Mommy blogging just got easier!

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Salman Sajid’s Touchtype case, touchtypecase.com

Well hello there, strangers! It’s been awhile since I’ve stopped in.  Callie has been holding down the fort since I’ve gone back to work, and I’ve finally found some time to check in.  Being back to work full time while having a family to care for and a side business to run has proven to be challenging (but of course, I wouldn’t change it for the world).  I’ve been looking for ways to make this multi-tasking lifestyle easier, and recently I came across some products to help me be more efficient.  Since today is my 2013 blogging debut, I thought I’d start with this awesome product I came across just before the holidays that will help me not only at work, but here as a blogger, too!

I was browsing the internet for gift ideas for myself.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I was not looking for things to buy for others.  I was looking for ideas to email my husband so that he would know what to buy ME.  Listen, you do what you have to do so that you don’t get 15 pairs of socks from Claire’s and a sweater two sizes to large.  Anyway, I was looking for a way to make more use of my iPad.  I’ve come to rely heavily on my laptop at work since computers are hard to come by in my school lately (a story for another day).  Although my MacBook is significantly smaller and lighter than the old HP I was toting around a few years ago, it was still cumbersome and inconvenient.  It would be SO much easier to take my iPad to work, since I’ve also downloaded some word processing apps and file sharing programs.  However, the touchscreen keyboard is just not conducive to lengthy use.  I can navigate it well enough for Facebooking (yes, that’s a verb now) but to type out complete lesson plans and student handouts on it is a bit trying.  I’ve tried some of those other cases that have blue tooth keyboards built in, and without naming names, let’s just say that most of them don’t live up to the hype.  I LOVE my Apple Wireless Keyboard that we have at home for the desktop, and immediately emailed my husband a link to the Apple store with the subject line “hint hint: Santa could fit a wireless keyboard in his gift bag, right?” (Yep, I’m subtle).

So fast forward through the holidays (it feels like we zoom through them anyway, right?).  Sitting in front of me is my shiny new wireless keyboard and my fun purple iPad case… that can’t hold the keyboard.  I thought it would be easy to find a case that would hold the keyboard, but as it turns out, there’s not a lot of choice out there.  That’s how I found Salman Sajid on Kickstarter.com (AWESOME website to help support and fund budding inventors, artists and entrepreneurs of all sorts- check it out!).  His project, called The Touchtype Case was EXACTLY what I was looking for.  It’s slightly wider than the standard iPad case so as to accommodate the wireless keyboard and has an inner pocket to store it in.  As it turns out, a lot of others were looking for it too- because he was sold out and on backorder! Salman was easy to reach via email, though, and was happy to keep me in the loop so that I would know when to expect The Touchtype to be back in stock.  He sent me a beautiful gray polyurethane case about a month later, and I’ve been using it ever since.

The case is sturdy to hold and protects the ipad well, but thin and easy to carry around.  I don’t have to juggle it on top of my coffee mug while unlocking my classroom door because it folds up neatly and keeps the iPad and keyboard snugly in place.  At first I was worried about the iPad being held in place with a few simple elastic straps, but they do the job well.  In fact, there are two sets- one to hold your iPad in landscape mode and another for portrait.  This is actually very convenient for me because some of my most-visited apps- including my school’s online grading and attendance system and the app for my Etsy shop- do not automatically rotate like many other iPad-friendly sites do, so I need to be able to adjust the Ipad’s position in order to keep working.

