VenturianTale Birthday Party! (Happy Birthday Aybra)

VenturianTale Birthday Party!

Can we just pretend for a moment that it is NOT May and I put this birthday post up months ago? Aybra’s actual birthday was in March. – For her birthday she requested a VenturianTale theme. For those who are not familiar, VenturianTale is a Youtube gaming channel and just so happens to be her favorite one.

VenturianTale Birthday Party Free Printables by Life as a Convert

VenturianTale is a pretty popular channel among kids her age, but like 99.9% of other Youtube channels it doesn’t have party decorations available. Bummer, right?

Nah! No problem!

I made Aybra’s decorations. Luckily for me their logo is pretty basic and the colors are common. (blue background, red triangle, yellow “V”).

I could not find an image of their logo that was suitable for my needs, so I made my own copycat version of their logo. This was the foundation for all other decorations.

VenturianTale Birthday Party Free Printables by Life as a Convert(Download)

I used various sizes of this image on top of a blue table cloth as confetti. I made and printed everything last minute, so I didn’t have time to do this, but wanted to add some of them to red cups.

The menu was surprisingly difficult to figure out. VenturianTale is composed of 4 different kids (Jordan, Isaac, Ciera, and Bethany). Their last name is Frye. I knew that we would be having “French Fryes” but I couldn’t decide what else to make with it. I ended up making quite a few different food labels to choose from.

Like other birthdays, I tried to incorporate the theme into the food. I used their names and things unique to their channel to create labels for the food. I served hamburgers, hot dogs, and some sides. Hardly any of the party guests recognized the references, but Aybra was happy with her VenturianTale Birthday and that is all that matters.

VenturianTale Birthday Party Food Menu Printables

Her grandpa made her cake and I did my best to decorate it. It definitely tasted better than it looked! I also made her birthday banner (link to download at the bottom of this post) but probably could have printed it out at 50% of its original size and/or figured out a way to get two images on one page. It ended up being quite large, but still fine. I saved it to re-use for Losh’s party coming up soon.

Aybra only asked for Five Nights at Freddy’s plushies. From the time I put them on my Amazon wish list to the time I ordered, the price went up significantly, so she ended up getting only one from me (Foxy). My sister bought her Freddy and she has been carrying one with her all the time. She got plenty of other presents and didn’t seem to mind that she had to wait for the rest of the collection. I think this VenturianTale Birthday party scored right on par with her puppy birthday party from last year.

Aybra's 8th Birthday Party - VenturianTale Birthday Party

I did take quite a few pictures, but apparently not of the other decorations or food! This happened to be a large party compared to our normal parties, and I was quite distracted. (I usually try to get pictures before the guests arrive, but the food was being grilled and wasn’t ready until after many people were there)

Prepare for cliche….

“I can’t believe she is 8 years old”. It really does seem like just a moment ago she was a tiny baby in the NICU, and now here she is half-way grown! I’m so blessed to have her in my life. She has never been a girly girl, but with the age 8 came a slight change in her. She has a sudden interest in some girly things and I couldn’t be happier! Losh’s party is coming up next and he is still undecided, but leaning towards Batman for a theme.  Guess I better prepare for that!

Do you have any cute Batman party ideas? 

Do your kids watch VenturianTale?

Downloads:

Birthday Banner:

Blue and Yellow Printable Birthday Banner

Food/Menu Labels, Blank label, Small logo, etc:

Food/Menu Labels and other Party Printables

Copycat Logo:

Copycat Logo

How to Make a DIY Volcano that Erupts

How to Make a DIY Volcano that Erupts

While our homeschool style varies, one thing we do consistently is unit studies. We decide on a topic and then spend a week or more learning about that topic. Recently, we learned about volcanoes and wanted to share with you how to make a DIY volcano that erupts.

DIY Volcano - Create your own ERUPTING VOLCANO by Life as a Convert #science #stem

In an effort to make the volcano look as real as possible, we chose to build ours out of dirt. I simply used a circular baking pan and placed a bottle in the center. I covered the top of the bottle with aluminum foil so the dirt would not fall inside as we were shaping the volcano. We added a little bit of grass in order to mimic foliage.

DIY Volcano - Create your own ERUPTING VOLCANO by Life as a Convert #science #stem

Once we were ready to “erupt” our volcano, I simply poked a hole through the aluminum foil. Because we had everything we needed except baking soda the cost was minimal. I purchased two boxes of baking soda, but ended up only needing one. I had a gallon of vinegar and used about half of it. We created many eruptions using food color to dye the vinegar. I do recommend placing some newspapers around the area in order to catch any drips. We didn’t do this at first and got some dye on our table.

DIY Volcano - Create your own ERUPTING VOLCANO by Life as a Convert #science #stem

The kids mostly took turns making the volcano erupt (Losh didn’t want to). They liked seeing the different color combinations forming on the paper towels and seeing how big of an eruption they could get. We didn’t pour measured amounts of baking soda or vinegar, but found that the more vinegar we used (and the faster it was poured) the better eruption we got.

DIY Volcano - Create your own ERUPTING VOLCANO by Life as a Convert #science #stem

If you want to see the video we made, feel free to watch the following. I apologize for the endless clicking of the camera.. I’ve been learning how to shoot in manual mode and took approximately 1,000,000 pictures of the kids and volcano.

