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BOO! at the L.A. Zoo



We had a BOO-tiful time this past weekend at the Los Angeles Zoo for their annual #BOOAtTheLAZoo event...happening now through October 31, 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm. The layout for this year's event is slightly different from last year's, so make sure to grab a map when entering. AND there's lots of ghoulish photo ops, so be camera ready!


BOO at the zoo has become one of favorite things to do during Halloween. The kids have so much fun, and most importantly...they're learning. "Animals and Boo" encounters, is a daily activity where kids get a chance to learn and safely touch creatures like snakes and lizards...Oh my! And the new “Nocturnal Adventure” maze is where we got to read fun facts and trivia questions at every turn, testing our animal knowledge to avoid ‘dead’ ends!



Since we went on a weekend, we got to watch one of Caiden's favorites... "Swazzle’s Monster Menagerie" - an interactive puppet show where audience members can help select various animal features to create the ideal trick-or-treating companion for a lonely scientist. 




We also saw Gene Granata of Masterpiece Pumpkins showing off his magical pumpkin-carving skills. AMAZING.

Okay, so every time we visit the LA Zoo, we're always hoping to find the jaguar. FAIL. So the highlight from this visit was the "Fearsome Feedings" -  where carnivores devour their favorite fare – carcasses and bones. It was very cool to see but parental discretion is advised. 



Hope you're having a SPOOKTACULAR Halloween!

For more information about #BOOathelazoo, visit http://www.lazoo.org/

Jim Henson's Word Party: Party Kit

Season 3 of Word Party is now streaming on Netflix! Follow along with Franny, Kip, Lulu, and Bailey as they embark on silly adventures, learn new words, and sing more songs in 13 all-new episodes.

Word Party is a vocabulary building show from The Jim Henson Company that follows four adorable baby animals as they sing, dance and play. The show invites our youngest viewers to help teach the baby animals new words, practice these new words themselves, and celebrate these achievements with a "Word Party!" Word Party is produced using the groundbreaking Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, a proprietary technology from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop that allows puppeteers to perform digitally animated characters in real time - enabling the animation to be more lifelike and spontaneous.





H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y !

Download here for a Word Party birthday kit to help celebrate your littlest ones! The kit includes printable invitations, thank you notes, masks, and much more. Also, join the babies in singing and dancing along to “Happy Birthday” in the new Netflix special, Word Party: Happy Birthday, now streaming. 




A Visit to the Fall Harvest Festival at Underwood Family Farms


Yesterday we took a drive outside of the city and headed to Underwood Family Farms for its annual Fall Harvest Festival. It's been years since we last visited the farm, so yesterday was extra special because it was Ronan's first time there. I shared Caiden's first experience at the farm in a blog post, here.

So if you live in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend taking a trip out there. Underwood Family Farms has an amazing pumpkin patch plus so much more! That's why we don't mind the 45 min. drive out to Moorepark, CA. Weekends are busier but it offers attractions that you won't get to experience on the weekdays, like the Animal Show and Pig Races (our favorites).



During this visit, we did something new at the farm. We hopped onto the tractor drawn wagon ride and got dropped off to the "Pick Your Own" field to do some picking! This was our first time picking, so we spent a long time out there. I'm just glad we dressed appropriately and had plenty of water with us. My boys had so much fun picking cucumbers, bell peppers, and raspberries...they almost forgot about the pumpkin patch.



Caiden loves to complete mazes (the ones in those activity booklets), so the corn maze is something he looks forward to every Fall. For me, its the fun photo op! 




We ended our visit at the Pumpkin Patch. The lighting is usually better for those photo ops and we don't have to lug around our pumpkins to all the different activities!  

Our first pumpkin patch of the season was definitely a memorable one. Cheers to the pumpkin everything season! 




My Little Pony Movie + Activity Sheets



Okay, who's ready for an awesome adventure in Equestria?! My Little Pony: The Movie hits theaters nationwide on October 6, 2017 in its first full-length theatrical feature. 

Synopsis: 

A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 – Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity – embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home.

