Disney Style Celebrations

Spending time at a Disney park is magical, but celebrating something special is even more wonderful. TechyDad and I celebrated our honeymoon at Walt Disney World. Years later, our youngest son would turn two on our first big family vacation. Many additional memories took place in our favorite family destination. Who knows what we will celebrate next with Disney by our side. What has been your favorite Disney style celebration?

Disney Celebrations

Focused on the Magic

What is your favorite place to stop and look at it from a different perspective? Be sure to stop by Focused on the Magic by clicking on the button above to join in the Disney magic this week.

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Movies and Sensory Concerns

TechyDad’s birthday was on Sunday and we were trying to figure out what to do for his special day. I asked if he wanted to see a movie. More specifically, I mentioned going to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I had heard that, while it was rated PG-13, it would probably be a nice option for our family. TechyDad searched online for a movie time and we went to the mall to get tickets and then have lunch.

My Guardians of the Galaxy

When we went to get our tickets at this Regal Cinema location, we realized that there was a snaffu with the online movie guide that TechyDad had viewed. We did not want to see a 3D version of the movie because JSL is not a fan. While we thought that it was a regular showing, it was not. That time was actually for a viewing of Guardians for the Galaxy in an RPX theater. We explained to the person at the ticket counter what happened and told her we would regroup and walked away.

Why did we leave?

There were a few reasons. The cost of the RPX was significantly more, but that was not the big issue in my mind. The sensory experience was something that concerned me. I did not want to ruin TechyDad’s birthday by starting the movie and leaving part way through. Did I know that it would bother NHL? No, I did not know how he would react. At the same time, I was aware that some movies have been too loud and bothered him though he has never had to leave before. Coping strategies have greatly improved as NHL has gotten older. Still, TechyDad and I were unsure about it and felt it was best to regroup.

As we stood off to the side looking online for options at other Regal Cinemas in the area, something happened that we never expected. Another person from Regal asked us to go back to the counter. The woman who had been helping us felt horrible that we left and wanted to make sure we saw the movie for TechyDad’s birthday. Jennifer was beyond amazing and made our day. As she was assisting us, I explained that it was not simply the increased cost of the movie. I told her that our son has Asperger’s and that the bigger screen and better sound system may be too much sensory overload for him. She assured me that IF it was a problem we could simply see someone in the theater and they would help us to see another movie, or we could get our money back. She asked if we would please give it a try and hopefully become fans of the RPX technology. We agreed and thanked her and I noted it on Twitter as well.

After lunch, we made our way to the RPX theater. It was beautiful. It really reminded me of a slight variation of an IMAX theater. We got seats on a side in case we needed to move. When the previews came on, I held my breath. NHL jumped back and immediately held his ears. I feared we would be leaving shortly.

Movies and Sensory Concerns

When the actual movie began, I watched NHL out of the corner of my eye. Slowly he eased back into his chair and his hands dropped down to his side. Yes, the actual movie sound was much less intense than the previews has been. I sat with a smile on my face and enjoyed the movie along with the boys and TechyDad. Thanks to a kind person at Regal Cinemas, our birthday celebration was not ruined by our mistake and NHL had another major milestone. He plowed through something that was overwhelming, but coped to reap the reward.

If you have children on the autism spectrum or with sensory concerns, how do they do at the movies? I would love to know if you have ever been to an RPX showing and if you noticed the sound variation with previews compared to the regular movie.

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Tuesday Tales: Calvin the Bookworm Birdie and Monsters

This summer, my youngest has been reading a lot of different books on his own. Clearly a major milestone for JSL. While I love his independence, it makes me sad at the same time. I miss curling up with my kiddo to read a special picture book together. When two new books arrived from Sterling Children’s Books to review, I asked JSL if I could read them to him before bed one night.

Calvin, Look Out! and Monster Party!

We took the books above and read them together like we used to do before diving into chapter books. It was a lot of fun celebrating at a party with a monster book from an author/illustrator that was new to us. JSL and I also adored visiting with our familiar birdie friend Calvin in his new tale.

