Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Heading to #BlissDom '13!

Pin It Guess where I just booked my flight to...

I loved working with the BlissDom team last year in Nashville and I am so excited to be heading to Dallas, Texas for BlissDom '13! Will you be joining us there?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I REALLY love my new Kobo Glo!

Pin It I love reading.

It is one of the very few things I do FOR ME.

There really is nothing better to me than escaping into a good book.

I've always been that way- for as long as I can remember I have loved the feeling of disappearing into the pages of another world. It is such a wonderful way to escape.

I admit that part of what I loved was the feeling of the actual books. I loved the feeling of a new book... there was just something about BOOKS to me... I don't know. I'm a total nerd. I love books.

I'm like Hermione from Harry Potter. Books are like friends. You can tell I feel that way by the sheer number of them in my home... they are just... everywhere.

So I was somewhat reluctant to try e-readers when they came along. Don't get me wrong- I love my computer. I love my iPad. I love my gadgets. But they aren't books. I tried an app for my computer for online reading and pretty much hated it. I tried an app for my iPad for reading on that and found it ... meh. It made my eyes go all wonky after awhile. And it just wasn't as good as a real book no matter what anyone said.

I was not convinced.

But when I was given the chance to review the Kobo Glo I figured I would give it a try. After all it DID look very pretty and very gadgety. And I do love my gadgets.

And I have to tell you... I am totally in love with my Kobo Glo!

Lightweight and functional the Kobo Glo allows families to access their favourite books no matter where they are:

-          The Kobo Glo provides a comfortable front-lit eReading display that lets people read any time—day or night.

-          With Kobo Glo’s E Ink anti-glare screen, it’s just like reading print on paper—even in direct sunlight; it’s also the only high resolution display available on the market.

-          The Kobo Glo is highly customizable with 24 font styles and 7 font sizes.

-          The Kobo Glo comes in four stylish colour options – Black Night, Pink Sunset, Blue Moon and Silver Star.

-          Readers have direct access to the Kobo eBookstore from the Kobo Glo with a Wi-Fi connection—with a storage capacity for over 1,000 eBooks, with expandable storage with and SD card for up to 30,000.

- It has been awarded the PTPA seal of approval. The Parent Tested Parent Approved™ (PTPA) community gave the new Kobo ARC a near perfect score, awarding the device 196 out of a possible 200 points and praising it for its colour display, speed, and ease-of-use for even the youngest of family members.

Beyond all of that there are a few REALLY great advantages for a book-a-holic such as myself... the big one being you can carry TONS of books all at once and it takes up NO space. It is lightweight (really really lightweight) and fits in my purse or laptop case. I can fit an entire bookshelf of books in my Kobo Glo. Now when I travel I don't have to choose which book to take with me!

It also solves my book hoarding problem. Book hoarding is no longer an issue since the books take up no space in my home. Problem solved.

Reading on the Kobo Glo is easy. I do sometimes miss the feeling of actually turning pages and holding a real book... but the advantages outweigh that for me. Plus it is pretty. Mine is pink. I love pink.

The only thing I really don't like about the Kobo Glo has nothing to do with the device itself... it is the Kobo store. Actually - the store is ok. There are a lot of books you can buy and they are reasonably priced for the most part.

But their selection of free books... um... not great. They claim to have over one million to choose from but FINDING a book you want? Is incredibly difficult. They have made it nearly impossible to just browse through the free books. I hate that. You have to actually search for a book you want.

I don't WANT to search for a book I want because I don't KNOW what book I want yet! Hello- book hoarder here. I want to just look at all the pretty books and find one that suits my fancy and say "hello pretty book, come home with me".

I have tried searching for various key words but have found it really ineffective. I have tried searching for genres and found that even worse. Honestly it has been nothing but frustrating for me.

Worse? If you want to find a free book on the go from your actual Kobo Glo there is only a specific selection available. You can't even access all of them. You have to be on your computer to do that.

I am willing to admit that I might just be a complete moron who is totally not getting what I am supposed to be doing... but that in and of itself is a problem in my opinion since I am usually fairly able to find my way around a website. 

SO ya. Hate that. And since Kobo books are only sold on Kobo I can't even get my free books from elsewhere. Sigh. (if anyone out there has any tricks feel free to let me know!!)

That being said I am still loving my Kobo Glo. I am definitely an e-reader convert!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Welcome to our Snowbank - or - What to Do For Fun When it is -20 Degrees Outside

Pin It Hi everyone! My name is Owen. I'd like to show you what we do for fun around here when it is -20 degrees Celsius. That is -4 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you who don't speak Canadian.