Joining the “Mane 6” that fans love from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic television program are new characters, including Tempest Shadow, a conflicted and devious pony unsure of her place in Equestria; Grubber, Tempest’s wise-cracking hedgehog soldier with an endless appetite for tasty treats; Princess Skystar, a royal and excitable pony longing for adventure; Queen Novo, Skystar’s protective mom, who has to learn to loosen the reins on her daughter; Captain Celaeno, a danger-courting cockatoo and leader of a ragtag gang of adventurers; the rogue-ish and charming Capper, a street cat who knows all the angles; and the Storm King, a mysterious – and possibly dangerous – wizard whose evil plan involves purloining some pony magic.

The film has an all-star voice cast including Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Liev Schreiber, Michael Peña, Sia, Taye Diggs, Uzo Aduba and Zoe Saldana. The movie features original music and songs performed by Sia, Diggs, Saldana, Chenoweth and Blunt.






Before you head to the theaters, make sure to download these activity sheets!



Download: My Little Pony Activity Booklet for activities like Connect the Dots, Coloring Pages, and more! 






Download: My Little Pony Pumpkin Stencil for Halloween.








Cool Tech Products that Save Time & Get You Organized #CTALA

Being a mom is a full-time job, so I am always looking for products that will help make life a little easier for me.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a Tech Lunch & Learn event co-hosted by Techlicious, the Consumer Technology Association, and MomsLA at Redbird in DTLA. Local LA bloggers and I were treated to a lovely lunch while learning about new products aimed to save time and getting us organized. 



The products that were being showcased ranged from beautiful bags to a wireless printer that comes with up to two years of ink. Yes, two years! Read more about my favorite products from the event...because I guarantee these will be going on your wish list! 



These bags by Knomo are not only stylish...they are so soft and super functional for moms on-the-go. The Elektronista Digital Clutch (my top-pick) includes a 5000mAh battery and micro USB charging cable - which is perfect if you're like me and forget to charge the phone before heading out. There's also a detachable strap that transforms the clutch into a cross body bag AND it has enough space to hold a 10" tablet. (Price $269) The Berlin 14" Backpack is made out of ultralight polyester and fits a laptop up to 15-inches. (Price $99) The Audley Fold Down Briefcase 14" is a modern take on the classic handbag that can easily transform into a cross body bag...great if you've got your hands full! There's also a padded section that can hold a laptop up to 14 inches. (Price $349)


Have you ever lost your keys? Well, with the Tile community, if you lose your item and mark it as lost in the app, you have the largest community of anonymous heroes helping you out. And the Tile Pro is a new premium line of Tile products to reflect consumers’ various lifestyles. Tile Sport features a unique tread-like design and dark slate finish with a graphite ring that offers extra durability. Framed with a champagne gold ring, Tile Style is satin white with a subtly-ridged texture, making it the perfect accessory to attach to valuable items. Both new products come with a convenient hole so that they can easily loop onto key rings or bags.  Double the range and ringer volume than previous Tiles and waterproof.  Price: $35 each or combo pack with one Style and One Sport for $60


Cozi Family Organizer  is something I'm gonna use very soon. It's a simple way to manage everyday family life because Cozi tracks everyone’s schedules in one place so the whole family knows who is picking up the kids from practice, when the next dentist appointment is, and whether you can book that girls’ night out. Other features include the shared shopping and to do lists, recipe box and meal planner, and family journal. It's a free 4.5-star app and available in the Apple App Store, on Google Play, in the Windows App Store, or at www.cozi.com. Price: Free (There is an in-app purchase available to use Cozi without ads and with additional premium features.) 


The Anova Precision Cooker WI-FI is amazing and it's on top of my wish list! It lets you start cooking from anywhere, monitor the status of your meal, and you come home to the best meal ever. With WI-FI, you can spend less time tied to the kitchen and more time doing what you love, with the people you love. With increased pump speed, the Anova Precision Cooker WI-FI allows you to cook for larger groups while guaranteeing consistent results for each of your guests and you can now cook the perfect meal using your voice via Amazon Alexa and Google Home. It's the ultimate hands-free experience in the kitchen! Sous vide is a method of cooking that seals food in an airtight bag and submerges it in a water bath at a low, set temperature. Food is evenly cooked, juicer and as a result retains more nutrients. Anova’s sous vide immersion circulator attaches to the side of any pot and controls the temperature of the water with a quick tap on their touch screen or from anywhere with the Anova Culinary app. Clean up afterward is as easy as throwing away the bag you cooked the food in. Big WIN for me!  Price: $169


