Friday, 13 October 2017

Ideas to Personalize Kid's B-Day Parties (#Ad) #Streamteam @Netflix_CA

No need to be Martha Stewart or break the bank 

to create fun and personalized birthday parties for your kids.

Disclosure: as a member of the Netflix Streamteam I receive special perks for my participation, 
posts, and sharing. All opinions are my own. 

Finding party items in the theme your child wants is not always easy. Especially if the theme they have chosen is not one of the popular themes of the day. Below are 5 ideas I used over the years to create one of a kind, personalized birthday parties for my kids. Not only do they solve the problem of finding party items in a particular theme, they cost next to nothing to make. 
Tip: Get yourself a binder and clear page protectors to organize all these items during the planning process and the actual party.

1) The invitation
Make your own fun interactive invitations by including a themed maze or word search, or both to the invitation. I cut and past onto a piece of printer paper to create the master invitation. Then just copy the number of invitations needed. 


2) Party Hats:
Themed headbands made from inexpensive Bristol board from the dollar store can easily be customized to fit any party theme from crown to Lego mini figure head.
Tip: Depending on how complex the themed image is, or for printing reasons, it may be easier to make the band, and the theme image separately, then attach, rather than make the headband in a single piece of Bristol board. 


3) Pin the ___ on the _____:
Again it is easy to adapt this party game favourite to fit any theme. Just like the donkey game, the kids are blindfolded and must pin, in this case Lego heads on the Lego mini figure. 
Tip: I use tape, and pre-tape each head and stick them to a clear page protector so they are ready to go at the party. 


4) Themed Musical Chairs
These can be adapted to any theme, and can be used on chairs or simply on the floor. As with musical chairs one is removed between each music session. 
Tip: Create 3 or 4 different images and then make enough copies to accommodate the number of kids attending the party.


5) A Ribbon Pinata:
This pinata is made from a paper bag and ribbons, and eliminates the swinging of a stick  required for a traditional pinata. This is a good thing, since in my experience the stick mostly misses the pinata, but hits everything else. The ribbons are knotted inside the bag, and when each one is pulled it creates a small rip in the bag. Ribbons continue to be pulled until the hole becomes big enough to let the candies and toys fall out the bottom. 
Tip: You may want to have 1 or 2 ribbons that feed through 2 holes to ensuring at least 1 hole large enough to empty the loot. 


And now there is something new ... 
that was not available for my kids, but is available for yours! Netflix has 14 fabulous Birthday-on-Demand videos to help make your child's birthday special. 



How fun is this!
Fourteen Birthday song videos featuring some of the most popular characters from 14 shows such as Pokemon, Lego Ninjago, Lego Friends, and Project MC2 singing Happy Birthday, and helping to celebrate your child's birthday.  


Just search Birthday Songs in Netflix to find all 14 options available.


Personally I think a special Birthday song is a great idea for kids of all ages. Which song would your kid(s) pick first? I say first because I know one would never be enough for this kid at heart. 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about Birthday fun! 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

DIY Family Streaming Planner = Consensus #Streamteam #Ad @Netflix_CA

Strategies for ending Streaming Selection Squabbles and Bringing 

Calm and Consensus to Family Movie Night negotiations.

Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix Streamteam I receive special 
perks for my participation, posts, and sharing. All opinions are my own. 

I think most of us have had the following experience: You lovingly plan a Family Movie Night, with visions of family harmony and bliss. In reality the kids argue over what to watch, frustrated you lay down the law and make the decision, at which point the kids stomp off and refusing to participate. This is followed by you watching a movie alone, while eating the snacks you prepared in quantities large enough to serve a family of four. In my opinion the key to avoiding this type of solo-streaming is managing expectations: by putting into place mechanisms to for everyone to have input into the decision making process, and clear rules and guidelines beforehand. An easy way to do this is by using my easy to make DIY Family Streaming Planner (FSP). My DIY FSP will take you no time to make and cost almost nothing. I used recycled paper, 3 mason jars, and a notebook. 


