7 Easy Easter Party Ideas for Kids

Children love holiday parties and Easter is no exception! If you are planning an Easter party for your little bunnies, take a look below at some helpful tips to make it the best bash yet! Planning your own Easter party for kids is easy, you just need to get a little creative and be willing to have fun. Here are 7 easy Easter party ideas for kids you can try!

Kid Friendly Easter Party Ideas

1. Invite guests to participate via their outfits.
When you invite your guests, ask them to wear spring colors to the party or their favorite spring hat. This is a fun and wacky way to involve guests in the festivities and really set the theme of spring fun.

2. Enjoy some Easter themed snacks.
Stick to the simple finger foods that kids love, but be sure to add some themed snacks as well. Marshmallows can be “bunny tails” while carrots and ranch dip can be “bunny food.” Don’t forget the Peeps and jellybeans, which look cute when served in colorful cupcake cups or even plastic eggs.

Here are a few more Easter theme snack ideas for your party:

3. Make your own spring themed décor.
Try making your own décor. Just head to the dollar store for silk flowers, colorful tissue paper, and lots of jelly beans. Jelly beans when added to a vase make an instant centerpiece, while tissue paper can be made into pom poms to hang from the ceiling. You can even put out bowls of colorful plastic eggs, or hang them from dental floss like a banner.

More Easter theme party decor ideas:

4. Play some Easter theme games.
There are so many Easter games you can play, including Guess How Many Jelly Beans are in the Jar and Pin the Tail on the Bunny. For this game, just find a bunny photo and enlarge it. Blind fold children and have them take turns pinning a cotton ball on the bunny. Of course, you can always do an egg hunt too.

More Easter game ideas:

5. Don’t forget the Easter entertainment.
Why not enjoy a showing of the movie It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown? It is a family friendly Easter flick that kids are sure to love, and at about 30 minutes long it will keep their attention until you are ready to move onto another activity.

6. Get crafty!
Give kids a chance to get crafty and make some simple Easter décor. Paper plates, craft paper, pom poms, and googly eyes are all you need to make paper plate bunny masks. You can also make baby chicks out of yellow pom poms, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners.

More kid’s Easter party craft ideas:

7. Don’t forget the door prizes.
Head to the dollar store where Easter candy, Easter bubbles, Easter socks, and more are waiting for you and will make the perfect door prizes. Gather a handful of these items into an Easter basket for kids to enjoy when they leave.

So are you ready to start planning your Easter party? Planning an Easter party for children can be a cinch when you give these party planning tips a try! You are sure to have a memorable time.

Enter To Win a $25 Family Dollar Gift Card

Who would like to win a $25 Family Dollar gift card? I’m excited to say we have another fun giveaway for our readers here at Kid’s Fun Review! We’re giving away a $25 Family Dollar gift card to one lucky winner! The $25 gift card is sponsored by Family Dollar, all opinions are my own.

Family-Dollar-gift-card

At Family Dollar you can find all sorts of items to cover your upcoming spring, St. Patrick’s Day and needs without breaking the bank, and a $25 gift card will help stretch that budget even more! If you need to stock up on basics, find candy for the Easter basket, or grab a few things before heading to your spring break travel destination check out the great selection at your local Family Dollar to find everything you need without breaking the bank.
Please enter on the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US residents only. Good luck!

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American Girl Party Ideas

If your child is a fan of all things American Girl Doll, an American Girl themed party might be for you! You can plan your own American Girl themed party easily and inexpensively, you just need to get a little creative. An American Girl themed party is the perfect way to spend a birthday or any celebration for that matter, so take a peek below at how you can get started planning your own!

American Girl Party Ideas

To begin, let guests know that the party is BYOD. Invite each child to bring their own doll, any doll that can enjoy the party along with them. Send out invites via social media so everyone knows where to be and when! Once plans are in place, you can now get started with the specifics.

1. Set the color theme.
When you walk into an American Girl store, you will right away notice the hot pink, deep red and black color scheme. Working this color scheme into your own party can really make it feel fun. Work this color scheme into balloons, linens, streamers, tissue paper pom poms and other décor pieces.

For your tables, you can craft these simple American Girl themed centerpieces, much like the ones you see at The American Girl café.

American Girl Party DIY Decorations Craft

Here is what you will need:

Supplies Needed:
Small canning jar or can
Hot pink tissue paper
Hot pink chevron craft paper
Silk flowers of choice
Scissors
Craft glue

Directions:
1. Begin by wrapping the hot pink tissue paper around the canning jar and cut it to fit.
2. Use a few dabs of glue to hold the tissue paper in place. Fold the tops of the tissue over the canning jar so it is secure.
3. Cut a strip from the chevron scrapbook craft paper. Wrap it around the jar and cut it to fit. Add a dab of glue to secure it.

American Girl Party Decorations Craft

4.Cut the silk flowers to size and add them to the inside of the vase. You can display the centerpiece on a colorful piece of craft paper (this would be a great place to add the color black into the scheme) and enjoy!

2. Samantha’s Rose Headband
Add a craft aspect into the party so kids can have a fun hands on time. A simple craft you can make is Samantha’s headband. While buying this new would cost you nearly $13, making your own costs just a few bucks.

American Girl Headband Craft Idea

Here is what you will need to make your own! It is the perfect make and take craft for kids to enjoy!

