Spring Break and Netflix. Oh yes, you bet they go together.

 

 

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Parenting. When what you expect and what actually happens NEVER MATCH.

This also is the case for a lot of our silverware, all of our socks, and my six year old’s fashion choice today.  So, at least we’re consistent.

Last week was Spring Break. I kept thinking I would write THIS post when it WAS actually spring break, because Momsie is so relevant and timely, but good gravy. Spring break nearly broke me.

It all started with the take home math packet.

So, just so you know, I blame it all on my children’s teachers. They are out to get us.

I don’t even remember for sure which boy got the math packet. But I do know that when I spied it, all smushed in his R2-D2 backpack, that I felt a little flutter of excitement. It’s that Mom Buzz that I get every time I think I might have a Positive Learning Experience with one of my spawns. “Lo! Here is a math packet!” I crowed. “And, we shall learn all the things over break! This shall be a break from technology! We’ll take nature walks! We’ll work puzzles! I think I might try to learn another language! Besides Pig Latin, which is so big at our house right now!”

And on and on. Momsie went off the rails on the whole Fun and Educational thing.

At about two o’clock Tuesday afternoon, I decided to put a stop to all things educational and considered playing the Quiet Game for the rest of the break.

Anyhow.

What I did instead was realize, as I have so often before, this wonderful nugget of information:

TELEVISON. TELEVISION FIXES EVERYTHING.

Relax Moms. It’s not like we watched it from Tuesday on. But we reveled in the popcorn movie night (as one of Momsie’s favorite thing ever is her couch, and popcorn, and nighttime. They go together like constant fatigue and sweatpants, I tell you.)

And on those movie nights we didn’t watch movies. Nope. We watched… (drumroll)…

Somewhat Educational Stuff.

Which really means I just picked stuff that I like and told the boys it was that or a bath. So, they learned something, AND avoided personal hygiene. Winners all around. (?)

The kids and I watched two gems from the mighty Netflix.

Here’s the first one, that is NARRATED BY A BRITISH GUY AND YOU KNOW HOW I AM ABOUT BRITISH THINGS:

 

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In this series, The British Guy (Kevin McCloud) presents to us a strange breed of people who are “self-builders.” This means, they take strange old buildings, ones that aren’t really supposed to BE homes… and they make them into homes. Like, they “self-build” themselves right into an old movie theater.

Or, aherm, that’s theatre, if you’re British.

And, it’s bloody brilliant.

First of all, the builders usually have about five children and are obviously nutty as a fruitcake to even attempt this. But they DO attempt it, and they do so with that typical British cheerful oblivion to discomfort and mess that we Americans cannot even try to fathom. So, it’s like House Hunters International plus Property Brothers plus The Great British Bake-off when someone’s Victoria sponge slides off the table but no one even bats an eye and …oh you get the idea.

But wait, there’s more.

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Holy smokes, y’all. People are so smart. Did you know this?

Abstract: The Art of Design reminds you that the world is smushed full of really cool, innovative, interesting, creative people.  And you guys? I don’t know about you, but every once in a while, I REALLY NEED TO BE REMINDED OF THIS.

We watched the episode on automative design. And then I sent the cherubs to bed and binged on the one about architecture, and graphic design, and illustration, but had to stop because the husband wasn’t home and I knew this was one of those Family Shows to Watch All Together kind of things. I showed great self-control and watched only two more.

Or three. I lost count after the one about stage design.

Look, I know Netflix is there for you for your guilty pleasure. It’s got your Grey’s Anatomy. It’s got your kids’ Ninjago.

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If you have boys, then you know.

It’s got Santa Clarita Diet which I really want to watch but am also kinda scared. I’ll keep you posted.

 

But, Netflix also has stuff that inspires and makes us dream and imagine, and just zings with creativity. These are the kinds of shows I watch and then, when I’m not watching, I’m thinking about them. They make me… percolate. As a writer, this stuff feeds my soul.

Oh, and back to my children? They’ve been drawing up plans for flying cars for ninjas all week. So, you can thank me later, automotive industry. Two semi-brilliant thinkie types are coming your way.

All because of Netflix. 🙂StreamTeam_Red&White_BlackBackground.png

Honesty, With a Side of Children

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Ok, once when I was still in the amateur division of parenting, my two year old approached me as I was inhaling a bowl of Frosted Flakes. His nose became all quivery, like a sugar-seeking drug dog (I don’t know if that’s a thing, really, but it is in my house. They can hear me open a Snickers bar from four blocks away).

