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.

 

 

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.

Willy Nilly Parenting. Yes It’s a Thing.

You guys. Parenting should never just hope for the best and lean on fate. It should never overplay its hand. Or wait for the luck of the draw. Basically? Anything related to the word “gambling” should not be in the same suit as parenting

(You saw that, right? Are we not in total awe of me?)

Parenting is a science, y’all. And for those people out there who say gambling is all just science and math and numbers, well, you go, Stephen Hawking*. I’m not gonna argue. I  don’t even have the time to elaborate on my metaphor and plus, science is much too thinkie for me right now.

Oh, you know it. I just said it. I am anti-thinkie today. And you wanna know WHY?

CHILDREN. CHILDREN, THAT’S WHY.

If you please, I would like to present to you my plan to stop thinking about my parenting because I only have a few years left on this planet and if I don’t want to end up a mumbling heap of wrinkles in ten years, I am going to start NOW.

MOMSIE’S PLAN TO STOP THINKING ABOUT PARENTING:

AKA

LET’S JUST DO THIS ALL WILLY NILLY.

I know some of you read some parenting books, just like me. I read most of them right before cherub #1 was born and I took notes and journaled and planned and was READY to get ON it with the parenting. I was a thinkie beacon of parenting light, I tell you.

And then that little dude came out of my nether regions and all of it just went south. Nether regions too.

Here. Let me provide a visual to explain:

(NO not of the nether regions! Good heavens. )

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I no longer have a plan. I fly by the seat of my pants, people. My kids are a bit twitchy, but they’ve survived. In fact, in some ways, the Willy Nilly model has served them well. Just the other day I heard Blonde kid (#1, he started this whole mess) clock Red over the head with his light saber and then they were all mad and hated each other forever and then within FOUR minutes giggling commenced because one kid called it a fart saber. I don’t even know which one did it, but it certainly provided some comic relief. And so, logically…

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*I am pretty sure Stephen Hawking is all about physics? Not so much gambling? But he’s super smart, right? Anyhow, I wanted you to at least know that I knew that.

Let It Be.

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This post is brought to you by the Great and Mighty Netflix. Sometimes I blog for them, did you know?

But also, this post is brought to you by deep neurosis and a sudden longing for donuts with sprinkles.

Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

Ok, so a few weeks back I up and left my family, just ABANDONED them, so I could wedge myself into a hotel room and work on my book. I wrote and outlined and organized and worked very hard. Also, I ate a LOT of donuts. And I NEVER HAD TO SHARE.

I wrote a book. Did you know? I wrote a book. And now, I am writing Book 2!! That’s how it works. I plan to have a whole series of Books All About MEEEE when done. (That’s a possible title).

Anyhow.

When I absconded from my poor sweet babies, they happened to get a box in the mail.

And the box was from THE GREAT NETFLIX! SENDER OF BOXES OF COOL STUFF!

I was kinda bummed. I missed it. I MISSED THE WHOLE THING. I was off all writey-writey while a box of goodness was being festooned all over our house, y’all. And, as you know, the boxes from Netflix can totally ROCK.

Ok, I don’t mean to be anti-climatic, but it was not another television. It was THIS:

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Blonde started rocking out on the harmonica. He turned into a wee version of that dude from Blues Traveler. Or ate least that is what the husband tells me, but how would I know? THE HUSBAND TOOK ABSOLUTELY NO FOOTAGE OF ANY OF THIS.

And I, of course, have now taken over the tambourine because:

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Music is my jam, y’all. Well, not really but I love the outfit and she has EARS. SOOOO cute.

So I missed all the cuteness. It was tough. The husband took absolutely NO pictures of my beloved prodigies as they started created masterpieces, so it’s like it never happened at all.

When you are a mom and you leave your children… sometimes, as much as you WANTED to leave them, and NEEDED the time away… you STILL want to be around them. You know?

I dunno. Maybe that’s just me. I had to let it be.

*cue the music*

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Netflix’s new show, Beat Bugs, is simply adorable. I mean, how could it not be?

Beatles music + cool artists + cute bugs = television magic.

(Small moment of total squee: Beat Bugs has Robbie Williams. Like, Robbie Williams from the Ego has Landed. Which was a really, really REALLY good album.)310GJFDG06L.jpg

Watch the trailer below to see the magic unfold! All the feels! I can finally explain to my kids who the Beatles are, which, as any good parent knows, is part of the trilogy of parenting:

THE TRILOGY OF PARENTING:

  1. The Beatles are the best.
  2. We will always watch the black and white Scrooge.
  3. Jar Jar Binks shall never be discussed in this household.

 

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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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‘Tis the Season for a Giveaway!

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Hey! You!

Are you worn out from all the Christmas shopping and shindigs and endless holiday cookie swaps?

Would you like to just get in some sweats and huddle up to House episodes (my recent binge) while eating the weight of a small child in snickerdoodles?

Well, have I got a deal for you!

Free Netflix for 6 months! YEAAAA!

If you would like to be entered in the drawing, comment below, and I will announce the winner TONIGHT!!!

No one can ever have too many House episodes. Hugh Laurie’s character is an angry, angry man, and thus, I love him.

Also: You can watch these fabulous holiday wonders:

 

Ok, Momsie’s favorite parts of all the above, in no particular order:

Scrooged: attaching the antlers to the mouse. You’ll see.

While You Were Sleeping: the dinner conversation. You’ll see.

Love Actually: Bill Nighy’s character’s very candid opinion about his song. Oh and the Mr. Bean cameo. You’ll see.

