family fun mama kat's writers workshop

10 Steps to an Amazing Summer.

I’m linking up with Mama Kat again to answer one of her Weekly Writer’s Workshop Prompts.

The choices this week were:

1. Write a blog post inspired by the word: listen”
2. Write a poem for your Father.
3. Share something you learned this week.
4. 10 Things you hope to accomplish this summer.
5. Describe a time you made things…awkward. I’m crazy busy this week, so I’m going with something quick and easy


I’m trying to be kind of go with the flow this summer and not completely over-schedule our summer. I want to make sure we do some fun stuff but I also want to give the kids time to linger in their own moments, you know? But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a few plans.

Some things I’m hoping to accomplish this summer include…

  1. Get our roof replaced. Super fun and exciting stuff I know – but if all else falls by the wayside, I’ll be content if this gets done. We’re  getting quotes as we speak (pretend we are speaking right now).
  2. Make swim lessons a priority. We’re well on our way here. We’ve found a pool and lessons we like. The kids are almost done with their first week of lessons. They only schedule 2 weeks at a time though so I need to make sure to sign them up for a few more sessions (but not too many because, again, I don’t want to over schedule our  summer).
  3. click to see full size version
    our summer bucket list

    Read every day. I’m reading to the kids and they are reading to themselves, too. I’m not too focused on how many minutes they read or how many books – I’ve never had to pressure my kids to read so I’m not worrying too much about this. We do have some books in mind though.

  4. Get active. I’m only working weekends this summer so I’m trying to fit exercise into as many weekdays as I can. I imagine that amusement park days in our future will help to keep my step count up as well.
  5. Take the kids to a big historical city. Looks like it will be Boston this year, a favorite of mine growing up. We’re planning to get our geek on walking the Freedom Trail next month.
  6. Purge and declutter. I’d like to clear out some old toys the kids aren’t using anymore and give my office a major overhaul as well. We also keep talking about building a food pantry in our basement which would be awesome.
  7. See some great movies. We want to take the kids to see Inside Out and possibly Tomorrowland and I’m itching to see Pitch Perfect 2 and Avengers: Age of Ultron. We also reactivated our Netflix DVD account so we can rent some movies we’ve been wanting to see for awhile.
  8. Get crafty. The kids have been talking about making a giant paper airplane and writing their own joke book. I’d like to learn to crochet and maybe try my hand at painting.
  9. Have some old fashioned summer fun. Stay up late playing board games or watching movies (we’ve been marathoning Harry Potter this month). Play in the sprinkler. Draw on the sidewalks with chalk. Make homemade lemonade and roast marshmallows. The classics.
  10. Allow myself the freedom to leave things unfinished. Not all lists have to have an even number of items. Not every day needs to end with a clean house or a perfectly put together dinner. Not every item needs to be checked off.

What are you hoping to do this summer?


books movies

Book vs. Movie: The DUFF


My first thought after I finished reading The Duff by Kody Keplinger was “how did they manage to make this a movie?” While I enjoyed the book, it definitely seemed too racy for a teen movie. No parents would let their kids see this movie, right? No production company would be like “50 Shades of Grey but for sixteen year olds? Sure!” I honestly didn’t see how they could tame the plot down without completely rewriting it.

There’s your answer. The movie version of The DUFF is only loosely based off the book. The character names are the same and the word DUFF is definitely thrown around. And a few of the nuts and bolts that hold the story together are moooostly present.

But a LOT is changed:

  • The basically single dad becomes a definitely single mom. There is no mention of a dad with drinking problems. We never meet Wesley’s family at all and his entire backstory has been rewritten. Bianca’s friendship with Jess and Casey isn’t given much of a backstory at all – and there is no ex boyfriend that has Bianca depressed. In fact, Bianca isn’t depressed about anything in the movie except being labeled a DUFF.
  • Ultra millionaire sleazeball Wesley becomes the literally boy next door typical teenage guy / captain of the football team / on again off again dating the prettiest girl in school who wasn’t in the book at all. I guess we won’t mind our daughters having a crush on this version of Wesley.
  • Teachers play a much larger influence in the movie, which takes place at school more than in bedrooms (there are almost no bedrooms in the movie).
  • The concept of cyber bullying is a major plot point of the movie – this isn’t in the book at all. The writers clearly had a field day showing how much the internet influences this generation of kids. References galore. The teachers make jokes about it that your dad will laugh at and your teen will roll their eyes at.
  • Bianca and Wesley never do anything more than kiss each other in the movie. I.e. Your kids can watch this without conceiving a child. This fact is clearly the reason that so much of the rest of the book changed. They had to do SOMETHING else since their clothes were on for the whole movie.
  • There is a very heavy dose of stereotypical cliques in the movie in case you couldn’t figure out on your own whether a character is a jock or a nerd or a party girl, they let you know in big letters. In the book, I felt the characters had a little more depth without needing a cliche to explain them.

So which was better? I honestly am not sure. I kind of preferred the more fleshed out, less stereotypical characters of the book. But I think the movie is much more age appropriate and sends a MUCH healthier message. If the two could have combined just a bit better, it would have been perfect. I don’t think the high school stereotypes were necessary but I suppose they added a visually appealing layer to the movie and one could also speculate that a lot of kids that age are really into putting labels and categories on things? Or I’m really behind the times and nobody likes this at all. One of those.

Bottom line: Younger teens should definitely be steered towards the MOVIE and not the book. Older teens and anyone no longer living under your roof? Let them decide for themselves.