4 Fun Ways to Skype

If you have a computer or mobile device, you have probably heard of Skype. This free and easy software application has connected people with one another all over the world. In addition to making calls with other people, you can also instant message and share files. This is the perfect application to use for both personal as well as professional uses. In addition to making calls, texting and sharing those files, you can use Skype for a ton of fun uses. Here are just a few:

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Fun ways to use Skype

Meetings, Collaborations and Presentations:

Because you can add up to 25 people to a Skype call, you can have that conference call or presentation without leaving your house or hotel room. If you stay seated, you can even Skype in your pajamas. I’ve Skype’d in to Girl Scout leader meetings a few times when I  didn’t have a sitter. Take collaboration to another level. Share screens and create together. Send photos and files of any size and keep the ideas flowing.

I’ve spent time on Skype collaborating with one of my blogging BFF’s, Janel.  She’s marvelous. It’s been a great way to keep connected with one another!

skype chat

Learn a New Language:

Can you imagine learning a new language from someone who is a native of the country you would like to learn? With Skype, you can take classes or one on one training from anywhere in the world.

Long Distance Dating:

Do you have a significant other not living nearby? With Skype, you can say goodbye to those text messages and phone calls and have actual face to face time with your honey. With super low rates and no peak times you really can call home the moment you start to miss it…or your honey the moment you start to miss him/her.

Mystery Skype:

This mystery game invented by teachers is a way to get kids to have fun while learning. By using Skype, your classroom will connect with another classroom and by asking questions, you will try to figure out where the other classroom is located.

Learn to play an instrument:

Don’t have a convenient place nearby that will get you the instrumental instruction you are looking for?  Not able to drive?  Just don’t want to head out?  No worries.  This one’s very exciting in our house, because we are starting to look for Acoustic Guitar lessons for my husband and son to take together, via Skype.  It’s what works best for our family schedule right now.  But who would have thought you could take lessons from anyone, anywhere, in real time, and see one another?  Amazing!

If you want to take Skype on the road, you can download the free Skype Qik app.

You can have a lot of fun using this app because with the touch of one button, you can take and share videos with your friends. You can create groups from your contact list and send messages to them privately. With Qik Fliks you can pre-record up to 12 short videos and then share them at a later time.  You’ll also be “in” with the kids- lots of middle and high school aged kids are using Qik these days.  Who knew I’d be hip at this old age of 40? Get Qik from the Windows Phone Store, Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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I did a two week #SkypeChallenge last month.  While it had a great concept, it kind of bombed.  I think I jumped the gun.  I thought doing a sort-of Fitness Scavenger Hunt using Qik would help keep me motivated (it did) and maybe help motivate others (I don’t think people were ready to try the app yet). I still love the idea, and am still playing around with Qik!  It’s a really fun way to send a quick message to someone- I’ve sent my husband several quick videos of the kids at an event if he was at work or we were split up in different directions that day.  It’s a way to share things quickly and not a lot of download time. If anyone would like to do a Scavenger Hunt with me using Skype Qik (or Skype) please let me know! I can always use another motivator and way to be held accountable!!

 

How are YOU going to use Skype (or Qik) this week?

Thanks to Microsoft for teaching me the ins and outs of Skype and Skype Qik and to the kids who use Skype Qik in town who were shocked that I knew how to use it for inspiring this post.  The Skype webinar was part of my participation in the #MicrosoftBloggers program. Opinions are my own.

 

Disney’s Imagicademy

We recently learned about the Disney Imagicademy apps and got to have a fun party to learn all about them and find yet another way to fall in love with all things Disney.  The idea of the Imagicademy is to encourage kids ages 3-8 to learn by creating, doing and making- driven by technology- Mickey’s Magical Math World app was the main attraction at our little soiree, which was originally set to be a party at our house but thanks to a snowstorm, kids being sick and another snowstorm, plans changed and we ended up having a whole lot of fun (and learning) in my daughter’s Kindergarten classroom.  (Twice, actually, thanks to more weather…)

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I’d been given some money to use to buy food and drinks for our party but given the no-outside-food rule at our school, I was able to do some fun goodie bags for the kids to bring home. (I did sneak some Disney themed fruit snacks into the bags, but shhhh don’t tell anyone…the kids just brought them home).

