Catching Up, October Style

Catch-up

The problem with working in social media is that sometimes I cannot or will not take my own advice. I teach people to create and use editorial calendars, and how to spread themselves across social media channels without spreading too thin; and then I go and forget my poor, sweet, blog for weeks on end 🙂

All is well here in North Dakota. I am in a busy fundraising season for work, which keeps things fun and interesting. I am branching out in my teaching/coaching/speaking, which is an exciting thing for me. Read here about how you can catch me live and in person if you are local.

I’ve had a lot of fun keeping up with some of the newer trends and platforms in social media. Have you heard of Periscope yet? Periscope is a live video platform that is a Twitter spinoff. It is a lot of fun, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know some fellow bloggers better. I jumped into Periscope with both feet this past week after joining a #PeriscopeWithPurpose Challenge on Blog Clarity. Mel does a great job of introducing the platform and providing useful prompts for a month of “scoping”. Now, if only I can remember to do my Periscope broadcast when I still have my work clothes and make-up on, it would be even better. . . or maybe I’m just keeping it real. Feel free to follow me on Periscope. Feel free to follow me on Periscope, and while you are watching my scopes, be sure to tap for hearts so I know that you are there!

I’m participating in another wardrobe challenge with Get Your Pretty On. One of the trickiest parts of re-entering the workforce for me was wardrobe. When I was a stay at home mom I had church clothes and home clothes. My home clothes were either jeans or yoga pants and a collection of Target t shirts. When I started my job I bought some grey slacks and some black slacks and a few cardigans that I would wear with my collection of Target t shirts. I never felt very put together. And, as a “bigger girl” this made me just feel frumpy. These style challenges have given me a chance to try a few trends as well as learned some classic styling ideas. I’m learning to make a few basic pieces work overtime. Over time I am developing seasonal capsule wardrobes. And I no longer feel like I have the “What Not to Wear” camera crew following me to work anymore.

I slipped and fell down my basement stairs on Sunday afternoon. Through some miracle (really!) I came out of it bruised and sore, but with all of my bones intact. I have a very good relationship with my LaZboy recliner, and have spent my after work time in it with my feet up, which has helped a lot. I think having to get up and get moving and still take care of my family has probably helped as well. Move it or lose it as I like to say. I probably need to wear athletic shoes around the house though. Seriously. I’m a “faller”, I need all of the traction I can get.

So, that is what I have been up to, in a nutshell. Stop by the Facebook page today and leave your prayer requests (today and every Wednesday). We have a great community of women praying for each other!

Let me know what you have been up to in the comments!

 

 

LeapPad Platinum Review

LeapPad Platinum review

 

Disclosure: LeapFrog sent me a LeapPad Platinum and the PAW Patrol Imagicard game in order to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I was not required to post a positive review.

LeapPad Platinum Review

We have been enjoying LeapFrog products for a long time, my oldest is 19 and learned to count and learn ABCs with a LeapFrog Learning bus.

Our younger children are really enjoying this latest offering from LeapFrog. The LeapPad Platinum tablet is a kid-friendly tablet that allows for fun, educational game play as well as safe web-surfing.

The seven inch touch screen displays crisp graphics, and as an impatient mom, I totally appreciate the increased processor speed. The battery life is long, between 5 and 7 hours depending on activity, and can be charged with USB or AC adapter. No batteries needed! Win!

All of our older LeapPad cartridges work in this LeapPad, and we can also share downloaded content purchased for our older devices as well. I have twin daughters, so I appreciate that I can download a game once and both girls can have the game on their own devices. This is a great savings for us (plus, let’s face it, those cartridges get lost.) There are over 1,000 games and apps available, and if you watch sales on Leapfrog.com you can get some great deals!

This is a kid tough and kid friendly tablet and my girls love the lease of use. I admit to even having fun playing some of the games–you never quite outgrow the joy of leveling up.

My girls love the dual cameras and the video recorder and have fun playing the the included Photo Fun Utility.

One of my favorite new features is the enhanced parental controls. There is now an option to set a time limit for playing and then the device shuts down for a preset amount of time. This is a great way to help limit screen time.

The LeapPad Platinum includes 8GB of memory and 10 apps (music player plus 10 songs, Pet Pad Party, Pet Chat, Photo fun Ultra, five Utility Apps, and a choice of App download).

This is the perfect, age appropriate tablet for the 9 and under set. My twin five year-olds give it two thumbs up!

PAW Patrol Imagicard Game Review

This game has been the biggest hit with my five year-old twin daughters.

The package includes a collectable tin, the Imagicards (and they are sturdy–much thicker than a standard playing card) a fold out play mat to sort the cards onto, and a downloadable game. And this is the key for a family with multiples: the game is downloadable so can be played, at the same time, by more than one child. When a new game comes into the house, this is a HUGE bonus!

This game arrived in the mail while my girls were off visiting grandparents, so I had a chance to play-test it myself, and I’m not ashamed to say that I really enjoyed playing the game. It is engaging and goal driven.

This is the perfect game to get my girls warmed up for Kindergarten. It covers numbers 1-20, basic shapes, patterns, sorting, and some basic arithmetic. My girls may be twins, but they are not the same, and the game adjusts seamlessly for their skill level.

On a rainy day it kept them both occupied, entertained, and quarrel free for hours! They don’t watch a lot of TV, but were somewhat familiar with the Paw Patrol characters. However, the game plays fine if you have no knowledge of the show. The storyline in the game is self contained.

I think it is clever how the cards work within the game; when a card is “scanned”, or photographed, the characters leap onto the screen. The game can also be played without the cards, as there is a digital card gallery included. I find it interesting that one of my girls likes to physically flip through the cards, while my other prefers the digital gallery.

This game is prefect for children from 3-5 years.

Buy It:

LeapPad Platinum on Amazon.com and LeapFrog.com

PAW Patrol Imagicard game on Amazon.com and LeapFrog.com

 

Computers Need Spring Cleaning Too!

Computer Spring Cleaning

Computer Spring Cleaning

Spring really is coming. . .soon, even if the weather does not seem to support it.

We like to spruce up and organize our homes when spring arrives, but have you done any spring cleaning with your computer yet?

I’m coming up on a two year work anniversary. With my job I inherited a computer with a ton of files. . .and a filing system that was not my own. In two years, my computer desktop and download folder have become a jumbled mess.

Thankfully, I have come across this great calendar from Singlehop that will help me (and you!) get my computer in order. The tasks are spread out over the course of three weeks, so I won’t get too bogged down. I’m most excited to know that I can get this mess of folders organized so that I can find what I need with the click of the mouse.

SingleHop_Calendar

How many of you store documents and photos on your desktop so that you can find them easily. . .only to have such a jumbled space that you never can find that document that you want? How many of you actually go through your download folder and actually file the things that you download–or delete them when not needed anymore? I thought so, guilty, right?

What is most important is that you find a filing system that works for you. Since I plan events that repeat year after year, it makes sense for me to create a folder for each event and then a folder for each year of the event. It also makes sense for me to archive some of the event documents that are more than five years old. . .right?

And photos. . . it really is OK to delete the blurry photos and the accidental foot photos. And, while you are digging through those photo files, why not tag them so that you can easily find the photo you need without needing to scroll through hundreds of Christmas tree photos (been there, done that)

Once you get everything in order, make sure you have a great back up system in place–either an external hard drive or a cloud based storage system.

I’d love to hear how your computer clean up goes and if you choose to join me on this challenge!

You can download a handy PDF of the calendar here: SingleHop_Calendar.

Review: HP Instant Ink

HP Instant Ink I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.

You’ve been there, sitting on the couch relaxing after a long day, when all of a sudden your child reminds you that they are “Star Student of the Week” next week. They have to prepare a poster with listings of some of their favorite things and several photos . . . of their siblings, their pets, your vacation last summer. They want you to print the pictures NOW. The only problem is, your printer is out of ink. Again. And it is 7 PM on a Sunday night.

You hesitantly pull on some decent clothes, and mutter under your breath about parents having to do homework. . .and you drive to a 24 hour big box store, and shell out $35 for more printer ink.

What if I told you that this never has to happen again?

This fall, HP rolled out their Instant Ink program, and it will change the way you purchase original HP ink for your printer, and save you up to 50% on ink costs per year!

HP invited me to try out the program, and so far, I’ve been very happy. I feel like I no longer have to be stingy with ink (especially the precious color ink!) and I never have to worry about running out of ink!

Why Should I Use HP Instant Ink?

  • I receive Original HP Ink at up to a 50% savings (I love savings!)
  • New HP Original Ink arrives, in my mailbox before my printer runs out of ink. (genius!)
  • Ink, shipping and cartridge recycling are all included in my low month price (starting at $2.99 a month)
  • Plans are based on pages printed, not the amount of ink used.  The same, flat rate applies to black and white copies, color copies or photo prints!
  • There is no annual fee and I can cancel or change plans at any time.
  • Unused pages roll over and I can use them in future months.

What Kind of Printer Do I Need for HP Instant Ink?

Currently the Instant Ink plan works with HP Envy 4500 series, HP Envy 5530 series and HP Office Jet 4630 series printers.

HP Instant InkHow do I Get Started With HP Instant Ink?

  1. Purchase an Instant Ink compatible printer. (Note:your printer will require a wireless internet connection.)
  2. Choose an enrollment kit. (kits are currently available at BestBuy at Hp Home and Office stores and online at http://hp.com/go/instantink.)
  3. Start Saving! Register online following the instructions in your kit and start printing! (Note: you will need a valid Visa or Mastercard or debit card in order to enroll. Your monthly service fee will be charged to this.)

Bottom Line: Do I Like HP Instant Ink?

Absolutely! The whole system is a win/win for me! I can print school projects, coloring pages and recipes to my heart’s content. . . and I can even print photos if I ever want to get them off of my computer (and I want to, I really do!) The print quality is excellent. HP sent me an HP Envy 5530 all-in-one printer to try out the Instant Ink Program. I love it! The print quality is very nice and at a $99 price point it is an accessible printer for most everyone.

I used to joke that replacement ink was more expensive than the printer itself, but now with HP Instant Ink I’m going to have to change my tune. I am on the $4.99 100 pages a month plan and it has worked beautifully for us!

Find out more: Check out the FAQ here.

Disclosure: HP provided me with an HP Envy 5530 Printer, an enrollment kit and 1 year of Instant Ink service in order to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and as always, my opinions are 100% my own. I only recommend products or services that I would feel comfortable recommending to my best friends!

 

Have a Zubie New Year!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zubie for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’m feeling all gadgety lately.

One of the hottest new tech products of 2014 is Zubie. Zubie is a mobile service that will allow me to monitor and improve my driving behavior (am I the only one who rides the brakes through town?). The Zubie will also monitor my car’s condition and can help translate engine codes (do I need to take my van in today? Or next week).

Zubie is a service – not an Accessory – that uses a cellular connection to keep you, your car and it’s on-board systems always in communication.

Zubie always-connected service works with our free Zubie app for iOS 4+ and Android 2.3+.

I’m notorious for forgetting to get the oil changed as much as I should. Maybe if the Zubie Mobile service reminds me along with the oil light in my van, I’ll get it done on time!

There is a lot of responsibility with car ownership, and our vehicles are a HUGE investment. As a vehicle owner, I want to take care of my cars faithfully, so they last us a long time!

This is also a great service for families with new drivers. There is a secure location sharing feature, so you can know that your teen is where he said he would be. This app also monitors speeding, sudden acceleration and hard braking.

Just for fun, you can earn driving scores and badges to share with family and friends (I hope there is a driving the speed limit badge! I will totally win that!)

Zubie can help you achieve your New Years Resolutions of Safe Driving and Saving money!

Have a Zubie New Year! Order today with code SAVE20JAN and save 20% on one year of Zubie always-connected car service and a free Zubie Key. A great way to use your Best Buy and Amazon holiday gift cards! Offer good through February 28, 2013. Shipping charges may apply.

use code SAVE20DEC and SAVE 20%

Want to learn more? Check out the Zubie website, like Zubie  on Facebook , and follow Zubie on Twitter.

 

 

Visit Sponsor's Site