6 Ways Cloud Apps Rock My Online Writing World

Do you believe that cloud computing technology has the capability to transform our business and personal lives? The impact of cloud technology is so immense that many are not aware how many cloud applications they are using each moment.

People are increasingly using cloud based solutions such as web-based email services, media services, content distribution apps, healthcare services and many more.  Thanks to cloud, we are witnessing an information overload with unlimited choices of service providers and solutions in all industries. From financial services to voice transcription solutions and from in-car cloud apps (e.g. Caravan Track) to interactive applications (e.g. Kinect) that respond to peoples’ gestures & voice commands, cloud has opened up new realms of possibilities. 

Here, I have compiled a list of 6 ways cloud based apps are rocking my online writing world. You too are probably using them in your daily life to access, analyze, store and share information.

#1 Backup Services – Saving and maintaining your data as a backup and storing it in some off-site location for security is essential. For instance, Dropbox, Syncplicity and Mozy allow you to back up all your data and share them wisely. Dropbox is certainly one of the most used cloud service solutions today. I store all my personal files and documents on dropbox and even share my photos with family.

#2 Social Networking – Perhaps social networking is the most famous way of utilizing cloud computing technology even though many people may not realize it at first. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others help people to get connected to each other and share information with them. Facebook seems to be the biggest and the most popular social network site present today. 

#3 Email Communications – Who doesn’t use Gmail or Yahoo mail these days? Emails are one of the biggest cloud computing solutions available. Accessibility from anywhere and ease of maintenance makes it very convenient and cost effective. 

#4 Video Call Solutions – People are increasingly using the video call services such as skype to get connected to each other. Today skype has turned to be the one stop solution for communicating with colleagues or clients or friends. Whether you need to make a phone call or chat or video call, you will be able to do that in a smarter and cost effective way. Which app do you use for making a video call?

#5 Document Sharing – You must be already familiar with Google Docs and its features that let you edit and keep your documents accessible from anywhere securely. Another biggie in the field of file sharing is YouTube which has revolutionized entertainment industry.

#6 Productivity Tools – Certain apps like Toggl allows its users to track time and create tasks & projects to make billing and reporting easy and accurate. Zoho invoice, Quickbooks and DoneDone are few popular productivity tools based on cloud. I have personally not used them, but have plans to make use of them sooner than later...

There are many other notable services and applications where cloud computing technology has made life easier. Which one would you add to my list?

Photo Credit: Markus Spiske

Alphabet Coloring Pages and Toys for Kids

Alphabet coloring pages are helpful for toddlers when they begin to learn to read and write. When my son was in kindergarten he was very much into coloring and playing with alphabets in all forms. I made a collection of all of them and thought why not and share it here with y'all, so that you too can make use of it.

So let the kids take out their coloring pencils & crayons and get ready for some coloring fun with these educational coloring pages! 

You can find a collection of alphabet coloring pages that are simple yet amazing and can be printed. Browse through the page and click on the links to enter to that coloring page resource. Have fun! Also check out some great deals on coloring books and coloring supplies at the bottom of this page...

  • Here is a collection of alphabet coloring pages from the popular About series with letters in upper and lower cases, a collection of objects which starts with each alphabet and phonics-learning aids for kids to identify and learn. You can just navigate to the desired letter you want and get them printed...
  • BigLetters has got a complete educational set of alphabet coloring sheets with many simple learning activities which will help kids to identify, write and understand. The files are downloadable as word documents and have tracing, coloring and circling the correct letter all in a single page which comes in handy.
  • TwistyNoodle offers free coloring pages for a whole lot of topics and you can find A-Z coloring pages which can be customized according to your choice of font and text.
  • AlphabetColoring.net has got an amazing collection of alphabet coloring pages in various formats. 3-D, abstract, dot-to-dot, whimsical and a whole lot of other varieties. They also have a lot of games and other educational resources in their website.
  • Here is a decorative coloring pages for alphabets from coloring castle. They have got plenty of coloring pages which can be downloaded for free from their homepage.
  • If you are looking for some online coloring fun without the need for paper, then this is for you. TheColor offers online alphabet coloring pages  which can be colored online and can be sent via emails. 

