Suburban Soiree

Starting a Weekly Movie Night

Movie NightAmy WileyComment

This post contains affiliate links.


I can’t encourage you enough to start a family movie night. It’s much more than a chance to watch a movie and eat popcorn. It’s a way to come together, connect at the end of the week, and it’s a perfect creative outlet for you as a mom. (Find napkins here, sign here)

We started our movie nights many years ago and they quickly became a family favorite.  Early in the week the kids start asking, “What’s our movie night this week?”  Sometimes I tell them; sometimes I let them be surprised when they get home from school on Friday afternoon.  They’ll run in to look at how the table is set up.  That’s my favorite way to reveal the movie.  I’m not exaggerating when I say they usually squeal with delight!

Although watching a movie as a family to start the weekend isn’t some sort of groundbreaking idea, I want to share the details how we do this because it’s been so fun.  If you don’t have a similar activity in your household, I’d encourage you to start.  

  • Step one:  Pick a night a start planning

Maybe it’s Friday night, maybe it’s Saturday afternoon, maybe it’s every third Tuesday.  If you’re looking to do something consistently I suggest scheduling it in.  I usually look ahead at the start of the month and plan movie nights for all available Fridays.  Sometimes we have other plans or things come up, but if at all possible we do our best to “protect” our Friday evenings. I find that if we don’t do this, our potential movie nights can give way to other things.  So if friends want to get together, we aim for Saturday if possible.  We also keep movie night to just our family of four. It’s our time, and in the middle of a busy week it’s nice to know we will connect on movie night.

  • Step two:  Pick a movie

You can re-watch a family favorite or order a newly-released movie on demand.  I always keep a running list of family-friendly movies, adding to it when friends offer suggestions. is a great resource to make sure the content is safe for your family. also offers parental guides.  We sometimes use VidAngel to stream movies and filter out certain content. (Groundhog Day is a great example of how that service works.) Many times family movies (even super old ones) will have previews that can spark your next movie night.  Some of our favorites are Ramona and Beezus, all the Disneynature films like this one, and movies like Alex & Me and Paddington 2. Although we do enjoy a trip to the movie theater, most of our movies are at home on Friday nights.  It saves money and we get to be as relaxed as we want.

  • Step three:  Get creative

Not only is it predictable, protected family time for us, movie night is a great creative outlet for me as a mom.  While I’m shopping for groceries, for instance, I’ll spot a cute snack or dessert that goes with our theme.  Or when I’m parked and waiting in the carpool line I’ll search Pinterest for ideas related to our movie. It just adds a mini project for the week that allows me to have some fun and get a smile out of my family.  It's also my speed.  While I’m not the type to make 25 individually hand-crafted desserts for a birthday party, for example, I’m totally game to make four of just about anything!

Dino dirt cups for  The Good Dinosaur

Dino dirt cups for The Good Dinosaur

Our movie night dinners are usually a splurge for us… both in cost and calories.  This is the night we’re more likely to grill steaks, have dessert, or spend extra time prepping something unique.  I often create a meal that somehow coincides with our movie.  For instance, we grilled up middle-eastern food for Aladdin. It is a great excuse to try something new.

IMG_0631 (1).jpg
IMG_0621 (1).jpg

That said, some weeks are just too hectic to pull off much more than ordering pizza and asking the kids to pick a DVD they can agree on. 


I highly recommend planning and crafting to the level that your schedule and sanity allow.  The goal is to make the evening a little (or a lot) out of the ordinary.   A simple pack of cute paper napkins is an easy, affordable way to create your theme. 


I know that if I'm stressing about it, I'm going about it the wrong way.  Way back when we first started movie night and my kids were really little, I was prepping for the original Cinderella.  I remember asking everyone to “leave me alone!” while I tried to make little mice out of cheese.  I quickly realized I’d missed the point.  Have fun with it, that's the whole idea!  A little creativity goes a long way and perfection is not the goal. Plus, spending time together is the most important part.

I’ll post movie nights here on the blog most Fridays. So pop some popcorn, put on your jammies, and get ready for some fun with your fam!

Email Signature (2).png
Movie Night Pinterest.png

Vacation Reads

BooksAmy WileyComment

This post contains affiliate links.

Reading is a favorite hobby of mine and travel always offers the opportunity to binge on books. Between flights, beach days and lazy afternoons I read four great books on our recent trip. These books are all quite different from one another, so there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for your next read, check these out!


Summer at Tiffany

We’ll start at the top of the stack with my favorite book out of all of these. Summer at Tiffany is a memoir that transports you back to an elegant, exciting time in New York City. It has romance, glamour and a beautiful snapshot of the end of World War 2. This book is an absolute delight! You can just see the glamorous fashion and feel the excitement of being a young woman in the greatest city in the world. I found this book after watching Crazy About Tiffany’s. (It’s a super fun documentary, although a little disjointed and with bad language. Start with the book!)

The Hardest Peace

This is another book I found through a documentary. I bawled my way through “The Long Goodbye: The Kara Tippets” story on Netflix. Her first book, The Hardest Peace, is beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time. If your life has been closely touched by cancer, you know how the most important aspects of life move to the forefront and the unnecessary fall away. Tippetts shares her deeply personal journey so that we can benefit from focusing on the truly important elements of life here on earth. I found it inspiring, a true gift. I plan to read her other books as well.

Something in the Water

This one quite a pivot from the first two. Something in the Water is my book club’s current pick. This one’s a thriller. Warning, it’s rated R in some parts. It’s gripping, scary, and intriguing. You’ll find this one intense and mysterious. I was guessing the outcome all through it. If you’re up for a wild ride, grab this book!

The Storyteller’s Secret

This one was a recommendation from one of my most well-read friends, so that is always a trustworthy endorsement. The Storyteller’s Secret transports you to India and weaves a tale across decades and generations. I love books that inspire kindness, and this one does just that. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Amazon describes it as “arrestingly romantic” and I have to agree. The strong women in this book will leave an impression on you.

Those are my most recent reads. What is next on your list?

Email Signature (2).png
vacation reads.png

Crazy for Shark Week

Shark Week, Something to CelebrateAmy WileyComment

We absolutely devoured Shark Week! Here are some of the ways we brought a little shark action to each day…

This post contains affiliate links.



Snacks are crucial if you plan to settle in and watch the Shark Week action from start to finish. Gear up to create your own here. A little salty and a little sweet combine for the perfect sharky snack.



Transform your dinner table into an underwater feeding frenzy! I love creating tablescapes for all kinds of occasions. This Shark Week table lured in my whole family. Find elements of this shark-scape here.

Hydrate with Ocean Water


Watching all those blood-thirsty sharks makes us… well… thirsty. Ocean Water is the perfect pairing with Discovery Channel viewing and don’t forget to garnish with gummy fish and sharks! There are all kinds of ways to add FIN-ishing touches to your table.


Movie Night

If you have little ones who aren’t quite ready to watch sharks preying on seals, why not have a family-friendly movie night. See ours here.


Shark Spa Day


If all the action leaves you weary, indulge in a shark spa day. I found the bath bombs in a Nashville boutique and the face masks here. After all the Shark Week fun, your bathtub might just feel like the only place safe enough to take a dip!

Email Signature (2).png
Shark Week Blog.png