The Diary of a Nouveau Soccer Mom

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mickey's Christmas Carol {25 Days of Christmas}


I'm really excited to be taking part in a fun blog project for the 25 Days of Christmas.  Each day, one of the participating bloggers is reviewing one of the movies featured on ABC's 25 Days of Christmas schedule.  Since we got to choose a movie, I had to pick Disney's Mickey's Christmas Carol.

Mickey's Christmas Carol has been one of my favorites since I was a kid, maybe because it was released in 1983 (that would be the year I was 7) so I remember watching it!  My brother and I would watch all the different specials each year, long before they were available streaming or on DVD or any other on demand way.  I think kids today are kind of missing out, we actually own most of those awesome once-a-year specials now.

Mickey's Christmas Carol is a fun twist on the traditional Dickens' Christmas Carol.  It features Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge and Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchet.  As is the case in other adaptations, Scrooge is a miserly character who has no use for Christmas, whereas Cratchet is the poor, but loving, employee with a good heart.


After closing up the shop on Christmas Eve, Scrooge returns home where he is visited by three ghosts.  The Ghost of Christmas Past takes him back in time, to remember what is life was like before he put money above everything else.  The Ghost of Christmas Present takes him to Cratchet's house, where he sees how poor his employee is, but how much his family loves him.  Finally, the Ghost of Christmas Future takes him to a lonely grave … his own.

When Scrooge awakens, he has had a change of heart and hurries to Cratchet's home to repair the damage he has done.  Even Tiny Tim (one of Mickey's mouse nephews) is seen smiling with his newfound friend Scrooge!


Why do I love this movie?  It's a great introduction to a Christmas Carol, which has long been a favorite book of mine, but done with kid friendly characters and language to introduce your child to the story.  The themes are universal--money can't buy you happiness, happiness is found from within, and it's never too late to turn over a new leaf!

Do you love a Christmas Carol too?  Which version is your favorite?

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored by, nor related to, Disney or ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas.  It was created just for fun, to share a fun holiday movie with other bloggers and readers!
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Jingle All the Way 2 Holiday Party #JingleInsiders

My boy and one of his best buddies! Friends since Tigers!

Last night was our Cub Scout Den Christmas party!  With some help from our friends at Fox Home Insiders, we had a great time some Jingle All the Way 2 themed goodies!

So how do you throw a Christmas party for 14 boys plus assorted parents and siblings?  With a lot of energy and activities.  We had ornaments to color, activity sheets to help keep them busy, some planned games, and plenty of food.  After all, we have 9 year old boys in our troop, so we definitely have to have plenty of food.


We played Christmas trivia while eating, then the boys had a White Elephant gift exchange, which was lots of fun for them.  Ben was really excited to get a new TMNT character he didn't have (amazingly, it was one that I have been looking for for ages for him!).

We also enjoyed peppermint cocoa in our special new mugs and each of the boys took home a star shaped cookie cutter, hopefully to make cookies with their families.  Ben and I definitely will!  And, as one can imagine, the Santa mustache straws and hats were a huge hit with the boys.  I think most 9 year old boys are into the whole mustache thing.


Now as to Jingle All the Way 2?  We loved it!  It's a great sequel to the original and a fun family holiday movie, not to mention relatable.  What parent hasn't had that "must track down toy"?

Want to learn more about Jingle All the Way 2, download some of the activity sheets, or win a copy of your own?  Head over to our Jingle All the Way 2 giveaway post for all of these!


Disclosure: I was given the opportunity to receive an advance copy of Jingle All the Way 2 for myself, a copy to give away to my readers, and the supplies for our Jingle All the Way 2 party as part of my relationship with Fox Home Entertainment Insiders. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mr. Christmas' Striped Collage Christmas Ornaments #KidMadeChristmas


It's not Christmastime around here without our Christmas book collection!

When Faith was a baby, I bought a ton of Christmas books on sale right after the holidays and saved them till the next year.  I built on this collection each year and tucked them away after the holidays.  We still pull them out and read all the stories each and every year!  We have all the favorites, classics and moderns, character books and cute stories, religious and Santa.


One of my favorites is still Mr. Christmas by Roger Hangreaves.  My brother and I had many of the Mr. Men and Little Miss books, back in the late 70s/early 80s, and they've been passed down to my kids.  Mr. Christmas is a must read each year for me and it was my pick for our entry in the 10 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas, Ornaments Inspired by children's books.

In honor of Mr. Christmas (who happens to be shaped like a tree), we created striped collage Christmas trees!

What You Need:
  • Scrapbook or patterned or wrapping paper, cut into thin strips
  • Cardstock (any color)
  • Cookie cutters to trace shapes for your ornaments
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Hole punch
  • Mod Podge

How to Make Collage Ornaments:
  • Precut your patterned paper into strips.
  • With a glue stick, glue patterned paper to one side of the card stock, overlapping the edges so no plain paper shows through.  Fill the whole page in order to make several ornaments.
  • Flip over the card stock and repeat with more pattern paper.
  • Brush one side with Mod Podge to seal, let dry, then repeat on the opposite side.
  • Use cookie cutters to draw/trace different shapes onto the patterned paper.
  • Cut out each design and punch a hole for the ornament hanger.

Head over to Mama Miss and check out all the other ornaments inspired by children's books.  There are over 70 different ones this year, with crafts and ideas for any age child, plus many wonderful book recommendations.

As well, don't forget to visit the other bloggers who shared their ornaments today:


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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Cool Christmas Gifts for Boys? #ItsaDaisy


With a boy and a girl, I've got to admit, it's much hard to shop for cool Christmas gifts for boys.  And if you look around my house, you'll notice that my boy isn't exactly lacking anything.  This is why we decided to take the plunge and get Mr. Ben a Daisy BB gun of his own.


As a Cub Scout, he's participated in several scout-sanctioned shooting activities and even earned his belt loop and pin.  However, with an Army dad, there's no reason why target shooting wouldn't be a great father-son activity.  Since the safest way to learn is with a BB Gun, we took Ben to Bass Pro Shops Santa's Wonderland to shop.  We purchased him a Daisy 75th Anniversary Red Ryder BB Gun, along with Daisy ammunition and protective goggles, because #ItsaDaisy.   Why not go with a true classic?


Once home, my husband sat down with Ben to teach him the basics of gun safety.  Even so, we have Ben's new Daisy Red Ryder stored away with the BBs separate, since that is best practice with any weapon.  The first rule at our house is only using the Daisy when Daddy is with you!  They also worked on other important ideas like wearing your eye pro, only shooting targets, keeping your safety on and finger off the trigger until shooting, and more.  (In case you were wondering, my husband is wearing his Army-issued prescription strength eye pro, hence the dark sunglasses.)


Since Ben had learned to shoot a little bit in scouts, he was ready to take on our makeshift range.  Daddy showed him again how to load and set up the BB gun and he was off.  There's no happier kid than when he heard the ping of the BB off the metal target and by the end of their day, his aim was definitely improving.  He's all set to go out with Daddy as soon as they can again!


As Ben learned at scout day camp, Daisy educates roughly one million of America’s youth a year through their Ten Lesson Shooting Curriculum on safe gun use (found here) and has been doing so since 1948. Daisy educates through its partnership with leading conservation and youth training organizations as well as church and private camps. Daisy also offers portable, inflatable BB gun ranges that can be found at major outdoor sporting goods retailers and leading conservation organizations. The majority of those who attend the an outdoor or store event and shoot at the ranges are first-time shooters.


But even after all this?  There's nothing better than watching my husband and son doing this together and making memories.  Ben is his Daddy's mini-me to begin with and it's awesome to see him try to emulate him.


Are your kids dreaming Daisy dreams this Christmas?  Are you looking for Christmas present ideas for the boys (or girls) in your life?  I'm partnering with Bass Pro Shops for a great giveaway for $2,000 worth of gift cards!

Four winners will be chosen to each receive a $500 gift card to Bass Pro Shops, so you can gift a Daisy to your family.  Winners must be 18 years or older and gift cards will arrive after Christmas. To enter for your chance to win, just use the form below.

Daisy BB Sweepstakes - $2,000 in Bass Pro Shop Gift Cards
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Monday, December 08, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy, It's What's for Christmas #OwnTheGalaxy


Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy?   It's Ben's current favorite movie and he's been begging to buy it from the day we saw it in theater. He was Groot for Halloween.  We preordered all the Guardians of the Galaxy characters for Disney Infinity 2.0. We even made him a special Groot sandwich! He's obsessed with Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Drax and the rest of the characters!  Yes, we kind of #OwnTheGalaxy already and we're having a little fun with #CollectiveBias checking out all the awesome Guardians releases, just in time for Christmas.


Can I let you in on a little secret?  I'm not a big superhero movie fan.  Yes, Ben is totally disappointed in me, but even *I* loved this movie!  The Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack is completely awesome, how can you not love the songs on Star-Lord's Awesome Mix Volume 1?  And really, the movie is funny and entertaining.  It's rare we find a movie that all four of us like and Guardians of the Galaxy has been the first movie in ages that rendered 8 thumbs up (4 of us, 2 thumbs each, that's 8)!

So, December 9th, we'll be off to our local Walmart and a copy of Guardians of the Galaxy will be making its way to our home.  It would be a completely awesome stocking stuffer for Christmas, but that means waiting an extra 16 days and Ben has been talking about buying this movie since August. The DVD features an exclusive Character O-sleeve,exclusive music zinepack, a 64-page magazine with cast and crew interviews, exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and trivia PLUS a custom “cassette" laptop decal.  You know what we are going to be doing on the night of December 9th, right?

#OwnTheGalaxy #collectivebias #shop

Since Ben is our in-house Guardians expert, he and I decided to check out the all the cool Guardians of the Galaxy toys, books and more at Walmart for his Christmas wish list.  Need a few shopping tips for the Guardians-obsessed boy on your list?  Ben was quite happy to share his favorites for the blog!

  • At the top of Ben's recommended list are the Disney Infinity 2.0 figurines.  Currently, there is a Star-Lord and Gamora two-pack, along with single figures of Rocket Raccoon, Drax and Groot.  We own them already because I preordered them with our copy of the game back in August, but they are very high on the Ben-approved list!  From 12/7 - 12/13, when you buy Rocket, Groot or Drax Disney Infinity 2.0 figures, you'll earn a $5 Walmart gift card.
  • As part of our shop, Ben also had a little spending money to use, and he chose the Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Milano Starship Vehicle with lights and battle sounds, along with several of the packs of figures that fit into the Milano Starship.  And yes, a pack that included Groot was among the choices.  Both my kids love miniature items and Groot stands maybe 2 inches high, perfect for Ben's imagination and pockets!
  • Also on Ben's Christmas wish list, and not yet in my house, are the Lego Guardians of the Galaxy sets. We saw the Nowhere Escape Mission, Starblaster Showdown, and the Milano Starship that now feature prominently on Ben's list.   We love Legos, so these are going to be an awesome addition to his collection.
  • Ben also loved the idea of the Build a Figure figures.  Confused?  Each figure, besides Groot, comes with a part to build your own Groot!  Once you have all the pieces to assemble Groot, you have the whole Guardians team.  And something about building a Groot sounds awesome!
  • Two more picks from Ben are the Star-Lord Battle Gear and Star-Lord Quad Blaster.  These are made by Nerf and include Star-Lord's mask and weapons.  Since we already had a Groot costume from Halloween, it seems quite reasonable that we need a Star-Lord costume too.

Ben is also an avid reader and loved paging through the Guardians of the Galaxy book options.  We found everything from simpler picture books to easy readers to junior novels to actual comic books.  I plan to go back and get a few for his Christmas stocking.

For the Guardians fan on your list, why not consider a copy of the movie along with one (or more, according to Ben) of the toys or books?  Ben insists that it is *the* perfect gift this Christmas!

Did you see Guardians of the Galaxy?  What did you think of it?  We would love to know, especially if, like me, you weren't quite a superhero or comic fan beforehand!
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Friday, December 05, 2014

Jingle All the Way 2 {Giveaway}


We're full of Christmas good cheer around here and our friends at Fox have sweetened our holiday with the release (and gift) of Jingle All the Way 2!  We're so excited to share it with you, and wait till you see our Cub Scout Christmas party later this week! It's going to be full of goodies from the movie!

Jingle All The Way 2 stars Larry the Cable Guy and WWE Superstar Santino Marella, bringing laughs and holiday spirit to this second installment of the successful film franchise.

Two desperate dads compete in a no-holds-barred battle to be the best father and make this the best Christmas ever! Fun-loving, laid-back dad Larry (Larry the Cable Guy; Cars, Tooth Fairy 2) is having a bear of a time finding the perfect Christmas gift for his eight-year-old daughter, Noel.   The season’s hottest toy, The Harrison Bear, is all sold out, and Noel’s new stepfather wants to keep it that way — so he can be the one to make her holiday wish come true. When Larry learns all Noel wants for Christmas is the bear, he’ll stop at nothing to make his little girl happy and get her the toy of her dreams.

We have some great Jingle All the Way 2 activities sheets for you, which we're also using as part of our Christmas party later this week. Just click on any of the sheets below to enlarge them into a printable copy!



Would your family love to see Jingle All the Way 2?  We're also giving away a copy on DVD for one of our readers!  Use the Rafflecopter below to enter, leaving a blog comment telling me what gift you're most excited to give this year!  For a second optional entry, you can also tweet about this giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given the opportunity to receive an advance copy of Jingle All the Way 2 for myself and a copy to giveaway as part of my relationship with Fox Home Entertainment Insiders. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Friday Silhouette Portrait and Cameo Deals


Love Black Friday Deals?

I'm excited to have become part of the Silhouette Circle and to share these great deals with you!  For Black Friday, Silhouette is offering great deals on both their Portrait and Cameo machines.  Just head to SilhouetteAmerica.com/blackfriday and check out the following:
  • Portrait Bundle - Portrait machine & 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $179.99
  • CAMEO Bundle #1 - CAMEO machine, Designer Edition software upgrade, Dust Cover, 4 Tools and $25 Download card to the Silhouette Design Store for $269.99
  • CAMEO Bundle #2 - CAMEO machine, Design Edition software upgrade and 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $299.99
  • CAMEO & Portrait Bundle (One for you, one for a friend!) - CAMEO machine, Portrait machine and 2, $25 Download cards to the Silhouette Design Store for $299.99
Are you already a Silhouette user?

Use my code (BENTO) for 40% off at SilhouetteAmerica.com (*excluding machines, design downloads, download cards, subscriptions and gift cards) PLUS Free Shipping on orders over $25 for the lower 48 states!

There is also 50% off all designs at SilhouetteDesignStore.com – no code needed!



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