Google Home  has become part of the family. No, I'm serious. "She" is a voice-activated speaker powered by the Google Assistant. You can get answers from Google, enjoy music, manage your everyday tasks, and control smart devices around the home. My favorite feature...making free hands-free calls! Google Home can also recognize your voice (and up to six voices), when you say, call mom, it will call your mom. You can shop retailers like Costco, Target, Petco and more for everything from laundry to LEGOS with your voice...but it's a feature I won't be sharing with the kids! Price: $129


Epson Expression ET-2650 EcoTank Printer is a wireless all-in-one printer with cartridge free printing and comes with 2-years of ink. That's enough to print up to 4000 black/6500 color pages! The printer has an easy to fill supersized ink tank and you can save up to 80 percent on ink with the low cost replacement bottles. 


To learn more about other tech products, make sure to visit Techlicious and the Consumer Technology Association. Follow #CTALA to see more from the event. 


Disclosure: Thank you Techlicious, ConsumerTechnology Association, and MOMSLA for having me. As an attendee, I was graciously gifted a Google Home and Cozi organizer. All comments and opinions are my own. 

Battle of the Sexes Movie

Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs. Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon

Battle of the Sexes is a film based on the true story of the 1973 tennis match between women's world champion Billie Jean King and ex-men's champ Bobby Riggs. It's a story I was not too familiar with (since I grew-up in the 80s) but with everything that's going on in the world today...it's the perfect time for everyone to watch and learn from this beautiful film. It explores the social and cultural issues towards women during that era and takes an in-depth look into Billie Jean King's personal struggles.  


In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.



“I wanted to use sports for social change.” 
-- Billie Jean King



Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon

Tennis Clinic with Vince Spadea

Before screening the film, I had the privilege of partaking in a tennis clinic with Vince Spadea, the film's tennis consultant. Thank you Fox Searchlight!

Vince shared with us the training that Emma Stone endured and how the film did justice to tennis as a sport. Emma Stone was a beginner tennis player who had to learn to play with a wooden tennis racket. And after three months of hardcore training...she became Billie Jean King...with a little dust of Hollywood Magic, of course! 

Watch the video to hear more from Vince. PLUS see Elisabeth Shue and Austin Stowell show us their tennis moves! Also, there's a snippet from the World Premiere of Battle of the Sexes with Billie Jean King - the woman is simply AMAZING. 


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Battle of the Sexes Press Junket

During the Press Junket we got to learn more about the film from Directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton and the cast. But the woman of the hour, was Billy Jean King.

Watch to hear what she had to say about Emma Stone's performance...




Battle of the Sexes opens in selected theaters September 22 and everywhere September 29th. And during the opening weekend, Fox Searchlight is donating 79 cents per tickets sold to Billie Jean King's Women's Sports Foundation to commemorate the anniversary of the historic game that changed the world of sports.


The LEGO NINJAGO Movie



The LEGO NINJAGO Movie opens in theaters on September 22nd. and it's a must see if you've got LEGO fans!


A new animated adventure in Warner Bros. Pictures’ LEGO® franchise, “The LEGO NINJAGO Movie” stars Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Zach Woods, and the legendary Jackie Chan.

In this big-screen NINJAGO adventure, the battle for NINJAGO City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power of Spinjitzu.



Thanks to Warner Bros. Entertainment, my boys and I got to watch a special screening of the film and you guessed it...they loved it! My kids are no strangers to the LEGO NINJAGO franchise, so it was very cool for them to see their favorite characters on the big screen. The film was filled with super awesome NINJA action scenes, humor (that adults will also enjoy), and an emotional father-son conflict. OH! ...I can't forget about the giant kitty that gets unleashed to cause havoc in NINJAGO city! 

So if you're looking for a fun family-friendly movie to see this weekend, The LEGO NINJAGO Movie will not disappoint. And if you ever get a chance to visit Legoland, CA you must go on the NINJAGO The Ride...you can read about our experience here: 





FREE PRINTABLES 


Make sure to visit ColoringBook.LEGONINJAGOMovie.com to download The LEGO NINJAGO Movie Super Awesome Digital Activity Book...the kids will have so much fun!






THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE - In theaters September 22


Will you and your family be watching? 

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