Welcoming Spring with Julius Jr.

The snow has finally thawed and Spring is starting—just barely—to sprout.  We’re anxiously waiting for warmer weather so we can enjoy the playground again, but until then, we’re keeping busy with crafts and games.

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For March, Saban sent us a fun outdoor-themed packaged with Julius Jr. in mind.  In order to get ready for spring, they sent us some fun activity sheets, which were created  in partnership with the Center for Childhood Creativity.  The activities highlight the CCC’s overall goal with Julius Jr.’s themes of adventure active play, imagination and imagination. Parents, caregivers and teachers can access these materials on the Center for Childhood Creativity’s website or pick them up when visiting San Francisco’s Bay Area Discovery Museum.

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Sadly, it’s either been way too cold for us to all of these activities, but we’ve tried a few when we had a reprieve in the weather.  The Nature Hunt, which is something that both the toddler and six year can participate in, is a prefect way to rediscover nature after our brutal winter.  The best part, though, is watching the toddler collect items or discover items he’s not familiar with!

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And of course, to go along with the fun activity sheets, the boys got their own tumblers to help us stay hydrated outside.  Crossing fingers for more sunshine and warmth and playground. 

Julius Jr. can be seen on Nick Jr. on weekdays at 5 and Sundays at 10am.

Full disclosure: as a Saban brand ambassador, I received products to provide content for this post.

7 Reasons That Make Disney’s Pirate Fairy Magical

By combining mystical fairies and scheming pirates, Disney has created yet another enchanting tale with their latest release, The Pirate Fairy.  The Pirate Fairy follows a beleaguered dust-keeper fairy, Zarina, whose curiosity lands her in a tough predicament.  When Zarina finds herself in trouble after disobeying rules, she flees Pixie Hollow and joins forces with the pirates of Skull Rock. 

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In her new domain with the pirates, Zarina becomes Captain of the ship.  Her adventure as Captain lead her back to Pixie Hollow, as she goes tete à tete with the fairies.  But when schemes go awry, pirates will be pirates, but will fairies come through in the end?

 

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Just before the Pirate Fairy’s release, together with a number of bloggers, I was invited to an intimate lunch with producer, Jenni Magee-Cook, where I learned so many fun facts about the new movie.

 

7 Reasons That Make Disney’s Pirate Fairy Magical

 

1. Pixie Dust

It’s all about the pixie dust.  Any glorious tale about fairies must include gratuitous amounts of pixie dust.  And in true Disney form, Pirate Fairy does not disappoint with plenty of pixie dust.  The Pirate Fairy follows the main character, Zarina’s, curiosity and fervor for pixie dust.  Ultimately, the dust keeps the pixies afloat—literally!

 

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2.  Pirates

Who doesn’t love a hearty band of pirates?  In Pirate Fairy, we meet a colorful cast, but it’s one pirate in particular that made us smile. 

 

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The sly cabin boy, James, caught our eye, but most importantly, he gave us a glimpse of the young Captain Hook.  It was big boss John Lasseter who influenced this latest Fairy Tale.  In a meeting as described by the producer Jenni Magee-Cook, all the creative storytellers were in a meeting discussing the latest story for Pixie Hollow, when Lasseter joined.  Minutes before having to leave for another meeting, in a quiet room, Lasseter yells  out “Pirates!!”  And from there, Pirate Fairy was born.

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3.  Stars Aligned

Speaking of James, The Avengers’ Tom Hiddleston voiced our now-infamous cabin boy.  From Mae Whitman’s Tinker Bell to Christina Hendrick’s Zarina to Carlos Ponce’s Bonito, the voice talent was plentiful in The Pirate Fairy.  Not only were the celebs voicing the magical characters, they were also dressing them too.  

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4.  Fashion 

Christian Siriano of Project Runway fame and known for his whimsical and show-stopping designs, consulted with the filmmakers at Disneytoon Studios on Zarina’s pirate fairy costume.  It was all about those boots!  They were fierce, to say the least!  According to producer Jenni Magee-Cook, said Siriano was tapped to incorporate high fashion, rather than a regular costume.  Zarina’s eye-catching ensemble certainly shows for the Project Runway influence.

