The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic airs Sept. 2, 2014 on ABC



I rarely post press releases on my site, however every now and then something comes along that I feel my readers might be interested in. This is one of those situations.

Disney’s Frozen is by far a hugely popular film. I work with children and almost every day at work I hear children signing “Let it Go”, or they are wearing Frozen clothing or carrying Frozen toys. The other day a little girl brought in her own box of Frozen facial tissues and she didn’t even have a cold. She just loves the movie and carried the box around with her.

On Tuesday, September 2, 2014 airing at 8:00 PM (EST) on ABC there will be a special called The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic. 

The program is hosted by Josh Gad who is the voice of the super popular snowman Olaf.

This exclusive special features interviews with the films cast including Kristen Bell, Indina Menzel (or “Adele Dazeem” if you are John Travolta – ha ha), Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, John Lasseter (I met him!) and the Frozen film making team.

This is an unprecedented behind the scenes look at the making of this modern movie based on the timeless tale with a look towards the next chapter for Anna, Elsa and friends. You’ll also get a sneak peek of Big Hero 6 which is the next film from Walt Disney Animation Studios.

The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic is an all-new, original special in a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Lincoln Square Productions and Walt Disney Animation Studios. The special ventures behind-the-scenes for an exclusive look at the origins and evolution of the Academy Award®-winning film Frozen, now the biggest animated feature of all time.   A breathtaking and fantastic saga, the special tells the real story of making a modern movie based on a timeless tale that nearly overnight became a cultural touchstone for legions of fans.

The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic airs TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.

Viewers will get a rare look inside Walt Disney Animation Studios and unprecedented access to the creative team that brought Frozen to life. Throughout the one-hour special, the audience will hear from “Frozen” stars Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel, the directors, songwriters, producer, artists and chief creative officer John Lasseter—the team who dreamed of making a cherished Hans Christian Andersen story into a big-screen animated musical.   Viewers will take a journey to the beautiful Norwegian villages and landscapes that inspired the look of the fictional kingdom of Arendelle  and see images and footage from the research trips to Norway, Quebec and points beyond that helped create the film’s unforgettable look and feel.

This special will also include some exciting announcements about the next chapter of Frozen and a never-before-seen preview of Frozen characters Anna, Elsa and Kristoff on an upcoming episode of ABC’s smash-hit Once Upon a Time.

The program will culminate in an exclusive sneak peek at the action-packed comedy-adventure Big Hero 6, currently in production at Walt Disney Animation Studios –under wraps until now – as the team prepares their next big-screen epic.

The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic is hosted by star Josh Gad (voice of Olaf) and features interviews with Frozen stars Kristen Bell (voice of Anna) and Idina Menzel (voice of Elsa) as well as Walt Disney Animation Studios’ chief creative officer and “Frozen” executive producer John Lasseter, Academy Award®-winning filmmakers, including directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, producer Peter Del Vecho, and songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. This one-hour special will also feature exclusive insights and commentary from art director Mike Giaimo and talented artists from the art direction, animation and effects teams. The exclusive sneak peek of Big Hero 6 is presented by the film’s directors, Don Hall and Chris Williams.

The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic is produced by Lincoln Square Productions. Jeanmarie Condon is senior executive producer and Rudy Bednar is director of The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic.

It sounds interesting and I plan on tuning in.

I am also a HUGE fan of Once Upon a Time and I’m excited to see how that story line plays out.

Will you be watching tomorrow night?

Is your family a fan of Frozen?

Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. Any opinions expressed unless otherwise noted are my own.

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Watch your personal videos quickly and easily on your TV with RealPlayer Cloud and Roku 2


RealPlayer Cloud Logo

Last week I shared a post about a really cool application called RealPlayer Cloud. RealPlayer Cloud allows you to take videos (oruse videos from your phone), save them on your own personal “cloud”, share them with loved one and have the ability to watch them on many different devices.

