Monday, July 28, 2014

Dangerously Fun: Keeping Your Kids Safe this Summer - Guest Post by Mary Kremer


I'm excited to have Mary Kremer guest posting for me today!  She has some awesome tips that I knew my readers would greatly benefit from!
Summer can be incredibly fun; however, with kids running wild and a plethora of fun summer activities, it can sometimes be just plain dangerous. To help keep your kids safe, here are some common summer activities and potential hazards you should be prepared for.
Going for a Dip?
Summer is a prime time for swimming. But before you decide to go for a dip, you need to be prepared for an emergency. According to the CDC, drowning is one of the top five causes of unintentional death in the U.S., and one of every five people who drowns is a child. Children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rates. To help prevent drownings, here are some steps you can take:
  • Put barriers up: If you have a backyard pool and young children, invest in a barrier, like a pool fence, to keep young children away from the water when there’s no adult to supervise.
  • Enroll your children in swim lessons. Lack of ability to swim is a major contributor to drowning. Research has shown that formal lessons can help prevent drowning in the most vulnerable age group, 1-4 year olds.
  • Have a swim buddy: Use the buddy system while you swim to ensure everyone is always accounted for.
  • Wear life jackets! Have your inexperienced or young swimmers wear life jackets when they’re in the water.
  • Always have an adult to supervise. If there are kids in the pool, there should be an adult around who can administer CPR in case of an emergency.
It’s also important to know the signs of drowning and what to do in case it occurs. Although you may picture a drowning child as one screaming for help and flailing his arms, drowning often looks quite different. Here are some signs to look for:
  • Head low, mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Glassy eyes, unable to focus, or closed eyes
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Hair over eyes or face
  • Arm motions as if climbing a ladder
If you see a child exhibiting these behaviors, get him out of the water and perform CPR if needed.
Swimming can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to be prepared and cautious.
Spending Some Time in the Sun?
In very hot weather, our natural cooling systems can shut down, leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. This process can occur even more rapidly in a small child. Heat exhaustion manifests in nausea, vomiting, headaches, weakness, increased thirst, clammy skin, and a fever less than 104 degrees. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke, which can be deadly.
If your children will be spending a lot of time outdoors this summer, here are some tips to avoid overheating:
  • Choose loose, light clothing.
  • Stay inside during the hottest times of the day.
  • Stay hydrated. A good rule of thumb here is the 8x8 rule. Drink eight, eight ounce fluid cups a day, which is about 1.9 liters. Although the amount every person should drink changes according to your size and amount of exertion, this number is a good one to keep in mind.
  • Always use sunblock of at least SPF 30 before you go out. Reapply every few hours.
  • Don’t overdo it. Don’t plan activities in the heat of the day or when you aren’t prepared for the heat. If you or your kids are tired, or develop any symptoms of heat exhaustion, stop what you’re doing immediately.
If you or your children develop any heat exhaustion symptoms, get out of the heat and into a cool area. Drink plenty of water and loosen clothing. You may want to take a cool shower as well. If the symptoms persist for longer than 30 minutes, call a doctor, as the heat exhaustion may have progressed to heat stroke.
Or Just Hanging Out in the Backyard?
If your kids are just hanging out in the backyard, there are still a few hazards you should be aware of. Number one on that list is the trampoline. According to a study done by the Indiana University school of medicine, there were over a million injuries (including broken bones and fractures) from trampolines from 2002-2011. A million injuries!
The best way to prevent most trampoline injuries is to avoid owning one. However, if you do have a trampoline, here are some tips from Dr. Skedros to keep in mind:
  • Make sure they’re covered. Check your homeowner’s insurance to see if it covers trampoline injuries. You may be surprised to find it doesn’t. Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover trampolines. That means if your child or a neighbor’s child is injured on the trampoline, you might be in trouble.
  • Install them at ground level. A trampoline that is flush with the surrounding ground AND has a net around the perimeter is much safer for a child and much less likely to cause a serious injury.
  • Set up some ground rules. Set up some safety measures and enforce them. Only allow one child on the trampoline at a time and strictly enforce this rule. Never allow any other equipment (like bikes or toys) on at any time.
If your child is injured on the trampoline, don’t move them except to stop any bleeding and immobilize the injured area. You may want to apply an ice pack while you call for emergency help.

