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    April 5, 2016
    Uses For A Kitchen Timer

    5998854899_79d92790c7_zI’m a substitute teacher, and I use timers every day with kids to keep things organized. They’ll have so long for bellwork, independent reading, assignments, etc., before moving on. It’s also useful if the teacher left a game for them to play, or a timed test/quiz. And they’re not just useful at school! You can use a timer at home in TONS of different ways. Find out why timers are a mom’s best friend by reading this post by Rachel at A Mother Far From Home:

    -Have independent play time, if your kids are struggling with that

    -Get out the energy! Set a timer and have a crazy, noisy, fun time until it runs out!

    -Taking turns playing with a coveted toy

    -Screen time limits

    -15 minute cleaning time

    Photo Credit: Rusty Clark

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    March 14, 2016
    Fun Science Apps For Kids

    6660135637_80d42d1bb1_zEducation, the pursuit of knowledge, and critical thinking are some of the most important ideals that I strive for, and hopefully will one day be able to teach my kids. Yes, it’s fine to have fun and play, but there’s no reason playtime can’t be educational! I love apps and gadgets that are able to teach in a fun way. That’s why I love this post by Mia Wenjen at Pragmatic Mom. Here’s her list of the best science apps for kids:

    -Crazy Machines- Use your imagination and build crazy contraptions

    -Toca Doctor- Teaches kids basic anatomy and medical care

    -The Elements- A “Harry Potter” style periodic table game

    -Weird But True- Interesting factoids from National Geographic

    -Coaster Physics- Design and test your own rollercoaster

    -Virtual Frog Dissection- Dissection without the smell and the mess

    Photo Credit: Brad Flickinger 

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    December 28, 2015
    Toddler Apps

    My spoiled, 2-year-old nephew got a tablet for Christmas this year :) . He loves it, and it’s nice for us since he’s not constantly asking to borrow our phones. His mom put a bunch of games on it already: one that teaches about animals, one with songs, and one with letters and numbers. Hopefully, it’ll turn out to be a great educational tool that he can have fun with! If you let your 2 year old borrow your phone, or they have their own tablet, check out this post by Liz Borod Wright at Travelogged for the best apps for toddlers:

    -Peekaboo Barn

    -Elmo Calls

    -Perfect Piano

    -Kids Paint

    -Wheels on the Bus

    Photo Credit: Maurizio Pesce 

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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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