Happy Thanksgiving! 

It’s getting late and I’m tired, but I do want to fufill my commitment to blog every day in November. So. Here is my very short post for today. I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and that you go to spend it with people you love. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

My 5 Favorite Harry Potter Parodies

Parodies are a seriously underappreciated art form. Satire too. Me, though? I love parodies and satire. Done well, they are extremely brilliant art forms. And so, of course, I love Harry Potter parodies. That’s like the best of both worlds. So here, in no particular order, are my current 5 favorite Harry Potter parodies. Sometimes, parodies are so good that even if you don’t like the original song, the parody is just genius. And you can tell that the people who create parodies put a lot of work into them and usually that they really know their stuff.

Dancing death eaters are fun. Don’t believe me, just watch 😉

I always give extra props to ones that mention all four houses. Or, let’s be real, that mention my house. Ravenclaw pride, ya’ll

 

This one gets stuck in my head all the time.

Slytherin is not my favorite house, but this one is catchy. The creators of this video were supposed to make a Ravenclaw one too, but due to a dispute between the creators, that never happened. Which is sad, but at least this one is awesome.

This one isn’t a huge production like the other ones, but I find it really delightful anyways.

It was so hard to pick because there are honestly so many Harry Potter fan videos on youtube. Seriously. It’s like a treasure trove of awesome. But, these are some of my top ones and I hope you enjoyed them.

What are your favorite parodies, Harry Potter or otherwise? I am always down for a good parody! 

Chocolate Milk Comes From Brown Cows . . .

Brown cow say moo! Crazy things we believe

. . . and other crazy things we believe.

Someone – I’m not naming names, but it was not me – convinced Dominic that brown cows make chocolate milk.

And it seems ridiculous and obvious to adults that that is not true. But in our own way, we all have those things that we believe. Things that are not true, but we believe them anyways. Some of us more than others. Some of them more serious than others. But we all have things that we believe that we hold tight to that aren’t 100 percent logical. At least, I think we do. I think I am not alone in this, but I could be wrong.

As an adult, factual things can be more easily looked up. So, I think then, the lies that I believe all have to do with myself. I struggle with negative self-talk. Do you?

I’m a terrible mom.

Someone else could do a better job with my kids than I could.

Nobody needs me.

My kids don’t love me.

I’m not worthy of love.

These are all different things that I’ve thought at different points in my teenage through adult life. I could list a hundred more examples, because negative self-talk creeps in in so many different ways. And the thing is, at the point when I say/think these things, logically, I know they aren’t true. But emotionally, they feel true. And when they feel true emotionally, it’s hard not to think that maybe they are true.

I’ve been thinking a lot about one of the speakers from our retreat earlier this month. She used a really amazing example and it has really stuck with me. All of the crap that hangs on us, all of our baggage, if we turn and look at the shadows of it – it looks overwhelming. It looks terrifying. It looks scary. When we focus on that, it becomes larger than life.

But, if we turn to the light, there is hope to be found there. When we are looking at the light, we can’t see all the shadows. We can only see His love. The positive is there if you are looking at the light – if you are looking at God’s word. His talk, to us, goes like this.

You are a redeemed daughter of the King.

You are loved.

You are called by me to be my child.

I sent my son to die for you, so that you could live in freedom, not in fear, not in negative self-talk.

These are the things that I need to focus on. I need things – and people – in my life who remind me of these truths. I do tend to turn and focus on the shadows. They seem important. They seem like I can never let them go. But the light is there. The light is always there. God gave us a whole book filled with His light and His love.

Life is hard, that’s not a crazy thing that people believe. That’s a fact. But, we were never promised that life would be easy. But I make it so much harder on myself, when I don’t focus on what is good and right. It is a struggle for me to turn to the light. I want to wallow in my self-pity and self-loathing because that’s easier.

My pastor pointed me to this verse when I was pregnant with Dominic and was depressed and having panic attacks. And I still hold onto it today when I have troubles. Because, even though I couldn’t change everything that was going on, I was still depressed and I was still having panic attacks and I wish, I wish I would have talked with my doctor about it, but I was too afraid, this verse still gave me some comfort.