If you would like to read my review you an find it here – Share Summer Videos (and Beyond!) with RealPlayer Cloud.

I am also hosting a giveaway on that post for a $200 gift card, Roku 2 player and 1-year of premium Gold RealPlayer Cloud service ($99 value). The giveaway ends on August 28, 2014 so you still have time to enter.

RealPlayer Cloud is a great way to view and share videos on your computer, smartphone and tablet. You can also watch your personal videos on your television with the Roku 2 player.

I prefer to watch my personal videos on our television via the Roku 2 that we have. It’s nice because you can see the video much larger then you can on your smartphone or tablet. Plus your entire family can enjoy it watching the videos at the same time instead of having to pass around your smartphone or tablet.


Setting up your RealPlayer Cloud account with your Roku 2 is easy to do. But first you need to sign up for a FREE (or premium) RealPlayer Cloud account.

Download the app for your iOSAndroidKindle Fire and/or Windows device(s).

You can also sign up at www.real.com from any computer, smartphone, or tablet’s web browser.

Once you have an account set up you can add your RealPlayer account to your Roku device. You can get the RealPlayer Cloud channel from the Channel Store (look for it under Photos & Videos) or visit http://www.roku.com/channels/#!details/30800/realplayer-cloud.

When everything is set up you’ll be able to watch videos that you take on your smartphone and view them on your television.

Now you can watch vacation videos or videos from special events or occasions (birthday party, school play, baby’s first steps…) instantly on your television thanks to RealPlayer Cloud.

I wish I had a way of uploading previously made videos (those from the video camera) to the RealPlayer Cloud so we can watch those off the Roku 2 as well.

The video and sound quality is great off the Roku 2.

Roku Store

The videos are organized similar to how they are on the RealPlayer Cloud app on my iPhone. You can easily pinpoint the exact video you’d like to watch because you know how they are organized.

Now my kids can watch videos of themselves and our family any time they want. Watching videos on the TV is as easy as watching YouTube or Netflix on the Roku 2.

My son LOVES New York City (he plans on moving there when he graduates high school) has been enjoying watching the videos I made from Roosevelt Island (NYC) when we were there are couple of weeks ago. He actually told me I should have taken MORE videos. Since we plan on returning in the fall I plan on taking more videos then.

RealPlayer Cloud + Roku 2 = A winning combination! To learn more about RealPlayer Cloud visit www.Real.com. You an also find the app on Facebook and Twitter (@RealPlayer).

For more information about Roku players visit www.Roku.com. Roku is also on Facebook and Twitter (@RokuPlayer).

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a $200 gift card, 1 year of premium Gold RealPlayer Cloud service ($99 value) and a Roku 2. The giveaway ends on August 28, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST).

Roku RealPlayer Cloud


*I received a similar prize package in exchange for my participation. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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A new PBS Kids DVD release – Arthur Goes Back to School


Arthur Goes to School

Do you have a child or grandchild who is heading back to school in the next few weeks? My kids have about three weeks of summer vacation left. Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday they were finishing up their final exams.

Going back to school can be a stressful time no matter how old you are or what grade you are in. Even elementary school aged children can have some concerns about the new school year. Will they like their teacher? Will they make friends? Will they get a lot of homework? I think all children feel that way when they go back to school.

Arthur has always been a favorite character in our home. My daughter watched his series on television when she was younger and she passed along her love for Arthur to my son. Some where we even have a cute Arthur doll (I wish I knew where he was).

As a parent I have always enjoyed Arthur as well. I would watch the show with my children and read them Arthur books. I feel that Arthur is just pure, clean, wonderful entertainment for children. The characters are so enjoyable and the stories are wonderful.

Just released on DVD from PBS Kids in a new collection of Arthur episodes that focus on school. This is perfect for little ones who are anxious about going back to school – or even starting school. It’s called Arthur Goes to School.

Arthur Goes to School features four full length Arthur episodes and run for just under an hour.

The DVD also includes fun printable coloring pages and activities that you and your child/grandchild can enjoy together.

