6 Apps and Tips to Virtually Connect with Mom this Mother’s Day

Video Calling Mom

 

This Mother’s Day may look a little different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend quality time with “World’s Best Mom”. With the power of technology, you’ll still be able to your latest life updates with Mom – it will feel as if they are right at the Sunday brunch table with you! We’ve compiled a list of video call apps and equipment to use, as well as some set up tips and tricks to help make this year’s virtual Mother’s Day a memorable one.

Best Apps to use for Video Calling

With all the apps and services out there to choose from, it might be overwhelming to know which one to use. Below, we have broken down some great video calling apps, and what sets them apart to help you choose the right one for you.

Zoom
Zoom is an excellent choice if you have larger families, as you can call with up to 100 people using their free plan, although only for 40 minutes of video calling. It works on Windows and macOS (desktop), and Android and iOS (mobile). Click here for a Zoom how-to set up guide.

Facetime
Facetime is great for those Apple product lovers, as it works on all Apple devices such as iPads, iPhones and Mac computers and laptops. You can host a video call for up to 32 people. Click here for how to set up FaceTime.

WhatsApp
WhatsApp is a great choice for video calls when you have friends and family living across the globe. You can have up to 4 users, and the calls are on the phone’s data plan or via WiFi, so voice calls do not use up any of your phone minutes. It works on Windows and macOS (desktop), and Android and iOS (mobile). Click here on how to set up a WhatsApp group video call.

Skype
Skype is another great app to use, especially if you have family living in other countries. What makes it a little better than Whatsapp is that it lets you make free international calls online for up to 100 people for audio or video conferencing on any device (Hello, big virtual family gathering!) Works on Windows and macOS (desktop), and Android and iOS (mobile). Click here for how to set up a group chat in Skype.

Houseparty
If you love being the life of the party (or your friends and family do), you’ll love Houseparty. It’s a social networking app that allows up to 8 people to video chat at once in a “room,” plus you can also play games on it, such as Heads Up!, Trivia, Quick Draw and more! Works on Windows and macOS (desktop), and Android and iOS (mobile). Click here to learn more about Houseparty and how to set it up.

Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger lets you easily chat and video call with your friends and family. It’s great because most of your friends and family will probably already have it if they have a Facebook account, making it an excellent choice for those who aren’t as tech-savvy. Plus, video calls have a limit of 50 users. Works on Windows and macOS (desktop), and Android and iOS (mobile). Click here for how to set up Facebook Messenger group video chat.

Mother Daughter on Video Call

Set Up Tips

Lighting
Of course, you’ll want to look your best when video calling with your Mom, since she may request a group screenshot to capture the moment. If you are using a laptop, set up a light source behind and above your screen. This way, your face will be nicely lit up and visible. Also, use lighting from multiple sources and angles, so that it is dispersed nice and evenly. This can help you avoid harsh shadows casting on your face or in the background.

Sound Check
Nothing is worse than not being able to hear your video caller, or them struggling to hear you. If you have a microphone plugged in, make sure your computer isn’t sticking to its default audio input device. Check by making sure your microphone settings on your computer are correct. You can check on a Mac computer by clicking the volume control in the menu bar and selecting “sound options.” In the “Input” tab, make sure that your external microphone is selected from the list. Once it is selected, ensure that the “Input level” bar is moving to show that the computer is picking up any sound. Lastly, check that the volume slider isn’t all the way down.

If you’re using a PC, right click the volume icon in the taskbar and select sounds. Choose the “Recording” tab and choose your external microphone from the list. If you are using you computer for the first time or it is fairly new, you can select “Set up microphone” to go through the Microphone Setup Wizard.

Go Hands-Free
If you don’t have a laptop and will be using your phone, instead of awkwardly propping it up on your table, use a mini or table top tripod. This way, you can eat or do other things while you chat with friends and family. As well, many tripods have convenient, bendable legs that you can securely place on any type of surface or wrap around anything, like a floor lamp post.

Tidy Up!
Lastly, if you’re planning a video call with Mom, make sure the space in the background is somewhat tidy. The last thing you want is a big pile of dirty laundry sitting in plain sight, or the dishes you forgot to put in the dishwasher the night before on the counter behind you. It’s not the end of the world, but it might save you some embarrassment (and nagging)!

