Guys, I need your help.
I mean, hello, nice to see you, thanks for being here!
But seriously, I need your help. I need your best recommendations for movies that will be enjoyed both by someone who is four and someone who is almost 45. On weekends we let Niko stay up late and watch movies, but lately it's been a struggle to choose something that everyone will like.
Either I go to bat for Niko and put on a kid movie, which I usually enjoy well enough (I mean, anything Pixar is awesome!) but I have a hard time convincing my other half that a kid movie could be good. The other scenario is that Paul chooses a "Dad movie that's also for kids" which is inevitably wildly inappropriate and has to get turned off.
I may be worrying about it too much because as a kid I had terrible nightmares from scary movies, but I also feel like turning on Star Wars (where people are getting killed) or The Mask (don't even get me started) for a four year old isn't appropriate. We had great success with Elf at Christmas time, and have watched the Smurfs movies starring Doogie Howser multiple times.
So I need something along those lines. Funny, goofy, Dad will enjoy, but won't scare my kid or require that I have to explain stuff that I'm not ready to explain yet. Please hit me with your recommendations and help solve our weekly Friday / Saturday drama!
The funny thing is that I worked in a video store when I was a teenager, and I always thought it was so dumb when parents wouldn't let their kids rent movies that were rated PG13. I mean, these kids were probably around eight or ten and mine is four, which I think is a different scenario altogether, but I still think it's funny that I now *am* that parent.
Speaking of stuff I'm not ready to explain yet...
The other day on the way home from school Niko was riding his bike. He was doing a great job and even though he rode way ahead of me, he waited for me to catch up before he crossed the parking lot behind our building. He stopped and looked for cars on the first side, but then he didn't stop and look on the other side, and a car had to stop suddenly as I was yelling at him to stop and look.
So I took him aside and told him how scary that was and how sad I would be if he got hit by a car and there was no more Niko. And he goes, "Well you could just grow another one."
That kid, I tell ya.
I told him that I wasn't going to grow any more babies, and that even if I did grow another one it wouldn't be him, so there would be no more Niko and I'd still be super sad. And then he goes, "but how DO you make a baby?"
Oof. So, we're here already? I just told him that a mom and a dad have to make a baby together (which I know leaves out trans and non-binary folk, but I'm just explaining one thing at a time in four-year-old terms) and he didn't ask anymore questions after that and got quickly distracted by ranting about his bike or something, which was a relief.
But I guess I had better prepare a better answer for next time! I want to be honest with him, but I don't know exactly *how* honest I should be with a kid his age.
Perhaps I should just let Paul choose the movies from now on and the problem will solve itself?
Odin turned 18 months old yesterday. It simultaneously feels like nothing and forever. He is such a pain in the ass, and such a joy, and it's hard to remember our family without him.
I was reflecting on his babyhood the other day, and how in one sense I wish I could go back and do it again, and in another I'm sooooo glad it's behind me. I wish I could tell myself to relax and enjoy it more, and not be so frantic about getting stuff done.
I wish I could go back in time and change the way I approached sleep training, which was too harsh and just didn't work.
I also know that I did my best, and that the circumstances were not in my favour. Anyone who has lived for six months with no bathroom, in a perpetual construction site, with a fussy newborn and a whiny toddler while freelancing through your maternity leave will tell you that it's no walk in the park.
And every time my sweet boy runs over and leaps into my arm, stuffs his fuzzy head into the nook of my neck and aggressively pats my back with his hugs, I know that he's just fine. It's water under the bridge. And he is a joy.
Still wish he slept more, but whatever.
Over the course of the next week I will be migrating over to a new email provider. Hopefully things will go smoothly, but if you notice that you're not receiving the usual weekly broadcast newsletter on Sundays and you had previously signed up for it, you may need to sign up again.
Since the new provider is significantly more expensive than the previous one I was using, I also did an aggressive pruning of my email list. This means that I went in and deleted anyone who hadn't opened an email in the past three months, which was around 500 people. Byeeeee!
If you're getting the email but don't really like it so don't bother opening, then please do unsubcribe! You may not know this, but email services that businesses use to send out their newsletters cost money, either based on the number of emails that go out or the number of subscribers on the list.
