The Full Spectrum of Emotions + Fandango Giveaway

As a kid, I remember the excitement of getting lost in a great book or movie.  The feeling of identifying with a character or storyline normalized some of the feelings I wasn’t always well-equipped to deal with throughout childhood. It’s thrilling to watch my children devour stories – and be of an age where we can experience quintessential fun family outings, like spontaneous trips to the movies together.

We couldn’t wait to see Inside Out which tells the personified story of emotions – joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust – all inside tween Riley’s head.  The story unfolds in the most magical Pixar way. Illuminated marbles represent core memories, moving through space and sleep and ultimately remind us that it’s OK for emotions like sadness to take control when necessary.

Image via Disney Pixar

Through Inside Out we see that memories and experiences that help define who we are, are not built on a strange dichotomy of happy or sad.  They are strung together by a full spectrum of emotions – like speckled marbles reflecting a complex kaleidoscope of colors.

We leave movies like this with tangible ways to discuss emotional intelligence with our children.  Striving our best to make room to allow our kids to explore and express how they feel in a safe and compassionate space.  Even when it manifests into Olympic-level “YOU’RE THE MEANEST MOMMY EVER!!!!” – we hope that we offer lessons (and examples) in venting our feelings in appropriate ways.  Aligned with what our children respond well too.

DSC_0380_edited-1 painting rocks with kids art therapy_edited-1 kids emotions Disney Inside Out_edited-1

In our home, we continue to find a helpful tool in creating art.  Fandango Family also offers so many other ways to discuss accessing our feelings via kid-appropriate Inside Out-inspired activities.  Please join in the discussion in the comments below.

WIN IT: Want to take your family to see Inside Out or other great Fandango Family movies? Fandango is generously giving away $200 in Fandango Gift Cards to one lucky winner! Enter via the rafflecopter below – US only please and entries are verified.  Best of luck and cheers to summer!

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fandango_family_logoAs a Fandango Family Ambassador – this is a sponsored post. Content and opinions, as always, are my own. 



On Movies in Theaters, Date Nights and Marriage

Spring arrived one week ago today, bringing with it a few inches of snow. I rushed to school pick-up with three umbrellas in hand and was delighted to find my husband waiting for us, in his car! It was a rare occurrence for a Friday afternoon.

Snow in spring

Our cards aligned with a last-minute sitter.  What should we do tonight – with a spontaneous date night on our hands.  I soon had a bar code for movie tickets sent to my phone via the Fandango app and we laced up our boots for a walk to dinner in the snow.

Fandango movie tickets

We decided on The Divergent Series: InsurgentAnd I suppose that we were reminded of what once was – as we watched the suspenseful trajectory of Tris and Four, and the overall theme of goodness prevailing against the Erudite elite.  Back in college we’d dissect movies together after watching them.  Sometimes, my strange interests even left the two of us practically alone together in barren movie theaters.  As the kiddos came into our lives, our special date nights were reserved for dinners out and talking (without little people around!). Movies in theaters soon became PG family affairs.  Although I couldn’t even remember our last date in a theater – the young romance themed movie made us reminisce about where we began.

The next day, our smiley children had lots of questions about our ewe, disgusting date night.  We had a blast!  And despite their silly adjectives, the kids continue to show us how important these stolen moments are.

Special thanks to Fandango for sponsoring this post – and for the date night too! Thanks for reading friends.


The Return Of Frozen: Frozen Fever

Be still your frozen hearts! Disney’s latest short film production, Frozen Fever, is bringing Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and friends back to the big screen in just a few weeks.  Frozen Fever will air in theaters on March 13th, before Disney’s Cinderella, a live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale. And you guys, there’s even a brand new song created by the talented husband and wife duo, who won an Oscar for Let it Go.  I’m envisioning many new soul-belting living-room performances in our future.


All images via Walt Disney Pictures.


Maleficent || Sunday Swoon

I had wings once, and they were strong.  They could carry me above the clouds and into the headwinds, and they never faltered.  Not even once.

As soon as my daughter spotted Maleficent images around the city she was intrigued.  After thoughtful consideration and several YouTube clip viewings, I took her along to catch an early movie screening, thanks to Disney.  At six, she has a newfound obsession.

Maleficent review

Maleficent retells the classic Sleeping Beauty story from the villain’s perspective.  I found the 3D film to be visually stunning and full of teachable moments gleaned from the movie’s message of love and ability to return to goodness.  Although the movie has some dark scenes, my first-grader is not generally frightened by this sort of stuff.  She immediately took to Maleficent, which was quite a surprise to me as I imaged her to have a stronger interest in Aurora – the young princess spirited away to be raised by three fairies in the woods.


LP has since been having fun wearing Maleficent’s Signature Horns on our daily adventures – which makes for interesting conversation! And she has been busy conjuring up mysterious stories with her Maleficent Basic Fashion Doll.  Both toys, priced under $20, are sure to be big hits in conjunction with the movie release.

Maleficent toys costume

Check out the full Maleficent toy line at Jakks Pacific and follow Maleficent on Facebook // Twitter // YouTube // Instagram // Pinterest.  Also have a look at the great items featured on other Sunday Swoon sites and link up your posts below!  Wishing you a lovely Sunday.

Sunday Swoon Header-v2The Staten Island Family // Complicated Mama // Stroller In The City // Lady And The Blog // Mom Generations // Marino Bambinos

Maleficent movie screening tickets and Maleficent Items were provided by Disney and Jakks Pacific respectively.  Opinions, as always, are my own.


Muppets Most Wanted

Back in the 80’s, Miss Piggy won my three-year-old heart.  Perhaps it was her assertive personality? Evidence of this moderate obsession still lives on in my home where nostalgic Muppet memorabilia can be found in the most unsuspected places.  Watching The Muppet Show was always a family affair and I couldn’t wait to officially introduce my kiddos to my beloved childhood favorites at a screening of Muppets Most Wanted.

123Little me and my brother in the 80’s and my kiddos at the Muppets Most Wanted advanced screening.

Muppets Most Wanted tells the tale of Kermit and Co.’s journey to their next world tour, led by their new agent Dominic Badguy (note the French pronunciation Bad-gee), played by Ricky Gervais.  Badguy leads the Muppets into a train-bound tour, but unbeknownst to them he’s actually an international thief –  in cahoots with the world’s number one world criminal, Constantine, a Kermit imposter with a thick Russian accent.


While Constantine manages to pull off a switch-a-roo, another adventure continues in a Siberian Gulag prison.  The inmates (including the real Kermit!) are under the orders of memorable warden, Nadya, played by the hilarious Tina Fey.  Interpol even gets involved as Inspector Napoleon (Ty Burrell) and Sam the Eagle are on the heels of the true criminals.

With a bunch of celebrity cameos, including Salma Hayek, Lady Gaga, Usher, Celine Dion and more  – the fast paced adventure keeps viewers on their toes as they master the art of keeping the furry folks and the real folks on even keel in that magical Muppet way.

Muppets, #MuppetsMostWanted, The Muppets, Muppet Movie

With fantastic musical numbers, adventurous story-lines add a few incredibly nostalgic old-school Muppet moments – Muppets Most Wanted is a fun family date.  And Miss Piggy is still as lovely as ever!

Muppets Most Wanted is officially in theaters!  Learn more on the official Disney Muppets Most Wanted Website and follow the Muppet goodness on Facebook // Twitter // Tumbler.

My family received movie tickets to the screening. Opinions, as always, are my own.  In full disclosure: I may possible be Miss Piggy’s biggest fan.