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Parenting

Apple's new 'Check In' feature might give worried parents some much needed relief

The new built-in feature will send texts letting selected contacts know where you are. No outside apps needed.

new iphone features, iphone check in
@the.birds.papaya/TikTok

There are lot of tracking apps out there. This one is built right into your iPhone.

Knowing where on Earth your kids are can at least take one thing off a worried parent’s mind. But every parent knows that getting kids to send a quick “Hey I’m alive and at a friend’s house” text is sometimes as easy as pulling teeth…or getting them to clean the bathroom.

And while there are plenty of downloadable apps that make tracking easier, soon there will be an option built right into your iPhone, making relief even easier to access.


On June 5, Apple announced at an annual conference event that there would be a new iOS 17 iMessage feature called "Check In" which would send automated travel updates to selected contacts.

This feature differs from other similar Apple add-ons like Find My Friends or Location Services, which can track your location all of the time. For iPhones with the latest iOS update, Check In can be found in iMessage’s new expandable app menu (the little plus sign to the left of the text field).

Users can open a thread with whoever they’d like to be alerted when they get to a certain location. Check In then gives an estimate of how long it will take to get there, whether you’re walking or driving. And if the estimate needs adjusting, simply hit the big “Edit” button.

For additional safety precautions, Check In will literally “check in” with you if something seems off during your travel. If you need help or don’t answer, loved ones will be pinged with helpful information like your current location, battery level and cell service status. Plus all the information shared is end-to-end encrypted.

“Whether you're walking home after dark or going for an early morning run, you can start checking with a family member or friend to let them know when you get home safely…[It’s]an easy way to feel reassured that your loved ones have your back,” an Apple representative is heard saying at the conference in a video captured by an audience member who shared it to TikTok.

@the.birds.papaya As a crime junkie listener and a mom of 4, this is amazing. Maybe just seems like another iOS update, but im thinking about the lives potentially saved. #wwdc23 ♬ original sound - Sarah Nicole @thebirdspapaya

That audience member, who describes herself as a “crime junkie listener and a mom of 4,” expressed gratitude for the new feature, calling it an “amazing” way to “potentially save lives.”

The use of tracking devices isn’t without its own dangers or controversy. Certainly, bad actors may use them for stalking purposes. And parents having constant surveillance over their kids has been seen by some as an invasion of privacy (which is perhaps why Check In is created a little differently). But still, as with any technology, it can be a huge asset when used wisely.

The funny thing about love is that the person we fall in love with, more often than not, we run into by accident. Another strange twist is that the love of our life is likely to show up when we least expect it.

The following story, which feels like the promise of a hit rom-com, comes courtesy of a twist of fate created by the World Cup and an Airbnb.

In 2013, after six years of battling an illness, Ana was living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Having been financially drained by years of being sick, she invested the last of her money to buy two bunk beds and convert one of her bedrooms into an Airbnb for small groups of friends.

The Airbnb was a last-ditch effort to pay her rent and medical bills. A year later, the modest investment grew into a success, Ana’s health began to return, and the World Cup, one of the largest sporting events in the world, was coming to Rio.

To take advantage of the soccer fanatics flocking to the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City), Ana and her roommate, Fabio, turned a half room in their apartment into an Airbnb rental to give tired soccer fans a place to sleep.

“Though it was a small (pantry!) room, we added a bunk bed and listed two beds on Airbnb. One day after the listing went live, we had tons of requests for ‘Fabio’s Pantry,’” she shared. “It was fully booked for the entire World Cup period except for one week in July.”

Around this time, Ana was feeling well enough to go on her first vacation in years and took a quick trip to Uruguay. Just before she left, Ana received a reservation from a man named "Darko B." for the only unbooked days in July.

“I have always been a big fan of the movie ‘Donnie Darko’ and thought it was a strange coincidence, but didn't think anything of it,” Ana wrote. “I accepted the request, let him know I would not be there for check-in and Fabio would care for him until I was back the following week.”

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Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.

I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.

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This renowned online bookstore lets you unearth hidden literary gems from across the ages

AbeBooks is a treasure trove of collectible and out-of-print finds.

