This Sunday, the Super Bowl commercials are on. There are only two reasons I would actually watch the game between the commercials……if the Packers or Redskins are playing. Since the Packers are not in the Super Bowl this year (and the Redskins may never be,) I’ll be focusing on the commercials.
But what do we do between the commercials? I love to enjoy the food and a drink and sit with my family during the game, but seriously, I am not really paying attention to the game.
I’ve come up with a list of things that you can do while sitting on the couch, eating snacks, enjoying a drink, enjoying good company and still jump and yell well something exciting happens. I’ve broken them down into a few categories.
Organize Your Life Between Super Bowl Commercials
So each quarter is 15 minutes + the 30 other minutes they waste between plays, so you have a few hours of time. Use it wisely!
Organize your phone. Go through your phone and try apps that you downloaded and never opened. Get rid of ones that are useless.
Create a family calendar and a calendar for each family member (I use Google calendar.) Set up sharing for any family members who are old enough to have their own calendar. All my kids have their own and my youngest is 10.
A family runs smoother if there is a plan. I know sometimes the stumbling block is the planning. Who has time to plan when you are busy living? Take this time to set up some plans.
Create a chore chart. First decide what chores the kids can do. Decide how you want to divvy up the chores and set up a chore chart.
Organize sock drawers. Have your kids bring you all their socks. Pair up socks and get rid of all the single socks (you won’t find them until they don’t fit.)
Set up a school system. You get a lot of papers back from school and there are things you want to save every year. Set up a school days folder system for each child.
Create a system for saving school pictures each year. I created a 3-ring binder folder and used page protectors. Each year, I put photos from school pictures, dance, soccer, etc into the page protectors. I label them with the year and grade. Voila! Organized.
Organize Your Blog/Social Media Between Super Bowl Commericals
I know you have tasks that you say you will do someday, but haven’t done yet. Now is the time….
Organize your Pinterest boards. Find boards that have less than 10 pins and delete the board. If the pins will fit with other boards, move them. When I first create a board, I make it private and I won’t make it public until I have at least 10 pins.
Update old blog posts. I have close to 1,000 posts. I know many of the old ones are useless or need to be updated. I had tutorials for apps that no longer exist…delete. Add Pinterest-worthy shareable photos to old blog posts and begin sharing again.
Clean up your sidebar. Be sure your sidebar has things that will add to your blog and help your readers. This is one thing I’ll be doing on Sunday.
Update your bio/about page. Be sure you have an updated photo and everything is still correct. I know this is a page I often ignore because it feels like so much work. But once it’s done, you’ll feel accomplished.
Create an editorial calendar. Planning a few months ahead will give you an idea what jobs you can take and what you don’t have time for. As I said earlier, it’s always good to have a plan. Be flexible, but have a plan.
In a week, the Washington Auto Show opens and as we’ve seen in recent years, automobile technology will take center stage. In the U.S. alone, Chevrolet will release five new cars with 25 new technologies. Seeing technology in my car is so exciting.
A car to me is a tool to take you from one place to another, but you add in some really cool technology and I’m in love. Let me go through some of the technology innovations that have some the coolness factor in my family.
Dual Video Screens – This is #1 in our book. I have 4 kids (2 boys and 2 girls) and they never want to watch the same thing. Having the dual video screens in our car has changed our long distance trips. My husband and I use this time to talk and the kids are all happy in the back chilling with a movie.
GPS – I hate to admit it, but I did not get my grandfather’s sense of direction. I have no clue which direction is north or south much of the time. When my son was in baseball and we were constantly late because I was taking wrong turns, we knew it was time for GPS. It has changed my life. The addition of the live traffic has saved us hours when we go to the beach.
Bluetooth – I love that when I jump into my car, my phone is connected to my car via bluetooth. I do not need to do anything, it just happens. If I get a call, I push the button on my steering wheel and I never have to take my eyes off the road to answer.
Built-in 4G LTE WiFi - This is the tech that I want in my next car. I wrote all about the 4G LTE WiFi technology in the Chevrolet cars if you want to know more. But let me just say that this would rock my family’s world.
2016 Chevy Volt
Every new Chevrolet including the 2016 Chevy Volt will offer easy-to-use technologies like 4G LTE, MyLink and Active Fuel Management. The Volt is Chevrolet’s electric car.
In the DC area, that would mean driving to work on electricity alone. That alone would save you money on gasoline. But, when you are going on longer trips, you can switch to gasoline. It’s the best of both worlds.
Washington Auto Show Giveaway
SheBuysCars.com and Chevrolet are offering a great prize for one of my readers. This is a quick giveaway. I’ll be picking the winner during the Future of Cars Twitter Party on January 19, 2015 (9pm to 10pm ET)
Family 4-pack of tickets to the Washington Auto Show (value $34, 2 adults, 2 children). The show runs Fri, Jan 23 to Sun, Feb 1.
This is an UbiStar sponsored post. Affiliate links within.
Did you get an Xbox during the holidays for yourself or your kids? Looking for some games to play? Ubisoft has several games that we tried out over the holidays. My kids played all the games and helped me with these reviews.
