Tag Archives: technology

Snapchat and all that

I had a few different friends post a recent article on Snapchat and the dangers it poses; you can read the article HERE.   I also saw a recent similar article on Catholicmom.  (The actual article escapes me, but they regularly have great updated “app” articles to keep me in the loop and are my GO-TO source on all apps and tech stuff).  Articles such as these wake me in the middle of the night filled with fear, anxiety and dread.  Paralyzing dread and all-kinds of wild, fear-based planning to keep my children cocooned and protected from every hidden danger ever known or unknown.  Makes for a super restful sleep.  Not.


However, we must LIVE our life.  Pray without ceasing and learn from our mistakes and move on to live another day.  We must teach our children to do the same thing.  No easy task in this day and age of insta-everything with no youthful mistake or regret left undocumented (to which I say daily “Thank you, JESUS, that we did not have the internet when WE were growing up”).

In this techno age there will always be a Snapchat.  As soon as we parents catch on and log in, there’s a new app that’s hot and drawing the kids in by droves.  We can uninstall, remove tech devices, forbid cable, internet usage, friends, etc, etc, etc.  To what extent though?  What choices are we left with?  We have to do something and whatever we do will have a result, good, bad or ugly.  We, as parents, can choose avoidance or we can face it head on.  Don’t hide your head in the sand; choose to put on your gear and prepare for battle:  protect your children through education and preparation.   Agree or disagree or take it with a grain of salt, here’s our approach:

Lead by example.  Kids learn by mimicking us.  I only need to listen in on a disagreement between kids to hear how I REALLY need to work on my intonation and patience with them.  It ain’t pretty.  Same goes for tech stuff.  If your face is constantly on your phone and every text, status update and ‘Gram is a lead-in for most conversations it might be time to step back.  Let me introduce you to the “silent” feature on your phone and/or removing social apps or scaling back.  Phone free dinners are mandatory in our house and so is participation in daily “highs and lows”.  Sometimes it’s all we can do to get through dinner without a free for all, but expectations are there and are observed.

Knowledge is power and as parents we are called (like it or not) to be abreast of this technology, so dig in and find a few websites to regularly check in and learn about apps and how to navigate them.  And for the love of Pete, find a spot to put down all your usernames and passwords, because these apps are like rabbits…the more there are…the more there are.


Communication is key.  Regular conversations about life, plugged and un-plugged are key.  We don’t home school (and I applaud ALL who can and do) and as a result our kids are privy to a WIDE variety of people, lifestyles and situations in their public schools, friendships and extracurricular activities.  Much is cringe-worthy and the teach-able moments are never-ending, however, my personal approach continues to evolve from lecture giver to observer and navigational assistant in managing these moments.  A constant work in progress, I assure you.  (Hubby is often far more about keeping it simple in explanations:  truthful but short and sweet).   It’s getting easier for me though and when our 10yo daughter is trying to explain the friendship she has with a sweet boy as a “friend with advantages”, I quickly correct here to the correct phrase of “friends with benefits” and explain that since that means a friend who you have sex with and no special relationship and that is ABSOLUTELY NOT the way to describe THIS  friendship, she is at once shocked and understands that sometimes we all need clarification.  (In truth, this boy is a friend, who happens to be a boy, that she can talk with like her girlfriends and at 10 it’s such a unique phenomenon she isn’t sure how to classify him.  I let her know that “friend” is purely acceptable and applicable.)  Would you not be so blunt?  Perhaps not.  However, I am all about honesty and saying it like it is; beating around the bush is just crap.

Participation and being present.  I  personally struggle with this in our daily busy-ness.  We both work full-time, our kids are in school all day, our oldest works, we have a variety of kid activities, church, etc.  It’s busy, from morning coffee to passing out after evening prayers.  The importance of chatting about our day (mentioned above during dinner) and addressing any concerns or just planning out dreams and enjoying newfound passions are crucial to a kid’s security and growth.  It doesn’t take a whole evening, but a few FOCUSED minutes on a kid speaks volumes for days.   You don’t need to look much further than any number of crash and burn famous kid moments (or maybe even some you know personally) to see the link between parent and kiddo is nonexistent or shaky at best.

After a long-story-short, my summary is this:

1.  Set the example.  Modify Ghandi’s quote to fit your family and “BE the change you want to see in your children/marriage/family”.

2.  Stay informed.  Be aware.  Learn the trends.  If we are all about it, it loses its luster and excitement and the shock/thrill loses its power.

3.  Talk.  Talk.  Talk.  And then talk some more.  Communication is key in marriage, parenting and life and it is CONSTANT.

