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Movie Review Spotlight: “Million Dollar Arm”

“Million Dollar Arm” Movie Review

In Theaters Nationwide: Friday May 16, 2014

Rated PG

Screen Time: 2 Hours, 4 Minutes

Directed By: Craig Gillepsie

Cast:  Jon Hamm, Pitobash, Suraj Sharma, Aasif Mandvi, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin, Bill Paxton

Ahhhh, sweet Summertime. What better way to celebrate the new season than a heartwarming film from Disney Motion Pictures.  “Million Dollar Arm”, which opened for wide release across the country on Friday, is an inspiring and moving film that follows the true story of how Major League Baseball’s two first Indian players transitioned from life in rural India to playing professional baseball in America.  What started as a last ditch attempt to save his business from failure, the true “Million Dollar Arm” is a program that has inspired young would-be players to follow their dreams, a story we can all rally behind.

The story begins with J.B. Bernstein (John Hamm), a once wildly successful sport’s agent who left the corporate world to venture out on his own with his business partner Aash (Aasif Mandvi).  After a couple of year’s out on their own, the duo finds themselves on the brink of closing their doors. Unwilling to fail in his business, Bernstein puts it all on the line for one last chance: the opportunity to convert young Cricket players into professional pitchers.  Along the way, Bernstein learns about what it really means to put business aside, enjoy life, and love others.

Although the film, at times, can feel a little predictable at times, it somehow doesn’t take away from how truly inspiring and wonderful the story really is.  Audience members will enjoy this heartwarming, feel good movie that is both family friendly and enjoyable.  On our movie review rating scale, I give “Million Dollar Arm” a solid A.

“Neighbors”- A Movie Review


Wide Screen Release: Friday May 09, 2014

Total Running Time: 1 Hour, 36 Minutes

Motion Picture Rating: Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, and drug use throughout

Cast: Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Dave Franco

As homeowners, we’ve all be there waiting and wondering who the new neighbors will be once the “For Sale” sign turns into a “Sold” sign on the lawn next door.  For new parents Kelly (played by Rose Byrne) and Mac (played by Seth Rogen) Radner,  the prospect of another young family next door was an exciting adventure that quickly turned south once they discovered that a group of college frat brothers would be the newest addition to their neighborhood.  At first, it seems as if all will be well on the block when the Radners unexpectedly make friends with two of the fraternity brothers, Teddy (played by Zac Efron) and Pete (played by Dave Franco) but all is not as it seems.  Their friendship abruptly ends after Mac and Kelly make a noise complaint regarding a late night party at the frat house.  The remainder of the movie follows the story of neighbor on neighbor rage, insane pranks, and attempts to regain control of the situation.

The content of this film is pretty outrageous (read: If you’re bothered by alcohol, drugs, unnecessary aggravated assault, or any other form of debauchery, this movie is probably not for you) but it does inspire laughs and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what the creators intended for it to do.  Moviegoers who enjoyed such films as “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, “Knocked Up”, and “This Is The End” will likely find this to be an enjoyable hit.  Parents with college aged students: Be warned…you may have the strong urge to randomly check up on your kids this weekend after watching the film.

Overall, I’d give this film a B+ but since I’m grading on a curve, I’ll knock it up to an A.

Questions about this movie review?! Email me anytime: Holli@iFamilyKC.com

“The Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return”: Movie Review

The Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return:  A Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG

Release Date: May 9, 2014

Running Time:  87 minutes

Genre:  Animated Musical

Amazing Cast:  Lea Michele as Dorothy Gale, Dan Aykroyd as The Scarecrow, Kelsey Grammer as The Tin Man, Jim Belushi as The Cowardly Lion, Megan Hilty as China Princess, Hugh Dancy as Marshal Mallow, Oliver Platt as Wiser the Owl and many more!

Kid Rating:  Better than the first Wizard of Oz!  Favorite character…The China Princess, favorite scene…going through candy land.  Best movie ever…”can we buy it when it comes out mom?”

Mom Rating:  Storm season is here and with it comes lots of destruction, struggles and triumphs as Dorothy so gets living in Kansas. Rebuilding and saving what she has keeps her determined, focused and full of compassion, which is why they need her back in Oz! Great new characters, and music!

China Dolls, Owls, and Mallow Men? Oh my!!  So many questions, and so little time to save Oz. Who will replace the Wizard of Oz now that he has left Emerald City?  Did the Wicked Witch of the West have an equally wicked brother?  Will Emerald City ever recapture its grandeur magnificence?

It’s not about Toto’s demise this time!  The movie begins with Dorothy waking up after being unconscious and yes after her first trip to Oz. The small Kansas town she lives in is trying to recover after a tornado ravages through it.  A scheming appraiser is trying to condemn all the damaged homes and Dorothy is not about to let that happen!

In the meantime the Scarecrow, Tin man and the Lion are trying to get Dorothy to return to Oz and save Emerald City from the horrible Jester.    The Jester has stolen his wicked sisters broom and is planning to use its powers to take over Oz.

Dorothy’s newfangled adventure along the yellow brick road leads her to three amazing characters; Wiser the Owl, China Princess and Marshal Mallow!  Will they be strong enough together to save Oz and Glenda from the Jester?

The movie is based on the book titled, “Dorothy of Oz” written by Roger Stanton Baum.  Great read aloud with the little ones!