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze. – Isiah 43:2 

Do you struggle with negative self-talk? What verse brings you comfort and helps you turn towards the light? 

The Struggles of Being an Adult Picky Eater

Cabbage - a food that many a picky eater does not like

I actually like cabbage sometimes and in some ways, but it gets no love from a lot of people.

As long as I can remember, I’ve been a picky eater. Do not get me wrong, I have come a long way in this area. I’m eating things now that five years ago I never would have touched. But, there are still a lot of things that I don’t eat. There are still lots of things that I’ve never tried because I’m just too afraid (edamame is a good example).

And I know everyone thinks that picky eating is mostly a kid problem. And to some extent, it is, because when you are an adult you have more control over what food you eat. You buy your own groceries. You cook your own food.

But, social gatherings still present some kind of anxiety, for me at least. I worry that there will be nothing there that I want to eat. I worry that there won’t be a polite way to turn something down. When people find out that you don’t like fruit, they kind of give you the side eye. I worry when we go to restaurants that there won’t be anything I like. I feel ridiculous requesting to get dishes without things. In part, this is what has pushed me to try new foods and to retry old foods, because I don’t want to be a picky eater anymore.

But I don’t think I’ll ever like coffee. And I don’t think I’ll ever like tea. And I really, really don’t think that I’ll ever like kale. And I like to look up restaurant menus ahead of time so that I don’t have anxiety about what I will pick to eat.

I would hope that as long as I am committed to moving forward and to trying things at my own pace, that people could extend a little bit of grace to me. I really am trying here. It is not fun to be a picky eater, not in the least bit.

Do you struggle with picky eating? 

Yes, I am a Nerd and a Geek: On Embracing Your Identity

Growing up, I was always a little ashamed of being a nerd and a geek. I wore my geekiness and nerdiness on the outside, but I still felt ashamed of it. Kids used to tease me. And it made me feel like I shouldn’t be so geeky or nerdy. Like it was a bad thing.

But over time, I have come to realize, that you know what? I like being geeky and nerdy. I like to read books and I like to learn. I like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Firefly, and all the dystopians. I don’t really like that many sports. And I don’t really like spending time outside (though my kids are helping me to learn the joy of this – maybe more on this in a different post).

And I used to think liking these things and not liking other things put me at a disadvantage. That I would never be cool and that people wouldn’t like me. But you know what? I think I do all right. I have a lot of people who love me just the way I am. I don’t need to change these things. I don’t need to hide these things. These are the things I love and these are the people who love me.

As I’ve gotten older, I find it easier to be myself. Now, this is not to say that I am never insecure, because trust me, I still struggle with that plenty, but always trying to be the people pleaser gets tired. I have a lot of things I enjoy and I want to be able to share them with people. I want to be able to tell them what I’m excited about, what’s making me happy, and what projects I’m currently working on. It might not be your thing, but if you love me anyways, I’ll love you back and share in your excitement over your projects.

I feel it’s only right at the end of the this post to include a special shout out to my internet friends. There are many of you I never would have met if I wasn’t nerdy and geeky, and my life is richer and fuller because of you. Every one of my friendships changes me and makes me a better, fuller person. And I am grateful for that. More on internet friends in a later post because that is a richer topic and I am tired tonight because I put off writing this too long haha.

Much love and more tomorrow <3,

Melissa

Yes, I am quirky and strange and that is who I am.

Yes, I am quirky and strange and that is who I am.

5 Great Board Games for Preschoolers

Most people by now know that I am pretty nerdy/geeky. I make no attempts to hide this. I love my Harry Potter, my Doctor Who, my Firefly, my books – I could go on and on. And I love board games. And card games. So it’s no surprise that in our house, I play games with Dominic quite a bit. And that Dominic is already trying to teach Allen how to play all of our board games. But finding good games for kids can be really hit or miss. Some games kids just don’t like. Some games parents just don’t like. Because, let’s face it, some kids’ board games are terrrrrrribly dull. The number of times you can play them before you lose your mind as an adult is limited. So I tried, on this list, for the most part, to include games that are somewhat enjoyable to an adult.

