Archive for the ‘iPhone App addiction’ Category

Deceptively simple…

Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 09:03 AM
posted by mrscaz

lyne…Infinitely complex. Or so they say. Who says? Why, the developers of the App “Lyne“, that’s who. I know it’s been a while since I reviewed an iPhone app here on the kids belts blog, but my love for them has not wavered!

One of my very favorite apps (because I get free stuff, well… free after I purchase things, so I guess not technically “free”) is the Starbucks app. I’m not going to take the time to review this app, but one of the cool things about the Starbucks app is that once a week or so they usually send a free app or song download, which is how I got Lyne. (Did you see it come full circle there?)

lyne2The premise of this game is simple, connect the shapes. As with most games, the first few levels are relatively simple, basically getting you used to how the game works.


Then they get more difficult. The lines can’t go through other shapes, meaning you can’t get from one triangle to the next by going through a diamond (or as my son calls it, a rhombus). There is an exception, though, you can use the octagon as a conduit to the other shapes.



This game is challenging but surprising calming. It’s almost zen-like. So grab your phone, find a quite spot and relax while you work out your brain!

- Hundreds of pre-built puzzles
- An infinite number of procedurally-generated puzzles, released daily
- No in-app purchases. No ads.
- Slick, intuitive interface
- Soothing dynamic audio
- Unlockable colour palettes

Let me know if you check it out and what you think!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor





iHeartRadio Review

Thursday, May 2, 2013 @ 12:05 PM
posted by mrscaz

Ah, radio, you have come a long way. Remember having one of those?? Me neither! I’m not that old, thank goodness! But I do remember the clunky radios we had in the 70′s and it amazes me that I can now listen to the radio on my phone/computer/iPad/iPod/etc…

At the kids belts office it tends to be one of two things, mind splittingly (yes it’s a word, or at least it is to me) quiet or ear drum shatteringly (yep, made up another one) noisy! Either way, I just can’t take it, so I turn to music. Usually, I turn to Pandora, however, I quickly meet my 40 hr limit and I really don’t want to pay for another subscription, so I found iHeartRadio and I love it.

According to their website, “iHeartRadio is a free, all-in-one digital radio service that lets you find more than 1,500 Live Stations or create commercial-free, all-music Custom Stations featuring songs from the artist you select and similar music.” Free?? Yes, free! Sweet, I love free!

What’s cool about iHeartRadio is that you can listen to actual radio shows from all over the country, including some local stations. I can’t do that on Pandora. Here’s more from their website, “Listen to more than 1,500 live radio stations from coast-to-coast including pop, country, urban, rock, talk, and college. Browse radio stations by music genre and location, then hit the scan button to move from radio station to radio station within a format. Let our DJs know what songs are hot or not by giving them a thumbs up or thumbs down.” What? you can rate the songs you hear on their stations? That’s awesome! Justin Bieber… thumbs down!

Don’t want to listen to a radio station? That’s ok, you can put in a song or artist and create your own station! You can listen for hours at a time uninterrupted without it asking “Are you still listening?” You can rate the songs it picks, just like Pandora and it won’t play them again. I think I’m addicted. I typed in “Going back to Cali” (gotta get some old skool LL Cool J) and the amazing thing is…. They actually played it! It was like the 3rd song in, Pandora isn’t like that at all. It takes forever for them to play the song you want to hear. It also has this cool little tuner dial where you can select from 3 options. 1. Familiar (plays mainstream songs that you are familiar with) 2. Mixed (includes lesser known songs that fall into whatever category you have chosen) 3. Less Familiar (will include songs you may have never heard, but might like). It’s nice having the variety.

This app is definitely on my must have list. You should check it out. Also, I want you to know that I have not been paid or anything to write this review. In fact, iHeartRadio has no idea that I am even writing it. I just wanted to share!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


4 Pics 1 Word Review

Thursday, March 28, 2013 @ 01:03 PM
posted by mrscaz

I got sucked in… I innocently downloaded a game on my break from making kids belts, and now I’m hooked. Well, hooked until I get bored with it, you know my attention span is very small. :)

The game is 4 Pics 1 Word. It’s a ridiculously simple premise for a game, but strangely addicting. You are given 4 pictures, a bunch of letters to choose from and there is one thing that they all have in common. Whatever that is, is the answer. Seems easy, right? Well, yes and no. Some of the puzzles are super easy.

