Monthly Archives: August 2014

Social Media Apps to watch out for (under Constant construction)

As promised, I’ve been reading up on social media apps that are opening up the doors for kids to meet with potential preditors.  I do understand that if we limit our kids from the social content, we can protect them.  I also understand that where there’s a will, there’s a way.  We all can sit here and say, “not my kid, I keep control over their access to the internet”, but do you really? Do you see what they are doing at their friend’s houses?  How about at school?  If they have smartphones, did you know that the parental settings DON’T prevent ALL of the apps from being blocked?  Did you also know that some apps that appear to be completely harmless, and non-social media, are actually hubs for social media?

So you can make decisions to permanently prevent your kids from getting into any of these sites/apps, that I think is in many ways impossible to completely prevent, or you can find ways to educate yourself AND your children of the dangers behind these medias.

To list all of these apps is virtually impossible.  There are just too many to be able to list, considering that there is a new one everyday. I’m going to list the ones that I’ve been made aware of, from personal research, experience, or from my daughter and her friends usage.  I will add the descriptions, and websites if i can, as I can. I will, at the very least, include the names of the apps I discover.  As new ones appear that I see, I will add them.  Please feel free to comment with any that you know of.  

I know that this list provides a list that kids can use to find these, but if they were already looking, they will find it, with or without this list.  I’m not the only one out there writing about this, so I refuse to feel bad about providing the list.  

 

There’s the obvious, but what I’m starting to see the lesser of the evils:

Facebook and Twitter

Kids seem to be less interested in these two.  They’re old and parents can see what they’re up to, for the most part.  

Snapchat-  This app confuses me in so many ways.  Kids think that these 10 second blurbs of pics are forever erased from the internet once they’ve been seen by their friends. I understand the draw to it, but also find its existence to be a minor irritation.  We can’t go out anywhere without the kids wanting to check in their location with a snap chat to their friends.  This means, we go to eat, so shopping, get coffee, see a movie….it ALL seems to require the world to know what we are doing. I’d probably understand this more if I was either 13, or in the need for constant approval of  my every doings. The pictures range in appropriateness, and kids think that there is no long term consequence to the pictures that they post. I’ve seen some pretty explicit pictures that these kids think no one can see.  Then there’s the option to screen shot the picture, making it anyone’s game as to who gets to see it.

Ask.fm-  This app, and website, seems innocent enough.  Its a portal for kids ages 13 and up to feel free to as any question anonymously that they don’t feel confident or comfortable asking in other circumstances.  This is also a site that allows kids to share their other media names and connect elsewhere if they choose.  The site has an entire FAQ section for parents, to reassure us that it is a safe environment for kids to feel safe to ask questions without their identity being compromised.  What it neglects to state, is that the kids can share their identity or other forms of contact if they chose to.  What the site also says is that the parents don’t have the right to the kids profile unless the log in information is known.  They also do NOT have the right to request that the site admins remove the child’s profile, since they want the child to feel it is a safe place.  Apparently the kid’s have more rights here than the parents.  NOT my favorite thing to learn considering most kids, if not all, are social idiots.  We all are….at least until we are over 25. Even then its questionable.  Kids are NOT equipped with the ability to decide what’s safe or appropriate.  That’s why we are the parents and are ultimately responsible for them.          Here’s the link to their site’s FAQ~ http://ask.fm/about/safety/faq

Tango-  Here is another app, that is similar to skype, but it also helps you connect with friends and new people.  This is not really something that I’d want my kid on.  It freely allows her to meet people who have no business being in her world if they are not friends from school.  The basis of it seems good, but the idea that my child can text, talk and video chat with anyone out there that I don’t know scares me. It allows kids to have a whole phone/video/text access without the parent’s knowledge. There is no way to see the history, such as the bills, to see who they are communicating with.                                            Link to their site:  http://www.tango.me/features

Hangouts- This is an instant messaging and video chat platform deceloped by google. This can allow kids to have chats under their parents radar as well.  It can use the google plus, google talk, which generates a google number for the user to use, so having a phone isn’t entirely necessary.  They can use this with an ipod or ipad device and wifi.

