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    March 3, 2015
    Kids/Teens and Cell Phones

    Time for me to go on a soapbox rant. I work part time as a substitute teacher, and I tell you, every kid has a phone. Even in elementary school. Now, I’m not one of those geezers who constantly condemns technology and insists that things were “better in my day.” In fact, I think cell phones are great. Yes, even for kids. They let you have instant communication with your children, and allow immediate access to the educational wealth of resources on the web. Plus, they’re fun! However, there is a fine line that needs to be balanced when dealing with kids and their phones. On one hand, you need to monitor them to make sure they are using them safely and not giving out personal information (or god forbid, inappropriate photos) online or in messaging. On the other hand, I feel like it’s important to trust kids and let them have their privacy.

    I got my first cell phone in 8th grade, when I was about 13 or 14. My parents’ rule was: if you have any sort of after-school activity where you need us to pick you up (instead of riding the bus), you can have a phone to let us know when to get you. Once you have a schedule that varies, and you make your own decisions about what to do in your free time, you are old enough for a cell phone. I think that rule worked pretty well. Undoubtedly, some kids these days are just TOO YOUNG for cell phones. Some of the older ones also don’t seem to be mentally ready for them as well. Then again, you don’t want to be the parent of the 16 year old who is left out of everything because she doesn’t have a phone.

    All in all? Know your kid. I don’t think that bestowing a cell phone has a numerical age. If your child has demonstrated that they are responsible, and that they understand that anything they put online is THERE FOREVER, they may be ready.

    Still nervous? It’s normal, and probably a good thing. Personally, I love this post by Rachel at It has a cell phone contract that teens must agree to before getting a phone! Check it out for some great ideas.

    Photo Credit: Garry Knight 

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    August 18, 2014
    Photography Apps For Parents

    Unless you’re a serious photographer, chances are, you take all of your photos with a smartphone. And chances are, if you have a child, you’re taking a lot of photos. We all do it. You’re annoyed at the new parents who do nothing but post pictures of their babies on Facebook…and then you have your own, and suddenly, you understand. I have about 3,000 photos of my nephew already, and he’s 6 months old. So, how do you make sure you’re getting the best photos possible? There are tons of photography apps out there…which ones are best? Check out this post by Gretchen Bossio at Baby Gizmo:

    -Diptic- for fabulous collages

    -VSCO CAM- for professional quality editing

    -A Beautiful Mess- comes with stickers, frames, and other scrapbook-worthy decorations

    -Artkive- stores your child’s own artwork

    -PostalPix- instant photo sharing with family and friends

    Photo Credit: Phillipe Put

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    October 21, 2013
    Apps for New Parents

    Newborn baby? There’s an app for that. Rather, there are tons of apps that all supposedly help new parents adjust to their new lives. A quick search on the Apple App store yields over 300 results! Everything from sleeping soothers, to breast milk trackers, to feeding journals, to baby monitors, and visual stimulators are on there– but which ones are the best? And what do they all do? Do any of them actually help? You could read app reviews, but they can be pretty hit and miss. Luckily, the awesome folks at Cool Mom Tech have done the work for you and compiled a list of newborn apps that are absolutely essential:

    Total Baby is a fantastic and very comprehensive app that lets you track everything you want to know when you’re in the throes of newborn-dom; 14 trackers to be specific, including diapers, nursing, pumping, bottles, solids, sleeping and more.

    Baby Tracker Nursing app

    If you don’t need 14 trackers for your little one and instead want to just focus on nursing, check out this simple, nursing-specific app for everything you’ll need for your baby’s feeding schedule.

    iBabyLog app

    Maybe you’d rather save that $4.99 and instead put it towards your next box of diapers.In that case, the free iBabyLog is a good tracking alternative.

    Photo Credit: Yutaka Tsutano 

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    March 25, 2013
    Fun App For Kids

    My young’uns showed me an app the other day for my iphone. I thought when I saw it, “How ridiculous!”  It’s called Snapchat and allows you to take funny photos, write on them (if you want), and send them to people on your list. They can view them for between 3 and 10 seconds, depending on your settings, and then the photo disappears.  You have the option to download them before sending… a good idea if it’s especially funny since it disappears otherwise!

    We have laughed our heads off at this app!  They’ve sent “kiss me” photos making goofy faces.  I’ve sent photos where I’ve colored my teeth green and written “marry me.”  You are only limited by your imagination on what faces you make, objects you photograph, and what you say.

    Go find it.  And enjoy it!

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    November 12, 2012
    Thermometer Disguised as Pacifier

    While I love this idea, I can think of only one or two potential problems with it:

    1.  That your baby is very picky about what type of pacifier he/she uses.

    2.  That he/she doesn’t use a pacifier at all!

    Otherwise, this is AMAZING!  I wish I’d had a pacifier with a built-in thermometer when my kids were still young!

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    August 30, 2011
    Solar Powering a Light Bottle

    If this isn’t the coolest thing since sliced bread…

    See for yourself!

    Add some solar power to the top of a water bottle and voilà, you have yourself a lantern. FastSolar technology allows for up to 8 hours of light time and the one liter bottle could also double as a waterproof container for your wallet or cellphone.


