I will never forget another birthday….

January 29, 2010 1 comment

Today, I set up my first Google Calendar.  Holy Cow, it was easy.  I think I spent a total of 45 minutes setting this up for the ENTIRE year.    

Screen shot of Google.ccom

Click on "more" to see other Menu items; click on "Calendar"


  I already had a Google (Gmail) account, so I just clicked on Calendar and started putting events in.   I might be the last person to figure out how easy this was, but if I’m not, you might want to give it a try.   

What I like about Google Calendar:

  • Event edit screen is simple, easy to create recurring events
  • Can set an email alert, pop up alert days, hours, or minutes ahead of event
  • There is an iPhone app that allows real-time editing of calendar
  • I will never need to add birthdays or anniversaries again
  • I think it is easier to use than Outlook


I still like handwritten calendars and am in the process of transitioning to electronic.  We’ll see how it goes!  Stay tuned for updates on whether actually using the calendar online has saved me time.

Categories: Uncategorized

Using Amazon.com’s Wish Lists to save time

How I  use Amazon.com’s Wish List feature:

I have several Wish List’s at Amazon.com.   I can access the lists from any computer by signing into my account on Amazon.  

 screen shot of Amazon.com

Gift ideas for others. 

  • Each member of my family has an Amazon Wish List under my Amazon Account.  
  • I keep track of ideas for birthdays and holidays.  I can copy/paste or share the list with others with a couple of clicks.
  • I choose to keep the lists private instead of public, and add/delete items at will. 
  • At Christmas, I copy/paste into Word, then divide my daughter’s list and give everyone different lists. 
  • When I email the list, the links are intact, so they can see a picture of the item, cost, etc. 
  • My extended family doesn’t shop on Amazon as avidly as I do, so they often use the list as a guide and find the items at local stores. 
  • If I hear my daughter or husband express an interest in some gadget, toy, movie, etc., the next time I’m on Amazon (which is too often to admit), I search for the item or similar items and add them to the proper wish list. 
  • Next occasion for a gift, I simply go to the wish list, click a few buttons, and in a few days the gift is delivered to my door.  This saves me a LOT of time. 
  • I have used the Amazon iPhone application to order gifts while waiting in line or on the bus to/from work.  HUGE time saver. 

Gift ideas for myself. 

  • I have found that the more specific I am about my gift list, the easier it is on my family. 
  • I also keep this list private and sometimes fill it up with things that would be fun to have and sometimes delete everything and start over. 
  • With a couple of clicks, I can send my husband a list of ideas.  He appreciates the ease of being able to add the item to his shopping cart and have it shipped, usually without shipping charges.  : )  

Household items. 

  • Sometimes I read or hear about an item that seems interesting and decide to research it online. 
  • I might add this to my (private)  Household Wish List while I contemplate whether I want to add it to our household. 
  • I sometimes take weeks or months to read reviews, watch prices, etc.  In that time, I have lost paper-based lists and forgotten about ideas, but with the online wish list, it’s always there to return to and think about.  (I’m still thinking about that French Press Travel Mug….) 

FYI:  Amazon has a Universal Wish List feature, so I can add any item I find online, not just on the Amazon website.

It’s all Merlin’s fault…

Does anyone remember MERLIN?  (1978)   I was 8 years old.  My desire to have that toy was so strong that I still get exited when watching this YouTube commercial.  

I think this was the start of my obsession with technology.  

Ok, so MERLIN came out around the same time Little House on the Prairie was hitting Prime Time.  Another favorite of mine:  The Adventures of the Wilderness Family.  

I had never felt so conflicted.  Here was a game that could do EVERYTHING…even play magic square.  And these people were chucking it all and living off the land.  

Well, turns out I never got a MERLIN. 

Instead, I watched Little House every Monday evening with my family and saw all the Wilderness Family movies.  I helped my Dad make a macrame hanging table, a side table shaped like a big hand, and other interesting hands-on projects. I devoured any book about wilderness living, including my Mom’s Prairie Living manuals and made my own makeup with food coloring and vaseline.  I was resourceful, for sure. 

Eventually, my school got one computer.  I was in 7th grade and I was in HEAVEN.  Of course, we played Oregon Trail.  Another contradiction…using technology to pretend we were explorers????  Anyway, I majored in computer programming for a couple of years in college before enrolling in an Occupational Therapy program.  

