Puzzles! Snowgies, Belle’s Books, and Jojo Siwa!

Lately I’ve been really into doing jigsaw puzzles. I normally do smaller ones because bending over something for too long tends to irritate my degenerative disc disease and bulging discs in my neck. I even recently bought a lap-desk so that I could do puzzles while laying in the recliner.

My favorite puzzles to do are vintage ones that I pick up at thrift stores, especially ones that remind me of my childhood. But I do buy newer ones occasionally if I see some I can’t resist. The other day I found a few at Dollar Tree and thought I would share the finished pictures:

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This first one is obviously from Disney’s movie “Frozen”, and the main reason I got it was the adorable snowgies! I love those little guys!

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This second one I loved because I have always admired Belle’s bookishness. It is something I can definitely relate to! It is funny to see her loading down the beast with books too.

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Ok, to be honest, I find Jojo Siwa a little bit annoying, but there is still a part of me that is happy to see her succeeding since I watched her from the beginning in Lifetime’s “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition” and later on “Dance Moms”. Now she is obviously quite famous and working closely with Nickelodeon. I try to support all the girls off “Dance Moms”, and while Jojo is far from my favorite, I am still happy to see her doing so well.

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March 2018 My First Reading Club Subscription Box Review!

I told you all that soon I would have a new subscription box to share and review and it is here! This subscription box is called “My First Reading Club” and they have a wide variety of ages you can pick from to receive at least 3 or 4 brand new children’s books each month. The best part is it only costs $9.99 (plus shipping)! Often, you recoup the entire price in just ONE book!

For this first month I picked the “Just Starting Out” age group, which is 2 and under I believe. However, I have upped the age group for my next box because I would like to receive some regular picture books and not just board books. Anyhow, here is what I received this month:

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  • A Disney Frozen “Ice Box” set that includes four board books, each featuring different characters (Anna, Elsa, Kristoff & Sven, and Olaf), Retail $10.99
  • A Sparkly Nickelodeon Team Umizoomi Board Book entitled “Follow That Egg!”, Retail $6.99
  • A Disney Sheriff Callie’s Wild West Lift-the-Flap Book entitled “Callie Saves the Day”, Retail $8.99
  • A gift for Moms – AMBR Green Tea Spa Lotion, unknown value

Here are the four Disney Frozen books inside the “Ice Box” set (my favorite of which is definitely the Olaf book):

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Here is a peek inside the other two books we got this month:

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I like all the books we got this month, although I will admit I was a little disappointed to only get one Easter themed book (the Umizoomi one). In other My First Book Club box reviews I have seen, it looked like they often sent themed packages out with almost all books relating to any holidays that month, so I was definitely expecting more of an Easter theme.

Like I said above, although I do like children’s board books, I want a more well-rounded box to build up my collection, so I did up the age group for my next box. It is nice that they always send a little gift for Mom too. Of the books they sent this month, my favorite is definitely the Umizoomi book. Partly because it is Easter-themed, and partly because it is really sparkly and I do love sparkly things!

 

Maleficent movie review – Disney keeps heading in a good direction

Angelina Jolie in "Maleficent"
Angelina Jolie in “Maleficent”

Recently I went to see Disney’s new film “Maleficent”. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see it because I have never been an Angelina Jolie fan, but the movie pleasantly surprised me. I love the backstory – getting to see Maleficent’s childhood and why she grew up to be a “villain”. I have always adored stories of revenge and redemption, and Maleficent definitely fits into that category.

Probably my favorite thing about the movie though is that Disney continued their recent trend of not relying on the prince to “save the day” or to save the “poor defenseless female”. Looks like Disney finally has caught on that many women and little girls want to be strong, independent, feminine and loved all at the same time.

Like “Brave” and “Frozen”, “Maleficent” features love that is both redeeming and sacrificial…but it isn’t a romantic love relationship that appears the strongest. In “Brave”, the most important love relationship throughout the movie was Merida’s relationship with her mother. In “Frozen”, the love of sisters took center stage. I won’t spoil “Maleficent” by revealing too much, but once again, it is not romantic love that saves the day. I am so thrilled to see that other loving relationships are finally getting the attention they deserve. I have nothing against romantic love, I am happily married myself. But I have always believed that other kinds of love can be just as strong, if not stronger. Acts of true love between family members, friends, pets and occasionally even strangers can make as much of an impact on a life as any romantic relationship.

