Tag Archives: movies

Harry Potter Week (last summer)

Last Summer, I posted that we were planning a Harry Potter Week with our youth students.  You can read about the plans HERE.  The week was a lot of fun with Harry Potter themed food, drinks, and crafts.  We watched a different HP movie each night and concluded the week with a trip to see 7.2 at the theater.

Michael and I recently watched all of the movies AGAIN in preparation for our visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando this coming December! (At least that was our excuse…)  And I recently joined Pottermore, and it made me want to re-read all of the books again.  But I have way too many other books to read first.

I never ended up posting pictures from that week and decided that it’s better late than never.  So here are the pictures from Harry Potter Week that should have been posted last summer.

Most of the ideas were found in these two books: “The Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book” and “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.”  (You can click on each title to take you to the Amazon link.)

 

Sunday: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

  • Craft:  Wands

Mine & Michael’s (we formed ours at home to try the craft out)

Some of the completed wands.  They turned out so good!  All of the students REALLY liked this craft!

  • Snack:  Chocolate Frogs (I bought the molds HERE)

These were great!  The molds were super easy to use, and the frogs looked really good.  We decided to put mini marshmallows in some of them, and those turned out good as well.

  • Drink:  Butterbeer (recipe found HERE…used #5, but I’d like to try #1 on my own).  I don’t have a picture of this, but it was AMAZING!! The students loved it, and I can’t wait to try Universal’s version.

 

Monday: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • Craft:  No-Sew House Ties

These were really easy, and they made for a great craft.

  • Snack:  Pumpkin Pasties

These took a LONG time to make.  And I can’t stand pumpkin, so I didn’t try one.  But the students who tried them really liked them.

  • Drink:  Pumpkin Juice.  I don’t have a picture of this, but I did try it, and I can say it was good!  I think the pineapple, etc. made it where the pumpkin wasn’t very prominent.

 

Tuesday: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  • Craft:  Wizard Money: Galleons, Knuts and Sickles

The students could paint their Wizard Money with whatever they wanted.  I chose a metallic paint, and over time they stuck to each other.  It’d be better with a flat paint and then add glitter.  But they were cute.

  • Snack:  Acid Pops

These weren’t very good.  They were a little too sticky.

  • Drink:  Polyjuice Potion

This actually turned out to be really good!  Michael was saying last night that we need to make some more.  You can’t see it in this picture, but there were gummy worms in the drink, which added some fun.

 

Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  • Craft:  No Mess Quills

For some reason, I didn’t get a picture of these, but they turned out cute.  They were definitely a cheap but practical craft.

  • Snack:  Dragon Eggs

  • Drink:  Liquid Luck

This turned out to be one of my favorites, even though it was simple.

 

Thursday: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • Craft:  Extendable Ears

I didn’t make this craft, but here is a picture of one of the student’s

  • Snack:  Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans

These were SUPER easy.  I just made a label and put them on small cups.  We just used regular jelly beans, but you can purchase actual Bertie Bott’s Beans if you’d like.

  • Drink:  Pensieve Potion

This was another that was simple yet good.

 

Friday: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • Craft:  Pygmy Puff

These were super cute.  Mine is still on my shelf at work.

  • Snack:  Cockroach Clusters (found HERE)

Simple no-bake type cookies, but they were good.

  • Drink:  Butterbeer again.  It was just too good!!

 

Saturday: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1 at church, Part 2 at the theater)

  • I honestly can’t remember what we did this day.  I think we told the kids they could finish up any of their crafts or they could bring a shirt to draw on.  But we might not have done anything.
  • I think we just had popcorn and leftover snacks, but again I could be wrong.  I was just too long ago!

It turned out to be a GREAT week!  There were lots of game ideas, etc. in “The Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book” but we didn’t have time for that.  And personally, I enjoyed that book more than the other.  “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.” was a fantastic British cookbook, but it wasn’t practical for what we were looking for.

So if you’re looking for a theme night for one of the Harry Potter Movies, or if you’re just wanting something fun to do, I highly recommend some of these crafts, snacks, and drinks.  And try out some Butterbeer even if you haven’t seen the movies.  It’s great!

