Archives for March 29, 2015

Home – Rediscovering the True Meaning of Home


From Dreamworks comes a new animated feature, Home with an adorable misfit from another planet who lands on Earth, makes friends with the locals and everyone discovers the true meaning of the word Home. Starring Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin, this film is filled with music and humor and is perfect for you to share with the younger members of your family. KIDS FIRST! Critics Harmony M. comments, “The film serves as great entertainment with its loveable characters, hilarious dialogue and feel good tone.” Madeline R. adds, “The message of this film is that family is important and it’s good to face your problems or fears instead of running from them.” See their full reviews and Gerry O’s interviews with cast and crew below.


By Harmony Makhfi, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 15

From DreamWorks, comes the delightful film Home. The film serves as great entertainment with its loveable characters, hilarious dialogue and feel good tone. The film is about an alien species, called the Boov, that invade planet Earth in an attempt to hide from an evil monster called the Gorg. By doing so, the alien race makes themselves at home and relocates all the humans elsewhere. While all the humans are transported, a young girl named Tip gets left behind and later encounters a Boov named Oh. Oh and Tip join together in search of Tip’s mother who got taken away during previous alien invasion. A lot unfolds when Tip’s mother is not the only one who needs saving.

It is very enjoyable and even shocking to hear familiar voices in the film such as Jim Parsons who plays Oh, Rihanna who plays Tip, Steve Martin who plays Captain Smek and Jennifer Lopez who plays Lucy. Jim Parsons is delightful as the voice of Oh. They couldn’t have chosen a better actor for that role. Oh is an overly friendly, silly, trouble-making, outcast, who not only steals the hearts of the audience with his facial expressions and personality, but also with a voice that fits that perfectly. Fans of The Big Bang Theory will be so pleased to see his character, Sheldon in cartoon form. Home is Rihanna’s first role in an animation film. Considering that, her portrayal of the sassy and adventurous Tip are spot on.

I find it very unique that the Boovs change colors depending on their emotion, especially because I have not seen that feature in any other type of film. The dialogue is really funny because the Boovs speak with improper grammar which adds a comedic touch that all ages will love. The futuristic technology shown in the movie is fascinating, it will be especially appealing to the younger crowd.

The film is entertaining to watch and one I would enjoy watching again. Although the film is very good, it’s not good enough to be a new classic or one that will be very memorable in the long run. It is cute, friendly, very funny, has amazing messages and puts you in a good mood.  I recommend this uplifting film to people of all ages, especially between the ages of 5 and 11. Overall, I give the film a 4 out of 5 stars. It is playing in theaters now.

By Madeline Rose, KIDS FIRST! Critics, Age 10

Home  is a new animated family film from Dreamworks.  The screenplay was written by Tom Astle and Matt Ember and he film was directed by Tim Johnson.

I love this movie!  It is a fun, action-packed adventurous movie the whole family can enjoy together.

Home is about an alien named Oh who runs away from his own people, the Boovs who are trying to hide from the Gorg.  He lands on Earth and meets an adorable and feisty girl named Gratuity Tucci, who everyone calls Tip.  Oh and Tip form an unlikely friendship and go on an exciting adventure together to find Lucy, Tip’s mom.

Home features a star studded cast.  Jim Parsons is brilliant as the voice and personality of Oh and Steve Martin is hilarious as the voice of the Captain Smek, the cowardly leader of the Oh’s.   Rihanna plays the fun, yet determined Tip and Jennifer Lopez plays her sweet Mother, Lucy.

As a special bonus, both superstars perform original songs for the film which adds a lot of emotion and drama.  Be sure to listen for Rihanna’s new single “Towards the Sun” and Jennifer Lopez’s new song “Feel the Light”.

The animation is spectacular.  I love how Oh and Tip ride in Tip’s newly “fixed” car powered by multi-flavored slushis.  My favorite scene is when Tip tries to teach Oh jokes to help make him feel better.  She does the “Interrupting Cow” Knock Knock joke. It’s really funny because it takes him a while to get it!

The message of this film is that family is important and it’s good to face your problems or fears instead of running from them. Home is great for families of all ages, especially for families with kids between 4 and 14.  I give Home 5 out of 5 stars. I love it and think you will too!  Home is in theaters nationwide now.


Cast Interviews by Gerry O.

Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions,


The JNP Project™ Reports HUGE Response to Its Kindness Boomerang It! Challenge During First Week!

