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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Living the Lutz Life: Penguins, Movie Night & Newport Aquarium

This is a new weekly feature for 2013, giving you a peek into our day-to-day life and serving as a digital journal for me and my family. Take time to savor these precious days and don't forget to take LOTS of pictures! 

I didn't post Living the Lutz Life two weeks ago, because it was a super lame week and we didn't really do anything. Well, I shouldn't say we didn't do anything. I had a bad chest cold most of the week and we had just begun our penguin unit, so there wasn't much to write about. (Not that there are boatloads of people who read these posts, but I know there are a handful of you who do! Thank you!!)

On the last day of January, Bill and I took Jackson out for some one-on-one time to see the movie Wreck-It Ralph. Taking the kids out once a month, individually, is one of my monthly goals. Our first stop was to Hobby Lobby, so Jackson could make his very first purchase with his own money. He had been saving Christmas money and after much consideration, decided to buy a 16 inch Yoshi backpack. It was so cute to watch him go to the register with his stuffed Yoshi and plunk down his entire bank in front of the cashier. (Don't worry, we had previously counted it all and put it into an envelope labeled with how much he had to spend. We even used a 40% off coupon!) Of course, his new pal had to come and sit with us at the movie. Wreck-It Ralph was very good, much better than either Bill or I expected, and as soon as the credits started rolling Jackson leaned over and asked when he could see it again!

Last week we wrapped up our P-p Penguin Unit for Kindergarten. We had such a great two weeks learning about penguin species and living out our words to remember: I show love to everyone, especially my family. Some highlights from the unit were...

  • Bill and the kids put penguin "eggs" on their feet and waddled around, pretending to be Emperor penguins, before eating gummy fish from a pretend ocean.
  • Jackson and Charlotte went out to play penguins in the snow (including sliding down the slide on his belly!) and experiment with icebergs and glaciers in a tub of water.
  • I read the book Penguins, Penguins Everywhere! to Jackson and made a color copy of all the penguin illustrations in the back of the book. Then Bill helped Jackson put all of them onto a large world map, showing him where in the world penguins live.
  • We made a balance scale out of two paper cups and a wire coat hanger. Jackson put various objects into each side of the cup in an attempt to balance it. Then we wrote out some picture "equations" showing what was in each cup. Jackson practiced the concepts of heavy, light, equal, plus, add, more and less.

We finally wrapped up the chapter book, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and decided to celebrate with a movie night. The 2012 Jim Carrey movie has pretty much nothing in common with the book, other than the characters' names and the fact that Mr. Popper received a penguin. In spite of that, both of the kids thought it was hysterical. We ate homemade pizza for dinner and had black and white ice cream (vanilla with made-from-scratch Magic Shell) for dessert.

Last Sunday, we took the kids down to the Newport Aquarium. Jackson was simply in shock that after we crossed the bridge spanning the Ohio River, we were magically in "Tucky". Just like that...a brand new state. Ha ha! I haven't been to the Newport Aquarium since my first year of teaching waaaay back in 2001. A lot has changed since then and they have added some new areas and exhibits. Bill and I made the decision to never ever go to a museum or aquarium on a weekend again. Ever. Wowzers...that was not our smartest parenting move!
Even though it was crazy crowded, we were pretty happy to take advantage of the Winter Family Days promo where 2 kids get in free with each paying adult. That saved us a ton of money! This promotion is running through the end of February, so if you are looking for a fun family trip I would recommend going in the next couple weeks (but not on a Saturday or Sunday!). I would also encourage you to buy and print your tickets at home if you want to skip the outdoor ticket buying line. Another lesson learned!
Jackson and Charlotte enjoyed seeing Mighty Mike, the biggest baddest gator in the country, who is only there for a limited time. I absolutely love, love, love that picture above where he is putting his arm around her because she was a little scared. What a good big brother she has! Another highlight was the rain forest area where both kids got to sit on Bill's shoulders and feed tropical birds with cups of nectar. Jackson cracked up when one of the birds left a present on a lady's head! Ha ha! They loved the jellyfish room, seeing a real octopus, the Penguin Palooza exhibit and Jackson proudly admits his favorite part of the whole trip was the gift shop. Seriously?! Gotta love kids!
Have you ever been to the Newport Aquarium? What did you think? I'd love to hear any tips or tricks you have for saving money at museums and aquariums! 

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