The FSP Users Manual: 
Start by putting in writing some basic non-negotiable rules and guidelines, which should be kept in your FSP for quick and easy reference. Make sure everyone reads, understands, and signs to acknowledge the rules and guidelines. This single action will save you hours of conflict resolution, frustration, and set the expectations for participation. 

Rules and Guidelines...
1) Movie and show suggestions must be approved by FSP administrators (aka parents).
2) A different family member will randomly pick from each category. For example: if Thing 2 picks the movie, he can not pick the snack. 
3) The family member randomly picking the snack, movie or show rotates. For example: if Thing 1 picks the movie this week, next week the next person on the list picks that category. Weekday show negotiations can be resolved in the same manner, and the reason for the "Show Jar"
4) All family members agree to accept the randomly picked snack, movie or show, and may not opt out because they don't like the snack, movie, or show selected.
5) If a situation arises where a selected snack cannot be provided, administrators (aka parents) may substitute, or pull another snack selection. For example: missing ingredients, or time doesn't allow for a given snack. Idea: Select the snack the week prior so there is time to purchase snack ingredients during the weekly grocery shopping. I don't suggest doing this with the movie or show selections, since it will give the kids time to figure out how to wiggle out of participation if they don't like the selection, or argue over the selection. 


Snacks, Movies, Shows.
To start pre-select 10 snacks, movies and shows, write them on small slips of paper, fold, and place in the jars. Going forward each family member can add up to 1 new movie and show suggestion per week. Snacks stay constant to ensure availability of ingredients, and preparation is easy, but a quarterly review of snack options might make sense.

A peek at what's in our jars ...
Movies:
Nine Lives (2016, PG, Family-Comedy)
Here Comes the Boom (2012, PG, Comedy)
Enchanted (2007, G, Comedy - Fantasy)
Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005, G, Comedy - Animated)
Shows:
Bindi's Bootcamp (2012, TV-G, 1 season, Reality-Adventure)
Merlin (2017, TV-PG, 5 seasons, Fantasy)
Roswell (2001, PG, 3 seasons, Sci-Fi - Teen)
Drop Dead Diva (2014, PG, 6 seasons, Comedy)
Snacks:
1 Minute Microwave Nachos (Top nacho chips with cheese, salsa, and your other favourite toppings. Microwave on high for 1 minute)
Pizza Bites (Pizza cut into bite size pieces, served with a variety of dips)
Mini Pancakes or French Toast Fingers (Idea: Add the syrup to the batter so they are mess-free (ish) and easy to eat)
Hummus & Crackers or Nacho Chips or Sliced French Stick

Still need help avoiding Solo-Streaming?
Assuming of course you don't want to Solo-Stream, because there are definitely times when you do, then the tips below may help to reach your streaming goals, and hone your persuasion skills. And who knows, maybe Chef's Table will provide you with some inspired snack ideas for your family to nibble on while sharing a movie, or episode of your favourite show. I know I like it better when we stream together ... sometimes.  



Do tell ... how do you settle streaming selection squabbles? 

Yep,  just me Cathy thinking our loud about the power of persuasion and peaceful streaming selection negotiations. 

You can find Netflix Canada being social on Twitter, and Facebook

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Three Generations Track Their Things with @MYNT_tracker #Ad #TechForLife

You have a choice. You can MYNT it now ... 

or choose not to and look forward to the sting of future face palms because you didn't. 


Disclosure: I received product from Slightech - MYNT for the purposes of this post and review. 
All opinions are my own and reflect my personal experience with the brand and product.

I may not be an expert on technology, but I'm pretty good at figuring out how to use various technologies to work for me, and as tools for life. That's exactly why I was interested in the MYNT tracker. However if you're the techie-type you can get all the specs on the Slightech site. The MYNT in combination with the free MYNT app is a multi-function Bluetooth tracker and item locator, that puts an end to questions like "Where is my _____? It could be your keys, phone, wallet, purse, camera, designer sunglasses, or some other item you value. And since you can pair up to 8 MYNTs to a single device, you'll be able to track all the "things" important to you. 

