Amazon provided the Echo for an honest review. Steamy Kitchen is providing the giveaway unit.
We’ve been playing with the Amazon Echo for about a week now. Our family has voted and “Alexa” is now a family member, a sister that the boys have always wanted to boss around.
Alexa, the name of Echo (well, you can program its name to be Amazon, just in case your dog is named Alexa), sits in our breakfast nook. It’s become our music speaker, weather station, kitchen helper, shopping list keeper, and entertainer.
We’re long time Amazon Prime members, and in addition to free 2-day shipping, we also enjoy the included Amazon Prime Music library, with over 1 million songs. You can organize the songs into playlists, or just play the suggested playlists, which is what we like to do. We’re currently digging the “Kids Halloween Playlist” with songs like Addam’s Family, Ghostbusters and Thriller.
“Alexa, play Kid’s Halloween”
No button needed!
I like Siri on my iPhone, but to activate, you need to hold down the button for a long pause. My phone isn’t always on me (which is why I’ve lost it three times already) so Siri is only convenient when she’s next to me on the desk. The iPhone is too darn big for me to put in my pocket or wear around my neck 🙂
With Alexa, all you need to do is say, “Alexa.” The device is always listening, there’s no button you need to push.
It took some time getting used to. The family found ourselves whispering around Alexa and s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g her name when we talked about her and didn’t want her to hear.
But it’s really nice to just shout a command. My kids have really taken to bossing Alexa around, asking her to play a song, tell a joke, do some math homework, iron the clothes (just kidding…I wish.)
My shopping list is always huge. Between feeding my family and recipe testing, I’m at the grocery store at least 5 times a week. With Alexa, I don’t even have to wash my hands to add something to the list. Just say, “Alexa, add baby bok choy to the shopping list.”
Simple questions like measurement conversions are convenient, too. “Alexa, how many ounces in a quart?”
Installing a few outlets with Wemo Home Automation by Belkin, we’ve been able to connect our fan and some lamps to control via our phones. Alexa works with Wemo, too. “Alexa, turn on the fan” will power up the fan and cool the room.
You can also hook up the television to Wemo/Alexa – normally, I’m yelling, “KIDS TURN OFF THE TV!” The chance that one of the kids heard me? 50%. The odds of one of them actually coming into the family room, finding the remote and turning off the TV? Too embarrassing to say.
Now, all I have to do is yell at Alexa to do it.
Amazon asked me to share how we’re using Alexa to make some fun this Halloween.
We’re placing Alexa on the front porch, right next to the rocking chair.
Next: the costume.
Zombies. Uh, yeah. That’s Scott and me. Holding a friend’s baby who couldn’t even look me in the eye!
Okay, so picture this.
We wait until it’s dark all the little kids are done trick or treating. This is for the big kids.
All dark, no porch lights, except for a single flashlight laying on the floor. Spooky Halloween haunted house music being played by Alexa.
Scott is sitting in the rocking chair realllllly still with a MASSIVE bowl of full-sized candy bars on his lap. Because kids can’t resist the full sized candy bars.
He’s motionless when the kids tiptoe up.
“Is he real?”
“Is it a stuffed zombie?”
“Are you alive??”
“Oh, it’s not real.”
“It’s big candy! Grab a few.”
…the music gets louder (controlled by one of the boys, inside the house, with my iPhone and Echo app)
…and then he starts rocking slowly in his chair.
…and for the big shameless kids that show up with no costume, Scott will jump up and grab their arm.
They scream like babies! Best part of Halloween.
About Amazon Echo
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Amazon Echo Giveaway
Giving away one Amazon Echo! Sponsored by me, Steamy Kitchen 🙂