My love for Netflix runs deep. It’s on when I work on the blog, it’s on for my date nights… the streaming service’s grown with me, and now my eldest son’s experiencing the same!
One recent offering for your child’s insatiable appetite for content? Netflix’s Beat Bugs—an animated show with singers like P!nk, Aloe Blacc, Eddie Vedder and Sia weaving well-known Beatles songs with uplifting stories and life lessons!
To spread the word about Beat Bugs, Netflix sent its Stream Team members boxes of Beat Bugs swag to film our own “All You Need is Love” music videos, covering the show’s opening theme!
And for me, sinking my teeth ever-deeper into Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro, putting something special together was an opportunity I couldn’t resist!
You can check out the Palmers’ take on it right here:
But the buzz doesn’t end there (get it? Bug joke!)—you too can help spread the word, and all you need to do is enter a little contest!
The problem with being Dad to some of, perhaps, the youngest children I’ve seen featured in the world of parent blogging is that I can’t always align the ever-expansive industry of children’s toys and entertainment with their interests. While I love getting invites to Legoland and cool things to do over “March Break” and the “summer holidays”, with kids as young as mine, these are completely foreign concepts to my family as we struggle just to get through each day without a temper tantrum or sleep regression!
And that’s exactly the issue I had for a while as a member of the Netflix Stream Team.
Too Young for TV – or – Why My Kids Won’t Get the Most From Netflix Until They’re Old Enough to Know How Much Their Friends are Watching at School1.
My kids don’t watch a lot of TV: it’s on some mornings, keeping our toddler entertained with tales of Ryder and his team of pups, but he usually plays with his toys or enjoys the backyard—we’re not about to become “those parents” with their kids’ eyes glued firmly to the screen. (To be fair, my childhood saw a steady consumption of TV, video games and the Internet, so it’d be hypocritical to call screen time the root of all evil—but who am I to put my kids at an automatic disadvantage, amirite?)
That said, when it does come to kids’ programming, we’re very happy to have Netflix on hand, and while it doesn’t have everything (yet), it has plenty of shows that meet our needs, including the new Word Party released in July, a show designed to help wee ones with their vocabulary through songs and a variety of adventures.
But no—it’s Sarah and I who do the bulk of the household Netflix consumption, and I doubt that’ll change anytime in the near future. And it’s a good thing they added account profiles when they did so we could have our own viewing habits—I’m pretty sure she failed to appreciate the recommendations that came with my Star Wars: Clone Wars marathons when she was looking for her next romcom.
So when Netflix Canada asked me to write about Netflix siblings playlists or the important life lessons my kids were learning while watching Netflix, it was hard to make it ring true.
So I’m told there’s this little thing called March Break.
With boys as young as mine, it’s a concept I haven’t explored in a while—I likely wouldn’t have even realized it was happening if it wasn’t for the fact that we were down to half our people at work, and that I could catch the first subway ride home without waiting for a half-dozen to pass filled to the brim before I could hop on. With two kids under 3, daycare and Sarah’s maternity leave are still very much up and operational, so little’s out of the out of the ordinary for La Famiglia Palmer.
Which means yes—we’re still watching plenty of Netflix.
March Break with Netflix — Or, At Least, What it Looks Like When March Break Isn’t Even March Break in Your House Yet.
Well, at the very least I’m watching plenty of Netflix, but admittedly not as much as I’m used to.
With the erratic sleep schedule that Little Man’s adopted of late, I haven’t marathoned through shows like I’m used to, catching snippets of long-running series amidst the late-night wailings and wedging in what little time I can find for all the fun household maintenance that never truly goes away.
But it’s not all bad—I enjoy plenty of the time we spend awake. In fact, when I see kids older than mine at play, I find myself wondering how the boys will interact with the world around them. Who will they take after? What will they learn from their environment? What impacts will they leave on their community? While I’ll only answer these questions through a lot of time and patience, there’s one thing I know—if these boys take after their Daddy, they’ll be immensely creative.