No need to give up style for function. The award winning design comes in 4 colour options (blue, black, gold, silver) and is small enough to fit in your wallet, adhered to a remote or phone using the adhesive pads provided, or you can use the key-ring lanyard to attach it to your keys.


Included with the MYNT Package: 1 spare battery, 2 adhesive pads, and a key-ring lanyard. The price point is great starting as low as $19.99 US for a single MYNT. 


Or purchase one the various multi-pack options for additional savings, and free waterproof sleeve. 


You have your MYNT, so now what?
  • Once you have your MYNT you are ready to install the free MYNT app and register with your email, name, user name, and create a password. Download from iTunes AppStore/iOS  Download from Google Play/Android
  • Remove the tab separating the battery from the MYNT. 
  • Pair your MYNT to your phone, and start tracking.
What the MYNT can do for you ...
  • Within the MYNT range (up to 50 meters) you can locate the item you have attached the tracker to by pressing the item icon on your phone. 
  • You can reverse track your phone but pressing the button on the MYNT.
  • Even if your MYNT is out of range it can still help you locate your valuables. The app can give you the coordinates of the last location recorded, that will not only give you a place to start, but also significantly narrow the size of the search area.
  • If your "Thing" goes beyond the preset distance range an audio notification/alarm will sound and alert you. The MYNT can be personalized for time, duration, and the distance range at which the alarm triggers. 
  • You have the option to set notification-free zones within set wi-fi areas, so that the entire office is not notified should you leave to use the restroom. This feature is also handy to ensure notifications do not wake your teething baby that has finally fallen asleep. 
  • The MYNT in-app map can help you to answer the age old question; "Where did I park the car?" by recording the location of your car, and later leading you back to that location. 
  • If your MYNT goes out of range, but others with the MYNT app are in range and connect with it, your app will send you notification of its last know location. 
  • Lastly, the MYNT is a programmable multi-tasker that can be can be used as a remote for your camera shutter, for your music, and even to forward the slides during a slide presentation.
Remember the sting of the face palm? 


I could have avoided many a face palm over the years had the MYNT been available to me. But it's not just me, the same goes for my parents and my kids. One tracker, three generations, each using it in different ways to make life just a bit easier. 


Sanity-Saving Personalization ...
  • I'll admit that both Thing 1 and I were happy to be able to personalize the separation notifications. An audio notification each time he left the room resulting in his phone being separated from his keys gets old pretty quickly. Being able to set the range distance for notifications at home or work is a great feature.
A tool in my parenting toolbox ...
  • The notifications we might find annoying now, would have been sanity-saving 20 years ago, when my two boys were toddlers. Notification when one of them had moved out of a preset area or zone would have been fantastic, and one more tool in my parenting tool box.   
  • For my sister, who has 2 kids, a pool in the backyard, a cottage and a new puppy, a couple of MYNT trackers can help give her some peace of mind, by adding another layer of safety into the chaos of everyday life and parenting.
  • The Public Restroom Dilemma: Your boys are too old to go with you into the women's restroom, but too young to go into the men's restroom on their own. I know for a fact I am not alone when I tell stories about looking more than a little unhinged while standing outside the men's public restroom yelling through the door at my kids. Definitely awkward for both me and the men trying to actually use the restroom. Having a two-way audio signal can help to eliminate that awkward public restroom dilemma. Same goes for change rooms dilemmas.
  • MYNT trackers are handy tools when the kids are in the yard playing, at the park, a splash pad, or pool, theme park, and at the mall or shopping. 
  • IDEA: add a MYNT to the storage pouch of your child's asthma puffer, medication, or Epipen. 
Thing 2 would have benefited from a MYNT ...