Whether it's my newsletter or something you signed up for to get 10% off your next order from Banana Republic, you're actually doing the business a favour by unsubscribing if you're not interested. Consider it spring cleaning for your inbox!
Ok, that sounded dirty. But you get the point.
Anyone else feeling like they need to get their meal planning game in check these days? I know life is far from normal right now, but I've been getting back into some meal prep and meal planning because it helps me feel a bit more balanced.
For example, I've started packing breakfasts and lunches for the week even though I'm working from home, because my husband is working from the kitchen and I find that our schedules often don't line up. Sometimes I'll feel ready for lunch only to discover he's on an important conference call, which means I can't really be making a ruckus to whip up some food.
I've been making a big sturdy Kale Salad (like this Massaged Kale Salad) and pairing it with a protein or some leftovers from the fridge. These Banana Overnight Oats and have been in heavy rotation for breakfast at my desk, as has this Simple Chia Pudding for a light breakfast or snack.
For dinners I've been really appreciating the meal plans from Green Plate Club for inspiration, as I've found that I'm bored with my regulars and I appreciate not having to think too hard about what's for dinner.
Green Plate Club is a meal plan subscription service that’s by vegetarians, for vegetarians. Each Saturday members get sent a link for a 5-day vegetarian, 5-day vegan, and 3-day flexitarian meal plan, plus you have access to the entire bank of previous meal plans.
The meal plans are designed specifically to minimize time spent prepping, reduce food waste, and be budget-friendly. They’re also vetted by a nutritionist (that’s me!) and are family friendly.
You can sign up for Green Plate Club for just $6 per month, $15 for three months, or $50 for a whole year. That’s peanuts! And best of all, you beautiful people can get the yearly membership for just $45 by using the code HNL at checkout.
Disclosure: I am a consultant for Green Plate Club, but do not earn any money or take a commission from them at this time.
ON HEY NUTRITION LADY THIS WEEK
I felt like collectively we could use a cookie, so this week I made us one. A really, really big one. This Wholegrain Cast Iron Skillet Cookie has crisp edges, a molten center, and served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream it's exactly what you need right now.
Not sure what kind of produce is available in your neck of the woods right now, but the good news is that this Green Pea Salad with Feta and Mint makes use of frozen peas for part of the pea trifecta.
WHAT’S TRENDING ON HNL
Yeah, yeah, we all know that Mung Bean and Coconut Curry is in number one. So let’s look at what else is trending.
1. Turmeric Latte Mix. I wonder if I could make a whipped turmeric latte ????
2. Peanut Butter Oat Bars. Mmm. So good.
3. Chia Fresca. Gotta stay hydrated, yo!
4. Indonesian Black Rice Pudding. Need to make another batch of this soon.
5. Amazing Vegan Gravy. This did really well over the past week, I think due to Easter.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Lovely reader Claire left a series of comments last week that made me laugh and smile so hard. To start with, she left this comment and 5 star review on my Greek Yogurt Mashed Potatoes recipe:
HOLY MOTHER OF MASHED POTATOES! Why aren’t there literally 1 million comments on here about how good these are? I made these to top your Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, which I will comment on separately. For now, let’s focus on these beautiful taters.
These mashed potatoes are the creamy, delectable potatoes of my dreams. The broth method is genius. The broth concentrates and mixes with the potato starch so wonderfully; it almost becomes like gravy. I used a little over half my reserved broth then stirred a little into leftovers as needed. Listen to Katie, SAVE THE BROTH!
I can’t believe I only put 5 tablespoon of butter into 5 lbs of potatoes. I also used non-fat greek yogurt (that’s the only kind we ever have) and they were still so amazing. I thought I might have to add some more butter or olive oil, but no. They were perfect. I love the skin on for the texture, the flavor, the extra nutrition, and because like you I am lazy and ain’t nobody got time to peel 5 lbs of potatoes.
I gave some leftovers to a pregnant, very nauseous friend who gobbled them up. They were the biggest meal she had been able to eat in several days and they made here feel like a person again. You hear that? These potatoes will give you life!
Folks, did you hear her?! These potatoes will GIVE YOU LIFE!!!
