Red, White and Blue Jicama Slaw

Red White and Blue Slaw with honey lime vinaigrette and  jicama, apple, and blueberries.  No cook summer salad comes together in 10 minutes or less!

Mr. X is a picky eater, but he adores jicama.  We were having pork chops, and I like to serve apples with that.  Since it’s so hot out I came up with this fun slaw!

It’s crisp, cool, and colorful and goes together in a snap.  It’s just four ingredients plus dressing, although adding strawberries and cilantro would be a great way to jazz it up even more!red white blue jicama slaw with apples blueberries honey lime vinaigrette

Red, White and Blue Jicama Slaw
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Fresh and easy jicama slaw is a colorful, fun no-cook side dish for summer. It comes together fast and is dairy-free, gluten-free, and paleo.
Ingredients
Slaw
  • 1 large jicama, about 1½ lbs.
  • 3 red apples (Not Red Delicious- Jazz, Gala, Rome, or Pink Lady are good.)
  • ½ pint blueberries
  • ½ red onion, diced
Honey Lime Vinaigrette:
  • Juice from 2 medium limes
  • 3 T. honey
  • ½ c. oil (canola or light olive oil)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. powdered ginger (optional)
  • ½ tsp. chili powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. Peel the jicama and wash the apples and blueberries.
  2. Julienne the jicama and apple including peel. Discard the apple cores and stems. Place jicama, apple, blueberries, and onion in a large bowl. Toss with honey lime vinaigrette, serve cold.
Honey Lime Vinaigrette:
  1. Place ingredients in glass jar with lid, food processor, or blender and shake well or process until well blended.
  2. Note: Make this salad Whole30 compliant by using balsamic vinaigrette or skipping the honey.

 

I used a mandolin to quickly cut up the apple and jicama into uniform pieces but a knife will work just as well.  Try to keep the apple peel intact on the long pieces for a beautiful red, white, and blue presentation. Helpful hint: toss the apple into some water with a little lemon juice to keep it from turning brown while you work.

The dressing is so easy and goes well with any fruity salad.  It would be wonderful with mixed berries, and it’s amazing on salads and chicken, too.   For the jicama slaw, I added ginger and chili powder (just a touch).  I make my dressings in a mason jar using my immersion blender, but you can just put the top on the jar and shake it up to mix.

So simple. So delicious.

Easy honey lime vinaigrette for fruit salads

I love side dishes that require no cooking and it’s fun to take something a little different to a barbecue, isn’t it?  This is mayonnaise and dairy free so it’s okay if it sits on the picnic table while everyone eats.

This is paleo and gluten free, and you can make it Whole30 compliant by making a simple lime vinaigrette without the honey, or use a balsamic vinaigrette.

Linking up:
Pennywise Platter 

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I AM Minding My Business

Yesterday, I was driving down the street in the Van Beast, rocking my mom jeans, on the way to pick up the kids from swimming. I noticed a woman walking up the sidewalk.

Then a car pulled along side her and a man got out. He grabbed her and tried to force her into the car.

What the what? It was broad daylight. In my neighborhood.  I slammed on my brakes and rolled down my window.

“Are you okay?” I asked her. What a ludicrous question. She was obviously not okay, there was a man grabbing her.

She assured me she was fine.  The man got angry and told me to mind my own business.

The minute he put his hands on the woman it became my business. I AM minding mine.

Do not come into my neighborhood, my streets, where my children play and think I’m going to go along to get along and that I will just look the other way.

He came towards me, so I opened the door and got out. Then hopped right back in because I hadn’t even shut off the engine or put the car in park!  It happened fast and I wasn’t thinking.

I kept on not thinking and got back out of the car to confront him.  He was dressed as though he worked in an office, but started taking off his clothes.  He removed his tie, then unbuttoned his dress shirt.  {I guess he was getting ready for a fight?  With a mid-thirties mom blogger in a school bus. Tough guy for sure.}

He told me again to mind my own business and randomly told me he owned his own home.  {All righty then, Ragey Dude.  Good for you. Go mow your lawn and leave this woman alone.}

The woman got between us and started placating, talking him down.  They seemed to know each other.  I asked her again if she was OK, I told her I could give her a ride anywhere she needed to go, asked her if there was anything I could do to help her.

She turned me down.

I drove away.

