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Plan Ahead for a Fun Halloween Next Year

by Tina on October 23, 2012
category: Holidays,Pop culture

Far too many people miss out on having an excellent Halloween experience merely because they think pulling off a great costume will cost too much in time, money, or effort. Thankfully, this is not at all true. A well-planned costume will not only magnify your Halloween experience but will also be fairly easy to do if you follow these simple steps.

The first trick to a great Halloween costume is to start early. Planning ahead is the number one way of easing yourself into an awesome Halloween. If you can manage it, try to plan at least a year in advance; you’ll never get a better deal when buying a great costume than just after Halloween the previous year. If you wait too long before you begin planning your Halloween costume, you risk not being able to find what you need without paying way too much, or worse: not being able to find what you want at all. Getting started the year before will reduce much of the stress inherent in last minute costume shopping and dramatically reduce the number of problems you’ll encounter throughout the experience.

The next thing you need to do is decide on a theme. While it’s true that singleton costumes can perform well if you get lucky, the best way to ensure that your costume will be a hit is to plan together alongside your friends or family. Consider a costume that pairs well with your spouse, child, or best friend. Not only will it be more fun to go as a couple or group, but it will make your costume stand out that much more at whatever party you attend.

Once you know what it is that you want, it’s time to go shopping. Finding adult women costumes or men costumes is fairly easy to do online, if you know exactly what you want. Pick out the perfect thematic costume and get it well in advance.

Now it’s time to customize. Don’t just wear the standard costume as it comes in a box; make the costume yours. Add jewelry, a cane, umbrella, or any other props that fit in character. Just make sure that everything can be carried with only one hand; costumes that require both hands tend to make for far more uncomfortable parties.

As it gets closer to Halloween, consider doing a test run to make sure everything is how you want it to look. Pick a day a month in advance or so to fully dress up as a group and do an activity at home, like board game night, poker or video games. This way you and your thematic costume group can be fully ready for the big day while not outing the surprise to everyone else who’ll be at the party.

Finally, when Halloween eventually does arrive, be sure to have fun! The whole point of planning in advance is to make your Halloween party experience thoroughly awesome, and that can’t happen unless you commit yourself to having a great time. If anything goes wrong with your costume at the last minute, don’t worry! Just consider it part of the fun.

Cartoon Christmas Classics: Which is Your Favorite?

by Amanda on December 8, 2009
category: Humor/Random,Pop culture

snowcartoon I love all the classic Christmas cartoons. They remind me of being 7 years old and staying up past bedtime to watch a cartoon at night that was only broadcast once a year.  It would be a whole another year before I got to watch Frosty the Snowman again. This is a big deal when you are 7 years old in the Eighties.

Now we can pick up a whole collection of our favorite classics in a DVD package at Costco for $23. I checked this weekend, but I didn’t pay for them this year. My favorites are being searched out on the network and cable channels, recorded, and saved on my DVR until January. I am so thankful that my 2 year old daughter will sit and watch them with me. I now have an excuse to watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at least 10 times this month.

Here is a list of some cartoon Christmas classics.

Which are your favorites? Do you have a special memory with one them? Will you always remember Hermey the Dentist Elf? Do you tear up when Linus gives his speech about the true meaning of Christmas? Does A Christmas Carol weird you out a little? Do you remember the Heuy, Dewey, and Louie and how they wished for it to be Christmas every year? Okay, after all these questions. I seriously watch too much TV or  maybe I just have a good memory! haha.

Herbie 1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
2. The Year Without a Santa Claus
3. Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer
4. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
5. Frosty The Snowman
6. Frosty Returns
7. A Charlie Brown Christmas
8. A Christmas Carol (Sim – 1971)
9. Mickey’s A Christmas Carol
10. Mr. Magoo’s A Christmas Carol
11. The Nightmare Before Xmas
12. Grandma got run over by a reindeer
13. The Little Drummer Boy
14. Shrek the Halls
15. The Polar Express
16. A Christmas Carol (Carry – 2009)
17. The Flintstones Xmas specials & The Flintstones A Christmas Carol
18. Olive the Reindeer
19. Annabelle’s Wish
20. A Garfield Xmas

Movie Review: Astroboy

This is a guest post from my friend, Dawn Craig.  I saw on Facebook that she did not recommend the movie ‘Astroboy’ so I asked her to explain. Here is Dawn’s review of the movie.

Astroboy What ever happened to movies that are capable of portraying a valuable life lesson in a manner that is suitable for children? My husband and I recently took our two daughters (6 and 7) to watch Astroboy for what we thought would be a nice, entertaining evening – instead I spent almost the whole movie comforting my youngest and worrying about the nightmares they would have that night. I should have known things weren’t going to go well when within the first five minutes the little boy Toby (later referred to as Astroboy) is killed by a huge robot named the “Peacekeeper” (created by a government official to help him win his next term in office.)

Toby’s dad has a meltdown, (which any parent would do under the circumstances), and creates a robot identical to his lost son, including all of Toby’s childhood memories. Shortly after his creation, Toby’s dad rejects the boy and orders him to be destroyed. Another scientist saves the young boy and instead tells him to go find his purpose in life and sends this robot child out into the world alone. At this point my kids are already asking why his daddy wouldn’t want him and where was he going to go. I thought at this point it couldn’t get any worse and that surely the producers wouldn’t maintain this negative storyline throughout the whole movie – I was wrong.

The movie continues on with scenes of orphans being manipulated by the only father-figure in their life, numerous attempts to kill Astroboy, the “Peacekeeper” destroying the city, the second death of Astroboy, and so much more. In the end obviously the good guy wins, but unfortunately the much too negative path to get there disallows any positive message to be seen.

I can understand and appreciate a writer’s need to create storylines that not only entertain the children but can hold the adults attention as well. Unfortunately it seems they keep continuing to push the line and have lost sight of the impression they can have on a young mind. Needless to say I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone with small children.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think? Also, have you seen Where the Wild Things Are? Would you recommend it?

TV Review: Jungle Junction & Dinosaur Train

by Amanda on October 5, 2009
category: 1 – 3 year (toddler),3 – 5 years (preschooler),Pop culture

Disney and PBS recently aired two new shows in their fall lineup. Animals on wheels have joined the playhouse and dinosaurs on trains lead in Sesame Street.

Jungle Junction

junglejunction In Jungle Junction a community of animals with wheels as feet live in a road filled jungle and solve problems together. I really enjoy how the show interacts with preschoolers asking them questions and its intentional education. In the episode of “The Treasure of Jungle Junction” I heard them count several times and learn how to share one item.  As a mother of a 2 year old I appreciate the counting reinforcement.

The stories are interesting for both parents and adults. The animation and colors of the jungle are pleasant to watch. I also like the non-American accents of the characters. My daughter was entertained while watching the show and I look forward to letting her get to know the characters of Jungle Junction better. Grade: B

Dinosaur Train

DinosaurTrain Dinosaur Train combines preschoolers’ fascination of trains and dinosaurs. The series follows, Buddy, a Tyrannosaurus Rex who is adopted by a Pterandon family. Pterandons are a flying dinosaur. Buddy asks lots of questions and hypothesizes about nature. His family uses the dinosaur train to travel through the Mesozoic era to meet different dinosaurs and answer Buddy’s questions.

I was super excited about this Jim Henson Production and set my DVR for the first week of shows. My 2 year old daughter recently fell in love with trains and we had been reading the book, “Dinosaur Train” by John Steven Gurney every night. She practically has the book memorized. I knew before the show aired that the show was not like the book, but I still had high expectations.

Dinosaur Train is a great show if your preschooler is into dinosaurs. The show is not interactive, but tells a slow moving story.  Preschoolers learn a lot about nature and dinosaurs in the Mesozoic Era, but not much else. Overall I would say the show is average. Grade: C (The theme song gets a B with its funky country western vibe.)

What do you think of these 2 shows? Do your kids love them or are they ambivalent?

Maybe Some Television is Okay for Toddlers and Preschoolers

by Amanda on September 8, 2009
category: 1 – 3 year (toddler),3 – 5 years (preschooler),Pop culture

soundofmusic1 How much television is appropriate for a toddler or a preschooler to watch in one day? Over the last 2 years on The Mom Crowd we have had many discussions about new preschool television shows and inappropriate content in movies, but we haven’t discussed how much TV is okay. I bet that a lot of us let our kids watch more TV than we care to admit.

My husband and I have discussed how much television we will allow our 2 year old daughter, Annabelle, to watch. While discussing the issue we both agreed that we both watched a lot of television growing up and we turned out okay. We were both fit kids and didn’t grow into slothful adults. So for now we are not terribly strict on the amount of television our toddler watches.

The truth is that I need help sometimes. Dora the “Sitter” helps me out a lot for when I need to shower, make dinner, or clean up the house. Frankly, I don’t think I could have transitioned to having 2 children over this past summer without Dora. While I nursed, snoozed a little, or dealt with a fussy baby PBS, Noggin, Disney morning shows were available.

This Summer was one of the hottest Summers ever recorded in Texas history. When the temperatures hit over 100 degrees for 50+ days in a row, you can’t go outside. While we were house bound this past Summer I was more lenient with TV watching. As the weather cools down we will be able to go outside more often and the need for television’s help will decrease. Additionally, she goes back to Mother’s Day Out twice a week in the Fall, limiting her TV watching even more.

When Annabelle can safely entertain herself and I can reason with her about her activities, then maybe I will be more limiting. Unfortunately (for my productivity) my daughter does not play well by herself. She gets bored and needs me or another friend in the room with her. She has inherited her parent’s extremely extroverted genes. It is not practical for me to play with her all day long. Instead of limiting TV to an hour a day, I try to spend an hour or two without the TV on with my little one.

We don’t let our toddler watch anything. There are certain Nickelodeon and Disney shows that she isn’t allowed to watch and I still fast forward certain parts of movies. Although, I am anxious for Annabelle to fall in love with movies, because I love family movie nights with popcorn.

When my daughter turns into a couch potato while watching TV and can play by herself without a lot of supervision, then I will revisit my TV time rules. For now I am not being too hard on myself about how much TV my daughter watches. And I don’t think other moms should be so hard on themselves either.

Did you watch a lot of TV growing up? Are you strict on the amount of TV you allow your preschooler to watch? Are you thankful when you can get a break courtesy of Noggin?

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