Family Adventures!

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Winter in Michigan means being indoors a LOT.

Typically January in Michigan means feet of snow keeping us in; this year that is not so much the case, but it has been pretty yucky. In fact, yesterday it rained on the snow that is already on the ground. It’s like cold oatmeal out there on the roads.

So yeah, we stay in.  And when we stay in, we do crafts and puzzles. We build with Mega Blocks and play Animal Crossing on the Wii, but we also spend a good amount of time in front of the television.

Last week, Eddie and I had a snow day. I spent a lot of the day working, but Eddie busied himself finding new stuff on Netflix. That’s when he found Dawn of the Croods. The Croods is a family favorite movie around these parts. It is frequently chosen when we have a snow day in the winter or a movie night or a rainy afternoon preventing us from playing outdoors. The new show is sort of a prequel to the movie and it’s all about the Croods’ adventures as a family.

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That got me thinking about the adventures we hope to have this year with our family. Last year we had a really big adventure: Alice!  This year is our first full year as a family of five and here is what we are looking forward to, complete with an overabundance of exclamation points!

The Big Alice in Wonderland Unbirthday Tea Party! Alice and Charlie have birthdays that are only a week apart, so we have decided that they will share their party, and this year, we are doing an Alice in Wonderland theme. Alice will, clearly, have a cute little white onsie and blue tutu and Charlie will have a Mad Hatter hat and it’s going to be SO MUCH FUN!

Spring Break to Chicago! A couple years ago, we took just Eddie for a weekend to Chicago and left his baby brother with my parents. It was a major hit. Now that Charlie will be four (the age Eddie was when we took him), we are going to do the trip again, but this year with just the boys. We will stay downtown somewhere with a pool because, according to Eddie, that was the best part of the trip. Weather-permitting we will also go to the Lincoln Park Zoo and probably the Lego Store.

Summer Vacation! I’m not sure what this summer holds as far as getting away, but it sounds like there are at least two possible weekends our family will get to stay in a cottage or something. I hope so because it’s always super fun to take the kids to the beach. And this will be Alice’s first summer actually being able to play in the sand rather than just be held under an umbrella.

Pearl Jam! Pearl Jam is ending their North American Tour in Chicago this summer and Cortney and I are hoping to go because PEARL JAM!

Two Kids in School! This fall Charlie will be starting preschool while Eddie moves on to second grade.

New Daycare! Our beloved Renae “Nae” has made the tough decision not to renew her daycare license this spring, which means after almost six years, we will have to find a new place for The Littles. In the fall, Charlie will be going to Preschool, so we can do the childcare option there, but Alice will need a new place. We are very sad, but hopeful that we can find a wonderful place for our kids.

The Unknown! Ok I admit, “The Unknown” gives me anxiety, but it is fun to have the sense of “what could happen next?” that comes with not having everything planned out. I know that, like The Croods, we will have lots of unforeseen adventures in 2016. Some will be sucky (changing daycare), but some will be super fun.

So, here we go 2016! Let’s get adventurous!

The 12 Days of Netflix

Well, here we are on Christmas break, and before me lies twelve days before we hit the weekend of going back to school. I would like to say I am totally prepared and am jumping off the walls with excitement about being home with all three kids for the next two weeks.

But that would only be partly true.

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While I do have some fun things planned for break–including way too much sugar–we will have a lot of down time too. Cortney and I are really trying to keep the boys off their ipads and tablets, but I figure watching movies and shows together is cool, right?

RIGHT! Which is one reason we love Netflix. Here are twelve more–because twelve days of Christmas. Get it? Yeah, so anyway…

  1. We can watch it anywhere in our house. We have a roku TV in our room, a Wii downstairs. a Roku TV upstairs, and an ipad mini. Technically all four TV-watchers could be watching a different Netflix show at the same time.
  2. There are choices for all of us individually AND as a family.
  3. The League
  4. Seemingly endless episodes of Phineas and Ferb
  5. All of the Pokemon that Eddie can handle.
  6. Eddie being able to work Netflix from any device all on his own–which means he can start a show for his brother and himself at 7am allowing me to sleep a little longer.
  7. No commercials
  8. All the Christmas movies and episodes of things to fill a few afternoons. Ahem.
  9. Orange is the New Black
  10. Individual profiles so we don’t have Curious George in our favorites next to Breaking Bad.
  11. There is ALWAYS something to watch.
  12. Say what you will about screens and shows, but watching Netflix is truly something we do as a whole family. I love that.