The episodes featured on this DVD include;

To Eat or Not to Eat

A brand new candy bar is in town! But why is it making everyone act so strangely?  And what exactly is this ingredient called Tri-Enzomated Zorn Jelly, anyway? Buster decides to do a little digging into these mystery chemicals before he takes his first bite but he – and all the other kids – may not find the truth appetizing.


It’s time for the kids at Lakewood Elementary to take the Stoddard-Wilkins Elementary Aptitude Test, or “S.W.E.A.T.” But with anxiety running high, it becomes clear that the kids need to learn some relaxation techniques. Luckily, Mrs. MacGrady is on hand to teach them a thing or two about de-stressing.

Baseball Blues

It’s Grebelings season and George can’t wait to play! After all, no one knows more about baseball than George. But when he realizes knowledge of sinkers doesn’t guarantee success in the field, will he throw in the towel?

Brain’s Biggest Blunder

When Brain gets teamed with Buster and Binky in the annual Arithmattack competition, he immediately enrolls Buster in binomial boot camp. Can Brain transform Buster into a mathematic marvel? Or will he be forced to eat humble pi?”

I sat and watched this DVD and my daughter happened to notice it was on and sat and watched it with me. She went on and on about how she loved to watch Arthur when she was younger.

This DVD is perfect for back to school time and I think it would make a great gift for a young student who might have some worries about the new school year. It shows how Arthur and his friends deal with school related issues. I especially enjoyed S.W.E.A.T because I think all children (and teens!) need to find ways to help them de-stress, especially when it comes to tests and speaking in front of the class.

Make sure to enjoy the printables after you’ve watched the DVD. :-)

Look for PBS Kids Arthur Goes to School where DVDs are sold.

For more information about PBS Kids visit PBSKids.org. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.



*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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DreamWorks Press Dragons Interactive Story App (giveaway ends 8/22/14)




I always knew that How to Train Your Dragon was very popular with children. That fact was confirmed when I started working in a childcare situation and heard children talking about the hit franchise. A few children – including girls – talked about seeing the movie and how “awesome” it was.

I wouldn’t be surprised is there is not another movie in the works.

There is a new app on the market that is sure to excite even the littlest Dragon fan. The app is called DreamWorks Press: Dragons.

Here is a little more information about the new application.

DreamWorks Press: Dragons’ is a groundbreaking, premium interactive story app based on the world and beloved characters from DreamWorks’ Dragon franchise. Following the launch of their publishing division, DreamWorks Press: Dragons is the studio’s first self-published story app, allowing readers to train their own dragons, explore unseen lands, and become the lead character within brand-new Dragon tales. The app is the initial installment in a series for which subsequent chapters will become available, continuing the reader’s adventure with Hiccup and Toothless.



The unique thing about this app is that it’s for three different age groups based on a child’s reading level.

  • 5 and under
  • 6-8
  • 9-11

Additional features include;

  • A visually rich 2D & 3D storytelling event
  • Tappable 2D animations geared towards participation
  • 3D interactivities to care for, play and fly with your dragon
  • Three reading levels for varying age ranges
  • Robust audio integration for an immersive experience 

DreamWorks Press: Dragons is available at the Apple’s IOS store for the iPad and iPhone.

The first installment is $4.99. Each additional chapters will retail for .99 cents this fall. You can purchase the application here – DreamWorks Press: Dragons.

It sounds like a fun app. I like that you have to take care of your dragon. How many kids do you know who can say they have a dragon for a pet. LOL!

Check out the trailer for the app.


For more information please look for DreamWorks Press: Dragons on the Apple IOS store.

$25 iTunes Gift Card

I have a $25.00 iTunes gift card to give a lucky winner. The winner can use the gift card to purchase the app (and additional installments) if they wish to do so. The prize is courtesy of DreamWorks Press.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on August 22, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this giveaway?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I will receive the same prize package for my participation. There is no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 


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Teaching life lessons to children



In the next few weeks many children across the country will be returning to school. They will trade lazy days by the pool with ABC’s and 123′s. Such is the “circle of life”. LOL!

Academic learning is very important as we all know. It’s difficult to get through life without knowing the basics. Not only that you need a good education if you want to make something with your life. As much as children whine and complain about tests and homework in the end they will realize that it was all worth it.

In addition to a good education children should also be taught some important “life lessons” too. Things like showing others respect, accepting people for who they are including all their quirks, and be kind to one another.

I am a firm believer, and practitioner, of Random Acts of Kindness. I try and do at least one random act of kindness daily. I have encouraged my children to do that same.

It’s important for me that my children accept people in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, abilities and differences. Just because someone looks or acts differently doesn’t make them any less of a person. I also ask my children to think about the other person and try to imagine being in their shoes. No matter our differences are we are all people who live, breath, laugh and love.

Netflix has an original series called Derek. It’s from the creative mind of Ricky Gervais. This mockumentary-style comedy-drama is all about acceptance, no matter age, abilities or quirks. Ricky plays the role of Derek, a nursing home employee who is able to see the good in everyone. He’s almost too kind. Derek himself is socially awkward. One might think that there may be something “wrong” with him but the reality is that he’s just a gentle soul who cares about the people he cares for in the nursing home and his fellow employees.


I’ve watched a few episodes. It’s funny but at the same time kind of sad. It’s more along the lines of  “dramedy” (drama/comedy).

So far my favorite episode is episode 3 from season one when a teenager comes to fulfill some community service at the nursing home. My favorite line from that episode is when she’s asked “Do you read?” to which she replied “Yes”. She was then asked “What do you read?” and the teen replied “Twitter”. LOL! That sounds like a teenager.

In that episode the teen girl was initially put off by the elderly people at the nursing home. She seemed disgusted by them (such as changing their bed sheets). You could tell she did not want to be there. Then one day one of the elderly residents complimented her on her nails. That made the young girl warm up a bit and soon she found herself enjoying her time with the elderly people. She found them fun and interesting where as originally she saw them as gross and pathetic. She learned to open her eyes (and her heart) and accept the residents for who they really are and not what she assumed they were.

I don’t think this show is for young children. There are a few crude parts that I’ve seen thus far (rarely but there are parts not suitable for  young children).

Netflix has plenty of great films that help teach children about acceptance and empathy. Here are a few examples you might want to consider watching with your child. I think these films are a great way to get a conversation going about accepting, kindness and empathy towards others.

Big Kids

Films/Shows for older children.

1. Rudy - Great movie!
2. Mulan
3. A Mile in His Shoes
4. Radio - Love this movie!
5. Good Luck Charlie: Down a Tree
6. Glee

Little Kids

Films/shows for younger children.

1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Vol. 1 Ep. 6: Friends Help Each Other
2. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 3, Ep. 4: One Bad Apple
3. Arthur, Season 15, Ep. 8: Muffy’s Classic Classy Club / Best Enemies
4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
5. Super Why, Season 1, Ep. 61: The Ugly Duckling: Becoming a Swan
6. The Fox and the Hound

Why not pick a few of these shows or movies and have a family movie night?

No family movie night would be complete without a yummy snack. Try something different. Instead of popcorn why not bake Salted Caramel Monkey Bread. Mmmm! This looks so good!

Monkey Bread

It’s always fun to do a family activity together. Check out this Kindness Punch Box. This is a fun way to introduce acts of kindness to your children. Plus doing a craft together is a great bonding experience.

Punch Box


To learn more about Netflix and their programming visit www.Netflix.com. You can also find the brand on social media.

How do you teach kindness, empathy and acceptance to you children? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.



*I was not compensated for this post. I receive a free membership in exchange for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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DVD Review: Leave it to Beavers


Photo Credit: PBS.org

Photo Credit: PBS.org

When you think of a beaver, what comes to mind? Do you think beavers are “river rats” who are a nuisance, or do you think of beavers as brilliant hydro-engineers?

