When it comes to apps, we’re all about finding the newest and coolest ones that help the busy family machine run a little smoother. And as we ramp up to back-to-school season, life is probably about to get even more hectic. Oh forget probably. It is! So, how are we supposed to keep track of everything — and everyone?

That’s where our newest sponsor Cabin comes into play, and boy, are we glad to have them, especially now that the Cabin app is available on both iOS and Android. Seriously. This app is like a mini social network, but a totally private one, just for your family. They’ve brought together some of your favorite parts of the social networks you’re probably already on, all in one handy place. Think Facebook meets instant message with an old school to-do list and a little Foursquare thrown in for good measure.

But unlike all those other social networks where you’re broadcasting everything to the world, the Cabin app is just for your family, helping you stay connected, make plans, chat with each other individually (or as a group), send reminders, and more (if that wasn’t enough).

So, in the interest of making life easier (whoo!), here are the  7 of the coolest parts of the Cabin app that might help make your back-to-school and beyond much more manageable.

1. Real-time messaging.

Cabin lets you share photos, audio notes, texts, emoticons, and status updates instantly with the whole family or individually right within the app, which means you’ll never miss a moment and allows you stay connected to the people you care about most without things getting lost in the shuffle of those 400 texts you’re getting from work, your own friends, you name it. Plus, you can actually see what your middle son is eating for lunch rather than having him tell you. A salad? Show me! 

2. To-do list and messaging are all in one place.

Cabin app: shared to-do list and calendar

Welcome to no more switching between your productivity app of choice, your text messages, and your calendar. It’s all right there in Cabin, and it actually works very well. You can set up reminders (Pick up soccer uniform) or schedule events (Dinner at the O’Briens) for yourself, the group or individual family members. Hello honey-do list genius. You can even share grocery shopping lists, birthday wish lists and important dates or reminders like — ahem — how fond you are of white tulips, and that they just so happen to be on sale at the market this week.

3. Messages are streamlined so it doesn’t get confusing.

Cabin app: messaging

If you’ve ever messaged the wrong person or spent way too much time trying to find a message thread, you’ll dig how Cabin is set up. You can leave the thread with your daughter about the science project due next week and start a fresh message convo with her about the funny cat wearing rain boots Vine that cracked you up. See? No scrolling through all the science business to get to the really important stuff: cats on the internet. Of course.

4. The nagging stops here. (Maybe)

Cabin app: locator

With Cabin’s location option, it’s easy to keep track of everyone’s comings and goings, without bugging your kids with phone calls to make sure they reached their destination safely. You can also share your position with the group to let them know if you’re nearby or running late. And of course, there’s something about being able to see if certain people (cough teens cough) are actually where they say they are.

5. Privacy is a priority.

Because Cabin is invite-only, only the people you want to join (and those who actually do) will be able to see what you share and send. So, no broadcasting of any inner circle business on public social networks, which is a huge concern for parents these days, especially when they’ve got kids with phones. Say goodbye to those oops updates. No judgment here. We’ve had a few ourselves.

6. It’s Team iPhone as well as Team Android.

If your family is like so many families out there with mixed operating systems in the house, you can still use Cabin. It’s available for Android and now also for iOS, so you can easily interact between devices like one big, happy smartphone family. A definite bonus in any (tech) house divided, and also for extended families too.

7.  Get the scoop on your crew. 

It’s so cool that Cabin offers unique insight into your family’s day-to-day activities with their weekly wrap-up emails. It’s almost like getting a sweet little recap on how you’re all doing. As much as we try to keep up with what everyone is doing, it’s nice to know that you’ll get an update in your inbox too. We’re all so busy these days, we’ll take the extra help when we can get it.

Thanks to our sponsor Cabin  for making it easier to keep it in the family. You can download it for free on iOS at iTunes and on Google Play for Android.