Thursday, June 30, 2011

top 25 must-have *FREE* iphone apps for parents

we scoured the globe (well, we did ask a LOT of friends) and came up with these fantastic and FREE iphone apps for parents. 

imdb--movie and tv database
solve the riddle of "what else what that guy in?" this amazing data base covers all movie and television actors.

link to your netflix account and watch movies and television from your instant queue as part of your membership. lovely. it is my new favorite way to entertain the kiddos when the doctor is running 30-45 minutes late. 


link to your account and be able to see what movies are at your local redbox machine. reserve from your phone. movies are only $1/night. so easy.

even if you don't have a kindle you can download this app onto your iphone and purchase books or download any of the free selections that amazon offers. 

around me
this app allows you to quickly find out what is around you. you can easily locate the nearest atm, coffee shop, gas station, hotel, etc. love using this for travel.

transform your ordinary cell phone photos into super cool works of art with the fantastic photography app. love it.

this app lets shoppers make better, healthier choices at the supermarket. When you scan a product, the software analyzes the information found in the nutrition panel and ingredient list, and comes up with a rating and a tidbit or two explaining the product. you get the good and the bad info on the product and the thing i love the most is that it also gives you a healthier alternative to the product. this app has really opened my eyes to how unhealthy some products are that i thought were good for me and my family.

price check
amazon has released this free app that allows you to do comparison shopping. you start by saying the name of your target product, scanning its barcode, typing its name, or snapping a photo. you'll get several results; tap one to see who's offering it with prices and shipping costs listed. of course, amazon hopes it has the lowest price, but it doesn't always win. another free app along these lines that you might want to try is "red laser". both are great.

tag reader
you know those crazy black and white square shaped codes that are now popping up everywhere on signs, etc? (see above tag reader logo) this is the app that will allow you to scan them and get the information you need! get it.

free streaming music tailored to your taste in artists or music style preference. heaven.

what's on tv
a tv guide for your phone. find out what is showing, when and on what station.


rei snow and ski report
not great timing with summer being in full force now.....but download it and keep it handy for the winter. you will be thanking me.


classic camping cookbook and meal planner
it's summer and that means it is time to camp! this free app is a great source to plan your camping meals......there great ideas for both the chef and non-chef.

whole foods market recipes
such a fun app. great recipes and shopping lists. makes a trip to whole foods so easy---and fun too!


the daily beast
my favorite daily news source at the moment.

in-n-out locator
the californian in me *craves* in-n-out and when we head back we use this to find the first in-n-out we can get to as we cross state lines. if you have never experienced this place, make a point of it the next time you are anywhere near (california, texas, arizona, utah or nevada). 

this app identifies pet friendly parks, hotels, etc. near you.  i think it comes in especially handy when you are traveling in a new place with your pooch. 


drug reference for drugs that cross the mammary barrier---what a wonderful app for nursing mothers.

starbucks mobile
my husband likes to call starbuck "four-bucks" because every time i go i can't spend under $4. ugh! but who can resist?! i wish that they had a punch card so that my addiction would be at least worth a free coffee every once in a while. i finally found the solution (thanks to an equally addicted friend)--the starbucks mobile app! you earn a free coffee every 15 visits if you pay with a gift card registered to your app. if you don't have a gift card, buy yourself one and just keep re-filling it! it's about time you get something *free* from starbucks. you pay for your java via your phone with unique barcode linked to your gift card on file. amazing.

hanging with friends
for those of you already addicted to "words with friends", this is for you! a fun hangman-type of game that you can play with your friends. p.s.--if you haven't heard of words with friends yet, that is a great free app too. :-) 


fluent news reader
this app aggregates made-for-mobile versions of top news sources into a single, intelligently organized, fully customizable mobile newspaper. i just learned about it and it is quickly becoming one of my favorite apps.


dragon dictation
this is an easy-to-use voice recognition application that allows you to easily speak and instantly see your text or email messages. they claim that it’s up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard.....i am not sure about that, but is *is* pretty cool.

this app gives you speed trap alerts tailored to your exact gps location. who wouldn't love this?!

trip tracker
this app gives you real-time status for flights, real-time itinerary push alerts, live weather reports, route maps, hotel information and car rental information----it really makes your travel a breeze.

hulu plus
we got rid of our cable television (more on that in a coming post) and we are now addicted to hulu plus. s tream thousands of episodes from hundreds of current and classic TV shows to your iphone with a hulu plus subscription. (only $7.99 a month). 

**what are YOUR favorite free apps for parents? we would love to know!**

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

my brief fling with a robot

while wondering the aisles in costco i came across the roomba and it had me at the words: robot vacuum. 

a robot that vacuums?! 

sign me up! 

it sounds amazing, right? 

i quickly shelled out the $200+ for my new robot maid (much to my husbands dismay) and brought it home to live with happily ever after. 

you know the saying "when it seems too good to be true, it probably is"? i wanted the roomba to work. i really did.....but it just didn't. i ended up going over the carpet with my regular vacuum shortly after the robot had done its job and it was *insane* the amount of dirt and crumbs it picked up that the roomba missed. 

although my relationship with the robot started out hot and heavy and it seemed like a match made in heaven......we had to break up. (boo! hiss!) back to costco the roomba went (thank goodness for their fabulous return policy). according to the gal working returns at costco they get multiple roomba returns daily, so i guess that i am not the only one. 

has anyone else had batter luck with the roomba?

**note: we were not sent a free roomba and were not paid or given any compensation to give this review. **

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

getting ready for baby: diaper bag must haves for older babies

if you haven't read the blog on what to pack for a newborn diaper bag, you may want to go back and read it. in this new segment we're doing on "getting ready for baby," let me just emphasize, we're not experts, just moms with a lot of kids. this is what has worked for us. it's always great to talk to those who have gone through things before you but some things you'll have to discover for yourself.

that being said, here's what you will probably need in a diaper bag for an older baby/toddler:

diaper changing needs:

diapers - now that your baby is older, you may find that some of the cheaper diapers work just as well as the more expensive. i've used just about every brand. my personal favorites are huggies simply because the elastic at the back of the diaper tends to keep poopies contained. other than that, i'm pretty impartial. just make sure you have them on hand and if your baby's poopies are escaping the diaper, try a different brand or jump a size up in the diapers. that usually solves most leaking.

wipes - bigger babies = bigger poopies. pack a big pack of wipes. you can never have too many of these and they also work wonders for cleaning messy hands and faces.

disposable diaper bags - just like for you newborns, you are not always in a place where a garbage can is convenient. if you are in some places, like your pediatrician's office, they may specifically ask you to take all poopy diapers outside. no building wants a poopy sitting in their trash can. so, these bags enable you to put all stinkies into a bag and hold onto them without passing out until you can get to an outdoor garbage can. trust me, it's important.

changing pad - it doesn't matter how big your child is, public bathrooms are never as clean as you would like. it's always better to have somewhere to place your baby that comes from your home and is as clean as you can make it.

disposable changing pads - again, this is a luxury but it's nice to throw away all things involving a poopy diaper.
potty training needs:

toilet seat covers - these aren't a necessity but they are very handy. public toilets are not something you want to sit your toddler onto and sometimes you don't have time to cover their seat with toilet paper if seat covers aren't available.

antibacterial spray - this is a great thing to carry around for a multitude of reasons. in bathrooms, you can quickly clean a toilet seat with antibacterial cleaner and a papertowel. just carry a well-labeled travel sized bottle and you can make any surface clean. this also works for restaurant tables if your kids insist on eating directly from the table.

post-its - i know, you're probably scratching your head with this one but one of my friends was the one that brought me this great idea. many bathrooms have the automatic flushing toilets. these can freak little kids out, especially if they are learning to potty train. a quick solution to this is to cover up the sensor with a post it. the sensor can't tell that a little one has come and gone. once you take the post-it away, the toilet should flush. works like a charm.

eating needs:

if you are still nursing or bottle feeding, you'll still need all the basics from the newborn essentials diaper bag. as your baby grow, you'll need to bring along some extra gear to help with eating out and about.

bibsters: disposable bibs. need i say more? really, who wants to carry home a cloth bib full of baby food and then have to wash it to try to get the stains out. if you can avoid it, help yourself out and carry these around.

disposable place mats: if you ever happen to eat at chick-fil-a, that place is spectacular in their care for children and they actually provide these for free. if you're not getting your chicken on, you'll want to have these with you. as hard as you may try, your baby will end up eating off the table. have you seen how the staff at most restaurants "cleans" the tables between customers. i'm not sure where their white, wet towels have been and how many tables they have cleaned but i'm guessing tables in most restaurants aren't as cleanly as you might like for your baby. these adhesive mats are perfect for baby to eat from and they can be left in the trash on the way out. genius.

snacks and/or food: there are a ton of baby snacks out there. take some along on trips you take. when all else fails to entertain your baby, food will usually work. don't forget a spoon or some type of utensil if you're feeding your child baby food. snack cups that prevent spills are also handy on longer outings and can keep your baby happy and busy for extended periods of time. it's also important to remember a sippy cup for older children. as much as they might want to drink from cups with straws like everyone else, it takes them a while to master the "hold the cup down" principle. sippy cups are best if you want to avoid a really wet baby.

miscellaneous needs:

medicine - if you have a baby that is teething, bringing along some oragel is always a smart decision. anything that can calm a crying baby is a handy item to carry.

hand sanitizer - don't leave home without it. when your walking child manages to find a piece of gum off the ground while you're getting the shopping cart ready, you'll be happy you have it.

kleenex - snotty noses come out of no where. it's always better to be safe than sorry.

pacifier - if you're a pacifier user, have a few on hand. target has become my land of lost pacifiers as my baby always ended up tossing his somewhere amid the aisles. having an extra on hand can help in just about every circumstance.

did we forget anything? if we did, please let us know. we mommies have to stick together and any tips we can share will only help those around us. if you have a great idea, help us pass it on.