tech-section

Category : Apps

pinterest t-shirtDear Sassy:

It was over a month ago, but I still have a Valentine’s Day craft hangover because of the Despicable Me 2 Twinkie Valentines I had to make for my twins’ preschool class. The girls saw the blog photo over my shoulder as I was looking on Pinterest and I was suckered into being that mom who staples little overalls to each Twinkie to make it perfect. I even bought a hot glue gun. This is so not me, and I hated it. But all those sweet crafts and perfect party decorations people post on Pinterest are starting to make me feel terrible for not wanting to do those things for my kids. Doesn’t anyone just buy stuff anymore?

Dear Anticraft Mom:

Yes. Yes they do. In fact, lots of moms do. Especially because they have busy lives and no time to sit hunched over with a pastry bag and a Cricut paper cutter getting everything just right.

But there are plenty of people who do these things, and instead of letting them make you feel inadequate as a mother – as a person – think of Pinterest as a stack of magazines. Millions and millions of them. When you flip through, say, Real Simple and you see a cute craft for kids’ lunchboxes, do you then scramble to your kitchen and start cutting hearts out of whole grain bread for an adorable PB&J?

No. No you don’t.

(Well, some of you do, but this post is not for you. It’s for you to link and send to your friends who often express jealousy and thinly-veiled rage.)

You might dog-ear that page, or rip it out and pin it on your bulletin board, or let it get lost in a pile of other magazine pages you’ve torn out to save recipes or gardening ideas or a picture of a celebrity hairstyle you might want to try. And then you forget all about it.

With Pinterest, these torn out magazine pages are IN YOUR FACE with relentless cheerful pressure. The bombardment of just-so images can be overwhelming and make you want to curl up in a ball in the corner of the room eating M&M’s (the store-bought kind, not lovingly individually-piped preservative-free homemade chocolate covered candies) or at least running to the drugstore at 9:30 the night before Valentine’s Day to purchase the last 2 boxes of lame cards with Spongebob on them.

But you know what? That’s okay, too.

Parenting is such a stressful job all around. There’s absolutely no reason for you to pile more pressure on top of what you already feel. When you start to feel like a shitty mom because someone posted an edible Bunny Food recipe and you can barely remember the date of Easter, click away, my friend. Click away.

bunny food

(Incidentally, clicking away is the best antidote for most of the ills caused by the internet.)

Pinterest will be there — and it will be billions of pins stronger, like a boil that has swelled during the night — when you’ve regained your sensibilities and you’re ready to poke around again for some ideas for how to decorate your child’s playroom.

Side rant: must we keep using the phrase “bucket list,” even with activities for young children?

summer bucket list

I mean, imagine that conversation.

“Look, kids, I printed out this colorful Summer Bucket List from a blog I found on Pinterest!”

“Mom, what’s a bucket list?”

“It’s a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.”

“What’s kick the bucket?”

“It means DIE.”

(Children are horrified, speechless for a moment.)

“Are we going to die at the end of the summer?”

“No, honey, it’s just an expression.”

(Kids walk away, not believing you, convinced they will die before Labor Day.)

The moral of the story? Be careful what you pin!

Send in your problem for Sassy to solve, whether it’s a parenting question, relationship dilemma, or a snafu with social etiquette and it may get answered in a future column. Sassy is here to help! Submit your question for Ask Sassy here! (Or just email me, darling. We can keep it between us. [email protected]) You can also follow me on Twitter or like my Facebook page, where I share pro tips on life every week.

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Have you been keeping up with your new year’s resolution to get organized and stay organized? These 4 apps to keep you organized are designed to help you manage day to day appointments, calendars and keep your life on track.

Life Noted

Life Noted AppLife Noted merges calendaring, note taking, PDFs, photography and video all into one app. Start each day by viewing your notes, events and photos all in one screen. I love that you can customize your calendar by adding photos. You can manage multiple calendars and can choose to either show or hide each one. You can create a custom tag for certain events which helps searching for it that much easier! And how about those times where you have a baby in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. We all have those moments where we need to write a note before we loose the thought, don’t we? You can record your note to Siri and it will instantly be saved to your calendar — hands free.

Life Noted app is free and available for iOs

Mynd

Mynd App

The Mynd app not only keeps your calendar and appointments organized, but it takes care of everything in between. Mynd alerts you when to leave for a meeting based on current traffic conditions and launches a navigation app to get you there on time. It syncs with all your current calendars, Evernote meeting notes, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts. The attractive home screen shows you what time your next meeting is, the location of meeting, current weather and more. It’s an intuitive app that is very helpful for personal and work life.