 

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5.  Crocky

Disney is so great at creating fluid storylines, and that goes for Pirate Fairy and familiar faces.  Because there are several overlapping themes and characters from Neverland, it’s no surprise we get to see a baby Tick Tock Crock, Captain Hook’s nemesis from Peter Pan and also seen in Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  In Pirate Fairy, a baby Crocky can be seen dawdling as cute baby crocs do.

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6.  Neverland

Neverland is known as a mystical place where no one ever grows up.  As the backdrop to Pixie Hollow AND Peter Pan and friends, it’s interesting to see how the landscape aids in the storyline.  Not only has Neverland captivated generations past, it continues to engage wonder with kids now in Jake’s stories, as well as Disney’s latest, The Pirate Fairy.

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7. True Friends Triumph

The storyline follows Zarina’s quest from dust keeper to pirate, and her struggle with authority.  Will Zarina’s  stubborn ways lead or astray forever? or will true friendship and forgiveness triumph.  In Disney fashion, I think you know the answer to that question.

 

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Demo and Review: The Happy’s from Cepia

Coincidentally, Pharrell’s song, “Happy,” has created an ongoing movement, but it’s these new toys from Cepia that’s making us move!

 

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The Happy’s are an adorable line of novelty plush that are motorized, so it’s as if these pets come to life and can play with you.  By incorporating IR technology, The Happy’s can perform tricks, make crazy noises, will play with you or explore independently. If you guys watch a bunch of tv like us, you’ve likely seen their commercial already!

 

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At Toy Fair earlier this year, I had a chance to listen in on a demo from Cepia executives.  We watched the pets perform tricks, chase their balls, scoot in cars, but the best is when they explore and snuggle up to unsuspecting toes.  The dogs, which varied in colors, scooted along the hard wood floor, and chased the interactive treats and toys.  According to the makers, tricks include follow me, chase a ball, pounce, chasing tail, beg, wiggle and dance.  So, minus the batteries and neediness, it’s almost like have just the fun of a real dog!

 

My toddler and six year old had a great time chasing our puppy around the living room.  Though, I found that the pup had a much better time navigating on the hardwood floor, rather than on the area rug.  The toddler had a much harder time understanding the Happy Treat and how to play with The Happy’s, but he did love it when it chased him.  My six year old, who fits in the target demo, loved the idea of The Happy’s but, quite frankly, wanted more from him.  He would’ve liked to be able to train it or teach it some tricks.  Nevertheless, he loves the idea of getting another few of The Happy’s and the cool skateboard and car!

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The cute plush, with its interactive features make The Happy’s a fun toy for young grade schoolers.  What I really love is that its gender neutral and even encourages group play. The Happy’s, which are available now, would make a super cute alternative to candy for those Easter baskets!

 

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In addition to the original four of The Happy’s, these accessories and play sets are available now:

Chase and Play

Ride-on Accessories

Fashion Carrier and Scarf

Deluxe Bed & Blanket

 

Rockin’ Playground

Agility Training Set

 

Full disclosure:  This is a sponsored post and I did receive samples to review the product.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Hosting a #DisneySide Playdate

After such a brutal winter cooped up indoors, not only for the crazy weather, but also because of the kid’s ongoing medical issues, we were more than happy to host our friends over for a #DisneySide playdate.  

Thanks to the generous party pack provided by Disney, we were decked out with supplies to entertain and enjoy.  It doesn’t take much for me to get excited about parties, but when it involves Mickey-shaped food, I’m all in.  From Mickey chicken to Mickey-shaped fruit, we were totally in magic mode.

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Since we had an after school soiree, the boys played Disney Infinity while the girls did Disney-inspired crafts.  

Untitled Because we’re all about Frozen, we did a fun Olaf project.   After we cut up the Olaf printable, we connected him at the joints with brads and then sang all about summerrrr!

