Reel Babies - A Real Nice Time & A Giveaway!

by Carly
When the Little Man (now 5.5 years old) was well, little, I desperately wanted to do all the typical mommy things with him.  Playgroups, meeting friends for tea, visits to the park, and trips to the movies for those specific parent and baby screening things.  In the end, he had some health issues that directly impacted his sleep (and mine!) so I ended up giving most of those things a pass because we needed to nap . . . a lot.
Fast forward five years and I still love the movies, but knew the husband and I wouldn't be spending many weekends at the flicks - at least not at first - now that we had two children, one of them being an infant.
This time around, with the Baby Man (now 4 months old), I'd really hoped to be able to get to at least a few of the parent and baby showings.  There's a new theatre just up the road from us here in Orleans, with just such a program.  The Baby Man contracted a nasty case of pneumonia in early February, but I did make it out to Empire Theatre's REEL BABIES program to see "The Vow" toward the end of the month.  I was very pleasantly surprised with what I found when I arrived at the theatre.
The service was great, right from the start.  The staff were super helpful, offering to carry snacks and drinks for moms with babies in car seats and strollers.  The theatre was pleasantly dimmed, but not completely dark and the set up was fantastic.  Play mats, exersaucers, swings and bouncy chairs were readily available, right inside the theatre itself.  They were impeccably clean, even up to my high standards.  Parents were able to bring their strollers right into the theatre, something which wasn't an option when I went to check out a similar program at another theatre chain.
Also right inside the theatre was a proper change table, again scrupulously clean, and a microwave and bottle warmers.  Again, at another chain the change table option was found only in the lady's washroom and the microwave was outside the theatre doors.
Empire had some issues with the sound when the previews started rolling - it was on "full blast", but as soon as we let a staff member know, it was remedied right away.
My only complaint was that the sound was turned down a little too much, making the movie hard to hear over the noise of the wee babes from time to time.  And while I understand that the theatre wants to run their Reel Babies program when the theatre is already open for regular matinee showings, the timing can be a bit tricky if you've got to get home to meet an older child off the bus or at school.  The movies don't begin until 1 pm, which means having to make alternate arrangements for your other children if they get home anytime before 3/3:30 pm.  Fortunately that's not an issue for me, but I can see it being a stumbling block for other parents.
Overall, it was a really wonderful way to while away the afternoon, and I was very impressed with the set up at my local Empire Theatre.
If you go . . .
- Although there are a few Empire Theatres across Ottawa, the one in Orleans is the only one with the Reel Babies program.
- Matinees are just $8.99 per person and the baby is of course free.
- The Reel Babies program runs every two weeks, on Wednesday afternoons, at 1 pm.
- You can create an account on the Reel Babies website and then be eligible to vote for which movie they'll show at their next event!
The Giveaway We have two free passes for any Reel Babies showing across Canada, valid until December 31, 2012.  Along with that, two $3 off coupons that can be used for future ticket purchases to a Reel Babies showing.Please note that in order for the winner to claim their prize, they must be willing to either pick up the passes and coupons from my home in Orleans, or share their mailing address with me (Carly) so they can be mailed to you.
To enter, just leave a comment!  Although the Reel Babies showings are geared toward parents and their wee ones, you don't actually have to bring a child with you to the show - the matinees are open to anyone and the passes are good whether you come with child or without.
We'll do a random draw for one winner on Monday, April 2nd at noon!
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The Lorax

by Lara This March break we've been up to all kinds of things, one of which was an outing with Kiernan and I, my sister-in-law and her three boys to see the Lorax.

I will start by saying I haven't read the book recently enough to have any real recollection of the story, so if the movie was WAY off base from the book, well...

The movie was fun, beautiful, had great and catchy songs and was under an hour and a half long which meant none of the kids (the oldest being 8) started getting bored or antsy.

I think the message about taking care of the environment was clear and simple enough for even my five year old to get, which I liked.  I could see the twins, who aren't quite yet three, enjoying the movie once it's out on dvd (or netflix ;) but they still aren't ready for a movie theatre I don't think.


Have you seen the Lorax? Did you and/or the kids like it?

Lara is mom to five year old Kiernan and two and a half year old boy/girl twins Quinn and Juliette.  Between the kids and her social media consulting business, she spends most of her time running frazzled.

Favorite holiday movies for the family

Are you looking for some great family movies to watch over the holidays? So are we! Here is a list of some of the favorite holiday movies from our Kids in the Capital contributors. In Sara's house the holiday wouldn't be completely without "Bob the Builder: A Christmas to Remember".  The hour-long special, which is almost 10 years old, is a holiday musical featuring the voice of Elton John.  Bob, Wendy, and their 'crew' work together to prepare for their town's annual Christmas concert, starring rock band "Lennie and the Lazers".  The movie is best-suited to toddlers and preschoolers, especially those fascinated by construction equipment and music.  Like Sara's 4.5 and 2.5 year olds.

Angela says that it just isn't Christmas in her home without "A Christmas Story".  The movie has fights, fear, swearing...the inherent sense of naughty that mixes with nice in this movie is unsurpassed. And no child has ever wanted something with the passion that Ralphie wanted that Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot, range model air rifle. Every adult remembers that feeling. For Angela, it was gymnastic Barbie. The high bars one. With the glittery body suit. The nostalgic sense of longing that they have recreated in that film is near magical for her.

Joanne and her kids are fans of "Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas",  a story book of sorts featuring 5 different stories with different Disney characters.  Her kids (8, 5 and ever her big kid of 36) love every one of them.   What Joanne loves about this DVD is that the situations are very life like – competition between friends, kids with a bad case of the gimmies and even what to do when parents embarrass you.    In particular her kids really enjoy “Twice Upon a Christmas” and so does she!

Joanne also recommends checking out the many different French movies on TVA (channel 10 in Ottawa and channel 4 in Gatineau) playing during the holidays. Cinéma cadeau is special French programming of various movies and specials during the holidays – this week they are showing "Joyeux Noël Madagascar" (French version of "Merry Madagascar"), "L’ère de glace – la fonte" (French version of "Ice Age – the Meltdown") and "Annie Brocoli dans les fonds marins".    There is always a great selection of age appropriate French movies and holiday specials to watch – some are French productions and others are French translations.

Amy's favourite holiday special has always been "The Muppet Family Christmas". Not the "Muppet Christmas Carol", not the new "Letters to Santa" thing, but the "Muppet Family Christmas" where the Muppets go up to Fozzie's mother's farm house to surprise her for Christmas and there they are joined by the Sesame Street gang and the Fraggles. Amy feels very lucky to find a husband who shares her love of the Muppets, and they plan on making it a family tradition to watch this classic while decorating the tree. And, of course, you can't have Christmas without The Grinch.

At Vicky's house one of their favourite movies to watch this time of year is Caillou's Holiday Movie (although she won't lie, it does get played often throughout the year!) It shows different holiday traditions around the world, and Caillou learns about sharing and giving at Christmas time. There are some cute songs in it as well, and the kids really enjoy it. Also on her list is The Grinch who Stole Christmas and The Polar Express, movies she hopes to make a yearly tradition!

As a family who also celebrates Chanukah , which took place earlier in December, she was excited to see the copy of "Shalom Sesame Chanukah" DVD her mom picked up at the Superstore. It's a great video to help explain the holiday traditions to the kids, and it's something they'll look forward to seeing next year too!

Do you have any favorite movies you will be watching this holiday?