Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer Products at the Oriental Trading Company

Disclosure: I will be receiving products in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

School has been out for a week and I have enjoyed spending time with my boys relaxing and being lazy. However, it has given me time to realize that I need to find fun ways to keep my boys entertained throughout the summer so that they do not spend all of their time watching TV or playing video games.

As I thought about ideas for my boys, I thought about crafts and outside activities. This coincided perfectly with an email I received from the Oriental Trading Company asking if I would be interested in writing about some of their summer products. Every time I browse their website, I am always amazed at how many products they offer. As I looked for both crafts and outside activities, the following products caught my eye:

1) Glow Products: With July 4th right around the corner, glow products would be perfect to have on hand and the Oriental Trading Company has a variety of them. They have necklaces, bracelets, yo-yos, sunglasses, tattoos, slime, and more for a total of 334 products. My boys would have a blast with any of these glow products.

2) Outdoor Products: As I checked some of their summer toys and games, I found quite a few products that would keep my boys busy this summer. My youngest would love the beach balls, parachutes, beach toys and bubbles. My older two boys would have a blast with the squirt guns and water balloons.

3) Summer Crafts: My youngest, who is four years old, keeps me very busy and so I thought it would be a great idea to do a few crafts with him this summer.  A few  that caught my eye were the Fabulous Foam Super Sunglasses Kit, the Colorful Turtle Tissue Paper Craft Kit, and the You Are My Sunshine Sign Craft Kit.

After checking out their summer products, I now have some ideas on ways to keep my kids busy this summer. I also plan to check out their project ideas from time to time in hopes for a little inspiration as well. So if you are looking for some fun summer items or just looking for project ideas,  check out the Oriental Trading Company.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Adventures in Babysitting Review

Disclosure: I received a copy of the movie to review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own and are my honest opinion of the movie.

Press Release Synopsis:
"Adventures in Babysitting," inspired by the hugely popular 1980s film of the same name, is an upcoming Disney Channel Original Movie starring Sabrina Carpenter (of Disney Channel's hit comedy series "Girl Meets World" and Sofia Carson (of the hit Disney Channel Original Movie "Descendants"). In "Adventures in Babysitting," a dull evening for two competing babysitters, Jenny (Sabrina Carpenter) and Lola (Sofia Carson), turns into an adventure in the big city as they hunt for one of the kids who somehow snuck away.

Our thoughts: Our family loves the show "Girl Meets World" and we are fans of Sabrina Carpenter, so we were excited to watch the newest Disney Channel Original Movie "Adventures in Babysitting." My boys and I watched it for a family movie night and we all enjoyed the movie. It definitely entertained us as we watched the two babysitters, Jenny and Lola, try to find Trey who snuck out his window and went into the big city. It is here in the city, where their adventure really begins. Even when Trey is found, their adventure continues as they try to make it home before the parents of the kids return. This is no easy task when the car they were driving is towed and they need to find $100 to get it back. It seems to be one mishap after another which kept us interested to see how the movie ended.

Although there were lots of great moments throughout the movie, our favorite part was when both Jenny and Lola rapped about their predicament. You can watch this rap in the video below. This movie is family friendly, entertaining, and is sure to keep you wondering what could possible happen next? If you are interested in this movie, it comes out on DVD on June 28.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Lego Scooby-Doo!: Haunted Hollywood DVD Review

Disclosure: Warner Bros. Home Video provided me with some of the materials I used in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.

Press Release Synopsis:
In LEGO® Scooby-Doo!: Haunted Hollywood, the gang heads to the entertainment capital of the world, Hollywood, where they take a tour of the legendary Brickton Studios, a historic Hollywood movie studio. While visiting the lot, the gang is surprised to find the once powerful film studio has fallen onto hard times. Neglected and in disrepair, Brickton, which has lost its luster, now faces threats of closure and an impending sale to greedy developers who want to tear it down. 

To top it off, the Mystery Inc. gang discovers that the studio’s backlot is haunted by the ghost of Boris Karnak, a famous, old-time movie actor who has been making ghostly appearances in the roles he once made famous – including the Headless Horseman, the Mummy and the Zombie. The ghostly sightings have frightened away the cast and crew of Brickton’s latest film production, which was the studio’s final effort in trying to save the company from going under. Now with production halted on the movie which was supposed to rescue Brickton from its demise, it looks as though the famous backlot is destined to fall into the hands of the developers after all. Will it be a wrap for Brickton or will Scooby and the gang find a way to help the studio achieve box-office success? It’s a “bricktacular” adventure no Scooby-Doo! fan will want to miss! 