Take it to the Big Screen

If you have your set up ready to go, take it one step further and run your video calls through your TV screen! It is a lot better than hunching over a laptop or trying to see everyone on a tiny mobile screen. If you have any Apple or iOS devices, use a Lightning-to-HDMI adapter. Just plug the adapter into an HDMI cable, hook the cable up to the TV, and switch to the appropriate input.

If your laptop has an HDMI port, you can also simply plug an HDMI cable from the laptop straight into your TV. For newer Macs and Windows PCs with USB-C ports, you can use a USB-C to HDMI cable. Once you have plugged it in, press Windows-P on a Windows laptop to switch between display modes. Choosing “Second-screen only” will disable your laptop’s screen while it’s connected to the TV.

 

BONUS TIP: If you own a camera, you can also check out our blog on Using Your Camera as a Webcam | How-To Guide for Better Video Calling at Home.

 

We hope you found this blog helpful on how to virtually connect with your Mom this Mother’s Day. From choosing the right video call app or service, to setting up, and even using your TV for enhanced visual and sound, it will feel like your Mom is right there with you!

For some last-minute Mother’s Day gift inspiration, be sure to read our blog on Last-Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas That Will Warm Her Heart.

A video update from London Drugs on COVID-19

Hear from our President and Chief Operating Officer, Clint Mahlman, on London Drugs’ continued commitment to keeping our customers and employees safe during this next phase of COVID-19. Also, learn more about our key community initiatives and how we’re supporting fellow Canadians.

Learn more about how we’re supporting fellow Canadians

  • Our Workplace COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • London Drugs pharmacy app
  • Girl Guides of Canada Support – over $800,000 raised
  • Local Central – Supporting Small Independent Businesses in our communities
  • Our Proudly Canadian Program
  • How to Set Smart Health and Wellness Goals for an Awesome 2018

    smart health and wellness for 2018

    It’s that time again – New Year’s Resolution season. Let’s admit it: we always start off strong with motivation and enthusiasm to eat healthier, exercise more, get more sleep and take better care of ourselves, but come mid-January, that enthusiasm starts to wain. Sometimes we just need that little extra spark to keep the fires of motivation burning, and we’ve got some super-handy tech gadgets to add some fuel to your smart health and wellness fire.

    Eat Bettersmart health and wellness for 2018

    Prep It: Of course preparing your own meals is far healthier than take-out or pre-packaged food, but cooking at home takes extra time and creativity that we don’t always have. Luckily,  The Panasonic Steam Microwave will make your meal prep even easier with easy, oil-free dishes that taste great. The steam function can also be combined with microwave, grill, and convection cooking to give you limitless options for making “healthy” synonymous with “delicious.”

    Kick Sugar: Everyone snacks. It’s inevitable—that yawning chasm of time between lunch and dinner will find you eventually. In fact, healthy snacking can actually be good for you, as it fends off swings in blood sugar and prevents binge eating when you’re reaaally hungry. Unfortunately, most store-bought snack foods have a shocking amount of sugar in them, so we’ve got some easy tips for cutting down on sugary snacks here.

    Move More

    smart health and wellness for 2018

    Pump It: The perfect playlist can make or break an intense workout. If you’re addicted to the energy that music gives you, make sure you’re taking full advantage of your tunes with a great set of headphones. Skullcandy’s XTFree Wireless Sport Headphones eliminates the hassle of cords and and keeps you free to pump it up. The lightweight buds have a tight comfortable fit, and you’ll get up to six hours of battery life on a charge to keep you going longer.

    Get Up: New studies have shown that there’s a direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality. Doctors suggest that for every 30 consecutive minutes of sitting, standing up and moving or walking for five minutes at brisk pace will reduce the health risks from sitting. If you work at a sedentary job, a standing desk is a great way to avoid sitting for long periods of time. Our Certified Data Standing Desk easily changes from sitting to standing position and has a large surface area to accommodate all of your work activities.

    Get Down: Fitness is more fun when it’s a family affair! Get the whole gang grooving with Just Dance, available for Nintendo Switch, PS3 & PS4, Wii & Wii U, and Xbox One and 360.  

    Track It: Some people need a little bossing around to stay on track with their fitness. If you don’t want to hire an expensive personal trainer, go for some wearable tech to keep you accountable. London Drugs has a wide range of Fitbit fitness trackers in lots of different styles and price ranges that can help you reach your goals. With the Fitbit app, you can track your daily steps, caloric intake and output, heart rate, sleep habits–all while looking sleek and stylish.

