Thursday, January 28, 2010

Men Who Love Women Who Love Their iPhones

My husband used to tease me about my iPhone ... which started when I bought it for myself for Valentine's Day last year while he was deployed. No box of chocolates for me! I got myself the latest and greatest in modern technology. =) After he got home and we took our Block Leave vacation (using the iPhone without ceasing to find restaurants, directions, reviews, and more), he has teased me less, but still considers it a bit frou-frou and my adoration for it a bit overboard.

Well, Hubby's been gone for a couple of weeks now to Fort Sill, OK. Apparently there is some bad weather getting started up there today so he called to tell me that he gets to come home a day early … and will be home tonight! I'm very excited! When I told my 1st grader that Daddy was coming home today instead of tomorrow, he jumped up and said, "Great! Where is he now? Can your iPhone track him?"

Crazily, I think there is an app that can do that ... but we don't have it. Not that I'm in any deficit of iPhone apps. I'm the kind of iPhoner that uses all eight pages for apps ... although right now I have one almost blank page just to save room for new ones I discover. For example, I was listening to Kelly Ripa on "Live" the other day and she was talking with her (adorable!) Hubby about her iPhone. He is definitely a man who loves a woman who loves her iPhone! She kept saying she was addicted (actually that may have been his word, not hers ...) to an iPhone game called "Bedazzled."

Naturally, I had to search to see what "Bedazzled" was all about, and -- before you fire up your App Store -- there is no "Bedazzled" app. Later, she tweeted that "Bejeweled" was the app she was crazy about. Clearly, this was an app I needed to try! And I am hooked. I love it! It is a battery-muncher, though, so I try to limit my play time on that one (usually while waiting in line to pick kids up from school).

But I do have my favorite apps, and if you’re interested, continue reading …

Facebook, of course. This should be required on all iPhones. =)

For Twitter, I use Tweetie and Hootsuite ... there are different things I like about both.

For photos, Shutterfly (for easy access to my online account), and PS Mobile to do fun stuff with photos on my phone.

For books, I love Amazon's Kindle! You can download just about any book with a single click and it is billed to your account (um, that's the good news and the bad news!) I also have the Barnes & Noble app and a copy of the Bible on my phone.

Google Earth is cool, but takes forever to download.

For music, Pandora online radio is neat, and free (I always look at free apps first; I'm stingy with my iTunes funds). Shazam is another must-have app. You can let your iPhone 'listen' to any song and it will download all the information for you! Song title, artist, reviews, lyrics, link to iTunes, link to that song's video on YouTube, and lots more. I love it because I can save the songs I want to eventually purchase on iTunes here.

I have several "To Do" and "Shopping" apps, but there are lots of good ones out there.

For searching, Google and Wikiamo are good.

I haven't fallen in love with any of the social media apps yet (probably because I'm on my computer so often I don't need to post from my phone), but enjoyed trying Whrrl and Pingle. LinkedIn has a good app, too.

LOVE Bump! If you haven't tried this app, you must. It's too cool. Simply turn it on, 'bump' phones with another iPhone (that has the app on) and you instantly have each other's contact information! It's very fun.

Now I'm starting to worry all readers of this blog have been bored to tears so I'll wrap it up with a few final suggestions to try: Fandango, PhoneFlicks (for Netflix), Yelp, Starbucks, USArmy, and Skype.

My kids favorite apps (I use the term "favorite" loosely here; these are the only apps I've downloaded for them so they don't have much to compare):

MazeFinger, Trace, TowerFree, Labyrinth, and TicTacFree.

I also downloaded a few educational apps for them and they will play:

FlashTables, MathRaces, BBMultiply, Coin Math, Mathemagics, A+ Matchup, and US Capitols.

Do you have favorite apps I should try? Or fun games for my kids? I’m always looking for a fun educational app to entertain them during any long-wait sessions (usually at the post pharmacy). I’d love to hear about them.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Addicted to Reading

I love to read. Really, really, love to read. When I was young, my mom used to ponder the fact that, as a public school teacher, she was constantly forbidding me, her own daughter, to read! Sounds odd, but she would only do this when I had, for example, gone upstairs to clean my room and become distracted by a book ... or spent an hour reading the newspaper instead of doing the dishes ... or was sidetracked from pouring my brother a bowl of cereal because I was reading the back of the cereal box. You get the picture.

