Kindred Spirits

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This is the cover of the Anne of Green Gables book I had.She’s a hottie, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Y’all. I am very picky.
I don’t like my potato salad unless it is made with Hellman’s mayonnaise. (No, this post was not sponsored by Hellman’s. Call me? Hellman’s?? We can work something out, K?)
I don’t like books that have too many dialogue tags. “They are tedious,” she said, tediously.
I only like spring days that still have a bite of cool in them. Otherwise there’s sneezing. And it’s not the cute, delicate lady-sneezing like a baby bunny. My sneezing is wet-gorilla sneezing.
Apples must be tart. This Red Delicious nonsense is just a dumbing down of apples.
And, classic books don’t translate well into film. In general. I mean, have you SEEN The Scarlet Letter? I’m talking the Demi Moore version. Enough said.
I have read every one of the Anne of Green Gables series, MULTIPLE times. And, yes, I did allow the 1985 television adaptation (with an awesomely cranky Marilla by Colleen Dewhurst).
So, when the great Netflixes informed me that a NEW ANNE was coming… I was skeptical. You know when someone says to you, “Hey! I made some chocolate chip cookies!” and just as you take a bite they add, “Gluten, egg, and dairy free! YOU CAN’T EVEN TELL, CAN YOU.”
You can tell. You can so totally tell.
That’s how I felt about a New Anne.  But, y’all – Netflix has done it right.

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This is a series that is so in tune with my Anne that I nearly cried. Which, as you know, is something a totally dramatic girl would do. This is an Anne that is comical and tragic and gawky,  and at times plain, and at at other times just aglow (when she is least aware of it). She is, in other words, what we girls are. Or me, at least. I do comical and tragic and gawky. I do plain.

I even, every once in a while, glow.
I sat down to start watching this while folding laundry one night because God forbid I ever just watch something without folding laundry. The boys were playing “Smash All the Things” in the other room, but as soon as they heard the television come on, they started sniffing around like the little tv vultures they are.

“Whatcha watchin?” Red asked. “Is it Star Wars? Legos? Something with swords?” I sighed and folded my four hundredth pair of Lego Star Wars underpants. He stared at the screen and then, asked… “Anne of… Green Bagels?”
“No, dear. Shhhhhh. Mommy’s watching. Mommy needs this show.”
We watched, and Blonde, another heat-seeking (i.e. television) missile wandered in, and we all soaked in all the Gables and the Green-ness.

Anne says,  ““Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.” Anne and I are kindred spirits. She has the same ideas about classic literature and potato salad, I am sure of it. Watch, you’ll see.

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As a Netflix StreamTeam blogger, I get to watch the awesomeness that is Netflix, and chatter about it on Momsie. It’s a great gig.

 

 

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Summer Vacation Plans and Rock the Park!

When I was a kid – in the middle of July, my dad would pack us all into the station wagon and drive through the night to Colorado. Air conditioning was strictly prohibited because it was hard on the engine (which I think is an urban legend he just made up because he is part lizard), thus we would roll down the windows and proceed to blast ourselves with hot air until we got to the mountains. We stuck to the seats. We listened to the Royals on a low roar the whole time, to keep dad awake.

It’s possible we had to pee in a coffee can because stopping the car signaled weakness. I dunno. I might have blocked that memory.

Anyhow, after an hour or so, I would start too look like this:Bridjet-Jones-windswept.jpg

It’s ok. It was the 80’s. I could rock the fluffy hair.

By the time we actually arrived at the sweet cool quiet of the mountains, it was an oasis. The pine-scented majesty all around me would fill my soul and soothe my seat-burned thighs.

And so, because my life is awesome, I recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack Steward and Colton Smith, the hosts of Daytime Emmy Award-winning series Rock the Park:

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Rock the Park showcases America’s national parks as nature enthusiasts and hosts Jack Steward and Colton Smith venture off the beaten path to explore some of the most awe-inspiring places on earth. In this series, the two best friends venture into some of the most awe-inspiring locations, treating us with great views, great advice, and great adventures for us to view and, perhaps, plan for our families this summer.

My family has continued the tradition of summer vacations in the mountains, albeit minus the station wagon and its sticky seats. We avid hikers, even my littles. Our boys, ages six and seven, have enthusiasm for all things mountain and adventure-y, so I had lots of questions for Jack and Colton about how to best enjoy our national park experiences.

Here are a few of my questions and Jack and Colton’s helpful responses:

Me:  What are your favorite family hike memories when you were growing up?

Jack:  My favorite hiking memory with my family was our trek up Rendezvous Mountain in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The mountain has an aerial tram that takes people up to the summit and then back down. As an ambitious eight-year-old, I decided that I wanted to climb to the top! So it was settled, we would all hike the 7 miles to the summit and take the tram down. Our hike turned out to be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences I had ever had in my life. All of our heels had blisters and we barely packed enough water. It was really tough! Once we made it to the summit, it opened me up to the endless possibilities that nature provides. We had so much fun that we continue the tradition of hiking up to the summit anytime we’re in Jackson Hole.

Me: I am so grateful for more family entertainment for my kids to view – we are in LOVE w/ all shows about nature (hi there, Wild Kratts) – can you explain briefly why you wanted to create a show that is “family friendly”?

Colton: For me the national parks changed my life. I believe they can do just that for so many others. By creating a family friendly show, it allows us to spread that message to not only adults but children. As we know, children can be pretty impressionable, and if our show can make an impression on a young child- that nature is something they need to explore- I believe one day a profound love of nature can be produced. Our goal is not only to entertain but to educate and inspire. We wanted our show to be family friendly because that’s what our national parks are. They’re for everyone. We want to make sure our show is for everyone as well.

Me: We got a new pet this year – our dog, Hosmer. (Named after Eric Hosmer of the Royals, of course.) Do you have any Do’s and Don’ts for dog lovers who want to take their pets on hikes? We encountered many dogs while hiking, some off leash, and wondered if you had any opinions or advice about this.

Colton: I too got a new pet this year! His name is Junior and he loves to run, and I mean run. As much as I’d love to let him of the leash, I would advise against it. Dogs can be quite curious, and there are a lot of predators in nature. The last thing anybody wants is their dog running out of the woods with a black bear on their tail!

Both Jack and Colton are “Find Your Park” ambassadors, and, as Jack describes it, this is “an invitation to open up your life to the enrichment of nature, history and pride for our country that the national parks provide in abundance.” I was so impressed with these two. Their enthusiasm and love for our nation’s beautiful national parks is endearing, and I love that they are creating intelligent, thoughtful, and trustworthy entertainment that the whole family can watch.

The show is a real treat, and I hope you get a chance to Rock the Park with these two this summer. Click below to see how these two can inspire you to “Find Your Park” and, perhaps, seek your own happy horizon.

“We are curious people, always seeking what lies beyond the horizon.”

 

Rock the Park airs every weekend on ABC stations, check your local listings!

Thunderbirds are Go!

As I promised, I am happy to share with you today my interview with Rob Hoegee, the head writer for Amazon Prime’s Original show:

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When first presented with this opportunity – I also had the option to interview a few of the actors from the show, which, you know, is kinda exciting. I mean, the highlight of my days lately have been avoiding laundry and negotiating constantly with two sweet cherubs who have terrible work ethics. So, taking an hour out of my day to speak to someone who gets to be all action-adventurey and Hollywoodish? SURE!

However, I really wanted to talk to Rob. Rob is a writer. And I wanted to know about his writing life.

Come to find out, Rob, aka Big TV Writer, is a lot like me!

(Disclaimer: it’s always about me. Sorry.)

First of all, let me explain the show.

Amazon’s brand-new original animated kids series aimed at children aged 6 through 11, Thunderbirds Are Go, is a reinvention of the 50-year-old classic Thunderbirds, and features the world’s most famous family of heroes, International Rescue, and Rosamund Pike (The World’s EndGone Girl) as Lady Penelope. The series catapults the five brave Tracy brothers back onto television screens, where they’ll pilot their vehicles from the depths of the oceans to the highest reaches of space, performing impossible rescues across the globe.

Produced by ITV Studios and Pukeko Pictures in collaboration with world-famous Weta Workshop, the series is made using a unique mixture of CGI animation and live-action model sets. Thunderbirds Are Go will deliver a new level of action-adventure animation for today’s audience while paying tribute to the legacy of model locations from the original series.

The reason I am so excited about all of this is that I grew up watching the slightly, teensy weensy bit older version. It featured real model sets and puppetry, and it was sooooo cool. In fact, I was concerned that the 2016 version would not carry any of this original flair, but this new show has beautiful, intricate sets that trick the eye – there is a level of artistry here that is truly impressive, and, especially with the nature shots, rather hypnotic. The show passed my aesthetics. I am rather picky about all that.

In other words, this, my friends, is no Caillou.

When Rob and I spoke, I gushed with him about the show, and he was quick to respond that although he is the head writer, his favorite part of the creative process is working with such a great team who all contribute to the show’s success.  Rob has written for other children’s animated shows before, such as Generator Rex and Teen Titans, but I could tell he was especially proud of Thunderbirds.

“The show is really a great mix of live sets, great CGI, and story. And for me, it is one of the shows that I can trust my kids to watch, without wondering about what they might be seeing, you know?”

I do know. And I appreciate his goal – to make this truly “family entertainment,” a show that mom, dad, and the kids can watch, without worrying about content at all, and also, without nodding off with boredom because it’s a total snooze fest of silly characters, whining, and garish primary colors.

I had tested this goal earlier in the week when we all sat down to view the first episode, “Ring of Fire” with my boys. (I had hoped there would be a Johnny Cash tribute, but alas, no. You can’t have it all.) HOWEVER, it’s a kids’ show, right?  And yet, I have to say, I WATCHED IT. What I mean here, is that I didn’t fold laundry or plan menus or write an article or edit a blog post or cuddle/grip the cat or knit badly or contemplate world peace or decide once and for all if contouring my face is just insanity (it is). I just watched.

Red plopped down on my lap, Hosmer, the dog leaned on us both because jealous, and Blonde curled up right next to us.

Guess how I know the boys loved it? I call it the popcorn test:

We had a bowl of popcorn. They didn’t eat any.

Boom. Very, very good show.

Rob knows kids. He has two little ones, a boy and a girl, and here is where I really knew that we were totally going to have the best interview ever:

We both named our youngest the same name! I know, right! We bonded.

Anyhow, it was a great interview. Rob was funny and affable and kind. He has a great vision for Thunderbirds. “This show is all about helping others, lending a hand, going in to rescue those in trouble. There are plenty of shows out there about bad guys and bad stuff and police and all that, but this show? This is about the firefighters who come in to save the day.”

This show is all about teaching cooperation, courage, and selflessness, and I cannot thank Rob enough for writing it that way. But he summed it up quite well:

“In all my fifteen or so years of working on animated children’s shows, I have to say, this is the one of which I am most proud.”

Click here to watch the trailer for Thunderbirds are Go, and see for yourself the amazing real- action and CGI mashup that makes this show so fun.

Oh, and here are two other fun facts: David Graham, veteran voice actor who was Gordon Tracy of the original classic, returns to plays Parker! And Rosamund Pike, of Gone Girl, plays the lovely Lady Penelope.

Enjoy! International Rescue is here to save the day!

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This is my life. With cliffhanger.

You guys.

This is my life.

So, about a month ago I got an email asking if I would be interested in interviewing any of the actors or writers for a new kids animated show. I still am not sure how the email ended up on my doorstep. There’s a lot of reasons, I guess, due to my blogging chops and reviews that I do for other kids’ programs…

And also that I have two small boys. There’s that. Because – THIS show was  kind of catered exactly to my nutball boys’ likes: rocket ships, inventions, fast things whizzing about, total geekout science-ey moments…

And brothers. Brothers who are going to SAVE THE DAY.

So, of course, it looked like a great fit. And of course I was totally all over it.

And then… I kept watching the clips. And I kept watching… And then I totally freaked out.

This show. It’s a redux of the show I used to watch when I was a KID. Like, me, with my bowls of Trix cereal and some Ovaltine, and these hotties:

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I was kind of in love with the all the Tracy boys. They had really really good hair. And, they were out to save the day.

I know. They were puppets. But there was a degree of realism there that just made me think I might have a chance…

Anyhow. SWEET CIRCLE OF LIFE I AM REVIEWING THE REMAKE!!!!TAG_S1_BoxArt_1920x1080.jpg

My life. I tell you. If you had told me that one day I would be interviewing a writer in California about a show he’s really proud and excited about, because HIS son, Henry will love it too…

Oh life. I just think you are too funny.

And the Tracy boys are sill adorable. They have really good hair.