In a world of digital screens, the allure of physical books remains timeless. There’s something special about the scent of old paper, the touch of a well-worn cover, and the sight of ancient ink evoke nostalgia. This joy is magnified when the book in question is a hidden gem, a rare piece of literature waiting to be discovered. The quest for such literary treasures is not just about owning a book; it's about holding a piece of history, a fragment of the bygone era.

Now, imagine a place where the quest for such literary gems ends, a place that houses books you thought you'd never find. Enter AbeBooks, an acclaimed bookstore that's a treasure trove for book lovers.

AbeBooks isn't your everyday bookstore; it's a marketplace that brings together sellers of rare, collectible, and out-of-print books from around the globe. This means a world filled with hidden literary gems is just a click away. It's a place where every book has a story beyond the tale inked on its pages.

The AbeBooks Experience

AbeBooks is much more than just a bookstore. It's a treasure chest filled with rare, collectible, and out-of-print books. It’s like a big library where booksellers from around the world offer their rare finds. Some of these books are old friends; some are new discoveries waiting to happen. But every visit to AbeBooks is a new adventure, a new opportunity to discover hidden literary gems.

Since 1996, AbeBooks has been a trusted name for book lovers. It stands out in the crowd for its unique collection of hard-to-find books. It's not just about selling books; it’s about keeping the love for rare and collectible books alive. AbeBooks is where the past meets the present, where every book lover can find something special. It’s a place that cherishes the joy of discovering and owning a piece of literary history.

A Vast Selection

Using AbeBooks is like entering a giant treasure hunt, but with a map that makes finding treasure a breeze. The website is designed in a way that's easy to navigate, so you don't have to be a tech wizard to find your way around. Whether you know exactly what you're looking for or just want to browse, AbeBooks guides you through a journey of literary discovery. There are curated collections which are like themed treasure chests.

Are you into mysteries? There's a collection for that. Love historical tales? There's a collection for that, too. It's like having a friendly guide in a vast land of stories.

AbeBooks’ selection is vast, covering everything from centuries-old classics to modern first editions. The range of books available is a testament to the rich tapestry of human experience and thought. Whether you’re into Shakespeare or J.K. Rowling, AbeBooks has a seat for every author at the table. It's a place where the old and the new come together, offering a rich blend of different ideas, styles, and stories.

Rare Finds

And then there’s the Rare Book Room. It’s where you’ll find books with stories etched into their spines. These books have seen life, traveled through time, and landed in this room, waiting for their next adventure. The Rare Book Room is more than just a category on a website; it’s a doorway to a different time. It’s where the books wait patiently to be discovered, loved again, and find a new home.

Owning a rare or collectible book is different from owning a regular book. It’s an experience that goes beyond just reading. When you own a rare book, you’re conversing with the past. It’s a whisper from history, a chance to touch and feel the essence of a different era. And AbeBooks understands this magical connection. It’s not just about buying a book; it’s about the joy of owning a piece of history.

Some books here have seen more of the world than most of us. Imagine finding a first edition of "The Great Gatsby" or a signed copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird." These aren’t just books; they are artifacts carrying the essence of the era they come from. Every now and then, you’ll come across listings that are nothing short of hidden treasures. It could be a book that has long been out of print or a rare manuscript that holds the scribbles of a famous author. The joy of stumbling upon such a gem is unparalleled.

Legacy Of Literary Love

AbeBooks isn’t just a bookstore. It’s a place that understands the heartbeats of bibliophiles, the thrill of discovering a long-lost title, and the joy of owning a piece of literary history. When you step into the world of AbeBooks, you’re joining a vibrant community of people who appreciate the value of a good book. It’s like being part of a big book club, where every member shares a love for the printed word.

The community aspect of AbeBooks goes beyond just buying and selling. It’s about forming connections, sharing discoveries, and celebrating the love for rare and collectible books. It’s a space that bridges the gap between the past and the present through a shared passion for reading.

Through forums and discussions, literary enthusiasts can share their finds, discuss their favorite authors, and even help each other in the quest for a particular book. It’s not just a marketplace; it’s a gathering spot for those whose hearts beat for the stories waiting to be discovered in the pages of a rare book. AbeBooks fosters a sense of belonging among book lovers, creating a warm and welcoming environment for exploring endless literary horizons.

