It’s Panda-monium!

Last week my sons and I got a sneak peak at “Pandas,” an IMAX movie that opens this weekend.

This documentary, which took three years to shoot, has lots of appeal. It’s educational – showing viewers the challenges pandas face in the world in terms of breeding, handling tough terrain and overall survival. Pandas are an endangered species around the world, mostly due to humans developing properties on their land, and the lack of bamboo, their primary food source.

“Pandas” grabs your heart too. It’s hard not to love these cuddling looking bears that we typically only see at the zoo.

When we first meet these cute pandas, they’re newborns, adorable and looking like stuffed animals. We see them cooing as babies and then we watch them – one panda in particular, “Qian Qian,” pronounced Chen Chen – grow up on camera and learn to navigate the world.

The pandas are born at the Chengdu Panda Base in China, a breeding center which has helped breed over 200 baby pandas. In the movie, the scientists interact with the pandas and they explain how they’re tracking the animals and helping them thrive in the wild.

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The movie took three years to shoot. The Chengdu Panda Base, which has helped over 200 baby pandas born during her tenure. Viewers meet the  scientists interacting with the pandas and they explain how they’re tracking the animals and helping them thrive in the wild.

We loved the movie – so fun and interesting. It’s narrated by Kristen Bell – a familiar voice for kids, who recognize her from “Frozen.”

Fun Fact: Giant pandas eat up to 30 pounds of bamboo every day!

We saw the IMAX film at Fleet Science Center in their Heikoff Giant Dome Theater, which has 76-foot wraparound movie screen and 16,000 watts of digital surround sound. Everything looks and feels so close. That experience makes you feel like you’re sitting across from the pandas in the wild in China.

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My sons and I enjoyed playing with the Panda props at Fleet Science Center too!

Fun Fact: Pandas sleep 10 to 16 hours a day! That bamboo they eat isn’t very nutritious and lacks protein, so they don’t have much energy.

“Pandas,” is rated G and opened April 6, 2018. Get tickets.

Check out the trailer below:

Movie Night: “Sherlock Gnomes”

This week is Spring Break in our house and a movie night is a welcome opportunity for fun.

Movie Night: "Sherlock Gnomes"

Last night, my sons and I got to attend a complimentary preview screening of the new animated kids’ movie, “Sherlock Gnomes.” The movie comes out today and it’s an entertaining film for the whole family.

Here’s the premise: garden gnomes in London are disappearing. Detective Sherlock Gnomes and his sidekick, Watson, along with two gnomes named, Gnomeo and Juliet, are searching for clues to find missing garden gnomes.

Among the highlights:

  • Johnny Depp portrays Sherlock Gnomes. He plays the character with a mix of snark and sophistication and I loved it.

Sherlock Gnomes

  • The movie references both “Sherlock Holmes” and “Romeo and Juliet.” My 9-year-old liked how characters from two stories could share the screen. I agree – a nice touch and it familiarizes kids with more literature and characters.

 

  • I really liked how every time Sherlock is thinking about a clue, the screen swirls into a black and white actively-animated dream-like sequence. For example, in one scene, he’s looking at a playing card with a black “9” and a scuff in the corner of the number. He’s trying to remember where he’s seen that “9” and that scuff before. So, in his daydream, we see lots of “9” – the number is in his bed, on an escalator, etc. He’s processing the information and so are we! This daydream is a lovely way of showing kids (and adults) how the brain processes information.

 

  • The movie features lots of Elton John songs and – spoiler alert – in one scene early on in the film, there’s a garden gnome that very much resembles the “Tiny Dancer” singer. At the end credits, I realized Elton John is one of the executive producers of the movie. His music is timeless and I’m happy this is a way to introduce his music to a new generation.

Sherlock Gnomes is rated PG and runs 86 minutes.

Staying Organized

I’m old school about keeping track of information. I handwrite notes, keep to-do lists and organize my life with a calendar.

Sure, I track things in my smartphone – from business meetings and appointments to events, date nights and family activities – but I also like having a hardcopy of my schedule.

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I was pretty excited to check out Day Designer, a strategic planner and daily agenda. They sent me a complimentary 2018 planner and I’m loving it.

