Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MacLarry & The Stinky Cheese Battle [A Review]

We love to have movie nights at our house.  We like to use them to relax and spend time as a family.  I love having movie options that entertain Tim, Sammy and I.  I also love finding movies that promote good character and not have to worry about inappropriate content.  The VeggieTales always meet these requirements!

MacLarry is about a Scottish cucumber that doesn’t fit in with his tribe.  He loves to invent and not to pull pranks like his tribe or the tribe that they always prank.  I have a boy that also loves to invent so this movie was just perfect for him.

We started movie night  with some pizza and some worksheets from the activities page of the MacLarry website.  Sammy loved working on the maze and drawing his own stinky cheese:


I worked on one of the coloring pages!  I couldn’t let Sammy have all of the fun *winks*:


After we all finished our dinner I popped some popcorn on the stove and watched the movie.  Sammy was totally into the movie as you can tell (sorry about the weird shadow in the picture):


Sammy’s thought on the movie:

“I loved when the cheese blasted and turned everything yucky.  It made me laugh when they gave them funny hair cuts.  I liked the inventions in the movie”

After the movie Sammy got to busy making his own invention.  It as a trap to catch a bad guy:


It worked:


There were plenty of classic VeggieTales humor woven into the story.  Tim and I chuckled at several different parts of the movie!  I also really liked the silly song in this movie!  You can check out the trailer for the movie here.

This movie is available today, July 30th!  So if you have a VeggieTale fan at your house or you are looking for a good movie to watch as a family I highly recommend MacLarry

I received a copy of this movie to review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Go Jump in the Lake

Every summer my parents always seem to get something fun for the lake.  This year it was a trampoline/slide combination! Sammy was the first one to check it out:


When Bradley got there they both hopped on it!  Sammy was a pro by the end of his visit at going down it!


Sammy has been riding on the tube for about 4 years now.  But this was his first solo trip with out an adult on the raft.  The two oldest cousins on their first solo tube ride:


They loved it as you can see and were giving Pop Pop the go faster sign. 


Then sweet little Ellie wanted to go for a ride.  She is a little dare devil like her cousin Sammy and was all for riding solo and giving Pop Pop the go faster signal.


Then Sammy wanted a turn driving the boat (check out his tube hair):


I even got in on the action:


Sammy got to spend the next two nights at the lake with my parents.  I really enjoyed my time off and was able to get a lot of homeschool planning done.  I also cut off a significant portion of my hair! 

Thanks mom for watching Sammy for me.  He kept telling me about all of the fun things he did with you!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Fun List–Update 2

So I have done beyond a terrible job of updating this list weekly.  I think it was getting all of the pictures in there that stressed me out.  So I have decided some pictures with an update is better than no update at all.  So without further ado here is our Summer Fun List update!

Our List:

