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As a parent, it can be pretty difficult sometimes to manage everything that you need to do. As your kids get older and start in with the sports, school projects and other activities, family life becomes a hectic mix of finances, cooking, homework and more.

There’s often a family computer that everyone shares, along with laptops or other desktops throughout the house. Families of today are connected through the Internet and more aspects of managing a family are conducted online than ever before.

For this reason, I decided to take some time to review 3 of my favorite Firefox addons that can help parents easily manage the most important family matters all from the convenience of a single web browser.


The most significant activities of running a family that I wanted to cover include banking, cooking, and of course communicating and monitoring online usage.

Banking Quickly & Securely With Firebux

The first Firefox addon is one that focuses on family finances. I personally believe that a healthy financial plan leads to a healthy family. At MakeUseOf we’ve often provided free tools that can help with budgeting and financial planning. For example, Nancy reviewed how to use Google budgeting tools Manage Your Budget & Expenses Using Google Budgeting Tools Manage Your Budget & Expenses Using Google Budgeting Tools Read More , and I also reviewed tracking your budget with SimpleD SimpleD Budget - Free Budget Tracker Software (Windows) SimpleD Budget - Free Budget Tracker Software (Windows) Read More .

While these tools are useful, in order to simplify your already hectic life, I’m going to introduce a Firefox addon called Firebux. This addon is an offering from Buxfer, a free money management site that offers a single-account free option. By installing the Firebux addon, you’ll be able to track and manage your finances, with perfect integration with your bank account, at a simple click of a button.

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Before you can use this plug-in, you’ll need to sign up for a free basic Buxfer account. Once you’ve configured your account, you can install the Firefox addon, and program it to automatically log into your bank account and upload the latest statement so that it remains perfectly synced with your bank account.

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First, go to your bank account website and click on the Firebux icon in the lower left corner of Firefox and log into your Buxfer account. When you’re ready, click “synchronize” and the plugin will start recording your actions. Log into your bank account and go through the process of uploading your statement in Quicken format. When you’re done, log out of your bank account and stop the Firebux recording. Your account will now be synchronized with your bank account.

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Now, just by clicking on the Firebux icon, you can view your balance, check out your current budget details and more. No need to log into your bank website anymore. Don’t worry if the recording process fails – you can always log into your Buxfer account and just upload your monthly statement manually, that works just fine.

Find Supper Quickly With The GoCook Search Engine

One of the things that both my wife and I hate to do is cook. It’s hard enough to labor over the stove for an hour to put together a meal that the kids don’t even want half the time – but coming up with good recipes is a nightmare, especially in a home with picky kids. Luckily, you now have another Firefox addon to the rescue – introducing the GoCook search engine addon.

GoCook is actually a popular standalone recipe search engine, but why not integrate the search by embedding the GoCook search field right into your Firefox browser?

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Now, when you’re in a hurry and not sure what to make for supper, just open up Firefox and type in an ingredient, like pork or chicken, and you’ll receive instant recipe search results from websites like the Food Network, AllRecipes, Betty Crocker and much more.

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GoCook aggregates search results from all of the major recipe sites and brings all of the results right to your door. For a parent in a hurry – no need to sift through all of these sites or even remember a single website name. Just open up Firefox and type in your recipe search into the quick and convenient GoCook search engine addon.

Turn Your Computer Into The Family Bulletin Board With Glubble

One of my favorite family-oriented Firefox addons is Glubble. This addon is especially useful for families that spend a lot of time online. It lets you communicate with everyone even if their faces are glued to the computer screen, and more importantly, if you have small children it lets you assign only a specific list of “approved” websites they can visit.

Glubble basically transforms your Firefox browser into a child-safe browser for children, and a central location for family communications for the rest of the family.

mozilla firefox addons

The first thing you’ll need to do is set up your family page on Glubble. This is one of those sites that isn’t exactly the prettiest out there, but it’s the functionality that matters. Glubble provides three important services for your family – above, you can see the central bulletin board for everyone to communicate.

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On the right side of the family page, you’ll see an event calendar where everyone can view upcoming events, and a photo album of family pictures that you’ve uploaded to the “timeline.” Over time, this timeline certainly starts to reflect the progression of time and the changes your family experienced through the years.

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Most importantly, Glubble integrates the control and monitoring of the Internet for younger members of the family right into your Firefox browser. You can switch in and out of child mode so long as you have the adult-only password. When you log into your Glubble account as an adult, you can add or remove any website that you like to the “Kids collection,” which allows your child to visit that domain.

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To include serious protection, you’ll want to be sure that you enable Glubble to start Firefox in Child mode every time Firefox starts up. This may not work for teenagers or older children who could just install a different browser, but for young children under 6 or 7 years old, this provides parents with peace of mind, knowing that the kids won’t inadvertently land on a site that they shouldn’t see.

These three Firefox plugins represent the best solutions I’ve put in place to convert Firefox into a browser that is more useful and safe for my family. These apps help to simplify your banking, cooking and online activities by grouping them into your browser. Are there any other Firefox plugins that you’ve found are especially useful to your family? Please share your own favorites in the comment section below.

  1. Nat Jay
    May 6, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    I like the security aspects that you've touched upon in the article. One of the 3 computers in my house uses OpenDNS most of the time. I also log all activity on it as it's a family (public) computer.

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