Justice League – Spectacular Special Effects and Great Acting

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Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes-Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash-it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Abraham F. comments, “This movie is spectacular in two main ways, the comic book references and the special effects.” Kamhai B. adds, “This movie is definitely meant to please and entertain all the DC Universe fan’s. In other words, for me this movie is just plain great.” See their full reviews below.

Justice League (2017)
By Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

 

This movie is spectacular in two main ways, the comic book references and the special effects. There are so many of them such as The Flash and Superman racing. Also the CGI costumes look so real for Cyborg and Steppenwolf.

Justice League is about Bruce Wayne/Batman tracking down parademons. Meanwhile in Atlantis, Themyscira Steppenwolf invades and steals the mother boxes from them, killing a lot of Amazonian and Atlanteans troops in the process. Batman hears this news from Diana/Wonder Woman and decides to form a team to stop Steppenwolf from stealing the last mother box.

Batman (Ben Affleck) returns as the best Batman yet. He stands out from the other characters with his two Oscars, one for best picture and another for best screenplay. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) also has an award for best actor from Teen Choice Awards. Award-winning actor J. K. Simmons plays Commissioner Gordon and, for the five minutes he’s on screen, is awesome.

The budget of this movie is $300,000,000, so the special effects should be stupendous and that is correct. For Cyborg’s character, his whole body looks like it is actually made out of metal and is glowing. The costume for The Flash looks damaged and made out of nasa grade material.

My favorite part of this movie is when The Flash and Superman are about to race. This is my favorite part because it is such a big comic book reference, which is why I like DC more than Marvel.

The message of this movie is to stand up as a leader because your friends will support you. This message is very positive for people that are reluctant to stand up. This film has a few iffy thing such as Aquaman drinking a whole whisky bottle and smashing it, but there are no risky things kids might imitate after watching it. There is some mile profanity. This movie is dark, yet funny and is riddled with references. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 10 to 18. This movie is in theaters now, so go check it out.

Justice League
By Kamhai B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age,13

This movie is definitely meant to please and entertain all the DC Universe fan’s. In other words, for me this movie is just plain great. I really enjoyed how we got to see all the main Justice League characters in one big movie. Who wouldn’t? Seriously, the way costumes are designed to the great acting is amazing.

One part I really enjoyed is when Batman starts swinging around and driving his Batmobile around town, because it shows the audience how cool Batman really is. Another part I really enjoyed is when Flash is introduced. Flash is that one character who ends up bringing all the comedy to the film, which I think is great.

The storyline in this movie is about how Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavil), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Auqaman (Jason Momoa) come together to save the day. They have to battle a dangerous alien race who is trying to destroy Earth so they can rule all. Throughout the movie we experience a lot of funny moments such as when Flash shows that he likes Wonder Woman and again when they’re fighting the villain. There are also some really cool CGI effects that wow’d me.

The creators of this movie should be quite proud of their creation, because I believe Justice league will be a big hit. Everybody in the movie theater enjoyed the movie. You could tell by listening to their laughs and their clapping at the end of the movie how much they loved it. While watching it, I noticed that the CGI was similar to a video game, which I think suits this movie very well. I would have to say this is the best DC movie I have seen so far. Along with the cool graphics, the acting stands out, which I found very enjoyable. Also there are some really cool plot twists.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18 because there is some mild profanity and some mature scenes at the beginning. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. It is playing in theaters now so be sure to check it out, whether or not you are a DC fan!

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Friends and Family pricing for award-winning and ad-free magazines for kids and teens

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Cricket Media is offering friends and colleagues a special subscription deal for their 11 ad-free, Parents’ Choice Gold Award winning magazines for kids, from tots  to teens. Please take advantage of this 50 percent off deal. Here’s the link to your special Friends and Family discount with Cricket Media.
In these screen-saturated times, the unplugged pleasures of colorful and intelligently written magazines make a fantastic gift for the kids in your life.

Also, have you seen the FREE Bug Camp stories and activities this summer on Cricket Media’s “Keeping Tech in Check” page? Check it out:  www.keepingtechincheck.com

Credit: CRICKET MEDIA

Cricket Media, Inc. is an education media company that provides award-winning content on a safe and secure learning network for children, families, and teachers across the world.  Cricket Media’s 11 popular media brands for toddlers to teens include Babybug®, Ladybug®, Cricket® and Cobblestone™.  The Company’s innovative web-based K12 tools for school and home include the ePals community and virtual classroom for global collaboration as well as In2Books®, a Common Core eMentoring program that builds reading, writing and critical

thinking skills.  Cricket Media serves millions of teachers, students and parents in over 200 countries and territories through its platform and NeuPals, its joint venture with China’s leading IT services company Neusoft. Cricket Media also licenses its content and platform to top publishing and educational companies worldwide.  For more information, please visit http://www.cricketmedia.com, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Thirst-Quenching Bevs for Memorial Day BBQs

Memorial Day Drinks

It’s time to start planning delicious drink ideas for all your upcoming barbeques and Memorial Day festivities. Skip the calories and keep the flavor with refreshing drink recipes which can be whipped up in a minute’s notice – how convenient!

I can’t wait to try some of these recipes this weekend!

Melon Mixer

Time to buy that delicious watermelon you’ve been dreaming about all winter! Start with 3oz of Cascade Ice Blueberry Watermelon. Then pour 1oz of club soda. Add several slices of watermelon and blueberries and stir to release the fresh flavor. Voila!

 

Pomegranate Icer

Pomegranates pack a punch of vitamins and anti-oxidants and now that they are in season, it’s a great time for this refreshing drink. First pour 4oz of Cascade Ice Pomegranate Berry and 1oz of Cascade Ice Strawberry Lemonade into a glass with crushed ice. Top if off with fresh pomegranate seeds for the perfect touch and serve!

Grapefruit-Lemonade Refresher

A BBQ isn’t complete without some ice-cold lemonade! Try the Grapefruit-Lemonade Refresher for a new twist. Start with a chilled glass full of ice and add 3oz of Cascade Ice Grapefruit and 4oz of Cascade Ice Lemonade. Garnish with sliced lemons and a sugar rim.

 

Which one will you try?

 

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

 

Self Disclosure: Thanks to our friends at Cascade Ice for the recipes and photo!

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New Augustine Native Plant Nursery Opens at Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve Volunteer at Irvine Ranch Conservancy Native Plant Nurseries During the Green Winter Months

Irvine Ranch Conservancy in partnership with OC Parks is pleased to announce the opening of the new Augustine Native Plant Nursery in Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve, with public programs beginning Nov. 13. Volunteers can now care for young plants at the Augustine nursery, in addition to the Native Plant Nursery at the City of Irvine’s Quail Hill Trailhead.

 

Planning for the Augustine Native Plant Nursery began in spring 2015, and the new structure will officially open for registered programs on Nov. 13. Volunteers can plant seeds, transplant seedlings, and care for native plants, all while surrounded by a backdrop of beautiful, expansive coast live oak trees.

 

The Augustine Native Plant Nursery is the Conservancy’s second nursery; the Quail Hill Native Plant Nursery is located at the Quail Hill Trailhead in the City of Irvine. Both nurseries are an extension of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s mission to protect, restore and enhance the natural resources of the Landmarks through stewardship of the open space. All native seedlings grown at the Augustine and Quail Hill Native Plant Nurseries support habitat restoration projects throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.

 

“The plan to create satellite nurseries was set in motion to expand community-driven habitat stewardship on the land,” said Matilde De Santiago-Barrows, Irvine Ranch Conservancy Community Stewardship Coordinator. “The Augustine and Quail Hill nurseries restore and protect the land, but it’s our hope that they also inspire people of all ages to find a love of the Landmarks.”

 

Both nurseries welcome nature lovers age 6 and older to work comfortably at tables in shaded structures, where seedlings are thinned out and transplanted before being used at habitat restoration sites throughout the Landmarks.  Feel the earth beneath your fingertips during green winter months at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy nurseries, and help propagate native species and grow seedlings in the same location they will be planted. Join volunteers at the Augustine Nursery on Nov. 13 by registering here, and join volunteers at the Quail Hill Nursery on Nov. 6 and 15 by registering here. All programs are free and open to the public with required pre-registration. No experience is necessary, and all tools and training are provided. For more information on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, visit www.LetsGoOutside.org.

Credit: Irvine Ranch Conservancy in partnership with OC Parks.

Summer Time Essentials

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Designed to fit the lifestyles of today’s campers, verykool’s three latest phones –Maverick LTE SL5550, Spark LTE SL5011 and Cyprus LTE SL6010 – all come with Corning Gorilla Glass or tempered glass, providing exceptional damage resistance to the scratches and bumps of everyday use. Verykool’s smartphones are an affordable way for kids to call their parents to pick them up at the end of the day, but also durable during basketball games. Key Features: Additional external storage up to 64GB, front and rear facing cameras with autofocus and LED flash, and more. Available on Amazon starting at $179.90.