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Mickey’s Magical Math World is truly a world of math… but, like the kids kept saying, it’s FUN MATH! We shared the video from the app with the kids to get our party started- if only there were photos of me toting our tv from our house through the halls of the school….

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The kids were so excited to watch TV at school, and were very helpful in making sure that we got things working smoothly to have the iPad also working. Once we got past the excitement of having all of these cool things in the classroom, we were able to talk about the app, play with it (we also did let the kids play with it in smaller groups) and then we did some fun activities…playing-imagicademy-math

About Mickey’s Magical Math World

  • In Mickey’s Magical Math World, children are invited to join Mickey and his pals on a fun-filled Space adventure that explores math concepts within a fully immersive playground of magical experiences.
  • Kids can explore, recognize and identify shapes with Mickey; Play with numbers and patterns within Minnie’s Robot Playground; Ponder early number concepts with Donald; Explore Counting to 10 and early problem solving with Daisy and experiment with shapes, patterns and sorting skills with Goofy.

Numbers, patterns, shapes, skills… all math concepts.  Toss in some favorite Disney pals, and all of the sudden, you have a fun, engaging app that’s drawing kids in and making them ask for a learning game! The Imagicademy idea gets kids introduced to and practicing concepts, but also encourages them to use those concepts in other places..and, paired with the Imagicademy Parents app, parents can get ideas and inspiration like I did to help their child’s knowledge grow.

Since the kids all knew who Mickey was and knew that he drives a cute buggy car, I’d found these adorable little pull-back racers for the goodie bags that we did a fun activity with.  Mrs. R. had a large number line that she let me use, and we had the kids guessing who’s car would go the furthest and how far their own would.

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My daughter, of course, had the one rogue car that flipped over.  Still lots of fun.  (The winning car went 9 feet!!)

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I’m super proud to say that several of the kids went home and informed their parents that they got to do FUN MATH and regular math at school, and that they did FUN math with Mrs. Martin!!

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After the cars, we decided to guess how many times the bouncy balls from the goody bags would bounce on the floor.  All but one of the kids thought that the taller someone was, the more bounces they would have.  It was pretty funny to see their teacher stand on a table (she’s tall anyway) and have the ball bounce the same number of times as all the kids! We had lots of fun estimating and guessing- and then figuring out that balls will bounce more on a table (harder surface) than the carpet.

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Disney isn’t just working to immerse kids in the world of mathematical concepts with the Imagicademy concept- Mickey’s Magical Arts World app will be available in the Apple App Store on February 12, 2015.  Magical Arts World is all about the arts! We did talk about this app coming up, and we did a fun multi-medium puppet craft while we talked about arts and being creative.

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We can’t WAIT for this app to come, because we love the arts and exploring with Mickey and pals in a new medium will surely be exciting and engaging. (Maybe digital glitter won’t stay in the house for the rest of eternity like regular glitter?)

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Magical Arts World isn’t just about arts and crafts- it’s an immersive experience in the arts as a whole.  Your aspiring little filmmaker can create her own animated movies! Compose melodies, design buildings and sets and costumes and more.

About Mickey’s Magical Arts World

  • In Mickey’s Magical Arts World, children are invited to join Mickey and his friends in the most imaginative place around, as they explore a fully immersive world of creative arts.
  • Children can create their own characters that can star in animated movies alongside beloved Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie, while they experiment with line, shapes and texture in Mickey’s Drawing Studio; Explore storytelling, improvisation, costume design, character development and role play with Donald; Consider concepts of rhythm, tempo, patterns and melodies with Mickey’s Musical Marching Band; Experiment with symmetry, balance and proportion as they design buildings with Minnie; and play with oodles of virtual arts and crafts with Goofy!