Begin Your Journey

Now that you've had a peek into the marvelous world of AbeBooks, why not dive in and start your own adventure? The treasure trove of rare, collectible, and out-of-print books is just a click away. It's not every day you come across a place that offers a journey back in time through the pages of a book.

Getting started on AbeBooks is as easy as pie. You can browse the curated collections, dive into the Rare Book Room, or simply type in the name of the book or author you're looking for.

So, what are you waiting for? Click here to explore AbeBooks. Your next favorite book is waiting for you!

Questions to ask your kids instead of, "How was your day?"

Have you ever picked up your kid from school and asked them, “How was your day?” and they responded with a one-word answer such as “Good,” “Fine,” or “OK”? This all-too-common interaction can be disheartening because, as a parent, you want to know what your child did during the 6 hours you were apart.

Let’s be honest: not every day can be “fine.” There are probably some days that weren’t so great that got glossed over. Or, some beautiful days, but your child didn’t feel like doing the emotional or mental labor of recalling everything.

Yamel Belen, a mother of 5 kids ages 7 to 25, who lives in Tampa, Florida, was tired of hearing the same old responses from her kids, so she started asking open-ended questions to get the ball rolling. She shared her conversation starters on TikTok, and the view has really resonated with parents, earning 740,000 views.

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This indoor smart garden redefines the farm-to-table experience from the comfort of home

Discover the joy of home-grown, pesticide-free produce with The Rise Garden

Gardening is a tradition that transcends time. It blends the simplicity of nature with human ingenuity. As we navigate the rhythm of modern life, the allure of bringing nature indoors blossoms. And while the concept of indoor gardening isn't new, a company called Rise Gardens is taking the idea to a whole new level. Their indoor smart gardens blend simplicity, modern technology, and nature's bounty into a sleek design that effortlessly finds its place in any home.

The farm-to-table movement underscores the value of fresh, locally sourced produce. Rise Garden amplifies this ethos, narrowing the space between the farm and your table to a few steps. The joy of harvesting fresh, pesticide-free produce right from the comfort of your home and having it on your plate is unparalleled. Beyond the health benefits, understanding the origins of your food and the nurturing hands that guide it adds a wholesome dimension to your meals. Rise Garden is more than a gardening kit; it's a voyage from seed to plate, cultivating a deeper connection between you, your loved ones, and the nourishment you partake in.

A Smart, Modern Approach To Gardening

Gardening can often seem daunting, especially with urban spaces constricting our green aspirations. That's where the Rise Gardens swoops in to save the day. The setup process is as simple as pie. Once the garden arrives at your doorstep, a clear set of instructions will guide you through assembling your new green haven, even if you've never potted a plant before. The setup is designed with greenhorn gardeners in mind. And it's not just a one-time setup; the modular design allows for expansions as your green thumb gets greener.

Imagine having a garden that communicates its needs, taking the guesswork out of gardening. Its blend of technology and nature simplifies the gardening process, ensuring you don’t need a degree in horticulture to grow a garden. The Rise Garden is smart, intuitive, and grows with you, making the journey from seed to harvest rewarding and thoroughly enjoyable.

With its patent-pending SmartCare technology, the Rise Gardens app is your personal gardening assistant. The app takes over the mentoring process from the moment you plant your seeds. It guides you on when to water your plants, when to add nutrients, and even when it's time to harvest. The app is available both on the App Store and Google Play, making it accessible no matter what device you use.

Variety and Versatility

The Rise Garden extends an invitation to explore the diverse world of plants from your living quarters. With the capacity to nurture up to 108 plants, the choices are abundant. From leafy greens to aromatic herbs and colorful flowers and fruits, the Rise Garden is equipped to host a wide array of plant life. The over 80 seed varieties rigorusly tested and curated by their plant experts ensure that there's something for every palate and every home decor. The freshness of home-grown basil, the crunch of just-harvested lettuce, or the aroma of mint leaves plucked straight from the stem are luxuries that are now accessible.