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What are you watching this holiday season?

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post.. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam so I get free Netflix streaming and a device to watch it on. The opinions here are always my own.

Netflix and Dinosaurs and Trucks

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Ah, the smell of fall is in the air today. I am seeing lots of back to school pictures filling up my Facebook feed. Eddie’s teacher letter came in the mail today making him ALL excited that he needs a pencil box for first grade. Yes, it’s almost time for school to start.

Many parents feel a mixed bag of emotions this time of year, and I’m not different. Although I will say that having been off work since March 5, and having the boys home since June 6, I am ready for us all to get back on our school schedule. I am excited to start another year with 8th graders, we all look forward to Eddie becoming a 1st grader, and Charlie is pretty jazzed about Alice coming to daycare with him.

We have two weeks left.

In those two weeks I was hoping to jam in some last minute summer fun!  Then it rained. A bunch. And now it’s all of a sudden 65 degrees–not exactly beach weather, if you know what I mean. It’s even windy enough that the state parks are flying red flags at Lake Michigan.

But fear not! The boys have found themselves a new Netflix original series to keep them occupied when the weather is too chilly and wet for slip n slides and bike rides: DinoTrux!

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This show is about these creatures that are part dinosaur and part machine. There are also tiny ones that are party lizard and part machine.  They are sort of like the little tools and the big dinosaurs do the big construction work. For a kid like Charlie who loves all things construction and big “monsters” like dinosaurs, this is the most perfect show. There are “good guys” who are all friends and a “bad guy” who tries to break up the friends. Of course the friends always win by working together. Well, at least for the three episodes we’ve watched they have.

It’s a cute little show to fill the time between play doh and lunch time. From today until two weeks when we go back to school.

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam. Netflix provides their service and a device for us to watch it on. All opinions and show choices are our (my) own.

What Sluiter Nation is Watching

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Spring was here for three seconds, and then it got cold again. Plus we have had a lot of rain. And also Alice and I are home a lot in the afternoons because of maternity leave.  Needless to say, lots of Netflix watching is going on around here.

Today you get the lowdown on what each of us is currently obsessed with watching.

Eddie: Eddie has quite a few favorites. He is probably our most avid Netflix user. He has even learned that if he types “Disney” into the search feature, he can find all movies he likes. His top pick lately is Phineas and Ferb, but he also comes back to Woody Woodpecker (much to my chagrin).

This past week he found Pokemon, though, and I thought my head would explode. Despite my initial groaning about the dorkiness, two good things have come from it. One, it actually has some pretty positive messages which I am Ok with, and two, Eddie has started going downstairs to watch his shows down there before bedtime. In doing so, he has started doing “art” while he watches. All by himself.  This is sort of a big deal because up until now, Eddie has had a horribly hard time playing alone. The alone time away from his younger siblings has been good for him and his attitude.

He also discovered The Gruffalo which is totally cute and sort of funny. I approve this most of all because I don’t mind watching it with him.

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Charlie: This guy has a bit of hard time branching out. He is very much still in a relationship with Curious George, but lately he has found room in his heart for Chuggington and Peep and the Big Wide World. Eddie also got Charlie to be Ok with watching Veggie Tales, which I find to be super cute and funny too.

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Katie and Alice: We are a packaged deal because A) Alice doesn’t have her own profile on Netflix yet and B) if I’m watching TV, so is she. Usually. Unless she is sleeping. I am still working through Friends although I am on season 9, so I am almost done. I talked about what is on my To Watch List before, but I think I am adding Bloodline to that list as well. I like a good dark drama. In fact, it sounds a lot like the plot lines of some of my favorite novels: messed up family with messed up secrets tries to keep the secrets secret.

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Cortney: It’s baseball season. This guy does not have Netflix on his radar. And even if he did, other people are always using it, so he is out of luck. Sorry, honey.

I’ve had a lot of people make suggestions for Cortney and me, but what about kid shows/movies. I feel like my kids get stuck in a rut. Especially Charlie. Did I mention he likes what he likes and is pretty stubborn about it?

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam. Netflix provides their service and a device to stream it on. My opinions are my own and those of my family.

Netflix for Maternity Leave

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I am currently sitting in our big leather chair, a baby snoring quietly on my  lap, a cup of coffee getting cold on the arm rest, and Friends via Netflix on the TV.

I am on maternity leave.

how we spend most of our time together, hence lots of Netflix.

how we spend most of our time together, hence lots of Netflix.

In preparation for maternity leave, I made a list of shows that I want to binge watch during those long days when I have a baby on me.

  • Friends – I have been looking forward to this since they announced earlier this year that the favorite sitcom was coming to Netflix. I am already on season four after spending the hours of 11am until about 2pm watching it every day.
  • Orange is the New Black – I read the book last summer in preparation for meeting Piper Kerman at Netflix HQ in California, but I was saving the show for maternity leave.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – This is the newest to my list and it’s also new to Netflix. I’ve heard hilarious reviews, so it’s on my list because I like to laugh, yo.
  • Portlandia – Cortney and I started watching this when we first got Netflix, but we never finished. It’s so ridiculous because Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are the king and queen of ridiculous. It also makes me miss Seattle and want to move to Portland. I don’t even think it’s supposed to have that effect.
  • Sherlock – you all tell me it’s great, and I like great. Also I don’t see the hotness of Benedict Cumberbatch (which, by the way, sounds like a totally made up name), but you all tell me if I watch this show, I will.
  • TED Talks – Yes, I am letting my nerd show. I love me some TED Talks.
  • Freaks and Geeks – I have never watched it, yet our sociology teachers show it every year and scoff at me every year because they say it’s amazing. So it’s my goal to determine that.
  • The Wonder Years – This list would not be complete with out the ultimate throwback possible. This was hands down one of my favorite shows growing up, and it’s currently available on Netflix.

I would say this list will keep Alice and me pretty well-occupied for the next three months, don’t you think?  Is there anything we should add? I don’t like scary stuff or stuff that is disturbing–I save that for the books I read. Watching TV should be a little mindless fun, ya know?

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, but am not paid for my opinion. I am provided with Netflix and a device to watch it on. All opinions (and To Watch Lists) are my own.

Friends with Netflix

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There has been a lot going on in the house of Sluiter lately. It seems like every day is packed and hurried with getting up, getting dressed, getting out of the house, work, school, pick up, dinner, baths, jammies, homework, stories, bedtime. REPEAT.

We have had little time to squeeze any extras in our days even though extras (like colds and coughs and fevers) keep popping up.

When we do get a moment with nothing going on, it’s nice to have a favorite mindless activity to fall back on. I’m not ashamed (nor do I think I am alone) to admit that we love TV in our house.  Most of the time the boys take over the TV via Netflix. We have watched so much Curious George (thanks to Charlie’s current obsession) that Eddie is now reciting lines with the show…from another room.

If Eddie gets a chance to choose the shows, he usually goes with Batman or Woody Woodpecker (confession: I hate that show) or Scooby Doo. But recently he’s watched {the old} Annie too. Although he told me the other day that anytime anyone says anything about Annie, someone else will break out singing “Tomorrow”, and that gives him a headache since there are better songs in the movie. Ha!

I rarely get time alone with Netflix, but when I do, I cram as many episodes of Friends in as I can.

