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When we bought our new house a couple of months ago, we decided to splurge and get a bigger TV for our living room – but we also opted to ditch our cable service and go with streaming through a Smart TV instead.  

So far, so good – especially since we were never ones to watch ‘live’ TV anyway.  The only drawback to our awesome new Smart TV was when searching for shows, it’s been tedious and cumbersome to use the regular remote and pick out the phrase one letter at a time.

My patience was being tested.

Thankfully there’s a cool new solution – Logitech has introduced their new Harmony Smart Wireless Keyboard which is available exclusively at Best Buy:

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Harmony Smart Keyboard makes enjoying digital media in your living room easier than ever.  The specially designed keyboard simplifies text entry on internet-connected entertainment  devices. Touch the “Movie” Activity button and the right devices switch  to the right settings.  Plus, it has integrated DVR and set-top box controls, playback and volume buttons, and a touchpad  for cursor control on a PC or Mac. 

The way the system works is the keyboard interfaces with the hub, which then transmits the input from the keyboard to your living room devices. What’s really cool about this keyboard is it can control many devices, not just a Smart TV.  

You can use it with PC’s, Mac’s, AppleTV, Roku, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, cable boxes and DVR’s.  The Harmony Smart is very easy to use, and consists of a few separate pieces which include the Smart Keyboard, 2 USB connectors, Harmony Hub, IR transmitter wire, power adapters and other wires. 

It connects via Bluetooth, Infrared, IP and USB devices, so the connectivity possibilities are truly well-rounded.   The only device that needs both the USB and Bluetooth connection is the PlayStation 3, but once you get it connected, you’re golden.  

I also love that you can interface by way of a SmartPhone App, using the Harmony App.  The app not only interfaces with the Harmony Hub, but it turns smartphones into personal universal remotes, and even lets you customize gestures and Favorites.  The app is available for both Android (which made me happy, since I’m an Android girl) as well as Apple’s iOS.  

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Switching from one device to another is fast and easy, and you don’t have to worry if your connected devices are behind a cabinet door (like mine are), because the Harmony Hub controls devices behind cabinets or walls.  Sweet!

Some of the key features are:

  • 3 one-touch activity button
  • PC, TV, Movies
  • Short and long presses provide 6 total activities
  • Integrate touchpad for cursor control on PC or Mac
  • Media/Cable/DVR playback controls
  • Harmony Hub controls devices behind cabinets or walls
  • IR, RF, USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Simple SmartPhone setup
  • Harmony App turns iOS & Android smartphones into personal universal remote

Utilizing this keyboard makes it easier to surf the web on our big screen, too, which has turned into some crazy family fun.  And my patience doesn’t have to be tested anymore.  It’s definitely a necessary accessory for your living room!

Do you have any ‘smart’ items in your living room?

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Note: I am being compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free, but all opinions are mine and not influenced by outside sources. See my Disclosure Policy here.

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Last week was the hubby’s birthday, and as luck would have it, Princess Nagger was on Spring Break so she wanted to make him a cake.  His favorite is German Chocolate, so after we dropped Little Dude off at school, we headed off to get the ingredients.  

Of course the cake needed to be decorated, so we were brainstorming on what ‘theme’ this cake should be.  Because when you’re eleven, everyone needs a ‘theme’ for their birthday cake, right?

Of course, Princess Nagger being the mischievous one (kinda like her Mama), alighted on the perfect ‘theme’ of decorations.  And so it was:

LJBday

Horses and more horses!  What’s the story about horses, you ask?  I’m glad you did!  Apparently, the hubby is not a fan of horses, because when he was a kid visiting some friends with horses, he gave a horse a treat of sugar cubes.  

Unfortunately (for him) the friends neglected to explain to his small child self that you don’t feed the horse a sugar cube from your finger tips, you feed it to them from your open palm.  After all, those horse teeth get in the way of picking up those small squares.

As you can imagine, those horse teeth bit his little fingers.

Ever since then, he’s assumed that horses are mean creatures – he’s even asked things like “What sound does a horse make before they attack?” and “Why are they whipping their tails all the time?” and will even lock his car door as we drive past a pasture full of horses just in case they “jump the fence to attack”.

Yes, I know, let it out, I know you are going to laugh if you aren’t already.

Ever since Princess Nagger found out about this malady of the hubby’s, she’s made it her personal mission to convince him that horses are cool. Hence the idea for the ‘theme’ of the cake.  So we hunted in the cake decorating aisles to no avail, and found our little horsey treasures in the toy section.  

