Family Time: Pokemon Go…

I will admit it, I was very skeptical of walking around looking for imaginary creatures with my cell-phone.  Everyone looks so funny holding out their phones like they are looking for cell service in a mountain pass somewhere remote.  I will also admit that I looked like this – my facewhen my older son came home talking about this new app that has been blowing up social media and places all around the world:

I mean really?  Kids and even adults staring at their cell phones while they are outdoors…what could ever be wrong with that?
Don’t we already have enough of that already with our families all laying around looking like this: family


The cynical side of me says, “oh yeah, that’s all we need, something else on our phones that will distract us from what is right in front of us…”

I honestly felt that way about Pokemon Go…past tense, I don’t feel that way anymore, and I’m ashamed not to admit that I was wrong.

Here’s what I mean:

We Need Family Time!
Families who have had trouble getting their children outside during these beautiful summer days need not face this struggle any longer.  All you have to do is embrace this craze called Pokemon Go!   Check it out for yourself.  This app is available on both the iOS app store as well as the Google Play store.  Another great incentive – IT’S FREE!!   Once downloaded (and hopefully the servers aren’t overloaded anymore) you can begin walking your neighborhood with your kids looking for these Pokemon.  Granted I know nothing obamaabout the whole Pokemon story-line, but I do know that my kids are excited to journey outdoors and ACTUALLY walk and get some exercise…

I was impressed that even my 15 year old son who is a “cave dweller” that loves to watch YouTube and hang out in the basement all day unless I force him outside, was excited to go discovering with us using the Pokemon Go App.  This is great!  We talked, we walked and we found more than just imaginary creatures using a fun little app, we found family time again!  The kids were yelling and were only too excited to run towards the next stop on our journey.  I’m finding that we are not the only ones caught up in this craze, there were hundreds of kids and families out all over our downtown with their phones out laughing and exploring.

Another cool tidbit is this:  your children will learn about locations and history as they go pokeexploring.  We learned that in our community within one of our cemeteries the first American soldier killed in World War I is buried.   This is really cool! Not only is it fun to go exploring but many historical locations house information and education for our kids to discover.  That alone makes this not only  fun to use, but a tool to teach and to connect with my children.

pokemon.pngIf you haven’t already, give Pokemon Go…a go.
I am not embarrassed to say that I have enjoyed exploring it with my children.
My first impression was wrong, and I don’t mind if we look like a bunch of nerds walking around with our cell phones out…we’re together, and that’s what really matters.
Have fun, and don’t forget to spend quality time with your children in whatever activity you decide to participate in.

Something more to ponder.
Check this crazy video out – Central Park Filled With Pokemon Go Users

The BFG Movie Review

Every once in a while a film comes along that reignites the child in us all.
I remember having this book read to us as children, and I read this book to my children…and now we went as a family to see it on the silver screen.

About The Author: 
Roald Dahl is a fascinating writer who is best known for such books as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and Matilda.  Roald Dahl also wrote several short stories which Alfred Hitchcock turned into episodes of “Alfred Hitchcock presents”.   Thus some of his plots and language within these “children’s” novels have a dark side to them.  This, in my opinion makes the story even more likable and remarkable.

On screen, Steven Spielberg brings to life one of my all time favorite children’s stories, and he does it in a very “Spielbergesque” way.  The cinematography is gorgeous, and the actress who was casted to play Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) does a remarkable job!  The CGI is not perfect for character of the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), but it is close and not noticeable once you become completely immersed into the story line.

The movie follows the book very closely, and I caught myself saying out loud “that’s how I envisioned it!” Spielberg has done it again, walking through my (our) childhood, recapturing the mystery, magic and awe!    I recommend you take the whole family!  You will laugh, you will cry and most of all you will have a “hopscotchy” good time!  Remember to drink all of your “Delumptious fizzy frobscottle”…you’ll find out what that means!

Go see if for yourself, I won’t give away the plot, but if you go as the child you once were even if you pay the adult ticket price, you will enjoy it!  I’m calling this my hands-down favorite Family Friendly favorite movie of this summer!

Every once in a while a film comes along that reignites the child in us all, this was one of those movies for me!

I give this movie

Parent Review: Disney’s Circle

What is it?
This little cube is a filtering device for your home that allows you to protect your family from inappropriate sites and content on the internet.  circle

A couple years ago, I looked around, as my children were growing older, and noticed that there was very little by way of family filters for the whole house available to the public.  I even asked a tech friend of mine for some help, and the ways to tweak my router (which is provided by the company we use for internet) were very complicated and truly beyond my “networking” skills…trust me, I tried.

Then I saw this new device that began as a kickstarter and eventually was picked up by the Disney corporation – A.K.A – Disney Circle.

We’ve had our Circle for about a month and I would like to do a review on it for you.

