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Techie Stuff

Carpooling? There’s an App for That

shared calendar carpool app

This post is on a shared calendar carpool app called the Cozi Family Organizer ~ a total and complete life saver for me this school year because 2 kids + 2 different schools + 4 different drop off and pick up times = a whole lot of chauffeuring.

So myself and two neighbors got smart and decided to organize an official carpool schedule of who could do what “leg” of the drop offs and pick ups for the week. What was simple in concept turned out to be not so simple to keep track of. One mom doesn’t have a car to fit everyone (there are four carpooling kiddos), so some days she takes three kids, some days two and the other mom takes one or two.  To make things more complicated, some girls go straight to gymnastics some days, the others home.

This is not even accounting for the days when you have last minute changes like, “grandma is actually going to pick up Emma today, she doesn’t need a ride home” sort of thing.

It gave me a headache and I wondered how we were going to keep it all straight? Then I thought, they MUST make shared calendar carpool apps, right?

I soon discovered carpooling apps definitely exist, but finding one that met our needs was a little more challenging.

First off, I needed an app where at least three moms could all share the same “live” calendar to stay up to date with the latest.

Secondly, I needed an app where I could enter more than one person’s name for any given leg, since some days there are two moms driving to drop off or pick up.

I finally found her, the best carpool app and my new best friend Cozi.

It is actually meant to be a shared family calendar, but the three of us use it like a little carpooling family.

Every person is color coded, you can see a description of what kids are riding in what leg and who is driving, you can view by the day or week. It’s awesome.

The app is FREE, but we ended up splitting the $29.99 yearly upgrade fee to get Cozi Gold. Having this app ad-free alone is worth $30/year along with the monthly view, but the most important feature of Cozi Gold is the “alert feature.

That means when I go into Cozi to take my daughter off of pick-up because grandma is getting her, I can click to “Alert” whomever I select and they will get an email notification of the change. Brilliant.

No emailing or texting changes, they are all made directly in the calendar!!!!  I LOVE IT.

So if you are a carpooling mom, cozy up to Cozi. You will heart it as much as I do.

Your Opinion Earns You Rewards at iPoll

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Paid online surveys

What if I told you there are paid online surveys that could start earning you rewards just by offering your honest opinion ~ sounds like music to your ears, right? 

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to iPoll, a genius tool that pays customers to communicate with corporations and market research firms in an easy and modern way.

By joining iPoll you get paid to voice your opinion to the retailers, restaurants and places that you frequent most often!
ipoll mobile 2

What is iPoll?

iPoll is an online and mobile community that rewards customers for their feedback on products and services that they use everyday.

How to Sign Up:

Sign up online for free here and follow the easy instructions on downloading the iPoll app. Yes, it is free to sign up for these paid online surveys.

Once you download iPoll to your phone you can immediately start earning rewards. 

You earn rewards by completing ”missions” (by the way, don’t let the word mission scare you, it might involve a trip to Target!)

All missions are based on information you supply at registration so each survey is tailored to fit your interests and experiences.

Taking the Surveys:

You can choose to take a survey online or one that requires you to visit a local store or restaurant.

The paid online surveys are kept brief, usually between 15 – 20 minutes and you’ll know up front the expected time each survey will take to complete.

It is important to note that your reward compensation will be based on the length and complexity of the survey. Some surveys may involve taking photos, videos etc., which will have a higher reward than those that are short and sweet and require less of your time.

The great thing is - you choose what you can participate in based on how much time you have to devote to the mission.

What can you earn?

iPoll offers a diverse reward program so you can get paid in a variety of ways.

Some that jumped out at me are Amazon gift codes, deposits to your Paypal account and if you’re feeling generous, iPoll can even donate your reward to a wide variety of global charity organizations - I love that!

So, now that you have the skinny on iPoll, go start earning those Amazon gift codes – happy earning! 

 [Disclosure: We're thrilled to announce that iPoll is a new Tiny Oranges sponsor and happy to spread the word about their $$ earning app!]

Video Monitors: You’ve Come a Long Way Baby

Today’s post is a Motorola video baby monitor review and I have one thing to say about video monitors, you’ve come a long way baby!

I bought my first baby monitor seven years ago with my firstborn. It was massive walkie talkie like device, with constant static.

Even though my girls aren’t babies anymore at ages four and seven, I still use a monitor with my little one because our bedroom is upstairs and we cannot hear her during the night without a monitor.

The last one I was using was not great, audio only, and again, a lot of constant static. The static drives me CRAY CRAY.

I have been known to sleep with a pillow over my head to escape.

So when a Motorola representative contacted me about doing a Motorola video baby monitor review I said, “absolutely!” as I was actually in the market to try a new one.