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About Disney Imagicademy Parents

  • Disney Imagicademy Parents is an all-new free app that serves as a parent’s ‘go-to’ resource to connect with the Imagicademy community and gather information that can be used to engage with their child in meaningful ways.
  • The app will give parents their daily dose of what is possible and answer the question, “What can I do today to help my child grow?’” through daily articles and Imagicademy-inspired activities designed to help spark creativity and encourage imaginative learning. Disney Imagicademy Parents also serves as a portal into children’s Mickey’s Magical Math World and Mickey’s Magical Arts World, where parents can see their child’s latest creations, provide encouragement with a virtual “high five” and share their accomplishments with family and friends.

 

All in all, we had a TON of fun at our multi-day party to explore the world of Imagicademy. We’re already planning to download Mickey’s Magical Arts World, and have (for the first time ever) made purchases in-app for Mickey’s Magical Math World. The kids thought the Math World was a lot of fun, and watching them go from a little tiny iPad Mini screen to a large TV screen with the app playing to pulling those same concepts and ideas into hands-on, non-digital learning fun was just so fun for ME to see. I know that Mrs. R. enjoyed it so much that she’s downloaded the Magical Math World onto her personal iPad and has plans to connect it to the smartboard in the class for further exploration with the kids.

We always like Disney games and content.  It’s family friendly, kids are immediately drawn to their familiar character friends, and with the whole Imagicademy idea, they will be engaging with technology while learning important skills, which means a more in depth experience for them. Now I just need another iPad because the kids are fighting over mine to see who can play first!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Four Tips to Make Reading Fun for Kids

If you were to ask a teacher, they will tell you one of the hardest things they see is kids who are not reading at their potential. I had a lengthy conversation with one of my kid’s elementary school teachers about this subject. He said it was heartbreaking to see kids coming into his classroom who struggled with reading. This was heartbreaking to me because I love to read and so do my kids. It took work to get my kids to be on that level and I had to use a few tricks to cultivate their passion for the written word. This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Reading Eggs.  Here are a few of my tips:
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  1. Read Aloud: Many people think this is harmful when teaching kids to read but it is actually a great stepping stone. Reading aloud helps your kid’s helps to build vocabulary and attention skills as well as comprehension.

 

  1. Take It With You: Keep a few books in your bag or the car. When you have time where you are waiting like the doctor or carpool lane, or at the beach or just sitting in the back yard, pull out a book. Take turns with the kids reading aloud.

 

  1. Connect Books To Real Life: Try and make your books come to life, which will take learning to another level. If you are going to an art museum to see Van Gogh or Picasso, check out a book on the artist from the library.

 

  1. Make It Fun: If something is boring, your kids are going to shy away from it. If you can find an app, website or software that helps make reading fun for kids, they will be more likely to pay attention. With Reading Eggs, a website for kids ages 3-13, you get 24 arcade games, songs, rewards and more to make reading interesting and lots of fun.

 

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Reading Eggs is a wonderful website filled with incentives, cute characters and plenty of fun to engage your kids. Reading Eggs is also compatible with your IOS or Android device so you can take the program on the road with you! Kids can learn at their own pace and Reading Eggs is structured for reads who are just beginning their journey, to older kids who want to continue their journey. The games are fun, the learning is individualized and kids get a real sense of achievement when they master a level and earn their rewards and golden eggs.

reading eggs progress 5 year old

At the heart of Reading Eggs are My Lessons which includes 12 lessons which takes your child through 12 maps. You child can repeat any lesson they want to really bring home their reading skills. With My House, kids can make an avatar, play arcade games and can even write their own stories. With their Golden Egg rewards, they can head over to Reggie’s shop and purchase decorations for their house. For older kids, you can access 96 graded spelling lessons and the Driving Test Centre tests your child on their sight words, phonics, and content area vocabulary. Reading Eggs even has an area where your child can challenge themselves with 32 word puzzles. If your child loves music, they will really enjoy the Music Café where they will have 63 Reading Egg songs at their disposal. There are so many more fun areas to explore, activities to play and rewards to be earned.

