Archives for December 7, 2017

The Snowman & The Snowman and the Snowdog – A Magical Holiday Duo

These two films are based on the books by Raymond Briggs. The Snowman is about a young boy who wakes up to find a thick blanket of snow has covered the ground as far as the eye can see. Filled with excitement, the boy decides to build a snowman using a tangerine for his nose, coal for his buttons and eyes, and tops him off with a hat and scarf. Later that night, the snowman comes to life! The young boy and the snowman embark on a magical adventure of discovery where the snowman explores the young boy’s world and in return he takes him flying to his home in the North Pole. Upon arriving at the North Pole, the two join a party as the guests of honor to a very special person. The Snowman and the Snowdog is the charming sequel to The Snowman. On the 30th anniversary of the original film, Briggs gave his blessing to a sequel and the magic began all over again, this time with a new set of friends. When a young boy and his mother move into a new house, the boy discovers a secret box hidden under the floorboards of his bedroom. In the box, he finds a hat, scarf, some lumps of coal and a shriveled tangerine – it’s a snowman-making kit! Later that day it starts to snow and the boy builds a snowman and with the little spare snow leftover, a snowdog. That night they come to life and take him on a wonderful adventure. As dawn breaks they fly home, but before the boy returns to bed a magical surprise awaits him. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “I really got into the Holiday Spirit after watching these two movies. I found them both to be charming and sweet little short films.” Sahiba K. adds, “Each aspect of these two short films from the animation, to the music and the cinematography is lovable and got me into the holiday spirit.” Eden T. wraps it up with, “The detail in these movies is stunning! Even though there is no talking, the artistry makes up for that. Each scene is hand-drawn, which must have been a technical pain for the scenes in motion!” See their full reviews below.

The Snowman & The Snowman And The Snowdog

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

 

I really got into the Holiday Spirit after watching these two movies. I found them both to be charming and sweet little short films.

The Snowman is based on the children’s book by Raymond Briggs. The story is about a young boy who builds a snowman that later comes to life. It’s a simple story, but a lot of the charm comes from two aspects. First, the animation stands out among other animated films. That’s because this film’s animation looks like a picture book. Congrats to the director Hilary Audus who keeps the original look of the books, which is rather neat. I love the subtle details like the movement and the backgrounds. Second, there is no talking throughout the entire movie. It’s narrated by music. Now, obviously, if a movie is going to have just music, the music has to be good. And yes, the music is really good. It sounds very whimsical and beautiful thanks to the wonderful work by Andy Burrows and IIan Eshkeri. The only time anyone really speaks, is at the opening and in the song, halfway through the movie. Speaking of this song, called “Walking in The Air,” it is really good. It is very calming and magical.

The second film on this DVD is the sequel, The Snowman and The Snowdog. A kid moves into the house that originally belonged to the boy from the first movie and shortly after that, his dog died. Fast forward to winter and the kid finds the items used to build the original snowman. The child rebuilds the snowman and builds a new snowdog and then that night, the snowman and the snowdog come to life.

The animation is in the same picture book style, which is nice considering this film and The Snowman were made 30 years apart – The Snowman in 1982 and The Snowman and The Snowdog in 2012. This film is also wordless, excluding a song. I didn’t like this song as much as “Walking in The Air,” but it is still good. It just doesn’t match the beauty of “Walking in The Air.” This DVD is a great film to get your family into the holiday mood. I give both of these films 4 out of 5 stars. And I recommend them for ages 4 to 18. This double feature DVD is available now so, go check it out.

 

The Snowman & The Snowman and The Snowdog

By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

 

The Snowman and The Snowman and the Snowdog double feature, based on the books by Raymond Briggs, is heart-warming and delightful! The peaceful and calming music had me feeling relaxed and cozy. The snowman’s soft smile and his innocence lit up my face and made me want to give him a hug. Each aspect of these two short films from the animation, to the music and the cinematography is lovable and got me into the holiday spirit.

The story of The Snowman follows a young boy who builds a happy snowman. That night, the boy watches his snowman come to life and together they go on a magnificent journey. The Snowman and the Snowdog continues the story many years later when a new boy, whose dog has just passed, moves into the house where the happy snowman was originally built. He finds a snowman making kit and rebuilds the snowman along with a snowdog to accompany him. Again, they both come to life and take the boy on another miraculous journey.

