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Easter, Jesus,Crucifixion, SalvationEaster is one of the few times you will read a religious post on here. My religion is the one thing I feel is very personal but being that my faith in God is so strong, I feel it would be remiss if I did not write a post about Easter. To purposely avoid it, would just be weird for me. I believe in a risen Christ so yesterday was our big holiday. If you are not into Easter and don’t celebrate, feel free to stop reading. I won’t be offended. This post is not for you. This post is for my children to someday read.

We decided a long time ago that for all the fun traditions associated with the holidays; elves, Santa, Bunnies and Leprechauns, my children would always know the true meaning of why we celebrate these religious holidays and holy days of obligation. This is why on Good Friday, as a family, we watched the Passion of the Christ.

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Easter, Pieta,mother and child, Mary, Crucifixion, Good Friday

I read a post the other day called Easter Week for Stoics. I read it with a completely open heart and mind. In fact, I like the writer’s perspective most of the time. We have a lot in common. This post, however, just didn’t sit right with me because while I feel everyone can celebrate Easter week as they like, something about it felt “don’t judge me because I don’t cry when I’m “supposed” to but I might be judging you for crying” post. I’m not sure that’s how she meant it to come across but that is how it read, to me.

I feel like we live in a world where it’s not always “cool” to be openly Christian. If you share a religious quote, obviously you are zealot and you don’t vaccinate or believe in doctors and if you are Catholic, you drive a minivan and have 20 kids because you don’t believe in birth control. Sometimes, being religious is seen as a weakness by those who are not. I mean honestly, being openly religious sometimes feels like telling people that you still believe in Santa and then dropping the mike and running away. Some people just get that blank stare on their face, like you just farted.

I am Catholic and for me The Passion of the Christ was more than just a movie.  While we are very prone to following liturgical calendars and celebrating in a very organized way (my own husband makes refers to mass as his Sunday calisthenics and is not above referring to it as the cult of Christianity), I have never felt emotionally manipulated. I have free will. Just because our mass is regimented and organized, it does not make our response to the word any less spontaneous. Just because we don’t dance in the aisles, speak in tongues or handle snakes does not make my faith any less true or authentic. We just choose to worship differently.

I am not one of those stuffy people who attends mass to prove to others that I am dedicated nor am I someone who only attends mass on Easter and Christmas. God is with me every single day and has been since I was a small child. My faith permeates everything I do and I don’t have to prove it to anyone. I go to church because being there makes me feel at peace with the world; it makes me feel safe. It is my quiet sanctuary. That is the relationship that I have with my faith. I do not judge others for their perspective and I never mock what I don’t understand.

I don’t believe you have to be in church every Sunday to have a relationship with God and I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to have faith. My belief is that faith is something you learn as a child and becomes a trusted part of who you are as an adult. I don’t know how I would have survived some of the hard times in my life if I didn’t have a higher being to hand my worry off to or believe that my God can do anything. My faith gives me hope.

In our house, Easter has always been about more than bunnies, candy and a pretty new spring dress.

I appreciate Christ’s sacrifice. I believe in it. I embrace it. I am humbled by it. I am grateful for my faith. I want to pass that on to my daughters. I’m raising them to believe in God, to believe in human compassion, kindness and forgiveness and to not sit in judgment of others. I want them to be tolerant, to love their fellow man (& woman) and to do these things every day not just on Sunday or just because they are supposed to. Most importantly, I want them to be good people by anyone’s standards even if it’s not the cool thing to do. I want them to make the right choices because they believe in them despite what others might think.

When I touched that wooden Jesus on the cross on Good Friday, I said a prayer for the world and myself to be better. I unexpectedly began to weep because my heart was so heavy in reaction to Mary helplessly watching her son be crucified. As a mother, there is nothing I can fathom to make it hurt less, even if it were to save all of mankind. I crossed myself, touched the wooden hand of Jesus and wept for his mother; wept for every mother and father.

I’ve never been one to do things simply because I was supposed to or because everyone else was doing it. My parents had the “if all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you?” conversation very early on with me and my answer has been “no” ever since. My relationship with God is personal. It is intimate. I believe that God knows what is in our hearts without us ever shedding a tear or speaking a word but if I want to sob uncontrollably or sit stoically quiet, I’d prefer no one judge me.

Crying on command may be something that some people do as proof to their congregation or maybe they are genuinely having a moment of religious reconciliation. I don’t know. I don’t know their heart. The one thing I do know is that it is not my place to judge anyone for anything, ever though I know we all have but I am trying to be less cynical.

We all celebrate Easter (or we don’t) in our own way and that’s all right too because, in the end, you can only be who you are and you can only believe what you do. I guess the only thing that really bothered me about the post was not that she didn’t cry but that I felt she was judging those who did.

