Tag Archives: app recommendation

Friday Favourites 17

I know that many of you are eager for updates on our adoption process. I wish I could give some definitive answers, but right now all I can say is that it’s looking good! These things do not move quickly, not even when I attempt to use the power of my mind to leap forward in time. But we are cautiously optimistic.

And so we imagine and dream and make plans… just like any other expectant family.

Quote

We see with the eyes, but we see with the brain as well. And seeing with the brain is often called imagination.

– Oliver Sacks

Blog

Enjoying the Small Things has been recommended to me more times than any other blog. And it lives up to the hype. Kelle Hampton writes about the small moments of daily life and all that she is learning about love and life through it. She is heartfelt, genuine and ridiculously likeable. But the real treasure here, are the amazingly beautiful pictures of her family (she is a talented professional photographer). I may be biased, but I especially love the ones of her youngest Nella, because she reminds me so much of my little B. It’s not really fair how kids with Down Syndrome are so much cuter than all the rest…

I dare you to read  Nella’s birth story and not cry. A short version of the story is here, in the trailer for Kelle’s new book Bloom, which I can’t wait to read!

App

Last month L got herself an iPod Touch. After much debate (To iPod or Not to iPod: That is the Question) we decided to let her have her heart’s desire. She worked her butt off (Child Labour and Other Parenting Dilemmas) and saved up all her pennies. BUT she opted for a 3G, which means no camera and no photos, which was kind of disappointing.

Bump has been a lifesaver! When two devices have it, they can pass pictures or contact information by simply selecting and then “bumping” together. Not only is it easy, it’s kind of fun! And now each of us can have all the photos we want on our own phone/pod/pad. Everyone’s happy.

Book

My first “official” book review (posted here yesterday), but it bears repeating. You Are A Writer (So Start ACTING Like One) is both the shot in the arm and the kick in the pants I need. It is a toolbox of ideas geared specifically towards writers, but anyone with an artistic calling could benefit.

Jeff Goins premise is simple: “Believe you already are what you want to be. And then start acting like it.” I can’t think of an area in my life where this isn’t good advice – as a writer, in my faith, as a parent, or as a human being.

Video

This week my children have repeatedly watched Ode to the Brain! by Symphony of Science (cough*nerds*cough). It’s bizarrely catchy, educational and just a scooch gross… what’s not to like? A great place to start conversations about how our bodies were put together and how they work. The human brain is probably the most amazing piece of creation there is! Yet it remains mysterious; there is so much we don’t understand about it.

In the meantime, we will set it some of what we do know to autotune and be amazed that a wrinkly piece of flesh can produce a poem, a brilliant idea… or a weird YouTube music video.

So here’s me, seeing not just with my eyes, but with my brain as well.


Friday Favourites 16

It has been a long and exhausting week. Finals are behind me. Glen is home from his business trip. My keys are safely in my purse. And I am ready for my imminent crash.

Why is it that I go into overdrive when I’m playing single mom? I always get WAY more done than normal when I’m on my own. It’s one of life’s great mysteries.

Here is a quote I needed during what we are now referring to as: The Incident

Quote

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.

An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.

— G. K. Chesterton

Video

I saw this one awhile ago and enjoyed it more than ever when I watched it again this week. I think it’s because I’ve given several versions of “the talk” this year. No matter how cool I am, or how much of a sexpert I have become… it’s awkward. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the immutable rules of the universe – children and parents discussing sex is inevitably uncomfortable.

Julie Sweeney’s “Sex Ed” Monologue: Hilarious (and p.s. – not kid friendly)!

For some reason, there is a little animated film at the end of her talk; it’s kind of a cute.

Book

Before sitting down to finish this blog, I began gathering my supplies for that most sacred of all times to a parent. The grand finish line on the week: the moment when ALL my children are in bed and I am no longer needed, in demand, or wearing pants. No, this is not ANOTHER post about nudism, I’m a HUGE, HUGE fan of pajamas.

While choosing a book to read, I realized that I had no interest in a)learning anything, b)feeling any sort of angst or c)being motivated or inspired in any way. I know what you’re thinking, reality t.v. it is. BUT I did find something on the bottom of my bookshelf that fits the bill. Chicken Poop for the Soul by David Fisher. It was intended to be a gag gift from my sister, but I’ve enjoyed it immensely. The subtitle is: Stories to Harden the Heart and Dampen the Spirit. If anyone has ever hinted that you may have a dark and sarcastic sense of humour, this book’s for you!