Take this one for example:

Easy, right? (Round, the answer is round.) There are quite a few that are this easy and I think they do that to suck you in. “Hey, look, I’m so smart that I figured out all of these levels!”

And then, BOOM! You are hit with this level:

Not impossible, but definitely a little more difficult. (Spoiler alert, the answer is address). Then they throw this one at you:

This one took me a while, but I did get it. (Plenty) The one thing I like is that they vary so it keeps my attention. You can facebook it, and you can get hints (costs you coins). The hints involve revealing letters and removing them. Sometimes, those hint are the only way I made it through a level. If you have aced every level, don’t brag, it’s not nice and you make me feel dumb, but kudos to you! I’m not to proud to say “way to go”!

Anyway, try it out. I think you’ll like it, just don’t blame me when you aren’t getting anything else done because you are trying to figure out what the pictures have in common. Enjoy!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Strava Review

Thursday, November 1, 2012 @ 11:11 AM
posted by mrscaz

I am self-admittedly addicted to iPhone apps. And while I love apps, they are, most certainly, not all created equal. In my quest to be a healthier kids belt inventor, I stumbled across an app called Strava.

This app is like a lot of the fitness apps out there. It promises to keep track of your run, bike ride, etc…, as well as keep track of calories burned, pace, moving time and more. You can even link up with friends who have a Strava account (free).

The run detail is pretty detailed in that it shows you how well you did on each mile. That’s a pretty cool feature that a lot of the other fitness apps don’t include. The cycling app does pretty much the same thing, only for cycling, go figure!

Here’s the down side, the GPS function is very unreliable. Now, to be fair, I can’t say with any certainty that my phone isn’t the problem, but I haven’t had any issues before.

Why is the GPS important? Well, the way the app works is that it measures your distance and the amount of time it took you to cover that distance to come up with the amount of calories burned. If the GPS is off (like it has been the last 4 times I have used it) it will say that you ran 9 miles and burned 1,000+ calories when in actuality you ran 3 miles and probably burned about 400 calories.

I am the type of person that is results oriented, so I want to see approximately how many calories I burned and 1,000+ is not a good approximate number.

Also, in the cycling app, I think the calorie counter is WAYYYY off. Why? Oh, just because I biked 12.1 miles a few weeks ago and it said I only burned 154 calories. IMPOSSIBLE! Impossible, I say. I did it in about an hour (which meant in my world that I was booking it) and I had to burn more than 154 calories. I can walk our local bridge (1 mile) three times (about 45 mins) and burn over 400 calories.

Anyway, my point is that this app may be a little misleading, so if you are very interested in your actual time, calories burned, distance, etc… maybe you should opt for another app.


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Elfishki and The Giant Cake Review

Thursday, May 10, 2012 @ 08:05 AM
posted by mrscaz

By now you all know me and the addiction I have to iPhone apps… Well, the addiction has spread to iPad apps. I know it’s similar, but there are some apps that are only meant for the iPad. This is one of those apps, but boy is it super cute. The best part about this app is that it’s for the kids so it doesn’t draw me in and steal my time from the world of kids belts.

This is one of a series of 7 interactive books from Elka Palka Productions. This is an adorable little story about the Elfishki. They are little fairy tale creatures who live on the beautiful Rainbow Island in the middle of the Sparkling Sea. They can fly like butterflies or swim like mermaids.

The illustrations are beautiful and really vivid. The animations are great for the kiddos. They get the benefit of reading, but the bonus of the interactive screens. Each page not only has animation when you touch it, but  each of the fairy tales contains comprehension questions and a game to boost your child’s creativity and imagination.

Don’t fear, if your little one is too young to read, you can choose the “listen” feature and it will read the story to your little one!

Bug and Super Dude really enjoyed the game that comes with this app. This game lets your kids build the most giant unique cake ever with ingredients like peppers, candy, seafood, icing, snails, cookies, bats and candles. When they finish decorating the cake, they can take a picture of their design for safe keeping and then start over! Super Dude likes topping his with all of the creepy crawly ingredients while Bug likes to mix it up.