Supplies needed:
Stretchy headband base
Pink silk rose
Scissors
Hot glue, glue gun

Directions:
1. Begin by cutting the rose down so you only have the head. You won’t need the stem so you can discard.
2. Add a generous amount of glue to the underside of the rose. Press it to the headband and hold in place until secure.
3. Flip the headband over so you can see the underside. Snip away any stem that is still sticking out from under the flower.
4. Allow the headband to dry and when it is, you are ready to enjoy it! If you wish, you can buy smaller headband bases to make headbands for your dolls as well!

American Girl Headband Craft

3. Make some kid friendly snacks.
Serve snacks like you would find at the American Girl Doll café. Such examples would include mini cinnamon rolls, veggies and dip, mini burgers, mini hot dogs, and tiny cupcakes. You can also offer lemonade (pink lemonade would be great!) or ice water. For your dolls, offer a mini treat as you would find at the American Girl Store. Take a look at how to make a flower pot cupcake for dolls to enjoy while party goers snack away!

American Girl Cupcake craft idea

Supplies needed:
Mini flower pot
Large white craft pom pom
Small hot pink craft pom pom
Ribbon
Scissors
Hot glue, glue gun

Directions:
1. Begin by cutting a length of ribbon (cut in half if you wish for it to be thinner) and wrap it around the flower pot. Secure it with glue.
2. Add a dab of glue to the bottom of the white pom pom. Press it inside of the flower pot until secure.
3. Add another dab of hot glue to the pink pom pom and press it to the top of the white one. It will look like the cherry on the cupcake.

Your little doll cupcake is now ready for “eating.” Give each doll a mini dessert of their own while guests eat the treats mentioned above. Everyone will enjoy their treats!

There are a few other fun ways to continue the American Girl theme at your party. Why not set up a doll salon where girls can style their doll’s hair? You can also have trunks of clothes out for both girls big and small to get dressed up and have a fashion show. Place out plenty of small dishes, cups, saucers, etc. for the dolls to use as well.

Looking for American Girl party supplies? They have some at Amazon here: American Girl Party Supplies

Give these tips a try when planning an American Girl themed party. You are sure to throw an event that all guests will remember!

Fun St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas for Kids

It is that time of year again, when our kids thoughts turn to leprechauns, rainbows, and all things green! If you want to host a St. Patrick’s Day party for kids this year, take a look at these helpful party planning tips below. Below you will find some fun and frugal ideas on how to host a fun St. Patrick’s Day party for kids that they are sure to remember. Let’s get started!

Fun St Patrick's Day Party Ideas for kids

1. Send out your St. Patrick’s Day invitations.
Create some inexpensive invites on the computer or even with scrapbook paper. They can say something catchy such as “Calling all leprechauns” or “Join us under the rainbow.” Be sure to make the date and time of the party clear as well, and invite all guests to wear green or rainbow colored clothing.

2. Choose your St. Patrick’s party menu.
Choose themed snacks that go with the St. Patrick’s Day theme. Ideas can be green juice or lime sherbet shakes, rainbow candies or cupcakes, green veggies and dip, chips with avocado dip or green tinted ranch dip, and assorted snack mixes. Choose food that is tasty but simple to prepare and clean up.

3. Create your décor.
You can create all sorts of St. Patrick’s Day décor on your own. Ideas may be rainbow balloons, a plastic cauldron filled with fake gold coins, green streamers, and cut out clovers. You can even hit up the dollar store for tons of St. Patrick’s Day décor for just a buck each. They have a huge selection of paper and plastic décor items that would work out great for this event.

4. Gather some door prizes.
The dollar store is a great place to find St. Patrick’s Day socks, glasses, and hats. Grab these items to give away to guests as door prizes or for game prizes. They are sure to be a hit. Wrap the prizes in green tissue and gold ribbon for an extra touch of fun.

5. Plan your St. Patrick’s Day games.
You play a variety of games including Memory. Place some St. Patrick’s Day items on a tray and give children 60 seconds to try and memorize them. Cover up the tray and have them write down everything they can remember seeing. You can also place some fake gold coins in a bowl and have children use chopsticks to relay them to each other in a race.

6. Get the party started.
Once you have your décor, food, games, and prizes ready, you can start the party! Play some Irish music (Pandora has a few stations) and start celebrating. Kids will love playing the games, enjoying the snacks, and of course winning the cool prizes.

Planning your own fun St. Patrick’s Day party for kids can be so easy and inexpensive. As you can see, you have many options for both food, décor, and games. Keep things light, fun, and of course, green! Kids are sure to get into the spirit and remember this St. Patrick’s Day party for years to come!

St. Patrick’s Day Game Idea For Kids: Leprechaun Nose Race Game

Are you planning a kid’s St. Patrick’s Day party this year? We have a fun leprechaun game for you! Check out this perfect St. Patrick’s Day game for kids. This Leprechaun Nose Race Game is easy to assemble and so fun to play. Here are the directions so you can play it at your next St. Patrick’s Day party!