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Thanks to Hanes, we broke out the fabric markers and decorated our own t-shirts.  Everyone’s shirts were beautiful, but Jack’s Spidey-themed tee was one of the faves. Even our littlest guy designed his very own tee!

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From primary colored decor to the awesome HP photo paper to print our favorite photos, our playdate was Disney-fied through and through.  And after so many not-so-easy days this winter, a little magic is just what the doctor ordered.

 

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For more ideas on how to post your own DisneySide party, check out Spoonful.com, DisneySide and DisneySide Celebrations. Thank you to Disney and MomSelect for including us in the #DisneySide Party initiative.  Samples were provided, but all opinions on NKT are my own.

#PurpleDay is Every Day

Every day is #PurpleDay around here.  As much as I loved seeing beautiful purple blouses and cool posters all in the name of epilepsy awareness, I didn’t see too much of the awareness being backed up.  With that in mind, I spent yesterday researching and putting together some information that I felt was missing on my Newsfeed.

In true Jen fashion, I researched and created my own epilepsy awareness info graphic that highlights some stats, different kinds of seizures and most importantly, seizure first aid.

As many of you already know, my younger guy was diagnosed with epilepsy at just four months old.  Since then, epilepsy has turned our world upside down.  With much thanks to excellent resources, support and the best medical care, this isn’t anything we can’t handle.

This is the face of epilepsy.

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J has frontal lobe epilepsy that is controlled by a cocktail of anti-seizure meds.  Epilepsy is an evil, but silent condition that, for us, can be maintained with medication and frequent medical care. Like many people who have epilepsy, my guy’s seizures are kept at bay when medicine levels are managed and triggers are monitored.

Unfortunately, breakthrough seizures can happen at any time.  So, it’s my hope to share seizure first aid with any and everyone, not just for my guy, but for the kid down the street, the student in school or even the stranger on the train platform.

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My most important recommendation, should you come in contact with anyone who has a seizure:  remain calm.  I can’t stress this enough.  As terrifying as a tonic-clonic seizure may look, time is of the essence.  Make sure the person is safe, their airway is clear and bystanders are gawking from a distance.  1-3 minutes for a seizure is typical, and trust me, it feels like a lifetime.

Never ever put anything into a person’s mouth during a seizure.  Move any harmful objects, cushion their head if they’re on the ground and don’t restrain them.

I wanted to spread more awareness, so I created this. I know I can’t be with my kid 24-7, so it’s my hope that with awareness, he’d receive proper attention. With that, please share and spread this info!

P.s. not sure why #9 got cut off, but it appears just fine in the original version. Just click here.

TinkerBell Flutterbye Fairies to Fly onto Shelves

Today, I’m heading to a media event where I’ll get to meet, and perhaps, interview the producer for the new Disney straight to DVD movie, Pirate Fairy.  I’ll have more about this cool flick, but in the meantime, I have fairies on my mind.

So, in honor of the stars of Pirate Fairy, I thought I’d highlight one of Spinmaster’s hottest toys: Flutterbye Fairies.  One of Christmas’ must-have toys, Flutterbye Fairies is set to add a few more fabulous flying friends.  Set to launch this Spring, TinkerBell is just one of the newest fairies to join this cool new line of toys.

 

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Like her fellow Flutterbye Fairy friends, TinkerBell will be able to dance, fly and flutter with the same kid-navigated technology.  The ability to control her flight path by simply hovering your hand underneath the doll is simply amazing!  Tink launches from her display stand and stops with the push of a button. In true Tink fashion, the TinkerBell Flutterbye features that signature green dress with a dash of pixie dust.

 

Flutterbye Fairies Magically Flying Tnkerbell Pkg MSRP $34 99 copy

For TinkerBell Fans, this new addition to the Flutterbye Fairies line is a magical move. TinkerBell Flutterbye Fairy from Spinmaster launches this Spring and will retail for $39.99

 

Want to hear more about Pirate Fairy, which is set to release on April 1?  Check out the extended sneak peek to see what the Fairies are up to in Pirate Fairy.

