Category - Preteens & Teens

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE Reviewed by an Audiophile {Guest Post}

So, DaddyB has been bugging me to get his hands on my Droid Incredible 4G LTE by HTC smartphone ever since it arrived in the mail. He’s a huge data user, loves music and streaming audio on his own phone and I thought who better to let test it out than someone who could do that in the comfort of our own home.

Here are DaddyB’s thoughts for all of you data lovers, dads, and audiophiles!

I was excited to get a chance to review the Droid Incredible 4G LTE by HTC. It’s is a solid smartphone all around. I had the chance the to put it to the test during a typical day of work. I stream Internet radio and podcasts most of the day and I was curious to see how this phone would handle it; in terms of battery life, connection, and sound quality.

image-Beats-Audio-logoDroid Incredible with Beats Audio – Sound Quality

I’ve noticed Beats audio and that “B” logo popping up everywhere these days, but I hadn’t tried it out until now. I figured that it was all just a cool trend thanks to the company’s creator Dr.Dre and all of the high profile endorsers like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. But, after listening to music with the Beats mode enabled, I have to say that I can see why it’s so popular. There was so much more depth and layers to the quality of my music with the Beats mode. Even the podcasts, that just consisted of voices, sounded a good bit clearer. So, the HTC passed this test. Not only did audio sound good, it sounded great!

Droid Incredible by HTC – Connection & Data SpeedI’m not sure how much I can attribute to the phone versus the network itself, but thanks to the HTC Droid Incredible and Verizon’s 4G LTE, I had a strong connection indoor or outside through out the day. Browsing the Web and downloading podcasts were both a breeze. I was impressed in the past with the Stratosphere, but I’d have to put this phone just a bit above it

Droid Incredible by HTC – Battery Life
Compared to my previous smartphones (LG Ally, Samsung Stratosphere), the HTC Droid Incredible had impressive battery life. As usual, I streamed music while I worked nearly the entire day and it still had plenty of life left when I went to bed. Usually, my Stratosphere was on its last legs or needed to be plugged in by the end of the day.

verizon-4g-lteThe HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE is a mid-range smartphone, so I’m not sure how it’d compare with the most expensive phones on the block, but I definitely enjoyed using it. I’d recommend it for it’s speed, sound quality and battery life. It performed seamlessly and met or exceeded my expectations.
 

 

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Tips for Parenting in a Social Media Age

Parenting Tips

Recently, someone in my parenting geared bible study had mentioned they didn’t really “get” technology. I had nonchalantly mentioned to them that I worked in social media and would be more than willing to give some tips regarding figuring out Facebook, Twitter and the like. Little did I know that God had bigger plans for the gifts He has given me and I was asked to speak about those tips with my entire bible study.

I wrote some notes and speaking points down and was able to tell them why I think learning social media is so important as a parent and figured instead of just keeping it to myself and my study members that I would share here too.

Social Media Parenting Tips

In my group, we’ve been talking a lot about how we, as parents are responsible for growing Godly women and men, and creating boundaries to make them the healthiest adult they can be. With the rise of social media and the issues that come with it; cyberbullying, pornography, horrible language, encouraged drug use, gossip, sexual predators this is the exact place where we as parents need to be.

With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare and a thousand smaller social networks it may seem overwhelming, but don’t be intimidated, because your kids need you and understanding their world will give you the advantage and tools to parent that much better.

Although there are many tips and suggestions I have, here are 3 of my biggest parenting tips for social networks.

#1 Sign Up

Join social networks that your child uses, or if they’re younger than the age minimum sit with them while they browse the internet making sure you interact with them. It’s the best way to educate yourself so that you can in-turn protect your kids.

And better yet, if it’s a social network for adults as well, ask them to show you how to join if they have an account or sign up alongside them. Going through the sign-up process together allows for opportunities to discuss appropriate use, concerns you have for them, and see how savvy they are about their own privacy features.

#2 Privacy

“42 percent of teens ‘sometimes’ or ‘always’ accept social networking friend requests from strangers”

What a shocking statistic. In order to gain back some control against privacy issues I recommend using the most strict privacy settings available, especially when it comes to a tween or younger teen. Review every.single.one of the options on your privacy settings page and adjust accordingly. Facebook’s default is to keep information public until a user makes it private (although Facebook is a little stricter with minors’ accounts). The “Friends Only” setting is a good choice for most items, to control who’s seeing what, but with advanced Facebook settings, you can be even more selective, choosing specific people by name to show posts, messages, and images to.

