• February 24, 2016

    Top 5 Apps for Android

    It’s time for another Top 5!  This time, we’re going to look at my favorite apps for Android devices (many of these apps are also available for ios, but I don’t know anything about that so… Android it is!).

    Gmail

    Ok, my number one app is actually a combination of apps an you all probably already use them, so it’s not terribly groundbreaking.  However, I feel that Google’s apps bear mentioning because I use them heavily and love their function.   I plan and write first drafts of the blog on Drive; I use Calendar to plan meals every week and keep track of everything else that is going on; I use Keep to remember things I hear on the radio, make quick notes about ideas for the blog and other things.  Maps and Gmail, of course, get lots of action as well.  Maps I use more for work than play, but I definitely rely on it pretty much whenever I go somewhere new.

     

    Podcast Republic

    My second app is Podcast Republic.  This app allows you to stream and download podcasts from tons of different sources.  Among my favorite podcasts are NPR (with several subcategories: Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, Hidden Brain, TED Radio Hour, and Fresh Air), several podcasts from HowStuffWorks.com (Stuff You Should Know, Stuff Mom Never Told You, ), The Art of Manliness (not just for men!), Dear Hank & John (from Hank and John Green of YouTube fame), Ear Biscuits (from Rhett and Link also of YouTube fame).  If those don’t interest you, just peruse the lists that include everything from religion to sports to politics to videogames and hobbies.

     

    WineSecretary

    The third app I love is called Wine Secretary.  This is a simple, easy to use app that allows you to track and rate the wine you drink.  I think my favorite feature is that you can take a picture of the label to help jog your memory and to help you find it again later!  There is also a feature to keep track of the wines you have in your collection (I don’t use this so much since I don’t keep that much wine on hand).

     

    Audible

    Number four is Audible.   If you aren’t already familiar, this app allows you to buy and listen to audio books.  My husband is currently using it to listen to Dutch language lessons while he runs, but we discovered it when we took our road trip to Canada and needed something to listen to!  You can set up a monthly subscription and get one book free a month and discounts on any additional books you want to get as well.

     

    CamScanner CamCard

    My fifth app is actually two similar apps: CamScanner and CamCard.  I use these more on my work phone than in my personal life, but they have been pretty helpful so far.  CamScanner allows you to take pictures of documents and will update the image so your documents are the only thing in the picture and makes them more readable (printable, even).  CamCard is similar, only it is designed for importing contacts directly from business cards.  I have found that this function is a little spotty and I almost always need to update the contact information by hand later due to wrong letters being entered and so on.  I still like this app, though, and have hopes that it will improve with time.

     

    TwoDots

    Finally, since my first favorite was sort of a generic cop-out, I think you’ve earned a bonus app!  TwoDots is a beautiful, addictive puzzle game.  I started playing this in January when I was sick and laying on the couch all day, but I have continued to play during breaks at work and down time at home.  The home screen artwork is adorable, as is the music.  The game play is pretty straightforward and seems simple, but the puzzles get increasingly difficult and the objectives change with every level, so it keeps you on your toes.  It’s defiantly worth a look if you enjoy causal game play.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed my favorite apps and maybe even found some new favorites for yourself!  What are your favorites?

  • February 17, 2016

    Adding to the Fun

    Well, friends, I think things are getting back to normal around here and I’m feeling pretty good about where we’re at so far this year!  Because I am feeling more confident in the content on this site, I am thinking about implementing some fun new aspects with social media that I think you’ll enjoy!

    Don’t worry,  you’ll still get the same level of content here at the Bliggity Blog, but  you’ll also get to enjoy Haiku Monday on Twitter (@thebliggityblog) and Photo Friday on Instagram (thebliggityblog)!  You will be able to search for this content using the hashtags #haikumonday #photofriday and #thebliggityblog   I will, of course, try to include other content on Twitter and Instagram throughout the week as well… I’m just not ready to promise too much all at once!

    I hope you will enjoy this new content!  I also hope you’ll be patient with me as I get into the new routine and try to keep up with it all!  ;)

  • February 10, 2016

    Romantic Fondue for Two

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    Ready for something really fun?  And easy?  And romantic?

