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

by Katie on 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. I painted our kitchen, front room, and family room and we installed all new light fixtures in those rooms as well. Next on the list is new flooring! Who would’ve guessed that there were apps that could help make all of these DIY projects easier?

 Today’s devices provide access to a wide variety of apps and services that can help streamline projects and improve efficiency for anyone managing a construction project. And with U.S. Cellular’s high-quality network and national coverage, you can stay on top of your projects in big and small cities and rural communities.

With most construction pros using their devices, such as Apple iPhone5S , for work on a daily basis, there are now mobile solutions for everything from fleet management to jobsite security monitoring.

U.S. Cellular identified five of the most useful apps construction pros should know of:

        • Handyman Calculator (free): This app available for Android phones combines a multitude of construction calculators and converters that are useful to any construction or trade worker. This free app also allows users to track their time while on the go and save directly onto their notepad.
        • iHandy Carpenter ($1.99): iHandy Carpenter, available for iOS and Android, combines five valuable carpentry tools into one app. Included in the app is a plumb bob level, surface level, bubble level bar, ruler and protractor. From measuring to leveling, iHandy Carpenter has all the tools you’ll need for your next carpentry project.
        • PlanGrid (free): PlanGrid for iOS is a powerful collaboration tool for construction managers and contractors that can help you make sure the job gets done on time and under budget. Contractors and architects can collaborate on project plans, specifications and photos in real time. Files that are uploaded to the app are also automatically synced across all devices. These collaboration tools can improve the quality, safety and profitability of projects.
        • AutoCAD 360 (free): AutoCAD 360 is drawing and drafting app available for iOS and Android that allows you to view, edit and share AutoCAD drawings. You can store your blueprints on your phone and pull them up anywhere, even on the jobsite. It also allows seamless sharing with others across desktop and mobile platforms, speeding up collaboration and in turn, productivity.
        • Contractor Estimate & Invoice (free): Available for both iOS and Android, Contractor Estimate & Invoice instantly creates invoices on the jobsite. This app streamlines estimating and invoicing saving valuable time and money that usually spent catching up on paperwork. You can also save key customer information, convert estimates directly to invoices and track invoice fulfillment all in one place.

When using your device on a job site or renovating at home, it’s important to make sure it’s properly protected. Rugged cases such as the OtterBox Defender help protect phones from debris and moisture. Additionally, a large, clear screen and fast, 4G LTE service, are key to conveniently accessing plans and collaborating across job sites.

Mobile apps are a great tool for reducing backlogs and communication gaps, two of the biggest culprits in construction project delays. Construction firms and contractors should always stay up to date on the latest developments in mobile technology to make sure they have all the tools they need to get their jobs done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What app would help make your DIY project easier?


Kindergarten Memories

by Katie on August 30, 2015


DSC_0508He woke up and came running out of his room all dressed and ready to go. He chatted all the way through breakfast and was ready to head to school long before it was time to go. I watched with a pit in my stomach and smile on my face. I was so excited for him and so sad for me.  

We got to school and he held my hand as we waited to go in. Before too long he let go and went in with his class, not looking back as we followed behind. We watched him complete his daily morning classroom tasks before he sat down in his little pint sized chair. 

” I think we are going to leave.” I said as my eyes filled with tears. DSC_0519

“Ok” he said with a smile.

“Love you, buddy. Have a great day. I’m excited to see you after school” I said as my voice started cracking. 

“Love you too!” He said as we walked away.

He was fine.  If he was nervous it didn’t show. He was ready. 

He had a wonderful first week. He enjoyed his first day and was excited to go back every day after. He was pleasant when he got home and not a total bear from being exhausted like I was sure he would be.  He did his first homework assignment without complaint. He loved school lunch. He made friends. He is excited to go back tomorrow after his first weekend.  So basically all the hours I spent worrying about the things I was sure would go wrong was a giant waste of my time.

DSC_0527But despite everything going right, I still cried or teared up every day after I dropped him off.  I just miss him when he is gone and am having a hard time believing that we are already at this kindergarten milestone because I swear he was just born.  This weekend I saw a quote that just really hit home “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.” and that is what I intend to do. Enjoy the passing of time as I savor the memories and look forward to what the future holds. Anyways, enough about that, time for some of the highlights of the first week.

Here are a few things that I want to remember about his first week of Kindergarten:

  • “I raised my hand and told my teacher I know what 19 + 7 is and she said we are not talking about that right now.”
  • “I did not play with anybody at recess because I wanted to get use to the playground. I am going to start playing with people tomorrow.”DSC_0532
  • “I have four naughty kids in my class. I think it is a miracle there are only four.” (This number increased to 7 by the end of the week)
  • “We learned about circles today. Pizza is a circle. Coins are a circle. I already knew all of that”  He said with a big sigh.
  • He thought he might be the oldest kid in his class, so he asked every kid in class what their birthday is. He concluded that he is in fact the oldest.
  • We were going to go out for supper the first night but he was so tired he asked if he could just have a bath and put his pajamas on and if we could order take-out. We did just that!
  • He wanted a cookie “bigger than his head”  for his first day of school treat. I did my very best, but filled the cookie sheet too full resulting in an overflowing pan and a small oven fire. Thankfully Hy-Vee came to the rescue with a giant cookie pizza.
  • Charlie missed him so, so much. He really loves being with his big brother.
  • He rode his bike to school with this friends one day while I walked behind. He got to school before I did, and when I got there I could not find him anywhere.  I  went to his classroom and he was standing there all ready to get started with his day.
  • He loves that he knows some of the bigger kids at school and always tells me who he saw in the hall.
  • It was so strange not having Drake home with us and tagging along on our Thursday and Friday adventures.  I thought he would be upset that we still did fun stuff while he was at school, but he could of cared less.

So one week of school is down, and many, many more to go. We are so proud of our sweet boy and are excited to see what this new road will bring!



Tips for Summer Festivals and Fairs

August 21, 2015

As always Let U.S. Cellular make it easier by using the Parent/Child Cell Phone Agreement to set some ground rules. I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade. I received an Apple iPhone5S and am being compensated for my time The Iowa State Fair is in full swing and we were able to sneak out there last weekend […]

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