Millennium Mom

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Best apps for busy moms

Tomorrow I have my monthly segment on Fox here in Cincy, this months topic is the best apps for busy moms. Below are my "cheat sheet" notes that I prepped for the segment, I hope this helps all my facebook mom friends out there. Enjoy

Smart Phones can truly help a busy mom be more efficient and productive. We are now blessed to have access to the internet in our pocket or purse, so no longer are you tied to your home or the local free WiFi coffee house to get some tasks completed online. Given there are thousands of apps out there to choose from, to make the task easier on our viewers I did some internet research to find the most helpful apps for busy moms. There are lists by bloggers, Parents magazine, Time magazine and others. Below is a compilation of their recommendations.

Organization Apps Dinner Spinner
Price: Free
Let’s face it: being the one who figures out what’s for dinner every night can get a little challenging., one of the best user-generated recipe sites on the web, offers quick and creative answers to the age old question, “What’s for dinner?!” To begin, users simply select the type of meal they’re looking for, a main ingredient and time frame for completion. The app then quickly pulls up a listing of recipe suggestions that fit the criteria. Each recipe is complete with reviews, tips and tricks to help get you out of that Hamburger Helper supper rut.

Put Things Off
Price: $2.99
Note-taking apps help keep moms organized by offering a one-stop shop to enter and organize notes. Banish all those post-it notes and take your reminders to the iPhone. After creating a new note, users are prompted to assign a “due date,” which the app will file the note under. When users choose to view today’s notes they will be able to see all of the reminders that have been entered for a particular day. Keep track of soccer practice, dry cleaning and PTA meetings without toting around a calendar!

Grocery IQ
Price: Free
Cut time and money out of your weekly shopping trips by going to the grocery store armed for battle! Grocery IQ allows users to create lists, sorted by category, and check off items as they move through each section of the store. Nifty features include the ability to scan the barcode of an item in your cupboard and have it automatically added to the list. Is the cracker box empty? Scan it in. Found a new favorite juice? Scan! Recent updates to the app also allow users to search for coupons related to their list and print them before leaving the house. Cha-ching!

The Weather Channel
Price: Free
When the evening news doesn’t quite make it into your schedule, this handy app from the Weather Channel will help you keep your finger on the weather forecast. By simply entering your location, the app will generate a current weather report, as well as options to view hour-by-hour, or extended forecasts. The few seconds it takes to check the weather with this app will be sure to help you and your little ones pick out the right fashion for the climate. It even has a radar map, so when you are trying to figure out if the kids will have soccer or baseball that night, you can see what weather his heading your way.

Shopping Apps

Red Laser

This app lets you either scan a product UPC code and it will list the price of the item at various stores, both traditional retail locations and online. It will also list out where the product is available and give you the closest locations to your present location using GPS technology. This ensures you get the best price for that item on your shopping list. It can also check for ingredients and allergies from the label information if you scan the UPC.

Amazon and EBay – if you are a big online shopper, these apps allow you to track your bids and do all of your searching on your phone, versus having to sit at your computer. Your phone is also more discrete then your computer, so when you need a gift for your spouse or children, these apps really save the day.

Parenting Apps

Price: $1.99
When a newborn comes into your life, there’s sure to be plenty of details that seem just too much to keep track of. BabyTracker makes keeping notes of your baby’s potty, sleep and eating habits a breeze. When it’s time for feeding or diaper changes, simply select that option from the home screen of the app and record the event. This is a great tool for sleepy new moms who want to make sure their baby is getting enough to eat and track sleeping patterns!

WebMD App

Web MD Mobile is a medical app for any mother who’s ever worried about her child’s mysterious symptoms. When I’m trying to decide if I need to call up the pediatrician, I consult the Web MD app “Symptom Checker.” It walks you through a series of questions about symptoms to determine if everything is going to be fine or if you need to get help. Besides the symptom checker, you can use the app to perform a search of Web MD website’s content, including a section on Drugs and Treatment, which gives you information on different drugs and vitamins such as usage, warnings and side effects as well as a pill identifier. Finally the app contains a First Aid section with information and visual guides for emergency procedures like CPR. Web MD Mobile is a great free medical resource.

