Friday, April 11, 2014

Spiral Night at Harbor School

Last night was magical.  Walking through each of the classrooms, that hold children as young as 3 and as old as 2nd grade was incredible.  Once a year the Harbor school holds a sprial night.  The theme changes each year.  Last year the theme was the human body.  We went through each classroom and looked at the incredible projects that had been created based on the body.  There were questions to answer in each room, contests as well.  The excitement built as we exited one room and entered the next. After last year's spiral night I did not know how this year could be better.

The theme this year was Artists.  Each child wore a piece of art (that they had decorated themselves).  We were handed our artists' passport with secret mini photos inside, one special picture to find in each classroom.  We were excited to enter our own Museum!

The artwork was incredible.  We enjoyed each and every room.  The teachers and kids are so incredibly creative and talented. 
The entry wall was inspired by Mondrian.  I love how each child had such a different final project.

The Gelede Headdresses were really creative. Honestly, each display was more impressive than the next.
This map was AWESOME!  I wish I had time to read everything.
Two classes studied Leonardo Da Vinci.  These sketches were so detailed and I loved reading the descriptions as well.
Diane's class made flying machines.

Each child in Diane's class studied an artist and then displayed a poster with some of their art.  Diane was excited to choose her Great Aunt Carla as her favorite artist.  I am not sure who was more excited Diane or Carla!  Diane learned that she and Carla have a lot in common. They both love dogs, cats and birds.  They both love pink, purple and aqua.

But wait, Diane's class did something even cooler.  They replicated Lascaux Cave.  Imagine having an actual cave in your classroom.  The kids each made paintings and the paintings were hung up inside, on top of, and all around the cave. It was so much fun walking into a cave in your Kindergarten classroom.  This is something Diane will never forget.

I have so many more pictures to post and no time to do it.  This blog post has been sitting open on my computer for about 10 hours now.  I keep sitting down and adding one more thing, then getting busy with something else.  I live-tweeted many other photos on Twitter #spiralnight.  Here are a few more of my favorite displays!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

International Day of Happiness is a great way to show our #Disneyside

This post was scheduled to go up on Thursday last week.  Alas, it did not.  But it is not too late to talk about two wonderful things, The International Day of Happiness and ways to show our #Disneyside.

What is the International Day of Happiness?  The HuffPo had a great compilation of articles here telling you all the ways you can be happier. I love that being happier had a day, but why only one day? We need this to last forever.  No one seems happy anymore.  There is so much tragedy and reason to be sad.  But, wouldn't it be nice if people smiled more and treated you with kindness?

Strangely enough on the Day of Happiness, I did feel happier.  I went on a few shopping errands, and I saw people smiling.  In one store two employees went out their way to chat with me and my daughter and they even offered us fresh baked cookies, for free! Not much makes my daughter happier than hot chocolate chip cookies, YUM.  But maybe it was me. Maybe I was trying to feel happier and smile more, and in return others were showing the same feelings.  I loved the Happiness Day and I hope that if I feel happier it will be contagious and rub off on others around me.

I cannot end Happiness Day without the song that is being played almost as often as Let it Go.  I hope today is very happy for all of you!

But, before I go, I need to quickly post and fill you in on our #Disneyside party.
The most exciting part of our party was the buildup, waiting for our #Disneyside party box to arrive.  Every single day Diane and Molly would wait for the UPS man.

Finally the box we were waiting for!  We could not wait to see the goodies inside.
                   Stay tuned for more photos and stories from our party and show me your #DisneySide!
Our family has been showing our #Disneyside for the past 25 years.  I visited Disneyworld as a child a few times and so did my husband.  We won a trip to Disney, and we took our inlaws with us.  Then we went to Disney for our HONEYMOON!  We have had our DVC membership for the past 20 years and showing our #Disneyside makes us very happy.  So many of our best family memories are from our trips to Disney.
Do you want to learn more about Disney Side?   Check out and and get inspired to show off YOUR Disney Side!

