Our family enjoys watching the latest movies together, but it can be SO expensive to take everyone – especially if you can’t get to a matinee. General Mills cereals has a solution for families! For a limited time (until 12/06/2013 – still quite awhile!), you can get a free movie ticket when you purchase two boxes of specially marked packages of General Mills cereals, including Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Trix (my favorite), Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs.
These cereals are “once-in-awhile” treats in our house, but there is plenty of time to get two boxes before the expiration of the offer! Once you have the boxes and the unique codes located inside of them, visit www.generalmills.com/moviecash to enter your codes and print your free Movie Cash certificate. How easy is that?? The certificate is good for one admission, up to $12 in value, at participating theaters. To see which theaters in your area are participating, log into www.emoviecash.com/dis_locator/.
Which movie will you plan to see with your free tickets?
Disclosure: The information, products and General Mills gift pack were provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.
The last week in my Mamavation journey was all about setting goals. I want my goals – and the ones for my family – to be reasonable, attainable, and sustainable. While I’d love to say that I’ll exercise 2 hours a day, 6 days a week, that just isn’t going to happen. Neither is a complete change in the way my family eats – not immediately, anyway. So, here’s what I think will challenge me (us), but not so much that hands go up in the air in defeat because it’s just too much:
- I will lose one clothing size between now and April 4 (my birthday).
- My family will transition to a mostly Paleo diet. We’ll cut way back on breads and pastas, and increase our meat and veggie consumption.
- I will exercise in some format (treadmill, Wii exercise games, outdoor activities) for at least 30 minutes 4 times a week.
I know those might not seem like huge goals, but they really kind-of are for stubborn me and my stubborn family I tend to start out well with goals like this, but quickly lose steam and interest. In selecting only 3 goals and making them attainable, I hope they will stick.
In the last week, I did well with the Paleo-ish diet, but bombed with the exercise. I need to do better. I will do better.
I’ve been saying for awhile now that I really need to make some changes to my habits and lose some weight. The weight isn’t the biggest factor for me, it’s more about overall lifestyle for me – and my family. We’ve attempted some changes here and there, but none of the big ones have really stuck. This time, I’m going to do it with help and accountability!
I’ve decided to pledge the Mamavation Sistahood. I’ve done the pledging thing before, but I’m hopeful this will be a different kind of deal I’ve been an observer of the community from the outside for awhile on Twitter, and I’ve been really impressed by how supportive of each other they are. I’m looking forward to that support, as well as the accountability that comes from the Sistahood. I always have the best of intentions with these kinds of changes, but I get distracted or just don’t follow through the way I should. SO, if you’re reading this and you’re part of the Mamavation community, please help me stick with it!
That’s me, Megan, and my kiddos. (We were looking into the sun – sorry for the squinting.) The older one is 9 and the younger one is 4. They keep us on our toes! The four of us live in Huntsville, Alabama, which is in the northern part of the state. I work nearly full time as a business and contracts manager for a local IT consulting company while the boys are in school. Our family leans to the geeky side, so we tend to stay inside working on our various projects and games, rather than going outside to run around. My husband found a great deal on a treadmill on Craigslist for me, though, so I have no excuse not to exercise – even if the rest of the family is inside.
So, that’s my story. I know I need to set some goals, but I’m still trying to figure out what’s realistic for me. I’ll have an update on that – with firm goals – next week. Thanks for reading!
I’ve never done a gift guide before, but since I’ve been stalking the internet in search of new releases, I thought I might put my favorites in a central location. If they help anyone else with their gift-giving, then even better!
Wii U - We had a chance to try out the Wii U this summer at a Nintendo event in Atlanta. We drove over thinking that the boys would really enjoy it, but really weren’t prepared for how much fun we had! I’ve been a big Nintendo fan ever since I got that first NES back in the day, but none of the follow-on consoles or handhelds were as much fun for me as the original. That changed for me when I got to play the Wii U – I had a blast! We pre-ordered the Wii U and I can’t wait for it to arrive! It’s even worse that I can’t share my excitement with the boys because it will be a secret until it arrives on our doorstep! I’d like to think I might be able to wait until Christmas, but that just won’t happen – haha!
Even though they don’t know when the Wii U will arrive in our house, they have put together their game wish list for that happy day. I appreciate that so many of the games seem allow single-player, cooperative, and competitive play through the same game. That will make game play with all ages much easier!
Rabbids Land - We’ve loved those crazy Rabbids on the Wii and can’t wait to see what craziness they get up to in the amusement park! The boys are going to be SO excited when this one arrives! Be sure to check back because we’ll be sharing our thoughts and impressions on this one.
Nintendo Land – This was my personal favorite at the event in Atlanta. It’s actually many different games all on the same disc, which I think gives it more playability for the long-term. I really enjoyed the Ninja Castle game, where you use the Wii U pad to shoot throwing stars at your enemies. (That’s me playing in the photo.) There’s more to the game, too, but that was my favorite part My 4 year old son played Donkey Kong’s Crash Course over and over and over at the event. My husband liked that one best, too, I think. It’s unusual that we all agree on which game we like best, but 3 out of the 4 of us chose Nintendo Land.
The Wonderful 101 – I did not have a chance to play this one, but it was Alex’s favorite. He would play for awhile, go try something else, and go right back to it. He tried to explain it to me, but I think it’s one of those things that you just have to play to fully understand. It was still called by its code name, Project P-100, when we played and I think that gave it something extra in the eyes of a 9 year old.
I’m sure that we’ll be adding many more games to our list once the release date gets here. I’ll be sure to update both our wishes and our experiences as we go!
Budget Travel just released their list of 15 places kids should see before they are 15. We’re lucky to have several of these places within driving distance – and one right here in Huntsville! If you’ve never been, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center should be on your list. It’s everything cool about NASA, rockets, space exploration, and science – all rolled into one. And they have an IMAX theater!
The Budget Travel list got me thinking about the places I’d like our kids to see before they turn 15. That’s eleven more years for Declan, but only six for Alex. We need to get a move on!
1. Tokyo, Japan – I’ve talked with Alex about visiting and he has little interest in it – he just wants to move there! Rod and I have both been to Tokyo and absolutely love it the people, the city, and the food. I’ve never felt safer in a completely unfamiliar place as I did when I was exploring the city on my own. Truth be told, we would love to move our family there, even if it’s just for a few months.
2. Schloß Neuschwanstein, Bavaria, Germany – A visit to mad King Ludwig’s castle was the highlight of the trip my high school German Club took to German-speaking European countries way back in 1994. We’d studied German every day for four years and it seemed like the many photos of this place in our classroom represented everything we learned. It’s also the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle, and you can’t go wrong with Disney references! I distinctly remember there was a TON of walking involved on this stop, so we might need to wait until the boys are a bit older for this one.
3. Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco – The Golden Gate is on Budget Travel’s list, too. It’s an engineering marvel and, honestly, really cool! The boys have never seen the Pacific Ocean (or the Atlantic, come to think of it) and this would be a great stop. San Francisco seems to be a great family destination and I’m sure we could find plenty of ways to have fun!
4. Löwendenkmal, Lucerne, Switzerland – This was also a stop on the German Club trip in 1994. It hadn’t been high on my list when I saw it on our itinerary, but it should have been. This monument is one of the most beautiful pieces of art I’ve ever seen. It was created to pay tribute to the Swiss Guards who were massacred during the French Revolution, as they protected the palace in Paris. I’m not sure the boys would really understand the significance of what the monument represents, but it’s an amazing thing to see, even without that understanding.
5. Kauai, Hawaii – I think Hawaii should be on everyone’s list! We are not a huge beach family (the fair skin makes that pretty difficult), but Rod and I enjoyed our stop in Kauai when we were on our honeymoon. As touristy as Waikiki is, Kauai is not. There are even feral chickens roaming the island as a result of some tossed chicken houses during a storm many years ago! The island is full of natural beauty – beaches, waterfalls, flowers, and birds. There was a pretty cute fabric shop we stopped at last time, too. I wouldn’t mind going back there for a visit, for sure!
6. Grand Canyon – This is one destination that everyone should see, right? I still haven’t, but hopefully I’ll get there soon! It’s only a day trip from Las Vegas, right? Maybe that would be the best way to do it?
7. New York City – Another one that everyone should see! Shortly after I graduated from college, I was relocated to New Jersey for work. My office was just outside of the city and we could see part of the skyline from our parking lot on clean air days. I was only there for about 9 months and my one regret from that time was that I didn’t take advantage of my proximity to the city more. There’s so much to see and do with kiddos, though, so I’d like to do that with Alex and Declan!
8. Smithsonian – I think all of the museums under the Smithsonian umbrella would be great for the boys to see, but I think they would especially enjoy the National Zoo, Air and Space Museum, and Natural History Museum. When I was looking at the long list of museums, I noticed the Postal Museum on there. I had no idea there was a postal museum! It says it’s dedicated to the history of America’s mail system and the hobby of stamp collecting. Did I ever tell you that I was a stamp collector? I am! This one is going on my list for me, too!
9. Niagara Falls, Ontario – We’ve actually been here a few times with the boys. It’s only a short drive to Niagara Falls from where I grew up, so we sometimes go for the day or a short stay when we visit in the summertime. (You can read about our most recent vist here.) I want the boys to remember how special and cool this place is, so I want to make sure we go back often!
10. Williamsport, PA – This one might seem like an odd addition to the list, but it’s a place that’s special to me. I went to college in Williamsport and have a lot of great memories of the city. I want the boys to be able to have a point of reference when I talk about things that happened when I was in college and maybe a memory of a visit to Lycoming will do that. Plus, it’s the home of the Little League World Series and that is one of the best sporting events in the world!
What about you? What places are on the list for your family to see? Is there anything that I should have on our list and don’t?
I grew up in a pretty small town. Our school district was geographically large, but there were only two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. There were 170 people in my graduating class. I remember parents often bragging how “the kids all know each other really well.” That was true – we’d been together since the beginning and we all knew where the others lived, what bus they rode to school, and what their dog’s name was. We also knew what specific personal things were pressure points for each other and some classmates chose to use that information for their advantage.
Here’s a photo of me in 9th grade. Can you guess what my pressure point was?
Thankfully, I don’t know of any times that any physical violence occurred. I can’t even count, though, the number of times emotional attacks were made because of how well we knew each other. They are both bullying. Things were especially bad for me in middle school. I can remember several mornings that I begged my mom not to make me go to school because one particular female classmate had chosen me as her target for the week. Did I tell my mom why I didn’t want to go? No. I didn’t know how to start that conversation and I don’t think she ever thought it was one she would need to have with me. Now, however, we all know. We have seen stories of how tragically some bullying situations have ended. This should never happen. We, as parents, adults, and citizens, have a responsibility to help end the bullying epidemic.
Sundance and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch has directed an incredible film that documents the life of five students and families over an entire school year in the Sioux City Community School District. The film offers a look into many different areas of life in this district and is a gift to parents, educators, and schools. If you’re unsure of how to talk with children and teenagers about bullying, watch this movie together. The Bully Project has provided resources on their website to help you talk with your kids after viewing the movie. Please, please, please check it out.