With precautions, many common summer injuries can be avoided. The key is to prepare and always make sure there is an adult around in case of emergency. Keep these safety precautions in mind and don’t forget to have fun!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why We Started Using Dave Ramsey's Financial Program and the Envelope System


Since we have recently gotten back on the Dave Ramsey bandwagon after my husband lost his job it, I can't even tell you how wonderful it has been!  When he first lost his job we couldn't do envelopes because we only made enough to pay the bills.  

I thought I would re-post an old post about how we got started using the Dave Ramsey program.  As I read through this post we have been going through a lot of the same things again, and following this program was exactly what we needed to do!


I love budgeting and finances. If I ever got a job it would be to be a family finance counselor. I seriously L.O.V.E. everything about figuring out money. It started when I was little and my mom would always balance her checkbook at the table and talk to herself {probably grumbling, because she doesn't love it like I do} while using her awesome big calculator. I just loved it. Now, I am not into investing, I have NO clue about any of that, but when it comes to budgeting, balancing, getting out of debt, and teaching your kids about money, I could talk to you forever about it. {don't worry not today}

The last year has been an up and down for us when it comes to money. We would be doing so good saving and not overspending, keeping to a budget, and then we had some problems with work and finding new jobs and starting school again, and all that fun stuff {insert sarcastic eye roll} We were doing fine paying our bills and everything, but we just weren't saving. In October my husbands parents introduced us to a program called Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. I was NOT interested because in order to have "financial peace" I thought you had to have a lot of money. Well it turns out you don't!! Really I promise. Read on....
My husband and I are totally changing how we do our money. I thought we were doing just fine, but we were doing a lot of nickel and diming that I didn't realize.  You know you have all done it ...you go to Target to the dollar bin section and leave having spent an extra $20 dollars that you weren't planning on spending....Urgh}

Anyway, We listened to the Dave Ramsey CD's and started his envelope system, which basically means we pay our bills and then divide what ever is left into envelopes in cash. We also got rid of the credit card. {we have one for my husband work}. For instance we have about 10 envelopes such as savings, clothes, food, gas, my scrapbook fund, vehicle maintenance, date night, etc. We take the cash we have left over after we have paid our bills for the month (or for us two weeks) and have percentages to put in each envelope totaling 100%.  If there is $30 dollars in clothes then I either save it or spend it, when it is gone it is gone and we have to wait to buy clothes until there is more money in there. It has been the best thing, because my husband doesn't get frustrated with me when I bring home a new shirt because he doesn't care as long as it was in the envelope! With gas and grocery we already know how much we need each month so we just plan for it so we will have enough!
This is the envelope system I have, but in black, I like the red.....hmmm!

Here are Dave Ramsey's Seven tips for Financial Peace
1) $1,000 emergency fund - We put this in the bank after it is saved.
2) Pay of all debt with the debt snowball - Once you have paid of your highest interest debt, roll the money over to your other debts so you are paying more and it will be payed off faster.
3) 3-6 months of expenses in savings - This comes out as a bill, We have a certain percentage that we put in there each month before we take cash out.  
4) Invest 15% of income for retirement - We are working on doing this!
6) Pay off your home early
7) Build wealth and give

We are almost done with #2 and working on #3. We started the system in November and got #1 done really quick and quite honestly I don't know how. Dave talks about giving 10% of your income to a charity. The church we belong to encourages it and I think that because we did pay a tithing that we were blessed to be able to fulfill our plan. #2 is almost done. We payed off our van, payed off a business loan and my husband bought a truck with CASH!!! {it's not that nice...ya know $1,000 dollars doesn't get me that dream 2011 King Ranch Ford F 250, but hey we're almost out of debt.} Now we are just using the debt snow ball to pay off our school loans which may take a while! Some of you might think this is way to personal to share, but I am not writing it to brag, just to show you that it is possible and that you can do it also. Do what is best for you. We were glad we found this. It has SAVED us so much, and I didn't think we even needed to be saved. ;) When I go buy things I always think, do I want to spend this money right now or should I save it for something else. Having a budget, being almost out of debt, and knowing where our money is going makes us feel WAY less stressed about money, less worried about our future, and really excited about saving.
 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Benotripia: Keys to the Dream World by McKenzie Wagner

