Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekend Blog Walk- Link Up and Visit New Blogs!

Weekend Blog Walk time!! Welcome to another fabulous week! Thanks for linking up each week and spreading the word. You guys are the bomb! 

Weekend Blog Walk

Spread the love- give a shout out with #WeekendBlogWalk, or just hit the Tweet button below:

What is a Blog Hop Anyway?  There's Etiquette?
Get your questions answered here.

Interested in being a Guest-Host?  There is a $10 fee to Guest Host, but reserve your spot now to receive a 30% discount.  Send an email (athometake2 at gmail dot com) to reserve your spot.  Be sure to put Guest Host in the subject line.

Rules for the Weekend Blog Walk are simple:

1) Follow your Co-Hosts and Guest Hosts (1-6 on the Linky) via GFC, Feedburner, Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest. Please leave a comment if you are a new follower.
Jessica from At Home Take 2

Jillian from Hi! It's Jilly.

Jenna from Call Her Happy

Hayley from Hayley's World 

Anissa from Chasing Hailey(Guest Host) 

Kerrie from Family, Food and Travel (Guest Host)

2) Post our button on your sidebar, or add a link on your Party List. 

3) Hop around and visit at least a few new blogs and meet some new blogging friends.

At Home Take 2

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="At Home Take 2" width="125" height="125" /></a>

Have Giveaways or want to enter? Do that here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Parenting with an iPhone: Top 5 Uses- Guest Post from Jenna at Call Her Happy

Our iExcited week continues with this awesome guest post from Jenna at Call Her Happy. She is one of my fellow co-hosts for the Weekend Blog Walk every Friday, and I'm so glad I've gotten to know her and her "happy" blog. Let's hear from Jenna!

The use of technology with children is a hot topic in today's society. While we all want our children to be aware of and proficient in today's hi-tech world, we also want them to find a balance between device and human interaction. Today, I want to focus on how technology can benefit us in our journey as parents -- specifically, the iPhone.

Here are my top 5 uses for an iPhone as a parent:

1. Item Identification
One of my favorite children's apps is Sound Touch. It is an amazing app created by parents, and it is wonderful in its simplicity. There are six menus with 12 pictures on each menu. Each picture has four pictures of the same item and each picture makes the noise of that item. Sounds simple, right? Sorry. Basically you touch a picture and it makes the noise. Touch the dog: ruff ruff! Touch the blender: whirrrrrrrr! Touch the motorcycle: vroom vroom! My daughter has learned so many noises just from this app.

2. Parent/Child Interaction
Lest you think I hand my
14-month-old the iPhone and then go about my day, I have found that it
is a great way to interact with her. Instead of letting her mindlessly
click through apps, Ellen and I love to sit down together and play.
Sound Touch is one of many apps that we use together. For example, I
will ask Ellen to press the kitty. She presses the kitty and I say,
"Wow! What did the kitty just say?" Ellen loves to make animal noises so
she responds, "Mow!!" Or I let her push whatever she wants and tell her
about it. She might press the dishes, and I say something like, "It's
time to do the dishes. Boy, the kitchen is messy after cooking dinner."
Technology can be a great learning tool if used properly.

3. Distraction
That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes use my
phone for good old-fashion distraction. There are days where we are
running late for something (gasp!), and we just need to get out of the
house. As I am putting on my shoes and grabbing diaper bag supplies, I
have two options: let the little one wreak havoc and run from me when I
try to scoop her up into the car (a favorite game), or, I can hand her
the iPhone for three minutes while I get organized. It is priceless.


what about that horrible moment when you will do anything to keep your
baby quiet and happy? I'm talking about things like an airplane. The
iPhone is airplane magic. 

4. Medical Organization
There are two main ways I use my iPhone for help with doctor visits. First, I like to keep a running list of questions I have for our pediatrician. Before my phone, I had a list in my purse that would get lost, ripped and forgotten about. Now, I have a section in my phone where I keep these questions; I pull it out at the office and run down my list with the doctor. I even add notes in when she is talking. There are plenty of note-taking apps for the iPhone, but the Notes app that comes standard does just fine. My favorite place to keep to-dos and notes: 2Do.

