Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Netflix: A Family Affair

As most of you know, I am a HUGE fan of Netflix. They have saved my sanity on more than one occasion. (Can we say "Snow Days"?!) And I enjoy writing for them once a month as part of their "stream team" of bloggers because the posts seriously write themselves. (Who doesn't already LOVE Netflix?!) But lately I have been so busy with work and life that it has been harder and harder to carve out some writing time.

So when they reached out to me this month and asked if I would be interested in letting my daughters write my post this month, I was ALL ears. You see, they have an original series called Mako Mermaids that my daughters LOVE. We already watch it.


And what better way to truly make Netflix a family affair, than to bring it full circle and let them do the talking for me this month.

When I asked my oldest daughter (who is 12) how she felt about writing a review on the show and the youngest girls if they would draw the pictures to go with their older sister's review, they all were super hyped! (And the icing on the cake was Netflix sending them a pretty awesome "mermaid" kit in the mail as a thank-you for all their hard work!)

<----What little girl wouldn't be excited about getting all THIS in the mail? Shoot! Can *I* write some stuff about your show next time? I want some Bath & Body Works and Eos! I like to paint MY nails! I want beach worthy hair in the middle of winter! And they won't even SHARE it with me. Huh.

The kids worked very hard to let you know why Mako Mermaids is a great show that YOUR tweenage girls would enjoy too.

So without further ado, I give you my tween, Jess, with her debut on my blog.

 Why I Love Mako Mermaids and You Should Too
by Jessica, age 12

The show Mako Mermaids: H2O Adventures is about these three mermaids who have been banned from the other mermaids because they turned a human into a mermaid. They are just learning how to walk with legs and get into a lot of trouble in the human world. When they get wet anywhere on their body, anywhere at all, their legs transform back into tails. Then they have to wait to dry off completely to turn back to humans. 

I like this show because it is more realistic than other shows I have watched about mermaids. I don't think it is fair that mermaids have to choose between being a human or being a mermaid when they could be both! I also like this show because you don't have to watch ALL the episodes for it to make sense. When I first watched it, I was at my friend's house and we watched an episode that was in the middle of Season 1 because that was where she was in the series. We really loved it! We loved it so much, that when we got home, we tied our feet together and tried to walk around like mermaids. It was so funny!

My FAVORITE episode is the season finale of season 1. In this episode, the human friend of a merman tries to become a merman. He steals a trident and uses it in a fight against the mermaids so that he can fall into the moon pool and become a merman. (If you fall into the moon pool during a full moon, you will be transformed.) 

I am pretty excited about Season 2 being out now so I can continue watching this great show. If you love mystical creatures, mermaids, fantasy, suspense, or action shows, you should watch Mako Mermaids! It will leave you wanting to watch more.

What shows do YOUR kids love? Leave me a comment!

I receive complimentary Netflix service in return for my endorsement, but all opinions and referrals are 100% my own opinion.
Be sure to tune in to Mako Mermaids Season 2 available now on Netflix!

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Compassion. Pass it on.

The recent trend of mom-bashing and internet bullying really gets on my nerves. It seems like every single day, as I am scrolling through my morning bulletin (Read: Facebook newsfeed), I see at least one instance of a mom calling another mom out about her choices.

And it doesn't stop there.

If you are dumb brave enough to click on the comments on that post, the bashing usually gets worse. Women ganging up together to completely word lash another woman, a fellow mom. Blast after blast, some mothers force their opinions on other mothers to the point of outright bullying.

But when does it STOP?

The answer to that question is simple: It stops when WE MAKE IT STOP. When we band together and realize that we are all just mothers. Mothers who are trying to make the best choice for our families. Mothers who are human and who make mistakes. Mothers with different backgrounds and upbringings, different income levels and different support systems. Mothers with different education, perspectives, and opinions. Not wrong, not right, just different.

