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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Seventh Dwarf {review & giveaway}


Join all seven dwarfs for an adventure as big as they are small! It’s the eve of Princess Rose’s 18th birthday. Everyone in the kingdom has come to Fantabularasa Castle to celebrate including Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. But just before the stroke of midnight Bobo, the youngest dwarf, accidentally pricks the finger of Princess Rose (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) with a cursed needle and sends the kingdom into a century-long slumber! To find Rose’s true love Jack to save her with a kiss, Bobo and the other six dwarfs must go on a treacherous journey, face a fiery dragon and outwit the jealous, scheming and evil witch, Dellamorta!

I think you and your kids will enjoy this sweet movie, based loosely on the Sleeping Beauty story, but incorporating themes and characters from a variety of other fairy tales. It's a fun mash-up, with a strong message of friendship. You won't find Dopey and Doc here, but you will find seven re-imagined dwarves including Speedy, Cloudy, Sunny, Tschakko (sporty), Ralphy (a little dim), and Cooky. Bobo is an adorable klutz, always messing things up, and always happy and optimistic. There are catchy tunes and triumphant moments, as well as plenty of laughs.

The Seventh Dwarf is rated PG and has a running time of 88 minutes. You can purchase it as a two-disc BLU-RAY™ 3D Combo Pack, on DVD, or on iTunes.

Want to connect with Shout! Factory? You can find them on both Facebook and Twitter 

The Giveaway

One lucky Raising My Boys reader will receive their own DVD copy of The Seventh Dwarf from Shout! Factory. Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm EDT, September 10. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. Best of luck!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this DVD to facilitate a review. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own. This post contains an affiliate link.

The New Ontario Sex Ed Curriculum: My Thoughts

I started to write a Facebook post. And I couldn't stop the words from flowing. So here we are on the blog. Warning - I have strong feelings on this issue and this is a controversial topic. Controversy is not a big thing on my blog, but this one's for the kids.

School begins here in Ontario next week. And the protesters are out today, decrying the new health and physical education curriculum. I saw a young girl on the news say that starting sex ed in grade one is just wrong - the kids are too young. Do you know what the curriculum covers in first grade? The names of body parts. If a 6 year old boy is too young to know his penis is called a penis, I'm not sure what the world is coming to.

What bothers me most about that example is that I can only assume this young girl is parroting what her parents have told her.  Have her parents read the curriculum? Has she? If they had they would know that the anatomical names of body parts, including the parts that make us boys or girls, is the only sex-related content in grade one.  So many of the protesters I've heard on the news or read online are fighting against things that are not actually in the curriculum.  Before I decided to support the new curriculum, I read it for myself. I feel sorry for those folks who are now so scared of this curriculum because of misinformation that has been supplied to them, and I encourage everyone to read the document for themselves.

You can read the full curriculum online at:
Parent guides: and
You can read my synopsis of the 1-6 curriculum at:

For those parents who have read the curriculum and are still against it, I disagree with them, but I respect their position. And they are fully within their rights under the education act to have their children excluded from any lessons (sex ed or otherwise) with which they disagree. Or, they can allow their kids to take in the lessons and then talk to them at home about how they feel about what was taught. Amazing opportunity for a discussion of values and beliefs.

The bottom line in all of this, for me? Schools teach facts. Parents teach values around those facts. It's a team effort. 

The two big complaints that I seem to be hearing the most - the curriculum encourages or at least normalises homosexuality and transgender, and the curriculum encourages sexual activity. I agree that the curriculum does normalise homosexuality and transgender and non-traditional families and many, many other forms of difference including race, colour and ability, and it encourages understanding and acceptance of those who are different from us in whatever way. Personally, I think that's a positive thing. The curriculum definitely does not encourage anyone to "turn gay" or go out and have sex.

If your religion or culture does not approve of homosexuality, it is your right, and probably your responsibility, to teach your kids that. LGBT people will still exist though, and your children will know they do. They likely already have kids in their classes who come from a non-traditional family of some sort, or kids in their classes who identify as LGBT.

