Back to School Fun at the Avenues!

The Avenues BTS (1)


The Avenues invites local families to score an ‘A+’ in preparedness and entertainment with Simon Kidgits Club®’s annual Back-to-School event at The Avenues on Saturday, August 1 from 10 AM – 12 PM at the Belk Court.




(JACKSONVILLE, FL) —  Simon, a leading global retail real estate company, is holding a special celebration at The Avenues to help young students and parents across the country ‘make the grade’ before the school year begins. Families are invited to score an “A+” in preparedness and entertainment with Simon Kidgits Club®’s annual Back-to-School event at The Avenues on Saturday, August 1 from 10 AM – 12 PM at the Belk Court.


Simon Kidgits Club’s Back-to-School event will feature a variety of interactive activities for children and valuable offers for adults, all designed to make transitioning into academic routines a little easier.


During the event, Kidgits and their families will have the opportunity to participate in seasonal-inspired craft-making activities and games, including fabulous kid-friendly entertainment with music and prizes from Build-a-Bear and Palm Beach Autographs. Attendees can also look forward to a special visit from the Chick-Fil-A Cow!


“At Simon® malls, we know the back-to-school experience means more to families than simply purchasing must-have supplies,” said Carla De Maria, director of marketing and business development at The Avenues. “We’re hosting our annual Back-to-School event to encourage parents and kids to connect with each other, enjoy a final moment of summer fun at their favorite Simon mall, and to make sure they are ready to take on a new school year.”


The Simon Kidgits Club is a fun and informative program that focuses on health, wellness, education, safety and entertainment for children ages 3-8. The Simon Kidgits Club has kept children and parents alike amused for over a decade with various events and activities while providing incentives for club members, such as special offers, rewards and games.


For more information about the Simon Kidgits Club and Back-to-School events, visit or and



I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team.


My family loves Netflix, especially my children. They have watched both movies “How To Train Your Dragon” 1 & 2. When we heard that a new series of episodes, called “Dragons: Race To The Edge” by Dreamworks, was coming out they were very excited to watch!


This 13-episode series features Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), Astrid (America Ferrera) and the rest of the familiar characters from Cressida Cowell’s books. This series is both a prequel and sequel of sorts, set between the first and second film. The action picks up about a year before How to Train Your Dragon 2 when Hiccup is roughly 19 years old. Netflix sent me an awesome box filled with goodies to enjoy while watching the episodes.



We received a blow up sword, which my son loves, and also fun photo mask props! Another fun way to enjoy your treats while watching is label them with fun meanings to the movie, we received Doritos labeled “Dragon Scales” and Bugles labeled “Dragon Claws.” These made it very exciting for my kids to enjoy with the episodes. We also received a really cool lunch box & chalk for outside. My kids enjoyed drawing dragons and swords with the chalk.


My 7 year old and 4 year old both LOVED these episodes. They are asking for them again and again to be watched! My husband even sat down for most of the episodes and enjoyed them as well. If your children loved both Dragon movies, they will surely loves these episodes!!





Netflix Team


My name is Marijean Lechtrecker and I am originally from New Jersey, born and raised. I have been married for almost 11 years to my wonderful husband, Anthony. We have 2 children, Alison who is turning 7 and will be starting 1st grade, and Anthony IV who will be turning 4 and starting VPK. We moved to sunny Florida in 2014 and absolutely love it here.

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Marvel’s Ant Man in Theaters Everywhere!

The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man” when 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.

I was invited to see the advanced screening of Ant Man last week. I was not able to go but one of my contributors went in my place. She took her nine year old son with her.

From Lori: ” I really liked it. I liked how it brought in all the Avengers! They made reference to Tony Stark and they had Avenger headquarters in it so that you know that it’s all going to be combined in a way. It did have a lot of action. One thing I did not like about it is in the beginning they referenced sex and talked about boobs. Just knowing a lot of kids are going to be watching it I didn’t feel it was necessary.”

From Dominick: “I really liked it. I thought it was so cool that the suit turned him really small. It was awesome that the Ant Man fought the Falcon from Avengers.”




• If you ever wondered how the Ant-Man suit works, here’s the answer. The suit encapsulates the Pym Particle technology that allows a person to shrink down to the size of an ant. When the wearer wants to change size, he uses a button on the suit that regulates the Pym Particles, which run through the suit and helmet like an intricate system of veins. The particles are volatile and change the distance between atoms, so the suit and helmet serve as protection for the wearer. Although Ant-Man does not technically have super powers, when he shrinks down in the suit, he actually exceeds the strength of a normal person because energy and mass compacted create a more powerful force.

