LEGO Friends Olivia’s House (3315)



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Review:

Olivia’s House was at the top of my daughter’s Lego wishlist for quite awhile. It’s an award-winning set and now that we finally got it for her, it’s clear why. The house is carefully and compactly designed and has fantastic play value. It ties with the Lego Friends Summer Riding Camp as her favorite Lego Friends set.

My rating: (5 / 5)

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Enchanted Movie Review



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Review:

Disney isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself! Enchanted is a charming and fun send-up of many of Disney’s stock tropes and cliches. Amy Adams is adorable as Giselle and Susan Sarandon looks like she’s having the time of her life as the wicked stepmother. I also loved James Marsden as the well meaning but hopelessly oblivious Prince Edward. My only question is why they hired a famous Broadway star like Idina Menzel and then never had her sing!

My rating: (4 / 5)

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Frozen Movie Review

Review:



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I’m sure I’m not the only Millennial who grew up during the golden age of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Mulan, was kind of disappointed by most of (but not all) Disney’s offerings in the early nolls, and is now delighted that they’re undergoing a revival, just in time for my own kids to enjoy their movies as much as I did when I was a child. The Princess and the Frog was good and Tangled was great.

Frozen may be better still (honestly, I’m torn about whether I liked it better than Tangled or not). The animation was absolutely beautiful, the songs were catchy (my favorites were Let It Go and the opening yoik by Sami composer Frode Fjellheim), and the sidekicks were cute. And I loved that (spoiler alert – click on the blurred text to view) Anna and Elsa saved each other with the power of sisterly love and didn’t need to be rescued by anybody. Destined to be a classic!

My rating: (4 / 5)

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Mulan

Review:



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The single best Disney movie to show to girls (and boys), in my opinion.

Although Disney has gotten much better at presenting well-rounded and interesting heroines in recent years, many Disney movies still focus ultimately on romance. In Mulan, by contrast, the romance is a minor and understated subplot, and the focus is squarely on Mulan’s quest to save her father’s life and bring honor to her family. Along the way, her cleverness, resourcefulness, and quick thinking save China as well.

In addition to providing a great role model, Mulan also has some great songs, lots of action and humor, and lovely animation. A must-have for any family video collection.

My rating: (5 / 5)

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Melissa and Doug Cutting Food



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Review:

We have several of the Melissa and Doug wooden food sets and this is probably the best. I wish I’d gotten it years ago. My sister’s mother-in-law (a former elementary teacher) gave it to my son (then 18 months old) to play with during a visit to their house and he loved it so much that we decided to buy one of our own. He got the hang of cutting the pieces almost immediately, though he still struggles a bit with putting them back together. I really think he’d entertain himself with this set for hours at a time if I didn’t get tired of helping him put them back together after awhile. My 7 year old daughter also likes it, but not as obsessively as her brother.

The pieces are sturdy and well made and have held up well to frequent play by an enthusiastic toddler. Highly recommended.

My rating: (5 / 5)

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Lilo & Stitch Movie Review



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Review:

One of the most under-rated Disney movies, in my opinion. The wacky hijinks of little Lilo and her alien “dog” are enjoyable and often laugh-out-loud funny (“Oh good, my dog found the chainsaw”) but the action and humor disguise a poignant message about the importance of family – both blood, and chosen. “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.”

My rating:  (4 / 5)

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