I went around the corner and called the cops.  They can come deal with the craziness.

I don’t think my husband appreciated the part where I got out of the car when I told him the story.  He was scared for me.

I guess it was a little scary.  I could have gotten hurt, though I wasn’t really thinking about that at the time.  Mothering all these children all day, including the teens, gives me the confidence of a drill sergeant.

This is what we are called to do. Love one another.  If it were my daughter, my sister would I have stopped?  Absolutely.  Do I stop for a stranger? Yes. Even when people are bigger than I am, or madder than I am.

Love one another.

We cannot stand by and allow evil to flourish. We have to stand in the gap for each other.

A few days ago my husband told me about a news story, where a woman was beaten in public while her toddler tried to help her. People stood around and watched, filming with their cameras. No one helped the woman or her child.  I was appalled. No one helped her? How could that be?

I am not a bystander and I hope I never will be.

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Transformers Age of Extinction {Mom Movie Review}

Transformers 4 Age of Extinction Mom Movie ReviewWe went to see Transformers: Age of Extinction this weekend.

We see the late show, which started at 11:20 pm.  We go out after the littles are in bed and leave my olders to watch them.  The movie is 2 hours and 45 minutes long.  Add on the previews and we didn’t leave the theater until 2:30 am.   I gotta stop doing that, I’m way too old for that stuff.

Back to the movie review. It was so much better than the last Transformers*, but that’s not exactly a high bar, is it?

{Spoiler Alert! But since this is a movie review, you’re expecting that, right?}

It’s a Michael Bay film and like all his films, the explosions just keep coming, and coming, and coming.  It almost felt like he was just checking things off his list- car chase, check.  Car chase in reverse, check. Destroy landmark, check. Raining destruction, check. Oh, here’s a twist.  Let’s have boats! Fall from the sky! Check and check.

Plot synopsis: Greedy corporate billionaire and greedy corrupt CIA official collude to melt down the old Transformers and make new ones that are programmed by people. They will make billions of dollars.  Their plan goes awry and the VERY FATE OF THE WORLD depends on Mark Wahlberg, plus his daughter in tight jeans and the cute guy with dimples.  Also there are Transformers and cities are destroyed.  And for some reason, the President’s Chief of Staff is Ned Flanders.

The movie is about 45 minutes too long- and those 45 minutes are scene after scene of explosions, implosions, falling buildings, and destruction.  It got so tedious my mind had time to wander which is not a good thing when you plot is full of holes.

Plot holes such as, if Optimus Prime can fly into outer space at any time he wishes, then what was that nonsense of the humans having a car chase to get the Seed out of the city?  Optimus should have just grabbed it and flew out to the moon or Mars or wherever. Problem solved.  Or how Kelsey Grammar (sorry, no idea what his character was actually named. Tuned it out.) manages to figure out the exact spot Cade (Mark Wahlberg) will be standing in after the dust clears and half of Hong Kong is in ruins, for a cringe worthy confrontation.

Then let’s get to the girl problem.  This version has girls, of course.  The main girl (Tessa, played by Nicola Peltz) wears short shorts, tight jeans, and tank tops.  She’s tan, her pink lipstick never fades or smudges, and her blonde hair flutters attractively in the blasts from all the explosions.  Actually all of the women in the movie are sexy blondes, with a few sexy brunettes thrown in, except for the sexy Asian one who is a master at martial arts and kicks butt while wearing stilettos without a hair falling out of place or smearing her ruby lipstick.  Tessa cries out for Daddy to help her and thanks her boyfriend for saving her a lot, even after she kills aliens and escapes from robots on her own in the intergalactic spaceship.  Yep, it was the boyfriend who showed up later who saved her. Yep. {eyeroll}

The movie does lack sex scenes, thankfully. No one wants to see alien tongues being shoved down people’s throats, you hear that Transformers 2?  No drug jokes or pot themes.  It’s almost wholesome (almost).  I could have done without the car full of 17 year old girls joking about getting wasted to celebrate graduation, and there was some innuendo in one of the driving scenes.  There’s language and lots of violence.

All of the Autobots are straight up stereotypes, just like the other movies. For example, the Asian Autobot looks like a Samurai warrior and spouts random Eastern philosophy quotes, and has a heavy Japanese accent.  John Goodman’s Hound is the exactly what you’d expect a cigar chomping fat old drill sergeant to be. There is no nuance.