Make sure you choose the settings that allow you to be notified and have to approve everything you’ve been tagged in (including photos) before the tag links to your page. That way you/your child can approve the information before it’s made public and make sure it’s legitimate. Using innappropriate images or posts and tagging others in them is one of the biggest ways to cyberbully, if this is restricted by privacy settings you’re one step ahead of the game.

#3 Set responsiblities
Believe it or not your child is making their digital footprint from the moment they enter any online community. Making it even harder to make a good impression for friends, teachers and even future employers and colleges.

Recent studies found that nearly 60 percent of employers and 80 percent of college admissions officers use social networks to screen applicants.

In many cases, once you put something out online, even if you delete it, it can still be found through search engines or an internet archive search. Twitter is the biggest social network where deleting comments doesn’t really matter, plus with the age of the “screenshot” internet users can be put in a very tricky spot.

Social media is like toothpaste, once it’s out of the tube pretty hard to try to get it back in.

Toothpaste

For example, last week, the person in charge of KitchenAid’s Twitter Feed posted a controversial politics-based comment, {presumably intended for their own twitter feed} and could have cost them their job.

So it’s imperative that parents set rules about what’s appropriate to post.

Rule of thumb: Have them ask themselves if they would be embarrassed with their teacher, pastor, grandparents seeing it. If so, they should probably not post it.

InternetYou have ever right to set time limits on their amount of online time. You will probably want to base their time limit using their age, maturity, other responsibilities, and day of the week. Key times to limit or restrict their internet time would be during meals, family time, bed time. Often it’s hard to unplug from social media, but healthy to take breaks and also make sure we connect with reality.

Because we live in a digital age, face-to-face communication, empathy, and ethics are used less and less and values are becoming muddied by the increasing influences in our world and on the internet, while we can’t put our kids in a bubble (although I’m sure some of us would like to) the best thing we can do for them and ourselves is to place our own reservations aside and step outside our comfort zones to build God loving, empathetic, responsible citizens. Social media is not going away, shouldn’t we be prepared for our children’s sake??

What steps are you taking to learn more about social media? Do you have any tips you’d like to add?

Breakfast for Dinner – A Twist on the Classic Hashbrown Casserole

Hashbrown Casserole


I always love challenges when it comes to cooking. Recently, I was even in a fun cooking challenge/blogger event. This time, I thought it would be fun to try to make a meal out of only the things I already had in my fridge before going to the grocery store. Now for some of you foodies this may not sound like a challenge, but for me, someone who goes grocery shopping about every other day to fill in missing items, and the person who keeps random foods that sound good at the store, {but may not as much when I get home} in my fridge, this definitely was a challenge.

Hashbrown Casserole

I love hashbrowns and enjoy ordering the hashbrown casserole whenever we go out to eat breakfast style, so I thought why not take a swing at making my own Ore-ida hashbrown casserole. Remember, I said I was only going to use what I already had in my fridge and pantry.

Here are my wacky-ish ingredients:

  • 1 Package of Frozen Ore-ida Hashbrowns
  • 1 Small Can of Condensed Mushroom soup
  • 1/4 Cup Minced Medium Red Onion
  • 4 Patties Pre-Cooked Turkey Sausage (you could also use links)
  • 4 Slices of Provolone Cheese
  • 1 Cup of Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Small Container of Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup of Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Thaw Ore-ida Hashbrowns. Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together. Place in a greased 13×9 casserole dish. Spread panko breadcrumbs over top of the finished casserole. Cook for 45-50 minutes or until top layer golden brown. Cool and enjoy!!

Oreida Dinner

It’s a great dish if you want breakfast for dinner, or breakfast for lunch, and especially breakfast for breakfast.

Compensation was provided by Ore-Ida® via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Ore-Ida.

Braces: Then and Now

Everyone knows the best way to fix crooked teeth is to see an Orthodontist for treatment, that hasn’t changed. Some even say that an early form of dental braces even dates back to 400-300 BC and adorns the mouths of ancient mummified bodies. Weird: yes, Resourceful: yes.

Throughout the centuries braces have gone through many changes, each step of the way improving materials being used as well as steps involved in the teeth-straightening process.

