Continuing in our series about Disneyland attractions and rides, I really wanted to keep my eyes and ears open during our last trip in February. That's one of the great things about Disneyland: there's a hidden surprise around every corner and always something to be discovered. If you're looking for some of those lesser known experiences, this is the post for you.
Tiki Room-- The Tiki Room is my personal favorite place to stop in the middle of a busy day in the park. It's a great place to rest your feet, cool off, and enjoy a fun show. This one has been a crowd pleaser for every age group when we go to the park.
Captain EO--I have to admit that I've never seen this show. I'm not a Michael Jackson fan, but if you're looking for it, it's located between Star Tours and Space Mtn.
Jedi Training--I want to take Noah to this one next time. Come battle Darth Vader outside the cafe in Tomorrowland and possibly end up on stage.
Turtle Talk with Crush--Anyone remember Crush from Finding Nemo? You enter into a large room and are sited in front of a huge screen where Crush appears and answers questions from the audience. I was absolutely amazed by how Crush pointed people out and interacted with them. Next time I'll figure out the trick. :-)
Disney Jr. Live On-stage--I haven't seen this one, but I've heard lots of moms say their kids loved seeing favorite Disney characters come to life. Handy Mandy, Little Einsteins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates... you'll find your kids' favorites here.
A Bug's Life: It's Tough to be a Bug--Ah, this is a fun one. Discover what it's like to be bug size with this tour from Flik. This 3D show give you a glimpse into their world complete with smells, sights, sounds, and even some touch.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle--You have to be able to go up and down stairs to enjoy this one, but I love the miniaturized scenes from the movie as you relive the story. Classic Disney!
Tarzan's Treehouse--My kids love this one and it's a great way to burn off energy. Located right next to Indiana Jones, it's also a wonderful way to keep the younger ones busy while they're waiting. And don't forget the interactive play area at the end. But I personally miss The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.
Tom Sawyer's Island--Sorry I haven't done this one yet either. I think you have to row the canoes to get there and I'm just not up for the challenge yet with kids.
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail-- For several trips, I didn't notice this part of the park. It's tucked in the back of Disney's California Adventure near Grizzly River Run and from the main path, it just looks like a small section of the park. But in true Disney from, it's more than meets the eye. When you walk through the entry, it's like a whole other park. Slides, rope climbs, a bear cave,... and my kids loved the zip line surprise at the end. It's well worth checking out.
What is your favorite lesser known attractions at Disneyland?
*Bookmarks is an online book club hosted at Creative2xmom. Here we discuss the books we've read in the past month as well as the suggested reading. Our suggested reading for September was The Me I Want To Be by John Ortberg.
These are the books I read this month:
Courageous by Randy Alcorn-- I'll just start out by saying this was a looong book. That's my way of justifying my short reading list this month. And I didn't have very high expectations for it as it was a book made from a movie, instead of the other way around. However, I was very surprised by the quality of the story and the characters. It really sucked me in. I would find myself reading way into the night when I just couldn't put it down. At times it was a little preachy, but not over the top. And the storyline took several twists and turns that kept me reading. Very good and definitely worth the read.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell-- Classic fourth grade novel we read for California history. I loved it and my first grader loved it. The fourth grader... well, he probably would have enjoyed it more if we hadn't read such big chunks at a time. However, as we clarified the creatures in the story, that was his favorite part. A great piece of history and a fun way to learn.
Our suggested reading for September was The Me I Want To Be by John Ortberg-- I'm about 75 % through this one and am finding you really can't read it quickly. Well, it is written in such a way that you could, but you'd really end up missing the point of the book. It's really missing with the way I think. My greatest gift from this one is coming in re-wiring the way I think. Paying attention to my thought life in how I worry or predict the outcome of situations. I like it... it's just hard to summarize 'cause it's a lot of meat to chew on.
So what are your bookmarks this month?
Tell us in the comments about the books you're chewing on. Or link up a review from your own blog. Let's share the books we're finding, good and bad. And give us your thoughts on The Me I Want To Be by John Ortberg.
And join us for our next bookmarks post coming October 31 as we discuss Real Food Real Frugal by Susan Godfrey.
As part of the Veggie Tales "I Can Read" series, Sheerluck Holmes and The Case of the Missing Friend explores the issues of friendship and hurt feelings. When Sniffy leaves a note saying his feelings have been hurt, it's up to Sheerluck Holmes and Dr. Watson to determine who hurt his feelings and encourage him to return home. Can they solve the case?
Written for beginning readers, the sentences are short and the words are easy. The illustrations are detailed and well-done. The story isn't exceptionally deep and I felt it could have been done better. But over all, the point came across. This book is written for children ages 4-8 years, but I feel an 8 year old would easily become bored with the story. My 6 year old read it quickly and she's probably at the higher end of the appropriate level.
Overall, I liked this book. It wasn't anything exceptional, but it's a nice book for learning to read with a good moral.
*Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
It's been quite awhile since we did an Intentional Act of Kindness so I thought one was way over due. If you're new to this series, we've left bubbles at the park for kids, learned about holding the door for others, left encouraging notes on public mirrors, blessed our neighbors and more. Although this series has certainly taken longer than I had planned, I'm glad we've done it. It's brought to mind a deeper consciousness of the people around me. And disciplining my kids in this area as well.
Our next Intentional Act of Kindness has been on my heart for some time. Around mid-summer, we were on a road trip. Hubby and I started talking about the next year and where we were putting our time and money. One of the ideas we tossed around was putting more energy into supporting our local pregnancy center. It just seemed like a natural step from where we're at as foster parents.
So I want to do some cleaning in the next couple of weeks: go through the clothes that the little one has outgrown. Put some things aside for the little cousins and then fill a bag for the pregnancy center. And I really need to clean out my maternity clothes. It's time. So part of this is to clean and donate that as well.
Therefore, your next Intentional Act of Kindness is to contact your local Pregnancy Center, find out what they can use, and donate what you can. Even if you don't agree with the politics of all this, I think we can all agree that there's nothing wrong with supporting women, children, and families. Can you donate clothes? Formula? Baby gear? Diapers? Where in our budget can we find the resources to help these families?
This cute picture book follows what it might have been like if the animals were startled on Noah's Ark. First one then another of the animals are afraid of the rain and the thunder till eventually they all end up in Noah's bed. The ark starts to tip and Noah finds himself tucking his new friends in for the night.
This book by Laura Sassi is cute, adorable, and a lot of fun to read. It reminds me a lot of Goodnight, Moon and Goodnight, Construction Site by other authors. The rhyme flows over the pages and moves the story. Not only did my kids love it, but I also found myself chuckling along as we read.
This book is a great imaginative look at what life might have been like for 40 days and 40 night. I'm sure it certainly wasn't quiet and peaceful the whole time. What a fun way to bring it all to life for your little ones!
*Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge for review. All opinions are my own.
As we all know, kids are naturally curious creatures. They want to know about everything. The amount of questions I get asked in a typical day is overwhelming. And if I don't answer those questions to their satisfaction, they're going to find the answers themselves. So it doesn't surprise me at all when they start asking to use the computer. After all, they see me blogging throughout the day and their dad organizing on his iPad for Sunday morning. Why wouldn't they be curious?
Technology is a double edged sword in my mind. On one hand, it's changing quicker than ever before and has become such an integrated part of our society that our kids will need to understand it for their futures. On the other hand, access to so much information can be both inappropriate and addicting. And it has become a cheap substitute for face to face interactions.
So how can we help our children (and ourselves) navigate through technology?
*First of all, realize that because of their natural curiousity, children will figure out how to use the computer. It amazes me time and again, how my two oldest children have worked their way from one website to another in a matter of seconds. Search bar? No problem. Bookmarks? Got it. They're not afraid to play around with the tool bar 'cause it's all fun for them.
*Don't be afraid of parental controls. I know sometimes we want to let our kids just follow their curiousity. But left unchecked, this could lead to some very scary realities. And don't think your child is too young. A curious child can be lead to all sorts of dangers on the internet. Don't let your child (or their minds) become the internet's next victim.
*Establish clear time limits. In our house, the kids read every day for 30 min in exchange for 20 min of computer time. Computer time is not to be redeemed until all school work is complete to Mom's satisfactory. Sometimes we allow for more computer time, but that's a rare exception and usually focuses on homework or something that the family can do together.
Technology is a great tool. I have been incredibly blessed by the friends I've made through blogging and social media. And there's a whole world to explore right at our fingertips. With a little planning, parental influence, and clear limits, our kids can flourish in the world of technology.
Friday was my three year old's birthday! Three years... my how time flies! Grandma was in town, birthday boy was in a good mood, so we decided to make it a full celebration and see a movie. Grandma offered to treat us so we looked up what was playing and decided to go see Dolphin Tale 2.
Now if you're not familiar with Dolphin Tale, the first movie follows Winter's story, a juvenile female dolphin found tangled in some crab nets. As time goes on, Winter regains her health, but looses her tale due to lack of circulation. Without her tale, she's unable to survive in the wild and her future hangs in the balance. But through her friendship with Sawyer, Hazel, and the staff at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Winter receives a prothetic tail and learns to swim on her own again.
In this sequel, Winter's long time companion dies of old age and Winter goes into a deep depression. Being a social animal, she's lost without Panama's friendship and withdraws, even lashing out again Sawyer, her constant friend. To make matters worse, regulations require her to find a suitable replacement within weeks. But can the staff find a dolphin to befriend Winter? And will the two dolphins connect with each other?
Back to us at the theater...
It's rare to find a movie that we all enjoy. And rarer still a movie that doesn't chip away at our family values. So I've been watching this sequel with anticipation since I heard it was being made earlier this year. Still I had to wonder if there wouldn't be something in the movie. This is Hollywood after all. So I waited, and watched, looking for the inevitable innocent plot elements: typical teenage attitude, the oblivious parent, mild language, perhaps a kiss on the cheek between two of the main characters. And you know what I got? Nothin'! Absolutely nothin'.
And what did the kids think?
Two thumbs up across the board. My eight and six year olds both loved learning about the animals and the fact that Winter found her friend in the end. They've been talking about the movie all weekend and I'm sure it will bring up more conversation in the future. And the three year old? Well, he loved seeing the dolphins swim... oh, and the popcorn.
While Dolphin Tale 2 isn't a nail biting action film, it's one that kept our whole family entertained, without my husband and I cringing at the character's behavior. It was a reminder that we can all over come if faced with insurmountable odds. And that growing up doesn't have to mean growing wild.
All in all, I would wholeheartedly recommend this movie. It's perhaps the best movie we've seen all year!
Science is my favorite subject to teach and the kids' favorite subject to learn. But every once in awhile, we run into a stumbling block for some piece of equipment or something I can't get my hands on right away. So thankful for the DIY life.
This past spring Lydia and I were studying weather with Evan-Moore and needed a weather vane to study wind direction. Right there in the lesson was an idea for making your own. It's super easy so I'm sharing it here for anyone in a similar situation.
All you need is:
A paper plate
Some clay (or playdoh)
A straight pin
And some chalk
1. Stick your pencil in some clay and place it on the plate. This is your base.
2. Cut two arrows from cardboard and adhere to each end of the straw with tape. One arrow should be slightly larger than the other.
3. Insert your straight pin through the middle of the straw and into the eraser on the tip of the pencil.
4. Place outside and write directions around the plate. Ours was in the driveway.
See? Super easy! And it works. I was a little skeptical at first, but we checked it out several times throughout the day and it was awesome.
Have you ever stumbled on a DIY during the school hours?