Ease Of Use: 
This device sells for $99, and we bought ours at Target, but I believe most major retailers will have this device for sale.  Basically we took this sleek looking box home, opened it and once we plugged it in, it was a easy to set up.  Have your internet router’s password available, walk through the app (which you install on your mobile device or cell phone) and once it connects the real magic and ease of mind can begin.

The app is easy to navigate and you can add then add your entire family to the “Circle”.  Once you add your family, you can then assign specific devices (which are visible to the network) to each person.  So, for example if your son has a google tablet, it will show up within the local devices and you can assign that tablet to your son on the circle.

The Filtering Software:
If you are worried what your children might watch on Youtube or even apps on their Apple or Android devices, here is some ease of mind.  You can assign the filter level of each child based upon their age.  All of the apps available on an app store can be filtered because this Disney Circle interfaces with the home router.  Even if your child is on their Xbox or Playstation console, it must still get its information from your home router, and Disney Circle will filter out the inappropriate content that you do not want your children to have access to.  I recently let one of my teenage boys use my Ipad, so since the Ipad is assigned to my profile, I adjusted my filter to “Teen”…when I went on my phone to access one of the streaming apps I use to watch tv, I was stopped, and I realized I had been filtered via the Disney Circle – it does really work!  This device, in my opinion, is totally worth the $99 I paid for it!

This device gives parents peace of mind when their children use the internet and/or various electronic devices throughout their homes.  No longer is finding a family friendly, easy to use filter a hard thing to do – I completely recommend this device for your home!

Other Perks to Disney Circle:
1) You can set a bed time for each profile/person in your home.  When the clock strikes that hour, the internet turns off for those assigned devices to that profile/child.
2) Does your child spend too much time on devices?  Then set time limits!  Once the time limit has been met, the internet will also turn off.
3) Pause the Internet in the entire house by hitting the “Pause” button on your device loaded with the Disney Circle App.
4) There is no work around, once the Disney Circle has been paired to your home router!
One of my kids tried to unplug the Circle and just use the router, and it wouldn’t work.
5) “Insights” – You can view all of the content your child views by using your Circle app.  You are the House Admin (and your spouse can be as well).  View the time your children spend on specific apps or site.  Learn what they enjoy doing, also start to see just how much time they spend in a day on these devices.

One word of caution, and this should be obvious, but here goes:
Do not load the Disney App onto devices your children will be using, this is the only “Work around” to the filtering software.  The one(s) who has the app loaded can control what is fed to all the devices.  So parents, you load the App, and you will ensure you children are protected in your home from unwanted, inappropriate content.

Should you buy Disney Circle? 
That’s entirely up to you, but we love ours and as our kids are getting older, it gives us peace of mind that they will not be subjected to pornography or other harmful content because of this little device and what it does.

I am giving Disney Circle thumbstwo thumbs WAY up!!!

For further review check out these youtube reviews/videos:
The Official Website:  Disney Circle
Disney’s Cirlce
Disney Circle Unboxing and Review

Death Wish Coffee Review

I drink  a lot of coffee…I enjoy my coffee too!!
I love the coffee, it’s my wake up juice…my sweet nectar, elixir of life…mmm
…okay, I digress.

I just returned from a pastor’s conference (which was a wonderful time!)…When I got back to my office, I discovered an amazon box smiling on my seat.  The contents?  A black box containing a bag of Death Wish Coffee, which  also included a nice DWC sticker (which now is prominently placed on my computer…next to the apple sticker…covering up an HP logo).
I was so surprised and excited to try this coffee!
I’ve thought about ordering it before…it’s been on my amazon wish list for a while now, so receiving it in the mail from an anonymous friend seemed too good to be true.   A few of my friends commented that maybe it was sent to me maliciously (haha – I don’t think so). Again – a big thank you to whoever you are that sent me this coffee…and so I felt compelled to do this review, so here goes!!

Death Wish Coffee can be purchased through Amazon (hyperlinked here), or directly from Death Wish Coffee (hyperlinked here)
Death Wish Coffee is advertised as “the world’s strongest coffee”, I’m always curious about these type of claims, so I read up on them.  Here’s a good, comprehensive test of DWC by HuffingtonPost’s Crime and Weird News Editor Andy Campbell – Death Wish Coffee: ‘World’s Strongest’ Cup Claim Put To The Test

My experience was similar to Andy’s – The coffee is smoother than most dark roasts (or, in my opinion, ALL of them!!)  that I’ve tasted.  It didn’t have a bitter taste either – which is truly amazing, and something that I was surprised by!  I enjoyed my cups, which were French-pressed.  Supposedly DWC beans have 200% more caffeine than normal Arabica coffee…and I did notice more of a caffeine buzz afterwards.  Would I recommend this coffee?  YES.  But, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, please don’t buy this bean.   Although I didn’t get “the shakes” from this coffee, I did notice the caffeine affects on my body…and, are my pupils dilated right now?

Long story short – good coffee, no skunky after-taste, more caffeine with these beans.


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