  • In Spain when he forgot the $100 charging cord to his MacBook Pro at the hotel.
  • In the Madrid airport when he accidentally left his MacBook Pro under his chair, only realizing as he went to board his flight. Luckily his laptop had been turned in. Not so lucky was that fact he had to go to a separate terminal and back through security to retrieve the laptop. As a result he missed his flight from Madrid to Philadelphia, and the his connecting flight from Philadelphia to Ottawa. This could have been avoided with a MYNT tracker.
  • When his $100 backpack with his $100 calculator was stolen while in the University restroom the night before his Calculus exam. And of course he needed the calculator for that exam. 
  • When his $700 leather jacket went missing from a club mandatory coat check. Not only would it have helped to locate it when staff couldn't, the MYNT community might have been able to help locate it after the club staff gave it to the wrong person.
  • Now that he has moved into his own apartment, finding his keys is crucial. (Yes, it makes a great gift for the students in your life)
  • A MYNT would have been handy when Thing 1 "misplaced" his tablet somewhere in his room for a month and counting ...
A MYNT would have been very useful ...

  • When I forgot my purse with all of our passports, my wallet with all my credit cards, driver's licence, and $1000 US cash in a McD's in Savanna Georgia, but only realized it in Jacksonville Florida. An alarm/notification that my purse and I had been separated beyond the set distance would have saved a great deal of time, stress and frustration.
  • When my snowbird parents were 2 hours into their 2400 km drive of a 3-month trip before they realized my father had forgot his wallet.
  • When my mother-in-law is at a cash paying for purchases and her sister who suffers from some dementia wanders off. With a MYNT she would not only be notified of her sister moving beyond a preset distance, but it could also help to locate her. The result is reduced stress during outings, increasing her sister's safety, and a happier experience for both of them.

So if you think about it the MYNT tracker is actually a happiness tracker ... 
By helping to reduce frustration, stress, and cost of replacing misplaced, lost, forgotten or stolen items, it increases one's happiness and overall feeling of well-being.

Things I liked ...
I love the design and having colour options. I liked how easy it was to set up and use. I like the price point and having multi-pack options. I like that I can track both the MYNT and my phone. I like that I can link up to 8 MYNT trackers to my phone. I like that I can use it to find my car.


One more thought out loud ...
The one change I would make to the MYNT tracker is having the ability to adjust the volume. It would increase its function and value if the notifications volume could be adjusted louder in crowded environments, or when in a purse, under a couch cushion, or in Thing 1's bedroom, or adjust down or put into silent mode in situations such as during a meeting, sleeping, or at the theatre.

I would definitely recommend the MYNT tracker. In my opinion its functions and price point make it a worthwhile investment and a perfect gift for all ages.

Yep , just me Cathy thinking out loud about #TrackingMyThings

Friday, 28 July 2017

Summer Thrillers & Chillers @PenguinCanada @RandomHouseCA #Ad #SummerThrillers #SummerReads

Pairing 3 Summer Thrillers with some tasty Summer Chillers. 

Disclosure: I received this collection of 3 Thriller themed summer reads from Penguin Random House Canada free of charge. I was under no obligation, but chose to post and share with my readers. All opinions are my own.  

Time to Chillax ...
It's Summer, which means it's time to kick back and enjoy the thrill of the chill. Books, refreshing treats, and drinks are always part of that. So when Penguin Random House Canada surprised me with a Summer Thriller Trio, I immediately thought of afternoons on the deck with a good book paired with a refreshing beverage (because we all know it's important to stay hydrated). Below you'll find my Thriller and Chiller pairing suggestions. Wishing you a summer filled with Eat, Read, Love. 
SPOILER ALERT: I've attempted to give a short synopsis of the story-line without including information that would spoil the reader experience. Having said that, you continue to read at your own risk.

The Child by Fiona Barton
The Child, told from the perspective of 4 women, begins with the discovery of a child's remains during a house demolition. Reporter Kate Waters, left with more questions than answers, begins the process of collecting information to help piece together how the bones got there, and the identity of the child. Her investigation leads to information that links the bones to a decades old crime, and the realization that bones are not the only thing that will be unearthed before this story is over.

Paired with a refreshing Grim and Tonic with a twist of lime.
Okay it's just a Gin & Tonic, but it's the perfect choice on a hot sunny day. (Tip: Add pieces of lime and, or lemon to tonic water to make "fancy" ice-cubes that won't dilute your drink when they melt.) Directions: Fill a tall, narrow (highball) glass to the top with ice. (Yes it tastes better in a tall, narrow glass because it allows for the correct gin-tonic ratio). To the glass add 3 oz. of Gin, 4 oz. of Tonic Water, a twist of lime, and garnish with a wedge of lime. 

Gone With a Trace by Mary Torjussen
Gone Without a Trace, is a complicated and twisting suspense that is told from Hannah's point of view, about the sudden disappearance of her boyfriend, Matt. After four years together, she comes home one ordinary day to find all traces of Matt and their life together are gone, literally without a trace. It's not just Matt that has disappeared, but all traces of their life together have disappeared; emails, texts, pictures, social media accounts ... all gone. In order to make some sense of this, Hannah becomes obsessed with finding answers to what happened Matt, and why he vanished without a word. 

Paired with a Cryptic Ice Coffee. 
This non-alcoholic option hits the spot on a hot day. (Tip: use leftover coffee to make coffee ice-cubes that won't dilute your drink when they melt.) Directions: Brew a pot of your favourite full-bodied coffee and let cool. Mix coffee with milk or cream and sweetener of your choice to taste. Pour mixture into a glass filled to the top with ice, add a straw and enjoy.  

So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum 
So Much Love is the story of Catherine's abduction from a small town. The story is told from multiple points of view, including Catherine's, helping the reader to link seemingly random information, places and people. What becomes clear is the ripple effect, and impact the abduction has on both those close to Catherine, and casual acquaintances, struggling to process feelings of loss, pain, anger and fear. The depictions of everyday Canadian life by way of references to Tim Hortons, Shopper's Drug Mart and Swiss Chalet which are normally quaint, are also what makes them scary. The thought that, in a small Canadian town amidst the Tim Hortons, Swiss Chalet and Shopper's Drug Marts, this could actually happen is terrifying. In order minimize spoilers I will leave it at that. 

Paired with a Spin-Chiller Wine-Chiller.
White Sangria:  (Tip: add fresh mint or pieces of citrus fruit to water to make "fancy" ice-cubes for your Spin-Chiller Wine-Chiller) Directions: In a large jug or decanter, add 1 bottle of white wine (white grape juice for non-alcoholic option), 1 lime and 1 lemon (sliced or wedged), 10 - 12 mint leaves, 2-3 tbsp simple syrup (1:1 ratio of water & sugar), and ice. Pour into your favourite glass and enjoy. For a sparkling wine chiller add 2 cups gingerale, or make using a sparkling wine or Prosecco.   

Food for thought and reading ... might I suggest a Who-Donut Ice-cream Sandwich

Don't be shy. Share. What's on your summer reading list? 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about Summer Thrillers and Summer Chillers. Cheers and here's to summer reading. 

Find more summer reads on the Penguin Random House Canada website, and stay in-the-know by following Penguin Books Canada and Random House Canada on facebook, @PenguinCanada and @RandomHouseCA on twitter and @PenguinCanada and @RandomHouseCA on instagram.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Stereotypes & Women Breaking the Mould #StreamTeam #Ad @Netflix_CA

Looking to Netflix for examples of female trailblazers and women who break the mould. 


Disclosure: As a Netflix Streamteam member I receive special perks
 for my participation, post and sharing. All opinions are my own.

