Biological moms and stepmoms have all sorts of different relationships. Ideally, biological moms are cordial, but sometimes there is still animosity simply for the fact that you are someone new in their kids’ lives.
I’ve had my fair share of insults thrown my way, but most recently I have been excused of “Pinterest Parenting” (whatever that means). I think it was an attempt to show that “real moms” don’t need the assist of Pinterest to be creative and that I am simply posing as a mom. Quite frankly, I find it a compliment. I sometimes aspire to be the mom that has time to make crawly critters out of grapes for their kids’ lunches or to have numerous handprint art projects strung across my gallery wall of family photos.
I use Pinterest as inspiration – who doesn’t really? If it allows me to think of new activities to do with the kids or new recipes to try for dinner, then why not utilize it. I consider it a parenting win when we try something new that the kids love. My post on snow ice cream… guess what?! I found that idea on Pinterest originally and that was one of my stepdaughter’s favorite memories from last winter.
The absolute best idea I have found on Pinterest though is the themed movie night. We have done this a handful of times and every time it is a hit with the kids. The basic premise is to have themed food based on whatever the movie is. The kids love it because they get to suggest what movie they want to watch and then I create a menu based around it. Sometimes coming up with a menu is easier than others (thanks Pinterest for the help!). Since we do this typically on the weekend, more often than not it ends up being some form of pizza.
For our first adventure into movie nights, we decided to watch the original Jurassic Park as my stepson is obsessed with dinosaurs and had been learning about them in school. We created “Prehistoric Pizza” complete with dinosaur footprints cut out of pepperoni. As a side, we had dinosaur bone breadsticks. For that, I used a Pilsbury crescent dough sheet and shaped it into bones. Once those were out of the oven, I brushed on melted butter, garlic, and parsley for some added flavor. The best part was the dirt pudding cup dessert, complete with dinosaur eggs (AKA leftover white M&Ms from 4th of July). It was honestly pretty simple to put together and confirmed to us that this would be a tradition we would keep around.
The Princess and the Frog
We love gumbo in our house, so we decided to turn our regular gumbo night into an entire New Orleans themed movie night. I’ll post my recipe for gumbo another time, but it takes a lot of time to prep so I definitely saved this movie night for the weekend. We always serve our gumbo over rice and I served it with a side of cornbread. In true New Orleans fashion, we finished the night off with bananas foster served over ice cream. Disney’s Princess and the Frog centers around Tiana’s cooking of gumbo, so it was funny when my stepdaughter finally made the connection that what she was making in the movie was what we were eating for dinner.
This summer, my stepdaughter attended musical theater camp and they were to be performing Willy Wonka Jr. I discovered though that she had never actually seen the original movie with Gene Wilder, only the horrible remake with Johnny Depp. So, the night before camp we decided to have a Willy Wonka themed dinner. Again, since we typically decide to do these last minute, we went with pizza with a big “W” on it drawn out with pepperoni. Of course, we couldn’t watch Willy Wonka without their being chocolate; so we decided to do some chocolate fondue which was an instant hit.
With the release of Incredibles 2, my stepdaughter suggested we watch the original Incredibles since she had never seen it. Now, that we had two movie nights under our belt, she knew the drill and assisted looking up menu options on Pinterest. I had popsicles already in the freezer so that was easy for Frozone’s popsicles. I had already planned on making hamburgers for dinner so we simply added some character names to our dishes. Our burgers became Mr. Incredible Burgers with Pepper Jack Jack Cheese and the potatoes I had planned to make became steamed potatoes with a Dash of salt. It really wasn’t hard to convert the dinner I already had in mind into a themed movie night.
Since I browse Pinterest often, I sometimes store away movie night menu ideas for a later date. I ran across this idea to create pirate pizza boats, which seemed easy enough and awesome for a Peter Pan movie night. One day, we were driving back from the beach and my boyfriend and I happened to be talking about Robin Williams. He has always been one of my favorite actors, so we discussed watching a bunch of his movies: Good Morning Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire, Flubber, Good Will Hunting, Patch Adams, Jack, Aladdin, etc. We thought Hook would be a perfect movie for a themed movie night and, with the pirate boat idea in the back of my mind already, it really came together with little effort.
This without a doubt has been my favorite movie night so far as we decided to throw costumes and sword fights into the mix. I was actually surprised how into it my stepdaughter got. I told her to go pick out an outfit and fifteen minutes later she comes into our room with a scarf over her eye and basically every piece of jewelry she owned. She killed it!
The kids made their own pizza boat and while they were cooking in the oven I had them decorate the sails for their boat. Once out of the oven, I just used a wooden skewer to place the sails on. Additionally, we had pirate fruit punch and “cannon” grapes. The kids’ favorite part of movie night is always the required dessert – so we kept it simple this time with pirates’ gold nuggets (AKA Hershey chocolates). My stepson loved this movie night so much he immediately asked me when we could do pirate movie night again. We decided that costumes are a definite must for all upcoming movie nights.
So, thank you Pinterest! While I have creative ideas on my own, it doesn’t hurt to find inspiration elsewhere. I’m proud to be a Pinterest Parent and am thankful for its help in creating everlasting memories with my kids.