I was provided a suitcase full of amazing party supplies and ideas by Disney, HP, American Tourister, Disney Parks, Mom Select, Hanes, and Ocean Spray to create this fantastic party.  The ideas and opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mr Peabody and Sherman Real Parents Review

Mr Peabody and Sherman is a new film by Dreamworks based on a 70s cartoon from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show.
When you were a kid, did you enjoy this cartoon? I do not remembering watching it, but my husband remembers it fondly.  The new Mr Peabody and Sherman movie is a current version of the same story.  We saw a sneak preview of the movie this weekend and we enjoyed it very much.

In the new movie, we are introduced to Mr Peabody(a dog) who is the adoptive father of Sherman(a human). Mr Peabody is a dog of unmatched intellect.  One of Mr Peabody's fantastic inventions is something called the WABAC (pronounced "way - back") machine and is basically, a time machine. In the original cartoon series, they used the time machine to go back in time and learn about various historical characters and events.  In the new movie the WABAC machine has been modernized and their travels through wormholes looks like something out of Star Trek.  Mr Peabody tells Sherman to never go in the WABAC machine without him.

As the movie begins, Sherman is now old enough to attend school and his experiences with Mr Peabody (and the fact that his father is a dog) set him apart from his classmates and put him at odds with one popular girl in particular (Penny) who prior to his attendance, was the top student.  She then goes out of her way to bully and make fun of him.  Mr Peabody decides a good way to overcome this, is to have Penny and her parents over for dinner.  Everyone is a bit uneasy at this prospect, but they all give it a try. Despite an amazing evening planned by Mr Peabody, Penny and her family are still skeptical. While the parents/dog are chatting, Penny continued to tease Sherman about his thoughts on history.  Sherman decides to prove to Penny that his history knowledge is correct and he pulls her in to the WABAC machine.  Their trip through time does not go as planned, and you need to see the movie to see all the mayhem that Sherman and Penny cause and who they meet.
I felt like I was one of the few people who knew where these characters came from at our screening.  But even without the prior knowledge, it appeared that both children and parents enjoyed this movie. There are plenty of jokes that parents will enjoy and the children will not understand.  
This movie really tackles the issue of bullying and good strategies for overcoming this problem without being preachy about it.  There is very little violence (only of the cartoon type) and no cursing that we can recall.  I would highly recommend this movie for children 5 and up. Parents and kids give this movie 4.5 stars out of 5.  Enjoy!
Here is the current trailer for you to watch with your kids before going to the movie:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Toopy and Binoo

Have you heard of Toopy and Binoo yet?
Toopy and Binoo™ is an animated series that follows the adventures of Toopy, a tall, funny and friendly mouse, and his best friend Binoo, a tiny, clever and lovable white cat. 
Your children will  laugh out loud as the charming and endearing friends explore their colorful, whimsical world. Binoo, always logical and perceptive, is the perfect sidekick for Toopy and his vivid imagination and spontaneous zest for life. 

This series inspires preschoolers ages 2 to 6 to expand their creativity while reinforcing positive values such as friendship, good manners, creative thinking, and humor.  My daughter is 6 and she really enjoyed the DVD that was sent to us to preview.  She also enjoyed watching a few episodes on their youtube channelThe Toopy and Binoo TV YouTube channel features more than 100 full, five-minute episodes, each with laughs and stories the whole family will enjoy.  The episodes are funny in an age-appropriate way.   Toopy and Binoo teach their viewers daily life skills and encourage them to use their imagination.

Full Disclosure: We received a promotional package that included a Binoo and Toopy doll as well as a book and DVD.  My 6 year old daughter really enjoyed reading the book aloud and watching the DVD as well as many episodes on Youtube.  Molly loved the dolls so much that she ran off with them.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow days and quinoa chocolate chip cookies

This winter has been a doozy!  Snow, ice, snow and more snow!  It has been a winter wonderland. I am not sure who likes the snow more, the kids or Molly, our dog!  She can pull them through the snow on the sled. It is so funny.

