Best Doggone Tradition Comes Back

Netflix Stream Team Mini Milestones

When Elena was around 4, we started a family tradition of Fridays being family movie night. It was a wonderful way to reconnect as a family after a week of work, school and errands, and a fun way to kick off the weekend. We always ate pizza on the family room floor and had a special treat as well. Sometimes we let Elena pick the movie (is there a special award for suffering through those Barbie movies?), other times we picked out classics we’d loved as kids, and some Fridays we’d finally get around to seeing a new release. I really cherish those memories.

Then Eli came along, and in the chaos of having a new baby, movie night fell by the wayside. Elena probably watched a lot of movies on her own, or with me glued to the divot I’d made on the couch from endless hours of nursing, but we got away from movie watching as a family.

I’ve tried to revive it from time to time, but having kids with a 5-year age span in between them made it difficult. Choosing titles that appeal to a preschool boy and an older elementary girl is hard! But I really, really missed those Friday evenings when we all sat in one place, enjoying the same movie and bumping hands in the big popcorn bowl.

Last month I was asked to be a member of the Netflix Stream Team, and it was like they read my mind and knew I needed that last little nudge to bring movie night back to our family. Each month for the next year I’ll be writing about a family-related theme and sharing ideas for ways you can connect in your own families. I’m very excited about it, and hope you’ll enjoy the series as well.

The theme for October is Mini Milestones. Some families are so good about celebrating milestones, whether it’s as big as a first birthday or as small as a first goal in soccer. I’d say we fall somewhere in the middle. I know Mike rolls his eyes sometimes when I make a big deal about our quirky milestones. But in my mind, why pass up an opportunity to celebrate, especially if it means an excuse to go out for ice cream!

Old Yeller Movie Night

Our special milestone isn’t so mini, though, at least not like he was when we first got him in August! I thought it would be fun to celebrate getting our first dog. Gus might have been mini at one time, but he’s growing like crazy! I don’t know exactly how much he weighs compared to when we got him, but I do know he used to fit in his beanbag like a baby bird in a nest. And now? He hangs off the edges!


I wanted to make our first movie night extra special, so I chose a dog-themed movie that neither of the kids had ever seen before: Old Yeller! It might be nearly 60 years old, but it stands the test of time. I guess the story of boys and their dogs never gets old.

Halloween Puppy Chow with Nutella

You can’t have movie night without a proper snack. And if you’re going to be watching a movie about a dog, how can you night snack on puppy chow? My friend Rachel, of A Southern Fairytale, has the perfect twist on puppy chow for the fall: Halloween Puppy Chow with Nutella! Once you try it, you’ll be celebrating many more milestones with a batch of it.

What milestones are you marking off this month? And how do you celebrate them, big or small?




1. Aren’t my parents the cutest? They’ll celebrate 55 years of marriage at the end of this month. Every day I count my blessings to have them so near and in good health. And, of course, for the wonderful example they set for me when it comes to honoring your marriage vows.

2. I rarely treat myself to pedicures and never treat myself to manicures, so I jumped at the chance to check out the new Beauty Bar at Geist. It’s a gorgeous, full-service salon, but even better? You can enjoy an adult beverage while getting pretty. It was 11 am, so I stuck with coffee, but trust me, I’ll be back!

3. I had so much fun partnering with Comcast Xfinity to host a viewing party for the Colts home opener against that one guy named Peyton and the Broncos. I made my friend, Will Carroll (better knows as injuryexpert), take a selfie with me to distract myself from the losing score. If you have SiriusXM you can catch him weekday afternoons on Bleacher Report Radio from 3-6 pm.

4. I took Eli to meet Colts’ tight end Coby Fleener. I was hoping we’d be BFFs after I casually mentioned that we’ve both written for the Monday Morning Quarterback, but sadly he was not impressed. Or maybe he was just distracted by Eli’s choice of a Detroit Lions hoodie in a sea of Colts gear. And to answer my sister’s question, I am not standing in a hole. Coby is enormous.

5. We ended up at Culver’s on kid’s night. Eli asked if he could get his face painted and I said, “Sure!” and sent him on his merry way. He came back to the table 15 minutes later and I nearly choked on my cheese curd. It was the most terrifying example of face painting on a kid I’ve ever seen. Of course, he loved it.

6. I came across this Dr. Who calendar by a local Indianapolis artist at the Twisted Sisters shop. I know a certain 12-year-old girl Whovian that would love it for Christmas!

