Winter Entertainment On Big Screen, Small Screen and No Screen!

REVIEWS & CONTESTS | | February 17, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Felt a little guilty typing in that word “Winter” since I have not even donned any gloves so far even though I can almost spy Spring already. And feel free to ignore Phil and his predictions on Groundhog day, my gut feel is we are going to have a very mild winter. No regrets there as I am totally a summer girl but I feel bad for the folks in Seattle who have been pelted with snow, but since my best friend lives there I am hoping it convinces her to return home to New England.

Big Screen (Movies)

The Secret Life Of Arrietty


Before we had kids we came across the movie Spirited Away and were enthralled. We promised to remember it and show to our kids (yeah we were not even pregnant then but were that moved by it) but time moved fast with 2 kids in tow. The moment we could we grabbed Kiki’s delivery service, under the same movie house and showed the kids. They were not into it as we were and we chalked it to the fact that maybe they were a bit young. Then came Ponyo and the attention was all there and I knew we had them hooked. By the time we were invited to a screening (which was free for everyone) for The Secret life of Arrietty we were really eager to watch it.

Without giving too much away it was a movie based on the book The Borrowers and was about a type of little people who lived in floorboards under the house. They take little things from regular people an survive and  on just so much that they needed, only “borrowing” things from people upstairs. The beautiful portrayal of emotions moved beyond the regular pool of happy and sad. Adding a little boy to the mix who has the tenderness to boot but also a sickness to deal with you would be forgiven to (falsely) think some magic potion will make a love story possible. The animation is awe inspiring and this will be one movie we may watch again on the big screen. I was glad to go to screening which I was invited to but was also free to the public.

Big Miracle

This was a movie I just watched last night with my kids. Though this was no screening (as in I paid real money to watch it) I loved it and just wanted to give a shout out. Besides I am a huge Drew Barrymore fan (ET anyone?) and also John Krasinski from Office Space (hell, I love everyone from there – being a software engineer that felt like my life) so I was keen to watch it. Hubby is a huge nature fan so I knew he would be into it. The kids are slowly adapting to non animation type movies and I am constantly looking to expand their genres so this was a good opportunity.

Big Miracle trails Green Peace Activist Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski vying to move up the ranks in news production. The discovery of 3 whales trapped under the ice in Alaska with just a small hole to come up for air. The challenge to guide the whales out to sea, creating holes along the way but making sure they don’t freeze the already open ones and over a new ice wall provides a gripping tale to all. The fact that it was based on a true story makes it even more fun, especially at the end when they show the actual coverage alongside the actor’s one. Seeing the plight of the locals along with many different parties, each with the own agenda and witnessing how they all come together to save the whales leaves you with a warm feeling. Go watch it.

Small Screen (television):

Word Girl’s new episode on bullying.

I have not seen this yet but am looking forward to checking it out. I am still trying to deal with stuff with my little ones in school. Treading a fine line from “just being kids” and bullying it is hard to find the boundaries.I am loving that children’s shows are tackling the subject. Here is the synopsis:

The adventure begins when intergalactic visitor Miss Power comes to earth and promises to teach WordGirl everything she knows about crime-fighting.  When the lessons don’t go as planned, WordGirl and her sidekick Captain Huggy Face begin to question whether Miss Power is a super hero or a super villain.  Besides using strength and speed to defeat villains, Miss Power unleashes a secret weapon: the use of mean words to hurt people.  Initially resistant, WordGirl tries the tactic and feels empowered, leaving friends and foes agape at the unpleasant change in her ways.  After Miss Power takes bullying to the extreme, WordGirl takes a stand, only to be belittled and stripped of her superhero star. Mrs. Botsford comes to the rescue rallying all of the city’s villains against Miss Power, then WordGirl pledges to use words only for good, sends Miss Power packing, and restores the city to normal.


“The Rise of Miss Power” premieres February 20th on PBS KIDS GO! See more about WordGirl.

Games (Board games and electronic):

Taboo board game (new)

You must remember the game from a while ago. Let me refresh your memory about the game: you are given a word or term that you have to try and get your team to guess without using a list of words (the taboo words). A member of the opposing team sits with you while you give clues and ready to buzz you if you use any of the forbidden words. Needless to say there is a lot of acting going on and depending on the crowd you play with you experience a multitude of descriptions and versions of the same words. Of course you want to do anything than say that Taboo word since that beeping is really annoying. This is one game that gets played at so many levels. I played it single with my work colleagues, I played it with my friends who were all just married with no kids and on Christmas day, when the kids were in bed we whipped out Taboo and had the most fabulous time playing with a group of friends.

To make things better the new Taboo has a cool new type of buzzer and also a new set of cards, just in case you knew all the answers from the older box. I love the copy I received for review and it is going to be a great addition to my older copies.

Just Dance 3 for Wii

I cannot believe I had the Wii system collecting dust for years. In fact hubby was just griping about how much we paid for it and it was getting no use when our kids tried it out at a friend’s home. Truth be told hubby and I are both not gamers. We come from engineering so we could design a game but we try to draw our entertainment from things non electronic. Our kids were playing with my friend’s kids the Just Dance 2 and I loved how they danced. In fact the reason I loved it more was that it was less than a game and more of instructional dancing. Seeing as my sensory laden began to learn some moves and actually work on coordination with so much enthusiasm. Luckily I remembered that I did own Just Dance 1.

We set out to buy Just Dance 3 and boy was it a worth it purchase. This has made many a playdate an easy breeze. We also used this at our new Year’s eve party and for several hours we never saw the kids come out of the basement.


KidzBop 21

Once upon a time I bought fun music to dance to. I still remember when I bought my first CD (Michael Jackson – BAD) and that thrill of checking out the latest tunes. Then I had kids and my music taste became tunes from cartoon shows. I knew my level of knowledge of current music had sunk an all time low when I heard my daughter sing a tune which I thought she made and she informed me it was Justin Bieber’s song. Fast forward a few Just Dance Wii games and my kids were belting out tunes that had me scrambling to keep up. Of course then there is the whole aspect of lyrics and how clean they are. We explored Kidz Bop 21.

Admittedly for most I can barely understand what they are saying so I have no idea but then the Wii has lyrics there and some made me blush. I was glad to know Kidz Bop has lyrics scrubbed but done in a way that my kids have no idea and I would like to keep it that way. I have to admit that when I first heard that Kidz Bop songs were sung by kids I really expected something amateurish and preschool like. I wondered why would anyone pay for that. When I did eventually hear it, I was amazed by the quality. Needless to say the kids love it and I am surprised that they didn’t bat an eye as we switched from the original some places to Kidz Bop in others. I am so glad I received a copy to review and am sorry I waited so long to explore the Kidz Bop CDs.

Live Shows

Disney On Ice: Dare To Dream

I just caught the opening night tonight and have to admit I was actually going more for the kids than myself. I thought I was Disney-ed out, or so I thought. This was in my opinion one of the best Disney On Ice performances I have ever seen. I liked that there were few focuses on so it did not feel so busy. The focus just on Princess and the Frog, Cinderella and Tangled made it feel quasi movie like. Since there felt like continuation I could watch the intricacies of the skater’s movements on the ice and have to say I was in awe. Both my kids face had a look of pure bliss but they always have that for Disney. Tangled is a favorite and I have to admit I was waiting anxiously for it and when I saw the in air theatrics I pleasantly shocked. It was clear that this would have taken a lot of practice and certainly looked like it could have been risky which added to the air of it being awe-inspiring. Closing with all the princesses in my most beautiful outfits seemed like a perfect ending. Don’t forget you can get Disney On Ice: Dare To Dream discount tickets. Was a wonderful treat to be provided with tickets so we could review it.

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