Textme!- 

Selfie360- 

The Game by Hot or Not- 

Nifti-

Instagram-

I am Awesome-

Livejournal-

Talkatone-

Bambuser-

Bobba Bar-

Bump-

Dailyplaces-

Echofon for Twitter-

eBuddy Messenger-

Fittness+-

Heywire-

Kik-

Line-

MyLife-

Nifti-

Redrover-

Vine-

Finding new friends-

Whisper-

Yo.-

WhatsApp-

Wanelo-

Ooovoo-

Tumblr-

Yik Yak-

Pheed- 

Skype-

YouTube-

Facetime-

Google+-

 

References (If not posted with content)-

http://www.babble.com/mom/a-parents-guide-to-social-media-what-are-tweens-and-teens-using-right-now/

Social networking and our kids

I, like many parents, want my children to have the things they want. I don’t want them to feel like they can’t have nice things. An iPhone was one thing that my daughter wanted to have. I understood this. The games are fun and a lot of her friends have one.

I know that there are parents who are appalled at the fact that I gave my daughter a smartphone. I’ve heard both sides and agree with both. I work full time, and so does my husband. I need her to have a phone so that I know when she gets home from school, or so she can call me if needed when she isn’t home. She’s never given me any reason to think there was something I needed to be concerned about with her having one. She’s always been my level headed kid and never gave me reason to rethink that.

Until…….

About a year ago her attitude started to change.

I’m willing to overlook the weird clothes she wants to wear. I went through those phases too. Where I can’t look away, is her relentless need to talk to new people through these social networking apps. They’re popping up like wildfire. I block one, a new one appears. I don’t understand why the extreme need that these kids have. Don’t they know they’re only making it easier for predictors to find them? It’s like giving a free candy store to a predictor. The numbers of kids joining these networks and downloading these apps is growing at an alarming rate.

I’ve decided to take away the smart phone, and limit access to the internet. I’m sure that where there’s a will, there’s a way, but it won’t be by my hand. I hope that my “cutting the cord” from her access will somehow reduce the risk she is putting herself in.

I am compiling a list of the social apps that are being used, and please share any that you know of. Awareness is our only defense for our children.

No matter how honest we believe they are, or how good of kids they are, they place themselves at risk by joining these apps. Most don’t even realize it’s a risk and innocently believe they are talking to another kid their age, and they very well could be, but I’m not taking that risk anymore. For all anyone knows, they’re talking to some 40 year old guy who’s trolling for trusting kids.

My advise, no matter how good your kid is, DON’T assume they aren’t the type to look through these apps. Don’t assume that your parental blocks are keeping them out. New apps have different settings, some bypass that age restriction or present themselves as something else, but are actually portals for the social networking features.

AND…. For every app you discover and restrict or delete, 3 more pop up.

Update: 8/20

I’ve been searching through the social apps that have been flagged as possibly dangerous for our kids due to the easy access that is provided, for free.

I plan on posting what I find when I get to my computer. It will be easier to list them all that way.

I encourage you to share what you’ve experienced or apps you know.

Back to the Gym

Last year I was doing SO good about getting up every morning and hitting the gym before the kids got up for school. That meant I was up by 4:30am so I could get a good 2 hours in. I was feeling great and loving the “me time” I got at the gym.

AND THEN THE SHIN SPLINTS. It started off as a little pain, so I tried to run it off. BAD IDEA. It got worse and I was cut off from running, my favorite part of my regular workouts.

AND THEN……

It took about a week, and my already problematic neck/shoulder muscle deemed me done. I had to get my cortisone shot, which meant no lifting for 2 weeks.

I was out a month, tried to get back into it, but lost my routine and in a sense, my gym mojo. I want it back!

September I vowed to put down the electronics to better my family and our relationships. I’m going to also start up my new routine at the gym.

There are a couple of apps they I use to track my progress, to keep me in check so to speak. I will be checking out the new ones to see if they’re better or if the old standby is still good enough for me. I will share what I find.

In this, I will share my menu options for anyone who cares to join in. If there are any questions on that, please ask.

My routine will most likely be based on a 5-6 days a week of gym time. If you want help adjusting to a shorter week, let me know. I will probably start off with Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the first couple of weeks and then add Tuesday, Wednesday and rotate my saturday and Sundays.

I will also me choosing a different challenge for each month. Each new month will be a new challenge, and the old one will be maintained and incorporated in the workout routine.