4.  Be present.  Listen.  Ask.  Listen.  Learn.

Bottom line is, they are kids.  They are navigating childhood, adolescence and young adulthood.  They will screw up 1000 times over and they need us present to help them untangle those unfortunate moments of growing up.  We can hope they will avoid the bullying, sexting and variety of other fears we know lurk daily and we will do the best we can to protect them.  At the end of the day, the education we can provide for them in the school of life is the best chance they have.

Isaiah 41:10

           ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
            Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
            I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
            Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’


List making goes Techno!!

OK.  I am a list maker.  And I LOVE to check things OFF my list….it makes me feel so accomplished!  I’ve been making them forever and like Kate Wicker, I remember putting “shower” on my list when my kids were small so that I could remind myself that I DID actually DO a lot during the day.  I still make lists, however, with 4 kids getting older and into more activities, additional schedules to juggle, school and sport fees to pay, work schedules, things to be done around the house, etc, etc, etc….(I’m sure you have a similar “list-issue” in your house) it gets quite boggled and I’ve lost SEVERAL lists which does NADA as far as list-productivity goes, so it was with great curiosity I read Dorian Speed‘s article on Catholicmom.com regarding EVERNOTE.  At first, I didn’t quite “get it” and how I would or could use this app.  However, I downloaded it to my MacBook and my phone and let me just say, Holy!!!  Cow!!!  This thing rocks.  Here are a few examples why I find it incredibly useful, maybe you’ll be a convert, too!

  • The app communicates between your PC/Mac/phone, whatev…..if you make a list or tag an article on your home computer and you are away from home, it’s on your phone!  And vice versa.  Ask yourself how many times you’ve “left it at home”.  Too many times to count for me.
  • You can make a list and edit it….
  • You can take a picture and that can be your list
  • You can make folders of lists…..disclaimer here…..I haven’t used this YET, but feel certain I will….Each kid needs their own folder as well as Hubby and I!
  • There’s a cutie little app called Skitch that can be used as well with it…a photo app for screen savers, however, I’ve yet to give it the patience it needs to figure it out…it’s a fun thing, not as much a productivity thing…plus I don’t do a ton of screen savers anyhoo..

A few of the things that have come in handy FOR ME on Evernote that have helped me tremendously:

  • Putting in each boy’s class schedule and teacher for quick access if I need to communicate with the school as well as their Alpha codes
  • A picture of the school calendar to keep track of days off, holidays and early release days….I know, I know, just put it in the calendar…which I do, but I always seem to MISS something somewhere…it’s a cross-check
  • Pictures of freezer recipes for the week.  This made making the grocery list WAAAY quicker  since I didn’t have to flip through the mag to find them, but could just scroll through and find my recipes and ingredients!
  • Soccer schedule and fee calendar, getting those checks in on time….
  • Cheer schedule and snack list—-don’t want to forget MY day for frozen grapes—(next game), lest those cheerleaders be snack-less.

I haven’t convinced my Hubby to use it yet, however, he’s more of a touch it once and deal with it kind of person and I’m a write it down, ponder it, get back to it kind of person.  On the plus side, I’m losing FAR less lists and on Day 2 of school when our sweet 7th grader couldn’t quite remember his class schedule, I just copied it and texted it to him.  Sweeeeeeeet!!!


I’m on a roll this week…three posts, WOO HOO!!  Look out, imagine what can will happen when I get my laptop back!!  Or not..I take it as it comes, though I am really working on something for Valentine’s Day, just need to get it from my head to paper/computer and that, my friends, is often a LONG, LONG process!  Let’s wind this week up with the Quick Takes, usually @ Conversion Diary, but since Jen is busy finishing her book…..we’ll move it on over to Betty Beguiles

