again and I can’t wait to share it with my kids.

Beauty and the Beast is now playing in theaters everywhere. Be sure to grab your tickets and enjoy during opening weekend. Download the Atom App and earn a $5 gift with you buy two tickets with code BEAUTY.

About Beauty and the Beast:

The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” a live-action adaption on of the studio’s animated classic featuring an extraordinary ensemble cast, including: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Hattie Morahan and Nathan Mack with Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.

Directed by Bill Condon and based on the 1991 animated film “Beauty and the Beast,” the screenplay is written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos. Alan Menken provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman as well as three new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice. The film is produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman, p.g.a. and Todd Lieberman, p.g.a with Jeffrey Silver, Thomas Schumacher and Don Hahn serving as executive producers.

Top Four Reasons You Should See Doctor Strange in #DolbyCinema at AMC #ad #ShareAMC

Top Four Reasons You Should See Doctor Strange in Dolby Cinema at AMC

With all the technological advances over the last few years, most of us have forgotten how movies and television used to look.  Unfortunately my cable company decided to make high definition a paid option, so we were dropped down to standard definition.  I will tell you it’s nothing like a crisp, clear, vibrant picture when you’re enjoying a good movie or television show.  Thanks to Dolby my family and two readers and their families had an opportunity to see Doctor Strange in Dolby Cinema at AMC.  The movie was amazing, and our experience was top-notch.

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I’m going to be totally honest with you, we don’t get to the movies as much these days.  With four kids, one with special needs, and a constantly moving toddler, it’s practically impossible for us.  Hubby and I have list of movies we must see together, ones he can see alone, and there’s a short list of movies we take our two older kids to see.  Earlier in the summer we were invited to a screening of Finding Dory with Dolby, and we loved it.  When the opportunity arrived for Doctor Strange I knew we had to make it work, even for a 9:15 early morning showing.  I’m making the case and sharing my top four reasons why you should see Doctor Strange in Dolby Cinema.

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First thing I must mention is that Doctor Strange is only showing for one week in Dolby Cinema.  So you absolutely have to see it this coming week.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed at all.

At the start of our movie Dolby showed a clip that really showed the difference between standard and Dolby Cinema.  I couldn’t find the exact match but I wanted to give you some visual effect of the dramatic imaging.  The picture is so crisp and clear.  Black is even darker in Dolby Cinema. This is how filmmakers wanted us to enjoy their creations.  I can honestly say I’ve never seen a picture quality better than this in my life.  It’s almost like you’re watching the real thing.

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It’s hard to explain movie sound if you’ve never experienced it before.  These seats aren’t just comfortable, they contribute to your movie going experience.  Sounds from the movie plays in Dolby Atmos, and fills the entire room, some you can even feel in your seats.  It helps add more dramatic flair to your movie going experience.  Moving sound pulls you into the movie in a whole new way.

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This is truly a premium movie going experience.  The seats are big and comfortable, with movable hand rests to give you even more space or allow you to get closer to the person you’re going to the movies with.  The cup holder are big to hold various sizes of cups.  The chairs fully recline so you can watch the movie either sitting straight up, in a reclined position, with your legs up, or just recline your head and back.  You have full control with the push of a few buttons.

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AMC Finding Dory (4)

Assigned seating means you never have to worry about finding seats you like, or if you’re with a group looking for seats together.  You can pick seats when you’re ordering your tickets in advance, making it a breeze when you arrive at the theater.  Rows are clearly marked on the floor, and you can find the seat numbers on a lighted display on all the seats.  Rows A through D are lower rows closer to the screen, pick high letters for top rows, and teen numbers for middle section seats.

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Doctor Strange is now playing in Dolby Cinema at AMC theaters for a limited time. Check out the listing below of all participating Dolby Cinema at AMC locations. Stay informed about all things Dolby Cinema by signing up for their newsletter.

Arizona

CALIFORNIA

Colorado

WASHINGTON, DC

FLORIDA

GEORGIA

ILLINOIS

KANSAS

Louisiana

MISSOURI

NEVADA

NEW JERSEY

NEW YORK

OHIO

TEXAS

VIRGINIA

WASHINGTON

dolbycinemaamc_logo_cmyk

Mark your calendars because Disney already announced additional titles that will be shown in Dolby Cinema.  Here’s a list of the upcoming releases:

  • Disney’s Moana, due out November 23, 2016;
  • Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, due out March 17, 2017;
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, due out May 5, 2017;
  • Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, due out May 26, 2017;
  • Disney•Pixar’s Cars 3, due out June 16, 2017.
Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.
Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE..Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

About “Doctor Strange

From Marvel Studios comes “Doctor Strange,” the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing, and hope, in an unlikely place—a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Before long Strange—armed with newly acquired magical powers—is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and the Zealots..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.
Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE..Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and the Zealots..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

My family and I loved Doctor Strange.  I will admit that our eight and nine-year olds were a little scared for a few scenes in the movie.  The opening scene was a bit graphic for them.  I wouldn’t want to spoil it, but it involves a man losing his head.  They don’t actually show it happening, you see it as a shadow, but it was still scary for them.  There were a few more scenes in the movie that also was hard for them to watch.  Despite a few scenes blocking their eyes, my daughter really enjoyed it, and had so much questions after the movie.

