Thanks to Christmas, new babyness, and other events lately, I’ve run into a few cool new things that are making my daily life easier and more fun.

(And, for the record, I was not asked to promote any of these items, nor do the companies mentioned know that I’m writing about them,  They just rock and I wanted to share in case any of them might be helpful to you, as well.)

The Eye-Fi SD Card


I got my “big girl camera” (a DSLR) back in November – I ended up getting the Canon T2i , which has been absolutely amazing.  One of the features built into it was the ability to use an Eye-Fi Card.  This memory card has wi-fi capabilities, which means that as soon as I take a picture (if I’m at home or in a wi-fi hotspot), it transmits it to the correct folder on my computer.  And if I’m not within wi-fi range when I take the photo, it waits and transmits it when I am.  Also, it keeps all photos on a website for 30 days, so if I’m away from my computer, I can still get to them!

It may not sound like a big deal, but it is absolutely FABULOUS to not have to upload photos anymore! I knew it would be great, but it is more efficient than I dreamed it would be.


The Hot Dots Learning System


I happened upon Schoolhouse Educational Supply in Vestavia the other day, and loved it! They had super creative toys, educational games, and school supplies – much better than any other store I’ve found in Birmingham.  However, I was sad that they are planning on closing (if no one buys them out) at the end of February.  Everything in the store is 30% off, so I stocked up on school supplies for Ali – it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re local.

One of the coolest things I found was the Hot Dots Learning System(which, by the way, Schoolhouse is already out of the pens, but you can get them on Amazon).

The Hot Dots pen is just like Ali’s Leapfrog Tag Reader pen (which she also loves and I highly recommend as well) in that you touch the page with the electronic pen and it interacts with you.  In the case of Hot Dots, it tells you if you have the right answer or not.  They can be used with a ton of different types of learning cards at many different age levels. I bought the Telling Time , Counting Money , Phonics , Addition , and Subtraction cards.


Ali absolutely loves them! And the best part is, she can do most of them on her own (no reading required) – it’s a great way for her to be entertained AND learning when I can’t give her my full attention.


The Total Baby App for the iPhone

I SERIOUSLY don’t know how I managed to raise Ali as a baby without this app.

Well, actually I do – remember the craziness of The Notebook?

OH MY GOODNESS this app is so much better – and, scarily enough, tracks even more stuff – in more detail – than I did in my ridiculously OCD notebook.


The app is $4.99, but it is worth every penny if you have trouble remembering when you last fed your baby like I do.  It has awesomely simple start and stop buttons, wonderful (albeit at times TOO detailed) descriptions, and it even has the official percentile growth charts loaded in, so you can see your baby’s percentiles anytime you get a measurement!

I wrote a full review of this app at Practical iStuffcheck it out for more details and photos!


The Melissa and Doug Fashion Sticker Collection

MDFashion Stickers
Ali AND I love these.  In fact, Chris has noticed my obsession and accused me of being in Project Runway withdrawals.  I do miss my friend Tim Gunn

We’ve been using these sticker sets as “reward fun” after doing school, and even though Ali likes school anyway, the motivation of getting to do a fashion portfolio helps her school excitement even more.

They’re basically paper dolls, except that they’re stickers – which, even though they’re one-time use, I HIGHLY prefer to paper dolls, because those paper doll tabs drive me CRAZY.  Plus, these are only $4.99, and you get 80 girls to dress – which will last us a while.

(Although I’ve already ordered us more, because as I said, we’re kinda obsessed with them.)


I’ve also snuck in a bit of extra school with the fun by asking Ali if she wants to name her girls after finishing their wardrobes.  She excitedly writes their creative (and also very Tinkerbell-influenced) names on the sheet, thereby practicing her letters:

IMG_2981Etta, Rosetta, Party, Sovies, Jammy Party, Sophie, Silvermist and Tink.

Great Etta, Vidia, Fawn, and Elvermist.

There are 10 different sets of clothes with 8 girls for each set, and you can mix and match the outfits to your heart’s content:
…and for some reason, according to Ali, whichever girl is wearing the orange panties always has to go last.

There are some things that the world will never understand.


And finally, my favoritest of my new favorite things…


…But you can’t buy that kind of cuteness on Amazon.

19 thoughts on “A Few of My (New) Favorite Things.

  1. That baby apps is fabulous enough to make me want to buy an iphone. Ohhh…wait….that’d the PERFECT push present!!

  2. Well, Ali is a very smart Alabama fan. Orange = Auburn – it’s always last ;) Every time we talk about favorite colors, Molly Cate says, “But not orange, ’cause that’s Auburn. And Auburn STINKS!” ;)

  3. The auto uploader camera card sounds AWESOME. And now I need to go order some sticker dolls to dress. I mean, for my child to dress… *wink wink*

  4. Noah is so adorable! Ali looks so grown up too.

    I clicked over and read your notebook post. I had the same thing with my now 2 year old! So funny! I have an accounting background too and I’m an objective thinker. Also, I think it was therapeutic for me to track things that way (I had the same experiences with my son as you did with Ali). I tracked nursing times, pumping sessions, diapers, fussiness, and sleeping. I so need that app if we ever make the leap for Baby #2.

    Are you planning on homeschooling Ali through high school, or just in the earlier grades? Do you have friends that homeschool, or are you a “lone ranger?” Do you have any resources you can recommend?

    1. I don’t know how far I’ll homeschool Ali at this point – I don’t want to “commit” to something in my mind and then feel trapped or disappointed if I feel I need to make another decision. I hope to, but I want to make that decision based on her (and Noah’s) particular needs as time goes on. I probably have the best support system for homeschooling on the planet, because a) I was homeschooled my entire life, b) my Mom is unbelievably helpful and homeschooled three kids, and c) our Church has a great homeschool cover group. Also, since I homeschooled and since there are quite a number of homeschoolers at our church, I have a TON of resources and people that are doing the same thing I am.

      As far as resources, at this age, I’m all about making it fun and focusing on the things they’re interested in. For instance, when Ali was two, she was really interested in maps. So I just bought a states placemat, and we talked about the states every morning at breakfast. Within a couple of months, she had learned all of the states! (I have some posts about this filed under my homeschooling tag). She ENJOYED it, so it was easy for her to do. Now we’re working more on writing, addition and subtraction, because that’s what she enjoys doing. I don’t think you need “curriculum” until they get a lot older, although I do sometimes use the kindergarten workbooks that you can buy at Sam’s for $8.

      I’m not sure if that helped on the resources question – but feel free to ask me anything else about it! Also, click on the “tag” at the top of my last blog post called “Homeschooling: Not just for the Socially Awkward anymore” to go to all of my posts about homeschooling – I have several videos, idea posts, etc that you might find helpful – especially the earlier ones when Ali was younger. Oh – and let me know if you run across a video that doesn’t work – I’m in the process of fixing them all from my blog transition to wordpress.

  5. I lkiked the total baby app but i wanted it to do more. I wantedit to graph my baby’s typical day and compare info so i could figure out useful info like if my baby missed a nap did she sleep longer througout the night, etc.

  6. So many good ideas! I’ll definitely have to check out the stickers. My four-year old has been having three wardrobe changes per day… couldn’t be girlier.

  7. Love the phone app….I always hated when I was nursing and could not remeber what side I nursed on first the time before-genious!!!

    Since I am homeschooling Connor, I NEED to go to that store before they close….thanks for mentioning it-again :)

  8. That wi-fi camera card sounds INCREDIBLE. Must get that if I ever get a big girl camera. Thanks for the heads up.

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