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Appiphilia: M is for the million apps you gave her for Mother's Day

May 8, 2009 |  9:40 am

Do you want to use your iPhone to do more than "say hi to your mother"? Although, I'm sure she (and Mark Wahlberg) would argue that's a pretty decent use for the phone too.

Here is what I'm calling the "mother" of ideas of what you can do with iPhones and iPod Touches for your maternal girl.

Manual dexterity: First, Mom, look away. My technophile mother is absolutely in love with her iPhone,Pogoalthough she is still wondering what an iPod is since she uses her iPhone for everything except music. But with any great romance, there is often some conflict keeping them apart. For her, it is the inability to tap easily. You see, my mom is an ultra-glam gram with her acrylic nails and misses her Palm -- or even her Nokia -- for the ease of typing. So this year, she will be jazzed to get a Pogo stylus -- and matching case, of course -- for a mum's day gift to help with the iPhone fingernail problem.

The stylus comes with a travel clip to help keep from losing the slim accessory. The challenge there is that to use the clip, you really have to forgo a case. But in my family, we don't do naked iPhones or iPods. (It's unseemly and just asking for trouble.)

So, to accommodate the dueling desires for protection and practicality, I got an inexpensive neoprene case and carefully cut openings for both ends of the clip. (Although, it would be nice to have a clip option that could fit over a slim case without breaking.)

Come snow or fashion show, Mom’s ready to carefully – and more accurately – tap to her heart’s content.

On becoming a mother: Moms-to-be have many app options in celebrating the many miraculous months ahead. One app that can expand on the joy the new parents are experiencing is iPregnancy ($2.99). This app will help you calculate your due date, track body changes from ...

Pregnancy... trimester to trimester, keep on top of medical appointments, pick out a name for the little darling. All the info you need to have handy -- hospital, doctor's name and numbers -- can be entered in the settings area.

The one thing I think is missing is the ability to add your own pregnancy photos -- of baby (ultrasound) and the growing mommy.  Maybe that will be in version 2.0, which the stork will be delivering soon, according to the site.

Taking care of business: Many moms have always been another three-letter word for their families -- CEO. Sometimes their mates are forgetful or distracted, and children command attention. Dinner isn't going to be made -- but reservations can by using OpenTable (free). This way the mom whose day you're celebrating doesn't have to know you totally spaced or ran out of time to plan better.

The app can help you find the 100 closest eateries and check availability. You can drill down by cuisine and price as well. It will give you driving directions -- and you can send out e-mail with the reservation details to your friends and family, as if you had planned it that way from the start. (Just make sure to set up an account before you try to use it last minute.)

How does your garden grow: Who doesn't like getting flowers? Well, those of us with allergies. But the Flower Garden app ($1.99) lets you grow a virtual garden. You could load this app on Mom's 'pod or phone -- give her the experience of a garden though she has a concrete yard -- or send her "a bouquet of cuttings" via e-mail from your virtual garden of more than 20 seed types. The 3D flowers grow before your very eyes at different rates and respond to touch. This is my kind of garden -- one that I can't kill.

Of course, the iPhone hasn't yet begun to offer scratch and sniff technology. If the virtual bouquet doesn't go over as well as you hoped -- but Mom, it's environmentally friendly! -- you can't beat the real deal. For that, you can tap out an order for fast-delivered flowers and gifts with the 1800flowers app (free). 

French toast

Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Edible offerings: Breakfast in bed is a staple of Mother's Day -- not merely a perk, but a requirement. You could always go with the Epicurious app (free) or Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner (free), which are both amazing cooking resources. The Epi app boasts a database of more than 25,000 tested recipes, lets you create a shopping list and share recipes. The Dinner Spinner represents more of a kitchen democracy: recipes and responses from home cooks. This app employs the shake-and-bake approach. That is to say, you shake the phone to find what you'll be baking. Adds that sense of adventure for the casual chef.

Relaxation: Moms are always so thrilled when a new animal is added to the family. (The more the merrier, right?) But these additions won't require cleaning the tank or feeding. Koi Pond (99 cents), one of the top 50 paid apps right now, brings the beauty and serenity of nature to your hand. You can add different layers of sound such as rainstorms, frogs and birds. Just listening to it is relaxing. Tap the water, and it responds -- you hear a splash, see a ripple and the fish swims away. Mom can give herself a timeout to recenter herself.

To quote the old Eddy Arnold ode: Put them all together they spell "mother," a word that means the world to us.

-- Michelle Maltais

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