 

AquaBall
AquaBall, the sugar-free, naturally flavored water is perfect for a parent looking for a healthier alternative to all of those sugary kids drinks. Available in four flavors, Fruit Punch, Orange, Berry Frost and Grape, AquaBall features fan favorite characters from Disney’s Frozen, Disney Princesses, Marvel Avengers, and Disney Classic Characters. AquaBall is the easy solution to finding a beverage that both kids and parents will love. Additional information on AquaBall: Essential B and C Vitamins; Natural Fruit Flavors; Sweetened with Stevia; Packaged for Freshness and Safety; Found at retailers nationwide including Albertsons, Kroger, Rite Aid, Sam’s Club and more.
 AquaBall is a big hit with our family this Summer! I like that this is a better alternative than many other drinks such as soda!
Fairy Tales Bug Bandit
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Make sure your campers aren’t bunking up with any unwanted bugs! Fairy Tales Bug Bandit is a DEET free, non-toxic and pesticide free bug repellent helps to repel mosquitoes, flies, fleas, gnats and other biting insects. Keep campers comfortable with the powerful blend of Lemon Eucalyptus oil, soybean oil, cedar bark, citronella, peppermint and rosemary proven to provide long lasting protection while helping moisturize skin. $13.95 at FairyTalesHairCare.com.
Gummy Power Sours® and Gummy Bear Essentials® Multivitamin & Mineral
Today’s active kids need plenty of immune support. Gummy Power Sours® and Gummy Bear Essentials® multivitamins deliver a variety of essential nutrients, vitamin C for enhanced immune support, plus a balanced profile of vitamins and minerals kids need. For kids with allergy sensitivities, Power Sours® Gummy Bear Essentials® come in a variety of flavors and are gluten-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soy-free, contain no nuts, and are 100% natural – no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or additives. Single-serve packets preserve freshness and purity – perfect for nutrition on the go! SRP $14.99/30-ct box.

 

HydroPeptide

Solar Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30: This non-greasy sunscreen self-adjusts to the color of your own skin tone to offer flawless coverage. Ingredients like Green Tea and Acai Berry help protect and prevent future wrinkles and pigmentation, while moisture-binding peptides keep skin balanced and shine-free. Available for $44.

 

 

 

Self Disclosure: I received samples of AquaBall to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received.

L.A. Zoo’s World Elephant Day Weekend Features Opportunities to Explore and Learn Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14, 2016 10 am – 4 pm Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

GL-Elephants

Photo Credit: Jamie Pham.

The Los Angeles Zoo presents World Elephant Day Weekend, two days of opportunities to explore and learn about elephants, especially the challenges they face in the wild, on Saturday, August 13 and Sunday August 14, 2016, 10 am to 4 pm.  In celebration of World Elephant Day (August 12), an international spotlight on Asian and African elephants to bring attention to the urgent threat of their extinction.  World Elephant Day Weekend activities highlight the Zoo’s state-of-the-art Elephants of Asia exhibit with chances to learn about its three elephant residents and how they’re cared for, including tours of their barn from 11 am to 3 pm.  A “medical clinic” invites young guests to bring their toy elephants for an “examination,” including a “certificate of health”; conservation craft and enrichment stations; photo ops; and more, all free with paid Zoo admission.  In addition, Zoo guests can show support for protection of elephants by striking a pose at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s 96 Elephants #ElephantYogaChallenge station, part of a worldwide effort to raise awareness and support for elephants.  96 Elephants is named for the number killed every day in Africa for their ivory.

The L.A. Zoo’s Elephants of Asia underscores the rich connection between elephants and the cultures of Thailand, India, China, and Cambodia.  With elements dedicated to the health and welfare of elephants, the habitat features bathing pools, sandy hills, varied topography, enrichment opportunities, and a state-of-the-art barn capable of accommodating elephants of all ages.  The exhibit, which opened in 2010, illustrates the challenges Asian elephants face in the wild, including shrinking natural habitat, and provides the opportunity to directly contribute to conservation programs that support elephants in their native countries.  Elephant conservation efforts have been made possible through the Zoo’s partnership with the Cambodia Elephant Conservation Group that works to preserve the Asian elephant population in Cambodia.

The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing 1.75 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered.  Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest, where visitors can walk among orangutans; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo; one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world; a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants; and much more.  Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.  The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children.  As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

Programing subject to change.

Admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $20 for general admission (ages 13 to 61); $17 for seniors (ages 62+), and $15 for children (ages 2 to 12)..  No ticket is required for children under 2.  Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.

The Los Angeles Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Drive in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.  Free parking is available.  For additional information about World Elephant Day Weekend, call (323) 644-6001 or visit http://www.lazoo.org/worldelephantday/.  For general information about the Zoo, call (323) 644-4200.

Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo. 