I know I’ll be seeing the film a second or even third time, because this movie has a lot of great things to digest.  The visual effects was stunning, and strange at some moments.   At its core the film dealt with Strange looking beyond himself and finding a way to save lives.  He had to open his mind and believe in things he believed was impossible, and when you’re watching you have to open your mind to the impossible.  So much happens in the film and the actors did an amazing job.  Make sure you stay for the mid credits and end credits scenes, so you don’t miss anything.

Doctor Strange is now playing everywhere, this mind-boggling film will have you wondering about the strange happening all around you.  It’s another great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel’s Doctor Strange Movie Ticket Giveaway with #DolbyCinema at AMC #ShareAMC

Marvel’s Doctor Strange Movie Ticket Giveaway with #DolbyCinema at AMC

Next week Doctor Strange is opening in theaters everywhere, and fans are excited about the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I’ve heard great things from fellow bloggers who’ve seen the movie, so I expect it will be great.

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Image Credit – Ashley S of Maryland Momma’s Rambles.

During opening week movie goers can purchase tickets to see Doctor Strange in Dolby Cinema at AMC locations nationwide.  Dolby Cinema at AMC combines the most powerful image and sound technologies with spacious, reserved recliners.

Dolby-Cinema-at-AMC-Prime

Dolby Cinema™ at AMC is a premium cinema offering for moviegoers that makes every visit a completely captivating event. Dolby Cinema at AMC combines spectacular image and sound technologies with inspired design and amazing comfort. Moviegoers will be wowed by Dolby Vision™ laser projection and Dolby Atmos® sound, as well as AMC power reclining seats with seat transducers that vibrate with the action on screen.

Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.
Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE..Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

About “Doctor Strange

From Marvel Studios comes “Doctor Strange,” the story of world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange whose life changes forever after a horrific car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he is forced to look for healing, and hope, in an unlikely place—a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He quickly learns that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying our reality. Before long Strange—armed with newly acquired magical powers—is forced to choose whether to return to his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and the Zealots..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.
Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE..Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) and the Zealots..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

DOCTOR STRANGE opens in Dolby Cinema at AMC theaters everywhere on November 4th! Make sure to sign up to the Dolby Cinema newsletter to stay up to date on all the latest happenings with Dolby Cinema at AMC. Check out the current locations below, as well as theaters opening soon…

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Can you imagine how awesome it would be to see this film in Dolby Cinema?  I for one can’t wait because I know it will only add to our movie going experience.  My family and I had the opportunity to see Finding Dory in Dolby Cinema this summer, and it was such a fun experience.  I love the seating, the sound, the picture quality, and the comfort of the theater.

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Win It: Enter to win one of two family 4-packs of tickets to see DOCTOR STRANGE in Dolby Cinema at AMC Tysons 16 on November 5 at 9:30 AM.  Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. Contiguous US only. This giveaway ends November 2, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  I will contact the winner through email. They will then have 24 hours to respond. If there is no response, I will draw a new winner.

Enter by leaving a comment letting me know who you will take with you to see the film.

Queen of Katwe Director Mira Nair on Filming in her Second Home #QueenOfKatweEvent

Queen of Katwe Director Mira Nair on Filming in her Second Home

Queen of Katwe Director Mira Nair had been living in Kampala, Uganda for 27 years since 1989 after filming Mississippi Marsala.  She started her life, felt in love, gave birth to a son, planted a garden, and even started a film school.  Despite living just 15 minutes away from Phiona Mutesi, she did not know her or her story.  Tendo Nagenda, Executive Vice-President of Production at Disney, while in Uganda on vacation visited Mira and shared Phiona’s story.  After meeting Phiona while she was playing at a competition in New York, Mira knew she wanted to tell her story.

Mira Nair - Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent
Mira Nair – Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent

Mira shared with us her experience of meeting Phiona’s mother Harriet, how they bonded over gardening and the connection they still share.

I asked to meet Harriet and spent a lot of time with Harriet who took me just below where I lived, where she was evicted when her husband died.  We spent the day just going from one place to another where she had been with her four kids, at an abandoned church the veranda of a little vendor stand, a shop somewhere, and finally a little room.