Fast forward to 2010. 

I bought myself an iPhone (which has much more than Merlin’s “6 games and 20 voices”.  I use technology to make life easier.  I still love to bake from scratch and build things from scratch.  I want MORE time to do my favorite hands-on projects.  Technology has allowed me to do more and have more time for things I LIKE to do. 

Update: added 1/24/10 

So, I guess my point is that somewhere along the way, I was able to combine my wilderness-living mentality with an interest in technology and use BOTH to enhance my life.  Technology is no longer just video games, typing papers on Word, etc.  It’s not a “just for fun” tool.  As technology becomes easier to use, there will be even more application to our daily lives…even for those of us who abhor the thought of texting, twittering, blogging, online shopping….you get the idea.  

Our lives are busy.  We work, we raise children,  we navigate busy towns/cities.  We try to stay in touch with others.  We try to do all this AND find time to enjoy our lives.  I believe technology is the tool that will allow this.

Categories: Technology Tools

Tool Belt

Which technology tools do I go to most often to organize time, projects, and information?

  • Microsoft OneNote 2007
  • GoogleReader
  • iPhone (most used apps:  MobileNoter, GoogleReader, more about apps later)
  • Mindjet MindManager
  • Couponmom.com
  • Amazon.com Wish Lists
  • lynda.com
  • lifehacker.com, instructables.com, Make Magazine

In future posts, I will show you how I use these tools. 

What are your favorite tech tools for managing your life?  Click comments to share…


Automated Hands-free Pet Care

My daughter loves her cat named Lisa.  

This is Lisa Cat.


Lisa is a beloved member of our family and has her own Facebook site.  I want to take good care of her.  Alas, I tried to keep the litter box area clean and fresh water in Lisa’s bowl every day, but because I absolutely HATE don’t like going near the litter box, and sometimes it would be five or more a couple days before I talked myself into just getting the job done.  

We had a nice litter box.  It was supposedly hands-free.  It simply rocked to one side, the waste went into a little receptacle and when rocked back, the clean litter went where it was supposed to go.  Well, I still had to touch the litter box, wash it out every month twice each year and  often sometimes scoop.  

Oh, and I had to keep the little water bowl full of fresh water daily.  Well, some days it looked like there was enough water in the bowl and besides, my hands were full of laundry I was carrying as I checked the water bowl… so it could last  another day.  

I started to worry about pet neglect my cat not getting enough water, running out of food, having an unhealthy litter box…and then I started to worry that my cat was walking around my house after using the litter box…and then I thought I should clean the litter box and check the water bowl I should look for a better solution.  

Here it is.  My hands-free pet care system.  I have the Cat Genie, fresh unlimited filtered water with 52 oz reservoir tank, and timed feeding system.  


So, for about 2 months I have not touched the litter box.  I just smile as I walk by knowing my cat has clean, sanitized box every time she steps in.  I have filled the water reservoir 3 times in 2 months and the feeder twice in 2 months. Ahhhhh.  Life is a little easier.  

(I should state that I am fully capable of filling a water bowl, emptying a litter box, checking and filling the food dish.  However, I reviewed my list of daily chores and priorities and these things were nuisances even though I really do love our cat.  I’d rather spend more time making sure my family has good food to eat and clean beds to sleep in. (Stay tuned for more about this in future posts)
Categories: Pet care Tags: ,

Kitchen automation…starting with this!

I have to find a way to build this.  Touch screen…like a giant iPhone.  Recipes.  Weather.  Schedules.  Maps.  Talk about a command central.   Brian, honey?  When you’re finished with your LED ring light project for the cameras, can we build one of these?


[via Hacked Gadgets]

Categories: Kitchen Tags: , , , ,

Great minds think alike…

There are so many excellent resources out there for homemakers!  Here are two stones I turned over when searching for techie homemaker blogs and communities. Cafemom.com MomTechnology.com

I still haven’t found any sites geared at homemakers as a whole…that means all people who live in a household of some kind and need to manage their day-to-day life, but this was a good Today feature about one year ago about women using technology to simplify their lives:

“The right phone, camera and bookmarked sites can save sanity and time”

Categories: Uncategorized