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–Staci

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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.

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Dumbo

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.

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Fantasia

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.

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

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–Staci

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Disney Nights: Snow White & Pinnochio

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it on here before, but we’re going to Walt Disney World (the Disney in Florida) this December!  We’ve been planning a family trip with Michael’s family (parents, sister, brother, and sister-in-law) since last July.  I absolutely LOVE Disney World.  This will be my 5th trip and Michael’s 3rd.  Even though he’s not a nut like I am, he really enjoys it too.

Since we’ve been married, we’ve joined the Disney Movie Club twice.  So…it’s safe to say we have a lot of Disney movies.  To celebrate our upcoming trip, we’ve decided to watch a different Disney movie every week leading up to the trip.  I’m sure there will be some weeks we don’t get one in–especially around the time the baby comes–but we’re going to try.

I’ll post a little synopsis of our Disney night, and then I’ll give some ideas of what I’d do for a theme night with little kids.  I can’t wait to have Family Nights someday soon, and I love planning things like this.  I might also add a few things I like about each movie and/or fun facts.  We’ll see.

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Snow White

Our Family Night:

  • Watched the movie
  • Cleaned the house (fun, right?!)
  • Mini Foods in Sevens (Michael just ate normally, but here’s my plate. PS. Can you tell I was still having a hard time with foods?)

Other Family Night Ideas:

  • Have the kids put on a talent show with dancing and instruments they make
  • Make a treasure hunt for toy jewels

Thoughts/Fun Facts:

  • I didn’t really like Snow White much as a kid.  I didn’t like her high-pitched voice, and it just wasn’t one of my favorites.  In fact, Michael and I had decided to not buy it.  That is, until we went to Disney World in 2009.  On our behind the scenes tour, we learned a lot about Snow White and decided we had to have Walt Disney’s first animated feature–actually, the world’s first full-length animated feature.
  • Recently, I read in “The Vault of Walt” by Jim Korkis that Hollywood stars showed up for the premier because they had to.  Many of them could be heard making fun of coming to an animated movie and talking about the absurdity of it all.  When it was over, they gave Snow White a standing ovation!  Also, many of them left with sunglasses on to cover their tear-streaked faces.  It was safe to say that Snow White had accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

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Pinocchio

Our Family Night:

  • Watched the movie
  • Ate Homemade Pizza (see below for tie-in explanation)
  • Played “2 Truths and a Lie”

2 Truths and a Lie Game–You have to guess which one of the other person’s statements is a lie.  We decided to give 3 points for the first guess being correct, 1 for the second, and none for the third.

  • One of my examples: 1) I wanted to be an artist 2) I wanted to be a nurse 3) I wanted to be a doctor.  Correct answer: 3 is the lie.
  • I ended up winning by 2!

Other Family Night Ideas:

  • Make puppets and put on a play
  • Let the kids have a grasshopper race (hop on all fours)
  • Wish upon a star

Thoughts/Fun Facts:

  • While we were watching Pinocchio, we decided to find out where the story takes place.  Michael thought it looked like Germany, but I thought that the names were Italian and the clothes were Swiss.  After much googling, we finally found that it takes place in northern Italy.  So we brushed up on our geography and looked at a map of Europe.  It turns out that northern Italy borders Switzerland, which borders Germany.  Hm–you learn something every day!

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We made a list of all of our Disney movies (in order of original release date) and I tried to think of something to go along with each.  I’m such a nerd for things like this, and I’m excited about our weekly Disney Nights!

I’ll be writing a Pre-Trip Report on the DISboards (www.disboards.com) later, and I’ll post the link here.  I’ll also post an abbreviated list of our plans here once the trip gets closer.

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Q for You: What ideas do you have for different Disney Nights?

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–Staci

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Harry Potter Week

For those of you who are Harry Potter fans, it goes without saying that the last movie is just around the corner!  You can watch a trailer HERE.