The animation is soft. Almost everything appears to be shaded with colored pencils. The shading uses multiple colors which makes even the simplest objects, like a wall, interesting and gentle to look at. When the boy is outside, it snows most of the time. The snow is beautiful and is everywhere, in front of the characters and behind them. It adds a very realistic, yet tranquil effect. The outlines of different objects are subtle also, adding to the animation’s serene quality. The music is peaceful and communicates emotion, because there is no dialogue. It reflects the boy and snowman’s thoughts so that nothing has to be said. For example, when they are feeling playful, the music is upbeat and faster, but when something sad or curious interrupts their playfulness, the music slows down and has a lower tone. Therefore, the music engrossed me in following their journey and I could easily understand the characters’ feelings. The animated cinematography of certain scenes is simply beautiful. For example, the snowman flies with the boys high in the sky and, the way the city is shown from above, made me feel like the snowman was carrying me too.

My favorite parts are always when the snowman takes to the sky because the music, animation and cinematography all come together to create a magical experience. The message of these two short films is to subtly introduce the concept of loss. I give this double feature 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 18. It is available now on DVD so check it out.

 

The Snowman And The Snowman And The Snowdog

By Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

 

This double feature DVD includes heartwarming films about the winter season that never ceases to amaze me. I like both movies because they remind me of myself during the holidays. For example, when the boy has to scrounge up snow for his snowman, I thought about when I tried to do the same thing! This DVD includes two movies: The Snowman and The Snowman and The Snowdog.  I love both equally!

In The Snowman, a young British boy in a classic 1950s English rural home builds a snowman on Christmas Eve. At midnight, the snowman comes to life and takes the boy on a flying trip around the world! The scenes become grander and grander until you think nothing more can happen! After all of this is over, they travel back home. The next morning, the boy…well, you’ll see. The ending brought meaningful tears to my eyes!

The sequel movie, The Snowman and The Snowdog picks up where the first movie left off. It takes place in modern times with another boy who has recently moved into the exact same English house (now renovated). Less than a year after moving in, the boy discovers under a floorboard a time capsule left behind by the previous boy. This box includes a picture of the same snowman and the original objects used to decorate it. The lad builds the snowman according to the picture and the Snowman is reborn! Still, the boy isn’t finished. While saddened with the recent loss of his dog, he also builds a Snowdog! They travel around the world in similar fashion as the first boy, but there is a surprise ending!

The detail in these movies is stunning! Even though there is no talking, the artistry makes up for that. Each scene is hand-drawn, which must have been a technical pain for the scenes in motion! These movies are based on Raymond Briggs’ classic picture books.  Besides young children, adults who have read this book in their youth will also appreciate these quality films. The unexpected ending is truly memorable!

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for kids ages 2 to 6 and adults who enjoy fine art. This movie is available both on DVD and VOD. So, enjoy this winter delight!

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

Shh! Top Spots Parents Hide Christmas Gifts from their Kids

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Looks like “Santa,” or should we say mom and dad, might make it on the naughty list next year! From wrapping paper swaps to half-eaten cookies, parents are going to tricky lengths to ensure their kids don’t discover the truth about Santa and,  at zulily, they’re finding out just what those lengths will be…Read below for a few of their favorite holiday stats (polled from parents just like you!)

  • Nearly half of US parents (46 percent) indicated that their children have snooped around searching for gifts to find out what all their presents were going to be for Christmas.
  • Parents are most likely to hide presents from St. Nick in the trunk of their car (32%) – with the linen closet being the second most likely choice for hiding presents (31%).

o   Garage (23%), Basement (21%) & Friend’s House (20%)

  • Over half of parents (51%) believe that their children would be willing to get their teeth cleaned at the dentist in exchange to finding out what all their presents will be, before Christmas.
  • 47% of parents believe their children would be willing to clean their room daily for a year in exchange to finding out about their presents.

Where do you hide your gifts? 😉 And, thinking about gifts…have you checked out some of the great deals at zulily?

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Happy Holidays!

 

Self Disclosure: Information and images were provided by our friends at zulily. I may have also received some form of compensation to post but I’m a real fan of zulily.

The 10th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade at Marina Park – Wednesday, Dec. 13 Special Holiday Giveaway Opportunity!

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This is sure to be a fun event! One winner (and their family) will win an invite for an opportunity to enjoy opening night festivities at Marina Park! There will be Face Painters and Caricature Artists, Food Vendors and more! Fireworks too!

  • Located at 1600 W. Balboa Boulevard, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Opening Night Festivities at Marina Park

Locals and visitors alike can enjoy the spectacle from a variety of public viewing locations including numerous waterfront restaurants and the new 10.5-acre Marina Park. The park will be a fantastic location for families to watch the parade, especially on opening night with festivities that include an appearance by the Charger Girls (5-6 p.m.), a Los Angeles Charger football toss area, photo opportunities with Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, a performance by Orange County School of the Art’s Performance Ambassadors MONTAGE!, caricature artists, face painters and a variety of food vendors. The parade should pass Marina Park just after 6:45 p.m. each evening and on opening and closing nights, spectators will have an ample view of the fireworks from the park.

The winner will also get access for them and their family to a private parade viewing space on the second floor of the Marina Park community center complete with hot chocolate and cookies. Guests will have access to the public events in the park. FYI: Parking at Marina Park is limited and first-come, first-served.

To enter, leave a comment below! Deadline to enter is December 11th, 2017 at noon PST. One winner will be selected on 12/11/17.

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Self Disclosure: Images and Information were provided and giveaway offer.

R.M. Palmer Introduces New Holiday Confections for 2017! Holiday Giveaway Opportunity!

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R.M. Palmer is pleased to introduce new confections for the 2017 Holiday season!  These festive and delicious treats offer eye-catching packaging that mixes classic holiday charm with a modern twist.

 

New holiday products include:

 

Stocking Puppies: Foiled in life-like Golden Retriever and Dalmatian graphics, the adorable puppies are the perfect stocking stuffer. 3.5 oz. Hollow milk chocolate – SRP: $3.00. These are too cute and delicious too! These really are my favorite!

Caramel Jingle BearThis loveable decorated bear sports a festive red tie and offers a creamy caramel center in a rich chocolaty shell.  2.5 oz. bear – SRP: $1.00.

Christmas Bars: Smooth and crispy Double Crisp® Bars are wrapped in fun and festive Santa and Snowman graphics.  The bars are great to use as party favors, stocking stuffers or hostess gifts at special celebrations.  4.25 oz. – SRP: $1.00.

Santa’s Holiday Mix:  The new stand-up bag of Palmer holiday favorites includes: Double Crisp® Mini Crisp Kringles®, Fudge Bells, Peanut Butter Cups, Milk Chocolate Flavored Balls and Cookies & Crème Patties.  This new bag shape has a window that features the delectable candy inside.  Fans will enjoy eating straight from the bag or filling their favorite candy dishes throughout the holiday season.  3-1/2 lbs. (56 oz.) bag – SRP: $10.00.

 We have teamed up for a Holiday Giveaway! To enter, leave a comment below telling us which one the candy items you would like to try the most! (Did I say how much I love the Stocking Puppies?!) Deadline to enter is December 12th, 2017 at noon PST. U.S. Residents only, please. 

Check them out on Facebook too!

 

 

 

ABOUT R.M. PALMER COMPANY
R.M. Palmer Company has been crafting fun, seasonal chocolate novelties since 1948. Today, the R.M. Palmer Company is the 25th largest confectioner in North America and the 82nd largest confectioner in the world. (candyindustry.com). From its headquarters in West Reading, PA, Palmer’s 850 dedicated employees design, produce, package and ship more than 500 unique items to retail locations throughout North America – making Palmer one of America’s largest and most innovative confectioners.

 

Self Disclosure: I received free delicious samples to facilitate this post and giveaway. Images were also provided. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide: The Next Edition!

It’s really starting to look like the holidays are here! I love this time of the year!

Here are some more great gift ideas for everyone on your shopping list!

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With ZIPIT Interactive Coloring& Activity Books your creation awakens. Our inspiring themes, coloring pages and Magic Stickers take the ordinary coloring book and makes it extraordinary. Inside this coloring book you will find pages of animated stickers that come alive when you view them with the ZIPIT Creativity App. Go ahead and apply each sticker on top of its own picture. To help you get started several pages have stickers on them already. Once you download the free App, the excitement is just beginning! By looking at the book’s pages through the App, you can see the stickers move and your creation come to life! Hold the app over your colored pages or snap an image of anything you like and unleash your creativity. Comes in blue and pink.

Younger children will love this! I love the creativity!

Age range: 5 years+

MSRP: $4.99

Available online here. 

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An interesting gift is teaching a child how to use chopsticks easily with Marcus & Marcus’ Kid’s Chopsticks. These animal-themed chopsticks will help keep your chopsticks in line. The animal hinges are made of soft, food-grade and brightly colored silicone to add an element of fun to the dinner table.  Marcus & Marcus kid’s chopsticks are made of BPA-free, PVC-free and phthalate-free materials. These are really cute and so easy to use!

