May 8, 2012

My Favorite Apps!

there's an app for that...
A friend of mine has just gotten her first smart phone, and asked me to suggest some of my favorite apps.

When I started to think of a few I realized how much I really depend on (leverage? I could live without it...) my phone! If you have an iPhone and an iPad, you can really capitalize on any not-free apps by sharing them between the two devices.

For starters, the more baby-direct apps (which we employed on our recent visit to the ER):

YouTube. This is our go to distraction when we are out and about and need to keep our toddler calm. We usually search for "wheels on the bus" or "Elmo" and then let him choose recommended videos in the sidebar afterwards. I do happen to like that there are many Sesame Street sketches with actors that I recognize (Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Natalie Portman, the Asian dude from the Hangover...) which keeps me interested, too. There are some pretty catchy tunes, too (OK Go's Primary Colors, ABC's with India Arie, Wheels on the Bus with Pete the Cat). I could go on and on... so yeah, this is number one for us.

Some other kid apps we like (that we use when we can't get a signal, like... in the ER) are:

Elmo Calls - it gets repetitive, though M never tires of it, but maybe you get more options if you buy the not-free version.

Gumbo Lite - hide and seek with a doggie. What kid doesn't like those two things?

Peekaboo Barn Lite - a barn opens to show you different animals and their sounds (free)

Parents Flash Cards - we have the purchased version and we use this more on the iPad, but its helpful in a pinch on the go, too

Pat the Bunny - we use this on the iPad, and it was great fun on the plane for M to interact with a familiar character and get to "color" on the pages. I think it updates seasonally with themes...

I will also tell you that hubby and I searched high and low for a good baby monitor app in hopes that we could leave one phone in the crib and take the other down to the hotel lobby bar, but even one negative comment (and they all have them) implanted images of ourselves on the 10 o'clock news as the idiots who left their baby in a hotel room to go to a bar and ___ happened to them. So I don't have one to endorse. But there are several out there you can review yourself!

Now - for the super-helpful apps Mommy might enjoy more (and are still very relevant to parenting)

Facebook (and don't forget to like jbabythoughts' page)!

Camera - this should be pre-loaded, and isn't really an app per se, but I use my phone for photos way more than phone calls, and our expensive camera usually stays home on outings now since the phone is so handy and of such high quality!

Instagram - (now owned by Facebook, those geniuses!) for those extra-artsy photos everyone is taking. you can even tag photos with #(insert keyword) to see who's thinking like you are!! I like Paper Coterie's monthly challenge to take a photo in their daily theme. Just makes you appreciate life (though honestly, i have been pretty busy living and enjoying my life to remember to take the photos!!)

OurGroceries - hubby and I both have this loaded on our phones and we share our lists. Which means we can have one single grocery list that we can each update as we think of things or run out of things and have for reference in case we need to stop and get something on the way home. And besides groceries, since I am a list-maker by nature, we have used it for Christmas present ideas, trip-packing lists, and general To Do lists

MyFitnessPal - if you are still looking to shed a few pounds from the baby (and mine is nearly two!) you can use this app to track the calories in and out. It has tons of pre-loaded nutrition information for popular products, or you can add your own recipes, or scan barcodes off of prepackaged items. You can log your daily activities or workouts and track your progress. You can link up with your friends and congratulate and encourage each other. I am linked with my sister and cousins and aunts and uncles. You can be my friend, too. My user name is: jillfrog

RunKeeper - since we are on the health and wellness theme, this app uses the GPS function to tell you your running/walking/biking/hiking distance and even estimates your calories. If you choose to create and account with it, you can store all your workouts and track progress here, too. This has been updated since I first installed it, and now has so many bells and whistles that I don't even know what they all are! I think you can even link it to a heartrate monitor!

Maps - since moving to a new state I have needed directions everywhere. On our weekend adventures I usually navigate while hubby drives. The app even factors in traffic when finding you the quickest route. This was invaluable back east when driving home on holidays, since we could avoid the dead stops on the interstate.

Key Ring - I have officially taken off all of those ragged plastic cards on my key ring and loaded them all in this app AND shared them with my husband so he can never use the excuse that he didn't have the card to capitalize on sales. Besides grocery store loyalty cards, I have also loaded my Hallmark, Aveda, Babies R Us, Barnes and Noble, CVS, and AAA card info. And all you have to do is scan the barcode!

Trillian - this is how I have Google Chat on my phone. When I am not texting for free to other friends with iPhones, I use the chat function to pseudo-text. You can link in chats from most email accounts (so if you have, say, Gmail and Yahoo, you can be logged into both at the same time. Handy

Blogger - how do you think I can stay so up-to-date on the blog? Its not perfect, but it works best for me to upload photos on the go and fill in short ideas, until I can get back to my computer. Really helpful in keeping everyone updated our personal blog when we are away for vacation.

Clock/AlarmClock/Timer - this wakes us up every morning! And I use the timer for making my perfect cup of French Press

Pandora - hubby logs on and plugs his into an auxiliary cord in his car, so he can have customized tunes on the way to work

Wine Notes - I actually want this app to be better than it is, but if you are looking for something to help you remember that great wine you found on your trip to Napa, this one will work. You can take a photo of the label, record the varietal and vintage, document the exact shade and flavors, and more! Again, you can scan the barcode, but besides a box wine, I have yet to get one to register automatically (though I guess it will help when I head to Total Wine later to see if they carry it...).

Starbucks - they have their own loyalty app! The perks are pretty crummy, but it seemed worthwhile to keep track of when we lived right across the street from one!

These are my highlights! I am not much for games on my phone - just ask my poor mother who wishes I would finish our game of Words with Friends already - so I am sorry if that's what you were looking for!

Don't forget you can add quick links to your favorite webpages and blogs (jbabythoughts!)

What's your favorite app?!

1 comment:

  1. You rock!!! I realize this post is mostly for me (just joining this decade) and i really really appricate it (and you!!!) -- L