At work, my classroom is used 9 out of the 9 periods in the day between myself and another teacher.  So, there is rarely time for me to sit at our classroom computer to do work.  I’m always on the go- heading to a meeting, hunkering down in the library to grade, or in the faculty room trying to get some plans done before heading home.  Having this case has allowed me to be mobile and productive at the same time.  Previously, I’ve had to choose one or the other; I could carry my laptop around so that I could type better and get more done, but would need to leave other resources behind since I just couldn’t carry it all.  Or, I could take the iPad and not be weighed down by the laptop, but would sacrifice productivity because I would have to use the on-screen keyboard.  To carry the wireless keyboard separate from the iPad was counter-intuitive to the whole “being more mobile” philosophy.  The Touchtype has, literally, made me a more productive teacher by freeing me from the laptop and giving me access to a better keyboard.  I’ve also been able to return customer emails to my Etsy shop better now, too, for the same reasons.  Previously, if a customer wrote to me and I was on the go, I had to respond from my iPhone.  Now, I love my iPhone, but 15 typos from a tiny cell phone keyboard is not the most professional way to respond to customers.  I’ve found that this case isn’t exclusively for the professional side of your life, though.  Just because I *CAN* use my wireless keyboard doesn’t mean I *HAVE* to, because it is tucked away neatly underneath the iPad until I pull it out.  So I can continue to use my iPad for my grocery lists and coupon apps while I’m out at the store and not worry about juggling the iPad and keyboard when I’m just trying to use it the old fashioned touchscreen way.

Of course, nothing in life is totally perfect.  My small pieces of constructive criticism on the Touchtype are just this:  First, I wish that there was a style available that I could simply open and type-  meaning, the keyboard were stored in such a way that when I open the case, the keyboard is already in front of me and set up to go.  I realize, though, that this isn’t really a problem with Salman’s case so much as it is a design flaw of the iPad, because the keyboard keys would scratch up the glass no matter what type of case it was (I learned this in Salman’s Kickstarter video found on his website- check it out!).  Secondly, I wish that there were multiple angles at which the case could be propped up when opened.  It’s perfect when I’m sitting at a table or desk, but when I’m home and laying in bed or lying on the floor with my son and need to adjust the iPad angle a bit to suit my position, this case doesn’t really allow for that the way that some other typical iPad cases do.  That being said, in those scenarios it’s also less likely that I need the wireless keyboard and I can turn off the Blue Tooth and use the on screen keyboard, instead.

All of that being said, I strongly recommend this case for whatever your needs.  If you’re looking to be more productive and efficient, or to lighten your carrying load, or just have an overall nicer case, this one is worth it.  Spring for the leather model, too- it’s very stylish and professional looking!

Rendezvous Sweets Winner

So sorry for the delay! Between Kristin being an incredible and working to help those in her area that were devastated by Sandy, and my big little getting sick… we’re a touch behind at We Don’t Need Sleep.

Wait no longer! The winner has been selected by random draw over at Random.org.

CONGRATULATIONS SARAH P!!! Please send us a private message over on our FB page with your address and we will send it along to Rendezvous Sweets!

It’s Ok Thursday!

A new link up I’m excited to join this week!

Its Ok Thursdays

 

It’s ok..

… to go out with the girls for froyo without taking MY girls.

… to stop for an order of fries and hot cocoa at McDonald’s after dinner.

… to have a sink full of dishes and go to bed anyways.

… to pop in a movie for the kiddos in the morning so I can doze on the floor.

… to not plan out a million meals at one time.

… that my children have been in pj’s most of the week.

… that Thanksgiving is a week away and I’ve done NOTHING to prep.

… that I’m already thinking about my soon to be 3 year old’s birthday and I still have to get through Christmas.

… that my one year old still nurses to sleep.

… that my almost three year old still nurses, have a problem with that? Too bad.

… to not want to go on play dates all the time.

… to be both sad and excited to move at the same time.

… that I’ve been singing Christmas songs to the girls for the last 2 weeks.

… that I’m excited for the new toys the girls are getting for Christmas, because I want to play with them!

 

My Daughter The Civil Rights Activist

I’ve always been very interested in our government and the process by which we select our governing official. So, it should come as no surprise to me and those who know me that my daughter is as well. I just don’t think anyone expected it to come in to play at such a young age.

Last Thursday we had to run an errand. The place we had to go was right next to the voting registration office, an early voter location. Ella was curious to know why there were so many people in line outside. I told her they were there to vote. “What’s vote?” Asked my ever inquisitive two year old. I explained that voting was how a group of people could make a decision about something. I used the following example: More

It’s O’s First Birthday, Charlie Brown!

