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Binge Watching- Mom’s Turn #StreamTeam

Do you have a list of shows you want to binge watch? I keep one in the notes section on my phone. We won’t discuss how long it is. What we can discuss is how every time I read something about a show everyone is buzzing about, I add it to the list. It is how I found Friday Night Lights and Parenthood and How I Met Your Mother and Scandal. I need to catch up on Scandal (got sidetracked by White Collar), but the rest I binge watched beginning to end. Thank you Netflix.

So often my Netflix posts focus on what your kids can watch. But don’t you deserve a little downtime at the end of your days. Maybe with a nice Cabernet? This month, let’s discuss the most binge-worthy shows you are missing on Netflix. Got your notepad ready?

Scandal

Scandal

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon a Time

Gotham: Season 1

Gotham

The Walking Dead

Walking Dead

The Blacklist: Season 1-2

Blacklist

Grey’s Anatomy

Grey s Anatomy

The League: Season 6

The League

Heroes

Heroes

Every one of these minus The Walking Dead (can’t do zombies) and Grey’s Anatomy (gave up on that show when Christina left) is on my list. Which one of them should we watch next? Which one is on your list?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team. I received a year long membership to Netflix in exchange for these posts. All opinions are mine. 

What I’m Watching in August #streamteam

We are officially back in the school swing of things and I must say, we were ready. Like REA.DY. We had such an amazing summer, jam-packed with awesomeness, but as it was winding down I was hearing way too much bickering, “I’m bored”-ing and, truth be told, a bit of yelling from someone who will remain nameless.

Also, I’m not even going to try to pretend that screen time got a little out of hand these past few weeks. I’m not proud, but I’m not all that ashamed lately. Thanks to Netflix, we got addicted to some new, awesome original programming.

We’ll start with Silas. Although he is growing up way to fast as evidenced by his starting Kindergarten this week #sunrisesunset, he still loves a good cartoon about superheros, dinosaurs or trucks. Dinotrux pretty much knocked it out of the park with a combo of all three. And it is by Dreamworks so you know it is going to be awesome. The only bummer is Silas quickly blew through all the episodes and is dying for more.

Dinotrux, premiering exclusively on Netflix Aug. 14, is a brand new action-packed original series featuring characters that are half-dinosaur/half-construction vehicle. Ty Rux and Revvit, two unlikely best friends, build a bigger, better world and battle against the biggest creature of all: D-Structs, who threatens to wreck everything they’ve built. Dinotrux mixes action, comedy and adventure while focusing on teamwork and friendship.

The girls have found their own “tween” show to love (and honestly Silas loves it too). I could not be more geeked about this show #punintended. After years of marketing to girls being all about dumbing yourself down to get a boyfriend, it seems Smart is the new Cool. Project Mc² has 4 female leads that my girls can totally look up to. The best part is that while brainy, and even a little nerdy, they are also fashionable and fun. Can I get a hallelujah?!!

Project Mc² is a fresh take on the typical tween girl show you’re probably familiar with. The series has S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) organically woven throughout the storyline, making it fun and breaking the stereotype that being smart, funny, stylish and capable are mutually exclusive. Project Mc² reflects today’s tweens in a relatable way, giving girls four empowered female leads to look up to.

As for me? Ryan and I FINALLY finished White Collar (the ending was perfection) and currently haven’t latched onto anything together. But when he isn’t around I am binge watching Ally McBeal and it is bringing back all the feels. I loved this show in college and grad school and it is so much fun to relive. Dancing babies anyone?

Here are a few more ideas of shows that will keep your kids brains from turning to mush as they head back to school:

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Netflix Original: Ever After High: Way Too Wonderland

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Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

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How the State Got Their Shapes

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Odd Squad

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Reading Rainbow

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Magic School Bus

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The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!

Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and have been given a complimentary year membership. Using it as an excuse to let my kids watch hours of television as “research” is just a side benefit. 

How Get The Most Out Of Cedar Point (no matter your age or thrill level)

It has been 3 years since we last went to Cedar Point. Which is approximately 3 years too long according to my family. But thankfully last week we rectified the situation by surprising the kiddos on their last day of school and heading to Sandusky. My super hero status has been reinstated.

Wicked Twister Midway

In my family we have 3 thrill seekers, one who lives for anything that spins and one who prefers to sit on the sideline taking pictures and people watching (guess who I am….). We also have three kids who meet different height requirements. All of this could make for an amusement park day filled with frustrations, but at Cedar Point there wasn’t a single whine or complaint. Nobody felt left out and everyone had a blast. #winning

Here’s why:

  • Camp Snoopy, Planet Snoopy and Kiddy Kingdom: While some of the rides in the kid’s areas have a maximum height requirement of 54′ leaving out Lily, most of the rides were ones all the kids could enjoy together. With three different sections for the little ones, your kids will not quickly get bored or feel left out of the action. There are even a few roller coasters and some bumper cars. Silas and I spent much of our days in these three sections of the park while the bigs did some crazy rides. We had crazy amounts of fun.

Rougarou First Hill

  • Parent Swap: Let’s say you come from a family where BOTH parents love to do insane roller coasters (a clearly crazy family). But you also have a little one who can’t go on the huge rides. One parent waits in line to a coaster or other height-restricted ride. After riding, they give their Parent Swap pass to the ride operator, and the other parent/guardian, who’s been taking care of the little ones, can walk up the exit to get right on the ride. You can get your authorization slip at several locations throughout the park. Easy-peasy.
  • Live Shows: There are tons of fun live shows spread throughout the park. Perfect for when the kiddos are getting a big exhausted and need a break (or for when you just want some air conditioning to escape the heat). There is no age or height restrictions for shows (obviously) so they are perfect for the whole family to enjoy. Of course you should always end the day with Luminosity: Ignite the Night- a music and light show that ends in fireworks. Every day should end with fireworks don’t ya think?
  • Food: You want your elephant ears, corn dogs, ice cream and other standard amusement park food? You can find it. But you can also find a Chick Fil A (SQUEE!!), Chickies and Petes, DQ Chill and Grill, and Johnny Rockets, plus tons of other dining options. If you venture out of the park a little bit (but still on Cedar Point property), you can find a Famous Daves, TGI Fridays and even some upscale dining (hibachi anyone?). You can purchase a dining plan to save a little bit of money as well.
  • HotelBreakersRoomInterior4Hotel Breakers: This was the first time we ever stayed on site while at Cedar Point. The Breakers has recently undergone a HUGE two-year renovation project and it is gorgeous!! It makes a day at the park a walk in the …… park. You literally walk into the park and HOUR earlier than everyone else. Walking up to some of the most popular rides with zero lines was pretty awesome (see super mom status). Getting to park our car for free also saved a lot of hassle and money. The hotel has 3 great pools, a beach on the shores of Lake Erie, tons of dining options and adorable rooms. With Cedar Point being a 4 hour drive from West Michigan it certainly helps to have a place to stay so we can enjoy the park to the fullest.

We had a blast at the perfect family vacation destination and can’t wait to go back. Hopefully it will become a yearly tradition.

What is your favorite amusement park?

Disclosure: We were provided with a free nights stay and free passes to Cedar Point in order to facilitate this review.  

 

Venus- Joy Williams 3.0

Anyone been reading long enough to remember back when I used to do weekly music reviews? It was back when I first started blogging and they are such silly posts I am not going to link to any. You can search it if you want a glance back at true old school blogging.

The truth is, I wrote them because music has been a HUGE part of my life for as long as I can remember. It is hard to pin down exactly what music I like because my tastes are so varied. Which makes me a perfect candidate to love Joy Williams music. She keeps reinventing herself in different styles and I have loved them all.

I first became acquainted with Joy back when she was doing Christian music. She was a singer’s singer and was putting out amazing music at just 17 years old (I love anyone I can belt along with on the radio). In fact, “Here With Us” remains one of my all time favorite Christmas songs. It is really stunning if you haven’t heard it before.

The secular world of music was first introduced to Joy when she was half of the duo The Civil Wars. I was late to the game in discovering them (when they came out I was knee-deep in Veggie Tales and 1000 versions of The Wheels on the Bus). But once I discovered them, I was blown away. Their music was haunting and powerful and just gorgeous. Of course just as I found them, they broke up and Joy disappeared again.

On June 29th, Joy Williams is back with a new album and once again is exploring a slightly different sound, but at the core is the Joy we have always loved. She is raw and vulnerable and clearly processing through all that she has been through by putting her pen to the page. Although she has always been known for her honest lyrics, this time she is laying it all out on the table and the brave result is Venus.

Joy’s own words regarding Venus:

For me, it’s my coming-of-age album, becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be. I think over the course of the last couple of years making this album, I finally felt that I stepped into my own skin. I’ve spent my whole life trying to be the best version of myself, and I’ve finally let myself just be me.

Woman (Oh Mama) looks to be her first single and I love the vibe of it. The words resonate with me as a woman and it is a fresh sound for Williams. It almost feels a bit like 90s Fiona Apple (who was my college JAM). Check it out below and pre-order Venus on iTunes or Amazon. I think Joy Williams is going to be around for a while, surprising us each time. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Disclosure: I participated in the Joy Williams Venus album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own. #JoyWilliams #O2O

 

 

Brain Chase- All You Questions Answered

It’s June 2. Do you know what that means? Only 22 days until Brain Chase starts!!

I know I have been sharing lots of posts about Brain Chase. And I know you might be wondering why I’m talking about it again. Well a lot of questions have come up since we started this conversation and I want to make sure they all get answered so you don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity.

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  1. What if we go on vacation/ camping/ overnight camp? All of Brain Chase is done online. Your child can complete the work whenever, wherever, and in whatever order your child wants. You can complete math, language and reading assignments on tablets. (For the writing assignments, it’s recommended to have a desktop or laptop available.) While you can’t work ahead, you can catch up on work as soon as you return back home.
  2. How much time does each week take? I really don’t want my kid on the computer all summer. Each weekly lesson takes approximately 5 hours to complete. You can complete the 5 hours per week for 5 weeks in any way you want. Some weeks you might do an hour a day. Some days when you are losing your mind because it has been raining for three days, 5 hours on a computer might just sound like perfection. Your call.
  3. There are three kids in my family. Is there a discount for multiple kids?  While the first registration is $199 for the first registration, each additional sibling is only $100. Brain Chase also no has a premium pricing package ($249 for the first registration, and then $149 for each sibling). The premium package includes Brain Chase registration plus a Brain Chase-branded adventure backpack, a Brain Chase t-shirt and Sunstone of Cortés patch.
  4. Okay I signed all my kids up, can they all work together? Each child will have their own learning problem tailored to them. They will each complete their own weekly work. But they are allowed to collaborate to solve the treasure hunt. Of course only one of them can win the $10,000 scholarship.

Any other questions? What are you waiting for? Sign your kiddos up so we can start the trash talking about this treasure hunt. And by that I mean encourage our kids to keep up their summer learning. Of course.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Motherhood and Brain Chase.