Leprechaun Noses Fun St. Patricks Day Game Idea For Kids

What you’ll need:
4 bowls
Chopsticks or green striped paper straws (paper straws are typically nice and thick and durable enough for this game)
Assorted green pom poms

Leprechaun Nose Game Directions:
1. Start the game by creating two teams. Line each team up in a single file line.
2. Place a bowl of green pom poms otherwise known as “Leprechaun noses” in front of the first child in each line.
3. Place an empty bowl several yards in front of the child.
4. To start the game, have the first child use the chopsticks to pick up one Leprechaun nose. They then need to walk quickly with the nose and drop it in the empty bowl across from them, without dropping the “nose.” Once they do, they can return to the line and hand the chopsticks to the next child. Repeat.

St. Patricks Day Games- Leprechaun Nose Race Game 2

5. Continue having the children carry the noses with the chopsticks to the empty bowl.

If a child drops a nose while carrying it, they can use their chopsticks to continue. You can also adjust this game further based on children’s needs and abilities. The first team to empty the original bowl of noses and transfer all of their noses to the originally empty bowl wins the game!

This is a super fun game to play at a St. Patrick’s Day party, a school party, or with a group from the neighborhood just for fun.

Do you have any fun St. Patrick’s Day kid’s games you like to play?

Wizard of Oz Bookmark Craft

What could be a m ore fun craft to make than this Wizard of Oz bookmark? It is great for your Oz themed parties or just because, and this bookmark will surely put you in the Wizard of Oz mood. Made from a few simple craft store supplies, this is a craft anyone can make.

Wizard of oz bookmark craft idea

Wizard of Oz Bookmark Craft

Take a look below at how to get started.

Supplies needed:
Red glitter craft foam
Black striped straws
Hot glue, glue gun
Scissors

We found everything we needed at our local craft store. The glitter foam was found near the felt and runs less than $1 per piece. A little will go a long way, so if you are doing this craft with a group of people one sheet should be enough.

wizard of oz craft

Directions:
1. Begin by cutting out a pair of shoes from the ruby red glitter foam. We free handed ours but feel free to make a stencil first if you wish. We just cut a basic oval and added a heal to the end. We cut out our shoes with two pieces of foam stacked so they would be nice and even.

Wizard of oz bookmark craft
2. Now, glue the shoes to the ends of the straws. You want two straws for two legs, and to simply glue the red ruby shoes to the bottom of each.

Wizard of oz red shoes craft

3. Now, apply a strip of glue to the sides of the straws and press them together. This will keep the two straws adhered together and create a nice book mark width.
4. Once your glue is dry, you are ready to use your bookmark. Just place it in between the pages you wish to mark so that the red ruby slippers stick out of the bottom of the pages.

The finished product will look like the poor witch has been squashed between the pages! How fun is that?

Gather your supplies and give this fun and frugal Oz themed craft a try!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe

My son and I both love bananas, so I purchase a large bunch almost every week. Sometimes they don’t all get eaten before they’re beyond ripe. I freeze quite a few for smoothies, but ripe bananas are also great to bake with. Here is an easy chocolate chip banana recipe to help you use up all those extra ripe bananas. This recipe is loaded with chocolate chips and the bananas help make it moist and sweet. Your kids will love it and they won’t even know you might be adding some fruit into their diet! You can even freeze any extra you might have to serve later, but if your house is anything like ours you won’t have any left over for the freezer unless you make a double batch!

chocolate-chip-banana-bread-recipe-1-2

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe bananas (with all the lumps mushed out)
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt (not plain, but can be low fat)
  • ¼ cup of real maple syrup
  • 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil (vegetable oil can be used)
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a loaf pan with butter or spray, line the bottom with parchment paper for easier removal once your bread is baked.
  3. Smash the bananas, and combine the bananas (with all the lumps mushed out), vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla, sugar and grape seed oil (vegetable oil can be used) with a mixer. Blend until lumps are gone and all the ingredients are combined.
  4. Sift in the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients mixture into the "wet mixture" until well combined.
  6. Fold in ⅓ cup of chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon into the greased loaf pan.
  8. Sprinkle some additional chocolate chips on top.
  9. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Serve warm, or let the bread cool.

Like I said you can wrap up any leftovers in foil and freeze it in a freezer bag for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat it, just pop it out of the freezer and let it sit out for about an hour and it should be ready to eat. If you need it thawed faster you can also pop it in the microwave to defrost.

How to Save Money on Sports Equipment

My son has played baseball, football, and basketball since he was big enough to throw a ball, hah! He loves sports! Now he’s in high school and it seems like we’re constantly investing in new sports equipment of one type or another! If your kids are active in sports, you already know how expensive sports equipment can be. Because children are always growing and often outgrow their gear, the chances that you need to replace that sports gear often is also likely. If you want your family to stay active through sports but don’t enjoy the hefty price tag that comes with buying gear, take a look below at some helpful tips on how to save money on sports equipment. When you follow these tips, you will find that keeping your home stocked with the sports equipment you want can be a frugal endeavor. Here is how to get started!

Ways to save on sporting equipment

1. Know the best time of year to buy.
You will be able to snag the sports equipment you need for less when you buy the items during the off season. This is the perfect time as retailers often put items on clearance once the prime season for that item is over.
For example, the best time to buy soccer equipment isn’t right before the season begins, but after it is well under way if not over. The trick here is learning to plan ahead. If you can anticipate what you will need for the next season, you can buy it on clearance the season before.

2. Learn more about second hand buying.
Not all sports equipment needs to be purchased brand new. In fact, if you are open to using gently used and second hand gear, you can find what you need for a fraction of the cost. There are several options you can choose from when you buy sporting gear second hand.