This month’s care package from Netflix was a March Break survival kit, including a number of things perhaps better appreciated by kids old enough to know not to pop plastic food into their mouths, but at the very least, it added more supplies to the arts & crafts bin for the future and had me sliding across my hardwood floors à la Tom Cruise in Risky Business thanks to my new Netflix socks!
It’s a shame, though, that the boys are too young to play with LEGO—to celebrate the release of the new Netflix originals LEGO Friends: The Power of Friendship and LEGO Bionicle: The Journey to One, the Stream Team got some cool LEGO playsets with their kits, and you can look up the #LEGOFriends and #LEGOBionicle hashtags on social media to see how the other school-age kids are getting their LEGO-tivity on!
Now if you’ll excuse me, there hasn’t been much of a break happening over on this side of the screen this March—with the new addition to the family, our toddler’s seemingly forgotten how to sleep, so shrieky stand-offs and fits have been the nightly norm for a while ????
That said, I hope your Netflix and chill’s going better than mine is, and always remember, when all else fails, there’s always Peppa Pig*.
Until the next, I remain,
*Note: I still strongly dislike that poorly behaved porcine, but hey—she gets results.
Disclaimer: I wrote this post as part of the Netflix Stream Team, a community of creators letting our audiences know about cool things the streaming service has to offer in exchange for sneak peeks of new shows and fun Netflix swag! Though my boys are some of the youngest kids in the Stream Team lot, I like keeping on top of the shows they might get into as they grow… because I’ll probably have to watch with them. Because parenting. Until next time!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
So for this month’s post, we want to know what a “night in” looks like in your household. What you’re eating, how you’re sitting, where, when and what you’re watching, and ultimately how you keep the peace when it’s time to choose a show or movie.
–Netflix Stream Team February Prompt
With two kids under 3, every night is a night in for the Palmers, but more so for two worn-out parents than the four of us together, since one has a 7:30 bedtime and the other can’t see much yet with but a month of life under his belt. And with the 2016 Oscars now behind us, it was an excellent opportunity for Sarah and I to see all the movies we had absolutely no time to see this past year (though we are looking to correct that with the weekly date nights we’ve now scheduled in.)
That said, entertainment hasn’t vanished from our lives—sometimes, the stars align and we manage to take something in as a couple. Sometimes it’s fluff. Sometimes it’s serious. And sometimes—every now and then—it’s something resonating somewhere inside, reminding you that the person you’ve become might not be the one you always thought you were.
So for your consideration, here’s a story I’ve never told anyone before—one about love.
I thought I’d found everything I needed in my life — I’d married a beautiful woman; had amazing friends and family; and was managing pretty well at standing on my own feet in this big, bad world. On paper I had a solid job, I was saving money, and we constantly painted the town in varying hues of red, figuring we’d make the most of what God gave us.
But I didn’t know then how much all that doesn’t even matter when you’ve got unconditional love in your life. We’re born into our families, and we decide whether we marry our significant others after courtship, but children are the ultimate test—especially when we choose to have them, and we find ourselves dealing with every random thing our genetic mélange has to offer up, but through the tantrums, the tears and everything else that comes with parenthood, it often takes little but a simple cute display to remind you why you love them. And while reminders come often—when they hug you when you get home from work or cry for you in the middle of the night—it’s really when you’re hit by those curve balls that you remember the feeling most.
And About Time was the latest one to smack me upside the head.
Starring Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams, About Time isn’t your typical romantic comedy…
At the age of 21, Tim discovers he can travel in time and change what happens and has happened in his own life. His decision to make his world a better place by getting a girlfriend turns out not to be as easy as you might think.
Now, with my lack of love for romcoms, I went in with low expectations. But About Time delivered with laughs, gaffes, and a storyline that had me giving a crap about the characters! Not only did I not hate the movie, it was actually starting to grow on me in a cutesy, charming kind of way!
But what ultimately hit me was the storyline between Tim and his Dad, ending in a way that really shows the strength of their bond—it got me right in the feels. It was a solid allegory for the love I want to show my boys, and who knows—maybe we’ll film our own story someday!