Here are some pictures of my friends, their children, (Thanks for the pics ladies: http://www.musingsfromme.com,  www.Shanamama.com) and of course super-pop star Katy Perry sporting traditional metal braces.

BRACES THEN:

Traditional Braces

But today, there’s a choice. The choice to go a little more incognito with your dental care. With Invisalign and Invisalign Teen, the choice is clear, literally!

Not only are the aligners next to invisible, you can easily remove them to eat and drink, brush/floss your teeth, for quick photos, or any activity as long as you try to keep them in the recommended 23 hours a day. Invisalign’s technology department is hard at work {trust me, I got to visit one of their development teams in person} figuring out ways to make Invisalign even more awesome than it already is. You would be blown away if you knew how each tray {one top, one bottom for most cases} was made and the care and precision behind it would amaze you.

Because Invisalign technology is steadily increasing that means great things for orthodontic care and the fact that Invisalign can treat many more cases now than ever, including cases that you may think too difficult for the procedure. If you’re not sure, ask your Orthodontist if you are a good candidate for Invisalign or Invisalign Teen. Oh, and make sure you check out these NOW pictures for some inspiration!!

INVISALIGN NOW:

MommyBKnowsBest Invisalign Collage

Do you have any then or now braces pictures or stories to share?? I’d love to see and hear them, feel free to post your stories here and your photos on my Facebook page here: Facebook.com/MommyBKnowsBest

*I am a member of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board, I receive complimentary Invisalign treatment, but am posting my own, personal opinions.

How Our Family Prepares for Halloween – Kmart Kreator

Kmart Kreator

Now that Fall is officially here, the major Fall and Winter holidays are not far behind. With just over a month until Halloween I know some of my friends are getting their Fall and Halloween decorations up in their yards and redecorating the inside of their homes, and of course buying all of the Fall scents like pumpkin spice, apple cider and the delicious aromas that accompany this time of year.

There are three main things we do as a family to prepare for Halloween. We decorate, go to the pumpkin farm as a family, and choose Halloween costumes for the girls.

MommyBKnowsBest HayrideWe, the B Family, {that’s my family in case you didn’t already know}, usually wait until at least October 1st to get our decorations up, the fall leaf window decals, our adorable pumpkin votives that spell, “Fall” and of course anything cutesy within the Fall/Halloween theme, since my girls think most things this time of year are, “spoooooooky.”

As a family tradition, we always plan to go around Mid-October to a local farm, {the same one every year}. Each member of our family selects their very own pumpkin. Again, because our girls are tender spirited we are very mindful of how we decorate our pumpkins once we get them home.

For Miss A’s first Halloween, we painted her hands and placed handprints on the pumpkin, one year we used felt stickers to decorate, and this year, we have colored brads from Kmart to decorate our pumpkins with. What can I say, sometimes I stay traditional and other times I like to mix it up! But either way, knowing how we are going to decorate or what medium we’ll use definitely helps save us some time and is fun way to get creative and display our different creations each year too.

Speaking of creations, one of the biggest preparations we have to make when Halloween comes around is choosing a costume. If you don’t purchase a costume in time, one of three things could happen:

a. your child will get their costume in the mail on November 3rd and never forgive you

b. they will have to attend Halloween parties and go trick-or-treating in one of the few leftover clearance costumes that no one really wants

c. they’ll end up wearing their regular clothes and say they are a student, or a teenager {which surprisingly we get a lot of at my house. When this happens we make the trick-or-treaters do a dance or sing a song, they have to work for their candy at the B house!!}

Kmart Kreator Back on topic, this year Kmart is making costume selections a ton easier with their Kostume Kreator. This fun online tool allows you and your kiddos to browse through popular costume selections using various categories like fairy, scary, or superhero. You can add accessories that are also available at Kmart stores and Kmart online to enhance the costume, I personally love wigs. The most fun part though is that your kid {or even you} can easily upload an image of their face and be transformed as they find themselves with a custom background and their face on the costume they’ve created with the Kmart Kreator.

Miss A and I had fun browsing through the costumes and adding our own personal touches to fit her personality.

Here’s what we came up with:

MommyBKnowsBest-kmart-kreator-postcard Isn’t she adorable?? Now we have to make one for Lil’ C!!

Want to have some fun planning for Fall? Check out the Kmart Halloween section for some adorable decorations for your home and make sure you grab the kids and head over to the Kostume Kreator to pick your child’s Halloween costume or just to have some fun. Would love to hear how yours turned out!

Using Kmart’s Kreator is helping me create a fun and memorable Halloween for my family. Try it for yourself! Find all your Halloween needs at Kmart’s Halloween Shop.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kmart. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Kmart Halloween Sweepstakes Rules.

Comment below to win one (1) of five (5) $100 Kmart gift-cards!

Back to School – Send Parenting Advice with your Kids

Classroom

Ever wish you could be with your children when they are at school? I know many of us parents say, “If I could be a fly on the wall of their classroom…” While it would be kind of silly to see one of us sitting in an elementary school desk or hiding under our college student’s dorm room bed, there are plenty of ways that our kids can “take us with them” to school, or at least the most important advice we can give them.

Sometimes when we’re put on the spot it’s hard to think of what we really want to say to our children, but we know we want it to come from the heart. This is where Papersalt comes in. Papersalt is a company that provides, “simple tools for families”. Their books cover a variety of parenting topics including some great products for back to school.

Papersalt Logo

Papersalt’s, “Being a Boy”, “Being a Girl”, and “Being a Teenager” books would be a perfect backpack addition. Just slip one into your child’s backpack for them to read during quiet times throughout the day or trips to their locker to give them the boost or reminder they need through their day of classes. {You can also add your own words of inspiration!}

Me JournalWhen your child gets home and needs to decompress and express themselves I love the “Me” Journal. We hear it time and time again that writing down our feelings is one of the most therapeutic activities available, and if we enable our kids to reflect on their school days and emotions we are equipping them for an even fuller life.

Lastly, for the high-school and college students out there {and maybe even for you parents too}, the “How to Ditch Your Parents” book comes with loads of great advice for living on your own, preparing your child for the working world, and advice that you as a parent may think is common knowledge.

Those are my favorite back to school items from Papersalt.  I encourage you to check out other books on their website that fit your family, give advice when situations that arise, prepare fo life changes, and more www.papersalt.com Their site allows you to “browse” through the books, learn more about the company, and of course purchase their products. If you like Papersalt, follow them on Facebook and Twitter as well.

What words of advice do you give your child to keep with them at school?

This is a sponsored post, that being said, all words and opinions are my own. If I didn’t think this was a great product to showcase I would not put it on my site. Please note your opinions may vary.

Tips on How to Travel with Invisalign

How To Travel with Invisalign

Recently I’ve been in between attending amazing blog conferences and brand events or going on short vacations with my family. Often times when we are travelling there are two main things that can be challenging when you have Invisalign. But don’t worry! I have some tips for you that will make trips with Invisalign much easier.

How To Travel with Invisalign

Road Trip Challenges:

Drive Thru

Creative Commons Image*

Eating on the road – While our first choice would ALWAYS be to brush and floss and clean our aligners, sometimes that’s not always possible when it’s meal time on the road. I have found that the mini toothbrushes with toothpaste sold in most store’s dental aisle are invaluable for times when you have to grab a bite and run. These little toothbrushes include soft bristles, a drop of toothpaste, and a tooth pick for optimal cleaning, and they do a pretty good job of removing any gunk, at least until you stop where you can brush/clean better.

Restroom Brushing  – After flights I have had no choice but to brush my teeth in the public restroom at airports around the US. Some of the restrooms will offer a “traditional sink” rather than the timed or motion activated water. If this option is available it should be your first choice. From first hand experience I can tell you it is extremely difficult to try to brush your aligners and move to keep the water running on motion activated spouts. Make sure you place your aligners in your case while you are brushing, and if by some chance you don’t have your case use a few dry paper towels to place your aligners on, this reduces the amount of dirt and germs in contact with your Invisalign aligners.

Away from Home Challenges:

Hotel Accommodations – When travelling you’ll of course bring your usual toothbrush and toothpaste, however if you do forget yours, most large or chain hotels offer complimentary toiletries for your needs. I will often ask the front desk for their travel toothbrush and toothpaste so I can tuck it in my bag and not have to bring the mini toothbrush I mentioned above or my bulky, battery powered  toothbrush. The packets of toothpaste are convenient and small and great for on-the-go as well.

So whether you’re travelling by car, boat, or plane, there are many ways to keep your teeth clean and make sure you are wearing and taking good care of your Invisalign aligners.