You may think that -20 is really cold. And you are right. It is. It is stupid cold. But not as cold as -40. And it gets that cold here. So -20 is better. But -5 is a lot better than that. When it is -5 your snot doesn't freeze before you can blow it. When it is -20 everything freezes. When it is -40 you should just stay inside.

This is the weather today. It is -27 but the wind makes it feel like -39. That is what "wind chill" means. That means it is a day you should just stay inside. 

But it wasn't that cold when mom took these pictures. It was only -20 on the weekend.

This is our snowbank. It is right outside of our house right now. It is where our neighbour put all the snow from our driveaway after he plowed it because he is nice.

Snowbanks are the BEST and this one is almost as tall as me. It took forever to get lots of snow this winter and winter is just dumb without lots of snow because then you are just cold for no reason. That is just stupid and then it should be summer instead. But this snowbank is awesome. It isn't big enough to sled on yet. But it might be if we get more snow and the neighbour plows more. That would be so awesome.
 If you are dressed right you can stay warm outside here for a long time. Even in -20. But your cheeks will freeze if you aren't careful. Because -20 is still really cold. When your cheeks freeze it's called frostbite and they go all white and then really red when they thaw out and it feels all hot and sort of prickly. People here get frostbite all the time because you can't just NEVER go outside. 
Besides. It is FUN to play in the snow. Staying inside for the whole winter would be just boring. We have winter for months and months here. At least from Halloween until Easter. Longer sometimes. But that is about 7 or 8 months of winter. It is not THIS cold at the beginning and ends of winter though. But it can still snow then. Snow is fun. It is the best part of winter.
Being down behind the snowbank and inside piles of snow is actually warmer than standing on top of the snowbank in the wind. The WIND is really what makes you cold. Not the snow. Unless it gets down your shirt or in your boots. THEN the snow makes you cold. But mostly it is the wind.

If you don't get to play in the snow you are missing out because snow is awesome.

This is my brother Aiden. He doesn't like winter as much as me so he always makes sure his WHOLE FACE is covered except for his eyes. I hate having my mouth covered up so I don't wear neck warmers.

Aiden does like the snowbank as much as I do though. Because it is cool. Everyone likes the snowbank. It's awesome.

See- you can't see anything except Aiden's eyes. And that is why we can be outside in -20. Aiden's cheeks never freeze like mine because they are never showing. He likes to throw himself face down in the snow too though so he has to cover his face.

Before you jump off the snowbank you have to make sure you jump into a soft part and not a part where there are big chunks of ice. Or a part where Olivia is sitting. Don't jump on your sister. You will get in trouble.

This is Olivia. No matter how many times you tell her to put on warmer socks she never will and so she always says her toes get cold. I think everyone gets cold toes though. It is winter. Olivia likes pink. Which is good because we always can see her no matter where she is. She sticks out.

She likes the snowbank too except she is scared she will fall off of it. She forgets that there is a whole bunch of snow at the bottom so it won't even hurt if you fall. You will just roll into a big pile of soft snow. It won't even matter. But she still thinks the snowbank is too high up. Girls are weird.

The snowbank is huge. Mom could even walk on it and not fall off. Seriously. It is THAT BIG. But mom barely ever plays in the snow because she doesn't have snow pants. She should though. You can't play in the snow without snow pants or you will just get wet and cold and that is no fun.

Aiden told Olivia to stop worrying. The snow bank is taller than her though so mom said to stop bugging her about being scared.

And that is how to have fun when it is -20 degrees outside! Just play in the snow! And when you get cold just go inside and have hot chocolate because it is yummy.

Don't you wish you lived here now?

* This post was not typed by Owen because he has far more important things to do... like play on the snowbank. This is my best effort at relaying his words which were rapidly spoken to me because the child simply has no time to tell his mother something TWICE! I mean really. Priorities people. There is a snowbank waiting!*

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blogging On My New #WindowsPhone #holidayswap

Pin It I have had my new Windows Phone for one month now and I have only just begun to blog on it. For the longest time it didn't even occur to me that I could blog on a phone because my last phone was rather challenged in the whole area of being useful.

True story.

So once I realized that I could blog on my phone a whole new world opened up to me. I have loved being able to quickly share things to twitter and Facebook, but sometimes only a blog post will do when you are a blogger!

I was able to find a really easy to use app called HBlog to blog from that even allows me to add photos and videos. I am writing this entire post from that app.