 

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Sign up for your FREE 4 week trial now and see how much your kids enjoy Reading Eggs! This 4 week offer is good through February 28, 2015.

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Reading Eggs. #ReadingEggs

Proof of Santa! #ProofofSanta #TwitterParty 12/9


I remember when I was little and my brother Brian started doubting Santa was real. I don’t know if you are aware of this but my mom was Christmas crazy and she took all things related to the holiday very seriously. That year, Santa had some sleigh issues up on our roof (of a 4 story Victorian house) and had to take a break to assess the situation. He even had a pipe on the roof. The proof of Santa was needed.  It was shown.

Now, I have an almost 9 1/2 year old and I can tell she’s starting to question things. I want a few more years of the innocence still, and yes, I will do what I can to keep it going. We have elves, and are having lots of fun with that this year, but I think we need a little bit of extra help.

That’s where the Santa Spy Cam app comes in. Santa Spy Cam an actual APP (and it’s a free download)  that allows parents to show their own kids proof of Elf and Santa visits in THIER home.  Grab it in iTunes and/or Google Play! 

It is indeed a FREE download, with a free “demo” to test drive the app. Then there’s a $3.99 charge to “unlock” all 37 scenes. Which works out to be less than $14 cents per scene, including the 6 Santa visits. In other words, Christmas magic for less than the price of a peppermint mocha latte :)

 

The folks at Santa Spy Cam have hired me to host a Twitter Party to spread the word about this super fun app. Opinions are my own.

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Want to know more? I did. Come join us on Tuesday, December 9 from 9-10 pm EST for a #proofofsanta Twitter party!  We’ll be chatting about the  “Ultimate “Proof of Santa” video app, Santa Spy Cam 2. The designers of the app will share how it works so we parents can get some proof!

Check out the adorable video the Santa Spy Cam folks make of my Twitter page. I love love love it. Elves on Twitter Avatars

 #proofofsanta #TwitterParty

**You MUST RSVP and be participating in the party to be eligible to win!

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Party Host/Moderator: @brettmartin, @santaspycam, @jetjimsSSC, @TheBravoBlonde, @teambond

 

Party Timing:

December 9th, 2014 9-10p EST

 

Hashtag:

#proofofsanta

 

Brand Twitter handle:

@santaspycam

 

Follow Santa Spy Cam on Facebook for fun ideas and tips!

Here’s a BIG hint to you: Download the app and play around with it before the party.  It might pay off… wink, wink.

 Grab it in iTunes and/or Google Play! 

Prizes:

Four (4) $25 gift cards to either iTunes or Google Play (depending on winner’s chosen platform)

Grand prize given at the end of the party

ONE (1) $100 gift card to either iTunes or Google Play (depending on winner’s chosen platform)

 

RSVP to be eligible to win!

Preserving digital memories

I am going to admit here and now I’m horrible about printing our photos.  Going back since our oldest was born? I could easily guess we have over 10,000 photos I have not printed.  I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t print all of them, but I’ve printed almost NONE of them.  It’s not deliberate- but as time’s gone on… it’s seemed more and more daunting and easier to just keep adding storage devices, adding more as they filled.  But really?  It would be fun to go look AT those photos and share those memories.  My goal in the near future is to start adding some photos from external hard drives to our Lyve device.  Then, we’re not just looking at recent photo memories of our family and friends, we’re also able to see memories from years ago.  Even some photos of loved ones who aren’t here with us anymore. It’s time to get our memories off of our phones and into our living rooms, you guys.  Those Facebook albums are great but I want to be able to access my memories whenever I want, without having to hop onto Facebook (because let’s face it, I’ll get stuck on there for a half hour or more…).