  1. Make 10 new Popsicles
  2. Sidewalk chalk paint
  3. Camping
  4. Make dinner over the fire pit in the backyard
  5. Squirt gun target practice
  6. Water balloon fight – We will have to recruit some friends or Daddy for this since I’m allergic to latex
  7. Ice excavating
  8. Water balloon piƱatas
  9. Big Bubbles
  10. Fly a kite
  11. Make fruit kebabs
  12. Make moon sand
  13. Watch fireworks DSC_0017
  14. 10 trips to the lake (4 down 6 more to go)
  15. Backyard swim party with friends (little pool)
  16. Swim the full length of the pool (Sammy) (he can almost do this.  I think he should be able to do it this week)
  17. Float on back for 1 minute (Sammy)
  18. Jump off of the diving board (Sammy)  (He went down the water slide but hasn’t gone off the diving board yet)
  19. Picnic at 3 different parks (2 down 1 to go)
  20. Pick strawberries
  21. Make sun tea
  22. Library reading program
  23. Barnes and Noble reading program
  24. Vacation Bible School 2013-06-21 14.25.30
  25. Go see Monsters University
  26. Go see Planes
  27. Go see $1 movie
  28. Ride on the tube at the lake2013-07-21 11.47.42
  29. Go to a lawn party
  30. Ride a train
  31. Go get ice cream cones 2013-07-06 17.31.13
  32. Picnic in the backyard and read books under the tree
  33. Feed the ducks
  34. Learn to ride bike without training wheels
  35. Eat each meal outside in one day
  36. Do 10 new art projects (color on hot rocks with crayons, paint rocks, Craft stick bracelets, marble paint, Crayola color fillz project, friendship bracelets, and more to come)  (We completed 2 of 10.  When we have completed them all we will move it to the completed section)
  37. Read 5 chapter books aloud (2 down 3 to go)
  38. Raise ladybugs
  39. Take Yoshi and Peach to the lake to swim
  40. Read all of picture books (put them into a digital library and purge the ones we don’t love)  - We have read about 50% of them so far
  41. Try 5 new smoothie recipes (3 down 2 to go)
  42. Learn to swing by yourself
  43. Do 10 science experiments
  44. Make an emergency preparedness kit
  45. Grow vegetables in our root viewer
  46. Memorize our address (Sammy)
  47. Make friendship bracelets to give to our friends before they leave for 10 months
  48. Find and paint walking sticks
  49. Go to the library story time 5 times
  50. Go fishing
  51. Go to the safari park
  52. Make Root Beer Floats 2013-05-28 20.36.49
  53. Catch fireflies
  54. Build an outside fort
  55. Go geocaching (at least once)
  56. Have a fun “You finished Kindergarten Date” 2013-05-17 12.06.36
  57. Go to a concert
  58. A screen-free week
  59. Plant a small herb garden
  60. Make a scavenger hunt for friends
  61. Complete some Lego challenges
  62. Go to a splash pad with cousins (which ones want to join us)
  63. Build a new sandbox
  64. Build a sandcastle in the new sandbox
  65. Go on a road trip (Chicago to visit friends and family maybe?)
  66. Play Putt Putt
  67. Go Kayaking 2013-07-04 12.44.06
  68. Watch a sunrise
  69. Watch a sunset
  70. Go to a Zoo
  71. Popcorn movie marathon on a rainy day
  72. Make a boat and sail it
  73. Play every board game we own at least once (get rid of any we don’t like or Sammy has out grown – still working on this) 2013-06-13 11.10.00
  74. Go to a baseball game
  75. Make a bleach t-shirt
  76. Paint with water on the sidewalk2013-06-04 14.16.03
  77. Make sock puppets
  78. Make a treasure map of buried treasure in the sandbox
  79. Make bathtub paint
  80. Make homemade watercolors
  81. Make different paper airplanes and see which one is the best
  82. Borrow a Grandma’s food dehydrator and make fruit leather
  83. Make an underground fire pit
  84. Make homemade pool toys
  85. Make homemade puffy paint art
  86. Read 200 books from the library
  87. Make a stop animation film (very short)
  88. Create bookmarks
  89. Surprise Tim with a date night
  90. Play in the sprinkler
  91. Go to the beach
  92. Watch a parade
  93. Have a sleepover
  94. Read library books on a blanket in the backyard
  95. Build 10 things out of the Lego Ideas book (4 down 6 to go)
  96. Make a Flat Sammy for our friends to take on their trip 2013-05-22 11.04.35
  97. Play with our Mentos powered car
  98. Drive Pop Pop’s boat 2013-07-04 15.49.06
  99. Go to homeschool park days
  100. Have a water game day
  101. Have a PJ day!
  102. Make a new type of play dough
  103. Go for a hike
  104. Organize the garage 2013-07-20 20.35.29
  105. Clean up the backyard and finish landscaping
  106. Make lint fire starters for the fire pit
  107. Make a toy zip line
  108. Make a hand painted pottery gift (at you made it)
  109. Go on a field trip to hear from a bee keeper2013-05-28 10.30.03
  110. Try out for the swim team (you have to be able to swim 1 lap unassisted to make the team) 2013-06-11 11.44.26
  111. Plan out our first grade homeschool year2013-07-23 07.37.03

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jericho–The Promise Fulfilled [A Review]

At the HEAV homeschool convention I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy Rondina from ShatterPoint Entertainment.  Her family made the awesome stop motion movie of Jericho.  She offered me a free copy of the movie in return for a honest review.

JERICHO: The Promise Fulfilled

After convention I showed Sammy the cover of the Jericho movie and told him we could watch it soon.  He was drawn in immediately and has watched it several times since!  He loved that it was made with his favorite toys and he wants to make his own stop motion movie now too. 

I loved the way they told the story of Jericho.  They had the whole biblical story and didn’t leave any parts out.  They included Rahab but did it very tactfully.  There was lots of humor woven into the story that kept the movie going.

I liked how this movie stuck to the story straight out of the bible.  ShatterPoint Entertainment didn’t tweak the story to make it more action packed.  Sammy now has an even better understanding of the actual story of Jericho and he  learned it in such a fun way.  I would highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a biblical movie!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Straws & Connectors [A Review]

I was contacted by SmileMakers to do a product review.  I almost turned them down, thinking it would be dental products!  I am so glad that I took a look at their website and saw that they have all sorts of different products! They have a whole teacher section and have been in the business of helping teachers create smiles for over 35 years!  That is quite impressive.

I took a look at their products and just knew we needed to get our hands on Straws & Connectors.  Sammy loves to build and create, so I knew these would be a hit.  I was right!  What surprised me was the large number of Straws & Connectors in the box.  You can build a lot of different things with these!  They make HUGE finished products. 

Tim and I got to work with Sammy to build a rocket ship!  Sammy thought it was amazing.  He was able to count how many straws were needed and make the circles for the rocket.  He had a harder time adding some of the connecting pieces, but that was more because of his age than anything else. 


We also build a small fort for him.  We improvised on the design of this one some.  Sammy liked the fort, unfortunately, it wasn’t strong enough to hold up a sheet and become a real fort.  Tim and I will have to work on improving our design.


The Straws & Connectors have been a lot of fun.  Sammy has played with them quite a bit and invented his own contraptions.  He made a ring toss game but I didn’t get a picture of it before he was taking it apart to build something else.  They are very sturdy (more sturdy than a regular straw) and bendable so you can create something other than straight structures.


SmileMakers has easy ordering with quick shipping. They also have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  If your order doesn’t meet your expectations, just call them to exchange or return for a full refund.  They will even pay the return freight!

SmileMakers also offers Teacher perks and they are really awesome! Check them out:

*I received this product in return for an honest review.  All thoughts are my own and were not influenced by the free product. No affiliate links were used in this post.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Keepin’ it Real

So I tend to share the happy things here on the blog.  I don’t plan on changing that completely.  I don’t want to dwell on the bad or the things that didn’t go just like I planned.  I don’t see a much benefit in that mindset.  But I also don’t want people the get the misconception that things are all put together over here at our house!  I don’t want people to leave my site feeling discouraged or inferior, just because I choose to share the happy, fun, or good moments.  So I will be sharing these Keepin’ it Real posts once a month!


Sammy has “quite” time in his room every afternoon.  This is rarely quite and is never neat!  Here is a little glimpse of his room after his quite time (before he cleaned up). 


This is not one of the messier days.. but it looks like this everyday after quite time.  What you can’t see is the bookshelf from his closet is completely empty and all of the books are in a big pile from him reading in his closet.  You can also see his step stool on the night stand…. I’m not sure why and honestly its probably better I don’t know.  You can also see his unmade bed with mismatched sheets!


Our AC is having a tough time this summer.  The repair man is coming out soon to give us a quote!  You can also see my stack of things I need to plan for school next year and the bottle of resolve!  So we have 2 cute puppies that are still working on being 100% house broken.  They don’t have many accidents but when it rains that’s a different story!


The reason why Sammy’s bed didn’t have any blankets on it was because he had built this at 7 am and it was still there around dinner time!


These puppies keep me on my toes for sure!  Peach is currently obsessed with the dishwasher.  As in every time it gets opened to put a “dirty” (we prewash everything) dish in she is right there making sure we didn’t miss anything!

2013-07-09 18.33.16

We got Sammy’s x-ray bills in the mail!  You can see our big whopping deductible on the first one.. Thankful we had the money in our health savings account!!

2013-07-11 19.14.48

Tim and Sammy fixed up our 15+ year old lazy boy last night!  It now doesn’t make awful noises when you sit down in it! Woohoo!

2013-07-11 19.23.29

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Celebrating the Fourth

We started our Fourth of July celebrating early by watching some fireworks on the 3rd.  Our pool has a wonderful view of the fireworks set off by a local ski resort.  So our pool stays open for the fireworks and has lots of fun things planned.  The fireworks didn’t start until 10pm and we kept Sammy awake by letting him eat endless supply of snow cones, cotton candy and popcorn!

2013-07-03 19.19.32

The view (picture from my phone):

2013-07-03 21.59.04

Sammy also put his swimming skills to the test and tackled the water slide (password sammy) (sorry about Tim’s thumb in the video):

Sammy Takes on the Water Slide from bytesofmemory on Vimeo.

The next day we were off to my parent’s house.  We always have a blast at the lake and the Fourth of July there never disappoints!  Sammy decided to give kayaking a try for the first time and he really loved it!  We stayed close to the shore right by parent’s house so the holiday traffic didn’t tip him over! Next time the lake is calmer we will go for a longer trip!

2013-07-04 12.44.06

We of course had to check out the train on our lake tour:

2013-07-04 15.40.36

Even with all of the boat traffic we still saw a fair share of wildlife.  We saw a blue herron, a sunny fish that a friend of my parent’s caught, and some turtles sunning themselves:

2013-07-04 15.48.27

Captain Sammy took over right where he left off driving the boat.  He will be able to drive this thing on his own in a few short years!

2013-07-04 15.49.06


Next up was some tubing fun.  Sammy was super brave and went tubing without me and sat in the seat by himself.  He also helped Captain Pop Pop with the flag when he flipped everyone over!


I got in on the tubing action some and it was so fun to hear Sammy yelling faster and giggling hysterically as we flew around the lake.  (Nicia, me, and Sammy)


We had the boat loaded up with people for the AMAZING fireworks show.  Sammy loved that his Aunt Nicia was able to come this year and sat up front with her:

2013-07-04 21.01.57

While we were waiting for the fireworks to start my parent’s neighbor was showing Sammy the names of different stars on his phone.  We could also see another plant (I don’t remember what it was though):

2013-07-04 21.16.40


Sammy went the fireworks started:


Here were my best attempts at taking pictures of fireworks on a boat..


There is some room for improvement that’s for sure!



Here is a quick video of the fireworks that I shot with Instagram:

Lake Fireworks from bytesofmemory on Vimeo.

Someone had this awesome remote controlled airplane with lights on it.  They flew it from their boat right after the fireworks show!

Remote Control Airplane from bytesofmemory on Vimeo.