Mynd app is free and available for iOs

Any.do

Any.do App

Any.do is an organizational app that categorizes your to-do lists by today, tomorrow, upcoming and someday. You can set reminders for a certain time or date or just for a particular date. Once you are done with a task or event, simply swipe to cross the task off your list. It easily syncs your tasks from your mobile phone to your home computer. This app sends you a friendly reminder to enter your to-do list for the day.I really love the no-frills, simple and clean design of this app.

Any.do app is free and available for iOs and Android

Cozi

Cozi App

The Cozi app allows family members to stay organized by sharing calendars, appointments, shopping lists and to-do lists. The app color codes each user, so you can see where the kids are and where they need to be next at a glance. You can send reminders to your self or other family members so they don’t forget important appointments. Another great feature is the Family Journal, you can quickly add notes and photos about a special family moment and share them via email or Facebook. The Meal Planner and Recipe Box feature allows you store save and store your favorite recipes to make family meals super easy. Family members can even see what’s for dinner each night. These features sync with mobile phone and a web version of Cozi as well. I love that this app covers everything a busy family needs.

Cozi app is free and available for iOs and Android

 What are your favorite apps that help keep you organized?

 

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Putting together a baby registry can be a very overwhelming experience. There are so many stores, boutiques and websites to choose from leaving you with multiple registries to manage. BabyList has simplified your baby registry experience with a unique website that is free and easy to use. BabyList is a beautifully designed site built by a mom for moms.

BabyList

When ex-Amazon software developer Natalie Gordon was pregnant with her son she wanted a way to avoid going through a department store with a price gun and be able to include “nontraditional” items on her list. BabyList was born!

BabyList is a free online service. Like Pinterest, you simply add a button to your web browser. Then you are ready to begin adding to and managing your registry list. It is that simple! No matter where you are on the web you can add any item to your BabyList registry, from cribs and bottles on babiesrus.com to frozen meals or money towards an eco-friendly diaper service.

BabyList

What makes this universal registry stand out is the easy to use and very practical features:

  • You can categorize or reorder your registry by clicking the Organize List button.
  • Automatically show all of the stores that offer an item.
  • Set your list to be private or public.
  • Show what has been purchased and who purchased it.
  • Share your registry by email, on Facebook or Pinterest

BabyList

Still feeling overwhelmed on what to put on your registry list? BabyLists features a collection of lists to inspire you. See what giggle, Women’s Health, The Land of Nod, and others say are must-haves for baby.

The BabyList Registry Checklist is a simple quiz with questions like, “Will you use cloth diapers?”, “What will the weather be like when baby is born?”, or “Which Friends character are you most like?” Once you complete the quiz BabyList will personalize a product list of items that fit your needs.

BabyList

Already have multiple registries set up? Don’t worry the BabyList staff will merge your registries for you! They can either add a link to your current registries, or move over each individual item to your new BabyList registry.

To make your life even easier, BabyList is now available for iPhone and iPad! Don’t worry Android users, you can sign up for a beta version now.

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Resolutions aside, the beginning of the year is a great time to get your life organized. For some of us, this means cleaning out the closet. But for others, especially those who are active in social media, this means going through our online accounts, laptop, smartphones, etc. So, to help make your life a little easier through this process, we are sharing some tips to help you with your new year tech clutter cleanup. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, turn on the music and follow along.

New Year tech clutter cleanup

Clear out your email folders

Email folders are handy to keep the inbox nice and tidy. But in reality, they end up being storage for emails that we really don’t need anymore. Now is the perfect time to go through them and delete the emails that are no longer needed. While you’re at it, this is also a good time to get rid of email folders that don’t get used or are redundant.

Unsubscribe to unwanted email newsletters

Email newsletters can be great if you actually read them. But, when your email starts filling up with newsletters that you delete without opening, it’s time to go ahead and unsubscribe. Usually the unsubscribe option can be found at the bottom of the newsletter – go ahead and click it. You’ll feel better the next time you log into your email account.

Delete apps you never use

That really great app you downloaded and only opened once? Yeah, get rid of it. Our phones and tablets only have so much space on them. Don’t use it all on apps that are collecting virtual spiderwebs.

Clean out your notes

Whether you use the notes app in your phone or something like Evernote, the beginning of the year is a great time to clear out those notes. Delete the ones that you don’t need anymore and take actions on the ones you do.

Do something with those precious photos

Do you have 1,000 pictures on your phone? Time to do something with them. Either transfer those pictures to your computer or print them for that scrapbook you keep meaning to work on. As for the pictures on your computer, now is also a good time to organize them into folders and/or print your favorites.