• Costume designer Sammy Sheldon Differ and head suit designer Ivo Coveney, along with their talented team of artists, constructed 13 Ant-Man suits, 17 helmets, 17 belts, 8 pairs of gloves, 15 backpacks, 6 pairs of shoes, 15 balaclavas and 14 necklaces that go on the balaclava.

• The Ant-Man suit is made of leather and resembles a vintage motorcycle suit. It has a worn look and is battle-scarred to harken back to when Hank Pym was AntMan and wore the suit on missions.

• Each Ant-Man helmet has 54 different pieces to it as well as 10 LED lights. If you add in the nuts and bolts and the helmet lining, it’s over 60 individual components just for each helmet

. • In each Ant-Man suit there are over 159 LED lights, which are controlled remotely. All the circuitry and batteries for the lights are in a very small backpack. The whole suit can light up, including the gloves and belt.

• In the movie, the villain’s heavily armored Yellowjacket suit can withstand bullets and has articulating arms that can shoot plasma rays, plus it incorporates sensors and infrared vision. Like the Ant-Man suit, the Yellowjacket suit has the shrinking technology built in.

• For the scaled-down Ant-Man sequences, the filmmakers used a combination of motion-picture macro photography, still macro photography, motion capture with the actors, motion capture with the stunt people, and for every set they built miniature sets, called macro sets. Macro photography is extreme close-up photography that produces photographs of small items larger than life-size.

• In the spirit of shooting everything in miniature, the macro photography team built a mini clapperboard, the device filmmakers use to help synchronize picture and sound. Originally made of wood and handwritten on with chalk, clapperboards now have digital features, but the one for the macro sets was of the old-fashioned variety.

• Marvel did a lot of research into ant behaviors and what the different species of ants could bring to the movie in terms of what filmmakers needed for the heist. For instance, the Paraponera clavata or bullet ants have a very painful sting and resemble dinosaurs in the movie; the Solenopsis or fire ants are like architects as they can link together and form bridges and rafts to help Ant-Man; and the male Camponotus carpenter ants can fly, providing Ant-Man with a helpful mode of transportation.

• Director Peyton Reed also got into ant research and was helped out by his mother who sent him a book he had as a kid titled “World of Insects,” which featured an ant on the cover. Reed enjoyed catching up with his inner child as he leafed through the old book.

• Marvel’s “Ant-Man” is set in San Francisco and many exterior shots were done there, including shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Tenderloin District and the exterior of a Victorian home used to portray Hank Pym’s house. Following San Francisco, the production settled into Pinewood Studios’ newly built facilities in Atlanta and Marvel’s “Ant-Man” became the very first movie to film there. The interiors of Hank Pym’s house where the first sets that the production design team constructed on the new soundstages.

• As with all the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, much detail went into creating Hank Pym’s old Victorian house set, from furniture, fireplaces, stained glass and even wallpaper. The wallpaper used in the Pym House set came from a store in New York City that specializes in classic, period wallpapers from the 1930s and 1940s. Because there are limited rolls of each design, the production design team had to plan carefully to ensure that there was enough available to do the rooms they wanted.

• When you watch Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” look closely at some of the set dressing in Hank Pym’s house. You’ll see a little chair or a tiny weapon or other miniature everyday items. There are items placed all around the house that hint at the adventures Pym had when he was Ant-Man and suggest the experiments that he made shrinking inorganic objects before he made the breakthrough to shrinking organic objects.

• The Basement set in the movie features a safe room where Pym conducts his experiments. It was built like a corrugated metal tube to resemble a bomb shelter and contains an old vault that secures the Ant-Man suit.

• The Basement set is also home to a vertical ant farm that the production design team created. It actually houses live ants that went happily about their daily tasks oblivious to the filming around them.

• In the film, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has a best friend Luis (Michael Peña) who owns an old brown van that has seen better days. The van keeps changing its appearance through the course of the story, and the different versions were dubbed the Mark 1, the Mark 2 and the Mark 3, in a tongue-in-cheek nod to the Iron Man suits. The Mark 1 is the old brown van that Luis is really proud of, but in reality it is a “beater.” The Mark 2 is accessorized for a job by the thieves and boasts things like bigger mirrors, so they can see who is coming and going, and side boards for fast ins and outs. The Mark 3 is geared up for the Pym Tech heist and is painted and accessorized to look like a Water & Power utility vehicle.

• For the younger Hank Pym flashback, Michael Douglas came up with a wig that he still had for a film he was going to do about President Reagan and it worked perfectly for Marvel’s “Ant-Man.”

• Growing up, director Peyton Reed was an ardent Marvel fanboy. When he was in high school, Reed made a pencil drawing of the punk band he was in, in which he depicted the band as a recreation of “The Avengers #1” cover, where each of the band members was a different Avenger. Perhaps it was a flash of precognition, but Reed drew himself as Ant-Man.


I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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