What questions or additional tips about traveling with Invisalign do you have??

 

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/imuttoo/

I am a member of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board, I receive complimentary Invisalign treatment, but am posting my own, personal opinions.

Healthy Snack Time Choices with Yoplait Trix Yogurt

MommyBKnowsBest Trix Collage

When it comes to my girls, you know I’m always trying to teach them the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. Yes, we eat at McDonald’s occasionally and they have a “treat” here and there, but I’m always trying to add in more vegetables and fruits to their snacks and meals when possible.

I love it when companies who I’ve come to avoid, because of High Fructose Corn Syrup, tons of sugar, and unnecessary extras reformulate their products or come out with at least an alternative to their “not-so-good-for-you” line, like Yoplait Trix Yogurt.

Trix Logo“Trix are for kids” but unwanted additives definitely are not. That’s why Yoplait® Trix® Yogurt comes in silly, swirly flavors kids love, without high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or sweeteners. It’s still the same bright, fun, colorful snack, only better. You’ll love that they love it!

I was so excited to learn that Yoplait Trix Yogurt made those positive changes to their yogurt, so much so that  I bought a 4-pack as a healthy snack for my girls, and they loved it.

MommyBKnowsBest Trix Collage

 

The NEW Yoplait Trix Yogurt leaves out things that we as parents would rather not have them eating, but still has it’s fun, colorful swirls of yogurt and Miss A says, “It’s really, REALLY, yummy.” So I know it’s a snack I don’t mind them eating every once and a while!

Plus with Lil’ C still not drinking milk this is a great way to get some Calcium into her body to make those bones strong and healthy.

What kind of snacks do you feel good about giving your kiddos?

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by General Mills via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills.

Picture Perfect: A Review of Hogan Imaging Photography

Miss A Lil C

Miss A and Lil C both celebrate their birthdays in the Spring, which sometimes makes it a little crazy planning birthday parties, but is awesome for the annual kid pictures we have taken. We like to document the girls as they get older and love changing out the pictures from one year to the next and can really see how much they’ve grown. {Bittersweet}.

This year we were lucky enough to work with Jennifer Hogan, owner of Hogan Imaging. She’s not only a professional, but a mom too, and because of that, and her experience photographing a wide variety of ages, I knew we’d be in good hands. And that we were. We met Jennifer at a local park to get some fun outdoor pictures of the girls. The weather was great, the girls were in a good mood {yes I did keep filling them up with Goldfish and promising ice cream}, and Jennifer was very chill and calculated at the same time.

From the very first photoshoot with Miss A to this session I have calmed down a lot, and tried not to worry about getting “the perfect shot”. But even so Jennifer’s demeanor and how she handled the girls put me at ease even more. After a fun day I was excited to see how the pictures turned out, and I can tell you they were amazing….but honestly I’d rather just show you.

Here are a few of my personal favorites from our shoot:

 Miss A Lil C

Miss A Spring 12

Lil C

B girls

 

Amazing! I wish I could show you all of them. Jennifer has a great portfolio that can be found on her website: http://hoganimaging.com/ and if you’re in the Charlotte area I highly recommend her work. Also be sure to like her page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HoganImaging1

 

Hogan Imaging Logo

I received complimentary services to give my honest opinions about Hogan Imaging, the words expressed in my post are my own, honest opinions. Yours may vary. 

 

Interview with Fresh Beat Band’s Marina – Shayna Rose & Elizabeth Shea – 2Carats – Part 1

I had the amazing opportunity to sit down and interview Shayna Rose, formerly The Fresh Beat Band’s Marina and Days of Our Life’s Stephanie AND Elizabeth Shea former Giant Recording artist and talent who has sung with the likes of Martina McBride and other popular artists. These two powerhouses form the duo 2Carats.

Enjoy Part 1 of our interview where we talk about Shayna and Liz’s musical roots:

Stay tune for Part 2 coming up next weekend where we talk more about their current work with 2Carats.

and while you’re here check out these other related posts:

Shayna Rose and Elizabeth Shea 2Carats Trailer by MommyBKnowsBest

What Happened To The Fresh Beat’s Marina

Fresh Beat Band Season 3 Episodes

Fresh Beat Band Season 3 – New September Episodes

Dora’s Explorer Girls: Dora All Grown Up

No More Moose and Zee – NickJr Changes

NickJr Lied!!