Friday, June 17, 2016

Finding Dory Free Printable Activities for Kids!

Are you heading to the theater to see Dory and Nemo this weekend? Don't miss this fun family movie out today, June 17th! Check out my review here and then print out some (or all) of these FREE printables activities to get your kids excited about the film. Click on the following images to download each PDF.









Finding Dory Review: A Family Fun Sequel

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this movie. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own and honest.

"Finding Nemo" is a favorite of both of our kids and they were excited when we heard about the plans for a sequel. We had the chance to see a screening of "Finding Dory" a few nights ago and while I left with mixed feelings, I can assure you that the kids absolutely loved this film. 
"Finding Dory" is a fun return under the sea with the majority of the familiar characters from "Finding Nemo". The movie begins with a sequence showing the events leading up to the meeting between Dory and Marlin and giving us a peek into Dory's early life. Mr. Ray and Crusher make quick and delightful appearances in these beginning scenes and I was disappointed not to see more of them.

As Dory begins to remember pieces of her past, including her parents Charlie and Jenny, she starts on the long journey to go home. Of course, with her short term memory loss, it won't be easy. I must admit that Dory annoyed me in "Finding Nemo" and I found her much more likable in this film.

When she loses Marlin and Nemo along the way, Dory is forced to turn to other creatures for help and meets some great new characters that truly steal the show. Hank, voiced by Ed O'Neill was the highlight of the film for me. I've always thought the octopus is an amazing creature and Pixar worked hard to get all of the details of this guy perfect. His camouflage skills were hilarious and be sure to stick around through the credits to watch him show off a bit. I wish we could have seen more of his back story as it felt incomplete but I'm guessing we will be seeing more of Hank soon.

Ty Burrell and Kaitlin Olson delight as Bailey, the beluga whale, and Destiny, the whale shark. Working together to overcome disabilities, they are the perfect helpers for Dory.

And these guys, seriously, cuteness. Do I have to say any more???
The animation in "Finding Dory" is what we've come to expect from Pixar, beautiful and enchanting. Every ocean frame is so full of color and I can't wait to watch it again to see all of the small details that Pixar is famous for. The majority of the film takes place at the Morro Bay Marine Life Institute in California allowing for many different kinds of sea life to be featured. The sea lions were a funny addition to the film giving Marlin and Nemo some unexpected and a bit crazy help in their mission to find Dory.

"Finding Dory" is full of hilarious moments and I have always loved that Pixar creates movies that adults will enjoy seeing with their kids. Unlike "Finding Nemo", there weren't any scary moments that would be a problem for little one, however there is a generally sad undertone to the film as Dory fights her disability to find her way home. While Dory makes great strides in this film, I found the other character development to be lacking. Like I mentioned earlier, Hank's story seems incomplete and Marlin and Nemo's sections seemed a bit forced to me. As a sequel, I feel like it lacked the strong character development that made "Toy Story 2" such a success.

I don't believe that "Finding Dory" has the heart that has made "Finding Nemo" a classic Pixar film but it is worth seeing as a family fun comedy and for it's beautiful animation. We will definitely be adding it to our DVD collection. It's a perfect summer movie to see with your family this weekend! 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Father's Day Star Wars Free Printable Questionnaire

June is flying by and I looked at my calendar yesterday to realize that Father's Day is Sunday. I'm feeling very behind this year. I was planning on doing something crafty, but this week is super busy and I can't find anything that's quite perfect for Mike. Grace brought home a Father's Day questionnaire from preschool and I thought it was a cute idea so I decided to create one for Connor to complete with a Star Wars theme (his new obsession). 

This questionnaire is a really quick way to create a personalized fun gift for dad! Connor's answers were pretty hilarious and mostly focused on daddy getting him cookies. Grace decided she wanted to do one too and decided that Mike has reached the ripe old age of 631.  

Click on this image to download the free printable. This design is for personal use only. All designs are copyright of Moments That Take My Breath Away. Any use for commercial purposes is a copyright infringement. 

Father's Day Free Printable Questionnaire

What are you doing for the dads in your life this year?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ice Cream Scoop Easy DIY Teacher Gift + Free Printable Tags

It takes a lot of people to make a preschool run smoothly and the staff at Grace's school were excellent. I wanted to give an end of the year gift to the director, secretary, and music teacher but didn't have much to spend. I found an idea on Pinterest for an ice cream scoop gift and I thought it was adorable so I created my own version!

Free Printable Teacher Gift

I found these colorful ice cream scoops at Walmart and thought they would be perfect. I really want one for myself!

I added a Dairy Queen gift card (I mean really, who doesn't like Dairy Queen) and a cute tag to complete the gift. I hole punched the gift card to make it easy to attach but make sure not to punch the black strip on the back.

Click the image below to download a free printable PDF of these adorable tags to help you create your own ice cream scoop teacher gifts! These designs are for personal use only. All designs are copyright of Moments That Take My Breath Away. Any use for commercial purposes is a copyright infringement. 
Ice Cream Scoop Teacher Gift

Monday, June 6, 2016

Dr. Seuss Finger Puppets Preschool Teacher Gift

My poor blog. We've been so busy lately that my laptop has been sitting in the corner collecting dust. So much has been going on lately with kids activities and the end of school so I want to make sure I update you all on everything! Today I want to share part one of the teacher's gifts I made this year because I've been meaning to post this for a couple of weeks now. Better late than never right?

Grace had an amazing year at pre-K this year and I credit most of that to her main teacher. Last year her teacher left a quarter of the way through the year and she got an inexperienced teacher for the rest of the year. The kids had fun but we don't feel like she learned very much. This year, she had a teacher that has been with her preschool for 17 years. She was super organized, kept us well informed, and Grace learned a ton.

I wanted to get her something special but had a hard time coming up with something at first because I knew being a teacher so long she probably already had tons of things like mugs and lotions just sitting around. I wanted something she could use in her classroom and Grace suggested something involving Dr. Seuss since they focus on his books a ton during Dr. Seuss month. After a quick Pinterest and Etsy search, I fell in love with these Dr. Seuss character finger puppets from Gracefully Geeky Designs. I managed to get the design on sale, bought the many different colors of felt needed and set my embroidery machine to work. I will say these puppets took way longer than I expected because they needed tons of thread color changes, but they were worth the time because I love how they turned out!
Dr Seuss Teacher Gift

I had originally intended to make a tote bag for her to put the puppets in but I decided a zippered pouch might make it easier for her to store them in her classroom. I found this Cat in the Hat fabric at Hobby Lobby and used this simple tutorial from Skip to My Lou to make this cute pouch.

I loved the lining fabric for this pouch, so cute. The puppets fit in perfectly!

This was one of the more time intensive teacher gifts I've created but Grace said her teacher loved it so it was worth the time and energy! It's something she will use in her classroom for years to come.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

LEGO KidsFest Kansas City Review: Building Family Fun

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to attend this event with my family. No other compensation was received and all opinions are 100% my own and honest.

Last night we had the chance to experience family fun at an event like nothing else I've ever seen before. I told the kids we were going to LEGO KidsFest and despite watching the promo video on their website, we had no idea how amazing our night would be!

LEGO KidsFest Information

We arrived at the venue about 10 minutes before the doors opened, got our map and started planning our strategy. We planned that we would visit some of the more popular areas first and wanted to make sure to visit all of the "participation prize" stations first. These are marked on the map with a red star and we made a beeline to the Star Wars competition area first. We were in the first group to participate and the kids were thrilled to see that just for participating they got a small LEGO build to take home. After helping their team build a Star Wars star ship in a relay, we visited the Challenge Zone where we got to create an animal. We all got to build our dream houses in the LEGO Friends area and a stop at the Brick Battle Zone got us all competing to see which team could build the highest tower. The catch? It had to survive being moved to the judging table. Our tall tower, like most others, did not survive the move but the kids (and adults) loved participating!


We're a pretty competitive family so these challenge areas were a blast for us. As a bonus, we got some amazing prizes just for participating and my purse was bulging with all the kids' goodies.

After visiting all of the challenge areas, we found several photo areas that the kids were super excited about. The LEGO friends photo booth strip shown above is now in a special spot on the refrigerator. The LEGO City photos below were taken in front of a green screen and then printed right on site for us. They also emailed us a copy. How cool are these?? The best part, all of this is all included with your ticket price. None of the activities cost any extra!

We were glad we did all of those early as the lines for them got longer later in the evening so try to hit those early if you can. Connor had been not so patiently waiting to visit his favorite stations so we headed over to the LEGO Ninjago area and stayed there for quite a while. The setup was pretty awesome, each station (there were many) featured two spin battle stations that you could attach 6 ninja mini figures to. Then by simply moving the joystick around you could spin the stations around to defeat your opponent. This was one of our favorite activities of the night and the kids loved personalizing their ninjas to battle with. Of course we had to take photos with the large Ninja models as well.

Connor loves the LEGO Ninjago show right now so he would have happily stayed here all night. Here is a short video showing how the battle stations work. Connor was pretty thrilled with his victory.
video

After tearing him away from his beloved Ninja LEGO battles, Connor headed straight for the Star Wars section. Mike was pretty excited about this area too. These characters were a little harder for our little ones to build but they still loved it. LEGO KidsFest encourages parents to build with their kids and there were many adults enjoying this area just as much as the kids.

Connor wanted to play Star Wars for a while longer so Grace and I ventured over to visit the Disney Princess area. Full of princess and castle LEGO bricks, Grace and I happily built a castle to add to the large castle collection. The Cinderella model was Grace's favorite large model of the night and it's not hard to see why! It's so intricate.

The race ramps turned out to be a favorite for our family. We all built cars and enjoyed racing them over and over again. There were plenty of ramps so that everyone could enjoy the fun!

We couldn't visit LEGO KidsFest without trying out the Big Brick Pile that they are famous for. I wish I had a photo of how large this pile was but trust me, it was MASSIVE. The kids hopped right in and started making LEGO angels, tall towers, and running around like wild children. I lasted about 10 seconds laying in it but the kids loved it.

I had read great things about the Master Builder classes that are offered at every LEGO KidsFest but I thought our kids would be too young to enjoy it. But when a staff member offered us tickets for the last class of the night, we thought we might as well try it. For future reference, go get your tickets for this right when you arrive if you want to do this class. Normally they run out of tickets pretty early and you won't get the chance to go if you wait til the last minute. We just happened to get lucky and I'm so glad we did. Our 3 and 5 year old both loved it and I can honestly say I learned a lot! There are only 8 LEGO master builders in the world and we got the chance to ask him all of our questions and have him teach us some of the tricks of the LEGO building trade. Plus, he juggled LEGO balls which was pretty cool. Again, this is a MUST SEE at LEGO KidsFest and it doesn't cost any extra!

Our last stop of the night was the Model Museum. These huge models are right in the front as you enter but we waited until the end to take photos because it wasn't nearly as busy. The kids had fun taking photos with all of their favorite characters. The detail on these models is amazing!

If you have a chance to attend LEGO KidsFest, make sure to stop by the sponsor's booths.  The Santoki booth features the new LEGO stationary! I received a couple of these pens and they are so fun!
I was beyond impressed with LEGO KidsFest. We went expecting to have fun but we loved every second of it. I wasn't sure how much our little ones would be able to participate in but they were fully included in everything and never felt out of place. We got to build a ton of fun things as a family and never felt rushed. The staff was constantly picking bricks up off the floor and taking apart bricks that people were done with so they would be available for new builds. It was well organized and the lines moved fast. I cannot say enough good things about our experience. Both kids have been talking about what we did there non stop and are begging to go back. I hope LEGO KidsFest decides to come back to KC in a couple of years because we will be first in line to buy tickets!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Outdoor Summer Fun: Messy Play Date Activities


Last summer, one of my friends invited us to her house for a messy play date. What kid doesn't like getting messy? Plus she was offering to deal with the mess at her house so we were in! I dressed the kids in their swimsuits and took plenty of towels and we headed off for an adventure.

We arrived to find many different activity stations in her backyard and the kids ran around making messes to their heart's content. I asked my friend if I could blog about all of the activities because she did an amazing job and the kids had such a great time!
The most popular activity with all of the kids was messy painting. She purchased a cheap flat white sheet, condiment dispensers, and washable paint from Walmart. She filled the condiment dispensers with a mix of paint and water and then let the kids spray the sheet. The only issue with this activity was that the kids loved it so much she had to refill the containers with paint frequently.

My kids both loved the bubble blowing station. We do this activity at home a lot inside so getting to make huge piles of bubbles outside without worrying about the mess was a huge hit. For instructions on this one, check out my Indoor Bubbles post.

A water table filled with DIY slime made for hours of fun. You can find lots of slime recipes on Pinterest and I think it would be fun to use slime with plastic dinosaurs or other animals.

Rainbow spaghetti was a perfect sensory activity for all of the kids. The babies loved feeling and squishing the noodles while the older kids loved throwing and squishing it. Simply add a little cooking oil and food coloring to cooked spaghetti for messy fun!

The kids happily ran around and got messy for several hours while the moms enjoyed chatting. It was a perfect idea for a play date and I'm hoping to have one this summer with some new messy ideas. Would your kids love a messy play date? 

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