App

This week we got an app called About Me! which allows you to enter your name and birthday so you can find out all sorts of interesting facts: name meaning, number of days you have been alive, famous people who share a birthday, historical events that happen on your birthday… Don’t tell the kids, but the ensuing discussions about Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation, Gene Kelly and Nazi Germany, are actually EDUCATIONAL. We were having so much fun figuring out all sorts of obscure facts about ourselves, that they didn’t even notice the teaching/learning/broadening horizons that was happening. And the cherry on top, as always, is the fact that this app is free.

WARNING: be careful not to get the about.me app, which is completely different; a social networking app where you can send out all sorts of personal information (and a picture) of yourself and find out the information of anyone who is nearby. Basically, my every worst nightmare as far as my children are concerned, wrapped up in a single app.

So here’s me, my name means “anointed follower of Christ”, I was born on a Thursday and, according to average life expectancy, I have lived 46.5% of my life. I’m not sure if that makes me feel young, or old. Almost half over…


Friday Favourites 15

It’s been getting pretty schmaltzy up in here lately. In a good way, definitely. We’ve got all sorts of deep and wonderful and, frankly, emotionally exhausting life changes on the menu (My Little Possibility).

So, I’m even happier than usual to take a break from the profound to offer a bunch of random stuff I think is cool.

I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to figure out this quote, but it was worth it!

Quote

Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day.

Give a fish a man, and he’ll eat for weeks!

– Takayuki Ikkaku

Music Video

This cover of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know by Walk Off the Earth is AMAZING!

5 people on one guitar, at the same time. I really love the guy on the end. He’s definitely taking his job seriously.

Walk Off the Earth

Blog

There’s something about Amalah… the sarcasm, the self-deprecation, the mommy jokes, or maybe the general snarkiness, that just tickles my funny bone (usually with the liberal use of profanity, so be warned). I’ve eagerly read posts about breast-feeding and newborn supply lists, though I am not now, nor ever will be again in that phase of life – because if she writes it, I enjoy it. I initially found her because she is also parenting a child with special needs and her posts on these topics are funny AND touching. Read The Friendship Jungle, really, go read it, right now.

Book

In a turn for the more serious, I’ve been reading Living the Questions: Making Sense of the Mess and Mystery of Life by Carolyn Arends this week. Mostly because they didn’t have the book I was REALLY looking for at the library and I have always considered her an excellent songwriter/poet. I’m so glad they didn’t have that other book; this has been a wonderful discovery. She discusses what she refers to as this “preposterous optimism I’ve come to recognize as faith” through stories of her life which sound so very familiar to me. Everything she writes has a poetry to it.

I know she lives nearby… I’m considering tracking her down so I can force friendship bracelets and commitments of lifelong friendship out of her. Or possibly to stare at her in a creepy, starstruck manner. Which do you think she’d prefer? Cause I want her to LIKE me.

App

I’m going to round out this post with a good-for-you app.

If you consider yourself a modern-day abolitionist, as in, someone who is opposed to slavery, forced and child labour (and really, what kind of evil douche isn’t?), then this app from the Not For Sale Campaign is for you.

Free2Work rates major companies and brands on their labour practices throughout the supply chain. Each company is given a letter grade, then an explanation based on certain criteria (like a report card of sorts). It is a work in progress; apparently, you will one day be able to scan a bar code in and get information on that company.

Consumers have POWER. We can use that to do good and still get what we want/need. With minimal hassle, I can open this app and see what brands are more responsible and then reward them with my business. For instance, next time I’m buying a birthday present I will choose Lego (with a B) over Zhu Zhu Pets (who have a dismal F). Not a big deal for me, but if we were all to do it, it would send a very clear message.

So here’s me, not exactly a William Wilberforce, or a conductor on the underground railway, but abolitionist in my heart.

My daughter disagrees. Apparently $5 for an evening of babysitting is not a “living wage”. BTW thanks ever so much for teaching her that term Uncle Ben.


Friday Favourites 12: On Vacation

Today is that last day I will be posting for a couple weeks. No, I haven’t given up on my slightly weird and time-consuming hobby. But, I will be terribly, terribly busy. Doing nothing. On the beach. In Hawaii. With my kids.

Except for the last part, it sounds pretty relaxing. Whether it is or not, it will be a fun spring break! So, here’s a few random favourites to tide you over…

Quote

A vacation frequently means that the family goes away for a rest, accompanied by a mother who sees that the others get it. Marcelene Cox

Poem in honour of the teachers

The teachers in our school district went on strike this week. I am no longer a home-school mom so this is decidedly INCONVENIENT.

I must admit that I haven’t given a lot of time or effort towards understanding the issues and figuring out where I stand. My redneck Alberta upbringing whispers that unions are just another kind of bully and I recall our own frustrations with policies which favour seniority over merit. BUT I have felt the cuts in government funding, especially for my special needs daughter. AND I think teachers do an incredibly difficult and important job and are worth their weight in gold (except for the really skinny ones who are worth more).

So my official position on on the teacher’s strike may be expressed in one of my most common mom lectures: “I want you two to work it out. Sit down right now and use your words. I don’t need to hear about it, just find a way to make it right.”

Amen!

Vacation Inspired App

Since we are heading out on vacation, my app of the week is in honour of our favourite vacation destination. The sad part is, this was true long before we had kids…

We’re pretty cliche when it comes to amusement parks, especially Disneyland. We love it – hook, line and overpriced, Mickey-shaped sinker! My parents gave Glen the nickname “Disney Nazi” on one trip to LA., because he is not willing to waste a single “magical” moment.

We’ve been a number of times (don’t hate us because we have family who live in LA), but have no plans to go again right now. With so many great memories of Disney, there is a lot of sadness and whining that we won’t be visiting it anytime soon. The kids are a bit disappointed too.

This is why the newest Disney app is perfect for us. They call Disneyland Explorer: the Happiest App on earth. The price makes me happy (free!) and there are all kinds of fun little games and videos as you poke around virtual Disneyland. It’s the kind of holiday that really works in this economy (I say as I gleefully pack for Hawaii).

B likes to wind up “It’s a Small World” then watch the international dolls dance across the screen. Sidebar: the song is every bit as annoying looping over and over and over again in the comfort of my own home as it is in the Magical Kingdom (and that includes the time the ride broke down and we were stuck by the mermaids for an extra 1/2 hour). C’s favourite is Mickey’s house in toon town. When you click on a photo on the wall, it plays one of the original Mickey toons. I’ve even seen Glen pushing the Thunder Mountain Express back and forth across the screen (we can’t figure out what it’s supposed to do – it’s kind of a bust).

If you’ve been to Disneyland and love it, or if you plan to go sometime, or if you think it’s overrated and lame, but are a sucker for free things, it’s definitely worth the $0!

Song that just begs to be spoofed

A few months ago friends told us how their son got in trouble at school for singing this song in class. They went through the 5 stages of parental reaction: shocked, horrified, relieved (that he hadn’t learned it at home), amused and committing the story to memory (to be told to family, friends, facebook aquaintances and at his wedding reception someday). Because it’s not everyday your first grader is sexy and he knows it.

Despite it’s not-remotely-appropriate-for-6-year-olds content, I get why it is being bandied around the schoolyard. It’s catchy. And vile. And totally absurd. And uses the “s” word (hee hee). Not since Right Said Fred informed us that he was Too Sexy For This Blog has there been a song so deeply, deeply stupid, that I nevertheless find myself humming from time to time.

The only version of “I’m Sexy and I Know It” that I don’t like is the real one, but the spinoffs make me laugh, so I decided to include a few. The best is definitely Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young doing an acoustic version (okay, fine, it’s Jimmy Fallon dressed as Neil Young, but still all kinds of awesome).

Sexy and I Know It Unplugged

Here is one that my kids LOVE. Apparently they saw it at school. Really? I’m trying to figure out what kind of lesson that fit into… social media A-B-C’s?

Elmo and I know it

The line up would be incomplete without a cheesy Christian version. As much as it pains me to admit it, these pastors are rocking it. I’ll take “Tithing and I Know It” over “Shine, Jesus, Shine” anyday.

Tithing and I know it

So here’s me, OUTTA HERE! Aloha!


Friday Favourites 11: The Absurd

Today is a very important day in our home. It is Dr. Suess’ birthday. He’s more than just an author. He is B’s obsession. She insists her pediatrician, dentist and pretty much anyone in the medical field are, in fact, Dr. Suess. For the past few months, 9/10 books we read are Suess books. We had to replace her Green Eggs & Ham book when it simply gave out and died after SO many readings.

I get it. I love Dr. Suess too. Because his stories are silly and weird and occasionally profound. Because his words flow smooth and clean and feel good on my tongue. Because the world just seems better in rhyme. I wish we could do it all the time.

In honour of Dr. Suess, this week’s favourites are all about the absurd.

Dr. Suess Quotes

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There’s no one alive who is youer than you.”
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Baby Rearing Technique

Baby bowling! It could be the next big thing! And the baby being used as a ball (who is LOVING this crazy game) is my nephew!

Isn’t he adorable? He really takes after his auntie.

Craigslist Ad

This ad: Yoga mat for sale. Used once. – $1 was actually posted on craigslist at one point. It’s not an ad, so much as the usage timeline and the best description of hot yoga I have ever heard! Funniest thing I’ve read in a long time!

T.V. Show

This category isn’t really fair. Without a doubt, the most absurd show on television is “The Bachelor” and its equally insipid knock-offs. Of course, I’ve never actually watched an entire episode, and I have no plans to anytime soon. Quite simply, it is everything that is wrong with society, conveniently package in a slick reality show.

If you enjoy watching it, I don’t judge. I imagine it is a lot like a gory car accident; we can’t help but crane our necks. Like the “hats” at the royal wedding, it BEGS to be mocked! And that’s what makes it one of my favourite absurd things.

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, wrote an amazing post about it recently. The Final Freaking Rose says everything I want to say, only better. She usually does.

Knox McCoy is a blogger I thoroughly enjoy on many topics. He is most famously known for his Bachelor (and Bachelorette) recaps. They are hilarious! I read them even when I had no intention of ever watching the show. Sadly, they awoke a rather mean-spirited humor in me, so I had to give them up. But if you MUST watch this show – keep your wits about you and read the recap!

iPad/iPhone App

For some reason, Toca Boca Hair Salon is the favourite app in our house right now. All three girls LOVE giving Santa a rainbow-streaked mohawk. Who doesn’t?

You can style, shave and colour his hair and beard with the touch of a finger. Although we could spend $1.99 to make over many different characters, my kids are perfectly content with the free Christmas version.


Friday Favourites 9: Couples Edition

This post is for grown ups, the married kind…

Last Christmas I was having trouble figuring out gifts for my husband. Like me, Glen is a book lover AND a big fan of sex, so when I found an ornate copy of the Kama Sutra in a dusty old bookstore I scooped it up. It brought us hours of fun, but not in the way you’re thinking.

We giggled our way through some very weird and often disturbing ancient sex advice. For instance, men are advised to keep a rag by the bed so that they can mop the sweat from their pits during love making. A sensitive lover also must do their best not to spit on the floor during the act, but instead should provide their own spittoon.

Now you know.

As a follow up to the big V-day, here are a few of my favourite “couple-y” things.

Quote

To hear many religious people talk, one would think God created the torso, head, legs and arms, but the devil slapped on the genitals. ~Don Schrader

Runner Up: Sex on television can’t hurt you, unless you fall off. -Author Unknown

iPhone/iPad App

Although the book was a bust, the app worked out a lot better. The iKamaSutra is $0.99 of inspiring ideas, even those that inspire the question “what the…?” and “why?” It is password protected, so you don’t have to worry about the kids trying to play your new “game”. The illustrations and explanations are tasteful – instructive and not at all like creepy porn.

Website

I often feel caught between one culture that sees sex as a cheap thrill and another culture that sees it as a dirty, forbidden subject. It’s neither. ErynFaye.com is a great place to poke around for thoughtful advice and ideas.

Book

Once upon a time, we worked for FamilyLife developing marriage conferences and study materials. So we have read A LOT of marriage books, from the lame to the utterly bizarre (such as the one which suggests sitting naked, hands together and saying “the god in me salutes the god in you”). Of all of these, Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas remains a favourite.

It is not another exhaustive list of things “to do”, but an exploration of all the things marriage can and should teach us. Although it grapples with some profound and difficult subjects, it is surprisingly easy to read.

Movie

Okay, I’ll admit, as I was picking a movie off of Shaw VOD last night my finger hovered over Twilight: Breaking Dawn (which, yes, I’ve already seen), but I am so glad that I kept scrolling down and decided to try In Time. I was skeptical – that boy band kid and the chick from Veronica Mars… but dystopian sci-fi with romance to boot, sounds like my kind of thing. Turns out, it was.

Bonnie and Clyde with a Robin Hood flair in a world where time (as in, time to remain alive) is a currency. It puts that whole being the 1% thing in chilling perspective. Also, it kind of makes me want to rob a bank on our next date night.

Marriage Advice

Date night. Do it.

Marriage isn’t always easy, but you can get through almost anything if you’re still friends.

So here’s me, cuddling up on the couch with my friend to watch Modern Family re-runs. Yes, at this stage in life that totally counts as a date. PJs optional.


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