Showing posts with label Fun Stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fun Stuff. Show all posts

Five Movies To Watch On Valentine's Day (And Other Fun)



Well, it's here! The day that keeps February from being a throwaway month.  The day of love.  Valentines's Day!

In the spirit of the day, I thought today's old-fashioned blog post could surround the holiday.  How often do major holidays land on a Tuesday, after all?  Not often.

(If you are here for the movie suggestions, scroll down.)


Valentine's Day Spirit

I'm sure you are all well aware by now that I love Valentine's Day - mainly because every year I mention repeatedly how I love Valentine's Day.  If you need to get into the Valentine's Day spirit, I suggest these previous musings on the subject.


Now that we are all on the same page...

The year that Gwen was born I started taking a Valentine's Day photo of the kids each year, so in the spirit of tradition I did the same this year.  I think this might be my favorite setup because it was so colorful!  The kids did most of the painting for those hearts, and they loved the little background I set up.




Best decision of 2016 - painting the house that grey color.  I just love it so much.

(More adorable kid photos on my family Instagram today!)


Valentine's Day Buckets

For the kids' Valentine's gifts I had to be a little thrifty this year, so we just kept it simple.






Cute Valentine's Buckets - Target
Educational Card Decks (wrapped in DIY wrapping paper) - Target
Valentine's Pencils - Walmart
Glittery Hearts - Walmart
Rolos - Anywhere

As of this typing they haven't seen their Valentine's treats yet, but I'm confident they'll be a hit.

I ordered a present for Derek a couple of weeks ago, but it has yet to arrive.  I was quite disappointed by this, because Derek always out-does me when it comes to gift giving, and I was excited to out-do him this time.  I've decided instead to sneak a little Valentine's gift into his work bag for each day leading up to the arrival of his gift.  That will keep up the suspense and gift-giving excellence, right?



Old School Movies For Valentine's Day 

Excuse me for using my old-fashioned post for something slightly Pinterest-y.  Last week I bemoaned the fact that there are very few new chick flicks out these days, and I am still stretching to think of a recent good romantic comedy.  I don't like my romantic movies heavy in any sense.  I appreciate light and happy.  I considered sharing my favorite modern chick flicks, but then I realized that I am sure all of you reading this blog have seen those many times over, so I reached a little farther back.  I present to you, for your Valentine's Day viewing consideration:

The African Queen (1951) - I admit, it's been quite a while since I watched this one, but I may have to remedy that soon.  Humphrey Bogart! Katherine Hepburn! A quirky love story that takes place on a boat! I can almost guarantee it will leave you grinning, for one reason or another.

How To Marry A Millionaire (1953) - Lauren Bacall! Marilyn Monroe! I realize I should probably stop exclaiming all these actor names, because unless you already into old movies it won't really make a difference to you.  But, just trust me, it's a winning combination.  This movie is funny, and outrageous, and just cute.  An old-school romantic comedy if ever there was one.

The Shop Around The Corner (1940) - Remember You've Got Mail (how could you not)?  This is the movie that inspired that movie.  I watched it several years ago, and thought it was different than the original but not in a way that ruined either one!

McClintock! (1963) - Imagine a John Wayne western and a romantic comedy got married and had a baby.  This is that movie.  Can't picture it?  Let me tell you, it's a lot of fun!  About a married couple on the brink of separation as they reconnect, all set in the old west.

If A Man Answers (1962) - And this one I'd call more of a "Galentine's Day" movie.  Not that you couldn't watch with your husband, but there is some (respectful) comparing of husbands to dogs, so it's more fun to chuckle at it with your girlfriends than with your man!

A couple of these are one Netflix, but if you don't have any luck there, I suggest checking your local library!

What are your Valentine's date plans (if you have any?).  We went bowling and shopping last week, so we'll probably just hang out and watch a movie tonight.

 (Photo taken by Wyatt!)


Old School Blogger Shoutout

I think I need to create a spreadsheet because I'm losing track of who I already mentioned! 

Elizabeth from Life In St. Petersburg - Elizabeth is an American mom living in Russia.  I always find her posts interesting, whether she delves into Russian culture or not!

Carol from Pur et Simple - Carol is a mom to eight kids spread across 20 years - so she has grown kids and little ones.  It's interesting to me to read what that looks like since mine are a lot closer together!

Both of these ladies are relatively newer reads to me, but it's so interesting to peek inside life with kids in different stages and places!

Who are your favorite old school bloggers?  If I don't get some new suggestions this section is going to peter out in the next couple weeks.  Or I might switch it to specific post shout-outs.  What do you think?  

Comment below if I haven't mentioned you yet and you'd like to be featured, or tell me your favorite old-fashioned blog to read (and read this post and this post again if you need a refresher on what I mean by "old-fashioned").

What I'm Drinking: Diet Lime Coke. I know. Where's the tea?  It's just a Diet Coke kind of day.









How My Parents Made Valentine's Day Special (Even When I Was Single)




I have many great Valentine's memories from when I was growing up...and the thing is, almost none of my memories have to do with actually having a Valentine.  I never had a boyfriend until I met Derek, and I met him when I was eighteen years old, so there are a lot of years in there that could have been lonely or depressing, especially when other girls my age started dating.

My parents are the biggest reason why Valentine's Day was never depressing.  There are three things we did as a family that made it fun:

1) We ate an excessive amount of candy hearts (a tradition I continue today).

2) We all broke out the construction paper and made paper valentines for each other every year.

3) My parents gave each other sweet Valentine's Day cards (it's good for a child's heart to see their parents loving each other).

4) My parents always got us a little gift that would be waiting on the table on Valentine's Day morning.

That was enough, even during those tumultuous teenage years.  I think we underestimate the impact of the love of a parent on Valentine's Day.  It doesn't have to be anything big and flashy, just something small to remind your kids that no matter their relationship status, they are seen and loved by you.

I plan to do these things with my kids, and I also am hoping to spread the valentine joy outside of our immediate family to our cousins and friends as well!  I think I have a subconscious goal to not let any children in my kids' circles to feel forgotten on Valentine's Day.

If you are of a mind to join me...I have a long list of Valentine's Day gift ideas for kids on Tommy Nelson this week! Ideas for classroom valentines, and Valentine's Day gift ideas for your own kids too!  Read all my ideas here, then come back and tell me if I missed anything, por favor!

And Happy (early) Valentine's Day to you!








A Homeschool Usborne Book Wishlist (First Grade)



One of the most fun things about homeschooling so far has been researching and trying to decide on different curricula.  For Kindergarten we haven't really done a curriculum per se, we've just been working our way through a bunch of different books, doing crafts, and working on reading and math skills.  I haven't quite made up my mind what curriculum we will use for first grade this next year, but I've been searching through different options, and I've come to a conclusion - whatever we pick, I want to use (or build) a curriculum that uses real books.



We got Wyatt the Usborne Children's Encyclopedia for Christmas, and he poured over it for two days.  He asked me questions about all the pictures, and I told him what the words on the page said, and he was just fascinated.  It was so fun to watch him learning just for the joy of it.  While I think we will follow some sort of curriculum, I want to make sure we have plenty of interesting books around that fit in with what we are learning, to make the whole year more fun.

I've been making book lists galore, but today I wanted to focus on Usborne books!  A friend of mine, Brittney, asked me if I would host an Usborne Facebook party, and it sounded like a lot of fun - so I've been going through their thousands of books and making a list of the ones I'd like to get for school next year.  I'll share the ones I'm thinking about getting, but first, let's talk quickly about the ones I have, shall we?

Usborne Books We Already Have




The Children's Encyclopedia - Like I said above, this one has been a hit.  I think it's the full-page gorgeous illustrations that have really sucked Wyatt in.  I'm not going to lie, there were a few pages I felt the required more explanation (like the world religions or aliens pages), but they are easy enough to skip if you don't agree with or your child isn't ready for some of it.







How Things Work - This book is just so cool.  It's a flap book, and under each flap it gives pictures and descriptions about how the different things in this book work. 






Horses & Ponies and Weather - I bunch these together because they are the same type of book.  These books have fun illustrations and less text because they are meant for younger readers - but I love it because the few words are used really well, and these books get a lot deeper into the topics than you would expect them to.  They have a bunch of these on different topics, and I'm hoping to get more!




Birds Pocket Book - Have I mentioned that our family is really into birds?  We don't know a lot about distinguishing birds, but we would like to learn more.  All of my kids love flipping through the Audubon bird app on my phone, and this is like the book form!

Starting Chess (not pictured) - I forgot I had this one until I sat down to start typing!  Derek is very good at chess, and I picked this up as a supplement for when Wyatt is ready to start learning (which probably is sooner than I think).

So those are the books I have, now on to the books I want.

Usborne Books On My Homeschool To-Buy List

These are the books that I would love to have as we introduce different subjects over the next few years, in addition to the ones I already have.


Science And Nature

The Outdoor Book - I think we would love this for ideas of activities to do outside and nature study!

Human Body Reference Book and Shine-A-Light Human Body Book - This is my area of interest (biology), so I think this looks fun.  And the shine-a-light book adds an interesting element!

Poisonous Animals (etc.) - This is one of those great books for young readers!

How Things Grow - I think I need this book to help my black thumb.