I froze.

You see, we don’t eat sugary cereal at our house.

We eat boring non-sugary healthy stuff that tastes like hay, and we like it, whether we like it or not.

And I realize, I am using the “we” very liberally here. Like, “we” as in, “everyone but me because I am special and craving puffy carbs.”

You see, I happen to love sugary cereal. I adore it. I love Bright Yellow Corn Pops and Frosted Sugar Flakes of Thingies and Honey Coated Chocolate Bits of Puffy Non-Grains… I love ’em all. But, I don’t let my kids eat these things because that would be bad. Therefore, I hide the boxes in the lower cabinet with all the messy  tupperwear that leaps out at you, so they avoid it. And when my two year old comes sniffing around while I’m sneaking a bowl, and asks, “Wats dat?” I say:

“It’s spicy, honey. And it’s broccoli. So… spicy broccoli with milk. You wouldn’t like it.”

I have decided that it’s not bad parenting to lie to your child, so you can inhale your bowl of Sugar Frosted Momentary Hope and Carbs in a Bowl, because ultimately, you will be a better parent if you are able to eat it in peace.

It’s the putting on of the oxygen mask, first, mommas. We all know the story – if you’re on an airplane, the steward always tells you – IF WE’RE PLUMMETING TOWARDS EARTH, PUT YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST, THEN PUT ONE ON YOUR KID. OR YOUR HUSBAND. EITHER WAY, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YOU FIRST.

It’s the same with Netflix, people.

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Mama needs to watch things before her littles watch them. So, if she happens to binge her way through the entire season of A Series of Unfortunate Events before they can view it…  Look, the show says it’s a SERIES, people. It must be watched as thus. I mean, my children take everything I say literally, so they need to let me do so too, once in while. Especially when it comes to this show. It’s just that good.

Also, cheating might have happened with the husband. Netflix_CheatingGif_TheCrown.gif

Don’t worry. It wasn’t all that serious. And, it wasn’t over The Crown, because, my husband wouldn’t watch a British biopic, however awesome, if it came up, said, “I say, old chap,” and politely whacked him over the head.

Anyhow. A while back? We might have been watching House of Cards together? And we might have stayed up until nearly 1 am one night because we could not stop? And then we finally went to bed? And might have said, “I can’t wait to find out what happens”?

Yea. I finished out the entire season without him the next day.

He still has no idea. I act shocked and appalled at all the right moments, and if all else fails, I make sure there’s lots of popcorn to distract him. This is tough, because I do have a total knack for shouting out, right before the big, bad political thing is about to happen, stuff like,
“HOLY KEVIN SPACEY. THERE’S A BIG BAD POLITICAL KEVIN SPACEY THING ABOUT TO HAPPEN RIGHT NOW. YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT. UM NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW.”

The husband is suspicious, I think. But, I think he’s been totally cheating on me with this:

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He won’t admit to it, but I am sure he is because last weekend he made a Victoria Sponge.

So, we’re even, I guess. But I got the better end of this because: MORE SUGARY CARBS.

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As a #StreamTeam blogger for Netflix, I watch and review Netflix’s many offerings, and then blog about it. It’s a great gig.

Get lots of Netflix and rest, and call me in the morning.

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My friends, lately we have been besieged by the sickness. Also, I have been hiding from social media because everyone is mad and yelling, and so I just want to post pictures of puppies. Here, like this one:

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I would like to make a plea, for my own sanity.

PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS, STOP YELLING. I KNOW I’M YELLING WHILE I TELL YOU THIS BUT I AM ALL ABOUT IRONY RIGHT NOW. AND, I’M DESPERATE.

OH,  AND THROWING UP. STOP THAT, TOO.

There are times when life just seems to be twisting around,  full of dark ships circling at night, all malaise and doom and puking and glooooooom.

Here. Have another one of these:

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Sometimes… the best thing to do is hibernate with happy things.

Or, you can hibernate with Netflix and fight the doom and gloom with a series of unfortunate events.

I was hooked on this series of books because they are dark and hilarious and twisty-turny. And, the Netflix adaptation of David Handler’s books is really really REALLY good. Like, dark and funny and so perfectly cast.

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I have to warn you. The events in this series are really, truly unfortunate. And there are moments where there is sadness and true villainy. But, there is heart too. And real empathy.