When we realize that different isn't wrong, then, and only then, can we stop this horrible trend. Mothers judge themselves more harshly than anyone else ever could and what they are truly desperate for is compassion and understanding. If you can’t offer that, then ask yourself "What does it matter to you?" instead of lashing out.

If I want to give my baby a bottle of formula or if I want to breastfeed my child until she is five years old...

What does it matter to you?

If I choose to work because I need to get away from my family for a couple hours each day or because we need the extra income, or if I choose to stay home because I can't get enough of my children's sweet cherub faces and no one can raise them like I can and the monetary sacrifice is worth it to me...

What does it matter to you?

If I want to dress to the nines and wear makeup every single day or if I want to wear yoga pants all day, every day or even no pants at all...

What does it matter to you?

If I home-school my children to provide them with the best learning environment possible or if I choose to send my kids to public school in the heart of the ghetto to teach them diversity...

What does it matter to you?

If I put my kid in the shower with me to shave a couple minutes off of our morning routine or have a closed and locked bathroom door policy...

What does it matter to you?

The truth? It doesn't. None of your choices as a mother affect me. None of my choices as a mother affect you. Whatever choices I make, I make with my family's best interest at heart. I bet that mother who chooses the opposite of me does so with her family's best interest at heart as well.

Let's choose to be supportive when another mother puts herself out there for ridicule by posting a picture or defends a personal choice with her words. Even if we don't agree with it. It works for her.

Let's choose to be understanding of a different point of view. Just because we do not agree does not mean that we need to be harsh and condescending to someone who does. Let's agree to disagree.

Let's choose to love each other, faults and all. After all, we ALL make mistakes. And hate only begets hate.

Let's choose to embrace each other as mothers, as women, who are all battling the same fight to raise a family the best way we know how and not lose ourselves in the delicate balance between motherhood and womanhood.

Let's choose our words wisely and carefully when we see something come across our screens that is opposite of what we personally believe. A kind word goes so much further than a harshly spoken one.

Let's choose compassion, because it really is a choice.

This piece was written as part of a world-wide compassion movement. 
Find more great voices speaking compassion by clicking on the picture above 
and by searching both Facebook and Twitter for the hashtag #1000Speak. 
Join the Facebook Group 1000 Voices for Compassion for more information.
Photo credit goes to the very talented Qwiet Muse.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Brennan's Reviews: Hibachi Grill Buffet

A Restaurant Review as seen through the eyes of a 5 year old, written by her mother (Because she can't really write yet.)

When my mom asks me where I want to eat, I ALWAYS choose the Chinese buffet.

She doesn't ask me very much. I don't really know why she doesn't cuz I know a LOT of things.

Like how to speak Chinese.

I like to practice it on the people who work at the buffet. Hola! That means "hello" in Chinese! I bet you didn't even know that! The girl who came to our table to bring us our drinks was VERY impressed.

My mom...not so much.

I guess she doesn't speak Chinese.

I like this place cuz I don't have to wait for my food to come to me. I don't like waiting. My mom says I have to have "patience" but I don't really like to go to the doctor's.

What I DO like to do is eat. And this place lets me get my own food that I pick myself. Sometimes my mom doesn't like me to get my own food. She thinks I am still a BABY who needs help.

Guess what! I'm not. I am very big. And I can use those pinchy things and get my OWN noodles. That's my favorite thing to eat here. Those long white noodles with EGGS in them. My mom doesn't NEVER make noodles with eggs in them.

It's probably cuz she's not Chinese.

I don't really like how there is carrots in there though. I think that there is sneaky business. Like how my mom tries to do at home with my dinner plate. But I am too smart for all that. So I am REAL careful to pick them ALL out.

I also don't eat the broccoli that comes in the chicken I like. I don't eat green things.


Other than that, the food at this place is really good. It's so good that sometimes I need to just sneak a taste before I even get back to my chair!

My mom doesn't like when I do that.

She likes to ruin all my fun. "Use your silverware" she says. "Wait until we get to the table" she says. What kind of fun is THAT?

Not any fun. That's what.