So while it wasn’t a movie choice typical of what you’d see for a “family night in”, its amusing depictions of love and parenthood—with the children becoming parents themselves—may have been exactly what we needed to remind us that we’re not alone! Give it a watch if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare ????
What do you call a family movie night with overtired parents after their two kids under three have gone to bed? SYNCHRONIZED COUCH WARMING!
So in the end, what did I learn? That though our male archetypes might decree otherwise, my emotions are very much real and will spring up on me at the most unexpected times? That I had an atypical childhood watching more Family Matters and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air than Full House? Or perhaps that I’ll resign myself to the fact that my kids will be more interested in Peppa Pig* than something cool like Inside Out, at least for the foreseeable future?
If I take anything from the past month and the copious amount of TV I consumed (because huge series like Tales from the 2.9 really won’t write themselves…), it’s this—just because you have little guys shadowing your every move because you’re pretty much the centre of their universe, it doesn’t mean life has to stop being fun. It doesn’t mean you’ll never spend quality time with your significant other again—you just might need to be more intentional about it. You’re both responsible for your happiness—get to it!
House of Cards
With March upon us, you may want to check out some of the awesome that Netflix has to offer with titles like House of Cards season 4 (the 4th), the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil (the 19th), or Marvel’s Ant-Man the surprising audience pleaser that’s out now!
As for me, the hustle’s all still very real, and I’m still getting my Netflixin’ in with the first season of Better Call Saul, because what’s better than the origin story of everyone’s favourite crooked lawyer from Breaking Bad?
I hope you all enjoy everything the month ahead has to offer, and may your life be filled with belly laughs, heartfelt tears, and quality moments you can share with friends, family and anyone else looking for a little change of pace in their lives!
Until the next episode, I remain,
*Let’s talk Peppa Pig.
Who greenlit this show?! All it teaches is having a bad attitude, never worrying about consequences, and playing in the mud as often as possible without any scolding for getting completely filthy, because duh, they’re pigs. I need to talk to my daycare operator about why she ever introduced Little Man to this travesty ????
Disclaimer: I wrote this post as part of the Netflix Stream Team where they hook a blogger up with goodies in the mail each month in exchange for words. And images. And maybe a joke or two.
I’d like to think I succeeded in this department with this post ????
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
January’s a time for new resolve and resolutions — even for those of us who claim we don’t make any. Flipping the calendar to a new year does something to us, giving us a figurative reset button — a chance to do away with unneeded things holding us back and try once more to become the people we’re meant to be.
Netflix Canada was right on track with their January prompts, asking the Stream Team to outline some of their resolutions for the year ahead!
Now, if you know me, you might find this a tad problematic — after all, it’s already tough enough for me to come up with 100 new resolutions every year — so I thought up some ways I could still join my Stream Team peers as they geared up for a new year with new views.
First, I thought to give my family some resolutions of their own, little things they could do to make all of our lives easier. However, Sarah reminded me that unless I yearned for permanent residence on the living room couch, that might be an approach to reconsider. (Don’t think I won’t get you to stop throwing your toys, though, Little Man!)
Then I considered resurrecting an old blog idea of mine and repurposing it — “I Don’t Do Resolutions”, a tongue-in-cheek ode to those who believe themselves so perfect that they don’t need some self-reflection to see what they could do better… but my heart wasn’t in it, preferring to focus on what good I can do in my life over the ills people focus on in theirs.
Finally, I did the only thing I could — write a post about Netflix Canada and a little black box, telling the story of how they’re changing my life with far more than shows.
What’s small, comes in a black box, and can replace three consoles and fifty games with its Netflix app?
I joined the Netflix Stream Team at a strange time — twoposts in and it was Year Three, where the stakes were higher and our digital media benefactors aimed to immerse us even deeper into the sheer wealth of programming they offered. There was plenty right in line with my interests for a better 2016, like Soul Surfer which I’d seen before at a church retreat; and the Planet Earth collection, once owned on DVD (you know — back when optical media was the thing), but it was the Year Three Stream Team welcome package that’d change everything.
