Monday, June 18, 2012

Outdoor Movie Nights

Let's talk teens! Let's talk about fun stuff to do and a great reason to host those fun activities!

As some of you may know, when summer starts we put up our outdoor movie screen and start hosting movie nights all the way through October.

This has become a much loved activity and we really enjoy hosting the events. Some nights we have family movies, some nights are for teens and adults, and a couple of times we have shown scary movies.

Here's is what we have built, in case any of you are considering building an outdoor theater too.

 The movie screen is a 10 foot x 20 foot tarp that we purchased from Creative Shelters. It's sturdy and works very well. We have it mounted to our back deck, although you could build a frame or even find blow up screens online.

Here's a close up of the metal poles(frame) and such that Devin uses to mount and hang the tarp.

 This is our projector that we bought from Best Buy. I have seen them at Costco too. This one is a mid range as far as price goes. The bulbs or lamps are expensive when they burn out and need replacing. For all you men out there, my husband actually has one wall in the basement dedicated to using this projector . He plays Halo and watches his movies on the huge wall. It's a man's (and teenager's) dream.

 My husband uses this cart to keep the projector on and he sits next to it during the movie.

These speakers are new to us this year. We had smaller speakers last year, but these are nicer and if you watch a movie like Jurassic Park....well, you need some loud sound! :-)

 I always mix up lemonade and put it in the large, orange cooler. In the blue cooler I have ice water. I know that the lemonade mix has some sugar in it, but it's much less than soda plus it's a nice treat for the kids.

 I buy my popcorn supplies at Sam's Club. These paper bags are not expensive and they are a perfect size. Popcorn kernels can also be bought in 50 pound bags there. If you are a large family it's a great deal for a loved snack. In addition, you can grind them up in your wheat grinder to make corn meal.

 This is my popper that my sister bought as a family gift for us one Christmas. It really was a fantastic gift and we have used this popper a ton!  I have seen them online for a reasonable price.

 I always bath my youngest kids and get them in pajamas before guests arrive. They usually go to bed just about the time the movie starts or shortly after.

Guests bring chairs and blankets, and I always pull out my quilts and make pallets on the grass for the kids.

Another new item this year is the giant jenga game my husband built. We call it Danger Jenga.

It's not a game for the little ones, but the teens and the adults love it!

We start a movie just at dusk for the little kids, and it's usually an episode of Scooby-Doo.

Friends always arrive with snacks to share and extra blankets, and we always have a great time! The teens always have a great time too.
As a parent, I want my kids to enjoy themselves and socialize with their friends but I also want it to be in a safe and family friendly environment. I always told myself that when we had teens we would be the house where they could hang out with friends and that is what we accomplish with movie nights.
In fact it has turned into a  fun night for the entire family and our friends. It's also more relaxing than going to a regular theater because the little kids can run around and catch lightening bugs, which happens to me Zeb's favorite activity!

This past Friday we let a friend (a teen) pick out the movie and so we watched "Batman Begins." It was fantastic! On the list of other movies to watch this summer are the rest of the Bourne Trilogy movies, The Princess Bride, the Three Stooges,  and perhaps Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

So far the summer has been fabulous and the movies nights with friends and family have been outstanding!
What activities does your family like to enjoy together?


Only a couple more days left to vote! Circle of Moms Top 25 Mom of Teens has been a contest I have been honored to participate. Please hop over and give me a vote!


I have to share a recipe real quickly that I made tonight. It uses up some of that zucchini that is growing by the pounds this time of year!

These are Zucchini Tots. I found it on Pinterest and just decided to give them a try. They were really easy and delicious. Here is the recipe.


Finally, I had a reader email me a link to his latest article which is about attachment parenting. He included a link to my last blog post in the sidebar. Check it out! I am actually in an article which includes the beautiful Angelina Jolie! How cool is that:-)


Wednesday we talk about a four letter word! See you then!


  1. Thank you for all the details!

  2. That may just be the coolest idea ever. Love it!

  3. Thanks for showing how you have everything set up. What a great game that Devin made. It was great seeing all the teens playing frisbee and such before the movie. Your family rocks!

  4. That is awesome! What an excellent way to spend an evening.

  5. That looks like so much fun. Can I move in to your neighborhood?

  6. Really liked this idea of outdoor movie nights. Planning an outdoor movie with friends in next week. Soon after finishing with my corporate event planning will make a plan for trip too. Have not went out with friends since few months. Very excited for the day.

  7. Thanks for sharing the great information, It was really a wonderful article and I was really impressed by reading this blog. we provide Lead Retrieval App for trade shows, It helps exhibitors to scan the QR Codes printed on the attendee badges to collect and store leads right on their mobile devices and an online portal. It have integration done with Salesforce CRM where the leads get sync with the click of a button. It increases exhibitors ROI and help them generate more quality leads. For more information please check out here Lead Retrieval App

  8. did you buy a white heavy tarp or white pvc tarp?


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