From Winter into Spring

Hi there!

I haven’t blogged in a while. Correction: I haven’t blogged here in a while. In January, I discovered that the asthma attack I suffered in November was a little something more than adult onset asthma. It was, in fact, an early sign that led to a cancer diagnosis. So I have been blogging about that experience here:

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/journeywithToni

 

In the meanwhile, I’ve decided to change the direction of this blog a bit differently….and you can now find me here:

 

mylifewithhimandthem.com

 

Join me!

More Gadget Reviews

As I mentioned in an earlier post, 16 people amassed a lot of gadgets over the holidays. And I got to play with them ALL. I even played with enough of them that I was able to develop some pretty solid opinions about them. So of course, I have to share with you my unofficial gadget reviews. Keep in mind that I believe that the tech experience is a personal one, and no two people have the same needs and wants. So…here we go!

E-Readers

If you are an avid reader, you need a device dedicated to your books. Sure, you can get reading apps on android and apple devices but your books and book apps will take up too much of your available storage. So…you need a reader, and the leading readers on the market today are made by Barnes and Noble (Nook) and Amazon (Kindle).

Nook Color

My cousins bought my uncle this for the bible apps. This holiday season, it seemed that there were more sales on Nooks than Kindles, so they opted for the Nook. The touchscreen was easy to navigate and it does allow for outside apps.  We had no setup problems or wifi connection problems at all. My uncle, in his late 70s, can use it with ease.

Kindle Fire HD

My 15-year old cousin received this for Christmas. He initially did not like it because there’s no Instagram app. (In case you didn’t know, teenagers are all about Instagram and Twitter…Facebook is so dead.) In the year that Amazon has been in the reader/ tablet market, they have increased their apps, but it’s not the mainstream google play store. I reminded him that it is first a Kindle and second a tablet, and since he has many other devices to do Instagram, he was cool with that. We also had problems with maintaining its wifi connection, and I was a little disappointed. I’m an amazon girl, so I really wanted to fall in love with this gadget — but I didn’t.

Is there another option? Yes! I have read great things about the Google Nexus 7. It’s a tablet first, e-reader second, but you can still download the e-reader apps. My internet eye candy and fellow techie  Soldier Knows Best said this is the best tablet in the 7 inch market, and I think he may be right. I may buy this and use it specifically for reading. I have a lot of books, and I read multiple books at the same time so I really want a device just for reading.

Camera

I bought a 14 mp Fujifilm Finepix this year, and my cousin bought a 14mp Nikon Coolpix. We compared both cameras and we were both impressed…with both. Both camera were also on sale for $99. He bought his at Target and I bought mine on-line. Megapixels matter, and the most you can get within your budget are what you need to buy. For both of us, it was 14….and this should last me for a while.

Tablet for Kids

This is probably my favorite gadget!!!!! My 6-year-old cousin got a Android kids tablet for Christmas and it is thebomb.com. It is a full-fledged android tablet with full access to the google play store. BUT, you can also switch it to a special kids’ login with kid friendly games, apps, and toys. I enjoyed playing with it as much as she did. And it is definitely easy to set up. For Android geeks, it uses Android Ice Cream sandwhich. Faaaaannnncccyyyyyyy and very age appropriate.

Did you play with any fun gadgets (even if they were someone else’s) over the holiday?

Mississippi, Dallas, and Blogland: Santa’s Been Busy!

The kids and I made it home today from our 6-day excursion to Mississippi. Our little family had a lot of mail to sort through…bills (blech),  Christmas cards, and holiday packages. And speaking of holidays packages, my Secret Santa present arrived!!!!  But before I talk about what I received, I want to talk about what I gave.

I had Judith from Beautifully Complex and she gave really good suggestions on gift ideas…but the minute I read that she liked jewelry, I knew I had to go to Charming Charlie! I had not been there  since I had my 40th birthday party there last spring, so I was excited and ready to go shopping. If you’ve ever been to the store, you know that Charming Charlie is organized by color…and I definitely did not want to buy the wrong color! So I blog stalked her to see what her favorite colors were.

And I found nothing. Lol!

There was mention in a post earlier this year that she had sorority sisters…but no mention of which sorority or sorority colors or hand signs…NOTHING. Then I checked out her about me section….no color hints there. I even tried to Facebook stalk her and see if I could get a handle on color preferences, and nada.

So I went to the store and hoped that something would jump out at me. And you know….it did. THE WHOLE FREAKING STORE. Because that’s just the way Charming Charlie is. So I browsed and decided that she would look really good in purple and silver.  So purple and silver it was….and I’m so glad she enjoyed it!

Now…on to my gift. *Happy Dance*

snoopy

 

When I saw an envelope with the designated return address on it, I knew that was it! However, I had no idea of what it could be…and when I opened it, it was exactly what I needed!

2012-12-28 17.04.35

 

You see each year at Christmas I ALWAYS get iTunes cards and that’s the only time I allow myself to buy things from the App or Music Store. (Otherwise, I would spend waaay to much money in there). This year though, I didn’t get any iTunes cards from family so I was a little bummed….every techie needs to spend a little time in the iTunes store! Until today when my Secret Santa gave me a gift card to iTunes…YYYYAAAAAAYYY!!!!!!

And you know what else….she’s a techie too! THANK YOU BABS!

 

Day 4

The kids and I usually spend every Christmas in Mississippi with my family. My aunt majored in Home Economics in college and is Martha Stewart, B. Smith, and Paula Deen all rolled up in one. I honestly believe that she knows how to cook and craft everything in the whole wide world. Everything.

So my aunt also believes that there should be a bit of Christmas in every room of her house.
And she outdoes herself every year. And every Christmas 16 of us converge upon the house in the Mississippi Delta and we have ourselves “a big time.”

When Mr. Ex and I were married, we didn’t spend every Christmas in MS because of his work schedule. It’s only been over the past 3 years that I myself have actually realized the importance of this family time that only happens once a year.  If you are my friend on Facebook, then you have definitely heard specifics of the family time over the years.

I guess it comes as no surprise that I’m the techie of the family. I’m the one who connects all the kids gadgets, I’m the one who troubleshoots the wireless internet dilemma (16 people amass a lot of technology), and I’m the one who brings ALL of my gadgets for all to see and explore.

In addition to the techie, I’m the mommy. I have three kids who I actually like being around…so….somehow I end up being the caretaker of all the kids.  It can be fun, it can be a little overwhelming, and it can wear me the hell out.

And this brings us all to today. We’ve been here for 4 days and we’ve all had family time on steroids. Those who know me in real life know that I have about a 3-day tolerance for big family events, so me lasting to Day 4 is a big milestone. And guess what? We’ve got 2 more days left.

So on the Day 4, no matter who gets on my nerves, how tired I am of child bickering, and how many headaches I get from noisy toys, I’ve decided to be grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to be celebrating my family, and yes I suppose, I’m grateful for Day 4 even if it is on steroids.