Monday, November 13, 2017

(Mostly) Horrible yet entertaining Christmas Movie Rundown

I realize that it's the week before Thanksgiving but it's already that time of year again, Holiday music playing in your car and Christmas movies on your television.  The girls and I started watching holiday films on Netflix this weekend did you?

I've done some research the last couple years and watched oh-so-many Xmas films.  Here are a few short summaries/rundowns so you can decide what to watch and what to skip.  Call it one of my last Christmas Presents for my blog readers.  You're welcome!

Holiday in Handcuffs - Avoid this one at all costs.  Way too cheesy with an impossibly horrendous story line that I couldn't get past.  Well that and the makeup on Mario Lopez.

The 12 Dates of Christmas (2011) - Cheesy but actually entertaining.  It is a take on Groundhog day where the main character relives the same Christmas Eve (with another Saved By the Bell actor) over and over for 12 days.

A Princess for Christmas (2011) - Family movie, definitely made-for-TV but not too painful to watch.  Basic plot is a young aunt raising her daughter's 2 kids after their mother-father died (the year before).  Cue rich/titled foreign and estranged (b/c his son married a commoner) Grandfather to invite them to visit his castle for Christmas.  Enter young handsome uncle who happens to be a Prince and I bet you can figure out what happens next.

Bridget Jones Diary (2001) - A classic.  I love all of the dreamy snow swirling around at night scenes.

Four Christmases (2008) - A Major Motion film, no made-for-TV here.  This one had Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn.  A bit crass, not at all appropriate for the family (the first scene includes having sex in a bar bathroom) but it made a good date-night show for my husband and me.

Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason (2004) - Ah, another relatively painful movie to watch due to her bumbling antics.  This movie is much less of a Christmas-y film as only the first and last scenes take place at Christmas-time.  Not exactly a Christmas classic but entertaining none-the-less.

Love Actually (2003) - A feel good Christmas-time movie.  If this one doesn't make you laugh and then cry at the end you probably are the Grinch.  This one will make you want to hug everyone around you during the final scene.  I will point out that it is another non-family movie as there is nudity and adult elements (sex, porn and swearing to name a few).

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer (1964) - The classic of all classic children's Christmas films.  This movie was made with claymation in the 60's.  It's a surprisingly long (in-my-opinion) movie about Rudolph and the elf that wanted to be a dentist.  They didn't fit in but found each other and saved Christmas by being themselves.

Holiday Engagement (2011) - Another made for TV movie, this one has Shellie Long in it.  I'm not going to lie, it was Cheesy with a capital C.  However, it was a step up from Holiday in Handcuffs so it wasn't the worst on the list.  Let's just say the ending (obvious green screen and all) will make you laugh and that's something!  The family could watch this one but I think kids would be pretty bored, it has a more grown-up storyline.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993) - I think this one is reaching a little as a "Christmas" movie.  If anything I'd say it's a Valentine's Movie since the last scene takes place on Feb 14th but it was on a Christmas list so I watched it.  I love this film as it brings back memories of watching it in my college dorm on a regular basis.  Ha!  I went to school in Seattle so it was fitting I guess.  Anyway it's a sweet film and mostly family appropriate (there are a few swear words here and there as well as the theme of death/loss).

White Christmas (1954) - A must see Christmas Musical from the 1950s with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney crooning and freaky-small waisted Vera-Ellen dancing (seriously, it was only 17 inches around in this film!!!).  Complete with snow and ending with "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas".  Love this one!

Christmas Lodge (2011) - This was a made-for-TV movie with a religious theme.  It's what you would expect (no swear words or improper scenes here and NO Santa) and although it's family-friendly (of course) I don't think my daughter would have been interested.  I'd say it's better for the 11 and up crowd.  Not my favorite but it still beats Holiday in Handcuffs.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (2007) - Not bad, but a little long and cheesy.  Lots of dancers kicking and costume changes.  Kids enjoyed most of it, but got bored part way through.

Nutcracker: The Motion Picture (1986) This is my favorite version of the Nutcracker.  We have a VHS version but no longer have a VHS player.  Sigh.  For a few years it was on Netflix around Christmastime.  If you can find it watch it!  It is a lovely full stage presentation from the 1980s (Pacific Northwest Ballet).  You may be able to find it other places online as well.  And if anyone wants to buy or borrow my VHS copy just let me know. :)

12 Dog Days Till Christmas (2014) Troubled foster teenager has to do community service at Christmastime.  He's assigned to find homes for 12 unwanted dogs.  Add awkward acting, some teen angst and a little romance and you've got a family-friendly holiday film that may be more interesting to your tweens/teens than younger kids. There are a couple familiar C list actors in this film but the real draw are the dogs.  My dog loving kids enjoyed all the dog scenes and tolerated the rest. :)

Happy Christmas (2014) I'm a big Anna Kendrick fan so she's the main reason I watched this film.  It's story about a 20-something woman (Kendrick) who after a breakup moves in with her brother and his wife/baby.  She's irresponsible (drinking/partying) and her sister-in-law is a bored SAHM.  The film is low budget and although it has Christmas in the title it's a stretch to call it a Christmas film (or Happy for that matter!).  This is an adult film, not so much family friendly. 

Christmas Belle (2013) Belle (Haylie Duff) is sent to handle the sale of an estate and it's contents the week before Christmas. Add a suitor back home and a grumpy/Grinch (often shirtless Nicholas Gonzales) estate owner and you've got a Holiday Love triangle!  I won't give the (somewhat drawn out) ending away but this movie although expectedly cheesy is worth a view.  

Friday, November 10, 2017

Unicorn Birthday Party Part II

I'm back with Part II of my daughter's 10th Unicorn Birthday Party!  Today I'll go over our activities, games and favors.

