Category Archives: Books

Mom Camp Day 24:Harry Potter World Here We Come

We made it to Universal’s Harry Potter World.  With rooms at the Hilton across the street, we had a taste of the park from the minute we checked it.

If you purchase your tickets online you can enter the park 1 hour early and enjoy Harry Potter World without as many crowds.  Unfortunately, this meant we had to wake up at 6:15 to make it to the park for the 7am opening.

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It was 100% worth it. Cinco does not like rides.  So, The Princess and I headed straight to the Forbidden Journey ride while Queen Gram took him around the park. The Princess and I virtually walked onto the ride. Later in the day the wait was more than 90 minutes.

img_3921The ride was amazing.  Half the fun is walking through the Hogwarts castle and looking at the all the details that are brought to life from the movie.  For example, the talking sorting hat.  I LOVED the moving and talking painting that were hung throughout the castle.  The best of course was the famous fat lady. 

I also thought the ride was great, as did The Princess.  In fact, she loved it so much we went back to ride it a second time later in the evening.

Next The Princess and I hit the Flight of the Hippograph  ride.  Not nearly as exciting as the Forbidden Journey.   But it is meant to be a ride that younger children and can also do.

img_3920After the rides, Queen Gram spoiled the kids by purchasing each one of them a wand at Olivander’s Wand Shop.  After that we he had to walk the park and practice our magic with the newly acquired wands.  Universal created stations around Harry Potter World where the wands are interactive and the kids stopped boiling cauldrons, made plates of tea cake spin and performed several other “charms”.

We also tried the famous “Butter Beer”. The kids loved it.  I gave it a so-so and Queen Gram thought it tasted horribly sweet.

The next stop was the candy shop.  Each child got one chocolate frog.  I figured the frogs were hollow like chocolate bunnies at Easter.  Oh no sir.  These were full on giant hunks of milk chocolate complete with wizard collector cards.

img_3927Once we had our fill it was time to do the Minion ride.  But before we got in line for the ride, Cinco and The Princess wanted to try their luck and/or skill at carnival game.  Now, I hate carnival games.  These things are money sucking, time wasters at any amusement park and NO ONE should ever play them as far as I am concerned.  But the kids had their spending money from their allowance and wanted to go for it.  They each decided to spend $5 on the game.  And, THEY ACTUALLY BOTH WON and WON BIG toys not the wimpy little ones.

Then I decided perhaps everyone who played won.  So while Queen Gram took them on the Minion ride, I watched the game.  Several people came by to play, and only one boy won a small key chain sized Minion toy. Crazy!

The backstage Studio Tour was next.  It has changed a lot since the days when I was a kid and took the ride.  I am exactly sure Cinco and The Princess liked it very much.  But when you go to Universal you sort of have to do the Studio Tour, right?

img_3932After all that it was only 1:30 in the afternoon.  We grabbed lunch and mom decided it was time for a nap.  Of course, I was the only one who actually took a nap.  The kids played in their rooms and watched a movie.

When evening struck The Princess just couldn’t get enough of the park.  Cinco stayed with Queen Gram while The Princess and I went back in.  We managed to ride the Harry Potter ride, one more time, as well as the Simpson’s ride and we watched Shrek 4-D all in about 90 minutes.  In the end, The Princess opened the park at 7am and closed it down at 10pm!  I’d say she got her monies worth.

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The Hogwarts Express: Mom Camp Day 23

How do keep kids entertained on the drive from Las Vegas to LA to visit Harry Potter world?

We started with printable tickets from Getawaytoday.com for the Hogwarts Express. The fun thing about their printable is that its a one-way ticket to the World of Harry Potter in Universal.

Once in the card we started on the audio version of . I also cheated and purchased the digital version of the movie for book 2 and loaded on to the kid’s kindles.

I also got them each one of the trendy Harry Potter coloring books for the car: and ..

When we got to the hotel, it was time to go swimming and release all the energy built up on the long car ride.

At dinner we played a game draw your own Harry Potter character on the placemats.  Cinco was the judge and awarded ‘points’ towards the house cup based on our artistic skills. After dinner, we played a game of .

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Making Magic: Mom Camp Day 21

It’s time to focus on our Harry Potter Days! We are getting ready for a trip to Universal Studio in LA and had to emerce ourselves in all things Potter.

Reading (or re-reading for some of us) was a no brainier.  Cinco read book onewhile all of us listened to the audio version as we drove around town doing chores and driving to and from places like the Eiffel Tower.

Our first craft was an adorable origami ‘sorting hat’ game on get away today’s website.  It’s an old school cootie catcher or fortune teller that has been revamped to help you find your proper Hogwarts House.  I got Slitheryn.

The Princess also led a potions class in the kitchen.  She added water, peppermint tea leaves, cumin, vinegar and heaven only knows what to her cauldron.

We also made our own mini broomsticks from string and straw. img_3881

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The Monsoon Moms @ Wet N’ Wild: Day 17

Today we planned to take a break from the Titanic theme.  Instead, we were going to branch out to a larger water theme by stopping by Wet N’ Wild with some friends.

