Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ten apps that rock my life

I love apps! As a mom who is always on the go and always in the middle of about 600 things, having apps on my iPhone and iPad are basically as essential as oxygen or you know, video games for teenage boys. I have a gazillion of them, but want to shout out my absolute die hard favorites!

10. Quiz up (FREE): ***Disclaimer*** I am not in general a gamer, because I don't like the idea of frittering away my limited time with no fruit for my labor. Thankfully I was able to escape being sucked into the craze of Candy Crush or Angry Birds that everyone and their pets went gaga over. This is a game, but I rationalized it was educational. With almost 300 different quiz topics, there is something for LITERALLY everyone who can read. So that was the premise under which I got this. Well, if you are a competitive personality (like me), your time could very well be sucked into the vortex of Never Never Land, leaving you bleary eyed and dazed when you emerge from the Quiz Up fog. I became World Champion of Classical Literature in 3 days of practically non stop play. My family is grateful that after 3 days of no laundry and barely stopping to feed them, I snapped out of it and came back to my senses. Now, I more prudently play only when I am waiting in unavoidable lines, or waiting for my kids to come out of lessons/practices.

The basics: The quizzes are real time one on one trivia style, played against other online players. You can connect it to your Facebook profile or have it independent of any other social media. Connecting it will allow you to see which of your friends are also playing and which topics they are going at. The quizzes are each 7 questions long (so perfect for a few minutes of unoccupied time), and you are given points for playing, with winners obviously getting more points. Each quiz topic has it's own independent  ranking of cumulative points and you are ranked on state, national and world scoreboards.

9.Pinterest (FREE): Yep, like every other lady on the planet who has gotten the bug, I LOVE me some Pinterest. Their app lets you check out the genius of your unknown muses while you are out on the go, being fabulous.

For Homeschoolers like me, this is a God send of ideas that keep you from getting stale or redundant in your lessons. There is a never ending stream of brain food to stimulate the studies for your kids. I can't even begin to name all of the things that can be sparked from the creativity of both other homeschooling homes and public school teachers. I would say that if you homeschool, and DON'T use Pinterest, you are doing yourself a disservice, and probably re-inventing the wheel and working way harder than you need to be.

The one caveat to this one: it seems to get bogged down as you pin, loading it up with more and more data, and rendering the available storage space on your phone more quickly filled up. To combat this, I will delete and re-install the app about twice a year. This seems to re-set the storage on your device, while all of your Pinterest data remains intact.

8. Show Me (FREE): available for iPad only. As a homeschooler, we teach our children in our home, and every place we go becomes a classroom as well. This digital whiteboard was such a find! With it you can have a writing surface (multiple color options), in addition to being able to paste photos or images onto the board, record sound, and record the work you are doing for future playback. In addition, it is a social platform, so you and other users with the app can upload work and it can act as a virtual distance-learning platform. We absolutely love this app for how versatile and user friendly it is.

7. Countdown: (FREE): What parent doesn't need a timer? Whether you need to time your kid's shower or how long you're holding a plank (2 ways I actually use mine), this timer is great. It does a count up, or countdown, and allows you to select your buzzer music or sound. It is very easy to use, so small children can navigate and use it easily.

6. YouVersion Holy Bible (FREE): These days,  I rarely have to take my paper version of my bible anywhere unless I am teaching. This app has everything I need. It gives a verse of the day when the app opens, and allows you to bookmark, share passages to social media, select a reading plan with a layout and checklist to guide you in reading through the entire bible, and has every major version of the bible all in one app (which makes comparison between the versions a snap). The app also has a tab that allows you to take notes on what you are reading.

5. Flashlight (FREE): I would have to say that this app is the MOST used feature on our phone, hands down. We have searched for toys under couches, shoes in pitch black parks, found our way along rocky paths, searched for monsters in closets, and looked in ears and up noses with this app. It is a parent's best friend. No one with children should be without this one. Period. It is super bright and stays on as long as you need it.

4. Phonto (FREE): This app is fantastic! You can take pictures and add text and shapes, making the creation of funny memes effortless. It is so easy to navigate and turns out a professional looking end result. The choice and variety of fonts is huge, and it allows you to import any font you can find.

3. InstaFrame (FREE): This is our go-to frame for creating picture collages for Facebook and Instagram. It is user friendly and not glitchy, plus it doesn't bother you with pop ups every 10 seconds.

2. Photoblend (FREE): This app allows you to layer one picture on top of another. You can control the opacity of each photo, and adjust the image until it is exactly what you want. It is great for creating word art and double exposure effect images.

and drumroll please.....

1. BubbleFrame ($1.99): This is my ALLTIME favorite app! It has so much versatility and can be used for so many different projects. Every update this app has undergone has just made it better.  It cost $2, but to be honest, I would have paid for this app at ten times that price. You can make images from photos, start with a background out of their collections (that update seasonally, while still giving you access to all of the past archived collections) or simply create a background color to begin. You then can make bubbles (which can morph into any circle to square shape) and fill those with photos or colors. You can add in text either straight across the image, or you can have text run along the edges of your bubbles in a geometric effect. Fonts can be downloaded from the internet directly to this app for instant use. When you save your image, it can be set to a high definition resolution, for a crisper effect when used on social media. I'm sure I am forgetting a ton of things this app can do, but let me tell you, this is by far the best $2 I have ever spent in my life. I would only be joking a little bit if I said this app has improved the overall quality and contentment of my life.

So there you have it. Some of the greatest apps that help to make my days easier and more efficient. Be sure to leave a comment with the apps you can't live without, because we gotta have each other's backs in getting our lifehack on, right?!


  1. I'm so going to buy Bubble Frame right now. They should totally be paying you for advertising ;-)

  2. OOoooh, yeah! I totally need an agent. LOL. I love Bubble Frame so much. I probably make at least one thing a day on it!

  3. Um....I. Love. You. Thank you thank you thank you thank you for all that incredible info!! *mwah!*

  4. I agree that the flashlight is the most used, lol, but I can't wait to try out the free photo ones. And you gushed over Bubble Frame so much...it may even be worth the $1.99 to try! ANd that's saying a lot. I've never paid for an app before. :D

    1. It was the first non school app that I have ever purchased and so so worth it! I really cannot get enough of it.