When I heard that this author is only 13 years old, I was amazed.   She actually had her first book published when she was 7!   I also have a little 10 year old book lover / writer in my house, so I was so excited to get this book and show it to my daughter.  She is hooked!  I asked her to write the review for us today!
Keys to the Dream World blog tour
This is Mckenzie's first book series.  Her final book in the series just came out July 9th.  The series is called Benotripia and starts with The Rescue, followed by The Stones of Horsh, and then this one called Keys to the Dream World.  

You can read more about her on her website or follow her on her Facebook page!

Book Description
Roseabelle, Jessicana, and Astro are back! Roseabelle and her friends have retrieved the Stones of Horsh, but now the only way to save themselves is to destroy the Darvonians’ power source, hidden deep within a dark island. Return to the magical land of Benotripia in this thrilling conclusion to Roseabelle’s adventures!

Review
I really enjoyed this book.  It has unique characters and I like the way it was written. It is imaginative and interesting, and makes you want to read more.  It had a way cool story.  I think that if you are looking for an adventurous series, this is the one for you.  Anyone from age seven to adult would enjoy this book!  I really liked the part when they escape from the Darvonians after rescuing a very important prisoner.  I think it is really inspiring that the authors age doesn't stop her from making these books!
About the Author 
Mckenzie Wagner is 13 years old and has adored reading since she was four. Her love of books inspired her to write a book of her own, and she completed the first book of The Magic Wall series, “The Magic Meadow and the Golden Locket,” at age seven and the second book, “The Blue Lagoon and the Magic Coin,” shortly thereafter. With her new series, Benotripia, she has now expanded her writing to appeal to kids of all ages. She wishes to obtain an English degree and continue her path as an author. She currently resides in Utah with her mom, dad, and brother, Ty.



Purchase Links - Amazon / Barnes and Noble 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Diamond Rings are Deadly Things - A Wedding Planner Mystery by Rachelle Christensen

Shadow Mountain Publishing and Rachelle J. Christensen are excited to for Rachelle's new wedding planner mystery series, DIAMOND RINGS ARE DEADLY THINGS.  A couple months ago I got to do a cover reveal for this book and as of July 8th this book has hit the shelves!  I was excited to get to review this book. Here is some info about the book
Author: Rachelle J. Christensen
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: July 8th, 2014
Paperback: 320 pages
FTC FYI: Received a paperback copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.








Book Description
Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she is especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adris world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adris impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success--that is, until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. The race is to uncover a secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before Adri becomes the next victim. With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills. Diamond Rings are Deadly Things is a romantic suspense novel that will keep you turning pages long into the night.

My Review
This book was great! I love a good book that is a quick fun read.  I enjoyed the characters, mystery, humor and all.  It was very well written and a great read!  The romance isn't too much but just enough. I really enjoyed that she coordinates a real blog that she has set up to go with the book.  It's called Mashed Potatoes and Crafts.  It gives great ideas for the crafts and recipes that she shares in the beginning of each chapter.  The mystery leaves you wondering clear until the end!  I give this book two thumbs up and totally recommend it for a great summer read! This is the first book in her Wedding Planner Mystery series.  I am excited to read more! 

Christensen, Rachelle
About the Author 
Rachelle J. Christensen was born and raised in a small farming town in Idaho not far from the setting of her mystery Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking and of course reading. Rachelle has an amazing husband, five cute kids, three cats and five chickens.