First, you can try shopping at a second hand sporting goods retailer such as Play It Again Sports. They carry gently used sports equipment for a fraction of the cost of new. Through a consigner such as this you can also sell the sporting goods you no longer use in order to get cash for what you can use.

A second option would be to browse social media sale sites such as Craigslist and Facebook. Check out garage sale or classified groups to see what sports equipment people may be getting rid of. This is a great way to find gently used items right in your area.

Finally, consider eBay, the online auction place for gently used an even new sporting gear. You can bid on items and if your bid is the highest, the item is yours. Some merchants will even ship for free.

3. Consider using coupons.

Coupons aren’t just for groceries anymore! To find out if the sporting goods shop of your choice offers coupons, just ask. You can also follow them on Facebook or their other social media sites to see if they offer coupons or specials. Sunday circulars are also a great source for coupons, as is the coupon code site retailmenot.com, which is ideal to check if you will be buying sporting goods online.

4. Develop a sports gear swapping system in your area.
To ensure that you and other parents will have access to gently used and reasonably priced sports equipment in the future, why not develop a swapping system in your area? Creating one is a cinch and only takes minutes. Creating a social media group on a site such as Facebook is ideal and quite easy. Simply start the group up and invite other parents who may be interested. Give members directions about posting, which will generally include a brief but thorough description of the item as well as a clear photograph. Interested parties just need to leave a message in the comments and then arrangements can be made for pick up.

5. Take care of the sports equipment you own.

Take care of the sports gear you own keeping them clean and well mended. Not only will they last you longer and prevent you from having to buy new, but when you do need to buy new your items will carry a nice resale value.

Sports equipment can be expensive, but when you give these tips for saving money on sporting goods a try, you will find that keeping a little extra cash in your pocket can be a cinch. Whether you wait for the right season to shop, buy secondhand, or organize a swap in your area, you will find that a little effort goes a long way, getting you the sporting goods you need for less. Give these tips a try!

Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe For a Crowd

Whether you are making cinnamon rolls for an Easter morning brunch, a potluck or just to tuck away in the freezer, it doesn’t take much longer to make a big batch of sweet cinnamon rolls than a small one, and is definitely worth the effort.

Cream cheese in the dough gives it a smooth, light texture. The butter and cinnamon filling is delightful alone, but the addition of raisins or toasted chopped pecans will take the flavor over the top. Wrap a few of these well and keep them in the freezer for a quick breakfast or blissful afternoon break.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls RecipeHomemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe for a Crowd
Makes 36 (or 24 taller rolls)

Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • Dough:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon (divided)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup very warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 6½ cups bread flour
  • Filling:
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Raisins or nuts (optional)
  • Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk or half & half
Instructions
  1. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, scald the milk until it is just beginning to bubble around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and add ½ cup sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt. Stir well and pour into a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer is best) to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl combine the warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Add the yeast and stir to combine. Let it sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the yeast, cream cheese, eggs, and 2 cups of the flour to the warm milk mixture in the bowl and beat well.
  4. Switch to a dough hook and stir in the remaining flour. Knead by machine for 6 minutes or by hand on a floured surface for 8 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky and very elastic.
  5. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat the dough. Cover with a cloth and allow the dough to rise for approximately 1 hour, or until doubled.
  6. Punch dough down and separate into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time on a lightly floured surface, roll it into a 12-inch by 18-inch rectangle, with a long side facing you.
  7. Spread 2 tablespoons of softened butter over dough.
  8. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, flour, and salt. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the buttered dough. Add raisins or nuts if desired.
  9. Beginning at the long side facing you, roll dough, pulling towards you slightly as you work to keep the roll tight.
  10. Pinch the long edge to seal the roll. With a sharp knife, cut 18 1-inch slices and place them cut side down in a jelly roll pan that has been greased or covered with parchment, about 1 inch apart. (You can also cut the slices 1½-inches wide and tuck the 12 rolls into a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan for taller rolls.)
  11. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  12. Cover with a cloth and let the rolls rise until they are puffy and touching each other – about an hour.
  13. Heat oven to 375 F.
  14. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the rolls are a rich golden brown.
  15. Cool in the pan on a rack.
  16. Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl, and beat well. Add additional liquid if necessary until the glaze is creamy enough to spread easily on the slightly warm rolls.

Cinnamon Roll Recipe

 

 

7 Tips for Organizing Small Toys

The holidays are over, and now there seems to be even MORE toys and stuff around the house! Eep! Every parent knows the headache of owning small toys. They seem to multiply and spread all over the house, creating a clutter that is at times unbearable. If your children love Legos, doll accessories, puzzles, and other small piece toys, take a peek below at 7 tips for organizing small toys. When you give these tips a try, you can make organizing small toys easy without breaking your budget on expensive storage containers. Here is how you can get started!

tips for organizing small toys

1. Gather up your egg cartons.
Egg cartons are perfect for organizing small toys. Simply drop beads, blocks, Legos, and other small parts into the compartments and close them up. The egg carton will store easily in drawers or on shelves until needed.

2. Utilize shoe boxes.
Did you get new shoes for Christmas? Save the boxes and use them to hold doll accessories, craft supplies, puzzles and m ore. Secure the lid with some washi tape and store on shelves or closets. You can even decorate the boxes if you wish.

3. Zip them up.
Put small toys in zip close baggies. Zip them up and then clip them to magnetic clasps or even close hangers. Skirt hangers work perfectly for this. You can then hang them up until needed.

4. Utilize door space.
The vertical spaces on the backs of doors are often overlooked storage spaces. Use over the door shoe holders or hooks to keep small pieces organized. Place them in the shoe compartments or gather them in bags and hang them on the hooks.

5. Utilize labels.
Whatever container you decide to use to store your toys, label it clearly. This way, each toy has a space as defined on the container. This can also help children take part in putting toys away and keeping them organized. You can find various labels at your local craft or dollar store.

6. Save jars.
Pickle and relish jars are perfect for keeping small pieces organized. Just rinse them out, dry them and label them. Jars are great for doll shoes, game pieces, miniatures and anything else you can think of.

7. Try some magnet magic.
Attach magnets to small bags. Place small pieces and parts in the bag and then attach them to a cookie sheet or any other metal surface. This is a great way to keep small toys organized and at your fingertips.

Keeping small toys organized can be easy and inexpensive. Just give these tips a try and see what results you can achieve!

2015 Top Disney Movies

I’m always excited to check out the movie lineup Disney has coming out, and this year is no different! Whether you’re a Marvel fan, or you love Cinderella, Disney has a movie premiering for you in 2015! Check them all out for yourself!

2015 Disney Movies

January 23, 2015~ Strange Magic (Touchstone Pictures / Lucasfilm)

Strange Magic

“Strange Magic,” a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd., is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic bring to life the fanciful forest turned upside down with world-class animation and visual effects. Directed by Gary Rydstrom (“Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation,” “Lifted”) from a story by George Lucas, “Strange Magic” will be released by Touchstone Pictures on Jan. 23, 2015.

February 20, 2015 – McFarland, USA (Walt Disney Studios)
#McFarlandUSA

McFarland USA

Based on the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school, with whom they ultimately bond to build not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well.

March 13, 2015 – Cinderella (Walt Disney Studios)
#Cinderella

Cinderella Disney

A live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, “Cinderella” brings to life the timeless images from Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually-dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation.

April 17, 2015 – Monkey Kingdom (Disneynature)
#MonkeyKingdom

Monkey Kingdom DisneyNature

Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new feature film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes her son, Kip, into her complicated extended family. Like all families, Maya’s has more than its share of colorful personalities—and she’s determined to give her son a leg up in the world. When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya’s whole family is forced to relocate, where she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to lead them to untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings. Ultimately, they will all have to work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya can hopefully realize her dreams for her son’s future. Featuring a rich cast of characters, including a mischievous mongoose, simple-minded langur monkeys, predatory leopards and monitor lizards, “Monkey Kingdom” is directed by Mark Linfield (“Chimpanzee,” “Earth”) and co-directed by Alastair Fothergill (“Chimpanzee,” “Bears”). With music from award-winning composer Harry Gregson-Williams (“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “Shrek” movies), Disneynature’s eighth True Life Adventure—the follow-up to 2014’s “Bears”—swings into theaters April 17, 2015.

May 1, 2015 – Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel)
#Avengers
#AgeOfUltron

Avengers- Age of Ultron

Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

May 22, 2015 – Tomorrowland (Walt Disney Studios)
#Tomorrowland

Disney's TOMORROWLAND..Casey (Britt Robertson) ..Ph: Film Frame..©Disney 2015
From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland,” a riveting mystery adventure starring Academy Award® winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever.

June 19, 2015 – Inside Out (Disney / Pixar)
#InsideOut

Inside Out- Disney Pixar

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

July 17, 2015 – Ant–Man (Marvel)
#AntMan

Ant Man

Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

October 9, 2015 – The Jungle Book (Walt Disney Studios)
#TheJungleBook

The Jungle Book

Directed by Jon Favreau (“Chef,” “Iron Man,” “Elf”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johannsson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong’o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. “The Jungle Book” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. The wild adventure swings into theaters in 3D on Oct. 9, 2015.

October 16, 2015 – The Untitled Steven Spielberg Cold War Spy Thriller (DreamWorks Pictures)

The Untitled Steven Spielberg Cold War Spy Thriller

November 25, 2015 – The Good Dinosaur (Disney / Pixar)
#TheGoodDinosaur

The Good Dinosaur

December 18, 2015 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm)
#StarWars
#TheForceAwakens

Star Wars The Force Awakens

7 Educational Lessons Learned Building a Snowman

We’ve had plenty of snow here the last couple days, and it sounds like it isn’t going anywhere soon! One of my son’s favorite winter activities used to be snowman building! Do you wanna build a snowman? If so, be prepared for some cool and snowy fun. At the same time, did you know you can also enjoy some educational fun in the process? Take a look below at 7 educational lessons learned building a snowman. Who knew building a snowman could teach so kids much?

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1. Geometry.
When you build a snowman, take note of all of the shapes involved. You will have round snowballs for the body, square coal for the eyes, a triangle nose, and more. Point out all of the various shapes you see when you build your family snowman.

2. Symmetry.
When you build a snowman, you will see how important it is for the shapes you use to be symmetrical. It will be hard to stack the snowballs if they are not somewhat even. Uneven snowballs won’t balance as well, so take this opportunity to talk about symmetry and what it is.

