SING is the fifth film from Illumination pictures since its successful film Despicable Me. With an all star cast, a fun group of characters, and a bright colorful animation, This film had much potential. But perhaps this film had a little too much style and not enough substance.
A beautiful old theater is owned by a middle aged koala named Buster Moon (Mathew McConahey). There was a time when the theater put on regular successful shows. However since Buster took over the Theater, all of the shows have not been successful. Now with the Theater weeks from shutting down for good, buster decides to put on one last show, a singing competition in which the winner will will win $1000. After an accident, it is advertised that the winner will receive $100,000. Now everyone in town wants a shot at that money including a Pig who is a stay at home mom, a shy elephant, a scheming mouse, an ape with a criminal past, a teenage punk rock porcupine and many others. Now all of these characters are competing for the prize and a chance to be seen, while Buster must find a way to keep the theater from closing.
This film is great for kids, I watched this film in a theater filled with children and I heard nothing but laughter. The animation is bright and colorful, the character all have a clear motivation behind their actions. The songs are all fun, a jukebox like collection ranging from current pop songs by such artists as Katy Perry and Taylor Swift with a surprise nod to classics like The Beatles. Another interesting thing is while the central story is about Buster Moon, the film does take time to focus on all the characters participating in the concert. The film does a nice job explaining why each person wants to be in the show and takes time to develop their characters. My only complaint with this choice however is that we have seen these characters before, they were all tropes that many films have done before. As a result of this, I never felt excitement during the major plot moments of the film because I knew they were going to happen. That being said, while the story was predictable, many of the jokes actually worked and a few took me by surprise. While I was bored by the story I was not bored by the jokes which resulted in the movie being enjoyable and gave it a certain charm that Illumination Pictures seems to have down.
Illumination is still a fresh company and I believe that they have the potential to make great films, and from their list of films so far, this is not the worst. A child will have a good time seeing this film and parents will not be bored. Are there much better films to show children, definitely, but if you have an afternoon to kill or your children want to go, there is no reason to skip it. I give SING 3 out of 5 stars
We all think dating is something that happens when we first meet someone new, a way to get to know each other and decide if we want to get into a relationship together. Most of us don’t think of dating as something we do after we get married.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been together 10 months or 10 years, dating is an important factor in a healthy relationship. A recent study by The National Marriage Project confirmed the effectiveness of a weekly date night for those in a long-term relationship. After studying hundreds of couples, here are several of the reasons they found supporting a weekly date night:
1. This study discovered that weekly quality time together as a couple was just as important for married couples with kids as well as couples without.
2. For couples who had a new baby, date night meant they were half as likely to suffer a decline in the quality of their marriage.
3. Weekly date night also meant they were more likely to have a higher quality relationship and the divorce rate was lower than those who didn’t spend quality time together.
4. They discovered that weekly date nights increased communication about important matters and reduced everyday distractions.
5. Date nights reduce the feeling of taking one another for granted. You are both able to have a chance to do fun and exciting activities.
6. The study found that wives who enjoyed a date night less than once a week were 4 times more likely to seek a divorce and husbands who had date night less than once a week were 2.5 times more likely to seek a divorce.
7. Having a date night supports spouses in reclaiming their individual identity and their identity as a couple. So often, they are too busy taking care of everyone else to focus on who they want to be as a person and as a couple.
Relationships take work, especially the life-long ones. And while it’s great to be content and comfortable in your relationship, you don’t want to take each other for granted and become distant from each other. Enjoying quality time together on a weekly basis helps you to reconnect with each other, building a stronger bond for your relationship. It’s a simple way to maintain a healthy relationship as well as maintaining your own individuality. Enjoy a night out with your honey this week!
How to decorate Christmas tree cookies with royal icing
- Green, red, brown and yellow food coloring
- 2-3 C worth White of royal icing
- Soft Sugar cookie dough
- tooth picks
- Christmas tree cookie cutter
- 2 sandwich sized or a little larger zip lock bags
Roll out sugar cookie dough to ¼ inch thick.
Using cookie cutter cut out 12 Christmas trees.
Bake them at 350 for 7-10 minutes.
Once cooked and cooled they are ready to decorate.
In four separate bowls mix royal icing and food colorings. You will need more green color than the other three. Plan accordingly.
Add frosting to the zip lock bags and cut the tip off a corner.
**make sure it is tiny tiny! If it’s too big then you won’t be able to get nice clean edges.
Pipe a line around the border of the Christmas trees with the green royal icing on each of the cookies.
Now fill in each of the Tree-if there are tiny holes you can use a toothpick to smooth it out-you must do it quickly otherwise the frosting may have already hardened and you can’t really fix it without it being noticeable.
let that dry for 10 minutes.
Grab the brown bag and create a border for the tree trunk and then fill it in with the icing.
Grab the yellow bag and pipe a star onto each top of the trees.
Finish with the red bag and create ornament like circles around the tree.
Let dry before serving. Best to let it dry overnight but 1 hr. should be OK too, then rip into them like a monkey on a cupcake!
Makes 12 cookies
Total time to make-1 hr
I love playing games as a family and this list of interactive games for families is just the beginning of our favorites. From fun board games to card games and everything in between, playing games as a family is a wonderful way to connect.
Best Interactive Games For Families
While most game nights include turning off electronics, I am including some great video games that are ideal for game nights. Getting together and doing things as a family is the important part.
These are the games that families gather around the kitchen table to play together. Whether it is a board game with pieces you move around or a game with attachments and pieces that create a theme, this list is full of our favorite fun games.
Interactive Games For Families:
- Pie Face: Tons of fun with this game where the pie arm can go off and smack you in the face with whipped cream at any time. Prepare to get messy!
- HeadBandz: This is a hilarious interactive game that kids will love playing with their parents. It’s a great way to use your imaginations having fun guessing who or what your card says.
- FARKLE: This fun dice game is a great way to play for hours with your kids. Tons of fun ways to play to see who gets the most points.
- Goosebumps: If you have kids that love the books or movies, this game is tons of fun. It’s a spooky yet fun board game.
Classic Games For Families:
- Risk: If your kids love playing war games or battle games, this is a perfect choice. Teach your kids about strategy, defensive maneuvers, and how to lead with this fun game.
- Clue: Everyone loves the game of murder mystery. Grab your clues and work to figure out who was killed in what room and with what tool for murder.
- Monopoly: Everyone loves the real estate game of Monopoly. Work your way around the board and learn about budgeting, managing property and even how hard it is to avoid a trip to jail!
- Yahtzee: We love this dice game that is a combination of classic Poker plays and throwing dice. It’s a family classic that everyone loves.
- Twister: Everyone loves playing Twister. It is one game that is full of laughs and ideal for those wanting to include exercise in game play!
- Battleship: While a two player game only, it’s a great game that involves strategy and can be tons of fun for learning.
- Mexican Train Dominoes: This fun game is ideal for teaching younger kids about numbers and colors, while it can be a fun game of strategy for everyone else at the table.
Card Games For Families:
- UNO: The classic and simple color coded card game is one that children love to play, but adults get serious about. Nothing is more fun than seeing how someone with a Draw Four card will use it in game play!
- Phase 10: This ultimate card game is a favorite if you want to play a game that is all about the luck of the draw. With 10 rounds to conquer your opponents, it really is a game anyone can win. Even the underdog has a chance.
- Skip-Bo: Another great card game, this one focuses on who can go through their spare cards the fastest. It can be a pure game of luck, or can be something that takes time and strategy. It’s ideal for all ages.
- Quiddler: This fun card game is all about putting together words using your cards. I consider it something between Scrabble and UNO but tons more fun.
- Rack-O: This fun game of sequencing is a great educational and fun game. It can go on forever, or end fast and easily. It all depends on the luck of the draw and how closely you pay attention to your cards as you play.
- Dutch Blitz: This fun game is one that requires concentration and a fast hand. Tons of fun watching to see who is the fastest to get through their cards.
- The Oregon Trail Card Game: I haven’t played this yet, but I love the idea of this game as a card game anyone can play anywhere. Perfect for hours of fun play while teaching your kids about what it took to survive on the Oregon trail.
- Rook: This popular card game is one that many love playing. Another game of chance, it is perfect for hours of fun with the kids and learning to watch for what is just around the corner.
Doctor Strange is Marvel Studio’s 14th film in the continuous world they are building known as the Marvel Cinematic universe. Since Iron Man back in 2008, the company has been making success after success with their superhero films. However Doctor Strange has accomplished something that these Marvel movies have not done in the past few years, this film made me feel like a kid again.
The film begins with our main character Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) performing a surgery on a patient. You soon learn that Strange is one of the finest neurosurgeons in the world and this has gone to his head. He has a cruel ego, wears expensive suits, drives fancy cars, and talks down to everyone he speaks with. However after a horrible car accident, Strange’s hands are severely damaged and due to nerve damage he can hardly use them, let alone consider performing surgery again. A now depressed Strange seeks out any medical help he can to repair his hands. When nothing works, Strange travels to Kathmandu, Nepal to find someone rumoured of saving a man from paralyzation. He then learns that this person is the ancient one (played by Tilda Swinton), a mighty sorceress who promises that if he learns to use magic under her, his hands may heal. After much training, Strange learns that he is gifted at the art of magic and joins the ancient ones forces against all evil that threatens to destroy earth. Now Doctor Strange and his new partners must fight together to fight an evil sorcerer who betrayed the ancient one and stole a secret spell that may bring destruction to the world.
Possibly the most wonderful thing about this film is how fresh it is. From the stunning kaleidoscope like visuals to the unique character that is Doctor Strange, this film looks and feels like a new take on the classic superhero story. When I say this film made me feel like a kid, I meant that leaving the theater I WANTED to be Doctor Strange and use magic to fight against evil. A feeling I used to feel all the time going into superhero movies as a kid but have not felt in a long time.
That being said there are some things parents should be aware of bringing their children to this film. Being that Doctor Strange is a neurosurgeon, there are scenes that show surgery being done. Nothing is too graphic but there are scenes of blood and one scene in which a needle is injected in a body. This is not to deter you from seeing this film but rather to give you a heads up if you have children who are squeamish to that sort of thing. Also, there is a part in the film where some villains are disintegrated in a rather grotesque way. I would say that if your child has seen many of the other Marvel films this should not be dramatically different but this may not be the best introductory superhero film for a younger viewer.
With its amazing visuals, exciting action, and a fresh take on the superhero story, I give Doctor Strange a 4/5
If you are planning a trip to Disneyland, either as a first-timer or a returning visitor, you are probably overwhelmed by the amount of things to do there. Since there are only so many hours in a day, it can be hard to decide which ones you should defiantly see in order to make sure you have very few regrets. To make your Disneyland park planning a little easier, here are some things you should definitely put on your Disneyland bucket list.
Get the Mickey Ears Hat– This has been a thing to do park opened and is still something that you should seriously consider. You can get your name put on the back for a fee and it is something to treasure for years to come.
Drive the Mark Twain River Boat– It isn’t something that they offer right up front, but you can sit in the captain’s chair and steer the boat as it moves down the track. Make sure to sign the guest book.
Look for the Hidden Mickeys– There are at least a hundred of them in the park hidden in signs, on the ground and everywhere and this is a great way to keep kids excited and entertained when you are waiting in lines.
Ride the Teacups– This has been a classic ride since the park opened and it is even better at night when it lights up!
Get a free pin for a special occasion– If it’s your birthday, anniversary or even just your first time at the park, you can go to city hall and get a free pin to remember it by.
Stay for the Fireworks– You won’t believe your eyes when you stay for the closing fireworks. It will definitely be worth the wait.
Ride Splash Mountain– Another classic ride at Disneyland is Splash Mountain. Make sure to do this one and throw your hands in the air. You can purchase the picture they take of you or not, but it’s still fun to see after.
See at least one parade-The park has numerous ones every day and they do special ones for holidays like Christmas and Halloween. Make time to see at least one of these parades.
Try all the weird popcorn flavors for free– The Cozy Cone has a place that sells very strange popcorn flavors and they give out free samples if you ask.
Collect signatures from all the cast members– If you bring a sharpie and a notebook, you can create your own souvenir by collecting signatures from all the cast members in the park.
Try some iconic and newly iconic foods– You just have to eat a Mickey’s ice cream bar and Dole Whip. You won’t regret it.
Did I miss something? Please share!
One of my favorite things to do in the Summertime is go to a good water park and enjoy the rides, slides, and the rush of the cool water with my family. There are hundreds upon hundreds of amazing water parks across the U.S. but today I am going to be talking about just five of my personal favorites. If you’re looking for a great family trip this Summer be sure to check out some of these awesome parks.