I saw the struggle and her fierceness to keep her family together against absolutely every odds there was, it just was so deeply moving and, great, because she was full of courage and full of pragmatism.  She was not a defeated woman by any means. 

Oscar (TM) winner Lupita Nyong'o is Harriet  and David Oyelowo is Robert Katende in Disney's QUEEN OF KATWE, based on a true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess. Newcomer Madina Nalwanga  also stars in the film, directed by Mira Nair.
Oscar (TM) winner Lupita Nyong’o is Harriet and David Oyelowo is Robert Katende in Disney’s QUEEN OF KATWE, based on a true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess. Newcomer Madina Nalwanga also stars in the film, directed by Mira Nair.

She went on to tell us a story about how she had invited Harriet and Phiona to her house for a dinner she held in honor of her school.  Harriet saw her garden and fell in love, she wanted one of her own and Mira helped her set up her own garden.  The pair remains connected by that garden, because every time a flower blooms Harriet snaps a photo and sends it to Mira.

Director Mira Nair on the set of Disney's QUEEN OF KATWE iwith David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong'o.  The vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, the film also stars newcomer Madina Nalwanga.
Director Mira Nair on the set of Disney’s QUEEN OF KATWE iwith David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o. The vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, the film also stars newcomer Madina Nalwanga.

We asked Mira about the challenges she faced while filming the movie and bringing it to life for audiences all over the world to enjoy.

The most beautiful challenge was to distill the love and familiarity I have with my own home, my adopted home of Uganda, the people, the sassiness, the vibrancy, the style.  Kampala is the center of used clothing in the world to give you an example.  Clothes come in by weight, and there’s that market called Owino where Lupita goes as Harriet to sell her mother’s clothes.  That is the market.  

The great challenge was to capture that sense of what we call in slang in Kampala lifist, somebody who embraces life fully and doesn’t complain about what you don’t have.  If you have half an inch of water, you will wash your hair, you know, and no one will know that you had a struggle.  This the quality of what I live around and this is the quality that I hoped to capture. 

David Oyelowo is Robert Katende and Madina Nalwanga is Phiona Mutesi in Disney's QUEEN OF KATWE, the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess.
David Oyelowo is Robert Katende and Madina Nalwanga is Phiona Mutesi in Disney’s QUEEN OF KATWE, the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess.

The other challenge Mira faced was making chess look visually stunning and captivating.  Personally I think she did a great job at this.  I’ve been wanting to learn more about chess since watching the movie in June.

The other sweet challenge was filming chess.  It’s really a challenge to film chess, because it’s a highly intellectual game.  And it’s about strategy and making moves, and how can I as a visual filmmaker, as a visualist, make chess interesting?  And what we did, these were really truthful games.  They were real games, real moves that Phiona was famous for.  It wasn’t a made-up situation.  So, Sean Bobbitt, our cinematographer, and myself really looked at every game as a unique visual challenge.  

Like we, we filmed every game differently from the other.  And that was a challenge, because there’s only so many things you can do with the chess board.  But how to create chess so that it can be emotional, dramatic, and propulsive, propel the story forward, and yet not bore you to death and satisfying the chess officiandos. 

Mira Nair - Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent
Mira Nair – Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent

We wanted to learn about Mira’s connection with chess prior to filming the movie, if she’s played before and did she had to learn.  Her son was a competitive chess player, so she was very familiar with the sacrifice and travel aspect of the sport.

I was part of the chess circle, but I didn’t really know chess well.  I understood it, but I didn’t really play it.  Phiona Mutesi, the real Phiona, taught me chess  prior to the shooting.  She would just laugh at me, because I was reckless and I would just want to move the piece.  And she would say – ‘Ahhh, Mira, you must consider the other side of the board’.

I wrote it down and said that’s a great line, Phiona.  It’s like a metaphor for the world.  You know,if we all considered the other side of the world it would make life work.  So, I used to write down what she would say and she would say are you focusing on the game or on your film?  I said the film.  [LAUGHS] And I love that she, as a teacher, she was fantastic. 

Mira Nair - Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent
Mira Nair – Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent

The colors and fashion in the movie is amazing, so we asked about working with the costume designer and what was used as inspiration for costumes.

the vibrancy of the style is something I have loved as long as I’ve  lived there because it’s about really having a sense of smartness.  I used to have a great nanny.  She is like my younger sister, she really helped me raise my son.  And every time we would fly  when he was a little boy, every time we would go on a plane, she would want him to put him in a three-piece suit.

