February 2012

Summer Activities


Each summer there are a few activities that my girls and I make sure we do at least once before the summer comes to an end. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard to squeeze these activities in, but one of my kids goes to school all year long. I also work all year long, and homeschool my other daughter during the month of July.

The first activity we have on our agenda is to play miniature golf. Ideally, I’d love to go at least once per month during the summer. Financially, we can’t really go much more often than that if we want to complete the rest of our activities.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Films: Good for Girls?

As much as their saccharine sweetness annoys me, I must admit that the Olsen twins’ early work does seem better than today's drivel

If you showed me a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie that was made today, I doubt it would be very great in either plot or example of fem-power. The last one I can remember is the one where one of the sisters—I can’t remember which one—starred as the witchy girl in the adaptation of Beastly. Both the film and the book were beastly, by the way, and I wouldn’t recommend either. But standards for a teen or young adult films are much different than the ones for children, and anything they’d star in would surely have to feature midriffs and lack of lead female roles and other crappy content.

The Internet is Forever

Words do hurt.

I noticed a disturbing trend on my Facebook feed this past weekend. Many of my friends have kids in public school, and most of them were bemoaning the fact there was no school on President's Day. Their status updates saddened me. Most were complaining that they had to deal with the kids all day long. One friend even went so far as to say, “Yuck, school holiday. How am I going to deal with these kids come spring break?”

Online Shopping: A Thrill for Bargain Hunters

Do you get a thrill out of saving money? If you're a bargain hunter like I am, you know exactly what I'm talking about. There's this rush of euphoria when you get a great deal on clothing for yourself or your kids or find the perfect accent piece or furniture for a substantially discounted rate.

 

It's not just finding the perfect item, but it's saving money on something you really want that makes bargain hunting so much fun. It's like an ongoing treasure hunt that allows you to provide things for your family that wouldn't fit into your budget when they're being sold at full retail price.

A Perfect Lazy Day

Pure undisturbed tranquility

Have you ever longed for one of those long afternoons to turn into a lazy day that lasted from sun up to sun down? A perfect day that provides you with your own private solitude and tranquility is within your grasp. You only need a few things to create a lazy day that you’ll cherish for long after the day has ended.

Holy Overpriced Concessions!

As I mentioned last week, my son and husband were going to Monster Jam.  Well, they did, and they had a blast.  My four-year old regaled me with stories of smashed cars, trucks that looked like dogs, monsters and Iron Man, and in general just couldn’t stop talking about the fun he had.  I’m so glad they went and were able to create that memory together.  Those are the things that stay with you as you grow up – spending special time with Mom or Dad and seeing new things together. 

Danny Devito Does The Voice of “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”

The talented and very notable Danny Devito speaks for the trees

The talented and very notable Danny Devito speaks for the trees in the new movie that was adapted by the popular Dr. Ssuss’ book “The Lorax.”

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“The Lorax” is an environmental fable that tries to reinforce the idea that one needs to protect the environment and their trees. It is also a love story about a young boy who is trying to win the heart of a young girl, Ashley. Yes, a twelve year old boy, Ted, wants to win the heart of a young girl by showing her some real live trees. They live in a world where trees are being cut down to make trendy Thneeds.

Surviving a Stand-Off

At least once a day, I have a stand-off with my son who is four. It's all about him trying to exert his independence over me in any situation he can.

Yesterday, I wanted to take him to get something to eat at our town's drive-in. No, it's not the healthiest fare, but it was late and I didn't have time to prepare a meal.

Anyway, he wanted to eat some of the snack food we bought at the grocery store earlier. I told him, "Not right now, we're going to eat. You can have one of your snacks when we get back." He didn't like that answer and he started stomping his feet, wringing his hands and giving me that look that says that he's about to have a full-blown meltdown.

I told him that he could either act appropriately and accept the fact that he could have a snack after his supper or he could forget about having the option of a snack at all. I heard, "M-o-o-o-o-m, I just want a snack." I repeated his options to him and waited. He thought about it and then relented with a heavy sigh and an "Okay."

Visiting the Medieval Times Restaurant

A review.

