Disney Dinner & A Movie Night: Frozen

Well, we finally did it. We watched Frozen.

I’ll be honest, while I have always liked the movie Frozen, I don’t love it, and I don’t think it lives up to all of its hype. In my opinion, Frozen became such a popular movie in part thanks to outstanding marketing. Tangled came out just a few years before Frozen but had terrible marketing and wasn’t nearly as popular (but I think Tangled is the better movie). I feel like I have been subconsciously putting off watching this movie as a family, but it really did make for a great movie night.

The movie Frozen tells the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa. Elsa possesses supernatural powers that allow her to create ice and snow. After accidentally setting off an eternal winter, Elsa isolates herself. Anna heads out on an adventure, with her new companion Kristoff and his reindeer Sven, to find Elsa and bring her home.

I wanted to get Brooklyn something special to wear for our movie night, so I ordered a soft play dress from Little Adventures. I know that I have talked about their dress-up clothes before, but they truly are my favorite! Not only are their dresses soft, but you can throw them in the washing machine when they get dirty. The dress I ordered is the Alpine Princess Coronation Dress, which looks just like Anna’s dress on Coronation Day (make sure you check out Little Adventures and use code MVM15 to save 15% at checkout!).

Each time I plan a Disney Movie Night for my family, I do a lot of brainstorming about what I should make for our meal. I try to find foods that are toddler-friendly and easy to cook, but also along with the movie. For Frozen, I was inspired by some of the most popular songs in the film. In the song “Love Is An Open Door,” Anna and Hanz sing about finishing each other’s sandwiches, so I quickly decided sandwiches would be our main course. I broke out the panini press (that I haven’t used in years) to make our turkey and swiss sandwiches a little more exciting, and I even used it to make Brooklyn a grilled cheese. 

For our sides, I made us each a “Melted Olaf” along with some “Frozen Hearts.” For the Frozen Hearts, I cut some strawberries into the shape of a heart, dipped them in warm white chocolate, sprinkled them with blue sprinkles, and allowed them to cool. Below you will find the full recipe for my Melted Olaf.

Melted Olaf

16 ounce sour cream

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix

carrots

pretzel sticks

black olives

Carefully stir the Hidden Valley Ranch Mix in the sour cream. Once the ranch dip is ready, place a scoop of ranch into a small bowl or cup. Add two pretzel sticks, a carrot, and two black olives (Olaf’s arms, nose, and eyes). Enjoy!

In the song “For The First Time In Forever,” Anna sings about stuffing chocolate in her face. For our dessert, I knew I needed to make chocolate cake balls. I made cake balls for our Inside Out Night, and they are truly the easiest dessert to make. To make cake balls, you bake a cake according to the directions, and once cool, you crumble the cake and stir in a tub of frosting. Once the cake and frosting are combined, scoop out the mix, roll into bite-size balls, and dip in melted chocolate. Brooklyn has a sweet tooth, and I think stuffing her face with chocolate was her favorite part of the night!

Brooklyn sat through the entire movie and LOVED it! She also loved twirling around in her dress to all of the music in the film. Although we don’t do these movies as often as we once did, we love them and hope to do them more often. There are so many fun things coming up in the next couple of weeks, and I can’t wait to share it all with you. Please subscribe to my blog if you haven’t done so already!

Sending love and magic,

Dinner & A Movie Night: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is over, and my favorite time of the year is officially here! But before Thanksgiving is too far gone, I wanted to share our A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Movie Night.

Just like our It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Movie Night (which you can read about here), I can’t take credit for our Thanksgiving Movie Night. My mom put this together for my daughter, niece, and nephew to give them something special to look forward to. I know our movie nights seem a little over the top, but they have become something that we look forward to as we try to stay home and social distance.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving follows Charlie Brown and his friends as they celebrate Thanksgiving together. In the movie, Charlie Brown hosts a Thanksgiving for his friends, but has Snoopy and Woodstock help because his cooking is limited. The meal ends up being toast, popcorn, pretzel sticks, and jelly beans. In the end, Charlie Brown’s grandmother invites everyone to Thanksgiving, where they all get to enjoy a real meal.

Our night began by surprising the kids with their movie special room. You might remember the tents from our Halloween night; my mom revamped them for Thanksgiving! The kids freaked out when they saw their tents and beds; my daughter loved the leaf lights. On each of their beds was a pair of leaf pajamas that they quickly changed into so that they could snuggle up and watch their movie.

Once the movie was over, the kids headed straight to the popcorn bar that my mom created. If you have seen the movie A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, you know that popcorn is one of their Thanksgiving staples. I thought it was so cute how she put the popcorn bar together (and the kids loved it too).

My mom even had pretzels, toast, and jelly beans were all part of the popcorn bar, just like the movie, which I thought was fun.

After dinner, we said our goodbyes and headed home, where my daughter continued to talk all night about the fun night she had. The kids loved watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and spending time together, and I loved making memories as a family. I can’t wait to see what my mom does for Christmas; I will be sure to share it with you.

Sending love and magic.

Disney Dinner & A Movie Night: UP

If you have ever seen the beginning of the movie Up, and it didn’t make you cry, you’re not human. The song that plays during this emotional scene is “Married Life” and it has so much special meaning to me; that song was playing on Main Street USA in Disneyland when my husband proposed to me. I love everything about that song and everything about the movie Up, and I was so excited to share this film with my daughter.

Up tells the story of Carl Frederickson, a 78-year old balloon salesman who wants to fulfill his lifelong dream of traveling to South America. He ties thousands of balloons to his house, the house lifts and floats away, and he sets sail to Paradise Falls. Along the way, he discovers a stowaway aboard his home, a young Wilderness Explorer Scout named Russell, and the two of them find adventure together. It is such a heartwarming film (and one that will make you cry multiple times).