Purchase Links - Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Deseret Book

Monday, July 14, 2014

Summer School at Our House - Summer Fit Learning Books

As far as Summer School goes we don't do a ton of school in the summer.  We do a Family School lesson twice a week, and then I have them work on something, such as math or grammar, once a day, unless we have a busy day then we bag it all and enjoy our summer days with friends and family.  We have had a busy summer, sometimes we have been a little bored, but we make due and create fun!  We are out of town this week with family and are having a blast!

A couple of years ago I saw these fun Summer Fit learning books.  The main reason I like these books is they have such great lesson in them to help the kids have a "Fit Brain, Fit Body, Fit Values" over the summer. They have your regular math and grammar and stuff like that, but they also have wonderful stories in them teaching great morals and values.  They also have, at the end of each lesson, a Fit Body section that has to do with exercise and getting outside!  They are divided up into 10 sections, for the 10 weeks of summer
Here is how the website explains how to use the book.
The first seven sections review the materials taught in the grade the child is leaving, while the final three sections preview the year ahead.  Each section begins with an overview of the upcoming week, as well as an incentive calendar to keep your child engaged. The weekly sections are each comprised of 10 pages of activities. While the pace is ultimately up to you and your child, the workbook is designed for the student to spend 20-30 minutes a day to complete two pages. Each week, your child’s basic academic skills are reinforced, along with character building, social skills, and healthy habits. The workbooks also promote physical fitness through exercise and play.
My daughter got to review the 5-6 Summer fit book and is enjoying it! Check out their website for some great tips, quotes fun!  found hereLike Summer Fit Learning on Facebook or Follow them on Twitter.  also check out their YouTube video found Here!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Freshly Picked Moccasins – Review & Giveaway


Have you seen these adorable Freshly Picked Moccasins?
I remember seeming them on Shark Tank in January and was so impressed by Susan's Story.  What a true entrepreneur.  

These adorable moccasins are made of suede or leather for babies or toddlers. They have a ton of awesome colors and are not just cute but well made and practical.  They have an elastic hidden band around the opening that make them super easy to slide their foot right into and also makes it so they won't fall off while they are wearing them.  

They were adorably packaged which is always a plus! They came in the cutest little white muslin drawstring bag that had the Freshly Print Logo on it with an FP pin!

I got the cutest camo pair for my little 3 year old.  He absolutely loves them and wears them EVERYWHERE!  They have held up very well, and when they get dirty they wipe off really well!
I was so excited when they offered to let me review and do a giveaway on these cutest Mocs!  I know one of my lucky readers is going to love these for their sweet baby.  


For those that just can't wait to get a pair you can purchase the moccasins on their website.  They also have a Size Guidewhich I totally recommend printing it and measuring their foot.  It is VERY true to the size on the paper if you want exact fit.  My 3 year old got a size 6 and they go up to size 10 so they will fit even older toddlers!

The Giveaway will end at 12:00 PM on the 26th so hurry and enter!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Shipping is only free for US residents. International winners will be subject to shipping charges. You can still enter the giveaway but keep that in mind :-)
** To be eligible for this giveaway, you cannot have won a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins within the last 60 days
.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Surviving Hitler - The Unlikely True Story of an SS Soldier and a Jewish Woman


I don't know where I was when we talked about World War II in history class.  Maybe I just tuned it out. I remember getting a little pit in my stomach every time I heard the name Hitler.  I remember studying it a little, but maybe I was in denial that anything could ever have happened that was so horrible.  I did read, The Diary of Anne Frank and heard about Hitler and some of the horrible things that went on during that time, but I kind of avoided reading, or learning more about it.  It was something I couldn't even fathom happening.  When I had the opportunity to review this book, Surviving Hitler, for Deseret Book I decided to participate.  I don't read a lot of non-fiction (which I should), but after seeing the title I realized it would be good for to read and learn more about this time period.  