You don't want your child to learn to masturbate from their school teacher? Neither do I. And they won't, because that's not the curriculum. Your child will figure that one out on their own, believe me. They also won't be taught how to engage in anal sex, or that they should. (Anal sex seems to come up a lot in the complaints.) But at some point your daughter may be pressured to engage in that activity by a boy, with the promise that it's ok, because "you can't get pregnant and you'll still be a virgin." (I don't think I need to explain the problems with that logic.)  I knew a girl in 8th grade whose boyfriend convinced her she couldn't get pregnant if she was on top. The world of young teenagers and tweens is a scary place, and our kids need to be educated about these things, to keep them safe - with the facts from school (it would be great if parents felt comfortable doing this part too) and the values from parents.

The curriculum in seventh grade is when sexual intercourse comes in. It discusses abstinence and waiting until you're older. It also discusses STDs and the dangers of sex. This is a completely age appropriate time to be addressing these issues as kids are starting to explore their sexuality at this age. Shouldn't we be protecting them with knowledge?

Again, your values that you teach at home will guide your kids in their decisions, or at least that is what we all hope, as parents. School, in terms of this discussion, just gives them the facts they need to understand their bodies and all of the social changes and pressures that come with adolescence. If they don't get the facts in the classroom, they may very well get some myths and possibly dangerous misinformation in the school yard.

Ok. I know this is way more political than what I usually write here, but I feel so strongly about this topic. I want to be part of helping and protecting our children. And I want every parent in Ontario to go into the discussion around this new curriculum with a real knowledge of what is actually in the curriculum document. Knowledge is power - for us and our kids.

Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium #FamilyTravel

We always like to take advantage of opportunities for learning when we travel. Learning about different cultures, trying different foods, exploring history, or getting an education in the local ecosystem. When I bring the family to my home province, Newfoundland, I have a tendency to focus on teaching them about the local flora and fauna I grew up with, and I especially love for them to learn about the ocean and the incredible creatures who dwell there.

The Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium is a great resource, just minutes from downtown St. John's, where families can get up close and personal with a great variety of our sea-dwelling North Atlantic neighbours. And these creatures are truly neighbours - they are collected from the waters just off the coast of Petty Harbour, and returned to those same waters once the season is over.

The aquarium is aptly named, as it is quite small at only 800 square feet. But that room includes four small touch tanks filled with sea stars, sun stars, hermit crabs, spider crabs, sea cucumbers, and more, plus 30 exhibits of other sea life. Jellyfish, sculpin, sea ravens, lobsters (we saw a blue one and a gold one), scallops, lump fish, pout fish, flounder, and of course the famous North Atlantic cod.

I love the colour of this guy,
The Sea Raven is one of my favourites. Where else would you see this specimen?
Mr. Cod came to say hello. I don't think he was pleased when I called him "Supper."
This little sea star is in one of the touch tanks. He's currently working on growing back 3 of his 5 arms.
Did you know they could do that?
The exhibits come with interpretive information, allowing you to read about the life and habits of each animal. Plus there are enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff available to answer any questions you may have. There is also a microscope station where Boo thoroughly enjoyed the close-ups, and the Mini-Aquarium is available for birthday parties and school bookings, aligned with curriculum. The interpreters also run daily and weekly special programs. We saw a squid dissection, for instance. You can check the website for details.

When we visited this year, my Dad came along, using his cane. There was accessible parking readily available right by the door and he found no trouble navigating the exhibits. I don't think a stroller or wheelchair would be as easy, but you could do it with a walker.

The Mini-Aquarium is located at 35 Southside Rd., Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, and is open 10 am - 6 pm daily, from June to October. Once they shut down for the season, they carefully release all of their animals back into the ocean where they were originally found. The community can even get involved in the release program, which would be amazing for the kids.

Admission in 2015 is Adults $8, Children $5, Seniors $6. Children under 5 are admitted free. You can also buy a family day pass for $20 which covers 2 adults and up to 3 children. They accept cash, debit, Visa and Mastercard, and have washrooms on site. I would suggest you plan for a visit of roughly one hour.
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