This post is sponsored by Amazon.
It is no secret our holiday freak flag flaps high and wild above our home for all of the big calendar holidays as well as the lesser known ones because who doesn’t love a good National Pizza Day celebration? When it comes to celebrating special occasions, we are zesty; evident from a recent purchase of my favorite twinkle lights in which Amazon notified me, “You have purchased this item 9 times.” Our level 10 embrace of festivities ranges from twinkle lights and music to special recipes and cherished traditions and in no way involves pressure. We carve jack-o-lanterns and host Halloween movie night because we want to…because it’s fun.
Here’s where it gets fun–I married someone who loves holidays as much as I do. Brett, of course also loves techy things, gadgets and his beloved Amazon; and after my recent trip to New York to learn about all the amazing new ways Amazon Devices & Services are adding convenience and fun to family living, we gave our home a little device upgrade which in turn upgraded our holidays.
We’ve had an Amazon Echo in our home for several years, and we use it all the time–to play music, to answer questions, and (unbeknownst to me) to help with homework. We just added an Echo Show to our kitchen, and it’s our new best friend. It does everything an Echo does and more, thanks to a vibrant 10″ HD screen (and the speakers are amazing–Brett was very impressed!).
While we were carving pumpkins, we asked Alexa for pumpkin recipes, and she pulled up the best recipes for pumpkin bread, pumpkin mousse, pumpkin scones–all the pumpkin things.
All our Amazon devices are synched, so we can pull up Amazon Prime Videos on our Echo Show as well…which allowed us to have It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown playing in the background while we removed stringy pumpkin guts and cut triangle eyes. All it took was a simple voice command: “Amazon, play It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” (we had already purchased it with Prime Video).
She named him Little Bob.
One of my favorite places to bring the holiday spirit is always my kids’ rooms though. I want them to grow up with memories of happy bedrooms and bedtime dance parties and festive little touches. Music is such a big part of our home, and we want it to extend beyond the speakers in the main rooms of our home, so the kids have the safe Echo Dot Kids Edition complete with parental controls and one year of kid-friendly content (including over 1,000 Audible books!).
What I didn’t discover until I went to New York was how you can program fun routines and blueprints for your family devices all from the Alexa app. We’ve been having so much fun with it for Halloween!
In the app, I created a Routine which allows you to select a command phrase (I did “Alexa, make it spooky”) and then set up as many actions as you like as a response to the phrase.
When the kids tell Alexa to make it spooky, “Monster Mash” automatically starts playing, and the lights in Nella’s room (equipped with Philips Hue Smart bulbs) turn a spooky red.
The kids squeal with delight and think everything is controlled by magic. “HOW DID SHE DO THAT?” Welcome to 2019, kids.
Halloween dance party follows, sometimes featuring special guests.
No one is more delighted by all this Alexa magic than Dash.
He changes the light colors all day, firing commands and then looking to the light and exclaiming awe when he sees it respond correctly.
This all has me so excited for Christmas! I love anything that brings fun to our festivities and makes our life a little easier.