I Reward Chart

We are a family that uses charts; we have charts to track chores, charts to track laundry day, charts to track whatever behaviors we are currently working on. The iReward Chart app is one that can help me move away from using these sticker charts as my home decor. This app lets you set up accounts for your children and assign them different tasks. Tasks are grouped into the categories of behavior, chores, responsibility and other. You can choose from a variety of tasks that the developers have included in the app, or you can add in your own. Selected tasks show up next to empty stars, one for each day of the week. As your child finishes tasks, they can tap the stars and watch them add up. iRewardChart also contains a list of rewards that your child can earn with their stars. You can assign a star amount to the different rewards so your child will know how many they have to earn for each. iReward is a terrific app for motivating children and helping them keep track of their progress.

Sit Or Squat:

When a parent hears “I really gotta go!” finding the nearest bathroom has to happen fast. Using your current location it gives you the nearest options, stats on cleanliness, changing tables and handicap-accessible facilities—mark your favorite toilets for quick returns.

If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, Parents magazine has a great top list that includes

- Ovulation calendar app

- Baby calendar app

- Contraction apps

- Prenatal smart which tells you which foods are safe and not safe while you are pregnant

Dieting Apps

Lose It!

If you are trying to lose a few pounds this is the App for you. It keeps track of your daily calorie intake and records how much you burn through exercise. It has an extensive database of foods, including some popular restaurant dishes. Just be sure to record what you eat and what exercise you do. It keeps a record of your progress via calorie and goal (weight) charts.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

I hope each and every one of you who celebrates Easter had a wonderful one. Easter has always been a bit of an odd holiday for me throughout life. From the age of 9 we were always in Florida for Easter. So while we went to mass, as we would wherever we were, we never really had traditions associated with Easter. We didn't get baskets, or color eggs or anything like that. It was really about the religious aspect. As a young adult during business school and then single in Cincinnati, because my parents would be in Florida, I would not travel to see family for Easter, as I would on Christmas. And then I married a Jewish man, so of course it is not a big holiday for him.

What this means is the "tradition" part does not come easy to me. You all know I am a planner, but this is one holiday where I always go...I should get the kids something. I always do an egg hunt, usually inside (have I told it April set a record for rain in Cincy, and we are do to get five more days straight...everything is flooded and we have had 5 baseball and 2 soccer games cancelled and none played so far). So today they ran around two floors searching for about 50 eggs filled with candy or money. Sarah is definitely my good hunter, Ben my speedster, and Claire the master negotiator (well you found two so why don't you give me one...and it worked). With some smooth and fast hand work while going through their findings, everyone ended up with at least one egg that had a dollar in it.

I did put together little baskets (and I mean little) with a chocolate bunny, chocolate peep, Pez dispenser and a Video. As Sarah said "wow how did the Easter Bunny know we wanted these videos that we saw at Target." Gotta love it. So we slept in, had a fun hunt and went to the Noon mass vs. our normal 10AM. Everyone got dressed up and off we went (not dad of course). The best part was they were all angels, we are finally at the age that they all really behave and often don't need entertaining...all those years of pulling my hair out may be gone.

Dinner was easy to prepare as we had a dinner party last night and I had extra potatoes (baked and sweat), asparagus and egg noodles, so I only had to cook the ham. We had way too much food, which I guess made it a holiday, lots of leftovers. So a Happy Easter was had and again the religious component was front and center as it should be, and my kids did not go without a basket...phew on that one.

Next Sunday Ben makes his first Communion, so the grandparents (both sets) are coming in. I am really hoping and praying the rain goes away. First because I am sick of it. Second because I think my vegetable garden may be getting flooded. And Finally because my dad will be here to help me mulch :)

All the best and Happy Easter (and Passover).