May 23, 2017

How to use Technology to Keep your Home Safe and Secure this Summer

I am a member of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade, and this is a sponsored post.  As always, all opinions are my own.  There are affiliate links in this post.  If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links I may receive a small commission.  Thank you for supporting Townsend House.

As we move into the warmer months most families seem to be thinking about summer vacation – I know that I am!  And with summer vacation the opportunity to travel arises.  Yesterday I mentioned how we are going to be slowing down a bit this summer, but that does not mean that we won’t be traveling a bit as well.  Having a way to know my house is safe and secure, and the ability to use apps on my iPhone to monitor everything while away is an amazing use of technology.

*According to the FBI, a home burglary occurs on average every 20 seconds in the US.  There is an increase in summer months due to more frequent travel with kids out of school.

That statistic was a little eye-opening to me!  But, fortunately, the latest connected home devices are able to provide us all with a little extra comfort when we are away.  Utilizing U.S. Cellular’s fast, high quality network allows you to easily monitor and manage a variety of functions at your home through remote access on your iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S8 device.

**Almost one third of smartphone owners recently surveyed by U.S. Cellular said they use their device to control their home security system, lighting, or other smart home technology at least once a day.  Almost half note they use that technology at least once a month or more.

How to use Technology to Keep your Home Safe and Secure this Summer

What are the best tech devices to use?

Nest Cam Indoor – With this device vacationers never have to worry about what is going on at home again allowing you to look after the house 24/7.  You are able to see live video and a 160-degree wide angle view, all from your smartphone.  It will also provide phone alerts if motion or sound are detected, so the homeowner will know immediately if something is wrong.

Nest Protect – This is a handy little smoke and carbon-monoxide alarm.  It will send you instant phone alerts if smoke or carbon-monoxide is detected, but will also let you know when the battery is running low or if there is a sensor failure.

Chamberlain MyQ Garage Door Opener – A great option for those of us who get far away from our home just to try and remember if we shut the garage door or not.  It will send an alert to your phone if you have left your garage door open while away, and you can also use your Galaxy S7 or other tablet to remotely close it.

Incipio Commandkit™ Wireless Smart Lightbulb Adapter with Dimming – While a bit of a mouthful for a name, it is a pretty straight forward product.  It allows you to turn lights off if you forgot to, and you no longer have to toggle between a bunch of timer switches at home to make sure the lights turn on at specific times.           You can use the app to turn on specific lights with integrated Siri voice commands. 

Ring™ Video Doorbell – A handy device that allows you to respond to someone at the door, even if you aren’t at the house at the time.  You can see, hear, and speak to anyone at your door and always know when a package arrives.

Are you planning any fun trips for this summer?  Do you use smart home technology to give you peace of mind while you are away?

*FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for 2015 reports 1.58 million burglaries for the year, for an average of one
every 20 seconds.

**Between Nov. 10-17, 2016, a total of 701 online interviews were conducted among a nationally

representative sample by Consumer Insights, in partnership with Maritz CX.

May 22, 2017

My Strategy for the Best Summer Ever

There are affiliate links in this post.  That means if you click on one of these links, and make a subsequent purchase, I may receive a small commission.  Thank you for supporting Townsend House.

When you think about your summers growing up, what do you think of?  What about today?  How do you plan to make this summer your Best Summer Ever?

The long lazy days of summer, those are what I wished for growing up.  I knew that I wouldn’t have any school responsibilities, I would go to camp and see my friends, my family would spend weekends at the lake water-skiing and swimming, and having such an amazing time.

As an adult with three little children, I still look forward to those summer days, but they are not long, nor are they lazy – at least not for me!  But, I do want to provide that same atmosphere for my kids.

My Strategy for the Best Summer Ever


May 17, 2017

Margin - Revisiting my Word of the Year

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.  Thank you for supporting Townsend House!

Margin – this is my word of the year – and I thought it was about time to revisit it, especially since I had been absent from this space for a few weeks.  You might say that I needed a little more margin in my life.

Starting this year with the word margin was a no-brainer, but actually putting this little word into practice and into my schedule has been a lot more difficult than I originally expected.



May 15, 2017

A Spring Update

Goodness, has it really been three weeks since I have been in this space?  It seems like the time slips away so easily recently, and finally I had to take a step back to breathe a bit.  I thought a little spring update was in order.

The third week in April saw us finishing up our homeschool year, which was wonderful!  I think this is the earliest we have finished all of the curriculum that I had chosen for the year, and that was an exciting thing.  I spent a good bit of time trying to stretch out some of our history curriculum because I wanted to wait a bit longer before moving Emma to the next core in the curriculum we use.  

This seemed to work out well, and I think the kids really enjoyed diving a bit deeper into some of the stories that we were visiting in early American history.

Once we finished our homeschool year, it was time to move into birthday season around our home!



April 23, 2017

4 Top Educational Apps for your next Road Trip!

This is a sponsored post by U.S. Cellular.  I was compensated as a member of the U.S. Cellular Ambassador program.  All opinions, as always, are my own.

Are you planning a road trip this summer?  I love road trips, but my kids are not always as thrilled with the long drives.  As they have gotten older, we have started to allow them to use devices in the car to make the trip a little bit smoother now that they no longer automatically fall asleep as soon as we leave the driveway.  I really encourage them to use fun apps and games that also give them a learning experience.

4 Top Educational Apps for your Next Road Trip

I am pleased to see that there are so many fun and educational apps out there available now!  We use many of these in our daily homeschool routine, they get screen time, they are still learning, and I get a bit of a break in the day – win-win-win!

April 17, 2017

5 Books I want to Read Now and You Should Too!

There are affiliate links in this post.  If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links I may receive a small commission.  Thank you for supporting Townsend House!

I have an immense love of books – I love story.  I love to get lost in someone’s story, and because of that I almost always have a running list of books that I want to read.  I don’t always have a ton of time to read, but one of my goals this year is to complete my 100 books read challenge, and because of that I have made it a priority. 

It is amazing what you can accomplish when you make something a priority (this works for all things, not just reading!).  I am spending less time scrolling through Facebook, and more time pulling up a book on my kindle

I try to utilize the library app for my local library on my iPhone for a lot of reading, as well as a subscription to kindle unlimited.  But, when there is a book that I really want to read, I most often buy it – I am a little impatient when it comes to reading new books.  The convenience of it being delivered to my phone and kindle on the day it is released is something I love.

5 Books I Want to Read Now and You Should Too!




April 5, 2017

A Year Without Internet - Is it Possible?

There are affiliate links in this post.  If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links I may receive a small commission.  Thank you for supporting Townsend House.

I have been a bit MIA lately from this space of mine.  When I look at my word of the year – margin – I can see why.  I have been taking the time I need to recover from what seems like a constant state of overwhelming crazy.  When I think about margin, I often think about books, and how I want to read more of them.  Then a couple weeks ago I heard about a new book that I wanted to read – What Falls from the Sky.

The premise of this book is that a woman decided that she was too fully entwined with the digital world, and decided that she would instead take a year off the internet – yes, an entire year, no internet (in fact she didn’t even use a debit/credit card during this time).

A Year Without the Internet - Is that Even Possible?