Category Archives: Child Raising

Have you seen the LEGO movie yet? It’s… awesome!

Have you seen the LEGO movie yet? If not, you’re missing out. And if you don’t have kids to take with you to the movie theater, don’t let it stop you. When I took my kids on opening day a few weeks ago, there were plenty of people in the room who were childless. Here’s the LEGO movie preview if you’ve been living in a dark cave this whole time. It’s awesome!

So why is the LEGO movie so awesome? Let me sum it up for you: it is a mix of fun, adventure, suspense, action, humor, torture (wait till you see Liam Neeson’s Bad Cop/Good Cop…), explosions, jokes, special effects, bad puns, and tenderness. Did I say fun? This movie is laugh-out-loud funny from almost beginning to end. My favorite character probably is Batman, who really knows how to make a fool of himself. Take that, Christian Bale.

But maybe what I liked best about the LEGO movie is the story twist. Yes, there’s a twist, and a good one in my opinion. One of those twists that makes kids (and you) relate to the story more. It takes a step back and reminds you of what LEGO is all about. And the answer is: fun play, any way you like it.

I understand that in the past few years, LEGO has received some negative feedback from a few parents who don’t like the many LEGO sets that have been created. Those are the parents who complain that once their kids lose one piece, the set becomes useless (hmm, how about substitute that piece for another?). The LEGO movie approaches this issue in a smart way: the overall theme is that when playing LEGO, you can follow the instructions, or be a master builder, that is be able to build almost anything out of a pile of LEGO bricks. And that’s what I enjoyed most about the movie: imaginary play has no boundaries. Yes, the new LEGO sets come with lots of one-of-a-kind fancy pieces you can’t find anywhere else, but that’s what makes them more fun than a standard LEGO brick set. Once my kids have had enough of playing with a specific set, we put the pieces in our giant LEGO bag so they can make new creations out of them, and then play with them. It can’t get any better than this. LEGO master builders, unite!

Lego master builder creation

Lego master builder creation

I’d like to add that if you make your way to LEGOLAND California, you’ll want to visit the new LEGO movie experience.

LEGO movie experience at LEGOLAND California

LEGO movie experience at LEGOLAND California

In it, you’ll find the original LEGO city set that was used for the movie, along with many of the creations you see in the movie. That was a cool thing to see with my kids when it opened at the end of February.

Lego movie set at LEGOLAND California

Lego movie set at LEGOLAND California

By the way, my own master builders were thrilled to find this video of LEGO movie bloopers outtakes on YouTube after they saw the movie. I hope you get a good laugh out of it as much as we did. Watch it, it’s awesome!

Have you seen the LEGO movie? What did you think of it?

It’s an all Angry Birds birthday!

A few weeks ago, I asked my youngest what theme he would like for his 6th birthday. His answer was instant: Angry Birds! He also decided he didn’t want a big birthday party with other kids, and instead he opted for a small birthday celebration at home, a fun outing around his birthday date, and party favors for all the kids in his class.

So we started the birthday preparations by buying a few Angry Birds birthday wall decorations, along with Angry Birds birthday plates and napkins.

Angry Birds birthday plates and napkins

Angry Birds birthday plates and napkins

When it came to gifts, my little man asked for a couple of Angry Birds Jenga knockdown games, but he had no further inspiration. The kid is always hard to shop for because he rarely finds a toy he falls in love with, and his wish list is often a bunch of maybes.

While shopping by myself at Target one day, I spotted a couple of Angry Birds items on the shelf, including an Angry Birds plush throw blanket and an Angry Birds lunch box. Suddenly, it clicked. How about making this an all Angry Birds birthday? And so the fun began. We started with an Angry Birds birthday countdown on our white board right after Valentine’s Day.

Angry Birds birthday countdown on our white board

Angry Birds birthday countdown on our white board

I gathered a number of Angry Birds funny gifts, including those Angry Birds Jenga knockdown games. I asked other people to contribute to the list. My sister gave him Angry Birds Star Wars pajamas. My mom gave him a nice collection of the National Geographic for Kids Angry birds books, and an Angry Birds puzzle.

National Geographic for Kids Angry Birds books

National Geographic for Kids Angry Birds books

Angry Birds Jenga knockdown and Angry Birds puzzle

Angry Birds Jenga knockdown and Angry Birds puzzle

Yesterday was the big day and we had the three blue birds from Angry Birds wish him a happy birthday (the kids drew the balloon and many confetti to make my drawing more festive). Note: I erased my son’s name in Photoshop.

Angry Birds blue birds

Angry Birds blue birds

I made my son a birthday card with his favorite Angry Bird character, the Mighty Eagle.

Angry Birds Mighty Eagle birthday card

Angry Birds Mighty Eagle birthday card

In the morning before school and then again in the afternoon, my son unwrapped one Angry Birds gift one after the other. I think the biggest surprise is the one I put on his bed while he was at school: an Angry Birds bed set! You should have seen the look on his face when he first saw his new bed.

Angry Birds bed sheet set and Angry Birds blanket

Angry Birds bed sheet set and Angry Birds blanket

Of course you can’t have a birthday celebration without a birthday cake. My son picked the perfect picture to have on his cake, and yes, it was as delicious as it looks on this picture.

Angry Birds birthday cake

Angry Birds birthday cake

In the end this birthday didn’t have a huge party or a lot of big presents but I have to say it must be the one birthday we’ve had the most fun preparing for. My oldest did a great job at keeping the many surprises secret.

Our outing consisted of a fun trip to Legoland and a visit of the original movie set used for the new Lego movie. This reminds me I want to tell you a bit about this Lego movie, especially if you haven’t seen it yet. But that’s for another post. After all, this one is all about Angry Birds. Take that, pigs!

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

Today I’m participating in the WordPress weekly photo challenge and this week’s theme is “treasure”. Today is Valentine’s Day and I thought it was a great coincidence for this theme.

Love and a loving relationship with the people who are closest to you is something you treasure. At our house, we’ve been anticipating Valentine’s Day for about a week, the time when we hand made Valentine cards for one another. I didn’t glance at what my boys were working on but my youngest couldn’t resist looking. Do you know how hard it is to draw and color when you have to cover your artwork with one hand? My kids worked on their card together and they created the biggest Valentine card I’ve ever received.

Wordpress Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure - huge Valentine card

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure – huge Valentine card

On my end, I made the same Valentine card for both kids. Nothing says love better than squirrels and nuts, doesn’t it? I complemented the cards with Toblerone chocolate and a couple of cute little monkeys with Velcro hands so the boys can hang them around the house. I think they were a hit.

I'm nuts about you squirrel Valentine card

I’m nuts about you squirrel Valentine card

And now I’ll be treasuring these Valentine cards by storing them in our “special boxes” for the memories.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Book review: Baby Penguins Everywhere and Baby Penguins Love Their Mama

A couple of months ago, I participated in the month-long PiBoIdMo challenge, where you had to come up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. If you read the daily posts and commented on them, you also had a chance to win some cool prizes. Well, I didn’t win anything but I still got lucky. One of the guest bloggers for the event was children’s book author and illustrator Melissa Guion, and she contacted me after I commented on her post, asking me if I would be interested in reviewing her two picture books, Baby Penguins Everywhere and Baby Penguins Love Their Mama. She thought it’d be a good idea of gather the perspective of a single mom (me), who also happens to be the main character in her book. Well, in the form of a penguin…

I want to apologize to Melissa Guion for taking so long to write and post my reviews of her books. I read them with my kids as soon as we received them. We really enjoyed them and read them a few times each. I just got wrapped up in the holiday frenzy and then my kids were off school for two and a half weeks, and then a new year started… You get the idea. So today I’m finally catching up and sharing these books with you.

First in the series, Baby Penguins Everywhere tells the story of a penguin all alone on the ice, feeling lonely. Until one day, when she sees a hat floating by in the water. Out of the hat popped a little penguin. And another. And another. And another. And many more! The hat looks like one of those magician’s hats where the guy can pull out 10 rabbits in a row.

Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion

Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion

So now, the penguin isn’t lonely anymore. In fact, she’s very, very busy. My kids had fun counting how many penguins she’s actually taking care of. I believe there are 29 little penguins in this book. Wow, I feel tired just looking at them waddling around. I just hope for Mama Penguin they’re not all boys…

Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion

Baby Penguins Everywhere by Melissa Guion

You can imagine that after a while, Mama Penguin is a tiny bit tired, physically and mentally, so she needs to take a moment for herself before she goes back and enjoys her little penguins’ company. I love the message that moms need a break throughout the day when dealing with little ones. My kids did notice she was doing all of this alone and didn’t get any help. I personally feel for her. Obviously penguin moms have a lot more energy than human ones.

In Baby Penguins Love Their Mama, Mama Penguin has started educating her little penguins with different activities every day, which include swimming lessons, sliding lessons, and waddling lessons. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget the squawking lessons. Have mercy…

Baby Penguins Love Their Mama by Melissa Guion

Baby Penguins Love Their Mama by Melissa Guion

By the time Sunday arrives, Mama Penguin needs a nap. I wonder how long her little ones let her sleep but probably long enough because she looks refreshed after that. And then Mama Penguin asks her penguins what she’d become once they were all big penguins, a question most of us moms wonder. The answer? Their mama, of course!

Overall my boys and I found these two books very cute, and very funny. We enjoyed the soft watercolors and the simple way the penguins were drawn without getting in the way of the story. Next time my kids bug me when I’m trying to take a 5-minute break, I’ll tell them I’m Mama Penguin. And if that still doesn’t work, I’ll have to use the big guns and read Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy to them again.

A big thank you to Melissa Guion for sharing her books with me and my kids!