Astronomy And Space Reference Book - I don't know if I even need to explain this. Yay for space!

100 Science Experiments - Someone told me I need this, and I think I do!

History

Big Picture Atlas - I think this will be good for context with different historical events.

Living Long Ago - I'm still not sure my kids grasp how different life was 200 years ago, so this looks great!

Christopher Columbus - One of the few American history books.  Usborne, I know you are British, but more on the American History front please!

See Inside Exploration And Discovery and The Story Of Inventions - These looked really interesting to me.


Reading and Writing

Illustrated Grammar And Punctuation - We are a way off from needing this yet, but my grammar nerd is coming out!  I love this idea!


Illustrated Classics: Huckleberry Finn And Other Stories - This is one of a few classics collections that are condensed and rewritten for young readers, and I am really curious about them.


Miscellaneous (aka. Just For Fun)

Over 50 Secret Codes - I would have loved this as a kid.

Fingerprint Activities: Animals - This just looks adorable, and would be so fun for everyone, including the little two!

First Book About The Orchestra - The kids love Maestro Classics (#affiliate), and I think this book would be a great visual to understand the different instruments.

Big Keyboard Book - We are still hoping to teach our kids how to play the piano, and this looks useful!



I could go on, but you get the idea! There are just a lot of really fun books.  Clearly it's probably going to take me longer than the next year to collect all these!  Maybe I should retitle this post "Usborne Books For Early Elementary", because I think all of these will last well beyond first grade!

Now for a little plug - the Facebook party is tomorrow night at 8 PM EST, and Brittney has a bunch of fun things planned - including a drawing for a book prize!  So if you want to check Usborne out, this is a good chance! If you comment below saying you want to join, I'll send you an email to add you to the party!  Or if you have your eye on something and want to buy without attending the party...can you purchase through any of these links and select my eShow on the left before checkout? Because then I can earn discounts on books! (Shameless plug, I know.)  Party is open until next Monday!

Do any of you have some Usborne books?  What would you recommend to me for the elementary school years?  

I'd love to hear!




P.S. Brittany also made me this handy graphic for Usborne books that go with different curricula!  Pin this!






Two Dates (This Never Happens, People)

(Note: This is not actually what I wore on our date, I just am feeling lazy about taking a new photo this morning, and outfit photos seemed like a good fit for this post.)

Derek and I went on two, count 'em two, dates last week!  This is very noteworthy.  I know there is that big push to do a weekly date night as a married couple, to which the only thing I have to say is - "ha!".  We have four kids under the age of six.  There is no possible way we could do a weekly date night.

Babysitters

For our dates, we rely exclusively on the goodwill of our families as babysitters.  Which made me curious, does anyone hire babysitters for their kids?  If you do, I have questions.

Where did you find your babysitter?

Have you ever regretted who you hired to watch your kids or felt the need to switch babysitters?

What is the going rate these days? I'm pretty sure I can't afford it (x) four kids.

I only ask these things because I am curious, because I think it would have to be a pretty special young lady for me to feel like she could be an acceptable substitute for grandparents.

Bowling Date Night

First date night - we went bowling! (Thanks to my sister for watching the kids!)  I haven't been bowling in forever, but Derek and I have been thinking of starting a monthly bowling night for the last...three years?  We clearly can't seem to get our act together.  However, they just opened a new bowling alley in our mall, so we went to check it out.  It was so fun!  

I've determined I need to develop my bowling style though.  I always feel self-conscious when I see everyone around me (my dear husband included), bowling with such flair, and I pretty much just walk straight up and swing the ball.  Derek tells me my style is girly, but I know it's also boring!

Even though I wore something else for our date, this would be a good bowling outfit, no?  Just switch the boots out for bowling shoes (I am proud to say that I actually have my own bowling shoes.)








Earrings: $0.50 at Forever21
Shirt: Francesca's
Moto Jeans: JustFab
Snap Sweater: Jane.com
Bag: JustFab
Button socks: Target
Booties: A Christmas gift.


Lunch And Shopping Date

This was our early Valentine's Day date, because next weekend is Wyatt's birthday, and the weekend after that we already have plans.  So we dropped the kids off for a day with Gramie and Poppa, and went out to lunch at Macaroni Grill.  I got the lasagna, but unfortunately it was cold.  We asked them to heat it up, but I didn't finish it because then it felt soggy.  You win some, you lose some.  After lunch we walked around the mall, and Derek won his way into my heart (again), by telling me to pick whatever candle I wanted in Yankee Candle (Yankee candles may be my love language).  

I chose Meadow Showers.  I was going to pick Emerald Isle, but they only had three of those left, none of which was oily enough.  If you don't buy a really oily Yankee candle, it's just not worth the money.  But pick one with lots of oil, and it will fill an entire floor of your house with scent.