    Get more sleep

    smart health and wellness for 2018

    Light It: Everyone knows that getting enough sleep is essential support for good health: it helps our bodies repair damage, clean out waste products, balance hormones, renew cells, and so much more. New studies have even shown that a good amount of sleep helps you form memories, solidify learning, reduces your risk of depression, increases fitness levels, and helps to avoid weight gain. If the thought of trying to get more sleep seems intimidating, there is some great technology available to help create optimal conditions for a good night’s rest, like the Sleepace Nox Music Smart Sleep Light. It can help you fall asleep easily with soothing light and sound and wakes you up naturally with a smart light alarm. It also collects data from your bedroom environment that impacts your sleep quality and makes smart suggestions on how to improve your sleeping experience.

    Hear It: If you like to listen to music or podcasts as you fall asleep but wake up in a tangled mess of headphone wires, the Furo Bluetooth Sleeping Mask helps you rest in comfort while listening to whatever sounds are needed to take you to dreamland. A soft micro-fibre sleeping mask with built-in Bluetooth speakers and a 6-hour battery life will give you a comfortable, tangle-free sleeping experience.

    More self-care

    smart health and wellness for 2018De-Stress: Ideally, we’d all have a live-in massage therapist to help us work out the knots after a stressful day or a hard workout, but alas, most of us aren’t so lucky. The next best thing could be the Homedics Neck & Shoulder Massager with Heat. This invigorating vibration massager adds heat to soothe tense muscles, and the portable design flexes and shapes to your body, providing the perfect fit for the perfect massage. Makes you want to let out a big “ahhhhhhh” just reading that, doesn’t it?

    Breathe In: It’s amazing how scent can affect your mood and well-being. Just ask any of your friends who have jumped on the therapeutic essential oils bandwagon recently: lavender can help you sleep, pine can alleviate stress, citrus can help you feel more energized, and peppermint may boost concentration, just to name a few. An aromatherapy diffuser will help fill your home with whatever scent and mood you crave.

    Hopefully, with a little help, we can all stick to our goals for the year (and stay off the road that they say is paved with good intentions), and make 2018 into twenty-GREAT-teen!

    Santa to Visit Seniors Across Western Canada This Year

    Stocking Stuffers for Seniors at London Drugs

    Well, maybe not the real Santa, but seniors across Western Canada will receive a little extra holiday cheer this year, thanks to London Drugs’ very first chain-wide Christmas campaign.

    With Stocking Stuffers for Seniors, London Drugs stores across Western Canada are partnering with hundreds of low-income, assisted living, or palliative care homes and organizations to help make this year’s holidays brighter for seniors living in our communities.

    Stocking Stuffers for Seniors was developed as a way to connect London Drugs’ generous customers to local seniors during the busy holiday season. Many seniors do not have family or loved ones they can celebrate the holidays with, so Stocking Stuffers for Seniors will provide a gift or needed item, along with a visit from a friendly face during an often lonely time of the year.

    The program concept originated in BC’s Okanagan then expanded to Edmonton, where they had the initial goal to help 40 inner-city seniors and ended up helping over 400. The next year, 2,000 people received gifts, and this year, Edmonton alone will support over 4,000 seniors. With the generosity of our communities, imagine what we could do across all of our communities.

    To support Stocking Stuffers for Seniors, visit your local London Drugs store from now until December 11. Simply go to the Stocking Stuffers for Seniors Christmas Tree and take a personalized tag from a local senior, purchase or bring in the new, unwrapped items listed on the tag, then drop everything off at the London Drugs Customer Service Counter where you picked up the tag. Santa and his volunteer elves will deliver all personalized gifts in time for Christmas!

    Stocking Stuffers for Seniors London Drugs 2017

    10 POPULAR GIFTS FOR SENIORS

    – Blankets or throws
    – Slippers or socks
    – Candy and chocolate
    – Coffee or travel mugs
    – Warm clothes such as gloves or scarves
    – Paper products such as paper towels and tissues
    – Gift cards for groceries and toiletries
    – Books or magazines
    – Board games or puzzles
    – Kitchen essentials

    For extra Christmas cheer – include a personalized Christmas card with your gift!

    Be sure to check out our FacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages to see how your gifts made the season a bit brighter for seniors in your community.

    How To Get Your Baby to Sleep – Baby’s Best Sleep and London Drugs Q&A

    It was 3:30AM.

    My daughter was 2 weeks old

    I had seen every hour on the clock.

    Earlier in the evening I had sent my husband to bed because he needed to work the next day. But here  I was: exhausted, desperate and about to ruin his slumber.

    I ran into our spare room where my husband was sleeping, handed him the baby and tried to get two hours of sleep in a row.  I come back for the baby a couple of hours later to see HIM sleeping with the baby in his arms! It was my Oprah ‘a-ha’ moment: sleep is not a luxury, it’s a necessity!

    While we may chuckle with a friend about how exhausting parenthood is, your child’s infancy (and sometimes beyond) can bring parents many sleepless nights if baby isn’t sleeping well–and that is no laughing matter.  When we have tired babies, we have tired parents and tired parents are more likely to be involved in an accident, have a higher risk of heart disease, be obese, and even experience anxiety or depression. Sleep deprivation is no joke. And we know that after baby is 6 months and their circadian rhythms look more like adult ones, having broken nights of sleep means they feel just as tired and cranky as you do!

    However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There are a few basics you need to know about baby sleep before you make any changes to way your baby falls asleep. Here are the basics that will answer the most common baby sleep questions and hopefully provide you with a starting point in helping your child become better rested.

     

    Everyone has a sleep dance

    “What?” you ask.

    Yes! You read right. A sleep dance!

    If I asked you to think about your sleep dance it would likely look like this: You hop into bed, take off your socks and turn to your right side. But in another 2 minutes you’re going to shift to your left side, put your hand under your pillow and shift your legs to and fro. These routines and actions are your sleep dance. And if your child or baby has you doing this dance for them (feeding, rocking, bouncing, swaying, pacifying etc.) it means that every time they wake, they will require that same ‘dance’ to fall asleep again…which is challenging because…

    Your baby will never sleep through the night.

    And neither will you for that matter! All human sleep is actually made up of several shorter cycles of sleep. Most adults have a sleep cycle of 90 minutes but because adults have independent sleep skills, we can get to the end of our cycle, wake, turn over and go back to sleep. A baby’s sleep cycle however can range between 30-90 minutes (depending on their age). This means it’s possible that a baby can wake every 30 minutes! And if baby does not have their sleep dance down, it means they will require a recital from mom and dad all night long! Some of you are nodding right now–if this is you, it means your baby does not have their sleep dance down and is lacking independent sleep skills

     

    Becoming a professional soother replacer

    If baby has any sleep associations (things that lully them to sleep: rocking, patting, swaying, swings, pacifiers, dock-a-tots, nursing, bottles etc.) it makes falling and staying asleep extremely challenging because these associations will all stop working. Whatever lulling effect is created by these associations will eventually wear off and you’re left swaying a crying baby for hours. How many of you have had to run back to baby’s room several times at night to replace a pacifier? When we remove the pacifier (or any other association) baby will sleep deeper and more consistently going forward.

    So what now? Tips for success!

    1. Find a way to teach your baby independent sleep skills. Whether it’s with a consultant like me or with another program, method or practice that aligns with your family goals–teaching baby to sleep on their own is a must.
    2. Whenever you start a program don’t give up! Consistency is challenging with babies but its a MUST with any child. You can’t go half way and expect 100% results. If you want baby to learn to sleep, they must sleep unassisted every single time.
    3. Finally, get support. If your partner can’t be around to help, find a friend or family member to support you in helping baby sleep. It can be challenging and sometimes having another person to talk to through the challenges can be helpful (this is also why hiring a consultant is so great–we’re with you every step of the way!)

     

    If you’re feeling like you’re ready to get you and baby to sleep, feel free to reach out! I (and many consultants!) offer free discovery calls to try to get a better sense of your sleep issue and let you know what working within a program may look like. You can reach me here: www.babysbestsleep.com/15mins

     

    Good luck and teach that baby to dance!

     

    Diabetes and Vaccines

    A lot has been written about vaccine safety in recent years, and much of it has been based on false information and bad research. If you have diabetes and are wondering about whether you should receive vaccines, the answer is “Yes!” Your London Drugs pharmacists can help you sort out the facts from the falsehoods and figure out which vaccines you should get.

    READ MORE

    Preventing and Treating Hypoglycemia

    Understanding hypoglycemia (the medical term for low blood glucose, also known as low blood sugar) is a very important part of diabetes management. When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, your body breaks down these sugars and starches into glucose, a form of sugar, and your blood glucose level rises.

    When your blood glucose levels drop below your target levels, this is known as hypoglycemia. It can happen for a number of reasons:

    READ MORE

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