Description of the book from Deseret Book...
Surviving Hitler is a true story written by O. Hakan Palm, the son of Gustav and Agnes who the story is written about.  It is actually told in their own words in journal form going back and forth between the two of them.  
Gustav Palm kept his secret for more than forty years. He’d been a young man when Hitler invaded his native Norway. After being forced to guard a Nazi prison camp, however, Gustav took his only option for escape: he volunteered for the Waffen-SS to fight at the front.
Agnes Erdös grew up in privilege and prosperity as a child in Hungary. She and her parents were practicing Roman Catholics, but they were ethnic Jews, and after the Nazis invaded her country, Agnes and her parents were sent to the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Miraculously, both Agnes and Gustav survived. And after the war, they found each other.
Told in their own words, Surviving Hitler is the story of two indomitable spirits who built on their life-altering experiences to overcome the past, help each other heal, and embrace a common faith in God that led them to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
Growing up hearing about Hitler and the horrible things that he did, and hearing about all the people who worked for him made me thing everyone that worked for Hitler was just as bad as him.  I was wrong.  Gustav had been convinced to join the socialist party and told that he could be a Police Officer, thinking he would be a traffic police, he took the opportunity to make better money than being a farmer.  He was completely manipulated and found himself instead feeling as a "prisoner guarding prisoners" as he found himself a guard at a Nazi prison camp.  He did get out of that because he hated it and was able to become an SS Solider and fight on the front lines.  It hit me that so many members of Hitlers army did not want to do what they did, but they were forced to do it.  They felt like prisoners themselves.  

The stories about Agnes and surviving Auscchwitz and all the horrible things she went through was very touching and eye-opening.  It was amazing how much she saw the hand of God working in her life.  She was meant to survive.  Before they got to the concentration camp her father gave her a blessing, a blessing that prepared her for the rest of her life.  Words that helped her get through all that she went though knowing that she WOULD make it!

Their amazing story encompasses true faith, forgiveness, and unconditional love.  Near the end it talks about how they met and found the Church of Jesus  Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

This book is amazing, inspirational and wonderful!  It is very well written and tasteful.  The way they formatted it in journal entries makes it a quick read that you don't want to put down..  Full of emotion I read through this book and learned so much.  It really put my life in perspective and helped me feel more grateful for my own life.  I am so blessed and my life, compared to Agnes and Gustav's lives, is easy.  I recommend this book to High-school age and older.  It is an amazing read and you will not regret spending time reading it!

I received this ARC copy from Deseret Book in return for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way for this review. These are my own thoughts on the book.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

LeapFrog - Ready, Set, Kindergarten


This last month I got to review this really fun new game, and listen in on a conference call with some of the amazing creators of these new, Get ready for Kindergarten games from LeapFrog for the LeapReader and also the LeapPad.  

Ready, Set, Kindergarten LeapReader Game 
Kindergarten Readiness Curriculum I For Kids ages 4-6 years IMSRP $19.99
LeapReader™ Ready, Set, Kindergarten introduces children ages 4-6 to early literacy, mathematics, science and social studies, including more than 10 key kindergarten readiness skills. Designed by learning experts and featuring 45 activities, this engaging book set helps prepare children to start school with confidence. Children can join other kindergarteners Pilar, Grace and Daniel in their kindergarten classroom for three original stories.

The Kit includes three original engaging storybooks, 45 integrated skill-building activities, 30 sheets of special mess-free worksheets and an interactive poster. my little guys loved it ad had fun looking through the books and playing the games. The added worksheets are perfect for this little ones!

An adventure on every page
Pilar finds adventure inside the all-time greatest, super-secret reading hideout ever. Adventure awaits Grace when she goes on a science safari in her attic. Daniel spies an adventure unfolding from the Crow’s Nest and follows his dog on a search for buried treasure. Children join the fun on these action-packed, interactive journeys, which include tons of free-drawing activities, word searches, number grids, scientific sorting, pattern-matching games and the chance to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on Pilar’s xylophone with LeapReader™!
Curriculum that goes beyond core skills

LeapReader™ Ready, Set, Kindergarten includes a comprehensive kindergarten readiness curriculum—packed with reading, math and science—but each book goes beyond core skills. Young readers learn about position words and letter names through reading comprehension activities with Pilar, but they also develop their creativity and music skills. Budding scientists learn how to sort rocks, birds and insects with Grace, but they also discover how metal, glass and wood make different sounds. Little mathematicians learn to identify numbers and count 1-30 with Daniel, but they also match patterns, trace letters and more.