I will also post my stats to show progress.
Remember, muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t let the fact that the pounds aren’t shedding if you are building muscle. Your body measurements will tell a better tale if that and the body fat% is used instead of a scale alone.

I hope that in sharing my personal journey to getting back into the gym, I can help someone else get motivated towards getting healthier and motivated.

Out Of Site, Out Of Mind

How many times have you frantically scrambled to get the house clean because you know someone is coming over? Threw it all in a box or a closet so it’s not seen perhaps? I remember growing up, we always seemed to have a closet dedicated to this. That was pretty much where things went missing and never to be seen again. I always liked to have thought I could never get to that point. I was organised…….or wished I was more organised. Then I had 2 more kids. That dream went out the window, for me at least.

I envy those women who have all those DIY tips on de-cluttering. If there were just more hours in a day to get it all done.

I woke up this morning, forgetting what I was looking (that’s where my ADD set it, “ooh! Shiny object!) and realised, this wouldn’t be so dang hard if I just sorted it all and re-homed what I don’t even look at.

So much like all of my great intention, this is my newly declared weekend project. One room at a time.

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September Phone Challange

I will be the first here to admit, I’m bad about being able to put my smartphone down and not want to check my email, or play a game while waiting. It’s become an addiction that so many are victim to. Our kids can’t live a day without their phones and we act the same way. How did we ever survive before the cell phone?

I want to challenge myself and my family to putting away the phone wen we are home for an entire month.

I’m realistic in this, knowing that work depends on the access, I think setting a time for when home so that it’s reasonable.

Rules for challenge:

1. Phones down 45 minutes after coming home. Breaking this rule mean giving up phone for a whole weekend.

2. Weekends only allow for 2 hours of use, this can be broken up or used all at once. When not in use, phones have to be kept in one place to keep everyone from sneaking a use.

3. Start a DIY project, we have a ton we always wanted to do, so this is a great way to get started.

4. Go back to the use of pen and paper for my lists and writings.

Rules are a work in progress. If you want to join my challenge, I would love to hear how it goes. Any ideas for rules are fully welcome.

Working Mom vs Stay at Home Mom

I find this subject to be a bit taboo. There’s two different types of moms here, and they rarely ever mix. Even in social situations, the two types rarely mesh. This is something I’ve struggled with understanding. I’m not here to say they one works harder than the other. I often at times feel like I’ve got 2 full time jobs having both to do. SAHM’s work pretty hard. Their day starts and ends all about the kids. For me, work is a break from that, and I appreciate my kids more from it.

On one side, you have the mother who struggles with going to work and having to leave her babies in the hands of another person to keep them safe. Some are lucky enough to have family, so the worried feeling you get is more about feeling guilty you’re not there for their every moment.

Often, there’s a bit of jealousy of what the other has. One gets to spend time with their kids and not have to miss out on their activities, while the other gets to get out there and away from the kids enough to not feel smothered, or that their only conversations were in 3 year old talk.

For me, I prefer the working mom role. I’ve done both. I was a stay at home for almost 3 years with my oldest, and for the first year and a half of my youngest’s life. I didn’t dislike being home with them, but I was always the type who had 2 jobs and went to school. As much as I love my children, I find that I love then even more if I get to be away from them.

Now my biggest confusion about the two is, why don’t they mingle? When I was home with my daughter, I had friends who were home with their kids too. We got together and our kids played, it was fun. Same for when I was home with my son. I had friends were were SAHM’s, but as soon as I went back to work, that romance ended and I was not a part of that “click” anymore. I’ve ask them what changed, and none really had an answer. Some were too busy, others just had their mom groups. Still, why can’t the two mingle? I’ve talked with other friends who work and were SAHM’s, and they experienced the same thing, so I know there has got to be some sort of connection. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out.

Have you experienced this?