Alphabet toys and games plays an outstanding role in helping out kids in figuring out letters in the beginning.  As a mom I know exactly what types of alphabet toys kids would love to play with - wooden, plastics, foam materials and what not. If you are anything like me, then quality and safety comes first. Price - the next big thing. Here are some great alphabet toys which are perfect for kids.

Have you found any other exciting collection of coloring page resources? How did you find them? Do let me know!  

Freezer Cooking for My Indian Kitchen

Are you a fan of freezer cooking? If you are skeptical about it, then let me just tell you that its as healthy and assuring as any home-made meal. Recently, 'freezer cooking' caught my fancy for various obvious reasons... managing home, preparing for my exams, freelance projects…and so many things in between! I don’t know about you, but in my home, life can get a bit crazy unexpectedly. (Go figure!)

I’m not a meal planning pro or an organizing junkie. Apparently, I have noticed that as soon as the sun bids good bye for the day, I’m almost completely drained. I’ll hardly have the energy to pull a decent dinner together. That’s when I decided to try out freezer cooking.  

I don’t intend to whack off complete meals for a month. Yes, there are many folks out there who do that as in Once a Month Cooking. But, all I want is the luxury of a healthy home-made dinner with minimal effort! I did my research and came up with a plan to make chapatti dough for a week and freeze them, for starters.

Then I made some basic masala curry base for freezing.  I got the inspiration from fancy pantry curry, but I adapted it to suit our South Indian taste buds. It comes in handy when you don’t want to start cooking from scratch and need the comfort of your home-made meal. Just plop in the gravy base into a pan and add some water and veggies or anything of your choice (I tried making egg masala with boiled eggs and it was awesome!), sprinkle salt, some spice mix or fresh herbs and that’s it. Cool huh?

Last night I made vegetable pulao with that curry base. I had my frozen base as a thick paste, so was easy to mix it up with chopped vegetables.

My experiments with freezer cooking were a huge success and never had to take out dinner until now at least!

So if you are highly pressed on time and want to simplify cooking, then you should try out some basic freezer cooking. It’ll be worth the effort.

Here are some of the online resources that I found useful while doing my Indian freezer cooking research:

As you know, I am no expert and have only started to experiment with all these above mentioned tips. Hope this helps!

Are there any other tips you would like to share? How is freezer cooking working for you? Do share here in comments. Would love to hear from you! :)

photo credit - Serene Vannoy

Three Awesome Blogs that Boosts Me Up!

I love reading blogs! It helps me get focused, inspired and stay motivated, through the hustle-bustle of life. There is a great comfort in knowing that there are other similar souls who've been there, done that... if you know what I mean!
Of all the great blogs that I read, there are a few ones which stands out in the crowd. 

My favorite blogs to turn to when it comes to writing, blogging, managing or simplifying the clutter of our lives are:

Money Saving Mom.com

Who doesn't know Crystal Paine, the writer, blogger, speaker and homemaker? I'm over at her blog almost everyday to fill myself with awesome-yet-practical nuggets of advice to embrace positivity in everything I do, bet it blogging, or mothering or homemaking. You name it, she's got it!

After reading her blog for a little over two years, I almost feel like I know her personally. I've learnt about how she does it all, what failed, what worked and what could have been better. She narrates her experiences and wisdom in simple language, as simple as her. I'm looking forward to her South African trip to know about how they built a community center, and much more for the Maubane community.  

The Mom Writes.com 

Prerna Malik! She is such an inspiring person. I've been lurking around her blogger blog since its infancy. No, seriously! I still remember her post about Mom Writes moving to its self-hosting as a wordpress blog. Through her blog she shows how the girl next door can really rock the world... Her home management and productivity e-books are great assets for anyone planning to simplify their life. The other resources that she shares in her blog plus the Mom Writes community is something which I never wanna miss.

Smart Passive Income.com

Pat Flynn, the guru or "crash test dummy of online business" as he puts it, is one helluva guy that blows my mind with his every single post or podcast. Recently, I read about his miracle morning funda and was so carried away that I literally started following it sooner than later...
His in-depth posts about each and single aspect of his successful career as well as life hacks are worth listening. 

These blogs are so popular that you probably have heard all about them, or follow them closely. They have in their own way helped me grow as a blogger as well as a person. All these names are so common in my household that hardly a day passes without them being extolled!  :)

Which one is your favorite blog? I'd love to hear about it!

Find the links here:
Money Saving Mom.com
The Mom Writes.com 
Smart Passive Income.com
Photo Credit

My Goals and Dreams for 2015

2015 have already made its way and I've been reading a lot of new year resolutions and goals shared on social media and blogs around this blogosphere. I've never really sticked with any of my resolutions for that matter. I know I should feel embarrassed admitting the truth, but I fairly feel it to be reasonable as most of the people I have ever known doesn't stick with theirs either! But hey, not this time! I have so much to do and I could hardly make it all happen without a properly laid out plan. Period!

Considering all that, this year I have come up with a realistic and action-packed goal-list which will simplify my life and encourage me to give it my best. I'm excited about sharing it here in my blog, as I feel challenged and I believe accountability would simply help me stay motivated!

Without further ado, I'll quickly wrap up my goals for 2015:

Professional Goals

  1. On the professional front, I want to focus on being consistent about blogging, building readership, finding content writing gigs and social media engagement. 
  2. I've been doing both technical content writing as well as paid-blogging work with few private clients and now I would like to stick with only a couple of genuine clients who pays on time!  
  3. Other than my writing goals, I would like to pursue an online course & earn a specialized degree which would add more value and significance to my career.

Personal Goals

  1. This year I've decided to be an early riser and do my fair share of exercise and daily devotion in the morning. Its not that I want to lose pounds or inches, but want to add a sense of  well-being and refreshing comfort to my days. 
  2. I will be trying hard to organize, de-clutter and maintain my home. I am a terrible housekeeper and need to consider doing my home management tasks far more better.
  3. I'm planning to add more self-care routines into my days so that I'll be nourishing my body, mind and soul for a better tomorrow.
  4. Also, I will be spending quality time with my family. Now that I have quite a few things lined up with me, I don't want to make my family feel neglected or taken for granted.

That's it! With my goals for the new year and new beginning I think I've pretty much nailed it. Can't wait to hear some of yours too... Do share it here and let's rock 2015 together!



5 Nativity Printable Sets Which You Can Download for Free

With Christmas right around the corner, I have been scouring the internet for ideas to set up a simple nativity set that would perfectly suit my small living space. I wanted to find a decent one that wouldn't cost me a fortune. 

I also wanted to come up with something which excites my 6 year old, something which inspires him and teaches him about the advent season.

Since we are living out of our homeland, in a country where we don't get these amazing Christmas Nativity Sets, we just resorted to the Christmas tree decorations all these years. But now, luckily I stumbled upon some wonderful blogs/sites that offer free printable Nativity Scene that's super cute, simple and quick to set up. 

Here are 5 Free Nativity Scene Printable Crafts for kids and families.

Note: I have just randomly ordered these blogs as I found them. You may end up with more options and creative ideas that works best.

1. Nativity Set from Noella Designs  -  Noella Designs have their 3-D printable Nativity with simple and easy to follow instructions and steps. Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus, the three wise men, stable, angels, animals and what not! You can find all of them right here.

2. 3-D Nativity Craft from Bible Kids Fun Zone - This one features a lot more than just the Nativity puppet crafts and activities. Bible Kids Fun Zone is loaded with complete resources for kids Bible study and Sunday class lesson plans. From illustrated story pictures to stickers and play sets, you will find a wide range of activities for kids.

3. Paper City Nativity Scene from Made by Joel  - Its an online space completely dedicated for art and craft projects for children. As Joel puts it, this is a travel paper city set which you can take it even in a mini box. You just have to click on the template or the image and print it. 

4. Printable Nativity Scene from Activity Village.co.uk  - This one features printable sets of Nativity scene where you can print and cut out as you like. The kids can color these cut outs to add more charm to it.  How cool is that?

5. DIY Printable Nativity - from Catholic Icing. It has the step by step instruction for downloading and assembling the Nativity set using card stock or paper and toilet paper tubes. The instructions are simple to follow and will definitely make the kids happy and excited.