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    December 1, 2009
    The Zhu Zhu Pet

    My cousin from Indiana sent me a facebook message a couple of weeks ago asking me to look in every Nashville area store I step into for a thing called a Zhu Zhu pet.  Huh?  She said she’d been looking everywhere for them for months and months – they are to be gifts for her eight-year old twin granddaughters.

    I always thought the full press search for the hottest toys was kind of silly.  But then when my oldest daughter was three-years old, the Barney doll came out.  We love him, he loved us, we were a happy fa-mi-ly, with great big hugs and a kiss for me and you…

    Yes we were a Barney family.  I drove to a town 10 miles away when I heard the local Wal-Mart had TWO plush stuffed Barneys left.  And they held both of them for me… we got our stuffed purple dinosaur.  Sadly, I’ve never owned a cabbage patch doll.  And I have yet to find a Zhu Zhu.

    Ron over at PopFi gives us the low-down on the little gerbils hamsters,

    Apparently, a Zhu Zhu pet is a little hamster that can drive a car and that runs around squeaking randomly.   The toys are the brainchild of veteran designer Russ Hornsby and St. Louis company Cepia Inc.  This six-year-old company is looking at sales of $100 million in Zhu Zhu Pets alone, with an estimated $300-$400 million by this time next year.  All for what is basically a $10 cat toy with a bubble car.

    Will there be a zhu zhu in your house this gift giving season?

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    May 31, 2008
    Just In Time For Father’s Day

    Father’s day is June 15 and Shakadoo has a great gift idea for that special man in our lives!

    Back away from the ugly ties and golf shirts ladies! This year, give your Father or your children’s Father something that he will absolutely love! Love Shak Baby and is excited to announce our latest giveaway! 

    Digital_photo_keychain_black_3 Shak and are offering our readers the chance to win three Digital Photo Keychains! This contest will run from today, May 31st until June 11th.

    From now until midnight CDT June 11th, here’s what you need to do in order to be entered to win:

    * Go over to the Wholesalekeychain website and take a look around.

    * Take a look at their huge assortment of automotive, sports and digital  keychains.

    * Leave a comment on this post telling us which ones you like and your thoughts on how these products could be used as great promotional items.

    * Make sure you leave us a valid email address so we can contact you when you win!

    * Tell everyone you know! Help us spread
    the word- link us on your blog, Twitter about this, email your friends,
    an let all your neighbors know!

    Three winners will be randomly selecting to each win 1 Digital Photo Keychain. All three winners will be Digital_photo_keychain_silver_3

    announced on June 12th! This giveaway is open to US residents only.

    The Digital Photo Keychain features a 1.5 inch screen and holds up to 70 pictures! But what sets this company apart is they offer custom engraved messages to your loved ones on the back.

    Don’t want to wait for the end of the contest for your Digital Photo Keychain? Need one in time for Fathers Day?  -You’re in luck! is offering free shipping for any keychains purchased by Shakadoo readers. Just enter the coupon code "Shakadoo" whenDigital_photo_keychain_pink
    you check out  and your shipping will be free. Prices start at only $19.99, but hurry- this discount is only
    available until August 30, 2008!Mercedesbenzsteeringwheelkeychaint

    (This is a "sticky" post and will remain at the top of the page for
    the duration of Just In Time For Father’s Day Giveaway but new posts will be written
    daily and published underneath this post.)

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    March 28, 2008
    Fantasizing On Friday

    Easy_buttonI have been having early morning fantasies today. No need to run and tell my husband because they are all rated G. I have decided that I want an Easy Button. Of course, this would be a magical Easy Button.

    Already, I have a full list of what I would like this Easy Button to do for me:




    *Mop Floors





    *My online work for the day

    *Turn my very fussy baby into a happy go lucky guy

    The question is, what would I do with all of my new found time? I don’t know but I would sure love to find out!

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    November 28, 2007
    Control What Video Games Your Child Plays

    Video_games These days, it is more important than ever to stay on top of what our children are doing. We need to be involved parents who monitor their activities. Does that sound too strict? I do not think so considering the potential dangers this modern world presents us with.

    First, there is the internet. It is crucial to protect your children from danger while browsing the web. There are so many ways that harm can come to them via the world wide web. Next, television shows made for children are trying to strip away parents authority one show at a time.

    What about video games? Sure, you can monitor what video games your child purchases through the game rating system. What if your child’s friend brings a game to your house that you wouldn’t approve of and are not aware of? Mama Divas has a great answer to that situation. Parents Can Use Controls Based on ESRB Ratings to Filter Content on Gaming Consoles:

    "Well what if little 9-year-old Johnny decides to sneak Manhunt 2 into the House and play through its gory stages on the sly? What some parents may not be aware of is that they can use the built-in parental control features in their children’s consoles to allow or deny a games to be played according to its ESRB rating."

    The article goes into more detail about this and you can read it here.

    Life is pretty funny. I always thought my parents were way to strict. Their rules seemed silly and I thought they were just trying to prevent me from having any fun. Now as a parent, I completely understand the necessity for such rules. Thank you Mom and Dad!

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