Calvin, Look Out! – Written by Jennifer Berne – Illustrated by Keith Bendis – Sterling Children’s Books August 2014 – ISBN 9781454909101 – $14.95 – Ages 4-8

Inside Calvin, Look Out! by Jennifer Berne

Calvin the book loving bird is back in this latest book by Jennifer Berne. This time, Calvin starts to notice something just is not right with his vision. Why yes, the bookworm birdie shares his adventure as he gets his first pair of glasses. The clarity of the world changes at an instant and poor Calvin is teased because he is different than others. What happens when Calvin finds himself in trouble and needs to save the day? You will need to read the story and follow along with the beautiful illustrations from Keith Bendis that immerse us into Calvin’s world.

JSL really enjoyed this book and it gave us a great topic to talk about. We were able to discuss differences. Why it can be hurtful not to accept people the way they are. Oh and thanks to Calvin we talked about never giving up and the important of problem solving when it appears that you are in trouble. I highly recommend the latest book about Calvin and others if you have never read them before. I also pulled up my post from The Albany Children’s Book Festival where we met author Jennifer Berne to remind JSL because he had forgotten about that.


Monster Party – Written and illustrated by Annie Bach – Published by Sterling Children’s Books August 2014 – ISBN 97814549105 – $9.95 – Ages 2-5

Inside Monster Party! by Annie Bach

We are big monster fans in this house, thanks to the famous Disney monsters like Mike and Sulley. Monster Party is a sweet story about a monster getting invited to a party. Annie Bach’s simple words and whimsy artwork bring us along to see what the little monster does with his friends.

JSL liked the rhyme scheme and pictures in the book. It was a little juvenile for him, but he read along with me. I could see this book being used at Halloween time to act and make up a song with a preschool group. Lots of items that could be creatively incorporated with young children.

Are you a fan of Calvin the bookworm birdie or other monster books? Be sure to let me know if you have read about Calvin or any good monster tales recently. As always, Tuesday Tales is all about sharing our love of books. Please let me know what you have read recently. Link up to your book posts in the comments below. Include something you read on your own, with a child, or someone else.

It's Me

Disclosure: As noted above, I received both of these books from Sterling Children’s Books to review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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The Great 2014 School Supply Lists

Each year it has become a tradition to share what our school supply lists are and to see how they compare to others in other locations. As a teacher, I loved this time of year when I could get bargains for my classrooms. As a parent, I try to save when I can, but it is often more important to grab things when they are in stock so there is no stress later on. JSL’s second grade supply list came home with his report card at the end of June. While I waited to see if the middle school would post the new 2014-2015 list, it never showed up. This week I called and asked if I could get it sent to me so I could get started on shopping. The photo below are most, but not all of the items that JSL needs for second grade. I have not started to gather things for my middle schooler (still hard to say that), but will shortly.

Back to school with school supplies

2nd Grade Supply List

  • One plastic folder with pockets (for take-home)
  • 4 pocket folders (1 blue, 1 yellow, 1 green, 1 purple)
  • Pencils (3 packages, sharpened, Ticonderoga)
  • 2 erasers
  • 1 box of 24 crayons
  • 2 packages of 4 Expo or Dry Erase markers
  • 1 pair of school scissors
  • 2 glue sticks
  • 2 hard cover marble notebooks (1 black, 1 red)
  • 1 zippered soft pencil case
  • 2 boxes of Kleenex
  • 1 package of baby wipes (unscented) refills
  • 1 large roll of paper towels
  • Ziploc sandwich bags (gallon size for boys, sandwich size for girls)
  • 2 packs of Post-Its (3×3 for boys, 2×2 for girls)
  • Money for Time for Kids magazine

Seems pretty standard and to compare it to what NHL needed four years ago, you can see his list here.

Now please hold me. There may have been tears when I saw the 6th grade supply list. I have a feeling this is not complete because they may need items for classes like music and art. I guess we will know more in September.

6th Grade Supply List


  • 200 index cards
  • loose-leaf paper
  • Post-It notes
  • 1 blue folder
  • 2 single subject blue notebooks
  • blue, green, and yellow highlighter
  • 3 required reading books (Very interesting titles that are all fiction)


  • 1 green folder
  • 1 hard cover green marble notebook
  • ruler
  • pencils only
  • loose-leaf paper
  • roll of Scotch Tape
  • pack of baby wipes

Social Studies

  • 1 red folder
  • loose-leaf paper
  • 1 single subject red notebook
  • colored pencils


  • Index cards
  • pencils
  • 2 hard cover yellow marble notebooks
  • 1 yellow folder
  • high lighter
  • Post-Its


  • folder
  • loose-leaf paper
  • 1 marble black composition notebooks
  • pencils

In addition to this it mentions a 2-3” binder, flash/jump drive 4 GB, 3 boxes of tissues, homework folder, lots of pencils, pens, dividers for binder, and 2 pocket hole punched folders for each subject in the colors mentioned.

