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Friday, December 05, 2014

The One I Wrote For You

Disclosure: I was invited to a special pre-release screening of The One I Wrote For You and received a James Avery charm like the one featured in the film. All opinions are my own and I was not required to blog about the film but I couldn't not share it with y'all. 

A couple weeks ago, I took Abby with me on a special mother, daughter date to see a pre-screening of the movie The One I Wrote For You. I was excited to be able to see a movie that I knew would be good for her to see but that I'd also enjoy, in other words a movie that wasn't Frozen, animated and or staring talking dogs. Family friendly films that are truly enjoyable to both the parent and the child seem to be too few and far between. Not only is it a family friendly film but it was filmed right here in San Antonio and featured local businesses.

The One I Wrote for You stars Cheyenne Jackson (Glee) as Ben Cantor and Christine Woods (The Walking Dead, Flash Forward) as Alicia Cantor. Gracie, their daughter is played by Avi Lake from Austin, Tx (who was an absolute doll and we were able to meet her after the movie!)

We are introduced to Ben, a barista at a coffee shop, (truly local if you are in SA!) a dedicated father and husband, working as hard as he can to provide for his family.  We soon learn he nearly had fame at one point but gave it up for his family and to stay true to his beliefs.

His daughter, Gracie, can see his talent and encourages him (in a mischievous way) to try out for a TV competition (similar to The Voice or American Idol but for song writers.) His wife, Alicia, also can see that in his heart he does still want the song writing career and tells him "If you want to be a good husband, then do what you love." I love how the film portrayed their family, you can just feel the love between them while watching the film. 

Ben digs his heals in wanting to continue to provide for his family the way he thinks he should, instead of chasing his dreams but eventually is convinced to go for it.  

Ben is accompanied on the tour by his manager Mickey (played by Kevin Pollak) who while, before in Ben's first chance at fame may have bent to Hollywood ways, this time he learned from Ben "You realize it's possible to still make money without selling out and giving up your integrity" and Mickey tries to help Ben focused on the bigger picture. However, we quickly see how easy it is to lose focus. I loved this line from Mickey "Winning isn't everything and luck isn't winning. Sometimes it's hard to see the bigger picture if we are stuck in the game." Such an incredible message and truth we could all stand to remember in our lives. 

 Fellow San Antonio blogger Colleen, of San Antonio Mom Blogs tweeted out that she had teared up twice during the movie and I couldn't help but be glad she admitted it and knowing I wasn't alone! I loved the film and Abby enjoyed it as well. The One I Wrote For You had such a great positive message while not being just another kid movie, but truly family friendly so that everyone in your family could enjoy it. 

You can see the trailer for the film below and find a theater near you for the Texas premiere weekend here: http://www.theoneiwroteforyou.com/theater-locations/  The One I Wrote For you opens today and you should totally make time in your weekend to see it! (Bonus you don't need to find a sitter because they'll enjoy it as well!)  

After the screening, we were able to meet the youngest star of the film, Avi Lake. Abby was able to get an autograph and talk to her. We learned she has a hedgehog for a pet and I'm shocked Abby hasn't asked me for one yet! She was fantastic in the film and I'm sure has a bright future in front of her. 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wake Up Brother Bear

Disclosure: The littles and I were invited to preview Wake Up Brother Bear during their final dress rehearsal and received a copy of the book Wake Up Brother Bear. All opinions are my own. 

Finding things that will entertain and educate a toddler all at the same time is not always an easy task. They don't always go hand in hand. Even story time at the library while geared to their age doesn't always keep their attention (I've seen the best librarians get flustered the toddlers would rather wiggle than listen to a story they've never heard before) 

My oldest went twice on field trips to the Magik Theater and when Lexie was itty bitty, we saw the A Pirates Holiday, one of the Magik Theater's traveling shows. However the shows aren't something I'd think of when playing something for a younger toddler. Sure I'd probably bring them along if I was taking an older sibling but I'd likely worried they might not get through the entire show. 

The Magik Theaters's newest show however is specifically thought out to entertain our littlest ones.  This show is part of a collaboration with Imagination, a leader in theater for the very young. In this show, your littles will be able to not only watch the performance but also interact with it in developmentally appropriate ways.  

This special performance took place in the Pearl Studio and instead of seats and a stage, we all sat around the 'stage' - a grass (turf) circle - criss, cross applesauce style, right on the edge of the action and there were no bad seats! All the little received a bag with props inside to use to interact with the show when it was time.  Lexie LOVED these props - especially the flower and flashlight. 