If you follow anyone else on the Stream Team, this’ll be far from a spoiler for you, but I don’t think you realize how happy I was when I came home to the 4th gen Apple TV released last October and a Sony HT-CT80 Sound Bar to give my TV a much-needed upgrade. Many would simply see this as yet more cool swag that’s par for the course with the #BloggerLife, but for a couple of parents quickly realizing that kids and really good at taking up space with hordes of stuff… every little victory we can get to reclaim some space is more than welcome!
41) If we’re just using it to watch Netflix ANYWAY, replace the Playstation 3 with an Apple TV or Roku 3 or SOMETHING.
It’s been nearly five years since we got married — five years since my baby brother got me a Playstation 3 as a wedding gift, thinking it was the best thing in the world. I remember making an EB Games cashier’s day with the stack of games I bought shortly afterwards, getting ready to game like the good ol’ days, where I’d bask in the TV screen glow well into the night.
But Casey the Husband is a far cry from the man I’d been as a bachelor, all that free time finding ways to fill itself, none of it including animated avatars trying to complete complex three-dimensional puzzles on my screen. And once kids came into the mix years later, my consoles, games and DVDs were little more than eyesores, eating up precious energy and space that could be put to such better use.
So while I’ve little to offer Netflix Canada as far as new resolutions, I’m happy that they’ve helped me knock one off my list that’s sure to keep on giving as this family keeps growing!
And as for you out there in need of a solid fix when there’s nothing good on cable, don’t fret — Netflix has plenty planned for the year ahead… but why not start with some of what you can expect this February?
That said, The Making of a Murderer‘s not going to watch itself, so I’d better get back to it!
Happy streaming, tout le monde, and I’ll see you when I look at you!
Until the next,
*Disclaimer: I’m a member of the Netflix Stream Team, a group of bloggers posting monthly on the new things Netflix has to offer, which often involves interesting monthly packages promoting their freshest shows and movies! I just tell my family I’m watching copious amount of TV for work. They buy it. For now.
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
It’s been the hottest minute since I put out a Week That Was, so much so that I needed to roll ’em up into a month’s worth of material to catch up on the stories! A bit of a fail, I admit, but when you’re simultaneously preparing for Christmas, scribing a lively giveaway series, and trying to keep the rest of your life in order, things are gonna fall between the cracks. But with Christmas over and done with and the new year just around the corner, I’m jonesing to start 2016 with a clean slate, taking everything I learned this year to push the blog in exciting directions!
But enough jabbering about the future when you’re here for the past — let’s take a look at my last five weeks and all the antics that took up my time!
Any blogger who writes a post like this asking “Where do I start?” obviously doesn’t store enough of their moments on Google Photos. Scrolling through a quick search of 11/21/2015-12/26/2015 gave me everything I needed, and jeez was it a lot!
Photo courtesy of Brian Fryd
Though I don’t quite know how I made it this far through 2015 with my sanity intact, November was closing itself off solidly with events like Read for the Cure courtesy of TELUS (where we sat in the closest possible seats to the authors thanks to their status as Platinum Plus Sponsors and Ian Brown gleefully called my wife a “little shit”*), and emceeing DECA’s Festival of Lights, an annual event in my ‘hood to help ring in the holiday season by lighting the trees on the edge of East Lynn Park. I made a new friend — a potential Dad blogger who was visiting town, and reassured me there’re others out there looking to parent how I parent through an enlightening conversation! I won a FitBit Flex and promptly gave it to a coworker, knowing I couldn’t make as solid use of it as some of my gym-going colleagues could; I succumbed to the hype and tried Hot Star Large Fried Chicken to discover it was little more than that — a bit of pounded white meat covered with tons of breading and even more hoopla; and we continued tradition, getting Little Man a snowboarding Elmo to hang on the tree amongst the various Christmas accessories we’d ordered in to jazz up Casa de Palmer!
November was busy, without a doubt, but there’s no way I was ready for what’d come next.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, everyone breathed easier because it marked the last day of A Case Cringle Christmas!