When I think of beavers I think of the Disney film Lady and the Tramp where the beaver at the zoo chewed the mussel off of Lady. :-)

Beavers are one of those animals that most people really don’t think about. After watching the PBS documentary, Leave it to Beavers, which is now available on DVD, I have new respect for those overgrown rats.

Leave it to Beavers is an in-depth look into beavers including the history beavers have with humans to have they are now helping humans in drought areas and perhaps even helping humans to fight against global warming.

To be honest with you I never really saw the benefit to a beaver. I mean, they are cute looking and I think it’s pretty cool that they can damn a river, but after watching this documentary I can see how amazing these creatures truly are. We should do what we can to protect them and not try and squeeze them out of areas. Trust me, they know what they are doing. They have a master plan. Beavers are incredible creatures.

Here is a little more information about Leave it to Beavers.

Millions of beavers once dominated the landscapes of Europe, Asia and North America. But when it was discovered that their fur made fantastic felt hats they were trapped to near extinction for the sake of fashion. It wasn’t until hats fell out of style that the population could slowly begin to recover and re-establish itself.

Yet as beavers reclaimed their ancestral ponds, they found themselves at odds with the humans who had moved in and developed the land in their absence. They gained a reputation as pests, the source of flooded properties and ruined roads, and were trapped and hunted all over again in an attempt to stop the damage. But it was a war the beavers continued to win, until a “beaver whisperer” in Canada came up with a plan to manipulate where the beavers built. It’s a win-win solution he plans to share with others who fight a losing war with beavers.

Beavers are devoted to their work as dam builders and they are born equipped and ready for the job. Their continuously growing, self-sharpening incisors strengthened with iron are the perfect tools of the trade. Not only do they help beavers fell the hundreds of trees they need to dam a river, they also come in handy for meals because beavers are vegetarians that gnaw through bark to eat the sugary layer underneath.

Every beaver family works together to build their dams of stone, logs and mud.  They erect sturdy lodges with secret entrances and exits and excavate deep channels in ponds that help retain water in arid environments. And as they work, broad meadows, rich with silt, and new ponds are created.

By the 1990s, scientists began to notice and investigate the effects beavers were having on the landscape and to document the results. A dramatic example is what happened to Nevada’s Suzie Creek, transformed by beavers from a desert to a veritable garden supporting wildlife such as sandhill cranes and mule deer.

Leave it to Beavers introduces viewers to an animal rehab expert who teaches a rescued orphan beaver the skills he’ll need to survive in the wild, and to hairdresser Sherri Tippie, the top live trapper of the species in North America, who rescues unwanted beavers in the Denver suburbs and then places them with farmers and beaver enthusiasts who eagerly provide new homes for them. Whether displaced from their pond, now part of a new housing development, or singled out for gnawing on trees at a golf course, Tippie has relocated over 1,000 beavers to date and her chief priority remains to keep families together. According to Tippie, “We’re asking so much of these animals and we’re displacing them. They’ve moved into a place where they should be and we don’t want them there. So if we’re going to mess around with them then we need to treat them as well as possible and then put them at a place where they can live out their lives.”

I found the documentary to be fascinating. It’s hard to believe Beavers can gnaw down that much wood to create elaborate damns that can change the landscape.

It’s pretty cool how the beavers know where to place the wood they carry to the damn. It’s like an intricate puzzle. They can some how make the pieces fit. Just the fact they know where to put the pieces tells me these are highly intelligent animals.

You don’t have to be a fan of beavers, or even animals, to appreciate this enlightening and entertaining documentary. I think anyone – young or old – will be truly captivated by the amazing and incredible beaver.

The documentary runs for about 60 minutes and it can be purchased for $19.99 (retail price) online at www.ShopPBS.org.

For more information you can visit the PBS website www.PBS.org.

Here is the trailer for your entertainment.



*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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