Our Dreams of a la Carte TV May Come True

We don’t do cable. Never have. 

We do, however, have a Roku. The cool little box that sits beside my TV and brings me movies and TV series from Netflix (we’re currently into season three of 24 and the current seasons of Hannah Montana, Sonny with a Chance and Wizards of Waverly Place), movies that I can’t get on Netflix from Amazon for an extra fee (most recently for sleepovers: Iron Man 2 and Alpha and Omega), and current network TV from Hulu Plus (30 Rock). We watch exactly what we want — most of it without commercials — for $15 to $20 a month.

Well, almost exactly. My sports fans would love to have ESPN. That’s about all we’re missing to make our TV lives truly complete. That’s where this good news comes in: Technologizer reports that Roku’s first cable channel, WealthTV, has been launched. For $2.99 a month you can watch WealthTV just as you would on cable.

Not that I want to watch WealthTV, I don’t even know what it is. But if this is a sign of things to come, I’m a happy consumer.

Photo credit: graysky (flickr.com)

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Letting the Computer Choose My Clothes

You would think that measuring your body in 29 different places would just be depressing. In some ways it is. But at My Shape there is a payoff for digital moms that makes it worth it.

My Shape is an innovative web site that takes into account my detailed body measurements, clothing preferences and personal style. Then it develops a “personal shop” filled with clothes I will probably like, that will fit, and that will look good on me. The fit is based on my measurements and the site’s knowledge of the clothes. So for some styles the site picks a 6 and others an 8.

The sales on designers like 7 For All Mankind, BCBG Max Azria, Calvin Klein, and most every better department store brand can be HUGE! I have especially loved the dresses I’ve scored on sale at My Shape. I’ve also had good luck with jackets and tops. Jeans took some remeasuring on my part to get the right size (they were coming two sizes too big), but I finally got it right.

Here’s what I’m looking at for my next purchase:

Calvin Klein Jeans Authentic Dark Indigo Skinny Jean

The authentic dark indigo skinny jean by Calvin Klein Jeans. They’re a final sale item, so they can’t be returned. I’ve had good luck with another pair of Calvin Klein Jeans from My Shape, so I’m feeling confident. Also, with the sale price plus a 60 percent off promotion going on, they’re only $11.80. How can I refuse?

How about you? Would you let the computer choose your clothes?

Disclosure: I did not receive any promotional consideration from My Shape to write this.

Image: myshape.com

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I Won’t Watch 2D Disney Classics in 3D!

The famous ballroom dance sequence.

Image via Wikipedia

Disney movies are good because they are story-driven and feature beautiful animation. As a digital mom who avoids even new release 3D movies because what 3D adds does not justify the bloated ticket price, I say there is no reason to convert classics like “Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast” into Blu-ray 3D titles as Disney plans to. I say it won’t make them any better. What do you say?

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Spinning the Big Wheel

When your husband says he wants to audition for Wheel of Fortune, take him seriously.

At least it’s a few hours alone with him.


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Football and the Digital Mom

Youth football season has come to an end for my two Tiger teams. Here’s what we’ve learned:

Cool Breeze out for a pass.

1. When you practice four nights a week, devote several hours on Saturday to games and host a coaches meeting on one of the team’s days off, there’s not a lot of time for digital pursuits for anyone. And that’s a good thing. Using your body and your mind to push yourself past your limits — not just the next level of Super Mario Bros. — helps you grow. Sitting at practice wishing your small town had 3G coverage teaches you patience.

2. Shutterfly is a great place to share photos of the team. Every team needs a mom with a digital SLR camera to shoot the games and post the photos. I was that mom this year. Yes, my kid may be overrepresented in the photos, but for the most part I did a good job of capturing something good of everyone. On Shutterfly‘s share sites, you can post your photos for free and give your team access. From there they can download the photos to their own computers or order prints from Shutterfly. Sweet.

Dirt Diver and Dog Patch talk it over.


3. Football withdrawal is painful. Cool Breeze has been moping for four days. The same practice he dreaded a week ago, he’s now pining for. Even a marathon session of Infamous on the PS3 offered no relief. With no strategy to plan for molding Dirt Diver and the other 7-year-olds into football players, Dog Patch finished all his work by 2 p.m. and started on the projects that have taken a backseat since the end of July.

And me, no more letting the Teriyaki Chicken Bowl family cook for me once a week.


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Will a School Parents Association Read a Blog?

Some friends and I are chairing a brand new parents association for our school. It’s an exciting time and we already have about 50 parents signed on to help. Out of a school of about 145 students, that’s great.