3. Weather and Climate.
The weather has to be just right to build a snowman. It should be about 30 degrees or below, and you will need a good 4-5 inches of snow. Use this opportunity to talk about weather conditions, forecasts, and reading a thermometer.

4. Teamwork.
When building a snowman, you will need to work as a team. This means planning your snowman together, assigning jobs to each person, and completing the project. Working as a team is a great lesson to learn as a family and there is no better time to practice than when building!

5. Fine/Gross Motor Skills.
Your children will get excellent fine and gross motor skill practice when building a snowman. Whether they are rolling snowballs, packing snow, placing embellishments on it, or dancing around it, they will be strengthening their fine and gross motor skills.

6. Colors.
When building your snowman, talk about all of the various colors you are using. You will have snow, a hat, eyes, nose, mouth, scarf, etc. all to identify. This is a great way to talk about colors and how they play into our daily activities.

7. Hard/Soft
Hold a handful of fluffy snow and talk about how soft it is. Now take that same handful and pack it into a snowball. Feel how the snow is now hard. This is a great time to talk about density and how the feeling of the snow changes on how tightly it is packed.

So what are you waiting for? Build a snowman and see all of the educational experiences that are waiting for you!

Ideas for New Year’s Eve Party Games and Entertainment

New Year’s Eve definitely calls for fun and games, but coming up with ideas to entertain a mixed crowd until the ball drops can pose problems for many.  Thankfully, Jennifer Carver, of Spaceships and Laser Beams, has rounded up a few of her favorite ideas to help you master games and entertainment for your New Year’s Eve party this year.

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Idea #1:  Celebrate with a karaoke sing-off.  Music plays a big part in our lives and can add a lot of fun to a party. Research the top songs for the year and allow guests to sing their hearts out!  To add a little more excitement, list song titles on slips of paper and have guests draw their song from a bag or box.  Arrange for a prize for the best and worst renditions.

 

Idea #2:  Play “name that tune”.  In a similar vein as idea #1, put together a cd of top songs from the year or even the decade.  Play a few seconds of each song and challenge guests to “name that tune”.  Give away a copy of the cd to the winner!

 

Idea #3:  Play a year in review trivia game.  Compile a list of the top news stories for the year and devise a trivia game from the details.  You can approach the game month-by-month or do a general trivia overview.  Questions can come from sports, politics, Hollywood and entertainment, medical news and more!  Depending on the news awareness of your guests, you can do open ended questions or multiple choice.

 

Idea #4:  Play favorite board and card games.  Invite your guests to bring their favorite card or board games to share.  Set up a few card tables and chairs and let guests enjoy some friendly competition.

 

Idea #5:  Set up some interactive video games.  Adults and children love playing video games.  Set up group games like Guitar Hero, Wii Sports or Just Dance and arrange for a little “play off”.

 

Idea #6:  Incorporate a bake-off or cook-off.  Challenge guests to bring samples of their prized appetizers and desserts to be shared during your party, along with copies of the recipe.  Give each guest tickets for recording their favorite dishes and award a prize for the best snack and treat.

 

Idea #7:  Arrange for ice breaker games.  If you are inviting a crowd of people to your party who don’t all know each other, help break the ice by playing a few whole-group games.  Ideas can be simple.  For example, prepare Bingo style cards requiring guests to find someone who meets certain criteria like:  has blue eyes, has the same number of children, shares your favorite color and so on.

 

These seven ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to planning fun and interactive entertainment for your celebration.  With a little creativity and pre-planning, your guests will be having so much fun at your New Year’s Eve party that they won’t want to go home!

 

Photography Gift Ideas From Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I’m totally obsessed with photography and cameras! In fact camera gear topped my holiday wish list this year! I have quite the list of accessories I’d love to have. My husband’s also been playing around with photography. His favorite camera is a Nikon DSLR so I’ve been thinking we should update his camera. Maybe for Christmas? I’ve been eying the Nikon D5300 from Best Buy. I’ve also been eyeing a couple other cameras, um… for myself. I’m a big Samsung Galaxy fan. I have a Samsung Galaxy 5s phone, and I think it would make a great pair with the Sony Alpha A6000 for on the go images. I’m sure the two of them could pair seamlessly to create and share fabulous images!

The Best Buy Holiday Gift Center  is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras and camcorders to capture your high-stakes memories. If’m excited to share these three cameras from Nikon, Sony and Samsung, all equipped with built-in Wi-Fi so you can share amazing photos with ease. There’s still time to upgrade your camera and capture all those precious holiday memories, or to share the gift of a camera with a loved one so they can capture fabulous memories for a lifetime!

3 great cameras for your holiday gift guide:

Nikon D5300 DSLR w/18-55mm VR Lens

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Nikon D5300 features:

·         A DSLR with built-in Wi-Fi so you can capture high quality photos and share them instantly

·         This Nikon D5300 DSLR camera comes with an AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens that enables you to capture sharp photos and video footage. Optical image stabilization helps prevent blurring to ensure image clarity

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·         Also available in red or gray

·       Looking for more info?  Nikon D5300 Product Details

Sony Alpha A6000 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

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Sony Alpha A6000 Features:

·         A compact system camera with the World’s Fastest Autofocus

·         This Sony Alpha A6000 features a 24.3-megapixel, Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor that makes it easy to shoot scenes in stunning clarity. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you share stored content across devices.