If you don’t have an iPad, your kids can also enjoy all of the stories online! Here is a great video to show you a little more about Elfishki!

Hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor



I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


My Fitness Pal

Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 11:03 AM
posted by mrscaz

It’s Thursday and you know what that means? It’s time for this kids belts inventor to do a review! Today, in keeping with my iPhone app addiction, I will be reviewing the My Fitness Pal app.

This app is a great way to keep your “calories in, calories out” in check. This app lets you keep a food diary, but does all of the calculating for you. It already has thousands and thousands of food items already pre-loaded into its database, but the other really cool thing about it is that it has a bar code scanner. That’s right, no more manually typing in the calories, serving sizes, and all of the other nutritional information, just scan and save and you are set. I think that’s my favorite part. As you add foods to your diary, it keeps track of how many calories you have left for the day. How awesome is that?

When you set up your account, you put in your current height and weight and so on. My Fitness Pal calculates your BMI as well as your BMR (resting metabolic rate). The BMR is important because if you know how many calories you burn resting, you know how the calorie range you need to stay in each day. It also gives you daily goals for sodium, protein, cholesterol, potassium, calcium, and so on.

Another really cool feature is that you can add in when you exercise and it calculates the calories burned. It then adds those calories into your daily allotted calories and increases the amount accordingly. See, it totally takes all of the work out of it for you. So far, my assistant has lost 14 lbs using this app along with her running.

According to their website, here is what you get with your FREE (free is good, right?) membership to My Fitness Pal.

  • The easiest to use food diary on the web - Track what you eat with just a few clicks from anywhere with an internet connection – at home or at work
  • A searchable food database of over 1,582,000 items - and it’s growing everyday!
  • Your own personal food database - add your own foods and recipes at any time and access them from anywhere with an internet connection
  • Free mobile apps for iPhone and Android - so you can log your meals and exercise even when you are on the go
  • Support and motivation from people just like you – Our discussion forums let you learn from others, share your own tips, receive and give encouragement, and make friends.
  • A personalized diet profile - customized to your unique weight loss goals.
  • Flexibility - our system can support any diet like Atkins, the South Beach Diet, the Zone, and more. No matter what diet you’re on, we can help.

I’m really excited to be using this app and look forward to seeing the results!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor




Run Training App Review

Thursday, February 16, 2012 @ 01:02 PM
posted by mrscaz

I am many things; mom, wife, friend, kids belts inventor, and so on, but there is one thing I am not, I am not a runner. I don’t understand it. I’d even go as far as to say if I ever had to run for my life, I’d probably die. As I’ve said before, my assistant has gotten into running. She’s even gone as far as to run 3.25 miles straight, without stopping. I know what you are thinking, “What’s wrong with her?” Ha ha! I joke! I think it’s great and she went from barely being able to run in 30 second intervals to running a whole 5K in 6 and 1/2 weeks. How’d she do it? Well, she just happened to let me in on her secret.

Yep, its an app… You should have seen that one coming! My fondness for apps has outweighed my hatred of running. I downloaded the Run Training App and it looks really helpful. I decided to recruit some of the other moms at Bugs school to start this with me. I’m hoping that together we can push and encourage each other to go farther and really do this.

This App has some really great features (Note: this app does cost $2.99, but there is a free version that you can use 6 times prior to deciding if you want to purchase it). The first feature that I really like is the Mode section. That is where you can choose how you want to train. There are 4 main modes (all modes keep track of your time, distance, pace, and calories burned):

  1. Free Mode – Allows you to just get out and run.
  2. Route Mode – Allows you to set up a routes for different places that you may run.
  3. Training Mode – My favorite mode. This is where you can choose what you want to train towards, ie. 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon (Good night! Why on earth would you want to put yourself through that???) What’s nice is that in training mode it gives you voice cues as to when to run and when to walk.
  4. Goal Mode – This mode allows you to set up either a distance goal or a time goal and then announces when you are halfway there.

This app also keeps track of a calendar for you and every time you run it logs it on the calendar without you having to take an extra step.

