Monday, September 21, 2015

Netflix Shelfies: My Me Time Shows! #StreamTeam

Disclosure: As part of the Netflix Stream Team, I received a welcome gift and a free monthly subscription. However, all opinions are 100% honest and my own. 

I have been a Netflix blogger for almost a year now and I realized when I was trying to think of a theme for my post this month that every single #StreamTeam post I've done features our favorite kids shows. Now don't get me wrong, we absolutely love Netflix for our kids (check out my two favorite Netflix kids shows posts: 5 Dinotrux Activities and How To Train Your Dragon Toothless Hooded Towel) but we also love it for ourselves! As parents, we rarely get time to ourselves to enjoy our favorite shows or a movie, but Netflix allows us the opportunity to watch them at our convenience. We haven't had cable in over 6 years and I don't miss it. This is my view most nights after we finally get both kids to bed:

Netflix asked us to share our Shelfies this month. What is a shelfie exactly? Well like I mentioned, as parents we don't get much time to ourselves. From driving kids to preschool, dance, swimming, and making sure they're dressed and fed, our time to ourselves is pretty minimal. Shelfies are those shows you've been waiting to watch but simply haven't had the time. I'm sad to admit that my Shelfie selection is quite large so I wanted to feature a few of the ones I'm most excited about for you today. 

As I browse Netflix, I add my Shelfies to "My List" because honestly, I'll probably forget about them if I don't. Some are shows I've seen in the past and want to finish, others are some I want to start, and then there are some I want to re-watch from the beginning.  I'm going to be showing my nerdy side in this list, you have been warned!

1. Grey's Anatomy- Oh how I love Grey's. Despite my horror on how the last season ended (I will not spoil it but if you watched you KNOW what I'm talking about. Seriously never saw it coming and I bawled), I still want to watch this whole series over again. It's been years since I've seen the first few seasons that were filled with George goodness.

2. Pawn Stars- I told you I'm nerdy. I love this show. There's something strangely fascinating about all of the odd stuff they get in the shop and as a history major and librarian, I adore all of the historical artifacts and rare books. Fun fact, I've actually Facebook messaged with their rare book expert! I am a few seasons behind on this show and need to get caught up.

3. Property Brothers- Before we bought our house, I never watched HGTV. Now I'm addicted. I was so excited when so many HGTV shows popped up on Netflix and after watching through the House Hunters and Flip or Flop collections, Property Brothers is next on my list! I love getting design inspiration from these shows.

4. Call the Midwife- I've had so many friends recommend this show it was a no brainer for my shelfie list. It's a high priority, just haven't gotten to it yet.

5. The "Secrets of" PBS series- Showing my history nerd status here again. This series features secrets of some of England's most famous castles and homes and I need to watch them. I visited several of these places during my time living in England so I'm excited to revisit them on Netflix.

6. Dance Academy- If you like dance at all, you should watch this Australian show. I've seen the first two seasons but need to watch the 3rd.

I could go on and on with more things I want to watch because there are so many great options. What's on your shelfie list? Check out some of these shows on Netflix now:

Scandal
Scandal
Once Upon A Time
Once Upon a Time
Gotham: Season 1 (Available 9/21)
Gotham
The Walking Dead
Walking Dead
The Blacklist: Season 1-2
Blacklist
The League: Season 6
The League
Heroes
Heroes



Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Swing Set!

I have been itching to write a real update for weeks now but life has been crazy around here. With Grace getting back to school and me getting into a major new workout plan (more about that next week hopefully) our time at home has been limited. I feel like the days between the start of school in September and the holidays flies by. I have been in a major cleaning phase trying to get the house ready for the holidays and the biggest part of that is dealing with the huge amount of toys everywhere.

