jen houck

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starbucks
Coffee drinkers we can shout from the rooftops, WOOT! This has been a long time in the making but Starbucks just increased their likeability way up high on the radar. Since I am an AT&T customer, I have always been able to receive free wi-fi from Starbucks, but it was always a pain having to sit down and log in with my account information. Now, as of July 1, I will be able to sit down and get on the world wide web with ease. Starbucks has finally realized how powerful the social media world is and are implementing this welcome change all across the board. They truly were pushing customers out the door by charging for wi-fi. It took a while for the CEO to realize, but as he has stated his lesson has been learned. July 1 will bring about the all powerful one-click free internet service at all Starbucks in the US.
sale tag
As I have become such a tech geek mom, I am always searching online to see what kind of deal I can find so I will not have to pay full price for a particular item that I am needing/wanting. My husband always tells everyone that Jen's motto is “Never pay full price.” Just how big of a discount can one get? It is totally up to the person on how much searching and time you want to spend. Lucky for us, there is a new website that you all are going to love and it will help go along with my motto. A group of bloggers are collaborating on a new project to help us moms spend less time searching for coupons. My Coupon Database allows you to search for a particular grocery coupon. As stated on their website it is a “searchable database of all printable, newspaper insert, magazine coupons and e-coupons available.”
droidgps
Throughout the social media scene, I had been hearing talks about the new update to the Android operating system. There is no rhyme or reason when Droid users will get the update, it just seems to be random at the moment. I kept sitting patiently and would stalk my phone everyday to see if I had the update notice. Finally, two weeks ago I was pretty stoked to see the update notice pop up on my phone. Now, I am a huge Droid lover, but I knew there were some updates that I was hoping for. One of those updates was the Google Maps feature. Google Maps tool on the Droid was such a cool feature, but the biggest complaint was you had to advance the tool yourself to see where your next turn is. This was worthless to me when I was the one driving. Guess what came out with the new upgrade? A GPS navigation system! Oh I totally did scream as we have been wanting a GPS system for so long. Now, I do not have to drop the extra bucks on a GPS system. This new feature works just like a traditional GPS system. I have been trying it out over the past week to see if the directions are correct and so far each time the new feature has took us right where we need to be.
Storytime
Being a mom, we all know that kids adore story time. I am always trying to find ways to make story time more creative and fun for my girls. I have went so far as acting out characters, changing my voice as I am reading the story, and singing the words to give the story a whole new twist. What lengths we will go to make our child's night right? This is why I was pretty excited to come across a cool tool from Microsoft that will allow you to create a photo story. I have been busy creating stories for the girls that we read at bedtime. The girls have had so much fun seeing pictures from the first couple of years of their lives. Who knew pictures could have so many stories to tell?
Motherdaughter
One of my favorite holidays is on the horizon. Now it wouldn't just be because I am a mom (no way... why would you think that), but also it is just a wonderful time of year to show appreciation to the ones we love and call mom. Technology has given us the opportunity to be more creative in our gift ideas. I want to showcase 5 cute and artsy gift ideas that any mom will sure love! 1. Free Printable Calendar - All moms love to see pictures of their most favorite people and what better way than to organize pictures into a yearly calendar that they will be able to enjoy all throughout the year! HP has a cool tool that lets you download a free calendar of your choice. They have so many creative artwork choices for you to choose that all you will need to worry about is adding your favorite pictures.
Information
It's a fast paced Social Media world out there. Are you plugged into all the Web 2.0 networking sites? Some people I have talked to recently are saying "I don't know how I could live without Facebook or Twitter." But, we did live without them not that long ago. Technology is changing and it is creating a whole new world for the Social Media scene. Now, everywhere we go, most people have a phone in hand or some other tech gadget they are keeping close by. The greatest part of this is though, whenever something happens, we don't have to wait and hear it on the 6:00 evening news. We get real-time results with Facebook and Twitter as people are constantly updating their statuses on both sites. So if you are not plugged in, then you are missing out. I am not saying you have to be on the social media sites all day and all night, but it is great to use as a networking tool.
Flashdrive
What is the catch, right? Let me ask you a couple of questions. Are you running out of disk space on your computer? Do you need a way to share files with others? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then I have a solution that you are going to love.  Microsoft has recently came out with a new storage idea. We have all heard of flash drives; well Microsoft has put their own spin on it and created the SkyDrive which is part of the Windows Live group of Microsoft.
cellphone
Most families now have several cell phones in their family. The right age for your child to get their first cell phone is a decision only you can make. It will take lots of family talks and discussions, but just make sure to make it a joint decision instead of the children making the decision for you. There are many apps that can be installed on your child's cell phone, but one app I recommend is the Family Locator, developed by Verizon. Once we make the decision to get our girls their own cell phones (not for a few years yet) I will definitely  make sure their phones have this app loaded on them.
baby and book
Now, who is with me here? When you have the first baby, you are all about recording every milestone, every second of the day in the child's baby book. Once your second, third, fourth, and etc baby arrives, the baby book is on the shelf collecting dust unfortunately. This is one main reason, I started my personal blog when my second child was just one year young. I tried so hard to remember to record all her events, but there was just not much recording going on in the baby book. Instead, I would blog online though about her milestones as she reached them and eventually hope is my personal blog will be made into a hard bound book for the girls to have to cherish once they are grown.