The What's New screen shows you the newest posts and tweets.
The Me Tile or Card on Windows Phone is a pretty cool little app. Since Windows Phone 8 allows you to connect to various accounts without installing any apps, Microsoft made the Me app your centralized accounts aggregator - sort of. It's not a full-fledge app for all your accounts like FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn but you can see recent updates and post to all three in one step. That ability makes having to login to each app separately to post a thing of the past. You can post to all 3 at once or select the social network or networks you want to post to. It's one way you can efficiently posts updates very quickly which is nice.
The notifications screen contains updates from your accounts. For instance if someone posts on your wall, you'll get a notification there. If you get mentioned in a tweet you'll get a notice there too.
The What's New screen shows you the newest posts and tweets.
If you have Windows Phone 8 try the Me app and see if you like it.
Weather begins to heat up. Kids asking "Can we set up the pool?" almost everyday. It got so hot one of our kids decides to start assembling the pool without any assistance. I get home and it's 2/3 done. Another 2 days goes by and it's still unfinished, still 2/3 done. Leaves and dust are beginning to gather in and around it.
Might as well finish it up. Stand up the legs, install the pump and hoses, sweep up the dirt and leaves, and begin filling it up with water. Our water bill is going to be so high this month. An inch of water and the kiddies are all dressed up in their swim gear. Alright...go ahead and go in there.
While they're splashing away I'm going to put them to work. "Can you stretch out the pool so the wrinkles are all flat?" "If you feel any bumps or rocks underneath the pool let me know so we can get them out. Don't want the pool to get any holes and ruin summer!" In their eagerness to set it all up, they neglected to sweep the floor prior to spreading out the pool membrane. Ahh, all the pebbles and twigs are out and the pool is filling up.
A few hours later, it's all done. Pump is pumping away, circulating and filtering the water. Kids are enjoying it every chance they get. Right when they get home from school - BOOM! Into the pool they go. It's a joy to hear the squeaks of laughter, the splashes of water, and see the smiles on their faces. It's funny how a little bit of water and some sun can be so much fun. Before the pool, just to be able to turn on the hose and spray each other made them laugh so much.
Now they've got the pool. But maintaining the pool take discipline. Test the water. pH and chlorine levels have to be maintained and kept stable. The filter must filter and the pump has to pump. If the pH is too high, you must add a pH reducer chemical and vice versa. Add pH increaser if it's too low. The chlorine has to consistently be high enough to kill germs and bacteria but still be comfortable to swim in. Test kits are available that are easy to use and read. When debris gets in and settles to the bottom, you must vacuum which will fill up the filter very quickly so you have to make sure you have extra filters. If the water gets cloudy or green, there's chemical treatment and process for that too.
It's some work to keep a pool clean and safe but in the end it's all worthwhile. Fun in the sun at home. Pool, family, bar-b-que. Life is good.
Craigslist is awesome. I bought and sold many things there. A car, a motorcycle. Sports equipment. And now furniture.
We needed some furniture because some of our existing pieces were in need of replacement. A couch with worn springs, an entertainment center which was too small. And in doing some spring cleaning we threw out some stuff that created some empty space that needed some furniture to fill it up with.
Being on a tight budget and having a large family doesn't really leave a lot of funds available to do furniture shopping. We used to be able to go to Macy's or Scandinavian Designs and pay 1000 bucks for a single chair. Not anymore. Money is pretty tight so we have to get the most for our money.
My wife started looking to Craigslist for furniture and we found some really amazing stuff for sale. I mean really nice stuff that was barely used and some in brand new condition!
We picked up nice staging furniture and a pristine condition couch in Vallejo. An end table and toy bins in Fairfield. A beautiful chaise lounge chair in Windsor. Picked up another toy bin in American Canyon. A couch and ottoman in San Francisco. A bookcase also in San Francisco. An entertainment center in Fairfield. A rug and an entryway table in Palo Alto. You get the idea. A ton of stuff over a couple months or so.
We pretty much filled two rooms with furniture from Craigslist for under $1000! Really nice stuff too.
My advice is look in nice areas if you want to find nice furniture. They are your best bet to find some really nice stuff for great prices. We picked up nice pieces in San Rafael as well.
If you are patient, spend some time looking at ads, and have a few bucks to spare, you can find some great deals and possibly redecorate your pad on the cheap. The key is to be patient in finding stuff. It may take a few weeks to find just the right deal but it'll be worth your while.
Windows Phone 8’s Rooms is pretty neat. It’s your own private area on your phone and on your Microsoft account for the family (or friends, coworkers, etc) to be able to share and communicate together efficiently and away from social networks. My wife and I both have Windows Phones so it makes using this pretty easy and seamless. I read online somewhere that this feature is also supported by Android and iOS devices but don’t quote me on that.
Once it’s set up, you can share its calendar, photos, a notebook, and even a chat room among everyone in the family room. So if you and your loved ones need to share something really quickly and don’t want it public, you can use the family room.
My wife and I notify each other of appointments we are going to so we are both in the loop. Or we put appointments that we both need to know about and/or attend. She puts in doctor’s appointments for the kids, games, school events, etc. so I’m aware. I’ll put in golf time, or meetings I’m going to be so that she doesn’t wonder where I am if I’m supposed to be home.
We share to do lists in the notes. Shopping lists. The chat room isn’t something we use at the moment but as soon as we add more Windows Phones to our family, you can bet that’ll be another cool feature we will be using.
As I mentioned, you can have different rooms for different groups of contacts. Friends, golf buddies, business associates, team members, managers, etc. I could see how being a manager of a team of people, who are mobile but need to get information to your entire team quickly, this can make communication so much more efficient.
So, here's a topic that I find interesting as a parent because for my wife and me, our methods and attitudes have changed. A few years ago when we only had one child, I received an email (I'm sure you've received it or saw something like it online) about how your perspective on child proofing. Basically, as you have more kids, the efforts you make towards child proofing your home are reduced with each new baby you welcome into your family. It's not that you don't care, you just are more aware of what are the really important things to watch out for versus the things that may end up hindering your child from developing into the capable, strong person they are destined to be, and because you've raised another child already, you kind of know what the really important gotchas are.
It's funny how the stuff you worry about with your first child is a much bigger list than your second, third, etc. For example, our first child was treated so differently than the subsequent siblings in that we went out of our way to "protect" the child from any perceived harm. Like we would ALWAYS wash our hands with warm soap and water before going near the child for many months before we didn't worry about it. We would go out of our way to use hand sanitizer if we didn't have a sink and hand soap nearby. I mean we WASHED them and we forced other people to before they handled our child. Now, we aren't as worried about germs because what we've notice from our 2nd child onwards is that being too cautious actually may prevent the child's immune system from developing the natural resistance to germs. It's like a vaccination. You introduce the virus in a small amount in order to give the body the opportunity to develop antibodies.
Safety gates were standard fare for all our children. That hasn't changed. All of our kids were cordoned off from no-no places. But what has changed are the areas that we deem "off-limits". The range of access has increased progressively with each child. Early on, we had a fenced off area, either a circle or square so other geometric shape in one room like a family or living room. With our youngest now, we've made it so the kid could roam then entire first floor of our house. I guess part of the reason is that we have more eyes and ears spread out to keep tabs on the child.
Stairs are another story. They were in the realm of dangers with our first 2 or 3. But now I have found we started encouraging our 1 year old to learn to climb up and down the stairs a few months ago as soon as the baby could crawl. They're going to have to learn sooner or later a. Might as well have them learn under your watchful eyes so that when the time comes they try to sneak off and climb them, you won't be as worried because they will have learn that skill, probably taken a couple small falls in the process, but can tackle that without issue now. As soon as the child hit the crawling phase we would allow the kid to climb the stairs...with supervision, of course. Yes, we'd block it if we felt that there wouldn't be enough people around to keep the child safe, but it wouldn't be such an off-limits area that they wouldn't be able to try climbing up until much later on in their development.
What about outlet covers and cabinet safely latches? Or those spinning doorknob covers? I think we stopped using those with our 3rd child. In our experience, training the child to understand boundaries without chains is more beneficial. It definitely helps that people are everywhere in our house. And I don't believe everyone can get away with not having those devices. It's just for us, we've been able to train our kids what is OK and no OK to touch. Our one year old knows not to touch or open certain things after several or many times of stern warnings.
I'm sure I can come up with many other examples of how our child proofing has changed throughout the years, but you get the idea.