How to Set Up the Our Pact Premium App

Do your kids have cell phones? When my kids were younger, I said that my kids wouldn’t get cell phones until they were driving. That changed! Getting them phones earlier has actually been a benefit. There are times I need to be in two places at once, which means one child gets dropped off somewhere earlier. Having that phone makes me feel better. Besides that, having a phone gives me something I can take away. It’s all about finding what’s meaningful with punishments, right?!? However, taking away the phone defeats the purpose of why I initially got it for them. That’s were the Our Pact Premium app comes in.

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our pact premium
Image via Pexels

What is Our Pact Premium?

A lot of parents joke that they give their kids electronics like phones or an iPad so they have something to take away. As parents, we know we have to discipline our kids and take things away. In order for it to be effective, it has to mean something to them. Taking away the phone leaves kids without the very reason you gave it to them. So they can contact you if need be. Our Pact Premium is an app for both iOS and Android that allows you to manage exactly what they do on their phone and when. It’s a parenting game changer. Goodbye are the days when you collect the phone and take it away for X amount of days. Just turn off what you don’t want them using (games, YouTube, etc) and hand the phone back to them.

 

PopSockets 707027 : Expanding Stand and Grip for Smartphones and Tablets - Blue NebulaPopSockets 707027 : Expanding Stand and Grip for Smartphones and Tablets – Blue NebulaPopSockets 707030 : Expanding Stand and Grip for Smartphones and Tablets - BlushPopSockets 707030 : Expanding Stand and Grip for Smartphones and Tablets – BlushPopSockets: Collapsible Grip & Stand for Phones and Tablets - Peace Mandala SkyPopSockets: Collapsible Grip & Stand for Phones and Tablets – Peace Mandala Sky

Installing the App

It is very important that you read this section. I do not want another person to have the trouble I had installing this app and setting it up. At 9 pm I started setting it up and at 3 am, I was still trying to set it up. Nothing was working right. The directions on their site are a little vague and the step by step directions tech support emailed me didn’t work either. I finally gave up and went to bed and figured I would try again in the morning. When I woke up this morning, I had an idea as to why it wasn’t working and decided to try a different way. It worked! Had two phones set up in less than 25 minutes.

First things first…if you are planning on going with the Premium plan, set that up FIRST. Trust me. Once you have the Premium plan paid for, you will be prompted to download the Our Pact Utility onto your computer. Once that is downloaded onto your computer, do the following:

  1. Plug your phone iPhone into your computer.
  2. Run the Our Pact Utility program and follow the directions on the screen.
  3. Follow the prompts on your iPhone. When it asks you about allowing configuration, click “skip configuration”.
  4. Pair your phone by going to pair.ourpact.com.
  5. Log into the parent app and start setting up the schedules and blocks.

So why didn’t it work before?

When I initially tried setting up the app, I didn’t purchase the premium plan at first. By not doing that, I set up the free account. With the free account you do not need to use the Our Pact Utility program. Should be easy to upgrade from the free to the paid accounts, right? Wrong. In order to set up the paid account, you have to fully remove the free account. That’s easy enough. However, you cannot use the same name for the paid account that you used on the free account. So be sure which account you want from the beginning. I will say, in my opinion, this app is not worth it unless you pay for the premium plan.

Our Pact Premium App Features

You will know you have your account set up with the premium features when you see “access granted” and you can start blocking apps.

our pact premium

Next you will want to decide which apps you will always allow, which apps you would like to block for now and which apps you would like set up according to a schedule (more about that later). The nice thing is, if you decided to block an app, it disappears from your child’s screen. When you unblock it, it reappears.

our pact premium

Once you’ve decided on what to do with the various apps, you will want to set the schedules. On my kids phones, I have all the apps that I do not want them having access to during the night set to disappear at 8:15 pm and stay gone until 6 am (Monday through Friday). Since I would like them to not wake up at the crack of dawn just to watch YouTube, I also set a schedule for Saturday and Sunday.

our pact premium

Another really great feature is the ability to limit how much time your kids will be on their phone and iPad. You can set a daily allowance for them. When their time is up, they are done! I know when my kids were much younger, I was very strict about electronics during the school week. By setting daily allowances, your kids and their device self monitors and you don’t have to sit and watch the clock!

our pact premium

As if this app was already great enough, this next feature allows you to completely block adult content. I don’t know exactly what constitutes as “adult content” (besides the obvious), but I like that there is that extra little feature to help keep that stuff away from the kids. We have the settings on their iPhone to block it too, but as you’re probably aware, things can slip through.

our pact premium

Tonight we were at Sam’s Club picking up a few items and when we got in the car, Bella said “hey, where did all my apps go?”. So the bedtime schedule worked exactly the way it was supposed to! Besides the issues I had setting the app up with my sons phone, I am very happy with the Our Pact Premium app.