The second way I can use my phone for help with medical issues is more...ahem...visual. I won't go into detail or post any of the pictures that I assure you I have, but when something doesn't look quite right, I snap a picture before taking my daughter to the doctor, you know, for evidence. How many times have your kids displayed a symptom only to have it miraculously disappear at the doctor's office. So frustrating! Now I take videos or photos if I am worried so I can show the doctor what I mean. And, before you get too grossed out, I delete them when I am done.

5. Preserving Memories
Speaking of visual...the most frequent use I get from my iPhone is photo and video. I am always filling up my phone with pictures and videos of Ellen doing the most hilarious things. I do have a fancy DSLR that I love to get out, but if you have kids, you know that those cute, funny moments are fleeting. More often than not, there just isn't time to get out the nice camera. Fortunately, the iPhone actually takes wonderful pictures, especially in natural light. 

And, when you're done, there are plenty of photo apps that will help you doctor up your phone images. A few of my must haves: Instagram, PopBooth, Color Effects, Pic Stitch and Retouch.

There are certain inventions that have come along in life that make parenting easier. The iPhone is certainly one of them. Why not make use of it? What is your favorite parenting app?

Jenna is a former high school English teacher turned stay-at-home-mom from the Midwest. Now, she spends her days taking care of her daughter, freelancing, and writing content for her blog, Call Her Happy.

Come back tomorrow to link up your social media with the Weekend Blog Walk, then again on Saturday as I wrap up our iExcited week!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

13 iPhone Apps “iExcited” To Try Out

Hi! It’s Jilly! We’re on day three of our iExcited week! Today I’m going to talk about some of the apps I’ve been excited to use with my new iPhone. Before I got the phone I started researching and made a list of the apps I might want to get. Some of them I downloaded pretty soon after I got the phone, others I waited a couple days, and others I haven’t quite downloaded yet. And, all of these apps are freeeee! When you are swimming in med school debt, free is a good price. ;)


The first couple of apps I got were, of course, Facebook and Twitter. My husband doesn’t Tweet, and he rarely gets on Facebook, so he doesn’t get the appeal, but I like it. (I actually set up his Facebook account for him years ago!!)

Facebook App Icon 

BTW- did you know there is a Facebook app called Facebook Pages Manager that you can use to manage any fan pages you may have, like for your business or blog?! It comes in pretty handy.

Next was Instagram. Loving Instagram! And, my kids love for me to take pictures with it so they can change the colors. I could see myself getting a little carried away and taking random pictures of EVERYTHING, so I’m trying to rein myself in a little bit so I don’t drive my friends crazy! Ha! If you are on Instagram you should follow me so I can follow you! (My user name is hi_its_jilly, but I have no idea how to link to that! Newbie----> right here)

Edited to add: I found out how you can follow me! Here's ya go. Follow @hi_its_jilly

As many of you know, I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan (as I mentioned it in this post). So, one of the apps I was excited to try out was the Harry Potter: Spells app. It’s a free app, and you can practice your spell-casting. The graphics are cool, and I love being able to open the app and hear Hedwig’s Theme at my leisure. It’s an easy one for my kids to play, too.

One of the first apps I downloaded was the LDS Gospel Library. It contains all the scriptures, including the Bible, so it’s not just for Mormons. It also has a topical guide, study helps, and a Bible Dictionary. Another cool feature is the Notebook, so you can highlight different passages & write notes to yourself with insights you’ve received while studying. SO nice to have on the go! You can also download the hymn book, children’s songbook, and class manuals.

I actually used the Primary manual on my phone on Sunday, when I was asked to sub for a class halfway though sacrament meeting! (Sacrament Meeting is when we take the sacrament (like communion) and listen to speakers (like a sermon). After Sacrament Meeting is when we have Sunday School and the children’s classes.)