 

 

Kardashian Kids Debuts at Babies ‘R Us

Kim and Kanye may be making waves after their recent Vogue cover reveal; however, we’re totally focused on Kardashian Kids, a new baby girl (k)collection featuring sparkly, animal print and ruffly motifs.

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Now available at select Babies ‘R Us, Kardashian Kids, a collaboration with Jupi Corp, is the latest brand extension for the reality family and first foray into their own children’s clothing line.  Kourtney used her own daughter, Penelope, as the inspiration for this first collection. With cream and gold as the dominant color scheme, butterflies, stars, and of course, animal print round out the Kardashian take on “affordable high fashion” for babies.  

“Since becoming a mom, I’ve been so inspired to create Kardashian Kids with perfect prints, heavenly fabrics for a baby’s skin and to bring fashion to the baby world that is affordable,” said Kourtney, mother of Mason and Penelope.

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Kardashian Kids line includes baby essentials such as onesies, caps, blankets, as well as two-piece sets, jackets and dresses in sizes ranging from newborn to 24months. Prices for the new baby line range from $15-30. Here’s a look at a few of the new pieces:

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Kourtney, who was said to lead the way for Kardashian Kids, is hosting a blogger event with Babies ‘R Us.  I had to decline because of my schedule, but am definitely interested to see how this line does.  I know quite a few people who like the Kardashian line for women at Sears, so I’d like to see if this gets the same response.  My first impression, though, it seems pricey for being dubbed “affordable.”  Looks like some people who submitted reviews over at BRU feel the same.  

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The pieces are absolutely adorable, and much more subdued than what I was picturing.  Though not practical for everyday outings, these outfits look ideal for Easter gatherings and such.   Also, I would have liked to see boys clothes included in the collection.  Obviously, I’m a boy mom and personally love boys clothes; but I love the way Kourtney dresses her son, Mason, so I’m bummed that boys clothes didn’t make it into Kardashian Kids from the start.

What about you, mommas?  Would you invest in the new Kardashian Kids?

Review: Muppets Most Wanted

Kermit and the gang are together again, and this time they’re taking Europe by storm in Muppets Most Wanted.  Kermit, the Muppets’ effervescent leader, isn’t as excited about the world tour as proposed by Ricky Gervais’ Dominic Badguy (pronounced Bad-gee).  After much coercing, Kermit reluctantly agrees to the group’s urging and lets Dominic lead the way for a European world tour, which is really a coverup for a complex jewel heist.

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When Kermit goes on a walk, Dominic, together with his boss, Constantine, hatch a plan where a case of mistaken identity lands Kermit in a gulag in Siberia and his criminal look alike as the lead of the muppets.  The rest of the movie follows the complex scheme between Dominic and Constantine around Europe with intermittent sketches of the Muppets.  

 

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To help investigate the burglaries and jewel heist, Ty Burrell steps in as Interpol and goes head to head with the Eagle.  Jokes are aplenty between these two, as Burrell does a great job as a silly top cop.

 

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Over at the gulag, Kermit’s mistaken identity has him holed up with hard criminals like Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo.  Trejo fit well in this role and was immediately recognized by my six year old: “Hey, it’s Machete from Spy Kids!”  It was Tina Fey who commanded the most laughs in her role as the tough warden who has a secretive crush on Kermie.  Fey’s first song was my favorite, and was the best attempt at showcasing her true talent.  I could’ve used much more Tina and whole lot less Ricky Gervais.  

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During the world tour, I appreciated all of the star cameos with stars such as Christophe Waltz and Selma Hayek.  Even better, I loved the typical Muppet comedy and gratuitous use of homophones throughout.  Christophe Waltz doing the waltz, Usher was an usher at the wedding…but, unfortunately, I thought Muppets Most Wanted misfired as a children’s flick.  The movie, to me, had smart comedy and appealed to the parents who grew up watching the Henson-created variety show of the 70s and 80s.  I found myself leaning over to my six year old more than a dozen times having to explain things and significance of certain jokes—something I’d never expect from a typical kid-friendly flick.