When planning for our night, I knew we needed two things: balloons and grape soda. Balloons play such an essential part in the movie, and I knew they would make our night extra special. Grape soda, well, a grape soda cap, also plays an important part in the film. At the beginning of the movie, Carl’s future wife pins a grape soda cap to his shirt as a badge, and this badge stays with him until he gives it away to Russell. I feel like you can’t watch Up without balloons and grape soda! Spoiler alert, grape soda is gross.

So we gathered our balloons and grape soda and sat down as a family to watch this movie. Dinner is obviously an important part of our night and I wanted to do something a little out of the box. I played around with a few ideas but ultimately decided that we should have a meal inspired by South America because that’s where Carl wants to go so badly. I wanted to eat empanadas, which are delicious. First, I was going to make them from scratch, but then I realized that our local grocery store has fresh empanadas that you can warm up in the oven (thanks, HEB!). I grabbed beef empanadas and bean and cheese empanadas for our entree and added some rice and beans on the side. Such a yummy and very easy dinner.

For dessert, I wanted to make some “Wilderness Explorer S’mores” inspired by Russell. We used graham crackers, marshmallows, regular Hershey’s Chocolate bars, and Hershey’s Cookies and Cream bars. These s’mores were super messy, so not the best idea for a two-year-old, but such a great treat. After the movie, my daughter was covered in marshmallow and chocolate, but they were 100% worth it. My friend Lin shared a great way to make less messy s’mores (where you make them in the oven, almost like nachos) I think I’ll try that next time.

My daughter happily sat through this entire movie, which came as no surprise because she seems to be obsessed with Pixar movies. She would much rather watch Cars, Finding Nemo, or Toy Story over any princess movie and seems to get bored through some of the Classic Disney Animation movies. I can’t wait to see what she thinks about The Incredibles! I hope this movie night inspires you to make magic at home.

P.S. The bonus magic of the night for my daughter, was running through the yard with her balloons.

Sending love and magic.

Dinner & A Movie Night: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

For the first time since starting our Friday night movie tradition, we decided to watch something other than a Disney movie. I felt like we needed to watch one of my favorite childhood Halloween movies, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Luckily for me, my mom is just as “extra” as I am and decided to plan a special movie night for my daughter, niece, and nephew. I helped (a tiny bit, haha), and I wanted to share our fun night with all of you. 

If you have never seen It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, you are missing out. In a nutshell, the film follows the Peanuts gang as they celebrate Halloween and Linus as he waits for the “Great Pumpkin.” This classic Halloween movie is something that you can watch over and over.

For our movie night, my mom wanted to do something exceptional. She decided to make private tents for each kid to hang out in while watching the movie (perfect for social distancing). At one point, she was going to build each tent from scratch until I found these tents on Amazon. (Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate, and if you purchase through this link, I will receive a small commission). We found the perfect Snoopy bed sheets at TJ Maxx, and my mom cut them and sewed them to make tent covers and bedding. The tents turned out amazing, and the kids were all excited. In fact, they were so excited that they do not want the tents to be taken down (ever).

Dinner for the kids was so much fun; my mom made a great spread of snacks that were all cute (and yummy). The main entrees were mummy dogs and jack-o-lantern quesadillas, perfect for three kids. For sides, there was a veggie tray (with a hollowed-out pumpkin to hold ranch dip) and a delicious cheese ball (that looked like a pumpkin). Finally, there was an apple crumble, orange sherbet, and “rocks” (Rice Krispies treats dipped in white chocolate) for dessert. It was a perfect meal for watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

It was wonderful to see the kids enjoy their movie together. They had so much fun playing in their tents, eating their treats, and curling up to watch the movie together. Having this Halloween movie night is something I am sure we will repeat in the future, and we all enjoyed spending time together and starting new family traditions.

I hope this inspires you to have a movie night with your family, and I hope you have a safe and fun Halloween.

Sending love and magic.

Disney Dinner & A Movie: Ratatouille

Last night I took the phrase “anyone can cook” literally and, for the first time ever, I made homemade ratatouille. For weeks my husband and I have been talking about how the only appropriate dish for the movie Ratatouille was, well, ratatouille. I was worried it wouldn’t taste good (spoiler alert, it does) and that my daughter wouldn’t like the movie Ratatouille, but it turned into a wonderful movie night!

Ratatouille is a really simple dish to make, just thinly sliced vegetables, tomato paste, olive oil and spices. You bake it and then serve it with some extra sauce and mascarpone cheese. It is really delicious! The most time consuming part is slicing the vegetables.

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Below you will find the recipe that I used to make our ratatouille:

1 small eggplant, thinly sliced

1 zucchini, thinly sliced

1 yellow squash, thinly sliced

2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 can of tomato paste

tablespoon onion powder

1/4 cup minced garlic

3/4 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix tomato paste, water, onion powder, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread tomato paste mixture on the bottom of a 10×10 inch baking pan. Arrange alternating slices of eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and tomato, starting at the outer edge of the dish and working towards the center. Overlap the slices a little. Drizzle the remaining olive oil of the vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with thyme leaves. Cover vegetables with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. Bake in oven for 45 minutes. Serve with mascarpone cheese.

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My husband is a meat and potatoes sort of guy, so I ended up grilling some chicken to go along with our ratatouille. After we gobbled down our meal, it was time for dessert! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE French desserts, and narrowing it down was harder than I thought. We ended up having creme brulee and mini macaron cookies. They were the perfect way to end our dinner and movie.

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My daughter loved the movie Ratatouille (and she also really loved the macarons) and we had so much fun trying a new dish that none of us had tried before. Leave a comment below and let me know which movie you think we should watch next Friday.

Sending love and magic.