During the show the children sat totally enthralled by the show. At appropriate times they were invited to participate in the show using the props they had received or props that were laid out on the performance area already. 

All the different movement and sensory opportunities to participate helped break up the time the littles were sitting.  Even when the littles weren't participating directly, the actors had their complete attention with their captivating story-telling skills.  

Toddlers especially love and learn a lot through repetition. If you've ever been around a toddler, then I'm sure you know they love to hear the same stories and songs over and over. I love that the show uses some familiar songs and a variation on a familiar story within the play because it gave the littles the sense of comfort of the familiar while still letting them experience something new.  

The props are collected as part of the play (because they had to go to bed of course - a classic toddler tool to pick up things) after being used so if you have a two year old like mine that loves to hold onto little things like mine be prepared to help them put their props up when asked. Lexie did have trouble giving up her flashlight and I was worried she would be upset the rest of the play, thankfully the play was so captivating that she quickly forgot about it (until the play was over at least.)  

If you are interested in taking your toddler (and by all means I think it's fabulous and you should go!) Wake Up Brother Bear will run Saturdays at 9:30am and Sundays at 11am December 13, 14th, 20th and 21st at the Pearl Studio. After the holidays, the show will be available to tour daycares, schools and libraries in South Texas.  

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Dickens on Main: a fun, free family event in Boerne

Disclosure: I was invited to a complimentary bloggers Paint and Sip crafting night out at The Shabby Palette to learn more about Dickens on Main. I also received a gift bag from the vendors participating in Dickens on Main. However all opinions are my own.

When I imagine a picture perfect Christmas season, visions of snow, sledding, Christmas carolers, bundling up in coats and scarfs and sipping hot chocolate all pop into my head. A small town main street all decorated for the holidays and sharing the magic of Christmas with my littles. With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the simple fact we are in South Texas we don't often get the snow and sledding part of the holidays down here.

That is unless you head just a few miles down the road into Boerne for Dickens on Main. There you can stroll down historic downtown and be taken back in time to experience some real Christmas magic.

There will be plenty of keep the littles entertained while you are able to shop in some of the adorable quaint boutiques along main street. Some kids activities I know we'll be checking out are:

- Petting Zoo
Say what? A snake? My bigger two littles would LOVE that! 

- Trackless train ride

- Make classic Christmas tree ornaments for all the kids (1 to 101!)
- A visit with Santa
- Snow machines up and down Main Street!

New this year:  A 10 foot high, 60 foot long snow slide each evening!
How awesome does this sound? Big enough even the kids at heart can join in with enough sleds to make sure the fun doesn't slow down. If you have littles, don't worry, you'll be able to slide down along with them!

No littles? No problem there is plenty for the grown up kids-at-heart too!

You'll find Ice Sculpture Shows in the South Pole Plaza with these beautiful pieces crafted right before your eyes.

The fan favorite "A One-Man Christmas Carol" will return with six performances. Between shows there will be other entertainment as well. You can also enter the Dickens Costume contest.

Friday night will feature the Lone Star Swing Orchestra at the North Pole Plaza. Saturday will featuring the Dickens On Main headlining event with Two Tons of Steel!

Turns out my visions of a picture perfect Christmas aren't just visions but can be found just right down the street (well depending on the weather maybe without the coat and scarfs - it's chilly now but you never know it could warm up again!)

Dickens on Main is celebrating it's 15th year and will run from 10am to 10:30 pm on November 28th and 29th on Main St. in Boerne.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Carnival

The week of Halloween, during our ladies Bible study classes, our team hosts a fall carnival for all the kids in our care.

That means Batman made a special appearance at Bible class! 

And Princess Anna! 

Seriously though I don't know who between the two of them loves their costume more!  They both were so excited to wear them to Bible class today. Micah's favorite part is the face mask too and wore it a good part of the morning. 

And I'm impressed that I was able to get two tiny braids in Lexie's hair! Add a big gold bow (crown!) on top of her head and she looked darling! 

Both of them had a blast at the carnival. Lexie was constantly clutching onto or checking to make sure her teacher had her bag of prizes and of course her candy!

 She also had fun playing the games as well!

 But I don't know that she liked it as much as Micah. While the rest of his class was all in the bounce house, he was going around playing the games and collecting prizes!

This year the carnival ran quite smoothly and I think all our kids had fun! It was also service project day for the moms so we had a few extra hands to help all of our younger classes around the carnival - which was a great help as well. 

