Browsing Tag:

technology

In Lifestyle, Parenting on
March 5, 2018

Top Parenting Apps

As a bonafide app nerd I love all the different apps out there from photography and video trip planning and ordering pizza. I love me a good app. That being said, there are a LOT of apps out there for parents, so I’ve compiled my top parenting apps as well as some of the other Alberta Mama’s favourite apps that will help your life and not sit on your screen unused taking up precious storage space.

Apps for Pregnancy

The Bump

Device: Apple and Android.
Cost: Free
About:  From the people that helped you plan your wedding at TheKnot.com is The Bump.  The best part about this app, is seeing how big your baby is every week, and the development at every stage. Don’t we all want to know what that little avocado is doing this week? What kind of cool stuff are they growing this week?  There’s a community forum and contraction calculator, but really, I’m here for what the baby is up to.

 

Apps for Babies

My Smart Hands

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free & paid.
About: I first learned about My Smart Hands a few years ago when everyone was on Twitter (before Twitter became a place for trolls and Donald Trump) as the founder, Laura Berg was a regular on the Twitter and I’ve seen her speak at an event in Edmonton. There are several apps depending on whether you’re a newbie or an advanced

 

 

The Wonder Weeks

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: $3.99
About: It’s not a free app, but it’s cheaper than a Starbucks drink! The Wonder Weeks app does what The Bump does, but for babies. Track your babies development and be prepared for when your baby is about to make a developmental leap!

 

 

 

Apps for Saving Money

FLIPP

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About: It’s the flyers… but on your phone. No more cutting out coupons, no more flyers in the recycling!

StoCard

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About: Take back your wallet! Add all of your rewards cards into this app so you no longer need a giant wallet to hold them all.  There’s also an option to view flyers in the app in your neighbourhood!

Food Apps

 

Yummly

Device:
Cost: Free
About:  Yummly is a community-based app where you can share recipes and there are LOTS of recipes! You can search by popular or trending recipes, kid-friendly or seasonal recipes or for certain diets. My favourite part of the app is searching in the ingredients. For example, you’ve got chicken breasts and a can of tomatoes (always so many cans of tomatoes) and it will bring up recipes that have those ingredients in them! Boom, dinner is sorted.

 

 

Skip the Dishes

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About:  Skip the Dishes is a food delivery app, simply chose the restaurant from the app, order your food and boom, now you have dinner. The best part about this app is ordering breakfast from your bed on a Sunday, I thought I deserved some kind of award for that idea and still do.

 

Olio

Device: Apple and Android.
Cost: Free
About: Remember in the “olden days” when people used to go to their neighbours for a cup of sugar? Me neither, but my mother said it happened. Well, Olio is that thing that my mum said happened but in the tech age.  Olio connects neighbours by food sharing! Grown too many zucchinis’s in your garden? Pop them on Olio. Bought yet another can of tomatoes at the grocery store (I always do this), pop it on Olio and share your food with your neighbours.

 

Family Organization Apps

 

Cozi

Device: Apple and Android.
Cost: Free but has in-app purchases for an ad-free experience, or for premium services like a birthday tracker, importing contact and more notifications.
About: Cozi is the “all in one” family organizer with everything from a calendar, grocery lists, to do lists, recipes and a family journal.
Why we like it: Different colours for family members, the recipe feature and the lists! Lists means no more sticky notes all over the house! The kids can see the calendar from their devices so they know in advance when their dad is traveling for work or that it’s Tuesday and they have soccer.

 

Google Calendar

Device: Apple and Android
Cost: Free
About: There is nothing fancy about the Google calendar, especially when you compare it to Cozi, but its simplicity is its genius. Like Cozi, you can add multiple calendars, but what I like is that you can sync your work calendar as well. While I like that my kids can see what’s happening in the upcoming week, they don’t need to see that I have a work meeting at 1pm on a Wednesday, so I can keep that separate from their eyes.

 

In Health, Parenting on
January 4, 2018

Bringing Mindfulness to your Digital World

Mindfulness. The word itself brings a calming sense of comfort. But what does it really mean? According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. In every day terminology, you can think of it as noticing what you are noticing without judgement.

We talk a lot about being mindful when we refer to a healthy diet or exercise routine. Mindfulness is a key concept in yoga and meditation. A core component of parenting is being mindful about which battles we choose to engage in with our kids, and which ones we let go.

With teens and their parents spending an average of 9 hours a day in front of a screen, perhaps it’s time to adopt a mindful attitude towards our digital life.

Studies show that social media can lead to feelings of depression and isolation. Too much screen time can lead to anxiety, anger and can negatively impact the quality of our sleep. With the ability to perform all our day-to-day necessities online, it’s no wonder we are reaching, swiping and tapping our phone over 2000 times a day.

I’m not saying not to use your phone nor am I telling you not to utilize the amazing technology we have available to us. But I do believe that how we act online, the words we choose and the way we interact with technology directly affects our happiness and success offline.  

When you see an Instagram notification pop up on your screen, do you immediately check it? When your phone pings from the other room indicating a message, do you drop what your doing and make a dash? Are you secretly checking Facebook while hiding in the pantry so your kids don’t see you? Do you feel guilty for letting your kids watch another Netflix episode while you catch up with your Newsfeed?

Here are some easy things to start doing today that will put you in control of your technology instead of the other way around.

  • Turn off notifications. Social media notifications are designed to keep you checking their app. The more you check, the more time you are investing in watching the amazing things happening in our world instead of doing them.
  • Charge your phone in the kitchen overnight. This will instantly improve the quality of your sleep. Plus, that urge to check your messages before bed or first thing in the morning will subside… I promise!
  • Limit your time on social media. Instead of randomly checking social media 10 times a day, limit yourself to twice a day. Then replace that urge to take a peek with something more productive. Read a few pages of a book, flip through a cookbook and try a new recipe or go through the photos on your phone and delete the ones you don’t need.
  • Intentionally leave your phone at home. Many parents have a hard time with this one because of the need to be available to their kids. But if your spouse has their phone (the other emergency number) or if your kids are with you, it is possible to take some time sans tech. Try just 20 minutes and then work your way up. Go for a dog walk, build a snowman, or make a trip to the grocery store. Your phone will be there when you get back.
  • Don’t take pictures. I know the possibility of missing that perfect Kodak moment is a lot to risk. However, more often than not, we are watching our kids’ lives through a screen. Take a mental picture instead. Enjoy the moment. Your kid will remember seeing your smiling face, they won’t remember the back of your phone.

You are the most important person in your child’s world and you are their greatest teacher and role model. Start being mindful with your technology and your kids will naturally follow. Engage. Be present. Be mindful.

Alisa is a former Criminal Intelligence Analyst and has worked in law enforcement for the last 15 years. She is passionate about keeping kids safe and kind online and ensuring they thrive in our digital world. When Alisa isn’t online, you might spot her in the YEG river valley with her dogs, husband, and daughter or escaping the city for a weekend of camping.  You can follow Alisa on her blog The Lotus Pageas well as on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
In Lifestyle, Parenting on
October 3, 2017

Technology is just a Tool

By Alisa Taylor

Wayne Gretzky scored 50 goals in 39 games using a wooden stick. He was the best hockey player because of his skills, not because of the equipment he used. In order to achieve greatness, we need to hone our skills and commit to the goal. The tools we use to succeed facilitate that journey, but do not guarantee achievement.

If I want to become a faster runner, my new shoes and cute running shorts may motivate me to get outside, but will not get my legs moving faster. I need to put those shoes to the pavement and make some tracks. And I cannot just run once nor can I run 3 times a day everyday. Neither situation will get me the results I desire.

The same can be said for technology. If a child is given a device, their intelligence level does not suddenly increase. Downloading Minecraft or Tynker won’t turn them into architectural or coding geniuses, but perhaps it will get their attention and peak their curiosity.

Devices are tools and when used appropriately, act as a gateway into a world of creativity. They can open a door into endless learning possibilities and ignite that passion for exploring further. But, those tools, the devices, must be managed by parents. Children are not capable of navigating and managing technology on their own and rely upon their parents for guidance. It is no longer an option for parents to hand over the iPad and turn their heads the other way. By doing so, the child is unknowingly up against some dangerous vulnerabilities.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends consistent time limits placed on media for kids aged 6 and older. In addition, ensuring media is not replacing adequate sleep, physical activity and other healthy behaviours. So, if a child is spending endless hours on their iPad, is that the fault of the iPad? The iPad is the tool. It must be managed appropriately. Establishing time limits, ensuring age appropriate content and demonstrating good technology habits are parents’ responsibilities.

When managed appropriately, technology can spark an interest in creating and learning new content and ideas. Kids are comfortable with technology and so may appear to be capable of managing it themselves. However, if parents are providing the technology, they must also provide guidance and support. Empower your kids to access that world of creativity and watch the excitement as they conquer something new.

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” – Bill Gates

Alisa is a former Criminal Intelligence Analyst and has worked in law enforcement for the last 15 years. She is passionate about keeping kids safe and kind online and ensuring they thrive in our digital world. When Alisa isn’t online, you might spot her in the YEG river valley with her dogs, husband, and daughter or escaping the city for a weekend of camping.  You can follow Alisa on her blog The Lotus Pageas well as on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
In Camping, Explore on
July 10, 2017

Camping Passport: The App You Need!

As most of you know, if you have been reading this blog for a while, I am the resident camping fanatic. As an Alberta Parks Ambassador, I spend a lot of my summer travelling throughout Alberta and visiting campgrounds with my family. When I learned about a new app that was just released this month for campers by a fellow mama from Alberta, I was pumped and had to download it right away!

What is Camping Passport?

A new app for campers is called Camping Passport!

Camping Passport is like a virtual notebook that I have in my pocket all the time. The app lets you create entries of all of your camping trips. You can start by entering the coordinates of the campsite to mark the spot on a map that will collect all the pins of where you have been. From there, you enter the basics like the dates you stayed and the number of the site you stayed in. Next, you can review the campground and make notes about all of the things you want to remember for next time like which sites have power or are closest to the playground. Then, you can choose a stamp for your “passport” and begin your memory collection of summer fun!

A new app for campers is called Camping Passport!

There is also a section where you can create lists for packing or things to remember that you need to do, like a repair on some gear that broke while you were in the middle of nowhere on your last trip. My favourite thing is that you can check it off the list when the item is complete. In addition to this there is a notes section.

A new app for campers is called Camping Passport!

What we love about Camping Passport:

Let’s face it- for better or for worse- I have my phone with me at all times. It’s my alarm clock, my camera, my stereo, basically my everything in one device. A notebook for me to scribble down that my trailer is out of toilet paper, ummmm nope. I love that I have everything camping related in one place. When I am aimlessly walking around Canadian Tire trying to remember what I need for our next trip I can just take a peek at my app.

Another truth bomb, my memory is awful! We have spent many times trying to remember what campsite we were at when X, Y or Z happened. Or what lake we were at when we saw the amazing Pelicans. Or even, what campground had the really good interpretive programs for kids. With Camping Passport I can easily enter all of these details under the correct date and site and I’ve got everything I need for future planning. You can even add photos and maps!

What number was this site again?

Like most families who enjoy camping, you likely have a few trips planned over the summer. For us it’s 7! To keep everything straight I have already set up my future trips in the app so that I can keep everything organized, including who we are camping with on each adventure.

Our camping trips for the summer are all loaded into the app!

 

One of the things that also makes Camping Passport enjoyable is the ability to involve your kids. You can let them choose the badge once the trip is over and they could also type in or dictate their favourite things about the campground. There is even pictures when you are adding the amenities of each place, and most kids would have fun with that too.

To check out all that Camping Passport has to offer, visit their website here. Or you can download it directly here from the App Store or Google Play.

Happy Camping!

Every Day Girl

*This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions stated are my own.

By /
In Lifestyle, Parenting on
May 8, 2017

How technology can get your kids outside

By  Alisa Taylor

Albertans are celebrating the end of a long winter’s nap and relishing this much deserved warm weather. The chirping birds and sprouting buds may be enough for parents to get outside and into nature but the same can’t always be said for our kids. Prying their hands from their beloved devices to enjoy a walk in the river valley or help plant the garden can be like taking away a Mom’s first cup of coffee in the morning. Not likely going to happen.

It is well documented that nature reduces levels of stress and anxiety and improves mood and creativity. One study linked spending time in a forest setting to an increased expression of anti-cancer proteins which lasted 7 days post forest walk. Fortunately, technology can assist us once again in providing our kids their daily dose of sunshine. Utilizing an app or becoming creative with what motivates your child can get them out counting lady bugs or ripping up the trails.

Here are some tech-inspired ideas to reinvigorate your child’s love for the great outdoors:

  1. Geocaching – there is no shortage of geocaches hidden all over our province ranging from easy, kid-friendly caches to challenging, complex, where-am-I-going caches. The excitement in the search and finding the treasure is sure to draw out the most reluctant You Tuber.
  2. Photography – the number of picture enhancing apps and fun photo filters available can inspire the youngest of photographers. Encourage your child to appreciate and capture on screen the smallest creatures in nature or notice the beauty in a single water droplet left hanging on a leaf.
  3.  Scavenger Hunts – suitable for older kids who can be on their own, parents can set up a scavenger hunt around the neighbourhood or on the trails. Perhaps the last clue will lead to the home wi-fi or iTunes password that was just changed.
  4. Go-Pro – creating content via video and sharing that content is immensely popular with kids. Attaching a go-pro or similar device to their bike helmet or scooter can bring out their adventurous and creative sides. Plus, the excitement in watching and editing their self-made videos may spark further outdoor creativity.
  5. Bird watching – the river valley is a haven for our feathered friends. Did you know the great horned owl is Alberta’s provincial bird and they are right here in our YEG river valley? Download a bird watching app like Peterson Bird Identifier & Field Guide and see how many chirpers your kids can identify.

“When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength” – Maria Montessori

Alisa is a former Criminal Intelligence Analyst and has worked in law enforcement for the last 15 years. She is passionate about keeping kids safe and kind online and ensuring they thrive in our digital world. When Alisa isn’t online, you might spot her in the YEG river valley with her dogs, husband, and daughter or escaping the city for a weekend of camping.  You can follow Alisa on her blog The Lotus Page as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram