As always let U.S. Cellular make it easier by using the Parent/Child Cell Phone Agreement to set some ground rules for cell phone and device usage.

I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade. I received an Apple iPhone6S  and am being compensated for my time.

IMG_1758Do you have people in your life that are hard to buy gifts for? My husband and my Dad are both difficult for me.  They both love electronics and like the newest technology, but I still did not know what they would like that would be different and fun. Thankfully US Cellular came to the rescue with some great gift ideas!

For passions ranging from fitness to gaming and everything in between, wireless accessories can be a great gift for loved ones looking to simplify and enhance their favorite activities.

For children getting their first wireless device this holiday season, be sure to check out the U.S. Cellular Parent-Child Agreement 

Wireless devices play an important role in our daily routines. According to a recent U.S. Cellular survey, 38 percent of smartphone users play games on their phones daily, 49 percent check the latest news, 14 percent use GPS and 34 percent use their phone to help monitor their health.

Powered by U.S. Cellular’s high-speed network with national coverage, mobile devices such as Apple iPhone6S can work in tandem with cutting edge accessories to help you monitor your health and fitness, listen to your favorite songs or provide a more convenient and unique messaging experience.

Here are a few of the hot tech accessory gifts this year:

  • OtterBox Commuter Case ($39.99): With defense against drops, dust and scratches, along with two layers of protection, the OtterBox Commuter case is sleek enough to easily fit in your pocket while also protecting against the elements, perfect for everyday use or for the adventurer in your life.  
  • Belkin WeMo Insight Switch ($59.99): For the person on your list looking to simplify their life, the Insight Switch connects your home electronics to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to turn them on and off from anywhere using your phone or tablet. It can also put your home electronics on a schedule as well as monitor your energy usage and send information to your phone or tablet.
  • Parrot Rolling Spider Drone ($99.99): For the fun-loving adult or child on your list, the Parrot Rolling Spider is an ultra-compact drone controlled by your smartphone. It flies indoors and outdoors with speed and stability, and you can take photos with its vertical camera simply by hitting the ‘photo’ icon in the accompanying app on your smartphone screen. Its detachable wheels make it easy to roll from the floor to the ceiling.
  • Samsung Gear S2 ($349.99): Perfect for the health conscious person on your list who wants to stay connected, the Gear S2 makes it easy to take charge of your health while also staying up-to-date on to what is important to them. The Gear S2 monitors daily activities, counts your steps, and measures your pulse as well as your water vs. caffeine intake. In addition to answering calls and texts, the Gear S2 also makes it easy to read an email, check out a map, listen to music or access your favorite apps right from your wrist.

I love the drone idea. What is your favorite gift idea on this list?


What Running a Half Marathon Has Taught Me

by Katie on November 9, 2015

I’ve been on a journey to become healthier since June of 2014.  I first blogged about what made me decide to make some major changes here and then blogged about how the mindset of progress not perfection was helping me achieve my goals here.   

IMG_0046The last time I blogged about my fitness journey I was really finding my grove. My workouts were going well, I had finally found a way of healthy eating that was working for me, and I was seeing a lot of progress. Sometime right after the first of the year I got a crazy idea in my head to sign up for a half marathon.  The half marathon I wanted to run wasn’t until October, but I knew if I did not sign up for it at the very second that I had the idea I would never do it. So on a cold January night I nervously registered and then immediately told my family, closest friends, and my fitness group about it to hold myself accountable.

The months came and went and before I knew it July was here and it was time for me to lace up my shoes and start training. I trained for three months before the race, running an average of three times a week and cross training the FullSizeRender (2)other 2 days.  The 3 months flew by and just like that I found myself standing at the starting line of the Des Moines Marathon getting ready to run the 13.1 miles that I had thought endlessly about in the days and weeks leading up to the race. The starting gun went off and I ran and ran and ran (and walked a little) until 2 hours 59 minutes and 6 seconds later I crossed the finish line.

IMG_0080Here are a few things that training for and running the half marathon taught me:

Trust the Process

This was a huge lesson for me. I struggled running 3 miles when I first started training. I mean really struggled. During those times I wondered how I would ever be able to run 13.1 miles and really starting doubting myself.  At some point during this time I read an article about training that said “trust the process.” This really hit home with me and was something I could relate to with my fitness group. When I started the group I could not do burpees, situps, or pushups without some major modifications and yet somewhere along the line I slowly became  stronger and was able to let the modifications go. The same thing happened with my running, before too long I was easily running 3 miles and as the miles started to increase so did my endurance. Trust the process.

You Can Do Hard ThingsFullSizeRender (3)

I’ve always had the motto that I only ran in the case of an emergency, so needless to say running was not something I participated in before signing up for the race. I’m not going to lie, the training was hard and I had some runs that I was not sure how I was ever going to finish.  Training and running this race was one the hardest things I’ve ever done and also one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  Knowing that I was able to complete something that seemed impossible has given me more confidence and pride than I can express.


Always Cheer on Your Tribe

The support I had from my family and friends during my training and my race was absolutely unbelievable.  They showed up big time. I received texts, emails, and phone calls from so many special people in my life  in the days leading up to the race. Those simple words of encouragement meant so much to me as I nervously awaited race day. On race day my family mapped out the course and was able to be at 3 different locations to cheer me on. Just knowing that they were there made me feel so motivated to run the best that I could. The biggest and best surprise on race day happened right as I hit mile 5 and saw 3 of the girls from my fitness group holding signs and cheering me on. I had no idea that they were going to be there and their support and encouragement meant the world to me. So I guess you could say this race taught me to show up and be the encouragement and light to my friends and family both in their successes and in their times of trial. A text, a surprise visit, or a thoughtful gift can mean so much.

  • IMG_0055They are always watching

The day that I finished my race my six year old came up to me and said “I’m so proud of you, Momma! I’m actually prouder than I’ve ever been.”  Those little eyes watched me head out the door and come back in after a long run hardly able to walk. Those little ears listened to me talk about my goals. And that little heart learned what pride felt like. They are always watching.

  • Goals are an amazing motivator

I had two goals when I signed up for this race- To finish and run as FullSizeRender (4)much of the race as possible. Those 2 goals made my training so much easier. I would picture myself crossing the finish line over and over again and I would push through the pain when all I wanted to do was walk. My mind was always done much sooner than my body was. I’m happy to say that I crossed that finish line just shy of 3 hours and ran about 12.5 of the 13.1 miles. Goals are awesome.

  • Never say never

Since I’ve completed the race so many people have said to me “I could never do that.”  Those words have come out of my mouth about so many things but this taught me that Yes, I can do what I think might just be impossible. It might not be pretty, it might not be perfect, but I can do it. And so can you. Never say never.

  • You are worth itYou are worth the money. You are worth the time. You are worth the challenge. You are worth every ounce of sweat and hardwork. You are worth overcoming your fears. You are so worth it.

What a fun, rewarding, empowering, and amazing experience these past few months have been.  I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

If you are interested in running a half marathon, I can’t recommend the IMT Des Moines Marathon enough. The race was organized. The course was really great (and very flat too) and beautiful. The spectators were  encouraging, funny and motivating. The whole experience was just amazing!

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Halloween Safety

by Katie on October 12, 2015

As always let U.S. Cellular make it easier by using the Parent/Child Cell Phone Agreement to set some ground rules for cell phone and device usage.

I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade. I received an Apple iPhone5S and am being compensated for my time.

Halloween 2014


Can I tell you a secret? I used to not love Halloween. I was not big into dressing up and the whole holiday just seemed OK to me. Until I had kids. Now I’m a full on Halloween lover. I love the costumes, decorations, trick-or treating, and of course the candy.  We don’t let our kids venture out trick-or treating alone, but for parents of older kids who do head out with a group of friends without an adult present can present some safety concerns. Thankfully U.S. Cellular is here with some tips on how to keep all kids safe this Halloween

Most modern smartphones come with several tools useful for Halloween safety. For example, you can:



        • Set up alarms on your child’s phone for periodic reminders to check in.
        • Program your phone numbers into their phone as ICE (In Case of Emergency).
        • Take advantage of the flashlight function for night visibility.
      • Recommended apps: Parents can also take advantage of these top-rated, free or low cost apps for Halloween safety:
        • Family Locator: Keep tabs on trick-or-treating family members with the Family Locator app. This free app allows parents to see kids’ locations in real time, get notifications when they reach their destination and receive alerts when they go somewhere unsafe.
        • Red Panic Button: In case of emergency, parents can ensure they’re reachable at a moment’s notice with the Red Panic Button app. A press of the button sends an SMS and email that contains a link to Google Maps and their GPS coordinates to everyone in the panic contact list.
        • FBI Child ID: This free app provides invaluable tools in case a child goes missing. Convenient electronic storage of photos and vital information about your child enables parents to show pictures and provide physical identifiers to first responders, as well as easily email the information to authorities.
        • Ghost Radar: Have a little fun this Halloween with the Ghost Radar app! This free app takes Halloween safety to a paranormal level by alerting users to any possible paranormal activity in the area. Ghost Radar takes various readings on the device, and includes a voice to announce when interesting words have been detected.


With those safety tips your and your child should be all set to go for a night of spooky fun! Happy Halloween!


Best Apps for Builders and DIY’ers

September 18, 2015

As always let U.S. Cellular make it easier by using the Parent/Child Cell Phone Agreement to set some ground rules for cell phone and device usage. I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade. I received an Apple iPhone5S and am being compensated for my time.   My husband and I have been on a big DIY kick recently. […]

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