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When I heard Friends was coming to Netflix I almost died of excitement. It’s probably one of my most favorite shows of all time. Cortney does not love it, and it’s not appropriate for the boys to watch, so if I want to watch it, it has to be when I am alone. This happens almost never.  But I am persevering! I started with Season 1, the way a good fan would and I am on episode 8 out of 24, so yeah. Not very far. But in a few weeks Alice and I have plans to watch the rest of the series together. I thought I would be nice and wait for her, so she can watch too.

Are you a Friends addict like I am? What shows will you watch over and over again?

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Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and was given a year of Netflix and a device to view it on. All opinions and experiences are those of my family and me.

Netflix For Me

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Each month I get a little email about what theme we Netflix stream-team members can post about. There is always a little craft or snack or something we can do with the family too if we want.  But this month is all about the momma, and I have to say it came at just the right time!

Cortney and I just finished season 1 of Breaking Bad this weekend. We are not binge-watchers, but we do take in a couple episodes a week. I know it goes on for four more seasons but I keep thinking, “oh they are done for this time!”  So good!

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On my list to watch with Cortney next is Orange is the New Black. I just finished reading the book and I am excited to watch the fictionalized version of the book. Piper Kerman’s memoir was so good, but I know the show is more over-the-top.

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Also on our list to watch is Freaks and Geeks. Our high school sociology classes watch this show and discuss it and the teachers are ALWAYS quoting it and talking about it in the lounge. Even though it’s only 18 episodes-long, I know I need to see it.

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And lastly, one that will probably be more interesting to me than to Cort, I want to watch Call the Midwife. This might have to be my “daycare day” show. On the days the boys are in daycare, I might have to carve out some “me time” to watch a show just for me. When Eddie was a baby, I would binge watch all the episodes (and movies) of Sex and the City, I think it’s time I upgrade, yes?

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While we LOVE Netflix for our kids (mine are watching Curious George as I type this), it’s fun to have some shows just for us adults too.

What else should be on my list?

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with a Roku and a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

 

Thrown Back

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We have had Netflix for about three months now, and while I thought Cortney and I would use it to watch new (to us) shows and movies, it’s really been the boys that use it the most.

Because Eddie already knows how to work the Wii and the Tivo, he easily learned to navigate Netflix. My favorite part of Netflix is that each person in the house has his/her own profile. Eddie finds his and all his shows are in there, along with suggestions appropriate to his age.

At first he had a good time finding all the superhero shows and then there was his slight addiction to all things Ninjago.

Then one day he found the old Super Mario Brothers show/cartoon.

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Do you remember this awful show? I had naturally completely forgotten about it. I mean, it’s awful. But Eddie is totally into Super Mario Bros on the Wii and when he found it, he had to watch every single episode. I wanted to laugh at the badness of it all. Even Cortney got sucked into it: “Oh man. Remember this show? Sheesh it was bad!”

Remember how it started out and ended with a live show that took place in Mario Brothers Plumbing? And the guest stars? The episode Eddie was just watching had Winnie Cooper on it (yes, I know that is not her real name, but she will always be Winnie Cooper to me, Ok?). Oh it was just SO BAD.

But Eddie loved it. It was new to him.

One day when Eddie was busy doing something else, Charlie asked for Elmo, so we looked up Sesame Street on Netflix. They totally have the classic episodes from when I was a kid on there. Now THOSE I like! Bert and Ernie before they were cartoons, pre-Abby Sesame Street. Barkley!

One yucky cold day over Spring Break, Eddie and I curled up together on the couch and I talked him into watching old cartoon movies with me. We giggled over The Emperor’s New Groove all afternoon and he has watched it more often than he has watched Frozen.

It’s so fun to find treasures from our childhoods that we have forgotten about show up in the Netflix suggestions. And our kids are having fun experiencing them for the first time.

Because Netflix is just so much darn fun, I have a special treat…I get to giveaway a free 3-month subscription to Netflix!  Free Netflix for three months!  Woot!

Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and will be sharing monthly tips and stories about how my family uses Netflix on a regular basis. As a member of the Stream Team I was provided with a Roku and a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

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