And I would say, please let the track pants stay on.  Let him be comfortable.  We worked with a great costume designer, Mobolaji Dawodu.  He’s Nigerian-American, he made this ravishing film called Mother of George.  I had seen his work and it was about this Nigerian family in Brooklyn.  And the way he shot and styled our African clothing, like kitenge is what it’s called.  Our very vividly patterned fabric.

Really my fish seller was wearing a genuine Busuuti dress with the kitenge wrap on it.  So, Lupita’s clothing is not like made ’cause she’s a movie star or anything.  This is how it is there, because all our clothing, the costumes in our film, all came from Owino, the actual second-hand market. We really did not have or need a big budget for this. 

Mira Nair - Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent
Mira Nair – Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent

We asked about the casting since, Mira did such an amazing job with casting the actors for this film.  She stated that she likes working with non-actors.  It’s something she’s done since her first film Salaam Bombay!

I always work a lot with non-actors, people who have never faced the camera before, opposite legends like Denzel Washington or in this case Lupita and David.  That kind of alchemy between the sort of purity and lack of artifice of a child actor, not even an actor opposite you know, a legend who has a lot of tricks to their trade and all those tricks kinda have to drop off when you’re faced with the purity and kinda freshness of a kid, especially a kid who comes from the same streets as the story that you’re filming.

So, for me it was always critical that we don’t go too far afield to find our children.  All our kids came from Katwe or Chibuli, which is the neighboring community right cross the street from Katwe.  All our kids have come from there.

Madina Nalwanga is Phiona Mutesi in Disney's QUEEN OF KATWE, the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess. David Oyelowo and Oscar (TM) Lupita Nyong'o also star in the film, directed by Mira Nair.
Madina Nalwanga is Phiona Mutesi in Disney’s QUEEN OF KATWE, the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess. David Oyelowo and Oscar (TM) Lupita Nyong’o also star in the film, directed by Mira Nair.

And we started of course, for Phiona.  I saw 700 girls from July, like six months prior to the shooting, mostly in Uganda but also in Kampala, in Kenya and in England, but I was sure that we would find her in Uganda, but it was tough, because this is the role that carries the whole film.  I had a couple options, one girl the girl who plays the Kenya champion.  She was the finalist of Phiona.  But, you know, to be honest, I was not in love.

So, in January, six months after seeing so many girls, my very close friend, Dinaz Stafford, who’s the casting director and my son who was her associate, he led her on the streets on the Chibuli, like Katwe, to a little dance company where young kids learn traditional African dancing and perform in hotels on Sunday nights.

They went into this rehearsal and they filmed Madina in rehearsal sweating and smiling.  And they came to dinner, they came home and she said, Mama, I have somebody another possible Phiona.  And I just kinda rolled my eyes and thought, oh, my God. Aghhh.   And then they showed me the film, and she was magnetic.  But I still put her through the ringer for like three weeks of testing and learning to play chess.

Mira Nair - Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent
Mira Nair – Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent

Lastly we asked about the impact filming in Uganda had on the people in Kampala and Katwe.  She was quick to share about the work she has done and continues to do in Kampala.

One is because it is my home.  That is where I live.  I’m not gonna run away.  We have been doing several things.  One is we ran a green set, an ecological set, which is unheard of there, because plastic is so awful.  So we turned everything into a recycled sort of heaven. We also worked with the community of Katwe.  We called it the Legacy Project while we were shooting, which is all shot in Katwe and the real places anyway to ask what the community needed.

And it was decided with the elders of the community that toilets, public toilets were the big thing.  So, we have a project with Disney to build a whole series of public toilets in Katwe, just a small example.  But then recently they had just purchased land and a building in Katwe to house permanently the Chess Academy.  And then we have a educational fund for all the pioneers in the film to attend university.

Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent
Photo Credit: Carol Jones of All Mommy Wants for #QueenOfKatweEvent

After the interview we had the opportunity to take a photo with Mira, after we had the photo taken I told her how much I love the film and how beautiful it was.  She held my hand and thanked me for the compliment and for helping spread the word about the movie.  She reminded me how important it was for us to tell our story and praised us for being women pioneers.  It was such a touching and heart warming experience.  Once that I’ll never forget.  After photos she walked out the room, telling us to slay the red carpet and gave a final chant saying – Woman Power!

QueenOfKatwePoster

The Queen of Katwe is now playing in limited theaters, and opens everywhere tomorrow, September 30th.

“Queen of Katwe” is based on the vibrant true story of a young girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.

To learn more about the Queen of Katwe visit the website, Facebook, and Twitter.  Remember the movie opens everywhere on September 30th.

WHO ARE YOU PLANNING ON TAKING TO SEE THE QUEEN OF KATWE?  TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.