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·         Also available in White or silver

·     Looking for more information?  Sony Alpha A6000 Product Details

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

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Samsung Galaxy 2 Features:

·         A digital camera that allows you to shoot, share, and use Android Apps

·         This Samsung Galaxy 2 digital camera’s 16.3-megapixel, 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor allows you to capture sharp images and high-definition video footage. The 4.8″ touch screen simplifies operation, and built-in Wi-Fi makes sharing stored files easy.

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·      Looking for more information?  Samsung Galaxy 2 Product Details

Visit the Best Buy Holiday Gift Center to see more great cameras, whether you’re giving as a gift or upgrading for yourself.

Never miss a moment. #CamerasatBestBuy

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31 SWEET HOLIDAY TREAT RECIPE IDEAS

The one thing everyone wants to see the most during the holidays are those big platters of yummy food coming from friends and family.  Fudge, cookies, candies and special desserts are the hit of the season and these 31 Sweet Holiday Treat Recipe Ideas are perfect for you to make for friends.  Grab some supplies, an apron and your favorite helper to make the easy cookies, complicated cake pops or always popular fudge and toffee!  Make sure to make double batches of your favorites so you don’t run out before you get them delivered!

31 Sweet Holiday Treats

31 SWEET HOLIDAY TREAT RECIPE IDEAS

  1. Christmas White Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods
  2. Candy Cane Cookies
  3. Peppermint Marshmallows
  4. Hot Cocoa Cookies
  5. Christmas Crack
  6. Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
  7. Candy Coated Winter Oreos
  8. Wintertime Cake Pops
  9. Hot Chocolate Spoons
  10. Fake Turtles Candy
  11. Cinnamon Polar Bear Cookies
  12. Fruitcake Cookies
  13. Nutter Butter Reindeer Cookies
  14. Grinch Punch
  15. Santa Legs “Oops” Cupcakes
  16. Peppermint Popcorn Bites
  17. Candy Cane Brownies
  18. Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
  19. Peanut Butter Balls
  20. Grinch Fruit Poppers
  21. Krispy Wreath Treat
  22. Saltine Cracker Toffee
  23. Buckeye Bark
  24. Candy Cane Oreo Santa Hat Cookies
  25. Mint Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
  26. Peanut Butter Popcorn Munch
  27. Chocolate Covered Mint Patties
  28. Christmas Sugar Cookies
  29. Reindeer Cupcakes
  30. M&M Holiday Cookies
  31. Double Chocolate Peppermint Chex Mix

Grab some simple inexpensive tins, platters and jars to load up with your homemade sweet treats for the holidays.  Not only can you customize each tin for the family you are taking the sweet treats to, you can give them something that can be used again in the future.  Plastic containers, fun holiday tins, mason jars and more are perfect for putting almost all of these yummy treats in.  Pop the popcorn, get out the melting chocolate, sprinkles and of course the green and red food coloring to create your favorite sugar cookies, popcorn, fudge, mint patties and more!

My Christmas Wish List: A Canon Camera From Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I’m definitely a Canon girl! I love my Canon DSLR camera, but it’s several years old, so I’ve been eyeing a second camera body. I do plenty of food photography, but I’m also constantly taking action shots of my son playing baseball, or football. I’ve even done a couple weddings. I would love to have a back up camera to take along when I’m photographing, just in case! Plus I’d love to have a newer Canon model! I added it to my Santa gift wish list this year!

Canon Holiday Image

I love my Canon camera because it’s so easy to use! I’ve had other DSLRs and they were all difficult to figure out. With my Canon I just studied it and the handbook that came with it and I figured out how to use it on manual and take some terrific photos! That’s why I’d love to have a second, the bonus is I could use the same lenses for both.

Best Buy is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras to capture your holiday memories. The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is one of the best-selling DSLRs. This camera makes advanced photography easy and fun, and gives you exceptional image quality, along with a host of features to enhance your creative expression.

Canon Holiday Image 2

  • Capture Hollywood caliber full HD video
  • Continuous autofocus while taking HD video
  • Features an 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor to ensure vivid, crystal-clear images.
  • The 3″ vari-angle touch screen simplifies navigation.

Are you a photography fan, or do you have a Canon fan on your gift list? Right now you can save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy*. Visit Best Buy to learn more. *offer valid 12/7-12/20

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Snowflake Photo Christmas Cards: Tiny Prints Holiday Collection

I may make a commission if you click on some of the links in this post.

Have you ordered your Christmas cards yet? I’m always the procrastinator so I’m just getting mine ordered this week! Did you know that this Sunday is the busiest holiday card shopping day of the year? I love snowflakes, but I also want to include a family photo or two on our Christmas cards to personalize them. I found a couple sumer cute snowflake photo Christmas cards at Tiny Prints I really like.

My favorite is this chocolate snowflake photo Christmas ornament. It’s so elegant! It comes in other colors and shapes, but I really like the pattern on this one.

chocolate snowflake photo christmas card

I love this lightly frosted snowflake Christmas card with just a touch of “snowy frost” around the edges.

frosted snowflake photo christmas card

Here’s a super cute tri fold snowflake Christmas card. I love the tiny snowflakes on this one! The tri fold leaves plenty of room for family photos to share with friends.