Eddie the Eagle – Based on a True “Never Give Up” Story

Eddie the Eagle

Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton), an unlikely but courageous British ski jumper who never stopped believing in himself – even as an entire nation was counting him out. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach (played by Hugh Jackman), Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ryan R. comments, “I was truly delighted to watch the new film, Eddie the Eagle because it is an astoundingly energizing and powerful film.” Mia A. adds, “I absolutely love Eddie the Eagle! This… is an inspiring movie because Eddie is just a regular guy who does amazing things. It makes people like me who watch this movie feel like they could do anything!” See their full reviews below.

Eddie the Eagle
By Mia A, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I absolutely love Eddie the Eagle! This film, directed by Dexter Fletcher, is an inspiring movie because Eddie is just a regular guy who does amazing things. It makes people like me who watch this movie feel like they could do anything!
Eddie the Eagle is based on a true story about a boy named Michael Edwards, known as Eddie (Taron Egerton) who grew up in Great Britain in the 1960s. Eddie always wanted to be in the Olympics, but he had weak knees so all his doctors said not to do sports and to give up. Regardless of his doctor’s advice, he tried lots of sports, but never successfully did any of them right. When he goes to his dad’s work after giving up on this dream he sees a ski slope. From then on, Eddie is determined to get into the Winter Olympics. When he fails to get on the Great Britain downhill ski team for the Olympics, he learns about ski jumping. As there are no ski jumping locations in Great Britain, he travels to Germany. There he tries to learn ski jumping in order to get into the Olympics. He meets a former Olympic ski jumper, Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) and tries to get Bronson to coach him. Will Eddie get to the Olympics, get Bronson to coach or win the Olympics?
My favorite scene is when Eddie sets a new distance jumping record and he flaps around like an eagle and has the best time of his life. This scene is uplifting and funny.
The cinematography in Eddie the Eagle is really intense and makes you feel as if you are right there! Whenever someone gets ready to go down the ski jump ramp and lands, you feel like cheering!
There are lots of morals in this movie including: follow your dreams, winning isn’t always achieving, never give up on your dreams, when you love what you do giving up is never the answer, and many more.
I rate this movie a 5 out of 5 stars because it is inspiring and has a gripping story. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18 because there are some sexual references, like when Bronson makes an imitation of making love with a celebrity. There are also some injuries, like when someone tries to ski jump they fall and hurt themself badly they can’t move.
If you love adventure, and rooting for the underdog, go see Eddie the Eagle in theaters near you!

Eddie the Eagle
Reviewed by: KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Ryan R., age 12

Interview with Michael “Eddie” Edwards:

I was truly delighted to watch the new film, Eddie the Eagle because it is an astoundingly energizing and powerful film. I love to watch films based on true stories and this is an unquestionably good one. In this film, you will see the story of Michael “Eddie” Edwards, an Olympic British ski jumper and learn how his determination enabled him to participate in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

This movie tells the story of Eddie the Eagle (Taron Egerton) and shows the tough obstacles that Eddie overcame to achieve his dream of participating in the Olympics.

I love how this movie doesn’t feel rushed. I love the casting. Taron Egerton looks identical to real Eddie and plays him with conviction. Hugh Jackman also gives a great performance. Jo Hartley, who plays Eddie’s mom, gives a stunning performance of a mother who supports her child’s dreams no matter what. The 80s soundtrack also plays an important role in the movie, since it is the type of music that was around when Eddie made his jump. This year is the 28th anniversary of when he made his ski jump in the 1988 Winter Olympics.

The moral of this movie is never give up no matter what. We see that when individuals don’t have faith in Eddie and think his fantasy of setting off to the Olympics is an exercise in senselessness that he would never be capable of achieving. We see how Eddie never gives up. He is persistent, even though people think he is crazy. Eddie never gives up on what he believes in and does his best. Throughout this movie you see Eddie overcome obstacles and he never gives up. This is definitely a good movie for kids to see, especially if they have been put down, taunted, bullied or told they can’t do something they love to do. They can benefit from seeing this film.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to kids ages 5 to 18. I think adults will like this film as well. Those who like docudramas and family movies will particularly enjoy it.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Jif Bars are a great snack for the New Year!

Jif Bars Crunchy Peanut Butter  Jif Bars Peanut Butter Chocolate Jif Bars Creamy Peanut Butter

Looking for a great tasting after school snack for the Kids? The Jif Bars are a must-buy! I love the great taste and love that they really aren’t messy! They are the perfect to-go snack for kids of all ages…and even adults will love them! I  can’t even choose a favorite! I think it may be the Creamy Peanut Butter ones! But, my son seems to prefer the Peanut Butter Chocolate flavored ones!

The bars come in three different flavors: Creamy Peanut Butter, Crunchy Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter Chocolate, and are a good source of protein.

Look for them at a store near you!

Self Disclosure:: I received free samples to facilitate this post. Photo Credit: Jif.