Learning experts create or approve every experience

LeapFrog’s learning experts designed LeapReader™ Ready, Set, Kindergarten to help children build confidence for starting school. By helping Pilar light up her reading hideout and following Rex’s paw prints to buried treasure, early readers learn about position words and the order of operations. When Grace finds fascinating objects in her attic, little explorers are prompted to answer from more than 16 questions and develop their own scientific observations. The social skills poster supports children in expressing their emotions and aspirations, as well as providing an overview on topics like weather, seasons and days of the week.

The game also comes with this fun interactive chart that can you for your school days with the LeapReader!


Get Ready for Kindergarten!  LeapPad Game
Kindergarten Readiness Curriculum I For Kids ages 3-5 years IMSRP $24.99
This next games for the LeapPad helps your child prepare for starting school by laying a solid foundation. Explore a kindergarten classroom, and practice telling a story by drawing with the stylus and recording with the microphone. Use math skills to feed hungry dragons, practice writing letters with Ozzie and Mac, and solve logic puzzles on a skill-building jungle journey with Stretchy Monkey! 

Whether you send your kids to public school or homeschool them it's good to help them be prepared for what is to come.  
Hear from LeapFrog Learning Experts:
“Children who enter kindergarten with certain key competencies may be better positioned for future academic success. Get Ready for Kindergarten provides fundamental skills that prepare children for starting school. Children practice letter recognition, number sense skills and letter and number writing, and they explore daily routines and build analogical thinking skills linked to enhanced learning.”                           —LeapFrog Learning Team
Get letter-ready with Ozzie Otter and FriendsBuild reading skills while playing fun letter recognition games. Identify letters as Ozzie Otter and Olive Owl collect leaves and snowflakes. Recognize letter sounds to feed a bug with an appetite for the alphabet. Practice writing letters, and earn reward stickers for a job well done. 
Practice math skills at the Dragon Cafe: Count mouth-watering morsels and identify numbers correctly to feed tasty tidbits to hungry dragons. Build writing skills to prepare receipts. Start by tracing lines and shapes, then use those skills to level up and trace numbers. End the meal with a fun dessert mini-game.   
Practice the daily routine with Stretchy Monkey: Swing into action on a skill-building jungle journey with Stretchy Monkey. Solve logic puzzles and avoid obstacles to help navigate the jungle. Help him make his bed, brush his teeth, get ready for work, make healthy choices for meals, unpack his bag, read a bedtime story, and get ready for bed. Earn sticker rewards for successful banana deliveries!
Check out their awesome Online Resource Center here at http://get-school-ready.leapfrog.com

Also from Leappad, check out these great checkoff charts to help your kids get academically and emotionally ready for kindergarten.  



I love this age.  They are so fun and eager to learn.  Do you have a child starting school this year?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Perfect Drive-in Movie in Your Backyard - Guest Post by Whitney Hollingshead


Going to a drive-in movie during the summer was a classic American pastime for previous generations. Unfortunately, very few drive-in movie theaters are still in operation today. With some simple planning and ingenuity, you can pull off a drive-in movie this summer that will be the highlight of the summer for all of the children in your neighborhood!
 The Invites
One of the best aspects of planning a drive-in movie is that you can make the invited crowd as large as you like. If you don’t want to exclude a lot of children, this is the perfect activity to include everyone. You can easily keep the costs low and have space for several children. On the other hand, if you want to put on a drive-in movie for just a handful of kids, this idea works great for small groups as well!
Here is the important information to include on the invitation:

  • State that this will be a drive-in movie
  • List the date
  • List the time (Unfortunately the sun does not go down until after the bedtime of most children. This makes it difficult to pull off an evening movie. Also, if you do not want to feed dinner to all of the children, be sure to keep this in mind when setting the time. The afternoon is a great time to hold an outdoor movie for children, especially if you have shaded areas in your yard.)
  • Clearly state that each child needs to bring a handmade “car” to drive into the movie.

