When we were kids, telephone busy signals and clunky answering machines were a part of everyday life. Now, the only thing that’s hard about staying in touch is finding the time. Whether they live across the city or halfway around the world, it’s easier than ever to include loved ones in your kiddo’s childhood. Read on for ideas keep up with family and friends, no matter where you live.

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Blog Away
One great thing about keeping a blog is that you can update it as much or little as your schedule allows. Some moms write detailed daily entries about struggles with getting their little one to eat veggies or potty train, while others focus on family events. Not into journaling online? Try starting a blog exclusively filled with family photos.

With the help of sites like WordPress, setting up a blog is fast and free. In addition, with Windows Live Writer you can share images and text, making the posting process a no-brainer. Take your blog a step further by linking to social media sites. That way, more friends will have the chance to read up on your adventures in parenting and see images and videos of family travels and school performances.

Fit in Some Gab Time
Instead of watching a video of kids blowing out the candles after the fact, video chat lets loved ones live in the moment. Some parents schedule face time solely on big milestones, while others fit in weekly check-ins with family and friends living afar.

If you’re looking for a free program that offers instant messaging and video chat, try Windows Live Messenger. Kiddos will have fun with the 30-second video message feature. If grandma isn’t home when you call, record the kids singing and dancing away, then send her the message.

Get Cooking
Food binds loved ones, even from afar. As a fun way to get kids to taste new things, try sharing favorite family recipes and meals online. You can post baking results and pictures of meals on social media sites, or take it a step further and create a cookbook. For even more fun, coordinate with family members living afar, prepare the same recipe, and pick a time to have a “virtual dinner” or dessert together via video chat.

Smile for the Camera
It’s easy to use smart phone cameras to click candid shots of our kids goofing off throughout the day. If you find yourself bogging down emails with attachments of favorite family photos, it’s time to try virtual photo sharing tools.

There are a ton of great programs like Windows Live Photo Gallery that let users upload images and create shareable albums and slide shows. Viewers can comment and tag images, too. You can also try Photosynth to overlap pictures and create a 3-D experience. The new composite image program offers another way for family members to experience finger paintings or panoramic views of your new nursery.

Start a Family Website
Maintaining a family website is a great way to archive life-changing events, such as marriages, births, and family reunions. You can also post pictures and videos snapped at your kiddo’s favorite pizza place or bike trail.

Free services from sites like WordPress can have your web address up and running in less than ten minutes. If you’re feeling tech-savvy, try creating a site using Microsoft Expression Web 4.

Get Your Kids in on the Fun
Your kiddos can help create posts for your family’s blog and upload images, too. The Microsoft Store offers hands-on TechTots classes for kids ages 2 to 5 covering topics including making photo slideshows and using Windows Phone 8. Click here for more information.

We know all of your families don’t live nearby so let us know in the comment section below how you keep in touch with your loved ones near and far.

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