We use Lyve for preserving digital memories in our house- with the Lyve Home and with the Lyve app.  The Lyve Home device moves around our house frequently- I hadn’t realized how much my kids loved to see the photos over and over until I saw them bringing it with them from the kitchen to the living room so they could see photos while playing a game, etc.

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New phone means lots of new photos to add and update our Lyve!

The Lyve Home (retails $299, 2 TB storage) isn’t just a storage device for your photo memories.  It’s also an organizer and an ongoing digital slideshow.  Photos are organized by date, album, or who’s in the photos.  Automatically.  As in, you don’t have to organize the photos.  It’s done for you.  Procrastinators, unite! We have been rewarded for that procrastination! We love touching the screen to look around at different albums – the touchscreen is just one more way this device is so user friendly. Between the photos that I take and what my kids take with our devices, I would have thought that our Lyve would be filled up already. Happily, it isn’t.  (We have 99% storage available still!) It’s so much fun for the kids AND for us (parents) to have the Lyve around to look at and catch a glimpse of throughout the day.  You never know what photo will pop up when you walk by, so it’s usually a fun surprise.

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The Lyve is a FABULOUS gift idea for loved ones- even those who don’t have a computer like, for instance, my in laws- we can bring photos to their house and upload them and they can enjoy seeing them anytime they want.  For those who are “with computer” it’s a way to send and share photos of loved ones, even remotely.  I have many friends who live thousands of miles from family who share photos back and forth via texts, etc. Think of how happy it would make loved ones to have hundreds of memories accessible at the touch of a fingertip on the Lyve or in the Lyve app.

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There’s a newish (to me) Lyve app, as well, available now for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows.  Install the app on all the devices you use, and the photos and videos are collected and organized FOR you. As new content is added, it’s presented in a single library, organized by date (newest first) and viewable as one timeline. You can do the app with and without the Lyve hardware based devices. The app detects what kind of device you are on and photos show to fit the device.  That means when we go visit my husband’s great aunt, we can bring our iPad3 and she can enjoy looking at photos in a nice large format.  She adores looking at photos and hearing our stories that go with them, and now we can share even more of them with her. Having the app also means I can bring my large tablet to visit my dad (who has Alzheimer’s but also doesn’t see very well anymore) and I can share so many images and memories with him that are large enough for him to see.

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Visit MyLyve.com to learn more about this fantastic way to preserve digital memories and to order yours!

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 Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Lyve and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Best Photo Editing Apps

You don’t need a fancy DSLR camera to take great photos. You can create beautiful images with just your smartphone. How? By using photo editing apps! With these apps, you’ll be able to edit photos, add filters, add text, and much more. Here are a few apps that are available on both iOS and Android devices, and are all free.

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Snapseed. Snapseed was voted the Best Mobile Photo App in 2012. You are able to do a lot of photo editing within this one app alone. It does have a learning curve, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. You can edit images by adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, shadows and much more. Snapseed also has filters, similar to Instagram.

VSCO Cam. It’s similar to Snapseed in that there are various ways to edit your photos to give them that professional touch. The only downside is that you must take photos using the app, as opposed to being able to upload photos into the app (which you can do on Snapseed).

Aviary. Aviary has many editing tools, but also features filters, stickers, frames, and the ability to draw and add text to your photos. The app also has tools to fix redeye, remove blemishes and whiten teeth. If you’re looking for an app that can edit photos and add text, this is the app for you.

Instasize. Isn’t it annoying when you want to upload a photo to Instagram but it gets cropped due to the square size? Well, Instasize can help with that. You’re able to upload your photo and have the entire photo sized for social media. The photo will have white borders, but your original image won’t be cropped. Furthermore, you’re able to move around your image, or expand it, in order to change the border size around the picture. Here’s an example:

Phonto. Want to solely add text to your images? Phonto should be your go-to app. With Phonto, not only can you add text, but you can control various things about how the text appears. Besides just size and color, you can change the shadow, stroke, background color, spacing, tilt and opacity.
With the help of a few apps, you can create beautiful images in seconds. Some of these tools have a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it you’ll be able to quickly come up with the photo you want. If you’re not the most tech-savvy person, choose one app and simply start with that one. Good luck in your photography endeavors!

 

What are your fave photo editing apps?

Fun ways to spark conversation with your kids

How many of you have asked your kids a question and gotten a one word answer?

 

How many of you have carefully worded your question so that the response will clearly need more than a one word answer?

 

How many of you have kids who can still turn any question into a one word answer?

 

That happens here far more often than I care to admit.  It used to be that I could ask 2-3 questions and it would almost breeze into them sharing detail for a moment or two about their school day.  Like ” Who did you sit with at lunch today? What were you playing at recess?” and quickly I’d know a good amount of information about how at least part of their day played out.

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My kids are, however, smarter than I am and I have to really work to get them to talk (to me) at times.  Sure, they talk incessantly, but often it’s to one another (in talk or screaming, or both), but to mom and dad?  Not always.

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Well, I found an app to help with that.  An app from our friends at Scholastic that offers fun ways to spark conversation with your kids.

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What I like about this app is that it’s FUN stuff about things that kids and adults can be and often are curious about or want to know more about.  Little factoids, answers to those questions that pop up in the middle of nowhere that are relating to something mom and dad haven’t ever studied not for one single second of their lives. Stuff like that.

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Questions and facts to ward off boredom, to spark conversation, or further dialogue. Sadly for some of us (me), you won’t find answers like “Hair turns grey when kids don’t listen” and you may find many parenting myths dispelled.  I’m so sorry. 😉

 

Scholastic Parent & Child believes that one of the best ways to connect with your child is through conversation. The KidQ app for iPhone and Android facilitates conversation via fun Q&A’s about the things that kids (and parents!) are the most curious about, like Why is the sky blue? And Why do we say “ears” of corn? Each day, users are notified of a new playful question that serves as a conversation starter along with the official answer. Families will have a blast as they compare their explanations to the facts!

 

Download the free KidQ app from Scholastic Parent & Child by visiting http://www.scholastic.com/apps/#/kidq and see where your conversations go now!

 

What are your favorite ways to spark conversation with your kids?

 

I received compensation from Scholastic Parent & Child in return for your agreement to post on behalf of this program

 

Care4Today Mobile Health Manager

This is a sponsored post about the new Care4Today Mobile Health Manager.  Opinions are my own.

I take a medication that requires dosage three separate times per day.  To be honest, I’m not the best at remembering.  Or I wasn’t.  I have added reminders to my Google Calendar but it’s annoying and I feel like I’m advertising that HEY I HAVE TO TAKE MY MEDICINE whenever alerts go off.  Which is cool, I’m not ashamed of things, but it’s not exactly discreet.  That’s what intrigued me about the Care4Today Mobile Health Manger app.  I can manage my medicine scheduling discreetly.It sounded like a great option for me.

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But then I looked into the app more, and attended a webinar on it, and I realized that this app can be so much more than a way for ME to keep track of MY dosage and schedule.  For parents with children away at school or camp, they can help remind their kids to be taking their medicine.

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For those of us with loved ones who are older and needing medication more and more frequently, it’s a way we can stay up to date and know what medications our loved ones are on, when they need to take it, and when they may need a refill.  I know for us, with my dad living with Alzheimer’s Disease, he’s in a facility with a wing that is for folks with Alz.  But even with that, especially for my sister who has power of attorney, knowing what medications he’s taking and when he needs to take them, be seen for a new prescription, when some may expire, or when it’s time to change a dose- that’s all information that would make life a lot simpler for my sister and the rest of us- but can also save us time, expense and keep dad on his medications that he really needs to function as best he can at this stage of the disease. It’s hard to keep multiple family members up to date, and with an app like this, a few clicks and updated information can be sent to family, physicians and/or caregivers alike.

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For families where a child splits time between two households, it’s also a way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and has all of the medical information necessary for just in case.  It’s never a bad thing for both parents to have all of the medical information up to date.

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With the age of food allergies (and drugs, insects, etc.) has come a huge number of folks who need to carry an Epi-Pen at all times.  These are great but they all have expiration dates.  Being able to keep track in an app where you can set reminders for expiration dates  and requesting refill prescriptions can be a huge benefit to families who have Epi-Pens.  I’m not sure I know of any families who have an epi who don’t have at least 2 in their possession- it would be so easy to mix up an expiration date, and while it might be fine a few days past expiration dates, epis are used in an emergency situation which could so easily be life threatening– giving families one more way to manage their care and keep up to date with things is a great tool.  I can only imagine that if my child was away at summer camp or college and I realized their epi was expiring, the panic I’d feel. With an app like Care4Today, I could be alerted to the pending expiration and get in touch with the physician and my child or their caregiver to get a current Epi-Pen without having a lag.  Peace of mind.

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Approximately 50 percent of patients with chronic illnesses do not take their medications as prescribed, a serious problem that can cause delayed recovery, disease relapse and hospitalization. In today’s fast-paced world, people often overlook taking medications at the right time every day. There are many reasons people don’t take their medications, but the most commonly cited reason is they simply forget.

With Care4Today™ Mobile Health Manager 2.0, consumers can set up reminders for any kind of prescription or over-the-counter medication, nutritional supplement or any other activity. The platform uses secure, two-way messaging on mobile phones, and each reminder message prompts a response that is recorded in the user’s adherence report. Users can view reports summarizing adherence and share the information with their healthcare provider or caretaker.

With Care4Family, you can add photos for each of your loved ones.  You can add your own image of the medication so you – or your loved one- knows what it looks like.  If it isn’t already in the Care4Today database, it’s just a few quick steps to add your own image. This makes things really clear and easy to find if something happens and someone needs information quickly.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve needed medical information and realized it was at home- and I’m just me.  Being able to manage all of this- and even have my husband send me reminders to refill my meds BEFORE I get down to 1 pill left is going to hopefully keep me on track with my meds.

Who would you want to use this app with/for?

Tricky Stories: Magic Castle – kids game for iPad and iPhone

This is a sponsored review about the Tricky Stories: Magic Castle – kids game for iPad and iPhone.  Opinions are my own.   Tricky Stories: Magic Castle is a new kids game for iPad and iPhone releasing 8/29/13 (download on iTunes). At first glance, I kind of thought this app was almost a virtual sticker book- but upon exploring a bit, and watching the kids interact, I quickly realized it was much more.  This app is kind of like a felt board and puppet show blended together into an interactive game on your device.  There’s the scenery and buildings that are “set” in place, but your child can engage and move different components and characters around to their heart’s delight.  That scary, fire-breathing dragon may be on the verge of capturing the king’s castle, but wait! Along in the distance comes the stereotypical knight in shining armor to save the day.  Or, if your kids are like mine, maybe the princess throws a giant birthday cake at the dragon and ties balloons to the dragon so he floats away, never to be seen again.

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The monster is really happy because he tricked his friend the prince into chopping up firewood so he doesn’t have to do a lot of work.  The princess has flowers she wants to bring to her teacher who lives over the bridge and past all the flowers. The raccoon lost his special friend Bear last week at the park but the lady bug brought it back to him and he’s happy today.  (Description by my 4 year old)

My kids spend a lot of time doing dramatic play and imaginative play.  They’ll play with the Lego guys and the My Little Ponies who will all ride together to free a stuffed dog who’s been put in time out by the big mean mommy (um, that’s probably me).  This app isn’t going to take away any of that fun, but your child can have similar fun engaging and interacting with the people, places, animals and things that you find on the different pages of the Tricky Stories: Magic Castle app.

One really fun thing I like (and the kids adore) is that you can take polaroid-like snapshots of the scenes you create.  Which may mean your camera roll is looking similar to this, although I can almost promise you that your kids will likely stare at you when you say “oh! those look like polaroid pictures!” because they have no idea what a polaroid is.  These develop instantly, no need to shake them or wait for them to show up.

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In this photo, the kids were telling me that the fox is playing hide and seek but he’s not winning and he’s going to get really sad. The princess is planning to bring out a cake and make a surprise party so he doesn’t feel bad all day.  (Description by my 5 year old)

We had a double appointment at the pediatrician this week for both girls’ physicals.  That meant my son  was along for both visits, and stuck in an exam room with not much to do.  We read several books together, but he was bored and getting very antsy.  I set the iPad out on the exam table and within a moment, he and little sister were playing around and happily entertaining themselves while big sister was out getting her checkup stuff taken care of.

This app will be available for 1.99 starting August 29th (today).  It’s fun, it’s affordable, and definitely an app that kids can go back to over and over again without it being the same every time.

What are your favorite apps? Are you planning to download Magic Castle?  I want to know what your thoughts are!

 

Kids Fashion and Play combine with Hello Kitty and #KuKeeApp

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign about kids fashion with Pollinate Media Group™ and KuKee, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #KuKeeapp  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.

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One thing my girls both love and adore is Hello Kitty.  Anything and everything with the fabulous Hello Kitty gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from them (and, well, me).  We love it.  When I first heard that there was a fun app that had an interactive component that included Hello Kitty clothes for girls, I had to jump at the chance to check it out. I mean, it’s Hello Kitty.

So off we Martins went to Macy’s at our local mall, to discover the Hello Kitty line by Evy of CA…which is the product line you can scan with the KuKee app and make your own Hello Kitty magic happen.

Not just scan and play, but REALLY play.  Literally.  The adorable sweatshirt is awesome alone but when you but it, it comes with a superb little HK finger puppet.

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Using this app is really quite simple.

1. Download

2. Scan a KuKee marker

3. Take some photos

4. Check out the collection of items available

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Get ready to unlock the fun with KuKee – an outrageously, fun portal that activates unique augmented reality experiences.

KuKee is an awesome adventure of cool new content, fun user-experiences and zany attitude.

It’s simple – download the app (it’s free!), find the marker/label (the marker is ON the garments….), aim the scanner to activate, and the fun comes to life!

It’s KuKee time! Unlock the fun!

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The hair clip is from The Bowtique– many of you have asked about it today, it’s called the White Kitty Clip.

Other items in the collection have tattoo finger puppets- and yes just like you’d think, you apply the temporary HK finger puppet tattoos to her little fingers and she can put on shows to her heart’s content.  Take my advice- do NOT apply these just before going out side to play.  I’d recommend the tattoos on a rainy, inside or generally more quiet day- we were playing outside and taking photos for the post and within moments the tattoos rubbed off.  Lesson learned, and now we know- save the tattoos for a rainy day, so they don’t rub off.  Here are the tattoos before we went outside- aren’t they just ADORABLE?!

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and mere minutes later…

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Totally not anyone’s fault but my own.  Just learn from us. :)

There’s a lot of pink in the entire Evy by CA Hello Kitty line at Macy’s that you can check out- it was a very long and thorough process for my 4 year old to decide on the right pieces for her new outfit.  (Plus, we had a gift card to buy things, and I wasn’t going over…or at least, I meant to NOT go over…things happen…)  There’s also a lot of grey, and black.  There’s lots of pieces and styles to let your little HK fan look sweet and adorable like my little one, but there’s also trendier options for girls who don’t want to look, well, like a little girl. The skirt she chose was a MUST have.  (It’s also avail in a black with HK heads all over it, but she just loved the pink and wasn’t leaving without it)  I think it was the whole package with this skirt- it’s full, it’s twirly, it has HK all over it…and…its pink.

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I see other licenses on the Evy site and I can’t wait to see what comes next to check out with the KuKee app.  What a fun concept- and what a GREAT way to keep kids busy and entertained when they are shopping with mom or dad!!

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If When you download the KuKee app, the folks at Evy of CA would love to see pics of your little ones on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!