Have you ever built an erupting DIY Volcano? 

Geocaching Benefits

Geocaching Benefits

Last month my family began Geocaching. Geocaching is basically modern day treasure hunting. Somebody hides a “cache” and posts the GPS coordinates on a geocaching website. Others then go and find that cache, sign a log (piece of paper) to say they have found it and log their find on a geocaching website. The caches vary from small (tip of your pinky finger) to large (ammo cases). Some contain only the log to sign, and others have treasures inside with the notion that you leave behind something if you take something out. We have found not only geocaches in our area, but also geocaching benefits.

Geocaching Benefits for you and your family by Life as a Convert #geocaching #geocache #cache

Exercise
This is perhaps the greatest benefit. Many caches require you to walk a short distance in order to find them. Some caches are also tough to find and leave you wandering in circles. Those circles add up! One cache (seen in #6) required us to make use of a local bike trail.

 

Map Reading / Orienteering
My boys are both boy scouts and one thing they are learning is how to read a map and compass and basic orienteering skills. Geocaching has helped cement these lessons. They are able to put their knowledge to use in a real-life setting.

 

Family Time Together
Some may argue that exercise and family time together could be contenders for the “Greatest Benefit” spot, but as a homeschooling family, we already spend a LOT of time together. Geocaching has given us additional time together participating in an activity that we all enjoy doing. There is often a little competitiveness to see who can find the caches first.
P1270214

 

Handwriting Practice
I have younger children who are still working on writing their names. Signing the logs has given them a lot of practice writing their names.

 

Environmental Stewardship
Geocaching benefits our environment too! Many geocachers will practice what is known at CITO (Cache In Trash Out) where they will remove trash and other unsightly debris in an area when geocaching.

 

Exploring new areas
When you begin geocaching you can look at a map of your area. The map may be speckled with little dots. These dots indicate caches that have been hidden. I have been able to explore a few new areas where geocaches are hidden that I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise.
Geocaching Benefits - Explore New Areas - Searcy, AR

 

Learning History
Many people who hide caches hide them near areas containing history. One example we have found was hidden near a Statute of Liberty. The cache description gave a brief history of the Statute of Liberty.

 

Perseverance
Geocaching benefits can be found in the form of character building traits too! There have been some caches we simply could not find. It took us multiple attempts to find this particular cache. Geocaching teaches you patience and to not give up. If you get frustrated, stop and come back another time.

This one took us 4 tries to find:
Geocaching Benefits - Perseverance - Berryhill Park Searcy AR

 

Geocaching benefits the whole family, but as you can see there are individual benefits too. I think it is important for families to be active together and find something everybody enjoys. For us, this has translated into geocaching. We also enjoy hiking, but now try to “hike” where geocaches can be found.

Does your family participate in geocaching?
Do you know of any other geocaching benefits?

Shooting in Manual – Nikon D3100

Shooting in Manual – Nikon D3100

One of my goals for YEARS now has been to learn how to shoot in manual mode with my Nikon D3100. I previously had a point and shoot capable of shooting in manual and was learning with it until it broke. Since then, I have not made any big attempts at shooting in manual mode with my Nikon D3100. For whatever reason, manipulating the point and shoot manual settings was MUCH easier than the Nikon D3100. It has taken me years just to figure out how to change the ISO quickly. And now that I have figured it out, I am kicking myself! All it took was one well written article online that I really understood and then I got it.

I’ve spent the last few days with my camera getting familiar with the settings and learning how to shoot in manual. I am still not comfortable quickly recognizing which settings I need to be using as is evidenced in my pictures, but I have confidence that this is the year that I finally get somewhere!

 Shooting in Manual Mode - Nikon D3100 by Life as a Convert

As a blogger this is fantastic because it sometimes takes me 10+ minutes trying to get ONE shot on auto mode because of where the camera chooses to focus or depth of field or poor lighting or whatever. Now, I will actually have a little bit of say in how my shots turn out.

Having said all that – I wanted to share my first pictures from shooting in manual with you guys and then continue sharing as I go along. Hopefully we will all be able to see my progress. These pictures show 2 of my children, Aybra and Losh. The pictures of Aybra were all taken at the park on the same day and around the same time, but as you can see, she was on the move. This gave me great practice with switching the settings to accommodate the different light. I find it very awkward to change my aperture and am getting it mixed up with the buttons for ISO. I assume youtube may have some tutorials that would help me but have not ventured there yet.

These are all straight out of the camera. – Learning how to edit will be the next step.

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100Aybra and her teddy.

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100Aybra swinging.

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100 Swinging…

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100 Ignoring me and still swinging..

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100Crossing a bridge. I had trouble keeping up with settings here.

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100Losh inside the house. Highest ISO possible. I never would have attempted this in manual before.

My first attempts shooting in manual with a Nikon D3100Losh outside. Lower ISO and a lot less grain.

Feel free to share any tips or tricks you may have for me. I understand the general concept of the different settings and am aware of the rule of thirds, but feel like I can’t always pull it off and do not have a creative eye when it comes to setting up shots. I am not trying to make this a business, but have always longed to take “pretty pictures”.

Do have shoot in manual mode?

Did you find it easy to learn?