Zeb’s Last Year as a Teen

Yeah, he was cute as a little guy (says this totally un-biased mamma). But he’s even more awesome now! How do kids do that? They just keep getting better and better… Anyway, I digress. Today is our Zebulon’s 19th birthday. And we are so thankful for him.


Zeb’s sense of adventure and eagerness to live life to its fullest is so inspiring.


I especially love when he shares this love of life with the next gen:

Life with Zeb is never dull.

We love you so much Z-Bob. Happy Birthday!!!!

Find My Friends App – Yes, Your Mother is Watching…

This morning my son in college Skyped me, telling me that he had a new family-friendly electronic tool for me to write about. I was about five minutes ahead of him, having just downloaded it, which made me feel really good. That’s right, ladies and gents, the free Find My Friends app  is live and ready for download in the iTunes store.
The purpose of this iPod/iPhone/iPad app is to show people where you are and to help you find your friends.
Not really. You have control of who sees you and when. Friends are added by invite only, and you can choose whether they add you for a certain period of time or indefinitely. Adding friends is simple. Tap on the icon with the people at the bottom of your screen and an invite message appears.
If you have guests with 3G, you can track them as they travel to your home. This helps you pop dinner in the oven in a timely manner. It can also help if they have traveling difficulties. You will know right where they are so you can offer appropriate help.
I’m curious to see how accurate the tracking is. Will it locate my children if they are in town? We’ll try to figure that out within the next few days, and I’ll get back to this blog with our discoveries. For now, I can look at my screen and know that my son is safely tucked away at his college, and it makes me feel connected to him. That’s always a good thing.
UPDATE: Well, I’d have to say it’s pretty accurate. I “found” my cousin in Boston, and I can tell when my son is in class, in his dorm or out on the town. Very impressive.

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Children and Budgeting

My 14-year-old has a credit card. There. I’ve admitted it. Not only does he have the card, but he knows how to use it.
I know, I know. This is a controversial issue, but my husband and I are the type of parents that believe strongly in learning by immersion. We want our kids to learn to budget and handle finances wisely while we are around to monitor what’s going on. When Paypal offered its student account, we jumped on it, and so far, we haven’t regretted it.
The system worked beautifully with our almost-18-year old when we hooked him up with the Paypal student account several years ago. We saw everything he spent, and we could monitor the account to ensure that he never wiped out his actual bank account. It forced him to learn budgeting.
Now there is a website that reaches children even younger than my teens. Parents can teach 7-12-year-olds budgeting in a fun manner with Cha-Ching. You can use games and activities to teach your children about earning, spending and saving. It’s not ready yet, but an iPhone app is on its way to help your children budget allowance and earnings. The episodes are being broadcast on the Cartoon Network in seven markets (Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) starting on the 9th of September of 2011.
Teaching children how to handle money wisely might be one of the greatest gifts we can offer them. I’m happy to know that society is addressing the money-saving issue with fun, practical tools.