Inside-ish Out-like: A Pop Culture Mom Font

Two of the things I’m totally addicted to now, the iFontMaker app for iPad and Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out. So I’ve decided to marry them.

For those who don’t know, iFontMaker is an app that allows you to draw your own fonts. The website says you can draw a font in 5 minutes. This is probably true for some people, but I’m Type A and complicated when it comes to anything creative, so for me, it’s often the equivalent of five days. The font that appears on the web version of this site is my handwriting. This font was probably redone, oh, six or seven times. I have various fonts I’ve created for the purpose of one-key shortcuts (for example, a private signature font I use at work to sign PDFs), fonts of cartoons of my family just because I ran out of ideas, chalkboard fonts, fonts to make diecuts for my Cricut (also in the top five on my current addictions list) and of characters my kids love. That’s where Inside Out comes in.

Inside Out is easily one of the best family movies I’ve seen in a long time. It has unseated Frozen as far as the Pop Culture Girls’ obsession meter goes. You heard me, Disgust is more popular than Elsa. Seriously.

So after we saw Inside Out the first time, I started working on a font. I’m not exactly sure what we’ll do with it other than using it in the Cricut and basically just randomly inserting it in documents just because we can [fan art made easy!], but my kids were super excited when I finally finished it today.

I’m not selfish, so I’m sharing it with you all. All I ask is that you let people know where you got it. So Inside-ish Out-like is all yours for the low cost of attribution. Just click here. I hope you experience lots of Joy and make Core Memories using it! 

Originally posted on Blogger (http:/www.popculturemom.com) http://ift.tt/1LLyzTY

Sandra Boynton is My Sherpa, BUT…

Sandra Boynton has been a goddess in the Pop Culture Family home.

Little Diva had The Going To Bed Book memorized before she was two. Super Girl learned some of her animal sounds from Moo Baa La La La. There are few things she likes better than watching all the Hippos Go Beserk! At some point, I had a Boynton Mom’s Family Desk Planner. And who doesn’t love a BEE-BO (a tiny hippo’s way of saying “Belly Button” [Book]) or a good Barnyard Dance? We are truly the house that Boynton built. That being said… I’m afraid I’ve ruined my child.
The Going to Bed Book is a staple in the Pop Culture household. When Little Diva was approximately the same age Super Girl is now, we had read the book so many times that she had the book memorized, page by page, line by line. I had hoped for the same thing for Super Girl. But I took a wrong turn at some point… I downloaded the interactive app.

Let me say, I stalked this app until it finally came out. Really, all I had hoped for was a version of the book that could read itself, like the version Pop Culture Dad has on his Nook Color; but what we ended up with is so much more. So much better. Every single page is interactive, and every time we open the interactive book, we discover a new feature we hadn’t seen before.

The pages are generally the same, minus some subtle differences.

This is a page from the book
This is the same page in the app. 
Notice they are identical except the faucet. On the left page of the app, you can open and close the window, and the animals move on the stairs. They also make sounds. On the right side, the animals soap up. You can also turn the faucet on and off, and when it is on, bubbles fly out of the tub, which you can pop. This is the page we were reading (in the actual book) last night when I discovered I have messed up my kid.
At some point, our board book was (temporarily) lost, which meant all we had was the app. The app then became the norm. And I guess Super Girl is also still too young to comprehend the difference between the two things. Or at least I’m guessing that’s the problem… because last night… while reading the book… Super Girl tried to move the animals down the stairs. And close the window. And turn on the faucet. And scrub the elephant. In. The. Book. I laughed at first, because the whole thing was really cute. But the poor girl was confused and frustrated. She threw up her hands and declared (over and over), “It not working!!!”.
I guess I really should have thought this through better. Once you go app, you never go back.

Roku App Alone Makes the Roku Worth It

It has been increasingly hard to buy good gifts for Pop Culture Dad. We pretty much buy things as we want them, save for really large purchases, and we’ve been trying to scale back on the over-the-top gifts the last couple of years. He doesn’t maintain a wish list and doesn’t have very many hobbies, and there’s only so much St. Louis Cardinals stuff you can buy before it gets really duplicative. After giving a birthday present this year that did not receive a very enthusiastic response, I had to think really hard to come up with a present that Pop Culture Dad actually wanted, but that wasn’t overly practical. Enter the Roku.

