Author: Christina Refford

KonMari App: Our cool free app of the week

With three kids, one dog, and enough stuff to fill a suburban house, I quickly became a convert to the KonMari method of organization, or “tidying” as founder Marie Kondo puts it. Her simple and direct way of weeding through all the stuff we have accumulated over the years has revolutionized the way I, and many others, keep our homes in order. And now that the long awaited KonMari app has arrived, I had to see if it is as amazing as her first book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was for me. Related: The...

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Tinycards app: Our cool free app of the week

Before my family headed out of the country on vacation, I spent weeks learning Italian using the free and very popular Duolingo app. And now Duolingo lets you practice not only your foreign language skills, but your knowledge in any area you’d like, with their new, free flashcards app, the Tinycards app. Parents, this one may come in very handy with your middle-graders and tweens when the school year begins. The Tinycards app for iOS presents bite-sized information on digital flashcards to help you brush up on French vocabulary, your knowledge of the Solar System, or even the parts of the human skeleton....

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Prisma app: Our cool free app of the week

Beyond cropping out background noise or scrolling through a few Instagram filters, I don’t usually spend a ton of time messing around with my photos. But after downloading the new and free Prisma app for iOS this week, I’ve discovered how fun and easy it is to turn pictures into little works of art. Edited to add: Prisma is now available on Android too! After selecting the photo I want to use from the ones sitting on my phone, I can scroll through over 30 different overlays to see how each one looks when applied to my snapshot. It only takes only...

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Rome2rio travel app: Our cool free app of the week

We just returned from a family vacation to Italy, and boy do I wish I had discovered the Rome2rio app before our trip. It could have saved us countless moments trying to decide the best way to get around the various sites with three kids, with the least amount of aggravation. What I love about this app for both iOS and Android is that it quickly and neatly lists the best options from getting from “point A” to “point B”. Before heading out on your trip, you can use the handy website to help plan out the routes you’d like to...

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Cakewalk: Our cool free app of the week

The kids have been out of school for a bit and chances are you’ve heard the “bored” word at least once. Or maybe you have a toddler who is ready for a new activity approximately every three-and-a-half minutes. Either way, check out the free Cakewalk app app which is like having a stack of quick ideas on hand to flip through when you need to come up with something to do, stat. Currently only for iOS (though Android is in the works), Cakewalk lets you tailor the ideas you see based on the ages of your kids, from babies all the way up...

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SpotHero: Our cool free app of the week

Summertime is the perfect time for the kids and I to explore nearby Boston–hey, we need to do that Freedom Trail someday, right?–but, oy, do I hate driving around looking for parking. So, when a well-traveled friend told me that she’d found a simple-to-use app called SpotHero that helps her line up parking ahead of time, at big discounts, in almost any large US city she finds herself, I was intrigued. Intrigued, and excited, because with SpotHero, I am ready to hit the road without worrying about where I’m going to leave my car even on the busiest days, or how much money it’s...

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Make a splash with these 6 must-see geeky-cool pool floats and rafts

When it’s time to unplug the devices and hit the pool, lake, or ocean to cool off, I know my kids love stretching out and relaxing on a comfy pool float or raft while they talk to their friends. And, whoa, they would go nuts for any of these totally cool options we found, that reflect their love of all things tech, gaming, and geekery. Heck, I know plenty of adults who would love these too. So keep reading for six of the coolest geeky pool floats and rafts for our plugged-in kids. Just leave the electronics on dry land, okay? CMP is an...

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Sound Sleeper white-noise app for parents: Our cool free app of the week

If there is one gift I could give to all new parents, it would be the ability to make their baby fall right asleep on command. But since my super powers were never really strong in that area, I’ll have to settle with telling you about a cool free app that might help make bedtime come quicker. Even for those kids who have long passed the age of being rocked to sleep. In honor of Father’s Day, I present you with the Sound Sleeper app for iOS and Android. This white-noise app has a clean retro-design created for (tired) parents by fellow parents Michael and Miriam Feigenson....

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Endless Spanish: Our cool free app of the week

Mis Amigos! One of our favorite early-reading apps, Endless Reader, has gone espagñol with the Endless Spanish app, an adorably playful and educational preschool app for both iOS and Android users. Similar to the awesome Endless Reader, Endless Spanish introduces kids to frequently-used Spanish words such as amigo, casa, and flor with the help of some not-at-all-scary monsters, cheerful music, and silly sound effects. Kids learn not only how to pronounce each word but have to drag the individual letters into their proper place to help them remember how it’s spelled. The word is then used in a Spanish-language sentence which will need the kids’...

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SkyView stargazing app: Our cool free app of the week

Summer nights are perfect for staying up late, lying on the lawn (or roof deck if you’re a city dweller) and looking up at the stars. But, often, streetlights and other ambient light can make it hard to see everything that is up there clearly. Or, truthfully, I just don’t know what to tell the kids when they point at some bright speck and say, What is that? That’s why I’m so interested in the SkyView app, a free app for iOS and Android, that is a stargazer’s best tool for making the night sky not only beautiful but also educational. SkyView...

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Ultimate Birthday Party Gift Guide

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