Organize your social media accounts

While you’re in the midst of the new year tech clutter cleanup, don’t forget about your social media accounts. Create interest lists on Facebook or even unfriend people if needed. Go through your Twitter account and follow or unfollow people. While you’re at it reorganize your Twitter lists, they are super helpful for managing Twitter. Also, clean up those boards on Pinterest along with the people/boards that you are following.

It will take some time to complete your new year tech clutter cleanup, but when it’s all said and done you’ll feel so much better. Your online world will be organized and you’ll be ready to conquer the new year, uncluttered and full of space.

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Forget making your list, and checking it twice. These 4 holiday gift-buying apps make your Christmas shopping and spending easy.

The Christmas List

The Christmas List

The Christmas List app lets you keep track of all your Christmas gift purchases, ideas and to-do lists. You can organize every person on your list into separate groups — family, friends, coworkers etc. You can even add photos to each person’s Christmas list to keep it fun and personal. Add gift items by browsing by store and categorize each product into “must have”, “definitely want” or “maybe”. It is easy to keep track of your gift spending by each group and stay under budget. You can email or share your list on Facebook. Your To Do list will give you information about how many gifts you purchased, wrapped, shipped and received.

The Christmas List app is available for $1.99 on iOS.

Cool Hunting Gift Guide

Cool Hunting Gift Guide

Find classic and unique gifts for each person on your Christmas list! Browse by product categories like handmade, jewelry, paper goods, green etc. Lots of unique gift finds for the tech-savvy and stylish people on your list. You can also browse and sort gifts by budget.  Cool Hunting Gift Guides also has some cool features like viewing videos from product creators and designers. This app is visually appealing, showcasing gifts in high-res images.

Cool Hunting Gift Guide app is available on iOS for free.

Santa's Bag

Santa’s Bag

The Santa’s Bag app is an all-in-one Christmas gift giving and spending app. It imports recipients from your contact list, allows you to plan gifts, create wish lists and shopping lists. Budget-wise you can set a gift giving budget and track financial progress. Create your budget for each recipient and see how much you have spent and how much you have left over. It has a countdown of how many days, hours, minutes and seconds until Christmas and has a Christmas gift giving dashboard. Its simple layout makes it easy to navigate.

Santa’s Bag app is available on iOS for free.

ShopSavvy

Shop Savvy

Shop Savvy assures that you get the best bang for your buck when shopping for Christmas gifts. Scan a bar code for a gift that you are interested in, and Shop Savvy compares prices of the gift from other stores. This app locates sale prices from top retailers like Target, Overstock, Urban Outfitters and more. You can even share the product information with friends and family to let them know what your Christmas gift of choice is, while saving them money. It also has a mapping feature that shows you how far that sale item is from you.

No more guessing what your friends and family want for Christmas! The gift recipients can add product items to their list and you can automatically receive notifications when they do. You can even create your own list so your friends and family know what to get you. It’s a win-win!

ShopSavvy app is available for free on for iOS and Andriod.

 

 

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Holiday keepsake gifts are special

Skip the espresso maker or scarf you were planning to give Grandma for Christmas and give her something dear to her heart — homemade art from the grandkids! You know that adorable handprint turkey your child made at school for Thanksgiving? The Keepy app allows you to simply snap a picture, record a video of your child describing the artwork and instantly share it as a keepsake gift with family and loved ones.

Drowning in kid art?

You want to keep every art project, but there just isn’t enough room on the refrigerator door. You can free up space by storing and organizing any proud parent moment — a straight A report card, a macaroni necklace or a painting — all in one place. It comes equipped with photo editing tools to tweak lighting, colors and cropping tools. Keepy makes it efficient to take, tag and store an image of your child’s artwork — clutter free.

appStore_0000_1  appStore_0001_2

Grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles are your kids biggest “fans”. Keepy has a great video component that really helps families feel connected in sharing in the moments. Kids (or Mom and Dad) can record a video describing the photo.  Even Grandma and Grandpa can leave video comments for the kids.

Seeing your child’s progress in a timeline is an amazing gift to be shared with loved ones. Keepy lets you organize, enhance, share, admire and save artwork forever. Kids homemade art is the kind of holiday gift that can mean the most.

The Keepy app is available on iTunes for free. There is an option to purchase additional or unlimited storage space.

 

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This year, while you’re planning your Thanksgiving feast, hitting the grocery store with your shopping list or spending the day in the kitchen cooking your meal, you can keep your little ones happy and busy with these fun Thanksgiving apps for kids. They just might learn a little about the meaning behind this holiday too!

