Have you tried Canva?

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As I become a little more experienced in the blogging world (still have a long way to go) I am learning more about graphics, how to include them, and most of all how to create my own. There are SO many sites out there for helping you, some free and some paid, that it can get overwhelming. At least it started to get a little overwhelming for me. I searched around for free sites first (duh) because I’m a frugal kind of person. This is when I found Canva.

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There are so many options. You can also upload your own photos to use as backgrounds as well. Some advanced options and images have a charge, but the only charge I have ever seen was $1.00 each. I love the easiness of using this site, the options, and downloading the graphic so much better than any of the other (free) sites I attempted to use.

Here are a few of my “creations” thus far šŸ˜‰ :

To all of Our New Followers!-1

 

July 4th

 

Things to Do Thursday

 

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ALWB - July photo challenge

 

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I know some of them are not completely fabulous, but hey, I’m still figuring it all out. Have you ever used Canva? Do you have another website to make graphics that I might have overlooked?

Share them with me!!

What Apps I’m Using on a Daily Basis

 

 

Today I am letting y’all in on the secrets of the Southern Mom Life iPhone. Secrets… Ha! I’m not much of a gamer and don’t really edit my photos a million ways. I don’t even make collages, but these things helps me survive and more or less pass the time unproductively… depending on the moment. Here’s what I currently love and use every day on my phone:

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1. Mail – Although I am on the computer at work, this enables me to check my personal emails on lunch, etc. And send a quick response when needed. Having access to email also makes it easy when I am out and about and have a moment to check it. I know I hate when it has been a week since someone responded to me šŸ˜‰

2. Fitbit – This is an App I have been using since the end of May. I LOVE it! And I really want a Fitbit device to wear as well to keep up with my sleeping patterns too. That’s on my wishlist at the moment. (Along with 100 other things.) I use this to keep me on track for being more active and drinking water!! fitbit1

fitbit2It also lets you enter a weight goal and it gives you a daily “Calories Burned” Goal in order to help you achieve your weight loss goal. You can also enter what you eat and it will monitor the calories for you! Looking for a fitness app that will really help hold you accountable? Download Fitbit from the App store for FREE!

3. Instagram – Well, this is a little self explanatory. Who doesn’t already have Instagram? šŸ˜‰ I am also on it a little extra lately as I try to build the Alabama Women Bloggers Instagram page as well. Follow us both at @cindy_britton and @alwomenbloggers !!

4. NOAA Weather – This is also a FREE app that is awesome when keeping up with the radar, satellite, etc. It pinpoints to your location, so make sure you enable location access for this app in your settings. Click on your location’s pinpoint and you can also access temperatures, 3 day forecasts, humidity, and all of that.

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You live in a town severely affected by the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak like I do, and you will appreciate and love this FREE interactive app with an continuously updating radar!

 

5. Life at Cornerstone – This is my church’s app! It is awesome. Even if you don’t attend my church or even live remotely close enough to, you can access an entire album recorded by the praise and worship team to help keep you motivated and uplifted. You can access previous messages from the pastor and a series from his wonderful wife. There is also a Daily Confessions and Study Center to help you grow in your every day Christian walk when you need a little guide help with your individual bible study. There is also a place to submit a prayer request! This is an app I definitely need in my every day life!! šŸ™‚

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What apps are you using on a daily basis? Are you weird like me and refuse to pay for apps? What apps help you survive today’s crazy world??

A Self Interview for ALWB #2.

1. Name & Birthday
My name is Cindy Britton and I was born October 11.
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2. How long have you been blogging?
I have only been blogging since November 2013. So, about 6 months give or take. You can follow me here at Southern Mom Life.
3. What is your favorite part of being a blogger and why?
My favorite part about blogging would have to be the “meeting” new people that are from all over the country and world. Also, the discovering new activities and others’ opinions on things is another of my favorites.
4. Why did you start blogging?
I’m not real sure why I started blogging. I love to talk and also loved to blog hop and read others’ blogs and ideas. One day I just thought, “hey, I can do that too.”
5. Tell us a little about your Family.
We have a 3 year old daughter who never stops moving unless she is asleep. šŸ˜‰ She is a very busy little girl from dress up, picnics and tea parties, Barbies, fishing, drawing/painting/coloring, baby dolls, youth rodeos, singing, and playing outside she definitely keeps us B-U-S-Y! We also have a 7.5 month old Miniature Long-haired Dachshund named Sofia the First and a Welsh Pony named Sugar.Ā 
We are getting married October 2014 in a private ceremony in Asheville, North Carolina and having a reception for family and friends at home that next Saturday.
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6. Where are you from?
I am from Lawrence County, a rural area in North Alabama. I lived in Troy, AL for a while during my undergrad years and have since then moved back.
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A photo I took last summer while riding around one afternoon with the fam!