Snow flurry Christmas tri fold card

Here’s the best part! Tomorrow thru Sunday you can take advantage of an amazing offer from Tiny Prints.

For 24 hours only, you can get 40% off your order of ANY size plus get free shipping!

Here’s how to take advantage of this offer:

1. Go to Tiny Prints and select from hundreds of holiday cards.

2. Personalize your card with your pictures, your text, etc.

3. When you checkout, use the promo code TPCARDS40FS to save 40% and get free shipping.

This promotion is only valid from 12:00pm PT on Saturday 12/6 to 12:00pm PT on Sunday 12/7, so act fast!

How to Score BIG on Black Friday

Black Friday has been around for a bit of time now, and people are really starting to maximize their holiday savings by purchasing Christmas presents and more on the huge sale day! You’d be surprised to find that some of the sales can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on Christmas presents. Although sales used to start at midnight on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, many of the companies that participate are bumping their sales to start Thursday evening to keep up with the competition in hopes that you’ll spend your hard earned dollars there rather than anywhere else.

How To Score Big On Black Friday Deals

With Black Friday shopping, one of the most important things to do is to prioritize your needs and wants. Because you’ll likely hop around a few sales, it’s important to decide which one or two are most important to you, so that you can guarantee a snag of your most valued item. Lots of the advertisements for Black Friday come out a week or two early so you can scope out the sales and decide where you’ll be headed.

Amazon Black Friday Deals and More affiliate

Many people stand in line for hours (some, even days) and you’ll want to make sure that whichever is most important to you, is where you stand in line first. After that, you can travel to other stores and hopefully the other items you want will still be there, but no harm no foul if they’re not, because at least you’ll have gotten your first item!

Another thing that’s extremely important to note is that people can be somewhat aggressive at these sales. For this reason, it’s not a good idea to bring small children or toddlers who can get lost in the shuffle. Black Friday shopping should be, if possible, restricted to adults and young adults only. Of course, try YOUR best to be kind and maybe people will follow suit around you!

Additionally, don’t fret if there are some items you didn’t score big on for Black Friday. If you’re one who loves to shop online, you might be able to score the same sale on Cyber Monday, the Monday following Black Friday! Typically, retailers do the same or very similar sales for their online websites and you get to avoid the crowds and the hassle!

It’s a good idea to look into electronics on Black Friday if you’re planning on buying any anytime soon. These are typically the largest sale products and you can score pretty big on Black Friday if you grab a TV or even a laptop. So if you’re in the market for any kind of electronic, definitely scope out the sales ahead of time!

Have you ever gone Black Friday shopping? Would you do it again?

Cranberry AppleSauce Recipe

Cranberry sauce is a holiday favorite at our house! I love the tart flavor of cranberries, it’s one of my favorite flavors this time of year! Today I have a cranberry applesauce recipe to share. This recipe combines the perfect balance of sweet and tart for your holiday lineup. The applesauce provides a natural sweetener without adding too much sugar.

homemade cranberry applesauce recipe KidsFun

Cranberry Apple Sauce Recipe
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Cranberry apple sauce combines the perfect balance of sweet and tart for your holiday line up.
Ingredients
  • 4 Red Delicious Apples peeled, cored and sliced
  • 12 oz Fresh Cranberries
  • ¼ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 cup Water
  • ½ tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Cloves
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In a large sauce pan add Water, lemon juice and sugars.
  2. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
  4. Add cranberries and apple slices.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce hat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Do you have a favorite holiday flavor or recipe? What special dish do you look forward to every year?

Best Buy For Holiday TV Gift Ideas

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

A couple years ago I got a new TV for Christmas. It’s one of my favorite gifts ever! Before I got my Christmas TV we only had one television in the house, which of course was usually controlled by my husband or my son. Now I sometimes get control of one TV, hah! This holiday season I think we may be in the market for another new TV.

We love to watch TV, we actually just got a new satellite system this fall, we also have Netflix so we’re definitely into our screen time and watching with the ultimate display.

If you or someone on your gift list who’s hoping for a new TV, check out the selection of LG OLED TVs now at Best Buy!

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Why the LG OLED TV? Can you believe it’s only 0.21″ thick at its thinnest point? Even ultra thin the picture quality is spectacular! The colors are stunning with Infinite Contrast and color that ranges from the bright whites to the deepest darkest blacks. They also feature LG’s exclusive 4 Color Pixel technology delivers bright, vibrant colors. You can learn more about these fabulous TVs at LGOLEDatBestbuy.com

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Your wedding. Your child’s birth. The Grand Canyon. Some things in life just have to be experienced to be believed. It’s the same way with LG’s latest display technology. It’s so fabulous, seeing is believing! The deeper and richer colors, stunning contrast and ingeniously curved screens make these TVs unlike any technology you’ve witnessed. I’m all in for the latest technology!

Why do you need the LG OLED TV from Best Buy for your TV viewing pleasure? Here are some of the key features.

  • Infinite contrast ratio and stunning color – delivers more natural, lifelike viewing.
  • 4 Color Pixel technology enhances color range and accuracy.
  • Super thin design (consider how to show visually)
  •  Find content faster with webOS

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You can find your LG OLED TV for Best Buy’s everyday price of $3499.99 (save $500).