I have a true sister-soul-mate in this addiction. My husband's brother's wife, whom I love, is an avid book-addict, too. We share books and ideas constantly and both suffer from reading-induced insomnia. She told a story recently of starting a book before bed and getting so engrossed in it that she didn't realize how much time had gone by until her husband woke and said it was almost time to wake up ... the next day! Yes, this is the extent of our affliction.

It seems that I have birthed another addict in the family as well. My eldest son, now in the 4th grade, shows all the signs of addiction. His teachers have resorted to banning him from books in the classroom! Again, sounds odd. But when he doesn't complete an assignment, forgets to take his spelling test, or misses the fact that his classmates have all left for lunch because he is reading a book, drastic measures are necessary.

At home, even, I have had to 'ground' him from books. He can easily live without his Nintendo DS, playing Wii, or riding his bike with the neighborhood kids, but take away reading privileges and he snaps to attention. It's crazy.

I tend to do a lot of reading during deployments. Sleeping alone provides lots of time to read for me. It's not that I read to go to sleep; in fact, I have to stop myself from reading in order to go to sleep. But I do enjoy it so much and don't feel guilty reading at night when Hubby's away.

I just added a new widget to my blog ... if you're a reader, too, here are the books I love and am reading now. I tend to get stuck on one author or theme for awhile then change to something else, only to get 'stuck' again. I love Philippa Gregory ... her books on Tudor England are some of my favorites.

I have also read several of the 'teen' series and loved them, too! I read my first Harry Potter book while teaching 7th graders (when the books first came out) just to understand the fascination with them. I then had to read them all, of course, and did enjoy them. I held out longer on the 'Twilight' series and refused to participate in such a silly theme. I mean, vampires? Really? But eventually I acquiesed ... and loved them all too! A friend even suggested the "Sookie Stackhouse" series a while back and I've read them all, too, and enjoyed them in a 'guilty pleasure' kind of way.

Anyway ... hope you enjoy the "good reads" widget and decide to share some of your favorites, too! When I finish the latest Philippa Gregory book, The White Queen, I'll be looking for a new book or series to start!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Road Trip to Fort Sill ... King of Battle!

So Hubby is gone for a three-week course at Fort Sill, OK ... Home of the Field Artillery. Hooah and King of Battle! We were stationed there in '97 for just nine months but it was a fun time ... pre-kids, lots of freedom, and a pre-9/11 Army that was much less stressful than today.

The boys and I took a road trip up to Oklahoma this weekend to visit ... and to expose our kids to the homeland of the Field Artillery. Those of you that have been stationed there will recognize their favorite stops: Atomic Annie, Geronimo's Grave, Field Artillery museum, and Meers! Meers was once a miner's town that is now simply a store/restaurant. It's rustic and old and has the very best burgers ever made: 100% longhorn beef raised on the owner's ranch. If you get the chance, you should visit AND save room for the amazing cobbler as well (our favorite is cherry but they're all delish!).

Okay, my restaurant review is complete! It was a fun trip and we're glad this is just a short course and Hubby will be home soon!

Back Online!

After two months' worth of mourning the accidental deletion of my old blog ... and same amount of time haggling with Blogger to please help me retrieve it or reuse my old blog name (neither of which were successful), I have ended my official mourning period and am back online! Having learned valuable online lessons these past weeks, I thought I would share with all my blogger friends these words of advice:

Don't delete your blog.

Really. It's quite inconvenient and I don't recommend it at all. =)

I'm happy to be back online and look forward to reconnecting with former blogger friends. Now I'm off to find my friends to follow ... and play with more background options. Love the ones at "Cutest Blog on the Block" and I was so happy to reinstall my header (I missed her!!). Thank you again to @undomesticwifey for such a fabulous header design!!

Please find me ... I look forward to following and discovering fun new blogs again!