The show is not for wee ones. It’s for those that find sarcasm and dark humor their love language, so… anyone in middle school, pretty much.

Because middle schoolers know, probably better than anyone, that a twisty-turny world can sometimes only be combated with an equal dose of dark and stormy.

At one point in the introduction, just as in the books, Lemony Snicket warns us to not continue. He warns that any sort of continuation of this sad and gloomy affair will only keep piling on more sad and gloomy. Life is like that. Relentless.

And then he then turns to the camera and says,

“Trouble and strife can cover this world like the dark of night, or like smoke from a suspicious fire.. .and when that happens all good, true, and decent people know that it’s time to volunteer.”

He had me at trouble and strife.

And, volunteer.

Enjoy your dark and gloomy and enjoy the SUPERB cast, and just, you know, enjoy a little twisty-turny. It is a children’s book after all. You know, after a long series of unfortunate events, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. It might be a long tunnel, but I have the time. Last I checked, my evenings are free, except for Lysoling everything in sight.

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Hello, my name is Dana, and I can’t wrap presents.

Momsie, Christmas 2016:

This year I will make sure we do a meaningful and very spiritual Advent activity every day!

This year, we will not fight or argue during our Christmas break because Jesus is about to be born and he needs his sleep! Peace! Goodwill! Etcetera!

This year I will make fudge that actually ends up as fudge, not glorified frosting!

This year, I will wrap the presents BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE.

THIS YEAR WE WILL DO ALL THE CHRISTMAS THINGS!

 

Bet you can guess how I’m doing on my list, eh?

You know that sledding scene from It’s a Wonderful Life where George’s brother careens right into the pond? Well, that’s how our Christmas can go if we are not careful. Right. Over. The Merry Cliff.

I am pretty sure Jesus did not have this in mind.

Anyhow, what will happen is that I do make the fudge, and we eat it with a spoon and it’s YUMMO.

Also, I will make divinity for my dad because he is the best dad EVER and he’s reading this right now, and I am maintaining my status as the favorite child.

Also, I will put off wrapping because when I wrap presents? I seem to channel my inner idiot savant (what? We all have one. Don’t judge) and my presents end up looking like this:

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I would like to state for the record that there is no booze in this post. The item in the sock is “stunt liquid” – perhaps some olive oil, or a lovely bottle of Sprite. Perhaps a nice 1997. That was a good year.

Anyhow.

Wrapping. Wrapping happens. It’s unavoidable.

NETFLIX TO THE RESCUE!

Netflix has soooooo many new shows to view, I don’t even know what to start. If for some weird reason your children* are a part of this whole wrapping thing (rare, and also very painful for all involved. I mean, have you ever WATCHED a six year old try to wrap a box? It’s like green and red paint drying.) You can watch these two gems:

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Tim Allen is so JOLLY in this one. It’s perfection.

 

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This bunny one? It’s adorable.

And, like the tag says, “Everybody needs some bunny to love.” SO TRUE. We could all do with more bunnies to cuddle! Bunnies for everyone!

Also, the movie also stars Florence Henderson in one of her last roles, and she is so gruff and real and NON Florence Henderson-y in it;  she really was awesome in this movie. The story line is about adoption and fostering children. I am such a fan of those families who open their hearts and homes to children – even the “tough ones.” Just watch it. Bring kleenex. Or, maybe a bunny to hold onto while you watch. To wipe away the tears.

*Um, it’s also possible that the boys whilst watching the movies will be so transfixed by Christmas goodness that you can slooooooooowly slide the presents out of their sweaty little hands and then wrap those suckers for them in two seconds. I’m not saying I’ve done that, or that I’ve even done a good job IF I’ve done that, but we needed to be done wrapping that ONE BOX by 2017.

If you’re not watching with the babies, and you are also husband-free (he seems to avoid the whole wrapping thing because he knows better. I get surly. Plus, his style of wrapping, as an engineer, involves a level and measuring tape and, I think at one point there was some math formulas from an app on his phone involved) I go for the Hallmark-channely, romantic Christmas wondefulness stuff that is fluffy and happy. I like fluffy and happy. Heck, I’M fluffy and happy, so there’s that.

Here’s an example:movie-poster-back-to-christmas-563e51c486673-cb49ecc125dffb8d4491e3688e98609ba30f8aca-1“Sometimes you do get a second chance.”

