The Day Amazon Echo Moved In
I was shocked when my husband brought home an Amazon Echo, because he had always said that we would never get one because he’s very concerned about privacy. He works in the IT industry, so he’s very aware of the risks of having someone potentially listening in or collecting data from us, but since we received it as a gift from someone at work, he decided to try it out. The kids were really excited about it!
I have two kids, and they ask questions all day long. I homeschool my kids, so it is really handy to just be like “Alexa, how many volcanoes are there in the United States?” and usually she can answer. (Who is Alexa?) A lot of times she can’t, and it’s kind of a bummer because we feel like she should be this all-knowing being. Still, Alexa is really helpful. They’ll also ask silly questions sometimes and get a good laugh out of it. Answering the kids’ questions is the most important role of the Echo for us.
We kind of forgot the Echo was there for a few weeks, then I was trying to play some Amazon Music for the kids and remembered we could just use Alexa. It makes her worth having just to be able to ask her to play a song and have her play it right away! We like to listen to classical music just because it’s nice to have something in the background, but my son likes to listen to Michael Jackson too.
My husband mentioned that we can use the Amazon Echo to turn our alarm system on and off and lights, but we haven’t tried it yet. I still think it’s a pretty cool feature! I’ve heard of other people using the Echo for utilities, and having Alexa read out recipes or tell them what’s on their calendar. I know there’s a lot of potential there, but we usually just play around with Alexa.
The way we use Alexa the most for is for humor. One time, my kids made a Star Wars joke and said “Alexa, you’re my father,” and she responded “No! That’s not possible!”
The Amazon Echo has definitely made my life easier. I’m constantly getting hit with questions, and I don’t always know the answer. In fact, I rarely know the answer! So instead of having to run to my computer and Google the answer, now we can just ask Alexa.
It’s funny because I thought we were one of the first ones to get an Amazon Echo, but some of our friends already had it. I’d recommend it to the ones who don’t have it yet. It’s a lot of fun, especially when you have kids.
Moving to an Amazon Kindle from an iPad
We also had an iPad for years. When it cracked too badly for us to keep using it, I considered getting a new one, but it was just so expensive. I had heard a lot of good things about the Amazon Kindle Fire, so I started looking at reviews. Everyone was going crazy over this! And it was ridiculously cheap: it was on sale for about $89 dollars each. I paid a little over that because I wanted more storage so that my kids could download movies. I still can’t believe the Amazon Kindle is so inexpensive.
Kindle devices are not as intuitive as iPads, but I think that’s because we’re just used to using Apple products. I’m glad we went the cheaper route because I got one for each of my kids for a fraction of the money that one iPad would have costed. The fact that the Kindle was so cheap also put an end to the kids’ fights over the iPad, since now they just have their own device with their own games, movies, books, music … from a parent’s standpoint that’s been huge.
We also travel quite a bit, it’s super helpful for them to have that entertainment and nice for me not to have to hand over my phone! I can keep my computer and they have their own device too.
I also use the Kindle Fire sometimes with Audible for audio books or in the kitchen to look up a recipe. For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing the Ketogenic Diet, which is a high fat low carb diet, and I really wanted to make lemon butter sauce. I just looked up the recipe and it was super handy to have it over the counter on the big screen instead of on my phone. In 15 minutes, I had it done. It was a big hit!
The Kindle has made life easier. The ease of entertainment and mobility are very helpful. The kids can read multiple books when they’re not at home without having to take them all and carry them around. It’s great value and I still don’t understand why they’re so inexpensive. I would definitely recommend the Kindle Fire!
Kristiina is a busy mom who writes the blog Getting Unschooled where she discusses homeschooling, non-toxic beauty and household supplies and being a stylish, fit ,healthy 40-something mom. Check out her blog!