5 Tips for Planning a Family Road Trip on a Budget

5 Tips for Planning a Family Road Trip on a Budget

Travel can become quite expensive for our family of six, and due to the costs, we can’t just travel when we feel like it. We plan all our trips in advance and look for the best ways to save money when we’re traveling. If you’re planning a trip and looking for ways to save cash, here are five tips for planning a family road trip on a budget.

My family on trip

Pick the Right Travel Times

In the travel industry there are always generous savings during the off-season. Once you’ve narrowed down your options for where you plan to travel, look for the off-season deals. Hotels offer deep discounts when peak travel season has passed in some of the most popular areas. Local stores and restaurants also offer discounts once peak travel times have past to help entice travelers to the area.

Find A Good Hotel Deal

Almost all of my travel plans start with finding a good hotel deal. I recommend looking for rooms online first, the rates online are usually better than they are when you contact the hotel directly. It’s also wise to use a hotel deals website to check for the best rates. While on those sites, read the customer reviews to help you pick the best option for your family.

Plan Attractions & Activities

Save on attractions and activities by planning ahead of time. Look for special deals and offers during the dates you travel. Theme parks like Hersheypark and Kings Dominion offers discount coupons online via their social media channels as well as on flyers in local supermarkets and even on soda cans. Contact the visitors center for the area you plan to visit for special offers on popular attractions.

Find the Right Rental Car Deal

Getting a good deal on your rental car could really help you save on trip. Start on car rental deals websites to compare all the available offers. Check to see who has the best options and make sure you’re familiar with their rental agreements. Airport pick-up locations tend to have the best deals for renters, but they often require a credit card deposit for rentals. Budget Rent-A-Car is one of our favorite choices, they offer Fast Track checkout for regular customers and additional discounts for repeat customers.

Plan Meal Options

Food can put a big hole in your travel budget. Eating out while traveling can slowly add up, especially if you have a large family like mine. We always book hotel rooms with a refrigerator and microwave, and it’s a bonus when we can find a suite. Find the closest Walmart or supermarket and purchase breakfast bars, cereal, snacks, beverages, water, and quick meal options. Check for dining specials at area restaurants that offer free kids’ meals or discounts on certain days.

There are lots of ways to save money when planning a road trip; these are just a few tips to help you keep money in your pocket for other things. With proper planning and research it’s possible to have an amazing trip on a budget.

Five Reasons the Kia Sedona Is Perfect for Big Families #DriveKia #DriveShop

Five Reasons the Kia Sedona Is Perfect for Big Families

Last month my family and I had the opportunity to test drive the 2016 Kia Sedona SXL for a week thanks to Drive Shop and Kia.  It wasn’t our first time with the Sedona and it was just as amazing as it was the first time we drove it around town.  We have a big family, it’s six of us, so we need a lot of space, dependability, and style and that’s just what the Kia Sedona delivers and so much more.  I wanted to share with my readers five reasons the Kia Sedona is perfect for big families like mines.

2016 Kia Sedona

Whenever we’re driving in the Sedona people always admire the car, our family and friends shared lots of compliments about the car when we were around them in the car and it was perfect for everything we did the week we had it.

1. It’s Great for Road Trips

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The 2016 Kia Sedona SXL is perfect for road trips with big families because everyone gets to have their own space.  We loved that the car had captain chairs in the middle rows for the older kids and two car seats fit perfectly in the back row for our two younger kids.  Kia must have considered road trips when designing the car since it averages 22 MPG on the highway.  My husband was able to get to and from work for a week and we traveled to Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster, PA with one tank of gas.

2. It Has Lots of Space

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Traveling with six people can be very tricky.  While most cars have lots of internal space for it’s passengers they usually achieve it by skimping on trunk space. That’s not the case with the Kia Sedona SXL.  It had more than enough space for all six of us to relax comfortably and trunk space to fit suitcases for six when we were traveling or groceries for two weeks for our family of six with lots of space to spare.  The Sedona offers a very deep trunk so you can really stack and pile your belongings into the car.

3. It’s Built for a Comfortable Ride

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Kia Sorento (28)

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I don’t get to enjoy my favorite feature of the Kia Sedona often but when I do it’s the best place to sit in the car.  Even better there are two spots like it.  The lounge seating in the second row is heaven and it’s perfect for stretching out and relaxing on your rides, whether it’s long or short.  Whenever we have the Sedona I love when I get to sit in one of those seats and ride around with my feet up.  My husband always brags about how much his co-workers ride with him on their lunch break, just to sit in the lounge seats.  There’s even built in screens you can pull down to block out the sun for even more comfort.  The driver and front passenger seats both feature heated and vented seats for staying warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  This particular model even had a heated steering wheel.

