Tag Archives: family activities

Winter Wonderland: Snow Forts

The weather has been a little wacky out here on the west coast. For the first time in a LONG time we have rain, and in some places, snow! That means kids of all ages are out enjoying the wonderful white stuff and all the crazy outdoor activities it offers up. All of you midwesterners and east coasters may be thinking we are a little over excited, but when it happens as often as it does it is certainly something to celebrate.

We have enjoyed some fun and outrageous snowman building, snowball fights, and snow angel making. But the one we have yet to try, since it requires more snow than we currently have, is a snow fort. Our goal is to head further north to a higher elevation so the kids can experience some true snow. When we do that we are very excited to try to build a snow fort. We have even looked up some interesting ideas. This one is a bit over ambitious for us. But the foundation is solid, and it brings to mind that we want to use some form of a mold or uniform building block style to make the fort sound. That is why we went looking at snow molds. We even found one that we are ordering for our big trip.

Snow forts

This little kit will help us to create a good solid foundation that will eventually turn in to a snow fort we can be proud of. It is a little pricey for an item we will probably only use once a year, but it is for a fun once in a lifetime experience we want our kids to have with us so we have justified the price. We are very excited to use it and play for hours in the snow (or at least until the youngest starts to complain!) We hope that no matter where you are you are enjoying a little piece of a winter wonderland as well!

Halloween Movies for Movie Night

Are you and your family looking for a great movie to watch together this Halloween after all the trick-or-treating? We a great list that you will want to check out before planning a movie night. From movies for the littlest Halloween fans to movies that the older kids will want to watch we have a great list that will be invaluable to you this Halloween. Thank you to Parenting Magazine for some of these fabulous ideas! Check out their full list here.

10 Best Family Halloween Movies

1. Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie (2005)

Who doesn’t love Pooh? It’s Halloween in the Hundred Acre Wood, and everyone is excited to trick or treat. But Pooh eats all of the candy (oh, Pooh Bear!), so Roo and Lumpy set off on a quest to capture a scary Gobloon who will grant their wish for more. Sweet and not scary, this film is perfect for the pre-school set.

Recommended Age: 3 and Up

2. Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

This Disney classic is what Mary Poppins would be if it had witches, wizards and magic bedknobs that make your bed fly. The theme involves World War II and Nazi invasions, but is handled with kid gloves. Bonus points if your kiddo starts using “bedknobs” in regular conversation!

Recommended Age: 7 and Up

3. Labyrinth (1986)

Dealing with sibling rivalry? Labyrinth is a must-watch for anyone who has ever felt fed-up with a younger sib. When Sarah wishes that Goblins would take her baby brother, the King of the Goblins comes and whisks the boy away to a Labyrinth. Sarah must venture inside and solve it within thirteen hours to get her little brother back. Filled with fantastical Jim Henson puppets, this movie has magic enough to enchant the kiddos. Plus, David Bowie is perfect as the brooding, discontent Jareth.

Recommended Age: 8 and Up

4. Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins (or, okay, Mogwai) are the original Furbies. Thankfully, Furby never multiplied after getting wet or turned into a trouble-causing reptile. While the film doesn’t revolve around Halloween, watching these little monsters cause chaos is totally in the spirit of this trick-or-treating holiday.

Recommended Age: 9 and Up

5. Casper (1995)

The iconic cartoon character stars in this sweet film. Poor Casper has always struggled with being lonely and when he finally finds a friend, he tries to bring himself back to life. But things do not go according to plan. At its heart, this is a tender ghost-meets-girl story. And Casper whispering “can I keep you” never fails to make us tear up!

Recommended Age: 6 and Up

6. Halloweentown (1998)

Marnie Piper has always been obsessed with Halloween, much to her mother’s despair. But it turns out there is something her mom is keeping from her—she’s a witch! When grandmother Aggie arrives for her annual Halloween visit, Marnie follows her to a strange place called Halloweentown. This installment is the first of a magical trilogy—the two sequels will be better appreciated by kids 8 and up.

Recommended Age: 7 and Up

7. Harry Potter

While you should watch Harry Potter at any time of the year (can you tell we’re fans?), Halloween seems especially appropriate. There is something about Harry boarding the Hogwarts Express that really evokes that start-of-the-school-year, fall feeling. Oh…and there’s magic and witches, too! The first few movies are aimed at younger children while the later ones are better suited to their older, tween siblings.

Recommended Age: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 7 and Up; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 8 and Up; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 10 and Up; all movies after Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 12 and Up

8. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Dreamed up by Tim Burton, The Nightmare Before Christmas tells the story of Jack Skellington—the “King of Halloween”—who, tired with staging Halloween festivities year after year, finds a door to Christmas Town and decides to try his hand at that holiday, instead. We dare you not to have the songs from this musical flick stuck in your head for days after watching. “This is Halloween” should be the unofficial theme song of October! Best of all, it also makes a great Christmas movie.

Recommended Age: 7 and Up

9. Beetlejuice (1988)

A newly-dead husband and wife discover that a family of the living has moved into their house, so they hire a crude “bio-exorcist” to scare them off. The friendship between the deceased couple and Lydia—the epitome of a neglected and gloomy teenager—is heart-warming and the rockin’ 80’s styling will give you a good chuckle. But really…Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Do we need to say more?

Recommended Age: 9 and Up

10. Corpse Bride (2005)

This is another gem from Tim Burton’s twisted imagination. Victor, a nervous and clumsy young man, accidentally marries a dead bride. He is taken to the Land of the Dead and must somehow escape in order to be reunited with his true fiancée in time for their wedding.

Recommended Age: 10 and Up

Family Movie Night: Big Hero 6

Are you looking for a fun movie night for some much needed family time? We recently watched Big Hero 6 and the kids loved it. It can be difficult to pick a movie that appeals to everyone. But Disney did great with this movie. It has a great family dynamic amongst the main characters, it offers incredible laughs, and it has some pretty awesome special effects. It keeps you laughing, excited, worried, and touched up until the very end. What is also great is that it has a deeper meaning. Don’t give up, live up to your potential, and always remember your family is there for you. These are some pretty simple paradigms, but they mean a lot, in the movie, and in real life.

We live in such a fast paced world and our kids seem to grow up so much faster than before that it can be difficult to slow down and enjoy it all. We try to do family night at least once a week but there are weeks that it does not include everyone, either Dad has to work late, Mom has to work late, or someone has a game or practice.but we don’t let that’s stop us. We just plan an even better family night for the next week. We know that our time together is short but we don’t want to just let it pass by. So we take the time.

So why not try family night yourself this week? Spice it up with some fun. Rent or buy Big Hero 6 and you can try this fun popcorn mix. You will be glad you took the time.

big hero 6

What You Will Need:

  • 2 cups popcorn
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter M&Ms
  • 1 cup chocolate minis
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup Quaker Squares Cereal
  • 1 cup Muddy Buddies
  • Gourmet Black Marker

What You Will Do:

1. Draw Baymax face on mini marshmallows.

2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.