Rit dye carpets

So I decided a couple of weeks ago that I was tired of looking at the discolored stains my once off white carpet kept bringing back for me. We eventually plan on replacing the carpets with wood flooring, but can’t seem to agree on the color or how dark/light to go with the wood.
I read on some blogs and posts about dying the carpet with rit dye. What the heck, right? What’s the worst that could happen? We hate it, we tear it up, and replace it with what we already plan to do with it.
I started out just going with the tan color, very minimal change, almost not worth it since it wasn’t noticeable, and the stains were darker than the dye color. I added the brown color and once I covered 1/4 of the section I was testing, I was committed to the project and had to finish the rest.
I originally started this using a rug doctor steam cleaner. This works great if you’re prepared to disassemble the whole machine to clean out the dye before returning it. I found this to be a bit of a pain. I also found that removing there excess water after spraying the dye, made the dye not as dark, and end result was a bit blotchy.
I followed a few tips that mentioned using a weed sprayer to spread the mixed dye, and I’ve found this to work the best.
I bought a 2 gallon sprayer ($12.99 at wal-mart), several bottles of my chosen color in liquid rit dye ( these were cheapest at wal-mart @ $1.87/bottle. Everywhere else was $2.99, but still cheaper than online. Other stores found were hobby lobby and joann fabric)
White vinegar, gallon jugs
Hot water
Fabric softener

My mix was based off of recipes I found online and trial and error. My carpets weren’t in the worst of shape, thy just had reoccurring stains from the previous owners who had ginormous dogs that I hear were predominately indoors.

Rit dye recipe for dying the carpets

Based on 2 gallon sprayer
2 gallons = 32 cups
3 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups color (1 1/2 -8 oz bottles)
1/2 cup softener
32 cups HOT water

Pour the color, vinegar and softener in the container first, swirl it around to mix up, then add the water. The hotter the better. Hot water helps open up the “pores” in the fibers to set the stain in the carpet.

I tested out a section that is normally covered by furniture, about 1 sq foot worth to make sure the color would absorb without any issues. I wasn’t sure if there was any scotch guard left on my carpets, but I did assume that if stains were setting, there wasn’t much for scotch guard left, if any. Now because I have this wonderful sense of patience, I waited, oh about 5 minutes, and decided to just go with it. After I got about 1/8 of the room done, I declared I was committed and might as well finish.
I sprayed as evenly as I could, and it took me 5 refills before finishing the room. I left main walkways for last since the room was the cut through for getting to and from the kitchen, and backyard. This could have been a weekend project, but because it is summertime, the kids have been home, so it was broken down into 2 weekends.
I used all the fans in the house to “power dry” the carpets. It took about 3 days to be completely dry. (The dye can stain any socks or clothing in the damp stages, so beware)

Even though this isn’t a permanent fix, it was worth the trial and error. We can see how we’d like the darker color vs the lighter color that we had previously. I personally like the darker color, so if I want to keep it dark, I’ll have to make a hard sell for my husband to agree. For now, he will just have to settle for this. I don’t think it came out too bad. I did go back and touch up spots that were faded or not as dark as the rest. I did find that the areas with the most traffic were more matter down and needed additional applications. Combing out the carpet with a dog brush works really well for this. I’ve used a rake before as well. Some sites that I saw recommended staining freshly shampooed and dried carpet. I did this with half of the room, and honestly don’t see a difference.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please share! If you decide to color your carpet, share the before and after pictures, I’d love to see them.

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Fighting siblings

I will be the first to declare that I am furthest from being a perfect parent. I have 3 kids who I like to describe as very set strong in their ways.
My oldest daughter (13) is the quiet one, my middle girl (6) is the drama queen bee and then there’s my boy (3), well he’s ALL boy.
It’s a daily struggle getting the two younger ones to not scream and fight. It’s a daily occurrence, and some days I contemplate on wether or not it’s allowed to drop them off at the fires station for rehoming. Of course I’d never actually do it, but it’s when the days ends with those thoughts, I begin to wonder why I don’t drink by choice.
I’ve read blog after blog about how to settle the fighting or how to positively discipline my children. They’d make sense if my kids were the type who fit their molds of the “perfect Christian family”. I will be the first to admit, I become very religious when I decide God needs to step in and save my sanity. Otherwise, I’m far from that role.
For us, I find it most effective to let them settle the score themselves. Tattling is not an option, because I’ve declared my lack of interest in their problems. Maybe it’s poor parenting, and throwing in the towel is not the best route to go, but it works better than beating them senselessly or trying to have positive small talk to encourage good behavior. I’d LOVE to meet a 3 year old that truly works on.

What works for you?