You can go back and look at your history and see how each run compares to the previous one.

The last thing I’ll mention is a cool sort of techie feature. It keeps a map of where you ran so you can actually see how far you went! I think that’s super cool because I am a visual person. You can select the street view, satellite view or a hybrid view.

Overall, even though I’m not a runner (no matter how many times my assistant says “Oh, you’d be surprised! You’ll love it!”), I really like this app and I think that it will be a great asset on my overall journey to health this year!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Customize Me

Thursday, January 26, 2012 @ 08:01 AM
posted by mrscaz

Earlier this year, in my kids belts blog, I admitted that my new year resolution is to work on my health. My overall health, not just weight, but with that being said, weight does play a roll in better health. Last week I started a running program (maybe I’ll review that app next week), so that is working on my strength and cardio, now I need to work on cutting calories and fat and all that fun stuff. Well, hubby and I wanted to go out to dinner a few nights ago (I know, eating right and eating out are a dangerous combination) and we decided on Red Robin… Yummm.

Once we were seated, I did the responsible thing (bleh… I know) and asked for their nutrition facts. What I was given both surprised and delighted me. You all know by now that I have an iPhone app addiction, so when the waiter said that there’s an app for that, I was sold!(PS they have an online version too, check it out)

I downloaded the Red Robin Customizer app and it is super cool.

The home screen of this app has two options: Create a Meal or My Saved Meals. When you click on “Create a Meal” it takes you to the Red Robin menu. You can choose any item, from burgers, to wraps, to chicken sandwiches, to appetizers to sides and so on and so on… Say you want a chicken sandwich, click on chicken sandwich and then surf through their options. Let’s pick the Chicken Caprese Sandwich. You can click on the “customize” button and suddenly, the sandwich separates by ingredient. you can then delete an item, or switch an item out by sliding the item back and forth. It’s so cool! As you are doing this, you can switch back and forth between that and the nutrition. Once you get the sandwich to the calories you want, you can then add on to the meal with a side, dessert and beverages. You can also save that meal for next time so you don’t have to take the time to do it again.

I have to say, this will totally take the guess work out of eat out at Red Robin. I wish every restaurant had one. My word, could you imagine my phone if they did?? It would explode!!!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


10 Tips to Healthy Grocery Shopping

Friday, January 6, 2012 @ 12:01 PM
posted by mrscaz

It’s a new year! 2012 already? That happened way too fast, but I am a bit disappointed because I was sure that by now we would all be driving flying cars and using teleporters.

But I digress, back to the new year and new resolutions. This year I resolve to have the best year in kids belts history! That should be easy because I only have to compete with 3 years and while they were great years, I am certain that this will be the best. That’s not my only resolution, like tons of people out there, I am making a resolution for health. Maybe I should be more specific, good health. I’m not looking to lose mounds of weight and be super model skinny thereby making my head look hugely disproportional to my tiny frame, I just want to be healthy. In my search for healthy-ness (shhh, I can make up words if I want…), I thought I would pass along some healthy shopping tips that I picked up.