They are cartoon character cutouts, but then again who goes to a movie like Transformers looking for character development? (See above note: it’s a Michael Bay movie. It’s not like he has a broad range.

And then! DINOBOTS! Finally.  They should have trimmed half an hour from the tedious battle scenes and added 10 more minutes explaining the backstory of the Dinobots.  Pretty much they appear, Optimus punches one in the face, then they are all teammates working to kill the Stingers.  They were by far the coolest part of the film and I wish we had seen more of them.  If I remember from the cartoon when I was a kid, the Dinobots had names and personalities; in this movie they’re basically just animal-like Transformers.

The “Age of Extinction” story line is thin and poorly developed, aside from having giant fire breathing prehistoric Transformers. (HECK YEAH! MORE PLEASE!) The movie opens with dinosaurs, there’s a bit about how greedy folk will cause the extinction of the human race because blah blah Seed blah blah Megatron is alive blah blah blah.  Whatever. I guess they had to call it something.  Other theme that never quite makes it off the ground: Humans make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are the best thing ever.  Also, Daddies protect their daughters (nice); then Dads hand off his daughter to the boyfriend he just met the day before to “protect her always” (what? Boo.)

Still it was entertaining, and it’s exactly what you would expect it to be.  It’s mindless entertainment, won’t be winning any awards.  Stanley Tucci is enjoyable, and the 3D effects are well done.

Have you seen it? What did I miss?

Blogging with Integrity: There’s an Amazon affiliate link in this post, marked with a *. If your boys are crazy for Transformers toys take a peek and thanks for supporting this site!

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Make the Best Instant Oatmeal Packets

DIY instant oatmeal packets
My kids love those Quaker instant oatmeal packets, but they are pricey!  My oldest kids are teens and one packet isn’t enough for them.  I worry sometimes about the extra additives and the preservatives, too.

Still, it’s SO convenient to just add hot water and have a healthy breakfast instantly ready to go!  

Instant frugal healthy breakfast is easy. I make my own!  This way I don’t have to cook first thing in the morning, there are no pots to wash, and I can control how much sugar my kids are getting through the day. It’s a total mommy win!

Making your own instant oats is simple.  You’ll need oats and blender, and you can add in extras like sugar and cinnamon.

best instant oatmeal packets how to make

Gluten free oatmeal packets are easy to do when you DIY your own oatmeal packets.  Just buy gluten free oats and you’re good to go! I get mine at Trader Joe’s.

You can use an immersion blender, counter top blender, or even a food processor.  You just need to chop the oats up a bit so they are oat pieces and a little bit of powder.  Keep an eye on it, you just need a few pulses to get things broken up. You don’t want to pulverize all the oats because then you’ll just have mush!

I use an immersion blender and blend it up directly in the canister, it keeps things contained.  Try to use a tall container, not a wide shallow bowl because the oats will fly around a bit.

how to make instant oatmeal packets with a blender

I also add sugar directly to the mix so it’s really “grab and go”.  Putting out the sugar bowl with toddlers and preschoolers is a disaster!  I usually add about 1 c. of sugar for 12 cups of oats.

Make instant oatmeal packets by measuring out 1/3 c. oat mix into snack size sandwich baggies.  To prepare, add 2/3 c. hot water.

We eat a lot of oatmeal so ours is kept in a big jar.  You need to add twice as much hot water as oats.  So, 1/2 c. oats should have 1 c. hot water added to it.

use blender to make instant oatmeal packets

I keep several add-ins on hand so each kid can customize their own bowl.  Cinnamon, raisins, craisins, flaked coconut, pumpkin seeds… the sky is the limit!  This is also helpful because some of my kids don’t like cinnamon, others hate raisins, and others love adding in seeds.  I’m not locked into any one flavor.

If you notice on my Printable Under $100 Menu Plans, which has a complete meal plan for a family for a week under $100, oatmeal for breakfast is a staple.  It’s cheap, healthy, and filling.  And now it’s SO EASY!

make instant oatmeal packets frugal DIY

Know someone who likes to save money?  Share this post with them!

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Miss A is FIVE!

A is five years old!

Miss A 5 Birthday

Still tiny.  Still fierce and brave.

Oh my goodness this girl is bold.  And a little bossy. No idea where she gets that from.