How did you celebrate your Easter?

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Yesterday, I was shocked by the news of the day. I spent the next 24 hours “feeling” my feelings. I’d be calm, then cry, then sad, then shocked some more, then irate.As I was packing the girls room up, while Bella was at preschool (so she wouldn’t notice that it was being packed up), I packed while she was at school so she would have no idea things were going into boxes rather than into drawers and closets. While I was rushing to do this before she got home, I couldn’t place why I kept getting angry and falling to pieces. Surely, cleaning their room wasn’t anything to cry about.I just couldn’t place what was making this time, the third time in 17 months that my husband had gotten the news of a lay off, so much worse.Then ,I figured it out. This time was different because this time one of the people that I love more than anything else in life, my 4 year old, Bella was old enough for this to actually affect her. I have been reassured that children are resilient .In my mind, I know this. I know that when she is a teenager, she will have no recollection of this entire situation. She won’t be scarred for life, need therapy, or even care but that doesn’t help me ..now.See, this has happened before.The first time, she was pretty unaffected. She was 3, she was oblivious. But the second time, I was so distraught myself that I forgot to filter my actions and words and she knew exactly what was going on. Bad, bad Mommy. I felt horrible about the whole thing.No 4 year old should be aware of finances and the family economic situation, let alone be afraid of going without..anything. When we had to relocate, she was sad and full of trepidation at the thought of leaving “her” best friends, “her” ballet class, “her” swing set, “her” bedroom, “her” toys,”her ” house etc. etc. It was all very overwhelming to her and it was all my fault. If I would have kept “MY” mouth shut, she would have been unphased. It’s kinda like when your kid falls, if you don’t gasp and run to their rescue..its as if they never even fell. They usually don’t even cry. They are tough, they are resilient. We, however, are not apparently. So, last time we had to uproot, I kicked and screamed all the way ( metaphorically, of course) and she did it literally. Good example Mommy. Worse, above all else, was the fact that she was so afraid of the whole experience. I did that. This time, I promised myself that I would hold my tongue and she would not see me cry. She would be blissfully unaware. Her and her sister will not know that Daddy got laid off and we are scared to death in this economy. No, this time I will smile and just tell her that we are going home to be closer to our old friends and family. This time, I will be an adult and spare my child the fear and uncertainty that she does not need to experience at the ripe old age of 4. This time I will be the adult and protect her from this awful thing called life. She has the rest of her life to find out that life is not perfect and we don’t always get what we want and sometimes we have to struggle. But today, she is four and today, there is Santa, the Tooth fairy, and the Easter Bunny. Daddy is the strongest man in the world and Mommy is the most beautiful woman and we both are perfect..in her eyes.Life is perfect.Today, I will guard her innocence with my life. She is my baby and she has the rest of her life to be disappointed, but for today I refuse to let her be anything but happy. Today, I will be your Mommy and your umbrella from all of life’s rain. I love you Bella and Gabs! You are my sunshine!!

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Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

I’m so excited to share with you Tim Burton’s all-new visionary live-action DUMBO that is available everywhere on June 25th!  Fall in love again with this heartfelt story when it swoops into homes on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD and Movies Anywhere, and physically on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD – with never-before-seen bonus features, deleted scenes, bloopers and more!

 READ ALSO: Disney’s the Lion King

“Dumbo,” the grand live-action adventure from Disney and visionary director Tim Burton expanded on the beloved animated classic and sent spirits soaring. Disney invites fans to fall in love again with this heartfelt story, in which differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight, when it swoops into homes on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ and Movies Anywhere, and physically on 4K Ultra HD,  Blu-ray™ and DVD — with never-before-seen bonus features, deleted scenes, Easter eggs and bloopers.

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

Stunning extras will transport viewers to the set of “Dumbo,” where cast members Danny DeVito (circus owner Max Medici), Michael Keaton (opportunistic businessman V.A. Vandevere), Colin Farrell (war-veteran-turned-elephant-keeper Holt Farrier), Eva Green (stunning aerialist Colette Marchant), Nico Parker (Farrier’s daughter, Milly) and Finley Hobbins (Farrier’s son, Joe) share their personal stories of courage and character.

READ ALSO: Why I Loved Disney’s Aladdin Live-Action more than the Original

Features explore how Disney’s timeless animated story was brought to life with an incredibly expressive, lovable, fully computer-generated baby elephant; the longtime collaboration of Burton, production designer Rick Heinrichs and costume designer Colleen Atwood, which resulted in jaw-dropping sets and costumes; and the creation of the visually colossal Dreamland parade sequence. Also included are nine deleted scenes, hidden and not-so-hidden Easter eggs, bloopers and a special performance of “Baby Mine” by Arcade Fire.

