Middle School, B.L.A.A.R., and Lessons from Bug

I’d like to thank Click Communications for sending us Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life so that I could share with you my feelings on standardized testing, my Bug’s journey as a square peg, and our feelings in general on this movie.

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“Rafe has an epic imagination…and a slight problem with authority. Both collide when he transfers to a rule-crazy middle school. Drowning in do’s and don’ts, Rafe and his best friend Leo hatch a plan to expose the principal by breaking every rule in the school’s Code of Conduct. As the principal strikes back, Rafe’s world, at home and at school, explodes into hilarious chaos (both real and imagined) in this laugh-filled family comedy based on James Patterson’s best-selling book series.” 

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

When I was first presented with the opportunity to watch Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, I really had no interest. I mean, for real, I still have kids in elementary school, I’ve watched others of mine go through middle school and high school, I’ve LIVED the drama. Why watch it again, from an author’s/script writer’s standpoint?

But then I thought better of my decision.

You see, Bug is about to enter middle school next year (the HECK you say?) and as you know, she’s pretty much a square peg in our round society so these years, indeed, are the worst years of her life (or so it seems). So, of course I rethought my initial scoff and happily agreed to watch the movie with her, and I’m so glad I did.

The books? Apparently my older kids were too old for these (sigh), and my babies were too young. But the movie, well it hit home in many ways. Where to begin…

The B.L.A.A.R. as they call it in the movie, or standardized (forced) testing as we all know it, is by far the centerpiece of this movie and it’s the very bane of my existence. We, as a society, teach our children these days to learn to pass tests rather than just LEARN. I hate it. I’m vocal about it. I truly feel that standardized testing will be the demise of this nation; and I feel that it has caused a nation (sorry millennials, but have you ever watched yourselves function without technology?) of “kids” that can’t function without a cell phone, a laptop, or their favorite apps. Like, if they were stranded on a deserted island, they’d likely be looking for the answers to A) How can I Google how to survive?, B) How can I call my mom on my cell phone to figure out how to survive?, C) Can Instagram show me how to survive?, or D) HOLY SHIT, none of my crap works anymore…now what?

I have many non-family-friendly terms for how I feel about the B.L.A.A.R. testing that goes on in today’s world that I’ll spare you, but I will say, I’m glad that I actually LEARNED before this was a thing. I’m glad this movie called that out! I’m just going to assume the writers weren’t millennials and leave that at that. (GET OFF MY LAWN!)

Next, the imagination, animation, and general family and friends ties in the movie were moving. Mom kind of lost her way through the first part, as most single moms do, but in the end (spoiler alert), she did what all good moms do and chose her family, her kids, above all else, as she should. Good job and very heart warming.

The personal loss portion of the movie (OMG…another spoiler alert, but near the end, Bug said, ‘DON’T mom, I know that look’ because she knew I was about to lose it) was touching, AND REAL. All of our lives are so full of loss these days, and although my children, thankfully, haven’t had to feel personal loss just yet, I know they, Bug in particular, felt the pain and totally got it.

SO…in a nutshell…this movie is basically a must-see from my perspective as the mom of six. It’s a great combination of present-world frustrations from parents, teachers, and kids alike. It’s funny, it’s heart warming at times, and the imaginative nature of the whole thing is quite entertaining. It’s a great way to show all of the conformists that the square pegs, the “remedials”, can actually rule the world again one day…despite their “failure” on stupid standardized testing.

Einstein was dyslexic. Lincoln had very little formal education. I never graduated college (because I kept having KIDS). None of us ever had to deal with B.L.A.A.R., we all did OK (yes, I just put myself in that company…don’t judge). I loved this movie SO hard. Bug loved it more.

Because we should. And so should you.

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Have you seen it yet? If so, what’s your take? If not, WHAT are you waiting for? The DVD and Blu-ray is available in stores January 3, 2017, and if you have a preteen or tween in your house, you totally want this one in your video library!

Dream a Little Dream with Disney’s Teen Beach 2

Enjoy wholesome family fun while sparking your child’s imagination with a family movie night watching Disney’s Teen Beach 2. We received a complimentary copy of the DVD, now available at retailers everywhere, from Click Communications to facilitate this post, but all opinions are entirely my own.

Dream a Little Dream with Disney's Teen Beach 2

Family movie night can be a pretty big deal around here. We take the time to select a movie everyone will enjoy, whip up themed food and drinks, or just pop some popcorn, then we sit down on the couch huddled together as a family and watch our new movie of choice. Kind of makes a mom’s heart happy so I try to encourage one every single week. This past weekend we had a lot to celebrate and one of those celebrations included watching the newly released DVD of Disney’s Teen Beach 2. Bug loved the first one and she watches it absolutely every time it comes on TV so she was especially thrilled when she found out this was the movie of choice this weekend. As for the rest of the family, anything with the word “beach” in it is alright in our books. As an added bonus, when you purchase the DVD at your local retailer, your Teen Beach fan will receive a free Lela’s Friendship Necklace inside the movie box to help transport them into the dream world that is Teen Beach (which in my opinion, is a better time and place).