That is cinema gold, people. We all need second chances, and if you’re a It’s a Wonderful Life-Ebenezer-Miracle on 39th Street kinda girl, you might realize –

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SECOND CHANCES.

Jesus would agree.

And finally? I give you my second chance at wrapping:

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My masterpiece.

 

Merry Christmas! Sit back, relax, spoon up some fudge, and enjoy the season, with the help of Netflix.

 

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Top Ten Netflix Picks for Your Family This Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving. The best holiday of the year. Wanna know why? Well, let me provide you with a list:

  1. No presents. No shopping. No wrapping. None. Nada. Zipp. Glorious.
  2. My momma’s oyster dressing.
  3. Gravy. Like, all over the place.
  4. Dressing up the dog and taking pictures of him. He loves this so much.
  5. Football. That’s more for the boys but I enjoy it as background noise. It pairs well with #6.
  6. Napping. All over the place. Like the gravy. Because of the gravy.
  7. No other plans. Like, for two whole days. No shopping, no going, no to-doing, no cleaning (except baths. There will be baths.) We are just going to … be. We will play board games and take the dog on walks and be. THIS IS AWESOME.
  8. The Macy’s Day Parade. Of course.
  9. My father in law’s Keurig. It’s elfin magic.
  10. My children’s faces when they first see the Thanksgiving table. It’s like Christmas morning, but without it being morning and there are no presents and it’s just food but you know. It’s food.

I do realize that “family” made it in the middle of the list. Should have been first, I think. I think my focus is on the NON gift giving aspect of this holiday because, holy entitlement, my children have ENOUGH STUFF.  They would disagree, of course. Little hoarders. They have an entire drawer full of half broken Chinese plastic pieces from McDonald’s Happy Meals and I swear, those Happy Meals toys procreate, y’all. The drawer is growing.

But, I digress.

Ok, so this Thanksgiving I wanted to give you another list. This one is for those of you who like to throw on a movie, or three, while you are relaxing and eating turkey sandwiches. It’s not a proper Thanksgiving for me unless there are copious movies. And, I want the kinds that make me all happy and grateful. Like a big happy hug of a movie. So, here goes:

MOMSIE’S TOP TEN NETFLIX PICKS TO MAKE YOU FEEL ALL WARM AND FUZZY ON THIS THANKSGIVING:

  1. Angel in the House. Toni Colette and Ioan Gruffud (of Amazing Grace) play bereaved parents, trying to conceive, until 7 year old Eli shows up on their doorstep. Prepare to cry. The ugly kind, but still, in a good way.a68a3700-6378-4dfe-9a89-3218246b0253_1.5eed56ebc5bb24b6654615b138e97e10.jpg

 

2.

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Love. Lessons. Loneliness. A little magic and French accents. Also, Jeff Bridges.

 

3.

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You think by #3 it might have lost its… mojo. But no. And the animation is incredible. Just a visual feast.

Also, Bryan Cranston and Dustin Hoffman and that Jack Black guy. You’re welcome.

4.

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Um… I know this isn’t exactly family fun. My kids would protest. But… I love it. Can’t help it. It’s full of schlock and silly romance  and that dude from that one show from the 80’s… Also this: my gosh people, if my dating life had been at ALL like this life would have been grand. Course, then, I would not have married the current hubs because he is so NOT that one dude from that 80’s show… But you know, reality and all. It’s here to stay.

5. 936full-miracle-on-34th-street-cover.jpgStill one of the best. The Macy’s Day parade scene? Classic. And the part with the letters at the courthouse? Still makes me cry. Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus.

6.

 

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King Julien? He is my alter-ego. I mean, just look at him.

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7. Holy puppy chow. The cuteness. Also, watched it with my rescue dog, Hosmer, all up on my lap. He told me it was two paws up.

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8.

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Ok, the production value on this is a bit lower – it is produced by a Christian film company that is still small, and you can see that, BUT: I love films like this. I don’t care. It’s wonderful and the message is perfect for all of us. Everyone deserves second chances. Always.

 

9.

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I LOVE THIS SHOW. IT’S FOOD AND CUTENESS AT THE SAME TIME.

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And finally!!!

 

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Best adaptation ever. Best soundtrack. Best lion voice. Best witch. Best child actors. Best MESSAGE.

May we all know the deep magic.

 

Much love to you and yours this Thanksgiving. Enjoy the feasting and the festivity and cuddle up with your family and enjoy the Netflix. God bless us, everyone.

Oh, and ALSO!!! Gilmore Girls!!! They’re coming!!!! November 25th! Squeeeeee!

 

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Happy Thanksgiving, from Netflix and Momsie. 

 

When You Wish Upon a Disney

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There are a few things in this life that I would officially label as Annoying but Necessary.

  1. Swim suit shopping
  2. Customer representatives
  3. Kale
  4. The DMV

I have news, y’all. It’s wondrous. Like, the kind of information that makes the sun shine through the trees and little birdies alight on your fingers and then you break into song… I dunno… like a DISNEY PRINCESS MAYBE??

If you Netflix, Disney will come. And Disney will actually manage to redeem the DMV. I thought it could never be done… but yes.

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September 20th is already HERE, ya’ll! I know this because I checked. Knowing the date is important.

Anyhow, Disney cometh. All sorts of other movies are heading our way. Fishes with memory issues. Large talking bears. My childhood favorites, and new ones, for my boys to love.

Watch and wait, as the magic happens.

Ok, and while you are waiting, I will provide you with one other option for you. And stay with me here, because I assure you, this one will NOT be family viewing. But, did you know…

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Oh yea. It’s on Netflix too. You’re welcome.

But, if you don’t really like the whole shark with big pointy teeth thing? I provide you with THIS: *Dramatic flourish*

“A curious shark, with a curious talent…”

 

 

 

The More You Know.

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Here are the Things I Learned On Netflix:

  1. British television is superior to American, in every way. All the time. It’s the law.
  2. When I am tired I seem to want to watch cooking shows. They soothe me, somehow. All is right in the world when you watch someone whip up a maple creme filled zeppole. Also, I learned Italian right there! So double bonus!
  3. Nurse Jackie can be watched until 1 am and then the next morning you kind of feel hungover but NO REGRETS.
  4. THE PEREGRINE FALCON CAN DIVE AT A SPEED OF 143 MILES AN HOUR. FOR REALS. YOU HAVE TO WONDER IF THEY FREAK OUT WHEN THEY DO IT.

Ok, I’m not exactly sure on that last one, as a seven year old was the dispenser of the information there, but he would know. Why? Because the boys watch these cuties:

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They love the Brothers Kratt. And, did you know? Chris and Martin are ACTUALLY BROTHERS. And, Chris and Martin LIKE EACH OTHER, at the SAME TIME, WHILE BEING BROTHERS. Amazing.

And so, whenever we watch them, I tend to add my Mom Two Cents after each live-action segment with the Kratts with something like, “Oh look, Martin just let Chris fall and slip in the muddy gator pit but yet THEY ARE NOT FIGHTING ABOUT IT! AT ALL!. Instead, they are smiling and attempting to befriend a gator! And we know there won’t be any blood because children’s programming! Brotherly love!”

Now, Blonde and Red follow me around like a mini Kratts, spouting facts about animals, in a very endearing, if not slightly nutty Kratt-ian way. I’ll be making dinner and one will fly by, and spout at me, in all caps, because that’s their volume setting at all times:

MOM? MOM??? DID YOU KNOW THAT GORILLAS CAN CATCH COLDS?

Or later, in the bath:

ALSO. MOM? A LION ONLY KILLS ABOUT TWENTY TIMES A YEAR.

Or, while drifting off to sleep:

AND? DID YOU KNOW? RATS CAN LAUGH. THEY CAN! WE NEED TO GET ONE AND SEE.

Ok, it’s possible that last fact was not learned through the Kratts. I just always remember my college roommate’s creepy boyfriend who liked to carry his pet around on his shoulder telling me that. It stuck with me, somehow. Things like that do.

This summer on The Netflixes we are learning. All the time. Like, I just learned this from one of my beloved cooking shows, Cupcake Wars:

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I KNOW, RIGHT????

If for some reason, summer is starting to wear a little thin and you would like your children to USE THEIR NOGGINS FOR SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHACKING EACH OTHER WITH LIGHT SABERS AND FIGHTING OVER TEENY TINY LEGOS, then I suggest Wild Kratts.

Or, this option:

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This is also on the mighty Netflixes. AND the narrator? BRITISH. BOOM. DOUBLE BONUS!

Hey, did you know? Ring-tailed Lemurs actually purr when they are content.

YEP, I LEARNED IT FROM THAT SHOW.

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Thank you, Netflix, for all the learning!