WHAT’S GOOD AROUND THE WEB
1. Love in the time of corona: Stories of community support through food.
2. We need to re-think our food system to prevent the next pandemic.
3. How to make a sourdough starter from scratch.
4. Totally drooling over this 20-minute Broccoli Cheddar Quesadilla.
5. I don't drink coffee so can't jump on the whipped coffee trend, but might give this Whipped Matcha a go!
Children's movies have often/always had a scary edge. Remember "The Neverending Story" or "Secret of Nimh"? Terrifying. One I loved was Bedknobs and Broomsticks with Angela Lansbury. I'm so old. P.S. I love your column right now; seems both official and social media are trending more and more toward two extremes, either (1) the super-saccharine/self-care/how to make your own organic soap from pantry ingredients end or (2) the angry/scared/helpless/anxious end. You seem to be keeping things normal and not buying into either extreme. Good job, lady.
I had to piggyback my sister to the bathroom at night for a full year because she was scared that the wolf from the Never Ending Story might be under her bed ????I also loved bedknobs and brromsticks. Thanks for the kind words - I think it's easier to take a balanced approach when the world around you is more balanced, as it is here in Sweden. I might be singing a different tune if we were on lockdown.
Adding to the movie suggestions:
1. The Princess Bride (adventure without being too scary)
2. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (maybe distract him during Large Marge scene)
3. Back to the Future (watched this with a just turned 5 year old last summer. He loved it but there was way more swearing than we remembered)
4. How to Train Your Dragon (cartoon but great story)
5. Singing in the Rain (transfixed my son when he was four)
Honestly our movie nights usually revolve around Pixar or Star Wars. It’s a rough balancing act. The adults usually lose.
My boyfriend and I have very different movie tastes and I find most series/movies he like very scary. Instead of watching something together that is a compromise for both of us, we now watch movies on different devices. Can Paul watch a movie on a tablet with earphones in while Niko watches kids stuff on the TV? They can still snuggle and eat out of the same popcorn bowl, but both watch something they like. Just a thought.
We've tried that, but one of us is grumpy about it.
My family movie recommendation would be Shrek 🙂
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Comment of the week is a good thing. I loved the black bean quinoa burritos, as suggested in a recent COTW. And as a lover of all things potato, I am going to make your mashers, ASAP. I can't wait.
The Time mag article on how we got to CoVid is so timely (get it) and so spot on. A great article. We really need to know, how we got here.
Hi from the West Coast! I felt exactly as you do about movie themes as a parent with young kids. A few of our fav’s are Finding Nemo, Kung Fu Panda, Shrek and Charlotte’s Web. And maybe I’m a schmalzy sentimentalist, but we watched the “Sound of Music” a lot when our kids were growing up and it continues to be a family favourite despite my “kids” being in their early 20’s! Good luck with this adventure 🙂
Just want to let you know I made your Amazing Vegan Gravy last night for dinner. My daughter, husband and I all loved it. I served it with mashed potatoes and a seitan pork recipe. Thanks for a great recipe!
Matilda... my children are 31 (daughter) & 37. (son).. favourite movie of all time.
I highly recommend the Odd Squad. There is a movie and it is also a series. It is highly entertaining for kids and even parents. Bonus is that it is educational. And really funny. Instead of a movie you could watch 4 episodes. I think you would appreciate the humor.
Other than that my daughters favorites at that age-All the Toy Storys. (Ilove them also) The princess and the frog. Chitty Chitty, Wizard of Oz, ET, Frozen, Sound of Music, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Inside Out, Monsters Inc., Sound of Music. The secret life of pets is a movie my daughter and husband watch together to this day. She is 10. They both love it.
If you can get access to the kids show "Yo Gabba Gabba" then try that. It is an old show but my daughter loved it when she was that age.
The Fantastic Mr Fox. Grown ups movie disguised as a kids movie. Probably my favourite movie ever, and my kid watched it about 97 times when he was 3.
I have 8- and 11-year old girls, so I’ve been living the “find a family movie” conundrum for the last 4-5 years. In no particular order, here are some films we enjoyed that might work for your family:
1- Searching for Bobby Fisher
2- The Iron Giant
3- Ponyo (but Studio Ghibli is often weird, lol)
4- Night at The Museum
5- Bridge to Terabithia
Some of these have intense themes, but I recall their handling to be accessible. Also, Common Sense Media is a great resource for finding age-appropriate materials.
Happy Movie Night!