It does happen to be Monsoon season in Vegas and as I was driving to Wet N’ Wild a flash flood warning came over my phone.  Still the dark and looming clouds seemed to be well to the Northwest of the park.  So, I decided NOT to call my mom friend (known known as Monsoon Mom) to call off the outing. That was a mistake.

When we arrived the water park was temporarily shutdown.  According to Monsoon Mom, who has season passes to Wet ‘N Wild, this kind of thing often happens and the park frequently reopens in a few minutes.

We walked over to a near by park and allowed the kids to play for a few minutes.  Then it started to HAIL!  Yes, hail!

We stayed under a picnic shade structure for about 30 minutes and then finally made a run for it as the deluge slowed.

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TITANIC PART II Mom Camp Day 16

The Titanic theme continued for a second day despite the drama over the movie.  Although both Cinco and The Princess remained less than excited about this theme. 

For The Princess I downloaded a great set of worksheets from Teachers Pay Teachers created by Primary Junction.  Lucky for me, they were free! They included some basic one page reading sheets followed by a set of comprehension questions.  It also included two small make-it-yourself- booklets.

We also worked in a few crafts as well.  Cinco made his own version of a Lego Titanic. 

Next we gathered a few supplies to make a porthole. We decided to make it a view out the window of the Titanic after it sunk.  We had all the creatures of the drop floating by. 

We started with a set of paper plates–one white and one ocean blue. 

 We cut a circle out of the white plate and then glued the blue plate inside of it.  Next we flipped the plate over and started creating our underwater scenes.

Many of the ‘decorations’ were edible: 

  1. Swedish fish
  2. Sour gummy octopi 
  3. Goldfish crackers

So of course we had to eat a few of our creatures as we went along!

I had one transparent plastic lid left over from a tub of Trader Joe’s animal crackers.  The kids played rock paper siscors to see who would get it.  Cinco won and I think it made a nice finishing touch for his porthole. Although in true little sister fashion, The Princess pointed out the glass would have shattered when the ship went down. 

After the crafts we decided to head to the pool.  At least we were keeping the water theme alive. 

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Mom Camp Hits NOLA: Day 6

I am not sure who was more effected by the trip to New Orleans: the kids or the city.

To get ready for the trip, the kids read A Good Night for Ghosts by Mary Pope Osborne.  It is from the Magic Tree House series, a great early chapter book.  Although Cinco finds the reading rather easy, I like having them read the book together.  The take turns each reading a chapter. Best of all, the Magic Tree House webite offer lesson plans that support each book.  We did the one for A Good Night for Ghosts.  The kids learned about the city, jazz and Louis Armstrong.  We also listened to a few of recordings before arriving in NOLA.

img_3568-1Things started out well enough.  Good Food for starters.  We had to introduce Cinco and The Princess to the world famous Bienets at Cafe Du Mond. Yum…

We did the traditional walk through Jackson Square and hid under a tree during a summer thunderstorm.
We headed off for a riverboat cruise on the Natchez.  It is one of the last actual steamboats operating in the US.  Other boats look like a steamboat, but they are electrical like the Creole Queen.

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The Creole Queen

 

 

 

 

In preparation for a ride on a riverboat, we put together our own paper model of the Mississippi Queen. Check out papertoys.com if you want make your own.

The river cruise included and old time jazz band and great narration of the river sites.  They included:

Civil War Barricks

For kids and adults with a sweet tooth, this is the 2nd largest sugar factory in the Western Hemisphere.  The largest is in Brazil.

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The Domino Sugar Factory  

After dinner at Pat O’Brien’s, we took the children to hear a little jazz preformed by the Preservation Hall Jazz band.  The set only lasts 45 minutes but it’s worth every second.  We reserved advance tickets in the 2nd row.

The night ended with a stroll down Burbon Street.  It’s hard to shock kids from Las Vegas, but New Orleans might have have done it. It wasn’t the drinking or the nude bars, rather it was the band waking down the street escorted by the police and trailing a parade of walking revelers.

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We interrupt Mom Camp to bring you MANGA CARTA DAY..

So I had to interrupt Mom Camp to discuss that today is the 501st anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. 

Mom Camp has done a Magna Carta Day (click this link for details). So this morning when I pointed out today was Magna Carta day and The Princess asked me what the Magna Carta was, I responded that she should know! (To be fair to her, she was pretty little when we did it so I am going to give her a pass). Although, she did suggest it was a British Declaration of Independence. Incorrect but at lest she knows it has to do with self government. 

Cinco on the other hand quickly explained that the Magna Carta was a document signed by King John.  He explained that it was to prevent the king from taking any more land.  He was of course discussing the provisions in the document regarding the king’s forest and hunting privileges. 

I did remind him that while it did discuss that.  The big point is that the king has to consult with his nobles to raise taxes. 

What’s more, yesterday was primary day in Nevada so I took them with me to vote.   We came full circle on self government. 

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