Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category


Share your favorite kid-friendly recipe

December 21, 2012

Kid-friendly Chocolate Chip RecipeWhenever the holidays roll around, there’s nothing like making cookies to get me in the Christmas spirit! Including kids in the kitchen can be a bit tricky, but helping kids feel empowered and to be able to say “I did it!” is worth the payoff (and the mess). When I was growing up, there was a wonderful series of books published by Klutz Press that all came with both visual and simple instructions, as well as a special tool. My favorite Klutz Press book was their cookbook, KidsCooking A Very Slightly Messy Manual. I still pull the book out for some favorite recipes. Its well worn edges and imperfect, stained pages bring back lots of fun memories (like making pizza at Grandma’s house– included on that particular recipe are her notes for improvement).

When I was little, I loved making chocolate chip cookies with my mom using Darrell’s “Forget-the-Cookies-Just-Give-Me-That-Batter” Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Because each recipe has pictures of the ingredients, I could “read” the recipe without being fully literate. I’d pull out all the ingredients and then my mom would carefully supervise as I’d use the Klutz Press measuring spoons to measure out ingredients. Each spoon is color-coded which was great for my pre-fraction days. My mom would step in to crack the egg and use her handheld mixer to blend the ingredients. Then we’d try our best to put as many lumps of dough on the pan, instead of in our mouths!

Here’s Darrell’s “Forget-the-Cookies-Just-Give-Me-That-Batter” Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe From Klutz Press’ KidsCooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual:

Ingredients and Tools:

1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/8 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Bag (12 oz.) chocolate chips
1/2 Cup Walnuts (optional)
Small Sauce Pan
Small Bowl
Mixing Bowl
Cookie Sheet
Oven Mits

Getting Ready:

1. In the small pan, melt the butter. Turn the heat off. While it’s hot, add both sugars. Stir and then let cool a bit.
2. While the butter mixture is cooling, mix the flour, soda, and salt in the mixing bowl.
3. In the small bowl, beat the egg lightly with a fork, then add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture. Stir.
4. Now add the butter, egg, and vanilla to the flour mixture in the mixing bowl. Stir again, then add chocolate chips and nuts if you want them.
5. Stir everything until it’s all mixed up well and put the bowl in the refrigerator to cool for about an hour. About 5-10 minutes before you take them out, turn your oven on to 375 degrees


1. When the oven’s warmed up, get your cookie sheet–don’t grease it. Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls, space them evenly on the cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Don’t Overcook! You want your cookies to be moist and chewy. Take them off the cookie sheet carefully with your spatula and let them cool. Yum!

What cookie recipe did you love making as a kid (or do you enjoy now with your own children)?

Gift an App this Mother’s Day!

May 9, 2012

Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower

NOTE: If you are interested in any of the featured apps, scroll to the bottom and you will find all the links!

Everybody agrees that times are tough and of course we all know shopping for mom can have its challenges. So why not mix modern day technology with a little nostalgia from the old Kindergarten days and give mom a special app she will enjoy for a long time and wrap it up in a little craft project. I assure you, she will love you going the extra mile.

With over 500 thousand apps in the App Store alone you are bound to find something for everybody. And come on now! You know you can’t beat the prices. The average app costs less than your average cup of coffee.

The great folks at Moms with Apps have written a wonderful tutorial on how you can gift an app.

On a side note, as our friends at KinderTown have pointed out, it’s Teachers Appreciation Week and this craft would be perfect for that very special teacher in your little one’s life!

OK, now comes the fun part!

After deciding which apps you are going to give mom, assemble the following tools and materials:

Mother's Day Craft Materials

  • Printer (preferably full color)
  • Card Stock: this is the best type of paper for it’s sturdiness. You can find many options at your local craft or office supply store.
  • Scissors
  • Glue: craft glue and regular white glue
  • Markers or pens
  • Skewers or Popsicle sticks: you can find these at your local supermarket or craft store.


