Thursday, October 30, 2014

Stream Into 2015 {Google Chromecast Giveaway!}

For the past few years I have had many friends recommend that we get Netflix.   I wasn't sure about it as I thought it would end up costing a lot to pay for Netflix and a streamer.  I also wasn't sure if it would be easy to navigate even more technology.   Let me tell you what I found...

First of all, Netflix is not expensive.  It's $8.99/month and the first month is free to try it out. Secondly, I thought that you had to buy a fancy streaming apparatus to watch it on TV, but there are affordable and reliable options out there like the one we are using; Google Chromecast.  It costs $39.00 from Staples and that seems pretty good to me!

 It's very easy to set up.  I just plugged this Google Chromecast into the HDMI port on my TV and then I downloaded the free Netflix and Chromecast apps on my iPhone.  It probably took less than 5 minutes to do it all.  It's also compatible with our laptops and Gary's android phone.

Sometimes I'm a bit afraid of technology and leave it all to Gary to figure out, but this time I navigated it easily on my own.  I just go to Netflix on my phone, choose a show to watch, touch the TV symbol on the screen (as indicated by the arrow) and it's on the TV!  Done.  Then I am free to use my phone like normal or as a remote.  

Our Friday nights are always pizza and movie nights as a family.  It's easy, predictable and enjoyable.  We lay a blanket over the carpet and eat dinner in front of the TV.  Usually we would watch a movie we own already or pick one out from the library, but now the options are much greater!   

{The old way!}

Being that Christmas is not too far away, we are participating in #Streaminto2015 with and choosing a Christmas movie each week to watch as a family and then deciding next month which one is our `Ultimate Holiday Movie'.  The kids love voting and giving scores out of 10 so this will be perfect for them.  If you have a family friendly Christmas movie to recommend, let me know!

{Movie time= cuddle/wrestle time too}

And the best, super duper, awesome news?  Staples Canada is giving TWO readers from Talk Nerdy To Me their very own Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player! I should note that you don't have to have Netflix as you can stream any website in Chrome to your TV. 

Enter in the Rafflecopter below and good luck!  Open to Canadian residents only.


**Disclaimer: Staples Canada provided me with a Google Chromecast Media Streamer for this review and giveaway.  Opinions expressed are 100%  my own.**

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Thankful Thursday...on Wednesday!

{I'm doing my `Thankful Thursday' a day early because tomorrow I'm starting a pretty cool giveaway!}

This week I am thankful for:

1.  A relaxing Friday night where we watched a documentary and read our books.

2. A great time at the Fall Carnival at our church.  It was the first time in 7 years (I think) where we didn't have to take photos!  Everything seems so social media saavy now so they just had a station to take your own photos and upload etc., it was so nice for us!  We did the S'mores station for 45 minutes instead.  Gary's so good at running games for kids.

3. Completing two sessions of our Foster Parent training (out of 8).

4. A blood donating date.  Unfortunately my iron was too low (it was 117 and needs to be 125 or higher) but at least Gary and my brother in law were able to.  I have my next appointment booked in 2 months from now so I plan on taking my iron supplements a few times a week.  Please, just go on the website and find a clinic near you to donate!

5. A husband that plays board games with the kids.  They played Bingo and I went for a jog.

6.  Pizza and movie nights.  Every Friday.  Don't have to plan dinner.  This was our last one with library videos because someone got Netflix and a streamer :)  More to come on this!!!

7.  Yummy, healthy leftovers.  Salmon, quinoa, kale and beans.

8.  A few more inches off our waists!  In just this last month, Gary has lost 3.5" and I have lost 2.5" off our waistlines.  It is so easy and if you're interested in trying, just take sugar out of your diet (refined, white rice, flour etc).  Feels soooo good to not look and feel bloated.  We bought a secondhand juicer to increase of veggie intake.  If you have any good recipes, let me know!

{Nya has had three different coloured juice mustaches so far :) }

9.  A great book to  read.  I reallly enjoyed The Language of Flowers.  Totally recommend it.  A girl in foster care who communicates through flowers.  Very neat to see what each flower means.

10.  Family photos on our walls.   I just look at these three and think, `Wow, how are these three ours?!'. So thankful.   

I hope that you are having a good week!    


Friday, October 24, 2014

Frugal Friday

I would say that one of the biggest ways we save money is buying our kid's clothes second hand.   I have a few `go to' places where I do this:

1.  Buying & selling on buy/sell/swap sites online (facebook).   It's great if you are looking for a specific item, a `lot' of clothes, or want to get a specific price on an item.  I usually pay about $2-5 per item and only purchase from someone who lives within 5 minutes as it's not worth it in gas to go further.

