The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t quite over yet. New dangerous coronavirus variants are swarming our planet, and whether we are vaccinated or not, most of us are probably still avoiding potentially crowded places such as movie theaters. But we miss the experience-the warm buttery popcorn, the cold Coca-Cola in a refillable cup, the loud sound effects, and the giant screen… In July, MilHousing helped military families to not only recreate but elevate their entire movie theater experience from the comfort of their homes.
On Friday night, July 23rd, toys came to life on everyone’s screens as military families from many different time zones tuned in to watch a Toy Story movie of their choice. If your family was one of those who attended this virtual event, you probably very quickly realized that “You’ve got a friend in MHN!”. $1,000 worth of prizes were distributed thanks to the Armed Forces Insurance.
The movie night was preceded by multiple Facebook live events that helped viewers set up cozy, movie-related atmosphere in their homes. Before the movie night even started, everyone participating was already in a galactic mood for Woody’s adventures. The choice was yours-the original Toy Story, Toy Story 2, 3, or 4. According to Kayla’s poll on Facebook, majority of the families chose to watch Toy Story 4, with the original Toy Story being a runner-up.
MilHousing sent out 467 free snack boxes to those who registered to enjoy along with the movie. (*Fun Fact: the mail carrier had to get a special truck since there were so many!) The boxes were sure to put smile on children’s faces as they contained treats such as candy, popcorn and even one of the Toy Story character’s face masks.
Those who made a purchase on MilHousing Marketplace ahead of time were entered to win one of five Premium Boxes-these were super cute-they had “Andy’s Toys” written on the side in his imitated handwriting and they were tied up with a red bow like a gift. Inside were among other things Toy Story-themed UNO cards and gummi army guys to represent Andy’s toy soldiers. Shout out to Serena, the owner of Westhouse, who prepared these!
Everyone’s excitement for the movie night was building up throughout the week as we learned how to create personalized snacks and drinks, and DIY craft with our children. On Tuesday before the movie night, co-founder of MilHousing Network, Lindsey, shared with us her talent for Charcuterie board-making. She walked us through the steps of creating our very own Toy Story-themed charcuterie board (step by step instructions are at the end of this article). Who knew that you could make a rocket ship or aliens out of fruit?
Wednesday was a craft time. Ona helped us create a Toy Story 4 character, Forky, out of a marshmallow. Thursday’s spotlight belonged to Michelle with Caliber Home Loans Inc. who taught us the art of mixology with her “Out of this World” cocktail. Ingredient list for kids’ mocktail was available in the Facebook group as well. There were fun giveaways for those watching and participating in each Facebook live and movie night ranging from T-shirts, gift cards, to ultimate movie night bundle items.
On the movie night evening, Lindsay went live to explain how to win prizes. Using “#mhnmovienights” was the key to being entered for $1,000 worth of prizes. And what exactly were the prizes you could win? Movie projector, twinkle lights, and popcorn maker to name a few. Contests included photos of your snack boxes, costumes, movie night set up and others. Winners were chosen the following Monday to give a fair chance to people residing in different time zones.
Once everybody pressed play on their streaming devices, Kayla supplied us with fun Toy Story trivia questions. The charming evening ended with a promise of another movie night being planned for October. Everyone is encouraged to enter their contact information to the pinned post on the movie night Facebook page, so that you can register early for the next snack box.
Creating a charcuterie board adds a special touch to your movie night evening. Make it even more special by making sure that each item on the board represents something from the movie. Learn how to put together an “Out of This World” charcuterie board that both kids and adults will enjoy:
Step 1: Choose what will serve as your board-it can be a tray, large plate, or wooden cutting board.
Step 2. Decide what will go on the board. Prepare a list of items that you are missing, so that you can buy them ahead of time.
Essential Toy Story-themed charcuterie board items:
Additional optional items – carter to everyone’s taste buds:
Step 3: Create a rocket ship out of a cantaloupe, banana, and strawberries. To create an illusion of the rocket ship blasting off, cut cantaloupe into rectangles, then make multiple triangle-like cuts into the bottom of the rectangle. Slice bananas and strawberries into round pieces to create the body of the rocket ship. For rocket ship top, take a strawberry and cut off the wide part, leaving about ¾ of the strawberry. Stack everything onto a wooden skewer. Start with the cantaloupe, followed with multiple banana and strawberry pieces, finishing with a strawberry top. Put the skewers inside a deep narrow container or bucket. You can fill the bucket with something that will keep it from tipping over-e.g., candy or grapes.
Step 4: Aliens out of green grapes. All you must do is attach candy eyeballs onto them with melted white chocolate or icing. Tip: When you are shopping for the grapes, make sure that they are big enough to glue eyeballs on.
Step 5: Ham-representing Andy’s piggy bank toy. Roll the ham slices into various decorative shapes.
Step 6: Gummi worms-to symbolize one of the sentences that Woody says when Andy pulls his string: “There’s a snake in my boots”
Step 7: Forky-a character from Toy Story 4. Take a Rice Krispies Treats and cut it into a shape of a fork. Dip Forky in a white chocolate, attach candy eyes and use a strain of twizzlers to attach his eybrows. Wait for it to dry, then draw Forky’s mouth with a blue icing.
Step 8: Choose from optional items to complete your personalized charcuterie board to your liking. Popular choices are salami, cheese, and crackers.
Step 9: You can either place all items directly on the board or use small plates and bowls; even a cupcake liner can serve as a bowl for something small such as candy.
Step 10: Enjoy your charcuterie board from the comfort of your couch and press play!
Written by Andrea Marks
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