Category Archives: technology

Bean Jar Kids

I wanted to make a behavior jar for my daughter where we could reward her for obeying family rules (and take jelly beans away if needed). You can imagine my delight when I came across the Bean Jar Kids app for the iPod and iPad. Bean Jar Kids lets you create up to 4 different jars and lets you decide on the number of beans needed to fill the jar. Once the jar is full, then we decide on the reward. The first jar we created only needed 6 beans to fill up, and we had a family ice cream party. This time around we need 10 beans before we get a picnic at the park (and just our luck we have one bean to go and snow everywhere!). I love the portability of our new jar! Definitely worth the $1.99!

Montessori App for Android

This is just a cute android app that I found that I had to share! It is called Mobile Montessori and is available for free if you don’t mind ads. It is an electronic collection of some montessori materials- the pink tower, brown stairs, and more! I would say this game is geared towards a 2 or 3 year old. For a free game, it’s not bad!

Our Favorite Apps!

We are blessed to have had the opportunity to play around with both Apple and Android apps. I wanted to make a list of some of our favorites apps and some that we would like to try out. I created a page (can be located in the sidebar) all about these apps. And just a warning- most of them are educational and geared towards the preschooler!

Techie parents- I would love to hear about any of your favorite apps! There are so many!!!
Happy Teaching!

Staying Organized With iCal

This post is for all you Mac-mommies! There are so many features I absolutely love about my mac… iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, and most recently iCal! It is a great calendar solution for anyone who has a million things to plan and remember! (like dinner menus, learning calendars, activity days, holidays, birthdays, field trips, scripture stories, cleaning calendars… the list goes on!)

What I love most about iCal is the color coded schedules so you can easily see what is going on in your day. Instead of reading a list, I can see that I have my blue dinner item, my green work item, and the two purple items that I need to work on with my daughter. I can see that I fill up my week with just the right amount of blue, red, purple, etc activities.

Don’t fret if you don’t have a Mac… Google has a great calendar system that has the same great features. And because it is online through your google account, you can access it anywhere. You can also allow others to view and edit your calendar. I have been using google calendar for a few years, and love it… however I like the look of the printed iCal better!
So throw away the old pencil and paper calendar and stay organized via computers!

Backup your data NOW!!

I was never one to fear losing important information off of my computer- after all, I have a mac! They are indestructible! Or so I thought…..
Thursday night after a computer freeze I was horrified to find that I couldn’t boot up my Mac at all…. hubby said it could be a potential hard drive problem, and I thought of all the info I could lose- ALL my digital pics from 2007-present, all my digital videos, countless teacher files, mp3s….. I never fully realized how much I depend on my computer to store everything! Fortunately my sweetie pie hubs sat down to fix it- installed a Linux CD, we had a short power outage and miraculously the computer rebooted just like normal! PHEW!!!
After that scary moment we have spent the last 2 days backing everything up on a terabyte hard drive- so if something happens again, I can know that all these pics of my darling baby girl are safe and sound.
GO BACK UP YOUR INFO!! You never know when this could happen to you…..

Twitterfeed is FABULOUS!

I love learning about the latest and greatest technology news… and was happy to come across twitterfeed.com. What is so amazing about this site? You can have your latest blog posts (or any other RSS feeds) published to twitter! So no more typing a separate tweet after you blog! This is just pretty cool!!

GIMPing Up Your Blog with Animated Signatures

For those that know me at all, I LOVE working with technology. And I love the Gimp- if you don’t know what that is check out my first post on Gimping Up Your Blog. I thought I would show you how to create your very own animated signature!

  1. Open up a new file in the GIMP by going to FILE, NEW, IMAGE. A Box will appear- select TRANSPARENCY and then click on OK.

  2. Using the paint brush tool, make the first line in your name. (I am breaking up the “K” into 3 sections)
  3. An animated gif is basically a format that plays through all the layers of your image file. So we are going to be creating a NEW LAYER for every single line! It’s not difficult…. Go to LAYER, NEW LAYER, a box will come up- make sure that TRANSPARENCY is again selected and click on OK.
  4. Then go ahead and make the next line in your name. Once you are done with that line, make sure you add a NEW LAYER.
  5. Once your image is created (don’t worry about saving yet) you might notice that you didn’t use all of the canvas in your signature. Thats OK- we can chop it down to the correct size by simply using the square tool to SELECT your entire signature and then go to IMAGE, CROP TO SELECTION.
  6. To view your animation, go to FILTERS, ANIMATION, PLAYBACK. A small screen will appear with a PLAY button- click on play to view your animated signature!
  7. Now we SAVE… this is a very important step because it will determine the outlook of your image. Click on FILE, SAVE AS, and then type in a name for your image FOLLOWED by .gif -it needs to be a GIF file!!! Then click on SAVE…An “Export File” screen will come come up- click on SAVE AS ANIMATION and then EXPORT. One more box will come up with some GIF options- here you will have the opportunity to select LOOP FOREVER- this means that your animation will play , well, forever! Unselecting this will just play your animation once. A downside to this is if your animation is at the end of a post, viewers might not see it (by the time they scroll down, it will be done playing.
    First example-LOOP FOREVER
    Second example- one time animation (you might need to refresh the page to view)
  8. In order for your file to PLAY if you are using BLOGGER- upload your file to your photobucket account and then adding your image using the DIRECT LINK (in the picture menu you’ll be adding an image from the web). Other blogging formats such as wordpress will play the animated GIF directly- just upload it and insert into your post!

I hope that you have fun with this latest installment of GIMPING up your Blog!!
Happy Teaching and may the Learning never end!!! 🙂

Tot Sites on WIKI

I have been working a bit on our WIKI (online collaborate websites). This has been a great space for me to upload my pdfs as well as create learning pages for my toddler. The latest and greatest new page on our WIKI is called Tot Sites. This was inspired by wanting ALL the sites my toddler visits in one easy to use location (not having to mess with bookmarks, remembering URLs, the ability to link images for sight recognition (she can’t read YET!!), as well as the ability to easily update/delete sites. And the marvelous thing about this WIKI- you can go in and delete everything and with the click of a button I can put it all right back on the page. So there is no possible way that it could be ruined. And bonus for the WIKI- if YOU (yes, I am talking to YOU) had a wonderful site you wanted to add, you could! Very easily- I am about to take you through some pretty simple steps!

  1. go to the WIKI and click on TOT SITES
  2. click on EDIT THIS PAGE
  3. upload your image by clicking on the picture icon OR type the title of the site (Sesame Street, Starfall, etc.)
  4. add your link by copying and pasting the URL (web address) using the chain link icon
  5. SAVE your changes!

Feel free to use this site as a resource for your toddler! And I have to give some props to Totally Tots for their great site ideas. The web has so many toddler websites- it makes sense to put ’em all in one location!

Happy Teaching and welcome to the wonderful world of WIKIs!

GIMPing Up Your Blog

There are many ways to photo edit customized headers and images for your blog. Photo Shop, Photo Suite, Photo Explosion… heck even Paint will work! (although not my recommendation) But there is a fabulous and FREE software available!! It is known as the GIMP.

Why I Gimp:

  1. Gimp is available for Windows and Macs alike
  2. You can save your images as jpg, gif, png, and many more formats
  3. It has the capability to create animated gifs
  4. There are tons of online tutorials available
  5. Did I mention the Gimp is free?

I was recently asked by K over at Orange Juice about how I made my header links. And so I thought I would love to show all you techy moms out there a great feature of the Gimp!

  1. Upload your header image to a photo storage site (photobucket seems to be the most popular). Keep the tab open so we can grab your URL for the image later on.
  2. Download the Gimp! If you are a windows user, download here. If you are a mac user, download here. I will be honest and tell you that it has been awhile since I have downloaded it, I hope it is self explanatory enough! If you are having troubles with the download, google installing Gimp and several beneficial websites will come up.
  3. Once you have Gimp installed and ready to go, open it up. It should be pretty similar to the screenshots below (although Windows and Mac are a bit different, and there have been recent updates since my last download)
  4. Go ahead and open up the same header image file that you uploaded to photobucket. (you CAN use the gimp to create a header file, but for time’s sake let’s use one that is already created)
  5. On the top of the screen, go to FILTER, WEB, IMAGE MAP. This will bring up a new screen.
  6. Use the square, circle, or polygon tools to define where on the image that you want your link. (you are basically hyperlinking your image). Once you have a region selected, a pop up menu will ask what URL (or link) you want the selection to follow. I just copy and paste these URLs from my browser so I know there isn’t any spelling errors.
  7. Once you are finished defining your areas, double check on the right hand side that all your links are showing.You can delete unwanted links by selecting the link and clicking on the minus sign that is directly left of the selection list.
  8. Go to VIEW, SOURCE. You will see several lines of code. We will be copying this directly and pasting it in your blog as html. Of course, since this is the header, make sure your widget is located at the top of your site.
  9. One more step- we have to change the image location on what you just pasted…. instead of “banner3.jpg” (or whatever the name of your pic is), you need to add the URL for the image from photobucket (it will be something like this “http://i439.photobucket.com/albums/qq119/jsmith/header.jpg”)
  10. Try it out! If it works, HOORAY for you! If not, well…. I am no expert. Search for more tutorials ‘cuz there are plenty out there. And the most important thing about GIMPing- and anything really- the best way to learn is to dive in with both eyes open. Good luck, and please let me know if you have more questions or if it worked for you!!!

Good Luck!! Happy GIMPing!

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