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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Disney Springtime!

What better way to celebrate a delightful Springtime day than to spend it at Disneyland? Easter weekend, we made a last minute trip to Anaheim and decided it wouldn't be right to not wish Mickey and his friends a Happy Easter! Disneyland kindly gave us tickets to the Happiest Place on Earth. But first, we had to make a stop at Wondercon and see Wall-E. Both Bean and Pinga are obsessed. Wall-E has enchanted Pinga to the point where she refuses to watch anything else.


Time for Disneyland! Pinga had also been talking non-stop about Minnie Mouse. Their meeting was magical.



On this trip, I wanted to seek out some of the lesser known, unusual things about the park that people might overlook. "Easter Eggs", if you will. So we found this cannon in Town Square:



There are actually two of these, and they were used by the French Army during the 1800's.

I have a fascination with mailboxes...I still love to send and receive mail the old fashioned way. Every time I come across an unusual mailbox, I take a picture. There are a few at Disneyland, but this one's my favorite. It's a real mailbox too, so next time you go to Disneyland, send a letter to a friend!



I had always noticed the vehicles on Main Street, but it never really registered to me that people can ride them. So that is precisely what we did. The kids were so excited about their ride to Sleeping Beauty Castle in the fire engine!



We had wanted to do the official Easter Egg scavenger hunt, but the resort was out of maps. So we had fun looking for the eggs on our own:



Now here's something you don't see every day. Bean was tired after a few hours, so we sat down at the Springtime Roundup to rest. He was hot and thirsty too, so when the lively hoedown show began with dancers performing with the children, he was in no mood to participate. The dancing must have had some kind of effect on him though, because he joined right in for the next song. As if that wasn't enough, Pinga, who is very shy and never approaches anyone on her own, leaped out of stroller and ran to dance with one of the ladies. It was amazing, and it could only have happened at Disneyland.






She couldn't stop talking about it afterwards. More magical moments from our day:


As we were leaving, we were privy to one more secret. Bean wanted a hand stamp on both hands, and the cast member kindly told him that they only do stamps on the left hand. Why? Because Mickey Mouse is left handed. Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse in his mirror image - Walt Disney was right handed, therefore Mickey is left handed. What a perfect way to end the day.


Thank you to Disney for another magical day at Disneyland!

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Disneynature's Bears = Warm Fuzzies

This past week, our whole family had a date at the movies to see an advanced screening of the latest Disneynature title, Bears.
I've been wanting to see this movie for a while, solely for the fact that hubby kinda reminds me of a bear. Also, I thought that the trailer looked adorable and the kids would probably enjoy the movie as well.

Bears delivered all this, and much more. Yes, there is one bear in particular that looks almost exactly like hubby, and the cubs are almost too cute. The narration has a tendency to get a little cheesy (which I think the kids actually liked) and create unnecessary drama at times, but the cinematography more than makes up for it.

The movie is absolutely gorgeous. It felt like we were right there with the bears - the credits actually show that the filmmakers were in fact quite close to them, which surprised me. There are some breathtaking scenes, including one of the cubs playing at the beach, that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy. There are also a couple of good bear fights. It's fascinating to watch the bears catch fish, and to see the way they react to other wildlife. It's amazing to see the sacrifices that these bears go through, and the hardships that they endure.

Most of all, I enjoyed the parallels between the bears and ourselves. Sky, the mother bear reminded me of my own mother, with the love that she has for me, and the valuable lessons that she taught me. The cubs are exactly like my children; Bean is like the male cub, always running off and getting into mischief. My Pinga is exactly like the female cub. She sticks close to mom, no matter what.




Disneynature's Bears opens in theaters today. Go see it, and don't miss the end credits. Enter the world of bears, and hug your teddy bear a little closer tonight.



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Friday, April 4, 2014

Foot Races Are the New Car Chases


Let me tell you about a hot date I went on with my wife. No, this isn’t Mama Sparkles. It’s Hubby again, with a guest movie review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I say “hot” because we’re talking about an action movie sequel and on a funny side note, it was announced before the screening that it would be “overwhelmingly loud,” so it could’ve been “hot” in that the theater speakers nearly exploded. My wife says my reviews have too many tangents and my sentences are too long, so I apologize for that.

Back to the movie, anyone going into any sequel wants two things (whether they realize it or not): something (1) more and something from (2) before. It’s obvious that by “more” I mean more action or comedy, bigger budgets and better special effects. But a successful sequel shouldn’t just expand on top of the original movie, it should deepen its roots. By “before” I mean character background that precedes the original movie without contradicting it, context as opposed to content.

Captain ‘Merica (as the guy sitting behind me pronounced it) definitely has more action and more comedy. Where the original movie had (spoiler alert) a death at the end, this sequel starts off with a death and who doesn’t love a good murder mystery? There’s a deeper political context this time around (although I’m going to leave that open for you to interpret how you will) and most importantly (to me anyway), the relationship dynamics between Cap (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are deepened.