A Muppet Christmas Carol: “This is my island in dee sun…” You’ll see.

 

Comment below to enter. And then, you can decide how you want to tackle the whole  “Netflix and chill” thing. You can imagine my surprise on how this phrase seems to be a bit more complex than I realized. I would explain further, but it’s not that kinda blog. 🙂

Merry Christmas and a Happy Netflix!

 

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

 

 

 

 

I CAN be Wonder Woman. With help from #NetflixKids.

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I think I have convinced my children that I have super powers.

I do think, also, that all mothers actually DO deserve a cape. And maybe a sparkly head band or blingie metallic wrist bracelet thingies. I can rock the boots and big hair, I tell ya.

But along with the cute outfit, comes these wonders:

  1. Ears that can hear Sharpie being applied to a cat from fifty yards.
  2. Eyes in the back of my head. Always thought this was kinda creepy. I get it now.
  3. Ability to discern fake crying from real crying in less than three seconds.
  4. Ability to use the phrase, “Eat some raisins. They’re nature’s candy” with total aplomb.

In fact, I am the bomb at aplomb.

(Sorry, just had to. How often does one get to use ‘aplomb’ in the day to day? I am giving this gift to you.)

Anyhow.

The only* area of Wonder Womanness that I am failing at these days is, um, getting my kids to be generally nice and, well, kind and patient with each other. But… So NOT a big deal, right?

Basic kindness is overrated anyway. Just watch reality television for five minutes and you’ll see.

However, as I am aiming for utter perfection in my world at all times, I have found myself rather stuck on this problem with congeniality. They love each other, yes. They are related. Yes. But after school? They come home and just sort of hate on each other’s guts until dinner.

Okay. It’s driving me freaking crazy.

So once again, I have dialed up my favorite parental tool for help:

TELEVISION TO THE RESCUE!!!!

I snark, but I also must explain: my kids do only get to watch an hour (oh how they covet that one hour, my preshus) on the weekdays, and usually it is administered when they slide in the door after school because their little brains are all mushy and they have the social skills of a tired rattlesnake at this time of day. We eat a snack, and then we cuddle, and then they watch this new offering from the Great Netflixes:

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Can you imagine the meeting at Dreamworks for this?

Chris Gall (author of the illustrated children’s book series): Hey. What do kids love to watch?

Dude: Uh… construction trucks. Also, the donuts being glazed at Krispy Kreme.

Gall: Ok! Also, dinosaurs! They like those too, right?

Dude: Yep.

Gall: So…

Dude: Um, so… what you’re saying is…

Gall: Combo package!!

Dude: Dinosaurs Order Krispy Kreme? Co-branding! Brilliant! It’ll be a hit!

Epilogue: Chris Gall is still happily working and successful. Dude is NOT.

Netflix’s new show Dinotrux is set in the Mechazoic period, and it features Ty Rux, part T-Rex and excavator, who has a really, really good grip on how to be KIND.

In fact, Ty Rux WORKS WELL WITH OTHERS!  He SHARES HIS STUFF! ! He remembers that HE IS NOT ONLY FIRST!!!

And so on. You get the point? If I utter all the above phrases… it sounds like this:

“BWA WAH WA WAH HA WAHHH WAHHH I AM MEANEST MOTHERRRR EVERRRR.”

If Dinotrux gets in on the action? It soaks in. A little.

I’m not saying I’m using Ty as a surrogate momma, but these days, I’ll take all the help I can get.

Dinotrux also features this grumpy guy:Screenshot 2015-08-20 09.43.13

Notice his catch phrase. “What’s in it for me?” Now, this is rarely said out LOUD statement at our house. No one would actually have the audacity. But, it’s there.  This whole “ME ME ME ME” thing is pervasive, and, much like my laundry room after things start piling up, a bit rank. When my kids get tired they tend to… put themselves at the front of The Great Big Line of What’s Most Fair in Life, and they don’t understand when someone barks at them: “Hey, NO cutting!”

I am second,” is something my husband and I talk about. And TALK about. And we pray about it. I go in after they’re sleeping and lay hands on them and say, “Lord, PLEASE fix them. Just make them KIND! YES! Be HEALED! Like, now? Thanks! Amen!” **

Also: I subliminally insert “I am second” into their dreams re a hidden tape that plays at night… (Please don’t tell them. I read about this once in the great book, How to Brainwash Your Children, and we’re hoping it works.)

Thank you, Skrap-it for backing me up. Skrap-It is a Back-it, as it were.
(I am so sorry. I know. First the whole ‘aplomb’ cheesiness and now this…)

Your littles will enjoy Dinotrux. And you will enjoy it because it’s all about teamwork, playing fair, and PATIENCE. If we watch a bit more, I might be able to shut off the subliminal message tape.

But, I did notice the other morning that Steve the Cat meowed, “After you, my sweet friend,” to Bob the Cat at breakfast bowl… so perhaps not.

Thank you, Netflix!

As a Netflix Streamteam blogger, Netflix asks me to watch their fabulousness and them chatter about it. It's a great gig.

As a Netflix Streamteam blogger, Netflix asks me to watch their fabulousness and them chatter about it. It’s a great gig.

*Thank you to the lawyer for not making fun of my use of the word “only.” As if.

** So far this type of prayer has worked to make only ME a TEENSY bit more patient. It has not made the children perfect yet. I am thinking Jesus might be holding out on me for that one.

Wanna watch a trailer for Dinotrux? Click here!