Monday, August 31, 2015

Dinotrux are the new kids on the Netflix block!

Netflix is on a roll!!  A couple weeks ago, Netflix debuted yet another DreamWorks Animation Original Series; Dinotrux.  This new animated series is all that little boys' dreams are made of: Dinosaurs and Construction vehicles!!!

If your kids are anything like mine, they love all things dinosaur related.  They know every obscure dinosaur fact and could easily be considered a walking dinosaur encyclopedia.  They also LOVE construction trucks, bulldozers, cranes and anything else that can build and destroy things.  Well, DreamWorks so cleverly created this animated series from the Chris Gall children's book series.  The series is set in the Mechazoic Era with hybrid characters like Ty Rux, Revvit, Skya, Ton-Ton and many more.  Together, these Dinotrux characters venture off to teach viewers how it's possible to live together, accept each other and work together.  Through their adventures and their subsequent friendships created with the RepTools, they discover they can change the world.

My boys have been on Dinotrux-repeat all weekend and I love that they've found something other than a Star Wars related animation.  To celebrate, Netflix sent me some fun Dinotrux themed gifts and I had a small scavenger hunt for them to get them excited for Ty Rux and his pals!

Are your littles watching Dinotrux too??  Who's their favorite character?

Friday, July 31, 2015

The West Wing is my jam

I've always said that if I had to do it over again, I would major in Political Science and dabble in politics. I'd go work in The White House, change policy, help people and be a bad ass politician. I'd wear amazing outfits, a la Olivia Pope and I'd be influential on The Hill. However, I didn't major in Poli Sci, instead I majored in Sociology, worked in the TV industry for a number of years, and now I'm on my way to starting a Master's Program in Educational Counseling. C'est la vie! 

Recently, I've been watching a number of shows on Netflix that leave me wishing I really had taken up a career in politics.  Of course, Scandal is my favorite, but have you seen The West Wing?! It's so good. I never got into it when it was originally on, but that's because it first aired in 1999.  I had just graduated high school and was about to start my Freshman year at UCLA (Go Bruins!). My TV watching, back then, consisted of Friends, Beverly Hills 90210 and Survivor.   

I'm only on Season One of The West Wing, but I love all the political talk, the witty back-talk and the over idealized liberal politics. I feel like it is an accurate representation of what it must be like to work in The White House, even now. It's bittersweet to see the world in a pre-9/11 point of view. The biggest topic of foreign policy they've discussed thus far is a war between India and Pakistan. If only Aaron Sorkin knew what was to come in two years. The world was about to change so drastically and no one knew it. 

What I also enjoy about this show are the awesome 90's references. In one of the episodes, CJ Cregg (Alison Janney) mentions doing research for a particular topic by looking in the Encyclopedia Brittanica. What is that you ask?! Google it! Another story line was about how a major story was about to be leaked to the press. The night before the story was revealed during a press conference, it was posted online. The Press Secretary walked in to tell the Chief of Staff that although the story was officially coming out the next day, it was on the Internet and "by tomorrow, everyone will know". My husband laughed at that line! He was like,"What YEAR is this supposed to be?! If it's on the Internet there's no need for that press conference! HA!!"  If anything, watching for the late 90's references is a lot of fun...and it also makes you feel old! Womp, womp, wommmmmmp! 

So if you like political dramas, and if you, too, were still considered a teenager when The West Wing first aired, then you must watch this show. Your now old self will thank you for it! Can't wait to hear how much you love it! (Big thanks to my friend Megan, for recommending the show. It's pretty awesome!!)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Earth's Skittles Fruit Salad Recipe

                              *This post is sponsored by Netflix, but all opinions are my own*

Last month I posted our Summer Bucket List, which we have slowly started to cross off.  The boys have had a great time being actively involved in their summer plans, and as their mom, I love that!  However, I would be lying if I said there isn't a little downtime in their daily activities.  That's why this weekend, we let the boys pick a series on Netflix, that they could start watching.  I wasn't surprised, at all, when the 6-year old chose Netflix's new Dreamworks Animation series, Dragons: Race to the Edge.

If your family loved the How to Train Your Dragon franchise (there are two movies so far, and a third scheduled for release in 2018), then they'll love this new Netflix original series.  The series takes place in between the period of time illustrated in How to Train Your Dragon and How to Train Your Dragon 2.  My son said he enjoys it because you "get more of the story that you don't get to see in the movies, there's new dragons and it's really exciting, Mom!"  I can't really argue with that!  Since, this is a new show (it just debuted on Friday, June 26th), there is currently only one season made up of the usual 13 episodes.  But, for my boys, that's plenty!  It's just enough to entertain them, and then make them want to "play dragons" on their own.

Dragons: Race to the Edge is definitely a new favorite in our house, and as a treat, I thought I'd also give you the recipe to a fruit salad that's a favorite in our house, as well as at get togethers and barbecues, when I bring it along.  It's super easy to make and just plain delicious!  My boys had it by the bowlful this past weekend, while watching their new Netflix favorite!  It's like Earth's Skittles….hence, the name my son gave it!  Happy Summer, friends!

Earth's Skittles Fruit Salad

32 oz.  sliced strawberries
16 oz.  red seedless grapes
12 oz.  blueberries
(6)  sliced kiwis
(1) 15 oz. can of mandarin oranges, drained well
(1) 20 oz. can of pineapple chunks, drained well
(3) limes
1/4 cup honey
(1) 3.4 oz box Vanilla Pudding Mix

*add all fruit ingredients into a large bowl. Squeeze all of the limes onto the fruit, top off with honey as recommended, or add more honey for a sweeter, honey-lime juice dressing.  Add entire Vanilla pudding packet and mix thoroughly.

Friday, May 29, 2015

FREE Printable Summer Bucket List

*This post is sponsored by Netflix, but all opinions are my own*

Today is our official first day of Summer.  It's May.  May, people!  I don't know about you, but I feel like it was just Fall.  How is it now Summer?!  Don't get me wrong; I love Summer time.  After all, in southern California, Summer means you spend a lot of time in the pool or at the beach.  It means movies and popcorn, and ice cream for dinner.  But, the lightning speed in which we got Summer has me sitting here in my oh-crap-it's-Summer-and-I-wasn't-prepared-for-it daze.  As a result, I've been trying to snap out of it long enough to think of our family's Summer Bucket List, that will manage to entertain two little boys and one grown-up boy long enough to let me keep my sanity.

Here is our 2015 Summer Bucket List:

1.  Have a family game night.
2.  Roast marshmallows and make s'mores.
3.  Have a water balloon fight with the neighborhood kids.  (there's A LOT of kids around here!)
4.  Visit our local farmer's market
5.  Watch Planet Earth: The Complete Collection on Netflix:  while having fun is a must, I'd also like for my boys to continue learning during this long break.  Learning about our world and the Earth's natural history is important for them to become responsible citizens, so why not teach them now?
6.  Watch fireworks
7.  Set up a Netflix movie night outside for the neighborhood:  With movies like Dreamworks Dragons: Race to the Edge, The Boxtrolls, The Nut Job and Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Netflix makes it easy to have a great movie night and check this item off our list.
8.  Have a bonfire at the beach!
9.  Eat ice cream for dinner.
10.  Go to a fair or amusement park.
11.  Go to the zoo.
12.  Have a play date with friends.
13.  Make a giant blanket fort and sleep under it.
14.  Go on a family road trip.
15.  Take our Gigi's (Great-Grandmas) out for lunch.
16.  Visit UCLA and get new gear for the whole family.
17.  Make home-made ice cream sandwiches.
18.  Visit the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.
19.  Have a Netflix movie night designated and planned by each boy.  Each one will get to pick the movie we watch on Netflix and the snacks we eat.
20.  Build a sandcastle.
21.  Have a picnic lunch at a park.
22.  Explore a new park.
23.  Take a trip to our local library.
24.  Ride bikes at the beach.
25.  Go to a water park.