For invitation design, consider using a movie ticket as inspiration. Or you could even include traditional admission tickets with the invitation.
The Cars
Each car can be made out of cardboard or even poster board. If you have access to appliance boxes from a furniture or electronics store, these large rectangular boxes are a great starting point for creating a car. Consider a square box shape with an open bottom that your child can comfortably sit on the grass inside of at the movie. Your child will also need to easily see over the frame.

Make sure you oversee the making of the car. You may have to use a box cutter blade or other sharp tools to make the car and these tools should not be used by children. Once the shape of the car is completed, let your child go wild with designing the car. Your child can paint the outside or even glue on anything they desire to make the car their own.

Creating a car is a great time to learn with your child. To get your creative juices flowing for the perfect car design, check out an automotive website like RC Automotive and let your child look at the pictures of various cars. You can also point out how cars are different from each while travelling around doing everyday errands.
The Set Up
In order to pull off the perfect drive-in movie outdoors, you will need to have a laptop, a projector, speakers, a screen, and some extension cords. Here are some tips for each requirement:

  • Laptop - If your family does not have access to a laptop, ask around until you find someone who will allow you to borrow one. Odds are that a parent of a child invited will have a laptop. A DVD or blu ray player might also connect to the projector.
  • Consider co-planning the event with other parents to pool resources.
  • Projector - Again this is another item you can most likely borrow from someone you know. If you have a projector available at work, you may even be able to borrow it for a day. Ask your boss about this option. You may also be able to rent a projector in your area.
  • Speakers - If the projector does not have speakers, you will need to track down speakers to use as well. Home speakers or powerful computer speakers may provide enough sound. Make sure you test everything out well in advance of the movie start time.
  • Screen - If you don’t have access to a projection screen, hang a bedsheet or painter’s tarp on the side or your home or garage.
  • Extension Cords - Having an extension cord that will reach from a power source to the laptop, projector, and speakers is a necessity. Make sure the cord is placed safely so that your guests won’t trip over the cord.

The Movie

When hosting any movie event for children, make sure the movie chosen is age and content appropriate. Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking:

  • Disney’s Cars or Cars 2
  • The Sandlot (better for older children)
  • The Adventures of Milo & Otis
  • Babe
  • Finding Nemo
  • Madeline
  • Angel’s in the Outfield
  • Monster’s Inc. or Monster’s University

The Treats
One of the best parts of going to a movie is getting movie treats. You can use classic theater treats as the inspiration for your treats. If you are ambitious, you can add a fun twist or your own personal touch:
Traditional: Popcorn
Fun Twist: Multi-colored or flavored popcorn
Traditional: Nachos
Fun Twist: Various chips or pretzels and dips
Traditional: Soda pop
Fun Twist: Mini soda cans or bottles with fun straws
Traditional: Boxed candy
Fun Twist: Make individual candy bags with a variety inside
Traditional: Junk foods
Fun Twist: Cut up fruit/veggies, yogurt parfaits, juice bars
Follow this outline to pull off the perfect drive-in movie event for your kids this summer. With careful planning and the help of technology, you will create an event that’s certain to become a new summer tradition.

Thanks Whitney for this great post!  I am super excited to do this with my kids this summer!

Monday, July 7, 2014

How Our 2013-2014 School Year Went

This summer is going by way too fast and I haven't had the time to look through my pictures yet and get this post up.  It's kind of a long post, but it's fun!  Enjoy!

We did year 2 of The Family School again through Latter-Day Learning.  Again, we LOVED it and plan on continuing on with year 3.  This year they have an online program which will be nice.  I am finally getting an iPad so that will be nice to teach from!  We are done working with the Utah Online Program.  Didn't love it, it's WAY to much busy work and very repetitive.  My kids hated it, I hated it, so we are moving on.  More to come in another post as far as what we are demoing for Math and Language Arts curriculum

We had a great school year though.  Sometimes while I am in the middle of it all and am having a hard homeschooling day (we all have them) I get frustrated, I don't think I am fun, or I think I am failing at homeshooling.  Then the next day we have an amazing day and the kids love what they learn and life moves on.  We have about one hard day a week, or hard moment which makes it feel like a hard day!  I would have to say though, this year was a pretty good year.  The only thing I feel like I could have done better was work a little harder with my Kindergartner, he wasn't really into participating with us.  I need to remember he was five and really did learn a lot for a five year old.  No regrets!  As I looked through all my pictures it made me realize just how much we did.  Besides having regular school days everyday doing Math, Language Arts and The Family School, we had tons of fun and enjoyed lots of extra activities.