2.  Buying & selling on craigslist.  You can buy or sell whole lots of clothes.  Usually the younger the child, the better the condition of the clothes as they grow out of them so quickly.  I do find that once kids get to Kai's age (8) they are in better condition again as maybe the child didn't like the clothes or grew so quickly that they are barely worn.  I used to do this more before the good old days of facebook :)

3.  Go to a store like `Once Upon A Child'.  This is better if you don't have much time but they won't give you as much money for your items.  Usually they will go through it right away and quote you a price on the items they will accept within an hour.  They need to be wrinkle free (and clean, obviously). I sometimes shop there if if I am looking for a specific item as they have quite a large amount of clothes in one place.  Consignment stores are also pretty good to shop at!

4. Shop at Value Village on 50% off day.  Well, actually, get your Super Savers Club card and shop the day BEFORE 50% off day and still get 50% off.  I don't get much there as I don't think the quality is very good but I have found a few key items in the past like good runners for the boys.

5. Swap with someone who needs clothes too.  My sister had a girl then a boy.  I had boys and then a girl.  We swap a lot of our kids clothes!

6.  Attend a kids swap meet.  I used to do this when I just had Kai but now I prefer the ease of the internet as it's a bit wild there!

7.  You can also buy brand new and look for end of season deals.  I bought their winter coats for this year at the end of the season last year at 70% off.

Any other tips to add in this department?

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Thankful for:

1.  My sister being healthy.   She found a lump. In her breast. Ya.  After various tests and a biopsy, over a couple of weeks, we found out this past week that SHE IS FINE!  Yahoo, never been happier to hear the world `Galactocele'.  She posted about it here which means I can share it here :)

2. Holding hands with Nya.  I'm not sure how much longer she will want to hold my hand but for now, we hold hands `nicely' (fingers intertwined) often.

3.  Wooden letter puzzles.  The kids have all loved this Melissa and Doug letter puzzle...learning shapes and letters and words.  It was a great gift, auntie K :)  PS Look at all of her hair! Yahoo!

4.  Being able to buy a new laptop. I've put it off for as long as possible because I don't like spending money on electronics and we have THREE laptops already between us (one is really old and just a travel one, one is for Gary's work, and the other one is mine that is barely holding on).  Mine was overheating, even with a Themaltake underneath, and could no longer use Lightroom because of that.  I've had to edit half on Gary's computer (Lightroom) then transfer to mine and continue with Photoshop.  Not ideal.  Found one at Costco for an acceptable price.   Having a business is expensive with insurance, and license and gear and gas etc so I'm continously thankful for the brides and grooms that come our way!

5. A fabulous last family session.  Very bittersweet but it was such a great session to end on.  The weather was gorgeous and the family was so kind, loving and cute :)

6.  A playroom!  I know, I kind of said this last week but now it's set up.  I do daycare 1-2 times a week (half days) so it's so nice to have this area to play in on rainy days.  The kids hang out down here for hours.  The other end has the couches, tv, Wii, tool set and a car race track.

7.  Free scooters!  A neighbour of ours moved and left behind two scooters!  One for Nya, one for Koen.  We have gotten some pretty awesome finds from our neighbours.  By the way, it took about 10 hours (okay, 10 minutes) to get to the mailbox as it was slightly uphill but she really flew on the way home!

8.  Craft time.  Okay, I'm not super crafty but I found this bench on the side of the road.  I painted it, put a new cushion on and recovered it.  I used cheaper fabric because I didn't want to invest into something if it didn't work out.  I think it's cute and it even opens up with storage underneath!  Now, where to put it...

9.  Flannel sheets. So cozy. So warm.

10. An awesome mother.  Seriously. Imagine a little cheerleader sitting on your shoulder your whole life saying `You can do it!' `I'm proud of you!'.  I miss her so much but am so thankful that she was mine.

{Shirt from SHE IS clothing.  Former student. Awesome young woman.}

Thank you to all of you who have said you enjoy my `Thankful Thursdays'.  Sometimes I wonder if I sounds too cheesy or something.  I'm not a `Yahoo! Life is awesome!' kind of person all the time but I do try to choose to look at the positives, even if there are silly things like free finds and puzzles.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Conversations with Kai

After discussing how Kai would like to wear jeans less often due to his activity level, we decided that twice a week was acceptable.
Me: Kai, you have so many nice jeans though!
Kai: Well, you can just sell them and buy me an iPod.

Kai loves the show Amazing Race and hopes to be on it one day.  I applied last year but I don't really have a `thing' that makes me interesting enough.
Kai: Mom, you and dad need to apply for the next Amazing Race!  Your `thing' will be that you broke your jaw and dad broke his clavicle.  You can be team hashtag #brokenbones.

What 8 year old says `hashtag broken bones'?

What 8 year old asks to sell their jeans to buy an iPod?

Times have changed. I feel old.

Frugal Friday

Ever wonder what gift to give someone who just had a baby?  A teacher?  Your neighbour? Well, how about can make a jar of Friendship Soup for very little cost.  One jar makes enough soup for our family of five for two meals.   Also, you can just make multiple jars of soup ahead of time and have them ready to go for when they are needed.