This post was written by Mom Squad member Shari Jacobs. Questions about this review?! Email us anytime: info@ifamilykc.com

Simple Ideas for Do It Yourself Sassy Summer Flip Flops

Simple Ideas for Do It Yourself Sassy Summer Flip Flops!

If you’re planning to host a fun summer party this year or are looking for inexpensive craft ideas to complete with your little ones this year, consider these fun DIY ideas for transforming an old pair of flip flops into something sassy and spectacular.

Idea #1- Colorful Balloon Flip Flops

I just love the idea of creating balloon flip flops They’re a simple, fun, and inexpensive way to wear something festive on your feet. Since this project requires designers to make knots in each of the balloons, it’s an ideal craft for older children (I recommend it for kids 12 years of age and older). These are a great way to show off your spirit for your favorite school by selecting team colors, sporting red, white, and blue for Independence Day, or wearing your favorite colors all year long.

For this project, you’ll need:

  • A pair of your favorite Flip Flops. I recommend using whatever you have around the house but you can pick up Flip Flops for just a couple of dollars at your local Walmart, Target, Dollar General, or Old Navy.
  • 150 Balloons in your favorite colors.


This project is simple and easy: Tie the balloons to the flip flops with the smooth part facing down and fluff once they’re all tied down. For complete step-by-step instructions visit the Time For All Things website.


Idea #2- Decorated Flip Flops

Here’s another great flip-flop project! This can be done using any broken bracelets from the jewelry box!  Garage sales have lots of cheap jewelry that would work perfect for these showy sandals! This project is again for ages 12 all the way to adults!

For this project, you’ll need:

  • Beads, rhinestones, or other costume jewelry
  • Embroidery floss (preferably the same color as the sandal)
  • Jewelry or wire cutters and scissors
  • Flip Flops
Check out step by step instructions for this project on the FAB DIY website.


Idea #3- Ribbon Flip Flops

I just love the idea of transforming a basic pair of flip flops into something extra special and unique! Using ribbon, artificial flowers, and glue, you can create something wonderful.

For this project, you’ll need:

  • Flip Flops
  • Ribbon
  • Glue
  • Artificial Flowers


Simply glue the start of the ribbon and wrap around top of flip-flop, gluing again when all wrapped.  Then glue your favorite artificial flowers on top!

This post was written by Mom Squad member Shari Jacobs. Questions about this post?! Email us anytime: Info@iFamilyKC.com







The Benefits of Playing Piano (Guest Post from Lori’s School of Music)

Happy Thursday, everyone! We hope that you’re enjoying your day and are excited for the upcoming weekend. We are thrilled to introduce today’s guest blogger, Lori St. Clair, from Lori’s School of Music. Based out of Independence, Lori offers both classes and private lessons for students who wish to learn how to play the piano. We’re lucky to have Lori here and willing to share her expertise with us today. Without further adieu, I present to you: The Benefits of  Playing Piano
We live in a day and age where there are many opportunities for children and teenagers to become involved in extracurricular activities. From sports to dance and theater, each of these activities offers valuable skills and life lessons stemming from the good intentions of coaches and teachers. As a piano teacher, I am passionate about music. It is my passion not only because it’s beautiful but also because I believe that music helps to develop the whole child. Among the many reasons that I love offering the gift of piano to children are that playing helps develop self esteem, promotes better grades, and prepares younger children for band.
Piano Develops Self-Esteem
I’ve taught several students throughout the years and have noticed a dramatic increase in the self-esteem of these children throughout the course of their music education. Many students, primarily younger children, tend to be shy and introverted during their first few lessons. As novice pianists, new students tend to lack confidence in the beginning but, even after just a few weeks, I start to notice a distinct change in each child.  They become excited about music and come to life. It’s truly magical to watch the transformation in each of these students and it’s an honor to witness their confidence grow through music. One of my favorite memories from teaching is a young student who enrolled in lessons. Within his first year learning how to tickle those ivory keys, he decided to play in his school’s talent show. It’s that kind of enthusiasm and drive that thrills me as a music educator.
Piano Helps Promote Education
One of the most incredible things about a child’s growing self esteem is the shift these students tend to have in their education. As students become more confident in their musical abilities, that same sense of self tends to translate into a better, more positive experience at school.  There seems to be a correlation between learning life skills, such as playing an instrument, and better performance in the classroom.  Encouraging our children to take on a new skill is an incredible gift that we can offer to them in their childhood.
Piano Prepares Students for School Band
Piano teaches some of the key concepts that students will need to know no matter what instrument they end up playing. I teach my students rhythm, how to read music, how to write music, ear training and theory. My piano students that try out for 6th Grade Band are winning in every district-Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, and Independence. This is an honor and great opportunity for them to progress with their musical abilities.
Learning to play the piano provides a great opportunity for a child’s growth and development. Students that start lessons at age 5 are better able to grasp concepts and tend to learn more quickly than older children. Every year, I take my students to compete at the Mid-American Music Association. I participated as a student and am honored to participate as an instructor with my students. It is because of this annual contest that my love for the art developed through the years and ultimately it’s what led me to teach piano as an adult. Give your child the opportunity to develop their musical talent.
A huge and heartfelt thanks to Lori for sharing her expertise on why music is such an essential part of helping our children grow! If you’re interested in helping your little one learn how to play, Lori’s School of Music is now enrolling for summer classes and private lessons. Call Lori anytime at (816) 478-4838 and be sure to let her know that iFamilyKC sent you!