    *grin*

    I really love fondue and am so excited to share my favorite cheese recipe with you!  This is a pretty basic one which is nice because you can totally add different seasonings, spices, and dipping ingredients depending on what you feel like doing and what you have on hand.

    You’ll need a fondue pot – we use an electric one similar to this and it’s been great!  I like that we don’t have to have an open flame at the table and that we can raise and lower the temperature easily as we cook and eat.

    I hope you have a romantic evening soon where you can enjoy this delicious meal.  If not, though, you can totally make this for a group of girlfriends too!  I mean, it’s mostly cheese and who doesn’t like cheese?  ha!

    Romantic Fondue for Two Recipe

    By Erin Published: February 10, 2016

      Ready for something really fun?  And easy?  And romantic? *grin* I really love fondue and am so excited to share my favorite …

      Ingredients

      Instructions

      1. IngredientsGather ingredients.
      2. Cheese-and-Corn-StarchCombine cheeses and cornstarch together
      3. Wine-and-SpicesPour wine and spices into fondue pot and heat over medium heat until bubbling
      4. CheeseStir in cheese - stir continually until melted to a smooth consistency; Lower heat to as needed to prevent burning while still keeping the fondue warm
      5. Dip desired foods into the cheese mixture and enjoy!
        Fondue
       

      Pro Tip: My favorite fondue dippers with this cheese are: granny smith apples, grapes, broccoli, and artichokes. 

      Keep an eye on the cheese so it doesn’t over heat and burn to the pan.

      Since you only use 1 cup of the wine, be sure to get one you really like so you can break out the fancy glasses and drink the rest!  This is a romantic meal, after all!  ;)

    • February 3, 2016

      Lent: 40 Days and 40 Nights

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      Can I be really honest and serious for a minute?  I’m struggling.  I mean, for the most part, things in my life are great.  I have family and friends who care about me, a nice home and plenty of stuff to fill it up with.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is that my spiritual self is feeling pretty lost and lonely these days.  I’ve drifted away from my faith and don’t have a clear path back.

      Here’s the thing, I believe in God, but have little confidence in churches as they (in my experience over and over and over again) currently exist with so much focus on the negative and nitpicky details, exclusionary behaviors, and political leanings.  I believe in salvation through Christ, but can’t stand the behavior and beliefs of the extremely vocal (hopefully) minority in America whose outspokenness has alienated not only those who don’t believe, but many, many followers of Christ as well.  I don’t want to be associated with people who use the Bible as a weapon to hurt and shame people or a soapbox to stand upon and to hurl their bigotry and hate from.

      That is not my faith.  That is not my Bible.  That is not my God.

      Because of a combination of these problems and many personal hurts and wrongs from the Church, I have not had my butt in a pew in a very long time.  For a while it felt fine because Hubby and I had a regular Bible Study with friends that kept us connected to God and allowed for questioning, conversation, and learning that is impossible to fully achieve on one’s own.  As all good things do, though, this too fell apart and left me on my own to maintain my relationship with God and continue to learn what I could.  You can guess how successful that was.

      So, now, looking at the season of Lent that is before us I wonder what I can do to bring myself close to God again.  How do I cultivate my faith with no leader and no others with a commitment to study or pray or learn other than myself?

      I don’t know.

      I do have an idea, though, that I hope will be a good place to start.  I found this book, 40 Days and 40 Nights by Ilene Segalove, that is intended as a journal guiding the reader on taking time out of each day (for 40 days) to focus on self-discovery.  It’s set up in such a way that you choose your own intent – love, relationships, career, religion, etc – before starting and let that focus area color your responses to each journal prompt.

      Book-Pages

      So, this is where I begin.  Starting next week until Easter, I will not be giving up things so much as adding to them.  I will follow the daily journal prompts and try to open my mind to God’s plan for me.  Perhaps by the end of it all, I will have either built such a routine that I am able to study on my own, or I will find others to study and share encouragement with.