Friday 18 December 2015

T'was the Night Before Xmas, Streaming All Through the House @Netflix_CA #streamteam #Netflixmas

T'was the Night Before Christmas...

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the house, 
Not a creature was whining, not even my spouse!
The popcorn was popped, in bowls ready to share,
In hopes that Saint Mom would make sure portions were fair.

The children were nestled all smug in their heads,
but thoughts on the show that I've picked would best go unsaid.
And Thing 1 in his onesie, and Thing 2 all into an app,
Had just settled in for a Netflix-ing marathon with plenty of snacks.

When what appeared on our TV stopped all the chatter,
I sprang from the couch to grab the snack platter.
Away to the kitchen I flew like "The Flash",
Even threw in the best from my own secret stash.

The food and the drinks all ready to go.
Now just had to pick from all the Holiday shows.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, 
The Search for Santa Paws, and holiday cheer.

With puppies so cute, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment they could help Saint Nick.
All fluffy and golden, they all looked the same,
But he whistled, and shouted so happy they came!

Then onto the The Kranks whose spirit needs fixin',
Then add The Nightmare Before Christmas to our streaming mixin'.
Shhh! Please Stop talking! or take it out to the hall,
I'm trying to listen, BE QUIET you all!

We had hours of fun and family holiday cheer, 
Streaming movies on Netflix about Christmas, puppies and Santa's Reindeers.
Such a long list of Holidays Favourites you'll find,
Perfect for kids of all ages to relax and unwind. 

As if that wasn't already more than good fun, 
Six-Month Netflix Canada subscriptions can also be won.
Two lucky readers will start the New Year off right,
So enter to win, and win you just might.

This Giveaway is for one Six-Month Netflix Canada subscription.
Two prizes are available to be won by two unique winners.
Open to residents of Canada, 18+ years of age
Good Luck!

From my house to yours Happy Holiday Wishes,
I even hope for you someone else does the dishes.
May your season be filled with joy and delight, 
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Follow the Netflix streamteam's adventures in streaming on social media using the hashtag 
#Streamteam and Netflix Canada on twitter, and facebook.

Note: As a member of the Netflix Streamteam I receive Netflix and a streaming device free of charge for the purpose of writing my Netflix posts and reviews. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday 6 December 2015

I am fan. A fan I am. Of @BoogieBoard I am a fan. #JOT8point5 #eWriter

Boogie Board JOT 8.5 

I am a fan.

A fan I am.
Of Boogie Board I am a fan.

Would I Boogie Board here or there?
Yes I'd Boogie Board here and there. 
I would Boogie Board anywhere.

Would I? Could I in my house?
I would Boogie Board in my house, and with a mouse. 
I could Boogie Board while I listen to Strauss.

I would Boogie Board in a box, or with a fox. 
Because my Boogie Board totally rocks.

Would I? Could I in my car?
I would Boogie Board in my car. 
I could Boogie Board near and far. 

I would like to in a tree, 
it's lots of fun just look and see!

A train, a train, a train a train!
Would I? Could I on a train?
I would Boogie Board on a train, or on a plane. 
I could Boogie Board in the rain with Jane.

I would Boogie Board on a boat that's in a moat,
eating green eggs and ham with a goat.

Would I? Could I write tons of funny quotes?
I would "JOT" down tons of funny quotes.
I could write the evil teens lots and lots of notes.

Somedays I doodle just because it's fun. 
Other days I makes lists to help get the job done.

I do so like Boogie Board, I am a fan.
 Of the JOT 8.5 a fan I am.

Now it's almost Christmas and the stockings must be filled.
Those who get a Boogie Board I know they will be thrilled! 

There are other Boogie Board products I know you're sure to love.
To find out more about them just click the link above!
Boogie Board is twitter and facebook too.

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about Boogie Boarding.

Note: I received a Boogie Board JOT 8.5 free of charge for the purpose of this post. All doodle and poetry skills, and opinions are my own. 

Wrapping Up My Holiday Shopping with @LampeBergerCA #ParfumBerger

It's already December and once again I'm brainstorming about what to get the 22 friends and family members I exchange Christmas presents with.

To "wrap" up my holiday shopping by Christmas morning it's going to require planning and watching my dollars and "scents". Luckily for me Lampe Berger added Parfum Berger, a collection of fragrance products to their line just in time for the holidays. 

Image via Lampe Berger Canada

The stylish design of the Cube Scented Bouquet is proof there is no need to sacrifice beautiful form for function. This gift is budget friendly retailing for $25 and comes in decorative packaging ready to give. 

Makes "scents" to have a few on hand for unexpected gift emergencies or as a gift for a teacher, neighbour, or as hostess gifts. 