Since he does think hippopotamus are cool, we naturally had to pick one of those up too – and the one we found looks like he’s intimidating the main horse on the cake thusly:

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We figured that might aid him in not being annoyed by his horse cake.  

Of course Princess Nagger accidentally added 10 years to the hubby, because we picked up the numbered candles to denote his actual birthday age, but she wanted to get some of those relighting candles to make it even more annoying fun.  Pay no attention to the extra 10 candles on the cake:

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Since his birthday happens to fall the day after April Fool’s, it was fitting. A few days later, we were honored to be invited to celebrate this little cutie patootie’s third birthday:

HB-Bday

I sure wish Slon of A Mom In High Heels would start blogging regular again! (hint, hint!!)  She’s always so much fun to talk to, and this weekend’s visit was no different.  Plus, I told her the horse story, so she made a special cupcake for the hubby in honor of his birthday:

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Sugar cubes – get it?  I love her.  Thankfully the hubby is a great sport and rolled with all the merriment:

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And he wasn’t a “neigh-sayer” about the whole horse thing.

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Wordless or Wordful or Wordy or Wordish – feel free to link up:

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Looky! I made a button if you feel like snagging it and displaying it proudly:

Stacy

 

For Wordless Wednesday, be sure to visit Wordless Wednesday, and Go Graham Go for more great Wordless Wednesday Posts.

 

More Wordless and Wordful fun:

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Last week flew by what with Princess Nagger on Spring Break and all. It was a new experience for her, since the school in Pennsylvania didn’t have any sort of Spring Break at all.  It seemed odd to have Spring Break this early, though – I thought it usually happened around Easter. But then again, Easter is technically ‘late’ this year, so maybe it’s a calendar thing.

It’ll be nice when both kids are at the same school next year, since then their schedules will be exactly the same – instead, Little Dude’s Spring Break is this week, and the college the hubby teaches at is also on Spring Break this week, so both are off this week.  Which means I’m outnumbered to the max, and you know I won’t be getting much done this week with constant interruptions.

I don’t know what it is about boys with the interruption mode – us girls, at least both Princess Nagger and I, tend to embrace our independent time and don’t interrupt each other for nonsensical stuff.  It must be a ‘boy’ thing.  Ahem.

At least some of that interrupted time will be made up with not having to drive Little Dude to school – that’ll salvage about 90 minutes of my day each morning.  Which will no doubt get sucked up in the every 5-minute interruption events.

Apparently I’m going on and on about interruptions – probably because I’ve already been interrupted a bajillion times trying to get this post written.  It’s going to be a long week.  (said with a grin and tongue-in-cheek.)

In other news…  I’ve crossed over to the other side.  For years I’ve mocked the family stickers on the back window of other vehicles, swearing I never would do that sort of thing on mine.  Except I couldn’t resist an alternate version thanks to ThinkGeek.com:

SuperHeroFamily

I didn’t realize how big those stickers actually are – which makes sense, so they’re actually visible.  I had to get creative with placement so the back windshield wiper wouldn’t trash them on the first rainy day after application.  So far so good!

Last week was the hubby’s birthday – when I asked if he’d like to go out to dinner or if he had a ‘special’ dinner in mind, he decided he’d like Beef Wellington for dinner.  And he wanted to ‘help’ me make it in the kitchen, since he’s pretty much banned from the kitchen after he destroyed some of my pots and pans in the past, and tends to make a ginormous mess of the kitchen as a whole.  

You’d ban him too, I guarantee.

I was on board with the whole idea of making Beef Wellington, since I’d been looking up recipes and thought it would be a great challenge to do.  So I agreed – but figured since he’d be working that day, I’d be safe from the kitchen invasion – which thankfully worked out perfectly.

I utilized Chef Ramsay’s version, but modified it to make individual wellington’s since each of us have a different preference on how well done our steaks are.  For instance, the hubby like his deader than me and Princess Nagger do.  You know, well-done vs. medium-rare.

I’ll be putting together a separate blog post with pictures and instructions and the final recipe I came up with to please our palates – I’ll have to make them again, though, because while I took pics of the process from the beginning:

BeefWellington

All the way to when I put them in the oven to bake:

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I completely neglected to get pictures of them after they were done and plated.  You’ll just have to take my word for it that they turned out awesome and delicious – everyone gobbled their portions down like they’d been starved for days.  A repeat performance is definitely in order.

That’s a wrap for this week – you know the drill, link up and join in the fun, everyone is welcome – random or not. Be sure to visit your fellow randomizers so they don’t feel so lonely.

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Keeping the random alive – feel free to snag a badge and play along – one for my wino friends:

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And one for my non-wino friends:

Stacy

 

 

 

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