Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Big Boy Birthday!

Ten!  My firstborn son is ten years old! I can still hardly believe it!  As you know, turning ten is kind of a big deal. We offered Nate the choice of a party (like we usually do) OR a special outing for him and one friend to Kings Island. Having never been to an amusement park before, Nate hardly hesitated. Kings Island was the obvious choice!

We went on a Friday at the beginning of June (actually a month before Nate's birthday) to avoid the July heat and crowds. It was perfect. There were hardly any lines at all. I think the longest we waited for a ride was 15min!! Nate could hardly believe it when we told him that in the past when Daddy and I had been there we had waited in line for over an hour for rides!

Nate's friend Liam had never been to an amusement park before either so it was great for them to experience their first roller coaster rides together. Every ride the boys would hesitate, saying it was gonna be too big/scary/etc as we went through the line... and then they would ride and LOVE it!

What a wonderful day with a few of my favorite guys!! Happy birthday to my baby boy!!  ;-)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Themed Baby Shower!

We had such a great time putting together a Children's Book Themed baby shower for my sister-in-law. Pinterest was such a help during the planning process!! I pinned tons of ideas on my Baby Shower board. But a few posts in particular played a big part in deciding what we did. ;-) 
This post inspired our invitations which were made using this free downloadable library card template.

And what is a party without awesome food? Taking notes from posts like this one, this one and this one, each item on our menu corresponded with a children's book.

 We printed cupcake toppers and mounted them on skewers and cardstock. These printables are similar to what we use.

 And of course... there were games. We loved the Baby Shower Price is Right!

The best part was having all of us all together and being able to bless the mom-to-be! Congrats to Jenny and Kyle!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

American Sniper DVD Giveaway

I think I was one of the last people to see this movie. I had mild interest in it at first but ended up seeing it on a date night with my husband. We were both blown away by Chris Kyle's story and Bradley Cooper's portrayal of him.

Word of warning, in case it isn't obvious, there are some graphic scenes of war and a lot of language. So, I wouldn't suggest watching this movie with children. But it could be a good conversation starter with teens.

I just have to call your attention to Warners’ pretty cool campaign to donate one dollar from each DVD sold to the Wounded Warriors Project. What a great way for them to give back to our wounded men and women.

I have the privilege of giving away a DVD/BlueRay Combo pack!  Check out the rafflecopter below to see all the ways you can enter to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the event that you don’t win the giveaway I’ve included an link here: where you can easily purchase the DVD or BluRay for yourself or a loved one.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Cinco De Minion Party!

This year we made the choice to combine Joe and Christine's birthdays into one party. They are 6weeks apart and I kind of go all out. So, that is a lot of planning for me to do in a short period of time. We decided to celebrate both kids on Christine's birthday which is May 5th - Cinco De Mayo. But an ordinary cinco de mayo theme wasn't enough, so we took a hint from Despicable Me 2 and we had a Cinco De Minion party!
 Because it was a combined party, our guest list was even longer than usual. So we asked my parents if we could have the shin-dig at their farm. Lots of space for the kids to roam around and plus they have some fun things for the kids to do including a "train" and bounce house. Another change we made this year was we made the party a pitch-in. So each family brought various Mexican dishes. Seriously, we ate GOOD! YUM!!

 We had a fabulous photobooth and got pictures of every family that attended the party. This is my crazy crew, including the two birthday kiddos!
 After dinner and games everyone gathered in the barn and we closed the doors... making it pretty dark, allowing us to project Despicable Me the movie on the wall and watch it like a cross between a movie theater and a drive-in movie.

I had been planning and gathering minion treats and such for quite some time. I kind of went a little minion crazy. This was the first party of ours that a few families had attended... they were really impressed. I am afraid that they will be sorely disappointed by the next party which is unlikely to be as extravagant! ;-)

  *writing this post reminded me of Arrested Development's Cinco De Cuatro... those who watched it will know what I am talking about.  ;-)


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Veggie Tales DVD review & giveaway!