Happy Birthday!

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Slenderman and Minecraft, Should You Worry?

Slenderman minecraft should parents worryThe big news this week was the Slender Man Story.  Specifically, the two 12 year old girls who were so taken with Slenderman that they plotted and carried out the attempted murder of their friend in order gain favor with Slender Man, who haunted them in their dreams.

The story is horrifying enough on its own.  Twelve year olds? Girls?  What’s this Slenderman thing?  I looked it up. It’s basically a recently created horror story involving a faceless being in a black suit who targets children to steal/eat/absorb them. He sometimes has tentacles and was invented on the internet in 2009.

Even more horrifying?

My kids know about Slender Man, and they heard about it through Minecraft.

My kids are crazy for Minecraft and it’s a game I don’t mind them playing.  It’s open ended, fosters imagination, planning, creativity, and cooperation.  All of their friends play, and my kids age 4 through 16 play.  There aren’t many games where a 4 year old girl can play with her teen brother!

Our homeschool friends are all happy Minecraft fans.  The neighborhood kids play it.  It’s an instant way for kids to connect with each other.  It seemed like harmless fun.

Was I wrong?  I asked the kids some questions and did some online research, and here is what I’ve found:

  • Slender and Slenderman are games which involve the Slenderman myth, but are independent from Minecraft.
  • There is a Slender Man mod (modification) for Minecraft, and players do play on Minecraft servers that include Slenderman.
  • You can only play the Slenderman mod on computers.  If you use a game console such as a PlayStation 4, you are “safe” from this mod.  The Slenderman for Minecraft is a free mod, and it’s easy to download so you need to know what your kids are doing on Minecraft if you want to avoid it.
  • You cannot mix consoles, so there’s no chance kids playing on a Playstation would be able to join a game with someone on a computer running the Slenderman for Minecraft Mod.
  • Minecraft allows players to create their own servers, which becomes a shared online world.  A server is created and then kids can play with their friends virtually.  There are many popular servers that are open for players to join with special mods or themes, such as Creative servers, Capture the Flag servers, even Hunger Games Minecraft servers.
  •  If you never access anyone else’s server, you are safe from the Slenderman mod even if you play on a computer.
  • Don’t confuse Enderman with Slenderman.  The Enderman is a character in Minecraft which appears as a blocky black creature with purple eyes.  Endermen can move blocks around and teleport. If you stare at them they will get mad and attack you.  The Slenderman is the character based off the horror myth, which will psychically drain your Minecraft character and also teleports like the Endermen.  Enderman is neutral, Slenderman is evil.

Minecraft available on Amazon*


By the way, you can have up to 4 people playing at a time on a Minecraft Playstation 3 Edition*, and you don’t need to connect to the internet to play together.  You only need one copy of the game.  In my opinion buying the console version is a better deal – computers need one copy per computer and then must set up a LAN or server to play together.

Should you be worried about Slenderman?  The girls in the story became obsessed with him after reading horror short stories on a website.

Yes, you should be concerned with the things your kids find on the internet.  There are scary and completely inappropriate sites out there that kids will find entertaining.

Should you worry about Minecraft? I don’t think so. It’s easy to keep Slenderman off your devices- simply don’t join a Slenderman server or download the mod.

My advice?  Talk to your kids.  Make sure they know things on the internet aren’t always real.  Help them learn to discern real from fake stories.  Know what they are doing and what sites they are visiting.  Keep it up- don’t think you can mention it once and be done.

Of course Slender Man isn’t actually real.  However,  Christians believe that the devil is real, and he can harass us. Those girls were disturbed.  They became involved in the horror myth and the Dark One siezed the opportunity.  He’s known as the Father of Lies and I absolutely believe he could use any story – but especially a horrifying one such as Slender Man- to influence people.  If he can appear as “an angel of light” he can appear as a faceless man in a suit.

Need something to lighten the mood after this?  Here’s the Philbaby standing and creeping along the couch at 6 months. He loves our little Minecraft toys* and will do anything- even walk- to get them!

 

 *affiliate link.  If you use my Amazon link, you help support this site- thank you!

Linking up!
A Glimpse Inside

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Going to the Gym

fat woman at the gym get healthySo we joined a gym.  And by “gym” I mean YMCA with free childcare and a pool.  I’m not sure if I’m motivated to get fit or get a shower alone. Yes, the showers at the Y are more alone than my own bathroom, because while there might be strangers in there no one is talking to ME.

