Keep Track of Your Kids During Summer Break with MamaBear App

This post is sponsored by MamaBear App. Any opinions expressed are my own.  Prize is sponsored by Mamabear app

I’m a mom of 4.  I also have anxiety issue.  2 of my kids are teenage boys. They run around all summer with their friends, ride bikes, play football, and hang out with their girl friends.  My boys are pretty good about checking in with me via phone every so often.  Sometimes though there is a delay with replies if they’re into a football game or don’t here the text go off.

Admittedly sometimes I wonder if they really are where they say they are.  If I need to get a hold of both of them I have to send them each texts or phone calls individually.  For some reason, I have issues with my texts at times (I really need to talk to my carrier about that).

But there is an app called MamaBear that can help give me some piece of mind and it’s a lot more affordable than you might think.

 

What is MamaBear App?

It’s a family communication app.  You can add your whole family to the app.  Once everyone has the app downloaded you can do a lot of cool stuff with it.

  • Enter in safe places, like a grandparent’s house for instance, and when they stop at their house you get a notification that your child is there.  On the other hand, if there are places you absolutely do not want your child to go, you can plug those in too and the app let’s you know that they are there as well.
  • Monitor your child’s social media. You can put in keywords for the app to monitor and if those words show up in their social media it can alert you.
  • Send messages to the whole family with the family messaging system.  I actually find myself using this more than I thought. Even for little things like letting the family know when supper is ready.

  •   If you have a teen of driving age you can set speed notifications.  If your teen surpassed that speed you’ll get a notification.  lol I actually got a notification the other day when my 14 year old son was on the bus and the bus drove past our house!

  •  There is also text message monitoring. Unfortunately at this time it seems to only be for android users and we all have iphones.
  •  Maps allows you to see where your child is too.
  • Very affordable. There is a free option for ads which everyone can use.  But a paid ad-free subscription is available in monthly, 3 month, and 6 month subscription plans. 6 months is only $24.99 total.  For as much as this app does and the peace of mind it can give, it’s a real bargain.  More affordable than a lot of apps out there.

How can I get the MamaBear app?

MamaBear is available for both apple and android devices.  Visit mamabearapp.com for more info, subscriptions, and download links.

GIVEAWAY

5 winners will get a code to unlock the premium version of the app (no ads for you!)

US only

MamaBear App Giveaway 5 winners!


Five Ways To Save Money, Even When You Have Kids

Saving money when you were single wasn’t so hard. It just meant visiting the coffee shop a few less
times a week. All that changes when you have kids.
Any parent will tell you that saving money becomes an uphill battle the instant that first little bundle of joy is born, and it only gets worse as they age. Many parents throw their hands up in defeat because it’s just easier to keep chugging along instead of taking the time to find ways to save a little cash.It doesn’t have to be hard! With these five tips, you’ll find that saving money when you have kids is easier than you thought.

Mother strolling with newborn

Look for Ways to Reduce Fees
People without kids pay all kinds of fees, but if you have children, you end up paying even more. No
matter where you are in life, it pays to look for ways to reduce fees.
A few ideas include:
 Using a low-fee money transfer service, like Remitly, to send money to children and family in
other countries
 Reduce subscriptions, like TV, music, and gaming services, that the kids don’t really use
 Help your college student find student loans with the best interest rates
Shop the Sales and Buy Second Hand
Kids grow like weeds. The second you buy a new dress for your toddler or a new pair of shoes for your
teen, they have already outgrown them.
You’re just throwing money down the toilet if you buy new, full-price clothing for your child. Instead,
buy items second hand. Because babies and toddlers grow out of clothes so quickly, you may even find
stuff that has never been worn before.
If you have a tween or teen that can’t fathom buying stuff at the thrift store, shop the sales instead.
Look for coupons and consider loading up on clothes at the back to school sales. You can save a bundle if
you go shopping on the back-to- school tax-free weekend!