When I think of the term "Role Model" I think of someone whose behaviour, actions, convictions, and qualities make them worthy of admiration, imitation, emulation, and inspiration. That doesn't mean they're perfect or even successful in their pursuits, but that their motivation for saying or doing something is good, positive, and consistent with their beliefs and convictions. Role models are those who simply by doing what they do inspire engagement, conviction, action and often change in others.
I think our kids both need, and look for positive role models who exude qualities and core values that align with theirs. I also believe it's important for kids to have a sense of history and where they came from, in order to understand where they are, how they got there, and where and how they want their futures to unfold. Throughout history there are examples of women who break the mould, or at least add cracks to it, and over time change its shape. They're trailblazers that defy the restrictions and stereotypes of their time. I might not be able to get my kids to read a book about the history of feminism or about stereotypes, but I have a good chance of success at conveying information and starting a conversation by finding common ground through a show or series. 

Netflix can be an extremely helpful tool for segueing into important conversations, and an excellent way to draw attention to gender biases, stereotyping, and the depiction of women in the media and on screen. As parents I think it's important to give our kids guidance, context, and perspective on the constant barrage of media, images, and messaging they're exposed to on a daily basis. Given the speed of change for this generation, they may not realize many rights and freedoms they enjoy today were not available to their mothers or grandmothers. They might not understand the struggle and sacrifices made by women (and men) to secure these gains in women's rights and freedoms in regard to life choices in health, relationships, education, and careers. Without history and context our kids may fail to understand what is at stake, and why indifference to gender stereotyping, bias and inequality is not an option. One just has to look to the news, and the challenges we never imaged possible to rights and freedoms as proof that maintaining those gains is not a given. We need trailblazers more than ever to challenge the status quo, and stereotypes. More than ever our kids need role models.

Each generation of women has had to work within the restrictions placed upon them by stereotyping and inequalities often entrenched in the legal system. Each generation has had trailblazers that challenged the status quo and the way thinking of their time. Seeing how far women have come is an important part of understanding where we are now and, how far we still need to go. Being aware of, and calling out negative and limiting depictions of women, and questioning stereotypes is an essential part of the process. Otherwise these stereotypes and double standards will continue be used as excuses and justification to limit women based on gender.


Netflix has many examples of women rejecting the stereotypes of their time, finding ways to break the mould, and working around society's restrictions and barriers. These women forge ahead and find their own space and place in non-traditional ways, and act as an example to our kids that they don't have to accept the status quo, limiting gender roles, or others' definition of what being a woman means. 

Below are a list of period series with multiple examples of strong women who despite the restrictions placed on them by society find ways to define themselves and question society's stereotypes and prejudices. The women in these series all at some point struggle with questions about what is the just and right thing to do in the reality of the moment, and the potential consequences of their choices. 

Spoiler Alert: Although I've tried my best to have a meaningful discussion about the following series without giving away so many details that it spoils your viewing experience, you continue at your own risk.


Downton Abbey: (2015, TV-PG, 6 seasons)
The Crawley sisters, daughters to the Earl and Countess of Grantham are examples of completely different women who in their own ways push the boundaries of their position, class, and gender, and defy the stereotypes and prejudice of the time. 
Lady Mary, is the eldest child of the Earl of Grantham, but her gender disqualifies her as legal heir to Downton Abbey. Nonetheless she finds ways to wield influence over it's management and future. She seems determined to pursue happiness that's not merely defined by a husband or being married. Lady Mary is by no means perfect or even nice, but she's an example of a strong woman refusing to sit back and accept the status quo.
Lady Edith, is the quiet and often almost "forgotten" middle daughter. This may be why she's able to defy stereotypes and expectations of "proper" behaviour for a lady, by learning to drive, writing about Women's Sufferage, and running a magazine.  
Lady Sybil the youngest and most vocal and radical in her rejection of society's stereotypes and restrictions based on class, position and gender, constantly pushes the envelope of what is considered proper for an English lady of her time, much to the dismay of family elders. While her sisters are looking to make changes within their class, Sybil rejects the whole idea of class.    

Call the Midwife: (2016, TV-14)
This series is interesting in that some of the midwives/nurses are nuns, while others are not. Although the nuns are dressed in black and white it quickly becomes clear the issues this show tackles are definitely not. In contrast to the ordered rules and rituals of the nuns, are the nurses trying to figure out their role in a time of change. They see and respond to issues such as pregnancies out of wedlock, birth control and family planning, poverty, and illegal at the time abortion and homosexuality. Gender stereotyping and inequality is never more obvious then in relation to reproductive rights and sexuality. Each of these women are forced at some point to deal with their feeling about these issues, while still trying to do their job, and what is right for the health of baby and parents. Not always an easy task given the restrictive laws, norms and prejudices of the time. The midwives regularly face situations which force them to examine the validity of both their and society's prejudices, concepts of right and wrong, and stereotypes. Sometimes the right thing to do isn't necessarily the legal one.

The Bletchley Circle: (2014, TV-14, 2 seasons)
This series revolves around the lives of 4 women; Susan, Millie, Lucy and Jean who all worked as code breakers at Bletchley Park during WWII. As code breakers their work was not only classified but highly unusual positions for women to hold. The series is set post-war, with the main characters settled into traditional gender roles as wives and, or mothers. The group is brought back together when several women are murdered in London. After being largely ignored by male police detectives, they put the skills that got them hired as code breakers to work in an effort to link and solve the cases themselves.

Murdock Mysteries: (2016, PG, 3 seasons)
In this series both Doctor Julia Ogden and Doctor Emily Grace are pathologists, a position traditionally held by men. As pathologists, they try to reveal the details of a crime from the deceased often using unconventional approaches. They often face resistance to their use of new or less conventional techniques to reveal clues, as well as gender stereotypes that call their credibility into question. 

The Crown: (2016, TV-MA, 1 season)
At the age of 25, Queen Elizabeth takes the throne as head of the British Monarch. Not only is she young, but neither her sheltered life nor her education has prepared her for the very public and male dominated political arena. Balancing the challenges of her public and private roles as monarch, wife and mother are made even more difficult by the gender biases, and stereotypes of the time. 

The Pinkertons: (2015, TV-14, 1 season) 
Set in the 1860's, this series tells the stories of a father and son detective duo that team up with the first female detective in the "Wild West" (Kate Warne) to help solve crimes. She proves to be a smart, resourceful, brave and a successful detective despite, or maybe because of her gender. She also inspires other females to join the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

When Calls the Heart: (2015, PG, 2 seasons)
Elizabeth Thatcher is a young teacher from a privileged background, that embraces the challenges of teaching and living in a small coal mining town despite her parents objection, and the town's skepticism. Her parents think a teaching position in a coal town in beneath her station, while most of the town thinks she is too pampered and soft to survive the hurtles of teaching in the town's saloon with limited resources. Both sides think she is not suitable for the position because she is too much a lady. Both sides make assumptions based on class and gender stereotypes. But, Elizabeth not only survives, she thrives, and brings the town's people around to her modern approach to teaching. 

Why not spend some quality time with your tweens and teens watching one (or more) of these series, and then start a conversation.

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about trailblazers and mould breakers.

Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix Streamteam I receive special perks for my participation, posts, and sharing. All opinions are my own. Images courtesy of Netflix.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Snetflixing ...It's a thing & a Poem by Me #Streamteam #Ad @Netflix_CA

Snetflixing is not something to be ashamed of.

Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix Streamteam I receive special perks 
for my participation, posts and sharing. All opinions are my own.

Time to get real and have a candid conversation about what I refer to as Snetflixing*. Stop hiding behind laundry piles, hold your head high, and proudly acknowledge that you are a Snetflixer. Accept the fact that there are only so many hours in the day, and in order to watch do all the shows things on your list sometimes you need to get creative and multitask. So today by way of a poem, I proudly and publicly declare: I AM A SNETFLIXER!  

*(Snetflixing: the act of sneaking Netflix time, anytime and/or anywhere you can. For instance under the dryer at the hairdressers, or in the car while waiting for the kids.)



It's more than fun and games. There are benefits to Snetflixing:  


The option to download shows and watch without wi-fi has made daily snetflixing and sneaking an episode of your favourite Netflix show even easier. You'll find additional Mom S.N.E.A.K. resources on my What to Watch  page. (MOM S-neak N-etflix E-verywhere A-nytime K-ooperative)

Spill the beans ... What do you watch when you snetflix? 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about Snetflixing and #MomSNEAKS.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Commonly Misused or Misspelled Words Beginning with the Letter "O" #GrowYourVocab

Words Beginning with the Letter "O" Commonly Misused, Confused or Misspelled

I'm back with yet another list of commonly confused, misused, or misspelled words. This time I focused on words beginning with the letter "O".

Object vs. Subject (use, meaning): The object of a sentence is the noun or pronoun that receives the action that is named by the main verb in the sentence. Object pronouns include me, you, them, or us. The noun that is doing the action in a sentence is the subject. Subject nouns include I, you, we, or they. For instance, "I" is the subject of the sentence: I ate lunch. Here "I" does the eating. "Me: is the object of the sentence: She thanked me. Here "me" is the thing that is thanked. 

Obscure (spelling, meaning): As an adverb means unclear, imperfectly understood or expressed. As a verb it means to conceal or hide something. 

o'clock (spelling): Is an adverb used to describe or indicate the position of the shorter hand on a watch or clock. Six o'clock means the shorter hand is pointed at six.

Onomatopoeia (spelling, meaning): The use of words that imitate or sound like what they are, mean, or are describing. For example rustle, bang, buzz, or hiss.

Opaque (spelling, meaning): Means not transmitting or reflecting light or radiant energy. 

Organize vs. Organise (use, spelling): Both spellings are correct but "organize" is typically the North American spelling, whereas "organise" is more popular in Britain and outside or North America. 

Oscillate (spelling, meaning): Means to move or swing from side to side regularly. 

Ossify (meaning): Means to make rigid or settle into a conventional pattern. 

Ought vs. Aught (use, meaning): Ought is a special kind of auxiliary verb, meaning that it is added to the main verb. This special kind of auxiliary verb is called a modal verb. Modal verbs (may, must, can, ought, shall) express states of possibility, permission, obligation, or advisability. They do not change their form. They are always added to an infinitive verb. Take the sentence: You ought to eat your vegetables. The main verb is the infinitive "to eat", to which the modal verb "ought" is added to convey a sense that eating is an advisable course of action. Aught used as a noun means nothing or zero. Used as a pronoun it can also mean anything or all.

Outrageous vs. Outragous (spelling): Outrageous is always spelled with an "e". It is the adjectival cognate of the verb "to outrage", meaning to provoke anger or indignation, and is used to qualify persons (or their behaviour) as scandalous or contrary to conventional norms of social conduct. 

Overdo vs. Overdue (use, meaning): Overdo is the verb meaning to do something to excess, such as exercise or eat. Overdue is an adjective meaning unpaid, late, or delinquent, such as a bill or a library book.

Oxymoron (spelling, meaning): A rhetorical trope or figure in which contradictory terms are paradoxically conjoined, as in the phrase: "an honest thief". (Tee hee, yes trope will be on the Letter "T" Grow Your Vocab list)

If you haven't already (like that could ever happen), be sure to check out Grow Your Vocab posts brought to you by other letters. Definitions referenced via The Free Dictionary

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about the Letter "O".
Special thanks to my brother/in-house language expert for his insights and help with my Grow Your Vocab posts. If you find parts in the posts that include lots of grammar and academic-like words, yet still manage to be clear and easy to understand they're probably written by, or at the very least improved by his editing skills. He takes my incomprehensible and transforms it into something useful. 

Disclosure: I receive no compensation for my Grow Your Vocab posts. The purpose of these posts is merely to share information I think might be of interest to my readers.