An app I heard a lot about was Evernote. I love the little elephant on the icon! An elephant never forgets, right?! Evernote is cool because it’s like a notebook you can write things in, put pictures in, and put in links to websites, all on your phone. And, you can sync it with your laptop or PC, so you can access your ‘notebooks’ from everywhere. You can also have shared notebooks, so you can easily share ideas and information with other people. For example, if you were planning a party you could share recipes, decor ideas, etc with everyone involved in the planning. You can also e-mail notes to people, or share them on Facebook or Twitter, or print them! See, a ton of uses for it!

Another app I’m excited about is MyFitnessPal. A while ago I was using My Fitness Pal to track my food and exercise, but since I was doing it on my computer I’d get distracted and it would take me forever to log my stuff. Now with it on my phone I can just log stuff as I’m doing it. I really should start logging my food again… (I say as I eat my Xth piece of quick bread/breakfast bar/whatever this yummy thing my husband brought home from work is called)

One app you HAVE to have is Genius Scan! It’s like having a scanner in your hand! You take a pic of the documents and it saves them as a PDF or jpeg, then you can e-mail it or share it online. Plus, it enhances the image, so it doesn’t just look like a picture of a piece of paper. It actually looks like a real document! I just used it to make a copy of our lease, then e-mailed it to myself and my husband, because I’m always losing it when we need it. (Why not just file it in a safe place, you ask?! Uhm…I have a hard time organizing. That’s a WHOLE can of worms you do not want to open up!)

I’ve been using Cozi to organize our family’s schedule for years, so I was excited to have it available on my phone. (Well, when I say ‘using it for years’, I mean that every so often when I get the bug to actually be more organized with my family’s schedule, I turn to Cozi). Now I’m happy to have it all in one place, especially since it syncs with your online account. And, you can look up recipes & create shopping lists both on your computer and on your phone through their site. Another cool feature is reminders from the calendar automatically texted to your family members.

A couple other apps I’ve heard great things about are RedLaser and Jingit. Both are great apps if you are a shopper. With RedLaser you can scan any item and it pulls up the price of that item at all the local stores, so you can find the lowest price. With JingIt you can ‘check-in’ while shopping, and it will give you products to scan (and sometimes do a survey about), then give you money for it!


One last app you need is GasBuddy. When you open the app it finds your location, then gives you a list of all the gas stations close to you and their gas prices. Nice to have, especially when gas prices are SO high nowadays! Sheesh! I remember when I was in high school and gas hit $1.39. We were all livid! Now it’s, what, $3.95?!?! Aye yie yie…

So, there you have it, folks. A run down of some of my favorite apps. I’m sure there will be many
more in the future!

Join us tomorrow as Jenna from Call Her Happy talks to us about 5 Tips to Parenting with an iPhone.

Be sure to follow along on Facebook or Twitter so you don't miss anything else!

Oh! And run over to enter the S'Wonderful September Sponsors giveaway happening now! Tomorrow's the last day to enter, and there are some grrrreat prizes!

I might be linking up with these parties. :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ode to iPhone- Guest Post from Esther at Esther Norine Designs

Hi! It's Jilly. Our iExcited week continues with this awesome poem from Esther at Esther Norine Designs!

Here's her Ode to iPhone.

Ode to iPhone.
Your usefulness knows no bounds.
You take care of all my tunes.
Your apps number in the millions and I love all of the ones I have and have yet to discover.
My email at my fingertips and Facebook a tap away.
Losing you would be a tragedy.
I won't let that happen...again.
Dear sweet iPhone, your home is in my purse or hand. Never recklessly put on a table. Dear sweet iPhone, please work tirelessly forever for me.
Ode to iPhone.

Ha ha! Isn't that clever! I love it!

Be sure to come back tomorrow when I talk about apps "iExcited" to use with my new smartphone! You might find one among them to love!

Got an iPhone 5, and “iExcited”!!

Hi! It’s Jilly. On Saturday I got the iPhone 5. Guys…I am SOOOOO excited!! It is my first. smartphone. EVER! What a way to start out, huh?! There are so many things to learn about iPhones! Aah! I hope I can keep up!

Jilly with iPhone 5

When my husband handed me the box I was grinning from ear to ear. If we hadn’t been in the middle of the Verizon store I probably would have looked more like the beginning of this video:

Because I am SO excited, I thought it would be fun to do a week-long series all about smartphones! I’m calling it the “iExcited” series. Clever, eh? Ok, maybe not very clever. But, I thought it was kinda cute.

ANYways…because it is my first iPhone, my hubby and I were debating whether to get the 4 or 4S for me (since it would be free for the 4 and $99 for the 4S), or to bite the bullet and get the 5.

Here is the link to a spec sheet comparing them, in case you are trying to decide whether or not to upgrade.

But, this is all you really need to know about whether you need to get the iPhone 5 or not. More cat! Lol!

Join us tomorrow for a guest post from Esther at Esther Norine Designs-- Ode to iPhone.
Follow along on Facebook or Twitter so you don’t miss any of the great posts during  iExcited week!
And, go HERE to enter the awesome S’Wonderful September Group Giveaway!
See you tomorrow! :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Weekend Blog Walk- Link up YOUR social media, and make some new bloggy friends!

Welcome to the Weekend Blog Walk!! This Walk just keeps growing and growing! We appreciate all of you who link up, comment on each others' blogs, and share the Walk through Facebook, Twitter, and Blog Buttons! You guys rock our socks off!! Let's get Walkin'!

Oh! And don't forget to enter my awesome group giveaway, going on right now!

Weekend Blog Walk

Spread the love- give a shout out with #WeekendBlogWalk, or just hit the Tweet button below:

What is a Blog Hop Anyway?  There's Etiquette?!
Get your questions answered here.

Follow your Co- Hosts and Guest-Hosts via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and GFC.  If you're already following on GFC, please follow on Facebook!

If you link up to the Twitter, Facebook and/or Pinterest linky, you MUST follow your hosts via that social media option!  We love to help you grow your networks, but ask that you also help us grow ours.

Interested in being a Guest-Host… send an email to athometake2 at gmail dot com ( and be sure to put Guest Host in the subject line.

Rules for the Weekend Blog Walk are simple:
1) Follow your Co-Hosts and Guest Hosts (1-5 on the Linky) via GFC, and Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Please leave a comment if you are a new follower.
Jessica from At Home Take 2

Jillian from Hi! It's Jilly.

Jenna from Call Her Happy

Hayley from Hayley's World 

Julie from St. Avon Lady (Guest Host) 

2) Post our button on your sidebar, or add a link on your Party List. 

3) Hop around and visit at least a few new blogs and meet some new blogging friends.

At Home Take 2

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="At Home Take 2" width="125" height="125" /></a>

Link up your blog:

Twitter Link Up- If you link up, make sure you are following the hosts on Twitter:

Facebook Link Up- If you link up, make sure you are following the hosts on Facebook:

Pinterest Link Up- If you link up, make sure to follow the hosts on Pinterest:

Have Giveaways or want to enter? Do that here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

S'Wonderful September Sponsors & Swaps + A GROUP GIVEAWAY!

Hi! It's Jilly. I'm pleased as punch to introduce to you the fabooolous sponsors and swappers I've had with me the month of September! They are all great, so you should definitely check them out!

AND, some of these lovely blogs have decided to join me in a GROUP GIVEAWAY! Eeeee! So fun!

First, let's meet the Sponsors and Swaps!

Jessica from At Home Take 2

At Home Take 2 picture 200 AD.jpg

Leslie from Violet Imperfection


Kathy from Cornerstone Confessions

Jenna from Call Her Happy


Dixie & Dottie from Dixie n' Dottie


Kerry Louise from Oh So Amelia


Kelley from Miss Information

Hayley from Hayley's World


Kimberly from Five Little Chefs


Ellen from Guilloche Vintage


Liz from According to L

Misty Marie from Monkeys & Tutus


Kelly from Semi-Homemade Mom


And now, for the giveaway items!! 
There are some great goodies here!

 One Month {Medium} Ad Space from At Home Take 2!

A {200x200} Ad Space for 60 Days from Violet Imperfection!
Includes shout-outs on Facebook & Twitter, and the option to do a guest post!

A Free Editable Blog Planner from Cornerstone Confessions!
See what's included in this awesome planner HERE.

A {125x125} Ad Space for One Month from Call Her Happy!
Call Her Happy

Annnnd...One Month {Twins!} Ad Space from me, Jilly!

Good luck! And may the odds be ever in your favor! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PS- Don't forget to link up all your social media with the Weekend Blog Walk, beginning at NOON (1:00 EST) Friday afternoon!! It's always a lot of fun to meet new blogs to follow!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest Posting at This Camera Tells My Story

Hi! It's Jilly! I wanted to let you know I am guest posting today over at This Camera Tells My Story about our experiences with vaccines. She is doing a whole series about vaccinations, with different mothers expressing their points of view, both pro and con, as well as resources. You should "give it a shot"!  {ba dum *ching*}

Here's a picture, just for fun. (I hate doing a post without a pic!)


This is one of my favorite pictures of my kids! They are so silly!

Lunch Packing Ideas

Hi! It’s Jilly. The kids have finished their first week of school. Many of your kids have probably been in school for a few weeks now.

I wanted to share with you a few lunch packing ideas. Hopefully one of these ideas will help you change up the lunch routine a little, and maybe save you some money!

This year I decided to buy reusable, plastic sandwich boxes. You can get them at Wal-Mart, Target, etc. for about $1 each. I found these puppies at Christmas Tree Shop for $1.39 for a 3 pack! (Btw- Christmas Tree Shop isn’t Christmas stuff. I was confused when I first moved here, too.).

sandwich lunch boxes

I also invested in a few small, plastic food storage containers. I got an 8 pack of these at Joann’s pretty cheap, especially after I used my 40% off coupon! I also got a few bigger ones at Target in the dollar section. I love these because I can pack things for the kids’ lunches I usually wouldn’t, like fresh mango pieces.

mango in plastic container

My kids don’t eat a whole sandwich, so I put a half sandwich in one side of the sandwich box, then fill the other half with something else, like chips, Goldfish, grapes, or graham crackers.

It’s nice because it leaves more room in their lunch bags, you’re not using another bag or container for those items, AND when you’re only filling half a sandwich box with the chips they think they’re getting a lot of chips (since the box is full), but really they aren’t. Ha ha! Sneaky, eh?

sandwich and goldfish

I can split a “single serving” sized bag of chips between all three kids’ lunches and it works out great! Plus, that saves you money, because you can buy a normal sized bag of chips, goldfish, etc. AND you go through less sandwich bags. (BTW- I don’t usually buy individual bags of chips, but my hubby gets these at lunch and brings them home when he doesn’t end up eating them)

Sun Chips

Another cheap-o thing I do for the kids’ lunches is pack a bottle of water flavored with True Lemon or True Orange . They think they’re getting “lemonade”, but I know the truth! Plus, True Lemon and True Orange are made with all natural ingredients, so the kids aren’t getting hyped up on sugary juice during lunch.

Oh! And the water bottles? Empty Cran-Apple bottles I told the kids not to throw away when they were done with them. Ha ha! Can we say cheap thrifty?!

bottles of lemon water

So those are the little tips and tricks I’ve been using to pack lunches this last week. What are your favorite lunch packing tricks? What do you like to pack besides PB&J, ‘cause I DO need help in that department!!
 lunch packing tips

You should follow me on Facebook or Twitter, just for fun!


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