The Man Who Invented Christmas – Movie Review

I love A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This Christmas get a glimpse of what it might have been like for Charles Dicken to write the beloved Christmas story. The Man Who Invented Christmas tells of the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol. Directed by Bharat Nalluri, this beautiful film for the whole family shows how Charles Dickens mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.

Last week I went to a screening of The Man Who Invented Christmas and it was delightful. I always love Dan Stevens who played Charles Dickens, so I had high expectations. What I really liked about this movie was the story-telling. It wasn’t presented in a boring biographical way that just reenacts events that happened but it gives you insight as to what if may have been like inside Charles Dicken’s mind. I loved Christopher Plummer’s role as Ebenezer Scrooge, he was everything I think of when I imagine Scrooge. But I think my favorite part of the story was how events in Dicken’s own life helped form the characters in The Christmas Carol.

I think this is a great movie to watch with your family around the holidays. However, I don’t think that young children would be able to follow the story very well, especially if they aren’t familiar with The Christmas Carol. I think it is best for children around the age of 10 and up. I think Jude(9) would enjoy it but the rest of my boys would tune out about half way through just because they don’t have much context for the story yet. However, for everyone else it is a wonderful movie and I highly recommend going to see it this Christmas.

I received passes to the featured event in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.


Learning with Lego Robotics

Did you know that there are robotics groups your kid can join? Snapology offers robotics for all ages, from 3 years old up into the teen years. Students learn pseudo-coding, coding, robotics and engineering principles. In addition to the robotics classes there is competition robotics, which allows teams to work together to problem solve real-world problems. The teams compete against other teams and have opportunities to advance to national levels. The Snapology competition robotics program is educational and loads of fun.

My boys love all things Lego. You may remember my post from a few days ago when Simon had a Lego Ninjago themed birthday party? Or remember that time we went to see the Art of the Brick by Nathan Sawaya. Of maybe you’ve noticed the thousands of Instagram and Facebook pictures I post there my kids are playing with Legos? I sure notice how much they love Lego every single days when I step on one! But really, we do love Lego, it’s one of the few toys that all 4 of my boys love and will always play with.

I mean just look at tonight’s Lego creations: An elevator by Jude (9), A helicopter by Noah (6) and a castle battle by Simon (5).

A few years ago Jude got to experience Lego Robotics and ever since he’s been hooked on making sets with moving parts. We have a few electronic Lego pieces which the boys are always fashioning into some new robot. They don’t really understand how all of the parts work together, they are just tinkering. But image the amazing things they could create if they had more tools and information?

There are Snapology centers all around the U.S. and franchise opportunities if you’d like to see one in your city. They also offer birthday parties, STEM classes, camps and more.

This post has been sponsored by Nakturnal. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Simon turns 5

On November 3rd Simon turned 5 years old. We celebrated with cupcakes in his preschool class and a dinner of pizza and salad, as per his request. But this past Saturday we had a Ninjago themed birthday party at a local martial arts establishment.

We invited all his friends and had a wonderful time. The kids played games with the instructors, learned proper kicking and punching technique and even got to kick a few board in half. Simon was the star of the party and even got to cut his cake with a real ninja sword. We had such a great time celebrating Simon.

The martial arts place offered all of the party attendants 2 free months of classes (no obligations to sign up). So we hope to head back and take a few classes as the boys all seemed very interested in the activities.

Thor: Ragnarok – Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok opened in theaters on November 3rd and it was a much anticipated movie for Joe and I.

Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive the deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!

Joe’s thoughts
The first thing I read about Thor:Ragnarok was this tweet comparing it to the side of a cool dude’s van, and from that moment I was awash with anticipation. I can now confirm that the sweet-ass van guy’s initial impression was 100% accurate.

On top of being full of the sort of intergalactic ass-kicking that belongs on an epic heavy metal album cover, Thor:Ragnarok was also surprisingly hilarious. Instead of taking an overly serious approach, the film deals with the downfall of Thor and the destruction of the world with levity and frivolity. This approach makes an overtly fantastical story both accessible and believable, when it would otherwise be campy and cheesy.

The reemergence of the Hulk was something I’ve been looking forward to for years, and it was worth the wait. Watching the Hulk’s interactions with the other characters was very relatable for parents of small children.

Thor:Ragnarok is easily the best Thor-Hulk team-up movie, beating out the 1988 Bill Bixby classic The Incredible Hulk Returns by a large margin. It is also the best Thor movie, and it is definitely in the running for the best Marvel movie.

The direction by Taika Waititi was spot-on, and the casting was great. Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, and Idris Elba were especially fun to watch, and there were a ton of unexpected cameos. Immense attention was paid to tiny details and references that nerds like me will be pouring over for months.
All in all, Thor: Ragnarok was extraordinarily fun movie.

I received passes to the featured event in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own.


Starting Construction

It’s been a little over 2 months since we signed our contract to build our new home. It feels like we were waiting forever for them to start building but we had to wait our turn. We just so happened to sign our contract right after 7 other families signed. So the process took a bit longer because the builder starts 2 new homes a week so even though all the permits were approved we had to wait our turn. The position of our house on the lot has changed to give us a flatter and longer driveway. This also gives us a slightly better backyard, although the house is further back than we initially thought. It’s all OK, we are excited that construction has started. They set all the plumbing on Wednesday. Seeing as we only live 2 miles from the new home we frequently drive by to watch the progress of ours and our neighbors houses. It looks as though they will pour the foundation on Monday, everything is staked and ready. We have an Internet Tool Kit that allows us to login to our account to check on the status and updates on the building of our home. They have proposed schedule of when milestones are supposed to be completed. They projected completion of the foundation is 11/17.

It’s funny how tiny the house looks in comparison to the vast expanse around us. I’m excited to see it come together over the next few months.

Raising Outgoing Children

I was secretly hoping no one would be at the park this afternoon. But the boys are thrilled there are other kids here. I sit far away but still within view of where the boys are playing. I don’t want to hover or nag them while they playing. Abel is at home napping while Joe works so I only have the older 3. They are all old enough to play on their own. I overhear the boys striking up a conversation with some of the other parents. But I’m not going to intervene, everyone seems fine and happy. I realize for the first time in 10 years of parenting that I don’t really care what others think of me but I do care how I make other people feel. And as a mother that same sentiment is extended with my children. I care how my children make other people feel. My boys are very social and are pretty good at making others feel awkward. It kind of drives me nuts and it’s one of the reasons I nag them to be less intrusive in public. But really they aren’t being intrusive, just inquisitive and friendly. All of my helicopter parenting is striving to make sure other adults aren’t uncomfortable. Meanwhile, I’m sort of crushing my own kids. I’m not taking into account how I’m making them feel. I so often see my kids as an extension of me, instead of the individual unique people they actually are. Now, I’m not going to let my kids be little brats but it’s OK if they strike up awkward conversations with people or say ridiculous stuff. If they are kind and caring I’m proud of my kids.

Body Confidence #MonistatCure

As you get older your body changes. If you’re a woman that’s carried a child you’ve probably noticed that you can never quite get back your pre-pregnancy body. I’m not just talking about weight and dress size, but hormones. Something magical happens with the female body during pregnancy. Hormones kick in and the body grows and changes in new, amazing way. But after all of the changes that are essential for a pregnancy your body feels and acts differently after pregnancy.

Personally, I’ve noticed that my hair and skin have changed since having kids. I find it more difficult to lose weight in certain areas of my body. I also noticed changes in my lady parts. With the fluctuation of hormones and all of the physical changes it can be hard to feel comfortable in your own body, much less sexy. It’s been 3 years since my last baby and I’m just now starting to regain confidence in my body. Confidence comes by being knowledgeable and experienced. After major changes happen in your body it’s totally normal to feel less confident. It takes time to get re-acquainted with your body. Now that I’m older I am less concerned about what others think of me but my body is also less reliable. It’s important for me to be prepared for sudden changes in my body so I keep Monistat products on-hand.


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Our bodies go through a lot of changes so we should all learn to be familiar with our bodies. The better we know ourselves and our intimate areas, the easier it is to recognize when something is not right, like a yeast infection, and correct it .


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This post has been sponsored by MONISTAT®. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Thoughts on Year-Round School

We are in the midst of our first track-out on the year-round school calendar. After every 9 weeks of school the boys get 3 weeks off for track-out. This is our first year not only sending our kids to public school but also adhering to a year-round calendar. And I have to say that I really love this schedule, once I got past the typical mindset of 3 month long summer breaks which is how I grew up.

We have completed 2 weeks of track-out with this next week being our final. What makes this time so great is that while Jude and Noah are out of school Simon is still on a traditional calendar so he goes to preschool every day from 9-1. With Simon in school during the mornings I’m able to take Jude, Noah and Abel out on little outings around town. That one child difference make things a little bit easier. Then because Joe works from home I’m able to take the big boys out for afternoon adventures while Abel naps.

So far we’ve visited several parks, met up with friends, visited our favorite museums, gone bowling, and even took a short trip to Great Wolf Lodge. It’s been such a great break. I’m glad we have one more week off but I’m also glad the boys go back to school next week.

Photo Oct 12, 5 38 52 PM

Jude read the first 2 Harry Potter Books over break. Photo Oct 12, 3 26 16 PM

We went bowling and Noah scored almost 100 on our first game. Photo Oct 12, 12 04 21 PM

Of course we had to get some Halloween Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Photo Oct 12, 11 29 48 AM

One of our favorite places, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science     Photo Oct 07, 11 34 15 AM

While the big boys were off selling popcorn for Cub Scouts, Abel and I visited the fire station. Photo Oct 07, 1 31 13 PM

We even got to see Santa Photo Oct 09, 4 06 46 PM

Jude built and epic castle at Marbles Kids Museum

Photo Oct 02, 11 02 17 AM Photo Oct 02, 11 12 19 AM

We checked out the Ninja Warrior park in Apex Photo Oct 03, 10 06 32 AM

The carousel at Pullen Park is only $1 and was on the top of our to-do list. Photo Oct 03, 6 45 30 PM

Knightdale Community Day Photo Oct 04, 6 47 01 PM Getting ready to Trick-or-Treat at Great Wolf Lodge