The Cube Scented Bouquet comes with 125 ml of fragrance (fragrance refills available) and 8 black diffusion sticks. I'm excited about being able to control the intensity of the fragrance and adjust it to my personal preferences using the diffusion sticks. The number of sticks needed depends on the size of the room you choose to use it in. More sticks equals more intense fragrance, so for a bathroom 3 might be perfect, but for a larger room like a livingroom 5 to 8 sticks might make more "scents".

The Cube Scented Bouquet is available in ten fragrances:

Ocean Breeze
Zest of Verbena
Vanilla Gourmet
Orange Cinnamon
Soap Memories
Amber Powder
Virginia Cedarwood
Provence Treats
Paris Chic
Precious Jasmine

Visit Lampe Berger Canada for more information about other products including the full Parfum Berger line. But sure to follow them on Twitter Facebook and Pinterest to stay update on all the news, and while you're at it take a minute to read my post about the air purifying Bonbon Orange Lampe Berger and Savory Apple Tart Fragrance.

 I know who I'm giving this Cube Scented Bouquet to,
but I'm keeping it "under wraps" until Christmas morning.
How about yourself? Who on your list would this be perfect for. 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about wrapping up my holiday shopping. 

Note: I receive a Cube Scented Bouquet for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday 5 December 2015

Teaching Kids About Grass Roots #Activism & Their Power to Make Change

Teaching my kids about "Grass Roots" Activism.

"I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. 

Then I realized, I am somebody." 

 Lily Tomlin

That's such a great quote! I think or at least hope that everyone comes to this realization at some point. In the case of my kids I'm a bit more proactive, and want them to realize this earlier rather than later. I believe teaching our children kindness, empathy, tolerance of people, (but not necessary tolerance or acceptance of situations) and courage to take action will lead to a happier life and a better world.

A long time ago, in a community centre far far away...
at playgroup, over coffee, crafts and circle-time a conversation took place between four stay-at-home moms that went something like this:
Kris: "I'm concerned about my kids exposure to pesticides being sprayed on lawns in our neighbourhood. I'm thinking of starting an awareness campaign and putting together information on the health effects of these chemical pesticides, as well as alternative lawn care options. Is anyone else interested in being part of this?"
Cathy, Maureen, and Kirsten: "Yes!"

And so began our band of "Grass Roots Activists"
and the Breathe Deeply (My Lawn Is Pesticide Free) Campaign.

Our goal was two fold: increase awareness about the health effects of chemical pesticides, and compile and share information about effective alternative pest management and lawn care options. Each of us had different skill sets and contributed in different ways. I designed the signs, t-shirts, acted as purchaser/treasurer and applied for grants. Others made signs, researched and wrote pamphlets, and acted as campaign spokesperson and media contact. Together we managed to create 3 pamphlets, each delivered to more than 1500 houses, made and delivered more than 600 signs, distributed more than 100 t-shirts, and successfully applied for 3 different funding grants.

We spoke on the effects of pesticides, a need for a ban, and about lawn care alternatives to our Community Association, at City Council meetings, to local Girl Guides, and set up tables at local events. We were featured on local TV, radio and in newspapers, including The Globe and Mail.

Global and Mail: Tuesday, August 29, 2000
Janis Hass (Special to The Globe and Mail) 
"Outside, a homemade wooden sign on the front lawn sums up her (Kirsten Devenny) philosophy. It reads, "Pesticide Free." ... Over coffee in her living room, Mrs. Devenny discusses the use of pesticides on lawns with her neighbours Kris Wong and Cathy Canton. These stay-at-home moms have banded together to promote pesticide-free lawn care in their leafy Nepean neighbourhood of Crystal Beach. They're concerned about the effects of pesticides on the health of their children..."
(Chemical pesticides for cosmetic purposes on privately owned land were banned in Ontario in 2009.)

So why does this story matter?
From the time my kids were toddlers they've seen their Mom involved in efforts to make their world a better place, giveback or volunteer. They'd ask why I'm doing this, and I'd explain why I thought it was important. All of our kids were there when we met at the playgroup for strategy meetings, or went to the printers for the pamphlets. They saw (and helped) us make more than 600 signs. They helped deliver pamphlets and signs throughout their neighbourhood, and were there for the TV and newspaper interviews. 
They were central to all of this because ultimately it was about them.

I like to think that by setting an example we "plant the seeds" for our kids to grow into critical thinkers and engaged citizens of Canada and the World. I hope through our actions they learned they have a voice, and the power as one individual to bring about change. I think it's imperative youth understand how their local actions can have global impact, 
and that they must be the "somebody to do something".

Technology and Social Media: Tools for Change:
At the time of our Breathe Deeply Campaign smartphones, tablets, wi-fi and apps did not exist, and access to information and the "inter-webs" were not as user friendly as now. Today's technology and social media have been game changers to ones ability to connect, organize, amplify a message and increase awareness. This in turn has increased the potential ability to access people in positions of power and influence. I no longer need to leave my message to the media to interpret, hoping it's edited in a way that accurately conveys my position and that my comments aren't taken out of context. Instead I can initiate dynamic two-way conversations and information sharing, and rather than being reported on, be part of the process as well as the story.

I look at my cell phone and what it can do, and think how exciting, empowering and fascinating it all is. I hope as adults we instill that excitement, feeling of empowerment and fascination in our kids. I have great hopes for them, greener pastures and the future.

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about the grass always being greener regardless of the side I'm on.
(This story was originally posted as part of another post, but I think it's worthy of a stand alone post.) 

Quick shout-out to my husband of 23 years, who has always been supportive of my efforts. Although rarely seen in the forefront it has been his support and help that has made it possible for me to volunteer, be involved and contribute over the years. Not only has he bank rolled many of my efforts, he was (and still is) often left to pick up the slack and do double duty. He's a thinker and problem solver, so when I can't see a way or solution I can always count on him to find one. He is smart kind and generous, making him a perfect role model for our children, even if they don't know it yet. 

Thursday 3 December 2015

Free and Inexpensive Ways to Give & #Giveback - My List #TisTheSeason

Free and inexpensive ways to give during the holiday season.

We all have bills, and responsibilities. All of us have to watch our pennies, and budget to make ends meet, but if you're like me you still want to find a way to give back, especially around the holidays. 

I've put together a list of ideas that are either free, or cost very little to give. 

While it may cost so little, it means so much. Not only will you be helping those in need, spreading love and good will, but you'll also be an example to those around you. 
Who knows who might be inspired; your kids, siblings, co-workers, neighbours, even strangers.

Your local agencies, charities, and shelters are easily located by doing a Google search. 
EG: shelters, donations, Toronto.

For my list 

This was originally posted to Cathy Thinking Out Loud on Nov. 21st, 2013, but it still holds true and thought it was worth reposting. 

Happy Holidays! 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about giving back. 

Throwback Thursday #TBT #Sony #PlayStation circa 1995 #ChristmasGift


Throwback Thursday

Christmas Gift for Hubby shortly after Thing1 was born.
(A happy "you have a baby" gift ... What was I thinking?)
Sony PlayStation
circa 1995

Thing1 still plays with this from time to time. A bit of Crash Bandicoot is always fun! 
Anyone else own one of these? Still got it? 

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about yesterdays.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Marvel at all the #MARVEL to watch on @Netflix_CA! #What2Watch #W2WW

What to Watch?

As you all know, "What's Good to Watch?" is a common question amongst my friends and family, and the reason why I share movie and show recommendations on Cathy Thinking Out Loud every Wednesday (aka #W2WW). This week you'll "marvel" over the selection of series and movies based on MARVEL Comics you can find on Netflix Canada. I have only listed six, but there are lots more AND three more coming soon.


For the Adults: 
These have a TV-MA or 18A Rating!

For the Kids or Kids at Heart:
Please check the rating on each movie or series to see if appropriate for your children!

And coming soon:

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this weeks recommendations, and please share your suggestions in the comments section. 
Happy Streaming!

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about what to watch.

Note: I have not been compensated for this post in any way. All opinions are my own, and the purpose of this post is merely to share with my readers. All images are via Netflix. 

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Getting Carded: #HolidayCards - I'm Going Digital This Year & #Donating Money Saved. Tis The Season

To card or not to card, that is the question. 

Here are some other questions I have been asking myself over the last five years:
  1. Is there still a place for Holiday Cards in this age of digital and social media sharing? 
  2. Can we justify the cost and paper use and still be environmentally conscious? 
  3. Is it possible to be personal via email or text message? 
  4. What ways can I use the money I'd spend on postage to better reflect what the holidays are about?
For years my Christmas cards were written, stamped and ready to be mailed by December 1st. I had a long list of family and friends I hand wrote messages to before adding a picture of the kids taken specifically to be included with each card. 

I love getting Christmas cards and over the years came up with creative ways to display the cards I received. It's exciting to receive updates on friends and family, especially if pictures of the kids are included It allows me to be part of their lives even if I didn't see them often. 

Over the past five years the number of cards I send (and receive) has gradually decreased. No doubt due in part to my friends and family's increased use of technology to stay connected and share year round, making the annual Christmas picture and update less relevant.

I was thinking this year I would try something new and send personalized notes, holiday wishes and pictures of my offspring by email or text message. I will only be mailing cards to the few who do not have email or a cell phone, AND that I won't be seeing over the holidays. 

I will then take the money I save on stamps and postage and donate it or use it to give back in some way. 

In my Holiday emails and text messages I plan on sharing my reasons for opting out of mailing cards, including my decision to donate the postage money. I want others to know it was a conscious choice rather than lack of planning and a last minute attempt to send Season's Greetings. Hopefully all will understand my decision and in the spirit of the holidays be happy that those funds will go to good use. 

Do you still mail out cards, or do you find other ways to send Season's Greetings? 

As always I will find ways to reuse the cards I receive by using them to make
 gift tags, notebooks, and tree ornaments.

Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about Holiday Cards. 

Saturday 14 November 2015

Saving for Post-Secondary #Education is a Team Sport - #RESPs and Planning for #EducationCosts

Saving and Planning for Post-Secondary Education is a Team Sport

The way I see it, we as parents are the coaches, trainers and managers of the team, and our kids are the players. 

via BrainyQuote

Each member of the team has a role and responsibilities in preparing, planning and saving for post-secondary education. Education is expensive, and saving for that expense should start early. 

Contributing to an RESP for your child is a great way to save your child's education. 

But in order for our kids to truly understand the value of money and education we need them to take an active role in saving, paying and planning for their education costs. 

Middle School is a great time for "Team Education" to start writing the education play book. Below are some exercises and links to resources to help prepare your team for the big game of life. 
  • Dream Job Research Assignment: Have your child pick 3 careers or areas of interest and research what is required to do that job including: education, institutions offering program, acceptance requirements, and cost of program. 
  • The Cost of Living: How much money will you child need for school and living expenses. Tools such as RESP calculators, student budget calculators, and budgeting tools  can help you figure it out. Get your kids to do The Money Belt on-line budgeting exercise to get a realistic idea of the actual cost of living away from home.  
  • Show Me The Money: Besides the RESP savings the coaches are contributing, where will the other funds from. Another research assignment: Have your child research what funding options are available (scholarships, loans, part-time jobs, summer employment, ScotiaBank Awards, Bursaries, and more). Don't forget putting Birthday money or a portion of any cash gift into education savings really adds up over the years.

These exercises are a great way for both you and your child to clarify and manage the expectations each of you have in regards to post-secondary education funding, and focus your education plan.


Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about planning and saving for education costs.

Note: I received compensation for sharing my ideas on planning, preparing and saving for post-secondary education. All opinions are my own.  

Thursday 12 November 2015

ThrowBack Thursday #TBT #Nintendo #GameboyAdvance circa 2001


ThrowBack Thursday 

Thing1's Purple Gameboy Advance

 circa 2001

Thing1 still uses it every now and then.
Anyone else own one of these? What was your favourite game?

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about yesterdays.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

A #Streamteam #BakingBootCamp Is Not for the Faint of Tart @Netflix_CA

Netflix Baking BootCamp: Not For The Faint of Tart! 


Netflix Canada gathered a handful of  Ottawa Streamteamers and their offspring at the Urban Element for a sweet "mixer" infused with flavour and fun.

And so the baking begins...

So impressed with Chef's skills the crowd is left speechless... 

Urban Element's Chefs, and Jenny and Sabena from Netflix. 
Key ingredients to the perfect Baking BootCamp. Note the laser sharp focus on their faces.

Many thanks to my baking partners in crime Alyssa's kids. As you can see they weren't shy about getting their hands dirty. (Too bad they're not fun. tee hee)
Is it just me or does that cupcake look like it was made by Salvador Dali?

Just in case you want to host 
your own Netflix Baking BootCamp 
the link to the recipes is below.   

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about Croods Dragons Popples and sweet treats. 

Note: I was compensated for this post in cookies and cupcakes (yum). As a member of the Netflix Streamteam I receive Netflix and a streaming device free of charge for the purpose of my Netflix reviews and post. All opinions are my own.

Recommendation: #Twinsters Documentary #What2Watch #W2WW @Netflix_CA

What to Watch?

As you all know, "What's Good to Watch?" is a common question amongst my friends and family, and the reason why I share movie and show recommendations on Cathy Thinking Out Loud every Wednesday (aka #W2WW). This week's recommendation is a documnetary called Twinsters which you can find on Netflix Canada.

Twinsters is about how twin sisters born in Korea, separated at birth and adopted to two different families (one in the US and the other in France) came to find each other. 

Neither twin had any idea the other existed, until one happen to see a youtube video the other was in. Twinsters documents their incredible sorry.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this weeks recommendations, and please share your suggestions in the comments section. 

Happy Streaming!

Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about what to watch.

Note: I have not been compensated for this post in any way. All opinions are my own, and the purpose of this post is merely to share with my readers.