Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pottermore and the Magical Quill

Whenever something big happens with Harry Potter I kind of geek out over it. Now is another geek-out moment for me.

We recently spent a week in Orlando to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. That was awesome. I think Jeni got annoyed with me because several times when we left that section I just wanted to turn around and go back - and not even to go on the rides but to just be there, right in the middle of it all. And of course we saw the film there when it came out on the 15th.

I was not even aware that something even more exciting was about to happen. Then I learned about Pottermore and the opportunity to further dive into the Harry Potter universe through additional writings of J.K. Rowling (and cool internet, audio-visual experiences too). Would you like to hear about the history of the Hogwarts Express? Yes please. Want to read about the details of wand woods and even get your own, unique wand? It's like my birthday all over again.

Then just tonight I read the news that got me so excited that I don't know if I can sleep. Over the next 7 days I can solve clues that lead me to the Magical Quill at Hogwarts which can permit early registration into Pottermore and it starts tonight at midnight. You mean there's an online quest with riddles to solve? Awesome! I know what I'm doing this week.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Up at Lake Arrowhead

Steven's family invited us up to Arrowhead this week so we spent a day with his parents, Greg and Annie and the kids, and Jennifer and James. It's so pretty up there.

We spent some time feeding the ducks at the lake, wandered around the Village, swam at the pool, played some Ticket to Ride, and just had a nice time.

Hailey really liked seeing her cousins. She thinks Sean is a riot and Brianna is so fun. Hailey loved being around baby Kaylee.

It was a special treat for Hailey to help hold Kaylee at the pool. She loved giving her hugs and kisses and trying to feed her a bottle when she cried.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pioneer Day

Hailey celebrated Pioneer Day today in Nursery. Looks like the kids made seagull hats. They learned about how the early pioneers in Utah were saved by the seagulls from the plague of crickets eating their crops.

Hailey was pretty excited about hers

She really got into character, running around our front lawn. Look at that face; she definitely looks like the seagulls at the beaches around here. Those things are crazy.

The wings even flap as she bounces and runs around

Friday, July 22, 2011

Literary Signpost

We wanted to have a cute sign for the front of our house. We saw someone's online and read how to paint signs to make them look old. We bought a round post and 3 fence boards from Home Depot. Steven helped break them to give those cool, ragged edges.

Since we love books we decided our signs would be for places in our favorite children's stories.

The signs were painted a dark walnut color. To give it the cracked paint look we painted on a layer of Elmer's glue then immediately a layer of color on top of the glue. When it dries the top layer cracks giving this cool, crackled look. Steven helped print out the different fonts and apply it to the wood (he rubs charcoal on the back of the paper and traces over the letters on the wood).

Then we painted some pictures on them and sprayed with clear coat ( Rustoleum Matte Clear) to seal the paint. Then we planted the signpost right out in front.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Baby Signs

This is the sign for "more" that we've been teaching Hailey. She's done it a few times before after we show her but it's really just been this week that she's done it when she wants more to eat or drink. So cute.

Her other signs she knows are waving (for bye), panting (for puppy - she came up with that on her own), scrunching up her nose (for stinky), touching her thumb and index finger (for bird), and twirling her finger around (for fan - she also came up with that one on her own after watching our ceiling fan).

I don't think these really count as signs but Hailey also points all day long to what she's interested in, she makes this raspy sound in her throat (for icky), and just recently she's started putting her hand in her diaper when she needs to be changed, much to our chagrin. We'd rather she learn to pat her diaper or something.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Welcome to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I thought I'd give you a little tour of the place from our trip. Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A week in Orlando

Last week we took a trip to Orlando and got to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

It's no wonder it was always so packed; it's definitely a must-see at Universal

We highly recommend Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey inside Hogwarts Castle. The line was usually around 90 minutes but that didn't keep us away.

To the Headmaster's office

And of course the portraits move and talk. So cool!

It's really a beautiful, scenic place

Ah, the Hogwarts Express, right at the entrance of Hogsmeade

And butterbeer is a must when visiting Hogsmeade. It's like a butterscotch soda with cream on top.

If you think Steven was excited you should have seen all the people dressed up in wizard robes in 90 degree heat and oppressive humidity.

Yeah, Steven was a little jealous of them all the same. He wanted to try on a set of Gryffindor robes.

Need a wand? No problem. You can get one in Ollivander's or in the shops or even at a wand cart like this just outside Hogwarts.

Here's Ollivander's wand shop. After a 45 minute to an hour wait you can go inside where the clerk will select a few from your group and match the person with the right wand, much like when Harry first received his wand.

Thanks to Jennifer and James, Steven had his very own wand to carry around

Night falls on Hogsmeade

Yep, always crowded

There's even a snowman as you head out of Hogsmeade toward the castle

All of Gilderoy Lockhart's books on display

For all your Quidditch needs

And Honeydukes is always a sweet spot

Check out the wall to wall jars of candy

It's like rays of sweet, sugary sunshine in there

Time to sit down and relax inside the Three Broomsticks

Anything with pumpkin in it is delicious!

We drank lots and lots of creamy butterbeer. yum!

The Hog's Head is right next door and connected to the Three Broomsticks

Just outside Zonko's joke shop, right next to Honeydukes

Of course there was time to goof around the rest of the theme park

Well? Whaddya think?

Woah! slow down there, killer!

Ah, so fun to spend time together

And since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 came out Friday we had to escape the heat and check it out

With our park hopper tickets we also visited the other Universal theme park. Feels a lot like Hollywood.

Classic Jaws

Even an Irish shop over there

That's about the extent of our surfing experience