A lot of our students are huge HP fans, and when we came to our church they were in the middle of doing a Bible study called “The Gospel According to Harry Potter” on Wednesday nights.  (The study took clips or themes from HP books/movies and then taught about the themes using Scriptures.)  We took our students to see HP 7.1 last fall when it came out, and we had a great time.

Sometime between then and now, we had the idea to have a Harry Potter Week building up to the new movie this summer.  Well, that time has come!

The movie actually releases next Friday, but we’ll be at camp next week.  So we’re having HP week the following week.  Each night, we’ll watch one of the HP movies, and have a HP inspired snack and (optional) craft.  I’m super excited because:

  1. It’s Harry Potter
  2. I love cooking and doing crafts
  3. I love planning things

So in case you want to plan your own HP party, I thought I’d share our plans.  Almost all of the ideas came from “The Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book” and “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.”  (You can click on each title to take you to the Amazon link.)

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Sunday: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

  • Craft:  Wands
  • Snack:  Chocolate Frogs (I bought the molds HERE)
  • Drink:  Butter Beer (recipe found HERE…using #5, but I’d like to try #1 on my own)

Monday: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • Craft:  No-Sew House Ties
  • Snack:  Pumpkin Pasties
  • Drink:  Pumpkin Juice

Tuesday: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  • Craft:  Galleons (possibly Knuts and Sickles too)
  • Snack:  Acid Pops
  • Drink:  ??

Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  • Craft:  No Mess Quills
  • Snack:  Dragon Eggs
  • Drink:  ??

Thursday: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • Craft:  Extendable Ears
  • Snack:  Treacle Tart
  • Drink:  Liquid Luck Potion

Friday: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • Craft:  Pygmy Puff
  • Snack:  Rock Cakes (or if I’m low on time, Cockroach Clusters found HERE)
  • Drink:  Pensieve Potion

Saturday: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1 at church, Part 2 at the theater)

  • I’m still debating whether or not to do a craft and snack this day since we’re watching two movies…thoughts?

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I’m really excited about Harry Potter Week!  Any ideas we should add?

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–Staci

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**All Crafts taken from “The Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book

**Pumpkin Pasties, Pumpkin Juice, Treacle Tarts, and Rock Cakes taken from “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook“; All other Recipes (other than those noted in the plans) found in “The Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book”


I Don’t Get It – By M

Ok maybe I do get it… but it’s just not how I am any more.  Let me explain what I’m talking about…

I know that I mention Jon Acuff in probably half of the blogs I write.  I don’t mean to be a creepy-psyco fan or anything; I just happen to read his blog often (along with several others) and I read this post about “The Hangover 2”, and it got me thinking…

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Quick Disclaimer:  This post is NOT meant to be written towards anyone.  It is also MEANT to be a non-judgmental assertion of some of my thoughts.  If you have seen or plan on seeing “The Hangover 2”, please know that I would never EVER judge you for what you may or may not watch at the movies.  That would just be ridiculous.

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With that said…  When I first heard about the first movie, I already had one good reason to not go see the movie: The name.  I know, I sound like my mom….  😦    But truthfully, that is enough to stop me from spending $10 at the theater.  I can’t exactly imagine anything good coming out of a movie with a title like that.

However, I really would like to make this post about more than just one movie.  There’s something I find a little disturbing in the trend of the young generation of the church/Christians.  We seem to be really good at justifying things that we do that we know we probably shouldn’t.  This applies to more than just movies; you can apply it to TV shows, books/magazines we read, things we do on the weekend, things we do with our boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.

I think that’s why I liked Acuff’s blog post so much.

If you didn’t click on the link, his post is essentially about the excuses that  Christians make when they see movies that they know, like “The Hangover”, will be full of all kinds vulgarity, and probably shouldn’t see anyway.  We make excuses like being “relevant” and “with the times”, covering your eyes during the nudity, focusing on the “deeper” meaning of the film, or, in Acuff’s terms, reverse Jesus-Juking anyone who questions you watching it (in other words calling someone judgmental and closed-minded for not watching it, and for judging what they haven’t seen).

