Tag Archives: games

Disney Night: Dumbo & Fantansia

For previous Disney Nights, click HERE.

Our third Disney Night was Dumbo since we don’t have Fantasia.  If you’re curious about all of the Disney Animation Features and their release dates, you can click HERE.  The week after we watched Dumbo (last week), we found out that you can rent Fantasia on Amazon on-demand, so we did that this week.  So here are our two most recent Disney Nights.



Our Family Night:

  • Watched the movie
  • Looked up more info about the Fantasyland Expansion including a whole area themed around Dumbo and the Circus (HERE is a good article with videos)
  • Played “Ticket to Ride” aka “Trains” in honor of Casey Junior (Michael won and set a PR by the way.)

Other Family Night Ideas:

  • Make a tent and play a game inside
  • Have the whole family put on a circus–each person has to plan at least one act
  • Eat animal crackers

Thoughts/Fun Facts:

  • We absolutely hate the “Elephants on Parade” sequence.  It’s weird and creepy.  But when we watched the special features, we found out that the Disney Studio was very proud of this sequence.  It allowed them to try new things and be artistic in whatever way they felt led.  We still didn’t watch it tonight though.
  • For the scene with the crows, they filmed live dancers to get a picture of what they wanted the birds’ movements to look like.
  • I love that Dumbo doesn’t say a word during the entire movie, and yet he’s such an iconic Disney character.
  • I cry almost every time I see the “Baby Mine” scene.




Our Family Night:

  • Listened to Classical Music (Beethoven Station on Pandora) while we cooked and ate dinner
  • Watched the movie

Other Family Night Ideas:

  • Play different types of instrumental music and let the kids (and/or adults) draw/paint pictures of what they think the music sounds like

Thoughts/Fun Facts:

  • This was a really last-minute theme night decision.  But it was great as a relaxing end to our crazy youth conference weekend.  We realized that classical music really is so relaxing to help unwind.
  • In fact, it was almost too relaxing.  I couldn’t stay awake.  So we stopped the movie and tried to watch it the next afternoon between morning and night church.  We didn’t quite finish it, and honestly, it wasn’t our favorite.  So we decided to not start it again.
  • I read in my Vault of Walt book that Walt Disney was so excited about Fantasia.  He wanted to instill in the American public a love and appreciation for classical music.  He thought it would be received so well that he had plans to create multiple films like it.
  • Michael looked the movie up on Wikipedia and found out that the re-release in the 60s made the movie popular with the older teenage/young adult crowd.  If you’ve seen the movie, you can probably guess what substances were used to increase their interest in the film.



Q for You: Dumbo: What’s your take on the “Elephants on Parade” sequence? Fantasia: Fan or not?




Catching Up: Cousin and HP Weekend

I’m so behind on blogging — sooo sorry!  I’m home today since I’ve been working lots of crazy hours, and I want to try to get all caught up on the blog.  Sorry in advance for them all coming at once, but I know this is the only way I’ll get caught up.  🙂


First of all, we went to Houston to visit my cousin, Paul, and his wife, Liz two weekends ago.  They helped us move in, but this was the first time that we were able to meet up after that.

Since we have Fridays off (we work on Sundays), we were able to relax and sleep in and then head over to Houston that afternoon.  Liz was leaving work when we arrived, so we visited with Paul until she came home.  And then we were given the grand tour!  Their house is adorable.  I should have taken pictures.  They live in a cute townhome, and everything is decorated so cute.  They also had all of the fall decorations out.

After we visited for a long time and ate dinner, we were ready to go to The Painted Potter to make Christmas Ornaments — or so we thought.  Liz realized that she left her wallet at work, so we made a quick detour to her school.  I’m glad it turned out this way because we were able to see her classroom!

I was really excited about going to the potter painting place because I hadn’t been to one since I was in elementary school (we made my dad father’s day gifts there one year).  Michael had never been and he kept telling people he was going to pottery class.  Hehe.  Friday and Saturday nights are “Date Night” and they give you a discount on the fire and paint fee.

It was such a cute place!  I could have spent hours and hours looking at all of the different options.  We knew we wanted to make ornaments, but even then there were so many to choose from!  Michael ended up picking a reindeer and I picked a snowman.

Next, we picked our glazes/paints.  There were SO many to choose from!  Then it was time to get busy painting.  You can get a glimpse of how many different colors there were to choose from in this picture:

We were all concentrating so hard!

The 3-D ornaments were harder than they look!  There were so many little details.  Paul and Liz made OSU orange & black snowmen.

Michael painted his reindeer brown (obviously) and my snowman had purple, blue, and green snow clothes. (By the way, they look completely different after they’ve been fired.)