Limit Pay-To- Play Extracurricular Activities
It is important for your child to be involved, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hundreds or
thousands of dollars on extracurricular activities.
Limit pay-to- play extracurricular activities by allowing each child to choose one thing they are passionate about that you’re willing to pay for. Then, get creative with free or low-cost activities in your area that might include:
 Boy or Girl Scouts
 Arts and crafts at the local rec center
 Gardening club
 Sewing class
 Mathnasium, or another academic club

Just because your kid should be involved in activities outside of school doesn’t mean every minute of their day has to be planned! There’s nothing wrong with spending lazy afternoons and evenings playing at the playground and watching movies, especially since it will save you a ton of cash.

Reduce Gifts
It isn’t uncommon for parents to get excited on birthdays and holidays where gifts are the norm.
Unfortunately, many parents go into debt trying to create the perfect Christmas experience for their
children.
Tons of gifts are fun in the moment, but a few thoughtful gifts are more meaningful than a truckload of presents. Reduce what you purchase for your little ones and they’ll be more likely to remember what you bought them years later.
Another idea is the four-gift rule. On Christmas, you purchase something to wear, something to read, something they want, and something they need. It will force your kids to think about what they really want for Christmas, and it will keep you from going into debt whenever the holidays roll around.

Learn to Say No
Saying no to kids can be hard. Especially if they’re having a meltdown in the grocery store and their
favorite treat will make the crocodile tears disappear right away. However, it’s much better to say no toy our kids.
By saying no, you’ll teach your child that it’s okay to say no, and it will help your child deal with
disappointment. It can even teach your child to retain their creativity as they age.
The best part about saying no is that you’ll save wads of cash, and you no longer have to worry about being held hostage in the toy store when you learn to say no.
Saving money when you have kids doesn’t have to be as hard as you thought. Although it does take
some determination and forethought, with these four tips, you can continue bulking up your bank
account even if you share your home with little ones.


Keep Your Trick or Treater Safe with These Tips

I received items at no cost from Oriental Trading to help facilitate this post. No other compensation has been received. Any opinions expressed are my own. 

My two oldest boys are teens. They are at the stage where they’re too cool to go trick or treating with mom and dad but still want to go trick or treating. This year, as they have the past couple years, they’re going trick or treating with groups of friends.  That doesn’t mean I don’t still worry about them.

My husband and I will be taking our 2 youngest children and my 3 nieces trick or treating with us.  Keeping an eye on 5 little ones in the dark always has be in hyper helicopter mom mode too. So how do I keep my kids safe and help hubby and I keep track of 5 little ones? Here’s my tips:

 

For the teens:

  1.  Know who they will be trick or treating with and where
  2.  Have them check in via cell phone.  Send a picture of where they are at when they check in.
  3.  Identify a pick up spot and time.
  4.  If not wearing light colored costumes have reflective or glow-in-the dark accessories like these from Oriental Trading:


5.  Give them a flashlight like the mini one from Oriental Trading above. They can wear it around their neck to help them on poorly lit steps, sidewalks, and road ways.

6.  Review safety rules like only going to familiar areas, avoid places they are not comfortable with, stay with the group.  Remind them about checking candy before eating. If anything is open or looks tampered with throw it away.  Any strange looking candies show to an adult first.

 

For the Little ones:

  1.  Have them wear glow-in-the dark or reflective accessories that match such a glow in the dark bracelet on the right arm in the same color.  It helps just to keep track of 5 glowing orange bracelets when there are a cluster of kids climbing up steps to get candy.
  2.  Wait for each member of the party. Make sure after each house if you have 7 in your party you still have 7. It’s easy for little ones to get disoriented with so many costumes, unfamiliar faces, and houses.
  3.  When it’s my husband and I one of us usually stay at the front of the group while the other stays behind the group to make sure if little ones are slowing down or getting tired they don’t get separated.
  4.   When you get home, check candies and throw out any that look opened or tampered with.
  5.   Remove any candies that might not be safe for toddlers, small children, or if your child has allergies. Things such as gum, jaw breakers, and hard candies, can be a safety hazard for little ones.

If you’re handing out treats consider having a teal pumpkin stash.  If you’re not familiar with the idea of the teal pumpkin, it’s a worth while to find out.  Displaying a teal pumpkin on your porch lets people know that you have Halloween handout that are safe for kids with allergies.  This can be things like toys, stickers,  bottled water, pencils, etc.  People will either paint a pumpkin teal or even just hang a paper with a picture of a teal pumpkin letting people know they have allergen free treats.

I got these super cute glow in the dark skeleton crawlers. You throw them against a door or wall and they slowly crawl they’re way down the door.

What tips do you have for a safe trick or treat?


CUJO Business-Level Internet Security for Your Home

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

We are definitely a connected family.  All the kids have their own Kindle, 4 of the 6 of us have smart phones, laptop, desktop, xbox live,  you name it.   One of the reasons I chose Kindles for my my kids was the ability to set limits, block certain things, etc.  But with my older boys and their smart phones it’s a little harder.

CUJO is a firewall that offers business-level security for your home.  It works on all devices in your home. It’s a cute and compact little device.

 

If you visit the CUJO site there is a video explaining set up.  If you have just a modem you only have to plug the ethernet cable it comes with right into the modem.  If you have a modem and a router or other device you do, what they call, a bridge set up. We had to set ours up in bridge set up.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of trying to set it up around 11:00 pm at night.  I ran into trouble and the CUJO customer service was not available at that time.  After messing with it for over an hour I decided to discount and set thing up the way they were and try during the day again the next day when I could get customer service. The problem with that is it changes setting in your DNS server so when I removed it and hooked everything back up the way it was, none of our wifi devices would connect to the internet. Between my husband and I and another hour later we got it set up.  That was around 1:15 am lol.

Once it was set up though, there really wasn’t much to do.  CUJO automatically started locating devices with the CUJO app.  It quickly found my laptop, our phones, kindles, and the router.  It take up to 48 hours to find all the devices. It also located the xbox live.

The app let’s you know when someone tried to access a site that is either blocked or is known to contain malware or viruses.  You can choose whether you want to continue blocking the site or unblock it.  I had set my kids kindles so they couldn’t access “adult” sites to include gambling.  My hubby got frustrated because he couldn’t access his draft kings site for his fantasy football team so I unblocked that site lol.

– parental controls for all devices

                  – internet filter

                  – time limits

                  – social media monitoring

                  – pause internet

                  – alerts and reporting

                  – remote administration

                  – user profiles and settings

When you purchase the CUJO firewall device from Best Buy you also get the firewall subscription for as long as you have the device!

 


Let’s Move Pittsburgh “Make Playtime Count” Free Lecture at Phipps Conservatory July 13, 2017

Let’s Move Pittsburgh is an initiative of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with support from UPMC Health Plan. It’s inspired by Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.

Photo credit: Sara F

The 5-2-1-0 series continues with “Make Playtime Count” that includes a lecture from Dr Roberta Schomberg of Carlow University. It stresses the importance of including play in a child’s schedule. This lecture is beneficial for parents, educators, and healthcare professionals. Free childcare will be available during the lecture with limited space available.

Light refreshments will be available before and after the lecture.  View poster presentations from Let’s Move Pittsburgh Champion Schools.  Coaches from UPMC Health and representatives from Pittsburgh Playful Collaborative  and other community partners will be available to help you find and build healthy active play habits.

During the free children’s session “P is for Play” kids can explore their own world of play and experiment with homemade toys and games.  The speaker session and children’s session if free but requires advanced registration.  For more details visit: phipps.conservatory.org/lets-move-pittsburgh

Photo Credit: Sara F

I’m seriously considering this session. I think it would benefit me as a mom of 4 and as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. Of course my children would ultimately benefit from it as well.  Will you be attending?

Act 48 credits will be available