Disney's Teen Beach 2 available on DVD on 6/2615

Dive in and rock out with the hottest surf sequel under the sun! Now that summer’s over and school has begun, Brady and Mack’s relationship seems headed for a wipeout – until Lela, Tanner, and the “Wet Side Story” kids show up! Dazzled by the novelty and variety of the modern world, Lela wants to stay, but the real world and the “real” world just don’t mix. Can Mack and Brady find the magic to get the kids home and get their own romance back on track before it’s too late? Packed with electrifying song and dance numbers, and hilarious fish-out-of-water wackiness, Teen Beach 2 is “wow-abunga” fun for everyone!

  Teen Beach 2 Family Movie Night

There’s something for everyone to love. Song, dance, humor, and a whole lot of wholesome fun. There’s not even a need to go all out for this movie for your next family movie night. Just pop some popcorn, cuddle up, and get ready to be transported to a world full of song and dance. If you haven’t already, head out to your favorite local retailer and pick up a copy of this fun DVD. You won’t be disappointed. On the Bug and Christy scale, the sequel of Teen Beach 2 is even better than the original. That doesn’t happen often for us.

So, inquiring minds want to know, have you seen Teen Beach 2 yet? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s a whole lot of family fun that you’ll want to watch over and over again!

Strange Magic Party Plan: Everyone Deserves to be Loved!

Just so you know, I received an early release copy of Strange Magic on DVD and some other really fun products to facilitate this party plan post from Click Communications, but all ideas, opinions, and photos are entirely my own. 

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Oh my singing stars, y’all! Strange Magic was released in stores on DVD today, 5/19/15, and I’m in love. Have I ever told you about my love of musicals, and animation, and stories of true love? No? I’ve failed you. I was in my first musical production at the age of 11 (the cut off age was 12, but they made an exception because I was SOOO close and my audition was that awesome…so they said), and well…to this day, it’s still one of the highlights of my life. I was in a few more productions over the years and was bound for the big screen (in my head), but life got in the way. Mommyhood was my destiny and I’m totally cool with that, but I’ve never lost my love for musicals, the stage, and the silver screen in general. I try to pass that love along to my children, and when a new movie musical comes out, especially if it’s animated, we’re on the case. Thankfully, Bug shares my love for this genre so my excuse to watch animated musicals continues to be justified.

When I first heard of Strange Magic, I knew I’d love it. We all know about my aversion to movie theaters because of children who act up and germs and stuff, so I often skip the theater premieres, but I anxiously await the release on DVD. That was the case with this movie. Strange Magic is a music-filled fairy tale about finding true love in the unlikeliest of places. This magical adventure features a host of colorful characters, including a princess who has sworn off love, a dubious villain, a slightly nutty Sugar Plum Fairy (my favorite), a tenacious elf, a mischievous imp, and a knight who is no “Prince Charming”. This is an enchanting tale the whole family can enjoy. So, to celebrate, we’re hosting a “Strange Magic” Party this weekend because “Everyone Deserves to be Loved”. We’re in the planning phases now and I encourage you to get your party pants on too!

Strange Magic Party Supplies

It’s important to have your party supplies in order before you actually start deciding on your party theme and filling out invites. We’ve got the coolest stuff for this party and I’m…errr…ummm…I mean Bug and her friends are going to have a ball! DVD…check! Nail polish to bring out our inner fairy…check. Electrohome Karaoke Speaker System to help us sing along…duh…check! Bracelets with party invites…check. Glow in the Dark Bracelets to make at the party…check. A menu plan fit for every fairy that shows up…check (be back to share that soon). Sounds like a fun party to me…no, I mean Bug. Of course this is her party! It’s totally HER party.

Strange Magic Party Prep

Step one: Gather your supplies and start filling out invitations. Let your little one do this to get them really excited for the party!

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Step 2: Have the perfect invitations to set the mood for the party.

strange magic invite bracelet bright
Step 3: Add that special touch to your invites. Bug made fun bracelets to let her guests know how much she appreciates and loves their friendship! It’s a party favor before the party that they can enjoy for years to come.

strange magic invite

Step 4: Invite your party guests in person. Don’t mail the invites, deliver them. It’s so much more personal and your guests are more likely to come if they know you took the time to visit them and invite them in person.

Step 5: Get ready for your party and have a good time. Don’t stress anything. The girls will have fun and you can sing along with them (even if/when they laugh at you).

I’ll be back next week to share the actual party details with you. In the meantime, I’d love to know…have you seen Strange Magic? What did you think? We loved it and we hope you do too! If you haven’t seen it yet, head out to your favorite local retailer and purchase it today on DVD. It’s totally worth the fun!