4. Top Safety Features

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When we put our children in any car, their safety is our first concern.  Starting with proper anchors for latching our car seats securely in the car to brakes and air bags, Kia has always impressed us with their safety features.  This model has full length side curtain airbags giving us some added peace of mind in case of the unthinkable. Brake assist and traction control helps when we have to drive in the rain or on sleek roads in Baltimore.  I’ve been impressed with the headlights when we have to do night driving because it offers such a clear path of vision so we can always see what’s coming up in front of us.  Lane departure warning also helps make sure you safely switch lanes.  Simply put when we step into this car it felt like we were in a bubble of protection.

5. Lots of Great Upgrades to Choose From

 

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When shopping for your new car there are so many things to consider.  When we were shopping for our last car we needed to find something with entertainment options for the kids, we were lucky to find our mini-van with a television installed.  Our loaner Kia Sedona was the top of the line model with all the bell and whistles.  You can choose to add those features to the car or stick with the standard version.  The 2016 Kia Sedona has a MSRP of $39,900, and you can add the extra features like the ones in the model we test drove and that MSRP for that car is $43,795.

Bonus Likes:

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With four kids and two adults we need a lot of charging ports in the car, and the Kia Sedona delivers on that to the max.  In addition to the charging ports in the front there are also spots in the middle and rear rows of the car so everyone can be connected.

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Cup holders don’t seem like a big deal but when you have a big family you need to have a lot in the car for long trips.  The Sedona had lots and lots of cup holders for our family.  Making it perfect for when we’re all in the car traveling together.

Finally I can’t end without adding the fabulous Kia warranty.  The Kia 10-year/100,000 mile warranty program* consists of: 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty. 5-year/60,000 mile limited basic warranty. 5-year/100,000 mile limited anti-perforation warranty.  To learn more about the 2016 Kia Sedona and all their other cars visit their website www.kia.com.

Fun Times for Young Kids at Dutch Wonderland #DutchWonderland #Travel

Fun Times for Young Kids at Dutch Wonderland

My family and I have visited Lancaster, PA quite a few times in the past, we’ve driven past Dutch Wonderland many times but had never made real plans to visit.  Recently the park reached out to me about visiting with my family and I knew it would be a great summer adventure for the family.

dutch wonderland

We jumped into the 2016 Kia Sedona we were driving that week thanks to Drive Shop and Kia.  It was perfect for road tripping to Lancaster.  One of the first things I immediately loved about Dutch Wonderland is the parking price.  General parking was just $5, which is very affordable compared to other parks we’ve visited.  They also offer a preferred parking option for families looking to park closer to the park.

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The walk wasn’t that far away for us so we choose the cheaper parking and got started with our short walk over to the entrance of the park.

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While walking to the entrance we found this poster about the drink cups at Dutch Wonderland.  We love these cups because it’s cheaper if you plan to have more than one drink per visit.  We got the kids toddler cups because it was cheaper and they didn’t need the really big cups.  Since we have four children we paid about $20 with taxes for drink cups for the kids.  Even if we don’t make it back to the park ever they can still use them at home.

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Our selfie game was not on fleek.  LOL, we failed at trying to take one of the family walking across the parking lot into the park.

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Once you clear the entrance area, you walk right through the gift shop area and head to the ticketing area.  After picking up our tickets we headed into the park.  We started with getting the kids measured up to make sure we knew what rides they could ride at the park.

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Dutch Wonderland is truly a kids park so they make sure to cater to their consumer base.  There are rides for families, but there is a nice amount for younger children.  Most of the rides even our two year old could ride with an adult.  Some rides required an adult for the older kids as well.  There is also a water park area at Dutch Wonderland.

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Our first stop was the Wonderland Special Train. It’s right at the entrance of the park so it was easy to hop in the short line and wait.  It’s a great way to spy a large portion of the park and see what rides you want to tackle for the day.

Next we tried a flying ride called Kite Flight.  The older kids were excited about riding and then our five-year old wanted to ride it.  I wasn’t sure how he would do with his Autism.  He was scared a little, so I held his hand and he started to laugh and enjoy the ride.  He kept his eyes close but he loved it enough to want to ride a second time.

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We took a relaxing ride on the Monorail since it’s one or our favorite rides.  It’s another great way to see the park and rides you plan to ride.  That’s how we found a few of the water rides we choose that day.

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Sky Ride is a fun way to catch a one way ride from the front to the back of park or vice versa.  We couldn’t do it because we had our youngest in a stroller but it’s a great way to get some one section to the other in the park.

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Snapped this while riding the train

We didn’t catch any Dutch Wonderland shows while visiting the park, however new this year the park unveiled two live shows hosted by the characters.  When the park closes at 8:30 PM you can visit Celebration Theatre for Princess Brooke’s Kingdom Celebration.  A Royal Fiasco takes place daily at 12:30, 2:30, and 6:30 PM, this interactive show is a great way to meet some of your favorite Dutch Wonderland Characters.