  • Get the icons for the gifted apps: The appropriate way to gift an app for this type of project would be to select the “print” option instead of the email option. As you can see from this post on, when you select the print option, it will compose a card that will contain the icon for the app you are gifting and the redeem code. You can use the print to PDF option and then use your favorite photo editing software to crop the icons and put them all on a single page.
  • Print out the icons on a sheet of card stock: For the best results, you should print the icons in color. Normal quality is fine. And make sure to choose card stock from the paper type choices.

Mother's Day Craft - Printing App Icons

  • After you cut out all the icons with a pair of scissors, turn them over and write down the redeem code for the corresponding app. You could also write down a nice message representing what your mom means to you.Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower
  • Lay out the icons unto a pretty flower. Just eyeball it to your liking, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Mothers Day Craft - App Flower

  • Make sure the last one you lay out has it’s left corner on top of the left icon and the right corner at the bottom of the right icon

Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower

  • Take out one of the icons and add some glue to the bottom right corner on the front. Flip it over and add glue to the bottom right corner on the back. You will now have 3 connected icons.

Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower

Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower

  • Take out the next icon to the left and follow the same procedure as before.

Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower

  • Follow the same procedure with the remaining icons

Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower

  • Take the skewer or Popsicle stick add a dab of white glue and glue it to the back of your flower.

Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower Mother's Day Craft - App Icon Flower

  • And voila! Your final product!

If you are interested in the apps featured in the craft, they are all proud members of Moms with Apps. You can download them all at the App Store:

Pesky reminders: please do not reproduce without our written consent. All photographs are copyright Anahelena Natera.

How to Create a Facebook “Fan Gate” from Scratch

February 24, 2012

Also known as Facebook “Landing Pages”, they are very useful tools to display exclusive content to your loyal fans and give an added incentive to attract more likers.

There are a few plugins, apps and tools out there to create these Fan Gates but the beauty behind doing it from scratch is that you have full control over every detail of your page. Including the ability to create as many tabs as you want and using your own thumbnail logo for your tabs.

To see a live demo, you can visit our Facebook Page.

This article is divided into 5 sections to make it easier to navigate:

Create and Configure a New Facebook App

Build a PHP Page for the Tab

Add the Tab to your Facebook Page

Make the Fan Gate your Landing Tab


Create and Configure a New Facebook App

  • Register as a Facebook developer: The very first thing you should do is become a Facebook developer. The reason behind this is that the way fan gates work is through Facebook apps. To create a Facebook app, you need to be a registered Facebook developer. Go to for more information.
  • Create a new Facebook App: You must create a new app that will produce your Fan Gate. This app will eventually pull and display the PHP page we will create later on in this tutorial, on your Facebook page tab.
  • Give your App a name: This name is just for identification purposes, it will not be the name displayed on your Fan Gate tab.
  • Select how your App integrates with Facebook: The two important sections you must select here are: “App on Facebook” and “Page Tab”. The former is to define a “canvas” for your app and the latter is used to define the actual page that will be displayed to your Facebook Page tab visitors.A very important note here is that Facebook requires you to have a secure host for your pages. To find out more about secure pages you can go to this blog post from the people at Fanpage Connect. It gives great insight and guidance on this subject.
    • App on Facebook: Set the Canvas URL and Secure Canvas URL to the directory where your files will be hosted. It’s very important that you add the last forward slash (/).
    • Page Tab:
      • Page Tab Name: The title you want to display for the tab.
      • Page Tab URL: This will be the URL for actual web page that will be displayed inside your tab. It is usually defined as the “index” default page (e.g. index.php) but it doesn’t have to be. If you have different tab apps and want to host the files in the same directory you may give them different names.
      • Secure Page Tab URL: Secure URL for the web page that will be displayed inside your tab.

Build a PHP Page for the Tab

You must build a webpage that will show or hide content depending on the “Like” status of the user accessing your tab. For this tutorial we will be building a PHP page but you can use other languages if you prefer. This page should have the same name as the one in the URL you provided in the previous step.