Can you say AWKWARD?  Here’s how going to the gym goes down.

We walked into the “wellness center” which is a big room packed with big equipment and lots of people who look like they know exactly what they are doing.  We do not know what we’re doing.  I ask Tom what we should do first, since he’s been in a gym more recently than I have and he helpfully replies “whatever you want”.  Thanks for making the tough decisions, dear.

We tell the sign-in guy we’re newbies and ask, maybe can he show us how things work?  OK.  What do we want to do?  I look around.  Lots of machines. Many people. I flash back to the worst part of high school, gym class.  I couldn’t even lift the bar, which was half my weight and a requirement to pass the course.  I’m in 9th grade again, out of my element.

I grasp at straws. “Bike!”  Bikes are familiar. I know how to ride a bike!  And this one doesn’t even move! I can do that.

He shows us how the controls work but leaves out important steps.  He leaves us to it and we can’t figure out why the machine won’t tell us our calories and heart rate.  The lady on the step machine beside me helpfully walks me through pushing Option Enter Scroll Up Find My Age.  She seems really nice, and normal but at the same time I’m mortified that not only am I gym-stupid, now I know that other people are watching.  Even if they are just noticing we could use some help.

But! Biking!

Away we go.  I like the bike.  It leaves my hands free so I can update Instagram.  After a few minutes I vaguely recall something about target heart rates and fat burning zones.  I still have no idea what I’m doing but I figure ok, let’s play a biofeedback video game.  For 1 minute out of every 10 I’ll go really hard and make sure my heart rate gets right up there.

I manage one round of this before Tom decides he’s done with the bikes and wants to move on.  I click through my stats. Calories burned: 30  THIRTY.  I burned off celery sticks.  Great.

Tom wants to do weights and asks me what I want to work on.  I remember those great boots I got when I was pregnant, but can’t wear because my calves are too bulky. No leg machine for me!  Let’s do arms.  Really I do want to work out on my arms.

I want to be strong. I want to carry Philbaby and not get tired.  I want to not have an ache in my neck from the weight of my purse.  I want my turkey gobbles to stop flapping.

I live in the land of flip flops and tank tops and I want tank top arms, dangit!

We find some machines.  I surprise myself by not doing the minimum weight- I’m at 10 whole pounds for the biceps curl.  15 for the triceps.  Whee! Go me. At this rate I’ll be able to lift our Thanksgiving turkey by November.  Tom watches me then goes to some machine that looks like bench pressing except he’s sitting up and pushing forward.  He loads it down with weights.  125 lbs. on each side- 250. I think he’s showing off for me. He does one set of reps and we call it a day.

swimming with philbaby june 2014

We go hunt down the kids at the KidZone and I undertake more cardio activity, getting the baby, Miss J (3), Miss A (4), and Miss C (8) ready to swim.  Shoes off, swim suits on, swim diaper wrestled.  I stuff the smallest ones into floaties and puddle jumpers and gird my loins, because Philbaby hates his bath and I don’t think he’ll like the pool. It’s his first time.

In we go. He doesn’t scream. He’s not exactly happy, but he’s not terrified.  We’ll work on it.  We’ll toughen up at the YMCA together.

We sit together while he naps and I watch the kids play.  I swam in high school. I was certified as a lifeguard.  I haven’t been actual swimming – not holding babies and bobbing in the shallow end- in over a decade.  Maybe I can change that, too.

I have an incredibly hard time losing weight while I’m breastfeeding.  My body hangs onto every pound for dear life until the baby is weaned.  I want to be more fit, though.  More resilient. Have more stamina.  Be able to see my muscles and to lift heavy things like four year old children.

We head home and I nurse the Philbaby with my laptop open, our nightly ritual.

I need to find an app or something that will tell me what to DO at the gym.  Something that will keep track of how much weight I’m lifting so I don’t go backwards.  Something to tell me do 2 sets of reps on this thing, do 3 sets here, go do 15 minutes of cardio.

I Google.  I watch too many slide shows titled “57 Best Fitness Apps” and “14 Must Have Workout Apps for Women” and “This Weight Loss App Will Blow Your Mind.”  I download from the Playstore.  Nothing seems quite right.

I Google some more.

