Father's Day, Gift Guides, Home, Mother's Day, Spring 2017

Best Powerbank for Traveling is the myCharge HubXtra

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PBest Powerbank for Traveling is the myCharge HubXtra

If you can’t live without your phone or tablet while on the go then surely you have a powerbank, portable charger. I actually have a purse with one sewn in and I carry another type that charges via the lighter in my car and I keep it there if the boys or my husband also need one when we are out all day. myCharge is here with the best powerbank for traveling and I’ll tell you why that is.

charge phone

Portable chargers are so handy and make my work easier. When I am out all day or traveling I need photos that could potentially be part of a post or story. But there is one problem I have had with the powerbanks I own. I have grabbed it and my phone and forgot the cord to charge from.

best powerbank

As with any new product for technology that arrives for our convenience there is always more that can be perfected and myCharge has done that with their HubXtra. Why do I call this the best? There are several really great reasons:

  • It has the cords included! There is both a lightning and Micro USB for all the popular phone/tablet brands
  • It has built-in wall prongs for easy charging
  • It is slim and fits in my purse
  • It charges up to 65% faster than competitors

portable charger

With Mother’s day then Father’s day approaching this is a fantastic gift idea. The myCharge HubXtra portable charger that I call the best powerbank for traveling retails for only $69.99 at myCharge.com. I also found it on Amazon for the same price.

Apps, Best Buy, Gift Guides, Home

Experience Google Chromecast Audio Streaming

I was compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Google Chromecast Audio

Brand new at Best Buy is a small black disc used for audio streaming called the Google Chromecast Audio. You may have heard of Google Chromecast in that there is a device you plug into a TV USB input so you can take your tablet and computer shows and apps and watch on the large screen at home. This is Google’s same idea but for music.

chromecast audio set up

This is not a bluetooth device. With bluetooth streaming you need a music source like your phone or tablet and a bluetooth speaker to pair. This is music over Wi-Fi. This is very different. How is listening to music over Wi-Fi different than using bluetooth?

  • You can still text or call without interrupting what’s playing or draining your battery
  • Higher sound quality with sound that is crystal clear and powered by the cloud
  • Find many song and artist sources at chromecast.com/apps that work using the Google Chromecast Audio
  • Built-in 2.4GHz/5.0GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi connects to the Internet through your wireless home network
  • Just plug Chromecast Audio into your speakers via the auxiliary input, connect to Wi-Fi and tap the Cast button from your favorite apps.

Google Chromecast 1_0

If you are more familiar with listening to music via bluetooth speakers, there are still the same features you can enjoy while using the Wi-Fi connection of this new device such as pairing where you can group Chromecast Audio devices together so you can listen to the same song on multiple speakers. You can also control the volume, play, pause, song selection, etc.. on your phone or device. It will work with the popular apps-You Tube, Pandora, Spotify, etc.

Google Chromecast 2

The Google Chromecast Audio will pair with your Apple® iPhone® or iPad®, Android phone or tablet, Mac or Windows laptop or Chromebook. It works with your existing High-Speed internet. So let’s put it to the test:

Sound: I was very impressed with the sound quality. I have a new speaker set up for our TV, but also connected one to my son’s decades old Sony boombox because it had a line-in jack in the back (amazingly enough). The sound was so clear and even my 8 year old walked in when I had it turned up and asked “Is that coming from my radio?!!”

Pairing: so easy. Once I plugged the unit into the speakers I went to Chromecast.com/setup and it had me download the app and immediately searched for the chromecast device and found it in seconds. Once both were set up (TV speaker and my son’s radio) they automatically connected and began playing together

Using phone with music on: I can surf the web, take calls and do anything I would need to on my phone and the music stays on. The photo below shows me surfing my Facebook page with Luke Bryan playing through an almost 20 year old boombox with clear sound.

chromecast sound

Set up and Loading: I started the set up process at a time of 2:49pm and had a station on Pandora playing through the boombox at 2:53pm. That was from plugging in the device, going to set up, updating and playing.

chromecast audio connect

This is truly an experience unique in that all those old speakers you thought you needed to replace or Dad’s old garage boombox he never wants to part with can now play music and audio from your favorite apps. The sound will be clear and set up took under 5 minutes for me. Plug in and start listening throughout the entire house on any speaker with a line-in or AUX port.

Do you have a speaker or speakers in your home you’d be anxious to connect to your favorite music and audio apps?

2016 Holidays, Reviews by Anthony, Toy Reviews

Galaxy Zega Realistic Virtual Tank War Game Review

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realistic virtual logo

In 24 years of raising boys from my 24 year old step son to our 8 year old, we have never had a car or tank set like this. It is new and right on par with the technology and virtual play that is popular and a growing toy category today. It is called Galaxy Zega and is a virtual tank war game with an arena to customize and an app for control and game play.

realistic virtual tank wars

To grasp how game play works, think of Pokemon Go (in a very roundabout way). By that I mean that like the popular Pokemon app, you can earn skills the more you play. Like in gyms, you can choose skills and battle another players (so long as they create a username on a separate device and have a tank too). Like in capturing Pokemon you earn coins and achievements, in this war game you also earn coins and achievements in the terms of skills that you can choose to enable before a game and these skills can be used to give you more power or manipulate your opponent. With a 8 year old, this was the analogy that came to mind that I know many can relate to although different in all other aspects, the game play style is relative.