We have spent a lot of time playing in the snow this week.  But you know what happens after playing in the snow? You are very hungry!
Diane is perfecting her pizza technique on our new pizza maker.
The pizzas on the Breville pizza maker are still coming out incredible.
To satisfy the munchies today I made some quinoa chocolate chip cookies that the kids said were delicious.  Thank goodness most of them do not read this blog or they might not have even tried them.  I hope you know how to make quinoa with no effort in your rice cooker.  This is what my cooked quinoa looks like.

They are really good, and quite healthy.  Ours are almost all gone.  And with more snow coming, I better start another batch!
Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 and 1/2 cups sprouted grain whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup applesauce
2T coconut oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup egg beaters or vegan egg substitute
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup cooled cooked quinoa
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375
Combine dry ingredients (flour, salt,baking powder and soda) in one small bowl.
Combine wet ingredients (applesauce, oil, sugar, maple syrup, egg, and extracts) in another bowl. 
Slowly combine wet and dry together.  Stir gently to combine, then stir in quinoa, coconut and chocolate chips.
Bake for 13 minutes, until slightly brown on the edges. Enjoy with a glass of your favorite milk.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Italian Pizza made at home!

Our family loves pizza. It is ridiculous how much pizza we consume each month.  No matter what recipe I make, no matter, how I cook it, the pizza we get from a brick oven restaurant always tastes better.
Recently I got an email from Williams Sonoma featuring a new product from Breville. I have many Breville products, and they are all awesome.  I deleted the email, only to read about this same pizza maker on a blog two months later.  Somehow Williams Sonoma must have been reading my mind, since that same day they sent me a coupon for 15% off any item in their online store.  I showed the son who is a chef, and he said buy it.
The Breville Pizza Maker is pretty amazing.  It has a pizza stone that can be removed and cleaned.  The crust that comes out of these pizzas is incredible!!!  I have no idea how this works, but it is awesome.
A few warnings about this pizza maker
*You will consume too much pizza
*You will make a big mess while creating your pizzas
*You might set off your smoke detector if you do not clean your pizza stone.  And then your dog will completely freak out at the beeping of the smoke detector.
*You might inhale many amazing pizzas in a short period of time. You have been warned!
*It will be hard to get a good photo of a pizza, because they are eaten too quickly.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget? 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Take your child to the Library Day plus a GIVEAWAY!

Yesterday was Take Your Child to the Library day.  If you went to the library yesterday, great job! If not, you still can go another day.  We love the library.  We reserve our books online, and go pick them up as soon as we get the magic email that they are ready.  Of course, we also browse all the new books in the kids area.  The library is one of the best free spots around.

Now that Diane is reading on her own, and really getting into a groove with reading, the library is even more important and we go more often.

Back in September we attended a We Teach Workshop locally.  We learned a ton, got out of the house, and Diane even got to decorate her own cupcake.
Win win, right?  In our swag bag, we received a free three month trial to an app we had never heard of before, Bookboard.  We downloaded it as soon as we got home.  The app allowed us to customize the reading experience as well as find age appropriate books for 3 of my kids.  My older kids have not used it as much, probably because the new 6 year old avid reader is not letting them!  Diane can choose if she wants to read a book herself or if she wants to have a voice read to her.  After each book she reads, she unlocks another level, and after 3 levels, a NEW book!  Unlocking the new books is really exciting when you are six.  There is a nice variety on the easy reading level.  We really have not looked closely at the harder books, but we will.  In honor of Take your child to the Library Day, Bookboard was nice enough to give me a one year subscription to their service. Can you say best gift EVER? We have been busy reading and unlocking books in the past week. And guess what??? Bookboard also gave me a one year subscription to share with one of my readers.

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