We have had a ton of snow here over the last few days and I took these pictures of the kids playing on the massive piles of snow left over after our very kind neighbour plowed our driveway for us.

I was thinking about all the Microsoft products we have in our home now and was actually a little surprised because we don't actually use any PC computers. I use Microsoft Office for Mac everyday though. I tried to get away with not using it for years but once I started running my own business I found it basically impossible to do without. It really has made my life a lot easier.

And of course we also have our new X-box which has been a huge hit in our family. I think the Kinect feature is just genius.

I am so glad I was given the chance to participate in the #holidayswap - I have learned so much. Thanks Microsoft Canada!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Friday, January 04, 2013

My One Word for 2013

Pin It My word for 2013 is REST. 

  • Cessation of work, exertion, or activity.
  • Peace, ease, or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of an activity.
  • Sleep or quiet relaxation.
  • Relief or freedom from disquiet or disturbance.
  • Mental or emotional tranquillity.
  • To be at peace or ease; be tranquil.

Many times in my life... ok, MOST times in my life I feel like I am about 3 steps behind and can never quite catch up. To anything. Ever. 

It leaves me in a constant state of feeling like I am failing.

No matter how hard I try I can't ever seem to make things WORK the way I want them to and it completely overwhelms me.

The thing about being overwhelmed is it makes you feel exhausted. I feel worn out pretty much all the time. 

No matter how much sleep I get I never really feel rested because my mind never stops whirring with the thoughts of all the ways I am failing, all the reasons I suck and all the ways in which my inadequacies as a mother and inability to catch up are going to permanently damage my children.

Instead of spurring me on to jump up and GET ON IT and REVOLUTIONIZE my whole life and reality all these feelings simply make me want to curl up in a ball and sink lower into my depression.

Which really helps a lot. (sarcasm)

The last time we were at the doctor for one of my children he was talking about how sleep issues can wreak havoc with a child's impulse control. He then went on to say this one little phrase "after all, when any person isn't fully rested it is impossible for them to perform at their best". 


WE NEED REST in this family! 

Not just me- all of us.

And I'm not just talking about sleep - I'm talking about the soul-rest that you feel when you know you are ok and that you don't completely suck... when you have "Mental or emotional tranquillity" as per the definition of rest

That is my goal for me and for my family this year. Deep down soul-rest.

My One Word for 2012 was Peace and my 3 Words for 2011 were Hope, Joy, and Thankfulness. Each year those words have really meant a lot to me throughout the year and I am sure this year will be no exception! 

Do you have a WORD for 2013?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

The #WindowsPhone #HolidaySwap and Me - Part Two

Pin It I have been participating in the Windows Phone Holiday Swap for a few weeks now and wanted to give you an update on how it is working out! You can see my first impressions HERE.

I find myself using a few things on my phone over and over again- besides the obvious texting and taking calls (I almost never actually call other people).

You can pretty much guarantee that I will use two things every day- the camera and the Kids Corner.

The camera is BY FAR my favourite feature. I love being able to take quick pictures and videos of the kids (and other stuff) anytime I like. It is so darn handy!
made with Phototastic

Here is a little video I took of Olivia's dance class just to show you how the videos look. 

The quality of the pictures is great and there are a bunch of fun apps to use to pretty up the pictures and make them look even more cool. A few of the apps I particularly like are Cinemagraph, Creative Studio, Fhotoroom, Panorama and Phototastic.

taken with Panorama
click on the picture to see how Cinemagraph works

I love being able to share pictures to facebook and twitter anytime from wherever I am. It is crazy easy to do. I was never able to do that from my old phone for several reasons- first of all the pictures were super crappy quality and second sharing just wasn't an option.

photo edited with Fhotoroom

photo edited with Fhotoroom
You can also guarantee that my kids will ask to use my phone at least a few times per day. With Kids Corner I have no problem just handing it over to them since I know they won't be able to access anything other than their games.
screenshot of our Kids Corner today

I do get frustrated with the constant ads on the free version of apps but that is not unique to the Windows Phone. It sort of defeats the purpose of Kids Corner though when my kids are constantly clicking on the stupid ads and heading off to unknown places on the web. Not ideal. That means we have to actually buy the real version of any game they want to play and honestly that is just annoying considering how fast they go through games!

Overall I am very happy with my Windows Phone. It is super cool.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A Snowy Walk in the Woods

Pin It
We celebrated the New Year by taking a walk by the frozen creek in our back yard this afternoon - it was lovely! My husband took all these pretty pictures of course :)

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