7. What is your greatest achievement?
Teaching my daughter about Jesus and influencing her love for church, her Bible, and “learning about Jesus.”
8. If you could live anywhere where would it be and why?
I think as long as I had my daughter and fiance/husband, I wouldn’t mind living anywhere! I want to travel and as long as I had the opportunity to move again.. I would consider living anywhere for a while. (Excluding places like Antarctica, Iceland, etc. other than that I’d be good!)
9. Favorite Movie?
All time favorite would have to be…. Pearl Harbor.
10. Favorite Music/Song?
Every great song I hear is my favorite. Ha!! I honestly don’t think I could choose just one. I do listen to Country music (very old and new) and also contemporary Christian.
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11. What are your hobbies?
Blogging (obviously šŸ˜‰ ); outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, a new found love for kayaking, etc.; arts and crafts ideas with my daughter; DIY stuff for my home; reading.
THESE ARE A FEW OF OUR/MY OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AND ADVENTURES:
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12. What inspires you?
Mainly my daughter. Because of her I want to be a better person and better mother. She constantly wants her nails or hair done like mine. Just this morning she wanted to wear aĀ  sweater over her dress because I had one on. She inspires me to be the role model I should be. As a result, I want to live life to the fullest so that she learns to do the same. I want to try new things and never limit myself in hopes that she lives a wonderful and adventure-filled life.
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13. Favorite Color?
Orange. I think. Can I just like the rainbow? šŸ™‚
14. What is your dream job?
Working with underprivileged and troubled children. Hopefully in an elementary school setting (preferably.) Changing the lives of children who otherwise would think they didn’t have a chance to reach their goals/dreams.
15. What are you looking forward to most in 2014
Getting married! šŸ˜€ Also, getting to spend more time dedicated to my daughter! I also can’t wait to grow my blog and see where all of its adventures take me!
If you would like to join me and follow along on my rambling life adventures, please follow my blog and you can also find me on Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Hope you have a great week and start to Summer!

Southern Mom Life on Social Media

Good afternoon ladies and gents!

I hope you are preparing for a great Memorial Day Weekend!

As I attempt to grow my presence on Southern Mom Life, I want to ask you to join me on all forms of social media that I represent!

First and foremost, of course sign up to follow me here on the Blog! I would appreciate that very much. (;

You can also find me on:

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

Linkedin

Please feel free to join me and share the blog with everyone you know! I love to connect with people.

Have a great weekend!

“How to Miss a Childhood” Shared from: Hands Free Mama

“How to Miss a Childhood” Shared from: Hands Free Mama

If I am ever physically slapped in the face with a ton of bricks, it will not hit me harder than this post by Rachel at Hands Free Mama.

I want to go ahead and warn you, that if you are not up for constructive criticism, positive conviction (NOT condemnation), or an eye opening message on your parenting style then you may want to avoid opening the link above.

The above post was written in May 2012. I did not read the post until December 2013. It was a revelation that I needed. As Rachel shares in her post, yes, we are living in the 21st Century with all of the new technologies and social media available, and many people, like myself at times, get caught up in thinking we must stay on top of the latest app or social media attraction in order to be “of the times” or “in the know.” Honestly, though, who cares? Who in the world cares that I was the 12th person to retweet CNN’s latest story on Breaking News? ……….. That’s exactly who, no one. Having Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram is not bad in itself. There is nothing wrong with having different forms of social media in our lives. It is the fact that we have apparently lost our ability to moderate the overwhelming time that we stay on our social media or even gaming apps on the computer, iPad, or smartphone.

I make a collective statement of “we” because I am also speaking for the many people in my life that have admitted or even deny their “phone/ electronic device in hand” syndrome. I can attest to sitting at a family gathering for the holidays and approximately half of the people in attendance who were old enough to properly operate a phone had one in their hand at all times, and I was one of them! Pre-social media and smartphone era, what in the world did people do? They spent time together. They, wait for it, TALKED and carried on conversations with one another. How crazy does that sound?! Well, not crazy at all. Families knew things about one another because of the simple conversation they actually took part in. Sadly enough, my father-in-law can tell me more about most of my grandfather’s non-immediate family than I can because when my father-in-law was my age you visited people. You looked them in the eye when they spoke to you and you didn’t have a phone to glance at or “multi-task” while you read an email and half-way listened. Oh to have lived during that time where I could not even be tempted by my nice little iPhone. But you know what, I can live like that. It is a choice I make every day to put my phone down or keep it in my hand or pocket. I mean seriously, who am I? I must be the diplomat to a country in turmoil or maybe the President of this country for me to need my phone at my side at all times because I am that “in demand”. HA! I am neither of those nor anywhere close. My job doesn’t even require me to be available for contact after hours. I am only in demand to the people, or in this case things (social media), that I allow myself to be in demand to, and honestly the only people who need or deserve my attention most are usually with me while I am on my phone. When I allow myself to think about it, how sad must the dynamics of all our relationships really be?

If you need proof that people are a little TOO addicted to their smartphones and access to social media, please search recent Associated Press stories where a tourist recently walked completely off of a pier in Australia because she was busy looking at Facebook on her phone. In addition to that being bad enough as it is, she also could not swim and needed to be rescued.

So, when I came across the post “How to Miss a Childhood” what happened as I read came in stages.

First: “My phone use is not that bad” as I first started reading.

Second: “Oh. She has a point.”

Next: “I am ashamed at what I must have made my two year old daughter feel when I’m constantly on my phone for one thing or another.”

And then: Sadness. That my two year old is already accustomed to MY “phone in hand” syndrome. That this is the way she will think families operate with one another. I did not have to experience my parent’s making me feel that way. WHY would I EVER do that to my own child, even unintentionally?!

Fifth: Crying. As I sat and tried to imagine what I have put my daughter’s young and tender heart through as I tell her to hold on because I’m making a phone call or looking at my phone, when all she wanted was to show me how she fixed or made something all by herself. Yes, I was very proud of her and have always told her so when I was finished with what took priority at that moment. What SHOULD have taken priority was her. Even though I always tell her that I’m proud of her, I missed the moment when it was most important. I should be ashamed. What kind of mother or human in society am I teaching her to be? What kind of member of society have I become?!

Finally: Change. After I recovered, I decided then and there that those were not the memories my daughter would remember when she was standing at her high school and college graduations looking back on life. Yes, I have messed up so far. Within the last year since getting an iPhone my attachment to my phone has increased ridiculously. BUT the good thing is, it has only been one year. I have at least 16 more years to fix things before she is old enough to be leaving home, to change our family dynamic and create better and more meaningful relationships with her and any children we have in the future.

Monday through Friday 8-5 p.m. I am already dedicating my time to something other than my family. It is called my job. No, I would not prefer to work or be away from my daughter during her early and impressionable years, but this is how life has to work for us. It has become very difficult to maintain life and a household with only one parent working in today’s society, and we are an example of that. So I have a job and that means that I spend 9.5 hours a day either at work or on commute. Say I actually get a good 8 hours sleep at night, that leaves 7 hours per day to spend with my daughter and fiance, and that’s not counting for the time we’re getting ready in the mornings, which is NOT quality time together. So we will say I have 5 hours per day. You know what I have decided? Screw everyone else’s needs during those 5 hours. Starting now, from the time we walk in the door after work until our daughter is sound asleep, our phones are unavailable. Literally. Monday through Friday from now on for those 5 hours my phone will be on Do Not Disturb setting. If a call is back to back within a 10 minute period, then it will alert me. It needs to seriously be an emergency or I may hang up. I invest so much of my time elsewhere that for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week I can and NEED to invest in what matters most to me: my family. My two year old daughter and her father. I am well aware that there will be those special occasions where an evening one week is disrupted by an event or emergency, I get that. It happens. Life is unpredictable. And that is exactly the point. Life is unpredictable, and what if I leave for work one day and my daughter never sees me again. Her memory of me will be Mommy with her phone. That is so sickening to me.

Habits are hard to break. After doing something for 21-30 days consistently, that action becomes a habit. Which is exactly what has happened with always being on our phones. We do not intentionally choose our phones over our daughter, it is something that has slowly developed over the last year. But you know what that means? In 21-30 days of putting down the phone for 5 hours an evening, a new habit can be formed. It will not seem like a challenge anymore.

Investing my time, attention, and talents in our daughter will reward me more than reading nonsense on Twitter or looking at pictures of someone else’s family on Instagram. (Those are the only social media sites/apps I am a member of, and I do not have any games on my phone.) I mean, how stupid does any of that sound anyways? It sounds boring. It sounds like I need a hobby or maybe even a life. Seriously instead of being on my phone I could be studying to get in to Grad School. Huh, who would’ve thought?!?

BUT I AM TAKING A STAND. I am joining the Hands Free Revolution that was started by Rachel over at Hands Free Mama.

If you too feel like you have over dedicated your time to your phone and are missing out on the things that REALLY matter in the grand scheme of life, please consider joining us. Please click the link in the title of this post and read Rachel’s post “How to Miss a Childhood” which is where all of this began for me. And while you’re there, explore her website, her other posts, and what her purpose is all about. And, let Rachel know that her message is making an impact. If she hadn’t written that post for me to stumble upon a year later, my wake up call might not have came this early or in time.

If like me, you choose to change things and Start making memories that matter and Invest in what is important to you: let me know how your journey goes and keep me updated. It will be good to know that there are others like me who realize we don’t have to make ourselves look back with regret when our children are no longer at home to spend time with.