When Grace was a baby, I loved getting her tons of new toys. I wanted her to have the newest and coolest stuff and we had so much. Until recently our living room was full of toys, we have a playroom downstairs full of toys plus each kid has toys in their room. Now that they are past the baby phase, I've been in a mood to get rid of toys. When I say get rid of, I mean I'm purging.  I'm sure you understand, really they only play with a few toys everyday. So Grace helped me go through and get rid of about half of their toys. It wasn't as traumatic for them as I thought they would be and I am loving how easy it is to clean everything up. They aren't missing any of it.

Of course the holidays are coming up and I won't get to enjoy the limited amount of toys for long. With their birthdays so close to Christmas, we get an onslaught of presents between October and January. I really don't want to add to the piles of toys we receive so Mike and I had been trying to come up with an alternative gift that the kids will both like and get to enjoy for years. We started to see swing sets going on clearance with the end of summer and we decided that a nice wooden one would be a great gift! They will still get a few small things to open on Christmas morning and on their birthdays, but it won't be nearly as much as they normally get.

We ordered a wooden swing set from Walmart.com and Mike and friends spent nearly 2 days during Labor Day weekend putting it together!

It started like this:

The kids were really trying hard to be patient while they watched it being put together, but it was hard to wait as Grace kept saying.

2 days later, the kids were ecstatic when it finally was done:

We love that this set not only has a slide, fort, and swings, it has a restaurant area, a chalk board, a telescope, and monkey bars. Next year we'll add sand under the fort area.

Every single day they beg to go play on the swing set. It is so much more convenient than having to drive to the park.

The restaurant area has been a surprise hit and we spend a lot of time playing there.

Connor especially loves taking orders and pretend making food.

Grace says almost every day "this is the best Christmas present ever!" It might not be a traditional gift but I don't think they'll miss anything on Christmas morning. It'll be something they can play with for years to come and share with friends! 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hallmark Elsa itty bitty & itty biggy Review & Giveaway!

Disclosure: I received an Elsa itty bitty and itty Biggy from Hallmark to review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are honest and 100% my own.

Frozen fever is still alive and well at our house and Grace was beyond excited when we happened to win tickets to see Frozen on Ice in Kansas City recently. She invited a friend and couldn't wait to dress in her sparkliest Elsa dress to watch Elsa (and Anna and the rest of the characters, but who really cares about them right?) skate and dance. Of course I was excited to go as well because as a mom, watching her face light up during the show is amazing. Little did she know I had a surprise for her and her friend to make the night even more special!

If you aren't familiar with Hallmark's adorable itty bittys, you should go check them out right now! I'm not kidding. These little plush characters are some of my kids' very favorite toys, Connor runs around with itty bitty Batman and Superman all the time and I can't wait to expand their collection this Christmas. The itty bittys are the perfect size for stocking stuffers and for only $6.95, they are a bargain! With superheros, princesses, sci fi and classic movie characters, there is an itty bitty for everyone in your life. 

Now Hallmark offers itty biggy versions of some of your favorite itty bittys. At 10.5" tall, these itty biggys are great for cuddling. Hallmark couldn't have had better timing when they sent us an itty bitty and itty biggy Elsa to review!


I kept them in the box until the big night arrived and presented each girl with their own Elsa itty to take to the show. I wish I would have recorded the squeals of joy that erupted when they saw them! 

They were thrilled and happily clung to them the entire show.

Both girls couldn't stop smiling all night so I consider my surprise a success!

I've written before about how much I love the itty bittys but this was our fist time seeing an itty biggy and we were very impressed. Elsa is soft and her dress is beautiful. Grace loves her cape and classic Elsa hair and has been toting her around constantly. Check out the Hallmark itty bitty and itty biggy collection online or in your local Hallmark store! Connect with Hallmark on Facebook and Twitter

Giveaway

One of my lucky readers will win an itty biggy Elsa from Hallmark!



How to Enter:
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway.  Follow the instructions on the widget to enter. All current likes/follows count! Please contact me if you run into any technical difficulties with Rafflecopter.  The giveaway runs through Thursday, September 24th at 11:59 PM CST! The winners will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email or new winners will be chosen. This giveaway is open to residents of the US ages 18+.

Good luck!

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