We had such a great time!  It was so nice to be able to just sit and talk and be creative at the same time.  It’s been a long time since I’d done any artsy stuff (besides graphic design stuff, but I don’t count that), and I didn’t realize how much I missed it.  We knew we’d definitely be back!  (It took 6 days to get everything fired, by the way.  I haven’t taken a picture of the finished products yet, so I’ll add that in a later post.)

When we got back to Paul and Liz’s house, it was time to eat some snacks and play some games!  They’d told us that the games on the “Beauty and the Beast” blu-ray were SO much fun, so we decided to play them first.

The first game we played was a character guessing game.  We each used our phones to call in and get a character.

Then we used them to answer “yes” or “no” questions about our character and vote on who we think other players were.  It’s so crazy how interactive these games can be now!

After we played a couple of rounds of that (it was SO much fun, by the way!), we played the other game.  This one was incredible!  It’s like an interactive “Clue” type game.  Our mission is to find Belle’s missing friends.  You choose a room to visit and then pick a hiding place to uncover.  You could find a character, the Beast, a magic mirror, Gaston, or nothing at all.  In order to be able to look, you have to answer a trivia question right.  Most of them had something to do with a song from the movie.  Some of them were really hard!  We had a ton of fun playing!  If you have (or can rent) the “Beauty and the Beast” on blu-ray, I highly recommend playing the games!  Michael ended up winning the second game.   I was Player 2 — the one with no friends found.

Oh–and their dog, Dasher, was helping us play.

After that, we played Scategories (I think Liz won) and then sat around and talked until 2 a.m.!  It was SO good to be able to just talk.  We’ve missed having a married couple our age to hang out with.  And what makes it better is that they’re family too.  My brother and I have always been really close with Paul and his sister, Bethany.  I’m thankful that we live so close to Paul and Liz now.  Especially since all 4 of us are so far away from our families.  We had a GREAT time, and we’re excited to go back next week to go look at lights and go ice skating!


The next morning, we slept in, had some breakfast, and then headed back to Beaumont so we could take the youth to see Part 1 of “Harry Potter 7“.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Michael and I watched all of the movies this summer (I’d only seen the first 3) and then I decided that I wanted to re-read the first 4 books and read 5-7 for the first time.  I made it my goal to have at least 1/2 of 7 read by the time the new movie came out.

Well, I made it!  I had a couple of chapters left in book 7, but I finished it that night after the movie.  So that means I’ve read 4,100 pages of Harry Potter in 3 months!!  And it was well-worth all 4,100 pages.  JK Rowling is a very gifted author, and I really, really enjoyed reading these books.  It’s funny how books mean so much more to me when I read them now.  There have been quite a few books that I’ve gone back and read over the past year or so and I think I can just appreciate them more now.

Anyway, all that to say I was really excited about HP7!  Michael was excited too.  We got there super early because we thought it was going to be really busy (we’d purchased the tickets early), but it wasn’t at all.  We were the second people in line, and we ended up having tons of time to kill.  We wasted time taking pictures and playing cards.

The movie was really good!!  We all really, really enjoyed it!  It wasn’t as good as the book, but they rarely are.  I wish they didn’t leave some things out, and they changed some things that I don’t think they should have changed, but other than that it was GREAT!  It just stinks that part 2 doesn’t come out until the summer.

It was a fantastic weekend!


Now I just have to catch up on some more happenings….





Q for you:  Have you ever painted at a pottery place?  And did you see HP7?


Game Night!

Last Saturday, we had a game night–just the two of us.  We played four of our favorite games, and I thought I’d share what they are in case you’re interested.  We LOVE all of these games–they’re great for two people or a small group.


First up:  Blockus.  I’d bought this for my grandparents for Christmas last year, and our whole family ended up getting addicted to it.  We eventually bought it for ourselves.

This game is for 2-4 players.  The point is to lay as many of your tiles down as possible–but you can only touch your other pieces at the tips–none of the flat sides can touch.  While you’re trying to lay yours down, you’re also trying to block the other player(s) so that they can’t lay any more down.  All of the tiles are different shapes, so it gets pretty tough at the end.

Here’s an example of our board after one of the games.  (Oh–and you hardly ever get to lay all of your tiles down…)

We tied one, and then I won one.  And this is how Michael felt about that!


Michael got to choose the next game, and he chose Monopoly Deal.

This is a Monopoly card game.  His mom had bought it before she came to visit last summer, and after we played a round and figured out all of the different cards, we loved it.  She ended up leaving it for us and buying them another one.

You have three different types of cards: properties, money, and action cards.  Each turn, you can play up to three cards.  The point is to get three complete property sets.  It’s harder than it sounds, though, because you can play all sorts of action cards that steal properties from other players and things like that.

Michael won both of our rounds!  (He almost always wins this game…)


Our next game is my favorite:  Ticket to Ride!  My parents bought this for us for Christmas, and I just love it!  Michael likes it too, but I usually win and he hates that.

I think this is for up to six players.  Each player is dealt two short routes and one long route.  They’re also given five color train cards.  The point is to complete your routes (for example, making trains from Seattle to New York) using the different color train cards.

Michael was a punk, and he blocked me from getting my last route (the other players don’t know where you’re trying to go/what your routes are, but he took a gamble and blocked where he thought I might go).  Because of that, he beat me by a ton.

But I came back and beat him the next game, so it was all good.


Our last game was Michael’s choice again.  He picked one of both of our favorites:  Disney Scene It!

We have the first edition game.  I bought my family the second edition a few years ago, and I didn’t know almost any movies!  They were all too recent.  The first edition has some of the really old movies like “Herbie the Love Bug” and then it has movies as recent as “Atlantis”.  But most of the movies are from when we were growing up.

We’re both REALLY competitive at this one since we’re pretty equal skill-wise.  We both love Disney movies (and Disney World, though Michael isn’t as quick to admit it…), and it usually comes down to who can roll higher numbers on the dice.

Donald (Michael) won the first game by a ton (all I could roll were ones and twos!), and Minnie (I) won the second by one question.


We had a TON of fun with our game night!  I love that we both like things like this.  One of these days, I’ll do a post about our favorite group games.  We both just LOVE playing games!





Q for you:  What are your favorite two-person or small group games?


Vacation Recap Days 8, 9, & 10: Lazy Days and Home

I think it’s about time I wrap this vacation up–don’t you?  At least I’m finishing it quicker than I did our Disney Trip last September…I was writing a Trip Report on another site, and I just finished it last month! Now, onto days 8, 9, and 10!


On Thursday (Day 8), we had planned to go to Schlitterbahn Water Park.  I was all ready with the bags packed and my swimsuit on when Michael told me it was supposed to storm all day.  We’d already bought our tickets online, and we were all four REALLY looking forward to this day!  Michael and I absolutely love water parks, and I’d never been to Schlitterbahn.  We’d been looking at pictures and descriptions of the rides for weeks, and Michael had told me all about the different rides.  Needless to say, we were pretty bummed.

But that wasn’t going to stop us from having a great, relaxing vacation day!

We ate a big breakfast and then rented “The Book of Eli” on pay-per-view.  I’d heard really great things about it.  We all liked it, but it wasn’t what we were expecting.  I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that.  I did like the fact that Eli was guarding the Bible, and that it was the most important book–the one people would kill for–at the end of the age.  (Not that I’m saying you should kill someone for a Bible….you know what I mean…)  I really liked the ending, and over-all it was a good movie, but it’s not one we’d care to see again.

Sometime that afternoon, we decided to teach Michael’s parents how to play Apples to Apples!  It’s one of my favorite group games.

I don’t remember who won, but we had a great time!

Michael’s mom and I made dinner a little later on.  I was teaching her how to make one of our favorite meals:  a Brazilian inspired chicken recipe that I made up  (it has lots of the same ingredients as Brazilian chicken that my grandma and mom make, but it’s made in a skillet instead of in the oven), rice, sauteed zucchini, and my apple pie roll-up for dessert.  It all turned out really well!  I was thankful for that because even though I’ve made it soooo many times for Michael and me, I still get nervous that it’s not going to turn out right when I make it for other people.

After dinner, we watched “Imagine That”.  This is one that Michael and I took a gamble on a few months ago.  You see, we’re addicted to the 5 for $20 deals at Blockbuster.  Since we don’t have cable, we decided to get Blockbuster Rewards and we go in at least once a month to get our free old release (and now we go a lot more because we found out it’s rent one, get one free on weeknights).  They usually have a 5 for $20 deal, and it’s REALLY hard for us to walk through the store without at least looking at what they have.  If there are at least 2 movies we want, we usually try to find 3 more that look good (and that we know are clean).  One time, we ended up getting “Imagine That” to complete our bundle, and we ended up loving it!  It’s such a cute movie, and it has a really good message.  Eddie Murphy is hilarious and the little girl is really cute.  Anyway, we watched it with Michael’s parents and they loved it too!

Even though we didn’t get to go to Schlitterbahn, it turned out to be really nice to just stay home and relax.


On Friday (Day 9), it was still showing storms off and on for the whole day.  So we decided to stick with our original plans and hang around the house for the morning and then go downtown to the Riverwalk and Alamo that afternoon and evening.

When we got downtown, we went to the Rivercenter Mall to see “Despicable Me”.  I was expecting it to be cute, but it turned out to be HILARIOUS!  We were all laughing SO hard, and it definitely exceeded our expectations.

After the movie, we were ready to eat!  As we walked back to the car, we kept on seeing TONS of teenagers dressed really crazy.  Some were wearing full-blown costumes and others had created their own look with animal tails, boots, hats, and chains.  We wanted to ask someone what they were all there for, but we chickened out.  Later, Michael found out that it was an Anime Conference.  I guess they were dressed like different Anime characters??

Anyway, we finally found the restaurant at the very end of the Riverwalk.  I’d found out about it online, and I was really looking forward to trying the food!  It’s called the Cool Cafe, and they serve all kinds of Mediterranean food.

They have indoor and outdoor (covered) seating, and we opted for an outdoor table overlooking the Riverwalk.  It was gorgeous!

The guys:

And the gals:

We ordered hummus for an appetizer.  I absolutely love hummus!  I’d always been hesitant to try it, but I had some sun dried tomato hummus at Disney World (at Boma) and it was amazing.  I was really excited to have it again!

It was really good!  The pita bread was homemade, and it was fantastic as well.

Michael ordered a gyro with potatoes and he said it was REALLY good.

His dad ordered some kind of sandwich and loved it as well.

And his mom and I both ordered a chicken kabob with rice.  I didn’t like the dressing on the salad, but the rest of it was fantastic!

We were all really happy with our meals, and it was wonderful to be able to watch the boats come by on the Riverwalk.  We were two for two on good restaurants!

Here is the view of the Riverwalk from outside the restaurant:

We drove back to the area near the Alamo and decided to walk along the Riverwalk for a little bit.  I was in search of a Caricature artist, and when I was in high school there was one under an archway on the Riverwalk.

I just love all of the landscaping down by the Riverwalk!  It’s just wonderful!

This tree was growing so funny.

After we’d walked for quite a while (and still hadn’t found a caricature artist), we decided to go up and walk around.  We saw all of the Ripley’s museums and attractions, and Michael took a picture with a statue of the man with the record for biggest hands.

And this guy was outside the haunted house.

We made our way to the Alamo, and even though it was supposed to be closed, it was still open!

We went through the little museum display and then walked around the courtyards (or whatever the inside of the mission is called).  It was really pretty in there too!

Yes, I married a goof.

These plants looked like they had colored brains coming out of them.

When we left the Alamo, Michael’s dad said there was one more place that might have caricature artists…and he was right!!  We waited for a mom and her son to finish up theirs, and then it was our turn.  I REALLY wish that I would have gotten a picture of him drawing us, but I completely forgot.  It turns out that he was the same man that drew my brother, sister, and me when I was in high school!  I knew that his style looked a lot like our old ones, and I ended up telling him about it, and he said he’d been under one of the walkways by the Riverwalk during that time!  He did an excellent job, and we’re both SO glad that we were able to find him!

I was SOOO happy, walking back to the car!  This was the one thing that I really wanted as a souvenir of our trip, and we’d finally found someone to do our caricature!

Our last stop on the way home was a Cold Stone Creamery.  I think that I got Sweet Cream with Pecans.  Whatever it was tasted wonderful!  Michael loved his too.

We were cracking up because his mom ordered the biggest size they had.  She didn’t realize how big it would be!

It had been a GREAT last full day of our vacation!


Saturday (Day 10) was our last day–the day we were driving home.  We got up and got everything packed so that we could be in Austin by lunch time.  I’d gone to Austin for a work convention last summer, and we’d eaten at a restaurant called Carmelo’s.  It was fantastic!  I’d been telling Michael every since then that I wanted to take him there.  I had originally wanted to meet up with a friend in Austin and eat there, but I’d failed to make final plans, so it was just going to be Michael’s parents and us.

When we got to Carmelo’s, it looked like there was no one there.

We got out to check, and they’re only open at night on Saturdays!  I was so bummed!  I’d been looking forward to eating there again for over a year.  I guess we’ll have to make sure they’re going to be open the next time we try to eat there…

We got back in the car and searched for an Italian restaurant nearby, and ended up finding the Brick Oven.  It turned out to be really good!  It was more of a casual, pizzeria and pasta style restaurant, but all of our food was yummy.

After lunch, it was time to say goodbye and get on the road.  It had been a WONDERFUL week, and we had loved every minute with Michael’s family.  We’re both really glad that we decided to go to San Antonio and spend time with his parents for our vacation this year!