• By Ingrid Simone, Common Sense Media App Editor

    Planning to take a trip with the kids for spring break? Get these apps.Planning to take a trip with the kids for spring break? Get these apps.

    Whether you're taking the kids on a day trip or a trip around the world, if you're bringing a smartphone or tablet, you'll want to be sure you have these great apps for getting them involved and engaged in your travel adventure.

    Planning your trip

    As the grown-up, you'll do most of the heavy lifting here. But in the days or weeks before you leave, letting kids get in on the planning will build their excitement and engagement about the trip. A good geography app is a fun way to help kids get a sense of where they're going and how the location relates to the rest of the world. If you're traveling in the United states, Stack the States and Learn the States with Flat Stanley are terrific choices.

    Another app that's perfect for the planning stages is Google Earth. Kids can see a satellite view of your destination, famous landmarks, and more -- all with astonishing detail. And you can opt to display information about notable places,

    Read More »from Must-Have Apps for Family Travel
  • Photo: Getty ImagesThere are a lot of things strangers say to parents that come off as judgy, meddling or just plain stupid. The worst, of course: When are you due? When you are not, in fact, due … ever. (Been there and not wanting to be there again is the number one reason I’m attempting sit-ups these days.). But another cringe-worthy question has been coming up for me a lot lately and I want to discuss. Here’s what I’m talking about:

    I was on the security line at the airport with my four-month-old baby in the Bjorn and a friendly woman started chatting us up …

    Friendly woman: “Oh, he’s so cute. Look at his eyes! What a big boy. How old is he? He’s soooo smiley. I love his boots!”

    I smiled and nodded and answered all of her questions. We kept chatting. She told me about her grandson and how he isn’t as big as my boy yet and finally, about five minutes in, it happened…

    Friendly woman: “So, what’s his name?”

    Me: “Um, well, actually…she’s a girl and her name is Molly.”

    Then this poor woman back-peddled and

    Read More »from The Stranger Comment That Makes Me Cringe
  • From the kitchen to the kid's room, there's one old-school gadget that can help simplify your life. Maxwell Ryan is the founder of Apartment Therapy, and he stopped by the "Easy Does It" studios to explain why the lazy Susan isn't so "lazy" after all.

    WATCH: Use a Tension Rod to Get Organized

    Maxwell suggests using lazy Susans in the kitchen to maximize cabinet space, whether storing pots and pans, spices, or perishables. "Snacks are a really good thing to put on a lazy Susan," Maxwell says, or "anything that's small that can get stuck in the back of the cabinet." And the simplified storage isn't limited to cabinets, either. Place a lazy Susan in the fridge to keep condiments together and in sight.

    Looking to help the kids get organized? Use a lazy Susan to create a craft center for your child's room. Simply glue metal containers to a lazy Susan, label, and "fill them all with your pencils, tape, paper — all your craft supplies," Maxwell says. The lazy Susan can also serve as a

    Read More »from Make Life Easier With a Lazy Susan
  • By Angela Zimmerman, Common Sense Media Content Manager

    Common Sense MediaCommon Sense Media
    Let's face it: Not everyone can go to Bermuda for spring break. But sometimes a "staycation" is just what the doctor ordered, because you can hang out with the kids and tackle spring cleaning. It's also a good opportunity to weave media and technology into your daily lives in a mindful way. Use this day-by-day guide of media picks and activity ideas to maximize every moment with minimal stress.

    A few things before spring break begins: Set limits on computer time; pick a photography app and brush up on your photo-snapping skills so you can capture memories all week long; download some road trip music for when you're piled in the car; charge up your smartphone or tablet; locate your library card; and check the weather (and adapt the schedule as needed).

    And you're off!

    Monday: Music and Movie Mayhem
    Get spring break started with kid-friendly dance songs. Try a free streaming service like Pandora or Grooveshark for nonstop tunes.

    Read More »from Your Daily Guide to an Awesome Spring Break Staycation
  • Capturing the First Months

    So much is going on during those first few months of having a new little one in your life. With Soren, we were learning to adjust to parenthood, had lots of visitors and tried to sleep whenever we could. Not to mention recovering from the delivery! I wanted to make sure we took time to capture the special moments of having a new baby, especially since they change to quickly! Here are a few of my tips for easily capturing those special moments.

    1. QUICK TO CLICK - Having a smartphone is incredible. It makes taking photos of Soren so easy. We continually have our phones near us, so in the event of him doing something cute or sleeping in an adorable position, we're sure to capture it.

    2. STRIKE A POSE - While we have TONS of cell phone photos of Soren, I also like to take time to take more professional looking photos with my DSLR. For the first month, every time he would turn a week older, I would take him in his nursery during the morning sunlight and take photos of him. The natural

    Read More »from 7 "Picture Perfect" Tips for Capturing Baby's First Months
  • Making your own pizza is fun for the whole family, but growing your own ingredients can take your slice to the next level. Regina Ragone is the food director at Family Circle magazine, and she stopped by "Easy Does It" to demonstrate how to create our very own pizza garden.

