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Summer is quickly approaching! Bright blue skies, water parks, ice cream sundaes and barefoot adventures are all part of our summertime repertoire. I can’t wait! I know for most of us we try to squeeze everything we can into the summer because we all know that it goes way too fast! Since I am on the go so much, I rely heavily on my smart phone to make it easier for me to take care of things, stay connected and everything else while I am out. It’s hard to just pick 10 apps because honestly, I have favorite apps for different things. I know that many of you are the same way. But I wanted to share some of mine with you that make my life easier. And can I let you in on a little secret? They are FREE! S-C-O-R-E!
My favorites include:
Kindle – Amazon’s Kindle reading app is awesome! Did I mention that it is FREE?? Even better! I love traditional books but for vacation or busy times, I love that I get just open this app on my iPhone or iPad and pick up reading. I was elated to find out that I didn’t have to get an actual Kindle (even though those are great too.) It’s great for when I’m at appointments with the kids. It’s also fantastic for quiet time at home. No wondering where I left off in the book. It picks up right where I left off. Another great thing about the Kindle is that Amazon typically has some GREAT books for free almost daily. So far, I have downloaded over 30 FREE books! Since I read multiple books at one time, this is an easy way for me to do it without leaving different books all over the house. I’ll be sharing more about what I am reading in another post. (Stay tuned!) To grab the FREE app (available in iOS and Android) quickly, simply click on the banner below.
Shopkick — Shopkick is such a fun app! One of my favorite things about it is that you get rewarded with points (kicks) for places you already go to. One of our city’s major malls is close to where we live. I love to take the kids to their giant play area, go walking or simply meet a friend for lunch there. With Shopkick, one of the great things is that you can use your kicks to purchase gift cards at awesome places like Starbucks, Best Buy (my hubby and I used all of our kicks a while ago and purchased a new TV during Black Friday), Shutterfly, AMC, Fandango and more! I love that I can get gift cards with this app. No more trying to figure out my coffee budget. It makes treats like Starbucks even better because they are FREE!
Instagram – I love Instagram! I didn’t jump on the bandwagon initially because I thought “oh goodness ANOTHER social media account to keep up with.” I was wrong. Yes, I have to keep up with it but I love the fact that I can post to my other accounts from Instagram. I also enjoy checking out the different filters, recording videos and just looking at all of the beautiful feeds. Lots of fun and cool things to be found on Instagram. I post pics of our adventures and all kind of things — including some AWESOME video that I took of our recent trip to the aquarium. I’d love to connect with you there. You can find me here.
Audible – I have to admit…I was a little slow getting on the Audible train. Again, it is because I really enjoy actually holding books and reading them. But once I jumped on, it was no turning back. Audible is awesome. I like it for the same reasons I enjoy my Kindle app. But I also like the fact that it allows me to multitask. When the kids are down for a nap, I can listen to Audible while doing dishes. I can listen while doing laundry or exercising. My oldest son can even listen when we are on longer car rides and catch up on some of his favorites. Some vehicles will even allow you to sync Audible and you can listen to the book through the speakers. (Sweet!) If you don’t have this feature, you can use an auxiliary input/port device and listen in your car that way. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks!
Waze – This community-based navigation app provides real-time traffic updates and road information. Yes — it is updated by the users and it is very impressive. It’s been very helpful with planning for unexpected route changes because of road closures, accidents or construction. You can send messages to a friend on the app advising of your ETA, get gas prices at upcoming gas stations and more. Plus you get to design your car icon, and it’s cute. (Isn’t that a typical girly thing to say?) Because of the engaged users on this app, I have found that it is often more accurate than other apps out there. And despite my husband swearing that another navigation app is “better”, he ALWAYS asks me what Waze says! 🙂
Bing – I like Bing for some of the same reasons that I enjoy Shopkick – I can earn points for free gift cards. Bing is Microsoft’s search engine so it functions in the same manner that Google does. One thing that I like about Bing is that I get points for doing something that I do daily anyway. I then turn those points into gift cards and voila — more free coffee. You can also use the points for different Microsoft products. They have great contests too! Check it out!
WhatsApp — This is a great app that is similar to texting…but better! I love that this app because it works across platforms and with just a wifi connection. I can use it to communicate friends in other countries around the world and not have to worry about expensive data charges. When travelling, it makes it easy to communicate with friends and family back home.
Google Photos – I am an iOS girl through and through but I have to tell you about Google Photos. It is nothing short of amazing. Why? Because you can upload all of your photos there thus saving the storage on your phone or other devices and it is FREE! This app is a game changer because it safely stores your photos in the cloud, organizes them and makes them easy to share. One thing that I really like this is app is that it can be used by both iOS and Android users. You can even share with other users across the different platforms. NICE!
Periscope – Periscope is such a fun app! When you launch it, you can do live video streaming and interact with your friends and followers. You sign up with Periscope with your Twitter account (you can find me HERE) and then you can get connected with others from there. It will automatically show you who you are following on Twitter so you can connect with them on Periscope too. I’ve been able to connect with some great people on Periscope – including a fantastic homeschool mom community that has been an amazing support for me. You are sure to learn a lot on periscope and have tons of fun too! Just make sure when you broadcast you double check your location settings. It automatically enables this but you can disable it so that people don’t know exactly where you are. It’s a wonderful app — use it safely!
Playground Buddy – This one is for the kiddos! We all know how those days can be when the errands and appointments are running past the time you intended. Insert tired, cranky child here. Well, this app is pretty sweet. Playground Buddy is an app that utilizes the location settings on your phone and can help you find parks or play areas for children when you may be in an area that you are not familiar with. This gives you the chance to let the kids get out and have some fun. You can relax and exhale on a bench for a while while your sanity slowly returns. Another cool thing about this app is that users can add a park or play area that may have been missed in the app. Parents helping other parents – I love that.
This counselor turned homeschool mama loves to provide daily adventures for my boys while encouraging them to learn about the big, busy world around them.
With a cold latte in hand and my latest read under my arm, I'm usually seen looking for monster trucks and chasing my little people. In my spare time, you will catch me spending time with family and friends, at live music festivals and on the hunt for a new favorite dessert.