This post is part of a year-long partnership with the Netflix #StreamTeam
So what's a family night-in look like in your house? At our house it usually involves some couch-cuddling, fleece blankets, popcorn with Kerrygold butter + salt, and something all three of us can watch. Usually we all pile on one couch (plus Gemma on someone's lap) even though we have two in our living room.
Delicious beverages are included, obviously. Meaning, a good local craft beer for Tom and I (usually something from either Tree House, Iron Duke, Trillium, or Night Shift), and some hot chocolate or Naked Green Machine juice for Carter. It's his fave.
Carter's Favorite Chocolate Milk Recipe:
1-2 T Native Forest Coconut Milk (the full fat kind)
1/2 C unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 T Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder
Heat it on the stove or in the microwave, then throw it in the blender. Delicious.
So here's what's on our list for some future nights in at our house:
1. Fuller House
Why: If you have any respect for the 90s, you'll watch it as a moral obligation. Quite honestly, I have not had the time yet since starting a new job at the end of January (!), but it's on my mental "to-watch" list. I don't have high hopes for it (did I say that?) but it's just one of those things where you have to give it a chance, if only for your six-year-old self.
How Rude. You got it dude. Cut it out. (Had to get all that out at once.)
2. Grace and Frankie
Why: So unique. Season 2 is released Friday, April 15, so you'll want to be all caught up in time for that. It's definitely not a show where you feel like, haven't I watch this 15 times before?
The characters are all the age of your grandparents, which is a nice change from the main character 20-somethings in every show ever.
3. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Why: It's hilarious. Do you need another reason?
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And now a not-so-subtle segue into life happenings.
I got a new job as an inbound marketing consultant. It's been a great transition and I'm very excited about it. I'm still working from home, which is and always has been a priority for me. It just suits my personality. You're either someone who can work remotely and ignore your dishes and laundry all day, or you aren't (and if that's the case, I don't really understand you as a person.)
Carter is going to be 5 in a couple months, which I can't even comprehend. He's hilarious and he still has a fantastic sense of style. Or maybe I'm just good at pushing it onto him? Either way, he has strong opinions about what he wears. It took us a good two months of wearing too-small sneakers for him to decide on a pair. They had to be all green. We spent a good five times scrolling through Zappos, but none were up to par. There was always a stray black sole or white Nike swoosh to be found. Enter the lime green (called safety yellow--but we'll go with it) sneakers from Gap. Finally his toes have a little wiggle room.
We're going to Disney at the beginning of May and I can't wait for it. Fort Wilderness cabins, here we come! The magic bands have been chosen, the stroller is rented, everything is good to go. The planning has been much less stressful this year than last (which was our first time doing Disney). It really takes a while to get a feel for how everything works. I had a near panic attack last year while planning fast passes (don't judge), but now I can't wait for it. In particular, we're looking forward to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, and Tower of Terror.
Carter's cousins are going too and I see a super-fun time for all of us with zero sleep and too much salty Disney popcorn. Bring it on!
Who here listens to podcasts? I just love them. I'm definitely party auditory learner and part visual, so I love using time in the car, times when I'm doing simple tasks on the computer, or those minutes (hours) when I can't fall asleep at night to learn something new or to just simply clear my mind from my daily to-do lists.
(any of these can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, the podcast app on your iPhone/iPad, but I'll link to the sites for them)
1. My first favorite is definitely Serial. I'm sure lots of you have listened to this already. I just think the producers of Serial are SUCH great story tellers. I couldn't tear myself away from the first season, and started listening to episode after episode of the podcast "Undisclosed" just for more in-depth info on the case. I won't say anything in case you're new to it, but I want to! Now, on the second season, I am immediately sucked into a story I didn't think I'd be that into. I read a bit about Bowe Bergdahl on the news, but never was overly drawn in. I think because based on anything I read in the news, I couldn't really tell if only one side was being reported, etc, so I kind of just blocked it out because, what do I know about POWs and deserters? Nothing. That's what I love about Serial though. The way they explain foreign topics so seamlessly and make it insanely interesting at the same time. Like the way they interview people from all sides, involved in every which way. It's so cool.
2. This is kind of a random one (for me), but I really like The Art of Charm. It's definitely geared toward men, but I find a lot of the business focused podcasts to be full of useful information, and they get to the point quickly. They also interview some really interesting people and I love when I've listened to or watched a TED talk and then they interview the same person. Like Scott Dinsmore. I watched his Ted Talk on finding your passions and then, wouldn't you know, he showed up on The Art of Charm. Worlds colliding! Love it.