Stay tuned: interview with head writer, Rob Hoegeee, tomorrow. And I’ll also explain why I chose interviewing him, instead of the actors because they too have good hair. (Although Rob might too… I dunno… ) Anyhow, more on that tomorrow. 🙂

And remember:

Thunderbirds ARE GO!

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Thursday Throwback and Netflix Streamteam – Wonderfulness

I have an addiction.

To school supplies.

I have a straight up, no chaser, hold my credit cards, holy cow MORE POST-ITS PLEASE addiction to anything office related.  Every fall, you might find me deeply inhaling the sweet pink rubbery goodness of a handful of bubblegum erasers (and yes, I KNOW that sentence sounds rather… wrong. But I stand by my statement. I’m not ashamed.)

Pink Pencil Erasers

I mean, look at them.

As some of you know, this was the first year for school for Blonde. It was epic. But really, every year in June  (or is it late May?) when the great television gods start up with their JC Penny and Target ads and even, I think, Sharper Image gets in on the game, I get all goosebumpy and happy.  It’s a glorious thing, School.

We should just skip all this summer nonsense and school all year long.

SORRY.  NO, I DIDN’T MEAN IT.

I was breathing in my erasers rather heavily and got a bit dizzy there. What I MEANT to say is:

One month, preferably July = Summer

All the other months= School. Because, pointy new crayons!

Except for December, obviously, because, well there is a lot to do.  Trees to decorate. Santa to contend with.  And baking all those cookies, ya’ll. There’s cookies just exploding outta everywhere  in December.  And I gotta try to figure out how to wrap a bike, usually, or maybe a new kitten.  Oh, yes, and the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Sometimes I forget that one. It’s busy.*

Oh, and also February. No school in February because that is just an awful month and we should all just go away in February to some place that is as non-February as possible. Even a new Trapper Keeper isn’t gonna dress up February.

Oh! but yes, School in February 14. Of course! Because these:

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And we get to decorate a box to put them in! Which means? Glue! Markers! Maybe even… GLITTER.

 

 

Ok, so I’m getting a little confused here myself. I think I need to make a calendar. I know! With new Sharpies! And A RULER!

 

Since I have the honor of being a Netflix Streamteam blogger, I was thinking of what kind of shows would pair well with my back-to-school fervor.  And immediately, this gem came to mind:

 

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Kevin is adorable. Winnie is just… winsome. The Wonder Years was a simply perfect show.  It had depth and also humor, and some episodes could give you a knot in your throat the size of Toledo, unless you were heartless or just completely unmoved by Kevin’s brown-eyed earnestness.

Do you remember the episode where Mr. Collins, Kevin’s beloved teacher, just.. he… I CAN’T EVEN. I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU.  It was the best ugly-cry, cathartic, I don’t need therapy I just need to watch this, kind of show ever.

And don’t even get me started on the soundtrack.

I binge-watch shows that are about angry dragons and angry politicians and REALLY angry ex-science teachers…  I’M GONNA BINGE THIS ONE.

It’s … well, it’s just wonderful.

 

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*No. I don’t ever forget that one. I promise.

Wednesday and What We’re Watching: March #NetflixKids

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My goodness March has been flying by.  Literally.  We had a wind advisory here yesterday and I believe it snatched up at least three or four days of March and done flung ’em somewhere into April.

Incidentally, my hair just LOVES wind advisory days.  Generally, I will make it out to the porch steps, and then my hair will LOSE ITS MIND and go all Bridget Jones in the convertible scene.  Subtract from this scene:  Hugh Grant, British accents, simmering looks from Colin Firth, and glamorous weekend getaways.  Also, add the following:  two toddlers, an angry cat trying to escape the house, whining, and the sad understudy of a Toyota Matrix instead of a convertible. But otherwise:  All THIS IS SPOT ON, I TELL YOU.

My sweet boys have been a bit befuddled by the weather lately.  This is entirely my home state’s fault.

We live in Kansas: The Wheat State.

Forget wheat or soybeans, I think we should just call it what it is:

Kansas: The Weather Here Will Make You Nervous. 

I think Kansas needs to start airing PSA commercials about its climatic issues, or at least publish some sort of pamphlet, so that when my toddlers get all questionney I can just toss it at them and say, “Read this.  Kansas will explain.”*  This is the state where one day it can be sunny and 62 degrees and then decide, “Enough of this!  Let’s totally freak people out on the facebooks!” and go for snow and ice the next morning.  I am not exaggerating one bit.  (Ok, I KNOW, I DO exaggerate nearly all the time, like a million times a day and all, but NOT when it comes to the weather.  That’s silly.)

So, Blonde and Red and I keep having these conversations:

“Mom? Mommy?  MOM?  It’sa raining now?  But der’s snow all over da car and I think, slippy stuff?

“Ice, dear.”

“Well, I thought you said Spring had uh SPRUNG OUT?”

“That was yesterday.  I was overly excited.  I sprung out.”

“But… Spring is when we can fly our kites?  When is it SPRING?  Ders SNOW ALL OVER! WHEN kites?”

“Well.  Soon? I don’t know.  Stupid snow.”

“MOM!  Dat’s a bad word!”

“I’m sorry, kid.  I saw a crocus yesterday and I got a little giddy. No, don’t ask.  ‘Giddy’ just means GULLIBLE.  Because Kansas just smacked us upside the head.  Tomorrow, a hurricane.”

“WAT.” Both toddlers freeze.  This is rare, so I dial back my snark.

“I’m just kidding…  sorry.  Sarcasm foul.  I’ll take a timeout.”

“Whats ‘gullibough”?”

“Darling boy.  You.  And I love you for it.”

So, in defense of the Midwest, I would like to add that Kansas does provide us with all four seasons.  Heartily.  We have BIG snow, and SCORCHING heat, and TORRENTIAL rains, and we do BLUSTERY like nobody’s business.  We just like to mix them up an awful lot. This is terribly confusing to toddlers. I feel sorry for preschool teachers in Kansas.  How do they survive the weather chart in the morning?

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Hows about all five in one day? Things like this make toddlers weep with frustration.                                                                                                 Carson-Dellosa @Amazon.com

Fear not nervous Kansans!  I have found an immensely helpful tool to deal with all of this:

TELEVISION.

And when I say television, I mean:  IT’S REALLY COLD OUTSIDE AND I’M SICK OF IT SO LET’S HUNKER DOWN.

Now, don’t start tsk-tskking me.  We get outside.  We do.  At times we head to the park, or rake up leaves, putter in our garden, and play soccer and frolic about like daft lambs.

And at other times, we watch The Magic School Bus on Netflix and learn about the weather.

We start with Magic School Bus In the Arctic, (only fitting), and ended up with Magic School Bus All Dried Up (in the desert – wishful thinking).  We’ve watched The Magic School Bus Kicks Up a Storm and Makes a Rainbow, and even The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten.  That last one isn’t really weather pertaining, but it’s really cool and gross and my boys love the whole lower intestine part.  That, my friends, is fabulous television to a toddler.

I have to say, I love this series. It’s old school 80’s style, with a lot of cameos:  Little Richard, Dolly Parton, Ed Asner, Dan Marino (I kid you not).  There’s the lovely Lily Tomlin as Miss Frizzle, the “Get messy and make mistakes!” teacher who is bat-poop crazy and totally certifiable, but heck. It’s just a cartoon.  They can get away with that stuff.

We watch and then we understand a bit more about WHY the errant snowflakes are still whisking by our windows, or how the water cycle affects us all so much more than we ever knew. (CONDENSATION, YA’LL.  IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.)

Thank you, Oh Magic School Bus, for helping me with the six majillion weather related questions I have been weathering (I KNOW, RIGHT! You see the pun?? SEE IT!?  I am awesome.) for the past few weeks.

… And since we also need a bit of viewing for the older crowd:

Here’s one other little Netflix nugget I would like to share with you:

COLIN FIRTH.  POST- BRIDGET JONES.  IN ALL HIS ADORABLE FIRTHY-NESS.

Insert British accent here:  Do watch.  Have a cuppa.  Enjoy all the lacy dresses and parasols and flippancy.  Nobody does flippant like the British, by jove.

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Adorable adaptation of a brilliant play by the wordsmaster, Oscar Wilde.

 

And nobody does Dreamy like Mr. Firth.  🙂

*Pamphlet-teaching is awesome.  I use ’em all the time.  I have one entitled:  “Why My Mom is Muttering” and “Poo Does Not Belong There.”  These are brilliant and helpful.

Disclosure: I’m a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam.  Netflix comp the service we were previously paying for in exchange for my monthly posts and ramblings about movies and family viewing.  I love this.  I watch movies and then chatter about them.