Did I mention I am ready to cry? It isn’t because of the list, no definitely not that. As a middle school teacher in the past it seems reasonable. I am just reminded that my kiddo is a middle schooler and ready or not it is coming our way.

So what items are on your school supply lists? Have you found any really great sales this year? Please share below. As I have said before, I really am a school supply geek.

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Three Fiber Arts Apps for Android

#VZWBuzz Disclosure A long time ago, I was an elementary school girl learning how to knit on a neighbor’s front porch. In between riding my bike with the kids, several of us used to sit on rocking chairs and knit together. Knitting has always been a passion, but I secretly craved picking up a hook to ease the pain that knitting caused in my wrists.

Last year, I finally taught myself how to crochet using several YouTube videos. Prior to this, I was not very successful with crochet because books just did not cut it. There is just something wonderful about being able to see a person showing the way to work a pattern up with yarn. I am also able to pause it and rewind to see a section over and over until I am successful.

Over the last year, I have often used my android smartphones to keep up on my fiber arts. I can share photos of my creations, ask questions on Facebook groups, and explore new apps that will help my new love for crochet. While there are a lot of apps out there for people that knit and crochet, several of popular ones from yarn companies are only available for iOS. Thanks to this, I was not able to test them out using my beloved Samsung Galaxy S5. While I have an iPad, I utilize my smartphone a lot more when out and about and shopping for craft items and working on a project. Fiber Arts Apps for Android Smartphones The Crochet Crowd App is a favorite of mine. Mikey and the entire Crochet Crowd community were part of the reason that I have been successful with my crocheting adventure. This app does a wonderful job of combining all parts of The Crochet Crowd together. You can:

  • see the latest posts on The Crochet Crowd Facebook page
  • view the amazing collection YouTube tutorials
  • check out the latest crochet challenge
  • view photos of gorgeous creations from other hookers
  • use the yarn calculator to assist with an upcoming project
  • head to The Crochet Crowd website
  • read the latest on Mikey’s blog
  • look for patterns
  • learn how to crochet

The Crochet Crowd Android AppOf course, there is much more to explore on the app. It really is a wealth of information for the new, intermediate, or even advanced crocheter. I know I have my eye on the latest Mystery crochet along that was just revealed and would be a new experience for me to try. Michaels Stores also have an app for Android users. I found this one after I was a bit underwhelmed by another craft stores app. The Michaels Stores contains a lot of items packed all into one resource. You will find:

  • the Michaels Stores weekly ad
  • coupons for your local Michaels Store
  • projects that are not limited to yarn and needle crafts (baking, painting, home décor, kids crafts, and a lot more)
  • product listings by craft type
  • videos will be coming
  • a place to store the project you like
  • listing of events at your local Michaels Store

Michaels Stores App for Android There is a lot more within the app. What I adore is that I can quickly get coupons when I am going to the store to pick up items. If I am looking for a new idea to craft, I can save a project that I like. Later on, I can go back in and find what I need to purchase, along with the project instructions. Another fun feature, I can check the weekly sales and just skip right to the yarn brands. A lot of thought was put into this app and it is great for a fiber arts enthusiast on the go. Knitting Patterns Database is an app that combines tools from many other knitting apps into one location. Within this app you can:

  • store PDF patterns
  • download patterns from locations like Ravelry (you must sign into those)
  • import patterns
  • use their row counter
  • find a calculator to help with yarn substitutions and more

Knitting Patterns Database for Android This app is new to me and I plan on exploring it more this summer as I finish up my latest crochet project. I know I will be able to use it for future knitting works, but there is a way to utilize it for my crochet work as well. What apps have you used for knitting, crocheting, or other crafting? I would love to know so I can add them to my growing collection. Be sure to check out my latest crafting fun by following along on Instagram.

It's Me

Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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