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Family Movie Night

23 Nov

Sunday is in four days and already I’m planning for 6:00.

I know what the snack will be: popcorn and juice.  Except my son prefers dry cereal instead of popcorn.

I know we will spread out the big pink blanket on our den floor and the kids will pick “one pillow and one animal each” to pile up and pick their spot.

I know we will turn out all the lights and close the blinds and make it “like the real movies.”

What is always a surprise to everyone is:  What movie are we watching?!

That, my friends, takes some real research.

Family movie night is a great family activity for everyone to enjoy together.  It is also a great way to relax and not have to spend a lot of energy enjoying the activity together.  It can be more than that, too, though.  Watching a movie as a family can make memories if the movie selection is thoughtful.  Movie can also create discussion among the family members that promotes healthy lifestyles.

Here are some tips for creating your own family movie night:

Set the stage. Turn out the lights, set up a pallet on the floor, and grab some snacks that everyone will think is a treat. Make everyone comfortable and cozy before you even start.

Make it an event. If your family calendar looks anything like mine, it’s hard to find everyone in one place at the same time.  We do this every Sunday night, two hours before bedtime.  It is just the best time that works for us.  There is an occasional Sunday that we are not able to schedule it, but for the most part, we look forward to this time each week.  Because we know this is the scheduled time, our whole family has come to view this as a major highlight to our week.  It has become a regular family tradition.

Do a little research. Choose a movie that will appeal to everyone.  This is a very personal decision from one family to the next, as parenting styles differ as far as how much violence, emotional content, or crude language should be introduced to children and at what ages.  Certain websites are devoted to helping with these specifics, such as Focus on the Family’s  Plugged In or Parent Previews.   These reviews can keep from any “surprises” showing up in the movie.  Sometimes I can read a movie review and I can discern whether or not my own children could handle the specific content in that particular movie.

Discuss thematic elements.  Movies are great teaching tools.  They can convey stories which evoke sympathy, compassion, a sense of justice, and moral conviction.  They can teach about nature and preservation or about expanding upon the gifts God has given us.  Looking for teachable moments in movies is a great way to get family discussion going.  It is also a great way to identify and verbalize your own family’s values and the ways you may differ from others.

Look at the classics.  Sometimes we watch a current hit, but more often we watch a throwback from my own childhood or a classic movie from even before that.  It can sometimes be challenging to find: if our local library doesn’t have it for lending, sometimes Redbox, Apple TV or OnDemand on Cable will come through for me.

So what are some good movies to watch?

The website Teach with Movies is a great place to look around for age-specific or theme based ideas.

And, while each family is different, here are some of the favorites from our family, with children ages 4, 6, and 8:

  • E. T.
  • My Side of the Mountain
  • Swiss Family Robinson
  • In Search of Bobby Fisher
  • Free Willy
  • The Indian in the Cupboard
  • Everyone’s Hero

Enjoy your family movie night, and discuss it all week long!  Post back here and let me know if you have good movies to share!

The One in the Middle

21 May

First it happened that my baby

was suddenly no longer the baby,

which suited her just fine.

But somewhere along the way her own little personality blossomed

her own interests took shape

and she was ready to take on the world.

And with charm like this, there isn’t much she can’t conquer.

She’s our star for sure.

And now she’s been given her walking papers for Kindergarten.

It’s here and it’s official. And while I know it was a process in the making, it feels like I forgot to pencil it in on my calendar and I missed it coming.

But I sure am proud.

Another Gold Medal

15 May

Today was the culmination of a year of bragging rights for Gold Medal Husband.

Because of his busy work schedule he doesn’t get a lot of guy time with his friends.  Usually it comes in the form of weekend trips away, like the annual turkey hinting trip he’s been on for the past 20 years.  About three years ago, his buddies implemented a golf tournament.  They call it the “Woody,” named after the organizer of the tournament.  GMH loves to play golf — in fact, he’s pretty good at it — but he rarely has time to pick up his sticks anymore.  He was really just going out to have fun.

It seems he had more than fun at the Woody that year.  He came home with enough cash winnings to buy us a flat screen TV!  Awesome.

Soon after, he played in a local charity tournament, for our hospital.  He was paired with an amateur who was playing for pro status the following week.  Guess what?  They won.  This time, being a charity tournament and all, he won a crystal bowl…and bragging rights. He was happy to take the bragging rights!

The past couple of years he’s played in the same two tournaments, again with little practice time.  This time it showed: he came in dead last (AKA Wee Willie) at the Woody and not-so-great at the charity tournament.  Ah, well, you can’t win ’em all, right?  Well.  I don’t play games with GMH.  He has loads and loads of lovely qualities, but you see, playing games is not one of them.  I don’t even play Uno or Monopoly with him for fear that he will cheat to win.  So the whole “just play for fun” strategy was not getting it with him.  So he tried a different tactic:  bragging.  Without the rights.  He has bragged and trash-talked and cocked all over town in a cumulative fashion for the entire past year about how he is going to win the 2011 tournaments.  He has “prepped” by playing every weekend for the past two months.    And the whole. world. has. heard. about. it.

The charity tournament weekend has finally arrived. He’s been so arrogant he’s been downright hard to live with. Really it’s all been just jokes and mostly ribbing (with a lot of eye-rolling thrown in on my end).

He had a great time.
He didn’t win the tournament.
But he did win the chipping contest.
And the prize was….
a brand new car!
My husband won a car today.
When is the Woody again???




Out of the mouths of babes

18 Nov

Yesterday when I walked in to pick up Boo at preschool she was holding her artwork of the day to show me what she’d made.  “Look!  It’s a ship!” she exclaimed.  “Yes, Boo, is it a pilgrim ship?” I asked.  Thanksgiving is next week and her lovely popsicle stick ship had two broad sails across the top of the construction paper.  She shook her head proudly, excited I knew what it was.  “Do you know the name of the ship?”  I asked, wondering if they’d learned a lesson about it that day as well. 

Boo stood a little taller as she loudly and confidently exclaimed: “The Flower Pot!”

As cute as was it reminded me of the night before when I was reduced to tears and aching ribs at the dinner table.

J2: “Why was Jesus born on an island?”
J3: “Whaaat? Jesus..born on an island?”  Visions of donkeys travelling in faraway lands and Mary and Joseph knocking on doors of inn after inn until finding a nearby stable filled my head.  Nope, no island there in my memory bank.
Me: “What did you get that idea, honey?”
J2: “Well, we have been singing that song, you know ♪♫ ‘No-el, no-el ♪ No-el No-eeelll ♫♪ …born off the co-ast of Is-ra-el ♫…”

Next I had to explain why I was crying at the dinner table if I was really laughing on the inside…

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