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There were quite a few Muppet centric scenes where we both laughed, but not nearly enough.  Overall, it was a fun family movie, but one definitely for older kids.  I’d absolutely watch Muppets Most Wanted again, but after being so smitten with Frozen and a few other children’s films, this one didn’t quite make the cut for my kid.

Frozen: Easter Eggs and Printables

With the Frozen DVD and Blu-Ray hitting the shelves this week, we’re in a Frozen state of mind to say the least!  In case you didn’t pre-order from Amazon, it looks like the major big box stores—Target, Toys R Us, Walmart—have Frozen on sale for $19.99 this week.  

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And, of course, if you’re the totally digital family who doesn’t even bother with hard copies of anything, you’ve been watching Frozen day and night for several weeks, right?  

So, in honor of Frozen, I thought it would be fun to re-visit some fun stuff found in the movie.  Disney and Pixar is well known for their generous helpings of Easter Eggs throughout their movies.  In case you haven’t already seen these, I thought I’d share the Frozen Easter Eggs as revealed in the Disney Blog!

Did you catch Eugene and Rapunzel at Queen Elsa’s coronation?  They’re over here in the bottom left.  I read some even cooler fan theories over here about Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel’s attendance.  This would make total sense to me!

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And what about the chocolates that Anna is eating?  Supposedly, these chocolates were also featured in Sugar Rush from Wreck It Ralph.

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One of the paintings from “The First Time in Forever” was also spotted on Tangled.

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And, of course, the Mouse makes a very subtle cameo at Oaken’s Trading Post. Do you see him hiding on the first shelf?

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Frozen Printables

 

Beyond the movie itself, we’ve been having a blast playing Frozen-centric games and doing cool activities.  During the push for the initial release of the movie, Disney Studios provided these fun activities and printables.  We had a blast making dancing Olaf at our recent Disney Side Party!  Check out the other activities below!

Be sure to save the below images to your computer to print out yourself!

 

Build an Olaf

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Find Olaf Maze

 

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Elsa and Anna coloring pages

 

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Spot the difference

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To download even more printables and fun games check out the link below:

 Download Frozen Activities

 

Photo credits: Disney Studios

St. Patrick’s Day Treats from Family Fun Magazine

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Not sure if any of you caught any leprechauns, but we sure didn’t.  We did, however, enjoy creating some fun food goodies.  St. Patrick’s Day and food go hand in hand in our house.  

I got a kick out of Family Fun’s Leprechaun-inspired treats.  How cute are these tiny hats and donuts?!  We’ll be doing some fun after school creations after school today!  

 Leprechaun Hats

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Ingredients

English cucumber
Sliced cheese
Hummus

 Directions

Celebrate Saint Pat’s with a crunchy cucumber treat. Cut 1-inch sections of an English cucumber. Halve them lengthwise and lay the pieces flat on a plate, as shown. Trim a cucumber brim for each hat and set it in place. Finish with a sliced cheese band and buckle, attached with dots of hummus or dip.

 

 

Leprechaun Doughnuts

 

Donuts

 

Ingredients

Chocolate sprinkle:

O-shaped cereal
Dark or white chocolate
Colored sprinkles

 Cinnamon sugar:
O-shaped cereal
Sugar
Cinnamon sugar

 Directions

Lure wee visitors this Saint Patrick’s Day with O-shaped cereal disguised as tiny doughnuts. Prepare each variety following the steps at right and let dry on waxed paper. Add to the fun by placing them in a miniature box (get our template at familyfunmag.com/printables).

Chocolate sprinkle:

Dip the tops of O-shaped cereal into melted dark or white chocolate (the tines of a fork work well for this) and cover with sprinkles.

Cinnamon sugar:

Over medium-high heat, dissolve ½ cup sugar in ½ cup water. Let it cool. Dip the O’s, a few at a time, in the syrup, then toss them in a small bowl of cinnamon sugar.