First, let me apologize for this very delayed post.  O turned one about three weeks ago, but we then had a minor crisis and a major crisis back to back:  first, O had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and nearly wound up in the ER (minor crisis), and in the midst of recouping from this we were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.  Long Island has been hit hard by it, and I’ve been participating in a lot of charity events to help raise money to support those in need (check my Etsy shop for some Long Island items that are up for sale with proceeds benefitting hurricane relief programs).  We were very fortunate to escape unscathed (despite many days without power or heat, school shutting down because of damage, family who lost a lot of personal effects… all told, we’re alive).  For now, we’re holding up though, and it’s high time I shared a bit about O’s 1st birthday!

I made a lot of the decor myself (I’ll post some of those pics another time), but I outsourced two things:  the cake (I had lofty goals and not nearly enough time or skill, despite my love of baking) and the cake pops.  While they seem incredibly easy, it turns out they are SO not! I’ve tried a handful of times and they are just… well, ugly.  Thank goodness I found Monica from Rendezvous Sweets on Etsy!  Her cake pops were so cute and tasty looking, it was one of the best decisions I made to have her make the pops.  She sent me two dozen delicious cake pops designed to fit O’s party theme: It’s O’s Birthday, Charlie Brown!  One dozen of them were cute little pumpkins, complete with pretzel sticks for stems, and the other dozen were actually Charlie Brown! My guests loved them and absolutely devoured them (after admiring their cuteness, of course).  She even through in samples of her chocolate covered marshmallows, pretzels and Oreos (mmmm yes please!.. don’t tell my guests- I ate those and didn’t put them out for the party!).  I made stands for her cake pops using metal tins from the Target dollar spot and vinyl decals.  I glued round foam balls to the bottoms of the tins, pressed the cake pop sticks in and then added green tissue paper in between for a grassy effect.  Voila!

Take a look:

Rendezvous Sweets cake pops

Cake pops by Rendezvous Sweets

So, would you like a chance to win some tasty treats from Rendezvous Sweets? Monica is offering one of our viewers a sampler pack of 3 cake pops, 3 chocolate covered pretzel sticks, 3 marshmallow sticks and 3 chocolate coveted Oreos! I hope you have a sweet tooth :) Here’s how to win:

  • “Like” Rendezvous Sweets on their Facebook page (click here) and write on their wall that you are stopping in from “We Don’t Need Sleep”
  • Leave a comment here when you’re done and tell us what flavor you hope to get in your FREE SAMPLE PACK if you win!  The winner will be announced in the coming days, so keep checking back to see if it’s you!

<3 Kristin

Autumn Acorn Craft

Being a stay at home mom, I go on A LOT of walks. We go at least once a day if not more when the weather allows. We have multiple walk then play meetups a week. Walking is a BIG part of our activities. When it’s just the girls and me walking, Ella and I like to talk about what we see and hear. In the last 2 months as the weather has changed, she has been eager to scope out the changing colors in the leaves, then sad to see them falling, and then ecstatic to discover ACORNS!

She is constantly bringing home as many acorns as her tiny hands can carry or that she can beg me into holding for her. They have been building up in a pile on the back porch, and attracting squirrels. I HATE squirrels. So last night I decided we would start using them for, well, something.

First up… ACORN PAINTING ART! Sort of like found art but instead of the acorns being the art, they helped make the art!

WHAT YOU NEED

  • acorn
  • shoe-box
  • paper
  • paint
  • tape

Direction

  1. cut paper to fit box and place inside of box
  2. put several dollops of paint on the paper in the box
  3. toss the acorns in the box (The kids enjoyed this!)
  4. Close and tape the lid shut
  5. SHAKE! RATTLE! and ROLL!! Those acorns around the box!

 

Breakfast Cake!

I  had seen several pins on Pinterest for baking pancakes and this morning was as good as any to whip up my own. Using a basic pancake recipe plus a bit of extra baking powder I easily made up what will now be a breakfast staple around here!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup milk
2 T. melted butter
1 large egg
2 T. sugar
1 cup flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

 Directions:

Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish. I used a glass one and it worked wonderfully. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl beat milk, melted butter, and egg until combined. Add in sugar. Slowly mix in flour. Add in Baking Powder and salt combining until just mixed. Be careful on the last step as you don’t want to over mix and end up with chewy cake.

Pour into an 8×8 greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Slice and add syrup and butter to taste. MMMMM. Good!

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