Yeah, iexercise is crazyt’s getting real all up in here. Forget the apps. Forget healthy toning and strength training and moderation. We’re going straight to query “lose baby weight fast.”

Because after 8 years of being a slug, I must have six pack abs RIGHT. NOW.  Or at least not have a muffin top, by the end of the week at the latest, right?

Y’all. Article after article came up and they look promising at first until I look at the photo.

She’s standing on one leg, balanced forward in some kind of yoga? pilates? who knows? position, balancing a weight in each hand.  Her abs are engaged, and her eyes are bright with the knowledge

My eyes are bright with the knowledge that some things are better left untried.  If I attempted the first exercise, the beginner one?  I’d look like I lost a game of twister and had a heart attack in the process.  I wouldn’t be a slug, I’d be a twisted, fallen lump of a slug.

This sucks.  I hit Instagram and see all the inspirational fitness bloggers talking about their exercise highs and Paleo ice cream.

This really sucks.  I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m not good at it.  I’ve gotten used to not doing things I don’t like. I’m a grown up; I get to pick and choose now.

But I want to get strong.

It’s just so awkward.

Then I realize that if I were to go and do the bike/treadmill/stair thing? I could start reading books again.  I haven’t had the luxury of fiction in forever, I never have enough down time to read books for pleasure.  Any free reading time is spent browsing my Feedly for my business and my blog- latest SEO developments, blogger information, homeschooling techniques, homesteading posts, and useful reading only.

I think I’m going to be back at the gym, soon.

Current weight: 210 lbs.

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Maleficent {Mom Movie Review}

Maleficent movie review- is it too scary?

I took Miss C to see Maleficent this week.

I’ve never been a fan of the original Sleeping Beauty*.  I always found it kind of boring and as an adult, Prince Philip is a creeper.  See a pretty girl laying there, unconscious? Go ahead and kiss her! You don’t even know her but it’s True Love’s First Kiss so smooching all over a girl who is passed out is totes okay.  Ahem. Not.

Maleficent is so much better than Sleeping Beauty, there’s really no comparison.  It’s not just that it’s live action; the plot really develops the characters. You know what motivates them (well, King Stefan not so much. Why was he such a jerk?).  They change over the course of time, as we all do. There are no cardboard cutouts here.  Even the fairies, “who don’t need a king because they trust each other”, don’t have perfect relationships.  They annoy each other, help each other, and act basically like a family.

It’s a fairy tale, so there are the slapstick characters and the side kicks, and it’s a Disney fairytale so of course there is an absentee father, although in this case, Aurora’s father is trying to keep her safe, and obviously still provides for her material needs even though he is physically absent.

Angelina Jolie Maleficent children's movie

Angelina Jolie is fan-freaking-tastic.  She IS Maleficent.  I haven’t always enjoyed her other films but she is spot on, here.  She makes you believe that Maleficent is good, that she is bad, that she’s not quite all the way bad, and her redemption is credible because we know her.  I can’t imagine any other actress in the role and I think this will become one of her iconic performances.

Spoilers ahead, and all that.  Because really, how are you going to write a movie review without revealing some plot points?

Fairy trio led by Imelda Staunton in MaleficentThe movie centers on the relationship and conflict between Stefan and Maleficent.  The Human kingdom and the Magical Kingdom of the Moors hate each other.  However, when a human boy wanders into the moors, Maleficent the fairy and Stefan the human, both children, become friends.   Their friendship turns to love and on Maleficent’s 16th birthday, Stefan kisses her.  Eventually they drift apart; he his sights set on power and politics, and she is the most powerful fairy in her realm and becomes its protector, commanding Ent-like guardians of the moors.

Meanwhile, the human kingdom is ruled by a “vain and greedy king”, King Henry.  King Henry attacks the magical realm and it soundly routed.  Maleficent fatally injures King Henry, and he is taken back to the castle.  King Henry declares that anyomne who avenges him and brings him Maleficent’s head will become his successor and the protector of his daughter.

King Stefan power mad and driven by revenge in Maleficent

Stefan sees his chance, and knowing that he is welcome in the magical realm goes there to seek Maleficent. The two friends are reunited and rekindle their friendship, but Stefan’s lust for power trumps his love for Maleficent.  When she falls asleep, he can’t bring himself to kill her but he does mutilate her and take her wings to the king.  His reward is the throne.