Have you used the Our Pact app?


Family Friendly New Year’s Eve

Before we had kids, my husband and I would go out to dinner for New Year’s Eve and then head home, put pjs on and play Trivial Pursuitfamily friendly. We were (and still are) super competitive with each other. Since having kids, our New Year’s Eve traditions have changed quite a bit. Neither one of us really care about huge parties or going out to a bar for the night. So having a family friendly celebration is what we have been doing for the last 13 years (minus a few years when the kids had sleepovers with their grandparents)!

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family friendly

Planning a Family Friendly New Year’s Eve

When you think of New Year’s Eve parties, what do you think of? I think of food, bubbly drinks and the ball dropping. Guess what, you can have all of that in your family friendly celebration! With little ones, you may not want to keep them up until midnight. That’s totally understandable. When mine were little, it didn’t matter how late they stayed up, they still woke up at 7 am! So, with the help of YouTube, I would pull up the previous years ball dropping and have the kids watch that. They totally thought they got to stay up until the ball dropped, when in reality, they went to bed at their bedtime! Total mom win!

family friendly

Image via Honey and Lime

It’s tradition, in our family, to do fun little poppers at Thanksgiving. I don’t know when or where it started, but my kids look forward to it every single year. Your kids will have fun with these super easy DIY poppers! Fill them with confetti (buy your confettifamily friendly here for a really good price) and a little piece of candy! Don’t have time to make your poppers, buy them!

Caspari Set of 6 Alpine Stag Christmas Crackers CK081.12Caspari Set of 6 Alpine Stag Christmas Crackers CK081.12Confetti Poppers Party Accessory (1 ct.,12 pieces per ct.)Confetti Poppers Party Accessory (1 ct.,12 pieces per ct.)

I promise you, your kids will love these poppers, no matter their age!

Family Friendly Food Options

The best food to have for your family friendly New Year’s Eve party is finger foods. Think chicken fingers like these Catalina Crunch Chicken Fingers Recipe. They are super kid friendly and delicious! My kids devour them! Other favorites:

 

Lizber Gummy Bear Molds 3 Pack, Silicone Candy Molds 50 Cavities with Bonus Dropper, FDA Approved (Blue, Green, Red)Lizber Gummy Bear Molds 3 Pack, Silicone Candy Molds 50 Cavities with Bonus Dropper, FDA Approved (Blue, Green, Red)Gummy Worm Silicone Molds with 3 Droppers, SENHAI 3 Pack Gumdrop Molds Ice Cube Trays for Jelly Chocolate Soap Cake Wax, Available in Oven Fridge Microwave Oven FreezerGummy Worm Silicone Molds with 3 Droppers, SENHAI 3 Pack Gumdrop Molds Ice Cube Trays for Jelly Chocolate Soap Cake Wax, Available in Oven Fridge Microwave Oven FreezerGummysaurus Dinosaur-Shaped Gummy Bear Mold (2-Pack) Giant, Non-Stick Silicone Tray | Creates 160 Sweet Snacks | Triceratops, T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus | Kid FriendlyGummysaurus Dinosaur-Shaped Gummy Bear Mold (2-Pack) Giant, Non-Stick Silicone Tray | Creates 160 Sweet Snacks | Triceratops, T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Brontosaurus | Kid Friendly

Another fun option, and one your kids will surely remember, is making chocolate fondue! Pick up some fruit, marshmallows, donuts (cut them in bite size pieces), etc and have at it! They will love it! If you don’t have a fondue set, then check this one out! This fondue setfamily friendly is on a super sale right now!

Whatever you decide to do for your New Year’s Eve, have fun with it. Your kids will remember these fun traditions for years to come!

What do you do on New Year’s Eve?

5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Family Car

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Finding the perfect family car can seem like a daunting task sometimes. Not only is it an extremely large purchase, but it’s also something you will be using day in and day out for years to come. Especially if you have kids in sports or activities. If you are like me, you spend several hours a day shuttling kids back and forth. Since I spend so much time in a car, here are my top five tips for finding the perfect family car, hopefully they help you as much as they have helped me!

perfect family car

Image via cars.com

How to Find the Perfect Family Car

I still remember when I was pregnant for the first time. I had a new VW Bug that I loved! It was super cute, but totally not practical at all for a mom with a new baby. It would have been very difficult to get an infant seat in an out of the car. Not to mention, the trunk was not big enough for all the baby stuff we carted around daily. So off we went looking for a new car for our growing family. Little did I know, having kids would change my ideas on what I needed in a car!