We topped off the date with ice cream at Cold Stone creamery! 

Notice The Lack Of Movies

We did not go to a movie for any of our dates, and the reason is that I am convinced Hollywood can't come up with anything worth seeing anymore.  The last three movies we went saw were a disappointment, and I just wasn't sure I was willing to risk more money on a movie I might not enjoy.  Derek and I have discussed at length what we think the problem may be, and here are a few of our theories:

1) They can't come up with anything original anymore.  So many movies lately are remakes of stories that have been successful in the past.  And they still manage to mess some of those up!  Case in point - Tarzan.  One of the several movies that have been a big old "wah wah wah" over the last year.

2) Someone in Hollywood needs to take a class on character development.  The last several movies that I've seen, one of my main complaints is that I can't seem to connect to the characters.  I don't know who they are as a person, their personalities aren't presented well, I can't see the progression of their relationships in the movie, I can't really figure out why their problems are such big problems to them personally, they aren't relatable.  In short, I don't really care about them.  And that's Hollywood's job, to make me care about the characters! Something is going awry, and I would tell them how to fix it, but then what are we paying them the big bucks for?

3) Did someone forget that there is a category called "romantic comedy"?  The last time I saw a decent romantic comedy...well no, a romantic comedy at all, was several years ago.  So many of the romantic movies that are out right now are so serious and/or depressing.  What is going on here?  It's almost Valentine's Day, shouldn't there be a wealth of this category at this time of year?  Where are all the rom coms?  Am I missing something?

Basically, we've decided that there are no recent good movies except ones that are based on true stories.  If we want to see a movie these days, it better be based on a true story, or there is a better than likely chance we aren't going to enjoy it.  

Am I the only one with current movie woes?  Have you seen anything good lately (that wasn't a true story)?

Old School Blogger Shoutout

These are a couple ladies that I've gotten to know largely through social media over the last couple years, and their blogs have become some of my favorites to read!  They share thoughtful, encouraging posts, and I'm happy to introduce them to you today.

Gina at Baby Blue Mom - Gina always has great insights and encouragements for moms, and she really inspires me to be a better hostess!  I love her hospitality tips.  She is expecting her third baby, due pretty soon!  Her husband also works at White Horse Inn, a great resource that I have been enjoying (when I have time to read something other than books for review!).

Elisha at Grateful With Two - Pronounced "uh-lee-sha"!  Elisha is homeschooling her two boys, and she is also an avid reader...so I think you see why we have become friends! She is a sweetheart, and I love reading her thoughts!

Also, a repeat shout-out to Meghan and Alex, old-school blog friends who had their babies over the last couple weeks!

What I'm Drinking: Vanilla Jasmine herbal tea.  With candy hearts, of course! (A delight for my tastebuds, a bane for my waistline.  I will not be too upset when Valentine's day is over and this temptation is out of my life.)

P.S An old-school blog friend, Brittany, is throwing me an Usborne book party! If you are interested in joining the Facebook party on Thursday, let me know in a comment and I'll send you the link to join - otherwise, check out Usborne books here!  I'm hoping to have a post up tomorrow about my Usborne wishlist for homeschooling next year, so stay tuned!




The Best Classroom Valentines


(Some affiliate links in this post.)

Last week I shared our crayon-melt valentine gifts, and some Minted Valentine's cards to go with them.  Well, after much deliberation, I made up my mind and chose some cards for the kids to hand out to their friends! Minted had some great coloring/melted themed cards, but in the end, these are the designs that were calling my name for the kids, and I just decided to go with it.  

I was not disappointed!  The cards came and they are so cute! The quality is also excellent, and I'm almost sorry to waste them on preschoolers (but their moms will appreciate them).





Clyde is so into anything transportation-related, and I thought this message was adorable for all his little two-year-old classmates! 




I did let Wyatt have a choice between a couple different invitations, and this is the one he picked!  He liked the airplane on it, and I thought this was the perfect card for a six-year-old boy to hand out to his friends!






And then Gwen's.  I just knew it had to be pink!  My favorite part of this card is the gold pressed foil lettering on the front.  It's so fancy! For Gwen's card I also decided to try out the tic-tac-toe backer, and now I'm kind of regretting that I didn't choose it for the boys too - it's so fun!




So there you go, those are the cards my kids will be handing out to their friends! If you are ever in the market for classroom valentine cards, keep Minted in mind!  Their quality can't be beat, and these designs were just a few of the dozens of adorable options!

Where do you buy valentines for your kids? Are you going with a theme, or just whatever strikes your fancy (like me)?



Note: I received the above valentines for free from Minted in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.

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