7.  On a gorgeous fall evening I hosted some of my favorite people for my first ever attempt at paella. I’m happy to report it turned out great and we didn’t have to order pizza! I’m not so happy to report that the reason for the gathering was to say goodbye to Katy. Did you know we met on a blind date? It’s true! Now she’s off to Boston and I’m terribly sad and stubbornly in denial.  Thanks for a wonderful evening, Sacha, Suzanne and Erin!

8. We had very few requirements when we started looking for a dog. What we did know for sure was that having a dog that didn’t do car rides was a deal breaker. We once had a dog that would start foaming at the mouth at the sight of a car, then proceed to vomit the entire trip (super fun on a 8 hour car ride to Cleveland). As you can see, Gus likes the car, which means he can stay.

9. We spent the last Saturday in September with the lovely blogging community behind Indiana’s Family of Farmers. After a tour of a local cattle farm, we spent the evening in this beautiful little corner of rural Indiana. We feasted on pulled pork from a hog that had been roasted earlier in the day, stuffed ourselves with s’mores, fished, and chatted with friends. As if it wasn’t already a perfect evening, I won a quarter of beef from the Mahan’s cattle!

If you’re not already following me on Instagram already, please do! You can find me there as (the one and only) AngieSix.


Eli’s LEGO-Themed Room

As you might remember, we painted and decorated Elena’s room shortly after we moved in. Eli’s room, on the other hand … well, it stayed as is for over a year. In typical Eli fashion, it did not bother him one bit that it used to be a little girl’s nursery. Nope, laid-back Eli was fine with it.

Well, it was finally time to give the kid a room of his own! He wavered between a few different themes, but in the end he settled on one of his biggest loves in life: LEGO.

LEGO themed bedroom

He initially said he wanted the entire room green. (Note to all parents: do not give a kid free-range in the paint chip department unless you’re really okay with the most garish, hideous color they make. Because that is the one color your kid will pick.) We compromised and painted one wall green and the rest of the walls a light grey. The grey is a nice backdrop for the primary colors of LEGO, and should he change his mind about the theme in the near future, it will be much easier to repaint one wall instead of all four.

LEGO Bedroom

He had some dark wood bookshelves that were leftovers from our old home office, but they were too small for his growing collection of boy stuff and didn’t look great with the rest of his furniture. I chose these Wendel bookshelves from The Container Store. This particular collection has been discontinued, but they’ve revamped the collection since. The new versions are very similar.

elfa closet kids

We’d already had his closet done when we moved in. I cannot recommend Elfa enough, especially for kids’ closets. All of the shelves in Eli’s room can be moved up or down quite easily, so the closet will essentially grow with him. I also have an Elfa drawer unit in there to hold socks, underwear, bathing suits, and pajamas. I have several drawer units in my house (Elena’s closet, the basement, and in the pantry) and I’m continually amazed at the functionality of them. Some of them have served different purposes in different rooms, depending on the need. They are one of my best household investments ever.

Custom LEGO minifig canvases

The best part of his room, in Eli’s opinion, is the custom collection of LEGO prints. I had Eli set up several different scenes with his LEGO minifigs. He plays with his minifigs more than any single thing he owns, so they’re very special to him. After he set up the scenes, I photographed them up close. I then uploaded his 3 favorites to Fabness and ordered them as square canvases. Fabness is my favorite place to buy canvases from. They almost always have a great deal going, and the quality is amazing.

LEGO minifigure canvas

LEGO organization

We’ve tweaked the way Eli stores his LEGOs just a bit. For one, we moved them from the basement up to his bedroom. He plays with them so much more once we relocated them. For years we organized them in IKEA bins. While we still have them organized by type of brick (as opposed to color), we moved them into these LEGO bins from Iris. They’re perfect now that he’s a little older. You can either throw them in drawers (which works great for bigger bricks or Ninjago/Chima pieces), or use divided inserts within the drawers. I’ve always stressed that the way you organize LEGOs totally depends on how your kid likes to build. Eli loves to build from plans, so having bricks organized by type helps him when he’s looking for a certain brick. I often get asked if he’s able to maintain this system. When he was younger, he needed help. Now, while he might mix similar bricks together, he’s very good at keeping the different bricks separated.

LEGO organizer

LEGO organization Iris

We still need to figure out a window treatment, and we have a few more posters to hang up, but I’m really thrilled with the way his room turned out. Most importantly, though, is that Eli loves his LEGO -themed room, too!

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