Daily Rebecca - dishing up a little bit of everything.

Netflix Stream Team

October 18th, 2014

Like millions of other Americans, our family has a Netflix subscription.

AND like millions of other Americans, we love it.

I became highly disinterested in cable TV sometime after Grace was born.  All my favorite channels started to have marathon after marathon of shows I didn’t like.

Any shows that did seem appealing to me were aired at times that I couldn’t watch them and, since we didn’t have a DVR, I just fell completely out of touch with what was on TV.

EXCEPT for the shows that were available on Netflix.

 

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Because Netflix allows me to stream full seasons of my favorite shows commercial-free, I’ve become completely spoiled.

If it’s not available on Netflix, I pretty much don’t watch it.

Commercials drive me bonkers and I don’t have patience for waiting a whole week between episodes of the shows I love most.

Well, except The Walking Dead :)

But even in the case of The Walking Dead, I might never have become a huge fan had it not been for Netflix.  I was skeptical about the whole plot originally (I mean zombies??? Come on!) but because I was able to watch a bunch of episodes commercial-free and then start binge watching them once I got hooked, I became a huge fan.

I know, I know, zombies.

BUT it has an incredible cast and the character development and relationships keep me coming back for more!

I digress…

We are big Netflix fans over here.  Every one of us.

Thanks to their Kids Only profiles, Grace and I can scroll through show options worry-free because I know she’s not going to see anything inappropriate.

Some of her favorites are…

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This one surprised me because she’s such a girly-girl, but she caught pirate fever!  I like it because of all the counting and learning elements.

When it comes to manners, hygiene, and general good behavior, this one’s a favorite of mine and Grace & Avery love it too!

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I only recently learned that Daniel Tiger is a descendant of the tiger on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood which was a childhood favorite of mine.  Mr. Rogers was such an awesome dude.

My favorite outcome of this show has been the “You can take a turn, then I’ll get it back” song that encourages kids to share.  I’ve been singing it rather frequently lately, and I think Grace is starting to understand how true it is!  Sharing is such a battle with siblings, so having an arsenal of things like this jingle is really helpful.

I try to limit the time that both Grace and Avery watch TV because no matter how good the shows are, my girls get whiney and irritable if they have too much screen time.

I also don’t want them exposed to the slew of marketing out there in the form of commercials.  Even the preschool cable channels have tons of commercials ranging from toys to geriatric medical supplies to pharmaceuticals.

Grace gets irritated (like me!) with commercials and just plain doesn’t need to be exposed to all of that advertising.

Netflix is a great solution.  We pick what we want from their Kids Only section and I know the girls won’t be bombarded with ads.

As far as Andy and I are concerned, we love to find a mutually enjoyable show and watch the heck out of it together snuggled on the couch.

Now that he’s in his 3rd year of medical school, his study schedule has become much more manageable.  It’s like we get a little bit of “normal” before he starts his crazy residency schedule.

In the spring we really fell for this show…

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Parks & Rec is hilarious and super quirky.  It kind of reminds me of The Office, but isn’t nearly as cringe worthy.

Amy Poehler is brilliantly funny and lovable and I cannot get enough “Ron Swanson” (played by Nick Offerman).  I mean…

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LOL!

Once we’d watched all of the Parks & Rec that Netflix had available, we began searching for a new show to watch together.  We tried 24 for two whole seasons, but it just dragged on too much for us.  I think it should have been called 12 and covered 12 hours of a day rather than the whole 24! Ha!

After hearing rave reviews, we checked out House of Cards…

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It’s definitely a show for mature audiences and we fast forwarded a few scenes that were outside of what we are comfortable with, but at the end of the day it’s a fantastic political drama.

Kevin Spacey is extraordinarily cunning and the cinematography is beautiful.  There were episodes that actually made me jump up off the couch in total shock.

Both seasons were gripping.  You just didn’t know exactly what to expect.

I could go on and on about more of our favorite shows, but I’d love to hear recommendations from other Netflix addicts!  What are you hooked on?  What have your favorites been?

Let me know and I’ll be back next month with more of our favorite picks :)

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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 welcome kit including a voucher to apply towards my Netflix account. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.


Incredibly Moist Buttermilk Cornbread

October 16th, 2014

To me, fall is the perfect time of year to eat chili.

Something about the cool weather, dark evenings, and football playing in the background just beckons me to eat a big bowl of hot chili.

I love to eat mine topped with sour cream, cheddar cheese, and oyster crackers.  Mmmmmm.

When I’m feeling particularly health conscious I eat my chili straight up, and this recipe is so very good that it can absolutely stand alone and be eaten plain!

the best traditional chili

 

I know it’s a bold claim…to be the best traditional chili, but in my opinion it is!  Try it and let me know what you think :)

Just as peas are to carrots and peanut butter is to jelly, chili and cornbread are a winning combo.

Not all corn bread is created equal however!

Soooo many cornbread recipes turn out dry and crumbly.  You need a thick pat of butter just to choke down a dry slice of cornbread and even then it leaves you wishing it was so much better.

I think cornbread should be moist, cakey, and slightly sweet.

That’s how I like mine anyway.

Most often I’ll whip up a batch of cornbread using the recipe on the back of the cornmeal canister and it’s always turned out ok.  It’s not terribly dry, but not terribly amazing either.

We slap some butter on it and gobble it up with our chili, which is the real star of the show.

I’ve been scouting around for a better recipe and I think I may stop my search now that I’ve found this one!