Are you freaking out about the summer being here already?  What's on your Summer Bucket List?  Well don't panic!  I made you a printable summer bucket list that you can print and check off throughout the Summer!  I can't wait to hear what fun things you all do!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

10 Reasons Why You Should Watch Netflix's New Original Series, Bloodline

Every morning, while I get ready for work, I watch an episode of a show on Netflix.  In the past, while doing my hair or makeup, it has been Friends.  And since that show was 10 seasons of awesomeness, that lasted a good few months.  Then I switched to Parenthood (that show is FANTASTIC!) which was just great because it was about family and the various issues that arise as a result of being a part of one, and the many successes and failures that come as a result.  All the while making you feel warm and fuzzy after and each and every episode.

Well, now I'm watching a new show and frankly, it's the opposite of Parenthood, but in a good way!!!  It's so GOOD!  Bloodline is a new Netflix Original Series.  It was released in March and I just started it a couple weeks ago.  While this show does not leave you feeling all "warm and fuzzy" after every episode, it does leave you asking more questions and wanting to learn more about the dark secrets held by each character. The show is about the Rayburn Family and it focuses around events in their past while illustrating how those events have shaped their present, and how the return of the eldest son and token black sheep, Danny, will make them all unravel. Every episode is as good as the last and if you like a good drama series, then Bloodline should be next in your queue of shows to watch.  I like it so much, I compiled a list of 10 reasons why I think you should watch Bloodline, too.

1.  Your favorite guy from Friday Night Lights is on it!:   Kyle Chandler plays John Rayburn, the second child of the Rayburn Family.  If you loved him in Friday Night Lights, you'll love him on Bloodline as John.  He's a hottie…in an older-man kind of way!

2.  An MTV "...stranger, picked to live in a house" is on it!:  Jacinda Barrett plays Diana Rayburn, John's wife.  And if you're a reality television fan, then you will recognize her from MTV's The Real World: London.  (Yes, I realize I just dated myself, since that season was on in the mid 90's, but….whatever).  I loved Jacinda when she was on MTV and I have enjoyed watching her in the various acting jobs she's had, since.

3.  An Academy Award winning actress stars on the show!: Sissy Spacek plays the matriarch of this twisted family, and just like every role she plays, she does an astounding job portraying a mother who has chosen to shield her own eyes in order to avoid reality and avoid the truth.

4.  An Academy Award winning actor and Pulitzer Prize winning author, stars on the show!:  The cast for this show is stacked!  Such great talent starring in every scene!  Sam Shepard plays patriarch, Robert Rayburn and he does such a great job portraying a likable man, that when small truths are revealed, you find it hard to dislike him.

5.  It takes place in the Florida Keys!:  The backdrop for the Rayburn Family drama is crystal clear water, palm trees, boats, and the family inn.  And honestly, that is even better eye candy than Kyle Chandler.  Sorry Kyle!

6.  Model and actress, Chloe Sevigny has a part in this drama…and she's a hot mess!  You'll love it!:  Chloe is known for being a model, actress and fashion designer.  Her character's fashion sense is very trailer-park-chic, so it just brought me great joy to see her looking a hot mess rather than her beautiful, put-together self.  If you loved her in HBO's Big Love, you'll enjoy her in Bloodline.

7.  Every episode seems like an hour-long movie:   Each episode starts off backwards.  They give you the "what", then throughout the episode they illustrate the "how".  It's a fascinating way to develop a story and leaves you wanting more.  Every.  Single.  Time.

8.  You'll love to hate Danny Rayburn!:  Ben Mendelsohn plays Danny Rayburn, the eldest son.  He's the black sheep of the family and he's so good in this role, that you just love to hate him.  You also, feel sorry for him because of the circumstances that have occurred, which have ultimately shaped his life.

9.  Every episode of Bloodline will make you want to go on vacation:  After every episode, I just want to book a room at an inn or B&B in the Keys and just relax.  I've never been to Florida, but I will be going in November and this show makes me glad to know I will be there soon!

10.  There's a Season 2 lined up!:  Feel free to invest interest and time in this show.  It's been picked up for Season 2 in 2016.  While that seems like a long time away, at least you'll be able to watch it over and over until you're blue in the face.  And then, you'll be able to continue the story next year. No worrying about dedicating time to a show that has an uncertain future, here!  Watch happily and confidently!

Let me know what you think!  I can't wait to hear your thoughts on this great, new show!
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