Tip One: Infant Seats and Car Seats

What I didn’t know with my first child was how important it was to take the car seat with you when shopping for your perfect family car. With our first child, we leased an Aztec. We felt rushed with time to pick a car and the price was right. However, no matter how much I enjoyed driving that car (it really was a good car), it was NOT a good car for a rear facing car seat. Even having the car seat in the middle seat, it pushed both the driver seat and the passenger seat too far forward. It was NOT comfortable for us at all. So, not only do you need to take the car seat with you, but you also need to read up on the car seat safety checks done on may popular brands of cars.

Tip Two: Test Drive All the Cars

Make a list of the cars you like. Using sites like cars.com, you can easily make a list of cars you like. Once you have your list, go to the dealership, used car lot, etc and test drive the car. Sometimes you don’t even need to leave the lot. There was a car that I thought I loved, but the second I sat down, I realized I did not like the car at al. I didn’t even turn the car on. The shape of the driver seat was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t wait to get out of it.

Tip Three: Features

This may seem silly to some, but the features in a car are very important to me. I drive a lot. We are gone many weekends for lacrosse or soccer tournaments. If I am going to spend a lot of time in the car, I want to make sure it has the things I want. For instance, the three things I have to have in a car are heated seats, a heated steering wheel and remote start. I live in Michigan. The winters are brutal. Those three things insure that each and every time I drive my car, I am comfortable.  So think of the features you want and don’t settle. Make a list with a column of must have features and a column of features that would be nice, but not mandatory.

Tip Four: Backseat Space

After you turn the car seat front facing, the kids really don’t need much space in the backseat. However, once they outgrow the car seat, leg room for the kids need to be taken into account. My husband is tall. When he sits in the front seat, he has to have the seat all the way back. In some cars, it was very difficult for someone to sit behind him. So take your kids car shopping with you so you can see if the car is right for everyone!

Tip Five: Trunk Space

Finally, when I am looking for a car, one of the first things I do is open the trunk. Like sitting in the seat, opening the trunk can determine right away if the car will work for you or not. Lacrosse bags are huge. If they won’t fit in the trunk, the car won’t work for our family. Think about the things you cart around all the time. If you have a baby, make sure your stroller fits in the trunk.

Whether you are checking out local dealerships, used car lots or online searches for your next car, these five tips will help you narrow down your list and help you find the perfect family car.

What tips could you add to my list?

Back to School Lunch Ideas

It feels just like yesterday that I was jumping up and down that I was done making lunches for awhile. Now, in just three weeks, my kids will be going back to school and I will need to start packing their lunches again. Yes, I realize they are in 5th and 8th grade and they are more than capable of packing their lunch, but I like knowing that they are eating something healthy each day for lunch. Since my daughter has decided that she no longer wants to eat sandwiches, I need to come up with some lunch ideas for her that don’t look like a sandwich!

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lunch ideas

As you know, since I’ve talked about it MANY times, my husband and I follow the Keto diet. While we do not have our kids follow the Keto diet with us, we have had many talks with them about eating healthy and limiting the sugar that they eat. I don’t know if it was before that conversation or after, but my daughter told me she did not want to eat sandwiches anymore. I don’t know if it’s that she doesn’t like them or what, but all summer long she has been eating meat and cheese rollups with broccoli and dip. To continue her new lunch ways, I’ve looked at the following lunch boxes for her:

Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box - Bento-styled Lunch Solution Offers Durable, Leak-proof, On-the-go Meal and Snack Packing (Blue)Bentgo Kids Childrens Lunch Box – Bento-styled Lunch Solution Offers Durable, Leak-proof, On-the-go Meal and Snack Packing (Blue)PlanetBox ROVER Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Bento Lunch Box with 5 Compartments for Adults and Kids - Black Carry Bag with Sports Balls MagnetsPlanetBox ROVER Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Bento Lunch Box with 5 Compartments for Adults and Kids – Black Carry Bag with Sports Balls MagnetsBentgo Fresh (Aqua) – Leak-Proof & Versatile 4-Compartment Bento-Style Lunch Box – Ideal for Portion-Control and Balanced Eating On-the-Go – BPA-Free and Food-Safe MaterialsBentgo Fresh (Aqua) – Leak-Proof & Versatile 4-Compartment Bento-Style Lunch Box – Ideal for Portion-Control and Balanced Eating On-the-Go – BPA-Free and Food-Safe Materials

What I like about the different boxes above is the wide variety of foods I can give her. She loves to eat salad and will often times ask me for it for dinner. Truth be told, I think she eats salads because she is obsessed with croutons, but hey…she’s eating vegetables so I’ll go with it!

Lunch Ideas

So what will I put in her lunch box if we go with one of the lunch boxes above, instead of one filled with plastic baggies and a bunch of stuff to throw away each day? Here are some of my lunch ideas for her:

  • Meat and cheese rollups
  • Broccoli and ranch dip
  • Applesauce
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Salad with chicken and croutons <–can’t forget those croutons!
  • Fruit
  • Leftover pizza cut up
  • Peanut butter and jelly quesadilla

I’m sure, as the year goes on, we will come up with a bunch of different ideas. These type of lunch ideas work great for my daughter. My son…he’s a different story! He eats me out of house and home and the amount of food he takes to lunch is insane. So one of these lunch box ideas will not work for him. Instead I am looking at something like this:

Everest Cooler Lunch Bag, Black, One SizeEverest Cooler Lunch Bag, Black, One Size

While I am relatively new at figuring out what to put in lunches that don’t have sandwiches (and why this seems so difficult to me, I don’t know), I will be checking out different sites (like this one) for other lunch ideas! In the mean time, please leave me a comment with your lunch ideas! Bella and I will appreciate the ideas!

Living the Keto Lifestyle Long Term

January 23, 2016. That was the day I decided to introduce my husband to the Keto lifestyle. Let me tell you, we were very nervous to start. Me more than him, but that’s normal for our relationship! I do the freaking out on things and he calms me down and says “everything will be alright”. Even when he has no clue if it will be. Oddly enough, I know all this, yet it does calm me down…some! We’ve officially reached the year and a half mark. Can we do this Keto lifestyle long term? We’re planning on it!

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keto lifestyle

Image Via Pexels

Keto Lifestyle Long Term?

So you’ve heard about the Keto diet and the first thing you think (after you get over the shock of giving up sugar) is “can I do this long term?”. The answer is that you absolutely can! My husband and I have been following the Keto lifestyle for about a year and a half now and in that year and a half, we have had several holidays, many birthdays and a TON of family get togethers. We’ve always managed to stay on our plan 99% of the time. I say 99% of the time because I don’t want to lie AT ALL! I did taste the frosting on my sons cake at his birthday. I also ate a little bit of watermelon at a family BBQ.  Are those thing part of the Keto diet? Of course not. However, that one taste did not derail me. I didn’t go on a cake frosting bender. The Keto lifestyle is so ingrained in me that I will not allow myself to go back to my old lifestyle.

 

Keto Comfort FoodsKeto Comfort Foods

Starting the Keto Diet

When I started the Keto diet, I did a lot of reading up on the subject. Remember, I told you I freaked out at first! Everything I read stated that you need to follow a high fat/moderate protein/very low carb diet plan. As I’ve evolved through this diet, I have learned even more things and thanks to the Keto Facebook group I belong to now, I learned that we really only need to eat 50g of fat because the rest of the fat in our body (that we want to burn off) makes up the high fat macro! So using this nifty macro calculator, I recalculated my macros for My Fitness Pal and I am trying this “new” way to follow the Keto lifestyle. Was the way I started out with Keto wrong? No. Absolutely not. I believe that this, life everything else, is just another way to accomplish the same thing. I mean, I did lose 83 pounds…

keto lifestyle

Keto Tips

Like anything else, it’s always best to get started with a few tips. No one likes to go in blind. If I have to give you just five tips to get started, they would be:

  1. Go in all or nothing. This diet is not one of those diets where you have cheat days. You either plan on sticking to it or don’t bother doing it. Trust me. You don’t want to experience the “Keto flu” more than once.
  2. Read this post on the Top 10 Keto Diet Must Haves. Bacon Jerky is so delicious!
  3. Purchase the premium version of My Fitness Pal. It’s worth it. Especially if you are like me and you need everything to be exact!
  4. Don’t be afraid of fat bombs. Especially this Chocolate SunButter Fat Bomb recipe!
  5. You can have gummy bears!! Not the store bought ones, but these homemade Gummy Bears are just as good and no sugar!!

The biggest thing you need to know when embarking on the Keto lifestyle journey is that YOU CAN DO THIS! If my husband and I could, then you definitely could. Actually, I should say, “if I could”…I was a sugar addict. I’m not even joking. I ate a weeks worth of sugar in one day…every day. Giving up sugar was probably the best thing I have every done. When I reach my goal weight, I will probably add in a little more carbs in order to maintain, but I will always be low carb. There is no going back for me. To me, following a Keto lifestyle is no different than me eating gluten and tree nut free due to my allergies.

If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to click the Contact Me button at the top of the screen!!