Just Dance 2015 for Xbox 360
Just Dance 2015 is a fun family game. It’s rated E for 10 and up. My 10 year-old daughter and her friend spent most of winter break playing the game.
All of the Just Dance games are similar where you choose songs to dance to and you follow along with the dancers on the screen. The closer you are to their actions, the more points you receive.
Each year, the games are updated with the latest songs. My daughter liked the 2015 version as much as the earlier versions. She liked having new songs to challenge her. She plays the games so much she was awesome at all the songs and beat me every time.
If you are looking for a game to get your kids moving (or to get you moving), the Just Dance 2015 game will do that. I always get an awesome workout from these games. I will tell my kids I’ll play with them for 15 minutes and an hour later, we are still playing.
Available now on Wii, Wii U, Kinect for Xbox 360 and Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue for Xbox 360
In this Assassin’s Creed Rogue game, you play as the villains where in the others, you play as the good guys. The story shows you sometimes the good guys do not bad things and become the bad guys. This change in the game, made this story one of the best that Assassin’s Creed has delivered.
Assassin’s Creed Rogue is rated M and does have mature themes. Having said that, my 12-year-old played the game with his older brother who is 18.
Both of my sons loved the game. My older son has played through it completely and said it was one of the best of the more recent Assassin Creed games because of the story. He said you do not need to play the previous games, but it would help with the story.
Available now on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Far Cry 4 for Xbox One
Far Cry 4 is the fourth in the Far Cry series. It is an open world action adventure game where you play as Ajay Ghale. He comes to a world that is in a civil war so he can scatter his mother’s ashes. He ends up in the middle of the war and you, as Ajay, get to stop an evil dictator.
Far Cry gives you the chance to drive cars, fly helicopters, shoot stuff, blow stuff up and make some choices as to what mission you take next.
Far Cry 4 is also rated M and my 18-year-old son recommends at least 14 or 15 and up. We didn’t allow my 12-year-old son play Far Cry because there is some nudity, drugs and it’s very graphic in its violence.
My son enjoyed playing the game. He finished the story part of the game and the game play was better than Far Cry 3. You do not need to play the earlier games to play this one.
Available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.
Note to Parents: For any games you are considering for your kids, I recommend you play first so you can make the choice yourself. The recommendations I’m making about ages is what we have chosen to do in our family, but it may be different for you.
Disclosure: As an UbiStar, I receive games in exchange for review. My kids played these games and helped me with each of the reviews. All opinions are those of my kids or mine. No other compensation was received.
We all have books that our kids love to read over and over and over and over again. Am I right? You try to skip a few pages because you have read that book hundreds of times. That doesn’t make us horrible parents. We all want our kids to read, right? There are tools you can use to help spark your kids interest in reading.
The SparkUp is a magical book reader. It will read any book to your child. I was skeptical at first too. I figured I’d need to go out and buy a whole new set of books that work with SparkUp. That isn’t the case.
Reading To Your Kids With SparkUp
It’s very easy to us the SparkUp. It comes with everything you need.
Once You have the SparkUp Reader, the first time you use it with any hardcover book, clip it to the book. Read the book as you normally do and turn the pages.
You’ll notice the reader flashes as you go to new pages. It is taking photos of the page so that when your child goes through the book on their own, the reader will know what page is it and which words to read (in your voice.)
Anyone can record a book. you could send it to Grandma and Grandpa and they could record a few books and send it back. Have a parent overseas? This would be perfect.
This video shows how cool it really is.
So many of the other readers are all digital or you need to buy books that go with JUST their reader. The SparkUp uses the books you have in your collection. No need to buy new books.
I love it!! And I highly recommend the SparkUp reader if you have kids between the ages of 3-6. Those are the recommended ages, but I think that even when your kids are able to read, they sometimes like to hear the book read in Grandpa’s voice or an older sibling who might be away at college.
Purchase from Amazon (affiliate link)
Disclosure: I received the SparkUp Reader to review. All opinions and words are my own. No other compensation was received.
Running is my time. I love to be alone with my thoughts, but since I run half marathons, sometimes my runs are long. I need the music or a good audio book to keep me going. I get bored if I don’t have something to listen to.
I’ve also begun to pay closer attention to my heart rate when I’m running and how fast I recover. Having the heart rate monitor in the headphones is huge. You don’t need to have the strap around your chest either. The Jabra Sport Pulse has in-ear heart rate monitoring technology.
So, not only do you get to listen to music, but these headphones will help you plan, track and monitor your overall fitness.
Our kids are growing up in a much different world than we did. The online world has created a whole new playgroundfor bad things to happen. Since it’s a new playground, parents have had to navigate parenting our children online without much guidance. The Digital Family Project is helping by offering tips and tools to foster a healthy respect for online content.
Digital Families Survey Results
The results of the Digital Families survey were a compilation of many previous investigative reports released by Digital Citizens Alliance about online content and safety. Here are some of the results I found interesting:
Malware, spyware and viruses are the #1 concern of 55% of the respondents when it comes to family safety online.