Unicorn Name Game

This was our only game and lasted during the whole party.  When the girls first arrived they looked up their unicorn names using our chart and wrote them on a name tag.  For the rest of the party the girls referred to each other by their unicorn names.  If they slipped and accidentally used their real names they got a line on their name tag.  Whoever had the least amount of lines at the end of the party was the winner!

My unicorn name was Perky Happy Feet by the way. Ha!

Note: Adults were exempt from the game!

Unicorn Photo Booth

Another fun activity appropriate for the tween set was a photo booth.  I ordered a (cheap) background and also Photo Props from Amazon and set them up in one of the rooms.  I had each girl take photos alone, with the birthday girl and in any other combinations they wanted.  So fun!

The grownups enjoyed the photos too. ;)

Unicorn Poop Eraser

Our first craft was creating "Unicorn Poop".  I'm telling you, this was a hit!  We used eraser clay and had the girls roll out colors, combine them and make a poop pile shape.  Ha!  Added a little glitter, baked them in the oven and voila - a poop eraser!

Eraser clay was a first for me, but it's pretty easy to use!  I ordered our clay from Amazon and found directions on YouTube for making the poop shape.  I had the girls watch the YouTube video first and then they were off (easier than explaining it myself).

Unicorn Pumpkin Decorating

We saw a few versions of pumpkin decorating on Pinterest and adapted them to fit our needs.  I bought little white pumpkins ($1 each!) rather than painting orange ones.  This project was appropriate for the party and the time of year, since my daughter's birthday is right before Halloween. 

For decorating we used:
-Crayola Model Magic to form the horns 
-Flowers from Hobby Lobby, separated so each girl could use some (about 4-5 each)
-Curling Ribbons for hair and tails.
-Sharpie pen to draw on faces 
-Pink and white foam sheets to cut out ear shapes

We attached their chosen items with hot glue and patience.  

Unicorn Pinata

The Unicorn Pinata from Target was a big hit (haha).  At only $15.49 and free shipping it was a great deal too! We filled it with tween goodies including:

-Tiny nail polish bottles (wrapped in bubble wrap so they wouldn't break)
-Pop Rocks
-Unicorn stretch toys
-Rainbow Skittles
-Rainbow Hair Ties


We used the homemade Unicorn Goodie Bags for the girls to place their pinata goodies inside.  

They also received:

-unicorn cookies
-unicorn headbands
-unicorn Poop eraser
-unicorn Pumpkin

A grand haul!

For more information on the cookies, snacks and decorations check out: Unicorn Birthday Party Part I

Here are some links for the products that I used for the party:


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Another (unconventional) first

I'm one of those moms that document as many of my kid's firsts as possible.  First teeth, first steps, first airplane trip, first day of school, etc.  However, we also keep track of other firsts like first time getting out of the crib, first public tantrum and first blowout. ;)

Yesterday's first was my youngest's first ER visit!  Also first cut requiring medical attention.  Fortunately she didn't need stitches, just some glue.  Also she was lucky enough to have the cut right at her eyebrow so scarring will be less likely. 

She was a trooper, enjoying all the attention from the nurses and staff.  She was reluctant to have the purple glue attached but only fussed a little. A popsicle and toy helped cheer her up.

Here's hoping we don't have anymore medical firsts this year such as first broken bone or stitches! 

Note: The cut happened at school when some kids tripped her and she fell on the playground steps. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Unicorn Birthday Party! Part I

My big beautiful girl turned 10 last month and we celebrated with a Unicorn Birthday Party.  Now that she's older we had a fun time planning this party together. It was a small party but full of lots of Unicorns!

Today I'm going to show our decorations and food, then I'll be back for the games, activities and favors.

First up were the invitations.  We found these beauties at an Etsy shop called Visual6Graphics. They were a steal at only $.65 each (plus shipping) and the quality was fantastic too!

Next up were decorations.  We bought Unicorn Balloons from Party City and regular mylars from the Dollar Tree.

Those beautiful cookies were made by Kim's Cookie Cottage here in Phoenix.  She is an amazing cookie artist who can make anything!  We used the cookies as decorations and each girl got to take a unicorn cookie home. The gold charger was from Dollar Tree. 

See those adorable unicorn bags?  We made those to use as decorations and also treat bags.  It was an easy and fun project we just cut out ear and horn shapes (from foam sheets) and colored them with pink or gold markers.  Simple sharpe drawn eyes and that's all we needed!

The girls and I matched the theme by wearing Unicorn leggings!  The girls's leggings are from Target and mine are from Lularoe. The birthday girl had a matching Unicorn t-shirt from Target and see those Unicorn headbands?  Those were from Target too, only $3 each ($2 if you do store p/u)!  The biggest steal was the pink "Full time Unicorn" tank tops that I found for me and my BFF.  They were on clearance at Charming Charlie and ended up only costing $2 each!  

Most of the other decorations were from Target including the tablecloth, plates, napkins and rainbow Unicorn straws! The rainbow tray is from Ikea.

Those pretty rainbow floats were made out of rainbow sorbet and sprite.  Our other snacks included popcorn and of course cupcakes!

Thankfully here in Phoenix late October is still nice and warm so the girls enjoyed cupcakes on the back patio.  In fact my daughter was almost too hot in her long-sleeved T. :)

I'll be back later with the games, activities and favors. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween from My Friends :)

My friends wanted to wish you a Happy Halloween!  Ha, sorry couldn't resist.  These Fisher Price My Friend Dolls do have costumes though and are ready to Trick-or-Treat.

And one more from our Vintage Fisher Price Little People. 

For past Halloween Fun check out: