Monday, January 11, 2016

Snowed in? Apps to beat boredom!

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post as I am part of the U.S. Cellular blogger brigade.  All opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

Have you ever had your driveway cleaned out with a backhoe because there was too much snow for a plow?   Then did you wake the next morning and find an eight foot snow drift?   Well, if the answer is no, then you haven't lived in my town!  We joke that we have three seasons -- July, August, and winter.  So I know a thing or two about being stuck inside.  When I was in 6th grade we went to school only two days out of the month of January.  Back then there were no smart phones, if you asked someone what type of tablet they had, they would likely describe a composition book, and social media was the kid who went up and down the street arranging a big snowball fight -- but even those got old after so many days.

I've been snowed in a number of times over the years, and the most scary was during Hurricane Sandy -- we received all the rain from the hurricane in the form of snow.  I want to mention safety and preparation for severe weather because if it weren't for my cell phone and U.S. Cellular's reliable service, helpful people in the community, and a little creative thinking, I think my mother may have passed away during this event.  We were snowed in, a utility line was down on our car so we had to have it checked to make sure it wasn't a live electric line.  We had no power and no heat.  My mother was on dialysis, and its a major emergency to miss a treatment.  Although where we live, when there is the possibility of bad weather, patients are encouraged to start an emergency renal diet when they first hear severe weather warnings.  When I called our power company to ask them to check the line, they said they would get to it because "everyone was an emergency".  I tried to explain that my mother could die in days and this needed to be a priority.  I was hung up on.  I called the local police to see if they could help in getting the line checked.  They said to contact the power company.  My phone was running out of battery, and this was before power banks were popular.  I got the idea to stick my phone into my laptop and it charged it.  (Probably not great for the laptop battery, but it was a true emergency.)  Friends across the country were trying to help, one even tweeting the governor.  Finally a friend who was a newspaper reporter saw my post and called the power company and asked if they wanted to check the power line or if they wanted an article in the paper about how they refused to help out an elderly woman so she could get to her life saving dialysis treatment.  Within minutes the power company checked the line, and Mom made it to dialysis the next day.

Most times being snowed in is not a situation so severe, and usually the only thing you have to deal with is boredom.  It's hard for me to imagine these days how I got tired of days off of school when I was growing up because there are so many ways that both my iPhone and iPad air keep me entertained.  I have read entire books on my iPad during storms where we had no power.  (I always charge my devices in full every day, especially in the winter, plus I now have power banks!)

A recent U.S. Cellular survey indicated that 61% of smartphone users use their device to play games.  I'm going to look the other way right now and not admit that I downloaded three new games this week!  One thing I rarely think about when searching for games for my phone is classic board games often take on a new twist for today because there are games such as MonopolyThe Game of Life, and Yahtzee available for your phone. I have always loved trivia games, and of course you can find apps such as Guess that Song, Quiz Up, Trivia Crack, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in both the App store and on Google Play.

I don't like to cook, but love it when my husband does.  He's a great chef, and some apps that are on his iPad are Food Network on the Road, and Just Recipes.  Other great apps to help him create are Chinese recipes, Italian Recipes, Christmas recipes, Frozen Milkshake, and Tea making Recipes.

Sometimes it's too cold to be out in the snow, and some apps for winter fun are Make a Snowman and Snowman Maker Plus which allow families to build a virtual snowman and even see it come to life.

If you are looking for a brain-stimulating app, check out Elevate and Fit Brains Trainer as they are designed to help improve memory, focus, processing, and even speaking skills.

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