I hope that Disney continues to explore love in all its many forms. As for “Maleficent”, if you haven’t seen it yet, I would definitely recommend it. It is surprisingly sweet and funny, with good acting and lovely visual effects. Know that it does not follow the earlier Disney version of Sleeping Beauty exactly, but it is an interesting and magical story on its own. Don’t think of it as “replacing” the old classic, but instead, just telling another side of the story.

What the Disney “Frozen” song “Let It Go” means to me

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The success of Idina Menzel’s version of the song “Let It Go” from Disney’s animated movie “Frozen” really didn’t surprise me at all. The first time I heard the song (the opening weekend of the movie), I fell in love. I have the soundtrack and like a lot of the songs, but “Let It Go” is just special. Some have claimed the song and movie are about homosexuality and the fight for LGBT acceptance. I don’t agree, although I can see how the song would be a great coming out song. In my opinion, the song could apply to a great many ways that we hide our ‘true’ selves for fear of rejection or hurt. So, although I am going to share the lyrics that really speak to me and why, do not feel like my connection to the song has to be yours.

  • “A kingdom of isolation, and it looks like I’m the queen.” – To me, this is about loneliness. I relate because I have often felt like I lived in isolation. Growing up with undiagnosed autism I often felt like I was somewhere off on the moon or in a world of my own. I wanted to include others. I wanted connection, but I was either afraid or didn’t know how to get it. I had friends, but even those relationships sometimes confounded me and left me utterly confused and alone. I’ve grown up and learned a lot, but it still isn’t easy to make connections with others at the level I would like to.
  • “The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside, couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried.” – Who among us hasn’t felt overwhelmed by our emotions? It is human to sometimes feel crippled by fear, saddened by tragedy and betrayal, angry about injustice or like we have to claw our way up from the depths of despair. Often I have just wanted to scream because of all the hurt, rage, sadness and unfairness in this world.
  • “Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.” – To me this has definite religious affiliations. At times in my life I felt like I had to hide my true self to get approval and love from friends, family and the church. I had to pretend to be a “good girl” who never questions anything and believes blindly what I am told. I still feel like many wish I would just shut up and believe what they tell me is true, but I just can’t do that anymore.
  • “Well, now they know…” – Thank God! They know! I can be myself!
  • “Let it go, let it go. Can’t hold it back anymore. Let it go, let it go. Turn away and slam the door.” – Just keep going. Follow what in your heart you know is right. It is ok if not everyone understands or likes you. Sometimes you may have to burn bridges to the past in order to find new places to grow.
  • “I don’t care what they’re going to say…” – Ok, maybe I still care a little (after all I am still human), but I won’t let it rule me.
  • “It’s funny how some distance, makes everything seem small. And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all.” – Wow…so THIS is freedom. I can think what I want. I can do what I want. I can love who I want. I can finally get out from under all these rules and dogmas that had me confused and scared. I can get out there and actually help this world!
  • “It’s time to see what I can do. To test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong, no rules for me. I’m free.” – Ok, there is still right and wrong, but I don’t have to take the word of other humans about what it is. I can find a place in this world where I really fit in and my talents can be used for good.
  • “I am one with the wind and sky. Let it go, let it go. You’ll never see me cry.” – I’m going to forgive those who hurt me, even if they don’t know or care that they did. I’m not going to live in bondage to anger and pain.
  • “Here I stand, and here I’ll stay. Let the storm rage on.” – I’ve made my decision. I’ve taken a stance for what I believe. I may face criticism, anger, mockery or even hate, but that is ok. Everyone who ever made a difference faced those things.
  • “I’m never going back, the past is in the past.” – Sometimes I get sad. Sometimes I miss the people who turned their backs on me. Sometimes I wish things could have been different, but I can’t go back. I can only go forward.
  • “Here I stand. In the light of day. Let the storm rage on…the cold never bothered me anyway.” – Hopefully I will inspire others to be true to themselves. To think about and evaluate their priorities and values. So yeah, the rejection may make me feel cold and alone at times, but compared to what I have gained…that is ok.