Putting the “Refresh, Refresh, Refresh” to Good Use

On Wednesday, my kids went analog. They hopped on the camp bus, leaving behind a trail of Instagram photos, Vine videos and Kik messages.  But just because they have to sign out of their digital life for the summer (and thank G-d they do!), doesn’t mean that I have to unplug completely too.  So instead of standing in the card aisle at my local store trying to find silly cards for them, I am going digital.

Last summer, my eight year old came home with a bag filled with unopened letters.  “I was too busy doing stuff. It was just too much to read, and I can’t read your cursive anyway” she explained. Even though it seemed like too much, obviously, I would go down in history as the worst mom ever if there wasn’t a stack of letters waiting for them when they arrived at camp and a letter at every mail call after that. The one-way email to camp is great – and each morning as I commute to work I try and find a new way of saying “Daddy and I went to work yesterday and then out for dinner.” Yet, as convenient as it is, I feel the need to send something a little more personal. With the help of a few new apps, my letter writing just got a little more creative – and a whole lot easier for me and my happy campers.

The photocard apps are my new best friends.  On vacation? Voilà – a picture of you in front of the Golden Gate bridge, on a postcard, is delivered to camp in 2-7 days.  Last day of school pictures that didn’t make it into the trunks?  Pop it out on a photocard from Red Stamp to hang right on the bunk wall.  Just a few clicks, and you have a completely customized postcard from wherever you are.  There are a slew of options with different price points, features and platforms. These are my favorites thus far (no actual stamps required!):

Postcard Star: This made me a very cool mom last summer.  I bought the pictures from the camp website, uploaded them onto a postcard, and then let the app print, stamp and send.  The kids get pictures of their bunkmates while they are still at camp.  A little instant gratification. The app itself is no frills, making it easy to send individual postcards. The cards print nicely and get to their destination quickly. Set up an account and you can buy postcards in bulk.

Postcard on the Run: Simple to use – pick a photo from your phone’s camera roll, pick a border thickness and color and add your signature using your finger.  There is even an address finder feature and you can add a GPS map to the card.  The only downfall – the message is only 200 characters.  I guess that could be a plus in some situations.

Red Stamp:  The most sophisticated option I have found.  I sent a few of these this weekend to my girls and their friends.  There is a great selection of modern templates for every occasion with options to add photos or just customize text. “BESTIES” fit in nicely with my last day of school pics, I had a lot of fun with the mustache templates and there is even grouping with pop-out photos. For an extra 99 cents, you can purchase a premium template to use over and over again.  The app lets you save addresses and send the same card to multiple people. You even get an email when the card goes in the mail. There is a desktop version available as well.

Now, if only I could figure out how to make the everyday of my life without them sound as exciting as what they are doing!

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