The magic doesn’t just lie in the variety but also in the garden's modular design. It’s crafted to blend with the interiors of any home effortlessly, be it modern, traditional, or anything in between. The Rise Garden fits right in whether you live in a spacious suburban home or a cozy city apartment. It comes in single, double, or triple-level configurations, allowing you to choose based on your space and needs. And as your love for gardening grows, so can your Rise Garden with its easy expansion options. It's not just a garden; it's living decor that evolves with your lifestyle, adding a touch of nature to your living space and bringing a slice of countryside freshness to your urban dwelling. This modern, modular indoor garden breaks the barriers, proving that space is no longer a constraint in pursuing the joy of gardening.

A Healthy, Sustainable Alternative

Navigating the grocery store aisles for organic, pesticide-free produce can be akin to a treasure hunt, with the prize often weighing heavily on your wallet. The Rise Garden offers a way out of this dilemma. It provides the framework for you to grow your pesticide-free produce. The freshness is unbeatable, and so is the nutritional value. When you pluck a vegetable straight from the plant, you get the maximum nutritional bang - something often lost in transit with store-bought produce.

On the flip side of the coin is the environmental footprint, or rather the lack of it, which makes the Rise Garden a noteworthy contender in the journey towards sustainability. Traditional agriculture is a thirsty affair, consuming a large chunk of the planet's freshwater supply. However, Rise Garden's hydroponic system is a water miser, using 95% less water than its soil-based counterparts. Additionally, by eliminating the need for transportation from farm to store and eventually to your table, the Rise Garden helps reduce the carbon emissions associated with food transport. It’s a small yet significant step towards reducing your carbon footprint while enjoying fresher, healthier produce.

A Fun Communal Activity For The Whole Family

The Rise Garden isn’t just a hub of greenery; it's a catalyst for community and familial bonding. Gardening, by nature, is a nurturing and collaborative activity. When done together, it transforms into a shared endeavor filled with discoveries, little victories, and the joy of collective harvest.

Families can find common ground, quite literally, as they come together to plant, nurture, and harvest. It’s a shared journey from the anticipation of the first sprout to the satisfaction of a home-cooked meal made with home-grown ingredients. Similarly, friends and extended community can share tips, celebrate harvests, and enjoy the garden's serene ambiance. The conversations around the garden are as organic as the produce it yields. Relationships bloom through every seed planted and every leaf harvested, making the Rise Garden a verdant ground for plants and social interactions.

Learn More

The Rise Garden seamlessly integrates nature's verdancy with modern technology's conveniences, bringing the farm-to-table ethos right to your doorstep. It's a blend of education, nourishment, and community, wrapped in green leaves and ripe, ready-to-pluck produce. It’s a gentle nudge towards healthier living, a step towards sustainability, and a journey back to nature. The beauty of it all? It fits right in your living room, awaiting your green touch. So, as you seek fresh, pesticide-free produce and a greener lifestyle, let the Rise Garden be your companion in this verdant venture. Click here to learn more.

This family-owned puzzle company has been piecing together memories for decades

With White Mountain Puzzles, Exceptional Quality Meets Charming Designs

In a quaint little town of Jackson, New Hampshire, back in 1978, two ambitious friends embarked on an entrepreneurial journey. Their small poster company, born the same year as Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, gradually morphed into what we now cherish as White Mountain Puzzles. The evolution wasn't swift like the ice cream duo, who shot to national fame but was steady and meaningful. Today, it's a brand synonymous with quality puzzles, standing tall among the top puzzle brands in the United States.

The charm lies not just in the puzzles they craft but also in the hands that craft them. The founders, Cronan Minton and Ted Wroblewski, handed the reins to their sons, keeping the business within the family. This transition wasn't just about passing down responsibilities but preserving a legacy of creativity, community, and quality. The picturesque village that houses White Mountain Puzzles is part of their enchanting narrative, an element as integral as the puzzles themselves. From a small poster company to a beloved puzzle brand, the journey of White Mountain Puzzles is a tale of passion meeting purpose.