3. Primal Potential. I like Elizabeth's "no nonsense" attitude and her straight talk about healthy eating. I also love her focus on creating healthy habits and completely abandoning anything resembling a diet. It's been a go-to for me for a while (even especially on days when I eat Ben & Jerry's and don't feel bad about it).
4. "Stuff You Missed in History Class"--so I missed a lot in history class. The only reason I got good grades in history throughout high school were because I could whip out a 12 pager on Teddy Roosevelt like nobody's business. Did I pay attention in class? Nope. Did I think history was relevant? No way. Did I secretly paint my nails under my desk? You betcha. Luckily test grades were not all that mattered. Thank God for papers and homework assignments. Who ever thought I'd say that?
Anyway, in college I took a history class my freshman year and this was the turning point regarding my feelings toward history. I had the greatest professor who looked like he had just jumped out of a safari five minutes ago and he could tell a story about Alexander Great like it was the next blockbuster. See, my thing is storytelling. If you can't turn history into a good story, how am I supposed to find value in it? Names and dates are meaningless to me without a good tale to back it up. So in this class, I learned all the things (since in all years prior to my 19th year of life I had ignored all that was thrust upon me). So now I'm playing catch up and I just can't get enough of Holly and Tracy. They're my favorite. They're just so into it, all the time. And somehow they make shows about ax murders a little...giggle worthy? Is that okay? If you have ever uttered the phrase "history is in the past," this one's for you.
5. The Moth. This is another story-telling one, go figure. This one was a recommendation from my sister-in-law and I love it. It's like slam poetry, but it's slam stories. People memorize five minute stories and perform them at a story slam. These stories are all true and from their own experiences. It makes me nervous just to think about it. I really want to go to one! Not putting my name in the hat though. Sorry.
So we all watch Netflix here, right? Well today someone's going to win 6 months of free Netflix just in time for Christmas movie watching and the new season of "Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt." Lucky you. Well the winner will technically be announced on Tuesday 12/15, but who's counting down? If you want to skip my genius of a post--go right ahead and scroll down to the bottom. It's not going to hurt my feelings at all.
First things first.
I want to provide you with 4 Non-Clutter Gift Ideas. Because after Christmas things just get messy. Like messy. And nothing has a place and it's just chaos everywhere.
1. Warm, fuzzy blankets. You can't have too many of these. And they belong draped over a comfy chair or your sofa. No putting away necessary. Also, if you've got a lot of 'em...the linen closet? Easy.
2. Slippers. Probably the last time you got slippers was last Christmas. And if you wore them outside to take out the trash and maybe even to shovel a step or two (even though you swore you wouldn't), they're probably looking pretty sad right now and you could use a revamp.
*Note, #1 and #2 would go fantastic with 6 months of Netflix. You'd have to make some hot chocolate too. Not cocoa. That word's gross.
3. Restaurant gift cards. Because who doesn't want to go out to eat on someone else's treat? I'll take a sushi one, please.
4. Something super cool...like tickets for zip line canopy tours. My sister, my mom, and I would have so much fun with this. And this is as scary as I get without sky diving. They did it, sky diving I mean. I couldn't. Like I couldn't and I also wouldn't. When they went I was pregnant with Carter so I didn't even have to come up with an excuse.
I am SO SICK of gift guides. To counteract all the holiday gift guides I'm already seeing (even pre-Thanksgiving) here's a list of non-toy/pointless material object gift ideas for kids. I'm not saying all toys are bad--we have fun with so many of them and we have a playroom-ful, so no judgment here. But I want to make an effort to be less concerned with the material things and more focused on enjoying each other's company this holiday season. Maybe I'm hopping on the REI bandwagon, but that's fine by me.
A few notes on my ideas (these aren't sponsored):
-One monthly box subscription that I think would be great for kids is We Cook, but there is also Citrus Lane, Kiwi Crate, etc.
-Carter's taking a theater class, which is different, and he loves it! So there's an idea.
-Kid salons are so fun. I take Carter to one and every time he gets his hair cut, they spike the front with gel and make it green. So this works for boys too! The one near us also does manis/pedis in big pink chairs. So cute.
-Shows are the greatest. Disney on Ice is awesome. There's also The Wiggles, Peppa Pig has a stage show, Veggie Tales Live is fantastic; you could look into kids' concerts, etc. So many possibilities. I could throw out a cliche like "the sky is the limit," "the possibilities are endless," but you get the idea, I think. Right?
So anyway, what are YOUR non-toy ideas? What has gone over well in the past? Tweet your non-toy ideas to me @Positively_Amy with #NoMoreToys