Age range: 6 months+

MSRP: $9.99

Available online here.   

Games are usually a hit with kids of all ages! Here are some of our favorites from our friends at Blue Orange Games!

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Less is more in this subtle card game. Group the cards in your hand by number and color to try canceling out their point values. Multiples of cards are scored as zero, so each number is only counted once. Trade cards while keeping a watchful eye on your opponents. Mind your strategy as you all reach for the goal of canceling out your hand and achieving the ultimate combo: ZERO! This one is fun for the whole family! I like that it is a fast-paced type of game.

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Will you risk it all? Roll all 6 dice and win the number of points that match the big colored die. Decide to bank your points, or take a risk and roll again. Keep scoring as long as you have numbered dice that match the colored die. If nothing matches, forfeit all points won that round and try again next time! Take big risks with this fast and fun dice game! I had a blast playing this one!

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Explore the lands and expand your kingdom! Each turn, connect a new domino to your existing kingdom, making sure that at least one of its sides connects to a matching terrain type already in play. Build up your 5×5 grid as best you can, as the player with the richest lands takes it all! Game of the year winner!

If you have a little one who loves story-time this next one is a must-buy! This one is pretty cool and I wish I had one of these when my son was a little one! Introducing…Moonlite! 

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Moonlite was invented by former Google veteran Natalie Rebot when she was inspired by her daughter’s love of shadow play before bedtime.  Moonlite is a children’s storybook projector that attaches to almost any mobile phone and uses the flashlight function to project vibrant story images onto the ceiling or wall. It brings storybooks to life with a modern twist on traditional storytelling that both children and parents fall in love with. Her tech background helped her developed the product in the easiest form to bring to moms everywhere. It’s a story-time projector for your mobile phone! It’s easy to use and great for travel too! 
Moonlite is available in Target stores, across the country so look for it this holiday season. This is super easy to use and a lot of fun! I highly recommend this one for anyone with a little one!
Find out more at https://mymoonlite.com/

 OgoSport’s Active + Creative Play Holiday Toys are at the top of my shopping list this year!

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Check out the OgoMinton! It has all the thrill and challenge of Badminton but designed specifically for short range play. It’s smaller sized racket and stretchy ogosoft ball make it ideal for kids to play with indoors or as a travel toy for on-the-go fun. This is a lot of fun and I like that it is easy and safe to play indoors. Great for rainy days!

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For the kids who enjoy active + constructive play, the OgoBILD POD is a kit that will inspire creative building for hours. With its connective tubes and interchangeable rubber balls, POD allows kids to design all sorts of flexible, moveable, and innovative structures. From creating geometric shapes and 3D objects that can bounce, to building forts to camp out in, kids will expand on their STEM skills with POD…and have a blast doing it!  I am really impressed with this one and highly recommend it for ages 6+.

There’s even something for the little ones!

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The Bolli Rattle will strengthen their sensory, fine motor, and hand-eye skills as they squish, roll, grab, chew, and shake this stretchy rattle ball. The open-play design is easy to grasp and teeth, the interior rattle is entertaining, and the material is stretchy, soft, and captivating. It comes in a rainbow of colors, is BPA free, dishwasher safe, and made of food safe silicone (safe for teething!).

Find out more here. 

 Here are a few of our favorites from our friends, Stuck On You!
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 I just love the Personalized Wooden Name Blocks! They are lightweight, do not chip and come in a personalized felt bag. These would make a great gift for a little one this holiday!
Stuck on You has a variety of great gift ideas! I love their Monogram Christmas Cup and I really love the Christmas Address Labels! I  like that you can even choose the font and design.
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Check out Stuck On You this holiday season!
Sunglasses in Winter? You bet! Especially if you live in sunny So Cal! Today it was cold in the morning and it was still sunny and then in the afternoon, it was 77 degrees!
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I love Real Shades! They are quite affordable and premium quality, 100% UV protective sunglasses designed specifically for kids, with the most durable materials available so they will last. They are also available in adult sizes. I really like the quality of these sunglasses and there are many designs to choose from. Check them out this holiday season at www.realshades.com.
Happy Holidays!
Stay tuned for our next Holiday Gift Feature early next week!
6.17.2017 Denise B.-123
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OgoSport’s Active + Creative Play Holiday Toys!