Cell Phones and Gift Giving

Every month I team up with U.S. Cellular and share a little about my Samsung Galaxy S8 Smart Phone. This is one of those posts.

With the holiday season right around the corner, many parents may be considering getting their child a smartphone, or getting themselves a new one and passing down their old device.  I know one thing for sure…this little guy won’t be getting a phone.


When our kids were teenagers, we often got them a cell phone.  It was an easy gift to give and goodness knows, they were elated.

U.S. Cellular recently conducted a survey regarding children and cellphones and the results may surprise you.  They sure surprised me!

On average, parents began letting children use their smartphones or tablets at age eight.  I believe this to be true for sure.  Some of my childcare kiddos have regular access to a tablet.  They don’t own their own tablets but they do have regular access.


Participants said that the appropriate age for a child to get their first cellphone is 13, which is down from 14 years old just five years ago.  58% of parents had children with cellphones, and the average age of the child when receiving their first phone was 11 years old.  Safety was the top reason behind getting children their own cellphone, with 59% of respondents listing it as the top factor.  Safety was the reason our kids got a phone…but we didn’t get them for them until they were driving on their own.

Three out of four parents monitor their child’s cellphone usage frequently.  77% of parents have rules and guidelines for their child’s cellphone usage.

U.S. Cellular helps establish family parameters and guidelines regarding cellphone use.  If parents do decide to give a child a cellphone, U.S. Cellular encourages them to visit http://www.childphoneagreement.com to create their very own customized agreement, helping establish parameters and family guidelines for cellphone use.

Carver does love a cell phone whenever he can get his hands on one.  The second he picks it up he starts saying “Da-Da.”  Every night his dad, Craig, calls as he is driving home from work.  Carver associates phones with that important drive home and his chance to talk to “Da”.  It’s incredibly cute….but 14 month old is too young for his own phone!!  For now he’s having to share with mommy.

One thing I didn’t notice in the survey….When do parents kick their kids off their cell phone plan?  That’s the end of the spectrum we’re on.  Karl is our last straggler.  Our rule has been when you’re out of college…you’re on your own and have to get your own cell phone plan.

Farming with a Smart Phone

Every month I team up with U.S. Cellular and share a little about my Samsung Galaxy S8 Smart Phone. This is one of those posts.

It’s harvest time here.  Hubby is gone late nights and I’m not seeing much of him.  Every year I always think to myself, I’ve done this year after year.  Having him gone should be easier….but it’s not.  The first few nights when he is in the field I am guiltily excited.  I don’t have to make supper….I don’t have to work around his schedule.  I can do whatever I want.  I can sew to my heart’s content.  After two days of that, reality sinks in and I miss talking.  I miss interacting.  I miss his presence.  It has yet to get easier.  Well that’s not exactly true.  In some ways it has gotten easier.  Now days, I can at least talk to him on his phone.  I’m really thankful that advance in technology.

When we were first married there was no way for me to contact him during the day.  He would often call me on the barn land line phone and tell me he was going to the field.  I never knew when he was coming.  I’d worry if it was late…I’ve worry if he showed up early.  I had no idea when he was coming so I learned to half cook meals and then finish cooking them when he arrived.  But-some nights, he was so tired, all he wanted was sleep.  So then I had made meals and he didn’t even eat them.

Now that he has his own smart phone and things have gone so much easier.  Typically now he calls me a couple times during the day.  Then in the early evening.  In that last call he’ll tell me when he thinks he might be home and if he wants food or not.  That has been so nice for me.  What else is nice is that I can call him.  So often something comes up during the day that I want to talk to him about…you know things like insurance questions, if he needs anything in town…those kind of things.  Smart phones have made harvest less taxing.

Being able to communicate with their families isn’t the only way that phones are helping farmers.

Vehicle/Fleet Monitoring: The farm’s John Deere tractors have GPS technology that use U.S. Cellular’s network to provide remote monitoring, and access to the controls and input/output of the tractors. The farm’s team uses their iPads to access this information and track the location of each tractor, which allows remote support of the fleet.

U.S. Cellular Smart Farm

Irrigation/Soil Monitoring: They use a technology called variable rate seeding to take soil samples of the fields to formulate a “prescription” based on the data of the nutrients and pH levels of the soil. The prescription is then run by their fertilizer spreaders in the tractors which are automatically controlled to provide the correct nutrients to the right spots in each field, providing a greater crop yield. The irrigation system includes 11 pivots that are controlled remotely using an app on their smartphone or tablet.

