Tag Archives: Focus on the Family

Plugged In Online

Last week, a new IMAX theater opened about forty-five minutes from our home, and to celebrate, theater-goers were offered free movies and popcorn during the first week. (patrons could give a donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation). We took advantage of the opportunity to see Monsters Vs. Aliens in 3-D. While my children had seen it before on video with their dad, this was my first time watching it. Though it was fun to watch on the huge screen, it wasn’t one of my favorites (nor my kids’ favorites), so I was glad we didn’t pay full price.

I find myself often thinking those same thoughts after watching a DVD at home — I’m glad we didn’t spend money to see that one in the theater. And with movie prices so high these days, I’m also glad we’ve found Plugged In Online.

Sponsored by Focus on the Family, Plugged In Online is a movie review site that covers both older films and new releases. The information you’ll find there includes: a summary of the film, the positive elements, the spiritual content of the film, sexual content, violent content, crude or profane language, drug and alcohol content, other negative elements, and finally the reviewers opinion.

The information on Plugged In is detailed and explicit, allowing parents to know just what to expect in a movie they are considering for themselves or their children. For example, in the review of Brendan Fraser’s new movie Furry Vengeance, every crude or possibly crude phrase used in the film is noted, as are the racial stereotype jokes and toilet humor. From the description on Plugged In, I know that’s one film we’re not going to see, even on video.

You’ll also find reviews on the site for music, television shows, and video games. So before you spend any more money (or time) on entertainment, check out Plugged In. You’ll be glad you did!

Adventures in Odyssey

000101Several years ago, when we were traveling home from visiting family, my niece loaned us some of her Adventures in Odyssey cassette tapes (okay, it was quite a few years ago!). We listened to them on the way home, in no particular order, and we were all hooked.

Adventures in Odyssey is a radio story series created by Focus on the Family. It takes place in the fictional town of Odyssey, with many of the episodes centering around John Avery Whittaker and his ice cream shop called Whit’s End. The shop is designed to be a place kids can come to create, explore, and use their imaginations.

Adventures in Odyssey first aired on the radio in 1987, and the original characters were soon joined by others. Besides John Whittaker (Whit), listeners get to know Connie Kendall, who works at the shop; Eugene Meltzner, a techno-whiz with a big vocabulary; Jason, Whit’s son; Tom Riley, a farmer who becomes mayor; Bart Rathbone, the owner of the electronics store; Rodney Rathbone, his son and a gang leader; Jack, Whit’s friend and the owner of an antique store, Wooton Bassett, a mailman who secretly writes and draws comic books; and many others, including all the kids who visit Whit’s shop. As the years passed, these characters grow and change, learning important Biblical lessons about forgiveness, friendship, grace, prayer, truth, actions and consequences, trusting God, and more.

We continue to enjoy the stories (now on CDs, too!), listening to them not only in the car, but sometimes at bedtime as well. If you’ve never heard an adventure, check with your local Christian station to see when they are on the air. You can even listen to the stories online at www.whitsend.org. Give it a try, and enjoy an Adventure in Odyssey!

Road Trip

blog-roadOur part in the putt-putt project is almost done, so tomorrow we’ll be heading down the road again. I look forward to road trips, as the children have always traveled long distances well, even when they were small. We borrowed a portable DVD player once so they could watch movies, but we’ve never purchased one of our own. Instead, we’ve found other ways to make the time in the car pass more quickly. Here are some of the things we do: 

1. Sing along to songs on the iPod. When my husband gave me one for my birthday a few years ago, I had no idea what to do with it. My niece and her friend downloaded over 300 songs on it; they gave us such a wide variety of music to listen to, it’s been fun finding our favorites. 

2. Listen to books on CD. Right now the favorites that span the age range from 5 to 12 are the Junie B. Jones stories by Barbara Park. I find these and others at our local library. 

3. Listen to Adventures in Odyssey by Focus on the Family on CD. We have listened to these over and over and over…

4. Play the alphabet game. This is the game where each player searches for the letters of the alphabet in order. The players can find the letters on billboards or business signs. When we are in an area where signs are scarce, we modify the rules a little to allow for letters on trucks and license plates. 

5. Play “I’m going on a trip…” This is a fun game, though it’s harder for younger children to play. Each player names something he would take on his trp that begins with the next letter in the alphabet. The catch: he has to also name all the items previously mentioned and in the right order. For example, I’m going on a trip, and I’m taking an alligator, a balloon, a car, a door….

6. Search for states on license plates. Before we leave on our trip, I print off coloring pages of the map of the United States, one for each child. Then, as we see license plates from the different states, they color the corresponding state in on their maps.

After traveling for many hours, we’re all ready to get out of the car, but the time on the road has been a good time together.