Over The Top Mommy

Technology

5 Reasons Why Parents Need the Screen Time App This Summer

This post is in partnership with The Motherhood and Screen Time, but all opinions are 100% my own.

 

Technology is a wonderful thing. It’s brought our world up to light speed and has made many things so much easier and efficient. With that being said, I also feel that technology is a double-edged sword, especially when it comes to kids.screen-time-app-kids-on-technologySince our children are growing up in the digital age, many of them are using technology to open up their worlds. My own daughter uses her devices for a variety of things on an everyday basis, including communicating with friends, watching YouTube videos, playing games and using apps, doing homework, and going on social media.screen-time-app-technology-2As a parent, it’s one of my main responsibilities to protect my child and keep her safe from any physical and/or emotional danger – so I’ve always been cautious about her use of technology, especially when it comes to The Internet. Parents 10 years ago never had to consider the added responsibility that comes with having a child in the technology age because you also have to protect them from the dangers associated with being online – and the disadvantages that come from too much time in front of a screen (such as obesity, irregular sleep schedules, loss of social skills and less time for play).screen-time-app-dashboardEspecially during the summer, there’s so much for kids to explore beyond their screens, which is why I’m sharing 5 reasons why parents need to download the Screen Time app (You can click here to sign up now – there’s a free basic version, but the premium is worth the $3.99/month and includes a free 14-day trial).

Here are some of the advantages of the premium version of the Screen Time app:
Time limits – As a parent, I feel it’s important to set time limits on my child’s use of technology. It’s vital when she has things like homework and bedtime, and in the summer, I try to encourage outdoor play and discovery that doesn’t always involve a screen.

App blocking – With that being said, I also recognize that certain apps are necessary (and even required), especially for homework during the school year. Screen Time allows me to free up those apps she needs for homework, or apps we can use together to enhance quality family time, while making the others unavailable until later.

Remote management – I also recognize that technology time limits should be altered for weekends, vacation times and summer, and there are plenty of apps out there that can enhance playtime and outdoor/offline discovery (see a great list of them below). It’s so convenient that I can set the limits of my child’s usage of her iPad from my phone or any browser by just logging in.screen-time-app-2

Pause & Play – We all know how kids can become entranced by their devices – just one more video, one more game. Screen Time can help break that cycle by allowing you to pause onscreen activity without endless nagging or bargaining, so you can sit down to dinner as a family, take a walk through the neighborhood, enjoy your summer together. On the flip side, play, you can also add bonus screen time without changing any settings.

Daily web and app use reports – I’ve had a couple of months to test out this wonderful app in my own home, with the use of my iPhone and my daughter’s iPad. Since she spends time on her iPad on a daily basis, I’d always tried my best to monitor and supervise what she was doing – but when I was introduced to Screen Time, these daily reports enabled me to better keep track of her activity and set reasonable limits.

Screen Time is already running on over 1 million devices, and it’s obvious just how that came to be. It’s a great app that households everywhere should be using to keep control over their own children’s usage on devices. To try it now, visit screentimelabs.com.

Reduce the Distracted Driver in You with Navdy’s Head-Up Display System

This is a sponsored post. I received promotional products in order to write this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

As a super busy mom, I find myself packing lunches, ironing school uniforms, driving carpools, making phone calls, returning texts, paying bills, and doing just about everything for my family, all throughout the day. On most days, it feels like I spend about 99% of my time in the car trying to do a lot of those things.
Overall, Americans are spending more time than ever in the car—45 billion hours a year to be exact—so I guess I’m not alone. In doing so, they’re accessing the power of their phones while driving because it’s become a necessity and that’s how most are connected to the world. According to a study, about 75% of American drivers admit they need a better way to integrate their mobile phones with their cars.navdy-mom-confession-im-distracted I’m sometimes distracted while driving. You’ll never find me putting mascara on while driving with my knee or brushing my teeth in the car, and I don’t text and drive. However, because I’m such a busy mom, I am forced to “multi-task” and do things while I’m on the road. Some of my distractions include: drinking my coffee, eating on-the-go, or making phone calls (using Bluetooth, of course). Regardless of the type of distractions, no distractions are the ideal situation when it comes to being safe while driving.navdy-no-distractionsHave you heard of Navdy yet? When the company reached out to me to try their portable head-up display (HUD) in my car, and explained that it was created to help you focus better with fewer distractions while you’re driving,navdy-installI was all over that opportunity. Navdy sits on your car’s dashboard, right in front of you, allowing you to stay connected to your network, your car, and the road, all at the same time. It’s the first device of its kind, projecting information into the distance so the road remains in focus.
Watch this video that demonstrates how Navdy works:

navdy-installing-itNavdy was very simple to set up and install in my car, with the HUD installed on the dashboard and the Navdy dial, your main tool for interacting with the device, easily accessible on your steering wheel. The system is compatible with both iPhone and Android, and you begin by downloading the Navdy app. Using the app, you walk through installation, in addition to looking through the illustrated installation guide.navdy-setup-guideNavdy-Head-Up-Display-SystemSince the system connects wirelessly with your phone, it allows you quick and direct access to your phone apps as well as your contacts. Once Navdy is set up and installed in your car, it enables simple, gesture-based access to the phone functions drivers need most and projects everything directly in your line of sight over the road ahead.Navdy-Dash-displayYou can customize the display to include info such as speed limit, MPG, fuel range, directions, RPM, compass, calendar alerts, and more. They system is a comprehensive eyes-forward solution allowing drivers to manage all their phone necessities while keeping their eyes on the road.

Some of the things drivers can do with Navdy include:

  • Receive calls and texts without touching your phone
  • Control your favorite music apps
  • Get directions and beat traffic with navigation powered by Google Maps

And much more…navdy-teen-driversNot only do I feel like Navdy is the best new solution for busy adults like myself, but it also seems like something I would insist my teenage driver utilize in the car. Don’t you agree? We want the safest possible scenario for our children, especially when they are new drivers and there are so many possible distractions that might take away from their eyes staying on the road.navdy-ensure-safetyNavdy is a truly effective way to minimize your distractions in the car and complies with all of the new hands-free driving laws. This award-winning technology system is currently offered at the great price of $499, or as low as $28/month for 18 months at 0% financing and includes free shipping to the U.S. and Canada. It’s a great price for something that’s helping to ensure the safety of you and your family in the car.
For more information about Navdy or to purchase, please visit their site at http://www.navdy.com.

Please note: Some images, logos, and video are property of Navdy and used with permission

 

I Got A Peek Inside The Smart Home in Rancho Mission Viejo (It’s Amazing!)

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to visit the Cox Smart Home in Canopy in Esencia, located the in the new, master-planned community of Rancho Mission Viejo. One of the model homes in the Canopy neighborhood was designed as a “Smart Home“. Warmington Residential and Cox Communications worked hand in hand to design this home to be inclusive of several “smart” features that are powered by Cox’s gigabit internet speed.cox-smart-home-in-canopyResidents of Rancho Mission Viejo are lucky to be the first in the area to have access to Cox’s G1GABLAST service, which is 100 times faster than the average U.S. Internet service!  Since Cox is the first broadband communications company to deliver gigabit-internet speed service to Orange County business and residential customers, residents in Rancho MIssion Viejo are basically living “The Gig Life”.

Watch this visual comparison of Internet speeds:

Why We ALL Need G1GABLAST! 
Let’s look at a digital snapshot of my life. There are 3 people who live in my home. Between the 3 of us, we have 3 laptops, 1 desktop computer, 1 wireless printer, 3 cell phones, 2 iPads, 1 mini iPad, and a gaming system. That’s a whole lot of devices! We aren’t always using all of them at once, but there are times when someone is telecommuting from home, while someone else is doing homework, and a 3rd person is on their phone or even blogging on their laptop. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to stop and ask others in your home to get off their device so you can have decent service!cox-smart-home-youll-never-have-to-say

I am so fortunate to live in the neighborhood of Esencia in Rancho Mission Viejo because we have G1GABLAST high speed internet and don’t have to worry about how many devices are running at once. Truth be told, we’re really spoiled now and I hope I never have to go back to “the old way”. I don’t think I would’ve survived with dial-up internet! cox-smart-home-welcomeGetting back to the Smart Home though…it was beyond cool to see the demonstrations they had going on, showcasing the capability of the home’s high speed internet and how it can handle more than 10 interactive, visually stimulating demonstrations at once.Some of what was going on included a Wi-Fi cooking with a food blogger, telehealthy sessions with CHOC Childrens (via InTouch mobile robot), online music lessons that were streaming, a Wi-Fi pet and Wi-Fi pet feeder, virtual educational instruction, and more! With everything happening at once in the home, the heavy bandwidth was really put to the test! cox-smart-home-infoHere are some of my favorite features from that day: 

WiFi Pet and Pet Feeder
It was fun to be greeted by Chip, the Robot pet, right when I walked through the front door. There’s nothing like coming home from a long day at work and having a pet there waiting for you. I realize that chip is a robot dog, but isn’t he adorable?

cox-smart-home-robot

These are some of the hottest toys that kids are asking for nowadays. The home also has “Feed and Go” Smart Pet Feeder set up, which has a built-in webcam that connects via Wi-Fi to the home network. Not only can you set it up to feed your four-legged companions, you can also keep tabs on them via your Smartphone.cox-smart-home-chip-and-biancaCox Contour Service With Voice Remote
Ryland Madison, director of Product Marketing, Cox Communications was on hand in the family room to talk about Cox Contour Service, which is available to all Cox customers. The remote offers a variety of features, which you can access from the couch. I know, firsthand, what an amazing set-up this is. You can even do everything with the “voice” button when you speak into the remote! No more searching through 1000’s of channels to find your show!cox-smart-home-contour

Wi-Fi Enabled Cooking
If you’re a foodie (like me), you may already know of Internet Chef Whitney Bond. She’s best known for her YouTube videos, demonstrating how to put together recipes in 30 minutes or less. Whitney was in the kitchen demonstrating how she prepares some amazing appetizers using a Wi-Fi enabled WeMo slow cooker, which was functioning on the gig-peed internet. She also treated us to some of her delicious cookies!cox-smart-home-whitney-bond-cookies For someone who relies on the internet for her job, having super fast speeds and capabilities within her home is essential. Whitney also showed us how she controls the slow cooker from her smart phone using the free WeMo app, even when away from home.cox-smart-home-whitney-bond-cooking-demoThis could be a game changer for a working mom like me who spends time driving to and from sports practices, but somehow needs to prepare a meal that’s ready immediately after practice, when I have a starving kid! Having the ability to adjust cooking time and temperature from the and and a smart device delivers the ultimate convenience and peace of mind.

Telemedicine sessions with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC)
In one of the bedrooms, there was a demonstration of a telemedicine session. Michelle Jones, the telehealth manager for CHOC Children’s and Dr. Jack Winkle with In-Touch Telemedicine. cox-smart-home-telemedicineDr. Winkle was speaking from the  In-Touch Express Robot because he was off-site at the time.. The capabilities of telemedicine are amazing, allowing the doctor-patient connection at any time to be possible. It’s basically going to be the house calls of the future! 

Streaming Online Music Lessons With Skype
I was so impressed to be able to watch world-renowned violinist, Jason Yang, give a violin lesson via Skype. cox-smart-home-jason-yangHis student was actually in Canada and Jason explained that he relies on Cox G1GABLAST to provide him with the necessary bandwidth to stream while he’s working.

With the increased digital needs of people living in the 21st century, Cox has recognized that gone are the days of having just 1 or 2 devices running in a home. Not only is technology a way of life, it’s also necessary for students and their homework, adults who telecommute form home, families streaming shows and movies at home, and using devices in the home that help make life easier overall. It seems like everything relies on internet speed and service.

      Canopy at Esencia is located at:

                100 Vasto St.

       Rancho Mission Viejo, Calif.  92694cox-smart-home-facadeMy experience inside the Cox Smart Home was nothing short of amazing! To learn more about Cox Communications and the services it offers, visit here.

 

Family Travel Made Easier With the New Cars Daredevil Garage App! #DisneyPixarCarsToGo

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DisneyPixarCarsToGo #CollectiveBias

family-travel-made-easier-with-the-new-cars-daredevil-garage-appAt the beginning of summer, when we were making our “Summer Bucket List”, we thought it would be fun to add some family travel, like a little road trip for our family of 3, to the list. I love road trips. I love exploring new areas. I love driving in what seems to be the middle of nowhere because of all the beautiful nature. I just love the idea of getting away (but still having our own car). There is one thing I don’t adore about road trips though…the questions that come from the back seat!

questionsI’m almost sure the Road Trip Fairy timed the release of a new app called Cars Daredevil Garage to coincide with our road trip this summer because it came out right before our trip!

road-trip-fairyMy daughter LOVES watching the Disney Pixar Cars movie and anything Cars related! The Cars Daredevil Garage app is fun for kids (and moms like me) because they get to join Lightning McQueen, Mater and all of their favorite Cars characters to power through virtual worlds of heart-racing stunts. There are over 160 cars to choose from in the new Cars Daredevil Garage app! The app is now available as a free download and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It’s optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6.

How cute does it look?

undefined on Disney Video

download

  1. Go to the App store on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone. (I have it downloaded on more than one device).
  2. Search “Cars Daredevil Garage: App. It’ll look like this. Cars-Daredevil-Garage
  3. Click “Get”. Be sure to have your Apple ID ready because it usually asks you to enter it when you download a new app.
  4. Click “Install” and wait for the app to fully download.
  5. As soon as it’s fully downloaded, it’ll look like this on your desktop. itll-look-like-this

Before we left on our road trip, we made a special trip to Toys “R” Us to check out some of the Pixar Cars toys they had and found some exclusive Cars Die-Cast vehicles like Hudson Hornet, Antonio Veloce Eccellente and Green Ramone that are exclusive to Toys “R” Us. They also had a bunch of the Radiator Springs Story Sets on the shelf, so I grabbed one to bring with us for the hotel room.