The controls-forward, backward, turning are largely displayed on your device so you can easily drive and steer your tank. You can even give your tank a unique name, although my son kept his tanks the names they came with, Leo and Gondar. Give yourself a username and when you log in to play, simply hold your device up to the car you wish to use for that game and it will recognize it and off you go.

realistic virtual starter

What do you need?

Most likely you want to be in 2-player mode for siblings or adults to battle so the best option is the Galaxy Zega Starter Kit that comes with enough tiles for a good size arena to build and 2 tanks. I also recommend 1 Galaxy X-base per tank you buy to open up even more games. If you need more than 2 tanks, you can buy more individually after the starter pack. Then you need access to 1 device per tank-each player needs their own device in their hand. My son uses my iPhone with the Galaxy Zega app downloaded and I use my husbands iPad also with the app downloaded. Both players create an account and log in then you will see an option to ‘Join other players’ to click on. Once you ask to join it will search and find your other player and you are now connected into the same game and battling each other. Available on Android and IOS.

realistic virtual gift

It is very clever and addicting. My son can’t put it down and already is asking for sleepovers so friends can come battle with him. It will surely be a hit in your home too-even for the adults who love interactive play.

2016 Holidays, Gift Guides

Paracord Lightning and Micro USB Charging Cables

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paracable charging cables

Last year I gifted my boys some main gifts and stocking stuffers as well. Yes, I still give stockings to the older boys. I gave them each iPhone lightning charging cords and they were so excited. It was actually a last minute throw in and I wasn’t sure they even needed them. This year I am stepping it up with a high quality cable charging cables from Paracord.

charging cable parachord

Paracable Apple® Certified Lightning™ Cables and Fast Charging Micro USB chargers are durable paracord-wrapped cables with anodized aluminum housings for your iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, or Windows device.

charging cables cord

Not only do these cables come in fun designs and colors, they are made with a strong 32 strand paracord and sheathed in aluminum. These will last a long time.

engineered cable chargers

iphone charging cable

Visit the Paracable website to see all of the products and designs available for your holiday shopping needs.

2016 Holidays, Gift Guides

Never Miss Important calls and Alerts with Ditto #HolidayGiftGuide

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Holiday Gift Guide Feature: Ditto Wearable


Ditto wearable logo

How many times have you had a frustrated spouse trying to call you and you may not have been near your phone for a while and didn’t realize it? Ditto would have saved me this past year.  I was vacuuming and my phone was upstairs. Ironically, I had to stop to use the bathroom and my son was using the downstairs bathroom so I went upstairs and my phone was buzzing. I answer it to a frantic husband, “I have been calling you! I have been in an accident. I am fine, but the car is totaled and I am on the side of the freeway and need a ride!” My heart dropped. I was away from all connection and an emergency had happened. Thank goodness I was led upstairs in the right time.

Ditto packaging

The Ditto wearable by Simple Matters works with iPhone and Android phones. You set important numbers and alerts and Ditto will vibrate strong enough for you to feel it. If you feel the vibration you know one of your top contacts is calling or texting you. This saves constant checking of your phone and ensures you know right away if you are being contacted.

Ditto device

It is small enough to fit anywhere-in a pocket, on a clothing strap or even around your wrist with the included wrist band it fits into. It is even waterproof so dunk yourself in the pool and you will still get those alerts. The water is one place your device cannot go, but Ditto can.

It works from 50-100 feet away from your phone. Ditto notifies you to calls, texts, emails, alarms, calendar updates, and even to a forgotten phone! The user friendly Ditto app allows you to customize exactly what notifications you receive while also filtering out unwanted distractions. It also connects with 60 apps for more customized alerts-sports scores, news, your buy/sell pages and more.

Ditto anywhere

Learn more at Ditto and get one for those on your list you think would love the gift of connecting with loved ones and more.

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2016 Holidays, Education, Home, Parenting, STEM Learning

BOSEbuild: Build and customize your own bluetooth speaker.

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BOSEbuild bluetooth speaker

I grew up with 2 younger brothers and a sister. One of my brothers was that ‘tinkering’ child. I remember one morning hearing a bunch of commotion in our family room and going out to see who was in trouble. My brother had dismantled the vacuum. It was in pieces. I knew he was in big trouble. However, I remember my parents not severely punishing him. In those days my parents did not have much money and replacing a vacuum is a huge deal. Looking back, they decided he needed more building toys, not a huge punishment. The BOSEbuild Speaker Cube is great for those children.

The BOSEbuild Speaker Cube is a build and learn bluetooth speaker that connects to Apple devices. My son and I built this and we used my iPhone playlist to play his songs through it when we were done.

bluetooth speaker set up

Explore the concepts of:

  • Magnets and electromagnets
  • How sound works
  • How speakers work
  • Frequency and waveforms

bluetooth speaker app

The build is all done with an app that connects to the speaker with bluetooth and guides your child along as he or she builds and learns. Along the way there are videos to further explain the concepts as they move through the process.

bluetooth speaker learning


bluetooth speaker building

My son is 8 and moved through this just fine. He is excited to go to school and tell his teacher he built his own speaker and knows what is inside. He wants to ask to take it to show over a science lesson day sometime soon.

bluetooth speaker box

It really is a great feeling for them at the end. The sound is as you would expect from BOSE. It is loud and powerful. Once built, your child can play with the sound equalizer, colors and outer design to fully customize it.

bluetooth speaker creation

Visit BOSEbuild to learn more and get one for that special child on your gift list that loves to build and play with science.