How I Survived this Long Winter without Cable

Hi. My name is Laura and I’m a television addict.

I love television, but we don’t have cable.

You see, times are a-changing. People like me want to watch shows when we want, where we want, and arguably with fewer commercials (though, I have noticed that with my online viewing habits, and the tendency to include ads on online video, I don’t actually mind them so much). And also, people like me don’t have money to waste on frivolous things like fibre cable (and cell phones… but that’s neither here nor there). You see, television is a luxury. It isn’t a necessity. And when the time comes to cut costs, cable has always been the first to go in our household.

So, how do we do it? How do I, and my addiction, survive in a house without cable?

Elementary, dear Watson. Netflix. (And a few other fancy internet tricks to watch current seasons).

I confess that I was the last to jump on the Netflix bandwagon in my house. I really like to stay up to date with current seasons and do not really enjoy watching movies. But I really like watching my television on my iPad, and with new restrictions on cable television apps (What do you mean I have to have cable television to watch this show online? ISN’T THAT THE POINT OF WATCHING SHOWS ONLINE?), Netflix has become my go-to television source. You see, I’m not a sit-down-and-watch kind of girl. Ain’t no one got time for that! Netflix + tablet = watching on the move and that is just what this busy Mom needs!

Netflix with my kids is even easier. I am happy to report that they don’t watch as much television as they used to, but let’s be honest. I’m a Canadian Mom in what feels like the longest winter EVER! We have needed to distract them from time to time with mindless educational programming so that their Dad and I can go to the bedroom and lock the door and make the bed, or clean the room, or do whatever we do behind those doors. (What?)

Watching Netflix

So what have my kids been watching in our cable wasteland during the last 10 months of winter?

My Family’s Top 8 Favourite Netflix Shows (for toddlers and preschoolers)

Favourite Netflix titles

  • Dinosaur Train – Seriously, whoever put dinosaurs and trains together in a show was a GENIUS!
  • Bubble Guppies – Just wait until your one year old starts saying “Bubble Guppies”, or, in our case “Double Duppies”.

Bubble Puppy Love

  • Thomas & Friends – Classic. Cameron swears he doesn’t like this show but can’t turn away when it is on. Gavin insists on watching it by saying “Choo! Choo!”
  • Pokémon – This is Cameron’s top choice, especially since he got Charmander from his friend Simeon for his birthday.
  • Transformers: Rescue Bots – Okay. I admit to knowing next to nothing about this show.
  • Team Umizoomi – Always a favourite, assuming I can convince my kids to watch it over Pokémon and Rescue Bots. But, I totally credit Team Umizoomi with encouraging Cameron’s love of math.
  • The Magic School Bus – Because sometimes Mommy just needs to rock out to that opening sequence.
  • Turbo – Okay, I admit we haven’t actually watched this yet. But, this title is next on our family movie viewing list because it is totally the type of movie my kids would love and it was just released on Netflix on March 12.

Netflix Stream Team

I am a member of Netflix’s Stream Team and as such I have been compensated with complementary Netflix and a few other perks. The stories and opinions are all my own and have not been bought.

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About Laura O'Rourke

Laura is a Mom of three who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Currently on maternity leave, she blogs about life at home with her husband Dan and three sons Cameron (age 5), Gavin (age 3), and Logan (not yet 1). When she has time, she can be found reading, writing, snapping photos, or awkwardly running. Laura has been recognized as one of Canada's Top 10 Mom Bloggers by multiple publications, including Reader's Digest. Keep up with the fun by following @LauraORourke on Twitter or liking Mommy Miracles on Facebook. Like what you see? Have something to add? Be sure to leave a comment!


  1. Molly also loves Bubble Guppies (Gubba Guppies) and just started watching Team Umizoomi a little bit. She likes I Spy too, also on Netflix but only 12-13 mins long…and Curious George sometimes :) I’m trying to get her to like Old-School Sesame Street, but so far, not much interest.
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    • I like new school Sesame Street just as much as old school, but more often than not we watch shows Cameron wants because he’s more vocal. Sigh. I much prefer shows like Bubble Guppies and Sesame Street and Super Why.

  2. Ooh, my little one loves dinosaurs AND trains – brilliant!
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  3. Liam LOVES Dinosaur Train! Each day he is a different dinosaur from the Dinosaur A to Z song (today he is an ornithomimus)! Everything is about dinosaurs now – dinosaur toys, books and stickers – good thing the public library has tons of dinosaur books. I’ve learned more about dinosaurs in the last month than I have in my entire lifetime! The great thing about it is the way the show weaves with nature and science. Well done Jim Henson Company!

  4. We love our Netflix! We just got rid of our cable about a month ago and I have to admit I was pretty reluctant. But it has been great. I find that the boys are watching less TV and when they do, they are making a conscious choice to watch something instead of just tuning in to whatever is on. Pokemon is currently really BIG here as well.
    Also? We watched Turbo over the weekend and we all really liked it. :)
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  5. Meghan

    I’m so glad Cam likes the pokemon toy! Yay! I love it when presents your not sure about turn out so well :)

  6. I have been wanting to cancel our satellite for a long time now but the husband won’t let go of it. He isn’t tech savvy like myself.

    And I am so upset with companies who now require you to have certain subscriptions in order to watch shows online. I tried watching an episode of a show I missed on my go to website and was shocked to see that I couldn’t watch it freely anymore. And of course the company we do subscribe to was not listed on their site. Have to love that.
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  7. Glad to know we aren’t the only parents who “make the bed” while the kids are watching Netflix. “My big big friend” has a whole different meaning around our house.

  8. Dec Browne says:

    Thomas? For toddlers/preschoolers? I know talking trains are fakes, but it is for all ages! I like it at 9 in a half because of the epicness and it’s interesting and entertaining history which I have typed here: Thomas himself started out as Wilbert Awdry’s gift to his son Christopher during measles. Then, the first book in the Railway Series, Wilbert’s book series that inspired Thomas, was published and was titled The Three Railway Engines (those engines were Edward, Gordon and Henry). The next was titled Thomas the Tank Engine and debuted Thomas and James. When Egmont Publications published it, they demanded for more books about the happy little tank engine. So, after more Railway Series books, Tank Engine Thomas Again was finally published. Britt Allcroft, who had done a documentary on the Bluebell Railway, loved reading her kids Railway Series books so she made them into a show called Thomas and Friends which was a big hit from its first episode, Thomas and Gordon. Later, Christopher took over and introduced us to characters who had never gotten into Thomas and Friends like Wilbert and Albert. Back to the TV series Thomas and Friends now. A few years after Britt was taken from the production crew, the engines were given Canadian-made CGI faces, and also the humans and animals became full CGI. Later, Nitrogen Studios in Canada took over Thomas and Freinds and made the whole SHOW CGI.
    Let’s stop talkin’ ’bout the history, and move on to the fact that I still keep my toy Thomas that the Take ‘N’ Play Thomas and Friends toy brand made in my plastic cubby in the backyard.

  9. I really needed to read this. My husband is adamant about us getting rid of cable and we are Netflix addicts here too. So we might just go ahead and cancel our TV subscription! In our house, it’s Dora, “Bubba Guppies” and Super Why.
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  10. Awesome blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers?
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