at-toys-r-usYou can find all of these fun Cars toys in the toy section. I didn’t refer to any of it as a “Boys Toys Section” or “Girls Toys Section” because I’ve always encouraged my daughter just to play with anything and everything!

daredevil-garageWhen you first open the app, this is the screen you’ll see. *Cue the fun music As you navigate through the game, you’ll be given choices for things you can play.

for-parentsI appreciate that the app informs users, right away, about in-app purchases. It’s always important for kids to get permission from parents before adding on these kinds of things, especially when they know the password to easily download things on their own. 

tipsThe app also gives you tips on how to scan in some of the Die-cast vehicles to add to your own garage in the game. It’s important to note that they must come from specially marked packages to work with the scanner. After you have them scanned in, you can actually play with those cars in the app. It’s really cute! We’re kind of partial to the Green Ramone.

scan2

green-ramoneAlthough I don’t encourage my daughter to be on her device for hours at a time, it was nice to have her engaged as we set off on our road trip. It was also so cute to hear all of the sounds coming from the game in the backseat. I can’t get enough of Lightning’s voice! The Cars Daredevil Garage app is such a fun game and I loved the Ultimate Piston Cup Speedway Set we bought for the hotel room because it kept her occupied.

hotel-funWhat do YOU do to keep your kids occupied on a road trip or when you’re on-the-go? 

on-sale-at-toys-r-usIn-Store at Toys “R” Us 25% Off All CARS Die-Cast $9.99 And Under (7/26 – 8/22)

Handstand App – Workouts on Demand! It’s Like a Gym in Your Pocket!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% my own. sign-up

Let’s talk about working out! For many of us, including myself, getting into a good workout routine, and maintaining it, can sometimes be difficult. Whether your job requires long hours in the office, a series of what seem to be never-ending business trips, or just has you stressed out, it can sometimes cause you to get off track with keeping active. I know many moms who spend so much time caring and doing for others in their home, that they don’t leave much time for themselves. (I may be speaking from experience here.)

more-important-than-everHere’s the thing…nowadays, it’s more important than ever, to maintain our health and an active lifestyle. We honestly can’t afford NOT to work out. We need to be here for our family and friends, especially those who rely directly on us. We need to be able to do our jobs and and do them well. We have appointments, errands to run, events to attend. Most of us have extremely busy lives and the best way to keep up with it all, is to stay healthy.

need-to-be-hereWell, there’s a new Handstand App that’s the perfect way to help balance all of it. For me, a lot of the reason I don’t find time to work out is because of my schedule. With this app, you can schedule workouts when it’s going to work for you!

handstand-appThe app, Handstand, is new and currently services the greater Los Angeles area. It gives users the ability to sort, book, and pay for top certified trainers and instructors to come to them…all with just a tap! With Handstand, you’re able to schedule a session of yoga at home, a cardio bootcamp class with your best friend at the park, or do some weight loss training at your apartment gym. Whatever your preference, you have that freedom to schedule what works for you! It’s like having a gym in your pocket!

scheduleAll of the trainers on the Handstand app are $49 an hour and come from the top gyms and studios in LA such as Equinox, Barry’s Bootcamp, The Bar Method, YogaWorks, and many notorious others. The Handstand app has been featured on several news segments and publications such as Focus Magazine for Los Angeles.

as-seenThe user base for the Handstand App is mainly comprised of young professionals, mothers, fathers, and families. The popular website HandstandApp.com, and now iOS app, allow users to choose their trainer, as opposed to just being assigned one at a gym. There’s no tipping, no hassle, and no cash payment involved. Handstand allows you to pay seamlessly through the app. You’re emailed a confirmation of your scheduled session and even sent a text one hour prior to your session! How helpful is that?

family-workoutAfter a workout, users have the option to rate their trainer and leave a review if they wish. They can choose to rebook the same trainer for their next workout session or may also find another one. There are no contracts required!

schedule-a-workoutIt’s beyond convenient to be able to schedule a workout that fits your own needs, all from the palm of your hand. With the Handstand App, there’s no more dealing with driving in traffic or inconvenient class times or the lack of variety of workout options. There isn’t even a gym membership required. It’s just a free download of the app and you’ll be ready to get started!

you-can-do-anythingJust remember, with the right trainer or instructor by your side, you can do anything! We face challenges everyday. Exercising shouldn’t be one of them! I have a special promo code for my readers too! It’ll save you $15 off your first Handstand session! Just enter the promo code below! So…what are YOU waiting for? Download the Handstand app today and schedule your next workout!

promo-codeConnect with Handstand on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Some images property of Handstand.