One of the highlights of this year was meeting a whole ton of homeschoolers in the area and joining a Co-op and going on field trips with them!

The kids also did a running club the first half of the year and worked really hard.

We made a Timeline...
Look how many people we learned about….

We played in the snow, we should never have gotten this much snow.  It was amazing, and the kids were so excited!

We took our first family of seven road trip to California,
And our kids got to see the ocean for the first time….it was really this magical.

We enjoyed Legoland, and the SeaLife Aquarium.  

We participated in a Live Nativity at Tuachan in St. George which was an amazing experience. 

We were creative and had lots of fun.



We had early morning LeapPad time.

We went to the Children's Museum and had fun pretending.


We learned to work together and help each other out.  

We learned a lot of patriotic songs and learned many many many times you put your RIGHT hand over your heart and hold the flag with your left!

We filled journals with exciting stuff!

And challenged ourselves with reading at a higher level.

We loved this baby more and more every day, and I spent a lot of time rocking with him. Which I loved, and so did he!

We worked hard in Math,
Scouts
and Art. 
{She listened to a million books on CD and also read a million books}

We learned about Rome, the meridian of time and the Apostasy, Joan of Arc.  She read great literature which included poetry, Julius Caesar, The Bronze Bow, The Door in the Wall and a lot more. We studied Europe in Geography and learned specifically about Norway and France.  We loved learning about Astronomy and Geology in Science.  We studied Art of the middle ages, including Cathedrals, stain glass and pottery.  And last but not least we learned about the different Era's of music, music theory, instruments and also studied the famous master luthier, Scarlatti.  We learned a lot!


We learned that a little stick twirling and running around outside helps us not be so crazy inside.

We watched some great episodes of Wild Kratts, Liberty Kids and the Magic School Bus!

We read lots of stories.

Played LOTS of Legos.

Worked hard at our instrument!

Learned to work together and be creative.


Went on a couple girls days out to some great plays!
Enjoyed playing Soccer,
or just hanging on the goal.

We built a clubhouse in the back yard...

We leaned to care for new animals, and learned to say good-bye to a couple.
{Fatty the Chicken died}

We swam, and went on other fun field trips with our new Homeschool friends!

We played at the park.


And went to an airplane show.

And saw a play at a fun outdoor theater.

We learned many, many great principles from all of our family school lessons.
We studied, memorized and learned a lot from the Scriptures.

We had crazy hair day.

We had fun with Daddy at the Fire-station.

We learned to cook and each came up with our own yummy cookie recipe.
{Mine were No-Bake,  Cowboys were Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and LaLa's were delicious cake mix cookies!}

We fought knights,

and played Secret Service Ninjas.

We went on hikes,


Read so much we were exhausted!

Played jokes on each other!
{They loved their April Fools Mustaches}

We learned all about the Virgin River.

Ombre'd our own white T shirt.

Learned to explore the world around us.

Made our own lunches.

And enjoyed playing in the dirt with our new "digga trucks"!  

Looking back we learned so much, had a wonderful year and enjoyed ours days together.  

Lots of people ask me if we do summer school.  We do….a little!  We still read, read scriptures, write in our journals and have mom or dad read aloud time.  We also have a Family School Lesson about 3 times a week and they do a little grammar and a little math.  But for the most part, we play, explore, vacation a little, probably watch a little to many movies and and have way more arguments and fighting around here than normal.  I like the break, but my kids do behave a lot better when we are in homeschool mode.  Oh well, summer goes fast, and then we will back to school life again.  

How did your school year go?



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