#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

 

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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.

Oogaa Feeding Products Put the Fun in Function

Plastics in baby bottles and feeding products has been a topic of discussion for some time now. The research has been done, and BPA and phthalates are chemicals we should try to avoid.  Even though there’s been some conflicting info floating around, it’s safe to say, these are chemicals we don’t want in our baby products.  

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On that note, we’ve seen an increase in baby products made of different materials such as silicone, stainless steel and glass.  One of my absolute favorites has been silicone, because of its versatility, durability and convenience.  The rubbery texture of silicone often doubles as a teether AND it’s virtual kid-proof.  

Healthy Child Healthy World recently shared an article on silicones in our baby products, but the consensus on its safety seems to be: more research needs to be done, but it’s safe to use for our babes.

We recently received a line of Oogaa feeding products to review.  These products, made of silicone, are, hands down, some of my favorite feeding products to date.  To start, they’re bright and fun, something that’s welcomed after such a cold and gray winter.  

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The spoons have cool airplanes, boats and other designs in the middle that make them not only fun tools, but also more weighted.  Like many who already do this, mom and dad use the fun airplane or train spoons together with those sound effects to make baby eat that baby food.  

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We’ve been using the placemat on top of the high chair tray for easier clean up when eating yogurt or other messy foods that the toddler insists on feeding himself.  The portioned plates, though, are perhaps my favorite. I can cut up fruit and cheese and put in each compartment so that the tot can pick and choose bite-sized pieces himself, but to also control portion sizes.  With the two boys eating such different amounts of food, I often forget that the toddler has a much smaller appetite and pickier palate, and food often gets wasted because of this.

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Best of all, after eating, clean up of these Oogaa products is super simple.  Because of the products are made of silicone, it’s easy to just throw them into the dishwasher.  

There’s a variety of awesome Oogaa feeding products ranging from the spoons to plates to placemats.  The plate and spoon set would make an ideal baby shower gift—talk about functional!

Here’s a little vlog we did when reviewing these fun feeding tools from Ooga:

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Full disclosure:  I received these products to facilitate this review.  As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

5 Things We Learned From Mr. Peabody and Sherman

A throwback to Rocky and Bullwinkle, Mr. Peabody and his son, Sherman, are back and they’re sharing their adventures with a whole new generation. Together with several fellow bloggers, we had a chance to preview the movie and participate in a Q&A roundtable with Director Rob Minkoff, Ty Burrell (voice of Mr. Peabody) and Max Charles (voice of Sherman).

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We had a fun time getting to know the stars of the movie, while taking turns asking them burning questions.

I’ll share more on that soon, but first, I wanted to share five things that Mr. Peabody and Sherman taught us.

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1. Family is family 

Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a fun story about a dog who adopts a boy and goes on to explore the world, with boy in tow.   Mr. Peabody, a genius Renaissance man, er, dog, is good at most anything he does.  Despite the fact that he was never adopted as a pup, he, himself went on to adopt a boy.  His son, Sherman, grew up as the son of a dog, something that was rather unique and special, though he didn’t know it yet.  When Sherman gets teased for having a dog as a parent, Mr. Peabody, who never considered the consequences of their unique family, consoles his son without hesitation—because that’s what parents do. 

When Sherman makes a mistake and takes the WABAC without asking, Peabody comes to rescue.  When kids are sad, confused and feeling overwhelmed, parents swoop in with their unconditional love and find a way to make things better.  What’s so fun about this movie is that instead of focusing on Mr. Peabody being a dog, it underscores the love between a parent and their kid.  Family is family, after all.But ultimately, Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a reminder that every dog needs a boy.

 

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2.  History is fun

I was an English major, so I read a lot of period pieces and books.  The best thing about literature is that it schools you on history, too.  I have always appreciated the arts and history in general, so I absolutely loved that Mr. Peabody and Sherman took the audience to memorable eras such as the Renaissance, the French Revolution, early American history and beyond.  Even better?  These historical references were fun and witty, but in the end made for an ongoing conversation with my six year old.  The kids will appreciate the Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s adventures, but parents will love the bits of edutainment.

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3. Traveling and seeing new places can bring families joy

The world is a big place, and there’s so much to see.  In Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the dog and son duo travel through time in their WABAC time machine and learn a lot about the historical places and locations they visit.  At the same time, they learn about their relationship with each other.  Traveling as a family is so important and strengthens your bond in ways you never knew how.

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4.  It’s important to take risks

When Sherman’s nemesis-turned-friend, Penny, urges him to take the WABAC for a spin, the kids disobeyed and broke rules.  There’s a fine line between breaking rules and taking risks, but when Sherman takes a risk, he learns something about himself.  During the Renaissance era, Mr. Peabody, Sherman and Penny find themselves hanging out with Leonardo Da Vinci, the Renaissance Man himself.  Penny and Sherman take Da Vinci’s Flying Machine for a spin, even though the inventor said it didn’t work. Sherman insisted to Penny that he didn’t know how to fly. Penny encouraged her friend and unbeknownst to him, Sherman could fly! His risk paid off and he did Da Vinci a favor in the process. Taking risks are character-builders, and something that kids and adults can learn from.

 

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5.  Variety is the spice of life

  Mr. Peabody is a genius dog, and something he hopes to instill in his son. While perfection isn’t necessarily something to strive for, (in my opinion, anyway) I can wholeheartedly agree that kids need room to “run.” Whether it’s playing sports, reading voraciously, drawing, coding, life should be about discovering your passions. Everyone’s path is decidedly different, so it’s totally fine if your best friend embraces music and you find joy in soccer. Mr. Peabody discovered and invented a myriad of things; while his life was fulfilling, in the end, nothing made him happier than his family.

 

   

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Mr. Peabody and Sherman hits theaters tomorrow, March 7. The humor appeals to kids and adults, and the story is engaging and relevant.

If you appreciate smart humor as much as we do, then you’ll love this!

I was a guest of Dreamworks Animation and participated in a Q&A. As always, all opinions are my own.

Stokke Steps is a Chic, New Modular Seating System

On a snowy evening last month, I attended Momtrend’s beautiful launch for Stokke’s latest arrival: the Stokke Steps.  

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Essentially, Stokke Steps is a bouncer and high chair that can be used together or separately. Touted as an all-in-one seating concept, from birth, the Stokke Steps is a modular seating system that begins with a stand-alone bouncer, which can then be added to the transformable children’s chair.  The bouncer and chair, when added together complement one another to accommodate newborn and infant seating at the table.  The children’s chair can be used on its own to provide seating for toddlers, preschoolers and beyond, up to 80 lbs.  The chair has safety features such as a 5-point harness and colored indicators to ensure the bouncer is properly installed onto the seat.  

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For convenience and logistics, the Stokke Steps chair has depth and height adjustable control, washable and water repellent textiles, adjustable footrest and optional tray for the chair.  Like the chair, the bouncer showcases that scandinavian design and engineering that’s synonymous with Stokke products.

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I’ve mentioned this many, many times, but I am a major Stokke fan.  Pre-blogging, as a city family we invested in our Stokke Sleepi not only because of its beautiful design and sustainable function (growing from a bassinet to a toddler bed), but also because we had a very small space.  

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The Sleepi was the optimal choice for our family six years ago and we’ve been loyal customers since.  Stokke has some of the most reliable and functional products on the market; and as someone who would rather opt for quality rather than quantity, I’d much rather pay more for something that will grow and last with my family.  We’ve gone on to buy the Stokke Care changing table and have reviewed several other Stokke products along the way.  

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I love the design of the Stokke Steps.  The bouncer reminds me so much of the Bounce n’ Sleep that we used a lot when littles was a babe.  The chair offers families an alternative to the Tripp Trapp, which is already a seating staple in so many homes. The streamlined design, along with the modular feature, makes the Stokke Steps an ideal high chair and seating option for a young family who appreciates the value of function and beautiful aesthetics.

Here’s a video that showcases this fabulous new seating system. Be sure to check out the Stokke Steps demo which has all kinds of great info.

The Stokke Steps bouncer and chair will be available at specialty stores and online. The bouncer retails for $199 and the chair is $279.

Full disclosure: I received a lovely gift bag at the event; however, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Frozen’s “Love is an Open Door” Clip Released; Blu-Ray Combo Set to Release 3/18

With Frozen winning an Academy Award for best animated feature, among a few other accolades, the insta-classic Disney tale of two sisters is still all the buzz.  

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Idina Menzel (or Adele Dazeem, depending on whom you ask) was just on Fallon last night belting out the movie’s signature song, accompanied by the Roots who played children’s’ toys.  It was epic to say the least.

 

 And since Frozen is still flying high this winter, the movie’s other star, Kristen Bell sings quite a few of our favorites.  Her duet with Santino Fontana (Hans) in Love is an Open Door was recently released exclusively by Disney Movies Anywhere. In case you weren’t aware, Disney Movies Anywhere is Disney’s all-new, cloud-based digital movie service. Frozen is now available digitally to own.

Santino Fontana was the prince in Broadway’s Cinderella so my older son and I are totally smitten with this clip.  To watch a Broadway star on stage and then to have him voice a Disney character is pretty cool for a young kid to appreciate.

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Photo credit: Theatermania

Frozen Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Combo Pack to be Released on March 18

With all this talk about Frozen, even though it’s already availably digitally, I’m excited about for when the Blu-Ray/DVD drops on March 18th.  Like many Blu-Ray and DVDs, Frozen will have quite a few exclusive features. 

Here are a few of the exclusive features that will be available on the Frozen Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital combo pack.

  • The Making Of Frozen (Blu-ray, Digital)
  •  D’frosted: Disney’s Journey From Hans Christian Anderson to Frozen (Blu-ray, Digital)
  • Breaking The Ice - The Real Making Of Frozen (Blu-ray, Digital)
  • 4 Deleted Scenes with introduction by Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
  • Original Theatrical Short – “Get A Horse” (Blu-ray, Digital & DVD)
  • “Let It Go” Music Videos by Demi Lovato, Martina Stoessel & Marsha Milan Londoh (Blu-ray, Digital & DVD)
  • Frozen Teaser Trailer (Blu-ray, Digital & DVD)

Making of Frozen still with Jonathan Groff, Kristen Bell and Josh Gad MakingOfThumb 010 R

 

 If you’re anything like us, when we find a favorite movie, we watch it non-stop, sometimes til the disk breaks. We can’t wait for this release!