Fast forward a few years, and King Stefan is married with a new baby.  Jolie’s reaction to hearing the news is perfect- a tight little “Oh. Really.”  Her anger then grows and she decides to get revenge on Stefan for his betrayal and for taking her wings.  She shows up at the christening and curses baby Aurora with a sleep like death on her 16th birthday.  When King Stefan begs, she allows that the curse can be broken by True Love’s Kiss; otherwise Aurora will sleep forever.

Maleficent curses baby Aurora in a scary scene Maleficent

King Stefan entrusts baby Aurora to a trio of bumbling fairies who bundle her off to an isolated cottage to keep her safe.  Maleficent quickly finds where the baby is being kept and decides to keep an eye on things.  Over the years, Aurora grows and Maleficent keeps her from being harmed by the neglectful, incompetent fairies entrusted to her care.  Eventually Maleficent and Aurora talk and begin spending a lot of time together, and Aurora decides to move to the magical kingdom permanently to live with her friend.  Maleficent tries to remove the curse but cannot; she hopes that living in the magic kingdom will keep Aurora safe.

Meanwhile, King Stefan is consumed by paranoia and the lust for revenge.  He sends his men to conquer the magical realm.  He goes insane, thinking only of how he will kill Maleficent.  He lays an elaborate trap for her at the castle, convinced that she will come to him once her curse fails. He’s sure Aurora is safe with the fairies in the woods.

Things don’t quite work out.  Aurora does indeed prick her finger and fall into a sleep like death.  Maleficent does go to the castle, and Stefan and Maleficent have their final confrontation.  I’ll let you watch the conclusion yourself!

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One more note: this is a truly beautiful movie. The cinematography, set, and costumes are breathtaking.  Well done, Disney!

Your questions answered!

What ages is it appropriate for?

This movie is live action, and there are some intense scenes.  I would say 5 and up, or even older if your child is sensitive.  There was a small girl sitting next to me, about 3 years old and she was terrified. Her father had to take her out halfway through.

Is it scary? Violent?

This movie has violent battle scenes.  There are two big fight scenes, one towards the beginning and one at the climax of the movie.  It’s live action, not cartoon so violence that isn’t too scary for kids in say, Brave, is frightening in this movie.

The first scene pits the humans against the magical creatures of the moors, who Maleficent protects.  There is a medieval-type army, with armor, swords, battle axes, etc. who try to invade the magical kingdom and are rebuffed.  While you don’t see any actual blood and gore, the action is similar to a scene from Braveheart.  Men are tossed in the air and crash to the ground, horses are felled, the magical creatures devour a few soldiers.  You don’t see anyone die, there are no pools of blood or dangling limbs, but it’s quite obvious there are heavy losses.

The climax is similar, except this time there is a dragon who sets things on fire and archers.  Maleficent is burned (but quickly heals.)  At the very end, a man falls from a parapet and the camera shows Maleficent standing over his obviously dead body, laying splayed on the cobblestones.  No blood but he is very definitely dead from his fall.

Finally, there is a scene where Maleficent is mutilated by Stefan, her true love.  While not graphic, Maleficents wails and cries are heartwrenching and disturbing.

Maleficent’s appearance- with the horns and dressed all in black- calls to mind the witches and evil of other pop culture hits but she’s not demonic in this movie.  Her sidekick is a raven, normally seen as an evil omen in other movies but in this one he’s quite likeable and helpful.  She is at her most terrifying when she appears at the christening.’

Maleficent is rated PG- Parental Guidance, and I think that’s appropriate.  You know your own kids.  If Brave, Snow White and the Huntsman, or The Lord of the Rings were too scary, this movie is too scary for them too.  If your kids can make it through an Avengers movie, this will be fine.

Princess Aurora is cursed by Maleficent but grows to be her friend

Is it too Princess/Girly for boys?

Well, that’s a loaded question! My boys enjoyed Frozen, for example even though that was definitely a Princess movie.  This movie would appeal across the board to children with a sense of adventure or who are charmed by fairy tales, magic, dragons, and entrancing worlds.

The overall story line is light on the romance, and the story focuses mainly on Maleficent and Aurora’s relationship.  Of course True Love’s Kiss is featured, but it is not something that is dwelt on.  It’s certainly no more “girly” than Shrek or The Princess Bride, and actually has more action and less romance.

