Farmer Jason

I’m really picky about the music my kids listen to. It’s hard for me to find music that’s appropriate for them, not too commercial, and not horrible for me. I was thrilled to find Farmer Jason on the kid’s music station. We downloaded the A Day at the Farm album from Lala.com and have enjoyed it most mornings ever since. The music takes you on a trip around the farm from morning until night. You visit different animals, crops, and machinery. It’s interesting and informative and our whole family likes it. Our favorite track is the Cow song (which is wrongly named ‘I’m Just a Crow’ online.)

***Tip: The songs build on each other, so it makes more sense if you make a playlist with the songs in order.

A Mac Fan Writes About Her Droid X.

This post would never have been written if it wasn’t for AT&T’s exclusivity with iPhone. Although I love to hate Verizon, they have excellent service, and after waiting and waiting and complaining, I broke down and traded my EnV 2  for an android phone. Here are the pros and the cons over my apple experience in a neat little list.

Pros::

A vast majority of the apps are free. I have so many apps that I forget what half of them do, and I’ve only paid $4 total for them.

The native Swype keyboard makes text input a breeze, and would have made my decision between Droid 2 (which has a keyboard) and Droid x (which does not) a lot easier. When I now use a mobile Apple product, I find myself frustrated by the s-l-o-w-n-e-s-s of the typing.

The homescreens allow widgets instead of just shortcuts to apps. I can scroll through my screens and view my upcoming appointments on the calendar widget, the weather on the weather widget, my friends’ recent twitter and facebook posts with the social media widgets, browse my rss feeds from the news widget, etc. While I also have app shortcuts on the screen, it’s nice to have actual content at a glance.

Multi tasking! I hear that the new iPhone has this, but it’s nice to have several different apps running. With the Droid, I can be running on the treadmill with a cardio app running, have music in the background (Sirius, even!), and be texting all at the same time. This makes me happy!

Cons::

No Netflix, Hulu Plus, Flipbook, or Words with Friends apps. If these existed, my Droid experience would be complete, and I would never look back!

I had to buy a $3 app so that my phone would play nice with iTunes. It has native syncing to a PC, and I have a Mac.

I am totally a Mac fan, and am disappointed that it didn’t work out for me to have the latest Apple phone, but so far, my Droid is out-performing my experience with Apple mobile devices.

Snow inside!

Because of his chronic (and current) ear infections, James isn’t supposed to be outside in the cold and wind. So, we brought the snow into him. It’s great because he doesn’t get too cold, and we don’t have the 20 minute ritual of putting on layers of clothes. We’ve taken him out a few times, but I do enjoy the bucket-of-snow concept!

A B C D Watermelon!

Last night, I discovered a wonderful flash game that let me get dinner cooked in relative peace while helping James learn his alphabet. It is called A B C D Watermelon, and it is perfect for a silly 2 or 3 year old! There’s a lion who sings the alphabet while the letters are added to the screen. Randomly, they replace a letter with a silly word and picture James laughs every time he hears A B C D E F Wiener Dog! The child then gets a choice of three letters at the bottom to replace the picture. When the child mouses over the letters, a voice says the name of each letter.

A B C D E F G H BICYCLE!

Things I especially like about it:

  • It’s silly and has replay appeal. James wants to get the letter right so he can hear what other silly thing they’re going to insert into the alphabet.
  • They alternate uppercase and lowercase
  • Repetition:: Just yesterday, James sang the alphabet as “ABC XYZ Now you sing with me!”  But after playing the game for about 10 minutes last night and this morning, he is hitting some of the other letters, too!
  • They slow down LMNOP so kids con grasp that they’re individual letters
  • They don’t sing “&” Z, which could confuse children that & is a letter.

The one thing I think is missing is an alphabet chart so the child can look at it if they have no idea. When James was stumped, I had him look at the chart we have on the wall. They could always guess, though.

Yay for having fun while learning, and yay for some peace while cooking dinner!

All things Mac

I am a total convert. I understand the hype. Everyone should have a Mac.

I tried really hard to like iPhoto, but the nail in the coffin was the fact that there was no native upload to Picasa. You could only upload to Flikr. Since all of my photos are already on Picasa, I downloaded the Mac version. It’s a little different from the PC version, and I haven’t gotten it all figured out. My favorite new feature is the people application, which is like iPhoto’s Faces. It’s not too bad, but it can’t tell my children apart. I have to admit that in some pictures, I have a hard time, too. I don’t think I would have made this mistake, though:

Picasa Confusion

My Awesome Computer (AKA, Why I hate Vista)

I’m backing up some important files to my external hard drive. Because my computer is super slow and inefficient, each task is running one at a time. According to this screen shot, it will take 125 days 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 10 seconds to back up the 7 folders I’m attempting to back up.

boo! to Erica's computer!

boo! to Erica's computer!

I’ll let you know in February if it’s done yet.

Running Placeholder

I ran on Monday. It didn’t go well. I’ll tell you about it later.

Contra and Music Memories

My iPod shuffled to this song: Funeral March of the Marionette today. It’s an all bassoon version of what most people know as ‘The Alfred Hitchcock’ theme. It made me miss playing contrabassoon. If I had $8,500 lying around that I didn’t need, I would buy one.

On a side note, I played “Funeral March of a Marionette” on my piano jury in college.

Week Four Success!

Well, I successfully completed a week four run on a semi-hilly trail. I think I’m going to run it at least one more time before I move on to week five. I found myself doing really dorky things today during my run. I would tell myself that running down the hill I was currently running up was going to be “so much fun!” I also started pretending that I was in a video game and that when I passed certain areas I would get my strength back… I also designated two ‘power trees’ that would recharge me when I got to them and touched them. I realized that I had gone to far when I caught myself saying ‘power tree!’ out loud when I touched one during my last 5 minute run.                             I think I need to get out more… 🙂

Stats:
Time: 31:05
Pace: 11:49
Distance: 2.63 mi
Calories: 296

***I’ve found another run I’m going to do. I’m trying to talk Will into doing it with me. It’s a 5K/1K race in Fairfax. The race t-shirts glow in the dark. That’s all it took to convince me!
Info here: http://www.goblingallop.org/

Send off

We have sent off three of our friends to do work overseas in the past week.

Veronica & Dave left last Thursday for a two year commitment to the Peace Corps in Romania. They’re currently being trained in Bucharest and then will move in with a host family to teach English and work with ‘marginalized populations.’

-also-

On Monday, John was deployed with the Air Force to an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

All of our friends had layovers in the DC area and we were lucky enough to spend time with them before they headed over. Our best to them, & they are in our thoughts!

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