Even though at this stage I would not probably have opted to buy a video monitor, I can’t wait to share the features with you because it is AWESOME (I am singing the word “awesome”  just so you know.)

It is SO clear – I am happy to share zero to minimal static! Woo hoo!

Motorola Video Monitor Features I Love

~ Nice display: It has a nice 3.5 inch diagonal color display with great clarity that allows you to ZOOM for a closer view and has good night vision.

~ Parent unit rechargable battery: Rechargable battery allows you to use it plugged or unplugged.

~ Temperature: Baby’s room temperature displays on the screen. Great for checking to see if room is too hot or too cold.

Additional cameras can be paired to the parent device. We don’t use this feature, but if you have multiple children, this would be a super cool feature to monitor both in different rooms from the same monitor.

~ Plug in and go: Super easy set up and operation. I am not a “read the manual” type of girl, I like to plug something in and have it work fairly easily, which is the case with this monitor.

Handy travel case: My model came in a handy travel case for easy transport anywhere it needs to go.

Motorola MBP34T Video Baby Monitor

And my very, very, very favorite feature…

~ Two-way communication! With the push of a button, I can talk to my daughter in her room if I am upstairs getting ready without having to YELL down from the top of the stairs to say things like, “Put on your shoes!” It is like a walkie talkie in this sense, only she can just talk back to me from her room without having to do anything.

I give this product two huge thumbs ups for anyone looking to purchase a video baby monitor. I hope you have found my Motorola video baby monitor review helpful!

Disclosure: I was sent this monitor complimentary to facilitate a review. All opinions are 100% my own, genuine ones as always. Thank you Motorola!

 

Ideas for organizing and printing your digital photos

How many of you are like me and can’t stop taking pictures of your kids? I’m definitely guilty of being overly snap happy when it comes to my little ones. And, since there’s no end to the amount of iphone shots, instagram photos and “real” camera photos I can rack up, I’ve quickly fallen behind with actually printing any of the photos you see above.

This year, I’ve made it a priority to “spring clean” my digital photos and finally take my bazillion photos off my computer and put them onto something both beautiful and tangible that we can enjoy for years to come. And, I’m excited to share what I’ve found with all of you!

First, I wanted to quickly highlight my two favorite sources for tips on organizing your photos which you can read here at PC Magazine  and Clickin’ Mom.

For me, the biggest issue was going through years of photos and deleting ones that I wouldn’t want printed (or were duplicates) and then categorizing them in a way that makes it easy to find what I’m looking for quickly. I followed this simple format:

Pictures > Year > Month > Activity

I promise you that once you take the effort to organize your old photos, you’ll be so much more conscious of how you import and catalog your new ones, making next year’s spring cleaning much easier!

Printing your digital photos

Now here’s the fun part – finding great resources to print your photos!

I’m so excited to try Artificat Uprising. They have the most beautiful albums offered in both hard and soft cover and the layouts are not overly designed, which I like. I think I’m going to start with their instagram books using a few of the photos you see above.

Blurb is another fabulous resource for printing photo books, or any other books for that matter. How fun would it be to make your own cookbook of your family’s favorite dishes? I love the variety of options this site offers and will definitely be using them in the future.

Unique Photo Gifts

Lastly, I am in love with this idea from Pinhole Press of creating a personalized memory game using family photos.

You just choose 12 favorite photos (of friends, family, pets, vacations, whatever you’d like), and Pinhole puts them on thick cards with graphic backgrounds. This is definitely a game everyone would love to play at your next family get together!

Are you guys good about capturing and printing life’s little moments? I’d love to hear how you do it and what methods you use for staying digitally organized. I can definitely use the help!

Beacon Phoenix Bluetooth Portable Speaker [Review]

Let the dance party begin! Please allow me to introduce to you The Phoenix, a bluetooth portable speaker by Beacon, a rockin’ product every family will love. We use ours ALL of the time. Here is my review of this fabulous portable speaker.

When it arrived in the mail, initially I was surprised at its small size. You can even hold it in the palm of one hand.

But don’t judge a speaker by its size, because this small speaker puts out BIG sound.

Easily paired to both my iPhone and iPad via Bluetooth, you can play your Pandora or favorite playlists anywhere on its 8 hour battery life per charge.

I use it in the kitchen when I am cooking dinner and it immediately puts me in a better mood during the witching hour.

And when my girls decide to hold an impromptu dance party or pretend cheer camp, it is small enough for them to move from room to room (it has a 40 foot reach) and play their favorite kids’ dance party playlist.

Its size makes it perfect for traveling. You can take it on vacation, to the beach, to a birthday party in the park, you name it. Whenever you go, your music can go too.

Offered in five hot colors you and your kids will love. This would be a great Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift.

www.beaconaudio.com 

[Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary product to facilitate this review.
I love this product. It makes my family very happy!]