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

In “Dumbo,” struggling circus owner Max Medici enlists former star Holt Farrier and his children to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive but sinister entrepreneur V.A.Vandevere, who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, spectacular, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland.

READ ALSO: Toy Story 4 Reveals the Meaning of Life

“Dumbo” will be released in several different formats, giving families the flexibility to watch it on a variety of devices. Viewers can watch the film in Digital 4K UHD, HD and SD, and bring home a physical copy of the film as the 4K Ultra HD Edition (4K UHD, Blu-ray and Digital Code), Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Code) and a single DVD.

Bonus features include*:
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:

  • CIRCUS SPECTACULARS: Dumbo’s cast shares their experience of making the film—and get to the heart of a story about family and believing in yourself.
  • THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Explore how one of Disney’s most lovable characters went from an animated classic to a stunning live-action retelling.
  • BUILT TO AMAZE: Get a closer look at the film’s production and costume design.
  • DELETED SCENES: A compelling collection of scenes that almost made the final film.
    • Roustabout Rufus
    • Pachyderm Plans
    • The Other Medici Brother
    • Monkey Business
    • A Star Is Born
    • Where’s Dumbo
    • Elephant Heist
    • A Seat at the Show
  • EASTER EGGS ON PARADE: Discover the hidden and not-so-hidden nods to the animated Dumboin this narrated tribute to the Disney classic.
  • CLOWNING AROUND: Laugh along with the cast in a collection of big-top bloopers and goofs from the set.
  • “BABY MINE”: Visual video performed by Arcade Fire

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's DumboDIGITAL EXCLUSIVE:

  • DREAMLAND – ANATOMY OF A SCENE: From Final Script to Final Scene: The filmmakers and cast talk a lot about the feeling of “grand intimacy” in the film.  Step right up as they bring the Dreamland parade to life, accomplishing the rare marriage of a massive spectacle combined with an emotional tenderness.
  • 4K Ultra HD: English Dolby Atmos and 2.0 Descriptive Audio; Spanish and French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus Language Tracks
  • Blu-ray: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA and 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks
  • DVD: English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio Language Tracks
  • UHD Digital: English Dolby Atmos (some platforms); English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
  • HD Digital: English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
  • SD Digital: English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo 

DUMBO” CAST AND CREW: 
The film stars Golden Globe® winner Colin Farrell (“In Bruges,” “The Lobster”) as war-veteran turned elephant-keeper Holt Farrier, Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton (“Birdman,” “Beetlejuice”) as opportunistic businessman V.A. Vandevere, Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Danny DeVito (“Batman Returns,” “Big Fish”) as circus owner Max Medici, and BAFTA Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Eva Green (“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “Dark Shadows”) as stunning aerialist Colette Marchant. Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins make their feature film debuts as Holt’s children, Milly and Joe.

Here is a fun origami activity to do with your children in celebration of the release of Disney’s Dumbo.

Like DUMBO on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyDumbo/

Follow DUMBO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dumbo

Follow DUMBO on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dumbo/

Visit the official DUMBO website here: https://disney.com/dumbo

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roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe, lemon chicken, chicken recipe, Easter recipe

I’ve been cooking dinner at home a lot lately in an effort to get healthy and save money. I’d say those are pretty good reasons for eating at home. It gives me a weird mom satisfaction knowing how much my family loves my cooking. These are people who enjoy food and are not afraid to tell you if it’s not up to par. When foodies are silent at the dinner table save for the sound of lips smacking, it feels like an accomplishment. My roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe shuts them right up and I love it.

I like to make meals that are as free from preservatives as possible. The more natural, the better. Farm to table, no additives or hormones is our jam. We’re Midwesterners so we do love our comfort foods that remind us of growing up and well, if there are leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, even better. I want all of that but healthier. Comforting without the guilt. Know what I mean?

READ ALSO: Avgolemono Greek Lemon Chicken Soup Recipe

Currently, my family’s favorite meal that I’ve been cooking is a simple, but delicious, roasted orange and lemon chicken with baked rosemary potatoes and steamed asparagus. I’m going on the record and humble brag that it’s scrumptious and almost obscene how easy it is to prepare. It’s practically idiot proof. I’m pretty sure I could teach my middle schoolers how to make this roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe and it turn out just as awesome as when I make it. It’s that easy. If you’ve seen my Thanksgiving how to roast a turkey recipe, you already know how easy it is.

roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe, lemon chicken, chicken recipe, Easter recipe

I’m going to be honest with you, Easter is right around the corner and I’m not a huge fan of the traditional ham dinner so I’m going to make this roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe. Who says we have to do things the traditional way? Create your own traditions. Eat what you want. You’re cooking.

Easy and Delicious Roasted Orange and Lemon Chicken Recipe

roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe, lemon chicken, chicken recipe, Easter recipe

Roasted Orange and Lemon Chicken Recipe

Easy to make ad deliciously moist roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Resting Time 15 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 5-6 lb Whole Chicken
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 stick Unsalted butter
  • Olive Oil as needed, enough to cover chicken.
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lemon
  • Garlic Powder to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
    Remove the innards from the cavity of the chicken.
    Put chicken in a roasting pan.
    Gently wedge your fingers between the skin and meat and slightly loosen.
    Place pats of butter inside the loosened area between skin and chicken meat.
    Slice the lemon and orange into slices.
    Place slices into the empty chicken cavity.
    Cover the chicken with olive oil and massage the oil into the skin. This helps to lock in the juices while cooking.
    Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper.
    After that, lightly sprinkle with garlic powder.
    Lastly, let sit for a couple minutes while you melt remainder of stick of butter.
    Massage melted butter onto the exterior of the chicken.
    Cover completely.
    Generously season with salt and pepper.
    Bake uncovered for 15 minutes in preheated oven, to lock in juices.
    Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
    Cover loosely with aluminum foil.
    Bake for about 30 minutes per lb.
    Remove from heat, and baste with melted margarine and drippings about every 45 minutes.
    Cook to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (82 degrees C).
    When done, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest 30 minutes before serving.
     
     
Keyword Roasted orange and lemon chicken recipe, lemon chicken, chicken recipe

READ ALSO: World’s Best Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

I’m thinking of pairing my Easter orange and lemon chicken recipe with garlic potatoes, glazed carrots, fresh rolls, fresh cut fruit and deviled eggs. Sounds like the perfect dinner to me. What’s your favorite Sunday dinner recipe?

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Kid thinks tooth fairy is a creepy bastard, Tooth Fairy; Reasons You Shouldn't Promote this Childhood Myth

Recently, it seems that my girls are growing up at lightning speed. The things they say, the mannerisms, the reading, the attention to detail in their looks, and especially the observations that they make of the world, blow my mind. Here is one of Bella’s gems, as of late. Hint: She thinks the tooth fairy is creepy.

Bella recently lost her very first tooth. It was right around Halloween. She was very excited. Her father and I were (let me honest) pretty sad because, you see, this represents her growing up. This is just another first part of letting go. Bet you never knew losing baby teeth had such a deep meaning, did you?

Though we may not be thrilled about what it symbolizes, you know we had to make a BIG GIGANTIC deal about it. This is the FIRST tooth. Grandma sent a little satin pillow to place the tooth in and put under my Bella’s pillow and there was a little book to record the moment. I snapped pictures and wiped away a tear*sniff, sniff* Another magical, mythical character to complete this childhood fantasy in the books.

It was time to perform our parently duties and perpetuate the myth of the tooth fairy for the first time. We were officially going to be a part of the problem.

It happened on a Thursday, in the middle of the night and Bella told me that she wanted to wait for her Daddy to be home, so he could be part of this momentous occasion. Friday comes, the Big Guy is home, while he and I are hushedly discussing the going rate for a first tooth these days and deciding whether or not one of us had to hit the ATM, Bella walks right up to us and delivers this proclamation;

“Mommy and Daddy, I don’t think I am going to put my tooth under my pillow tonight!”

We look at one another bewildered. We’d been waiting for this milestone first tooth to fall out and the tooth fairy to come. Did I mention she had been waiting for this tooth to fall out since she started kindergarten and all the other kids were missing teeth?

Me:” Why not, sweetie?”

Bella:” Well, Mommy, I was thinking about it and it’s pretty creepy that the tooth fairy comes in the middle of the night and steals my tooth!”

I shake my head in agreement. My husband is stifling his laughter because really he is just a giant 10-year old, plus it was pretty freaking funny. She was dead serious!

Me:” Well, Bella, the fairy doesn’t really steal it. She takes your tooth away and leaves you some money. She buys it!”

Bella: “Mommy, I don’t think my teeth are for sale!”

It’s hard to argue with reason and determination.  Y’all know that lying is not my forte anyway. These white lies are one of the hardest parts of motherhood for me.

At least we didn’t plot to murder the tooth fairy

 

So the kid’s got a point. It is a pretty creepy idea of some little freaky tooth obsessed fairy coming into your bedroom, in the middle of the night, and stealing your discarded teeth away. Who does my Bella think is coming? The tooth fairy? Or the Chupacabra?

Tooth Fairy; Reasons You Shouldn’t Promote this Childhood Myth

In exchange, the fairy leaves the child a little monetary token on their nightstand, like a John would do for his hooker. It’s all very seedy. Perhaps, we should have given this story a little more thought.

I could not in good conscience argue this point with her.

I simply told her: “Bella, you don’t have to give your tooth to the tooth fairy tonight. We can just hold on to it and when /if you decide to leave it for the fairy, we can do that too, OK?”

Bella looks at me perplexed and then she has a eureka look on her face.

Bella: “Mommy, why don’t you and Daddy just give me the money and you can keep the tooth!”

Uh oh, the jig is up before it even began. I back peddled and told her something about angering the tooth Gods and throwing off the natural balance of the universe or something to that effect(who can remember, I was floundering to save her childhood) and then I quickly exited the room with her innocence intact.

Now that I think of it, I should have just agreed to her request to pay her for her teeth and saved myself some headaches.

Whew! What’s next? The Easter Bunny? Fairy Godmothers? Santa Claus? Unicorns? Somebody slow down this ride, I want to get off. Where are the brakes?

What do you do when your child starts questioning the fictitious people in their lives like the tooth fairy?

 

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Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Last night the Big Guy surprised the girls with tickets to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, now playing in theaters. This should be no surprise to anybody who knows us because everyone knows that we are huge Disney fans but more importantly, this is one of our favorite Disney films.

I went to see Beauty and the Beast with big expectations.

I wasn’t sure that the movie could live up to the way I felt about the animated movie. I mean, I’ve loved that movie for 26 years. I won’t lie, Beauty and the Beast has a very special place in my heart. In a lot of ways, the Big Guy and I are very different but when we met, we both agreed that we loved Beauty and the Beast. It was one of the first things we had in common.

The Big Guy is an artist and he loved the original Beauty and Beast because it was animation at its finest. It was traditional Disney. He’s old school like that. I loved the original movie because it was an epic love story between a bookish, headstrong brunette with a wanderlust in her heart ( ahem) and a Beast who became beautiful on the inside as his true nature was revealed. I loved the story and the characters. I couldn’t wait to see how that parlayed into live action.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

I knew the cast was stellar and so was the directing. Bill Condon outdid anything I could have expected. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts. With this cast, how could you go wrong?

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told.

“Beauty and the Beast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within.

My family loves musicals and Beauty and the Beast did not let us down.

I’m listening to the soundtrack as I type this post. In fact, we’ve been listening to it since watching the movie last night. The original score by Alan Menken was stunning and new songs added a level of depth to the live-action movie that wasn’t there in the original. My favorite songs are Days in the Sun, Gaston, Be Our Guest, Something There and Evermore. If you weren’t in love with the Beast by this point in the movie, his very Les Miserable like solo Evermore would make you fall head over heels with this character.

 I absolutely loved the live-action Beauty and the Beast. Dare I say, even more so than the original. The story was just as beautiful but the cinematography was out of this world and there was something about the film that not only told you what was happening but was so masterfully written, acted and directed that it immersed you in the film. I felt the film.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Scene by scene, you fall in love with the Beast along with Belle.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

We get to know his soul and it is beautiful. Near the end, when the enchanted household items begin to turn into just household items, I felt the souls leave the pieces. I know it sounds crazy but it was that good. You felt it, you didn’t need to be led by the nose to the outcome.

 

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Emma Watson was the perfect Belle, for me. She is girl-next-door, smart and strong and she plays the part without being ostentatious. I feel like Watson’s Belle was right on the mark. Her understated reaction to everything balanced out Dan Stevens powerful presence as the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Ewan McGregor and Ian McKellan as Lumiere and Cogsworth were marvelous. The Be Our Guest performance was nothing short of magical. I would have to say that it was so spectacular that it outdid the original in the wow department. I really didn’t think that was possible. Ewan McGregor’s delivery of Be Our Guest was reminiscent of Cabaret’s Vilkommen. Also, Disney fan alert, be on the lookout for the easter egg during the song.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Emma Thompson’s Mrs. Potts was spot on. She was just as wonderful as Angela Landsbury in the original but softer around the edges.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Luke Evans was the perfect Gaston. He was definitely more despicable than I remember. I guess there must be more redemption for animated characters because in that version I found his bumbling endearing. In the live-action film, I hated the character. Luke Evans played the part perfectly.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Josh Gad as LeFou was one of the highlights of the movie. I’ve loved Josh Gad since Book of Mormon (I told you we love our musicals) but Gad made LeFou endearing. In the animated movie, LeFou was annoying and a pest. In the live-action version, he was the voice of reason. He served as Gaston’s ignored moral compass. In the end, he did the right thing. His rendition of Gaston was one of the highlights of the film. Gad played LeFou with flawless delivery.

Beauty and the Beast, Disney, movie review, family review

Here are our reviews of Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast.

I love it! I would see it 100 more times and I just might because it was that magical to me and who can’t use a little more Disney magic in their life? The story was even more endearing to me than I remembered it being ( and I just watched the original over the past weekend to prep for the movie.)