I think about the verse Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  And also in 1 Corinthians 10:23 ” ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’—but not everything is constructive.”  I have a choice to do whatever I want to do.  God isn’t gonna stop me.  And… I like that!  I like that God doesn’t force me to love Him, or do anything on His behalf.  However, some things that I want to do just aren’t good.  Some things I want to do, in the words of Paul, are just not “beneficial” or “constructive” to me.

I am a firm believer in finding God in “secular” things.  Staci and I are always connecting movies, TV shows (especially LOST), music, and books (even including Harry Potter) to our relationship with God.  I love to find God in things that people didn’t intend because I believe that what the Bible says about all creation singing His praises is true.  But I also believe we can find these things in movies much more wholesome (great, using another word my mom uses) than movies like the “Hangover”.

Once again, I want to reiterate that I am not trying to judge those who do what they do.  It’s their choice.  I’m also not trying to sound “holier-than-thou” by saying that I have simply chosen the alternative.  The truth is, I didn’t always make these kind of decisions in my life.  Remember at the beginning of this post (which was so long ago that you probably don’t) that I had said I do get why people watch these kind of movies. There was a time in my life when I would have gone (and did go) to the opening night of movies like the “Hangover”.  Where I watched what I thought looked funny regardless of vulgarity.  In fact, I  even owned a handful of those kind of movies.  I laughed at the worst parts and scoffed at those who thought I was doing the wrong thing.  And then I realized that God has the best thing for me, while most of things I do are only the “good” (or, a lot of times, not so good) thing.  So now I have stopped watching many of the types of movies and TV shows I once found funny due to vulgarity, and the funny thing is, as I have moved away from watching those things, the less I have a desire to see one, and the more I am convicted when I do watch one.

This post isn’t meant to judge, just to hopefully get you thinking.  ” ‘Everything is permissible’ – But not everything is beneficial…”

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What is the best movie you’ve seen in recent months (and if it’s “The Hangover 2” be honest.  Like I said I won’t judge you)?  What’s one you’re looking forward to in the upcoming ones?

(For me, by far, Inception is the best one I’ve seen recently (even though that was a while back).  And I know it sounds nerdy, but I’m actually excited for Harry Potter 7 pt. 2 this summer.)

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– M

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Mary and Joseph

This Christmas season, Mary and Joseph’s stories have been really special to me.

For the past two Wednesday nights, we watched “The Nativity Story” with our youth.  If you haven’t seen this movie yet, go out and rent it today.  It’s that good.  Every time I watch it, I love it even more.  They do an absolutely incredible job of portraying what it really could have been like for Mary and Joseph.  So often, the story of Jesus’ birth becomes so familiar that it’s no longer special.  Or we’ve heard it told to children so often that we view it as a fairytale.  “The Nativity Story” will help you see Christmas, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus like never before.  One of our students said it was the best movie they’ve ever seen.  Again, it’s that good.

There are also some songs about Mary and Joseph that almost make me cry every time I hear them.  I find myself wanting to listen to them over and over.

This first song is “Breath of Heaven” by Amy Grant.  Someone took the song and put it to clips of “The Nativity Story”.  It’s beautiful.

“Joseph’s Lullaby” by MercyMe is one of Michael’s very favorite Christmas songs.  I love it too.  Joseph gets overlooked a lot, but God chose him to be the earthly father of His Son.

“Magnificat” by Todd Agnew is also wonderful.  It’s Mary’s song that she sings as recorded in Scripture.  It’s just amazing to me that these are the words she chose to sing in response to being told she would carry God’s Son.  This is put to other scenes from “The Nativity Story”.

Dave Barnes is one of our favorite artists, and he has a new Christmas album out this year.  “Mary and Joseph” is a story of Mary and Joseph as they might have been today.  I can’t find a video of it, so I’ll post the lyrics.

Mary was the first of three
Long black hair and sugar sweet
Daddy’s eyes and Momma’s crooked smile
She was barely seventeen
Got a job keepin dishes clean
Planned to stay in this city for awhile
For awhile

Joseph ran a lumber yard
About a mile from olive park
Quiet boy he never had much to say
It was love right from the start
He bought a ring and won Mary’s heart
Had hopes for a home and kids someday
Kids someday

The angel scared her half to death
She would’ve screamed but she lost her breath
On a midnight there in the middle of May
He said “Oh mary don’t be afraid
You’ll bear a son that the Lord has made
Name him Jesus, He’ll light the way.”