  • Download Facebook’s PHP SDK: This SDK will provide the functionality needed to access Facebook’s server-side API calls. You can download the SDK from github here. For more information on the SDK you can go to Facebook’s documentation. Copy the Facebook PHP SDK files into the same directory where your Page Tab URL file will reside on your host.
  • Include Facebook’s PHP SDK: The very first thing you must do is include the Facebook.php file:
    require 'facebook.php';
  • Get App Id and Secret: For the page to “understand” what app it corresponds to, you must include the App Id and App Secret provided by Facebook
    $facebook = new Facebook(array(
    'appId' => 'YOUR_APP_ID',
    'secret' => 'YOUR_APP_SECRET',
    'cookie' => true
  • Get “liked” Status: In order to show or hide content, we need to figure out if the user making the App request has liked the Page to which the tab belongs to. In this case we are talking about your fan page. It will look like this:
    $signed_request = $facebook->getSignedRequest();
    $like_status = $signed_request["page"]["liked"];
  • Display Content: Now that you have the user’s “liked” status, you can display the appropriate content:
    <!--?php if ($like_status) { ?-->
    <!--?php } else { ?-->
    <!--?php } ?-->
  • Full PHP: The entire basic PHP should look something like this:
    <!--?php require 'facebook.php'; $facebook = new Facebook(array( 'appId' =--> 'YOUR_APP_ID',
    'secret' =&gt; 'YOUR_APP_SECRET',
    'cookie' =&gt; true
    ));$signed_request = $facebook-&gt;getSignedRequest();
    $like_status = $signed_request["page"]["liked"];
    <!--?php if ($like_status) { ?-->
    <!--?php } else { ?-->
    <!--?php } ?-->

  • Add Formating: This is just a basic PHP page to illustrate how you can show content depending on the user’s like status. You can always add styles and formatting to your pages just as you do for your website, blog, etc.

Add the Tab to your Facebook Page

Now that you’ve done all this work it’s time for you to share it with the world! To do so you need to follow these steps:

  • Go to the following URL:
  • You will be presented with a drop-down list of your Facebook pages, pick the one you want to add the tab to
  • Once you click “Add Page Tab” you will have a new tab on the left listed under your Wall and Info tabs

Make the Fan Gate your Landing Tab

Now that you have added your tab to your Fan Page, you want to make it the default tab people land on the first time they go to your page. This is how it’s done:

  • Open your Fan Page
  • Click on the “Edit Page” button on the top right
  • Go to “Manage Permissions” on the left menu
  • Select the newly created tab from the “Default Landing Tab” drop down


The 520 Grid System

The canvas size for a Facebook app or tab is 520 pixels wide. The 520 Grid System allows you to create content that will fit this limitation. If you are used to implementing a grid system for your regular website or just want a straightforward way to keep things under the correct specs without headaches, this is a very convenient way to achieve that.

Getting rid of those pesky scrollbars

Sometimes, even if you keep everything under 520 pixels, you still get scrollbars on your tabs. Sometimes what happens is that your canvas is too long to fit the initial dimensions so you get an internal vertical scrollbar which will throw your horizontal dimension out the window. So as a consequence you get a horizontal scrollbar. There is a great tutorial by Atomiku that helps you resolve this issue.

How to import photos into your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad

January 26, 2012

It seems as though photography apps have been increasing at a breakneck pace lately. They’re so much fun to play with but sometimes we don’t want to use them only for photos we take with our devices, or maybe your device doesn’t have a camera.

Many people have asked me how they can get photos from their computer to their devices without having to send them through email. Good news! You can sync photos from folders in your computer using iTunes. Here are the simple steps you must follow:

  • Connect your device to the computer to which you usually sync to
  • Load iTunes
  • After selecting your device on the left menu, select the “Photos” tab at the top right

  • Check the “Sync Photos From” option

  • Click on the drop down list to find the folders you wish to sync from

  • Browse and select the folders you wish to sync photos from

  • Click the “Apply” button at the bottom right

  • And voila! You are done! Now you will have a folder in your device’s library containing the photos you have just synced. As easy as that!