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I know the fake horse may be confusing however Dutch Wonderland does offer actual Pony Rides for kids in the park.  It does has an additional fee that’s not included in your admission price into the park.

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Dutch Wonderland also offers quite a few game for kids and adults to enjoy as well.  I recommend checking out a games package at the front gate to save on games if you’re visiting with your family.  It’s cheaper to buy the package instead of paying for individual games.

We had so much fun visiting Exploration Island where there are over 20 lifelike dinosaurs.  We walked around the area learning about several different dinosaurs.  One even had an interactive console for kids to move the dinosaur on their own.  My five year old loved getting in the egg and popping his head out of the top.

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I had to share a photo of our son JB on the Frog Hopper, he was scared at first but ended up riding four times and didn’t want to leave.  Traveling with a special needs child can be challenging, and I’m happy to report that Dutch Wonderland was perfect for him.  He loved the rides, and really enjoyed himself.  The park wasn’t overwhelming for him, and the crowds were minimal.

We took a ride on the Tug Boat around the back half of the park. It was a great way to enjoy the scenery around the park and see some of Lancaster.  It was very beautiful to see the surroundings of the park.

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One of our favorite rides of the day was the Double Splash Flume.  It was the longest line we stood in to ride a ride the entire time we were in the park.  The whole family rode and we enjoyed it, even our two year old loved it.  You do get a little wet but we quickly dried off.

Dutch-Wonderland

Save from now until September 2, 2016 when visiting Dutch Wonderland by using my coupon code.  Tickets include admission into Dutch Wonderland and Duke’s Lagoon, and are good for any day during the regular 2016 operating season. DISCOUNT: Save up to $7 on One Day Admission Tickets:

  • Gate price: $40.99
  • Discounted price – 7 Days in advance: $33.99
  • Discounted price – 4 Days in advance: $36.99

Visit my special Dutch Wonderland savings page to take advantage of this special discount offer or use coupon code NickisRandomMusingsBlog16.

GET SOCIAL WITH DUTCH WONDERLAND

Facebook – www.facebook.com/DutchWonderlandPA

Twitter – www.twitter.com/FunatDW

Instagram – @DutchWonderland

Samsung Mobile Gifts Perfect for Father’s Day #ad #GearVR @BestBuy @SamsungMobileUS

Samsung Mobile Gifts Perfect for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is right around the corner, and if you’re looking for a great gift idea for a special dad in your life, then check out Samsung Mobile options from Best Buy.  My father is a huge techie, but my husband on the other hand just wants durable products that works great.  They are both however Samsung fans, they’ve been using their products for years and the new offers available from Best Buy is the perfect reason to get them upgraded just in time for Father’s Day.

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Experience virtual reality anywhere with the Gear VR from Samsung.  You can be at the center of exciting games, watch the best of Hollywood in your own private cinema, socialize with friends, and so much more.  The Samsung Gear VR drops you right in the action — and it’s only from Samsung and Oculus.  With the Oculus Video app, you can customize trailers, clips and even your own movie files. Customize your virtual environment — choose from a home theater, big-screen cinema or even the surface of the moon. Plus you can buy hundreds of full-length Hollywood movies and TV shows.  Live stream your favorite games, short films and video clips in a virtual theater setting. With full access to more than 1 million Vimeo videos and Twitch, a leading video platform and community for gamers, there’s always something new to experience.

Just in time for Father’s Day, Best Buy has an outstanding offer for shoppers.  For a limited time shoppers get a free Samsung Gear VR, plus $50 of Virtual Reality content with purchase, or lease, and activation of select Samsung Smartphones.  Offer valid from June 5th through June 18th, 2016.  Hurry to your closest Best Buy store today to take advantage of this amazing offer.

New TMNT Out of the Shadows Trailer

New TMNT Out of the Shadows Trailer

Check out Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael in the new trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows!

My son is so excited for this movie he’s planning his birthday party around the release of the film, well I’m planning the party.  He’s been excited since he saw the poster and we plan to be there opening weekend to celebrate his birthday and the new movie.

tmnt movie poster

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS is in-theaters June 3, 2016! #TMNT2
Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael return to theaters this summer to battle bigger, badder villains, alongsideApril O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). After supervillain Shredder escapes custody, he joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly), to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.

 

Lego Friends Girls Life DVD Giveaway

Lego Friends Girls Life DVD Giveaway

It’s a new year and I have a great giveaway to get the new year started off right.  If you’re looking to get a head start on your birthday gifts of holiday gift stock pile this is a great giveaway.