That said - at the end of the morning we were all glad we only do this once a year. More so because this morning also fell on the same day that many of us went back in the evening for the woman's ministry fall dinner to watch the children. We all slept well last night that's for sure! 

However I don't know that I'd change any of it - I love seeing all the kids every week, working with a great team of teachers and team leaders and my littles love going each week! In fact, Lexie asks to go every time we drop Micah off at preschool as well because that's how much she loves going to her Bible Class. 

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween PJ party

My middle child - my sweet little guy - loves his bedtime routine and if you miss or try to skip a step he's very quick to call you on it or get upset about it. It starts with reading a book together. Lately the kids have been stuck on Tickle Monster. It used to be the How do Dinosaurs series that he could recite from memory but now all of them can read/recite Tickle Monster from memory and are ready with whatever body part is next to be tickled before the page has even been turned. 

 I put Abby in charge of reading it tonight so I could snap some pictures of their adorable halloween pjs. They all of course got into tickling each other when it came time for the tickles!

Abby and Lexie love that they match and Micah loves his little zombie/ghouls on his pjs. 

Do your littles have a book they get stuck on? And do they love Halloween pjs as much as mine do? 

I'm linking up DarciAshleyNatasha and A.P. for the Halloween Pj Party. Come join in the fun! 

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pumpkin patch 2014

It's October 27th and the weather here is still feeling very far away from fall most days. Over the weekend, it was still hot enough to sweat when standing in the sun waiting to get into Abby's gymnastics meet. Add in that fact that our leaves really don't change here and besides the date there isn't much to make it seem like fall other than the 5 days we get where it might feel like fall. 

I think that's why I love going to the pumpkin patch with the kids so much. It may be just pumpkins place on the ground to look like a 'real' pumpkin patch but it gives our South Texas city a little bit of something to feel fall-ish. 

Since the littles still wake up early weekend Saturday or not, we headed up to the pumpkin patch early so we could get the pretty morning light as well as fit it in before Abby's gymnastics meet. We took an adventure and went to a new-to-us patch across town instead of the one near us. I'm now in love with the location of this one. It gets big bonus points for having no busy road running right next to the pumpkin patch! 
This was a pretty no-frills pumpkin patch but the light was just beautiful and the Church building was also very pretty and I think it's now my favorite for pumpkin patch pictures. Others might have fun extras but this was just perfect for a little mini-photo session with my littles. (And of course picking out a pumpkin to carve!) 

And we can't not get baby pumpkins to bring home as well! This girl just loves anything and everything that's "baby"-sized.

Happy Monday y'all! 

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Pumpkin Painting

Saturday morning our plans went out the window with the sudden, much needed and appreciated but plan ruining rain. Since the littles aren't too into Saturday morning sleeping in, that means we needed something to keep busy. So I set them to cleaning up their rooms and the play room. (What an exciting morning right?) Upstairs was clean by 10 am….. and a mess again by 11 am.

To reward them for being cooperative and cleaning this morning, when we were all bummed about not taking Diesel to the dog park, I set about after lunch to put together a little craft for them. So I ran off to Target. (Of course right?) I found a pack of stickers to decorate faces on pumpkins and thought they would love that.  I also picked up the pumpkins at HEB because the Target ones were super tiny. 

Table cloth required because littles are painting! It would wash off but so much easier adding the little bit of protection there. 

Everyone got their own pumpkin and to pick their own paint colors. Micah and Abby picked just about every color I put out minus brown. Lexie only wanted purple (I must have missed getting the pink out or we just didn't have it in the craft box - not sure which because I'm certain there would have been pink on her pumpkin if that had been an option) 
Micah and Abby both choose to do stripes up and down around their pumpkins. Micah in a random pattern. 
Abby did a rainbow around her pumpkin. 
Lexie wasn't satisfied until it was completely purple. Just look at that concentration. 

We stopped and let them dry while we went to Bible class. When we got home I got out the sticker set I had picked up at Target - which was made just for our family because it made 3 faces. They each got to  decide which eyes, mouth and accessories they wanted on their little monster pumpkins. 

 I think Micah might have liked this activity the most!
 He did such a fun job putting together his little horned monster.
 Lexie also did fabulously and loved putting sparkly dots and x's on her purple monster pumpkin.

They were so proud and excited about their pumpkins! 
 But too wiggly to take a picture!

My three little monsters! 
This was seriously such an easy and quick craft to put together (if you don't count the clearing off of the remainder of the groceries that you didn't put away the day before!) Much quicker and less messy than carving a pumpkin but we'll still do that as well at a later date.

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