I decided to take my family to the Medieval Times Restaurant while vacationing in Orlando. I remember what a great time I had when going there as a young teenager. In addition to my girls, I also brought my niece.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we picked up our pre-purchased tickets and received the color of the knight we were to root for. We got to the restaurant early so that we would have time to look around at the outdoor exhibits. I forgot that there were a lot torture devices from the Medieval Times, and they kind of scared the kids a little bit.

Break Up the Monotony with Random "Crazy" Days

Nothing brightens a day like a little slice of silly

Ever just want to do mix things up and get a little crazy? Not like, spring break crazy--funny crazy. Routines are necessary on a day to day basis, but sometimes you just need to break the mold, purely for entertainment's sake.

 

Not only will doing something a little wacky brighten your day, but your kids will love it and you'll be making lifelong memories. It's those little eccentric things that your children will look back on with a smile and share when they're sitting around with their families. And who knows? They might just pass it on as a bizarre family tradition.

The Electronic Nanny

Tethering our kids with technology.

Studies have long shown that too much television isn't a good thing, especially for children. We took that to heart in our home and reduced our kids TV time drastically – one or two hours on the weekend, tops. Enough so they can watch a favorite program or a movie. Funny thing is, they rarely use the time (except for documentaries. My 11 year old is a documentary junkie).

Hey Mom! You Don’t Need an Excuse

I don’t even know why we think we do in the first place.

Maybe it’s because, while growing up, it was always, “Why?” “Why did you forget your homework? Why didn’t you remember to take the dog for a walk or play with your sister or mind your matters?” I think that if we had known Louis CK when we were kids, we would have felt much better, instead of muttering an ashamed, “I dunno.”

It seems that this guilt has carried into adulthood for many of us. For one thing, many of us apologize for things that we don’t need to apologize for. From bumping into the furniture to actions someone else did to someone we care about, we tend to say, “I’m sorry” about four times as much as we need to. (That’s obviously a guesstimate; it could be higher.)

MIL Envy

Why does everyone have such a fabulous MIL relationship…but me?

I feel like whining. A lot. My mother tells me not to be jealous, but I told her I can’t help it. It’s in my nature as a Scorpio to be jealous.

Both of my sisters have amazing mother-in-laws who love them to pieces. One isn’t even married yet and her boyfriend’s mother dotes on her constantly, from Christmastime to trips, outings to Scentsy parties. They hang out like they are pals. My sister who is married is just about BFFs with her MIL. They do everything together, from weekly TV watching dates to shopping and eating out together. Both of these two do this without their menfolk present, while I couldn’t imagine being in the same room with my MIL without my husband present.

Don Bluth Films are What Our Children Need, Part 1

Bluth's films outshine Disney in everything from plot complexity to characters to animation.

Where did all of the Don Bluth films go? They were here for years, outshining Disney in everything from plot complexity to characters to animation (okay, perhaps not soundtracks), and then they dwindled away, suddenly came back in the ‘90s with Anastasia and Titan AE, and now they are simply gone again. I heard Bluth is still doing projects, but why aren’t they aimed at our kids when they need him and his team the most?

Don Bluth Films are What Our Children Need, Part 2

Mr. Bluth, your country needs you.

For films centered around a main male character that could still have a good balance between male and female roles, there is no greater example than An American Tale. It’s the story of a lost boy mouse, sure—but there are his mother, female birds, his sister, the girl who helps him along the way, the powerful town mouse woman who wants to stop the cats and backs the entire plan to get rid of them… The list goes on. There are still more boys than girls, but I would wager that there might be an even screen time between them, and only one is a love interest—and she, Bridget, is first and foremost and activist and does not let her love for Tony change that. She might have actually been my first inspiration for activism as a child.

Going to Monster Jam

My son, like many boys his age, has a big thing for monster trucks.  He likes playing with toy trucks and absolutely loves playing Monster Jam on the Xbox.  So when a friend mentioned that Monster Jam was coming to our area this month, of course I jumped at the chance to get tickets.  I won’t be able to go, because of the baby, and I’m keeping my two-year old home too.  I think she would get scared and not enjoy herself.

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