She packed the clothes, he made the plans
They had to go to Bethlehem
But there was nowhere left to stay
So in a barn she gave birth
To the King of Kings the Lord of Earth
Just a little bitty thing sleeping on the hay
Sleeping on the hay

The story’s too long to tell
But he walked on water and lived through hell
Killed on a cross and rose from the grave
We got a King they got a son
Mary and Joseph were the only ones
There on that very first Christmas day
There on that very first Christmas day

Lastly, I’m reading a book by Francine Rivers about Mary.  It’s from her “A Lineage of Grace” book (five stories of unlikely women who changed eternity), and Mary’s story is called “Unashamed.” (They can be purchased as one book or individually.)  I’ve loved reading about the other four women listed in Jesus’ genealogy, and it’s perfect that I’m to Mary’s story during this Christmas season.  Each story is only around 100 pages, and I can’t tell how much I’ve been touched by these stories.  I highly recommend them to anyone, but especially to women of all ages (from late high school to elderly).  The stories are: TAMAR — Betrayed by the men who controlled her future, she fought for her right to believe in a loving God.;  RAHAB — A woman with a past to whom God gave a future.;  RUTH — She gave up everything, expecting nothing, and God honored her.;  BATHSHEBA — Her beauty stirred the passion of a King.  Her pain moved the heart of God.;  MARY — All eternity had been waiting for this moment.  She responded in simple obedience to God’s call.

I’ve been so touched by Joseph and Mary’s story this season, and I pray that these things might have touched you as well.

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Do you have a certain part of the Christmas Story that has become a favorite of yours?

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–Staci

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PS. You can click on any of the different song, etc. names and they’ll take you to the Amazon page where you can look at the product.

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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.  🙂

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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!

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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!

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

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–Staci

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

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Unexpected Happy Endings – By M

As I blogged the other day, I had anxiously been awaiting my new “Toy Story 3” movie to come in the mail!  And It came!  And I was am so happy!  And the heavens rejoiced!  And Staci and I got to watch it last night!  And I loved every minute of it!

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As I had also mentioned in that post, I think Disney/Pixar did an incredible job with the story.  I loved they way that they continued the story in the present rather than picking up the story where it left off in #2.  I think it makes the whole story more believable and (to someone like me who grew up with the Toy Story movies) that much more touching.

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This paragraph will talk a little bit about the end of the movie, but I promise to leave it vague enough to keep from spoiling the movie if you haven’t seen it yet: As I watch through the ending scene of the movie for the third time (we already saw it twice in theater) it really struck me hard, and I couldn’t help but tear up a little bit (Staci did too).  I really think that the writers hit the ending of this tale right on the nose.  I realized that the ending, although it isn’t necessarily the expected one, is probably the happiest ending that they could have written.  And it made me think (sorry the youth pastor inside me is about to pop out)… Sometimes, in life, the “endings” we experience are not the ones we expect.  But more often than not, if we’re following God’s will for our life, they will be the happiest!

Allow me to elaborate by sharing a little of my own story.  During my junior year of high school, I decided that I wanted to go into the film making business.  I didn’t know how or what exactly, but I knew that’s what I wanted to do.  But then God changed my mind. Not that it wasn’t a welcomed change, because I was very excited about it, but the original “end” I foresaw in my life would not have been the happiest according to what God wanted for me.  Likewise, I would never have seen myself in small, po-dunk America for 2+ years of my life doing ministry, but I couldn’t have enjoyed that period of my life more.  And now here we are in a new town, a new ministry, and a new future that Staci and I could never have planned.  A very unexpected, but but yet very happy, “ending”!

When God puts a new opportunity in your life, and it isn’t what you originally wanted or expected it may just be a small part of the unexpected Happy Ending that He wants to put in your life!  If the writers of a movie can write such a great ending to such a great story, I know that the Writer of all things will have the best ending for you in mind if you listen to and follow Him.

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Have you ever experienced one of those unexpected Happy Endings in your life?

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-Michael


Speaking of Disney – By M

So if you happened to catch Staci’s most recent post about “Beauty and the Beast” then you’ve gotten a little taste of our life over the last couple of days.

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However, after Staci waited for a month for her movie to come in, I’ve been impatiently waiting for my new movie to come in!  I will admit that I’ve been worse than a 5-year-old on Christmas Eve.  I pre-ordered Toy Story 3 (4-disc Blu-ray/DVD set) from Amazon and it shipped out on Monday.  …I think I may have a problem though – I confess that I have checked the tracking status probably once an hour to see if it’s changed.  I probably wouldn’t be so antsy right now, but the most recent update said that it had left Houston Thursday at 2:50am… therefore, I feel like I should’ve gotten it in by now!  I mean, we’re only like an hour and a half away!

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Anyways, I loved the way that the writers did Toy Story 3.  I think that the way Andy is all grown up and leaving for college makes the whole “Toy Story” story that much more believable.  The first Toy Story was my absolute all-time favorite Disney movie.

Growing up I had all the little action figures, including a Buzz that had a lazer and buttons that made him talk, and Buzz Lightyear’s spaceship.  They were probably the toys I played with most, aside from my hot wheels.  (In case you haven’t seen the movie, don’t worry this isn’t a spoiler) Seeing Andy box up his toys so that he can go off to college reminds me of not being that far removed from when I packed up to leave home.  If you haven’t seen, I don’t know what’s wrong with you!  It’s a great movie and I think you will enjoy it!

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So, now I’m dying to get the last installment so my collection will be complete!

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I know Staci already asked this… but what’s your favorite Disney Movie (live action, cartoon, or computer animation)?  And, have you ever just been dying to get something in the mail like me?!

“To Infinity and Beyond!”

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** UPDATE:  It’s made it to our town!  Yay!  That means I should get it today!  WOOHOO!**

– Michael


Tale as Old as Time, Song as Old as Rhyme

Beauty and the Beast

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A few nights ago, I watched my favorite movie with my favorite person.  And it’s one of those times where my heart was just really full — if that makes sense.  I don’t think that I quit smiling until I was asleep.

I know that I’m super nerd for saying this, but I absolutely love the Classic Disney Movies.  There’s just something about them that makes me feel so contented and happy.  And I’m glad that Michael enjoys watching all of them too!  We have lots of Disney Feature Films and Disney/Pixar movies, and we want to buy almost all of both collections (I’ll probably make a list of them on here someday).  We just both grew up loving them, and we wanted to buy them for ourselves since our parents have them on VHS.

I always felt like I could relate to Belle.  I absolutely love reading for starters.  I’m also more of the proactive type (like Ariel and Belle) who go out and find adventure rather than the reactive type (like Snow White and Aurora) who let life happen to them.  I also have a crazy father and married a beast (JUST KIDDING, Daddy and Michael!!!).  I also remember loving the fact that Belle had brown hair when I was little since Barbies and a lot of other princesses had blond hair.  She also has the most gorgeous dress of any of the princesses!  Oh — and it’s also good that she has the ability to see people for who they really are.

Beauty and the Beast is just incredible.  The music and drawings and story-line — they’re all fantastic.  We bought the 3 disk combo pack (2 Blu-Rays and 1 DVD), and the second Blu-Ray had this really neat interactive documentary.  It had a somewhat normal documentary (we’re both huge nerds for things like that!) but then it also let you click to learn more about different topics.  We watched most of it on Tuesday night, and then finished it yesterday afternoon.  If you have this disk, I highly recommend it.  It was so fascinating to learn about the story behind the movie as well as hear about and from some of the artists and actors.  I feel like it helped us appreciate the movie even more (if that’s possible).

I love that my husband and I can enjoy small things like this.  It makes life so much better.

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–Staci

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What’s your favorite Disney Movie?  Any particular reason?

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