The Family Legacy

The magic of White Mountain Puzzles isn’t just in the colorful, fun puzzles they create but also in the family bonds that hold the company tight. The story didn't end with Cronan Minton and Ted Wroblewski, the original founders; it got a new chapter when their sons, Sean and Colin, stepped in. They took over the daily grind, ensuring the family’s vision continued soaring high. It's like passing the baton in a relay race, ensuring the legacy sprints forward, across the finish line, into the future.

The essence of White Mountain Puzzles lies in its ability to bridge generations, both within the family and the community. The brand signifies unity, collaboration, and the joy of creating something beautiful together. It's not just about fitting pieces together; it’s about piecing together memories, experiences, and a rich legacy as enduring and intricate as the puzzles they craft. Through every puzzle sold, White Mountain Puzzles shares a part of its family, history, and community-centric values, inviting puzzle enthusiasts to become a part of a larger narrative, a larger family.

Quality and Craftsmanship

White Mountain Puzzles takes the cake when it comes to quality. Every puzzle piece results from careful crafting, ensuring that when you pick one up, it fits perfectly with its neighbors. The process starts with sturdy blue chipboard on recycled paper, making sure each puzzle is not just fun but also eco-friendly. The magic continues as they transform these materials into interlocking pieces, each waiting to find its place in the picture.

The designs aren’t just about pretty pictures; they are stories waiting to be pieced together. Whether it's a nostalgic scene from the past or a beautiful landscape, each puzzle is a door to a different world. Through meticulous design selection, they ensure there’s something for everyone, making puzzle-solving a cherished pastime for all ages.

The Puzzles

Whether you are into vintage signs, historic landmarks, or nature's beauty, there's something for everyone. The categories are as diverse as they are captivating, offering a unique blend of educational and entertaining themes. The puzzles cater to various age groups and interests, making them a perfect family activity. With each puzzle, you uncover a new theme, a new adventure.

Now, let's talk specifics. The top-reviewed "Barn Quilts" puzzle is a beautiful exploration of rural life, a tribute to the simplicity and beauty of the countryside. On the other hand, the best-selling "Cereal Boxes" puzzle is a nostalgic journey back to the breakfast table of our younger days. And the anticipation is building for the upcoming "Christmas in the City" puzzle, promising to deliver a slice of holiday cheer. Each of these puzzles represents what White Mountain Puzzles is all about – quality, nostalgia, and endless fun. They are not just puzzles; they are memories waiting to be pieced together, one beautiful image at a time.

Impact and Recognition

White Mountain Puzzles isn't just a local company; its excellence is nationally known. One shining moment was when they got an invitation to the Made in America Showcase at the White House in 2018. It was a proud moment, standing as one of the 50 companies representing the spirit of American entrepreneurship, one from each state. This spotlight wasn't just a pat on the back but a testimony to their quality and dedication.

Over the years, the accolades have continued pouring in. They've been named one of the top family-owned businesses in New Hampshire by New Hampshire Business Magazine, not once, but for five straight years. And in 2021, they were listed among the top 5 fastest-growing private companies in the state. Each award is a nod to their relentless pursuit of quality, community, and customer satisfaction. It's a journey marked with hard-earned recognition, reflecting the brand’s commitment to delivering nothing but the best, one puzzle piece at a time.

Learn More

White Mountain Puzzles is more than a brand; it's a warm, welcoming community. The enduring appeal lies in its quality puzzles, rich themes, and a legacy rooted in family and community values. Every puzzle is an invitation to become part of a larger story, a bigger family. So, why wait? Dive into their diverse puzzle collections, find the ones that speak to your heart, and start piecing together your own beautiful memories. With White Mountain Puzzles, every piece brings joy, every completed puzzle is a celebration, and every day is a perfect day for puzzling!

Click here to learn more.

Family

Baby meets his dad's twin brother in an adorable viral video

Parenting is hard. Adult twins interacting with a baby? Hilarious.



Adult twins interacting with babies is pretty hilarious.

I know firsthand because I am a dad and a twin.

On my list of regrets as a dad, I'll place "not rolling video when our babies interacted with me and my identical twin" near the top of the list.

Thankfully, a dad shot some footage of his young son meeting his twin, and our lives are better because of it.

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