**Warner Bros. Home Video provided me with some of the materials I used in this Blog Post/Giveaway. The opinions I share are my own.**

lego friends

The new movie, LEGO® FRIENDS: GIRLZ 4 LIFE, is all about friendship, trusting yourself and standing up for what’s right no matter what the cost. All set to an awesome rock soundtrack you’re going to love! Join Olivia, Stephanie, Emma, Mia and Andrea as they learn that fame isn’t important, it’s your friends that count!

LEGO® FRIENDS: GIRLZ 4 LIFE brings to life (in animated form) the LEGO construction based toy LEGO® Friends. LEGO ® Friends invites girls into a universe, Heartlake city, and inspires them to use their imagination to build and role play their own stories with fun-loving relatable characters.

About Lego Friends: Girlz 4 Life

True Friendship in the Glamorous World of Pop!

Join Olivia, Stephanie, Emma, Mia and Andrea, as they learn about friendship, fame and pop star fun in Heartlake City.

The girls’ friendships are tested when mega pop star Livi comes to Heartlake City. When our friends’ hit song “Girlz” is stolen by Livi’s manager, it’s time for a cunning plan.

As the girls try to tell Livi the truth about her latest hit single, they all learn that fame isn’t everything and sometimes friendship is the most precious thing in the world.

Own LEGO® FRIENDS: GIRLZ 4 LIFE on digital HD 1/19 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD 2/2

Also be sure to visit the official L2M website to stay updated with all things L2M!

The giveaway is open to US residents 18 and older. Ends Janurary 30th, 2016. To enter comment below telling me who you want to win this prize for.

Giveaway Guidelines:

Each household is only eligible to win LEGO FRIENDS: Girlz 4 Life Blu-ray via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

The prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS. No P.O. Boxes please. Please note that the assets included within this message were delivered to you to promote Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Any actions (including contest and competitions) that you complete with the provided assets are your liability, and should comply with both local and international laws. Also, please remember to disclose that you are working with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, or that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment supplied these materials to you if required by local law.

New Jungle Book Poster

New Jungle Book Poster

Last year Disney created a live action Cinderella film and this year they are at it again with The Jungle Book.  Check out the new poster from the movie below

The Jungle Book Poster

Directed by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong’o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. “The Jungle Book” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. The wild adventure swings into theaters in 3D on April 15, 2016.

For more information, check out Disney.com/thejunglebooklike us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyJungleBook, and follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thejunglebookand Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/disneythejunglebook/.

Jungle Book Trailer

Helping My Son Understand Life Through Reading

Peanut's Mistake Pumpkinheads Book

Helping My Son Understand Life Through Reading

If you’ve been to my blog before you probably know about my son’s Autism diagnosis.  If this is your first time I invite you to read about our journey so far.  My son is four years old, he’s in a special program for Special Needs Children since he’s non-verbal he needs more attention than regular kids would need in school.  This year we have looking for ways to him that’s outside the box.  We’ve found ways of helping him understand life through reading.

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What Are Pumpkinheads?

Pumpkinheads focuses an inclusive approach to child development with the book series teaching valuable moral and emotional lessons such as learning from mistakes; embracing racial diversity; exploring imagination; developing resilience, and expressing kindness. In addition to the books, the company also features free educational worksheets, videos, games, an early childhood education digital magazine, and app. 

Racially diverse, the seven Pumpkinheads characters, Lulu; Carmin; Danza; Ella; Sage; Xavy and Cameron are the ideal role models for young children. Each has their own unique personality allowing children to engage and connect with them in multiple ways. 

PeanutHC_Cover

The folks at Pumpkinheads sent my family their two newest books Peanut’s Mistake and Imagine for review.  We loved both books but my favorite was Peanut’s Mistake.  I love how this story helps me talk to my son through the story about making mistakes.  Having a child with autism can be very challenging and when you add in the fact that he’s non-verbal to the mix it makes for even more challenging.  Autism parents like myself depend on stories to help our children understand better.  Using this book I was able to talk to my son about the ‘mistakes’ he makes around the house, and why it’s important for him to clean up after himself.

Imagine Pumpkinheads book

Imagine touches on using your imagination.  It’s a great book for kids, however it wasn’t one my son was able to grasp yet.  My niece on the other hand understood this book much better.  I like that it helps encourage them to be anything they aspire to be in life.

These books have won the Parent Tested Parent Approved seal of approval along with a few other awards.  They are beautifully illustrated and are great gifts for kids ages 2-6 years old.  Priced at $10.95 per book, they are very affordable gift options for any special occasion.  I highly recommend adding them to children’s bookshelves.  To learn more about these award winning books visit the Pumpkinheads website.