Others said illegal, illicit or stolen content was their #1 concern.
47% felt it was the responsibility of companies like Google to give warnings for sites that could be stealing content.
30% with children felt their kids are not very safe or very unsafe online
As you can see, online safety is very important to families. As parents, it is our responsibility to keep our families safe online.
We need to take certain precautions and teach our kids how to use the Internet safely. This includes treating each other with respect.
Respect for ourselves
Respect for each other
Respect for the content we put online
As the survey results show, consumers believe big Internet companies have a responsibility to help make the Internet safe also. They have the resources to do this and when they don’t, they are making the Internet a less safe place for our kids.
Get More Information
In order to do your part, you are going to need information. Here is where to go for more information about keeping your family safe online.
I have a little secret. You can celebrate the New Year at any time now. That means you can put your kids to bed at 8pm with the help of Netflix. Then celebrate the real Midnight alone…without kids.
Have you ever celebrated Midnight at 9pm in the past? According to a recent survey from Wakefield Research on behalf of Netflix, 34% of parents have admitted to fooling their kids into thinking its midnight so they would go to bed early.
Netflix is providing anAll Hail King Julian 3 minute short movie with lots of loud music and fun. Play that at whatever time you want your kids to go to bed. Then once they are asleep, have your own party.
Let me know if you used the short film on Netflix to put your kids to bed early tonight.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team. All opinions are my own.
As we leave 2014 and head into 2015, we all start to think about the new year and what we want to do differently. Whether you call it resolutions, intentions, goals or plans, it’s the perfect time to start. The Microsoft store has a lot of tech that will help you jumpstart your New Year’s resolutions. I’ve found if you have the right tools, it’s easier to reach your goals.
The Microsoft store is one of my favorite tech stores to find new and exciting gadgets. I love that I can try out the new technology and the employees are always helpful and know a lot about the products in the store.
I have taken my kids to the camps they offer year round. We took a photo and video class last summer. If you check your local Microsoft store, you’ll find the YouthSpark Winter Camps they are offering.
Jumpstart Your NYE Resolutions
We all have different resolutions, so I’m going to tell you about some of the gadgets you will find at the Microsoft store and how they will help you reach different goals.
Microsoft Surface Pro 3
The Surface Pro 3 runs Windows 8.1 and you have access to apps that will help you track your food, exercise, try yoga, create to do lists, track projects and get your life organized.
My husband bought me a Surface Pro 3 a few months ago and I use it daily to track my life. I can run Office 365 so I have created spreadsheets with Excel to track my expenses because one of my goals for 2015 is to track where I spend my money.
If you are a digital scrapbooker and you want to create more layouts in 2015, you can install Photoshop Elements on the Surface Pro 3 and you can scrapbook while waiting for the doctor (great use of that down time.) I’ve uploaded kits and photos to OneDrive (1 TB of space) so I have access to them wherever I am.
You might think that the Xbox One is only for playing games. WRONG!
There are some awesome fitness games for the Xbox that make working out so much fun you will never know you are burning calories.
Try a dance game like Dance Central with the Kinect for Xbox One, and you’ll burn calories while challenging your friends to a dance off.
Xbox has a built-in fitness section. You can buy and download new fitness routines when you are feeling the need for something new.
The Microsoft Bandtracks your activity, sleep and heart rate. It works with Windows Phone, Android and Apple phones. Tracking your heart rate during a workout will help you be more efficient with your workout time.
Pair your Microsoft Band with a Windows Phone and you can get calendar updates, email and use Cortana to take notes with your voice.
The Fitbit trackers help you track your daily steps and sleep. Set a goal and when you reach your daily goal, your Fitbit buzzes to let you know. At night, you can track your sleep quality. I discovered that I was not getting a lot of good deep sleep at night which is why I was so tired. I started making changes to see if it would change and it did. Using the Fitbit app on my Surface Pro 3, I can easily see where I need to make changes during the day or night.
The Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale will track your weight, body fat and BMI. If you set a resolution to lose 5, 10 or more pounds in 2015, you’ll need to track how well you are doing. Sometimes the weight is slow to lose, but you may see changes in your body fat and BMI. Tracking all 3 will give you a better overall picture of your progress and keep you accountable.
Your phone is something you have with you all the time. If you want to stay accountable to your 2015 resolutions, a Windows Phone will help you do that.
Windows Phones have apps to help with your running goals, health goals, organization goals and many other goals.
You’ll have access to the spreadsheets you created to track your progress with Office 365 on your Windows Phone.
Plan to keep in touch with your family and friends more in 2015? Use Skype so you can video chat and keep in touch.
Set up task reminders so you don’t forget your goals. It takes 21 days to create a habit. Remind yourself to go run for 21 days and after that it should become easier to remember.
This is only a few of the Microsoft store products. You need to go to your lcoal store and play with all the computers, gadgets and technology.
Don’t forget that with the right tools, reaching your goals is much easier!!
What resolutions are you setting for 2015? Have you found that having the right tools made it easier to reach your goals in the past?