Pop Culture Dad had mentioned several times that the Roku or something similar might be a good purchase. We have two Blu Ray players with internet connection and one is connected to an internet-ready TV. Add the various tablets and smart phones, and it didn’t seem like we really needed another internet-content player for the television. But we have one oft-used television without any internet content, and it looked like the Roku also traveled easily, so I went ahead and bought it. The gift went over like gangbusters. It probably didn’t hurt that there is a lot of sports content. 
Fast forward to today. Super Girl has been sick within ear infection and 102-degree fever for the last three days. Since today was my ETR day, it was my turn to stay home with her. There are only a few summer programs worth watching, and we’ve pretty much cleaned out all of the shows on the DVR that aren’t for the kids. I was hoping to fold some laundry upstairs while caring for my little patient, but i needed to keep us entertained, so enter the Roku. 
I watched a couple of shows and then we dozed off on the couch…. And when I woke up, the itty bitty Roku remote was nowhere to be found. I swear I looked everywhere logical, but it was just gone. On a whim, I went to iTunes to look for a Roku remote app. Sure enough, there was one! 
And the app was free!
Not only did it control the Roku like a remote, but it had options to download more channels and—my favorite feature of all—”Play on Roku,” which allows me to send the music, videos, and pictures on my iPhone or iPad directly to the television through the Roku.

This is Super Girl’s favorite feature too. She had me play the video of her at the circus, watching the elephants and dancing, at least 30 times today. 
The video on my app
Super Girl watching herself on TV watching the elephants… for the 20th time

Despite the two Blu Ray players, Pop Culture Dad had been talking about getting a Chrome TV to stream our phone content to the television [he refuses to buy anything with iOS, so an Apple TV is out]. Now that we each have the Roku app (it is on Android also), looks like we won’t need that. Huzzah!

App Review: Baby’s Touch

Developer: Ironpaper
Platform: iPhone 3GS & higher, iPod Touch – 3rd generation and higher, iPad. iOS 5 required
Price: $0.99
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

“This is so pointless… so mindless… so PERFECT!”

^^ That is what Pop Culture Dad said the first time he saw Pop Culture Toddler2 playing with Baby’s Touch. His sentiment accurately reflects my feelings about it. So if the game is “perfect,” why only four stars? Well, just because it is so pointless and mindless, that I have to reserve the one star for the main thing I usually look for in kids’ apps—education.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I love this app. PCT2 loves this app. Heck, even my four year old has entertained herself playing with it. Okay, okay, I’ll confess. Even I have played it when the kids aren’t around. It’s just cute and fun.

For those who don’t know me, I’m an app whore (pardon my French). I have a gazillion apps on my iPhone and iPad, and if any developer asks me if I want to play around with their app, my answer is always yes [well, almost. Don’t send me any porn or religion apps, okay?]. A lot of these don’t work out. Some of these come with a warning, “Do you really want me to review this? Because… uh… it’s not gonna be good.” (Notice there aren’t a huge amount of reviews for apps I’ve been given? Yeah… There’s a reason, unfortunately). So my expectations always start out low, especially when a developer warns me that it is just a simple game with no complexities at all. My, how he sold himself short!

The day after I downloaded the Baby Touch app, PCT2 became the first member of my family to fall victim to the nasty stomach virus going around the girls’ daycare/preschool. She got sick on my way to bring them in, and, in a classic example of Murphy’s Law, on a day where I had too many things going on at work to stay home. So I had to come up with ways to distract her in my office[1] until Pop Culture Dad could leave his office to pick her up while I furiously did research on Westlaw.

While PCT2 was busying herself tearing up my office, I thought “Hm…. Maybe this would be the perfect time to try out that new app?” It was. Witness:

As you can see, there is practically nothing to this game. She touches the screen, bubbles, rainbows, clouds or stars pop out with sounds and dings, she touches them, they disappear, and the process starts all over again. So simple. So mindless. And for a toddler? So. Freaking. PERFECT.

At least twice a day, PCT2 points to my iPad and says,”Bubble?”. It is one of only two games she prefers to keep on rotation.

As I stated earlier, if there was any educational value to this game, I would consider it absolutely perfect from a mom’s perspective. In any event, if you want something that is just awesome and entertaining for your baby or toddler, this is it.
____
[1] Door closed, because I’m not a jerk.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

This Techie is Skipping the New iPhone

I’ve been waiting for over a year for the announcement. I’ve kept abreast of all the rumors. I have a saved Google News alert for “iPhone 5.” And now that the announcement has been made and the iPhone 5 is set to release next week, suddenly I’m all “meh… Guess I can wait two years until the iPhone 6 comes out.”

Don’t get me wrong. The iPhone 5 is clearly impressive and has a number of long-awaited improvements. For me, however, this is a clear case of “too little, too late.”

When the iPhone 4S came out last year, my immediate reaction was, “Are you shitting me???”. Seeing as Apple pulled this “ha ha! We’re not really releasing a new model even though you have been waiting a year” game on us before (3GS, anyone?), I should have not been surprised. Yet, I still was. Yes, the camera was improved, and there’s Siri; but when you really break it down, there’s not that much of a difference between the iPhone 4 and the 4S. And thanks to the incremental steps put forth with the 4S (not to mention the iPad 3, which has some but not all of these “revolutionary” changes in the iPhone 5), what should have been a mind-blowing, game changing announcement was just “Okay. Sure.”