How about your plans for Christmas and decorations? Do share with me in the comments. 

Update 28/12/2014 : This was how we made our Christmas Crib with Nativity Set downloaded and crafted from Noella Designs. Since my son wanted a real-looking stable, we tried making one out of cardboard! :)

10 Steps to Find Your Hobby

How do you pass time? Do you have a hobby or any favorite activity other than scanning LED screens?
In my earlier post on ways to beat  boredom,  we discussed about fun ways of saving your sanity! If you are looking to find a brand new hobby, this post is just for you...

A hobby can bring about positive energy and vigor to our lives. Indulging in a hobby is not as hard as it may seem. Sitting idle and clinging yourself to television can make you frustrated and lose interest in the surroundings. Identifying a perfect hobby for you might take some time. If you are looking for a hobby which you can stick with, here are some steps to get off your feet into a passionate hobby.

As far as the deciding part is concerned, you only need a positive attitude and some time to choose the best leisure time activity suitable for you. Of course, you would require the craft materials depending upon the hobby of your choice.

#1 Pen down all the activities you are interested in doing or something which you have enjoyed doing at one phase of your life. It may be gardening, painting, singing, playing a musical instrument, reading, writing, knitting, cooking, candle making, playing sports, blogging and so on. The list goes endless.

#2 You can ask suggestions from your family and friends. If one hobby is found to be inappropriate then do not hesitate to strike it off from your list.

#3 You can also run a search through the internet and find out more about what others are suggesting.

#4 Don’t forget to do a reality check on affordability and availability of time. The chosen one should be something to which you give yourself to it completely. If it feels like a burden to you, then it’s no more a hobby.

#5 Get ready for your new experience by purchasing or collecting materials for your chosen hobby. If you want to start with painting or candle making or any other arts & crafts, you would definitely need a dozen of craft materials.

#6 It will be helpful if you do a search and make a list of things to be done for your new hobby.

#7 Plan your work schedules and other commitments well ahead of time so that you can get a fair share of family time and leisure time without any trouble.

#8 Indulge yourself in a couple of hobbies for sometime, say 2 weeks or so. If it failed to reward the contentedness that you expected, then leave it and try another one from your list.

#9 Update your list of hobbies with the time duration you tried and your stand on them.

#10 Finding more than one hobby is fine if you are really enjoying it. It is also fine if you take some time on deciding the perfect hobby for you.

What did you decide? I'm eager to know.... Do share it in comments :)

Leap Frog Educational Toys and Games for Kids

Leap Frog Letter Factory and Leap Frog Talking Words Factory 

These are two amazingly popular learning programs from LeapFrog. These learning programs are in the form of DVDs and are powerful enough to grab the young mind's attention span for a long time. The leapfrog letters & words dvds teaches letters and sounds by giving due importance to the phonics altogether.

The catchy tunes, peppy songs and attractive visuals makes it easy for kids. They are sure to learn at a fast pace through these leapfrog learning dvds, all while having fun. Educational videos and dvds are a great source of learning for kids.

Leap Frog - Educational Toys and Games for Kids

Leap Frog is a famous brand of kids toys. You can find suitable toys from leap frog for infants to kids of any age. They have got an amazing collection of children's educational toys too. Educational toys will include interactive electronic toys like mini laptop, kids leap pads and other fun filled learning equipment and programs. If you are looking for a perfect educational gift for a toddler who is yet to start schooling, I would personally recommend Leapfrog letter factory and talking words factory. The kids will love it for sure.

In today's world of technology and tech savvy parents, which kid wouldn't go for an intelligent electronic toy? Laptops, mobiles, spell checkers, math quiz and what not... All these and much more are available today for toddlers and pre-school going kids. These electronic toys are interactive and are great resource for learning. They teach the kids in a fun learning way which is the major highlight.

Kids just love to play with such interactive toys that can talk and make them think more. All these toys are designed for small kid are sure to uplift their vocabulary, spelling, math basics and behaviors. I find the Leap frog toys very useful as they are kid-friendly and amazing.

Find a collection of LeapFrog toys right here!

Educational DVDs and CDs by LeapFrog

Best Selling Educational LeapFrog Toys

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