  1. Week 6 of my making strides towards my healthier goals.  This week came with lots of challenges to the exercise area and my lunch exercise routine wasn’t going to happen this week. at.  all.  Therefore, I did what I had to do.  I hit the gym at o’dark hundred (AKA 515 a.m. ISH) to get my strength work in.  And walks after work this week (2 so far) in addition to my gym time.  Next week will be back on track, but I am patting myself on the back for recognizing what was coming down the line for the week and planning for it. Like to see more of that, I would!
  2. Still no laptop.  You can go back the last couple posts and review whazzup with that, I’d prefer to just move on.  And there are STILL no pics, so carry on with your imagination and all.
  3. Today my phone fell out of my pocket while having lunch with our birthday girl.  Front screen, meet cement.   Screen is now spidery all the way down.  Taped together to keep the glass from slicing my face.  The phone works.  Phew.  That’s the good news.  Now to find a reasonable repair…which I believe my son has a friend who does that. or some guy in some kiosk in the mall.  Whatev.  I’m still pretty growly about it.  GRRRR!!
  4. Our youngest son had his official football weigh-in last night.  The night before our big girl’s 10th birthday!  Talk about a team effort with Hubby.  He and birthday girl had their “date night” and littlest girl and I made the birthday cake and took a walk together.  When they came home we made and ate dinner (minus the boys) and then I picked up Mr. Football from practice (with dinner in hand) and lugged him across town for an 8:30 p.m. weigh in.   Meanwhile, Hubby helped the girls make the school birthday snack and made sure Oldest son ate and everyone showered up.  Somehow at 9:30 we were ALL in bed.  WowZA !!  what a difference having Hubby home!
  5. Tonight we celebrated big girl’s birthday dinner with her choice of dinner:  chicken soft tacos and an appetizer of wings.  BOKKK!!  Followed by our homemade ice cream birthday cake.  See what watching too much Cake Boss will do?  Although, I am NOT ready for fondant yet…but ONE day…maybe just maybe and then look out, Buddy!
  6. Strep throat has been running through the house this week.  1 confirmed.  1 probable.  1 questionable.  1 still clean.  Have I mentioned how awesome Publix is with their FREE antibiotics?  Shout out.  Unpaid.  Grateful!  If I knew how to tweet there would be some ##hash mark thingies in there somewhere.
  7. The big birthday party this weekend is a Mystery party.  So fun.  My friend Lea gave me this idea last year and it was such a hit we hit up Dramatic Fanatic again for a new mystery.  It’s so fun.  We are kicking the boys out.  They  need hair cuts anyway.   Maybe they can go kayaking if it’s not too cold out.  Serving snack-ish foods and cake.  or cupcakes.  still to be determined.  Martha Stewart I am not.  And yet somehow my kids still end up having a good time.  Strange.  And there usually isn’t too much fussing about the lack of goodie bags. <gasp> what?  yes.  I.  HATE.  goodie.  bags.  Said it.  Out loud.  And I tell the kids, “thanks for coming, we don’t do goodie bags”.  Now, I usually DO have a great lollipop or some fun little something they may have made, but that’s it.  Who came up with that concept anyway???  I’d like a word.  Or the ability to pop ’em in the head.  JK,  that’s  not very nice.  maybe just a little pop?

Alrighty then.  That’s our week in a Quick Take.  All out-of-order, but that’s kind of how I roll.  Have a blessed weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!   (for the next few weeks @ Hallie Lord’s blog!)

My laptop died…..ARGHHHHH!!!

It happened one morning.  I got my coffee and settled in with my “precious” for my morning ritual (Daily Readings, News sites, emails and blog catch ups) and……… it  never got past the white screen, merely the bitten apple and a circle of so-called-loading mocking me.  I tried all the usual, shut down again, bring up and repeat about 40 times before I realized it just wasn’t going to happen.  Paralysis set in and then Hubby reminded me I have an ACTUAL Bible for my Readings AND  a book I’ve been reading by Scott Hahn, “The Lamb’s Supper” and plenty of people to pray for to fill my morning quiet time with.    At least I think that’s what he said.  It’s a little fuzzy.

Day 2.  No progress, even after our son tried all the tricks he could YouTube and Google.  Hubby consoled me as I pitifully admitted, “I am SO lost without my laptop.  It’s ridiculous, really.  I know.”  He hugged me through his chuckling and patted my head and promised to take it to the apple store to get looked at by the Genius bar peeps.  (since it’s right by his office)  Heyyyyy, things were looking a little brighter, I mean they don’t call them “Genius” for nothing!!!

One week, one new hard drive , a trip to the Geek Squad @ Best Buy and we are still “in the process” of reformatting and getting everything back up and running.  Time will tell.  In the meantime….Flippin’ computers….who needs ’em?  I DO!!!!!!    That’s who…

In all actuality, my computer time isn’t THAT much in my eyes (although, Hubby would likely disagree);  30 -45  minutes in the morning and a total of 15-30 minutes at night.  It’s MY downtime, though.  MY quiet time.  Maybe MY stronghold…one of many…trust me.  Either way,  it’s bizarro to come to this realization.   It’ s my crutch.  And it’s not even warm and fuzzy.

So, my blog is neglected because it’s just SO inconvenient to sit in the desk chair AT the computer hutch on the PC (gasp..yes we have a PC and a mac) which is also in declining  health these days…but as a result, I have been reading more, walking more, TALKING with the family more.  Because I’m not the ONLY one on my mac and it’s an interesting glimpse into life with WAY limited computer time and I am pleased to announce, that I truly do LOVE my family!  Especially when I can focus on them with limited distractions. 

How about you?  How much time do you spend on your computer and what would you fill your time with if you lost  your computer?

**This blog was printed with no pictures because my favorite photo program is on my laptop and I refuse to reacclimate to a NEW program on another computer unless I absolutely. have. to.  So….use your imagination!