Yes, The Winter Soldier makes for a hot date. I say “hot” because we’re talking about some good, old-fashioned sexual tension. If you don’t care about superheroes but you do like romance, you should still watch this for something that I never saw coming. At first I didn’t get it (typical aloof guy that I am) when the superheroine kept trying to set our hero up with different people. By the time they reach a certain underground bunker (metaphor for “deep”), his all-business-and-no-pleasure mentality becomes apparent for what it really is, her unrequited love.

Be still my beating heart! Not only that, but the actress they got to play title character’s actual love interest, Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp), was always my pick to play Katchoo, the love interest in a Strangers in Paradise adaptation, another comic book movie with love triangles that probably won't get made. Now if you don’t care about other comic book characters but you do like celebrity cameos, you should still stay through the '60s-style
end credits for the DOUBLE ZINGER. That’s right, not one, but two different sneak peeks of future franchise films starring Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who will both appear in the remake of Godzilla, my most anticipated movie of 2014)! Awww, I’m a nerd, but thanks for reading me on Mama Sparkles.



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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Our DisneySide Celebration!

Last month, I had the opportunity to host a Disney Side Home Celebration. This meant that we got to have an awesome party at our home with this amazing kit that was sent to us:

Try spinning the American Tourister luggage - I bet you can't do it just once.

Any excuse to have a party is fine by us...especially if it involves Disney! In addition to all the cute Mickey cups, plates and decorations, there were other great items as well. Mickey cookie cutters, HP photo paper, stickers, and fun games all played a role in our party.

We decided to bring a bit of Disney magic to our guests and recreate one of our favorite moments. Ariel's Grotto at Disney's California Adventure is a delectable place to eat. In fact, I posted about it here. We love the three tiered presentation of the appetizer plate, so that's what we did for our party:



We served cucumber mint and egg salad tea sandwiches, along with scones and cut strawberries. We also cut up cheese, meat and bread with the Mickey cookie cutters to make sandwiches. It was all delicious!

We also did a little cookie decorating:



My mom was in town and she showed off her mad face painting skills:


The adults enjoyed playing Disney Bingo and Disney Trivia. We also used the tablecloth that came in our party kit and used it as a backdrop for our photo booth. I downloaded the Disney Memories HD app on my iPod Touch and took cute pictures of all the kids. Then we printed them out on our HP photo paper, so people could take home a souvenir.


Thank you to Disney for providing the party kit and allowing us to show our Disney Side with such a fun party!

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Mama Sparkles Holiday Gift Guide 2013 - Chick-fil-A

Welcome to Mama Sparkles' Holiday Gift Guide! This month, I'll be sharing a few of my favorite gift ideas for everyone on your list. Be sure to check back often as I add more items.

It's no secret that we love Chick-fil-A around here! I really think I would eat their chicken every day if I could. Not only does Chick-fil-A provide excellent service to go along with their amazing food, but they also have a few affordable gift items that would make any cow jump for joy. Check these out:

Chick-fil-A 2014 Calendar - $6.00

The Chick-fil-A 2014 calendar is not only entertaining to flip through, it comes with a promotional card that, once activated, contains delicious FREE offers throughout the year. These offers include items such as fries, drinks, chicken sandwiches, breakfast entrees and more. Once a month you can go and claim the offer for that month. This calendar is only $6.00, people! To me, that's an incredible deal, for a gift that keeps on giving. Go here to learn more about the calendar.


Next up:

Chick-fil-A Elf Cow - $5.99

Chick-fil-A Sports Arena sent me this adorable plush cow elf. We have a collection of plush cows at home, but I think this one is my favorite. Pinga is going to flip when she sees this. It will be going in her stocking this year.


And finally:
Chick-fil-A Gift Cards - Denominations of $10 and $15

Some people are more difficult to buy for than others. In this case, a Chick-fil-A gift card is the perfect solution! Kinda like having a passport to delicious chicken whenever you please.


Do you eat at Chick-fil-A? Will you be buying any of these gifts this season?

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Harry Potter Holiday Gift Guide 2013

For all you Harry Potter Fans out there...
Warner Bros. has released an official Harry Potter Gift Guide! These amazing Harry Potter inspired products feature everything from wizard wear and accessories, to collectibles, to home decor. Wouldn't you love to have one of these?

Harry Potter collectible wand

This year’s catalogue offers a host of new items, including the Harry Potter Remote Control Wand from The Noble Collection, which allows the user to magically control any IR device with the flick of the wrist. Also newly available is the United States Postal Service Harry Potter Limited-Edition Forever stamp collection – perfect for stocking stuffers and for all those looking to send their holiday cards the Muggle way. Leggings from boutique fashion label Black Milk, fresh Hot Topic-exclusive apparel from Bioworld, a limited-edition Hogwarts castle ornament from Hallmark and more can also be found within the guide.


Needless to say, I am ridiculously excited about this. I also have this AMAZING Harry Potter Prize Pack to give away to one winner! It includes:

Dumbledore Wand Pen and Bookmark Set
Harry Potter Collectible Wand
Harry Potter Glasses

Enter for your chance to win, below! A winner will be chosen on Monday, December 23rd. Giveaway open to US residents only.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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