Just attach a label with the instructions and you're good to go.  If they don't want to use it right away, it can sit in the cupboard until it is needed.  This soup is one that makes your whole house smell delicious and it's packed full of protein to keep you feeling fuller longer.

You can also make yourself a bunch of Ziploc bags full of all the dry ingredients so that you have a meal ready to go when you just don't know what to make.  If you are looking for jars, I bought 12 for $7.99 at Target.   I have wonderful memories of Sunday afternoon soup so I look forward to making this more often to create those memories for our own kids.

Have a wonderful weekend.


PS Thanks to my friend Melissa for gifting me with soup in a jar long ago AND Rachel for gifting us with this soup tureen for our wedding shower.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for:

1.  A big family.  Although it can be busy having both of our large extended families so close by (33 members which doesn't include our own cousins, aunts, uncles etc!), I know it is a gift. 

2.  Our basement.  We finished it ourselves about 4 years ago.  It has been part playroom and part photos studio.  I have now sold off most of the props/furniture for the photos studio to clear out space.  It will now be a giant playroom which is awesome and useful and I love it.

3. A decent weather forecast for the weekend!  I have my LAST family session on Saturday and then an engagement session on Sunday.  I really hope that it's not raining because that just means a whole lot of rescheduling!  That's the nice thing about wedding photography...if it's raining on your wedding day, you  just go ahead with photos, no rescheduling :)

4.  Warm, hearty soup on a cool day. There will be more on this for my Frugal Friday post tomorrow :) 

5.  A fun husband.  He sometimes calls me the `Fun Police'.  While I teach my kids how to make sure they don't smell and how to brush their teeth properly , he prefers to teach them fun things like the `Tim Tam Slam'. 

6.  A new natural deodorant!  We went to the Cranberry Festival in Fort Langley this past weekend and it was really fun.  The kids tried out all the fudge, I got some soup making inspiration, and I picked out this natural deodorant. I'm really trying to use more natural products and it works better than any deodorant I've ever used.  I've worn it every day this week and I've smelled fresh after a run and just in regular daily life too.  I really love the lime smell and I feel like I'm drinking a margarita when I wear it. It cost $8 and I would definitely buy it again.  First ingredient? Beeswax.  Neat, eh?  Made in B.C.  Let me know if you have any other natural products you love!

7.  Finally selling this couch. I love it. It's comfy and beautiful but we don't have anywhere to put it (it was part of the photo studio stuff).  Also, my kids would destroy it.  I'm thankful that I finally have a buyer for it coming tomorrow and paying close to my listed price!  Which reminds me, we need to carry it upstairs which is one of my least favourite tasks....

8. A husband that wants me to cut his hair.  I don't love doing it but he won't go anywhere to get it done.  I'm thankful that every time I do it, we save a little $$.  In the 10 years we've been together, he's gotten it cut TWICE by someone else. Once for our wedding and the second time I won a men's haircut and made him go.

9.  Family walks.  I love that there are so many places to explore nearby and it warms my heart to see my kids exploring the outdoor (and expending all that energy!).

10. One on one time with Nya.  It's just so...relaxing without the boys.  We play piano, we read books, we play `food', we giggle, and we chat. She's pretty verbal and it's very sweet.  Today she said, `Mommy, I love you.  I'm serious.'.   She misses the boys when they are both at school but I think the break from Koen (every other day) is healthy.  I'm not saying she's great all the time...there is a daily freak out that lasts almost half an hour when I don't let her watch more Dora. She is demanding and bossy but I don't give in. The boys were never that insistent so it's a whole new realm for me. 

{PS Don't forget to enter the giveaway for this hat here!  It comes in adult sizes too!}

All right, friends!  I hope you are having a good week and that you can find something (or 10 things!) to be thankful for today.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Queen Bee Headbands {Giveaway}!

My Nya Bear has a few headbands from Queen Bee Headbands which I think are colourful, cute & comfortable.  I love that they are made locally by two awesome moms who are cousins, best friends and have SEVEN kids between them.  I also love that I taught Renee (one of the moms) back in the day! 

{Above is a headband that I bought in the summer}

With it being fall already, I wanted to buy Nya a cute hat.  They have several different styles in their store which fit newborn to adult!   I like that it covers her ears to help keep her warm this winter and I'm thinking it will fit her for a few years. Rumour has it that they will be releasing new styles and colours this week! 

And guess what?!

Queen Bee Headbands is giving away this same hat to one lucky Talk Nerdy To Me reader!

Just scroll through these cute pictures down to the rafflecopter below and enter away!

The winner will be chosen in one week and you can choose this hat in any size you wish.

Miss Nya received a princess chocolate for her 5 minutes of sitting somewhat still for these pictures :)

This is open to residents everywhere.  Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway