Raise your hand if you have ever attempted a home renovation project. Now keep your hand up if things did not go as planned. Throw kids into the mix and you know all about the mayhem we went through when redoing our kitchen.
As intense as home stuff can be, at least the whole family can laugh about it when it is over. And laugh you will when you pick up the latest from Jeff Kinney. I’ve partnered with ABRAMS Books to share our home improvement story, as well as to tell you about the latest in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid #14: Wrecking Ball
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball is about what happens when an unexpected inheritance gives Greg Heffley’s family a chance to make big changes to their house. But they soon find that home improvement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Once the walls come down, all sorts of problems start to crop up. (Been there before.)
Rotten wood, toxic mold, unwelcome critters, and something even more sinister all make Greg and his family wonder if the renovations are worth the trouble. When the dust finally settles, will the Heffleys be able to stay or will they need to get out of town?
If you have gone through home renovations like we have, you can appreciate the craziness that ensues in Wrecking Ball. My kids cracked up remembering how hectic it was in our house when we replaced the kitchen countertops. Ah fun times… yes, so glad that's over.
Why We Love Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball
Just like the rest of the Wimpy Kid series, this one blends the story with funny illustrations that help readers connect to Greg and his family. The kids love this one, they have read it a few times already. I think it has to do with the fact that they can relate to what Greg is going through with his parents' home renovations.
For me, I enjoy reading these books with them, cracking up at everything that goes on. In Wrecking Ball, Greg's family reminded me of the Griswolds and their misadventures. And if you know who I am talking about, then you know why I was laughing.
Wrecking Ball also called to mind the surprises one will discover when you start doing things around the house. Remember those countertops I mentioned? Well, we pulled off one splashguard and look what we found.
Thankfully, that awful dark stuff was not mold or mildew, it was just dirt. So, after some scraping and spraying I repainted the wall and replaced the splashguard. Greg's parents weren't so lucky, but I don't want to give anything away! You just have to read it!
3 Ways To Get The Kids Involved In Home Renovation
1. Ask their opinions
This might be shocking to you, but brace yourself, kids have a lot of opinions. Even when you think they might not care, they do. Most of the time, they just want to be involved with whatever you are doing. When it comes to home projects, I guarantee they have something to say about them.
Our next big project is the upstairs. We want to tear up the carpet, put down hardwood, and redecorate their rooms. I asked the kids how they would design their rooms if they had the opportunity and nothing was out of bounds. Boy do they dream big!
He was all about his cars while my daughter wanted a castle. While putting a giant triple loop track in my son's room won't happen, we will make sure we design a “car themed” space. It will make him happy and he will know that that was his idea. Still trying to figure out the whole castle thing. The bottom line is, take their ideas and do something with them.
2. Take them to get supplies
We are all about DIYing over here. It saves money and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Doing things yourself means you need to gather supplies.
My son loves going to home improvement stores. He wants to help pick out paint brushes, get the paint mixed up, and he doesn't mind when we have to go back 3 more times because we forgot something. Not only is it fun for him but it gives us time together.
These small little memories are things kids will hold onto as they get older. Trust me. I still remember helping my grandfather work in the garage, fixing up the old tractor. That memory brings a smile to my face every single time. Priceless.
3. Let them help
Now, I am not advising you let them handle power tools, saws, or anything else extremely dangerous. I do not even like using those things! However, in every home project there is something they can do.
It could be as simple as picking up the trash or more detailed like painting the walls. I'm telling you, let them do the baseboards, it will save your knees and back!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball is available now wherever books are sold!
Thank you to Hasbro for sending these over. All opinions are our own. Affiliate links in use.
Must Have Frozen 2 Dolls
Frozen 2 means new dolls, games, playsets, and fun! Plus with characters like Honeymaren, Mattias, and Nokk joining the group, Frozen fans have more toys than ever before and that is not a bad thing. My kids are both big Frozen fans and could not wait to open everything. Just look at how cute my Olaf is with the one from the Sledding Adventures pack!
Related: Meet The New Frozen 2 Characters
Right out of the box, my daughter could not wait to play with Elsa, Anna, and Nokk. Singing Elsa belts out her new power ballad “Into the Unknown” while Anna sings “The Next Right Thing.” Nokk does not sing but he is the coolest water spirit ever according to my kid. I will report back on how cool he is once we see the film.
I am digging her leggings/pants here, it reminds me of the Ralph Breaks The Internet Comfy Princesses. It looks like Elsa took the knowledge of yoga pants back to her kingdom. And if a Queen can rock them to freeze water and stuff then I can wear them to run to Target.
Speaking of Elsa and Anna, there are a variety of doll options to choose from. You can get them in their Arendelle fashions, sister styles, adventure collection, and more. It might be hard to pick just one or three.
When I was a kid, I would want one of each to properly act out every scene. Pretty sure I passed that sentiment onto my kids based on their negotiation tactics for new toys.
Sure Hasbro sent these for my kids and yeah they sell them in the kids' section of the store but, no lie, I wanted to keep the sleigh and Sven (my fave) for myself. I got vetoed though. Whatever. See if I share any of my hot chocolate with them next movie night…
Okay fine this smile right here makes it worthwhile to give up the sleigh to my son. At least he promised to give me some turns with Sven the next time we play Frozen 2 together.
Here is our complete list of new Frozen 2 dolls and playsets with handy links for all those parents getting a jump on gift buying. Trust me, these will be selling out. Remember how the Frozen craze was last time around? It is about to level up!
- Frozen 2 Singing Elsa Doll
- Frozen 2 Singing Anna Doll
- Anna Sister Styles Doll
- Anna Arendelle Fashions Doll
- Elsa Arendelle Fashions Doll
- Frozen 2 Mattias Doll
- Elsa and Nokk
- Sledding Adventures Doll Pack
- Frozen Adventure Collection
- Frozen 2 Family Set
- Frozen Pop Adventures Elsa's Bedroom
- Frozen 2 Honeymaren
- Frozen 2 Pop Adventures Series 1 Surprise Blind Box
Frozen 2 Games
Not only are there dolls for days, but Hasbro has also released some excited new games and toys to go along with the movie. Gather the family for game night and play Frozen 2 Monopoly, Frozen 2 Trouble Olaf's Ice Adventure, or Olaf Bop It. Not to brag but I'm currently winning at the Bop It game.
Get creative with the Play-Doh Mysteries Frozen 2 Snow Globe Playset like ours or one of the other fun Play-Doh kits. That magical fountain set looks super cute by the way.
Where Can I Buy Frozen 2 Dolls and Games?
Whether they just want Singing Elsa, Sister Styles Anna, Mattias, or all of the characters, these new Frozen 2 dolls and games are going to be on every wish list, toy guide, and top picks list this year. You can find all these amazing Frozen 2 dolls and games on Amazon and Hasbro.com
Unboxing the NEW Frozen 2 Dolls and Toys
To see each toy up close and find out who was hiding in those super, awesome blind boxes watch our unboxing video.
Thank you to HarperCollins for a copy of the book. Affiliate links used below.
Shadow School Archimancy
Cordelia Liu knew Shadow School was going to be different. Still, she didn’t expect the school grounds to be filled with ghosts.
Cordelia soon realizes she’s not the only one who can see the ghosts; her new friend Benji can too. Together with super-smart Agnes, the trio are determined to find out why the ghosts are there, and whether there’s a way to set them free. If these ghosts are given their brightkey, aka what they are missing from their earthly days, they will find peace.
However this isn't going to be an easy job. After an encounter with a poltergeist having a tantrum, these three friends realize just how dangerous this work can be. Not only that, but this school was created with more sinister intentions, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure that the ghosts remain trapped forever.
Shadow School Archimancy Review
This book is like the Haunted Mansion meets something spookier but still so much fun! Shadow School #1 is filled with suspense, action, and lots of twists and turns. Cordelia and Benji are trying their best to help the ghosts who are trapped in this gloomy mansion. Sometimes they have some fun and other times it can be kinda sad.
The ghosts though aren't just random characters that need help, they have personality and you will grow to care about them. This reminded me of the ghosts in Harry Potter. Unique and full of life. I can't say too much about the book because I don't want to give anything away, but it's so good you have to pick it up.
My favorite character is Cordelia. This girl is smart and best of all, KIND. She has a big heart and really wants to help everyone even if there are forces working against her. She also has pretty amazing friends in Agnes and Benji. They remind me of my good friends, and I think we would also make a good ghost saving team.
If you are a fan of Lemony Snicket then you will really like this book. This one felt too short, I didn't want it to end. But I hope that the author is working on Shadow School #2!
Ashley here. This book is another one that both children and adults can read together. For adults it will be a quick and entertaining while the kids will get a taste of the supernatural alongside lessons about dealing with middle school drama. It's not slapstick like a lot of “scary” novels for kids. Instead it showcases not only how much our heroine cares but also how intelligent she is as well. She sees a problem and she works out how to solve it. I like that a lot.
Where to buy Shadow School Archimancy
Shadow School Archimancy is available wherever books are sold and online at Amazon.
Thank you to Universal Pictures for this review copy. All opinions are my own.
Yesterday Movie Review
I'll fully admit it, Yesterday looked like it would be an okay movie but not one that I would actually enjoy watching. I thought it would follow the typical amnesia, dream sequence-type films meaning Yesterday would be predictable and without something special to set it apart from all the other films.
I was wrong. Yesterday is a playful, fun, heart-felt, musical ride that despite the fantastical elements of the story, is relatable. Plus it doesn't hurt that the soundtrack is heavy on The Beatles with a side of Ed Sheeran.
Himesh Patel stars as Jack Malik, an aspiring singer-songwriter, whom despite the support of childhood best friend Ellie Appleton (Lily James), decides it's time to quit on his dream. The night he decides this however, he gets hit by a bus during a blackout that is worldwide. After waking up in the hospital, he realizes he is the only person in the world who remembers The Beatles, coke, and Harry Potter.
Jack starts playing the band's songs, passing them off as his own, and the fame comes quickly. But when Ellie reveals her true feelings for him, Jack comes to realize that he's now in danger of losing the only person who's always had his back and doesn't care if his songs are Beatles level amazing.
My favorite moment of the film came when Jack speaks to John Lennon.
“Have you had a happy life?” – Jack
“Very.” – John
“But not successful?” – Jack
“I just said, very happy. That means successful.”- John
John goes on to explain he had a job he liked, a wife, essentially a good life that he fought for. The message here was that living a life worth living doesn't mean you're famous or rich. It means that you pursued what makes you happy and in the end that fulfills you more than money or fame ever could.
The chemistry of the cast and the visuals of Danny Boyle help to propel the story and engage the audience. While there are unexplained questions if you're looking for a romantic comedy sprinkled with some magic, Yesterday is the film for you.
Yesterday Movie Bonus Features on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, & Digital
- Corden & Roxanne – Includes deleted performance by Himesh Patel of “Something”
- Late for School
- Nutters Italian Ice Cream
- Moscow Audience
- A Gonk
- W Hotel
- Jack Calls Ellie
- Hilary in the Mirror
- Nick and Carol
- Hazel's Selfie
Live at Abbey Road Studios – Watch Himesh Patel perform “Yesterday”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, and “Let it Be” at Abbey Road Studios.
Ed Sheeran: From Stadium to Screen* – Acting in his first major role, Ed Sheeran reflects on his experiences making the movie.
Agent of Comedy: Kate McKinnon* – Kate McKinnon shares how eager she was to play the role of “Debra Hammer” while the cast and crew reflect on the fun and energy that the queen of improvisational comedy brought to the set.
A Talented Duo* – Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle, two of the most successful British filmmakers, team up for the first time.
Playing for Real* – The re-interpreting of the Beatles songs was a huge undertaking for newcomer Himesh Patel. Learn how he spent months learning to play the songs perfectly as the production decided to take the more challenging route of recording the musical numbers live on set.
Soul Mates* – Beyond the music and the laughs, the film is, of course, a love story. This piece looks at the relationship between Jack & Ellie and the actors playing them.
A Conversation with Richard & Ed* – Long-term friends Richard Curtis and Ed Sheeran have a funny and informal chat about the making of YESTERDAY.
Feature Commentary with Director Danny Boyle and Writer/Producer Richard Curtis
*Exclusive to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, & Digital
Yesterday Movie Giveaway
One lucky fan will win a Blu-ray combo pack of Yesterday!
I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.
Keurig K-Duo Essentials Coffee Maker Review
I have to start this Keurig K-Duo Essentials Coffee Maker Review by saying yes, this Keurig does what no other has done before, it brews K-Cups AND ground coffee. Game changer!
You would think that would make this Keurig massive and take up so much counter space. Wrong! The Keurig K-Duo is only a smidgen wider than my old Keurig K40. This is due to the design, the water reservoir is on the back while the ground coffee brewer is to the side of the K-cup brewer.
Lets talk about brewing coffee with the Keurig K-Duo. The glass carafe holds up to 12 cups of delicious coffee while the heating plate will stay on to ensure your coffee stays warm from first pour to the last. There is a built in auto-off feature but if you need or want to turn off the heating plate before that, simply hold down the cups button until the red light turns off.
What's the best part about the carafe side of the K-Duo? Pause & Pour. This feature allows you to pause the coffee maker, mid-brew, for 20 seconds so you can get the first cup of coffee straight into your soul right away.
Just like other Keurig models, the K-Duo is travel mug friendly. You can brew 8, 10, or 12 cups in the carafe or an 8, 10, or 12 ounce cup. Select cups for ground coffee or oz for single serve, it's so easy even a sleep deprived parent who can barely see straight in the morning can do it.
Where can you buy the Keurig K-Duo Essentials Coffee Maker?
The Keurig K-Duo Essentials Coffee Maker can be purchased exclusively on Walmart’s website for $99 before tax. Like I said before, to be able to brew ground coffee and K-cups for that price is a steal! Pick up yours today!