Our thoughts: Since my boys love Legos and they also love Scooby-Doo, I knew that they would be excited to watch Lego Scooby-Doo!: Haunted Hollywood. Some weekends seem so busy, but this weekend we made the time to sit down and watch the movie. Both of my boys, as well as myself, enjoyed the movie. I'm always entertained with the different traps that Fred comes up with, as well as trying to guess who the villain or villains may be. I love watching Scooby-Doo with my boys, because it reminds me of watching it as a child. This movie comes out on Blu-ray Combo, DVD, and Digital HD on May 10.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Our Adventures with Autism

As I looked at my blog recently, I was a little surprised that the last time I blogged was December 2015. I hadn't decided to stop blogging, but I guess life got in the way and a new adventure started.

In November of 2015, my youngest son, Little C, was diagnosed with autism. If you asked me if I was surprised, honestly I would have to say no. I didn't even know that much about autism at the time, but a part of me suspected that he might have it.

Since he was two and was evaluated for Early Intervention, he was showing development delays.  At two, he hardly talked, however, he could say any letter of the alphabet for you if you randomly showed him one. So we had him evaluated and he started receiving Speech and Physical Therapy. We were surprised when he qualified for PT because we did not realize he was behind.

When he turned three, he no longer qualified for speech, but he still received PT. In April, our pediatrician recommended that we have him tested at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for his developmental delays. We started the paperwork to have him tested but it wouldn't be until November that he would be seen.

Little C started preschool in the fall and we started noticing that he was showing signs of Sensory Processing Disorder. It was finally in November when we received the diagnosis that Little C had high-functioning autism. I don't think we were that surprised because we recognized some of the signs.  He often did not make eye contact when he spoke to us, he had a great vocabulary but had trouble answering questions, he needed routine, and was showing little pretend play.

These past few months have been an adventure. In December, he was tested for OT and qualified. Both his OT and PT work with his sensory issues. We have been introduced to brushing techniques. We have been challenged with meltdowns. We have been blessed with a little boy who sees the world differently.

My viewpoint on parenting has changed as well. I could remember times when I may have seen a kid have a meltdown in a store. I use to think can't those parents control their kids. Now I am sympathetic, because that could be me one day. I realize that my son's meltdowns, unlike a tamper tantrum, can  not not be controlled. They can happen at any time. I don't quite understand how his sensory issues effect his life, but I realize that they challenge him as well.

At first, I think people were surprised with his diagnosis. When I showed my students a picture of him and talked about his autism, a few mentioned he doesn't look like he has autism. I responded what does autism look like? As I research more and more, I realize that every child with autism is going to be different. I realize that I will be taking on a role of advocate for my son. I realize that times will be challenging. But I also realize that God has blessed me with an incredible child who helps me to see the world a little bit differently.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"Pan" Review

Disclosure: I received a copy of the movie to review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own and are my honest opinion of the movie. 
Press Release Synopsis:
Peter (Levi Miller) is a mischievous 12-year-old boy with an irrepressible rebellious streak, but in the bleak London orphanage where he has lived his whole life those qualities do not exactly fly. Then one incredible night, Peter is whisked away from the orphanage and spirited off to a fantastical world of pirates, warriors and fairies called Neverland. There, he finds amazing adventures and fights life-or-death battles while trying to uncover the secret of his mother, who left him at the orphanage so long ago, and his rightful place in this magical land. Teamed with the warrior Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and a new friend named James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), Peter must defeat the ruthless pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) to save Neverland and discover his true destiny - to become the hero who will forever be known as Peter Pan.

Our thoughts: My boys have always been a fan of the movie Peter Pan, so it was no surprised that they would be interested in "Pan". I have to admit, I was looking forward to watching the movie too. I wanted to see how the story of Peter Pan began. It was an interesting plot, with Peter befriending Hook in order to escape from Blackbeard to search for his mother. While searching for his mother, he embarks on an adventure that leads him to fight Blackbeard and save Neverland. My boys' favorite characters were both Hook and Blackbeard and my oldest wished the move could have been longer. We all enjoyed the movie and found it entertaining. It left me wondering, however, will there be a movie in the future that explains how Peter and Hook become enemies? If so, I would definitely be interested in watching that as well.

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