10 Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips:
  1. Shop the perimeter of the store. That’s where the good fresh stuff is located. The produce section, fresh meat section and dairy section are the best places to shop for clean eating.
  2. LIST LIST LIST Take a few extra minutes before you go shopping to plan out your weeks worth of meals and make a list. If you have a smart phone, there are so many free apps out there that are specifically for shopping lists. The really neat thing about those apps is that they will also organize your list for you into sections so in the long run it makes the shopping trip go much faster! (I like the ShopListFree app. It’s very basic, but also user friendly.) Some of the apps even include pricing, so you can keep it budget friendly!
  3. Focus on Fiber Officially, fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Most adult women should shoot for over 20 grams of fiber a day; men should shoot for over 30 grams. Some great sources are whole fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and breakfast cereals, and all manner of beans. You should choose foods that list whole grains (like whole wheat or whole oats) as a first ingredient. Bread, cereal, crackers and other grain foods should have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
  4. Avoid Overly Processed Food Box mixes and canned food, while they are convenient, are riddled with sodium. Try to avoid boxed food altogether and if you must get canned food, always opt for low/no sodium choices.
  5. Buy Lean Cuts of Meat There are so many choices out there now with chicken and turkey (ground meats, sausages, cutlets, etc…) that it’s much easier to make substitutions. Beef and pork aren’t too bad in moderation, but you definitely should get the very lean cuts.
  6. Dairy Opt for low-fat items. Cabot has some really great low-fat cheese options (Cheddar, habanero, jalapeno and pepper jack). Skim milk is a good choice and if you are going for yogurt, opt for Greek yogurt. It packs more of a protein punch and has little to no fat. Plain Greek yogurt also makes a wonderful substitute for sour cream.
  7. SAY NO TO IMPULSE JUNK Resist impulse buys while standing in the check out isle. Don’t let those candy peddlers win! You don’t need the candy bar or that bag of chips. Put it back…
  8. Resist the Twinkies Ok, it’s hard to jump into healthy eating, so if you are going to pick up some not so healthy treats, limit it to what you can fit in the top of the buggy (you know, where a small child usually sits). Then when you get in line to check out, re-evaluate those choices and ask yourself again if you really want (NEED) it.
  9. Don’t Meander Shop with a purpose. When you aimlessly meander through the store, you open yourself up to more impulse buys. You also fall into the stores sales traps, the end caps. The end caps are where bad food goes to tempt you and the store pretends that they are “practically giving it away”. Usually, the deals aren’t that great anyway. Just walk away.
  10. Don’t Go Hungry A huge mistake is to shop when you are hungry. Everything looks good when you are hungry and when you are hungry your stomach is telling you that you NEED it all. So save yourself some trouble, eat before you shop. You will thank me later.

So, that’s it. That’s my miracle list for healthy grocery shopping. I know that its not an exhaustive list by any means, but it is a start. I hope you can use at least a few to make your 2012 the healthiest ever!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor


Dreamy Dream Zoo

Thursday, January 5, 2012 @ 11:01 AM
posted by mrscaz

Oh, iPhone, you never let me down… In a world, where I am being pummeled (yes pummeled, my assistant is a brute) with kids belts deadlines and decisions, I can still sneak off into the corner of the room and indulge in a little dreamy escape called “Dream Zoo”.

I know that my app obsessions change weekly, sometimes daily, ok, sometimes several times daily, but that’s ok, right, whatever keeps mama happy… or sane… whichever the case may be and for me it’s iPhone apps. What’s the harm? The majority are free and if they aren’t, $0.99 isn’t too bad (I know I am sounding a bit hypocritical after my Value of a Dollar post, but don’t judge me).

This weeks app is Dream Zoo, its an addictive time suck. The people at Zynga have done it again. They have created some of my favorite games and Dream Zoo has not let me down.

The premise behind the game is to build your dream zoo. You start off with a small piece of property and an animal and go from there. Everything you do earns you more coins, hearts and bills. You can use those as forms of payment when purchasing more land, animals, decor, storks and such. You can interact with other (friends or random people) zoos to earn more hearts and coins. You can breed your animals to create champion bloodlines. The possibilities are endless. The animals even need to be fed and bathed!

I have also realized that the people who design and sell these apps are genius’. They suck you into playing and then sell you little bits of nothing for $.99 here and $.99 there. To be clear, I still have not spent any extra money on this game. I patiently wait to earn the hearts/coins/bills needed to “purchase” whatever it is I want. However, I am sure that there are a whole lot of people who do participate in those in-app purchases. Wow… maybe I am in the wrong business.

Anyway, back to Dream Zoo. There are a few things that I am not so crazy about when it comes to this app. It crashes a little more than I would like which is frustrating. It’s also such a new app that there isn’t much support out there (even on Zynga’s website) and there are no instructions anywhere that I can find. I sort of feel like their guinea pig in the testing phase, but I can play for free, so I’m not complaining… too much anyway.

If you have an iPhone, iPod, iPad, iWhatever, you should download it and see what all the fuss is about and if you want to add me as your neighbor (code RVHMLB), that wouldn’t be a bad thing!


Common Cents Mama - Kids Belts - Toddler Belts inventor