If You Gotta Catch ’em All, Consider the Price

If You Gotta Catch ’em All, Consider the Price

Pokémon was the hottest game in the 90’s. In Pokemon, players capture monsters, train them, and pit them against opponent’s monsters. Pokemon’s popularity was due to its simplicity and social aspect- a player could link two handheld consoles together and battle his friends.

All subsequent Nintendo consoles had the same basic premise and popularity but none held the appeal of the original. Why would people purchase dedicated gaming consoles when their phone provides endless entertainment?

Finally, Pokémon joined the smartphone age with a free app called “Pokémon Go.” Available for iOS and Android devices, Pokémon Go requires GPS functionality and is wildly popular.

The game’s concept is unchanged–except now, the gamepad has been replaced by the player’s body. The digital avatar moves around the game world when you walk with your phone. Walking defines much of the game play: Pokémon can be found outside the house, and other game components incentivize activity. Players obtain supplies at “Pokestops,” by being within a few yards of registered businesses or landmarks. To battle with others, players must walk to “gyms,” located in public places like libraries.

Though the app promotes activity and outdoor play, there are major concerns. There have been instances of distracted players wandering into traffic with grave consequences. Additionally, the franchise’s addictive history should encourage caution about the microtransactions embedded in the app.

Safety concerns

Anything necessitating attention and mobility is a potential hazard. “Pokémon Go” is uniquely hazardous as it encourages exploration while under distraction; players can walk to unsafe areas in pursuit of rare creatures.

To be safe, encourage collective Pokémon exploration because two people will be more resistant to danger. Pokémon populate the world randomly; there’s no need to wander into unfamiliar territory. If a young child is is playing, establish a “collection route” that takes them by several “pokestops” and takes a known amount of time.

Remind kids about physical boundaries not as commonplace in the virtual world, like porches, fences and curbs.

At launch time, there were concerns that the app was peeking through users’ emails and files in Google Drive. Though Google has clarified that these in fact are not available to the app manufacturer, it’s still smart to pay attention to which permissions an app is requesting.

Cost concerns

There are two big cost worries with “Pokémon Go.”
1. Microtransactions: small fees charged for in-game items that otherwise come in

limited supply. Though the most expensive item costs $5, lots of these purchases add up. To limit the purchasing power of a player. Link the account with a pre-paid debit or credit card

2. Wireless data usage: the app takes players away from home wifi locations,

necessitating a constant stream of wireless data access. Monitor mobile data consumption, and have a plan to cut off data access to avoid coverage charges if that limit is approached.

“Pokémon Go” can be great, healthy fun. It can also be a source of trouble. Talking to players about these risks and ways to manage them can ensure that everyone has a great time.
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Fake N Bake Fried Chicken

Fake N Bake Fried Chicken

Fake it till you make it with this quick, oven baked “fried” chicken. Try other dressings for variety.


Ingredients: 

  • 4 lb. chicken, cut up and skin removed
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 cups instant potato flakes 

Preparation: 

Heat oven to 450º F. Coat a baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray. Lightly brush the chicken pieces with ranch dressing, then roll in the potato flakes. Arrange on the baking sheet and place in oven. Lower the oven to 350º F and bake for 35 minutes or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a fork.

How Meal Planning Can Save You Hundreds

How Meal Planning Can Save You Hundreds

Meal planning is a simple and effective way to save a lot of money each month, not to mention cut down on pricey (and unhealthy) dining out.  Serving home-cooked meals to your family not only reduces your grocery budget, it’s a healthy alternative to fast food.  Here are a few tips and ideas to get you started:


1. Decide how you want to do your meal planning.  Some people like to do bi-weekly, some weekly and a few will plan out monthly meal schedules.  If you’re just starting out with this concept, start with weekly planning until you get the hang of it.


2. Make a list of your family’s regular and favorite meals, including side dishes to go along with entrees; for example, spaghetti and meatballs with salad and garlic bread, or tacos and beans.


 3. Print our (or buy) a calendar.  Sit down with it and the list of meals that you made.  Start by designating each day a specific meal (Monday – meatless, Tuesday – casserole, etc.), to make it easier to plan your meals around certain days.  But don’t be too set on the plan, make sure you can switch around dinners if schedules change and unexpected meetings come up.