Wearables for Goats: The goats are all fitted with radio frequency identification ankle bracelets. These bracelets are scanned with a wand device, so they can identify any of the 2,000+ goats. Helpful information such as the goat’s age, vaccinations and milk fat percentage can easily be looked up on their mobile devices.

Cheese Production: All of the goat’s milk, which is about 7,000 pounds a day, is converted into cheese. Since 2005, the Creamery has grown to a current daily production capability of 6,000 pounds of handcrafted fresh and aged cheese. Real-time access via their mobile devices to information about the quality of the milk, temperature of the coolers and tanks helps to make the process more efficient, leads to better quality and yields increased production volume.  Overall, Heartland Creamery has been able to cut cheese production time down by 67% with the use of smart technology that allows them to monitor and power operations remotely.

Having the technology cell phones offer does make things a whole lot smoother during harvest but I still will admit, it’s still a little lonely being a farm widow.


Karl and His Smart Phone

Every month I team up with U.S. Cellular and share a little about my Samsung Galaxy S8 Smart Phone. This is one of those posts.

Several of you have been asking how Karl is….well, good.  He made it back to Houston and happily his school is up and running.  Luckily his school didn’t have damage.  He did say that his school is already over capacity with kids so no kids from other flooded areas will be coming into his district.  He is teaching at a school that has a high poverty rate.  60% of the kids are Hispanic 20% are Black.  He said that as a white man, he really sticks out.   So far, minus the hurricane, he’s had a very good experience.

When Karl was home for a bit as we were talking I asked him about his laptop.  He told me he didn’t bring it with him when he left.  That REALLY surprised me!  He said, “Mom-I use my phone for pretty everything except writing a paper.”  That was new to me….but I guess it’s a trend.  Smartphones are getting more and more powerful, allowing people to do much more than with cell phones of the past.  Smartphones have taken the place of many traditional staples of college life and make living in a small space much less complicated.

Some of the trends you’re seeing towards mobile technology include:

Streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify make it easy to create playlists for any activity such as exercising or studying.  More than a third of smartphone owners stream music through their smartphone.

Students can use their phones or tablets to download everything from textbooks to their favorite novels, which will lighten their backpacks on the way to class.

According to recent U.S. Cellular survey, 59 percent of smartphone users watch video using their devices; up from 48 percent just three years ago.  Keep up with a favorite series using services such as Netflix and Hulu is very common.

75 percent of smartphone owners have used their phone to entertain themselves. Apps on devices can range from a simple round of Solitaire to complex games like Monopoly.

Everyday tasks:
Save space on a nightstand and wake up in time for those morning classes by using the alarm clock feature on a smartphone.  Students can even track sleep quality and snoring through free apps like Sleep Cycle, which will analyze your sleep patterns and wake you at the perfect moment.


I guess having a phone is a lot more than I ever dreamed.  I think too often I’m used to “doing things the old way” and don’t look towards new technology.  It’s good I have my kids around to keep me up to date with all the things there are to do with my phone.  I will admit that I have started using the alarm clock feature for lots of things….I have a bus alarm so that the childcare kids don’t miss the bus plus several other alarms to keep me on my toes.

I am continually amazed with all the things a smart phone can do.



Family Picnic

Every month I team up with U.S. Cellular and share a little about my Samsung Galaxy S8 Smart Phone. This is one of those posts.

Each year my extended family gets together in August for a family picnic.  I love going and actually always look forward to it.  Each year we go to the same location, Pilot Knob State Park.  It’s near Forest City.  Long ago when part of the cousins lived in Iowa and park in Minnesota, it was deemed the “central location”.  It still is for the majority.  Of course we’ve had some move off to other states but for the majority, it’s not a bad drive.

This was Carver’s first time coming.  He got to see his aunts, uncles and so many more.

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My kids love seeing their cousins.

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I enjoy seeing mine too.

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The people I go most to see though are my Aunt Agnes and my Aunt Betty.  They are the two left from the oldest generation.

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It’s fun to see my cousins kids growing up….and even their kid’s kids growing up.

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The highlight this year for me was when my cousin John brought a box of family memorabilia.  Much of it hasn’t seen daylight for years….pictures of my grandparents and some of my dad when he was a kid.

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I didn’t go on the trip to the tower this year…typically I’ve relegated myself to the older generation that stays off the trails and simply visits with each other.  Kalissa and my sister in law Wendy made the trek.

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So did Carver.

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He loved the wind!

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Isn’t this the cutest picture ever?? …

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