No one breaks out into song. No power ballads, no love montages, no funny dancing animals.

Do they ruin it with a hokey “Villain with a Heart of Gold” ending?

No.  The movie centers on Maleficent’s character arc and emotional journey.  She starts out “good”, but after being/ attacked, betrayed, and mutilated decides to extract revenge on the one who hurt her.  She does not kill anyone but she also is somewhat amoral.  She doesn’t like babies but she also won’t let harm befall innocent children (aside from her curse of Aurora, which also isn’t a death curse.)  She is teases and annoys the fairies for entertainment, and laughs at their expense.  However, as the movie progresses her heart softens.  She tries to remove the curse on Aurora but cannot, and then devotes her energies to protecting and keeping Aurora safe.  She is full of regrets and even at the end, decides not to hurt King Stefan, but rather to walk away.  “It is ended”, she says, signaling how her character has evolved and matured.

Maleficent and young Aurora meeting

What about sex, romance, and modesty in Maleficent?

There is a refreshing LACK of sexy flirting! Maleficent and Aurora wear gowns that cover them from collarbone to ankle for most of the movie.  There aren’t any heaving bosoms, close ups on backsides, or men controlled by lust.  During the final battle scene, Maleficent loses her gown somehow and she is wearing leather pants underneath.  Her gowns are also quite form fitting.

There are two romantic kisses, both are demure. One is shown in silhouette, the other is Prince Philip kissing Sleeping Beauty.  Now the whole guy-kissing-unconscious-girl has always bothered me but they really tone it down in this movie and he hesitates until the fairies, who are protecting Aurora, insist.  Not perfect, but much better than the previous story where the Prince happens across a sleeping girl and kisses her.

Also a nice change? Prince Philip barely knows Aurora, having met her briefly just once.  His kiss is not True Love’s Kiss – how could it be? They don’t even know each other, let alone love each other.  Finally Disney seems to be coming around that just because a pretty girl is a princess, the first random rich guy who shows an interest in her is probably not her True Love.

I also liked that the old king- the one who attacked the magical creatures- does not “award” his daughter to his successor but rather says that his successor must protect her.  I assume that the king’s daughter is later the woman King Stefan is married to (Aurora’s mother) but it’s not explicitly stated and it’s not any part of the plot.  Stefan isn’t trying to win the old king’s daughter as a prize; he’s after the throne.

Overall, women in this movie aren’t treated as things to be traded, won, or lost at all.  Hurray!

What about drinking, drugs, and smoking?

There isn’t any in this movie.  No one gets drunk, there aren’t any medicines, drugs, potions, or poisons.  It is implied that Stefan may have given Maleficent a sleeping potion of some kind but it’s not explicitly clear if she falls asleep from the drink of water he gives her or because she’s tired.

Religious elements?

There aren’t really any religious elements in the movie at all, even though it takes place in a medieval style world where usually monks play a part.  The magical creatures are just magical- there is no explanation about what makes them so, or any higher power or evil power.

Aurora has a christening but it’s described as a “celebration for a baby”, and there is no clergy present or officiating when the king and queen receive gifts on Aurora’s behalf.  No one goes to church or prays to anyone or anything.  Maleficent curses Aurora but there is no mention of how or why the curse has power.  Evil powers, devils, or demons are not mentioned or alluded to.

Maleficent has powers. For example, she can change a bird into a man, but there’s no explanation about how this happens, no chants or spells, no amulets or magic potions.  The magic is just a background element of how this world seems to work.

Overall, I really liked this movie.  I do wish Aurora had a bit more to do than be cheerful and charming, and a few plot points are glossed over (why is Stefan so power mad? Why to the fairies want a queen? Why is Maleficent wearing designer leather pants under her dress?) but the message is powerful.

We all do things in anger we later regret, and they can’t always be undone.  Lives are richer with the love of friends.  Betrayal has consequences that we can’t always see.  Throwing mud is fun.  Things work out in the end, even if they don’t work out perfectly.

Have you seen this movie yet?  Tell me what I missed!

Full disclosure: I was given an invite to attend a special showing for press and bloggers.  I wasn’t paid to review it or actually required to write about the movie- we received a complimentary admission with no strings attached. This post contains affiliate links, marked with a *.  Thanks for helping support this blog!

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