It’s been a solid week of posting here in Casa de Palmer, with giveaways galore sandwiched between reviews, reflections and a healthy dose of mischief, I’ve taken this pile of swag that Sarah eyes with disdain every time she steps into the house, looking for readers who could make far better use of it than me.
But a huge thanks to everyone who’s been part of the fun this week — great contests make way for even better prizes, and your support helps me grow this blog from a hobby into something with a little more presence.
And speaking of presents, almost as if that play on words wasn’t completely intentional, of course I’m ending the week with one last giveaway — but you’ll have to bear with me a bit before we get there ????
Writing these weekly wrap-ups do more than just help me remember the hijinks I get up to each week — they also keep me well aware of the time that’s trickling through my fingers, and how quickly 2015 will be a foggy memory instead of the current reality. 2016 brings new goals, more family, and while I never know what’s around the corner anymore, I’m sure plenty of opportunities I’d never imagined possible.
Which is all the more reason I need to get this 2015 stuff off of my plate so I can tackle 2016 with a clear head!
Rasslin’ Big Smoke Burger’s “Urban Cowboy” for Hellmann’s Burger Route
I happened over Hellmann’s Burger Route by chance while visiting the Village’s Fresh Burger, surprised that I hadn’t heard of an event spanning more than 30 restaurants across the GTA! This simple discovery changed my November lunch hours, taking me places I usually found too far to visit.
This week saw the first trip (of many) down to the CF Toronto Eaton Centre’s Big Smoke Burger to get my grubby man-sized paws on their Urban Cowboy, which I’m pretty sure is the best fast food burger I’ve ever tasted. No lie — this isn’t even sponsored. I went back another two times to get it, knowing it’d likely be unavailable after November. I waited in line for this burger — Casey Palmer don’t wait in no lines. Too bad it’ll likely be gone by the time you read this ?
I feel sorry for you parents with the older kids, ’cause at 2 years old, my son’s still pretty dang good about going to bed.
Sure, we have a ritual — brush his teeth, change him into his pyjamas, read a few stories, tuck him into his sleep sack, and put him in his crib under the covers in the specific order of George the Build-a-Bear Monkey; Little Man himself; the handmade teddy Sarah’s Mom gave him at birth; and Tony the Cabbage Patch Doll.
But the point is, stick to the script and he falls asleep like a brick, succumbing to his strong Palmer genes for sleeping through any situation — even drilling holes in the next room to install a new microwave. (True story!)
There’s no negotiations. No stall tactics. Though a crafty little toddler, he’s yet to discover how to overcome the confines of time, and gets a solid 11 hours of sleep every night.
Wouldn’t it be great if we were all so fortunate?
To the 60% of you who do suffer through tots refusing to hit the sack in a timely fashion*, Netflix and DreamWorks Animation want to help with a new tool for your arsenal to put those complaints — and those kids — to rest.
That’s right — November saw the launch of Dinotrux 5-Minute Favorites, 300-second shorts from one of Netflix’s newest children’s series, designed to help address those pint-sized demands without submitting to a total degradation of law and order in your household!
Besides — the sooner you can get the little ones tucked in, the sooner you’ll lay eyes on the Netflix shows you want to watch, without impressionable young eyes to worry about! (I, for one, personally recommend Master of None and Jessica Jones as some of my recently-enjoyed shows — or River if you’re really thirsty for something that’ll make you think!)
I think we can safely say we all learned something here today — “s/he who screams loudest doesn’t always have to win.” With shows like Dinotrux 5-Minute Favorites, everyone can win and you can all move on with your lives… until the next battle!
*As polled by Netflix across all their international offerings
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
When I became a father, many thought I’d have to give up blogging, too busy and tired to bother with social media and my life associated with it. Through 2013, I worried over everything I was giving up with a kid in tow — the parties, the swag, the food — everything that was part of “the scene”. I thought I’d fade into obscurity, becoming an urban legend of Toronto’s social media scene — a precautionary tale to those trying to mix family and Twitter, to show it’s impossible.
But January seemed determined to prove me completely wrong.