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Last week The JNP Project™, creators of a new self-esteem empowerment storybook series for kids ages 5-12+, launched its Inner Awesome Action KINDNESS BOOMERANG IT! Challenge. This challenge asks kids nationwide to “Do Something good. Do it right. Make a Positive Difference.” Their acts of good deeds are coming back to JNP in the form of a Boomerang and are being shared on the JNP website until the Challenge reaches a million. It is expected that the momentum of kindness will cause more good things to be boomeranged around the world. See this link to learn how it works…

Not just a series of self-esteem books for kids, The JNP Project is also a movement that nurtures character, courage, and confidence in kids. The project also initiates and supports age-appropriate educational materials for parents and educators, interactive website resources, and kids’ sports gear, among services. Books can be purchased at or at the JNP retail store located at 126 West Street in Annapolis. Digital versions can be purchased at

About The JNP Project
Founded by Dona Rudderow Sturn, The JNP Project is staffed by seasoned, international professionals and guided by an accomplished Advisory Committee. With national headquarters based in Annapolis, Maryland, The JNP Project combines original artwork and design with proven teaching methods and outstanding storytelling in an interactive chapter-book adventure series for girls and boys.

All JNP components are supported by an interactive website featuring an adult public forum, a Members Only private Q&A professional forum, a kids’ forum to talk to Jane and Jake directly, downloadable activities, music, and more. It also gives parents, grandparents, caregivers, homeschoolers, educators, teachers and counselors tools to help kids develop confidence, strengthen self-esteem, and grow into assured leaders. The umbrella brand, known as The World of Jane NOT Plain™, has been successfully tested via its original book entitled, Jane NOT Plain and the Pearls of Wisdom.

Credit: The JNP Project.

8 Tips You Need To Look & Feel Your Best This Spring!

The winter woes are almost behind us; we’ve been cooped up, living under layers, craving comfort foods, working out irregularly  – and possibly even struggling with a spell of seasonal depression? Rejoice! Springtime is near and while we welcome the season happily, it’s a little easier said than done to adjust mentally and physically so quickly.

Are you ready to jump right into regular workouts? Ready to bare your bathing suit-body? What do new seasonal beginnings actually look like? Talk about pressure..
Spring Recharge: 8 Tips For A Healthy Seasonal Transformation

Nutritionist and Health Expert, Trishna Joshi, dishes on the top diet misconceptions, winter detox foods, ways to combat cravings, and more:

  • EAT THIS, NOT THAT: The winter months have had us reaching for warm (not waistline-friendly) comfort foods. Time to swap out those heavy foods for lighter variations that still satisfy your cravings. Trishna recommendstrying sautéed garlic spinach instead of creamed spinach and quinoa bowls topped with fresh, light flavors including roasted vegetables, vinaigrettes, lemon, and herbs. Opt for spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini to replace pasta. The emphasis should be on lighter dressings and seasonings, fresher ingredients.
  • ON THE ROAD-READY SNACKS: The important factor here is to think about what foods that travel well and to pick snacks that will be play if they get bumped and do not have to be refrigerated. Nuts, seeds and kale chips are always a good choice: low in calories and in fat. Roasted chickpeas are high in potion and in starch that keeps you fuller longer. If you’re taking a cooler, opt for yogurt. Pair hummus and peanut butter with celery or cucumbers because they’re non-starchy vegetables.Remember that protein helps to satiate your appetite while sweets tend to make you hungrier.
  • BLOAT-LESS BITES: Hiding under layers has come to an end – we’ll be sporting spring dress and bathing suits shortly and now is no time for bloating. Trisha advises to stock up on fiber and potassium from bananas to help reduce water retention. Also reach for melons, leafy greens, artichokes, avocados, yogurt, cucumbers, tomatoes, berries, asparagus, almonds, and eggs.
  • EXERCISE EATS: What you eat before and after a workout is critical for energy, rebuilding and maintaining a healthy weight.
    • PRE-WORKOUT: Contrary to what you might believe, Trishna recommends to snack on carbs! Cereal, oatmeal, yogurt with granola, and peanut butter toast are all great options.
      POST-WORKOUT: You need to opt for something with protein to help replenish muscles: cottage cheese with fruit, an omelet, bean salad, pita with hummus, or chicken salad.

Wellness Coach and Fitness Instructor, Sonia Satra, re-energizes your mental and physical routines to get you springing into action:

  • THE POWER OF PERSPECTIVE: Just the mere mention of ‘bathing suit’ sends shockwaves through our system. Rather than approaching the layer-shedding season with the knee-jerk reaction of dread or anxiety, how about changing your perspective? What would be possible then?
    • BONUS TIP: Step into a variety of different perspectives on getting in swimsuit-ready shape – ask yourself, “What if I succeeded?” “What if I did nothing?” Say to yourself, “I feel sexy,” “It’s fun.” Listen to your body’s reaction to these new perspectives and choose one to focus on. Now fully embody this fresh perspective. Remember how it felt, what sound it had. Notice how your posture, breathing, even outlook changes.
  • DEFENSE KNOCKDOWN: How many times have you said, “I’ll start tomorrow?” or “I don’t have enough time in the day?” Transition and change almost instinctively activate the fear of the unknown and this is when our defenses go up. Many of us will choose to stay where we are just because it’s familiar. What small steps can you take daily that will help build your confidence and familiarity with this new unknown?
  • GO FOR THE GOAL: The ‘Mindset Reset’ challenge encourages you to break down larger goals into one specific and measurable goal because our brains are more effective when they focus on one thing at a time. Whether it’s giving up sweets or working out five days a week, choose a different piece of your goal that’s obtainable and awards you with “quick wins”.
    • BONUS TIP: In the world of instant gratification, the biggest hurdle is accepting that transformation won’t happen overnight. Shortcuts or an excessive approach for a week won’t help you reach your goal. We ultimately want lasting change instead of making diet and exercise a grueling seasonalthing – commit to one small goal every day that will get you closer to your bigger goal.
  • WORKOUT WARRIOR: A total mind and body transformation will come from making healthy habits – after awhile, these become practices you crave rather than dread. For maximum results, aim for 30-50 minutes per workout. Try doing 2 days of an intense workout (boxing or plyometrics), 2 days of moderately intense (running or biking) and 1-2 days of a lighter workout (Pilates or yoga). It’s also important to have a day or two to give your mind and body a chance to rest and recover.