The Big Guy, who I told you is an artist, an animation traditionalist and this is his favorite Disney animated film, said that he loved the live-action film but still prefers the animated one. He said he didn’t like some of the creative license that, he felt, deviated from the original. I thought it filled in the gaps nicely. Then again, I am all about the story because I am a writer and he is more about the animation.

Bella, my just turned 12-year-old, is with me. She said she LOVED the movie and she can’t wait to see it again. Her favorite part was the Be Our Guest sequence and she loves Emma Watson as Belle. She loves the pageantry of Beauty and the Beast and she said that she loved absolutely everything about it.

Gabs, my sweet 9-year-old, said she loved the movie but she isn’t ready to say whether or not she loves it more than the original. She’s my analyzer, she likes to weigh her options. However, she’s promised me a video interview that I will add later today.

Overall, our family emphatically agrees that Disney’s Beauty and the Beast live-action film is a must see.

It’s the perfect movie for all ages. The only warning I have is if you are taking really small children, there are a couple times that the Beast roars really loudly and it may startle toddlers/preschoolers but other than that, be prepared to be wowed by the magic. And you might as well get the soundtrack now because you will be wanting to play it non-stop afterward.

If you’ve seen both Beauty and the Beast versions which is your favorite and why?

 

 

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elves, elf, Christmas, holidays,

elves, elf, Christmas, holidays,

Herbie the Elf

The Elf is back in town ~ It’s happened again, Santa has sent his henchmen to keep the girls in check. Mommy is glad because after all that sugary dessert on Thanksgiving, those girls were a little off their rocker. Lots of screaming, screeching, thunderous laughter and gratuitous “No”s. I am hoping that with the arrival of Herbie Hancock the elf ( because what else would you call Santa’s coolest elf?) the girls settle into a nice quiet, yes ma’am existence ( at least for the next month or so). I’m quite sure after the girls go to bed, Herbie Hancock the elf is break dancing his little tiny elf self all over the house..helicopter head spinning on the tiles in the kitchen, running up the walls in the hall way and doing back flips, probably moon walking all over the mantel, and I am positive that he is doing the centipede all over the joint. Silly elf, I think he may even have his own elf break dancing crew back in the North Pole.

Herbie the Elf is Mommy’s Little Holiday Helper

Don’t be fooled by the dopey smile and rosy cheeks. This guy means business. Don’t you see the placard that he is holding? Old boy is not all a rosy glow from just sitting by the fireplace, he has been busting ass and breaking kneecaps. Think less Buddy the Elf and more Tony Soprano the Elf. Yeah, that’s how we roll over in these parts. Now, as you can see, the whole Elf on the Shelf craze has really taken off this year; as is evidenced by the elf on the shelf kit being displayed prominently in every cartoon channel’s commercials and in the toy/children’s section at your major retailers. First let me say, the whole elf on the shelf kit elf..scares the holy hell outta me ( which may be the purpose..sinister little bastard) but now that he is on the front page of Target’s ad and gone all mainstream…don’t you think the kids might catch on? I mean, my girls are 4 and 6 and they are not blind and they’re kinda smart so they’d figure that one out in a hot second. No, here at casa de Truthful Mommy, we go rogue. We find some out of the way shop that specializes in magical, Santa henchmen who serve up justice with a smile and a side of curls.

I know there are parents out there who think it is an awful sin to lie to your children ( these are the same parents who probably want to send me to hell for leashing my girls when they were toddlers..after a near fatal escape by my 2 year old when I was very, very pregnant with her sister) or perpetuate the myth of Santa, the Tooth fairy and Easter Bunny and even worse to threaten my children with mafioso elves but really who am I hurting. I don’t generally lie to my girls, well, unless you count my all time favorite…doing more good than harm white lies that I’ve told over the years but at Christmas time, with all that sugar and hyperactivity running rampant, late bedtimes, visitors and such the routine gets a bit haywire and Mommy needs a little help with the baby wrangling and that’s where Herbie Hancock the Elf comes in. He’s my little ninja Mommy assistant during the holidays.

This year we needed to kick it up a notch and after a reminder by Mommyfriend Lori and referencing last year’s post about the elves running a muck , I’ve decided to let the girls invent their own kind of Santa Big Brother. Last year, Bella told me that she thought that Santa had spy cams planted around the world so that he could keep his eyes and ears on all kids at all times. I chuckled last year when Bella told me this but then Mommyfriend Lori wrote about the fire alarms in her house being Santa cams and eureka….Santa Big Brother is watching! The girls have been running up to the fire alarm all day so that Santa could see their smiling , doe eyed selves being oh so docile and respectful children. The awesome thing about this? Well, when good old Herbie Hancock the break-dancing, beep-bopping, kneecap breaking, enforcer elf heads back for colder climates…the fire alarms Big Brother Santa spy cams will remain…forever! Genius. Elf on the shelf ain’t got nothing on Herbie and the Santa Spy Cams.

Herbie the Elf & Santa Spy Cams to the Rescue

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mommy sex and the man cold, man cold, feminine hygiene, U.T.I, motherhood, dad cold

Oh you read that title right? And I’m the barely living proof. In case you’ve been wondering where the hell I’ve been all week, I got taken out of the game by a U.T.I. Yep, I said it. No alibi just a damn U.T.I. I’m feeling like I’m upside down in the middle of nowhere. As if having stress incontinence and mommy brain were not embarrassing enough.

This past weekend I was feeling out of sorts, okay, bat shit crazy is more appropriate. What started out as a low blood sugar spell, as my mamma would call it, turned into something else. I ate something but nothing seemed to work. I just couldn’t shake that lightheaded feeling.

I took a shower, laid down and prayed that it would pass. It didn’t. Of course, I’m going through WebMd assuming the worst. It had to be a tumor or maybe brain cancer. Maybe I’m about to go into a diabetic coma (no I’m not diabetic) or maybe my blood pressure was going to make me have a stroke. Fuck, I don’t want to have a stroke. Or maybe the stress of my children is finally going to give me Bells Palsy. It’s not funny. I think about this sort of shit and then I freak out because my smile is already crooked and I just don’t think I can pull off the droopy face look. Some people can, just like some people look good bald. I am barely passing as human on a good day.

The next thing I knew, all the blood is rushing from my head and the only thing I can hear was the sound of my own blood coursing through my veins. The room was getting foggy and I was freaking out because I knew it was going to happen next. I was going to pass out.

I screamed for the Big Guy and when he came upstairs, he saw that I was as white as a ghost and, through my head spinning fog, I told him that we needed to go to the hospital, the vets or whatever the closest place was where a person trained in medicine, of any kind, could make me feel “normal”. Not your typical Sunday night. Well, maybe it is for us. Over the course of this past year, it seems like everything that ever happens bad to us happens on Sunday. Remember the ER visit on Easter Sunday thanks to the gall bladder from hell. It’s our only free day of the week. I think just the fact that my body gets to rest, it goes into shock and likes to cause some good old fashioned drama.

I went to the doctor expecting to be told that I had high blood pressure or high sugar, high something. I’m a middle-aged mom who never makes time for herself. What the hell else would I expect? Of course my body is going to mutiny at some point. But that wasn’t the case.

Turned out that I had a blockage in my ear, that needed to be removed. That was disgusting. If you’ve ever had one, then you know I’m talking about and if you haven’t count yourself lucky. While I was being poked and prodded at every end, they also found out that I have a UTI. A fucking U.T.I at my age!

I’ve never had a U.T.I before.

Somehow I made all through college and all that sex and never had a U.T.I but here I am a week before my 44th birthday, monogamous for nearly 2 decades, with my first U.T.I like some coed gone wild. That’ll teach me to have sex three times in one week.

Apparently due to the infection, I was experiencing some lightheadedness. I didn’t even know that was possible. Who knew that your urethra wielded such dizzying power over your mental well-being? Just in case the finicky urethra was not the culprit, my Eustachian tube had to be excavated and all wax removed, by force if necessary.

It all sounded terrible, what I could hear of it. Apparently, between the swooshing of my blood in my head and my blocked ear, I wasn’t hearing as well as I should’ve been. The thing is when your urethra is hijacking your health, your ear is being power washed from the inside out and, just to keep things interesting, your vagina and all of her reproductive friends are trying to kill you by slow and heavy internal bleeding, you just don’t give a fuck whether or not they beat on your ear drum with a miniature fire hose. You just make a bunch of ugly faces, while your kids watch because it’s Sunday and you have no babysitter, and you deal with it. That’s being a grown up and it sucks.

All ready long story short, sometimes weird shit happens on Sunday afternoon and you just have to put on your big girl panties (and a bra if you’re going into public) and hit up the local hospital where they know your name and pay a ridiculous amount of money because being able to function without falling over or passing out, is pretty important when you’re a mom. I mean how am I supposed to drive everyone everywhere if I’m randomly passing out all over the place? How is my husband supposed to be gone at a conference all week if I’m running a fever and passing out?

Oh, don’t mind me, I’ll just take 10 days’ worth of these horse pill antibiotics (maybe he did take me to the vets after all) and 10 days straight of antihistamine and wait for the impending yeast infection that will surely follow while you all just go on about your lives. By all means family, don’t let my illness encroach on your plans…. mother fuckers. (I feel like I should add a Mother Fucker there for some reason).

Anyways, I’m not passing out but I’m now feeling crazy from the steady Benadryl drip I’m on. But it’s all good. Nobody be alarmed. I took the kids to all their extracurricular activities this week. The Big Guy didn’t miss any of his conference social events and I even managed to attend a Middle school football game (because my daughter cheered) and a mandatory school board meeting. I’m not bragging or anything but did I mention that I cooked dinner every damn day this week? Don’t be jealous, ladies! Not bad for a half dead woman who can’t hear and has issues with her lady bits. Of course, my house looks like a pig sty had a baby with a tornado.

This Sunday is my birthday. The girls are going to grandma’s house tonight and all I want to do is sleep for the next 48-hours. But that probably won’t happen because…well, I’m a mom and a wife and when the people I love need me, I can’t say no. We have tickets to a Purdue game and my parents are coming to visit and…I just need a nap. Can I just be the flake this weekend? Why couldn’t I have simply contracted a man cold? With a man cold, all expectations would have disappeared but not with a U.T.I. I caught the wrong thing from my husband.

Have you ever suffered from a U.T.I ?

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Growing up too fast is no bueno. Yeah, I heard that collective groan. I did it myself today.  Today was the Mommy equivalent to premature evacuation. You know what I mean about growing up too fast? Those days when your kid does something ahead of schedule? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes growing up too fast is awesome. 5 year old picks up her clothes, toys and fixes her bed..ahead of the curve. Awesome. 1.5 year old potty trains on her own. AWESOME! 3 year old can read…AWESOME! 4 year old can wipe her own ass! SUPER AWESOME!

Stop Growing Up Too Fast

But then there are those instances of growing up too fast that just plain suck. Having your child realize that there is no Santa, Easter bunny or tooth fairy…before they are 18 sucks.  Having your little girl notice boys at the age of 5, not awesome. Having your little girl go through precocious puberty…definitely NOT awesome. Not being the biggest, brightest, end all be all to your children…so not awesome. But having your little one let go of you before you are ready to let go of them, may be the absolute worst case of growing up too fast! Growing up too fast is my least favorite thing about children, it goes hand in hand with all of this letting go business.

This morning, after dropping both girls off and leaving my husband at the airport, I braved the drizzly, cold morning and ventured back out to pick up my preschooler. She is sunshine on any rainy day. Her little smile grabs hold of my heart and wraps itself around it and hugs me from the inside out. It’s magical. I look forward t picking her up from school because I know when our eyes meet, I’m going to get the smile and that means that much needed hug from the inside out..especially on a cold, rainy Monday.

Slow Your Roll little girl, Your growing Up too fast

Today, after only 2 weeks of needing me to walk up to the door at pick up and begging me not to leave her alone at preschool every morning, she practically rolled her eyes at me. She walked out the door, side by side with another little girl. I was so happy, she’s made a friend. My heart swooned but the swooning didn’t last long. Her eyes met mine, she let go of her friend’s hand,promptly rolled her eyes “the OMG,this needy bitch again” was audible to my Mommy heart. She grabbed my hand to lead me to the car. I could feel the ” Well, come on let’s get on with it already. Let the ruining of my life commence!” Remember when you were in high school and you were in a relationship and it was over but neither on e of you had the balls to say so. The feeling of you’re holding me back find a new project already.Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been the giver and receiver in this scenario. I just never thought I’d be receiving it from my 4 year old, maybe when she was 15 but not now. It’s too soon. This is a prime example of GROWING UP TOO DAMN FAST!

We made our way to the car, she hurried me as if I had embarrassed her in some substantial way. When we arrived at the car, she quickly ushered me in and left me wondering, when the hell did I become an embarrassment. Wasn’t it just this morning that I was her everything?

Abbi: “Mommy, Guess what?” She sounded really serious, like we were about to have the birds and bees talk.

Me: “What, sweetie?”

Abbi: “Uhhhm, I don’t think you need to pick me up at the door anymore. I’m a big girl now. I’ll just walk out with my friends. OK?”

WTF? Isn’t the 4 year old version of it’s not you, it’s me speech? My head was spinning. I won’t lie, I was a little offended. Did I tell you that last week , she said it’s okay if I don’t lose all my weight because she’ll just tell people that I’m having a baby! Holy hell, who is this kid and what did she do with my sunshine? Give her back…now!

Me: “But don’t you want me to walk up to the door and walk you to the car anymore?”

Abbi: “Naaahhh!” Translation: What the Eff every Mom, get over it! I’m a big girl now!

With that, she tossed her hair, walked away, got in the car and buckled her own car seat. I’m pretty sure I was thrust 10 years into the future in that moment and I’m also pretty sure that I sprouted a new gray hair! Has your kid already cut you loose? What was it? How did they do it? How did you survive being broken up with by your little one? I’m not sure how much my Mommy heart can handle of this growing up too fast.

Babies Growing Up too Fast

 

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