There is not enough of a change in the iPhone 5 to make me jump and plunk down $400 (I’m a 64 GB kinda gal). Bigger screen? I have an iPad 3 with an even larger screen, which I bring everywhere. Retina display? iPad has that too. Panoramic pictures? I don’t need them, and the iPhone’s camera is still worse than that of other smartphones (like the Nokia Lumina or Samsung Galaxy), so it’s not replacing my real camera any time soon. Siri, new maps, iCloud tabs, Passbook, photo streaming, Facebook integration?? It’s all coming to the iPad with the update to iOS 6.

Look, I’m not saying the iPhone 5 isn’t impressive. I’m just saying its not impressive enough to get me to make the jump. What about all of you? Are you sufficiently impressed with the iPhone 5, or will you be holding on to your current i-devices?

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

This Week I’m Loving… gMusic: A Google a Music Player (app review)


What’s a girl to do when she has Google Play and Amazon MP3 apps on her Kindle Fire and iTunes songs on her iPad and iPhone [first-world problems, I know, leave me alone!]? Well, you could do like Pop Culture Dad did and spend three days converting your entire iTunes music library to MP3s and then uploading that to Google Play, vowing to never use iTunes again… Or you could go the sane and easy route of finding a player that allows you to listen to your Google music on your iOS platforms.

You cannot access Google Play to actually play songs from your iPad or iPhone. Go ahead. Try it. I did, and after Safari crashed several times, I finally got the message.

Before finding gMusic, I tried another app (a free one) which shall remain nameless. Not only did it not work, but the app had the gall to suggest I avoid ads and pay for their upgraded version instead. Considering the ads were the only part of that app that worked, no thank you.

So I took a chance on purchasing gMusic. Normally, I avoid the paid version until I am sure an app will work, but for $1.99 and desperation, I thought it was worth the gamble. It was. As I type this, my iPad is blasting Lady Gaga (don’t judge). Now that I feel comfortable and confident about the app’s ability to work, I plan on purchasing a lot more music via Google and Amazon. Huzzah!



Hey! Don’t look at me like that! I haven’t purchased that much from Google, and when I do it is the stuff on sale. I swear I have more… um… varied and sophisticated tastes is music!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

This Week I’m Loving… Cozi (Cozi.com & Cozi App)

Price: FREE for basic

Cozi is a very simple digital solution to a common household problem: every member of the family has different appointments and obligations, you need groceries, there is a big list of punch items to be done, meals need to be planned, some new recipes would be nice, and oh yeah, you’re tired of sending Outlook reminders to everyone. Enter Cozi.

Cozi is a one-stop shop for all of these items. The family gets one login name and one password [take note of this, as Pop Culture Dad forgot this fact when he changed the family password last week. Fortunately, Cozi sends an email to all family members when this happens]. You can access Cozi online at Cozi.com or you can download the app (for iPhone/iPad and Android).

Here is how the opening screen looks on my app:


This is the home screen online:


The calendar allows you to select which family member(s) are attending which appointments. Additionally, each family member is assigned a color (which you can change), which makes it easy to tell which appointments are whose at a glance. Every family member who logs in will see all appointments, but reminders are only sent to those attending. Every registered family member receives a weekly summary of the appointments once a week.


One added perk is that you can download an app for Microsoft Outlook that allows Cozi to sync with Outlook either manually or on a schedule. I have this on Outlook at work, so that I don’t have to worry about copy/pasting my work events into Cozi. Less work, ya know?

The to-do list is pretty easy to master. It is easily edited and even allows you to make header categories for different groups of tasks.

The grocery list allows any family member to add and check off items needed and no longer needed.

The meal plan organizer is pretty self-explanatory:


BONUS: Recipes. Cozi not only contains a section to list your meal plan for the weeks ahead, but also provides recipes.


If the Cozi recipes don’t tickle your fancy, you can add your own recipes manually or even upload them from the internet. This may be a good way to try out all of those recipes you keep pinning on Pinterest. Oh yeah, Cozi also lets you add the ingredients from the recipe to the grocery list.

All of this comes in the basic version, which is free. You just have to put up with ads and deal with having only one alarm on your reminders. For an ad-free experience with three alarms (plus a few other features), you will need to upgrade to Cozi Gold. Cozi Gold is $4.99 a month or $49.99 for a year. I’ve been using the Basic subscription for a couple of months now, and it is just fine for our purposes.

Before Cozi, Pop Culture Dad and I had been sending each other Outlook reminders (sometimes we still do) and texting each other at the grocery store. This is a more interactive way of doing things. It also makes it more clear when I’m making appointments that were previously just for FYI, that I really don’t expect anyone else to attend.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad