Four Reasons to See Annie!

Miss E and I went to see the prescreening of the new Annie Movie last weekend and here’s four reasons we think you should go see it now that’s it open in theaters too:Annie

1. You’ll get those Frozen songs OUT OF YOUR HEAD and replace them with a new-old soundtrack. We weren’t out of the theater before I was downloading the new soundtrack and it’s been on repeat since. It includes all your old favorites- Hard Knock Life, Tomorrow, Maybe. Doesn’t it just make you want to sing?

2. Good, clean fun for families with kids ages 5 and up.

Everyone knows the story of Annie and while this one is a modern day spin on the classic movie, it’s still relatively good, clean fun. That said, they do allude to some addiction issues with Miss Hannigan. Most of that will go over kids’ heads. There’s no swearing, no violence and no sex. Just a kiss is exchanged at the end of the movie.

Of course, there’s some peril and some scary moments for Annie when she almost gets hit by a car at one point and when she is taken by her parents. This might be a little scary for littler ones.

3. You’ll be able to introduce your kids to an old favorite movie. What fun to be able to show them the original Annie and then take them to the new one. What do they love about the old one? What do they love about the new one? There is lots to discuss even if you only take your kids to the new one thanks to this discussion guide from Sony:

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4. Great, great cast. Quevenzhane Wallis as Annie, Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan and Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks. I fell in love with all three characters and always love seeing actors singing.

Miss E and I LOVED it and might go again with the rest of the family over break. We think you’ll like it too! Go see it and tell us what you think! Opens nationwide TODAY!

Citrus Lane #2 {Great Last Minute/Long Lasting Gift Idea!}

So you probably remember back in October when I tried out Citrus Lane . I wasn’t super impressed but promised I would try it once more and just “see” if it got better.

I actually totally forgot about it until I got an email that my checking account was charged the subscription fee and a box was on it’s way. I’ll admit I groaned at the idea that I just spent money on something I wasn’t sure I needed/wanted/liked.

But.

This month’s box was awesome {and actually we’ll be wrapping most of it up for Miss F for Christmas.}
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So without further ado, here’s Citrus Lane #2:

Little Oink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal {She’s one of my favorite children’s book authors and did I ever tell you that I used to babysit her kids in Chicago?}
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Hape Stacking Toy {Not sure if you’re familiar with Hape brand toys but they are from Europe and super high quality, we don’t really have anything like this right now so it’s perfect.}
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Green Toys Stock Pot and Ladel
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Love Child Organic Pouches
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Overall I was really pleased with this month’s box. It was all things that I felt were worthwhile and like I said, I’m saving a few of the items to wrap up for Christmas. So I guess they won me over.

While I still don’t foresee subscribing each month I think it’s a great gift idea or even an occasional fun surprise.

Do you have a niece, nephew, Godchild or even a friend that you need a gift for? I’m thinking a Citrus Lane subscription, even if it’s just one time or three times or bi monthly or whatever works best for your budget would be a great gift.

Right now you can sign up with my link and get 50% off your first box.

 

 

 

Lost My Name Personalized Book Giveaway

I’m pretty much a sucker for anything personalized. Initials, monograms, names. I will take them all, please.

So I really was excited about this new Lost My Name book that Miss E was recently sent.

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The book was started as a DIY project by three dads and an uncle in the UK and is spreading around the world like wild.

The books, written directly to your child, are an adventure story of helping find your child’s name.

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One day, the child awakes, and their name is missing from their door so they must go on a lovely and crazy whirlwind adventure to uncover it letter by letter.

The book is fun and full of whimsy and the pictures and story line, delightful.

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While the deadline to order for Christmas has past, you can still order and receive a downloadable voucher to present to your recipient this Christmas and there book will be shipped for January 7.

Lost My Name would like to give one of MY readers one of their books, too.

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Seven Years Gone.

How many days ’til Christmas again? H asks as he eats his lunch and Miss E promptly follows up, “well let’s see today is December… what’s the date again, mom?”

The thirteenth, I say and watch as she mentally calculates the countdown.

“Eleven until Christmas Eve and twelve until Christmas,” she says and H is already about.

“Today’s the day Grandma Nan went to heaven,” I say aloud as I continue cleaning up the sprinkles that have exploded all over my kitchen from a morning full of cookie decorating.

I instantly regret saying anything not sure if my newly-sensitive girl might dwell on this all day but I shouldn’t have worried because she just started singing with her big ol’ signature grin.

“Happy Birthday To You! Happy Birthday To You! Happy Birthday in Heaven Grandma Nan. Happy Birthday to You!” 

She is so full of joy I can’t even stand it and my eyes fill with tears just looking at her.

“Mom why are you sad? Today’s a happy day! Grandma Nan’s heaven birthday!”

The babe born 355 days after my mom left this earth once again a teacher, teaching me about love and loss and celebrating, always.

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The Creative Kidstuff Birthday Party {Miss E is 6!!}

We celebrated Miss E’s 6th birthday party at Creative Kidstuff in the Shops at West End. While you know how I love to throw an at home, all out bash, this year I was really feeling stress and pressure at the idea of an at home party, Christmas decorating, maintaining so many things that I knew it was time to give up control on this one.

Creative Kidstuff to the rescue.

I’ve been a fan of CK stores since I had kids. I love their selection, love that it’s not same old, same old and love that shopping there is just more fun. It’s our go-to for birthdays and I will always spring the $1 for them to wrap it because their wrapping looks waaaay better than my wrapping and it’s just ONE DOLLAR!?!

Miss E and I were in fact shopping one Friday night for a birthday party and while I shopped the employees entertained her with hula hooping and demonstrating new, exciting toys and lots of talk about the fact that she was almost six.

I left that night thinking THIS would be the perfect place for her birthday party and I was so right. It was the perfect place for her party.

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Creative Kidstuff parties take place at their West End, Wayzata and St. Paul locations. And when they say they take care of everything, they really take care of everything. They send you your invites and walk you through your party options. All we had to do was send said invitations, bring some cupcakes {or cake if you’d rather} and show up.

Because E invited both boys and girls we chose to do an Art Extravaganza party versus a Girl Power party so they kids were able to do a few craft activities. Other party options include: Pirate Adventure, Superhero, Fun and Games and Toddler Palooza.
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I was so amazed and impressed by Mollie and Rose who were the party hosts for the party. They did a great job of welcoming all of the guests, engaging them all in the crafts and giving friendly reminders like “please keep your feet on the floor” and such.
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The kids did a couple crafts and considering we had Miss F {18 months} all the way up to H {8 years} I felt like the party catered perfectly to the entire range. There were toys and activities set up throughout the room for when children finished or maybe needed a craft break. The craft activities were simple but not so simple that the kids would be bored. And the crafts doubled as a party favor. Each child went home with a treasure box and a crown.
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We had our cupcakes and Miss E opened her gifts and while parents arrived for pickup the kids were led in a couple low key games by Mollie and Rose.

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It was 90 minutes start to finish and considering I had to do no set up, no take down, no nothing, it was perfect.
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One of my favorite parts was this little keepsake Miss E got to bring home. All her friends left a finger print like this:

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Mollie and Rose transformed it to look like this:
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It’s the sweetest little memory.

I totally recommend Creative Kidstuff for not just your shopping but also your birthday parties. While I think the kindergarten age is the perfect age, they do have a party for every age. If you’re interested in hosting your child’s party there, email me at samarapostuma at gmail dot com and I will send you a coupon to save $25 on your party.

Disclosure: In exchange for a review, we received a discounted party package. All opinions, photos, words here are mine.

 

Macy’s & Make a Wish Granting a Wish in Minneapolis this Friday

You know I love my Macy’s and I love Make a Wish so I am very excited that I’ll get to take part in watching a wish be granted this Friday morning at Macy’s Ridgedale {and on National Believe Day at that!}

Each season, Macy’s donates $1 to Make-A-Wish for every Dear Santa letter dropped off in their mailboxes in stores nationwide up to $1 million. On National Believe Day, now in it’s 6th year, Macy’s doubles the $1 donation. In addition, each year, Macy’s also grants 30 Make a Wish wishes.

This Friday morning, nine year old Kendall, who has neuromuscular disorder, will be granted her wish to perform in a Children’s Theatre Company performance and she’ll have her chance THAT night to join the cast of Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

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Kendall will be signing autographs and meeting friends and family and you can take part without even being present on social media and by following macysbelievetogether.com and #MacysBelieve #KendallMN

I can’t wait to go and see this little girl get her wish granted and will be sharing about it via my own social media Friday so I hope you’ll join me. {I’m @samarapostuma on Twitter and Instagram and http://www.facebook.com/simplicityinthesuburbs on Facebook}

In the spirit of generosity, Macy’s would like to give one of my readers a $50 Macy’s gift card this Christmas.

You can enter the rafflecopter giveaway right here.

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Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Thanks to a relationship I share with Macy’s I was invited to their Make A Wish celebration & asked to give a gift card away in the spirit of Christmas generosity.

Annie Prescreening Giveaway!

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I have always loved the movie Annie. From the songs to the adorable orphan Annie, it’s a classic movie that everyone loves. We are very excited for the remake to come out on December 19 starring Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx and produced by Jay Z and Will Smith.

I’m really excited to go see the prescreening of this movie on Sunday at the Mall of America and I’m even more excited that I get to give away a family four pack of tickets to the screening.
This Sony Pictures Annie screening takes place THIS Sunday, December 14 at 11 a.m. Winners would need to arrive by 10:30 a.m. and would have RESERVED seats for the prescreening.
You can enter the giveaway right here.

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A Christmas Story at The Ordway: REVIEW

J & I had the opportunity to see A Christmas Story at The Ordway this past Friday night. Everyone’s familiar with A Christmas Story. The popular 80′s movie where Ralphie has to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa to get a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Though they all tell him “you’ll shoot your eye out.”

The classic Christmas movie put on stage at the Ordway was, dare I say, even better than the movie.

The songs, the dancing, the humor. The entire 2 1/2 hour show kept us thoroughly entertained. Also? The Ordway. A beautiful place to enjoy the classic Christmas tale put on stage itself.

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We roared with laughter when Ralphie’s dad receives his “Major Award” and the dancing that followed? Superb.

Miss Shields completely outdid herself in her performance and song and dance routine as she sang to Ralphie and danced and really won the audience over.

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And Ralphie, himself.  He did an amazing job. For a child perhaps just a few years older than H, we couldn’t get over how fantastic he played the role of Ralphie.

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The casting was spot on, the storyline perfect with a little more song and dance added on. The choreography couldn’t be beat and all in all everyone left feeling the Christmas spirit with a smile on their face.

If the show itself wasn’t enough the decor, atmosphere and overall ambiance at the Ordway is beautiful, inspiring and classic. From a few bars throughout the lobby you can fill out your glass or buy a signature cocktail {or for the kids the Red Ryder kiddie cocktail} to the lovely piano music offered and elves willingly ready to take your photo.

If you’re looking for a great Holiday date night, this is it. Enjoy an evening at the theater seeing A Christmas Story. Tickets now available at ordway.org. The show runs until December 28

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was given tickets to A Christmas Story for review purposes. All opinions expressed are mine. All photos are used with permission and are taken by Christian Brown and courtesy of the Ordway.

 

Cirque du Soleil Giveaway!

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Cirque du Soleil VAREKAI is coming to Target Center December 25-28 and I’ve got a ticket giveaway happening right now.

To read more and enter the giveaway, click here. 

Cirque Du Soleil VAREKAI Ticket Giveaway!!

I have wanted to go to Cirque du Soleil FOREVER so I’m super excited about their upcoming performance at Target Center here in Minneapolis at the end of the month.

Cirque du Soleil VAREKAI is the newest touring show and will be happening December 25-28 right here in Minneapolis.

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From Cirque: Deep within a forest, at the summit of a volcano, exists an extraordinary world – a world where something else is possible. A world called Varekai.

From the sky falls a solitary young man, and the story of Varekaibegins. Parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest, a kaleidoscopic world populated by fantastical creatures, this young man sets off on an adventure both absurd and extraordinary. On this day at the edge of time, in this place of all possibilities, begins an inspired incantation to life rediscovered.

The word Varekai means “wherever” in the Romany language of the gypsies the universal wanderers. This production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to the infinite passion of those whose quest takes them along the path that leads to Varekai.

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Take the whole family into an extraordinary forest where everything is possible!  A world where fantastical creatures come to life, a world call Varekai.

Special new child prices are now available! {Category 1, 2 & 3 child tickets are $25 and premium child tickets are $45}

An adventure the whole family will enjoy!

December 25-28 at Target Center

Buy your tickets here.

I’m giving away TWO sets of TWO tickets that can be used for any of the Cirque du Soleil shows at Target Center in December.

You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway right here.

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Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Target Center and my family was also given complimentary tickets to a performance.