As a homeschool mom I try to incorporate creative activities into our school days. Sometimes.  ;-) So, when we got the opportunity to review the new VeggieTales dvd I thought it would be a good chance for Nate to participate via his own blog: Nate's Movie Review. Here is what he had to say about the movie.

We sometimes get movies before they become available at stores so that we can "rate" them. To be honest, I strongly prefer the older kind of animation. If I were to "rate" VeggieTales Noah's Ark, I would say it was preeety funny.  Do you want me to spoil it?? Okay,if ya say so...

It starts with Shem and his new wife, Sadie, coming home from their honeymoon. When they return, Noah's building a gigantic orange slice ark!!!  Wayne Brady plays the voice of Shem, and it introduces 7 new songs!! I think this movie would be best for kids ages 2-5yrs.

 We have one copy of VeggieTales Noah's Ark DVD to give away.  Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Its been a great year!

 I often feel like we have more than our fair share of challenges. And maybe its true. But we all have our challenges. I try not to let people say that mine are bigger than theirs, because we each have our own mountains to climb. What is the use in comparing?

This past year had its fill of challenges. Lots of medical paperwork. Countless phone calls with insurance, doctor's offices, therapists and medicaid personnel. Tantrums and tumbles. Dirty diapers and tear streaked cheeks.

Awhile back I read an article online that really captured how amazed I often am with Nate. Dear Sibling to a Child With Special Needs could have been written about Nate himself. In a way it is.

 Throughout the early part of the year Nate was getting frustrated to the point of tears almost daily. The tantrums from his brother and seeing me frequently frazzled really got to him. Can't blame him for being shaken up sometimes.

We had a lot of talks about finding the good in each day. Not letting a bad situation or frustrating circumstance get us down. We had this conversation a LOT. Frankly, I think I was talking to myself as much as I was talking to him.

At first I didn't really notice that these talks were starting to make a difference. But after awhile Nate started saying "its been a great day". Sometimes it was in response to something good that had happened (going to a playdate or out to lunch) but other times, it was just because he knew that even though we sometimes have to deal with hard things, we are still blessed. Even Nate's friends and their parents have taken notice of his new "outlook on life".

I have told him how remarkable that it is for him to have purposefully changed the way he thought about life, his life. There are plenty of adults who have not been able to grasp this concept of recognizing the good in our life even while going through hard times. This wonderful outlook that he has taken on gives me hope for the man he is on his way to becoming. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Good Lie Review and Giveaway!

I can't express how excited I am to share this giveaway with you all!! 

If you haven't heard about it yet, The Good Lie follows a group of children orphaned by the brutal Civil war in Sudan that began in 1983. As the tattered children make the difficult trek to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, they meet other fleeing children, forging a bond with Jeremiah, who, at 13, is already a man of faith, and Paul, whose skills become essential to their survival.   Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3600 lost boys and girls to America. Three brothers are given the chance to resettle in America arrive in Kansas City, Missouri.  
Upon arriving in Kansas, they are met by Carrie Davis (Witherspoon), an employment agency counselor who has been enlisted to help find them jobs—no easy task, when things like straws, light switches and telephones are brand new to them.  Together, against the backdrop of their shared losses, the Lost Boys and some unlikely strangers find humor in the clash of cultures, and heartbreak as well as hope in the challenges of life in America. 

I was seriously blown away by this movie. The heart and soul you see in these children as they go through such hardships and just keep going is amazing. The sincerity throughout the movie is evident in the excellent performances and direction. I was moved to tears more than once as I followed these endearing people on their incredible journey. Frankly, after watching the movie I feel I want meet them in real life to glean some wisdom from them! I left the theater feeling truly inspired by this true story of strength, sacrifice and loyalty.

I have the privilege to give one lucky winner a copy of The Good Lie DVD!! Giveaway ends at midnight on Christmas Eve! So the winner will have their prize by New Years! Take a moment to enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter below:
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