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!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Spring Training and The Top Baseball Films to Watch on Netflix

Baseball is a pretty important sport in our house.  You see, my husband collects baseball cards.  Yes, the kind that used to come with bubble gum and kids on the playground would trade at school.  However, the cards he collects come in hard plastic cases and no one can touch them.  Every now and then he lets me help him open them when he gets new, unopened packs on eBay, but this act of "romance" on his behalf comes with strict instructions to "…NOT bend the edges!!!"

For my oldest son, baseball is everything.  Specifically, Mike Trout and the Anaheim Angels  (I choose to call them the Anaheim Angels, because their actual name is just ridiculous).  He studies baseball card stats, watches ESPN during Spring Training, and even watches baseball movies and documentaries with his dad. My youngest worships his dad and brother, so he does whatever they do and, well, since that usually involves baseball, that means I have a house full of baseball nuts!  It comes as no surprise then, that for Christmas I bought my husband two tickets to the Angels' Spring Training in Phoenix, AZ, and then I proceeded to invite myself to his Spring Training weekend. Smart move on MY part!  HA!

We had a blast this past weekend in Phoenix.  It was fantastic! We went to an Angels vs. Dodgers game and while the day was a high of 97 degrees, my husband  caught a foul ball, so all was well in the world, after that!  Here are a few pictures of our trip:

To celebrate the fact that Opening Day is just a week away, I thought I'd put together a list of movies and documentaries on Netflix that have gotten my boys through Fall and Winter (aka. the baseball drought), and will certainly keep baseball fans at ease during the off-season.  Happy Watching!!!

1. The Battered Bastards of Baseball
2. The Baseball Chronicles
3. 30 for 30: Four Days in October
4. BASEBALL: A film by Ken Burns
5. The Perfect Game
6. The Bad News Bears
7. A Mile in his Shoes

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My 12 Favorite Romantic, Date-Night Movies on Netflix

You've heard me talk about it a few times here: date nights.  And I've even mentioned day dates.  I often hear friends and co-workers tell me that they don't have dates often enough because they just can't get a sitter or would prefer not to pay a ton of money on a sitter, only to then pay a ton of money on dinner and a movie.

With Netflix, the hubs and I are able to have date nights at home, after the kids go to bed, and way more frequently.  We have the best snacks accompanied with wine (or beer for the mister).  For our snacks, I love going on Pinterest and searching "date night snacks" and attempting to make whatever snacks come up, that seem actually doable and edible.  Lately I've been making specialty popcorns, like one I found that was a delicious Dill & Garlic combination.  There was also a really great chili powder and lemon popcorn, that is actually making my mouth water as I type.  So delicious!  

Once we get the snack situation ready, one of us (we take turns every other time) gets dibs at choosing the movie for that date night.  Naturally, the movies he picks are totally sci-fi, or fast-paced, dramatic thrillers.  My choices typically consist of romantic comedies, or just plain romantic films!  Here are 12 of my favorite romantic, date-night movies, currently streaming on Netflix:

1.  Silver Linings Playbook
2.  One Day
3.  Hitch
4.  Fools Rush In
5.  The Sweetest Thing
6.  Notting Hill

7.  Sliding Doors
8.  Dirty Dancing
9.  Pretty in Pink
10.  Safe Haven
11. Sleepless in Seattle
12.  Legends of the Fall

Currently, my favorite of those movies is Fools Rush In.  I think it reminds me of me and my husband.  Especially the scene where Isabel's family (Salma Hayek's character) takes Alex (Matthew Perry's character) out to the desert and he ends up in cactus and drowning the subsequent pain from that in a bottle of tequila.  The cactus part never happened in our situation, but the crazy cousins giving the hubs too much tequila, certainly did happen, on more than one occasion on our vacations to Mexico City.  

So what movie will you be watching on your next date night in?  What is your snack of choice for movie nights with your honey?  The next snack I will be trying are the bacon wrapped dates?!  They have bacon, so they have to be good….right?!
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