Starfall Turkey

Starfall Turkey, thanksgiving apps for kids
When my daughter was in kindergarten and 1st grade she loved playing on the Starfall website. So, I was really excited to discover this fun Starfall app. Kids can learn to read while decorating the Silly Turkey. They can also create other farm animals and learn their names by solving puzzles. Starfall Turkey is available for $.99 on iTunes and Google Play.

Berenstain Bears Give Thanks

thanksgiving apps for kids, Berenstain Bears Give Thanks eBook
Do your kids love the Berenstain Bears? Then they will really enjoy this interactive ebook. The bear cubs act out the first Thanksgiving, complete with costumes, props and a full Thanksgiving feast. Kids can have the ebook narrated to them while the words are highlighted and words zoom up when pictures are touched. Your kids will love that you can even record yourself reading the story. The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks ebook is available for $3.99 on iTunes and Google Play.

Thanksgiving Jokes for Kids

Thanksgiving Jokes for Kids ebook, thanksgiving apps for kids
What kid doesn’t love silly jokes? This ebook is a perfect way to spend the season filling your house with laughter. Created by author and illustrator, Riley Weber, this app offers over 40 pages of interactive Thanksgiving jokes about goofy turkeys and silly pilgrims. The jokes are simple and clean, and narrated by kids. Thanksgiving Jokes for Kids ebook is available for $2.99 on iTunes.

What apps are you thankful for?

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When it comes to planning the perfect Thanksgiving meal, preparation is key. From knowing exactly what ingredients to buy, when to prep, and how to cook everything, it is a lot to tackle. These four Thanksgiving meal planning apps will help you host your Thanksgiving feast with ease so you can spend less time planning and cooking — and more time eating and enjoying time with family.

Thanksgiving Menu Maker

Thanksgiving Menu Maker

The Thanksgiving Menu Maker app is a complete meal planning guide. It has tons of recipes to choose from and automatically creates a shopping list once a recipe is chosen. The Prep Schedule feature gives you an outline of which dish to prepare the day before, what to prepare on Thanksgiving morning and then again four hours prior to the big meal. There are even helpful cooking tutorial videos and wine pairing tips. The Thanksgiving Menu Maker app is available on iTunes for free.

Thanksgiving Recipes HD

Thanksgiving Recipes HD

The Thanksgiving Recipes HD app is a step-by-step guide to your Thanksgiving dinner. This app provides great Thanksgiving meal tips like learning how to season a turkey properly. Watch video and tips from cooking experts like Kristina Vanni, award-winning chef and the face of BetterRecipes.com. There are a variety of recipes for all preferences. Create a traditional turkey dinner or a full vegan meal with homemade tofu turkey, gravy and stuffing. The Thanksgiving Recipes HD app is available on iTunes for $1.99.

Food on the Table

Food on the Table

The Food on the Table app will automatically create a custom Thanksgiving menu tailored to your preferences. Take a quick survey that includes your favorite ingredients, cooking styles and dietary requirements and your meal plan is sent directly to your phone. This app even informs you of items on sale from your local grocery store. This is a complete meal planning app that is great for everyday meals as well. The Food on the Table app can be set up weekly or monthly. It starts at $2.50 per week.

Time to Roast

Time to Roast

Turkey cooking time varies by weight, so make sure your cooking time is as accurate as possible with the Time to Roast app. Follow the step-by-step instructions so that Thanksgiving dinner is served for your guests perfectly and on time. This app isn’t just for roasting turkey — it also features roasting times for beef, lamb, chicken, pork, duck and goose. The Time to Roast app is available on iTunes for .99 cents.

What are your favorite meal prep apps?

 

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Witches and pumpkins and bats … OH MY! Can you believe that Halloween is already upon us? While you are busy decorating your house in cobwebs and skeletons, carving pumpkins and putting together costumes you can keep your children entertained with these fun kid-friendly Halloween apps for your smartphone and tablet.

First Words Halloween

halloween apps
Halloween words become a fun game for toddlers in the First Words Halloween app from Learning Touch. Kids will love learning to spell all their favorite spooky words like witch, treat and house! Fun Halloween sound effects accompany each of the 54 Halloween words. The app offers multiple playing options for kids at different learning levels. First Words Halloween app is available on iTunes for $1.99

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

halloween apps
Kids of any age will enjoy this interactive storybook.They have the option to read the story on their own or read along while it is narrated by Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown. Other features include making costumes for the Peanuts characters, going trick-or-treating with Charlie Brown and the gang, carving pumpkins, bobbing for apples and playing Schroeder’s piano. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown app is available on iTunes for $5.99 and Google Play for $4.99.