TRISHNA JOSHI, The Fresh Diet’s Lead Nutritionist
Trishna holds a Bachelors of Science in Dietetics and Nutrition and her experience includes: Miami VA Healthcare System, Miami Children’s Hospital, Florida Department of Health WIC Programs in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties and Miami-Dade County Public Schools Department of Food and Nutrition Program. You can read more about Trishna here.


SONIA SATRA, The Fresh Diet’s Fitness and Wellness Expert
Sonia Satra, founder and CEO of the hot new fitness program Moticise, is a life coach, fitness guru and award-winning motivational speaker. Based on the science that exercise is an optimal time to focus, create, and plan, Moticise—Motivational Exercise—is a high intensity cardio workout that gets you in shape, while helping you create, plan, and live your dream life. You can read more about Moticise here.


 Self Disclosure: No compensation was received.

Libman To Host Spring Cleaning Twitter Party on March 31 -Sharing Tips, Trivia & Giving Away Libman Products-

Join Libman and co-host, Lauren Greutman, Money Management and Frugal Living Expert, as they share spring cleaning and money-saving tips.

During the party there will be opportunities to win the latest Libman products and copies of Lauren’s book “How to Coupon Effectively.”

Use #LibmanTips

Must RSVP and follow @LibmanCompany and @iamthatlady (Lauren) to be eligible for prizes.


Tuesday, March 31 from 9:00pm to 10:00pm Eastern Time

RSVP (below) and Follow @LibmanCompany and @iamthatlady (Lauren) to be eligible for prizes.

RSVP here:

The Libman Company
The Libman Company is a family owned company that has been making quality cleaning tools since 1896. The company manufactures products from brooms and mops to more specialized tools for kitchen and bathroom cleaning and industrial uses. Libman proudly manufactures most of its products in the United States, including the company’s well-known Wonder® Mop.

Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post. SoCal City Kids is not affiliated with The Libman Company.

Balcony Pets Apartment Pet Door™ – Revolutionary pet product on Kickstarter.

The Balcony Pets Apartment Pet Door will transform the way people let their pets out to enjoy the space outside of their apartment or house. With a dynamic Kickstarter campaign in place Balcony Pets has set a $22,000 funding goal in order to get a first production run going.

How does the Balcony Pets Apartment Pet Door work? It’s so simple. Carry it inot you apartment or house, set it up, snap it together, put it in place within the sliding glass door, and you’re done. Here’s a link to the Kickstarter page with video that shows the easy set up and installation:


Self Disclosure: This is a shout out announcement and no compensation was received to post.

There’s a Chex™ Party Mix Recipe for Any Holiday or Special Occasion! Birthdays! Baby Showers! Easter!

Bunny Bait Chex      Bird Nests with Fruity Eggs

Looking for party recipes for upcoming Easter? Chex Party Mix is perfect! What I like best is that there really is a recipe for any and every occasion! There doesn’t even have to be a special reason. Maybe you just have a sweet and/or salty craving! Plus, a lot of recipes are gluten-free and most take 15 minutes or less to create. My son and I recently had the opportunity to create our own Chex Party Mix recipe and also try a recipe or two. Our favorite is the Bunny Bait Chex Party Mix. You can find the recipe on their website, as well as many more great recipes. We also created our own Easter Smores Party Mix with mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and pastel chocolate candies. Yum! My son really enjoyed making this one since he loves chocolate and marshmallows.

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Are you planning a Baby Shower? These two recipes are great! There’s a Blue mix and a Pink Mix.



Check out the website here for so many more recipes! I imagine that you will find one you like! What I really like is that you can also slightly change a recipe and add your own special touch!

We have teamed up for a Spring Time Giveaway! One winner will win a $50 gift card to buy their own recipe ingredients to make Chex Party Mix. So, check out the party mix recipes and let us know which one you would make or let us know your own recipe! Deadline to enter is April 3rd, 2015 at noon PST. One winner will randomly be selected from all entries via

Self Disclosure: I received a $50 gift card to buy ingredients including Chex cereal to facilitate this feature post & giveaway. Top Photos Credit: Chex. Bottom Photos: SoCal City Kids.