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First of all, it’s a hardcover, spiral book – nothing flimsy about this calendar! Plus, it has a durable pocket in the front, which is ideal for stashing those post-it notes and do-lists I make.

Here’s what else I love about this planner – there’s a two-page calendar for every month, as well as individual pages for each day.

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On the daily pages, there are prompts to keep me focused: “Today’s Top Three,” “Notes,” and “Daily Gratitude,” as well as “To-Do” and “Don’t Forget.”

IMG_8002There are daily inspirational quotes too, like, Samuel Johnson’s, ”Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance,” and the proverb, “It is better to begin in the evening than not at all.”

Do you keep a hardcopy planner or calendar?

#MotivationMonday, Halloween edition

Check out my this #MondayMotivation message featured on my son’s #pumpkin. He wrote: “Be…fun, silly, wacky, creative, YOU!!”IMG_0935

We were decorating pumpkins last weekend – doing the usual thing of making eyes, mouth, nose, etc.

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Then my son got inspired to write a personal note. I love his sentiment and it’s perfect for Halloween, when everyone wants to dress up to be “someone else.” So go ahead, this Halloween and every day, Be Yourself! 

A Marvelous Treat! Checking Out Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes 

IMG_7279What a fun night! My boys and I were invited to attend media night for Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes, which was opening night in San Diego at Valley View Casino Center.

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You don’t even have to be a superhero fan to appreciate this performance! The lights, smoke, music and video screens propel this live action show, which lasts nearly two hours.

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Here’s the premise: bad guys, Green Goblin, Loki and Nebula are causing trouble so Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy come to the rescue.  That means we got to see all our favorite good guys in action, including Captain America, Spiderman, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Panther and Black Widow.

The show’s opening is impressive. The entire arena is in darkness, with stars dotting the crowd. On the stage? A dramatic introduction to all the exciting superheroes you’ll meet during the show.

 

Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes blends live action dare devil skills like aerial skills, flips, fights, motorcycle stunts with stunning choreography.

 

The video projection sets the scene throughout the show, moving the story from fantastical Savage Land to New York City and Asia and beyond. There’s never a dull moment in this show – kids and adults will be impressed.

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The show runs through this Sunday, August 27. To find out tour dates, locations and buy tickets, go to MarvelUniverseLIVE.com.

 

Farewell! The Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland Closes this Weekend

I’m going to miss the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland! This is the last weekend for this vintage parade.

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I love the music, which has a throwback vibe, and all the old school floats. I’ve always enjoyed the mushroom and butterfly float, as well as the train, steered by Goofy, or course!

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The Parade, which entertained Disneyland guests from 1972 to 1996, was in Florida at the Walt Disney World Resort until January of this year when it returned to Disneyland. It closes this Sunday, August 20, 2017.

I first saw the parade as a kid at DisneyWorld. I’ve had a soft spot for it ever since…

The patriotic ending is one of my favorite moments of the 20-minute parade.

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Blast off! Fun at the San Diego Air & Space Museum

My boys have always loved airplanes. They enjoy going on flights when we travel and they’re enthralled to watch planes take off and land at the airport. Every time we drive through San Diego and pass the airport, they’re fascinated.

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My oldest recently did a school biography report on aviation pioneers, the Wright Brothers.

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My son’s report on the Wright Brothers.

So it’s not a surprise that they had a blast visiting the San Diego Air & Space Museum in Balboa Park.

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Bell AH-1E Cobra
This helicopter is the Bell AH-1E Cobra.

They “flew” missions in helicopters and planes.

Young Pilots

Then they dreamed of being astronauts, spending an hour at the #BeTheAstronaut exhibit.

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Checking out the “Be the Astronaut” exhibit.
F-4 Phantom II
This is the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II.

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What an educational and fun day during summer break!

Be a Star Wonder Woman!

Such a cute kids’ book – BE A STAR WONDER WOMAN!

I received an advance copy of this official DC Comics picture book, which inspires young readers to be a hero.

 

I loved reading this girl power book to my boys!

The Capstone book, written by Michael Dahl and illustrated by Omar Lozano follows a young girl as she goes through her day showcasing her greatest superpower – sharing – at school, where she also encounters challenges in the classroom and on the playground.

The book is now available.