Carve-a-Pumpkin from Parents Magazine

Carve-a-Pumpkin from Parents Magazine
Other than the trick-or-treating, kids love carving pumpkins for Halloween. With this app they can choose from five different pumpkin styles — like going to a pumpkin patch. Then kids can get as creative as they want either “carving” a design of their own, or picking from a library of wacky eyes, noses and mouths.You can share their jack-o-lanterns on Facebook and Twitter, or send them as eCards to friends and family. Carve-a-Pumpkin from Parents Magazine app is available on iTunes for free.

Mickey’s Spooky Night Puzzle Book

Mickey’s Spooky Night Puzzle Book
This interactive storybook from Disney features Mickey Mouse hosting a Halloween party for Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. When they get to Mickey’s house they are spooked by strange noises and a creepy ghost! Kids can choose to have the story read to them, pages automatically turned or record themselves while reading it out loud. They will have fun with the interactive jigsaw puzzles throughout the story. Mickey’s Spooky Night Puzzle Book app is available on iTunes for $.99.

The Little Witch at School

The Little Witch at School
This story is the prequel to last year’s The Witch with No Name app In this story the witch was just a schoolgirl and we find out how she lost her name. Kids ages 4 to 10 can choose from having the book narrated to them or reading it on their own. They will have fun playing 6 different games including filling in a magic coloring canvas using numbers, finding the right letters for the magic words, going through an ogre’s stomach following a logical sequence, answering questions of the “genealomagic” tree, and they can even unlock a “surprise” game. The Little Witch at School app is available on iTunes for $3.99 and on Google Play for $3.49.

Bouncy Bill Halloween

Bouncy Bill Halloween
If your kids likes playing the game Doodle Jump then they will love Bouncy Bill. The adorable turtle is trapped in a dangerous Halloween land by the Evil Wizard, Zorik. Now he must navigate the magic platforms to get out. Kids just need to tap the screen to help Bill through 24 enchanted levels. Bouncy Bill Halloween app is available on Google Play for free.

Happy Halloween!

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Can you believe it is only 4 weeks until Halloween (which is quickly followed by multiple photo op holidays)?! Like most parents, because of the improved picture quality of smart phone cameras, my mobile has replaced my bulky DSLR camera. With a smart phone I can instantly share priceless moments of my kid on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Plus, there are so many easy photo editing apps with filters, frames, collages, and text that can turn my average photo in to a memorable one. The challenge is finding which photo editing apps are the best!

Here are 10 photo apps (in no particular order) which stand out from the rest:

1. Snapseed

Snapseed

This is my go to photo editing app! I can easily adjust my photos using the Auto Correct feature, or use the Tune Image feature. If my photo is slightly crooked there is a feature that allows me to adjust it. There is also fun filters like Drama, Vintage, Grunge, and Tilt-Shift. You can add Image Borders too. Snapseed is free on iTunes and Google Play.

2. InstaCollage

InstaCollage

Do you love to srap book? Now you can do it on your phone! This app lets you make collages, apply filters, add background patterns, frame photos, and overlay text. InstaCollage is free on Google Play.

3. PicFrame

PicFrame

This collage making app offers 36 fully adjustable frames up to 5 photos. You can adjust the borders shape, width and color. You can change the shape of your photos to a circle, heart, hexagon. There is also the ability to edit the photo effects. PicFrame is $.99 on iTunes and Google Play.

4. Camera+

Camera+

This app can replace your smart phone’s camera. It offers 5 different shooting modes including a voice operated shutter and a fisheye lens. It has 20 different photo filters and post processing features. Camera+ is $1.99 on iTunes and Google Plus.

5. Fotolr

Fotolr

This app is great for editing portraits! You can remove blemishes, whiten teeth, add blush and lipstick, and change the person’s hair. Fotolr is free on iTunes and Google Play.

6. InstaSize

InstaSize

If you love Instagram like I do then this is the app for you! It allows you to post your full size photos to Instagram without having to do any cropping. InstaSize is free on iTunes and Google Play.

7. Pixlr Express

Pixlrexpress

You can crop, re-size, and fix any picture with this app. And there are more than 600 effects, overlays, and borders. Pixlr Express is free on iTunes and Google Play.

8. Eventiles

Eventiles

Do you ever get really overwhelmed with how many photos you have in your gallery? This app organizes your photos into meaningful events, gives them titles, and discards duplicates. Eventiles is free on iTunes.

9. Vignette

Vignette

This app is a full-featured camera application with digital zoom, time-lapse, self-timer 70 customizable filters and 50 frames in any combination to create different photo effects. Vignette is free on Google Play.

10. A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess

With this app you can transform your photos with custom filters, fun fonts, and hand-drawn doodles into whimsical mini postcards. A Beautiful Mess is $.99 on iTunes.

What are your favorite photo apps?
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