Cornbread close up

It’s incredibly moist and cakey with the perfect amount of sweetness (you could reduce the sugar if you like yours less sweet) and it was so tasty we didn’t even butter it!

YUM.

I think it may have had something to do with the stick of butter and cup of buttermilk ;)

This is not a light, low-cal, gluten-free healthy cornbread.

This is a rich and delicious indulgent cornbread and really, why mess around with any other kind?

Another thing I loved about this recipe is that the batter is made right in the saucepan you use to melt the butter! I’m all about saving a dish and having less to wash later.

Without further ado, here’s the simple, yet delicious recipe!

incredibly moist buttermilk cornbread

Incredibly Moist Buttermilk Cornbread
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish/Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter
  • ⅔ cup white sugar (you can reduce to ½ cup for a less sweet version)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375*F and grease an 8 inch square pan with butter.
  2. Melt stick of butter in large saucepan.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar until fully combined.
  4. Add eggs and immediately beat by hand (with a whisk) until well blended.
  5. Combine buttermilk with baking soda first, then stir into butter/sugar/egg mixture in saucepan.
  6. Add cornmeal, flour, and salt and stir until well blended.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I recommend starting with 25 minutes and increasing by 2 minutes each time until it's fully cooked...don't over bake and dry it out!)

 


When Parenting Feels Impossible

October 15th, 2014

I’ve got a delicious recipe to share (tomorrow), but I’d be remiss if I didn’t blog about my incredibly challenging past few days.

You guys.

I thought I’d been pushed to my limits in parenting before, but this last stretch was so much more intense.

SO MUCH MORE.

For starters, Avery is not sleeping well at night.  Late last week, she started crying around 1am and would not settle, so I went in to comfort her and she just wanted to be held.  It was super sweet, so I chalked it up to a precious moment of snuggles and a worthy parenting sleep sacrifice.  My plan was to snuggle her to calm her down and then put her back in the crib to sleep.  As soon as I put her in and started to walk away, she started sobbing.

So, I sat beside the crib and she calmed down.

I sang her some lullabies and kept her company to make her feel safe.

But then I got tired.

REAL TIRED.

So I waited till she dozed off and I started to sneak out of her room.

She immediately woke up and started sobbing again.

Ugh.

So I sat in her rocking chair and dozed there for a long stretch.

Tried to sneak out again and she woke up and sobbed again.

So I grabbed a pillow and blanket from the couch to sleep on her floor for a while (this mama’s gotta get some sleep!).

It was super uncomfortable, particularly at 30 weeks pregnant, so I woke up and attempted to sneak out again.

FAIL.

She heard me and the cycle continued.

So basically I hardly slept all night except for a few brief stretches in the rocker and on the floor.

NO BUENO.

You can imagine how hard it was to get up for the day and tackle everything with so little sleep.

On top of the sleep drama, Grace is going through something.

Probably average four year old girl stuff, but it feels so much more major.

Everything is a battle, everything is a crisis, everything is a cry-worthy issue, everything is a power struggle.

It’s wearing me out.

And of course this is all right on the heels of having an incredible couple of weeks implementing the biblical strategies in Loving Your Kids On Purpose.

The past few weeks, I’ve been rocking and rolling day in and day out.  Patting myself on the back for how patient and kind I’ve been in each and every situation.  So proud of the growth I’ve experienced from my former fear & punishment cycle of handling bad behavior.

I don’t know how my giant head even got through the door!

It’s so funny how this always happens to me.  Just when I think I’ve got this whole parenting thing figured out, everything falls apart.

Ok, maybe funny is the wrong word….traumatic may be more like it.

I don’t like traumatic.

At all.

So…

The Jesus Calling devotional is my ::ahem:: bathroom reading material.  I keep it on the back of the toilet and find that to be a great place to have some uninterrupted devotional time! Lol

Anyway, a few lines from an entry last week have been rocking my world ever since:

Trust me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them.

When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My help.  This is a subtle sin – so common that it usually slips by unnoticed.

Rather than fearing your inadequacy, rejoice in My abundant supply.

Train your mind to seek My help continually, even when you feel competent to handle something by yourself.  Don’t divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help.

Instead, learn to rely on me in every situation.

That’s just a paraphrase of the October 10th entry, but it really really resonated with me.

The problem isn’t that I was trying to implement some awesome parenting principles.  The problem was that I approached it like I approach so many things.

Just like a toddler…

I CAN DO IT MYSELF.

“I got this, Lord.”

“You can go help other people who really need it because I’m pretty fantastic and won’t be needing your help parenting now that I’ve read this great book.”

DUDE.

Talk about being off base.

WAAYYYY off base.

But He always does what it takes to draw us back to Him.  Like a mother hen, He gathers us under His wings. (Matt 23:37)

I love that He never forces us to turn to Him.  He always asks, “Are you willing?”

By the time yesterday morning rolled around and Avery had been fitfully tossing and turning in my bed since 1am and I had a FULL day of church and preschool ahead of me, I was willing.

I literally went into the bathroom and looked my messy-hair-plaid-flannel-nightshirt-puffy-morning-face in the mirror and said aloud, “Lord I do not have ANYTHING for today.  I’m totally empty and I cannot do any of this on my own.  I need you.”

Then, instead of rehearsing how I’d face each part of my day, I relinquished it all to Him.  I took my faltering, mustard-seed faith and I just put one foot in front of the other, trusting that He’d take care of me.

And you know what?

He did.

He’s always faithful.

His mercies are new every morning.

Hallelujah!

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