Disclaimer: The links to the board games on Amazon are affiliate links and will generate me a small amount of money if you buy through them. 🙂 

5 Great Board Games for Preschoolers

Trouble

Trouble is essentially a variant of Sorry/Parcheesi/insert other similar games here. What makes Trouble especially fun is the popping of the dice. There are lots of variations of this you can get. We have Star Wars Trouble. It’s fun because it makes R2D2 noises. But even the regular kind, just popping the dice is a lot of fun.

Spot It, Jr 

Like Trouble, there are many versions of Spot It. We have the Jr. version and also a Freeze version that we got from Chick Fil A. This is a twist on a memory game and it’s fun and interesting every time, even for adults. There are also a lot of variations you can play this game (with one deck – the instructions have rules for like 9 different ways), so you can start with an easier variation and work your way up to a harder one.

Are You My Mother?

This is an old Discovery Toys game, so you may have trouble finding it. But I include it because it’s a great game and it’s a worthy addition to pick up if you see it at a thrift store or rummage sale. It uses magnets and it’s quite clever, I think.

BusyTown Eye Found It!

This game is based on the lovable characters of Richard Scarry from my childhood. It’s a co-operative game, which means that it’s the game versus the players – you either win together or lose together. The game board is huge – over 6 feet long – and it’s basically a giant hidden picture game. It’s a lot of fun, we always enjoy it.

Hi-Ho Cherry-O

I will confess, I don’t particularly love Hi-ho Cherry-O. If you drop it, it makes a gigantic mess and it gets kind of boring after a while – there isn’t a lot of variation. But, Dominic loves this game and repeatedly asks to play it, so it’s worth it in that regard. This game is a classic – I played it when I was a child – so clearly it has a lot of staying power.

Why play board games with your kids?

If you don’t love board games like I do, you may be wondering why it’s worth it to play board games with your kids. They don’t always offer much in the way of enjoyment for the adults. But, board games foster important skills. Not only skills like math and reading, but social skills that are harder to measure. Skills like taking turns and learning how to be a graceful winner and loser. Plus, it’s family bonding time and it’s a hobby that can grow with you. The older your kids get, the more different games you can try.

Where do you get kids’ games?

There are a lot of places you can get kids’ games. Of course, places like Target and Amazon have them. But, since they are often outgrown quickly, you can find them cheaply at thrift stores and rummage sales. And yes, sometimes they are missing pieces. But, most of the time nothing that is crucial is missing and you can improvise.

What board games do you enjoy playing with your kids? 

Traditions

I’ve been thinking about traditions a lot lately. It seems that everywhere you turn on Pinterest and the internet, there are a million ideas for traditions that you should be doing. We were just talking about this at the retreat last weekend.

And I dunno, I am just not very big into them. The idea of having to do something the same way every year fills me with dread a little bit. This is not to say that I don’t have any – I love our advent book calendar for example, and that is certainly a tradition. Just that I feel like they are something I should  be doing, but in reality, I have very little desire to make the holidays something elaborate. Which is strange, given how many things I do want to make elaborate and special.

But I realized, I do do them in my own way. And that lots of the traditions that I remember from my childhood are not tied to any specific holiday. Like family camping in the summer. Seeing all the Harry Potter movies with my dad. Stuff like that. These are the traditions that matter to me.

Dad and Me Harry Potter movie traditions

My dad and I last night seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

I wonder what traditions will matter to my kids. Traditions that I’m creating now that I don’t even realize that I’m building. Things that we always do a certain way that I don’t even think about, but that my kids will remember.

I hope they look back on this time with fondness, even though I may not be a Pinterest-Perfect mom. As a lovely speaker at our retreat said, stop shoulding on yourself. Our holiday is not any less special just because we don’t have a lot of traditions. And I don’t need to do them to have a wonderful time.

How do you feel about traditions? Love them or leave them? 

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