We’re now wrestling with the best way to communicate with all our parents. A paper newsletter, email, a blog or all three? I think a blog would be great, but I wonder if a majority of parents will make the effort to subscribe.

Do you have any ideas on how to get parents to use the blog as a source of important information?

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Sit or Squat Bathroom App Worth It?

Retro couple sign

Image by Peter E. Lee via Flickr

Many months ago I mentioned a smart phone app called Sit or Squat that helps busy moms and everyone else find the nearest public restroom. Since then I’ve actually acquired an iPhone and can tell you how it works.

It works…OK.

I was disappointed with its offerings in my own small town. Within a mile of my house it gives me a nearby Chili’s restaurant and a Starbucks but in between skips a WalMart, three gas stations, three fast food joints, and two major home improvement warehouse stores. When you are in a car with a kid who has to go, those minutes spent searching are precious.

Since it’s free, I’ll keep it and hope it’s useful when we visit New York City next summer. And I’ll try it in our biggest New Mexico city soon and let you know.

Question: Do you even need an app to help you find the potty?

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Safe Blogging for Kids

Rose Red not blogging.

I wrote yesterday about allowing Rose Red to start a blog. Here’s a concise list of tips on safe blogging for kids from Microsoft. Other resources I found on the topic were too wordy or required me to wade through a ton of ads to get to their info.

One of Microsoft’s tips is to “(e)valuate the blogging service and find out if it offers private, password-protected blogs.”

We started Rose Red’s WordPress blog with password-protection on the posts. I liked that feeling of control, but she was disappointed that the world — and even some of her friends — couldn’t see it. I understood her complaint and we changed it, which requires more diligence on my part but makes her feel like she’s really doing something worthwhile — when, of course, she gets back to doing it.

For now, she’s busy playing soccer. Do you have kids who have made a serious commitment to blogging?

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Would you let your kid blog?

My 9-year-old daughter launched a blog this summer. Inspired by the tween television show iCarly, she and her friend wanted their own website. They strategized at school on funny skits they would create and what they would call their site.

“Mom, could we have a website?”  she asked tentatively, after sharing all they had dreamed of.

My first inclination was no. They’re too young. Who knows what kind of trouble could be created on many different levels? Then I thought again.

Why not let them experiment with their creativity in a medium that already is so big a part of their lives and only will get bigger. They would need boundaries and rules and my approval on their posts. They would also need the permission of the friend’s parents.

My rules:

1. No use of their real names on the blog. They could have code names. I explained there was no need for strangers who might see the blog to know their names. If they became famous we would deal with that later.

2. No pictures or videos of themselves on the blog. They could record skits featuring stuffed animals or Barbie dolls. While we wanted to entertain, we didn’t need to share everything about ourselves with the whole world.

Everyone agreed. They were ready to roll.

The blog was launched. One post of zoo field trip pictures was published. Two videos were made but have yet to appear. I guess creating a web presence is not as easy as iCarly makes it look. But it’s there when they’re ready, and they’ll be back around.

What do you think? Were my rules too restrictive or too loose? Do you let your kid blog?

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A Sponge-Roller Tutorial

If you keep a blog yourself, you know that you can see the searches people use to get to your blog. Almost daily there is a searcher out there who enters “sponge rollers” into their search engine and finds me. They find me because of a post I did on my husband rolling Rose Red’s hair with sponge rollers.

With all the hits I get for sponge rollers though, I assume you are out there looking for instruction on how to use them. We use sponge rollers from Walgreens at our house during the month of June, dance recital time. Dance recitals require lots of curls. The best way we’ve found to get them and keep them is with sponge rollers. Here’s how:

1. Establish your schedule. According to our experience, you’ll need to let your rollers set for a good three hours. Figure out what time you’ll need to take them out and work back from there. My daughter has lots of hair and if we’re rolling her whole head, we play it safe by adding in an hour’s worth of rolling time.

2. Dirty hair is easier to roll than slick, clean hair, so go a day without washing it before you roll it.

3. Work in sections. I make a part from ear to ear across the back of the head, pin up everything above that part, and roll the lowest section first. Then I work my way up in sections from there.

4. Curl about an inch at a time. Spritz your dry one-inch section damp with spray gel (we use Aussie Strong Hold spray gel) and wrap it around your curler. I usually roll back from the face or down from the crown. If you roll your hair wet, it will take much longer to dry and set.

5. Wait your three hours and unroll. It will be very, very curly, but will relax to a nice texture with a little time.

Here are a few curls peaking through at this year's recital.

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