4. Create your grocery list around your set meal plan.  Check your pantry and freezer to make sure you don’t place duplicate items on your list if you already have them on hand.  Scout your grocery store ads for sales on the items you need.


Be sure to check back each month for inexpensive (and yummy) recipes to add to your meal plan.

Supercook

Supercook

Remember, as you were growing up, when you’d open the refrigerator and remark “There’s nothing to eat in here!” only to turn around and find your mother had cooked a four-course meal from that same refrigerator? Wouldn’t it be nice to harness that same power to be able to turn a bare-looking pantry into everything you need to eat in a day? Wouldn’t it be nice if your cookbook knew what you had in your cupboard, and could rewrite itself using just those items? Perhaps it’s time you heard about Supercook.

Supercook is a recipe site unlike any other. Instead of just suggesting any random recipe, it recommends recipes based upon the ingredients you have available. Supercook is being hailed in Time Magazine, the Washington Post and on the “Today Show” as an invaluable tool to someone who is cooking on a budget. It’s more like a search engine than a traditional recipe site. It browses all the most popular cooking websites to find recipes that match the ingredients in your cupboard. Even if all you have is rice, eggs and butter, Supercook can suggest over one hundred recipes for you to try.

Supercook is also user-friendly and well-designed. You can start by typing your ingredients into the search bar, but it also lists popular ingredients that you most likely have. For example; sugar, vegetable oil and pasta were suggested when I visited the site to write this review. To assemble your virtual kitchen, just click on any ingredient you see that you have, and type in those that don’t pop up automatically. The list of things you can make populates in real-time, so the more ingredients you add, the longer the list of recipes. Each recipe also comes up with a picture. You’re also able to filter your searches by diet restrictions and specific types of meals until you find the dinner that’s right for you.

For some people, Supercook is just a handy tool for inspiration to spice up their next dinner. For anyone who’s trying to stretch their grocery dollar, it’s so much more. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut if all you’ve got to make it to the end of the month are eggs, rice, and beans. Supercook allows you to change it up a little every day, to the point that you can even create a meal plan using a few cheap staples.

Whether you have a full pantry or an almost-empty fridge, Supercook is there to help you make the best meal possible. Even just the action of going through your food to put it into your virtual kitchen can make you realize how much you actually have. Even if it’s not that much, Supercook can be there to point out that you still have the potential for an incredible meal.

Volunteer Your Child For Success Later In Life

Volunteer Your Child For Success Later In Life

Volunteering is one of the most selfless acts a person can do. It’s all about experiencing things as someone else experiences them, and making life a little better for the both of you. Some parents would rather their children spend that time studying instead of doing something selfless. Volunteering, to them, is nice in theory, but just not worth it. What if, though, volunteering could help you as much as it helps your community? There’s nothing selfish about seeking a win-win.

Here are three excellent (if slightly selfish) reasons to volunteer:

1.) Do it for the money

The Corporation for National and Community Service estimates that, in the last year alone, volunteers across America have provided an estimated $184 billion in the value of their service. At first glance, that might seem impossible, but if we take it down to each individual person, it starts to make sense. Let’s pretend a volunteer at a soup kitchen got paid. Let’s say their minimum wage is $7.25 and they worked three hours every week, times 10 different volunteers at that soup kitchen. That’s $11,310 each year that the soup kitchen can spend on countless other things: fresh or canned food, extra for patrons to take home, or even something as simple as more comfortable chairs. The more time your child spends volunteering, the less money your city (and you as a taxpayer) have to spend on keeping that city clean and healthy.

2.) Do it for the job

Though some might see volunteer hours as less time your child could spend at a job, statistics show that volunteering helps a lot in the long run. The Corporation for National and Community Service says that volunteers have a 27% better chance of finding a job than non-volunteers. On a more long-term note, volunteer hours are always on a college’s top list of things they look for on an application. Volunteering may mean lots of hours and transportation right now, but the shining spot on your child’s resume in the future makes it all worthwhile.

3.) Do it for growth

Volunteering, in the end, is all about two things: making a difference and growing as a person. If your child has the opportunity to impact someone else’s life, it will always change their own. Even the thanks they get from something as dull as collecting trash or shelving books is enough to show them the impact they can have.

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