    WATCH: Spring Cleaning Shortcuts

    Why grow a pizza garden? "It's a great way to get your kids in the cooking process, Regina explains. "And when kids actually get involved in the gardening, they'll eat more vegetables." Simply choose your favorite herbs and veggies; some classics are tomato, basil, oregano, peppers, and parsley.

    The best part? You don't necessarily need a backyard to start your garden. "If you don't have a ton of space outside, you can start your garden indoors," Regina says. Look for inexpensive biodegradable fiber pots — they will allow you to start seeds inside — then transfer to a larger pot (or outdoor garden) without harming the environment.

    WATCH: Lighter Spring Desserts

    Pick up some

    Read More »from Grow Your Own Pizza Garden
  • Here's how to get a sunnier start to your day.

    By Corrie Pikul

    Photo: Thinkstock

    Have a little tulip with your coffee.

    Why it works: Evolutionary psychologists believe that we see flowers and plants as a subconscious cue of safety ("Things can grow here-let's set down roots"), reward ("All that foraging paid off") and promise ("These buds mean that fruit is on the way"). So the sight of a colorful bouquet in the morning, they theorize, can convince you that everything's coming up roses today.

    Strange, true thing that might convince you: In a study led by Harvard Medical School psychologist Nancy Etcoff, PhD, women who saw flowers when they woke up reported feeling happier (and less anxious) at home, as well as more energetic at work.

    Read More: 7 Celebrities Share Their Addiction Stories

    Sleep on your right side.

    Why it works: It will influence your dreams. Turkish researchers found that people who tend to sleep on their right side have mellower dreams, with themes of relief, joy, peace and love. They

    Read More »from Scientifically Proven Ways to Have a Happier Morning
  • Kids who play more violent video games are more likely to fantasize about violence.Kids who play more violent video games are more likely to fantasize about violence.

    By Susan E. Matthews, Everyday Health

    Most parents would prefer their kids spend more time reading books than playing violent video games, and another study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, confirms that their instincts are correct: Violent video games are again linked to an increase in aggression. The kids who reported playing more violent video games were more likely to think hitting was acceptable and were more likely to fantasize about violence than kids who did not, the research found. The new study also shows that these emotional changes happen in kids regardless of their age or gender, or how aggressive the child is from the start.

    RELATED: Violent Video Games Tied to Combative Thinking

    But even all the scientific research in the world probably isn't enough to convince your kid to put down the controller - 90 percent of American children play video games, after all. So as a parent, what can you do to make sure your kid isn't overexposed to violent video games? Here's a guide for

    Read More »from Video Game Survival Guide for Parents and Kids
  • By Kelly Schryver, Senior Education Content Specialist, Common Sense Media

    Capturing and posting casual moments seems consequence-free. But, of course, it's not.Capturing and posting casual moments seems consequence-free. But, of course, it's not.You probably never thought you'd see the day when Facebook wasn't the center of teens' universe. But keeping up with Facebook friends through ad-filled newsfeeds and lengthy profiles, especially given the fact that everyone knows your name, is starting to feel tiresome to many teens.

    Facebook is still a go-to place for many things, such as wishing someone a happy birthday or stalking a crush. However, newer social apps make it easier, faster, and more fun to capture and share fleeting moments -- sometimes anonymously. These temporary and anonymous-messaging apps provide an environment that feels more appropriate to the random, silly, saucy, and experimental sides of the average teenager.

    Perhaps most importantly to teens, these apps can feel consequence-free. But of course they're not. Data never really disappears, and anonymity carries big risks. If you don't recognize the apps your kid is currently obsessing

    Read More »from Trend Alert: 6 Messaging Apps that Let Teens Share (Iffy) Secrets
  • Tips on Working from Home with a Newborn

    In February of 2013 I quit my 9-5 job and started working full-time with my best friend as a graphic designer and blogger. After 3 years of slowly building up our business we were finally ready to take the dive and be our own bosses. After finding out Jon and I were pregnant in May of 2013, I was especially thankful to already have a position working from home.

    I took a month off for maternity leave when Soren was born and did my best to enjoy every moment with him as a newborn. It was a wonderful and challenging four weeks and I was thankful for every minute. I had a lot of nerves going back to work and after nearly a month back I've learned some great strategies for taking care of baby and getting work done!

    1. PLAN IT OUT - Every Monday morning I sit down and write out my schedule for the week. I write out Jon's plans, my plans and all of the things I NEED to get done that week. It's helpful to see everything for the week planned out and cross off my to-do's as I go along. I do my

    Read More »from 5 Things that Make it Easier to Work from Home with a Newborn


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