But do you want to know what IS fun? Two words. Chop. Sticks. Did you know that Chinese people use them and not a fork? Well, since I know Chinese words, I need to know Chinese forks too.

And I like to practice using them sticks to eat my noodles. And sometimes jello too. But that is kind of hard cuz that stuff is slip-pry! I would use them to eat my ice cream too, but my mom says N-O in her mean voice when I do that. She makes me use a stupid ole SPOON. Boring!

But it's okay, cuz I REALLY like ice cream.

My mom always says I gotta eat my moneys worth when I go to the buffet.

I think my mom is silly cuz we aren't 'sposed to eat money! But I DO eat a lot of food here.

My mom says that is good cuz this place is EX-PEN-SIVE. My dad said we were gonna have to do LOTS of chores to work off this bill. I think he was just being silly though. He knows I don't like stupid chores.

There are LOTS of things that I like at this place! But want to know what I like the mostest? Fortune cookies!

When you are good and eat all your food, they bring you a cookie that has a message inside! I always make my mom read me mine.

This time my mom said that my message was REAL true. It said something about people liking me to come to their parties.

It's probably because I always pick good presents.

When we are all finished with our food, my mom always makes me tell her how many fingers I think the restaurant gets. She says 1 finger is bad and 5 fingers is I want to eat here my whole life every day.

This time I was tricky to her!

I said this restaurant gets 10 fingers. 10 super-clean-fingers. And I know they are super clean cuz I washed them in the bathroom. Even though there wasn't a stool to stand on.

I think that is kinda dumb.

But I still like this place. And you probably will too.

All opinions in these restaurant reviews are my own and given for free cuz I like to talk and tell stories. Nobody gives me any free food or moneys to tell about my 'ventures. (But if they wanted to, my ears would be listening for sure.)

Did you like my review? Did you know there are more of these suckers?! 
What can I say? I like to eat! You should probably read them too...
The Cracker Barrel Restaurant
Steak 'n Shake Restaurant
Fazoli's Restaurant

I also wrote about a cool movie that I love to watch. You can read that here:
Prima Princessa presents The Nutcracker
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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lunch Date Adventures

I love my best friend.

There is NOTHING I would rather do than spend some quality time with her without the kiddos interrupting every five minutes. And because every time we hang out she always makes me laugh until I can't breathe, I wanted to share a glimpse into our hilarious relationship by telling you about our lunch date today.

I don't know about you, but we have an open door policy written into our friendship. You know, the kind where you don't knock, you just walk in and make yourself at home. Mi fridge es su fridge. Is there coffee in the coffee pot? Good. I am going to pour myself a cup while I raid your cupboards in search of your chocolate stash. Then I am going to stink up your bathroom. With the door open. THAT kind of friendship. Ya get me?

Another thing you need to know about my best friend, Amy, is that she is not always a "ready when you get there" kind of girl. Even when I specifically say, "I will be there at 12:00 SO BE READY TO WALK OUT THE DOOR," she is usually just getting into the shower as I walk in. And today was no exception.

I arrived at 12:15. I knocked as I was walking in, shouting "Heeeelllloooooo" like I always do. No answer. Okay. No biggie. (I told you that she is always running behind)  I could hear the shower running and her and her husband talking and it sounded like the bathroom door was open, so I slowly ventured toward that end of the house yelling "Hey! I'm here!" Still no response. I was pretty much terrified to get any closer because 1. Yer girl does NOT want to walk in on the "business" and 2. What if her husband comes busting around the corner el nude-o? So, I slowly backtracked into the kitchen, took off my boots, and waited patiently (Read: snooped through the stuff on the counter, checked out the fridge stats, read the notes on the white board)

After about 5 minutes, Amy comes busting out of the bathroom butt naked and around the corner into the kitchen, sees me and shouts to her husband, "Traci's here! Don't come out here naked!" So instead, he comes out wearing....Amy's pink robe.

Now I don't know about you, but seeing your best friend's husband in HER little tiny pink robe, set me off in a fit of giggles which were only amplified when he started sashaying across the kitchen, waggling his hips, and batting his eyelashes. I figured the ONLY thing I could do at THAT point is join in on the crazy, right? So I start giving him advice on how to be more feminine. Sway your hips. Flick your wrist a little more. Clench your butt cheeks tighter. "Oh honey! That's EXACTLY what Bruce told me earlier! But I told him NO on account of the hemorrhoids."

By this point I was ALREADY on the verge of panty tinkling. And the fun was just beginning.

After a long wait, during which I was completely entertained by her husband's pink robe antics, she was ready, and we were off to enjoy a great lunch and some much needed talk time.

Our lunch was delish. We ordered two meals and then split them, so we were basically gorging ourselves to the point where only a good poop would make us feel comfortable enough to move. And we talked about tantalizing topics like the LAST time we had come to that restaurant and Amy had asked for EXTRA blue cheese and bacon so crispy that it was bordering on burnt on her well-done burger, only to be madly disappointed upon the food coming out still moo-ing and covered in limp chewy bacon. And how I, being the great friend that I am, had completely thrown her under the bus when our poor server innocently came by to hear how wonderful our food was and I laughed and pointed at Amy and said, "My food is GREAT, but you should ask HER..." all while stuffing our faces in true hungry girl style and laughing like crazy women.

Speaking of laughing, there is nothing more soul cleansing than a good laugh with your best friend. And what came next, well, it cleansed my soul from here to next year.

When it was time to pay our cute little waitress, who was 23, and YES I do know this because Amy asked, came by with the check and a cute little story about her lack of sleep due to her Thursday night partying. While she was busy telling us ALL about what a hard learner she was, Amy could only focus on one thing.

The speck of mystery sauce glistening on the poor girls chest.

So as our poor unsuspecting waitress babbled on, Amy reached out and PICKED it off. with. her. FINGERNAIL! The look on that poor girl's face was BEYOND priceless and I seriously lost all self control and burst out in a laugh that bordered on hyena.

"Sorry! You had a little something on there..." Amy quickly explained as the waitress looked on in pure disbelief.

"It-it-it's okay!" the waitress stuttered, "I am glad you got it..."

By this point, I am practically choking on my own spit from pure insane laughter. And Amy is still chatting away at the poor girl, "Yea, I knew it wasn't one of your cute little moles because it was catching the light..."

Oh. My. Goodness. If every person in the restaurant wasn't staring at me by this point, I would have been totally surprised.

Then Amy looks at me and says, "What? It was RIGHT there! I wouldn't have wanted her to walk around with that all day long! And I was GOING to use my napkin, but then I saw how used it was and thought 'dirty!', so I just used my finger! "

By the time the waitress made her escape, my laughter had turned into a red-faced, crying, can't catch my breath debacle as I squeezed out these words, "You. Could. Have. Just. TOLD. Her! Maybe added a little finger point to the spot..."

"Oh my! I didn't even THINK of that!" she said as she joined in my laughter. "How much tip should I leave?" she asked.

"Enough to cover your physical assault of her CHEST!" I retorted.

"Yea... I better leave a little extra!"

And when we calmed down enough to actually look at the bill, we realized that our lunch entree was called the "willy wrap" which started our rollicking all over again.

I am sure they were ALL happy to see us leave. Especially our poor assaulted waitress with the cute moles. Thank goodness it wasn't just a freckle.

THAT would have been awkward.

Okay, that was a tad bit exaggerated. 
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Sunday, February 1, 2015

10 Ninja Ways to Enforce Teen Phone Time: A guest post by Dr. Psych Mom

Follow the amazing  Dr. Psych Mom here!

10 Ninja ways to enforce teen phone time
by Samantha Rodman of Dr. Psych Mom

I recently read an article on enforcing phone time limits.  It discussed “no cell phone zones at home,” “changing your wifi password after 10 at night” and other suggestions to get your teenager off their phone.  

Come on, people.  Woman up.